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Marc Faber Slams US Intervention In Middle East, Warns "Whole Region Will Blow Up"

"We find ourselves with the same anti-free market interventionist types who set up the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury and the US government running foreign policy in America and then go and intervene in the affairs of Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Afghanistan. And as can be expected, they mess up just about everything. I think the whole region will blow up and financial markets are not paying sufficient attention to this."



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The Stupendous Failure Of Big City Education: How The Philly Teachers Union Loots The Schools

So let us get this straight. The average Philadelphia teacher is receiving compensation and benefits of $112,700 and 50% of their students dropout; while of the remaining students only 45% can do math, 35% can read, and 30% can write. But at least they have some nice murals dotting the decaying schools. Furthermore, every new year will bring higher 'fairer' pension payment requirements. This is a crisis that grows larger by the day and is willfully ignored by politicians beholden to these government unions. The sheer idiocy of the following plan to "save" the schools this year is lost on the brainless media twits mouthing the teacher's union talking points.



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Government To Regulate Groundwater For 1st Time As California Drought Becomes "Race To The Bottom"

The ongoing disaster that is the drought in the West is leaving wells dry across California - which account for up to 60% of water usage. As WSJ reports, as groundwater levels plunge (100 feet or more lower than norm), wells are being driven further and further into the earth (500 feet in some cases) forcing the state legislature is considering regulating underground water for the first time. "We can't continue to pump groundwater at the rates we are and expect it to continue in the future," warns one engineer, adding "What's scary is we're not fixing anything... It's a race to the bottom."



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Dear Future American Generations, You Are Screwed

Faith that the future will be better than the present is slipping, as despite President Obama's demands that Americans not be "cynics," a new report shows there is a major lack of confidence that the next generation will have it better than the last one. As WSJ reports, most strikingly, only 16% of respondents agree that job and career opportunities will be better for the next generation than for their own – a drop from the 56% who were optimistic about this measure in 1999 and down even from the 40% who agreed in November 2009, well into the recession.



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Employers Aren't Just Whining: The "Skills Gap" Is Real

What is hard to measure is often hard to manage. Employers using new technologies need to base hiring decisions not just on education, but also on the non-cognitive skills that allow some people to excel at learning on the job; they need to design pay structures to retain workers who do learn, yet not to encumber employee mobility and knowledge sharing, which are often key to informal learning; and they need to design business models that enable workers to learn effectively on the job (see this example). Policy makers also need to think differently about skills, encouraging, for example, industry certification programs for new skills and partnerships between community colleges and local employers. Although it is difficult for workers and employers to develop these new skills, this difficulty creates opportunity. Those workers who acquire the latest skills earn good pay; those employers who hire the right workers and train them well can realize the competitive advantages that come with new technologies.



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The "Real" Retail Story: The Consumer Economy Remains At A Recessionary Level

Earlier this month, Retail Sales missed expectations for the 3rd month in a row, essentially flat on the month. As Doug Short rhetorically asks 'how much insight into the US economy does the nominal retail sales report offer?' With the release of the CPI data, we can judge this in 'real' terms (adjusted for inflation and against the backdrop of our growing population)... and the picture is anything but healthy.



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"Sand Is The New Gold"?

Thanks to the growing use of fracking, or extracting oil and natural gas from shale formations, shares of U.S. companies which supply sand to energy producers are surging, and as Bloomberg reports, it does not look set to stop anytime soon. “Sand is the new gold,” says Ivaylo Ivanov, founder of Ivanhoff Capital, as Ole Slorer, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, expects demand for fracking sand in 2016 will be 96 percent higher than last year’s level. Nope, no bubble here...



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5 Things To Ponder: Labor Day Edition

With the Federal Reserve ending their support of the markets by October, and as discussed yesterday, corporate share buybacks on the decline; two of the biggest supports of asset prices over the last couple of years is fading.  What does this mean for investors going forward?



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"Unrigged" Close Buying-Panic Saves S&P 2,000 For Long Weekend

For the 6th week of the last 8, Treasury yields declined with 30Y pressing to 3.05% (and 10Y 2.32%) handles to 15-month lows. US equity markets saw volume crater as the early high-stops were run in the EU session and low-stops run in the US session before the ubiquitous EU close ramp lifted futures to VWAP and S&P cash to 2000.xx where it stayed for the rest of the day in a wholly unrigged way. Trannies ended the week red and Russell the best. The USD Index closed at 13-month highs (up 7 weeks in a row). Despite USD strength, gold and silver rose 0.5% on the week but oil was the big winner +2.4% (testing $96) as copper tumbled 2%. Credit markets closed at their wides (as stocks closed at their highs). Interestingly, once the Sept POMO schedule was released, TSYs sold off on the day to close red (but end 4-7bps lower on the week). VIX closed unch today but the ridiculous late-day panic-buying spree in futures grabbed stocks back above the crucial 2000 level for the S&P. Year-to-date, Treasuries lead +16.75% as the S&P (+8.5%) overtook gold (+6.7%) in the last few days.



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Obama's Anti-ISIS Strategy Summarized In 1 Cartoon

"Do nothing stupid..."



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ISIS Sends 2nd Beheading "Message In Blood" Video; Warns Kurds "Huge Mistake Joining Hands With America"

Just hours after hours after another video purporting to show the mass execution of up to 250 Syrian soldiers in the desert, The Independent reports ISIS has released a video apparently showing the beheading of a Kurdish man in Iraq as a warning to Kurds fighting the group in the country. The video, entitled "A Message in Blood" ends with the victim beheaded and the fighters warn others will face the same fate should Kurdish leaders choose to continue an alliance with the US..."You have made a huge mistake by joining hands with America."



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Fed Unveils Only 11 Days Of POMO In September For A Mere $15 Billion

As they say in England, we appear to be getting to the vinegar strokes of the Fed's buying efforts. As expected, the NYFed announced its Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) schedule for September which covers just 11 days (including no Fridays at all) summing to a mere $15bn of Treasuries planned to be purchased... (with only 5 days in size).



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Rand Paul Slams US Interventionists' "Unhinged Foreign Policy" For Abetting The Rise Of ISIS

"As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been... The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don't make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again."



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Who Is Short Treasurys? (Spoiler: Pretty Much Everyone)

Asset managers are long, while dealers, hedge funds, and other buy side investors are short. Using alternative positioning indicators, we assess where we can give credence to the CFTC data, and where there is more to the picture than the CFTC data reveals.... The clearest position concentration is short USTs (Figure 1). As the grey shaded squares indicate, the short has increased materially over the last 3 months. Equally importantly, there is an absence of corresponding longs in any client group to balance these shorts. Together that points to the prospect of even lower UST yields.



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Has Ukraine Shot Itself In The Foot With Gas Pipeline Deal?

Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk pushed a bill through the Verkhovna Rada that would see his country’s gas transportation system sold off to a group of international investors. The provisions of the law would permit the transit of natural gas to be blocked. This decision may hurt the fragile industrial recovery in Germany and finish off Ukraine’s potential as a gas transit route to Europe.



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