23 March 2017

Russia Stole the Election From Hillary - Oh Really

It was not just Hillary that lost.  The Democrats overall were trounced.  

The Democratic establishment lost the loyalty of their rank and file when they started betraying their own traditional base in the pursuit of campaign money, and stepped hard on the enthusiasm for political reform that was blossoming with the Bernie Sanders campaign.

That is modern American politics in a nutshell. For the average person, you can't win for losing.  We are viewed as just the rope in a tug of war between global gangs of kleptocrats.

Here is Jimmy Dore's take on all this.

Caution on language.

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Irresponsibles

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.”

Archibald MacLeish

"We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.

Andrew Ryan as a character in Bioshock

It will be interesting to see if Dandy Don and the Republicans can get their own house in order.

The party leadership, particularly in the House, encouraged the frivolous use of Congressional time with their fifty odd and meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare. They are now so used to acting like powerless frat boys, that they can't seem to buckle down and get to work.

Well, maybe that is not all that bad, all things considered.

So stocks were wobbly today, because the gross ineptitude of the Trump Administration and the Congress is making most everyone doubt that they can get anything done except the grossest of neo-liberal betrayals of the American public.

They certainly do not seem to be able to create an infrastructure plan, fund it, and still provide sweeping tax and healthcare reform.

Perhaps they will settle down and start acting like adults. I am not putting my money on that particular number yet.

But then again, this is always the real challenge for the superior human beings isn't it?  And do not doubt for a moment that the fortunate few think that everything they have is richly deserved, due to their natural superiority.

And so they are puzzled by what they are to do about 'life unworthy of life' that is such a burden on them and their fellows high achievers.    And of course they think they get to decide which life is worthy of the benefits of society.   Or perhaps they let some other group of thugs, or impersonal 'market forces' to do it.

The obvious solution is single payer for all. Every other developed country has made it work. But for some reason Americans cannot seem to do it. I wonder why?

The root of the problem is predatory profit seeking at work in healthcare, pharma, and financials, areas which are always tending towards monopolies and price gouging when not restrained by sensible regulations.

Gold and silver are still hanging on below key resistance.

I have noted a potential 'inverse head and shoulders' formation on the gold chart. It is part of the long handle in the cup and handle formation.

That cup and handle is much, much easier to see on the silver weekly chart. And so far it looks good.

But as always, formations are only potential until they are activated. What the potential formations needs is that upside breakout. And do not think for one minute that a lot of the Street denizens are not watching that action as well.

Have a pleasant evening.

22 March 2017

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Men Who Stole the World

"The problem of the last three decades is not the 'vicissitudes of the marketplace,' but rather deliberate actions by the government to redistribute income from the rest of us to the one percent. This pattern of government action shows up in all areas of government policy."

Dean Baker

"When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise — to deny the political character of the modern corporation — is not merely to avoid the reality.

It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error."

John Kenneth Galbraith

And unfortunately the working class victims of that disguise are going to be receiving the consequences of their folly, and then some.

Secure in their monopolies and key positions with regard to reform and the law, the corporations are further acquiring access to the protections of the rights of individuals as well, it appears, at least according to Citizens United.

Maybe our leaders and their self-proclaimed technocrats will finally do the right thing. I personally doubt it, except if by accident. They are loyal to their donors.

More likely, the right thing will eventually come about the old-fashioned way—  under the duress of a crisis, and the growing protests of the much neglected and long suffering public.

History will look back at us with the same wonder that we look back on the mad excesses of certain nations founded in devotion to extreme, almost other-worldly, ideologies of the last century.

Gold was trying to rally, but just could not seem to crack the overhead resistance at 1250. Silver was unchanged most of the day.

There was an incident outside the UK Parliament building. It sounded like a terror event, but the markets did not react over much to it.  These sorts of actions are never justified, and are truly appalling.

Existing home sales came in weaker today.

The hopes for a big fat tax cut on the back of 'Trumpcare' seems to be receding a bit, as the House conservatives keep resisting what they call 'Obamacare-lite.' This tax cut and deregulation was the basis for much of the 'Trump rally.'

Apparently the slashing of health benefits for the unfortunate is not severe enough in the proposed Trump/Ryan plan. Our GOP house neo-liberals are enthusiastic to unleash the wonders of the cure-all deregulated market on the American public, again. Like a dog returns to its vomit.

Better if they start breaking up corporate health monopolies and embrace real reform at the sources of the soaring costs. The US pays far, far too much for drugs and healthcare, and deregulating the markets is not the solution.  We do have the example of the rest of the developed world for what to do about this. It is called 'single payer.'

But players keep on playing. And politicians and their enablers in the professions will not see what their big money donors do not wish them to see.  And that is one of their few bipartisan efforts.

Might one suggest that our political animals stop trying to do all the reforming and cost controls bottom up, while applying the stimulus top down? That approach they have been flogging to no avail for about thirty years is a recipe for a dying middle class.

Here is a short video from the Bernie Sanders WV town hall that shows The Face of American Desperation.   By the way, the governor of West Virginia is a Democrat.  He wasn't there.

Let's see if stocks can hold these levels, and if the metals can muster the buying momentum to move higher.

Have a pleasant evening.

21 March 2017

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Omnivorous Power, Hail

"Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases."

John Adams

“You have to understand that only the very worst end up here: the ones whose anger made them kill, and who felt no sorrow or guilt after the act; those so obsessed with themselves that they turned their backs on the sufferings of others, and left them in pain; those whose greed meant that others starved and died. Such souls belong here, because they would find no peace elsewhere. In this place, they are understood. In this place, their faults have meaning. In this place, they belong.”

John Connolly, The Infernals

Today was an interesting day for US equities.

This is the biggest downward move we have had in stocks since December 7 of last year.

Financials, which have been riding high on the Trump rally, helped lead the major indices lower.

Still, this is just a much needed correction from a highly overbought short term condition. We won't know if this is the start of a bigger correction until we break some downside supports and moving averages.

Gold and silver caught a bid in the paper assets sell off. They are still beneath the breakout levels which we are watching.

The US dollar continued moving lower according to the DX index. This was a boost for the metals priced in Dollars.

Let's see how the rest of the week goes, and if we see any signs of an intermediate trend change.

There was intraday commentary about 'About Fake News.'

Below there is a video re-enactment of Trump discussing his budget proposal and healthcare plan with his key advisors. Trump is played by Peter Ustinov.

Have a pleasant evening.

About Fake News

"It is part of the business of a newspaper to get news and to print it; it is part of the business of a politician to prevent certain news being printed.   For this reason the politician often takes a newspaper into his confidence for the mere purpose of preventing the publication of the news he deems objectionable to his interests."

Alfred C. Harmsworth, Journalism as a Profession

I have been meaning to say something on the subject of 'fake news' for a little while now. And as it sometimes seems to do, my procrastination has one again served me well.

A long time reader, Malcolm, sent this email below to me this morning, and I thought it was so to the point as to be worth sharing, with a few minor edits as it was a casual email.

The other week another reader sent me a list of purported 'fake news' sites, and congratulated me for being included on it.  I forget the source of this list, as I was preoccupied with other things at the time.  I was happy to note in the details that they had failed to categorize Le Cafe as being biased or slanted in any particular way.  It was simply labeled 'unknown.'   So I have a fake news site, but they do not yet know exactly what makes it fake, or why.

According to the document, apparently anyone can nominate a site to the list, without a stated reason, whether it be a personal dislike or some more factual analysis.  According to their document, someone later looks at the site and decides what kind of fake news it is.    Apparently they had not gotten around to Le Cafe yet, although they did see fit to include it on a fake news list.

As Winnie-the-Pooh's friend Eeyore would say, 'thanks for noticing me.'

I would like to think that when I have facts I put down the facts, and when I have an opinion or am not sure of the facts, or am putting my own interpretation on the facts, I make that clear also. That is the best that someone who is merely human can do.

Rarely in the real world, with all its variables and differing decision making weightings, are the facts so simple that 2+2=4.   And that is especially the case when it comes to public policy decisions, because of the underlying assumptions and objectives that lead to the selection of the variables and how they are to be combined and weighted.  But those who say 'it is simply math' rarely seem to state, or perhaps even understand, their own inherent biases and selectivity.

Fake news is a neat little label. So too is the label of Russia friendly that has been applied by some other group to various blog sites, such as our friends at Naked Capitalism for instance, for similarly arbitrary and undefined reasons.   I think they defeated their own credibility fairly quickly.  But it is a potentially dangerous trend, and it was especially discouraging to see it adopted by the once 'party of the people and diversity.'

This gets back to what a pundit, in a remarkable moment of irony and apparent lack of self-awareness, recently referred to as America's Epidemic of Infallibility.

To me, this culture of infallibility, or a superior appeal to authority and positional power, is a natural outcome of the notion that the professional class is a natural ruling elite as determined by the record of their schooling and connections and accumulatd accolades.

It is an old concept, sometimes called 'might makes right,' and the age old confusion of wealth and power with virtue.   If virtue were the basis, the natural path to all great power and wealth, then it would a much better world indeed.  But alas, we all know that it is not that way.

It seems that this whole notion of 'fake news' and 'Russia friendly' as it is being used recently is just the same old thing.  It is an attempt by those who are in power and their friends and enablers to control the dialogue in order to promote their own interpretations and policies.  And further, to stifle any dissent from their actions, in an attempt to maintain and enhance their positions and privileges from whence their power to do so arises.  This is as common a thing in corporations as well as societies.

As always, one must read everything with a skeptical eye, and take nothing on 'authority,'  especially now in our age with so many disgraced professions, having been corrupted by the spirit of their own exceptionalism, which is pride, and greed.

Question everything.  And never be afraid to call out those who stand, nakedly of the facts, on an appeal to authority, generally cloaked only with intimidation in jargon, and in very nice and civil terms question their pronouncements with all due respect and humility.

Respect and humility.  Really, Jesse?  Well, there is the resort to humor, which is certainly not pious by its nature.  Humor and caricature is the tool of the commons in dealing with the powerful, and wrong.  Making a joke of something, even if it is a bit pointed, is much less consequential than telling the pridefully mistaken to go shit in their hat.  

And one rarely can achieve a good outcome for their message of reform by writing it on a brick and shoving it into the other fellow's face, especially if the other guy is carrying the bully stick of the state.  There may be a time for that, but that is the difference between reform and revolution.

Those who resort to bullying and exclusion have already identified their character and the weakness of their propositions.  And the more incorrect they are, then it seems the louder and more mean-spirited that they get.

As badly as I made have made this point, here is what Michael has to say.

The mainstream media are up in arms over fake news. The establishment media, along with the political and economic elite of our country, have wound themselves up into a full hysterical fit of fear and loathing over fake news. What's not explained is where the line is located that divides 'fake' news from 'real' news.

Is it the selective publishing of half-truths, unverified rumors, and innuendo? The unquestioning regurgitation of anonymous assertions from shadowy insiders with blatant agendas and conflicts of interest? Perhaps the promotion of stories through hyperbolic overwrought headlines? A focus on the sensational and salacious? The selective exclusion of non-conforming views? The unilateral preemptive dismissal of alternative viewpoints? The manufacture of drama?

Is it the willingness to be infiltrated and influenced by intelligence operatives? The promotion of self-interested pundits? The refusal to call out and banish liars and cheats? Maybe it's the low budget for reporting and editing services, or the reliance of underpaid interns and independent hacks, or the lack of actual investigation? Or maybe the intermingling of news and editorial and advertising? How about the unabashed pursuit of profits?

No, it must not be any of that. Because the 'real' news is long and deeply guilty of those transgressions.

The problem is, we are told, that the purveyors of fake news just make stuff up from whole cloth. I'm shocked, shocked. Because the hypocrisy is monumental. The mainstream media has thoroughly compromised its credibility. This particular weed called fake news could only have grown in a garden long neglected and abused by its caretakers in the media.

To these fretting complainers, I believe that 'real' means responsive to and cozy with the elite. I think 'real' means owned and managed by people deeply connected with Wall Street and Washington. I think 'real' means willing to do the bidding of the war lobby, the US Chamber of Commerce, Goldman Sachs, the CIA, and fossil fuel lobbies.

The mainstream media has long since abandoned any semblance of pretending to do anything except regurgitate the spin, propaganda, lies, deceptions, and memes of the would be ruling class and of their enablers. They have proven themselves interested only in serving their patrons in government and finance, for the sake of power and profits. They barely cling to the weakly stated pretense of journalism, hollow and meaningless now, and contradicted by reality almost every day.

The mainstream media is in a crisis of its own making. Fake news is merely a symptom of a general disregard for the integrity of the facts.