The highlight of today's economic releases will be the 8:30 am non-farm payroll data, expected to print at 180K jobs, up from July's 162K, and result in an unchanged 7.4% unemployment rate. The "most important jobs number ever " is neither, because even if it comes as a wild outlier to the good or bad side, the Fed is unlikely to change its tapering intentions this late in the game. Still, it will provide fireworks in a very jittery market and if the number is far stronger than expected, expect the 10 Year to finally blow out from below the 3% range which it breached briefly overnight, and never look back, at least not until there is an August 2011 wholesale risk revulsion episode and stocks tumble. Speaking of jittery, overnight the WSJ reports that if picked as Bernanke's replscament, Larry Summers' faces an uphill battle to get the votes of three key democrats on the Senate Banking Committee (Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren). It would be only fitting that the dysfunctional Democratic dominated senate now lashes out against the president, and in the process scuttles the market's only hope of maintaining its Fed-derived gains over the past five years... And there is, of course, Syria which is becoming increasingly problematic for Obama whose support in Congress is looking ever shakier. Will he go it alone in the case of a no vote?
As the US Congress considers whether to authorize American military intervention in Syria, its members should bear in mind a basic truth: While Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has repeatedly used extreme violence to retain power, the United States – and other governments in the Middle East and Europe – share responsibility for turning Syria into a killing field. The US government’s misguided move from potential mediator and problem solver to active backer of the Syrian insurrection was, predictably, a terrible mistake. It is time for the US to help stop the killing in Syria. That means abandoning the fantasy that it can or should determine who rules in the Middle East.
Next week Congress can do far more than stop a feckless Tomahawk barrage on a small country which is already a graveyard of civil war and sectarian slaughter. By voting “no” it can trigger the end of the American Imperium - five decades of incessant meddling, bullying and subversion around the globe which has added precious little to national security, but left America fiscally exhausted and morally diminished. By long standing historical demonstration, the US Congress specializes in paralysis, indecision and dysfunction. In the end, that is how the American warfare state will be finally brought to heel and why the American Imperium will come to an end - at last.
As we asked (rhetorically, of course) over 3 months ago, why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won't let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe. If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia. This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all...
And like that, the first step to all out war has been taken:
- SENATE PANEL AUTHORIZES LIMITED U.S. MILITARY STRIKE IN SYRIA
Vote breakdown: 10 Yes; 7 No; 1 Present. The measure includes new language saying U.S. policy is to "change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria" in way that brings about negotiated settlement of conflict, leading to a democratic govt in Syria. In other words: a pro-Qatari/Saudi coalition government that will permit the passage of natgas pipelines under Syria, through Turkey and into Europe, breaking Gazpromia's marginal energy monopoly over the broke continent.
With the value of the rupee plunging to new lows, the current account deficit at an all-time high and inflation running at nearly a ten-percent annual clip, India is in serious economic trouble. Indeed many are beginning to wonder whether the country is edging toward a replay of the events in the summer of 1991. Back then, an acute balance of payments crisis forced New Delhi into the indignity of pawning its gold reserves in order to secure desperately needed international financing. At a small public event the other week, Duvvuri Subbarao, the outgoing head of the central bank conceded that policymakers rarely learn from their mistakes: "...in matters of economics and finance, history repeats itself, not because it is an inherent trait of history, but because we don’t learn from history and let the repeat occur."
1:1 In the beginning, Ben Bernanke hath said, let there be liquidity.
1:6 And so each among them sayeth the following benediction: “May the Fed bless you and keep you; may the Fed extend its balance sheet to shine upon you; and may the Fed lift up asset prices and protect you from harm”
The conclusions I have come to are somewhat threatening in the short term, but even more disconcerting in the intermediate term, as the developing image is exposing a crystal clear picture of the ominous resource wars looming directly ahead. Equally dismaying, are the "honorable distinguished gentlemen" presiding over this Middle East mayhem, which are showing themselves to be either grossly incompetent cretins or dangerous duplicitous megalomaniacs
U.S. President Barack Obama is evidently not getting the multinational coalition his administration was expecting to share the burden of a limited strike operation against Syria. The British parliament has voted against a military intervention, and NATO has said it would not participate in a U.S.-led mission. The United States can either unilaterally fire a symbolic but ineffective shot to demonstrate action for the sake of action, wage a highly unpopular multi-month air-land attack alone or abandon the military campaign altogether.
WWhile there may have been a verbal attempt by the Obama administration to diffuse Syrian tensions in the aftermath of Thursday's shocker out of the House of Commons, the action on the ground so far is hardly conciliatory. Or rather water, because a sixth US warship has now anchored in proximity to Syria, joining the recently arrived fifth destroyer USS Stout, which joined the warships already "breathing down Assad's neck." From AP: "Five U.S. Navy destroyers - the USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Barry, the USS Stout and USS Ramage - are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea waiting for the order to launch. And the USS San Antonio, an amphibious assault ship has now joined them. The USS San Antonio, which is carrying helicopters and can carry up to 800 Marines, has no cruise missiles, so it is not expected to participate in the attack. Instead, the ship's long-planned transit across the Mediterranean was interrupted so that it could remain in the area to help if needed." So in addition to a cruise missile based force, the US is now bringing in the marines? The justification that they are there "just in case" seems a little shallow in context.
They are falling like flies... following the British vote not to join Obama in his latest crusade, it s now NATO's turn as Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tells Dutch TV2 that "NATO will have no role in any military action in Syria." Of course, there's still the French; and as Rasmussen notes, should any retaliatory action take place to endanger NATO member Turkey then the situation may well change. Quoted as urging a political resolution rather than military, and supportive of the UN inspectors, Rasmussen added "A sustainable solution is a political solution. But an international reaction is necessary."
It seems clear that it is not "if" but "when" an attack takes place and as the following world-cloud confirms; the US "know"... as the strategy "better to ask for forgiveness than permission?" And that with the Russia meeting due next week, and a UN inspector report that appears pointless now that we have social media, that the attack will occur sooner rather than later...
As we showed mere days ago, it appears the truth of who the real puppet-master in the Middle-East is becoming plainer to see. The incredibly frank discussion between Saudi's spy-chief Prince Bandar and Russia's Putin exposed a much deeper plot is afoot and the following details from the actual people on the ground in the chemically-attacked region of Syria suggest Obama is playing right into the Saudi's plan. While Obama is 'certain' that the chemical attacks took place on al-Assad's orders, as MPN reports, "from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack."
The UK may be out, but Saudi Arabia isn't taking any chances. Moments ago, Reuters reported that the regime which as we reported is behind the entire conflict in Syria (hint: nat gas) has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. Saudi Arabia's defense readiness, their version of DefCon, has been raised to "two" from "five", a Saudi military source who declined to be named told Reuters. "One" is the highest level of alert. "It is a must, no one knows what will happen," he said. And so all those who thought there would be no war and sold off gold and crude, are suddenly caught short. More curious is why Saudi is leaking this information to the media: another provocation, and an attempt to accelerate a conflict which is rapidly fizzling? Remember: for Saudi Arabia "no war" is the worst possible outcome. If so, expect more mysterious "chemical attacks" in the coming hours and days to cement the Western resolve to blow up Assad.
Moments ago the UK House of Commons, in a razor thin vote, rejected the Cameron proposal for military action in Syria with a vote 285 to 272. Cameron promptly said he would respect the will of the House of Commons and UK Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed there would be no UK military intervention in Syria. Incidentally, this may have been the best outcome for an already humiliated British premier who will avoid being dragged into an unpopular war having both sided with his greatest ally, the US, and also relented and listened to the voice of the people. More importantly, the "people" in the UK actually had a voice, which is more than can so far be said about developments in the US. And speaking of the US, the NYT reports that even as the Syrian war "option" is slowly being shut out for staunch US allies (except for France of course), that Obama is "willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort [ZH: and have now voted against it] and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council" citing senior administration officials.