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Venezuela Expels 3 US Diplomats For “Promoting Instability” | Zero Hedge

Venezuela Expels 3 US Diplomats For “Promoting Instability” | Zero Hedge.

Having been ‘busted’ for their manipulation of events in Ukraine (and exposing their views of the European Union), it seems US diplomats have been up to their old tricks once again… this time in Venezuela. “Go Conspire In Washington,” was the clear message sent to the US as President Maduro expelled three US diplomats from his country, accusing them of plotting with anti-government protesters in an attempt to topple his socialist government. This is the second time Maduro has kicked out US diplomats (3 more were expelled in September for ‘conspiring with government opponents’) as he blasted comments by John Kerry as “yet another maneuver” by Washington to “legitimize attempts to destabilize the Venezuelan democracy unleashed by violent groups in recent days.”

An anti-government student holds a sign reading “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. Venezuela wake up!” during a protest in Caracas.

 

Via Yahoo

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of plotting with anti-government protesters and expelled three US diplomats in retaliation.

The oil-rich country is mired in a deep economic crisis that critics blame on policies that Maduro largely inherited from Chavez.

Strict controls on currency and prices have created huge bottlenecks that have fueled inflation and emptied store shelves.

“I have ordered the foreign ministry to proceed with declaring those three consular officials persona non grata and expelling them from the country. Let them go conspire in Washington!” Maduro said in a nationally broadcast address

Maduro said the US diplomats, who have not been named, had met with students involved in anti-government protests under the pretense of offering them “visas to the United States.”

In late September Maduro kicked out three other US diplomats, including the charge d’affairs Kelly Keiderling, on accusations of conspiring with government opponents. The two countries have had no ambassadors since 2010.

A foreign ministry statement also said that Maduro’s government “flatly rejects” remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday voicing alarm at the violence during the marches and criticizing the arrest of protesters.

Kerry’s statement is “yet another maneuver” by Washington to “legitimize attempts to destabilize the Venezuelan democracy unleashed by violent groups in recent days,” the ministry said.

Of course, it makes sense for Maduro to pitch blame on to the Americans (whether they are to blame or not) as he faces a growing tension among the working Venezuelans that the status quo is not working and a common enemy is required…

As we noted previously (via Stratfor):

The challenge that the student movement will face is in finding a way to include Venezuela’s laboring class, which for the most part still supports the government, and relies on its redistributive policies. Their inability to rouse broad support across Venezuela’s social and economic classes was in part why previous student uprisings, including significant protests in 2007, failed to generate enough momentum to trigger a significant political shift.

But the situation has changed in Venezuela, and as the economic situation deteriorates there is a chance that protests like this could begin to generate additional social momentum in rejection of the status quo. President Nicolas Maduro has been in office for less than a year, and in that time the inflation rate has surged to over 50 percent and food shortages are a daily problem. Though firmly in power, the Chavista government is still struggling to address massive social and economic challenges. Massive government spending, years of nationalization and an overreliance on imports for basic consumer goods have radically deteriorated inflation levels, and undermined industrial production.

How the government responds will play a key role in the development of these protests going forward. The government cannot afford to crack down too hard without risking even worse unrest in the future. For its part, the mainstream opposition must walk a careful line between supporting the sentiment behind open unrest and being seen as destabilizing the country. Maduro retains the power to punish opposition politicians, and reaffirmed that Feb. 11 when he stated on national television that he intends to renew the law allowing him to outlaw political candidates who threaten the peace of the country. The statement was a clear shot over the bow of opposition leaders, and may foreshadow a more aggressive government policy designed to limit political opposition.

In the meantime, protest leader Leopoldo Lopez said he’ll surrender on Feb 18th –

“If anyone has decided to illegally arrest and jail me, you know I will be there,” he said. “I have nothing to fear; I have not done anything illegal.”

as plain clothes policeman were in the back of a pick-up outside the home of the father of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Reports said the government wants to arrest him in connection with deadly street protests in recent days. “I have committed no crime,” said Lopez. “I have been a Venezuelan committed to our country, our people, and our future.” Earlier, Lopez called Maduro a coward on Twitter. “You won’t make either me or my family bow to you,” he added.

Your Front Row Seat To Argentina’s (Latest) Currency Collapse | Zero Hedge

Your Front Row Seat To Argentina’s (Latest) Currency Collapse | Zero Hedge.

UPDATE: The Argentine Trade Balance missed surplus expectations by the most in 3 years (and 2nd most on record).

As those who follow Zero Hedge on twitter know, we have recently shown a keen interest in the collapse of the Argentine currency reserves – most recently at $29.4 billion – which have been declining at a steady pace of $100 million per day over the past week, as the central bank desperately struggles to keep its currency stable. Actually, make that struggled. Here is what we said just yesterday:

The decline continues: ARGENTINA’S RESERVES FELL $80M TODAY TO $29.4B: CENTRAL BANK

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 22, 2014

As of today it is not just the collapse in the Latin American country’s reserves, but its entire currency, when this morning we woke to learn that the Argentina Peso (with the accurate identifier ARS), had its biggest one day collapse since the 2002 financial crisis, after the central bank stopped intervening in currency markets. The reason: precisely to offset the countdown we had started several days back, namely “an effort to preserve foreign exchange reserves that have fallen by almost a third over the last year” as FT reported.

As the chart below shows, the official exchange rate cratered by over 17% when the USDARS soared from 6.8 to somewhere north of 8.

But as most readers know, just like in Venezuela, where the official exchange rate is anywhere between 6.40 and 11, and the unofficial is 78.85, so in Argentina the real transactions occur on the black market, where they track the so-called Dolar Blue, which as of this writing just hit an all time high of 12.90 and rising fast.

What happens next? Nothing good. “The risk of capital flight is rising by the minute. This will be very hard to control,” wrote Dirk Willer, strategist at Citigroup, adding that liquidity had “largely disappeared” with a risk of Venezuela-style capital controls. Ah Venezuela – that socialist paradise with a soaring stock market… even if food or toilet paper are about to become a thing of the past.

Some other perspectives via the FT:

Siobhan Morden of Jeffries said: “This is not an administration that respects or understands market pressure. They have been in the early stages of currency crisis since December, and yet their main strategy has been to pay off arrears and try to attract foreign direct investment.”

Luis Secco, Buenos Aires economist, said “It is hard to figure out what is the logic behind the authourities decision to let the peso so abruptly, without any other accompanying macroeconomic policy. It’s possible that the authorities would rather see a strong rise in the dollar, than lose, again, a large quantity of reserves.”

It is a potentially dangerous situation…not least because it could give the impression that the authorities don’t have a very clear idea of how to manage the situation.”

Ricardo Delgado, Buenos Aires economist, said on Wednesday: “The government faces a dilemma. It wants to stop reserves from falling. But that means less imports and thus lower growth, as the economy is very dependent on imports. So the question is: do you want more growth, or higher foreign reserves.“

However, with the “currency run” having once again begun, absent a wholesale bailout and/or backstop by “solvent” central banks of Argentina, a country which has hardly been on good speaking terms with the western central banks, there is little that the nation can do.

So for all those morbidly curious individuals who are curious what the slow-motion train wrecked death of yet another currency will look like, below is a link to the DolarBlue website, aka the front row seats where the true level of the Argentina currency can be seen in real time. If and when this number takes off parabolically, that’s when the panic really begins – first in Argentina, then elsewhere.

Of course, it’s not just Argentina – most of the world’s emerging market FX is getting hammered year-to-date…

Random Acts of Revolution |

Random Acts of Revolution |.

oprevolution

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery.  This means that if you are a slave today, it’s either illegal, or you have voluntarily accepted your servitude.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

You have a Constitutionally protected right to be free. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty.

Many people believe that revolution requires that they lead a march, stand in front of a crowd with a bullhorn, or form a militia. They feel like it’s a job for the Alex Joneses, the Adam Kokeshes,  the James Wesley Rawleses, and the Bradley Mannings of the world.

They’re wrong.  You don’t have to be a person with thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook .  You don’t have to be a person with a military leadership position on  your resume. You need not get yourself arrested on the steps of the White House, got to prison forever for telling the truth about your unit in the army, or stare down a bunch of scary-looking thugs in jack boots.

But you do have to do something.

You can’t just sit there and complain unless you are really just another armchair Rambo.

The way you lead your life every single day can be an act of revolution.  By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution. Walking the walk doesn’t always require civil disobedience or militia membership (although those actions definitely have their places).  It requires your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.

It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer mom from the suburbs, a college student in a dormitory, a church-going dad and husband, or a person who has found themselves homeless through the ongoing economic crisis – by living resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.

Don’t get me wrong – we need the Alexes, the Adams, the militias, the Bradleys, and the JWRs.  We need the people who stand in protest.  We need those who expose wrongdoing.  We need the organizers, the shouters, the big personalities, the quiet strong types, and the leaders. But these are not the only ways to revolt.  If every single person was off organizing their own rally, there’d be no one left to march in it.

What it is imperative upon us to do is to find our compass and follow it.  We must make ourselves immune to control by not needing what “they” hand out.  We have to be armored against the way everyone else lives and choose our own paths.  We must stubbornly refuse to participate in the hoop-jumping that is everyday life in North America.  By all of us who believe in liberty doing this, we form an army of stubborn non-participants in the status quo.

Here’s an example. It’s a small thing, a battle that today only affected my daughter and me.  My daughter is not vaccinated.  She attends a public school where the kids must be vaccinated, or hoops must be jumped through. I filled out the initial forms stating that I had an objection of conscience to vaccines.  I was contacted by a representative of the school system who suggested that I sign instead the form that stated a religious objection, because that was “easier”.  I refused, because my objection is NOT one of religion, and I felt like that was a cop-out. I knew that I was within my rights to have an objection of conscience, and I felt that it was important to make a point that might make it easier for the next parent.  I was then told that I’d have to pay $25 and get a statement notarized to allow her exemption on my basis.  I said I’d be happy to get a statement notarized, but not at my expense. I pointed out that nowhere does our local law state that I should have to pay any money for my child to NOT do something.  Lo and behold, after 5 months of politely going back and forth,  being escalated through numerous different superiors of superiors in the school board and public health system, my daughter is still unvaccinated, I have not spent $25, and she was not suspended from school.  The point I’m making is not about vaccines, but about not stepping back from your rights, for your convenience or for the convenience of others. This requires that you read the relevant laws and understand them.  It requires a certain degree of persistence and a willingness to be a pain in the butt.

There are valid reasons for revolution.

One of the benchmarks of tyranny is the dizzying arrays of laws on the books, with more and more added every single day.  It is humanly impossible not to break multiple laws every single day.  Regulations are revenue builders and/or control mechanisms. If the “authorities” can ALWAYS find a law that you’ve broken, then they can ALWAYS give a “reason” for punishing you.  Punishment might include incarceration, hefty fines, or the removal of some privilege (like taking away your driver’s license or not allowing your child to go to school).

If the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

~ James Madison, Federalist Papers 62

The police state is growing at a dizzying rate, and often the news makes it look like we live in Nazi Germany. It is now or never.  Like cockroaches, “they” – the thugs in jackboots and their masters – multiply in the dark, and will soon overtake us if we don’t put a stop to it right now.  They want to take our guns because that would make our resistance more difficult.  They keep buying up ammo and now have more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America multiple times. The NDAA means that any person can be indefinitely detained. There has been a sustained attack on the Bill of Rights and one by one our rights are being submerged beneath the desires of those who would demand our submission.

How can you be an everyday revolutionary?

The most revolutionary act is to be self-sufficient and in need of nothing that the government can provide for you in exchange for some small liberty.  When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then bullying you becomes much more difficult.

This list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive.  Please, add your own random acts of resistance in the comments below.

  • Question absolutely everything you hear on the news.  Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates.  The “news” is now all a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power.  The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week.  These people and others like them are the ones that decide what “we the people” get to see.  If they feel like a candidate or a news item might upset the status quo, they black it out by refusing to cover it.
  • Call out the media.  Let everyone know that the mainstream media is the enemy of the people.  When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it.  Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage.  If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.
  • Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you.  When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.”
  • Turn your savings into precious metals or tangible assets.  On the same note as unbanking, you definitely don’t want to rely on a 401K or savings account to provide for you in your old age. Ask the people of Cyprus how well that worked out for them.  Diversify with assets you can touch.  Purchase tangible goods like land, food, ammo, and seeds. Once you are well supplied, move on to precious metals to preserve your wealth.
  • Educate others.  At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs.  If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper.  By ranting incoherently or by keeping your mouth shut, you influence no one. By providing provable facts, you can open minds and awaken others to tyranny.
  • Get others involved in the fight.  For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let  your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor.  When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down.  Look at the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook. Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet.  It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grass roots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.
  • Grow your own food.  Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act.  Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence.  When you educate yourself (and others) about  Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods.  Refuse to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles. Refuse to be held subject to Agenda 21′s version of “sustainability”.
  • Take control of your health.  It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment.  Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma.  Millions ofchildren are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day.  Americans spent 34.2 BILLION dollars on psychiatric drugs in 2010. (Source) Big Pharma is an enormously profitable industry that only pays off if they can convince you that you’re sick.  Learn about the toxic injections and medications, weight the risks and benefits, and always look for second and third opinions before making a medical decision.  Maintain your health by avoiding toxins, exercising, and ditching your bad habits to reduce the number of doctor’s visits that are necessary.
  • Refuse to comply.  If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you.  You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
  • Learn.  Every day, spend time learning. This shouldn’t stop once our formal education ends. Fill your mind with history, with current events, with constitutional law, and information about the natural world.  Learn about health, study economics, research things that interest you, and unravel the complicated conspiracies that are afoot.  To pursue unbiased knowledge is to free your mind from the prison of propaganda and indoctrination.
  • Don’t consume chemicals that cause you to be dumbed down.  Avoid chemical-laden food with brain-killing neurotoxins like MSG and aspartame.  Don’t drink fluoridated water.
  • Embrace your right to bear arms.  Be responsible for your own safety and security.
  • Don’t be in debt.  No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job.  in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy.  Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.
  • Be prepared for disaster.  Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.
  • Be involved in your children’s education.  For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school.  Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.
  • Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes.  Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.
  • Reduce your consumer spending.  Spending less helps to starve the beast by reducing the sales taxes you pay and withdrawing your financial support to big conglomerates. If we vote with our dollars, eventually there will, of a necessity, be a paradigm shift that returns us to simpler days, when families that were willing to work hard could make a living without selling their souls to the corporate monoliths. A low-consumption lifestyle reduces your financial dependency, which allows for more freedom.
  • Ditch popular culture.  If reality TV isn’t a tool for dumbing people down, I don’t know what it is.  My daughter recently begged to watch an episode of a popular reality TV show that “everyone” was watching.  She managed about 15 minutes of it and then said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”  She decided to read a book instead.  Popular entertainment is a media tool used to change our perspectives about our personal values, and to tell us how to think and feel about issues.
  • Buy locally.  Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system.  You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.
  • Develop multiple streams of income.  Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Figure out several ways to bring in income.  Not only does this free you from being a wage slave, but it allows you to hire friends or family members.  You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims.  If one business fails, or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head.
  • Say thanks, but no thanks.  There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out.  Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached.  Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand.  Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.
  • Don’t take the easy road.  The PTB like to seduce people with simplicity.  ”If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say.  ”This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you.  ”By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.”  The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster.  Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself.  Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself, and know that anything you give up, you will never get back.

According to the Declaration of Independence,  ”Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice.  That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it.

There are nearly 316 million people in the United States. (source)

Only 3% of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and 10% actively supported them.

If 9,480,000 people quietly and peacefully revolted by withdrawing their consent to be governed by tyrants we could not be silenced.

If 31,600,000 people supported those revolting, we could not be stopped.

The government might  be watching us, but we can watch them right back.  Make the way you live your life a revolutionary act.

What random act of revolution did you commit today?  Please share it in the comments section below.

This essay was originally published on June 1, 2013. The principles outlined here are worth a reminder. Live your life every day as a quiet act of revolution against those who seek to enslave you.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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James Howard Kunstler: The Disenchantment of American Politics | Peak Prosperity

James Howard Kunstler: The Disenchantment of American Politics | Peak Prosperity.

Vepar5/Shutterstock

The Disenchantment of American Politics

And the coming uproar
by James H. Kunstler
Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 11:34 AM

Considering the problems we face as a nation, the torpor and lassitude of current politics in America seems like a kind of offense against history. What other people have allowed circumstances to run over them like so many ‘possums sleeping on the highway?

The financial disturbances of recent years especially have trashed millions of households, yet the fat middle (no pun intended) of the broad public (ditto) seems strangely content with all the tawdry sideshows of the day — Black Thursday, the Kardashians, the NFL playoffs, Twitter, texting, twerking, side boobs — taking little-to-no interest in politics while their prospects for a habitable future swirl around the drain. How might we account for such supernatural passivity?

And, since human affairs don’t remain static indefinitely, in what direction might things go when the political mood finally heaves and shifts? The possibilities are unsettling.

A Failure to Lead

If you care about poll numbers, they tell a simple story of contempt for the current crop of US political leaders. Congress rates a 12 percent approval rating and President Obama, at 35 percent, scores lower than Richard Nixon did in the midst of the Watergate fiasco. I’m surprised that Obama’s numbers aren’t lower (and I voted for him, twice). After all, few American lives were actually touched by the lies and shenanigans that spun off of Watergate, and money was an inconsequential part of it. But a whole lot of people were affected by Obama’s dissimulations around the Affordable Care Act, while his tragic failure to reestablish the rule of law in banking from the get-go in 2009 probably amounts to impeachable malfeasance. Add to this the NSA domestic spying operations revealed by Edward Snowden plus the troops indefinitely garrisoned in Asian countries and you have a portrait of a creeping Orwellian contagion.

The only whiff of rebellion in the air lately has emanated from the so-called conservative end of the political spectrum: the Tea Party. Its complaints mainly range around the offenses of Big Government, though a certain incoherence pervades its agenda as a whole. (I will get to that presently.)  I am sympathetic to gripes against the size and reach of government but I’m convinced that the swerve of US politics in the not-distant future will hinge on the failure of government at this scale to conduct any business competently. Anyway, as a veteran of the hippie uprising of the 1960s, when the Left was insurgent against an obdurate “establishment,” it’s interesting to observe the perverse flip-flop of history that has now put the Tea Party in charge of rebellion central.

The failures of the Left these days are pretty obvious and awful. They got their storybook change-agent elected president and he hasn’t done a darn thing in five years to halt the wholesale racketeering that pervades our national life. Obama’s Department of Justice is home to more zombies than the Grand Cemetery of Port-Au-Prince. The Attorney General’s office essentially signed off on prosecuting bank fraud when Lanny Breuer, chief of the Criminal Division, declared some banks too big to jail. End of story, as Tony Soprano used to say.

Obama promised to brick up the revolving door between Wall Street and the federal agencies and he only added more turnstiles to the gate. Most of the government officials involved in the 2009 TARP program and related crisis management operations are now pulling in six figure salaries at the banks and hedge funds they formerly regulated, while a veteran fixer (Mary Jo White) from the whitest white shoe fixit law shop in the land (Debevoise & Plimpton) was appointed to head the SEC a year ago.

The Left, as represented by President Obama and a majority in the US Senate, did nothing to arrest the ongoing corporate hijacking of the USA. When the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case (2010) that corporations could buy elections via unlimited campaign contributions under the free speech clause of the constitution, Obama had the chance to propose new legislation or a constitutional amendment to redefine the distinction between human persons and corporate “persons.” You’d think that as a constitutional lawyer, he would have been eager to lead on this. But he just ignored the historic opportunity and, anyway, he was on the receiving end of gobs of corporate “free speech” money to run his reelection campaign.

Apart from its pitiful roll-out bugs, the Affordable Care Act has the odor of the biggest insurance scam in history. People joke these days about Obama serving George W. Bush’s fourth term. The internal contradictions of Democratic Party behavior under Obama have only driven political cynicism to new heights. The millennial generation must feel horribly swindled by it.

A Paucity of Good Options

As for the rebellious conservative Tea Party faction, it is hard for me to square their umbrage at Big Government with their avidity for foreign wars (and support for the military-industrial rackets behind them), their failure to oppose the security-state activities of the NSA (while branding whistleblower Snowden “a traitor”), their love of corporate commercial tyranny a la Wal-Mart, their devotion to economically suicidal suburban sprawl, their zeal to control the social and sexual conduct of their fellow citizens, and their efforts to impose religion in civic affairs — all of which is to ask, what do they mean when they shout about “liberty?”

These contradictions probably seem abstruse compared to the gritty plight of ordinary citizens getting monkey-hammered in an economy that can provide neither decent incomes nor dignified, meaningful social roles for classes of people who could be earnest, honest, and enterprising given the chance. This gets to a more general failure across the political spectrum to apprehend the larger changing dynamics of our time — resource scarcity, capital impairment, contraction, environmental collapse, population overshoot — and to frame a coherent response to these developments. In short, the politicians seem to have no idea where history is taking us, and no road-map to prepare for the journey to get there.

There will probably always be some alignment of Left and Right in politics, but from time to time the packages they come in and the ideologies they contain are in desperate need of either rehabilitation or dissolution. I’d bet that we may soon see the demise of both the Democratic and Republican parties as they are currently structured. They’ve been around an awful long time now, and their presence probably provides a certain reassuring familiarity, but that is also the same growth medium as contempt. The useless and tiresome public quarrels they spawn these days, the kabuki theater debt ceiling showdowns, the can-kickings, and other evasions of responsibility, erode basic institutional trust to a dangerous degree; the people lose faith in the courts, the news media, the banks, the value of their money, and eventually all authority. The two major parties function as mere conduits for all the racketeering operations that define life in this nation today. The mature two-party system may prove to have been a transient product of America’s industrial heyday, which is now over despite the euphoria over stock bubbles, shale oil, computers and other new technology. If the two old parties dry up and blow away, will anyone shed a tear for them? When that happens, there may not be enough political vitality left at the federal level to reconstitute them in new packaging.

Trouble Brewing

If party politics are weak, muddled, and contradictory, the divisions between Americans are starkly clear: wealth in America has never been so unevenly distributed — the fabled one percent versus everyone else. Despite the election of a mixed-race president, and the wish-fulfillment fantasies of Hollywood, race relations in the USA remain tense. 2013 was the year of the “knockout” game for black teenagers randomly targeting “woods” (i.e. non-black “peckerwoods”), some of whom died. It was the year of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case and the echoing recriminations.

Divisions between men and women are tragically compounded by the dangerous dynamics of work in America that leave many men (especially men) in a vacuum of purpose, meaning, and potency. It is almost impossible these days for low-skilled men to support a family. The indignity of this thunders through broken communities and the penitentiary cellblocks. But the anomie is also expressed in the higher ranks of an economy where office work can be done by anybody, and gender confusion lately has been valorized as a compensating mechanism for the marginalization of men and the failure of manhood. The political blowback from this, when it comes, is apt to be fierce. Look no further than Duck Dynasty.

The ongoing national culture war pits the “traditional values” faction against the sexual libertarians; the red states against the blue states; urban against the conflated suburban and rural; the Christian fundamentalists against an array of other positions and belief groups; the entitlement “socialists” against the “free market” conservatives.

Perhaps most divisive of all will be the schism between the young and the old over the table scraps of the dying industrial economy.

These tensions will not remain unresolved indefinitely.

In Part II: Get Ready For Strange Days, we’ll forecast the direction that this resolution may follow. The last time the USA faced a comparable political convulsion was the decade leading into the Civil War, but this time it will be more complex and confusing and it will have a different ending. A dominant theme will be a continued loss of faith in the Federal government to solve our ills, and a re-emergence of reliance on local support networks at the state, municipal, community and family levels.

This devolution will likely play out very differently across the major regions of the US. And most will follow this course unwillingly.

Strange days are coming.

Click here to access Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

Russia Wishes NATO A Happy New Year… As Only Russia Can | Zero Hedge

Russia Wishes NATO A Happy New Year… As Only Russia Can | Zero Hedge.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has sent NATO a rather unusual New Year’s card… picturing Santa alongside a Russian inter-continental ballistic missile.

Life ??????????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ? ????? ?????!) pic.twitter.com/e3fndoMlHa

— Dmitry Rogozin (@Rogozin) December 28, 2013

Direct from his Twitter account – the Deputy PM literally says “We wish our friends from NATO a Happy New Year

 

Marc Faber’s 2014 Predictions | Zero Hedge

Marc Faber’s 2014 Predictions | Zero Hedge.

Marc Faber has 3 very contrarian predictions for 2014 that we are sure will have the yammering yay-bobs screaming. While “everyone thinks stocks can continue to rise,” Faber sees “the US market as expensive,” and will return very little over the next few years. Furthermore, he adds, while “some stocks are not terribly expensive; but just like in the year 2000, [social media] stocks are grossly over-valued,” and a short basket in the most egregious will return at least 30% next year. Lastly, Faber exclaims, “given all the money printing that is going on globally… physical gold is a good insurance.”

Click image for interview (no embed)

In an interview with Talking Numbers’ Brian Sullivan, Faber offers what he thinks is next for the world in 2014:

1. The market will decline from current levels

Faber says: “My sense is that at the present time, the US market is relatively expensive compared to foreign markets, especially to European markets and to emerging markets. On a cyclically-adjusted P/E [price-to-earnings] basis, it is actually going to return very little over the next seven to 10 years.

2. Best shorts for 2014: Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, and Veeva Systems

Faber says: “If you look at the entire market, some stocks are not terribly expensive and some stocks are very expensive. It’s like in year 2000, not every stock was overpriced. At that time, the NASDAQ was grossly overvalued but, say, resource shares and so-called ‘old economy’ companies were relatively inexpensive or absolutely cheap. In the present instance, I think that stocks like Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, [and] Veeva Systems are grossly overvalued and that the basket of shorts in these stocks will return you at least 30% next year.”

3. Best longs for 2014: Gold, gold shares, and Vietnamese stocks

Faber says: “Given all the money printing that is going on globally – and not just in the US – and given that the total credit as a percent of the advanced economies is now 30% higher than in 2007 before the crisis hit, I think that gold is a good insurance.”

“I’d rather buy something that is reasonably priced. And, I think gold shares are very inexpensive. So a basket of gold shares I think next year could easily appreciate 30%.”

“I think the Vietnamese stock market, which this year was up 22% [and] which is not bad for an emerging market, will continue to go up.”

 

The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory

The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory.

Looney Tunes - Photo by Ramon F VelasquezIt is time to crank up the Looney Tunes theme song because Wall Street has officially entered crazytown territory.  Stocks just keep going higher and higher, and at this point what is happening in the stock market does not bear any resemblance to what is going on in the overall economy whatsoever.  So how long can this irrational state of affairs possibly continue?  Stocks seem to go up no matter what happens.  If there is good news, stocks go up.  If there is bad news, stocks go up.  If there is no news, stocks go up.  On Thursday, the day after Christmas, the Dow was up another 122 points to another new all-time record high.  In fact, the Dow has had an astonishing 50 record high closes this year.  This reminds me of the kind of euphoria that we witnessed during the peak of the housing bubble.  At the time, housing prices just kept going higher and higher and everyone rushed to buy before they were “priced out of the market”.  But we all know how that ended, and this stock market bubble is headed for a similar ending.

It is almost as if Wall Street has not learned any lessons from the last two major stock market crashes at all.  Just look at Twitter.  At the current price, Twitter is supposedly worth 40.7 BILLION dollars.  But Twitter is not profitable.  It is a seven-year-old company that has never made a single dollar of profit.

Not one single dollar.

In fact, Twitter actually lost 64.6 million dollars last quarter alone.  And Twitter is expected to continue losing money for all of 2015 as well.

But Twitter stock is up 82 percent over the last 30 days, and nobody can really give a rational reason for why this is happening.

Overall, the Dow is up more than 25 percent so far this year.  Unless something really weird happens over the next few days, it will be the best year for the Dow since 1996.

It has been a wonderful run for Wall Street.  Unfortunately, there are a whole host of signs that we have entered very dangerous territory.

The median price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500 has reached an all-time record high, and margin debt at the New York Stock Exchange has reached a level that we have never seen before.  In other words, stocks are massively overpriced and people have been borrowing huge amounts of money to buy stocks.  These are behaviors that we also saw just before the last two stock market bubbles burst.

And of course the most troubling sign is that even as the stock market soars to unprecedented heights, the state of the overall U.S. economy is actually getting worse…

-During the last full week before Christmas, U.S. store visits were 21 percent lower than a year earlier and retail sales were 3.1 percentlower than a year earlier.

-The number of mortgage applications just hit a new 13 year low.

-The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries just hit 3 percent.

For many more signs like this, please see my previous article entitled “37 Reasons Why ‘The Economic Recovery Of 2013’ Is A Giant Lie“.

And most Americans don’t realize this, but the U.S. financial system and the overall U.S. economy are now in much weaker condition than they were the last time we had a major financial crash back in 2008.  Employment is at a much lower level than it was back then and our banking system is much more vulnerable than it was back then.  Just before the last financial crash, the U.S. national debt was sitting atabout 10 trillion dollars, but today it has risen to more than 17.2 trillion dollars.  The following excerpt from a recent article posted on thedailycrux.com contains even more facts and figures which show how our “balance sheet numbers” continue to get even worse…

Since the fourth quarter of 2009, the U.S. current account deficit has been more than $100 billion per quarter. As a result, foreigners now own $4.2 trillion more U.S. investment assets than we own abroad. That’s $1.7 trillion more than when Buffett first warned about this huge problem in 2003. Said another way, the problem is 68% bigger now.

And here’s a number no one else will tell you – not even Buffett. Foreigners now own $25 trillion in U.S. assets. And yet… we continue to consume far more than we produce, and we borrow massively to finance our deficits.

Since 2007, the total government debt in the U.S. (federal, state, and local) has doubled from around $10 trillion to $20 trillion.

Meanwhile, the size of Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage book declined slightly since 2007, falling from $4.9 trillion to $4.6 trillion. That’s some good news, right?

Nope. The excesses just moved to a new agency. The “other” federal mortgage bank, the Federal Housing Administration, now is originating 20% of all mortgages in the U.S., up from less than 5% in 2007.

Student debt, also spurred on by government guarantees, has also boomed, doubling since 2007 to more than $1 trillion. Altogether, total debt in our economy has grown from around $50 trillion to more than $60 trillion since 2007.

So don’t be fooled by this irrational stock market bubble.

Just because a bunch of half-crazed investors are going into massive amounts of debt in a desperate attempt to make a quick buck does not mean that the overall economy is in good shape.

In fact, much of the country is in such rough shape that “reverse shopping” has become a huge trend.  Even big corporations such as McDonald’s are urging their employees to return their Christmas gifts in order to bring in some much needed money…

In a stark reminder of how tough things still are for low-income families in America, McDonalds has advised workers to dig themselves “out of holiday debt” by cashing in their Christmas haul.

“You may want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did,” said a website set up for employees.

“Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash.”

This irrational stock market bubble is not going to last for too much longer.  And a lot of top financial experts are now warning their clients to prepare for the worst.  For example, David John Marotta of Marotta Wealth Management recently told his clients that they should all have a“bug-out bag” that contains food, a gun and some ammunition…

A top financial advisor, worried that Obamacare, theNSA spying scandal and spiraling national debt is increasing the chances for a fiscal and social disaster, is recommending that Americans prepare a “bug-out bag” that includes food, a gun and ammo to help them stay alive.

David John Marotta, a Wall Street expert and financial advisor and Forbes contributor, said in a note to investors, “Firearms are the last item on the list, but they are on the list. There are some terrible people in this world. And you are safer when your trusted neighbors have firearms.”

His memo is part of a series addressing the potential for a “financial apocalypse.” His view, however, is that the problems plaguing the country won’t result in armageddon. “There is the possibility of a precipitous decline, although a long and drawn out malaise is much more likely,” said the Charlottesville, Va.-based president of Marotta Wealth Management.

So what do you think is coming in 2014?

 

The Taper Is On – 8 Ways That This Is Going To Affect You And Your Family

The Taper Is On – 8 Ways That This Is Going To Affect You And Your Family.

Janet Yellen Ben Bernanke Swearing In

The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing.  On Wednesday, the Fed announced that monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds will be reduced from $45 billion to $40 billion, and monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities will be reduced from $35 billion to $30 billion.  When this news came out, it sent shockwaves through financial markets all over the planet.  But the truth is that not that much has really changed.  The Federal Reserve will still be recklessly creating gigantic mountains of new money out of thin air and massively intervening in the financial marketplace.  It will just be slightly less than before.  However, this very well could represent a very important psychological turning point for investors.  It is a signal that “the party is starting to end” and that the great bull market of the past four years is drawing to a close.  So what is all of this going to mean for average Americans?  The following are 8 ways that “the taper” is going to affect you and your family…

1. Interest Rates Are Going To Go Up

Following the announcement on Wednesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries went up to 2.89% and even CNBC admitted that the taper is a “bad omen for bonds“.  Thousands of other interest rates in our economy are directly affected by the 10 year rate, and so if that number climbs above 3 percent and stays there, that is going to be a sign that a significant slowdown of economic activity is ahead.

2. Home Sales Are Likely Going To Go Down

Mortgage rates are heavily influenced by the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries.  Because the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is now substantially higher than it was earlier this year, mortgage rates have also gone up.  That is one of the reasons why the number of mortgage applications just hit a new 13 year low.  And now if rates go even higher that is going to tighten things up even more.  If your job is related to the housing industry in any way, you should be extremely concerned about what is coming in 2014.

3. Your Stocks Are Going To Go Down

Yes, I know that stocks skyrocketed today.  The Dow closed at a new all-time record high, and I can’t really provide any rational explanation for why that happened.  When the announcement was originally made, stocks initially sold off.  But then they rebounded in a huge way and the Dow ended up close to 300 points.

A few months ago, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just hinted that a taper might be coming soon, stocks fell like a rock.  I have a feeling that the Fed orchestrated things this time around to make sure that the stock market would have a positive reaction to their news.  But of course I absolutely cannot prove this at all.  I hope someday we learn the truth about what actually happened on Wednesday afternoon.  I have a feeling that there was some direct intervention in the markets shortly after the announcement was made and then the momentum algorithms took over from there.

In any event, what we do know is that when QE1 ended stocks fell dramatically and the same thing happened when QE2 ended.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

Of course QE3 is not being ended, but this tapering sends a signal to investors that the days of “easy money” are over and that we have reached the peak of the market.

And if you are at the peak of the market, what is the logical thing to do?

Sell, sell, sell.

But in order to sell, you are going to need to have buyers.

And who is going to want to buy stocks when there is no upside left?

4. The Money In Your Bank Account Is Constantly Being Devalued

When a new dollar is created, the value of each existing dollar that you hold goes down.  And thanks to the Federal Reserve, the pace of money creation in this country has gone exponential in recent years.  Just check out what has been happening to M1.  It has nearly doubled since the financial crisis of 2008…

M1 Money Supply 2013

The Federal Reserve has been behaving like the Weimar Republic, and this tapering does not change that very much.  Even with this tapering, the Fed is still going to be creating money out of thin air at an absolutely insane rate.

And for those that insist that what the Federal Reserve is doing is “working”, it is important to remember that the crazy money printing that the Weimar Republic did worked for them for a little while toobefore ending in complete and utter disaster.

5. Quantitative Easing Has Been Causing The Cost Of Living To Rise

The Federal Reserve insists that we are in a time of “low inflation”, but anyone that goes to the grocery store or that pays bills on a regular basis knows what a lie that is.  The truth is that if the inflation rate was still calculated the same way that it was back when Jimmy Carter was president, the official rate of inflation would be somewhere between 8 and 10 percent today.

Most of the new money created by quantitative easing has ended up in the hands of the very wealthy, and it is in the things that the very wealthy buy that we are seeing the most inflation.  As one CNBC article recently stated, we are seeing absolutely rampant inflation in “stocks and bonds and art and Ferraris and farmland“.

6. Quantitative Easing Did Not Reduce Unemployment And Tapering Won’t Either

The Federal Reserve actually first began engaging in quantitative easing back in late 2008.  As you can see from the chart below, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is lower today than it was back then…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

The mainstream media continues to insist that quantitative easing was all about “stimulating the economy” and that it is now okay to cut back on quantitative easing because “unemployment has gone down”.  Hopefully you can see that what the mainstream media has been telling you has been a massive lie.  According to the government’s own numbers, the percentage of Americans with a job has stayed at a remarkably depressed level since the end of 2010.  Anyone that tries to tell you that we have had an “employment recovery” is either very ignorant or is flat out lying to you.

7. The Rest Of The World Is Going To Continue To Lose Faith In Our Financial System

Everyone else around the world has been watching the Federal Reserve recklessly create hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air and use itto monetize staggering amounts of government debt.  They have been warning us to stop doing this, but the Fed has been slow to listen.

The greatest damage that quantitative easing has been causing to our economy does not involve the short-term effects that most people focus on.  Rather, the greatest damage that quantitative easing has been causing to our economy is the fact that it is destroying worldwide faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. debt.

Right now, far more U.S. dollars are used outside the country than inside the country.  The rest of the world uses U.S. dollars to trade with one another, and major exporting nations stockpile massive amounts of our dollars and our debt.

We desperately need the rest of the world to keep playing our game, because we have become very dependent on getting super cheap exports from them and we have become very dependent on them lending us trillions of our own dollars back to us.

If the rest of the world decides to move away from the U.S. dollar and U.S. debt because of the incredibly reckless behavior of the Federal Reserve, we are going to be in a massive amount of trouble.  Our current economic prosperity greatly depends upon everyone else using our dollars as the reserve currency of the world and lending trillions of dollars back to us at ultra-low interest rates.

And there are signs that this is already starting to happen.  In fact, China recently announced that they are going to quit stockpiling more U.S. dollars.  This is one of the reasons why the Fed felt forced to do something on Wednesday.

But what the Fed did was not nearly enough.  It is still going to be creating $75 billion out of thin air every single month, and the rest of the world is going to continue to lose more faith in our system the longer this continues.

8. The Economy As A Whole Is Going To Continue To Get Even Worse

Despite more than four years of unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, the overall U.S. economy has continued to decline.  If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “37 Reasons Why ‘The Economic Recovery Of 2013’ Is A Giant Lie“.

And no matter what the Fed does now, our decline will continue.  The tragic downfall of small cities such as Salisbury, North Carolina are perfect examples of what is happening to our country as a whole…

During the three-year period ending in 2009, Salisbury’s poverty rate of 16% was about 3% higher than the national rate. In the following three-year period between 2010 and 2012, the city’s poverty rate was approaching 30%. Salisbury has traditionally relied heavily on the manufacturing sector, particularly textiles and fabrics. In recent decades, however, manufacturing activity has declined significantly and continues to do so. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs in Salisbury — as a percent of the workforce — shrank from 15.5% to 8.3%.

But the truth is that you don’t have to travel far to see evidence of our economic demise for yourself.  All you have to do is to go down to the local shopping mall.  Sears has experienced sales declines for 27 quarters in a row, and at this point Sears is a dead man walking.  The following is from a recent article by Wolf Richter

The market share of Sears – including K-Mart – has dropped to 2% in 2013 from 2.9% in 2005. Sales have declined for years. The company lost money in fiscal 2012 and 2013. Unless a miracle happens, and they don’t happen very often in retail, it will lose a ton in fiscal 2014, ending in January: for the first three quarters, it’s $1 billion in the hole.

Despite that glorious track record, and no discernible turnaround, the junk-rated company has had no trouble hoodwinking lenders into handing it a $1 billion loan that matures in 2018, to pay off an older loan that would have matured two years earlier.

And J.C. Penney is suffering a similar fate.  According to Richter, the company has lost a staggering 1.6 billion dollars over the course of the last year…

Then there’s J.C. Penney. Sales plunged 27% over the last three years. It lost over $1.6 billion over the last four quarters. It installed a revolving door for CEOs. It desperately needed to raise capital; it was bleeding cash, and its suppliers and landlords had already bitten their fingernails to the quick. So the latest new CEO, namely its former old CEO Myron Ullman, set out to extract more money from the system, borrowing $1.75 billion and raising $785 million in a stock sale at the end of September that became infamous the day he pulled it off.

So don’t believe the hype.

The economy is getting worse, not better.

Quantitative easing did not “rescue the economy”, but it sure has made our long-term problems a whole lot worse.

And this “tapering” is not a sign of better things to come.  Rather, it is a sign that the bubble of false prosperity that we have been enjoying for the past few years is beginning to end.

 

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like Being Completely Out Of Touch With Reality | Zero Hedge

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like Being Completely Out Of Touch With Reality | Zero Hedge.

On January 29, 1845, the New York Evening Mirror published a poem that would go on to be one of the most celebrated narrative poems ever penned. It depicted a tragic romantic’s desperate descent into madness over the loss of his love; and it made its author, Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most feted poets of his time.

The poem was entitled “The Raven,” and its star was an ominous black bird that visits an unnamed narrator who is lamenting the loss of his true love

So, with the vision firmly planted in your mind’s eye of a man completely out of touch with reality, seeking wisdom from a mysterious talking bird — knowing that there is only one response, no matter the question — Dear Reader, allow me to present to you a chart. It is one I have used before, but its importance is enormous, and it will form the foundation of this week’s discussion (alongside a few others that break it down into its constituent parts).

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you (drumroll please) total outstanding credit versus GDP in the United States from 1929 to 2012:

This one chart shows exactly WHY we are where we are, folks.

From the moment Richard Nixon toppled the US dollar from its golden foundation and ushered in the era of pure fiat money (oxymoron though that may be) on August 15, 1971, there has been a ubiquitous and dangerous synonym for “growth”: credit.

The world embarked upon a multi-decade credit-fueled binge and claimed the results as growth.

Fanciful.

Floated ever higher on a cushion of credit that has expanded exponentially, as you can see. (The expansion of true growth would have been largely linear — though one can only speculate as to the trajectory of that GDP line had so much credit NOT been extended.) The world has congratulated itself on its “outperformance,” when the truth is that bills have been run up relentlessly, with only the occasional hiccup along the way (each of which has manifested itself as a violent reaction to the over-extension of cheap money).

Folks, rates WILL have to go up again. They cannot stay at zero forever. We all know that. When they DO, because of all the additional debt that has been ladled atop the existing pile, the whole thing will come tumbling down.

All of it.

There is simply no way out, I am afraid. But that is clearly a problem for another day. Right now, everything is fine, so we can all go on pretending it will continue that way.

Evermore.

So now, if you’ll indulge me in a little poetic license (not to mention there being not one but four mysterious strangers in my offering), I give you, “The Maven” (abridged version):

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of financial lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door 
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — for the world had sought to borrow
From both friend and foe and neighbour — borrow, borrow, borrow more
For the cheap and easy money which the bankers forth did pour
Shall be paid back nevermore.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered words, “Some More?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “Some More”
Merely this and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped four stately Mavens from the Central Banks of yore;
Not the least obeisance made they; not a minute stopped or stayed they;
But, with air of lord or lady, stood inside my chamber door —
Standing by a mug from Dallas just inside my chamber door —
Stood, and stared, and nothing more.

Then these tired-looking men beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance they wore,
“Though thy faces look unshaven, thou,” I said, “art sure enslaven’d,
Ghastly grim and ancient Mavens wandering from the Nightly shore —
To free money ever after lest the markets pitch and yaw.”
Quoth the Mavens, “Evermore.”

While I marvelled this ungainly bearded man explained so plainly,
Though his answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For he cannot help a-printing, brand new currency a-minting
Ever yet was blessed with seeing nothing wrong in doing more
Mortgage bonds upon his balance sheet he’ll place, then markets jaw
With the promise “Evermore.”

“You there” said I, “standing muted — what is there to do aboot it?”
In a heavy accent quoth he — that by God he was quite sure
That more money being printed and, new measures being hinted
At would quell all fear of meltdown and the markets all would soar
Would this mean the printing presses would forever roar?
Quoth the Maven, “Evermore.”

Lastly to the fore there strode a small and bookish man, Kuroda,
Who with glint of eye did warn that he was happy to explore
Measures once thought so outrageous as to never mark the pages
In the history of finance — but those times were days of yore
Drastic printing was required, this was tantamount to war
Quoth the Maven, “Evermore.”

And the Mavens, never blinking, only sitting, only thinking
By the Cowboys mug from Dallas just inside my chamber door;
Really do believe their action has created decent traction,
And that freshly printed money can spew forth for evermore;
But the truth about the ending shall be seen when markets, bending
Shall be lifted — nevermore!

The full must-read Grant Williams letter is below:

Ttmygh Dec 09 2013

 

Marc Faber Warns The Fed “Will Never End Its Insane Policies” | Zero Hedge

Marc Faber Warns The Fed “Will Never End Its Insane Policies” | Zero Hedge.

“The Fed will never end QE for good…” blasts Marc Faber, “they may do some cosmetic adjustments, but within a few years, [Fed] asset purchases will be substantially higher than they are today.” There will be another weakening in the US economy, Faber warns, and “the Fed will argue it hasn’t done enough and will do more… they have been irresponsible for 20 years.”

Noting that investors should “not buy stocks but be in cash”, the stunned CNBC anchor exclaims “How could you sit in cash when th emarket is on fire and interest rates are so low?” to which Faber blasts, “The market is not on fire, look at IBM, Cisco, and Intel – all lower than 2011; it’s on fire if you are in Facebook or Twitter and not everyone owns them.”

Use rallies to reduce exposure, he warns, “we will go up until it is over; and when it is over the drop will be larger than 20%”

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