Another day, another fumble by the Obama administration (intentional or not). 11 years after former CIA operative Valerie Plame was deliberately exposed by the Bush administration as the US officials tried to apply pressure on her husband, an American diplomat criticizing the US invasion to Iraq; the Obama Administration's press service unwittingly put the real name of the CIA's top spy in Afghanistan on the 'pool report' distributed to over 6,000 journalists. The Washington Post were the first to discover the FUBAR and while the CIA and White House had 'no comment', they warned that the officer and his family could be at risk if the name were published.
It is not too early to ask how the present US business cycle expansion, already more than five years old, will end. The history of the last great US monetary experiment in “quantitative easing” (QE) from 1934-7 suggests that the end could be violent. Autumn 1937 featured one of the largest New York stock market crashes ever accompanied by the descent of the US economy into the notorious Roosevelt Recession. As we noted previously - it's never different this time...
The teleprompter is still hot from all the Obama spit unleashed in his latest sincerely passionate denial that his administration knew anything, anything at all, about what is merely the latest scandal to rock the president, this time surrounding the Veterans Affairs fiasco, and already a brand new scandal is taking shape, this one Obama however will not be able to sweep as easily under the rug. The LA Times reports that the "Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money." In other words, yet another taxpayer funded bailout.
"The CIA organised a fake vaccination program in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader’s family," The Guradian reports. Now, amid a deadly backlash again vaccinations and a resurgence of polio in Pakistan, the White House has promised that the CIA will never again use an immunization campaign as a tool of spycraft. While this is horrible in its own right, there is a much bigger story here. The fact that the United States holds no claim to any sort of moral high ground whatsoever.
A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass - at the expense of the United States.
Not much going on tonight, except for the non-coupy martial law announcement in Thailand where the government is said to still be in charge of everything except for martial law decisions taken by the army of course, which in turn is in charge of everything else apparently including the central bank which intervened so extensively in the market, the Baht was barely changed at one point. There was also news of explosions and clashes in Benghazi but as everyone knows, what difference does Libya make at this, or any other, point. Additionally overnight there were reports that the cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in east Ukraine were being shelled by the Ukraine army but that too barely registered as bullish for the USDJPY (which in now traditional fashion ramped during the US day session then sold off during Asia hours).
"Conflict Between China And Vietnam Is Imminent" - China Piles Troops, Tanks, Artillery And APCs Near Vietnam BorderSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/19/2014 20:46 -0400
Earlier today, Putin did his usual "we are pulling our forces away from the Ukraine border" gambit (sure he is... and is replacing them with a massive airforce drill), and as usual the algos fell for it, after European stocks suddenly surged out of nowhere on the now quite generic bounce catalyst, but what is shaping up as a far more dangerous escalation is what China is doing next to its border with Vietnam, where as reported previously protesters destroyed Chinese factories and killed Chinese civilians in retaliation over yet another maritime territorial spat. According to the Epoch Times, "troops, tanks, trucks, artillery, and armored personnel carriers of China’s military were seen heading to the Vietnamese border on May 16 and 17, according to photographs taken by by residents near the border."
Given the surge in India's stock market, echoing the reflexive pro-business exuberance of last year's Japanese stock market, the similarities between India's newly-elected PM Narendra Modi and Japan's Shinzo Abe are coming thick and fast... some good (pro-business), some bad (potential dislike of the US) and some potentially ugly (strong nationalist tendencies).
One man stands in its way. No, not President Obama, but the billionaire environmentalist Thomas Steyer. How much did the Senate cost? With the dangled $100 million divided by 15 hours, the Senate was for sale at approximately $6 million an hour. Political commentators are openly speculating on what Obama will cost.
In a somewhat stunningly hypocritical step for a nation that seems so hell-bent on proclaiming Russia's provactive actions as tantamount to World War over Ukraine, the White House has issued a statement "taking no position" on China's "disputes" in the China Seas...
- *BIDEN MEETS CHINESE ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF FANG AT WHITE HOUSE
- *BIDEN SAYS U.S. TAKES NO POSITION ON TERRITORY CLAIMS AT ISSUE
- *BIDEN SAYS NATIONS SHOULD AVOID PROVOCATIVE STEPS IN DISPUTES
So - the Chinese undertook "provacative actions" into the "disputed territory" of another sovereign (allied) nation... and the US retaliates with no sanctions, no damnation, no hellfire? Good to know who your friends are...
NSA Routinely Shares Raw Intelligence Data With Israel WITHOUT First Sifting It To Remove Information About US Citizens
In his first major speech since The White House got their 'flexible' man in to manage the GSEs, Mel Watt outlined his strategic plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Predicated on the maintenance of liquidity, competition, and resilience of the national housing finance market, Watt's remarkably blind to the past proposal will, as CNBC's Rick Santelli warns, create Subprime 2.0. Easing lending standards, not lowering limits, and raising the possibility of principal reduction seems to do anything but reduce taxpayer risk and merely creates more perverse incentives. Santelli steams, as the orthodox monetary policy channel of the last 30 years continues to be pumped ever higher, "immense fiscal and monetary stimulus has gotten us nowhere." As we suspect Rich might have concluded... Watt the fuck!? "if you believe any of this, you have to be crazy after what we've been through."
Yesterday we were the first to report that none other than Vice President Joe Biden's son was joining the board of Ukraine's largest gas producer. It appears to have signaled peak crony capitalist as the new went viral with almost complete disdain. There was one defender though... as The Washington Examiner reports, The White House brushed off questions about any ethical issues as Jay Carney snapped "Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice-president or president."
Who's REALLY In Charge?
America Now Backs Al Qaeda and Nazis