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."
Below is the government's assessment of the "Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013" - it is largely as expected, putting the full blame on Assad. What however is absolutely mindblowing is the following: "We have identified one hundred videos attributed to the attack, many of which show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure. The reported symptoms of victims included unconsciousness, foaming from the nose and mouth, constricted pupils, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Several of the videos show what appear to be numerous fatalities with no visible injuries, which is consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents. At least 12 locations are portrayed in the publicly available videos, and a sampling of those videos confirmed that some were shot at the general times and locations described in the footage. We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack." In other words, America may be about to launch World War III on the basis of one hundred videos, which it believes "the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate."
If anyone expected Bernanke to hint at a tapering in daily monetizations for the month of September, they will be disappointed. Moments ago the NY Fed reported that the Fed will inject a total of $45 billion in the market in September, $1 billion less than in August, but certainly not any other more notable amount which would indicate that the Fed would announce and immediately proceed to reduce its daily POMOs to match the reduction in QE (including $40BN in MBS monetizations). So, continuing our long series of POMO shorting warnings, now that even the Treasury openly admits "it's all POMO", here is the list of 18 trading days on which shorting stocks may be hazardous to one's health.
We are propagandized to assume the existing hyper-structures of our centralized state-cartel economies will deliver us jobs, happiness, wealth, health and financial security. They will not. The following insightful essay is not just a critique of our current centralized economies but an outline of a community-based alternative economy that offers freedom instead of dependence. Though the examples are drawn from the U.K., the dynamics are the same in America and other advanced state-cartel economies.
The headlines come pouring in:
- OBAMA SPEAKS ON SYRIA DURING MEETING WITH BALTIC LEADERS
- OBAMA CALLS SYRIA CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACK CHALLENGE TO WORLD
- OBAMA SAYS SYRIAN USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS THREATENS U.S.
- OBAMA SAYS HE'LL CONTINUE TO CONSULT WITH CONGRESS ON SYRIA
- OBAMA SAYS HE HASN'T MADE FINAL DECISION ON SYRIA ATTACK
- OBAMA SAYS SYRIA ACTION WILL BE LIMITED WITH NO GROUND TROOPS
So... he hasn't made a decision, but the action will be limited. Is this like the Schrodinger economy where everything is dead if one collapses the Fed's wave function.
The Revelation Will Not Be Televised: White House Declines Request For Network TV Coverage Of Obama 2:30pm SpeechSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/30/2013 14:00 -0400
White House has declined TV networks request for live coverage of Pres. Obama's remarks on Syria at 230pm.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 30, 2013
Presented with little comment aside to note that volumes surged as US equities initially dipped and then ripped back to the entirely algorithmically-controlled VWAP level before starting its fade back... Happy Holidays, Johnny 5...
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...
"Forget the Brits" , "Yes, Assad did it" , "No, the Saudis are our friends" , "Yes, Putin is a bad guy, he's Russian you know" , "The French are with us" , "We could show you 'definitive' proof but it's confidential and would put American lives at risk" , "chemical weapons... did u see those images" ,"Surgical" , "USA, USA, USA"... Secretary of State Kerry is due to make a statement at 1230ET (with no word on whether there will be a Q&A) on "The Situation In Syria" Grab your popcorn...
- Al-Qaeda Links Cloud Syria as U.S. Seeks Clarity on Rebels (BBG)
- Administration Tells Lawmakers of Evidence Linking Assad to Attack (WSJ)
- Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to publish numbers of secret spying orders (CBS)
- U.S., Switzerland strike bank deal over tax evasion (Reuters)
- Another Budget Deal Bites the Dust (WSJ)
- Contemplating Summers Drives Investors to Seek Beltway Expertise (BBG)
- Austerity Test Looms in Australia as Abbott Pledges Cuts (BBG)
- Gay Spouses in All States Now Married Under U.S. Tax Law (BBG)
- Shadow banks face limits to securities trading (FT)
- EU's Rehn sees European recovery strengthening in 2014 (Reuters) ... or 2015... or 2022... or never?
"In the spring, the risks to growth seemed to be fading. The economy was weathering the fiscal shock. Politicians decided to delay battles over the budget and the debt ceiling, passing a continuing resolution to fund the budget through September and postponing the debt ceiling drop-dead date to some time in the fall. Meanwhile, financial markets in Europe had settled down, the European economy showed signs of improvement, and commodity prices were stable. In their June directive the FOMC made it official: “The Committee sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall.” Unfortunately, we seem to be entering another of those periods of elevated risk. Three concerns are emerging."
- Bank of America
The EuroStoxx50 (Europe's Dow) is down 3.3% on the week - it's 2nd worst week in 11 months. Yesterday's dramatic EUR weakness against the USD extended today back below 1.32 (EURUSD's worst week in the last 8) but today that weakness spread into peripheral bonds and stocks as it would appear anxiety and risk-aversion is taking its toll. Interestingly German stocks were just as hard hit as Spanish and Italian stocks this week (down 3.25 to 4%) and while Spanish and Italian bond spreads jumped 16bps (2nd worst week in 5 months), Portuguese bonds were the hardest hit, widening 25bps on the week. Peripheral bond spreads are all hovering near critical resistance levels for the year. Europe's VIX saw its 2nd biggest spike in 21 months.
As if the federal government were not already doing enough to kill the U.S. airline industry with restrictive workplace rules, over-regulation, and a monetary policy that supports higher fuel prices, earlier this month anti-trust authorities at the Justice Department blocked the merger between American Airlines and US Air. The truth is that our impoverished citizenry can no longer support the airline industry we once had. That's why American and U.S. Air had to merge in order to stay competitive and profitable. That is the sad truth behind the headlines. Ironically blocking the merger could result in more flight reductions and larger fare increases than what might have been the case had the merger been allowed.
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.