Over the past year, there had been a perplexing spike in suicide events involving bankers, especially those of Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. Overnight, the first prominent public sector suicide shook the state of Missouri when its state auditor Tom Schweich died in St. Louis in what is said to be an apparent suicide, at the age of 54, around 9:48 am on Thursday, when Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said paramedics responded to an emergency call from his home. Schweich was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound. The Police chief was quoted by Kansascity.com, who said that “What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it. At an event on foreign policy hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mr. Bush, a Republican, said, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the metadata program.
27 years ago, in his acceptance speech, George H.W. Bush famously told America that he wanted a "kinder, gentler nation." While it took nearly three decades, it seems that his wish has finally come true. Sort of. Last week, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service appeared in front of the House Way and Means Oversight Subcommittee... and apologized to taxpayers, specifically those who have had their assets seized and bank accounts wrongfully frozen - "To anyone who is not treated fairly under the [tax] code, I apologize."
The Abe administration nominated a major proponent of reflationary monetary policy to the central bank’s board, buttressing Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s efforts to save the nation from the dread of deflation. As Bloomberg reports, economist Yutaka Harada, who will replace Ryuzo Miyao, has said Japan can beat deflation by printing money in a 2013 book "Reflationary Policy Revives Japan’s Economy." So far that is not working so try harder... “The nomination is a good news for Kuroda... he will keep a majority on the board and win what he wants." Why such good news? As deputy director at the finance ministry’s Policy Research Institute, Harada exclaimed, "we just need to print money."
Hillary Clinton isn’t a lock for the 2016 Elections: Google searches for US Senator Elizabeth Warren surpassed the former US Secretary of State just last month with a ratio of 6 to 5. Interest in bowling (+85% since October) is growing faster than Facebook (-4%) and Youtube (-2%), and there is a lot more interest in smoking marijuana than tobacco (58 vs. 19 on average). Those are just three of the surprising findings from ConvergEx's latest survey of social engagement using Google Trends.
When Eric Holder announced his resignation, many breathed a sigh of relief thinking it can’t get much worse, but not so fast. The authoritarian streak and rampant cronyism of the Obama administration is a well oiled machine. You didn’t think you’d get off that easily did you? Enter Loretta Lynch.
"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee." - Mitt Romney
Lazard's Antonio "Tax-Inverter" Weiss Withdraws Treasury Nomination (But End-Arounds Senate For 'Counsel' Role)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/12/2015 17:18 -0500
It appears Lazard's investment banker Antonio Weiss' "help" in tax inversions was just too 'unpatriotic' to scare President Obama off at the last minute.
- *ANTONIO WEISS SAID TO WITHDRAW NAME AS TREASURY NOMINEE
- *WEISS SOUGHT TO AVOID LENGTHY CONFIRMATION PROCESS (how thoughtful?)
The White House exclaimed "opposition to Weiss was unjustfied," so perhaps it was his $203 million in assets just would not have played well with Obama's new vision for the future. However, he has managed to get a position as "counselor" - which does not require Senate approval.
Yesterday, to much fanfare, the White House blasted that it was Obama's desire to appoint Allan R. Landon, a Hawaiian community banker, to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. To wit: "President Obama said, “Allan Landon has the proven experience, judgment and deep knowledge of the financial system to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy. He brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, particularly as a community banker.” Apparently what he also brings as Bloomberg's Dawn Kopecki reminds us, is the usual near-criminal cronyism and corruption that we have all grown to love and expect from every single Fed governor in recent history. It turns out in 2005 Landon agreed to step down as SFHLB board member due to the "appearance of impropriety" when he "failed to comply with a rule requiring the disclosure of conflicts of interest by a director."
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
That markets are rigged, at both the macro level, through central banks, and micro, through HFTs, dark pools and purposeful market fragmentation, should be painfully obvious to everyone by now. But when even the regulators engage in "jury rigging", or in this case blocking prominent HFT-critic Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winning economist (a prize which doesn't count for much on these pages but should - at least on paper - impress such statist cronies as the SEC), has been blocked from a government panel that will advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets, it becomes clear as day that the rigging is not just in the markets: worse, it is openly involves the market's "regulator" and "enforcer."
- Economists sceptical ECB bond-buying would revive eurozone (FT)
- Indonesia naval captain says may have located missing plane's tail section (Reuters)
- Oil hits five and a half year low under $55 (Reuters)
- Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts (BBG)
- The death of active investing: Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow (WSJ) - thank you Fed
- Oil Downturn Has Many Wondering How Lone Star State Will Weather a Bust (WSJ)
- Hollande Says France Must Exceed 1% Economic Growth to Spur Jobs (BBG)
The author of what Paul Krugman called "the most important economics book of the year - and maybe the decade," has turned down a prestigious award from the French government because, he does "not think it is the government's role to decide who is honorable." The irony of Thomas Piketty's revulsion at the Legion d'Honneur award is juxtaposed with his socialist epithets that government should decide everything else... like confiscatory taxes, big government, and, as Mish perfectly describes it, the "save the local bookstore mentality." Even more ironic though, Piketty's rejection of the award occurred on the same day that Hollande finbally gave up on his 75% supertax scheme (which has led to record unemployment).
"where are the opponents to the ethos that anything goes and nothing matters? Where are the political figures who can sustain a complaint long enough, and loudly enough, to keep it in the public consciousness clearly enough to make a difference? The more conspiracy-minded might say that the security apparatus (the NSA and its servelings) or Wall Street actually run the country and somehow suppress opposition. I don’t believe that. I do believe that cultures go through tragic periods when they lose their bearings and the will to be truthful to themselves."
- Welcome to the recovery:
- Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
- California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
- Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
- Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)