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zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 23, 2016 3:01 PM
When we last looked at the blowout in US short-term funding rates, most notably Libor, which has been broadly attributed to regulatory reasons ahead of the October 14 money fund reform deadline, we pointed out that with trillions in debt tracking Libor, it was only a matter of time before something snapped.
Since then Libor has slowed down its dramatic ascent, so far plateauing in the low 0.8% range, however, the materially “tighter financial conditions” have remained.
acting-man.com / Pater Tenebrarum / August 23, 2016
Distortions and Crazy Ideas
We have come across a few articles recently that discuss some of the strategies investors are using or contemplating to use as a result of the market distortions caused by current central bank policies. Readers have no doubt noticed that numerous inter-market correlations seem to have been suspended lately, and that many things are happening that superficially seem to make little sense (e.g. falling junk bond yields while defaults are surging; the yen rising since the BoJ adopted negative rates; stocks rising amid a persistent decline in earnings growth; bonds, gold and stocks moving in unison, etc., etc.).
The investors engaging in said strategies all appear eager to court disaster in exchange for what seem rather paltry gains. To this it should also be pointed out that all sorts of trades are nowadays becoming “crowded” very quickly, often to a never before seen extent.
It’s like a bus full of children heading toward a cliff, with everybody 100% sure that the brakes are in working order, because supposedly skilled mechanics are in charge of overseeing the bus – the same mechanics who needlessly tuned up the engine (which has begun to make strange sounds).
The fact that said mechanics are known for groping in the dark most of the time is widely ignored, or let us rather say, it is actually widely acknowledged, but doesn’t keep people from making as if it didn’t matter. Why? Because of… TINA – the currently fashionable bubble rationalization.
One of these articles discusses a strategy currently employed by yield hunters. This may actually partly explain why the yen has been so strong – apparently foreign investors are piling into negative yielding Japanese government debt, which can be made to deliver a positive yield by means of financial engineering. According to a free lunch alert by Bloomberg:
zerohedge.com / by Nick Bernabe via TheAntiMedia.org / Aug 23, 2016 2:39 PM
2016 is the year many, many Americans began to question whether or not our elections, and to a lesser extent, our democracy (insert “it’s a constitutional republic, big difference!” here) are rigged. As I’ve argued many times in the past year, there is plenty of evidence suggesting these skeptical Americans are, indeed, onto something with their suspicions.
But the corporate media has come out in defense of America’s “democracy” – and political elites are defending the system, too. In the wake of Trump’s recent rhetoric regarding the “rigged” system, the ruling class of the United States is peddling the fiction that somehow Trump’s irresponsible sensationalism is solely to blame for the newfound feelings of illegitimacy plaguing our elections.
news.goldseek.com / Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA / 23 August 2016
Gold moved lower early during yesterday’s session, but came back up later on and finally gold ended the session only less than $3 lower. Can we view such a reversal as a bullish sign? Not necessarily – a reversal should be confirmed by high volume and yesterday’s session wasn’t. Consequently, one needs to look at other parts of the precious metals sector for confirmations.
The above action, however, provides bearish signals, not bullish ones. Let’s start with the USD Index chart (charts courtesy of http://stockcharts.com).
thedailysheeple.com / by Carey Wedler, THE ANTI-MEDIA /
The Federal Reserve bank is well-known for its secrecy. But in an attempt to reach out to the people it claims to serve, the monolithic bank just created a Facebook page . . . and it’s probably really regretting that decision.
Unlike Twitter, where the Fed decides which comments to reply to — and therefore which show up publicly on its page — its public Facebook page, launched Thursday morning, is not as restrictive. In fact, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System page has been relentlessly trolled since it went up.
The Federal Reserve bank was originally crafted largely by bankers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. It has never been fully audited since the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913, yet it enjoys an omnipresent status in the United States. As the Fed’s Facebook page points out, “Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.”
People have protested the banking institution since it was created, but it remains one of the best-guarded, most opaque institutions in the country.
A congressionally mandated audit by the Government Accountability Office in 2011 found the Fed had loaned out $16 trillion dollars to big banks around the world. As noted by Senator Bernie Sanders at the time, “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”
Sanders’s press release highlighted a more specific conflict of interest:
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 23, 2016 2:21 PM
It’s them Ruskies again! With pressure on Obama over his visit to Louisiana, and Hillary facing an avalanche of headlines over her “email crimes,” it is time for a distraction… CNN reports, hackers thought to be working for Russian intelligence have carried out a series of cyber breaches targeting reporters at the New York Times and other US news organizations, according to US officials briefed on the matter.
The intrusions, detected in recent months, are CNN reports, under investigation by the FBI and other US security agencies.
investmentresearchdynamics.com / By Dave Kranzler /
Absurd surges in new home sales activity were not significant…Headline reporting of this series is of no substance, as seen frequently with massive, unstable and continuously shifting revisions of recent history… – John Williams, Shadowstats.com on the June report.
Like everything else going on in the financial markets, the Government’s new home sales report is thoroughly inconsistent with all of the actualized supporting data and bears absolutely no resemblance to observable reality.
The Census Bureaus, which is notorious for producing fraudulent data, reports that new homes sales hit a 9-year high in July on a “statistically adjusted, annualized rate” basis. However, it had to revise its original report down for June to 582k from 592k. Bloombergtheatrically describes the report as indicating “sky high momentum.” These are, of course, fairytale numbers.
This is how John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics described last month’s new home sales report: “Despite ‘benchmarking’ to the unstable seasonal-adjustment factors with the April 2016 release, this series remains extraordinarily unstable and consistently unreliable on a near-term month-to-month basis as weather headline sales increased or decreased.” (Shadowstats.com)
The Government’s numbers were “driven” by an unexplainable 18% surge in new home sales in the South. Yet, according to Redfin.com’s data for July, homes sales for July in the south’s biggest MSAs (population areas) cratered: Atlanta -12.9%, Dallas/Ft Worth-13.3%, Miami -24.2%, Orlando -16.1% (LINK). In other words, the Government’s metric conflicts drastically with observable reality.
davidstockmanscontracorner.com / By Leslie Shaffer, CNBC •
Even a resurgent yen hasn’t dampened Japan’s stock rally over the past couple months, but that’s not necessarily because investors like the market.
The Nikkei 225 index has surged around 10 percent since late June, even as the yen has climbed against the dollar, with the pair testing levels under 100.
Normally this would be bad news for stocks as a stronger yen is a negative for exporters as it reduces their overseas profits when converted to local currency. So what explains the buoyant stock market?
Analysts attributed the gains to the Bank of Japan (BOJ), not fundamentals.
In a report titled, “BOJ nationalizing the stock market,” Nicholas Smith, an analyst at CLSA, said that the central bank’s exchange-traded fund (ETF) buying program was distorting the market.
At its late July meeting, the BOJ said it would increase its ETF purchases so that their amount outstanding will rise at an annual pace of 6 trillion yen ($56.7 billion), from 3.3 trillion yen previously.
Those purchases were particularly distorting to the market because they focused largely on funds tracking the Nikkei 225 index, Smith said in a note dated Sunday, estimating that more than half of the BOJ’s ETF buying was likely in Nikkei-tied funds.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 23, 2016 2:21 PM
Back in April, when the world was still reeling from the China devaluation inflicted market slump, the Fed’s discount rate minutes for the months of March/April showed that 4 regional Feds wanted a 25 bps rate hike, up from just two – the Richmond Fed and Kansas City – in the Feb/March meeting. One month ago the Fed released its May/June Discount Rate Minutes which revealed that both the St. Louis and Boston Feds joined four other regional Feds, Cleveland, Richmond, Kansas City and San Francisco, in seeking a quarter point increase in Fed discount rate to 1.25% prior to the June 14-15 FOMC meeting.
Then moments ago the Fed released its latest July 25 Discount Rate Minutes which revealed that two more regional Feds, Dallas and Philadelphia joined the six previously noted, in seeking a quarter point increase in Fed discount rate to 1.25 percent prior to the July meeting.
This means that as of a month ago, two thirds of all regional Feds were urging Yellen to hike the discount rate; they were the following: Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco and St. Louis. Those who voted to keep discount rate at 1% cited argument that outlook and below-target inflation supported keeping current accommodation in place; banks were Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and especially the New York. Clearly they dominated the discussion.
Obviously, there was no rate hike, as the Fed chose to maintain its primary credit rate at 1%.
The regional directors who supported a rate hike increase did so in light of a “strengthening economy and expectations that inflation would move to 2% target.” They also saw saw the “economy continuing to expand at moderate pace, yet reports varied somewhat across sectors and districts.” Other factors listed included:
shtfplan.com / Jeremiah Johnson / August 23rd, 2016
“The probability of escalation of the conflict remains very significant. We don’t rule out a full-scale Russian invasion.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a televised speech on 8/18/16.
The situation of the rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia is being paralleled by the war of words between the countries’ two leaders. As mentioned in a previous article, Vladimir Putin is still not satisfied with the alleged actions by Ukrainian commandos that killed one FSB officer and one enlisted man on two separate incidents. Putin went on to say that any meetings between Poroshenko and himself in the upcoming G-20 summit would be “pointless,” and accused Ukraine of conducting terror attacks.
To further complicate the issue, the attacks were labeled as “border incursions,” as they occurred in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. In addition to this, the 24th of August is rapidly approaching, and this is the date that Ukrainians celebrate their Independence Day…from the Soviet Union. This bears special noteworthiness, as it would be a prime moment to conduct an incursion due to the historical significance of the date. Vladimir Putin visited Crimea on August 19th and said the following to the Security Council of Sevastopol:
mishtalk.com / Mike “Mish” Shedlock / August 23, 2016
New home sales are up huge amounts year-over-year but price is not following. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, news home sales are up 18.1% in the south (the largest region), and 40% in the Northeast (accounting for only a small increase in sales).
Volatility is the name of game for the new home sales report where July’s headline surged, up a monthly 12.4 percent to a 654,000 annualized rate. A very small offset is a very modest 10,000 downward revision to June which now stands at 582,000. May is unrevised at 572,000. All these levels are at cycle highs while the sequential gains hint at sky-high momentum.
The surge in sales is apparently getting a big boost from seller discounting as the median price fell 5.1 percent to $294,600. The year-on-year price is suddenly in the negative column at minus 0.5 percent. These results confirm other indications of price softness, including recent FHFA and Case-Shiller data.
The National Superintendency of Fair Prices has reportedly instituted a policy of fining bakeries that allow lines to stretch out their front doors, according to PanAmPost. The head of this particular bureaucracy, William Contreras, claims the lines aren’t a true indicator of a severe shortage of bread, but rather, a political “strategy of generating anxiety.”
jonrappoport.wordpress.com / by Jon Rappoport / August 22, 2016
“Let’s see, Mr. Reporter. You received an undercover recording of a medical researcher confessing his crimes. You posted the recording and wrote about it. You’re the one who is guilty of a crime. Next case!”
“Wait, Your Honor! That recording is vital information for the public. It shows that a vaccine considered to be safe actually causes brain damage in children.”
“No. It shows you violated the law by posting the recording. It was illegally made, and you aided and abetted and forwarded that crime. As I said, next case!”
The shocking film Vaxxed (trailer) is drawing audiences all over the country. It details the confessions of a CDC researcher, William Thompson, who states that he and his colleagues buried data in a key study on the MMR vaccine.
In the study, the vaccine was given a free pass, with assurances that it didn’t increase the risk of autism in children—when, in fact, the data showed it did increase that risk.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 23, 2016 1:12 PM
If today’s 2 Year auction was supposed to telegraph what the bond market thinks of Janet Yellen’s Jackson Hole statement, then the message is clear: there won’t even be a sliver of hawkishness, because while the When Issued market was expecting the note to price at 0.771%, it stopped through the When Issued by 1.1bps, printing at 0.76%, which incidentally is where the July 2 Year auction priced as well, only that particular auction tailed by 1.2 bps.
Since the entire mainstream media essentially functions like an official Hillary Clinton Public Relations Team™ anymore, you can watch the coordinated propaganda roll out any time a plan is hatched on her behalf.
The new “plan” appears to be to demonize anyone who questions the Madam’s health as “sexist” and a “conspiracy”.
Check out the recent headlines a quick search will return:
Is Crimea about to explode? The mainstream media reports that Russia has amassed troops on the border with Ukraine and may be spoiling for a fight. The Russians claim to have stopped a Ukrainian sabotage team that snuck into Crimea to attack key infrastructure. The Russian military is holding exercises in Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the peninsula at the end of the week.
The Ukrainians have complained to their western supporters that a full-scale Russian invasion is coming, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he may have to rule by martial law due to the Russian threat.
Though the US media pins the blame exclusively on Russia for these tensions, in reality there is plenty of blame to go around. We do know that the US government has been involved with “regime change” in Ukraine repeatedly since the break up of the Soviet Union. The US was deeply involved with the “Orange Revolution” that overthrew elected president Viktor Yanukovych in 2005. And we know that the US government was heavily involved in another coup that overthrew the same elected Yanukovych again in 2014.
How do we know that the US was behind the 2014 coup? For one, we have the intercepted telephone call between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In the recording, the two US officials are plotting to remove the elected government and discussing which US puppet they will put in place.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Aug 23, 2016 2:13 PM
If ordinary Germans were not traumatized enough by this weekend’s shocking official announcement that they should prepare to stockpile several days of food and water “in case of an attack of catastrophe” as part of the country’s revised “Civil Defense Concept”, then the latest news from German press agency DPA, which cites a confidential document prepared by the government according to which the government is considering “bringing back nationwide conscription in times of crisis”, such as situations in which the country needs to “defend NATO’s external borders,” will surely put them over the edge.
“An attack on German territory that would require conventional defence is unlikely,” the document said. However, civil defence measures are necessary because a “major security threat in the future cannot be ruled out,” it added.
New home sales surprised most analysts this morning. New home sales rose 12.37% in July to 654k units SAAR.
The median price for new homes sold fell -5.12% and the months supply of new homes fell -12.2%.
While the median price for new home sales has risen to above the levels seen during the housing bubble, mortgage purchase applications are lower than during the housing bubble (although purchase applications have been rising since 2015).
Ever since alternative media sources made Hillary Clinton’s health a legitimate campaign issue, much of the mainstream media has been comically and instinctively rallying around her, smugly proclaiming that anyone who questions Her Highness’ physical or mental fitness for office to be a deranged rightwing conspiracy theorist.
What’s so amusing about the tactics of these self-important pundits is their willingness to do the exact same thing they demonize “fringe bloggers” of doing: playing doctor. Most of those rushing out to confidently ensure the public that everything is just fine and dandy with Hillary Clinton’s health lack any medical credentials. They’re just journalists and pundits who have decided Hillary is fine based on a two-page letter from internist Dr. Lisa Bardack. Does writing for theWashington Post or CNN make them the authority on Hillary Clinton’s health? Of course not.
To highlight just how unquestioning and extremely biased much of the mainstream media really is, let’s take a look at what comes up as the top story when I search “Hillary health debunked.”
zerohedge.com / by Joe Concha, originally posted op-ed at The Hill / Aug 23, 2016 12:46 PM
Hillary Clinton is 68 years old. She’s been diagnosed with cerebral venous thrombosis; head trauma, pregnancy, cancer, brain infection, autoimmune diseases and inborn clotting abnormalities are all predisposing factors, per the Washington Post. She’s currently taking blood thinners. Four years ago, Clinton fainted, hit her head and suffered a concussion.
She’s also the odds-on favorite to assume one of the most strenuous jobs on the planet as president of the United States.
But lately many in the media have become outraged that Clinton’s health is being broached at all.
And what are the primary two words associated when Donald Trump, a Trump surrogate or conservative media bring up Clinton’s medical condition? “Conspiracy theories.”
But are they all just engaging in wacky speculation in an effort to take down Clinton, where she has a relatively comfortable 5.5-point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls?
What is happening in Japan is not good…but gold and silver remain firm.
A portion of today’s note from Peter Boockvar: Japan’s index for August was up a touch at 49.6 from 49.3 in July. It’s below 50 now for a 6th straight month which also coincides with the yen move from 120 to 100…
news.goldseek.com / By David Haggith / 23 August 2016
I’ve never seen anything so surreal as the United States’ current political circus of unelectable and undelectable candidates offered as each party’s top of the crop. I can’t stop wondering if the Trump is Clinton’s decoy, gathering all the Republiducks into one place so the Democats can slaughter them. Yet, as surely as Trump looks like he’s trying to throw the election, Hillary looks like she’s going to fall over unconscious from a brain aneurysm on the dawn of election day … or on midnight after the votes are in and counted, depending on which conspiracy you like best.
Equally weird is the certain fact that the Democrat’s Chosen One was assured her party’s worship through inside engineering. I’m not surprised such maneuvering happens inside political parties but that, after it came fully into the open, Hillary seems more likely to win.
That she was able to take the Democrat who was most to blame (and who resigned because of it) and raise her quite publicly and immediately to the top of her campaign goes to show how voters believe this is just the way party politics works all the time. Hillary made that move openly, knowing that most people in her party couldn’t care less about such things. She even got a big bump in popularity after the move. That’s how little such shenanigans mattered to her supporters.
The Trump — What a card!
That the irony is everywhere is unsettling. If I were writing a novel, I couldn’t pick a better name for an unlikable, self-aggrandizing, megalomaniac presidential candidate than “Trump.” He has the sole virtue of sounding anti-establishment at a time when people crave a strongman who can save the nation from its own craven greed now that it has lived for decades above its means.
zerohedge.com / Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow / Aug 23, 2016 12:54 PM
As we wait and use the current lull to ponder what Chair Yellen and non-farm payrolls will bring, it’s probably not a bad use of time to remind ourselves of what remains trading reality. Especially in the context of the ECB, BOE, SNB, BOJ and Fed all having meetings less than a month away. And all of them, in their own way, in play.
With narrative so clearly following — not leading — price action, it’s worth noting where traders continue to perceive opportunity. You’ll notice I didn’t say “value” because it’s also necessary to remember why certain levels are so repeatedly tested
The answer, of course, is that price discovery in a world of central bank price fixing must factor in where it’s advantageous to front-run the “house”, regardless of price
"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