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An Unprecedented Plague Has Hit Oranges And Another Has Hit Bananas

Florida-Orange-Photo-by-Benjamin-D.-Esham-300x300What is causing all of these plagues to hit our food supply? Have you heard of citrus greening disease? Probably not, but it has already gotten so bad that it is being projected that Florida’s orange harvest will be the smallest in 30 years. Have you heard of TR4? Probably not, but it has become such a nightmare that some analysts believe that it could eventually wipe out the entire global supply of the type of bananas that Americans eat. In addition, another major plague is killing millions of our pigs, and a crippling drought that never seems to end is absolutely devastating agricultural production in the state of California. Are we just having bad luck, or is there something else to all of this? Continue reading

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Retirement fears fall to pre-recession levels

nestegg-1The good news from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll: Americans’ fears about running out of money in retirement are at their lowest levels since 2007, before the Great Recession. The less good news: Those fears still run high. In the survey, conducted earlier this month and published this week, 59% of respondents said they were “very” or “moderately” worried about not having enough money for retirement.

It’s worth noting, as Gallup does, that worrying about retirement is a common theme even when times are good. Not having enough to retire has been the top-ranked financial concern every year since Gallup began conducting the poll in 2001, and the worry rate has never been lower than 52% (in 2004). Continue reading

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Did the SEC Admit That It Knows the Stock Market is Rigged?

Business-Week-Looks-at-the-Rigging-of-Stock-Research-on-Wall-Street-May-13-2002Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission released the second in what looks to be a never-ending, head-scratching study into whether some aspects of high frequency trading are, in fact, the equivalent of rigging the stock market and thus patently illegal under existing law. In one long paragraph, the SEC appears to emphatically say that two strategies, order anticipation and momentum ignition, are manipulative and illegal. The SEC writes:

“Directional strategies generally involve establishing a long or short position in anticipation of a price move up or down. The Concept Release requested comment on two types of directional strategies – order anticipation and momentum ignition – that ‘may pose particular problems for long-term investors’ and ‘may present serious problems in today’s market structure.’ An order anticipation strategy seeks to ascertain the existence of large buyers or sellers in the marketplace and then trade ahead of those buyers or sellers in anticipation that their large orders will move market prices (up for large buyers and down for large sellers). A momentum ignition strategy involves initiating a series of orders and trades in an attempt to ignite a rapid price move up or down. As noted in the Concept Release, any market participant that manipulates the market has engaged in conduct that already is illegal. The Concept Release focused on the issue of whether additional regulatory tools were needed to address illegal practices, as well as any other practices associated with momentum ignition strategies.”


So why has the SEC been studying this problem for the past four years instead of charging those deploying these strategies with crimes? We can thank former SEC trial attorney, James Kidney, for answering that question: the revolving doors of the SEC have morphed it into a Federal agency “that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors. On the rare occasions when Enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement – risky enforcement – is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.” (Continue to original article)

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‘Retail tsunami’ of bankruptcies and closings now sweeping America

Store-Closed-Out-Of-BusinessA combination of factors is causing a rash of store closings for many of the nation’s retailers, moves which will affect scores of Americans who rely on them for employment.

According to the site WealthyDebates.com, a “retail tsunami” is sweeping the country, as one major retailer after another announces plans to trim floor space and outlets, even as the Obama administration and the mainstream media report improving employment opportunities. Continue reading

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Repeal of Glass-Steagall and the Too Big To Fail Culture

Glass-SteagallDuring the 1990’s the conventional economic wisdom supported the repeal of Glass-Steagall. However, “10 years later, the end of Glass-Steagall has been blamed by some for many of the problems that led to last fall’s (2008) financial crisis. While the majority of problems that occurred centered mostly on the pure-play investment banks like Lehman Brothers, the huge banks born out of the revocation of Glass-Steagall, especially Citigroup, and the insurance companies that were allowed to deal in securities, like the American International Group, would not have run into trouble had the law still been in place.” Continue reading

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Hultberg: Keynesianism’s Ugly Secret

crash_prediction_of_27_webIt is now five years since the crash of 2008. Today’s media and much of our academic crowd, of course, believe that the crisis has been handled, and that we can settle back to “business as usual.”

But such pundits are so immersed in the Keynesian paradigm that they are viewing only the trees, not the forest. They are viewing only the specific recessionary cycles and not connecting such cycles to the big picture of the overall boom/bust nature of 20th century economics. Since they have accepted Keynesianism as valid, they see in today’s economy normal activity and business cycles. They see correct Federal Reserve policy and legitimate fiscal policy on the part of the Federal Government. But this view comes from a false concept of economics and from a major failing of humans – their use of “euphemism” to evade the fact they are trying to circumvent natural law so as to get something for nothing. Continue reading

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Macleod: Gold and bail-ins

piles_o_gold_02I am often asked whether or not western governments are likely to confiscate gold, and my answer has invariably been on the lines of “unlikely at the moment, because so few people own gold”. However given low stock levels in western vaults and that bail-ins are on the agenda the answer to the question should be reconsidered.

I first wrote about the new bail-in provisions after the Cyprus debacle last year. What it means for depositors is succinctly summarized in a current UK Government consultative document on the subject: Continue reading

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The Crash of 1929 & The Great Depression: Part 4

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Economic Collpase: Byron Dale – From Wealth to Debt

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Poorer Americans pick gold over stocks as the best investment

gold bars_feg_webYou can keep your gold and stocks because there’s no place like home for my money.

That seems to be the gist of a recent survey from Gallup, in which Americans picked real estate as the cream of the the long-term-investment crop. Their other choices were gold, stock and mutual funds; savings accounts and CDs; or bonds.

Some 30% of those polled picked real estate, versus 24% each for gold and stocks, while 14% gave savings accounts/CDs the nod and just 6% said bonds were the way to go. The bond drag is not too surprising considering how investors have been fleeing funds like the Pimco Total Return Fund. Bonds have also been a consistent nonfavored option in the Gallup poll. This marked the first year gold was included as an option in the Gallup survey of 1,026 adults aged 18 and older. Continue reading

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Americans With Lower Credit Scores Are Finding It Easier To Take Out Mortgages

Here we go again…

real_estate_foreclosureFollowing the U.S. housing bust, it got harder for households to get a mortgage.
It was especially hard for folks with lower credit scores.

However, lending standards have been loosening, and this is largely considered a good thing. But it also means it’s becoming easier for people with lower credit scores to get a mortgage.

Remember before the bust, lenders threw money at folks with poor credit, and who were at high risk of defaulting on their loans. Continue reading

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Evidence of Mainstream Financial Media Opposition to Gold and Silver

gold bars_feg_webSo now what instances of proof can we discover to support the idea that mainstream financial media is inherently biased against precious metals?

Demand for gold as a hedge against currency debasement in China is on the rise.

Well, lets examine the three largest shaper of public opinion in regard to all things financial, shall we? Continue reading

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Are You Ready For The Price Of Food To More Than Double By The End Of This Decade?

Supermarket-Photo-by-Abrahami-300x300Do you think that the price of food is high now? Just wait. If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade. Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet. You see, it isn’t just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices. Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year. And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply. A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigs. Continue reading

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What doctors found inside an Indian businessman after he complained of having a stomach ache (12 gold bars worth $1,847.00 each)

He wouldn't have made it!

He wouldn’t have made it!

Doctors in India were shocked to find 12 gold bars inside the stomach of a businessman who was admitted after complaining of pains.

The 63-year-old man went to a hospital in Delhi earlier this month saying he had swallowed a cap from a water bottle and wanted it removed from his body.

He also complained of pain and vomiting prompting surgeons to operate, when they discovered the hoard though to be worth around $23,300.00.

Doctors discovered a total of 12 gold bars, each weighing 33g which were discovered in his stomach rather than a bottle cap, it has been reported. Continue reading

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Fekete: The Significance of the Gold Standard

This is a freely edited version of an article by the monetary economist Walter E. Spahr (1891-1970), Head, Department of Economics, New York University, that appeared in the quarterly review Modern Age, Summer, 1960

golden_rollsAn instrumentality of human freedom
Of all institutions the gold standard occupies a paramount position as an instrumentality of human freedom, private property, private enterprise, and responsible government. The nature of the gold standard should reveal something as to why it is a necessary and natural companion of human freedom.

After specifying the standard gold coin and opening the Mint to its free and un-limited coinage on private account, the government must stand aside and let the gold standard perform its functions in accordance with the desires of the people. The right to private property in gold is established and respected. The government shall not interfere with the hoarding, importing or exporting of gold, or with the redemption of non-gold currency into standard gold coin by the banks. An individual may put none, little, much, or all of his property into gold. He may convert all of his property into gold and ship it out of the country without hindrance from the government.

Checkrein on the government and banks
If a person living under a degree of freedom inherent in a gold standard is disturbed by, or disapproves of, the policies of his government or the practices of banks, he may protect his property by presenting non-gold currency for redemption. If a sufficient number of people do this, then the government and the banks are forced to respect the fears or disapproval of the citizens. The government and the banks are thus placed in a position in which they must be careful not to disturb unduly, or to incur the disapproval of, people with property to protect.

Thus do a people with a gold standard at their disposal have the power to keep a checkrein on the fiscal policies of their government. Thus do they force the banks not to pursue reckless credit practices. Thus do they obtain and maintain a responsible government and a responsible banking system.

The people may utilize that power wisely or unwisely; but it is a power they must have if they are to be able to protect themselves from improper government encroachment or tyranny, and against irresponsible banking. (Continue to original article)

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