Just hours after being force to admit that they were hacked (by Russians apparently), an inspector general's report shows that The IRS has rather remarkably continued to pay refunds on hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns in recent years, and sent dozens of checks to the same addresses, including in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. While some progress has been made, $2.3 billion of real US taxpayer's money was wrongfully refunded to fake US taxpayers... but with this new cyber-attack, we suspect that number will soar.
We need to wake up....and FAST!!!
"Global trade of goods and services has been in the doldrums [and] if predominantly structural, EM economies should not count on meaningful demand boosts coming from above-trend growth in DM. With Fed rate hikes looming, a jammed trade channel means less growth offsets to the anticipated tightening in financial conditions."
Cold War 2.0 Caught On Tape: US Military Convoy Crosses Eastern Europe While NATO Sings Karaoke Peace BalladSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2015 13:45 -0400
A day after Kiev chose hawkish US Senator John McCain to serve on President Poroshenko's advisory committee (spoiler alert: he had to decline), the US military rolls through Romania with a "simple message" for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Meanwhile, European officials hold hands and sing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's "We Are The World" at a NATO dinner. And yes, we have the video clips.
Was that it for the "reflation" aka Bund-rout trade? One look at German bonds this morning and the sharp, panic selloffs seen in recent days are completely gone making one wonder if the ECB is done selling Bunds the CTAs who were riding the momentum train have all been squeezed out of their long positions and now the trend back to -0.20% can resume only to be followed by another abrupt 6-sigma move as the ECB once again sells inventory to buy itself more monetization runway. As a reminder, the ECB has to buy debt until September 2016 and it won't be able to if the 30-Year Bund is at -0.20% in a few months (or weeks).
John McCain may find himself 'back in the (former) USSR' more frequently as the Senator landed on Ukrainian President Poroshenko's list of advisers along with former Georgian President (and current fugitive) Miheil Saakashvili. This should give McCain an opportunity to realize his dream of turning the 'conflict' with Russia into a proper war that self-respecting hawks can be proud of.
He has previously advised to act as your own own central bank and buy physical precious metals as a hedge against currency depreciation and geopolitical crises. Faber believes that storing gold in Singapore is the safest way to own gold today.
U.S. Air Force General and NATO supreme allied commander Philip Breedlove is ratcheting up the rhetoric by suggesting to the Senate that Russia is planning to shatter what remains of the fragile ceasefire in Ukraine by launching an imminent offensive. “Many [Russian] actions are consistent with preparations for another offensive,” the general said, without fully explaining how he came to his conclusion.
Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain - alongside Russia - a key US geostrategic target. What the Pentagon - with customary hubris - does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government's hidden agenda of manipulating a "rehabilitated" Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom.
- Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors (Reuters)
- China Warns North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Rising (WSJ), or another country realizes war is the only "exit"
- Shares, euro sag after euro zone PMIs disappoint (Reuters)
- China Manufacturing Gauge Drops to Lowest Level in 12 Months (BBG)
- Deutsche Bank Said to Pay $2.14 Billion in Libor Case (BBG), or roughly a €20,000 per banker "get out of jail" fee
- Brazil’s Petrobras Reports Nearly $17 Billion in Asset and Corruption Charges (WSJ)
- Can This Oil Baron’s Company Withstand Another Quake? (BBG)
- Bad for Q1 GDP: Raytheon sales fall amid weak U.S. defense spending (Reuters)
"About 300 paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrived at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, April 14 - 15, to begin a six-month training rotation with Ukrainian national guard forces."
Vladimir Putin holds his annual live Q&A event where, over the course of more than four priceless hours, the Russian President takes questions from across the country and discusses everything from foreign relations, to military might, to his sleeping habits, to not wanting to be cloned.
Confidence in the system likely hangs by a much thinner thread than is currently widely perceived. Since “risk asset” prices are soaring in much of Europe, the underlying currents of suspicion are well masked, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. While we believe that central bank and regulatory interventions in the market are a major reason why so many bond yields have dropped into negative territory, the role played by distrust in the banking system is probably quite large as well – a suspicion that seems to be confirmed by the strength of the euro-denominated gold price.
Stan Druckenmiller's "Horrific Sense" Of Deja Vu: "I Know It's Tempting To Invest, But This Will End Very Badly"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2015 19:45 -0400
“I just have the same horrific sense I had" before, Druckenmiller said to an audience at the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Florida (according to a transcript obtained by Bloomberg). "Our monetary policy is so much more reckless and so much more aggressively pushing the people in this room and everybody else out the risk curve that we’re doubling down on the same policy that really put us there."
The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share. Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece. Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues. Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral. Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.