We are used to hedge fund managers blindly making up "facts" to hide the reality that nothing else matters (most definitely not fundamentals) except the Fed's balance sheet (in order to defend his 2-and-20 sapping performance). So it is ironic that Pershing Square's Bill Ackman has added to his previous 342-slide PowerPoint presentation with the following 61 pages of his reality in the hope that market technicals (i.e. the weight of activist longs and shrinking float) and momentum will give way to his view that 'these' Herbalife's fundamentals will eventually win. Good luck with that...
Most people – certainly most governments and economists – define inflation as a general rise in prices. But this is wrong. Inflation is an increase in the money supply, of which a rising general price level is just one possible result – and not the most common one. More often, excessive money creation shows up as asset bubbles, where the new money, instead of flowing equally to all the products that are for sale at a given time, flow disproportionately into the ‘hottest’ asset classes. In each case, mainstream economists and government officials pointed to modest consumer price inflation as a sign that things were fine. And in each case they were simply looking in the wrong place and completely missing the destabilizing effects of an inflating money supply. Now we’re at it again, with economists, legislators and central bankers using low consumer price inflation as a rationale for even easier money, while ignoring epic bubbles in sovereign bonds, equities, high-end real estate and collectibles around the world. A chart tracking the tangible asset classes of the super-rich would show all lines going parabolic - except one, gold - for now.
Yet another case of rodents departing a sinking ship as the pent up discrepancy between reality and future expectations means imminent scapegoating of executives for poor performance:
- WAL-MART STORES NAMES DOUG MCMILLON CEO, SUCCEEDING MIKE DUKE
- BLACKBERRY SAYS ROGER MARTIN RESIGNS FROM BOARD
- BLACKBERRY SAYS COO, MARKETING CHIEF TO LEAVE; REPLACES CFO
You decide... The press releases are mind-blowingly full of fluff.
Another day, another carry currency-driven futures melt-up to daily record highs (the all important EURJPY soared overnight on the return of the now standard overnight Japanese jawboning of the JPY which sent the EURJPY just shy of a new 4 year high of 138 overnight), and another attempt by the ECB to have its record high market cake, and eat a lower Euro too (recall DB's said the "pain threshold" for the EUR/USD exchange rate - the level at which further appreciation impairs competitiveness and economic recovery - is $1.79 for Germany, $1.24 for France, and $1.17 for Italy) this time with ECB's Hansson repeating the generic talking point that the ECB is technically ready for negative deposit rates. However, with the halflife on such "threats" now measured in the minutes, and soon seconds, the European central bank will have to come up with something more original and creative soon, especially since the EURJPY can't really rise much more without really crushing European trade further.
Anyone suggesting that things are unraveling in fundamental ways quickly encounters a standard reflex response: "same as it ever was."
- Environmental degradation? Same as it ever was: humans have been trashing the environment for thousands of years.
- The influence of money in politics? Same as it ever was: money has always been the mother's milk of politics.
- The dominance of central bankers? Same as it ever was: the banks and the Federal Reserve have been colluding for decades. Income inequality? Same as it ever was: there will always be rich and poor, etc.
- The rise of the National Security State/Empire? Same as it ever was: Manifest Destiny, etc.
History lessons are all well and good, but this constant refrain of "same as it ever was" is actually a pernicious form of perception management, i.e. propaganda. The desperation is obvious, and so is the agenda: mask the reality that things are unraveling, and that it's no longer "same as it ever was."
With all eyes glued to the anniversary of the assassination of JFK 50 years ago, we thought it worth noting that the death of another important American figure - the USDollar - began exactly 100 years ago. Today in 1910 Sen. Aldrich, 1 yr after introducing an amendment to establish an income tax, convened the first secret meeting at Jekyll Island.
The assessment on the attached chart is very simple: as Stone McCarrthy puts it "this is an indication of an increase in structural unemployment." That statement is quite obvious to the millions of Americans who have been out of a job for years since the Lehman collapse, and have been unable to find a new job despite the plethora of "job openings." However, that's not all. What the implied unemployment rate based on the current level of Job Openings is, is even worse - because it is precisely at the 5.5% level where the Fed would not only taper, not only end QE but begin tightening!
Out of curiosity, we searched for the term “gold” in English language books starting in 1776. As one would expect back in the 18th and 19th centuries when gold was actually considered money, the instances of the word ‘gold’ favored prevalently in English language books at the time. The trend continued into the early part of the 20th century. But then something interesting happened in the mid-1930s. The use of the word ‘gold’ in English language books reached its peak… and began a steep, multi-decade decline. The last 10 years though, have seen that trend begin to shift...
In short: from January to September (we exclude the October 204K print as there is no matching JOLTS number yet) the average monthly jobs gain per the Non-farm Payrolls report is 184K. However, when looking at the implied job gains per the JOLTS Net Turnover, this number is a far more disturbing 150K, some 20% lower.
It is often said there only two kinds of people in this world: those who know, and those who don’t. We would expand on this and say that there are actually three kinds of people: those who know, those who don’t know, and those who don’t care to know. Members of the last group are the kind of people we would characterize as “sheeple.” Sheeple are members of a culture or society who are not necessarily oblivious to the reality of their surroundings; they may have been exposed to valuable truths on numerous occasions. However, when confronted with facts contrary to their conditioned viewpoint, they become aggressive and antagonistic in their behavior, seeking to dismiss and attack the truth by attacking the messenger and denying reason. Sheeple exist on both sides of America's false political paradigm, and they exist in all social "classes". We cannot imagine an existence more deserving of pity and remorse than that of the sheeple.
The best silver lining Goldman Sachs found when faced with the total and utter collapse in their global leading indicator swirlogram was - (probably) stabilizing. The only improving factor across all their global economic components was the US initial jobless claims (and that has been a farce wrapped in a debacle for 2 months of 'glitches'). Having led global industrial production for a few months, it seems the indicator is crashing back to reality as the summer's hopefulness is exsanguinated from hard and soft data around the world.
In every country we can think of, the sovereignty and wealth of the Nation, which was once the embodiment of the power and will of the people, is being butchered and sold to the highest bidder. Everywhere, the Nation and the people within it, are under attack. Not from without by terrorists but from within. Because in every country the people who run the State have largely decided they no longer wish to serve the people but prefer instead to serve the interests of a Global Over-Class. Of course we are not encouraged to see this clearly or if we do, certainly not to speak of it to others. And many of those we might try to talk to, do not want to hear.
A new opportunity to play "What's wrong with this picture" arose recently, with Larry Summers’ recent speech at the IMF and Paul Krugman’s follow-up blog. The two economists’ messages are slightly different, but combining them into one fictional character we shall call SK, their comments can be summed up "...essentially, we need to manufacture bubbles to achieve full employment equilibrium." With this new line of reasoning, SK have completely outdone themselves, but not in a good way. Think Jamie Dimon’s infamous “that’s why I’m richer than you” quip. Or, Bill Dudley’s memorable “but the price of iPads is falling” excuse for increases in basic living costs. Dimon and Dudley managed to encapsulate in single sentences much of what’s wrong with their institutions. Yet, they showed baffling ignorance of faults that are clear to the rest of us.
Perhaps this should have been a "Humor" post but in possibly the most ironic news story of the day, New York-based SEC employee Steven Gilchrist was charged with three counts of making false statements regarding the nature of his personal financial holdings. As WSJ reports, the 48-year-old compliance examiner at the agency, allegedly certified that his stock holdings were in compliance with the agency's ethics rules, when in reality he had held shares of six companies that agency staffers are barred from holding. The SEC is "very disappointed that an employee allegedly made false statements to conceal prohibited holdings after being told by our ethics office to divest." Gilchrist, unlike Cohen, faces a maximum 15 year sentence!
We wish we could say we didn't warn Boeing's machinists about the key trend taking place in the US economy under the Obama "recovery" but unfortunately we did. Three years ago, to be specific, when we wrote: "Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society" and followed it up with "A "Quality Assessment" Of US Jobs Reveals The Ugliest Picture Yet" in which we explained that while the propaganda machine was fixated on numeric, quantitative, job additions every month, what has subversively going on, was the constant deterioration in the quality of jobs - and specifically the declining wages - available to those Americans who had not rotated outside of the labor force permanently (currently at a record 91.5 million). We say "alas" because it once again took several years before our cautions to be felt by the broader population, in this case the Boeing machinist union struggling to extract a wage increase from its employer: Boeing, whose stock keeps hitting new record highs with every passing day.