Exclusive: High-Level NSA Whistleblower Says Blackmail Is a Huge – Unreported – Part of Mass SurveillanceSubmitted by George Washington on 07/23/2014 13:52 -0400
The Untold Story In the NSA Spying Scandal: Blackmail
As reported yesterday, at 9:30 am this morning the permanent subcommittee on investigations will hold a hearing in which it will expose the latest tax-evasion loophole used by select high-frequency trading hedge funds which has the technical name "basket options", but which, thanks to Carl Levin's mnemonic of fictional derivatives" will be better known as such (read the full story How RenTec Made More Than $34 Billion In Profits Since 1998: "Fictional Derivatives"). It will be interesting to learn, although we doubt it will be discussed, how in light of collapsing trading volumes for underlying securities, how much of the record derivative and future trading volume in recent years is directly related to this kind of tax-evading trading, and perhaps just as important, whether Congress and the IRS will crack down on such practices in the future.
Did the U.S. and Its Allies Use ISIS to Balkanize Syria Into Smaller Regions?
U.S. Relies On Law from Governments Which Don’t Even HAVE a Constitution to Justify Assassination of U.S. Citizens By DroneSubmitted by George Washington on 06/30/2014 13:01 -0400
U.S. Relies On Law of Non-Constitutional Countries
The holiday shortened, and very busy, week includes the following highlights: [on Monday] US Chicago PMI; [on Tuesday] US ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and Vehicle Sales, in addition to a host of PMI Manufacturing in various countries; [on Wednesday] US ADP Employment, Factory Orders; [on Thursday] US Non-farm Payrolls and Unemployment, MP Decisions by ECB and Riksbank, in addition to various Services and Composite PMIs; [on Friday] US holiday, Germany Factory Orders and Sweden IP.
It’s become rather obvious that current stimulus plans are not working. Rather than scrap the madness and start over, our world political and economic leaders insist on a rather bizarre analysis that what they are doing is actually correct. But the reason for its ineffectiveness is that they haven’t done enough of it. In other words, yes the central banks and governments of the world have certainly dug themselves into a pretty deep hole. Yet, instead of trying to climb out or shout for help, they ask for more shovels – dig deeper! Many people have commented that all the world really needs is a little more confidence. Once people and companies become more comfortable they’ll start to spend again. This view is 100% correct – but what’s missing from this analysis is the reason confidence is declining. The reason for the decline is due to the very policy actions of our governments and central banks to help restore confidence. Their actions are actually causing people to have less confidence – talk about irony.
Pundits enjoy pointing to NYSE margin debt as an indication of overall system leverage, and how prone to margin calls and liquidations the investor class may be at any given moment. However, in the new normal, in which sophsiticated investors fund themselves via completely different mechanism - mostly involving repo and other shadow banking conduits - margin debt has become a very much irrelevant indicator of overall leverage.
In Hillary Clinton's attempt to seem "one of the people", she made the public relations debacle of portraying herself as "dead broke" at the time she and Bill Clinton left the White House. Of course, the reason this attempt at populist pandering backfired is because as is well-known, even the least educated American, the bulk of wealth American president families accrue is not while in office but after, when they hit the speaking/book publishing circuit. This is just what WaPo found when it conducted a review of the Clintons’ federal financial disclosure: it found that Bill was paid $104.9 million for delivering 542 speeches around the world between January 2001 and January 2013, when Hillary left her job as secretary of state.
What is really going on in Iraq?
This week brings PMIs (US and Euro area ‘flash’) and inflation (US PCE, CPI in Germany, Spain, and Japan). Among other releases, next week in DMs includes [on Monday] PMIs in US (June P), Euro Area Composite (expect 52.8, a touch below previous) and Japan; [on Tuesday] US home prices (FHFA and S&P/Case Shiller) and Consumer Confidence (expect 83.5, same as consensus), Germany IFO; [on Wednesday] US Durable Goods Orders (expect -0.50%, at touch below consensus) and real GDP 1Q anniversary. 3rd (expect -2.0%) and Personal Consumption 1Q (expect 2.0%), and confidence indicators in Germany, France and Italy; [on Thursday] US PCE price index (expect 0.20%), Personal Income and Spending, and GS Analyst Index; and [on Friday] Reuters/U. Michigan Confidence (expect slight improvement to 82, same as consensus), GDP 1Q in France and UK (expect 0.8% and 0.9% yoy, respectively), and CPI in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.
One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers. It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.
Following the initial de-dollarization meeting, there has been a slew of anti-dollar moves around the world (including Gazprom's shift of 90% of its clients to non-dollar payments). However, on the heels of the "anti-dollar alliance" discussions yesterday, DW reports that China would start direct trade between the renminbi and the British pound on Thursday. China's Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) confirmed Sterling and yuan would be directly swapped without using the US dollar as an intermediary.
This week brings some key events and releases in DMs, including US FOMC (Goldman expects $10bn tapering, in line with consensus), IP, CPI, and Philly Fed (expect 13.5), EA final May CPI (expect 0.50%), and MP decisions in Norway and Switzerland (expect no change in either).
Volatility is depressed, micro dominates and as Goldman notes several of the key emerging themes of the last few years have lost their discovery value. There are many questions that investors should be asking as the second half of 2014 approaches (and the much hoped for 'recovery' picks up steam); but perhaps the most important one given the taper is "In a sea of liquidity, what happened to all the liquidity?" The supply of stock and volumes are down. Did you know Verizon’s current market cap is larger than Russia’s float?
Spanish Government Goes Digging For GDP, Asks Brothels: "How Many Services Do Your Hookers Provide?"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/12/2014 16:29 -0400
First Italy, then Britain, and now Spain has decided that the key to reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio is not fiscal responsibility, growth, inflation, or restructuring but simply changing the denominator to better reflect reality - in other words, as El Pais reports, Spain is putting an official number on its sex trade and therefore juicing GDP. Prostitution, which is in legal limbo in Spain, is expected, according to revised figures released by the INE on Thursday Spanish GDP increases by between 2.7% and 4.5% after illegal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and smuggling are included. The Spanish government is undertaking a sexual services survey to better understand the industry...