It's not been a good day for the CIA. First, the State Department slams them for brutally treating terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks, noting that "no American is proud" of CIA tactics. And now, as The NY Times reports, an internal investigation has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing the report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Of course, this is not the first time the CIA has hacked Senate networks but do not fear American citizenry, CIA Director has apologized for his staff "acting inappropriately" and is setting up an internal accountability board to review the matter. It appears Ron Paul was right.
Ebola Epidemic Update: US Citizen Dies In Nigeria, Virus Poses Threat To Britain, Liberia Declares State Of EmergencySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/30/2014 20:45 -0400
- State Department has confirmed that one U.S. citizen died from Ebola in Nigeria after being infected in Liberia.
- Victim who died in Lagos was bound for U.S., and was an American citizen
- U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the virus poses a threat to Britain, and will hold an emergency meeting.
- Ebola center run by Americans closed after Liberia disturbances
- Two Peace Corps volunteers under observation after coming into contact with individual who later died of Ebola
- Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor dead after contracting virus
Following yesterday's scandalous release of the Obama-Natanyahu phone call transcript by Israel's Channel 1, which officials on both sides have claimed was a fake (due to its clearly negative implications for US foreign policy which appears painfully weak) yet which the media outlet has defended as authentic, citing a "senior American official" as a source, one was wondering how long it would take for the White House to "teach" Israel a lesson, and put it in its place. The answer: less than 24 hours. Moments ago, the White House officially "condemned" the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that local authorities estimated killed at least 15 Palestinians who were sheltering there.
As had been rumored all day, The G7 just issued yet another statement on Ukraine showing its wholehearted support for sanctions:
- *G-7 LEADERS ISSUE STATEMENT CONDEMNING RUSSIAN ACTS IN UKRAINE
- *G-7 LEADERS SAY READY TO 'INTENSIFY THE COSTS' ON RUSSIA
The statement, released by The White House, also demands "transparent" access to the MH17 crash site. As this was released, the EU announced its sanctions list (8 people, 3 entities).
"It's a troubling continuation/expansion of trade as a geopolitical tool," warns one Washington-based consulting firm as Russia prepares to unleash retaliatory actions to US and European sanctions. As Bloomberg reports, Russia said yesterday it may ban imports of chicken from the U.S. and fruit from Europe and is investigating McDonald's cheese for safety. In addition, a Russian lawmaker has drafted legislation that might result in U.S. accounting firms being barred from doing business in his country. All of this is odd given Jack "trust me" Lew's reassurance that Russian sanctions would have no impact on the US economy. Russia's response, US will feel 'tangible losses' from 'destructive, myopic' sanctions.
After Eric Cantor's shocking defeat at the hands of an unknown Tea Party member several months ago, US immigration reform was said to be all but dead, a condition which has been substantially exacerbated by recent tensions over the influx of Central American children crossing the southern US border. However, contrary to initial appeals that Obama is limited in what he can do without a cooperative Congress, the president now appears set to take his latest unilateral decision, one that is set to set republicans fuming and the ranks of future potential democrat voters soaring, when as the WSJ reports, Obama may take "broad action to scale back deportations that could include work permits for millions of people, according to lawmakers and immigration advocates who have consulted with the White House."
- Fed Decision-Day Guide: QE Tapering to Inflation Debate (BBG)
- Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia (Reuters)
- Siemens to BP Prepare for Downward Russia Business Spiral (BBG)
- Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror (NYT)
- Argentina Banks Preparing Bid to Help Argentina Avoid Default (WSJ)
- Obama Weighs Fewer Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Living in U.S. (WSJ)
- India Warships Off Japan Show Rising Lure as China Counterweight (BBG)
- Hong Kong Popping Housing Bubbles London Can’t Handle (BBG)
- Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza refugee camp (Reuters)
This week's US data onslaught begins today, with the ADP private payroll report first on deck (Exp. 230K, down from 281K), followed by the number of the day, Q2 GDP, which after Q1's abysmal -2.9%, is expected to increase 3%. Anything less and in the first half the US economy will have contracted, something the purists could claim is equivalent to a recession. The whisper numbers are to the downside since consumption and trade never caught up and the only variable is inventory as well as Obamacare, whose impact was $40 billion "contribution" in Q1 was entirely eliminated and instead led to a deduction, something we expect will be reversed into Q2. Following the backward looking GDP (which will be ignored by the sellside penguins if it is bad and praised if good) at 2:00 pm Yellen Capital LLC comes out with a correction on her call to short social networking stocks, as well as admit once again that the "data-driven" Fed really has no idea what it is doing and how it will tighten, but that tightening is imminent and another $10 billion taper to QE will take place ahead of a full phase out in October. Joking aside, the Fed is expected not to do much if anything, which may be just the right time for Yellen to inject an aggressively hawkish note considering her inflation "noise" refuses to go away.
"Shocked" White House Slams "Fabrication" After Israel TV Leaks Damning Transcript Of Obama-Netanyahu Phone CallSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/29/2014 23:53 -0400
While the US continues to escalate the conflict with Russia in a tit-for-tat recreation of the Cold War, things for US foreign policy just keep going from bad to worse, with the latest insult coming from none other than close US ally, Israel.
"One reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama...He turned out to be something else altogether. Not long ago optimism was in vogue. Obama’s slogan then was “Yes we can.” Today it could be “It turns out we can’t.”"
In just 800 words Pat Buchanan exposes the sheer juvenile delinquency embodied in Washington’s current Ukrainian fiasco.
What motivates Putin seems simple and understandable. He wants the respect due a world power. He sees himself as protector of the Russians left behind in his “near abroad.” He relishes playing Big Power politics. History is full of such men. But what motivates those on our side who seek every opportunity to restart the Cold War? Is it not a desperate desire to appear once again Churchillian, once again heroic, once again relevant, as they saw themselves in the Cold War that ended so long ago? Who is the real problem here?
US May Send Military Aid To Ukraine; Accuses Russia Of Violating Nuclear Arms Treaty With ICBM LaunchSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/28/2014 20:26 -0400
If the specter of the second cold war descending into outright smoldering status doesn't send the S&P promptly to all time highs, nothing will. Moments ago the White House accused Russia of violating the 1987 missile treaty, in response to a still unspecified ICBM launch, calling the "breach" a "very serious matter." Bloomberg added that at issue was a ground-launched ICBM missile. And just so it is clear that the US is now picked the "escalation" of the prisoner's dilemma, also moments ago AGP reported that the US is now weighing the risks of aiding Ukraine militarily. Specifically, senior American military officers are discussing the possibility of "providing Ukraine with more precise intelligence that would allow it to target missiles held by pro-Russian forces, US officials said Monday."
As the topic of "unpatriotic" 'tax inversions' becomes a political issue, we thought it interesting to examine how big an economic issue it really is. How much income tax do U.S. companies actually pay every year to the Federal government? As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, the simple answer is “Not much”, at least as compared to any other major source of revenue. In Fiscal 2013, Colas adds, the total was $274 billion, or just 9.9% of all tax and withholding receipts. Your political leanings will inform your opinion about whether that number is too high or too low, of course; but we point out that, as Reuters reports, a former international tax counsel at Treasury explains Obama could "slam dunk" dictate an end to 'tax inversions' without Congressional approval (by invoking a little known 1969 tax law)
Is there anyone in the world who is not mocking John Kerry? As AP reports, Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations - "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything." The White House is not happy - in unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line. Another red line crossed?
- Argentine holdout NML says government "choosing" to default (Reuters)
- Crunch time for Gaza truce talks as death toll passes 800 (Reuters)
- Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading (BBG)
- U.S. Accuses Russia of Shelling Eastern Ukraine (BBG)
- France’s Wheat Exports in Question as Rain Spoils Quality (BBG)
- Tapering in action: Lower printer sales hurt Xerox's revenue (Reuters)
- No liquidity? No Problem, there's an ETF for that: Bond ETFs Swelling in Europe as Trading Debt Gets Tougher (BBG)
- Herbalife hires ex-Biden chief to fend off regulators (NYPost)
- GM recalls far from calamity for some dealers who find new customers, business (Reuters)
- Bad weather likely cause of fatal Air Algerie crash: French officials (Reuters)