Here are just a few of the latest headlines we have been watching this week.
by Jerry Robinson, FTMDaily.com Editor-in-Chief
As we head into the weekend, I figured I would share my commentary on some of the headlines that we have been watching this week.
The U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro
After falling to its second lowest level of the year, the U.S. dollar has begun strengthening against other currencies, including the Euro. The sudden turn of fortunes for the dollar came on the heels of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, where policymakers made a weak attempt at sounding positive about the failed U.S. economic “recovery.” While the long-dreaded fears of a reduction in the Fed’s current (and unprecedented) QE3 money printing campaign still remain subdued, a surprise uptick in U.S. manufacturing data for the month of October have some investors looking for a “taper” as early as December.
As the dollar begins its latest rebound, the euro currency has fallen from its recent two year high against the dollar after sharply rising 8% against the dollar since July. The euro is on pace to experience its biggest weekly slide against the dollar since July 2012. With consumer prices in the eurozone rising at the slowest pace in four years, and unemployment at a record high, the European Central Bank is likely cut interest rates, which are already near zero, as early as next week. While this will hasten the decline of the euro in the near-term, it will also make Europe’s exports cheaper and place continued upward pressure on European stocks.
Investing Factoid: A new Blackrock survey released this week found that most Americans are keeping their cash out the markets and on the sidelines. In the U.S., investors of all types held 48% of investable assets in cash, with 18% in stocks and 7% in bonds. You can read the full survey here.
NSA Blowback Hits AT&T’s Takeover Hopes of Vodafone
One of the continuing trends worth watching is the global fallout from the NSA’s snooping program. The latest “victim”: AT&T (Ticker: T). The NSA-friendly company has been mulling a bid on Europe’s largest telecom, Vodafone (Ticker: VOD), perhaps as early as next year. But rising anger in Europe over claims of NSA surveillance against millions of European citizens and top political leaders have potentially jeopardized AT&T’s takeover plan.
Don’t miss the irony, as AT&T was one of several U.S. telecoms that received hundreds of millions of dollars from the NSA for providing access to a large majority of international phone calls. It is understandable why European citizens are skeptical about handing over the reins to their largest telecom to the “American Stasi.”
Basic energy economics will likely trump rising political tensions between Turkey and Israel. Turkey’s soaring energy demand, which is currently being met by Russia and Iran, could more easily be serviced through the 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lying in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Israel.
Israeli and Turkish business leaders have been working behind the scenes to broker a deal by 2017 that would deliver as much as 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually to Turkey through an Israeli pipeline, via Cyprus. Right now, the deal involves Israel-based Delek Drilling, which owns stakes in Israel’s two largest natural gas fields, and Turkish firm, Zorlu Energy.
The Bizarre World of NSA-Lovin’ Congressman Mike Rogers
As the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, it is not surprising that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) publicly supports the NSA. However, it seems that Rogers not only supports the NSA, but does so with a certain “gusto” that makes the hairs on the back of any liberty lover’s neck stand straight up.
Here’s just two recent examples…
1. During a recent appearance on CNN’s State of the Nation, Rogers was asked about a recent Le Monde report claiming that the NSA had intercepted over 70 million phone calls and text messages of average French citizens. Rogers responded with a rather audacious claim that France should be grateful, as such surveillance “keeps the French safe.”
His actual words:
“If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks. It’s a good thing. It keeps the French safe. It keeps the U.S. safe. It keeps our European allies safe.”
Amazing, isn’t it? Imagine if Americans discovered that Mexico was secretly spying on U.S. citizens, and when confronted about it, simply told us to be grateful! Americans would likely be outraged. Don’t let the neo-cons lie to you. The world does not hate us because of our “freedoms” and our “blue jeans.” The world’s anger at America has much more to do with our inability to own up to our own mistakes. Rogers’ smug attitude, even towards our allies, is just another example of the fact that American politicians are completely out of touch with reality.
2. Later in the week, during a Congressional hearing on the NSA, Rogers made a very bizarre statement during an exchange with Constitutional expert Stephen I. Vladeck. Professor Vladeck, who was trying to explain the Fourth Amendment to Rogers, probably did not expect the response that he received regarding every American’s right to privacy.
You can watch the brief 4 minute exchange in the video below. (If you are in a hurry, just advance to the 2 minute mark where the real fun begins.)
Rogers: I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated, clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.
Vladeck: But who would be complaining?
Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.
Vladeck: I disagree with that. If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a noise whether you’re there to see it or not.
So, do you agree? Is Rogers correct in saying that your privacy is not violated unless you know that your privacy is being violated?
Using Rogers’ logic, what’s wrong with a pervert who secretly installs a spycam in a women’s locker room? Nothing. Because as long as the women don’t know that they are being secretly watched, no one’s privacy is bring violated… Right?
And, if Rogers’ logic is correct, why are secret recordings inadmissible as evidence in a court of law in certain states unless the offending party first gives his consent to be recorded?
Honestly, how does this sadistic logic differ from any of the maniacal dictatorships that have arisen throughout history? And how can you fight, let alone win, against such a draconian state?
Japan Considers Cracking Down on Whistleblowers, Journalists
And finally, it would seem that the noose hugging the neck of liberty is getting tighter as Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is pushing a new state secrets law that would “dramatically expand the definition of official secrets, and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.”
The law is expected to target whistleblowers and journalists who speak out against corruption. Similar proposals are gaining steam in Britain and Israel. And, of course, President Obama has been waging his own war against press freedom right here in the land of the “free.”
Miss the latest FTMWeekly Radio Show with Jerry Robinson? Listen/Download Below
Topic: On this week’s show, Jerry Robinson provides insightful commentary on why he believes investors should prepare for the future fallout from the growing global NSA backlash. Plus, an update for gold silver investors
Western central bankers are gearing up to shower even greater quantities of fiat currency on private banks and financial institutions — all at public expense.
Wells Fargo now most profitable bank in U.S.
Analysts expect the San Francisco-based bank to make $20.8 billion for 2013, which is more than Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are expected to earn combined this year.
India’s benchmark Sensex index has staged a remarkable comeback since August, rallying by nearly 16% to an all-time high Friday.
The spying saga of the U.S. has laid bare the country’s other addiction besides borrowing — bugging.
Today, America’s food stamp program is due for a substantial haircut. So what happens next?
Chinese state-run media revealed for the first time this week that Beijing’s nuclear submarines can attack American cities as a means to counterbalance U.S. nuclear deterrence in the Pacific.
“He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall.”