Democracy ≠ Capitalism
Siege Tactics: The US has ordered all Iranian government and central bank assets held in the US or any foreign branch of a US entity, frozen until the end of hostilities. Hostilities? Sure, isn't a blockade aimed at starving the enemy one of the older forms of siege warfare? Although Obama's citing the “unacceptable risk posed to the international financial system by Iran’s activities,” seems a bit disingenuous.
Mary, Mary: Now that even Roubini has joined the bulls, is it time to sell everything and head for the cellar?
Easy Over: Americans added $19.3 billion to their debts in December, mostly ($16.5 billion) in cars and student loans (about $8 billion in Federal tuition loans) and other non-revolving debt. Credit card/revolving debt only added $2.8 billion, which is pretty much in line with Decembers mediocre retail sales. November's $20.4 billion additional debt was split between credit cards and auto loans. A new credit bubble is beginning to simmer. The defaults will come later.
Dog/Homework: Not only is there not a deal between the Greeks and damned near everyone else, there's not even a working draft of a deal. Obviously the haircut agreement with the private investors is not worth the paper its not yet written on. And even if there were a deal, there is no good reason to think it would amount to more than limply kicking the can down the cobblestones a ways – as in the current ECB offer to make a profit by pretending to take a haircut. It would take enormous credulity to believe that sufficient numbers of private creditors will 'voluntarily' accept a 75% haircut when they have CDS that will pay far more handsomely. Either we get a credit event or some very strong arm-twisting to redefine 'voluntary'.
Inalienable Right: California's 9th Circuit Court has ruled that the citizens' rights cannot be struck down by majority rule, and that the state's voter-passed ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Supreme's are still an appeal or two away.
Get Shorty: It's claimed you can sell your house for whatever its current (underwater) valuation is, most banks will go along with the short sale, mark your mortgage paid, and give you $20,000 or $30,000 to walk away. Which shows how much they want to avoid the foreclosure process and especially how loath they are to end up owning another empty house.
You've Been Warned: The FBI views those who oppose taxes, think leaving the gold standard lead to our current bankruptcy and object to government micro-management of our daily lives as “extremists.” Is it okay to believe the US went bankrupt for any number of other reasons?
On The Way To The Forum: Funny thing - austerity measures that were expected to boost Greece's tax revenues by 9% actually resulted in a 7% drop, and VAT taxes generated 18.7% less than a year earlier as the economy basked in austerity. No wonder Merkel wants them to enact even more austerity measures – they obviously aren't trying hard enough.
Porn O'Graph: Credit where a bubble is needed.