Step Aside North Korea: According To New "Theory" Sony Hackers Are In Fact Russians

Remember when evil North Korean hackers were blamed by everyone in the administration for penetrating the firewall of one of the wealthiest, most sophisticated, most secretive multi-national corporations in what now everyone realizes was an epic publicity, not to mention, punking stunt? Well, now that Kim Jong-Un has served his purpose, and the Interview has generated far more revenue than it would have otherwise (but not before North Korea got to troll the US, showing it too has lost all respect for the leader of the free world after it called Obama "A monkey in a tropical jungle") it is time to milk The Interview for some more propaganda talking points. And sure enough, here comes the Seattle-based cyber security firm Taia Global, which according to the NY Daily News as cited by the Mail has analyzed the "data" and concluded that not so Lil' Kim was right (the FBI was wrong) and it wasn't North Korea after all. So who was it? Why the evil Russians of course.

Dallas Fed Tumbles Below Lowest Estimate As Commodity Crash Comes Knocking

Who could have possibly anticipated that the one state that contributed the most high-paying jobs during the "recovery" on the back of the shale miracle, is facing recession (as JPM predicted)? Certainly not economists, who have correctly predicted exactly zero of the last 20 economic recessions, and whose lowest estimate for today's Dallas Fed manufacturing outlook survey was 5.0 (with 12.5 on the high side, and a 9.0 consensus mean). Moments ago we got the official number and it was a doozy, plunging from 10.5 to just 4.1, the lowest print since the Polar Vortex swept away economic activity across the US and when the Dallas Fed printed a tiny 0.3.The drop of 6.4 from the November print was also the largest slide in economic activity since October 2013.

When Fearmongering Goes Bad: Greece Scrambles To Prevent Deposit Run Goldman Warned About In Its "Worst Case"

Recall that just over two weeks ago, none other than Greek currency swap expert Goldman (alongside Jean-Claude Juncker who quite explicitly warned Greeks not "to vote wrong") came out with a Fire and Brimstone worst-case scenario which was nothing but an attempt at fearmongering designed to scare Greek MPs into doing Samaras' bidding, in which it said not electing the designated presidential candidate may lead to a worst-case scenario which involves a "Cyprus-style prolonged bank holiday." Basically what Goldman said is that unless Greece quickly folds back in line and does as the unelected Brussels eurocrats demand, there will be a Cyprus-style bank closure coupled with preemptied bank runs. Well.... oops. Because if that was the doubled-down bluff, then Greece just called it, and the "downside scenario" is now in play.

Greece In Turmoil After Third Failed Presidential Vote Means January 25 Snap Elections

And just like that Grexit is back.

It appears that with a few short days left in the year, the Santa rally is finally over, if only in Greece where both bonds and stock are tumbling after the third vote for PM Samaras' appointed presidential appointee Stavros Dimas concluded as many had expected: in failure, with 168 Greek lawmakers voting in favor of Dimas, well short of the 180-vote threshold needed. 132 voted against Mr. Dimas. This means that the "worst case" scenario - at least as described by Goldman - is now on deck: a snap general election that could bring the anti-bailout Syriza party to power. And speaking of Syriza, and its triumphant leader Samaras, moments ago he announced that the now inevitable Greek elections will take place on January 25: pencil that date in for even more turmoil.

The Utter Craziness Of Monetarism Is On Full Display

And thus the utter craziness of monetarism is on full display, in that after arguing that declining oil prices are good for American consumers, they are also suggesting that monetary policy is “too tight”, and thus oil prices are contradictorily “too low.” That betrays the central aspect of this orthodox embracing of lower energy prices as nothing more than a shaky rationalization – they still are not comfortable with low prices but accept them lest anyone get worried about what they really suggest. Orthodox monetary theory is, when stripped of its academic trappings, dedicated to high oil prices and low wages.

"Everything Is Awesome"

As Politico's Michael Grunwald writes below (we believe non-satirically), the midterm election’s discontent was illegitimate. The point is that Americans should cheer up! And whose fault is all the collective doom? Well, Bill De Blasio already explained that, as Grunwald confirms, the press has a problem reporting good news. So sit back, grab a drink (though swallow it first) and enjoy reading why "everything is awesome" in America (apart from a record 101.5 million Americans not working, record numbers on foodstamps, record numbers on disability, a record wealth divide, a record - and deadly - racial divide, record poverty, and record child homelessness).

Chinese Stocks Soar To 4 Year High On Stimulus Hopes As Japan's Economy Implodes; US Futures Rebound

One group of Federal workers that is definitely not taking the day off, is the trading desk located on the 9th floor of the New York Fed, responsible for such things as preserving the "fair" value of the bond and the stock market and avoiding any sharp downward moves. Because if there is one thing on the "national security" agenda that must be avoided at all costs, it is a drop in the S&P in today's trading session - after all now is when the official Santa rally begins and judging by the futures, which after a steep selloff in the last minute of trading on Wednesday have restored all their losses and then some, we may finally hit Goldman's year end target of 2100, for 2015.

We Live In A New World And The Saudis Are The First To Get It

We live in a new world, and the Saudis are either the only or the first ones to understand that. Because they are so early to notice, and adapt, I would expect them to come out relatively well. But I would fear for many of the others. And that includes a real fear of pretty extreme reactions, and violence, in quite a few oil-producing nations that have kept a lid on their potential domestic unrest to date. It would also include a lot of ugliness in the US shale patch, with a great loss of jobs (something it will have in common with North Sea oil, among others), but perhaps even more with profound mayhem for many investors in US energy. And then we’re right back to your pension plans.

Make No Mistake, The Oil Slump Is Going To Hurt The US Too

If you only paid attention to the mainstream media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US is going to get away from the collapse in oil prices scot free. It’s a crying shame. The US has come so close to becoming energy independent. But it’s going to have to get its head around the idea that it could become a big oil importer again. In the end, the US energy boom may add up to nothing more than an illusion dependent upon the artificially cheap debt environment created by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy.

Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?

The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia. While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East.

US Government Admits $2.4 Billion Food-Stamps "Mis-Spent"

According to the most recent report from the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General, government "mis-spent" $2.4 billion on food stamps. While $2.4bn may feel like small amount in the present day of trillion-dollar debts, as The Daily Signal's Alexandra Gourdikan notes, the fact itself should raise concerns adding that the food stamps program is in need of reform. First and foremost, policymakers should focus on promoting work. Americans are willing to help those in need, but they also believe that people must do what they can for themselves.

Could An Energy Bust Trigger QE4, Peter Schiff Asks

Despite the widely held belief that 2015 will be the year in which a patient Fed finally begins to normalize rate policy, we believe the Fed has no possibility of withdrawing the stimulus to which it has addicted us. QE4 was always much more probable than anyone in government or on Wall Street cares to admit. A recession and a financial panic caused by sub $60 oil will significantly quicken the timetable by which the Fed cranks up the presses. When it does, oil could once again increase in price, along with all the other things we need on a daily basis. That should finally dispel any remaining illusions that the Fed could successfully land the metaphorical plane. More QE may minimize the damage in the short-term, but we believe it will keep us trapped in our current cocoon of endless stimulus, where we will slowly suffocate to death.