Saturday, February 13, 2016
Outlooked: Could negative interest rates lead to a situation where banks would pay you to take out a mortgage? No, but think about the implications of giving the government $10,000 for ten years and getting only $9,950 back. What does that imply about the prices of assets of all kinds, and about the safety of your savings?
Bite By Bite: Researchers in Brazil and Argentinia strongly suspect that it is not the mosquito that is transmitting microcephaly, but a Monsonto pesticide, Pyripoxyfen, used to control mosquito populations by arresting the development of their larvae. They theorize that the pesticide has contaminated water supplies. Pregnant women, the theory goes, drinking the Pyriopoxyfen laden water ingest enough of the chemical to cause development problems with their fetuses. This may explain why the Zika virus has been found in such a low percentage of the micorcephalic infants. It may not be the Pyrippozyfen-altered mosquitoes, by the larvacide itself that is to blame. Certainly the area where the majority of the affected children were born and the area sprayed with Pyripoxyfen are nearly identical. Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.
Peace In The valley: A suit has been filed in federal court in Alabama seeking a determination of Ted Cruz's right to become president in that he is a natural-born Canadian, and not a “natural born” American. He may have derived citizenship, but that, the suit alleges, does not meet the definition of “natural born”.
Credulity Gap: Yes, it is possible that the Texas Attorney General could be disbarred for telling county clerks they could, and should, disregard the US Supreme Court's gay marriage decision. “Could.” But this is Texas politics and it just ain't gonna happen.
Priorities: A Vatican prelate is telling newly commissioned Bishops that they are not obliged to inform law enforcement of instances of child sex abuse by priests under their supervision. In God we trust, in his earthly representatives, not so much.
Backpedaling: The Democratic National Committee – for which read Hillary & Bill, Incorporated – has finally decided to back President Obama's desire to ban contributions from lobbyists, now that they've given Hillary all they were going to until it becomes clear whether she can do them some good.
Good Question: Phil Angelides, chair of the government commission that produced the definitive report on the causes of the global financial crisis, wants to know you the Department of Justice has yet to indict and try any senior bank executives for the widespread fraud and corruption that lead to the collapse of the US mortgage market. Banks have paid immense penalties – Morgan Stanley just agreed to pay another $3.2 billion for “flawed” mortgage bonds – but not a single individual has been charged with wrongdoing.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes: Ms. Clinton says “ “I know I have had a blessed life, but I also know what it’s like to stumble and fall. And so many people across America know that feeling.” Wrong. Hillary stumbles, but a great many of us have been tripped by the establishment and been shoved into the gutter by the same Wall Street folks who give her millions “with no expectation in return.”
Porn O'Graph: Let them eat cake.
The Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:36 AM
Friday, February 12, 2016
The End Is In Slight: One of the main reasons that low prices have not dried up the production of profitless petroleum is simple – many if not most fracking operations operate on borrowed money – not on capital raised from equities. And borrowed money has to be paid back from cashflow if there is no capital to tap. Thus they keep pumping so they can keep paying and hopefully hang on until prices rise. A very few may survive, but the simple math suggests most will not. They will eventually fail and default on their loans. Then the question becomes how badly will these bankruptcies impact the banking system?
The Money Quote: “Who wants billionaire Michael Bloomberg to run for president? People like Michael Bloomberg.”
Publicity Stunted: Germany has opened a TAFTA/TTIP Reading Room to give German legislators access to the text of the treaty. They have 2 hours to read the 300 page document (on a computer assigned by the secret-keepers), which is available only in English and is full of typos like “annd” for 'and' and 'teh' for 'the' and allowis any copying of the text be traced back to a specific person. You'd almost think that the public and its representatives don't have the right to know what their corporate overlords are up to, and you'd be right.
Interpretation: A 40-year longitudinal study has found that defiant children are more likely to succeed as adults than more compliant suck-ups. This does not mean they are nicer or better people; maybe their success reflects psychopathy.
Motto: We kill because we can.
Truth In Packaging: Obama wants to stop decades of hypocrisy and explicitly exempt Egypt from having to meet the human rights conditions required under US law for countries receiving US aid.
… And Call Me In The Morning: Willem Buiter, Citi’s global chief economist, told investors that it is ‘likely’ that a global recession is underway, and that the current weak economic growth is not enough to avoid a serious global recession.
Links: The CDC has found physical evidence linking the Zika virus to microcephaly in four Brazilian cases, strengthening the suggestive but non-proven statistical correlation.
Firedwall: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are insisting that the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC does not constitute an endorsement by the caucus itself and was done without input from the CBC membership.
Water Is Wet: S&P finds that “the low interest rates and quantitative easing used to rescue the economy after the 2008 crash have handed extra wealth to the richest households by propping up stock markets and supporting booming house prices.”
Porn O'Graph: Don't bank on it.
The Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 8:20 AM