China Interbank Market Freezes As Overnight Repo Explodes To 25%

It seems liquidity (or counterparty mistrust) is beginning to reach extreme levels in China as the nation's banking system is now quoting overnight repo transactions at 25%. The explosion in funding costs echoes the collapse in trust (and surge in TED spread) among US banks in the run-up to the Lehman bankruptcy. MSCI Asia-Pac stocks are down over 3% with China's Shanghai Composite -2.5% at seven-month lows.

  • China’s 1-day Repo Rate Climbs to Highest Since at Least 2006
  • MNI - CHINA OVERNIGHT REPO FIXING AT RECORD HIGH

China's bond market is also collapsing:

Yield on 3.1% govt bonds due January 2016 jumps 39 bps to 3.749%, biggest rise since notes were issued in January

China this week...

 

US in the run-up to Lehman...

 

Charts: Bloomberg

China’s Red Flags

UPDATE: China 7-day repo +374bps to 12%!

China Flash PMI 48.2 (49.1 exp) - lowest in 9 months; worst 3-month plunge since Feb 2011.

 

Via Market News International:

HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin on June flash PMI (48.3 vs 49.2): "The HSBC China Flash Manufacturing PMI dropped to a nine-month low of 48.3 in June, following on the sequential reduction in both production and demand.
Manufacturing sectors are weighed down by deteriorating external demand, moderating domestic demand and rising destocking pressures. Beijing prefers to use reforms rather than stimulus to sustain growth. While reforms can boost long-term growth prospects, they will have a limited impact in the short term. As such we expect slightly weaker growth in 2Q."

 

All these major liquidiaty problems do make us think a little about the end of CCFDs and as we warned "The Bronze Swan" as financing via copper collateral is under pressure and the bank that 'own; the warehoused copper have no need to hold (and in fact are willing sellers as the carry costs rise)...

 

Following the hushed-up default by Everbright Bank last week, the liquidity situation in China has gone from bad to worse - with 1Y IRS now at all-time record highs.

 

Many are now questioning whether the dramatic elevation in short-term financing rates is "here to stay," and with the Chinese yield curve now inverted...

 

...in a similar fashion as the US Treasury market prior to the US recession in 2007...

 

and for a similar period before the US recession...

 

the clarion call for government stimulus is loud from the addicts.

However, as HSBC notes today, since the government is now putting more emphasis on balanced growth and market reforms, it will tolerate GDP growth in the 7-7.5% range and will therefore take no strong measures to boost growth unless there is a risk of growth slowing to 7%. The markets, even though the Shangahi Composite is trading at near-seven-month lows...

 

...will be disappointed; and we suspect, as the FT notes, that "the central bank wants to send a warning signal to commercial banks and other credit issuers that unchecked credit expansion, particularly through the shadow banking system, will not be accommodated."

As the PBoC itself noted (via its state-owned newspaper) and we confirmed yesterday, "we cannot use fast money supply growth as in the past, or even faster, to promote economic growth, and must control the pace of money supply growth."

But macro data is almost as bad as it has ever been...

 

Simply put, as Stan Druckenmiller noted here previously,

In essence, the frantic stimulus China put together at the end of 2008 sowed the seeds of slower growth in the future by crowding out more productive investments.

Despite all efforts to slow inflation (and rein in the credit bubble), the hot money imported from the Fed and the BOJ continues to push home prices ever higher which continues to be the key marginal variable for the PBOC - as long as the hot "carry" money is exported by the Fed and the BOJ, the Chinese economy will continue to suffer.

10 Disturbing Tales From The Side Streets And Dark Alleys Of America

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Every night Americans prove that they are willing to do absolutely horrible things to their fellow human beings.  Most of the time, we never even hear about the sick and twisted things that happen on the side streets and dark alleys of America.  Once in a while a particularly twisted story will get picked up by the news, but usually most Americans are pretty much able to isolate themselves from the depravity that is happening all around them.  Unfortunately, the social decay that is eating away at our society like cancer is spreading.  It is getting harder and harder for average Americans to keep the darkness at bay.  When it suddenly reaches out and touches your family, it can be absolutely shocking.

America is not the kind, loving and gentle place that is portrayed in our movies and on our television shows.  The sad truth is that America is becoming colder and meaner with each passing day.  Yes, there are definitely some Americans that are kind and compassionate, but they are in the minority.  As our economic decline becomes even more severe, the hearts of even more Americans are going to grow cold.  And people with cold hearts can do some absolutely terrible things.  The following are 10 disturbing tales from the side streets and dark alleys of America...

#1 Beaten, Robbed And Left Naked In A Cow Pasture In Florida

A Florida man says that a first dated ended with him being beaten, forced to strip at gun point, robbed and then left in a cow pasture.

 

A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office case report obtained by NBC News indicated that 34-year-old Shaun Paul Williams was found naked and bloodied on State Road 100 in Bunnell. Williams told deputies that he had met a woman named “Tree” about two weeks ago in Dayton and agreed to go out on June 14.

 

When the woman picked him up on Friday, he discovered that two other men we also inside the vehicle. The woman explained that one of the men was her brother. She said that she needed to drop the men off at the brother’s home.

 

But instead of going to a home, the brother instructed the woman to stop at an “empty cow pasture.” Williams said that he exited the vehicle to urinate and was struck in the head with a “hard metal object.”

 

“Give me all your money and your clothes,” one of the men told him.

#2 Wendy's Customer Totally Loses It When They Put Cheese On His Hamburger

In recent months there have been a lot of videos posted on YouTube of crazed people yelling wildly at employees of various fast food chains.  The most recent example of this phenomenon to go viral is a video of a middle-aged man totally losing it after he discovered that Wendy's employees had put cheese on his hamburger.  You can watch the video here, but please be aware that it contains quite a bit of profanity and it is not appropriate for children to watch.  This is yet another example of how seemingly average people in America are becoming consumed with anger and frustration.

#3 Women Throwing Bleach Into The Eyes Of A Man On A City Bus In Boston

MBTA Police are searching for three young women who they say threw bleach in the eyes of a bus passenger after robbing him of his money.

 

The victim was returning home from work early Sunday morning, riding the #28 bus on Blue Hill Avenue through Roxbury, when it seems the trio sized him up.

 

Officials say one female slapped the man about the head, while one went to work to search him for money.

 

“One of the women puts her knee on top of his legs so he can’t get up and takes the money from his pockets,” MBTA Superintendent-in Chief Joseph O’Connor told WBZ-TV.

#4 The Wild Dogs Of St. Louis

Dangerous dogs are becoming more of a problem in parts of north St. Louis County.

 

It’s so bad, some people say they’re afraid to go out for a morning jog.

 

Resident Carolyn Immer says she was attacked and now has a hole in her leg.

 

“I felt like I was out in the middle of nowhere and there was nobody around to help,” Immer says. “I was screaming for a long time – it seemed like a long time lets put it that way.”

#5 Homeless In Dallas

So as of today I am officially homeless.

 

I won't bore you all with long sob stories.

 

About a year ago lost my job of twelve years, couldn't find new work, made some bad financial choices, and today I sit in the public library on my old laptop typing away as all my posessions lay in three small suitcases very close to where I am sitting.

 

I think this might possibly be the worst place to be homless, given the horrible heat.

 

So I have seventy-five cents to my name, am not sure where I'll be putting my head down to sleep tonight, and was wondering if anyone else out there has been in a similar prediciment.

#6 Detroit - Dumping Ground For The Dead

From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a mouldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.

 

They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit's vast urban wilderness — a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

 

Abandoned and neglected parts of the city are quickly becoming dumping grounds for the dead — at least a dozen bodies in the space of 12 months. And authorities acknowledge there is little they can do.

#7 Impaled On A Wrought Iron Fence In Chicago

A man was murdered Sunday night by someone who struck him in the head, causing him to become impaled on a wrought iron fence in the South Side Burnside neighborhood.

 

The 48-year-old victim was involved in a dispute with unknown individuals near his home in the 9100 block of South Greenwood Avenue about 8 p.m. Sunday when a male struck him in the head, police said.

 

The victim’s head was then impaled by a wrought iron fence near the eye, police said. He then fell to the ground and struck his head again.

#8 Robbery Victims Locked In The Trunks Of Their Own Vehicles In North Miami

CBS4 has learned of a horrible crime that has happened four times in the past two months in the city of North Miami. Gunmen have been forcing robbery victims in to the trunks of their cars while trying to get cash.

 

North Miami Police Major Neal Cuevas says he is worried about “copycat criminals” who may one day take a life.

 

One victim is speaking out exclusively to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench after being driven around in the trunk of his Mercedes Benz for two hours on Wednesday night. He was abducted at 8 p.m. while leaving his job and was finally rescued by police at 10 p.m. after discovering he had a cell phone in his trunk and after calling 911.

#9 Female Teacher Has Sex With Three Students In Oregon

A Sherwood High School teacher has been arrested and faces sexual abuse charges, stemming from accusations of sexual contact with at least three students.

 

A grand jury indicted Denise Keesee, 38, Monday on six counts of second-degree sexual abuse, according to the Washington County Sheriff's office. Keesee turned herself in this evening, said Sgt. David Thompson, a sheriff's office spokesman.

#10 A Police Officer That Shot Five Kittens While Children Were Watching

The Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wants Humane Officer Barry Accorti fired for allegedly shooting five kittens in a home's back yard on Monday.

-----

Accorti responded to a home Monday afternoon where a feral mother cat and her five kittens were living in a woodpile.

 

He allegedly told the homeowner that shelters were full and that the cats would be going to kitty heaven. He then pulled out his gun and shot the five, 8- to 10-week-old kittens.

 

Accorti allegedly told the homeowner that he isn't supposed to do this, but it was justifiable. The woman ran into the house to shield her children, who were screaming and crying.

So what do you think about these stories?

Do you have any tales like this to share?

Bill Gross: „Bernanke Might Be Driving In A Fog“

The biggest bond fund manager on the planet likely had a bad day today and judging by his comments during the following Bloomberg TV interview, he is not too impressed with the current Fed head, who is "driving in a fog," or the front-runner to fill Ben's shoes, Yellen "is a Siamese twin in terms of policy... [preferring someone] who would emphasize Main Street as well as Wall Street - which has been the emphasis for the past three or four years." The mistake the Fed is making, Gross explains, "is blaming lower growth on fiscal austerity and expects towards the end of the year once that is gone, all of the sudden the economy will be growing at 3%," or more simply the error of their policy-making ways is "to think that is a cyclical as opposed to a structural problem in terms of our economy." The bottom-line is that Gross sees less Taper (due to disinflation) and warns "those who are selling treasuries in anticipation that the Fed will ease out of the market might be disappointed."

 

 

Gross on today's statement by Bernanke:

"It was a pro-growth type of statement and a suggestion that some additional definitions in terms of when tapering might begin and when it might end. Obviously according to a 7% unemployment number that speaks in his mind and perhaps my mind to early 2014. But I might also say in terms of questions and answers, and that is critical I think, that he did speak to the conditional influence of inflation. That even if unemployment came down to 7% and inflation did not go up to 2%, they would look around and readjust their decision. This is a combined growth, unemployment and inflation type of combination that has to be delicately managed and I think the market has misinterpreted the growth and the unemployment targets while leaving out the inflation targets going forward."

On what he means by market misinterpretation:

"I think they are missing the influence on inflation that obviously the chairman has considered and perhaps the committee as well. There was a question and Q&A that basically said, Mr. Chairman, if we are down at 1% inflation and it doesn't rise, then real interest rates are in a quandary to which you have limited flexibility, and he said, I agree completely with the premise of your question. I would think the markets are looking at the 7% unemployment rate and suggesting the tapering will end at that point. I would suggest that yes, he did say 7% in terms of an unemployment target where tapering would end, presumably in 2014, but he also qualified significantly a number of times that inflation has to go back up towards that 2% target and at the moment we are not there. Those who are selling treasuries in anticipation that the Fed will ease out of the market might be disappointed unless we have inflation close to 2%."

On how the Fed will respond if we don't get to 2%:

"I think the Chairman is almost deathly afraid and we have witnessed in speeches  going back five or 10 years on the part of the chairman in terms of the helicopter speech and the reference not only to the depression but to the lost decades in Japan. I think he is deathly afraid of deflation. As we meander back and forth around the 1% level, I would suggest that the chairman to the extent that he perhaps has a limited time left in terms of being the Chairman, that he would guide the committee towards not only an unemployment rate which has been emphasized in terms of the Q&A but also towards a higher inflation target, which is really a target. It's not something in terms of a cap, but the inflation target of 2% and for the next year or two, 2.5% has been specifically delineated in terms of that. It's a target. Those who think it is a cap and we are 1% below the cap and therefore the Fed doesn't care about it, I think the chairman told us the Fed does care about it and the closer we get to 2%, the better as far as he's concerned."

On Janet Yellen:

"I think she is a Siamese twin in terms of policy. She is very much a dove and has chaired the communication effort on the part of the Fed for the last few years which has emphasized and will continue to be emphasized. PIMCO does not want to be in a position of endorsing anyone. We would simply endorse a chairman or chairwoman who perhaps would emphasize Main Street as well as Wall Street which has been the emphasis for the past three or four years."

On when he thinks the Fed will start to taper QE and when investors need to start trading on that:

"Based on what he said, based upon what the Fed estimates have given us in the last hour it suggests that yes, towards the end of the year, as we hit 7.25%, and if inflation rises as opposed to stays at 1% that the Fed would begin to taper and that ultimately they would end tapering in perhaps the first quarter of 2014. Is that a realistic possibility? At PIMCO, we don't think that really is. We think the chairman and the Fed are taking a very much of a cyclical type of view.

 

He blames lower growth on fiscal austerity and expects towards the end of the year once that is gone, all of the sudden the economy will be growing at 3%. He blames housing prices moving up on homeowners that simply like higher home prices as opposed to emphasizing the mortgage rate, which is really what has provided the lift in the first place. To certain extent his driving analogy, which he talked about pulling back on the accelerator, I think he might be driving in a fog. I think the Fed itself may be driving in a fog. To think that is a cyclical as opposed to a structural problem in terms of our economy. I simply think and PIMCO thinks that real growth to lower unemployment below 7% is a long shot over the next 6, 12, 18 months."

Guest Post: Who Are The Real Traitors?

Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”Edward Snowden

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”  - Samuel Adams

 

There are weeks that change the course of human history. There are weeks when people must choose sides. There are weeks that expose the real American traitors. There is no middle ground in this debate. You are either on the side of freedom, liberty, truth, transparency and the U.S. Constitution or you are on the side of mindless obedience, oppression, deception, corruption and tyranny. A courageous young Millennial named Edward Snowden has risked his life and his future to expose the illegal, surreptitious surveillance programs being conducted by the United States government in clear violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The NSA, with the full knowledge of Barack Obama and Congress, has been covertly collecting phone and internet records on millions of Americans with the full cooperation of Verizon and other mega media/data corporations. Our owners have been using the U.S. Constitution to wipe their asses. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is so unambiguous that any intelligent politician, bright journalist or fifth grader in Miss Sabatini’s history class could interpret its meaning and intention. Our founding fathers believed in truth, clarity and simplicity. The traitorous sociopaths in control of our government today believe in obfuscation, ambiguity and complexity.

 

File:Upstream slide of the PRISM presentation.jpg

Living Constitution?

Do you believe the mass collection of metadata information from millions of Americans with no probable cause is an unreasonable search as defined by the 4th Amendment? Do you believe the complete lockdown of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country and the door to door search by heavily armed government security thugs for one wounded teenager, without warrants or probable cause, was a violation of the 4th Amendment? Do you believe secretive governmental agencies have the right to partner with the biggest internet/communications/mass media corporations in the world to record your phone calls, read your emails, and monitor your internet communications under the bogus justification of the War on Terror (you are more likely to be struck by lightning twice than to be killed by a terrorist)?  Do you believe that government agencies tasked with revenue collection can be used to create an enemies list based upon whether you donated to the Ron Paul campaign, believe in liberty, or belong to a Tea Party organization? Do you believe allowing minimum wage government drones to molest little old ladies, paraplegics and three year old children, while conducting full body scans on all airline passengers really makes you safer from phantom terrorists? Do you believe having 30,000 high tech surveillance drones that can see you picking your nose in your driveway from 25,000 feet are not a violation of your privacy rights?

Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If you answered in the affirmative to any or all of the questions above you are either a government apparatchik, someone dependent upon the surveillance state for your paycheck, a victim of decades of mind control through corporate mass media propaganda, or one of the willfully ignorant masses. Of course the ignorant masses will not be reading these questions as they are focused on the inbred royal family saga, Kim Kardashian’s bastard child pregnancy, and the upcoming episodes of Honey Boo Boo, Teen Mom, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, Duck Dynasty, Real Housewives of Idiocracy or paying $200 on their plastic debt accumulator to watch multi-millionaire freaks of nature play children’s games. Those who argue the U.S. Constitution is a living document open to interpretation by the interchangeable corporate fascist parties that control the reins of power at Versailles on the Potomac are nothing but apologists for the corrupt status quo. The American people are provided the illusion of choice by their owners, but the major policies are kept intact – never ending war, never ending currency debasement, and never ending screwing of the middle class.

The revelations by Millennial martyr, Edward Snowden, about the PRISM program and the fact that the NSA harvests data directly from the servers of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and other corporate co-conspirators came just days after disclosure that our Orwellian trained keepers had been shredding the 1st Amendment. The Obama administration has continuously flaunted the Bill of Rights when they interfere with their mission to create a centrally planned welfare/warfare state. Republicans don’t resist Obama’s efforts on Constitutional grounds, as they have no love for its constraints either. The seizure of AP reporter phone records in an effort to uncover leaks and to intimidate the free press, monitoring of reporter James Rosen using false information to obtain a warrant, and the computer hacking of lead Benghazi CBS reporter Cheryl Attkisson are clearly violations of the 1st Amendment.

There has been faux outrage among those in the establishment. It’s nothing but a game to entertain their rabid disciples. There is virtually no difference between the pretend parties who alternately operate as figurehead leadership in Washington D.C. Both parties cooperated to crush the peaceable assembly of young people exercising their right to petition the government about the blatant criminality of Wall Street bankers. The supposed Soros inspired OWS movement was subdued by Democratic mayors using their local military police hooligans, supported by the Federal surveillance state, in cooperation with the very same criminal Wall Street banks who had destroyed the worldwide financial system in their ransacking of the nation’s wealth through a well planned and executed control fraud.

The cheerleading of this disgusting display of fascist tactics by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and the likes of CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg News told me everything I needed to know. Those within the status quo will circle the wagons whenever there is a threat to their wealth, power and control. If you make it onto the establishment’s enemies list, the Constitution will not protect you. The only true free speech is being exercised on the internet, for now. The plutocracy of wealthy corporate elite and their captured puppet politicians are attempting to crush dissent and free speech by restricting access to anti-establishment websites, introducing legislation to control the internet and as we now know hacking into sites considered enemies of the state. The guarantee of 1st Amendment protection has increasingly becoming a quaint old fashion notion in this fascist state.

First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Constitution has been increasingly treated as an optional instructional manual by what passes for leadership in this country. An all-out assault has been waged on the 2nd Amendment by the control freaks who want to create a national gun registry so they know where to send their military assault teams when the time comes. Every assault on our liberties, rights and freedoms is done on behalf of the children. Sinclair Lewis once declared:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

He was wrong. Fascism has come to America, wrapped in fiat currency, carrying a child as a prop, in the name of the War on Terrorism. Presidents have been flaunting their disdain for Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution since World War II. The Imperial American Empire has been militarily enforcing its hegemony over the world since the 1950’s without Congress ever declaring war, as required by the Constitution. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria are just the latest victims of our hypocritical interventionist state. Our predator drones roam the skies above foreign countries murdering suspected bad guys at the whim of PS3 trained gutless techno geeks sipping a decaf on their 9 to 5 shift.  The corrupt spineless swine in Congress expose themselves as nothing more than bought off acolytes of the military industrial complex warned about by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

The citizens of this country have failed to heed his warning. We have not been alert and to describe the narcissistic, delusional, math challenged, willfully ignorant sheep, bleating for their safety and security as knowledgeable is beyond laughable. Security and liberty have not prospered together. The arms dealers formed an unholy alliance with the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks, their sugar daddy Federal Reserve, easily bought off feckless political class, and sociopathic government bureaucrats to create this corporate fascist welfare/warfare state that has subverted our liberty while obscenely enriching the .1% who have used their unwarranted influence in a traitorous manner. The disastrous consequences for the world continue to build like the dome of a volcano before it detonates and destroys everything in a fiery swath of lava.

New Boss Same As The Old Boss

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch, but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” – Barack Obama

 

The nattering classes who dominate the boob tube spin the storylines of their corporate clients on a daily basis, but the uncovering of the deceitful activities of the ruling establishment by Edward Snowden have exposed the truth about who runs this country. Republicans, Democrats, neo-cons, ultra-liberals, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, military generals, and the government drones who monitor our phone calls, texts, emails and internet postings have all shown their true colors in the last week. They don’t care about truth, justice, or the American people. James Clapper lied during sworn testimony before Congress about spying on millions of Americans because he didn’t think he’d be caught. He was caught red handed. And no one is calling for his apprehension and imprisonment.

We are lied to, misled, misinformed, and inundated with falsehoods and propaganda on a daily basis by our leaders. The proof that we live in a plutocracy dominated by two corrupt political parties (with 250 millionaires in Congress), six Wall Street banks (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley), six mass media companies (Comcast, Google, Walt Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, Viacom), seven arm dealers (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, United Technologies), a few politically connected mega-corporations (Exxon, General Electric, Verizon, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, IBM), and a few hundred shadowy billionaires is how they have unequivocally declared that Edward Snowden is a filthy high school dropout traitor. He has revealed secrets about how the lords of the manor keep the serfs and peasants under surveillance. Here is a smattering of the vitriol spewed about this American patriot:

“America is now a less safe place. The world is a less safe place because of what Mr. Snowden unilaterally did. He deserves to be prosecuted. I hope they find him in the hole that he’s hiding in in Hong Kong and bring him home and try him.” – Karl Rove

“I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice.” – Lindsey Graham

“For this, some, including my colleague John Cassidy, are hailing him as a hero and a whistle-blower. He is neither. He is, rather, a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”Jeffrey Toobin – The New Yorker

“What he did was an act of treason.”Diane Feinstein

“He’s a traitor.” – John Boehner

“I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I consider him right now to be a defector.” – Peter King

“There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.” – Peter King

“I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.” – Al Franken

“For me it is literally, not figuratively, literally, gut-wrenching to see this happen, because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities.”James Clapper (Perjurer)

“We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty.” – Keith Alexander – NSA Director

“The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result those leaks. The safety of the American people and the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks.” – Eric Holder

“I think he’s a traitor. I’m suspicious because he went to China. That’s not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth. It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this.” Dick Cheney – The Dark Lord

“And I hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” – Mitch McConnell

“Now you’ve got this 29-year-old high school dropout whistleblower making foreign policy for our country, our security policy. It’s sad, Brian. We’ve made treason cool. Betraying your country is kind of a fashion statement. He wants to be the national security Kim Kardashian. He cites Bradley Manning as a hero. I mean, we need to get very, very serious about treason. And oh by the way, for treason — as in the case of Bradley Manning or Edwards Snowden — you bring back the death penalty.”Fox and Friends

“Can intelligence operate effectively if every starry-eyed analyst feels entitled to be a self-appointed whistle-blower?” – Gary RosenThe Wall Street Journal

“Edward Snowden should go to jail, as quickly and for as long as possible.” – John Yoo – The National Review.

“I think on three scores—that is leaking the Patriot Act section 215, FISA 702, and the president’s classified cyber operations’ directive—on the strength of leaking that, yes, that would be a prosecutable offense. I think that he should be prosecuted.” – Nancy Pelosi

“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves. Is any blogger out there saying anything – do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.” – Lindsey Graham

“This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did. But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.” – David Brooks

It seems the ruling oligarchs, their mouthpieces in the mainstream media (both conservative & liberal), Machiavellian politicians on both sides of the aisle, unscrupulous military commanders and deceitful government bureaucrats have all rallied to shield their existing perverted surveillance state. These people actually believe that what is best for their own personal interests is best for the citizens of this country. There is only one Party – the Establishment Party. The smear campaign against Edward Snowden began immediately. The vitriolic accusations, venomous scorn, malicious ridicule and pathetic attempts to discredit Edward Snowden for sacrificing everything on behalf of the country he loves has revealed more truth about how the real world operates than the thousands of articles written by supposed “conspiracy theorists” over the last decade. Anyone with their eyes open and mind not controlled by the regime know the real criminals in this tragedy. Leon Trotsky, who also participated in a brutal fascist surveillance state, put it best:

“The real criminals hide under the cloak of the accusers.”

In a country where those in power encourage and participate in the plundering of people’s bank accounts by billionaires, the largest financial control fraud in world history by the biggest Wall Street banks, treating every citizen as a suspect until proven otherwise under the auspices of the ironically named Patriot Act, creating an Orwellian surveillance state of cameras, drones and snitches, torturing suspected enemies, conducting military exercises in the skies above our cities, seizing reporters’ personal records, using government agencies to harass political opponents, listening to our phone calls with warrantless wiretaps, reading our emails and texts, brutally crushing peaceful protests, attempting to disarm us, locking down an entire city and kicking doors down while searching for a hapless wounded teenager, appropriating our DNA, detaining us without charges, assassinating suspected dissidents, regulating what we can eat, drink or smoke, passing 2,500 page corporate lobbyist written bills that no one has read, using laws to enhance the wealth of the .1%, creating a tax code designed to minimize the burden on the .1%, the feeding of economic information by the Fed and Federal government to connected crony banks minutes before the public so they can pre-program their HFT computers to profit at the expense of the muppets, conducting cyber-attacks on sovereign countries and then feigning outrage when the favor is returned, and militarily intervening around the world under the false guise of strategic interests, we are supposed to trust the establishment? As we descend further into tyranny, I don’t know which is sadder – the pure evil of these men or the apathy and complacent acquiescence of the willfully ignorant masses to the methods employed by their owners. The numerous laws passed by those in power are just more proof of how corrupt our society has become.

 “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus

The threat of tyranny was still raw in 1975, after the Watergate cover-up, when Senator Frank Church warned about the National Security Agency:

“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

Again, we failed to heed his warning. We’ve crossed over the abyss and the vision of our future will be the boot of a DHS thug stomping on the face of an American citizen – forever.

True Ruling Power of Our Country

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

  

Whenever I would use the term oligarchs, ruling elite, powers that be, owners, .1%, or ruling class, it always sounded too conspiratorial. But after years of reading the writings of Edward Bernays, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Ron Paul, George Carlin and a number of other “crazy” bloggers, while witnessing with my own two eyes what is happening in this country, I’ve come to the conclusion that our country is run by an invisible government consisting of a small cadre of rich powerful men who manipulate, obfuscate, eliminate and fabricate in their insatiable greed for glory, riches, power and control. They thought they had perfected the art of propaganda:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays

The disclosure of the unholy alliance of corporations and the government to secretly spy on millions of Americans, while attempting to intimidate journalists and crush dissent from political opponents, is throwing the master plan of the ruling elite into disarray. The conspiracy of silence and denial is fraying at the edges as the truth continues to leak out:

“The contents of a phone call could be accessed simply based on an analyst deciding that. If the NSA wants to listen to the phone, an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required.” – Democratic Rep Jerrold Nadler

There have been a few lone voices in the wilderness warning about the rise of this corporate fascist surveillance one party state, but they have been scorned, ridiculed, marginalized and ignored. It seems the libertarian minded men and women of this country have been right all along.

“We’ve slipped away from a true republic. Now we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government, big business and authoritarian rule, and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen. When it comes to any significant differences on foreign policy, economic intervention, the Federal Reserve, a strong executive branch, a welfarism mixed with corporatism, both parties are very much alike.  The major arguments in hotly contested presidential races are mostly for public consumption to convince the people they actually have a choice.” – Ron Paul

True liberty minded Americans and those who value freedom and the Constitution have rallied to the defense of a true patriot. “We the People” must reclaim this country from the unelected .1% who has conducted a silent coup while we were pre-occupied with our techno-narcissism and consumed by the urge to consume. We have an omnipotent outlaw government with concentrated overwhelming power. The out of control bureaucracy devouring treasure, the blood of our young, civil rights, and the Constitution will not yield of its own volition. When the government tyrants classify all of us as enemies of the state, it is time to dismantle the state and water the tree of liberty with some blood, if that is what is required.

“Perfect safety is not the purpose of government. What we want from government is to enforce the law to protect our liberties. The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around. We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last week’s story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.” Ron Paul

The country is being run like a mafia crime family. The Don and his lieutenants operate in secrecy, eliminating their opponents, buying off the press, bribing the police for protection, running the rackets, and collecting their tribute from those that want to do business with them. They go to war against the other families whenever they want to expand their turf. The country has been captured by an organized crime syndicate and it will require an Elliot Ness type character with many strident Constitutionalists to rid the land of these evil, lawless, egocentric men. One of those evil men slithered out of his lair onto the neo-con network – Fox News – to declare Edward Snowden a traitor and spy. Mr. Snowden responded to chicken-hawk Dick “Deferment” Cheney during another freedom of the press in a foreign country event:

“Further, it’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

Who has done more to shred the Constitution and strip us of rights, liberties and freedoms in the last thirteen years – Cheney or Snowden?

This brings us to the question of our times. Who are the patriots and who are the traitors? Those in power have been using the Bernaysian propaganda technique of conscious and intelligent manipulation of the public mind by using the corporate media to convince the distracted ignorant masses that Edward Snowden has committed treason against his country and should be punished for his crime. Interestingly enough, treason is addressed in Article III Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. 

At the same time it would make sense to define the term patriot:

A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

Does Edward Snowden fit the definition of a traitor as described in the Constitution? The shallow vacuous pundits in the corporate mainstream media complex blather on about treason while focusing their in-depth journalism on pictures of Snowden’s girlfriend from her Facebook page. This is what passes for journalism in America today. A man uncovers the largest spying conspiracy in human history and highly paid mouthpieces for the establishment focus on pole dancing. The last time I checked, Congress hadn’t declared war on anyone, so Snowden isn’t a traitor under that clause. He must be providing aid and comfort to our enemies. Who are the enemies today? They seem to change on a daily basis. I guess since we are considered potential enemies of the state, his revelations were giving the citizens of the United States aid and comfort.

On the other hand, a patriot is someone who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice on its behalf against those who would damage or hurt that country. The government of the United States (President, Congress, Judiciary), in conjunction with their corporate, banking and media co-conspirators have knowingly and willingly subverted the Constitution of the United States and have therefore committed treasonous acts that have endangered the rights, freedoms and liberties of the people. A corrupt regime will use their thousands of laws to ensnare anyone in some violation of those laws. But at the end of the day a critical thinking individual knows right from wrong without being told by a government bureaucrat. Edward Snowden is a patriot of the highest order. His act of heroism, knowing he would be despised, attacked and hunted down by the American Thugocracy, is on par with the actions of our Founding Fathers who knew they would be hung if their Revolution failed. A true patriot must be ready to defend his country against a tyrannical government. Edward Snowden just dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.

Edward Snowden is standing up to the autocratic powers that have seized control of our Constitutional Republic. Other patriots (Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Aaron Swartz, Daniel Ellsberg) have sacrificed their careers and lives to reveal the truth about government corruption and malfeasance.  Ben Franklin pondered whether we could keep the Republic they had given us. He understood human nature and the likelihood that we as a people would become corrupted, vote for people who promised us the most, and would willingly sacrifice our independence, freedom, liberty and rights for the presumed safety and security of a despotic government:

“In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults; if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered; and I believe, further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”

Words of a Traitor?

“…I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”Edward Snowden

The key terms are “good conscience” and “secretly”. Doing what is right does not mean doing what the authorities declare to be the law. Edward Snowden has a conscience. Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, James Clapper, John McCain, Diane Feinstein, Ben Bernanke, Jon Corzine, Jamie Dimon and the rest of the sociopathic criminal governing class have no conscience. Their souls are blackened with their crimes and misdeeds. In our Bizarro world, Nobel Peace Prize winners slaughter Muslim children indiscriminately with their squadrons of killer drones. Those in power are allowed to operate in the shadows, hiding anything that might incriminate them and secretly spying on millions of citizens without probable cause, while we the people have no right to privacy or freedom from surveillance in this plutocracy. We are all suspects in the eyes of the state and can be terminated at the whim of a government apparatchik:

“Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude … to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody – even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.” – Edward Snowden

Our greatest fear at this point in history is the continued apathy, ignorance, slothfulness, and delusional thinking of our narcissistic populace regarding the most important issue of our time – freedom or tyranny? Will enough people stand and fight the encroaching surveillance state and the evil men pulling the levers? Change will not happen through the ballots box, as the system is rigged and the democratic process has been subverted. It will require patriots taking to the streets and more people like Edward Snowden stepping forward to lead us back out of the abyss into which we have fallen. Time is growing short. Will we rise to the occasion or will we cower and wait until the satanic Eye of Sauron turns in our direction?

“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.” Edward Snowden

 

“I do not expect to see home again.” Edward Snowden

Over the course of decades we have allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the love of material possessions, the lure of a debt based faux wealth, the money for nothing entitlement promises of dishonorable politicians, the evil of currency debasement, the effectiveness of mass media propaganda, and the belief that we could sacrifice freedom and liberty for promises of safety and security made by a cabal of powerful rich men. Power has been concentrated into the hands of the few, who operate in secrecy and despise the people. They don’t want transparency or open debate. Freedom of speech is nothing but a thorn in their side. They believe they are smarter than the serfs and have no morality when it comes to committing illegal acts and disregarding the Constitution. They are not acting in the public interest. Their abuse of power and looting of the national wealth have put us on a path towards a bloody revolution. This is not a time for conformity, obedience or submission. It’s time to stand up and expose the evil doers. It’s time to rally around those who care about this country. Who are the real traitors? You know the answer. What are you going to do about it?

“The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are being looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care? When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media? Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.” – Ron Paul

 

WARNING: The National Security Agency is likely recording and storing this communication as part of its unlawful spying programs on all Americans … and people worldwide. The people who created the NSA spying program say that this communication – and any responses – can and will be used against the American people at any time in the future should folks in government decide to go after us for political reasons. And private information in digital communications may be given to big companies by the government.

Guest Post: 25 Years Of Real Estate In One Chart

With Bernanke now making it extremely clear that housing is all we have, the following may raise a few eyebrows.

Submitted by Ramsey Su via Acting Man blog,

There is good news. This is likely my shortest rant ever.

Freddie Mac recently released the 2013 First Quarter Refinance Report.  My attention was drawn to one chart.  More specifically, the blue line in the chart.
 

chart refi, LT

Boom and bust in mortgage finance … – via Freddie Mac – click to enlarge.

It may just be a coincidence but whoever created this chart used the time period that covers exactly the reign of Chairmen Greenspan and Bernanke. Real estate investors should look back and realize that they could not have asked for anyone better than these two.

 

Accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, accommodate... that was and is the mantra. It did not matter whether it was the S&L fiasco, 9/11, the sub-prime bubble or the Lehman collapse, the Fed's policy is to accommodate.

All good things must come to an end. Look at that chart. We are about to go off the page. With QE-to-infinity, Bernanke is spent.

Each new iteration of accommodation is bringing in less results. What can the next Fed chairman, or maybe chairwoman, do to continue this practice of accommodation? There is little room to lower rates of all maturities. Aside from transferring more and more debt onto the Fed's balance sheet, QE is done in. Not that it has not been lost already, but is there going to be any form of a free market economy left?

Repent, the end is near.

David Stockman’s Non-Recovery Part 3: Borrowed Recovery On Borrowed Time

Following Part 1's exposure to the faux-prosperity of the post-2009 'recovery' and the precariousness of the Bernanke bubble, Part 2 of the series explained the dismal internals of the jobs numbers the utterly politicized calculation of the “unemployment rate” that disguises the jobless nature of the rebound (as breadwinner jobs languish). In Part 3, David Stockman (from his new book "The Great Deformation") starts an explanation of the why. As he notes, the Fed’s post-crisis money-printing polices gifted Wall Street speculators, as intended, but they also delivered an utterly botched recovery on Main Street. The reason the Main Street economy refused to follow the Keynesian script, however, could not be found in the texts of the master or any of the vicar’s uncles. The Keynesian catechism has no conception that balance sheets matter, yet Main Street America is flat broke, and that is the primary thing which matters.

Via David Stockman's book 'The Great Deformation',

The Fed’s post-crisis money-printing polices gifted Wall Street speculators, as intended, but they also delivered an utterly botched recovery on Main Street. The latter was thinly disguised by an uptick in the conventional cyclical markers: purported “green shoots” like jobs, consumer spending, and inventory rebuilding. Wall Street economists touted this smorgasbord of traditional signposts, contending that even if halting and subpar they added up to another conventional business cycle recovery.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Beneath the paint-by-numbers simulacrum of recovery espied by Wall Street was a drastic lapse into “borrow and spend” that was a veritable affront to economic rationality. By September 2012, the American economy was fifty-seven months past the late 2007 peak, but there was no rejuvenation of its capitalist engines - just a tenuous bounce in the spending accounts that was plainly unsustainable and unhealthy.

Personal consumption expenditures, as indicated, had risen by $1.2 trillion during that five-year period. Yet $625 billion, or half of this modest gain in PCE - the preponderant 70 percent sector of the GDP - had been financed with transfer payments. This was literally off the historical charts: transfer payments had never previously financed even 20 percent of the five-year gain in PCE after a cyclical top.

Worse still, the sources of consumption spending outside of these government subventions were equally cockeyed. Another $330 billion came from wage and salary disbursements from the service sector, consisting heavily of fiscally driven gains in the HES complex. Thus, behind the tepid expansion of consumption—averaging just 2.4 percent annually in nominal terms during the five years—was a massive amount of federal borrowing, not an organic recovery of incomes.

Indicative of the flagging condition of incomes is the data for wage and salary disbursements to workers in the breadwinner economy. At the peak of the second Greenspan bubble in December 2007, these jobs generated about $3.4 trillion of annualized wages and salaries. Five years later that figure was only marginally higher, having risen by just $70 billion. In other words, wage and salary disbursements in these core sectors of the American economy had amounted to only 6 percent of the $1.2 trillion gain in consumption spending, and had actually shrunk by 7 percent after adjustment for inflation.

Likewise, there had also been only a trivial gain of $25 billion over that five-year period in the other major source of private income; namely, the $3.4 trillion accounted for by proprietors’ profits, rental incomes, and interest and dividends. These accounts were also down by about 8 percent in real terms, a five-year shrinkage that had never before occurred in the postwar era.

The $7 trillion core of the American economy’s income ledger has thus plateaued. The sum of proprietor’s profits, rents, and financial income plus breadwinner wages rose by a trivial 1.4 percent during the five years after the December 2007 bubble peak, and has accounted for less than 8 percent of the PCE growth during that span. This, too, was freakishly off the historical charts, as is evident in the comparable figures for the five years after the late 2000 cycle peak. During that period these same core income components grew by $1 trillion, not $100 billion, and they accounted for 50 percent of the gain in PCE, not 8 percent. In short, the historical income-based recovery of consumption spending had now been replaced by a modest rebound coming mainly from the fiscally supported periphery.

The American economy was thus still in a debt-push mode, but was losing traction rapidly. During the five-year period ending in September 2012, and notwithstanding the massive fiscal medication after the Wall Street meltdown, PCE grew at only a 0.7 percent annual rate after accounting for inflation. This was a sharp fall from the 3 percent annual rate during the preceding five-year period, and the source of this deceleration was not hard to identify; namely, there was no more MEW; the home ATMs had gone dark.

Not surprisingly, the failure of core income components to recover was echoed in other key macroeconomic performance variables. As indicated previously, fixed business investment in plant, equipment, and software is the sine qua non for long-term economic growth and health, but the anemic rebound that began after June 2009 had already rolled over by the third quarter of 2012.

This was a startling development because it meant that capital spending was now retreating even though it was still 7 percent below its peak of five years earlier in constant dollars. Needless to say, there was no historical parallel. Five years after the 1981 peak, for example, real fixed business investment was up by 11 percent and even after the modest 2001–2002 downturn real business investment rose by 5 percent during the next half decade.

Five years into the Bernanke bubble the Main Street economy was still languishing. In all of the previous postwar cycles the prior top had been substantially exceeded sixty months later, but this time there had been no gains in breadwinner jobs, business investment, or the core components of national income. Even the consumption accounts were stagnant. They appeared to have gained new ground only because they had been puffed up with borrowings from future taxpayers that had been intermediated through transfer payments.

The reason the Main Street economy refused to follow the Keynesian script, however, could not be found in the texts of the master or any of the vicar’s uncles. The Keynesian catechism has no conception that balance sheets matter, yet Main Street America is flat broke, and that is the primary thing which matters. In fact, half of the nation’s households have virtually no cash savings and live paycheck to paycheck (or government check), and most of the remainder are still too indebted to revert to borrowing and spending beyond their current stagnant and often precarious paychecks.

The simple reality is that the household balance sheet is still way overleveraged, and for the first time in the postwar Keynesian era this leverage ratio is being forced down on a secular basis, thereby permanently restricting the rate of consumer spending. It goes without saying that this dynamic is the inverse of all previous postwar cycles.

This Is Bernanke’s Minimum-Wage „Recovery“ In Facts And Figures

A suddenly seemingly hawkish Ben Bernanke may be giving the impression he is preparing to taper because he feels confident enough about the recovery (just don't ask him about sudden dramatic rises in yields: that "puzzles" him). Yet as those who have been reading Zero Hedge for the past three years know, this jobs "recovery" is purely quantitative (not to mention seasonally adjusted): the quality of jobs regained is, in a word, abysmal, with the bulk of new job creation benefiting part-time and minimum-wage jobs. If anything, this loss of saving power, is the backdrop not for a recovery, but for a depression far more acute than the current "sugar-high" one when the Fed finally pulls the training wheels off, and when the US consumer realizes that all purchasing power is gone, all gone, and in exchange the only valuable and competitive job skills gained have been, well, absolutely none.

Here are the facts from the NELP:

During the recession, employment losses occurred throughout the economy, but were concentrated in mid-wage occupations. By contrast, during the recovery, employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations. Specifically:

  • Lower-wage occupations were 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.
  • Mid-wage occupations were 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
  • Higher-wage occupations were 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

2 The lower-wage occupations that grew the most during the recovery include retail salespersons, food preparation workers, laborers and freight workers, waiters and waitresses, personal and home care aides, and office clerks and customer representatives.

3 The unbalanced recession and recovery have meant that the long-term rise in inequality in the U.S. continues. The good jobs deficit is now deeper than it was at the start of the 21st century:

  • Since the first quarter of 2001, employment has grown by 8.7 percent in lower-wage occupations and by 6.6 percent in higher-wage occupations.
  • By contrast, employment in mid-wage occupations has fallen by 7.3.

In addition, the wages paid by these occupations has changed. Between the first quarters of 2001 and 2012, median real wages for lower-wage and mid-wage occupations declined (by 2.1 and 0.2 percent, respectively), but increased for higher-wage occupations (by 4.1 percent).

4 Industry dynamics are playing an important role in shaping the unbalanced recovery. We find that three low-wage industries (food services, retail, and employment services) added 1.7 million jobs over the past two years, fully 43 percent of net employment growth. At the same time, better-paying industries (like construction; manufacturing; finance, insurance and real estate; and information) did not grow, or did not grow enough to make up for recession losses. Other better-paying industries (like professional and technical services) saw solid growth, but not in their mid-wage occupations. And steep cuts in state and local government have hit mid- and higher-wage occupations the hardest.

In short, America’s good jobs deficit continues. Policymakers have understandably been focused on the urgent goal of getting U.S. employment back to where it was before the recession (we are still missing nearly 10 million jobs), but the above findings underscore that job quality is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery.

* * *

And while the Fed is finally thinking about the labor force participation rate as a factor in explaining the unemployment rate (after ignoring it for the entire period it was helping to push the unemployment rate lower), the smartest economists in the room have glaringly forgotten that not all jobs are created equal and that a part-time WalMart greeter "job" is just a little less equal than a Goldman Sachs CEO "job."

Of course, if the Fed wasn't blatantly ignorant of the smallest and most obvious details, it wouldn't have to monetize $2.5 trillion in securities just to undo the mistakes of its previous failed attempt at central planning.

„Hey Mr. Market, That QE Monkey On Your Back Has You By The Throat“

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Mr. Market has one little problem: the Fed monkey on his back has a death-grip on his throat: "One hell of a price for you to get your kicks."

 
One of the enduring analogies of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing (QE) program is that the stock market is now addicted to this constant injection of free money. The aptness of this analogy has never been more apparent than now, as the market plummets on the mere rumor that the Fed will cut back its monthly injection of financial smack. (The analogy typically refers to crack cocaine, due to the state of delusional euphoria QE induces in the stock market. But the zombified state of the heroin addict is arguably the more accurate analogy of the U.S. stock market.)
 
You know the key self-delusion of all addiction: "I can stop any time I want." This eerily echoes the language of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who routinely declares he can stop QE any time he chooses.
 
But Ben, the pusher of QE money, knows his addict--the stock market--will die if the smack is cut back too abruptly. Like all pushers, Ben has his own delusion: that he can actually control the addiction he has nurtured.
 
You're dreaming, Ben--your pushing QE has backed you into a corner. The addict (the stock market) is now so dependent and fragile that the slightest decrease in QE smack will send it to the emergency room, and quite possibly the morgue.
 
But like all highs based on addictive substances, the stock market high cannot be sustained without an increase in the drug. But there is a diminishing-return dynamic to ever higher doses of QE smack--the higher doses are no longer generating the same highs. The addict (the stock market) has become desensitized to the QE free money injections, and higher doses no longer generate the desired state of bullish euphoria.
 
The more Ben talks about eventually decreasing the injection of financial smack, the more panicky the addict becomes. The more he increases QE, the less effect it has. The Fed is backed into a corner: increasing QE has no positive effect but decreasing it unleashes a catastrophic breakdown in the stock market.
 
 
 
You may recall the Keynesian parrot, who repeats the same demand for more free Federal money to be squandered on the cartels, grifters, embezzlers, toadies and lackeys of the Status Quo.
 
Here is the Keynesian parrot with the Fed QE monkey on his back: you may notice the Keynesian parrot is none too pleased with the Fed monkey's death-grip on this throat.
 
 
Unfortunately for the stock market, it's in a double-bind: the Fed monkey is choking it, but if the monkey falls off its back then the market goes into cold-turkey collapse.

The other delusion of the pusher and the addict is that the endgame of addiction can be avoided. We all know the endgame of addiction; the 1970s rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd captured it very succinctly in their song Ooh That Smell:

 
One little problem that confronts you
Got a monkey on your back
Just one more fix, Lord, might do the trick
One hell of a price for you to get your kicks

Ooh, that smell
Can't you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

 

Brazilian Protests Succeed In Reversing Bus, Subway Fare Hike

The Brazilian protests, which swept through the country with the raging bear market (and the pulled mega-IPO) over the past week, and which had the goal of reducing a recent bus-fare increase among other assorted protest goals, appear to have succeeded. At least when it comes to the fare increase. As for the other protester demands, listed below, it may take a little longer.

AP reports:

Brazilian leaders in Sao Paulo say they are reversing a 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares that has sparked widespread protests across the nation.

 

Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad and Sao Paulo state Gov. Geraldo Alckmin said at a joint news conference Wednesday that the fare increase is now reversed.

 

However, it was not clear what impact the action would have on the protests that have broken out in several Brazilian cities.

 

The protests have evolved into communal outcries that have moved well beyond the original demand that public transportation fares be lowered.

 

Protests are continuing in Rio's sister city Niteroi and in northeastern Brazil.

The good news: protests still work in some cases. The bad news: a 10 cent fare increase is a far more manageable issue to resolve than corruption, violence, police repression, and corrupt politicians which are some of the other protest causes.

Then again, at least the Brazilians are protesting for change: in the US, one only has to consider the epic indignation that the recent NSA spying scandal has unleashed and the mass throngs of people demanding a return of their constitutional rights. Oh wait...

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