The cruelty inherent in animal factory farming is something that we as a species should find completely and totally unacceptable. Indeed, evidence shows that when people are exposed to the nightmarish conditions faced by factory animals prior to consumption they demand change. This is precisely why corporate interests have pushed ag-gag laws throughout the nation in an attempt to criminalize the exposure of these methods.
Desperate people do desperate things, and it appears that Americans are rapidly becoming a lot more desperate. An epidemic of thievery is sweeping across America, and authorities are not quite sure what to make of it. So why is all of this happening? Well, as we have written about previously, crime is on the rise in the United States, and poverty is absolutely exploding. In fact, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month. Over the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of people that cannot take care of themselves without help from the government. Millions upon millions of Americans that have been forced into poverty are becoming increasingly angry, frustrated and desperate. And what we are watching right now is only just the beginning - all of this is going to get a whole lot worse.
Just days ahead of the most-anticipated IPO of the year, and despite the constant calming language from the mainstream media, as the WSJ notes, investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis, fueling a frenzy in the shares of newly listed companies that echoes the technology-stock craze of the late 1990s. October was the busiest month for U.S.-listed IPOs since 2007, and while 'everyone' is convinced that the Twitter IPO will be different from Facebook, the early exuberant demand suggests otherwise:
- *TWITTER SEES IPO PRICE $23-$25, HAD SEEN $17-$20
So a 25% rise in the offering price perhas best contextualizes the comments of one broker: "When I hear intelligent investors asking me not which companies are good to invest in, but which IPOs can I get into, it scares the heck of me."
Today, one of America's best-known welfare programs with 47.6 million participants or 15% of the total population, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as "foodstamps" or EBT, is due for a substantial haircut: beginning Friday, there will be a phased in $5 billion reduction (6% of the program) for the 12 month period starting November 1st 2013. So what happens next?
When will the U.S. labor market start to accelerate? That is the single most critical question for global capital markets, for it speaks directly to both economic growth and Federal Reserve monetary policy. But, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, just as important, however, is the question "Where do people actually want to work?" Nick's key conclusions: there is no evidence of any faster pace of hiring, and the trend of hiring part time labor over full time is both strong (a 3:1 ratio) and accelerating.
The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost. It is almost as if Obamacare was specifically designed to wreck the U.S. economy. Americans are going to pay far more for health care, the quality of that care is going to go down, they are going to have to deal with far more medical red tape, and thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering getting rid of the health plans that they offer to employees altogether due to Obamacare. If the U.S. health care system was a separate nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet, and now Obamacare is going to absolutely cripple it. To say that Obamacare is an "economic catastrophe" would be a massive understatement. Of course we were assured that it wouldn't turn out this way.
It has been a very interesting week as the Government shutdown/debt ceiling debate debacle moves into the background. The focus has now turned back towards the fundamentals of the market, economic environment and the ongoing Federal Reserve interventions. What is becoming increasingly evident is that market participants are once again potentially throwing "caution to the wind" betting on a belief that the Fed's ongoing Q.E. programs will continue to trump valuations and economics. After all, that has seemingly been the case up to this point. The problem is that no one really knows how this will turn out. However, as we discussed earlier this week, it is likely that we are close to finding out answer. In the meantime, here is our weekly list of "things to ponder this weekend."
Ordinary Americans Priced Out Of Housing: Institutional Purchases Hit Record, Half Of All Deals Are "All-Cash"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/24/2013 08:13 -0400
If there was any doubt that the US housing "recovery" is anything but the latest speculative play by deep-pocketed (namely those who already have access to cheap funding) investors, who are now engaged in rotating cash gains out of capital markets and into real estate, on their way hoping to flip newly-acquired properties to other wealthy investors, then the most recent, September, RealtyTrac report will put that to rest. To wit: Institutional investors (purchasing 10 or more properties in the last 12 months) accounted for 14 percent of all sales in September, up from 9 percent in August and also 9 percent in September 2012. September had the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases of any month since RealtyTrac began tracking in January 2011....All-cash purchases nationwide represented 49 percent of all residential sales in September, up from a revised 40 percent in August and up from 30 percent in September 2012. In other words, institutional purchases are now at all time highs, with all-cash accounting for half of all transactions!
Earlier this month, we highlighted the fact that the Carlyle Group was the latest in a series of “smart money” private equity firms to decide it was time to exit the suddenly extremely crowded “buy-to rent” residential real estate trade. Well it appears Carlyle has already started to make its move. In case you can’t figure out what appears to be the key logic behind the shift in focus, try this line on for size:
Because the cost of relocating a home is expensive, residents are less likely to move away. “Our customers have no alternative shot at homeownership, nor do they [normally] even have the credit scores and quality to seek anything better,” Mr. Rolfe said. “They never leave the park they are in, and the revenues are unbelievably stable as a result.”
In neo-feudalistic America, always, always go long serfdom.
Debunking Government’s Justification for Mass Surveillance
It’s a Myth that the U.S. Has Never Defaulted On Its Debt
Time is nearly up for Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve who supposedly applied his scholarly knowledge of the Great Depression to steer the U.S. to safety after the financial crisis. In truth, Bernanke navigated a monetarist course that favored intensive intervention, following in the footsteps of many mainstream economists who grossly misunderstood the lessons of the Crash of 1929 and the ensuing malaise. That lesson is that when corrective crashes occur, intervention is far from the cure — it is the cause.
They say "money can't buy happiness" (though it will pay for the search) and it seems despite all their billions, Tesla's Elon Musk and Amazon's Jeff Bezos just can't find a happy middle ground over the control of a historic launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. According to Bloomberg, SpaceX (Musk), and Blue Origin (Bezos) intend to ramp up their launch schedules and "there are a limited number of East Coast established launch sites." Of course, in the new normal we live in, both sides have taken the higher ground and are trying to get Congress' attention, "it doesn’t matter if you’re making buggy whips or rockets, the way to get Congress’ attention is to hire a lobbyist," and sure enough the letters are flying. And after all: what billionaire can be truly satisfied unless they own a rocket launch pad?
Private prisons are antithetical to a free people. Of all the functions a civilized society should relegate to the public sector, it’s abundantly clear incarceration should be at the very top of the list. Jailing individuals is a public cost that a society takes on in order to ensure there are consequences to breaking certain rules that have been deemed dangerous to the happiness and quality of life within a given population. However, the end goal of any civilized culture must be to try to keep these costs as low possible. This should be achieved by having as few people as possible incarcerated, which is most optimally achieved by reducing incidents of criminality within the population. Given incarceration is an undesirable (albeit necessary) part of any society, the idea is certainly not to incentivize increased incarceration by making it extremely profitable. This is a perverse incentive, and one that is strongly encouraged by the private prison industry to the detriment of society.
One would think following the ever louder public complaints against the use of drones that the Obama administration would take the hint and perhaps taper their remote controlled less-than-surgical-strike use. One would be wrong because as we have learned, the president has instead opted to double down and expand drone use by branching out into such manned legacy fighter jet territory as remote-controlled F-16s.