Posts Tagged ‘Barry Ritholtz’

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged “American Values”

Mish is on fire today with excellent posts. Here, Mish reports on the horrifying story of what the CIA did in kidnapping the wrong man, a German citizen Khalid El-Masri, and the CIA’s subsequent torture and abuse of him. Our court system failed too, citing "national security" grounds to throw out Khalid El-Masri’s case against the CIA.  (Sounds like a specious excuse to me as sensitive information wouldn’t have to be made public.) – Ilene 

Kidnapping, Torture, and Reflections on Alleged "American Values"

Courtesy of Mish 

I do not agree with using torture, nor do I believe the end justifies the means. The problem with both is that others can act the same way.

If the US can torture to extract vital information, then why can’t Iran and every other country on the planet?

It is pure hypocrisy to think that the US has a monopoly on "justified torture". Indeed, there is no such thing as "justified torture".

This has been my position forever. I bring it up because of a post Barry Ritholtz made yesterday stipulating “Torture didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information”

“Torture [at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp] didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information. Everyone [at the CIA] was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.” – Glenn L. Carle, a retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002

“The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003. It took years of collection and analysis from many different sources to develop the case that enabled us to identify this compound, and reach a judgment that Bin Laden was likely to be living there.” – Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled interrogators about the courier’s identity. …

Barry Ritholtz went on to say "Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value — it is an American value."

I sure wish Barry was correct. Sadly he is not, at least right now. Both president Bush and president Obama have condoned torture.

Moreover, President Obama had a campaign pledge to shut Guantanamo Bay. Sadly, I report Guantanamo Bay is still in operation. On March 8, 2011, the Irish Times noted Guantánamo trials freeze lifted

Hina Shamsi,


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The Left Right Paradigm is Over: It’s You vs. Corporations

This is an excellent essay by Barry on the state of politics and the petty and even false distinctions between our republican and democrat rulers. – Ilene 

The Left Right Paradigm is Over: It’s You vs. Corporations

By Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture 

Excerpt:

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two “interest groups” – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

Full article here: www.ritholtz.com


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More Thoughts on Larry Summers’ Goodbye

Barry Ritholtz discusses Larry Summers’ departure on Fast Money.


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The ECRI Weekly Leading Index

The ECRI Weekly Leading Index 

Courtesy of Doug Short 

Today the Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) registered negative growth for the 14th consecutive week, coming in at -10.1, a fractional improvement over last week’s -10.2, which was a downward revision from -10.1. So this index has essentially hovered around -10.1 for the past five weeks. The latest weekly number is based on data through September 3.

The rate of decline from the peak in October 2009 is unprecedented in the Institute’s published data back to 1967. Recently, however, the Institute has disclosed that two earlier decades of data not available to the general public contained comparable declines in WLI growth (in 1951 and 1966) when no recession followed (HT Barry Ritholtz).

The Published Record

The ECRI WLI growth metric has had a respectable (but by no means perfect) record for forecasting recessions. The next chart shows the correlation between the WLI, GDP and recessions.

A significant decline in the WLI has been a leading indicator for six of the seven recessions since the 1960s. It lagged one recession (1981-1982) by nine weeks. The WLI did turn negative 17 times when no recession followed, but 14 of those declines were only slightly negative (-0.1 to -2.4) and most of them reversed after relatively brief periods.

Three of the false negatives were deeper declines. The Crash of 1987 took the Index negative for 68 weeks with a trough of -6.8. The Financial Crisis of 1998, which included the collapse of Long Term Capital Management, took the Index negative for 23 weeks with a trough of -4.5.

The third significant false negative came near the bottom of the bear market of 2000-2002, about nine months after the brief recession of 2001. At the time, the WLI seemed to be signaling a double-dip recession, but the economy and market accelerated in tandem in the spring of 2003, and a recession was avoided.

The Latest WLI Decline

The question, of course, is whether the latest WLI decline is a leading indicator of a recession or a false negative. The published index has never dropped to the current level without the onset of a recession. The deepest decline without a near-term recession was in the…
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Grading Financial Regulatory Reform

Grading Financial Regulatory Reform

By Barry Ritholtz 

This morning, we learned of a huge compromise in regulatory reform. The expectation was that no one was happy with the bill, but the politicians, who all get to go home to the voters and say “Well, at least we passed something.”

Overall, I give this a C minus: There are simply too many Fs to give them a much higher grade. Let’s look at what was passed and grade each section of reform:

TOO BIG TO FAIL:  Grade: F

The new regulation does not directly address either the repeal of Glass Steagall or TBTF. The crisis legacy is a financial services sector that is highly concentrated with dramatically reduced competition. The six largest financial firms — combined assets: $9.4 trillion — will still dominate the industry.  Too-Big-to-Fail remains the law of the land.

More here.> 


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Another Blown Crisis Triggers a Classic TBP Post

Another Blown Crisis Triggers a Classic TBP Post

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Take the 5 to 10 minutes necessary to read Barry Ritholtz’s version of how Obama’s Oval Office address should have gone (link below).

ripped the address to shreds an hour after it aired as I found the President uninspiring, incredibly non-specific and completely unaware of how much power comes to the Chief in times of crisis.

This President has a chance to make sweeping energy, regulatory and campaign finance reforms now.  Like, today.  His address the other night tells us that he has no such inclinations.

Barry has a list of initiatives that should have been front and center and it’s an instant classic post.  Many of them are idealistic, but you gotta aim high if you want to save the democracy.

Me, I’m a bit more cynical.  I’d say the downfall of our country can be neatly summed up in the image below and everything it represents…

OK, enough of that.  Here’s how The Big Picture would’ve tackled this crisis and moment in time…

Missed Opportunity: BP Gulf of Mexico Disaster (TBP)


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Are the Losses of Fannie and Freddie Now “National Policy”?

Are the Losses of Fannie and Freddie Now "National Policy"?

Courtesy of Trader Mark, Fund My Mutual Fund 

fannie and freddieBarry Ritholtz and Dean Baker discuss a concept I’ve advanced – effectively Fannie and Freddie (or as we call them around here, FanFredron) are being run for loss to create a false housing economy via subsidization. They do put forth an additional point that I have not harped on as much: one added benefit of this ‘policy’ is our financial oligarchs win…. again.

If we ever do get back to a world where the private sector is truly a part of financing the housing market it is going to be mighty interesting to see what true mortgage rates will settle at, now that ‘strategic default’ is part of the American lexicon. The higher risks involved will create an increase in costs to every future mortgage due to this exciting new fad. But with government now supporting some 95%+ of all financing this is an issue that won’t face us for many years. Thankfully the government does not price in any risk and gleefully backs mortgages of almost any kind (still). Until some far in the future reform date, more below market rates offered by the 2 institutions that can gladly lose money forever – ponzi style.

(Amazing fact I heard the other day, Fannie Mae has lost more money the past 2 years than it made the previous 30 years. Chew on that for a moment before you move onto the next paragraph. Thankfully there is no such thing as a clawback in corporate America.)

6 minute video

 

The Senate on Tuesday rejected a Republican sponsored measure that would effectively cut off support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in two years. The government-sponsored enterprises, now in conservatorship, have already cost the government about $145 billion.

And there’s no limit to how much more they can ask for for the next two years!

Fannie Mae lost $11.5 billion in the first quarter while Freddie Mac lost more…
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The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Know Sh*t About Securities Law or the Goldman Case- with Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture

The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Know Sh*t About Securities Law or the Goldman Case- with Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture

Lady justice with scales

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman at Wall St. Cheat Sheet

Last week Barry Ritholtz had an excellent post 10 Things You Don’t Know (or were misinformed) About the GS Case in which Barry noted that 99% of the mainstream media commentary regarding the strength of the SEC’s case is, of course, completely uninformed conjecture.

I sat down with Barry, who is a lawyer with experience in securities law, to get an insightful take on the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs (GS):

Damien Hoffman: Barry, what annoys you most regarding the media’s commentary on the Goldman case?

Barry: The rule on securities fraud and misrepresentation is straight forward. You cannot make material misrepresentations when selling a security. You can’t say black when it’s white. You can’t say up when it’s down. John Paulson can’t say he’s long 200 million when he’s short 200 million. You just can’t and yet that’s what was done.

It doesn’t matter if Goldman lost money. So what? You can lose money. If I rear-ended a guy with my car and banged up my fender, I lose money. It has nothing to do with fault or guilt. State of mind on all that other stuff is irrelevant. The question is whether Goldman is guilty of committing some form of violation of these rules. It’s either yes or no. It’s amazing people get it so very wrong.

Damien: Which people or publications got it very wrong?

Barry: There are a lot. But, for example, the New York Times got it wrong when they talked about the loss. Market Watch got it wrong when they talked about “Mens Rea” which is mental state. There are just a few who got it wrong and misinformed the public.

You don’t have to be a specialist in this area. You just have to understand that there’s certain specifics of securities rules and litigation. If you are not familiar with that area, then, as I mentioned, pour yourself a big glass of shut-the-fuck-up and sit quietly in the corner.

At first, Jim Cramer, who’s usually smarter than this, lost his objectivity and said, “Goldman lost $90 million, how can there be a crime.” Are these people trying to put forth the legal standard that anyone…
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Rally in 6th Inning or Top of the 12th?

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Rally in 6th Inning or Top of the 12th?

Courtesy of Mish

Without a doubt, the strength and duration of the rally from the March low has surprised many people, me included. Inquiring minds are wondering "Is there still 1/3 more to come?"

Barry Ritholtz makes the case the Rally May Only Be in 6th or 7th Inning.

Noted bear Barry Ritholtz of Fusion IQ has been bullish on the market since March. Stocks have clawed their way back above 1,000 for the S&P 500 and the question remains: How much more to go?

"There’s nothing in the technicals that we look at that tell us we’re done," says Ritholtz, who authors the popular blog, The Big Picture. "Based on history, which is no guarantee, we could be in the sixth or seventh inning of this rally, which means there still could be a ways to go."

But there are caveats including stubbornly cautious investor sentiment. Let’s face it: A lot of us are on the sidelines (in cash), waiting for a shoe to drop.

two sides to coinTwo Sides To The Coin

Actually it’s somewhat of a mistake to call Ritholtz a "noted bear" given that he is not perpetually bearish. He is a trader willing to play on both sides of the fence. Moreover, Ritholtz is certainly correct that there are many chart patterns that technically look good.

However, the opinion that the market can and will continue to rise is becoming ever more widespread, and ironically the bulls ALL say the same thing, namely "everybody else is bearish".

Mutual fund (MuFu) managers are not bearish, that much is certain. At 4.2%, the the MuFu cash-to-assets ratio is one of the lowest in history, in fact lower than at the 2000 top, and only a hair above the 2007 low. Those stats (from a friend) are from July. Given the continued rally, MuFu cash on hand has probably decreased even more in August.

The Dow’s dividend yield is now at the level of the the 1968 top and the September 1929 top. Good luck with that!

printing moneyEven if the bearish case suffers from residual skepticism and a few ‘underinvested’ hedge funds, it can not be said that the bullish case rests on any solid ground either. The rally is based


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Chart Junkie: Gold from Several Perspectives and Unemployment

Chart Junkie: Gold from Several Perspectives and Unemployment

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman at Wall St. Cheat Sheet  

Chart Junkie

 

Gold long term

“The Professor” Corey Rosenbloom at Afraid to Trade offers us a longer term look at Gold. Although it’s breaking out on the shorter-term charts, the chart above clearly indicates there exists resistance above which must be cleared for the next bull rally to run. (Source: Afraid to Trade)

gold in currencies 9-4-09_small

Gold Priced in Multiple Currencies

Precision Capital Management offers a very interesting look at Gold priced in multiple currencies. They state: “Gold is one of the leading indicators we follow at our website.  Everyone seems to have noticed the spike up this week in gold, but how do we determine if the move is real, or merely a fakeout?  To confirm that gold is advancing on its own merits as part of a longer term move, which is not the result solely of US Dollar weakness, we want to see confirmation of an up move in gold priced in other currencies.  Above shows gold priced in the Canadian Dollar (CAD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Japanese Yen (JPY), and the Euro (EUR).  When gold began its last advance in November 2008, the move was confirmed by higher lows in the commodity currencies of the CAD and AUD, as well as the EUR (even though there were lower lows in the JPY and USD gold).  Eventually, there were higher lows in the JPY and USD gold at the beginning of December 2008.  Accordingly, for the gold bull case, early confirmation would be to see current lows in AUD, CAD and EUR gold respected on the first pullback (especially in the former two as they are commodity currencies), preferably accompanied with a break through overhead resistance.” (Source: Precision Capital Management

Gold with Fibonacci Indicators

Gold with Fibonacci Indicators

Our partners over at RatioTrading bring us yet our third and final perspective on Gold: “As demonstrated in this chart, Gold has historically respected key Fibonacci Ratio levels and with Gold retesting all time highs, where could it be headed?  Well as we look historically over the past year or so we see that in many instances when the GLD broke out and made a new low, it went right to either a 1.272 Fibonacci extension ($73)…
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Zero Hedge

Chinese Soldiers Deployed Onto Street Of Hong Kong To "Help Clean Up"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Dozens of People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were spotted on the streets of Hong Kong's Kowloon Tong neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, cleaning up bricks and roadblocks left behind by pro-democracy protestors, according to broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). 

Chinese People's Liberation Army (#PLA) soldiers in shorts and t-shirts...



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Phil's Favorites

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 ...



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The Technical Traders

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 ...



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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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Insider Scoop

Glass House Group Appoints Graham Farrar As President

Courtesy of Benzinga

Glass House Group, a California-based cannabis and hemp company, earlier this week appointed Graham Farrar as president.

In his new role, Graham will oversee the company’s short and long-term business strategies, budgets and operations, and report up to Glass House Group CEO Kyle Kazan.

A long-time entrepreneur and an original team member of both Sonos (NASDAQ: SONO...



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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver Testing This Support For The First Time In 8-Years!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Its been a good while since Silver bulls could say that it is testing support. Well, this week that can be said! Will this support test hold? Silver Bulls sure hope so!

This chart looks at Silver Futures over the past 10-years. Silver has spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of the pink shaded falling channel, as it has created lower highs and lower lows.

Silver broke above the top of this falling channel around 90-days ago at (1). It quickly rallied over 15%, before creating a large bearish reversal pattern, around 5-weeks after the bre...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Today's Fed POMO TOMO FOMC Alphabet Soup Unspin

Courtesy of Lee Adler

But make no mistake, if the Fed wants money rates to stay down by another quarter, it will need to imagineer even more money.

That’s on top of the $281 billion it has already imagineered into existence since addressing its “one-off” repo market emergency on September 17. This came via  “Temporary” Repo Man Operations money, and $70.6 billion in Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) money.

By my calculations that averages out to $7.4 billion per business day. That works out to a monthly pace of $155 billion or so.

If they keep this up, it will be more than enough to absorb every penny of new Treasury supply. That supply had caused the system to run out of money in mid September.  This flood of paper had been inundati...



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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

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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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