Black Friday: A Pavlovian Mental Disorder – Now Medicated by ‘Cyber Monday’

Yes, it’s ‘that time of year’ and that means we get another annual dose of America’s twin obsessions – those who partake in Black Friday madness, and those who enjoy watching it.
I used to think it was all just part of the human herd mentality – just another twisted expression of crowd dynamics, but there is a lot more to it than that.
For better or for worse, Black Friday is officially part of Americana, but it’s roots go much deeper than many will care to admit, and it’s still a work in progress whose evolution began with the Founding Fathers and is now tossing and turning inside the giant digital half-pipe known asthe internet.

Symbolically speaking, Black Friday got off on a poor foot to begin with, plagued with negative undertones, and hence, it’s been long-destined for a place in the waste heap of American culture. The term ‘Black Friday’ was originally coined by both the Philadelphia and Chicago police departments to describe the mayhem that was unleashed by the first Friday afterThanksgiving Day, as waves of shoppers hit the pedestrian ways and roads, causing traffic accidents and occasional violence. It’s interesting how the cultural herd managed to make the term work though, given that previous ‘black days’ were reserved for catastrophic stock market crashes, on Black Thursday (1929) and Black Monday (1987).
During the 1980’s, mega shopping mall culture became the dominant consumer experience, and melted in with the Gordon Gekko inspired, ‘me, me’ culture, where society was told to abandon anything that was old, stop saving money, extend your reaching distance, get into debt, and euphorically embrace the here and now. Today’s ‘big box’ stores are really eighties mall culture on steroids – more intense, with everything from A-Z condensed under one umbrella.
It stands to reason – that when you squeeze that many people into concentrated areas, and then add in the incendiary element of artificial scarcity, you can expect a certain amount of violent incidents. This is taken to a whole other level when individual outbursts give way to crazed crowds rushing the entrance of a big box, overwhelming security guards and staff, like a riot scene…

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 29, 2014.

Retail Sales Declining – Hello European Deflation

Governments are pretty much brain-dead in their vain attempts to manipulate the economy. They think that lowering interest rates will ‘stimulate’ the economy and cause people to borrow. That has never worked because people respond to the trend and function in anticipation. The root driving force is rather straight forward. Why is there an inflationary bubble? People anticipate that prices will continue to rise so they buy now for it will only be more expensive tomorrow. Japan saw a surge in retail sales the month before the consumption tax rate increase. People are not as stupid as government suspects.
In reverse, constantly lowering interest rates is feeding the deflation. It not merely reduces income for the elderly making savings pointless, but it has been reflected in the decline in retail sales. Why buy today when tomorrow will be cheaper?
Reuters has reported: ‘Special Report: Why Italy’s stay-home shoppers terrify the euro zone’ What is fascinating is that we can read reports like this, yet both the academic community and the political community will not change their theories. Reuters quoted:
‘People aren’t stocking up because they know prices will be lower in a month’s time,’ says Santambrogio, chief executive of Vege, a Milan-based association covering 1,500 supermarkets and specialist stores. ‘Shoppers are demanding steeper and steeper discounts.’
It is really hard to comprehend that in this pretend science called economics, we never investigate HOW something functions, but how to manipulate the economy to compel it by force to do as we desire. Any people think our analysis investigating how things function is somehow off the beaten-path.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on November 28, 2014.

Italy’s Temporary “Glass Half Full” Insanity

Yesterday it was the French, with record high unemployment and record low bond yields. Today, it is the turn of the Italians as the unemployment rate rose to 13.2% – the highest since records began – as bond yields continue to plumb new “lower rates will spur lending which will spur economic growth which will create jobs” lows…
As Bloomberg reports,
Renzi said today’s increase in the unemployment rate is partly due to more people starting to look actively for a job. The so-called ‘discouraged’ workers who are not looking for work are not counted in the Istat jobless data.
‘Unemployment data are worrying,’ said Renzi, whose comments on the sidelines of an event in Catania were broadcast by SkyTG24. ‘We cannot deny the problems out there, still we shouldn’t see the glass half empty either.’
Is this worrying?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/28/2014.

The Crash Course – Chapter 23 – The Environment – Depleting Resources

The following video was published by ChrisMartensondotcom on Nov 28, 2014
Why scarcity will define the future.
When we wander over to the third E in this story – the Environment – we note two things: both the increasing demand of exponentially more resources being extracted from the ground and exponentially more waste being put back into various ecosystems.
Because we are trying to assess here whether we can justify ever-increasing amounts of money and debt, for now let’s just concern ourselves with the resources we take from the natural world to support our global economy.
Oil is not the only essential resource that is fast becoming more expensive to produce, harder to find, or both. In fact, we see an alarming number of examples depletion of critical resources that almost exactly mirror the oil story.
First we went after the easy and or high quality stuff, then the progressively trickier, deeper and or more dilute stuff.
The bottom line is this: we, as a species, all over the globe, have already mined the richest ores, found the easiest energy sources, and farmed the richest soils that our Environment has to offer.

To SNB Head Thomas Jordan: Please Stop Politicizing The Gold-Initiative Debate With Propaganda

A thoughtful paper was submitted by M. Pryce. Below are the first four pages as well as the conclusion, readers are recommended to read the entire document which is embedded below.
On 23 November, the head of the SNB Mr. Jordan took his opportunity of speaking at the Ustertag commemoration to politicize the debate regarding the Save Our Swiss Gold initiative, which is scheduled this weekend at the polls on 30 November. This politicizing of debates by central bank officials has all become too common in recent times. The duty of public officials of national monetary institutions should be to offer a balanced, informed and un-biased assessment of the pros and cons for the general public to make up their mind. Instead, what we frequently get is a series of biased statements from these officials that are more akin to propaganda and fear mongering.
The passage in question is the one where Mr. Jordan calls the gold initiative ‘unnecessary and dangerous’.
He goes on to say that, ‘The initiative is dangerous because it would weaken the SNB. The connection between a minimum share and a ban on selling which it embraces would very greatly restrict our monetary policy room for manoeuvre, since the SNB only retains its full capacity to act when it is in a position to adjust its balance sheet to monetary policy requirements – in other words, if the SNB can expand or shrink it – without any restrictions. The value of this flexibility in reality has been impressively demonstrated in the past few years by two measures which allowed us to avert substantial damage from our country. First, the SNB supported the country’s biggest bank by establishing a stabilisation fund, thereby stabilising the Swiss financial system. Second, it combated the massive overvaluation of the Swiss franc by introducing a minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 to the euro. With the minimum share of gold and the selling ban demanded by the initiative, enforcement of measures like these would have been very much more difficult. Consequently, the initiative would make it considerably harder for us to intervene with determination in a crisis situation and fulfil our stability mandate. For this reason, the gold initiative could result in worse money instead of better money, totally in contradiction to the intentions of the originators.’ [Highlighted sections are mine] Central Bank credibility or Propaganda and Fear mongering Let us put aside the validity of these arguments for a moment. Taken at face value, the message from the highest official at the SNB is that the gold initiative is both dangerous and that it could result in worse money. And this is precisely where the problem lies; there is no balanced, informed or un-biased debate of the pros and cons. These statements are thrown in as a given where in reality the precise choice of words is better suited to political propaganda and fear mongering, period.
From a public official that should know better, these cannot be seen as anything other than sound-bites intended to swing the perception of the general population that is not generally expected to have a deep understanding about the workings of his or her country’s monetary system. After all, which member of the public would want to vote in favour of an initiative that is labeled as, both dangerous and that could result in worse money. Well, the answer should be obvious. However, there is far more to it than that as I will attempt to explain.
The intended result can be read from the news headline of the Englishspeaking news website, The Guardian. Presto, job done!:
‘Fears that ‘dangerous’ Switzerland referendum could spark gold rush’

This post was published at GoldSilverWorlds by Taki Tsaklanos /November 2 14.

The Only Way To Stop The Empire

The final days of US empire are fast approaching. Perhaps its end will pass slowly and gradually, or perhaps the event will unfold rapidly and catastrophically. Maybe chaos will break loose, or maybe its demise will be organized well and proceed smoothly. This nobody knows, but the end of empire is coming as surely as day follows night and sun follows rain. Overexpansion, overreach and over-indebtedness will take their toll – as all past empires have discovered. Empires are like bacteria in a Petrie dish; unthinking, unseeing, unfeeling, they expand until they run out of food or contaminate their environment with their waste, and then they die. They are automatons, and they just can’t help it: they are programmed to expand or die, expand or die, and, in the end, expand and die.
What does the empire feed on? It feeds on money and fear; your money and your fear, both obtained with your cooperation. It is bigger now than when it faced an actual adversary in the Soviet Union. Russia is no adversary; all it wants is to be a normal country, at peace with the world. But the empire won’t let it, will it? It must create enemies. Who are our enemies? According to the authors of endless war they are North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Islamic terrorists. Are any of them actually capable of threatening the US? Well, yes, but they are all quite easy to deter. But the plan of the authors of endless war is not to deter them; it is to back them into a corner with political instability and sanctions, while whipping up the population on both sides into fear-filled frenzy.
We all know that the US military-industrial complex has become a self-perpetuating and uncontrollable organism, just like Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in 1961. Everyone knows the phrase and Eisenhower’s warning – it is part of our collective memory. At a trillion dollars a year and growing, with over 1000 bases ringing the planet, it has expanded far beyond what Eisenhower could have imagined in his worst nightmare. We can’t say we didn’t know: he warned us. After the National-Socialist episode in Germany, many good Germans voiced regrets at not speaking up, claiming that they didn’t know what was being done in their name. But we do not have that excuse: we all knew all along.
Nor was it the first time we were warned. General Smedley Butler told us before, in 1933, and his words are still with us, posted online. Why is it that everyone, generals included, suddenly gain wisdom immediately upon reaching retirement? Butler offered an explanation: his ‘mind was in suspended animation while serving as a soldier and following orders.’ In 1933 Butler told us that he ‘was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.’ He said:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/28/2014.

Guyana Gold

South America has been a major beneficiary of the 2000s gold bull, party to some big discoveries by the mining companies flocking there. Some of these discoveries have already been developed, with top-three producers Peru, Brazil, and Chile for example seeing their collective gold output increase by 25% since 2001. And some are in the pipeline, with production on the horizon.
These pipeline projects come in all sizes and are scattered across the continent. Naturally there are many located within the borders of the top three. But many reside elsewhere, including such exploration hot spots as Argentina and Colombia. One of South America’s finest development-stage projects belongs not to the aforementioned major countries though. It resides in Guyana, a small sparsely-inhabited nation that many folks are unfamiliar with.
The few people who have heard of Guyana are the ones who recollect a key event in modern US history. But I’m sure the Guyanese aren’t thrilled that the event defining their country was the infamous Jonestown massacre, an ordeal that involved the only-ever assassination of an active-duty US congressman.
Also in the US, reality-TV junkies recently got familiarized with Guyana as the backdrop for a season of Discovery’s wildly popular show Gold Rush. In 2013 Guyana produced in the neighborhood of 450k ounces of gold, mostly from small-scale mines. If the artisanals could do it, so could Gold Rush star Todd Hoffman and team right?
Hoffman’s team failed miserably, producing only enough gold to pay the cab fare back to the airport. Though this failure was mostly self-induced, and entertaining, viewers did get to witness the challenges of mining in a dense tropical rainforest. Guyana’s artisanal miners, known locally as pork-knockers, must work very hard to scrape the gold out of the ground.
Guyana’s artisanal success has attracted more than greenhorns like Todd Hoffman though. It has garnered commercial attention from larger mining companies seeking to find the source deposits. These geologically savvy companies see the big picture of what Guyana has to offer. They understand the prolific Guiana Shield, and its propensity to host greenstone belts full of near-surface mineral deposits highly concentrated with gold. And most importantly, they recognize how vastly underexplored this country truly is.
Aptly named Guyana Goldfields is one company willing to take on Guyana’s challenges in order to score a source deposit. Founder and current Executive Chairman Patrick Sheridan was an early mover into this country, with his team commencing exploration back in the mid-1990s. And their watershed event was the 1998 procurement of the Aurora project.
Gold mineralization was actually discovered at Aurora over 100 years ago. It even saw a bit of mining in the middle of the 20th century, to the tune of approximately 100k ounces. But it didn’t really see any modern exploration until right before Guyana Goldfields took over.
It took several years to build up some exploration momentum considering the state of the gold market around the turn of the century.

This post was published at ZEAL LLC on November 28, 2014.

Black Friday for Precious Metals

Black Friday has a few meanings. It has the retail connotation and interestingly also marks a Friday in September 1869 when the Gold price plummeted after two speculators attempted to corner the market. Today wasn’t that bad for precious metals but it was a Black Friday given the severe selloff and the particular day and time of year. Gold declined over 2% and Silver lost nearly 7% while gold miners slipped 8% (GDX) and nearly 12% (GDXJ). Oil drove the decline but showed how vulnerable precious metals still are. Black Friday marked the end of the current rebound while raising the probability that Gold has yet to bottom.
For the miners the significance of the decline is best illustrated on the weekly candle chart. Below are GDXJ and GDX. Simply put, the miners rallied back to previous support and retested the recent breakdown. After rallying for three straight weeks the miners tested resistance in each of the past two weeks. New resistance held and has ushered in the next decline in violent fashion.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 November 2014.

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Mugged

“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city.
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Final Problem
Gold and silver got mugged in very quiet trading for the end of the month, with most traders off on holiday.
If anyone was short gold or silver, their end of month results looked quite a bit better after today. So like the retailers they had their ‘Black Friday.’
Paper covers rock. Who’s got the scissors?
The Swiss will be voting on their referenda on Sunday. Among these are the gold referendum.
Next week is the Non-Farm payrolls for November.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 28 NOVEMBER 2014.

Did We Just Witness The Last Great Black Friday Celebration Of American Materialism?

Americans are going to spendmore than 600 billion dollarsthis Christmas season, and on Friday we got to see our fellow citizens fight each other like rabid animals over foreign-made flat screen televisions and Barbie dolls. As disgusting as this behavior is to many of us, there may soon come a time when we will all fondly remember these days. Most Americans are completely unaware of what is currently happening in the financial world, but right now there are deeply troubling signs that we could be on the verge of another major global financial collapse. If the next great economic downturn does strike in 2015, that could mean that we may have just witnessed the last great Black Friday celebration of American materialism. As you read this, stock prices are approximately double the value that they should be, margin debt is hovering near all-time record highs, and the ‘too big to fail’ banks are being far more reckless than they were just prior to the last major stock market implosion. So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed back in 2007 and 2008 are repeating right now, and as you will see below, this includes a horrifying crash in the price of oil. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the slow-motion financial train wreck that is unfolding right before our eyes.
Every year, it has been my tradition to write an article about the mini-riots that erupt in retail stores all around the country on Black Friday. This year things were a bit calmer because so many stores opened up on Thanksgiving itself, but there was still plenty of chaos. For example, in the video posted below you can see women viciously fighting one another over discounted lingerie and underwear…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 28th, 2014.

SILVER EAGLE & MAPLE LEAF RECORD SALES: Five Times Larger Than 2007

The Royal Canadian Mint just released their figures for the quarter showing record Silver Maples sales for the year. Sales of Silver Maples weren’t as strong in the third-quarter compared to the same period last year, but they outperformed Silver Eagles in percentage terms.
Sales of both the Silver Eagles and Maples were quite strong in the first half of the year, but declined during the summer months. If we look at the figures below, we can see just how much purchases of Silver Maples and Eagles declined compared to the prior year:
Q3 2013 & 2014 Silver Eagle & Maple Leaf Sales
Q3 2013 Silver Eagle Sales = 11.055,500
Q3 2014 Silver Eagle Sales = 8,202,500 (-26%)
Q3 2013 Silver Maple Sales = 6,700,000
Q3 2014 Silver Maple Sales = 5,400,000 (-19%)
Most of the weakness in sales of these official coins took place in July and August. However, Silver Eagle sales picked up significantly in September reaching 4,140,000 surpassing last year’s monthly figure of 3,013,000.
The Royal Canadian Mint does not break down its sales figures on a monthly basis (quarterly reports), but I would imagine Silver Maple Leaf sales picked up substantially in September paralleling the huge demand for Silver Eagles.
In the first nine months of the year, Silver Maple Leaf sales reached a record 20.8 million compared to 20.7 million during the same period last year:

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on November 28, 2014.

Financial Terrorists On The Road – – Krugman And Rogoff Peddling Toxic Advise

Here are a couple of reasons why Keynesian economists are truly a menace in today’s bubble ridden and debt-impaled world. It seems that both Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff and Princeton’s Paul Krugman are on the global advice circuit, peddling what amounts to sheer snake oil to desperate politicians and policy-makers who have already buried themselves – -so far to no avail – -in unprecedented waves of fiscal and monetary ‘stimulus’.
But never mind. The professors have a three part solution, and its more, more……and moar! To make room for more monetary stimulus after six-years at the zero bound, therefore, Professor Rogoff has a truly juvenile solution. Namely, to abolish cash. That’s right, this Harvard windbag proposes to confiscate your kids’ piggy bank and any green stuff that may be left in your wallet.
Meanwhile, Krugman has made a quick circuit through Tokyo, where he apparently was instrumental in convincing Japan’s prime minister to cancel the next installment of the consumption tax increase – a move that was utterly necessary in order to stem the nation’s massive flow of red ink. But why not spend a few more years adding to Japan’s staggering debt burden, which is already at 230% of GDP and rising inexorably in a nation that is fast becoming the world’s foremost retirement colony? After all, Professor Rogoff has now perfected a scheme which will allow central banks to monetize all the debt that even the most profligate government can possibly issue.
So start with Professor Rogoff ‘s incredible assault on the peoples’ cash and coins – a necessary prelude to even more fantastic rates of central bank monetary expansion. Here is exactly what he recently advocated at a ‘prestigious’ international policy forum:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 28, 2014.

Dow Record Close Despite Bond Yields, Bullion, & Black Gold Battering

Despite the best efforts of business media to paint a rosy picture of the Black Friday spend-fest, stocks had only one trajectory – from upper left to lower right – from the open. Small Caps were slammed but all major indices gave up significant knee-jerk “energy schmenergy” gains to close ugly. However, The Dow was pushed just into the green – and new record highs – to prove everything in the centrally planned world is awesome. Crude oil prices were monkey-hammered to 5-year closing lows. The USDollar gained on the day – after 3 down days – and combined with Swiss referendum expectations, gold faded notably (as did Silver with oil). Treasury yields tumbled 10-12bps on the week and HY credit notably underperformed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/28/2014.

Gold – A Revival?

The Swiss referendum will be the this weekend to prevent the central bank from selling its gold. While Swiss sources say this is really about a protest against the central bank policy since they pegged the Franc to the Euro incurring tremendous losses, the Swiss are now watching their currency decline with the Euro. There are still concerns rising within Europe that individual central banks should bring their gold home. This was done in the Netherlands. To some degree it is rising anti-Americanism. Additionally, what is really behind this trend is the collapse in the confidence in the whole EU thing and the survival of the Euro. We should see a pop in gold going into next week.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on November 28, 2014.

This Sunday may mark the end of Western monetary dominance

November 28, 2014 Santiago, Chile
Walking down the streets of Constantinople in the early Middle Ages, you would have immediately felt the energy and prosperity.
Constantinople was one of the wealthiest, most advanced cities in the world, and some historians estimate its population could have been as high as 500,000 people.
Byzantine architecture in Constantinople was world famous, and local artists were producing mosaics that are still regarded as some of the finest ever made.
At this point in history, wealth and power in the world was clearly concentrated in the East.
Europe was nothing more than a plague-infested backwater. Constantinople flourished. And even further to the east, China was sporting some of the most advanced technology in the world.
But times changed.
By the 13th century, the Byzantine Empire was in clear decline. Its borders were shrinking and the empire was at the center of almost constant warfare.
And more importantly, they had begun to debase their currency. Again.
For centuries, the Byzantine gold solidus had acted as sort of de-facto international reserve currency. It contained roughly 4.5 grams of pure gold and was used in trade and commerce around the world for nearly seven centuries.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 28, 2014.

CENTRAL BANKS: THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

Some people like to say that money is the root of all evil. If by “money” they mean fiat currencies printed up at will by central banks they are correct.
Yet “experts” say central banks promote stability. It is practically baked into the Keynesian cake. When you search for central banks and stability, many telling reports and quotations pop up. There is an entire report by the Bank For International Settlements (the central banks’ bank) on the topic. The International Monetary Fund, as well, promotes the idea that central banks promote stability.
But let’s look at this stability they are talking about.
Here is a chart showing the “stability” that central bank created fiat currencies created in the oil market.

As you can see, the dollar price of crude oil has increased 31-times since 1950 and has been incredibly volatile while the price of crude oil in terms of gold is practically the same. As is explained here, “given that perfection in the real world in which we live is impossible, gold comes closer to perfection in preserving purchasing power than anything else because the aboveground stock of gold grows by about 1.75% per annum consistently year after year.”

This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on November 28, 2014.