by ilene - April 18th, 2014 1:41 pm
Courtesy of Tim of The Psy-Fi Blog (originally published Mar. 28, 13)
"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two strangers just the same"
“Those told they failed attribute performance to such external factors as bad luck, task difficulty, or the interference of others, and those told they succeeded point to the causal significance of such internal factors as ability and effort.”
“In the US sample 93% believed themselves to be more skillful drivers than the median driver and 69% of the Swedish drivers shared this belief in relation to their comparison group. “
Revealed: Gov. Christie pleads pension poverty while handing huge subsidies to his major political donors
by ilene - April 18th, 2014 1:04 pm
Revealed: Gov. Christie pleads pension poverty while handing huge subsidies to his major political donors
By DAVID SIROTA at Pando Daily
Yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) made headlines by slamming his state’s legislators for supposedly paying police and firefighters too much.
“They want to give away more of your money,” thundered Christie.
The irony of the complaint coming from Christie is strong. The Christie administration has been spending record amounts of taxpayer money on corporate subsidies at the exact same time as he claims New Jersey doesn’t have enough money to make required public pension payments.
In short, Christie is using money that should be going to fulfill pension promises to instead pay for large corporate gifts – and not just random gifts, either. A Pando analysis of campaign finance data has found that Christie is giving those huge taxpayer-financed corporate subsidies to some of his major political benefactors.
Looting pensions to pay for gifts to campaign donors
In 2012, a year after Christie pled poverty to justify skipping a pension payment, his New Jersey Economic Development Authority passed a $210 million tax subsidy for insurance firm Prudential. The Authority is chaired by Christie appointee and former utility executive, Al Koeppe, and, as of 2012, its chief of staff is Christie’s top aide, Michele Brown.
by ilene - April 18th, 2014 11:13 am
Courtesy of The Automatic Earth.
Isabel Steva Hernandez (Colita)/Corbis Gabriel García Márquez 1975
There are times when time needs to stand still for a seemingly fleeting moment that lasts until the end of time. Yesterday was such a time. But it didn’t happen. Nothing stood still. News was slow coming in, and trickled on as the hours passed, to reach a minor crescendo later, that the world’s greatest living writer had died. And I know it’s because I’m an incurable romantic (I know because incurable romantics are not that stupid) that I feel that way. The lack of attention and respect and mourning to me means there are not nearly enough incurable romantics left in the world, or if they’re there, they must be hiding somewhere.
Because if you ask me, at a time like this, wars should be halted, armistices announced, enemies should become friends, shake hands, kiss and put their arms around each other’s shoulders, entire nations of mothers and daughters should be weeping in unending parades swaying down the streets of the cities, economies should come to an abrupt standstill and all workmen lay down their tools, newspapers should publish multiple extra editions to be sold on street corners, radio and TV shows should be interrupted so popes and presidents alike can urge their people in special bulletins to pray for the souls of both the deceased and those left behind, and join them, and each other, in mourning the loss to humanity, in paying reference to, and being grateful to the heavens for, the bigger than life talent that once walked among them and the riches that were bestowed upon them, be thankful for the world being a better place because of it.
That’s how I think the great men of the world should be mourned. But none of it did happen. The world, even as it has greatly increased both its sheer numbers of communications media and the speed at which they travel, doesn’t seem to be capable of recognizing greatness anymore. Between the fight for material wealth, 24 hour reality TV, propagandistic news shows and a constant adulation of billionaires and botox-enhanced semi-humanoid lifeforms, something has gotten lost: the ability to see what really makes life worth living. Those who’ve never read Gabriel García Márquez, or have long forgotten, will claim they can…
BP Manager In Charge of Cleaning Up Gulf Oil Spill Dumped $1 Million In BP Stock Before the Spill’s Severity Became Known
by ilene - April 18th, 2014 1:48 am
BP Manager In Charge of Cleaning Up the Gulf Oil Spill – Instead of Actually Cleaning Up – Committed Insider Trading and Sold $1 Million of BP Stock Before the Extent of the Spill Became Public Knowledge
Courtesy of George Washington.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former 20-year employee of BP p.l.c. and a senior responder during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill with insider trading in BP securities based on confidential information about the magnitude of the disaster. The price of BP securities fell significantly after the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in an extensive clean-up effort.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, BP tasked Keith A. Seilhan with coordinating BP’s oil collection and clean-up operations in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast. Seilhan, an experienced crisis manager, directed BP’s oil skimming operations and its efforts to contain the expansion of the oil spill.
The complaint alleges that within days, Seilhan received nonpublic information on the extent of the evolving disaster, including oil flow estimates and data on the volume of oil floating on the surface of the Gulf.
“Seilhan sold his family’s BP securities after he received confidential information about the severity of the spill that the public didn’t know,” said Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the Division of Enforcement’s Market Abuse Unit.
The complaint alleges that by April 29, 2010, in filings to the SEC, BP estimated that the flow rate of the spill was up to 5,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). The company’s public estimate was significantly less than the actual flow rate, which was estimated later to be between 52,700 and 62,200 bopd. The information that Seilhan obtained indicated that the magnitude of the oil spill and thus, BP’s potential liability and financial exposure, was likely to be greater than had been publicly disclosed.
According to the complaint, while in possession of this material, nonpublic information, and in breach of duties owed to BP and its shareholders, Seilhan directed the sale of his family’s entire $1 million portfolio of
by Market Shadows - April 17th, 2014 7:43 pm
Two guest authors, David Stockman and long-time contributor John Rubino, write about the current state of Abenomics.
This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market experience long ago recognized that such a massive, artificial bid from the central bank would drastically deform the world’s second largest government bond market—turning portfolio managers into compliant fellow travelers at first, and then eventually driving them out of the market completely as the BOJ swallowed up the supply of bonds.
Now it has happened. For nearly two days there was not a single cash bid for the eponymous 10-year JGB in what is a $10 trillion market. That means at least for the moment, liquidity has dried-up and gone completely missing. As one trader put it:
“Everybody thinks the market is not going to move for the time being because of the purchase by our dear customer, the BoJ…”.
Nothing could be more fraught with danger than to see the most massively indebted government on the planet destroy its own bond market in pursuit of the very Keynesian doctrine that every major central bank is today practicing. Yet that is exactly what the world class fools running Japan Inc.—at least for the moment—are on the way to accomplishing. Essentially, Abenomics has turned what remained of the Japanese bond market into a cowering covey of survivors waiting for doomsday:
“I know this could end badly. But if you are in this market, you will have no choice but to buy,” Daiwa SB’s Okuhara said.
But here’s the thing. Prime Minister Abe has not been laughed out of the G-7 for being the economic dunce that he actually is. Indeed, his fellow dimwit at the IMF, Christine Legarde, has actually praised him for his perspicacity and courage. Given this kind of leadership in the global monetary system it might be wondered how the VXX remains pinned down at nearly all-time lows. The answer apparently is that the tables at our monetary Jonestown are now getting…
by ilene - April 17th, 2014 4:30 pm
Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker
This week I’m in Disney World with the family, our first proper vacation all together in years. As such, I’m off the grid and away from computers of any kind (I’m trying to stay married, you guys). But while I’m gone, I’ve left you some stuff to catch up on…
These were the biggest posts – as read and shared by you – during the first quarter of this year. The theme of today’s collection is good investing and understanding the psychological forces at work when we commit capital. No matter how long I’m doing this for a living, I will always consider myself to be a student of this stuff. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed to admit that they’re still learning to become better investors everyday, even while being proud of how far they’ve come. Namaste. – JB
by ilene - April 17th, 2014 3:04 pm
Courtesy of David Stockman of Contra Corner
The Fed’s financial repression policies destroy price discovery and honest capital markets. In the process these deformations turn financial markets into casinos and corporate executives into prevaricating gamblers. To be specific, most CEOs of the Fortune 500 are no longer running commercial businesses; they are in the stock-rigging game, harvesting a mother lode of stock option winnings as the go along.
Those munificently rising stock prices and options cash-outs owe much to the Fed’s campaign to suppress interest rates and fuel stock market based ”wealth effects”, but the CEOs are doing their part, too. They have become full-time financial engineers who use the Fed’s flood of liquidity, cheap debt and soaring stock prices to perform a giant strip-mining operation on their own companies. That is, through endless stock buybacks and M&A maneuvers they create the appearance of “growth” while actually liquidating the balance sheet equity and future asset base on which legitimate earnings growth depends.
The poster boy for this deformation is IBM which for all intents and purposes has become a stock buyback machine on steroids. It had a bad hair day yesterday, reporting still another year/year decline in sales, but that goes right to the heart of the matter. During the last seven years IBM has been a stock traders dream, climbing an almost picture perfect chart from $94 per share in March 2007 to a recent peak of $212.
But as shown below, those gains had nothing to do with what has been a historic ingredient of stock appreciation—-namely, expansion of its asset base and revenues. In fact, sales revenues in Q1 2014 clocked in at virtually the same number as Q1 2007:
So how has IBM and its ilk achieved revenue-less earnings growth? After all, reported EPS has gone from about $7 per share to $15 during the period. The short answer is that its executives and board have utilized every accounting and financial engineering short-cut in the book to disguise an equity liquidation campaign as a splendid strategy for “growth”.
by ilene - April 17th, 2014 2:58 pm
What have we got here? There's KFC's Double Down (calorie-wise, the "Double Up"); The McRib (the McPigParts, a restructured meat product shaped into ribs); Specialty Chicken (it's a pizza crust, no really); the Waffle Taco, because anything can be breakfast, or a taco; Dunkin Donut's Doughnut Bacon Sandwich; the Doritos Locos Taco (Taco Bell's most successful menu item of all time!); the 773-calorie Bacon Milkshake; the Bacon Sundae; the Drumstick Corsage (for prom night, strap one of these lovely things to your wrist to make you smell good); and the Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza (available at Pizza Hut in the UK, thankfully not in the US).
It was incredible, really, that no one ever thought to do it before: a chicken sandwich in which the bread is replaced with chicken. A “stunt food“? Sure. A “new low“? Almost definitely. It was all those things and more, which is why KFC managed to sell 10 million in about one month’s time when the Double Down first appeared in 2010.
Now it’s back, according to an “exclusive” from USA Today. Starting April 21, the Double Down is once again appearing for a limited run on KFC’s menus. And it’s in good — or, if you’d prefer, atrocious — company.
Despite the claims they occasionally make about striving for health, we all know fast food companies aren’t really looking for approval. Let’s face it, getting called out for their disgusting innovations is exactly the reaction they’re hoping for when they introduce a gimmick. Then, they’re hoping people try it, usually just “as a dare,” and they know plenty of people are going to like it.
But looked at as a whole, the very worst fast food has to offer is almost too much to handle:
McDonald's iconic contribution to fast food gimmickry: a patty of pig parts molded into the shape of ribs and presented in the form of a sandwich. The only mystery more enticing than what, exactly, the McRib is made of is the eternal question of when and where it's going to reappear. This ugly photo of an (alleged) raw McRib may have ruined the magic for some, but for plenty of others, it only confirmed that they were
by ilene - April 17th, 2014 2:22 pm
Courtesy of Mish.
Bloomberg reports Treasuries Fall Most in a Month as Ukraine Talks End in Accord
Treasuries fell, pushing 10-year note yields up the most in a month, as talks on the crisis in Ukraine ended with an accord aimed at de-escalating the conflict, damping haven demand.
Talks in Geneva between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Ukrainian counterpart, Andriy Deshchytsia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, went on for more than six hours, longer than scheduled.
“The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens,” the four said in a joint statement. “All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions.”
Text of the Joint Statement
Here is the complete Text of Joint Statement on Ukraine
The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.
All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.
All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.
Amnesty will be granted to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.
It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The U.S., E.U. and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.
The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.
The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.
Defusing the Conflict
by ilene - April 17th, 2014 1:42 pm
Back on April 9, I posted a short tutorial on how to momentum trade gold along with my short term gold forecast.
I received great feedback from gold market traders taking advantage of my insights last week, so I created a follow-up video.
- shows how and why our strategy works better with gold stocks and silver stocks, and
- provides my short term gold forecast so we can stay on the right side of the market next week.
[Be sure to watch my major long term Gold Forecast also.]
Get My Gold Forecast & Gold Trade Alerts: www.TheGoldAndOilGuy.com
Sincerely, Chris Vermeulen Founder of Technical Traders Ltd. – Partnership Program