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Name The Author: "How The Capitalists Are Trying To Scare The People"





Name the author: "No socialist has ever proposed that the “tens of millions”, i.e., the small and middle peasants, should be deprived of their property (“made to abdicate their property rights”). Nothing of the kind! Socialists everywhere have always denied such nonsense. Socialists are out to make only the landowners and capitalists “abdicate”. To deal a decisive blow at those who are defying the people the way the colliery owners are doing when they disrupt and ruin production, it is sufficient to make a few hundred, at the most one or two thousand, millionaires, bank and industrial and commercial bosses, “abdicate” their property rights. This would be quite enough to break the resistance of capital."

 
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Guest Post: The Nearly-Free University





The key to understanding higher education in the U.S. is to grasp that it is at heart just another debt-dependent neofeudal cartel. In other words, it is just like sickcare and the national defense complex. The most implacable enemy of innovation is monopoly. If you're protected from real competition, then you have no incentive or need to innovate. That is the essence of cartel-capitalism and the neofeudal model. In the case of the higher education cartel, the Federal funding is both cash grants and loans issued to newly minted debt-serfs. Student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy like other debt; these loans have ballooned to about $1 trillion. This is the essence of the neofeudal model: a protected Elite parasitically extracts wealth from the debt-serfs below. Should the debt-serfs resist, the State steps in to coerce compliance. The problem with protected cartels (neofeudal fiefdoms) is that they are unsustainable.

 
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The 'Broken' Fed Model In 3 Simple Charts





One of the most commonly cited 'bullish' memes for stocks is the so-called Fed Model (or Equity Risk Premium) or more simply - the fact that earnings yields are not catching up to Treasury yields (i.e. why put your money in government bonds at such low rates when there is a smorgasbord of yummy equities with 'attractive' dividend yields). There are three key problems with this perspective: 1) No concept of 'risk' is imbibed in this return-based differential (as we have discussed before here and here); 2) Longer-term historical context is critical (as we discussed here - must read); and most importantly 3) Financial Repression breaks the 'Fed Model'. As Barclays shows in the following three charts (and we pointed out recently) normalization of the equity risk premium will not occur until Financial Repression ends. Brings a whole new meaning to 'Don't Fight The Fed' eh?

 
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Visualizing The World's Rich





We hear a lot about billionaires, millionaires, and 250,000-aires but just where are all these tax-dodging blood-suckers skulking and just how many trips to Space on Virgin Galactic can the Top 25 Wealthiest people take per day?... Everything you wanted to know about the uber-wealthy is one simple mega-infographic.

 
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Low Range, Medium Volume, High Anxiety





Equity indices end the day marginally red as the machines tried every trick in the book to get markets up...(levering FX carry, spiking PMs, running HYG, spiking vol) to enable more selling - especially at the close when we saw notable size blocks being traded into that ramp to try and get green. VWAP was the anchor all day for S&P 500 futures (and since the synthetics are where the liquidity is - everything else followed) as stocks trend-reversed as normal on the EU close. In general volatility and high-yield credit had a significantly weak day but into the close managed to rise a little as risk-assets broadly recoupled with equity markets to close. Despite a lot of noise and chop stocks lost a little, Treasuries gained a little (-2bps on the week!), Silver scrambled back from its flash crash (but gold didn't do as well), and the USD ended today up a remarkably unchanged 0.04% (with EUR up 0.5% and JPY down 2.2% on the week). VIX ended back above 18% as AAPL just keeps falling with its 300DMA now in play.

 
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DTCC Provides Update On Status Of Flooded Securities Vault





As has been widely reported previously, while the NY Fed's deep underground gold vault remained dry during the Sandy flooding in downtown NY, one institution which got badly hurt was the DTCC, aka Cede & Co (profiled here in July of 2009 in " The Biggest Financial Company You Have Never Heard Of"), which is the entity serving as custodian of virtually every electronically traded security in the modern marketplace (equity, debt, derivative, synthetic, in fact anything which is not a physical asset in itself and is not in the hands, or safe, of the rightful owner). We put the emphasis on electronically, because DTCC is also the actual custodian of all physical proof of stock ownership, such as certificates, bond deeds, and the like. It is the largely irrelevant latter (because it has been several decades since anyone actually demanded a physical copy of the stock certificates backing their shares of company XYZ) that the DTCC got in trouble for when its securities vault got flooded, and in the process destroyed countless physical stock certificates. Note we did not use the word electronic because those are there and accounted for in numerous back up data sites, with full designation and attribution. In other words anyone who made a mountain out of this particular mole hill sadly has no idea how modern markets operate, since all that the DTCC needs to do to remedy the flooding damage is to notify transfer agents of this natural disaster, and then have duplicate stock certificates printed at a cost of 1 cent for every thousands or so print outs. Which is more or less what the DTCC also just said in its press release.

 
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Why Politicians Hate Austerity - In One Simple Chart





Just as our political class in the US is spending its time focused on the tax-'em-til-they-bleed side of the equation as opposed to the cut-em-to-the-bone austerity side of the income statement; so the evidence is clear (thanks to the following chart) - austerity doesn't get you re-elected. When all that matters is your next government paycheck for your 'elected' position, far from being for the people, austerity is avoided as vehemently as possible. Not only does social unrest increase (as the 'people' have become used to unsustainable standards of living) but incumbent popularty sinks - rapidly.

 
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Hamas Releases Video Of Downed Israeli Drone, IDF Denies





Someone is lying here: either Hamas did not down an IDF drone, dubbed "Sky Light", and the clip below is one big fraud (unclear why Hamas would go to such a length to fabricate a downed drone video), or the IDF is lying when it said it "confirmed" that one of its drones had been shot down. Either way, we have a feeling that the airborne campaign is coming to an end, and that Israel may and likely will escalate to a full blown land invasion very soon unless something dramatically changes. We fail to see what catalyzes this.

 
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Goldman's Swirlogram Confirms Economic Slowdown





It would seem that the downswing into this economic slowdown has been considerably faster than many expected (as it always seems to be). Since we first introduced Goldman's Swirlogram indicator the business cycle (in May 2012), helped by the promise more and more liquidity, we have rotated remarkably from slowdown to contraction to recovery to expansion and now - in November - the leading indicators are pointing to a rapid shift into a slowdown phase. The Global Leading Indicator (GLI) is losing momentum fast and has made lower cycle highs each time since the 2009 'recovery' began. While Goldman caveats some of this with 'Sandy'-related impacts, the GLI seems to confirm what Global PMIs are hinting at - that global growth is slowing.

 
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The Hypocrite Of The Day Award Goes To...





While we largely enjoy Dallas Fed's Dick Fisher hawkish, non-conformist thinking at the FOMC, and his willingness to come up with amusing cartoon names to explain the Fed's monetary policy (we are currently on Toy Story, and specifically Buzz "To Infinity and Beyond" Lighyear), we certainly do not miss when even said faux Fed bad cops telegraph hypocrisy so gruesome it shows demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt just how fake the facade of the Fed's "contrarians" truly is. To wit:

  • FISHER SAYS U.S. LAWMAKERS HAVE BECOME `PARASITIC WASTRELS'

Riddle us this, Dick: just who is it that enables the US Lawmakers to fund trillion dollar deficits year after year at less than prohibitive terms, and more importantly, who is it that since 2009 has monetized virtually all 10 Year and longer gross issuance, thereby allow Congress to be a parasitic wastrel. Would you call that someone a "Wastrel enabler"?

 
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How America's Middle Class, And Future Pensioners, Bailed Out A Generation Of Overzealous Homebuyers





In the current Bernanke-Obama-Keynes toxic triangle (defined previously here) economy, blink too long and you will miss the latest bailout. While 4 years ago, it was America's M.A.D.-hostage taxpaying middle class that had no choice but to fund the trillions in direct Fed cash handouts and guarantees to bail out the banks, in the process saving and preserving the trillions in wealth for America's uber wealthy (the "1%") class, ever since then it has been the government's turn to rescue the country's lower and lower-middle classes (the "47%"), who, with no gun to their heads, decided to splurge during the height of the housing bubble (insurmountable mortgage payments and $0 down notwithstanding) and buy that aspirational McMansion that would make them so much more appealing in the eyes of the next door neighbor (who too could never afford their house in the first place). This has happened courtesy of a progressively more pervasive mortgage forgiveness plan, which has seen the total amount of debt funding a given home purchase shrink little by little each day. However, since there is no free lunch anywhere, certainly not when a bank's balance sheet is being impaired, like in 2008, someone is once again on the hook for this latest bailout. That someone, not surprisingly, is again America's middle class that lived within its means, that saved money while others splurged, and even put cash away for retirement, handing it over to various Pension investment vehicles.

 
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Guest Post: The FHA Is Blowing Up: Bad News For The Housing Market





The FHA has been the key element to the phony “housing recovery” the government has been trying to create.  In the wake of the collapse of 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac blew up and what was left to pick up the pieces was the FHA.  No private player would issue loans with down payments of 3%, but this was no problem for the FHA! Well - yes! "The Federal Housing Administration is expected to report this week it could exhaust its reserves because of rising mortgage delinquencies" This is a big deal.  The FHA is already in trouble despite a miraculous “housing recovery” and we haven’t even hit a severe cyclical economic slowdown yet, which is almost certain to occur in 2013.  What shambles do you think the housing market will be in once that happens and the last backstop to housing is broke?

 
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Bernanke Laments Lack Of Housing Bubble, Demands More From Tapped Out Households





Moments ago Ben Bernanke released a speech titled "Challenges in Housing and Mortgage Markets" in which he said that while the US housing revival faces significant obstacles, the Fed will do everything it can to back the "housing recovery" (supposedly on top of the $40 billion in MBS it monetizes each month, and/or QEternity+1?). He then goes on to say that tight lenders may be thwarting the recovery, and is concerned about high unemployment, things that should be prevented as housing is a "powerful headwind to the recovery." In other words - the same canned gibberish he has been showering upon those stupid and naive enough to listen and/or believe him, because once the current downtrend in the market is confirmed to be a long-term decline, the 4th dead cat bounce in housing will end. But perhaps what is most amusing is that the Fed is now accusing none other than the US household for not doing their patriotic duty to reflate the peak bubble. To wit: "The Federal Reserve will continue to do what we can to support the housing recovery, both through our monetary policy and our regulatory and supervisory actions. But, as I have discussed, not all of the responsibility lies with the government; households, the financial services industry, and those in the nonprofit sector must play their part as well." So "get to work, Mr. Household: Benny and the Inkjets, not to mention Chuck Schumer's careers rest on your bubble-reflation skills."

 
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Kaminsky Slams Strategists: "Do As They Do, Not As They Say"





In a brief four minutes this morning, CNBC's Gary Kaminsky summarized what many have suspected (and we have pointed to again and again) that investors should as the talking-heads are doing and NOT as they are saying (or writing). We have opined vociferously on this topic of the divergence between sentiment surveys and real money positioning, but the outspoken 'real money manager' is gravely concerned that what he is seeing now from the guests and newsletter writers is very similar to what took place in 2007: "Everyone saying they would stay fully invested, that they loved equities, that the housing boom was nothing to worry about (recovery now); while at the same time they were short-selling the market. People are saying one thing and doing another." Kaminsky nails it when he points to the obvious that everybody knows that the last four years have not been about the White House or 'recovery', but about Central Banks; and the last few weeks (post QE-Eternity) the realization of this fact has really sunk in along with a belief that the next four years are not positive for stocks. Not quite a Jeff Macke meltdown of truthiness but the veil has been lifted.

 
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Remember This?





It was only a few short weeks ago when we noted the interesting analogs between AAPL's rise and the exponential exuberance of MSFT in the late 90s and NFLX this year. Sadly, for the long-suffering momentum-chasers, things have gone a little pear-shaped for Apple as it has followed, far too accurately, the same path from exuberance to realization. Where to next? MSFT says 'a bounce to be faded'; NFLX says 'dump it all'...either way $400 is in play for AAPL - back to the start of the year... cue fundamental defense of what is quite clearly a behavioral exuberance having played out.

 
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