Over the past several months, investment banks all across Europe have scrambled to put a price tag on their equity research after years of giving it way as a 'freebie' in return for trading commissions. Of course, for wall street's titans of finance, ...
Authored by John Pilger via Counterpunch.org, On 16 October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States. W...
A simmering nuclear crisis, series of devastating natural disasters and a resurgence of drug-fueled crime are inspiring more Americans than ever before to buy up “doomsday prepper” gear – everything from gas masks to fallout shelters ...
"I'm not a big fan of bonds right now," may seem like an odd way for the so-called Bond King to begin, but in an audience at Vanity Fair's Establishment Summit, DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach told Bethany McLean, "I haven’t been really [a fan of bonds] for the past four years, even though I manage them, and institutions have to own them for various reasons."
Gundlach urged investors to be “light” on bonds.
As Vanity Fair's William Cohan reports, Gundlach admitted “I’m stuck in it,” of his massive bond portfolio, adding that interest rates have bottomed out and been rising gradually for the past six years.
Gundlach said his job now, on behalf of his clients, “is to get them to the other side of the valley.”
When the bigger, seemingly inevitable hikes in interest rates come, “I’ll feel like I’ve done a service by getting people through,” he said.
“That’s why I’m still at the game. I want to see how the movie ends.”
But it can’t end well. To illustrate his point about the risk in owning bonds these days, Gundlach shared a chart that showed how investors in European “junk” bonds are willing to accept the same no-default return as they are for U.S. Treasury bonds, pointing out that this phenomenon has been caused by "manipulated behavior" by central banks.
European interest rates “should be much higher than they are today,” he said,
“...[and] once Draghi realizes this, the order of the financial system will be turned upside down and it won’t be a good thing.
It will mean the liquidity that has been pumping up the markets will be drying up in 2018...
...Things go down. We’ve been in an artificially inflated market for stocks and bonds largely around the world.”
“My job is to find scary things,” Gundlach told McLean...
“My critics say, ‘You find seven risks for every one that exists.’ Guilty. That’s my job. My job is to try to find out what can go wrong, not cover my ears and hum. It’s better to keep your eyes open.”
The Baghdad government and its paramilitary forces increasingly see American troop presence as the actual foreign menace.
A prominent Iraqi militia leader with close ties to Iran has told the United States to go home while also accusing US forces of not actually being interested in fighting ISIS: “Your forces should get ready to get out of our country once the excuse of Daesh’s presence is over," said Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, the commander of the Shiite PMU group Asaib (Popular Mobilization Unit), through the group's TV channel on Monday. The threatening statement was issued the same day Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi publicly rejected Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's earlier suggestion that Iraqi paramilitary units who have for years fought Islamic State terrorists are actually "Iranian" and not Iraqi nationals.
On Sunday Tillerson controversially asserted that Iranian "militias" need to leave Iraq as the fight against Islamic State militants was coming to an end while in Riyadh where he engaged in rare high level talks with Abadi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. “Certainly Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fighting against (the Islamic State group) is coming to a close, those militias need to go home,” Tillerson said during a press conference in Riyadh, just before boarding a plane for Baghdad. "All foreign fighters need to go home,” he added.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday. Image source: Government of Iraq/Prime Minister's office.
But Iraqi PM Abadi pushed back against the Secretary of State in a face to face meeting in Baghdad on Monday. Abadi's words to Tillerson were publicized through a statement on the prime minister's official Facebook page posted late Monday, which has been translated by Zero Hedge (emphasis ours):
Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi during his meeting with the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson assured him that the fighters of al-Hash'd al Shaabi [PMU militias] are Iraqi fighters who fought terrorism and protected their country, they sacrificed in order to win against Daesh [ISIS], and that Hash'd al Shaabi is an official institution under the state. The Iraqi Constitution doesn’t allow for foreign armed groups under state institutions, and further said that we should encourage these fighters because they are the hope of our country and for the region.
And a separate statement issued earlier in the day by the prime minister's media office warned, "No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters.” So it appears, based on today's rebuttals, that the Iraqi government and its paramilitary forces increasingly see American troop presence as the actual foreign menace which potentially threatens Iraqi national sovereignty.
Interestingly, Abadi's defense of the PMU forces appears to hinge on Article 9 section 1A of the Iraqi Constitution:
Tillerson's statements, however, are a reflection of the Washington foreign policy establishment's increased frustration at Shiite-led Iran’s expanding sway in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq. US regional allies Saudi Arabia and Israel are arguably even more frustrated, reflected in the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric coming out of both countries, and the fact that the two former enemies are finding more and more common ground against Iran and Syria.
But the US and its allies have created the very situation and conditions they now find untenable. In Syria the West's fueling of an international proxy war for regime change pushed President Assad to increasingly rely on Iranian forces in a now more than 6-year long war against both homegrown and foreign Sunni jihadists. Furthermore, Iran's chief paramilitary ally in the region, Hezbollah, has played an even bigger role in pushing out ISIS and other al-Qaeda linked insurgents from Syria's major cities.
In Iraq, Shiite parties have dominated politics since the U.S. toppled the Sunni-dominated secular Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Essentially, the neocons handed Baghdad to the very pro-Shia forces in Iraq that they now rant in frustration against, as is now commonly understood even among some of the very architects of Bush's war.
The ultimate fear from the perspective of the US-Israel-Saudi axis remains the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, "a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut" and the establishment of a supposed "Iranian radical empire." For neocons, the next Middle East threat ever-looms ad infinitum (there will always be another boogeyman...and another, and another, and another...) as an excuse to maintain America's "forever wars" in the region.
And of course, Iraqi PM Abadi understands all of this very well - he further knows that American officials believe in the principle of "sovereignty" until they simply don't, that is, up until the point that US allied sovereign governments refuse to remain pliant puppets of American interests. In this case, the some 80,000 to 100,000 Iraqi PMU militias perceived by the US as being under Iranian influence and serving Iranian interests are considered by American and Saudi officials as intolerable, even while they fight ISIS.
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In an delightfully ironic lesson why border protection is important for the US, an MSNBC crew was reporting on the prototypes of Trump’s proposed border wall near San Diego, when the interview was interrupted by a group of “migrants not from Mexico” hopping over the existing fence.
“What happened?” the MSNBC reporter shouts as a group of agents on horseback move in to catch border jumpers. “The people are crossing!”
“Almost on cue, a group of asylum-seekers, migrants not from Mexico, jumped over the existing fence to turn themselves in to border agents on horseback,” the narrator explained.
“It’s like, a small group of three people jumped over in the middle of the day,” he told a border patrol agent he was interviewing. “There’s a girl there in a pink backpack. Can you explain to me what’s going on?”
What's going on is that, as the border agent explained, it’s just another day at work fighting the battle to secure the nation’s southern border.
“This is the reality of every day border enforcement. The United States is still the draw, the ultimate draw, for people that have dire situations where they’re at,” the agent said. “We’re going to continue to witness this. It plays out on a regular basis for us.”
“And it did here just now,” the dismayed reporter replied, as first observed by the American Mirror.
* * *
Meanwhile, construction crews are currently erecting eight roughly 30-foot-tall prototypes for the president’s border wall in a remote section of the border near San Diego, where at least a half dozen illegal immigrants have been arrested while attempting to cross amid the construction, according to NPR. The prototypes currently include four made of solid concrete, four made of steel and concrete and one topped with spikes.
“Customs and Border Protection is paying $20 million to six construction companies from Mississippi, Maryland, Alabama, Texas and Arizona” to construct the models by the end of the month, after which CBP will evaluate them based on three criteria, NPR reports.
“We want a better barrier. One that is hard to scale, hard to penetrate and hard to tunnel under,” Roy Villareal, chief of the San Diego Border Patrol sector, told NPR. “We’re hoping innovation from private industry combined with our experience generates the next evolution of border security infrastructure.”
For those who missed it, here is our exclusive drone footage of the 8 different wall types currently under consideration.
Pyongyang is reportedly interested in algae, potentially as a strategic resource to mitigate international sanctions. crude oil
US dollar firmed on expectations that that the House members would pass the revised Senate budget this week, paving the way for the tax reform plan. The greenback rose against major currencies, sending the DXY index higher by +0.46%.
Bloomberg’s series on automation on Wall Street has certainly given the hundreds of thousands of highly educated individuals employed in the US financial services industry a lot to think about, like, for example, ‘will my job be here in ten...