Author Archive for ilene

Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership

 

Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership

A.G. Sanders with penicillin extraction equipment. Image reproduced with permission of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Author provided

Courtesy of Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to them. This includes rethinking our reliance on private companies and establishing public ownership of crucial parts of the antibiotic pipeline.

Since the 1930s, antibiotics have transformed the way we treat diseases, ranging from syphilis to typhoid. They have enabled increasingly complex forms of surgery and organ transplantation. They have protected people with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, from life-threatening infections. And they have facilitated the industrialisation of global food production. So important have antibiotics become that some researchers compare them to essential infrastructure, such as hospitals and ambulance services.

But this infrastructure is at risk. After decades of increasing use, our antibiotic workhorses are worn out. The reason for this is natural selection: every use of an antibiotic can select for bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics’ effects. Because their competitors are killed by antibiotics, these resistant bacteria can proliferate rapidly and pass on their resistance genes to their offspring and often to other, unrelated bacteria. Over the last 80 years, human antibiotic use has selected for microbial populations that are increasingly effective at resisting our drugs.

Penicillium mould producing spores. Wellcome Collection, CC BY

Antibiotic development has not kept pace with this rapid microbial evolution. After a golden age of innovation between the 1930s and 1970s, the 1980s saw global investment in antibiotic research and development (R&D) stall – just when old scourges, such as tuberculosis and typhoid were becoming harder to treat. The reason for this…
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How rich people like Gordon Sondland buy their way to being US ambassadors – 4 questions answered

 

How rich people like Gordon Sondland buy their way to being US ambassadors – 4 questions answered

Some positions attract more political appointments – like those in Western Europe. Markus Pfaff/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Dennis Jett, Pennsylvania State University

In every other developed democratic country, the role of ambassador, with only very rare exceptions, is given to career diplomats who have spent decades learning the art of international relations.

In the U.S., however, many ambassadors are untrained in diplomacy, and have simply bought their way into a prestigious post.

The involvement of the American ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, in the Ukraine scandal has prompted interest in the media and Congress in the role of non-career ambassadors like him.

On Oct. 30, U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from California, introduced legislation that would require at least 70% of a president’s ambassadorial appointments to come from the ranks of career Foreign Service officers and civil servants.

Career appointees have to spend decades working their way up through the ranks in government before being nominated, as I did before becoming ambassador in Mozambique and later in Peru.

Bera’s bill likely does not have the support in Congress to ever be enacted. More importantly, it does not address what I think is the real problem with political appointee ambassadors. That is the selling of the title in exchange for campaign contributions to people who are clearly unqualified for the job.

While this is a time-honored practice used by presidents of both parties, it has arguably gotten worse under the Trump administration.

Gordon Sondland, left, walks to a secure area of the Capitol to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

1. Who picks ambassadors?

The Constitution says nothing about the qualifications required to be an ambassador. All it says is the president can appoint them with the advice and consent of the Senate.

In other words, a president can appoint whoever he wants for whatever reason he wants.

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As Fed Pumps $3 Trillion into Repo Market, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Practice Borrowing from the Fed’s Discount Window

Courtesy of Pam Martens

James Gorman (left) Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley; David Solomon (right) Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

James Gorman (left) Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley; David Solomon (right) Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

Last week, Jim Grant, the Editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, was interviewed by CNBC’s Rick Santelli. Grant said that since September 17, the Fed has pumped “upwards of $3 trillion” in repo loans to Wall Street. Santelli asked if the Fed had effectively nationalized the repo market. Grant said “there is no more price discovery and we are dealing with administered rates.”

For the first time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been pumping out hundreds of billions of dollars each week to trading houses on Wall Street in order to provide liquidity to the repo (repurchase agreement) market where financial institutions make collateralized, overnight loans to each other. Liquidity had dried up in this market to the point that on September 17 overnight lending rates spiked from the typical 2 percent to 10 percent. The Fed then turned on its money spigot and brought the rate back down. But even after the rate went back down, the New York Fed has continued making these massive loans, raising fears on Wall Street about what is really going on behind the scenes.

Thus far, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has tried to peddle the narrative that the Fed is just making “technical” adjustments through its open market operations rather than launching another massive bailout program to Wall Street. Congress has failed to conduct one hearing on the serious matter, even as the program has grown. Just last Thursday the Fed announced that in addition to its daily offering of $120 billion in overnight loans and twice-weekly offering of $35 billion in 14-day loans, it will be adding three more term loans over the next month, totaling $55 billion in 28-day and 42-day term loans.

There is some evidence residing quietly on the Federal Reserve’s web site that it has been planning for the next Wall Street crisis since at least August 11, 2011. That’s when Morgan Stanley Bank NA shows up as a borrower at the Discount Window of the New York Fed, receiving a $1 million overnight loan at the rate of…
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NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

 

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

Courtesy of , Wall Street Examiner

Here’s today’s press release (11/14/19) from the NY Fed verbatim. They’ve announced that they will be making special holiday welfare payments to the Primary Dealers this Christmas season. I have highlighted the relevant text.

The Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the schedule of repurchase agreement (repo) operations for the monthly period from November 15, 2019 through December 12, 2019. In accordance with the most recent FOMC directive, the Desk will continue to offer at least $35 billion in two-week term repo operations twice per week and at least $120 billion in daily overnight repo operations.

The Desk will also offer three additional term repo operations during this calendar period with longer maturities that extend past the end of 2019. These additional operations are intended to help offset the reserve effects of sharp increases in non-reserve liabilities later this year and ensure that the supply of reserves remains ample during the period through year end. They are also intended to mitigate the risk of money market pressures that could adversely affect policy implementation. The Desk will adjust the timing and amounts of repo operations as necessary to maintain an ample supply of reserve balances over time and based on money market conditions, consistent with the directive from the FOMC.

Detailed information on the schedule and parameters of term and overnight repurchase agreement operations are provided on the Repurchase Agreement Operational Details site.

NY Fed Department of Welfare and Mendicant Services

The Fed will offer the dealers AT LEAST $120 Billion per day in overnight repos. It will offer AT LEAST $35 billion in 8, 13-15 day term repo operations. And it will offer a total of AT LEAST $55 Billion in special Christmas Giving Financing, which will almost certainly never need to be paid back.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, the Fed is effectively monetizing the Federal Budget Deficit, dollar for dollar. In addition, it is ensuring that the Dealers can carry their bloated, overstuffed inventory of Treasuries until hell freezes over, and will never,…
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VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically very low level is usually associated with an extreme peak in price.  Throughout history, after the VIX has collapsed to these types of low price levels, the markets have a tendency to revert/correct in ranges that are typically in excess of 3.5% to 5.5%. In some cases, these corrections have been as large as 11% to 18% or more.


Current Continous VIX Price Chart

The current VIX level, near 12, is near the lowest historical levels of the past 12 months.  Every time the VIX has fallen to near these levels, a peak in price has set up within just a few days potentially.  Each time this setup has occurred, the price has rotated/corrected downward by at least 5.5%.  Is that about to happen again in the US markets?


Custom Market Cap Index

Our custom Market Cap Index is also suggesting a market peak has setup and that price may likely revert to lower levels. Historically, when the price reaches these extreme price ranges, a rotation/reversion price event takes place.  We believe a price reversion may be setting up in the US/Global markets that traders may not be prepared for.  The current rally in the US stock market suggests a broader market rotation may take place.  This suggests a deeper reversion event may be setting…
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What is an oligarch?

 

What is an oligarch?

Boris Yeltsin shakes hands with Russia’s most powerful businessmen in Moscow. AP Photo

Courtesy of Joel Samuels, University of South Carolina

With the impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump under way, several American diplomats and ambassadors have testified about the influence of oligarchs on the Trump administration.

I am a scholar of international law who has been working in the Soviet and post-Soviet space since the early 1990s. As the impeachment hearings in Washington take center stage and talk turns to the politics of Ukraine, I believe it’s important to understand what oligarchs are and what power they wield.

The history of oligarchs

Over 2,300 years ago, Aristotle coined the term oligarchy as he contemplated the forms of state governance.

Aristotle coined the term ‘oligarch.’ Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

Like aristocracy, oligarchy meant rule by the few, as contrasted with democracy, which is rule by the people. From Aristotle’s time until the early 1990s, the concept of an oligarchy – and oligarchs – largely remained the stuff of academic writing.

But with the breakup of the Soviet Union, a new group of actors emerged. In the early 1990s, these men ate lavish meals in the newest hotels and built massive houses on the outskirts of Moscow. They mostly were young players in the financial sector who were able to finance Russia’s first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin.

These oligarchs were not formally part of the government. They were private individuals who benefited from government connections to amass huge wealth in short periods.

This wealth came from the privatization of state enterprises, a process developed and driven by American and Western European academics.

Oligarchs today

I covered the role of organized crime in Russia in the early 1990s and witnessed firsthand the transfer of wealth from the state to a handful of individuals, all of whom had ties to Russia’s leaders.

By…
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Cities and states take up the battle for an open internet

 

Cities and states take up the battle for an open internet

Communities across the U.S. are taking network construction into their own hands. T.Dallas/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of David Elliot Berman, University of Pennsylvania and Victor Pickard, University of Pennsylvania

Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon are free to slow down, block or prioritize internet traffic as they wish, without interference by the federal government. That’s the effect of an October ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a 2017 ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that reversed rules requiring what is called “net neutrality” – treating all internet traffic equally, regardless of where it’s from or what kind of data it is.

Giving corporate telecom giants this power is wildly unpopular among the American people, who know that these companies have overcharged customers and interfered with users’ internet access in the past.

However, people who advocate for an open internet, free of corporate roadblocks, might find solace in another aspect of the court’s ruling: States and local governments may be able to mandate their own net neutrality rules.

The effort is underway

Governors in six states – Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – have already signed executive orders enforcing net neutrality by prohibiting state agencies from doing business with internet service providers that limit customers’ online access. Four states have passed their own laws requiring internet companies to treat all online content equally: California, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. A New Hampshire bill is in the works.

More than 100 mayors representing both large urban centers such as San Francisco and small cities such as Edmond, Oklahoma, have pledged not to sign contracts with internet service providers that violate net neutrality.

These mayors are leveraging the lucrative contracts that their municipalities have with internet providers to wire public schools, libraries and local government buildings to pressure these companies into observing net neutrality throughout the city.

The emerging patchwork of local- and state-level net neutrality legislation could help ensure that millions of Americans have access to an open internet. However, people living outside of…
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When Oil Collapses Below $40 What Happens? PART III

Courtesy of Technical Traders

This, the final section of this multi-part research article, will continue our exploration of the consequences that may result from our ADL predictive modeling system’s suggestion that Oil may continue to fall to levels below $40 over the next few months. 

In Part I and Part II, we’ve highlighted what we believe to be very compelling evidence that any continue oil price decline from current levels may be setting up the global markets for a massively volatile price reversion – similar to what happened in 1929. 

Prior to the stock market collapse in 1929 and the start of the Great Depression, commodity prices collapsed in 1921 and again in 1930.  This commodity price collapse was the result of over-supply and a dramatic change in investor mentality.  The shift away from tangible items and real successful investing/manufacturing and towards speculation in the housing markets and stock market.

Today, we want to focus on some of the core elements of our current global economic structure to attempt to present any more compelling evidence of a commodity collapse event that may happen after the past 7+ years of a massive credit market expansion event.  Allow us to briefly cover the events of the past 20 years.

1999: the DOT COM bubble burst after a mild recession in 1993-94 and a stock market rally from 1996 to 1999

September 11, 2001: Terrorist Attack on US soil.  Shocked the world and global stock markets.  Sent the world’s economy into severe contraction. US Fed lowered interest rates from 6.25% to 1.0% from 2001 to 2003.

2004-06: US Fed begins raising rates from 1.0% and gradually increased rates to 5.25% in August 2006: +525%.  Pushing the US credit market, and housing market, over the edge and starting the 2008 Credit Crisis.

2007-2008: US Fed lowered interest rates to near ZERO over a very short 16-month span of time as the US Credit Crisis event unfolded. 

2009-15: US Fed continued to keep interest rates near zero throughout this time-frame and continued to pump capital in the global capital markets with multiple QE and debt buying events.  Other global central banks followed…
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Record Gold ETF Outflow

Courtesy of Technical Traders


Join me at the Wealth Building Newsletter today!

Chris Vermeulen





The Stuff You Cannot Miss

 

The Stuff You Cannot Miss

Courtesy of 

I just wanted to wrap the week up with a few links because I’ve been reading so much great stuff and I didn’t want you to miss any of these…

Nick Maggiulli went long-form on why it’s so easy for people to be tricked by anecdotes and information derived from small sample size research:

It’s easy to poke fun at humans for their reliance on small sample sizes when making decisions, but this criticism fails to recognize our ancestral environment.  We evolved in a world where making sure you had a sufficient sample size before making a decision was not necessary to pass on your genes.  In fact, waiting for a sufficient sample size would most certainly lead to the opposite result—your extinction.

Read it:

N = 1 (Of Dollars and Data)

Morgan Housel on why economic history keeps repeating (or rhyming):

only seven plots exist in the history of fictional storytelling: 1. Overcoming Monsters, 2. Rags to Riches, 3. The Quest, 4. Voyage and Return, 5. Rebirth, 6. Comedy, and 7. Tragedy.

It’s not that all stories are the same. It’s that the plots that make good stories are less diverse than the characters and scenes that populate good stories.

And what is economics if not an exercise in narratives and belief systems?

Read it:

Common Plots of Economic History (Collab Fund)

I got a question this week from a prospective client about the long-term problem of increasing US debt. I gave a decent answer, but Ben Carlson really went above and beyond here to explain the current situation and put it into context. You will be sharing this for a long time to come.

If you want to get people worked up about the financial system the easiest thing to do is mention debt.

It could be U.S. national debt (clocking in at a whopping $23 trillion).

Student loan debt is, of course, another favorite that gets people worked


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Phil's Favorites

Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership

 

Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership

A.G. Sanders with penicillin extraction equipment. Image reproduced with permission of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Author provided

Courtesy of Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, ...



more from Ilene

Zero Hedge

Aramco Scraps US And London IPO Roadshows Amid Too Many "Uncertainties" 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Saudi Aramco has withdrawn from IPO roadshows in the US and London after it's likely they don't want to disclose oil reserve totals to Western banks and regulators. 

Meanwhile, it's becoming a giant circle-jerk for the Saudis, the IPO is expected to list on the Tadawul exchange, while the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) is expected to double the amount it would lend out to domestic "buyers" for IPO purchases, reported Bloomberg.  ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Dow Megaphone Breakout Continues, As It Tests 77-Year Breakout Level

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

I’ve heard many times over the past 39-years I’ve been in the financial services business that charts have memories? Is it true they do? Is it possible that they have very long-term memories?

This theory looks to be put to a big test by the chart above, which looks at the Dow Jones Industrial Index since 1910.

The Dow has spent the majority of the past 77-years, inside of rising channel (1). While inside of this channel, it looks to have created two very long-term megaphone patterns.

It broke above the first megaphone pattern in the early 1980s, where ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

 

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

Courtesy of , Wall Street Examiner

Here’s today’s press release (11/14/19) from the NY Fed verbatim. They’ve announced that they will be making special holiday welfare payments to the Primary Dealers this Christmas season. I have highlighted the relevant text.

The Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the schedule of repurchase agreement (repo)...



more from Lee

The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Insider Scoop

HP Rejects Xerox's Buyout Offer: Experts Debate What's Next

Courtesy of Benzinga

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) rejected Xerox Holdings Corp (NYSE: XRX)'s $33-billion takeout offer Sunday, and experts are divided on what will occur next in the ongoing saga between two tech...



http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

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

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Chart School

Dow Jones cycle update and are we there yet?

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Today the Dow and the SP500 are making new all time highs. However all long and strong bull markets end on a new all time high. Today no one knows how many new all time highs are to go, maybe 1 or 100+ more to go, who knows! So are we there yet?

readtheticker.com combine market tools from Richard Wyckoff, Jim Hurst and William Gann to understand and forecast price action. In concept terms (in order), demand and supply, market cycles, and time to price analysis. 

Cycle are excellent to understand the wider picture, after all markets do not move in a straight line and bear markets do follow bull markets. 



CHART 1: The Dow Jones Industrial average with the 900 period cycle.

A) Red Cycle:...

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Digital Currencies

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

 

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

Courtesy of 

As part of Coindesk’s popup podcast series centered around today’s Invest conference, I answered a few questions for Nolan Bauerly about Bitcoin from a wealth management perspective. I decided in December of 2017 that investing directly into crypto currencies was unnecessary and not a good use of a portfolio’s allocation slots. I remain in this posture today but I am openminded about how this may change in the future.

You can listen to this short exchange below:

...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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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.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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