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Guest Post: Obama Picks Cass Sunstein (America’s Goebbels?) To Serve On NSA Oversight Panel





“It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.” - Goebbels

Only under the Obama Presidency, in which every appointment, minor or major, is handed only to the most corrupt, devious crony to be found, can a man like Cass Sunstein be appointed to serve on the NSA oversight panel.  Cass is a noted propagandist, who has advocated that government agents should infiltrate groups and discussions that push “conspiracy theories” in order to delegitimize them. But don’t take our word for it...

 
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Is The Secular Bear About To Growl?





Secular bear markets are not "one-way" down markets, but a series of "cylical" ups and downs. As the following series of charts of the inflation-adjusted S&P Composite shows, it would appear time (and price) is not on the side of this bull-market's extension...

 
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More Than One-Third Of Louisiana Unemployment Payments Are "Improper"





Louisiana tops the nation's list of "improper" payments for unemployment insurance with a 3-year rate of 38.67%.  Of course, this is the "improper" payments they know about (as only 29.7% of overpayments have been recovered). A stunning 28% of Louisanans who claimed benefits did so even after returning to work. However, while the Louisiana data points are bad, they are not alone. As the chart below shows... 16 states have "improper" payment rates of over 14%. One wonders why the world doesn't trust the US so much anymore?

 

 
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Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like The Hypocrisy Of Bankers





The Hippocratic Oath is one of the most widely known Greek medical texts. It requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a set of professional ethical standards. The premise of the original Oath, which supposedly started out like this is clear: First, do no harm. Over the last several years, a new oath has appeared in the world of finance as global investment banks have been hauled in front of Senate committees, Congressional panels, various regulatory bodies, and (what always used to be the harshest of judges) the public: the Hypocritic Oath. It begins thus: First, admit no wrong.

 
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10-Year, Copper, Yen And Rupee: Key Technical Levels





BofA's MacNeill Curry warns that "several major FX, commodity, and bond markets are flashing warning signals of a change of trend." Specifically, he notes that JPY is set to resume its devaluation path (USDJPY bullish) with a 106.00 target; US 10Y Treasury bonds are "at risk" of a bullish turn on a break back below a yield of 2.802%. This would suggest the charts are beginning to price in a "Taper-on" story (as USD repatriation flows cease and allow the JPY to weaken and bonds rally back on 'moar printing') and perhaps that is what fits with his view that the Indian Rupee melt-down is showing signs of stalling.

 
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Today's Stock Ramp Caught On Tape





At 15:45:31 on a quiet Friday afternoon in August, someone decided that they needed to buy 7,000 e-mini contracts (or $582 million notional of equity exposure). By the end of that minute, 23,679 contracts had traded as 'someone' needed $2 billion notional expsoure to the S&P 500 as it traded up to its highs of the day (and didn't care about phishing the entire order book). What is perhaps just as intriguing is the patterns seen in the options complex as VIX futures and ETFs were the first to crack as 330RAMPCAPITAL LLC stepped in, and then again as the mystery TWO-BILLION-BUYER came to play at 345ET. All of which makes perfect sense to any rational human asset manager or trader who cares not one bit about best execution, fiduciary duty, or simply whether they win or lose... Here is the very visible hand in all its glory...

 
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Gold, Crude Spike On Pre-War Jitters





Events over the past 48 hours have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the US may have the most confused, conflicting foreign policy of any western nation, on one hand banging the populist drums and demanding loudly that Syria allow UN inspectors, while on the other demanding even louder that no inspectors be allowed because they won't find anything. And while the US population has already spoken, with those who are against a US intervention outnumbering the false flag warmongers by a ratio of over 6 to 1, it is the market that is speaking even louder following the start of premarket trading on Sunday night with both key hard assets, gold and crude, spiking in early trading.

 
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BreaKim Bad: 40-50% Of North Koreans Seriously Addicted To Meth





Perhaps in an effort to numb themselves of the daily grind of a delusional dictator amid widespread starvation, North Koreans have turned en masse to the 'bingdu' or ice. As the WSJ notes, a study in the Spring of 2013 found that "Almost every adult in that area (of North Korea) has experienced using ice and not just once," and the author noted that "at least 40% to 50% are seriously addicted to the drug." Unsurprisingly for the closed nation, there is no official data, but as poppy fields disappeared in the nation, meth dealers were quick to step in and 'Heisenberg' the people's needs. Now "doing ice is a social thing; it is a lot of fun," as the 'epidemic' has spread from mid-ranking officials and police officers in 2004-2008 to the general population of students and youth now.

 
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Africa: The Next Major Boom-Bust Cycle?





As Western economies start to regress in earnest following decades of failed and destructive monetary inflation and debt accumulation, yield-starved investors are allocating real capital to the one industrially untapped continent in the world: Africa. However, we’re not seeing industry moving to Africa to set up shop. Rather, politically-directed capital flowing into the African resources sector is fueling and financing the strongest consumer boom in the world. It’s a vendor financing model for Asia, and it portends a major boom and bust cycle for the African continental economy.

 
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Three Years After Warning Of "Currency War", Brazil Goes All In





In September 2010, Guido Mantega coined the phrase "currency war" as he proclaimed the world's central bank's FX interventions were dangerous for citizens' purchasing power and would lead to a vicious circle of competitive devaluations. In March, Mantega unleashed a mini-war by taxing foreign borrowings and threatening capital controls. But this week, after the BRL devalued over 26% since March as Fed Taper talk and EM capital flight takes hold around the world, Brazil has waded into the world's currency war with the largest currency intervention the nation has ever planned. Following a dismal current account deficit print, as The FT reports, "Brazil will launch a currency intervention program worth about $60bn to ensure liquidity and reduce volatility in the nation’s foreign exchange market" - offering USD500 million per day in currency swaps to support the Real. But, as Citi warns, it does not fix any of Brzail's problems.

 

 
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Why The Post-Lehman Reflation Is Reaching Its Limits





It’s ironic, or it seems that way to us, that two of the least understood financial markets by equity investors are two of the most systemically important – repos and gold. Even more ironic is how so many investors don’t even consider them to be all that important. In our view, stability in both markets is a pre-requisite for maintaining confidence in the financial system and keeping the credit/asset bubble inflated. The significance of these markets is not lost on governments, central banks and regulators, although the definition of “stability” in each of them is slightly different. Looking underneath the bonnet/hood, we are doubtful that either of these markets, repos or gold, can reasonably be described as “stable” right now. There also seems to be a paradox where the current low repo rates and gold prices are, we suspect, fooling people into a false sense of complacency. What’s really piqued our interest, however, is whether there is a similar issue which is increasingly impacting both of these systemically important markets? This issue relates to the availability of sufficient collateral...

 
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Guest Post: Will The Fed Bailout China's Financial System?





The twenty-first-century economy has thus far been shaped by capital flows from China to the United States – a pattern that has suppressed global interest rates, helped to reflate the developed world’s leverage bubble, and, through its impact on the currency market, fueled China’s meteoric rise. But these were no ordinary capital flows. Over the last decade, the vast quantities of short-term capital that were being pumped into China’s banking system drove commercial banks and other financial institutions to expand credit substantially, especially through the shadow-banking system, leading to a massive credit bubble and severe over-investment. Given this, in the event of a crisis, China would most likely have to begin selling off its massive store of US debt - and indeed it is. After spending years attempting to insulate the US economy from the upshot of its own banking crisis, the Fed may ultimately be forced to bail out China’s banks, too.

 
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60% Of Americans Oppose US Involvement In Syria, Only 9% Support Military Action





If Obama was betting on a "rally 'round the flag" effect ahead of the US attack of Syria as a result on an endless chain of false flag-based interventions in the middle east which started with Colin Powell's lies to the UN, and has never ended, he appears to have completed his latest epic foreign policy blunder and miscalculation. As Reuters reports, Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says. About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

 
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"A Short Guide To The Middle East"





Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad! Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi. But Gulf states are pro Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood! Iran is pro Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood! Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the US! Gulf states are pro US. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

 
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