• Pivotfarm
    04/17/2014 - 17:08
    You know when you want to read that last page of the book just before you fall off into the Land of Nod and the Sandman comes and sandbags you to fall asleep?

Detroit

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Bankrupt Cities Seek Crowdfunding For Garbage





Want to fund your "grilled cheesus" project? Need money to continue your "edible cup" business? Kickstarter is the platform of choice. But now, with the muni bond market suffering from outflows in retail funds and bankruptcies mounting across the nation, cities are increasingly turning to 'crowd-funding'. As Bloomberg reports, Central Falls (which filed for bankruptcy 2 years ago) is using Citizinvestor to seek $10,044 in funds for 5 new trash cans. "Even with attractive yields, there aren't a lot of people lining up to get involved with places that have gone through bankruptcy," as the initiative has raised $295 so far...

 


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"A Scam Of Unmatchable Balls And Cruelty" - Matt Taibbi On Wall Street's "Triple-Fucking Of Ordinary People"





"This is the third act in an improbable triple-fucking of ordinary people that Wall Street is seeking to pull off as a shocker epilogue to the crisis era. Five years ago this fall, an epidemic of fraud and thievery in the financial-services industry triggered the collapse of our economy. The resultant loss of tax revenue plunged states everywhere into spiraling fiscal crises, and local governments suffered huge losses in their retirement portfolios – remember, these public pension funds were some of the most frequently targeted suckers upon whom Wall Street dumped its fraud-riddled mortgage-backed securities in the pre-crash years.... It's a scam of almost unmatchable balls and cruelty, accomplished with the aid of some singularly spineless politicians. And it hasn't happened overnight. This has been in the works for decades, and the fighting has been dirty all the way."

 


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Frontrunning: September 27





  • House GOP banking on Plan C (Politico)
  • Pimco shook hands with the Fed - and made a killing (Reuters)
  • BlackBerry's Torsten Heins has a $55 Million golden parachute (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Urged to Pay More in Mortgage Deal (NYT)
  • Soros Adviser Turned Lawmaker Sees Crisis by 2020 (BBG)
  • U.N. Members Agree on Syria Disarmament (WSJ)
  • U.N. Says Humans Are 'Extremely Likely' Behind Global Warming (WSJ)
  • The non-falsifiable threats emerge: Shutdown Would Shave Fourth-Quarter U.S. Growth as Much as 1.4% (BBG)
  • Swaps Rules Worry Industry: Coming Regulations Have Market Players Concerned About Possible Disruption (WSJ)
 


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Detroit’s Bankruptcy Postmortem: The Worms Keep Slithering Out





You may have seen recent revelations that Detroit routinely raided its pension funds to award extra cash – including bonuses dubbed “the 13th check” – to both retirees and active employees. These payments were far in excess of the city’s negotiated obligations and hidden from both the public and Detroit’s bond investors. There may be no cleaner account of the repercussions of handing power to those who show their compassion with the public purse. However well meaning the union reps controlling Detroit’s pension board may have been, their politics clearly compromised the city’s long-term health.

 


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Thursday Humor: Detroit Union Demands Payment For 13th Month Every Year





Beggars once again have become choosers it would appear. As Bloomberg reports, a Detroit city union is demanding that the bankruptcy judge reinstate a policy that enables a "13th" monthly check to be cut for pensioners every year. The policy, which was ended in 2001, cost the city $1.92 billion, according to a reporty commissioned by the city. We are just not sure whether this an "Onion" headline or real.

 


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The Unstoppabull "Housing Recovery": Despite Bankruptcy Detroit Home Prices Soar To Five Year High





If anyone had reservations about the monthly Case-Shiller report, or at least the logic in the methodology used by the S&P data collectors, we present Exhibit A, which should solidify any such doubts. Below we show Detroit "home prices", which according to the just announced July NSA data, soared even higher, to level of 90.8, which just happens to be a 17% increase Y/Y, and the highest print since August 2008. Bankruptcy? Pfft - who cares when the government is funding Blackstone REO-to-Rent made-to-flip purchases.

 


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Frontrunning: September 24





  • Iran Icebreaker Set at U.N.  (WSJ)
  • Chrysler Feud Triggers IPO Filing  (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Chase, 12 More Banks Said to Be Sued Over Libor (BBG)
  • Regulator sues Morgan Stanley, eight others over faulty securities (Reuters)
  • Monte Paschi Seen Boosting Cost Goals to Meet EU Demands (BBG)
  • Here we go again - "not enough funds": CFTC chair Gary Gensler warns on fund cuts to police derivatives (FT)
  • Congress Fuels Private Jails Detaining 34,000 Immigrants (BBG)
  • KKR, Sycamore looking to buy Jones Group this week (NYPost) - take with lots of salt
  • Fiat rethinks alliance with Chrysler after IPO filing (Reuters)
  • Young Invincibles Caught in Crossfire Over Obamacare Cost (BBG)
  • Mayfair Office Squeeze Spawns New London Real Estate Hubs (BBG)
 


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Frontrunning: September 23





  • Triumph Confirms 'Era of Merkelism' (Spiegel)
  • Merkel must reach out to leftist rivals after poll triumph (Reuters)
  • Norwegian Air says both its Dreamliners hit by technical issues (Reuters)
  • Chinese court gives Bo Xilai life sentence (CBS)
  • Social Dems Deflect Talk of Merkel Alliance (Spiegel)
  • Blasts shake Nairobi mall, smoke pours from building (Reuters)
  • Open-Government Laws Fuel Hedge-Fund Profits (WSJ)
  • Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Holier Than Mother Teresa (Matt Taibbi)
  • BlackBerry move away from consumers unlikely to stem decline (Reuters)
  • And another Greek strike: Greek teachers, civil servants to strike against layoffs (Reuters)
 


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El-Erian: What's Happening To Bonds And Why?





To say that bonds are under pressure would be an understatement. Over the last few months, sentiment about fixed income has flipped dramatically: from a favored investment destination that is deemed to benefit from exceptional support from central banks, to an asset class experiencing large outflows, negative returns and reduced standing as an anchor of a well-diversified asset allocation. Similar to prior periods, history will regard the ongoing phase of dislocations in the bond market as a transitional period of adjustment triggered by changing expectations about policy, the economy and asset preferences – all of which have been significantly turbocharged by a set of temporary and ultimately reversible technical factors. By contrast, history is unlikely to record a change in the important role that fixed income plays over time in prudent asset allocations and diversified investment portfolios – in generating returns, reducing volatility and lowering the risk of severe capital loss. Understanding well what created this change is critical to how investors may think about the future.

 


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Guest Post: Everything's Fixed, Everything's Great





Much to the amazement of doom-and-gloomers, everything's been fixed and as a result, everything's great. The list is impressive: China: fixed. Japan: fixed. Europe: fixed. U.S. healthcare: fixed. Africa: fixed. Mideast: well, not fixed, but no worse than a month ago, and that qualifies as fixed. Doom and gloomers have been wrong, just like Paul Krugman said. The solution to every problem is at hand: create more money and credit, in ever larger sums, until a tsunami of cash washes away all difficulties. Let's scroll through a brief summary of everything that's been fixed.

 


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The Next-To-Last Mistake





As opposed to the "pixie dust tout of fairy tales forever" that is trotted out by the herd every day, the fllowing brief look at Taper realities, 'manufactured' numbers unreality, systemic Muni bonds concerns, and of course, political risk provide color for what was described this morning on CNBC as a market bereft of 'bear market theses. As Tartakower once wrote, "The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake;" until then ts all foreplay.

 


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Which John Kerry Said The Following?





"Not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from. We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace..."

 


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Detroit Black-Out 2013





10 years ago last month, Detroit (along with most of the North-East) suffered a major blackout. It seems, in an awkward anniversary remembrance, two main electrical lines have failed in downtown Detroit. As WXYZ reports, some of Detroit’s municipal buildings as well as downtown traffic lights and the People Mover are without power. Parts of the Wayne State University campus in midtown also have no electricity. Power went out just after 1:00 p.m. Only a few more hours until dark... just beware the packs of rabid dogs...

 


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Guest Post: Trying To Stay Sane In An Insane World - At World's End





In the first three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) of this disheartening look back at a century of central banking, income taxing, military warring, energy depleting and political corrupting, we made a case for why we are in the midst of a financial, commercial, political, social and cultural collapse. In this final installment we’ll give our best estimate as to what happens next. There are so many variables involved that it is impossible to predict the exact path to our world’s end. Many people don’t want to hear about the intractable issues or the true reasons for our predicament. They want easy button solutions. They want someone or something to fix their problems. They pray for a technological miracle to save them from decades of irrational myopic decisions. As the domino-like collapse worsens, the feeble minded populace becomes more susceptible to the false promises of tyrants and psychopaths. Anyone who denies we are in the midst of an ongoing Crisis that will lead to a collapse of the system as we know it is either a card carrying member of the corrupt establishment, dependent upon the oligarchs for their living, or just one of the willfully ignorant ostriches who choose to put their heads in the sand and hum the Star Spangled Banner as they choose obliviousness to awareness. Thinking is hard. Feeling and believing a storyline is easy.

 


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Detroit 'Contagion' Spreads; Widely-Held Puerto Rico Muni Bonds Collapse





"It's getting concerning," notes one fixed-income banker, Puerto Rico muni bond yields "never got near 10% [yields] even in the crisis." Some of the 27-year maturity Puerto Rico bonds just traded at a dismal 67 cents on the dollar (10.082% yield) and the most recently issued 2036 Electric Power bonds have collapsed from par a month ago to just above 82 cents on the dollar today. As the WSJ reports, the fall in prices also is a sign of investor risk aversion in the wake of Detroit's record municipal-bankruptcy filing in July; but it seems the anxiety and outflows from ETFs is having just as big an impact as Puerto Rico bonds now trade cheaper than Detroit's. "It's out of whack," one analysts warns, though the island's double-digit unemployment and recent weakness in economic indicators somewhat support the concerns - and while the "yields are attractive" it is possible that the island's borrowing costs could go higher as supply is extremely heavy in coming months. With 77% of managers holding Puerto Rico bonds, this is a problem...

 


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