For the second consecutive day futures have drifted lower following a drubbing in the Nikkei which was down nearly 3% to just above 14K (time to start talking about the failure of Abenomics again despite National CPI posting the first positive print of 0.2% in forever and rising at the fastest pace in 5 years) and the Shanghai Composite which dropped to just above 2000 once again, after PBOC governor Zhou saying that China has big economic downward pressure and further reiterated prudent monetary policy will be pursued. This is despite Hilsenrath's latest puff piece which pushed the market into the green in yesterday's last hour of trading and despite initial optimism which saw stocks open higher following forecast-beating EU earnings gradually easing and heading into the North American open stocks are now little changed. It may be up to the WSJ mouhtpiece to provide today's 3pm catalyst to BTFATH, or else it will be up to the circular and HFT-early released UMichigan confidence index to surge/plunge in order to push stocks on any red flashing news is good news.
First we had Schordinger markets in which value is either zero or whatever the Fed says it is; then we got Schrodinger economies when China was both expanding and contracting at the same time; now we have Schrodinger military coups which are both a coup and not a coup, at least as far as the US is concerned. According to AP: "The Obama administration will tell lawmakers Thursday that it won't declare Egypt's government overthrow a coup, U.S. officials said." So why will the US claim the obvious military overthrow of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood was a "democratic" process? Simple: it will allow the United States "to continue providing $1.5 billion in annual military and economic aid to the Arab world's most populous country." And why will the US continue providing Egypt with $1.5 billion in annual military aid? Simple: so Egypt can continue buying more Made In Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to spread the Nobel Peace Prize winner's diplomatic agenda in the middle east. Because one must always think of the children GDP.
Moments ago, an unlikely grouping between a 33-year old Republican, Rep-Justin Amash, and an 84-year old Democrat, Rep-John Conyers, resulted in a House vote, that if passed, would have suspended the NSA's "indiscriminate collection of phone records" and effectively ended the program's statutory authority. Yet despite significant lobbying by the White House, security experts and representative on both sides of the aisle, the vote came within a startlingly close 12 votes of passage. A majority of Democrats, 111, voted for Amash's amendment despite the full court press while 83 Democrats voted no. The GOP vote was 94-134. That the vote did not pass is not surprising. However, that it came to just 12 votes of passage is the stunning development and shows a sea change of how Congress approaches both personal privacy and the broader implications of the Patriot Act. All of it thanks to the action of one man who at last check was still stuck in the transit terminal in Moscow.
While hardly a surprise, following recent speculative punditry (which failed miserably in forecasting Mark Carney as the next BOE head, something Zero Hedge predicted half a year ahead of the event due to one simple variable - he is from Goldman) and numerous trial balloons on Bernanke's successor coming hot and heavy from every direction, it was time for the Fed's own mouthpiece, Jon Hilsenrath, to speak, and bring back much needed drama and confusion.
Plunging Chinese manufacturing and an 11 month low PMI got you down? Don't worry: there's a Europe for that, which overnight reported that manufacturing and service PMI in Germany and, don't laugh, France soared far above expectations (German Mfg and Services PMIs of 50.3 and 52.5, up from 48.6 and 50.4, and above expectations of 49.2 and 50.8; French Mfg and Services PMIs of 48.3 and 49.8, up from 47.2 and 48.4 and an 11 and 17 month high, respectively, blowing away expectations of 47.6 and 48.8). The result was a composite Eurozone Manufacturing PMI of 50.1, above 50 for the first time since February of 2012, up from 48.8 and at a 24 month high - reporting the largest monthly increase in output sunce June 2011, as well as a composite Services PMI of 49.6, up from 48.3, and an 18 month high. In other words, European Composite PMI is expanding (above 50) for the first time since January 2012.
Typically we wouldn't note such tabloid gutter trash as the pilot episode to the upcoming reality show "In The Carlos Danger Zone with the Weiners", but since what is going on in the farce that is NYC's mayoral race is just another analogy for America's broken market, broken politics, broken morals and, ultimately, broken society, this deserves at least a few words, so here they are. Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress after being exposed for having a "sexting problem." As it turns out the Democratic mayoral candidate's sexting problem never went away, and continued well after said resignation with at least one young female, with whom he used the alias "Carlos Danger" and likely more. We learn all this because despite simple logic, Weiner decided to not only run for mayor but following today's revelations, will continue his run for mayor as he announced at a just concluded press conference. And the most inexplicable twist in all this: his wife was there beside him, supporting him and urging him on in the mayoral race.
Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's term expires January 31, 2014. While his continuation as Fed chair cannot be ruled out, he has given no public indications that he plans to seek another term and most market participants - as well as many members of Congress in last week's Humphrey-Hawkins hearings - seem to believe he will retire from public service early next year. As Goldman notes, the announcement of the next Chair of the Federal Reserve seems most likely to come in October, though nominations for Fed Chair have been announced as early as five months before the current term expires and as late as less than a month before expiration. There does not appear to be much risk to the Senate's ultimate confirmation of whomever the President chooses, though the Fed nominations have become more politically controversial over the last few years, which is likely to lengthen the confirmation process. Following previous confirmations, financial market volatility has typically increased slightly, though whether this occurs following the upcoming transition will of course depend on who is nominated.
Late on Friday, with little fanfare, the government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reported that the secret FISA court - the "legal" administrators of the NSA's assorted domestic espionage programs - would be granted an extension of its telephone surveillance program. And while so far the US public has shown a stoic resolve in its response to learning more details about how the US government spies on its day after day, things may soon be changing. As McClatchy reports, "Congress is growing increasingly wary of controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance programs, a concern likely to erupt during legislative debate - and perhaps prod legislative action - as early as next week." Among the measures considered are legislation to make those programs less secret, and talk of denying funding and refusing to continue authority for the snooping.
Ron Paul wrote this scathing assessment and prediction about the newly created DHS eleven years ago. He was outraged by the $3 billion price tag. The DHS 2014 budget is $60 billion. Were his warnings about the American people being spied on by our government accurate? Are you safer today than you were in 2002? Do you have more or less liberty and freedom than you had in 2002? Was it worth it?
Everything is going to be just great. Haven't you heard? The stock market is at an all-time high, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that inflation is incredibly low, and the official unemployment rate has been steadily declining since early in Barack Obama's first term. Of course we are being facetious, but this is the kind of talk about the economy that you will hear if you tune in to the mainstream media. They would have us believe that those running things know exactly what they are doing and that very bright days are ahead for America. And it would be wonderful if that was actually true. Unfortunately, as I made exceedingly clear yesterday, the U.S. economy has already been in continual decline for the past decade.
It's a strange and terrible tragedy when a culture forgets its own history and identity. It is even more tragic when that culture becomes deluded enough to think it can replace its heritage from scratch; that it can conjure political and social reformations out of thin air, and abandon the centuries upon centuries of accomplishment and failures of generations past. To think that one can live without the lessons and principles of one's ancestors is a disease – a mental disorder of the highest caliber. It is an insanity that leads to terrifying catastrophe. Loyalty is not and never has been unconditional - loyalty to government most of all. Loyalty to the system is dependent upon the nature of the system and the people who sit at its apex. For those within government today, this could mean a legacy of desperation and sadness, or a legacy of strength, truth, and enduring peace. Time is running out.
While in the past President Obama has been more that willing to throw good money after bad and "refuse to let Detroit go bankrupt," it seems when push comes to shove - under the intense scrutiny of a nation awash in scandal, a drastically bifurcated congress - that despite the imploring from local congressmen for "moar" already - that the savior of the city will not this time ride to the rescue on his white horse. In a statement, the White House said they "are monitoring the situation in Detroit closely," with no hint - just as they have made clear for months - of any sort of Federal bailout. As USA Today notes, the federal government provided federal loans to prevent New York City from declaring bankruptcy during the 1970s. But times have changed; the federal government has debt and financial problems of its own, and a Detroit bailout could run into significant opposition in Congress and cause serious damage in the Muni market.
The "coming economic collapse" has already been happening. You see, the truth is that the economic collapse is not a single event. It has already started, it is happening right now, and it will accelerate during the years ahead. The statistics in this article show very clearly that the U.S. economy has fallen dramatically over the past ten years or so. The mainstream media will continue to scoff knowingly, "An economic collapse is never going to happen. We can consume far more wealth than we produce forever. We can pile up gigantic mountains of debt forever. There is no way that the party is over. In fact, the party is just getting started. Woo-hoo!"Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what is coming. Just open your eyes and look at the facts...
Four years ago he bailed out the city's automotive industry, and a whole lot of union votes. Moments ago, Obama was just called in again, this time to bail out the entire city. "Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leader of the Congressional Urban Caucus, sent a letter to President Obama today calling on the Administration to lend a helping hand to Detroit, Michigan following the news that the city has filed for bankruptcy." So will the president play favorites? Or will the municipal bailout begin where the private sector bailout ended? And since bailouts tend to be contagious, if and when Obama does "lend a helping hand" to Detroit, paid for by all US taxpayers, which city, or rather cities, will demand the same treatment? And how long until other people's money finally runs out?
There is a very simple and elegant solution to declining defense spending, one which has been used time and again in US history when the US government needed to provide the Fed with more securities (i.e. deficit) to monetize: war. According to RT that, or rather its more politicall correct equivalent "kinetic strikes", is what may be just over the horizon. RT reports that President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should use the brute of the US military in Syria during a Thursday morning Senate hearing. Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using “kinetic strikes” in Syria and said "issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government,” the Associated Press reported from Washington.