Greeks rally in Athens to protest use of the name Macedonia

Author: 
AP
Mon, 2018-02-05 03:00
ID: 
1517779285256489500

GREECE: Well over 100,000 protesters from across Greece converged Sunday on Athens’ main square to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with neighboring Macedonia over the former Yugoslav republic’s official name.
Hundreds of chartered buses brought protesters in from around the country to the Greek capital, while more people arrived on ferries from the islands. Traffic was blocked throughout the city center and three major subway stops were closed.
Chanting “Hands off Macedonia!” and “Macedonia belongs to Greece!” the protesters converged on Syntagma Square in front of parliament, many waving flags bearing the Star of Vergina, the emblem of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia.
Police officials estimated the attendance at 140,000. Organizers, who claimed 1.5 million were at the rally, used a crane to raise a massive Greek flag over the square.
“We are trying to show the politicians … that they must not give up the name ‘Macedonia’,” said 55-year-old protester Manos Georgiou.
In Skopje, a spokesman for the Macedonian government said he didn’t know whether his government would react to the rally. Macedonian opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski said in a TV interview that the rally hurt the prospects of a deal on the name issue.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was dismissive of the event.
“The overwhelming majority of the Greek people…irrespective of their opinions (on the issue) agree that major foreign policy issues cannot be solved through fanaticism and intolerance,” he said in a statement.
Tsipras used the occasion to attack Greek opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his fellow conservative, former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, for allegedly trying to use Sunday’s rally for their advantage and to paper over their own differing approaches.
About 700 left-wing and anarchist protesters set up a counter-demonstration nearby, bearing banners calling for Balkan unity. “Macedonia belongs to its bears” read one banner.
Dozens of riot police were deployed to keep the two demonstrations separate.
Suspected far-right supporters attempted to attack the counter-demonstration, but were prevented by police who used stun grenades and tear gas to hold them back. The far-right side responded by throwing rocks at police.
There were also reports alleging that anarchists attacked a biker carrying a Greek flag and a person wearing a T-shirt commemorating the participation of Greek mercenaries in the massacres of Muslim civilians in Bosnia during the 1990s.
The name dispute broke out after Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
The country is recognized by international institutions as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, even though about 130 countries refer to it simply as Macedonia. Many Greeks refer to it by the name of its capital, Skopje.
Greece argues use of the name implies territorial claims on its own province of Macedonia, home of one of the most famous ancient Greeks, Alexander the Great.
Officials in Skopje counter that their country has been known as Macedonia for a long time.
Composer and former minister Mikis Theodorakis, 92, the keynote speaker at the rally, repeated the controversial claim that Greece’s neighbor wants to expand into Greek territory.
“Using the name Macedonia as a vehicle and twisting historical events to a ridiculous extent, they actually seek to expand their borders at the expense of ours,” Theodorakis said.
Rejecting any compromise on Greece’s part, Theodorakis called for a referendum on the issue.
The squabble has prevented Macedonia from joining NATO, to which Greece already belongs. The left-led governments in both countries have pledged to seek a solution this year, and have been holding talks with UN negotiator Matthew Nimetz.
The most likely solution will be to add a modifier such as “new” or “north” to the republic’s name. But the proposals have triggered protests in both countries.
The crowd at Sunday’s rally in Athens jeered when speakers mentioned Nimetz’s name.
“We’re expecting them to hear us,” protester Maria Iosifidou said of Greece’s politicians. “We don’t want Skopje to take the name …let them have another name.”
About 100,000 people attended a similar protest last month in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, the capital of Greece’s province of Macedonia.

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Interview With India’s Three Largest Crypto-Exchanges: Ban Rumors Are False

Submitted by Cointelegraph, authored by Joseph Young

Earlier this week, many reports falsely suggested that the Indian government has banned cryptocurrency trading and the entire cryptocurrency market. Cointelegraph spoke to India’s three largest cryptocurrency exchanges, which unanimously stated that the cryptocurrency ban rumors are nothing more than so-called “FUD”.

In an exclusive interview, executives at Coinsecure, Unocoin and Zebpay, the most widely utilized cryptocurrency trading platforms in the country with millions of users, unanimously stated that the document released by the Ministry of Finance was misinterpreted.

The India Ministry of Finance reaffirmed that it intends to ban the usage of cryptocurrencies in financial crimes and illicit activities, but not ban cryptocurrencies in general. It is important to acknowledge that the use of cash or any currency in financial crimes is banned.The mainstream media, especially outlets in India, interpreted the statement as a ban on cryptocurrencies and released premature reports claiming the government has banned the market. This week, on national television, India’s Finance Minister strongly refuted  cryptocurrency ban rumors.

Unocoin comments

Sunny Ray, the founder and president of Unocoin, told Cointelegraph:

“We are happy that the Finance Minister has recognized the importance and popularity of cryptocurrency, and has chosen to talk about it on budget day. As far as the exact content of what he said, we are largely neutral about it. However, we are pained to see his words being misinterpreted and misreported, by a section of the media.”

Ray emphasized that the statement of India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was misinterpreted by the media which reported it as a ban on cryptocurrencies when Jaitley simply noted that the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities will be prohibited and restricted. Also, Jaitley stated that Bitcoin is not a legal tender. But Bitcoin is not a legal tender in anywhere in the world. Legal tender implies that it is illegal not to accept a certain asset. It is certainly not illegal to not accept Bitcoin in Japan, the US, South Korea, and everywhere else globally.

Ray added:

“During question hour in Rajya Sabha on Jan. 2, 2018, the Finance Minister had made the exact same point, where he stated that, ‘Bitcoins or such cryptocurrencies are not legal tender.’ This has been the position taken by almost all governments around the world, and we regard this statement quite neutrally. It is our understanding that only currency notes and coins are legal tender. To extrapolate that to mean that such assets are ‘illegal’ is silly at best, and grossly irresponsible at worst.”

ZebPay comments

Sandeep Goenka, the co-founder of ZebPay, another major cryptocurrency exchange in India with millions of users on its mobile app alone, shared a similar sentiment as Unocoin’s Sunny Ray. Goenka stated that the India Blockchain Committee remains optimistic in regards to the statement released by India’s Finance Minister and that the media grossly misinterpreted his words.

Goenka further explained that local exchanges welcome the Indian government’s intention to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities. Last year, Indian cryptocurrency exchanges assisted local enforcement in investigating into a bank theft that led to the loss of millions of dollars. As local exchanges have done in the past, they intend to continuously support the government in its crackdown on illicit activities surrounding cryptocurrencies. Goenka told Cointelegraph:

“Every citizen and business in this country should play their role in eliminating financing of illegitimate activities, regardless of whether such financing is done using legal tender, cryptocurrency, gold or any other medium. We welcome this move by the government and want to wholeheartedly support the government in this move. We encourage the government to work with our members, as we are committed to detect, report, and eliminate suspicious transactions in pretty much the same way as other institutions do.”

Coinsecure comments

Coinsecure CEO Mohit Kalra also reassured investors within the local cryptocurrency market that the government is not banning cryptocurrencies and it exchanges will operate as usual. Kaira advised customers not to be affected by the FUD and false reports issued over the past week.

“According to Mr. Jaitley, they will be stopping illicit activities happening using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For us, it’s business as usual. Would advise customers not to panic sell at lower rates,” Kaira told Cointelegraph.

Coinsecure COO Jincy Samuel emphasized that the cryptocurrency ban reports are nothing more than FUD, adding:

“This is in no way different from the various other statements given in the recent past. Nothing new has been determined. Just seems like a lot of unnecessary media FUD.”

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Car show opens, boosted by advent of Saudi women drivers

Author: 
Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Mon, 2018-02-05 03:00
ID: 
1517773258306159100

RIYADH: The decision to allow Saudi women to drive starting June this year has brought bright prospects to the local car industry as the biennial three-day Automechanika car show takes center stage on Monday.
Saudi Arabia is the largest auto and auto parts market in the Middle East, accounting for an estimated 40 percent of all vehicles sold in the region, statistics show. The Kingdom imported about 1 million vehicles in 2016.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Middle East, which is a co-organizer of the show, said the influx of Saudi women drivers will have a significant impact on auto parts, maintenance and services industry in the Kingdom.
“Car manufacturers will be the first to benefit in allowing women to drive, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases,” Pauwels said.
At present, the Kingdom already has seven million passenger vehicles in operation and this will increase significantly in the coming years, with some nine million new drivers expected to be added to the roads.
He advised car manufacturers and suppliers in the Kingdom to stake their claim early in the market, which is full of opportunities.
He added that after the car manufacturers benefit, “the aftermarket comes next when these millions of additional cars will require regular repair maintenance, replacement parts, tires, batteries, accessories, car care and grooming.
“Revenues for the Kingdom’s aftermarket was worth more than $6.7 billion in 2016, so it’s already a significant market, and the largest in the Middle East,” he said.
The exhibition, with 200 companies from 25 countries as participants, is being held from Feb. 5 to 7 at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center with Mansour Abdullah Al-Shathri, Riyadh Chamber’s board vice chairman, as the guest of honor.

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Michael Isikoff Says He Was “Stunned” To See His Story Cited In FISA Warrant

It’s not every day that investigative journalists discover their work was cited in a controversial warrant application that has become a flashpoint of partisan conflict in the US. So, it’s telling that, rather than being honored to see his work having such a profound impact, Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff said he was “stunned” to see a story he published more than a year ago cited in the “FISA memo” as one of the justifications in a FISA warrant application for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

As Isikoff explains, his story was almost entirely based on information from the Steele dossier, which was passed to him by an intermediary. Therefore, citing it would be redundant. The revelation, which was made in a memo released by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, “stuns me,” Isikoff said in an episode of his podcast, “Skullduggery.”

Isikoff

The four-page memo alleges that the DOJ and FBI relied on the “unverified and salacious” (in the words of former FBI Director James Comey) dossier in their initial application for the Page warrant, as well as in the applications for renewal. The article, which was published by Yahoo on Sept. 23, 2016, was “cited extensively” in the application, which also notes that most of the information contained in the story was derived from the dossier. Isikoff’s story was largely ignored when it was published as the media was hyper focused on the fallout from the “Access Hollywood” tape and few people believed Trump would prevail.

Isikoff said it was “a bit beyond me” that the FBI would use his article in the FISA application.

“Obviously the information that I got from Christopher Steele was information the FBI already had,” he said, noting that Steele began sharing information from his dossier in July 2016.

“It’s self-referential,” he said of the article and its reliance on the dossier.

“My story is about the FBI’s own investigation,” he continued.

“So it seems a little odd that they would be citing the Yahoo! News story about the matter that they are investigating themselves based on the same material that had been separately presented to the FBI before I was ever briefed by Christopher Steele.”

The Republican spy memo makes a similar argument.

“This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from the information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo! News,” it reads.

It also asserts that the Page FISA application “incorrectly assesses” that Steele was NOT a source for Isikoff.

According to the memo, that corroboration of the dossier was in its “infancy” at the time the FISA application was submitted. An FBI unit that tried to verify Steele’s research had determined that it was only “minimally corroborated” at the time the FISA warrant was granted.

Isikoff said on his podcast that he met Steele at a Washington hotel in September 2016. They were joined by his “old friend” Glenn Simpson, the founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS.

Fusion hired Steele to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The firm was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC, a fact which Isikoff was not aware of at the time of the meeting with Simpson and Steele.

He said on “Skullduggery” that he was aware that Simpson and Steele were working for Democrats, though he did not know it was the campaign and DNC.

Still, Isikoff wondered aloud whether the Republican memo accurately characterized the FISA application or whether the FBI/DOJ were trying to “dress up” the document. The latter scenario would be “embarrassing” for the US, he said.

Isikoff’s article revealed for the first time that investigators were scrutinizing Page’s contacts in Russia. It also provided the most extensive reporting on Page’s alleged activities in Russia up to that point in the campaign.

Isikoff reported that Page may have met secretly with two Kremlin insiders during a trip to Moscow in July 2016.

The dossier – and the Isikoff report – identified the two individuals as Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. Page has denied ever meeting the men. He is also suing Yahoo! News for publishing the article.

Page denies other allegations made by Steele in the dossier. Steele claims in the document that Page worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to collude directly with Russian operatives. Page says he has never met or spoken with Manafort. The dossier also asserts that it was Page’s idea to provide hacked DNC emails to Wikileaks in order to push Bernie Sanders supporters away from the Democrats’ camp.

Isikoff’s article also uses a quote from a senior US law enforcement official. The unidentified official told Isikoff that Page’s contacts in Russia were on investigators’ “radar screen.”

The identity of that source remains a mystery, and Isikoff did not disclose who it was. But he did rule out that the source was Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official who met with Steele and Simpson before and after the election, and whose wife briefly worked for Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm that produced the dossier.

According to the memo, Ohr passed information from Steele to the Justice Department.

Isikoff’s comments were published around the same time that Trey Gowdy, an outgoing Republican Congressman who helped author the dossier, said it wouldn’t derail the Mueller probe.

* * *

Furthermore, as the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross points out, Isikoff said during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes last summer that it’s “not unreasonable” to assume the dossier played an important role in launching the investigation.

 

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Tillerson raises specter of US sanctions on Venezuelan oil

Author: 
Reuters
Sun, 2018-02-04 23:24
ID: 
1517776206976332300

BUENOS AIRES: The United States is considering restricting imports of Venezuelan crude oil and exports of US refined products to Venezuela, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday, to put pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro to “return to the constitution.”
“One of the aspects of considering sanctioning oil is what effect would it have on the Venezuelan people? Is it a step that might bring this to an end more rapidly?” Tillerson said at a news conference in Buenos Aires, referring to Venezuela’s economic and political crisis.
Tillerson, on a Latin America trip that also includes visits to Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica, raised eyebrows on Friday after he suggested that Maduro could be toppled by his own military.
Restrictions on Venezuela’s all-important oil industry would represent an escalation of financial pressure on the OPEC member, which is gripped by severe shortages of food and medicine. Sanctions have so far focused on individual members of Maduro’s government and a ban on buying new Venezuelan debt.
“We are looking at options and we are looking at how to mitigate the impacts on US business interests” and on other countries in the region, Tillerson said.
Standing next to Tillerson at the news conference, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said his country would “closely follow” the possibility of oil and fuel sale restrictions, but said sanctions “must never harm the Venezuelan people.”
Other Latin American governments have said they were unwilling to take steps that would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela,
“Not doing anything to bring this (crisis) to an end is also asking the Venezuelan people to suffer,” Tillerson said.
Venezuela’s crude oil sales to the United States in 2017 were the lowest since 1991, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data, hurt by sanctions on the OPEC nation.
Citing sources, Reuters reported last June that the Trump administration was considering sanctions on Venezuela’s energy sector, including state oil company PDVSA, responsible for most of the country’s exports.
Meanwhile, Trump’s call this week to cut aid for countries where drugs are produced or trafficked could cast a shadow on Tillerson’s South America visit as he headed for top cocaine-producing nations Peru and Colombia.
Trump said on Friday that unnamed countries were “pouring drugs” into the United States.
“I won’t mention names right now … but I look at these countries, I look at the numbers we send them and we send them massive aid, and they are pouring drugs into our country and they are laughing at us,” Trump said at a televised round-table in Virginia.
“So I’m not a believer in that, I want to stop the aid,” Trump said after Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, told him that cocaine was primarily coming from Colombia and Peru, and trafficked through Mexico and Central America.
Tillerson did not mention Trump’s comments in the news conference in Buenos Aires but a senior state department official on the trip, who declined to be identified, said that they were “not helpful.”
Trump has at times contradicted Tillerson on foreign policy issues involving North Korea and Syria, and the administration has been criticized for sending mixed messages to Latin America, particularly on Venezuela.
Tillerson lands in the Peruvian capital Lima on Monday and on Tuesday heads to Colombia, which received some $10 billion in funding between 2000 and 2015 for military and social programs through the so-called Plan Colombia.
Former US President Barack Obama had approved $450 million in 2017 aid for Colombia, up 25 percent from 2016, to help support a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a former leftist rebel group.
Peru, which has seen cocaine output increase and trades the title of top producer with Colombia, has received less assistance from the United States. Tillerson ends his trip in Jamaica, a growing drug trafficking hub.
The US is the world’s largest market for cocaine.
Trump has threatened to cut aid around the world, questioning what the United States gets in return for its support. Earlier this year, he promised to end assistance for Pakistan.

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Stockman Exposes The Two Elephants In The Room That The GOP Has Completely Forgotten

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

The US economy is threatened by two giant problems which cause all others to pale into insignificance.

We are referring to a rogue central bank that has become an absolute enemy of capitalist prosperity and a fiscal doomsday machine that is hostage to the ceaseless budgetary demands of the Warfare State, the Welfare State and the Baby Boom’s demographic imperatives.

Needless to say, both ends of the Acela Corridor are completely oblivious to these twin menaces. Indeed, they are the proverbial elephants in the room, thereby giving rise to a considerable irony: To wit, the GOP party of the elephant, which is supposed to be the palladium of financial rectitude in American politics, has forgotten about them completely.

For instance, in his triumphalist SOTU, the Donald didn’t utter so much as a single syllable about the Fed, the budget, entitlements, the $1 trillion per year deficits looming ahead or the nation’s soaring public debt.  Yet after omitting virtually everything which counts, he went on to crow about how he is making America Great Again (MAGA) by making better trade deals and borrowing untold sums from future generations.

That is to say, when he did veer into fiscal territory it was to demand repeal of the sequester caps, which are the one thing that has slightly braked runaway spending, and to boast about his own favorite deficit financed twins: The $1.5 trillion tax cut already passed and the additional $1.5 trillion infrastructure boondoggle he proposed to lob on top.

Oh, and there was also his $33 billion Mexican Wall, 5,000 new border patrol agents (in  addition to 20,000 already) and Federalization of two purported crises—the opioid epidemic and gangs like MS-13—-which should be a matter for local government, if the latter have any purpose at all.

As to the Wall Street end of the corridor, we got a good reminder of that during our appearance on Bloomberg TV last evening. The host objected to our fiscal warnings on the grounds that these threatened CR (continuing resolution) showdowns and debt ceiling crises arise episodically, but after a lot of partisan fire and brimstone they always get resolved.

The implication was that the fiscal file embodies just a messy process equation, but the pols eventually and reluctantly do their jobs. Accordingly, Wall Street’s cynicism about the matter is understandable and justified as in: Nothing to see here. Move along!

Needless to say, we beg to differ. In fact, the budget process is so utterly and irretrievably broken that by default Congress ends up kicking the can for want of an alternative; it’s evidence of serial failure, not of rising to the occasion.

The degree to which this has become institutionalized also became starkly evident yesterday when the new GOP chairman of the House budget committee, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), announced that he wants to dispense with the legally required budget resolution for FY 2019 on the grounds that getting a consensus in an election year is just too hard!

“If I can read the tea leaves on what’s coming from the Senate, that doing a budget resolution that will be meaningful, that we can get House and Senate together on, is very problematic right now,” the Arkansas Republican said at a Thursday press conference here, where GOP lawmakers were having their annual retreat…… Of course, we add to the fact that it’s an election year and that makes it even more difficult to get things done,” he added.

Let’s see. The House GOP majority had no problem passing an unfinanced tax cut bill which will add $280 billion to the FY 2019 deficit alone; or approving $85 billion of disaster relief with no off-setting cuts or revenues; or enacting a $700 billion defense authorization with hardly a dissenting vote, while knowing that it would require busting the sequester caps by upwards of $80 billion.

Yet the once and former party of fiscal rectitude has apparently now found a Congressman from some Arkansas trailer park to head the budget committee, but who doesn’t want to bother with the real job of Congress, which is to safeguard the nation’s fiscal solvency.

Here’s the thing, however. Can-kicking has an inherent sell-by date. Hence the very nomenclature of it.

Yet there should never have been any mystery to economic conservatives as to the soaring public debt. To wit, the ills that have been ascribed to it from time immemorial were certain to reappear at the time that the Fed and other central banks stopped monetizing it.

After all, massive QE is, well, a massive fraud. It involved the removal from the global bond markets of upwards of $20 trillion worth of sovereign debt and other securities since 1995 by central banks, thereby tilting the market clearing yield sharply lower.

At the same time, the fiat credits snatched from thin air by the central banks to pay for these QE purchases flowed back into the financial markets where they became buying power for other securities such as corporates, junk bonds, ETFs, equities and various forms of Wall Street confected bespoke trades (gambles); or in the case of so-called excess bank reserves, they were hypothecated in support of bank borrowings that indirectly fattened the bid for risk assets.

At the end of the day, the QE bonds ended up sequestered in central bank vaults—even as the consequent rising pricing for these same securities encouraged private speculators to extract even more trillions of bonds from the trading pits.

This was accomplished by sequestering notes and bonds in the next best thing to a central bank vault. That is, a repo trade where said securities could be immobilized indefinitely by adroit traders, hedge funds and dealer prop desks making use of overnight funding pegged at zero cost by the Fed and other central banks.

So if the now apparently de-feathered GOP deficit hawks wondered how they got away with kicking the fiscal can for so many years, the smoking gun is embedded in the chart below.

The Fed and other central banks had their Big Fat Thumb on the supply/demand scales in the markets for savings and debt. The “crowding out” effect and rising yields that enforced fiscal rectitude in the pre-Greenspan era were unplugged by Keynesian central bankers who discovered that having the central banking branch of the state print money is a lot more efficacious—as least in the middle term—than having the Treasury borrow it honestly in the capital markets.

Alas, even the middle-term is over. With the books now closed on January, it is evident that the Fed has indeed made an epochal pivot to QT (quantitative tightening) and is shrinking its balance  according to the automatic pilot plan it has set in motion.

Thus, during the current quarter it intends to let $12 billion per month of maturing treasury debt and $8 billion of GSE securities roll-off, which from a market pricing viewpoint amounts to the same thing as selling them.

That’s because neither Uncle Sam nor Fannie/Freddie are shrinking their own balance sheets. Instead, what the Fed doesn’t repurchase when securities in its swollen portfolio mature results in new issuance and sale to the dealers—-that is, ultimately to real money savers.

As Wolf Richter reminds in the post from which the above chart is extracted, the $20 billion per month shrinkage which happened in  January will escalate to $30 billion per month in Q2, $40 billion per month in Q3 and then $50 billion per month in Q4 and for a considerable period thereafter.

There is exactly no secret about this schedule, nor a shred of evidence that the law of supply and demand has been repealed. So after touching a generational low at 1.36% on July 8, 2016, the bond yield has already begin to rise sharply in anticipation of the rapidly escalating central bank drainage of cash from the dealer markets.

But there is something more. The same front-runners who functioned as private quasi-central bankers by sequestering debt paper in repo silos alongside the real central bank vaults, are not waiting around for the central bank bond dumping campaign to reach full stride.

In fact, when the 10-year UST hit 2.85% today that represented a 45 basis point rise since the last day of 2017. Stated differently, it also meant a 16% mark-to-market loss for repo carry traders since the turn of the year, and, in theory, a 48% loss since the generational bottom 19 months ago.

Needless to say, no hedge fund that wishes to survive is going to sit patiently on their repo silos at 95% leverage after their tiny slice of equity in the trade has been mauled and they are called upon to post more collateral.

To the contrary, as the bond yield reset accelerates, they are likely to not only begin selling with malice aforethought, but also to actually pivot to the other side. That is, start “shorting” what in effect the Fed has announced it will be shorting to the tune of $600 billion per year commencing next October.

So the quasi-hidden “accelerator” effect of the bond market front-runners is now about to shock both ends of the Acela Corridor. When the 10-year note pierces the 3.03% yield mark, where it topped out after the original Bernanke taper tantrum in 2013, it will be off to the races as the chart-driven robo-traders pile on.

To be sure, this will be described by Wall Street stock peddlers as an “oversold market”, which presents another swell opportunity to jump back in and buy the dip.

We sincerely doubt it. To the contrary, we think the denizens of the Imperial City are going to react badly as the carry cost of the Federal debt soars. Rather than the congealing of a last minute majority to kick-the-can, as has occurred so many times since August 2011, we think the kicking this time around will be more akin to that of a Polish firing squad.

That is to say, the fiscal bloodbath we have been predicting is now on the doorstep of Capitol Hill. As the latter stumbles from one false start to the next, and resorts to hideously abbreviated CR and debt ceiling fixes, the pandemonium will soon hop aboard the Acela and reach the canyons of Wall Street in no time.

As we said earlier this week: If you are still in the casino, run, don’t walk, toward the nearest emergency exit. The Trumpite/GOP is about to learn that deficits do matter and that what really ails the economy of Flyover America is the destructive Keynesian posse domiciled in the Eccles Building.

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