Apr 18

- Are You Ready For The Price Of Food To More Than Double By The End Of This Decade?  (Economic Collapse, April 18, 2014):

Do you think that the price of food is high now?  Just wait.  If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade.  Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet.  You see, it isn’t just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices.  Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year.  And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply.  A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigs.  Even if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future.  But what if something does happen?  In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly.

Continue reading »

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Apr 18

Heritage-Foundation

- 18 Stats That Prove That Government Dependence Has Reached Epidemic Levels (The American Dream, April 17, 2014):

Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million?  In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system.  And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs?  When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government.  Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people.  In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government. Continue reading »

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Apr 18

Recovery!


- Two More Victims Of The Retail Apocalypse: Family Dollar And Coldwater Creek  (Economic Collapse, April 17, 2014):

Did you know that Family Dollar is closing 370 stores? When I learned of this, I was quite stunned. I knew that retailers that serve the middle class were really struggling right now, but I had no idea that things had gotten so bad for low end stores like Family Dollar. In the post-2008 era, dollar stores had generally been one of the few bright spots in the retail industry. As millions of Americans fell out of the middle class, they were looking to stretch their family budgets as far as possible, and dollar stores helped them do that. It would be great if we could say that the reason why Family Dollar is doing so poorly is because average Americans have more money now and have resumed shopping at retailers that target the middle class, but that is not happening. Rather, as you will see later in this article, things just continue to get even worse for Americans at the low end of the income scale.

I was also surprised to learn that Coldwater Creek is closing all of their storesContinue reading »

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Apr 17

Paul-Krugman-Keynesians-Fail

- Krugman, Who Is Paid $25,000/Month To Study Inequality, Says “Nobody Wants Us To Become Cuba” (ZeroHedge, April 17, 2014):

When it comes to Krugman’s views on any particular topic, he may be right and he may be wrong, but whatever his opinion he always has a much to say about it (even if the factual backing is of secondary importance or outright missing). Today, his chosen topic is inequality, and in an interview with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene, shown and transcribed below, he certainly says much, encapsulated perhaps by the following gem:

“There’s zero evidence that the kind of extreme inequality that we have is good for economic growth. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence that it is actually bad for economic growth. Nobody wants us to become Cuba. The question is, do we have to have levels of inequality that are getting close to being the highest levels ever anywhere. We’re really starting to set new records here. Is that a good thing for anybody? If you look at our own history, it’s not true. The fact of the matter is since inequality began soaring around 1980, the bottom half of America has been pretty much left behind. It has not been a rising tide that raised all boats.”

Continue reading »

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Apr 17

- WTF Moment Of The Week: No One Bought Japanese Bonds For 36 Hours This Week (Dollar Collapse, April 17, 2014):

Here’s something you don’t see very often: For a day and a half this week, the Japanese government’s benchmark 10-year bonds attracted not a single successful private sector bid. At today’s artificially-depressed yields, no one wants this paper — except of course the Bank of Japan, which is buying up the bonds with newly-created yen. As the Gulf Times noted: Continue reading »

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Apr 17

- Yahoo’s de Castro got $58M for 15 months on job (USA Today, April 17, 2014):

Henrique de Castro’s 15 months as Yahoo’s chief operating officer may have ended on a sour note, but it was sweetened by a severance package valued at nearly $58 million.

All but about $1 million of de Castro’s severance was based in the value of his equity award in Yahoo, which began appreciating after former Google colleague Marissa Mayer joined the company in July 2012. He became Mayer’s first big hire just four months later. But in a letter to employees following de Castro’s Jan. 16 ouster, Mayer said she “made the difficult decision” that he should leave.

His exit package outpaced Mayer’s 2013 compensation, valued at $24.9 million. She gained an additional $21.2 million from vested shares, Yahoo said in a preliminary proxy filing Wednesday.

Continue reading »

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Apr 16

Related info:

- Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing Says Wealth ‘Underestimated’ (Bloomberg, Feb 28, 2014):

Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man, said his fortune is at least 40 percent underestimated and that he won’t “admit” to being a Hong Kong mogul.

Li has a net worth of $29.2 billion, making him the 22nd-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


Li-Ka-Shing-The Richest Man In Asia Is Selling Everything In China

- The Richest Man In Asia Is Selling Everything In China (Sovereign Man, April 16, 2014):

Here’s a guy you want to bet on– Li Ka-Shing.

Li is reportedly the richest person in Asia with a net worth well in excess of $30 billion, much of which he made being a shrewd property investor.

Li Ka-Shing was investing in mainland China back in the early 90s, way back before it became the trendy thing to do. Now, Li wants out of China. All of it.

Since August of last year, he’s dumped billions of dollars worth of his Chinese holdings. The latest is the $928 million sale of the Pacific Place shopping center in Beijing– this deal was inked just days ago.

Once the deal concludes, Li will no longer have any major property investments in mainland China.

This isn’t a person who became wealthy by being flippant and scared. So what does he see that nobody else seems to be paying much attention to?

Simple. China’s credit crunch.

Continue reading »

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Apr 16

H/t reader M.G.:

“GM now wants bankruptcy protection from any of their vehicles from before 2009…….pay nothing, dump it all on the people. The courts will probably go along with it, they are corporate owned and corrupt.”


Car giant wants court to shield ‘new GM’ from legal claims for problems with its cars that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy

GM
GM has said at least 13 deaths have been linked to the switch problem. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

- GM asks bankruptcy judge for special protection to head off lawsuits (Guardian, April 16, 2014):

General Motors revealed in court filings late Tuesday that it will soon ask a federal bankruptcy judge to shield the company from legal claims for conduct that occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy.

The automaker’s strategy is in a motion filed in a Corpus Christi, Texas, federal court case, and in other cases across the nation that involve the defective ignition switches that have led GM to recall 2.6 million small cars.

Continue reading »

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Apr 16

“…slower, more sustainable growth…”

Even ‘more sustainable’ than that?

- China’s Credit Pipeline Slams Shut: Companies Scramble For The Last Drops Of Liquidity

- China’s Credit Bubble Hits Unprecedented Proportions – A Walk Thru Of China’s Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder Reset

- China’s Corporate Debt Hits Record $12 Trillion

rofl


- Chinese growth is weakest for two years (Guardian, April 16, 2014):

China’s GDP grew 7.4% in the first quarter amid growing evidence that the powerhouse economy is easing off

China’s economic growth slowed to 7.4% in the first quarter, raising the risk of job losses and a potential impact on the global economy.

The figure reported on Wednesday by the national bureau of statistics (NBS) was down from the previous quarter’s 7.7% and was below the full-year official growth target of 7.5% announced last month.

Beijing is trying to guide China to slower, more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption rather than trade and investment following a decade of explosive expansion

Continue reading »

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Apr 16

escape-from-LA

- Los Angeles, a city of poverty and unemployment (WSWS, April 15, 2014):

On Wednesday, the second part of the Los Angeles 2020 Commission report was published. The report, taken together with its December 2013 predecessor, lifts the lid on the brutal, crushing conditions facing workers in the second largest city in the US.

In its introduction, the first report, “A Time for Truth,” declares that “Los Angeles is barely treading water” and is “becoming a City in decline.” This is an understatement. The report reveals that 40 percent of families either make poverty wages or are unemployed. In the author’s own words, four out of every ten residents live “in what only can be called misery.”

Continue reading »

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Apr 15

- The S&P 500 Enters “Vertical Straight Line Up” Formation (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

The comedy from yesterday continues. Sure enough it is market open on a Tuesday (remember – the market never goes down on Tuesday) – the two most bullish catalyst to momentum ignition vacuum tubes. The rest is indescriminate panic buying history.

20140415_es1

- European Stocks Tumble As Investors Rush Into “Safe Haven” Italian Bonds!? (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

Consumer confidence slumps in the core and Ukraine fears weighed heavily on European stocks despite getting a push from the insanity in US equity markets this morning. Europe closed at their lows of the day led by Italy and Portugal stocks fading fast. It would appear that these worried investors greatly rotated into safe-havens such as Italian government bonds – which broke to their lowest yield on record today… makes sense right?

- Russell 2000 Breaks Below Key Technical Level (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

For the first time since Novemeber 2012 (when QE4EVA was kicked off in style), the Russell 2000that long-heralded indication that everything is great in the US economy and the indicator that stocks are great at discounting the future that is undoubtedly rosyhas broken back below its 200-day moving-average. In the meantime, an oddly dominant algorithm is swamping options markets with millions of fake orders…”rigged?”

- “Growth” Stocks Tumble To 7-Month Lows To “Value” As Bond Yields Collapse (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

It is perhaps worth reflecting on the smorgasbord of free advice given out by the talking-heads after last night’s closing ramp proclaiming the dip to be bought and that everything was fixed once again. It was not. Stocks are making fresh cycle lows and the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 are both now below the 200-day moving-average and appraoching the 10% (correction) from their highs. 10Y is back under 2.6% and the 30Y yield is back at 10-month lows… which perhaps explains why “growth” stocks are back at 7-month lows versus “value” stocks

- Gold Tumbles Most In 4 Months On China Demand Slowdown Fears (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

Gold prices are down almost 2% this morning (over $25) as last night’s slowdown in Chinese money-supply growth and fears that China’s insatiable gold demand has become less insatiable send the barbarous relic back towards $1300. Slowing GDP expectations, increasing restrictions on shadow-banking commodity-backed financing, and a need for liquidity are all factors weighing on the precious metal this morning.

- Copper Joins Precious Metals Rout, Tumbles Below $3.00 (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

The fears over ongoing commodity-financing restrictions and slowing money supply growth are contagiously spilling over into other collateral. Copper prices are in free fall this morning, crashing through critical levels (especially Dennis Gartman’s “long punt”) and back below the Maginot Line of $3.00. These are near 3-week low levels and the biggest drop since the cash-for-commodity financing deals came under real pressure.

- Stocks moderate slide after Nasdaq nears correction territory (CNBC, April 15, 2014)

H/t reader M.G.:

“Yesterday, these stocks were darlings. They are so desperate, they are telling lies to steal pennies……”

- U.S. Stocks Decline as Tech Selloff Resumes Amid Earnings (Bloomberg, April 15, 2014)

And the ECBs buying spree continous…..

- The “Shocking” Buying Spree Of America’s Mysterious Third Largest Treasury Holder Ramps Higher (ZeroHedge, April 15, 2014):

In summary: someone, unclear who, operating through Belgium and most likely the Euroclear service (possible but unconfirmed), has added a record $141 billion in Treasurys since December, or the month in which Bernanke announced the start of the Taper, bringing the host’s total to an unprecedented $341 billion!

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Apr 15

- Baltic Dry Drops For 15th Day To Lowest In 9 Months (Back Below $1000) (ZeroHedge, April 14, 2014):

And still the mainstream media’s discussion of the collapse in the Baltic Dry shipping index is entirely absent. As we have been pointing out for weeks now, something extreme is occurring in the cost of shipping dry bulk around the world. 2014 is now witnessing the biggest drop in price (a typical seasonal pattern) to start the year since records began. Today’s drop to $989 (the first time below $1000 since June 2013) is the 15th drop in a row and it’s not just this index that is fading: Capesize, Panamax, and Supramax rates are all falling. As we noted previously, the shipbuilding industry is already feeling the pain.

20140414_bdiy

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Apr 15

- “Death Spiral” – Harvard Professor Predicts Up To Half Of US Universities May Fail In 15 Years (Zerohedge, April 14, 2014):

Soaring student debt, competition from online programs and poor job prospects for graduates are shrinking the applicant pools for many universities and, as Bloomberg reports, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities warns “there will clearly be some institutions that won’t make it…through these difficult steps.” Rather stunningly, Moody’s found that expenses are outpacing revenue at 60 percent of the schools it tracks even as many try to slash their way to balanced budgets,” and concluded “what we’re concerned about is the death spiral… this continuing downward momentum for some institutions.” As Harvard professor Clayton Christensen has warned, as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years, and is “not sure a lot of these institutions have the cushion to experiment with how to stay afloat.” Continue reading »

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Apr 15

gold-bars-111

- Chinese Checkers with Gold Prices (Euro Pacific Capital, April 10, 2014):

For decades many of us in the hard money world have speculated that cloak and dagger activity by large financial interests has played a large role in determining performance in the gold market. The focus of this alleged manipulation is believed to be in the London market, and has been widely referred to as “The London Fix.” However those who have blown the whistle have been dismissed as alarmists, gold bugs, conspiracy theorists or worse. But recent revelations should bring us closer to the truth.

Continue reading »

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Apr 15

mcdonalds-sign

- 10 Lies Told By McDonalds to Keep Profits Up (Occupy Corporatism, May 31, 2013):

McDonalds Corporation has begun pushing their meat products, such as the Big Mac and double cheeseburgers, because customers are not buying enough salads.

At an investor’s conference, Don Thompson, chief executive officer, explained that salads only make up 2% of their US sales.

Continue reading »

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Apr 14


Added: Apr 11, 2014

Description:

Watch the full documentary at http://www.americandebtcrisis.com/go/….

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Apr 14

… a well-paid blogger.


Mohamed El-Erian

- Mohamed El-Erian Quits Pimco, Becomes A Blogger (ZeroHedge, April 14, 2014):

We realize the future for blogging was bright, but this bright? Moments ago, Bloomberg View, Bloomberg’s in house blogging operation, announced that El-Erian had joined it as a columnist. And just like that Mohamed has his own unedited venue in which to spill all the dirt on his former employer.

From BusinessWeek:

Bloomberg View today announced that Mohamed A. El-Erian is joining the opinion and analysis site as a daily columnist covering economic developments, policy and financial markets.

“Mohamed is one of the world’s most highly-regarded financial and economic observers – and he’s also a wonderful writer” said David Shipley, the senior executive editor of Bloomberg View. “We’re thrilled that he’s going to be sharing his insights with our readers on a daily basis.”

Continue reading »

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Apr 14

From the article:

“Because one can just as easily make the case that as the global financial house of cards, teetering since the great financial crisis of 2008, and upright only thanks to the explicit “wealth effect” support of the final backstop – the world’s money printers – any protracted downward move which implicitly crushes the faith in the monetary religion, and crushes the uber-leveraged smart money community, will make the “drawdown” in both momo and S&P500 stocks in March 2000 seem like a pleasant walk in the part compared to what may be coming.”


- “Shadows Of March 2000″ – Goldman On The Great Momo Crash Of 2014 (Zerohedge, April 14, 2014):

Behold the great momo basket which after being the source of so much joy for momentum chasers over the past year, has mutated into the source of so much sorrow over the past two weeks.

Momo basket

We have bad news for hedge funds who, like Hugh Hendry in December of last year, threw fundamentals and caution to the wind and, with great reservations, jumped into this momo bandwagon in which mere buying beget more buying until nobody knew why anyone bought in the first place… and then everything crashed, leading to the worst day for hedge funds in a decade: according to Goldman’s David Kostin, whose job is to be a cheerleader for the intangible “wealth effect” leading to all too tangible Goldman bonuses: “The stock market will likely recover during the next few months… but not momentum stocks.”

Behold the (not so) great Momo crash of 2014:

SPX momo GS

First the bad news: according to Goldman not only will the momo stocks not rebound to previous highs and resume their leadership role, but clients increasingly are wondering if this is the second coming of the dot com bubble burst.

Conversations we are having with clients: Momentum reversal and the shadow of 2000

Our client discussions this week focused on two topics: Momentum reversal and comparisons between today and March 2000. Two questions dominated: “When will the reversal end?” and “Will the sell-off in momentum stocks drive a market-wide price decline as occurred in 2000?”

During the past month, momentum has plunged by 7%, a 10th percentile ranking of all monthly momentum returns since 1980. We define “momentum” as the relative performance of the best vs. worst performing S&P 500 stocks during the prior 12 months. We identified 46 similar distinct 10th percentile “drawdowns” with an average one-month return of -8% and a cumulative -10% return during six months.

Historical experience suggests the S&P 500, but not momentum, will likely recover during the next few months. Following the drawdowns, S&P 500 posted a 6-month return averaging +5% and delivered a positive return 70% of the time. Momentum declined by a further 4% on average, and 60% of the time the stocks posted a negative return.

Analysis of historical trading patterns around momentum drawdowns shows: (a) roughly 70% of the reversal is behind us following a 7% unwind during the last month; (b) an additional 3% downside exists to the momentum reversal during the next three months if the current episode follows the average historical experience; (c) if the pattern followed the path of a 25th percentile event a further 7% momentum downside would occur, or about double the reversal that has taken place so far; and (d) whenever the drawdown ends, momentum typically does NOT resume leadership. The best performing stocks during the 12 months leading up to the start of the drawdown do not subsequently outperform (see Exhibit 2).

MOMO performance after momo crash_0

So what are the good news? Well, Goldman is bullish on the non-MOMO stocks, which it sees as rising during the next 6 months by, if history is any precedent, 5%. Of course, the market merely regaining its all time highs by October will hardly please the investor community which is used to 20%+ return year after year. After all someone must benefit from the Fed’s ludicrous actions.

S&P 500 Index performance during 46 momentum reversals since 1980 suggests the broad market will likely rise steadily during the next six months by an average of 5%. Based on a current S&P 500 index level of 1815, a 5% rise would lift the index to just above 1900 which is our year-end 2014 forecast. A 25th percentile trajectory implies a flat equity market during the next six months while tracking at the 75th percentile would see S&P 500 climb by 15% to 2090 by the end of 3Q (see Exhibit 3).

S&P performance after momo crash

But most interesting is Goldman’s attempt to deny that this is the second coming of March 2000:

One historical momentum drawdown has come up repeatedly in recent conversations with clients: March 2000. The current sell-off in high growth and high valuation stocks, with a concentration in technology subsectors, has some similarities to the popping of the tech bubble in 2000.

Veteran investors will recall S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq peaked in March 2000. The indices eventually fell by 50% and 75%, respectively. It took the S&P 500 seven years to recover and establish a new high but Nasdaq still remains 25% below its all-time peak reached 14 years ago.

We believe the differences between 2000 and today are more important than the similarities and the recent momentum drawdown is unlikely to
precipitate a more extensive fall in share prices:

  • Recent returns are less dramatic. Although the trailing 12-month returns are similar (22% today versus 18% in 2000), the trailing 3-year and 5-year returns are much lower (51% vs. 107% and 161% vs. 227%, respectively).
  • Valuation is not nearly as stretched. S&P 500 currently trades at a forward P/E of 16x compared with 25x at the peak in 2000. The price/book ratio is 2.7x versus 6.Xx. The EV/sales is currently 1.8x compared with 2.7x in 2000.
  • More balanced market. The reason it is called the “Tech Bubble” is that 14% of the earnings of the S&P 500 came from Tech in 2000 but it accounted for 33% of the equity cap of the index. Today Tech contributes 19% of both earnings and market cap. Top five stocks in 2000 were 18% vs. 11% today.
  • Earnings growth expectations are far less aggressive. Bottom-up 2014 consensus EPS growth currently equals 9%, close to our top-down forecast of 8%. In 2000, consensus expected EPS growth equaled 17%.
  • Interest rates are dramatically lower. 3-month Treasury yields were 5.9% in 2000 vs. 0.05% today while ten-year yields were 6.0% vs. 2.7% today. The yield curve was inverted by 47 bp. Today the slope equals +229 bp.
  • Less new issuance. During 1Q 2000, 115 IPOs were completed for proceeds of $18 billion. In 1Q 2014, 63 completed deals raised $11 billion.

All great points, yet one thing is conspicuously missing and perhaps Goldman can clarify:

  • how much debt as a percentage of global GDP was held by the world’s major central banks then and now, and
  • how much consolidated global leverage, including shadow banking in both the US and China, as well as how many hundreds of trillions of derivatives notional outstanding existed then… and now

Because one can just as easily make the case that as the global financial house of cards, teetering since the great financial crisis of 2008, and upright only thanks to the explicit “wealth effect” support of the final backstop – the world’s money printers – any protracted downward move which implicitly crushes the faith in the monetary religion, and crushes the uber-leveraged smart money community, will make the “drawdown” in both momo and S&P500 stocks in March 2000 seem like a pleasant walk in the part compared to what may be coming.

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Apr 14

Related info:

- David Sieveking’s Documentary ‘David Wants To Fly’ Exposes Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation As What It Really Is: A Billion Dollar Business & A Total Scam

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Apr 13

harry_reid_rubbing_eye

- Reid smelling anything but rosy in ranch fight (WND, April 12, 2014):

Desert showdown blows lid off long-standing plans with the Chinese

NEW YORK – When Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy refused to take his cattle off land the federal government demanded for the habitat of an endangered desert tortoise, it focused the nation’s attention on an arena Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., may have preferred to be kept quiet.

An investigative report published last week by Infowars.com drew a connection between Senate Majority Leader Reid’s involvement with Chinese energy giant ENN, Chinese efforts to build massive solar facilities in the Nevada desert and the showdown between Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, or BLM.

It wasn’t the first report to notice curious dealings involving the Chinese and America’s top Democrats. Continue reading »

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Apr 13

- HFT Purge Begins: SEC Prepares To “Remove” Some High Frequency Trading Firms (ZeroHedge, April 13, 2014):

Ever since Goldman’s anti-HFT Op-Ed less than a month ago, and since the even more recent full-hearted support by Goldman of Michael Lewis’ most recent entry into the anti-HFT crusade (one promoting the Goldman-supported IEX exchange), one thing has been clear: the days of market structure in its current format are numbered. This was further confirmed after Goldman exited both its legacy Spear Leeds & Kellogg designated market making post at the NYSE, and is said to be winding down its market-dominating dark pool, Sigma X.

It also means that our 5 year crusade against HFT – not because we want it replaced with a different, Goldman-backed exchange but because HFTs inherently destabilize the market (see May 2010 and the now daily flash crash in individual stocks and/or exchanges) – and specifically those most profitable but also most parasitic and predatory HFT strategiesContinue reading »

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Apr 13

- Ukraine misses deadline to pay Russia’s Gazprom gas debt (ITV News, April 13, 2014):

If you’ve ever been in arrears on your gas bill you will know it’s in everyone’s interests to come to some sort of agreement with your supplier. But Ukraine and Russia seem to be struggling.

Ukraine owes Russia $2.1 billion (£1.2 billion) for gas and counting. More correctly, it owes that rather staggering sum of money to Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company which is owned by the Russian state.

Continue reading »

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Apr 13


Horse meat in my pasta? The rise of food fraud

In a quest for profit, fraudsters mislabel and adulterate food. In addition to potential health problems, it costs the food industry billions.

- Rising prices aid $15B food fraud problem (CNBC, April 13, 2014):

From meatballs made with horse to fake extra virgin olive oil and salmonella in peanuts, food fraud has been grabbing national headlines. And, according to experts, the problem is only increasing with rising food costs and more widespread importation of food.

The Food and Drug Administration says 15 percent of the U.S. food supply is imported and experts say food fraudsters are using the difficulty in tracing foreign imports to their advantage. The largest food fraud in U.S. history was when Chinese honey was shipped through other Asian nations to disguise its origins and evade import duties of $180 million, according to the Department of Justice.

The Department of Agriculture predicts food prices will rise between 2.5 and 3.5 percent this year. And while the consumer price index was up 0.1 percent in February, the food index rose more sharply, at 0.4 percent. The March consumer price index will be released on April 15.

Food fraud, which the Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates costs the industry between $10 billion and $15 billion a year, occurs when products are adulterated or purposely mislabeled. Some of the most commonly tampered products are household staples like honey, olive oil, juice and seafood.

Continue reading »

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Apr 13

Reader squodgy reminded me of the following video.

I have posted this video two times before and both uploads have been removed from YouTube.

For those that still haven’t seen this video yet:

This is a MUST-SEE!


Description:

A simple animated explanation of HOW the private Federal Reserve steals your money and WHY it must be stopped

Subtitles now available;
-Greek
-English
-Spanish
-Portugese(brazil)
-Czech
-Hungarian
-Romanian
-Bulgarian
-Finnish

The AMERICAN DREAM is a 30 minute animated film that shows you how you’ve been scammed by the most basic elements of our government system. All of us Americans strive for the American Dream, and this film shows you why your dream is getting farther and farther away. Do you know how your money is created? Or how banking works? Why did housing prices skyrocket and then plunge? Do you really know what the Federal Reserve System is and how it affects you every single day? THE AMERICAN DREAM takes an entertaining but hard hitting look at how the problems we have today are nothing new, and why leaders throughout our history have warned us and fought against the current type of financial system we have in America today. You will be challenged to investigate some very entrenched and powerful institutions in this nation, and hopefully encouraged to help get our nation back on track.

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Apr 12

PE irrationality


- Amazon offers employees $5,000 to quit (CNNMoney, April 11, 2014):

Amazon is offering its warehouse employees up to $5,000 to quit their jobs, even as the company is in the process of adding workers and locations.

The “Pay to Quit” program, which was announced by CEO Jeff Bezos in his letter to shareholders late Thursday, is an effort to make sure that the Internet retailer’s employees really want to be there.

Continue reading »

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Apr 12

- 72% Of Greeks Need More Work To Make Ends Meet (ZeroHedge, April 12, 2014):

Almost 10 million out of 43.7 million part-time workers in the European Union were under-employed in 2013. As Bloomberg Brief’s Niraj Shah notes, based on Eurostat’s Labour Forces Study, a record 72 percent of Greek part-time workers wished to work more hours compared with 4.2 percent in the Netherlands.

20140411_part

Maybe the Dutch should lay some more people off to lower their bond yields? As we explained in great detail here, the Greek “recovery” is a mirage and these numbers do not lie.

Source: Bloomberg Briefs ( @economistniraj )

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Apr 12

The Baltic Dry is down 14 days in a row at $1002 – its lowest in 8 months (and worst start to a year on record)

20140411_bdiy

- Shipbuilding Orders Evaporate As Baltic Dry Collapses (Zerohedge, April 11, 2014):

The silence is deafening still about the ongoing collapse in the Baltic Dry Index among mainstream media types (as it just might challenge the hope/hype that growth is coming back). At the dismal level of 1002, BDIY is at 8-month lows and has fallen 14 days in a row… but now it is having a real world impact. As Sea News reports, Korean shipping companies are failing to place orders for large vessels and anxiety over the future is forcing some local companies to dispose of their assets despite the relatively low shipbuilding costs as of late. Continue reading »

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Apr 12

- From radio star to part-time mascot: Rebuilding a life at age 53 (Al Jazeera, April 9, 2014):

Like millions of Americans in recent years, Scott Alan went from middle class to struggling

This year, Scott Alan was the Easter Bunny. He’s been a rodeo clown and Santa Claus. Once, when he was dressed in a giant alligator suit, a group of college students threw a milkshake at his head. Recently, he was close to suicide.The country’s unemployment rate has been slowly creeping downward, but those official statistics don’t say what kinds of new jobs people are getting.

“The average mascot age is between 22 and 26,” Alan told “America Tonight.” “I was in my early 50s, still wearing a costume in 100-degree weather, in 20-degree weather, still performing, trying to survive and make a living.” Continue reading »

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Apr 11

- Herbalife Tumbles 14% On News Criminal Probe Has Been Launched Into Company (Zerohedge, April 11, 2014):

The Herbalife drama – perhaps the biggest billionaire pissing contest of 2013 – just got excting again, following FT news that a criminal probe has been launched into Herbalife. “The US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating Herbalife, the multi-level marketing company that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has alleged is a pyramid scheme, according to people familiar with the matter. The criminal investigation by the FBI and US attorney’s office in Manhattan raises the stakes for Herbalife, which is already facing civil inquiries from multiple government agencies that are looking into the Los Angeles-based company and its associated network of independent distributors.”

One can’t help but wonder if those “people familiar” have a material stake in Pershing Square, which as is widely known has an extensive short and put position in HLF shares, which as expected tumbled by 14% on the news. Continue reading »

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Apr 11

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- Europe Folds As Putin Tells It To Pay Ukraine’s Gazprom Bill, Or Else (ZeroHedge, April 11, 2014):

Another day ending in “y” means another day in which Putin plays the G(roup of most insolvent countries)-7 like a fiddle.

The latest: Europe should provide aid to Ukraine to ensure uninterrupted natural-gas deliveries to the region, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said as reported by Bloomberg. Continue reading »

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