ETC

Ali Is Dead, Fear Is Alive & Free Speech Is Being Dealt A Knock-Out Punch

Ultimately the war on free speech - and that’s exactly what it is: a war being waged by Americans against other Americans - is a war that is driven by fear. America is in the midst of an epidemic of historic proportions. The contagion being spread like wildfire is turning communities into battlegrounds and setting Americans one against the other. Normally mild-mannered individuals caught up in the throes of this disease have been transformed into belligerent zealots, while others inclined to pacifism have taken to stockpiling weapons and practicing defensive drills. This plague on our nation - one that has been carefully cultivated and spread by the powers-that-be - is a potent mix of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic hallmarks of the post-9/11 America in which we live.

Would New All-Time Highs Negate The Bear Market?

... it is not uncommon for the markets to briefly make new “all-time” highs during a correction process as emotional sentiment runs ahead of fundamental and economic deterioration.

Nausea Rising

The people of the United States have real grievances with the way this country is being run but, considering that the 2016 election looks like a Dark Age puppet show, we forget this spectacle is serious. Rather large matters are at stake, such as the continuity of governance, the legitimacy of the two major political parties, the credibility of our financial arrangements, perhaps even the durability of the nation as a united polity.

What Most Syrians See Of Their War

Not only are the various jihadist groups despised by from two-thirds to around 80% of the Syrian public, but at least 55% of Syrians would vote for Bashar al-Assad to be the country’s leader, in any free and fair election — and Obama knows this, which is the reason why he has strenuously opposed democracy in Syria, and even Ban ki-Moon has (though very quietly) condemned Obama’s position that rejects democracy in Syria. Furthermore, the Syrian people overwhelmingly (by 82%, to be exact) cite the U.S. as being the main source of the immense suffering they face.

Grasshopper Nation: Planning For Those Who Aren't Prepared

The rift between the preparedness-minded and those not is age-old. Humans aren't wired well to respond to future risk that isn't visible as an immediate threat. And temperamentally, we prefer good news over bad, so we seek to overweight the former and discount the latter. Who wants to stress out about what "might" happen tomorrow, anyways -- can't we just enjoy life today? But to fail to plan for the needs of the unprepared is, in itself, a plan to fail. After all: it's a grasshopper nation, and we ants are too few.

Just Three Things

Historically speaking, it is unlikely that with reported earnings early in the reversion process that we will see a sharp recovery in the second half of the year as currently expected by the majority of mainstream analysts. As long as the Fed remains accommodative, the deviation between fundamentals and fantasy will continue to stretch to extremes. The end result of which has never “been different this time.”

The Stunning Idiocy Of Steel Tariffs

It took these several centuries of learned debate to finally get rid of most of Charlemagne’s extensive and absurd price controls. So essentially, today’s bureaucrats are assuming the role  once played by kings, popes and their representatives in determining “just” prices. It sounds almost as though more than a thousand years of progress have just gone “poof”. Obviously though, the governments involved in this trade spat are only acting in the best interests of steel workers. Just as they are only acting in the best interests of taxi drivers when regulating Uber out of existence in a city. Why, we should actually consider bringing back VHS video while we’re at it. Someone must have made those tape machines and tapes, and obviously they’re all out of a job as well. How are we ever going to have jobs if we don’t stop progress?

Why This Friday's Payrolls Report Could See A Big Miss

When the main economic event this week hits this Friday at 8:30 am EDT, when the BLS releases the May payrolls report, Wall Street consensus wil be expecting a 160,000 print, a number which will have a big impact on market expectations for a Fed rate hike at the June or July FOMC meeting. However, consensus may be disappointed for one reason: the Verizon strike could chop off as much as 35,000 workers from the headline payrolls print.

The Source of Failure: We Optimize What We Measure

The problems we face cannot be fixed with policy tweaks and minor reforms. Yet policy tweaks and minor reforms are all we can manage when the pie is shrinking and every vested interest is fighting to maintain their share of the pie. Our failure stems from a much deeper problem: we optimize what we measure. If we measure the wrong things, and focus on measuring process rather than outcome, we end up with precisely what we have now: a set of perverse incentives that encourage self-destructive behaviors and policies.

If You Think Cultural Fragmentation Is Bad Now...

As technology continues to fragment communication and the spread of ideas, people will continue to pursue their own individual interests with the effect of further cultural divergence. We are heading toward a world where we can build our own echo chambers and shut off anything we find offensive or unpleasant. In other words, if you think that cultural fragmentation is bad now — or that the Trump supporters are suggesting extreme measures in order to reimpose a degree of cultural hegemony - you ain’t seen nothing yet. The decentralization of warfare through the adptation of drone technology and things like 3-D printed guns and bullets means that many skirmishes will likely be fought over this stuff again.