Approximately 9 years after various “tin-foil” wearing blogs first warned that the long-run negative consequences of QE will drown out and vastly outnumber any positive ones (which have mostly been confined to make the rich richer and create the illusion of economic stability built on the cracking foundations of trillions in newly created dollars), none other than JPMorgan today admits that QE may, indeed, have some devastating financial, economic and political consequences. And by some, we mean a lot.
On July 22 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a bizarre speech on Iran. Delivered from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and ostensibly addressed to the Iranian-American community, the speech’s staging clearly sought to evoke the fall of communism, casting the Ayatollahs in the role of Leonid Brezhnev and company.
Iranian “regime change” is not the publicly stated goal of the Trump Administration’s policy. But it is hard to see how US demands on Tehran don’t amount to exactly that, with Pompeo comparing the Iranian “regime” (a term used dozens of times to imply illegitimacy) to a “mafia.” He asserted that Iran’s behavior is “at root in the revolutionary nature of the regime itself.” What can change its “root” or “nature” without ceasing to be itself?
Eugene Lang College, part of The New School in Lower Manhattan, will offer a course next semester for students who wish to fight “heterosexist” explanations of animals and nature.
Taught by Heather Davis, “Queer Ecologies” is a four-credit course offered by the school’s Culture and Media department for students who wish to “disrupt prevailing heterosexist discursive and institutional articulations of sexuality and nature.”
According to the professor, these “heterosexist” explanations of sexuality and nature often involve referring to male/female animals.
A new Ipsos MORI survey of more than 23,000 adults across 28 countries has gauged international feelings on a range of healthcare topics such as quality of care, access to medical professionals and waiting times.
The following infographic shows responses in 15 selected countries with 74 percent of people in India agreeing that they would donate their organs if they suddenly died.
The dust-up over NATO confirms, once again, that President Trump, unfortunately, has been absorbed by the same deep state whose existence he sometimes laments. After questioning here in the United States the usefulness of NATO, Trump traveled to a NATO meeting in Europe, where he flipped and declared his firm commitment to this Cold War anachronism, declaring publicly, “I believe in NATO” and publicly expressing his sentiment that NATO is “very unified, very strong, no problem.”
China is close to a “late July or early August” test firing of a new Russian missile defence system reportedly capable of taking down an F-35 stealth fighter, according to SCMP, citing a Kremlin military source.
“It is planned that in late July or early August the unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that underwent training in Russia will carry out a test firing against a simulated ballistic target at a Chinese firing ground,” the person said.
With a range of 2,400km (1,500 miles), the S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously with as many as 72 missiles at altitudes of between 5 metres (16 feet) and 30km (19 miles).
Submitted by Nick Colas of DataTrek Research
We will confess to some real trepidation as we say goodbye to July and hello to August. So much so that we’re pulling forward our usual month-ahead review to get several topics in front of you.
Here’s the problem: August has shifted from its traditional period of rest and relaxation to one where US equity market volatility tends to peak for the year.
Consider the following data points, all post-2010:
- In 2011, the CBOE VIX Index peaked for the year on August 8th, with a close at 48.0.
- In 2015, the VIX peaked for the year on August 24th, at 40.7.
- In 2017, the VIX peaked for the year on August 10th, at 16.0.
The closing high in the VIX for 2018-to-date was 37.3 on February 5th, the result of a meltdown in a volatility-related inverse VIX ETF. Even with today’s Facebook-driven tech wreck, the VIX is only at 12.1. Any pop in that measure that exceeds the February highs would be a real shock. Also worth noting: February has only seen an annual high on the VIX once since 1990, in 2016 (at 28.1).
President Trump has declared a state of emergency in California after deadly wildfires have ripped through over 102,028 acres across the state this week, according to the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
According to the White House, Trump has authorized FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to assist California firefighters who are battling tinder-fueled infernos thanks to nearly half-a-decade of drought.
The worst of the blazes has devastated Shasta County, as the Carr Fire has claimed the lives of two first responders, forced thousands to evacuate and burned 48,312 acres – around half the total affected area across the state. The fire was 5% contained as of Friday night according to officials, while Fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke was killed along with a bulldozer operator as they battled the blaze.
For those who have been focusing on corporate earnings, the stock market and the global economy, a more ominous – if under-reported – flashpoint has emerged in recent days after some scary housing market numbers were published over the past week, or as Robert Shiller told Bloomberg, “This could be the very beginning of a turning point.”
The housing market is showing signs of a downward slide after existing-home sales were down in June, sales hit their slowest pace in eight months, and mortgage rates are on the rise, causing usually restive buyers to stay patiently on the the sidelines.
Mud Wrestling: Trump vs. Xi
About 6,940 miles west of Washington DC, and at roughly the same latitude, sits Beijing. Within China’s massive capital city, sits the country’s paramount leader, Xi Jinping. According to Forbes, Xi is currently the most powerful and influential person in the world.
Papa Xi, the new emperor of China. [PT]
Xi, no doubt, is one savvy fellow. He always knows the right things to say. He offers the citizens of his nation the “Chinese Dream.” They consume it like boysenberry funnel cakes at the county fair.