Never have central banks and the president labored so mightily to keep the stock market aloft. From Sven Henrich at northmantrader.com:
They sure are trying their best. To do what? To goose markets higher. It’s been quite the spectacle all year, but this Friday sure took the cake. The entire week had been a giant jerk fest of sudden rips and dips as headline chasing algos were ripping through support and resistance levels unleashed like fat kids at the candy shop. But this Friday was something else, almost designed to have markets overdose on an insulin spike.
Ever more hyped up on an impending China deal, every meeting, and movement of negotiators caused market spikes, a Trump tweet about “warm feelings”, a $82.7B repo operation by the Fed to keep things tidy, a sudden out of the blue $60B/month Treasury buying operation announced by the Fed, multiple Fed speakers to boot, what a scene.
Will Trump finally get the US out of Syria? From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
More war in wretched Syria. Half the population are now refugees; entire cities lie shattered by bombing; bands of crazed gunmen run rampant; US, French, Israeli and Russian warplanes bomb widely.
Now, adding to the chaos, President Donald Trump has finally given Turkey, NATO’s second military power, the green light to invade parts of northeastern Syria after he apparently ordered a token force of US troops there to withdraw.
This, of course, puts the Turks in a growing confrontation with the region’s Kurds, who have occupied large swaths of the area during Syria’s civil war. The Kurdish militia, known as YPG (confusingly part of the so-called Free Syrian Army), is armed, lavishly financed and directed by the CIA and Pentagon.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, War
Tagged Kurds, President Trump, Russia, Syria, Turkey
More and amplified weirdness is coming. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
The Golden Golem of Greatness shifted into mad bull overdrive for last night’s Minneapolis fan rally, cussing and bellowing at the picadors of the Left who have been sticking lances in his neck for three years. Decorum is not Mr. Trump’s strong suit, but then the bull is not sent into the ring to negotiate politely for his life. The narrative of the bullring is certain death. The bull must do what he can within his nature to dispute it.
It’s in Mr. Trump’s nature to act the part of a reality TV star, and, of course, it is the nature of reality TV shows to be unreal. That is perhaps the ruling paradox of life in the USA these days. Saturated in unreality, the spectators (also called “voters”) flounder through a relentless barrage of narratives aimed at confounding them, with the unreal expectation that they can make sense of unreal things. In a place like Minneapolis of an October evening, you can go see the Joker movie or take in the President’s rally — and come away with the same sense of hyper-unreality. We’re no longer the nation we pretend to be and we don’t know it. Jokers are wild and the joke’s on us.
President Trump may have finally done something right in the Middle East. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:
Just when you think the Donald has lost his marbles completely, he pulls a rabbit of rationality out of the hat of Imperial Washington’s Forever Wars madness.
We are referring, of course, to his sensible decision to decline the opportunity to put American soldiers in harms’ way in an impending showdown between Turks and Kurds on the northern border of Syria. To our recollection, that particular tribal enmity has been going on for centuries and needs no help from Washington to fester on for years to come.
But already he is being monkey-hammered by the bipartisan War Party because by standing down and removing US forces from the contested towns along the border Trump is basically sounding the death knell for the neocons’ failed, bloody, illegal and demented regime change project in Syria.
Now – and very soon – the Kurds will have to make a deal with Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies to counter Turkey’s incursion, including the creation of a “safe zone” along the Turkish border that would be off-limits to armed Kurdish forces.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged Iran, Kurds, President Trump, Russia, Syrian withdrawal, Turkey
Only in the bizarro world of Washington DC is a decision to proceed or not proceed on a case in which there is no evidence “tough.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is in a tough spot. After caving in to pressure from her party to launch an impeachment inquiry based on a CIA ‘whistleblower’ report that Trump abused his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating 2020 rival Joe Biden, Pelosi must now decide on whether to proceed with a formal vote amid mounting evidence that Trump did nothing wrong.
Trump has pushed for a vote – which would allow Republicans to issue subpoenas, as well as grant the White House the ability to cross-examine witnesses. To that end, the White House outlined in a Tuesday letter that they will refuse to cooperate with an inquiry that is “invalid” due to Pelosi’s refusal to make it official.
“Never before in our history has the House of Representatives — under the control of either political party — taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue,” wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
Maybe it’s going to take breaking up into two or more countries for the US to solve its current political imbroglio. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
The polarization in American politics has become so extreme there seems no longer to be any center ground. The political establishment is consequently imploding into an abyss of its own making.
President Trump is being driven into an impeachment process by Democrats and their media supporters who accuse him of being “unpatriotic” and a danger to national security.
Trump and Republicans hit back at Democrats and the “deep state” whom they condemn for conspiring to overthrow the presidency in a coup dressed up as “impeachment”.
The White House is being subpoenaed, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wants to access transcripts to all of Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted congressmen for “harassing the State Department” in their search of evidence to indict Trump. Trump calls the impeachment bid a “witch-hunt”.
The US has so much debt that even a minor economic perturbation can cause an cataclysm. From F. William Engdahl at lewrockwell.com:
In recent months US President Trump has pointed repeatedly to his role in making the American economy the “best ever.” But behind the extreme highs of the stock market and the official government unemployment data, the US economy is primed for a 1929-style shock, a financial Tsunami that is more influenced by independent Fed actions than by anything that the White House has done since January 2017. At this point the parallels between one-time Republican President Herbert Hoover who presided over the great stock crash and economic depression that was created then by the Fed policies, and Trump in 2019 are looking ominously similar. It underscores that the real power lies with those who control our money, not elected politicians.
Despite proclamations to the contrary, the true state of the US economy is getting more precarious by the day. The Fed policies of Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) implemented after the 2008 crash, contrary to claims, did little to directly rebuild the real US economy. Instead it funneled trillions to the very banks responsible for the 2007-8 real estate bubble. That “cheap money” in turn flowed to speculative high-return investment around the world. It created speculative bubbles in emerging market debt in countries like Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and even China. It created huge investment in high-risk debt, so called junk bonds, in the US corporate sector in areas like shale oil ventures or companies like Tesla. The Trump campaign promise of rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure has gone nowhere and a divided Congress is not about to unite for the good of the nation at this point. The real indicator of the health of the real economy where real people struggle to make ends meet lies in the record levels of debt.