Corporate revenues in the United States have been falling for quite some time, but now some of the biggest companies in the entire nation are reporting extremely disappointing results. On Tuesday, Apple shocked the financial world by reporting that revenue for the first quarter had fallen 7.4 billion dollars compared to the same quarter last year. That is an astounding plunge, and it represents the very first year-over-year quarterly sales decline that Apple has experienced since 2003. Analysts were anticipating some sort of drop, but nothing like this. And of course last week we learned that Google and Microsoft also missed revenue and earnings projections for the first quarter of 2016. The economic crisis that began during the second half of 2015 is really starting to take hold, and even our largest tech companies are now feeling the pain. Continue reading »
One month after we learned that the Brussels suicide bombers had planted hidden cameras at the home of the top Belgian nuclear official, we now learn that in a disturbing continuation of this story, the entire population of Belgium will be receiving iodine tablets, which helps to limit the effects of radiation on the body, as fears increase around the security of its nuclear power plants.
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While this should be no surprise to any rational non-establishment-teet-suckling economist, former McDonalds’ CEO Ed Rensi exclaims, in a recent Forbes Op-Ed, that “a $15 minimum wage won’t spell the end of [fast-food brands]. However it will mean wiping out thousands of entry-level opportunities for people without many other options.” The $15 minimum wage demand, which translates to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee, is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of a restaurant business (and we add simple supply and demand fundamentals) – just “do the math” Rensi rants… Continue reading »
The initial refugee welcome in Germany is rapidly turning to rejection as the nation plan to ban EU migrants from most unemployment benefits for five years after arrival as a senior German politician has called for an “Islam law” that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques in Germany.
As The FT reports, Germany is planning to ban EU migrants from most unemployment benefits for five years after their arrival in dramatic response to rightwing populist assaults on chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal immigration policies. Continue reading »
Today, we find the latest, and perhaps most innovative attempt to circumvent capital controls yet when a group of Chinese investors has offered to buy AC Milan football club, one of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s most cherished assets. The offer values the club at around 700 million euros including debt, one of the sources said.
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Is Everyone Wrong On The “Causation” Of The Commodity Bubble? While it appeared ‘retail’ was responsible for the panic-buying chaotic volume surge in Chinese commodities, Axiom Capital Management’s Gordon L Johnson points out that in fact… China Bank Special Interest Vehicles’ “Bold” Commodity Speculation Is The Real Budding Black Swan
WMP Speculation Likely Cause for the ’16 Commodity Rally, Not Retail Investors (“Cab-Drivers”). Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Can you believe this shit?
Honestly, can anyone seriously take official Government Statistics as truthful and in-massaged any more?
It’s an insult to our intelligence.”
LONDON (AP) — It’s been a long and tortuous journey, but the eurozone economy is finally back to the size it was before the global financial crisis. Official figures released Friday show that the eurozone, which as a bloc is the world’s second-largest economy, accelerated unexpectedly at the start of the year to bring it back to the level it was before the recessions of the past eight years.
Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said the 19-country currency bloc expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. The increase was double the previous quarter’s rate and ahead of market expectations for a more modest 0.4 percent. Continue reading »
Italian authorities have arrested four suspects, who have seemingly had an “accentuated willingness” to carry out terrorist attacks in Rome and the Vatican. At least two other members of the Islamic State cell are on the run.
While there was no indication of an imminent attack, the group was allegedly ordered by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to carry out atrocities in Italy “with particular attention to the city of Rome” as well as the Vatican during the Jubilee Of Mercy year, Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters.
Two of those detained included Abderrahim Moutaharrik, a kickboxing champion and his wife Salma Bencharki. The couple was arrested in the Lombardy province of Lecco as part of a joint investigation by Italy’s anti-terrorism agency, the General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) and ROS, a special operations group that is part of Italy’s carabinieri police force. Continue reading »
Even the government is admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down. On Thursday, we learned that U.S. GDP grew at just a 0.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2016. This was lower than analysts were anticipating, and it marks the third time in a row that the GDP number has declined compared to the previous quarter. In other words, GDP growth has been declining for close to a year now, and this lines up perfectly with what I have been saying about how the second half of last year was a turning point that plunged us into the early chapters of a brand new economic crisis. And as you will see below, the official GDP number is highly manipulated, and the way that it is calculated has been changed numerous times over the years. So the bad number that is being reported by the government is actually the best case scenario. Continue reading »
Speaking yesterday at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford confirmed that US troops in Iraq are “fighting and dying” in combat operations, confirming that the October 22 death of a Army sergeant was in combat.
That admission is a big one, as US officials have danced around the question of “combat troops” by presenting the troops being deployed to Iraq, and elsewhere in the region, as “trainers” or “advisers” in official comments. Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Interesting adventure into why they won’t let it develop naturally.”
It’s difficult for well-meaning pundits to abandon the fantasy that meaningful reform is possible. Indeed, a critical function of the punditry and corporate media is to foster the fantasy that the status quo could be reformed if only we all got together and blah blah blah.
As I explain in my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, real structural reform would trigger the collapse of the status quo. (As a reminder, the status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many.)
But there’s another dynamic that makes reform impossible. I’ve prepared a chart to explain this dynamic: Continue reading »
What’s so remarkable about the following clip from a Bloomberg interview with iconic bond fund manager Bill Gross isn’t so much that he warned about a looming systemic implosion, but how much he struggled to actually say it out loud despite clearly wanting to.
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A shocking new survey has found that support for capitalism is dying in America. In fact, more than half of all adults in the United States under the age of 30 say that they do not support capitalism at this point. You might be tempted to dismiss them as “foolish young people”, but the truth is that they are the future of America. As older generations die off, they will eventually become the leaders of this country. And of course our nation has not resembled anything close to a capitalist society for quite some time now. In a recent article, I listed 97 different taxes that Americans pay each year, and some Americans actually end up returning more than half of what they earn to the government by the time it is all said and done. So at best it could be said that we are running some sort of hybrid system that isn’t as far down the road toward full-blown socialism as most European nations are. But without a doubt we are moving in that direction, and our young people are going to be cheering every step of the way. Continue reading »
Tensions continue to escalate between the US and Russia. As a reminder, Russia conducted several close encounter fly-bys when first a Russian Su-24 “buzzed” the US missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, and just days later flew within 50 feet of a US recon plane also flying over the Baltic Sea. The U.S. quickly responded and complained vocally to Russia, followed quickly by the first deployment of US F-22 stealth fighter to Romania, in close proximity to both the Black Sea and 400 km from the Russian military stronghold of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
It now appears there was a third incident involving an extremely close encounter. According to the Free Beacon, a Russian MiG-31 jet flew within 50 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft in Northeast Asia last week, in what was dubbed “Moscow’s latest aerial saber-rattling” against American ships and planes by US defense officials. Continue reading »
Back in February, when we commented on the unprecedented hyperinflation about the be unleashed in the Latin American country whose president just announced that he would expand the “weekend” for public workers to 5 days…
… we joked that it is unclear just where the country will find all the paper banknotes it needs for all its new physical currency. After all, central-bank data shows Venezuela more than doubled the supply of 100-, 50- and 2-bolivar notes in 2015 as it doubled monetary liquidity including bank deposits. Supply has grown even as Venezuela has fewer U.S. dollars to support new bolivars, a result of falling oil prices. Continue reading »
Not only is Donald Trump likely to gather the most votes of any GOP Presidential nominee ever, having swept the East Coast and crushed the anti-Trump alliance between Kasich and Cruz even before it made the news cycle; but now, as Reuters reports, the GOP establishment faces an ever bigger problem. Wealthy, well-educated voters helped carry the Republican front-runner to victory this week – a demographic the famously blunt-spoken billionaire had struggled to attract in the past.
As we noted previously, with a number of states remaining including California, Trump is set to surpass current record holder George W. Bush, who received 10.8 million votes in 2000.
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Despite his proclamation that he “saved the world from a Great Depression,” the fact is that Obama will be the first President ever to not see a single year of 3% GDP growth – but only cynical fiction-peddlers would mention facts at a time like this. In yet more legacy-defending narrative, Obama told The NYTimes today that his biggest failure was being unable to sell his success in putting the American economy back on track to the American people (no matter the actual realities) careful to blame Republicans for slowing growth “by a percentage point or two.” And then in a final affront to fact, Obama dismisses the conclusion of “The Big Short” proclaiming that he reined in Wall Street, overhauled the banking system, and made water from wine “the financial system substantially more stable.”
With regard his presidential legacy, Obama recently said he was proud of the healthcare reforms, and added that: Continue reading »
… just like these other candidates …
Good luck America!
Is the establishment’s fervent hatred of Donald Trump starting a U-turn? It’s still too early to know, however at least one core Republican, former house speaker John Boehner, has made it very clear he is not a fan of Ted Cruz. At all. So much so that according to NBC the former Republican House Speaker told an audience at Stanford University Wednesday that the Texas senator is “Lucifer in the flesh” and a “miserable son of a bitch.” Continue reading »
With all the problems facing America – both at home and abroad – The House Armed Services Committee decided on Wednesday to solve one of the nation’s crucial “problems” – a “sexist draft.”
As Military.com reports on Wednesday the committee approved (by a narrow margin) an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide mark-up session of the proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Continue reading »
All candidates are “full establishment” …
… and Hillary is the worst of them all.
You have no choice. None.
Comments made by Bernie Sanders this week may just have blindsided and disillusioned swathes of his support base.
Some of those with higher expectations of the ‘peacenik’ candidate breathed a collective sigh of disappointment after he endorsed Obama’s extrajudicial drone assassination program.
At the same time, the Democratic candidate backed the recent deployment of 250 U.S. troops to further death and destruction in Syria. During the town hall meeting at Philadelphia’s National Constitution centre, he told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that the people of the United States have a right to defend themselves. The warmongering endorsement, which could have easily slid under the radar, was slotted into a much wider discussion that included vote-winners like Planned Parenthood, violence against women, marijuana, and gun control. Continue reading »
And just like that the “no brainer” party’s over. Remember when in January 2014 Carl Icahn laid out his extensive thesis on why being long AAPL is the best investment out there? Or when a little over a year later, hoping for even more stock buybacks (even as he was decrying short term activism) he boosted his price target on AAPL to $240? All that is now over and moments ago Carl Icahn admitted that the hedge fund hotel holding AAPL stocks, which consisted of 163 hedge funds as of December 31, has one less member, and he has sold his entire Apple position.
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As reported moments ago, Q1 GDP which came at just 0.5% growth, was a lousy number in which virtually every component besides personal spending (and government) subtracted from growth. In fact, in nominal terms, Q1 GDP grew only $22.2 billion annualized, of which personal consumption was more than double, or $52.5 billion.
But what did Americans spend money on in Q1? To our surprise, Healthcare, Obamacare was no longer what soaked up most Americans’ cash in the first quarter (nonetheless, it was a runner up with $10.8 billion in spending). Continue reading »
It’s all over except the shouting. That is, the primary election season effectively ended last night and now the actual shouting match between Hillary and The Donald begins.
This will surely be the most entertaining election in US history, and probably the most pointless, too. After all, Hillary wants to use government to make Government Great Again. And Trump promises to use government to make America Great Again.
But government doesn’t make anything great, including itself. It is a necessary evil that always and everywhere is driven toward self-aggrandizement and mission creep by the politicians and special interest lobbies which control its operations. Continue reading »
As China’s credit fueled craziness rages on, individual “investors” have been tripping over themselves trying to get in on a piece of the action, opening up enough brokerage accounts for every man, woman, and child in LA and pouring hard earned money into “investment” opportunities such as P2P funds.
This has of course lead people to game the system, recall Ezubao’s $7.6 billion P2P ponzi scheme that led to the arrest of 21 people earlier this year, and more recently the shuttering of Zhongjin Capital Management, which also led to 21 arrests on charges of suspicion of illegal fundraising. Continue reading »
More Greece “Uncertainty”: Default Looms in July, EU Rejects Greek Emergency Summit
Those who thought the situation in Greece was solved after prime minister Alexis Tsipras suddenly caved in to creditors’ demands need think again.
Greek tax revenues are running well under expectations. A default looms in July unless the creditors give more money to Greece so that Greece can pay back the creditors. As convoluted as that sounds, that’s precisely the way this madness works. Continue reading »
If there was a sign that nothing else matters but central bank largess, this was it. The moment The Bank of Japan statement hit and proclaims “unchanged” a vacuum hit USDJPY and Japanese stocks. Reflecting that Japan’s economy has “continued a moderate recovery trend” which is utter crap given the quintuple-dip recession, Kuroda and his cronies said they will “add easing if necessary” and apparently that is not now. Not so much as a higher ETF purchase or moar NIRP.. and the aftermath is carnage – NKY -1000 points and USDJPY crashed to a 108 handle!!…
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China successfully carried out a flight test of its state-of-the-art high-speed maneuvering warhead last week, sources in the Pentagon said. The trial took place just days after a hypersonic glider was reportedly tested by Russia.
The DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was launch on Friday by a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai site in central China, unnamed US military officials told the Washington Free Beacon website. Continue reading »
And gives a big plug to one of Germany’s leading alternative publications
Lately, Frau Merkel is everyone’s favorite punching bag. For Russian state media, she is a staple of almost daily abuse.
The woman is roundly hated throughout Russia for her mind-boggling moral and financial support of the government in Kiev which waged, and continues to wage a vicious military campaign against civilians in Eastern Ukraine, with her very vocal, even giddy, encouragement.
German military estimate the casualties on both sides exceed 70,000 troops and civilians, with three times that number wounded, and let’s not forget the 1 million refugees, and the 4-5 million shoved in to wrenching poverty in the war zone.
Did we mention she was a strong favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize?
Well at least TIME magazine, a neocon cesspool, was sufficiently impressed. They made her “Man” of the year, cause, they think she is a real hero. Seriously, here is part of their explanation: Continue reading »