The Japanese Yen’s real effective exchange rate (REER) has collapsed to the weakest since 1982, according to Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. Simply put, REER is a trade-weighted measure of Yen strength (or weakness) against, in this case, 59 trading partners; and as the nation posts an unprecedented 27th straight month of trade deficits [43rd straight month of Seasonally-adjusted trade deficits], Bloomberg reports MUFJ indicates “a structural shift” has taken place.
“So – in conclusion – The Fed admits it knew about the risks of JPMorgan’s London Whale in 2010 (2 years before the blow-up) and did nothing about it, and now, two years later, The Fed tells banks it will get serious…”
A year and a half I wrote an essay on how the US chooses to view Russia, titled The Image of the Enemy. I was living in Russia at the time, and, after observing the American anti-Russian rhetoric and the Russian reaction to it, I made some observations that seemed important at the time. It turns out that I managed to spot an important trend, but given the quick pace of developments since then, these observations are now woefully out of date, and so here is an update. Continue reading »
The trend of average U.S. citizens being incarcerated by overzealous judges and prosecutors within the police state formerly known as America continues with reckless abandon. In fact, these sorts of cases are becoming so commonplace I simply cannot keep up with all of them. The following story is a perfect followup to my piece earlier today, which shows how American public school students are being arrested or harassed by police for the most minor of infractions, such as wearing too much perfume, sharing a classmates’ chicken nuggets, throwing an eraser or chewing gum.
If you are an adult American slave, you can add not mowing your lawn to the list of prison-worthy crimes in the police state. Continue reading »
“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.
The State Department official said he, too, was conflicted about the programs… “Are we helping indirectly the militants to build their caliphate? I wrestle with this.”
The Daily Beast has been at the forefront of exposing the bizarre emergence of the latest terror threat known as ISIS, which is being used to take away civil liberties at home, and fuel more chaos and destruction abroad. It was their work in June that first highlighted the fact that ISIS was and is being funded and supported by U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. I commented on the absurdity of the situation in my piece, America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq, in which I noted: Continue reading »
While we strongly suspect few are truly surprised by this turn of events, it is still yet another embarrassing stamp in the “do nothing stupid” foreign policy passport for President Obama’s administration. As The Daily Beast reports, an ISIS-associated YouTube account posted a new video online Tuesday entitled, “Weapons and munitions dropped by American planes and landed in the areas controlled by the Islamic State in Kobani.”
While the authenticity of this latest video could not be independently confirmed, there is no doubt that the ISIS fighters in the clip are in possession of a rich bounty of American hand grenades, rounds for small rockets, and other supplies. The White House stated on CNN, “we feel very confident that, when we air drop support as we did into Kobani… we’ve been able to hit the target in terms of reaching the people we want to reach.” Perhaps not all of them… Continue reading »
The sickening transformation of these United States into an authoritarian police state with an incarceration rate that would make Joseph Stalin blush, has been a key theme of my writing since well before the launch of Liberty Blitzkrieg. One of the posts that shocked and disturbed readers most, was published a little over a year ago titled:American Police Make an Arrest Every 2 Seconds in 2012. In the event you never read it, I suggest taking a look before tackling the rest of this piece.
Fast forward to fall 2014, and the Wall Street Journalhas a powerful article about how children in schools systems across the U.S. are being arrested or turned over to police custody for doing things that children have always done since the beginning of time. Things such as wearing too much perfume, sharing a classmates’ chicken nuggets, throwing an eraser or chewing gum.
As a result of our insane societal obsession with authority and disproportionate punishment, the WSJ reports that “nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database.” Continue reading »
Yesterday we reported that according to Peter Jahrling of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease – one of the top authorities in the world on Ebola – and who is on the front lines fighting Ebola disease in Liberia, there is something different about the current Ebola outbreak in that not only does it spread more easily than it did before, but the viral loads in Ebola patients are much higher than they are used to seeing. “I have a field team in Monrovia. They are running [tests]. They are telling me that viral loads are coming up very quickly and really high, higher than they are used to seeing…. It may be that the virus burns hotter and quicker.” Continue reading »
On the heels of Sweden’s military deployment (following the discovery of a damaged Russian sub), it appears Russia is taking no chances with its access to Arctic resources.As Reuters reports, the Russian defense minister announced today that Russian military units will be deployed along the entire Arctic border from Murmansk to Chukotka in 2014. Interfax adds that combat robots are also being deployed to protect Russian oil and gas infrastructure in the harsh environment of the Arctic. This should be no surprise as The Guardian notes, the Arctic’s hydrocarbon resources nevertheless exert a powerful pull. It has been compared to “a second Middle East”, with oil and gas reserves thought to represent 17% and 30%, respectively, of the global total.
“For over a year now, central banks have quietly being reducing their support. As Figure 7 shows, much of this is down to the Fed, but the contraction in the ECB’s balance sheet has also been significant. Seen from this perspective, a negative reaction in markets was long overdue: very roughly, the charts suggest that zero stimulus would be consistent with 50bp widening in investment grade, or a little over a ten percent quarterly drop in equities. Put differently, it takes around $200bn per quarter just to keep markets from selling off.”
Having confirmed that RBS, UBS, JPMorgan,,and Credit Suisse operated a cartell to manipulate bid-ask spreads of Swiss Franc libor, the European Commission has unleashed unmerciless vengeance on these law-breaking institutions:
Just in case you need another reason to dislike the thieving Federal Reserve. From Reuters:
(Reuters) – The top 113 earners among staff at the Federal Reserve’s Washington headquarters make an average of $246,506 per year, excluding bonuses and other benefits – more than Fed Chair Janet Yellen and nearly double the normal top government rate.
Despite Washington spending $7.6 billion on counter-narcotic initiatives in Afghanistan, 2013 witnessed a record surge in the amount of opium poppy cultivation, according to the US inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
The Central Asian country cultivated a record 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, beating the previous highest level of 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Battle-hardened Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the world’s opium. Continue reading »
Veteran Washington journalists and reporters, when they are being honest, will tell you that the current administration is the most political in modern history. Everything is about the proper messaging; optics are much more important, and policy is designed around perpetuating Democratic power.
What I see as extremes that must necessarily end badly, others see as mere extensions of recently successful policies and trends.
A long-time reader recently chastised me for using too many maybe’s in my forecasts. The criticism is valid, as “on the other hand” slips all too easily from qualifying a position to rinsing it of meaning.
That said, given that we’re in uncharted waters, maybe’s become prudent and certainty becomes extremely dangerous. I have long held that the financial policy extremes that are now considered normal are unprecedented in the modern era: extremes in debt, leverage, risk, complexity and willful obfuscation of these extremes. Continue reading »
Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve are lying to you. The “economic recovery” that we all keep hearing about is mostly just a mirage. The percentage of Americans that are employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession, the labor force participation rate is at a 36 year low, the overall rate of homeownership is the lowest that it has been in nearly 20 years and approximately 49 percent of all Americans are financially dependent on the government at this point. In a recent article, I shared 12 charts that clearly demonstrate the permanent damage that has been done to our economy over the last decade. The response to that article was very strong. Many people were quite upset to learn that they were not being told the truth by our politicians and by the mainstream media. Sadly, the vast majority of Americans still have absolutely no idea what is being done to our economy.
For those out there that still believe that we are doing “just fine”, here are 19 more facts about the messed up state of the U.S. economy… Continue reading »
The “innovative” and “challenging new compounds” created each day by commerce are threatening the planet in which we live, scientists say. More and more traces of pharmaceuticals are being discovered in our lakes, rivers and soil daily, and their effects are pretty much completely unknown.
For once, a lack of regulation on the government’s part is largely to blame. The “environmental spread of pharmaceuticals” is totally ignored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing these man-made pills to end up everywhere, including our drinking water. Continue reading »
Moments ago, McDonalds not only released earnings and revenues, both of which missed – something which was largely expected since the backward looking data had been telegraphed by MCD’s recent global selling collapse - blanketed by atrocious commentary, but it disclosed its September global retail sales which were for lack of a better word, a disaster, after reporting global sales which dropped 3.8%, below the 3.2% expected, and the worst global month since at least 2003. The pain was everywhere, with Europe plunging 4.2% (est -0.9%), Asia down 7.5%, and the US down a whopping 4.1%, far below the 2.8% expected, and also the worst month in over a decade.
One of the most accidentally revealing media accounts highlighting the real meaning of “democracy” in U.S. discourse is a still-remarkable 2002 New York Times Editorial on the U.S.-backed military coup in Venezuela, which temporarily removed that country’s democratically elected (and very popular) president, Hugo Chávez. Rather than describe that coup as what it was by definition – a direct attack on democracy by a foreign power and domestic military which disliked the popularly elected president – the Times, in the most Orwellian fashion imaginable, literally celebrated the coup as a victory for democracy:
With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.
Thankfully, said the NYT, democracy in Venezuela was no longer in danger . . . because the democratically-elected leader was forcibly removed by the military and replaced by an unelected, pro-U.S. “business leader.” The Champions of Democracy at the NYT then demanded a ruler more to their liking: “Venezuela urgently needs a leader with a strong democratic mandate to clean up the mess, encourage entrepreneurial freedom and slim down and professionalize the bureaucracy.” Continue reading »
Sweden’s military has announced that if it finds a suspect foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago, it is prepared to force it to the surface “with weapons if necessary”. “Our aim now is to force whatever it is up to the surface… with armed force, if necessary,” he added. He added that submarines are “extremely difficult” to find, and that Sweden has never succeeded in the past when it came to tracking them down. “And no one else has either,” he added. If the sub is indeed Russian, it would be quite a hit for Sweden, which in more than a decade of hunting Russian U-boats in the 1980s and early nineties, never succeeded in capturing one, except in 1981 when the U137 ran aground several miles from one of Sweden’s largest naval bases, triggering an embarrassing diplomatic stand-off for Russia.
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, research project funded by the Korean gov’t, published 2014 (emphasis added): … even though almost three years have passed since the [Fukushima] accident, it is still having a tremendous impact not only on Japan but all over the world… [Fission products] are easily dispersed in the atmosphere [and] transported very easily by winds… [O]nce they are released into the atmosphere, their consequences are enormous from the viewpoint of the public health… [A] high concentration of 137Cs arrived in western North America on 17 March 2011… [The] release of large amounts of radioactivity into the environment poses a global risk… [F]ission products… can be easily transported to any places in the world [and] not just be deposited locally but globally… Recently, computer simulations revealed that on average only 8% of the 137Cs airborne particles are expected to deposit within an area of 50 km around the accident site and about 50% of the airborne particles would be deposited outside a radius of 1000 km… Due to this radioactivity release into the environment, the Fukushima accident has had a tremendous impact not only on Japan but all over the world as well… radioactive material knows no national boundary… Continue reading »
But Merkel says EU taxpayers will have to subsidize Ukraine.
On October 21st, theGerman Economic News headlined (as translated), “Merkel: EU Taxpayers Should Finance Debt of Ukraine,” and reported that, “Angela Merkel visited [Slovakia's Prime Minister] Robert Fico on Monday [in the Slovak capital of Bratislava]. Both leaders demand that Kiev should take more responsibility,” and not push the EU to pay Ukraine’s past-due gas bills from Russia’s Gazprom. Continue reading »
President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.
The Bank of England’s “Real Time Gross Settlement Payment System” (RTGS) – the UK’s equivalent of the US FedWire – has gone offline this morning due to a technical glitch, according to The Telegraph. RTGS, which processes large payments in real-time (including home purchases) between British banks – and processed GBP70 trillion in payments across 5000 entities last year – has been down since 6am London time (the fault was disclosed over 5 hours later at 1130 London Time). For now the largest payments are being processed manually and smaller payments are on hold.