The S&P fell to 1,355 in the Futures, breaking our rule to get bullish as they must hold 1,360 for 2 consecutive days so we're back to watching and waiting now as it's been two full weeks of teasing this line as the index creeps back into the bottom of David Fry's SPY channel.
We thought we were going to fail back at 1,300 but we caught a nice bounce off the bottom at the beginning of the month and flew up another 5.5% since then but now we're almost 10% over the 200 dma on less and less volume and that's one hell of an air pocket below us on the S&P so of course the lack of more free money from the G20 is going to hurt today – the question is – how much?
We discussed the G20 over the weekend, so no need to re-hash it here. Let's take a little time today to delve into the logic of S&P 1,360 and see if we can find some good reasons for it to stick. In his letter to shareholders this weekend, Warren Buffett very plainly says that his entire bullish premise is based on his believe that housing will make a comeback. Jim Bianco had an article on that this weekend noting Homebuilder Optimism has risen for 5 straight months, back to the highest level since May of 2007, at the early stages of the slowdown BUT – let's keep in mind that the sentiment level is 29 and anything below 50 is still NEGATIVE – so we have a long way to go!
We have been playing XRT short, expecting it to have been rejected at $56, like it was last summer prior to a 20% drop. Now XRT is at $58, up 31% from it's October lows and we have to wonder if the situation for Retail has REALLY gotten 31% better than high-volume investors were pricing it AFTER seeing last July's earnings reports or is this another major air bubble that's about to burst?
The January Retail Sales Report showed $361Bn in sales and that was up 5.6% from last year's $342Bn. This month we'll see an automatic 3.5% bump as February has an extra day (people fall for that one every 4 years) and we have strong…
The Telegraph reported over the weekend that Gaddafi apparently made good on his threats to trigger a civil war, using irregular forces largely composed of hired mercenaries to launch a counterattack against protesters. “Anywhere we go there is danger,” said one woman, a 28-year-old mother of four who asked not to be named. “All we want is food and fresh water for our children but it is impossible to find. Security is the only concern of the authorities.”
An accurate report of the death toll is impossible to obtain at this time, but on Wednesday, Italy’s Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini said, “We believe that the estimates of about 1,000 are credible.” The situation in Libya has deteriorated since then. Multiple stories coming in from all over the country have cited dozens to hundreds of casualties in each city. It appears that Libya has slipped into the abyss of complete social breakdown and civil war.
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
The decision to threaten to bomb Iran was made before 9/11
The government knew that terrorists could use planes as weapons — and had even run its own drills of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, using REAL airplanes — all before 9/11
The government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouths before 9/11
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is currently saying that Dick Cheney’s vision of policy towards the Middle East after 9/11 was to re-draw the map:
Vice-President Dick Cheney’s vision of completely redrawing the map of the Middle East following the 9/11 attacks is "not stupid," and is "possible over time," former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says.
In his new book, A Journey, the former Labour Party leader wrote that Cheney wanted a wholesale reorganization of the political map of the Middle East after 9/11. The vice president "would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it — Hezbollah, Hamas, etc," Blair wrote.
What does this mean?
Well, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the "war on terror" in the Middle East has nothing to do with combating terror, and everything to do with remaking that region’s geopolitical situation to America’s advantage.
Starting right after 9/11 — at the latest — the goal has always been to create "regime change" and instability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Lebanon; the goal was never really to destroy Al Qaeda. As American reporter Gareth Porter writes in Asia Times:
Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.
Feith’s book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing "new regimes" in a series of states…
General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic
Although one would doubt that the US would ‘go it alone,’ one has to question whether or not they would act in support of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Although this news piece assumes Iran is the target, other easterly destinations come to mind in the vicinity of Afghanistan.
The implications of such a strike on the world financial and commodity markets is obvious, and bears careful watching. I would doubt the US would circumvent a discussion at the United Nations. Even George W had to at least pay lip service to international support prior to his attack on Iraq.
Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.
Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.
Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971. The agreement led to 2,000 native islanders being forcibly evicted to the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Sunday Herald reported in 2007 that stealth bomber hangers on the island were being equipped to take bunker-buster bombs.
Although the story was not confirmed at the time, the new evidence suggests that it was accurate…
Crucially, the cargo includes 195 smart, guided, Blu-110 bombs and 192 massive 2000lb Blu-117 bombs.
“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” said Dan Plesch, director
The recent US missile defense push in the Persian Gulf to counter the perceived nuclear threat from Iran raises sensitive questions about our policies and priorities. I caught up with Jonathan Schell, one of the nation’s leading advocates of a nuclear-free world, to talk about the need for a radical policy change, the nuclear energy controversy, and more.
LP: What is the ‘real’ nuclear relationship between the US and Iran?
JS: The first thing to remember is that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons. But obviously, the issue is whether Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons-whether their program is a precursor to weapons or designed for peaceful purposes. In the end, the difference isn’t as important as it might at first seem – the fact is that by obtaining the capacity to enrich uranium, they’re 8 out of 10 steps towards the bomb.
LP: How does the preemptive policy toward Iraq initiated under Bush affect our policy toward Iran?
JS: One of the reasons that Iran may have become interested in having nuclear weapons is to deter an attack by the United States. When they saw Saddam swinging by the neck, they thought: How can we prevent such an outcome for us? One answer might well be nuclear weapons. What the Iranians have done already carries them right to the nuclear bomb threshold.
LP: How do we wisely respond to Iran?
JS: Without a radical change of policy, there’s very little chance that the US will be able to convince Iran to give up its nuclear program. Historically there’s no precedent for a country rolling back a full-fledged nuclear program owing to international pressure – there’s never been a country to do that. Currently Iran is a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but the question is whether or not they would pull out, an act that would likely have a high penalty attached to it. Even China, which now declines to impose stiffer sanctions on Iran, might then agree. Iran might just remain in the Treaty and stay on the threshold of nuclear arms.
Things might well be different if the world were to get serious about it’s stated goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. Obama’s goal of nuclear abolition should be on…
Google Inc.’s threat to pull out of China is the most visible reflection of U.S. companies’ growing disillusionment with the country nine years after it joined the World Trade Organization, business groups said.
Washington trade organizations representing companies such as Microsoft Corp., Boeing Co., Intel Corp. and Cigna Corp., which all backed China’s entry into the WTO and fought off legislation to punish Chinese imports, say China is increasingly discriminating against them on government contracts and through unfair subsidies.
Google, owner of the most-used search engine, said Jan. 12 that it would end self-censorship of its product in China after attacks on e-mail accounts of human-rights activists. The Mountain View, California-based company said the move may cause it to close offices in the country.
Such comments from longtime backers of U.S.-China relations represent growing dissatisfaction among U.S. companies, said Susan Aaronson, a professor at George Washington University in Washington who writes about U.S.-China trade relations.
“I see much greater disillusionment as China is promoting its national champion companies,” Aaronson said in an interview. “More and more firms are going to say: I can do without this market.”
This story is far more significant than the play it will get. It signals growing protectionism as well as dissatisfaction with dealing in China. To top things off, Chinese money supply is growing completely out of control and it is only a matter of time before China implodes or explodes. More on that in another post later.
Facing hard-line forces on the streets, Iran’s anti-government demonstrators have taken their protests to a new venue: writing "Death to the Dictator" and other opposition slogans on bank notes, while officials scramble to yank the bills from circulation.
"What did they die for?" asked one message on a bill, referring to the estimated dozens of demonstrators killed in the wake of vote-rigging allegations in last summer’s re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In "Agenda: With George Friedman," the CEO of global intelligence company Stratfor suggests that three Islamic states — Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan — will be "the focus of intense conflicts" in 2010."
At least one Middle East commentator would probably say that talk of "intense conflicts" in the region is a major understatement. In a report at the American Chronicle, "2010 Will Witness the Most Destructive Wars in Modern History" (originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council Chairman Elias Bejjani), journalist and analyst Hamid Ghoriafi sets out a much more disturbing vision of what lies ahead:
Middle East analysts predict that the year 2010 could make the past nine years look laughable considering the kinds and ferocity of tragedies that might hit the region that has been a violent battlefield for four crushing wars.
The first two are the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and that of Baathist Saddam Hussein in Iraq which were toppled by force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida group that targeted New York´s twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington.
As a result of this deadly attack, Lebanon’s political and military map was changed in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. By the end of this devastating war, an Israeli security belt was established inside the entire southern Lebanese territory as far as 20 miles to the south of the Litani area.
In 2000 Israel withdrew its troops from a previous security belt in southern Lebanon, to a distance not exceeding four kilometers. This new wide Israeli belt on her borders inside Lebanon is maintained by a force from 34 countries under the UN flag, and not by her own troops as was the situation before 2000.
Meanwhile, Lebanon, Syria and Iran were forced to approve the redeployment of the Lebanese army in the entire southern region, including the Lebanese –Israeli borders after it was driven away by the Syrian occupation all through its 30-year occupation of Lebanon.
At the same time, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon was knocked out in a successful political war in 2005 in which the Lebanese "David" defeated the Syrian "Juliet" and the Syrian army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon with
James Kunstler writes on climate-gate as another distraction on the way to societal collapse, as is the baloney sandwich we’re trying to make with Iran as baloney and Afganistan as a slice of white bread. - Ilene
Against a greater welter and flow of incoherence jerking the nation this way and that way en route to collapse comes "ClimateGate," the latest excuse for screaming knuckleheads to defend what has already been lost. It is also yet another distraction from the emergency agenda that the United States faces – namely the urgent re-scaling, re-localizing, and de-globalizing of our daily activities.
What seems to be at stake for the knuckleheads is their identity, their idea of what it means to be an American, which boils down to being an organism so specially blessed and entitled that it is excused from paying attention to reality. There were no doubt plenty of counterparts among the Mayans when the weather changed and their crops failed, and certainly the Romans had their share of identity psychotics who doubted reality even when Alaric the Visigoth was hoisting off their household treasure.
Reality doesn’t care if we are on-board with its mandates or not. The human race has to get with whatever program reality is serving up at a particular time. Are we shocked to learn that scientists fight among themselves and cheat as much as congressmen? Does that really change the relationships we understand about parts-per-million of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere and the weather?
What the people of the world can do or will do about a change in climate is something else. My guess is that the undertow of entropy is now too great to provoke any meaningful unified change in behavior. The collapse of the US economy is too close to the horizon, and the so-called developing nations will have problems equally severe. In the meantime, it is unlikely that any of the major players will burn less coal and oil, or not cheat on each other even if they pledge to burn less. People who are not knuckleheads will make the practical arrangements that they can. These will, by definition, be localized, small-scale, and non-global communities, doing what they would have to do anyway.
The latest index reading comes in at 7.2, up from the previous week's downwardly revised 6.5.
RecessionAlert has launched an alternative to ECRI's Weekly Leading Index Growth indicator (WLIg). The Weekly Leading Economic Index (WLEI) uses fifty different time series from these categories: Corporate Bond Composite, Treasury Bond Composite, Stock Market Composite, Labor Market Composite, Credit Market Composite. RecessionAlert emphasizes that WLEI is a growth index and its data is no more than a week old, as is ECRI's WLIg.
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I have mixed feelings about Brexit today. Clearly the European institution need reforming. The addition of so many countries in the last 20 years has created a top heavy administration. The Euro adds more complexities to the equation as the ECB policies cannot fit every country's problem. On the other hand, a unified Europe has advantages as well – some countries have benefited from the integration.
For Britain, it's hard to say what the final price will be. My guess is that Scotland might now vote for independence as they supported staying in Europe overwhelmingly. Northern Ireland might be tempted to leave as well so possibly RIP UK in the long run. I was talking to some French people and they were saying that now there might be no incentive for France to stop immigrants from crossing over to the UK like they do now and simply allow for travel there and let the UK deal with them. The end game is not clear to anyone at the moment....
One week ago, when bitcoin first crossed above $700 on the seemingly insatiable Chinese buying which we forecast last September (when bitcoin was trading at $230) would take place as a result of China's capital controls (to much pushback by the "mainstream" financial media), we tried to predict what may happen next. We said that "it could go much higher. That said, anyone who bought last September when the digital currency was trading at $230 may be advised to take some profits, and at least make...
After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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