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Ukraine Central Bank Conned Into Swapping Its Gold For Lead Bricks

The story of Ukraine's corzined gold just got far better, and far, far more bizarre and surreal. As Bloomberg reports, Ukraine opened a criminal probe after several gold bars at the central bank’s storage in the southern city of Odessa turned to be painted lead.  The latest gold fraud involved a central bank employee passing lead bars covered with golden paint to the storage unit, registering them as gold, the Vesti newspaper reported today, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter in Odessa’s police department.  In other words, the central bank was actually conned into buying the gold-plated lead.



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Former Airline CEO Claims US Military Shot Down MH370 Near Diego Garcia

A second senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As The Herald Sun reports, Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year. Now a second senior airline industry source has voiced his doubts about the fate of the plane, with the even wilder claim that the Boeing 777 may have been shot down by US military personnel who were fearing a September 11-style attack on the US Navy base on Diego Garcia.



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How Japan Bankrupted Itself - Lessons For Europe

Following the start of Abenomics in 2012, Japan moved back to the center of attention of global financial markets. After two and a half decades of economic stagnation, hopes were high that Japan would escape its long stagnation and deflation. Plenty of economists around the globe hoped that, in so doing, Japan would show the western world, mainly the Eurozone, the way to do the same and avoid a similar long period of low growth and stagnating incomes. Conversely, the failure of Abe’s plan for Japan’s recovery would not only be a disaster for the country of the rising sun. It would also be very bad news for central bankers and politicians in the west as well. It would prove that Keynesian policies don’t work in a world of too much debt and shrinking populations.



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Monday Humor: Now Available With A 30 Year Fixed-Rate FHA Loan

"Because moar is always betterer..."



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The Doom Boom: US Families Increasingly Prepared For "Modern Day Apocalypse"

From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But, as Sky News reports, an increasing number of Americans seem to think it is danger of falling apart, and they're preparing for the end. "We're not talking about folks walking around wearing tin foil on their heads,; we're not talking about conspiracy theorists. I'm talking about professionals: doctors and lawyers and law enforcement and military. Normal, everyday people. They can't necessarily put their finger on it. But there's something about the uncertainty of our times. They know something isn't quite right."



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NYC Mayor de Blasio Slams Reporters For "Enabling" Racial Hatred

New Yokr Mayor de Blasio had strong 'not-my-fault' words for the media during today's press conference about the assassination of 2 NYPD cops over the weekend. De Blasio begins blasting media, "What are you guys gonna do? ... Are you going to keep dividing us?" He then gets on a roll and blames reporters for inciting protesters to confront police - "you all [reporters] enable that [racial divide]... that's how you want to portray the world." Yep - all their fault...



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This Is For You Steve Liesman... Welcome To Economics

The key is to understand why real median household incomes continue to decline and then how to correct it.  It all comes back to financial policies that incentivize investors to avoid economy-boosting investments and toward financial investments that have no economic benefit.  The result is a narrowing of income distribution exasperating the down spiral, while inflating wealth to the already wealthy.  As long as these policies remain intact the American quality of life will continue to spiral downward while the wealth at the top continues to accelerate until one day when the top pops off and all that wealth goes abroad.  And that Mr. Liesman is what we call economics.



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It Has Never Been More Expensive For 'Average Joe' To Buy Stocks

When all is said and done, the swing factor in the decision to work (or not work) is the income it generates (and lifestyle it supports). So we found it intriguing that, as the following chart shows, the number of hours or work required for the average American to buy the S&P 500 has never been higher...



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Kazakhstan Prepares For $40 Oil, Gary Schilling Says "Oil Going To $20"

"People should not be worried," explained Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a TV address over the weekend, "we have a plan in place if oil prices are $40 per barrel." Kazakhstan, the second largest ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia, explains "there are reserves which could support people, preventing living conditions from worsening." However, if A. Gary Schilling's reality check of $20 oil being possible comes to fruition, as he explains, what matters are marginal costs - the expense of retrieving oil once the holes have been drilled and pipelines laid. That number is more like $10 to $20 a barrel in the Persian Gulf... We wonder who has a plan for that?



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Don't Tell Germany Draghi Is About To Monetize 90% Of Bund Issuance

The next time anyone is stupid enough to mention monetary policy "normalization", just show them this.



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Artist's Impression Of Christmas At The Capitol

No 'Surprise"...



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NatGas Crashes Most In 10 Months As Polar Vortex Arrival Delayed

Natural Gas prices are down over 11.5% in the last 2 days, falling to their lowest price since January 2013, as a familiar tale of excess production in the face of ebbing demand looms large. As WSJ reports, BNP Paribas' Teri Viswanath notes "the delayed return of cold weather has simply curbed all buying interest," and this was exaggerated by technical selling as the market broke previous support around 3.50. Ironically, given its detrimental impact on GDP, Macquarie points out, "it is increasingly apparent to us that weather will need to bail the market out again this winter - otherwise prices could see material downside during the spring and summer months."



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Demographics - Why The Great Recession Started (And Won't End Anytime Soon)

WWII is still reshaping our economic reality. The subsequent baby booms in the US and globally in Japan, Europe, and so many more locations which were affected by the war created a “pig in the python” moment. This unusually large wave of population growth from ’45-’55 was “pent up demand” from the war. But society and its leaders assumed this baby boom anomaly to be the new reality.  The “pig is passing” from the American and global workforce into retirement and now the wreckage and folly of such basic misnomers has come home to roost…and will get far worse.



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