"There Is No Reality Anymore..."

"There is an uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today. I feel that reality is an old world term. There is no reality anymore. The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty. It means there is no such thing as a reality check. It’s like that dream inside a dream inside a dream. Which reality is real anymore?"

Alexis Tsipras' Open Letter To Germany: What You Were Never Told About Greece

Despite the evident failure of the ‘extend and pretend’ logic, it is still being implemented to this day. Most of you, dear German readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds biggotry, nationalism, even violence...

The New Greek Finance Minister Has Some Questions For The World's Journalists

"Our Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, briefed us that on his first day at the job he heard in the news bulletins that the EU had approved new sanctions on Russia unanimously. The problem was that he, and the new Greek government, were never asked! So, clearly, the issue was not whether our new government agrees or not with fresh sanctions on Russia. The issue is whether our view can be taken for granted without even being told of what it is!"

- Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

"The EU's decision on Russia sanctions was unanimous"

- European Union's Federica Mogherini

"The Thread By Which Venezuelan Socialism Hangs May Soon Snap"

Say you are a socialist, and you have intervened heavily in the economy. Suddenly, things don’t work as you thought they would. Somehow, economic laws seem to refuse to bend to your will. However, you cannot really believe that since according to your convictions, wealth is a byproduct of government plans and decrees. So the solution to the unintended consequences of the initial intervention is to intervene further, in an attempt to refine the plan, so to speak. So you try again. And again. And again. Chances are, your name is Nicolas Maduro. In summary, the thread by which Venezuelan socialism hangs may soon snap.

"Lost In Translation" Error Sends Belarus Bonds Plunging

Yields on Belarussian bonds exploded from 12% to 25% in the space of a few minutes this morning following reports that President Alexandr Lukashenko raised the prospect of restructuring the former Soviet republic’s external debt. As Bloomberg reports, the 2018 bonds collapsed from over 90c to 65c even as Lukashenko said Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to provide $500 million of aid if the situation gets “very difficult.” However, two hours later  - following the collapse in bonds - Lukashenko clarified his remarks... "Please calm down," he said, "Belarus has enough money to pay its debts in full." It turns out he meant refinance... not restructure.

The Biggest "Hamilton Oil Shock" In History

The most cautionary episode to today was the 62% drop in oil prices from November 1985 to July 1986, although the Hamilton measure is much smaller. Similar to today, most believed this would prove to be a boost to GDP growth. Indeed, the consensus was forecasting average 2.3% GDP growth to increase 0.3pp, but it actually fell 0.9pp (based on the as reported GDP data, third release). This downward surprise continued for three quarters.

"They're Out Of Their Minds" Gorbachev Slams US 'Triumphalism' For "Turning Cold War 'Hot'"

In November of last year, Mikhail Gorbachev first warned "the world is on the brink of a new Cold War." Then around the turn of the year he escalated his warning, fearing "a war of this kind could lead to a nuclear war," hoping that no one "loses their nerve in this overheated situation." Today, in an interview with Russian news agency Interfax, the 83-year-old former Soviet leader, asks "have they lost their minds?" raging that "the U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism," warning that "the 'cold' war will "lead to a 'hot' war," concluding "The U.S. has been totally 'lost in the jungle' and is dragging us there as well."

Syriza's Original 40 Point Manifesto

The daily bulletin of Italy’s Communist Refoundation Party published today the apparently official program of the Greek coalition of the left, Syriza. Here the 40 points of the Syriza program...

According To Citi, Small Hedge Funds May Have No Choice But To Become Paper Traders On Twitter

“Poor performance will be most acutely felt by small hedge fund firms,” Sandy Kaul, global head of business advisory services at Citi. “These funds simply did not generate enough performance-fee revenues in 2014 to cover their gap.” In other words, "small" hedge funds, those who tried valiantly for 1, 2 or more years to generate alpha, and failed, well they can continue to manage "small" amounts of money, however it will be of the paper variety. Which they are welcome to do on the one venue which has taken over for Yahoo Finance as the sole place where everyone pretends to not only trade but certainly never have even a single losing day: Twitter.

Thursday Humor: The Pros & Cons Of Fracking

Gas prices are plummeting across America thanks in part to the country doubling its daily oil exports, which is made possible by chemical fracturing technology that scientists have said wreaks havoc on the environment. Here are some pros and cons of fracking:

3 Things - Fed Mistake, ECB QE, Housing

It is my expectation, unless these deflationary trends reverse course in very short order, that if the Fed raises rates it will invoke a fairly negative response from both the markets and economy.  However, I also believe that the Fed understands that we are closer to the next economic recession than not.  For the Federal Reserve, the worst case scenario is being caught with rates at the "zero bound" when that occurs. For this reason, while raising rates will likely spark a potential recession and market correction, from the Fed’s perspective this might be the “lesser of two evils.”

WTF Chart Of The Day: Baltic Dry Index Crashes To Lowest In 29 Years

Quietly behind the scenes - and not at all reflective of a collapsing global economy (because that would break the narrative of over-supply and pent-up demand) - The Baltic Dry Index plunged over 5% today to 632... That is the lowest absolute level for the global shipping rates indicator since August 1986...

CME Hikes Silver Margins By 11%

In a day in which silver was pounded the most since September 2013 without any fundamental reason to explain this weakness (aside for the extensively discussed Precious Metals-USDJPY funding pair trade, so favored by the central banks to punish gold/silver while pushing risk higher), many are wondering: what was the reason for this crash? Well, in a day in which Yellen now openly advised Democrats in a non-public setting about Fed policy, is it that ludicrous to assume that someone leaked the following announcement made after the close by the CME, namely that silver margins were just hiked by 11%?

Unleash The Veto: Senate Passes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Following Congress, The Republican-led Senate just passed The Keystone XL Pipeline Bill - as expected:

*SENATE PASSES BY 62-36 BILL TO APPROVE KEYSTONE, DEFYING OBAMA

Nine Democrats joined all of the Republicans who were present in supporting the legislationNow, it is time for President Obama to unleash The Veto Pen...