• Category Archives War
  • The Great Retirement Con

    The Origins Of The Retirement Plan
    Back during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress promised a monthly lifetime income to soldiers who fought and survived the conflict. This guaranteed income stream, called a “pension”, was again offered to soldiers in the Civil War and every American war since.
    Since then, similar pension promises funded from public coffers expanded to cover retirees from other branches of government. States and cities followed suit — extending pensions to all sorts of municipal workers ranging from policemen to politicians, teachers to trash collectors.
    A pension is what’s referred to as a defined benefit plan. The payout promised a worker upon retirement is guaranteed up front according to a formula, typically dependent on salary size and years of employment.
    Understandably, workers appreciated the security and dependability offered by pensions. So, as a means to attract skilled talent, the private sector started offering them, too.
    The first corporate pension was offered by the American Express Company in 1875. By the 1960s, half of all employees in the private sector were covered by a pension plan.
    Off-loading Of Retirement Risk By Corporations
    Once pensions had become commonplace, they were much less effective as an incentive to lure top talent. They started to feel like burdensome cost centers to companies.
    As America’s corporations grew and their veteran employees started hitting retirement age, the amount of funding required to meet current and future pension funding obligations became huge. And it kept growing. Remember, the Baby Boomer generation, the largest ever by far in US history, was just entering the workforce by the 1960s.

    This post was published at PeakProsperity on Friday, November 17, 2017,.


  • Desperately Seeking 1995

    The year 1995 wasn’t exact a good year to remember. There was the Oklahoma City bombing, the San Diego tank rampage, the New Jersey Devils winning the Stanley Cup in a lockout shortened NHL season, and some former Buffalo Bills running back named OJ getting into trouble out in LA. Steve Forbes would announce his candidacy to challenge President Clinton that September.
    Despite all that, in 2017 both the bond and stock markets are almost desperate to repeat the year, at least its financial and economic characteristics. To be more precise, it is stock investors who are betting on a 1995 while bond investors are holding out against that scenario – leaving Economists and the media to openly cheer for it and directly against them.
    Though it started in late ’94, the bond ‘massacre’ that year still stings in bond traders’ collective memories. Alan Greenspan’s Fed has begun to raise interest rates after several years of very low federal funds, ‘stimulus’ the central bank judged necessary because of a sluggish, almost jobless recovery (just ask President George H. W. Bush who Clinton defeated on ‘it’s the economy stupid’). That for many people is as compelling a setup as there may ever be.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 13, 2017.


  • Living in the Shadow of a Volcano: The US National Debt in Perspective

    Every once in a while, a mainstream news outlet publishes a piece about the national debt. Here and there, politicians trot out the surging debt as a talking point to make some political hay. Now and then, an economist will wave the red flag. But by-and-large, the national debt just kind of looms over us.
    We’ve gotten used to the shadow it casts, and we generally don’t give it much thought. It’s kind of like people living at the foot of a volcano. They know it’s there. It might cause some low-level anxiety. But they really don’t pay much attention to it – until it erupts.
    So, just how bad is the national debt? We all know it’s pretty bad. But would you believe it’s actually worse than you probably think?
    The headline number is operating debt. It currently stands at $20.5 trillion. It spiked $608 billion in just eight short weeks after Pres. Trump signed a bill raising the debt ceiling limit for the next three months in September. And Trump wants to do away with the debt ceiling altogether.
    The national debt is currently over 105% of total GDP. That’s the highest level in history except for a two-year spike at the end of World War II.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 14, 2017.


  • Stockman: US Entry Into World War I Was A Disaster

    103 years ago, in 1914, the Federal Reserve opened-up for business as the carnage in northern France was getting under way.
    ***
    And it brought to a close the prior magnificent half-century era of liberal internationalism and honest gold-backed money.
    The Great War was nothing short of a calamity, especially for the 20 million combatants and civilians who perished for no reason discernible in any fair reading of history, or even unfair one.
    Yet the far greater calamity is that Europe’s senseless fratricide of 1914-1918 gave birth to all the great evils of the 20th century – the Great Depression, totalitarian genocides, Keynesian economics, permanent warfare states, rampaging central banks and the follies of America’s global imperialism.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.


  • Skynet Makes Its Move: Ford Wraps Workers In Exoskeleton

    The secret to crustaceans and insects belonging to the phylum Arthropoda family are their exoskeleton. Ants, lobsters, hermit crabs, spiders, and beetles are all creatures whose life is made possibly by their exoskeleton body plan. Although humans do not have exoskeletons, but rather endoskeletons, it hasn’t stopped the U. S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in pursing this technology.
    Over the years, DARPA has invested millions into exoskeleton suits for ground troops. This wearable robotic system gives soldiers the ability to carry heavier objects, run faster, and even leap over large obstacles.
    From the battlefield to North American manufacturing plants, Ford is now pilot testing upper body exoskeletal technology called EksoVest. This wearable technology alleviates stress and supports the Ford assembly line worker, who might have to do a task up to 4,600 times per day and up to a million times per year.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.


  • Dramatic Footage: Bahrain Oil Pipeline Explodes, Bursts Into Giant Flames

    #BREAKING : Huge #fire resulted in a gas pipeline explosion in #Bahrain while ago. (exact cause yet to be confirmed) pic.twitter.com/kAgQ1nJARa
    — (@HSajwanization) November 10, 2017

    An oil pipeline in Bahrain exploded, and burst into giant fireball, as numerous videos posted on social media showed. According to the Saudi Gazette, an explosion caused a fire in an oil pipeline near Buri village. It adds that no injuries have been reported, and that civil defense teams are extinguishing the fire.
    More from Al-bilad Press (google translated):
    A large explosion of one of the oil pipelines near the area of ??Buri overlooking the market Waqif, and evacuate all houses near the scene of the explosion. The Waqif market was completely closed so firefighters could control the fire. The Ministry of the Interior through its official account on the site “Twitter” there is no casualties at the scene. It also announced the cutting off of traffic on the Crown Prince’s road towards Hamad City.
    The representative of the “country” from the heart of the pipe fire in the village of Buri that a huge fire block devoured a group of cars parked off the village and Souq Waqif.
    The delegate added that the civil defense mechanisms rushed to the scene of the incident from the area centered in the village of Damastan and began to block the flames of escalating fire and has been strengthened from the number of other centers.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.


  • The Ponzi scheme that’s more than 100x the size of Bernie Madoff

    By January 1920, much of Europe was in total chaos following the end of the first World War.
    Unemployment soared and steep inflation was setting in across Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.
    But an Italian-American businessman who was living in Boston noticed a unique opportunity amid all of that devastation.
    He realized that he could buy pre-paid international postage coupons in Europe at dirt-cheap prices, and then resell them in the United States at a hefty profit.
    After pitching the idea to a few investors, he raised a total of $1,800 and formed a new company that month – the Securities Exchange Company.
    Early investors were rewarded handsomely; within a month they had already received a large return on investment.
    Word began to spread, and soon money came pouring in from dozens, then hundreds of other investors.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 10, 2017.


  • Psychological Warfare in the Precious Metals Markets

    For almost a year now the PM stock indexes have been building out a triangle trading range that has yet to be determined if it is going to be a consolidation pattern or a reversal pattern. With big patterns one can lose sight of what is really there, as the longer a trading range develops the more trendlines one puts on a chart, and the more confusing things become.
    Tonight I would like to show you, from a Chartology perspective, what the basic patterns are, from the short term to the longer term. The bigger a trading range the more chart patterns can develop before we see the final product. Sometimes it’s totally different from the early stages of the trading range. It’s important to clear ones mind of all the preconceived notions of what they think is happening to just what the charts are suggesting. It’s a hard thing for most investors to do because of all the things we read each and everyday which works on our subconscious. More than anything else we are playing a game of psychological warfare.
    Lets start by looking at a short term daily chart for the HUI which is showing the H&S top we’ve been following since early October. The H&S top is pretty symmetrical and the breakout below the neckline was accompanied by a breakout gap. This is what we know to be true at this point in time. If the price action can trade back above the neckline then this scenario will be thrown out the window, but until that time the H&S top is valid. Also when the neckline gave way so did the 200 day moving average.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 9 November 2017.


  • Class Warfare: people are out for blood

    Roughly two thousand years ago, the government of ancient Rome was facing a serious problem.
    The tributium capitus, or poll tax, they had imposed across their provinces was becoming unpopular.
    And there was a growing minority of Roman subjects who felt they were being forced to pay an overly burdensome and disproportionately high tax bill.
    Things got so bad that there were small revolts, especially in one of Rome’s critical eastern provinces where many simply refused to pay.
    Eventually the authorities were able to round up the leader of the movement – a youthful, charismatic local artisan who was brought before the provincial prefecture.
    After reviewing the evidence, though, the prefecture found that the leader had actually done nothing illegal… and according to ancient texts, announced to the public:
    ‘I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. . .’

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 7, 2017.


  • Nothing Can Bring Down This Market Except…

    This past week, we experienced yet another horrendous terrorist attack in New York City. And, amazingly, just like what occurred after several other terrorist attacks that have been experienced over the last year, the market rallied right after the attack.
    It has almost gotten to the point that people now expect the stock market to rally after a terrorist attack. Have we really become this warped in our thinking? Must we hold fast to ridiculous notions that news is what drives the stock market to the point that we have to resign ourselves to believing that the market will rally ‘because’ of a terrorist attack? Do you not see how ridiculous these perspectives really are?
    Yet, if the market dropped after a terrorist attack, there is no question in my mind that every analyst and their mother would be absolutely certain that the market dropped specifically due to the terrorist attack. Every article the next day would have been pointing to the attack being the definitive ’cause’ of the market drop. And, if I then challenged this false exogenous causation theory, the response I would receive is ‘don’t you believe your eyes?’ Yet, not a single analyst dares to suggest that the markets are rallying because of news of terrorist attacks despite seeing many instances of this occurring over the last two years. Do, they not believe their eyes?

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Sunday, 5 November 2017.


  • Technical Scoop – Weekend Update Nov 5

    Weekly Update
    To the moon, Alice!
    Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
    And at the current rate it might not be too long before it’s actually there. The moon, that is. No, not Alice – Bitcoin. Yes, Bitcoin crossed $7,000 this week. It was less than a month ago Bitcoin passed $5,000. The riches are dazzling as Bitcoin is up 640% this year alone. Bitcoin now has a market cap of $100 billion. How much longer before it’s bigger than Amazon or Apple or worth more than the entire gold stock market? But the question continues to beg – is Bitcoin an historic bubble? Until it bursts, the question is strictly academic. And don’t forget, not only is there Bitcoin but there are now over 1,000 other cryptocurrencies. And Bitcoin has forks as well called Bitcoin cash and Bitcoin gold.
    Okay, we are not going to get into a huge discussion of Bitcoin and how it is structured and what blockchains are all about. It is mind boggling enough trying to figure all of that out. We will have further comments on our weekly ‘Bitcoin Watch!’ commentary.
    The stock markets made new all-time highs again this past week. That comes against the backdrop of the terrorist attack in New York City, indictments in the Russia investigation including former top aides of President Donald Trump, and possible brewing trouble in the Mid-East. There is also the escalating crisis in Catalonia in the heart of the EU, ongoing trouble between Kurds and Iraq/Iran/Turkey, and continued moves afoot to lessen the use of the US$ in world trade. As well, a new Fed chairman has been proposed. But all the stock market cares about is the potential to pass the tax bill that could put billions into corporations and the 1% even as it could create deficits estimated at up $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
    Maybe the stock markets are also headed for the moon, albeit at a much slower pace. Still, the records just keep on falling and there seems to be little in the way of stopping it. We may wring our hands over the alleged terrorist attack that killed 8 and injured many more but largely ignore an attack in a Walmart in Colorado that left 3 dead that occurred not long after the NYC attack. And I might add as we prepare this for distribution another attack in some small Texas town in a church that has left multiple fatalities.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 5 November 2017.


  • Trump Departs For Longest Asian Tour Since Bush Vomited On Japan’s PM

    President Donald Trump is leaving his administration’s push to pass comprehensive tax reform before year’s end in the hands of his trusted deputies while he embarks this morning on a 10-day tour to Asia, where he’s expected to discuss, among other topics, the security threat that North Korea poses to both the region and to the world more broadly.
    As Reuters points out, it will be the longest Asia tour by a US president since George H. W. Bush vomited on Japan’s then-prime minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, during a trip to Asia in 1992 just weeks before the New Hampshire primary. While Trump, whoso gastro digestive system is in far better shape, will likely not suffer the same embarrassment, the possibility of a diplomatic fiasco is high for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, tensions run high: to underscore the seriousness of the biggest problem at hand, two US strategic bombers carried out military drills over South Korea Thursday, the U. S. Air Force said, raising tensions with North Korea, which accused the US of carrying out simulated bombing drills near its territory. In a move that is sure to further trigger the Kim regime just as Trump touches down in the region, the US has sent three aircraft carriers to participate in unprecedented 3-way drills off the Korean penninsula. Thursday’s drills were first reported by North Korean state news agency KCNA on Friday, which described the exercises involving South Korean and Japanese fighter jets were a ‘surprise nuclear strike drill,” Reuters reported.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.


  • How Defense-Contractor CEOs Get Rich on the Taxpayers’ Dime

    Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?
    The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.
    Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U. S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to ‘support the troops.’ If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget — hundreds of billions of dollars — really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.
    The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result isweapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start.
    The numbers are staggering. In fiscal year 2016, the Pentagon issued $304 billion in contract awards to corporations — nearly half of the department’s $600 billion-plus budget for that year. And keep in mind that not all contractors are created equal. According to the Federal Procurement Data System’s top 100 contractors report for 2016, the biggest beneficiaries by a country mile were Lockheed Martin ($36.2 billion), Boeing ($24.3 billion), Raytheon ($12.8 billion), General Dynamics ($12.7 billion), and Northrop Grumman ($10.7 billion). Together, these five firms gobbled up nearly $100 billion of your tax dollars, about one-third of all the Pentagon’s contract awards in 2016.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 2, 2017.


  • Government Finances and Gold

    ‘President Trump, in complete contradiction to candidate Trump, has praised Yellen for being a ‘low-interest-rate-person.’ One reason Trump may have changed his position is that, like most first-term presidents, he thinks low interest rates will help him win reelection. Trump may also realize that his welfare and warfare spending plans require an accommodative Fed to monetize the federal debt. The truth is President Trump’s embrace of status quo monetary policy could prove fatal to both his presidency and the American economy.’ – Ron Paul, Institute for Peace and Prosperity
    Editor’s note: This issue of our newsletter features several interactive, live charts offered in conjunction with the St. Louis Federal Reserve and the ICE Benchmark Administration/LBMA. You can access statistical details by moving your cursor over the charts. If the chart does not automatically update, please move the toggle button on the year bar all the way to the right. We invite you to bookmark this edition for future reference.
    CHART 1: Sustained by both political parties, the national debt has taken on a life of its own

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 1 November 2017.


  • Majority Of Americans Say Trump Era Is “Lowest Point In US History”

    How quickly Americans forget…
    According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, a majority of Americans believe that we are currently living through the lowest point in US history that they can remember…eclipsing such watershed moments in US history like the Watergate Scandal, the Bush administration’s dishonest justification for a war with Iraq, and – oh yeah – World War II and Vietnam, according to Bloomberg.
    The APA’s eleventh ‘Stress in America’ survey found that 60% of respondents believe the early Trump era is the lowest point in US history, while a slightly larger percentage – 63% – say they are stressed about the nation’s future.
    Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2017.


  • It’s Time To Challenge What You Think You ‘Know’ About The Stock Market

    I know I am not the traditional author you come across on most financial sites. Most others will provide you with traditional notions of the stock market based upon rationalities. So, many authors will suggest that we ‘cannot separate public policy and geopolitics from the markets,’ they will focus on ‘market valuations,’ they will claim that ‘fundamentals do not support this rally,’ and will provide you with many, many other reasons as to why they have continually believed that this rally would never happen.
    Yet, they have been left on the sidelines, scratching their heads for the last year and a half, as the US equity markets have rallied over 45% since February 2016.
    I mean, think about all the reasons they have put before you over the last year and a half regarding the imminent risks facing the stock market, which they have lead you to believe will stop the market in its tracks. I have listed them before, and I think it is worthwhile listing them again:
    Brexit – NOPE
    Frexit – NOPE
    Grexit – NOPE
    Italian referendum – NOPE
    Rise in interest rates – NOPE
    Cessation of QE – NOPE
    Terrorist attacks – NOPE
    Crimea – NOPE
    Trump – NOPE
    Market not trading on fundamentals – NOPE
    Low volatility – NOPE
    Record high margin debt – NOPE
    Hindenburg omens – NOPE
    Syrian missile attack – NOPE
    North Korea – NOPE
    Record hurricane damage in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico – NOPE
    Spanish referendum – NOPE
    Las Vegas attack – NOPE
    And, each month, the list continues to grow.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 30 October 2017.


  • Asian Metals Market Update: October-27-2017

    European central bank chief taper comments and Spain let down the euro. Technical picture is bearish for gold and silver. Reuters survey says that most of the analysts have reduced their gold and silver forecast for next year. I am not changing my bullish views on gold and silver for next year. This year gold and silver are mainly supported by geopolitical risk. Next year I expect the South China Sea and Korean peninsula to turn into the Persian Gulf. Even if Asian demand falters next year, European demand for gold will lend support to prices. The Middle East did not turn into a war zone overnight. Events in the South China sea will move towards bad and worse. Americans will try for a regime change in the Philippines. Duterte could be removed by the American as he bents more towards the Russian and Chinese. Most of the gold bears believe that a higher global interest rate cycle will prevent gold and silver prices from a rise. The pace of rise of global interest rates will be slow next year which should cause gold bears to retreat. Trump policies will be to placate Americans before US Senate elections in around a years’ time. America people are war mongers. Wars wins elections in the current global democratic system. America will fight more wars next year than this year. Fundamentally also, global debt is at a historical high. This global debt bubble can burst anytime.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 27 October 2017.


  • Russia Buys 34 Tonnes Of Gold In September

    – Russia adds 1.1 million ounces to reserves in ongoing diversification from USD
    – 34 ton addition brings Russia’s Central Bank holdings to 1,779t; 6th highest
    – Russia’s gold reserves are at highest point in Putin’s 17-year reign
    – Russia’s central bank will buy gold for its reserves on the Moscow Exchange
    – Russia recognises gold’s role as independent currency and safe haven
    Editor: Mark O’Byrne
    Prior to World War I Russia held the world’s third largest gold reserves, behind America and France. In the subsequent Russian Revolution, civil war and the rise of communism, they dropped down the table of nations with large gold reserves and the U. S. became the largest holder of national gold reserves.
    In recent years, since 2007, an increasingly powerful and assertive Russia has worked hard to reprise its place in the world’s top gold reserve rankings, quadrupling its purchases in the period to June this year.
    A 34 ton purchase of gold (1.1 million ounce) in September has put Russia firmly back in the golden spotlight. The country now holds 1,779 tons of gold, placing it sixth in the world and just behind China.

    This post was published at Gold Core on October 27, 2017.


  • Mysterious “Missing” Vegas Security Guard Left The Country Days After Vegas Massacre

    The mystery surrounding Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos grows increasingly bizarre by the day. Following Stephen Paddock’s October 1st massacre in Las Vegas, Campos, who may or may not have been shot by Paddock, flaked on a press conference that he reportedly scheduled then went missing for days before suddenly resurfacing on the ‘Ellen’ show.
    Now, Fox News has uncovered Customs and Border Patrol documents showing that Campos apparently crossed the border into Mexico days after the Vegas massacre. Campos reportedly crossed the border at the same place in January but, for whatever reason, was driving a rental car this time around instead of his own vehicle. Per the New York Post:
    Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos mysteriously left the country just days after the Las Vegas massacre, a report says.
    Customs and Border Patrol documents obtained by Fox News show that the 25-year-old entered the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing in California – one week after the mass shooting.
    It’s unclear how long Campos was out of the country. The documents only show that he entered back into the US.
    The young man reportedly crossed the border at the same location in January.
    While Campos was driving his own vehicle with Nevada plates during that trip, sources told Fox that he took a rental car this time around – which was registered in California.

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


  • War, Flowers, Silver, Gold and The ‘Plan’

    In the 1960s Peter, Paul and Mary popularized a song written by Pete Seeger – ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’
    The short version is:
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them.
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Gone to husbands.
    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Gone for soldiers.
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards.
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Gone to flowers.

    This post was published at Deviant Investor on October 25, 2017.