zerohedge.com / By Tyler Durden / 12/08/2013 20:58
Moments ago news hit the tape that during a televised speech in Bangkok, Thai Prime Minister has proposed a decree to dissolve parliament and call new elections. This is likely in response to the plans of government protesters, who had planned to march on Government House this morning to pressure Yingluck to step down and hold fresh elections.
theeconomiccollapseblog.com / By Michael Snyder / December 8th, 2013
“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy. They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true. On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to “7 percent”, and the mainstream media responded with a mix of euphoria and jubilation. For example, one USA Today article declared that “with today’s jobs report, one really can say that our long national post-financial crisis nightmare is over.” But is that actually the truth? As you will see below, if you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent. There has been absolutely no employment recovery. The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row. But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.
And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now. Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers. The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics. All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.
farmwars.info / Barbara H. Peterson / December 8th, 2013
Steve Marsh’s trial is scheduled to start on the 10th of February, 2014. You might not have heard of Steve Marsh yet but this man could lose everything to protect your right to eat GM-free food. Steve is an organic farmer from a farming community South of Perth in Kojonup, Western Australia and in 2010, the state government of Western Australia lifted the ban on GM canola, allowing for the commercial cultivation of this GM crop for the first time. As a result many farmers, including Marsh’s next door neighbour, began growing GM canola. Subsequently, Steve found GM canola plants spread over much of his farm, containing seed. 70% of Steve’s farm was contaminated and he lost his organic certification. In a world first, he is suing his GM neighbour for damages and if he wins he not only protects his right to grow clean GM free organic food, he also protects our rights to eat GM free foods.
dollarcollapse.com / By John Rubino / December 8, 2013
The main difference between well-run and badly-run countries is certainty. In well-run countries, money is worth pretty much the same from one year to the next, the police come when called and protect rather than prey on the caller, and contracts, including pensions and other retirement plans, behave as advertised. In badly-run countries, not so much.
With the contract part of this story, Americans have been living in two different countries, depending on whether they’re in the private or public sectors. Private sector workers discovered years ago that things like pensions and employment contracts are just so much scrap paper. But until recently the public sector had been spared such nasty surprises. Baby boomer teachers, firefighters and college professors have spent lifetimes doing their jobs and watching their pensions accrue. They’ve known for decades that when they retire they’ll get X amount per year for life and have X amount of their health care covered. This certainty makes them perhaps the last segment of US society to retain a belief that the system works.
But that changed earlier this month, when Detroit’s bankruptcy judge declared that pensions can be cut along with everything else:
zerohedge.com / By Tyler Durden / 12/08/2013 – 19:33
While some may think trading these manipulated capital markets has become a leading cause of death over the past year, that is not the case. At least not yet. Instead, the leading causes of early death are shown on the chart below compiled by Wired. It maps “the global cost of early mortality – some 1.7 billion years of potential human life forefited annually – sorted by cause of death.”
Not surprisingly, Wired notes that heart disease and stroke cause more than a quarter of all deaths. But since they hit mainly older people, the cost in years of life lost is relatively small. Curiously, one of the biggest net contributors to premature loss of life is Malaria, which is one of the biggest killers of children across the developing world. Also surprising: while not large (yet) in absolute terms, natural disasters are by far the fastest-growing contributor to the death toll.
marctomarket.com / By Marc Chandler / December 8, 2013
The solid US jobs report that saw the world’s largest economy add a little more than 200k net new jobs and the unemployment rate fall three tenths of a percent to 7.0%, even with the participation rate ticking up got some chins wagging about that the Federal Reserve tapering at its next FOMC meeting on December 17-18.
Even the usually astute Financial Times jumped all over the story with its page three story “US jobs boost raises speculation on Fed taper”. Not once in the article did the reporters note that US bond yields actually slipped after the jobs report or that the dollar fell. The speculation that it refers to was not found in price, but in one economist it cited.
Those inclined to the Fed tapering in December seem myopic. The employment was not the only economic report that was released before the weekend. The US also reported that the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the deflator for core personal consumption expenditures, which slipped to 1.1%, the slowest pace in more than 2.5 years. The FT thought this was worth a single paragraph it is report on the prospects of tapering.
The Financial Times did not see fit, though, to even recognize in passing, the fiscal uncertainty that hangs over the market. Recall that the lack of fiscal clarity influenced the Fed’s decision not to taper in September. Although December 13 is a self-imposed deadline for an agreement, the heightened tensions, especially in the aftermath of the Senate Democrats parliamentary maneuver that allows the filibuster to over ridden on presidential appointments with a simple majority, and the usual brinkmanship tactics warns that a final deal may be elusive until closer to the next legislative deadline in mid-January.
zerohedge.com / By Tyler Durden / 12/08/2013 18:03
Following yesterday’s polls, we suspect this cartoon sums up the view of many ‘faithful’ as they head into the new year. Of course, no matter what faces change next year, the Fed will always be there…
“…if you like your seat, you can keep your seat…”
freedomoutpost.com / By Ron Paul / Dec 8, 2013
One of the most important cases the US Supreme Court will consider this term is Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit challenging the Obamacare mandate that employer-provided health care plans must cover abortion and contraceptives. Hobby Lobby, a corporation owned and managed by a traditional Christian family, argues that the mandate violates their First Amendment rights.
Much of the discussion has focused on whether a corporation such as Hobby Lobby can even have First Amendment rights. But the issue of “corporate personhood” is a smokescreen. Hobby Lobby’s corporate status has no bearing on whether under Obamacare, Hobby Lobby’s owners, about whose personhood there is no doubt, have a right to run their business in a manner consistent with their moral beliefs. If the form by which Hobby Lobby did business was relevant to its right to operate free of federal interference, then Hobby Lobby could avoid the Obamacare mandate by simply reorganizing itself as a partnership or sole proprietorship.
wealthcycles.com / By The WealthCycles Staff / Dec 07, 2013
Big banks—mega-banks—arguably deserve a large portion of the blame for the 2008 financial crash. Their risky behavior put the entire global economy in jeopardy, requiring a massive bailout and years of ongoing stimulus to attempt to set things right. But despite the vows of “never again” from those in positions of political and economic power, banks today are even fewer and even bigger than they were in 2008.
For a variety of reasons, mostly to do with profit, mortgage lenders began making loans to the riskiest of borrowers in the years leading up to the crisis. The high-risk home loans were sold off to the big banks, where some bright quants figured out how to bundle them into pools consisting of hundreds of high-risk mortgages, that could then be sliced up and sold to investors. Low interest rates encouraged by the Federal Reserve encouraged banks to make riskier bets on mortgage backed securities, credit default swaps and other derivatives than they ordinarily would have done. As the housing bubble ballooned, the financial incentives to loan money to high-risk borrowers grew. When the housing market began to turn south in 2006, the whole house of cards began to wobble. A recent article in The Economist describes the turn of events:
The collapse of Lehman Brothers, a sprawling global bank, in September 2008 almost brought down the world’s financial system. It took huge taxpayer-financed bail-outs to shore up the industry. Even so, the ensuing credit crunch turned what was already a nasty downturn into the worst recession in 80 years….
Trust, the ultimate glue of all financial systems, began to dissolve in 2007—a year before Lehman’s bankruptcy—as banks started questioning the viability of their counterparties. They and other sources of wholesale funding began to withhold short-term credit, causing those most reliant on it to founder.
kingworldnews.com / December 8, 2013
December 8 (King World News) – “Gold, Silver & The Desperation Of Western Governments”
Someone unknown author, somewhere in the shadows of history put the following poem to pen and paper:
I’M SO TIRED OF IT ALL
I’m so tired – Oh so tired – of the whole New Deal; Of the juggler’s smile; the barker’s spiel.
I’m tired of farmer’s goose-stepping to laws; Of millions of itching job-holder’s paws;
I’m tired of the hourly-increasing debt;
It is not the 1930s anymore, but the frustrations expressed in the poem sure resonate with our current state of affairs. While this poem references President Roosevelt’s New Deal, there are hundreds of millions of people throughout the Globe that can relate to the emotional state of the author…
Following China’s unveiling of its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, overlapping a large expanse of territory also claimed by Japan, the Japanese media has, as The Japan Times reports, had a dramatically visceral reaction on the various scenarios of a shooting war. From Sunday Mainichi’s “Sino-Japanese war to break out in January,” to Flash’s “Simulated breakout of war over the Senkakus,” the nationalism (that Kyle Bass so notably commented on) is rising. Which side, wonders Shukan Gendai ominously, will respond to a provocation by pulling the trigger? The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin.
traderdannorcini.blogspot.com / By Trader Dan / Sunday, December 8, 2013
In response to some private emails, I wanted to post up a chart detailing why, in spite of the massive amount of money created through the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing, there simply does not seem to be a massive wave of inflation building here in the US. Some may be wondering why I tend to focus on this thing termed, “Velocity of Money” but in my view, even though at times it may seem to delve into the realm of the esoteric, nothing can be more important in determining the future direction of the gold price.
Many will recall that when the first QE program was instituted ( late 2008) commodity prices and stock prices both bottomed out. The view of the majority of investors/traders was that the creation of such enormous sums of money through bond buying and mortgage backed security buying was going to result in a sharp jump in inflation. Almost as if on cue, commodity prices began to rocket higher as hedge funds jumped in on the long side of that asset class.
As the initial QE I began to near expiration, the Fed announced round 2 and thus QE II was born. More commodity buying ensued with gold soaring higher, eventually reaching a peak above $1900.
A strange thing began to happen however after QE II wound down – after that was replaced by QE III, Operation Twist, and then QE IV, gold continued to move lower along with most of the rest of the commodity complex. The US equity markets continued to ascend however.
“The idea that the government may be hacking into corporate data centers was a bit like an earthquake, sending shock waves across the tech sector,” Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith lamented in an interview. “We concluded that we better assume that there might be such an attempt at Microsoft, or has already been.” But he spoke with a forked tongue.
The Edward Snowden revelations have become part of daily life. That the NSA had tapped into the “cloud” – the place where your email is stored, and your online backups, photos, confidential documents, and all the rest of Big Data – has turned into a publicity nightmare for our tech heroes.
Hardware sales by American stalwarts like Cisco and IBM are already plunging in China and elsewhere due to the Snowden revelations [read.... NSA Spying Crushes US Tech Companies in Emerging Markets (“An Industry Phenomenon,” Says Cisco’s Chambers)]. But that’s hardware, a beat-up industry. When the Snowden revelations hit the most promising corner of the tech sector, the corner on which all hopes were riding, and where exponential growth was supposed to make up for the hardware debacle, all heck broke lose.
Google and Yahoo were fingered in the leaks, but most likely, other companies that offer cloud services suffered a similar fate. And so the corporate damage-control machinery was cranked up, and Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Mozilla, Facebook, Microsoft, and so on, threw a public, carefully worded hissy fit, and were shocked and appalled that the government could do such a thing, when these companies were already tightly cooperating with the Intelligence Community on many projects to enhance their profits.
trueeconomics.blogspot.com / By Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev / Sunday, December 8, 2013
I wrote about Forbes’ ludicrous ‘rankings’ relating to Ireland last week (here: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2013/12/5122013-that-forbes-folly-of-global.html). But there is more to it than what I covered in the first post.
Forbes makes an assertion that Irish labour costs have declined over time. Have they? Really?
Here’s CSO latest data (through Q2 2013) based on occupation and sector of employment. Not perfect, but tells us two things:
Here are some charts:
Key occupational level of skills, traditionally associated with foreign investment in Ireland (we are not a cheap manufacturing location, after all, and make a claim that we compete on high skills) are Managers, Professionals and Associated Professionals. Chart above shows that for all sectors in the economy, average weekly wages in this occupational category rose between Q2 2010 and Q2 2013. The rate of increase ranges from 11.1% for Business & Services, to 10.9% for Industry, to 10.4% for all sectors. Public Sector posted weakest increase of 5.2%.
zerohedge.com / By Tyler Durden / 12/08/2013 15:37
As we reported yesterday, something odd is happening in the US, which supposedly is deep in a “housing market and economic recovery” – foreclosures on ultraluxury homes, those worth $5 million and over, have soared by 61% in 2013 (even as overall foreclosures continue to decline due to the well-known and much discussed “foreclosure stuffing” process, which means millions of properties are held in bank shadow inventory just waiting for the moment to be unleashed and end the implicitly home price subsidy abused by banks for the past three years). Granted, the overall sample is relatively small, with fewer than 200 properties in the ultraluxury category compared to 1.2 million for all properties tracked, but as RealtyTrac notes, “each of these high-value properties represents a much bigger potential loss for the foreclosing lender compared to a median priced property.”
Additional thoughts from RealtyTrac:
globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com / By Mike “Mish” Shedlock / Sunday, December 08, 2013 2:54 PM
The Washington Post reports Majority of youngest voters would recall Obama.
I am not sure how the Washington Post calculated the first breakdown unless they had more access to the data. Let’s head straight to the Harvard Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service.
Here are some questions I found particularly interesting.
6. For whom did you vote for president in 2012?
marctomarket.com / By Marc Chandler / December 7, 2013
It illustrates a sad fact. Income disparity in South Africa is larger now than under Apartheid.
There have been joint and distributional gains since the end of Apartheid. The distributional gains have gone disproportionately to white and Asian South Africans.
thetruthwins.com / By Michael Snyder / December 8th, 2013
“Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation. I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.”
-Dr. Ben Carson on March 16th, 2013
That quote by Dr. Ben Carson does a great job of capturing what is taking place in the United States right now. If you wanted to destroy the most powerful nation on the planet, the best way to do so would be to destroy it from the inside out. Right now, America is more divided than it has been at any point in any of our lifetimes. Anger and frustration are growing to unprecedented levels, and one recent survey discovered that the level of trust that Americans have in one another is at an all-time low. Our families are falling apart and moral decay is systematically rotting the foundations of our society. Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration and the rest of the world is losing more respect for us with each passing day.
Sadly, at this critical juncture in U.S. history the American people have twice voted to elect a totally unqualified con man to be the President of the United States. To say that this scandal-ridden administration has been “corrupt” would be a massive understatement. The following is a political joke that one of my readers recently emailed me, and I think that it does a great job of illustrating the current state of our government…
silverdoctors.com / By Deepcaster / December 7, 2013
“Tulipmania was the first major financial bubble. Investors began to madly purchase tulips, pushing their prices up to unprecedented highs; the average price of a single flower bulb exceeded ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Tulips sold for over 4000 florins, the currency of the Netherlands at the time. As prices drastically collapsed over the course of a week, many tulip holders instantly went bankrupt.” investopedia.com
rowans-blog.blogspot.co.uk / By Rowan Bosworth-Davies / SUNDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2013, 5:32 AM
The Financial Times of Saturday 7th December has published a detailed dossier of an investigation into the dubious activities of the Vatican Bank and the I.O.R (Istituto per le Opere di Religione), and particularly its part in recent major money laundering activities!
From my perspective as a professional consultant and a critical commentator on these issues for over 35 years, I am always quietly amused by the absence of historical knowledge or understanding possessed by so many of the compliance personnel who are employed to facilitate the compliance with the anti-money laundering laws, and who come to these revelations with no historical perspective to assist them in their functions.
The truth is that the Vatican Bank and the I.O.R have been closely engaged in criminal money laundering activities for many years, and they have had a very chequered history of dishonest activity which has been covered up and denied by successive generations of Papal administrations.
What follows is a distillation of a chapter taken from my book ‘Money Laundering’ which was published in 1994, and which began by examining the history of money laundering, and which examined the role played by the Vatican Bank.
tradewithdave.com / Sunday, December 8th, 2013 at 6:45 am
As the deflation/inflation debate rages on and everyone from Peter Schiff to Martin Armstrong points to two possible roads in the Robert Frost Yellow Wood, it is rare to hear anyone express the Average White Band meets Marie Antoinette “Cut The Cake”strategery where you can pave your road with gold intentions and eat it too.
What’s required? The same divorced currency model that was proposed by Mervyn King at the Bank of England and expressed in the likes of Bitcoin and such. One half of the currency to satisfy the double coincidence of wants and a second half to satisfy the store of wealth. Crypto currencies undoubtedly will do a much better job of satisfying the double coincidence of wants while providing the government with a public record of all transactions bringing the idea of means testing and “economically just” resource allocation right to the point-of-sale at the Wal-Mart checkout line.
Average Americans have debt over their ears they never can repay – and now your government wants to borrow more money, or print more worthless paper dollars? QE1, QE2, QE3, QE4, QE-Bankrupt! Are all of the American officials retards?
Introduction: Thomas D. Conrad, Ph.D. is currently a hedge fund manager and president of Financial Management Corporation. He received his Masters Degree in Accounting, Statistics, and Financial Management from The University of Maryland in 1961 and his Ph.D. in Business Administration from The American University in 1965, with emphasis on Securities Analysis and Managerial Economics. His Doctoral Dissertation, “A Statistical Analysis of The Results of Integrating The Use of Mutual Funds and Life Insurance in Financial Planning” was later published. Dr. Conrad has taught and lectured at seven universities, including The American Institute of Banking and The American Savings and Loan Institute. Dr. Conrad has held a seat on the Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington Stock Exchange, and served in the Reagan Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Air Force (Financial Management). His website is www.worldfund.net.
The Daily Bell: What is the World Opportunity Master Fund?
Thomas D. Conrad: It is our chief investment vehicle and an international hedge fund that operates globally as a fund of hedge funds. Fund managers hold in aggregate well over US$2 billion in managed investments. We’ve managed to accrue compounded annual returns over the past three years of 20 percent.
The Daily Bell: It has a high ranking.
Thomas D. Conrad: The Fund is ranked number nine in the world in certain categories by BarclayHedge and recently reached a number three ranking. BarclayHedge provides information services to the alternative investment industry and tracks over 12,000 alternative investment vehicles. Financial Management Corporation, (FMC), a 40-year-old Maryland corporation, is the General Partner of the Partnership that runs the Fund, and, as such, is responsible for the Partnership’s investment decisions.
The Daily Bell: Give us some background on hedge funds.
Thomas D. Conrad: The first hedge fund was started by Alfred W. Jones in 1949. Jones’s idea was that he would create a fund that would never take a “naked” position but would always alleviate risk by pairing one investment with another opposite one. In practice, this often meant investing in a stock and then selling it short at the same time.
The strategy worked and over time Jones’s ideas gained considerable attention. But despite success, the implementation of hedge funds gradually changed. Today hedge funds come in all shapes, sizes and strategies. The name hedge fund is more synonymous with non-traditional investment practices than with a specific “hedging” strategy.
srsroccoreport.com / By SRSrocco / December 7, 2013
Not only is there a battle going on between the East and West when it comes to increasing physical gold reserves, there’s also a gold production war taking place amongst these same nations.
Something quite extraordinary took place in 1997 which very few investors are aware. This was the year that the West peaked in overall gold production. Even though the world will hit a new record of global mine supply in 2013, the combined total of the top Western gold producing countries are still way off their highs set in 1997.
It took a great deal of effort and several decades, but the Eastern gold producers have beaten their Western competitors by a wide margin. If we look at the top 3 Western gold producing countries since 1988, we can see an important trend:
After listening to these interviews, it’s clear that the silver fix is nearly everywhere except one place in particular… JP Morgan. On November 20 JP Morgan agrees to record $13 billion toxic mortgage settlement and within less than a week the dismantling of the precious metals cartel, the one that was investigated by Bart Chilton for nearly a dog year with nary a whimper is suddenly hollerin’ like a hound with a treed ‘coon. If you ask Dave, JPMorgan could either deal with their inherited Bear Stearns short position in silver or deal with the mortgage fraud, but they couldn’t deal with both at the same time.
boilingfrogspost.com / By Christoph Germann / December 8, 2013
*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.
Ukraine, the largest country in the post-Soviet space, aroused Brussels’ and Washington’s anger by refusing to sign the European Union Association Agreement. Instead Kiev gave in to pressure from Russia and preferred to renew talks on joining the Moscow-led Customs Union. However, because the country is eyed not only as a future EU member but more importantly as a significant addition to Washington’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Ukrainian government has now to deal with Orange Revolution 2.0. So another Russian neighbor of great interest to the EU and NATO, Georgia, assured its friends in the west that they will not have to worry about similar developments in the South Caucasus:
The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia has no means of influence that could divert Georgia from its course toward integration with Europe and interrupt the signing of the Association Agreement next year.
dw.de / By DW.DE / December 8, 2013
There are more and more asylum seekers in Germany and the immigration office can barely keep up with the applications. Now, soldiers are being called in to speed up the process – though not without controversy.
Normally, the job of the German army’s personnel office, based in Cologne, is to try to show young people who are just finishing their national service the charms of a career in the military, and so, to ensure the future of Germany’s soon-to-be, non-conscription, professional army.
But now, it is faced with a peculiar and unusual task: In the past week, it has been searching desperately for Bundeswehr employees with experience in administration to help Germany’s federal immigration office accelerate the asylum process.
corbettreport, Published on Dec 8, 2013
The Obama administration is launching a program with the ambitious goals of sparking business investment, reducing investment risks, and creating and sustaining new jobs.
However, the beneficiaries are Middle Eastern and North African nations, not workers in the United States, WND has discovered.
The MENA Investment Initiative, or MENAII, “will provide needed support to early stage businesses in order to create and sustain jobs,” according to a Request for Information, or RFI, that WND discovered via routine database research.
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