Friday, October 31, 2014

Colorado Republican Cory Gardner running for Senate openly promises to cave on illegal alien amnesty

Breitbart reports here:

Gardner also came out in favor of what he called “earned status” as “part” of comprehensive immigration reform when asked whether he favored extending legal status to illegal immigrants, and that “Ultimately I think the DREAM Act is going to be part of the solution.” ... Gardner, who carried a conservative voting record in the House, has steadily moved left on the issue after entering the Senate campaign against Udall.


Wall Street Journal fears conservatives are winning: Trots out libertarian from Cato Institute to smear Laura Ingraham as nativist

You know Laura Ingraham. She hates foreigners so much she adopted three of them, one from Guatemala and two from Russia, and reportedly almost married a very dark-skinned man.


Many in the GOP are jockeying for the soul of the party ahead of an anticipated 2014 midterm election victory. Social conservatives are eager to reassert their influence after repeated defeats over gay marriage. Fiscal conservatives make the case for a greater emphasis on runaway spending. And then there are the nativists, who contend that the future of the Republican Party lies in opposing immigration reform. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, for example, said last month that, “Immigration could be to 2016 what ObamaCare was to 2010.”

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Swine.

It used to be the conservative movement consisted of social, fiscal and foreign policy wings. The libertarians don't have a foreign policy because they believe in open borders, so they had to invent something they could caricature and toss in order to have a simpler, Manichean world in which they, the sons of light, fight us, the social conservative sons of darkness.

Two-front wars are too hard for libertarians.

Millions of skilled Americans are still without jobs, but Terri Lynn Land in Michigan wants to bring in more foreigners

Quoted here:

We should modernize visa tracking, increase high-tech visas to bring more highly-skilled workers here, make sure businesses have the tools to effectively verify the status of employees and shorten wait times for those who play by the rules.

If the US Chamber of Commerce endorses Joni Ernst in Iowa, you know she'll cave on illegal immigration

Everyone knows the US Chamber of Commerce holds a gun to the head of Republicans demanding they reach a compromise on illegal immigration with Obama and the Democrats. Joni Ernst obviously got the message way back in May.

When Laura Ingraham recently asked her about illegal immigration on the radio show, Joni Ernst immediately defaulted to the issue of worker visas. Ingraham had to remind her that many Americans are out of work and should come first before we consider importing workers. Joni Ernst reacted almost like she was ashamed she hadn't gotten the memo ahead of the interview.

Enough said.

Terri Lynn Land is basically a TARP Republican, not a capitalist who believes in bankruptcy

Terri Lynn Land quoted here:

I think that doing something to protect the auto industry was the right thing to do, but I would have preferred a plan with more private financing. However, if the options were choosing between going this route and doing nothing, I am glad the auto industry was preserved and is growing again.

Gold miners dive: VGPMX plunged to 8.91 yesterday, hasn't been that cheap since January 2002

The historical low for VGPMX was 5.05 on 8/31/98. The historical high was 40.02 on 5/19/08. The maximum NAV gain was 692.47%.

Alan Greenspan gave gold the kiss of death on Wednesday, suggesting it was a good investment idea going forward. Gold promptly fell out of bed, dropping $21.50 on Thursday and today is down about another $35 so far. Miners say they cannot remain profitable if gold departs much from the $1,200 range. Meanwhile the dollar is soaring toward 87 as the Fed has ended QE.

The maximum NAV gain for VTSMX, by the way, has been 414.31%.

Ebola nurse goes for a bike ride: Will she become Typhoid Kaci?


Why this stock market may have another 20% left in it

Simply stated, the market has another 20% in it because it hasn't yet reached the extremes of valuation which we witnessed in 1999. That's not to say that it must reach those extremes, but it is possible.

At that time, total market cap to GDP came to 1.72, using the Wilshire 5000 as a proxy for the total market (times 1.2).

Since current dollar GDP is $17.5354 trillion, the current ratio is only 1.42, but the level of the Wilshire 5000 implied by a ratio of 1.72 would be about 20% higher than where it is today (total market cap of $30.1609 trillion or Wilshire 5000 25,134.07).

The Wilshire 5000 starts the day at 21,005.50.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Falling oil imports/record rising refined petroleum exports account for today's startling trade contribution to GDP

The Oil and Gas Journal reports here that September petroleum imports plunged to the 1995 level while September was a record month for exports of refined products:

Total petroleum imports for September registered a 16.3% drop from the prior year, averaging just below 8.4 million b/d, which was the lowest level since February 1995. Crude oil imports averaged 7.4 million b/d, down 6.7% over the same period, to the lowest September level in 18 years. Imports of refined petroleum products dropped 52.5% to average 1 million b/d, the lowest level for US Energy Information Administration records dating to 1981. Meanwhile, exports of refined products increased 18.4% from last year to nearly 4.3 million b/d, the highest September level on record and the third-highest exports level ever recorded.

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Imports are a subtraction from GDP, so the big drop in imports coupled with a big surge in refined petroleum exports in September no doubt contributed significantly to the net plus to GDP in the trade column of today's report.

The American Petroleum Institute reports separately here that imports of petroleum in 3Q2014 were 11.4% lower than in the same period in 2013.

The stock market remains very expensive as of the end of 3Q2014

Nominal GDP rose to a level of $17.5354 trillion annualized for 3Q2014, according to the advance estimate of third quarter GDP released today.

Total stock market capitalization had an approximate value of $24.9126 trillion on September 30, 2014.

The ratio of total market cap to GDP on the record date therefore comes to 1.421, down slightly from the 1.445 level which prevailed in 2Q.

The ratio was as low as 0.74 as recently as the end of 2008.

The stock market therefore was about 92% more expensive at the end of September 2014 than it was at the end of 2008, and became just 1.7% cheaper between the second and third quarters of 2014.

3Q2014 GDP Advance Estimate comes in at 3.5%: Deliberately underreporting imports right before the election?

The share contributed to GDP in today's report breaks down as follows:

Personal consumption of goods and services: 34%
Private domestic investment: 4%
Net from export trade: 37%
Government consumption: 23%

I don't believe the import number in the report, which was -1.7%!

What, did the weather close all the ports of entry during July, August and September and we didn't know about it?

Imports, of course, subtract from GDP, so this negative import number boosts the contribution made by exports to GDP.

The last time the import number was negative was in the advance estimate of 1Q GDP, at -1.4%.

You remember 1Q, right, the terrible winter months of January, February and March? But as we all know, that negative number became +0.7% in the second estimate, and +1.8% in the third and final report.

Also note that a surge in defense spending in the third quarter for the war against ISIS all by itself accounts for almost 19% of GDP in this report and 80% of the reported share of government consumption contributing to GDP.

Backing out that government spending on the war means the GDP number is more like 2.8%.

And economists had expected GDP to come in at 3%. 

Jobless claims average 265K weekly, not-seasonally-adjusted, in October 2014

265,000 claims weekly in October is the equivalent of an annual rate of 13.8 million total claims.

Claims in the last four months are now averaging roughly 266,000 weekly compared with the first half of the year at 326,000 weekly.

This means total claims are on track with two months left in the year to come in at a record low in the 21st century in the vicinity of 15.4 million total claims. The best record had been under George Bush with 16.2 million claims.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Poverty thresholds for 2013


Poverty guidelines 2014

As seen here.

Completed foreclosures in September still 119% above normal

Corelogic reports here that completed foreclosure activity reached 46,000 nationally in September, 25,000 above the normal 21,000 level before the housing apocalypse began in 2007.

The report indicates there have been 5.2 million completed foreclosures since September 2008 and 7 million homes lost to foreclosure since 2004, ten years ago.

Florida, California, Texas, Michigan and Georgia alone account for almost half of all completed foreclosures in September.

Maybe Senator Jon "Tin Ear" Kyl really wants Republicans to lose next week

Here is the former Senator from Arizona Republican Jon Kyl in The Wall Street Journal (where else?) just days before the Republicans are about to take back the Senate PUTTING HIS FOOT IN IT, complaining about the Boehner/Obama tax compromise because in his view it really penalized the middle class. It's almost as if he doesn't want Republicans to win next week:

Most workers’ pay has not kept up with inflation for at least six years. ... Why aren’t wages rising? ... [O]ne factor is often overlooked: the tax increase on “the rich” at the beginning of 2013. How could higher taxes on the top 2% or 3% hurt the middle class? ... When the government takes more, there is less to plow back into the business or invest elsewhere.

----------------------------------------------------

Weren't these tax rates the Bush tax rates? Weren't Republicans trying to get them made permanent for years, without success until Boehner came along? If they were so bad for the middle class, why did Republicans pass them in the first place?

Let's see, when we had these tax rates up through the late financial panic, including the lower capital gains tax rates, the first thing businesses did under them was fire everybody to save their sorry behinds. They didn't care about the workers then, and they sure as hell don't now. Millions have abandoned the workforce as a result and won't be returning.

Meanwhile, the all items CPI is up 8.8% over the last six years, while average hourly earnings of all private employees still working is up 12.75% over the same period. Note to Kyl: please pick a metric which makes your point without contradiction.

And then there's the tax rate he is so upset about, which affects the top 0.42% only, all single filers making in excess of $406,751 in 2014. That top tax bracket now pays a higher capital gains tax rate on long term gains at 20% instead of 15% under the compromise, but for some reason Kyl is too sheepish to mention this is a 33% tax hike. Apparently he's too embarrassed to be that specific, because in terms of individual wage earners in 2013 that might affect just barely 520,000 individuals, who are at the very top of the heap of 155.77 million wage earners.

Way to go, Kyl. Paint the Republicans as the party of the rich. The Democrats must love you because they will be more than happy to claim that wages are up because they raised taxes on the rich.


Average Effective Federal Funds Rate by chairman of the Fed in the post-war

William McChesney Martin (15 years)  3.62%
Arthur F. Burns (8)        6.49%
G. William Miller (2)    9.56%
Paul Volcker (9)           10.45%
Alan Greenspan (19)     4.86%
Ben Bernanke (8)          1.58%
Janet Yellin (less than 1) .09%

Average Effective Federal Funds Rates in the post-war by decades

1955-1960  2.62%
1961-1970  4.58%
1971-1980  7.72%
1981-1990  9.44%
1991-2000  4.96%
2001-2010  2.35%
2011-2013  0.12%
2014 to date .09%

Post-war average (six decades): 5.3%

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why do voting machines in heavily Democrat states always malfunction in favor of the Democrats, huh?

Just recently in Schaumburg, Illinois, here, and now in Maryland, here

US Antares rocket to intl space station with 5K lbs of supplies explodes on launch























Another photograph of Obama's incompetence. We can't send even supplies reliably after cancelling the Shuttle program, but the Russians can get our astronauts there and back safely. Watch for yourself here.

Maybe NASA should spend less time making nice with Muslims who only want to kill us.

Gold price vs. CPI 2000-2014

Gold averaged $279 in 2000, and so far in 2014 has averaged $1,282 the ounce, an increase of about 360%.

The all items CPI has risen over the same period from 174 to 238, or about 36%.

Which one do you think is the more accurate measure of inflation?

VGPMX tanked to 9.50 yesterday

You have to go back to 2002 to get a price lower than that. Declining gold prices from nearly $1,900 an ounce in 2011 to a range around $1,200 now have put the screws to miners' profitability. New accounting rules for the industry suggest that costs to produce an ounce are too high to justify more production in many places, costs which well exceed the current price of gold. That might mean a floor for the price of gold has been or will be forming near $1,200 as higher cost mines slow production. The average price per ounce in 2013 of $1,411 has fallen so far in 2014 to $1,282.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why this bull market is running out of steam

Because cost-cutting and stock buybacks have their natural limits, too.

Seen here:

“You can’t do a whole lot more cost cutting and you can’t buy back a whole lot more stock,” David Lafferty, the chief market strategist for Natixis Global Asset Management in Boston, said by phone. His firm manages about $930 billion. “The big disconnect where companies have been able to grow their earnings significantly faster than top-line revenue growth is coming to an end.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joni Ernst scares Paul Begala: It's a good thing

The Forehead wets himself, here:

[I]f it was a serious statement of philosophy, it was chilling -- even scary. Joni Ernst, the Iowa candidate who has vaulted to within an inch of United States Senate due to her boasting of hog castration in this year's most inventive political ad, was speaking to the National Rifle Association in 2012. "I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family -- whether it's from an intruder, or whether it's from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important." . . . [I]t's one thing to hear, say, goofball Ted Nugent honk off that way. (The Nuge, by the way, has boasted about how he avoided taking up arms in defense of his country during Vietnam.) It is another to know that someone with those loopy views is one step away from the United States Senate.




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Speaking of loopy views, Thomas Jefferson, a step away from the presidency and writing about Shays Rebellion in 1787, had liars like Paul Begala who talks only of The Whiskey Rebellion in mind when he said this about taking up arms as a warning to rulers:

The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The gold/oil ratio remains at par tonight

The gold/oil ratio ends the week at 15.2, meaning the price of gold relative to the price of oil is just about right.

1231.8/81.01 = 15.2.

Bank Failure Friday: the 16th in 2014

The National Republic Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, failed tonight, costing the FDIC $111.6 million, a fairly big one by recent standards.

The bank was an Indian-American-owned bank, specializing in the hotel and motel lending business. 

The rising share of US workers not making the average wage 1990-2013

The raw average of net compensation for Social Security purposes has risen 113% since 1990, from $20,172 in 1990 to $43,041 in 2013.

The share of workers not earning as much as the raw average of net compensation has risen 6% over the period, from 63% of workers in 1990 to 66.9% in 2013.

In 1990 there were 127.5 million wage earners, 63% of whom made less than $20,172. If 63% of workers in 2013 didn't make as much as the average wage of $43,041 instead of the actual 66.9%, they would have numbered 98.1 million in 2013. Instead they numbered 104.2 million. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The workforce recession is "over": Social Security wage earners finally surpass the 2007 peak in 2013

The wage statistics report for 2013 from Social Security came out today and shows that the number of workers for Social Security purposes has finally in 2013 exceeded the level first reached in 2007, after bottoming out in 2010. The level in 2013 is not up by much since 2007, but 200,000 workers is 200,000 workers. Unfortunately, however, the population level is up far more than that over the period . . . by 15 million net. And more people regrettably are also making less than the raw average shown. Between 2007 and 2013 these have increased from 66.6% of workers to 66.9%.








2007: 155.57 million workers/net compensation $6.03 trillion = $38,760 per worker
2008: 155.43 million workers/net compensation $6.16 trillion = $39,631 per worker
2009: 150.91 million workers/net compensation $5.89 trillion = $39,029 per worker
2010: 150.39 million workers/net compensation $6.00 trillion = $39,896 per worker
2011: 151.38 million workers/net compensation $6.23 trillion = $41,154 per worker
2012: 153.63 million workers/net compensation $6.52 trillion = $42,439 per worker
2013: 155.77 million workers/net compensation $6.70 trillion = $43,012 per worker

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

National Rifle Association political arm doesn't endorse Republicans Justin Amash and Ruth Johnson in Michigan

Rep. Justin Amash, MI-3, gets a "B-" grade from the NRA's Political Victory Fund, while Secretary of State Ruth Johnson gets a "B" grade. Amash is notable for crossing the aisle to lend support on 4th Amendment issues and to argue for enforcing the War Powers Act, but many of his friends on the right are disappointed with Amash's voting record on the 2nd Amendment, among other things.

The Republican governor of the state, Rick Snyder, also gets a "B" grade from the NRA, but unlike Amash and Johnson, Rick Snyder gets an endorsement.

There isn't a single other endorsement of a B-graded politician in the state as of September 15th, and just six Democrats receive endorsements, all in Michigan's House of Representatives, which has 110 (!) districts.

The NRA endorses no one in six of Michigan's fourteen US House districts, and endorses Terry Lynn Land for US Senate and gives her opponent, Gary Peters, an "F" grade.

Other notables getting "F" grades are Amash's opponent Bob Goodrich in MI-3, a fellow traveler if ever there was one, Dan Kildee in MI-5, Pam Byrnes in MI-7, Sander Levin in MI-9, Amash's buddy John Conyers Jr. in MI-13, and Brenda Lawrence in MI-14. Conyers infamously likes to read Playboy for the articles in coach class, and couldn't get enough signatures to be on the ballot this time but got on anyway with help from a Democrat judge.

More getting "F" grades are State Senate Democrats Coleman A. Young II in District 1, Morris W. Hood III in District 3, David Knezek in District 5, Rebekah Warren in District 18 and Shari Pollesch in District 22.

There's just one "F" grade in the State House: District 2's Democrat incumbent Alberta Tinsley-Talabi.

Republicans in the State Senate with grades less than "A" like Amash include Mike Nofs in District 19 with a "B-", Brendt Gerics in District 27 with a "C+", and Darwin L. Booher in District 35 with a "B".

Low scoring Republicans in the State House include:

Kelly Thompson in District 12 with a "C"
Harry Sawicki in District 13 with a "B-"
Nathan Inks in District 14 with a "C"
Carol Ann Fausone in District 21 with a "B-"
Michael Ryan in District 27 with a "B-"
Michael D. McCready in District 40 with a "D"
Henry Vaupel in District 47 with a "B-"
Lu Penton in District 49 with a "C"
Eric Leutheuser in District 58 with a "B"
Brandt Iden in District 61 with a "B"
John Bizon in District 62 with a "B+"
David C. Maturen in District 63 with a "B-"
Chris Afendoulis in District 73 with a "C"
Donijo DeJonge in District 76 with a "B-"
Carlos Jaime in District 96 with a "B+"
and Larry C. Inman in District 104 with a "C+". 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

United Parcel Service again to raise rates broadly beginning December 29th, by nearly 5%

When's the last time you got a 5% raise?

Story here:
UPS says it is raising rates for a number of its shipping services by an average of 4.9 percent for 2015. The Atlanta-based company said Monday it is increasing rates for its ground, air, international, UPS Freight, and UPS air freight rates within and between the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The increase goes into effect on Dec. 29.

Similarly-sized rate increases occurred in both 2011 and 2012, reported here:

According to company officials, non-contractual 2012 rates will be comprised of a net increase of 4.9 percent for UPS ground packages and a net increase of 4.9 percent on all UPS air services and U.S. origin international shipments. This increase is identical to the one the transportation bellwether rolled out a year ago for 2011 rate hikes.

Uh huh.

The all-items CPI rose by 1.4% in 2010, 3.02% in 2011, 1.76% in 2012 and just 1.5% in 2013, despite all the federal interventions to target inflation at 2.0%. The average rise was 1.9%.

Average hourly earnings nationwide, meanwhile, over the exact same periods increased by 1.7% in 2010, 1.98% in 2011, 2.11% in 2012 and 1.94% in 2013.  The average rise was also 1.9%.  

Since the last market peak in August 2000, real returns from stocks have averaged just 1.61% per year through August 2014

politicalcalculations.blogspot.com
























The inflation-adjusted market peak was in August 2000 at S&P500 2044.67, still unequalled (2011.36 is as high as we've gotten). Through August 2014, your average real return from stocks, that is, your return adjusted for inflation with dividends fully reinvested along the way, has been just 1.61% per year for 14 years. Without dividend reinvestment, your return actually has been negative annually because of inflation. Nominally your return has been 3.95% per year, dividends reinvested.

Compare bonds over the last 15 years to date. Take VBMFX, Vanguard's Total Bond Market Index Fund. Morningstar shows your nominal 15 year return this morning at 5.49% per annum. VBIIX, Vanguard's Intermediate Term Bond Index Fund, has done even better, at 6.59% per annum, nominal.

Clearly, bonds have beaten stocks over the long haul since 2000. And valuations tell you why. Yardsticks such as the Shiller p/e have not dipped below 15 to any meaningful degree over the whole period, meaning stocks have been pricey for the performance you get. The higher the price, the poorer the return.

Expect the same from stocks going forward as long as valuations remain as elevated as they are. Today's Shiller p/e starts out at 24.95.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Conservatives should dump AT&T

In Michigan AT&T backs adding sexual orientation and gender expression to Michigan's civil rights legislation in order to prohibit differential treatment by employers based on those.

Religious and religious employers take note.

You have choice! Comcast, Charter, cell phone companies, etc.

And definitely dump the TV sewer pipe into your house. I dumped television when analog went away a few years ago, and I haven't missed a thing except wanting to shoot the screen. Keeps my BP under control, too, the natural way.

Story here.

Net worth of $3,650 puts you in the top half globally

So quit complaining.

Story here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Campaign finance reform: Repeal the 17th Amendment

In 2012 there were 33 Senate seats up for grabs, and the cost to a candidate of winning one averaged $10.5 million, if the popular estimates of what winning candidates raised are to be believed. That's something like $700 million total spent by both the winners and losers.

For all 435 House seats the candidates spent something like $1.5 billion, with $1.7 million spent on average by each winner.

With $6 billion total spent on the 2012 Congressional election from all sources thanks to additional PAC spending courtesy of a US Supreme Court ruling, the candidates themselves therefore spent at most $2.2 billion while outside interests spent an additional $3.8 billion to elect both "your" representative and "your" Senator. No wonder you like them so much.

The five most expensive races alone in 2012 were for Senate seats, and cost from all sources in excess of $376 million, $142 million of which came from "outside" sources, 38% of the total. Assuming that $700 million was spent by all 33 Senate candidates themselves in 2012, and adding an additional 38% from outside sources, that would put the cost of the 2012 Senate election from all sources close to $1 billion for just the 33 seats. For the whole lot of 100 Senators, then, we are in reality talking $3 billion for the whole Senate, plus the $5 billion for the whole House in that snapshot of time in 2012, for a total of $8 billion.

That makes your Senator a $30 million target, while your representative is a paltry $11.5 million one by comparison.

You could fix 72% of what's wrong with our politics in this country in an instant by repealing the popular election of Senators.

Just undo it. 

Total Market Capitalization to GDP Ratio for the third and final estimate of 2Q GDP

Total market cap on June 30th: $25.0353 trillion

Final estimate of 2Q GDP: $17.3282 trillion

Ratio at the end of June 2014: 1.445

Ratio at year end 1981: 0.480

Ratio at year end 2000: 1.420

Ratio at year end 2008: 0.740

SELL! (imho)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The difference between AIDS and Ebola

AIDS doesn't liquify your internal organs within two weeks of infection.

E.B.O.L.A.

Enjoy Barack Obama's legacy, America.

Friday, October 17, 2014

S&P500 swoon is really not much to date, despite the volatility

The index at 1886.76 is about 6% off the peak reached on September 18.

Down 10% would qualify as a correction, down 20% as a bear market.

It's still a great time to sell! Your Peter Cundill sell markers are roughly S&P500 1900, 1700 and 1500, depending on how much you want to risk losing. 

The dollar closed tonight at 85.19

The 52-week high was 86.746 on October 3. The 52-week low was 78.906 on May 8, just five months ago.

I don't find that big of a move in so short a space very encouraging yet. A stable price at a high level is better. Let's see what it can do.

Gold and oil tonight are fairly valued one to the other

The gold/oil ratio comes in at 14.973, which is effectively par.

Gold is $1239 the ounce, oil $82.75 the barrel.

Bank Failure Friday is back with the fifteenth in 2014 in the state of Maryland

NBRS Financial, Rising Sun, Maryland, failed tonight, costing the FDIC $24.3 million. It is bank failure number fifteen in 2014.

FDIC insured institutions number 6,656 through June.

Miles traveled in August 2014 in the USA made for the best August since 2008

The trend begun in April 2014 continues in August, making six straight months of echoes off 2008.

Miles traveled in August 2008 in the category of 12 month moving average were 2.996 trillion. In August 2014 the figure was 2.976 trillion, a level first surpassed in 2005. The peak year remains 2007, at 3.034 trillion miles traveled, 12 month moving average.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Amber Vinson was told by CDC she could fly on Monday, on Wednesday CDC tells airline she may have been already symptomatic

Committing malpractice in spades, the Centers for Disease Consumption told the infected Ebola nurse Amber Vinson she could fly on Monday even though she told them she had a fever, reported here:

Vinson told CBS Dallas Fort Worth that she was feeling ill before boarding her flight. She had a low grade fever, but she said that officials told her it was okay to get on the plane. Vinson told CBS that she called the CDC several times with concerns.

Ebola is only contagious when a patient is symptomatic. Vinson's 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit fever wasn't high enough to be considered a symptom.

The CDC confirmed to FOX 4 News that they gave Vinson the green light to fly. "Vinson was not told that she could not fly," a government spokesperson told NBC News.

Vinson's comments contradict remarks made earlier today by CDC Director Tom Freiden, who said that she never should have gotten on the plane.

On Wednesday night, a letter from Frontier Airlines CEO Dave Siegel to airline employees claimed that the CDC had notified the airline that Vinson may have had symptoms while on the flight, The Denver Channel reported. "At 1:55 p.m. MDT (Wednesday) Frontier was notified by the CDC that the passenger may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected; including the possibility of possessing symptoms while onboard the flight," the letter said. This would conflict with CDC's earlier statement that she didn't have symptoms of the illness while she was on the flight and didn't start showing symptoms until Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Infected Texas Ebola nurse shouldn't have been allowed on a domestic flight, but it's OK for Liberians to travel to the USA

Thomas Frieden, MD, director of the CDC and red diaper doper baby graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University, quoted here today:

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that a second Dallas nurse who has been infected with Ebola shouldn’t have traveled halfway across the country on a commercial flight the day before she reported her possible illness. New measures are being put into place to ensure that other health-care workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first victim of Ebola in the U.S., are restricted from travel as long as they are being monitored for symptoms of the disease, said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “She [Amber Joy Vinson] should not have been on that plane,” Dr. Frieden said to reporters of the health-care worker, who he said had a temperature of 99.5 the day she flew.

But here he was on October 3 arguing for an open border with West Africa:

“Even if we tried to close the border, it wouldn’t work,” the top health official added. “People have a right to return. People transiting through could come in. And it would backfire, because by isolating these countries, it’ll make it harder to help them, it will spread more there and we’d be more likely to be exposed here.”

Oh, but closing borders within the US will work? And people here don't have a right to return home, which is what Ms. Vinson was doing?

If Duncan had never come here, we wouldn't have all these problems in Texas and now Ohio today, and two Americans with infections with a disease which is a death sentence wouldn't have them.

Frieden and Obama should be in jail, where we can limit the infection they spread.

America's engine of credit creation, housing, is still flat on its back despite recovery from the bottom

America's engine of credit creation, new housing starts, is still flat on its back despite a recovery from the bottom. The fact of the matter is, we have recovered TO the historic lows, that is all, to 955,000 annualized through the first half of 2014.

The total level of mortgage liability, a key component of total credit market debt outstanding, the growth of which has hit the wall, has been in steady decline over the period as well. Since 2008 it has declined from peak level at $10.7 trillion then to $9.4 trillion today, down over 12%. In the prior 6 year period, by contrast, total mortgage liability level increased 90% during the so-called housing bubble, and for the 6 year period prior to that 60%.

A second Texas hospital worker is confirmed with Ebola, thanks to Obama's failure to restrict travelers from West Africa

Reported here 45 minutes ago by CNBC.

Duncan died on October 8th. His second victim reported fever yesterday, the 14th.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Stupid Frenchman's solution to American capitalism is to make it even less capitalistic than it already is

He wants to prohibit you from selling "too soon", here:

"[I]f you want to hire someone else to manage your money, whether a mutual fund or a private equity fund or a hedge fund, you have to lock up your money for 15 years."

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Not a word in this guy's story about, for example, soaring corporate stock buybacks, suspension of mark-to-market accounting rules, the recently increased long-term capital gains tax rate, the much higher tax penalty for earning a big paycheck than for profiting from a big stock sale, nor the existence of long and short term gains in the first place, all of which are anti-free-market.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's a lie that Liberians were denied ZMAPP: three got it and two of them survived Ebola

Reported by ABC here on August 26th, but race-baiters in this country never mention it:

MONROVIA, Liberia – Two African health workers who received doses of the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp are set to be discharged from the hospital later this week, a Liberian health official told ABC News today. Three African health workers — two African doctors and one physician’s assistant — received the drug after contracting the virus earlier this month, according to Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who heads Ebola case management at Liberia’s health ministry. Though they were all showing signs of improvement at first, one of the doctors died on Aug. 24. He also had diabetes and hypertension, Massaquoi said. The remaining two patients improved soon after receiving the first of three doses of ZMapp — a cocktail of three antibodies meant to attack the virus. They are expected to be discharged on Friday.

Obama's illegal immigrant children brought in enterovirus 68 this summer, and now American children are dying from it

Reported here:

A 21-month-old girl is the first in the state of Michigan and second in the U.S. to die this year from a strain of the enterovirus that has infected more than 500 people across the nation, health officials said on Saturday.

Madeline Reid, who was stricken with Enterovirus D68(EV-D68), passed away late on Friday while being treated at the Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, hospital officials said in a statement. ...

More than 500 people, mostly children, in 43 states and the District of Columbia have been infected with EV-D68 since mid-August, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This week, the CDC said that a 4-year-old Eli Waller of New Jersey, who went to bed last month in seemingly good health and died in his sleep, was the first fatality linked directly to the strain of the virus.

Aside from Reid and Waller, at least four others infected with Enterovirus D68 have died this year, although the CDC said it is unclear what role the virus played in their deaths.

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But of course it's a lie that only 500 have been infected. Over 900 patients were seen in Colorado alone during the end of the summer season suddenly presenting with symptoms caused by the virus. And the article elsewhere tries to make it sound like the particular strain is common in the US when it's not.

We are being systematically lied to by the CDC, Obama, the IRS, the State Department . . ..

Outrageous race-baiter Robin Wright for CNN won't tell you Duncan got brincidofovir

People like Robin Wright belong in the dustbin of history along with Obama.

Here she is insinuating Duncan the Dallas Ebola victim didn't get treated like a white person would be:

Louise [Duncan's girlfriend] refused to allow her last name to be used for fear of repercussions. Unfortunately, doctors and the pharmaceutical developer said there was no longer any ZMapp left for Duncan or any other victim. But the imagery that accompanied his plight lingers: Whites can be flown to the United States or Europe at any expense, while Africans are left to die unattended on the streets of Liberia or Sierra Leone. Or now, without ZMapp, in Dallas.

But the Associated Press reports here that doctors did everything they could for Duncan, including giving him experimental drugs from North Carolina, with the FDA's blessing:

Just after midnight Oct. 4, Duncan went into multiple organ failure. By morning, a shipment of brincidofovir arrived and Duncan got the first dose.

Ebola is just the symptom: Obama is the disease


Texas hospital employee gets Ebola: Obama should be assigned to her nursing team instead of to the presidency


Saturday, October 11, 2014

VGPMX at 9.63 hasn't been this cheap since 2003

The 2009 low was 9.73.

The thing is, the historical low water mark for this sector fund, which is a stock fund not a pure metals fund, was in August 1998 at 5.05. You could really lose your shirt in this fund even at this bargain price. I'd look for a broader stock market correction than the current 5% before I even thought about it more seriously.

On January 2, 2002 this fund was at 8.56. Following the Peter Cundill rule, you would have sold your entire initial investment in this fund at that price by late 2003 and recouped it because it would have doubled already at 17.12. (Often the easy money is made quickly off the lows, but it did take until February 2002 for the 5.05 price to double to 10.10, not quite four years.) The all-time high for this fund at 40.02 in May 2008 did not come until almost five years later.

US Federal Reserve continues to fail against deflationary headwinds

Bloomberg reports here:

The Fed needs a clear strategy for getting the inflation rate higher after falling short of its 2 percent target for 28 consecutive months. ...

Prices fell 1.2 percent for the 12 months ending in July 2009, when the economy had just exited the recession, according to the inflation measure the Fed uses, the personal consumption expenditures price index. Unemployment that month was 9.5 percent. Since Fed officials first published their inflation target in January 2012, the index has averaged 1.5 percent. ...

The 2 percent inflation objective first appeared in a January 2012 statement on longer-run policy goals, and has been restated each January since. The statements say nothing about tactics for returning inflation to 2 percent over the medium term.


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The all-items consumer price index shows the same thing, with the average of the annual average change at just +1.59% for each of the five years 2009-2013. In the most recently completed year, 2013, the change from 2012 was just +1.46%. And year over year on August 1, 2014, the change has been just +1.69%.

Despite a balance sheet for all Federal Reserve banks which appears to have peaked at $4.459 trillion on September 24th as QE prepares to end and excess reserves only slightly off peak at $2.677 trillion, inflation is slim to none in this economy, and slim just left the building.

In point of fact, these numbers are nearly meaningless in the face of the real deflation in the economy, which has nothing to do with prices but with credit. Total credit market debt is hardly expanding at all. Compared to the post-war record, where credit creation has doubled on average about every eight years, we have hit a brick wall since 2007.

At that time total credit market debt outstanding stood at $50 trillion. Seven years later it is barely $57.5 trillion, and there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that next year it will be at $100 trillion or anywhere close to that.

What we are witnessing is the unraveling of the post-war credit based economy, and no one seems to have a clue how to fix that, least of all the US Federal Reserve.



The irony: The Arab street views the Christian West as as anti-capitalist as itself

From Hernando de Soto, here:

For the poor in many Arab states, it can take years to do something as simple as validating a title to real estate. At a recent conference in Tunisia, I told leaders, “You don’t have the legal infrastructure for poor people to come into the system.” “You don’t need to tell us this,” said one businessman. “We’ve always been for entrepreneurs. Your prophet chased the merchants from the temple. Our prophet was a merchant!” ...

All too often, the way that Westerners think about the world’s poor closes their eyes to reality on the ground. In the Middle East and North Africa, it turns out, legions of aspiring entrepreneurs are doing everything they can, against long odds, to claw their way into the middle class. And that is true across all of the world’s regions, peoples and faiths. Economic aspirations trump the overhyped “cultural gaps” so often invoked to rationalize inaction.


As countries from China to Peru to Botswana have proved in recent years, poor people can adapt quickly when given a framework of modern rules for property and capital. The trick is to start. We must remember that, throughout history, capitalism has been created by those who were once poor.


Friday, October 10, 2014

News flash: most women in southeast Michigan want peters

Don't they everywhere?

Moochelle flubs Braley name in Iowa stump speech six times, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan ripped for similar number of mentions that she's a mom

Politico, here:

After calling him “Bruce Bailey” at least five or six times during her remarks at a campaign event, even directing people to ‘vote.BruceBailey.com,’ an audience member eventually corrected the first lady.

Breitbart, here:

“In case you were wondering, @TerriLLand mentioned she's a mom with kids six times during the #MICalling show,” Chad Livengood, a reporter for the Detroit News, tweeted.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Faggot States of America (in passionate purple)


























Notice that the non-gay-marriage states are all in yellow, the color of cowardice, as in homophobia.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Americans have been content to keep over $1 trillion in checking accounts for the last year


































Or should I say they have been desperate, because they have been earning nothing on it? The feeling before August 2008 going back all the way into the 1970s, thirty-five years!, meant Americans felt comfortable with 3 to 4-times less cash on hand for immediate withdrawal. The panic of 2008 continues.

Net balances first moved above $1 trillion in October 2013, but notably have surged to that level since August 2008 out of all proportion with the historical record. 

Supremes let stand lower court rulings overturning state marriage laws, Rush Limbaugh misreports it

Rush Limbaugh opened the show today incorrectly saying the Supremes' ruling sent the matter back to the states when in fact allowing the lower court rulings to stand effectively validates the power of lower courts to strip the states of the power to define marriage for themselves. Someone in the office evidently told Rush he got it exactly backwards, and now he's been spending a few minutes correcting himself and beating a trail to put the focus on matters which are trivial by comparison, like the liberals' hypocrisy in ignoring Joe Biden's most recent offensive gaffes.

Combined with John Boehner's recent funding of openly gay GOP candidates, it is clear that real conservatives no longer have a home in the Republican Party, which is repudiating its former support for such laws in the states, and neither do they have a voice on the Rush Limbaugh radio program.

Conservatives who intend to vote for Republicans next month, or Democrats or libertarians for that matter, should have their heads examined, and their souls exorcised.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Temperature anomaly for Grand Rapids, Michigan, through September 2014 rises to -27.0 degrees F

The September temperature anomaly for Grand Rapids, Michigan, came to -0.7 degrees F. Added to the cumulative anomaly of -26.3 through August, the annual anomaly through September now totals -27.0 degrees F. That's an average to date of -3.0 degrees F per month.

Hahahahaha: Obama decries income inequality after $50k/plate fundraiser











































h/t John Kass

The New York Times speaks out against free-trade


Since the 1970s, economic orthodoxy has argued for low tariffs, free capital flows, elimination of industrial subsidies, deregulation of labor markets, balanced budgets and low inflation. This philosophy — later known as the Washington Consensus — was the basis of advice the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gave to developing countries in return for financial help. The irony is that during the Industrial Revolution, today’s rich countries — Britain, France and the United States — pursued the very opposite policies: high tariffs, government investment in industry, financial regulations and fixed values for currencies. Trade expanded, and capital flowed anyway. ... Nations that have ignored the nostrums of the Washington Consensus — China, India and Brazil — have grown rapidly and raised their standards of living. Improvements in poverty and inequality occurred in Latin America only in the 2000s, after the I.M.F. and the World Bank reduced their grip on those nations.

Friday, October 3, 2014

46,486,434 Americans received food stamps in July

The figure is down 2.4% from a year ago, according to the report released today.

11.2 million fewer people contribute to the economy today than in 2007

You'll have to do the math.

Rick Newman, here:

... there are still more than 16 million Americans who are unemployed or working less than they want because they can’t find a good full-time job. That’s 4.2 million more than in 2007.

Many others have dropped out of the labor force, which shows up in the numbers as a 3.3 percentage point drop in the participation rate since 2007. That might not seem like a big number, but it represents something like 7 million people who would be working or looking for work if they hadn’t dropped out. Combined with all the unemployed and underemployed, that’s a lot of people who are contributing less to the economy than they would have in a 2007 scenario.


The other big bummer is hourly wages, which have barely risen since 2007 when factoring in inflation. And that’s just for people with jobs. If you included people who used to have jobs but no longer do, the earnings number would be negative, which is why median household income is still far below where it was in 2007. That means people with jobs are barely staying even with inflation, on average, while the ranks of the economically distressed have swollen significantly.


Dallas Ebola vomit wasn't cleaned off the sidewalk for four days, and then improperly

Meanwhile, things Duncan contaminated filled 140 barrels.
The UK Telegraph, here:

Q: Was the ambulance trip to hospital handled properly?
A: On Sept 28 [Sunday] the daughter of his girlfriend brought Duncan tea in bed and found him shivering and sick. An ambulance was called. When it arrived neighbours witnessed him vomiting on the ground outside the apartment as he was placed in the emergency vehicle. No extra precautions were taken for the ambulance ride despite the fact he was Liberian and showing possible symptoms of Ebola. The ambulance was used for another 48 hours before being taken out of service. After his eventual diagnosis the three ambulance workers were told to stay home until they get the all clear. Meanwhile, it took until Thursday for workmen ... using high-pressure water jets and bleach to clean the area outside the apartment where he had been sick.

Unemployment drops to 5.9%, September jobs added were 248,000

Jobs are being added at the rate of 213,000 per month in the prior twelve months according to the report from the BLS (In 2013 population increased 187,000 per month). The average workweek is up .1 to 34.6 hours. Average hourly earnings were down a penny to $24.53. Those working usually part-time are 900,000 fewer in number than at the peak first reached in March 2010. Those working usually full-time are 3.4 million fewer in number than in the peak year of 2007. People working part-time but who want to be full-time are 2.6 million more in number than in the same month in 2007. The percentage of the population working, after falling dramatically after the election of Obama in November 2008 from 61.6 to 57.6 by January 2011, remains subdued at 1973 levels, at 59.1%.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to sell the S&P500 in a bull market using the "Cundill" sell point

The Peter Cundill Sell is the principle that you sell half of your investment once it doubles, recovering 100% of the principal you risked. 

Assume you invested at the last S&P500 closing low, which was on March 9, 2009, at S&P 500 676.53. You multiply times 2 = 1,353.06, and sell half your holdings when the S&P500 rises to that level, according to the idea.

But the S&P500, for example, hit that level way back on April 27, 2011 at 1,355.66. So you doubled your money a long time ago, sold half your stake and recouped your entire principal. But then what? Cundill thought you were free to do anything with the remaining amount invested (which are the profits). The principal has to be reserved for another doubling opportunity.

What would a conservative bet with just the profits have meant from there?

Say you were to wager that the S&P500 would increase not 100% more as before, but only 25% more, because the S&P500 would have to hit 2706.12 to do the former. You are not greedy, just optimistic, you say. Is that a conservative plan? Maybe compared to what has just happened since 2009, but not really, because since 1970 the median annual return only has been north of 12%, half as much as that.

So you decide to let the profits ride, hoping for just an additional 12% on the index going forward. Here are the milestones of 12% from 1,353.06 up to today's current market level (1,949) at each of which you presumably sold half of your stake, gradually exiting the market and its growing risk:

1515.43 (February 2013)
1697.28 (July 2013)
1900.95 (May 2014).

An initial $10,000 invested this way made you $10,000 by April 2011 (not counting dividends).
The remaining $10,000 made you $1,200 by February 2013.
The remaining $5,600 made you $672 by July 2013.
The remaining $3,136 made you $376 by May 2014.

Since then you've had only $1,756 riding the market, making an additional 2.5% to date, or an additional $44. Total made: about $12,292 nominal. And you sell today.

By way of contrast, the buy and hold investor over the same period is up about $18,700, assuming he bought in low like you did and sells . . . TODAY. But trust me. He didn't buy low. And he won't sell today, tomorrow, in time to escape the correction, or any other time. He'll just ride it on down right past the 35% down marker at which point he'd begin waving up at you as he's headed lower. 

Jobless claims in September, not seasonally adjusted, have averaged just 236,000 weekly

Jobless claims in September have now averaged just 236,000 weekly as of this morning's report, the equivalent of an annual rate of just 12.3 million first time claims for unemployment.

Claims in August had averaged 253,000 weekly, down over 18% from July's 310,000 weekly. The average for the whole first half of the year was 326,000 weekly, so the current low level well below 300,000 sustained for two straight months is very welcome news at least for job holders.

With claims averaging 266,000 weekly at midpoint in the second half, it is conceivable that total claims in 2014 could come in under the 16 million mark, which would beat the best performance for initial claims achieved since 2000 (under George Bush). That will require claims averaging no more than about 310,000 weekly for the last three months of 2014. The last two months show that that low level is possible.

Stock futures a half hour after the report are nonplussed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

At 10.01 VGPMX is tonight again below the March 2009 low of 10.04

Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining is looking attractive once again, revisiting the territory of December 2013 when the fund briefly dipped below 10.00 to 9.69 or so. If a real stock market correction of 10% or more makes an appearance at long last, I'd expect the fund to fall in price quite a bit more, this sector fund being a stock fund. A stock market bear of 20% or more might actually take the NAV much lower, with the vicinity of 5.00 being not inconceivable.

ABA survey finds internet banking declines from 39% of customers in 2013 to 31% in 2014

Branch banking is up from 18% of customers in 2013 to 21% this year in the survey even as the number of branches has fallen back to 2006 levels, at 94,715.

Reported here.