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Guest Post: The Grand Narrative: Legitimize The Authoritarian State

As the status quo crumbles, the state responds in the only way it knows: expand control and become increasingly authoritarian.

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Ron And Rand Paul Tag Team Against Janet Yellen

While no longer actively engaged in politcs, one of Ron Paul's crowning achievements while in Congress, was to bring some much needed sunlight to the balance sheet, the activities, and secret bailouts of the Fed, and according to some, was being responsible for the "transaprency, openness, and forward guidance" approach to monetary policy. The paradox here, as the whole Taper - Non Taper shocking episode provied, is that the Fed itself is now caught in a  reflexive Catch 22, and no longer can "renormalize" and extricate itself from its policy through "guidance" without in the process destroying everything it has achieved during the prior period of central planniing. Still, despite Ron Paul's unsung accomplishments there is much more to be done to expose just how actively the NY Fed's trading desk participates in the fixing of the S&P500's closing price day after day. For that, he will need the help of his son, Rand. Which is why as the Sunshine State News reports, "Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is ramping up his opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve. Paul is teaming up with the Campaign for Liberty, chaired by his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, to stand in opposition to Yellen and push legislation taking aim at the Fed."


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Bill Gross' Latest Target: Bill Gross

Having fired a shot across Carl iCahn's bow yesterday, PIMCO's Bill Gross has a new target - once again talking his book...

Perhaps more Americans should spend more time that way... instead of watching every tick in AMZN and dreaming of retirement...

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Consumer Confidence Plunges To Lowest In 2013

Following record UMich misses, Gallup's economic confidence collapse, the slump in the conference board's measure of confidence, and Bloomberg's index of consumer comfort signaling major concerns among rich and poor in this country (in spite of record highs in stocks), today's Consumer Confidence data from UMich continues to confirm a problem for all those 'hoping' for moar multiple expansion. Falling for the 3rd month in a row, and missing expectations for the 2nd month in a row, this is the lowest confidence print in 2013. Perhaps even more worrisome for the 'hope and change' crowd is that the 12-month economic outlook has collapsed to its lowest since Nov 2011. It would seem that all that free money flooding our 'markets' has reached peak efficacy in terms of confidence inspiration, and as Citi notes, when this cycle has played out in the past, equity market corrections are often quick to follow...

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Another Durable Goods Debacle, This Time Masked By Boeing Order Deluge

The headline September Durable Goods number was great: rising at 3.7%, this was well above the August revised 0.2% increase and far above expectations of a 2.3% increase. However, a quick glance into the reasons shows why the reality is - once again - far uglier. Actually, the reason is just one: Boeing, which reported 127 plane orders in September compared to just 16 in August. This translated into a 57.5% monthly increase in non-defense aircraft orders in September (and Syria's contribution can't be denied either, leading to a 15.2% increase in defense airplane orders). So what does the US capital spending climate look like when stripped away from very volatile (and very cancelable) Boeing orders? In a word ugly: Durable Goods ex transports actually declined by -0.1, on expectations of a rebound to 0.5%, following an even more downward revised August print of -0.4%.

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Germany Wants A German Internet To Keep The NSA Out

As the 'diplomatic' debacle continues to rage between the US and Europe (most loudly France and Germany) over the Obama administration's ongoing eavesdropping on its allies' cell phones, Reuters reports that (state-backed) Deutsche Telekom is calling for German comms companies to cooperate to shield local internet traffic from foreign intelligence services. "It is internationally without precedent that the internet traffic of a developed country bypasses the servers of another country," notes one academic, warning that if more countries wall themselves off, it could lead to a troubling "Balkanisation" of the Internet, crippling the openness and efficiency that have made the web a source of economic growth. Despite Obama's denials, the situation is not fading away, and Germany and France continue to demand a "no spying" agreement.

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Rumors Of Spain's Housing Market Resurrection Are Greatly Exagerated

Two days after Spain reported its first positive sequential GDP print (unclear just how adjusted the definition of GDP was to get to this watershed moment after 9 quarters of declines) and a day after it unemployment supposedly dropped more than expected (what was left unsaid is that the Spanish working age population dropped 85,200 in Q3 and -279,000 YoY and that of the 39,500 "jump" in Q3 employed people, virtually all were self-employed or temps while employees on permanent contracts were down by 146,300), the 5 second attention span investing herd is now convinced the housing market in Spain has dropped. This was "formalized" after billionaire Bill Gates invested $155 million, also known as pocket change, in Spain's infrastructure group Fomento de Construcciones & Contratas. Surely, if anyone knows how to time housing market turns it is the guy who brought us MS-DOS 3.1. Unfortunately, the mythical housing bottom may have been just that - mythical - following news that Spain's bad bank (oh yeah - lest we forget, Spain has a wonderful rug under which it can hide all insolvent bank NPLs)  failed to attract high enough bids in its first sale of commercial real estate and will cut the size of the portfolio being offered to make it easier to sell, according to Bloomberg which cited three people familiar with the matter.

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Frontrunning: October 25

  • Contractors describe scant pre-launch testing of U.S. healthcare site (Reuters)
  • Carney Says BOE Revamp Offers Wider Access to Cheaper Funds (BBG)
  • Help wanted in Fukushima: Low pay, high risks and gangsters (Reuters)
  • Merkel and Hollande to change intelligence ties with US (FT)
  • Twitter IPO pegs valuation at modest $11 billion (Reuters)
  • NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts (Guardian)
  • Officials alert foreign services that Snowden has documents on their cooperation with U.S. (WaPo)
  • Scottish Nationalists Lose Vote After Plant Threatened With Axe (BBG)
  • Fernández contemplates a train wreck in Argentine elections (FT)
  • Irish Government will consider ‘best options’ for bailout exit (Irish Times)
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Busy, Lackluster Overnight Session Means More Delayed Taper Talk, More "Getting To Work" For Mr Yellen

It has been a busy overnight session starting off with stronger than expected food and energy inflation in Japan even though the trend is now one of decline while non-food, non-energy and certainly wage inflation is nowhere to be found (leading to a nearly 3% drop in the Nikkei225), another SHIBOR spike in China (leading to a 1.5% drop in the SHCOMP) coupled with the announcement of a new prime lending rate (a form a Chinese LIBOR equivalent which one knows will have a happy ending), even more weaker than expected corporate earnings out of Europe (leading to red markets across Europe), together with a German IFO Business Confidence miss and drop for the first time in 6 months, as well as the latest M3 and loan creation data out of the ECB which showed that Europe remains stuck in a lending vacuum in which banks refuse to give out loans, a UK GDP print which came in line with expectations of 0.8%, where however news that Goldman tentacle Mark Carney is finally starting to flex and is preparing to unleash a loan roll out collateralized by "assets" worse than Gree Feta and oilve oil. Of course, none of the above matters: only thing that drives markets is if AMZN burned enough cash in the quarter to send its stock up by another 10%, and, naturally, if today's Durable Goods data will be horrible enough to guarantee not only a delay of the taper through mid-2014, but potentially lend credence to the SocGen idea that the Yellen-Fed may even announce an increase in QE as recently as next week.

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Japan Drowns In Food, Energy Inflation; China's Liquidity Tinkering Continues As Does SHIBOR Blow Out

Nearly one year into the Japan's grandest ever monetization experiment, the "wealth effect" engine is starting to sputter: after soaring into the triple digits due to the BOJ's massive monetary base expansion, the USDJPY has been flatlining at best, and in reality declining, which has also dragged the Nikkei lower dropping nearly 3% overnight and is well off its all time USDJPY defined highs. But aside for the wealth effect for the richest 1%, it is not exactly fair to say that the BOJ has done nothing for the vast majority of the population. Indeed, as the overnight CPI data confirmed, food and energy inflation continues to soar "thanks" to the far weaker yen, even if inflation for non-energy and food items rose by exactly 0.0% in September. Oh, it has done something else too: that most important "inflation", so critical to ultimately success for Abenomics - wages - is not only non-existant, in reality wages continue to decline: Japanese labor compensation has been sliding for nearly one and a half years!

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Dangerous Freedom Vs. Peaceful Slavery

The words above reflect a state of mind and disposition that has been expressed by philosophers and revolutionaries for thousands of years. It is not a novel or new concept, but it is a concept that seems to have been forgotten across much of these United States. The population has largely been domesticated and this is the primary reason why there has been such little pushback to the global oligarchs looting the landscape. A pathetically large percentage of the population would rather not think, they’d prefer to be told what to believe. While in our mind the trade-off between “safety and freedom” should always err toward freedom, there are times when it must even more aggressively bend in that direction. We believe that to be the case today since we have a government and elite power structure of oligarchs that has proven itself to be beyond corrupt and beyond morality.

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The Chart That The Fed Fears The Most

Inflation, meh! Growth, bleh! Unemployment, whatever! The terrifying news is that it seems, despite the ongoing 'surge' to new all-time highs in stocks, they are losing the confidence of the "rich". With everything hinging on the 'wealth effect' of moar QE and a levitating US stock market, the fact that Bloomberg's Comfort Index for the most affluent earners just collapsed (and stayed at) seven-month lows - in the face a rip-your-face-off rally in stocks - suggests even the wealthy know when the music is beginning to end...

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Janet Yellen Exposed Part 2 - Justifying Speculative Leverage

Last week, Peter Schiff began his epic take-down of the myth of Janet Yellen's forecasting ability. As proof of her wisdom supporters had pointed to speeches she delivered in 2005 and 2006 in which she supposedly issued clear warnings about the dangers then building in the frothy real estate markets.  Without any attempt at reasonable fact checking, these claims have been parroted by the media.. and that is what Schiff so diligently destroyed. However, Schiff notes in this follow-up, there is a key statement she makes (in justifying the 'fundamentals' behind the housing bubble) that relates to credit and speculative leverage that is crucial to understand the way she sees the world and thus - what to expect from her Fed.

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Guest Post: The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar

The number one American export is U.S. dollars.  It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars.  The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar.  For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars.  But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly.  For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a "major shift" in relations with the United States.  In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that "all options" are reportedly "on the table".


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