Guest post by Azizonomics.
We all know that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve contained a now-struck-down provision to authorise the indefinite detention of American citizens on US soil.
But did you know that the NDAA also paves the way for war with Iran?
From Dennis Kucinich:
Section (6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Section (7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to Iranian enrichment.
This language represents a significant shift in U.S. policy and would guarantee that talks with Iran, currently scheduled for May 23, would fail. Current U.S. policy is that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, H. Res. 568 draws the “redline” for military action at Iran achieving a nuclear weapons “capability,” a nebulous and undefined term that could include a civilian nuclear program. Indeed, it is likely that a negotiated deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to prevent war would provide for Iranian enrichment for peaceful purposes under the framework of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty with strict safeguards and inspections. This language makes such a negotiated solution impossible.
At the same time, the language lowers the threshold for attacking Iran. Countries with nuclear weapons “capability” could include many other countries like Japan or Brazil. It is an unrealistic threshold.
The Former Chief of Staff of Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that this resolution “reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war.”
As we have been arguing for over a year, a Greek default is inevitable. The question is how to perform it. With the Troika, IMF, ECB, EFSF etc involved, things are rather complex. Peter Tchir gives some color on the subject.
Europe continues to fight the wrong battle, and continues to spread contagion risk.
It is clear that Greece has had a solvency issue now for over 2 years. The ECB and Troika chose to treat it as a liquidity problem. Maybe, they could have argued that in early 2010, but by the summer of 2011 it was obvious to any credit observer that the problem was solvency, yet they continued to treat it as one of liquidity. That is scary because if they feel to see the problem correctly now, they will fail miserably. Not only is the problem clearly solvency, but now forced currency conversion has been added to the mix. Any “solution” from the EU must now address that risk, and it is not the same as solvency. Programs that can protect against solvency may do nothing for the redenomination risk.
Not only did Europe fail to address the problems, but in spite of convincing themselves that all these programs prevented contagion risk, they actually ensured contagion risk. That contagion risk, that they forced on themselves is now coming back to haunt them, and must be carefully addressed in any policy “solutions”.
Two Years of Bad Policy Have Created a Situation Like No Other
There is a lot of talk about what a Greek exit would or wouldn’t look like. People are comparing it to other defaults and currency devaluations. They are wrong. Greece is now unique in that almost all of the debt is owed to institutions that normally step in after devaluation. Greece is also unique in that it is leaving a currency union that is already fragile, and being the first to leave will open the floodgate of speculation as to what other countries will leave.
Guest post by one of our readers, Greg.
Α country in the outmost Southeastern part of the EU has grasped the headlines for quite some time. With only 2% of the EU’s economy and just 2.5% of its debt it became the “Witch” that is haunted by puritan Northern Europeans. It is claimed as the epicenter of laziness, lust and unproductively for the whole of the Continent, a bad example that pious Northerns should be feared and loath at the same time.
This country is Greece and it must be punished! But is it really the witch hunt that has started in 2009 the most stupid move ever made in the entire European history? Is it worth to blame Greeks for the lonely dark winters up in the North and for the depression syndrome that cripples the lives of dozens of millions northern Europeans, as if Greece makes the weather?
In reality the Northern Europeans risk of pushing Greece into the broader global community where it is going to be free from investing heavily in its defense of the Eastern gates of Europe and it will bring about the greatest change in the balance of powers that Europe has felt since the collapse of the Berlin war. This time Germany will not be re-united, rather it will has to pay a dear price for its energy security. Netherlands will not become richer; rather it will have to pay from its own pocket in order to save itself from the flood of narcotics and Asian immigrants.
Austria will not be greater, rather it will have to deal with powder-keg named “Balkans” that has markets Vienna’s history.
How Northern Europe shoot its leg, in order to satisfy the populist sentiments of an electorate being used to the fairy tales of “bad witches and pious farmers”.
Guest post by Dough Short.
The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) dropped to 123.1 from a slight downward revision of 124.4 (see the fifth chart below). The WLI growth indicator also slipped, now at 0.1 as reported in Friday’s public release of the data through May 18, down from the previous week’s 0.4.
The latest data release to the general public continues to command focus in the wake of Lakshman Achuthan repeated reaffirmation of ECRI’s recession call in live interviews around the major business networks on May 9th. The most detailed of the interviews was his Bloomberg appearance. See also Achuthan’s similar video interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Real Personal Income as a Recession Indicator
A key argument in ECRI’s latest reaffirmation of its recession call is the seen in the long-term pattern of year-over-year real personal income (illustrated below, which I will update with the new montly data due out on June 1). See this May 9th commentary on the ECRI website.