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What A US Strike On Syria Would Look Like

In the event of a punitive strike or a limited operation to reduce Syrian President Bashar al Assad's chemical weapons delivery capability -- for instance, by targeting key command and control facilities, main air bases and known artillery sites -- the United States already has enough forces positioned to commence operations.


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Syria Evacuates Troops From Damascus Military Base, Al Arabiya Reports

Just a headline from Bloomberg, citing Alarabiya, for now:

  • Syrian army is clearing the 4th Battalion base in Damascus, Arabiya reports, citing activists in the city.

More as we see it.

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O.J.Simpson Homeless? JPMorgan Finally Forecloses After 3 Years

Murder (acquitted), armed robbery (convicted), kidnapping (convicted), and now foreclosure... It really hasn't been a good decade (or two) for O.J. Simpson. As NYPost reports, after 3 years of non-payment, none other than JPMorgan will foreclose on Simpson's 4,233 square feet, four-bedroom home in Florida. Still, he won't be entirely homeless, he has a 'big house' to share with a few 'friends' for the next 33 years...

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Barclays Warns About The Oil Price "Spillover Effects" From Syria

The increasing likelihood of some form of limited US led military action in Syria is compounding concerns about the stability of the world’s key oil producing region and Barclays warns that it will likely exert upward pressure on prices until the nature of the possible military intervention becomes apparent. But the bigger risk for the oil market is the potential for the Syrian conflict to spread to neighboring producing countries and imperil regional output, as the Syrian conflict is fueling broader sectarian tensions across the entire Middle East and has become something of a proxy war. The problem for global oil prices is that all of this Middle East volatility is taking place against the backdrop of a recent rise in unplanned outages in the oil market outside Syria. In sum, Barclays is concerned that with geopolitical tension and physical outages on the rise, crude oil markets are at an inflection point.

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Syriana: Russia's Latest Official Statements

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Guest Post: The Long View On Interest Rates

There has been much discussion as of late about the need for interest rates to rise as they have been historically way too low for too long.  However, is that really the case? The average long term interest rate in the U.S. has been 5.49%  (median is 4.91%) since 1854.  However, that average rate would be much lower if the "spike" in interest rates in the 1960's and 70's were removed which would mean that the current long term interest rate is likely more aligned currently with historical norms.  This is particularly the case when compared to the much slower rates of economic growth that currently exists. What we find find most interesting currently are the ongoing discussions about whether or not the U.S. is in a recession.  The reality is that such discussions are relatively pointless in the broader context.  The "Great Depression" was not just one very long "recessionary" period but rather two recessions that "bookended" a period of relatively strong economic growth.

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Selloffnado: Perfect Macro Storm Clobbers Stocks

An ugly day all around...

30Y Treasury yield - biggest 4-day yield compression in 15 months
Dow Transports - biggest single-day loss in ~5 months (2nd worst in 11 months)
Nasdaq - 2nd worst day in 10 months
AAPL - worst day in 3 months (2nd worst day of 2013)
USDJPY - biggest gain in JPY in 10 weeks
WTI - biggest single-day gain in 10 months
Financials - worst day in 10 months

In no particular order: Weak (and strong) US data (good or bad news?), War, Taper (Treasuries 'special'), Debt Ceiling, German elections, New Fed Chairman, imploding developing markets and collapsing global currencies... (S&P 500's first close <100DMA in 2013) it is on... (oh and S&P 500 futures 2nd biggest volume day in 2 months)

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Guest Post: The Immense (And Needless) Human Misery Caused By Speculative Credit Bubbles

Financialization and the Neocolonial Model of credit-based exploitation leave immense human suffering in their wake when speculative credit bubbles inevitably implode.

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How The Times Have Changed: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam Use Chemical Weapons

Remember all of the propaganda ahead of the USA’s “democracy unleashing” invasion of Iraq in 2003. It went something like this: “We have evidence that Saddam Hussein has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and even worse he has a histroy of using them, even against his own people!” Well unsurprisingly, Mr. Hussein had a little help from his friends. The United States of America. Let’s bear this in mind as our Noble Peace Prize winning President attempts to involve us in another unconstitutional war based on the fact that chemical weapons have been used. The message is clear: one man's propaganda bogeyman is another (CIA supported) man's mustard gas.

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On The Looming Federal 'Helium' Reserve Cliff (No, Really!)

The US has been stockpiling helium in ‘The Federal Helium Reserve’ (no, really) – an underground reservoir near Amarillo – since it was built in 1929. There is also a processing plant and 450 miles of pipelines. The US produces about 75% of the world’s helium, with half of that stored in the aforementioned reserve. Although helium is abundant, it is not economically feasible to capture and extract it from the atmosphere. The problem is that the Congress passed ‘The Helium Privatization Act’ in 1996, which stated that the government would effectively end sales from the reservoir once its debt was paid off. And this is expected to happen in, um, early October.

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Uncle Sam Comes Callin', Asks Jamie Dimon For Another $6 Billion

The US is demanding a sum of $6 billion - the total loss associated with the "London Whale" debacle - in compensation for JPMorgan's mis-selling of mortgage-backed-securities. The FT reports that, unsurprisingly, the bank is resisting the payment, which would be its single biggest penalty in a catalog of expensive run-ins with US authorities and one of the largest post-crisis settlements by any bank. The FHFA said the bank falsely claimed that loans backing $33bn of mortgage-backed securities complied with underwriting guidelines and that it "significantly overstated the ability of the borrowers to repay their mortgage loans". It seems, perhaps, it is time to trade in the old jewelry for some new Kremlin cufflinks (the enemy of your enemy is your friend?)


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S&P 500 Futures Lose Critical Technical Level

For the first time since the most recent rally began in November, S&P 500 futures have retested (and broken below) the 100-day moving average within days of a previous break (without making new highs). It would appear the BTFD mentaliity is less exuberant with war and a tapering Fed in the background. And for those great rotators... 30Y yields are at 2 week lows...

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America's Schizophrenic Consumer

As with all propaganda - be it war-mongery, politics, or economics - one can always find some data 'fact' to support your opinion. Presented with little comment - a tale of two consumer confidences...

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Meet (And Follow) The US Naval Forces Breathing Down Syria's Neck

With a US attack on Syria now seemingly inevitable, it is useful to get familiar (and in some cases follow in real time using their "social networking" sites) the US Naval forces amassing around Syria, ready to deliver either a lethal payload of Tomahawk cruise missiles (carried by the four destroyers listed below), a deployment of marines (located in the USS Kearsarge big-deck amphibious warfare ship), or one or more squadrons of airplanes sitting on the deck of the Truman and Nimitz aircraft carriers.

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Despite "Austerity" Greek Debt Is Rising At Its Fastest Rate Since March 2010

The total amount of Greek government debt outstanding has grown so much over the last 15 months that it has retraced over 60% of the 'haircut'-based reduction and has jumped a stunning 14.5% in that period. As KeepTalkingGreece notes, this is despite three years of strict austerity measures, incredible taxes and a debt haircut of 53% (~100billion euros in March 2012). As To Vima reports, Greek debt stands at EUR 321 billion, which is considerably higher than the pre-crisis levels of 2009. Is it any wonder that Merkel and Schaeuble have been forced to admit that a new bailout will be required? And how long before a 'new template' will be enforced?

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