Posts Categorized: In The News

Posted by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The latest from John Williams’ www.shadowstats.com

– Stocks Continue to Boom, with Extreme Downside Vulnerability to Near-Term Negative Economic Surprises and Otherwise
– Pending Run on the U.S. Dollar Should Mirror a Flight into Gold and Silver
– Economic Reporting Does Not Reflect Costs of Destruction from Natural Disasters, but It Does Reflect Gains from Temporary Relief and Recovery Activity
– Freight Index Continued in Non-Recovered, Low-Level Stagnation
– Nonsense Volatility and Revisions Hit November 2017 Housing Starts, Amidst a Continued Likely Boost from Disaster Recovery
– Headline Gain of 3.3% Was 0.5% Net of Revisions – Activity Remained in Low-Level, Non-Recovered Stagnation, with Housing Starts Still Shy of Their Pre-Recession High by 42.9% (-42.9%) and Single-Unit Starts Shy of Recovery by 51.6% (-51.6%)
– Multiple-Unit Starts Recovered in 2015, but Have Fallen Back Since by 18.4% (-18.4%) from Their Pre-Recession Peak
– Building Permits Remained Shy of Recovery by 42.6% (-42.6%)

“No. 927: November Housing Starts, Freight Index, Outlook for the Markets, Dollar and Gold ”
www.shadowstats.com

House GOP Leaders Ditch Government Funding Plan Amid Infighting
December 20, 2017

House Republican leaders have ditched their initial plan for a stopgap spending bill amid GOP infighting over how best to avoid a government shutdown, which will take place Friday at midnight if Congress doesn’t intervene.

The original plan was to send a bill to the Senate that links a full year of funding for defense with a short-term patch that funds the rest of the government through Jan. 19. The continuing resolution (CR) was also supposed to include funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and a massive $81 billion disaster aid package.

But some conservatives balked over the emergency aid because it is not offset by spending cuts elsewhere, while the boost for the military was likely dead on arrival in the Senate.

A House Rules Committee meeting, which was supposed to prepare the CR for a floor vote on Wednesday, was forced to recess Tuesday evening so that the panel could “continue to talk with members to determine the best path forward,” according to a committee aide.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) confirmed Wednesday that “member discussions continue,” though no final decisions have yet been made about the new spending strategy.

More…

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Are you surprised? There is a whole list of “labels” specially for you if you do not agree with them…you should personally consider their labels as badges of honor because you are still thinking for yourself!

The Google-Facebook Duopoly Threatens Diversity of Thought

December 18, 2017

‘A monopoly on the means of communication,” Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote in “Leviathan,” their 1975 novel, “may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of ‘monopoly in the means of production.’ ” Bear that in mind when you hear this next statistic: In 2017 Google and Facebook have accounted for 84% of all digital advertising outside China, including 96% of its growth, according to an industry forecast this month from Zenith, Magna and GroupM.

Those figures should create more than the typical economic concerns about market concentration. Specifically, the tech duopoly’s dominance threatens the marketplace of ideas. Beyond advertising, Google and Facebook control how millions of people find their news. Americans are far likelier, collectively, to encounter articles via search engines and social media than on a news site’s home page.

Google is used for nearly 90% of online searches in the U.S. A Pew survey this summer found that the four most popular social-media sites for getting news are Facebook, YouTube (owned by Google), Twitter (which has a Google partnership), and Instagram (owned by Facebook). No more than 5% of Americans use another social-media platform to get news.

In a November speech, Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, argued that “edge providers” like social-media websites and search engines “routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.” Mr. Pai cited YouTube’s decision to place age restrictions on and pull ads from videos by conservative commentator Dennis Prager’s Prager University, including a video by Alan Dershowitz on Israel’s founding.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Add Pakistan to a growing list…

Pakistan Considers Dumping Dollar For Yuan In Trade With China
December 19, 2017

he government of Pakistan is considering a proposal to start using the Chinese yuan in trade with China, according to the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, as quoted by Pakistan’s English-language daily Dawn.

“We are examining the use of yuan instead of the US dollar for trade between the two countries,” the minister told the media after the official launch of the Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Bilateral trade between Pakistan and China was worth $13.8 billion in 2015 to 2016, a decade after the countries signed a free trade agreement. Pakistan will continue to use the rupee domestically, according to Iqbal.

The LTP includes cooperation between the countries in energy, information network infrastructure, road and rail connections, trade and industrial parks, tourism, agriculture, and poverty alleviation. The plan will be implemented in three phases, the first ending in 2020, followed by another in 2025, with completion in 2030.

Under the plan, the countries intend to develop multi-level cooperation and strengthen policy coordination, as well as establish and improve the cross-border credit system and financial services. Karachi and Beijing are also planning to enhance currency swap arrangements and create a bilateral payment and settlement system.

More…

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Chicago bound or ready to deliver supplies after the next hurricane?  We can hope it is spoofed but sort of doubt it.

Heavily armored company of U.N. vehicles and equipment staged behind Maryland warehouse and are ready for rapid domestic deployment
December 18, 2017

What are all these heavily armored United Nations vehicles and pieces of equipment doing parked behind a warehouse in Maryland?

HAGERSTOWN (INTELLIHUB) — Over 50 heavily armored United Nations vehicles and various pieces of equipment (generators, etc.) sufficient enough to support a small company of ‘peacekeeper’ troops are sitting on the deck behind a U.S. government-owned warehouse and appear to be ready for some type of rapid domestic deployment.

The vehicles are parked in the rear parking lot of a warehouse building located at 11841 New Gate Blvd. They are all painted white and bear the letters “U.N.”

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

The missing $21 Trillion…

$21 Trillion Dollars Is Missing From The US Government. That Is $65,000 For Every Person In America. That Is More Than Our Entire National Debt!

What’s going on? Where is the money? How could this happen? How much has really gone missing? What would happen if a corporation failed to pass an audit like this? Or a taxpayer?

This means the Fed and their member banks are transacting government money outside the law. So are the corporate contractors that run the payment systems. So are the Wall Street firms who are selling government securities without full disclosure. Would your banks continue to handle your bank account if you behaved like this? Would your investors continue to buy your securities if you behaved like this? Would your accountant be silent?

This is the reason that there is such a strong push to change or tear up the US Constitution. This is why members of the establishment say it is “old,” “outdated!” This is why there is such a push for gun control. Don’t buy it! We can use the Constitution to get our money and our government back. It is time to enforce the US Constitution.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

I didn’t realize the United Nations had jurisdiction in Chicago?

Boykin Asks United Nations For Help Fighting Chicago Violence

December 14, 2017

CHICAGO (WLS) — Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin headed to the United Nations in New York Thursday to ask for help fighting violence in Chicago.

“I’m hoping to appeal the UN to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peace keeping efforts,” Boykin said.

Boykin boarded a plane to New York City for a meeting with an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. It’s a meeting that’s been planned for more than a month and stems from disconcerting violence numbers seen this year in Chicago. Violence which is felt particularly hard in many African American communities.

“We’ve had over 600 people killed by gun violence already this year alone. That is a huge number, in my community of Austin we’ve had 450 people shot and 80 people killed this year alone 18 so we have to do more to protect these communities,” Boykin said.

The mayor’s office says the call for UN peacekeepers is a political stunt. The police superintendent said it’s a nice idea, but it’s not the answer to Chicago’s violence.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Weekend comedy from the Boston Globe.  Our fiscal situation mathematically will blow up yet we are told all is well!

With Interest Rates Low, Facts Don’t Justify Panic Over National Debt
December 15, 2017

You’ve heard the fearmongering. America is broke. Government debt already is measured in tens of trillions of dollars and will soon be as big as our entire economy. To top it off, Republicans are poised to pass a tax bill that will add at least another trillion in red ink.

In lieu of panic, though, maybe the more appropriate response is just to shrug. Sure, someday the government’s oversized debt load may get us into trouble. But right now, the situation seems manageable.

Month by month, and year by year, the debt doesn’t actually cost that much. We have interest payments to make — just like the interest you pay on your mortgage or student loans — but those bills are relatively small, and stable.

Which is not to say we should adopt a breezy attitude toward government spending, where Republicans pass giant tax cuts, Democrats pursue Medicare for all, and we pay for it with bottomless borrowing. At some point, there would be a reckoning.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

If you recall, this is exactly what our pal Dave (in the witness protection program) told us was going to happen during one of our weekly calls after the hurricanes hit.  “No income equals foreclosure” is what he told us.

The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: A Crush of Foreclosures
December 16, 2017

Puerto Rico has had an awful decade — and it’s about to get worse.

First came a brutal 10-year recession and financial crisis that drove businesses from this island and left 44 percent of the population impoverished. Then, in September, Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 storm, shredded buildings, wrecked the electrical power grid and possibly led to more than 1,000 deaths.

Now Puerto Rico is bracing for another blow: a housing meltdown that could far surpass the worst of the foreclosure crisis that devastated Phoenix, Las Vegas, Southern California and South Florida in the past decade. If the current numbers hold, Puerto Rico is headed for a foreclosure epidemic that could rival what happened in Detroit, where abandoned homes became almost as plentiful as occupied ones.

About one-third of the island’s 425,000 homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments to banks and Wall Street firms that previously bought up distressed mortgages. Tens of thousands have not made payments for months. Some 90,000 borrowers became delinquent as a consequence of Hurricane Maria, according to Black Knight Inc., a data firm formerly known as Black Knight Financial Services.

Puerto Rico’s 35 percent foreclosure and delinquency rate is more than double the 14.4 percent national rate during the depths of the housing implosion in January 2010. And there is no prospect of the problem’s solving itself or quickly.

“If there is no income, the people cannot make payments,” said Ricardo Ramos-González, coordinator of a consumer legal aid clinic at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. “Thousands have lost their jobs, thousands of small business have closed, and thousands more have left the country.”

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Yet “all is well”?

Metlife Says It Failed To Pay Some Pensions, Flags Hit To Reserves
December 16, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Metlife Inc (MET.N) failed to pay pensions to potentially tens of thousands of people and will have to strengthen its reserves because of the costs of finding and repaying them, the New York insurer said. Metlife said in a filing on Friday that it believed the group missing out on the payments represented less than 5 percent of about 600,000 people who receive benefits from the company via its retirement business. Those affected generally have average benefits of less than $150 a month, it said.

A MetLife Inc building is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

When taken, however, the increase to reserves could be material to Metlife’s financial results. The insurer said it would provide further disclosure on its fourth-quarter earnings call and in its annual report for 2017.

MetLife did not say how many years of missing income was owed.

The people who missed out on the payments have changed jobs, relocated or are otherwise unreachable based on currently available information, the company said, adding that it was widening its search efforts and making better use of technology.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Please note, the second listed donor is the late Mr. Sherman’s company…And another one bites the dust?

Canadian Billionaire, Wife, Found Dead In “Suspicious” Suicide
December 16, 2017

The billionaire founder of Canadian generic drug Apotex Inc, Barry Sherman, and his wife Honey, were found dead in their Toronto home on Friday under what police described as “suspicious” circumstances.
Honey and Barry Sherman

Police said they were investigating the mysterious deaths after responding to a midday medical call at the Sherman’s home in an affluent section of northeast Toronto. Two bodies covered in blankets were removed from the home and loaded into an unmarked van on Friday evening.

“The circumstances of their death appear suspicious and we are treating it that way,” said Constable David Hopkinson. Homicide detectives later told reporters gathered outside the home that there were no signs of forced entry, and no suspects were being sought as of this moment.

More…

Dispensing Hope: Transforming US Medicine Surplus

In 2014, Mindset Social Innovation Foundation, and its partners, committed to expand access to affordable prescription medications in the U.S. Mindset has developed a five-year plan with the Dispensary of Hope that will enable the organization to receive over $100 million of donated medicine per year and distribute this medicine through hospital-based and community-charitable pharmacies that will deliver impact to more than 1.2 million people over the next 5 years.

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Posted by & filed under In The News.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The latest from John Williams’ www.shadowstats.com

– Unable to Escape 2008, FOMC Boosted Rates a Quarter-Point, Nonetheless, Amidst Fed Projections of Lower Unemployment and a Stronger GDP
– Yet, Fundamentals Still Point to a Weaker Economy as Fed Chair Janet Yellen Described the Economic Outlook as “Highly Uncertain”
– Prospects for U.S. Economic and Financial-Market Activity Continued to Darken; Faltering Real Consumer Credit and Earnings Do Not Support the Purported Boom
– Amidst Downside Prior-Period Revisions, Fourth-Quarter 2017 Real Average Weekly Earnings Were on Track for Second Consecutive Quarterly Contraction
– Monthly and Annual Jumps in CPI and PPI Were Due to Gasoline Price Swings; Headline Inflation Gains Were Not Due to Strong or Over-Heating Economic Activity
– November 2017 CPI-U Monthly Inflation Jumped by 0.39% (Was 0.11%) Pulling Annual CPI-U Inflation Higher to 2.20% (Was 2.04%), with CPI-W at 2.32% (Was 2.06%) and ShadowStats at 9.9% (Was 9.8%)
– November 2017 Final-Demand PPI Inflation Monthly Gain of 0.44% Pulled Annual Gain to a 70-Month High of 3.07%, versus 2.79% in October 2017
– Continuing Monthly Jump of 0.44% in November PPI was Dominated by Gain of 0.98% in Goods Inflation (4.63% Energy Gain), Versus Gain of 0.17% in Services
– Inflation Will Soften November Real Retail Sales Growth versus Nominal Growth by 0.4% (-0.4%) Month-to-Month, 2.2% (-2.2%) Year-to-Year

“No. 925: November CPI and PPI Inflation, FOMC ”

http://www.shadowstats.com

Bill Holter’s Commentary

A two minute article by Zerohedge proclaiming stocks no longer “cheap” in relation to bonds.  My simple question is this, what does this really mean in the grand scheme of things if interest rates are basically at 5,000 year lows …which means “bonds” are at a 5,000 year high?  Ponder this very carefully because it is key to your understanding and thus financial survival!

TINA’s Dead – US Equities Are No Longer ‘Cheap’ To Bonds
December 14, 2017

For almost 7 years, asset-gatherers and commission-takers have exclaimed “There Is No Alternative” to stocks, given how low interest rates are. However, given the recent buying-panic in stocks, TINA is now dead BAB is back (Bonds Are Better)…

In a sign the U.S. equity rally may be looking stretched, Bloomberg notes that the forward dividend yield on the S&P 500 has dropped below the return on Treasuries for the first time since 2011.

Shares in Europe and Japan, by contrast, continue to yield well above their equivalent government bonds.

Here’s what happened the last time the spread between Forward dividend yields and treasury yields was this wide…

To make matters worse for income investors: the Bank for International Settlements warned in its recent quarterly review that U.S. stock valuations are looking “frothy” and dividend growth may slow.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Just another confidence builder…

Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued for Abusing Position, Accused of Assaulting Women
December 14, 2017

A top congressional ethics official who oversees investigations into misconduct by lawmakers is accused in a federal lawsuit of verbally abusing and physically assaulting women and using his federal position to influence local law enforcement, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania last month.

The ongoing lawsuit against Omar Ashmawy, staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, stems from his involvement in a late-night brawl in 2015 in Milford, Pennsylvania, and includes a range of allegations relating to his behavior that evening and in the following two-and-half years.

Ashmawy’s office conducts the preliminary investigations into allegations of misconduct in the House of Representatives, deciding which cases to pursue or refer to the Committee on Ethics. He is named in congressional documents as the official who presented one of the investigations into John Conyers, the Democratic lawmaker from Michigan accused of sexual harassment, to the ethics committee for further action.

Among other allegations, Ashmawy is accused in the lawsuit of “threatening to use his position as staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics to induce a criminal proceeding to be brought against Plaintiff and/or others,” according to the federal lawsuit filed against him.

In court filings and in statements to Foreign Policy, Ashmawy denied the allegations laid out in the lawsuit.

“To be clear, I did not harass anyone that evening, physically or verbally,” he wrote in a statement to FP. “To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false.”

The lawsuit, previously unreported, stems from Feb. 14, 2015 — Valentine’s Day. The evening appeared to start off well for Ashmawy: a nearly $400 dinner with his girlfriend at an upscale restaurant in Milford, followed by late-night drinks at a local bar.

It ended, however, with him bruised and bloody in the back of a police car.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Quite interesting and well worth watching. I have a few questions; 1996? And they needed a “platform” (such as the internet)? Does it really matter “who” created Bitcoin et al? And if it does, who is “Satoshi”? What if the creator really is an agency like the NSA? Would that matter to you? On a side note, do you remember the Winklevoss twins? What were they involved in, in the past? Can you imagine the elation of the German Stasi if they had a system where people would willingly and even anxiously divulge personal information as they do with Facebook today? Can you imagine the smiles on their faces if they could have “tracked” every single penny (mark) bought, sold, spent, or accepted? How, all the way back to 1988 did the Economist magazine forecast 2018 as the year of a global currency with the similar image to a bitcon on their cover? Do you smell what I smell? Please watch this with these questions in the back of your mind…

Posted by & filed under In The News.

Bill Holter’s Commentary

Mortgaging their houses because a “crypto kitty” at $122,000 is more than pocket change?

People Mortgaging Their Homes To Buy Bitcoin, Report Says
December 12, 2017

CBS Local — How much would you put at risk to invest in the hottest digital currency in the world? For some people, the skyrocketing value of Bitcoin is worth putting their own homes at stake.

According to reports, a number of investors looking to cash in on the soaring prices have resorted to putting their houses up as collateral to fund the venture.

“We’ve seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin. People do credit cards, equity lines,” Joseph Borg of North American Securities Administrators Association said, via Business Insider.

The president of the securities firm added that he believes the risks outweigh the rewards tied to the popular cryptocurrency. “This is not something a guy who’s making $100,000 a year, who’s got a mortgage and two kids in college ought to be invested in.”

More…

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Doug Noland is correct. As we have been trying to tell you, what comes is all about credit because credit is about math…and confidence!

Doug Noland: There Will Be No Way Out When This Market Bubble Bursts
December 11, 2017

This week Doug Noland joins the podcast to discuss what he refers to as the “granddaddy of all bubbles”.

Noland, a 30-year market analyst and specialist in credit cycles, currently works at McAlvany Wealth Management and is well known for his prior 16-year stint helping manage the Prudent Bear Fund.

He certainly shares our views that prices in nearly every financial asset class have become remarkably distorted due to central bank intervention, first with Greenspan’s actions to backstop the markets in the late-1980’s, and more recently (and more egregiously) with the combined central banking cartel’s massive and sustained liquidity injections in the years following the Great Financial Crisis.

All of which has blown the biggest inter-connected set of asset price bubbles the world has ever seen.

Noland foresees tremendous losses as inevitable, as the central banks lose control of the monstrosity they have created:

This is the granddaddy of all bubbles. We are at the end a long cycle where the bubble has reached the heart of money and credit.

There will be no way out. We’re not going to get enough private credit growth to reflate things when this bubble bursts. It’s going to have to come from central bank credit; it’s going to have to come from sovereign debt.

When this bubble bursts, it will shock people how far the central banks will have to expand their balance sheet just to accommodate the deleveraging in the system. And they won’t really be able to add new liquidity to the market; they’re just going to allow the transfer of leveraged positions from the leveraged players onto the central bank balance sheets.

When you get to that point, when the market sees that transfer occurring, I predict there’s going to be fear of long-term financial instruments. We’ll see rising yields. That’s when things will become problematic.

More…

Bill Holter’s Commentary

Doug Noland is correct. As we have been trying to tell you, what comes is all about credit because credit is about math…and confidence!

Doug Noland: There Will Be No Way Out When This Market Bubble Bursts
December 11, 2017

This week Doug Noland joins the podcast to discuss what he refers to as the “granddaddy of all bubbles”.

Noland, a 30-year market analyst and specialist in credit cycles, currently works at McAlvany Wealth Management and is well known for his prior 16-year stint helping manage the Prudent Bear Fund.

He certainly shares our views that prices in nearly every financial asset class have become remarkably distorted due to central bank intervention, first with Greenspan’s actions to backstop the markets in the late-1980’s, and more recently (and more egregiously) with the combined central banking cartel’s massive and sustained liquidity injections in the years following the Great Financial Crisis.

All of which has blown the biggest inter-connected set of asset price bubbles the world has ever seen.

Noland foresees tremendous losses as inevitable, as the central banks lose control of the monstrosity they have created:

This is the granddaddy of all bubbles. We are at the end a long cycle where the bubble has reached the heart of money and credit.

There will be no way out. We’re not going to get enough private credit growth to reflate things when this bubble bursts. It’s going to have to come from central bank credit; it’s going to have to come from sovereign debt.

More…