Fun on Friday: Gold Quacks and Scammers

‘But however mysterious is nature, however ignorant the doctor, however imperfect the present state of physical science, the patronage and the success of quacks and quackeries are infinitely more wonderful than those of honest and laborious men of science and their careful experiments.’ – P. T. Barnum
Yes. There are plenty of quacks in the world. And you’ll find more than your fair share in the realm of precious metals investing. There are scammers and con artists, and smooth talkers galore out there, eager to separate the unwary from their hard-earned cash.
Barnum found a certain nobility in the medical quacks of the late 19th century. As a showman, he seemed to admire their ability to peddle the most absurd remedies with an enthusiastic sales pitch. Of course, it didn’t hurt that these ‘medicines’ were often packed with alcohol, opium, and cocaine. It may not have cured you, but once you took it, you really didn’t care.
I can see where Barnum was coming from. You do kind of have to admire the skill of marketers who could actually convince people to drink a tonic made up of beef blood, glycerine, and salt. Seriously. That was a thing. The Bovinine Company of Chicago sold this concoction under the name BOVININE. A Mental Floss article describes one of the company’s advertising pieces. It’s more like something out of Tales from the Crypt than an advertisement for medicine.

This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 6, 2017.

Real Estate Company Is Replacing Agents With Robots

With robots slowly but surely taking over every semi-skilled occupation including in a bizarre development, the production of cocaine which may well unleash the era of cocaine deflation upon Wall Street (a welcome development in light of ever-shrinking bonuses), a new – and familiar – industry has emerged as the robots’ next target. According to Newsday, a California real estate technology company that aims to lower the cost of home-selling by using robots and ‘big data’ instead of commission-based real estate agents has recently opened a Long Island office.
The latest potential source of tech-inspired deflation, REX Real Estate Exchange, which charges a selling commission of only 2% instead of the usual 5 to 6%, launched its Long Island operation this summer. The Los Angeles-based company expects to start listing New York-area homes on its website, rexchange.com in the near-term.


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

The Auto Industry Is About To Drive Off A Cliff, Again

Submitted by Gordon T. Long of MATASII
SELF INFLICTED ABUSE
In the fall of 2015 we released a video study entitled: “The Coming Global Auto Abyss – Too Much Supply, Too Many Brands; Combine with Too Much Credit!”. We concluded that low interest rate monetary policy for the auto industry was like handing crack cocaine to a drug addict. The auto industry would rapidly and irresponsibly abuse it, to such an extent that it would once again ‘spin out’ and careen back to what can only be termed the Washington ‘substance abuse center’. Whether mis-management or clever strategy we are unfortunately being proven right and are now witnessing the reality.

The Washington Keynesian planners mistakenly believe that cheap money still stimulates demand. It historically did this before it became a legally addicting substance, but even its original tenet was essentially based on bringing demand forward. By design this creates a demand hole in the future, but as Keynes himself famously rationalized: “in the long term we are all dead” … so not to worry when the economic need is urgent! Setting aside for a moment this critical structural reality, we need to remember that cheap credit additionally fosters structural ramifications seldom elucidated

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

Tomorrow’s Ten-Baggers From Jay Taylor

Jay Taylor’s Gold Energy & Tech Stocks Newsletter has unearthed some huge winners lately. Here’s an excerpt from his weekly update that concludes with three top junior gold miners.
The Crack-up Boom Is Ending and That’s Very Bullish for Gold Straight out of the Ten Commandments was ‘Thou shalt not steal’! But massive robbery has been institutionalized by the petrodollar orchestrated by Kissinger after Nixon defaulted on the U. S. obligations under Bretton Woods. With that, the ruling elite pulled off the biggest heist by far in human history. By combining America’s military power with the petrodollar, not only did it enable the U. S. to rob the rest of the world with its fake currency – the dollar – it also paved the way for our eventual ruin. Like a drug addict that gets addicted to crack cocaine, the American Military Industrial Complex and other government entities became addicted to never-ending greater and greater government expenditures. But there is one problem with the fiat dollar and that is that it is itself a big fat lie. The dollar has no value. It is not backed by anything of value. In fact it is manufactured by debt and as such contains value only to the extent debts can be repaid.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on JANUARY 22, 2017.

Former Bank of America Banker Found Guilty Of Two Murders, Jailed For Life

Two years ago we reported the shocking story of then-29 year old Hong Kong-based, Bank of America banker Rurik Jutting, who was arrested in connection with the grisly murder of two prostitutes. One of the two victims had been hidden in a suitcase on a balcony, while the other, a foreign woman of between 25 and 30, was found lying inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks. Two years later, justice has been served when overnight a local court found Jutting guilty of the “sickening” murders of two Indonesian women he tortured in his Hong Kong apartment in what the judge said was one of the most horrifying cases the Chinese-ruled territory has known.
As Bloomberg reports, Deputy High Court judge Michael Stuart-Moore sentenced the Cambridge University graduate to life in prison with no parole. During the trial, the Briton had admitted killing Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, but argued that he was guilty of manslaughter, not murder, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was suffering from mental disorders, the defense said.
The defendant was ‘so morally corrupted by pornography, drugs and alcohol, and a general life of debauchery with a huge salary to fund his depravity,’ judge Stuart-Moore said. Jutting was considered ‘a high risk person’ and ‘the repetition of the offence of murder is highly likely if he is given his liberty in the future,’ he said.
Jutting, the grandson of a British policeman in Hong Kong and a local Chinese woman, had argued cocaine and alcohol disorders as well as personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism had impaired his ability to control his behavior. Evidence presented during the trial included video recordings Jutting made while torturing one of his victims. His cocaine use also featured, with the prosecution saying that 26 bags of the drug were found in his apartment.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2016.

Japanese Government Squanders Pension Funds On Failed Stocks As Losses Reach $130 Billion In Past Year

Nearly two years ago we wrote about how the largest pension fund in the world had been hijacked by political hacks in what would be a futile effort to prop up stocks in the “first failed Keynesian state, Japan.” The post came in response to Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund announcing that it would slash its fixed income portfolio to double its target allocation to domestic and foreign equities, in essence, going outright long Central Banks.
Once upon a time, the world’s biggest government pension fund, Japan’s $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, or GPIF, was apolitical, and merely focused on preserving the people’s wealth.
Then everything changed, and with the reckless abandon of a junkie on a crack cocaine binge, aka Abenomics, the GPIF management was kicked out, and its entire mandate was flipped from preserving wealth, to gambling on #Ref! P/E stocks, in hopes of recreating the wealth effect of the super-rich (the only problem: Japan has reached its breaking point and the higher the USDJPY, and thus the Nikkei rises, the more the BOJ directly destroys its economy with an already record number of bankruptcies due to the plunging Yen getting recorder).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 26, 2016.

Former Fed President: “Living In Constant Fear Of Market Reaction Is Not How You Manage Central Bank Policy”

In the past three months, former Dallas Fed president (before he was replaced with a former Goldman M&A banker) and current Barclays senior advisor, has not minced his words when it comes to his ongoing criticism of the Fed.
Back in January Fisher said (what even Liesman has now suggested) that “We Frontloaded A Tremendous Market Rally” and there is “No Ammo Left“, followed by a second appearance earlier this month when he said that the Fed “Injected Cocaine And Heroin Into The System To Create A Wealth Effect.”
This morning Fisher was again on CNBC to discuss Yellen’s dovish speech at the Economic Club of NY, and said that the Fed is “living in a constant fear of a market reaction. This is not how the way you manage central bank policy.”
Fisher also says that the asymmetry of risks, by which he means the ability to only cut so much when recession hits, is “a big deal and what that means is that Fed does not have a whole lot to give back”, although he adds that “the nice thing is that there was no mention of negative interest rates, and nothing much left.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/30/2016.

Former Fed President: “We Injected Cocaine And Heroin Into The System To Create A Wealth Effect”

Just two months ago, former Fed President Dick Fisher admitted that “The Fed front-loaded an enormous market rally in order to create a wealth effect.” Today he is back, taking a victory lap onthe 7th anniversary of the crisis lows by explaining, rather stunningly, to CNBC that “we injected cocaine and heroin into the system” to enable a wealth effect (that he admits did not work, despite its success in raising asset prices), and “now we are maintaining it with ritalin.” Fisher also confirmed his previous warning that “The Fed is a giant weapon that has no ammunition left.”


This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/09/2016.

Maduro Nephews Arrested After Attempting To Smuggle 800 Kilos Of Cocaine Into The US

For those unaware, Venezuela is one of the quintessential examples of what we like to call a Socialist paradise and to be sure, we’ve had our fair share at the country’s expense.
From toilet paper shortages, to images of empty shelves, to hapless President Nicolas Maduro being pelted in the head with a mango by an angry Venezuelan woman, the country never disappoints when it comes to producing absurd outcomes. Years of incompetence have led to inflation on a massive scale, with the black market bolivar exchange rate now so low that a hundred bolivar note will buy you just 14 cents. Needless to say, slumping crude prices haven’t done the country any favors either and as we outlined a few days back, the country has now resorted to selling its gold to make bond payments.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/12/2015.

China’s stock market crashing; time for panic or restraint

Fortune always fights on the side of the prudent. Critias
Lately one cynic after another, some of which claim to be experts are all marching to the same drumbeat. The Chinese economy is in trouble; the Chinese markets are going to continue crashing. The Shanghai index experienced an astounding advance over a brief period of time and so it should not have come as a surprise that such a stupendous rally would culminate with an equally brutal correction. The Doctors of gloom and doom are over doing it and this was our recent response to our subscribers.
Not much to add here, except that it followed the project path. The fear has not peaked yet, so that means more downside is to be expected. It traded below 3000, and as long as it does not close below 3200 on a monthly basis, the bottoming action will gain traction. As it has already traded below 3000 and fear levels have not hit the extreme ranges yet, a monthly close below 3200 will drive this below 2800. If the Chinese economy is dead, then there are no words to describe our economy. Our economy is based on smoke and mirrors. Alchemists are trying to create something from nothing, and so far the cocaine sniffing crowd is buying this. Market update Sept 1st, 2015
Stephen Roach the former manager of Morgan Stanley Asia seems to concur with this assessment. He made the following procolomation on the 3rd of septemer, 2015,
. Growth in China has slowed, ‘but it’s not going in for a crash…and that will present, I think, an opportunity for shares to re-evaluate the China threat, big time.”
When the crowd panics, it takes a bit of time for the dust to settle down. Their confidence has been shaken, and they are letting their emotions do the talking. When emotions take over, the reaction is almost always overdone. When this occurs, the level-headed investor is provided with a once in a life time opportunity to purchase shares in top rated companies for a fraction of their true value. Prudence is still warranted, but for the brave of heart and those that have a long-term view, opening positions in companies such as NTES, BABA, SOHU, HNP, CHA, etc., will most likely prove to a good call.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 5 October 2015.

Bad Medicine

Morally Bankrupt Sociopath Finds Ferrari for the Price of a Used Chevy I was recently watching something on television about an ‘morally bankrupt sociopath’ making large sums of money selling drugs to price-insensitive consumers after having eliminated much of his competition. No, I am not referring to the Netflix series Narcos, which depicts the life of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. I am referring to a brief segment on CNN about the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals in raising the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, having recently acquired the rights to the 62-year old drug for $55 million. Daraprim is used to treat various infectious diseases, including malaria and HIV. The news made the CEO of Turing, the former hedge-fund manager Martin Shkreli, ‘the most hated man in America.’ The latest news is that the company has rescinded the price increase after the firestorm it unleashed.
***
When asked by CNN to justify the price increase, Shkreli basically said (and here I paraphrase since I can’t find the original segment on the web) ‘We found a company that was selling a Ferrari for the price of a used Chevy, and we basically raised it to the price of a Toyota.’ He then went on to babble something about the profits being reinvested into new products and improvements in Daraprim, which elicited a ‘yeah, sure’ look from the interviewer (and from me, across the television screen). The basic translation of his statements is the punch-line from the old joke about why a male dog pays such scrupulous lingual attention to the hygiene of his private parts: Because he can.

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 25, 2015.

There’s a Good Chance Your Bank Is Committing a Major Crime Right Now

On April 10, 2006, Mexican authorities searched through a DC-9 jet at the airport in Ciudad del Carmen. They found more than five tons of cocaine… valued at more than $100 million.
If you’re like many Americans, you’re not surprised by a story like this. Not a year goes by without a few big media stories about Mexican drug cartels.
However, you probably will be very surprised to learn who aided and abetted the drug operation: it was US banking giant Wachovia.
After an investigation that took years, Wells Fargo, which now owns Wachovia, paid a $160 million fine to settle the case. ‘Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,’ said federal prosecutor Jeffrey Sloman.
You might also be surprised to hear that Wachovia’s fine wasn’t an isolated case.
Citibank was caught laundering money for a Mexican drug kingpin in 2001.
American Express Bank admitted to laundering $55 million in drug money in 2007.
And the FBI accused Bank of America of helping a Mexican drug cartel hide money in 2012.
You’ve probably never heard these stories before. The big banks pay a lot of money to keep it that way.
Every year, America’s biggest banks spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a simple, wholesome image: They’re here to help out families and small businesses. They’re the conservative stewards of our capital, and they always play by the rules.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 5 August 2015.

The economy chugs along with consumers going into deep credit card debt: Credit card debt surges in top 25 US metro areas according to Equifax data.

Credit card debt is like crack for the American consumer. A cheap alternative to pure spending cocaine but enough to keep you on the hamster wheel of consumption. I recently discussed how credit card debt while remaining subdued since the Great Recession suddenly made a 180 degree turn. Americans are spending money they don’t have on shiny plastic. Total outstanding credit card debt recently surged beyond the $900 billion mark. That is a lot of consuming. And with the average nationwide interest rate of 14% that means spending hamsters are probably dropping tens of billions on interest costs alone. I found it interesting that I got a few e-mails proselytizing how great credit cards were after my last piece. My reaction: So you enjoy locking in future earnings for money you don’t have today? Keep in mind people pray to the hedge fund gods for a 7% annual return. Getting a 14% return is like finding El Dorado had a sister name AmEx. It is amazing to get a 14% return (and with some cards, you are getting close to usury). Equifax released credit card data on 25 US metro areas and the results are startling.
Spending like you don’t have money
Credit cards do have a purpose in our society. Yet most people don’t realize that buying a $1,000 TV at 14% interest and paying the minimum can easily turn that TV into a $2,000 or $3,000 purchase. And many people do this while obviously neglecting retirement savings. How do we know this? Because half of retirees rely on Social Security as their primary source of income and would be out on the streets living under a bridge if it were not for Social Security. Credit card debt is like junk food. Easily accessible, easy to use, but hard to work off. We all know junk food is bad but most of the country is overweight. We know credit card debt is dangerous yet people go into deep debt on a continual basis.

This post was published at MyBudget360 on August 31, 2015.

Keiser report: UK’s crackhead economic policies (E726)

The following video was published by RT on Mar 3, 2015
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the government’s economic policies apparently cooked up in a crack den – literally! Tabloids in the UK claim to have footage of the Chancellor’s top economic adviser smoking crack. They look at the economic policies this man may have been pushing and at how they cause effects very similar to those of crack cocaine.
In the second half, Max interviews Professor Richard Werner, who, in the early 1990s, coined the phrase ‘quantitative easing.’ Together they take a look at the monster which QE has become.

New York Fed Discusses “Pathological Gambling” And “Self-Manipulation With Alcohol And Drugs”

When a member of the New York Fed staff releases a paper on the topic of Anxiety, Overconfidence, and Excessive Risk Taking, and in which there is a section on “Self-Manipulation with Alcohol and Drugs“, which explains that “pathological gambling is more common among people with alcohol use disorders,” adds that “there is evidence that drugs are used strategically to induce performance changes, and particularly so for individuals with greater degrees of horizon-dependent risk aversion”, observes that ‘Anecdotal evidence on the ‘widespread use of […] cocaine by professional traders’ is consistent both with strategic self-manipulation and with our observations about cross-sectional overconfidence across environments”, and finally recommends to all the risk-averse BTFDers and BTFATHers, that “the performance of anxiety-prone individuals should then improve with moderate levels of drug-induced overconfidence” one should probably listen and trade – since the Fed’s only remaining wealth effect and “monetary transmission channel” is to BTFATH – while both drunk and high.
From the NY Fed white paper:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 02/18/2015.

Gold CEO captured on bus in $970m laundering case

A manhunt for the chief executive officer of CI Goldex SA has ended after police captured John Hernandez on a public bus last night, according to Colombia’s Attorney General’s office.
“He was captured while traveling with his wife in the province of Quindio,” Luz Angela Bahamon, a public prosecutor who headed the investigation, said in a telephone interview last night.
The AG’s office alleges that Goldex is at the center of a $970 million money-laundering scheme, the biggest in the country’s history. Colombia’s cocaine traffickers, Marxist guerrillas and others launder about $10 billion a year, equivalent to about 3 percent of gross domestic product, according to the government’s financial intelligence unit.
Colombian authorities spent three years investigating Goldex, once the nation’s second-biggest gold exporter. In a September interview from his fortified gold foundry in Medellin, Hernandez said he had done nothing wrong.

This post was published at Mineweb

The GPIF Has A Warning For Japan’s Citizens: Abenomics Better Work, Or Your Pensions Are Toast

Once upon a time, the world’s biggest government pension fund, Japan’s $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, or GPIF, was apolitical, and merely focused on preserving the people’s wealth.
Then everything changed, and with the reckless abandon of a junkie on a crack cocaine binge, aka Abenomics, the GPIF management was kicked out, and its entire mandate was flipped from preserving wealth, to gambling on #Ref! P/E stocks, in hopes of recreating the wealth effect of the super-rich (the only problem: Japan has reached its breaking point and the higher the USDJPY, and thus the Nikkei rises, the more the BOJ directly destroys its economy with an already record number of bankruptcies due to the plunging Yen getting recorder).
Worst of all, the GPIF became nothing short of the latest political pawn in what is now the the first failed Keynesian state, Japan.
Here is why this is bad. As the WSJ reports, “Japan’s $1.1 trillion government pension fund is betting that a long-term recovery and rising corporate profits will push Tokyo stock prices higher, helping the fund increase returns for the nation’s retirees.”
Mr. Abe has pushed for the fund to become a more aggressive and sophisticated investor. The fund decided in October to shift its portfolio to seek higher returns, slashing its target allocation to domestic bonds almost in half while nearly doubling that of domestic and foreign equities. Mr. Mitani said the fund is still in the process of carrying out the changes and has a long way to go. Just under 50% of its total portfolio was in domestic bonds at the end of September, compared with its new target of 35%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/12/2014.

Why the State Has Failed to Reform Our Broken Financial System

Expecting the state to truly reform the nation’s engines of financialization is like asking the cocaine addict married to the wealthy dealer to divorce the dealer.
Most observers think they know why the government (i.e. the state) has failed to truly reform the financial system: corrupt politicos on the receiving end of the Too Big to Fail (TBTF) banks and financiers’ millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions do the banks’ bidding.
While the reduction of democracy to an auction in which the highest bidder controls the state is certainly one systemic reason for this abject failure, there is an even greater, more deeply systemic reason why the state cannot reform the rotten core of financialization.
The state has become dependent on the wages and profits of finance for its own revenues.
Here’s an analogy of what’s happened in the past few decades of financialization: you meet Mr./Ms. Right (he/she is attractive, makes a lot of money, well-dressed, good social skills, etc.), fall in love and marry.
Unbeknownst to you, Mr./Ms. Right is a cocaine dealer. When you find out the source of the fat paychecks, he/she reassures you it’s just business and that he/she never uses the stuff. But if you want to try a taste, go ahead–it won’t hurt you.
You think about leaving him/her, but the money is just so good. Life without all that easy money looks bleak and difficult.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2014.

Is Risk-On About to Switch to Risk-Off?

Cranking markets full of financial cocaine so they never correct simply sets up the crash-and-burn destruction of the addict.
1. Junk bonds. Two charts below (one from Lance Roberts and the second from Chris Kimble) suggest the risk-on extremes have reached the point of reversal.
2. Soaring U. S. dollar. Without going into detail, it’s increasingly clear that the soaring USD is destabilizing the global foreign exchange (FX) markets. FX has been the source of many of the risk-on carry trades that have been driplines of financial cocaine for global stock markets.
3. Reversal of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) programs. Though the stock market has roundly ignored the withdrawal of $600 billion of free money for financiers stock market stimulus all year, the October end of the QE asset buying program now looms large.
The Fed has already trimmed its asset-buying binge from $85 billion/month ($1 trillion/year) to $25 billion/month. Risk-on proponents claim that this reduction has been replaced by Bank of Japan and European Central Bank QE programs, but this belief fails to take into account the diminishing returns on BOJ and ECB stimulus.
THose spigots have been open for so long that adding more monetary stimulus no longer moves the needle positively. Rather, the extreme measures push the global fianncial system into increasingly risky territory.
4. Geopolitical spillover. One key element of the risk-on trade is the magical-thinking belief that the U. S. stock market is completely decoupled from geopolitical dynamics. In other words, Japan and Europe can sink into recession, China’s growth can slow, the Mideast can be destabilized by multiple open conflicts and none of these issues will ever matter, as long as “the Fed has our backs,” “corporate profits keep rising,” etc.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2014.