Now listen to me, you benighted muckers! We're going to teach you soldiering, The world's noblest profession! When we're done with you, you'll be able to stand up and slaughter your foes like civilized men!
"The Man Who Would Be King"
Rudyard Kipling understood the absurdity of mankind including the notion of "civilized" slaughter. Somehow chemicals can't distinguish children from soldiers but 12 inch bullets fired into crowds can? The entire Syria situation is a macabre reminder of man's ability to destroy one another and how such battlefields become magnets attracting the worst vampires of bloodlust. The sordid affair is too far gone for any real intervention by the west so it's really about making sure the next 100,000 deaths happen under civilized rules.
In other words the notion of guilt even for the (former) policemen of the world can be assuaged with knowing they've implemented Marquis de Queensberry rules rather than Marquis de Sade.
I'm sure we'll all sleep sounder tonight, especially in the White House which can claim victory with an assist from Russia but was bailed out by Vladimir Putin, a real life merchant of death making his play as the new policeman of the world. America is making a huge mistake leading from behind and waiting on the international community to dictate the use of our military. Sure, there is little appetite for "boots on the ground" but the kind of surgical strike threatened by Obama should have been used immediately upon violation of the first red line that said movement of chemical weapons would trigger a response.
The market will be relieved military action may be avoided and in yet another macabre scenario Assad can escape this without facing any sort of justice. Ironically that might actually save more lives than anything else in this mess as it gives the dictator a backdoor should the tide turn against him. He could flee somewhere with millions of dollars and watch his former nation rebuild amid rubble and various interested parties including many that have vowed to destroy America. Through all of this we can be proud the dead children will see life snuffed out in such noble fashion.
A few years ago I wrote one of the reasons to be optimistic about investing was relative global peace. Even with raging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the planet saw a dramatic decline in war-related death and destruction. That continues to be the case even as it is becoming increasingly clear an arms race is brewing in the east between China and Japan. There is a window of peace that's perfect for stock markets if not those innocent children trapped in the rare killing fields that continue to slaughter.
Sun Goes Down on Summers
Well, I've got to run to keep from hidin',
And I'm bound to keep on ridin'.
And I've got one more silver dollar,
But I'm not gonna let 'em catch me, no,
Not gonna let 'em catch the Midnight Rider.
Last week the market had to contend with Syria and the possibility of a rough around the edges Fed Chairman that would have been anything but predictable - maybe even cantankerous and pugilistic. A no-win strike has been averted for the stock market and maybe the people of Syria. Larry Summers has removed himself from consideration to helm the monetary policy-making body. Perhaps there's a great story behind the scenes, we'll never know, but there is a sigh of relief from the market and the White House which would have caught hell from the PC police.
Once again it makes one wonder why Summers and his baggage were considered in the first place. That's like deciding to jump in the middle of a foreign civil war after 100,000 deaths.
Now Summers is free to ride off into the sunset like the end of summer and doubts about Fed accommodation and communication to the press and markets can ride with him.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, its general business conditions index September result landed at 6.3, lower than the Street's consensus estimate of 9.0, decreasing from the 8.2 reached in August.
Also from the U.S. Federal Reserve, industrial production during August increased month-over-month by 0.4 percent, worse than the Street's consensus estimate calling for a 0.5 percent month-over-month rise. In the same time range, capacity utilization increased from 77.6 percent to 77.8 percent, landing in-line with the Street's consensus estimate of 77.8 percent.