Goodbye SAC Capital. Hello SEC Capital.
Pop quiz: When really nasty criminals and dictators want to hide their illicit gains, which country do they go to? We’ll make this easy for you - multiple choice:
b) British Virgin Islands
c) Hong Kong
From April to September of 2013, as Bloomberg reports, TEPCO admits that levels of radiation measured from water samples around the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactor were "significantly undercounted." We assume it was mere coincidence that during this very time Shinzo Abe proclaimed the 2020 Olympics would be safe and used many of these readings as evidence. In addition to this debacle, The BBC reports, the likely scale of the radioactive plume of water from Fukushima due to hit the west coast of North America should be known in the next two months; and rather stunningly, The Japan Times reports a new study finds the lifetime risk of developing cancer has risen among 1-year-old girls in an area affected by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. But apart from that, everything's great.
Economics is not a difficult subject, unless you try to learn it from an economist. Common sense is all that is required to be a good economist. Unfortunately, in order to get your union card, you must pretend to have none. Belief in fairy tales like more spending and “free lunches” is also necessary. But that is of little import in regard to the title – How to identify economic zombies... The test to determine whether you or your friends are zombies is simple. Answer the following question: How would you live if debt/credit were outlawed?
The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2014 00:35 -0400
In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.
The new normal has morphed from a slow-to-no recovery to a "strong" recovery hampered only by bad weather. When data is bad, it's "due to bad weather;" when data is good, it's the recovery... As Google 'quantifies' below, bad weather is 83 times more worrisome than good weather is positive...
The usual interventionists in the US have long meddled in the internal affairs of Ukraine. In 2004 it was US government money that helped finance the Orange Revolution, as US-funded NGOs favoring one political group over the other were able to change the regime. These same people have not given up on Ukraine. They keep pushing their own agenda for Ukraine behind the scenes, even as they ridicule anyone who claims US involvement. If you asked most Americans how they feel, my bet is that you would discover they are sick and tired of the US government getting involved in every crisis that arises. And I bet if we asked the Ukrainians, a vast majority of them would prefer that the US — and Russia and the European Union — stay out their affairs and respect their sovereignty. So let’s keep our hands off of Ukraine and let them solve their own problems!
The Russians had dangled their multi-billion euro carrot - then swiftly removed it pending further details of who is really running the show (demanding a crackdown on the extremists who are trying to establish power). The Europeans have promised an even bigger carrot - predicated on, we presume, total abdication of sovereignty. But now the Americans are jumping in - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "urged" Ukraine's interim leader Yatsenyuk to start talks with the IMF as he and Lagarde agreed the fund would be the best foundation for advice and financing (if sought by a fully established Ukrainian government). And the winner is...
- *UKRAINE'S KUBIV PLANS TO INVITE IMF MISSION, UNIAN SAYS
Which means only thing - Russia is locked out and gas prices are about to take off.
To summarize: in an act of complete disregard for the official diplomatic song and dance, both Israel and the US are now providing military support to Iran, which in turn is providing military support to Syria, which is also getting military support from Russia. And now, just to make things more interesting, the same labyrinth of "military support" is about to be unleashed in the Ukraine, whose western half is just as likely getting arms and military equipment (not to mention funding)from the West under the table, while Russia, whose main Black Sea port is in the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, is arming the Eastern part of the Ukraine.
What can possibly go wrong?
As happens at the end of every year, sellside analysts and economists, all predicted that this year would be different, and the long overdue capex spending would finally be unleashed. Apparently they had far greater visibility on this matter, than on the topic of snowfall in the winter, and its disastrous impact on a $17 trillion economy, whose Q1 GDP growth forecast has cratered from 3% at the start of the year, to barely half that number currently. One of the firms that preached that the CapEx recovery is imminent is none other than Goldman Sachs, the same firm that also year after year predicts a new golden age for the US, only to see its forecast crash and burn some 4-6 months later, couched in the tried (or is that now trite) and true scapegoatings: snow, unrest in Europe, inflation or deflation in Japan, the usual. However, this time may indeed be different, and the same Goldman has just released a piece wondering "Why no capex recovery?" (despite the firm's own forecasts to the contrary -just recall David Mericle's "Capex: The Fundamentals Remain Strong" which now in retrospect is completely wrong).
"The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled": A Walk Thru Of China's Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder ResetSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/21/2014 10:37 -0400
The die has been cast, and it appears that the world is finally on the path to the great "carry-trade unwind" endgame. If so, this is what it will look like...
With G10 Macro data the most negative in 8 months, it is perhaps unsurprising that Goldman's Advanced Global Leading Indicator dropped further - to its lowest in at least a year. Firmly in "slowdown" phase, Goldman remains adamant that "weather-related" inputs will mean this will all be fixed any day now (apart from the fact that the trend has been down for months now). None of the factors improved, as momentum also slowed notably.
In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations about the NSA's ubiquitous presence in everyday lives, and unconstitutional interception, eavesdropping and recording of every form of electronic communication, the logical assumption would be that the next step for the NSA would be its reduction instead of expansion, especially following the president's heartfelt reading from the TOTUS several months ago in which he promised to do all he could, to curb the spy agency. "Surprisingly" expansion is precisely what will happen to the NSA - as WSJ reports the "government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency's controversial collection of Americans' phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials." Unintended? It is very much intended now that Americans know that the concept of privacy is dead and buried and will instead seek other methods to communicate. Which simply means the NSA has to get even bigger in order to thwart the imminent, daily and "clear and present" danger that US citizen-cum-terrorists pose to the US despotic totalitarian state republic.
Is the Treasury's rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unfair to private shareholders? Yup. And they deserve it.