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“We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us”





Neither Russia nor China is an imminent threat to the US, but a cataclysmic event is looming in the economic front, one which will forever change the perception of America by the rest of the world; or how we, Americans, perceive ourselves. It’s back to what that great cartoonist (and sociopolitical commentator), Walt Kelly, told us a half century ago as America struggled during the Vietnam War:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” 

 
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Vladimir Putin Is World's Most Influential Person Americans Say





The Russian President tops TIME's 100 most influential people list even as 60% of voters were Americans. Guess where President Obama landed...

 
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Key Global Events In The Coming Week





While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.

 
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Renminbi-Rising: American Leadership In A Multipolar World





Giving up the spotlight is never easy. The United States, like many aging celebrities, is struggling to share the stage with new faces, especially China. The upcoming meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – two institutions dominated by the US and its Western allies – provide an ideal opportunity to change that. The US must come to terms with the reality that the world has changed. The longer the US remains in a state of denial, the more damage it will do to its interests and its global influence, which remains substantial, if more constrained than before.

 
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Mapping Iran's Nuclear Program And Oil Facilities





When discussing the Iran "deal" which isn't a deal, but merely a " Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", there are two key things one must keep in mind: the location of Iran's nuclear facilities and its oil infrastructure. Here is a quick take on both.

 
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Frontrunning: April 2





  • Samaras Says He’d Join Alliance to Keep Greece in Euro (BBG)
  • Tensions with Warren camp could loom over Clinton campaign (Reuters)
  • Ackman Report on Herbalife in China Figures in Probe (WSJ)
  • Al Shabaab storms Kenyan university, 14 reported killed (Reuters)
  • Iraq’s Four-Mile Line of Supertankers Fuels Shipping-Rates Surge (BBG)
  • Menendez's fate could sharpen Republicans' edge in Senate (Reuters)
  • IRS Chief Chides Ted Cruz Over 'Abolish the IRS' Mantra (BBG)
  • Yemen Houthi fighters backed by tanks reach central Aden (Reuters)
 
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The "Billionaire Hubs" - A Look At The Housing Habits Of The World's Ultra Richest People





When it comes to our current pre-war, pre-revolutionary world (in Paul Tudor Jones' words) there are two social classes which are jockeying for the post positioning when it all comes crashing down: the Ultra High Net Worth, i.e., the 0.01%, those 211,275 individuals (and their families) who have a net worth over $30 million and who collectively control $30 trillion in wealth, and everyone else, with the countdown to extinction for the global middle class now getting louder by the day, leaving a world of a handful of uber-wealthy oligarchs and billions of, well, others. And nowhere is this distinction more vivid than when looking at their residential real estate holdings. But while the real estate of the 99.99% is boring (and increasingly in the form of rentals), when it comes to the dwellings of the 0.01% things get exciting, and are the topic of the latest joint report between Wealth-X and Sotheby's whose findings we summarize below.

 
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Hans-Werner Sinn Fears Europe's "Very Messy" Easy-Money Endgame





There is a risk that Japan, China, and the US will not sit on their hands while the euro loses value, with the world possibly even sliding into a currency war. Moreover, the southern EU countries, instead of leaving prices unchanged, could abandon austerity and issue an ever greater volume of new bonds to stimulate the economy. Competitiveness gains and rebalancing would fail to materialize, and, after an initial flash in the pan, the eurozone would return to permanent crisis. The euro, finally and fully discredited, would then meet a very messy end. One can only hope that this scenario does not come to pass, and that the southern countries stay the course of austerity. This is their last chance.

 
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Frontrunning: March 25





  • ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
  • Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
  • Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
  • Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
  • In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
  • Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
  • Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
  • Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)
 
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Canada's Biggest Oil Casualty To Date: Calgary's Nexen Shutters Oil Trading Desk





Last December, traditionally permabullish energy trader Andy Hall shocked the world when he became the first casualty of the oil crash after Phibro, his 113 year old employer then owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer. He wouldn't be the last. Overnight, Nexen Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of China's CNOOC Ltd, reported it too would close its crude oil trading division following a round of job cuts announced last week, four market sources said on Monday.

 
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Regime Change: America's Failing Weapon Of International Deception





After almost two centuries of political and economic meddling in Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine (1823) banner, much of it involving regime change, the US is finally coming to terms with the reality that its influence has not just waned but disappeared. To Washington’s despair, similar results, if for other reasons, are happening throughout North Africa and the extended Middle East; certainly not the results the US had hoped for or anticipated from the revolutionary wave in the Arab Spring, now entering its fifth year. The era of using regime change as a weapon of mass deception may have already ended for the United States of America… and hopefully for the entire world.

 
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There’s Brussels And Then There’s Real People





There’s only one thing that can save the Union now: for Merkel to show compassion, with the Greeks, and with all other weaker members. And to stop the anti-Greek propaganda, immediately. Or else. It’s nonsense to pretend that this is merely a business issue, as is made clear by Parenteau above: there is very clearly plenty space to negotiate solutions with Greece that preserve everyone’s dignity. Refuse that, and you can kiss the EU goodbye. There’s alot more that plays into this than mere money issues. Ignore that, and you might as well dismantle the Union right now.

 
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Here We Go Again: YouTube Clips Of Syrian "Chemical Attacks" Are Back - Meet The Man Behind The Propaganda





US foreign policy is becoming so easy and predictable, even Derek Zoolander can do it.

Two weeks ago, when discussing the relentless attempts to provoke, or at least greenlight another quasi war with Syria's president Assad, we wrote "one can be confident that the ISIS "campaign" will continue and get ever closer to Damascus until yet another appropriately-framed YouTube clip appears and leads to another war with Assad." Moments ago Reuters reported that "a group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation."

 
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