What We’re Watching

In no particular order and with no ranking of importance as we see it: Global seismic and geothermal activity. Are the events linked and if so will activity increase? Japanese monetary policy. Will Abenomics finally implode and take the Japanese bond market with it? The US presidential race. What happens with and around Trump may Continue reading »

Bits and Pieces – 20171117, Friday

Commentary: In Bits and Pieces – 20170731, Monday, I discussed why Bitcoin can’t be considered to be a currency. Martin Armstrong, in discussion of the “petrodllar” (Is the Dollar Really a Petrodollar anymore?), lists its key features:

  1. it can be used worldwide without permission from the USA as is the case with the Japanese yen;
  2. it is a single currency with a single federal debt market where BIG money can park – that is not the case for the Euro, Ruble, or Yuan.

Bits and Pieces – 20171112, Sunday

Commentary: A common theme that my wife and I discuss is the general we encounter incompetence on a daily basis. As an example, when we moved, our bank provided new cheques as requested but they coded them for a dormant and empty savings account. It came to my attention when the first cheque bounced. It cost me several hours and some momentary anxiety to fix the bank’s error, apologize to people that I had sent cheques to, pursue reimbursement of NSF fees both for myself and my vendors, etc. I left a bank official wondering how they issued cheques on an account that had no chequing privileges.

Bits and Pieces – 20171108, Wednesday

Commentary: I see little chance that the power struggle in the Saudi royal family will spill over into something larger. The parallel might be Turkey where Erdogan consolidated power to become a virtual dictator. Here is an article that has a different point of view although it is unsupported: Making Sense Of Saudi’s ‘Game Of Thobes’. And here are a couple of articles on the struggle, Saudi Arabia Is About To Confiscate $33 Billion From Four Of Its Richest People. Perhaps the last word is: Real Motive Behind Saudi Purge Emerges: $800 Billion In Confiscated Assets.

Bits and Pieces – 20171029, Sunday

WWIII: Again I ask why Britain is beating the American war drum: British Secretary Of State Refuses to Rule Out A “Preemptive Strike” On North Korea?

The American Empire (AE): On a tip from a friend here’s a short video and a short article on the final stage of empire: The 7 Signs Of An Empire In Decline and What Happened To Normal People When The Roman Economy Fell Apart? The application is not just to the AE unless you consider most of the Western countries as vassal states. The decadence is pervasive well beyond the US. I think I linked this video by Chalmers Johnson some time ago but here it is again: DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay. One might take WWIII as the event that ends Western empire. Here’s one further comparison to the Roman Empire: Washington Is “The New Rome”.

Tree Fruits – Apricots

Apricots are not recommended for “General Planting”  because of their extreme sensitivity to spring frosts and bacterial spot but recently developed cultivars provide opportunities to plant commercially viable orchards.

Growth Climate Zones

Apricots are not recommended for production in colder zones (beyond 7a) where there is a risk of spring frost frequent during bloom.

Tree Fruits – Cherries

Sweet cherry cultivars are recommended for hardiness zones 7a and 7b and tart cherries, in zones 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a and 7b.

Growth Climate Zones

To ensure fruiting, only grow sweet cherries in hardiness zones 7a and 7b and tart cherries, in zones 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a and 7b.

Bits and Pieces – 20171020, Friday

 

Commentary: After publishing my last commentary, Bits and Pieces – 20171013, Friday, I came across this video by Gordon T. Long: UnderTheLens – 09 21 17 – OCTOBER – Coming “Nationalization” of Markets. It subsumes my comments with the exception of the scenario of how the Fed might take over the US stock market. In the 26 minutes, he does a much more thorough job of documenting how central banks globally are the dominant players in many capital markets such as sovereign bonds, and are rapidly becoming the dominant players in stock markets.

In the case of stocks, where their “printed money” has gone is a puzzle. If they print a billion dollars and buy a billion worth of equities in the market, the money goes into the accounts of the sellers. What do the sellers do with it? Do they use it to ‘walk the market higher’ isolating the new money in the market or do they take it out and move it into the economy causing inflationary pressures?

Already, in some sovereign bond markets, there is a liquidity problem, Investment funds and pension funds have traditionally used sovereign bonds as a a stable, low-risk component of their portfolios. These institutions are finding that they can’t get the bonds they require because the governments are mopping them up. The other problem is that these are not free markets and proper risk and price discovery simply can’t happen. Given the global history of sovereign defaults, particularly by the top economies, a zero interest or negative rate sovereign bond is simply not pricing in the real, if small, risk of a sovereign default. With central bank taking over ownership in these markets the risk of default is rising because so far, current monetary policy is proving to be a one way street.

Bits and Pieces – 20171013, Friday

Commentary: Here is an argument why there will be no market crash this fall. Although the precursors for earlier crashes have been equaled or exceeded, the Fed will intervene to prevent one from happening.

Here’s the background. The Swiss National Bank has bought $80 billion in US stocks: The Swiss National Bank Owns $80 Billion In U.S. Stocks — Here’s The Catch. The Bank of Japan currently owns 44.7% of all JGBs (government bonds) issued: Japan JGBs held by BoJ. The ECB has been buying large quantities of sovereign debt but also corporate bonds ($1.4 trillion euros as of Feb. 2017: An update: Sovereign bond holdings in the euro area – the impact of QE). Zero Hedge reported that Janet Yellen, in addressing the House Finances Service Committee, noted that the Fed by its charter cannot buy stocks but congress can easily change this: Janet Yellen On The Fed Buying Stocks: “Maybe In The Future, Down The Line…”.

The Adopted First Nations Children of the 1960S are Being Scooped Back.

RE: Canadian Press item: TORONTO – The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ’60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has announced  a National Settlement with Indigenous Peoples. Included in the settlement is a class action in Ontario seeking redress for generations of our society’s alleged abuse of  indigenous peoples. Evidently, this redress is to be accomplished  by a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million. In addition, the Federal government will set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation. Another $75 is to be set aside to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees. This is all to make  amends for the great  “Ontario Scoop” in which “at-risk on-reserve Indigenous children … were placed in non-Aboriginal homes” from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.

CANADA’S BID TO RETURN TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Here is a new article from Paul Merkley, reprinted by permission.

Shortly after his election,  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his Liberal government will be actively pursuing assignment to the next seat available on the United Nations Security Council.

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