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  • The current downturn and, losing confidence

    Since everybody buys on margin or credit, confidence in the future is all important. A small dip in the price of stocks is called an opportunity to "buy the dip". As the dips get larger, confidence weakens. At some point, everybody wants to "short" the market.
    CNN, Here's how much money you could be losing by avoiding the stock market
    NBC, The stock market lost more than $2 trillion in October - CNBC
    The truth is, the net makes it impossible to hide financial fundamentals. Computers make almost instantaneous analysis.
    Here is a short article with a few graphs that puts everything in perspective.
    Just one excerpt,
    "So what is the crisis this time?
    In the ’90s it was the bubble in Tech Stocks.
    In the early ’00s it was the bubble in housing.
    Today it’s the bubble in DEBT… specifically, sovereign bonds."
    The banks blew bubbles to increase fees and interest charges. Every time that this blew up, they simply shifted the losses to the taxpayer. The State is the biggest borrower and, has to figure a way to inject money into the economy to keep it from collapsing.
    Trump Reverses Yet Again - OKs $750 Billion Military Budget,
    Days After Saying $716 Billion Was 'CRAZY' & Too Much! It's
    Biggest Military Budget In History & We're $22 Trillion In Debt

    Somebody pulled him aside and told him that the printing presses had to run in hyperdrive if he hoped to maintain some stability while Japan, Europe and China were collapsing.
    Powell is hiking to attract foreign capital. BUT, he can't hike so high that debt service on sovereign bonds becomes too costly. He must find a balance point that drains capital from our competitors but, doesn't crash the sovereign debt market,,,, not yet, at least.

    One of the eternal debates is; will this cause inflation or deflation. Due to woolly thinking, people group together price levels with money supply. Inflation is defined as an increase in the supply of money. This may or, may not cause price inflation. All of this debate is complicated because an increase in the money supply is an increase in debt.
    In ancient times when gold and silver were the primary money, the circulating money supply was dependent on CONFIDENCE, not on supply. In times of low confidence, gold and silver went into hiding, NOT investment.

    In the '70s, the State allowed / promoted the paper gold market..
    Paper Gold Trading Market Continues To Depress Price
    Paper Gold Market 91% of Global GDP - Crush The Street

    The paper gold market was created so that the State could thwart any attempt to flee into gold when interest rates fell. The banks and the State want to keep all wealth circulating.
    The End Of TINA -- Or 'There Is No Alternative' To Equity Buying - Forbes
    Nov 27, 2018 - Investors have complained for years about “TINA” – or “There Is No Alternative” other than to buy more equities.

    12/11 The next worry for US stocks: shrinking profit forecasts – Reuters
    As profits shrink and political instability gets worse;
    America's wealthy are moving to cash as market enthusiasm hits a wall
    Here is the article from Armstrong
    "Therefore, despite the increase in coinage output, there was DEFLATION as we have witnessed in Europe under the Quantitative Easing of the European Central Bank (ECB). The increase in money supply resulted only in hoarding rather than inflation. They still had faith in the purchasing power of money."

    You can see from all this that hoarding reduces the circulating money supply. The obvious answer is to go to 100% digital currency and the blockchain. The State can impose negative interest rates on everybody.

    "his seems to imply that the economy was contracting significantly thanks to the reign of Maximinus I (235-238AD) who simply declared all private wealth belonged to the state (him)"
    "the reasons I sought to reconstruct the monetary system was to gain a look at what was really taking place within the Roman Empire because the common denominator is how people respond to events regardless of the century."
    Last edited by Danny B; 12-12-2018, 02:57 PM. Reason: punktuation


    • Deficits and solar storms

      The ECB is screaming at Italy because they are only allowed to run a 2% deficit. France, on the other hand, is allowed to run a 3% deficit,,,, because it's France. The Yellow Vest demonstrations moved out to other countries and threatened the establishment. Macron came up with some concessions that will now push the French deficit to 3.6% The banks weren't much impressed.
      12/12 French borrowing costs jump on Macron wage rises, tax cuts – Reuters
      Teresa May has left Britain to beg EU leaders to renegotiate.
      12/12 On whirlwind EU tour, Theresa May rebuffed by Merkel, Juncker, Rutte, Tusk – Mish
      Automatic Earth has a good article on this.

      As the Chinese financial system swirls down the drain, Australia is expected to melt down. If your Aussie, you should read this.

      "US forces must remain in the bogged-down Afghanistan campaign, or terrorists might get back on their feet and launch another 9/11-scale attack on American people, General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "
      The threat of TERRORISTS is winding down a bit so, the DHS is pumping it up again.

      "In a new report from the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council and published by the Department of Homeland Security, the government is urging the public to prepare for the up to six months without electricity, transportation, fuel, money, and healthcare."
      "The report, titled Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage”, warns that an attack would likely come with little to no notice and could cause complete chaos for at least a half a year, “Long-duration, lasting several weeks to months (at least 2 months, but more likely 6 months or more"
      "The report recommends Americans have enough supplies on hand for a minimum 14 days"
      "The report is the second in the last month to warn of a “profound threat” to the U.S. electric grid from terrorism and events like a solar storm or solar flare. A prior government report also recommended presidential action to protect the grid from attacks. "

      At least, they mention solar storms.


      • Custodial risk,,,, a crisis here,,, a crisis there

        Armstrong has a good article on custodial risk. It's a bit complex but, worth reading if you are in the markets.
        "If you are holding shares and you do leave them in the custody of a broker, they will keep them in “street name” so yes they can be taken as an asset of the firm as they did in M.F. Global. If the shares are to be held and you are not using them for collateral at a broker, it is best to take possession."
        "The creation of the Federal Reserve was with the power to create money in times of crisis to meet the demand for withdrawals without having to dump assets in a panic. Then World War I came and instead of the Fed stimulating the economy by buying the corporate paper to directly create jobs, politicians instructed the Fed to buy ONLY government bonds. "
        "Then Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs/US Treasury Secretary pushed to overrule Glass–Steagall. That opened the door for these banks to then be officially trading with other people’s money. The end is now in sight."
        "It was Martin Glenn who was the judge in New York on M.F. Global bankruptcy. He was the first one to engage in FORCED LOANS by abandoning the rule of law to help the bankers by protecting them from losses taking client accounts to cover M.F. Global’s losses. "

        " The latest trend among European countries of bringing home their gold reserves has been raising concerns in Brussels.
        According to Grass, the process means disintegration"
        "According to Grass, only a fool believes you can create wealth out of nothing, and use that as a basis for a sustainable system."
        "He explained that in the Western world, the government is forcing people to give up between 35 and 65 percent of their income and to put it into mandatory vehicles such as pension funds, retirement insurance, taxes, and so on."

        "The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned."
        "U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt."

        "Moreover, Christine Lagarde’s deputy called on nations to work together to tackle financial instability, warning they simply cannot avert a meltdown without coordinating with each other. "
        "Specifically, Mr. Lipton said they should work towards ensuring the IMF is not under-resourced, as it was in the run-up to 2007 crash and subsequent credit crunch" SEND MONEY !
        "One lesson from that crisis was that the IMF went into it under-resourced; we should try to avoid that next time,” he concluded"
        Bring on the SDR

        Trump can't do much about intellectual property theft but, he can put the squeeze on Chinese chip makers,

        12/12 Greece scraps pension cuts – Ekathimerini Very Italian of them.
        12/12 Venezuela annual inflation tops 1 million pct in November: – Reuters
        12/11 Why bitcoin crashed and why it will crash again – Forbes
        12/10 Antonopoulos: why bitcoin is not in a death spiral, refuting reports – CCN


        • Blame it all on the FED

          Any economy is subject to occasional panics. When banks do fractional reserve lending, they are subject to collapse from blanket withdrawals. The finance community created the panic of 1907.
          Investopedia, "The Bank Panic of 1907 was a set of bank runs and bankruptcies that led industry leaders to draft the first version of the Federal Reserve"
          So, a panic in 1907 and, the creation of the FED in 1913. No single private bank could withstand a run on the bank. The FED was created and owned by private banks as a sort of mutual insurance system.
          Armstrong, "The creation of the Federal Reserve was with the power to create money in times of crisis to meet the demand for withdrawals without having to dump assets in a panic. Then World War I came and instead of the Fed stimulating the economy by buying the corporate paper to directly create jobs, politicians instructed the Fed to buy ONLY government bonds. "

          Private banks have a mismatch of maturities. They borrow short (deposits) and, loan long. The idea of a backstop is logical.
          "The Fed operates as a central bank, controlling fiscal and monetary policy. Its three goals are to promote maximum employment, keep prices stable (ie. control inflation) and to moderate long-term interest rates."
          So, the bankers created an agency to serve the bankers interests.
          "The Fed began with approximately 300 people, representatives of banks who became owners (stockholders purchased stock at $100 per share) of the Federal Reserve Banking System. 100% of its shareholders are private banks; the stock is not publicly traded and none of its stock is owned by the US government."

          "Commercial banks borrow from the Fed to meet reserve requirements established in law (set up after the 1929 stock market crash to avoid another run on the banks which caused many to become insolvent). This is known as the discount window. Borrowing from the Fed is quicker and easier than borrowing from another bank, but it is more expensive"

          Central Banks were originally created to supply war finance.

          It is suspicious that the U.S. congress approved the central bank in 1913 AND the U.S. entered WW I in 1917. The FED was tasked with buying war bonds. After WW I, the mandate was never changed. An agency that was created for the logical purpose of backstopping private banks (remember the maturity mismatch) was commandeered to finance wars. The FED has bought State debt ever since. Where does the money come from?
          The FED is mandated with maintaining price stability. The FED has taken it upon itself to maintain 2% inflation. This is, of course, a contradiction.
          The FED buys State debt and, re-sells it on the open market. The State pays interest on this money.

          "In 2017 the Fed reported $115 billion in income, including $113 billion in interest received from $4.2 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities it accumulated during its quantitative easing programs. It also paid out $784 million in dividends to shareholders - the financial institutions that own the 12 Federal Reserve Banks."

          Typically, the Central Bank makes money from the State. The State raises taxes. A small, private mutual insurance agency was hitched up to the State to supply funding for perpetual war. Not just warfare.

          "In 1966, Congress gave the Federal Reserve authority to purchase the debt of agencies guaranteed or owned by the federal government. This same authority has enabled the Fed’s purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and debt of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since 2008 in support of the housing market. In a little-known episode, the Fed shied away from exercising this authority in the 1960s but eventually conceded under political pressure and perceived threats to its independence"

          The FED was also hitched up to finance the welfare state.
          "Between 2008 and 2015 the Fed bought trillions of dollars worth of T-bills and mortgage-backed securities, keeping interest rates near zero percent, but making the US debt balloon from $900 billion to $4.5 trillion."
          Wages haven't risen in 40 years as America has steadily lost manufacturing. The State doesn't want a shrinkage in it's income. The wars must go on. Just how high can the public debt go?
          " USA Today notes that as of Sept. 30, the US deficit was $779 billion - 17% higher than last year."
          " $1,110 billion for the Department of Health, $576 billion for Defense, and $540 billion for the Treasury. "
          Ahead of The Herd

          Everybody throws rocks at the FED but, it wasn't the FED that created the welfare-warfare state.
          It wasn't the FED that promised unsustainable pensions.

          Merkel promised that there would be NO State bailouts for banks. Deutsche bank promised to leave a crater half the size of Germany. She relented.


          • Attacking China,,, ECB and stimulus,,,Macron blows it

            A short article on stocks with good graphs.

            "America’s trade war against China appears to be less about unfair trade practices and more about stopping China from evolving into a serious technological competitor against the US. In 2019, there is a strong possibility the tariff war will escalate into a wider conflict, with China selling down its exposure to the dollar and US Treasury debt. That would create significant difficulties for the US Government and the dollar itself.
            With the credit cycle turning and the addition of American tariffs, markets are at a growing risk of replicating the 1929-32 crash and the economic depression that followed. "
            "tariffs have evolved from a policy to make America great again to bankrupting China. China is seen as the greatest economic threat to America, and in this duel, tariffs are Trump’s weapon of choice.

            The objective is to impede China’s technological development. "

            " The European Central Bank formally ended its 2.6 trillion euro crisis-fighting bond purchase scheme on Thursday but promised to keep feeding stimulus for years into an economy struggling"
            I'd like to know just what form this stimulus is going to take.

            "A return of national sovereignty across Europe is no longer coming. I think it’s here. This can no longer be stage-managed as a relief valve of the massive discontent at neoliberal policies rammed down Europeans’ throats as it has in the past."
            "Macron was sold as the outsider, the reformer, who wasn’t in office a week before he began betraying the people who voted for him. And now he’s stuck.
            The media turned against him quickly because they know he is done. "
            "Now the question is, what comes next? Because political unrest leads to financial unrest really quickly and the market hasn’t even begun pricing France into Europe’s evolving troubles."

            "Macron’s handling of these protests have been nothing short of abysmal. He began November the darling of the globalist set I like to call The Davos Crowd, excoriating any sense of national pride, likening it to terrorism."
            France is NOT the place to do this.
            "He also called for the creation of a Grand Army of the EU and pushed hard for banking federalization to consolidate power under Brussels over the currency,"
            "With his approval rating dropping faster than Deutsche Bank’s stock price, Macron had to do something to stem the tide against him. It’s so bad even the rest of the French political establishment are sharpening their knives looking for a no-confidence vote and his resignation."
            "Salvini is looking at this proposal of Macron’s like it truly is manna from heaven. But for the EU, does it really have any other choice? When you’ve stepped off the cliff and are falling, anything you can do to keep from hitting the ground is what you do regardless of the long-term damage. "

            "According to data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, insolvencies climbed to 11,641 in October, a 9.2% rise compared to the year prior. Even more alarming, month over month this rise was up a staggering and somewhat inexplicable 16%, as if something "broke", pardon the pun, in October."

            12/13 Yellen and the Fed fear corporate debt bubble, but investors still don’t – CNBC
            That is because they put their money into passive investment funds and, went to the beach.
            12/13 US budget deficit jumps to $205 billion in November – MarketWatch
            So, when does this all default?
            12/13 US bank stocks spiral down – Wolf Street
            Nobody is listening.


            • Debt is eating up the world

              "Macron is pushing for the European Finance Minister to raise money by selling EU bonds and then distribute the money to the 19-member Eurozone. France is very heavily indebted and here once again we have simply the goal to raise more money rather than reform. Because of the riots in France, Macron is trying to get the EU to fund France. They want to call this the European Monetary Fund"
              NOBODY would buy these bonds. He's hoping to buy some time but, the revolts are quickly spreading.

              The Venezuelan government has their own plan on how to fund government.
              They also created a crypto coin backed by their oil. BUT, the oil seems to be stuck underground.
              Hillary is working hard to see Trump get re-elected.

              The stock markets have lost $trillions. The Shanghai index is down about 20%. While this causes capital flight to safer jurisdictions, it also promises a LOT of contagion. Here is a graph of the leveraged loan index.
              "And then, loan pricing nose-dived along with prices on most other credit products starting around the first week of October, right after Powell's "neutral rate" speech,,,, ... and suddenly complacency turned to sheer panic without passing go. But the catalyst for this wholesale dread was not so much the slump in prices as much as fund flows - i.e., observing in real time what one's peers are doing - and as we showed yesterday, they are selling, with Lipper reporting that loan funds saw a record outflow of $2.53 billion in the week ended December 12, a fitting culmination to the fourth consecutive week of selling."

              If you look at this graph, you will see that institutional investors make up the bulk of the buyers.
              Everybody else has pulled out. Should the markets crash, as delineated by John Hussman, the big funds will all be insolvent.

              Here is a graph of hedge funds index.
              "And yet, paradoxically, despite a truly abysmal track record, where the average hedge fund is not only down for the year but badly underperforming its benchmark for the 8th year in a row, hedge fund employees of all stripes, from junior analysts to portfolio managers, have something in common this year: unmitigated optimism in the form, or as Bloomberg puts it, "they’re all expecting fatter paychecks."

              Despite an industry beset with lagging performance, an investor exodus and closures, hedge fund professionals expect a median compensation of $520,000 in 2018, a 16% increase from last year's $450,000"
              $10,000 a week seems fair.

              Zero Hedge, "" Even the sainted Holy Mother of Wokesterism, the Archangel Hillary, may find herself wingless in a witness chair, answering how all that schwag from Russian banksters happened to end up in her foundation’s cookie jar."
              There are people who STILL believe that Mueller is investigating Trump.

              There is a new year coming and, a few things will get shifted around.
              "Credit On Verge Of Crisis: $176 Billion A-Rated Bonds Downgraded To BBB In Q4"
              The stock markets have recently lost about $15 trillion. This counts as perceived deflation. Many investors are going to cash. This counts as deflation in the circulating money supply.
              "Fast forward to today when Goldman reports that just two weeks after our original report, the number of A to BBB downgrades has doubled to a whopping $176 billion in the fourth quarter,"

              12/14 Bank bulls battered as financials enter bear market – Zero Hedge
              12/14 Wheels come off the leveraged loan market: banks unable to offload loans – ZH

              You Aussies are no slackers.
              “The ‘Australian Dream’ was financed through an epic accumulation of debt as interest rates collapsed, with household debt standing at 189 per cent of disposable income,” Ms Creagh writes in the report."

              Greenspan argued for deregulation of banks because they could regulate themselves to make the most profit. Forget about malfeasance to make this profit. There is another problem. The individual traders will act to make the most profit for themselves,,, not necessarily for the bank.
              When interest rates to ZIRP, lots of companies gorged on free money to do buybacks. This reduced the number of outstanding shares and, bumped up the dividend per share. It also bumped up compensation and bonuses for traders and partners. Once the ZIRP ended, the debt service on the free money started to strangle corporate profits.
              As profits fell, investors pulled out their money.

              $9 trillion corporate debt bomb is 'bubbling' in the US economy
              How The Corporate Debt Bubble Will Destroy The Economy - ValueWalk

              Here is the graph,
              "U.S. corporate debt has risen from $40 trillion to $70 trillion since the top of the last bubble in 2007. That’s 63% in 10 years. It’s risen 135% since 2000!
              Only government debt has risen faster, from $35 to $64 trillion, or 83%.
              China is the worst by far, going from $6 to $36 trillion or a 500% increase!"
              The corporate debt bomb can't destroy the economy. I was told that sovereign debt would do that.

              "A government spokesman said: “The UK’s jobs market has never been stronger, employment is at a record high with more people in work in every region of the UK since 2010"
              "Average UK workers earning a third less than in 2008 – report "


              • The protests

                The overlay of the EU bureaucracy on top of existing bureaucracy has reduced the wealth of European countries by 20%. The outsourcing of jobs has further reduced national wealth. There just isn't any money to go around.
                UK faces longest fall in living standards since records began, says ...
                UK has 'worst quality of life in Europe' | Money |
                No Babies? - Declining Population in Europe - The New York Times

                Here is a good article on the yellow vest protests.The Indiscreet Charm of the <i>Gilets Jaunes</i>, by C.J. Hopkins - The Unz Review

                "And, see, this is the problem the corporate media (and other staunch defenders of global neoliberalism) are facing with these gilets jaunes protests. They can’t get away with simply claiming that what is happening is not a working class uprising,"
                "We can expect to hear this line of reasoning, not just from establishment intellectuals like Lévy, but also from members of the Identity Politics Left, who are determined to prevent the working classes from rising up against global neoliberalism"
                Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own,"
                "but even if it does, and the gilets jaunes uprising ends, this messy, Western “populist” insurgency against global neoliberalism has clearly entered a new phase. Count on the global capitalist ruling classes to intensify their ongoing War on Dissent and their demonization of anyone opposing them"

                Doug Casey, "I gave a speech about this at Jayant Bhandari’s Capitalism & Morality 2018 Conference in Vancouver last summer. People can listen to the whole speech here if they’d like the whole story. It’s entitled “How Political Correctness Is Destroying Western Civilization.” I’ll also point out that all the speeches at that day-long conference were superb.

                And, interestingly, almost all the speeches at that conference centered around the possibility that a revolution is coming to the United States."
                "And with welfare benefits as ridiculously high as they are, middle-class Europeans resent paying half of their income in taxes, only to see freeloading migrants live off their produce.
                There’s an excellent chance this will spread throughout Western Europe. "
                "In France, the state takes about 45% of all revenue in taxes. It’s got about the highest taxes in the world. The average Frenchman’s tax load is twice as high as the average American’s. Worse, the taxes are used to support massive and onerous bureaucracies in both Paris and Brussels."

                Because Teresa May is screwing the Brits so well, there is a very good chance of these protests spreading to Great Britain. Their standard of living is certainly falling.

                Notes in israel;
                Time to learn from the French!’ Yellow Vest protests spread to Israel, 10 arrested
                Israeli Police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu & wife

                He is so corrupt, that there have been weekly protests about him.
                A few years back, the protesters brought along a beautiful GUILLOTINE;
                Israeli protests: 430,000 take to streets to demand social justice ...

                Israel is afflicted with zionism and, the don't like it.
                American taxpayers give Israel over $10.5 million per day.
                You would think that $10.5 million a day would pay for bread for the people.

                France's protests are hurting the economy at a crucial time - Quartz
                I guess that we just have to wait and see how much.
                12/15 Global debt hits record $184 trillion, or $86,000 per person – Bloomberg


                • State, AI, finance, wages, non-producers

                  Man created the State to bring order to society. Out of necessity, the State must gain it's support from coercion and taxing. The State has the lawbooks, the guns and, the prisons. Socialism is the firewall between Darwinian pressures and the non-producers. The main problem comes in because the State is the prime non-producer. Because of it's great power over society, the State attracts and nourishes corruption. All States do redistribution with themselves at the head of the line. Hegel came up with the idea of the Hegelian dialectic where everybody is an employee of the State. This is perfectly in line with the mindset of a non-producer but, it goes completely against the rationale of any person who wants to work hard and get ahead. This is the mantra of socialism.

                  Another non-producer of equal proportion to the State is the financial sector. At one time, the finance business was responsible for intelligent distribution and allocation of surplus capital. The holder of surplus capital didn't know who was credit worthy and, who was not. The banker filled the niche of discerning who was morally and financially likely to correctly invest the desired sum of the loan.
                  The banker was entrusted with everyone's surplus capital. All this surplus capital was owned by somebody and, not the property of the banker.
                  Fractional-reserve banking was created to address this problem.

                  At the same time, parasite number one (the State) gave it's blessing to this expansion of the purported money supply. The 2 chief parasites were in agreement that they were best served by perpetual monetary inflation. The State definitely had the power and the tools to forestall this monetary inflation but, how else was it to support the always growing bureaucracy ?
                  The State stole the wealth produced by the working class through taxes. The bankers stole the wealth of the working class by monetary inflation and front-running. The banks produced free money and, added this to the pot of money from your savings. They, then bought up everything in sight and, later resold it to you.

                  Man dies and has to pay death-duties (inheritance taxes) but, the corporation is eternal. Over the decades, the corporation accumulates more power and money.
                  These 11 Companies Control Everything You Buy - Activist Post
                  This concentration of monopoly pricing power has another effect. Each individual person has to sell their labor. Neither capital nor the State wants to see labor rates rise. Wiki has MANY examples of the State taking the side of capital.
                  "Battle of the Viaduct, part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877: Violence erupted between a crowd and police, federal troops, and state militia at the Halsted Street Viaduct. When it ended, 30 were dead.[11]"
                  Collective bargaining is blocked wherever possible.
                  Capital has monopoly-pricing power but, labor has no collective wage demand power.
                  Automation promised great reductions in the price of manufactured goods. This was not to be. Since capital had monopoly pricing power, the fruits of automation could be handed out as stock dividends. Wages stagnated for the last 40 years but, stock dividends did very well.
                  Here is a graph of worker compensation and productivity.
                  Here is CEO pay,
                  Not to be left out, the State put the squeeze on the worker also. The State knows what price inflation is. Here is a graph of postage costs.

                  The worker has no real bargaining power. Prices continue to rise. A corporation is a money making enterprise. A FAMILY IS NOT. Finance depends on ever-growing credit. It barely recognises that it requires an ever-growing demand in consumption and, an ever-growing increase in the consuming population. Wages are stagnant and prices have risen. Lacking the credit demand from the consumer-producer, the State has stepped in with enormous and growing credit demands. FED GOV has hit $22 trillion. Since the State is a non-producer and, the taxpayer is tapped out, State debt won't be repaid.

                  The worker was deprived of the price-reduction benefits from automation but, he was displaced from his job by computer driven machinery. In the '40s, 44% of Americans worked on the farm. Automation reduced this to a present day number of 1%. People moved to manufacturing. Now, they are being displaced from manufacturing. Where will they go?
                  At the same time, the Industrial Revolution is working it's way up the "ability ladder". White collar jobs are now disappearing.

                  "Kai-Fu Lee, now chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that about half of all jobs will disappear over the next decade and be replaced with AI "
                  "next generation of robots in the fastest period of disruption in history.

                  "AI, at the same time, will be a replacement for blue collar and white collar jobs," said Lee, a renowned Chinese technologist and investor who held positions at Apple and Microsoft in addition to Alphabet's Google. But white collar jobs will go first, he warned."
                  ""The white collar jobs are easier to take because they're pure a quantitative analytical process. Reporters, traders, telemarketing, telesales, customer service, [and] analysts, there can all be replaced by a software," he explained on "Squawk Box." "To do blue collar, some of work requires hand-eye coordination, things that machines are not yet good enough to do."
                  "Lee said that while economic growth "will go dramatically up because AI can do so many things so much more faster" than humans"
                  Do you see the fatal flaw? Economic growth may potentially
                  go way up but, who is going to consume the results?
                  Rust Belt Lost More White Collar Jobs than Factory Positions | Money

                  Currently the military (State) is doing all the consumption because, it never intends to repay what to takes. Just how long can this go on?
                  Last edited by Danny B; 12-16-2018, 06:29 PM. Reason: correction


                  • Monetary inflation as a cure-all

                    The preceding post is a description of the background problems caused by punishing the family to enrich the bankers and bureaucrats. This post is an examination of the efforts and results of runaway money-supply inflation.
                    I need to do a lot of excerpts.

                    “When the European Central Bank switches off its money-printing press at the turn of this year and stops buying fresh assets, it will mark the end of a decade-long global experiment in how to stave off economic meltdowns. Quantitative easing, the policy that aims to boost spending and inflation by creating electronic money and pumping it into the economy by buying assets such as government bonds"
                    Definitely not pumped into wages for the producer.
                    "Arguments over how, or even if, the trillions spent by policymakers helped the global economy recover will rage for years to come. But as central banks step back, the initial view is that the purchases worked "
                    Poverty, suicide and deaths of despair are WAY up. QE worked for the rich only.

                    "The great virtue of this policy course, many believe, is that there is essentially no limit to the scope and duration of “QE infinity.”
                    NO mention of rising debt service costs and falling population. This could possibly work with eternal ZIRP,,, highly doubtful. Did you know that in previous ages, topical beauty products included lead, mercury, arsenic ad radium? ZIRP is much like that.

                    "But what if faith in QE is woefully misguided? What if markets and policymakers alike come to appreciate that QE only masked underlying fragilities and delayed desperately needed structural reform? Worse yet, what if the reality is that QE exacerbated latent financial fragility – through more leverage, speculation, misperceptions and market distortions. "
                    Naw, couldn't happen.

                    " Germany’s ZEW economic sentiment index collapsed 13 points in December to 45.3. This is down from 95 early in the year and the lowest reading since January 2015. "
                    Obviously, just statistical noise.
                    " Surely QE proponents would have expected the printing of $2.6 TN of new “money” to have, at least for a period, worked to pacify the masses and temper political instability. Detractors of unsound money and Credit are anything but surprised by heightened instability throughout the eurozone,"
                    The standard of living is fast falling. THIS is supposed to pacify the masses.
                    "Proponents of central bank stimulus operations take a sanguine view."
                    No kidding, They are next to the free money tap.
                    "Then there was 2011’s “Long-term Refinancing operations (LTRO),” where the ECB lent $640 billion directly to eurozone banks (liquidity in many instances used to buy government bonds)."

                    "Proponents proclaim a decade of central bank stimulus has proven a tremendous success. They would point first to stock, bond and asset markets more generally. I view the same markets and see acute instability and fragility. I believe a decade of monetary stimulus has exacerbated financial, economic, social, political and geopolitical instabilities. This will surely be debated for decades to come. "
                    NOPE, I give it about 2 years.

                    "Credit is a financial claim – an IOU. New Credit creates purchasing power. Credit is self-reinforcing. When Credit is expanding, the creation of this new purchasing power works to validate the value of Credit generally. In general, new Credit promotes economic activity, both spending and investment, in the process promoting higher incomes. Credit expansions fuel higher price levels throughout the economy, including incomes, real estate, stocks and bonds. Higher perceived wealth stimulates self-reinforcing borrowing, spending and investment."
                    Notice that wages are never mentioned.

                    "There were various mechanisms that worked to contain Credit expansions, including the gold standard and disciplined monetary regimes. As important, there were traditions against deficit spending, running persistent trade deficits and profligacy more generally. Moreover, there were bank reserve and capital requirements that placed constraints on lending and financial excess. In short, there was a limited supply of “money,” with excessive borrowing demands pressuring interest rates higher."
                    The State and ZIRP got rid of any kind of discipline.

                    " As the key source of additional system “money” and Credit, banks and business investment were some time ago supplanted by market-based finance and leveraged securities/asset purchases. Contemporary (“digitalized”) finance expands virtually without constraint. "

                    "I’ve been chronicling the “global government finance Bubble.” It has not been ten years of systemic smooth sailing. History’s greatest Bubble stumbled in 2011 on fears of the Fed’s “exit strategy.” The Fed quickly backed off – and then proceeded to double its balance sheet again by 2014. Europe tottered badly in 2011 and 2012, inciting “whatever it takes” and a reckless ECB balance sheet gambit. Fed, ECB and global central bank liquidity stoked a historic boom throughout the emerging markets. China’s epic Bubble, pushed into overdrive with aggressive global crisis-period stimulus, inflated uncontrollably. All of it almost came crashing down in late-‘15/early-’16. But the Chinese adopted more stimulus, the ECB and BOJ boosted QE, and the Fed postponed “normalization.”
                    They can't EVER let off the gas pedal

                    "Surging asset prices spur rapid increases in speculative Credit, unleashing new self-reinforcing liquidity/purchasing power upon markets, financial systems and economies around the globe. The problem is it doesn’t work in reverse. "

                    "As inflationism has demonstrated throughout history, QE was always going to be a most slippery slope. The notion of inflating risk asset markets with central bank liquidity has to be the most dangerous policy prescription in the sordid history of central banking. And, importantly, the longer central bankers held to this policy course the deeper were market structural distortions. Rather than attempting to rectify crucial flaws in contemporary finance, central bankers chose inflationism and market backstops as stabilization expedients. This was a monumental mistake. "
                    The short-term goal of saving the banks has become a full-time obsession is it all slowly erodes away.

                    " The original Fed QE “money” program basically accommodated speculative deleveraging."
                    Nope, that was the intention, NOT the result.
                    "Trillions flowed into risky stocks, bonds, corporate Credit, EM assets and derivative structures believing that these fund shares were a liquid store of (nominal) value. "
                    The State facilitated the creation of mega tons on new pixelated money in the belief that much of it would flow into GOV bonds.
                    "global “system” liquidity acutely vulnerable. Faltering global liquidity will now expose the misperception of “moneyness” for ETF and passive index products. As such, global markets are now at high risk to global de-risking/deleveraging "
                    This "deleveraging" is a process of moving down Exter's pyramid,,,, reducing risk.

                    "Flawed central bank policies are directly responsible for both a decade-long global Bubble and the more recent speculative blow-off. Markets, meanwhile, cling to the belief that central bankers remain fully committed to doing “whatever it takes” to hold bear markets, recessions and crises at bay. There’s a disconnect. The harsh reality is that “whatever it takes” has failed."
                    NOT, spectacularly,,, not yet.

                    "Credit, is now in significant self-reinforcing contraction. This portends liquidity issues for markets, faltering asset values and trouble for economies. In the markets, Fear is supplanting greed. "
                    "December 14 – Bloomberg (Lisa Lee): “Funds exiting the U.S. leveraged loan market at a record pace are clobbering sentiment as they go. History suggests that the record $2.5 billion yanked from funds in the past week could mean more short-term loan price pain"
                    Do tell?

                    "The Bubble has burst – the greater global Bubble, the Bubble in leveraged lending, and Bubbles across asset classes around the globe. In the case of leveraged loans, I don’t expect another bout of QE to resuscitate Bubble Dynamics."
                    "It was a timely reminder of how deeply Bubble Dynamics have permeated the marketplace. I would argue that some of the greatest excesses have unfolded in perceived low-risk sectors and strategies,"

                    China, "We’ll continue to closely monitor Chinese Credit data. Total Social Financing (TSF) This was still 15% below growth from November ’17. This puts y-t-d TSF expansion at $2.129 TN, down 20% from comparable 2017."
                    I doubt that the Chinese system can survive a 20% contraction.
                    " In numbers that illuminate the scope of China’s mortgage finance Bubble, Consumer Loans increased 44% in two years, 78% in three years and 141% in five years."

                    John Rubino expects GOV to start massive money printing to save the system


                    • The default wolf is growling at the door.

                      Here is a good article on pensions.
                      "The median retirement account balance among all working US adults is $0. This is true even for the cohort closest to retirement age, those 55-64 years old.
                      The average (i.e., mean) near-retirement individual has less than 8% of one year's income saved in a retirement account
                      77% of all American households aren't on track to have enough net worth to retire"
                      "The data certainly seems to show that the experiment did not take human nature into account enough – specifically, the fact that just because people have the option to save money for later use doesn't mean that they actually will."
                      No kidding, they ignored human nature.
                      Here is the embedded vid,
                      "research conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows a $1.4 trillion shortfall between state pension assets and guarantees to employees."

                      Jim Willie has lots of news,
                      12/16 Will landing be soft or “chaotic” as Fed begins to stop rate hike cycle – Reuters
                      12/16 Major hedge funds are scrambling to prevent financial wipeout – NY Post
                      12/16 Investors have nowhere to hide as stocks, bonds and commodities all tumble – NYT

                      Should have bought gold.
                      2/16 US banks disclose huge unrealized losses on security investments: FDIC – Wolf Street
                      12/16 Failed by both its major parties, betrayed Britain lurches towards the abyss – Guardian

                      "Ultimately, central banks might have to resort to QE variations such as “helicopter money.” Originally a thought experiment of Milton Friedman, the government would print money and distribute it to the public to stimulate the economy."
                      Nope, they're not desperate.
                      Comparative bubbles,
                      The bubbles are needed to stave off default.
                      "Since 2008, governments and central banks have stabilized the situation without fundamentally addressing high debt levels, weak banking systems and excessive financialization."
                      Right, they stabilized the situation. What about the crashing standard of living?
                      "The political economy could then accelerate towards the critical point identified by John Maynard Keynes in 1933, where “we must expect the progressive breakdown of the existing structure of contract and instruments of indebtedness, accompanied by the utter discredit of orthodox leadership in finance and government, with what ultimate outcome we cannot predict.”

                      This article is speculation that the FED will not rescue the stock market.
                      "Another brutal week left the stock market with its worst start to a December in 38 years,"
                      "Over the first nine trading days of the month, the Dow is down 5.6%, the S&P is off 5.8% and the Nasdaq is 5.7% in the red. That’s the worst start to a December for all three benchmarks since 1980,"
                      Last edited by Danny B; 12-17-2018, 03:53 AM. Reason: mistock


                      • Confidnce is slowly shifting, it will speed up

                        The markets are going down and, greed is slowly turning to fear. The problems of Italy, France and Britain are dragging down European markets.
                        Rense, Nation Heads To Shutdown Friday - Schumer, Dems Refuse
                        To Fund Border Wall - Trump Promises To Shut Government

                        Remember, both the ECB and FED have meetings in December. Volatility is picking up even more.
                        "The Bond Market Has Frozen: For The First Month Since 2008, Not A Single Junk Bond Prices"
                        "dramatic drop in loan prices, a record outflow from loan funds, and a general collapse in investor sentiment that was euphoric as recently as the start of October, the wheels had come off the loan market which was on the verge of freezing after we got the first hung bridge loan in years, after Wells Fargo and Barclays took the rare step of keeping a $415 million leveraged loan on their books after failing to sell it to investors."
                        Take a look at the graph AND keep in mind that the credit bubble MUST grow. So, $trillions are stuck in bank portfolios. There are trillions that MUST roll over.
                        "The two banks now "plan" to wait until January - i.e., hope that yield chasing desperation returns - to offload the loan"
                        The banks are waiting and hoping for a change in sentiment and confidence.

                        12/17 Stocks on pace for worst December since the Great Depression – CNBC
                        Yup, sentiment and confidence.
                        12/17 Ron Paul: A 50% correction will spark a Depression – CNBC

                        The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was what really got the ball rolling as far as the banks really screwing us. Only one democrat voted for it. All the republicans did. Slick Willie signed it.
                        12/17 Why did all the old people decide to be broke? – Hmm Daily
                        "In 1913 the top marginal income tax bracket was 7% -- today it is 39.6%.
                        In 1913 the marginal income tax bracket range was 1% - 7%. Today the range is 10% - 39.6%.
                        In 1913 there were 400 pages in the tax code. Today there are 74,608 pages in the code.
                        In 1913 the family standard deduction was $98,425.45 in today’s dollars. The family standard deduction now is just $12,600."
                        So, don't have a family.

                        12/17 The ECB’s quantitative easing failure – Daniel Lacalle
                        When the ECB printed money to bail out Greece, the money bounced back from the border of Greece and, landed in German banks. Austerity has never worked but, that didn't stop Merkel and Schauble.
                        12/17 Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs, ex-bankers in 1mdb probe – Reuters
                        What the NYC courts would never do, the Malaysian courts are planning to do.
                        12/17 China sees bankruptcies surge; bondholders may get less back – Bloomberg
                        You're going to hear more and more about "haircuts"
                        12/17 Von Greyerz, at KWN, notes collapse of European bank stocks – GATA
                        He sells gold.

                        12/17 Trump again blasts Fed for ‘even considering’ rate hike – Reuters
                        Is this just Kabuki theatre?
                        12/17 Ray Dalio’s ‘conflict gauge’ hits highest level since WWII – Zero Hedge
                        Churchill " If Germany trades in the next 50 years, WW I will have been for nothing."
                        Pox Americana can't really prevail in a hot war with China and Russia. The new weapons are too devastating and nobody will prevail. Russia & Iran can cut off most of the world's oil, in an instant. Nobody wins. A billion die.
                        12/17 Recent market ‘jolt’ will be first of many as easy money era ends, says BIS – Reuters

                        Armstrong, "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) lists 30 some business categories that have been linked to “high-risk activity,” including marijuana dealers, gun sellers, home-based charities, payday loans, dating services, escort services, fireworks suppliers, cable box de-scramblers, coin dealers, credit card repair services, gaming and gambling websites, and telemarketing companies."
                        Armstrong sees all of this as a hunt for taxes. He never mentions criminal profits.
                        "How Global Organized Crime Makes $870 Billion A Year ...
                        Page Not Found - Business Insider... "
                        Crime Does Pay. How? Italian Mafia Earned $167 Billion ...

                        12/17 Will landing be soft or ‘chaotic’ as Fed begins to stop rate hike cycle – Reuters
                        Nobody really knows if QE will stop in th near future. The landing will be chaotic no matter what.


                        • The role of gold,,, frozen junk

                          FED GOV had spent so much on the warfare-welfare State that gold was leaving the Treasury at the rate of 100 tons a week in summer of 1971. There had been a lag but, the bills eventually came due. Nixon closed the gold window to avoid paying the bills of his predecessors. It is the STATE that is the profligate spender that is constantly constrained by a gold standard. The banks can survive a gold standard because they use fractional-reserve credit creation. The State is NOT a profitable enterprise unlike the banks. The State consumes and distributes but, it technically isn't profitable. The State is hamstrung by a gold standard, especially in the case of war.


                          The basis of a sound system is sound money. Throughout history the monetary system has always functioned better when gold has been backing the currency? So why has every currency system in history then failed and why have all currencies always gone to their intrinsic value of zero?

                          The explanation is simple. Soundly based economies with budget and trade surpluses carry the seeds of their own destruction. Once the economic cycle has peaked, the country continuous to spend money it doesn’t have and deficits are created. This becomes a vicious circle, more deficits lead to more money printing which in its turn increases the deficits. At that point the country abandons the gold backing of the currency in order to print more money and this eventually leads to the collapse of the country’s economy. "

                          This upcoming FED meeting is crucial. Will the FED detonate the markets or, not? Keep in mind that ZIRP and QE have not fixed anything. Will they be abandoned? The markets are a very short step away from collapse.

                          The BIS fears that a very large segment of the debt market will just disappear. Keep in mind that an object or asset is only worth what somebody else will pay you for it,,,, be it a tulip bulb or a collateralised debt swap.
                          The bond market has frozen: Not a single junk bond prices this month – Zero Hedge
                          A frozen debt market can be considered a "stranded asset"


                          • DTCC and the freeze up of the clearing system

                            I wrote about custodial risk. Stocks and other instruments are cleared at / by DTCC. Most are held in the name of Cede & Company, Armstrong clearly differentiated on risk depending if certificates are held in the street name OR, held by the broker in the name of Cede & co. If they are held by the broker and, are not in the street name, they are sucked up to satisfy the liabilities of the broker. So, when markets go down, individual investors and funds get a margin call to supply new cash to offset the fall in value of the asset. If they can't meet the margin call, the broker liquidates their stocks. BUT, if the market is falling, he may not be able to sell anything.

                            Whether you hold stocks or not, you should read this wiki page. Remember, your stocks are held in the name of 'Cede & Company. The various subsidiaries of DTCC also hold European and English assets. It is for the most part, just a recording service. They put everything in the name of Cede & co for the ease of transfer.
                            They hold all government debt also.

                            More on the DTCC,
                            About 40 trillion worth of stock and bond certificates held in an underground Manhattan vault owned by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation were damaged by flooding in Hurricane Sandy in November 2012
                            The DTCC processes the underwriting of stock and bond offerings for all transactions on the New York Stock Exchange and electronically registers securities
                            largest depository of “paper” stocks and bonds in a vault below sea level and then, forget to close the door. That’s right, the vault was waterproof, but someone forgot to close the door on the way out after they heard the largest hurricane to ever hit Manhattan was on the way. But that is only topped by the fact that after the flood drained, a fire somehow burnt the contents of the vault. And then, another flood somehow filled the vault again leaving a mess that DTCC says may never be cleared up.

                            Then we are told by DTCC that the remains of the $40 trillion paper trail has been moved to a secret location; furthermore, no pictures of the “damp and burnt” records were ever shared with the public. This is made even odder when we read from DTCC own newsletter its intentions concerning “paper” copies of anything traded on the New York Stock exchange. As a matter of fact, just prior to the 2012 flood, DTCC called for a “dematerialization” of paper copies of any transaction on the NY Stock Exchange, or any other exchange.
                            DTCC’s dematerialization plan focuses on three primary areas in physical processing:
                            Work with the industry to reduce physical certificates held in the DTC vault, as well as reducing and ultimately eliminating those certificates held in DTC’s street name, Cede and Co."
                            Remember, when the only records that exist are electronic, you own whatever they say you own.

                            DTCC does all the clearing.
                            The BIS warns that the clearing system is going to freeze up.

                            Armstrong warned that the dollar will rise until it breaks the emerging markets.
                            The most crowded trade right now is,,,, the U.S. dollar.
                            Remember, when investors go to cash, this removes liquidity from the credit markets.
                            When investors ran away from Italian debt, the ECB had to make up the difference.

                            12/18 Greenspan tells stock investors: ‘Run for cover’ – MarketWatch
                            12/18 Oil sinks 5% to 15-month low as US and Russian output rises, demand falters – CNBC
                            What about my derivatives based on a rise in oil?
                            12/18 Wall Street turns apocalyptic on “biggest ever rotation into bonds” – Zero Hedge
                            The corporate bond market is exceedingly ugly. The sovereign bond market is a disaster.
                            12/18 France will tax Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon starting Jan. 1 – Quartz
                            12/18 Single-family home construction tumbles – CNBC
                            No more families AND, no more free money to speculators.

                            12/18 ‘No existing countermeasures’ to Russian hypersonic weapons, US govt. admits – RT That's great news.


                            • DTCC and the reset,,, custodial risk

                              The DTCC handles many millions of trades every day. This couldn't be done if every asset was in an individual. name. So, it is all put in the name of Cede & Company. The brokerages and banks keep track of who owns what. The DTCC is just a clearing company. As I just posted, the BIS is predicting a meltdown of clearing.

                              Before the mortgage meltdown, RE transfers were all recorded in the MERS system. When the meltdown hit, the MERS system completely puked. A friend of mine lived in her house for 7 years without making a house payment. Nobody knew who owned the house or the loan. Loans had been sliced & diced (tranches) so much that it took years to straighten it out.

                              " four biggest Wall Street Banks holding at 6/30/2018 $ 188.58 TRILLION of nominal derivatives of which $ 142.23 TRILLION are interest rate contracts? FDIC reports two, JPM and Citibank, have $ 36.8 TRILLION of custodial assets. Further, OCC.GOV reports 99.4% of the nominal derivative obligations of these four banks are held for trading"
                              OK, what happens to all these derivatives in the event of a freeze up of clearing? Even the IMF has come out and said that we are going to have a global reset.

                              In a hypothetical bail-in of the banks, the investors money is taken to make the bank "whole" again. Remember the depositors are no longer depositors. They are investors. So, if the banks take your money, you won't have any recourse. You also won't have any idea if they really needed it or not.

                              I already wrote about the flood and fire at the DTCC vault where the paper trail for stocks and other assets was completely destroyed. In the absence of a paper trail, you will own exactly what the bank and brokerage house say you own. This is true for stocks, bonds and government securities. When the market turns and, brokerages want more cash, for margin calls that you can't meet, YOUR stocks (in the name of Cede & co) will be sold.
                              You will have NO idea of how much they sold for nor, how much more you owe the brokerage.

                              "In view of the M F Global seizure by JPM-Britain of USA sourced billions under City-of-London laws, is there a concern if the Custodial Companies have unsupervised authority to transfer title to securities to numerous other nations/laws?"

                              "There is certainly a Custodial Risk going forward and many people are unaware of the broker/clearer risk. This may not cause an overnight collapse but some sort of a work-out deal."
                              Guess who loses?
                              "If you are holding shares and you do leave them in the custody of a broker, they will keep them in “street name” so yes they can be taken as an asset of the firm as they did in M.F. Global. If the shares are to be held and you are not using them for collateral at a broker, it is best to take possession. "
                              "As far as an American institution sweeping accounts and sending the money to London pretending that they are the “owner” of the funds to post in the REPO market, that remains an open risk because the SEC and CFTC never prosecuted M.F. Global allowing that scheme to remain in place"

                              So, derivatives and government securities have no paper trail. These are the 2 big items that will freeze up. You can bet that a lot of people are going to get a big haircut.
                              Every ounce of physical gold is "held" by <100> people. When paper gold blows up, 99 people will get screwed. The CBs started buying gold a few years ago after having failed to drive gold out of all consideration of being a wealth instrument. This signifies that they see gold to be an excellent asset.


                              • Panic out of stocks and, into bonds

                                Well, Powell did it. He hiked the interest rate. The fallout will be pretty bad.
                                The article mentions that the GDP is up.....consumption spending plus investment spending plus government spending equal gdp. GOV just hiked military spending to $750 billion. Presto,,, the GDP goes up. It also mentioned that unemployment is at 3.7%. The 92.6 million of working age who are not in the labor force have NO effect on the economy.

                                12/20 Too late to matter: Fed-sponsored economic bust coming no matter what – TM
                                12/20 Hedge fund armageddon – Capitalist Exploits
                                12/20 Why everything that needs to be fixed remains permanently broken – CHS
                                12/20 Big funds begin liquidating as panic grips the loan market – Zero Hedge
                                12/19 Fed hikes rate, lowers 2019 projection to 2 increases – CNBC

                                Yeah right,,, 2 more increases and every lemonade stand in the country will shut down.

                                12/18 Wall Street turns apocalyptic on “biggest ever rotation into bonds” – Zero Hedge
                                RIGHT, run to bonds.
                                "as I’ve been warning for months. CLOs, or collateralized loan obligations, are a Wall Street product stuffed with corporate loans. If that sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason. Wall Street is doing exactly what they did with mortgage loans before the 2008 financial crisis, but with corporate ones."
                                "Companies are holding $9.1 trillion of debt now in contrast to the $4.9 trillion in 2007 before the last financial crisis. The financial system, and those who take money from banks, are more highly levered than they were prior to the last financial crisis.'

                                12/19 “Jarring” Fedex outlook cut suggests “severe global recession” – Zero Hedge
                                Buy more popcorn.
                                12/19 Senate will introduce a short-term bill to avoid a government shutdown – CNBC
                                Make it long-term please.
                                12/19 Belgian government falls over migration pact as Michel resigns – Bloomberg
                                12/19 U.S. to pull forces from Syria, officials see full withdrawal – Reuters

                                12/17 Gun deaths in America reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data shows – CNN
                                Research shows that whites use guns for suicide and blacks use guns for murder.

                                Putin Gives Trump 160 Terabytes Of Communication Intercepts ...

                                A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations ...

                                THAT is why it takes 17 agencies to investigate. They don't need to search for leads. They only need to follow up.

                                Italy has agreed to lower their target deficit spending.,
                                " the composition of the spending still raised concerns, particularly the main expansionary measures — the citizens’ income and rollback of pensions reforms (including lowering the retirement age).

                                “When these measures will fully come into force they will result in higher costs for the years to come. In 2020 and 2021, Italy intends to compensate the costs by … raising value-added tax (VAT). However, we know that in the past Italy has not activated this kind of safeguard"

                                Automatic Earth has a very good article,
                                "However, as I wrote in April 2018, if there is no price discovery, and there isn’t, there ARE NO markets, and it would be good and beneficial if many more people absorb that simple reality.
                                As long as you limit it to stock and bond markets, it may appear fine that people don’t understand. But as soon as you acknowledge there are no housing markets either for the exact same reasons, the story changes considerably. Because then it becomes clear that all -former- markets, bar none, have been eviscerated by central bank policies that sought to prop up banks, often highly successfully so, which they knew could only happen at the expense of communities and societies."
                                Got that right.