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The Permian Pitfall: A Race To The Bottom For Tight Oil

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 16:20

Submitted by Arthur Berman via,

Remember the shale gale and Saudi America? The scale of those outlandish delusions has now dwindled to plays in a few counties in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Saudi Permian.

It’s a race to the bottom as investors double down on the tight oil companies that can still tell a growth story. Permian-weighted E&P companies are the temporary darlings of Wall Street as other tight oil plays have lost their luster.

A Silly Price Rally: Catch-22

We are in the middle of a truly silly price rally. Other rallies of 2015 and 2016 took place despite substantial production surpluses and too much inventory. Then, there was some hope that higher prices might result if over-production could be brought under control. Now, the world’s production and consumption are near balance but oil prices remain mired in the $40 to $50 per barrel range.

This current rally will end badly because there is something more fundamental keeping prices low. Despite repeated assurances from IEA and EIA that demand growth is strong, it is not strong enough to draw down outsized global inventories.

Hope for an OPEC production freeze at next month’s meeting in Algiers is the main factor driving this rally. The problem is that the world liquids market is as close to balance as it ever gets—over-supply has been less than 0.5 million barrels per day for the last two months (Figure 1). Oil prices were more than $100 per barrel at similar or greater production surpluses in 2013 and 2014.

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Figure 1. World liquids production minus consumption shows that the present market is as close to balance as it ever gets. Source: EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

In 2015, when the average production surplus was 2 million barrels per day, it was a different story. Over-production is not the problem now as it was then. If OPEC freezes production, it won’t make any difference.

Inventories exceed all historical levels. The world remains over-supplied because there is too much oil in inventory.

As long as oil prices are range-bound between about $40 and $50 per barrel, it makes more sense to store oil than to sell it. The carrying cost of storage is less than what can be made by rolling futures contracts over each month. Inventories will stay high until prices break out of their current range but outsized inventories make that impossible. Catch-22.

Four Oil-Price Cycles in 2015 and 2016

There have been four oil-price cycles in 2015 and 2016–the first three each lasted approximately 6 months (Figure 2). Each new cycle began with high price volatility that fell as price peaked. We are currently in the upward arc of Cycle 4.

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Figure 2. Oil-price and oil-price volatility cycles since 2014. Source: EIA, CBOE, Bloomberg and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

The oil-price volatility index has fallen to levels similar to when prices peaked during the last cycle suggesting that current WTI futures prices just above $48 per barrel may already be near the peak for this cycle. Prices may increase into the low-$50 per barrel range as they did in June before falling again.

The latest cycle began when NYMEX futures prices fell below $40 per barrel in early August. In the succeeding two weeks, they have climbed to more than $48 (Figure 3).

A factor beyond a possible OPEC freeze is the weakened U.S. dollar because of expectations that the Federal Reserve Bank will not raise interest rates at least until December. The value of the dollar against other major currencies has fallen 3 percent over the last month (36 percent annualized). WTI futures prices have increased 22 percent since August 1.

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Figure 3. 2016 U.S. dollar index and WTI NYMEX futures prices. Source: EIA, Wall Street Journal and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

A third factor driving the current price rally is long-term concern about supply because of under-investment in oil development projects and exploration since the oil-price collapse. Recent statements by the International Energy Agency that demand may outpace supply in the next few years underscored that anxiety.

Figure 3 shows that oil prices appear to be range-bound between about $40 support and $51 per barrel resistance levels. The upper boundary is largely controlled by record-breaking volumes of U.S. and world crude oil inventories and the fact that producers add rigs and production with each upward swing in oil prices.

The 200-day moving average of NYMEX futures prices suggests similar range boundaries of about $38 and $52 per barrel (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. Two-hundred day moving average of WTI NYMEX futures prices. Source: EIA, Bloomberg and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Staggering Inventories

This market looks for any excuse to raise prices. Every price upswing is seen by some as the beginning of a return to oil prices above $70 per barrel. We seem to selectively forget that the staggering inventory levels of crude oil make this impossible until those volumes are drawn down substantially. Oops.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell 2.5 million barrels this week but have increased a net 1.6 million barrels over the last month during what is supposed to be de-stocking season (Figure 5).

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Figure 5. U.S. crude oil inventories and comparison with 2015 levels and the four years preceding. Source: EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Storage volumes are 57 million barrels more than at this time in 2015 and are 143 million barrels higher than the 5-year average. This is definitely not a basis for a sustainable oil-price rally. Until inventories are drawn down by at least another 125 million barrels, a recovery to somewhere approaching mid-cycle 2014 levels of about $80 per barrel is technically impossible.

The Permian Basin Dominates Rig Count Increases

Five new horizontal rigs were added last week to drill tight oil objectives in the Permian basin and 12 rigs were added the previous week. Only 1 rig was added in the Bakken play after losing 2 rigs a week ago. No rigs were added in the Eagle Ford after losing 1 rig the previous week. More capital is being spent in the Permian basin than in all the other plays put together.

Overall, 67 tight oil rigs have been added since early June. Forty eight of those are in the Permian basin, 5 in the Bakken and 6 in the Eagle Ford play (Figure 6). Four rigs were added in the Niobrara, 3 in the Granite Wash and 1 in “Other.” Rig count increases began as oil prices peaked above $50 per barrel in early June and continued through the slump toward $40 prices before the latest upward swing to $48 per barrel.

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Figure 6. Permian basin, Bakken and Eagle Ford tight oil horizontal rig count, NYMEX WTI prices and oil-price volatility index. Source: Baker Hughes, EIA, Bloomberg and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Weekly changes in the Permian basin rig count are the leading indicator of capital flows and expenditures. Permian rig count is more responsive to capital flows than the other tight oil plays because there is more money available for Permian-weighted companies.

In late July, I wrote, When prices fall and oil-price volatility increases, the floodgates of capital open. Every genius-investor wants to buy low and sell high. Rig count rises with fresh capital, production increases and oil prices fall.”

In fact, the Permian basin accounts for 64 percent of the total U.S. horizontal tight oil rig count (Figure 7).

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Figure 7. The Permian basin rig count represents more than 60 percent of the U.S. horizontal tight oil rig count. Source: Baker Hughes and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

This is curious because Permian production from the Bone Spring, Wolfcamp and Trend-Spraberry horizontal plays represents only 21 percent of total tight oil production (Figure 8).

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Figure 8. Permian basin daily production from the Bone Spring, Wolfcamp and Trend Area-Spraberry plays is only 21 percent of total U.S. horizontal oil production. Source: EIA, Drilling Info, North Dakota Department of Natural Resources and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

It is even more curious because Permian basin tight oil proven reserves rank 42nd in the world just behind Denmark and Trinidad and Tobago based on the latest EIA data (Figure 9).

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Figure 9. Permian basin tight oil proven reserves compared with world crude oil reserves. Source: EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Some will argue about potential and possible Permian resources and reserves preferring Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield’s view of things to reality. I won’t debate them but the point is that Saudi Permian is a stretch based on any reality-based interpretation of existing data.

It’s A Stock Play, Not An Oil Play

Eleven companies now operate 3 or more rigs in the Permian basin (Figure 10). These represent a mix of independents and major oil companies. Concho operates the most rigs with 15 and Pioneer is second with 13. Energen, Anadarko, Chevron and Apache all operate 5 rigs or more. Companies that operate at least 3 rigs include Cimarex, Diamondback, Oxy, Parsley and Callon.

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Figure 10. Companies that operate three or more rigs in the Permian basin. Source: Drilling Info and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

The stock performance of all oil companies correlates strongly with oil prices but many Permian basin-weighted stocks have significantly out-performed ETFs (exchange-traded funds) by 2-to-1 to as much as 4-to-1 since the current price rally began in early August (Figure 11).

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Figure 11. Stock performance of many Permian-weighted independent stocks out-perform ETFs by 2:1 to 4:1 since the current oil-price rally began. Source: Source: Google Finance, EIA, Bloomberg & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Callon’s stock price has increased 34 percent since August 1, 2016. Parsley’s and Energen’s have increased 22 percent, Pioneer’s has risen 18 percent and EOG’s, 17 percent. These companies have all beaten the 16 percent increase in WTI futures prices over the same period and have substantially out-performed oil ETFs (Energy Select XLE and Vanguard Energy VDE) whose returns averaged only 8 percent in August.

Most of the Permian companies with strong stock performance also have sizable debt loads and high debt-to-cash from operations (EBITDA) ratios. The average debt-to-cash flow ratio is 5.4:1, and 4:1 is considered the current threshold for bank loan risk (Figure 12). Among the independent companies with high stock performance, only Diamondback and Energen have ratios less than 4:1. Parsley, Cimarex and Concho all exceed 7:1.

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Figure 12. Most Permian operators have debt-to-cash flow (EBITDA) ratios that exceed bank-risk threshold of 4:1. Source: Google Finance and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Another reason for the highly volatile stock prices of most Permian companies is in their stock valuations. On average, the ratio of current to mid-2014 stock valuations is double the ratio of first half 2014-first half 2016 NYMEX WTI oil prices (Figure 13).

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Figure 13. The average ratio of 2016-2014 stock valuations is double the ratio of 2016-2014 WTI futures prices for Permian-weighted companies. Source Google Finance, EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Stock prices of shale companies with good positions in the Bakken and Eagle Ford have also increased but those companies have a harder growth story to tell. Average well density in the Permian horizontal plays is about 1 well per 860 acres. That is less than half of the 1 well per 382 acres per well in the Bakken and one-fifth of the 1 well per 172 acres per well in the Eagle Ford play (Table 1).

Table 1. Current well densities for the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian horizontal plays. Source: Drilling Info and Labyinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Among the high stock performers, both EOG and Pioneer also have positions in the Eagle Ford and EOG is also represented in the Bakken play.

A Race To The Bottom

The main cause of the collapse of global oil prices in 2014 was a production surplus. That continued to be the key factor throughout 2015. Now, over-production is still a concern but the market has been close to balance for the last 6 months.

For most of 2016, however, liquids consumption growth has declined. It increased with falling oil prices and peaked at the end of 2015 when monthly average oil prices were near $30 per barrel (Figure 14). As prices recovered into the $40 to $50 range, consumption growth dropped. The global economy is apparently too weak for prices in this range.

Figure 14. World liquids consumption growth is decreasing with increasing oil prices. Source: EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Growth occurred only when oil prices were below disturbingly low thresholds. Declining consumption growth is the likely cause of persistent high inventory levels and range-bounded prices.

The dream of Saudi America has fallen on hard times since oil prices collapsed. Persistent and often misleading claims about technology, efficiency and lower cost have kept hope alive for true believers. The truth is that production costs are more than oil prices. The present situation cannot be sustained without even more carnage in the oil industry.

Investors have identified the plays and companies that are in the best position to survive and they are in the Permian basin. As the field of attractive companies dwindles, more short-term investment is directed toward the perceived winners. These favored companies can go to the capital markets more or less at will with new stock or bond offerings and easily raise hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. This allows them to continue drilling and spending, and accounts for the upsurge in Permian rig counts at the beginning of every new price cycle.

Those who bought stock in Permian-weighted companies made a good profit this month. Those companies are attractive to investors not because of their underlying financial strength. It is because they satisfy the reach for yield that is no longer met by Treasury bonds or other conventional investments in a low-interest rate and low-growth economy.

Like the companies, the Permian plays are attractive mostly because they don’t lose as much money as the other tight oil plays and have a better growth story. They are the best of a bad lot. But they still lose money at oil prices less than $50 to $60 dollars per barrel at the wellhead. There is about a $5 differential between Permian wellhead and benchmark price so $55 to $65 per barrel WTI prices are needed for Permian tight oil plays to break even.

Permian basin tight oil production will peak around 1 million barrels per day and begin to decline in the mid-2020s based on our models. Those models assume a return to $75 to $80 oil prices in the next 3 to 5 years and that capital will be readily available to fund ongoing drilling. If either assumption is too optimistic, the plays will peak later but will not produce any more oil. The Permian basin has good, prolific plays but it is no Saudi Arabia.

The Bakken and the Eagle Ford were all the rage for investors until lower-for-longer oil prices were accepted as the new reality during the second half of 2015. Now, investors believe that the Permian basin is the only place with profitable plays at low oil prices. Eventually, they will tire of the Permian also and may be lured back to the Eagle Ford or Bakken by some new tall tale about technology or efficiency.

Investors will provide capital as long as the stock plays earn them the yield that they need. Companies will dress themselves and their plays up in order to compete for the capital offered.

Meanwhile companies continue to produce about 3.5 million barrels per day of tight oil that loses money on each barrel.

With every new price rally, investors and companies think that this time oil prices will finally recover to a level where the companies can make money again. But with every price rally, rig counts and production increase, demand falters, inventory rises and prices fall back.

It is Einstein’s definition of insanity–doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

It is race to the bottom.

The Democrats Have Chosen A First Class Crook As Their Presidential Candidate

Paul Craig Roberts - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 16:05

The Democrats Have Chosen A First Class Crook As Their Presidential Candidate

The Presstitutes tell us that the best choice for President of the United States is a partner in a crime syndicate that parleyed favors while in office into a $1.6 billion private foundation and a $120 million private fortune. So far have we fallen. Who will be Hitlery’s successor, Caligula?

Guest Column by Stephen Lendman

Latest Hillary Email Scandal Revelation

by Stephen Lendman

Hillary lied about not having classified State Department material on her personal home server. She lied about turning over to the State Department all emails relating to agency business.

On Monday, the FBI announced discovery of 15,000 previously undisclosed emails. Some are personal. Others show foreign officials sought favors in return for large Clinton Foundation donations.

Judicial Watch (JW) president Tom Fitton asked “(w)hen will State release them? It looks like the State Department is trying to slow-roll the release of the records. They’ve had them for at least a month, and we still don’t know when we’re going to get them.”

A Monday court hearing was held to rule on a release schedule. The same day, JW said it “released 725 pages of new State Department documents…”

They “includ(e) previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state.” 

“In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.”

New documents include 20 Hillary email exchanges not previously turned over to State – 191 so far known excluded from 55,000 emails released.

More than a dozen newly released email exchanges show foreign officials donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to gain State Department access – part of the Clintons’ pay-to-play scheme dating from when Bill was president.

JW was blunt saying what’s known to date “contradict(s) statements by Clinton that, ‘as far as she knew,’ all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.”

How much more official agency business material remains undiscovered, including easily hacked classified documents?

In one message exchange, Clinton Foundation’s Doug Band emailed Abedin, her deputy chief of staff at State and presidential campaign co-chair, about a “good friend of ours,” Bahrain’s crown prince Salman “asking to see her” in June 2009.

He couldn’t arrange a meeting through normal channels, had to go through the Clinton Foundation instead. JW’s Fitton explained he donated over $32 million to the Clinton Global Initiative from 2005 – 2010. Bahrain made separate donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Fitton said this case (and numerous others like it) raise “the question whether public office was illegally used to benefit a private entity or private individual.”

In her June deposition to JW, Abedin said part of her job at State was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”

Apparently she served as gatekeeper for who got access to Hillary at State in return for large donations to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative – clear pay-to-play chicanery, corruption by any standard.

Hillary remains unaccountable. This and numerous other examples of how she operates illegally show she’s unfit to hold any public office, especially the nation’s highest.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at 

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The Lean Farm by Ben Hartman

Weston Price - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 16:03

The Lean Farm
by Ben Hartman
Chelsea Green Publishing

The standard American paradigm for success is to keep getting bigger. That’s the theory. In practice what seems to happen most of the time if not always, is a company or organization keeps getting bigger until it is too big and stupid to live. Then they get bailed out by a government which is also too big and stupid to do anything right.

Ben Hartman has another idea which has worked well for him and the government hasn’t had to bail him out yet. He is a small farmer in Indiana who has no desire to get bigger and goes to some effort to avoid it. Instead he looks for ways to do things smarter and more efficiently. He elaborates on a process for doing this that makes a lot of sense.

One of the first steps is to get rid of stuff. Even things that seem like they might be useful someday. Specialized tools are an example. You think you might need it someday. Well, have you needed it for the last three years? No? Get rid of it. Multi-use tools that will do the job adequately are all you need. A huge clutter of tools just makes it harder to keep track of everything and easier to lose anything. Then put those tools in a good place near where they will be used, not all in one central location where they will never be used.

Hartman is fairly ruthless about tossing extra stuff. It takes up space better used for other things. It takes time and energy just to store it and remember where it is. In general if it doesn’t add value your customers want, it is just dragging you down. Some people think that having the latest and greatest technology is the key to success. It isn’t. Hi-tech items are high maintenance and break. Some basic things are good, like an appropriately-sized tractor or motorized cart. Getting every whiz-bang new gadget just adds unnecessary expense, maintenance and clutter.

Overproduction is another form of waste. You are not being more efficient when you produce something your customer doesn’t want. It is easy to slip into the mindset of producing what you want or think your customers should want instead of what they really want. If you have a lot of extra, you are not giving them what they want. One of Toyota’s leading efficiency experts made an interesting, counterintuitive observation. In his experience, mass production is not cheaper or more efficient than small-scale production.

Another very key point for the lean farm is labor. The goal is not to go as cheap as you can on labor. With labor especially, you get what you pay for. Good labor doesn’t have to put up with cheap, and they won’t. High employee turnover is very expensive and very inefficient. Low-quality labor breaks things. Low-quality labor does it wrong the first time and has to do it again. . . and again. That’s not cheap. On a related note near the end Hartman includes one of many gems of wisdom from Wendell Berry: “We have made it our overriding ambition to escape work, and as a consequence have debased work until it is only fit to escape from …”

Do we not need a sense of purpose? Where do we derive that sense of purpose if not from meaningful work? I like to kick up my heels on the beach from time to time as much as anybody but to do that exclusively for the rest of my life would be boring and pointless. This Thumbs Up book is loaded with practical advice and gives the reader much to think about.

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The First Victims Of The Libor Surge Have Emerged... In Japan

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 16:01

When we last looked at the blowout in US short-term funding rates, most notably Libor, which has been broadly attributed to regulatory reasons ahead of the October 14 money fund reform deadline, we pointed out that with trillions in debt tracking Libor, it was only a matter of time before something snapped.

Since then Libor has slowed down its dramatic ascent, so far plateauing in the low 0.8% range, however, the materially "tighter financial conditions" have remained.


Yet while many have been looking for clues in the US banking sector about financial stress, they have been so far unsuccessful. The reason for that, as IFR reports, is that they were looking in the wrong place.

Instead, it is not US but Japanese megabanks who have emerged as the biggest victims of a worsening squeeze in the US $1 trillion commercial paper market, "as high swap costs leave them with few satisfactory alternatives for dollar funding."

As we reported a month ago, investors have pulled billions out of prime money-market funds ahead of new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations aimed at preventing a repeat of the liquidity crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. In anticipation, investors have slashed their allocations to prime funds, the main buyers of commercial paper and certificates of deposit from corporations, including Japanese lenders.

So far US banks have escaped largely unscathed, but the higher funding costs and shrunken market are hitting Japanese banks particularly hard, IFR reports, as they have been sourcing as much as a third of their U.S. dollar liquidity in the short-term U.S. market. Citigroup estimates Japanese banks have about $125 billion to $150 billion of CP and CDs maturing before the end of September.

Adding Libor surging insult, to profit-draining NIRP injury (recall that Japanese banks have seen their profits shrink as a result of the BOJ's recent implementation of negative rates), rising U.S. dollar funding rates pose a further threat to profitability at Japanese banks. Corporate clients are also at risk, as lenders look to pass on the higher costs.

To be sure, some Japanese lenders have been trying to pre-empt the blow from reforms and the Libor blow out. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group cut its global CP and CD funding by $7 billion in the year to June, while a $28 billion jump in deposits outpaced a $19 billion increase in lending globally, according to Deutsche Bank. As a result, its loan-to-deposit ratio shrank from 149.6 percent in March 2015 to 135.5 percent at end-June. Mitsubishi UFJ also saw its ratio fall to 115.1 percent from 117.8 percent in March 2015 on the back of a rise in deposits.

In the short term, however, Japanese lenders will be unable to raise enough from deposits to replace the U.S. money markets. Prime money-market funds slashed their holdings of Japanese securities to $115 billion at the end of July, down 25% from $153 billion two months ago, according to ICI. Previously second to only the U.S. by country of issuer, Japan has now fallen to third behind France.

Being increasingly locked out of money markets means that beyond paying up subsantially for U.S. dollars, Japanese banks have few options. Leverage requirements mean global banks are reluctant to provide repos, while foreign-exchange swaps would be a more expensive way to access U.S. dollar funding, said Koichi Sugisaki, a rates strategist at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities. Three-month CP and CDs now cost roughly 80bp-90bp on an annual basis, but three-month FX forwards have also become more expensive at around 1.5 percent per year, he said.

The surge in Libor, which has also resulted in a spike in the cross-currency basis, has also meant that Japanese buyers are increasingly shying away from US Treasuries which when fully FX hedged no longer generate a notably yield pick up as we reported earlier.

FX hedging costs are at their highest since the financial crisis. The three-month JPY/USD forward is now at -39 pips, the lowest since December 2008. The more negative the reading, the more expensive it is for Japanese issuers to swap yen to U.S. dollars. It also means that the shortage of dollars, from a Japanese perspective, has never been greater.

Rising Libor rates could push FX swap rates out further by the end of this year, Sugisaki estimated. "An increase of the cost of funding in CP and CDs would be definitely negative for the banks," he said. "For the Japanese banks, it's going to be very tough."

One option for Japanese banks is to access US dollar bond funding, by directly selling short-dated, US-denominated bonds, which could provide Japanese banks with some respite from short-term dollar funding pressure. "Japanese banks could consider issuing short-end bonds from the operating bank level in the future to meet short-term liquidity needs as an alternative to CP/CDs,” said Masanori Kato, head of debt capital markets for J.P. Morgan in Tokyo. "Short-term notes would be a possible alternative avenue, and demand would be there for it as Japanese banks are seen as a safer haven due to Brexit concerns."

He suggested that, although it was difficult to say whether issuing U.S. dollar bonds could be cheaper than using FX forwards, the possibility remained that U.S. dollar bond funding might become more  competitive. Some high-rated European banks have already taken this approach, finding that two-year or three-year bonds offer similar funding costs to CP. 

However, as IFR notes, this option will have to be tested first, as Japanese banks have rarely issued U.S. dollar bonds at tenors of less than three years. 

The strain on short-term funding is not expected to end soon, with Citigroup estimating that three-month Libor could rise another 5bp-10bp before October 14.

In the absence of cost-effective alternatives, Japanese banks will have to continue issuing CPs at a higher cost, pressuring their profit margins, leading to an even greater shortage of US dollars, higher Libor rates, and so on, until the Libor spike spills over across the Pacific and claims its first US and European banking victims.

Nourishing Space Within by Alegra Hart

Weston Price - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 15:48

Nourishing Space Within : Essentials of Self -Care
by Alegra Hart, ND

I learned a new word from this book. If someone had asked me how my emunctories are, I wouldn’t have known
whether I was being insulted or should tell them to mind their own business or both. For those who are as unenlightened as I am, emunctories are the major organs of elimination.

There is a section on food–what to eat, what not to eat and why. The section on exercise wisely recommends not
overdoing it. Other sections include sleep, hormones and emotions. This book is a good, compact (less than one hundred pages) health reference which will help you avoid jamming up your emunctories. Thumbs UP. Review by Tim Boyd

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The Situation In Ukraine Is Serious: “We Don’t Rule Out A Full-Scale Russian Invasion”

SHTF Plan - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 15:45

“The probability of escalation of the conflict remains very significant. We don’t rule out a full-scale Russian invasion.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a televised speech on 8/18/16.

The situation of the rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia is being paralleled by the war of words between the countries’ two leaders.  As mentioned in a previous article, Vladimir Putin is still not satisfied with the alleged actions by Ukrainian commandos that killed one FSB officer and one enlisted man on two separate incidents.  Putin went on to say that any meetings between Poroshenko and himself in the upcoming G-20 summit would be “pointless,” and accused Ukraine of conducting terror attacks.

To further complicate the issue, the attacks were labeled as “border incursions,” as they occurred in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.  In addition to this, the 24th of August is rapidly approaching, and this is the date that Ukrainians celebrate their Independence Day…from the Soviet Union.  This bears special noteworthiness, as it would be a prime moment to conduct an incursion due to the historical significance of the date.  Vladimir Putin visited Crimea on August 19th and said the following to the Security Council of Sevastopol:

“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism.  We’re not going to cut our relations, despite the reluctance of the current authorities in Kiev to have full diplomatic ties at ambassador level.”

None of this is sitting well with Poroshenko, and the process for drafting as many as 100,000 men was initiated by him with a letter last week.  In support of such actions, Poroshenko also said this while visiting in the area of the Donbass and Eastern Ukraine:

“Unfortunately, the deterioration of the situation in the east [Ukraine] and in Crimea does not exclude the possibility that in the event of further escalation, we will be forced to impose martial law and declare mobilization.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry released the following statement to the UN regarding Putin’s visit to Crimea:

“The new visit by an official of the Russian Federation to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city, which are an integral part of Ukraine, is evidence that the Russian Federation continues neglecting the Charter of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly resolution 68/262 of 27 March, 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine,’ Baku declaration and resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other principles of international Law.”

The irony of such a statement is only equaled by its audacity and arrogance.  The statement clearly reveals its “slant” that appeals to the UN and international law when the government of Ukraine is in its present form due to violation of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution.  The bottom line?

Nothing was mentioned about the U.S., EU, and IMF-sponsored coup d’état that removed (under the Ukrainian Constitution) legally-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and inserted Yatsenuk, the marionette-creation of the three headed hydra of Victoria Nuland, and Senators McCain and Graham.

In the meantime, Europe and NATO have denounced Russia’s version and labeled them as “not being credible.”  The EU is actually less credible, because they have a vested interest in absorbing Ukraine, as well as her entry into NATO.  Let us also not forget the IMF wished to advance a bailout for Ukraine totaling around $18 billion.  This went ostensibly “on hold” because Ukraine “did not approve of promised reforms” in their political procedures: the superficial reason.

The real reason is that because of the fighting in the Donbass and Eastern Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Ukraine can hold its territory against a Russian invasion and thus guarantee repayment of the loan and self-subordination as another European vassal state kneeling before the IMF.

On July 28 of this year, Vladimir Putin signed a decree to officially incorporate Crimea into the southern region of Russia.  The decree was signed not on the basis of the annexation, but by the vote taken by the residents on March 17, 2014.  The vote ended up with 97% of the inhabitants of the region desiring to be separated from Ukraine and become a part of Russia.

All of these details did not stop the U.S. from sending a shipment of night-vision devices to Ukraine last week, and this from the mouth of Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in an interview on August 18th with Radio Free Europe.  The U.S. has stopped short of sending material that could be used in direct combat, as it has already been warned by Russia that such would be a provocation that could be construed as an act of war.  The U.S. and Europe still have ongoing sanctions against Russia that began after Crimea was taken in 2014.

Those sanctions are considered being dropped by at least one European nation, the Netherlands, reconsidering its position in Europe as well as possibly resetting its relations with Russia.  The Dutch, as reported by on August 19 are considering a referendum to leave the EU, as Britain did with the Brexit vote, and also to drop the economic sanctions against Russia.  Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party spoke about this upcoming referendum and mindset on 8/19 as such:

“Retrieving the ties with Russia is a priority for a traditionally merchant country that the Netherlands has always been. For many centuries, our nations, in spite of existing conflicts, could only benefit from mutual cooperation Today, the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions is a necessary condition for our prosperous future.  Brussels makes decisions proceeding from its own interests only, without listening to the people.  The EU is an expansionist monster that is busy with seizing territories, depriving us of our social system, identity and democracy.  The only way to change the current situation is to leave the EU.  Any solutions will have a secured legal status separately from the EU. We will become stronger economically, including through our relations with Russia, and trade.”

In the meantime, Russia has been given permission by Turkey to use Incirlik Airbase for operations to combat Islamist terrorists.  Russian newspaper Izvestia Daily reported the following statement as evidence of the cooperation between Russia and Turkey:

“It just remains to come to an agreement with Erdogan that we get the NATO base at Incirlik as [our] primary airbase.”

Igor Morozov, Russian Legislator

The Russian Air Force is already utilizing the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria, and the Iranians have given Russia permission to utilize Iran’s Hamadan Airbase.  The Pentagon has been denying the possibility of a Russian offensive, and has downplayed the incident surrounding the FSB affair in Crimea.  There is an interesting source for readers wishing to know more on the topic of Russian and Ukrainian troop movements and buildups.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is an excellent site headed up by Retired General Jack Keane with a plethora of highly-educated and experienced analysts.  Of not is a map entitled “Russian Build-Up in and Around Ukraine: August 12, 2016,” that also summarizes in bullet comments the deployments and composition per each area.

As Ukraine and Russia continue to face off, combat is ongoing in the contested Eastern Ukrainian regions that the Minsk agreement is failing to bring to a halt.  The future actions in the area are going to be determined by just how much the West wants to push the issue and support the inclusion (absorption is a better term) of Ukraine into the IMF hegemony.  Russia has already stated it will not tolerate Ukrainian entry into NATO, however, it seems the West and Ukraine are pushing other buttons that may very well soon lead to war.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne).  Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape).  He lives in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with his wife and three cats. You can follow Jeremiah’s regular writings at or contact him here.

This article may be republished or excerpted with proper attribution to the author and a link to

Also From Jeremiah Johnson:

This Tipping Point Could Easily Escalate To World War III: Putin Says “The Threat of Nuclear War Is Very Real”

How To Survive Occupied America: “Red Dawn Just Started… And You’re In It”

Russia’s Attack Posture: “The Enemy Must Be Destroyed Or Conquered; The Ultimate Soviet Objective Is Total Victory”

Is Putin’s Purge Of Top Russian Commanders An Advance Warning Of Large-Scale Military Action In The Near Future?

The Threat Is Real And Imminent: The Next World War Will Be Initiated By A First Strike Utilizing An EMP Weapon

Make No Mistake: “Everyone Who Is Warning About Clinton Is A Target and They Are Marked


Hillary Responds To Health Allegations; Opens A Jar Of Pickles: "I Feel Like This Is An Alternate Universe"

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 15:43

While Hillary Clinton continued her press conference radio silence, having avoided media Q&A for over 260 days, last night the Democratic candidate did appear on ACB's Jimmy Kimmel live show where she responded to recent reports that her health is deteriorating, saying she feels like she is in an “alternative universe” and laughed off any questions about her health and stamina, arguing that the current speculation "makes no sense" because she doesn't "go around questioning Donald Trump's health."

“I do feel sometimes like this campaign has entered into an alternative universe,” she told Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I have to step into the alternative reality, answer questions about am I alive, how much longer will I be alive.” Clinton was for the first time responding to allegations made by Trump and some of his backers that she is suffering health problems that could be problematic in the White House should she win the Nov. 8 election. Both Clinton and Trump have released notes from doctors declaring them physically fit for the presidency.

After Kimmel asked whether there was any truth to the rumors most recently raised by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Democratic nominee for president extended her wrist and told the late night host to take her pulse "to make sure I'm alive." Kimmel obliged, taking Clinton's pulse with his thumb and joking: "Oh my God, there's nothing there!" We assume that was a joke.

Kimmel then asked Clinton to open a jar of pickles as a test of her strength (she did so successfully).

"Back in October, the National Enquirer said I'd be dead in six months. So with every breath I take I feel like it's a new lease on life," she quipped. "I don't know why they are saying this. I think on the one hand it's part of the wacky strategy," Clinton said of the GOP push to paint her as unhealthy. "On the other hand, it absolutely makes no sense."

Clinton said that sometimes Trump’s remarks about her – such as a recent charge that President Barack Obama and Clinton co-founded the Islamic State, which he later said was sarcasm – go beyond personal attacks and become harmful to U.S. national security. “There’s enough evidence now that when Trump talks the way he talks it actually helps the terrorists,” Clinton said. “I think it’s crazy, but I think it’s also harmful.”

With the first general election debate approaching next month, Kimmel asked Clinton how she was preparing to face Trump. "You've got to be prepared for wacky stuff. I'm planning on drawing off my experiences from elementary school," she said, noting that she also wanted Kimmel's advice on how best to perform.

Later in the interview, Kimmel, acknowledging the continued fallout from the Democratic nominee's use of a private email server, suggested that Clinton maybe consider "FaceTime" as an alternative to email. "I think that's actually really good advice," she said with a smile. The grandmother of two often talks about how much she loves using the technology while on the road and said she would be "distraught" without it.

Confirming that to Clinton the email scandal is a joke, Hillary said she isn’t worried about the additional e-mail release: "We’ve already released 30,000 plus, so what’s a few more." And to think it only took constant, relentless lawsuits for her to make them public.

Full interview below:

The Hard Reality of Collapse: “You Will Eventually Be Responsible For Healing The Sick And Treating Wounds”

SHTF Plan - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 14:46

(Pictured: Nurse Amy Alton and Dr. Joe Alton At Medical Preparedness Training Seminar)

Should we ever be presented with a situation wherein the system as we have come to know it collapses, the one thing we can be certain of is that we will be faced with a variety of life-threatening situations.

Dr. Joseph Alton and Nurse Amy Alton of  explain in their recently revised and expanded edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook:  The Essential Guide For When Medical Help Is Not On The Way:

Since the last edition of this book was published, the natural and man-made disasters humanity has endured have been too numerous to count. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, blizzards, and other weather events have caused major damage and loss of life.Terrorist attacks and active shooter events have become more commonplace. International tensions have elevated and may lead to a major confrontation in the future.

It’s hard to witness recent events without a vague sense of foreboding. Regardless of your political beliefs, somewhere in the back of your mind you know that things are not the same as when you were a child. There are more extreme weather events. There are more open declarations of hostility and violent acts almost everywhere, sometimes by organized groups and other times by the unhinged and deranged.

Despite our current predicament, those who prepare for the consequences of these happening are looked upon with amusement and, sometimes, suspicion. The general population associates them with reality show contestants that dress in camouflage and live in bunkers

All of the events mentioned above have lead to almost unimaginable losses of life and injuries in just the last 10 years alone, not to mention similar disasters through the centuries. Nowadays, these events seem to happen so regularly that most people have started ignoring them altogether. For the general population it is merely another news story amid a rapidly evolving 24-hour news cycle. They can ignore the devastation because it’s happening on television, almost as if it is a scripted reality show.

But those who are grounded in actual reality understand that disasters happen quite regularly, all over the world, and can come at anytime. And when those disasters strike, your neighborhood, region or entire country could affected to such an extent that the things we have come to rely upon in our every day lives could be gone in an instant.

Law and order would break down, leading to looting, robbing and pillaging. The power grid itself could be compromised, knocking out electricity and everything that is dependent on it, including public water filtration systems. And as we’ve seen in major disaster zones in the United States and elsewhere, a total shutdown of transportation services and the ability to acquire essential goods at grocery stores often has immediate impact.

But one often ignored aspect of preparedness is perhaps the most important, because when a significant disaster strikes, we can fully expect emergency responders, including hospital workers, to stop showing up for work.

Excerpted from The Survival Medicine Handbook:  The Essential Guide For When Medical Help Is Not On The Way:

In a situation where power might be down and normal methods of filtering water and cleaning food don’t exist, your health is as much under attack as the survivors in the last zombie apocalypse movie. Infectious disease may run rampant and it will be a challenge to maintain sanitary conditions. Simple activities of daily survival, such as chopping wood, will commonly lead to cuts that could get infected. These minor issues, so easily treated by modern medical science, can easily become life-threatening if left untreated in a collapse.

Clearly, you owe it to your family to devote some time and effort to obtain medical knowledge and supplies. You may be an accomplished outdoorsman; you may have plenty of food and your share of defensive weaponry. That’s commendable, but what would you say to a member of your family who becomes ill or injured? Take two bullets and call in the morning?

The one thing many preppers forget to consider is that if you are put into a situation where you have to pull out your guns to defend your home, those attacking you are likely not going to be waving just baseball bats or throwing rocks. They’re coming to the gunfight armed with guns and there is a distinct possibility that your loved ones could be injured.

But that’s just one of may potentially deadly scenarios that could befall you in a post-collapse world. As the Altons note:

There will likely be a lot more diarrheal disease than gunfights at the OK corral. History teach us that, in the Civil War, there were more death from dysentery than there were from bullet wounds. Some survivalists’ motto may be “Bean and Bullets”, but we say “Beans and Bandages, then bullets.”

It’s a hard reality that you will eventually be responsible for healing the sick and treating wounds. Someone has to make the commitment to learn how to treat medical issues and store medical supplies; in other words, to volunteer as family medic in times of trouble. 

If you accept the role of medic, you will be taking a genuine first step towards assuring your family’s survival in dark times.

It is for this reason that we strongly encourage our readers to consider The Survival Medicine Handbook. It’s been rated five stars for a reason and each of the adults in our family has one in their emergency supply packs. Whether we plan to hunker down or have to go mobile in an emergency, it is absolutely essential that we have a reference guide to help us treat the myriad of medical emergency and conditions we may be faced with.

At over 600 easily digested pages, the handbook is an essential resource that includes everything from medical supply lists to improvising tools around your house. You’ll find real-world emergency scenarios and the types of injuries you can expect, as well as scores of common medical conditions and how to treat them when there is no doctor to be found.

In a real emergency, where someone you love and know has been injured and faces the real possibility that their wound or condition could be fatal, the last thing you want to do is panic.

Because when people panic, people die.

You can order your copy of the newly revised and expanded Survival Medicine Handbook by clicking here. 

Visit Dr. Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton at

One Can Never Have Too Much Freedom When Building Fruitful Societies

Daily Bell - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 14:27

Being an Ideologue Means Never Having to Say You’re Wrong … “Communism would have worked, if the Soviet Union had only tried it for real.” … For any political-economic ideology, there is always a hard core of believers who will never waver in their conviction that if only the program were tried in its pure form, it would succeed. Any failures — even debacles on a grand scale, including the fiasco of 20th century communism — will be chalked up to ideological impurity and improper application.- Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s Noah Smith, the site’s most provocative and often wrongheaded columnist compares communism to free-markets in this editorial. His conclusion: “Hard core believers” of any type are probably wrong.

We don’t think so.

Communism in its modern form is a pervasively authoritarian ideology. Its corollary is state control. Free-market economics is exactly the opposite. It is most effective when the state is  at least dormant.

Can societies ever be too free? That’s hard to fathom. Certainly – and sadly – that doesn’t seem to be a problem in the world today. Nonetheless, Noah pursues his points.

In reality, true believers often cling tenaciously to their worldviews … [But] the tendency toward ideological commitment is now being tested in the U.S., as free-market dogma — sometimes known as neo-liberalism — is coming under increasing attack.

Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign gained a surprising amount of support from young people. Economists, both in the public eye and out of it, are focusing more on inequality and embracing a more activist role for the state.

Business professors are starting to question the short-termism of financial markets and shareholder control. Some researchers at right-leaning think tanks are saying that Republicans need to move away from Reaganomics and its mix of tax cuts and deregulation.

In fact we don’t recognize what Smith calls “free-market dogma.” What the US has in place now is what we’ve called technocratic fascism.

To conflate it with a pure form of anarcho-capitalism is ludicrous.

The US government runs on well over $3 trillion a year. It pursues bloodthirsty hegemony abroad and repression at home.

The dominant ideology of the US – and the West in general – is corporatism. And corporatism is the result of Supreme Court decisions that have at least partially created a reign of judicial terror that includes intellectual property rights, corporate personhood and monopoly central banking.

Absent these three disastrous influences, the US probably would look a lot more like it did before the Civil War, when the country – despite slavery and genocidal policies toward Native Americans – produced something of a golden epoch in the annals of industrial freedom and creativity.

The success of this era, ironically, laid the building blocks for the current American empire. Pre-Civil War, creativity was fairly untrammeled by government regulations and entrepreneurship was not constrained by the current faux fervor of environmentalism.

Here, a summary, as follows:

The antebellum era was a time not only of profound political change but also of great technological and economic innovation. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Europe in the 1700s, had produced new inventions and methods of production.

American inventors transformed the U.S. economy with new innovations of their own. This rapid development of manufacturing and improved farming had such a profound effect on American society that historians often refer to it as the Market Revolution.

Some antebellum inventions? The cotton gin, the steamboat, the Erie Canal and railroads.

The building blocks of modernity not just for the US but for the world were put in place during a period of incandescent creativity. People could invent what they wanted and put their ideas into production.

Contrast this with communism. From what we can tell,  Stalin’s number one product was genocide. Certainly, people abandoned communism as soon as they could. The system was only kept in place by force.

Contrast that to the US, where it took a war – the Civil War – to change the texture of society and replace laissez-faire with the beginnings of the technocratic capitalism that the US is sinking under today.

Smith writes in his conclusion that people generally are not ideological. The implication is that free-market “neoliberalism” has moved in an overly energetic fashion in the direction of industrial anarchy.

But as explained above, laissez-faire has been retreating in the US for well over a century-and-a-half now. Smith seems to be confusing fascism with freedom.

Nonetheless, he is fairly certain what’s coming next:

“I expect the U.S. public to cast around for alternatives to the neoliberalism of Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush … Some sort of course change, rather than a doubling down, seems inevitable.”

Leave aside our disagreement with his characterization of the philosophies of these three men, it is hard to conceive of a society failing from too much entrepreneurship, industrial vitality and freedom.

On the other hand, it equally hard to visualize a successful society shaped by the brutal intolerance of communism – as it apparently evolves inevitably when it is tried.

Conclusion: One can never have too much freedom, in our view. And one can never have too little forcible communism. Human action is preferable to authoritarianism. Societies work best when people (absent sociopaths) are left to their own devices.

Slim Businez by Mark Cupples

Weston Price - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 14:27

Slim Businez
by Mark Cupples
Herald Books

There must still be a few people out there who want to lose weight because books on how to lose weight keep on coming. Slim Businez is another one and it starts out by recognizing the fact that there is a lot of conflicting advice on this subject. Most of it comes from big industry. Cupples’ advice is to think for yourself. That will be difficult for many because most of us went to schools that didn’t teach you how to think. They just taught you what to think. Still, it is good advice and you should at least try. Don’t be afraid. I will just briefly mention that what our culture thinks is aesthetically appealing and what is really healthy may be two very different things. That is one area where you may especially want to think for yourself.

He goes on to say that almost any diet will work if you can stick to it. That’s the catch, though—sticking to it. Most people are looking for something they can do for some period of time (as short as possible of course), then go back to life and eating as usual. You need to have goals that inspire you and that you can stay with permanently. Many diets are impossible to stay on because, while they may “work” in terms of losing weight, they don’t work nutritionally.

The diet primarily promoted in this book is a low-carb diet. I’m pretty sure there is no one diet that will work for everybody but this can and has worked for many. Where people usually go wrong with this diet is in trying to make it lowfat as well. I guarantee that won’t work and if you try too hard you may actually kill yourself. This author does rather well on explaining what kind of foods to eat and the importance of fat, with information right in line with our teachings at WAPF.

Cupples ducks the question of whether chemical sweeteners are good for you and leaves it to the readers to think and decide for themselves. My personal thinking is that they are clearly bad but, by all means, think for yourself. He has a lot of ideas on exercise that I would mostly take as suggestions. I like to keep it simple and say the best exercise is the one you will do. Elsewhere I have read that the exercise most popular among people who live the longest is walking, which is highly recommended in this book. Not running, not killer workouts at the gym or slugging it out with a side of beef in a meat locker, not extreme sports, just walking. Period. But think for yourself.

The book offers several detailed plans for exercising and eating depending on whether you have an iron will or you are normal. There seems to be a lot of monitoring of vital statistics and weight and counting of carbs from day to day. Perhaps that motivates some people when they see even the tiniest increments of progress. I wouldn’t follow any of the plans exactly because, well, I think for myself. I have some doubts about a few points in the book (like drinking a lot of water just before eating) but I think the thumb is UP for this book.

The post Slim Businez by Mark Cupples appeared first on Weston A Price.

Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime by Peter Gøtzsche

Weston Price - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 14:16

Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare
by Peter C Gøtzsche
Radcliffe Publishing

The author, Peter Gøtzsche, graduated with a Master of Science degree in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician in 1984. He is a specialist in internal medicine; he worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry and is a co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration.

I mention this just to point out that the information in this book comes from someone who has been inside the industry for a long time. He is not just another troll regurgitating nonsense made up by some other troll.

A few numbers begin to paint the picture. In 2009, Pfizer paid over two billion dollars in a healthcare fraud settlement. GlaxoSmithKline paid three billion in 2011. Johnson & Johnson was fined over one billion dollars in 2012, and he lists several others. Even for large corporations these numbers sound huge to me.

His evaluation of the pharmaceutical industry may seem excessively harsh if you are new to this subject, but the numbers above are just a few early details in an account of many documented offenses. When asked to comment on what he thinks of the industry’s ethics, he jokes that it is difficult to describe what doesn’t exist.

I worked in the defense industry for many years and I find the approach of industry in general to ethics would be funny if the consequences were not so often dangerous or deadly. We had to attend mandatory ethics training which typically occupied about one hour of our time each year. The effectiveness of this is dubious at best. If I just intentionally sold a “health” product that kills people, is a little training going to reform me? Oops, that happened because I missed my ethics training. Sorry. My bad.

The biggest difficulty with discussing drug trials is knowing where to begin. Other book reviews have talked about this so I will try not to be redundant. One of the key problems with placebo controlled trials is that often the placebo doesn’t fool anybody. Most people know drugs have side effects so if you are not experiencing any, you got the placebo. This book recommends correcting that with active placebos, meaning placebos that generate side effects similar to the actual drug.

While poor methodology is epidemic, there is a much larger, more central problem. Pharmaceutical trials are not motivated by any dedication to science or safety. They are marketing. It should be obvious to the FDA and everybody else that the testing of a product by the producer will never be anything but marketing, but the farce continues.

Scientific journals helpfully provide support for this marketing. Lancet editor Richard Horton said “Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.” The pharmaceutical industry is clearly about money and not health. If you make it half way through this book without getting that point you either work for the industry or perhaps you are availing yourself of a few too many of their products.

But. . . but the FDA will protect us, right? FDA scientist Len Lutwalk said that if the American people knew some of the things that go on in the FDA, they’d never take anything but Bayer aspirin.

Companies like to claim that the efficacy of their product is backed up by the data, but does anyone ever see the data? Russell Katz, director of the neuropharmacology division of the FDA said companies don’t like to publish negative studies. He finds it amusing how so many scientists and physicians make pronouncements on the data without seeing the data. If you really want to see data you usually have to pay. Even then, probably most data are so deeply buried no amount of money in the world will get you a peek at them.

One of the branches of modern medicine that has most unreasonably detached itself from the data, ironically, is psychiatry. Psychiatrist David Healy said “There is probably no other area of medicine in which the academic literature is so at odds with the raw data.” This field has defined so many mental disorders so vaguely that, by these definitions, we are all crazy. I am often tempted to believe that really is the case, but then I get serious. If you have heard the rumors that the federal government wants to screen everybody for mental illness then you know what a bad idea that is. The inmates really are running the asylum.

Speaking of screening, studies have shown health screening has zero effect on overall mortality. It doesn’t work. Well, actually it does work. It brings more patients into the healthcare system. In other words, more money is brought into the system.

A broad range of witnesses—from doctors, to courts, to the FDA, to journal editors, to researchers, to victims—all agree. There is a moral vacuum at the top of the healthcare industry. It isn’t confined to just one industry. The author himself compares it to the tobacco industry. I would expand it to all major industries, high levels of government, the FDA, scientific journals and, it pains me to say, the grassroots. Until the grassroots lets go of its willful ignorance, addiction to convenience and naive acceptance of everything the government and industry say, we will get what we deserve. Until we stop supporting and patronizing corrupt institutions and industries we will get what we deserve.

Gøtzsche offers a number of solutions. He suggests scrapping forprofit drugs, banning trials by industry on its own products and full disclosure of all trial data. He also recommends no marketing of drugs. I’m an old dog who remembers when drug advertising was not legal in the U.S. It was a better, healthier time. These are good ideas but until the moral vacuum is removed no idea will be good enough. More rules will just mean more opportunities to ignore, corrupt or twist the rules. Raising awareness is the first step and this book certainly does that, so the thumb is UP for this book.

The post Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime by Peter Gøtzsche appeared first on Weston A Price.

What Is Happening In Japan Is Not Good…But Gold & Silver Remain Firm

King World News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 14:16

What is happening in Japan is not good...but gold and silver remain firm.

The post What Is Happening In Japan Is Not Good…But Gold & Silver Remain Firm appeared first on King World News.

Monetary policy has nationalized Japanese stock market, CLSA analyst says

GATA - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 13:57

"There are no markets anymore, just interventions." -- High School Graduate, GATA Washington conference, April 18, 2008.

* * *

By Leslie Shaffer
CNBC, New York
Monday, August 22, 2016

Even a resurgent yen hasn't dampened Japan's stock rally over the past couple months, but that's not necessarily because investors like the market.

The Nikkei 225 index has surged around 10 percent since late June, even as the yen has climbed against the dollar, with the pair testing levels under 100.

Normally this would be bad news for stocks as a stronger yen is a negative for exporters as it reduces their overseas profits when converted to local currency. So what explains the buoyant stock market?

Analysts attributed the gains to the Bank of Japan, not fundamentals.

In a report titled, "BoJ Nationalizing the Stock Market," Nicholas Smith, an analyst at CLSA, said that the central bank's exchange-traded fund buying program was distorting the market.

At its late July meeting, the BoJ said it would increase its ETF purchases so that their amount outstanding will rise at an annual pace of 6 trillion yen ($56.7 billion), from 3.3 trillion yen previously.

Those purchases were particularly distorting to the market because they focused largely on funds tracking the Nikkei 225 index, Smith said in a note dated Sunday, estimating that more than half of the BoJ's ETF buying was likely in Nikkei-tied funds. ...

... For the remainder of the report:


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Koos Jansen: More indications that China sees gold as key to currency

GATA - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 13:34

12:30p ET Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Gold researcher Koos Jansen today reports more comments by Song Xin, general manager of the Chinese government's National Gold Group Corp., indicating that government policy is the steady acquisition of gold reserves, eventually surpassing United States gold reserves, to facilitate internationalization of the yuan and confidence in the currency. Jansen's report is headlined "Song Xin: Increase Gold Reserves and Join SDR" and it's posted at Bullion Star here:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.


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German Stocks Try To Defend Key Breakout Level

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 12:15

Via Dana Lyons' Tumblr,

The German DAX scored a big technical breakout 2 weeks ago; it is now undergoing a critical test of that breakout level.

As U.S. equity-centric fund managers, our focus is not typically on international markets, except as it relates to our relative strength-based fund selection model. However, there are certain foreign markets that are obviously more significant than others in their influence on global equity movements. Additionally, there are certain junctures on a chart that are more important than others in determining the likely direction of prices. Put those two variables together and you have the makings of a highly meaningful chart that begs one’s attention. This combination also accounts for the 3rd Chart Of The Day and associated blog post in the past 8 weeks pertaining to the German DAX Stock Index.

Of course, the DAX is Germany’s main stock index and, outside of some of the broad, continent-wide indices, perhaps Europe’s most important as well. Given Germany’s status as Europe’s economic linchpin, the DAX is always on our radar as a key barometer of the health and direction of European equities. As such, the 3 recent ChOTD’s and posts (including today’s) are indicative of the significant developments of late in the German (and thus, Europe’s) equity market.

The first post came on June 29th as we suggested it was imperative that the DAX hold key, post-Brexit support that it was testing at the time (German Stocks Facing Must-Hold Level). Specifically, the support was in the form of the post-2009 Up trendline (on a log scale). The index was indeed able to hold the trendline, bottoming within 2 days of the post. Since that hold, the DAX has rallied as much as 17%.

About 3 weeks ago, the rally had led the DAX to another critical juncture, in our view. Specifically, it was the convergence of 2 key trendlines (on a linear scale this time): the post-2011 Up trendline and the post-2015 Down trendline (German Stocks At A Crossroads). We felt that the DAX’s reaction at that convergence would dictate the direction of the market for some time. Break above the trendlines, it was advantage bulls. Fail there and the bears would be in control. Well, after an initial week-long rejection, the DAX was able to break through that convergence of technical resistance – and with authority, rallying 3.5% in a week.

However, after that 1-week push, the rally petered out and the index began to pull back. Fast forward to today and the DAX is now testing the level of that trendline convergence breakout.


A closer look:


This test bears the same implications as the last one. That is, holding above the breakout level of the trendline convergence would be bullish. Fail to hold and we have a likely false breakout, giving the advantage to the bears. Of course, the 2 trendlines are now diverging so it is possible that price falls below the Up trendline, yet holds the down trendline. We’ll call that scenario a draw.

At the moment, though, the 2 trendlines are still close enough together that a move above or below could happen easily and swiftly so keep your eye on the ball.

*  *  *

More from Dana Lyons, JLFMI and My401kPro.

A Life Unburdened With Richard Morris

Weston Price - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 12:12

Hilda Labrada Gore: Our guest today is Richard Morris, author of A Life Unburdened, a man who unsuccessfully tried diet after diet for weight loss. At one juncture Richard weighed over four hundred pounds. He would wake up most mornings asking himself, “Is today the day I die?” Today you’ll hear how he lost weight by ignoring the experts and using the power of real food. I have heard people use the expression, “I’m a changed man.” But I think you really are a changed man, aren’t you?

RM: In my case this is literally true. Back in 2002 I weighed over four hundred pounds. And I was sick—I was pre-diabetic, I had asthma and high blood pressure. I was in really bad shape. Then I lost most of that excess weight, and I have kept it off. I’m running obstacle races. I’m signed up for a Spartan race. I’m running five K’s and ten K’s and really enjoying life.

HLG: Oh my goodness what a drastic change! Four hundred pounds. Excuse me but that sounds like a couple of people’s worth of weight. Please tell us first about how you got in the position of being so overweight?

RM: This is going to sound a little strange, but I honestly had no idea how large I was. It’s like putting a crab in water on the stove and then slowly turning up the heat; the crab doesn’t notice it because the water heats up slowly. I was gaining a pound here and five pounds there. I would look in the mirror, and every day I knew I was overweight but every day I looked sort of normal to myself. It isn’t until you see yourself in a photograph or in a video that you realize you’ve gained a lot of weight. It snuck up on me—I was never fully conscious of it.

HLG: What was the turning point? What made you realize that something had to change?

RM: It happened in 2002 when I was commuting to work in New York. I walked to work, as in New York nearly everybody walks to work if it is not too far from home. For me a walk of several blocks began to feel like walking ten miles or climbing Mount Everest. I mean I would be out of breath by the time I got to the office. One day my knee gave out on me as I was stepping into the elevator and I almost fell down. I had all kinds of aches and pains. Just standing up for more than a minute was painful for me. That’s when I would wake up every morning and ask myself, “Is today the day I die?” I realized I needed to do something different and the thing that I did different was the food that I was eating.

HLG: When I read about your struggles—including the painful details like your belt buckle digging into your waist, or sweating profusely after the slightest exertion—my heart went out to you.

RM: Actually, there’s one thing that I didn’t put in my book because it was so painful. I was always drenched in sweat by the time I got to work, and one day I got to work and opened my desk drawer to find that someone had placed a container of deodorant in there. I was taking baths and showers and washing and trying to be as hygienic as possible but that four- or five-block walk to work might as well have been ten miles. So you can imagine what a painful thing it was to find the deodorant.

HLG: Richard, you said food made the difference—I thought food would have been part of the problem.

RM: Food was part of the problem but like a lot of things, it also turned out to be part of the solution. I worked in the software industry and one thing about that industry is you spend a lot of time at your desk in front of the computer. If you’re writing code, reviewing code or designing software, there’s not a whole lot of time to go out and eat. The software companies want employee productivity and so they make eating very easy. They bring in pretzels and donuts; sodas from the machine costs only ten cents per soda or they are even free. And so it was really easy to put down lots of junk food very quickly at work. I calculated that on some days I was putting away up to seven thousand calories. And many of my colleagues were doing the same thing. It’s not uncommon in the software industry to find overweight people.

HLG: So how did you figure out that the food you were eating wasn’t the best, that you needed to change what you were eating? You must have tried a million diets?

RM: I would say a million and one diets. I talk about them in my book A Life Unburdened. One of the diets we did was the cabbage diet, where we basically ate a lot of cabbage—which is just a horrible way to live. And then there was the exercise diet where I was going to the gym twice a day—just burning myself up. And I actually lost weight on these, but these diets are unsustainable. They don’t work over the long term. In every case where I lost weight on a diet, I gained it all back. I was a vegetarian for a year and lost some weight but then gained it right back. The change for me came one day on the way to work. I felt so terrible that I decided I was going to fast for that day. And I did and felt pretty good. At dinner time I did get some food—grilled chicken with vegetables, and I drank water. When I woke up the next morning, I felt 50 percent better and thought, “Wow that was amazing!” so I did it again a second day. And when I woke up the third day I felt like a new man. I could not believe it. At first I thought I must have been eating some kind of magic chicken. But then I realized: no it’s not what I was eating. It’s what I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t eating the potato chips and a lot of processed food out of the vending machine. That’s when the light bulb went on.

HLG: In your book you mention that your wife was struggling also, that both of you were in this together. How did the light bulb go on for her?

RM: When I realized that I’d been eating all of the wrong foods, I got on the phone and called my wife back home in Virginia. “I would like us to change the way we eat,” I said. “I think we need to go back to eating the way our grandparents ate.” Now at the time I weighed over four hundred pounds, and my wife was pushing two hundred pounds, so we were both overweight. It just so happened that she was thinking along the same lines; she knew that we were both headed in the wrong direction. We have two girls and they were gaining weight also; we knew we were doing something wrong. She didn’t give me any pushback on it but said, “I think this is a great idea.” So while I was still in New York, she and my daughters went to our kitchen cabinets and took out every box, every can, everything that had a list of ingredients you needed a laboratory to reproduce, everything with items in the ingredients list that you couldn’t pronounce. And from that point we started going to the grocery store and buying whole foods and cooking our own meals.

HLG: So it took effort, it didn’t just happen. Did you have cravings? Did you want to go back to the old stuff?

RM: There was one incident that occurred after we had made this change. We had been eating whole foods and cooking our own food—and it was delicious. I had forgotten what homecooked meals tasted like. And after several months, I started losing weight—I was making progress and feeling good. Then one day—it must have been a stressful day—after I got off work I stopped at the store and picked up a bag of potato chips, not a small bag—it was a family sized bag. And so I’m eating this bag of chips as I’m driving home, and you know what you can’t eat just one. I was almost through with the bag of chips when I realized that they didn’t taste good. Why was I still eating them? Instead of making me feel better like chips used to—at least temporarily—they made me feel worse. It was more than guilt about eating something that I knew that I shouldn’t—literally those chips did not taste good and I think that’s because my taste buds had changed. My general idea of what tasted good had changed. I ended up crumpling up the bag with some chips still in it, and I threw it on the floor of the car. That was the moment I was pretty much done with those cravings. So the more you continue to eat whole foods, the more those cravings for industrial overly processed foods will subside.

HLG: Did you feel like the people around you were thinking “This is another fad diet, he’s going to go back to ‘regular’ eating,” or could they sense it was for real this time?

RM: Nobody was really saying anything to me at work. At home, my wife and I began to go for walks in the neighborhood, as part of our change. I had a next door neighbor who did comment that I was losing weight and looking better. But for the most part people didn’t say much about it.

HLG: They probably didn’t know what to make of it. The important thing is that you and your wife were feeling the difference. I bet your girls were feeling the difference also.

RM: Yes we were, within a very short period of time. We felt better—I mean really better. And there was a period where I was dropping six pounds a week. And I wasn’t counting calories or exercising too much. I was just eating real food and going for walks in the morning. The weight just fell off and you know that success breeds motivation. Feeling better, seeing myself get a little bit smaller and my clothes fitting better—that just kept me going.

HLG: And you were saying earlier that diets are not sustainable. What do you mean by that, Richard?

RM: Diets don’t last; I like to say that diets don’t work long term. Diets can work short term but really what you want is a long-term solution for losing weight. Long term with these diets you not only gain the weight back but gain extra. So the approach to dieting needs to be something that is sustainable, which means it has got to be something that you can do not just for a temporary period of time but for the rest of your life.

HLG: And eating real food cooking at home—these are things that are sustainable, right? Tell me how your grandparents ate? Did they eat real food?

RM: Yes, they did. My mother was an Alabama farm girl. Her parents were rural people doing small-scale, subsistence farming. On my father’s side it was the same thing. I never met my grandparents but my mother told me stories about them. Even when I was a kid and my family was living in Michigan, it was not uncommon for my father to go out on a Sunday and buy a live chicken at the market. He’d bring that chicken home and my mother would slaughter it. And we would have fresh chicken for dinner.

HLG: Wow. And how is it that your family and you departed from that kind of real food?

RM: I like to say that as humans it’s just part of our nature that we’re always looking for ways to streamline, to reduce the amount of work that we have to do. When my family moved from Michigan to Arizona, we found ourselves surrounded by cheap processed food. Since it costs less, you get lulled into the idea that it has a higher value. You begin to rate your food by the price rather than by the quality of that food. The other thing is that there was a period where we were pretty poor, and we were getting government food. That means we were basically getting corn syrup and white flour—basically all of the junk foods. That’s what was being given to people on public assistance. I used to make the sandwiches when I was a kid—two slices of white bread with corn syrup as the filling and that was a sandwich. Sometimes I’d throw some peanut butter on there. It was a horrible diet but it was a diet that we were forced into because of our financial situation at the time. But also because the culture, which just sort of moved us in that direction.

HLG: So how did you reconnect with cooking and real food? Where did you turn for guidance?

RM: Initially it was just a gut feeling. After my successful experience in New York, I returned to Virginia where I continued what my wife had already started. We just began cooking. I like to cook; if I could have a second life I’d come back as a chef. And so I started cooking. We taught our daughters to cook and the food just tasted better. At the time I didn’t really know too much about diet and nutrition—all I knew was that, wow, this food tastes a lot better than the stuff that I normally buy. I also figured out that when you cook it yourself, when you make your own food with real ingredients, it actually does cost less over the long term. So not only were we enjoying good food, we were saving money. And although I say “good food,” at that time I didn’t have any farmer contacts, I was going to the regular grocery store. What I was buying was industrial chicken, industrial beef and industrial vegetable oils. But it’s a spectrum. You jump into this approach wherever you fit. If you’ve got the money to buy organic or if you have a local farmer that you can purchase from, then definitely go that route. But if you are like we were, where we didn’t really know what we were doing at the time, then going to the regular grocery store is a good place to start. I like to say that an industrial whole egg is better than eggs in a box.

HLG: So true. It’s a matter of taking those small steps to upgrade your diet, moving away from those labels with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Once you got rolling you probably realized that organic food would be better. Then what did you do?

RM: Once I start something, I go whole hog, I jump in with both feet, so I was all over the Internet, searching and searching, and then I stumbled across this organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation. I thought, who are these people? But as I was reading the website, I thought, “This is it, this is what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been thinking but couldn’t articulate it at the time.” I realized that these people had the information I needed. It just so happened that shortly after that the Foundation was doing a talk somewhere in DC and I decided to go. I was just blown away because all of the things that I suspected were true. The Weston A. Price Foundation became my number one source for information about whole foods.

RM: And you know what I picked up from the meeting was honesty. I mean I didn’t feel like I was being sold. For once in a very long time I’m getting real honest information.

HLG: How much time went by from the chicken experience in New York to when you were really feeling good? When did you start running races for example?

RM: From the day I ate that magic chicken to the moment when I really felt terrific was eighteen months. I lost over one hundred fifty pounds. And I didn’t really notice that I had lost that much weight until people began saying. “Wow! He’s lost a lot of weight!” People began urging me to write a book. That was back in 2003, but believe it or not, I just got into racing last year. I didn’t think it was something that I would like but I sort of stumbled into it. You know in my book I talk about the Ten Steps to Success, and I think step number nine was “Find Your Motivation.” It turns out that I’m just passionate about running races. Racing has became another motivator for me to stay on this path of eating the foods that are more likely to yield good health for me. But it’s also fun. I’m getting out there and running because I enjoy it. I do a five K here and a ten K there. I just finished a ten miler a couple days ago. I’m looking forward to doing the Spartan Obstacle Race later this year.

HLG: And the Spartan races have more challenges than a regular race, right?

RM: The ten-miler I did was just straight running for ten miles. The Spartan races have obstacles that include all kinds of stuff. You might be in mud up to your hips or climbing eight-foot walls or on monkey bars. It’s like a big kid’s playground but I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I was at the end of that race.

HLG: Does your wife join you on the track and Spartan races?

RM: No, she’s not so much into that extreme kind of racing but we hike together—she loves hiking. We live in a rural area so there’s a lot of places to go for long walks. We typically do a three-mile walk together two or three times a week.

HLG: It sounds like activity is a piece of the puzzle as well.

RM: It’s a big piece of the puzzle. There was a period when I was solely focused on food. We do need to take what we eat seriously. But I realized that what I eat is not disconnected from the rest of my life. All of our lives are complicated and everything is connected to everything else. I realized that there has to be a reason for eating good food and for me eating good food was a way to fuel my racing. Another reason: my wife and I are small-scale farmers raising pigs, chickens and turkeys, which can be strenuous work. And so eating good food is a way to fuel us to do that work.

HLG: A lot of athletes are looking for the perfect optimal fuel such as protein powders and energy bars. Is that the kind of fuel that your body needs to sustain and meet these challenges?

RM: I’ve read about protein powders and I did try them for a while. But they seem like a waste of money to me. You don’t really know how much protein or how much filler is in those products. And why use a protein powder when I’m producing high quality protein right here at home. I can just go out to my freezer where I’ve got pork, chicken, turkey and beef. I’ve also got eggs. I have found that real food is the best source of all the nutrients I need to fuel my life.

HLG: I’m sure your grandparents were more likely to eat real food than they were to have protein powders. We are trying to go back, which is actually part of the mission of the Weston A. Price Foundation, to honor the traditions of our ancestors.

RM: Absolutely. The more you process a food, the more you’re going to lose some of those core nutrients. You could wind up with something that tastes okay but it’s just not the same thing. Since I’ve been powering my activities with real protein from good sources, my output has been better. The ten-mile race I ran a couple days ago has been my best race so far. That’s because I’m constantly honing my diet and using real food to get where I need to go.

HLG: And how old are your girls now?

RM: My youngest is twenty-one, and my oldest is about to be twenty-six. And both of them are in good health now. My oldest daughter started developing breasts at a really early age. My wife and I asked the doctor whether it could be the food. And he just dismissed us—he waved that away: “Oh no it can’t possibly be that.” So my next daughter comes along and we see the same thing. At that time we were eating a lot of industrial chicken. And so we stopped feeding her that and switched to pasture-fed chicken— and the condition reversed itself! So I do think it was the food. You know industrial chickens get growth hormones and in some cases antibiotics because these chemicals make them grow, and make them fatter faster.

HLG: Well here is a marvelous story about not only your own health turnaround but that of your family. As we prepare to wrap up is there anything you would like to tell our listeners? What is one thing you would recommend they do to improve their health?

RM: I think everything starts with education. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for anybody and so it really is on us as individuals to educate ourselves. Find a source like Weston A. Price Foundation website where there’s lots of information. And you can educate yourself. Don’t just take anybody’s word for what is best for you; educate and then experiment to find out what works.

Richard Morris once weighed over four hundred pounds and was on the fast track to an early grave. He found his way back to health by rediscovering the transformative power of real food. He is the author of A Life Unburdened: Getting Over Weight and Getting on with My Life, an Eric Hoffer Award winner. Richard has shared his inspirational story with audiences around the country. A real food enthusiast, small-scale farmer, and obstacle-course racer, Richard has been profiled in the film documentaries: American Meat, and Polyfaces. He will be a speaker at Wise Traditions 2016 in Montgomery, Alabama, November 13, 2016.


The Wise Traditions podcast is continuing to gain steam! Just launched in January 2016, we now have had over ninety-three thousand downloads. (By the time the journal goes to press, we’ll have thousands more!) It’s a fantastic resource for all listeners, and it makes sharing our valuable content a snap. Just go to the website and click on the word “podcast.” When you click on any episode link, you can simply cut and paste the link and share it in an email or on social media.

Listeners are raving! Here are two from iTunes.

“Everyone needs to listen to this podcast. Their lives will change drastically for the better! Please keep
doing more episodes. We love them.” Dajana & Henry

“I have been listening to this podcast from the beginning and I love it! There are amazing guests who
always provide valuable nuggets of information. I love how Hilda is not afraid to ask important questions
and cover controversial topics to make sure the truth is heard. I recommend this podcast for everyone
interested in health and nutrition!” Sven Craun

You’ll also notice at the top of the podcast page an application called mixlr. It looks like a little radio speaker. There
you can listen to occasional live events, when it says “on air.” When it says “off air,” click on “WISE TRADITIONS LIVE” and go to “showreel.” There you’ll find raw audio footage of events, chats, and even farm tours!

Keep listening (and sharing) our content whenever possible! We want as many people as possible to have their health restored and to reach their full genetic potential!

“Every piece of food you eat creates the landscape your grandchildren will inherit.”
Joel Salatin, “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs”

“Right now if an adult follows the CDC vaccination schedule, they will get ninety-one doses of vaccines between ages eighteen and eighty. The national Adult Immunization Plan would identify adults who are not complying to push the vaccines that are coming. It verges on a police state. This is medical tyranny.”
Leslie Manookian, “Vaccines: What’s All the Fuss About? (Part 1)”

“Today the top six foods in the American diet are grain-based desserts, bread, sugar-sweetened beverages, pizza, alcohol and fried chicken. I’d say we’ve strayed pretty far away from our native ancestral diet and we have this epidemic of chronic modern disease as a result of that.” Chris Kresser, “The Wisdom of our Ancestors”

The post A Life Unburdened With Richard Morris appeared first on Weston A Price.

Crude Explodes Higher After Iran 'Reportedly' "May Support Actions To Prop Up Oil Market"; Ignores Iran Denial

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 11:51

Another day, another strategically timed headline meant to trigger an HFT algo momentum ignition spike, and sure enough oil explodes higher, even though as Goldman explained yesterday, even an OPEC freeze will do nothing for actual production.

This hit from Reuters, which once again relies on "anonymous sources" to generate the primary source of Reuters revenue: FX volatility, in this case in the CAD.


Iran is sending positive signals that it may support joint action to prop up the oil market, Reuters says, citing unidentified people in OPEC and the oil industry.

Iran appears to be more willing to reach an understanding with other oil producers, though it has not decided whether to join a new effort, Reuters says, citing unidentified people.


“Negotiations are ongoing. I see positive signs coming from OPEC ’majors’,” Reuters says, citing an unidentified senior person in the industry familiar with the discussions, referring to Riyadh and Tehran

and then this happened:


Yuuuge volume too, which suggest that this is just the latest headline triggered squeeze.

Which was met with what appears like an official 'denial' headline shortly thereafter... but by then momentum had been ignited...


Which should not be a surprise, as Bloomberg notes, Iran is unlikely to support an oil output freeze even when its production reaches pre-sanctions level, while other OPEC countries continue to boost supply, writes Bloomberg oil strategist Julian Lee.

  • Iran to continue to raise output as much as it can even after it regains pre-sanctions level of ~4m b/d: Lee
  • Country produced 3.55m b/d in July: Bloomberg survey
  • Iran targeting 4m b/d as soon as late Sept.
  • Output from fields bordering Iraq seen rising to 290k b/d by March 2017 from 220k now
  • Iran won’t restrict output growth while watching neighboring Iraq, rival Saudi Arabia raise supply
  • Iraq produced 4.36m b/d in July, close to record 4.51m seen in Jan., accord. to Bloomberg survey
  • Country quickly to boost exports by ~150k b/d after agreement on resuming shipments from Kirkuk fields
  • Iraq’s Halfaya field to double output by mid-2018: state-run Missan Oil
  • Exxon, Petrochina in talks to develop 2 fields in south Iraq: deputy oil minister; ministry seeks to boost combined production from both fields to 550k b/d from 70k b/d

However, what the headline did not point out was the following part of the same Reuters story:

"Freezing output now is difficult, everyone is raising production. And even if, and I am saying 'if' ... we agreed to a freeze, no one will commit to stick to it," the source said.

Eventually algos will read that far, but not yet.

China Has Its First Taste Of "VaR Shock" As PBOC 14 Day Repo Sparks Treasury Dump

Zerohedge - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 11:50

Chinese Treasury futures tumbled overnight, posting their sharpest fall in three months, after the local market was spooked when the PBOC surprised bondholder by hinting it could avoid broad easing and instead may bring back a far less powerful tool. Overnight, the People's Bank of China asked banks about demand for 14-day reverse bond repurchase agreements for the first time since February, suggesting it may be expanding its strategy of using targeted, short-term injections rather than cutting interest rates or banks' reserve requirements (RRR).

As a result, and confirming once again that fundamentals are dead even in China where only liquidity injections matter just like across the entire "developed" market, the price of Chinese 10- Y treasury futures tumlbed 0.38%. This was also China's first glimpse of what a VaR shock in government bonds will look like once yields spike from recent record lows.

A senior trader at a major Chinese state-owned bank in Shanghai, cited by Reuters, said that "the market interprets the move as another sign that the central bank won't cut interest rates and RRR for now as it injects more short-term money into the banking system."  He added that the PBOC announcement "is likely to set a floor for the fall of the yields of government bond futures, and thus investors sold the futures on the news."

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has relied on issuance of seven-day reverse repos in daily open market operations this year, injecting cash on a regular basis to manage short-term money supply. The adjustment may imply the PBOC is preparing to extend the tenor of its short-term money management strategy.

While many have been expecting the PBOC to ease anew, with both housing data and the broader economy once again rolling over while trade data remains subdued, the PBOC has not cut RRR since March, and has not cut long-term guidance interest rates since October.

Still, while the economy urgently needs more easing, if only judged by the recent collapse in Chinese yields, the PBOC knows that more aggressive monetary policy easing will put unwanted additional pressure on the yuan currency, which is near six-year lows, and risk more capital outflows.

However, now that it has tipped its hand, a new risk emerges: VaR shock, something China has not experienced yet.

While that has yet to manifest itself, as Reuters adds, policymakers have clearly grown more concerned recently about the risks of prolonged, debt-fuelled stimulus, and appear to have turned their focus to more government spending instead.

Money markets were mixed after the PBOC's move, with the volume weighted average of the 14-day repo down just two basis points (bps) to 2.7 percent and the seven-day weighted average rate up six bps at 2.40 percent.  Although the 14-day repo rate has been moving higher in recent days, the weighted average remains far below its recent peak of 2.82 percent in late July.

With the central bank conducting seven-day reverse repos on a nearly daily basis, the benchmark seven-day rate has remained steady for most of 2016, but the 14-day has been more volatile.

So far in 2016, the PBOC has injected a net 654.3 billion yuan ($98.44 billion) through open markets year to date by the week ending Aug 20. It has also injected funds through medium-term lending facilities which allow it to channel money to more vulnerable sectors such as agricultural firms or small businesses.

Finally, China has also injected trillions in bank debt, both in the form of conventional loans and shadow debt, neither of which have merely slowed down the decline.

Sell The Rumor, Buy The News

TF Metals Report - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 11:43

It's a busy Tuesday with interesting news all around. That doesn't seem to matter to the metals, however, as the price sapping in gold and the impending options expiration in silver are serving to keep a lid on prices...for now.

read more


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