Sales Of Hitler's Mein Kampf Are Surging…

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
– Adolf Hitler

The headline of this post is one that I am not sure how to interpret, but undoubtably marks something of significance. Personally, there have been many occasions throughout my youth, as well as my adult life, where I had a desire to read Mein Kampf. I was always curious to get into the mind of one of humanity’s greatest sociopaths. To get a glimpse of the thought process of a man capable of such cruelty and evil. To understand the types of words he used and the various psychological tactics he employed to manipulate an economically destitute and politically demoralized German population.

These feelings welled up inside of me once again back in 2008, when I feared that a financial and economic meltdown could cause the U.S. population to be thrust into the arms of a demagogue. I wanted to be able to more accurately identify the rhetoric of one of history’s more “successful” demagogue dictators in order to be able to spot similar trends should they arise in my time.

While I never got around to reading it, I did read part of one of Hitler’s speeches from before the war. It was interesting to not how he did not openly speak as a raging psychopath on his way to destroying much of Europe. Rather, he attempted to appeal to his audience as rational, passionate leader there to protect and exalt the German people back to greatness. That was the scariest thing of all.

This is what the top sales chart on iTunes’ category Politics and Current Events looks like.

 

At this point I’d like to remain hopeful that these sales trends spring from a similar curiosity on behalf of the population, rather than from a darker more hateful place.

From Time:

The infamous manifesto Adolf Hitler wrote while in prison after a failed coup in 1923, Mein Kampf or My Struggle, in which the dictator outlined his idea of a global Jewish conspiracy, is a surprise hit on the ebook market. While the book’s print copy sales remain stagnant, the ebook is in the top 20 on iTunes’s Politics & Events chart, next to books by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, the number one Propaganda & Political Psychology book on Amazon, and the 17th bestseller in the company’s Nationalism list. How could that be?

 

Chris Faraone explains why in a fascinating essaythat argues ebooks provide the perfect format for reading controversial material. “Mein Kampf could be following a similar trend to that of smut and romance novels,” Faraone writes. Customers may have not wanted to be seen reading the book or having it on their shelf at home, but the cheap digital copies “can be quietly perused then dropped into a folder or deleted.”

 

Ebook reviewers’ comments support the 50 Shades of Grey theory. “I think I waited 45 years to read Hitler’s words… I wish I had read it sooner,” wrote Steven Wagg. “Curiosity killed me to get this book,” said another reviewer. The document also functions as a warning: “People need to understand that if we do not learn from people like this, then we will fall into their traps again,” Ray D’Aguanno wrote on Amazon.

Full article here.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/8a5T4FYalJc/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Meet China’s “Street Of Fakes”

From "The Appla Store" to "Sffcccks Coffee", the southern Chinese city of Wuxi has seen a "street of fakes" sprout up that flaunts modified name of famous international stores. As the South China Morning Post reports, on this commercial street, located near the Wuxi East Railway Station, the "shanzai" (translated – knock-offs) are in fact all empty – designed to entice buyers of commercial and residential property in yet another ghost city to lever-up and speculate.

 

Via The South China Morning Post,

A “street of fakes” has sprouted up in the southern Chinese city of Wuxi, featuring signs that flaunt modified names of famous international stores like Starbucks and Zara.

On this commercial street, located near the Wuxi East Railway Station, clothing stores Zara and H&M have morphed into “Zare” and “H&N,” American electronics company Apple is "Appla," Starbucks Coffee has become the bizarre sounding “Sffcccks Coffee" and even the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has made an appearance – only with one of the characters of its Chinese name removed and replaced with another, rendering the name nonsensical.

H&N, Zara and even the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have all undergone tiny tweaks to their names.

All of the store signs displaying these famous names are written in fonts that make them appear similar to the real deal from a distance, and China’s netizens have quickly taken to calling the area a “street of fakes” or a “shanzai street.” Shanzai is the Putonghua word for knock-off.

“How could the people that put these signs up possibly be proud of such a thing?” one commentator wrote on Chinese news portal Wenxuecity.com. “They are completely ignorant of intellectual property rights.”

Local reports claim that the stores displaying the shanzai signs are actually all empty, and the entire street is property available for purchase by shop owners or landlords. According to reports from internet portal Sohu.com, real estate representatives for the street told reporters that the signs were “pre-made advertising images designed to create a shopping atmosphere” and appeal to prospective property buyers.

All of the shops on this "street of fakes" are empty, local reports claim.

 

“The real estate operators in charge are engaging in misleading behaviour and should stop this infringement,” said Zhao Jia, a local lawyer interviewed by Sohu.com.

Despite this warning, copyright infringement is common in the mainland, and local stores and products have frequently copied the logos or fonts of international brands for recognition purposes. Photos of Chinese stores such as “KLG” (a chicken restaurant similar to international fast-food chain KFC) and “Sunbucks Coffee” (a coffee shop resembling Starbucks) have been virally shared on the internet for years.

 

Of course, we are sure there is a real economy somewhere under all of this – somewhere…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/0gqYZvM5C8w/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Meet China's "Street Of Fakes"

From "The Appla Store" to "Sffcccks Coffee", the southern Chinese city of Wuxi has seen a "street of fakes" sprout up that flaunts modified name of famous international stores. As the South China Morning Post reports, on this commercial street, located near the Wuxi East Railway Station, the "shanzai" (translated – knock-offs) are in fact all empty – designed to entice buyers of commercial and residential property in yet another ghost city to lever-up and speculate.

 

Via The South China Morning Post,

A “street of fakes” has sprouted up in the southern Chinese city of Wuxi, featuring signs that flaunt modified names of famous international stores like Starbucks and Zara.

On this commercial street, located near the Wuxi East Railway Station, clothing stores Zara and H&M have morphed into “Zare” and “H&N,” American electronics company Apple is "Appla," Starbucks Coffee has become the bizarre sounding “Sffcccks Coffee" and even the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has made an appearance – only with one of the characters of its Chinese name removed and replaced with another, rendering the name nonsensical.

H&N, Zara and even the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have all undergone tiny tweaks to their names.

All of the store signs displaying these famous names are written in fonts that make them appear similar to the real deal from a distance, and China’s netizens have quickly taken to calling the area a “street of fakes” or a “shanzai street.” Shanzai is the Putonghua word for knock-off.

“How could the people that put these signs up possibly be proud of such a thing?” one commentator wrote on Chinese news portal Wenxuecity.com. “They are completely ignorant of intellectual property rights.”

Local reports claim that the stores displaying the shanzai signs are actually all empty, and the entire street is property available for purchase by shop owners or landlords. According to reports from internet portal Sohu.com, real estate representatives for the street told reporters that the signs were “pre-made advertising images designed to create a shopping atmosphere” and appeal to prospective property buyers.

All of the shops on this "street of fakes" are empty, local reports claim.

 

“The real estate operators in charge are engaging in misleading behaviour and should stop this infringement,” said Zhao Jia, a local lawyer interviewed by Sohu.com.

Despite this warning, copyright infringement is common in the mainland, and local stores and products have frequently copied the logos or fonts of international brands for recognition purposes. Photos of Chinese stores such as “KLG” (a chicken restaurant similar to international fast-food chain KFC) and “Sunbucks Coffee” (a coffee shop resembling Starbucks) have been virally shared on the internet for years.

 

Of course, we are sure there is a real economy somewhere under all of this – somewhere…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/0gqYZvM5C8w/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Goldman’s Payroll Preview: Optimistic But Worried About Weather

Goldman forecasts a gain of 200k non-farm payroll jobs tomorrow (against a 196k consensus +/-25k). Factors arguing for a solid print include the recent trend, an improvement in most employment indicators already released for the month, the compressed holiday hiring period, and a potential "couriers and messengers effect." On the negative side, Goldman warns cold weather is a downside risk. With respect to other aspects of the release, in general they note that the December report has not shown an overwhelming tendency to contain back-revisions in one direction or the other; and forecast an unchanged unemployment rate at 7.0%, and a 0.2% month-on-month gain in average hourly earnings.

 

Top of the pile is the one and only Joe Lavorgna of Deutsche at 250k with Toby Dayton of LinkUp bringing up the rear with 100k (and apparently only 77 of the 90 estimates are from "qualified economists")

 

Via Goldman Sachs' Kris Dawsey,

A number of factors point to a solid report:

1. Sturdy recent trend. Payroll job gains have been running at 180,000 – 200,000/mo on a trend basis recently. Our labor market tracker, which aggregates a number of key labor market indicators into a single summary measure, was consistent with 190,000/mo payroll job growth on a three-month average basis through November.

2. Improving labor differential. The Conference Board's labor differential?the net percent of respondents in the consumer confidence survey reporting jobs plentiful vs. jobs hard to get?rose further in December, continuing its uptrend over the past two years.

3. Better ISM services employment index. Although the ISM services report taken as a whole was softer than expected in December, the employment component rose 3.3pt to 55.8. With most responses received late in the month, the improvement may also reflect on January payrolls given the early- to mid-month timing of the payroll reference period (pay period including the 12th of the month).

4. Strong ADP report. ADP employment posted a strong 238,000 gain in December, the strongest initial print since the index methodology was revised in 2012. Although a stronger-than-expected ADP report foreshadowed a larger-than-expected payroll gain in November, the ADP report has yet to prove itself as a reliable indicator of the official payrolls estimate.

5. Lower layoffs. According to the Challenger, Gray, and Christmas layoff report, announced job cuts in December were the lowest in 13 years, declining 5.9% year-over-year.

6. Compressed holiday hiring period. Because of the late timing of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, holiday hiring was likely somewhat more compressed this year between the November and December payroll reference periods. This could result in a stronger December gain.

7. Potential couriers and messengers effect. Seasonal hiring of couriers and messengers has increased significantly in recent years as an increasing share of holiday shopping is done online and as such must be delivered. This year, some large firms reportedly increased seasonal hiring above the levels seen in prior years. However, as shown in Exhibit 1 seasonal adjustment difficulty associated with the couriers and messengers category has resulted in increasing volatility in recent years. This is a significant question mark for the December report.

A few other signals were mixed to negative:

1. Higher jobless claims. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims edged higher by 4,500 from the November to December reference weeks. However, initial jobless claims are typically volatile between Thanksgiving and the early weeks of the new year, so we take little signal from the uptick.

2. Mixed online job ads. The conference Board's monthly measure of online job advertising was mixed in December, with total ads rising but new ads falling. The data were similarly mixed on a three-month change basis.

3. Bad weather. Exhibit 2 shows the deviation in heating degree days from longer-term averages over the past several years. Weather was particularly cold during the December reference period, potentially subtracting around 10,000 from payroll job growth. Weather-sensitive sectors such as construction and leisure & hospitality (ex-ski industry) would be expected to show a disproportionate hit from colder-than-normal weather. The weather could also negatively influence the average weekly hours series.

The longer-term average revision to October and November payrolls found in the December report is roughly zero. However, over the past four years (post-recession) the average two-month revision in the December report has been +19,000, with substantial dispersion. Overall, the December report has not shown an overwhelming tendency to contain back-revisions in one direction or the other.

Regarding other aspects of the employment report, we expect the unemployment rate to remain at 7.0% (from an unrounded 7.0235% in November). Potential distortions to the unemployment rate associated with the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits would not become apparent until the January report. Average hourly earnings likely rose 0.2% month-on-month, in line with their recent trend.


    



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

Goldman's Payroll Preview: Optimistic But Worried About Weather

Goldman forecasts a gain of 200k non-farm payroll jobs tomorrow (against a 196k consensus +/-25k). Factors arguing for a solid print include the recent trend, an improvement in most employment indicators already released for the month, the compressed holiday hiring period, and a potential "couriers and messengers effect." On the negative side, Goldman warns cold weather is a downside risk. With respect to other aspects of the release, in general they note that the December report has not shown an overwhelming tendency to contain back-revisions in one direction or the other; and forecast an unchanged unemployment rate at 7.0%, and a 0.2% month-on-month gain in average hourly earnings.

 

Top of the pile is the one and only Joe Lavorgna of Deutsche at 250k with Toby Dayton of LinkUp bringing up the rear with 100k (and apparently only 77 of the 90 estimates are from "qualified economists")

 

Via Goldman Sachs' Kris Dawsey,

A number of factors point to a solid report:

1. Sturdy recent trend. Payroll job gains have been running at 180,000 – 200,000/mo on a trend basis recently. Our labor market tracker, which aggregates a number of key labor market indicators into a single summary measure, was consistent with 190,000/mo payroll job growth on a three-month average basis through November.

2. Improving labor differential. The Conference Board's labor differential?the net percent of respondents in the consumer confidence survey reporting jobs plentiful vs. jobs hard to get?rose further in December, continuing its uptrend over the past two years.

3. Better ISM services employment index. Although the ISM services report taken as a whole was softer than expected in December, the employment component rose 3.3pt to 55.8. With most responses received late in the month, the improvement may also reflect on January payrolls given the early- to mid-month timing of the payroll reference period (pay period including the 12th of the month).

4. Strong ADP report. ADP employment posted a strong 238,000 gain in December, the strongest initial print since the index methodology was revised in 2012. Although a stronger-than-expected ADP report foreshadowed a larger-than-expected payroll gain in November, the ADP report has yet to prove itself as a reliable indicator of the official payrolls estimate.

5. Lower layoffs. According to the Challenger, Gray, and Christmas layoff report, announced job cuts in December were the lowest in 13 years, declining 5.9% year-over-year.

6. Compressed holiday hiring period. Because of the late timing of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, holiday hiring was likely somewhat more compressed this year between the November and December payroll reference periods. This could result in a stronger December gain.

7. Potential couriers and messengers effect. Seasonal hiring of couriers and messengers has increased significantly in recent years as an increasing share of holiday shopping is done online and as such must be delivered. This year, some large firms reportedly increased seasonal hiring above the levels seen in prior years. However, as shown in Exhibit 1 seasonal adjustment difficulty associated with the couriers and messengers category has resulted in increasing volatility in recent years. This is a significant question mark for the December report.

A few other signals were mixed to negative:

1. Higher jobless claims. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims edged higher by 4,500 from the November to December reference weeks. However, initial jobless claims are typically volatile between Thanksgiving and the early weeks of the new year, so we take little signal from the uptick.

2. Mixed online job ads. The conference Board's monthly measure of online job advertising was mixed in December, with total ads rising but new ads falling. The data were similarly mixed on a three-month change basis.

3. Bad weather. Exhibit 2 shows the deviation in heating degree days from longer-term averages over the past several years. Weather was particularly cold during the December reference period, potentially subtracting around 10,000 from payroll job growth. Weather-sensitive sectors such as construction and leisure & hospitality (ex-ski industry) would be expected to show a disproportionate hit from colder-than-normal weather. The weather could also negatively influence the average weekly hours series.

The longer-term average revision to October and November payrolls found in the December report is roughly zero. However, over the past four years (post-recession) the average two-month revision in the December report has been +19,000, with substantial dispersion. Overall, the December report has not shown an overwhelming tendency to contain back-revisions in one direction or the other.

Regarding other aspects of the employment report, we expect the unemployment rate to remain at 7.0% (from an unrounded 7.0235% in November). Potential distortions to the unemployment rate associated with the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits would not become apparent until the January report. Average hourly earnings likely rose 0.2% month-on-month, in line with their recent trend.


    



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

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like The Fed’s Logical Fallacies

Last week, in Part I of “That Was The Weak That Worked,” we reviewed the equity markets in an attempt to see how equity investors managed to scamper through 2013 with the friskiness of puppies when all about them lay doubt and potential disaster.

We found the answer in quantitative easing — of course.

This week we will take a look at how the bond market managed to navigate the same 12-month period and see what can be learned about 2013 in order to forecast for 2014.

Let’s begin by considering the subject of logical fallacies — an endeavor rendered more obsolete with each passing day.

(Deus Diapente): The study of logical fallacies is useful in learning how to think instead of what to think. In learning how to deconstruct an argument, you learn how to efficiently construct your own thoughts, ideas, and arguments. You learn how to find fallacies in your own line of reasoning before they’re even presented, which is a valuable methodology for learning how to think. Which is a lot more honest, liberating, and possibly more objective than simply regurgitating what society, teachers, parents, preachers, friends, or politicians tell us…

“Learning how to think instead of what to think”?

The very idea is enough to send many into an Austen-like swoon, and yet within this relatively simple construct lies a principle that, if it were applied to today’s markets, would have every rational investor rushing headlong into the hills.

Allow me to demonstrate using everyone’s favourite logical structure: the syllogism.

A syllogism is classified as a point-by-point outline of a deductive or inductive argument. Syllogisms normally contain two premises followed by a conclusion:

Premise 1:Miley Cyrus is the most talented musician of her generation.

?Premise 2:The most talented musician of every generation achieves legendary status.?

Conclusion:Miley Cyrus is a legend.

Simple.

The conclusion, from a purely logical standpoint, holds water. The problem comes when either of the first two premises is not accepted by the person to which they are proposed.

At that point, the argument starts to fall apart.

The common term for this kind of flawed argument is a “non sequitur,” which literally means “it does not follow.”

So let’s apply the syllogistic approach to the concept of quantitative easing and see how we go:

Premise 1:Central banks have been printing money like lunatics.?

Premise 2:Their printing of money hasn’t had any ill effects.?

Conclusion:Printing money doesn’t have any ill effects.

Right then. There’s our syllogism. Do you want to go first, or shall I?

Oh… ok.

Quantitative Easing IV (or “QE IV” — so-called because it was injected directly into the veins of the monetary system) was unveiled on December 11, 2012, when Ben Bernanke announced, as Operation Twist expired, that in addition to the ongoing QE3 program (which committed the Federal Reserve to buying $40 bn in MBS every month) he would sanction the additional buying of $45 bn in long-term Treasury securities. Every month. Forever. Until further notice.

The rest, as they say (whoever “they” are), is history.

The effect on the Fed’s balance sheet is plain to see:

That’s a very steady, predictable line; and markets, as we have discussed, LOVE steady and predictable. The consistency of this curve underpinned the strength in equity markets this year, as I demonstrated last week. But in Bondville? Well, that’s another story…

2014 is going to be a bumpy ride for bond markets, folks. Count on it.

Government debt is at levels that only governments themselves would pay, at exactly the time when they are trying to lean more heavily on the private sector to take up the slack — good luck with that.

Interest rates, bond markets, and the housing market are inextricably intertwined. They always have been and always will be. Period.

You cannot monkey around with one piece of that eternal triangle and expect the others not to be affected at some point, and just because nothing bad has happened definitely does NOT mean it won't.

It will.

2013 may well have been The Weak That Worked, but the odds on that continuing for another 12 months are very short indeed.

And so, as we wrap up this week, let's revisit the idea of logical fallacies and throw a couple more that the guardians of the global economy are relying on into the ring for good measure:

The Taper Syllogism
Premise 1: The Fed tapered its monthly asset purchases.
Premise 2: The taper had no major negative effect on markets.

Conclusion: Tapering has no negative effect on markets.

The Housing Bubble Syllogism
Premise 1: The government has all the data on the housing market.
Premise 2: The government sees no bubble in the data.

Conclusion: There is no housing bubble.

The Interest Rate Syllogism
Premise 1: The Fed sets interest rates.
Premise 2: The Fed has promised low rates of zero to 0.25 percent "… at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored."

Conclusion: Interest rates will stay at zero to 0.25% and zero to 0.25 percent will be appropriate "… at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored."

The Inflation Syllogism
Premise 1: The world's central banks have printed ~$4.7 trillion.
Premise 2: There is no noticeable problem with (official) inflation numbers.

Conclusion: Printing money doesn't cause inflation.

 

Discuss…!

 

Full Grant Williams letter below…

TTMYGH_Jan2014


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/OzIdf1e_b8g/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like The Fed's Logical Fallacies

Last week, in Part I of “That Was The Weak That Worked,” we reviewed the equity markets in an attempt to see how equity investors managed to scamper through 2013 with the friskiness of puppies when all about them lay doubt and potential disaster.

We found the answer in quantitative easing — of course.

This week we will take a look at how the bond market managed to navigate the same 12-month period and see what can be learned about 2013 in order to forecast for 2014.

Let’s begin by considering the subject of logical fallacies — an endeavor rendered more obsolete with each passing day.

(Deus Diapente): The study of logical fallacies is useful in learning how to think instead of what to think. In learning how to deconstruct an argument, you learn how to efficiently construct your own thoughts, ideas, and arguments. You learn how to find fallacies in your own line of reasoning before they’re even presented, which is a valuable methodology for learning how to think. Which is a lot more honest, liberating, and possibly more objective than simply regurgitating what society, teachers, parents, preachers, friends, or politicians tell us…

“Learning how to think instead of what to think”?

The very idea is enough to send many into an Austen-like swoon, and yet within this relatively simple construct lies a principle that, if it were applied to today’s markets, would have every rational investor rushing headlong into the hills.

Allow me to demonstrate using everyone’s favourite logical structure: the syllogism.

A syllogism is classified as a point-by-point outline of a deductive or inductive argument. Syllogisms normally contain two premises followed by a conclusion:

Premise 1:Miley Cyrus is the most talented musician of her generation.

?Premise 2:The most talented musician of every generation achieves legendary status.?

Conclusion:Miley Cyrus is a legend.

Simple.

The conclusion, from a purely logical standpoint, holds water. The problem comes when either of the first two premises is not accepted by the person to which they are proposed.

At that point, the argument starts to fall apart.

The common term for this kind of flawed argument is a “non sequitur,” which literally means “it does not follow.”

So let’s apply the syllogistic approach to the concept of quantitative easing and see how we go:

Premise 1:Central banks have been printing money like lunatics.?

Premise 2:Their printing of money hasn’t had any ill effects.?

Conclusion:Printing money doesn’t have any ill effects.

Right then. There’s our syllogism. Do you want to go first, or shall I?

Oh… ok.

Quantitative Easing IV (or “QE IV” — so-called because it was injected directly into the veins of the monetary system) was unveiled on December 11, 2012, when Ben Bernanke announced, as Operation Twist expired, that in addition to the ongoing QE3 program (which committed the Federal Reserve to buying $40 bn in MBS every month) he would sanction the additional buying of $45 bn in long-term Treasury securities. Every month. Forever. Until further notice.

The rest, as they say (whoever “they” are), is history.

The effect on the Fed’s balance sheet is plain to see:

That’s a very steady, predictable line; and markets, as we have discussed, LOVE steady and predictable. The consistency of this curve underpinned the strength in equity markets this year, as I demonstrated last week. But in Bondville? Well, that’s another story…

2014 is going to be a bumpy ride for bond markets, folks. Count on it.

Government debt is at levels that only governments themselves would pay, at exactly the time when they are trying to lean more heavily on the private sector to take up the slack — good luck with that.

Interest rates, bond markets, and the housing market are inextricably intertwined. They always have been and always will be. Period.

You cannot monkey around with one piece of that eternal triangle and expect the others not to be affected at some point, and just because nothing bad has happened definitely does NOT mean it won't.

It will.

2013 may well have been The Weak That Worked, but the odds on that continuing for another 12 months are very short indeed.

And so, as we wrap up this week, let's revisit the idea of logical fallacies and throw a couple more that the guardians of the global economy are relying on into the ring for good measure:

The Taper Syllogism
Premise 1: The Fed tapered its monthly asset purchases.
Premise 2: The taper had no major negative effect on markets.

Conclusion: Tapering has no negative effect on markets.

The Housing Bubble Syllogism
Premise 1: The government has all the data on the housing market.
Premise 2: The government sees no bubble in the data.

Conclusion: There is no housing bubble.

The Interest Rate Syllogism
Premise 1: The Fed sets interest rates.
Premise 2: The Fed has promised low rates of zero to 0.25 percent "… at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored."

Conclusion: Interest rates will stay at zero to 0.25% and zero to 0.25 percent will be appropriate "… at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored."

The Inflation Syllogism
Premise 1: The world's central banks have printed ~$4.7 trillion.
Premise 2: There is no noticeable problem with (official) inflation numbers.

Conclusion: Printing money doesn't cause inflation.

 

Discuss…!

 

Full Grant Williams letter below…

TTMYGH_Jan2014


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/OzIdf1e_b8g/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Al Qaeda Now Controls More Territory In The Arab World Than Ever Before

Remember this?

This was the neo-conservatives’ victory lap when they supposedly achieved one of their main stated goals: to discover and neutralize terrorist organizations, primarily al Qaeda.

Well, things have changed.

In what can be described a truly ironic event and a major failure for America’s stated mission (because one can’t help but wonder at all the support various Al Qaeda cells have received from the US and/or CIA) of eradicating the Al Qaeda scourge from the face of the earth, we learn today that al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history. According to a CNN report “from around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.”

The following recent map from Jane’s shows just how extensive Al Qaeda’s influence has grown in recent years.

And nowhere is the surge of Al Qaeda more visible than in recent events in Iraq. From CNN:

The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”

 

Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been. On Friday al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq seized control of parts of the city of Falluja and parts of the city of Ramadi, both of which are located in Iraq’s restive Anbar Province.

 

Anbar is home to predominantly Sunni Muslims, who feel that that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki treats the Sunnis as second-class citizens.

 

Sectarian tensions in Anbar recently burst into several all-out revolts against the government, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as the al-Qaeda affiliate there is known, quickly seized the opportunity to notch some battlefield victories.

 

Government forces increased their presence around Falluja in response and on Tuesday tribal leaders issued a statement urging people who had fled the city or stopped reporting to work to return.

America’s escapade in Syria – where it was merely a puppet for Qatari nat gas oligarchs – has also backfired.

ISIS is also operating in Syria, where it has established a presence in many areas of the Aleppo and Idlib Governorates in the northwest. In August, ISIS launched a propaganda series on video highlighting their activities in Syria, which includes interviews with fighters; the “graduation” of a group of mujahedin “cubs” (aged about 7 to 10 years old) from training, and sermons at local mosques preaching al Qaeda’s interpretation of Islam.

 

The al-Nusra front has claimed to control parts of at least a dozen Syrian towns. Those include sections of the ancient city of the Aleppo in the northwest, where fighters have been filmed running a community fair and preaching al Qaeda’s values to crowds of children. The group has also released videos on jihadist websites claiming that it is providing services to the people of several towns in the governorate of Idlib, which borders the Aleppo Governorate to the west. Al Nusra claims that it is a quasi-government and service-provider in the towns of Binnish, Taum, and Saraqib.

 

Al-Nusra fighters allied to al Qaeda function like a government in areas they control in Syria. The group provides daily deliveries of bread, free running water and electricity, a health clinic, and a strict justice system based on Sharia law in the eastern Syrian city of Ash Shaddadi, where it also took control of the city’s wheat silos and oil wells. In September a CNN reporting team concluded, “Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.”

 

In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.

It wouldn’t be a US diplomatic debacle without at least one soundbite from John Kerry. So here it is:

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the United States will “do everything that is possible to help” the Iraqi government control al Qaeda’s expansion in Anbar, but stressed that no American troops would be sent back to the Middle Eastern nation . Last month, the United States quietly sent Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to the Iraqi government to support their fight against increasing al Qaeda-related violence.

The question of how quickly the US “gift” was intercepted by Al Qaeda is rhetorical. The other rhetorical question is how long until the now much better armed (with US weapons) jihadists will turn those same weapons on the liberating Western powers. The US for now seems safe. Europe is a different matter.

For the United States the widening reach of al Qaeda in the Middle East doesn’t necessarily translate into an immediate threat at home. So far only a handful of Americans have fought in the Syrian conflict alongside al Qaeda’s affiliates there so concerns about some kind of “blowback” from the Syrian war in the U.S. are, at this point, unfounded.

 

European countries are rightly concerned, however. Many European countries have seen their citizens drawn to the Syrian war; more than a hundred from Britain and many dozens from countries like Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, according to multiple European officials we have spoken to. These countries are concerned that the returning veterans of the Syrian conflict might launch terrorist attacks in Europe.

 

In October for instance, British authorities arrested militants who were allegedly planning a terrorist attack. Two British officials who work on counterterrorism issues told us that that the militants had recently traveled to Syria.

Finally, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone. Ron Paul, for one, has long predicted precisely this chain of events. In this context his latest commentary, posted here over the weekend, bears repeating.

Iraq: The ‘Liberation’ Neocons Would Rather Forget

Remember Fallujah? Shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US military fired on unarmed protestors, killing as many as 20 and wounding dozens. In retaliation, local Iraqis attacked a convoy of US military contractors, killing four. The US then launched a full attack on Fallujah to regain control, which left perhaps 700 Iraqis dead and the city virtually destroyed.

According to press reports last weekend, Fallujah is now under the control of al-Qaeda affiliates. The Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, is under siege by al-Qaeda. During the 2007 “surge,” more than 1,000 US troops were killed “pacifying” the Anbar province.  Although al-Qaeda was not in Iraq before the US invasion, it is now conducting its own surge in Anbar.
 
For Iraq, the US “liberation” is proving far worse than the authoritarianism of Saddam Hussein, and it keeps getting worse. Last year was Iraq’s deadliest in five years. In 2013, fighting and bomb blasts claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces. In December alone nearly a thousand people were killed.
 
I remember sitting through many hearings in the House International Relations Committee praising the “surge,” which we were told secured a US victory in Iraq. They also praised the so-called “Awakening,” which was really an agreement by insurgents to stop fighting in exchange for US dollars. I always wondered what would happen when those dollars stopped coming.
 
Where are the surge and awakening cheerleaders now?
 
One of them, Richard Perle, was interviewed last year on NPR and asked whether the Iraq invasion that he pushed was worth it. He replied:

I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say, well, we shouldn’t have done that.

Many of us were saying all along that we shouldn’t have done that – before we did it. Unfortunately the Bush Administration took the advice of the neocons pushing for war and promising it would be a “cakewalk.” We continue to see the results of that terrible mistake, and it is only getting worse.
 
Last month the US shipped nearly a hundred air-to-ground missiles to the Iraqi air force to help combat the surging al-Qaeda. Ironically, the same al-Qaeda groups the US is helping the Iraqis combat are benefiting from the US covert and overt war to overthrow Assad next door in Syria. Why can’t the US government learn from its mistakes?
 
The neocons may be on the run from their earlier positions on Iraq, but that does not mean they have given up. They were the ones pushing for an attack on Syria this summer. Thankfully they were not successful. They are now making every effort to derail President Obama’s efforts to negotiate with the Iranians. Just last week William Kristol urged Israel to attack Iran with the hope we would then get involved. Neoconservative Senators from both parties recently introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, which would also bring us back on war-footing with Iran.
 
Next time the neocons tell us we must attack, just think “Iraq.”


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/B_JqQA2timc/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Commissioners reconcile; Brown reelected 5–0

Rather than fireworks, there was rapprochement Thursday night as Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown was reelected without opposition in a unanimous show of harmony.

Calling the recent stories of discontent with Brown’s leadership style a “family spat,” Brown declared all hostilities were behind him and called for a continued spirit of cooperation with commissioners Charles Oddo, David Barlow, Allan McCarty and Randy Ognio.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/01-09-2014/commissioners-reconcile-brown-reelected-5%E2%80%930

Forget BRICs & PIIGS; Meet The Fragile 5 Emerging Markets

Despite an apparent belief among the US mainstream media that 'taper' is priced in, Saxo Capital Markets warns that Emerging Market countries with large current account deficits like Brazil, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Turkey face increasing problems. As the following chart shows (and highlghted most recently by Brazil's highest FX outflows since 2002!) could see their currencies weaken even further if the Fed's taper plans result in a deterioration of global risk appetite.

 

 

Think it will be different this time? Think again – Brazil just saw its largest outflows since 2002!!!

Via WSJ,

Dollars flowed out of Brazil in 2013 at their largest volume in more than a decade amid growing investor risk aversion and shifting capital movements around the globe.

 

The country's central bank Wednesday reported net dollar outflows of $12.3 billion, compared with net inflows of $16.8 billion the previous year, and the largest outflows on record since 2002. The outflows were also the country's first reported since 2008, when net dollar outflows totaled $983 million.

 

 

The central bank reported the country posted $8.8 billion in net dollar outflows in December alone.

 

The net currency outflows in 2013 were led mainly by investment outflows, which reached $23.4 billion. That was down from $8.4 billion in net investment inflows the previous year.

 

 

"Every bit of good economic news for the U.S. has been problematic for the rest of the world," said Mr. Galhardo. "It's hard to see good news on the horizon that will alleviate the pressure on the real in the short term."

 

The dollar outflow trend has been compounded, meanwhile, by growing scrutiny of Brazil's fiscal health and heightened investor risk aversion.

 

Source: Saxo Capital Markets


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/5psLA9Bg6hs/story01.htm Tyler Durden