20 July 2017

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - One Day In Texas

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Lewis Carroll

"Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin—
spiritual advisor to the Romanovs.
In 1916, at a dinner in his honor,
he was poisoned, shot stabbed,
clubbed, drowned, and castrated."


"A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power."

W. B. Yeats

Tomorrow is a stock options expiration.

Next week there will be a precious metals option expiration on the Comex and an FOMC meeting.

If the metals can make it past these, then the path to a breakout from the current intermediate rangebound trend may be clear.

Stocks look toppy.  Wait for it.

Have a pleasant evening.

19 July 2017

History Repeats: The Continuing Threat to Freedom and Democracy

Lately it has been popular in some circles to talk about the US being a 'late stage democracy' that has 'never been more ripe for tyranny.'

Sometimes they like to drag in Plato to give their thought pieces a gleam of higher learning and a supposed grounding in history.

But their pieces fall into that trap, that very sort of temporal vanity and self-centered preoccupation to despair that Newman notes so well in saying that "every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it."

Would you be surprised to hear that less than one hundred years ago there was an actual plot, bankrolled by some of the most powerful and famous figures of the American one percent, to use military force to depose a sitting American President and instead install a fascist in the White House who would be more compliant with their greed and lust for power?

The model for this takeover would have been similar to Benito Mussolini's infamous 'march on Rome.'

Would you be further surprised to know that some of these unrepentant financial figures then went on to help bankroll Hitler, and continued doing business with his atrocious regime even as their most vile business partners actively fought the US, their own country, in the war?

How well does this fit the efficient markets and rational actor models that so much of economic theory, and certain factions in modern political ideology, seems to rely?   If only we can get rid of government, and then people will be free to spread their natural goodness and take wing like angels.  Let us free the pathological and sociopaths from external constraints, and their better natures will surely rise to the occasion.  And if not, we can surely explain it to them with our economic learning.

It never ceases to amaze how many economic and social models of human behavior are based, not in history, but rather on simplistically convenient constructs and myths that serve the status quo and the power of Big Money.

A better model perhaps is to think that freedom and truth are always under threat by those who value neither more than their own obsessive lust for power and money,  beyond all reason.   That last is important to remember because the current liberal impulse is to simply blame bad information for some of the most outrageous abuses of power and privilege.  If only we could explain the economic benefits of general prosperity rather than relying on such weak tea as 'moral arguments.'

Alas, it seems to be the duty of each generation to defend what has been given to them by their forebears against the continuing threats of the perversion of knowledge and reason that is tyranny.  And what is odd about it is that it seems to catch each subsequent generation by surprise.

I am not sure that I understand why FDR and his administration did not take more dramatic action in pursuing such perfidy as the plot to overthrow the republic by the fortunate few.   It certainly was not for personal gain and power, as it seems to be the case of our more recent betrayers of justice in not pursuing the indictment and public prosecution of financial crimes.

We may have arrived at that time, that rendezvous with destiny, in which we either stand for truth and justice, or fall one by one in a contemptible struggle against the forces of injustice and duplicity.  But we are certainly not the first, and not even the most distantly distinctive in this challenge, as compared to our parents,  and grandparents, and great-grandparents.

Freedom in not a prize to be won and held forever.  Rather, it is a continuing commitment and state of mind to view certain principles above others.  And one of them is certainly not personal greed.

18 July 2017

My Mother Wasn't White Trash

"At first reading, the story of my mother's life seems like little more than a tragedy. However, it is much more than that. Her story reveals the stark realities of growing up poor. All across Appalachia, there are thousands of women just like my mother working, striving, struggling, just to exist. So many people in Appalachia have broken minds and broken bodies and broken hearts, and they do nothing more than survive because that's all they can do.

It is as popular now as ever to blame poor people for their station in life. Republican politicians love to talk about how poor people could stop being poor if only they made better choices or worked harder. If only they'd stop buying iPhones, they could afford insurance! These assholes - and I do not use that slur lightly - have no clue what it is like to grow up poor. They have no clue how hard it is in many places in the US just to keep the lights on and food on the table.

It is easy for them, from the comfort of their cushy offices and homes, with full bellies and bank accounts, to pretend that poor people like my mother are poor because they are stupid or lazy or ignorant or irresponsible rather than confront the broken systems that perpetuate poverty in Appalachia and all across the US.

Poor people don't contribute to reelection funds, but those who profit from poor people sure do. Therefore, truth be told, most politicians couldn't care less about the plight of the poor. There's so much profit to be made from poor people - think payday loans, high-interest rent-to-own stores, for-profit colleges, and overpriced mobile homes - that politicians and their crony-capitalist donors have a vested interest in keeping them poor."

Joshua Wilkey, My Mother Wasn't White Trash

17 July 2017

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - No One Sees, No One Knows

"It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the global financial sector has become criminalised, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behaviour that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis of 2008 was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident...And yet none of this conduct has been punished in any significant way."

Charles Ferguson, Inside Job

“The suspicions that the system is rigged in favor of the largest banks and their elites, so they play by their own set of rules to the disfavor of the taxpayers who funded their bailout, are true. It really happened. These suspicions are valid.”

Neil Barofsky

"The historical evidence is overwhelming. Many societies have done well for a while – until powerful people get out of hand.  This is an easy pattern to see at a distance and in other cultures.  It is typically much harder to recognize when your own society now has an elite less subject to effective constraints and more able to exert power in an abusive fashion.   And given the long history of strong institutions in the United States, it appears particularly difficult for some people to acknowledge that we have serious governance issues that need to be addressed."

Simon Johnson

Stocks largely moved sideways today on weak economic data and a lower dollar.

Precious metals continued to rebound a bit off their recent Non-Farm Payrolls low.

Consequences will be served in the main dining hall, sooner than you might expect.

Have a pleasant evening.