Reality

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German Security Expert Warns "War Between Russia And The West Is A Real Possibility"





"The de-escalation strategy with Moscow has failed," warns Joachim Krause, Director of the Institute for Security Studies, concluding ominously that "A war between Russia and the West... is a real possibility." As Handelsblatt reports, Krause states "we should not deny this reality any longer."

 
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Argentina Proclaims Peso Devaluation "Obviously Won't Happen" - Just Like It "Vowed" In 2013





May 2013, President Kirchner: ""As long as I'm president, those who want to make money through devaluations, which other people have to pay for, will have to keep waiting for another government,"

Jan 2014: Argentina Devaluation Sends Currency Tumbling Most in 12 Years

Aug 2014: Argentina’s Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said today a devaluation of the peso, "obviously won't happen."

So what's next?

 
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The Housing Echo-Bubble Is Popping





How do we know when an asset class is in a bubble? When everyone who stands to benefit from the continuation of the expansion declares it can't be a bubble.

 
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Futures Slide As Ukraine Fighting "Re-Escalates" Again





If you like your de-escalation, you can keep your de-escalation. To think that heading into, and following the Russia-Ukraine "summit" earlier this week there was so much hope that the tense Ukraine civil war "situation" would somehow fix itself. Oh how wrong that thinking was considering overnight, following rebel separatists gains in the southeast of Ukraine which included the strategic port of Novoazvosk and which is "threatening to open up a new front in the war" including setting up a land corridor to Russia controlled-Crimea, Ukraine's president Poroshenko for the first time came out and directly accused Russia of an "Invasion", or at least a first time in recent weeks, saying he has convened the security council on the recent Russian actions.

 
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Militarized Schooling? "Newtown Was A Nuclear Bomb That Changed Everything"





The following sign on the grass in front of a Texas school sums up where we are with the militarization of education in America. As WSJ reports, public schools nationwide are greeting students for the fall term with a host of new security measures including adding armed guards, giving guns to employees, installing perimeter fencing, and bulletproof glass. "It's kind of the way of the world, unfortunately," notes one parent, but bulking up on security has led some parents and experts to question how it affects students. The idea of "hardening" schools against intruders took on urgency after Dec 2012: "Newtown was a nuclear bomb that changed the whole landscape of everything."

 
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Arms Trade Treaty: What Is It And Why Does It Matter?





The right to bear arms in the United States has been and continues to be one of the most hotly debated pieces of legislation in our modern era. But, as Nicole Pontius of CamCode notes, the reality is that gun laws and arms regulation is not simply a human rights issue and it certainly does not only affect the U.S. Arms regulation also impacts national security, economic interests, global commerce and foreign policy. As Pontius adds, the latest political solution to help improve international arms regulation is the ATT, or the Arms Trade Treaty. Among a number of potential benefits of the ATT, this treaty would require governments to report all arms sales, thus preventing the sale and transfer of weapons likely to be used in violation of human rights all around the world. We wanted to take a closer look at this important piece of legislation - this infographic answers what it is, who is involved, and why we need it.

 
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Ebola Devastates West Africa: Revenues Down; Markets Not Functioning; Projects Canceled; GDP Plunges 4%





The market, in its infinitely rigged wisdom, has concluded that the worst Ebola outbreak in history is a non-event, even though it has put virtually all of western Africa on indefinite lockdown, and as Reuters reports, is "causing enormous damage to West African economies and  draining budgetary resources." In fact the damage from Ebola to Africa is already so acute, it is expected that economic growth in the region will plunge by up to 4 percent as foreign businessmen leave and projects are canceled, according to the African Development Bank president said. Revenues are down, foreign exchange levels are down, markets are not functioning, airlines are not coming in, projects are being canceled, business people have left - that is very, very damaging," African Development Bank (AfDB) chief Donald Kaberuka said in an interview late on Tuesday.

 
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Argentina – Sliding Down A Slippery Slope





Update: The official and black-market Peso has collapsed further today to new record lows.

It is actually quite sad to watch the continued downfall of Argentina's economy under the inept ministrations of its government. The only good thing that can possibly come from this is that it will set yet another example for others so they may avoid making similar mistakes. Unfortunately the example is being set on the backs of the country's citizens, who are seemingly forced to live from crisis to crisis. Politicians rarely pay the price for their atrocious policies, and we are quite sure Ms. Kirchner and her cronies have feathered their nests in ways the average citizen cannot even dream of (most recently, corruption allegations have caught up with Ms. Kirchner's vice president. Rampant government corruption has long been a hot topic in Argentina under Ms. Kirchner's rule). It is not as though Argentina didn't have great potential. If only politicians would leave its economy alone and stopped inflating the currency into oblivion, the country could easily and quickly regain its former prosperity.

 
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Why Artifice Rules The World: We Have No Choice





There's only one small problem with relying on artifice: we haven't actually fixed what's broken in the real world.

 
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Ron Paul: "Americans Must Choose Non-Interventionist Free Markets For Peace & Prosperity"





Mark Spitznagel: "Mises will ultimately be right yet again about the inevitable final collapse of the current asset boom brought about by credit expansion. The term “black swan” (the surprising, unforeseen event) used for bursting financial bubbles has been and will remain a misnomer - we can and, indeed, should expect such tumults to occur at some point as a consequence of massive central bank intervention and economic distortion."

Ron Paul: "As to the unwinding of this mess, I’m convinced that when the current expansion ends it will be abrupt, gigantic, and worldwide. The 43-year expansion of Fed credit and debt, delivered to us by a fiat dollar standard, and held together artificially by an undeserved trust will end badly."

 
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Europe: Stagnation, Default, Or Devaluation





Last week’s Jackson Hole meeting helped to highlight a simple reality: unlike other parts of the world, the eurozone remains mired in a deflationary bust six years after the 2008 financial crisis. The only official solutions to this bust seem to be a) to print more money and b) to expand government debt. Nothing Mr Draghi said in his Jackson Hole speech changed this reality.

At this stage, the path of least resistance is for the eurozone, and especially France, to continue disappointing economically, for the euro to weaken, and for Europe to remain a source of, rather than a destination for, international capital.

 
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China Has Lost 55% Of Its Most Valuable Resource





Roughly 60% of California right now is suffering “extreme drought” conditions. 30% of the state is in “severe drought”. And 10% of the state is only under “drought”. In other words, roughly the entire state - the 8th largest economy in the world – is facing a severe shortage of water. But if you think that’s bad, China is about to take over the spotlight yet again. A study by China’s Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China’s 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have disappeared.

 
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(Un)Comfortable Myths About High Yield Debt





There rarely seems to be a “reason” for why market crashes happen. Market observers are e.g. debating to this day what actually “caused” the crash of 1987. It is in the nature of the beast that once liquidity evaporates sufficiently that not all bubble activities can be sustained at once any longer, bids begin to become scarce in one market segment after another. Eventually, they can disappear altogether – and sellers suddenly find they are selling into a vacuum. Once this happens, the usual sequence of margin calls and forced selling does the rest. Risk premiums normalize abruptly, and there doesn't need to be an obvious reason for this to happen. Compressed risk premiums can never be sustained “forever”.

 
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Durables Goods, Excluding Bumper Boeing Orders, Suffer Biggest Drop Of 2014





The headline print of a record-breaking 22.6% gain - smashing the 8.0% expectation - hides the extremely obvious factor of the largest civilian aircraft orders (an entirely one-off non-repeatable factor). Durables ex Transportation collapsed from a 3% gain to a 0.8% drop - the biggest drop in 2014, missing expectations by the most in 8 months. Perhaps even more concerning, non-defense ex-aircraft new orders dropped 0.5% (missing expectations of a 0.2% gain).

 
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The Status Quo's Model Of "How The World Works" Is Broken





The Status Quo is dysfunctional because its model of how the world works is broken. It won't matter if gridlock remains in place or one of the parties gets to impose its "brand" of policy-tweaks; since no one on the political spectrum has any concept that the current model described in these 12 points is broken, fixing the political dysfunction won't fix the systemic dysfunction.

 
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