While representatives have reportedly tried to block the release of footage of Michael Bloomberg's remarks at The Aspen Institute on Feb 6th, audio has surfaced of the former New York City mayor’s controversial comments about getting "guns out of the hands of minorities."
Our clueless President observed, "You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression. At some point there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts..." No, paying off their debts is exactly the wrong medicine. You do not kick the can and extend and pretend that Greece can service its crushing debt. Instead, you permit it to default, and then to rebuild it’s economy and credit the old fashioned way. In any event, its a problem for the Europeans and the Greeks to resolve. Obama should stop sending Keynesian witch doctors to spread more policy poison around Europe.
Vladimir Putin says he is "more optimist than pessimist" on Ukraine, but warns that there will be "no end to war if Kiev believes in a military solution." Noting that he believes there has been an "overall decrease" in military activity, he notes that Debaltseve was "possible to forecast," and then proclaims:
*PUTIN SAYS U.S. ARMS ALREADY BEING SUPPLIED TO UKRAINE
Of course, we already have "YouTube" proof of American military presence in Ukraine (which for Washington would have been good enough to wage war) but Putin offers no specific proof and adds rather pointedly that "most Ukraine troops want no part of fractricidal war."
Speaking in Washington this morning, US Attorney General Eric Holder made some rather disturbing (at least for financial market participants) statements, that made him appear to be 'cracking-down':
HOLDER SAYS HE HAS GIVEN U.S. ATTORNEYS 90-DAY DEADLINE TO BRING CASES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR ROLE IN FINANCIAL CRISIS
Of course, the question is - does that mean after 90-days all bets are off (and everyone goes home free)?
UPDATE: *POROSHENKO SAYS UN MUST NOT ALLOW FULL-SCALE WAR IN EUROPE
As the game of chicken between Greece and the Eurogroup hots up, it appears another - potentially far more deadly - is escalating in Ukraine as neither side is willing to follow through on the terms of the Minsk Summit peace deal - removing heavy weaponry from the frontlines - as a key deadline passes without agreement. As The Guardian reports, The Ukrainian military have stated that "as soon as the militants cease fire, the Ukrainian side will begin to withdraw heavy weaponry from the frontline," and the pro-Russian separatists proclaim, "We do not have the right [to stop fighting for Debaltseve]," adding that as far as the truce, "we have everything ready for a mutual withdrawal. We will not do anything unilaterally – that would make our soldiers targets."
Since the Great Financial Crisis, the only two categories that have seen a net increase in debt are Student and Auto Loans.
Get back to work David Kostin... your 2,100 S&P 500 2015 year-end target just got taken out...
Now where have we seen this before? Surprise contradictory headlines that occur shortly after vehement statements by leaders: *GREECE AIMS TO REQUEST LOAN ACCORD EXTENSION TOMORROW: OFFICIAL
This comes after Varoufakis and Tspiras specifically saying that they will not extend the current loan accord: "Salvation will not come by extending the mistake," adding that compromise on the current program "is not an agreement but a surrender that would complete the euthanasia of our country."
In a world in which the NSA's fingerprints are already on every form of electronic communication and information exchange, the latest revelation - conveniently presented by a Russian-based security firm - may have just implicated the US digital supespy agency in the biggest "backdoor" infiltration scandal of all time... and with it crushed the future revenue potential of countless US technology corporations.
With earnings expectations collapsing, macro data disappointing across the board, Ukraine's truce failing, and Grexit looking ever more likely, is it any surprise that the S&P 500 (courtesy of yet another AAPL reacharound) is rapidly approaching the 2,100 level.
Having questioned the need for an independent central bank a week ago, saying that if they can’t cope with their duties, they will be held accountable, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed a lawsuit against the head of Turkey’s central bank, Erdem Basci. As Trend reports, the prosecutor accuses Basci of serious material damage inflicted to Turkey’s citizens as a result of an erroneous interest rate policy of the central bank. One wonders if that gives any ambitious American prosecutors any ideas?
From a Citi global credit survey: "...over 65% of respondents said they believed action from central banks in Europe and the US would be the principal force driving credit index spreads [and] surprisingly, in a year with major political catalysts in Europe, and ongoing regional tensions in the Middle East and Russia, only 4% of respondents felt that geopolitical risk would be the major factor driving spreads.”