Where’s Congress? That’s the question that should haunt the American people in the wake of President Obama’s apparent decision to get their country into another Mideast war. In the long history of the American experience, matters of war and peace have always been hotly debated. And those debates traditionally have been most intense and concentrated in Congress. Now we have a president who declares in word and deed that war decisions, as artificially defined by him as something short of actual war, are exclusively within his constitutional domain. And we have a Congress that shows no serious inclination to challenge that claim of prerogative and power. This is a very serious - and potentially calamitous - development in American history.
Less than a month ago, potash stocks around the world cratered overnight following news that Russian potash producer OAO Uralkali announced its decision to break up a 'marketing venture' that controlled around 43% of global potash exports in the process ending the cartel that many US fertilized companies enjoyed for years. The end of the cartel was also a big hit for former partner Belarusian Potash Company (BPS) and the host nation Belarus, a country of 9.5 million people, where revenue from its potash industry accounts for almost 20 percent of the budget. Everyone, Goldman Sachs, included were confounded by the move: Such behavior by Belaruskali in a structurally oversupplied potash industry should push for stricter competition for end customers and result in a significant swift decline in pricing... " What was most surprising is that Uralkali would voluntarily engage in this move, knowing full well that the Belarus government would retaliate. The only question is how severely. Turns out the answer is "very."
The country which over the past decade is most synonymous with "financial innovation" of the less than desirable kind, such as hyperinflation, complete currency and economic collapse and wholesale property confiscation, has just taken financial central-planning brilliance to the next level and following dictator Robert Mugabe's "reelection" has announced plans to open a new and "racially exclusive" stock exchange, allowing blacks alone to trade. And not trade just anything, but shares of recently nationalized foreign companies, most of which are South African-owned miners. Or rather were, because following the most recent nationalization round, Zimbabwe would take a 51% stake in all major foreign-owned companies valued at over $7 billion. No compensation will be paid.
The man who in the first months of his reign took over the bankruptcy process turning it over on its head to benefit the state over centuries of established creditor rights (with GM, Chrysler and a whole lot of union votes), and who defined his entire first term by nationalizing the US healthcare system, who personally determined the cutoff for "wealth" at $250,000 per year (with the corresponding tax hike "benefits" to go with it), not to mention inheriting the George W. Bush personal surveillance apparatus and taking the nationalization of individual rights and liberties to a whole new level, has just decided to branch out and subordinate yet another two birds of distributed, efficient, global decision-making to his will: trade and patent law.
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
Gold owners are almost universally familiar with the story of Franklin Roosevelt criminalizing the ownership of gold back in 1933. The term gold ‘nationalization’ is often thrown around. But remember, with nationalization, it’s the state that takes control of an asset. Executive Order 6012 took assets from private individuals, and then gave those assets to a private company – the Federal Reserve. This isn’t nationalization. It’s just theft. You’d think that the entire nation would have been in an uproar. But surprisingly, this wasn’t the case. History shows that the likelihood of a government pillaging its citizens’ wealth is directly proportional to that government’s fiscal health.
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.
Fractional reserve banking is unlike most other businesses. It's not just because its product is money. It's because banks can manufacture their product out of thin air. Under the bygone rules of free market capitalism, only one thing kept banks from creating an infinite amount of money, and that was fear of failure. Periodic bank failures remind depositors of the connection between risk and reward. What is not widely appreciated is that the ensuing government bailouts allowed an underlying shadow banking system to not only survive but grow even larger. To the frustration of Keynesians, and despite an unprecedented Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Federal Reserve, conventional commercial banks have broken with custom and have amassed almost $2 trillion in excess reserves they are reluctant to lend as they scramble to digest all the bad loans still on their books. So most of the money manufactured today is actually being created by the shadow banks. But shadow banks do not generally make commercial loans. Rather, they use the money they manufacture to fund proprietary trading operations in repos and derivatives. No one knows when the bubble will pop, but when it does a donnybrook is going to break out over that thin wedge of collateral whose ownership is spread across counterparties around the world, each looking for relief from their own judges, politicians, bureaucrats, and taxpayers.
- Record unemployment, low inflation underline Europe's pain (Reuters)
- The ponzi gets bigger and bigger: Spanish banks up sovereign bond holdings by more than 10% (FT)
- California Lawmakers Turn Down Moratorium on Fracking (BBG)
- China’s Growing Ranks of Elderly Beset by Depression, Study Says (BBG)
- Tokyo Prepares for a Once-in-200-Year Flood to Top Sandy (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Cutting Correlation Unit Added $50 Billion (BBG)
- IMF warns over yen weakness (FT)
- Rising radioactive spills leave Fukushima fishermen floundering (Reuters)
- India records slowest growth in a decade (FT)
Argentina's president Kirchner, a keen observer of recent events in Cyprus, has figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone, namely attempt to put an end to tax evasion, and fund the capex of the recently nationalized state oil company YPF (now that its former owner, Spainish Repsol, is less than keen to keep investing in its former Argentine subsidiary). To do that she will present the local tax-evading population (pretty much anyone with any disposable income and savings) with a simple choice: buy a 4% bond to fund YPF "growth" or go to prison.
The streets of Buenos Aires are full of revolting Argentinians this evening as they protest President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's (CFdK) plans to 'increase' state control of the court system. CFdK's proposal looks to limit the judicial system's ability to bring actions against the state, as Bloomberg reports, leaving citizens and companies unprotected against state actions affecting their finance or assets (i.e. mass nationalization or confiscation). As the images below show, the people are angry, exclaiming "No to impunity." CFdK's actions follow previous attempts to take action against companies have failed or taken too long; but acting behind a facade of "increasing democracy and transparency," it appears her intent is clear as the bankrupt nation struggles on. "The reform will do great damage," warned one business leader, adding that limiting these injunctions, "undermines individual's rights and freedom."
I Illustrate How The Irish Banking Cancer Spreads To The UK Taxpayer And Metastasizes Through US Markets!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/12/2013 10:45 -0500
And you thought this would stay in Ireland and Cyprus right? Keep hope alive. RBS bailout per UK taxpayer = £1,414 or €1,654 or $2,177. but they didn't tell you everything, did they?
It is hard to make sense of the markets these days. For instance, gold showed no support while the geopolitical situation in Asia deteriorated, Japan embarked in the mother of all monetization programs, and a member nation of what is supposed to be a monetary union was imposed controls on the movement of capital. Or take the case of the Euro, which jumped from $1.2750 to $1.2950 on the day of one of the most confusing and embarrassing press conferences the president of its central bank ever gave. However, in a faraway land, where there is no shadow banking, leverage or even capital markets, economic fundamentals still hold, which can help us, inhabitants of the developed world, visualize a dynamics lost in the shelves of our collective memory. The land we are referring to is Argentina, but not Argentina of 2001. Today, we want to write about Argentina of 2013, and no, we will not discuss their legal battles with Mr. Singer.
Witches Brew: Part 4 - Reality Bites
- The Specter of Things to Come
The road to ruin is on plain display and the playbook is easily seen at this juncture. Let’s take a look at how that playbook will unfold. Contrary to popular outrage of the SOLUTION being IMPOSED it is the correct one once the insured depositors where PROTECTED. In this edition the elites suffered FIRST followed by the private sector depositors who foolishly believed false BALANCE sheets which were POLITICALLY CORRECT but PRACTICALLY incorrect fictions approved by fiduciarily (regulations and regulators allowed ONGOING insolvent operations rather than protect the public by ending and prohibiting them) challenged governments (work for the banks and crony capitalists not for the public at large).
"This is the nationalization of the elite," is how one ex-Kremlin-ite described Putin's new policy. "For [years], the elite saw Russia as a hunting ground - they would keep their money and live somewhere else," but no more, as the FT reports, Putin has moved to inject some moral fibre into the country’s top-level bureaucrats and state employees by giving them a three-month deadline to close their foreign bank accounts and divest themselves of offshore assets – or face the sack. "There is a sort of algorithm [in Russia] for civil servants. You stash a lot of money abroad, send your family to live there, and then when you retire, you join them. This new legislation will put a question mark next to the career plan of a generation of top-level people." Putin's new decree makes it clear, "There are no untouchables and there cannot be any."