Silver as an investment

More About The Great Collapse In Retail

kingworldnews.com / March 23, 2017

With so many chains running into serious trouble, here is more about the great collapse in retail…

A portion of today’s note from Art Cashin: Retail Revolutions Are Neither Rare Nor Permanent – Sears, Roebuck and company recently issued a very strong caution about its ability to survive while moving forward. That instantly brought to memory the near dominance in retailing Sears had once attained. The fascinating story of the rise and reverse of Sears is wonderfully outlined as part of some recent presentations by my good friend John Mauldin. 

I contacted John, who in his normal gracious manner gave me permission to preprint his wonderful outline. Read, learn and enjoy. 

(John Mauldin) The Amazonian Jungle
Let’s start with a story to illustrate my concern. There is a company in the United States that began by offering a few products directly to consumers, and then quickly expanded its offerings until they included almost everything a person could want. This company went directly to the consumer, bypassing local brick-and-mortar stores, and became enormously successful, meeting the needs of its customers all over the country. Of course, the local stores were often (as economists will say) “disintermediated,” which is a fancy way of saying they couldn’t compete on price and selection, let alone delivery and convenience, and went belly up. And with them went the jobs of the people they employed. 

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GOP Lawmaker: “If I Were A Betting Man, I’d Say There Won’t Be A Vote Today”

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 23, 2017 2:11 PM

Despite Sean Spicer claiming during his daily press conference that the vote to repeal Obamacare will still take place tonight as previously scheduled, others disagree. Several lawmakers quoted by the Hill say that the House will likely delay its vote until Friday or next week, several lawmakers said. “It didn’t look like today was going to be when we’re going to vote,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) after leaving a meeting with committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule.

Roe said a vote may come Friday.

The vote on the healthcare bill was originally planned for Thursday, the seven-year anniversary of the day ObamaCare was signed into law, however as of 1:30 p.m., GOP leaders had not made a final decision about whether to delay the vote until Friday or next week. The decision was further complicated after negotiations between the White House and the Freedom Caucus broke down as reported shortly after 1 pm.

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A New Trend Emerges – Digital Gold “Gifting” Gains Popularity In China

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

I rarely write about gold these days, but the following from Reuters caught my attention.

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, March 7, China’s virtual gifting market, typically the domain of plugged-in young consumers celebrating special occasions or flirting, is luring major financial institutions keen to boost trade of another auspicious commodity: gold.

 

Tencent’s digital gold packets, known as “microgold”, are backed by the country’s biggest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). They allow users to send funds that track the real-time value of gold to friends over the firm’s popular messaging platform WeChat.

 

It’s a financial innovation on the concept of virtual gifts, such as digital roses and chocolates, more commonly used in online communities and which have more sentimental value than any tangible economic worth.

 

For financial institutions, China’s booming virtual goods and smartphone-driven exchanges offer new markets to boost trading volumes in everything from banking services to gems.

 

ICBC, in an internal memo seen by Reuters and sent to staff on Friday, said the WeChat microgold platform had helped drive “explosive growth” in new gold accounts.

 

(more…)

PiMBEEB-A-LOOZA

milesfranklin.com / by Andrew HoffmanMar 23, 2017

This is the first week I can remember, in which every day, I awoke to so many “horrible headlines,” I couldn’t determine which to focus on.  Which is why, articles like yesterday’s “all out political, economic, and financial war” have been commonplace; in which, I comment on myriad topics, from the four corners of the planet; which invariably, are tied to the same root cause.  I.e., the catastrophic, terminal phase of history’s largest, most destructive fiat Ponzi scheme.

Consequently, I’m creating a new acronym to describe this phenomena – which not only will reduce the strain on my historically taxed fingers; and give me more writing space, within my allotted daily quota; but provide an irresistible “teaser” to alternative media browsing potential readers.  I.e., “PiMBEEB,” or “Precious-Metal-Bullish, Everything-Else-Bearish”; which today, will be featured in a “PiMBEEB-a-looza of topical discussions.

Let’s start with one of my favorite “bailout acronyms” – i.e., the TLTRO free money handout operations from the ECB, which euphemistically stand for “Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operations.”  Which, since the 2008 financial crisis, have “lent” more than €1.5 trillion to more than 1,000 European banks through a series of indefinitely rolling over 0% credit facilities; in a blatantly subversive act of financial engineering that is not deemed a “bailout” solely due to its semantic categorization as a “loan”; even though it has no interest rate, and an implicit assumption of permanence.  You know, like the equally indefinite “swap facilities” between the ECB and the Fed (that helps fund the TLTRO); which, because such derivativetransactions are characterized as “swaps”; instead of what they really are – loans; enables the Fed to avoid reporting them as increases in the U.S. money supply.

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Credibility of Cyber Firm that Claimed Russia Hacked the DNC Comes Under Serious Question

libertyblitzkrieg.com / Michael Krieger / 

Before I get to the meat of this post, we need to revisit a little history. The cyber security firm hired to inspect the DNC hack and determine who was responsible is a firm called Crowdstrike. Its conclusion that Russia was responsible was released last year, but several people began to call its analysis into question upon further inspection.

Jeffrey Carr was one of the most prominent cynics, and as he noted in his December post, FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort:

The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.

It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists.

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Millennials Don’t Consider Themselves Adults Until 30

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 23, 2017 1:51 PM

Turns out, you might be a millennial and not even know it. Even if you’re approaching 40. As TheWrap.com’s Tony Maglio reports, according to new research by CBS’ TV ratings guru David Poltrack and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, the youngest millennials should be graduating college this year — but that doesn’t mean they all consider themselves adults.

The median age of millennials is 30, Poltrack says — meaning that half are older and half are younger. And 30 happens to be the age at which millennials tend to self-identify as adults, Poltrack said. For these purposes, an “adult” is defined as “someone who has moved out of their parents’ home, has a job, and pays their own bills.”

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Thursday Humor: Medicare Part G?

Given today’s vote fiasco, this seemed highly appropriate…

If you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and need Long-Term Care, but the government says there is no Nursing Home care available for you, what do you do?

 

You may opt for Medicare Part G.

 

  • The plan gives anyone 75 or older a gun (Part G) and one bullet.
  • You may then shoot one worthless politician.
  • This means you will be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, a library, and all the health care you need.
  • Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, sex change, or heart? They are all covered! (more…)

Trump Issues An Ultimatum To House Republicans: Vote On Friday Or Obamacare Stays

Update: Trump’s bluff may be working already. Following Trump’s ultimatum, Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus said that the healthcare bill has been improved, and that the Freedom Caucus will meet and discuss the revised bill. And while Meadows is maintaining a solid front for now, saying he is a “No” vote right now, with Trump having shone the spotlight fully on the Freedom Caucus, and thus providing republicans with a scapegoat should the vote fail tomorrow, we would not find it at all surprising if the Freedom Caucus were to fold overnight following “intense deliberations.”

* * *

Following a day of narrative twists and turns ahead of what was supposed to be a Thursday night vote to repeal Obamacare, a vote which was pulled in the last moment when over 30 conservative and moderate House republicans threatened to vote against the Ryan/Trump plan, Trump has had enough with the Freedom Caucus dissenters and has issued an informal ultimatum: vote to repeal Obamacare on Friday or Obamacare stays.

Trump is demanding a vote Friday in the House on the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said according to Reuters. If the bill fails, Trump is prepared to move on and leave Obamacare in place the budget director added.

Trump officials meeting with the House GOP conference said Trump is done negotiating over the legislation, which was set to come up for a vote Thursday but was delayed.

Mulvaney told the GOP conference that Trump wants a vote on Friday during a dramatic closed-door meeting, according to a GOP source in the room.  If the vote fails, Trump will move on to other priorities and ObamaCare will stay as the law of the land, Mulvaney said.

There were last-minute changes being considered to the bill. But it was unclear whether the House of Representatives would be able to pass it, said North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, the chairman of a group of conservatives known as the Freedom Caucus, which has been critical of the bill. “I’m still optimistic” about reaching an agreement, Meadows told reporters.

Having met with Paul Ryan on Thursday evening, Trump’s right hand man Steve Bannon told reporters after the House Republican conference that he expects lawmakers to vote Friday on the health-care bill. (more…)

Chinese President Throws Weight Behind Israel/Palestine Peace, Two-State Solution

Authored by James Holbrooks via TheAntiMedia.org,

While hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for peace between Israel and Palestine and said an independent Palestinian state should be established “as soon as possible.”

“The conflict between Israel and Palestine has had a long lasting impact on the Middle East,” Xi said. “China appreciates that Israeli side will continue to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the issue of the ‘two-state solution.’”

China’s premier, Li Keqiang, had warmly received the Israeli prime minister on Monday in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

“The Chinese people and the Jewish people are both great peoples of the world,” Li said at the meeting.

Netanyahu, similarly amenable, praised China as a world leader in technology and said there are many areas where the two nations can collaborate.

“And I would like to have the opportunity to exchange views with you and to see how we can cooperate together for the advancement of security, peace and stability, and prosperity,” Netanyahu said Monday.

He stuck to this note while speaking with the Chinese president on Tuesday.

“We have always believed, as we discussed on my previous visit,” Netanyahu said, “that Israel can be a partner, a junior partner, but a perfect partner for China in the development of a variety of technologies that change the way we live, how long we live, how healthy we live, the water we drink, the food we eat, the milk that we drink — in every area.”

(more…)

Member Of Congress Warns Of A 1,000 Point Stock Market Crash If Obamacare Lite Does Not Pass

Obamacare LiteAre we going to see a dramatic stock market plunge if the effort to get “Obamacare Lite” through the U.S. House of Representatives ultimately fails?  On Thursday, a vote on the Republican healthcare bill was postponed once it became clear that there would not be enough votes for it to pass.  House Republican leaders are still optimistic that there will still be a vote on Friday, but that is far from certain.  Many strong conservatives in the House are balking at supporting this bill because while it does eliminate a few of the most troublesome provisions of Obamacare, it keeps many of the elements of Obama’s signature healthcare law that have proven to be popular with the American people.  In other words, this bill is much more about “tweaking” Obamacare than “repealing” it.

This is the first major legislative test for President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and so far they are failing.  House Republican leaders have gone into panic mode, because a “no” vote could have some very serious implications outside of Washington.  In fact, one member of Congress is warning that if this bill does not pass that we could see the Dow drop 1,000 points in a single day

It happened in real life on Sept. 29, 2008, when the House first voted on a Wall Street bailout intended to stem the financial crisis. In a swirl of uncertainty, Republican members stampeded to “no,” defeated the measure and watched the Dow tumble by more than 700 points. The same thing could happen on the GOP health bill, a veteran member told CNBC on Thursday — only bigger.

“If this goes down, we could take a 1,000-point market hit,” the member said. To be sure, traders and investors tell CNBC the market likely will go lower if there is no compromise Thursday, but the decline won’t likely come near a 1,000-point drop. That would represent a nearly 5 percent drop in the Dow, a bit less than the 7 percent decline when the index fell 777 points in September 2008.

And even if this bill does pass, we are probably headed for some sort of significant downturn anyway.  Sven Henrich has just told CNBC that he believes that “the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term”…

The market has enjoyed a stellar bull run, but a correction is likely looming, according to Sven Henrich, also known as the “Northman Trader.”

A very long-term analysis of the S&P 500, in conjunction with a look at the CBOE Volatility Index, leads Henrich to believe the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term.

But fixing our failing healthcare system is far more important than trying to prop up the financial markets, and so the strong conservatives in the House are quite right to stand by their principles.

Simply “tweaking” Obamacare is not going to fix anything, and it is extremely disappointing that President Trump and Paul Ryan are advocating such an approach.

Thankfully, there are a number of strong conservatives in Congress that are willing to take a stand for what is right even if it means standing up against their own party.  One of those principled conservatives is Senator Rand Paul, and he says that right now there are at least 35 Republican “no” votes in the House, and that would be enough to kill the bill…

I think there’s easily 35 no votes right now so unless something happens in the next 24 hours, I would predict they pull the bill and start over. I think if conservatives stick together, they will have earned a seat at the table where real negotiation to make this bill an acceptable bill will happen. But it’s interesting what conservatives are doing to change the debate. We went from keeping the Obamacare taxes for a year—hundreds of billions of dollars—but they’re coming towards us because we’re standing firm. So we have to stick together, and if we do stick together there will be a real negotiation on this. The main goal I have is not to pass something that does not fix the situation. If a year from now, insurance rates and premiums are still going through the roof and it’s now a Republican plan it will be a disservice to the president and all of us if we pass something that doesn’t work.

If this bill is ultimately defeated, I have an idea that might work.

Why don’t we get the government out of the healthcare business entirely?

Once upon a time when we actually let the free market determine the allocation of healthcare resources, we had the best healthcare system in the entire world.

But after decades of experimenting with socialist principles and adding mountains of rules, regulations and red tape to the system, we have a giant mess on our hands.

Either we need to go back to a true free market system, or we might as well go ahead and just socialize the entire thing.

Right now, hard working families have to pay for their own healthcare and also pay for the socialized healthcare that more than 125 million other Americans are receiving.

Yes, when you add up all of the Americans that are on Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare and other government programs, it comes to more than 125 million people.

So a lot of hard working families are scared to ever go to the hospital because their insurance deductibles are so high, and yet their taxes go to pay for all of the free healthcare that people on government assistance are receiving.

If the government is going to pay for the healthcare for nearly half the country, why should the rest of us have to pay for ours?

What we have now is such a ridiculous system, and what President Trump and Paul Ryan are proposing is not “free market” in any way, shape or form.

So I say let this horrible bill fail even if it means that financial markets will freak out for a little while.

Hopefully what transpires over the coming days will cause Republican leadership to go back to the drawing board, and a clean repeal of Obamacare would be a really good place to start.