• Bruno de Landevoisin
    09/21/2014 - 14:52
    Dear Janet; If I may be so forward, as a concerned citizen of the Constitutional Republic of the United States, it is with great consternation that I feel compelled to write you this distressing...

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No Bubble At All: Jessica Alba's Diaper-Delivery Startup Is Valued At $1 Billion, Prepares For IPO





While today even the pundits are aghast at the latest Snapchat valuation round, which according to the WSJ has Kleiner Perkins inject a laughable $20 million into the private-parts photography service, boosting its valuation to a whopping $10 billion in a clear windowdressing mark-up round, up from $800 million a year ago, even as the actual equity invested into the company is a paltry $160 million or under 2% of said valuation, the true indicator of just how bubbly the second coming of the dot com era has become comes courtesy of none other than Jessica Alba's, yes the actress, own startup: a company launched in 2012 and which makes "non-toxic" diapers (as opposed to toxic diapers?), called the Honest Co., has raised $70 million at a valuation just shy of $1 billion in preparation for an IPO.

 
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The 'Sunni Turn' Against The 'Shiite Crescent': How The Strategic Stupidity Of Washington (And Its Allies) Created ISIS





The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is being touted as the newest “threat” to the American homeland. We are told by everyone from the President on down that if we don’t attack them – i.e. go back into Iraq (and even venture into Syria) to root them out – they’ll soon show up on American shores. ISIS didn’t blast Sykes-Picot to pieces: we did, and now we must live with the consequences. Nemesis has taken her pound of flesh. The best course now is to learn the lesson every child has to absorb before he can attain adulthood in more than merely a physical sense: actions have consequences. Applied to the Middle East, this lesson can only have one meaning: stay out and keep out.

 
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The ISIS' Top Line: $2 Million In Daily Revenue From "Oil Sales, Extortion, Taxes And Smuggling"





A few days ago when we commented, somewhat in jest, on the seemingly impressive strategic planning behind the Islamic State Jihadists becoming a "commodities trading powerhouse" (when it was revealed that ISIS had sold the grain it had stolen from the Itaqi government back to the government), we described just how well-versed in the ways of the modern world ISIS was. Now, thanks to Bloomberg we can quantify this particular strategy, and put top-line numbers with the ISIS faces, so to speak: "The Islamic State, which now controls an area of Iraq and Syria larger than the U.K., may be raising more than $2 million dollars a day in revenue from oil sales, extortion, taxes and smuggling, according to U.S. intelligence officials and anti-terrorism finance experts."

 
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Immigration For Republicans





This essay is not intended to address a crisis that may be occurring on the border at this time. We make no comment on that. Nor does it discuss the issues around war, such as how to deal with citizens of enemy nations. This essay is not a policy proposal, it does not set out, for example, when an immigrant can become a citizen and attain the vote or what to do to immigrants who commit crimes. It has but one purpose: to enumerate and respond to the common arguments used in favor of an impenetrable and guarded border fence to shut down immigration.

 
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As South Africa Reels From Unexpected Bailout, One Bank Has A Modest Proposal: Give Us Your Gold





In a historic first, three days ago, South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, announced it would issue the FirstRand Gold Bond, or a bond denominated in South African Krugerrand gold coins. In other words, for the first time "holding" gold will pay a dividend (or in this case, interest). Sound odd? Maybe because it is.

 
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Dour Comments By China's Leading Supply Chain Manager Reinforce Citi's View For €1 Trillion ECB QE





Li & Fung’s latest results yesterday offered some interesting anecdotes. The company’s performance for the first 6 months was hampered by ongoing macroeconomic weakness, geopolitical and weather events in its key destination markets (US and Europe). Price discounting remains a theme in US retail even beyond the end of June. The company also noted a reduction of foreign tourist flow by Russian tourists into Europe which is affecting retail markets there. This fits consistently well with some of the ECB’s geopolitical concerns outlined at its previous policy meeting.

 
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The Midterm Election: Prospects For A Republican Senate Majority





In the four months since we last wrote about the upcoming midterm election, the outlook has changed only incrementally. As Goldman notes, although there were a few surprising retirements and primary election results over the last few months, none of these seem to have significantly affected the overall prospects for control of the House or Senate. However, as the election draws near, the potential effects of a Republican Senate majority seem likely to become more of a focus for market participants.

 
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Missouri Governor Withdraws National Guard From Ferguson, Holder Warns Of "Deeper Mistrust"





Assuming Missouri Governor Jay Nixon doesn't believe that last night's massive storms were the cause of a quieter night in Ferguson, he has decided to withdraw The National Guard from the scene of Mike Brown's death. It is unclear whether he realizes the error of his ways in this heavy-handed response or got a tap on the shoulder from The White House. Either way, we leave it to none other than AG Eric Holder to conclude  - “History simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson,” -in other words, this is far from over...

 
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Car Repos Soar 70% As Auto Subprime Bubble Pops; "It's Contained" Promises Fed





The auto loan subprime bubble may be the latest to burst (after student loans) as the rate of car repossessions jumped 70.2 percent in the second quarter, with much of that increase coming from finance companies not run by automakers, banks or credit unions. "The number of delinquencies and repossessions rising is what we would expect as the auto industry sells more vehicles," "But this slight uptick is one to keep an eye on." The surge in delinquencies and repossessions is being driven primarily by borrowers with subprime and deep subprime credit scores.

 
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US To Sue Angelo Mozilo, Again





Nearly a decade after Countrywide was sold to Bank of America in what has become the worst M&A deal of all time, bar none, having resulted in tens of billions of legal charges for Bank of America shareholders, the most recent of which was revealed also minutes ago when Bank of America was said to reach a record $17 billion settlement with the government over the sale of mortgage-backed securities, moments ago Bloomberg announced that none other than Agent Orange himself, Angelo Mozilo, is about to be sued. Again, only this time the lawsuit may actually not be tossed or result in yet another DOJ trademark wristslap.

 
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Under What Conditions Can The US Army Engage Citizens: The Army's "Civil Disturbances" Primer





With events in Ferguson deteriorating from day to day, despite the arrival of the Missouri National Guard, some have asked what further escalation steps are possible. The answer is not pleasant.

 
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What Do Michelle Obama & Vladimir Putin Have In Common?





Mainstream media business 'entertainment' appears to have been taken over by the #IceBucketChallenge, as they name-drop from CEO to CEO in the interests of ratings (as opposed to raising money for ALS). However, things took a much more serious turn today as not only did Alan Greenspan show us how he 'cools off' the economy but actor Vin Diesel issued the ultimate challenge to none other than Michelle Obama and Vladimir Putin...

 
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Buy The Drip: Thousands Of Gallons Of Oil Spill Into Ohio River Upstream Of Cincinnati





Lately it is not just trains blowing up across the country in the ongoing effort to prove just how safer rail transport is for crude oil transit compared to pipelines: as citizens of Cincinatti found out this morning, their drinking water may come with an added kick after thousands of gallons of diesel fuel spilled out onto the Ohio River after an incident at a power plant early Tuesday. According to WCPO, the Coast Guard said it estimated about 8,000 gallons of fuel spilled out from Duke Energy’s W.C. Beckjord power station outside of Cincinnati.

 
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Market Roulette: Dimes On Black, Dynamite On Red





The stock market is presently a roulette wheel with dimes on black and dynamite on red... The ‘buy the dip’ mentality can introduce periodic recovery attempts even in markets that are quite precarious from a full cycle perspective. Galbraith reminds us that the 1929 market crash did not have observable catalysts: “the crash did not come – as some have suggested – because the market suddenly became aware that a serious depression was in the offing... for it is in the nature of a speculative boom that almost anything can collapse it."

 

 
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