Last November, in an act of sheer monetary desperation, the ECB issued an exhaustive, and quite ridiculous, pamphlet titled "Virtual Currency Schemes" in which it mocked and warned about the "ponziness" of such electronic currencies as BitCoin. Why a central bank would stoop so "low" to even acknowledge what no "self-respecting" (sic) PhD-clad economist would even discuss, drunk and slurring, at cocktail parties, remains a mystery to this day. However, that it did so over fears the official artificial currency of the insolvent continent, the EUR, may be becoming even more "ponzi" than the BitCoins the ECB was warning about, was clear to everyone involved who saw right through the cheap propaganda attempt. Feel free to ask any Cypriot if they would now rather have their money in locked up Euros, or in "ponzi" yet freely transferable, unregulated BitCoins. And while precious metals have been subject to price manipulation by the legacy establishment, even if ultimately the actual physical currency equivalent asset, its "value" naively expressed in some paper currency, may be in the possession of the beholder, to date no price suppression or regulation schemes of virtual currencies existed. At least until now: it appears that the ever-benevolent, and always knowing what is "in your best interest" Big Brother has decided to finally take a long, hard look at what is going on in the world of BitCoin... and promptly crush it.
Greece was a unique and special case. Cyprus is a unique and special case. One wonders, and with good reason, what or who will be the next unique and special case. The one thing we all know for certain is that when you are tagged with this moniker that it is not good. The other thing we know is that Europe, at any time, is ready to create unique and special cases to further their own interests. Perhaps, to be fair, it might be better to say that Germany will lord over this dynamic because it is generally the German interests which are to be furthered. Therefore when unique and special cases have become the order of the day then the risk factors for investing in Europe have grown dramatically and must be honestly considered. The greater fool theory is expecting different results when performing the same actions again and again. Europe may be fine for hedge funds, for gambling upon events, but for investors; perhaps not so much.
Still in WallStreetPro withdrawal? We may have just the methadone fix for you... "You will lose your f##king money in your bank," is how this English gentleman cabbie begins his caustic diatribe against all that is wrong with European (and in fact) the world of bankers and elites. The so-called 'artist taxi driver' has a spit-flying hand-smashing epic rant while sitting in his taxi. "They did a stress test on the banks in Cyprus 18 months ago and said it's f##king great" and now this; "this is some f##king crooked shit." "They're off their f##king nuts mate," he explains as he asks rhetorically of the bankers getting the bailouts, "how many f##king ponies do their daughters' need?" Insightfully he remarks that, "Cyprus could be the beginning of a bigger and f##king worse financial crisis," and exclaims "[Goldman Sachs and the Bankers] are looking after their own interest - who are they f##king borrowing money to in Cyprus?" His exasperation is one many can empathize with we are sure as he concludes, "We need to shut down the f##king markets... What kind of society allows the rich people to be gambling while the poor people f##king die," ending with a warning, "Wake the f##k up!"
Would You Rather Have Your Deposits Confiscated, Or Used By JPMorgan's Prop Trading Desk To Buy Stocks?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2013 08:35 -0500
At this point a question is in order: while in Cyprus, and soon probably elsewhere, the government will openly confiscate deposits to fund insolvent banking systems, in the US excess deposits are used by the prop desks of banks like JPMorgan to inflate risk assets, corner a bond market (IG9), and to generally create a wealth effect... for the 1%.
- Cypriot Bank Levy Is ‘Ominous’ for Bondholders, Barclays Says (BBG)
- Euro, Stocks Drops; Gold, German Bonds Rally on Cyprus (BBG)
- Total chaos:Cyprus tries to rework divisive bank tax (Reuters)
- More total chaos: Cyprus Prepares New Deposit-Tax Proposal (WSJ)
- Euro Slides Most in 14 Months on Cyprus Turmoil; Yen Strengthens (BBG)
- Osborne to admit fresh blow to debt target (FT)
- Even the Finns are giving up: Finnish Government May Relinquish Deficit Target to Boost Growth (BBG)
- Moody’s Sees Defaults as PBOC Warns on Local Risks (BBG)
- Australia Faces ‘Massive Hit’ to Government Revenue, Swan Says (BBG)
- Inside a Warier Fed, Watch the New Guy (Hilsenrath)
- Obama to Tap Perez for Labor Secretary (WSJ) - and with that the "minorities" quota is full
- Finally, this should be good: BuzzFeed to Launch Business Section (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Report Piles Pressure on Dimon in Too-Big Debate (BBG)
- Employers Blast Fees From New Health Law (WSJ)
- Obama unveils US energy blueprint (FT)
- Obama to Push Advanced-Vehicle Research (WSJ) - here come Solar-powered cars?
- BRICs Abandoned by Locals as Fund Outflows Reach 1996 High (BBG)
- Obama won't trip over Netanyahu's Iran "red line" (Reuters)
- Samsung puts firepower behind Galaxy (FT)
- Boeing sees 787 airborne in weeks with fortified battery (Reuters)
- Greece Counts on Gas, Gambling to Revive Asset Sales Tied to Aid (BBG)
- Goldman’s O’Neill Says S&P 500 Beyond 1,600 Needs Growth (BBG)
- China’s new president in corruption battle (FT)
- Post-Chavez Venezuela as Chilly for Companies From P&G to Coke (BBG)
And the Stock Rally Is Due to Money-Printing
Hedge fund icon Stanley Druckenmiller sat down with Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle, saying that he’s decided to speak out now because he sees "a storm coming, maybe bigger than the storm we had in 2008, 2010." His fear is that the ballooning costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (which with unfunded liabilities are as high as $211 trillion) will bankrupt the nation's youth an pose a much greater danger than the debt currently being debated in Congress. He said, "While everybody is focusing on the here and now, there's a much, much bigger storm that's about to hit... I am not against seniors. What I am against is current seniors stealing from future seniors." While not exactly Maxine Waters' sequestration-based 170 million job loss, this concerning interview is must-see for his clarity and forthrightness from who is to blame, to the consequences of gridlock, our society's short-term thinking, and the concerning demographics the US faces.
Since the Fed is doing all it can to relieve the big banks and all legacy debtors of their debt obligations, it is only fair that those incumbered with student debt - impacting those who can least afford it - and which is at least on the surface nondischargeable, are afforded the same opportunity. So here is a primer for the rest of us - those who don't have $1.8 trillion in very fungible reserves holed up with the Federal Reserve. As Christopher Glazek and Sean Monahan note, discharging student debt is a black-box dilemma. While bankruptcy protocols are always complex, student debt is loaded with its own special brand of illegibility. Debtors are misled by the media into thinking that discharging student loans is impossible and shamed into treating the mere notion of relief as a form of extravagant welfare-queenism - however, there is a way (or 12 ways) to show your future life prospects are characterized by a “certainty of hopelessness.”
The best performing currency year-to-date has no home country, no central banker and no physical scrip; it is the online-only ‘Bitcoin’ and as we noted recently, it is becoming more mainstream. BTC, as the currency is known, up 130% year to date in dollar terms, thanks to rising demand from a wide variety of adherents, which ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, includes libertarian activists, small businesses, online drug dealers and gambling sites. That makes the Bitcoin a controversial subject, to be sure, but Nick notes we can also learn from this unique case study a lesson in global economics. Bitcoin ‘Money supply’ growth is capped at a slow rate – far below its current levels of demand. That makes it prone to boom-bust cycles. It also has no sovereign sponsorship, which means it works outside any nation’s security apparatus. Lose your bitcoins to hackers? Tough luck – there is no FDIC in these parts. Still, Colas concludes, in the creation and growth of the Bitcoin it is not hard to see the online future of currency, especially as real-world alternatives continue to struggle with sluggish economies.
- Grillo kills move to break Italy deadlock (FT)
- Abe nominates Kuroda to run BoJ (FT)
- More WMT bad news: Wal-Mart Chief Administrative Officer Mars to Leave: WSJ (BBG)
- Japan's Abe: Islands Are Indisputably Ours (WSJ) - Except for China of course
- Low-key departure as pope steps down, to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world" (Reuters)
- Cuts unlikely to deliver promised budget savings (Reuters)
- European Union caps bankers’ bonuses (FT)
- White House, Republicans dig in ahead of budget talks (Reuters)
- Jockeying Stalls Deal on Cuts (WSJ)
- Argentina Says It Won’t Voluntarily Comply With Bond Ruling (BBG)
- Italian president says forming new government cannot be rushed (Reuters) - or happen at all
- Central Banks Spewing Cash Must Plan Exit Timing, Rohde Says (BBG)
- China Regional Targets Cut in Sign Debt Concerns Heeded (BBG)
- RBA Says Up to 34 Central Banks Holding Australian Dollars (BBG)
A week after the epic fail of Atlantic City's Revel casino, and in the middle of the gambling 'mecca's rebuilding, the mayor of this always-above-board city has voted himself a $16,000 per annum pay rise; why not, he is entitled, right? Well it seems Chris Christie has a few things to say about that:
*CHRISTIE BLASTS ATLANTIC CITY MAYOR FOR $16,000 PAY RAISE
*CHRISTIE SAYS A.C. GOVERNMENT `GOING DOWN THE CHUTE'
*CHRISTIE SAYS ATLANTIC CITY GOVERNMENT IS `GOD-AWFUL'
- Wal-Mart's Sales Problem—And America's (WSJ)
- Investors fret that Italy may undermine ECB backstop (Reuters)
- Monti Government Mulls Delaying Monte Paschi Bailout (BBG)
- Norway Faces Liquidity Shock in Record Redemption (BBG)
- ECB's Praet Says Accommodative Policy Could Lose Effectiveness (BBG)
- EU Chiefs Tell Italy There’s No Alternative to Austerity (BBG)
- New Spate of Acrimony in congress As Cuts Loom (WSJ)
- BOE's Tucker hints at radical growth moves (FT)
- Kuroda Seen Getting DPJ Vote for BOJ, Iwata May Be Opposed (BBG)
- Russian Banks Look to Yuan Bond Market (WSJ)
- Dagong warns about rising debt (China Daily)
- Italy Election Impasse Negative for Credit Rating, Moody’s Says (BBG)
Peak oil we can handle. We find new sources, we develop alternatives, and/or prices rise. It's all but certain that by the time we actually run out of oil, we'll already have shifted to something else. But "peak water" is a different story. There are no new sources; what we have is what we have. Absent a profound climate change that turns the evaporation/rainfall hydrologic cycle much more to our advantage, there likely isn't going to be enough to around. As the biosphere continually adds more billions of humans (the UN projects there will be another 3.5 billion people on the planet, a greater than 50% increase, by 2050 before a natural plateau really starts to dampen growth), the demand for clean water has the potential to far outstrip dwindling supplies. If that comes to pass, the result will be catastrophic. People around the world are already suffering and dying en masse from lack of access to something drinkable... and the problems look poised to get worse long before they get better.
As the markets once again approach historic highs - the overly exuberant tone, extreme complacency and weakness in the economic data, bring to mind Bob Farrell's 10 investment rules. These rules should be a staple for any long term successful investor. These rules are often quoted yet rarely heeded - just as they are now. Farrell became a pioneer in sentiment studies and market psychology. His 10 rules on investing stem from personal experience with dull markets, bull markets, bear markets, crashes and bubbles. In short, Farrell has seen it all and lived to tell about it. Despite endless warnings, repeated suggestions and outright recommendations - getting investors to sell, take profits and manage your portfolio risks is nearly a lost cause as long as the markets are rising. Unfortunately, by the time the fear, desperation or panic stages are reached it is far too late to act and we will only be able to say that we warned you.