"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."
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.
"Where ignorance is bliss, it's folly to be wise..."
The primary job of modern American regulators is to protect entrenched status quo interests. Protecting the public doesn’t even factor into the equation.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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!
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.
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.
In light of the stunning upset Dave Brat just pulled off against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this week, many are asking the question as to whether or not we are seeing a genuine political shift against the incredibly corrupt status quo. One thing that is abundantly clear is that any candidate with strong ties to Wall Street will be attacked like a piñata. While the mainstream media likes to talk nonsense about how Brat won because of his opposition to immigration reform, it appears the opposite is true. His winning issue was actually crony capitalism and Wall Street theft. Charlie Rangel has been a U.S. Representative. since 1971 and is currently the third longest serving Congressperson in America. He turned 84 years old this past Wednesday, and was at the center of a tax avoidance scandal several years ago. Of course, if a mere pleb like us were caught avoiding taxes we’d likely face harsh consequences. However, for a crony politician like Charlie Rangel all is forgiven and is allowed to continue to “represent” his constituents... his primary is June 24th.
The massive consolidation of wealth, combined with the removal of any limits on money in campaigns, has allowed for the purchase of our government. Americans know that something is wrong, deeply wrong. They see signs of the problem everywhere: income inequality, growing concentration and power of mega corporations, political donations/corruption, the absence of jobs with decent salaries, the explosion of the US prison population, healthcare costs, student loan debt, homelessness, etc. etc. However, the true causes and benefactors behind these problems are purposely hidden from view. What Americans see is Kabuki Theater of a functioning form of capitalism and democracy, but beyond this veneer our country has devolved into the exact opposite.
Mr. Bowden, who heads the SEC’s examinations unit, speaking at a private equity conference, explained that “more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws.” What is so incredible about the talk, is that while Bowden goes into details of shady practice after shady practice, he ultimately admits that the SEC isn’t being particularly aggressive with the private equity industry because “we believe that most people in the industry are trying to do the right thing, to help their clients, to grow their business, and to provide for their owners and employees.” What the SEC is basically admitting, is that private equity firms are also “too big to regulate” and, of course, “too big to jail.”
As another week passes by the markets have made no real movement in months. News flow, outside of Yellen's testimony, was also rather slow as first quarter's earnings season begins to come to a close. However, there were a few articles that we read this week that we thought you might find interesting as well... from the dangers of hidden leverage (in the re-burgeoning CDO markets) to the history if bubbles (and their lack of logic) and the demise of the US small business.