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The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion





One week ago, when reporting on the latest bizarre plan presented by the Pentagon, namely providing Syrian rebels (but only the moderate ones, not the jihadists like al Nusra, or, well, ISIS) with B-1B Bomber air support in their attacks on ISIS, when we wrote that this "means in the coming weeks and months look forward to a surge in false flag "attacks" blamed on the Assad regime, aiming to give Obama validation to expand the "War against ISIS" to include Syria's regime as well." We didn't have long to wait: in an entirely unsourced Time article written today by Aryn Baker, the Middle East Bureau Chief, the stage for the second attempt at invading Assad regime is finally set.

 
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The Austrian Solution to Greece





Fill In The Blank: "Greece will achieve economic success when ____"

 
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ECB Warns UK: Excluding Russia From SWIFT "Could Undermine Confidence In The Whole System"





As "isolated" Russia signs a military deal with Cyprus, agrees bilateral trade with Greece, ratifies the $100 billion BRICS Bank, and offers to trade advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, it seems threats of more sanctions against Putin and his nation are finding resistance from an unexpected place. With British PM David Cameron re-demanding that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT global financial payments system, none other than ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has exclaimed, "one has to be very careful here, exclusion of Russia from Swift would be very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole."

 
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Greece Warns It May Default On IMF Loan Next Week





Now that the Greek topic is back to overall debt sustainability, a few hours ago Greece Kathimerini reported that the Euro Working Group "discussed Greece’s imminent funding problems on Thursday amid mounting concern about how the country will meet its obligations next months." This follows a suggestion earlier in the day by the Greek Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris that "Greece might delay payment to the International Monetary Fund if it cannot find the necessary money." But wait, how does a country "delay" a debt payment? It doesn't: "According to officials familiar with the subject. such a move would constitute a “clear default,” with consequences for a large number of other loans Greece has received."

 
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The Pathetic 'Talk Therapy' Of Janet Yellen





What in god’s name does Janet Yellen think she is doing? Just a few weeks ago she established the ridiculous Fedspeak convention that “patient” means money market rates will not rise from the zero bound for at least two meetings. Now she has modified that message into “not exactly”.

 
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What Happens If The Department Of Homeland Security Shuts Down





As soon as tomorrow, the one part of the US government which to many is a manifestation of all that is broken with the current US "big brother" state of pervasive, ubiquitous surveillance and broken immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security which was created in response to September 11, and which houses the agencies with jurisdiction over immigration law, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may be shut down. Here is what happens next.

 
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Janet Yellen Is Freaking Out About "Audit The Fed" – Here Are 100 Reasons Why She Should Be





Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?

 
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US Espionage Blowback: China Drops Apple, Cisco From State Purchase Lists





Another quarter of leaks of ubiquitous US espionage in every corner of the world, and sure enough we get another quarter of China just saying no to spending any more money on companies which are, as far as Beijing is concerned, a natural extension of the NSA. According to Reuters, China has just dropped some of America's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, chief among them Cisco (which already was hammered a year ago due to the Snowden revelations), and everyone's favorite $1 trillion market cap or bust cell phone maker, Apple. At the same time China shifted production focus away from foreign production approved thousands more locally made products. The reason according to Reuters, and pretty much anyone else: a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance.

 
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Schauble: "Germans Doubt Greek Promises", No More Money For Athens Until All Commitments Met





Reuters quotes Schauble who said that: "It wasn't easy an easy decision for us but neither was it easy for the Greek government because (they) had told the people something completely different in the campaign and afterwards."   "The question now is whether one can believe the Greek government's assurances or not. There's a lot of doubt in Germany, that has to be understood," said Schaeuble who despite his misgivings, he has urged German lawmakers to approve the Greek extension in a vote in parliament expected on Friday. The finance minister made one thing very clear: No payments will be made to Athens unless Greek govt meets its commitments in full.

 
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14 Signs That Most Americans Are Flat Broke And Totally Unprepared For The Coming Economic Crisis





With more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings, when the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.

 
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NIRP Officially Arrives In The US As JPM Starts Charging Fees On Deposits





The nebulous threat of NIRP in the US "some time in the future" became tangible after J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest US bank by assets (and second largest in the US by total derivative notional) is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits. WSJ adds that JPM "is aiming to reduce the affected deposits by billions of dollars, with a focus on bringing the number down this year. "The moves have thrown into question a cornerstone of banking, in which deposits have been seen as one of the industry’s most attractive forms of funding."

 
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Troika "Happy" With Revised List Of Greek Reform Promises: Full Varoufakis Letter





What happened over the past week to the Syriza "mandate" is that the new government's list of unfulfillable promises to the Greek people has been replaced with a new list of unfulfillable promises to the Troika.

Update: EU COMMISSION SAYS GREEK LIST `SUFFICIENTLY COMPREHENSIVE'

 
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"You Don't Buy Home Insurance After The Roof Catches Fire"





US stock markets reached record highs last week. Question: does that make them riskier, or less risky? We think the former.

 
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Hedge Funds Underperform The S&P For The 7th Year In A Row: Here Are Their Top Holdings





Maybe one day investors, or at least the 1%-ers, will finally grasp that in a centrally-planned world in which the central banks themselves assure that there is "no risk", there is also no point in paying billionaire hedge fund managers 2 and 20 to "hedge" away risk, since there simply is none left.  However, since most people are too lazy to do any work (this includes hedge funds themselves), and would rather piggy back on other people's work (such as the rating agencies back in 2005-2007) that day is still far away. So for the time being, to satisfy everyone's natural curiosity why hedge funds continue to suck so bad, here are their biggest long, and far more importantly short, positions.

 
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Why Does Fiat Money Seemingly Work?





Government mandated fiat currency simply does not work in the long run. We have empirical evidence galore – every fiat currency system in history has failed, except the current one, which has not failed yet. The modern fiat money system is more ingeniously designed than its historical predecessors and has a far greater amount of accumulated real wealth to draw sustenance from, so it seems likely that it will be relatively long-lived as far as fiat money systems go. In a truly free market, fiat money would never come into existence though. Greenspan was wrong – government bureaucrats cannot create something “as good as gold” by decree.

 
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