CRAP

Golden Age For Smartphones Ends As Upgrade Rates Tumble

The recent attempt by AT&T to expand into the smartphone leasing business company in order to encourage customers to upgrade their equipment more frequently only confirms something that most industry observers have suspected for a long time: end customers have finally had it with annual (or even biannual) cell phone updates. And now we have proof. According to the WSJ, fewer people are upgrading their smartphones: "The rates at which American cellphone users have traded in their devices for more advanced models have declined over the last few years, according to analysts at UBS. They turned negative last year, when about 68 million people upgraded their phones in the U.S., down more than 9% from a year earlier." That was the first year in the past decade in which the turnover rate was below 0%. Sadly for Apple, Samsung and their competitors, 2013 is not shaping up any better: "UBS predicts upgrades will fall again this year."

10 Things Most Americans Don't Know About America

In an effort to soften the blow to our American readers, here is an analogy: You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually screwed you up a little bit. The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it. And to our foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

Guest Post: Get Ready For The Next Great Stock Market Exodus

In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon. Why did 2008 creep up on so many people? Weren’t there plenty of economists out there “preaching to the choir” at that time? Weren’t there plenty of signals? Weren’t there plenty of practical conclusions being made about the future? And yet, the world was left stunned. The truth is, human beings have a nasty habit of ignoring the cold hard facts of the present in the hopes of using apathy as a magical elixir for future prosperity. They want to believe that disaster is a mindset, that it is a boogeyman under their bed that can be defeated through blind optimism. Collapse, from a historical perspective, seems to occur when the searchlights of the individual mind are dimmest, when the threat is the greatest, and when we are most comfortable in our ignorance.

"Awash In Self-Delusional Cornucopianism"

For most people, the collapse of civilizations is a subject much more appetizingly viewed in the rear-view mirror than straight ahead down whatever path or roadway we are on. Jared Diamond wrote about the collapse of earlier civilizations to great acclaim and brisk sales, in a nimbus of unimpeachable respectability. The stories he told about bygone cultures gone to seed were, above all, dramatic. No reviewers or other intellectual auditors dissed him for suggesting that empires inevitably run aground on the shoals of resource depletion, population overshoot, changes in the weather, and the diminishing returns of complexity. Yet these are exactly the same problems that industrial-technocratic societies face today, and those of us who venture to discuss them are consigned to a tin-foil-hat brigade, along with the UFO abductees and Bigfoot trackers.

Japanese Stocks Halted; Plunge 1500 Points To Close Down 7.3% - Biggest Drop In 26 Months

UPDATE 1: They are panicking... BOJ injected 2 trillion yen ($19.4 billion) into the financial system to stem volatility following a circuit breaker in JGB futures trading.

UPDATE 2: Nikkei 225 is now down 1500 points from its highs and down 1150 (over 7%) from yesterday's close

UPDATE 3: The Final closing data is a disaster with JPY surging back to 101.50 (carry trades getting baumgartner'd everywhere), stocks down over 7%, and 10Y JGBs swinging from +11bps at the open to -6bps at the close for the second biggest range day in a decade...

All the time it is just the quadrillion JPY second-largest bond market in the world that is experiencing volatility on an unprecedented scale, the BoJ and her partners in crime are more than willing to 'officially' say "please do not worry." But when the equity market - that barometer of everything good and holy about Abenomics starts to crater, you can bet the excuses will come fast and furious. Today's drop of over 1500 points (over 9%) from the earlier highs is the largest drop for the Nikkei 225 since March 2011. The Nikkei 225 just lost the all-powerful 15,000 level and is suffering another VaR shock with a 6-sigma move today. In fact given the price levels this drop is on par with the post-Lehman moves in 2008. The question now (with US equity futures also fading fast -20 points and JPY crosses getting hammered) is how will the Japanese risk appetite for peripheral European crap hold up with this crimping in their plan as Japanese bonds and stocks dump?

Guest Post: Abnormalcy Bias

The political class set in motion the eventual obliteration of our economic system with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Placing the fate of the American people in the hands of a powerful cabal of unaccountable greedy wealthy elitist bankers was destined to lead to poverty for the many, riches for the connected crony capitalists, debasement of the currency, endless war, and ultimately the decline and fall of an empire. The 100 year downward spiral began gradually but has picked up steam in the last sixteen years, as the exponential growth model, built upon ever increasing levels of debt and an ever increasing supply of cheap oil, has proven to be unsustainable and unstable. Those in power are frantically using every tool at their disposal to convince Boobus Americanus they have everything under control and the system is operating normally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Gym Partner Profiles Dead Bomber

Earlier, we presented a captioned photo profile of one of the two alleged terrorists, the 26 year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev who died last night in a shoot-out with the Boston Police. As a follow up, Bloomberg has conducted an interview with one of his gym sparring partners, "Jon K" who trained with Tamerlan in the same Boston gym, and who told BBG TV that "he seemed like a really nice guy, to himself and a little bit arrogant and cocky, but he helped people at the gym all the time with their boxing and was friendly with everyone. It's a complete shock." Jon, who asked that his last name not be used, said: "All week, I have been wondering who the psycho was and it turns out that it was somebody I interacted with. It is shocking, especially as an athlete, he was an athlete, that he would do this to other athletes and just anyone in general."