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Microsoft: "We Don't Provide Any Government With Direct Access...We Need The Attorney General To Uphold The Constitution"





A few days ago, Edward Snowden made even fewers friends in the corporate tech community with his Guardian disclosures that "Microsoft Helped The NSA Bypass Its Own Encryption Software, Spy On Its Clients." This promptly got the legal team the MSFT scrambling, and moments ago, the firm's General Counsel Brad Smith posted on MSFT's blog that, guess what, the world's biggest desktop OS maker doesn't give government data encryption keys or customer data. Well... what else were they going to say? Oh yes, repeat "direct acces" 6 times in a blog post, making it all too clear the whole issue is merely about semantics.

 
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Is The Obama Administration's Entry In Sovereign Restructurings About To Unleash Havoc?





The ongoing fight between Elliott Capital (et al, i.e., "the holdouts") and Argentina may moved to the backburner recently as the topic of sovereign bond impairment is not as actual today as it was a year ago (it will be again soon once the European double bluff of OMT and Japan's carry trade finally fizzle and European political crises return) nor have any Argentinian ships been confiscated recently by the multi-billion hedge fund, but that does not mean it is any less relevant or has any less implications for the global sovereign debt market. But while global consensus had largely been largely against Argentina in its treatment of holdouts, that may soon change in a very dramatic manner with a new and very unexpected entrant, one supporting the Argentinian position, and for all the wrong reasons too: the US president.

 
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How RINs Became Gasoline's Four-Letter Word





As the EPA’s RFS mandate has surpassed the industry standard of E10, the demand for RINs has likely increased as refiners/blenders need to show compliance with the RFS mandate to the EPA. This is reflected in ethanol RIN prices, which have surged to the highest levels since the peak in March earlier this year. Higher RIN prices could dissuade refiners from producing finished gasoline, and instead, would incentivize them to send more of the gasoline internationally to minimize their gasoline production with mandated RIN compliance. This gasoline would likely be sent as motor gasoline blending components, which includes RBOB. In theory, this could also help tighten the US gasoline market, however, there are limited markets for this gasoline, so unless it is pricing at a significant discount to world prices, it may be difficult to push this gasoline out of the US market without sufficient demand pull.

 
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Guest Post: Government Is Out Of Control And Out Of Integrity





Some of us are old enough to remember when honor and truth mattered. Integrity and ethics drove behavior rather than “what can we get away with.” Unfortunately for society, that is no longer the case.

 
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Israel Allows 2 Egyptian Battalions In Sinai Amid Daily Militant Attacks





As the death count rises - last night's actions in Alexandria and Cairo appear to be more escalations by the pro-Mursi supporters - AFP reports that Israel has given Egypt the go-ahead to deploy two battalions to the Sinai to tackle militants in the sensitive region where deployments are restricted by treaty. The Egyptian army is preparing to go on the offensive against Islamist militants in the Sinai who have escalated attacks since the 'coup' on July 3. Over the past two weeks, militants have launched almost daily attacks on troops and police in the peninsula, killing several members of the security forces and two Egyptian Christians. A senior Egyptian military official confirmed that the army "will carry out an operation" in the Sinai, without giving further details.

 
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Tesla Plunges As Goldman Coils Around $84 Price Target





What goes up appears to come down faster. Thanks, apparently, to a well-timed Goldman Sachs suggestion that the heavily-shorted (28.4% of float) electric-car maker is over-priced (whocouldanode at 303% YTD gains), the shares are down 14.5% today on massive volume (-18% from yesterday's highs) but still notably above Patrick Archambault's $84 target.

 
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Dianne Feinstein's Justification For The NSA's Domestic Espionage Programs





"As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I can tell you that I believe the oversight we have conducted is strong and effective and I am doing my level best to get more information declassified. Please know that it is equally frustrating to me, as it is to you, that I cannot provide more detail on the value these programs provide and the strict limitations placed on how this information is used. I take serious my responsibility to make sure intelligence programs are effective, but I work equally hard to ensure that intelligence activities strictly comply with the Constitution and our laws and protect Americans’ privacy rights."

 
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Coup Or Not A Coup?





On that "coup-like overthrow thingy"...

 
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Is This The Chart Reflecting The True State Of The US Economy?





Since the US monetary system is (mostly) a closed loop, it has become impossible to rely on the US stock market for anything besides "analyzing" how many hot potatoes the excess reserve-funded Primary Dealers are juggling with each other. However, there may be one place that remains untouched by the Fed's intervention: foreign opinion of the US, which manifests itself in capital fund flows, the same fund flows that the TIC data reports every month with a 2-month delay. Because if foreign capital flows remain the only remaining objective indicator of US economic health, then the US has some very serious problems on its hands...

 
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This Is Your Economy On QE





Presented with little comment aside to say - Thanks for nothing Ben...

 
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Something Is Up (Not Stocks)





Between Kansas City Fed's George's comments on Tapering sooner rather than later and the end of today's POMO, US equities are sliding the most intraday since Bernanke said "moar" last week. Interestingly, the USD is being sold rather notably - a trend that began following yesterday's retail sales miss; but bonds are little changed despite the drop in stocks. Homebuilders have retraced all of their spike gains from the NAHB idiocy and financials are now negative for the week with only Utilities in the green. Gold and Silver are up - as is WTI but oil is leaking lower as stocks fade.

 
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NAHB Ignores Recent Housing Shock, Thinks The Happiest Thoughts Since 2006





Homebuilder stocks are already giving back their spike gains from the surreal "if we hope it, they will buy" numbers from the NAHB on future sales expectations but we thought - given the unprecedented spike in mortgage rates, collapse in mortgage applications, and slowing home sales - that a couple of charts were in order to reflect upon the best two-month rise in 'hope' for futures sales in 22 years...

 
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Spot When Central Planning Took Over





As car sales collapse once again in Europe (and Fiat at the top of the pile of dismal results), and the Italian Senate set to hold a no-confidence vote in the Deputy PM, we thought it an opportune moment to revisit the most ridiculous chart in the world. Presented for your eye-rubbing pleasure, Italy - market vs macro... Can you see when the central-planners 'promise' took over, and reality ended?

 
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Italy's First Black Minister Greeted With "Nooses On Lampposts"





While the US has had its share of race-related social issues in recent days, nothing compares to Italy where not only was the country's first black minister (of integration!) of Congolese origin, Cecile Kyenge, compared to an orangutan two days ago by Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy's Senate and a senior parliamentarian in the anti-immigration Northern League, but following a visit to the city of Pescara she was met with a "protest" where nooses were hung from lammposts. And just so the message was not lost, "he nooses appeared on lampposts with posters signed by far-right group Forza Nuova: "Immigration, the noose of the people!" read one of the slogans on the posters. Another said: "Everyone should live in their own country." Nothing like Italy, whose economy has been ravaged by the worst depression in decades, developing its own Golden Dawn movement to really help with integration issues and globalized worker mobility.

 
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Guest Post: So About That $2 Gas...?





Former House Speaker and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said a then-struggling U.S. economy can't afford to spend billions of dollars overseas to buy foreign oil when there was plenty of that Texas tea at home in the United States. Gasoline prices, he said, could drop to $2.00 per gallon if drilling activity increased dramatically in the United States. A year later, nearly 90 million barrels of oil was produced worldwide and almost half of that came from new drilling operations in the United States. Gasoline is still nowhere near $2.00 per gallon even though the United States is mentioned in the same breath as Saudi Arabia...

 
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