Money, markets, media:
- The release of the United States’ June employment report highlights that Fed’s job in reversing inflation is far from over.
- Matt Taibbi writes an excellent piece on the soaring prevalence of censorship in mainstream media.
- Paul Krugman writes an interesting article on how all the economic data is conflicting.
- Harald Malmgren was told that Powell has become mistrustful of Fed-produced data forecasts.
- France could get Digital Euro in 2023, kicks off second stage of CBDC experiments.
- If the eurozone falls so does the sterling zone due to a £200bn exposure.
With the euro reaching parity with the dollar, the eurozone’s troubles are only just beginning. In some respects, the euro was the original stablecoin. It was created in part as a synthetic crossing currency to lower the cost of foreign exchange across the eurozone and as a mechanism to reduce the continent’s dependence on sterling financial centres that ruled eurodollar clearing. The UK may never have joined the eurozone, but with a £200bn liability and an ongoing shareholding in the ECB and the EIB, it’s far from being off the hook.
- In a sign of recent woes, fitness firm Peloton, which recently cut some 2,800 jobs across its offices, has announced it will stop building treadmills and bikes in-house.
- Three former employees of Disney in Florida said they are suing Disney for being fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine and wearing face masks due to religious reasons.
- Klarna suffered a severe valuation hit in a recent funding round; attaining USD 6.7bn, the online payments firm had previously been valued at USD 46bn this time last year.
Buy or sell the dy-stopia?
- Demonstrations against fuel-price hikes in Panama.
- Italy’s government is on the brink as crisis vote looms.
- Fleeing Sri-Lankan president lands in Singapore.
As Sri Lanka approaches a state of martial law, and signs of tension grow across the continent, it may be time to start thinking about how to deal with a similar collapse at the local level in the West. How would such a situation play out? Would civil order be respected or could there be similar levels of commotion? Would we draw on military support? Or would we allow the market economy to do its thing? To scenario plan and figure out the best possible strategies to deal with shortages this winter, The Blind Spot has started the “Mad Max” channel on its Discord channel. The current consensus is that the most practical survival strategy is either to start or join a cult. – IK
The thin blue line:
- An independent inquiry into the exploitation of over 1,000 children who were groomed in Telford, UK concluded that obvious child sexual exploitation was ignored by the authorities.
- Gamestop recently opened its NFT marketplace, reaching over USD 1.74 million in transaction volume in the first 24 hours.
- Faced with potentially severe gas shortages this winter, Germany plans to erect ‘warm-up spaces’ in public spaces to provide heated environments for vulnerable citizens in the winter months.
- Sri Lankan President forced to flee the country on a military jet after heavy weeks of protesting around the country. The latest development was protesters’ storming of the presidential palace a few days ago.
Potentially inadvertent truth-telling
- In an remark both concerning and hilarious, John Bolton claims that “as someone who has helped plan coups de eta – not here, but you know, other places – it takes a lot of work“, meaning Trump did not have the capacity to have planned a coup in the United States.
- Leaked audio of Steve Bannon catches him outlining Trump’s strategy to prematurely declare victory on the eve of 2020’s elections, regardless of the outcome.
- Syrian conflict continues to heat up.
Several developments continue to confirm the imminent probability of a Turkish assault on YPG held positions in Northern Syria.Firstly, (biased) Turkish sources claim the US delegation met with representatives of the YPG and PKK and told them of their need to withdraw from their positions before a Turkish attack.
The Blind Spot previously outlined Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, Idlib’s strongest militant group, had been carrying out a politically consolidating arrest campaign across Idlib; we speculated this was in anticipation of the announced Turkish invasion, with local militia groups, HTS included, functioning as Turkish proxies (with oscillating militia-dependent responsibilities, functions, and trust) in the region. In a sign of Idlib heating up, Russian Aerospace Forces launched some air strikes in the South of Idlib on July 6, land relatively close to Assad-held areas, destroying an underground ammunition depot of Turkish-aligned militants in Ablin village.
Despite Russia’s veto of the first draft 5 days ago, the UN Security council’s resolution that extended the cross-border humanitarian mission into Idlib by 6 months appears set to go ahead.Turkish forces have also been moving. Turkish Armed Forces units landed on and bombed positions in Deyri Mountain, located on the edge of their effective border with YPG/SDF and Assad-held regions in north-east Syria. Turkish convoys have also been spotted crossing the offically recognised Turkish-Syrian border.
The US has also been active; it recently announced the killing of ISIS leader Maher al-Agal in Idlib.As the Blind Spot has noted recently, the major market-relevant developments come from the growing YPG/SDF-Assad alliance. On July 11, the SDF and Damascus accorded to jointly defend their mutual borders and to establish a joint operations room from Kobani to Tel Rifaat (precisely along the axis that is exposed to Turkish attack). Assad-aligned and Russian forces have also been seen reinforcing positions close to the SDF.
To remind our readers, such an entente may be key in the opening of potential small-scale commercial opportunities in the oil trade in eastern Syria. This entente could lead to an officialised self-administering region for the YPG/SDF in eastern Syria, much like the KRG, which could in turn open more price-efficient export routes for Syrian oil reserves there. – DGG
Covid is not over
- Director General of the WHO claims Covid-19 is ‘nowhere near over’ and urges governments to reintroduce restrictive measures like face masks.
- Izabella writes an excellent post on Unherd, reminding the pro-lockdown voices that those who opposed these extremely anti-democratic health measures did so because of a fundamental knowledge that once normalised they will be used as toolboxes by opportunistic political forces. Brace for more lockdowns.