David Stockman: "A Gang Of Unelected PhDs Have Staged An Economics Coup D'Etat"

America is being run by an unelected gang of essentially self-perpetuating PhDs. The notion of an economics coup d’ etat is not so far-fetched.  So the last 35 years have brought the greatest exercise in mission creep ever undertaken by an agency of the state. That explains why the monetary politburo persists in its absurd quest to force more debt into an economy which is already saturated with $59 trillion of the same. To pretend, as does Yellen and most of the monetary politburo that they must plow ahead printing money at lunatic rates because Congress so mandated it, is the height of mendacity. The Fed has seized power and is not about to let go - common sense be damned, and the constitution, too.

Fort Hood Shooter, Three Others Reported Dead, 14 Injured, Obama Says "Will Get To The Bottom Of What Happened"

The Fort Hood shooting appears to be over, with the shooter reportedly dead of a self-inflicted wound and according to the latest CNN update, three other people dead, and as many as 14 others injured, some in critical condition. Reports of a second shooter are so far unconfirmed. CNN also reports that the name of the shooter is 34 year old Ivan Lopez. The shooting is also said to not be terrorism-related, but instead a "solider on solider" attack.

JPMorgan Explains: The Problem Is The Inexorable Rise In Entitlement Payments

As he visited clients around the nation, JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest noted a number of questions repeated... why can’t the US spend more on infrastructure? why can’t the US spend more on worker retraining? why is less money being spent on training, employment and related social services? why is energy spending falling? The answer, ne explains below, to all these questions is the same: these categories are declining since they are being squeezed out by the inexorable rise in entitlement payments.

From The Small To The Big: Earthquakes, Avalanches, & High-Frequency Trading

Given our understanding that the number of large avalanches is positively correlated to the number of small avalanches, it seems pretty clear that (as Nanex and Zerohedge has been saying) the damaged market microstructure is mirrored in the increasing number of flash crashes since Reg NMS. Unfortunately, our murky understanding of how the microstructure causes the macrostructural changes can be used by the regulatory authorities to avoid investigation. They can't see a smoking gun. Accordingly, our modest proposal for dealing with HFT is this--nothing. Don't bust trades--let them stand. We'd be curious to see the response of the various Ivy-League endowment funds and pension funds when they suffer brutal, near-instantaneous, multi-billion-dollar losses. How would real companies, producing real products, react to a sudden monkey-hammering of their stock price, especially if it triggered debt covenants? Maybe they would all exit the market en masse. It might even force a real change.

Fort Hood On Lockdown After Shooting, Multiple Victims Reported; Shooter At Large - Live Webcast

Fort Hood, Texas, was was the place of an infamous mass murder that took place in November 2009, when 13 people were shot by a US Army major in what is the worst shooting to ever take place at an American military base.  Moments ago news hit that there is another reported shooting situation at Fort Hood with the shooting suspect said to still be at large.

FORT HOOD, TEXAS, ON LOCKDOWN AMID SHOOTING REPORTS: SHOOTING SUSPECT STILL AT LARGE; `MULTIPLE VICTIMS' AMID SHOOTING: KCEN TV

Live webcast from KCEN.TV below

Guest Post: The Obamacare Ship Of Fools

It was so fitting that Obama sauntered into the Rose Garden on April Fools day to proclaim the wonderful success of Obamacare. We are the fools for allowing this fool and his fellow fools in Congress to further bankrupt our country with this disastrous government run clusterf*ck. Their is so much propaganda, spin, disinformation and outright lies circulating in the captured mainstream media that the dumbed down, distracted, disinterested American populace believe the sound bites from Obama and the talking heads on MSNBC and the rest of the Obama loving media. You may have noticed the non-stop 30 second ads trying to convince iGadget addicted morons to sign up for Obamacare over the last three months, building to a crescendo in the last few weeks. Let’s assess the tremendous success  the Savior was blustering about yesterday. He sold the plan to the American public back in 2009 with a number of promises.

Lewis Explains The Casino: "Why Are You Even Arguing" That This Is Not Rigged?

Round 2 of the HFT vs Reality death match just took place on Bloomberg TV. Once again the clear winner was Katsuyama and Lewis version of the real world as Manoj Narang finally lost all credibility with the mind-0bumbing comment that "speed matters less in today's market than it has ever mattered." But the Tradeworx CEO was a background singer compared to Michael Lewis who explained in his clearest analogy yet how the casino works and then devoured the anchor's constant efforts to play down the "rigged" market perspective... "it's very clear that people are being front run in the market... so, why are you even arguing about this?"

Dow Fails To Hold 2014 Gains As Treasury Yields Hit 7-Month Highs

Biotechs ended positive but for the 10th day in a row saw the early pump, dumped (as did a number of the momo names). But the big news is the Dow getting back into green for 2014...and then failing to hold it! Trannies and the S&P both hit new record highs. Treasury yields continue to press higher with 5Y now at 7-month highs (testing 1.80%) as 30Y yields are up 11bps on the week. The USD rallied modestly all day (ahead of tomorrow's hope-strewn ECB meeting) but commodities were mixed with general flatness interrupted by significant spikes in gold and silver around 8amET. Copper faded during the US day session. VIX was slammed under 13 into the close but faded back higher into the close.

What About The Dollar: Russia, Iran Announce $20 Billion Oil-For-Goods Deal

Spot what is missing in the just blasted headline from Bloomberg:

IRAN, RUSSIA SAID TO SEAL $20B OIL-FOR-GOODS DEAL: REUTERS

If you said the complete absence of US Dollars anywhere in the funds flow you are correct. Which is precisely what we have been warning would happen the more the West and/or JPMorgan pushed Russia into a USD-free corner.

Obama Administration Admits Use Of "Warrantless Searches" Of US Citizens

Just over a month ago, we reported on the Supreme Court's ruling that police may search a home without obtaining a warrant thus denigrating the Fourth Amendment to the funeral pyre under the Obama Administration's totalitarian might. Today that decision (and the end of the 4th) were confirmed when the country's top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress that the Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans' communications as part of the National Security Agency's surveillance operations. While efforts were made to suggest agencies do not deliberately track Americans' emails, phone calls, and online activity without a warrant, as Sen. Wyden notes, "the facts show that was misleading."

Dennis Gartman Comes Out In Defense Of HFT: "They Do Indeed Have Better Quality Computers Than Do We"

Presented with no commentary and with lots of laughter as yet one more "expert" who has no clue what HFT actually is (and every clue about being the market's best contrarian indicator - see here and here and here and here) comes out of the woodwork with a "world-renowned" opinion. Again.... and Again.... and Again. Needless to say, Gartman opining in favor of HFT effectively seals the debate if the vacuum tubes should all be done away with this nanosecond.

Have We Reached Peak Wall Street?

Though the mainstream financial media and the blogosphere differ radically on their forecasts - the MFM sees near-zero systemic risk while the alternative media sees a critical confluence of it - they agree on one thing: the Federal Reserve and the “too big to fail” (TBTF) Wall Street banks have their hands on the political and financial tiller of the nation, and nothing will dislodge their dominance. In addition, the U.S. dollar’s status as a reserve currency is a key component of U.S. global dominance. Were the dollar to be devalued by Fed/Wall Street policies to the point that it lost its reserve status, the damage to American influence and wealth would be irreversible. What if there is another possibility to the consensus view that the Fed/Wall Street will continue to issue credit and currency with abandon until the inevitable consequence occurs, i.e. the dollar is devalued and loses its reserve status. What if Wall Street’s power has peaked and is about to be challenged by forces that it has never faced before. Put another way, the power of Wall Street has reached a systemic extreme where a decline or reversal is inevitable.

Europe Mapped According To The Germans (And The Russians)

As Acting-Man's Pater Tenebrarum notes, a recent Der Spiegel article highlights the fact that in spite of the fact that Russia and especially Putin are demonized with great verve in the Western media (including Germany's), it seems German citizens from all walks of life and all political camps are highly devoted fans of Russia and its president. As the following two maps show, "Europe" means a lot of different things to the Germans and the Russians.

Peak HFT?

We doubt it: first wait until the next market crash is blamed on HFT (as we speculate it will)... and then watch as the entire world suddenly goes all tar and feathers on a few million vacuum tubes.

De-escalation Off: US Navy Sends Warship To Black Sea "In Direct Response To Ukraine Circumstances"

On the heels of NATO's declaration that is was suspending all practical cooperation with Russia (and ordered military planners to draft new measures to strengthen its defenses), Bloomberg reports that the US will be sending a Navy warship back to the Black Sea. Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that the ship (as yet unnamed) wil be there to conduct exercises with allies and is a "direct response to the circumstances in Ukraine." and is the first in the Black Sea for 2 weeks.

Goodbye Blythe Masters

A week ago we wrote: 'While it has been public for a long time that i) JPM is eager to sell its physical commodities business and ii) the most likely buyer was little known Swiss-based Mercuria, there was nothing definitive released by JPM. Until moments ago, when Jamie Dimon formally announced that JPM is officially parting ways with the physical commodities business. But while contrary to previous expectations, following the sale JPM will still provide commercial gold vaulting operations around the world, it almost certainly means farewell to Blythe Masters." Sure enough:

JP MORGAN COMMODITY CHIEF BLYTHE MASTERS LEAVING, WSJ SAYS       

Farewell Blythe: we hope your replacement will be just as skilled in keeping the price of physical gold affordable for those of us who keep BTFD every single day.

Presenting The Next Market Rigged By High Frequency Trading

Almost a month ago, we wrote "This Is The One Financial Product Now Targeted By The HFT Swarm", in which after briefly perusing the Virtu S-1 filing, we concluded that "one product stood out. It is highlighted on the chart below: FX."

We are happy to report that this time the mainstream media is following our reports much more closely then five years ago, because overnight none other than Bloomberg came out with "High-Frequency Traders Chase Currencies as Stock Volume Recedes" in which we read, guess what, "Forget the equity market. For high-frequency traders, the place to be is foreign exchange." But our readers already knew this of course...