en As The Middle Class Evaporates, Global Oligarchs Plan Their Escape Form The Impoverished Pleb Masses <p>Submitted by Mike Krieger via <a href="">Liberty Blitzkrieg blog</a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The middle class has shrunk consistently over the past half-century. Until 2000, the reason was primarily because more Americans moved up the income ladder. But since then, the reason has shifted: There is a greater share of households on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From yesterday&rsquo;s&nbsp;New York Times article:&nbsp;<a href=";emc=rss&amp;_r=0">Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. &ldquo;I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,&rdquo; he said.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From the Guardian&rsquo;s article:&nbsp;<a href="">As Inequality Soars, the Nervous Super Rich are Already Planning Their Escapes</a></p> </blockquote> <p>So the other day, President Barack Obama once again demonstrated his contempt for the American public by using his State of the Union address to pejoratively blurt out meaningless phrases such as<strong> &ldquo;but&nbsp;tonight, we turn the page&rdquo;</strong> and: <strong>&ldquo;The verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don&rsquo;t get in the way.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Sorry, but why are &ldquo;we turning the page&rdquo; tonight? Weren&rsquo;t you elected over six years ago? Why didn&rsquo;t you turn the page in 2009?</p> <p>Meanwhile, I&rsquo;m astounded by the phrase &ldquo;middle-class economics works.&rdquo; Perhaps it does, but how would anyone know?&nbsp;The only thing I&rsquo;ve seen from his&nbsp;administration is a laser focused determination to consolidate all American wealth and power into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs and their lapdogs.</p> <p>Indeed, the following articles published in the last two days by the <em>New York Times</em> and the <em>Guardian</em> show the true results of Obama&rsquo;s oligarch-coddling&nbsp;legacy. The Obama years have been nothing short of&nbsp;an oligarch crime scene.</p> <p>First, from the <a href=";emc=rss&amp;_r=0">New York Times</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today&rsquo;s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom.</strong> At the same time, fewer of those in this group fit the traditional image of a married couple with children at home, a gap increasingly filled by the elderly.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Remember,&nbsp;middle-class economics works. If the goal is its total destruction.</strong></u></p> <p>These charts from the <em>New York Times</em> do not tell the tale of a thriving economy:</p> <p><img alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.17.50 AM" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-20636" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 345px;" /></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Even as the American middle class has shrunk, it has gone through a transformation. The 53 million households that remain in the middle class &mdash; about 43 percent of all households &mdash; look considerably different from their middle-class predecessors of a previous generation, according to a New York Times analysis of census data.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>In recent years, the fastest-growing component of the new middle class has been households headed by people 65 and older.</strong> Today&rsquo;s seniors have better retirement benefits than previous generations. Also, older Americans are increasingly working past traditional retirement age. More than eight million, or 19 percent, were in the labor force in 2013, nearly twice as many as in 2000.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>According to a New York Times poll in December, 60 percent of people who call themselves middle class think that if they work hard they will get rich.</strong> But the evidence suggests that goal is increasingly out of reach. When middle class people look up, they see the rich getting richer while they spin their wheels.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>One of the main reasons we have seen such a low level of resistance to this historic oligarch theft, is due to the successful brainwashing of the American public. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, 60% of what is left of the middle-class still think they are going to get rich. They have no idea that they are really just&nbsp;a bunch of deluded plebs unable to see how systematically and catestrophically they are being played.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="">the <em>Guardian</em> describes</a> how many global oligarchs are already planning their escape. These people&nbsp;know full well they are being enriched criminally. Their response is to take as much money as possible and flee before the pitchforks emerge (see:&nbsp;<strong><a href="">The Pitchforks are Coming&hellip;&ndash; A Dire Warning from a Member of the 0.01%</a></strong>).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>With growing inequality and the civil unrest from&nbsp;<a class="u-underline" data-component="in-body-link" data-link-="" href="">Ferguson</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a class="u-underline" data-component="in-body-link" data-link-="" href="">Occupy protests</a>&nbsp;fresh in people&rsquo;s mind, the world&rsquo;s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. <strong>At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. &ldquo;I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,&rdquo; he said.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>But as former New Zealand prime minister and now UN development head Helen Clark explained, rather than being a game changer, recent examples suggest the Ferguson movement may soon be forgotten. &ldquo;We saw Occupy flare up and then fade like many others like it,&rdquo; Clark said. &ldquo;The problem movements like these have is stickability. The challenge is for them to build structures that are ongoing; to sustain these new voices.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Clarke said: &ldquo;Solutions are there. What&rsquo;s been lacking is political will. Politicians do not respond to those who don&rsquo;t have a voice In the end this is all about redistributing income and power.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>She added: <strong>&ldquo;Seventy five percent of people in developing countries live in places that are less equal than they were in 1990.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Welcome to the recovery suckers.</strong></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="396" height="290" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Davos New York Times New Zealand President Obama recovery Tue, 27 Jan 2015 03:40:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 501015 at Austrian "Freedom" Party Demands Bailout For Swiss Franc Speculators (From "Monstrous Monetary Policy") <p>The phrases "it's just not fair" and "waa waa waa" were not seen in Austria's Freedom Party's statement demanding a bailout for Swiss-Franc-denominated borrowers <em>(i.e. people who were willing to speculate on FX rates with their house as collateral in order to get a lower interest rate in order to afford a bigger home that they really couldn't afford in real risk-adjusted terms)</em>. What Austria needs, general secretary Franz Kickl exclaimed is "a general regulation and an offer to all Franc borrowers," adding that <strong><em>"it cannot be that Austrian borrowers are the only ones who keep their losses even they are indemnified in Hungary, Croatia and perhaps even in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia."</em></strong> Which does sound oddly like 'waa waa waa'?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Austria Freedom Party Statement </strong><em>(via Google Translate)</em></a>:</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Kickl: Freedom Party calls for aid package for Franken-borrower</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Home builders and entrepreneurs pay bill for catastrophic monetary policy</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vienna (OTS) - <strong>The ECB monetary policy always takes monstrous forms</strong>. The bill for the absurdities pay the citizens of the economically better prepared States and Austria - especially the savers whose assets are depreciated in real terms, and in particular the extent franc borrowers. "It has to be this clear, there <strong>blame for the disaster that has increased by up to 60 percent of the debts of the borrower franc, the Chaos policies of governments in the euro area countries</strong> - and in Austria's fault SPÖ and ÖVP and its mehrheitsbeschaffenden green and pink appendage, "said Freedom Party General Secretary NAbg. Herbert Kickl .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although located franc borrowers had to be the speculative nature of their funding form quite aware, must surely is a legitimate apply to them, explained Kickl: <strong>"I do not think that someone who, for example, in 1995 with confidence on economic development in Austria and which resulting hard currency has taken out a loan had to reckon with the fact that 15 years later the prevailing policy begins to demolish the now common European currency intentionally by the break even given all the rules. "</strong> Therein lies namely the cause for the dramatic decline in the value of the euro against the Swiss franc and also many other currencies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kickl now therefore calls on the policies a comprehensive support package for Franken-borrowers. With life extensions - bring the banks money again - it could not be done. "We should definitely have a look to Eastern Europe to throw," said Kickl. Croatia chic at just the come under pressure borrowers financially bail out. Hungary had already done this, and other Eastern European countries could follow, as experts say. "The cost for wear, especially in Eastern Europe often Austrian banks. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>It can not be that, although the Hungarians, Croats, perhaps even the Poles, Czechs and Slovaks replace their losses and at the end of the Austrian borrowers are the only ones on the track and sit fully on their losses remain, "</strong></span>said Kickl. Austria had its banks massively helped at the outbreak of the crisis, although the cause was to search for their difficulties never in Austria itself, but especially in Eastern Europe. <strong>"Now the opportunity arises - for banks as well as the policy must set appropriate rules - to do something in this financial and economic crisis for its own citizens,"</strong> Kickl appeals to the government parties, as soon as possible to present a proposal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Freedom Party Secretary General also points out that many loans also legally lot was to clarify, because incorrect advice could be available by banks or by the release of stop-loss limits to fatal courses, the damage should be prevented so has widened had been. <strong>"It can not be that one, leaving the enormous risk of litigation to enforce these mistakes in the already financially ailing borrowers. We need a general scheme and an offer to all Franken-borrowers,"</strong> says Kickl. After all, it is also in the interest of the banks, which also reduce existing risk to themselves by foreign currency loans. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Now to put your head in the sand and just playing for time, increase the risk of the catastrophic Euro-Politics - Tagged government bond purchases by the ECB - even further.</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Bailouts for all...</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="673" height="587" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Czech Eastern Europe Google Hungary Monetary Policy Poland Slovakia Swiss Franc Tue, 27 Jan 2015 03:10:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 501012 at The Joyflation Of The Superbowl <p>2015 looks set to be the 'superbowl-est' Super Bowl of all time as far as ticket prices are concerned. <a href="">As Forbes reports,</a> <strong>next Sunday's game will be the most expensive NFL championship ever based on ticket resale price.</strong></p> <p><strong>The current average list price for Super Bowl XLIX tickets at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is $6,500, making it the most expensive Super Bowl that TiqIQ has ever tracked.</strong> That average is 110% more expensive than it was at the same point one year ago. Last year on the day of the game, the secondary market average was $2,500.</p> <p>Below is a chart, by day, of the last six Super Bowls and the average price by day for each. As you can see, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>2015 has done nothing but move up, and it has yet to peak.&nbsp; With it’s almost vertical climb in the last two days, this year’s game is literally off the chart – or at least redefining the upper limits of the chart.</strong></span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="313" /></a></p> <p>Based on historical estimates, $3,000 is a good mark to shoot if you just want to ‘get in’.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>2010:</strong> Saints vs. Colts: $2,329.26<br /><strong>2011:</strong> Packers vs. Steelers: $3,649.41<br /><strong>2012:</strong> Giants vs. Patriots: $2,955.56<br /><strong>2013:</strong> Ravens vs. 49ers: $2,199.08<br /><strong>2014:</strong> Seahawks v Broncos: $2,567.00<br /><strong>2015: </strong>Seahawks v Patriots: $3,000.00 (est.)</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>Read more here...</em></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br /><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Welcome to joyflation America.</strong></span></a></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:40:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 501013 at Perfect Palo Alto <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">If for some reason you were to join me in my car, going about my daily errands around Palo Alto, we would in all likelihood pass the intersection of Alma and Charleston, and you might ask me who this guard was at the railroad tracks and why he was there:</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><img src=";h=349&amp;crop=1" width="620" height="349" style="border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px; max-width: 100%; height: auto;" class="alignnone" /></p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">"Oh, he's there to make sure high school kids don't jump in front of a train to kill themselves", I would reply. And you, assuming you come from a place that isn't insane, would be puzzled and appalled at my answer.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">The thing is, I've gotten used to this lunatic&nbsp;asylum. The overpressured kids&nbsp;in this town, some of whom are expected to somehow Make It Big, can't tolerate the thought of not being one of the 6% that are admitted into, say, Stanford, so they decide to end their lives about 60 years ahead of schedule. I personally think the notion of paying a man to sit, day after day, hour after hour, to guard a fifty foot stretch of track along a 45 mile corridor is preposterous, but I guess the town fathers wanted to show they cared.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">The heart of the issue isn't the fact that this one railroad crossing is or isn't guarded by someone. It has to do with what the kids think they have to "achieve" to be worthwhile.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">I was reminded of this by the front page story in this morning's Palo Alto Daily Post:</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><a href="" style="color: #21759b; outline: none;"><img src="" alt="0126-suicide" width="1071" height="234" style="border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px; max-width: 100%; height: auto;" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42519" /></a></p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Note the remark in the rightmost column: "The student's death was not connected with the suicide death of an adult man who stepped in front of a Caltrain at Charleston Road on Sunday afternoon." You read that right.&nbsp;<em>The very next day</em>. Oh, and at the&nbsp;<strong>exact</strong>&nbsp;spot that the gent in the picture above guards..............on weekdays.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.714285714; margin: 0px 0px 1.714285714rem; color: #444444; font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Strangeways, here we come.</p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:16:57 +0000 Tim Knight from Slope of Hope 501021 at Aircraft Carrier Stennis Has Biggest Ordnance Onload Since 2010 <p>Nearly two weeks ago, we were surprised to read on the Navy's website that one of America's prize aircraft carriers, CVN-74, John C. Stennis (whose crew is perhaps best known for the <a href="">following awkward incident</a>), as part of an operational training period in preparation for future deployments, just underwent not only its first ordnance onload since 2010, but, according to Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason Engleman, G-5 division's leading chief petty officer, "<strong>the biggest ordnance onload we've seen.</strong>"</p> <p>From the <a href="">Stennis' blog</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) visited Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island, the Navy’s primary ordnance storage and handling station on the West Coast, to onload six million pounds of ammunition, Jan. 13-15. <strong>“This is the biggest ordnance onload we’ve seen,” </strong>said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Jason Engleman, G-5 division’s leading chief petty officer. “<strong>We haven’t had an onload since December 2010, and we are ready to show what this warship can do.”</strong> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ship plans to take on two-thirds of its weight capacity during the three day evolution. Bombs, missiles and rounds will be onloaded by 1,400 crane lifts. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The importance of the Indian Island visit is to provide ammunition for the ship’s defense, </strong>and assist with training during this underway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steve Kashuba, Stennis’ ordnance handler officer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ordnance onload was an all-hands evolution and included Sailors from AIMD, air, navigation, safety, security, supply and medical departments. Sailors served as watchstanders, safety observers or ordnance handlers to ensure the evolution ran smoothly.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why engage in such a major weapon loading process now? We don't know, and we certainly won't until the next deployment of the carrier, currently located in San Diego to receive aircraft and another 2000 sailors, is announced but it does seem coincidental that the same aircraft carrier which the Iranian General Ataollah Salehi warned back in Janiary 2012 "not to return to the Persian Gulf" was being loaded to the gills with weapons ahead of the following three major macro events: i) the sudden and unexpected fall of the US-supported Yemen government; ii) the biggest re-escalation in the Ukraine civil war since the spring of 2014, and iii) the death of the King Abdullah. And who knows what other "unexpected" geopolitical events are about to surprise the world?</p> <p>While we wait the answer, here are some photos of how the Stennis is loading up with six million pounds of ammo:</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Joshua Haynes, from Nashville, Tenn., and Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Joseph Dina, from Naperville, Ill., move BLU-111 500-pound bombs during an ammunition on-load aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Donald Theriot, from New Orleans, verifies ordnance placement during an ammunition on-load aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Matthew Warren takes inventory of BLU-111 500-pound bombs.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman Mariko Armstrong, from Denver, takes inventory of BLU-111 500-pound bombs.</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class David Mele, from San Diego, directs movement of BLU-117 2000-pound bombs.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Sailors prepare to move BLU-117 2000-pound bombs </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>CBU-99 cluster bombs are staged during an ammunition on-load aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>BLU-111 500-pound bombs are staged during an ammunition on-load aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman David Black, from Helena, Ala., Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Dillon Simmons, from Lewistown, Mont., and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Martin Pena, from Bronx, N.Y., prepare to move AGM-88 missiles</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Orndnaceman 3rd Class Garrison Gardner, from Chandler, Ariz., and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Steven Paxton from Brian, Ohio, prepare to lower a mine kit</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Dillon Simmons, from Lewistown, Mont., and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Martin Pena, from Bronx, N.Y., guide AGM-88 missiles as they are lowered</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="528" height="355" /></p> <p><em>Source: <a href=";type=1">CVN-74</a></em><a href=";type=1"></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="528" height="355" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> New Orleans Ohio Ukraine Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:09:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 501020 at Chinese Yuan Strengthens As Industrial Profits Plunge By Most On Record <p>After 2 days of dramatic weakness in the Chinese currency, the Yuan is strengthening modestly at the open following the <strong>8% plunge year-over-year in Chinese Industrial Profits</strong>. This is the biggest drop n profits since Bloomberg data began and points to accelerating weakness in China's economy - in the face of the very modest rise in GDP recently. Chinese stocks slipped from a small positive to a smal lnegative in the pre-open, down around 0.1%.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Worst drop in Chinese profits YoY...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and a modest strengthening in the Yuan for now...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="960" height="504" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Yuan Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:45:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 501019 at Guest Post: Why I Fled Argentina After Breaking The Story Of Alberto Nisman's Death <p><a href=""><em>Writing for, </em></a>Jewish journalist Damian Pachter &ndash; who first reported on the death of the special prosecutor &ndash; recounts<strong> the intimidation, the sleepless nights, the agent who stalked him and his ultimate decision to head for Israel</strong>... <em>&quot;So here they are, the craziest 48 hours of my life...&quot;</em></p> <p><em><a href="">Via,</a></em></p> <p><strong>When my source gave me the scoop on Alberto Nisman&rsquo;s death, I was writing a piece on the special prosecutor&rsquo;s accusations against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, her (Jewish) Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, two pro-&shy;Iran &ldquo;social activists&rdquo; and parliamentarian Andrés Larroque. I learned that Nisman had been shot dead in his home.</strong></p> <p>The vetting process wasn&rsquo;t too tough because of my source&rsquo;s incredible attention to detail. His name will never be revealed.</p> <p><strong>Two things stood in my mind: my source&rsquo;s safety and people&rsquo;s right to know what happened that day, though not necessarily in that order.</strong></p> <p>Of course, for both speed and the contagion effect, Twitter was the way to go. The information was so solid I never doubted my source, despite my one or two colleagues who doubted me because I only had 420 Twitter followers &mdash; a number now eclipsing 10,000.</p> <p>As the night went on, journalists contacted me in order to get the news from me even more directly. The first to do so was Gabriel Bracesco.</p> <p><strong>Once I tweeted that Nisman had died, hundreds of people quickly retweeted the news and started following me. </strong>That was my first of many sleepless days.</p> <p>&ldquo;You just broke the best story in decades,&rdquo; lots of people said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re crazy,&rdquo; was another take. Either way, nobody questioned that the situation was very grave.</p> <p><u><strong>The following days were marked by a government trying to create an official story. First, the head of state suggested a &ldquo;suicide hypothesis,&rdquo; then a mysterious murder. </strong></u>They of course were not to blame. In anything.<br />&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Encontraron al fiscal Alberto Nisman en el baño de su casa de Puerto Madero sobre un charco de sangre. No respiraba. Los médicos están allí.</p> <p>&mdash; Damian Pachter (@damianpachter) <a href="">January 19, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>That week I received several messages from one of my oldest and best sources. He urged me to visit him, but in those crazy days I underestimated his proposal.</p> <p><strong>On Friday I was working at the Buenos Aires newsroom when a colleague from the BBC urged me to look at the state news agency&rsquo;s story on Nisman&rsquo;s death. The piece had some serious typos but the message was even stranger: The agency quoted a supposed tweet of mine that I never wrote.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>Bus to nowhere</strong></u></p> <p>I cursed in anger, adding amid the profanity: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll tweet this and then they&rsquo;ll see.&rdquo; But I waited a few minutes to cool down and <strong>realized that this tweet was a kind of coded message. So I bounced it off my friend, who said: &ldquo;Get out now and go to Retiro,&rdquo; Buenos Aires&rsquo; central bus station. &ldquo;And come visit me. You have to leave the city.&rdquo; It was around 8:30 P.M.</strong></p> <p>I was very lucky: <strong>When I arrived a bus would be leaving in two minutes. Where that bus was going I&rsquo;ll never reveal either.</strong></p> <p>After several hours on the road, I arrived at the bus station, where I remained for a couple of hours. It turns out this was a big mistake: I think that was the place someone started watching me. But I didn&rsquo;t realize it back then.</p> <p>I didn&rsquo;t want to stay too long in any one place, so I walked over to a gas &shy;station joint nearby. My friend contacted me and said: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be there in 20 minutes.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>I was sitting around there for two hours or so when a very strange person came in. He wore jeans, a jeans jacket and Ray&shy;Ban sunglasses. I noticed him immediately but stayed where I was. He was sitting two tables from me.</strong></p> <p>Suddenly I felt a finger on my neck and jumped like I never did my whole life.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re a bit jumpy son&rdquo; &mdash; it was my friend making one of his jokes. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re under surveillance? haven&rsquo;t you noticed the intelligence guy behind you?&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The one with the jeans and Ray&shy;Bans?&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Yeah.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;What does he want?&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Stay calm and look into my camera,&rdquo; my guy said as he took my picture. Well, actually he took a picture of the intelligence officer, who left five minutes later. I have that picture here with me.</p> </blockquote> <p>I then had to consider the best thing to do, because <strong>when an Argentine intelligence agent is on your tail, it&rsquo;s never good news. </strong>He didn&rsquo;t just want to have a coffee with me, that&rsquo;s for sure.</p> <p><u><strong>Montevideo and Madrid</strong></u></p> <p><strong>In any case, the decision came quick:I had to leave the country immediately.</strong> So I contacted one of my best friends, who got scared but understood the situation. We had to do it quickly, and I&rsquo;m sure his efficiency saved my life. I will forever be grateful to him.</p> <p>So I did it: I bought a ticket from Buenos Aires, to Montevideo, Uruguay, to Madrid to Tel Aviv.</p> <p>I had to keep a low profile in order to get by the security forces. So I went back to the Retiro bus station &mdash; the scariest part of that long day. I was sure that if something happened, it would happen at the train station, a very dangerous place at night.</p> <p><strong>I had the feeling someone was after me and I&rsquo;d get shot from some strange angle. But then I suspected my taxi driver even more. I figured he&rsquo;d stray and take me off somewhere.</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, text messages were sent to my two best colleagues, a friend and my mom. They were told where we would meet: Buenos Aires Airport. I couldn&rsquo;t spend any time on the phone because I was being surveilled.</p> <p>When my mother arrived she of course cried but remained calm. We discussed a few things and Itold her to leave. Then my journalist friends came and we did an interview that has already hit Argentina&rsquo;s top newspapers. I was flying back home, to Tel Aviv, as I always wanted to.</p> <p>I have no idea when I&rsquo;ll be back in Argentina?I don&rsquo;t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about.</p> <p><strong>After I left Argentina I found out that the government was still publishing wrong information about me on social media.</strong> The Twitter feed of Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, posted the details of the airline ticket I had bought, and claimed that Iintended to return to Argentina by February 2 &mdash; in other words, I hadn&rsquo;t really fled the country. In fact, my return date is in December.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>El periodista Damián Pachter viajó a Uruguay con pasaje de regreso para el 2 de febrero <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Casa Rosada (@CasaRosadaAR) <a href="">January 25, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">A tweet from the Presidential Palace showing Pachter&#39;s flight itinerary.</span></em></p> <p><u><strong>Argentina has become a dark place led by a corrupt political system.</strong></u> I still haven&rsquo;t figured out everything that has happened to me over the past 48 hours. I never imagined my return to Israel would be like this.</p> <p><a href=""><em>Read more here...</em></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>This evening though, in ironic timing, has brought Argentina&#39;s president out on the offensive:</p> <ul> <li><strong>*ARGENTINE PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ BEGINS NATIONWIDE TV SPEECH</strong></li> <li><strong>*FERNANDEZ SAYS REPEATEDLY SOUGHT IRAN COOPERATION IN BOMB PROBE</strong></li> <li><strong>*ARGENTINE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES ATTACKED IRAN ACCORD: FERNANDEZ</strong></li> <li><strong>*FERNANDEZ SAYS SHE IS SUBJECT TO `UNPRECENTED&#39; MEDIA ATTACKS</strong></li> <li><strong>*ARGENTINA PLANS TO OVERHAUL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE: FERNANDEZ</strong></li> <li><strong>*REFORM OF INTELLIGENCE SERVICE TO BE SENT TO CONGRESS THIS WEEK</strong></li> <li><strong>*FERNANDEZ SAYS PLAN INVOLVES DISSOLVING INTELLIGENCE SERVICE</strong></li> <li><strong>*FERNANDEZ PLANS TO CREATE FEDERAL INTELLIGENCE SECRETARIAT</strong></li> <li><strong>*SENATE TO APPROVE APPOINTMENT OF INTELLIGENCE HEAD: FERNANDEZ</strong></li> <li><strong>*ARGENTINE PHONE TAPPING TO BE APPROVED BY JUDICIARY: FERNANDEZ</strong></li> </ul> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="531" height="427" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Contagion Effect Guest Post Iran Israel Twitter Twitter Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:40:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 501011 at Goldman On The Myths & Realities Of Russia's Oil Sector <p>Today&#39;s Russian downgrade pulled yet another raft of &quot;smartest people in the room&quot; to tell investors how screwed Russia is by low oil prices (and yet the US Shale industry is fine and will manage through this). However, Goldman Sachs prefers facts in its analysis of the Russian oil sector and concludes, <strong>investor concerns about the health of Russia&#39;s oil industry should remain more myth than reality.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Via Goldman Sachs,</em></p> <p><strong><em>Geydar Mamedov discusses myths and realities in the outlook for Russia&#39;s oil sector </em></strong></p> <p>There are increasing concerns among investors that lower oil prices might hit Russian crude production and materially worsen Russian oil companies&#39; financial position. Where are the myths and realities in this narrative? While refining segment margins will narrow, low upstream sensitivity to changes in the oil prices means that, if anything, Russian oil production should grow. And Russian oil companies&#39; strong financial position makes them capable of navigating the oil price downturn - even in the face of sanctions limiting their access to external funding.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Myth: Lower oil prices mean lower production</strong></span></p> <p>Two factors contribute to the low sensitivity of Russian upstream cash flow to oil prices. The first is upstream industry taxation: the per-barrel tax rate decreases as oil prices fall, shifting most of the upside/downside due to changes in the oil price from the oil producers to the state. The second factor is a ruble-denominated cost structure. Russian oil producers&#39; opex and capex mainly consist of ruble-denominated contracts, as the services industry is localized. These factors offset the negative impact of oil price declines on upstream earnings.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 449px;" /></a></p> <p>Effectively, at US$110/bbl oil and 33 RUB/USD, Russian upstream free cash flow (FCF) for the companies we cover is roughly the same as under US$60 oil and 60 RUB/USD. Hence, we do not expect to see a slowdown in upstream activity. Moreover, the Russian government is likely to incentivize output growth in order to mitigate the impact of lower oil prices on budget revenues. Given that Russia has one of the lowest cash costs of production in the world, it would make sense in the current oil price environment for Russia to maintain its market share. We therefore expect production to reach 532 million tonnes in 2015 from 527 in 2014.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Reality: Russian refining will take a hit</strong></span></p> <p>In most countries, lower oil prices negatively affect the upstream industry while positively impacting refining due to feedstock cost reduction. In Russia, however, the tax system is designed in such a way that changes in oil prices have no major upstream implications but strongly influence refining profits. Refining margins in Russia mainly consist of the tax differential between upstream and downstream, and this tax differential is linked to the oil price. Hence, at a lower oil price, Russian refining margins get squeezed.</p> <p>So if Russian oil producers see a need to cut capex, it will mainly happen in refining.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 379px;" /></a></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Myth: Russian oils are at risk of default</strong></span></p> <p>On our estimates, the Russian oil companies we cover have a combined cash position of over US$90 bn, of which US$26 bn represents cash needed for current operations and US$64 bn is &quot;excess cash,&quot; held predominantly in USD. With the sector&#39;s total 2015 debt payments at US$40 bn, accumulated cash balances fully cover outstanding 2015 debts payable. On top of that, we estimate that the sector will generate at least US$13 bn of FCF in 2015 (and this is assuming no cuts to capex plans and dividends). Effectively, we believe the industry can navigate through at least next year with low oil prices and no access to external funding. Indeed, at an oil price of around US$60-70/bbl and an exchange rate of 60 RUB/USD, Russian oils should be able to maintain 2015 capex, dividends, and debt payments even without refinancing. Longer term, some companies (Gazprom-Neft and Rosneft) would need funding to maintain investment plans and pay down debts. This funding could potentially be provided by state.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 419px;" /></a></p> <p>Even if the operating environment turns more negative- assuming RUB/USD of 70, a 20% decline in capex volume, and no dividend payments - the companies&#39; strong starting positions would allow them to navigate 2015 at an oil price as low as $40/bbl (below our commodity research team&#39;s forecasts). <strong>In sum, provided that the ruble continues to adjust to the shock of weaker oil prices, investor concerns about the health of Russia&#39;s oil industry should remain more myth than reality.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="851" height="537" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Crude default Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Market Share OpEx Reality Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:10:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 501010 at The Greeks Have A Simple Message To Europe <p>Sunday's Greek vote for anti-austerity left-wing Syriza shows the <strong>people's eagerness to stop the current bailout scheme and renegotiate a deal that's more favorable for the Greek economy</strong>. In the next several days and weeks, we'll learn a lot more about the implication of the vote, and what new leader Alexis Tsipras is capable of accomplishing; but <a href="">as&nbsp; Bloomberg Businessweek reports</a>, perhaps this banner displayed produly at last night's victory rally says it all...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="450" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The sign is directed at the so-called "Troika," the outside group made up of representatives form the EU, the ECB, and the IMF.</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>This group regularly comes to Greece to make sure the country is living up to its agreements as part of the bailout. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>In his victory speech, Tsipras declared the end of the Troika era, and clearly his supporters are hoping that that statement proves correct.</strong></span></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> Greece Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:40:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 501009 at The Stunning Difference Between Unionized And Non-Unionized Wages <p>With the US unemployment rate having become a irrelevant anachronism from a bygone era, indicative merely of the record millions of Americans - <a href="">increasingly those in their prime working years </a>- who drop out of the labor force every year rather than the slack, or lack thereof, in it, even the Federal Reserve has been forced to admit the favorite BLS metric for generations of economists is now redundant. Instead, it has chosen to focus on a different one: that of wages, which indeed, have gone nowhere fast, and in fact just posted their biggest monthly drop since before the Lehman crash!</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="428" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, it appears that the chart above tells only half the story. For the other half we go to a chart in Odey Asset Management's <a href="">year-end letter</a> breaking down the difference between unionized and non-unionized labor, and which shows something stunning.</p> <p><strong>This:</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="579" height="395" /></a></p> <p>Here is Crispin Odey's commentary on the record divergence between wages growth for unionized and non-unionized wages: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"What is interesting is how differently private sector wages are growing in America for unionised labour forces and non-unionised.&nbsp; This suggests that there is huge value in being in a union at the moment, <strong>and that non-union private sector workers in the US do not appreciate the negotiating leverage they have with companies. </strong>With unemployment falling almost every month at the moment, and currently sitting at 5.6%, there is a risk of a sharp catch-up in this ‘underpaid’ dynamic."</p> </blockquote> <p>We disagree with the latter, but agree with the former. Because for all the bluster and talk about an imminent wage hike "just around the corner" - talk which has been taking place for the past 5 years without any effect, perhaps it is time for America's politicians, if only those who pander to the wealth and wage inquality populism, to realize just how grotesque the difference between wages for organized labor vs unorganized, has become. </p> <p>So a simple solution: <strong>want to boost US wages across the board? Then just unionize everyone!</strong></p> <p>PS: we should also note that such an action would open a whole new can of worms and end up <em>with an even more disastrous </em>outcome for the US economy, however since at this point said economy is truly beyond salvage and <strong>merely bounces from one Fed-inflated bubble to another</strong>, then the most merciful outcome for everyone involved would probably be to accelerate the inevitable hyperinflationary collapse and let the system reset. Because with every passing day that the US, and global, economy continue on their current, centrally-planned course, the more deadly and disastrous said reset will be when it finally does hit. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="563" height="385" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> BLS Federal Reserve Global Economy Lehman Unemployment Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:16:49 +0000 Tyler Durden 501018 at