Ignore the Hard Data at Your Peril

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Pento Portfolio Strategies

Surveys of both consumers and businesses show there is an extreme level of confidence regarding future GDP growth. Consumer confidence is now at its highest level since 2001. Small and medium-sized business owners, the driving force of growth in the economy, appear downright giddy; as the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index recently soared to its highest level since 2004.

The Philly Fed Index, a survey that gauges how well manufacturers are feeling, hit its highest level since 1984. Business leaders are betting on tax cuts, infrastructure spending and a scale-back of onerous regulations that will, hopefully, make America great again!

But just as we were beginning to get tired of all this “winning”, investors are also receiving a strong reality check from the actual hard data regarding the current state of economic activity.

The economy slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2016. Gross domestic product increased at a lackluster 1.9 percent annual rate at the end of last year. For all of 2016, the economy grew only 1.6 percent, which was the weakest pace since 2011.

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To Protect Climate Money, Obama Stashed It Where It’s Hard to Find

By Christopher Flavelle – Re-Blogged From http://www.Bloomberg.com

  • Obama’s aides spread money across the government, eluding cuts
  • Most recent estimate puts tab at $77 billion from 2008-2013

What to Expect From Trump on Climate Change

President Donald Trump will find the job of reining in spending on climate initiatives made harder by an Obama-era policy of dispersing billions of dollars in programs across dozens of agencies — in part so they couldn’t easily be cut.

There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did. The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration. In some cases, the idea was to make climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find.

“Much of the effort in the Obama administration was to mainstream climate change,” said Jesse Keenan, who worked on climate issues with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now teaches at Harvard University. He said all federal agencies were required to incorporate climate-change plans into their operations.

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Outwitting Climate Change With a Plant ‘Dimmer’?

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

From the TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH (TUM) and the “dim and dimmer” department comes this finding that suggests GMO tweaking of plant DNA is the way to “outwit” the apparent nefarious intelligence of climate change.

Molecular mechanism responsible for blooming in spring identified

For many plant species, such as the thale cress, which is often used in research, but also for food crops such as corn, rice and wheat, there are now initiatives currently mapping the genome of many subspecies and varieties. CREDIT Photo: Regnault/ TUM

Outwitting climate change with a plant ‘dimmer’?

Plants possess molecular mechanisms that prevent them from blooming in winter. Once the cold of win-ter has passed, they are deactivated. However, if it is still too cold in spring, plants adapt their blooming behavior accordingly. Scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered genetic changes for this adaptive behavior. In light of the temperature changes resulting from climate change, this may come in useful for securing the production of food in the future.

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Discounting Away the Social Cost of Carbon: The Fast Lane to Undoing Obama’s Climate Regulations

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Trump to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews, Source Says
March 14, 2017, 1:06 PM CDT
  • Directive to reverse Obama-era mandate for agency actions
  • Clean Power Plan, methane rules and coal halt also addressed

President Donald Trump is set to sign a sweeping directive to dramatically shrink the role climate change plays in decisions across the government, ranging from appliance standards to pipeline approvals, according to a person familiar with the administration’s plan.

The order, which could be signed this week, goes far beyond a targeted assault on Obama-era measures blocking coal leasing and throttling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that has been discussed for weeks. Some of the changes could happen immediately; others could take years to implement.

It aims to reverse President Barack Obama’s broad approach for addressing climate change. One Obama-era policy instructed government agencies to factor climate change into formal environmental reviews, such as that for the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump’s order also will compel a reconsideration of the government’s use of a metricknown as the “social cost of carbon” that reflects the potential economic damage from climate change. It was used by the Obama administration to justify a suite of regulations.

Trump’s Secret Weapon Against Obama’s Climate Plans

Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, a conservative, fossil fuel-oriented advocacy group, welcomed Trump’s comprehensive approach, calling it essential to undoing Obama-era climate policies that “permeated the entire administration.”

[…]

Bloomberg

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Gold Juniors’ Q4’16 Fundamentals

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Zeal

The junior gold stocks corrected hard in recent weeks, setting them up to blast higher on Wednesday’s less-hawkish-than-expected Fed.  That started to dispel some of the serious bearish sentiment that has been mounting in this sector.  The junior gold miners’ fundamentals justify much-higher stock prices, as evidenced in their recently-reported fourth-quarter operating and financial results.  They remain very bullish.

Four times a year publicly-traded companies release treasure troves of valuable information in the form of quarterly reports.  Required by securities regulators, these quarterly results are exceedingly important for investors and speculators.  They banish all the sentimental distortions surrounding prevailing stock-price levels, revealing the underlying hard fundamental realities.  This greatly helps in re-anchoring perceptions.

After spending decades intensely studying and actively trading this contrarian sector, there is no gold-stock data I look forward to more than their quarterly reports.  These offer a true and clear snapshot of what’s really going on, overcoming all the misconceptions bred by the ever-shifting winds of sentiment.  If you have capital deployed in this sector but don’t watch the quarterlies, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

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The French Migrant Crisis Means the Majority Don’t Feel Safe

By JoeScudder – Re-Blogged From http://patriotupdate.com

While politicians get threatened with removal if they don’t go along with it, the French migrant crisis leaves French citizens worried.

What happens when a mayor tries to deal with the French migrant crisis? Others petition to remove him from office:

So, what do the average citizens of France think about the French migrant crisis? Breitbart recently reported on that question and the answer is not good:

The survey found that 93 per cent of French believe the threat of more terror attacks is high, and 71 per cent feel the security situation in France has got worse over the last five years.

More broadly, 59 per cent of those polled said they did not feel safe anywhere, with almost one in four (24 per cent) opting to “strongly agree” with the statement.

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What if Education Was Left to the Free Market?

By Stephen Hicks – Re-Blogged From Savvy Street

Nothing can come into our minds as knowledge and nothing can become a skill except that we choose to make it so. So the real cost of education is the effort each individual has to put into it.

Higher education can be a path to a successful life. Yet many successful people did not graduate from college and many unsuccessful people have impressive degrees.

So who should go to college? And who should pay for it?

Let’s start by imagining an average student who wants to go to college but has no money and compare that student’s options in socialized and free-market education systems.

In a socialized system, the government pays for it. The student eventually graduates, goes to work, and starts to pay taxes.

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