en Obama Decrees Ban On Ammo For The Most Popular Rifle In America <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog</em></a>,</p> <p>Because he can&rsquo;t get Congress to approve the things that he wants to do, Barack Obama has apparently decided to rule by decree for the rest of his time in the White House.&nbsp; One of Obama&rsquo;s latest moves is to try to ban some of the most popular ammunition for the most popular rifle in America.&nbsp;<strong> Previously, the Obama administration attempted unsuccessfully to ban the AR-15.&nbsp; That didn&rsquo;t work, so now Obama is going after the ammunition.&nbsp; </strong>This is yet another example of the <a href="" title="war on preppers">war on preppers</a> that is going on all over the nation.&nbsp; Whether you are a gun owner or not, this assault on our constitutional rights should disturb you greatly.&nbsp; Barack Obama has promised to try to squeeze as much &ldquo;change&rdquo; as possible out of his last two years, and in the process he is &ldquo;fundamentally transforming&rdquo; America.&nbsp; <u><em><strong>But what will our country look like when he is done?</strong></em></u></p> <p>At the top of the Drudge Report today, there was a story from&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="the Washington Examiner">the Washington Examiner</a> detailing this ammo ban&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, <strong>targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela&rsquo;s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.</p> </blockquote> <p>And here is more on this ammo ban&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="from the NRA">from the NRA</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="p1">As NRA has been reporting since <a href="" target="_blank" title="the night the news broke"><span class="s1">the night the new</span><span class="s2">s</span><span class="s1"> broke</span></a>, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is moving to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners with a drastic reinterpretation of a nearly 30-year-old law regulating so-called &ldquo;armor piercing&rdquo; ammunition. So draconian is BATFE&rsquo;s new &ldquo;Framework&rdquo; that it would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, and sale of M855 ball ammunition, one of the most popular cartridges for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. Not coincidentally, the AR-15 is among the firearms the Obama Administration has unsuccessfully sought to outlaw. If they can&rsquo;t ban the pie, so the thinking apparently goes, they might at least get the apples.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">In an effort to thwart BATFE&rsquo;s attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers&rsquo; opposition to the proposed Framework. <strong>To read a copy of the letter, please <a href="" target="_blank" title="click this link"><span class="s1">click this link</span></a>.</strong></p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">According to the letter, &ldquo;The idea that Congress intended [the &lsquo;armor piercing&rsquo; ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.&rdquo; It goes on to state that the law &ldquo;should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.&rdquo; This includes due consideration of &ldquo;the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.&ldquo; The letter concludes with several pointed questions for B. Todd Jones, BATFE&rsquo;s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.</p> </blockquote> <p>The crazy thing about all of this is the fact that this ammunition has never met the legal definition of being &ldquo;armor piercing&rdquo;.&nbsp; So what the Obama administration is attempting to do is outside the law.</p> <p>A recent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Infowars article">Infowars article</a> broke this down&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The ATF is trying to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition by declaring it &ldquo;armor piercing,&rdquo; <strong>despite the ammo containing lead which exempts it from the classification according to law</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To be considered &ldquo;armor piercing&rdquo; under <a href="" target="_blank" title="18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B)">18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B)</a>, a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighting more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn&rsquo;t include M855 rounds <a href="" target="_blank" title="because their bullets are partly lead">because their bullets are partly lead</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The definition in full:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(17)</em></p> <p><em>(A) The term &ldquo;ammunition&rdquo; means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(B) The term &ldquo;armor piercing ammunition&rdquo; means- (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(C) The term &ldquo;armor piercing ammunition&rdquo; does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Needless to say, this ban is creating quite a bit of panic among gun owners.</p> <p>Many gun owners are stocking up on this ammo&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="while they still can">while they still can</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Word of ATF&rsquo;s proposal sparked a run on ammo at some Springfield gun stores, and steep price spikes for steel-tipped military surplus ammo at some online ammo dealers. Rounds that sold for 25 to 30 cents apiece tripled at some some stores after BATF <a href="" target="_blank" title="">posted its proposal </a>on its web site.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We sold out of what we had in stock,&rdquo; said Ryan Cook, manager of Eagle Armory in Springfield. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t have a lot in the store but I might have sold four or five cases after ATF&rsquo;s statement came out. I called our suppliers but they said there was none available to order. It&rsquo;s like the ammo shortage before. <strong>People are going to panic</strong>.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Like I said earlier, even if you are not a gun owner you have got to be extremely concerned about this erosion of our constitutional rights.</p> <p>We have a man occupying the White House that seems absolutely determined to stretch the limits of presidential power as far as they can possibly go.</p> <p>And at this point he has become so arrogant that he doesn&rsquo;t even care if Congress believes that what he is doing is legal.&nbsp; Just consider what he said&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="during one recent speech">during one recent speech</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Pres. Obama is daring Republicans to vote on whether or not his executive actions are legal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Discussing opposition to his executive amnesty orders at an immigration town hall Wednesday, Obama said he would veto the vote because his actions are &ldquo;the right thing to do&rdquo;:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;<strong>So in the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I&rsquo;m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote, because I&rsquo;m absolutely confident that what we&rsquo;re doing is the right thing to do.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>This is how republics die.&nbsp; When one man starts grabbing more and more power and nobody stops him, eventually a dictatorship is born.</p> <p>This is not what our founding fathers intended.&nbsp; If they could see us today, they would be rolling over in their graves.</p> <p>And a lot of Americans are getting fed up.</p> <p>In fact, according to one recent survey only&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="47 percent">47 percent</a> of Americans still believe that Obama loves this country&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>While the creepy&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="#ILOVEOBAMA">#ILOVEOBAMA</a>&nbsp;continues to trend on Twitter, fewer than half of American adults, 47 percent, say they believe that the president loves his country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="survey">survey</a>&nbsp;conducted by Huffington Post/YouGov and released this week, a whopping 35 percent of Americans, more than one in three, believe that Obama doesn&rsquo;t love the United States, while 17 percent said they weren&rsquo;t sure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The poll was conducted in the wake of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani telling a gathering in Manhattan that &ldquo;I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>So what do you think?</p> <p>Do you believe that what Obama is trying to do is legal?</p> <p>And do you believe that Obama actually loves this country and everything that it is supposed to stand for?</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="521" height="408" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Barack Obama Copper New York City None NRA Obama Administration President Obama Twitter Twitter Uranium White House Sat, 28 Feb 2015 22:30:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 502655 at Spot The Birth Of High-Frequency Trading <p>One of these things is not like the other... one of these things just doesn't belong...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="780" /></a></p> <p><em>h/t @NanexLLC</em></p> <p>Since the 'enabling' of high-freqnecy trading on US equity exchanges, instead of 'stability' or 'liquidity', the only word this chart screams at us is... <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>'noise'</strong></span>.</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="508" height="660" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 22:00:25 +0000 Tyler Durden 502652 at As Greece Scrambles To End Its Bank Run, JPM Throws A Wrench: Says Deposit Outflows Continued After "Deal" <p>Now that Greece and the Eurogroup are back on the same page and "cooperating" to use a game theory term, and any attempts of Eurozone "defection", pardon the pun, by the Syrizia government have been postponed until the 4 month bailout extension runs out in June when the entire charade is set to repeat, it is critical for Greece to undo the mess that the Troika did when heading into the mid-February negotiations, the ECB did everything in its power to foment a massive bank run by spooking both banks and citizens that their funds may be Corzined, or otherwise capital controlled, thereby crushing any negotiation leverage the Tsipras government may have (just as <a href="">we had laid out previously</a>).</p> <p>What we do know, is that it didn't take much, and sure enough in the month of January, <a href="">Greek banks suffered the biggest deposit outflow </a>in both absolute and relative terms in Greek history.</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="415" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One can only guess how bad it must have gotten in February, when rumors of €1 billion daily outflows were a daily occurence, and when even the likes of <a href="">Stratfor reported </a>(incorrectly as per official denials) that one of the largest Greek banks, Piraeus had run out of cash into month end.</p> <p>As a result, everyone in Greece is now in full-blown confidence rebuilding mode in a desperate attempt to restore some of the deposit outflows, which have pushed total Greek deposits back to 2005 levels, even though nothing has been resolved vis-a-vis long-term Greek sustainability. As the <a href="">WSJ reported </a>late last week, "according to one senior banking official, more than €800 million ($905 million) in deposits have been put back into the Greek banking system since Monday when Greece’s banks were closed for a public holiday. “We saw €700 million return on the first day and another €150 million yesterday,” the banking official, speaking on the sidelines of central bank conference, told journalists. <strong>“Things are going well.”</strong></p> <p>Maybe, or maybe this is just yet another attempt to play off the public mood, because while as recently as 2 weeks ago the western media was desperate to see lines in front of Greek ATMs to accelerate the Greek government's folding to the Troika's demand (which ultimately happened), now it is just trying to talk back some of these destructive, confidence-crushing innuendos. </p> <p>To be sure, the WSJ noted as much: "But, in fact, the money that has dribbled back since last Friday’s deal, pales in comparison with the amount withdrawn in the past three months, say analysts, and it will take several months of inflows to confirm that the trend is here to stay. And, if past experience serves as precedent, many of the deposits that have left, may never come back."</p> <p>“These figures are a good starting point but a reversal of this trend will take a few more quarters to appear,” said Nikos Magginas, a senior economist of National Bank of Greece . “People are waiting for more signs of stability, such as the successful review of the country’s reforms program. Two to three more supportive events are needed to secure this stability but this takes time.”</p> <p>There is an even less pleasant possibility: namely that Greek bankers and media outlets, knowing just how close they are to total collapse if the deposit outflow continues, which itself is a function of confidence in the local financial system (or lack thereof),&nbsp; even as the ECB refuses to grant Greece any further funding, are simply lying.</p> <p>This is the possibility articulated, in more politically correct phrasing of course, by JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, in his latest "Flows and Liquidity" piece:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Our daily proxy of deposit outflows based on the purchases of offshore money market funds by Greek citizens, which is one way for Greek citizens to deploy their withdrawn deposits, was €64m this week (Mon to Thu), sharply lower than the €153m during the previous week (between Feb 13th and Feb 20th), €104m during the week between Fed 6th and Feb 13th, and €62m between Jan 30th and Feb 6th. While it is encouraging that the latest Eurogroup agreement with the Greek government caused a sharp decline in deposit outflows this week, <strong>our deposit outflow proxy suggests that Greek banks have not stopped bleeding. </strong>This is <strong>inconsistent with the statement by the Greek finance minister that €700m returned to Greek banks after Eurogroup’s deal. </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So yet another accusation, as diplomatic as it may have been phrased, that Varoufakis lied. There seems to be quite a few of those lately... </p> <p>Of course, maybe Varoufakis did not lie: he simply forgot to let the European Commission check the math (they seem to do a good job of at least converting his doc files to pdfs).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>It is possible that the rise in retail deposits referred to by the Greek finance minister included the month-end payment of pensions which typically results in a transfer of bank deposits from government organizations to households.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So what does the math come out to?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>What do the above offshore money market fund purchases imply about Greek bank deposit outflows? <strong>The rule of thumb we used before based on December</strong> <strong>flows was that each €100m of purchases of offshore money market funds are associated with around €3bn of deposit outflows</strong>. January data point to a somewhat lower ratio with €562m of offshore money fund purchases corresponding to €12bn of deposit outflows. Applying January’s proportionality to February, <strong>we calculate that the €292m of purchases of offshore money market funds in February were associated with bank deposit outflows of around €6bn</strong>. <strong>This week’s €64m of purchases of offshore money funds mechanically point to deposit outflows of around €1bn.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, if JPM is correct, not only did the January outflows not cease in February, but what's even worse, is that in the last week of the month, when after the "deal", people would feel confident enough to return to their banks, another €1 billion of deposits were withdrawn. In total, this means that Greek deposits will have fallen to just about €140 billion as of today - the lowest level since March of 2005. </p> <p>Worse, assuming an NPL ratio of around 40%...&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 381px; height: 412px;" /></p> <p>... the continued deposit flight suggests that Greek banks indeed have at most a few days of cash left, and the Cyprus "blueprint" scenario is increasingly likely, unless the ECB either boosts its ELA allotment for Greece, or once again allows Greek debt to be used as collateral in ECB operations. So far, the ECB has been mum on the possibility of either of those. </p> <p>All of this, of course, assumes that Greece somehow manages to get its already unconfident citizens to resume paying taxes, or else the government will have no remaining cash with which to either run the country or repay the IMF's significant loan maturity in March, which as we preciously noted, is an increasingly possible outcome. </p> <p>In short: assuming JPM's math is accurate, not only is Greece not out of the woods despite the "bailout extension deal", but the woods are getting darker and more deadly with every passing minute.</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="956" height="662" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank Run Eurozone Greece Sat, 28 Feb 2015 21:42:19 +0000 Tyler Durden 502661 at Don’t Be Fooled By The Gold Price <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="gold" width="500" height="332" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10190 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p>American investors might be extremely disappointed with the recent performance of the gold price as the yellow metal is once again trading below $1200/oz. This causes a lot of people to frown their eyebrows but the reality is that the gold price expressed in other currencies is actually showing signs of a break-out.</p> <p>Indeed, when looking at the gold price in other currencies, the charts look extremely different. Let’s back this up with four charts of the yellow metal, expressed in different currencies. And indeed, all four charts (with the gold price expressed in respectively Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and Russian Ruble) show a considerable increase in the gold price.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold CAD" width="630" height="400" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10565 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold EUR" width="599" height="380" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10566 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold Yen" width="599" height="380" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10567 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold Ruble" width="599" height="380" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10568 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Source</a></p> <p>If we would consolidate this view in a chart, a technical break-out pattern becomes clearly visible.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold Breakout" width="599" height="487" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10569 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Source</a></p> <p>The gold price has moved up again this week ahead of Yellen’s bi-annual testimony before the Congress and the fact that the Greeks are accusing their government of <a href="" target="_blank">treason</a>. Just as we expected in an earlier column, a new deal has been reached in the final hours before the deadline, and just as we expected, Tsipras and Varoufakis returned to Athens claiming the Greeks were victorious over the evil, naughty Troika.</p> <p>This will also undermine the position of the anti-austerity parties and leaders as a sudden U-turn is only very rarely appreciated. Moreover, it now does sound like Greece was the demanding party for another extension even though it categorically refused to extend the program.</p> <p>So what’s next for the gold price in US Dollar? Looking at the Money Flow index parameter of gold, the index has reached its lowest level in several months and the last time it reached this level was right before it ran from $1190/oz to $1300/oz.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Gold Price" width="599" height="546" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-10570 aligncenter" /></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Source</a></p> <p>There are no certain things in life, but it sure does look like the gold price is bottoming out and preparing itself for another leg upwards as the last time we saw the Money Flow Index reach this level, the price of the precious metal came back to life again. Additionally, as it doesn’t look like things are calming down on the macro-economic level (the Ukrainian problems still haven’t been solved and the new Greek deal is merely an extension and not a permanent solution), investors will continue to pick up gold as a safe haven. The fundamentals haven’t changed and the recent softening in the gold price might merely be building a platform for the next break out.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank"> &gt;&gt;&gt; Check Out Our Latest Gold Report!</a></strong></p> <p><em>Sprout Money offers a fresh look at investing. We analyze long lasting cycles, coupled with a collection of strategic investments and concrete tips for different types of assets. The methods and strategies from Sprout Money are transformed into the <a href="">Gold &amp; Silver Report</a> and the <a href="">Technology Report</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Follow us on Twitter <a href=""><strong>@SproutMoney</strong></a></em></p> Canadian Dollar Greece Reality Testimony Twitter Twitter Yen Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:53:03 +0000 Sprout Money 502660 at Grant Williams: Why The Smart Money Is So Nervous Now <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Adam Taggart via Peak Prosperity</em></a>,</p> <div class="content clearfix"> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>If you drop anybody into any momentous period in history, it&rsquo;s really tough to perceive it at the time. It&rsquo;s only when you look back on these things with the benefit of hindsight that you really see how historic they really are. <strong>But for many people right now who can forget the narrative and can forget what they&#39;re being told by various interested parties, if you can stand back far enough and take a practical look at what&rsquo;s happening, I think it&rsquo;s much easier to see certainly how far from normality things are today.&nbsp;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So believes, Grant Williams, portfolio and strategy advisor for Vulpes Investment Management, and proprietor of the economic blog <a href="" target="_blank">Things That Make You Go Hmmm</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>In this weeks&#39; podcast, Grant and Chris discuss the growing anxiety they see among experienced investors. More and more, those who have made long, successful careers in money management are realizing that the system has morphed into a strange beast they no longer recognize, nor trust. Fear of epic, perhaps historic, dislocations in price when the current market reverses is causing more and more of the &quot;smart money&quot; to sell out now and seek safe harbor:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>We don&rsquo;t know how it will end, but something has to give. It&rsquo;s a question of what it will be. Because when you start playing with the forces of nature you can suppress them for a while, but they will eventually overwhelm you. </strong>We&rsquo;ve seen this constantly throughout history. I&rsquo;m a big reader of and a big follower of history because I think the answers to everything lie in there somewhere if you pay attention to the signals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, for example, the central banks interfering with the natural price of capital by suppressing interest rates and fixing somewhere where they really shouldn&rsquo;t be you at that point, have interfered with every single transaction on the face of the planet. And so if you interfere with every transaction that happens on any given day anywhere in the world you are going to get transactions that are not natural. And if they&rsquo;re not natural at some point they will revert to where they ought to be and I think we&rsquo;re starting to see that. <strong>We saw that in Switzerland, we saw the natural forces reassert themselves once that peg was removed, and it was incredibly violent. And it moved the idea of hyper-volatility back into the public conscious.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Imagine what happens when the Fed does the same thing and says &ldquo;<em>Hey you know what we promised you for the last six years? Well we can&rsquo;t fight this thing forever. We&rsquo;re out</em>&rdquo;. </strong>Imagine the volatility that&rsquo;s going to unleash. And at some point, this has to happen. Sure, plenty of people can make hay while we go along and they can close their eyes to what they may instinctively know is true and they can buy the markets and they can chase the trend and they can follow these things up. But at some point, it&rsquo;s going to turn around and bite them. When that happens, if you&rsquo;re not prepared for it or you&rsquo;re still fully invested, there will be no way out. Not in the time frame you need and not at the prices you want.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What we risk is a switch in the market, a real switch -- which is something that obviously the central banks and governments of the world are desperately trying to avoid happening. </strong>When that occurs, we will see how this new world works in the opposite direction. And it&rsquo;s going to work similar, except for the fact that you&rsquo;re going to have a bunch of people looking to sell alongside the robots. And when markets are going up it&rsquo;s very, very easy to product more stock. People can issue more shares, there&rsquo;s always new stock if you want to buy it. But if instead you want to <em>sell</em> stock, you need a bid -- and this is something people often forget: sometimes there are no bids. And where there are no bids, you can&rsquo;t sell. The first bid you might see may be down 20, 30, 40%. Guess what? The robots may well start hitting those; so you&rsquo;re going to see incredible dislocations in markets once the wind changes direction and markets head the other way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A tremendous number of people talk to me about how the financial system is broken &nbsp;-- and they mean that in the worst possible way, in that this doesn&rsquo;t work anymore.</strong> And when we do get this resumption of natural forces, people are genuinely concerned about what happens at that point because what do you do with an entire financial system that doesn&rsquo;t work anymore? They&rsquo;re very afraid about the steps that will be taken to counteract the amount that has built up by the interference over the last six years by outside agencies that have as I said corrupted -- and I use that term in the true sense of the word -- that have corrupted price signals all around the world. The financial system that we&rsquo;ve all grown up with and that every economics text book talks about doesn&#39;t exist anymore.<u><strong> This reality is not going to be obvious to everybody until it just stops working. And very, very smart people are very, very nervous about that.</strong></u></p> </blockquote> <p>Click the play button below to listen to Chris&#39; interview with Grant Williams (54m:21s)</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></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="199" height="209" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Central Banks Reality Smart Money Switzerland Volatility Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:45:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 502651 at Here Is The Reason Why Stocks Just Had Their Best Month Since October 2011 <p>Despite ending the month with a whimper, after Fed vice-chairman's hawkish words spooked the market on Friday afternoon, <strong>February was the best month for equities in over three years </strong>- since October of 2011 - driven by a 7% Nasdaq surge on the back of a gigantic move higher in Apple. And yet, as we have shown time and again, none of this reflects the "decoupling" US underlying economy, which if anything has rapidly recoupled with the rest of the world following 38 data "misses" and only 6 "beats"- the worst "surprise" index in 12 months...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="501" height="278" /></a></p> <p>... a world which as Goldman recently showed is <a href="">now in outright contraction </a>for the first time since 2012. </p> <p>It also certainly wasn't earnings: February was the first month in which we showed that as a result of plunging revenue and EPS guidance and deteriorating sales and profitability, 2015 will be the <a href=""></a><strong><a href="">first year since Lehman </a>when there will be a full year decline in year-over-year sales</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="496" height="369" /></a></p> <p>So if not the economy or fundamentals, and if not the Fed, which as we know is still on sabbatical after its massive QE1-2-Twist-3 $3 trillion liquidity injection, just what has pushed stocks up to jawdropping all time highs?</p> <p><em><strong>Here, courtesy of Deutsche Bank, is the answer:</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="338" /></a></p> <p>In case it is unclear just what the chart above shows, here is DB's explanation: "<strong>buyback announcements have surged with <span style="text-decoration: underline;">February ($98bn) posting the&nbsp; largest monthly tally on record</span>. The pace of actual buybacks tends to closely follow that of announcements.</strong>"</p> <p>And there you have it: the highest number of monthly buyback announcements in history, which for a market that may be broken but can still discount what companies will do (now that they have committed to buybacks) is merely frontrunning the most cost-insensitive buyer in the world: corporate management teams themselves. </p> <p>It should thus come as no surprise why the S&amp;P500 soared to record highs at a time when US economic data tumbled at the fastest pace in years. It should also explain the relentless buying of AAPL stock (among others), which pushed the Nasdaq to just why of 5000: recall that it was less than 3 weeks ago that <a href="">AAPL announced </a>it would proceed with merely its latest debt-funded share buyback. </p> <p>It also explains why, in the absence of the Fed, stocks continue to rise as if QE was still taking place: simply said, bondholders - starved for any yield in an increasingly NIRP world - have taken the place of the Federal Reserve, and are willing to throw any money at companies who promise even the tiniest of returns over Treasuries, oblivious if all the proceeds will be used immediately to buyback stock, thus pushing equity prices even higher, but benefiting not only shareholders but management teams who equity-linked compensation has likewise never been higher. </p> <p>To be sure, this theater of financial engineering - because stocks are not going up on any resemblance of fundamental reasons but simply due to expanding balance sheet leverage - will continue only until it can no longer continue. </p> <p>What do we mean by that? <em><strong>Two things:</strong></em></p> <p>First, we have previously shown the case <a href="">studies of Herbalife</a>...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="373" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">And IBM</a>...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="499" height="334" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>... both of which soared as long as they could lever up, and issue debt which it would promptly be used to repurchase stock which in an already massively illiquid market, meant soaring stock prices. However, once net debt got prohibitively large and creditors would no longer lend, the company had no choice but to halt the buybacks:</p> <p><strong>HLF</strong>: </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="501" height="371" /></a></p> <p>and <strong>IBM</strong>:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="372" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We know what has happened to both companies' stock prices since.</p> <p>The second issue is even more troubling. Recall also from one month ago that according to Goldman's calculations, <a href="">the biggest source of net inflows</a>, i.e., buyer of stocks, in 2015, will be companies themsleves. Aka: lots and lots of buybacks.... but apparently not enough. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="523" /></a></p> <p>According to Goldman, in 2015 buybacks will amount to a near record $450 billion, making corporations by far the biggest source of equity buying in the US stock market (at least until the Fed returns with QE4). In fact, corporations are now using the generous funds of creditors to offset a little over $400 billion in equity withdrawals (i.e., sales) by both households and pensions, which is also understandable: with Millennials now a lost generations courtesy of an economy that just refuses to recover (aside for the S&amp;P500 of course), the retiring baby boomers who are liquidating ever greater amount of stocks as they retire in droves, are not being offset by a new generation of stock inflows. </p> <p>For now, corporate buybacks are offsetting this record demand by an ever-older population to cash out of the market and do whatever retirees do in this day and age. </p> <p>But once the debt levels of corporations, <a href="">already at record high levels</a>... </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="334" /></a></p> <p>... starts becoming a concern to even the most desperate of fixed income managers of "other people's money", and even "Investment Grade" companies rapidly approach Herbalife's leverage levels - now that median EBITDA levels are the lowest <a href="">relative to total market enterprise value </a>in history - just <em><strong>who </strong></em>will step into a market that has already soaked up every last source of possible stock buying, and become the buyer of last, and only, resort?</p> <p>Answer.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="510" /></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="866" height="586" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Creditors Deutsche Bank Federal Reserve fixed Investment Grade Lehman NASDAQ None Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:58:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 502657 at Putin Spokesman Says Nemtsov Murder Was "100% Provocation" <p>Just a few short hours after the terrible murder of Russian opposition politician and outspoken Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, US&#39; John Kerry was quick to condemn the actions of the &quot;reformer&quot; and <strong>demand Russia&#39;s &quot;expeditious investigation,&quot;</strong> and President Obama has since issued a statement &quot;admiring [Nemtsov&#39;s] struggle against corruption.&quot; <em>The undertone was clear - &#39;Putin did it&#39;.</em> Furthermore, President Poroshenko has claimed that<strong> Nemtsov was on the verge of &quot;exposing direct Russian links to the Ukraine conflict.&quot;</strong> As many realise the futility of trying to determine whether it is a Russian act, a CIA act meant to look like a Russian act, or a Russian act meant to look like a CIA act, <strong>Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Nemtsov murder was &quot;100% provocation... It looks like a contract killing.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As RT reports, </em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov died in the center of Moscow after he was shot at four times.<strong> A number of leading figures from all sides of political spectrum called his murder a &quot;provocation&quot;.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Boris Nemtsov, a veteran opposition figure in Russia, was gunned down in a drive-by attack in central Moscow on Friday night. The murder triggered worldwide condemnation and calls to bring the killers to justice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov explains...</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Images from Ukraine...</p> <p><script height="315px" width="560px" src=""></script></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">As The Telegraph reports, </a>President Poroshenko has stated that Nemtsov planned to reveal Russian links to the Ukraine conflict...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Iryna Baliacheva, a Russian political migrant living in Ukraine told reporters Putin was to blame for the murder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Putin opened Pandora&#39;s box and released dangerous powers: non-acceptance of a different opinion (from his), representatives of the opposition were called traitors, while we (Ukrainians) are considered US Department of State agents.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;And now people who believed in Russia&#39;s television lies may also believe that some robbers killed him, but <strong>I think that this was organised by Putin in order for him to stay in power.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The gathering in Kiev came as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said on Saturday Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered because he planned to disclose evidence of Russia&#39;s involvement in Ukraine&#39;s separatist conflict.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Poroshenko paid tribute to Nemtsov, </strong>who was shot dead late on Friday, and said the fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin had <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>told him a couple of weeks ago that he had proof of Russia&#39;s role in the Ukraine crisis and would reveal it.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Boris Nemtsov, a big friend of Ukraine and big patriot of Russia </strong>has been killed. He was like a bridge connecting Ukraine and Russia, he built the kind of relations between our countries that I would like to see,&quot; said Poroshenko.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;To me Nemtsov is a symbol of a Russian citizen that connects (Ukraine and Russia) and sincerely respects Ukraine.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Boris had declared that he would provide the clear evidence of Russian Armed forces&#39; participation in (the war) in Ukraine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Somebody was afraid of this, Boris wasn&#39;t afraid. Killers and executors were afraid.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Secretary Kerry: February 2015 &raquo; Murder of Boris Nemtsov</strong></span></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>I am shocked and saddened to learn of the brutal murder of former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow. Boris Nemtsov committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia, and to strong relationships between Russia and its neighbors and partners, including the United States. He served his country in many roles &ndash; in the federal government, in the parliament, as Governor of Nizhniy Novgorod, and as a political leader and activist. In every post, he sought to reform and open Russia, and to empower the Russian people to have a greater say in the life of their country. His absence will be deeply felt in Russia and around the world. The United States urges the Russian authorities to act expeditiously to investigate and bring to justice those responsible. Our thoughts are with the Russian people and with Mr. Nemtsov&rsquo;s family and friends as we mourn his loss.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Statement by the President on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov</strong></span></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The United States condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov, and we call upon the Russian government to conduct a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice.&nbsp; Nemtsov was a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled.&nbsp; I admired Nemtsov&rsquo;s courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia and appreciated his willingness to share his candid views with me when we met in Moscow in 2009.&nbsp; We offer our sincere condolences to Boris Efimovich&rsquo;s family, and to the Russian people, who have lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>It appears - no matter who or what was responsible - we&#39;re back at near-Cold War levels of hostility between the USA and Russia.</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="463" height="330" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption President Obama Ukraine Vladimir Putin Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:53:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 502646 at Annaly CEO: Central Bankers Are Witch Doctors, Demands "Return To Market-Driven Pricing" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog</em></a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The story of bloodletting is intertwined in the mysterious fabric of medical lore; it originated from magic and religious ceremonies. The physician and priest were one and the same since disease was thought to be caused by supernatural causes. Witch doctors and sorcerers were called on to drive out the evil spirits and demons. Bloodletting was a method for cleansing the body of ill-defined impurities and excess fluid. The early instruments included thorns, pointed sticks and bones, sharp pieces of flint or shell, and even sharply pointed shark&rsquo;s teeth. Miniature bow and arrow devices for bloodletting have been found in South America and New Guinea. A small bloodletting instrument resembling a crossbow was once used in Greece and Malta. Wall paintings dating from 1400 B.C. depict the use of leeches for drawing blood from human beings.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From a PBS article: <a href="">A Brief History of Blood-Letting</a></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>On a conference call today to discuss the mortgage-investment firm&rsquo;s earnings, the chief executive officer talked about &ldquo;blood-letting,&rdquo; a &ldquo;popular prescription for many ills&rdquo; until the late 1800s, and the similarly abandoned view that life could be created by spontaneous generation to explain her &ldquo;healthy dose of concern&rdquo; over the potential results of all the stimulus.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;My hope is that as policy makers of the world continue to prescribe their remedies for the ailing economic patient, that they do not render it worse off,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;As with their predecessors, I suspect there is no doubt in the minds of our central bankers that they are the smartest they&rsquo;ve ever been. Yet, I fear they are not the smartest they will ever be.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From the Bloomberg article:&nbsp;<a href="">Annaly&rsquo;s CEO Sees Central Bankers as Possible Blood-Letters</a></p> </blockquote> <p>One of my greatest frustrations during&nbsp;the post-financial crisis period has been the unwillingness of the rich and powerful to call out central banking for what it is: <strong>financial slavery.</strong> While I accept that many are simply ignorant or brainwashed, there are plenty who know exactly what&rsquo;s going on and are merely trying to make as much money as possible&nbsp;from the Federal Reserve created scam before the music stops. For those with influence in society, this is a highly unethical&nbsp;choice.</p> <p>I have to give credit to Annaly CEO,&nbsp;Wellington J. Denahan, for her harsh, and in my opinion accurate, criticism of central bankers.<a href=""> <em>Bloomberg</em> reports</a> that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>(Bloomberg) &mdash; Annaly Capital Management Inc.&rsquo;s Wellington J. Denahan said she thinks central banks&rsquo; efforts to revitalize their economies may one day be seen as the 21st-century equivalent of the medical belief in the benefits of bleeding patients. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>On a conference call today to discuss the mortgage-investment firm&rsquo;s earnings, the chief executive officer talked about &ldquo;blood-letting,&rdquo; a &ldquo;popular prescription for many ills&rdquo; until the late 1800s, and the similarly abandoned view that life could be created by spontaneous generation to explain her &ldquo;healthy dose of concern&rdquo; over the potential results of all the stimulus.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;My hope is that as policy makers of the world continue to prescribe their remedies for the ailing economic patient, that they do not render it worse off,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;As with their predecessors, I suspect there is no doubt in the minds of our central bankers that they are the smartest they&rsquo;ve ever been. Yet, I fear they are not the smartest they will ever be.&rdquo; </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>While her remarks were meant to illustrate &ldquo;how history is littered with longstanding theories and beliefs that ultimately prove incorrect,&rdquo; Denahan isn&rsquo;t the only financial CEO to offer comments about central bankers referencing blood-letters. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;Much like Theodoric of York, the medieval barber on &lsquo;Saturday Night Live&rsquo; whose solution to every health problem was more bloodletting, central bankers continue to force liquidity in the banking system without any objective proof that it is helping,&rdquo;</strong> Alleghany Corp.&rsquo;s Weston Hicks said in a 2013 letter to the New York-based insurer&rsquo;s shareholders, referring to a Steve Martin character on the television show.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;As we have stated many times before we welcome the return of normalcy to the markets,&rdquo; Keyes said. <strong>&ldquo;This includes the return of market-driven pricing and volatility.&rdquo;&nbsp;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Well said.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>For related articles, see:</em></p> <p><em><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Matt Stoller Destroys Timothy Geithner in His Epic Review of “Stress Test”">Matt Stoller Destroys Timothy Geithner in His Epic Review of &ldquo;Stress Test&rdquo;</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Tim Geithner Admits “Too Big To Fail” Hasn’t Gone Anywhere (and that’s the way he likes it)">Tim Geithner Admits &ldquo;Too Big To Fail&rdquo; Hasn&rsquo;t Gone Anywhere (and that&rsquo;s the way he likes it)</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Video of the Day – Elizabeth Warren Torches Janet Yellen on TBTF">Video of the Day &ndash; Elizabeth Warren Torches Janet Yellen on TBTF</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Video of the Day – “End the Fed” Rallies are Exploding Throughout Germany">Video of the Day &ndash; &ldquo;End the Fed&rdquo; Rallies are Exploding Throughout Germany</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to New Survey: Federal Reserve Employees are “Demoralized,” “Distrustful” and “Afraid to Speak Out”">New Survey: Federal Reserve Employees are &ldquo;Demoralized,&rdquo; &ldquo;Distrustful&rdquo; and &ldquo;Afraid to Speak Out&rdquo;</a></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="502" height="411" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Annaly Capital B+ Central Banks Elizabeth Warren Fail Federal Reserve Germany Greece Janet Yellen Stress Test Tim Geithner Timothy Geithner Too Big To Fail Volatility Sat, 28 Feb 2015 19:15:24 +0000 Tyler Durden 502649 at More Giant Craters Appear In Siberia, Scientists Nervous To Investigate <p>In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain.<strong> Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet&#39;s most inhospitable lands.</strong> Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called &quot;the ends of the Earth&quot; where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 30 metres in diameter.</p> <p><em>One of the craters in Siberia&#39;s so-called &quot;ends of the earth&quot;</em></p> <p><a href=""><img height="360" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="747" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="839" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The saga deepened. The Siberian crater wasn&#39;t alone.</strong> There were two more, ratcheting up the tension in a drama that hit its climax as a probable explanation surfaced. Climate change had thawed the permafrost, which had caused methane trapped inside the icy ground to explode. &quot;Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,&quot; one German scientist said at the time.</p> <p><em>Video of the craters...</em></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Now, however, as <a href="">The Sydney Morning herald reports,</a> researchers fear there are more craters than anyone knew &mdash; and the repercussions could be huge...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Russian scientists have now <strong>spotted a total of seven craters,</strong> five of which are in the Yamal Peninsula. Two of those holes have since turned into lakes. And one giant crater is rimmed by a ring of<strong> at least 20 mini-craters, </strong>the Siberian Times reported. Dozens more Siberian craters are likely still out there, said Moscow scientist Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Oil and Gas Research Institute, calling for an &quot;urgent&quot; investigation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>He fears that if temperatures continue to rise &mdash; and they were five degrees higher than average in 2012 and 2013 &mdash; more craters will emerge in an area awash in gas fields vital to the national economy.</strong> <strong><u>&quot;It is important not to scare people, but to understand that it is a very serious problem and we must research this,&quot; he told the Siberian Times. &quot;We must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters.&quot;</u></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>These objects need to be studied, but it is rather dangerous for the researchers,&quot; </strong>Bogoyavlensky told the Siberian Times. &quot;We know that there can occur a series of gas emissions over an extended period of time, but we do not know exactly when they might happen. ... It is very risky, because no one can guarantee there would not be new emissions.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Making matters worse, the gas is extremely flammable.</strong> One of the methane bursts has already caught fire. Nearby residents in a town called Antipayuta say they recently saw a bright flash in the distance. &quot;Probably the gas ignited,&quot; Bogoyavlensky said. &quot;This shows us that such [an] explosion could be rather dangerous and destructive. <strong>Years of experience has shown that gas emissions can cause serious damage to drilling rigs, oil and gas fields and offshore pipelines.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>When the news first broke last year, social media users pointed to everything from a meteorite to a stray missile to aliens to the Bermuda Triangle as possible causes. But the most plausible explanation seemed to be the explosive release of melting methane hydrate&mdash;an ice-like material frozen in the Arctic ground&mdash;thanks to global warming. But, as National Geographic reports, other theories are coming to light...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Now,<strong> scientists are arguing that the methane theory is unlikely,</strong> based on new satellite surveys released by Russian researchers that found dozens of new craters in Siberia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;The jury is still out&quot; on the cause of Siberia&#39;s craters,</strong> says Carolyn Ruppel, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey&#39;s Gas Hydrates Project. But she and other scientists say the<strong> new satellite mapping suggests another explanation that has to do with the rapid melting of ice cores called pingos.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A pingo is a plug of ice that forms near the surface over time and has a small mound or hill on top.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When an ice plug melts rapidly&mdash;as many have been, thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures in Siberia over the past year&mdash;it can cause part of the ground to collapse, forming a crater. But that process alone isn&#39;t enough to explain the ejected rocks that have been found around the rim of the craters, which suggest some sort of explosion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead, Ruppel theorizes that the craters were formed by a <strong>sudden release of natural gas that had been stored in the permafrost but was kept under pressure by the weight of the pingo.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This theory is bolstered by the Russian satellite data, which show pingos&mdash;they appear as small mounds&mdash;in the exact positions where the craters later formed.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br />So in conclusion - &quot;No one knows what is happening in these craters at the moment.&quot;</p> Global Warming Natural Gas Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:30:39 +0000 Tyler Durden 502648 at Fed Independence Is A Joke, So Why Not Audit? <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by James Miller via</em></a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>A <a href="">whistleblower-hating</a> president, a bureaucrat who <a href="">illegally targeted conservatives</a>, and the former national intelligence director who <a href="">lied before Congress</a> walk into a bar.</strong></p> </blockquote> <div class="node-content"> <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p><strong>The bartender says: what can I get &ldquo;<a href="">the most transparent administration in history</a>&rdquo;?</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>If Janet Yellen didn&rsquo;t resemble a <a href="">bookwormish teetotaler</a>, perhaps she&rsquo;d join her colleagues in a toast to suppressing democratic accountability.</strong> For now, she&rsquo;ll order a club soda while working vigorously to keep Congress, and thus the people, out of her business of running the country&rsquo;s central bank.</p> <p>Yellen has only been Chair of the Federal Reserve for one year, but she&rsquo;s <strong>already facing pressure to open the books from the new Congress</strong>. Leading the charge are two statesmen from Kentucky: Representative Thomas Massie and Senator Rand Paul. Both have introduced audit the Fed legislation in their respective chambers.</p> <p><strong>Wall Street&rsquo;s cadre of financial oligarchs are predictably <a href="">up in arms</a> over an audit of their <a href="">free money machine</a>. </strong>Think tankers are antagonizing the campaign, with Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute asserting that Sen. Paul has &ldquo;a poor understanding of what&rsquo;s actually on the Fed balance sheet and how the bank operates.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s expected President Obama would <a href="">veto</a> an audit the Fed bill. Even local bankers are scaremongering over the prospect of the Fed losing autonomy.</p> <p><strong>Yellen, for her part, isn&rsquo;t about to let the nosy wolves in her henhouse.</strong> In a <a href="">recent interview</a>, she said she would stand &ldquo;forcefully&rdquo; against any audit measures. She justified her intransigence by citing the importance of &ldquo;central bank independence&rdquo; and being able to act without interference.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn&rsquo;t care much for democratic oversight. She&rsquo;s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn&rsquo;t operating a private railroad company. She&rsquo;s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it&rsquo;s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>So apologies Janet, you don&rsquo;t operate in a bubble (insert Fed pun here).</strong> The people - those plain people who think economics is about supply and demand rather than complicated math formulas - deserve some level of sway over the Fed&rsquo;s operations. So why not an audit by the Government Accountability Office? Last I heard, President Obama was <a href="">all about accountability</a>.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Yellen and company aren&rsquo;t buying it. They don&rsquo;t want anyone butting in on their micromanagement of the money supply. Outside observers would interfere with the Fed&rsquo;s independence, which is a sacrament of the central bank.</strong></span></p> <p>In an illuminating <a href="">interview</a> with the Wall Street Journal, David Wessel does his best to explain the history of the Federal Reserve and Congress&rsquo;s long trek to make its internal deliberations more public. For over four decades, the GAO (then called the General Accountability Office) was barred from investigating the Fed. That changed in 1978, when Congress passed a law allowing the GAO to look at the central bank&rsquo;s &ldquo;regulatory duties.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Then the financial crisis of 2008 hit, and the Fed intervened in the financial markets at an unprecedented scale.</strong> Banks and Wall Street firms were bailed out to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars. Main Street was left high and dry. Voters were livid and rightfully so.</p> <p>Congress - after ignominiously bailing out the banks further - expanded the GAO&rsquo;s authority to examine Fed loans to private companies. With the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill in 2010, the Fed was further opened up, and had to disclose &ldquo;internal controls, policies on collateral, use of contractors and other activities.&rdquo;<strong> Currently, the GAO is not allowed to review the Fed&rsquo;s discussions on monetary-policy decisions.</strong></p> <p><strong>Rand Paul&rsquo;s audit the Federal Reserve bill eliminates that barrier. </strong>And therein lies to the problem according to Fed apologists. As Mr. Wessel tells us, the central bank should be protected from the influence of short-sighted politicians. &ldquo;[G]iving politicians power over interest rates and the supply of credit hurts an economy over time,&rdquo; he explains. &ldquo;Prohibiting the GAO&mdash;an arm of Congress&ndash;from second-guessing the Fed&rsquo;s monetary policy decisions is part of that insulation.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Now, it is indeed true that politicians tend to be myopic in their actions.</strong> An $18 trillion debt created by the refusal to don big boy pants and cut spending is indicative of Congress&rsquo;s systematic immaturity. Having the likes of Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner in charge of the Fed&rsquo;s printing presses is a startling notion. But that&rsquo;s not what auditing the Fed accomplishes. There is no language in either the House bill or Senate bill that puts Congress in charge of monetary operations. Fed proponents like Pethokoukis are demagoguing when they say otherwise.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s true the Fed&rsquo;s financial statements are audited every year by the firm Deloitte &amp; Touche. <strong>That perfunctory measure didn&rsquo;t reveal <a href="">the fact</a> that the Fed took advantage of the financial crisis to bail out foreign companies and central banks. </strong>Over $16 trillion was <a href="">doled out</a> to foreign institutions like Barclays and UBS. The American public only became aware of the monetary shenanigans because Dodd-Frank contained a partial audit of the Fed&rsquo;s activities. Had that not happened, we would still be in the dark.</p> <p><strong>Central bank defenders who scream &ldquo;independence&rdquo; over the prospect of an audit are misguided.</strong> The idea that political institutions operate in a vacuum and are isolated from outside interests is college-level idealism. It doesn&rsquo;t pass the smell test. Government officials are primarily interested in perpetuating their power - public good be damned.</p> <p><strong>Janet Yellen is just as beholden to everyday politics as President Obama. She&rsquo;s not independent; her job depends on the president&rsquo;s approval.</strong> In a <a href="">recent testimony</a> before Congress, Yellen wondered aloud, &ldquo;I really wonder whether or not the Volcker-led Fed would have had the courage to take the hard decisions necessary to bring down inflation and get that finally under control.&rdquo; What she referred to was the economic calamity that preceded the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. When the Gipper took office, inflation was raging. Volcker was appointed to the Fed to clamp down on rising prices. This wasn&rsquo;t popular at first; hiking interest rates tanked the economy. But Reagan stood by Volker, giving him the political cover to follow through. As Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson <a href="">writes</a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;[D]uring Volcker&rsquo;s monetary onslaught, there were many congressional proposals, backed by members of both parties, to curb the Fed&rsquo;s power, lower interest rates or fire Volcker. If Reagan had endorsed any of them, the Fed would have had to retreat.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Volcker didn&rsquo;t operate independently. He had the support of the Reagan White House. Just the same, Yellen isn&rsquo;t free from democratic pressure. She has to obey political headwinds.</p> <p><strong>If the Fed is not immune from politics, then why keep up the facade of independence?</strong> Let&rsquo;s acknowledge the central bank must answer to the political class. And then let&rsquo;s look at the past: the Fed&rsquo;s history is full of backroom deals for elite special interests. That&rsquo;s not an accident. Darkness gives cover to all sorts of sleazy deeds. An audit would begin the process of weeding out this secrecy.</p> <p><strong>If the Federal Reserve has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear, right?</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</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="280" height="252" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barclays Central Banks Federal Reserve Free Money Janet Yellen Main Street Monetary Policy Money Supply Nancy Pelosi national intelligence President Obama Testimony Wall Street Journal White House Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:46:41 +0000 Tyler Durden 502647 at