By perusing documents, speaking to sources, and digging into obscure public records, INSURGE intelligence was able to follow a thread that has so far been only been guessed at: what is driving the Trump administration’s thinking on Iraq, a country we invaded and occupied in 2003, and where we’re still fighting an endless ‘war on terror’?
A window into the answer comes from a little-known US-Iraqi network, operating through the front of a supposedly patriotic American campaign group.
Casey says financial markets are all in bubble territory, but the bond market is in the biggest bubble of them all. Casey contends, “What papered things over? Why did it get better for the last few years? These governments have lowered interest rates to not just zero but less than zero in parts of the world. They have created scores of trillions of new currency units which have poured oil on the financial waters. That currency still exists and it’s going to come out, and it’s going to evidence itself in the form of retail inflation. So far, it’s just been inflation in the financial markets. They’ve created a bond super bubble. They’ve created a stock market bubble. They have created a real estate bubble in a number of places in the world. So, this is going to be very, very ugly. It’s hold on to your hat time.”
If I don’t like stocks, what about bonds? While short-term rates have been moving higher, longer-term rates have been trading in a narrow trading range for quite some time, frustrating both bulls and bears. Bonds are often said to perform well when stock prices plunge, but don’t count on it: first, even the historic correlation is not stable. But more importantly, when we talk with investors, many of them have been reaching for yield. We see sophisticated investors, including institutional investors, provide direct lending services to a variety of groups. What they all have in common is that yields are higher than what you would get in a traditional bond investment. While the pitches for those investments are compelling, it doesn’t change the fact that high yield investments, in our analysis, tend to be more correlated with risk assets, i.e. with equities, especially in an equity bear market. Differently said: don’t call yourself diversified if your portfolio consists of stocks and high yielding junk bonds. I gather that readers investing in such bonds think it doesn’t affect them; let me try to caution them that some master-limited partnership investments in the oil sector didn’t work out so well, either.
The New Subprime Risk (Tiffany D.)
The risk here isn’t so much another economic collapse like the one that blindsided banks in 2008. Auto lenders and ratings agencies see all the same data. They know the risks and can adjust (and raise the cost of taking out a risky loan).
To me, this is yet another big, bright warning sign of the problem that I’ve been warning you about: Americans are carrying more debt on their personal balance sheets than they can afford to pay.
The twin dangers emerge from the latest survey of global money managers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The bank’s economists surveyed 165 professional investment managers worldwide, with an aggregate $505 billion in funds under management. The long-running survey, which is conducted each month, is considered one of the best barometers of big money investment opinion. It is also often a good forward indicator of where sentiment — and prices — have the most room to change.
I do have an opinion of facts and facts are somewhat important… and if we say that gold is going to protect us from inflation, I want to point out that in 1868 gold was $27 an ounce and today gold is $1,218 an ounce… so you can’t say gold is going to protect us from inflation when you have that type of a price range over the last hundred years… So i just want to point out that facts are important.
As in many big cities, the infrastructure here is crumbling, a problem exacerbated by decades of neglect and a network of residential roads, including Ms. Amoura’s, that have never met code. But Omaha’s solution is extreme: grinding paved streets into gravel as a way to cut upkeep costs.
The Meaning Of Life (Part 1) (Chris M.)
Almost the whole world nowadays assumes the overwhelming emphasis of biological science on genetics and reductionism to be a logical and inevitable scientific one. But what the history of the Rockefeller Foundation shows is that the virtual wiping out of whole organism biology and the sidelining of diverse other approaches such as Rashevsky’s; of nutritional biology; and of environmental determinism, was a carefully planned coup d’état. It was an overt seizure of the scientific estate intended to substitute genetic determinism for competing ideas about causation in biology.
On June 18, Elsea was working the day shift when a computer flashed “Stud Fault” on Robot 23. Bolts often got stuck in that machine, which mounted pillars for sideview mirrors onto dashboard frames. Elsea was at the adjacent workstation when the assembly line stopped. Her team called maintenance to clear the fault, but no one showed up. A video obtained by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows Elsea and three co-workers waiting impatiently. The team had a quota of 420 dashboard frames per shift but seldom made more than 350, says Amber Meadows, 23, who worked beside Elsea on the line. “We were always trying to make our numbers so we could go home,” Meadows says. “Everybody was always tired.”
Trump’s Budget: Valuing Military Over Energy (Michael K.)
One example is 1366 Technologies, a company that pioneered a new solar wafer that can be produced at half of the cost of prevailing technology and with one-third less energy. But the company is now in limbo. It has plans to build a manufacturing facility in upstate New York but has been banking on a loan guarantee from the Energy Department – a program that is slated for elimination in President Trump’s budget.
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