theeconomiccollapseblog.com / By Michael Snyder / February 20th, 2017
In recent months Donald Trump has been severely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for not being sufficiently “anti-Russia”, but the truth is that the Trump administration has not been working hard enough to repair a relationship that is now souring very rapidly. When Donald Trump won the election in November, the Russians celebrated tremendously, because they greatly preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton. But just because Trump was victorious does not mean that our relationship with Russia will automatically improve. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both have huge egos, and it is quite easy to imagine a scenario in which things between them go very, very badly.
In fact, we may already be starting to see such a scenario play out. As you will see below, under President Trump U.S. troops are being deployed to a very sensitive area of Poland, and they are also being sent to key areas of Bulgaria and Romania. That is not sitting well with the Russian government, but they were much more upset when Trump insisted that Russia must give the Crimea back to Ukraine. This is something that the Russians would never do, and they were quite stunned that Trump would even suggest such a thing.
On the flip side, the Pentagon was quite annoyed when Russian fighter jets buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea just a few days ago, and when a Russian spy ship set up shop just off the coast of Connecticut recently, President Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that “the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water”.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Feb 21, 2017
European stocks rose again with S&P futures higher, while Asian stocks were mixed. The dollar rose jumped on hawkish comments by Philly Fed’s Harker, oil rose following optimistic OPEC comments, while gold dropped. Markets have largely ignored the negative result by financial heavyweight HSBC, which posted its largest fall since mid-2015 after reporting a 62% plunge in pretax profit, weighing on UK financials, with the FTSE 100 modestly underperforming.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose the most in more than three weeks after a Federal Reserve policy maker reinforced the chances for a U.S. interest-rate increase as soon as next month. The U.S. currency advanced against most of its major peers after Philly Fed President Patrick Harker told MNI in a Friday interview he “would not take March off the table at this point.” Recent comments from policy makers have leaned on the hawkish side. A voting member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year, Harker had said Feb. 15 that he sees three 25-basis point rate increases as appropriate for 2017.
armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Feb 21, 2017
Of course the brainwashed Democrats send in emails saying Obama is not behind the shenanigans of civil unrest. They just prefer to blame everyone but themselves and live in their little bubble world. They are totally unaware that the Democrats are themselves experiencing an internal civil war and it is the state level Democrats that are starting to revolt against the Washington elite and that includes Obama’s covert machine behind creating civil unrest called Organizing for Action (OFA). I have reported that normally a President’s fund is shut down after they leave office. Here, Obama has taken a house in Washington, built a wall around it at taxpayer’s expense, and turned it into his bunker to obstruct anything that Trump tries to do. Obama’s OFA troops are especially trying to protect Obamacare, which he regards as his “legacy” even though it is falling apart.
There is brewing an internal civil war within the Democratic Party who are getting very angry at Obama and his OFA some have called “The Devil.” Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, wrote in a private email to fellow party leaders, “This is some GRADE A Bulls–t right here.” Indeed, Handwerk has come out and said that declaring yourself a Democrat in Louisiana is more difficult than coming out as gay. In a leaked email the Daily Beast has published, Handwerk added: “It also to me seems TONE DEAF—we have lost over 1,000 seats in the past 8 years … all because of this crap.”
mybudget360.com / February 20, 2017
More Americans are finding it harder to afford a home. In fact, a closely followed housing affordability index is now back to where it was in 2008. Not exactly a prime time for buying homes. Most Americans are too broke to afford a home. Which is somewhat contrary to the narrative that is pumped out via pro housing propaganda. Buying a home is always a good deal! Real estate never falls! Only fools rent! So goes the story about buying real estate. Yet given current prices, many families find the dream of owning a home more of a far flung aspiration than a reasonable financial reality. We can see this trend unfolding with the vast number of new renter households over the last decade. Younger Americans are saddled with mountains of student debt and many are making lower wages. Taking on a large mortgage simply isn’t appealing or feasible when an albatross of debt is already being carried.
Housing affordability index screaming red
Home prices are getting out of sync with wages and economic growth. In order to purchase a home today many people need to take on a massive mortgage. Wages are simply not keeping up and people are using debt to maintain the pretense of middle class living.
zerohedge.com / by Yves Mamou / Feb 21, 2017
- France’s Muslim population could quickly grow to close to 15-17 million, but no one can know precisely unless the law prohibiting the official collection of ethnic data is changed.
- These figures do not take into consideration the Muslim population that immigrated to France from North Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s. There are a few million of them — nobody knows how many exactly. For demographers, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are not regarded as immigrants anymore. These Muslims are, rather, integrated into statistics as French citizens born of French parents. They are Muslim, but under the statistics radar.
From time to time, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) offers a glimpse of the ethnic composition of French society. The study, “Being born in France to an immigrant parent” (Être né en France d’un parent immigré), published in February 2017, is one of them.
Like few other glimpses, the Insee study offers a partial view of the ethnic composition of the French population. A statistical breakdown — with the answer to the perennial question: how many Muslims in France? — would be perceived as discriminatory and outrageous. Given France’s “integration model,” nobody should dare identify people by their origins, religion, color of skin and so on. A Frenchman is a Frenchman, whatever the color of his skin or his religion, and any measurement of the sub-Saharan population — for example, their level of education, that of their children, the type of jobs their parents are doing, how many times they go to mosque or if they have spent time in prison — is illegal, discriminatory and racist. Sub-Saharan populations must disappear in aggregate data about French people.
The study, however, provides some telling information. In 2015, 7.3 million people born in France had at least one immigrant parent (11% of the population). Of these 7.3 million people, 45% are of European origin, most of whom are children of immigrants who arrived in France from Spain (8%) or Italy (12%) as early as the 1930s, or from Portugal in the 1970s onwards. One can assume, although it is not written in the study, that these people are of Christian origin.
Another group is composed of Africans. 42% of the 7.3 million children born in France to an immigrant parent are of African background, mainly North Africa. They came from Algeria (15%), Morocco (11%), Tunisia (5%) and sub-Saharan Africa (11%). Although it is also not specified in the study, it would seem that the great majority are Muslim.
charleshughsmith.blogspot.com / CHARLES HUGH SMITH / MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017
This criminalization of everyday life is not just insanely costly and insanely counter-productive–it’s insanely punitive.
The average person has little exposure to the criminalization of everyday enterprise in America via over-regulation and outsized penalties for even accidental violations of rules and regulations. One field that continues to be burdened with excessive/counter-productive regulations and outsized penalties is the practice of medicine.
I received the following email from a physician correspondent:
“As you will see, physicians have to deal with the federal government’s increasingly crazy and copious rules (like which patients they can screen for disease and how often).
The following is an email ad I received for an expensive service that provides no benefit to the ill and injured of America. It’s bureaucratic nonsense.”
Here is the email ad:
Can you afford a $1.1 million penalty and a 50-year exclusion from Medicare? That’s what one New Jersey provider is facing. And he’s not alone. In the last couple of months a facility in Utah is now under a 30-year exclusion, and a New York physician is now excluded from Medicare for five years.
These penalties and exclusions not only affect those providers that are intentionally fraudulent. Even an innocent mistake can land you in serious legal and financial hot water. Being tagged as “excluded” by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) can crush your practice — especially considering the new guidelines that went into effect just a couple of days ago (on Feb. 13th).
mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / February 20, 2017
In the election run-up, Donald Trump both praised and criticized higher interest rates, multiple times each way.
So what the heck does Trump want?
The only thing we are reasonably sure of is Trump prefers businessmen and women running the country instead of academics.
- Nov. 3, 2015: “Janet Yellen should have raised the rates. She’s not doing it because the Obama administration and the president doesn’t want her to.”
- May 5, 2016 to CNBC: “I am a low interest-rate person. If we raise interest rates and if the dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going to have some very major problems.
- May 9, 2016: To The Wall Street Journal: “If interest rates went up, our economy is not doing well at all. And it’s going to hurt the economy very badly. If interest rates went up, it would be a disaster.”
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Feb 21, 2017
Few business communities swing from boom to bust as reliably as Silicon Valley, but detecting shifts in this opaque world can be challenging. To help illuminate the field, Bloomberg created the U.S. Startups Barometer, a new weekly indicator that tracks the overall health of the business environment for private technology companies based in the U.S.
So how ‘healthy’ is the American Venture Capital business?
mises.org / C. Jay Engel / February 21, 2017
It’s amazing how the same set of economic data can create two very different opinions on the overrated Fed Funds hike issue. In two Bloomberg opinion pieces last week, we see the stark difference:
Tim Duy: It’s Way Too Early for the Fed to Consider a March Rate Increase
Charles Lieberman: The Fed is Behind the Curve
To make their cases, both cite the employment numbers and the consumer price inflation rate. Duy states that the Fed wanted the unemployment rate to be around 4.5 percent, but it’s still at 4.8 percent. So allegedly, it’s got “room to run.” Lieberman looks at the unemployment on a broader timeframe and concludes that the current levels have “historically been universally regarded as full employment.”
On price inflation, here is Duy: “Core inflation, as measured by the Fed’s preferred price index, was running at just 1 percent on an annualized basis in the final three months of 2016.”
And then Lieberman states that price inflation is already above 2 percent “for all the primary inflation measures, except the Fed’s preferred measure, the core personal consumption deflator, which may also soon rise above 2 percent.”
news.goldseek.com / By Jordan Roy-Byrne / Tuesday, 21 February 2017
The January headline consumer price index (CPI) came in at 2.5%, which is near a 5-year high. What happened to deflation? As a result, real interest rates declined deeper into negative territory or in the case of the 10-year yield, went from positive to negative. No this isn’t a commodity-driven story. The core CPI (ex food and energy) has been above 2% since the end of 2015 when commodities were in the dumps. Inflation is perking up and couple that with a Fed that pursues rate hikes at a glacial speed and that is very bullish for precious metals.
The chart below is what I refer to as our master fundamental chart for Gold. It plots Gold along with the real fed funds rate and the real 5-year yield. In short, negative and/or declining real interest rates drive bull markets in Gold while rising real rates or strongly positive real rates (like in the 1980s and 1990s) drive bear markets in Gold. Since the middle of 2015 both the real fed funds rate and the real 5-year yield have declined by +2%. The real fed funds rate has declined from a fraction above 0% to now almost -2% (-1.88%). Meanwhile, the real 5-year yield has declined by roughly 2.5% in the past two years from nearly 2% to now -0.60%.
zerohedge.com / by Gail Tverberg / Feb 21, 2017
Back in 1776, Adam Smith talked about the “invisible hand” of the economy. Investopedia explains how the invisible hand works as, “In a free market economy, self-interested individuals operate through a system of mutual interdependence to promote the general benefit of society at large.”
We talk and act today as if governments and economic policy are what make the economy behave as it does. Unfortunately, Adam Smith was right; there is an invisible hand guiding the economy. Today we know that there is a physics reason for why the economy acts as it does: the economy is a dissipative structure–something we will talk more about later. First, let’s talk about how the economy really operates.
Our Economy Is Like a Self-Driving Car: Wages of Non-Elite Workers Are the Engine
Workers make goods and provide services. Non-elite workers–that is, workers without advanced education or supervisory responsibilities–play a special role, because there are so many of them. The economy can grow (just like a self-driving car can move forward) (1) if workers can make an increasing quantity of goods and services each year, and (2) if non-elite workers can afford to buy the goods that are being produced. If these workers find fewer jobs available, or if they don’t pay sufficiently well, it is as if the engine of the self-driving car is no longer working. The car could just as well fall apart into 1,000 pieces in the driveway.
endoftheamericandream.com / By Michael Snyder / February 20th, 2017
An “unholy alliance” between anti-Trump leftists and radical Muslims is beginning to emerge all over America. President Trump’s recent executive order that restricted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is bringing a very strange mixture of people out to street protests. On the one hand you have hardcore Muslims that are chanting “Allahu Akbar” and that believe that Islamic law will someday prevail over the U.S. Constitution, and on the other hand you have radical leftists marching right next to them that are protesting for “women’s rights”, “gay rights” and “civil rights”. The ironic thing about all of this is that if the radical Muslims have their way, the leftists will either convert to Islam someday or will be completely destroyed. But for now they need one another, and so a very odd marriage of convenience has taken place.
Later on in this article I want to discuss the very unusual “I Am Muslim Too” protest that just took place in Times Square in New York City, but first I want to talk about what happened when the Nation of Islam held their annual meeting in Detroit over the weekend. It is being reported that thousands of people in the audience were enthusiastically chanting “Allahu Akbar” as Louis Farrakhan made his way to the stage, and Farrakhan made it abundantly clear to those assembled that he plans to oppose Trump every step of the way…
“I’m here to talk to all of you who are shaking in your boots” over Trump being president, Farrakhan said. Imitating a person who’s worried about Trump, Farrakhan said: “What are we going to do, the president is bad. He’s the president and he don’t like black people. He don’t like Mexicans. He don’t like Muslims.”
Farrakhan then said: “Maybe so. Who cares? We don’t give a damn what he likes or what he doesn’t like.
“Have no fear … the future is ours. Time for the liberation of our people.”
marctomarket.com / by Marc Chandler / February 21, 2017
Some profit-taking in the middle of last week pushed the dollar lower and gave rise in some quarters that the run was over. However, the greenback has come back the bid. It is gaining against all the major currencies today and most of the emerging market currencies.
Much of the coverage attributes the gains to comments by the Philadelphia Fed President Harker. He joined the chorus of officials who have refused to rule out a March hike. Yet the market is not biting. The Fed funds have been averaging 66 bp. The March contract implies 69.5 bp, and the April contract implies 71.5 bp. Our work suggests this is consistent with about a one-in-four chance of a hike. Bloomberg puts the odds at 36% compared with 34% a week ago. The implied yield of the March and April contracts have risen by half of a basis point over the past week.
Leaving aside the New Zealand dollar, which is being dragged lower apparently by the continued weakness in milk prices (off five consecutive sessions through yesterday) ahead of today’s auction, the euro is the weakest of the majors. We suspect the euro is an important driver of the broad dollar gains. The latest polls have support for Le Pen ticking up, while the Left continues to hampered by sectarianism, and the two main candidates Fillon and Macron appear to have lost some momentum.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Feb 21, 2017
The world’s most valuable brand is owned by a company that you likely interact with every day. In fact, you may have even gotten to this web page using it.
That brand is Google – and it dominates the internet with a 64% market share in search, while generating 41% of all digital advertising revenue globally. As Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, according to Brand Finance’s most recent 2017 list, Google’s brand value has recently increased to $109.5 billion, which is just enough to supplant Apple’s $107.1 billion brand from the top of the list.
THE MOST VALUABLE BRAND IN EACH COUNTRY
Today’s infographic comes from HowMuch.net, a cost information site, and it breaks down Brand Finance’s list of the top 500 brands in a different way. It shows the most valuable brand for each country, and has each country sized accordingly to the dollar value of that company.
deviantinvestor.com / by Gary Christenson / February 21, 2017
Thanks to Hugo Salinas Price
Some readers may ask themselves; “What has gold to do with protecting jobs? Gold hoarders are certainly not creating jobs, and hoarding more gold will not help at all.”
Gold has everything to do with the loss of jobs in the US, and gold has everything to do with recovering jobs for the US economy.
Let me go back to the 60?s. During those years, the US and the world were on a Gold-and-Dollar Standard.
Back in the 60?s, countries were very careful about maintaining a constant monetary balance between their exports and their imports. They all wanted to be in a situation where they would export more than they imported, so that they would have increasing balances of gold or dollars in their Treasuries.
To state this more correctly, they all wanted to export more than they imported, except the United States.
armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Feb 21, 2017
The riots in France against police have now spread becoming a contagion of civil unrest in Europe as youth attack police now in Stockholm’s Rinkeby district. Groups of youths have set fire to several cars and plundered businesses as well. It seems we are looking at the idea that never let a good riot go to waste as an opportunity to grab free stuff.
news.goldseek.com / By Rambus / 21 February 2017
Before we look at some of the 2009 bull market uptrend channels there are a couple of more big consolidation patterns I would like to show you on some of the stock market indexes. The $DAX, German stock market, broke out of its 13 year triangle consolidation pattern back in 2012. Late last year it broke out of the blue bull flag with a nice clean backtest to the top rail. The big triangle consolidation pattern also had a smaller triangle as part of its internal structure.
thecommonsenseshow.com / By Dave Hodges / February 20th, 2017
President Trump and Defense Secretary Mettes are not backing down to the Chinese. As I write these words Carrier Task Force 1, has sailed into the South China Sea as America calls the bluff of China to stay out of the region.
South China Sea Tensions Resurface
After months of relative calm, the events in the South China Sea are, again, heating up and are threatening to bring chaos and war to the South China Sea and perhaps the planet.
The major players in the territorial dispute are China, Vietnam and the United States. At issue are the Spratly Islands in which China has constructed artificial Islands and militarized them as they lay claim to the area. This is a dispute that has both the US and Vietnam up in arms.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that tensions in the waters have stabilized, due to the hard work of Beijing and Southeast Asia countries. However, he warns, the US should cease patrolling the South China Sea as it belongs to China. He further elaborated that the US will respect the current situation by not taking “any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security,” according to Reuters. And now we have the fertile ground of a stand0ff and the potential for World War III.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Feb 20, 2017 9:30 PM
Obesity is a ‘big’ (pardon the pun) problem in the Pacific Islands. In fact, a recent World Bank study found that over half the adult population in 16 of the 17 Pacific Island countries and territories were obese while over 75% of the population was obese in 11 of those counties.
shtfplan.com / Mac Slavo / February 20th, 2017
In a world where nothing is coincidence…
Yet another Russian diplomat has died unexpectedly at a time when tensions between East and West are great, and when there is a great deal of subterfuge going on behind the scenes.
Few could forget the shocking video of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, being shot at an art gallery podium in Turkey by a man who was supposed to be on his security detail. Russian and Turkish leaders both suggested that it was an attempt to undermine cooperation and potential peace agreements over Syria.
Only hours after that event took place in December, a second Russian diplomat, Petr Polshikov, was reportedly found dead from a gun shot wound in his Moscow apartment. No further details have emerged, but a great deal of speculation was fueled as to what was really going on.
Now, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has “unexpectedly” dropped dead – one day before his 65th birthday from an apparent heart attack, though an autopsy and further determination of the cause of death could be forthcoming.
According to Reuters:
tfmetalsreport.com / By Turd Ferguson / February 20, 2017
Well, this is something that you’re definitely going to want to read…
OK, so, it has been a long 3-day weekend and I just got in from the road. I’m clearing out my accumulated emails and I find a note from Andy Maguire. In it, he stated that it was “about time to update everyone” but that there was more to say than just through KWN or TFMR. Therefore, he was going to make public his weekly subscriber commentary…which we’ve turned into this “guest post”.
I’m tired and my head is spinning so even yours truly is going to need to read and re-read this post in order to get my head around all that Andy is stating here. Suffice it to say, however, that I found it so imminently important that I felt I needed to get it posted for all of you as quickly as possible. Since much of this is written in Andy’s “trader lingo”, you may be left with some questions that need clarification so I’ll try to help where I can in the comments section. However, there’s A LOT here and I strongly encourage you to read it thoroughly.
p.s. As noted above, this post is excerpted from Andy weekly commentary for his subscribers and customers. The full link is here: http://andrewmaguiregoldtrading.com/market-analysis More information on Andy’s invaluable services can be found here: http://andrewmaguiregoldtrading.com/users/signup/MaguireLive and here: http://andrewmaguiregoldtrading.com/
“The Heightened Risk Of A Gold Price Reset”
On Feb 6th I warned of a heightened risk of a gold price reset based upon evidence that the all-important physical markets are increasingly influencing the price setting synthetic markets at time we are experiencing extremely strong physical demand into tight immediately deliverable supplies.
I have been drawing attention the increasing outflows of liquidity from the paper markets into the physical markets for over a year now. The last selloff from 1380 in July to 1130 in December provided clear footprints of a disconnect between the 2 markets and bears all the hallmarks that the rigged decline broke the back of the paper market. By December 2016, an ‘abyss’ had appeared between these 2 distinctly different markets, very visible to wholesale market liquidity providers and takers, but also verifiable by the corresponding reported data.
jonrappoport.wordpress.com / by Jon Rappoport / February 20, 2017
THE SCENE: COURTROOM OF THE FUTURE
A PROSECUTOR ADDRESSES THE JUDGE. THE DEFENDANT IS WAITING FOR THE VERDICT IN A JAIL CELL FAR FROM THE TRIAL.
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, I have a document written by the defendant.
JUDGE: Why do you present it here?
PROSECUTOR: Because it reeks of ideals which the State does not support. It speaks of the individual.
JUDGE (choking on his coffee): The individual? That old tune? I thought we’d gotten rid of it. Read it to me now.
PROSECUTOR (reading): “As always, I return to the individual.
“Without him, there is no meaning to civilization or the future.
“It was once established that society and civilization existed to liberate him, to remove the shackles of the State from him, so he could pursue his own destiny. This victory was massively opposed by combines, monopolies, and cartels, who seek control over populations.
“It is now up to the individual to stake out his own territory, his own power, his own virtue.
thecommonsenseshow.com / By Dave Hodges / February 20th, 2017
AMEN MR. PRESIDENT- THE MSM IS MY ENEMY BECAUSE THEY LIE AND DECEIVE ON REPEATED ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE. PSUEDO JOUNALISTS LIKE CHRIS WALLACE SERVE THE TRAITORS THAT BROUGHT US FREE TRADE, TOTALLY OPEN BORDERS AND AN OUT OF CONTROL DEBT THT WILL SOMETIME SOON COLLAPSE OUR ECONOMY. ANDERSON COOPER IS BAD, HOWEVER, CHRIS WALLACE IS WORSE. HE STAUNCH DEFENSE OF THE CORRUPT STAUS QUO MAKES ME SICK.
HERE IS THE REST OF THE STORY
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Feb 20, 2017 8:28 PM
Considering that in the past 3 months the only daily topic of relevance for the media has been “Donald Trump” both in the US and abroad, one would assume that when it comes to global policy uncertainty the primary source would be, record S&P 500 paradoxically notwithstanding, the United States. One would also be wrong, because while Trump seemingly remains the only topic worthy of discussion blanketing the airwaves, as the following chart from Goldman demonstrates, it has been China where policy uncertainty has stealthily exploded in the past three months according to policyuncertainty.com, while making virtually no new headlines.