UPDATE: Argentine President Fernandez claims "unprecedented" media attacks, plans to dissolve Intelligence Service, announces new Agency.
Writing for Haaretz.com, Jewish journalist Damian Pachter – who first reported on the death of the special prosecutor – recounts the intimidation, the sleepless nights, the agent who stalked him and his ultimate decision to head for Israel... "So here they are, the craziest 48 hours of my life..."
As oil prices continue to fall, flirting with the US$40/bbl floor, there has been much talk of cheap oil’s winners and losers. The discussion has focused on big producer and consumer countries, but there may be another contender in the loser category – namely, the Islamic State (IS). In its gambit to become a state, it unwittingly became a hydrocarbon state, and as such has exposed itself to the same economic volatility that plagues other rentier states.
When 90-year-old Saudi King Abdullah was hospitalized two weeks ago, the local stock markets crashed and oil volatility expectations surged as we noted at the time, a new king could do almost anything he wants (including changing oil policy). As Reuters' Mohammad Bazzi explains, Abdullah's 79-year-old half-brother has his own health issues and leaves larger questions over the line of succession in one of the world’s most important oil producers remain unanswered.
Some are thinking that 2015 will be a repeat of 2014 with a few incremental changes, However, the interesting question to ask is, how has the ground shifted in 2014, if indeed it has? To our mind, the really interesting development of 2014 is that the world as a whole (with a few minor exceptions) has become quite lucid on the topic of what the United States, as a global empire, is and stands for. Another major shift we have observed is that a significant percentage of the thinking people in the US no longer trusts their national media. In case somebody out there in the media realm is tired of playing it safe and printing stuff that's only fit for wiping your Kardashian with, here are a some points for you to try to refute...
Einstein advised “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. Yet that’s mostly what I see happening today on many levels.
In Canada, there seems to be a cult belief that housing simply will not correct. They are full on drinking the good old tasting real estate Kool-Aid. Canada has enjoyed many years of the global commodities boom and now finds itself contending with a market full of debt and inflated housing values. Short of oil rising back up to $80 a barrel or higher, Canada is likely going to face some short-term pain. The housing market is due for a correction.
"As a former military analyst myself I can tell you that by now the Russian intelligence community's "indicators and warnings" should be "flashing red" and that in all likelihood Russia is already preparing for war..."
Why will Christmas 2014 be the last Christmas in America? It's simple: declining wages cannot support an ever-expanding mountain of debt. The Federal Reserve has played a game for six long years of lowering the cost of debt (i.e. the rate of interest borrowers must pay), which has enabled stagnating wages to support ever heavier debt loads. There is an endgame in sight to this financial trickery...
A lot of data has been thrown around recently concerning the Bakken shale wells of North Dakota in an attempt to figure out the necessary oil price required to break even on the investment. In order to get a clearer picture of the financial situation in Bakken, it is necessary to develop a financial model of the median Bakken well... If the current oil price of $55 per barrel is used, the initial production rate has to be increased to 800 BPD in order to break even; and the number of wells drilled will be about a quarter of the present number.
Here we go again! Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now officially approved 3% down payment mortgages. Having government entities provide low down payment mortgages to people who can’t afford to buy a house is always a good move. Keynesians like Krugman approve wholeheartedly. The housing market will get a nice boost and the working taxpayers will fund the bad debt through Fannie and Freddie. You own Fannie and Freddie. Everyone wins. In case you forgot, the closing costs to sell a house are usually 8% of the home price. So these home buyers are immediately 5% underwater when they move in... "Sometimes I can’t believe I live in a world this f##ked up. And no one notices and no one cares."
If there's one absolute truism we hear again and again, it's that central banks are desperately trying to create inflation. Perversely, their easy-money policies actually generation the exact opposite: deflation. Financial and risk bubbles don't pop in a vacuum--all the phantom collateral constructed with mal-invested free money for financiers will also implode.
All it takes is a few public beatings to dissuade others from openly considering other factors when researching or discussing climate change.
Any economic sage should conclude that the cure for high taxation is, well, low taxation. Remember our job is not to maximize government revenues in the short run, but to improve living standards in the long run. France would do well to repudiate its native son Piketty, and move to align its policies with the Scotsman Adam Smith, who a long time ago advocated low-broad taxation and light-handed regulation of capital and labour markets.
The scripted quality of the Ferguson events seemed as formally predictable as an 1856 minstrel show, and the parallel is worth reflecting on because the nation appears determined to explode again in some kind of a civil war — bearing in mind Karl Marx’s advisory that “history repeats, first as tragedy, then farce.” As is the case with many show-biz extravaganza’s of our time the script had many authors. A week after the grand jury decision and the riot that followed, the Michael Brown incident is already disappearing down the national memory hole. Why? Mainly because anyway you cut it Michael Brown was a poor candidate for martyrdom.