Thursday, July 31, 2014

Greenspan Fears "False Dawn" In US Economy, Warns Of "Equity Correction."....

Greenspan Fears "False Dawn" In US Economy, Warns Of "Equity Correction."

Greenspan has once again weighed in:


Although Greenspan declined to second-guess the Fed, he sees a problem moving toward "normalized" policy for his descendants.

A Fascinating Stat..........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

A Fascinating Stat

As of Last week, Republic of Iraq bonds due in January 2028 were yielding 7.08%; high-yield municipal bonds in the U.S. were yielding 1.9% more than Iraqi bonds. (Per data: "BarCap Municipal Custom HY Composite Yield to Worst. Current yield is 5.41%, tax-equivalent yield of 8.96% assuming 39.6% tax rate.")

That spread implies that investors think Iraq is less likely to default than some U.S. municipalities.

The Annotated History Of Global Volatility..........A GREAT GRAPHIC!

The Annotated History Of Global Volatility

The decline in economic and asset market volatility this year from already low levels in 2013 has been striking, which means the whole system is more prone to a financial crisis when measured volatility is low, which tends to lead to a build-up of risk in the background – the so-called 'volatility paradox'.

When measured market volatility is low, people feel empowered to take on more leverage and more liquidity mismatch, which leaves the whole system more prone to sharp movements. This dynamic occurred during the "Great Moderation." During that period, fundamental and asset volatility was generally low and market participants took on much more leverage.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NYSE Margin Debt Is Back In The 'Scary Zone'......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

NYSE Margin Debt Is Back In The 'Scary Zone'

"...since '09 margin debt has risen from $200 billion to nearly $475 billion as of two months ago and historically margin debt actually begins to weaken from its highest levels before stock prices begin to turn downward," he writes. "If the highs were made a few months ago in margin debt, the market is more vulnerable now than it was, if history is prologue to the future. Although past performance by mutual and hedge fund managers is not, according to the SEC, indicative of future performance, when it comes to margin debt the past truly is a guide to the future."  

The Bank That Gets The Most Complaints....GREAT INFO GRAPHIC!

The Bank That Gets The Most Complaints

magnify money bank complaints

Impeachment......35% of the public believe the president should be impeached.


The issue of impeachment is now no longer whispered about. Talk is prevalent and a recent poll indicated that 35% of the public believe the president should be impeached.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

11.7% Of The World's At War: Global Geopolitical Risk Mapped ..........

11.7% Of The World's At War: Global Geopolitical Risk 


In the wake of the recent Malaysia Airlines crash and the start of ground operations by Israeli forces in Gaza, the world is again attuned to the various geopolitical hotspots where risk exists for major conflict to crop up.

Deutsche Bank published the map below laying out the three main areas of the globe where the risk of conflict escalation is particularly acute.

As news regarding the situations in Ukraine, Russia, and the Middle East continues to break, this map is a useful guide to orienting yourself with where tensions are high and risks exist.

Something is rotten in high-yield credit markets.........AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

Something is rotten in high-yield credit markets

High Yield Credit Market Flashing Red As Outflows Surge

The mainstream media is starting to catch on as major divergences in performance (high-yield bond spreads are 30-40bps off their cycle tights from just prior to MH17 even as stocks rally to new record highs) as technicals weaken. However, as BofA warns, flows follow returns and this week saw the biggest outflows from high-yield funds in more than a year. Investment grade bonds saw notable inflows as investors chose up-in-quality, rather than reach-for-yield, for the first time in years: equity investors, pay attention.

Last Tuesday, analysts at Ned Davis Research recommended that investors begin to sell high-yield bonds, partly because they look pricey and partly because performance has been flagging. "Investors are no longer being compensated for the additional risk in high-yield bonds," they wrote.

High yield credit markets are majorly diverging from stocks...

"Geopolitical risk is causing a pause," said Frank Ossino, senior portfolio manager at Newfleet Asset Management in Hartford, Conn., which oversees $12.9 billion. Investors tend to flee riskier assets during times of turmoil.

High yield credit markets are suffering major outflows...

Outflows from high yield funds and ETFs accelerated last week to $2.46bn following a sizable $1.85bn outflow in the prior week. Both of these outflows are the largest since the "taper tantrum"episode in the summer of last year.

"We're not seeing massive outflows yet, but at some point that's going to change," warned Phil Blancato, chief executive at Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, which oversees about $2 billion.

He said he is steering clear of high-yield exchange-traded funds in large part due to concerns about how they will fare in a downturn.

Between a sudden shift to a preference for "strong" balance sheet companies over "weak" balance sheet companies (the end of the dash for trash trade), and this rotation from high-yield to investment-grade, it is clear that investors are positioning defensively up-in-quality ending the constant reach-for-yield trade of the last 5 years.

Why should 'equity' investors care? 

The last few years' gains in stocks have been thanks to record amounts of buybacks (juicing EPS and also providing a non-economic bid to the market no matter what happens). This financial engineering - for even the worst of the worst credit -  has been enabled by massive inflows into high-yield and leveraged loan funds, lowering funding costs and allowing CFOs to destroy/releverage their firms all in the goal of raising the share price.

Simply put - equity prices cannot rally for long without the support of high-yield credit markets - never have, never will - as they are both 'arbitrageable' bets on the same capital structure. There can be a divergence at the end of a cycle as managers get over their skis with leverage and the high yield credit market decides it has had enough risk-taking... but it only ends with equity and credit weakening together.That is the credit cycle... it cycles.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Make No Mistake - This Is An Equity Bubble, And A Highly Advanced One.......AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!

Make No Mistake - This Is An Equity Bubble, And A Highly Advanced One

Entertaining propaganda aside, here is an astute observation on the current state of the market;

Make no mistake – this is an equity bubble, and a highly advanced one. On the most historically reliable measures, it is easily beyond 1972 and 1987, beyond 1929 and 2007, and is now within about 15% of the 2000 extreme. 

The main difference between the current episode and that of 2000 is that the 2000 bubble was strikingly obvious in technology, whereas the present one is diffused across all sectors in a way that makes valuations for most stocks worse than in 2000. The median price/revenue ratio of S&P 500 components is already far above the 2000 level, and the average across S&P 500 components is nearly the same as in 2000. The extent of this bubble is also partially obscured by record high profit margins that make P/E ratios on single-year measures seem less extreme (though the forward operating P/E of the S&P 500 is already beyond its 2007 peak even without accounting for margins).

Recall also that the ratio of non financial market capitalization to GDP is presently about 1.35, versus a pre-bubble historical norm of about 0.55 and an extreme at the 2000 peak of 1.54. This measure is better correlated with actual subsequent market returns than nearly any alternative, as Warren Buffett also observed in a 2001 Fortune interview. 

So if one wishes to use the 2000 bubble peak as an objective reference point, we suggest that it would take another 15% market advance to match that highest valuation extreme in history – a point that was predictably followed by a decade of negative returns for the S&P 500, averaging a nominal total return, including dividends, of just 3.7% annually in the more than 14 years since that peak, and even then only because valuations have again approached those previous bubble extremes. The blue line on the chart below shows market cap / GDP on an inverted left (log) scale, the red line shows the actual subsequent 10-year annual nominal total return of the S&P 500.

All of that said, the simple fact is that the primary driver of the market here is not valuation, or even fundamentals, but perception. 

The perception is that somehow the Federal Reserve has the power to keep the stock market in suspended and even diagonally advancing animation, and that zero interest rates offer "no choice" but to hold equities. Be very careful here. 

What's actually true is that the Fed has now created $4 trillion of idle currency and bank reserves that must be held by someone, and because investors perceive risky assets as having no risk, they have been willing to hold them in search of any near-term return greater than zero. What is actually true is that even an additional year of zero interest rates beyond present expectations would only be worth a roughly 4% bump to market valuations. Given the current perceptions of investors, the Federal Reserve can certainly postpone the collapse of this bubble, but only by making the eventual outcome that much worse.

Remember how these things unwound after 1929 (even before the add-on policy mistakes that created the Depression), 1972, 1987, 2000 and 2007 – all market peaks that uniquely shared the same extreme overvalued, overbought, over bullish syndromes that have been sustained even longer in the present half-cycle. These speculative episodes don't unwind slowly once risk perceptions change. 

The shift in risk perceptions is often accompanied by deteriorating market internals and widening credit spreads slightly before the major indices are in full retreat, but not always. Sometimes the shift comes in response to an unexpected shock, and other times for no apparent reason at all. Ultimately though, investors treat risky assets as risky assets. At that point, investors become increasingly eager to hold truly risk-free securities regardless of their yield. That's when the music stops. At that point, there is suddenly no bidder left for risky and overvalued securities anywhere near prevailing levels. ANYBODY THAT THINKS GOLD OR SILVER HAS FINISHED RISING IS A FOOL!

History suggests that when that moment comes, the first losses come quickly. Many trend-followers who promised themselves to sell on the "break" suddenly can't imagine selling the market 10-20% below its high, especially after a long bull market where every dip was a buying opportunity. This is why many investors who think they can get out actually don't get out. Still, some do sell, and when those trend-following sell signals occur at widely-followed thresholds (as they did in 1987), the follow-through can be swift.  AND VERY PAINFUL! BULLS MAKE MONEY, BEARS MAKE MONEY, PIGS GET SLAUGHTERED. THIS TIME THERE ARE PLENTY OF IGNORANT PIGS ABOUT TO BECOME BACON. 


The Best Way Out is Always Through.........The Power of Perseverance!

The Best Way Out is Always Through

There is Power in Perseverance! 
There is Power in Persistence!

There are many roadblocks, potholes, and detours on our journey through life. This is true for all of us! Sometimes we just have to hang on while the storms blow through. There is power in persistence! Not to mention all the things we learn and all the growth that takes place when we face tough times.

This short video clip is about; The Power of Perseverance

The Best Way Out is Always Through.........The Power of Perseverance!

The Best Way Out is Always Through

There is Power in Perseverance! 
There is Power in Persistence!

There are many roadblocks, potholes, and detours on our journey through life. This is true for all of us! Sometimes we just have to hang on while the storms blow through. There is power in persistence! Not to mention all the things we learn and all the growth that takes place when we face tough times.

This short video clip is about; The Power of Perseverance

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now....INTERESTING TO SAY THE LEAST!

The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now

Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden?  

Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don't know how to kill.  And as you will see, we even have a plague of flies down in Mississippi.  So what in the world is going on?

Ten plagues that are hitting America 

#1 The Plague Of Flies In The Upper Mississippi River Valley

This is perhaps the least dangerous plague, but it is also one of the most interesting.  Just recently, a plague of flies was so thick in the upper Mississippi River valley that it showed up on radar…

The mayflies were detectable on radar and reports in the towns and cities began rolling in of the swarming and piles of mayflies. Numerous videos and pictures were circulating on social media, some of which are posted below as well.

The radar detected the flies about 845 pm, emanating from the river (the source) with echo values similar to that of light-moderate rain (35-40 dBZ). With a general south-to-north wind flow above the surface, the mayflies quickly moved north once in the air. As the flies dispersed moving north-northeast, they also gained altitude with some of the echo being detected as far north as Black River Falls and as high as 2500 feet above ground.

By late evening, mayflies were swarming in La Crosse, La Crescent, Stoddard and points up and down the river. While the emergence of mayflies from their river bottom mud dwelling can occur at various times through the warm season depending on the species, this particular emergence was that of the larger black/brown Bilineata species.

Here is one photo of the flies that was posted by the federal government…
Plague Of Flies In Mississippi - Government Photo Public Domain

#2 The Chikungunya Virus

In Florida health officials have discovered the very first confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus to be transmitted locally.  In other words, it is now being passed to people that have not even traveled out of the country.

An epidemic of the virus has already been declared down in Puerto Rico, and authorities are deeply concerned about the possibility of one up here as well.

Already, cases of the virus have been reported in 30 different states and the total number of cases in the U.S. is more than five times higher than in any other recent year.

If you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitos, you might want to be very, very careful right about now because this is a virus that is exceedingly painful…

With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months.

#3 The Wildfires Out West

The massive wildfires in Washington, Oregon and western Canada have spread clouds of smoke over vast areas of the northwest United States in recent days.  The following excerpt comes from a recent CNN report…

Wildfires spanning almost 170,000 acres are driving hundreds of people from their homes in Washington state and across the border in Canada, officials said.

Washington authorities say the fires surged overnight to 168,713 acres in the state. The flames have encroached on towns.

Janet Pearce of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said the four fires had not been contained as of Friday morning. An estimated 80 homes were destroyed and cell phone service was knocked out.

#4 The Drought In California

The nightmarish multi-year drought in the state of California just continues to get even worse.

This week it was reported that 81 percent of California is now experiencing "extreme drought" or worse.

Three months ago, that number was just 68 percent.

And we are being told that downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since rain records began in 1877.

#5 The Virus That Has Killed Millions Of Our Pigs

A horrific pig virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea came over from China a little over a year ago. Since then, it has killed about 7 million pigs, and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week.

#6 Citrus Greening

Have you ever heard of citrus greening disease?

Perhaps not, but it has gotten so bad down in Florida that experts are now saying that the entire citrus industry in the state "could be destroyed"…

"It's horrible — it's a disaster," says Fred Gmitter, a professor of horticulture science at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center. It might be time to kiss your OJ goodbye, unless science steps in to save the day.

At least 70% of Florida's citrus trees are already infected by the disease, known as citrus greening, huanglongbing, or occasionally just with an ominous "it," as in "It's here."

Florida's citrus crop this year is the lowest it's been in 30 years, and agricultural authorities have continued to lower their production estimates. Orange-juice prices are up nearly 20% this year alone and will continue to rise. The disease was a major factor in the lime shortage that made the price of a box of Persian limes jump from $18 to $85 last December. Prices could jump higher for oranges. Researchers and growers say that if a cure isn't found, the entire $9 billion Florida citrus industry could be destroyed.

#7 Bananas Going Extinct?

You bananas are not safe either.

The TR4 fungus is spreading so rapidly that it could eventually totally wipe out the variety of bananas that we find in our grocery stores today…

Banana lovers take note: The world's supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

"It's a very serious situation," said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

"There's nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading." 

While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit's global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.

#8 The Number Of Earthquakes Is Increasing

For a long time, scientists tried to deny that the number of earthquakes is increasing.

But now, the USGS is finally admitting that the number of big earthquakes has doubled…

If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you're right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.

"We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded," said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.

Fortunately, most of the earthquakes in the U.S. so far this year have been relatively small or have been in isolated areas.

But they have been popping up in very unusual areas (such as Oklahoma), and as seismic activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is probably only a matter of time before one of our major cities gets hit with a major tragedy.

#9 Superbugs

Thanks at least in part to the massive overuse of antibiotics, a new generation of superbugs is arising.  Scientists have no way to kill these superbugs, and according to experts they are finding their way "into healthcare facilities nationwide"…

Drug-resistant superbug infections have reached near-epidemic levels across U.S. hospitals, with an alarming 500% increase now documented in a study just published in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America).

Lead author of the study, Dr. Joshua Thaden, warned "This dangerous bacteria is finding its way into healthcare facilities nationwide… A CRE epidemic is fast approaching… Even this marked increase likely underestimates the true scope of the problem given variations in hospital surveillance practices."

The study also found that an astonishing 94 percent of CRE infections were caused by healthcare activities or hospital procedures.

#10 Fukushima

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Hundreds of tons of radioactive water are being released into the Pacific on a continual basis, and this could potentially affect our oceans and our food chain for generations to come.

But it is a "slow motion disaster" that is already "old news", so most Americans don't think about it anymore.  But the truth is that there is a lot of evidence that it should be taken very seriously in this country.  

In Japan, of course, things are even worse.

In fact, one Japanese doctor that was working in Tokyo says that radiation sickness is rampant in that city…

Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improve by moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500). Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.

And this Japanese doctor believes that things are so dire that he says that the entire city of Tokyo should be evacuated…!!!!!!!!!

Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.

Just like with Chernobyl, this radioactive material is going to silently make people sick and kill people all over globe for years to come, and most of them will never have any idea what is really happening to them.!!!!!!

'Youth Bulge' May Undermine Political Stability In The Middle East...ANOTHER VERY PESKY FACT!

'Youth Bulge' May Undermine Political Stability In The Middle East

Unemployment fuels unrest and anger.

Political instability tends to escalate in regions with lots of economic volatility and limited employment opportunities, particularly for young people.

In a new presentation to clients, Deutsche Bank's Raj Hindocha and Marcos Arana include this chart of countries with "youth bulges." These are the countries where young males make up a significant share of the population.

"A weaker US role in the Middle East and North Africa exacerbates geopolitical risk in the region, which could lead to higher oil prices and curb global growth," write Hindocha and Arana.

"Geopolitical risk is ever-present but unpredictable by nature," they said. "Investors should be mindful of alternative scenarios relative to the benign outcome currently expected by markets."

cotd male youth

World GDP Hopes Are Collapsing........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

World GDP Hopes Are Collapsing

The "fact" in this chart is far from the "fantasy" we hear spewed day after day about 'recovery' in the world's economy.

Never give a sucker an even break .....SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!

Never give a sucker an even break 

After two years without a meaningful correction and complacency at multi-year highs, how much profit is there left in pushing an increasingly heavy market up another few percentage points? The big money is in engineering a decline that catches the crowd by surprise and doesn't allow the traders a chance to board the short-bus before it roars out of the station.

Many traders are confident the market will broadcast a technical signal that will give them a chance to get on the short bus with the insiders. How likely is this? If we're engineering a decline, why would we spoil the trade by letting a bunch of peasants get on board? With every quant-bot programmed to recognize all the usual technical signals and systems, why telegraph the trade?

As legendary stock trader Jesse Livermore observed, the market will take the fewest possible number of participants along for the ride, and expecting the market to issue a "go short now for easy profits" signal would violate this rule: if everybody shifts from the long side to the short side, the trade is no longer profitable.

The trade only works if everyone is lulled into staying on the long side until it's too late. Traders seem to be waiting for another standard-issue decline in September/October that would set up yet another standard-issue Santa Claus rally. Will it really be this easy to book profits in the second half? When everybody expects the same thing to unfold, it's just another form of complacency.

Complacency--and the confidence that you can beat a confidence game by following what everybody else is following--is very dangerous.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

UBS Warns Everything Is Overpriced, Prepares For Sell-Off....AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!


UBS Warns Everything Is Overpriced, Prepares For Sell-Off

UBS "leapfrogged" – as Bloomberg called it – Bank of America as the world's largest wealth manager with $1.7 trillion in assets, up 9.7% from a year ago. Global wealth management assets rose 8.7% to $18.5 trillion. These firms get to manage part of the wealth that central-bank policies have generated at the top. So they have some responsibilities, like helping their clients escape the sinewy arm of the taxman, driving valuations ever higher with their trillions – "doing God's work," as Goldman CEO Blankfein had put it so eloquently – and preserving their clients' wealth when the going gets tough.

And UBS just warned in its latest that the going will get tough. 

The report is subtitled chillingly, "We are worried. We reduce risk – for now."

The warnings are surrounded by terms of flimsy optimism: "The world is slowly recovering and we do not think we are approaching the top of the cycle yet." Or "the stock market should continue to rally." These and similarly soothing terms are supposed to make us feel less panicky, apparently, about the harsh reality delineated in the report.

Turns out, "it is now time to scale down risk." They're "concerned about valuations." They reuse Fed Chair Yellen's term, but in a much broader sense, pointing out that "equity markets are stretched," all of it, not just social-media and biotech stocks. The fixed income market and the credit market have become "quite rich." A tsunami of capital washed into risky assets, and "the market might be ahead of itself." In fact…

The market is "too complacent and could correct rapidly."

There was already a first signal last week when the Banco EspĂ­rito Santo (BES) in Portugal blew up. It shouldn't have mattered outside Portugal. Yet it hit hard "a variety of asset classes over the world." UBS doesn't think it was the start of another systemic banking crisis.

Rather we think the event tells us a story about market positioning and market pricing: we think the market is stretched. If this is true, the market is already pricing most of the potential good news and is prone to react to bad news. WHEN ALL THE DRUNKS SOBER UP!

Soothing words elsewhere to the contrary, UBS is getting cold feet about equities. "The recent momentum in markets is difficult to justify," it warns. Among the indicators:

Our economic surprise index has been very highly correlated with the S&P 500 until the beginning of last year. Since then the market has continued his rally with little fundamental improvement to support it. This divergence is becoming uncomfortably large.  DIVERGENCE IS A FANCY WORD FOR DELUSIONAL STUPIDITY!

And UBS thinks one of the catalysts for a market correction could be "the disappointment" from corporate earnings reporting season. It's particularly worried about the Q3 and Q4 outlook: "estimates seem to be too high, and we are starting to see companies spend less on buybacks (EPS supportive) and more on M&A."  AMAZING HOW THEY LIE ALL THE WAY UP, AND THEN START TELLING THE TRUTH ONCE THE LIE IS ABOUT TO BLOW UP IN THEIR FACE! 

Trimming long equity positions "before the end of the year."

Beyond equities, it's even worse: "We don't like credit," UBS says categorically. In the US, it expects the default rate to increase "on a 6-12 month horizon," causing spreads to widen – and losses for those who hold the paper.

Further, the market is "too sanguine on inflation" in the US and is underpricing inflationary pressures, which are "trending up." The market has "a high conviction on a prolonged period of low inflation," and is "not positioned for higher inflation." Instead, fund-flow data indicates that "investors are selling their protection." So UBS sees a "correction." The "re-pricing" will be accompanied not only by higher rates, but also more volatility. GREAT FOR TRADERS!

It expects 10-year Treasuries to yield 3.4% by the end of the year, up from 2.48% today. Spreads will widen. In addition, "the Fed's tone is changing," and it could raise rates sooner and faster than is priced into the curve.  SOUNDS LIKE THEY ARE REALLY WORRIED. SOUNDS LIKE THEY DON'T WANT TO BE CAUGHT BEING THE LAST LIAR STANDING.

When the sell-off starts, UBS is "very worried" about "the lack of liquidity" in both the equity and credit markets – the latter being "the best example." And then the warning: "We have severe doubts about the ability of market makers to provide liquidity in a volatile scenario. 

This would pave the way for an over-reaction." In other words, havoc, chaos, panic and a whopper of a crash. WITH NO ONE TO CATCH US THIS TIME! 

Underweight fixed income.

UBS conceded that it might get the timing wrong, "but we believe the risks are asymmetric. ANOTHER BIG WORD, THAT IN THIS CONTEXT, MEANS, "OH SHIT THIS COULD REALLY GET UGLY!" 

On balance we think it is time to be tactically low on risk." And so: "We decide simply to reduce risk over the full spectrum of assets." TRANSLATION: WE HAVE MILKED THIS FOR ALL IT'S WORTH AND WOULD LIKE TO KEEP A FEW CLIENTS, SO WE ARE GOING TO START TELLING THE TRUTH! 

When the largest player in the wealth management industry warns that all asset classes are overpriced and too risky and that it's time to reduce exposure across the "full spectrum of assets," and if in fact it starts selling some of its $1.7 trillion in wealth management assets in a market that is already lacking liquidity – that act in itself can trigger the very sell-off it is warning about. So fasten your seatbelts.



As stock prices peak, M&A goes into a frenzy: 35,000 global deals will likely be made this year, promising "efficiencies" and "synergies," hence job cuts. So Microsoft, which bought Nokia's handset unit, is planning the largest layoffs in its history

But what followed the M&A frenzy of 2007/8? The Great Jobs Crisis!


The Middle East.....The Sectarian Divide Mapped Out

The Middle East.....The Sectarian Divide Mapped Out

Meghan O'Sullivan, Harvard's Director of Geopolitics (and former deputy national security adviser for Iran and Afghanistan) warns, "The US should have already panicked." As she notes, major American economic and political interests are at stake. The erasure of the Syria-Iraq border by a group that is considered too radical for al-Qaeda, the takeover of Iraq's second largest city by IS, the kidnapping of international diplomats, and the declaration of an Islamic caliphate in large parts of Iraq and Syria – each one of these should be a major signal about the gravity of the situation. 

The Sectarian Divide remains key...

O'Sullivan's conclusion...

First, the US needs to view Iraq and Syria as completely interwoven – perhaps two countries, but one theater in reality. It needs to view IS for what it is, a threat to US and regional interests, not just as a threat to the Iraqi government. This would suggest more military involvement to push back against IS. Both in Iraq and Syria, the crisis is ultimately a political one, not a military one, so changing the politics is also key. But the US should not think that it can sequence military help only to follow political reform – the two must come together given the urgency of the situation.

While the United States continues to deliberate about its next moves, others – Syria, Iran, Russia – have been filling the vacuum in ways that are not aligned with US interests. Along with political pressure, more US military assistance to Baghdad and even to the Kurds will give the US political leverage when it comes time to help the Iraqis renegotiate their political compact. The moment in which the US can make a difference and truly affect the outcome is narrowing dramatically every day. WHAT OUR POLITICIANS DO BEST: FIDDLE WHILE ROME BURNS!

For Caterpillar The "Great Recovery" Is Just As Bad As The Great Financial Crisis.........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

For Caterpillar The "Great Recovery" Is Just As Bad As The Great Financial Crisis

It didn't got any press coverage for one simple reason: the bellwether industrial company which has managed to repurchase it way to all time highs in recent months hardly wants the investing public to know the unpleasant truth, a truth which is shown in its simplest format in the chart below: starting in December 2012 and continuing through today, Caterpiller has reported 19 consecutive months of declining global year-over-year retail sales. The last, and only, time it had 19 consecutive months of such decline? The period starting in October 2008 just when Lehman filed for bankruptcy.

So if we are to call that first period of 19 consecutive months of CAT sales decline the "Great Financial Crisis", we are confused: is the proper name of this identical 19-month period of declines beginning in December 2012 the Great... "Recovery?"

Why Our Nation Is Disintegrating.............

Why Our Nation Is Disintegrating

America was founded on two basic principles, when you boil it all down:

Each person has unalienable rights, among them life, liberty (including the freedom to choose where to be, when and how, along with ownership of property necessary and incidental to that choice) and the pursuit (but not guarantee of attainment) of happiness.

Each person has the right to expect that the law shall apply equally to all, so as not to prejudice outcomes for or against any individual (or group) predicated on who they are rather than their conduct.  Conduct, voluntarily engaged in, is a proper reason for people to choose to associate or not with an individual or group.

The rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, along with the Amendments that came after it, are about recognizing and protecting those two principles.  They flow from a belief that it is the inherent property of being human that endows one with these rights; no government and no person can grant them, because you cannot grant to another that which you first do not rightfully possess. ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT!

Our nation is disintegrating because we refuse to demand that these rights be enforced, backing said demand with whatever we must in order to obtain it.

You'd think that people would figure out that refusing to deal with this issue head-on or granting exceptions to it is an inherently bad thing.  You'd be wrong, in the general case, and that's most unfortunate.  IGNORANCE HAS A PRICE!

It is this willingness to allow and even endorse exceptions when one doesn't like a particular law or outcome that leads to the injustices this nation is flooded with today.

Let's list a few:

It is against the law (Sherman and Clayton Acts, along with Robinson-Patman) to attempt to form monopolies, price-fix and otherwise interfere with free intercourse between buyers and sellers. These laws were passed as a consequence of various companies forming said monopolies, including for essential goods and services such as energy and food.  Your right as a manufacturer to control pricing and distribution inherently ends with the first sale to someone else, whether that "someone else" is a distributor, retailer or an end consumer.  This is a function of natural property rights -- what I own and have paid for I have the right to dispose of as I wish.  It is a rank violation of this principle to prohibit you from buying a product sold in Mexico (or Somalia for that matter) and bringing it back to the United States, provided the product is genuine (not counterfeited.)  Yet it is a felony to do so if that "product" is a drug. This collusion takes place openly and notoriously in the medical field every single day. 

But for the protection of the government, threatening to imprison anyone who breaks these monopolies, they could never exist.  You have about 15% of your gross income stolen from you, literally at gunpoint, as a consequence of this one area of commerce and its rank violation of the above fundamental principles alone!

The very same problem is why we had a housing bubble and crash, why we had an Internet bubble and crash, and why we now have HFT games going on that are blatantly illegal as well -- and why we will have another crash.  

The Fed has a mandate for stable prices and yet they have tortured the language to be "2% inflation", a factual fraud against their statutory mandate.  Worse, their realized inflation rate has run about 3% over the same period, or 50% above their self-declared and fraudulent "target." This has factually screwed you out somewhere between 40 and 60% of your purchasing power over the last 30 years and yet not one person has gone to prison for stealing what amounts to half of your standard of living!  AGAIN, IGNORANCE HAS A PRICE!

Federal Deficit Spending is exactly the same scam as the above in terms of purchasing power.  You are sold the claim that this is to "help the poor" and "stimulate the economy", both are lies as the arithmetic says otherwise.  The poor in fact always get the purchasing power depreciation immediately and cannot offset it by playing in the market, as they have no surplus funds with which to do so.  

The same is true for the lie told on countless thousands of occasions in state, county and local governments when bond issues are floated for this project or that, including schools and other public facilities -- bond issues that historically are never paid down but instead are refinanced time and time again.  In other words you never actually are done paying for that road, fire station or school despite the claim otherwise. 

How many times does government get to lie and rob you...?

Again note that not one person has gone to prison for what is mathematically and provably an abject fraud, and if you work for these agencies you have probably advocated for said frauds!

The Real Estate business, banking business, insurance business and government all sell you on "home ownership."  Factually, you never own your house or the land it sits on; you are charged rent each and every year in the form of property taxes, and over the space of a human lifetime in many cases 
typically exceeds the price of the house!  

The average person has more than 20% of their gross income stolen off the top every year along with more than half of their net purchasing power through their working life

Exactly how much do you have taken from you by force before you stand up and demand that it stop?  Worse, if you're one of the people doing the stealing why shouldn't your neighbors demand you go to prison -- or worse?

We will never make progress as a society nor regain our freedom as a people until we stop allowing this sort of fraud to take place and it begins with cutting off those who argue for "exceptions" to the law that only apply to them, and not to you.  

Either a law is good or it is bad.  If it is bad then the solution is not to selectively enforce it, using it as a means to impoverish or imprison those out of favor, it is to repeal it.  If the law is good then it must be enforced equally against everyone.

To do otherwise is to surrender the two founding principles of this nation.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Current market levels are getting a bit extreme.....

The risks in the markets have clearly risen, but the next major reversion could be many months away. The problem for most, particularly those touting "investing for the long term," is when the "dip" turns into a full-fledged "decline" the panic to exit the markets will become overwhelming.

Logic would suggest that current market levels are getting a bit extreme, the "exuberance" created by current price momentum fuels additional gains. As the ongoing "bullish meme" from mainstream media sources and analysts continue to feed individuals "confirmation biases" the "fear" of "missing out" blinds individuals of the rising risk.

Today our obsession with what will happen to markets and the economy in the near term is causing us to misjudge the accumulation of much greater long-term risks to our economy.

In recent months, concern has intensified among the world's financial experts and news media that overheated asset markets – real estate, equities, and long-term bonds – could lead to a major correction and another economic crisis. The general public seems unbothered.

This Is Not A Normal Business Cycle.......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

This Is Not A Normal Business Cycle

Does this look like a 'recovering' economy five years after a central bank unleashes its extreme monetary policy?

1 - Are builders really as bullish as NAHB Sentiment suggests?

2 - As Mortgage Applications plunge to 13-Year lows...

MH17 Will Usher In A Completely New Kind Of War - One The US Cannot Win..........

MH17 Will Usher In A Completely New Kind Of War - One The US Cannot Win

Russians aren't exactly known for having a great sense of humor. But the language is full of bizarre, often hilarious expressions like "perebrasyvanie kakashkami".

Literally translated this means "throwing shit". And it applies right about now—when a bunch of people are standing around blaming one another for something that has gone very wrong.

The MH17 disaster is so bad that it's made people forget about the roving army of fanatics that has taken over half of Iraq and parts of Syria in their quest to build a global caliphate.

This is much bigger. And there's so much pent up tension between rising powers right now, there's serious risk of it turning into a much greater conflict.

It seems ironic that the world was in a similar situation exactly a hundred years ago.

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary issued a series of ultimatums to the Kingdom of Serbia, and ultimately declared war on July 28, 1914.

Tensions in Europe and around the world were at boiling point. The primacy of the British and other European colonial powers was waning, as recently formed unitary states of Germany and Italy were on the rise.

With so many rising powers, it was inevitable that conflict would ultimately ensue. Even if Franz Ferdinand's assassination wouldn't have happened, some other tinder would have lit the fire.

Similar conditions exist today.

Just like a century ago when waning British power invited a power struggle among rising nations, waning US power is creating conflict with Russia, China, etc.

A century ago, they settled it on the battlefield. Everyone knew war would eventually come to Europe. But the great miscalculation was they presumed it would be just another 19th century limited war.

It was anything but.

The great war brought brutal mass killings, bombings, heavy artillery, gassing, etc. And it changed warfare forever.

This time around, the way we conduct war is different. Similarly, leaders are miscalculating, thinking that they can scare their opponents with warships and fighter jets. But modern warfare isn't fought with boots on the ground. In 2014, cyberwar and economic war looms.

And this type of war is something that will affect literally every person who is plugged in to the global financial system. WE ARE TEETERING ON THE EDGE OF A VERY STEEP CLIFF!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Chikungunya Virus Is Starting To Spread In America............

The Chikungunya Virus Is Starting To Spread In America

Cases of the chikungunya virus are appearing in the United States at a level that is far higher than anything health officials have seen in recent years, and now there are two confirmed cases of people that have not even traveled out of the country getting the virus.  That means that the chikungunya virus is starting to spread in America, and once it starts spreading it is really hard to stop.  

Instead of spreading human to human, this virus actually spreads "person-to-mosquito-to-person". If you live in an area of the country where there are a lot of mosquitos, you should pay close attention to this article.  You do not want to get the chikungunya virus.  The name of this virus "comes from a Makonde word meaning 'that which bends up,' referring to the contortions sufferers put themselves through due to intense joint pain."  That does not sound fun at all.

Fortunately, the U.S. has not really been affected by this disease in recent years, but an epidemic has already been declared in Puerto Rico, and some experts are now saying that it is only a matter of time before we see one in the United States.

From 2006 to 2013, the largest number of cases of the chikungunya virus in the U.S. in a single year was just 65.

But by July 15th of this year there were already 357 reported cases, and health officials are bracing for the worst.

Of course of biggest concern is what just happened in Florida. For the first time, health officials have isolated cases of the chikungunya virus that they know were transmitted locally…

U.S. health officials on Thursday confirmed two locally acquired cases of chikungunya in Florida. In Puerto Rico, the government has declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus, with reports of more than 200 diagnosed cases since June 25 in San Juan and surrounding areas.

On Thursday, the CDC confirmed a 50-year-old male in Palm Beach, Fla. was diagnosed with the virus, and had not recently traveled outside the country. Florida state health officials are also reporting a 41-year-old woman in Miami Dade Country has been diagnosed with locally transmitted chikungunya. Local transmission occurs when the insect bites a person with the infection and then transmits the virus by biting others.

So if you live in south Florida, you should really be trying to avoid mosquitos right now.

But Florida is not the only state that is on high alert at this point.

Over in Texas, there have been five confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus so far. The following is an excerpt about one that was just discovered in Montgomery County, Md.…

The Montgomery County Public Health District is confirming their first case of the Chikungunya virus.

"The individual is a male teenager of Montgomery County who has recently traveled outside of the United States," said Jennifer Nichols-Contella, Public Information Officer for the Montgomery County Public Health District.

And health officials in Kentucky were quite alarmed when they recently found a confirmed case in their state…

"We have been testing our first potential cases of Chikungunya virus in Kentucky residents who recently traveled to areas where the disease is present, and have received confirmation of one positive result so far," said Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, state epidemiologist and DPH deputy commissioner.

Overall, there are now 30 states that have confirmed cases. In every case but the two in Florida mentioned above, it involved someone that had traveled internationally and came back…

The Center for Disease Control and state health departments are monitoring cases of Chikungunya, a virus that causes high fever, joint and muscle pain and headaches.

The virus has been reported in 153 cases linked to international travel, said Kristen Norlund, CDC spokeswoman, "meaning someone went to a place where the virus was circulating, got infected and then came back."

Louisiana is one of 30 states with confirmed cases in residents who traveled internationally.

With so many cases already, it is going to be really difficult to keep a lid on this outbreak.  All it is going to take is a few well-timed mosquito bites and we could be off to the races.

Fortunately, the chikungunya virus is usually not fatal.  But if you do get it, you will probably remember the experience for the rest of your life…

With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months.

And just because it is usually not fatal does not mean that there would not be a lot of deaths during a full-blown epidemic.  The following analysis is from an article about the virus by Jeff Danner…

The current epidemic in the Dominican Republic may provide some insight.  Since chikungunya struck the Dominican Republic in early April, there have been almost 200,000 cases, an incidence rate of 20 per thousand for this nation of 10 million people.  

If the Southeast U.S., with a population approximately 80 million, had the same incidence rate as the Dominican Republic, we would expect 1.5 million cases in the first 100 days of an epidemic. However, due to widespread availability of insect repellent here and our stay-inside-the-air-conditioned-space lifestyles, our incidence rate is likely to be lower.  For the sake of argument, let's assume our incidence rate will be 1/3 that of the Dominican Republic. This would translate to a half a million cases in the first hundred days, and we would then project approximately 10 million cases in the first year.  With chikungunya's fatality rate of 0.4%, an epidemic of this scale would kill 40,000, with fatalities being disproportionately among the very old and very young.

We are seeing very unusual disease outbreaks all over the planet, and the next great pandemic could be just around the corner.

Over in Africa, one of the worst outbreaks of the ebola virus ever recorded has already killed more than 600 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It has been a really long time since the U.S. has had to deal with a full-blown health crisis.

Hopefully the chikungunya virus will not turn into one.

But as the globe continues to become a smaller and more interconnected place, experts warn that it is only a matter of time before the next great pandemic hits us.

Chikungunya infection is characterized by sudden onset of:

  • high fever
  • severe joint pain mainly in the arms and legs
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • back pain
  • rash (about 50% of affected people).

Most people start to feel better after 7 to 10 days although some people will develop longer term joint pain.


The diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms and confirmed with a blood test.

Incubation period

(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)

Typically 3 to 7days with a range of 1 to 12 days.

Infectious period

(time during which an infected person can infect others)

Chikungunya cannot be spread directly from person to person.


There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection. The use of pain medication and rest can provide relief for some of the symptoms.


  • Exclusion from childcare, preschool, school or work is not necessary but infected people should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while they are unwell
  • there is no vaccine to prevent infection
  • personal protection and the environmental management of mosquitoes are important in preventing illness. 

US Macro Suffers Longest Streak Of Weakness Since Lehman....ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

US Macro Suffers Longest Streak Of Weakness Since Lehman

Despite the best efforts of The Fed, its apologists, and the talking-heads to persuade the world that the US economy is picking up and set to reach escape velocity any minute... the fact is, the US economy (judged on data not fantasy) is hurting. Consensus expectations for 2014 US GDP growth have collapsed from over 3.00% to a mere 1.7% now. But what is more critical is the incessant bleating that data is picking up and suggests a 2nd half recovery... it doesn't. US Macro surprise data has been negative for over 21 weeks... the longest such spell of disappointment since Lehman.

A glance at the chart shows something odd... US macro normally cycles back into the positive after dipping negative... as over-pessimism rotates to over-optimism - but this time the 'bounce' from over-pessimism failed in May.

US macro surprise data is considerably weaker than last year.



The "financialization" brought on by the central banks has had a truly perverse effect. Stock markets and corporate profits are at all time highs. Yet the true measure of main street economic health—-the share of adults who are employed—is at a modern low. 

We can not print our way to prosperity!


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Coming Crash Is Simply The Normalization Of A Mis-priced Market.............

The Coming Crash Is Simply The Normalization Of A Mis priced Market

The correlation between the Fed's monetary heroin production and the stock market will break down as the market normalizes.

In the spirit of calling things what they are, market crashes are simply distorted/mispriced economies attempting to normalize.  

Let's examine the term "crash." A crash is nothing more than the economy trying to normalize, however, everyone seems to think the environment created by bubbles (unpayable debt) is normal. This is truly fascinating because accepting unpayable debt as a norm means that prices are irrelevant, and since prices are irrelevant, there is no risk. But just because we think a thought does not make it a fact. Interestingly, each attempt at normalization requires exponentially greater amounts of expropriation of purchasing power.

Exactly, how does one grow one's way out of this? To clarify the term normalize, I mean that the economy shrinks to a level of real and sustainable supply and demand dynamics. Normalize does not mean "desirable" or "politically favorable."

Just as forest fires normalize the forest's complex ecology by turning deadwood to nourishing ash and opening up the forest to new growth, in an analogous way crashes clear markets of financial deadwood and cartels that have blocked new growth.

We are living in a dying forest where fires have been suppressed at ever greater cost bcause the deadwood--the central bank and its cartel-cronies--are doing everything in their power to maintain their perquisites and power. The cost of each fire suppression (not just in eroded purchasing power but in systemic instability and the mispricing of risk) goes up dramatically.

Here is the Federal Reserve balance sheet--the main tool, along with Federal subsidies of politicized sectors such as home mortgages, of suppressing normalization of the economy and stock market:

While the Fed can push monetary heroin into the financial system, it can't force anyone to shove the debt-needle in their arm. One consequence is the velocity of money is absolutely cratering. If there is any measure of the economy's underlying financial health, it's this:

The correlation of the Fed's pushing of monetary heroin to the stock market has long been noted:

The question is: is correlation causation? In other words, will the market continue to loft higher regardless of any other inputs as long as the Fed is pushing some kind of monetary heroin into the financial sector?

As noted on the chart of the Fed balance sheet, the Fed's purchases of Treasury bonds and home mortgages are both rolling over (tapering), and so the Fed has been substituting another form of synthetic monetary heroin (reverse repos) to suppress the much-needed and long-delayed normalization of the economy and stock market.

Suppressing the next fire will take more than the reverse repo squirt-gun. Given the tremendous forces needing to be normalized, the correlation between the Fed's monetary heroin production and the stock market will break down as the market normalizes, much to the shock of all the financial deadwood that's been protected all these years.

To those who believe the correlation of Fed monetary heroin and the stock market is eternal and cannot possibly come undone, please consider this line from songwriter Jackson Browne: Don't think it won't happen just because it hasn't happened yet.

Middle-East "Relations" In 1 Simple Chart........IMPORTANT GRAPHIC!

Middle-East "Relations" In 1 Simple Chart

With overlapping civil wars in Syria and Iraq, a new flare-up of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, and tense nuclear talks with Iran, Middle Eastern politics are more volatile than ever and longtime alliances are shifting. Everyone in the world (apart from the BRICS and Germany) know that Putin/Russia is the enemy; the relationships among the various 'states' in The Middle East are a mystery to most... 

Here's a guide to who's on whose side in the escalating chaos.

Go to the link below to see the interactive version where you can click a cell to learn more information.

Sunday, July 20, 2014



"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life." 

                                               1 John 5:13

A woman told the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, "I've been saved twenty-five years, and I've never had one single doubt."

He responded, "Madam, I doubt you've been saved."

That would be like a couple saying they've been married 50 years and never had an argument. I'd say, "I doubt you've been married."

We all have doubts. You see, doubt is to your spirit what pain is to your body. It is a signal that something is wrong. And just as you seek to find a remedy for your pain, you should seek to find a remedy for your doubts. 

Jesus is your remedy! 

Get into His Word and know the assurance of your salvation. It's not you, it's Jesus that makes it possible.

Are you doubting your salvation? Then run to Jesus. Soak yourself in these truths from God's Word:

For "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

                                                                                                 Romans 10:13

When Satan hurls words of doubt at you, resist him with faith in the truth of God's Word.

". . . Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" 

                                                                                                                                Ephesians 6:16–17

2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  Ephesians 2:1-10

Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God. 

". . . Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" 

                                                             Romans 8:38–39 

Believe and rejoice!

Grumbling or Grateful?...........

Grumbling or Grateful?

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." 

              Psalm 100:4

One day a preacher was riding on a train. He saw a well-dressed man and magnificently dressed woman with expensive jewelry. The woman was complaining about everything-the train ride, the weather, the news, the food, the service.

The preacher decided to engage this couple in a conversation. He asked the man what kind of business he was in and the man told him. Then he asked, "And what does your wife do?"

The man replied, "Oh, she's in the manufacturing business. She manufactures her own unhappiness."

You know, there are a lot of people like that today. They manufacture their own misery because they fail to be grateful. Only Christ can turn our lives around and stir up a grateful heart within us.

Go through the alphabet and thank the Lord for something beginning with each letter and choose to be grateful.

A Chain of Ten Links...........

A Chain of Ten Links

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

                                                                                                                                     James 2:10

So many people have the idea that God is going to grade on the curve. We say to ourselves, "We're bad, but we're not as bad as so-and-so."

But God doesn't grade on a curve. He grades on an absolute standard of holiness. Can anybody say that they've kept all of God's Ten Commandments? Of course not. But let's suppose you had only broken one. What would happen? Well, let me illustrate. If a man was dangling over a fire by a chain of ten links and nine of those links were made of forged steel and one was made of crepe paper, what would happen?

Surrender First..........

Surrender First

". . . now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." 

Romans 6:19

After a splendid victory at sea, Lord Nelson confronted the French admiral who was surrendering. Dressed in all his regalia, the admiral approached Nelson to surrender. With his sword swinging by his side, the admiral put out his hand to the British commander.

Lord Nelson stepped back and said, "Your sword first."

There are a lot of people who think they can walk up and glad-hand the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, "Your sword first." Surrender first! Jesus is not an appeaser, and He will never make a truce with
sin. Never! We have to abdicate the throne. We have to surrender.