30 Years Ago, Greece Bluffed Europe... And Won

"European leaders resolved a bitter financial dispute with Greece today, paving the way for Spain and Portugal to join the Common Market at the start of next year. Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece had threatened to veto an agreement reached this week on Iberian membership unless the other nine members gave Greek farmers $2 billion in special subsidies to help them compete with Spain and Portugal. But after two days of negotiations at a European Economic Community meeting here, Greece was persuaded to accept about $1.4 billion in new agricultural aid in return for lifting its veto threat."

- March 31, 1985

"I Live In Constant Fear" Kyle Bass Explains How We Got Here

"I constantly feel inadequate, which may be what drives me," Kyle Bass tells Raoul Pal in this excellent discussion between two of the world's foremost (non-status-quo-hugging everything-will-be-fine) market practitioners. The interview with Bass, from the newly launched Real Vision TV, covers everything from how he got started in his career, what drives him, his process "it's an art - there is no science to it", and not only how we got here, but where we are going (inevitably)...

Guest Post: The Great War Of The American Empire

Looking at a map of current American military engagements overseas, one cannot help but notice their wide geographical spread and their seemingly interminable nature. Battles have raged in Europe (Yugoslavia and Ukraine), in Africa, in the Middle East, and in central Asia. The American Empire has launched this country into a series of battles that have no end in sight and no location that may not become a focal point of military force. Upon close inspection, however, all of their rationales fall apart. None is satisfactory. The interventions are too widespread, too long-lasting and too unsuccessful at what they supposedly accomplish to lend support to any of the common justifications.

Four Key Themes From Q4 Earnings: From Dollar Headwinds To Management Over-Confidence

By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears - given the data - they will be disappointed.

Welcome To Eccles Island: Where Tulips Bloom In A Polar Vortex

The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago, the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tripled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?

JPY Slides After Japanese GDP Disappoints (Again); Economy Minister "Hopes" For Wage Increases

It appears "hope" is a strategy in Japan. Abe's nation emerged from recession in Q4 but with business spending (capex grew at a mere 0.1%) and private consumption (+0.3% - which Amari defined as "solid private demand supporting economic recovery") both coming in considerably below estimates, Japanese GDP QoQ SAAR grew at+2.2% (missing expectations of 3.7%) but real GDP growth was negative for the 3rd quarter in a row. Of course the GDP deflator grew at 2.3%, beating expectations, is desperately clung to by Japan's economy minster Amari as evidence of the end of deflation in Japan.

Two More Harbingers Of Financial Doom That Mirror The Crisis Of 2008

The stock market continues to flirt with new record highs, but the signs that we could be on the precipice of the next major financial crisis continue to mount.  There are multiple warning signs that have popped up repeatedly just prior to previous financial crashes, and many of those same warning signs are now appearing once again.

First Genetically Modified "Browning-Resistant" Apple Approved For US Consumption

With only 37% of the public believing that genetically-modified foods are 'safe', The Arctic apple - which resists browning when cut open or sliced - faces an uphill battle for 'success'. But as WSJ reports, the non-browing trait makes it particularly attractive for restaurants, grocery stores, airlines and other companies that offer pre-sliced fruit, and since The Agriculture Department on Friday approved it as the first genetically modified apple for sale in the U.S., the debate over the safety (and labelling) of modified foods reignites. While "getting the consumer to buy in to the product has to be the priority," notes Okanagan, environmentalists warn "there is no place in the U.S. or global market for genetically engineered apples."

The Un-Retiring, Increasingly Disabled Non-Working American Dream

For the past few years (here from 2012 to most recently here) we have vociferously argued that the state of the US labor force is anything but healthy (and anything but cyclical) as the structural aging of America (where work is punished, college is free, and retirement long forgotten) drags at The American Dream. Even Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius - now desperate for a less positive spin to employment, in hopes of keeping The Fed dovish-er longer-er, has admitted that because of discouragement, disability, and schooling, coupled with a slowdown in the rise of the retired population will slow the pace of decline of the unemployment rate.

Normality Seems As Distant As Ever: The Global Economy's Chinese Headwinds

Last year, the global economy was supposed to start returning to normal. Interest rates would begin rising in the United States and the United Kingdom; quantitative easing would deliver increased inflation in Japan; and restored confidence in banks would enable a credit-led recovery in the eurozone. Twelve months later, normality seems as distant as ever – and economic headwinds from China are a major cause.

The Only Question About The So-Called "Recovery"

We were almost eager to swallow the blue pill and admit that the "recovery" is an actual recovery this time (non-GAAP that is, one where all the economic data is first excluded)... and then we happened to glance at this chart, courtesy of Citigroup's Matt King.

Thousands Of Government Supporters Rally In Athens, Demand "Give Greece A Chance" - Live Feed

In another 'odd' event for Europe's status quo, for the second time in a week, tens of thousands of pro-government supporters have taken to the infamous Syntagma Square in Athens to ensure Syriza knows exactly what tomorrow's 'negotiations' are all about. With the latest poll showing Syriza in an even more dominant position nationally (45.4% vs ND's 18.4%) and Merkel's party looking like it will lose in a landslide in Hamburg local election, it seems the people of Europe have expressed their will. As Germany's Sinn suggests, Grexit would be best, "if Greece doesn't exit the euro, it will keep adding new debt it will be unable to repay." Perhaps that is why the rally cries of "Give Greece a chance" are so loud...

Trapped In A Narrative Of Lies

War: people dying from sheer misery, people dying because they have no access to the services we take for granted, and even people being shelled by their own government.  All these things are happening as we speak, and we accept them lying down – on our couches - and choose to ignore and even deny them, because we are trapped in narratives spun by those who see a profit in spreading these narratives. And who have a solid grip on what gets spun and what is not. This is not going to end well. Not unless we speak up. Not for anyone amongst us. This one will not pass by your door, or mine. We’re approaching decision time. For the world, for your life and mine. It’s time to pick sides.

Copenhagen Shooting Suspect Killed By Police After Two Deaths Including One At Synagogue

Lately, and tragically, not a month can pass in Europe without some deadly, mass shooting event whose inspiration is supposedly racial hatred. One month after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris which left 20 people dead, another series of deadly shootings rocked otherwise quiet Copenhagen this weekend, where the person suspected to be responsible for the death of two people and injuring five first at a freedom of speech event and subsequently, at a synagogue in Copenhagen, was killed by police early in the Sunday morning hours.