http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/phonebook en China Prepares To Bailout Russia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/china-prepares-bailout-russia <p>Earlier this evening China&#39;s State Administration of Foreign Exchange&#39;s (SAFE) Wang Yungui noted &quot;the impact of the Russian Ruble depreciation was unclear yet, and, as Bloomberg reported, &quot;<strong>SAFE is closely watching Ruble&#39;s depreciation</strong> and encouraging companies to hedge Ruble risks.&quot; His comments also echoed the ongoing FX reform agenda aimed at increasing Yuan flexibility which <a href="http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1664567/russia-may-seek-china-help-deal-crisis">The South China Morning Post then hinted in a story entitled &quot;Russia may seek China help to deal with crisis,&quot;</a> which which noted that <strong>Russia could fall back on its 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) currency swap agreement with China</strong> if the ruble continues to plunge, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-13/china-russia-sign-cny150-billion-local-currency-swap-plunging-oil-prices-sting-putin">that was signed in October</a>. Furthermore, <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">two bankers close to the PBOC reportedly said the swap-line was meant to reduce the role of the US dollar if China and Russia need to help each other overcome a liquidity squeeze</span></strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Bloomberg reported, earlier in the evening, China&#39;s Wang Yungui noted</p> <ul> <li><strong>*CHINA IS CLOSELY WATCHING RUBLE&#39;S DEPRECIATION: SAFE&#39;S WANG</strong></li> <li><strong>*CHINA ENCOURAGES COS. TO HEDGE RUBLE RISKS, SAFE&#39;S WANG SAYS</strong></li> <li><strong>*REAL IMPACT OF RUBLE DEPRECIATION UNCLEAR YET, SAFE&#39;S WANG SAYS</strong></li> </ul> <p>Adding that China plans sweeping reforms to promote FX flexibility.</p> <p><a href="http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/1664567/russia-may-seek-china-help-deal-crisis"><em>And then The South China Morning Post hints,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Russia could fall back on its 150 billion yuan (HK$189.8 billion) currency swap agreement with China if the rouble continues to plunge.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If the swap deal is activated for this purpose, it would mark the first time China is called upon to use its currency to bail out another currency in crisis. The deal was signed by the two central banks in October, when Premier Li Keqiang visited Russia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>&quot;Russia badly needs liquidity support and the swap line could be an ideal tool,&quot; </strong></u>said Bank of Communications chief economist Lian Ping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The swap allows the central banks to directly buy yuan and rouble in the two currencies, rather than via the US dollar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><u>Two bankers close to the People&#39;s Bank of China said it was meant to reduce the role of the US dollar if China and Russia need to help each other overcome a liquidity squeeze.</u></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China has currency swap deals with more than 20 monetary authorities around the world. Swaps are generally used to settle trade.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;The yuan-rouble swap deal was not just a financial matter,&quot; said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based private equity group Yinshu Capital. &quot;It has political implications as it is a sign of mutual trust.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rouble has lost more than 50 per cent against the US dollar this year, pushing Russia to the brink of a currency crisis, though measures announced by the central bank helped it recover some ground yesterday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Li Lifan, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the swap would not be enough for Russia even if it is used in its entirety.<strong> &quot;The PBOC might agree to extend something like 15 billion yuan initially as a way of showing China&#39;s commitment to Russia.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-13/china-russia-sign-cny150-billion-local-currency-swap-plunging-oil-prices-sting-putin"><em>As we discussed in October when the swap deal was signed,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>...as if to assure all involved parties that there will be enough capital support on both sides, the <a href="http://www.pbc.gov.cn/publish/goutongjiaoliu/524/2014/20141013174258952892194/20141013174258952892194_.html">PBOC released a surprising announcement </a>that the central banks of China and Russia signed a 3-year, 150 billion yuan bilateral local-currency swap deal today, according to a statement posted on PBOC website. Deal can be expanded if both parties agree, statement says. <strong>Deal aims to make bilateral trade and direct investment more&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; convenient and promote economic development in 2 nations.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To be sure, some such as Bloomberg, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-12/putin-deals-china-winning-hand-as-sanctions-power-rival.html">are skeptical </a>that the unprecedented pivot by Russia toward China as it shuns the west, will merely harm the Kremlin. Others, however, wonder: <strong>who will be left standing</strong>: Europe, with its chronic deficit of energy and reliance on Russia; or <strong>Russia, a country overflowing with natural resources, whose economy is currently underoing a dramatic and painful shift, as it scrambles to dissolve all linkages to the Petrodollar and face the Gas-O-Yuan?</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>Is &#39;isolated&#39; Russia about to be bailed out by the world&#39;s largest economy China?</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 434px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps, they already started...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY.jpg"><img height="318" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But then again - with the BRICS currencies all turmoiling... (ZAR -22% not shown)</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_RUBCNY2_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 311px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps it is <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-15/brics-announce-100-billion-reserve-bypass-fed-developed-world-central-banks"><strong>not such a surprise as members take advantage of The BRICS Bank&#39;s $100 Billion reserve...</strong></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/07/BRICS%20happy.jpg"><img height="337" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/07/BRICS%20happy_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The punchline, however, is that using bilateral swaps, the BRICS are effectively disintermediating themselves from a Fed and other &quot;developed world&quot; central-bank dominated world and will provide their own funding.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>We are pleased to announce the signing of the Treaty for the establishment of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) with an initial size of US$ 100 billion.</strong> This arrangement will have a <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>positive precautionary effect</strong></span>, help countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, <strong>promote further BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements</strong>.... <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The Agreement is a framework for the provision of liquidity through currency swaps in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.</strong></span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p>Incidentally, the role of the dollar in such a world is, well, nil.</p> <p>For those who have forgotten who the BRICS are, aside from a droll acronym by a former Goldman banker, here is a reminder of the countries that make up 3 billion in population.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/07/20140715_brics.jpg"><img height="742" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/07/20140715_brics_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Chart: Bloomberg</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="622" height="450" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_RUBCNY1.jpg?1418876109" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/china-prepares-bailout-russia#comments BRICs Central Banks China CRA Private Equity Yuan Thu, 18 Dec 2014 04:17:29 +0000 Tyler Durden 499262 at http://www.zerohedge.com IMF Now Ready To Slam The Door On The U.S. And The Dollar http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/imf-now-ready-slam-door-us-and-dollar <p><a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2444-imf-now-ready-to-slam-the-door-on-the-us-and-the-dollar"><em>Submitted by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market blog</em></a>,</p> <p><img border="0" src="http://www.alt-market.com/images/stories/flytrap1.jpg" /></p> <p><em>As I write this, the news is saturated with stories of a hostage situation possibly involving Islamic militants in Sydney, Australia. Like many, I am concerned about the shockwave such an event will create through our sociopolitical structures. However, while most of the world will be distracted by the outcome of this crisis (for good or bad) for at least the week, I find I must concern myself with a far more important and dangerous situation.</em></p> <p><em>Up to 40 people may be held by a supposed extremist in Sydney,</em> <strong>but the entire world is currently being held hostage economically by international banks.</strong> This is the crisis no one in the mainstream is talking about, so alternative analysts must.</p> <p><strong>As I predicted last month in <a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2394-we-have-just-witnessed-the-last-gasp-of-the-global-economy">&ldquo;We Have Just Witnessed The Last Gasp Of The Global Economy,&rdquo; </a> severe volatility is now returning to global markets after the pre-game 10 percent drop in equities in October hinted at what was to come.</strong></p> <p>We expected such destabilization after the wrap-up of the Fed taper, and the markets have not disappointed so far. My position has always been that the taper of QE3 made very little sense in terms of maintaining the manipulated illusion of economic health &mdash; unless, of course, the Federal Reserve was implementing the taper in preparation for a renewed financial catastrophe. That is to say, the central bankers have established the lie of American fiscal recovery and then separated themselves from blame for the implosion they KNOW is coming. If the markets were to collapse while stimulus is officially active, the tragedy would be forever a millstone on the necks of the banksters. And we can&rsquo;t have that now, can we?</p> <p><strong>This is not to say that individual central banks and even currencies are not expendable in the grand scheme of things.</strong> In fact, the long-term goal of globalists has been to consolidate all currency systems and central banks under the outward control of the International Monetary Fund and the Bank Of International Settlements, as I outlined in <a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2403-the-economic-end-game-explained">&ldquo;The Economic Endgame Explained.&rdquo; </a></p> <p>That particular article was only a summary of a dangerous trend I have been concerned about for years; namely the <strong>strategy by international financiers to create a dollar-collapse scenario that will be blamed on prepositioned scapegoats. </strong>I have no idea what form these scapegoats will take - there are simply too many possible triggers for fiscal calamity. What I do know, though, is the goal of the endgame: to remove the dollar&rsquo;s world reserve status and to pressure the American people into conforming or even begging for centralized administration of our economy by the IMF.</p> <p><strong>The delusion perpetuated in the mainstream is that the IMF is a U.S.-dominated institution.</strong> I have outlined on many occasions why this is false. The IMF like all central banks is dominated by the international corporate banking cartel. Central banks are merely front organizations for globalists, and I am often reminded of the following quote from elitist insider Carroll Quigley when I hear people suggest that central banks are somehow independent from one another or that the Federal Reserve is itself the singular &ldquo;source&rdquo; of the world&rsquo;s economic ills:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>It must not be felt that these heads of the world&rsquo;s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called &ldquo;international&rdquo; or &ldquo;merchant&rdquo; bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>No one can now argue against this reality after we have witnessed hard evidence of Goldman Sachs dictating Federal Reserve policy, as outlined <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-26/how-goldman-controls-new-york-fed-475-hours-secret-goldman-sachs-tapes-explain" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>And, most recently, we now know that international bankers control political legislation as well, as Congress passed with little resistance a bill that negates the Frank-Dodd restrictions on derivatives and places the U.S. taxpayers and account holders on the hook for more than $303 trillion in toxic debt instruments. The bill is, for all intents and purposes, a &ldquo;bail-in&rdquo; measure in disguise. And it was pushed through with the direct influence of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.</p> <p><strong>The Federal Reserve, the U.S. government and the dollar are as expendable to the elites as any other economic or political appendage. </strong>And it can be replaced at will with yet another illusory structure if this furthers their goal of total centralization. This has been done for centuries, and I fail to see why anyone would assume that globalists would change their tactics now to preserve the dollar system. They call it the &ldquo;New World Order,&rdquo; but it is really the same old-world monetary order out of chaos that has always been exploited. Enter the IMF&rsquo;s old/new world vision.</p> <p><strong>While the investment universe has been mesmerized by the deterioration of the Russian Ruble and oil prices, the IMF has been a busy little bee hive...</strong></p> <p>In articles over the past year, I have warned that the <strong>plan to dethrone the dollar</strong> and replace it with the special drawing rights basket currency system would be accelerated after it became clear that the U.S. Congress would refuse to pass the IMF reforms of 2010 proclaiming &ldquo;inclusiveness&rdquo; for developing economies, including the BRICS nations. The latest spending bill removed any mention of IMF reforms. The IMF, under Christine Lagarde, has insisted that if the U.S. did not approve its part of the reforms, the IMF would be forced to pursue a &ldquo;Plan B&rdquo; scenario. The details on this &ldquo;plan B&rdquo; have not been forthcoming, until now.</p> <p><strong>The Financial Times <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9026530c-821d-11e4-a9bb-00144feabdc0.html">reported</a> on the IMF shift away from the U.S. by asserting the authority to remove the veto power America has always enjoyed over the institution. </strong>This action is a stark reminder to mainstream talking heads and to those who believe the U.S. is the core economic danger to the world that the IMF is NOT an extension of American policy. If anything, the IMF and the U.S. are extensions of international banking power, just as the BRICS are nothing more than puppets for the same self-serving financial oligarchy clamoring for the same IMF-controlled paradigm, as Vladimir Putin openly admitted:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;In the BRICS case we see a whole set of coinciding strategic interests. First of all, this is the common intention to reform the international monetary and financial system. In the present form it is unjust to the BRICS countries and to new economies in general. We should take a more active part in the IMF and the World Bank&rsquo;s decision-making system. The international monetary system itself depends a lot on the US dollar, or, to be precise, on the monetary and financial policy of the US authorities. The BRICS countries want to change this&hellip;&quot;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>And of course the <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7168919">Chinese have pronounced</a> their fealty to the IMF global currency concept:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>The world economic crisis shows the &quot;inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,&quot; Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an essay released Monday by the bank. He recommended creating a currency made up of a basket of global currencies and controlled by the International Monetary Fund and said it would help &quot;to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability.&quot;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The BRICS are not the only nations demanding the U.S. lose its supposed &quot;influence&quot; over the IMF.&nbsp; Germany, the core economic pillar of the EU, called for America <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fd046b4c-c022-11df-b77d-00144feab49a.html#axzz3M9kOhUB8">to relinquish its veto power</a> back in 2010 just as the reforms measure was announced.</p> <p><strong>The IMF decision to possibly eliminate U.S. veto power and, thus, influence over IMF decisions may come as early as the first quarter of next year. This is the great &ldquo;economic reset&rdquo; that Largarde has been promoting ad nauseam in multiple interviews and speeches over the past six months.</strong> All of these measures are culminating in what I believe will be a more official announcement of a dump of the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency.</p> <p>Along with the imminent loss of veto power, I have also written on the concerns of the coming SDR conference in 2015. This conference is held only once every five years. My suspicion has been that the IMF plans to announce the inclusion of the Chinese yuan in the SDR basket and that this will coincide with a steady dollar dump around the globe. Multiple major economies have already dropped the dollar in bilateral trade with China, and engineered tensions between the U.S. and the East have exacerbated the issue.</p> <p><strong>The timing of the SDR conference has now been announced, and the meeting looks to be set for October of 2015. </strong>Interestingly, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-11/yuan-has-real-shot-at-imf-blessing-on-reserve-status.html">this linked article </a>from Bloomberg notes that China has a &ldquo;real shot&rdquo; at SDR inclusion and official &ldquo;reserve status&rdquo; next year, but warns that the U.S. &ldquo;may use its veto power&rdquo; to stop China&rsquo;s membership. I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all, because there are many people in the world of economic study who still believe the developments of globalization and fiscal distress are all &ldquo;random.&rdquo; I suppose that if it is all random, then it is a rather convenient coincidence that the U.S. just happens to be on the verge of losing veto power in the IMF just before they are about to bring the BRICS into the SDR fold and supplant the dollar.</p> <p><strong>This is it, folks; this is the endgame right in front of our faces. The year of 2014 is the new 2007, with all the negative potential but 100 times more explosive going into 2015. </strong>Our nation has wallowed in slowly degrading financial conditions for years, hidden by fake economic statistics and manipulated stock prices. All of it has been a prelude to a much more frenetic and shocking event. I believe that we will see continued market chaos from now on, with a steep declining trend intermixed with brief but inadequate &ldquo;dead cat&rdquo; stock bounces. I expect a hailstorm of geopolitical crises over the next year to provide cover for the shift away from the dollar.</p> <p><strong>Ultimately, the death of the dollar will be hailed in the mainstream as a &ldquo;good and necessary thing.&rdquo; They will call it &ldquo;karma.&rdquo; They will call it &ldquo;progress.&rdquo; They will even call it &ldquo;decentralization&rdquo; and a success for the free market. But it will not feel like a positive development for the American public, who will suffer greatly as the dollar crumbles. </strong>Only those educated in the underpinnings of shadow banking will understand the whole thing is a charade designed to hide the complete centralization of sovereign economic governance into the hands of the globalists, using the IMF and BIS as &ldquo;fiscal heroes,&rdquo; saving the world from a state of economic destruction the elites themselves secretly created.</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="392" height="319" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_IMF.jpg?1418855823" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/imf-now-ready-slam-door-us-and-dollar#comments Australia B+ BRICs Central Banks China Fail Federal Reserve Germany Global Economy Goldman Sachs goldman sachs International Monetary Fund Jamie Dimon JPMorgan Chase Reality recovery Reserve Currency Shadow Banking Vladimir Putin Volatility World Bank Yuan Thu, 18 Dec 2014 03:25:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 499258 at http://www.zerohedge.com Santa Yellen Arrives: Stock Buying-Panic Sparks Biggest Short Squeeze In Over 3 Years http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/santa-yellen-arrives-stock-buying-panic-sparks-biggest-short-squeeze-over-3-years <p>More crazy pills...</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ilcRS5eUpwk" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><u>Another day, another face-ripping short squeeze... this was the biggest day for &quot;most shorted&quot; stocks in over 3 years!!!!</u></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD11.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD11_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 306px;" /></a></p> <p>And...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>eMini net change from 9:30 open to close today (black line) was 2nd highest since 1/2012 <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%24ES_F&amp;src=ctag">$ES_F</a> <a href="http://t.co/N5GEYgYBWK">pic.twitter.com/N5GEYgYBWK</a></p> <p>&mdash; Eric Scott Hunsader (@nanexllc) <a href="https://twitter.com/nanexllc/status/545341367539744769">December 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...that lifted stocks magnificently from last night&#39;s closing lows to the week&#39;s highs...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD7.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD7_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 756px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Small Caps rip in a massive short squeeze... up 2% on the week now!!!</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD8.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD8_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 501px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Broken Markets</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>6000 busted trades and counting - about 3 to 5 each second</p> <p>&mdash; Eric Scott Hunsader (@nanexllc) <a href="https://twitter.com/nanexllc/status/545322111422980097">December 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>S&amp;P&#39;s best day since Jan 2013... ripping back above the 50DMA and 100DMA</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD3.jpg"><img height="431" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD3_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Don&#39;t get too excited...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD10.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD10_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 318px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ruble rallied...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD2.jpg"><img height="318" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD2_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Oil roundtripped...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD1.jpg"><img height="463" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD1_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Energy credit did indeed raly on the day - how could it not - but we suspect stocks are getting a little ahead of themselves</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD12.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD12_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Treasury yields rose on the day...post FOMC</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD4.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD4_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>rates decoupled from stocks</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD9.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD9_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 358px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The USDollar surged...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD5.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD5_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 320px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Silver was relatively flat (but down hard on the week), goldslipped lower after FOMC, oil pumped and dumped...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD6.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_EOD6_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/santa-yellen-arrives-stock-buying-panic-sparks-biggest-short-squeeze-over-3-years#comments Twitter Twitter Thu, 18 Dec 2014 03:14:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 499246 at http://www.zerohedge.com Will Putin's Next Step Be To Sell Gold? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/will-putins-next-step-be-sell-gold <p><em>"Russia is at a critical juncture and given the sanctions placed upon them and the rapid decline in oil prices, <strong>they may be forced to dip into their gold reserves, if it happens it will push gold lower</strong>."</em> That is what, according to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/traders-betting-russia-s-next-move-will-be-to-sell-gold.html">some people Bloomberg has quoted</a>, is in the cards.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/traders-betting-russia-s-next-move-will-be-to-sell-gold.html"><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Russia’s surprise interest-rate increase failed to stop the plummeting ruble. Another tool available to repair economic havoc caused by sanctions and falling oil prices: selling gold.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Russia holds about 1,169.5 metric tons of the precious metal, the central bank said last month. That’s about 10 percent of its foreign reserves, according to the London-based World Gold Council. The country added 150 tons this year through Nov. 18, central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina told lawmakers. The Bank of Russia declined to comment on its gold reserves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Russia’s cash pile has dropped to a five-year low as its central bank spent more than $80 billion trying to slow the ruble’s retreat. </strong>The currency’s collapse combined with more than a 40 percent tumble in oil prices this year is robbing Russia of the hard currency it needs in the face of sanctions imposed after President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. <strong>A fall in gold prices signals that traders are betting that the country will tap its reserves,</strong> according to Kevin Mahn, who oversees $150 million at Parsippany, New Jersey-based Hennion &amp; Walsh Asset Management.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Russia is at a critical juncture and given the sanctions placed upon them and the rapid decline in oil prices, they may be forced to dip into their gold reserves,” Mahn said. “If it happens it will push gold lower.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But others are less convinced.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“There are a number of ways that they could use their gold,”</strong> Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London, said today by phone. “They could use it as collateral for bank loans, or for loans from multi-lateral agencies. They could sell it directly in the market if they want to raise foreign-exchange” reserves, including to get more dollars, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Russia decides to sell, the figures to confirm the move wouldn’t be available for a few months, Bhar said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Selling gold is usually “one of the last weapons” for central banks because some use the metal to help back their currencies</strong>, George Gero, a precious-metal strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said in a telephone interview. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“They are probably still accumulating gold and keeping it for a bigger crisis,” he said.</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-15/why-russia-and-china-are-buying-gold-according-economics-professor">While some suggest the accumulation was "tradition"</a> it is still nonetheless an impressive aggregation of the barbarous relic:</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_putin.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_putin_0.jpg" width="600" height="303" /></a></p> <p>So given the efforts to build this gold-backing for their nation's currency, <strong>do we really expect Putin to now dump his physical: <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-03/russias-monetary-solution">or perhaps more strategically suggest a true gold-backed currency and jawbone the currency that way?</a></strong></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="959" height="484" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_putin.jpg?1418848215" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/will-putins-next-step-be-sell-gold#comments Capital Markets Central Banks RBC Capital Markets World Gold Council Thu, 18 Dec 2014 03:01:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 499245 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Secular Extinction Of Stock Market Bears http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/secular-extinction-stock-market-bears <p>This week's Investors' Intelligence survey responses highlight the <strong>unprecedented reluctance of financial advisors to turn bearish</strong>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_AAII1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_AAII1_0.jpg" width="600" height="487" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the secular extinction of stock market bears continues...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_AAII2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_AAII2_0.jpg" width="600" height="401" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But - as we hear day after day on financial media - there is still a lot of negativity out there (apparently)?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Source: @Not_Jim_Cramer</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="713" height="477" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_AAII2.jpg?1418840531" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/secular-extinction-stock-market-bears#comments Jim Cramer Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:50:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 499257 at http://www.zerohedge.com Previewing Putin's "Moment Of Truth" Annual Press Conference And Address To Russia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/previewing-putins-moment-truth-annual-press-conference-and-address-russia <p>For those wondering how Russia managed to contain the rout in its currency today, when it dropped from highs of USDRUB 80 yesterday to about 60, and leading to the biggest stock market surge in decades, the answer will be revealed tomorrow at noon Moscow Time, when Putin's annual address press conference will take place. As the rumor goes, both the central bank, the finance ministry and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2014/dec/17/rouble-russia-crisis-greek-elections-uk-unemployment-fed-live#block-54917abfe4b07a51e943a187">the Prime Minister</a>, did everything in their power to stabilize the Ruble ahead of Putin's appearance, both through direct sales of dollars as well as with the already noted <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/russian-central-bank-releases-7-measures-it-will-take-stabilize-financial-sector">7 measures </a>to stabilize the financial system. </p> <p>And this year, perhaps more than ever, Putin's role will be simple: restore confidence.&nbsp; As Bloomberg reports, citing Mashla Lipman a political analyst in Moscow,&nbsp; "This is a moment of truth. It’s no longer possible to go on in the same fashion. The economy is tumbling. <strong>The time has come for a definitive choice. Doing nothing won’t solve the problem." </strong><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>However with the live webcast starting at 4 am Eastern, it is unlikely that many Americans will be awake to watch it. So for those who are willing to wait for the cliff notes, and are happy with the preview, here are two clips prepared specifically for Putin's annual press conference. In lieu of the just cancelled The Interview, these may be a good replacement considering their Hollywood-worthiness as dubbed by the Telegraph. </p> <p>As caught earlier by <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/putin-gets-russia-pumped-for-public-appearance-with-cinematic-trailer-2014-12-17?link=sfmw">Marketwatch</a>, here’s the video that’s been running on Russia 1 television station’s website.</p> <p>The narrator’s line, "A year of tough decisions," is interjected as Putin intones, “We took upon ourselves enormous responsibilities and risks,” Again, the narrator: “And long-awaited victories” — against a backdrop of Olympic winners. And then more tough talk about “politically motivated sanctions represent a mistake and they [the West] should not have broken a mechanism of checks and balances.” And a menacing note: “Our American friends are cutting off the branch they are sitting on.”<br /> <iframe src="//player.rutv.ru/iframe/video/id/1153993/start_zoom/true/showZoomBtn/false/sid/russiatv/?acc_video_id=episode_id/1156362/video_id/1112577/brand_id/35906" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> <br />Scenes of Ukraine, flags flying, world leaders, terrorists, explosions, missiles firing out of the ocean, a polar bear. </p> <p>And in case the dramatic effect was lost with the first clip, here is another. </p> <p> <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Xai7ttzbx5M" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>So the tension and the dramatic build up is there: the question is can Putin live up to it at a time when he may have no choice but to step up to the plate.</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="580" height="430" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/unnamed.jpg?1418863533" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/previewing-putins-moment-truth-annual-press-conference-and-address-russia#comments Ukraine Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:15:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 499261 at http://www.zerohedge.com Veteran EM Fund Manager Warns "The Youngsters Are About To Be Schooled" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/veteran-em-fund-manager-warns-youngsters-are-about-be-schooled <p>With Emerging Market debt, equity, and FX rates coming under significant pressure once again, 48-year-old veteran EM fund manager Stephen Jen has a message for the new breed of EM fund managers, <strong>brace for more pain</strong>. <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/this-hedge-fund-manager-who-remembers-1998-says-prepare-for-pain.html">As Bloomberg reports,</a> with echoes of 1997-98's crisis at hand, Jen explains, <strong><em>"many [current managers] became EM specialists after the term ‘BRIC’ was coined in 2001 and don’t know any serious crisis," adding "they are about to be schooled."</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The hopeful bounce early this year after the Taper Tantrum collapse last year, has once again disintegrated....</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_eEM.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_eEM_0.jpg" width="600" height="318" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/this-hedge-fund-manager-who-remembers-1998-says-prepare-for-pain.html"><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Stephen Jen landed in Hong Kong in early January 1997 as Morgan Stanley’s newly minted exchange-rate strategist for Asia.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If the 48-year-old native of Taiwan, with a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sounds a little jaded now, it’s not without some reason. He says he worries that many emerging-market analysts are too young to remember the late 1990s. Instead they learned the ropes in an era dominated by the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China -- a supposed one-way bet to prosperity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Many became EM specialists after the term ‘BRIC’ was coined in 2001 and don’t know any serious crisis,’’</strong> says Jen, who now runs the London-based hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners LLP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The youngsters are about to be schooled. Jen says echoes of 1997-1998 may be at hand.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Investors woke up today to Russia’s 1 a.m. interest-rate increase to defend the ruble. There’s the mounting likelihood of a Venezuelan default. Stocks from Thailand to Brazil are reeling. The Fed hasn’t even begun raising interest rates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jen is <strong>bracing for more pain.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“At some point, <strong>the risk of fractures in parts of EM will rise sharply,”</strong> said Jen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“My long-standing view on EM currencies is that they could melt down because there has simply been way too much cumulative capital flows,”</strong> said Jen. “Nothing the EM economics can do will stop these potential outflows as long as the U.S. economy recovers.”</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>We suspect this is the case for many fund managers currently who have been around a fe wshort years and experienced nothing but a market where every dip is to be bought...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_eEM1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_eEM1_0.jpg" width="600" height="318" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Every year looks like an EM crisis as we see above, yet ever year it's rescued in the minds of 'young' managers. What Jen fears is the melt-down a la 1997-98 that none of the new breed have experienced.</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="953" height="505" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_eEM.jpg?1418837926" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/veteran-em-fund-manager-warns-youngsters-are-about-be-schooled#comments Brazil China default Hong Kong India None Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:40:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 499256 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Neoconica" - America For The New Millennium http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/neoconica-america-new-millennium <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/2014/12/16/neoconica-fatherland-for-the-new-millennium/"><em>Submitted by Thad Beversdorf via First Rebuttal blog</em></a>,</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-04/comprehensive-breakdown-america%E2%80%99s-economic-house-cards"><strong>I recently wrote an piece on the comprehensive breakdown of America.</strong></a> &nbsp;In it I laid out, from an analytical perspective, the things that are leading America to an economic collapse. &nbsp;But it&nbsp;might be interesting to take a look at a broader view of American life today. &nbsp;Policy and economic discussions are useful but in them we can lose the tangibility of&nbsp;what it all comes back to, which is the well being of Americans. &nbsp;Whether or not the national budget is 190% of GDP and whether&nbsp;interest rates will rise or not are important issues but only so far as they will impact the quality of life of the people. &nbsp;And so let&rsquo;s have a look at the lives of the American people. &nbsp;<strong>Have the policies over the past 15 to 50 years led to substantial improvements in the day to day real lives of Americans? &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s have a look.</strong> &nbsp;And while we&rsquo;ve seen a couple of these more economic charts think about them in context of the other charts or other sides of life.</p> <p><img alt="real income by quintile" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-787" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/real-income-by-quintile.png" style="width: 600px; height: 412px;" /></p> <p><img alt="Median Net Worth short" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-947" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Median-Net-Worth-short.png" style="width: 599px; height: 251px;" /></p> <p><img alt="Median Net Worth 10 to 13 short" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-948" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Median-Net-Worth-10-to-13-short.png" style="width: 599px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p><strong>The above charts inform us that the&nbsp;bottom 80% of income households are making less than they did in the early 1980&prime;s, and remember the number of two income households today is far greater than it was in 1980 making this a staggering reality. &nbsp;However the top 20% and especially the top 1% have seen incredible income gains since the early 1980&prime;s. &nbsp;</strong>Total net worth for the bottom 80% of Americans has also been crushed. &nbsp;Since 2001 median net worth for the bottom 80% is down some 30% and this is during a period where stocks have reached all time highs. &nbsp;How could this be you ask?? &nbsp;Well this is not happenstance or simple unexplainable&nbsp;market forces. &nbsp;Those things do not exist in today&rsquo;s world. &nbsp;These results are by design.</p> <p>I get frustrated hearing, even from the most intelligent of people that the Fed is doing its best and that given enough time this will work out for everyone. &nbsp;And that everyone is better off today than they used to be because this is America and that&rsquo;s just the way America works. &nbsp;But when we let the empirical data drive our perspective rather than our blind loyalty we see a very different story. &nbsp;The data tells a story of a political class that has been implementing programs and policies that are making the working class sick. &nbsp;We are given all sorts of medicines in the form of social programs and infinite debt to mask the symptoms but when we look at the actual medical test results we are not getting any better. &nbsp;In fact, our condition continues to worsen. &nbsp;<strong><u>Yet so many of us continue to listen to our political and economic shaman&rsquo;s. &nbsp;We have such faith. &nbsp;And it is that faith that people like Ayn Rand recognized would be the death of America.</u></strong> &nbsp;So let&rsquo;s continue on our journey through the life of the working class American today.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-3.55.56-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 3.55.56 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1228" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-3.55.56-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 526px;" /></a></p> <p>What&rsquo;s interesting here is to note that the significant increase in incarceration rates of black men began just as LB Johnson&rsquo;s &lsquo;Great Society&rsquo; program went into effect in the late 1960&prime;s. &nbsp;Do you think there is relationship between taking an entire demographic&rsquo;s sense of purpose and ambition away by handing them money each month and the degradation of that demographic? &nbsp;This is not conjecture, look at the chart. &nbsp;Black men, specifically inner city black mean where high school drop out rates are the highest, have been decimated since the mid 1960&prime;s.</p> <p><strong>Our leaders have failed to acknowledge let alone implement policies&nbsp;to improve this situation.</strong> &nbsp;One needs to ask why? &nbsp;When a large portion of society is so obviously spiraling out of control, why is it that our policymakers have been either absent on the issue or incapable of developing policies to improve the situation? &nbsp;Behaviour is logical. &nbsp;If it appears illogical one of your premises is invalid or unsound. &nbsp;What I mean by that is if policymakers fail to change a policy that is leading to&nbsp;what we assume is an unwanted result then we must consider if it is truly unwanted. &nbsp;Politicians are very quick to change things that don&rsquo;t benefit them. &nbsp;And so if a policy is not changing it is likely because it is seen as serving their own interests in some way.</p> <p><strong>And let&rsquo;s not miss the fact that it isn&rsquo;t just blacks that are being incarcerated at much higher rates. &nbsp;It seems the trend is higher incarceration rates for all. &nbsp;That seems to conflict with the idea of a vastly improving quality of life in the land of the free. &nbsp;In fact, have a look at the following figures.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-12.56.25-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.56.25 PM" class="alignnone wp-image-1272" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-12.56.25-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 155px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Considering China&rsquo;s population is 5x that of the US, our prison population relative to other countries is pure insanity. &nbsp;How can this be??</strong> &nbsp;Either our society is failing to appropriately raise it&rsquo;s children or our incarceration policies are completely out of line with the world. &nbsp;Interesting that the private prison industry spent $45 million on lobbying efforts last year while the Correction Corp of America (CCA), which is the correction officers union, spent an additional $14 million. &nbsp;Remember they lobby for legislation that keeps vacancy rates low. &nbsp;One has to wonder, do our policymakers actually intentionally skew laws to ensure higher numbers of society lose their freedom? &nbsp;Why why else would $60 million be spent on lobbying?? <strong>&nbsp;But let&rsquo;s carry on with our journey through the life of the American working class.</strong></p> <p><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.11.45 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1247" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.11.45-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 380px;" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.15.23-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.15.23 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1229" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.15.23-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 412px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.17.18-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.17.18 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1230" height="100" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.17.18-PM.png" width="564" /></a></p> <p><strong>With all of the technological breakthroughs and improvements in nutrition how is it that obesity and cancer have gone to full blown epidemic status in this country? &nbsp;Somebody understands this problem. &nbsp;Someone has the answer.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.23.08-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.23.08 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1231" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.23.08-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 421px;" /></a></p> <p>I believe most would agree the ideal environment for a child is in a well functioning two parent home. &nbsp;Not to say good kids cannot come from single parent households, they can, however, the ideal is a healthy two parent household. &nbsp;As such,&nbsp;the above trends are disturbing. &nbsp;How could&nbsp;such ugly longterm trends be taking place in an improving society if we know the ideal is the opposite? &nbsp;This means we are moving, at an accelerating rate, away from the ideal. &nbsp;<strong>This does not appear to be a relatively new phenomenon either. &nbsp;Yet it continues to worsen a quickening pace.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.32.15-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.32.15 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1232" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.32.15-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 350px;" /></a></p> <p>With the rise in GDP and total earnings over the past 50 years why is that&nbsp;poverty is as high as it&rsquo;s been since the mid 1960&prime;s? <strong>&nbsp;In terms of number of poor, we are actually setting records every year.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.37.28-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.37.28 PM" class="alignnone wp-image-1233" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.37.28-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p><img alt="real income to financial investment wealth" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1190" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/real-income-to-financial-investment-wealth.jpg" style="width: 601px; height: 399px;" /></p> <p><strong>Why is it that while the wealthy have gotten so filthy rich the working class has been devastated as the above charts highlight? </strong>&nbsp;Should we not look to make a change in our policies? Clearly the policymakers are idiots or assholes for if both&nbsp;were untrue the policies would change. &nbsp;So while they could be both, they cannot be neither. &nbsp;One cannot argue against that proposition whilst looking at the above charts. &nbsp;Yet we the people still refuse to force our political class&nbsp;to answer for these realities!! &nbsp;The above charts lead to the following penury&hellip;.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-5.56.35-AM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 5.56.35 AM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1263" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-5.56.35-AM.png" style="width: 601px; height: 358px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.52.11-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.52.11 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1234" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.52.11-PM.png" style="width: 599px; height: 426px;" /></a></p> <p><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 4.53.19 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1235" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-4.53.19-PM.png" style="width: 601px; height: 367px;" /></p> <p><strong>Financial stress is a killer. &nbsp;Just google &ldquo;effects of financial stress&rdquo; and see what you find. </strong>&nbsp;It&rsquo;s ugly and as the above charts so clearly depict, financial stress is rampant in our country. &nbsp;That said, if you believe the folks on television, and&nbsp;if you&rsquo;re an American you probably do, then be happy because they have assured us everything is fine and they have the&nbsp;US stock markets at all time highs to prove it. &nbsp;These TV talking heads will even tout piss poor economic indicators as good. &nbsp;But it&rsquo;s like touting stage 3 cancer because it&rsquo;s better than stage 4 cancer. &nbsp;Yet if we hear it enough times in combination with a completely manipulated but all time high stock market we begin to believe the lies.</p> <p><u><strong>But what about our future? &nbsp;Perhaps we&rsquo;re just setting up for a big acceleration of good times ahead. &nbsp;Does it look like our coming generations are going to hit it out of the park?</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.13.08-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.13.08 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1236" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.13.08-PM.png" style="width: 599px; height: 443px;" /></a></p> <p>Well the&nbsp;costs for educating our children has doubled but our kids are not any smarter. &nbsp;When compared to the rest of the world we have fallen way behind.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.15.54-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.15.54 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1237" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.15.54-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 441px;" /></a></p> <p>In fact, we just fell below&nbsp;Iran. &nbsp;I&rsquo;d love to hear the spin on that one.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.28.39-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.28.39 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1240" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.28.39-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 463px;" /></a></p> <p>Well this is not looking great for our future generations&hellip;. &nbsp;<strong>What about that nation&rsquo;s fiscal state&nbsp;though I&rsquo;m sure we&rsquo;re wiser to the woes of overspending right??</strong></p> <p><img alt="Screen-Shot-2014-12-03-at-12.14.46-PM.png" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-03-at-12.14.46-PM.png" style="height: 632px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><strong>That does not seem to depict sound financial management. &nbsp;In fact, that looks ridiculously irresponsible.</strong> &nbsp;How is it that we can forecast spending more than we take in, forever? &nbsp;Ah yes the magical money machine and the wonderful world of debt monetization. &nbsp;At least it&rsquo;s a plan eh? &nbsp;Thing is, if your budgets simply forecast an ever increasing deficit meaning the plan is simply to print money going forward then, 1. why have a budget? 2. why are any of us paying taxes? 3. why are any of us working?.</p> <p><strong>You see if we can print infinite amounts of money with no expected consequence then just print a little extra and we can all spend our days at the mall. </strong>&nbsp;Think about how much bigger the economy would be if we had all day to go shopping, not just on weekends. &nbsp;I think we&rsquo;re on to something.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.23.04-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.23.04 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1238" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.23.04-PM.png" style="width: 599px; height: 418px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.25.44-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.25.44 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1239" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.25.44-PM.png" style="width: 597px; height: 47px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Leading cause of bankruptcies in America is healthcare you say, eh? &nbsp;Can&rsquo;t see why that would be.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.31.39-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.31.39 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1241" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.31.39-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 401px;" /></a></p> <p>$1.5 trillion in student loans outstanding. &nbsp;Well 60% of those are currently in arrears so very likely won&rsquo;t be paid back. &nbsp;That said, students&rsquo; losses are gains for someone. &nbsp;So maybe we needn&rsquo;t worry about this one.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.59.58-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 5.59.58 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1243" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-5.59.58-PM.png" style="width: 599px; height: 360px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.02.16-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.02.16 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1244" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.02.16-PM.png" style="width: 601px; height: 275px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Ah yes, war. &nbsp;War is one thing we do very well here in America. &nbsp;Well we start wars very well. &nbsp;But we seem to have a very difficult time ending wars. </strong>&nbsp;Perhaps because we fight concepts. &nbsp;We have wars on drugs, terrorism, obesity, etc. &nbsp;And well wars on bad things just sound so good during election campaigns. &nbsp; The obvious downside being fighting something that is not an animate enemy means it&nbsp;cannot be defeated, making it incredibly tough to end such a war. &nbsp;This then results in endless amounts of money being put toward the war effort. &nbsp;I wonder if these policymakers understand that such things require very large budgets that end up going to just a few companies that&nbsp;tend to donate very generously to both parties. &nbsp;<strong>Oh and then there&rsquo;s the ubiquitous fear mongering to sustain public support not that public support is required to fight wars anymore but it sure is useful in superseding the Constitution with legislation like the <a href="http://www.voicesofliberty.com/article/a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing/" target="_blank">Patriot Act</a>.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.16.31-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.16.31 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1249" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.16.31-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 445px;" /></a></p> <p>I feel this kind of represents how happy and well adjusted our children are today. &nbsp;<strong>Very cheery chart that one is particularly wouldn&rsquo;t you say? </strong>&nbsp;Incident rates having doubled since the 1980&prime;s.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.28.41-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.28.41 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1252" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.28.41-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 397px;" /></a></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s our well adjusted healthy households. &nbsp;Again this is likely a factor of day to day difficulties overwhelming any sense of peace in the home.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.36.30-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.36.30 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1254" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.36.30-PM.png" style="width: 300px; height: 564px;" /></a><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.37.51-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.37.51 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1255" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.37.51-PM.png" style="width: 300px; height: 349px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.41.07-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.41.07 PM" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1256" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.41.07-PM.png" style="width: 601px; height: 418px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>The above 3 charts show just how much input the will of the American people has on American policy. </strong></u>&nbsp;Our legislators and policymakers have absolutely no regard&nbsp;for the will of the people. &nbsp;We are 100% irrelevant in terms of legislating. &nbsp;They use our money and our young veterans&nbsp;to throw their weight around the world to serve their own interests while, it is becoming apparent, not serving the interests of the American people.</p> <p><strong>And so with all of this great progression and improvement in the day to day lives of the American people surely we see a trend toward&nbsp;embracing life, looking forward to each new day and all of the joy it will bring, no?</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.09.32-PM.png"><img alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 6.09.32 PM" class="alignnone wp-image-1246" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-14-at-6.09.32-PM.png" style="width: 600px; height: 372px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The charts above are intended to ascertain whether or not things are improving in America these days. </strong>&nbsp;From finances to health to education to family, the above charts attempt to present a picture of an improving nation. &nbsp;A nation that is continually striving to improve the lives of its citizens. &nbsp;What we find is a nation decaying with each new year. &nbsp;A nation surviving on debt and government handouts with costs of imperative services rising faster each year while incomes continue to decline each year. &nbsp;Health of our bodies and our families is fading while the number of wars we start accelerates. &nbsp;And so it would seem that life is not improving in America. &nbsp;Quite the opposite when one looks at a broad overview of American life.</p> <p><strong><u>But perhaps the charts are missing some intangible variable that gets lost in empirical data. &nbsp;So perhaps Americans will provide us a different conclusion. &nbsp;Perhaps Americans would tell us that despite all that we&rsquo;ve shown above their lives actually have been getting better over the years. &nbsp;I think it&rsquo;s worth a shot and really it&rsquo;s our last hope of making an argument that America is not sliding down the slope of its denouement but still a country on the rise. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s have a look at what Americans are saying about&nbsp;the direction of the nation.</u></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/US-satisfaction.png"><img alt="US satisfaction" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-595" src="http://www.firstrebuttal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/US-satisfaction.png" style="width: 599px; height: 331px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>What we find is exactly what one would expect having looked through the many charts above. &nbsp;Not sure it could be&nbsp;any clearer than all of that above. &nbsp;While the political class continue to serenade&nbsp;us with songs of rainbows and butterflies the real world is kicking&nbsp;Americans square in the ass. </strong></u>&nbsp; Despite all of this evidence to suggest a deteriorating nation the prominent message from the political class and their media muppets is that things are great. &nbsp;We&rsquo;re always just a few months from Utopia&nbsp;but beware because, at the same time, there are evildoers out to kill us. &nbsp;Our policymakers are both liars and criminals. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s just a&nbsp;fact. &nbsp;They perpetually lie to us (all of us could provide and endless list of lies just over the past 10 years) and they breach the constitution every day while&nbsp;attempting to sell us that they have the authority to do so when we know nothing trumps the Constitution. &nbsp;Yet we refuse to challenge them.</p> <p><u><strong>And so we&nbsp;must ask ourselves&nbsp;why. &nbsp;Why is it that despite knowing our politicians lie to us as the norm and break the law as part of their daily legislating&nbsp;that we the people do nothing about it?</strong></u> &nbsp;One theory I have is that people honestly do not know what to do. &nbsp;In fact, I hear this a lot. &nbsp;I am often asked what we can actually do to materially change the way politicians behave? &nbsp; And regrettably I do not have a good answer. &nbsp; But I am certain that doing nothing will result in even more grotesque behavior by this political class.</p> <p>Now when the constitution was followed the majority of legislative power was at the state level and because of that people had the power of propinquity. &nbsp;That is when you can get in the face of your representative you can hold him accountable. &nbsp;Also, citizens used to get very involved in the primary elections because it is where most of the individual&rsquo;s voting power rests. &nbsp;It is in the primary round that citizens can affect the end result by affecting&nbsp;who makes it&nbsp;to the final running. &nbsp; Further when&nbsp;media was not just a tool of government as it is today given the mass amount of campaign money that ends up on the income statement of major mainstream media, public could drive the media message rather than the media message driving the people. &nbsp;<strong>You see these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the system has been slowly redesigned&nbsp;so as to avoid an impact by the will of the people.</strong></p> <p><strong><u>The political class do not want our involvement. &nbsp;There is a tremendous amount of power and money on the line. </u></strong>&nbsp;Far too much to leave it to the will of the American people as too&nbsp;often our will conflicts with the objectives of our &lsquo;representatives&rsquo; and their benefactors. &nbsp;And so it is very true that it is much more difficult to affect change to the system today because&nbsp;it has been redesigned as such. &nbsp;I don&rsquo;t have a good solution but perhaps if enough people begin acknowledging the problem then American ingenuity and innovation will rise to the occasion and an equally powerful concentrating force for the will of the people will be created. &nbsp;Then the American people can impose its will onto our policies that will then once again benefit we, the people rather than we, the slaves.</p> <p><strong><u>I say that in the technical sense, for the working class is being used to generate profits and to act as soldiers for the ruling class.</u></strong> &nbsp;If we refuse to pay our hard earned profits we go to prison. &nbsp;The vast majority of our armed forces come from very deprived socio-economic communities with essentially no other option but to sign up to soldier for a living. &nbsp;While our lives continue to spiral downward, as evident in the charts above, this ruling class throws trillions of dollars around to facilitate their own interests. <strong>&nbsp;Iraq, Syria and now Russia are all wars to satisfy the unrelenting thirst for power and money of this small group of horrible men. &nbsp;They pay for such personal conquests by sacrificing&nbsp;the children of our nation&rsquo;s poorest families and by suffocating our future generations in debt before they&rsquo;re even out of the womb.</strong> &nbsp;Yet we are told it is for our own good and despite our calls not to get involved in such things, these men do as they please.</p> <p>However, <strong>so many of us still maintain that America is the greatest nation in the world</strong>. &nbsp;We&nbsp;swear that America&nbsp;represents all that is good; freedom, democracy, merit based capitalism and the rights of the individual. &nbsp;That is true America does represent such things. &nbsp;However, I&rsquo;ve made the suggestion many times that <strong>it is fraudulent to consider our current nation America</strong>. &nbsp;America was a concept that promoted all that is good. &nbsp;And so it would seem that the nation in which we find ourselves cannot be America. &nbsp;Our nation today represents the will of the political class at all costs, period. &nbsp;Their sole motivation is themselves. &nbsp;Very different from America. &nbsp;And so <strong>perhaps we need a renaming of our nation</strong>, at least until or if we the people decide to take it back and reintroduce the world to the concept that is America for as we discussed above you cannot destroy a concept and so there is hope to bring her back. &nbsp;But until then we need a name for this geographic region and its new societal system. &nbsp;<strong><u>I expect&nbsp;Neoconica is a fitting name.</u></strong>&nbsp; But I&rsquo;d certainly be interested to hear some other suggestions.</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="306" height="314" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_neocon.jpg?1418854677" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/neoconica-america-new-millennium#comments China ETC Fail Google Iran Iraq Monetization Reality Student Loans Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:05:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 499250 at http://www.zerohedge.com Caption Contest: Dry-Cleaning Edition http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/caption-contest-dry-cleaning-edition <p>Just the girl next door...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_clinton.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_clinton.jpg" width="380" height="438" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>h/t @BennyJohnson</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="380" height="438" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_clinton.jpg?1418830175" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/caption-contest-dry-cleaning-edition#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:32:46 +0000 Tyler Durden 499244 at http://www.zerohedge.com How To Save Up To 100% On "Purchases" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/how-save-100-purchases <p>While likely considered blasphemy in America, land of the free-to-consume-moar, there is another way...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_save.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/12/20141217_save.jpg" width="585" height="622" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>h/t @L_E_Ba</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="585" height="622" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20141217_save.jpg?1418851422" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-17/how-save-100-purchases#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:30:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 499255 at http://www.zerohedge.com