Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,
2019 was the great masking. 2020 will be all about the great unmasking and control.
In 2019 central banks once again succeeded in masking all the underlying problems in the economy, the underlying structural problems of debt, deflation and demographics, and the slowing of global growth and offering the pretense that 2019’s policy responses were nothing but a complete system failure acknowledging that markets can’t stand on their own two feet without central bank intervention. In process asset prices were artificially inflated across the board and valuations pushed far above the growth and size of global economies and volatility once again compressed.
2020 is then all about whether control over asset prices can be maintained and whether reflation can be achieved to support exaggerated asset prices or whether failure on either count will bring about the great unmasking of the largest asset bubble since the year 2000.
Bond markets and economic data so far shows few signs of true reflation as key individual stocks ($MSFT, $AAPL) are vastly extended and markets are in a state of imbalance partying like it’s 1999.
Optimism is high for 2020 and bulls enter the year in full control. The price target charade offers again positive outlooks despite all economic and growth projections having been off base.
Trust is placed in a phase one China trade deal to be signed on January 15 that nobody has seen or read or has any insight into specifics as to how it will bring about reflation.
Trust is placed in an administration keen on continuing to push asset prices higher into the US November election, even outlining specific asset price targets. (DJIA 32K).
Trust is placed in central banks to keep all troubles contained and to continue to “calm markets” as unexpected events such as the most recent Iran crisis pop up.
Markets are priced to perfection and the first quarter is likely to see a larger first correction. The historical script suggests that the first sizable correction of 2020 will get bought for a new rally to either new highs or lower highs.
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The National Security Agency shared the names of almost 17,000 US residents whose data was slurped up under FISA surveillance with other federal agencies in 2018, which makes a 75 percent increase in so-called “unmaskings.”
Names of people or entities caught in the NSA’s electronic dragnet are normally redacted in intelligence reports to protect their privacy from being violated further, unless requested by other federal agencies. It is illegal to unmask individuals for political purposes or to leak classified information, or for any other reason aside from “national security” – though this rationale has proven extremely flexible in the past.
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NSA kills phone spying program exposed by Snowden… to replace it with something better?
The explosion in privacy violations in 2018 was for our own good, according to Alex Joel, head of civil liberties and transparency at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the report. Joel said the agencies requesting the unmasking were just trying to find out who had been victimized by foreign intelligence agencies’ cyberattacks.
FISA surveillance is a beloved technique of intelligence agencies because it doesn’t require individual warrants to collect massive amounts of data on the communications of American citizens. While FISA was originally designed to collect foreign intelligence information – hence the “Foreign” in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – targeting international calls and emails from individuals believed to be security threats, like much else in the national security apparatus it has also ensnared hundreds of thousands of Americans. This allegedly includes President Donald Trump, who accused his predecessor Barack Obama of using FISA to spy on his campaign during the 2016 election.
The ODNI report suggests about 2,600 fewer Americans were “accidentally” swept up in FISA surveillance last year than in 2017, though the number of foreigners surveilled increased by 35,000. About 100 million fewer metadata records were collected as well, though the totals were affected when the NSA supposedly “purged” its database upon learning it was collecting information it wasn’t authorized to collect.
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NSA wants to drop mass surveillance program revealed by Snowden – report
The NSA has reportedly recommended the metadata-collection program be discontinued altogether,
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