THE U.S. SHALE OIL INDUSTRY: Swindling & Stealing Energy To Stay Alive

While the U. S. Shale Energy Industry continues to borrow money to produce uneconomical oil and gas, there is another important phenomenon that is not understood by the analyst community. The critical factor overlooked by the media is the fact that the U. S. shale industry is swindling and stealing energy from other areas to stay alive. Let me explain.
First, let’s take a look at some interesting graphs done by the Bloomberg Gadfly. The first chart below shows how the U. S. shale industry continues to burn through investor cash regardless of $100 or $50 oil prices:

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on DECEMBER 26, 2017.

Would This Have Happened Under President Hillary? Holiday Retail Sales Soar Compare To Last Year

We are nearly a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, and the economic numbers continue to look quite good. On Monday, we learned that U. S. retail sales during the holiday season are projected to be way up compared to 2016. Yes, there are all sorts of economic red flags popping up all over the place, and I write about them regularly. And without a doubt, 2017 has been one of the worst years for brick and mortar retail stores in a very long time. But when something good happens we should acknowledge that too, and many are giving President Trump credit for the fact that retail sales are projected to be up 4.9 percent this holiday season compared to last year…
Despite thousands of store closings this year, Americans supplied a final flurry of spending to give retailers their best holiday season sales since 2011, figures released Tuesday show.
U. S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year, a welcome gift to U. S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence.
Of course this doesn’t mean that things have completely turned around for the retail industry. We still absolutely shattered the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and the final number is going to be somewhere right around 7,000. The following comes from CNBC…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 26th, 2017.

Feminist Professors Slam Selfies For “Perpetuating Classic Gender Roles”

A group of feminist professors recently discovered that Instagram selfies taken by women in college can reinforce ‘traditional gender roles.’
In a study led by Mardi Schmeichel, a University of Georgia (UGA) professor specializing in ‘feminist theory,’ a team of professors analyzed 233 selfies that were posted in 2013 within 24 hours of the first UGA football home game of the semester.
Schmeichel and her team analyzed these selfies to see if they represented ‘the idealized symbol of the southern lady,’ which they note is an aesthetic trope that ‘has had significant and enduring consequences on notions of femininity in the South.’
This symbol of the southern lady, they argue, is typified by students’ formal wear, soft and flowy dresses, a significant amount of jewelry, and clothes that emphasize ‘feminine curves without revealing what might be considered ‘too much’ skin.’
Bright red lipstick and white teeth are also considered emblematic of this southern aesthetic, Schmeichel argues.
After analyzing selfies posted in the time surrounding the first 2013 UGA home game, Schmeichel found that 25 percent of women who posted photos embody this harmful aesthetic.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

How To Prevent A Tax Levy

Far too many people underestimate the IRS for its ability to follow through and get that last dime from them. The ‘IRS’ might as well stand for ‘is really serious,’ so the way you handle your taxes should be serious, too.
They won’t pull the rug out from underneath you, though. You will get a notice and demand for payment, a notice of intent to levy, and a notice of a right to a Collection Due Process hearing. These will come in the form of five letters that is often referred to as the ‘notice stream’. If you don’t pay the balance or arrange to pay the balance by the time you get the last notice, the levy could be issued. The IRS will garnish your wages. Remember that ‘really serious’ part? The IRS issued 3 million in levies in 2012 alone.
What can you do? There are steps you can take to have the levy lifted but we recommend doing one better – don’t get the levy in the first place. Ahhh, the power of prevention. Even if you are in dire straits, there are things you can do to keep this from happening. Read on for more about how to prevent a tax levy.
Get Confirmation; Then Negotiate The first thing you need to do is make sure the IRS didn’t make a mistake. Hey, it’s rare but it does happen. If you’ve been able to verify your balance, it’s time to negotiate. It is possible to contact the IRS and come up with a payment arrangement. Figure out what you can pay and go from there, securing the help of a tax professional if you need to. Monthly payment installations can be arranged. As long as you make the monthly payments, the levy will be deferred and likely canceled altogether.

This post was published at Deviant Investor on December 26, 2017.

Where European Populism Will Be Strongest In 2018

While the establishment may breathe a sigh of relief looking back at political developments and events in Europe – which was spared some of the supposedly “worst-case scenarios” including a Marine le Pen presidency, a Merkel loss and a Geert Wilders victory – in 2017, any victory laps will have to be indefinitely postponed because as Goldman writes in its “Top of Mind” peek at 2018, Europe’s nationalist and populist tide was just resting, and as Pascal Lamy, the former Chief of Staff to the President of the European Commission admitted earlier this year, “Euroskeptic politicians are largely following the pulse of domestic sentiment. The fact is that the public is less enthusiastic about Europe than it once was.”
Echoing the sentiment by the europhile, Goldman’s Allison Nathan writes that while the Euro area’s most immediate political risks – i.e., populist or euroskeptic parties winning key elections this year – did not materialize, these movements have continued to gain traction.
In the Dutch elections in March, the far-right Party for Freedom performed worse than polls had once predicted, but still increased its share of the vote relative to the 2012 elections. It remains the second-largest party in parliament. In France, concerns about the prospect of Marine Le Pen winning the presidency gave way to optimism over Emmanuel Macron’s reform agenda; nonetheless, Le Pen posted the best-ever showing for her party in a presidential race. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU retained the largest number of seats in the Bundestag, but the far-right Alternative fr Deutschland (AfD) entered it for the first time with 13% of the vote. And elsewhere in Europe, populist parties on various parts of the political spectrum performed well enough to participate in government coalitions; indeed, an anti-establishment candidate in the Czech Republic recently became prime minister Some other observations and lessons from recent European events in the twilight days of 2017:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Frenzied Shopping Season, Record Hangover

And what happens to the returned goods?
It was, by all accounts, an exciting shopping season, particularly for e-commerce. I figured that out very quickly when things we’d ordered in early December took days longer than normal to arrive. The tracking info showed various issues, including packages getting hung up for days in some warehouse, apparently waiting for the next available spot on a truck.
So here’s the frenzied party.
Now we got the first set of numbers. Mastercard SpendingPulse reported that holiday shopping – not including automotive – from November 1 through December 24 across all payment types, including cash and check, rose 4.9% from the same period a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since 2011. Folks spent over $800 billion this shopping season, the most ever.
Online sales soared a breath-taking 18.1% year-over-year, ‘boosted by a late season rally,’ the report said. It ate the lion’s share of the increase.
‘Overall, this year was a big win for retail,’ the report said, which based the results on data from the Mastercard payment network and survey-based estimates for other payment types. A special credit went to those retailers ‘who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 26, 2017.

1,000s Of “Micro-Homes” Sprout Up All Over Bay Area To House The Growing Homeless Population

Roughly one year ago we shared the plans of a billionaire real estate developer in San Francisco who wanted to build communities for the homeless in Bay Area neighborhoods using stackable steel shipping containers (see: San Fran Billionaire Luanches Plan To House Homeless In Shipping Containers). Not surprisingly, the efforts were met with some resistance from the liberal elites of Santa Clara who, despite their vocal support of any number of federal subsidy programs for low-income families, would prefer that those low-income families, and their subsidies, stay far away from their posh, suburban, “safe places.”
Alas, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out today, like it or not, the boom in “micro-houses” is just getting started in the Bay Area with nearly 1,000 tiny homes, with less than 200 square feet of living space, currently being planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Rosa.
Planners say that’s just the beginning. ‘We’re very excited about micro-homes,’ said Lavonna Martin, director of Contra Costa County’s homeless programs. ‘They could be a big help. They have a lot of promise, and our county is happy to be on the cutting edge of this one. We’re ready.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

“As Good As It Gets” – What A Difference 11 Months Makes

What a difference eleven months make.
Shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated he fired Michael Flynn.
What’s become the conventional subtext is that the intelligence agencies have launched a ‘soft coup’ against Trump, he has been significantly weakened, and the Deep State has scored a major victory.
‘Plot Holes,’ SLL, 2/26/17

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Putting the Economics Back in Christmas

I applaud the online magazine Slate for its recurring series on ‘the dismal science,’ as they call it. Rather than boring discussions of the housing market or the NASDAQ index, economists such as Steven Landsburg and others tackle interesting issues. Don’t get me wrong, I just about always disagree with the columns. I was never puzzled as to why people walk up stairs but not escalators, I don’t think an increase in promiscuity will reduce the spread of HIV, and I’m still not convinced that a person should only give to one charity. Even so, the articles get me thinking, and that’s what’s important.
So the reader must understand that it is in this festive, jovial spirit that I proceed to devastate a recent Slate article, ‘The Sovereign versus the Idiot.’ It is a stocking stuffed full of fallacies and plenty a non sequitur for all the family to enjoy. When I read an article like this, I am honestly humbled by how lucky I was to stumble across the wisdom of the Austrian economists. But enough preamble! On to the article’s inauspicious opening:
Economists generally salute holiday gift-giving for its healthy effect on the macroeconomy. And indeed, gift spending boosts GNP to the tune of $100 billion a year in the United States.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 26, 2017.

China To Overtake US As World’s Largest Economy By 2032

Even as China’s credit-fueled boom – which helped it surpass Japan in 2011 to become the world’s second-largest economy – is losing its efficacy as new credit creation is now failing to drive economic growth as we pointed out last week (and many times before that), many economists believe it will eventually surpass its western rivals and become the world’s largest economy.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Bad Santa Buys Bonds, Bullion, & Bitcoin; Rotten Apple Spoils Promised Stock Rally

This was not teh Santa Claus rally that everyone was promised…
All thanks to ‘rotten’ Apple… as analysts lowered iPhone X shipment projections for the first quarter of next year, citing signs of lackluster demand at the end of the holiday shopping season, and the company’s shares fell Tuesday along with those of some suppliers.
Nasdaq ended Boxing Day deep in the red…Small Caps managed to close green…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

The Endlessness Of A Temporary Tax

Governments regularly claim that they favour tax reform. When this claim has been repeated so many times that virtually no one believes them anymore, they announce a tax reform, to show that they really mean it. They then reshuffle the existing taxes to give the appearance that taxation will actually be lowered.
When it becomes apparent that the reform is a sham, they often pull a rabbit out of a hat in the form of a ‘temporary’ tax, that’s pre-legislated to end sometime in the future.
Sounds promising.
So, let’s have a look at one such temporary tax and see how things worked out.
The US government introduced the War Revenue Act of 1898 – a tax on telephone use – under the claim that it was necessary to pay for the Spanish American War.
In what way does telephone use pertain to a government invading another country? Well, actually, one has nothing to do with the other. But, let’s leave that discussion for another day and see how this temporary tax played out.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

The Integrated Non-USD Platforms

The many new integrated non-USD platforms devised and constructed by China finally have critical mass. They threaten the King Dollar as global currency reserve. Clearly, the USDollar cannot be displaced in trade and banking without a viable replacement for widespread daily usage. Two years ago, critics could not point to a viable integrated system outside the USD realm. Now they can. The integration of commercial, construction, financial, transaction, investment, and even security systems can finally be described as having critical mass in displacing the USDollar. The King Dollar faces competition of a very real nature. The Jackass has promoted a major theme in the last several months, that of the Dual Universe. At first the USGovt will admit that it cannot fight the non-USD movement globally. To do so with forceful means would involve sanctions against multiple nations, and a war with both Russia & China. Their value together is formidable in halting the financial battles from becoming a global war. The United States prefers to invade and destroy indefensible nations like Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and by proxy Yemen. The USMilitary appears formidable against undeveloped nations, seeking to destroy their infra-structure and their entire economies, in pursuit of the common Langley theme of destabilization. In the process, the USMilitary since the Korean War has killed 25 million civilians, a figure receiving increased publicity. The Eastern nations and the opponents to US financial hegemony will not tolerate the abuse any longer. They have been organizing on a massive scale in the last several years. Ironically, the absent stability can be seen in the United States after coming full circle. The deep division of good versus evil, of honest versus corrupt, of renewed development versus endless war, has come to light front and center within numerous important USGovt offices and agencies.
The shape of the US nation will change with the loss of the USDollar’s status as global currency reserve. The starting point for the global resistance against the King Dollar was 9/11 and the onset of the War on Terror. It has been more aptly described as a war of terror waged by the USGovt as a smokescreen for global narcotics monopoly and tighter control of USD movements. Then later, following the Lehman failure (killjob by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) and the installation of the Zero Interest Rate Policy and Quantitative Easing as fixed monetary policies, the community of nations has been objecting fiercely. The zero bound on rates greatly distorted all asset valuations and financial markets. The hyper monetary inflation works to destroy capital in recognized steps. These (ZIRP & QE) are last ditch desperation policies designed to enable much larger liquidity for the insolvent banking structures. Without them, the big US banks would suffer failure. They also provide cover for the amplified relief efforts directed at the multi-$trillion derivative mountain. In no way, can the global tolerate unbridled monetary inflation which undermines the global banking reserves.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 December 2017.

Stockman: US Fiscal Path Will Rattle the Rafters of the Casino

As we’ve reported, the US government is spending money like a drunken sailor. But nobody really seems to care.
Since Nov. 8, the US national debt has risen $1 trillion. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 (a small-cap stock market index) has risen by 30%. Former Reagan budget director David Stockman said this makes no sense in a rational world, and he thinks the FY 2019 is going to sink the casino.
In a rational world operating with honest financial markets those two results would not be found in even remotely the same zip code; and especially not in month #102 of a tired economic expansion and at the inception of an epochal pivot by the Fed to QT (quantitative tightening) on a scale never before imagined.’
Stockman is referring to economic tightening recently launched by the Federal Reserve. It’s not only the increasing interest rates. By next April the Fed will be shrinking its balance sheet at an annual rate of $360 billion and by $600 billion per year as of next October. By the end of 2020, the Fed will have dumped $2 trillion of bonds from its books. Stockman puts this into perspective.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 26, 2017.

US Spy Satellites Catch Chinese Ships Illegally Selling Oil To North Korea

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures even showed the names of the ships.
REA MORE

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Consolidating Walter Block’s Scattered Legacy

The all-time record for the publication of peer-reviewed scholarly economics articles was held by the late Harry Johnson, who died in 1977. He published 526 articles, in addition to 41 books and pamphlets. He died at age 53. I doubt that this record will ever be broken by somebody age 53.
My friend Walter Block, age 76, has now beaten Johnson’s record: 528. He publishes something in the range of 25 articles a year. You can read about him on Wikipedia.
He now faces a major career decision. I have been reminding him of this for several years. His enormous legacy is scattered across academia. There are a lot of economics journals, most of them obscure, and he has at least one article in most of the obscure ones. The articles are not all online.
Every once in a while, like maybe every two days, he answers a letter submitted by one of his acolytes. They are published in Lew Rockwell.com’s blog section. Following the tradition of fans of the Grateful Dead, who were known as Deadheads, these acolytes have become known as Blockheads. They are pretty sharp students. They want him to comment on this or that topic. He comments on each topic by listing at least a dozen articles that he has written on the topic. There is no way that anybody else could have found all of these articles.
A CLEARING HOUSE SITE
He needs to create a site that gives people access to all of these articles. He needs to get permission from all of the publishers to allow him to provide a PDF of his articles that were published in their specific journals. I think most publishers would grant this permission. It would increase traffic to their websites. It would be to their advantage to do this. Since they are in the field of economics, they understand economic advantage.
The site must have a search engine that lets people search for a term or phrase to pull up all the articles relating to this term or phrase. I have such a search engine on my website.

This post was published at Gary North on December 26, 2017.

A Natural Experiment For Philadelphia’s Soda Tax

The city of Philadelphia’s controversial soda tax is providing a lot of material for serious scientists to evaluate the effects of arbitrarily imposing a tax on the distribution of a range of naturally and artificially-sweetened beverages. Since we’re near the end of the tax’s first year of being in effect, we thought we’d focus upon one of the more interesting findings to date.
Consumers are primarily the ones paying the tax
Thanks to the quirks of geography and development, some parts of the terminals at Philadephia’s international airport fall within Philadelphia’s city limits while other parts do not, which means that Philadelphia’s Beverage Tax is imposed in some parts of the airport while not in others. Cornell University’s John Cawley recognized that situation would make for a natural experiment for assessing some of the impact of the tax, where they collected data for soda sales at the airport in the period of December 2016 through February 2017, which provides a window into how both prices and sales changed as the tax went into effect on 1 Janaury 2017. Here’s a summary of the research’s findings:
The research, co-written with Barton Willage, a doctoral candidate in economics, and David Frisvold of the University of Iowa, appeared Oct. 25 in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Philadelphia’s tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages is one of several passed by cities throughout the United States. The goal is to increase prices and dissuade people from drinking soda to benefit their health. These taxes have been controversial; Cook County, Illinois, recently repealed its tax, which had only been in place a few months.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Demand Slides For 2Y Treasuries As Yield Surges To Highest Since Sept 2008

The last time the yield on a 2-Year TSY auction was as high as it was today – 1.922% to be specific, tailing the When Issued 1.899% by 0.3bps – was just a few days after Lehman Brothers failed, with one difference: back then it was sliding, while now the rate on 2Y paper is surging, up from just 1.21% at the start of the year, and up from 1.765% just last month thanks to the latest Fed rate hike.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

California renters will come out ahead with new tax plan while homeowners will see a higher tax bill under GOP plan.

You constantly hear that owning a home is a no brainer in California because you will always get major tax benefits. Well the new GOP tax plan is actually going to benefit California renters while California homeowners in crap shacks will see higher tax bills. It is an interesting tax proposal because the typical US household owning a typical $200,000 home is going to come out ahead. This is your bread and butter ‘American’ family. However, Taco Tuesday Baby Boomers and Gen X’rs in California have been getting mega subsidies for buying hyper expensive crap shacks. Every tax bill that comes out seems to favor homeowners. In fact, I haven’t seen one that hasn’t favored homeownership. But the way the tax bill is setup, crap shack owners are going to actually have to pay more and renters are going to benefit nicely from the much larger standard deduction. We are now seeing some scenarios where this is playing out.
Crap shacks getting more expensive
The L. A. Times has a piece where they examine various households in regards to the proposed tax plan. In one example you have a professional couple that bought a crap shack in Redondo Beach (3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms – your standard million-dollar SoCal home). They paid $915,000 for the place back in 2016. They are going to see an increase in their tax bill:

This post was published at Doctor Housing Bubble on December 26, 2017.

Star Wars For The Splitting Soul Of America

Via GEFIRA,
The last episode of the successful movie – Star Wars – is actually a lot less about the stars in space and much more about culture and class. Most importantly, it reflects the dangerously growing disenfranchisement of the race-and-gender obsessed liberal upper class and everyone else.
The movie finally came out, the money started flowing and eventually the reviews arrived. The result? On the primary review sites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes the critics loved it, the public did not, which left many wondering why.
Some explanations came out already: the good results are scientific, the bad ones are there because of internet trolls. Nope, there’s nothing scientific about subjective opinions, even if they (allegedly) represent the majority of those who express them. Science is, or should be, objective.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.