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With continued propaganda about the demise of China, the Chinese are battling the U.S. to lead the world. This is also important for the gold market.
Stephen Leeb: “The mantle has been passed – or more precisely, the mantles have been passed. For President Trump’s ascension to the highest position in the free world marks a change on several levels: in who’s in charge in Washington and in who will lead the world…
Following German media’s outcry that “the demons have been unchained”, Asian media decried President Trump’s isolationist policies, fearing they will chill the global economy and sow widespread international discord, as “the reality show has become reality,” warning the world was now in “unpredictable territory… spreading unease, division, and conflict throughout the world.”
That was no presidential speech; that was a veritable declaration of war. Threatening in tone. Cold and calculating in logic. Change minus the hope. Donald Trump used the traditional Inauguration Day address to settle a score with the U.S. political establishment going back decades. With four ex-presidents sitting a few feet behind him, the 45th president delivered a populist manifesto.
In Japan, one of Washington’s oldest and staunchest Asian allies, newspapers across the political spectrum criticised the new administration, with more than one saying the world was now in “unpredictable territory.”
“Has there ever been a new U.S. administration that began by spreading unease, not expectations, throughout the world?” said the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun, adding that Trump appeared ready to take both alliances and global norms lightly if they didn’t benefit the United States.
Women are now marching on Washington D.C. in an Anti-Trump march, but you will not find Pro-Lifers to be included in that group. Women are much harder to get along with than men…my opinion, of course. You read and make up your own mind about the hypocrisy involved in this “inclusive” event. The organizers of the unruly anti-Trump “Women’s March on Washington” decided to break from a pro-life group following an online feminist squabble. Of course, these women cannot be expected to get along for the protest, as they are dividing the Country during a peaceful transition of power. That is what they are actually accomplishing.
The organizers advertised this event as “inclusive”, but that is not the way it has gone down. They eventually said that inclusion does not extend to women who do not support abortion. I guess you could say the event has now turned from anti-Trump to anti-pro-life…something like that. I am pro-life and pro-Trump, so I am proud to say I do not support these women marching on Washington. Do they not have something productive they could do with their time? Possibly they could attempt to unify our Country by teaching their children about the peaceful transition of power we just experienced in our Nation’s Capitol. It was an honorable passing of the Presidential office by President Obama to President Trump. We should be proud of the fact that there was dignity present between opposing forces during the Inauguration, and it was exciting to see.
In a move that has sparked controversy among some economists, within an hour of being sworn in, Trump undid one of Barack Obama’s last-minute actions, a mortgage-fee cut under a government program catering to first-time home buyers and low-income borrowers. The cut, which would become effective on January 27, would have reduced the annual premium for someone borrowing $200,000 by $500 in the first year, however exposing taxpayers to further losses in case of a spike in defaults.
Last week, as part of a scramble of 11th hour actions by the outgoing president, Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, Julian Castro, said the FHA would cut its fees. In addition to the morgage-fee cut, in the last days of Obama’s administration, the White House announced new Russia sanctions, a ban on drilling in parts of the Arctic and many other regulations. The administration didn’t consult Trump’s team before any of these announcements.
While nominal, Republicans have argued that fee reductions put taxpayers at risk by lowering the funds the FHA has to deal with mortgage defaults even though the net impact of such a fee cut is negligible in the grand scheme of things, once the next housing downturn arrives and the FHA is in need of another bailout.
dollarvigilante.com / Miles Adinolfi / Jan 21, 2017
We are now 24 hours into the Trump era and the sky hasn’t fallen. The world hasn’t ended. In fact, nothing at all has changed.
The wars continue on, the IRS continues to extort people in the US for nearly half of everything they make, the NSA continues to spy on all and the Federal Reserve continues to inflate the currency all the while impoverishing the lower and middle classes.
You might say, “It’s only been 24 hours, give him some time,” but the fact of the matter is that Trump has not talked about changing any of that. At most he’s talked about “auditing” the Federal Reserve. But, there is no point to an audit. We know what the Federal Reserve does. It needs to be shut down effective immediately.
But, as we pointed out yesterday, even if Trump did want to do all the right things in terms of bringing freedom back to the USSA it won’t come without a massive, biblical level collapse of the current system.
“We probably have the best mortgage system in the world,” explained Francisco González, Executive Chairman of Spain’s second largest bank, BBVA, seemingly with a straight face last week at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
Given the devastating effects Spain’s “mortgage system” has had on the country’s economy and society over the last decade and a half, González’s sweeping statement is hard to fathom. It played a central role in stoking one of the most mind-boggling real estate bubbles of modern times, which was followed, in time-honored fashion, by a devastating crash that would have probably destroyed Spain’s financial system if it hadn’t been for the government’s taxpayer-funded bailout. To date, over 600,000 mortgage holders have been evicted from their homes in its aftermath.
In a bizarre first briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday unloaded a blistering attack on the media and accused it of false reporting about the otherwise irrelevant question of why Trump’s inauguration crowd was visibly smaller than that of Obama’s.
Spicer used up virtually all the time in his first official appearance in the Press Briefing Room to denounce news organizations’ focus on the inaugural crowd size, saying “these attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
We wouldn’t necessarily use those words: silly should suffice since if Trump really wanted to “defend” why fewer people attended his inauguration, he can simply say many more of his supporters are employed and had to be at work on Friday, than during either Obama’s 2009 or 2013 inauguration events.
However, the press secretary decided that hyperbole is the better part of valor and said “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the world”
Despite desperate calls for Trump’s assassination in the lead-up the Inauguration, the event went smoothly on Friday. Expectations of mass protests proved largely unfounded, as participants seemed few in number and definitively lacking in motivation. Clashes with police took place and fires were ignited, a limo was in flames at one point and shop windows in various districts of Washington D.C. were shattered. Ultimately the day was symbolized by a good Samaritan Trump supporter who extinguished the flames.
Meanwhile, anti Trump protesters were epitomized by a group of “atheist Satanists” who appeared remarkably lackadaisical as they marched in DC after the inauguration. As of the time of this writing 217 protesters had been arrested by DC police while six officers were injured by protesters. More protests including the Women’s March are scheduled to take place tomorrow, which should see increased enthusiasm in mostly dispirited groups in the streets today.
According to the mainstream media, Trump’s a divisive fascist; Trump supporters are violent, misogynist bigots; but anti-Trump ‘protestors’ are saving America from its racist self, and “love trumps hate.” Watch the following 100 seconds and decide for yourself…
A Trump supporter puts out a fire started by others, and calls for peace… Is swiftly punched in the face by anti-Trump ‘protesters’.
ericpetersautos.com / Eric Peters / January 21, 2017
America is in trouble because Americans got lazy. Not so much physically but morally. They began to care more about some passing thing than about the things that truly matter; the things that made America unlike other places.
Better than other places.
Things like principles; the plain meaning of words. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments, especially. Which were (past tense deliberate) laws written to articulate and protect principles that matter.
It gradually became more important to – as Thomas More’s character in the play, A Man For All Seasons put it – cut down all the “trees” (laws) that sheltered the individual for the sake of making things easier for the government.
For example, the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches – defined in sane terms and plain English as any non-specific search of people at random, who’ve not done anything to suggest they may have committed a crime. Fishing expeditions, in other words.
Less than 4 years ago, and shortly after his infamous “whatever it takes” threat to speculators, Mario Draghi responded to a question from Zero Hedge readers, saying “there is no Plan B” when it comes to contingency plans for a Eurozone nation leaving the monetary union. The reasoning was simple: the mere contemplation of such a scenario assigned a probability to its occurrence, which is why the ECB was desperate to give the impression that no matter what, Europe’s cohesion is unbreakable.
Fast forward four years later, when not only has this particular strategy been thoroughly rejected, but for the first time ever the head of the ECB provided a framework, vague as it may be, laying out what a Eurozone exit would look like.
In a letter to two Italian lawmakers in the European Parliament released on Friday, and first reported by Reuters, Mario Draghi implied that a country could leave the euro zone – so much for “No Plan B” – but first it would need to settle or debts with the bloc’s TARGET2 payments system before severing ties.
“If a country were to leave the Eurosystem, its national central bank’s claims on or liabilities to the ECB would need to be settled in full,” Draghi said in the letter. He did not specify in what currency the “settlement” would have to take place. It was also not clear just what the ECB would do in response if a country did not “settle its claims in full”: at last check the ECB did not have a policy-enforcing army.
When you are not in a position to wield power and broker deals for the wealthy individuals, corporate entities and foreign Governments who stuff money into your bank account, the money flow stops. I just stops.
The first reports about the Clintons’ pay for play piggy-bank were that the Clinton Global Initiative would be shut down. Now it’s being reported by Investor’s Business Daily that the entire Clinton Foundation will be laid to rest.
One would think that maybe Hillary and Bill + concubines could ride off into the sunset and maybe fade from public view? Not so fast. It remains to be seen if the Trump Government will go after the Clintons. And Obama paved the way for that to happen when he strolled out of the White House for the last time – after commuting more prison sentences than the 12 Presidents before him combined – without extending a “blanket” pardon to Hillary.
The Spanish banking sector is getting used to judicial setbacks. Unfortunately, they’re not the sorts of setbacks we’d like to see. This could have been an article on the elimination of the legal privileges — e.g., the existence of a state-owned central bank in charge of bailing out its (equally) irresponsible fellows — that financial businesses are nowadays granted worldwide. Eliminating those privileges would have been a setback for the banking sector, but good for everyone else. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s been happening: no liberalization of that sort whatsoever has taken place.
Rather, several recent rulings from Spanish courts have systematically encroached on the individual’s right to contract with others — and the public opinion is gleefully celebrating their decisions.
It all started back in 2013 when the Spanish Supreme Court declared the nullity of the so-called “floor clauses,” which simply constituted a minimum level set on the payment of interests on (mortgage) loans and which were included in many of such contracts during the housing bubble. These clauses were commonly accompanied by “roof clauses,” whose content was exactly the opposite (i.e., a maximum interest rate) and yet did not experience any ban by the judicial authorities.
“This will not be in coming weeks, let’s hope for the best – that the meeting will happen in the coming months,” Peskov told BBC, according to TASS. It was unclear if the previously reported plans on behalf of the Trump administration to meet with Putin in Iceland have been scrapped.
Peskov added that no negotiations between Moscow and Washington on the matter were underway, but this may change once Trump and Putin have a phone conversation in the near future.“President Putin will call President Trump after the inauguration to congratulate him. It’s a protocol thing that has to be done,” he said. “We expect that they may discuss their positions on a possible meeting.”
The CFTC reporting week ending January 17 was shortened by the Martin Luther King holiday. Speculators in the currency futures market made only small position adjustments. No adjustment met our bar for significance at 10k contracts.
There was only one gross position adjustment of more than 6k contracts. The Australian dollar bears covered 7.1k contracts to reduce the gross short position to 37.6k contracts. This was sufficient to swing the net position back to favor longs (4.8k contracts) for the first time in four weeks. The bulls only added 1.6k contracts.
Speculators reduced exposure to the major European currencies by liquidating longs and covering shorts. In the euro, this has been a bit of a trend. The gross longs and shorts peaked in late October near 143k and 267k contracts respectively. They now are at 128.8k and 195.3k contracts. The shorts have been reduced by a little more than 14k contracts, while almost 72k short contracts were covered.
There are fears that the world is on the precipice of turning back the clock on globalization. In some ways, the case can be made globalization has been retreating since the financial crisis.
One of the strongest supporting data points of that argument is world trade data.
According to the CPB World Trade Monitor, the value of world exports (volume * price) has increased by less than 1% annually since making a high on 7/31/2007 compared to more than a 5% annualized growth rate since 1991 (beginning of the data series).
Voters plainly want an end to our intractable conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they don’t want another dollar or drop of blood expended to install western democracy in the sectarian Middle East. Trump must resolve to stay out of Syria, stop the saber rattling toward Iran, and reject the crazed calls for resurrecting a Cold War with Russia. He must refuse to normalize constant war as an acceptable feature of American life. By trusting his deal-making nature and refusing to start — or intensify — another conflict, Trump could shock the world by actually presenting a kinder, gentler America.
economicnoise.com / Monty Pelerin / January 21, 2017
This ETF rankings update includes the following:
HeatMap of ETFs
ETF Rankings Update
This update is from close of market data on Friday January 20. It is an interim ranking (not a trade day for purposes of backtesting). The top three ranks are EWG (Germany), XLK (technology and QQQ (Nasdaq). RSX has fallen to fourth place.
Hundreds of thousands crowds of women, many wearing bright pink knit hats and carrying Starbucks lattes, swamped into downtown Washington, arriving by bus, train and car on Saturday for a march in opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump one day after the Republican took office.
Cited by AP, a city official in Washington said the turnout estimate for the Women’s March on the National Mall now stands at 500,000 people, more than double the initial predictions. Kevin Donahue is Washington’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice. He says on Twitter that organizers of the march are increasing the turnout estimate to half a million.
mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / January 21, 2017 2:30:19
Protesters were out in force in Washington D.C. and Chicago. In Chicago, Police expected 2,000 to 20,000 to show up for a parade. Instead estimates now top 250,000. Organizers, at request of police, cancelled the scheduled parade, but that did not stop the participants.
"Anyone who claims to stand for free markets, free trade, and limited government but who attempts to defend the existence or importance of the Federal Reserve or central banking is a liar. Either you support free markets and freedom of pricing or you support central bank price-fixing and creeping socialism. There is no third way or middle road — socialism and the free market are mutually incompatible. A little bit of socialism in the form of price-fixing is like a little bit of gangrene, if left unchecked it will eventually infect and kill the whole." - Paul-Martin Foss via The Mises Institute