Holiday Shopping Season

While appealing to emotional desires for more stuff we do not need, corporate bottom lines do not want you to realize how close to the fiscal cliff we really are.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tapayers give $30 million to new Palestinian investment fund

Few people know, but the Federal government has its own investment office to use taxpayer money to spend on corporate, sovereign, and business investments.  Known as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, this fund can is is used to circumvent Congressional approval of foreign aid.

On May 28th, this taxpayer funded investment firm decided to create a fund which will funnel $30 million into the Palestine territories, even as oversight of the money may be in question with terrorist organizations (Hamas) remaining in power.



The first fund aimed at investing in the Palestinian Territories has received $30m of financing from the United States’ Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Siraj Fund Management’s Company’s inaugural investment vehicle has already backed four businesses in the region since it was launched in February last year, while five more investments were approved last month.

The fund had an initial target of $80m but has now hit $90m following the round of OPIC financing, which was provided as part of Barack Obama’s initiative to support technological development in Muslim countries. - Alt Assets
OPIC is a government run office, which has many cabinet level members on its board of directors

With the US economy continuing to decline, and small businesses closing their doors by the thousands, why our government would invest taxpayer money into growing businesses overseas to the detriment of the American worker and American jobs is a very curious direction President Obama and his administration would take.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Obama administration appoints Assassination Czar to decide who lives or dies

When Congress and the Obama administration signed into law the ability of the government to assassinate anyone, including Americans, designated at terrorists, the big question remaining on the public's mind was who or what organization within government would decide who would live or die.

We now know who that individual us.



According to reports from the Associated Press, John Brennan has now seized the lead in choosing who will be targeted for drone attacks and raids and Obama has delegated him the sole authority to designate people for assassination under the United States top-secret assassination program. - Alexander Higgins.com

Detroit: Turn out the lights because the party is over

For decades, the City of Detroit was the paragon of industry and production in the U.S., but now, it is a shell of its former glory.  Population flight, industry moving offshore, and a massive budget deficit has now led legislators in the once proud city to cut city light services to half of the municipality.



Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year. -  Bloomberg
With crime and poverty already on the rise, this move, while fiscally necessary, will only increase violence as the hot summer months come, and unemployed citizens seek the only avenues they have left since Government Motors moved out of town, and turned off their own lights.

PBS Frontline: A view of the MF Global Fraud and Jon Corzine's gambling psyche

In the world of politics and finance, the ones who normally make it to the top are those who have psychopathic traits.  Psychopathy is defined by the lack of emotions, and the inability to understand the difference between right and wrong, moral or immoral behaviors.  This is one of the reasons why many CEO's can change lives so easily during times of layoffs without having a second thought, and how politicians can make policy that affects millions of people without feeling remorse when their decisions go wrong.



The psychopath also never apologizes unless their own personal life or lifestyle is at stake, which makes the entire MF Global fraud scandal so much more intriguing as the former CEO Jon Corzine, has never apologized for his actions, nor felt any real remorse for the over $1 billion dollars of customer funds used and lost in the reckless pursuit of high stakes gambling.

The key indicator of a psychopath, according to researcher Jonathan Zap during his time on Coast to Coast AM on Feb 25th, is the need to take massive risks, with both lives and money, to receive even the most miniscule amount of euphoria, since these people lack the ability to feel emotion in day to day living as normal people do.

On May 22nd, PBS Frontline did an hour long expose of the MF Global scandal, and on the history of Jon Corzine as an individual who wielded charisma, risk, and power like one uses a salt shaker to season their meal.


Watch Six Billion Dollar Bet on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.


Watch Six Billion Dollar Bet on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

In the end, Jon Corzine, as during his days with Goldman Sachs, in the Senate and Governorship positions in politics, and finally at MF Global, did everything to benefit himself, and to feed the ever demanding need for risk and excitement, without a thought or care for anyone who was hurt or destroyed through his actions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Facebook fallout: Nasdaq cites computer glitches in pre-market trades for IPO

The fallout from the Facebook IPO has now stretched far beyond the drop in stock price.  On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley was issued a subpoena to appear before a District Court on the grounds they pre-loaded information to 'certain investors', while at the same time allowing retail to walk into a money trap. 



Today, the repurcussions of the largest IPO in history took another turn as Nasdaq cited 'technical problems' which kept many traders from receiving confirmation of their purchases for more than two hours on Friday.

As the WSJ reports: "A senior Nasdaq Stock Market official told customers Tuesday afternoon that it would have pulled the plug on Facebook Inc.'s initial public offering had it known the full extent of the technical problems that plagued its systems. On a conference call with brokers after Tuesday's close, Eric Noll, head of transaction services, said the exchange "by no means would have gone forward" with the much-watched Facebook debut if it had known problems would disrupt a "normal trading day." "In retrospect, it was incorrect," - Zerohedge

What this boils down to is that the potential of today's high frequency trading in the markets (up to 75% of all trades), could quite feasibly killed the market for Facebook, as volume on opening day literally put the mega-machines on tilt.

There is a reason Lindsey Williams said on Coast to Coast AM on Monday that the elite NO LONGER PLAY THE STOCK MARKETS, and that paper trading is simply opium for the masses to make them FEEL wealthy, while using this platform to rob the wealth from the public.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Treasury Secretary Geithner admits he has no idea about government finance

Appointments to cabinet positions in the Executive Branch have frequently been cronyistic rewards for supporters and those who helped finance a President in office.  Take for example former NY Fed President, and now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted on on May 17th in a PBS interview that he has no idea how the government debt and other financial boondoggles have take place.



While we knew TurboTax was beyond him, the Treasury debacle-in-chief admits he doesn't understand how the debt limit has bubbled back up (seeing it as part of a partisan political agenda); admits that perhaps the NY Fed has a 'perception problem' with Jamie Dimon on the board; and his piece-de-resistance his cognitive dissonance erupts as he touts Obama's economic and jobs record: "look how well we are doing relative to any other major country". - Zerohedge



 
All we have to do is remember three years ago when Geithner went to speak before university students in China on economics and finance, and he was virtually laughed off the stage for his idiotic understanding and attempted propaganda regarding the US dollar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Billionaire Jim Rogers: We've had a great 30 years in the stock markets but it's over

On May 14th, Billionaire investor Jim Rogers spoke with CNBC in an interview, and discussed several market topics such as gold, stocks, market volume, and the overall direction the market is conveying for the future.  Most importantly, Rogers sounded the alarm that declining market will not be returning, and that America has had a nice 30 year run in stocks, but now, the party is over.



...the thoughtful Rogers opines, "You can read world history for decades. There are always people doing things wrong. We have not changed our human nature and we will continue to have scandals and problems" and in a follow-up to CNBC's standard 'money-on-the-sidelines' argument he crushes the money-honey's dreams: "Finance had a great 30 years. That's finished. Now to advance, we have too many people, too many MBAs, too much leverage and too many governments that don't like us". - Zerohedge

You can watch Jim Roger's interview below.

California: Socialiam works until you run out of other peoples money

California, and its sister state Illinois, are two prime examples of what happens to states when emotional activists gain power, and socialist policies are implemented to drive economies and budgets.  For years, the state of California was not only the most productive state in the union GDP wise, but its the 8th largest GDP in the entire world.

However, with sancutary policies for illegal immigrants, over-regulation to the point where hundreds of thousands of businesses have left the state, environmental regulation which has destroyed a large sector of California's bread basket, and a tax rate that is nearly equivalent to socialist Europe, the spectre of Margaret Thatcher's famous quote has finally entered the scene.

"The problem is with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."


Picture courtesy of Americaandproud.net

California, and Governor Jerry Brown have finally capitulated as on May 14th, the state government found it necessary to propose billion dollar cuts across the board, after a referendum to increase taxes failed in recent elections.

Hit with a soaring state budget shortfall of $15.7 billion – up from $9.2 billion as recently as January – Governor Brown announced proposals Monday to make $8.3 billion in painful, cross-the-board cuts that quickly elicited outcries from those affected.
Most telling of his predicament, and his strategy, Brown admonished California voters that if they don’t pass his tax-hike initiative in November, $6 billion more will have to come out of budgets for public schools and higher education.
 “We have so much money from the people, and we have so much spending,” the governor said at a press conference in Sacramento before jetting to Los Angeles to release further details. “We can be out of alignment for awhile, but now – given the decade of fiscal disconnect – I’ve committed to right the ship of state and getting it into balance.” - Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo News

California now joins the long list of Democratic and Progressively run cities and states, which have bankrupted its citizens through massive welfare, taxation, and over-regulation.  New Orleans, New Jersey, Illinois, Detroit are just a few municipalities and states that stand on the brink of insolvency, and which for decades refused to even perform a modicum of fiscal responsibilty.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Europe isn't spending less, they are just spending less on their own people

European austerity is a relative term for the nations and people of the European Union.  On one hand, it represents a pullback from massive borrowing, spending, and public benefit programs, but it can also mean simply a pullback on where the money goes without cutting spending at all.

It appears now that austerity in Europe really is no more spending on the people, and instead giving money to banks, governments, and corporations, at the expense of the very populations who are barely surviving in desperation mode.


When you were a child and did something wrong, the worse possible words your mom could say were "wait til your father comes home!" and that dreaded anticipatory angst is what Europeans must be feeling now as the threat of austerity hangs like the sword of Damocles over their heads. The reason we say this is that in fact, as Veronique de Rugy of National Review Online notes, the 'savage' spending cuts in Europe have yet to show up anywhere. All the rhetoric of how Europe's austerity has failed, all the hand-wringing and election-winning, and yet all the major nations are spending more than pre-recession levels; France and the UK did not cut spending at all, and even in Greece and Spain cuts have been small (and any meaningful reforms failed to be implemented). In fact, the epicenter of the current meltdown - Spanish banking - has seen only de-minimus headcount reduction over the past few years - so who is tightening their belts? The trouble, of course, is that while the threat of austerity has struck fear in the hearts of every European voter, the action of raising taxes has hurt just as much and perhaps the "trumpeting the failure of austerity as a reason to go full-Keynesian again" chatter will recede as facts overtake fallacies. As Mark Grant recently noted, there's a big divide between austerity pledged and austerity implemented, as it appears its more about raising taxes than cutting spending. - Zerohedge



As you can see, nations like Spain, Greece, and Italy have not curtailed their spending at all, just moved where the money was going to.  In this case, it away from public benefit programs and more towards the banks, corporations, and crony capitalists who helped create the problem in the first place.

Buffett hypocrisy: Investors shouldn't hold cash while his own company has record levels

Ahh, the Warren Buffett syndrome... whis is, do as I say, not as I do.  In the latest round of Berkshire Week, where investors get a chance to listen to the Oracle of Omaha during the annual shareholders meeting, the hypocrisy of the market appointed 'greatest investor' is on center stage.

In a response to questions on what people should be holding, or where they should invest, the Bershire Chairman said that holding cash for investors is risky over time, which intimates that you should only hold it during times of crisis, but be prepared to use it to buy tanglible things.  However, what Buffett failed to mention is, his own company, Berkshire Hathaway, is in fact holding cash, and at record levels.

As can be seen in the attached clip Warren Buffett, as part of his anti money tirade, both real (gold) and fiat, the Chairman of Berkshire is certainly not a fan of holding cash in any form. To wit: "cash is as risky an asset you can own over time." In other words, the opportunity cost of not owning something else with that cash is indicative of even more risk in the equities arena. So one wonders: is the fact that Buffett's firm now has a record amount of cash on its books more an example of senility or hypocrisy.... Or is all hell about to break loose as per Buffett's own words? We can't decide. - Zerohedge




Buffett's comments also come within days of his right hand man saying in an interview that gold is something for the Jews in Hitler's Germany, but not an investment for civilized people.

The entirety of the Berkshire model appears to now be tied intrinsically to government largesse, and the need for investors to keep throwing good money after bad in the manipulated stock markets.  Berkshire is about owning good productive companies, however, if people are no longer buying what they have to offer, then the Oracle of Omaha is the one left holding the bag.

And perhaps this is why Buffett is holding cash, while at the same time, expecting you the investor to spend yours on him and his products.

Greek production and tourism closing the doors on economic recovery

Even after the EU bailout of Greece, and the subsequent austerity imposed on its citizens, not a single indicator shows that the Mediteranean nation is emerging from any sort of depression.  In fact, both economic production and tourism, the two mainstays of Greek economy, are spiraling down to historic levels.



Athens has the highest rate of empty office space in Europe, according to data for the year’s first quarter presented by BNP Paribas Real Estate.
Its report on the course of the European office market showed that the availability rate in the Greek capital soared to 20 percent in the January-March period from 15.5 percent in the same period last year.


This clearly illustrates the blow that the recession has inflicted on the country’s business activity, resulting in a major drop in demand for the lease of office space.
Additionally:
Online tourism bookings from abroad are pointing to a 12.5 percent decline for this year, according to the Airfasttickets travel agency.
Nikos Koklonis, head of the company that owns the agency, says that the biggest drop in bookings for Greek destinations this year is from the German market, which last year accounted for 15 percent of all bookings. Its share has now shrunk to just 3 percent.
Surprisingly, most bookings from abroad this year originate from Italy, followed by Britain, Spain, France and Austria. One in four clients the agency handles chooses Greece as its destination.
Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises president (SETE) Andreas Andreadis expects receipts from tourism to drop below 10 billion euros this year, after climbing to 10.5 billion in 2011. - Ekathimerini
Forced austerity is a death sentence to any nation, both fundamentally and economically.  Few politicians have the stomach to implement slow changes, since the people, once they get socialistic promises of pensions, welfare, and healthcare, will fight governments to the end until there is little left and the entire ball drops.

This is why Greece is simply a microcosm of what will occur to most of Europe in the future.  As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said:  "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Investor Jim Rogers sees America ready to expereince riots in the streets

Billionaire investor Jim Rogers sat down with the Wall Street Journal and predicted that the coming drop in the next leg of the financial crisis will push Americans over the top and the rioting we have seen taking place in Greece and other parts of Europe will appear all across the country.



“I’m more worried about those kind of problems [rioting] in the U.S. and Europe; this is where social unrest is going to be worse,” Rogers told the Journal.  “I would suspect that, when economic conditions get worse here and get worse in Europe, we’re going to see . . . you’ve seen governments fail in Europe; you’ve seen countries fail in Europe. I suspect you’re going to see more of it [rioting], yes.
“We saw it in London; we’ve seen it in several countries in Europe in the last year or two.  Yes, I expect to see it here, too.  If you don’t, look out your window” - ETF Daily News
Rogers also went on the interview to say that the Fed has zero credibilty, and no amount of money printing or economic policy will change the inevitable crash that is already setup to take place.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the American people are nearly at the tipping point, and our history of both peaceful and revolutionary protests are legendary.  As trends forecaster Gerald Celente has said, when people no longer have anything to lose, they lose it, and judging from today's unemployment numbers, that time is drawing ever closer.

The unemployed are gonna party like its 1981

While the Obama Administration will undoubtedly celebrate the manipulated 8.1% unemployment rate number printed on May 4th, those who are actually unemployed will be celebrating in a different way.  The number of people who are not counted as being in the labor force soared to the highest levels since 1981, when America was in the midst of the Carter induced stagflation period, and interest rates needed to be raised to almost 20 points before the system flushed out the financial virus's.

it is just getting sad now. In April the number of people not in the labor force rose by a whopping 522,000 from 87,897,000 to 88,419,000. This is the highest on record. The flip side, and the reason why the unemployment dropped to 8.1% is that the labor force participation rate just dipped to a new 30 year low of 64.3%. - Zerohedge
So when you can't find a job, the government sees you as a non-entity, and $5 trillion of government debt has created nothing, there is no choice but to spend your last few dollars on some brews or cheap whiskey, and toast the roaring 2000's, where bubbles gave you a job, and bursting bubbles took it away

FED can no longer track unemployed since data broke through chart ceilings

The system is now officially broken, as the chart parameters created by the Federal Reserve to measure those unemployed have been breached, and no longer represent the true number of Americans out of work.

The newly announced number of 88,419,000 Americans not counted as being employed, or having a job is greater than the upper range chart the St Lous Federal Reserve bank uses to measure this statistic.


NOTE... the chart only reaches 88,000,000, and can no longer reflect increases to the data.

Thus, unemployment in America is now on full tilt, as the machine is broken, and the Fed has proven it doesn't have the key, nor the processes to fix the US job problems.

Obama preparing unemployment rate for November elections

It's that time of the week again, where the B(l)S jobs report shows 99% negative data, but 1% positive in the baseline most Americans will see.  The unemployment rate dropped to 8.1%, even though there were more jobs created by the mythical birth/data adjustment, and now the rate stands on the threashold where President Obama can soon use it to his advantage in the November elections.



Expectations were for an increase in non farm payrolls of 160,000, and a 8.2% unemployment rate. We got +115,000, and 130,000 privates. Unemployment rate at 8.1%, lowest since January 2009. Schrodinger is alive and well.

From the release:
Both the number of unemployed persons (12.5 million) and the unemployment rate (8.1 percent) changed little in April. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.5 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change in April, while the rate for blacks (13.0 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in April (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. - Zerohedge

So not only did the analyst estimates of jobs created fail by 50,000, the unemployment rate stated by the Obama administration dropped a percentage point lower than expected.

Once that rate falls below 8%, then the politics of spin will begin.  In reality, the true unemployment rate is over 16%, with a record number of people not even being counted as unemployed because they simply aren't recorded as receiving government benefits.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Housing trend: More people renting homes today than a decade ago

There is one underlying fact about housing data, and that is the reporting is done by those with a specific agenda.  When two analysts read the same data, and come up with entirely different conclusions, then either no prediction is possible, or one of those two analysts must work for the government.

With this being said, the truth is, housing prices and opportunities for Americans is not improving, but in fact, is decreasing.  A new chart shows that more people are renting rather than owning homes in 2012 than they did just a decade ago, and before the bursting of the housing bubble.



Less than two thirds of Americans say they own their own homes - the lowest rate of home ownership in more than a decade.

A new Gallup poll shows just 62 per cent of Americans are homeowners, down 11 percentage points from the high of 73 per cent in 2007, just before the housing market crashed spectacularly.

A record number of Americans, 43 per cent, also say their homes are now worth less than what they paid for them.

The new data, based on a survey of 1,000 people, shows that housing market continues to plummet, despite modest economic recovery and improvements in the unemployment rate.

The home ownership rate reported by Gallup dropped six percentage points from this time last year. The numbers were the lowest in the history of the survey, which Gallup began taking in 2001. - Daily Mail


Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury place too much stock in home ownership, consumer spending, and the stock markets rather than focus on actual production, job growth, and exports.  The economy will continue to decline because the American people have not recovered from the failures of the banks in 2008, and housing will be a dream left in the past unless fundamental changes are made which clear out the debts of this recession.  Without this deleveraging of debts, the system cannot provide Americans the chance to own a home for years to come.

Money can buy you happiness

An interesting research project by the non-proft group TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) resulted in some very unique results, especially in regards to the old axiom, money can't buy you happiness.  In the video piece below, TED shows that in fact, using money in ways other than spending it on yourself in the accumulation of material goods, can in fact provide great happines and joy by triggering certain psychokinetic and physcially based processes which are the core happiness centers in the body.






In the end, it is a scientific look at what people throughout time and history have known.  It is better to give than to receive, and happiness is derived best when you are both economically able to give, and when you are able to share what you have with others who do not.

The important thing as well, is the CHOICE to share, not the mandate of government to take from you and give to whom they see fit.  That in fact, will bring you anger and bitterness versus happiness.

Government will run out of money before elections

The great Debt Ceiling debate of 2011 appears to have accomplished little but to maintain the status quo for big spenders in both the Republican and Democratic parties.  In fact, after the political rhetoric of the Super Congress, and cut spending took place over a month last summer, the end result has been an INCREASE in spending, so much so that the government is now expected to run out of money a full month before the Presidential elections.

This after Congress promised the American people that their raising the debt ceiling in 2011 would last until the end of 2012.

Earlier today, the Treasury forecast that in the third and fourth fiscal quarter of 2012 (April-September), the US would need a total of $447 billion in new debt (split $182 billion in Q3 and $265 billion in Q4), bringing the total debt balance to just over $16 trillion by the end of September. While this is a commendable forecast, and one which certainly has provided to alleviate rumors that the US debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion would be breached by the mid/end of September, the chart below shows that it may be just a tad optimistic.

The only problem is that when one superimposes the projected debt issuance with the historical one. ...So maybe someone smarter than us can explain how the trendline of debt issued to date, and the forecasted debt differ by a cumulative $300 billion over the next 5 months? - Zerohedge




Charts courtesy of Zerohedge

Since the Daily Economist already pointed out last month that reliance on government reports equates to misinformation, then the chances that the Obama Administrations Treasury Department actually projecting correct data is simply propaganda.  President Obama has spent more debt in his first 3 years than President Bush did in 8, and this includes paying for 2 wars.

No, the government will be bankrupt (Again) by the end of September, and the question will be, who will be able to use this politically to win the White House in November.