Last week, when President Obama made his trip to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, he claimed that "America's war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end." This turned out to be the greatest applause line of his speech. With his assertion, Obama, in effect, declared himself the hero of the Afghan war -- the one who put an end to that nightmare. But what Obama failed to mention was that it was his war, and that nothing but unattractive scenarios lie ahead for that war-torn state.
As the U.S. Greater Depression progresses, depicted most vividly in the collapse in the “civilian participation rate” (the number of people working in the economy) and the “velocity of money” (the heartbeat of the economy) - indicating an economy which is not merely in decline, but rather is being sucked downward in a terminal (and accelerating) death-spiral. There is another even more concerning statistic: U.S. “gasoline consumption” – as measured by the U.S. EIA itself – has plummeted by nearly 75%, from its all-time peak in July of 1998. A near-75% collapse in U.S. gasoline consumption has occurred in little more than 15 years... "recovery"
Using espionage for gain in negotiations is an age-old tactic; but are the norms of 'appropriate' espionage changing?
Despite the plethora of talking heads proclaiming credit markets as awesomely supportive of stocks - High-Yield bond spreads are flashing red... But that's not stopping investors piling into the worst of the worst. As Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes, in an all too reminiscent scene from 2007 (MBIA CDS traded 11bps at one point then remember), investors have been buying up bonds with a triple-C-rating en masse.
The world is overpopulated. The street are clogged, traffic is in a snarl, and people are living – both figuratively and literally – right on top of each other. There’s hardly enough room to swing a cat these days, right? Wrong.
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.
The political situation in Belgium - as Europe heads into elections - could well be the writing on the wall for every European country. Economists and politicians love to juggle with figures in the trees so you can not see the forest. Economics is not always easy, but we have noticed that you can do it with an island of 100 people to make it understandable. Let's call this island "Rainbowland"... as we show below, you do not have to be a genius to realize that a country such as " Rainbowland" can not survive in reality.
Over a third of the global population is now overweight, and the percentages are increasing. Some neuroscientists have suggested that the rise of so-called "hyperpalatable foods" may partially explain the unprecedented rates of obesity.
There is no shortage of theories or writings related to the rise of the Third Reich and the subsequent Holocaust. Students of history as well as Second Amendment enthusiasts will find this a fascinating book and will find parallels between gun prohibition in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany, and attempts to prohibit types of gun ownership and implement other forms of gun prohibition in the United States today. Less government regulation and a tradition of rejecting tyranny could have led to a different outcome in Germany. Instead, systematic creation and manipulation of firearms registration and regulations, coupled with the decimation of individual citizen’s rights, enabled Hitler’s dictatorship and the slaughter of millions of innocent Jews and citizens of Nazi-occupied countries, as well as tens of thousands of Germans. It remains for all of us to wonder what might have been had people refused to register their firearms. Indeed, we should all take note and never forget.
There's not much good news for housing these days. For a little while, the Fed's suppression of interest rates juiced housing enough to distract Americans from weak job creation and stagnant real wages. Don't have a job? No problem! Just borrow against the appreciation of your house to feed your family. But Yellen's interest rate wand looks to be out of magic. The government had a pipe dream of white picket fences for everyone. But Americans can't refinance their way to wealth. Especially in the Greater Depression.
The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. So why is this happening? Well, the truth is that there are a lot of reasons why so many young people are choosing not to get married today. One big reason is money. Young adults in the U.S. are really struggling to find good jobs, and many are hesitant to take a big step like marriage without achieving a certain level of financial security first. And as you will see below, many young adults (especially women) do not even want to date someone that is not employed. In this harsh economic environment, money makes a big difference in the world of romance.
...What’s left for the Empire of Chaos is to pray for chaos to keep spreading across Ukraine, thus sapping Moscow’s energy. And all this because the Washington establishment is absolutely terrified of an emerging power in Eurasia. Not one, but two – Russia and China. Worse: strategically aligned. Worse still: bent on integrating Asia and Europe. So feel free to picture a bunch of Washington angry old men hissing like juvenile delinquents: “I don’t like you. I don’t want to talk to you. I want you to die.”
Despite popular belief, very few things in our world are exactly what they seem. That which is painted as righteous is often evil. That which is painted as kind is often malicious. That which is painted as simple is often complex. That which is painted as complex often ends up being disturbingly two dimensional. Regardless, if a person is willing to look only at the immediate surface of a thing, he will never understand the content of the thing. This fact is nowhere more evident than in the growing “tensions” between the elites of the West and the elites of the East over the crisis in Ukraine. The centralization of power is best achieved during moments of bewildering calamity. The conjuring of crises is one of the oldest methods of elitist dominance. Not only can they confuse and frighten the masses into malleability, but they can also ride to the public’s rescue as heroes and saviors later on. The Hegelian dialectic is the mainstay of tyrants.
Just when it seemed like investors might have lost some of their appetite for initial public offerings of companies that lose money . . . yeah, right. Papa Murphy's Holdings Inc. priced its IPO today at $11 a share. The stock closed up a nickel. We've grown accustomed to seeing IPOs by profitless technology companies. But this is a pizza chain that had net losses of $606,000 in 2011, $2.1 million in 2012 and $2.6 million in 2013. Now it has a stock-market value of about $187 million, or about 2.3 times its revenue last year... "I can somewhat understand the appeal of speculating on some unproven Internet company that loses money but promises to change the world. But a 33-year-old pizza chain? Come on."
A perfect sign of the times is the unexpected success of a 700-page economics text called Capital in the 21st Century by French college professor Thomas Piketty reigniting the popularity of Marx's view of the world. Marx’s critique of the modern world was right-on, and the first half of his scenario is playing out just as he predicted; unfortunately, he went on to predict that the revolt of the 99% would result in a “dictatorship of the proletariat” in which workers of the world abolished private property and ran things so wisely that government would just fade away... This is of course crazy, and when it was tried in the 20th century it failed with catastrophic consequences for the Soviet Union, China, and a long list of smaller but no less tragic countries. The result: brutal dictatorships and the eventual dismissal of the Marxist ideas on which those societies are founded. Now the challenge is devising a monetary/financial reset that brings the 99% back into the game without producing a stagnant dictatorship. It will help if we understand why it’s happening.