The Most Destructive Presidencies In American History, Part 2: The Fatal Incoherence Of Bush/Obama Foreign PolicySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/18/2014 11:06 -0400
The tragic reality is the Bush II/Obama administrations have made the world a far more dangerous place.
Copper, Iron Ore, Rebar, Rubber, and now Cotton are all at multi-year lows as the Qingdao CCFD ponzi probe continues to broaden to all the commodities we warned about previously. As CottonCN reports, the probe's increased uncertainty and scrutiny of shipments may hurt imports of of cotton in the form of consignment sales, as international traders delay shipments or deliveries to wait for clear policies as authorities continues their investigation. Even soybeans and palm oil have been on a notably downswing since the probe intothe collateral evaporation started. Then comes the news that Chinese commodities trading firm CITIC admission that over half of its 220,000 tonnes of alumina are missing. This is far from over...
Now, for the first time, we have empirical proof that hedge funds are indeed on the verge of extinction. In its hedge fund quarterly note (which it clearly ripped off from Goldman), Bank of America has concluded what we said in the beginning of the decade: "Hedge Funds are less attractive post the financial crisis with lower alpha and less diversification benefits." Or, in other words, hedge funds (for the most part: this excludes those extortionists also known as activists who successfully bully management teams into levering up in order to buyback record amounts of stock, in the process burying their companies and employers when the next downturn arrives) no longer provide a service commensurate to their astronomical fees.
As reported yesterday, The SCOTUS dealt a major blow to Argentina hopes it would avoid making payments on its "holdout" bonds when it enforced a lower-court ruling that said Argentina can't make payments on its restructured debt unless it also pays holdout hedge funds headed by Elliott Management, best known for briefly seizing an Argentina ship in late 2012. The immediate result was a major rout in the country's sovereign bonds, which also sent Argentina CDS soaring. Sadly for Argentina, this would hardly be the end of it, and about an hour ago, Standard & Poor added insult to injury and lowered its long-term foreign currency rating on Argentina to CCC- from CCC+ citing a "higher risk of default on the country's foreign currency debt." As a result, yesterday's drop in bonds has continued, if at a more moderate pace, and the country's USD bond due 2024 hav continued to sink in intraday trading. So what is next for the cash-strapped Latin American country for which the road ahead is suddenly quite "challenging" and default appears increasing like the only way out? For the answer we go to Citi's Jeffrey Williams who has laid out the five most likely developments.
According to a new Gallup pole, a record amount of Americans now disapprove of President Obama. Now, this is nothing new. Presidential approval ratings go up and down, and Mr. Obama has had a long-term slide thanks to… oh, we don’t know… a total avalanche of foul-ups ranging from the Obamacare fiasco to the IRS targeting his enemies to the VA scandal to the intelligence community’s surveillance of the press, et cetera ad infinitum. But here’s the interesting thing– this poll about the President’s approval rating. It’s about his image– who he is as a person. Do Americans think he’s a trustworthy person with strong character? Nope. Not even close.
What do Scottish independence, UKIP, self-employment, cryptocurrencies and the black economy have in common? The neo-liberal establishment wont fix itself, so for those fed up with banging their heads against policy brickwalls, there’s only one direction. Separate.
Earlier today we reported that despite, or rather due to, all the confusing propaganda from either side, it was not exactly clear whether and how far away from Baghdad the ISIS offensive had been halted (if at all). It appears the confusion has also impacted none other than the US State Department, which moments ago announced it would evacuate an "substantial number" of the whopping 5,500 staff situated in the US embassy in Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris river, staff which incidentally is the largest of any US embassy. Additionally, the State Dept said that some additional U.S. govt security personnel will be added to Baghdad staff as result of instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq.
Now that Q2 is not shaping up to be much better than Q1, other, mostly climatic, excuses have arisen: such as El Nino, the California drought, and even suggestions that, gasp, as a result of the Fed's endless meddling in the economy, the terminal growth rate of the world has been permanently lowered to 2% or lower. What is sadder for economists, even formerly respectable ones, is that overnight it was none other than Tyler Cowen who, writing in the New York Times, came up with yet another theory to explain the "continuing slowness of economic growth in high-income economies." In his own words: "An additional explanation of slow growth is now receiving attention, however. It is the persistence and expectation of peace." That's right - blame it on the lack of war!
It's possible to describe Rep.Eric Cantor as a serial sell-out. But that would be giving an unprincipled politician driven by an unalloyed ambition to climb the greasy pole of Washington power too much credit. In truth, Cantor never campaigned for any recognizable principle; he merely maneuvered his way to the top of the House GOP hierarchy by following in the tawdry footsteps of modern GOP bagmen like Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt. Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.
"The latest escalation in Iraqi tensions has introduced new event risk for global oil markets. However, current options market pricing suggests oil markets are still attaching a low probability to an oil price spike over the coming months. We believe this sanguine approach to oil price spike risk reflects the fact that the major oil infrastructure in Iraq has not (yet) fallen into the hands of the militant extremists." - Deutsche Bank
President Obama’s populist, class-warring, shut-out-the-legislature, ignore-the-long-term-consequences romp through every corner of life turned to the education sector. Problems with student loan programs are deep-rooted – thanks mostly to the government’s domination of the market – and were only worsened by Obama’s actions this week. In a better world, policymakers would take a cold, hard look at the effects of federally-funded student loan programs, including the good and the bad. Here are a few such observations that you’re unlikely to hear from your president...
This week’s news certainly WASN’T BORING. Big events and small add up to unfolding CHAOS around the WORLD. This week’s subjects: American Empire on FIRE!, Out on a LIMB: Credit Unions facing INSOLVECY, Is rising indebtedness a sign of economic strength?, Bond YIELDS continue to collapse as the race for yield INTENSIFIES, George Orwell in Action, Showdown looming at the OK corral!, Simply UNBELIEVABLE SOVEREIGN credit market action, PHANTOM GDP, Rare INDEED, Must watch video interview with Charles Nenner,European BANKING SYSTEM INSOLVECY
While the US scrambles to figure out what the least painful way is to admit yet another humiliating foreign policy defeat, things in Iraq continue to deteriorate as the relentless blitzkrieg unleashed by the ISIS/ISIL Al-Qaeda spin off, which has shocked everyone by its speed and scale, takes two more towns, as it rushes for its target: Baghdad itself.
If capital is not treated equally, political equality is an illusion, for capital buys political influence and power. Capital that can buy political power gains political protection of its extraordinary privileges to control rentier income streams, income which furthers its political power.
We can be happy. And we can hope. But it’s dangerous to presume that all the challenges improve simply because a new group of people is installed into positions of power. This is the fallacy that persists at nearly every election cycle– people cheer that the new guy is going to fix everything. And this excitement almost always turns to disappointment. Optimism is great. But it’s dangerous to invest one’s faith in a political system. Elections merely change the players. They don’t change the game. And it is the game that is fundamentally flawed.