The nation is wallowing self-piteously in a fetid trough of denial and adolescent rage/magical thinking now that the nation's bogus, debt-based "prosperity" has crashed and cannot be restored.
While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.
The first rule of “Project Bookend” is that you don’t talk about “Project Bookend.” In retrospect, maybe the first rule should have been “you don’t accidentally e-mail ‘Project Bookend’ to a news agency.”
Just do it...
That the Fed and other central banks have unleashed the speculative furies is an unassailable and baleful reality. What is going on here plain and simple is a one-sided game of chicken. The robo-traders and hedge fund buccaneers on Wall Street press the market higher on virtually no volume or conviction whenever macro-economic weakness presents itself, virtually daring the Fed to maintain is ultra-accommodative stance still longer. The casino gamblers will keep chop, chop choppin’ higher until they finally lose confidence that the Eccles building is heaven’s door to further riches. Then the machines will sell, sell, sell. There will be no credible Fed speakers to stop them.
"The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice."
We present the likely winner of the next election...
Just days after Japanese PM Shinzo Abe leaves Washington (having stepped up his nation's military assertiveness), The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Secretary of Defense has asked staff for military options in the South China Sea (as we have detailed China's land reclamation efforts): U.S. MAY USE MILITARY TO CONFRONT CHINA IN SPRATLY ISLANDS DISPUTE: WSJ Having ironically commented on China's "bullying," it appears Nobel-Peace-Prize winner President Obama is preparing for an even bigger objective, amid China's rising threat to USD dominance (with Yuan liberalization and AIIB success).
Moments ago, in an embarrassing setback for the president, Senate Democrats in a 52-45 vote - short of the required 60 supporters - blocked a bill that would give President Barack Obama fast-track authority to expedite trade agreements through Congress, a major defeat for the president and his allies who "say the measure is necessary to complete a 12-nation Pacific trade deal that is a centerpiece of the administration’s economic agenda." But don't count it out yet: the WSJ cites Mitch McConnell who told reporters shortly before the vote, which he expected to lose, that “This issue’s not over" adding that "I’m hopeful we’ll put this in the win column for the country sometime soon.”
As data on non-performing loans at Chinese banks shows the biggest sequential increase on record in Q1, Fitch wonders if perhaps the data actually obscures a far larger problem. Official figures on China's NPLs are obscured by a number of factors and may be grossly understated the ratings agency suggests. Furthermore, Fitch says "a protracted downturn in property markets could threaten the solvency of Chinese banks, given their modest loss-absorption capacity."
Hillary Clinton's family charities failed to live up to transparency promises made to the Obama administration during her tenure as Secretary of State, Reuters reports, noting that disclosures related to foreign donors are still not available on the Clinton Foundation's website. Meanwhile, New York Magazine tells the story of how the Foundation attempted to bully an influential charity monitor after winding up on its 'naughty' list.
Peel back the layers of the TPP and you’ll find what some believe to be a “corporate Trojan horse.” Disguised as “free trade,” the TPP’s provisions and tactics undermine Constitutional safeguards and national sovereignty. But there’s also a silver lining. The TPP exposes who, in the marbled halls of political power, is working for whom. It forces politicians to put their cards on the table, and by their hands you will know them. Packaged as a gift to the American people that will renew industry and make us more competitive, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a Trojan horse. It’s a coup by multinational corporations who want global subservience to their agenda. Buyer beware. Citizens beware.
In the eight years that the Fed has issued GDP forecasts in the prior Fall, only once, in 2010, did the actual economic performance come in the range of its expectations. A more sinister possibility is that the Fed is not really forecasting at all but cheerleading. By forecasting strong growth, the Fed may be hoping to engender optimism, with more spending and hiring hopefully to follow. Kind of like a field of dreams recovery -- if the Fed forecasts it; it will come. Based on what we have seen thus far in the year, fantasies about a 2015 recovery should be evaporating.
China, the world’s largest gold producer and buyer, feels its market weight should entitle it to be a price setter for gold bullion. It is asserting itself at a time when the established benchmark, the century-old London ‘gold fix’, is under scrutiny because of long-running allegations of price manipulation.
Chuck Norris has a (long) message for "progressives" who think the paranoia surrounding the federal government's Jade Helm military exercises amounts to what Texas Republican Todd Smith branded "hysterical idiocy." In a new blog post, Norris — also known to some as Walker Texas Ranger — invokes Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, a Navy SEAL he met at a dinner party, and an antique store owner on the way to warning the government to stay off of his ranch.