The Beheading Really Matters

The ISIS beheading of a western journalist this week marks a major turning point in militant Islam’s assault on the infidel West.

The Financial Times reports that ISIS may be little more than a (violently rebranded) al Qaeda.  And their influence in spreading.

We noted this expansionism (which I dubbed The Global Caliphate) has begun its serious expansion phase in a June 18 report, presented here earlier.

What distinguishes the murder is it came not at a native Arab hand, but from a British ISIS sympathizer.  It also came after demands were made for a ransom payment

President Obama is taking some flak on this – because he immediately returned to golf after his “get tough message.”.  James Foley’s dad says he’s a martyr for freedom.

Going forward, you’ll want to bookmark the Institute for the Study of War which has a dandy series of updates over here.

And that map of the Global Caliphate is showing up in abbreviated form over here – not showing the Islamic violence that stretches across Africa and so on.  But give folks time…figuring out Big Picture is hard for the sheep.

Sure, this is nominally an economics site, but economics is just “war by other means” and this one is continuing to grow despite 13-years of effort by the West.  We continue to wallow in a false belief (o0ne we see promoted along the Mexican border, too) that technology can solve all that ails us.

I submit that technology didn’t save James Foley and ISIS is likely to recapture and then hold key resource in the Middle East over time, including perhaps Syria…All started thanks to the US misreading of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, who was targeted instead of the country which spawned the 9-11 perps – Saudi Arabia.

The State Department really screwed the pooch in trying to partner with our enemies to effect regime change in Syria.  Sometimes the devil you know is better than what comes next, but they’d never admit to it.

Too busy baking cookies for Ukraine skinheads, perhaps?

America has a lot of things, but a good memory for facts is not one of them.  Or spotting the cookie monster, either.

More after this…


Casino-Market: Breakout or Bust

Although the market has put on a good rally this week, we are coming to a crucial period –just as expected- around the date of the average annual high for markets.  That’s August 26th, plus or minus a week, or two.

In one version of our shared economic future, the market powers through the 2,000 level on the S&P 500, the Dow follows suit, and the NASDAQ was leading the way, so the tech sector begins to shine a bit more.

In this version of the future, we get one, maybe two more years of rally to grand new all-time highs before things collapse in the 2015-2017 period to lower lows than those of 2009.

Oh, I should mention that I would come out OK on this, having pockets full of (relatively) cheap long side index options for next summer.

Unfortunately, the alternate count of things is terrible.  In the alternate future, the market stops just below previous highs, technicians begin to scream the dreaded words “Double top!” and the smart money leaves the long side and a terrible decline ensues.

In this worst case version of this, we end up one morning in 3-months with the Dow down 3,000, but it could stop at a couple of levels, 16,400, 15,400, 13,400, but at some point fear and panic show up at the party and we take out the 2009 lows and republicans cheer knowing the democrats have blown it for 2016.

What  is the feather on the scale of the future?  Well, it might be the bond rates this afternoon when the bids for a whole slug of Treasuries come in.

Philadelphia Fed numbers and Leading Economic Indicators might be important, too.  But as of our first glance this morning, it looked like the Dow would open about 30 up, which would edge us closer to that double-top and then feather on the scale problem in a week or two.

Keep an eye on BAC (Bank of America) when details of a $16.65 billion settlement with the feds comes out.

Another Pelosi Screw-Up?

Think water in drought-parched California should be shared more or less equally?  I know a little about what it’s like since friends down in the East Bay just had to put in a well to ensure they’d have something to drink.

But, oh, what a fool I am.  I forgot that the abuse of power and excessive exercise of privilege for crass political ends is the stock-in-trade of political types.

I speak of course about how San Francisco is wielding the “protect the endangered species” ploy to ensure Nancy Pelosi’s home down doesn’t suffer too much from water restrictions.  But that’s all going to court now – and it’s high time.

The economic angle?  Simple:  A classic example of people preach equality and then screwing those who are less equal.  Why, here lately, it’s the New American Way.  All the equality you can buy.

Ferguson Chills

I wouldn’t call the city contrite, but national media make it sound as though things are cooling down.

Perhaps the would-be revolutionaries have concluded that since reports have come out that the cop who did the shooting had his face smashed in by the perp a few minutes before (and his eye socket bone broken) that maybe they would have a harder sell than they bargained for…

Anyone contrite?  No, but if I see any reports of stolen loot being returned with an apology, I’ll pass it along right away.  But don’t hold your breath.

It’s OK to express condolences to the family, but to hold to the rule of law.  I’m no fan of Eric Holder (who can’t enforce border laws) but credit where due for going to Ferguson.

The problem is that his “change is coming” promise sounds  hollow:  We’ve been hearing that since 2008 and…hmmm…no real change to speak of that I can see.  But maybe the rioters of Ferguson are smarter than me and believe in that “change in coming” stuff we heard in the 2008 campaign.

Tit for…Big Mac?

Oh, sure, Russia is pissed about Ukraine sanctions, but who ever thought it would come to this:  Closing down  some McDonalds franchises in Moscow.

I mean, say all you want about our Golfer in Chief and such, but turning off the McNuggets, why that could just super-size tensions…maybe this weekend.

I mean didn’t they get the memo?  Saber rattle all you want but don’t mess with an American Corproiate bottom line.

You know Exxon basically told the Obamanista/Staters in June that it was going ahead with arctic oil development work, right?  If THAT  were to be impacted in this tit-for-burger spiral, we’d be on a path to global war for sure.

Earthquake Recovery

From our Canadian news analyst fellow:

Dear Mr. Ure,

Here’s a BBC report about nature quickly erasing effects of a magnitude 7.6 earthquake that happened in 1999 in Taiwan.


Ha!  That’s because Nature doesn’t have dams and power grids and spidery steel buildings!