Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Focused and relaxed............

Focused and relaxed

Focus intently on whatever you're doing, but not in a way that makes you uptight. Keep yourself relaxed about what you're doing, but not in a way that makes you careless.

Staying focused and staying relaxed do not have to oppose each other. In fact, they work extremely well together.

You can pay very close attention to what you do, while at the same time not letting it get you all wound up. You can truly relax and enjoy the task while also giving your very best to it.

Don't think of being focused and highly effective as being something you must fight and strive to attain. Think of it as an extremely fulfilling, natural state, because that's precisely what it is.

Give yourself permission to enjoy and to relax into a powerful, authentic focus. Feel how great it feels to calmly perform at your highest level.

Choose to stay highly focused and peacefully relaxed. And enjoy the experience of being your very best.






How Much More Does The Bear Market Have To Go?........AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

How Much More Does The Bear Market Have To Go?

The secular bear market that the US has been caught in for a better part of the last decade will end. Eventually. The only question is when. Last week we reported that the bulk of market gains year to date, has been driven exclusively by PE multiple expansion, which is to be expected: EPS forecasts for the end of 2012 are now the lowest they have been since the beginning of the year. 

Yet while such sharp, sudden and short and bear-market rallies, exclusively on the back of the global central banks, are to be expected, the bigger question is how much more of a secular decline in PE multiples is to be expected before the bear market ends and a new bull market can begin. As the following chart from Crestmont Research shows there is quite a bit more to go, even with Fed assistance (or rather, because of it, and its forced rejection of reaching a fair clearing price sooner rather than later), before the bear market is officially over. 

Just over 50% more, to the downside.

How the Bear Market declines have looked in perspective, and where we ultimately have to go before all the artifical supports are cleared out:


And the Bull Markets preceding them...

Stocks Galloped Higher in 1929, Too...........A MUST READ!

Stocks Galloped Higher in 1929, Too

As usual, the stock market was vexatiously out of step with reality last week, soaring on word that the ECB plans to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro and the political union that it binds. For U.S. investors, especially those who believe in hope and change (and, presumably, the Easter Bunny), there was also the invaluable news that the U.S. economy is once again verging on recession – a development which is widely believed to portend yet more Fed easing. Completing the delusional vision that good times are soon to return nonetheless, crude oil finished the week with a gain of about $4 per barrel.  Of course, no one actually believes that so strong a recovery impends as to squeeze current supplies of crude that are more than adequate. Even so, the news media, feigning ignorance of forces that have been pushing the global economy toward an abyss, and abetted by the stock market's steroid-addled lunge, were only too happy to report events in a way that did not challenge officialdom's cynically crafted, positive spin.  The Establishment's most useful memes were dutifully trumpeted byThe Wall Street Journal in two headlines that ran above the fold on Friday:  Weak Economy Heads Lower, said the topmost, in a heavy font; and, immediately below it, in italics, the implicitly good news:  Markets Jump as European Leaders Vow to Protect Euro; Flagging U.S. Recovery Could Spur Fed.



Such headlines have the seeming heft of history-in-the-making. Notice, however, that it is not facts that have borne this weight, but mere hope and speculation. To say the markets have responded positively to some banker's speech is hardly an assurance that the ECB's latest nostrums will work.  As for the Fed's supposed ability to revive the economy with yet another monetary nudge, it is only on Wall Street where the cynicism such speculation evokes could produce an ostensibly positive outcome – i.e., last week's 600-point surge in the Dow.  Despite such effusions, however, there is growing tension between the stock market's ebullient leaps on the one hand and mounting perceptions on the other that the global economy is poised to collapse.  Under the circumstances, we imbibe headlines like the ones above with a growing sense of foreboding. The reassurances that our leaders seem increasingly desperate to promote are perforce muted by the echo of headlines from the past. Below are a few to ponder as we bear witness to the stock market's inscrutable rise. All appeared on the front page of The New York Times during the summer of 1929.   While a few of them suggest that little has changed, others seem ominous in hindsight:


Leaders Assure President Senate Will Cut Tariff to Protect the Consumer
Stocks Set Record as Money Drops to 6%
London Suffers Record Heat; British Drought Most Serious
Britain Won't  Join Neighbors in Tariff War with America
Red Army Reported Massing on Frontier of Manchuria
Three Banks Closed by State In Passaic; Quick Sale Forecast
Heat of 91 Kills 3; Squalls Sweep City
U.S. Steel Profit at Peace-Time Peak
Baby Auto for Two to Be Sold by Mail
Mercury Drops to 56 Degrees in Coldest Aug. 5 Here
Farms Ship Wheat in Record Volume
Capone Shifted to Another Prison Because Fellow Inmates Threatened Him
Stock Prices Break as Rise in Bank Rate Starts Selling Rush
Stocks Regain Half of Friday's Losses
Bank of England to Get $250M [from Fed] if Necessary
China Says Soviet Is Trying to Start World-Wide Revolt
Stock Market Goes Up, Surprising Wall Street; Brokers' Loans at Peak Had Indicated a Drop
Arabs Invade Palestine from Three Directions
Turks Threaten to Seize Synagogue in Tax Dispute
Heat at 94 Again; Wave Nation-Wide
Stock Prices Break on Dark Prophecy; Follows 19-Day Advance [September 6]
[Professor] Finds Nation Lacks Direction Because Teaching Is in Hands of Women
Senate Foes Attack Tariff Bill
Boy Held in Theft of $512,000 Bonds
Stock Leaders Sag in Liquidation [September 25]
Toppling Markets Rallied by Bankers [September 26]
Maniac Kills Man by Push on Elevated
Hoover Defeated on Flexible Tariff
$1,253,702,357 Rise in Taxable Realty on City's Rolls
Year's Worst Break Hits Stock Market [October 4]
Brisk Rally Checks Long Market Drop [October 6]
Radio Carries Cheer to Byrd in Antarctic
Hoover to Attend World Series Game Today
Stocks Driven Down as Wave of Selling Engulfs the Market [October 20]
Stocks Gain Sharply but Slip near Close [October 23]

And we all know the rest.  If there's a lesson in this sequence of headlines, it is that we should batten the hatches if and when the stock market's daily gyrations become front-page news in the The New York Times.  Of course, the worst conceivable outcome would be a market that fails to gyrate, instead collapsing in a flash crash so devastating as to crush all speculation about a recovery.

Negative Real Interest Rates Argue for New Highs in Gold............AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

Negative Real Interest Rates Argue for New Highs in Gold

At any given point in time there are several variables that affect the price of gold. There are times when gold's price is driven by its perceived association with inflation and other times it's seen as a "safety asset" or even a global currency. 

One variable in particular that was a constant driver of gold's bull market in the 1970s was the presence of negative real interest rates—where inflation rates are higher than nominal interest rates—which means savers who park their cash at the bank are seeing their purchasing power eroded. The power of negative real interest rates as a major catalyst for gold has also been dominant in gold's secular bull market this time around and currently argues for new highs. 

However, the USD's strength at present has been keeping gold in check. That may soon change if the Euro begins to stabilize and money flows back out of the USD.

Gold Variables

As mentioned above, one of the strongest correlations to the price of gold is not the USD but actually real interest rates. This can been seen below in which the top panel shows the open interest for gold futures contracts, the middle panel shows gold along with real interest rates (inverted in red), and the bottom panel shows the USD Index along with gold (USD Index shown inverted for directional similarity). Real interest rates in the middle panel have had the most consistent relationship with gold over the years but that changed in the middle of 2011 when the USD Index began to rise (fall in bottom panel below), despite real interest rates falling to new lows which suggested gold should be hitting new highs.

I believe that once we see the USD peak and the EUR stabilize we will see money flow out of the USD and into other currencies which will lead to weakness in the USD and strength in gold. I think a turning point is at hand as gold is already beginning to rally relative to global currencies as seen in the table below. Gold over the last month (middle column below) is up against virtually every world currency save but 3, indicating its recent strength is a global development.


We are also entering the seasonal strong period for gold in which it typically bottoms in the middle of August and then rallies into the end of the year due to seasonal gold buying by India for the upcoming wedding season.


Last year the demand from India was particularly weak and part of the reason for this was gold's more than 37% move between early July and September when priced in Indian Rupee. Basically India went on a buyer's strike due to the shock in prices. However, gold priced in Rupee has essentially gone nowhere and Indians have had time to adjust to higher prices just as the US has adjusted to higher gasoline prices, and so it is not likely that the current level of gold will be as major of a depressant on Indian buying this season as it was last year.  

Morever, the Chinese who have been major buyers of gold have seen it decline roughly 20% from last year to this year's low and are likely buyers at these levels.


Technical Backdrop for Precious Metals is Very Attractive

We are entering the normal seasonal strong period for gold at a time when gold and silver bullion and precious metal producers are near the most oversold conditions they've seen in the past decade, indicating this year might be a great buying opportunity. For example, our technical risk indicator for gold is at levels that have marked major lows for gold since the bull market began in 2001.


The same can be said for silver which remains very depressed and at levels last seen at the major 2004 and 2008 lows.


Precious metal producers as seen by the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI) are the most oversold they've been in years where one has to go back to the 2004 or 2008 lows to find gold stocks this oversold.


Given the collapse in the producers relative to the price of gold, the price-to-sales ratio for the HUI is roughly where it was back in 2008 as gold stocks remain incredibly cheap at current levels.


All Hangs on the Euro

Given the major factor holding gold back over the past nine months has been the USD, it is imperative that the Euro hold support and the USD weaken. We are presented with a very bullish setup for the Euro given it is testing the 2010 lows and holding at the same time the weekly MACD is on the verge of a buy signal and showing positive divergence with price (middle panel) and the 14-week RSI (bottom panel) is at levels associated with significant bottoms. If the Euro can stabilize here and hold and the USD weaken at the same time we head into the seasonal strong period for precious metals, we may have a decent move in metals heading into the fall. Given their very oversold condition and cheap valuations, metals appear to be presenting investors with an attractive buying opportunity. With all the rhetoric coming from ECB head Mario Draghi and the upcoming ECB meeting on August 2nd, we may be treated to some fireworks in the not too distant future that may shed light on whether or not the Euro holds. If the Euro breaks and the ECB underwhelms market expectations next week I would expect another round of selling in the gold sector, but if the ECB does begin to flood the system we may see a dramatic move in metals.


The World is Headed for a Series of Currency Problems That no One is Talking About .................A MUST READ!

The World is Headed for a Series of Currency Problems That no One is Talking About  

Last Thursday the European Central Bank's Mario Draghi was moved to defend the euro, after Spain's government bond yields rose dramatically through the 7% level. And when Valencia asked the central government for a bailout, followed by indications that other cities and regions have similar problems, it became clear that Spain is in deep trouble. We have got used to the concept of too-big-to-fail; now we have too-big-to-rescue.

We normally talk about Spain and also Italy in terms of government debt and budget deficits, forgetting they are only part of the problem. To these must be added regional and local governments, nationalised and subsidised industries, and off-balance sheet guarantees for other entities. Forget, for the moment, future health and welfare costs, which statistically dwarf everything: they are not the immediate problem. This still leaves us with rescues, without even considering commercial banks, amounting to perhaps between two and four times the headline government debt. People think Spain can be rescued, but when you take everything into account, including the prospect of a policy-induced slump from macro-economic mistakes, it is simply too big.

The failure to face up to financial reality is essentially political. 

Spain's President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, was elected with a clear majority last November, and has failed to cut spending. Instead of reducing the burden of the public sector on the economy, he has chosen to penalise the productive private sector through extra taxation. If anyone had an opportunity to face up to reality with an electoral mandate it was Rajoy, but he failed to do so either because he deemed it politically impossible or because he is simply too weak.

Perhaps it is political reality: this is certainly echoed in all the other crisis-hit states. France's electorate has cut out any argument by electing a socialist president intent on increasing both public spending and taxes at the same time. The result is that Europe faces economic collapse sooner than it might otherwise, escalating the burden principally on Germany of bailing out impecunious states.

Germany is becoming isolated, and no longer is Chancellor Merkel able to pretend that, deo volente, it will come right in the end. Instead Germany faces a crippling bill, now recognised by the rating agencies. Philipp Bagus estimated the total cost to Germany to be four times her total tax revenues. That implies personal taxes of over 100% of private sector income. How do you carry your electorate along with you, simply to keep the euro project alive, with that sort of cost?

You cannot. Bagus sees no alternative to money-printing, and that is effectively what Draghi now says he is prepared to do; but unlike other fiat currencies, the euro has no single government backing it. Therefore the effect on the euro of Draghi's money printing could be catastrophic.

It would be quite an event. We have not seen a major fiat currency collapse in recent decades, though there are those in Germany who remember the misery it brings. The speed at which the euro weakens could be very surprising indeed.

20 Signs That Society Is Breaking Down.......... A MUST READ!

20 Signs That Society Is Breaking Down

In order for a society to function successfully, people need to be able to trust one another. 

Unfortunately, we are rapidly getting to the point where it is very difficult to trust anyone and society is breaking down.  

Think about it.  

Do you trust most politicians?  

Do you trust most lawyers?  

Do you trust most bankers?  

Do you trust the police?  

As you will read about below, even doctors are going absolutely bonkers these days.  

So if the so called "upper crust" of society cannot even be trusted, then what about everyone else? 

Sadly, the truth is that America has been overrun by people who have no belief system, with them, anything goes. This is what happens when a nation turns it's collective back on God.   

These people look "normal" when you meet them, but unfortunately very few people have pure motives these days.  You never know when someone is going to stab you in the back (literally or figuratively).

These people simply do whatever is right in their own eyes, and that makes society a very unpredictable place.  As the economy continues to fall apart in future years, people are going to become even more desperate, and that is going to cause all of this craziness to get even worse.

Almost everywhere you look, there are signs of societal decay.  

During an interview last year, trends researcher Gerald Celente made the following statement....

"Society is breaking down on every level: socially, economically, politically and it's not just the U.S. It's worldwide."

Sadly, he hit the nail right on the head. There is not a single segment of society that the rot of social decay has not touched. A lot of people want to put all of the blame on "the politicians" or "the bankers", but the truth is that many of us are just as corrupt as they are.  Instead of pointing fingers, many of us need to look in the mirror.

America is being fundamentally changed, and not for the better.

Following are 20 signs that society is breaking down; 

#1 Cannibalism is alive and well in America apparently.  Down in Miami the other day, police shot a man who was literally eating the face off of another man....

"The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, 'Get off!'" Vega said. "The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin."

Vega flagged down a Miami police officer, who he said repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker just picked his head up and growled at the officer, Vega said.  AGAIN DEMONISM IN OUR MIDST! 

As the attack continued, Vega said the officer shot the attacker, who just continued chewing the victim's face. The officer fired again, killing the attacker.


#2 Down in Florida recently, a crazed doctor spit a mouthful of blood on state troopers during a DUI arrest.  It is quite frightening when even doctors are displaying this kind of psychotic behavior....

The doctor had $40,000 in his pockets and another $14,000 — along with two handguns, some pills and a small vial of liquid — in his BMW, troopers said.

The crazed doc repeatedly smashed his head against a partition until blood began gushing down the front of his face.

"Hey! Blood, blood, blood, blood all over! Take me to the hospital! Take me to the hospital!" The doctor raves in the video, as he uses his head to smear blood all over the car.

#3 A lot of people get on my case for picking on Detroit, but can you really blame me?  So much bizarre material keeps coming out of the city.  For example, just check out what recently happened to a 22-year-old pregnant woman....

A 22-year-old pregnant woman survived after being bound, driven to Detroit, set on fire and shot early Saturday morning.

The woman, who was nine-months pregnant, had returned from a movie with her boyfriend and dropped him off at his house in Warren when she was approached from behind, Warren police Sgt. Dave Geffert said.

The woman's hands, feet and eyes were bound with duct tape. She was then forced into her car and driven to an unknown place in Detroit where she was doused with lighter fluid, set on fire and shot once in the upper back, he said.

#4 Even famous preachers get carjacked in Detroit.  Just ask Pastor Marvin Winans....

Pastor Marvin Winans' SUV remains missing as of Thursday morning and so do the men who punched, kicked and robbed the famous gospel singer.

Winans was pumping gas Wednesday afternoon at a Detroit Citgo station on the corner of Linwood and Davison when at least two men ambushed him.

#5 Would you like to have your lips stapled shut and then be tortured with a power tool?  Well, that is exactly what happened to one man in Utah recently.

#6 A 26-year-old high school teacher in Minnesota has been charged with sending naked photos of herself to the phone of a 17-year-old male student.  Did she really expect to get away with that?

#7 For some teachers, one student simply is not enough.  A 33-year-old art teacher in Arizona was recently charged with having sex with four of her male students.

#8 Many of our major cities are turning into war zones.  According to WGN, a total of 25 people were shot in a single night in Chicago recently.

#9 These days, most people do not seem to care if you are pregnant.  Up in Seattle, police tasered a pregnant woman three times after she refused to sign a ticket for a traffic violation.

#10 Down in Georgia, a police officer recently kicked a woman who was nine months pregnant directly in the stomach.  His superiors in the local police department defended his actions.

#11 After reading how police are behaving these days it is hard to have much confidence in them.  For example, just check out what one police officer is charged with doing in Philadelphia....

A Philadelphia cop was arrested over allegations that he abducted a 14-year-old girl, sexually assaulted her and made her watch him have sex with a prostitute.

Police found Anthony Dattilo, 36, at a motel in the Bensalem area of the city Wednesday while responding to a possible abduction, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

Dattilo, a 12-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, is reportedly in custody at the Bucks County prison on $500,000 bail.

#12 The sexual abuse that happens to children in homes all over America each night is absolutely unspeakable.  The following is one recent example from California....

A Superior Court judge sentenced a man to 40 years and 8 months to life in state prison Friday for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old female relative on Christmas Eve while family members slept in other rooms, calling his conduct "depraved."Jorge Miguel Gallegos, 38, of Santa Ana, was convicted in April of six felony counts, including sexual assault, lewd acts on a child under 14, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

#13 Everyone knew that sickos and perverts were going to flock to the TSA so that they could legally touch people, but this is ridiculous.  It was recently discovered that a Catholic priest that left the ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse has been hired by the TSA and works as a supervisor at an airport in Philadelphia.

#14 One recent study found that 5.3 percent of all inmates in state prisons have had a sexual encounter with prison staff.

#15 Down in Arizona, authorities recently removed dozens of cats from the home of an elderly woman for the third time.  This time, there were 64 cats living with her.  In the past, authorities had discovered that the woman would make a "feline stew concoction" with any of the cats that ended up dying.

#16 You know that things are getting bad when people are stealing from ambulances....

Spotsylvania County emergency officials are working to secure drug compartments in ambulances following a recent string of thefts.

Since April, two thefts have occurred at one rescue station and a third at another station. Morphine and other drugs were taken from locked ambulance compartments.

#17 Flash mobs continue to rob convenience stores all over the country.  The following is one recent example from Baltimore....

"They went in, they started going everywhere in the store, grabbing things and then they just run out. And I knew that they didn't buy it because they just run out," Kendra Mellerson said. "They ran that way and they ran that way. And the guy was trying to come out and stop them but they couldn't because there was so many."

After some kids ran away, a store manager blocked the door to keep the rest of the kids from leaving. But those kids got so mad that the door was blocked, they started punching the store manager.

"Yes, they really started hitting that guy and he couldn't keep getting beat on so he eventually let them out. And then they just ran," Mellerson said.

#18 It isn't just people on the street that are behaving like psychos.  In fact, a series of seven scientific studies has found that "upper class people" behave more unethically than "lower class people" do.

#19 As society is breaking down, more Americans than ever are taking pills to dull the pain.  In fact, it is being reported that Americans take 80 percent of all the pain pills that are sold in the world each year.  Sadly, many of these pain pills are extremely addictive and cause people to want to commit other crimes so that they can finance their pain pill habits.

#20 In 2008, a majority of American voters chose to send a radical Marxist con man who endlessly smoked marijuana during his early adult years to the White House.  In fact, according to author David Maraniss; 

Obama and his friends smoked so much weed that they were known as "the Choom Gang"....

As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends. The first was called "TA," short for "total absorption." To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, TA was the antithesis of Bill Clinton's claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled.

Obama took his weed smoking very seriously....

Along with TA, Barry popularized the concept of "roof hits": when they were chooming in the car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.  AND THIS LOSER IS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! 

If things continue along this path, what do you think is going to happen when our economy fails and millions upon millions of Americans are hungry and desperate?

So if this is how Americans will act when the leaves on the tree are green, what is going to happen when really hard times arrive?

That is something that all of us need to think about.


In a just and honest world where we actually had penalties for fraud and people went to prison when they committed it in big financial institutions there would be little of what is currently happening, because the risk would simply be too high of a 20 year date with Bubba, exactly as this serves as a meaningful deterrent for someone contemplating holding up the local convenience store.  

Oh sure, some people are too drug-addled or simply stupid to care and they take the risk, but the fact remains that if the only penalty for holding up the local Stop-N-Rob was that you had to give back some of the loot there would a line out the door of people wearing ski masks with guns in-hand!

Yet this is the model on which we have built our so-called "financial system."  There is essentially zero risk of prosecution; this is proved at this point with the Statute of Limitations having either run or being close to doing so for most of the crimes during the housing bubble and its aftermath, being limited in most cases to either five or seven years.

Just remember one thing folks — Greece is basically out of money (again) and without the next Troika tranche it will have to default on not only its debt to its internal banks (which will set off a cataclysmic mess internally in the nation) but in addition government worker wages and benefits will not be able to be paid.

Still, nobody is talking about the truth there or here: Government cannot spend more than it taxes, and when government is in debt it must in fact spend less, since it must over time pay down that debt.

Until that discussion and honest debate takes place there will be no resolution, either in Europe or in the United States, that can or will work.




Monday, July 30, 2012

The market is not drinking the ECB kool-aid...................

It would be odd to suggest that one of the most scathing critiques of the ECB's attempts to talk up the market on nothing but hope, promises and expectations would come from rating agency Moody's, yet that is precisely what has happened. With Swiss, Dutch, Finnish, and German short-dated bonds once again hitting new record low (negative) rates (and Italian 10Y is weakening), it would appear that at least some of the market is not drinking the ECB kool-aid.




The United States is, and has been for decades, increasingly under the control of central planners at the expense of the free market. As proof of that contention take a look at these charts; 


As you can see, the chart tracks the purchasing power of the US dollar since 1914, the year that the government, through its stooges at the Fed, took command of monetary policy. Laughably, the stated mission of these central planners was to preserve the value of the dollar. Predictably, exactly the opposite resulted.

And here's the second chart;


As you can so clearly see, after severing the last connection with the gold standard in 1971, after which point the central planners took command of fiscal policy, we have seen an exponential growth in government debt.

(Of course, the numbers on the national debt are grossly understated as it doesn't account for the tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded and unpayable obligations tied to Social Security, Medicare and so forth.)

The point, which should be clear to all, is that the economic model that allowed the United States to rise out of abject poverty at its inception to become the most powerful economy the world has ever seen has been tossed aside in favor of a model that has proven time and again to be fundamentally flawed and always doomed to fail.

That the central-planning model, here and around the world, has been advanced by a fiat global reserve currency is undeniable. However, as the two charts clearly show, the consequences of having central planners controlling monetary and fiscal policy have created a ticking time bomb set to explode.

A few additional comments are warranted.

The first has to do with who the central planners actually are. And the best way to understand that is by considering who they are not.

Who they are not is successful entrepreneurs. Stating what should also be obvious, were they successful entrepreneurs, they would be otherwise engaged in creating jobs and building wealth for themselves and their co-workers. MOST GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND FOLKS THAT WORK FOR THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS HAVE NEVER BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT ANYTHING, THAT'S WHY THEY ARE ELECTED OFFICIALS AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES!

Instead, the central planners almost always hail from the ranks of the legal profession or  the halls of academia, their stock and trade consisting entirely of a college degree and a facade of really knowing what they talk about. 

"The biggest problems in this world are not caused by a lack of knowledge, but by people who pretend to know when they don't."  POLITICIANS, LAWYERS, ECONOMISTS AND MONEY MANAGERS! 

Over the years I have met and even gotten to know people who have gravitated toward jobs involved with setting government policies. And to a person, they have never held a real job outside of academia, or if they did, they failed at it. Yet they are unhesitating in telling everyone who will listen in tones most professorial how the world should work, and why enlightened government policies - not the free market - are the only answer.

These people have taken over our country, and in fact, the world. The current mess we are in should not be a surprise to anyone. All anyone has to do is look at the history of the Soviet Union, or communist China, preeconomic liberalization, to see how the story of command economies ends. How it always ends.

So, where do things go from here?

 "It's all about the debt.

"The sovereigns owe a lot of money that they can't repay. As they try to roll over their existing debts and have to borrow more, the lenders - if any can be found - will want higher and eventually unaffordable interest rates. 

When the lenders dry up, the only solution will be for the central bankers to monetize, but the world will be watching closely, so this will likely trigger a death spiral in the fiat currencies.

"There are intractable problems on a fundamental, systemic basis that cannot be resolved in an orderly fashion. The day is coming when the lending locks up again, after which point everything starts to fall apart.

It's a systemic crash that is coming... a system reset!  

If you step back and look at the big picture as it is constantly revealed in the headlines and regular releases of poor economic data, I think the conclusions I came to back before the crisis hit, that the Fed (and all the central bankers) are stuck between a rock and a hard place, remain the correct conclusions.

There is no simple or easy way out of this situation as the central planners are forced into a haphazard and highly destructive retreat. 

And the consequences won't just be economic or political... the mini-riots in Anaheim this past week are just a straw in the wind.

Financial Crime Rules the World..........AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

Financial Crime Rules the World

Ron Hera

Financial markets have exploded with financial crime since 2009 as an unintended consequence of the moral hazard engendered by the "too big to fail" doctrine of Western governments and monetary authorities.  Since "too big to fail" became the norm, there has been an increase in the number and frequency of financial crimes and the crimes themselves have become more blatant and egregious.  MF Global's $1.6 billion plunder of segregated customer accounts suggests that regulators are impotent and that there is no rule of law.

The size of financial crimes has grown from the fraudulent dumping of bad mortgages and toxic mortgage-backed securities into U.S. government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to the LIBOR rigging scheme affecting as much as $550 trillion in bonds, over the counter (OTC) derivatives and other financial instruments globally.  The conspiracy and fraud of LIBOR rigging could add up to trillions in illegal, ill-gotten gains for big banks.  LIBOR rigging is easily the single largest financial crime in the history of the world.

The locus of crime has migrated from relative Wall Street outsiders like convicted felons Raj Rajaratnam and Bernie Madoff to the very heart of the world financial system.  Even the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve have been implicated.  It is no coincidence that central banks, which exist to backstop favored banks, eventually produce "too big to fail" institutions, thus shifting losses and risks to taxpayers (socializing losses while profits remain private).

"Too big to fail" is the inevitable outcome of central banking.  Critics might contend that the harlot of Threadneedle Street (the Bank of England) and her bastard spawn (the U.S. Federal Reserve) have had their proverbial way with the United Kingdom and the United States.  Simply put, the institution of central banking has facilitated the biggest banks becoming the largest, most influential corporations in the history of the world.  In fact, "too big to fail" banks are so powerful that, rather than permitting them to suffer a loss, politicians, who depend on the favor of banks, seek to justify the growing body counts in collapsing nations like Greece.

As each new financial crime has been exposed, it has become more glaringly obvious and undeniable that the world financial system is rotten to its core.  

In the face of broad and protracted economic decline, big banks can only continue to exist either through more bailouts or through more and bigger crimes.  

Either way, the Western financial system has become one giant Ponzi scheme sucking the blood out of the real economy.  Like parasites killing their host, the largest financial institutions have become too big to be supported by the underlying economy.  Their continued existence therefore depends on their ability to cannibalize whatever is left of the economy.  As long as big banks are "too big to fail" organized crime will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Financial crime is a profitable business model.  The fines and settlements paid by big banks for their criminal activities is a fraction of their illegal profits.  Rather than being a deterrent, fines and legal settlements are merely the cost of doing business.  The cost of fines and legal settlements is ultimately guaranteed by the taxpayer.  In other words, the victims pay the penalties owed by the criminals. 

When victims are punished instead of criminals, the correct term is not 'moral hazard' but 'moral depravity'.

Although central banks exist to create inflation, which serves to transfer wealth from ordinary citizens to governments and banks, the problems of inflation are compounded by large-scale financial crimes.  Papering over problems in the financial system is highly inflationary.  Inflation, which is an increase in the money supply, can be extremely destructive.  Inflation punishes savers and destroys genuine capital opening the way for banks to substitute credit for capital.  Credit means that currency is created ex nihilo as a debt obligation owed to a bank.  The resulting destruction of genuine capital (savings) guarantees banks 'a piece of the action' in every transaction, which gradually pushes the population into debt servitude.

Real interest rates are currently negative, which means that the yields on sovereign bonds, particularly U.S. treasuries, are less than the rate of inflation.  In other words, the profit is less than the rate at which the currency is losing value.  As more money is printed, e.g., for bank bailouts, each unit of currency becomes worth less.  Structured annuities, money market funds, interest earning savings accounts, etc. can lose purchasing power, despite showing nominal gains.  To make matters worse, inflation creates phantom gains in asset prices and the resulting tax liability eats away at the original principle of investments, which is why governments want inflation (i.e., to boost tax revenues by confiscating wealth).  OUR GOVERNMENT IS THE ENEMY! LEGALIZED COERCION, CORRUPT LAWS AND FORCE ARE THE TOOLS THEY USE TO MAKE YOU COMPLY TO THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL THINGS THEY ARE DOING.

Incredibly, most investors remain blissfully unaware of the fact that, as the economy continues to decay, the carrion eaters have emerged to pick the last meat from the carcasses of once great nations.

Unless you're an insider or part of the banking cartel, most so-called "investments" have become choices between different ways of losing purchasing power; between rigged games where the house always wins.  

Of course, big banks can't lose, except when attempting to feed off of one another, e.g., in the high-risk OTC derivatives market, where JP Morgan's "London Whale" derivatives trader lost $4.8 billion in a matter of weeks.

Large-scale financial crime means that there is no longer any institution where financial assets can be safely held.  

Few investors, savers, workers, entrepreneurs, small business owners or retirees understand that nearly all of the decisions presented to them lead to the same government approved piranha tanks, e.g., the Federal Reserve's Primary Dealers.  

The oldest and deepest root of the crime wave is the institution of central banking itself.  Owning hard assets free and clear (without any associated debt) outside of the financial system is the most likely way to preserve wealth and purchasing power.

Coming: The End of Fiat Money.........A MUST READ!


Coming: The End of Fiat Money

Stephanie Pomboy, founder of MacroMavens, sees the world hurtling toward a day in which money will again be backed by gold or other hard assets. Until then, she also sees plenty of trouble.

"Hear Me Now, Believe Me Later," was the title of two separate and prescient pieces penned by Pomboy, an economist and founder of the MacroMavens research boutique. One, published in March 2006, foretold the disastrous costs of the housing bubble. The second, somewhat later, laid out the consequences of the bubble's "financial echo." Today, Pomboy predicts something more draconian: the demise of fiat money—currencies that aren't backed by anything other than government decrees that they have value.

We checked in with her last week, as central banks around the globe weighed more easing and as Fed chief Ben Bernanke described to Congress the headwinds facing the U.S. economy, including the automatic tax increases and spending cuts set for year end, called the "fiscal cliff." With the Fed being the biggest buyer of Treasuries, Pomboy thinks the 40-year-old fiat system will crack within five years.

What don't investors anticipate today?

Pomboy: That the Fed will be a presence in the Treasury market for a long, long, long time. Some believe that, with another round of quantitative easing, we move forward, emerge from the morass, and the need for further intervention will dissipate. 

But the Fed is really the only natural buyer of Treasuries anymore. It will have to continue to monetize Treasury issuance at the same time all the other major developed economies—from the Bank of Japan to the Bank of England to the European Central Bank—are doing the same. Pursue that to its natural conclusion, and you see the inevitable demise of fiat money. 

To look at our policies and not be concerned about the risks to our currency would be dangerously naive.

One step at a time. When is the next round of QE?

Bernanke left the door wide open to moving when the data mandate. I believe it will happen before the next election. The one success the Fed has achieved with its postbubble, postcrisis stimulus is reinflating financial assets. To watch the S&P 500 go down every day is to watch it be undone. 

The Fed is trying to engineer a wealth effect, so high-end consumers spend, so companies catering to them will hire and increase capex, [capital expenditures] and—lo and behold!—the seeds of a sustainable recovery will be sown. It hasn't played out like that. They have financial-asset inflation and high-end consumer spending. The logjam is that corporations are disinclined to increase hiring and expand.

Which accounts for the fat margins investors love.

Cost-cutting has been a huge driver of those margins, but what is still underappreciated is that, if you look at the recovery in GDP since before the crisis, 83% of the increase is explained by higher prices. Only 17% is from an increase in demand. That explains the profit margin story. 

Companies have been able to pass on higher prices, even in the most discretionary forms of consumer spending. If you look at retail sales, actual units sold are lower than they were before the crisis. It's entirely an inflation story on the retail sales side. Consumers aren't buying more because they feel great. They are spending more because the prices have gone up. 

But now consumers are reaching their limits. Since June 2010, households have drawn down savings. But in the past three months, they've put $65 billion back into the cookie jar, which suggests that they've reached their threshold. Middle-income consumers are also adjusting to the new realities of living within a budget.Wal-Mart is attracting a broader audience. And you have a troubling slowdown at the high end, since financial assets are starting to teeter. As you see the fraying fortunes of these high-end retailers, and low- and middle-income consumers tighten their budgets, there's urgency for the Fed to act.

That sounds bad.

Well, consumers won't shut their wallets overnight. It's just that the rules of prior recoveries don't apply anymore. We've got secular deleveraging and a slower pace of consumer spending, a broad deceleration in nominal spending growth, for as long as it takes households to feel more comfortable with their balance sheets. It's a muddle-through scenario. 

On the corporate side, if they can no longer pass on higher prices, the margin squeeze intensifies. If the Fed at the same time introduces quantitative easing again, commodity price pressures might reaccelerate, squeezing margins further. Right now, the estimates for growth, even as they come down, are probably too high. Ditto for profit growth.

What happens if we go over the fiscal cliff?

If tax rates move back to prior levels, the economy goes back into a recession—and likely a severe one. 

If there's a permanent deal, it's bullish, although in no way repealing the secular deleveraging and deflationary forces in the economy. A temporary deal would yield an economy in paralysis, much like what we've seen over the past year. 

If the data get really bad, there will be some sense of urgency to enact stimulative measures, rather than have corporations and high-end consumers staring down the barrel of a gun next year. 

What happens if Mitt Romney wins?

In theory, it provides a more favorable backdrop for the U.S. economy and financial markets, but it remains to be seen what he can really do and how aggressive he is. 

There will be a backlash against the current administration and policy mix. 

Companies in the entire postwar period have never increased hiring when profit growth is decelerating. A Romney victory with bold incentives might change that, but the more profit growth slows, the lower the odds that incentivizing companies with tax measures actually bears fruit.

You clearly need to reduce taxes across the board and have a friendly regulatory environment. The key is to do something permanent: Companies need to feel this is a fundamental shift. Given the economic backdrop right now, here and in Europe, it's not the time to be tightening fiscal policy. 



"By printing money the Fed is actually debasing the value of its currency. This is where gold as an asset class comes in, because gold is an excellent way to measure the value of paper currency or any other asset.  IN FACT, IT IS THE ONLY HONEST WAY TO VALUE ASSETS AT THIS POINT.

It isn't possible to print more gold; the amount above ground is relatively fixed, so as more money is printed, it takes more of it to purchase the same amount of gold. The result: the price of gold goes up and the value of paper money goes down."

There, ladies and gentlemen, is the bull case for gold in a nutshell, and eventually more folks are going to realize this.  THERE IS NO PLACE ELSE TO HIDE FROM CENTRAL BANKING INSANITY!

Gold owners should remember the saying; 

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it turned into a butterfly."


Unintended Consequences of Very Foolish Policies.............A MUST READ

Unintended Consequences of Very Foolish Policies

By Dr. Lacy Hunt

In the early 1960s, when JFK was in the White House and William McChesney Martin was Fed chairman, Keynesian economics was in full bloom. One of its major tenets was the Phillips Curve, which posits a stable inverse relationship between the rate of inflation and the unemployment rate. Yale professor James Tobin (1918-2002) and others argued that the social outcome could be improved by a more activist monetary and fiscal policy. Specifically, they contended that the unemployment rate could be lowered while only resulting in slightly higher inflation.

The argument posited the notion that economic-policy makers had sufficient knowledge to intervene or fine-tune the economy with tools like those of a surgeon. Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Carter (two Democrats and one Republican) followed this policy. At one point, President Nixon made the famous statement that "We are all Keynesians now." Moreover, as the White House led, the Fed chairmen of the era - Martin, Burns and Miller - generally acquiesced.

To judge the effectiveness of this policy, an objective standard is needed. Arthur M. Okun (1928-80), Yale colleague of Tobin, developed such a standard, which he called the Misery Index - the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates.   REMEMBER OKUN'S NAME.

Under the activist, Phillips Curve-based policy, some reduction in unemployment was temporarily achieved. However, inflation accelerated much more than was anticipated, and the net result was higher unemployment and faster inflation, an outcome not at all contemplated by the Phillips Curve. 

The Misery Index surged from an average of 6.7% in the 1950s, to 7.3% in the 1960s, to 13.6% in the 1970s, with peak rates above 20% in the early 1980s. AND NOW THESE IMBECILES THINK THAT MORE OF THIS IS THE SOLUTION WITH A REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WELL OVER 10% AND INFLATION EVERYWHERE CONSUMERS SPEND MONEY! 

Many US households suffered. Wages of lower-paying positions failed to keep up with inflation, and when higher unemployment resulted, many of those people lost their jobs. Those on the high end had far more resources that enabled them to protect their investments and earned income, so the income/wealth divide worsened. A half-century later, the United States has never regained the prosperity of the 1950s.

Working independently in the late 1960s, economists Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps, who would both eventually be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, had determined that while the Phillips Curve was observable over the short run, this was not the case over the long run. While the economics profession debated the Friedman/Phelps research, the US had to learn their findings the hard way.

Growing Evidence of the Long-term Depressants from Activist Policies

In addition to the compelling evidence that more active monetary and fiscal policy involvement did not produce beneficial results over the short run, three recent academic studies, though they differ in purpose and scope, all reach the conclusion that extremely high levels of governmental indebtedness diminish economic growth. 

In other words, deficit spending should not be called "stimulus" as is the overwhelming tendency by the media and many economic writers. EVEN MORONS KNOW IT DOESN'T WORK! IT CONTINUES ONLY BECAUSE IT ALLOWS POLITICIANS PASS OUT THE BOUNTY TO THEIR SUPPORTERS.

Whereas government spending may have been linked to the concept of economic stimulus in distant periods, these studies demonstrate that such an assertion is unwarranted, and blatantly wrong in present circumstances. 

While officials argue that governmental action is required for political reasons and public anxiety, governments would be better off to admit that traditional tools only serve to compound existing problems.

The three highly compelling studies are:

"Debt Overhangs: Past and Present," by Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 18015, April 2012;

"Government Size and Growth:  A Survey and Interpretation of the Evidence,"by Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson, IFN Working Paper No. 858, April 2011;

"The Impact of High and Growing Government Debt on Economic Growth - An Empirical Investigation for the Euro Area," by Cristina Checherita and Philipp Rother,European Central Bank, Working Paper Series 1237, August 2010.

These papers reflect serious research by world-class economists from the US, Europe and Sweden - and they all confirm the detrimental consequences of extreme governmental indebtedness.

Misery on the Rise Again

In the past year, Okun's impartial arbiter averaged 10.5%, the highest on record for the third year of an officially recognized economic recovery and almost double the average of the 1950s. The latest readings have occurred despite US gross public debt in excess of 103% of GDP and with the Federal Reserve's unprecedentedly large balance sheet that approaches nearly $3 trillion.

Other measures of well-being confirm the Misery Index. The Poverty Index in 2011 appears to have reached 15.7%, the highest reading in five decades. Not surprisingly, two unenviable records have been set: 16 million, or 14.6% of the population, are now in the food stamp program, up from 7.9% in 1970 and a record-high 41% pay zero national income tax.

In the eleven quarters of this expansion, the growth of real per-capita GDP was the lowest for all of the comparable post-WWII business cycle expansions. Real per-capita disposable personal income has risen by a scant 0.1% annual rate, remarkably weak when compared with the 2.9% post-war average. It is often said that economic conditions would have been much worse if the government had not run massive budget deficits and the Fed had not implemented extraordinary policies. 

This whole premise is monumentally wrong.

In all likelihood the governmental measures made conditions worse, and the poor results reflect the counterproductive nature of fiscal and monetary policies. None of these numerous actions produced anything more than transitory improvement in economic conditions, followed by a quick retreat to a faltering pattern while leaving the economy saddled with even greater indebtedness. 

The diminutive gain in this expansion is clearly consistent with the view that government actions have hurt, rather than helped, economic performance. Sadly, many of those who the government programs were supposedly designed to help the most have suffered the worst.

The Way Out

The original theoretical argument in favor of deficit spending originated in J.M. Keynes' The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936). A search of Keynes' work reveals no recognition of the "bang point," or the condition where a government engages in deficit spending for such a prolonged period of time that a massive buildup of debt leads to denial of additional credit to the government because of fear that the existing debt will not be repaid. 

Nor did Keynes address the situation where a large number of countries are all simultaneously getting deeper and deeper in debt and there are gradations of debt among these countries - serious shortfalls in the basic Keynesian theory.

Keynes, as opposed to some of his interpreters and predecessors, may have implicitly recognized that a bang point could occur, because he did not recommend constant budget deficits. Instead, he advocated cyclical deficits, counterbalanced by cyclical budget surpluses. Under such a system, government debt in bad times would be retired in good times. However, Keynes' original proposition was bastardized in support of perpetual deficits, something Keynes himself never advocated.   MORE, MORE, MORE..... THE BATTLE CRY OF A VERY SICK, FAILED SOCIETY!

Milton Friedman, whom many consider to have been the polar opposite of Keynes, also never addressed the concept of a bang point, but he may also have understood implicitly that such a situation could occur. The reason is that Friedman advocated balanced budgets, which if followed or required constitutionally as Friedman argued, would prevent a buildup of debt. This view was largely rejected as being inhumane since in a recession, government policy would not be responsive to unemployment and other miseries of such a condition. What should have been discussed is whether some short-term misery is a better option than putting the entire country and economic system in jeopardy, as numerous examples in Europe currently illustrate.

The most sensible recognition of budget policy came not from Keynes nor Friedman, but from David Hume, one of the greatest economic minds ever, whom Adam Smith called the greatest intellect that he ever met. In his 1752 paper "Of Public Finance," Hume advocated running budget surpluses in good times so that they could be used in time of war or other emergencies. Such a recommendation would, of course, prevent policies that would send countries barreling toward the bang point. Countries would have to live inside their means most of the time, but in emergency situations would have the resources to respond.

In the context of today's world, this approach would be viewed as unacceptable because it would limit the ability of politicians to continue their excessive spending.  But isn't Hume's recommendation exactly what we taught our children in preparing them to manage their own personal finances?


ECB ‘ready to do whatever it takes’..........JUST MORE RHETORIC, NOT REALITY! LAUGHABLE

The Financial Times – ECB 'ready to do whatever it takes'

The European Central Bank's mandate allows it to fight excessive borrowing costs for eurozone countries, Mario Draghi, its president, said on Thursday, sparking a market rally amid hopes the bank would intervene to buy sovereign bonds. Mr Draghi said the ECB was "ready to do whatever it takes" to preserve the single currency. "Believe me, it will be enough," he told a conference in London.

The Wall Street Journal – Europe's Central Bank Signals Action

Mr. Draghi's resolute comments on Thursday, which sounded more similar to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke than to Mr. Draghi's predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, suggest the ECB has chosen to take bold action. Unlike politicians who must navigate parliaments and other euro-zone member nations to get things done, the ECB's ability to print unlimited euros means it can match words with actions almost immediately, if it chooses. 

Below are some examples of politicians promising to do "whatever it takes":

David Cameron July 2012

Nicholas Sarkozy Sep 2011

Gordon Brown Sep 2008

George Osbourne May 2012

Alistair Darling Oct 2008

Angela Merkel Oct 2011

Barack Obama Jan 2012

And Bernanke said the Fed will do "everything possible" to save the world in Feb 2009. 

This type of phrase is nothing more than rhetoric. If they really knew what needed to be done, they would just do it instead of promising to do it.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

















When He gets to your PC, escort Him to the next stop. Please don't allow Him to sleep on your PC. The message He is carrying is very important.

I asked Him to bless you and yours with peace, happiness and abundance.

Say a prayer and then pass Him on to bless others as I sent him on to bless you. 

Our assignment is to spread love,respect and kindness throughout the world.

Have a blessed day and touch somebody's life today as hopefully I have touched your life.

Seven Things We Cannot Do Without

Seven Things We Cannot Do Without

"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" 

                                                                                                            James 2:20
There are many things in life we can do without, but there are at least seven things a Christian simply cannot do without. 

These are:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ. 

Speaking of the heathen nations before Christ, Paul said: "At that time ye were without Christ, . . . having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).
2. Christ's shed blood. 

"Without shedding of blood is no remission." "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, . . . But with the precious blood of Christ" (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
3. Christ's sinlessness. 

The Lord Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He could die for our sins.
4. Faith in Christ. 

"Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is" (Hebrews 11:6).
5. Faith-generated works. 

True faith in Christ inevitably produces good works. As our text reminds us, "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20).
6. True holiness. 

"Follow . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Genuine faith in Christ both receives His imputed holiness and also generates practical holiness in the believer.
7. Heavenly chastisement. 

Unconfessed and unforsaken sin in a Christian's life must receive chastisement from the Father. "If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye . . . not sons" (Hebrews 12:8).
Without saving faith in the Lord, we have nothing of eternal value, but with Him, we have "all things"               

                                                                                                                        (1 Corinthians 3:21).