Thursday, 31 October 2013

In the EUSSR “Flanby”.

Baltic Dry Index. 1487 -67 

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort."

Antony C. Sutton

Below, from “old BS’s” mouth to God’s ears.  No tapering today, no tapering tomorrow, no tapering ever, probably. The Great Nixonian Error of fiat money has gone irretrievably wrong. Stay long physical precious metals. It’s to be fiat money printing forever and ZIRP forever, or at least as long as the Fed can sell that illusion to the rest of the world. Uncle Scam is to issue trillions more of worthless unrepayable IOUs to the world, in exchange for real goods and services of intrinsic value. Let the currency wars continue. We long ago left money for mere currency tokenism. It’s a truism that this currency house of cards won’t last. We just don’t know when or how it collapses. But collapse it does, and in our lifetime.

At the bottom end of western society, people working in McDonalds in America can’t afford to eat there even on pink slime, and get food stamps just to exist. Yet the Fed is spewing out 85 billion a month of new currency, over a trillion new currency dollars a year, just to keep this failed Nixonian error from collapse. The end is approaching fast. America, the Eurozone, the UK, China and Japan are all on a treadmill to fiat currency destruction.  Though we all know it, like little children we try to pretend this scary monster isn’t real. Tomorrow will not be like today which was like yesterday. On an unreformed fiat currency Nixonian error, tomorrow will be like Mao’s China or Stalin’s USSR. Draconian measures are needed to enforce the mere currency which isn’t money.

“The problem with fiat money is that it rewards the minority that can handle money, but fools the generation that has worked and saved money.”

“Adam Smith” aka George Goodman.

Oct. 30, 2013, 4:03 p.m. EDT

Fed says economy too weak to begin taper

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold monetary policy steady, saying that conditions remained too weak to pull back from its bond-buying program.

By a vote of 9 to 1, the Fed decided to maintain the pace of its $85 billion-per-month asset purchase plan.

----Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, said the market seemed disappointed by the lack of clarity from the central bank.

Indeed, the central bankers made very few changes to their outlook. Fed officials repeated what they had said in September — that the economy was improving at a “moderate” pace.

The Fed kept its optimistic tone that the economy remains on the mend, just at a slower than expected pace.
“Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment over the past year, the [Fed] sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy,” the central bank said in a statement. 
“However, the committee decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases,” the Fed said. Read text of FOMC statement.

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say

In this slide from a National Security Agency presentation on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where user data resides. Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing.

By Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani, Published: October 30

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — including “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.

The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters . From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and the GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information among the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants.

The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

The MUSCULAR project appears to be an unusually aggressive use of NSA tradecraft against flagship American companies. The agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, but it has not been known to use them routinely against U.S. companies.

In a statement, Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said the company has “long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping” and has not provided the government with access to its systems.

“We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform,” he said.

----Intercepting communications overseas has clear advantages for the NSA, with looser restrictions and less oversight. NSA documents about the effort refer directly to “full take,” “bulk access” and “high volume” operations on Yahoo and Google networks. Such large-scale collection of Internet content would be illegal in the United States, but the operations take place overseas, where the NSA is allowed to presume that anyone using a foreign data link is a foreigner.

----Tapping the Google and Yahoo clouds allows the NSA to intercept communications in real time and to take “a retrospective look at target activity,” according to one internal NSA document.

-----In an NSA presentation slide on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” however, a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where their data reside. In hand-printed letters, the drawing notes that encryption is “added and removed here!” The artist adds a smiley face, a cheeky celebration of victory over Google security.

Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing. “I hope you publish this,” one of them said.

----Because digital communications and cloud storage do not usually adhere to national boundaries, MUSCULAR and a previously disclosed NSA operation to collect Internet address books have amassed content and metadata on a previously unknown scale from U.S. citizens and residents. Those operations have gone undebated in public or in Congress because their existence was classified.

If You Want Privacy, Turn Off Your IPhone

By Leonid Bershidsky Oct 30, 2013 3:48 PM GMT
"Now it's everybody against everybody else," the Italian daily Corriere della Sera commented wryly before reporting the latest electronic surveillance scandal. Corriere and another Italian newspaper, La Stampa, broke the story simultaneously. According to them, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy grew suspicious about a USB stick and a phone charger he had received as gifts from the organizers of the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg last month. He handed the gadgets over to intelligence experts in Brussels, and they called in help from Germany. According to the Italian reports, German technicians found the devices to be "Trojan horses" designed to obtain information from phones and computers.

Russia, of course, denied that it had been so inhospitable. "This is clearly an attempt to divert attention from real problems that dominate the agenda between European capitals and Washington," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The denial, however, was somewhat incomplete without corroboration from Van Rompuy, who said nothing on the record, allowing the Italian stories to stand.

Incomplete denials are nothing new in the global electronic surveillance scandal known as Datagate. The White House, famously, denied that the U.S. National Security Agency was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone or was planning to do so in the future. Merkel, understandably, assumed that since the past wasn't covered by the denial, she would be justified in complaining to U.S. President Barack Obama and the whole world.

Just as the Russian USB-drive story made the rounds, U.S. National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander was denying that his agency had collected call data in European countries, suggesting instead that these nations' intelligence services had made them available to the U.S. in the spirit of anti-terrorist cooperation. This denial had more holes in it than an unsuspecting user's digital privacy. People in France or Spain shouldn't care which intelligence service originally tapped their phones, especially if the covertly obtained data ended up at the NSA.

Besides, Alexander didn't deny a far more outrageous charge made against his agency: That the NSA listened to the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders. The White House has publicly denied ever tapping U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's phone, but it isn't clear whether other countries that questioned the U.S. about the allegation, such as South Korea, have received satisfactory answers

----It is the undeniable truth that tens of millions of law-abiding citizens, as well as dozens of politicians, have had their communications monitored by intelligence services. These services may rearrange their protocols, as Germany and France demand now, but they are unlikely suddenly to get religion and drop the unsavory surveillance practices

Next there is nothing new under the sun. Italy being Italy as usual. But reality always trumps Potemkin villages. The race is on as to whether Italy, Spain or France bolt from the dying wealth destroying Euro first. In Europe, tomorrow will not be like today which was like yesterday. With over 40 percent youth unemployment across southern Europe, despite massive fiat currency creation, the Bilderberger house of cards is set to implode. Capital flight to London is rampant and rising. The ECB is panicking. This euro house of horror will soon come to its long overdue end.

"In the long run, the gold price has to go up in relation to paper money. There is no other way.”

Nicholas L. Deak

Mediobanca hints at Italian euro exit unless Germany shifts on EMU policy

The exchange rate is bringing Italy's worrying matters to a head.

Italy remains stuck in depression. We now know that the spectacular spike in consumer confidence in June was a ruse, a white lie to talk up prospects and hold back the debt-deflation tide.

Hedge funds, banks and investors from around the world poured into Italian assets without reading the fine print. They made quick money, of course. Yields on 10-year Italian bonds fell 40 basis points within a week. Milan's MIB index of stock touched bottom near 14,860 just before the release. It then surged, reaching 19,496 this week.

The euphoria was understandable. The economy component of the confidence index jumped miraculously from 71.7 to 91.6 in one month. If Italy really was turning the corner so dramatically after a peak-to-trough fall in GDP of 9pc and two years of double-dip recession, it would indeed mean that Europe's crisis was behind us. We could breathe a little easier about Italy's €2 trillion debt, the world's largest after the US and Japan.

In reality, Italy's data agency Istat changed the survey. It looked at a different "socio-demographic structure" and "sample structure". Istat quietly revealed some details a month later, but only a handful of Italian economists were paying attention. "They played with the data and I am shocked," said one.

He described the episode as an attempt to talk up momentum and lift growth to "escape velocity". Italy's authorities - in thrall to the Bocconi Boys, free-marketeers from Milan's Bocconi University - give great weight to theories that confidence alone can overpower fiscal austerity, an overvalued currency and tight money.

And money is certainly tight. Italian M3 has contracted over the past five months (falling from €1.329 trillion to €1.312 trillion). Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors says his gauge - six-month real M1 - has rolled over. "Italy is flashing red," he said.

----The hard data catch up soon enough in any case. Industrial production fell 4.4pc in August, and new orders fell 6.8pc. The Bank of Italy said credit to non-financial firms fell 4.6pc in August (year-on-year), worse than in July. Business confidence fell back to 79.3 in September and is now at post-Lehman crisis levels. Istat said this week that the economy is weaker than previously thought. GDP will shrink yet again in the third quarter.

"The recession has flattened, that is all," says Antonio Guglielmi from Mediobanca. "The debt-to-GDP ratio has risen by 15 percentage points [to 133pc] over the past 15 months because there is no growth. It is all because of the effects of austerity and the fiscal multiiplier. We are making the same mistake they made in Greece."

Hollande Lives Up to Pudding Moniker as His Authority Questioned

By Mark Deen - Oct 30, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
French President Francois Hollande’s nickname after a popular pudding is beginning to look like more than the stuff of satire.

A year and a half into his presidency, Hollande’s authority has been undermined by flip-flops on issues from immigration to taxes. This week’s decision to suspend a truck levy in the face of protests prompted headlines of “Government Runs Out of Steam” in Le Parisien and “Can He Still Govern?” in Le Monde.

----The truck-tax reversal came two days after Hollande abandoned a budget measure to increase taxes on savings and a week after he tried to backpedal over the deportation of a 15-year-old Kosovar girl. The U-turns lend substance to Hollande’s image for being soft and wobbly as he tries to please all -- one that earned him the moniker ‘Flanby,’ after a Nestle dessert brand, long before he became president.

Europe’s other debt crisis

It’s not just sovereign borrowing; there are too many zombie firms and overindebted households

----The euro zone’s politicians, even in supposedly prudent Germany, have been reluctant to look too deeply into banks’ balance-sheets, let alone to force them to clean themselves up. There are certainly questions to be asked about all the government bonds that the banks have bought in recent years. But the main dodgy assets that have been swept under the European carpet are private: bad loans made to households and companies.

There are some nasty bugs under your carpet, Angela

Europe is always thought of as having a sovereign-debt crisis, and it has. But the origins of the euro disaster lay less with government profligacy than with excessive private borrowing. True, Greece got into trouble because its government spent too much and collected too little in taxes. But elsewhere the bust followed a private-sector binge: mortgage debt in Ireland and Spain; corporate borrowing in Portugal and again in Spain (see article). In all three countries household and corporate debt combined were way over 200% of GDP before the crisis, much higher than in America (175%) or even Britain (205%).

ECB Makes Crisis Cash Lines at Central Banks Permanent

By Jeff Black - Oct 31, 2013 6:47 AM GMT
The European Central Bank said it is making its liquidity swap arrangements with global central banks permanent, turning crisis-era facilities into standing backstops for times of financial turbulence.

In an e-mailed statement, the Frankfurt-based ECB said it is converting temporary, bilateral arrangements with the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank into standing facilities, allowing banks to access global currencies as well as the euro when needed.

“The history of paper money is an account of abuse, mismanagement, and financial disaster."

Richard M. Ebeling

At the Comex silver depositories Wednesday final figures were: Registered 44.07 Moz, Eligible 124.44 Moz, Total 168.51 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

No crooks for a change today. Today it’s the turn of some Chinese politicians belittling the public, they’re not voters after all, with the Vice Mayor losing one of his legs. Some things are too good not to share.

China photoshop fail #2: Legless official hovers over tiny pensioner

Local government forced to apologise after being ridiculed on Weibo

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Look a little closer and there are a few problems with this picture of Chinese officials visiting an elderly woman.

The local government  in Anhui province has been left red-faced by another embarrassing attempt at photoshop, featuring a legless vice-mayor hovering ominously over a shrunken pensioner.

It was meant to show Wang Hun’s concern for the elderly during Double Ninth Festival, an event that honours ancestors, but this picture released by the  Ningguo government, became the subject of ridicule on social media.

Officials said an employee had been forced to doctor the picture because although they had visited the centenarians, elderly Cheng Yanchun was sitting in a very small space against the light, making it very difficult to take the shot.

In a statement translated by the Guardian, the government said: “Cheng was sitting on a chair on the balcony, under the sun. The balcony space was very small and the camera lens could not cover the whole scene … When the employee of the municipal civil affairs department uploaded the photos … he simply merged two shots.”

They added that the employee was now going to be censured for his actions. However it hasn’t stopped Weibo, Chinese microblogging site, from hungrily gobbling up this government gaffe.

Hailed as an example of government dishonesty, one Weibo user said the way the employee had shrunk the woman instead of the officials revealed how officials thought of the "little people."

"All previous attempts to base money solely on intangibles such as credit or government edict or fiat have ended in inflationary panic and disaster."

Donald Hoppe

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished September:
DJIA: +167 Up. NASDAQ: +213 Up. SP500: +203 Up.

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