Scotiabank Asks The Most Important Question

Via Guy Haselmann of Scotiabank,

QE – Speculative Market Fuel

·  A weak economic report lifted an overbought equity market to even-loftier historic highs.   Investors and traders have become programmed to believe that QE (rather than economic growth) is enough to launch asset prices ever-higher. At the moment, there is little to refute this view.  “Melt-up” mentality is back.  However, shouldn’t a sluggish economy with slow job creation make investors question whether enough economic activity will be generated to justify prices?  Unless the economy improves materially, then today’s move is just another example of speculative excesses caused by QE.

“Adequate Progress” – Undefined

·  The key to market direction appears to be driven by assessing the timing of any changes to Fed action.  The longer QE lasts the higher prices are expected to be pushed, thus the basis for today’s rally.  However, reacting so robotically may not be so straightforward. After all, the FOMC communication has not been that helpful. This is because they say that asset purchases are “dependent on the state of the economy” and “making adequate progress”, yet they never define what “adequate” means.

Unemployment Rate Creeping Toward the 7% Threshold

·  The FOMC initially presented “thresholds”, saying QE would end when the unemployment rate (UR) hit 7.0%, but the rate has already hit 7.2%.  How will the markets react if the rate falls to 7.0% with the next employment report two weeks from Friday – and QE has not yet ended (let alone begun)?  Would the Fed lose credibility if this occurs?  Would it spook markets who are now expecting QE to continue well into 2014?

Fed Policy Based on an Unstable Indicator

·  The Fed has problematically tied their policy to an inherently unstable and unpredictable economic indicator (i.e., the unemployment rate).  This guidance may need to change as they develop a (sorely-needed) QE withdrawal strategy.  Formulating and communicating such a strategy would be helpful to markets as well as to the FOMC who would benefit from getting all members on the same page.

FOMC Press Conferences

·  A detailed or updated QE exit strategy could be presented at the October 30th FOMC meeting.   The stakes are rising, so announcing that a press conference will occur at every meeting is likely.

·  “I live on a one-way street that is also a dead end. I’m not sure how I got there.” –Steven Wright


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/I5C2EGHR-sk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Carl Icahn Covers 3 Million NFLX Shares On 457% Gain

Just as we wondered earlier in the day…

 

 

 

What is perhaps most worrisome for the market is the sale of 2.99 million shares collapsed the market cap by around 20%…

 

Of course, he hedges his sell…

  • *ICAHN SAYS NETFLIX REMAINS `SIGNIFICANTLY UNDERVALUED’
  • *NETFLIX HOLDER ICAHN REPORTS SALE OF 2.99M SHRS
  • *ICAHN CITES 457% NFLX SHR PRICE BOOST SINCE ORIGINAL INVESTMENT

 

 

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/35OgRgydCIw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Fayette County is on the move — welcome aboard!

By ROBERT ROSS and TREY RAGSDALE

Many of us moved to Fayette County for its highly regarded public schools, low crime rates, and the wide-open spaces, or maybe the charm of small towns like Tyrone, Brooks, and Woolsey. 

We also recognize the need for a vibrant economy to provide career opportunities right here for our children, along with the attendant challenges of growth.

How do we retain our character and grow too? How do we maximize our strengths and respond to threats? How do we thrive without selling the soul of Fayette County?

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/robert-ross/10-22-2013/fayette-county-move-%E2%80%94-welcome-aboard

Just say ‘no’ to underwriting more debt

The fiasco in Washington over the partial government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling and deepening animosity between Republicans and Democrats (and Republicans and Republicans), has left many asking if there is any way out of this bitter, endless cycle. There may be.

The Financial Times recently suggested that America’s largest foreign creditor — China — might want to reduce the size of its loans financing our debt.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/cal-thomas/10-22-2013/just-say-%E2%80%98no%E2%80%99-underwriting-more-debt

Universal health insurance lie

There are many things that might have been done to reform healthcare in the United States after Barack Obama was elected. The Affordable Care Act does begin to address some of these problems:

It begins to break the bond of employers being the primary provider of health insurance coverage.

This was always an odd idea that exists as an artifact of the wage and price freeze of World War Two. Employers were not allowed to raise wages to attract workers, so they began offering “fringe” benefits instead.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/greg-scandlen/10-22-2013/universal-health-insurance-lie

Mama on her own

Back years ago when Mama was widowed, it became suddenly and shockingly clear that she wasn’t completely capable of being on her own. This was news to us because she had always stepped up and did whatever it took to look after our family. She was quite ingenious and hard working.

“Ronda,” she said one day. “I need you to call the doctor’s office and make my annual appointment.”

“Why can’t you call?” I asked.

“Because I’m afraid to. I get nervous and I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong.”

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/blogs/ronda-rich/10-22-2013/mama-her-own

U.S. “War On Terror” Has INCREASED Terrorism

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Global Terrorism Database – part of a joint government-university program on terrorism –  is hosted at the University of Maryland.

START is the most comprehensive open source terrorism database, which can be viewed by journalists and civilians lacking national security clearance.

A quick review of charts from the START database show that terrorism has increased in the last 9 years since the U.S. started its “war on terror”.

This chart shows the number of terror attacks conducted in Iraq:

Afghanistan:

The Middle East:

Asia:

Africa:

Indeed, global terrorism had been falling from 1992 until 2004 … but has been skyrocketing since 2004:

Our Wars In the Middle East Have Created More Terrorists

Security experts – including both conservatives and liberals – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Ooops.

Killing innocent civilians is one of the main things which increases terrorism. As one of the top counter-terrorism experts (the former number 2 counter-terrorism expert at the State Department) told me, starting wars against states which do not pose an imminent threat to America’s national security increases the threat of terrorism because:

One of the principal causes of terrorism is injuries to people and families.

The Iraq war wasn’t even fought to combat terrorism. And Al Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until the U.S. invaded that country.

And top CIA officers say that drone strikes increase terrorism (and see this).

Furthermore, James K. Feldman – former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies – and other experts say that foreign occupation is the main cause of terrorism

University of Chicago professor Robert A. Pape – who specializes in international security affairs – points out:

Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn’t to blame — the root of the problem is foreign military occupations.

 

***

 

Each month, there are more suicide terrorists trying to kill Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Muslim countries than in all the years before 2001 combined.

***

 

New research provides strong evidence that suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance. Although this pattern began to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, a wealth of new data presents a powerful picture.

 

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research [co-authored by James K. Feldman – former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technolo
gy and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies
] that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.

 

Israelis have their own narrative about terrorism, which holds that Arab fanatics seek to destroy the Jewish state because of what it is, not what it does. But since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon in May 2000, there has not been a single Lebanese suicide attack. Similarly, since Israel withdrew from Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, Palestinian suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

 

***

 

The first step is recognizing that occupations in the Muslim world don’t make Americans any safer — in fact, they are at the heart of the problem.

Our Program of Torture Created Terrorists

In addition, torture creates new terrorists:

  • A top counter-terrorism expert says torture increases the risk of terrorism (and see this).
  • One of the top military interrogators said that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place (and see this).
  • Former counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke says that America’s indefinite detention without trial and abuse of prisoners is a leading Al Qaeda recruiting tool
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:

    Torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.

“The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies … strengthened the hand of our enemies.”

  • General Petraeus said that torture hurts our national security
  • And the reporter who broke Iran-Contra and other stories says that torture actually helped Al Qaeda, by giving false leads to the U.S. which diverted its military, intelligence and economic resources into wild goose chases

So the widespread program of torture under the Bush administration didn’t help.

Nice Job Creating More Terrorists, You Morons …

Additionally – in the name of fighting our enemies – the U.S. has directly been supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups for the last decade. See this, this, this, this and this.

Why Have We Given Up Our Rights If the Government Can’t Keep Us Safe?

We have given up the fundamental rights which make us American.

The government insisted that – if we gave up our liberties – it would keep us safe.

It has failed to do so, and has instead squandered our national treasure, our resources and our troops on efforts which have only increased the risk of terrorism.

Wasted Defense Spending

A large amount of the homeland security spending has been wasted … producing &ldquo
;a bunch of crap”
.

For example, spending money on zombie apocalypse training  or other silly programs is a bad investment which led to a false sense of security.

Spending defense money on a workshop called “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” and DOD-run microbreweries is probably not helping stop terrorist attacks.

Moreover, using homeland security resources to spy on average Americans or crack down on peaceful protesters or government critics distracts from getting the actual bad guys.

At the same time, both the Bush and Obama administrations have slashed funding for programs which would actually help prevent terror attacks.

Heck of a job, guys …

The Real Agenda

Regime change was planned throughout the Middle East and North Africa were planned 20 years agolong before 9/11.

As just one example, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, 4-Star General (and CENTCOM commander with responsibility for Iraq) John Abizaid, key war architect John Bolton,  a high-level National Security Council officer, President George W. Bush, Bush speech writer David Frum, Senator John McCain, Fed boss Alan Greenspan and Sarah Palin  all say that the Iraq war was about oil.   Documents from Britain show the same thing.

Much of the war on terror is really a fight for natural gas.  Or to force the last few hold-outs into dollars and private central banking.

Senior government officials have described terrorist attacks as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.  And while politicians talk about ending the war on terror, endless war is a feature – not a bug – of our foreign policy.

Whatever the real agenda one thing is clear …  In the same way that NSA spying isn’t about preventing terrorism (proof here, here, here and here), the war on terror is cover for other shenanigans.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/uJ-qP4ayyBI/story01.htm George Washington

You Won’t Believe What The French Are Taxing Now…

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

At our workshop in Chile some months ago, European MEP Nigel Farage blasted French President Francois Hollande as leading the pack “in the modern day Pantheon of idiots who are running countries around the world…”

(You can see Nigel’s scathing remarks here, about 35 seconds in to the clip)

Of course, the French president had recently introduced a ‘hate tax’ on its countries most successful people, driving out whatever few productive people remain in France.

But this hate tax was just the tip of le iceberg.

Just look at what they’ve done or announced just in the last month:

1) Double the corporate surtax

It’s not enough that France has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. On top of this, they have a corporate ‘surtax’, or a tax on top of the tax.

And earlier this month, they announced plans to DOUBLE it.

2) Increase reporting obligations

Anyone who has ever started a business knows that a new business is like a newborn baby. It’s critical to focus on growth, not on filling out a bunch of paperwork.

The French government doesn’t care about this. So they’ve recently LOWERED the bar for reporting obligations, requiring a businesses with top-line revenue of just 80,000 euros to submit time consuming and onerous VAT reports to the tax authorities.

3) Increased pension tax

France has one of the most bankrupt… and unsustainably generous… pension systems in the world.

But rather than completely overhauling the system and expect people to, you know, actually work past the age of 55, they’ve just decided to raise the pension tax. Again.

4) Energy drink tax

Not to be outdone by Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax in New York City, the French National Assembly has recently proposed to tax energy drinks… as much as ONE EURO ($1.37) per can.

5) Higher property taxes

Last month, the French government announced plans to revise property value assessments across the country, which serves as the basis for a number of property taxes.

6) Data tax [my personal favorite]

You can’t make this stuff up.

In one of the most absurd tax propositions in history, the French government now has the idea that they should tax data transfers outside the European Union.

They actually plan on proposing this at this week’s European Summit. Strangely, though, they don’t seem to even understand what this means. They’re just so desperate to tax something… anything. They’re just monkeys throwing darts at the wall right now.

And they’re getting ready for more.

Earlier this year, the French government promised a ‘tax pause’ in 2014, suggesting that they would not raise taxes next year.

Last month, though, they revised this pledge, saying that the tax pause would take effect in 2015 instead.

Needless to say, there will be no pause in 2015.

Why? Because France is broke. Like so many other nations across the West, France has been rendered completely insolvent by decades of unsustainable spending.

France has been in this position before. In the 18th century, the French Bourbon monarchy was the pinnacle of civilization.

Yet decades of unsustainable spending took their toll on the economy. They tried everything– raising taxes, debasing the currency… yet their was no avoiding the inevitable. Revolution.

And this period of turmoil, from the time the French people stormed the Bastille, to the time when calm prevailed, took 26-years.

In the meantime, they had internal civil war, external war against both Austria and Prussia, hyperinflation, and the genocidal dictatorship of Robespierre.

Conditions are similar now, both in France and across the West. This includes the Land of the Free.

We have reached a time where it’s imperative to look abroad at different options and opportunities. Clinging to blind patriotism– staying home, doing nothing, and trusting your government– is akin to taking a toaster into the bathtub.

Wealth and power have constantly shifted throughout history. And the transitions are rarely smooth or peaceful. It’s foolish to assume that this time is any different.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/maGRVqDERt0/story01.htm Tyler Durden

You Won't Believe What The French Are Taxing Now…

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

At our workshop in Chile some months ago, European MEP Nigel Farage blasted French President Francois Hollande as leading the pack “in the modern day Pantheon of idiots who are running countries around the world…”

(You can see Nigel’s scathing remarks here, about 35 seconds in to the clip)

Of course, the French president had recently introduced a ‘hate tax’ on its countries most successful people, driving out whatever few productive people remain in France.

But this hate tax was just the tip of le iceberg.

Just look at what they’ve done or announced just in the last month:

1) Double the corporate surtax

It’s not enough that France has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. On top of this, they have a corporate ‘surtax’, or a tax on top of the tax.

And earlier this month, they announced plans to DOUBLE it.

2) Increase reporting obligations

Anyone who has ever started a business knows that a new business is like a newborn baby. It’s critical to focus on growth, not on filling out a bunch of paperwork.

The French government doesn’t care about this. So they’ve recently LOWERED the bar for reporting obligations, requiring a businesses with top-line revenue of just 80,000 euros to submit time consuming and onerous VAT reports to the tax authorities.

3) Increased pension tax

France has one of the most bankrupt… and unsustainably generous… pension systems in the world.

But rather than completely overhauling the system and expect people to, you know, actually work past the age of 55, they’ve just decided to raise the pension tax. Again.

4) Energy drink tax

Not to be outdone by Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax in New York City, the French National Assembly has recently proposed to tax energy drinks… as much as ONE EURO ($1.37) per can.

5) Higher property taxes

Last month, the French government announced plans to revise property value assessments across the country, which serves as the basis for a number of property taxes.

6) Data tax [my personal favorite]

You can’t make this stuff up.

In one of the most absurd tax propositions in history, the French government now has the idea that they should tax data transfers outside the European Union.

They actually plan on proposing this at this week’s European Summit. Strangely, though, they don’t seem to even understand what this means. They’re just so desperate to tax something… anything. They’re just monkeys throwing darts at the wall right now.

And they’re getting ready for more.

Earlier this year, the French government promised a ‘tax pause’ in 2014, suggesting that they would not raise taxes next year.

Last month, though, they revised this pledge, saying that the tax pause would take effect in 2015 instead.

Needless to say, there will be no pause in 2015.

Why? Because France is broke. Like so many other nations across the West, France has been rendered completely insolvent by decades of unsustainable spending.

France has been in this position before. In the 18th century, the French Bourbon monarchy was the pinnacle of civilization.

Yet decades of unsustainable spending took their toll on the economy. They tried everything– raising taxes, debasing the currency… yet their was no avoiding the inevitable. Revolution.

And this period of turmoil, from the time the French people stormed the Bastille, to the time when calm prevailed, took 26-years.

In the meantime, they had internal civil war, external war against both Austria and Prussia, hyperinflation, and the genocidal dictatorship of Robespierre.

Conditions are similar now, both in France and across the West. This includes the Land of the Free.

We have reached a time where it’s imperative to look abroad at different options and opportunities. Clinging to blind patriotism– staying home, doing nothing, and trusting your government– is akin to taking a toaster into the bathtub.

Wealth and power have constantly shifted throughout history. And the transitions are rarely smooth or peaceful. It’s foolish to assume that this time is any different.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/maGRVqDERt0/story01.htm Tyler Durden

BoE should restore teachers’ benefits

Recently I sent a letter to Fayette County Schools Superintendent Barrow and the Fayette County Board of Education. In the letter I asked to have the local supplement for health and dental benefits as well as the pay for two teacher furlough days restored to Fayette County Board of Education employees.

Restoring the supplements for health and dental as well as restoring the furlough days would total $4.4 million out of a budget surplus of more than $18 million.

That’s correct, the Fayette County School System has a budget surplus of more than $18 million.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/10-22-2013/boe-should-restore-teachers%E2%80%99-benefits