Friday, January 9, 2015

Today's Links

1--Why OPEC keeps talking oil down, not up, even after prices halved

"The faster you bring the price down, the quicker you will have a response from US production - that is the expectation and the hope," said Jamie Webster, an analyst at consultants IHS in Washington...

Venezuela has a 93 per cent chance of defaulting on its debt over the next five years, according to data company CMA. President Nicolas Maduro said last month that "there is no possibility of default." Earlier this week, he maintained that the country has "the capacity to obtain the financing" it needs.   ...

'Swift fall'    
"It seems in their interest to have a swift fall rather than a slow, grinding fall," said Miswin Mahesh, an analyst at Barclays in London. "A swift drop in prices would bring more changes to non-OPEC supply," while a more gradual decline would let companies in other oil nations "merge and become more efficient."

2---SAYONARA GLOBAL ECONOMY, burning platform


3--Even Mark Zandi Admits It: Auto Loan "Credit Quality Is Eroding Now, And Pretty Quickly", zero hedge

Auto loan delinquency rates are surging to levels not seen since 2008 and stunningly, more than 8.4% of borrowers with weak credit scores who took out loans in the first quarter of 2014 had missed payments by November. As even glass-half-full-status-quo-hugger Mark Zandi is forced to admit, "It’s clear that credit quality is eroding now, and pretty quickly."...

of particular concern are loans in which car dealers push financing at extended terms of six and seven years at relatively high interest rates, even if the borrowers have weak credit and escalated debt-to-income ratios. The longer loan terms keep monthly payments under control and get buyers to purchase more expensive cars.

4---Stephen Roach Warns: "The Fed Is In Total Denial... On What It Put The World Through A Decade Ago", zero hedge

Having previously warned that The Fed's "fixation with the markets has created a deadly trap," and recently noted that "Central Banking has lost its way," Stephen Roach unleashed a few minutes of painfully honest truthiness on an unsuspecting Kelly Evans at CNBC. The brief interview reiterates Roach's previous comments, as Tim Iacono notes, that "it didn't have to be this way." The Fed "is in total denial," Roach rants, adding that it "hasn't learned the lessons of what it put the world through a decade ago."

5--Our trouble with jobs: The pay still stinks, cnbc

Average hourly earnings dropped from $24.62 an hour to $24.57 in December, with the typical paycheck off $1.73 to $850.12, according to BLS data released Friday.

Investors seemed to be taking notice, with stocks reversing a powerful two-day rally Friday as the uneven nature of the economic recovery showed its face in the jobs internals.

In essence, the market got the worst of both worlds: A headline rate that should keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise rates later this year, but internals that show weak wage growth and economic progress that remains uneven.
"Yes, wage growth continues to be lackluster but the Fed won't likely wait to see the whites of its eyes as the continued drop in the unemployment rate is further signs of labor market tightening and another drop in the participation rate is clear evidence that the slack the doves are relying on is just not there," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note to clients.

By itself, the jobless rate remains largely the beneficiary of a declining labor force. The participation rate fell to 62.7 percent, its worst showing going all the way back to December 1977 and due primarily to a drop of females in the workforce.
Accompanying that move was a 273,000 decline in the total number of Americans in the labor force

6--Hebdo Fallout: Greater Odds of Frexit as Marine Le Pen’s Star Rises, NC
Opinion polls indicate that that she would win the first round of a presidential ballot were elections held now.

7--Europe’s Lapse of Reason, Joseph Stiglitz

But Europe is not a victim. Yes, America mismanaged its economy; but, no, the US did not somehow manage to impose the brunt of the global fallout on Europe. The EU’s malaise is self-inflicted, owing to an unprecedented succession of bad economic decisions, beginning with the creation of the euro. Though intended to unite Europe, in the end the euro has divided it; and, in the absence of the political will to create the institutions that would enable a single currency to work, the damage is not being undone.

The current mess stems partly from adherence to a long-discredited belief in well-functioning markets without imperfections of information and competition. Hubris has also played a role. How else to explain the fact that, year after year, European officials’ forecasts of their policies’ consequences have been consistently wrong?

These forecasts have been wrong not because EU countries failed to implement the prescribed policies, but because the models upon which those policies relied were so badly flawed. In Greece, for example, measures intended to lower the debt burden have in fact left the country more burdened than it was in 2010: the debt-to-GDP ratio has increased, owing to the bruising impact of fiscal austerity on output. At least the International Monetary Fund has owned up to these intellectual and policy failures...

unless the structure of the eurozone is reformed, and austerity reversed, Europe will not recover.

Government bond yields in the U.S., Europe and Japan are plumbing lows, suggesting a flight to safety, but analysts aren't ready to hit the panic button. "This is the first time ever that rates are this low, as even during the 1930s rates were well above current levels," Steven Englander, head of G-10 foreign-exchange strategy at Citigroup, said in a note this week, noting the average G-3 10-year government bond yield is below 1 percent.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was trading around 1.98 percent late Tuesday in the U.S. after starting the year around 2.17 percent. Germany's 10-year bund was around 0.47 percent, around all-time lows, after ending 2014 around 0.54 percent, while the Japanese government bond (JGB) was around 0.30 percent, a tad up from the record low 0.265 percent touched earlier this week. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

10--Japan household mood worsens to levels before 'Abenomics': BOJ, Reuters

Japanese households' sentiment worsened in December to levels last seen before premier Shinzo Abe unleashed radical stimulus policies two years ago, a central bank survey showed, underscoring the challenges he faces reviving the economy.
The diffusion index measuring how households felt about the current state of the economy stood at minus 32.9 in December, down 12.5 points from September, the Bank of Japan's quarterly survey on people's livelihood showed on Thursday.

11--Treasuries rally: An Economic Warning?, econombrowser

12--The Republican Strategy To Repeal Dodd-Frank, simon Johnson

13--Stiglitz On Inequality, SE

14--Lowering FHA insurance fees will spur the housing market , oc housing

15--Euro zone officially tips into deflation, wsws

16--​China to boost investment in Latin America to $250bn within decade, RT

17--Turkish deputy claims Charlie Hebdo attack was ‘staged’, Hurriyet

18--Islamist Turkish dailies draw ire after Charlie Hebdo attack, Hurriyet

“The timing of the attack is interesting. Is it the cost of recognizing Palestine as a state?” the same newspaper asked in the title of another story.

19--US expresses concern over turkey Hama relationship, Hurriyet
In late December 2014, Mashaal had made a surprise appearance at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) annual congress, standing side by side with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu while addressing the public in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.

Some media reports on Jan. 6 claimed the exiled Hamas leader had been expelled from Qatar, where he has been residing, and that he would go to Turkey, but the organization has denied those claims.

When asked about the reports on Jan. 7, Çavuşoğlu said Hamas had already denied those reports, but noted that “regardless of which country they belong to, people are free to come and go to Turkey as they wish, as long as there are no legal impediments.”

He added that “there are some who criticize Turkey’s contacts with Hamas, but they realize that permanent peace cannot be established without a national unity coalition and Hamas, so they appreciate [our] relations with Hamas.”

Çavuşoğlu also stressed that Turkey has told Hamas that “it has won an election and needs to lay down arms.”

20--Jailed by Israel for his cartoons, Mohammad Saba’aneh speaks out, EI

21--Hezbollah chief: Extremists harm Islam more than cartoons, AP

22--Islam in France, versus Judaism and Christianity in France
A comrade also made a good class point: Islam in France is not like Judaism and Christianity in France. Islam is the religion of the downtrodden that does not have the privilege of the elite and its media and cultural dominance.  Thus, you can't compare insults against Islam with insults against Christianity and Judaism.  OF course, those terrorist fanatics of Al-Qa`idah, ISIS, and the group that had been pampered by Gulf countries and the West, have done more to insult Islam than Charlie Hebdo, as none other than Hasan Nasrallah observed today.
"One of France's most popular rappers will appear in court today charged with offending public decency with a song in which he referred to France as a "slut" and vowed to "piss" on Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle. Monsieur R, whose real name is Richard Makela, could face three years in prison or a €75,000 (£51,000) fine after an MP from the ruling UMP party launched legal action against him over his album Politikment Incorrekt. "

"Saudi Arabia has been condemned for publicly flogging liberal blogger and activist Raif Badawi, who was accused of insulting Islam.

Amnesty International confirmed to The Independent that Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, received the first round of 50 in a public flogging after Friday prayers, which it says continue every Friday for 20 weeks.

A witness told the human rights organisation that Badawi was removed from a bus in shackles and taken to a public square in front of the al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. He was then flogged in front of a crowd and security guards for 15 minutes, before being put back on the bus and driven away.

Amnesty says Badawi, who started the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, was arrested in June 2012  for creating an online forum for public debate and over accusations that he insulted Islam. His website has also been shut down."..

French president
The French president issues a statement condemning the militant Jihadis and then, flies over to Saudi Arabia--the militant Jihadi regime itself--and discusses more arms deals with the royal family....

A question
How come people in the West always find anti-Jewish mockery to be grotesque and unfunny and anti-Muslim mockery to be tasteful and very funny?
transformation of Hebdo
"The paper's support for the NATO intervention in Kosovo was a source of internal conflict, resulting in the departure of a number of editors. What remained was merely the paper's provocative tone and its demonstrative anti-clerical position.

In recent times, the newspaper has deliberately and frequently attempted to pick fights with devout Muslims. And for many readers, this has even become its trademark.

In February 2006, as protests took place in front of Western embassies in many Islamic countries in response to the publication of Mohammed caricatures in a Danish newspaper, Charlie Hebdo promptly reprinted the illustrations. It even added some drawings of its own, which featured more pointed derision of contemporary fundamentalists.

At the time, the front page featured an image of the Prophet Mohammed, who announced, "It is a hard lot to be loved by fools!" Two Muslim associations filed charges against Charlie Hebdo, leading to a court case in February 2007. In the end, Charlie Hebdo was found not guilty of the charge of "stirring up racial hatred".

In early November 2011, the paper raised the ante by publishing an edition under the masthead "Charia Hebdo" (Sharia Weekly). According to the editors, this was in reaction to supposed plans by Tunisia and Libya to introduce sharia law."

Those who romantacized the Jihadi rebels in Syria
are directly and legally responsible for the phenomenon of the European Jihadis who terrorized Paris yesterday. When I among others warned of the consequences of Western and Gulf policies in Syria we were accused of harboring anti-freedom sentiments....

Is it implolitic to say that now?
Is it possible to say that the cartoons were not really good and were not really funny without being accused of harboring terrorist sympathies? Or does the war on terrorism require that we find the magazine and the cartoons hilarious and sophisticated when they were vulgar and crude?...

In 2009, Charlie Hedbo fired a writer for a joke they said as anti-semitic - then he was charged with a hate crime
"1/8/15, 6:32 AM
In 2009, Charlie Hedbo fired a writer for a joke they said as anti-semitic - then he was charged with a hate crime…"....

Something is wrong when
Something is wrong and crazy when governments that jail bloggers and poets (like Qatar and Saudi Arabia and UAE) are standing with the west "for freedom of expression"....

I am certainly not Charlie Hebdo

If a Western publication specialized in insulting Jews and Judaism and in mocking the Holocaust, and if its cartoonists suffered a vicious attack (like the one in Paris yesterday), not a single Western writer or journalist would have dared to stand in solidarity with the publication. Not one person.  I am not Charlie Hebdo, and can't be.  And please don't give me the notion that the magazine satirized all religions. It did not. It specialized in mocking and insulting Muslims and Islam (all Muslims and not only radical Muslims).  And no, this stance does not mean that I don't condemn the attack. But the terrorists who attacked the publication, are your terrorists and not mine: these are the children of  Western policies in Syria where the West romantacized for more than three years what they dubbed as "moderate rebels" when in reality they were training and arming and nurturing vicious terrorists and Arab leftists like me were warning of the follies of Western policies and that those policies would produce vicious terrorists, and that the Afghanistan film from the 1980s will be repeated yet again.  As Amer Mohsen wrote today, this was your version of Islam: the one you arm in Saudi Arabia

 My colleague, Sean Lee, posted this on Facebook. I cite with his permission: "
As far as the freedom of expression goes, I’m pretty American in that I tend toward the absolute, with the sole exception of incitement to violence. Which is why I’m horrified by the brutal violence carried out against the employees of Charlie Hebdo today. That said, I’m having a hard time with the whole “I’m Charlie” thing, because that magazine was in the habit of publishing crude and racist attacks against Muslims. There are plenty of examples, but here’s one of a front page that takes advantage of a massacre in Egypt to make fun of Muslims. (It reads: “The Quran is shit! It doesn’t stop bullets!”) For this reason, although I strongly oppose violence against the press and fully support the right to say whatever you want, I cannot say that I’m in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo."

So what was Charles Hebdo about?

From Krim: "I can't stand how western media are referring  to Hebdo's paper as "satirical" and his work as "cartoons", without mentioning what those cartoons actually depicted. The head of the Prophet on a dog, and the Prophet in various sexual poses. Those words were chosen purposefully so as to provide some veneer of legitimacy. Hebdo's paper was not a satirical newspaper, it was a rag, yellow journalism at its worst. And he did not draw "cartoons", but filthy, despicable, obscene illustrations meant to incite and denigrate a whole class of people. Imagine if these were illustrations about Anne Frank.

And let's talk about so called freedom of speech. It was the America/England/France that sentenced Philipp Rupprecht to six years of hard labor for his caricature of Jews, and Julius Streicher was hanged for "speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews" [1], even though he had zero ties to concentration camps. And let's not get into the two American bombings of Al Jazeera's broadcast, or when Washington forced Al Jazeera to take down a real satirical cartoon that depicted illegal immigrants to the US as greencard soldier recruits (when the US was having a hard time recruiting soldiers).

No, unlike you I don't think Muslims need to lighten up. They need to go on the offensive and challenge the West on why Hebdo and his ilk are protected, and yet people like Dieudonné M'bala M'bala are convicted. The latter convicted for "public defamation, hate speech and racial discrimination". Where the French Interior Minister Manuel Valls "decided to thoroughly examine all legal options that would allow a ban on Dieudonné’s public gatherings, which no longer belong to the artistic domain, but rather amount to a public safety risk" [2]. Even though Dieudonné is a comedian whose work was never anywhere near as offensive or obscene as Hebdo's.

No, no je suis Charlie. Nor do I have no respect for anyone who is. Charlie Hebdo was a vile, disgusting individual who would be in a Parisian jail if not for the fact that his work targeted Muslims instead of Jews."

Facts from Paris
French police is confirming that the killers seem well-trained.  Well-trained? Most likely they were trained in camps in Syria funded and equipped by France and its allies as part of their early enthusiasm for the Syrian "revolution".  The US just declared that they will start setting up training camps in the spring for those "rebels".  Brace yourselves.

The last state to speak about freedom of speech

The last state to speak about freedom of speech is the terrorist state of Israel which bans expression of attachment to Palestine among Palestinians, and which bans the Palestinian flag, and which bans any expression of the historical facts of the terrorist founding of the state of Israel, and which has made racism and bigotry against Arabs a doctrine in school curricula.  This is like the Saudi regime preaching about feminism.

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