... the world may be burning, so the Obamas go house hunting.
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.
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...
Hillary Clinton may have left the White House "dead broke" in her own words over a decade ago, but the same can hardly be said about her daughter, Chelsea, who as Politico revealed today, was being paid an annual salary of $600,000 at NBC News before switching to a month-to-month contract earlier this year.
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.
Believe it or not, the main driver of risk overnight had nothing to do with Iraq, with the global economy or even with hopes for more liquidity, and everything to do with a largely meaningless component of Japan's future tax policy, namely whether or not Abe (who at this pace of soaring imported inflation and plunging wages won't have to worry much about 2015 as he won't be PM then) should cut the corporate tax rate in 2015. As Bloomberg reported, Abe, speaking to reporters in Tokyo today after a meeting with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Economy Minister Akira Amari, said the plan would bring the rate under 30 percent in a few years. He said alternative revenue will be secured for the move, which requires approval from the Diet.
With another day of little otherwise completely irrelevant macro news (because following last night's abysmal Australian jobs data one would think the AUD would be weaker; one would be wrong), market participants - all 3 of them - and algos (which have finally uncovered where Iraq is on google maps) are finally turning their attention to the latest conflict in Iraq (because they obviously no longer care about the martial law in Thailand or the civil war in Ukraine), where the Al Qaeda spin off ISIS overnight seized at least 310K B/D in refinery capacity in northern Iraq according to the Police, and what is more concerning, is now less than a 100 kilometers away from Baghdad. Will ISIS dare to venture further south? Keep an eye on crude for the answer.
"When an activist movement holds the moral high ground against a repressive establishment power structure, the establishment’s primary recourse is to target the character of its principles. The secondary recourse is direct confrontation. If a dissenting organization is not mindlessly vicious in its methods, then simply make it 'appear' vicious. If it is not hateful in its rhetoric, then artificially tie it to people who are. And if a government really needs to kick-start a crackdown, it can engineer its own man-made calamities and blame the groups that most threaten its authority."
"The challenges of managing student loan debt can lead some borrowers to fall behind on their loan payments and in some cases even default on their debt obligation," notes the always astute White House... and so it's time to do something about that... by bailing the bad debtors out with US taxpayers money. As we have been vociferously warning, not only has the student loan debt bubble expanded massively (as the easiest credit substitute for real-world working and unemployment) but delinquencies on the 'easily available' credit is soaring with "consequences such as a damaged credit rating, losing their tax refund, or garnished wages." Consequences, as we have been taught now, are not acceptable for this administration and so President Barack Obama will issue an executive action on Monday aimed at making it easier for young people to avoid trouble repaying student loans.
Just as the cyber-spat is off the headlines for a day... and no one from Treasury has discussed the need for the Renminbi to strengthen... The White House drops another well-timed China shot, calling on Chinese authorities to account for those killed, detained or missing in connection with the military assault on pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. Diplomatically, this could be a little awkward as China forbids public acknowledgment of the anniversary in the state-run media and censors the Internet to wipe away both direct and indirect references to the crackdown.
QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr President, it is very convenient that you are meeting with Mr Obama on June 6. Perhaps, it would be worse if you were meeting with Hillary Clinton. Only a few days ago, she said that what Russia is doing in Eastern Europe resembles what Hitler was doing in the 1930s.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.
Amid a rising backlash and assertions of desertion, a rally in US Army Sgt. Gowe Bergdahl's Idaho hometown - celebrating his release after 5 years of 'captivity' - has been canceled. The small mountain community's city administrator, Heather Dawson said town officials called off the June 28 rally, because the town "will be unable to safely manage the number of people expected," but residents of Hailey say they will support Bergdahl either way when he returns.
White House Purchases Google Key Words to Slam Putin
It was a good weekend for the friends and family of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: after five years of being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, on Saturday morning it was reported that the 28-year-old native of Hailey, Idaho was finally freed. In exchange for his freedom, the US agreed to also set free five Taliban militants held at Guantanamo. In other words, this was a pre-negotiated settlement or, stated otherwise, a negotiation. Adding fuel to the fire is the realization that Obama was transacting largely alone: instead of abiding by a legal requirement to give Congress advance notice when prisoners are released from the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Obama once again took unilateral action. Actually it wasn't completely unilateral: it was revealed that the deal was bartered by America's new middle east BFFs (courtesy of the false flagged Syria conflict): officials from Qatar who agreed to keep the detainees in their country for a year.
And then the media circus took over.
With the NSA already reigning supreme when it comes to the capture of virtually every form of instantaneous electronic communication and interchange, aka the "flow" of data, there is one final threshold that the US superspy agency needed to cross before the biggest brother of all would have full control over not only the flow of information, but its stock too: a photographic database of virtually everyone. And courtesy of not only programs like Facebook, but also its access to government photographic data, the NSA is focusing on just that. As the NYT reports, the agency is "harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents... The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,”