Posted at 12:59 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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.

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Posted at 10:27 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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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Posted at 1:43 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

I would not rule our weak dollar. Strong equities, strong gold. Courtesy of GG.

Jim

Three Charts That SCREAM “Inflation” In 2018
December 18, 2017

The financial system is preparing for an inflationary shock.

The single best means of measuring inflation vs deflationary forces in the US financial system is the TIP to Long-Treasury (TLT) ratio. When this ratio rallies the system is predicting inflation. When it falls, the system is fearing deflation.

Running back to 2010, we’ve been in a long-term deflationary downtrend on this ratio.

This deflationary pull has dragged down the entire commodity complex over the same time period.

But this is about to end. In the short- term, the TIP:TLT ratio has MASSIVE support at current levels. And given the clear descending wedge pattern it’s formed, the odds are favoring a sharp breakout to the upside sometime in early 2018.

This is going to ignite a HUGE rally in commodities and other inflation hedges. Our big theme for 2018 is INFLATION. And we’re already producing numerous winners from this trend.

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Courtesy of JB.

Jim

Gold EFPs: Absolute Proof That Paper Gold Is A Fraud
December 18, 2017

IRD’s Note:  In the past year, there has been a noticeably substantial  increase in the use of the obscurely defined EFPs (Exchange for Physicals) and PNTs (Privately Negotiated Transactions) in the settlement of Comex gold and silver futures contracts.  In simple terms, the EFPs and PNTs enable the counterparties  a Comex futures contract or LBMA forward to settle the contract in an acceptable form other than the actual physical commodity as required by the contract specifications (e.g. one gold futures contract requires the delivery of a 100 oz. gold bar as qualified by the Comex).  As an example, the counterparty that is required to deliver gold under Comex contract terms can deliver a comparable dollar amount of GLD shares if the counterparty standing for delivery agrees to take delivery of the GLD shares.

The EFPs and PNTs plunge the Comex operations into even greater opacity – likely intentionally.  In all probability, the EFPs and PNTs are used to bridge the gap between the amount of gold (silver) that needs to be delivered and the amount of gold (silver) that is available to be delivered.  The settlement of the contract occurs outside of the Comex.  These contract settlement devices further enable the ability of the western Central Banks to execute the successful manipulation of the gold (silver) price.

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In recent months, the issuance of gold Exchange for Physical (EFP) contracts has surged. EFPs convert a physically deliverable Comex gold contract into an LBMA or LME contract supposedly deliverable at a later date ex London and/or Hong Kong. As an incentive for Comex contract holders to accept EFPs, a cash bonus reportedly is paid. EFPs in silver are also being issued in vast quantities, but we will focus on gold for brevity.

Most gold market observers believe that EFPs are a Comex gimmick designed to prevent, or at least forestall a formal Comex delivery failure. We believe the full story behind the EFPs is more complicated and disturbing, and that it involves collusion, conspiracy, and fraud.

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Courtesy of GG.

Jim

“Dark Money” Runs the World
December 15, 2017

Few people know financial markets’ biggest secret…

For the last 40 years, most people believed the stock market always goes up. Simply buy and hold long enough, the theory went, and you could sit back and watch the money accumulate in your account. No thought or hard work needed.

It was a nifty strategy — until the idea burned most investors in 2008. Almost a decade later, the scar tissue is still fresh for many investors.

Even today, after the U.S. stock market has rallied by 271% since the bottom on March 6, 2009 — nearly tripling investors’ money — only about half of Americans are invested in the stock market, according to NPR. That’s down from two-thirds compared to a decade ago.

The rest are in cash on the sidelines. Maybe that’s been you.

And who can blame you? “Fool me once, shame on you,” the saying goes. “Fool me twice, shame on me.”

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Posted at 11:12 AM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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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Posted at 1:17 PM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

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.

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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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The time has come to begin the splash of the many private crypto currencies, so as to give birth in time to a single crypto, which is only tradable between central banks as a new reserve currency to replace a dethroned dollar. Courtesy of JB.

Jim

U.S. Top Diplomat Calls For Release Of Two Reporters Arrested In Myanmar
December 15, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that the U.S. government has demanded the release of two Reuters reporters being held in Myanmar.

Reuters journalist Wa Lone, who is based in Myanmar, is seen in this undated picture taken in Myanmar. REUTERS/Stringer

“Our local representatives at the mission in Myanmar, at the embassy, are expressing our concerns over the detention of individuals, demanding their immediate release or information as to the circumstances around their disappearance,” Tillerson told reporters.

Myanmar’s information ministry said on Wednesday that the reporters faced charges under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act, though officials have since said they have not been charged.

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Posted at 12:37 AM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Bill Holter’s Commentary

Courtesy of JB.

 

Courtesy of JB.

Jim

Arrested Saudi Prince’s Business Empire Apparently Collapsing
December 13, 2017

The Kingdom Holding Company, founded by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has lost nearly a fifth of its value since its billionaire owner was detained last month as part of a Saudi nationwide anti-corruption campaign.

According to Forbes, the value of the Riyadh-based conglomerate fell $8.5 billion, shrinking the tycoon’s net worth by two billion dollars to $16 billion. Prince Alwaleed reportedly owns 95 percent of Kingdom Holding.

The company has more than $12.5 billion under management globally and “enjoys a solid financial position underpinned by a prudent and conservative funding plan,” according to the chief executive Talal Al Maiman.

However, any meaningful activity by the corporation has been halted in Alwaleed’s absence, according to unnamed Saudi bankers, as quoted by the FT. Local and international banks are so concerned over the arrest that they reportedly put on hold one billion dollars in loans to fund the acquisition of a 16 percent stake in Saudi Fransi Bank from Credit Agricole, planned by KHC.

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