Greece To Tax Bank Transactions, Says IMF "Won't Get Any Money" On June 5

"A senior government official says that among the proposals discussed with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund is the imposition of a levy on bank transactions, whose exact rate will depend on the exemptions that would apply. The aim is to collect 300-600 million euros on a yearly basis," Kathimerini reports. Meanwhile, parliamentary speaker Nikos Filis has a message for the IMF.

UBS Gets Probation For Rigging $5 Trillion-A-Day FX Market

UBS will pay $545 million, plead guilty to one count of wire fraud, and go on DoJ "probation" for three years for its role in forex manipulation. The market's assessment of how things turned out for the bank: "It couldn't have been better."

Frontrunning: May 20

  • Clinton aides sometimes blocked release of documents requested under public-records law (WSJ)
  • House Benghazi panel subpoenas former Clinton White House aide (Reuters)
  • Cash Crunch, for Many, Is a Monthly Woe (WSJ)
  • Doubts over Greece add to euro's ECB-driven frailty (Reuters)
  • For Many American States, It's Like the Recession Never Ended (BBG)
  • Japan debt plan needs BOJ to keep rates low for years (Reuters)
  • Euro Continues to Fall; European Bonds, Stocks Broadly Steady (WSJ)
  • Los Angeles gives preliminary approval to $15 minimum wage (Reuters)

Futures Flat With Greece In Spotlight; UBS Reveals Rigging Settlement; Inventory Surge Grows Japan GDP

The only remarkable macroeconomic news overnight was out of Japan where we got the Q1 GDP print of 2.4% coming in well above consensus of 1.6%, and higher than the 1.1% in Q4. Did it not snow in Japan this winter? Does Japan already used double, and maybe triple, "seasonally-adjusted" data? We don't know, but we do know that both Japan and Europe have grown far faster than the US in the first quarter.

The ECB Just Launched Bizarro QE Taper

"Even though this is just front-loading, it is effectively an increase in the size of quantitative easing, even if just for a short period of time", one strategist tells WSJ, regarding the ECB's leaked decision to increase PSPP purchases ahead of the summer "lull." Of course this means the opposite is true as well. That is, anytime supply is net negative, the ECB will taper QE.

Welcome To New Britain - Europe's 21st Century 'Balkans'

“When you have anti-English, pro-European nationalists in Scotland and anti-European, pro-British nationalists in England, spiced up with a few anti-English, pro-European nationalists in Wales and of course, the anti-each-other, pro-whatever your having yourself, British and Irish nationalists in that blissfully incoherent chunk of Ulster – Northern Ireland, you know you’re not in the old UK." Welcome to new Britain, Europe’s 21st century version of the Balkans!

Are They About To Confiscate Money From Bank Accounts In Greece Just Like They Did In Cyprus?

Do you remember what happened when Cyprus decided to defy the EU?  In the end, the entire banking system of the nation collapsed and money was confiscated from private bank accounts.  Well, the nation of Greece is now approaching a similar endgame.  At this point, the Greek government has not received any money from the EU or the IMF since August 2014As you can imagine, that means that Greek government accounts are just about bone dry.

"If The Public Knew About Obama's Lies And Cover Ups, Mitt Romney Might Be President" - Judicial Watch

“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.  If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president."

No, You Can't Go Back To The USSR!

One of the fake stories kept alive by certain American politicians, with the help of western media, is that Vladimir Putin (who, they vacuously claim, is a dictator and a tyrant) wants to reconstitute the USSR, with the annexation of Crimea as the first step. Instead of listening to their gossip, let's lay out the facts...  “He who doesn't regret the collapse of the USSR doesn't have a heart; he who wants to see it reborn doesn't have a brain.”

What A Cashless Society Would Look Like

“A depression is coming? Let’s put interest rates at zero. The economy is still in trouble? Let’s have the central bank print trillions in new securities. The banks are not lending? Let’s change the accounting rules and offer government guarantees and funds. People are still not spending? Let’s have negative interest rates. The economy is still in the tank? LET’S BAN CASH TRANSACTIONS!”

A cashless society is promising to have very tangible costs to our liberties and future prosperity.

In Iraq, ISIS Is Winning And The United States Is Losing

During the Iraq war more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers died, countless others were severely injured, and the total cost to U.S. taxpayers was more than 2 trillion dollars.  But now whatever the U.S. military accomplished during that war is being completely undone by ISIS.  On Monday, we learned that ISIS had fully taken control of the strategically important city of Ramadi.  Despite nine months of airstrikes by the U.S. military, ISIS continues to move forward and take new territory.  So what will the U.S. do if ISIS actually takes control of the entire country?

Welcome To The Bubble State, Where Everything Is Unsustainable

Since its inception, California has always portrayed itself as the land of opportunity. Kind of like a dream within the American dream. Of course, if you ask anyone who actually lives here, they’ll tell you the truth. The only people getting rich from the dream are the ones who made it up. They prey on the gullible masses who think they can move here and become movies stars, and tech CEO’s. But more importantly, this dream is the lifeblood of our vampiric state, and always has been. Like the myths surrounding the Great Wall of China, our foundations are layered with those who fell while chasing the dream. We owe our very existence to this ever evolving scam.

Plains All American Pipeline Ruptures; 21,000 Barrel 4-Mile Oil Slick On Santa Barbara Beaches

Emergency officials and Exxon Mobil were responding Tuesday afternoon to a ruptured pipeline that was leaking crude oil into the ocean off the Santa Barbara County coast, authorities said. The Santa Barbara County office of emergency management has identified the responsible party as Plains All American Pipeline. As The LA Times reports, by 3:45 p.m., the leak had left a four-mile-long sheen of oil extending about 50 yards into the waters along Refugio State Beach in Goleta, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson.

"Kept Afloat With Nothing But Happy Thoughts"

The Fed stimulates absolutely nothing but the media’s descriptions of it and the various economists and their models that depend solely on them being successful in doing so. If recessions are emotional and irrational pessimism as the monetary textbooks believe, then QE and ZIRP are just right sort of “happy pills” to push emotions back to the “right” direction. Is it any wonder the economy is in danger of sinking toward catastrophic failure?

Someone Finally Read Obama's Secret Trade Deal And Admits The TPP "Will Damage This Nation"

"The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you. I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what's hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice."

"Obama's Strategy Against ISIS Is In Ruins"

Over the weekend, a major shift in the balance of power in Iraq took place when Islamic State forces seized the key Iraqi state of Ramadi.  It took barely one day for the neoconservative cries for an aggressive and powerful response when overnight Kimberly Kagan's hawkish think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, came out with its assessment which was at least partially right that "Obama's strategy against the Islamic State in ruins not only in Iraq but also throughout the Muslim world."

How GDP Metrics Distort Our View of the Economy

GDP purports to measure economic activity while largely divorcing itself from the quality, profitability, depth, breadth, improvement, advancement, and rationalization of goods and services provided. Stated alternatively, GDP fails to accurately assess the value of goods and services provided or estimate a society’s standard of living. It is a ruler with irregular hash marks and a clock with erratic ticks. Simply put, GDP is designed to advance the Keynesian agenda... no matter what.