‘The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.’ – Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to see a live one hour interview with Michael Lewis at the Annenberg Center about his new book The Undoing Project. Everyone attending the lecture received a complimentary copy of the book. Being a huge fan of Lewis after reading Liar’s Poker, Boomerang, The Big Short, Flash Boys, and Moneyball, I was interested to hear about his new project. This was a completely new direction from his financial crisis books. I wasn’t sure whether it would keep my interest, but the story of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky and their research into the psychology of judgement and decision making, creating a cognitive basis for common human errors that arise from heuristics and biases, was an eye opener.

This post was published at The Burning Platform on December 31, 2016.

How the Democratic Party Failed By Repudiating Their Legacy as ‘The Party of the People’

As the Democrats and their acolytes in the media pivot towards hysteria against ‘the others’ to explain their failures, let us not forget what has happened over the past thirty years, culminating in the stunning election of 2016.
This is a relatively short video, and heart of it starts around minute twenty after a discussion of the history, motives, and rationales by which the Democrats took the final steps in repudiating the legacy of The New Deal to embrace neo-liberalism.
The Democratic leadership consciously chose to identify with people they considered to be more like themselves, an elitist professional class. In a very real sense they followed the money and the prestige, and the Clintons were their leaders. The personal economic rewards that they reaped from this are very well documented.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 31 DECEMBER 2016.

Accounting Gimmicks Won’t Stop The U.S.A. Titanic From Sinking

The U. S. Government has gone to great lengths in using accounting gimmicks to prop up the financial system and domestic economy. One area where this is readily apparent is the disconnect between the rising U. S. debt versus the annual budget deficits.
Mish Shedlock wrote about this in his article, U. S. Deficit at $590 Billion But Debt Up $1.2 Trillion: Sleight Of Hand Magic:
The US deficit is up $590 billion so one might think total US debt would rise by that amount or at least something close to that amount.
Instead, total US debt for the fiscal year that just closed soared by over $1.2 trillion. What’s going on?
The shortest answer is ‘deficit lies’. The longer answer involves numerous off budget items like social security do not count towards the deficit but do count towards debt.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on December 31, 2016.

Mark Your Calendar

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which it failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities.
By 476 when Odoacer deposed the Emperor Romulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman.
December 30, 2016. I believe today will mark the day that historians will record as the ‘476’ of the US Empire.
Just as with Rome, there were signs of this for years, even decades. Despite having the mightiest military on earth, it is difficult to describe as a ‘win’ any US military endeavor since 1945. The coins were shaved, beginning in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve and culminating in 1971 with Nixon closing the gold window. The people were held together with bread and circuses, with ties of family and market disintegrating with Johnson’s Great Society more than 50 years ago; with football replacing church as America’s favorite Sunday activity.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 31, 2016.

2016 Ended: Saying Goodbye To A Roller-Coaster Year

Submitted by Andrei Akulov via Strategic-Culture.org,
The year 2016 was a time of numerous major events providing no clue to what the world will be like in the 21st century. It could be anything – from plunging into devastating wars and economic downturns to unheard of prosperity and stability leaving the present turmoil in the past. There is no clear trend of global development and it’s impossible to say where the world is heading to. At least, not at the threshold of 2017.
The importance of information grew exponentially. 2016 will be remembered as a year of information wars. This factor is becoming increasingly instrumental in international affairs. No information sources are fully trusted anymore but the influence of media outlets and social networks is immense as the US electoral campaign showed. Internet has become a battlefield where information wars are waged to influence large masses of people and a considerable number of world leaders. A media outlet has become the most powerful weapon used by a warring side.
Geopolitical instability was increasing. There were geopolitical uncertainties, such as Brexit, the slowdown of China’s economic development to affect the global economic situation, and slow-moving trends in demographics and productivity growth.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 31, 2016.

Another Interview With Silver Guru Ted Butler

James R. Cook Of Investment Rarities Interviews The Silver Guru
Cook: People that have been holding silver for several years are beginning to lose patience. What do you say to them?
Butler: The facts surrounding silver have never been more bullish.
Cook: Such as?
Butler: Over the last few years, enormous changes have recast and transformed the silver market.
Cook: Can we have an example?
Butler: In only a few years, JPMorgan has accumulated the largest hoard of silver in the history of the world.
Cook: How does that compare with the Hunt Brothers in 1980?
Butler: They have five to six times as much as did the Hunts, maybe more.
Cook: How do you prove that to people who doubt you?
Butler: I’ve been watching JPMorgan like a hawk for the past five years. In their COMEX warehouse, where the amounts they hold are made public, they have 80 million ounces. That’s almost as much as the Hunts had or Warren Buffett when he bought up silver in 1998.

This post was published at SilverSeek on Saturday, December 31st, 2016.

Global Recession and Other Visions for 2017

Conjuring Up Visions
Today’s a day for considering new hopes, new dreams, and new hallucinations. The New Year is here, after all. Now is the time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh. Naturally, 2017 will be the year you get exactly what’s coming to you. Both good and bad. But what else will happen?
Here we begin by closing our eyes and slowing our breath. We let our mind role back into the gray matter of our brain. We wait patiently for new neurological connections to open up. Then, ever so subtly, visions of the year ahead come into focus.
Will stocks go up or down? What about gold and Treasury bonds? Will the economy expand or contract? Are we fated for World War III? Who will win the Super Bowl? These are the questions – and more – we intend to answer.

This post was published at Acting-Man on December 31, 2016.

As We Enter 2017, Keep The Big Picture In Mind

A big, gigantic, heart-felt Thank You! to everyone who supported this website and our activities in 2016!
Really. Thank you.
We did a lot of great things in 2016 in terms of reaching new audiences and extending our message into new places.
While I am constantly driven to do more, and achieve more, this is a great time of the year to look back and ask how we did. It bears repeating that Adam and I are a two man shop, with awesome direct support from Jeanine Dargis and Les Pierce (Saxplayer00o1) with the Daily Digest, Jason Wiskerchen on content loading, and a different Jason as moderator. All in all a very small team given what we accomplish, our global reach, and the sheer variety of things that we also accomplish that are largely out-of-sight (and out-of-mind) for most people.
On that last point, Adam recently brought some of those behind-the-scenes efforts to light in the post title Shifting Into Higher Gear. Thank you to everyone that took the time to appreciate our efforts to make the site run faster, better, smoother. We do it all in the interest of serving you better and reaching more people.
Our mission is to create a world worth inheriting, and we do that by educating, informing and activating people to first understand the world’s various problems and predicaments, and then doing something about them.
In 2016, we were very busy spreading the messages of the Three E’s (economy, energy & environment) and being emissaries for the twin ideas that big changes are coming and that we can do something to prepare for them.

This post was published at PeakProsperity on Saturday, December 31, 2016,.

2016 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year

One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2015, we admitted that it was difficult to find a coherent theme of the key events that shook the world, and which you, our readers, found most interesting and notable:
2015 was year in which class warfare in the US approached unprecedented levels with antagonism between races, genders, ethnicities, ideologies, age groups and incomes all approaching peak levels, and spilling over, literally, on the street as the US public was inundated with daily reports of mass shootings, of trigger-happy policemen, of petulant students demanding conformity, of a president demanding the population hand over even more constitutional rights, of a nation torn in the most volatile presidential race yet. it was a year of rising, and in many cases, brutal intraday volatility, of ever more flash crashes across virtually all asset classes, of pain for anyone who was not invested in the five largest companies, and overall a year of change and losses for those hoping the Fed would “have their back” no matter what; it was a year in which the S&P declined for the first time since the financial crisis, as a result of the first Fed rate hike in a decade and concerns about the sustainability of China’s numerous asset bubbles, the devaluation of the Yuan and the viability of China’s numerous insolvent public and private enterprises and banks. it was a year in which the geopolitical situation outside of the U. S. got decidedly worse, with the Syrian global proxy war resulting in the first instance of a NATO nation attacking and taking down a Russian fighter jet in decades, but more importantly, in a historic refugee crisis that will alter the face of Europe for years to come, as well as unleashing a wave of terrorist events which are likely just beginning, as governments across the globe seek to exploit the crisis for their own selfish reasons.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 31, 2016.

How Musicians Die

The passing of George Michael this week reminded many of the seemingly short life expectancy of musicians (and performers in general). In fact, as on study found, while blues, jazz, and country singers typically live as long as the average American; rock, techno, punk, metal, rap, and hip hop stars die significantly sooner.
‘I hope I die before I get old,’ The Who’s Roger Daltrey sang in ‘My Generation’ in 1965. This didn’t happen for Daltrey, who is now a ripe 71, but it did to many other musicians.
Dianna Theadora Kenny, a professor of psychology and music at the University of Sydney, has conducted a statistical study of premature death among musicians.
As The Washington Post notes, she found that musicians from older genres – including blues, jazz, country and gospel – have similar lifespans to American people their own age. The life expectancy for R&B musicians is slightly lower, while the life expectancy for newer genres like rock, techno, punk, metal, rap and hip hop is significantly shorter.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 30, 2016.

Is the ‘Trump Trade’ Already Unwinding?

And where the heck is Dow 20,000?
Over the last ten days, the markets have been jinxed, and everything changed direction. Stocks fell. Treasury yields backed off as beaten-down Treasury prices recovered a little bit. The much maligned dollar, after surging to a decade high, couldn’t quite get to parity with the euro, and then fell against the euro and yen. Banks got bruised. Even oil was down except over the last few hours Friday afternoon. And everyone has been feverishly waiting all month for the Dow to finally hit 20,000 any moment now. And everyone is still waiting….
The Dow peaked on December 20 at 19,975, a ridiculously small 25 points away from party-hat time. Everyone knew it would happen. In fact, it would have to happen because it was just a few decent trading moments away. But since then, Dow 20,000 slipped through the fingers like dry sand. It closed the year at 19,719, so 281 points below, after having been for a big part of the month within a hair of nailing it.
The S&P 500, after falling 0.5% on Friday, is now down 1.5% from its high on December 13. The rip-roaring Trump Trade since the Election has started to unwind (chart by Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives):

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Dec 31, 2016.

CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA

SKINCENTIAL SCIENCES, a company with an innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin, has caught the attention of beauty bloggers on YouTube, Oprah’s lifestyle magazine, and celebrity skin care professionals. Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the firm has also attracted interest and funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a ‘formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.’
Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection.
Skincential Science’s noninvasive procedure, described on the Clearista website as ‘painless,’ is said to require only water, a special detergent, and a few brushes against the skin, making it a convenient option for restoring the glow of a youthful complexion – and a novel technique for gathering information about a person’s biochemistry.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 31, 2016.

Goldman’s 10 Most Important Questions For 2017

Goldman Sachs is relatively optimistic about growth in 2017, for three reasons: first, despite the lack of spare capacity, US recession risk remains below the historical average; second, financial conditions should remain a growth tailwind – at least in the first half of 2017; and third, we expect a fiscal easing accumulating to 1% of GDP by 2018. However, uncertainty remains and here is what Jan Hatzius and his team believe are the ten most important questions for 2017.
1. Will growth remain above trend?
Yes. Admittedly, the expansion is quite advanced. It has already lasted about 18 months longer than the median completed expansion since the mid-1800s. And while expansions do not die of old age, history shows that they are at greater risk when spare capacity is exhausted, as it probably is now. So it is especially important to monitor whether growth may be running out of steam.
Nevertheless, we are relatively optimistic about growth in 2017 and expect real GDP to climb at a 2.2% rate. First, despite the lack of spare capacity, US recession risk remains below the historical average, as shown in Exhibit 1. The most important recession predictors, at horizons longer than the next few quarters, are spare capacity and past credit growth. Spare capacity has dwindled, which has boosted the recession probability somewhat, but output is not yet meaningfully above potential. Moreover, debt growth has been very moderate in the economy as a whole, despite pockets in the corporate sector where the credit cycle is more advanced. This is also consistent with alternative measures of financial imbalances such as the private sector financial balance, which remains comfortably in surplus to the tune of 2% of GDP.
Exhibit 1: US Recession Risk Below Historical Average

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 31, 2016.

Ted Butler Quote of the Day 12-31-16

In COMEX gold since Nov 8, on the near $200 price decline, more than 110,000 net commercial contracts were bought and 120,000 managed money contracts have been sold. This has always been the case on big price moves in gold and silver. When prices rise, managed money traders buy (pushing prices higher) and commercials sell (in a manner not to prevent, but to control price rallies). When prices fall, managed money traders sell (pushing prices lower) and commercials buy (but not in a manner to prevent prices from falling). Whenever the managed money traders are done buying or selling, prices reverse. This is the way of the world and reality, and even though more observers than ever recognize this reality, for some unknown reason, not that many identify the process as being artificial and manipulative (since it has nothing to do with changes in actual supply and demand). I suppose it’s a matter of this occurring for so long that it somehow looks legitimate

A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 25 December 2016.

More precious metals news & information available at
Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Digest.

Russian Hackers Said To “Penetrate US Electricity Grid” Using Outdated Ukrainian Malware

Two days after the DHS and FBI released a report revealing what the US agencies alleged was the government-controlled Russian operation behind the “hacking of the US election” which they dubbed “Grizzly Steppe”, and which had a peculiar disclaimer according to which nothing contained in the report should be taken at face value or was even credible after the DHS said it “does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within”…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 31, 2016.