Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving shopping at stores ‘was a bust’........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Thanksgiving shopping at stores 'was a bust'

SunTrust analysts said channel checks showed slow traffic on Thanksgiving and early on Black Friday.

Traffic at stores declined on Thanksgiving Day and into the wee hours of Black Friday analysts say.

"We believe Thanksgiving shopping was a bust," said analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in a note. They conducted channel checks in the New York metro area, New England and the Southeast region starting on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the night into Black Friday.

SunTrust said specialty retail and apparel team members who went to malls "had no problem finding parking or navigating stores" and "there seemed to be more browsing than buying and less items purchased."

This was also true at Wal-Mart and Target, with lines at about half of what they were last year.

Connecticut Mayor, Convicted Of 16 Felonies, Reelected In Landslide......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Connecticut Mayor, Convicted Of 16 Felonies, Reelected In Landslide
Dirty Connecticut Mayor (Sentenced To Prison For Corruption) Reelected. 

After East Chicago re-elected an accused drug dealer and murderer as councilman, we thought the bar had dropped as low as it gets for the ignorance of an electorate. 

But, no! Bridgeport, Connecticut residents just took the proverbial cake by re-electing Mayor Joseph P. Ganim - who during his last 'reign' was convicted of 16 felonies including racketeering, extortion, and bribery.

Saudi Arabia's New King Likes Beheading People More Than His Predecessor......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Saudi Arabia's New King Likes Beheading People More Than His Predecessor

At least 151 people have been put to death since Saudi Arabia's current King Salman rose to power after the death of King Abdullah in January 2015, dramatically higher than the total of 90 in 2014. As Amnesty International warns,"it is clear that the Saudi Arabian authorities are using the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores."

Amnesty International criticized the wave of executions, calling it "a grim new milestone in the Saudi Arabian authorities" use of the death penalty.

"The Saudi Arabian authorities appear intent on continuing a bloody execution spree which has seen at least 151 people put to death so far this year — an average of one person every two days," said James Lynch, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International. "The use of the death penalty is abhorrent in any circumstance but it is especially alarming that the Saudi Arabian authorities continue to use it in violation of international human rights law and standards, on such a wide scale, and after trials which are grossly unfair and sometimes politically motivated."

Here are 10 sobering facts from Amnesty International's research:


Saudi Arabia's courts continue to impose sentences of flogging as punishment for many offences, often following unfair trials. Besides Raif Badawi, in the past two years the human rights defenders Mikhlif bin Daham al-Shammari and Omar al-Sa'id were sentenced to 200 and 300 lashes, respectively, and Filipino domestic worker Ruth Cosrojas was sentenced to 300. Amputations and cross-amputations are also carried out as punishment for some crimes.


Saudi Arabia is among the world's top executioners, with dozens of people being put to death annually, many in public beheadings. 


Besides Raif Badawi, dozens more outspoken activists remain behind bars, simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The authorities have targeted the small but vocal community of human rights defenders, including by using anti-terrorism laws to suppress their peaceful actions to expose and address human rights violations.


All public gatherings, including demonstrations, remain prohibited under an order issued by the Interior Ministry in 2011. Those who defy the ban face arrest, prosecution and imprisonment on charges such as "inciting people against the authorities".


Women and girls remain subject to discrimination in law and practice, with laws that subordinate their status to men, particularly in relation to family matters such as marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Women who supported a campaign against a de facto ban on women drivers face the threat of arrest and other harassment and intimidation.


Former detainees, trial defendants and others have told Amnesty International that the security forces' use of torture and other ill-treatment remains common and widespread, and that those responsible are never brought to justice.


Scores of people have been arrested and detained in pre-trial detention for six months or more, which breaches the Kingdom's own criminal codes. Detainees are frequently held incommunicado during their interrogation and denied access to their lawyers. Some human rights activists have been detained without charge or trial for more than two years.


Members of the Kingdom's Shi'a minority, most of whom live in the oil-rich Eastern Province, continue to face entrenched discrimination that limits their access to government services and employment. Shi'a activists have received death sentences or long prison terms for their alleged participation in protests in 2011 and 2012.


According to the Interior Ministry, a crackdown on irregular foreign migrant workers in November 2013 led to the deportation of more than 370,000 people. Some 18,000 were still being detained last March. Thousands of people were summarily returned to Somalia, Yemen or other states where they were at risk of human rights abuses.


The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny access to independent human rights organizations like Amnesty International, and they have been known to take punitive action, including through the courts, against activists and family members of victims who contact us.







The Free Market always wins and this age of Socialism where they decide how to spend your money,usually on themselves, is coming to an abrupt end just as communism did

This balancing act has been a disaster because they assumed they had the power to control something that they really don't have the slightest clue about how it functions.

An Economic Parable At Thanksgiving.......

An Economic Parable At Thanksgiving

The Black Swan Theory is used to explain the existence and occurrence of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations. 

One example often put forth is the life and times of the Thanksgiving Turkey.

The turkey spends the majority of its life enjoying daily feedings from a caring farmer. Weeks go by, and it's the same thing day-in-day-out for the Turkey. Free food. Open range grazing. Good times all around.  IMAGINE THAT THE FED IS THE FARMER....

The thinking turkey may even surmise that the farmer has a vested interest in keeping the turkey alive. For the turkey, it is a symbiotic relationship. "The farmer feeds me and keeps me happy, and I keep the farmer happy," says the turkey. "The farmer needs me, otherwise, why would he be taking care of me?"

This goes on for a 1,000 days.

Then, two days before Thanksgiving on Day 1,001, the farmer shows up again.

But this time he doesn't come bearing food, but rather, he's wielding an ax.

This is a black swan event — for the turkey.

By definition, it is a high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event for the turkey, who not only never saw it coming, and never even contemplated the possibility that it could occur.

For the farmer, on the other hand, this was not a black swan event. The farmer knew all along why he was feeding the turkey, and what the end result would be. AGAIN, THINK ABOUT THE FED.

The very nature of black swan events make them almost impossible to predict. The point of this parable is to put forth the idea that sometimes we are the Thanksgiving turkey and understanding this may make it easier to begin to, at the very least, contemplate the possibility of far-from-equilibrium events.

But why worry - you know you and your adviser are all smarter than the average investor, right? Just don't forget the lesson from The Thanksgiving Day Turkey... THE FED COULDN'T POSSIBLY HAVE ANY ULTERIOR MOTIVES, THEY WORK FOR US DON'T THEY?

Turkeys Are Clever . . .

Friday, November 27, 2015

Russia targets Turkish economy as tensions keep simmering........A VERY DANGEROUS WORLD!

Russia targets Turkish economy as tensions keep simmering

Turkey rejects Putin's call for an apology for shooting down jet

Turkey's president on Thursday rebuffed Russian leader Vladimir Putin's request for an apology over the shootdown of a Russian warplane, as Moscow took aim at Turkey's economy, ordering tougher checks on its food imports.

Russia has reacted with fury to the incident and vowed to retaliate by clamping down on trade and business ties. As Russia ramped up its criticism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed Putin's demands that Ankara apologize or offer compensation to Russia.

"I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us," Erdogan said in an interview on CNN International. "Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize."

Turkish and U.S. officials said the Turkish pilots warned the Russian planes 10 times in five minutes that they were approaching Turkey's airspace and that the requests to shift course went unanswered. The Turkish military later released recordings of the warnings.

But Putin repeated Russia's position that the aircraft was in Syrian airspace when it was downed, and insisted that Turkey had broken international law.

Turkey's leadership was "intentionally pushing Russian-Turkish relations to a dead end," he said at a meeting with foreign ambassadors, according to the Interfax news agency. "We have heard neither apologies from the high military and political level in Turkey, nor about compensating the damage, nor a promise to punish criminals for the offense committed."

So far, Russia's only action had been to ship one of its most-advanced air-defense systems to its air base in Syria. But on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachyov ordered tighter control on agricultural products from Turkey, including additional checks at the border and at production sites, saying some Turkish products don't meet Russian standards.



Republican strategist's new "hope"...

The definition of insanity...

Happy Thanksgiving.......

Obama Redistributes Thanksgiving Plenty cartoon

It's Us Against Them.....

Big Goverrnment Bureaucrats Thanksgiving cartoon

Don't Hold Your Breath....

Small Government Thanks Thanksgiving Cartoon


Do you know how to make a cop or politician laugh their fat ass off?

Tell them you believe you have certain inalienable, God-given, inherent human rights according to the Constitution.

They love that joke.

Almost every liberty guaranteed in the first ten amendments (Bill Of Rights) is being eroded before your very eyes.




The United States was meant to be a Republic, not a Democracy  

A democracy runs on majority opinion. In other words, a majority can vote to impose its rule on the minority. A republic contains protections of individual and minority rights, so that no matter who is in power, these basic rights can never be infringed.

Aside from the above technical definitions, in a broader sense people use "democracy" " to mean a system where the common people have a fair say in public affairs. Representation! Voting! Even if it means voting for your particular choice for dictator. All this is pure unadulterated bovine excrement.

Do you vote for endless wars?

Do you vote for ever increasing taxes so other people can have free stuff?

Do you vote to have your privacy violated at every turn in this surveillance state?

Do you vote to have your local police militarized?

Do you vote for the dumbing down of your children, aka Common Core?

Do you vote to have your speech restricted to "free speech zones"?

Do you vote for 100,000 Syrian Muslims to invade immigrate to your neighborhood?

You get the picture, Your voice means absolutely nothing.

They don't care about you and your trifling needs or wants. Complain too much and they'll put you on a terrorist watch list. NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU. The US has been deliberately turned from a constitutional republic into a corporate democracy, and unless there's a full blown revolution there isn't a damned thing you can do about it.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wholesale Inventories-To-Sales Ratio.......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Wholesale Inventories-To-Sales Ratio

Having risen to its highest level since the middle of the last two recessions, wholesale inventories-to-sales ratio remains at cycle highs at 1.31x. With wholesale sales and inventories both rising 0.5% (both more than expected), however, the absolute difference between sales and inventories has never been higher, leaving either major inventory liquidation ahead or a miracle in sales. Wholesale inventories have now risen 4.7% YoY, as Sales have fallen 3.9% YoY

Recession anyone?

The absolute spread between inventories and sales has never been wider...


Russia Deploys Warship Off Syrian Coast To "Destroy Any Threats To Russian Planes"

Despite demands from France's Hollande, America's Obama, and NATO's Stoltenberg that this situation not esclate, it appears Putin is not taking the shooting down of a fighter jet lying down. The seemingly cagey confirmation by NATO and Obama of Turkey's claims that Russia invaded its airspace has been rebuked by Russia which claims the Hmeimim airbase radar shows the attacking Turkish plane violating Syrian airspace. In response, Russia is moving a Cruiser 'Moskva' off the coast to strengthen air-defenses - just as French and US carriers are on their way.


And is escalating:


The reason for the deployment:




The steps announced by Russian top brass as the following:

Each and every strike groups' operation is to be carried out under the guise of fighter jets.

Air defense to be boosted with the deployment of Moskva guided missile cruiser off Latakia coast with an aim to destroy any target that may pose danger.

Military contacts with Turkey to be suspended. !!!!

Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the 'Fort' air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province's coast.

"We warn that every target posing a potential threat will be destroyed," lieutenant general Sergey Rudskoy said during the briefing.

Furthermore, as the Russian Ministry of Defense explained, going forward, any Turkish plane that enters Syrian airspace will be fair game.

This is happening as both the French carrier de Gaulle and the US carrier CVN-75 USS Harry S. Truman are on their way to a very dangerous rendezvous off the Syrian coast.

US Backed "Rebels" Execute Russian Pilots While Parachuting,

The Turkmen rebels said: "We hit at the two pilots after they parachuted. Both of the pilots were retrieved dead. Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air."

This, as many have already pointed out, is a war crime.

According to the Geneva Convention attacks on persons parachuting from an aircraft in distress are stricly banned: if the person in distress is not acting in a hostile manner, he is to be given the chance to surrender after reaching the ground.

The only question is whether this, together with the provocative action by Turkey which many can see being an act of war, will be deemed as such by Putin.

The situation has become a complete rerun of the 2013 Syria "Mediterranean" showdown, with full naval engagement by all parties, except this time the tensions are significantly escalated, a Russian fighter jet has just been taken down, US and French aircraft carriers are arriving in weeks, and Putin will not hestitate to go as far as he has to in order to save face.


The Russian Missile cruiser in question:

Inventory Overhang........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Inventory Overhang

While inventory production has slowed, demand is slowing even faster. US non-petroleum exports are contracting faster. The result: inventory overhang.

Capacity Utilization.........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Capacity Utilization

US Exports.........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

US Exports

Semiconductor Sales..........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Semiconductor Sales

Semiconductor sales continue to contract, and that's after we include the massive production ramping for the new iPhone release (heavy demand for chips).

Expect more cost cutting and the start of layoffs. Beyond cutting back expansion plans, some companies are selectively shutting down production lines. We expect layoffs and consolidation to accelerate into 1Q 2016.

Tech Warning...........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Tech Warning

Semiconductor companies are preparing for no growth. Silicon wafers are the basic building blocks of semiconductors. After surging last year, volume demand has collapsed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The United States Has The Highest STD Infection rate In The Entire Industrialized World.......A REALLY SAD FACT!

The United States Has The Highest STD Infection rate In The Entire Industrialized World

Charlie Sheen's announcement that he is HIV positive has created a huge uproar as critics attack him from every direction, but the truth is that Charlie Sheen is simply a reflection of our society as a whole.  

The truth is that it isn't just big Hollywood stars that are engaged in risky sexual behavior.  According to the CDC, there are 110 million cases of sexually-transmitted disease in America today, and another 20 million STD cases are added to that total every year. 

The United States has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world, and more than half of all Americans will have a sexually-transmitted disease at some point during their lives.

Approximately one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease, and our nation spends $16,000,000,000 a year treating STDs.  So go ahead and point a finger at Charlie Sheen if you want, but just remember that he is only a very small part of a raging national epidemic.

I am certainly not defending Charlie Sheen. I am simply pointing out our hypocrisy. We love to tear others down while not realizing our own faults.

On Tuesday morning, Charlie Sheen told the world that he is HIV positive.  The following is how USA Today announced the story…

Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, he told Matt Lauer during a much-touted exclusive Today show interview Tuesday morning.

The actor, whose drug use, rehab stints, legal issues, outbursts, on-set antics and many romantic entanglements have shaped his bad-boy image, confirmed the news, which had been swirling since Monday.

Of course Charlie Sheen is not being criticized for being HIV positive.  Rather, the reason why so many people are jumping on him is because he continued to have unprotected sex even after he learned that he had HIV…

When Lauer asked Sheen if he had engaged in unprotected sex since his diagnosis, the actor responded in the affirmative. "The two people I did that with were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time."

Talk about stupid.

And yet millions of other Americans are also running around having casual sex with people even after becoming infected with a sexually-transmitted disease.

For example, let's take a look at chlamydia.  According to the CDC, last year we broke the all-time record for the number of new chlamydia cases reported…

Chlamydia cases had dipped in 2013, but last year's total of more than 1.4 million — or 456 cases per 100,000 — was the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the CDC.

The chlamydia rate was up almost three percent from 2013, new figures revealed.

The CDC is also reporting that cases of gonorrhea and syphilis are rising as well…

The CDC report revealed gonorrhea cases totaled 350,062, up five percent from 2013, and the most contagious forms of syphilis jumped 15 per cent to 20,000 cases.

What makes these numbers even more heartbreaking is the fact that our young people are being disproportionately hit by these diseases.

Of the 20 million new STD cases each year, Americans from the age of 15 to 24 account for about half of them.

This should not be happening. We have dramatically failed our young people, and the numbers just keep getting worse.  AND AS LONG AS PEOPLE IGNORE THE WORD OF GOD THIS WILL CONTINUE.

But instead of changing course and trying to do things differently, our entire culture continues to promote casual sex. The average American spends an average of 293 minutes a day watching television.  And these days it is hard to find any show on television that is not talking about sex, and sometimes the commercials are the worst.

We need to teach our young people that there are rules, and that there can be very serious consequences for breaking those rules.  GOD'S RULES NOT MANS!

Above, I wrote about the latest numbers for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, but there are other STDs that are raging out of control as well.  The following statistics for HBV, genital herpes and HPV come from the American Sexual Health Association…

One out of 20 people in the United States will get infected with hepatitis B (HBV) some time during their lives. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.

Approximately half of HBV infections are transmitted sexually. HBV is linked to chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.

It is estimated that as many as one in five Americans have genital herpes, a lifelong (but manageable) infection, yet up to 90 percent of those with herpes are unaware they have it.

With more than 50 million adults in the US with genital herpes and up to 776,000 new infections each year, some estimates suggest that by 2025 up to 40% of all men and half of all women could be infected.

Over 14 million people acquire HPV each year, and by age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that we have a massive problem in this country.

All three of our notifiable sexually transmitted diseases have increased," said the CDC's Dr. Gail Bolan. "Some of the increases are quite alarming."

What's going on to cause the increase? There are several factors, the CDC says. 

We certainly don't want to hear about "morality", do we?

We don't want it anywhere in our schools, in our courts, in our government or in our entertainment.

We just want to do whatever we want to do, and then we are shocked when we learn that there are very serious consequences for being so reckless.

This STD epidemic is going to continue to rage out of control until we find a solution. THE ONLY SOLUTION IS OBEYING THE WORD OF GOD!

The State Department....ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

The State Department

The US State Department just unleashed a worldwide travel alert for the next 3 months. This seems to wreak a little haov at President Obama's  "ISIS is contained" narrative...

Via The State Department:

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da'esh), al-Qa'ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da'esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions. Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency. Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots. We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.


Turkish F-16s Shoot Down Russian Su-24 Warplane Near Syria Border

Futures tumble and bond yields slide following news that Turkish F-16s have taken down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet near the Syria border. Russia confirms its plane was downed but claims the plane was over Syrian territory for the entire flight.

Global Stocks Slide, Futures Drop After Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane

It had been a relatively quiet session overnight when as reported previously, the geopolitical situation in the middle east changed dramatically in a moment, when NATO-member country Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet allegedly over Turkish territory even though the plane crashed in Syria, and whose pilots may have been captured by local rebel forces. The news promptly slammed Turkish assets and FX, sending the Lira tumbling, pushing lower European stocks and US equity futures while sending 2 Year German Bunds to record negative yields.


Former CIA Director......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Former CIA Director Says: "I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today."

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said.

Smart Phone Unit Sales.........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Smart Phone Unit Sales



Conservative-leaning members of Congress introduced the 16th Amendment, hoping it would stop liberals from pushing for an income tax as part of a tariff, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Supreme Court had ruled in1895 that the income tax violated 
Article I of the Constitution, so the amendment was necessary to empower the federal government to impose the income tax.

But the story goes back much further than 1913, when the US officially enacted the income tax.

Income taxes were initially a temporary provision Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861, which included a tax on personal income to help pay for the hefty expenses of the Civil War. Without proper enforcement, however, it raised little money. In turn, the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 created the Internal Revenue Service to solve that problem.

The new law levied a 3% tax on individual incomes between $600 and $10,000 (between about $14,000 and $230,000 today) and 5% on greater than that. The act reportedly produced about$55 million in government revenue.

Ten years later, however, long after the war had ended, the Grant administration repealed most of the "emergency" taxes, including the income tax.

Then, in 1894, the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act revived the income tax, imposing a 2% tax on incomes over $4,000. President Grover Cleveland, in cahoots with Congressman William Wilson (D-West Virginia), originally intended the law to lower tariffs, according to The New York Times. After its introduction, however, the Senate drastically altered it, turning the bill into a high-tariff one.

While Cleveland refused to sign the act, he didn't veto it either. And he still considered the law better than its predecessor, the McKinley Tariff.

The next year, however, the Supreme Court ruled the income-tax provision of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff was a direct tax, and as such violated Article I of the Constitution, which stated taxes had to be levied in proportion to a state's population. That didn't stop progressives from trying to once again attach an income tax to a tariff bill though.

For their part, conservatives wanted to put the kibosh on progressives' efforts to pass an income tax. Conservatives thought an amendment to allow an income tax would never pass, since three-fourths of states have to ratify an amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. So conservatives introduced the amendment, hoping to kill progressives' efforts to pass an income tax as part of a tariff.

Much to conservatives' dismay, state after state hopped on board.

The 16th Amendment, which established an official, federal income tax, was ratified on February 3 and went into effect February 25, 1913.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Insiders Aren't Buying It.....ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Insiders Aren't Buying It...

Fed To Hold An "Expedited, Closed" Meeting On Monday........WHY?

Fed To Hold An "Expedited, Closed" Meeting On Monday

Given how awesome everything appears to be, judging by stocks and the tidal wave of FedSpeak of the last week confirming that rates are rising in December, it is at least marginally 'odd' that out of the blue,  The Fed would announce an 'expedited, closed' meeting on Monday...



When Wall Street Gets DeFANGed - Look Out Below!

As the stock market labored into Friday's close, CNBS was apparently tying to help with a crawler saying that the S&P 500 was heading for its "best week of the year". 

Then again, the gain of just 1% since New Year's Day is not a whole lot to write home about.

In fact, there were some fireworks in this week's gains, but if history is any guide they were exactly the kind of action that always precedes a thundering bust. To wit, the market has narrowed down to essentially four explosively rising stocks—–the FANG quartet of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google—–which are sucking up all the oxygen left in the casino.

At this week's close, the FANG stocks were valued at just under $1.2 trillion, meaning they have gained $450 billion of market cap or 60% during the last 11 months - even as their combined earnings for the September LTM period were up by only 13%. In a word, the gamblers are piling on to the last train out of the station. And that means look out below!

An old Wall Street adage holds that market tops are a process, not an event. A peak under the hood of the S&P 500 index, in fact, reveals exactly that.

On the day after Christmas last December the total market cap of the S&P 500 excluding the FANG stocks was$17.70 trillion. By contrast, it closed at $17.26 trillion on Friday, reflecting a 2.5% or nearly half trillion dollar loss of value.

And there is growing deterioration down below for good reason. Notwithstanding the FOMC's stick save at every meeting this year, each near miss on a rate hike reminded even Wall Street's most inveterate easy money cry babies that the jig is up on rates.

Sooner or later the Fed would just plain run out of excuses for ZIRP, and now, after 83 straight months on the zero bound, it has. So the truth is, the smart money has been lightening the load all year, selling into the mini-rips while climbing on board the FANG momo train with trigger finger at the ready.



The S&P 500 is as expensive now on a cash-flow basis as it was at the peak of the dot-com bubble...

Just remember who is selling these stocks...



US, French Aircraft Carriers Rush Toward Syrian Coast To Find Numerous Russian Warships Already There

In a few weeks time the east Mediterranean is about to become a warship and aircraft carrier parking lot, with the Truman and de Gaulle side by side, just as wepredicted it would be a month ago when we said that the summer of 2013 naval scenario is unfolding once again, and where another half a dozen (at least) Russian warships are already located in what has all the makings of a historic Gulf of Tonkin

South Pacific Showdown? Japan May Send Warships To China Islands

"Tokyo will consider dispatching its Self-Defense Forces to the South China Sea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, suggesting a possible role for Japan in patrolling those tense waters."

Russia Launches Cruise Missiles Against ISIS Targets

 "the Russian military has launched cruise missiles against Islamic State positions in Syria from both the Mediterranean and Caspian seas, one of which killed over 600 terrorists in the Deir Ex-Zor Province, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said." 

Here's more:

"On November 20, the warships of the Caspian Fleet launched 18 cruise missiles at seven targets in the provinces of Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo. All targets were hit successfully," he reported to President Vladimir Putin.

Overall, there are 10 warships taking part in the operation, six of which are in the Mediterranean.

Over the past four days, Russian air forces have conducted 522 sorties, deploying more than 100 cruise missiles and 1,400 tons of bombs of various types, the minister stated.

He added that a strike on a target in Deir ez-Zor utilizing multiple cruise missiles had killed more than 600 militants.


Belgium Warns Of "Imminent" Terror Threat In Brussels: "Avoid Crowded Areas"

"It Looks Like A Warzone" - Army, APCs, Roadblocks Deployed In Brussels After Explosives, Chemical Weapons Found.

Brussels Lockdown Day 2: Police Hunt "Two Terrorists," Jihadi John Accomplice As Civilians Urged To "Remain At Home"

Global Trade........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Global Trade

Global trade is indeed in free fall, look no further than the container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif. and around New York harbor which handle more than 50% of seaborne freight coming into the US. 

As it turns out, "peak" season turned out to be anything but. Here's WSJ:

For the first time in at least a decade, imports fell in both September and October at each of the three busiest U.S. seaports, according to data from trade researcher Zepol Corp. analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. Combined, imports at the container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif. and around New York harbor, which handle just over half of the goods entering the country by sea, fell by just over 10% between August and October.

The declines came during a stretch from late summer to early fall known in the transportation world as peak shipping season, when cargo volumes typically surge through U.S. ports. It is a crucial few months for the U.S. economy as well: High import volumes can signal a confident view on the economy among retailers and manufacturers, while fears of a slowdown grow when ports are quiet.


Class War

Class War is illustrated by this chart: a tiny financial-political Elite (the top 1/10th of 1%) now own as much wealth as the bottom 90%:

Here is one basic truth: the system is broken and cannot be reformed/fixed. As the pressures of a system that optimizes inequality, monopoly, cronyism, stagnation, low social mobility and systemic instability build, the fissures in our economy and society will widen.

Here's what's obvious, but unacceptable: we need a new system. Not a system modified with tiny tweaks and a feeding trough filled with borrowed money--an entirely new system designed from scratch to be sustainable and with opportunities to build capital for all.......

Friday, November 20, 2015

Beware Of The Shadow Rate......ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Beware Of The Shadow Rate

In reality, the tightening cycle that the forecasters are waiting for actually started last year. Sadly, the markets and the economy are already showing an inability to handle it.

University of Chicago professors Cynthia Wu and Fan Dora Xia, constructed a model for the "Shadow or real Rate." While the fed funds rate has remained between 0.0% and 0.25% ever since November of 2008 (Federal Reserve Board), the Shadow Rate moved much lower, factoring in the effects of QE and forward guidance. That rate got as low as -2.99% in May of 2014. (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, CQER, Shadow Rate)

But the Fed's QE tapering campaign, which gradually reduced the amount of securities purchased monthly by the Fed, effectively began a campaign of monetary tightening that helped push up the Shadow Rate sharply even as the fed funds rate itself did not budge. After QE was officially wound down in October 2014, the Fed began to change its forward guidance to actively suggest that a long-term campaign to lift interest rates would begin in 2015. This also worked to help tighten monetary conditions. As a result, the Shadow Rate moved up from -2.99% in May of 2014 to just -.74% in September of 2015, (FRB Atlanta, CQER, Shadow Rate) an increase of 225 basis points in just over a year.

This is a fairly robust tightening trajectory that has clearly taken a toll. Since January of this year, the major market index, the S&P 500, has essentially been flat. While in contrast, it had been up by double-digits in five of the last six calendar years. Similarly, GDP growth has slowed considerably in the months since the QE program was finally tapered down to zero in October of 2014.

U.S. stock investors may be complacent regarding the ability of the stock market to withstand higher interest rates. Their confidence may come from the fact that, historically, markets have not peaked until 12-24 months after the Fed begins to tighten. This assumes the tightening cycle begins with the first official rate hike. But if it really began with the increase in the Shadow Rate, then a December rate hike will already be 19 months into the tightening cycle! Plus, given how overvalued stocks may currently be, and the amount of corporate debt accumulated to finance share buybacks, this bull market may be far more vulnerable than most to higher interest rates.

The last three times that the Fed had conducted a rate tightening cycle (1986-1989, 1994-2000 and 2004-2006), the increases in rates averaged 388 basis points. But those moves upward occurred when QE did not exist and when forward guidance was hardly a factor (the Fed only started doing press conferences in the last few years). So the tightening that has occurred to the Shadow Rate in the last year is already 58% of the size of the average of the last three tightening cycles.

If the Fed does as it has suggested it will, and takes fed funds up to 2.6% by the end of 2017 (which is the Fed's own median forecast), then the total effective move (that includes the tightening of the Shadow Rate) would be a tightening of 559 basis points, well larger than the average of the last three tightening cycles. 

Does anyone really believe that our fragile and slowing economy can deal with that kind of headwind?

Generally, the Fed tends to wait until the economy is on solid footing before tightening. For instance, in the 12 months prior to the 390 basis point tightening that occurred between 1986-1989, real GDP was 3.2%. GDP was 2.65% in 1993, the year before a six-year tightening cycle raised rates by 350 basis points. GDP was a solid 4.3% in 2003, the year before Alan Greenspan began raising rates in 2004, a move that took up fed funds by 425 basis points. But current GDP, which is somewhere around 2.0% over the past four quarters, is not nearly as robust.

But what's more concerning is the magnitude of the easing cycle that has gotten us to this point. It began in 2007, lasted a full 80 months, and took the effective fed funds rate (accounting for the Shadow Rate) down by 825 basis points. In contrast, the prior two easing cycles averaged 612 basis points and 34.5 months. This huge dose of stimulus is certain to have caused distortions in the economy that won't be seen until we get more normalized levels of monetary policy.

Since the Second World War, recessions have begun, on average, every seven years. 

Since the current recovery is already seven years old, how much longer should we expect this historically anemic recovery to last? 

If the slowdown occurs soon, can we really expect the Fed to remain on the sidelines and risk the possibility that the economy goes into a recession leading into a presidential election? Both the chairperson and vice chairman of the Fed are solidly associated with the left side of the political spectrum. Should we expect that they would be hesitant to support the markets and the economy and thereby create conditions that might help Republicans take the White House?

Most people assume that rates are on the way up to 2% or more. But it's much more likely that the rates never get close to that level. I would argue that any positive rate of interest would be enough to stop this economy cold. 

Years of negative rates have so corrupted our economy that it is now fully addicted and cannot survive under any other condition.

Since this historically weak recovery is already decelerating, one might expect the removal of stimulus could cause the next recession to start quicker and be far deeper than any experienced in the past. Since the Fed may recognize this, the next easing cycle could likely start much sooner, and the accompanying monetary stimulus be much larger than just about anyone believes.

Each of the last three easing cycles took rates lower than where they were at the end of the prior easing cycle. Given that the fed funds rate is at zero (and the Shadow Rate got to as low as -2.99%), one shudders to think how low the Fed is prepared to go the next time around. 

Surge In Mass Terror Attacks..........ANOTHER PESKY FACT!

Surge In Mass Terror Attacks

It isn't your imagination—there really are more mass-casualty terror attacks.

The chart above 
doesn't take into account the Paris terror attacks, or indeed any that have occurred this year. But the terror group that claimed responsibility, Islamic State, is also the leading perpetrator of all attacks between 2000 and 2014, accounting for 12% of the total.

Perpetrator, from 2000-2014Coordinated attacks% of coordinated attacks
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant75712%
Boko Haram5589%
Al Qaeda in Iraq4006%
Communist Party of India — Maoist3375%
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan1753%
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia1653%
New People's Army1192%
Fulani Militants1042%
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula1032%
Corsican National Liberation Front861%
Donetsk People's Republic831%
Basque Fatherland and Freedom (ETA)691%
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)641%
Moro Islamic Liberation Front631%
Jemaah Islamiya611%
United Liberation Front of Assam601%
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement551%
Unaffiliated individuals521%

The Paris attacks went after so-called "soft" targets.