Still living with the misguided idea that the bulk of government spending goes to defense? Wrong. As the just released Treasury refunding presentation shows, for yet another year in a row, the bulk of government outlays was for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security, both amounting to just shy of $900 billion in 2013, a sizable increase compared to the prior year. Defense spending? It declined once again to just over $600 billion, as did Interest outlays, which net of the Fed's remittances on interest payments, declined from under $500 billion to just about $400 billion in the past year.
Tyranny, even when discussing villains like Hitler, Mao and Stalin, does not have a single pedigree. Tyranny is a process, rarely gained via force until the defense mechanism of the host is destroyed. Hitler took seed in the ideas of Otto von Bismarck which preceded him by more than half a century. The process is well underway in America.
Back in September we, somewhat naively, penned "US Totalitarianism Loses Major Battle As Judge Permanently Blocks NDAA's Military Detention Provision" in which we said that "the war against the true totalitarian terror won a decisive battle." Sadly, the "victory" lasted for about 10 months. Today, US totalitarianism strikes back with a vengeance.
- U.S. APPEALS COURT THROWS OUT PERMANENT INJUNCTION THAT HAD LIMITED U.S. GOVERNMENT'S USE OF INDEFINITE MILITARY DETENTION -- COURT RULING
In other words, every legal decision will be binding... until Obama's cronies in the 13 circuit courts of the appellate system get a tap on the shoulder. And good luck with the SCOTUS.
If the constitutional scholar was hoping he would quietly avoid a major showdown over the constitutionality of the biggest spying scandal since Nixon (whether legal or not remains to be determined) and which would likely have led to an early POTUS retirement if current president was republican, the ACLU just slammed the door shut on the possibility. Moments ago, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its "dragnet" collection of logs of domestic phone calls, contending that the once-secret program is illegal and asking a judge to both stop it and order the records purged. And, as the NYT reports, "the lawsuit, filed in New York, could set up an eventual Supreme Court test." Only once that happens it will be too bad that InTrade is no longer available, to take the other side of a trade that believes the SCOTUS will for once do the right thing and preserve the constitution when everyone knows the decision to formally enact a Big Brother state will pass along political party lines and America will officially become the country that for 5 decades, at least superficially, it was waging "cold war" against.
Anonymous Hacks Department Of Justice, Threatens To Release Secret DOJ Information, Warns "There Will Be Chaos"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2013 12:19 -0500
Nearly two years ago, the hacktivist group Anonymous made waves around the fringes of financial media by announcing "Operation Empire State Rebelion" whose goal was to "engage in a relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience until Ben Bernanke steps down and the Primary Dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy effective immediately." Needless to say nothing came out of it, and OperationESR was promptly forgotten as Anonymous had apparently met its match in the face of the Fed and the Primary Dealers. Now, in the aftermath of the Aaron Swartz suicide which has put the entire hacking community on high alert, Anonymous is back with yet another campaign, this one titled "Operation Last Resort", which was revealed to the public when Anonymous took control of the website for the the US Sentencing Commission for nearly one full day from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening, using it as a venue from which to distribute a massive 1.3 GB encrypted file titled Warhead-US-DOJ-LEA-2013.AES256 which may contain secret information sourced from the Department of Justice (hence the files contained are named after SCOTUS justices) and which Anonymous threatens to release unless massive reforms take place at the DOJ - reforms which will certainly never see the light of day, meaning Anonymous will have no choice but to make the contents of said file public.
Just as the ever soaring Argentina default swaps indicated that a technical default for the Latin American country - one which would eventually morph into a second full blown default in a decade - was all but inevitable (and previews extensively here), the twisting and turning multi-year story of Argentina vs its "vulture" holdout creditors got its latest dramatic installment last night. Shortly after market close, the Second Circuit court of appeals once again override last week's critical order by Judge Griesa that Argentina promptly pay everyone or face monetary exclusions, lumping together any and all agents who facilitated the ongoing isolation of the holdout hedge funds from the broader group which in Griesa's view had pari passu status throughout.
The GDP of Nicaragua: $6.4 billion; the cost of the US presidential election to the two candidates: $6 billion, or $20 in petty cash per every US man, woman and child. Some things Wall Street (with Diebold's help) can buy (because no matter which candidate is left standing after the recount and the legal challenge to the SCOTUS, Wall Street again wins). For everything else, there's BernankeCard.
Who cares about healthcare? Thanks to the SCOTUS decision, Little Suzie Newsykins decided on her Summer job working for Democracy and 'Free-Speech' as there are plenty of jobs there. Free-speech is such a growth industry, "its on track to hit two billion 'speech-units' this campaign". The delightful young lady in this brief cartoon got her dream summer job because corporations are people; money is free-speech; and some people have more free-speech than others.
While we are still collecting various public polling results showing popular sentiment in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's surprising Obamacare ruling last week, the first results out of Rasmussen show that if Judge John Roberts' goal was to somehow restory credibility in the supreme judicial entity, following his alleged flip flopping on the ACA, whereby he passed the Individual Mandate in a format never intended by the Obama administration, he has failed. From Rasmussen: "A week ago, 36% said the court was doing a good or an excellent job. That’s down to 33% today. However, the big change is a rise in negative perceptions. Today, 28% say the Supreme Court is doing a poor job. That’s up 11 points over the past week."
With so much hollow and pointless discussion over the past week, month and year over such fundamentally trivial things as who will inject more money faster, who will be bailed out first, who will go back to their own currency before everyone else, it is easy to forget that reality actually matters. And the reality is not who has their CTRL-P macro stuck, but what does the future of the world truly hold when one sidesteps such idiotic flights of fancy that debt may be cured with more debt. In order to completely change the topic from what has become trivial and generic - i.e., the various encroaching forms of central planning: Fed, SCOTUS, G-8 through G-20; European Finance Ministers, and now, with the ESM passing German parliament, the German Constitutional Court, we focus on something few have discussed, yet all have a morbid fascination with: Robots... And China. And why the combination of the two just may be the most dangerous thing for China's several hundred million strong migrant labor force, which, on the margin may just be the deciding factor defining the engine of global growth for the next decade. Oh, and did we mention global structural unemployment which will only get worse as increasing automation leaves more and more millions collecting their 99 weeks of extended unemployment benefits.
... Nothing more (or less) than NYSE short interest as of June 15 (at 14.7 billion shares) soaring to the highest since October 2011, just before the mega ramp on the previously mentioned October 26, 2011 Greek "Bailout" started on another total non-event as history would show (as would be the ensuing global central bank interventions, and LTROs 1+2). This is also tied for the 3rd highest short interest since July of 2009. Which brings us to the following question: we know that over the past month the only stock "market" catalysts have been small groups of "educated" central-planners: the Fed, SCOTUS, and Eurocrats, with the only upside catalyst being taxpayer cash. Does the chart below mean that the only technical item that matters is Short Interest (as well as short interest in the highly levered and beta-rally inducing EUR), and every time this number rises above a given threshold the various Wall Street repo desks will merely engage in forced buy-ins and cause epic short squeeze like the one today? We don't know. However, we do know that with both long-side and short-side trading becoming meaningless and everything now just an HFT-facilitated stop hunt, this is the surest way to make sure nobody is left trading these markets anymore, something which relentless ongoing cash outflows from equity funds confirm every single week. The good news: once the weak hands have covered, a new wave of shorts can reenter, only to be burned as well on the next overhyped non-event out of Europe or anywhere else.
Earlier, we presented a slightly more idealistic, slightly less gray, slightly less mathematically challenged version of the president talking to ABC's George Stephanopolous on the topic of whether or not the Affordable Care Act should be treated as tax. Obama said "I absolutely reject that notion". The Supreme Court, however, whether with a last minute change of heart by Chief Justice Roberts for whatever reasons, or not, disagreed in what ended up being a shocking hail mary effort, and essentially said that Obama's entire spin campaign of Obamacare as 'not a tax' is wrong, in the process making Obamacare constitutional but also making it the largest tax increase in the history of the US. We are eagerly looking for the CBO's scoring of how the ACA will impact the parabolic charts of projected future US deficit and debt. In the meantime, once again looking back in time, we present an even younger version of the president, all the way back in 2008, sharing his thoughts on the now so very crucial topic of mandates. To wit: "If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don't have a house is they don't have the money." He is right. Hopefully, this rather insightful allegory into cause and effect from 4 years ago is not a preamble into what the SCOTUS may have just unleashed with the imminent arrival of the Affordable Housing Act.
In a brief clip this morning, CNBC's Rick Santelli said a lot in a few words. His critical insight was that today's decision is about process and not preference and that the real decisions will be made in November when it becomes 'the people's choice'. He is a big believer in the 'pragmatic process' we should all enjoy and suggests today's SCOTUS decision (doing what they do best in comprehending the law) should be 'taken with respect' but notes the analogy to Europe: "You can try to have the mighty above tell the people below how they should live their lives, what they should get, and 'the government big enough to give you everything you want, and', in the words of Thomas Jefferson, 'big enough to take away everything you have.' But what are we left with really? We are left with an issue that should, by all indications be voted on by the American public. No matter how the Supreme Court decision worked out; no matter what the legislative process tells us; no matter how ugly this process was to get passed; in the end, I think it's more than appropriate that this will be, in my opinion, part of the referendum in November as to whether the public wants this or not."
While the president will will take to the podium in 30 minutes (so realistically 60) his challenger is up now. Watch live as he spins the largely unexpected SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act.
Just as we noted yesterday, the ludicrous late-day ramp in European equity markets relative to the absolute nonchalance of credit (corporate, financial, and sovereign) markets, has now reverted totally as broadly speaking Europe ends the day in the red. Spain and Italy stock indices bounced a modest 0.5% on the day as the UK's FTSE and Germany's DAX suffered the most (down 1-1.5%) on Banking Lie-Bor drama and unemployment respectively. Corporate credit leaked a little wider on the day with the investment grade credits underperforming (dragged by weakness in financials). Financials were notably weak with Subordinated credit significantly underperforming Senior credit (bail-in anyone?). Sovereigns were weak overall (not just Spain, Italy, and Portugal this time) as Spain's 2s10s has now flattened to year's lows. Swiss 2Y rates dropped further - to record closing lows at -35.2bps (after being -39bps at their best/worst of the day - suggesting all is not well, and Bunds largely tracked Treasuries as the SCOTUS decision came on and pushed derisking across assets. EURUSD tested towards 1.2400 early on but is holding -35pips or so for now at 1.2430.