With record rental expenses already forcing millions of Americans to have far less disposable income for everything else once the monthly bill for the roof above one's head is paid, here is a breakdown of 25 selected US metropolitan areas, ranked from most to least expensive, how much it costs to rent a two-bedroom apartment (one can only assume the $1,440 price listed for New York is based on some non-GAAP, magical numbers that exclude reality).
These bonds are the benchmarks for “risk” in the financial system. Stocks, corporate bonds, mortgages, auto loans, emerging market stocks… everything you can name are ultimately priced based on their perceived risk relative to the “risk free” rate of lending money to the US for 10 years.
ISIS has attracted an entire generation of radicalized Sunni militants to the region. If one watches interviews with their enemies such as e.g. Peshmerga fighters, one topic that is occasionally mentioned is that they don't seem to fear death much. Combined with their well-known brutality, this undoubteldy makes them a formidable fighting force. However, there is evidently far more to ISIS than that. All of the above suggests that it will be exceedingly difficult to effectively destroy ISIS. It seems to us that if the goals the president has announced in recent days are to be achieved, nothing short of a full-scale invasion of Iraq (as well as of Syria for good measure) is likely to suffice – and even then, success is by no means guaranteed.
The prospect of renewed war has little effect on the public anymore. But in reality, we can’t begin to understand how it feels to live under the threat of bombs and shrapnel every day. As Americans, and Westerners, we are gifted with the option to not partake directly in war, but play the casual observer. Is this really human progress? Have we reached the pinnacle of human existence where men can live comfortably cheerleading for mass murder? Did anybody think to question this outcome of secular materialism before celebrating its benefits?
While the conflict in Ukraine rages on, EU member states havedecided to impose (not so much more stringent)economic sanctions against Russia, which was predictably followed by Russian counter-measures. The question which isn't being asked often enough, is whether these sanctions will actually improve the situation. Here's an analysis following four concrete questions:
1. Can things get even worse in Russia?
2. Is the West able to guide Russia and Ukraine down the right path?
3. Can the West contribute to a sharpening of the crisis?
4. How can the West protect itself against this conflict?
Despite the early volumeless lift, helped by USDJPY, it appears stock investors began to get the hint that the US economy (Stan Fischer), Iraq (coup), Ukraine (Russian will do it anyway), and Israel are not all fixed. Bonds rallied modestly early on ignoring the equity bounce and then as Europe closed (and a few Ukraine and Iraq headlines of reality hit), stocks leaked back off their highs. Treasuries end the day unchanged (5Y -1bps), Silver popped 0.75% back above $20, copper and oil modestly higher and gold down small to $1310. FX markets appeared quiet (USD ended practically unchanged) but EUR weakness was offset by CAD and SEK strength. S&P futures volume was 40% below average.
... Who America and Her Close Allies SUPPORT (the Terrorists, That Is) ...
On September 9th, 1965, US Navy pilot James Stockdale was shot down over North Vietnam and seized by a mob. He would spend the next seven years in Hoa Lo Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”. When asked who didn't make it out? "Oh, that’s easy...The optimists." The lesson, he explains, is a valuable one for investors today: "you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
Since there is nothing on today's data docket, it will be all about, you guessed it, geopolitical risks, where "consensus" is best summarized by these two Bloomberg headlines:
- Stay USD Long as Geopolitical Risks Loom
- USD is mixed and world stock markets rise as concerns over geopolitical risks ease
That pretty much covers it, although in addition to the Ukraine civil war one can now add an Iraq coup to the list of geopolitical fiascoes instigated by US foreign policy.
While the biggest geopolitical news of the past week was Obama's announcement he would become only the fourth president in a row to order military action in Iraq, explicitly targeting the ISIS jihadists, the far bigger question are the developments that spurred the administration to finally act. Here are, courtesy of Vice News, the first two parts of a series looking at life in the Islamic State caliphate. Vice News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.
Physical gold is migrating to the East (Russia, China) and, with it, power and influence. We see it with China and Russia progressively imposing their will, building consensus with a great many countries that wish to end American domination made possible by their capacity (privilege) of issuing the world reserve currency. The saying, “He who holds the (physical) gold makes the rules”, is truer than ever. The announcement of the creation of the BRICs development bank is just the first cornerstone in the new international monetary edifice. All we have to wait for is the first official announcement from the East of a new means of settlement of commercial trade based on one or more tangible assets, with gold. Afterwards, logically, an announcement of the convertibility of certain currencies into gold, or even the creation of a new currency that would be convertible to gold, should be made.
German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If "West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2014 23:57 -0400
Up until this point Angela Merkel, and German media in general, had been staunchly on the side of the west when it comes to dealing with Russia, Putin and realpolitik in broader terms. That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany's leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that "The West on the wrong path" in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately "harms German interests" and is a dead end.
When people ask for solutions to the collapse of America, often they are looking for a predetermined top-down magic bullet response. There is no such thing, nor will there ever be. There is no scenario in which we will escape unscathed. There is no cartoon-land happy ending at the finale of this story. The “solution,” as it were, is ultimately something that many do not want to hear about; namely, hard work, sacrifice and a willingness to put everything on the line for the future. Our only advantage is that we still have some time, and any time is better than no time.
The failure to understand money is shared by all nations and transcends politics and parties. The destructive monetary expansion undertaken during the Democratic administration of Barack Obama by then Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke began in a Republican administration under Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan. Republican Richard Nixon’s historic ending of the gold standard was a response to forces set in motion by the weak dollar policy of Democrat Lyndon Johnson. For more than 40 years, one policy mistake has followed the next. Each one has made things worse. What they don’t understand is that money does not “create” economic activity.
"The U.S. Administration in particular has passionately thrown off the mantle of leadership and replaced it with a combination of naïve denial and incoherent mumbling... if the world perceives a superpower as strong, reliable and willing to take action to back its promises, that perception can and does preserve stability, and the opposite can encourage mischief and danger. The world is currently experiencing a surfeit of the latter. There is no way to tell how deep and consequential the danger, or the surprising ways and places in which this interconnected problem will be resolved. The range of potential outcomes, however, is negative to very bad."