Janet Yellen and the FOMC have spoken (in dovish tones) and now so has WSJ's own Fed whisperer Jon Hilsenrath, whose pre-packaged missive (penned under the now default 20 minute pre-release embargo) rehashes essentially what we discussed earlier today.
In short, the jobs market is telling the Fed one thing ("continued imporovement", although Yellen is apparently looking for a bit more), while inflation (held down by lackluster Chinese demand which has in turn exacerbated a global deflationary supply glut) is saying something different, setting up a "cliffhanger" split decision in September and a tentative 25 bps trial balloon hike at the December meeting because after all, at some point Yellen will have to test the waters to discover if an "exit" is even possible without sending Wall Street into an all out panic.
Here's Hilsenrath's 593-word take via WSJ on the Fed's 539-word statement:
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates near zero but cited progress in the U.S. job market, a sign it remains on course to raise interest rates in September or later this year.
At the same time, however, it flagged a nagging concern about low inflation, which is creating caution among officials and could convince them to delay the day of the first increase.
The Fed concluded its two-day policy meeting with a decision to leave its benchmark federal funds interest rate near zero, setting officials up for a potentially difficult call at the meeting to be held September 16-17.
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said officials expect to raise rates this year. The central bank has three scheduled policy meetings left to act, September being the next one. Wednesday’s policy statement didn’t send an overt signal about timing, giving the Fed an option for action by September but not a clear commitment to it.
Central to the Fed’s thinking is how it perceives its progress in achieving its “dual mandate” of maximum employment and inflation near 2%.
The Fed has said it will raise rates when it has seen improvement in the job market and becomes “reasonably confident” inflation is on course to return to 2%.
The jobless rate has declined from 10% in 2009 to 5.3% in July, but the Fed’s preferred measures of inflation have remained below 2% for more than three straight years. While progress on the jobs front makes officials inclined to act, while the persistent failure to reach the inflation goal makes them hesitate.
Officials in their policy statement cited “solid job gains” and declining unemployment. The characterization of hiring gains was an upgrade from the Fed’s June policy statement, which noted job gains had picked up. The Fed also slightly tweaked its assessment of slack in the job market, saying underutilization of labor market resources had diminished, striking an earlier qualification that slack had diminished “somewhat.”
The new statement included another small hint that officials see themselves getting closer to the full employment goal. For months they have said they wanted to see “additional improvement in the labor market” before being convinced it is time to rais rates. In Wednesday’s statement they said they wanted to see “some” additional inmprovement, suggesting they see themselves nearing their threhsold on the jobs front for action.
As before, the Fed said the economy has been expanding moderately, and cited gains consumer spending and housing investment.
At the same time, however, they said inflation continued to run below the Fed’s 2% objective and said they were continuing to monitor inflation developments closely, a sign of some trepidation about its low level.
The benchmark federal funds rate has been near zero since December 2008, or 2,417 straight days.
The low rate is meant to spur economic activity by encouraging households and businesses to borrow, spend and invest. A worry for the Fed is that it might also spur another bubble like the one in housing that crippled the economy during the 2007-2009 recession.
International economic developments also weigh on officials as they plot a course for the remainder of the year. Slowing growth in China and other emerging markets is putting downward pressure on the price of commodities and manufactured goods imported into the U.S.
Fed officials have described these developments as transitory. In their June policy statement, they noted that energy prices had stabilized, a sign they believed this source of downward inflation pressure had diminished. In Wednesday’s statement they struck the reference stable energy prices, nodding to a renewed drop in oil prices that materialized in recent weeks.
The Fed voted 10-0 on the action, the fifth straight meeting with a unanimous outcome.
So as we tipped earlier, "nothing today, almost certainly nothing in September, and a small rate hike in December just to show it's possible. The question then is will this send the dollar surging even more, and lead to an even more acute crash in corporate profitability, one which not even buybacks and non-GAAP addbacks can save."
With no press conference, expectations were muted going in (aside from the ubiquitous VIX-dip, equity market rip that happens at every FOMC meeting) but seemed to hint at delaying a September/December liftoff is on the cards - needing more job improvement...
- *FED SAYS LABOR MARKET CONTINUED TO IMPROVE, JOB GAINS `SOLID'
- *FED REPEATS RISKS TO ECONOMY, JOB OUTLOOKS `NEARLY BALANCED'
- *FED: RATE TO RISE AFTER `SOME FURTHER' JOB MARKET IMPROVEMENT
And so the confusion continues... the jobs market is telling the Fed one thing, while inflation (held down by a lackluster Chinese demand which has in turn exacerbated a global deflationary supply glut) is saying something different, and remember 25bps doesn't matter (just like subprime was "contained"). Full redline below.
Pre-Fed: S&P Futs 2096.00, 10Y 2.2880%, Gold $1095, EURUSD 1.1050, VIX 12.92
As usual VIX was crushed:
But broadly, bonds have led and stocks lagged since the June Fed meeting...
But a data dependent Fed may have a problem convicing the world that they are hiking rates for anything but total horror at the asset bubbles they have blown... because macro data has faded again...
* * *
- *FOMC VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS
- *FED SAYS LABOR SLACK `HAS DIMINISHED' SINCE EARLY THIS YEAR
- *FED REPEATS ECONOMY `EXPANDING MODERATELY' IN RECENT MONTHS
- *FED REPEATS IT WANTS TO BE `REASONABLY CONFIDENT' ON INFLATION
- *FED SAYS BUSINESS INVESTMENT, NET EXPORTS STAYED SOFT
- *FED REPEATS MKT-BASED INFLATION COMPENSATION GAUGES REMAIN LOW
This is the 54th straight Fed meeting with no rate hike. We now await Jon Hilsenrath (absent a press conference) to explain what The Fed means.
* * *
The Key Statement:
it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market
Which implies a delay or more dovish stance even though it contrasts with the addition of the word "solid" when describing the labor market:
The labor market continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment.
The last notable change: "energy prices appear to have stabilized" was removed from the June statement, and for good reason.
Full blueline below.
And perhaps more intteresting, the FOMC word count has largely normalized, and at 539, is down to levels not seen since August 2012:
* * *
And finally (h/t @RudyHavenstein) - this sing seems to be wasted now...
Gazing from the windows of the International Space Station with your economic eyeglasses on, earth is now a pool of festering asset bubbles ready to burst with The FOMC not about to ruin that party anytime soon. Not to be left out, astronaut Terry Virts created his very own effervescence as bubbles have now reached space...
- Austrian decision to renege on guarantees made to junior bondholders overturned
- Court does not overrule bail-ins per se
- Bail-in legislation still in place across Europe
- EU deadline to implement bail-in legislation by end of this month
- Depositors - savers and capital of SMEs exposed to bail-ins
An attempt by Austria to bail-in junior bondholders at the Heta “bad bank” has been overturned by the highest court in the country.
Last year Austria passed legislation which annulled guarantees previously given by the state of Carinthia to bondholders of Heta, effectively writing off €890 million.
Heta was set up to manage the assets of failed lender Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank. Carinthia state had guaranteed around €10 billion of Heta debt - a figure which dwarfed its own revenue more than four fold, which eventually forced the Federal government to cover the guarantee.
The ruling does not outlaw “bail-ins” per se. It simply ensures that guarantees given to bondholders cannot be retrospectively revoked.
The Austrian government has ploughed €5.5 billion of taxpayers’ money into Heta. When auditors found a €7.6 billion hole in its balance sheet in March the government said it would not pay “one single euro” more to the bad bank which is to be wound down.
A debt moratorium is in place - based on the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) which makes “bail-ins” the norm across the EU - while the process is worked out. The bondholders who had been burned will now enter that program.
However, court president Gerhardt Holzinger says “he expects to deal with more complaints about…Heta’s debt moratorium,” according to Bloomberg.
Bail-in legislation is still in place across Europe. The European Commission recently threatened to take legal action against those nations who had not yet ratified the BRRD and gave them just two months (until the end of July) to adopt the new EU bail-ins rules. The BRRD purports to protect taxpayers from the need to bail out banks but appears to be again favouring the interests of large banks over those of prudent savers and indeed small and medium size enterprises who could have their savings confiscated.
Under the legislation, government guarantees on bank deposits - usually up to a value of €100,000 - are being quietly disposed of. In their place will be a type of insurance fund paid into by the banks which will be woefully inadequate.
Must read guides on bail-ins:
From Bail-Outs To Bail-Ins: Risks and Ramifications – Includes 60 Safest Banks In World
Today’s AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,096.75, EUR 991.01 and GBP 701.65 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM LBMA Gold Price was USD 1,095.60, EUR 990.06 and GBP 702.13 per ounce.
Gold and silver on the COMEX both rose marginally yesterday - to $1,095.60/oz and $14.68/oz.
Global gold demand fell in the second quarter as China poured funds into equities which had promised better returns according to GFMS. Chinese stocks have collapsed by 30% in recent weeks - a real case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Imports by India dropped to the lowest in five quarters, the quarterly report said yesterday.
A plunge in Chinese share prices from mid-June has not helped bullion in the short term according to the report. However, we believe that the plunge in Chinese stocks will be bullish in the long term as the Chinese again realise the importance of gold as a safe haven asset.
GFMS is optimistic that global demand and prices could start to pick up in the final quarter of the year. China and India are the world's top gold buyers and demand for the entire year is expected to be elevated and near record levels seen in recent years.
This morning in European trading, silver for immediate delivery is 0.4 percent lower at $14.70 an ounce. Spot platinum rose 0.3% percent to $990 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.5% percent to $626 an ounce.
Learn the importance of owning allocated, segregated gold that you can take delivery of here
Breaking News and Research Here
Global oil prices have returned to a state of flux. This is hardly news to any who follow the oil markets closely and yet prices continue to drive international headlines.
While oil prices are notoriously difficult to predict, it has failed to deter the speculators. There are those warning that the latest dip is a precursor for $40 a barrel, a catastrophe for oil markets in some minds. On the other end of the spectrum are the optimists betting on a return to $100 by 2020. The World Bank has taken a typically middle-of-the-road approach, with forecasts of $57 a barrel in 2015.
That said, given Iran’s potential revitalization, Russia’s murky outlook, and U.S. shale supply limits uncertain, prices will be responsive to supply and demand trends; at least in the short to medium term.
The Iran deal could be a game changer for global oil supply. Lifting oil sanctions could pave the way for foreign capital to return to the country, contributing to a resurgent Iranian oil industry.
The Iranian oil ministry is optimistic about the nation’s recovery, predicting 400,000 barrels per day of exports almost immediately and an additional 600,000 barrels per day over six months.
Such a swift return is unlikely.
Iran was once the second largest oil producer in OPEC before Europe banned purchases of its crude in 2012. Since then, oil production has declined from around 3.6 million barrels per day in 2011to just 2.85 million barrels today.
The nation is still OPEC’s fourth largest producer but its output is far closer to Mexico’s than Saudi Arabia’s. Oil exports have declined by 1 million barrels per day during this time.
Iran has significant onshore and offshore reserves but has lacked the technical capacity and capital to develop them in line with its ambitions.
Executives from Shell have reportedly met with Iranian officials to express their interest in re-entering Iran. U.S. companies, meanwhile, risk losing out unless Congress decides to lift its own decades-old restrictions on dealing with Tehran.
In an era of low oil prices, Iran has among the cheapest oil to produce at an estimated cost of $5 - $10 per barrel. The nation’s strategic geographic position between European and Asian markets is also attractive. European and Asian companies - unfettered by the limits on their U.S. competitors - will no doubt take advantage of this high-risk but high-reward opportunity.
Still, a return to 2011 production levels will take time, as will its impact on global oil supply and prices.
That Russia’s economy is struggling is no secret. But in spite of severe economic and political crises, Russia’s crude output has continued to grow. Earlier this year, Lukoil Vice President Leonid Fedun warned that Russia’s output could fall by 800,000 barrels per day. A lack of investment may indeed eventually catch up with Russian production but in the meantime, like the U.S., oil supplies will continue to rise.
U.S. oil producers have also defied expectations as shale oil production continues apace. Efficiency gains and cost savings have allowed innovative producers to elude assumptions about the price floor for shale, for the moment at least.
Of course, all is not rosy for shale producers. Tens of thousands of oil workers have lost their jobs, companies have lost value, and some have gone bust. And the question remains how low they can really go and how long they can last – particularly those already incurring losses but holding out in the hope of a price recovery.
Still one would be foolish to dismiss shale producers’ resilience and without a doubt the U.S. will remain a key player in the global oil supply outlook.
In the longer term, another factor too often left out of the debate is the knock-on effect of slashed exploration budgets across the oil majors and national oil companies. Projects have been suspended, and companies are demonstrating increased caution in frontier – high risk – areas. This is a trend already apparent in the Western Hemisphere as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and others jockey for a smaller pool of exploration funds.
But this is just the supply-side of the equation. On the demand side, the International Energy Agency’s latest oil market report shows demand slowing in 2016. This would indicate a continued resistance to oil prices returning to anything resembling the pre-2014 fall.
Overall, the trends may be clear but the prices are not. For planning purposes alone, the only thing worse than low oil prices is market volatility and uncertainty will continue to rule in the short to medium term. In the meantime, oil price speculation – while entertaining – is a poor reflection of market reality.
16 Months after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared off the coast of Malaysia, The Telegraph reports that fragments of a wing washed up in the French island of Reunion (near Madagascar) could be wreckage from the missing plane, according to an aviation expert.
Vareious consipracy theories surrounded the plane's disappearance...
Xavier Tytelman, a former military pilot who now specialises in aviation security, was contacted on Wednesday morning by a man living on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. The man sent Mr Tytelman a series of photos showing wreckage of a plane, which the Frenchman said could possibly be the missing jet.
"I've been studying hundreds of photos and speaking to colleagues," Mr Tytelman told The Telegraph. "And we all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370.
"Police in Reunion examining the wreckage say that it looks like it's been in the water for around a year, which again would fit with MH370. We can't say for certainty, but we do think there is a chance that this is it."
The wing fragment....
And an expert explains...
— Xavier Tytelman (@PeurAvion) July 29, 2015
Where the wing fragment was found...
* * *
Writing on his blog, Mr Tytlemann explains, (via Translate)
The day starts with an innocuous call of the meeting. Was found on the beach of debris that resemble those of an aircraft wing. A few photos later, no certainty, that it is actually a piece of plane (asymmetry above/below). Too convex, not deep enough, the piece doesn't look like yet the wing of a modern airliner or a recreational tourism plane.
The AvGeek team was then launched in the search. It is a forum in which pilots, aviation specialists and enthusiasts share away from prying, allowing all hypotheses... ideas abound and lead on the most likely: the box of an airliner.
Remains is to define what aircraft, and we are launching in the comparison of hundreds of photos of airliners. The missing element will come from a driver, LustuCrewfriend, who sends me the Boeing 777 flaperons patterns.
The similarity is amazing,"we can see the slot for the outboard actuator, the seal... "Here is the small made mounting:
Comparison between the flaperon of a B777 and the debris found at the meeting
Have found the first debris from the MH370, the Boeing 777 of the Malaysia Airlines been in March 2014 to the Australia wide without leaving any trace? The debris seems not very degraded and constables on the spot believe that they could be immersed for about a year...
A reference is also indicated on the debris: BB670. This code corresponds to the registration of an aircraft, or the serial number of a device. On the other hand, if this flaperon belongs to the MH370, it is clear that this reference will allow to identify rapidly. In a few days, we will have a definitive answer.
* * *
Months ago, when Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis, and their Syriza compatriots had just swept to power behind an ambitious anti-austerity platform and bold promises about a brighter future for the beleaguered Greek state, we warned that Greece was one or two vacuous threats away from being "digitally bombed back to barter status."
Subsequently, the Greek economy began to deteriorate in the face of increasingly fraught negotiations between Athens and creditors, with Brussels blaming the economic slide on Syriza’s unwillingness to implement reforms, while analysts and commentators noted that relentless deposit flight and the weakened state of the Greek banking sector was contributing to a liquidity crisis and severe credit contraction.
As of May, 60 businesses were closed and 613 jobs were lost for each business day that the crisis persisted without a resolution.
On the heels of Tsipras’ referendum call and the imposition of capital controls, the bottom fell out completely as businesses found that supplier credit was increasingly difficult to come by, leaving Greeks to consider the possibility that the country would soon face a shortage of imported goods.
On Tuesday, we brought you the latest on the Greek economy when we noted that according to data presented at an extraordinary meeting of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, retail sales have fallen 70%, while The Athens Medical Association recently warned that 7,500 doctors have left the country since 2010.
Now, the situation has gotten so bad that our prediction from February has come true. That is, Greece is reverting to a barter economy. Reuters has more:
Wild boar and power cuts were Greek cotton farmer Mimis Tsakanikas' biggest worries until a bank shutdown last month left him stranded without cash to pay suppliers, and his customers without money to pay him.
Squeezed on all sides, the 41-year-old farmer began informal bartering to get around the cash crunch. He now pays some of his workers in kind with his clover crop and exchanges equipment with other farmers instead of buying or renting machinery.
Tsakanikas is part of a growing barter economy that some Greeks deplore as a step backward from modernity, but others embrace as a practical means of short-term economic survival.
When he rented a field this month, he agreed to pay with part of his clover production.
"It's a nightmare. I owe many people money now - gas stations and firms that service machinery. I have to go to the bank every single day, and the money I can take out is not enough," said Tsakanikas, who also grows vegetables and corn on 148 acres (60 hectares) of farmland.
"I've begun bartering in some forms - it existed in the past but now it is growing... Times have become really tough, and friends and relatives help each other out."
So Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization and democratic governance, is now literally sliding backwards in history.
The nation - which has already suffered the humiliation of becoming the first developed country to default to the IMF and which was nearly reduced to accepting "humanitarian aid" from Brussels when a Grexit looked imminent a few weeks back - is now transacting in clover, hay, and cheese. Here’s Reuters again:
Tradenow, a Website started three years ago to facilitate barter of everything from food to technology, says the number of users and the volume of transactions have doubled since capital controls came into effect on June 29.
"Before capital controls, we were reaching out to companies to encourage them to register," says Yiannis Deliyiannis, the company's chief executive.
"Now companies themselves are getting in touch with us to get registered."
He rattles off a list of firms using the site to strike deals with suppliers: a car repairs shop that exchanged tyres with another firm for a new shower cubicle, a burglar alarm provider offering services in return for paper and advertising, an Athens butcher that trades daily meat supplies for services.
In the lush yellow and green fields outside Lamia dotted with cotton, peanut and olive groves, barter is also flourishing on an informal basis outside the online platforms.
Kostas Zavlagas, who produces cotton, wheat, and clover recounted how he gave bales of hay and machine parts to another farmer who did not have cash to pay him.
"He is going to pay me back in some sort of product when he is able to, maybe in cheese.”
Yes, "maybe in cheese", but certainly not in euros, especially if the growing divisions within Syriza render Athens unable to pass a third set of prior actions through parliament next week.
Should the vote not pass, it’s not clear if Greece will be able to obtain the funds it needs to pay €3.2 billion to the ECB on August 20 - a missed payment would endanger the liquidity lifeline that is the only thing keeping any euros at all circulating in the Greek economy.
On the bright side, "barter has been a part of everyday life for Greeks for a long time" economist Haris Lambropoulos told Reuters. The only difference is that now, "it is a more structured and organised phenomenon."
Maybe so, but this is one "structured and ordered phenomenon" that many Greeks would likely just as soon do without and indeed, the new barter economy is drawing comparisons to a period in Greece’s history that has gotten quite a bit of attention over the course of the last few months, and on that note, we’ll give the last word to Christos Stamatis, who runs the barter website Mermix:
"Of course, a barter economy is something that we shouldn't aspire to and should be a thing of the past - the last time we had it on a large scale was when we were under [Nazi] occupation."
If yesterday's 3 Year auction was far stronger than expected, then today's 5 Year auction was an absolute whopper, printing moments ago at a high yield of 1.625%, 0.5bps through the When Issued, but it was the internals that were most impressive, not so much the Bid to Cover which jumped from 2.39 to 2.58, the highest since November, but the real stunner just like in yesterday 3Y auction, was the central bank, aka Indirect, interest because while the foreign central bank bid in yesterday's 3 Year auction were the highest since 2009, today's 67.5% Indirect takedown was the strongest on record!
And the biggest surprise: this is happening precisely one hour ahead of a potentially pre-hiking FOMC statement, usually a time when there is no violent expression of interest in the one instrument that would be whacked the most should the Fed indeed hike.
In other words, foreign central banks have made it very clear how they feel about the possibility of a Fed rate hike not only today, but for the rest of 2015.
Biotech has a special place in the heart of the gambler investor. In the modern market where the average investor doesn't stand a chance, some of them indulge their hope and turn to lottery tickets. If only they can get the next Gilead or the next Amgen, they will become the next wildly successful "maverick" investor. More lottery tickets seem to be flying around than usual lately, floating alongside the recent biotech bubble. Some have doubted if this is a bubble. Maybe it's different this time. The SF Gate pondered this exact same question 15 years ago, and the market promptly replied.
On February 28, 2000, the SF Gate published an article called "Boom in Biotech Stocks Brings Back Memories of Bubbles Past, Industry observers say it won't burst like it did in '92." The SF Gate quoted "experts" like Steve Burrill, who said, "Prices may come down 10 percent, but not 50 percent." Earlier this month, Burrill was sued for embezzling $17 million. However, back in 2000, he was still an expert biotech investor. He noted, "We are still in the first leg of a biotech rally which we expect will last another decade." Here's what happened after the SF Gate published the article.
Now, 15 years later, we have yet another biotech bubble to contend with, and this time, even the Fed Chairman has been unable to successfully top tick this market.
In the new normal, it's important to identify investment opportunities with special technical trading patterns. One of my favorite patterns that I use to identify winning stocks is called the Six Flags Magic Mountain setup.
Until the SF Gate increases its biotech coverage, the coast is clear, and the Six Flags Magic Mountain setup will continue to be a sound investment strategy.
With China laser focused on propping up its manipulated markets, which over the course of the past month have become the laughing stock of "skeptics" everywhere for exposing just how rigged everything truly is (even as CNBC debates whether it is better to manipulate stocks via central bank QE or, as China is doing it, via direct buying of stocks), it is worth recalling that over the past year China has seen another, just a troublesome situation developing in the form of numerous territorial conflicts in the East and South China Seas primarily due to geopolitical bragging rights and natural resource claims.
As previously reported, China is currently pursuing a rapid program of artificial island construction in the South China Sea, despite being locked in disputes with several countries over its claims to almost the entire area.
And yet, even with Beijing focused on halting the market (and economic) carnage in recent weeks, the politburo found a way to remind its neighbors that China has no intention of allowing its domestic financial volatility derail its territorial expansion. It did so as part of a 10 day maritime training exercise which started last week, which culminating overnight when China’s navy carried out a "live firing drill" in the South China Sea to improve its maritime combat ability, state media has reported as tensions flare over the disputed waters.
According to the Guardian, the exercise on Tuesday involved at least 100 naval vessels, dozens of aircraft, missile launch battalions of the Second Artillery Corps and information warfare troops, Xinhua news agency said, citing navy sources.
It added that dozens of missiles and torpedoes, as well as thousands of shells and jamming bombs, were fired during the drill, which tested the navy’s air defense and early warning system. It also “improved its ability to react quickly”, Xinhua said.
China has rapidly expanded its navy in recent years, commissioning its first aircraft carrier in 2012 and adding to its submarine and surface fleets.
This is happening after last week Japan slammed Beijing’s bid to reclaim land there as a “coercive attempt” to make sweeping maritime claims that come as Tokyo is expanding the role of its own military. Ironically for the Abe cabinet, which indirectly asserts that its military expansion mandate is in response to threats from potential local foes (i.e., China), its recent resurgence in military ambitions resulted in Abe's cabinet recording its first majority disapproval rating of its tenure.
Unlike largely pacifist Japan, in China increasing militarism merely leads to a boost in "rally around the flag" morale, and greater patriotic support for the government.
Which is probably also why China was eager to release at least one clip showcasing its latest naval "live fire" military capabilities, as shown on the recording below.
By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at
Have you ever read John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men? It's part of the high school curriculum in many western countries. The story is of two lonely and alienated farm labourers in the depression. One, George, who is sharp and quick, and the other, Lennie, who is physically huge and strong but possesses the mind of a child.
Early on in the book the reader gets this sense of impending doom, yet Steinbeck draws the reader in. You find yourself wanting to find out what terrible fate awaits. It's an uncomfortable feeling as you begin to see this chain of events forming and you find yourself wanting to scream out warnings to the characters. As the story unfolds this sense of doom and the despair that goes with it is heightened as the inevitability and consequences of actions taken plays itself out. You realise early on that poor Lennie, the simpleton, is going to get into trouble, possibly horrible trouble, and as a reader there is not a damn thing you can do about it.
When I think about the Bank of Japan, I think about Lennie. Possibly well intentioned but totally out of depth with little idea of the immense problems ahead which will ultimately cause untold hardship.
Japan, as we know, have unimaginably huge debt. All ¥ 1,259,476,310,706,736 of it. In fact, this figure is already outdated since the debt is rising every second so let's simply agree it's large. So large that if it was human it would make Pavarotti look positively anorexic.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Enter Shinzo Abe. This guy was the first politician I know of that actually campaigned and won on a mandate to destroy a country's currency. This is like Novak Djokovic entering a grand slam tournament, promising to play wearing a straight jacket and blindfolded, and still receiving the highest odds at the bookies. It's completely nuts but it happened.
The standard line is that devaluing the yen is going to halt deflation, spur exports and bring about economic growth. This is the story told. It's a ridiculous concept parroted by Paul Krugman and the likes whose wet dream involves us all fighting imaginary aliens in order to become wealthier. No really, I'm not joking.
Unpayable debts won't be paid. This seems obvious and Japan has unpayable debts... sort off - a point I'll come to in a minute.
Kyle Bass, one of the most successful and intelligent investors on this ball of dirt today, has made no secret of his firm's bet against Japanese government bonds. The reasons for this are mathematical and easy to understand. Tax revenues, which are falling due to demographics, cannot keep up with existing, ever rising debts. With a government spending 1.4x what it takes in via taxes the budget deficit can only be made up with more debt. Hardly sustainable and a solid case for shorting JGBs.
Until recently I, too, would have wished to do what Kyle has been doing, which is buying credit default swaps. To participate in this requires a balance sheet well north of my own and as such these options are not available to me. As I review and rethink markets and opportunities - a never ending process for me - I've come to thinking that the short JGB premise may well be wrong.
Consider what we do know:
- We know that Japan's debts are unsustainable and we also know that they are demographically - how to say this kindly - screwed.
- We also know that Japanese pension funds have been the pillar that has held up the JGB market as they are the largest holders of Japanese government debt.
- We further know that these same pension funds have turned from net buyers to net sellers, not coincidentally due to the aforementioned demographic structure.
- We know that their debts are denominated in yen, the currency which the BOJ has the ability to print. This is an important point as I mentioned last week when discussinghow Greece is different.
Now, when your largest net buyer turns into your largest net seller the market reaction would logically be a rise in risk premiums, measured here in interest rates. This, given the debt load, would crush the bond market. Not something that the government of Japan would like. Humans will always act in their own self interest and the political class in Japan is no different. In order to keep their jobs they need to hold the bond market together.
What if the story about killing deflation, creating a stronger export market, thus increasing corporate profits, is just that, a story, and the real reason is less altruistic? What if, backed into a corner with no way out, the Abe government realised how desperately precarious their bond market is, and not wishing to preside over a collapse further realised that the ONLY way forward is to print yen in order to buy the bonds that are needed to be continuously issued, not to mention those bonds now being sold by the pension funds who've turned from net buyers to net sellers?
Remember, unlike Greece, Japan can do that. As I mentioned a minute ago, Japan has unpayable debts. Sort off. I say sort of because the the debts are denominated in yen, a currency they can print as much as they like of, and as such Japans debts can be paid at par. The value of the currency under those conditions is what matters here but they can actually pay the bonds at par.
This is the real reason the BOJ is weakening the yen. Not in order to "help" Japanese companies but in order to save their own jobs. They HAVE TO print yen to buy Japanese government bonds. It's that simple. That in itself weakens the yen but it's a result, not a cause. Abenomics is merely a smokescreen to sell the concept to the world.
What to Do?
Shorting the bond market amounts to standing in front of the mighty BOJ who can print as much yen as is necessary. Last week I discussed how the Asian crisis took hold. In particular, the key takeaway is that countries with foreign denominated debt are in a very different and more precarious position to those who issue the currency their debts are denominated in.
Shorting the yen therefore seems a cinch. Japan can never pay their debts and it's pretty much a given that as they keep issuing and buying bonds the yen will continue to decline until it goes away.
But Chris, the yen won't disappear, you might say.
Why not? They'll print it until they have to go and issue a new currency and at this point their debts have been wiped out. It would take a miraculous recovery of Japan's economy to pay their debts. As soon as the market finally realises this the depreciation we've seen so far which is mild will turn into a collapse. There is still time therefore to position ahead of the inevitable.
The only argument I can come up with against this scenario is if Abe decides to cut spending, let interest rates rise and stand in front of the tsunami of debt they've built up. He'd be the first politician in Japan's history to commit political seppuku.
Maybe I'm missing something and am always open to that "something". I haven't found it yet and until then I'm betting "Lennie" is going to kill something. I'm betting the BOJ kills the yen.
"Trouble with mice is you always kill em." - John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
On December 23 of this year, the Federal Reserve will be 99 years old. And throughout that 99 years, regardless of boom, bust, recession or Great Depression, the biggest Wall Street banks have been enjoying a 6 percent, risk-free return on the capital they hold at the Fed in the form of dividends.
Have you looked at your checking or money market bank statement lately from JPMorgan Chase or Citibank? How about the statement showing the interest you’re earning on your mortgage escrow account with the big banks? While the country suffers through the lingering effects of the Great Recession caused by the biggest Wall Street banks, the public typically receives less than 1 percent on their deposits at the big banks, while the government has legislated a permanent, risk-free 6 percent guarantee to the Wall Street banks for their capital on deposit at the Fed. Now that’s an entitlement program that needs to die!
This corporate welfare program gets even better: if the shares of stock were acquired prior to March 28, 1942, the 6 percent risk-free dividend is tax exempt and the bank doesn’t have to pay corporate taxes on it.
– From the excellent 2012 Wall Street on Parade article: Kill This Entitlement Program: The 6% Risk-Free Dividend the Fed Has Been Paying Wall Street Banks For Almost a Century
Did you know that the Federal Reserve pays an annual 6% dividend to its shareholders, i.e., the member banks of the cartel? Must be nice, considering savers who had nothing to do with cratering the world economy, and failed to receive a taxpayer funded bailout, can barely earn 0.5% on their money. It’s also quite bizarre. How many other “public institutions” have private shareholders to whom they pay 6% risk free dividends?
None, which once again highlights the point that the Federal Reserve is NOT a public institution working on behalf of the citizenry, but is rather a banking cartel designed to enriched and protect its member banks (as we saw on clear display in 2008).
It appears that some members of Congress are now targeting the estimated $17 billion per year paid out by the Fed to its member banks via the highway-funding bill. The Hill reports that:
The banking industry is scrambling to kill a provision in the Senate highway-funding bill that would reap billions of dollars in revenue by cutting a century-old system that has reaped annual awards for banks.
Industry lobbyists say they were blindsided by the inclusion of the provision, which would help policymakers cover the bill’s cost by cutting the regular dividend the Federal Reserve pays to its member banks.
One lobbyist went so far as to reread the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 after getting wind of the proposal to determine what was at stake.
In a Congress where lawmakers are always hunting for politically palatable ways to raise revenue or cut costs to cover the expenses of additional legislation, the Fed provision was a novel, and rich, one. The proposal is estimated to raise $17 billion over the next decade, and is by far the richest “pay for” included in the bill.
Lobbyists said they were not aware of any previous time when lawmakers had attached the language to a piece of legislation, which would scrap a perk banks have come to expect for over a century.
When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.
The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.
While I’m not convinced that this proposal will actually go through, I applaud the members of Congress who included it nonetheless. At a minimum, it will expose more people to how the banking system actually works, and get this 6% dividend in the public consciousness.
After all, #banklivesmatter
There are plenty of 'everyday Americans' out there with perfectly good haircuts, styled by perfectly good hairdressers, in perfectly good Main Street salons... so why is self-proclaimed populist person-of-the-everyday-American Hillary Clinton getting a $600 haircut at Bergdorf Goodman's Fifth Avenue store in NYC?
Hillary Clinton put part of Bergdorf Goodman on lockdown on Friday to get a $600 haircut at the swanky John Barrett Salon.
Clinton, with a huge entourage in tow, was spotted being ushered through a side entrance of the Fifth Avenue store on Friday.
A source said, “Staff closed off one side of Bergdorf’s so Hillary could come in privately to get her hair done. An elevator bank was shut down so she could ride up alone, and then she was styled in a private area of the salon. Other customers didn’t get a glimpse. Hillary was later seen with a new feathered hairdo.”
Clinton regularly sees salon owner John Barrett, who charges regular mortals $600 for a cut and blow-dry. Hair color can cost an extra $600.
And let’s not forget that her husband, Bill Clinton, was famously caught up in a 1993 controversy known as “Hairgate” when he got a $200 haircut on Air Force One as it was idling for an hour at LAX, shutting down two runways and diverting numerous flights.
* * *
Maybe she should ask for her money back?
The "Something About Mary" look?
Still could be worse...
Early in the last century, measles killed millions of people per year. Then the death rate dropped—by the 1960s, by 98 percent. The measles vaccine entered the market in 1963, and the death rate dropped a bit more, just continuing its downward trend. Other infectious diseases—such as scarlet fever and typhus—petered out in a similar way without any vaccines. Most scientists agree that the decline in death rates goes to improved nutrition, sanitation and health care. Most of the deaths occurred among the poor or in those who had underlying diseases. When a child has measles, he or she has immunity for life and that immunity is passed through the mother to give immunity to her offspring for the first year. But immunity from vaccines wears off and one unintended consequence of the measles vaccine is that more pregnant women are getting the measles—and when this happens, the results can be serious. A study in Houston of twelve pregnant women and one who had just given birth, all of whom had the measles while pregnant, found one died, seven suffered pneumonia and seven hepatitis, four went through premature labor and one lost her child in a spontaneous abortion. A study of eight measles pregnancies in Japan found three had spontaneous abortions or stillbirths while four babies were born with congenital measles; two mothers had pneumonia and one suffered hemorrhagic shock. A Los Angeles study of fifty-eight measles pregnancies found twenty-one ended prematurely and two died. More babies are also getting measles, and babies have a greater risk of complications. At least five measles vaccines have been withdrawn from the market because of high rates of serious reactions. The current vaccine is said to be safer, but also wears off more quickly (business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomonthe-untold-story-of-measles). Vitamins A and C are highly protective against the measles. As early as 1932, scientists found that mortality dropped by 58 percent when children hospitalized with measles were given cod liver oil. Later studies in the 1990s showed amazing results of vitamin A reducing deaths by 60 to 90 percent. Research also indicates that people who have childhood measles have lower rates of cancer and allergies.
It seems that nature just does not want to cooperate with our plan to control childhood diseases using vaccinations. A study just published in Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3358) found that protection from whooping cough (pertussis) wears off just two to four years after the vaccine. Like the measles vaccine, the more effective the shot, the more dangerous it is. The whole cell pertussis vaccine was removed from the market in 1997 after many years of documented brain damage, such as acute encephalopathy, and health officials now openly admit that the current “safer” vaccine is less effective. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database lists almost seven thousand severe reactions to the pertussis injection—which means, according to FDA and CDC, that the actual numbers could be ten to one hundred times higher. As the pertussis vaccine is given in combination with two other vaccines (diphtheria and tetanus), it’s hard to say which one is causing the most reactions. Pertussis rates have been rising in recent years, after a low of less than three thousand in 1987. Outbreaks have occurred in fully vaccinated populations, such as a 2014 outbreak in a Jewish summer camp. In fact, former Wistar vaccine developer Stanley Plotkin, MD, an advisor to Sanofi Pasteur and vocal champion of vaccines, recently told the Third Annual Conference on Vaccines hosted by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, that recent whooping cough outbreaks are due to a failing vaccine. He concluded that a new vaccine is needed. It will be interesting to see whether the new vaccine will be a more dangerous live virus version. Whooping cough can indeed be a serious illness, with intense coughing lingering for weeks; but the side effects of the vaccine, such as brain damage, can last a lifetime. Some researchers believe that this vaccine can cause deranged sugar metabolism, hyperinsulinemia and obesity (hormonesmatter.com/obesity-childhood-vaccines-blame/).VACCINES AND HEPATITIS B
Hepatitis B is a disease that afflicts drug users and sexually promiscuous adults. Only about 1 percent of pregnant women test positive for hepatitis B. Nevertheless, unless parents request an opt-out, the HepB vaccine is given to all U.S. babies on day one after birth. Premature babies get the vaccine within twenty-four hours of birth, even though the package inserts clearly state that there are risks to premature babies—in fact no safety studies have been carried out on premature babies at all—and even though transmission from an infected mother to her baby is rare. Health data show about ten thousand cases per year of hepatitis B, mostly from intravenous drug use, heterosexual contact with infected persons or multiple partners, and homosexual activity, so there is really no money in giving the vaccine to the vulnerable population. Then how were the drug companies to recoup their investment in the vaccine’s development? Why, give the three doses to all U.S. babies, starting at day one! Hepatitis B is not even a killer disease—most sufferers recover and then have life-long immunity. But the vaccine itself does kill, or results in learning disabilities that can last a lifetime.VACCINES AND MUMPS
Merck & Co, the world’s largest vaccine maker, is facing federal fraud charges in the case of United States v. Merck & Co. According to two former employees, now whistleblowers, the company engaged in fraud and concealment, falsified test data and claimed the mumps vaccine in development was effective when it was not. If the court upholds the complaints, Merck could be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly even billions, in damages. For more than thirty years, Merck has enjoyed an exclusive license granted by the FDA to manufacture and sell its measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to the public. To retain its licensing rights, Merck was required to prove that its updated vaccine was at least 95 percent effective, and the whistleblowers claim that Merck knew it was only 67.6 percent effective.HPV VACCINE: DANGEROUS, COSTLY, USELESS
A three-dose vaccine aimed at young women, claimed to protect them against human papilloma virus (HPV), called Gardasil, has the pharmaceutical industry abuzz about the potential for a greatly expanded market—vaccines, multiple vaccines, for adults to prevent cancer. Promoted with slick advertising campaigns, Gardasil sales have accounted for greatly increased revenues for Merck & Co., its manufacturer. But according to a pharmaceutical industry insider, Dr. Bernard Dalbergue, the cervical cancer vaccine is ineffective and has tragic side effects, including paralysis, MS, convulsions and blindness, and has caused dozens of deaths. One of the ingredients in Gardasil is polysorbate 80, an emulsifier that keeps all the other ingredients, like aluminum, in an even suspension; it also helps transport chemicals and drugs across the blood brain barrier. It can also cause infertility. Said Dalbergue: “I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers.” He adds that the financial interest in the vaccine makes it very difficult to withdraw.
Medscape listed “vaccines as cancer protections” among the top twenty medical breakthroughs in the last twenty years—along with statins for secondary prevention (that is, statins for everyone). According to vaccine millionaire Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the “recently licensed 9-valent product has a chance to eliminate as many as twenty-nine thousand cases of cancer each year and as many as five thousand deaths.” Sandra Fryhofer, MD, a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC, adds, “A vaccine that prevents cancer, rather than treating it once diagnosed, is major. Now we just have to increase vaccination rates” (medscape.com/features/slideshow/20th-anniversary#page=19). That means vaccinating boys as well as girls, then adults, then everyone for other “cancer-preventing” vaccines in the pipeline.TRAINING PARENTS
Parents following the vaccination schedule bring their babies in at two, four and six months for their recommended vaccinations. A PhD immunologist and vaccine proponent, who declined to be named, has admitted during a conference involving health professionals that babies are only given shots up to age one in order to “train the parents” to get their children into the medical system. Confessing that “the science seems fairly clear that for the first year of life. . . the immunization is not stimulating the kind of response we expect it to stimulate,” she then stated that “The vaccines are given at pediatric wellness visits, and the idea is that you are training the parent to bring their children at all the pediatric wellness visits, and that it’s only the year visit that actually is truly important. But that for most parents you are not going to get them to bring their kid in if they don’t come in at two months, four months and six months. And so it’s actually more of a training thing.” You can listen to this dreadful admission—given flippantly and with laughter—at infowars.com/immunologist-admits-babies-only-vaccinated-to-train-parents/.VACCINES WORKING?
U.S. medical personnel, health officials and virtually the entire major media outlets insist that vaccinations are perfectly safe. To make this statement, officials had to redefine the word “safe.” If you need to rush your screaming, hyperventilating, seizing baby to the emergency room after a vaccination, the hospital staff will tell you that this is “just a normal reaction.” When a large study from Canada found that one in one hundred sixty-eight toddlers aged twelve months old were rushed to emergency rooms in the four-to-twelve-day period after getting the MMR shot, the lead author of the study concluded, “This is the vaccine working” (PLoS Medicine One Journal Dec 12, 2011).ITALIAN COURTS RULE: VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM
In September 2014, an Italian court in Milan awarded compensation to a boy who became autistic after receiving a shot containing six vaccines. Reported widely in the Italian press, the U.S. press ignored it completely. The court concluded that the child more likely than not suffered autism and brain damage because of mercury and aluminum in the vaccine “in concentrations exceeding the maximum recommended levels for infants weighing only a few kilograms.” A key document in the case was a confidential GlaxoSmithKline report, now available on the Internet, which reported five cases of autism caused by the vaccine in clinical trials (https://autismoevaccini.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/vaccin-dc3a9cc3a8s.pdf). As in the U.S., the company will not pay out any money—compensation will come from the Italian government.TARGETING THE UNBORN
Up to five vaccines are recommended for pregnant women—five jabs loaded with aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, MSG, polysorbate and other additives (cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/downloads/f_preg_chart.pdf). This is an obvious growth area for the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. government is pitching in. In a National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in early 2015, the department details new concerted efforts to target pregnant women. The report calls for the development of a national maternal immunization program, and the achievement of vaccination goals—especially for pertussis and flu vaccines. If you read the package inserts, you will find that none of these vaccines has been tested on pregnant women—to do so would be highly unethical. Only five years ago it was policy never to vaccinate a pregnant woman.DISAPPEARING DATA
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) went into effect in 1988. The VICP was established “to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals found to be injured by certain vaccines.” The biggest impediment to the vaccine producers was huge lawsuits for vaccine injuries; the VICP gave the pharmaceutical companies immunity from prosecution for injuries, and paved the way for the rapid growth of the vaccine industry. Compensation comes from a seventy-five cent tax on each vaccine given. Since January of 2014, twice as many victims have won compensation than the previous eight years combined. In these cases, the vaccine court ruled the evidence showed vaccines “more likely than not” caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Also on the rise is the number of vaccine injury cases the government has “conceded”: up 55 percent in a little over one year. However in March the federal government removed the latest vaccine injury court statistics—more than a year’s worth of data—from one of its publicly reported charts. It was an abrupt departure from the normal practice of updating the figures monthly. Wiping the latest data means the “adjudication” chart on a government website no longer reflects the recent sharp rise in court victories for plaintiffs who claimed that they or their children were seriously injured or killed by one or more vaccines. For example, the number of flu vaccine cases conceded by the government since January of 2014 is more than double the previous eight years combined. The adjudication chart only reflects half of the current number. Only about one injury case for every million doses of vaccines is compensated in vaccine court. Adverse events occur more frequently, according to vaccine warning labels, but rarely end up in the little-known vaccine court.DEBILITATING ILLNESSES
While the American press remains silent, the media in the U.K. are doing what journalism is supposed to do—exposing the deaths and injuries from vaccinations, especially the HPV vaccine, said to protect teenage girls against cervical cancer caused by the HPV virus. First to publish was The Independent, with the headline: “Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination.” Similar stories followed in The Daily Mail and The Telegraph. The message: the Gardasil vaccine causes dramatic life-altering damage and does so more frequently than “evidence-based medicine” or “consensus science” admits or that MDs, the medical profession, public health agencies and pro-vaccine acolytes acknowledge. According to the U.K.’s adverse drug reaction (ADR) information, in the ten years to April this year the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency received almost twenty-two thousand “spontaneous suspected” adverse drug reaction (ADR) reports in thirteen routine immunization categories including flu, MMR, tetanus, diphtheria and polio. The vaccine with the most ADR reports was the human papillomavirus (HPV) (Gardasil®, Cervarix®, and recently licensed Gardasil 9®) with over eight thousand ADRs. Next in line is the annual influenza virus vaccine with three thousand ADRs. The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) with sixteen hundred ADRs is third highest. In 2013 via freedom-of-information documents, thirty years of secret official documents show that the U.K. government vaccine/medical experts have 1) known the vaccines don’t work; 2) known they cause the diseases they are supposed to prevent; 3) known they are a hazard to children; 4) colluded to lie to the public; and 5) worked to prevent safety studies! (activistpost.com/2015/05“/uks-independent-newspaper-blows-lid-off.html). The HPV vaccine is the subject of lawsuits or government investigation in several countries, including Japan, India, Spain and France.FRAUDULENT CONTROLS
One of the charges in the current lawsuit in Spain against Merck is that the company failed to use an inert placebo during clinical trials. What this means is that in clinical trials designed to test the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine, the FDA allowed the manufacturer to compare women who received “placebo” injections containing aluminum. These aluminum-containing injections are not true placebos, which should be harmless substances, such as saline solution. This tactic improves safety data by making the vaccine appear to have the same results as the placebo. In addition, Merck “forgot” to study the vaccine for reproductive effects. Many HPV vaccine recipients are reporting primary ovarian failure—the vaccine has made them sterile.BUT WHAT ABOUT POLIO?
The most persuasive arguments for vaccinating children have to do with polio. Didn’t the polio vaccine wipe out this truly tragic epidemic of viral disease? Seems like an open-and-shut case for vaccination. However, the campaign to eradicate polio is littered with accidents, contradiction, confusion and fraud. Health officials introduced the live attenuated Salk vaccine in the U.S. in 1955. The Sabin oral polio vaccine followed in 1961. At that time, the diagnostic criteria for polio were changed. Before introduction of the vaccine, patients diagnosed with paralytic polio had to exhibit symptoms of paralysis for twenty-four hours; after the vaccines they had to exhibit symptoms of paralysis for sixty days. In addition, before the polio vaccine, coxsackie virus and aseptic meningitis were lumped in together with polio with no lab confirmation, but after the introduction of the vaccine, coxsackie virus and aseptic meningitis were separated out and lab confirmation was required. So naturally the rates of polio seemed to come down. But worse, to create the vaccines, both Salk and Sabin used primary cell cultures from monkey kidneys to attenuate the polioviruses. Unfortunately, one of the monkeys used, the rhesus macaque monkey, carries the SV40 virus, which can cause cancer in other animals and humans. In 1959, researchers discovered that the Salk vaccine—given to more than one hundred million people worldwide between 1954 and 1961—was contaminated with the SV40 virus. In 1998, scientists found SV40 in human brain, bone and lung tumors, as well as in 45 percent of sperm from healthy men. U.S. public health officials have acknowledged that live SV40 did contaminate both inactivated and live polio vaccines between 1955 and 1963, but insist that it does not cause human cancers. Still, vaccine manufacturers no longer use rhesus macaque monkey kidney cells, but cells from African green monkey kidneys instead. But some researchers believe that the live oral polio vaccine, made with green monkey cells and tested on children in central Africa in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was the origin of the HIV virus. Another problem: viruses associated with polio have very high mutation rates during replication in the gastrointestinal tract and are continually recombining and evolving in humans and animals. This seems to be the explanation for the emergence of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP)—scientists found that the vaccine strain live polioviruses in the oral vaccine could mutate or revert to forms as neurovirulent as wild-type polio, and cause polio in the recipients or in those they come in contact with. When the U.S. finally abandoned use of the live virus oral vaccine in 1999, it was considered responsible for the only cases of poliovirus-related infection and paralysis reported in the U.S. Health officials admit that between 2000 and 2005, the oral polio vaccine caused eight outbreaks of paralytic polio in Third World countries. Lessons learned, and now in the U.S. we use the inactivated injectable vaccine made from green monkey kidney cells. Polio has disappeared, case closed. Or has it? In 2014, neurologists began reporting cases of paralysis and death in children fully vaccinated against polio. So of course they don’t call it polio. “Acute flaccid paralysis” has occurred in dozens on American children and tens of thousands of children in heavily vaccinated India.A VIRAL DISEASE?
If polio is caused by a virus, it will continue to mutate, continue to confound vaccine manufacturers and health officials. But is it caused by a virus? In the Fall 2002 issue of Wise Traditions, we published an article, “Pesticides and Polio,” pointing the finger at central nervous system poisons from pesticides, especially DDT, as the cause of this terrible disease. The first polio vaccine was introduced shortly after the DDT ban in the U.S. and got the credit for the steep decline in the disease. So why do we find a virus associated with polio? The explanation is something called accelerated genetic recombination. Genetic recombination is accelerated whenever a biological system is threatened, as with pesticides, radiation or chemotherapy. When a cell is critically threatened, accelerated genetic recombination (which may include virus proliferation) is just one of a set of events that may occur, a set of events called the “SOS response.” But whether polio is caused by neurotoxins or by viruses, the approach to treatment and prevention should be the same: good nutrition, starting with plentiful vitamin A, the body’s first defense against viruses and toxins.
THE GREATEST LIE CAMPAIGN
In order to educate the public quickly as to the risks of vaccines, the Vaccine Liberation Army has developed “The Greatest Lie Ever Told” stickers and decals. You can join the hundreds of concerned citizens who are distributing these stickers and decals—even students in high schools are plastering the insides of toilet stalls and other places with this emotionally wrenching sticker.
Large decals are available for cars. It only takes one vehicle per town to wake up your entire community. Your car parked at school, in town, at the doctor’s office, at a shopping center will create such doubt in the onlooker that they will begin to question the establishment’s position on vaccine safety. Mobile advertising is one of the most effective advertising tools in the industry. Remember on the WHO/CDC USDeptHHS horizon is a draft for compulsory adult vaccinations.
Join their mobile fleet and Facebook group, “The Greatest Lie Campaign.” For stickers and decals go to: vaccineliberationarmy.com/sticker-strategy/infantry/. For a five-minute PowerPoint presentation of the issue put “Humanity666” in the vaccineliberationarmy.com search engine.
IMPORTANT VACCINE INFORMATION WEBSITES
GREATERGOODMOVIE.ORG: Home of the documentary “The Greater Good” by WAPF honorary board member, Leslie Manookian. Check out this site to find movie screenings, keep up to date through the website’s Facebook page or find scientific articles on everything from post-vaccination brain inflammation to vaccine contamination.
NVIC.ORG: Home of the National Vaccine Information Center, guided by the indefatigable Barbara Loe Fisher, this website keeps up-to-date information on vaccine laws and pending legislation. Sign up to receive action alerts tailored to your state.
DRTENPENNY.COM: Dr. Sherry Tenpenny is a highly trained, courageous voice against vaccines. Join her medical library for access to thousands of documents on the dangers and ineffectiveness of vaccines.
DRSUZANNE.NET: An MD nephrologist, Dr. Suzanne Humphries discovered the dangers of vaccines in the hospital system. Be sure to watch her revealing videos.
THINKTWICE.COM: Uncensored information about how vaccines affect our children, and a source for the Vaccine Safety Manual.
VACTRUTH.COM: Provides the vaccination inserts to all vaccines—something most pediatricians won’t do; a source of updated information on deaths and injury from vaccines.
VACCINERIGHTS.COM: Attorney Alan Philips provides legal help for those wishing to avoid vaccines, and for those injured by vaccines.
PARENTSAGAINSTMANDATORYVACCINESDOTNET.WORDPRESS.COM/: Sample letters for legislators and letters to put doctors and school officials on notice that they are not to vaccinate your children.
VACCINE-INJURY.INFO: Lots of important information about vaccine injuries.Helps you find a doctor in your area who will respect your vaccination decisions.
VACCINEPAPERS.ORG: Collection of scientific papers on vaccine dangers, adjuvants, immune activation, etc.
VACCINATIONLIBERATIONARMY.COM; Source of “The Greatest Lie Ever Told” stickers and decals.
OPINION PIECE FOR THE IDAHO STATESMAN
Leslie Mannokian, Writer/Producer, “The Greater Good”
Do you rely on our local and national newspapers and media for accurate and honest reporting on the issues that affect all Idahoans? If so, you might want to consider the fact that our newspapers are not reporting on some issues, issues of grave concern to many Idahoans.
Have you read about the CDC whistleblower—a senior scientist from CDC who issued a statement that he and his co-authors (other senior figures at CDC) deliberately omitted data to conceal the link they found between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism?1
Have you read that two former Merck scientists have blown the whistle and are suing vaccine-giant Merck in federal court for fraudulently altering data to make it seem that the mumps portion of their MMR vaccine worked in 95 percent of recipients in order to retain their license from FDA when they knew it did not?2
Have you read that the National Vaccination Compensation Program has compensated eighty-three cases of acknowledged vaccine-induced brain damage, which include autism, but federal health officials still claim vaccines don’t
If you haven’t read about these cases in our newspapers or seen coverage of these stories in other media, perhaps that is because the pharmaceutical industry is the largest advertiser today, spending billions every year, and these media outlets don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Or perhaps those running these media outlets are afraid of the truth.
Either way, we want to share with you the opinion piece we submitted to the Idaho Statesman. This piece is largely the same as an opinion piece we sent to the Idaho Mountain Express in response to inaccurate and misleading opinion pieces run by both newspapers. Unfortunately, neither of our opinion pieces was published.
We were very disappointed at this seeming censorship, in particular because our opinion pieces were supported by over thirty citations from published, peer-reviewed scientific literature. The Idaho Statesmen stated that they were afraid the opinion piece might frighten parents. We would say that parents are already frightened because they do not feel they are being told the truth by federal health agencies or the media and our experience would suggest that is true.
Following is our fully referenced opinion piece: The Idaho Statesman’s opinion piece on vaccines stopped short of advocating mandatory vaccines but stated that parents should not “expect to take advantage of a public education if you are unwilling to participate in sound public health precautions.” Given that most parents do not have the resources to home-school, this amounts to a call for forced vaccination.
The assumption that “sound public health advice” is absolute is quite worrying. After all, one-size-fits-all is never appropriate with any pharmaceutical product—but public health officials say this is the case with vaccines. Nor is science infallible. Indeed for decades federal health officials have advised reducing dietary saturated fat and emphasizing carbohydrates, but recent science has proven how dangerous that advice can be.4 What is sound advice today may not be so sound tomorrow. Add to this the fact that properly prescribed FDA approved drugs kill over one hundred thousand Americans every year and that drug companies have paid thirty billion dollars in fines for repeated fraud, and it’s no wonder why some folks question “sound public health advice” and want to decide for themselves what is best for their own families.5,6
Though it is commonly believed that vaccines are safe for all but a very few, abundant science proves this assertion false. In producing and screening our award-winning documentary on vaccines, “The Greater Good,” we met dozens of scientists who had published studies concerning adverse vaccine reactions, interviewed dozens of doctors who expressed reservations about vaccine safety, and met thousands of families whose children were injured or died after vaccination.
All too often scientists and doctors who acknowledge vaccine risks are demonized and marginalized with the threat of losing their medical licenses.7 And caring, educated parents who research vaccine safety for hemselves, often after having a child suffer vaccine injury, are dismissed as ill-informed, anti-vaccine crazies, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Opinion polls show that vaccine safety is of concern to most American parents and that those who question vaccine safety are mostly highly educated, affluent folks.8,9,10
It is often stated that vaccines are irrefutably safe. Why, then, does U.S. law recognize vaccines can injure and kill?11 Why has the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) paid out over three billion dollars to victims?12 Why do many receive gag orders? Why does VICP list death, anaphylaxis, brain damage and related seizures, and mental impairment as compensable vaccine injuries?13 Why has the Supreme Court determined that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe?”14 Why are vaccine makers shielded from liability for vaccines?15,16 Why does government maintain the Vaccine Averse Events Reporting System to track vaccine injuries?17 Why do Glaxo-SmithKline’s internal documents show children develop autism after its vaccine Infanrix?18
The question we should all be asking is why have one hundred fifty cases of measles in a nation of over three hundred million people garnered virtual nonstop media attention for weeks and prompted the introduction of legislation nationwide to restrict vaccine exemptions?
Could the frenzy be a diversion from looming Congressional hearings investigating claims of CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist, that he and CDC officials omitted data from a study over a decade ago to conceal the link between the MMR vaccine and autism?19 Or perhaps lawsuits against vaccine giant Merck alleging Merck management and scientists fraudulently concealed the fact that Merck’s MMR vaccine is not as effective as claimed?20 Or perhaps the abject failure of this year’s flu vaccine, merely 23 percent effective?21
Media coverage of measles cases and vaccine exemptions suggests an emergency over measles, but the true emergency is the failing health of our nation’s children with 54 percent suffering from an autoimmune disease or neurodevelopmental disability, which science links to vaccines.22,23 Although U.S. children are the most heavily vaccinated in the world, thirty-three developed nations have lower infant mortality rates. Contrast this with zero deaths from measles in ten years but one hundred eight deaths reported after MMR vaccine.24
The media routinely blame unvaccinated individuals for recent disease outbreaks, but most of those who contracted mumps, pertussis, or measles in the majority of recent outbreaks were vaccinated, and nations with vaccination rates of 97-99 percent still suffer outbreaks.25,26 The true culprit is vaccine failure, as vaccine-induced immunity is not permanent. 27,28,29,30 In addition, science shows vaccinated individuals can and do carry and spread disease, and hospitals warn immuno-compromised patients to avoid those recently vaccinated.31,32,33,34,35,36 (Please note that since writing this letter, both St. Jude’s and Johns Hopkins removed their website warning to the immuno-compromised to avoid those recently vaccinated with live virus vaccines.)
We all want to live in as safe a society as possible, but how can anyone argue that any pharmaceutical product is safe for all, or that we know what is best for others? What’s next? Should we ban from public places those who eat sugar and junk food, foods that undermine our immune systems, or those with a cough from leaving home? Do we really want to cede ownership of our bodies to the state? I don’t.
Find links to two hundred published studies here: greatergoodmovie.org/learn-more/science/
Ahead of today's FOMC announcement, which comes without a press conference and has thus been dismissed as a possible start to a Fed hiking cycle, the Fed has a big problem. It's not jobs, which are running at a pace that many suggest is strong enough to sustain at least a 25 bps hike to nearly a decade of ZIRP, assuming of course one completely ignores the "quality" component as virtually all recent job growth has been in the low-paying job category especially waiters and bartenders...
... but inflation, and specifically the bifurcation between core inflation and headline inflation.
Here is the paradox as succinctly summarized by Deutsche Bank, which notes that the current -29% year-over-year drop in the CRB index implies YoY headline CPI inflation falling from 0.1% to -0.9% over the next couple of months, or just in time for the September or December FOMC meetings both proposed as the "lift off" date. This would be the largest year-over-year drop since September 2009 (-1.3%) and one of the lowest prints in modern history.
However core YoY CPI inflation is likely to edge above 2% in the months ahead which complicates matters.
In other words, Fed will have to pound the table on the commodity crunch being a transitory event, just like every other "transitory event" that forced the Fed to postpone hiking rates since 2011. The problem, however, is that unlike "snow in the winter", plunging oil and commodity prices are proving to be anything but "transitory", and are mostly a function of China's economy whose ongoing decline is also anything but a one-time event. In fact, if anything, China's contraction is accelerating, with the recent bursting of its stock market bubble only likely to add to its headaches and to commodity price downside as Chinese Commodity Financing Deals are unwound.
Which brings us to the WSJ's Fed mouthpiece, Jon Hilsenrath, who largely summarized the above in his preview of what the Fed will today as follows:
The Federal Reserve has framed its decision about raising interest rates around the progress it sees in achieving its dual mandate goals of maximum employment and 2% inflation. Officials could emerge from their policy meeting today with a split decision – progress on the employment side of their mandate and continued uncertainty on the inflation side.
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said in testimony to Congress earlier this month that the economy is “demonstrably closer” to reaching the Fed’s full employment goal. Since the Fed last met in June, the jobless rate has notched down further from 5.5% to 5.3%, its lowest level since April 2008, hiring appears to have returned to a path of steady gains in excess of 200,000 per month after stumbling in March and wages show tentative signs of moving higher. Fed officials will need to acknowledge these advances in their post-meeting policy statement, a sign that a rate increase is approaching.
Still it is hard to see how officials derive great confidence that inflation is surely returning to their 2% goal. Oil prices and commodities more broadly have resumed their march down and the dollar its movement higher, factors that have weighed on inflation all year. The Fed has described these developments as transitory before, but slow growth in China could give them some pause about that conclusion. Broad measures of inflation show little sign of breaking out of the sub-2% trend which has been in place for more than three years. Meantime, inflation compensation in bond markets has notched lower after stabilizing earlier this year. And though wages show signs of picking up, a breakout isn’t yet obvious and the links between wages and broader inflation are tentative.
Hilsenrath's conclusion: "It potentially sets up the Fed and markets for a cliffhanger policy meeting in September. The jobs part of their mandate – so important to Ms. Yellen – is signaling a rate increase is due. But the inflation part of the mandate signals continued patience. Officials won’t want to lock themselves in until they see more data on the economy’s performance."
Which is probably another way of saying what Lloyd Blankfein just stated in a Bloomberg TV interview, namely that the "first rate hike will be jarring."
And while the above covers the Fed's thinking on input drivers, but what about the market's "reaction function" manifesting in the strength of the USD? Here are some thoughts from UBS on the topic:
The dollar's strong foreign exchange value remains a challenge for forecasters and investors. Over the year ended in June, the Federal Reserve's broad trade-weighted dollar index rose 12.5%. (The major currencies component was up 17.3% and the other important trading partners component rose 9.0%.) How much difference does a strong dollar make for Federal Reserve monetary policy and the US economy? Our answer is that a strong dollar means growth and inflation are lower than they would be otherwise but probably not by enough to preclude the Fed funds rate tightening that we still see beginning before year-end.
One way to assess what a strong dollar means for Fed policy and the economy is to consider some recent analyses provided by Fed economists for Fed policymakers. One such analysis comes from Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists Mary Amiti and Tyler Bodine-Smith in a July 17 Liberty Street Economics article titled "The Effect of the Strong Dollar on US Growth". They concluded that sustained 10% dollar appreciation after a year reduces US real net exports enough to subtract 50 basis points from US real GDP growth, with another 20 basis points coming after the second year. (See Figure 1.) These effects are more related to lower exports, which are more sensitive to dollar movements than imports.
If the strong dollar makes near-term real GDP growth 50 basis points lower than it would be otherwise, would that be enough to preclude a Fed funds rate hike before year-end? That might be the case if the Fed only considered actual versus its expected real GDP growth. For instance, in the FOMC's mid-year projections of Q4/Q4 real GDP growth, the members' central tendency forecast was 1.8% to 2.0% for 2015 and 2.4% to 2.7% for 2016. Heading into 2015, Q4/Q4 real GDP growth at the end of 2014 was 2.4%. A 50-basis-point reduction in growth due to a strong dollar would still leave growth at the 1.9% mid-point of the 2015 central tendency forecast if growth momentum outside of the trade sector is maintained in 2015. Clearly, given the uncertainties about how much a strong dollar reduces growth, it is a close call whether the strong dollar over the past year will enable the Fed to achieve its growth targets.
However, the Fed is more likely to be influenced by the unemployment rate and core inflation than real GDP growth. Frequent and uncertain revisions to real GDP growth are a practical reason for the Fed not to hitch its Fed funds rate and balance sheet policies to published real GDP growth. While the unemployment rate and core inflation inevitably are imperfect measures, at least they are not subject to the types of sometimes large revisions associated with real GDP growth data.
So maybe the resumed strength in the dollar won't be enough to push the Fed away from the hike button, but it surely will be enough to crush corporate sales and EPS, as has been the case for the past two quarters and will be for the coming quarters. Recall that the biggest complaint by far during Q2 the earnings season by CFOs has been the strength in tthe USD. How long until the CEOs of US multinationals decide to all dial the Fed and make it clear that the ongoing surge in the DXY will simply not do?
What does the Fed likely do? Nothing today, almost certainly nothing in September, and a small rate hike in December just to show it can is possible. The question then is will this send the dollar surging even more, and lead to an even more acute crash in corporate profitability, one which not even buybacks and non-GAAP addbacks can mask the underlying corporate recession, and more importantly, just how much more credibility can the Fed afford to lose as a result of the recent dramatic flattening in the yield curve, before we finally get the clearest recession signal of all, a curve inversion, at which point the next step after the rate hike becomes inevitable: even more QE?