(CNN)Beloved internet meme Pepe the Frog has gone through various incarnations over the years, most of them innocuous and amusing.
(CNN)Beloved internet meme Pepe the Frog has gone through various incarnations over the years, most of them innocuous and amusing.
Jon Corzine and other former MF Global Holdings Ltd officials have reached a $64.5 million settlement of litigation brought by investors seeking to hold them liable for the now-defunct futures brokerage’s 2011 bankruptcy.
The all-cash settlement with Corzine, who was MF Global’s chief executive and previously New Jersey’s governor, and nine other defendants resolves the last major piece of litigation by MF Global stock, bond and convertible bond investors over the company’s rapid descent into Chapter 11.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan on Tuesday evening granted preliminary approval of the settlement, which was disclosed earlier in the day. He scheduled a Nov. 20 hearing to consider final approval.
The class action accord would boost the investors’ recovery to $204.4 million, including $74.9 million from underwriters and $65 million from the auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers….More
For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Okla., pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week…MORE
MORE Information will be added about INTELIUS soon. INTELIUS has BILLIONS of records on every person on the planet. If you pay them $20.00 you can find out everything about everybody, birth records, marriage records, divorce records, criminal records, and THEN they will charge your credit card EVERY MONTH $20.00. They have google maps of everybody. They have EVERYBODY’s NEIGHBORS, neighbors phone numbers. Everything.
News Voice recently opened an account to post status updates on a competitor to Facebook. It was a mistake. No background check was made as to who really was behind .It turned out that entrepreneurs ethics are questionable…more
June 20 (Bloomberg) — Investors are pulling money from emerging markets at the fastest pace in two years as slowing economic growth and the prospect of less global stimulus sink stocks, bonds and currencies from India to Brazil.
More than $19 billion left funds investing in developing-nation assets in the three weeks to June 12, the most since 2011, according to EPFR Global. Foreign investors dumped an unprecedented $5.6 billion of Brazilian stocks and $3.4 billion of Indian bonds this month, exchange data show. The tumble that has sent JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s emerging-currency index down 1.4 percent this quarter extended today as the rupee and Turkish lira hit record lows.
“These are pre-quake tremors: something big is coming,” Stephen Jen, the co-founder of hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners LLP, said in a phone interview from London on June 12. “There’s tremendous deceleration in emerging markets. You may see crisis-like price actions without having a crisis.”
“While cyclical opportunities will come and go, the era of structural outperformance for EM is probably over,” Dominic Wilson, the chief markets economist at New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who predicted the rise of the biggest emerging markets in 2003, wrote in a report dated yesterday.
(Bloomberg) — Commodities slumped to a 12-year low, led by the biggest plunge in copper since 2011, after a report from the World Bank fanned concerns of a global economic slowdown.
Copper futures for March delivery tumbled five percent to $2.5125 a pound as of 11:45 a.m. in New York, set for a fourth day of losses. Nickel erased more than 2 percent, while oil reversed earlier declines, with West Texas Intermediate trading little changed at $45.88 a barrel. The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 energy, agriculture and metal products was little changed after touching the lowest level since 2002 at 99.9516.
“It just shows the general level of weakness currently and worries spreading,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by phone today. “We have basically wiped out gains seen in the first decade, and this is obviously a significant change in outlook.”
A note from Paul Solman: Making Sen$e’s old friend Terry Burnham is back with another grim counter to the conventional wisdom. The Chicken Little of high finance, you might call him, Terry is a former Goldman Sachs trader, money manager, biotech entrepreneur and author who has taught both economics and evolutionary biology at Harvard and is now a professor at Chapman University.
He still thinks the Dow will hit 5,000 before it hits 20,000 (yes, you read that right: 5,000), which he first predicted when it was 15,000. Stubbornly, if not implausibly, he’s still making that claim now that the Dow has grown by more than 10 percent, so his prediction is looking pretty poor, as he himself admits in a post last month.
But he still thinks the current recovery is a function of smoke and mirrors, not real-life economics. Today Terry returns to the page with a bleak appraisal of the Fed and the unintended consequences, in his view, of its low-interest-rate policy.
Financial markets live in terror of the day the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. However, we should fear exactly the opposite: a persistent nightmare of low interest rates. Chronically low interest rates signal trouble, and they inflict financial pain. Ominously, a recent economic poll (interpreted correctly) suggests that interest rates are going to fall, not rise. But we’ll get to that later.
Economics 101 argues that low rates cause economic growth because consumers take advantage of them to finance home purchases; businesses, to build factories and hire workers. Consequently, the economy should grow faster: low rates stimulate the economy.
The recent U.S. stock market surge has accompanied signals that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low for a long time. After Federal reserve chair Janet Yellen spoke at the Jackson Hole conference last Friday, a Business Week headline blared: “Yellen: Rates will stay low even after QE ends this fall.”
The conventional wisdom: low interest rates are good for both economic growth and the stock market.
Unfortunately for the conventional, the “wisdom” of low-rates-stimulate-growth omits three features.
First, the primary effect of low interest rates on wealth is exactly nothing. For every borrower who pays $1 less in interest, there is a saver who receives $1 less in interest income. Any economic growth is second-order; lower rates transfer wealth from savers to borrowers.
Second, the conventional wisdom misses the time element associated with low rates. We have already received most of the benefits that we are going to receive from low rates, but the costs of low rates will extend for decades.
A joke illustrates the point. An elephant and a mouse meet in the jungle. They fall in love and have a passionate night of romance. The mouse wakes nestled in the elephant’s trunk, only to find its lover is dead. As the mouse begins the process of digging a huge grave, it says, “Such is life, a few moments of passion, followed by a lifetime of work.”
Similarly, the benefits of low interest rates come immediately, while the pain lasts for decades.
Consider the recent experience of an investor in German 10-year bonds. Over the last year, the interest rate on 10-year German bonds has fallen from roughly 2 percent to under 1 percent. An owner of German bonds received a tremendous return of over 11 percent in the past year because the bonds rose in value as the interest rate dropped — 2-percent bonds are worth more in a 1-percent world. But the same investor now faces a total return of under 9 percent in the next nine years: a mere 1 percent a year. More than half the return on this German bond came in the first year when the interest rate fell. Investors who own these German bonds now will earn very low future returns. And if interest rates rise, today’s bonds will be worth less.
Similarly, most benefits of low U.S. rates have already occurred. People who owned U.S. Treasuries and other bonds in 2011, 2012, and so far in 2014, reaped huge benefits as interest rates fell and bond prices rose. While falling interest rates produce a great one-time benefit, the future for bond investors is bleak.
The reality of investing in a low-interest-rate world has not sunk in for most investors. Here is an exercise that you can perform to understand your future. Take your financial assets and multiply by 2.4 percent, the current yield on a U.S. 10-year Treasury bond. If you have $100,000 saved, you have $200 per month to live on before taxes and inflation. Can you live off your savings?
Most people cannot survive earning 2.4 percent. Only the top 1 percent can live off their savings. Many people are poorer than we realize because we overestimate what we can earn on our savings. When we comprehend how poor the Federal Reserve has made us, we will start consuming less, which will be tough on us, and bad for an economy dependent on consumer spending.
Americans everywhere are struggling with the realities of low returns on our savings. On a recent visit to Disneyland, an elderly employee, who looked about 75 years old, searched our family backpack at the entrance to “the happiest place on earth.” He asked how I was doing, and I said, “Great,” then asked how he was doing. Knowing that he could be fired for what he was about to say, the senior citizen employee whispered with disgust, “NG — not good. Working hard for very little.”
Lower interest rates are not only a problem for bondholders; they also hurt Americans’ pensions. Most corporate and public pension plans are “underfunded” in that they do not have enough money to cover future payouts to retirees. Amazingly, these plans are underfunded under the assumption that they can earn more than 7 percent a year on the money they have invested.
How can a pension fund believe it will earn 7 percent in a world where Treasury bonds pay only 2.4 percent? The answer is by taking huge risks.
Pensions increase their risk by buying emerging market debt, risky stocks, and investing in riskier areas via hedge funds. For example, San Diego’s pension plan aims for high returns by using derivatives and leverage. Watch this Making Sen$e video to see the problem even in conservatively managed Rhode Island.
The fact is, pension funds are unlikely to earn 7 percent. They might not earn anything at all if the stock market declines. And in the event that pension plans return less than their assumed 7 percent, everyone pays. The public pension plans will ask taxpayers for support. Even private plan failures will impose costs on others as they raise product prices and lower dividends. Some private plans will fail and seek government assistance from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
Conventional wisdom that low interest rates are good overlooks the facts. First, low interest rates primarily take from savers and give to borrowers with no net gain. Second, the benefits of low rates have already occurred, while the pain will persist for decades. And third, low rates contribute to the underfunding of pension plans, which will impose costs on both retirees and non-retirees.
Japan is the poster child for the failure of low interest rate policy. In the 1980s, Japan led the world in many economic areas; now it is near the top in debt and stagnation.
Japanese interest rates are far lower than U.S. rates, and Japanese rates have been low for much longer. A hundred thousand dollars invested in 10-year Japanese government bonds yields just $40 per month in income before inflation and taxes. Consider that even $1,000,000 invested at the Japanese rate produces just $400 a month in pre-tax income. It is no wonder that Japan is struggling. Low rates have not helped the Japanese, and they won’t help Americans either.
And the bad news is that U.S. interest rates are likely headed lower. This spring, 100 percent of surveyed economists predicted rising rates. And if 100 percent of economists believe anything, they are almost surely wrong.
The unanimity that U.S. interest rates are going higher is as good a sign as possible that we should prepare ourselves for a depressed and depressing world of persistent low interest rates.
Instead of fearing a Federal Reserve interest rate rise, we should be on the lookout for an interest rate collapse. You can monitor the situation by watching the 10-year Treasury interest rate. (See the bottom right of the Google finance page.)
The worst news for most people, and particularly for savers, would be an announcement this fall or early next year that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates in 2015. In this scenario, the 10-year Treasury rate could drop below 2 percent and could even approach 1 percent. Wall Street might cheer a delayed Fed rate increase, but for Main Street, and certainly for savers, such a delay would be nothing but bad news. (Link to Article)
The Greek debt crisis began in 2011 and reached a peak in 2012. The crisis was quelled by new Eurozone/IMF loans to Greece, and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes speech” in late July, 2012.
The Greek debt crisis quickly went from “boil” to “simmer,” where it stayed for almost two-and-a-half years. But no one with any knowledge of the gravity and precariousness of the situation expects the latest “extend and pretend” deal to patch everything together for another two years. Current deals are more likely to last a matter of months, not years.
We can discern the same diminishing returns in Federal Reserve/central bank interventions, as the initial rounds of quantitative easing pushed stock and bond markets higher for years at a time, while the following interventions generated lower returns.
What factors are reducing the positive effects of intervention and causing increased volatility? Let’s start with the engine behind every central bank/state intervention and every “save” of the status quo: debt.
Debt has one primary dynamic: borrowing money to consume something in the present brings forward consumption and income. Economists describe trading future income for consumption today as bringing consumption forward. And since debt must be repaid with interest, bringing consumption forward also brings income forward….More
Frankfurt (AFP) – Violent clashes between anti-capitalist protesters and German police left dozens injured and a trail of destruction in Germany’s financial capital as the European Central Bank opened its new headquarters Wednesday.
In fierce street battles that began in the early hours in the well-heeled western city of Frankfurt, 14 police and 21 anti-capitalist protesters were wounded, police and rally organizers said.
Firefighters also came under attack during several of the 47 times they were called out to douse the flames of burning automobiles and barricades made from toppled garbage bins…
Titanium dioxide is used to make the powdered sugar appear brighter. It is also used in sunscreen and paints. The group As You Sow argues titanium dioxide that can cause DNA and chromosomal damage when consumed. The decision by Dunkin’ Donuts (More) was recently disclosed by the advocacy group.” This is a groundbreaking decision,” said Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel of the group. “Dunkin’ has demonstrated strong industry leadership by removing this potentially harmful ingredient from its donuts.”…
Despite spending almost £1 million ($1.5 million), their efforts are likely to be in vain. Government advisers have recommended a nearby town that’s already a railway junction get the new hub instead—leaving Stoke emblematic of the struggle by many parts of the U.K. to attract much-needed jobs and investment despite a rebound in growth.
February figures confirmed Britain’s economy expanded 2.6% in 2014, one the fastest growth rates among large Western economies. But much of the recovery has been concentrated in and around London, which pulled out of recession faster than the rest of the country…more
A series of joint naval drills between the United States and France recently didn’t quite turn out the way the US, no doubt, expected. The practice scenario ended with the French nuclear submarine that was acting the part of an enemy ship “sinking” the American aircraft carrier and most of its escort.The exercises took place over 10 days starting in mid-February off the coast of Florida. The French nuclear attack submarine (SNA) — named Saphir — joined US Carrier Strike Group 12, comprising the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (nicknamed the “Big Stick”), several Ticonderoga cruisers or Arleigh Burke destroyers and a Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine.
This month, Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez put out an update to his estimates of income inequality, and the headline figure has everybody outraged: 95% of income gains since 2009 have accrued to the top 1%.
This is indeed outrageous, but not quite for the reason that most people think.
What the 95% statistic obscures is that the last three years’ recovery haven’t been very good for anybody, including the rich. They’ve been terrible for the bottom 99%, whose incomes are barely rising at all: just 0.1% per year in real terms. But top 1% incomes are also growing more slowly than they did in the last two economic expansions. That’s because the same slack labor market that holds down wages also deprives businesses of the customer base they need to invest and grow.
Global – Exchange Rates, To Go
THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2014 was $4.80; in China it was only $2.73 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time.
Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.
This adjusted index addresses the criticism that you would expect average burger prices to be cheaper in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. PPP signals where exchange rates should be heading in the long run, as a country like China gets richer, but it says little about today’s equilibrium rate. The relationship between prices and GDP per person may be a better guide to the current fair value of a currency. The adjusted index uses the “line of best fit” between Big Mac prices and GDP per person for 48 countries (plus the euro area). The difference between the price predicted by the red line for each country, given its income per person, and its actual price gives a supersized measure of currency under- and over-valuation…MORE
(Bloomberg) — Companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index really love their shareholders. Maybe too much.
They’re poised to spend $914 billion on share buybacks and dividends this year, or about 95 percent of earnings, data compiled by Bloomberg and S&P Dow Jones Indices show. Money returned to stock owners exceeded profits in the first quarter and may again in the third. The proportion of cash flow used for repurchases has almost doubled over the last decade while it’s slipped for capital investments, according to Jonathan Glionna, head of U.S. equity strategy research at Barclays Plc.
Buybacks have helped fuel one of the strongest rallies of the past 50 years as stocks with the most repurchases gained more than 300 percent since March 2009. Now, with returns slowing, investors say executives risk snuffing out the bull market unless they start plowing money into their businesses.
“You can only go so far with financial engineering before you actually have to have a business with real growth,” Chris Bouffard, chief investment officer who oversees $9 billion at Mutual Fund Store in Overland Park, Kansas, said by phone on Oct. 2. “Companies have done about all that they can in terms of maximizing the ability to do those buybacks.”
S&P 500 constituents will probably say earnings rose 4.9 percent in the third quarter when they begin reporting results this week, according to more than 10,000 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Alcoa Inc., Yum! Brands Inc. and Monsanto Co. are among nine companies scheduled to announce financial details.
U.S. equities rebounded from last week’s retreat, with the S&P 500 rising 0.4 percent at 9:55 a.m. in New York. The S&P 500 Buyback Index is up 7.5 percent this year through Oct. 3, compared with the 6.5 percent advance in the S&P 500, after beating it by an average of 9.5 percentage points every year since 2009.
While the ratio to earnings shows how buybacks and dividends compare to past economic expansions, it doesn’t indicate companies are struggling to fund them. Five years of profit growth have left S&P 500 constituents with $3.59 trillion in cash and marketable securities and they’ve raised almost $1.28 trillion in 2014 through bond sales, headed for a record.
“Buybacks are something corporations can take control of and at low borrowing costs, they’re a viable option,” Randy Bateman, chief investment officer of Huntington Asset Advisors, which manages about $2.8 billion, said by phone on Oct. 1. At the same time, he said, “If management can’t unearth future opportunities for growth, as a shareholder, I lose confidence.”
LEWISTON, Me. — Wall Street may be growing anxious about the negative impact of falling oil prices on energy producers, but the steep declines of recent weeks are delivering substantial benefits to American working-class families and retirees who have largely missed out on the fruits of the five-and-a-half-year economic recovery.
Just last week, the federal Energy Information Administration estimated that the typical American household would save $750 because of lower gasoline prices this year, $200 more than government experts predicted a month ago. People who depend on home heating oil and propane to warm their homes, as millions do in the Northeast and Midwest, should enjoy an additional savings of about $750 this winter….More
**That’s it, $750, that’s all**
General Mills Inc. will slash another 700 to 800 jobs as part of a big cost-cutting effort, layoffs announced less than two weeks after the packaged-food giant posted a bleak fourth quarter and announced two plant closings.
Golden Valley-based General Mills, buffeted by weak sales, revealed the job cuts late Tuesday in a filing with federal securities regulators. The head count reduction will primarily be in the United States, the filing said. General Mills employs about 5,000 in the Twin Cities, mostly in white-collar positions.
General Mills spokeswoman Kirstie Foster said in an e-mail that the new cuts include “salaried positions in General Mills’ U.S. businesses, and the functions and groups that support those businesses.” She said the company did not yet know how jobs in Minnesota would affected….more
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. One early-stage equity expert described it as “the practice of raising funds from two or more people over the internet towards a common Service, Project, Product, Investment, Cause, and Experience or SPPICE.”
The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the “platform”) that brings the parties together to launch the idea.
In 2013, the crowdfunding industry grew to be over $5.1 billion worldwide….MORE
While thousands of investors continue to earn great returns at Lending Club and Prosper, the bulk of the country has yet to even hear about it. This is slowly changing as seen in the greater frequency of peer to peer lending being mentioned (Forbes) in major news outlets. And the potential Lending Club IPO (FT.com) may also bring greater awareness. It seems more and more people each day are becoming curious about this new and exciting way to invest.
That said, there is a definite “leap of faith” involved when going from being interested in peer to peer lending to actually investing in it with your own money. For most Americans (typically people in their later years), registering personal information on an unfamiliar website and portioning it with thousands of dollars in trial cash is a fairly large pill to swallow.
To help these prospective investors, I have broken down the average registration and investment process below. Keep in mind that these are simply the basic steps to get a feel for this investment. If you are trying to understand peer to peer lending for the first time, you should instead watch LendingMemo’s video course or read my ebook. On the other hand, if you already have a good feel for peer to peer lending, you may want to forego the 80 A-grade notes and instead invest $5,000 within 200+ loans of your liking.
Note: this article shows the process via Lending Club. However, the process is generally the same on the other equally-deserving platform, Prosper. On Prosper, you would invest $2,000 in their safest grade: AA loans….MORE
“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” Mark Twain
I never believe government manufactured numbers. They will always be adjusted, massaged, and manipulated to achieve a happy ending for the propagandists attempting to control and fleece the sheep. Yesterday, the government produced retail sales numbers for August that were weak and the corporate MSM propaganda machine immediately threw up bold headlines declaring how strong these numbers were. Positive stories were published on the interwebs and Wall Street hack economists were rolled out on CNBC, where the bubble headed bimbos and prostitutes for the status quo like Jim Cramer and Steve Liesman declared the recovery gaining strength. Woo Hoo….READ
(NaturalNews) Have you noticed the incredible detachment from reality exhibited by the masses these days? The continued operation of modern society, it seems, depends on people making sure they don’t acknowledge reality (or try to deal with it). “Denial” is what keeps every sector of civilization humming along: medicine, finance, government, agriculture and more.
The trouble with the denial approach is that eventually the lies collide with reality. Until that day comes, however, happy-go-lucky Americans are merrily enjoying their courtship with self delusion, repeating the following 37 lies to themselves as if they were true:
Lie #1) All FDA-approved medications are safe to consume in any combination, because the FDA protects the public.
Lie #2) Food prices keep going up because inflation is a natural force that can’t be halted.
Lie #3) The mainstream media is telling me the truth when it reports on world events.
Lie #4) Chemical food additives are tested for their safety before being widely used across the food supply.
Lie #5) We can all pump groundwater out of the ground forever, and it will never run out.
Lie #6) We can also pump fossil fuels out of the ground forever, and they will never run out, either. Why worry?
Lie #7) If anything bad happens in terms of a national emergency or natural disaster, the government will take care of me.
Lie #8) It doesn’t matter where my food comes from as long as it’s cheap and delicious.
Lie #9) GMOs must be safe to eat because a bunch of scientists paid by the biotech industry all tell each other that GMOs are safe and therefore have reached “scientific consensus.”
Lie #10) Government debt doesn’t matter because the government can simply create more money any time they want.
Dated September 11, 2013
In the “very interesting” category comes this prophecy by the famous Jewish Rabbi, Yitzchak Kaduri. It is said that the Lubavitcher Rebbe predicted that Rabbi Kaduri would bear witness to the coming of the Messiah. That got my attention, because quotes from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) comprise one of my favorite books, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: 365 Meditations of the Rebbe. During his final years on Earth, Rabbi Kaduri’s thoughts were centered on the coming of the One who would redeem Israel. The Rabbi passed on in January of 2006….READ
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities say a mass die-off of fish at a lake in western Mexico was not due to natural causes, but the causes are still being investigated and one research said that low water levels could have been responsible.
Over 53 metric tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state, the state environment department said late Sunday. Workers using shovels, a bulldozer, boats and wheel barrels removed the dead fish, which are being sent for testing. Workers wore masks to ward off the smell of rotting fish.
The small, finger-sized fish are apparently a type of chub. The cause of the die-off has not been determined; samples of the dead fish have been sent to laboratories for testing...READ
We’ve all heard the Obama Administration and our corporate media strongly implying, if not out-and-out declaring, that Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 with a surface-to-air missile last month, therefore, Vladimir Putin and Mother Russia itself are responsible. Now, according to a story from a newspaper that is, to be generous, heavily influenced by the Malaysian government, that premise is being challenged by Malaysia itself.
According to those damned good investigative journalists at the World Socialist Web Site, the article in the New Straits Times of Malaysia claims that expert analysis of photographs of the wreckage shows a pattern of the airliner being hit by an air-to-air missile first, and then finished off by machine gun and cannon rounds fired from the air, and even aimed at the cockpit. Please read the whole story, which is well-written and not very long.
If there really is a neutral party to all of this that just wants to get to the truth, it’s probably the Malaysians. It was their plane, after all, and they really have no vital interests tied up in either Russia or Ukraine. I’m far more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt over the claims of the Obama Administration, the Kiev regime, or Vladimir Putin, for that matter. Speaking of the latter, though, according to the article the Russian military DID say that there were two Ukrainian fighter jets trailing the airliner just before it went down, although of course that was pooh-poohed by the Western corporate media. READ
A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel’s survival beyond the next 20 years. The CIA report predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947-1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”
The study, which has been made available only to a certain number of individuals, further forecasts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of 2 million Israelis – who would move to the U.S. in the next 15 years.
“There are over 500,000 Israelis with American passports and more than 300,000 living in the area of just California,” international lawyer Franklin Lamb said in an interview with Press TV on Friday, adding that those who do not have an American or Western passport have already applied for them.
“So I think the handwriting at least among the public in Israel is on the wall … [which] suggests history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later,” Lamb stressed. READ
Russia has failed to take steps to end the Ukraine conflict, President Barack Obama said Wednesday in announcing expanded sanctions targeting two banks, two energy companies, Ukraine separatists and defense companies. European Union leaders also said they intended to increase sanctions signaling growing Western concern over Russia’s continued support for separatists battling the Ukrainian military in the country’s eastern region. “We have to see concrete actions, and not just words that Russia in fact is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border,” Obama told reporters at the White House. With the new sanctions, “what we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that its actions in Ukraine have consequences, including a weakening economy, and increasing diplomatic isolation,” the President said. His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, warned that the sanctions were harming ties between the two nations. “They generally have a boomerang effect and, without a doubt, in this case, are driving the Russian-U.S. relations into a stalemate and seriously damaging them,” he said, according to a Kremlin transcript of his remarks to reporters on a visit to Brazil……READ
This article is a couple of years old but what I found interesting was the alteration of the company and how it changed to meet apparent needs. Once again, the restructuring entailed a lot of sell off and lay off and how it tried to maintain itself as a dynamic stock market investment. First question: did it achieve this end?
It almost seems like a bit of a wash when you factor in the divisions it sold coupled with the number of firings. It may have cost them much more than would appear considering that the stock price didn’t really improve proportionally based on the amount of energy exerted. What makes this doubly an interesting article is the date. If you have a recession / crisis in 2008 and continues, as it has, you only see what effects you directly in your own field and it becomes a bit creepy to see how, right across the board, big the ripple effect really is.
WEYERHAEUSER PERFORMS AS A REIT
After years of facing a stagnant stock price, Weyerhaeuser finally gave Wall Street what it wanted: a smaller company focused on timberlands rather than paper and packaging mills.
In just five years, assets and revenues have been cut in half and employment reduced 70 percent, from 46,700 to 14,250 people.
The timber giant also gave investors $5.6 billion of its past earnings, a special dividend that was required by its conversion last year to a real estate investment trust….READ
The sale of a security that is not owned by the seller, or that the seller has borrowed. Short selling is motivated by the belief that a security’s price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price to make a profit. Short selling may be prompted by speculation, or by the desire to hedge the downside risk of a long position in the same security or a related one. Since the risk of loss on a short sale is theoretically infinite, short selling should only be used by experienced traders who are familiar with its risks. Consider the following short-selling example. A trader believes that stock SS which is trading at $50 will decline in price, and therefore borrows 100 shares and sells them. The trader is now “short” 100 shares of SS since he has sold something that he did not own in the first place. The short sale was only made possible by borrowing the shares, which the owner may demand back at some point. A week later, SS reports dismal financial results for the quarter, and the stock falls to $45. The trader decides to close the short position, and buys 100 shares of SS at $45 on the open market to replace the borrowed shares. The trader’s profit on the short sale – excluding commissions and interest on the margin account – is therefore $500...READ
A broker-dealer firm that accepts the risk of holding a certain number of shares of a particular security in order to facilitate trading in that security. Each market maker competes for customer order flow by displaying buy and sell quotations for a guaranteed number of shares. Once an order is received, the market maker immediately sells from its own inventory or seeks an offsetting order. This process takes place in mere seconds. The Nasdaq is the prime example of an operation of market makers. There are more than 500 member firms that act as Nasdaq market makers, keeping the financial markets running efficiently because they are willing to quote both bid and offer prices for an asset. GOTO VIDEO
In the last week of June Barclays was charged with lying to clients about its Dark Pool, Barclays LX, where instead of preventing HFT algos from frontrunning institutional buyside orders, the criminal bank was in fact allowing and encouraging its predatory, parasite clients to abuse orderflow in any way they saw fit. The motive, if there was any confusion: to become the largest dark pool exchange in the US, filled with HFT scalpers, now that the bulk of other revenue streams for the British company have trickled to a halt.
It almost succeeded: in the week ending June 16 Barclays was second only to Credit Suisse’ Crossfinder ATS with 312.1 million total shares traded on some 1.6 million in total trades.
Unfortunately for Barclays it should put its ambitions on permanent halt, because as was revealed today by FINRA’s new “ATS Transparency” database, Barclays total dark pool volume has plunged by a whopping 37% to under 200 million shares….READ
Amid picturesque fields of sunflowers, just one mile from the Russian border in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, villagers gathered to take triumphant selfies earlier today while standing on top of the still-smoldering wreck of a Ukrainian plane. Photos taken, they then carried away souvenirs of twisted metal from the crash site. According to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey, the An-26 aircraft, which was carrying food and water supplies to troops fighting in the country’s restive east, was shot down by “a powerful missile weapon that probably was used from the territory of the Russian Federation.” Government officials claimed that the shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles used by the pro-Russia rebels operating in the area would not have been able to hit the plane at the altitude it was flying. READ
Around the town of Chatillon, Belgium, the end of World War II left a few creepy hallmarks of the armistice in the form of long lines of cars left abandoned by the hundreds in the woods. MORE
Originally posted at NotQuant.com,
As most Fed watchers know, last week was interesting because Janet Yellen, speaking at IMF came out and said something quite surprising. In a nutshell, she said “It’s not the Fed’s job to pop bubbles”. While many market participants immediately took this to mean, “To the moon, Alice!” and started buying equities hand over fist, there’s another possible explanation for Mrs. Yellen’s proclamation of unwillingness: The Fed could be preparing to do exactly what it said it wouldn’t.
Here’s a quick re-cap of events: In the recently released Annual Report of the BIS: Bank for International Settlements (commonly thought of as the “central bank’s central bank”) the BIS made a rather ominous recommendation to it’s member banks: Pop this bubble now. Their specific language wasn’t quite so direct, but the message was just as clear.
The risk of normalising too late and too gradually should not be underestimated… The trade-off is now between the risk of bringing forward the downward leg of the cycle and that of suffering a bigger bust later on .
Few are ready to curb financial booms that make everyone feel illusively richer. Or to hold back on quick fixes for output slowdowns, even if such measures threaten to add fuel to unsustainable financial booms,” …
“The road ahead may be a long one. All the more reason, then, to start the journey sooner rather than later.”
Back in May, we learned that Martha Stewart owns a drone. Now we have photographic evidence—America’s favorite outlaw recipe, home, and living guru just posted a bunch of pictures taken with her drone.
More specifically, one of her body guards, Dominic Arena, took the photos, we think. Martha also has some seemingly strong feelings about the drone vs. unmanned aerial vehicle debate—she’s only willing to call her DJI Phantom a “drone-like” aircraft. She also solicited some comments about the “various ways [drone-like, radio controlled aircraft] can be used in the future!” Branding, people. Anyway, if you were ever wondering what Martha Stewart’s Bedford, New York farm (including various flower gardens, a tenant house, a horse paddock, a donkey paddock, a winter house, and perfectly-manicured lawns) looks like from the air, here you go:
Former Navy SEAL and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has a new security venture. This time he is helping Chinese firms to “take the drama out of Africa” by consulting on how the businesses should establish themselves and operate throughout the continent. Africa has become a major target for Chinese investment to secure access to the continent’s vast natural resources.
Prince’s new firm, Frontier Services Group (FSG), provides “logistics, aviation and risk management services to firms that want to set up in Africa.” Prince sold his stake in Blackwater in 2010 which is now known as Academi.
FSG is headquartered in Hong Kong and works closely with one of Communist China’s state-owned enterprises, CITIC Group. CITIC Group is a state-owned investment group worth approximately $12 billion with 44 subsidiaries and owns banks in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States. At one time CITIC was in talks to acquire Morgan Stanley.
While the dictum “high risk, high return” applies to the continent, Prince said his customers – who are looking for bauxite, steel, energy, copper, tin or gold – should focus on another slogan: “happy locals, happy project”.
Walter Pincus argues that, in addition to being unaccountable, private military contractors are much more expensive than professional soldiers:
According to data provided to the House panel, the average per-day pay to personnel Blackwater hired was $600. According to the schedule of rates, supplies and services attached to the contract, Blackwater charged Regency $1,075 a day for senior managers, $945 a day for middle managers and $815 a day for operators.
An unmarried sergeant given Iraq pay and relief from U.S. taxes makes about $83 to $85 a day, given time in service. A married sergeant with children makes about double that, $170 a day.
WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.
After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.” READ
NEW YORK – In recent weeks, both General David Petraeus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have woven into public speeches the theme of combining the United States, Canada and Mexico into a single, North American Union.
“After America, there is North America,” explained Petraeus, the former U.S. military commander and former head of the CIA, to a panel entitled “After America, What?” held at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty on June 18, 2014, hosted by the Center for Policy Studies in Great Britain.
In his presentation to the conference, Petraeus proclaimed the coming of the “North American decade,” a vision he explained was founded on the idea of putting together the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, some 20 years after the creation of North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
“In each of these economies there are four revolutions going on,” Petraeus continued, naming the following: an energy revolution, in which the United States is leading the world in the production of natural gas and shale oil, combined with Canada’s enormous resources in the Alberta tar sands and Mexico opening up the state-owned Pemex to international oil companies; an information and technology revolution led by Silicon Valley; a manufacturing revolution; and a life sciences revolution. READ
Virtual Economy’s Phantom Job Gains Are Based on Statistical Fraud
And More Fraud Is in the Works
Paul Craig Roberts
Washington can’t stop lying. Don’t be convinced by last Thursday’s job report that it is your fault if you don’t have a job. Those 288,000 jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are more fiction than reality.
In his analysis of the June Labor Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, John Williams (www.ShadowStats.com) wrote that the 288,000 June jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are “far removed from common experience and underlying reality.” Payrolls were overstated by “massive, hidden shifts in seasonal adjustments,” and the Birth-Death model added the usual phantom jobs.
Williams reports that “the seasonal factors are changed each and every month as part of the concurrent seasonal-adjustment process, which is tantamount to a fraud,” as the changes in the seasonal factors can inflate the jobs number. While the headline numbers always are on a new basis, the prior reporting is not revised so as to be consistent.
The monthly unemployment rates are not comparable, so one doesn’t know whether the official U.3 rate (the headline rate that the financial press reports) went up or down. Moreover, the rate does not count discouraged workers who, unable to find a job, cease looking. To be counted among the U.3 unemployed, the person must have actively looked for work during the four weeks prior to the survey. The U.3 rate automatically declines as people who have been unable to find jobs cease trying to find one and thereby cease to be counted as unemployed.
There is a second official measure of unemployment that includes people who have been discouraged for less than one year. That rate, known as U.6, is seldom reported and is double the 6.1% rate.
Since 1994 there has been no official measure than includes discouraged people who have not looked for a job for more than a year. Including all discouraged workers produces an unemployment rate that currently stands at 23.1%, almost four times the rate that the financial press reports.
What you can take away from this is the opposite of what the presstitute media would have you believe. The measured rate of unemployment can decline simply because large numbers of the unemployed become discouraged workers, cease looking for work, and cease to be counted in the U.3 and U.6 measures of the unemployment rate.
The decline in the employment-population ratio from 63% prior to the 2008 downturn to 59% today reflects the growth in discouraged workers. Indeed, the ratio has not recovered its previous level during the alleged recovery, an indication that the recovery is an illusion created by the understated measure of inflation that is used to deflate nominal GDP growth.
Another indication that there has been no recovery is that Sentier Research’s index of real median household income continued to decline for two years after the alleged recovery began in June 2009. There has been a slight upturn in real median household income since June 2011, but income remains far below the pre-recession level.
The Birth-Death model adds an average of 62,000 jobs to the reported payroll jobs numbers each month. This arbitrary boost to the payroll jobs numbers is in addition to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ underlying assumption that unreported jobs lost to business failures are matched by unreported new jobs from new business startups, an assumption that does not well fit an economy that fell into recession and is unable to recover.
John Williams concludes that in current BLS reporting, “the aggregate average overstatement of employment change easily exceeds 200,000 jobs per month.”
In other words, the economy did not gain 288,000 new jobs last month. But let’s assume the economy did gain 288,000 jobs and exam where the claimed jobs are reported to be.
Of the alleged 288,000 new jobs, 16,000, or 5.5 percent are in manufacturing, which is not very promising for engineers and blue collar workers. Growth in goods producing jobs has almost disappeared from the US economy. As explained below, to alter this problem the government is going to change definitions in order to artificially inflate manufacturing jobs.
In June private services account for 82 percent of the supposed new jobs. The jobs are found mainly in non-tradable domestic services that pay little and cannot be exported to help to close the large US trade deficit.
Wholesale and retail trade account for 55,300 jobs. Do you believe sales are this strong when retailers are closing stores and when shopping malls are closing?
Insurance (most likely the paperwork of Obamacare) contributed 8,500 jobs.
As so few can purchase homes, “real estate rental and leasing” contributed 8,500 jobs.
Professional and business services contributed 67,000 jobs, but 57% of these jobs were in employment services, temporary help services, and services to buildings and dwellings.
That old standby, education and health services, accounted for 33,700 jobs consisting mainly of ambulatory health care services jobs and social assistance jobs of which three-quarters are in child day care services.
The other old standby, waitresses and bartenders, gave us 32,800 jobs, and amusements, gambling, and recreation gave us 3,500 jobs.
Local government, principally education, gave us 22,000 jobs.
So, where are the jobs for university graduates? They are practically non-existent. Think of all the MBAs, but June had only 2,300 jobs for management of companies and enterprises.
Think of the struggle to get into law and medical schools. There’s no job payoff. June had jobs for 1,200 in legal services, which includes receptionists and para-legals. Where are all the law school graduates finding jobs?
Offices of physicians (mainly people who fill out the mandated paperwork and comply with all the regulations, which have multiplied under ObamaCare) hired 4,000 people. Outpatient care centers hired 700 people. Nursing care facilities hired 2,400 people. So where are the jobs for the medical school graduates?
Aside from all the exaggerations in the jobs numbers of which ShadowStats.com has informed us, just taking the jobs as reported, what kind of economy do these jobs indicate: a superpower whose pretensions are to exercise hegemony over the world or an economy in which opportunities are disappearing and incomes are falling?
Do you think that this jobs picture would be the same if the government in Washington cared about you instead of the mega-rich?
Some interesting numbers can be calculated from table A.9 in the BLS press release. John Williams advises that the BLS is inconsistent in the methods it uses to tabulate the data in table A.9 and that the data is also afflicted by seasonal adjustment problems. However, as the unemployment rate and payroll jobs are reported regardless of their problems, we can also report the BLS finding that in June 523,000 full-time jobs disappeared and 800,000 part time jobs appeared.
Here, perhaps, we have yet another downside of the misnamed Obama “Affordable Care Act.” Employers are terminating full-time employment and replacing the jobs with part-time employment in order to come in under the 50-person full time employment that makes employers responsible for fringe benefits such as health care.
Americans are already experiencing difficulties making ends meet, despite the alleged “recovery.” If yet another half million Americans have been forced onto part-time pay with consequent loss of health care and other benefits, consumer demand is further compressed, with the consequence, unless hidden by statistical trickery, of a 2nd quarter negative GDP and thus officially the reappearance of recession.
What will the government do if a recession cannot be hidden? If years of unprecedented money printing and Keynesian fiscal deficits have not brought recovery, what will bring recovery? How far down will US living standards fall for the 99% in order that the 1% can become ever more mega-rich while Washington wastes our diminishing substance exercising hegemony over the world?
Just as Washington lied to you about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasion of Ukraine, Waco, and any number of false flag or nonexistent attacks such as Tonkin Gulf, Washington lies to you about jobs and economic recovery. Don’t believe the spin that you are unemployed because you are shiftless and prefer government handouts to work. The government does not want you to know that you are unemployed because the corporations offshored American jobs to foreigners and because economic policy only serves the oversized banks and the one percent.
Just as the jobs and inflation numbers are rigged and the financial markets are rigged, the corrupt Obama regime is now planning to rig US manufacturing and trade statistics in order to bury all evidence of offshoring’s adverse impact on our economy.
The federal governments Economic Classification Policy Committee has come up with a proposal to redefine fact as fantasy in order to hide offshoring’s contribution to the US trade deficit, artificially inflate the number of US manufacturing jobs, and redefine foreign-made manufactured products as US manufactured products. For example, Apple iPhones made in China and sold in Europe would be reported as a US export of manufactured goods. Read Ben Beachy’s important report on this blatant statistical fraud in CounterPunch’s July 4th weekend edition: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/04/we-didnt-offshore-manufacturing/
China will not agree that the Apple brand name means that the phones are not Chinese production. If the Obama regime succeeds with this fraud, the iPhones would be counted twice, once by China and once by the US, and the double-counting would exaggerate world GDP.
For years I have exposed the absurd claim that offshoring is merely the operation of free trade, and I have exposed the incompetent studies by such as Michael Porter at Harvard and Matthew Slaughter at Dartmouth that claimed to prove that the US was benefitting from offshoring its manufacturing. My book published in 2012 in Germany and in 2013 in the US, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, proves that offshoring has dismantled the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an opportunity society and is responsible for the decline in US economic growth. The lost jobs and decline in the middle class has contributed to the rise in income inequality, the destruction of tax base for cities and states, and loss of population in America’s once great manufacturing centers.
For the most part economists have turned a blind eye. Economists serve the globalists. It pays them well.
The corruption in present-day America is total. Psychologists and anthropologists serve war and torture. Economists serve globalism and US financial hegemony. Physicists and chemists serve the war industries. Physicists and computer geeks serve NSA. The media serves the government and the corporations. The political parties serve the six powerful private interest groups that rule the country.
No one serves truth and liberty.
I predict that within ten years truth and liberty will be forbidden words uttered only by “domestic extremists” who are a threat that must be exterminated without due process of law.
America has left us. We now have the tyranny of the Orwellian state that rules, not by the ballot box and Constitution, but by force and propaganda.