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Guest Post: 2014 - A Russian Viewpoint





"As a former military analyst myself I can tell you that by now the Russian intelligence community's "indicators and warnings" should be "flashing red" and that in all likelihood Russia is already preparing for war..."

 
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Forget Toasters & Spiderman Towels, Chinese Banks Lure New Deposits With iPhones & Mercedes





Amid the European crisis in 2012, European banks reached deep deep down to encourage depositors to lodge their savings in these highly levered financial institutions. Most notably, now defunct Bankia, which offered no lesser gift than a Spiderman Towel in exchange for a EUR300 deposit. So, one wonders just how desperate they are - and just how close to total collapse - when Chinese banks are offering Mercedes Benz, iPhones, or a gold pendant to encourage cash as Bloomberg reports one analyst warns, "Chinese banks are hemorrhaging their deposits."

 
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Where The Minority Rules In America





"An increasingly muscular minority political base is here to stay," says Politico, and nowhere is that minority more in charge in America than shown in the following map. As the white population continues to age (only 51% of Under-5s were white in 2010), racial minorities will pick up the slack (by 2027, minorities will out-number whites nationally among those under 30). Already, 10 states have “minority white” child populations, including reliably red states like Texas and Arizona.

 
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Paul "Orwell" Krugman Touts Job Growth in the Obama Recovery





If you have a strongly held economic theory, you can always concoct a story ex post to “explain” the data. Rather, what I’m saying is that on the very terms Krugman himself chose to show the virtues of government spending, I can make a much more compelling argument that cutting government spending won’t hurt private sector hiring, and if anything will stimulate it.

 
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And The Second Best Performing Currency Of 2014 Is...





 
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Congressman Confirms Foreign Central Banks Buying US Stock Futures Is Good For Liquidity





Before we first exposed proof of the conspiracy fact that global Central Banks are indeed trading US equity futures, it was dismissed as tin-foil-hat-wearing, pajama-wearing, basement-living conspiracy theory. So it is, perhaps, quite notable that Congress itself has now admitted that Central Banks are trading futures and that it is good for liquidity (and thus, we pre-suppose, it's for your own good, average citizen).

 
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"New Normal" America, In One Picture





A Florida man calls 9-1-1...

 
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2014 (In 5 Narratives)





2014 is in the bag and there's something for everyone to celebrate. Here are the narratives that painted the past year - what’s real about them versus what we’re being told they are about.

 
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Is The CDS Market Manipulated?





As investors and market participants become increasingly aware of the regulatory failures that allowed for manipulation of LIBOR, FOREX, municipal bond bidding and certain commodities markets, regulatory sources are increasingly expressing concern that they have paid too little attention to potential manipulations of an arguably larger, more systemically important and less regulated market – the CDS market as self-governed, through ‘regulatory license’, by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

 
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As Greek Default Risk Soars To 66%, Morgan Stanley Warns ECB May Be Unable To Launch QE





"The Greek political turmoil is likely to complicate matters for the ECB’s preparation of a sovereign QE programme. The prospect of the ECB potentially incurring severe losses is likely to intensify the debate within the Governing Council, where sovereign QE remains controversial. It could also make the start of a buying programme already on January 22 even more ambitious. In addition, the spectre of default could create new limitations on any sovereign QE design."

 
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UK Literally Runs Out Of Bricks In Scramble To Build Unprecedented Housing Bubble





"Every brick we can make has already been sold up to three months in advance – the UK brickmakers can’t supply demand at the moment," exclaims the CEO of one of Britain's largest brickmakers. With The UK's housing bubble spreading from London, The Telegraph reports that stocks of bricks have reached the lowest levels on record as homebuilders rush to take advantage of the surging demand for British property (which has seen realtors and economists worry is getting out of hand).

 
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AirAsia Wreckage Reveals Latest Plane Crash Mystery





Earlier today from Reuters we learned that "a body recovered on Wednesday from the crashed AirAsia plane was wearing a life jacket, an Indonesian search and rescue official said, raising new questions about how the disaster unfolded. Why is this surprising? Because  the fact that one person put on a life jacket suggests those on board had time before the aircraft hit the water, or before it sank. And yet the pilots did not issue a distress signal..."

 
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RBS Goes Medieval, Dares To Suspend Bonuses Of 18 FX-Rigging Traders





Ouch! 80% government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is daring to go there... In the wake of a comprehensive review of more than 50 current and former traders who worked at the bank (and a $634 million fine), Bloomberg reports that RBS is suspending the bonuses of 18 FX traders. “We are undertaking a robust and thorough review into the actions of the traders that caused this wrongdoing and the management that oversaw it,” Jon Pain, RBS’s head of conduct and regulatory affairs, said, adding "no further bonus payments will be made or unvested bonus awards released to those in scope of the review until it has concluded."

 
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2014: The Year The US Decoupled (Again)





From the October 2007 highs in the US equity market, World Stocks (ex US) are down over 25%... while the US is now over 36% higher. That huge divergence, however, has only come about since The Fed unleashed QE3 and once again 2014 (with world stocks down almost 7% and US stocks up over 12%) shows the US (stock market) decoupling from the rest of the world...

 
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