"CNBC is an electronic shaman for investors... The situation resembles George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the protagonist Winston Smith tuned out the massive telescreen on his apartment wall that issued endless streams of positive news."
Brian Williams - the disgraced lying ex-anchor of NBC Nightly News - has been demoted drastically to breaking news on MSNBC. He also took a significant pay cut. But do not feel too bad for the pathological narcissist. As TheWrap reports, the newsman will still earn a stunning $8-10 million. In today's consequence-less world, it appears it now pays to lie, but do not be disturbed as Williams has allegedly commented that he "identifies as an honest news anchor."
On the heels of what appeared to be an ultimatum from EU creditors, Greece remains defiant on pension cuts and a VAT hike, testing the troika's resolve as the countdown to the next maybe-deadline continues. Meanwhile, Germany warns that Grexit could embolden EU "separatist" movements and Dijsselbloem reminds Tsipras that noncompliance isn't an option.
- Razor-edge U.S. Congress vote to decide fate of Obama Pacific trade pact (Reuters)
- EU Readies for Default as Tsipras Drives Greek Finances to Brink (BBG)
- Greece Can’t Plan a Barbecue, Let Alone a Currency, Nielsen Says (BBG)
- IMF quits Greece talks amid ‘air of unreality’ as deal unravels (FT)
- Greece Counts Cost of One Man's Gamble (BBG)
- Merkel urges Greece and creditors to keep pushing for deal (Reuters)
- Fearful ECB starts countdown on Greek funding lifeline (Reuters)
- Greek stocks suffer further pummelling (FT)
The American people remain eager to be persuaded that a new president in the White House can solve the problems that plague us. Yet no matter who wins this next presidential election, you can rest assured that the new boss will be the same as the old boss, and we - the permanent underclass in America - will continue to be forced to march in lockstep with the police state in all matters, public and private. It really doesn’t matter what you call them - the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex - so long as you understand that no matter which party occupies the White House in 2017, the unelected bureaucracy that actually calls the shots will continue to do so.
As the following update of CNBC's perhaps most popular (if least watched, lagging even Mad Money) day breaking segment, SquawkBox, the show that features Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin just suffered its worst quarterly Nielsen rating in the show's history.
Greek Finance Minister Praised By FT In 2010 As Europe's "Top Politician" Is Now A Convicted CriminalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/25/2015 12:46 -0400
Back in 2010, a panel of Financial Times "experts" was asked to rank Europe's finance ministers. Nineteen European finance ministers were judged. Greece's then finance minister George Papaconstantinou was found to have the best political skills among the 19 EU ministers and got an over 8th rank overall. Specifically, as Keep Talking Greece reported then, the FT said Papaconstantinou had "the best political skills after displaying “panache” in his handling of the country’s economic crisis." That was then, this is now: Yesterday a special court found him guilty of fabricating a Swiss bank account document and handed him a one-year suspended prison sentence.
- ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
- Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
- Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
- Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
- In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
- Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
- Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
- Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)
The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device... and most of that activity is not even interactive. The vast majority of the time we are just passively absorbing content that someone else has created. Instead of humans being forcefully connected to “the Matrix”, we are all willingly connecting ourselves to it, as the system that defines our reality for us gains greater and greater hold over everything.
Things are not going well for the Greeks. Bond yields are at post-default highs, implicitly shutting them out of the capital markets; stocks are cratering; and deposit outflows continue as the cash crunch looms. Even ex-Goldman silver-lining-finder Erik Nielsen stated this weekend that he is "throwing in the towel," on Greece, adding, as Bloomberg reports, that things have gone "plain nuts" in Athens. However, things are going great for the Germans - borrowing costs have never been lower, and the stock market is at record-er highs every day, as Draghi's money-printing fiasco has succeeded in one thing (and one thing only) dividing an already fragile 'union' into ever-greater 'haves' and ever-lesser 'have-nots'.
The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago, the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tripled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?
- 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
- Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
- Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
- Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
- Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
- In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
- AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
- Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
What Denmark has just done is "back-door QE", because as some forget, there are two ways to push the price of an asset higher (thus pushing its yield lower in the case of a bond): increase demand, which is what conventional QE does when central banks buy bonds, or reduce supply. Which is what Denmark just did by completely cutting off all Treasury issuance "until further notice". As a result, paradoxically, increasingly more speculators are betting that the "Trade of 2015" could be doing precisely the opposite of what the Danish central bank is hoping will happen: i.e., shorting the EURDKK (or going long the DKKEUR) in hopes that when the Danish peg finally does break, it too will result in long Swiss France-type profits.
- Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy (BBG)
- Saudi King’s Death Clouds Already Tense Relationship With U.S. (WSJ)
- Oil Pares Gains as New Saudi King Says Policies Stable (BBG)
- Kuroda Says BOJ to Mull Fresh Options in Case of More Easing (BBG)
- U.S. pulls more staff from Yemen embassy amid deepening crisis (Reuters)
- Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires (BBG)
- A Few Savvy Investors Had Swiss Central Bank Figured Out (WSJ)
While various CNBC anchors may be willing to say that the US is "growing gangbusters" yet again confusing the liquidity-oozing equity markets with the economy, there are a couple hundred million Americans who would bet to differ (which incidentally may also explain why the Comcast channel no longer wishes to have its viewership calculated by Nielsen): the reason is that according to the latest Bankrate survey released today, more than three in five Americans don't have money in their savings accounts to cover any unexpected bills such as a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room visit. In fact, only 38% of respondents said they have enough funds in their bank accounts to cover even the most mundane of spending emergencies.. Most others would need to take on debt or cut back elsewhere.