Archive for 2016

Three Billion Year-Old Diamond Could Fetch $70 Million

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Published on May 5, 2016


A three billion year-old diamond the size of a tennis ball could sell for more than $70 million when it goes to auction in the U.K. in June. Mark Kelly reports. Image: Getty

Diamond Foundry

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Who Rules The World? Part 1

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Authored by Noam Chomsky, originally posted at TomDispatch.com,

[This piece, the first of two parts, is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).]

When we ask “Who rules the world?” we commonly adopt the standard convention that the actors in world affairs are states, primarily the great powers, and we consider their decisions and the relations among them. That is not wrong. But we would do well to keep in mind that this level of abstraction can also be highly misleading.

States of course have complex internal structures, and the choices and decisions of the political leadership are heavily influenced by internal concentrations of power, while the general population is often marginalized. That is true even for the more democratic societies, and obviously for others. We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while ignoring the “masters of mankind,” as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires, and the like. Still following Smith, it is also wise to attend to the “vile maxim” to which the “masters of mankind” are dedicated: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people” — a doctrine known otherwise as bitter and incessant class war, often one-sided, much to the detriment of the people of the home country and the world.

In the contemporary global order, the institutions of the masters hold enormous power, not only in the international arena but also within their home states, on which they rely to protect their power and to provide economic support by a wide variety of means. When we consider the role of the masters of mankind, we turn to such state policy priorities of the moment as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the investor-rights agreements mislabeled “free-trade agreements” in propaganda and commentary. They are negotiated in secret, apart from the hundreds of corporate lawyers and lobbyists writing the crucial details. The intention is to have them adopted in good Stalinist style with “fast track” procedures designed to block discussion and allow only the choice of yes or no (hence yes). The designers regularly do quite well, not surprisingly. People are incidental, with the consequences one might anticipate.

The Second Superpower

The neoliberal programs of the
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Former Attorney General Holds Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Despite Ongoing FBI Criminal Probe

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Before he was quietly advised last year by his superior that the time to “quit” has finally come after a career filled with gaffe after gaffe, former US Attorney General Eric Holder was best known for not prosecuting big banks due to his concern they were “Too Big To Prosecute“, clearly ignoring the optics (and reality) that this would also makes it seem that when it comes to breaking the law, banks are more powerful than the United States itself.

Fast forward one year, when the same Eric Holder, and former Attorney General, makes headlines of a different sort. As the Hill reports, Holder will headline a “lawyers for Hillary” fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on May 31.

Available tickets for the fundraiser, which takes place May 31, range from $500 to $2,700, according to Clinton’s campaign website. “Young lawyer” tickets, priced at $250, were sold out as of early Sunday afternoon. Actress Julianna Margulies (who played a political spouse betrayed by her husband) will also attend the fundraiser.

An invitation for the event posted on Hillaryclinton.com reads, “Please join Lawyers for Hillary and Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States and Julianna Margulies for an evening with Hillary.”

The surreal irony of it all hardly needs no explanation. This is how the Weekly Standard puts it: “the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton continues, but that isn’t stopping the former head of the Department of Justice from holding a fundraiser for the Democratic presidential candidate.

As a reminder, the FBI – which is still probing Hillary – is part of the DOJ, which in turn is headed by Loretta Lynch. She got her first prominent public appointment in 1999 when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

We note all this just in case someone still believes that Hillary is not “Too Powerful To Prosecute.”





The Endgame

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Alasdair Macloed via GoldMoney.com,

There is a growing fear in financial and monetary circles that there is something deeply wrong with the global economy. Publicly, officials and practitioners alike have become confused by policy failures, and privately, occasionally even downright pessimistic, at a loss to see a statist solution. It is hardly exaggerating to say there is a growing feeling of impending doom.

The reason this has happened is that today’s macro-economists are a failure on the one subject about which they profess to be experts: economics. Their policy recommendations have become the opposite from what logic and sound economic theory shows is the true path to economic progress. Progress is not even on their list of objectives, which fortunately for us all happens despite their interventions. The adaptability of humans in their actions has allowed progress to continue, despite all attempts to discredit markets, the clearing centres for the division of labour.

Ill-founded beliefs in the magic of unsound money have been shattered on the altar of experience. Macro-economists are discovering that the failure of monetary and fiscal planning are becoming a policy cul-de-sac that has generated a legacy of unsustainable debt. Those of us aware of a gathering financial crisis are discovering that governments have tamed only the statistics and not what they represent.

There is evidence that central bank intervention began to irrevocably distort markets from 1981, when Paul Volker raised interest rates to halt the slide in the dollar’s purchasing power. It was at that point the free market relationship between the price level and the cost of borrowing changed, evidenced by the failure of Gibson’s paradox. That was the point when central banks wrested control of prices from the market. This is explained more fully below.

The errors have been multiple. In this article I explain how and why they have arisen. This knowledge is the necessary background for an understanding of how the financial and economic crisis that increasing numbers of us expect, is likely to develop, and what action we must take as individuals to protect ourselves.

Markets versus governments

The starting point for today’s errors is the belief that markets sometimes fail, and that monetary and/or fiscal policies can steer markets towards a better outcome. The modern incarnation of this myth started with JM
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Goldman Cuts 2017 Oil Price Forecast Due To Slower Market Rebalancing

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

In yet another paradoxical move that will leave many scratching their heads, just days after throwing in the towel on its bullish dollar call (now that it expects far less rate hikes over the next year), Goldman moments ago announced that it is also cutting back on its longer-term oil price forecasts (which paradoxically are linked to a stronger dollar) for the coming year, as a result of a rebalancing that is taking far longer to take place than previously anticipated.

This is how Goldman explains its bearish pivot on crude:

The inflection phase of the oil market continues to deliver its share of surprises, with low prices driving disruptions in Nigeria, higher output in Iran and better demand. With each of these shifts significant in magnitude, the oil market has gone from nearing storage saturation to being in deficit much earlier than we expected and we are pulling forward our price forecast, with 2Q/2H16 WTI now $45/bbl and $50/bbl.

However, we expect that the return of some of these outages as well as higher Iran and Iraq production will more than offset lingering issues in Nigeria and our higher demand forecast. As a result, we now forecast a more gradual decline in inventories in 2H than previously and a return into surplus in 1Q17, with low-cost production continuing to grow in the New Oil Order. This leads us to lower our 2017 forecast with prices in 1Q17 at $45/bbl and only reaching $60/bbl by 4Q17.

We have repeatedly warned that the Saudi plan to put as many marginal shale producers out of business is badly flawed as it does not take into account the trillions in excess liquidity which central banks have flooded markets with, of which tens of billions ultimately make their way into the shale sector. Now it’s Goldman’s turn to repeat this same warning.

… while the physical barrel rebalancing has started, the structural imbalance in the capital markets remains large, with $45 bn of equity and bond issuance taking place in the US this year. As a result, we believe that the industry still has further to adjust and our updated forecast maintains the same 2016-2017 price level that we previously believed was required to finally correct both the barrel and capital imbalances, and eventually


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Zuckerberg To Meet Conservative Media Figureheads As Facebook Censorship Scandal Escalates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

After last Monday’s explosive claims published in Gizmodo, in which a former Facebook employer alleged that the “social network” has been “routinely” suppressing conservative news stories, the company and its CEO have been on the back foot defending themselves from, as expected, mostly a conservative media onslaught. In an attempt to resolve the PR crisis, Mark Zuckerberg has invited prominent conservative media figures, including Glenn Beck and Dana Perino, to a meeting at Facebook’s headquarters this week.

As CNN reports, the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday and aims at addressing the alleged suppression of conservative news stories in Facebook’s “trending” stories section.

Along with Perino and Beck, other confirmed attendees include Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, CNN conservative commentator SE Cupp, and Zac Moffatt, co-founder of tech firm Targeted Victory. Moffatt was previously Mitt Romney’s digital director.

“I’m going in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn more,” Cupp said. “Conservatives and Silicon Valley actually come down on the same side of many issues and share some common concerns. I’m sure we’ll find plenty to talk about, and I’m honored to have been included.”

Cupp sounds like the kind of guy who if he were an analyst, would start every question to management team with “great quarter guys…” no matter how atrocious the results.

As for Zuckerberg, we are confused why not merely show evidence that the alleged censorship never took place instead of needing to massage the messengers, in this case some of the more prominent conservative names. Last Thursday, Zuckerberg said in a blog post that he would invite “leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum” to talk with him about the controversy.

While hopefully not nearly in awe of Zuckerberg as a smitten Cupp, Glenn Beck wrote on Facebook early Sunday morning that “Mark wanted to meet with 8 or ten of us to explain what happened and assure us that it won’t happen again,” adding that he plans to attend.

Referring to Zuckerberg, he said, “It would be interesting to look him in the eye as he explains and a win for all voices if we can come to a place of real trust with this powerful tool.” It is unclear if this is a preview to…
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FBI Agents Busted For Planting Hidden Surveillance Microphones In Public Places

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

When a reporter for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command interviewed Frank Zappa for the commands news syndicate, the story was held by a superior who demanded that Zappa – who had been rather hard on the army – answer one more question: just who does he think will defend the country without the army?

Zappa’s reply: “From what? The biggest threat to America today is it’s own federal government…. Will the Army protect anybody from the FBI? The IRS? The CIA? The Republican Party? The Democratic Party?….The biggest dangers we face today don’t even need to sneak past our billion dollar defense system….they issue the contracts for them.” The interview was not run.

*Note: It’s uncertain whether the above exchange ever took place, since the interview was never run. Nevertheless, the point is clear, instructive and serves as the perfect introduction for this post, whether the words were actually said or not.

One of the greatest afflictions affecting these United States at the moment is the general public’s overwhelming gullibility when it comes to government. You may think this sounds insane given surveys that consistently show Congress with a less than 10% approval rating, but I think this clouds the fact that most people have yet to accept just how completely corrupt and authoritarian government has actually become.

I don’t mean for this to become some sort of big rant against government in general. Our founders set up a brilliant system which has served the country well for over two centuries. What people seem to forget is our system of government wasn’t set up to create a new set of parental authority figures for the public. The entire intent behind the Constitution was to create a series of checks and balances to restrain government from becoming too powerful and working against the interests of the public. Government’s primary role in America is supposed to be to protect the Constitution and defend the cherished civil liberties defined within it. In 2016, it does precisely opposite.

Our government isn’t just corrupt though. Indeed, the primary function of government at the moment is to protect status quo criminals from the public, not the other way around. This is why the rich and powerful are never held to account, which is in turn why it continues to…
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Libya’s Central Bank Has $184 Million In Gold In Its Vault… It Just Doesn’t Know The Combination

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Imagine a world in which the chief of a central bank didn’t have access to cash.

Libyans waited to withdraw money from an ATM. A currency shortage has roiled the country, which is struggling with an Islamic State insurgency

Now stop imagining and take a look at the situation in Libya, where the central bank chief sits in Eastern Libya, while the headquarters is further West in Tripoli, and despite Tripoli sending $23.5 million each month to Eastern Libya, it’s only a fraction of what central bank governor Ali El Hibri says is needed to pay the bills ($257 million to be exact).

The situation becomes even more strange when the fact that Eastern Libya actually does have a significant amount of gold and silver that it could use to sell and convert to cash, but it’s in a vault that requires a five-number access code that nobody seems to have. Nobody that is, except for El Hibri’s counterparts in Tripoli that is, and they won’t give the code out.

Such is life now in Libya since Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed in 2011. Eastern and Western Libya is divided into two rival governments, and even the central bankers aren’t working together to solve issues.

It’s alleged that the vault has roughly $184 million worth of gold and silver within its walls, and El Hibri isn’t going to wait for his colleagues in Tripoli to have a change of heart before he can get to it. While El Hibri waits for a shipment of fresh currency from a foreign printing house to come in, totaling close to $3 billion, the central bank chief has tasked a pair of safe crackers, consisting of one engineer and one  locksmith, to break into the vault and retrieve the coins.

Although the coins apparently have Gaddafi’s face on them, El Hibri has already worked a solution to that little issue by already agreeing to liquidate the treasure through gold and silver merchants provided they melt Gaddafi’s likeness off. 

The gold and silver coins were minted in 1979 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Gaddafi’s rise to power. One side depicts the Italian-built colonial-era fortress in the southern city of Sabha where Gaddafi gave his first speech announcing
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Ludwig von Mises’ Top 9 Quotes On Gold

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via The Mises Institute,

From The Quotable Mises, Ludwig von Mises’s best nine quotes on gold and the gold standard:

1. Every nation, whether rich or poor, powerful or feeble, can at any hour once again adopt the gold standard.

Source: Omnipotent Government

2. The gold standard has one tremendous virtue: the quantity of the money supply, under the gold standard, is independent of the policies of governments and political parties. This is its advantage. It is a form of protection against spendthrift governments.

Source: Economic Policy

3. The gold standard alone makes the determination of money’s purchasing power independent of the ambitions and machinations of governments, of dictators, of political parties, and of pressure groups. The gold standard alone is what the nineteenth-century freedom-loving leaders (who championed representative government, civil liberties, and prosperity for all) called “sound money.”

Source: Planning for Freedom

4. Men have chosen the precious metals gold and silver for the money service on account of their mineralogical, physical, and chemical features. The use of money in a market economy is a praxeologically necessary fact. That gold — and not something else — is used as money is merely a historical fact and as such cannot be conceived by catallactics.

Source: Human Action

5. All those intent upon sabotaging the evolution toward welfare, peace, freedom, and democracy loathed the gold standard, and not only on account of its economic significance. In their eyes the gold standard was the labarum, the symbol, of all those doctrines and policies they wanted to destroy.

Source: Human Action

6. The return to gold does not depend on the fulfillment of some material condition. It is an ideological problem. It presupposes only one thing: the abandonment of the illusion that increasing the quantity of money creates prosperity.

Source: Economic Freedom and Interventionism

7. The gold standard did not collapse. Governments abolished it in order to pave the way for inflation. The whole grim apparatus of oppression and coercion — policemen, customs guards, penal courts, prisons, in some countries even executioners — had to be put into action in order to destroy the gold standard. Solemn pledges were broken, retroactive laws were promulgated, provisions of constitutions and bills of rights were openly defied. And hosts of servile…
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“It’s Pretty Much Open Season” – Shoplifting Runs Rampant In California After Rule Changes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

It turns out that thieves are smarter than politicians give them credit for, and thanks to Proposition 47 that passed in late 2014, this is something California is learning the hard way.

Proposition 47 downgraded drug possession and some theft crimes to misdemeanors in order to reduce prison and jail populations, and on that score, the referendum was successful.

However, as with most other targeted laws, Proposition 47 had other unintended consequences that were not considered.

Now that any theft below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor, thus ending the possibility of charging those cases as a felony with a potential prison sentence, shoplifting has increased significantly, thus adding to the expense and headache for large and small retailers alike.

Safeway, Target, Rite Aide and CVS say shoplifting has increased at least 15 percent, and in some cases, has doubled since voters approved Proposition 47, and preliminary FBI crime reports show a 12 percent spike in larceny-theft since the measure was passed. In spite of that, Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom says it's too early to determine if those numbers had anything to do with Proposition 47.

Well, it may be too early for Lofstrom to tell, but even the police are admitting it is no longer worth it to them to chase misdemeanor theft; "It's not worth it to issue a citation or arrest a suspect who would likely be immediately released because of overcrowding" said Fresno Police Sgt. Mark Hudson.

Small business owner Perry Lutz is seeing first hand what is happening, as his HobbyTown USA is experiencing what he refers to as open season on the drones and other remote controlled toys he sells.

"It's pretty much open season. They'll pick up the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door."

It's gotten to the point where thieves are even using calculators to make sure they aren't committing a felony according to Sacramento County assistant district attorney Robin Shakely: "We've heard of cases where they're going into stores with a calculator so they can make sure that what they steal is worth less
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ValueWalk

#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...



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Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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