A current Bank of America employee has made a number of whistleblower submissions to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the role played by the U.S. banking subsidiary in financing dividend-arbitrage trades: trades which used taxpayer-backed funds to allow hedge funds to avoid paying taxes. The employee’s submissions allege that Bank of America’s London-based Merrill Lynch International unit has extended “extreme levels of BANA leverage” to fund “increasingly aggressive and reckless” tax-avoidance trades. The submissions said the practices risked causing the bank “serious financial and reputational damage.”
Much as we may dislike the fact, the results from quantum physics are unequivocal: parallel universes do exist. Oddly enough, such quantum effects are quite normal to observe within the political space. Here the physical objects involved are far too large to give rise to the parallel universes of quantum physics, but the narratives they give rise to are not. This is because the narratives are a matter of perception, and there can be historical periods, such as the present one, when the peephole through which the political establishment and the mainstream media allow us to see the world becomes so tiny that it becomes a toss-up as to whether or not any given photon will manage to find its way through it.
‘Coin bars’ is a bullion industry term referring to bars that were made by melting gold coins in a process that did not refine the gold nor remove the other metals or metal alloys that were in the coins. The molten metal was just recast directly into bar form. Because it’s a concept critical to the FRBNY stored gold, the concept of US Assay Office / Mint gold bar ‘Melts’ is also highlighted below. Melts are batches of gold bars, usually between 18 and 22 bars, that when produced, were stamped with a melt number and a fineness, but were weight-listed as one unit. The US Assay Office produced both 0.995 fine gold bars and coin bars as Melts. The gold bars in a Melt are usually stored together unless that melt has been ‘broken’.
"Pointing to one possible avenue of asymmetrical retaliation, the source said Moscow could give in to long-standing Chinese requests for sensitive defense technologies that would aid in its development of high-tech weapons capable of doing serious damage to U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific. Moscow has so far declined China's requests on "politically correct pretenses," the source said." The punchline: "We can also encourage Iran, or even back Iran in a fight — a military operation — with Saudi Arabia, so then the prices for oil will skyrocket," the source said, explaining that these were just two possible responses."
The inability of the linear thinking ruling class to acknowledge the seriousness of our current circumstances and the implications of the era of depression and violence the country is about to experience can be witnessed on a daily basis by listening to mainstream media talking heads or politicians of all stripes who bloviate about economic improvement and progress just ahead. Could there be a better example of myopia, delusion and willful ignorance than the theme and opening line of Obama’s State of the Union speech: "The Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed" Do Obama and his advisors actually believe this Crisis is over? Or is he purposely misleading the American people about the seriousness of our circumstances because he has been instructed to do so by the men who really pull the levers of this country?
The politicians of Europe are plunging into a form of ideological fratricide as they battle over Greece. Accordingly, all the combatants - the German, Greek and other national politicians and the apparatchiks of Brussels and Frankfurt - are fundamentally on the wrong path, albeit for different reasons. Yet by collectively indulging in the sum of all statist errors they may ultimately do a service. Namely, discredit and destroy the whole bailout state and central bank driven financialization model that threatens political democracy and capitalist prosperity in Europe - and the rest of the world, too.
Feel like trading FX has become next to impossible, with massive, gaping bid-ask spreads, strange "tractor beams", completely unexpected stop loss runs, and - of course - central banks behind every corner? Don't worry you are not alone. According to Bloomberg, that's precisely the case as "it hasn’t been this difficult to trade currencies since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. shook markets worldwide."As for the reason why, well: take a guess.
Having achieved only modest gains in risk assets from the 'rumored' six-month-extension trial balloon for Greece, it appears European leaders are standing in line to refute the fact that they "folded" and talk back the non-bailout bailout. First, Italy's FinMin Padoan denying he has seen any plan; then the European Commission stating unequivocally that "there is no formal proposal," and finally none other than Jeroen Dijsselbloem bleets that "discussions with Greece have yet to start." But apart from that, everything is fixed...
And yet, perhaps in asking for a Federal Reserve bailout of Greece, everyone's favorite Vermont socialist does make some sense: after all if the Fed is bailing out European banks, and just European banks, on an ad hoc basis, and usually quite well hidden (see for example: "How The Fed's Latest QE Is Just Another European Bailout"), does it really matter if the Fed spends what amounts to one daily POMO amount to save some 11 million Greeks?
- The terms of a compromise are easier to see than the willingness to compromise. At the time of writing, Greece is deadlocked in its bilateral discussions, as well as with the troika members.
- Breaking the deadlock voluntarily may not be easy. Political realities in the rest of Europe argue against granting the Syriza-led government concessions on debt or fiscal relief. Yet the Greek government feels it has a mandate to demand such relief.
- Hence, outside pressure—in the form of financial and market dislocations—seems necessary to focus minds.
The U.K. government is stepping up contingency planning to prepare for a possible Greek exit from the eurozone and the market instability such a move would create, U.K. Treasury chief George Osborne said on Sunday. The U.K. government has said the standoff between Greece’s new antiausterity government and the eurozone is increasing the risks to the global and U.K. economy. “That’s why I’m going tomorrow to the G-20 [Group of 20] to encourage our partners to resolve this crisis. It’s why we’re stepping up the contingency planning here at home,” Mr. Osborne told the BBC in an interview. “We have got to make sure we don’t, at this critical time when Britain is also facing a critical choice, add to the instability abroad with instability at home.”
Post-Crisis Scorecard: Debt Up $57 Trillion, 60% Of Jobs Created Are Low Level, Record Youth Living With ParentsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2015 15:15 -0400
One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.
The ultimate enemy of a revolution is not the oppressive government it is attempting to overthrow, but the general population it is trying to 'free'.
The phony 5.7% domestic unemployment rate reported yesterday has nothing to do with full employment. The relevant number in the report is that there are still 101 million working age Americans who do not have jobs, and only 45 million of them are on OASI retirement benefits. And that says nothing about the tens of millions of job holders who are employed far less than a full 40 hour work week. In short, there is a surfeit of available labor at home and abroad, meaning 3-4% wage gains are not coming down the pike any time soon or ever. So if that’s what the Fed is waiting for - then the so-called “lift-off” may not be coming even this year. And in any event, the trivial 25 bps increases in the funds rate that may eventually come have nothing to do with interest rate “normalization” or the return of honest price discovery in the casino. And that suits the needs of the Wall Street gamblers just fine.