by ilene - March 7th, 2014 4:05 pm
"Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them.
Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they create a desolate wasteland, they call it peace."
Tacitus, Calgacus' Speech from Agricola
Remembering this may help one to understand some of the things that happen that otherwise may seem to make no sense. In the pursuit of profit, their hypocrisy and disregard for justice and human life knows no bounds.
I will let you in on a little secret. Not always, but the worst of them have a 'tell.' You have to look at the long record of a person's action and mode of acting to assess this. Are they plain and straightforward, or highly political and evasive in their motives. Do they often say one thing, and yet do another. If so, then this is their 'tell.'
The most cynical player will accuse and denounce their adversaries of the exact things that they have in mind, their precise motives, but first, and aggressively so with high indignation. But their own actions will appear to be without principled cohesion, that is, principles but selectively applied. Look for the inconsistencies, and if they are there, you know the type of hypocrite with whom you are dealing.
I think they do this because it defeats the ability of their opponent to accuse them of the very things that they themselves are doing. I have seen this in company politics to geo-political squabbles, over and over. Bald faced misdirection is almost standard fare these days of spin and propaganda in domestic politics.
Telling the truth is considered to be naive, embarrassingly clumsy, an automatic disqualification from power. It is almost as bad as bending your knee to the power of God rather than the will to power, when
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 3:51 pm
Courtesy of Jesse's Cafe Americain
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In case you had not seen this, it is on the news wire from United Press International.
It seems that if this legislation is real, and is enacted, and that is a big IF, then all a government bureaucrat will have to do is to refuse to permit disclosure on topics that it considers to be too important for even the media to know. And they will be able to exercise a rather effective censorship over a compliant press.
But I think we can be confident that the government of any political party, or any future President, can be trusted to never abuse this power to gag the Press to cover up their mistakes, scandals, or extra-constitutional activities.
We will have to trust them. Because we won't know if they are abusing that power because the information that they are will be .. classified.
Perhaps a secret independent court can be set up to review their decisions. All of its decisions will be, of course, classified.
I wonder if the students at Georgetown understood the implications of what their privileged ears were hearing, or if they even cared.
I wonder how many other bloggers, who are so often preoccupied with freedom, will understand this and pick it up, or if they are just afraid, or even care.
No wonder. Audacious oligarchy, indeed.
Journalists and press freedom have taken a hit from the government since Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents to the Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) — National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander was speaking at Georgetown University when he hinted that government officials were working on
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 3:40 pm
Courtesy of Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner
Yesterday the media got all bulled up over the Fed’s new data on household wealth showing that it hit a record in the fourth quarter of 2013. As usual with Wall Street’s chattering media class, this wasn’t quite the whole story, at least not the “real” story. The real story is ominous.
The total net worth of households and non profits did reach a record in nominal terms. That is true. But that’s not the same thing as the wealth of individual households hitting a record in real, inflation adjusted terms. In addition, the calculation of the numbers is based on absurd assumptions which everyone takes for granted as being realistic. And if the net worth of the top 1% was lopped off, the picture would be far bleaker.
But we need not even go there. By now it’s been well established that those in the upper income strata have gotten virtually all of the gains in wealth in recent years while the majority falls deeper into the economic mire.
For this analysis I just look at the data as a whole, and do the simple exercises of dividing the total net worth of households and non-profits of $80.66 trillion by the census bureau’s estimate of the total year end population of the US of 317.44 million. Then I converted that to real terms by dividing the result by the Consumer Price Index. That’s conservative enough. It probably understates inflation by underweighting housing and doesn’t take into account asset inflation at all. But it’s a widely accepted means of converting nominal measures into real, inflation adjusted numbers. The same operation is then performed for every quarter going back in time as far as the data goes. The results are then plotted on this graph. It shows how the wealth of households has trended in real terms per capita.
I’ve also plotted alongside that line a graph of the Fed’s holdings in its System Open Market Account, which is all of the Fed’s paper holdings that it acquires in trades with Primary Dealers. Prior to 2007, the Fed had steadily grown its holdings…
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 2:54 pm
Courtesy of Daniel J. Graeber of OilPrice.com,
Geopolitical crises in Eastern Europe have been met with calls in the United States to use energy as a foreign policy tool. With U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking the industry to make a stronger case, however, it's domestic policies that may inhibit energy hegemony.
"The industry could do a lot better job talking about the drivers for, and what the implications would be, of exports," Moniz told an audience at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.
The Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that gross exports of petroleum products from the Unites States reached 4.3 million barrels per day in December, the first time such exports topped the 4 million bpd mark in a single month.
EIA said the United States is a net exporter of most petroleum products, but crude oil exports are restricted by legislation enacted in response to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.
In January, Kyle Isakower, vice president of economic policy at the American Petroleum Institute, said reversing the ban would help stimulate the U.S. economy and lead to an increase in domestic oil production by as much as 500,000 bpd. Current export polices, he said, are "obsolete."
This week in Houston, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, said oil could help reposition the United States as the premier superpower.
"Lifting the oil export ban will send a powerful message that America has the resources and the resolve to be the preeminent power in the world," she said.
President Obama can show "true American grit" if he acts quickly and according to precedent. If the ban is reversed, it will be for the benefit of the international community, she said.
Moniz, who said in December the export ban deserves some "examination," said he wasn't yet convinced the case had been made to open the U.S. spigot, however.
For natural gas, House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton, R-Mich., said expanding U.S. liquefied natural gas exports could be used to contain Russia, which dominates much of the Eastern European gas market.
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 1:51 pm
Courtesy of Larry Doyle.
Why do I anticipate reading and reviewing this report so much? Because we are a nation of laws and not of men. At least I think we are . . . although sometimes I wonder. As the WJP highlights,
“Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, alleviate poverty, improve public health and education, and protect people from injustices and dangers large and small,” said William H. Neukom, WJP Founder and CEO. “Wherever we come from, the rule of law can always be strengthened.”
The Index is the most comprehensive index of its kind and the only to rely solely on primary data.
The more serious students in the audience may care to review the entire report. For those who might care for an abbreviated version of how the United States is doing, I welcome informing you of the following:
Our overall rank across all factors measured: 19th out of 99 nations. But let’s dig a little deeper and be a little more rigorous in our review. On a regional basis the USA is little better than average and relative to those nations with similar income levels, we consistently rank near the lower third if not worse than that by most measures.
A great nation? True leaders and statesmen know that a nation needs to uphold and embrace the rule of law, protect property rights, and expose corruption wherever it thrives in order to be a nation worthy of being called ‘great.’
We have a lot of work to do.
Additionally, the following line jumps out of the report on page 46:
“The United States saw a significant decline during the past year in people’s trust in the system of checks and balances and the protection of the right to privacy.”
Trust is the cornerstone of our markets, our economy, and ultimately our nation.
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 1:49 pm
We Cashed in on the Big Gift From Big Lots Today
Market Shadows doesn’t mind taking favors from overreactions. Close-out retailer Big Lots (BIG) jumped dramatically on the opening and just beyond, after reporting fourth quarter results that beat estimates on an adjusted basis.
We sold our 100 share position for a very nice price of $35.91 locking in a 26.2% gain. We think other retail names are more attractive after today’s price surge in BIG.
The $3,591 will now go into our cash reserves bringing the total to about $7,321.
Follow all our closed-out and current equity positions at Market Shadows' Virtual Value Portfolio.
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 1:23 pm
Elliott wave patterns in price charts reflect the struggle between the bulls and bears. Watch Elliott Wave's video illustrating this point here.
Text version below.
Two economic reports hit the newswires Thursday morning (March 6). Both were important, yet each one had the opposite implication for the trend.
The market chose one report over the other, and the question is, why — and what can we learn from that?
Both reports came out at the same time, 8:30 Eastern on Thursday morning. One was from Europe, where the European Central Bank said that they, "…decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged." That suggested that the European economy was getting stronger.
The second report was from the United States, where "…the weekly applications for jobless benefits fell to a three month low." That also was a sign of economic improvement.
Immediately after, the euro jumped to a new high for the year against the U.S. dollar. But why did the euro gain, and not the dollar? After all, the news from the US was also positive?
The answer comes down to understanding market psychology. All things being equal, it's the bias of the traders that determines the market's fate. The question is, how do you know what traders are thinking?
That's where Elliott wave analysis comes in. Wave patterns in price charts reflect the struggle between the bulls and the bears. So by tracking wave patterns, you can anticipate which side will ultimately win.
Let's take a look at what the waves were saying before the surge in the euro on Thursday. The day before, our Currency Pro Service told subscribers that the euro was forming a wave pattern called a triangle.
A triangle is pattern that moves against the primary trend, so when it ends, the old trend resumes — in this case, up. On Wednesday, that allowed us to make a very clear forecast for the euro-dollar:
[Posted On:] March 05, 2014 03:27 PM
From nearby levels further consolidation through waves D and E [of the unfolding triangle] should set the stage for a thrust above 1.3824.
China Sides With Russia On Sanctions; Ambassador Warns “Western Nations Would Be Hurting Themselves”
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 12:22 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
Amid a Russian spokesperson "hoping" tensions do not escalate into a new cold war with the US, China has come out (perhaps unsurprisingly) on Russia's side strongly condemning any sanctions:
"China has consistently opposed the easy use of sanctions in international relations, or using sanctions as a threat.”
The comments from China's Foreign Ministry reflect the country's close ties with Russia and confirm what Russia's ambassador to Canada noted, we "can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions," adding that "Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions."
Some cryptic words this morning:
- WESTERN STATEMENTS ON UKRAINE MAKE US THINK OF TASKS, MEANS AND SACRIFICE THEY ARE WILLING TO MAKE – RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
- *PESKOV HOPING FOR COMMON GROUND WITH WEST ON UKRAINE: RIA
- *PUTIN SPOKESMAN DOESN'T SEE NEW COLD WAR, RIA SAYS
Furthermore, as The Globe and Mail reports, it is clear the Russians have a plan…
Russia’s ambassador to Canada says he was surprised no one bothered to speak with him about the crisis in Ukraine before he received a diplomatic dressing-down last Saturday, and added his country can always turn to China if the West follows through on threats of tougher sanctions.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Globe and Mail, Georgiy Mamedov insisted Russia wants to see the crisis in Ukraine resolved peacefully.
And he said Western countries would largely be hurting themselves if they impose tougher sanctions or make good on warnings that they could boot Russia out of the G8.
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 11:55 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
As we reported yesterday, after getting permission to cross the Bosphorus, the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxton departed the Greek port of Souda Bay on its way to the Black Sea. As of a few hours ago, it is already there. Sky News reports that the USS Truxtun passed the Dardanelles strait earlier today on its way to the Black Sea amid heightened tension over the crisis in Ukraine and reports that Russia has now 30,000 troops in Crimea.
The naval escalation is not the only arms build up in proximity to the Ukraine: the Pentagon said six US F-15 fighter jets have arrived in Lithuania to bolster air patrols over the Baltics. The fighter jets and 60 US military personnel landed at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, adding to the four F-15s and 150 troops already there to do the air patrol mission.
As for the pretext for the Truxton's move, it is only 300 miles away from Sevastopol for one simple reason: naval exercises.
Joint naval exercises with Bulgarian, Romanian and US vessels are to take place in the Black Sea on March 11.
The naval forces of all three nations have stated no connection between the upcoming drill and the tensions on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based, the Bulgarian National Radio has reported.
Vessels participating in the event include a Bulgarian frigate, three Romanian ships and US destroyer USS Truxtun. The US military described the joint military maneuvers as a "routine" deployment scheduled last year, long before the standoff in Ukraine.
Crimea, however, is some 500 km to the north-east of the location where the drill is to be carried out.
According to a statement by the US Navy, the Truxtun left Greece on Thursday after it was granted passage through the Black Sea Straits by Turkey, which controls their traffic.
The USS Truxtun will be at the Bulgarian city of Varna's port from March 12 to March 14
And the Russian ICBM launch was just part of a "routine" drill too.
by ilene - March 7th, 2014 11:20 am
Courtesy of ZeroHedge
Following last week's discovery that Mohamed El-Erian was "sick of cleaning up [Bill Gross's] shit" as tensions soared at PIMCO, the "bond king" has struck back blasting to Reuters that he's "so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me," claiming El-Erian wrote the damaging WSJ article.
Furthermore, the somewhat paranoid-sounding Gross indicated that he had been monitoring El-Erian's phone calls but when questioned by Reuters for evidence of El-Erian's undermining, Gross responded "you're on his side. Great, he's got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger." As one analyst noted, "I've never seen Bill and Pimco scrutinized like this before… a couple of high-profile stumbles and mediocre showings, coupled with some outflows clearly has some investors on edge."
Gross told Reuters that he had "evidence" that El-Erian "wrote" a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco's performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm's Newport Beach, California headquarters.
Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the 'Bond King', said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: "I'm so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me."
When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: "You're on his side. Great, he's got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger."
He said he knew that El-Erian, who had been widely seen as the heir apparent to Gross but is now due to leave in mid-March, had been in contact with Reuters as well as the Wall Street Journal.
Gross indicated he had been monitoring El-Erian's phone calls.
The Wall Street Journal quickly denied Gross' claims…
When asked about Gross's claim that El-Erian "wrote" the article, a spokeswoman for Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said: "This is an