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Ron Paul: "Reality Is Now Setting In For America... It Was All Based On Lies & Ignorance"

If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege. Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world. We should not be discouraged. Enlightenment is not nearly as difficult to achieve as it was before the breakthrough with Internet communications occurred. I smell progress.

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Caught On Camera: Terrifying 200-Car Pile-Up In Real Time

While in no way minimizing the terror that must have been extreme among the drivers and passengers of these 200 vehicles as they slowed, slid, and slammed into one another on I-94 (near Battle Creek, Michigan), one can't help but analogize to the two most crowded trades in the world right now and what happens when the traders' "liquidity" is the same as the drivers' "visibility."

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France Warns 'Terror Cells' Have Been Activated, US Issues Worldwide Travel Alert

Be afraid, be very afraid. While French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday "The nation is relieved tonight," after the two standoffs concluded, as CNN reports, the French government's work is not over. French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, according to a French police source. Investigations continue into which terrorist group was ultimately responsible and, not be outdone in the fearmongery, The US State Department has issued a Worldwide Caution warning travelers, of the "continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world." Thank goodness we have the governments to protect us.

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Do You Pay Rent To Blackstone: This Is Where Wall Street Is America's Landlord

The short answer is in parts of Seattle, Charlotte, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Cincinnati, Raleigh, N.C., Houston, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, and Winston-Salem, N.C. Among the 2,490 zip codes nationwide with at least one single family purchase by the top four institutional investors between January 2012 and October 2014, the top 50 zip codes with the highest percentage of purchases by the four largest institutional investors were in those metro areas. “The institutional investors kick-started the housing recovery by buying homes in bulk at the lowest point and holding them as rentals,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. Los Angeles County was among the top 10 for most purchases by institutional investors over the past three years, with 6,152. “As the market continues to climb, we expect these investors to start to sell off their inventory to capture the gains made in the past couple of years.”

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Frontrunning: January 9

  • Police Surround Paris Terror Suspects Near CDG Airport (BBG)
  • ECB Said to Study Bond-Purchase Models Up to 500 Billion Euros (BBG)
  • How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers (BBG)
  • German Industrial Production Falls Amid Plunge in Energy Output (BBG)
  • Car Loans See Rise In Missed Payments (WSJ)
  • Jim O'Neill threatens he will replace BRICs with ICs (BBG)
  • Oil heads for seventh weekly loss as supply glut drags (Reuters)
  • Armed man takes hostage in kosher grocery in Paris (AFP)
  • Janus Chairman Didn’t Know Details of Gross’s Investment (WSJ)
  • Kaisa Bondholders Dream of White Knight as Default Becomes Real (BBG)
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Frontrunning: January 5

  • Economists sceptical ECB bond-buying would revive eurozone (FT)
  • Indonesia naval captain says may have located missing plane's tail section (Reuters)
  • Oil hits five and a half year low under $55 (Reuters)
  • Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts (BBG)
  • The death of active investing: Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow (WSJ) - thank you Fed
  • Oil Downturn Has Many Wondering How Lone Star State Will Weather a Bust (WSJ)
  • Hollande Says France Must Exceed 1% Economic Growth to Spur Jobs (BBG)
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Obama's Hawaiian Vacation Is Over: Here Are The Next Steps

It is with great regret we inform our readers that, following 14 consecutive days of updates (by the Associated Press no less) and others regarding Barack Obama's daily activities during his Hawaiian vacation including his exercise, swimming, executive order and golfing regiment, today is the last such day of can't miss headlines surrounding the Glorious Free World Leader's time away from reading from the TOTUS. So what to expect next? Here is the answer.

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Frontrunning: January 2

  • The year of dollar danger for the world (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
  • Draghi Says ECB Prepares Action as Deflation Risk Non-Negligible (BBG)
  • Obama Pivots to Lawmakers: New Plan to Advance Policy Goals by Working With Congress Draws Skeptics (WSJ)
  • Affordable Care Act Creates a Trickier Tax Season (WSJ)
  • Oil pares early gains, trades near $57 as supply glut prevails (Reuters)
  • Iran says Saudi Arabia should move to curb oil price fall (Reuters)
  • Pimco Fund Trails Peers in 2014 After Missing Rally (BBG)
  • Piketty rejects Légion d’Honneur award (FT)
  • UK manufacturing activity hits three-month low (BBC)
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2014 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Posts Of The Past Year

The sixth anniversary of Zero Hedge is just around the corner, and so, for the sixth year in a row we continue our tradition of summarizing what you, our readers, found to be the most relevant, exciting, and actionable news of the year, determined by the number of page views. Those eager for a brief stroll down memory lane of prior years can do so at their leisure, by going back in time to our top articles of 2009,2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. For everyone else, without further ado, these are the articles that readers found to be the most popular posts of the past 365 days.


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Home Prices See Biggest Monthly Drop Since Polar Vortex As Case-Shiller Declines For Second Month

Case-Shiller's 20-city home price index dropped 0.1% MoM in October (on an unadjusted basis) - the second monthly drop in a row and biggest drop since the Polar Vortex. Year-over-year, home prices rose 4.5% - the weakest growth since October 2012. While this modestly beat expectations (+4.5% vs +4.4% exp.), it is the 11th month in a row of growth deceleration. Also of note: the Top 20 Composite index is now down for the second month in a row, dropping to 173.36. The question now is whether the downside momentum will pick up.

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Frontrunning: December 30

  • U.S. agency gives quiet nod to light oil exports (Reuters)
  • China’s Stocks Fall to Pare Biggest Monthly Advance Since 2007 (BBG)
  • The Cartel: How BP Used a Secret Chat Room for Insider Tips (BBG)
  • BRICs Busted as Stocks Diverge Most on Record on Outlook (BBG)
  • Petrobras deadline prompts some bondholders to push for default (Reuters)
  • AirAsia Captain at His Happiest When Flying, Family Says (BBG)
  • UK housing crisis: brick stocks hit record low (Telegraph)
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Frontrunning: December 22

  • Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor (Reuters)
  • People Call for Cooling of Racial Tensions After Murder of NYPD Officers (BBG)
  • The $6.3 Trillion Frenzy That Vanquished Treasury Bears (BBG)
  • China Investigates Possible Stock-Price Manipulation (WSJ)
  • Citigroup Was Wary of Metals-Backed Loans (WSJ)
  • UPS Turns Parking Lots Into Sorting Centers to Add Speed (BBG)
  • U.S. Move to Normalize Cuba Ties Boosts Firms’ Asset Claims (WSJ)
  • Meredith Whitney’s Fund Said to Drop 11% as Office Put on Market (BBG)
  • Railcar Bottleneck Looms for Oil (WSJ)
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2014 Year In Review (Part 1): The Final Throes Of A Geopolitical Game Of Tetris

Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."

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"The City Is On The Verge Of Collapse" - East Cleveland Is Begging To File For Bankruptcy

With Detroit emerging from bankruptcy yesterday, its experience under Chapter 9 was apparently so successful (occasional subsequent massive power outage notwithstanding), that suddenly every other insolvent city in the US is also i) admitting it is in dire straits and ii) hoping to recreate the Detroit experience. Enter East Cleveland. As Bloomberg Brief reports, the council president in East Cleveland said if she had her way, the city would follow Detroit's path and become Ohio's first municipality to file for bankruptcy to help solve its fiscal woes.  State Auditor Dave Yost said the suburb of 17,500, where oil baron John D. Rockefeller once had a summer estate, is insolvent. Things in the small town, representative of most small cities in middle America, are so bad "the community lacks a working ladder truck in its fire department, had its mobile phones shut off and faces $1.7 million in unpaid bills."

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