Performance of a Number of Global Stock Exchanges Year-To-Date

Except for a few Asian countries, and special situations not pictured perhaps, it looks like a global slump from here.
There are still a select few unbroken housing bubbles out there that may find some adjustment in a future capital crisis. Canada and Australia come to mind, among others.
Despite the billions of taxpayer funds poured into them, some if not quite a few of the troubled multinational Banks are still in trouble, and a few may be teetering.
Does anyone who is well informed not recognize that the policy errors of the Central Banks and their political cronies have failed to foster a sustainable recovery after five long years of enormous bank subsidies and public misery?
And the fruits of this selfish foolishness may likely be another crisis that is even more decisive?
The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustainable recovery.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 14 OCTOBER 2014.

297 Congress Members Have Earmarked $3.8 Billion for Organizations Tied to Them or Family Members

Remember back when Democrat Congressman Jim Moran, U. S. Representative for Virginia’s 8th congressional district gave an interview where he said that Congress is underpaid at $174,000 a year and needs a raise because Americans need to understand that Congress is ‘the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world’?
Well, check out what the ‘board of directors’ has been up to.
According to watchdog groups Legistorm and CREW – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – a total of 297 members of Congress have earmarked $3,776,001,807 for organizations that are connected directly to them or to their family members.
For just one example of how this works, check out this research into the conflicts of interest and crony dealings of Dem. Rep. Rosa DeLauro here – and she’s just one example.
Other interesting tidbits:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on October 11th, 2014.

Meet The World’s First “Undercover, Super-Secret Central Banker”

First a secret “Doomsday book“, and now this?
Flash back to those days in September 2008 when the financial system was on the verge of collapse and when first Lehman failed and then AIG was knocking on heaven’s door. While the story of the former has been written, it is the still incomplete history of the latter that is the reason why Hank Greenberg, the largest shareholder of AIG at the time, is suing the US government for bailing out AIG, alleging the US exorted shareholders when it provided a $182 billion bailout to the insurance company whose Joseph Cassano had seemingly sold insurance on every insolvent mortgage-related security: a strategy which worked in a rising market and led to a near systemic catastrophe when the market crashed.
We won’t debate the merits of Greenberg’s lawsuit, which is currently raging in court under STARR INTERNATIONAL COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, U. S. Court of Federal Claims 11-cv-00779 (it should be painfully clear by now that neither AIG nor crony capitalism as it exists now would have survived had Goldman and its NY Fed branch not extended several trillion in taxpayer funds to preserve the status quo), however we will note one thing: recall that when the terms of the AIG bailout first made waves in 2010 courtesy of Darrell Issa we found out something pecliar: none of the members of the Fed had any intentions on making their procedure public.
As Reuters reported back then:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/09/2014.

Lois Lerner’s Revenge: Anti-Obamacare Filmaker is Hit with IRS Audit

There are many systemic reasons why America continues to circle the toilet bowl toward a full fledged oligarchic Banana Republic. I’ve spent the last couple of years highlighting many of them here on these pages. Nevertheless, all of them pale in comparison with the disappearance of the rule of law. When the rule of law ceases to apply to the rich and powerful, a society ends up suffocating within a culture of theft, an endless stream of cronyism and criminality.
At such a stage, politicians, Wall Street oligarchs, the military-industrial complex, police departments, government agencies, etc, all go hog wild with corruption. The IRS is a perfect example.
With the failure to hold Lois Lerner accountable for anything, the agency is now even more out of control than it was before. Recently, we heard about a plan to tax companies that provide free lunches to employees. Now it appears they are back to targeting people with whom they disagree politically…

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 8, 2014.

‘Cancer Vortex’: Medical industry profits pre-empt healthcare

I’ve reviewed two of Ken Anton’s books:
Popsicle Man is a novel form to share real-world history of US oligarchs with Emperor’s New Clothes’ obvious crimes centering in war and money Cancer Vortex provides similar powerful history of the medical oligarchs who block medically and legally proven cancer cures in order to protect industry profits in the annual billions (here, here, here, here). Ken explains more in this article, reprinted with his permission:
Medical Industry Profits Pre-empt Healthcare
The US healthcare industry is run by a Medical Cartel which explains why it is the most expensive in the world, yet provides less services than other advanced economies.
A strict protocol was established for cancer treatment involving just three procedures: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Where innovators outside the tightly controlled Medical Cartel tried to introduce alternative treatments such as herbal formulas, special supplements, foods or complete nutritional programs, the AMA and FDA labeled these procedures quackery, harassing the owners, raiding their clinics and in some cases prosecuting them in the courts; whatever was necessary to shut them down.
Why such an aggressive attitude towards natural, non-invasive therapies? Basically, the cartel cannot tolerate competition from low cost, non-patentable therapies even those with scientific proof of actually curing cancer. The cozy relationship between the Food and Drug Administration (the primary government regulator) and Big Pharma is well known, as is the revolving door between the top echelons of each.

This post was published at Washingtons Blog on October 4, 2014.

Introducing ‘Car Condos’ – Wealthy Baby Boomers Embark on One Last Misallocation of Capital Binge by Purchasing $600,000 Garages

The most significant challenge of our times relates to the ongoing theft of society’s wealth across the board by a very small group of people known as ‘oligarchs,’ the ‘super rich,’ the ‘overclass,’ etc. Whatever you want to call them, this group is hellbent on using political cronyism in faux democracies across the global to aggregate all the world’s wealth and power, while concurrently implementing an Orwellian surveillance state spy-grid in order to protect their fiefdoms once the plebs finally become restless. This much we know.
While the above-mentioned clash between oligarchs and the demoralized and confused citizenry (a significant percentage of this class doesn’t even know the clash is happening) will be the defining battle of my lifetime, it is extremely important to understand another conflict that is almost equally important. This is the widening division between generations, which I believe will get quite ugly in the next severe economic downturn beginning sometime next year.
The reason this conflict is much more nuanced, is because millennials don’t dislike their parents, and baby boomers aren’t actively trying to harm their children’s future. Rather, both generations are going to experience a gigantic clash in the years ahead as these distinct generations’ collectively look to secure their own futures. For the boomers, this will quite singularly mean securing a comfortable retirement. For the millennials, it will mean a professional and family life that feels rewarding, higher standards of living, and political, cultural and economic self-determination. Notably, millennials have realized none of these things, due in large part to baby boomers holding firmly onto the reigns of political power and bailing-out their financial portfolios whenever they are threatened, and at any cost.
As millennials come into their own and realize how fucked they are, they are becoming more and more vocal. Thus, we see increased youth movements all over the world demanding self-determination, such as the massive gathering in Hong Kong known as #OccupyCentral. We also saw clear signs of generational fracturing in the recent Scottish independence referendum, which I discussed in the post, Fear and Loathing in Scotland – Why the NO’s Won and Lessons Learned from the Vote, in which I noted:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 3, 2014.

Inflation over 270 years: It is hard to feel the tornado of price erosion when you are standing in the eye of the financial storm.

People tend to be creatures of habits. It always intrigues me how most of the people I speak with seem to already assume that prices will always go up. It is the default life position. They know the sun will rise, grass will typically be green, and prices over time will go up. While some are based in natural law, inflation is and will always be a human made condition. So it is important to step back from the day to day operations that guide us and actually look at where prices stand today in relation to history. I think most in the US really don’t have the fear of say South America or Europe when it comes to inflation because they have never witnessed a full crisis driven by out of control money policies. Today, we are told that inflation is low yet when we actually step back, inflation is already eroding the purchasing power of the middle class dramatically. It is usually helpful to look at history as to learn from our past.
270 years of inflation
I think we can learn a lot from looking at data. While we can learn a lot from history, you will also realize that people are still governed by greed, cronyism, and poor judgment. After all, the Great Recession was the worst financial crisis in the US since the Great Depression. Did we not learn the lessons from the past? Life is a live action situation and inflation is one of those components.
I found this chart to be extremely illuminating:

This post was published at MyBudget360 on October 2, 2014.

“How The Media Controls Britain”

We have yet to read Owen Jones’ “The Establishment… And how they get away with it“, although Russell Brand’s take of the author has certainly piqued our interest: ”Owen Jones may have the face of a baby and the voice of George Formby but he is our generation’s Orwell and we must cherish him.” We do know, however, that the young author and Guardian columnist is one of those who are not afraid to think critically while accepting there is far more than meets the eye, and certainly than the controlled media would like revealed. To wit, from the book’s official blurb:
Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today – and it is time they were challenged.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/28/2014.

The Biggest Risk For Investing In Alibaba Is…

Submitted by George Chen via The South China Morning Post,
What is the biggest risk for investors in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba? In one word: politics.
Jack Ma Yun, English teacher-turned entrepreneur, is already a legend in China for the incredibly fast growth and remarkable success of the e-commerce firm he founded in 1999. I have no doubt about Ma’s business experience and leadership skills, but there is one thing Ma – and many of his rivals – may be worried about. Politics.
The Alibaba success story is not just about Alibaba itself. It is about the inevitable trend of globalisation, the rise of China as a country on political and economic fronts, and also about how eager Beijing is to support and build up a crop of new national brands that can compete with the likes of Google and Amazon in the United States.
“To have political connections in Beijing … isn’t necessarily bad. Many companies try to do so”
Beijing’s support – directly or indirectly – is a key factor in Alibaba’s success. Without the government’s support, Ma would not have felt confident enough to speak in New York in front of hundreds of Wall Street investors during the recent roadshow for Alibaba’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ma understands the importance of the government’s backing for Alibaba and most of the time he has been good at lobbying Beijing for policy support.
However, in at least one case he had a setback and was honest enough to tell the public how he felt about that.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/14/2014.

The thriving cronyism of the stock market: 81 percent of stock market wealth held in the hands by 10 percent of the population. Housing also being snatched from middle class families.

Most Americans are confronting a system where the deck is stacked against their interests. Most Americans saw the true colors of the system during the Great Recession panic when government joined forces with Wall Street to essentially fire the middle class with explicit and hidden bailouts. There is unfortunately a large amount of cronyism embedded in the current system. Most Americans have very little in stock market wealth. Over 81 percent of stock wealth is held by the top 10 percent of the population. This is why for most, retirement is largely one pipe dream. Yet the problem of the bailouts was the split of corporate welfare for connected institutions and austerity measures for the rest of the country. Wall Street is driven by profits and companies were able to slash their way into profitability while boosting earnings and using large safety nets and golden parachutes for those at the top. Banks that should have failed survived thanks to the too big to fail mantra. This is why, after a record stock market run since 2009 many Americans still view the economy as performing poorly. For them it is. You also have Wall Street invading the one asset where Americans used as a forced savings account, housing. Even in this one asset class Americans are being pushed out.
Not buying the stock market rally
The data is clear in that very few Americans own any substantial amount in stock wealth. 81 percent of stock wealth is held with 10 percent of the population. The recent rally was driven by slashing wages, cutting benefits, leveraging bailout funds, and ultimately using the recession as proof that labor was fully disposable. The days of corporatism are gone and now the reality of company loyalty is long gone. The government and lobbyists will assist those at the top but for most middle class Americans, the game is over.
This is how you can have a stock market peak with such poor sentiment:

This post was published at MyBudget360 on September 10, 2014.

Minsky Moment for Markets Driven by ‘Relentless Bids’

During the past decade, US equity markets have experienced structural changes with major macroeconomic implications, as policies of both companies and investors have evolved.
An unprecedented change in corporate financial policy.
Many corporate executives now not only channel their companies’ cash flow to shareholders, but leverage up to do so – often at the expense of capex, R&D, and employee compensation and training. This price-insensitive buying of stocks, mirroring the similarly price-insensitive buying by central banks, amounts to a ‘relentless bid.’
We’re now seeing the result in slowing growth of, or even falling, productivity and corporate revenue.
Andrew Lapthorne of SocGen has documented this in detail. Andrew Smithers has also written about this in his column at the FT website. Now the mainstream news media have noticed.
‘In corporations, it’s owner-take-all,’ by Harold Meyerson, op-ed in the Washington Post, 26 August 2014 ‘Why have U. S. companies become such skinflints?’ Paul Roberts, op-ed in the LA Times, 27 August 2014 Soon the investment banks will begin writing about it.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Sept 3, 2014.

Mexican Judge Departs From Script, Turns Monsanto’s Mexican Dream Into Legal Nightmare

The U. S. agribusiness giant Monsanto is long accustomed to getting its own way. Through a combination of back-channel lobbying, opaque political funding and revolving-door politics, the multinational agrochemical and biotechnology corporation has subverted, corrupted and infiltrated the elected governments of countries around the world, from the smallest and poorest to the biggest and richest.
However, if recent events in Europe and Latin America are any indication, the tide may well be subtly turning against the interests of Monsanto and its fellow GMO oligopolies and in the favor of independent food growers and consumers. Despite their tireless lobbying efforts in Brussels, the ‘Big Six’ (Monsanto, Du Pont Pioneer, Syngenta, Vilmorin, Winfield and KWS) continue to hit a brick wall of resistance in many of Europe’s biggest markets, including Germany and France. As I reported in April this year, popular resistance is on the rise across Latin America, as indigenous and peasant communities rise up against government legislation that would apply brutally rigid intellectual copyright laws to the crop seeds they are able to grow.

This post was published at Wolf Street on September 1, 2014.

Monsanto Trickbag 101

Use a GMO contaminated bag of conventional seed, get sued for patent infringement. By the way, expect contamination.
It’s a setup, the game is rigged, the fix is in. Monsanto sues if its agents find the company’s patented gene in your crop, even if you never bought its genetically engineered (GMO) seeds. But does that mean diddley squat to Monsanto?
No. Here is a bit of logic, Monsanto style:
If the plant is found in your possession, then that means you have used the seed. If you have used the seed, then you have agreed to the technology use agreement, and owe Monsanto your crop, your seed and your profits. It doesn’t matter how the seed actually arrived in your possession.
Just ask Percy…

This post was published at FarmWars on August 31st, 2014.