- Sydney Siege Sparks Muslim Call for Calm Amid Backlash Fear (BBG)
- Oil Spilling Over Into Central Bank Policy as Fed Enters Fray (BBG)
- Biggest LBO of 2014: BC Partners to acquire PetSmart for $8.7 billion (Reuters)
- Tremble algos: the SEC has hired... "QUANTS" (WSJ)
- When the bubble just isn't bubbly enough: There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally (BBG)
- Oil price slide roils emerging markets, yen rises (Reuters) - may want to hit F5 on that
- Libya Imposes Force Majeure on 2 Oil Ports After Clashes (BBG) ... and will resume production in days
- Amid Crisis, Pimco Steadies Itself (WSJ)
The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency
The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, we stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that our luck will change. The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us. It’s time to change the rules of the game. For that matter, it’s time to change the game.
Today at 9:30am Eastern, the two key people behind Obamacare will testify under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. One of them is Marilyn Tavenner, the CMS Administrator and the person who was tasked with managing the implementation of Obamacare: a process that was a complete disaster as those who tried to sign up on the healthcare.gov website in late 2013 will recall (and whose overhaul cost over $2 billion). On the other hand, Jonathan Gruber has recently gained notoriety after a series of videos with him were leaked, in which he bragged that deception and “the stupidity of the American voter” allowed Obama to ram his pet healthcare program into law.
He got so sloppy and peddled so loose He busted himself and cooked his own goose...
It's a miracle... The Vatican's economy minister has said hundreds of millions of euros were found "tucked away" in accounts of various Holy See departments that were previously not counted on the city-state's balance sheet. "In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed," noted Australian Cardinal George Pell, adding that "it is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke." Indeed a miracle - like hookers-and-blow in GDP data? However, the Vatican finances remain in darkness as Reuters reports, the state's top prosecutor has frozen 16 million euros in bank accounts owned by two former Vatican bank managers and a lawyer as part of an embezzlement investigation into the sale of 29 Vatican-owned real estate in the 2000s.
Officially called "The Ministry of Information Policy," Mashable reports the Ukraine government has established a department that critics are calling the 'Ministry of Truth' in a dystopian reference to George Orwell's 1984 (apparent instruction manual). Run by a close ally of President Poroshenko's close ally, while its main objective appears to be confronting Russia’s formidable propaganda machine, the Ministry is likely to also restrict free speech and inhibit journalists' work - particularly in war-torn eastern Ukraine, according to observers.
It appears not all the government members approve of the new foreign-born members of the Ukraine parliament... as this fight just broke out...
It has been centuries since the Portuguese last dominated the world's seaways, but in glancing over recent headlines one would be forgiven for thinking that their pirates are still running around. With the economy still reeling from the effects of the devastating financial crisis in 2010-11, Portugal has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals which go to the very core of the political and financial establishments. Portugal's economic divergence relative to Europe’s core is striking; it has even been overtaken by an average of the newcomers that joined the European Union in 2004, many of which are former communist countries. This in spite of Portugal receiving billions in structural reform funds from Brussels for almost three decades now – a process which is still ongoing. So how did this significant underperformance come about?
Switzerland’s ‘Save our Swiss Gold’ referendum was convincingly rejected yesterday by the Swiss electorate following an aggressive anti-gold campaign in recent weeks that had been closely watched both in Switzerland and abroad.
Unusually, it involved the Swiss National Bank (SNB) very actively, and ultimately successfully, trying to convince the electorate along with the main political parties to return a ‘no’ vote.
The correlation between gold and the national debt was clear for 13 years. It made perfect sense in a free market. You can’t print more gold. It is a relatively scarce metal that has represented wealth for centuries. Fiat currency can be printed at will by corrupt bankers and politicians. Every paper currency ever created eventually reached its intrinsic value of ZERO, as human beings always take the easy way in attempting to create wealth. So what happened in 2013?
In the case of a "yes" vote, gold prices are likely to surge. Analysts do not believe a yes vote is possible. However, analysts have got the mood of the people wrong in many referendums both in Switzerland and throughout Europe in recent years.
A “YES” vote for the gold referendum is a first step towards redressing the imbalance that exists between the SNB and the people of Switzerland. A “YES” vote will begin a process to restore restraint, accountability, and transparency on an institution that took advantage of the removal of its previous gold holding constraint already once before to explode its balance sheet, reinvent itself as a hedge fund, and significantly expand into areas of policy far beyond its original remit. Central banks should be lenders of last resort and systemic regulators. In a direct democracy, decisions regarding taxation, membership in trade / political unions, and the autonomy of the national currency should be determined by popular vote not decreed or circumvented by central bank edict.
"In a tense confrontation with President Obama’s closest adviser on Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency."
Senate leaders failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance The USA Freedom Act - which would have limited the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records - and as Bloomberg reports, it's unlikely a new version can be drafted for another vote before the congressional term expires this year. The 58-42 vote to move the measure forward came mostly along party lines as Senator Saxby Chambliss - the top Republican on the intelligence committee - rambling that the bill "eliminates tools critical to the intelligence community’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks, and its adoption would greatly degrade our ability to fight domestic terrorism in particular." In other words - it's for own good, now shut up!