Naked Capitalism

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Weekend Reading: Mental Floss





The real enemy of investors is not these fairly routine 10 or 20% downturns. The real enemy is the bear market that is associated with a recession or crisis, the one that knocks your equity block down by 40 or 50%. And actually it isn’t even the depth that is the real enemy. For most investors the enemy is time.

 
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Technology, Competition, And The 'Crapification' Of Jobs





The 'crapification' of jobs is the direct result of the 'crapification' of the economy.

 
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Lawrence Wilkerson: "The American 'Empire' Is In Deep, Deep Trouble"





Former US army colonel and Chief of Staff for Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson unleashed a most prescient speech on the demise of the United States Empire. Wilkerson describes the path of empires in decline, shows how the US is following the classic trajectory, and needs to make a transition to being one of many powers and focus more on strategies of international cooperation... "History tells us we’re probably finished... The rest of of the world is awakening to the fact that the United States is 1) strategically inept and 2) not the power it used to be. And that the trend is to increase that."

 
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Weekend Reading: Capacious Cognitions





With the Federal Reserve still hinting at raising interest rates, but trapped by weak economic growth, will the next big move by the Fed be another form of monetary accommodation instead? Or, are the underlying dynamics of the economy and market really strong enough to shake off the recent weakness and continue its bullish ascent?

 
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Weekend Reading: Is This The Big One?





"The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the 'ingredients' for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst, they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."

 
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Paul Craig Roberts: Greece's Lesson For Russia





Greece’s lesson for Russia, and for China and Iran, is to avoid all financial relationships with the West. The West simply cannot be trusted. The “globalism” that is hyped in the West is inconsistent with Washington’s unilateralism. No country with assets inside the Western system can afford to have policy differences with Washington. It is testimony to the insouciance of our time that the stark inconsistency of globalism with American unilateralism has passed unnoticed.

 
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Former SEC Officials Demand SEC Chief: Stop Protecting Corporate Cronyism





The primary job of modern American regulators is to protect entrenched status quo interests. Protecting the public doesn’t even factor into the equation.

 
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Four TBTF Banks Threaten To Withhold Funds To Democrats Over Elizabeth Warren's Wall Street Rants





Having already proven that their institutions are above the law in the aftermath of the financial crisis, executives at the “Too Big to Fail and Jail” banks have decided it’s time to teach Senate Democrats a lesson. Not being content with trillions in taxpayer backed bailouts to protect and further consolidate virtually all wealth within their oligarch fiefdoms, these bankers are irate at the notion that a commoner would dare criticize their unassailable crony privilege. What Wall Street wants is one hundred Chucky Schumers in the Senate.

 
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Time For #GreekLivesMatter





If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem an accomplice. The Troika’s willingness to turn Greece into a failed state first, as a side effect of its “rescue the French and German banks” operation, and now, as part of its German hegemony protection racket, is killing people and in the longer term will only accelerate the rise of extreme right wing elements in the Eurozone. Readers in the US know that the #BlackLivesMatter campaign has succeeded in bringing people of all races together to protest police brutality against African Americans. Given The ECB, IMF, and Germany's moves, perhaps it's time for #GreekLivesMatter to get as much attention.

 
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2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age





Joseph Goebbels had nothing on US and European media today.

That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent. These days, the media can make people believe just about anything, and they have the added benefit that they can pose as friends of the people, not the enemy. But there is a reason why such a large ‘industry’ has developed on the web with people writing articles that don’t say what the mass media say. That reason for is, obviously, first and foremost that not everybody believes whatever they are told. The problem is equally obvious: not nearly enough people are being reached to make a true difference, and to question the official narratives.

 
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Chart Of The Day – This Is What Neo-Feudalism Looks Like





"until relatively recently, a profit share of GDP of 6% was perceived to be a cyclical peak; no less than Warren Buffet deemed a higher level to be unsustainable... but the inflection point in profit share is 1987, when Greenspan became Fed chairman. Correlation may not be causation, but the timing is almost exact."

 
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UltraLong Bond Madness – Issuance Of 30 Year+ Maturity Debt Soars 22% In 2014





Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting the surge in what it calls “ultralong” bonds, defined as having a maturity of more than 30 years. The findings are simply stunning. In what may seem counterintuitive, bond yields at hundred year plus lows in many countries has led major investment firms to rush into ever riskier and longer duration fixed income securities just to earn some income. This has opened the floodgates to governments and corporations looking to lock in low yields on debt they won’t have to pay back for a generation. Just to name a few, this year we have already seen a 100-year bond sale by Mexico, two separate 50-year bond issuances by Canada, and wait for this one, Spain of all countries is set to try to sell a 50-year bond!

 
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Elizabeth Warren Torches Janet Yellen on Too-Big-To-Fail





Yellen’s acting routine is worthy of an Academy Award. In her role, she plays a caring, sweet, grandmotherly type figure all concerned about the poor and middle-class, when reality points to a career as a staunch, frontline protector of the bankster oligarchy.

 
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5 Things To Ponder: Under The Surface





This week was very busy with economic data. For the most part, the majority of the data came basically inline with expectations. However, the internals of the various reports were much less encouraging. The most noteworthy report, and the least important from an investment standpoint, was the monthly employment report which came in at 288,000 jobs for the month. As with the bulk of other reports, the more important details were lost to the headlines... full-time employment relative to the working age population has remained primarily stagnant since the financial crisis and actually fell in the latest month. This is a key reason why economic growth continues to struggle.

 
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