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Obama Among The Middle Class: The Photo Album So Far





Today, the wealth redistributor par excellence came to us live from an Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga, TN where with dramatically rolled-up sleeves, Obama praised a vision of a full-time middle class to a fulfillment center gathering of racially diverse, part-time workers, thereby concluding "America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society" first observed here in 2010.

 
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Here's Some Data On The 'Safest' Fiat Currency





Is there such a thing as a ‘safe’ fiat currency? The term itself is as intellectually disingenuous as terms like ‘fair tax’ or ‘government innovation’. But as we’ve been exploring recently why modern central banking is completely dysfunctional, it does beg the question – is any currency ‘safe’? Let’s look at the numbers for some data-driven analysis. But which is the safest major currency?

 
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Obama's "Better Bargain" Roadshow Hits Tennessee - Live Webcast





Amid the glory of an Amazon fulfillment center (better known in spoken English as "warehouse") in Chattanooga, President Obama will unveil another hour-long reprise of the same tired anecdotes, finger-pointing, blame everyone else, things are great but things are tough new deal plan for the middle class in America. We can't wait to see the select few chosen to represent this broad-swathe of the US citizenry and sit in praise of the leader.

 
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Bradley Manning Found 'Not Guilty' Of Aiding The Enemy





While Manning still faces other charges, the most serious - that of 'aiding the enemy' - is now off the table:

*US ARMY PFC BRADLEY MANNING ACQUITTED OF AIDING THE ENEMY: AP

*BRADLEY MANNING CONVICTED OF 5  ESPIONAGE COUNTS: AP

The 'aiding the enemy' charge would have carried a maximum life sentence in prison. Manning could still face 144 years in jail for the 19 lesser charges in the Wikileaks case. Full charge and punishment schedule below.

 
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Greece Has Already Spent 75% Of Its Bank Bailout Cash





Eurozone taxpayers and the IMF are left wondering what their bailout funds have been spent on in Greece. The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) has spent EUR38bn (or 75% of its total) bolstering the capital of Greece's four biggest banks (and winding down eight small lenders). The EUR50bn fund looks set to be drained further  - despite the banks comments that costs have been cut, funds raised, and assets sold - as non-performing loans continue to surge. About a quarter of all loans are non-performing and that share is likely to increase as the country's six-year recession, which has wiped out over a quarter of the economy, shows little sign of abating. Have no fear though, since stress tests will be carried out later this year to establish whether Greek banks have more capital needs. Of course the key question is - just where were these rescue funds diverted within the bank shells.

 
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Bloomberg Beverage Ban Bounced By Appeals Court





And so Bloomberg's initial foray into testing the limits of America's nanny financial capital is officially over. Moments ago Reuters reported that Mayor Mike's quest to limit what New Yorkers may or may not drink is officially over after his forced plan to ban large sugary drinks from restaurants and other eateries was halted and deemed an "illegal overreach of executive power," a state appeals court ruled on Tuesday, upholding a lower court decision in March that struck down the law. Wait, if illegal overreaching of executive power is, well, illegal, there are a few other people in position of power that America's court system may want to take a close look at. Alas it won't.

 
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Everything's Great! Except...





With GDP set to be revised (upwards we are sure) through the power of intangible accounting, the dismal reality of the Q2 GDP print is likely to get lost in the shuffle (especially given all the hope that a 'real' recovery is just around the corner). However, as comments regarding second quarter activity suggest, economic conditions decelerated from the first three months of the year. In fact, based on recent comments from key companies, a looming recession may be signaled by the GDP report this week. Of course, focusing on the bellwether stocks as an indication of reality will never do - instead we are treated to short-squeezed stocks-du-jour and manufactured EPS beats as evidence that "everything's great." It's not.

 
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The Funniest Chart From Today's Case-Shiller Update





Guess which city this chart represents.

 
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Consumer Confidence Slips Most In 4 Months, Outlook Tumbles





After a three-month surge to 5 year highs, beating expectations month-after-month, it seems surging mortgage rate and surging gas prices trump (at least for now) the all-time record high in stock prices. This is the first drop in 5 months, the first miss in 4 months but what is most worrisome for the apparent discounting mechanisms of the 'efficient' markets is the plunge in future expectations (after a 3 month surge of hope) even as the present situation continues to rise in survey respondent's minds. This is particularly worrisome in the employment outlook as those that see fewer jobs in the future rose and those that see more jobs in the future fell for the first time in 4 months.

 
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Obama Erases Campaign Promises from Election Website





President Transparency, in the interest of protecting his Administration’s spotless record of least transparent ever, has decided to erase sections of his original campaign website so that inconvenient and broken promises (i.e., every single thing he said) can’t be so easily exposed. The section in question... 'Protect Whistleblowers'...

 
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RANsquawk - FOMC Preview - 31st July 2013





 
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POT Smoked





Following OAO Uralkali's decision to break up a 'marketing venture' that controlled around 43% of global potash exports, the world's largest producer is breaking the cartel that many US fertilizer companies have enjoyed. This move signals prices will weaken as the Russian company tries to grab market share shifting sales to its own unit. As Goldman notes, such behavior by Belaruskali in a structurally oversupplied potash industry should push for stricter competition for end customers and result in a significant swift decline in pricing to a level of marginal cost production. This slashing of margins has crushed the fertilizer stocks with POT, MOS, and AGU all down significantly in the pre-market."Uralkali’s announcement completely turns the global potash market upside down," noted one analyst. "If previously global potash producers were acting like an oligopoly, working with the rule that benefited higher potash prices over shipped volumes, now the market will be fully competitive." Shock, horror!

 
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Spain: Fiesta or Siesta?





At a time when Spain is back in the limelight on account of its ever-sprouting corruption scandals, the government is trying to switch public attention to the prospect of impending economic recovery. Last Thursday, when the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported a 0.90 percent drop in the active population unemployment rate (down to 26.26 percent from the previous quarter’s 27.16 percent), Economy Minister Luis de Guindos assured: “Despite all the difficulties, today I am convinced that the worst is over and that the Spanish economy will leave behind the negative growth rates.” Mariano Rajoy’s government may, as its predecessor did, announce “around the corner” recovery to keep the population’s hope alive and dodge uncomfortable matters such as corruption scandals, but in reality the country’s trend is quite worrying.

 
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The Only Question On Jamie Dimon's Mind This Morning (As JPM Neither Admits Nor Denies It Is The Next Enron)





Now that the previously reported "fine" of $400 million which the firm just got slapped with following its manipulation of various energy markets, is fact...

  • JPMORGAN AGREES TO PAY $410 MLN TO SETTLE U.S. ENERGY PROBE

... One may say JPM has just admitted it is the next Enron. One would be wrong: "JPMVEC admits the facts set forth in the agreement, but neither admits nor denies the violations." In other words, JPM is a Schrodinger Enron: it admits the facts that the company best known for manipulating electricity - a charge which in 2000 was enough to crush the company, and which is now a fine equal to 0.4% of the firm's $99.5 billion in revenues - but neither admits nor denies this. But the biggest question plaguing Jamie Dimon this morning, is whether he will pay the $410 million FERC find with a personal check... or petty cash.

 
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Dan Loeb Underperforms S&P, Sells Entire Gold Position, And Other Q2 Letter Insights





Far Dan Loeb, gold has finally lost its lustre: "If we finally see accelerating growth rates, yields should normalize from the unusually low levels we have seen recently. The playbook for investors in that scenario is to focus on assets that will benefit from US growth while avoiding investments that are hurt when real yields rise, such as gold, emerging markets, and fixed income – all areas where we have very little exposure today. Indeed, we sold our long-held gold position early in the second quarter at approximately $1,450."

 
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