en New Jersey Emergency Alert System 'Accidentally' Sends Nuclear Warnings To Some TVs <p>Coming<a href=""> just a month after Project Gotham Shield</a>, <strong>a major nuclear detonation drill in the New York-New Jersey area,</strong> a false alarm that went out to some people&rsquo;s television sets Tuesday might have <strong>scared some in New Jersey</strong>.</p> <p><a href="">As NBC New York reports</a>, a nuclear power plant warning issued in Cumberland and Salem counties was sent out by mistake.</p> <p>The message that was sent out said<em><strong> &ldquo;a civil authority has issued a nuclear power plant warning for the following counties/areas.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 346px;" /></a></p> <p>A short time later, <strong>the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management Tweeted that the emergency alert was &ldquo;false.&rdquo;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>***FALSE EMERGENCY ALERT*** You may have seen this message on your TV tonight.There is NO emergency. This message went out in error</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="402" height="278" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Civil defense Disaster Emergency Alert System Emergency communication system Emergency management Environment NBC New Jersey Office Nuclear history of the United States Nuclear Power United States civil defense Warning systems Wireless Emergency Alerts Wed, 24 May 2017 17:46:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 596571 at Caught On Tape: Wasserman Schultz Threatens Police Chief For Investigating Her IT Staff's Crimes <p>Something stinks here.</p> <p><a href="">February we first reported on the Anwan brothers,</a> the (Not-Russian) IT Staff Who Allegedly Hacked Congress&#39; Computer Systems.</p> <p>Imran Awan seen below with Bill Clinton</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 561px; height: 267px;" /></a></p> <p>The brothers were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation&rsquo;s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members&rsquo; computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><strong>The three men are &ldquo;shared employees,&rdquo; </strong></a>meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services.</p> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Then in March</strong></span>,</a> we noted that House <strong>Democrats decided to delay the firing (until today) because their Muslim background, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is <strong>entitled to due process,</strong>&rdquo; Meeks said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fudge told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received &ldquo;due process.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. <strong>You don&rsquo;t fire someone until you talk to them,&rdquo; </strong>Fudge said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn&rsquo;t provide details about Imran Awan&rsquo;s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge&rsquo;s office as of Tuesday afternoon.</p> </blockquote> <p>The bottom line is simple - <strong>these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 561px; height: 329px;" /></a></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Then yesterday </strong></span>we reported that <strong>Congressional Aides Fear Suspects In IT Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data</strong>...</p> <p>The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It&rsquo;s been months at this point&rdquo; with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. &ldquo;Something is rotten in Denmark.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>A manager at a tech-services company that works with Democratic House offices said he approached congressional offices, offering their services at one-fourth the price of Awan and his Pakistani brothers, but the members declined. At the time, he couldn&rsquo;t understand why his offers were rejected but now he&nbsp;suspects the Awans exerted some type of leverage over members.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they&rsquo;d take me out&nbsp;in handcuffs that same day, and I&rsquo;d never work again,&rdquo; he said.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>And today</strong></u>, <a href="">The Daily Caller&#39;s Luke Rosiak reports </a>Rep. Debbie <strong>Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with &ldquo;consequences&rdquo; for holding equipment that she says belongs to her in order to build a criminal case against a Pakistani staffer suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches </strong>involving funneling sensitive congressional data offsite.</p> <p><strong>The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force&rsquo;s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 306px;" /></a></p> <p>The Capitol Police and&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1495721429770000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFQzOzcIlda69yNAXjBJmYVVCbkBg" href=";userId=1391895&amp;signature=6baaa63a8c19c4ac" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">outside agencies</a>&nbsp;are pursuing Imran Awan, who has run technology for the Florida lawmaker since 2005 and was&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1495721429771000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHtJys4c6hCkCrd4l1E39zGSudUBQ" href=";userId=1391895&amp;signature=35731d66681b0320" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">banned</a>&nbsp;from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate Members&rsquo; equipment when the Member is not under investigation,&rdquo; Wasserman Schultz said in the&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1495721429771000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHxWAsbBu9xsHWnfSkTFjyHuLCd3A" href=";userId=1391895&amp;signature=f0ee4c2c71fb5f29" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">annual police budget hearing</a>&nbsp;of the&nbsp;House Committee On Appropriations&rsquo; Legislative Branch Subcommittee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t return the equipment,&rdquo; Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa told the Florida Democrat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think you&rsquo;re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,&rdquo; Wasserman Schultz said.</p> </blockquote> <p>As one of eight members of the Committee on Appropriations&rsquo; Legislative Branch subcommittee, Wasserman Schultz is in charge of the budget of the police force that is investigating her staffer and how he managed to extract so much money and information from members.</p> <p><strong>In a highly unusual exchange, the Florida lawmaker uses a hearing on the Capitol Police&rsquo;s annual budget to spend three minutes repeatedly trying to extract a promise from the chief that he will return&nbsp;a piece of evidence being used to build an active case.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;If a Member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member&rsquo;s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?&rdquo; she said.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Police tell her it is important to&nbsp;&ldquo;an ongoing investigation,&rdquo; but presses for its return anyway.</strong></u></p> <p>The investigation is examining members&rsquo; data&nbsp;leaving the network and <strong>how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">$4 million</a> since 2010.</strong></p> <p>The <strong>congresswoman characterizes the evidence as &ldquo;belonging&rdquo; to her and argues that&nbsp;therefore it cannot be seized</strong> unless Capitol Police tell her that she personally, as opposed to her staffer, is a target of the investigation.</p> <p>When TheDCNF asked Wasserman Schultz Monday if it could inquire about her strong desire for&nbsp;the laptop, she said &ldquo;No, you may not.&rdquo; After TheDCNF asked why she wouldn&rsquo;t want the Capitol Police to have any evidence they may need to find and punish any hackers of government information, she abruptly turned around in the middle of a stairwell and retreated back to the office from which she had come.</p> <p>Her spokesman, David Dameron, then emerged to say<strong> &ldquo;We just don&rsquo;t have any comment.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><strong>Though on the surface Wasserman Schultz would have been a victim of Awan&rsquo;s scam, she has inexplicably protected him, circumventing the network ban by re-titling him as an &ldquo;adviser&rdquo; instead of technology administrator.</strong></p> <p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Politico described</a> him and his wife, Hina Alvi, as having a &ldquo;friendly personal relationship&rdquo; with both Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York.</p> <p>That baffled a Democratic IT staffer, who said</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><em><strong>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t imagine why she&rsquo;d be that good of friends with a technology provider.&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><em><strong>&ldquo;Usually if someone does bad stuff, an office is going to distance themselves&rdquo; rather than incur political fallout for a mere staffer.</strong></em></u></p> </blockquote> <p>Wasserman Schultz resigned as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 after Wikileaks published thousands of internal emails obtained by an as-yet unidentified hacker.</p> <p>The last 30 seconds of the exchange can also be seen <a href=";;t=1h26m40s" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">here</a>...</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em>As we said at the start - something stinks here!! But do not expect the mainstream media to report on it. One can&#39;t help but wonder if anything related to Seth Rich is lurking on that laptop?</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="472" height="258" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Appropriations’ Legislative Branch Subcommittee Congress Congressional staff Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee Florida Florida Florida Democrats House Committee On Appropriations House Committee on Foreign Affairs House of Representatives Politics Politics of the United States U.S. Capitol Police United States House of Representatives Wassermann Wed, 24 May 2017 17:30:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 596564 at UK Police Launch Massive Manhunt For Suicide Bomber Accomplices; Brother Detained In Libya <p><em><strong>Update: </strong></em>Having mobilized hundreds of soldiers to protect key landmarks across London, the British police launced a huge manhunt for accomplices who may have helped Salman Abedi build the suicide bomb and "who could be ready to kill again."&nbsp; Part of yesterday's hike in the UK risk threat assessment is the fear that Abedi could have been working as part of a group of accomplices with possible links to militant groups who have the competence to plot and execute suicide bombings.</p> <p>"The question is: Was he acting alone or was he part of a network of others who want to kill. That is what the investigation is focusing on," a source told Reuters adding that "the concern is that there may be others out there who helped him to make the bomb. Making a bomb of this sort requires a certain level of expertise and competence," the source said.</p> <p>At an afternoon press conference, Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it is clear “this is a network we are investigating.” He declined to give any further details on the investigation. British police have declined to provide many details about the suspect, but a U.S. official has said he was a British citizen of Libyan descent. British officials believe he had recently returned from Libya. Hopkins also wouldn’t comment on whether police had found anyone who made the explosive device used in the attack.</p> <p>Moments ago Reuters reported that the younger brothers of the bombing suspect was arrested in Libya on suspicion of ISIS ties:</p> <ul> <li><strong>HASHEM ABEDI, YOUNGER BROTHER OF MANCHESTER ATTACKER, ARRESTED IN TRIPOLI BY COUNTER-TERRORISM FORCE ON SUSPICION OF ISLAMIC STATE LINKS</strong></li> <li><strong>BROTHER OF MANCHESTER ATTACKER ARRESTED IN TRIPOLI WAS PLANNING "TERRORIST ACT" IN THE LIBYAN CAPITAL - COUNTER-TERRORISM FORCE</strong></li> </ul> <p>Meanwhile, in the UK the police arrested at least three more men as part of their investigation into the suicide bombing as authorities said they are pursuing a “network” in connection with the attack. The arrests in Manchester take the total currently in custody to four. Under British law, a person can be taken into custody in a terrorism investigation and held up to 14 days without charges.</p> <p>As reported earlier (see below), U.K. investigators told French authorities that Abedi had probably also traveled to Syria, according to the French interior minister. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A leading theory is that the attacker may have received specialist training abroad or that there is a technician in the U.K. who constructed the bomb, the Western official said. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“To cause this many fatalities it has to be a viable device of a certain level of sophistication,” the official said, adding that it didn’t seem like something Abedi could have done by himself. Officials were still in the initial phase of the investigation, the person said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Earlier, Home Secretary Amber Rudd earlier told the British Broadcasting Corp. Abedi that Abedi was previously known to security services “up to a point.” “When this operation is over, we will want to look at his background and what happened, how he became radicalized and what support he might have been given,” she said.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong><em>Earlier: </em></strong></p> <p>Just hours after <a href="">the UK raised its terror alert to Critical</a>, or the highest possible, for the first time in ten years, Britain’s Interior minister Amber Rudd said that Salman Abedi, the Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert venue, and had recently returned from Libya had likely not acted alone and troops were being deployed to key sites across Britain to help prevent further <a href="">attacks according to the FT</a>. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="281" /><br /><em>Salman Abedi, the suspect in the Manchester attack</em></p> <p>Rudd said on BBC radio that the bombing was “<strong>more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely, possible, that he wasn’t doing this on his own.” </strong>She said Abedi had been known to security services before the bombing. Asked about reports that Abedi had recently returned from Libya, Rudd said she believed that had now been confirmed. </p> <p>Rudd said up to 3,800 soldiers could be deployed on Britain's streets, taking on guard duties at places like Buckingham Palace and Downing Street to free up police to focus on patrols and investigation. An initial deployment of 984 had been ordered, initially in London, then elsewhere. The minister also <strong>scolded U.S. officials for leaking details about the investigation into the Manchester attack before British authorities were prepared to go public</strong>.</p> <p>Separately Rudd's French counterpart said Abedi had links with Islamic State and had probably visited Syria too. According to Reuters, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities Abedi had probably travelled to Syria as well.</p> <p><strong>"Today we only know what British investigators have told us - someone of British nationality, of Libyan origin, who suddenly after a trip to Libya, then probably to Syria, becomes radicalized and decides to carry out this attack," </strong>Collomb told BFMTV.&nbsp; Asked if he believed Abedi had the support of a network, Collomb said: "That is not known yet, but perhaps<strong>. In any case, (he had) links with Daesh (Islamic State) that are proven."</strong></p> <p>The Islamic State promptly claimed responsibility for the Manchester attack, but there were contradictions in its accounts of the action and a lack of crucial detail. </p> <p>As Collomb was speaking in France, Rudd was asked by the BBC about the fact that information about Abedi, including his name, had come out from the United States and whether she would look again at how information was shared with other countries. "Yes, quite frankly. I mean the British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise, <strong>so it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that should not happen again."</strong></p> <p>Asked whether the U.S. leaks had compromised the investigation, she said: "I wouldn't go that far but I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn't happen again."</p> <p>According to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, "it is rare for the U.K. government to publicly criticize the U.S. and in such blunt terms. The rebuke raises the risk that key allies could become more reluctant to share vital security information with the world’s superpower."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The bomber’s name, Salman Ramadan Abedi, was first revealed early on Tuesday by CBS in the U.S. and hours later the U.K. authorities put out a statement refusing to confirm the information until a formal identification had been completed. The police said any speculation would be “unhelpful and potentially damaging” to the investigation. It was only much later in the day, that the U.K. confirmed his identity.</p> </blockquote> <p>Separately, Manchester Police said on Wednesday <a href="">morning three men had been arrested </a>“after police executed warrants in south Manchester” in connection with the continuing investigation.</p> <p>On Tuesday police raided the Abedi family home in the Fallowfield district of south Manchester, in one of three operations carried out as authorities tried to establish whether Abedi was working alone or as part of a network. Family friends and neighbours said Abedi’s parents were originally from Libya and recently returned to the country.</p> <p>The son of Libyan immigrants, British-born Abedi, 22, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande. His 22 victims included an eight-year-old girl, several teenage girls, a 28-year-old man and a Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters. The bombing also left 64 people wounded, of whom 20 were still receiving critical care for highly traumatic injuries.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="700" height="394" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Abidi Africa British police Eastern Mediterranean France Geography of Africa Government of Australia Kevin Rudd Libya Manchester Arena Manchester police North Africa Politics of Australia Reuters Rudd Government UK Government War Wed, 24 May 2017 17:29:28 +0000 Tyler Durden 596534 at Trader: "The Plunge Protection Team Is Happening In Bonds... Right Out In The Open" <p>Having lambasted the <a href="">market&#39;s abhorrent response to the worst terror attack in Britain in 12 years yesterday,</a> Bloomberg&#39;s Richard Breslow <strong>takes aim at the flip-flopping consensus rearing its ugly head in bond land worldwide</strong>.</p> <p>As he writes, <strong>it&rsquo;s become very fashionable to get on the bandwagon that sovereign yields are never, or at least no time soon, going to rise</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>A number of the biggest banks have joined the parade just recently</strong>. This relies largely on making the <strong>obverse of the assumptions they stated with great assurance for much of this year. I</strong>t&rsquo;s also borne out of impatience for this conviction view to start working already. That&rsquo;s not a great investing thesis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Contributing to this capitulation is the fact that U.S. numbers haven&rsquo;t been nearly what analysts were hoping for. Even if they clearly show an economy that can&rsquo;t be described as in crisis. But what isn&rsquo;t accounted for in this line of reasoning is that global growth is improving further and faster than anyone factored in. It was a mistake to look at the U.S. in isolation at the beginning of the year and it&rsquo;s just as questionable to do so now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The last thing the ECB wants to do is upset the apple cart of peripheral markets, but it&rsquo;s undeniable that they are beginning the process of softening up the market for an eventual change in policy.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the numbers coming in strong and the rhetoric contemplating the when and how rather than if, every ECB event has become a major one. Whenever Mario Draghi speaks, traders will be listening on tenterhooks. <strong>After speaking in Madrid today, his next appearance will be at the post-ECB meeting briefing in two weeks.</strong> No coincidence, perhaps, that the Schatz yield is pushing year-to-date highs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The U.S. two-year, for that matter, isn&rsquo;t behaving as if last week&rsquo;s Washington turmoil was a game-changer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s common to point to dollar weakness and proclaim it&rsquo;s a sign of a Fed that will have to climb down from its projections. Think of it instead as evidence that the rest of the world is doing relatively better.</strong> That doesn&rsquo;t represent sad news and isn&rsquo;t a reason to be bullish on yields.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>So why haven&rsquo;t yields responded?</strong></u> Making a flow rather than stock argument, it&rsquo;s because the central banks are still buying a lot of bonds right on schedule. Are you willing to bet these amounts will hold steady or decrease over time?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>People love the Plunge Protection Team conspiracy theory when looking at equities. Well that&rsquo;s exactly what is happening in bonds, right out in the open.</strong></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><u><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 298px;" /></strong></u></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite all the headlines, of late, gold is doing a whole lot of nothing. Really not suggestive of a world that expects, at least at the moment, yields to plumb April&rsquo;s depths. And if they do, your stop is only a dozen or so basis points away in the tens. An interesting risk/reward.</p> </blockquote> <p>As Breslow concludes, <strong>the best argument for buying bonds is a hedge for the long equity position you have and hate. </strong></p> <p>But while that&rsquo;s legitimate portfolio theory, it may no longer fit central bank thinking. Just ask the Chinese...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="338" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="961" height="478" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Bond Central Banks Eurogroup European Central Bank Group of Thirty headlines Mario Draghi US Federal Reserve Wed, 24 May 2017 17:18:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 596555 at Blistering Demand For 5Y Trasury Auction; First "Stop Through" In 2017 <p>After 4 consecutive 5Y auctions that resulted in a "tail", moments ago the Treasury sold $34 billion in 5Y paper which finally "stopped through" the When Issued for the first time since December, printing at a High Yield of 1.831%, 0.7bps through the 1.838% When Issued. </p> <p>Another confirmation that like yesterday's 2Y auction today's 5Y issuance was stronger than expected, was the jump in the Bid to Cover which rose to 2.67, the highest since December, and well above the 2.42 6 month average, as total bids of $95.0 billion were received for $38.1BN in notes.&nbsp; Additionally, the internals were strong too, with Indirecst rebounding from last month's 57.3% low to 68.7%, above the 6 month average of 63.1%, while Directs were awarded 8.6% of the auction, above the 5.3% in April and 6MMA. Dealers were left just 22.7% of the auction, the lowest going back to August 2016. </p> <p>Overall, a very strong auction, and certainly better than what the market had expected.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="310" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1142" height="709" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 5Y Auction Auction theory Auctions Bid-to-cover ratio Business Business Economy High Yield Wed, 24 May 2017 17:16:07 +0000 Tyler Durden 596573 at The Key Things To Look For In Today's FOMC Minutes, And How To Trade Them <p>Despite a near-collapse in the US economic surprise index - a key leading indicator, and major negative for the US economy... </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="253" /></a></p> <p>... and recent disappointing inflation readings, largely attributed to the telecom sector in general and unlimited phone plan packages, not to mention the 0.7% Q1 GDP print, today's FOMC minutes scheduled (released at 2:00pm today with the usual 3 week lag) are likely to reveal a relatively optimistic Fed with many Committee members expecting the weakness early on in 2017 to prove "transitory."&nbsp;</p> <p>Points of focus in the minutes will include future plans for the balance sheet (with reduction coming under increased scrutiny in recent times), after minutes of the March meeting showed that many of the policymakers thought a change in the Fed's reinvestment policy would "<strong>likely be appropriate later this year.</strong>"</p> <p>As a reminder, Fed officials left the interest rate unchanged within a range between 0.75% and 1% at their May 3 meeting, whose minutes could indicate whether they are preparing to lift it by a quarter percentage point at their next meeting June 13-14.&nbsp; As such, traders and analysts will will be combing through the minutes to better understand the Fed's current contraditory, and clearly <em><strong>non-data dependent</strong></em> assessment of the country's growth and inflation, as well as policymakers' forecast for activity going forward in the remaining seven months of the year. </p> <p>Also according to Stifel's Lindsey Piegza the market will also be looking for clues in the latest minutes as to the Committees' likely handling of the $4.5T balance sheet. Some analysts have anticipated specifics of a tapering to be revealed in the May FOMC minutes; while the conversation of shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet was no doubt readdressed at last month's meeting, details or a conclusive pathway are unlikely to be unveiled. </p> <p>Addressing the balance sheet with a scheduled taper of monthly purchases will no doubt impact the pace of additional interest rate increases, slowing the pathway to reaching the expected terminal level on the Fed funds rate, as tapering itself will be seen as a de facto act of tightening. In other words, if the expected terminal rate on Fed funds is 3%, as many officials have suggested, and the anticipated timeframe of reaching said level is around two to three years, now, <strong>addressing the balance sheet during that same period could extend the timeframe from reaching the terminal level to five years, maybe more. </strong>Nevertheless, at the point, according to Bloomberg, the probability of a rate hike at the upcoming June 14th FOMC meeting remains elevated at near 100%. </p> <p>In addition to the above, here are five things to watch for <a href="">courtesy of the WSJ</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>1. How Likely Is a June Rate Increase?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Fed last raised short-term rates in March, and it penciled in two additional quarter-percentage-point increases this year. June offers a good opportunity for another move: The meeting is followed by a press conference by Chairwoman Janet Yellen, and raising rates a second time in the first half of 2017 would give officials more time to evaluate how the economy evolves before considering a third increase in the second half of the year. Expectations for a June rate increase are high. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found 88% of economists expected such a move. Traders in futures markets place an 83% likelihood of a move in June, according to CME Group. The minutes could either confirm or confound that expectation.<strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong> </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. Weak Economic Growth </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One argument for holding off on a June rate increase could be the economy’s mixed performance since March. Inflation wobbled recently: The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the price index for personal-consumption expenditures, briefly exceeded the Fed’s annual 2% target in February but slipped below it again in March, as prices rose 1.8%. Economic growth in the first quarter also disappointed, with gross domestic product expanding at a 0.7% annual rate. However, the Fed said in its May policy statement that the slowing was “likely to be transitory,” suggesting the central bank wasn’t overly worried about the slump. Also on the plus side, the unemployment rate has fallen further since the Fed last raised rates, to 4.4% in April, its lowest level in a decade. The minutes could provide more detail on officials’ assessment of the economy’s health. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. Slimming the Balance Sheet </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A point of interest in the May minutes will be officials’ discussion of how and when to start shrinking the Fed’s portfolio of bonds and other assets. Minutes of the Fed’s March policy meeting indicated officials wanted to begin the process by the end of the year, but questions remained over the pace of reductions and the size of the holdings when they finish. The Fed’s balance sheet has grown to $4.5 trillion, or around 23% of U.S. gross domestic product, from less than $1 trillion, or around 6%, before the financial crisis. Reducing its size without roiling markets will be a delicate task. Officials in March were careful to note they wanted to proceed in a “gradual and predictable” way, likely to avoid a rerun of the 2013 “taper tantrum,” when the prospect that the Fed would slow its asset purchases set off market volatility, including a spike in Treasury yields and large capital outflows from many emerging-market economies. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Fiscal Policy </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fed officials continue to assess whether the Trump administration’s proposed tax cuts, spending plans, regulatory changes or other policies could boost economic growth and drive up inflation. Minutes of the Fed’s March meeting showed most officials saw a possibility that the economy could perform better than they expected because of possible new tax and spending policies. Minutes of the May meeting could provide a more recent snapshot of their thinking. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. Challenging Assumptions </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A couple of Fed officials have cast doubts on the strength of the labor market recently, and that will be a point to watch in the minutes. Although the unemployment rate hit an ultralow 4.4% last month, there hasn’t been a breakout in inflation. Economists would usually expect inflation to rise when joblessness gets low as companies compete for scarcer workers by offering higher wages. Over the past few weeks, several Fed officials have said the labor market has returned to full employment, which means essentially every worker looking for a job can find one. But two officials, Fed governor Lael Brainard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, have expressed doubts about that in recent days, arguing there might be further room for improvement in the labor market since the low joblessness hasn’t meaningfully boosted prices. Details of this debate could show up in the May minutes, and could indicate some officials might be inclined to keep rates lower for longer to help push up wages.</p> </blockquote> <p>Additionally, BofA highlights 4 issues which could hinder the Fed's plans going forward:</p> <ol> <li><strong>First and foremost, China is trying to reign in its shadow banking system and there is a risk of "overshooting," damaging growth.</strong></li> <li><strong>The markets seem quite complacent about the Fed.</strong></li> <li><strong>Next year's likely end to QE in the Euro Area.</strong></li> <li><strong>Have interest rates really been too low for too long? Economic slack and muted inflation suggest otherwise</strong></li> </ol> <p>Of the above, #2 may be most important as the Fed has increasingly warned that stocks are getting ahead of themselves, and it is possible that Yellen will hike just to take out some of the froth in stocks.</p> <p>Finally, in terms of market reaction, Bloomberg points out that the latest CFTC data <strong>shows the most extreme speculator positions currently sit in 10Y futures</strong>, which recently grew to heaviest longs since January 2008, while futures positioning remains near record shorts across eurodollars. This turnaround in speculator TY longs has been sharp, following the biggest short unwind on record that occurred three weeks ago.&nbsp; On the other end, speculator Eurodollar shorts remain near record levels.</p> <p>The conclusion is that near record long TY coupled with short eurodollar positioning among speculator accounts <strong>leaves the market open to exacerbated moves. </strong></p> <p>This means that <strong>a dovish take on the minutes may see sharp short-covering across front eurodollars, </strong>leading Treasury prices higher further out the curve, <strong>while a hawkish outcome could see intermediates out to 10s lead a wider move lower in price as accounts look to take profits on recently built-up longs</strong>. </p> <p>Finally, <strong>a potential reason for dovish take may be soft CPI and retail sales data from May 12, while a dismissal of the data as “transitory” may result in a more hawkish view</strong>. Going into the minutes, current odds of a June hike based on OIS probabilities sit at 76%; a full hike and further 4bp is priced in for September; almost 1.5 hikes is priced in by year-end.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1320" height="742" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Banking Business Central bank China CPI Economic history of the Netherlands Economy EuroDollar Eurodollar fed Federal funds rate Federal Open Market Committee Federal Reserve System Finance Financial services Futures contract Gross Domestic Product Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Minneapolis Fed Neel Kashkari Shadow Banking Trump Administration Unemployment US Federal Reserve Volatility Wall Street Journal Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:55 +0000 Tyler Durden 596572 at Russell 2000 Flash-Crashes <p><strong><em>&quot;Probably nothing...&quot;</em></strong></p> <p>Small-cap stocks briefly erased gains, with the Russell 2000 plunging 0.4 percent in less than a minute as volume exploded...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="387" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>As Bloomberg notes, about 3.84 million shares traded in the benchmark index at 11:51 a.m., <strong>more than 10 times the volume in the previous minute.</strong></p> <p><strong>Trading also surged in futures,</strong> with more than 10,000 contracts changing hands between 11:50 and 11:53, 58 times the volume in the previous three minutes.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Mini futures on the Russell 2000 Index fell about 9 points 1,375.9 in a few seconds, </strong>while the iShares Russell 2000 ETF slid more than half a percentage point to $137.</p> <p>Small Caps were not the only thing act strangely today - VIX dumped and pumped around 1030ET...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 298px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>S&amp;P and Dow are glued to unchanged from the Trump Dump ahead of FOMC Minutes...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>How long before faith in the ETF &#39;CDO&#39; fails?</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1780" height="1148" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business CDO Exchange-traded funds Finance Investment IShares IShares Russell Money Russell 2000 Russell 2000 Russell 2000 Index Source UK Services VIX Wed, 24 May 2017 16:51:23 +0000 Tyler Durden 596570 at SOMETHING CHANGED IN THE SILVER MARKET IN MAY: Here Are 3 Reasons Why <p><img src="" height="100" width="316" alt="SRSocco" /></p> <p>By the <em><strong><a href="">SRSrocco Report</a></strong></em>,</p> <p>Something changed in the silver market in May as U.S. Silver Eagle sales have surged compared to the previous month.&nbsp; This is quite interesting as precious metals sales and sentiment have declined in the West, especially in the United States, ever since Donald Trump was elected President.</p> <p>Many precious metals investors thought that if Trump was elected, it would have been very positive for the gold and silver market.&nbsp; Unfortunately, it seems as if the opposite was (is) the case.&nbsp; Not only has demand for precious metals declined considerably in 2017 versus last year, so has sales of guns, ammo and survival food-supplies.&nbsp; I gather many of those who follow the alternative media believe Trump is actually going to make America Great Again.&nbsp; So, why protect oneself from a collapse?</p> <p>This is a very bad assumption... as nothing has changed with Trump in the White House.&nbsp; Furthermore, many analysts are saying that what Trump is doing could actually speed up the collapse of the U.S. economy and financial system.</p> <p>Regardless, the fundamentals in the U.S. economy continue to disintegrate.&nbsp; We are seeing economic bubble indicators reach or surpass the what took place in 2007, before the bloodbath took place in the U.S. Housing and Financial Markets.&nbsp; <span style="color: #800000;"><strong>However, there is one additional negative factor that wasn't a problem in 2007 that is now a BLINKING RED LIGHT.</strong></span></p> <p>What is this new lousy fundamental?&nbsp; It's the U.S. and Global Oil Industry.&nbsp; Back in 2007, most of the oil and gas companies were making decent cash flow and profits.&nbsp; Unfortunately, the situation in the Oil Sector is orders of magnitude much worse than what is was in 2007.&nbsp; Not only are the majority of oil and gas companies losing money, they have been also cutting their oil reserves.</p> <p>This is extremely bad news which very few Americans are aware.&nbsp; <span style="color: #800000;"><strong>Thus, we are now facing an extremely negative DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD of bubble economic indicators on top of a disintegrating oil industry.&nbsp; Which means... the situation today is much worse than what took place back during the 2008 Global meltdown.</strong></span></p> <p><strong>U.S. Silver Eagle Sales Surge In May Due To 3 Reasons</strong></p> <p><span style="color: #800000;"><strong>U.S. Silver Eagle sales surged 140% in May versus April... and we still have another week remaining in the month</strong></span>.&nbsp; According to the recent update by the U.S. Mint, Silver Eagle sales reached 2,005,000 so far in May compared to 835,000 in April:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="437" width="600" alt="Silver Eagle Sales APR vs MAY" style="vertical-align: middle;" /></p> <p>After seeing this spike in Silver Eagle demand, I called up a few of my contacts in the industry and asked if they could shed some light as to why sales jumped in May.&nbsp; According to several sources, they stated that the huge increase in Silver Eagle sales was due to three reasons:</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;1) There was an extremely large purchase by a single wholesaler in the Northeast.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;2) The small retail buyer came in a big way as premiums were lowered the most in seven years<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;3) A group of respected technical analysts in the silver market gave a buy signal when silver was trading between $16-$16.25</p> <p>These three reasons stated by my contacts, are what has likely driven demand for Silver Eagles to the highest level seen so far this year... if we exclude sales in January, which are always elevated as wholesalers are stocking up on the debut of the new coin release.</p> <p>It seems as if a large buyer in the Northeast believes silver is a good deal at this price.&nbsp; Furthermore, when the wholesalers lowered the premiums (lowest in seven years), there was an immediate surge in Silver Eagle buying via small retail investors which caused the premium to increase once again.&nbsp; Also, the silver market underestimates the reaction when certain Technical Analysts put out a BUY SIGNAL.&nbsp; Many of the folks who follow or subscribe to these analysts, are big investors.&nbsp; So, when they see a buy signal... they do so in a BIG WAY.</p> <p>That being said, I would like to remind those reading this article (that might be new to the precious metals industry) please make sure you understand the difference between "PREMIUM" and "COMMISSION" when you decide to purchase precious metals.&nbsp; There are a group of very widely advertised precious metals dealers that may have lowered their premium along with the other dealers, but still charge very high commissions for their products or services.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>IMPORTANT NOTE</strong></span>:&nbsp; The PREMIUM is what the dealer pays the wholesaler for the coin or bar.&nbsp; The COMMISSION is what the dealer charges his client above the premium.&nbsp; You need to ask what the commission you are being charged as many new investors are being taken advantage of... but don't realize it until later, when it is too late.</p> <p>While two million Silver Eagle so far in May are less than they were last year (4,498,500), this surge in demand suggests that the hype surrounding a Trump Presidency may be fading... and quickly.&nbsp; If we take a look at Silver Eagle sales from FEB to MAY, we can clearly see that something has changed recently:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" height="430" width="600" alt="Silver Eagle Sales FEB-MAY" style="vertical-align: middle;" /></p> <p>If the strong demand trend continues for the remainder of May, we could see Silver Eagle Sales reach 2.5-2.8 million.&nbsp; Again, this is lower than what it was last year, but it is a sign that market is starting to SMELL A RAT.&nbsp; And that RAT is a totally inflated STOCK, BOND &amp; REAL ESTATE MARKET.</p> <p>In addition, Silver Eagle sales are now out-performing Gold Eagle sales.&nbsp; For example, in March when U.S. Silver Eagle sales were 1,615,000, Gold Eagle sales were 56,000 oz.&nbsp; However, Gold Eagle sales in May are only 42,000 oz, while Silver Eagle sales are over 2 million.&nbsp; Thus, the market is purchasing 48 times more Silver Eagles than Gold currently.</p> <p>Lastly, for those precious metals investors who are frustrated by the disappointing paper Gold and Silver price performance since 2012, the STOCK, BOND and REAL ESTATE markets have never been in such BUBBLE TERRITORY.&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="color: #800000;"><strong> For some odd reason, some precious metals investors tend to overlook the $7 trillion in Central Bank assets purchases from 2011-2016, and the whopping $1 trillion in the first four months of 2017.</strong></span></p> <p>It seems as if many Americans are suffering from BRAIN DAMAGE as the MainStream Media continues to put out the most misinformation and propaganda in history.&nbsp; This causes individuals to lose the ability to think CRITICALLY.&nbsp; And with that will come a great deal of pain and misfortune when we finally see the collapse value of most STOCK, BOND and REAL ESTATE prices.</p> <p>Lastly, if you haven't checked out our new <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">PRECIOUS METALS INVESTING</span></strong></span></a> section or our new <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">LOWEST COST PRECIOUS METALS STORAGE</span></strong></span></a> page, I highly recommend you do.</p> <p>Check back for new articles and updates at the <em><strong><a href="">SRSrocco Report</a></strong></em>.</p> American Silver Eagle Bond Bullion coins Business Coins Currency Donald Trump Finance Gold coin Meltdown Metal Money Precious Metals Precious metals Real estate Silver Silver as an investment Silver coins White House White House Wed, 24 May 2017 16:46:59 +0000 SRSrocco 596569 at Comey 'Friend' Warns Trump "If I Were You, I'd Be Scared" <p>First it was anonymous colleagues, then his dad, and now it&#39;s a &#39;friend&#39; of Jim Comey that CNN reports the fired FBI director has a story to tell, adding that he would be scared if he were President Trump.</p> <p><img height="307" src="" width="549" /></p> <p><a href=""><em>As The Hill reports,</em></a> Benjamin Wittes, who describes himself as a Comey confidant, said on CNN when asked how Comey was doing.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;He&#39;s going to be fine. <strong>He&#39;s not somebody who spends time feeling sorry for himself,&quot; </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I thought it was interesting and very telling that he declined an opportunity to tell his story in private. He clearly wants to do it in a public setting,&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;I think that&#39;s a reflection of the fact that this is a guy with a story to tell. I think if I were Donald Trump that would scare me a lot.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This comes days after a report said Comey is expected to testify that he believes Trump was deliberately trying to meddle in the FBI&#39;s investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election.</p> <p>One wonders how long until Ray Dalio, Comey&#39;s former boss, and until <a href="">recently a fan of Donald Trump</a>, is also asked to comment (off the record) on the upcoming Pay Per View show&nbsp; of the century, as Comey finally sits down to &quot;clear the air.&quot;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="549" height="307" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy Donald Trump Donald Trump Entertainment FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Human Interest James Comey Ray Dalio Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections United States United States intelligence agencies Wed, 24 May 2017 16:40:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 596543 at Disintermediation yields a 2822% return on investment <p style="text-align: right;"><em>Instead of spending his last year in high school, Tim graduated early&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.008px;">and spent that year building a 37’ wooden trimaran, and sailed all&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">throughout the Pacific on it, eventually landing on the Big Island. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">That’s the traditional way of arriving here. One had to envision this&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">place, and then plan for it, and then strive for it, without any degree&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">of certainty of success.&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><em><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">-Susanne Friend, speaking of her husband and business partner, Tim Mann</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">We are just a few weeks away from the <a href="">First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club in Marfa, Texas, June 16-18</a>. &nbsp; The theme is disintermediation. &nbsp;Below is an article written by Susanne Friend. &nbsp;Her husband, Tim Mann, is traveling from Hawaii to attend and participate as one of the many excellent speakers we have scheduled at the symposium. &nbsp;If you are thinking of coming, there may still be a couple of rooms left at the St George Hotel and some rentals on AirBnB. &nbsp;We filled up all three other hotels in town and El Cosmico! &nbsp;We hope to see you in Marfa! &nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><a href="">Agriculture: Tim Mann, Make backyard and commercial aquaponics easy and inexpensive</a></span></p> </blockquote> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">What Is The True Value Of A Backyard Aquaponics Garden?</span></strong><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Aquaponics is an integrated food production system that combines raising fish in man-made containers (aquaculture) and growing plants without any soil or soil-like media (hydroponics).</p> <p>What if there was a method to grow food that in your backyard that was stunningly more productive than growing in the ground? And at the same, what if this same food production system involved considerably less work from a human standpoint? &nbsp;Sounds too good to be true, right?&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="375" /></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong><em>Tim Mann wearing the hat.</em></strong></p> <p>That's what I thought when my husband, with great enthusiasm, told me about aquaponics in 2007. &nbsp;Although initially extremely skeptical, I could certainly see the value of becoming a farmer, as the Global Financial Meltdown had already begun to devastate our 20-year-old Hawaiian architectural design firm. We plunged in headlong, desperately seeking new financial start, and it turned out to be the best move we've ever made. As it turns out, not everyone needs a vacation home in Hawaii, but everyone needs to eat, so we felt confident moving into this relatively unknown field as new farmers, although neither of us had even managed to keep a houseplant alive!</p> <p>2017 marks our tenth anniversary as primary food producers and teachers of aquaponics. In that decade, we achieved some notable success, simply by being unwilling to take "No" for an answer, especially from the government. We were the first aquaponics farm ever to be USDA Certified Organic in 2008 as well as the first to obtain USDA Food Safety Certification for Good Agricultural Practices in 2009. Our farm remains the only aquaponics farm to deliver to a "Big Box" store, from 2009-2011.&nbsp;</p> <p>Out of sheer necessity, since we have been entirely self-funded, we've worked very hard to minimize both the cost of initial construction as well as the costs of ongoing operations. As such, the technological adaptations we've made have attracted a quite a bit of interest from others interested in the field, and we've developed a number comprehensive DIY manuals and AutoCAD plans (a skillset happily leftover from our defunct architectural design business). Our philosophy is simple. We believe in the transfer of information rather than the selling (and shipping!) of "stuff," so we've never sold kits. We also don't want anyone else to make the same mistakes we have made, because some of those mistakes have come close to bankrupting us, <a href="">one of which ended us up in Federal prison for a short, three-month stay!</a></p> <p>Our experience over the past decade, combined with that of thousands of students all over the world, means I am no longer skeptical in the least. However, with my background in hard science, while I have personally experienced the real difference that an aquaponics system can make in the economy of a family, I was interested quantifying as much as possible how much more productive an aquaponics system is over that of a backyard dirt garden.</p> <p>Of course, aquaponics shares many of the benefits of dirt gardening, which are well-researched and equally well understood:</p> <p>• Stress relief</p> <p>• More creativity</p> <p>• Better mental health</p> <p>• Increased vegetable consumption</p> <p>• Sense of satisfaction and accomplishment</p> <p>• More joy</p> <p>• Increased sense of connection with nature</p> <p>• Relationship building</p> <p>• Greater sense of belonging</p> <p>• Increased economic independence</p> <p>• Greater feeling of ownership</p> <p>• Better physical health: lower blood pressure, lowered need for pain relief, shorter healing time</p> <p>• Greater opportunity for the elderly and people with physical limitations for involvement in something that matters.</p> <p>• Increased skill sets that build confidence and brain power!</p> <p>• And of course, growing even a small portion of your own food <a href="">will save you money</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Of course, how productive any food production method you use ultimately depends entirely upon you - how hard you work, how much time and attention you pay to your food production method, the quality of the seeds you use, how much sun or artificial lighting your garden gets, what kind of vegetables you plant, and so on. There’s quite a large range involved in answering this question, because there are so many variables.</span></p> <p>But how is aquaponics different? Is it more productive? If so, by how much? And how much does it cost to get started, compared to a dirt garden?</p> <p>To help answer this question, we need more than just our experience - we needed detailed information for what a dirt garden costs and what it produces.</p> <p>I was lucky to find some exceptionally detailed and specific results from an experienced backyard dirt gardener who kept meticulous records over a single growing season in Maine, Zone 5b/6, with only a five-month growing season. &nbsp;Roger Doiron is the power and passion behind Kitchen Gardeners International, a global nonprofit of 35,000 gardeners helping others to grow their own good food. Roger describes himself as a "Father, husband, son, brother and uncle. Garden activist, advocate, writer, speaker and photographer. Founder of KGI and certified garden geek. Growing lots of good stuff on the coast of Maine."&nbsp;</p> <p>Roger's March, 2009 blog post allowed us a very nearly perfect comparison between what a dirt garden and a backyard aquaponics garden can produce. It was this blog post that prompted Tim to write a spreadsheet based on our averages of ten different aquaponic-grown crops. This allows us an almost “apples-to-apples” comparison of what you can do with a Backyard Aquaponics Garden, in one-tenth the space of a dirt garden.</p> <p>From Mr. Doiron's blog post, on the results he and his wife produced in the ground, in a 1600 sq. ft. backyard garden:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>By the time we had finished weighing it all, we had grown 834 pounds and over six months worth of organic food (we’re still eating our own winter squash, onions, garlic, and frozen items like strawberries, green beans, and pesto cubes). Once we had the weights of the 35 main crops we grew, we then calculated what it would have cost us to buy the same items using three different sets of prices: conventional grocery store, farmers’ market and organic grocery Store (Whole Foods, in our case). &nbsp;The total value came to $2196.50, $2431.15, and $2548.93, respectively.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">After adjusting everything in the spreadsheet to reflect Mr. Dioron's results as closely as possible (a 21.5-22 week growing season, and using the prices he used for what he would have had to pay at a Farmer's Market, below is what the spreadsheet showed the results would be for a 128 sq. ft. backyard aquaponics system. I used our results in Hawaii to estimate average plant weight, average cycle time, &nbsp;and average wastage (because not all of what you grow is edible). The reality is, because of increased day-length in the summer in Maine &nbsp;(14-15.5 hours), the first two of these numbers are quite conservative, since Hawaii's day-length is only 12 hours in the summer. Here is the entire spreadsheet, click to enlarge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Below is the first part of the comparison spreadsheet, showing cultivars I selected that grow well in aquaponics, and with which I have a lot of experience. Of course, you'd &nbsp;have more variety for a home garden, as did Mr. Doiron, but this is just &nbsp;for the sake of comparison - and a spreadsheet with 35 cultivars would &nbsp;be tremendously cumbersome, and some of the things he grew (peaches, &nbsp;carrots, garlic, potatoes, artichokes, asparagus) could not be grown in an aquaponics system (but could be grown in the ground and watered with aquaponics water). Other than those six items, I have grown everything on his list in our raft systems, including root vegetables like onions, shallots, and rutabaga (turnip), all of which grew on top of the rafts, completely clean!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Following the spreadsheet over to the right, you will see a column that shows the plants per square foot. This seems to be an astonishing number that will seem completely impossible at first glance, but with the planting techniques we've developed, it's very easy to achieve this planting density. This works by crowding the seedlings when they are very small in sprouting tables as well as in rafts with very close hole-spacings, then moving the plants to rafts with larger hole-spacings as they grow &nbsp;- all with no transplant shock whatsoever. Other columns to note are the cycle time (time in the main system, NOT in the sprouting table), and the estimated percentage of the plant is edible, which is based upon my direct experience here in Hawaii, where we have a mind-bending number of hungry insects, given we have no hard winter to kill them off.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Over to the far right, the last few cells show total pounds produced, and the price per pound that Mr. Doiron used in the middle column of his pricing list (the Farmer's Market prices). This column, along with matching his growing season in weeks, is what allowed me this almost "apples-to-apples" comparison.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">And from the top of the spreadsheet, the results:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">So, Mr. Doiron and his wife harvested 834 pounds, for Farmer's Market value of $2431.15. Our projections show a slightly lower poundage harvested (772), but for a much higher value ($4381.78) largely due to planting density, rapid cycle time, and selecting the most valuable &nbsp;vegetable varieties to grow instead of all of the ones Mr. Doiron used.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">But what about expenses? From Mr. Doiron's blog:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">On &nbsp;the cost side, we had $130 for seeds and supplies, $12 for a soil test, &nbsp;and exceptional costs of $100 for some locally-made organic compost we &nbsp;bought for our “This Lawn is Your Lawn” &nbsp;front yard garden (normally, we meet most of our soil fertility needs &nbsp;through our own composting). I don't have a scientific calculation for water costs, but we don't need to water much and, when we do, water is &nbsp;relatively cheap in Maine. Also, I mulch my beds pretty heavily to keep &nbsp;moisture in and weeds down. Let's say $40 in water. So, if we consider that our out-of-pocket costs were $282 and the total value generated was &nbsp;$2431, that means we had a return on investment of 862%. The cost of our labor is not included because we enjoy gardening and the physical work involved. If I am to include my labor costs, I feel I should also include the gym membership fees, country club dues, or doctors’ bills I didn’t have.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Depending upon where you in the world, a 128 sq. ft. DIY aquaponics system of our design (what we call a "MicroSystem 128") costs around $1,400 to build, or $1.70 per plant space, including <a href="">the cost for the plans</a> - ($99), with you sourcing most items locally from a building supply store. The time it takes to build is between 16-32 hours; total space required is 12 feet by 20 feet, or 240 sq. ft., and if it's&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">well-built and well-maintained, it will last for many years. (And in addition, it’s movable!)</span></p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="375" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">The MicroSystem 128 uses 48 watts of electricity per month, which costs $3-4 in most places on the continental United States, but is between $12-15 in Hawaii; $2-4 of fish food per month ($4-6 in Hawaii); and $8-10 of seeds &nbsp;and potting media per month ($12-14 in Hawaii) for a monthly cost to operate of $13-18 ($28-35 in Hawaii - the price of living in paradise!).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Aquaponics uses only about 2% of the water that growing in the ground uses, and no water at all if you get 20-25" of rain with appropriate catchment. However, to keep things simple, let's just say that our 128 uses half the water that Mr. Doiron did, or $20 for the entire growing season.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">In addition, for an aquaponics system in a temperate environment will have to purchase fish at the start of the growing season, for a cost of around $50.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">So, for the purposes of comparison, that gives us total costs &nbsp;for the entire 22 week growing season of $141.50-169.00 (mainland &nbsp;prices). Averaging these numbers gives us $155.25. Using the total value if we'd purchased all this produce from a Farmer's Market, at the prices Mr. Doiron posted, $4381.78, <strong>we get an astonishing return on investment of 2822%</strong>, or about three times more value than gardening in the ground!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Things get even more interesting when we read a bit more of Mr. Doiron's blog, where he says (emphasis mine):</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">If you really want to play around with the data, you can calculate &nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">how much a home garden like ours produces on a per acre basis. If you use the $2400 figure and consider that our garden is roughly 1/25th of an acre, it means that home gardens like ours can gross $60,000/acre. You can also calculate it on a square foot basis, which in our case works out to be roughly $1.50/sq.ft.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Keep in mind that these are averages and that certain crops are more profitable and space efficient than others. A small garden planted primarily with salad greens and trellised tomatoes, for example, is going to produce more economic value per square foot more than one planted with potatoes and squash.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">So, we see that the value per square foot of a backyard aquaponics system is $34.23 per square foot! WOW!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">In addition, in an aquaponics system, there is no fertilizing, no mulching, no weeding, no soil pathogens, no watering, no transplant shock when you move a plant to another location, and best of all, there's no bending over, or kneeling, and you can even sit in the shade while you do your seeding, transplanting, and harvesting!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">So, for about half the ongoing operational costs of Mr. Doiron's 1600 sq.ft. dirt garden, in 240 sq. ft, or about 15% of the space, you can grow almost as much produce, but with a much higher value (~$2000 more), all for far less work. And it's guaranteed organic!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">In addition, Mr. Doiron did not have fish to harvest along the way from his in-ground garden! He could have had a big fish fry in the fall, and invited his friends! Or, he could have decided to move his aquaponics system indoors for the winter, into a warm garage or basement, or even build a <a href="">MicroSystem Aquaponics Solar Greenhouse</a>, and keep gardening all winter!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><a href="">Here's a link to the comparison spreadsheet</a>, from which the above screenshots are taken. It's an Excel file, so you must have MicroSoft Excel installed on your computer to open it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><a href="">Here is the link to a General Spreadsheet</a>, which is also an Excel file. It will allow you to determine the viability of an aquaponics system in your location. It's filled with numbers which are average for our location, but which are essentially meaningless for yours: to get honest results for your location, you're meant to input real numbers based upon your experience, your growing season, and prices in your area. You add the length of your growing season, your cycling time, your favorite aquaponics crops, the weights of plants you've grown, and the prices at your local grocery store, Farmer's Market, or Whole Foods. The only numbers you might want to keep are the plants per square foot, but only if you're using our High Density Planting Techniques!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Important: If you’re not familiar with spreadsheets, they can seem a little intimidating, but they are such a powerful tool that we urge you to climb the learning curve – it’s totally worth it! <a href="">Here is a Word doc</a> that will assist you in understanding how to use the Comparison Spreadsheet.</span></p> Agriculture Aquaculture Aquaponics Biology composting First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club Food Safety Hydroculture Hydroponics Meltdown Natural environment Permaculture Reality Sustainable food system USDA Wed, 24 May 2017 16:34:57 +0000 hedgeless_horseman 596567 at