Some events make us question in which of the two we might actually be living in: what if it was some version of Bizarro?
The somewhat farcical journey home from Europe for Secretary of State John Kerry continues. As we noted previously, after breaking his leg on an arbidged Tour de France'-esque accident in which he hit a curb, he was flown to Geneva in a helicopter where he was "stable and never lost consciousness," which makes sense (unless as many have suggested his brain lies considerably lower in his body than most humans). But then the escapade got beyond unreal as The White House sent a massive "specially-equipped" C-17 airplane (used to carrying over 100 combat troops and equipment into battle) to fly him to Boston for surgery. We assume he is covered by Obamacare, since the cost of this rescue mission - assuming roughly 10 hours flight-time - is at least $250,000... and all to avoid an Iran deadline no one expects to meet...
"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation... Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies including the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton... And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock."
Billionaire Jeff Greene - who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week - has some words of wisdom for the average American: "America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."
Having opened more than a few eyes to the rise of extreme wealth among Chinese billionaire's children in America, particularly Southern California, we thought the following brief clip would provide some more color on the the so-called "Chinese Beverly Hills". Welcome to Arcadia - also known as "Mistress City" - where uber-wealthy Chinese hide their money, kids, and dalliances overseas to escape the corruption probes and controls of their home nations...
"Give me your corrupt, your crony, your oligarch masses yearning to launder money free,
The criminal masterminds of your destroyed environment and police state.
Send these, the pampered, the private jet setter to me, I open my hands to your golden yuan."
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says in an interview with Der Spiegel that there currently is an urgent need for a new world order, but its coming into being will be long and complicated. "There is the Chinese view, the Islamic view, the Western view and, to some extent, the Russian view. And they really are not always compatible," he warns, adding that introducing anti-Russian sanctions was a mistake. He added that Ukraine should not hope to become a member of NATO in the foreseeable future, as the alliance will never vote unanimously for the accession of Ukraine.
Today is a 'beautiful day' for U2's front-man Bono as a 'miracle' saved him from what could easily have become 'Wednesday bloody Wednesday' for him and his friends as they flew from Dublin to Berlin. As NBC News reports, Bono had a mid-air scare on Wednesday when the rear door of his private jet plummeted at least 15,000 feet to the ground. The pilots said they noticed a rumble similar to turbulence during a right-hand turn on approach, but that they felt no major change in how the plane was flying even as luggage and door fell to earth... The search for the missing door continues but investigators were overheard saying they 'still hadn't found what they're looking for'.
The conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Total SA’s chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, started the second the news broke of his death. One has better odds of being struck by lightning at an airport then a snow plow, or any other ground support vehicles hitting a plane and killing all inside the plane. Did this direct threat to the petrodollar make this “true friend of Russia” - as Putin called de Margerie - some very powerful and dangerous enemies amongst the power that be, whether in the French government, the EU, or the US? How many other Western executives who dare to help Russia bypass sanctions - and turn it into an energy powerhouse - will die under suspicious circumstances?
- Russia Loses Oil Ally in De Margerie After Moscow Crash (BBG)
- Austria's Erste denies report it has failed stress tests (Reuters)
- Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on (Reuters)
- Companies Try to Escape Health Law’s Penalties (WSJ)
- Mud and Loathing on Russia-Ukraine Border (BBG)
- NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information (Reuters)
- Lower Oil Prices Seen Easing Japan’s Trade Pain (WSJ)
- Michigan becomes 5th U.S. state to thwart direct Tesla car sales (Reuters)
- Maglev Train Seen Making Washington-to-Baltimore Trip at 311 MPH (BBG)
A permanently high plateau of stock prices is a marvelous innovation: you can practically set your watch to the steady tick of new all-time highs, and all you need to plan your retirement or cash-out of your stock options is a ruler and a pencil--just extend the price line as far forward as you want, and calculate your wealth. The only downside of this permanently high plateau of stock prices is that it eliminates the need for the financial punditry and the workforce of money managers. With bearish influences and volatility both eradicated, there is nothing left to talk about except the upward slope of the permanent plateau.
Amid all the global geopolitical tensions - which the stock market apparently believes are all fixed now - news that the motorcade of a Saudi prince was attacked in Paris by Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen takes on more relevance than it normally would. The attackers stole 250,000 Euros in cash and more crucially - "sensitive documents." No suspects have been apprehended and to make matters more complex, local police noted "It's quite an unusual attack. They were obviously well-informed. It's true that it's quite a rare way of operating."
UPDATE: *BRAZIL PRES. CANDIDATE CAMPOS DIES IN PLANE CRASH: GLOBONEWS
Brazil's stock market is reeling this morning as rumors and now news hit that Brazilian Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was on board a private jet that crashed in the city of Santos. Polls had put Mr. Campos head-to-head with Ms. Rousseff (but behind Ms. Silva). A police official in Santos said there were "certainly" fatalities in the crash, but could not say how many or provide any additional information. Campos had run on a platform of less government intervention and proposed a bill to ensure central bank indpendence.
Russia has been quiet, too quiet, since the EU and US unleashed their latest set of sanctions. However, as military drills and troop build-ups occur on Ukraine's borders, Reuters reports that Russian Prime Minister Medvedev is considering a significant retaliation, "any unfriendly measures by the EU, including those in the area of air transportation, we’ll be studied and won’t remain without a response." Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying the foreign and transport ministries were discussing possible action which might force EU airlines into long and costly detours and put them at a disadvantage to Asian rivals by restricting or banning European airlines from flying over Siberia on busy Asian routes. Costs? Over $1.3bn for every months for Lufthansa, BA, and Air France...