The cost of living in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in June and home sales climbed to an eight-month high, showing the economy is generating little price pressure as growth accelerates.
But growth is NOT accelerating, is it? We JUST had a GDP report that showed exactly the opposite, yet here we have a noted MSM publication simply ignoring that FACT:
How do people read these things and just accept them? How do authors write them? How do editors OK them? Not even the commenters seem to catch it – it's like the whole World just accepts the BS of the moment.
This is what Orwell predicted it would be like in a future where the media became electronic and the past was instantly forgotten by a population that was unable to think for itself.
It took them 30 more years than planned, but here we are!
"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'.
"The past, he reflected, had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed. For how could you establish even
We haven't gone anywhere on the Dow, S&P or NYSE since early March and we've lost 6% on the Nasdaq and 8.3% on the Russell yet, to hear the mainstream media tell it – there's no better time to invest.
Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Clearly that's the template being used today by the MSM and even our politicians these days.
As you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, we got a very exciting pop into the close on Friday for no particular reason and now, for no particular reason the Futures have given back most of those gains. But don't worry, into the open, while the volume is still low, it's sure to get jammed back up again – just in time for the Funds to dump their shares on the retail crowd.
We don't care IF the game is rigged, as long as we can figure out HOW the game is rigged and play along. This morning I posted to our Members that Silver Futures (/SI ) were a long at $19.50 and that Gasoline Futures (/RB) were a short at $3. Already silver hit $19.65 for a $750 per contract gain and gasoline fell to $2.985 for a $630 per contract gain – and the Egg McMuffins are paid for!
We KNOW it's rigged and we KNOW the moves were fake so, when they hit good resistance points, we knew it was very unlikely they'd get past them. If they did get over the resistance, we'd take small, quick losses and be done with the trade. Of course we went over the news and the data from around the World to…
The same can be said about a dog with three legs and no tail, I suppose. So, the question is, is the market a dog in a nice sweater or whatever the metaphor would be for something where 3 healthy guys drag two dead guys around and win the race.
Hmmm, I guess there is no metaphor for that – BECAUSE IT'S RIDICULOUS, isn't it? A healthy market looks like a healthy market and this does NOT look like a healthy market.
You can ignore Russia invading Ukraine, you can ignore China's exploding debt bubble, you can ignore collapsing German Investor Confidence, you can ignore Japanese Inflation, you can ignore all the stuff we already talked about in this morning's news alert – but that's not going to make it go away!
Yes, we made new highs yesterday but look at the crap volume. The volume on the Friday after Thanksgiving (half a day) was 55M on SPY, the volume on Dec 26th was 63M and New Year's Eve was 86M – that's how ridiculous yesterday's volume was.
We're still in the pattern of the market rising on low volumes and selling off on high volume, which is simply the way the Banksters pump up their holdings into the opens and then dump them on what few retail suckers are participating into the closes.
You can hear their media puppets ramping up the rhetoric at the same time, wagging their fingers at the retail investors and telling them they are "missing" the rally. Why weren't they saying that when the markets were 50% cheaper? Why not when they were 25% cheaper? No, only at a market top does the Corporate Media tell you to BUYBUYBUY because their masters already bought their fill and now they need someone to hold the bag. Same as it ever was.
Check out the front page of Mr. Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, nothing about Russia and they spin the Administration's attempt to boost Housing as a positive when it's actually a reaction…
It's very sad when you can get your best financial advice from cartoon characters.
I apologize for the language but this video pretty much says it all. As the man in green says: "Buy the f'ing dip, you f'ing idiot." That's the entirety of the market strategy we are being trained like Pavlov's dogs to follow. Also as the man says "Now, don't forget this only works if you go out and tell all your friends and family to do the same. That way, when they are buying more expensively than you, you can sell back to them and collect your money."
Of course it's a Ponzi scheme but it's a gigantic, legal one and the best thing about it is that the Government FORCES everyone to play so you never run out of suckers. When there is a lack of actual new sucker/investors to put money in, the Government steps in with stimulus or buys equities (QE1) or buy Treasuries from the banks so they can have free capital to buy equities with (QE2). They debase the currency and drive inflation higher while talking it up even more so and virtually penalizing people for saving money and not shopping. In this way, the US Government places a tax on every single citizen through a systemic devaluation of their lifetime accumulation of wealth as well as unfavorable savings and inflation conditions that are aimed to force money into equities and commodities.
What is the logic to this? Well, none if you are a government that actually cares about the long-term benefit of 310M people but we haven't had a government that was "for the people" since they put two in the back of Kennedy's neck so why complain about it now? What we should be doing is celebrating the sheer stupidity of the situation and enjoying the ride as this stock market roller coaster clacks up the tracks – towards a drop that is certain to have investors screaming all the way down but, for now, let's listen to what the Bernanke Bears have to say in their latest cartoon about the Bank America crisis with WikiLeaks as well as their advice on NFLX and CRM:
Now, what could be more simple than that? Just take all…
Democracy’s Death Spiral is a positive feedback loop between ever-greater concentrations of wealth and the ever-higher costs of retaining political power.
Positive feedback loops lead to "death spirals" in which destructive forces reinforce each other until the dynamic implodes. One example is an "arms race" in which ever more costly and complex weapons systems must be matched lest one nation in the race fall behind.
Since the number of weapons and their cost are essentially unlimited, then the race continues until one contestant is bankrupted.
Though many would claim it is a simplification, this dynamic was at the root of the Soviet Union’s collapse: as the U.S. embarked on a massive expansion of its military and technological power, the Soviet Union exhausted its much smaller resources attempting to keep up.
Though statistics from the Soviet era are not entirely reliable, various scholars have estimated that fully 40% of the Soviet GDP was being expended on its military and military-industrial complex.
The U.S. was spending between 4% and 6% of its GDP on direct military expenditures, even during the height of the Reagan buildup. If you include the Security State (CIA, NSA, et al.), the Veterans Administration and other military-related programs (DARPA, etc.) then the cost was still far less than 10% of GDP.
The greater freedom to exchange information between government-funded research labs, private firms and government-funded universities enabled the U.S. to outdistance the Soviets technologically. Once again a positive feedback loop can be discerned in the way that increased spending on military-related R&D in the U.S. led to increasingly networked nodes of technological advancement which led to greater advances and more spending to develop those technologies.
The U.S. emerged victorious as the sole superpower, but a more closely matched rivalry might have ended with the collapse of both competitors: a Death Spiral of the sort Jared Diamond describes on Easter Island in his bookCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
In the U.S., the ever-greater concentrations of wealth gathered by an ascendant Financial Power Elite has entered a positive feedback loop with the costs of gaining or retaining political power. The costs of winning an election have skyrocketed to the point that fundraising is the key function of any politico who is not independently extremely wealthy.
If next Friday the Buck is lower across the board and the BoJ is a bit bloodied Ben Bernanke will light a cigar.
Okay, so our boy Ben is smoking a big fat cigar tonight. He could not be happier. Everything is going his way.
-On the week the dollar got crushed against the majors.
-The Japanese central bank did get its nose bloodied. As of the close in NY they are down about $700mm on the 9/15 intervention of $25b. It’s not just the money (actually it is the money). They lost a battle. The USD/JPY has to go lower. The BOJ has tipped their hand. They are playing defense. And that is losing strategy. Their internal effort at QE just got trumped by Ben’s weak dollar policy. They must be pissed.
-Euro group chairman Junker (ZH article) said the weak dollar will hurt EU growth. Sure it will. That is what Ben wants. He wants to export our deflation to our “friends”. They also must be pissed that Ben is dishing this out to them.
-The gold moves were impressive. If I were at the Fed and watching this near daily slap in the face I would be unsettled. I wonder if they even care. At one time they did, but not in the last few years. Ben is probably pleased with the ratchet up in gold. He not only wants to boost inflation he wants to increase expectations on inflation. High marks on that score for the week.
-Stocks keep going up. Why shouldn’t they? A weak dollar makes top line numbers of a big chunk of the S&P look better. Also, you have to look at what money is competing with. The five-year closed at 1.1%. After-tax that comes to 0.7%. Against a very low rate of inflation the tax adjusted yield guarantees the investor a negative 8% return. Not hard to beat, one would think. So stock multiples have to widen. Right? If so, can we do this forever? If not, how long can we continue?
-The commodity numbers are blowouts. Sugar, wheat, corn, copper, every
Resentment, frustration and anger are now ubiquitous features of U.S. culture. This is the consequence of several factors, none of them positive.
"Horn broken, watch for finger." This bumper sticker perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the nation: the horn is broken, and everyone is giving everyone else the finger.
Why are simmering resentment, frustration and anger now ubiquitous features of U.S. culture? I would posit the following factors:
1. A culture of entitlement: the U.S. is now a culture of takers obsessed with getting their "fair share" of the swag/borrowed money. "We were promised!" (public employees); "I earned it!" (Social Security recipient, though only the first 3-4 years of benefits are drawn from his/her contributions, and everything after that is welfare drawn from the hides of current workers); "healthcare/income security/housing is a right!" (everybody’s got rights, but nobody seems to have any duties or obligations); "it’s for the children/elderly!" (that is, my expense account, million-dollar pension, etc. are nominally protected by the banner of "education" and/or "healthcare"), and so on.
Those with access to "private welfare" such as CEOs are a privileged class; most of us have to elbow our way to the crowded public trough. The truly select feed at the Wall Street trough, which combines private welfare skimmed from shareholders and investors, and Central State welfare issued in unlimited billions via bailouts, Fed purchases of toxic debt, backstops, loan guarantees, etc.
But like the story about the attractive young lady who blushingly agrees to share her favors for $10,000, but balks when the suitor downgrades his offer to a paltry $100 (with the punchline being, "We’ve already established what you’re willing to sell, now we’re just haggling over the price"), the recipient has sacrificed autonomy in accepting the entitlement, regardless of the source or size. This is how complicity to a host of embezzlements, corruptions and exploitations is purchased.
2. A culture of victimhood: Victimhood is rewarded, shouldering ones’ own load and thrift are punished. Like rats in a maze, Americans respond to incentives and disincentives: as a result, everyone is shouting out their claim to victimhood. The cacaphony is reminiscent of a classroom of spoiled children all claiming excuses for their odious behavior and poor performance.
3. Unrealistic expectations: nobody wants to do demanding physical labor, so skilled-craft jobs go begging and companies have to train workers.…
The losses from the mortgage securities frauds and the subsequent bubble collapse continue to debilitate the US financial system, particularly the regional banks, in a slow bleed costing the US government additional millions each week. The public relations campaign promoting the idea that the bank bailouts are done and successful, and that the US made money on this egregious abuse of public monies is patently false, and probably can be described as corporatist propaganda.
The banks continue to mount a campaign to resist reform and regulation. They are taking advantage of the weakness of the Obama administration in failing to reform the banking system through liquidations and managed bankruptcies, including indictments and investigations as was seen in the Savings and Loan scandal.
It is difficult to continue to assume good intentions in this administration, or even mere incompetence. The objections put up by Geithner and Summers to the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new consumer protection agency shows how reactionary they continue to be, and resistant to fundamental reforms.
Five bank closures in four states Friday cost the federal government an additional $334 million in losses.
Regulators shuttered the $373 million-asset Coastal Community Bank in Panama City Beach, Fla., the $66 million-asset Bayside Savings Bank in Port Saint Joe, Fla., the $168 million-asset NorthWest Bank and Trust in Acworth, Ga., the $529 million-asset The Cowlitz Bank in Longview, Wash., and the $768-asset LibertyBank in Eugene, Ore. The failures brought the year’s total to 108.
The hammered Southeast bore the brunt of the failure activity, as it has for so many Fridays since the financial crisis began. Twenty banks have been seized in Florida in 2010, while 11 have failed in Georgia so far this year.
The two Florida institutions that failed Friday went to one buyer: Centennial Bank in Conway, Ark. The acquirer agreed to take over Coastal Community’s $363 million in deposits, Bayside Savings’ $52 million in deposits and roughly all of the assets of both institutions.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to share losses with Centennial on $303 million of Coastal Community’s assets, and $48
Seriously, it beats me how people managed to develop such an appetite for sloppy sentimentality. With each successive hit feature, Pixar tests the limit of that appetite, and finds that there is no limit. Audiences drink up vats of Pixar’s patented corn syrup in animated film form, smack their sticky lips, and beg for more. Please, Pixar, could you make the characters even rounder and smoother and cuter, like a vast array of babies’ butts? Could everyone find out that everyone loves everyone else, and then all rescue each other ten or twelve times, with lots and lots of preaching along the way? Our tears, could they be jerked harder, to the point of actual pain and bruising this time?
Sure, says Pixar, and the ticket-money washes in like the tide.
Since this deplorable trend has been manifest for some time—our enabling of Pixar’s worst tendencies, I mean—it’s no surprise when they follow twee Wall-E with the grossly lugubrious Up and then top it all off with a sickening wallow like Toy Story 3. So why would I subject myself to this torture? Two reasons: 1) Michael Keaton as the voice of Ken Doll. I always liked Keaton and remain fascinated by the way he’s sabotaged his own career and squandered his great comic gifts. Keaton as Ken Doll looked funny in the previews, which gave me the faint hope that Pixar might stress the comedy over the sniveling in Toy Story 3. Curses, foiled again.
The professional critics, of course, can’t gush enough about Toy Story 3, which has a supernaturally high rating of 98% on the Rotten Tomatoes site, a score that should be reserved for the second coming of Jesus Christ artfully caught on film by the world’s best cinematographer. These godforsaken critics especially loved the last fifteen minutes, which I’m now going to describe…
What’s so distressing about all this, as I keep pointing out, is the tremendous talent of the Pixar team getting wasted on nostalgic goop, forever presenting idealized 1950s suburban culture as the norm. Superficial contemporary trappings like iPods and day-care centers and the occasional non-white minor character shouldn’t…
This situation is an analogue to the US economy, where increasingly larger portions of the financial markets in the US are being ceded to white collar fraud and manipulation by the gangs of New York. The problem is not with law enforcement per se, but that the basic functions of government are being overwhelmed by inept and corrupt lawmakers and regulators, the powerful rule of special interests, and a general lack of concern and disdain for the needs of the ordinary citizens. These are the root cause of the failures of government in the US.
This is not a problem of Republicans versus the Democrats. It is the age old problem of the avarice of an oligarchy of the self-proclaimed elites against the rights of the private individual, and the common people.
"From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide."
"In a press conference ignored by the American national media, the sheriff described how his deputies were outmanned and outgunned by the cartel smugglers who increasingly operate using military tactics and weapons. The result, said Sheriff Babeu, was that a wide corridor of Arizona from the border North to the outskirts of Phoenix is effectively controlled by the cartels. "We do not have control of this area," the sheriff said.
At the same time as the sheriff’s ignored press conference, the national media did cover assurances from the Obama Administration that crime was down at the border; that the border had never been safer. This ludicrous propaganda was based on selected crime stats from San Diego, Phoenix, Austin and San Antonio. The new reign of terror on the border in Arizona was airbrushed out of the picture.
Here’s the real picture Obama does not want you to see. Warning signs were posted this past month by the federal government 80 miles…
“You are in a position to make 20 percent to 30 percent on your position in the fund. Why wouldn’t you buy in at Libor-plus to leverage that up?”
That quote is from Tom Bernhardt, a senior vice president at TorreyCove Capital Partners, a San Diego-based private-equity consultant.
Tom is referring to Tim Geithner who just secured a line of credit with JP Morgan to invest in a $12 billion private equity fund launched by Warburg Pincus, the former Treasury Secretary’s current employer.
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A quick post before the Superbowl begins. Friday's action was very disappointing if you were in the bullish camp; poor jobs data contributing to the malaise. However, investors can view this as another buying opportunity, with the Nasdaq clocking the 10% percentile of historic weak prices dating back to 1971, and the Russell 2000 making fast work of a push back to 958. Again, it's not about investing everything at once, but perhaps using the coming year(?) to build long term positions. I would be happier to see a 40-60% trim from highs - keep an eye on my bottom watch table, but this is the kind of action which helps reset the bulls count.
The S&P registered a clear break of rising trend. Volume was lighter, so it wasn't necessarily a panic sell. And while it could be viewed as a breakown, the glass half full crew would see this as a drop back...
Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.
Panic. Worry. Sell.
In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our mind and ignored it.
A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.
We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.
The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.
Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.
Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
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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