"The one unlimited resource we have on the planet is the human brain – the current strategy of 1% capitalism is failing because it is killing the Golden Goose at multiple levels. Unfortunately, the gap between those with money and power and those who actually know what they are talking about has grown catastrophic. The rich are surrounded by sycophants and pretenders whose continued employment demands that they not question the premises."
Russia Puts Troops In Central Region On Combat-Ready Alert After Launch Of Massive Surprise Drill - VideoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2014 14:25 -0400
So much for the Ukraine ultimatum. Just hours after fighting erupted on both sides of the Ukraine-Russian border to commemorate Ukraine's "ceasefire" proposal roundly mocked by the Kremlin, Russian forces in Siberia, the Urals and beyond were been put on combat-ready alert, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after President Putin ordered surprise drills. "Over 65,000 troops, about 5,500 weapon units and vehicles, over 180 planes, and about 60 helicopters will be involved in the test.
So what’s a Peeping Tom, anti-democratic, Constitution-trampling intelligence crony to do after leaving decades of “public service?” Move into the private sector and collect a fat paycheck from Wall Street, naturally. So what is Mr. Alexander charging for his expertise? He’s looking for $1 million per month. Yes, you read that right. That’s the rate that his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., pitched to Wall Street’s largest lobbying group the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)
Russia Reignites The Proxy War: Putin Offers "Complete Support" To Iraq Prime Minister Scorned By ObamaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/20/2014 20:50 -0400
The Kremlin said in a statement that al-Maliki informed Putin on Friday about his government’s steps to combat the “terrorist groups in the north of the country.” It added that the insurgency threatens security of the entire region. Putin confirmed Russia’s “full support for the Iraqi government’s action to quickly free the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said, adding that Putin and al-Maliki also discussed bilateral cooperation. Putin’s expression of support for the embattled Iraqi prime minister comes as al-Maliki’s rivals have mounted a campaign to force him out of office, with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights.
Larry Fink told the world this morning that central banks are holding a floor under stock prices (but wouldn't expect to see large price increases) - and judging by the gamma imbalances in volatility-land, they are using options markets to unriggedly manage that implicit put. However, given the utter dominance of the machines in the market and any reaction when real volume hits stocks (always down), we thought, courtesy of Nanex, a gentle reminder of just how quickly the Fed put disappears would be useful in this new "we can never get hurt, valuations are within norms, there is no complacency" normal.
- Currency Probe Widens as U.S. Said to Target Markups (BBG)
- Battle for Iraq refinery as U.S. hesitates to strike (Reuters)
- Ukraine forces battle separatists after truce 'refused' (Reuters)
- Fed Dots Ignored as Investors Focus on Yellen’s Message (BBG)
- Retirees Suffer as $300 Billion 401(k) Rollover Boom Enriches Brokers (BBG)
- American Apparel ousts CEO; source says Dov Charney 'will fight like hell' (LA Times)
- House Panel Is Subpoenaed as Trading Probe Heats Up (WSJ)
- GM Officials Ignored Alert on Car Stalling (WSJ)
- Russia’s $20 Billion Bond Void Filled by China to Mexico (BBG)
Now that virtually everyone has figured out what we first said in 2012, namely that in the New bizarro Normal, the best trading strategy - the only way to generate alpha in a world in which hedge funds no longer can - is going long a basket of the most shorted names, one has to wonder how any hedge fund replicating, 13F-chasing service can remain in business. After all, the last thing anyone wants to do is copycat hedge fund groupthink in a world in which hedge funds have underperformed the S&P 500 for 6 years in a row, especially a world in which one can buy the SPY with virtually no fees instead of paying some bloated billionaire 20% for the privilege of underperforming the Federal Reserve-managed S&P500. Still, there are those who, for some inexplicable reason, believe in the infallibility of hedge funds and chase every opportunity imitate those who make their money by collecting 2 and 20 not by generating alpha. For all these, the following charts are for you.
Despite the White House seeming reluctance to see airstrikes as an imminent option (as AP reports, in part because there are few clear targets that U.S. could hit, officials said), Arabiya TV - citing Iraq's Foreign Minister Zarabi, has asked for help (seemingly triggered by ISIS attacks on the Baiji refinery):
*IRAQ ASKED U.S. FOR AIRSTRIKES AGAINST MILITANTS: ARABIYA
*IRAQ ASKED US TO GO AHEAD W/ AIR STRIKES AGAINST JIHADISTS: AFP
This has now been confirmed by the BBC reporting that Gen. Martin Dempsey confirms the request. So 275 boots on the ground are not boots on the ground and now the US will reluctantly but pin-pointedly accurately bomb the bad guys (and some good guys) in Iraq... how has that ended in the past?
In order to avoid even further questions about the true role of the NSA and thus risk even more embarrassment of the broken US government apparatus (because the IRS scandal is really symptomatic of a greater issue: the deteriorating of checks and balances in the US legislative branch), the man who has been most steadfast in his pursuit of Lois Lerner's, and the IRS', pursuit of conservative groups, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Tuesday issued a subpoena to the Internal Revenue Service, ordering the agency to turn over the hard drive they claim is responsible for wiping out two years of critical email communications. According to the Washington Examiner, Issa is not only seeking emails, but wants equipment, “communication devices,” printed documents and just about anything else related to former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has refused to testify before Congress and who the GOP believes is a central player in the targeting scheme.
Treasuries oscillated in a 3-4bps range all day to end flatter with 30Y -1.5bps and 2Y +1.5bps as stocks flip-flopped around like Charlie Sheen in a Phat Phong whorehouse. Trannies resumed their post-Iraq drop (-0.3% today) but high-beta honeys sent Russell 2000 up 0.4% with the S&P and Dow unchish. Stocks recoupled with bonds after 2 attempts to spark new all time higherer highs. Ahead of this week's FOMC, the USD weakened as EUR gained and oil, gold, and silver all slipped in a highly correlated manner. VIX rose 0.4 vols to 12.6 - notably decoupling from the S&P as Iraq/Fed uncertainty prompted some hedging. The now ubiquitous buying panic took hold at 330ET and Russell closed at highs of the day.
Yesterday, the republican campaign to get to the bottom of IRS' targeting of conservative groups was dealt an absolutely idiotic blow when the IRS, in all seriousness, announced that it had lost two years worth of emails to and from the chief subject of the investigation: former agency official Lois Lerner. What, however, was simply a bizarre, if idiotic, lie has just been taken to a whole new level of ridiculousness, when moments ago, representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) announced he would request that the National Security Agency help in the hunt for missing emails to and from the IRS’s Lois Lerner, and recover two years worth of "lost" emails.
The feds are so concerned that more truth about the VA scandal will get out there they have resorted to subpoenas to cover up as much as possible. Of course, considering that the entire Administration, and indeed the entire status quo in America, appears to be essentially a criminal syndicate, there is a naturally an endless stream of abuses that must be concealed from the plebs. One thing that has become entirely clear since the Snowden revelations is the fact that the status quo in both political parties has absolutely zero intent on rolling back unconstitutional surveillance whatsoever. This became completely obvious recently when: Congress Gutted Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Voted No. Fortunately for those of us interested in transparency, some additional information is starting to come out regarding just how far these crooks are willing to go in order to spy on your every move and conversation.
Senior NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists in 2002 … In Order to Make Sure They Didn’t Report On Mass SurveillanceSubmitted by George Washington on 06/14/2014 01:46 -0400
He also DEMOLISHES Intelligence Agencies’ Excuse for 9/11, Confirms They're Recording Our CONTENT, Explains They've Got "Dataddiction" ... and Confirms We're Living In a Police State
Yesterday, when we presented the latest US naval update, focusing on the distribution of US aircraft carriers around the world and particularly in the middle east, we summarized that "America, which historically has had a far greater naval presence in the middle east, is quite unprepared for the recent dramatic resurgence of Al Qaeda splinter groups. Expect at least one more aircraft carrier to depart in direction Iraq shortly." Turns out "shortly" meant less than one day.
To summarize: the US was arming and training the same Al Qaeda/ISIS groups of Jihadists, that it concurrently gave Iraq weapons to fight. And since the Iraq army has so far proven utterly incapable of any resistance, it is now up to US drones to "fight" the same "rebels" that the US itself was collaborating with until a month or so ago.