Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are "doing fine," but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, "it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground." Following Hagel's remarks that the fight will "not be an easy or a brief effort," Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.
Damages from the earthquake that hit the San Francisco area this weekend are estimated to be as high as $4 billion. For many cities around the world, particularly coastal cities situated on the geologically active Ring of Fire, an earthquake could be catastrophically destructive. Bloomberg looks at the five cities that are most vulnerable to earthquakes. As Michael Snyder rather ominously warns, the quake last weekend is just the start of the shaking in California... Scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before "the Big One" hits California.
Americans must realize an important fact: There is no power over us but that which we give away. The original intent of our republic is that the people ARE the government — not a select few elitists handpicked by corporate bankers. Politicians are supposed to be our employees, not a ruling class that sits above the populace. The current growing conflict between the citizenry and the government is igniting exactly because our government does not represent the common man anymore. The government is not “by the people, for the people.” It is a separate entity, representing corrupt and hostile parties. It cannot be changed from within.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border (Reuters)
- Hunt for Foley’s Killer Spans Old Policing and Tech Tools (BBG)
- U.S. Probe Examines GM Lawyers (WSJ)
- Argentina accuses U.S. Judge Griesa of "imperialist" attitude (Reuters)
- Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm (Reuters)
- Geneva Banks Break 200-Year Silence to Unveil Earnings (BBG)
- Richest Jailed Putin Foe Says Ukraine Fears Sparked Prosecution (BBG)
- Disclosure of Failed Attempt to Rescue James Foley Is Criticized (WSJ)
- Execution of U.S. journalist reveals the changing business of war coverage (Reuters)
As we previously commented, when scientists start using phrases such as "the worst drought" and "as bad as you can imagine" to describe what is going on in the western half of the country, you know that things are bad. However, in recent weeks the dreadful situation in California has gone from bad to catastrophic as the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that more than half of the state is now in experiencing 'exceptional' drought, the most severe category available. And most of the state – 81% – currently has one of the two most intense levels of drought.
If yesterday's selloff catalysts were largely obvious, if long overdue, in the form of the record collapse of Espirito Santo coupled with the Argentina default, German companies warning vocally about Russian exposure, the ongoing geopolitical escalations, and topped off by a labor costs rising and concerns this can accelerate a hiking cycle, overnight's latest dump, which started in Europe and has carried over into US futures is less easily explained although yet another weak European PMI print across the board probably didn't help. However, one can hardly blame largely unreliable "soft data" for what is rapidly becoming the biggest selloff in months and in reality what the market may be worried about is today's payroll number, due out in 90 minutes, which could lead to big Treasury jitters if it comes above the 230K expected: in fact, today is one of those days when horrible news would surely be great news for the momentum algos. Still, with futures down 0.6% at last check, it is worth noting that Treasurys are barely changed, as the great unrotation from stocks into bonds picks up and hence the great irony of any rate initiated sell off: should rates spike on growth/inflation concern, the concurrent equity selloff will once again push rates lower, and so on ad inf. Ain't central planning grand?
Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden? Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.
A recent study from Cornell University finds a probable link between drilling activity and an increased frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Published in the journal Science, the study indicates that the practice of injecting millions of gallons of wastewater underground after a well is hydraulically fractured may increase the occurrence of earthquakes. Between 1967 and 2000, there was an average of 21 earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 3.0 – considered strong enough to be noticed - in Oklahoma. Last year there were over a hundred, and this year there have been more than 200.
Risk assets have started the week off on a slightly softer footing but overall volumes are fairly low given the quiet Friday session last week and with the lack of any major weekend headlines. Equity bourses are down between 25-50bp on the day paced by the Nikkei (-0.4%). In China, a number of railway construction stocks are up 3-4% after reports that China Railway Corp will buy around 300 sets of high speed trains and may potentially launch 14 news railway construction projects soon as part of national investment plans.
- Must be an early winter: Housing Falters as Forecasters See U.S. Sales Dropping (BBG)
- China Property Failures Seen as $33 Billion in Trusts Due (BBG)
- Polish Prime Minister Says Recording Scandal May Trigger Early Election (WSJ)
- Iraqi forces ready push after Obama offers advisers (Reuters)
- Priorities: U.S. cuts aid to Uganda, cancels military exercise over anti-gay law (Reuters)
- Kurds' Takeover of Iraqi City of Kirkuk Strengthens Their Hand (WSJ)
- U.S. says government lab workers possibly exposed to anthrax (Reuters)
- Netflix Up 21% With Tesla: The best U.S. stocks this month are ones that just a few months ago were the biggest losers (BBG)
- Architects of Iraq Invasion Return to Blame Obama (BBG)
- Nato claims Moscow funding anti-fracking groups (FT)
- Lawmakers Skeptical GM Bosses Were Unaware of Defect (WSJ)
- Corinthian Colleges Warns of Possible Shutdown (WSJ)
- Taiwan's Quanta to start mass production of Apple's smartwatch in July (Reuters)
The slaughterhouse that Iraq has become in the past week is the stuff that nightmares are made of. And this is just the beginning. Here's why...
"When an activist movement holds the moral high ground against a repressive establishment power structure, the establishment’s primary recourse is to target the character of its principles. The secondary recourse is direct confrontation. If a dissenting organization is not mindlessly vicious in its methods, then simply make it 'appear' vicious. If it is not hateful in its rhetoric, then artificially tie it to people who are. And if a government really needs to kick-start a crackdown, it can engineer its own man-made calamities and blame the groups that most threaten its authority."
It’s been obvious for quite some time that the so-called “war on terror” is nothing more than a fear-mongering induced power grab; a convenient excuse to strip the citizenry of its civil liberties and humanity. Many commentators, including myself, have predicted for years that the entire counter-terror juggernaut that has been constructed post-9/11 would be ultimately redirected upon the domestic population. Snowden’s heroic whistleblowing has already proven without a doubt that the government spy apparatus (along with tech company complicity) has been zeroed in on the domestic population for quite some time, but is the situation about to escalate? Are the feds so fearful of their own people, they are about to focus all their counter-terror energy on U.S. citizens? It appears so.
When American explorers first traveled through north Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, they referred to it as "the Great American Desert" and they doubted that anyone would ever be able to farm it. But as history has shown, when that area gets plenty of precipitation the farming is actually quite good. Unfortunately, the region is now in the midst of a devastating multi-year drought which never seems to end. Right now, 56 percent of Texas, 64 percent of Oklahoma and 80 percent of Kansas are experiencing "severe drought", and the long range forecast for this upcoming summer is not good. In fact, some areas in the region are already drier than they were during the worst times of the 1930s.
The New Normal In One Sentence: "In The US Equity Market, The Worse A Company’s Finances, The Better It’s Doing"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/27/2014 11:00 -0400
It was just last Friday when we updated our list of the most hated, i.e., most shorted, stocks which are so critical in the New Normal because as we have reported constantly since 2012, going long the most shorted names remains the best alpha-generating strategy, outperforming the broader market by orders of magnitude. Today, it is Bloomberg's turn to recap just how broken the market is with an article that highlights the "balance sheet bombs" rallying by 94%. The lede: "In the U.S. equity market, the worse a company’s finances, the better it’s doing." Because there is nothing like rewarding failure and capital misallocation to promote economic growth and employment recovery.