Saudi Strikes Back Against U.S. Shale

By Jody Chudley – Re-Blogged From The Daily Reckoning

Here we go again…

The price of oil is plunging.

For the first quarter of 2017 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) held a pretty stable range between $54–58 per barrel. Now it is back to the roller coaster that we have been on since mid-2014.

As I write this, WTI is struggling to hold $43 per barrel and is sinking like a rock.

Oil prices are falling fast

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How a Russian Space Mirror Briefly Lit Up the Night

By Danny Lewis – Re-Blogged From smithsonian.com

In 1993, the 65-foot-diameter satellite, called Znamya, briefly lit the Earth like a giant orbiting night light

It may sound like a plan only a supervillain could imagine, but during the 1990s, a group of Russian scientists and engineers devised a gadget that redirected sunlight lost to space back to Earth. Acting like a giant mirror, the device was intended to lengthen daylight hours, provide solar energy for power, and possibly one day power spaceships. And believe it or not, for a brief moment it actually worked, reports Brian Merchant for  Motherboard.

‘WASI’ Paris Climate Agreement

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Foreword: Following President Trump’s exit from the Paris Climate Treaty, a number of states, cities, universities, companies and institutions formed a “We are still in” consortium. Its members insist that they remain committed to Paris and are determined to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and prevent climate change.

As our article explains, this is all puffery and belief in tooth fairies. The issues and questions we raise ought to shame and embarrass WASI members – for spending countless billions of other people’s dollars to prevent an undetectable and irrelevant 0.01 degrees of global warming. We also ask whether jurisdictions within WASI states can take the “progressive” route and declare themselves sanctuary cities or counties, to protect their jobs and families against WASI dictates. Perhaps our article will persuade more Americans to make their voices heard, ask hard questions – and start resisting The Anti-Trump Resistance.

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Dollar May Become “Local Currency Of The US Only”

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Listen to the Podcast Audio: Click Here

Mike Gleason: It is my great privilege to be joined now by James Rickards. Mr. Rickards is editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter, and Director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He’s also the author of several bestselling books including The Death of Money, Currency Wars, The New Case for Gold, and now his latest book The Road to Ruin.

In addition to his achievements as a writer and author, Jim is also a portfolio manager, lawyer and renowned economic commentator having been interviewed by CNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, Fox News and CNN just to name a few. And we’re also happy to have him back on the Money Metals Podcast.

Jim, thanks for coming on with us again today. We really appreciate your time. How are you?

Jim Rickards: I’m fine, Mike. Thanks. Great to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gleason: Absolutely. Well first off, Jim, last week, the fed increased the fed funds rate by another quarter of a point as most of us expected, but during that meeting, we also heard Janet Yellen say she wants to normalize the Fed’s balance sheet, which means the Fed could be dumping about $50 billion in financial assets into the marketplace each month. Now you’ve been a longtime and outspoken critic of the fed and their policies over the years. So, what are your thoughts here, Jim? Do you believe they will actually follow through on this idea of selling off more than $4 trillion in bonds and other assets on the Fed’s books? And if so, what do you think the market reaction would be including the gold market?

 

Jim Rickards: Well, I do think they’re going to follow through. Of course, it’s important to understand the mechanics of the Fed. They’re actually not going to sell any bonds. But they are going to reduce their balance sheet by probably two to two and a half trillion. So just to go through the history and the math and the actual mechanics there, so prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet was about $800 billion. As a result of QE1, QE2, QE3, and everything else the fed has done in the meantime, they got that balance sheet up to $4.5 trillion. By the way, if the Fed were a hedge fund, they’d be leveraged 115 to one. They look a really bad hedge fund. But that’s how much the Fed is leveraged, they have about 40 billion of equity, versus 4.5 trillion of assets. Mostly U.S. government securities of various kinds. So, they’re leveraged well over 100 to one.

And if you mark the balance sheet to market, not always but sometimes depending on what interest rates are doing, they’re actually technically insolvent. There have been times, again not all the times, but times when the mark to market basis, the Fed would have negative equity or basically would be broke if they were anyone other than the Fed. So that’s how leveraged they are. That’s how bad it is.

Now, what they want to do is to get the balance sheet down to what they consider normal. Now normal is completely subjective. There’s no rigorous scientific formula for what’s normal. The way you would do it is go back to 2008, start with the 800 billion, and say well look, if we had grown the balance sheet on the prior path, where would we be today in 2017, going into 2018, 2019? That number’s around two trillion. I mean it wouldn’t have been 800 billion. They’re not going to hold it steady. But probably just two to two and a half trillion for an approximation, which means that they have to reduce the balance sheet by two trillion dollars or more to get back to normal.

Now the question is, how do you do that? And again, I just want to emphasize, they’re not going to sell any bonds. What they do is they let them mature. If you want to go buy a treasury bond, let’s say we bought a 5-year note, five years ago and it was maturing today. What would happen? The Treasury just sends you the money. It’s like any bond. You don’t have to sell it. You don’t have to do anything with it. They just send you the money. They have your account and the money just shows up in your account. Well, it’s the same thing with the Fed, they have all these trillions of treasury notes and bonds and bills and mortgages and all that. And when they mature, the Treasury just sends them the money.

So, if that’s true, which it is, why hasn’t the balance sheet been going down all along? Well the answer is, they have been reinvesting the proceeds. So, as I say, if you have a 5-year note you bought five years ago, it matures, treasury sends you the money. Well the Fed has been going out buying a new 5-year note to replace the 5-year note that just matured. So that holds the balance sheet constant. During QE, they were actually doing more than that. They were not only rolling over the existing balance sheet. They were buying new securities with money from thin air.

That, by the way, for listeners who may not be familiar, that is how the Fed creates money. So, the Federal Reserve calls one of the so-called primary dealers which are the big banks. It’s Goldman Sachs, City, JP Morgan, the usual suspects. And they say, “offer me 10-year notes or 5-year notes, whatever.” And the dealer will offer them a price. And the Fed will say, “Okay, you’re done.” And then the dealer delivers the treasury notes to the Fed. And the Fed pays for them. But the money comes from nowhere. If you or I called Merrill Lynch of Goldman Sachs or somebody and said, I’d like to buy some 10-year treasury notes, they would sell them to us, but we’d have to pay for them with real money. I mean the money would come out of our brokerage account or a bank account. Whereas when the Fed does it, they just say, “Here’s the money.” And it literally comes from thin air.

So that’s what Quantitative Easing was. That was printing money to buy bonds to build up the balance sheet. And then that money went into the banking system. Of course, all the banks did was give it back to the Fed in the from excess reserves. On which they got interest, so the whole thing was just a way to funnel earnings from the treasury to the banks at the tax payers expense without anyone knowing. I mean obviously, technically I just described it, but this is not something that the everyday American necessarily understands that well. So, that’s what QE is, and this is now the opposite. And the name for it is quantitative tightening. So, when they were printing money, it was Quantitative Easing. Now that they’re making money disappear, that is what happens, it’s Quantitative Tightening, so we call it QT.

So, we had QE1, QE2, QE3. Now we’re going into QT or quantitative tightening. Now this does make money disappear. It’s the opposite of creating money. So again, simple example. The 5-year treasury note on the Fed balance sheet, it matures. The Treasury sends you the money. Now what they’re going to do, Mike, this is what you referred to, instead of going out and buying a new one to roll it over, they do nothing. And then the money disappears, the bond disappears, because it matured. And the balance sheet shrinks. So, the significance is not that they’re dumping bonds, because they’re not going to sell a single bond. The significance is that they are not buying new ones. Now at the margin, that still affects the market. The Fed has been the biggest buyer of new treasury issues for the last eight years.

In recent years, they’ve been buying as much as 30% of all the treasury bonds. So of course, the treasury issues bonds all the time to cover the deficit, right? So, we’ve had these huge deficits. They were over a trillion dollars back in the Obama days. They’re now down to around 400 billion, but that’s still a very big number as a percentage of GDP. And the Treasury covers those deficits by issuing notes and bonds. Well, the Fed has been buying 30% of them. So, it’s like any market. You take the biggest buyer out of the market, what’s going to happen? Well prices are going to fall, which means that interest rates go up. So that’s going to be a very strong headwind for the economy.

Now the Fed is trying to pretend that that’s not going to happen. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but here’s the way they’re spinning this whole thing. The Fed is saying, “Look, our policy tool is interest rates.” When they were zero, they didn’t have any flexibility. They couldn’t go below zero. I mean technically, you could go to negative interest rates, but the Fed never did. The evidence is pretty good that negative interest rates don’t work anyway. So, let’s just put negative interest rates off to one side for the time being. They are a tool in the toolkit, but not a tool that the fed has ever used or is planning to use. So, put negative interest rates to one side. Treat the zero interest rates as a hard boundary. When they were on the boundary, they couldn’t really do anything with interest rates. They couldn’t cut them anymore. They certainly weren’t going to raise them at the time.

But now they’ve got them up to 1%. We’ve had four interest rate hikes. December 2015, December 2016, March 2017 and June 2017. So, we have four rate hikes behind us – 25 basis point each. So that actually got rates up to 1%. Now they’re indicating they’re going to raise them some more. I don’t see that until December at the earliest. Maybe not even then, but I don’t think they’re going to raise rates in September. But they’re hinting that they will. They think they can raise them. If somehow we dropped into a recession, they wouldn’t do this right away, but they could cut them.

So, the Fed feels that the interest rate tool is now in use again. They can raise them or cut them. They’ve got a little bit of flexibility both ways. So, they don’t need to use the balance sheet. So, what they’re saying is, “Okay, starting now, we’re not going to sell any securities, but we’re not going to buy new ones. The amount that we’re not going to buy.” It’s kind of a strange concept, how much are you not going to buy? Or in other words, what’s the ceiling on the amount that you’re prepared not to roll over. And it’s going to start low. They’re going to start at 10 billion a month at six billion in treasuries and four billion in mortgages, but they’re going to ratchet it up. Every three months that number’s going to go up and up and up. Until they get to the point where, and this is the number you mentioned, it’s $50 billion a month broken into 30 billion in treasuries, 20 billion in mortgages.

But it’s 50 billion a month times 12 months is 600 billion dollars a year. So sooner than later, meaning late 2018, early 2019, the Fed is going to not roll over $600 billion a year. Put differently, $600 billion a year in money is going to disappear. The Fed would like us to believe that that’s not a monetary tightening, that that’s not going to have any impact on the economy. That’s nonsense. How could they tell us for eight years that Quantitative Easing was stimulative, that Quantitative Easing acted through the portfolio channel sect by pumping up stock prices, by pumping up house prices, making it good collateral for loans. This would increase funding and spending, have a wealth effect. All this wonderful stuff.

By the way, a lot of what I just said is nonsense. I mean I’m describing how the Fed thinks about it. It’s not necessarily how I think about it. Nor do I think all that stuff works the way they think it does, but that’s what they told us. That Quantitative Easing would have all these wonderful effects. Well how come Quantitative Easing has those good effects, but Quantitative Tightening or QT doesn’t have any bad effects? That seems ridiculous. So, little by little, they’re going to work their way up to $600 billion a year of money that disappears, that reduces the base money supply (M0), but somehow, we’re all supposed to pretend that that’s going to have no impact on stock prices or housing. I think that’s nonsense.

So, it’s a very big deal and the Fed says they wanted to run on background, wants to pretend that this not rolling over the 600 billion a year is going to run on background, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. We’re not going to use it as a policy tool. We’re just going to do interest rates up or down over here, so ignore this. Well they can say that, but the market’s not going to ignore it. The market understands what’s going on. And it will have this tightening effect as you described.

So, the Fed is blundering once again. They can’t seem to get anything right. That’s not really surprising when you have the wrong models, obsolete models, you’ll get the wrong policy every single time. But the economy’s weak. It’s getting weaker. We may be in a recession sooner than later. The market looks vulnerable and now the Fed wants to launch this major tightening program. I think it’s nonsense to think that won’t have some very bad effects.

Mike Gleason: Switching gears here a little bit. I want to talk about the dollar. It’s long been said that the U.S. dollar is significantly boosted and allowed to maintain its status as perhaps the world’s most reliable fiat currency or the tallest midget at the circus, so-to-speak, because the world’s financial system is built around the dollar. It is used to settle trades of oil and practically everything else. Now you’ve written a lot about currency wars and how this type of thing plays out and what goes on behind the scenes with all of this. And you just know people like the Chinese and Russians would love nothing more than to see the Petro-dollar taken out and replaced. Is our US dollar going to retain its Petro-dollar status over time here, Jim?

Jim Rickards: I don’t think so. There’s a very famous line from an Ernest Hemingway novel. The novel is The Sun Also Rises. It’s basically two guys, they’re having a drink at the bar and the one guy’s recently gone bankrupt. The other guy’s a little incredulous and he says, “Well how did you go bankrupt?” And his very famous answer was, “Slowly at first, then quickly.” Meaning, with any exponential algorithm or any exponential function, it starts slowly at first and then quickly. In other words, it’s the famous story of the courtier to the emperor of Persia, who did the emperor a service. The emperor was so pleased, he said, “I’ll give you anything you want. What do you want?” And the guy took out a chess board and he put one grain of rice on one corner. He said, “I’d like you to double the rice every square, so I’ll get two grains of rice on the second square, four grains of rice on the third square. And eight grains of rice on the fourth square, etc. around the board. And that’s how much rice I want.”

So, the king goes, “Done. You got it.” And then of course, he didn’t do the math. That’s two to the 4th power because there’s 64 squares on a board. And then the king’s administer came back later and said, “That’s more rice than the entire kingdom.” So, it’s an example of how starting with a grain of rice, you can bankrupt a kingdom when you have any kind of exponential effect going on. So, with regard to the U.S. dollar, yeah, the dollar is 60% of global reserves today. It’s 80% of global payments today when you look at all bank wire transfers and purchases of securities and currency trading and global trade, etc. No doubt that it is used to price oil and a lot of other things. So, no doubt that the dollar is the dominant global reserve currency today.

But I see at least seven or eight different, very powerful threads. Those grains of rice are going two, four, eight, 16, 64, 128 and so forth, leading to the demise of the dollar. So, what are they? Well number one, is gold. I think the China gold acquisition story is pretty well known. The Chinese officially say they have about 800 tons of gold. By the way, all these numbers I’m going to recite, these are all government gold. I’m not talking about private gold, which is a separate area, also important, but just government gold. China says they have about 1,800 tons. But (there’s a) very good reason to believe, based on Chinese mining output figures, Chinese gold imports, activities of People’s Liberation Army, which moves the gold. I’ve been to China recently. I met with the top gold banks in China.

I’ve also been to Switzerland recently and met with refiners there who actually sell gold to the Chinese and based on a lot of sources, it looks like they probably have more like maybe 4,000 tons, maybe even higher than that from all it’s probably higher, maybe 5,000 tons of gold. Russia is a lot more transparent than China, but they have tripled their gold reserves in a little over 10 years. In 2006, they had about 600 tons. And now they just passed 1,700 tons. We just got the numbers for May. That may not sound like a lot compared to the 8,000 tons that the United States has, officially 8,133 tons, but remember Russia’s economy’s only 1/8th the size of the U.S., but they have almost one quarter the amount of gold, which means that their gold to GDP ratio is double the United States.

If you had to back up your economy with gold, Russia would have twice as much as the United States again, all relative to the size of their economy. China is about on the par with the United States. It seems determined to pass the United States. So, two of the most powerful countries in the world are buying all the gold they can lay their hands on. The way I put it to people is, you can draw two conclusions. Number one, the Chinese and the Russians are really dumb. Or, they see something that you don’t. They see something that most people don’t see coming. I’ve spent time in Russia and China, they’re not dumb, meaning they see something that most people don’t see. And they’re preparing for a post dollar world or a world in which the confidence in the dollar is greatly eroded. So that’s one thread right there.

Beyond that, we have crypto-currencies. And I don’t want to get into Bitcoin and all that, but that’s a whole separate subject. It’s a long subject and a difficult one for a lot of people. But in all my discussions, I’ve always separated block chain from bit coin. Block chain is the technology behind the distributive ledger and how you actually account for the bitcoins. Bitcoin is the specific digital currency. And there are others out there. Bitcoin may or may not be the future though. That remains to be seen. I have my doubts, but others disagree. But there’s no question that block chain technology has a bright future. Russia is exploring that. If you were Russia, then you were the central bank of Russia, why would you want to be talking to the founder of Etherium or other experts on block chain technology.

Well one answer would be that you’re building a digital currency alternative to the dollar that the U.S. cannot hack or disrupt, because right now everybody’s vulnerable to dollar sanctions. So, Russia doesn’t love the dollar. They don’t love the United States, apparently. But when they sell their oil on global markets, they get paid in dollars. Now they then take the dollars. They do stuff with them. Sometimes they buy gold. We talked about that, and that they store the gold of Russia. They don’t store it in New York by the way.

Or they can buy U.S Treasury securities and they have some of those. They can buy European or Euro denominated securities, German government bonds – they have some of those etc. or they can put it into their sovereign wealth fund. So, there are a number of things they can do with the money, but they always start with dollars. And when you start selling dollars for euros, or buying gold, sending the dollars to a Swiss refinery, getting the gold in return, etc. you’re trapped in this dollar payment system that I was describing earlier, where all of what is called the message traffic – I pay you, you pay me. And we do it through banks. How is that actually done? Is it through these MT forms on Swift MT stands for message traffic?

That’s how we make irrevocable transfers. Well the United States has a choke hold on all that. We definitely have a choke hold on Fed-wire, which is the dollar payment system. And through our allies and out intelligence services, we have a choke hold on Swift, which is the international payment system.

Russia is very uncomfortable having to transact through a system that the United States holds in its grip. It’s like you’re in intensive care and you’re on oxygen and your worst enemy has his hand on the oxygen supply. They can cut it off anytime they want. So, Russia is building alternative payment systems. It’s not enough to try to get out of dollars into gold. You actually – if you’re going to transact, if you’re going to pay people for things – you need an alternative payment system that the U.S. does not control. Block Chain offers that. So, Russia and China are pursuing that.

There are there threads out there. The Chinese are very heavily diversifying into euros right now. Not all at once… none of these things happened all at once. But if you look around at the landscape, and Russia and China are buying gold. Russia and China are looking at digital payment systems, block chain type technology that the U.S. can’t control. Russia and China are doing currency swaps. China’s doing currency swaps throughout the world with Brazil, Switzerland, and with a lot of other countries. Saudi Arabia is looking at perhaps pricing Chinese oil in yuan. They’ve done currency swaps with China. They’re working on these block chain based technologies. China’s buying euros. This has the look of, you lose your status slowly, and then quickly at the end.

So, yes, I think that the dollar will sooner than later lose its status as the dominant global reserve currency. It doesn’t mean dollars go away. It does not mean that we wake up one day and, “Oh, gee. There’s no dollars.” It just means that it becomes less and less important, the U.S. loses its financial leverage, and the dollar may end up like the Mexican peso. If I go to Mexico, I’m going to get some pesos, because I need them down there for taxi drivers or tips or bartenders or whatever. So, it’s a local currency, but I’m not going to take them back to the United States with me.

Well, the dollar could get to the point where it’s the local currency of the United States. You’ll have some when you come here. And you and I might get paid in dollars or spend money in dollars or whatever, because we live in the United States. But it loses its global reserve currency status. And that’s a very big deal in terms of the ability of the United States to run perpetual trade and budget deficits without having to suffer inflation or suffer devaluation or the consequences that countries like Argentina know all too well.

And we haven’t even talked about the SDR, which is another alternative to the dollar. I’ve been talking about Russia and China and block chain and gold and euros, but the SDR is out there as well. The last issuance of SDRs was fairly recent in 2009, in the aftermath of the financial crisis. And then the next global liquidity crisis, which again, you can foresee and expect. Independent of the decline of the dollar. That’s something that’s just happening in front of our eyes. But a global liquidity crisis could happen at any time. And it begs the question. How do you re-liquefy the world? How do you put out or end a global liquidity crisis?

The last time it was the central banks bailing out Wall Street and really bailing out the world, but going back to the earlier part of the interview, Mike, when we talked about the Fed reducing their balance sheet. Well the way the fed dealt with it last time was by expanding their balance sheets. From 800 billion to 4.5 trillion. Printing money in other words.

Well what if a global liquidity crisis hit soon or maybe even next year long before the Fed reduces their balance sheet? Why is the Fed reducing their balance sheet? Why do they care? Why not just keep the 4.5 trillion? What’s the big deal? Well the answer is they’re at the outer limit of a confidence boundary. They’re at the outer limit of how much money they can print before people start to question the value of the money itself. So, they want to get it down to two trillion, so they can go back up to 4.5 trillion again if they have to. In other words, if here’s another liquidity crisis. And you start at maybe two trillion, you can take your balance sheet up to five trillion with, that would be QE4 and QE5 and QE6.

And that would help to maintain the U.S.’ dominance. But here’s my question. What if the liquidity crisis hits before the Fed can get their balance sheet normalized, which in my view is very likely. Well in that case, you need another source of liquidity, and that source would be the IMF issuing SDRs and that would be the end of the dollar. So, the threats are everywhere. They could come from a lot of different directions. In fact, all these things will tend to converge, each one will amplify the other. But they all point in the same direction, which is the devolution in confidence in the value of the dollar and much, much higher dollar prices for gold.

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Green Schism

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

If Greens want to decarbonise the economy to prevent climate change, why are they so opposed to nuclear power? A small but growing number of greens are also asking this question. Some of them accuse their fellow travellers of misleading the public.

Climate change is an energy problem, so let’s talk honestly about nuclear

David Robert Grimes

Fear of nuclear energy runs deep but it may be the most efficient and clean energy source we have, albeit with complications.

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Proof That This Economic Recovery Narrative Is False

By Sol Palha – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The financial media has provided reams of data trying to lay out the case that this economic recovery is real. Many of the statistics provided do indeed support the theme that the outlook is improving.  One must, however, keep these two facts in mind when looking at the data:

  • The Fed poured huge amounts of money into this market.  Minus the money, this so-called economic recovery would have never come to pass
  • Due to the low-interest rate environment, corporation borrowed money on the cheap and poured billions into share buybacks since the crash of 2009.

Hence, while some of these statistics paint a rosy picture, the outlook is far from rosy as two key leading economic indicators have failed to confirm this recovery from the onset.

The Baltic Dry index is trading 92% below its all-time high. Now imagine the Dow was in the same position and the press instead of calling it a crash, made the assertion that we were in the midst of a raging bull market. You would think they were insane.  Well, the same analogy applies today; this index clearly indicates that there is no recovery on a global basis and that hot money is creating the illusion of one. Remove this excess cash from the system, and the economy together with the stock market will collapse.

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“No evidence” is a Useful Scientific Finding

By Michel de Rougemont – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Heretic? You’re welcome!

Hysteric? Please cool down!

We hear that global warming is highly dependent on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this gas that is required to sustain life on Earth and that is also emitted when burning flammable stuff, such as wood, coal, mineral and organic oils, or methane.

If you are told “this depends on that”, you are invited to examine available data observed over time to draw a representation of this on the y-axis vs. that on the x-axis.

So, in all logic, you should be interested in a representation of the temperature evolution in dependence of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Yes, you should, but, looking hard into the latest IPCC Report (the fifth of Working Group I, to be precise), no diagram of that sort can be found among its 1535 pages.

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Congressman Doesn’t Want Illegals to Count for Electoral College, House Districts

By Brendan Clarey – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines

Amidst the focus on the Senate’s version of Obamacare “repeal and reform,” Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) introduced legislation Wednesday that would change the look of electoral maps and Congressional representation by recognizing only American citizens.

Currently electoral maps define “persons” as meaning citizens, noncitizens and aliens. Davidson’s bill would only count citizens for representation in the Electoral College and for Congressional redistricting and apportionment purposes.

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All Roads Lead To The Bubble-City Danger Zone

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Bubbles always pop, whether they exist in stocks, gold, confidence in the media, belief in central bank omnipotence, real estate, or debt. Yes, it could happen anywhere, and based on history, is likely. This time is not different, unless it will be worse…

From Jared Dillian: “The Everything Bubble”

“Also, nowadays, we have no idea what kind of malignant political forces will be unleashed if we have a real, hard-landing recession …

Does it all get pinned on Trump? Probably.

Does it push the left further left? Probably.

Does it increase the chance of real instability in 2020? Yup.

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Blow Off Top…Could It Happen?

By David Chapman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Every time we pick up some article on the stock market of late, all we read is the stock market is on the verge of a devastating wipeout, or that the next collapse is just around the corner. One of the best headlines we saw recently was from a famed market guru with a headline of “2017 Is Going to Be Worse than the Great Depression!” It is enough to make you run home, pour a long hot bath, slit your wrists, and climb in to the tub.

Okay, maybe that is extreme. Naturally, there are many reasons writers give to back up their case. Those range from the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, rising interest rates in the US, and of course the best one—that the bull market is now into its ninth year from the major low of March 2009 without a correction exceeding 20% and is in the mother of all bubbles. All of that is true. But none of that makes for a final top just because the stock market has been rising for eight years plus.

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“The Answer to What’s Actually Killing Coal” Is “Not Even Wrong”

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

From Inverse via Real Clear Energy:

The Answer to What’s Actually Killing Coal is Hopeful and Depressing

The real cause of the decline of coal is the free market.

By Dyani Sabin on June 20, 2017
Filed Under Answers, Donald Trump, Jobs, R&B & Solar Energy

As has been reported a lot recently, the coal industry is dying: jobs are in decline as alternative energy sources are more easily available to the masses, and everything from windows to roofs has become more energy efficient. So while technology is killing the coal industry, so are competitors of coal, which still accounts for an astounding 40 percent of electricity worldwide.

Enter a study paid for by two environmental groups — the American Wind Energy Association and Advanced Energy Economy — and conducted by Analysis Group, a consulting firm, timed to come out ahead of a competing Department of Energy study, and the stage is set to answer the question: What is killing coal? The answers will either be depressing (business-killing policies!) or hopeful (better tech and market competition), or perhaps both.

First up, the private study results released Tuesday found that the decline of coal and nuclear plants in the United States has two main causes: the relatively low cost for natural gas, and the fact that electricity demands have not increased.

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Gold Summer Doldrums

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Gold has spent most of June grinding lower on balance, damaging sentiment and vexing traders.  Usual selling leading into the Fed’s latest rate hike contributed, but the summer doldrums are also in play.  Gold has typically suffered a seasonal lull this time of year, on waning investment demand as vacations divert attention from markets.  But these summer doldrums offer the best seasonal buying opportunities of the year.

This doldrums term is very apt for gold’s summer predicament.  It describes a zone in the world’s oceans surrounding the equator.  There hot air is constantly rising, creating long-lived low-pressure areas.  They are often calm, with little or no prevailing winds.  History is full of accounts of sailing ships getting trapped in this zone for days or even weeks, unable to make any headway.  The doldrums were murder on ships’ morale.

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Renewable Energy Cost and Reliability Claims Exposed and Debunked

By Larry Hamlin – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

A new paper  published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) from NOAA’s Earth System Laboratory, Boulder Colorado exposes and debunks the contrived claims of a recent renewable energy study which falsely alleged that low cost and reliable 100% renewable energy electric grids are possible.

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Saudi Arabia’s ‘Mr. Everything’ Is Now Crown Prince, Too

Re-Blogged From worldview.stratfor.com

After months of speculation and palace intrigue, Saudi King Salman shook up the kingdom’s line of succession on June 21 by naming his powerful son, Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince and removing all titles from Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince. This is the second time Salman has overhauled the line of succession and the Saudi government since taking the throne in January 2015. The move is a controversial one, considering it cuts large and powerful segments of the royal family out of the succession plan. And should the young bin Salman ascend the throne, it could mean Saudi Arabia will be ruled for six decades by father and son.

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EPA’s Suspect Science

By John Rafuse – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Its practices have defiled scientific integrity, but proposed corrections bring shock and defiance.

President Trump’s budget guidance sought to cut $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s $8.1 billion expectation. Shrieks of looming Armageddon prompted Congress to fund EPA in full until September 2017, when the battle will be joined again.

Then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would prioritize Superfund cleanups based on toxicity, health-impact and other factors. The ensuing caterwauling suggested that EPA had no priorities since Bill Ruckelshaus (EPA’s first administrator, 1970-1975). But consider some standard EPA practices:

1. EPA advocates claim the US is unhealthy and dirty. They won’t admit that US water quality has improved dramatically since 1970. They deny that factories, cars and power plants are far more efficient and clean. They ignore that, while most nations continue to cut down forest habitats for fuel, the Lower 48 states have more forest coverage than when the Pilgrims landed in 1620.

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Harvard Study Shows Minimum Wage Increases Kill Businesses

By Keely Sharp – Re-Blogged From Eagle Rising

While there are McDonald fry cooks out protesting for $15 an hour to flip burgers and almost always get our orders wrong, some of us can actually see the harm in minimum wage hikes.

When wages are increased, then a business must then charge more for their product in order to cover the costs, due to inflation. For example, you may go from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, but now a gallon of milk jumps from $4 to $8. So you aren’t really able to afford anything more than you were in the first place, and it hurts the businesses.

A new Harvard Business School study found that minimum wage hikes lead to closures of small businesses. “We find suggestive evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to an overall increase in the rate of exit,” the researchers conclude.

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Tesla Car Battery Production Releases as Much CO2 as 8 Years of Gasoline Driving

From NyTeknik: h/t to Don Shaw (translated) – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

[The translation process makes some phrase sound awkward. -Bob]

Ooops, looks like those “saving the planet” Tesla snobs just got their eco-ride de-pimped

Image from Tesla’s website

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The Middle East Is Blowing Up

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Every day brings another scary headline from the Middle East — which makes it easy to treat them as background noise rather than a clear and present danger. But the latest batch is reminiscent of the Balkans circa 1914, which means it may be time to tune back in. Some examples:

A US Navy jet shot down a Syrian warplane. Syria is a Russian client state, so this puts the US and Russia on opposite sides in a shooting war.

Russia warned the US that it takes the destruction of its client’s military assets seriously. It suspended the hot line Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target US aircraft.

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The Laws of Averages: Part 2, A Beam of Darkness

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This essay is second in a series of essays about Averages — their use and misuse.  My interest is in the logical and scientific errors, the informational errors, that can result from what I have playfully coined “The Laws of Averages”.

beam_of_darkness

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Checklist For Market Tops

By Bob Hoye – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Signs Of The Times

“Celine Dion Drops the Price on Her Jupiter Island Estate by $27 million”

– L.A. Times, May 28.

“Hard Times Hit Billionaire’s Row with Luxury Condo Foreclosure”

– New York Post, May 30.

“Pending Home Sales Crash Most In 3 Years”

– Zero Hedge, May 31.

“Debt Pile-Up in US Car Market Sparks Subprime Fear”

– Financial Times, May 30.

“Per Capita Taxes Have More Than Doubled Since JFK”

– CNS News, May 31.

“Rents Are Deflating in the Hottest Cities”

– Business Insider, June 4.

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Rate Hikes and the FED

[I just read an article on www.Silver-Phoenix500.com, by Ellen Brown, talking about the FED’s latest Rate Hike Cyle. I was going to add a comment to her post, but there is just so much wrong with what she says, that a simple comment won’t do. -Bob]

   By Bob Shapiro

Ellen Brown discusses the FED’s current Rate Hike Cycle, giving reasons why it’s a bad idea. She says that higher rates will draw foreign money into the US and strengthen the Dollar, which will hurt US exports and increase imports. That indeed may be the case, but only because foreign Central Banks’ policies keep their interest rates near zero percent.

To the extent that stiffer competition and higher borrowing costs will hurt US businesses, then yes, US GDP will suffer. Considering that the FED has kept rates FAR under Free Market rates, creating bubbles in stocks and other areas of the US Economy, a market crash together with a Recession/Depression should not be unexpected outcomes.

Brown goes on to suggest that higher rates and a contracting Economy will cost the Republicans dearly in November 2018, and that also is a reasonable prediction.

Alas, after that, Brown’s logic and understanding get very cloudy. She wonders why the FED, seeing a slowing Economy ahead, would go ahead and raise rates, but she misses the obvious. The FED is a Keynesian organization, which makes them Democrats. A market and Economic crash while the Republicans are in charge will favor the Democrats at election time.

She says that interest paid by Uncle Sam and by corporations will triple in short order. But she just doesn’t get borrowing. When you borrow to buy a house using a fixed rate mortgage, if rates go up in the Economy, do you pay more? Of course not! The US and corporations’ borrowings mostly are long term using bonds of various durations.

Yes, rates will go up when you roll over your debt (or borrow more), but that very real problem doesn’t happen today – it creeps in over time. Now, to the extent that the borrowing was to fund spending that only made sense with zero interest rates, that rolled-over increase in debt due to bad decision making will clear away the incompetent leaders in business and will force government spending cuts. It could be very painful, but the pruning needs to be done occasionally.

Brown doesn’t want the adjustment process ever to be done, so she wants the FED to keep doing what it did (low interest rates). Even more, she wants the FED to monetize the entire federal debt (that the FED doesn’t already own).

She says that the new money, created out of thin air, will get into the banks and will be deposited by the banks as excess reserves – and that these excess reserves cannot be lent out by the banks. Her ignorance is staggering!

So, let’s review the concept of bank reserves. The FED says that banks MUST keep some of its deposits in ‘reserve,’ for use in regular day to day business and in case depositors (as a whole group) want to withdraw an unusually large amount from the bank. The ‘Required Reserves’ are not required on all bank deposits – far from it – but for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Brown at least has this right.

The Required Reserves are not available to lend out because… they are required. However, a bank may deposit more than the required reserve amount with the FED. The deposit amount over the required amount is called ‘Excess Reserves.’ While Excess Reserves indeed are available for the bank to lend out (contrary to what Brown thinks), the FED has been discouraging this extra lending by paying the banks about 1% to keep the Excess Reserves on deposit at the FED.

With the FED’s, and the government’s, policies keeping GDP in the toilet for a decade, banks have a limited demand for creditworthy, likely profitable loans, so banks have left a lot of Excess Reserves (in addition to their Required Reserves) on deposit with the FED, earning that 1% return. This is what the FED has referred to as sanitizing all the paper money it’s been creating to buy that ton of Treasuries.

If interest rates are raised by the FED, banks can be expected to start loaning out those Trillions of Excess Reserves. With the Fractional Reserve Banking system that the US has, those Trillions of Excess Reserves could turn into Tens of Trillions of new loans. That would cause much higher CPI increases than even the BLS statistics manipulators would be able to hide. Possibly to the point of Hyperinflation.

Brown wants the FED to create even more money out of thin air and to use it to buy up the rest of the National Debt – over $15 Trillion more! As it gets lent out (contrary to what Brown believes) that’s $150 Trillion in loans, and that definitely gets our country into Hyperinflation.

But, that’s unless the FED can prevent all that money from being lent out. While Brown’s way is nonsense, the FED does have the tool, and we’ve mentioned it already – the Required Reserve regulation. The FED could buy Treasuries and raise the percentage that banks are required to keep on hand. Instead of a 10%, it could become 10.1%, 10.2%, and growing with Treasury purchases to control lending.

A side benefit is that, the FED needn’t pay interest on Required Reserves. If the US pays an average 2% on all its debt to the FED, and then gets it all back, that’s $200 Billion savings on the current $20 Trillion National Debt.

I don’t recommend that we do this, but it is an interesting mental exercise.

There is No Such Thing as Affordable Renewable Energy

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com
Awareness is slowly permeating through the media that renewables inevitably lead to higher electricity prices – and that the Australian energy grid is in deep trouble. But this awareness is too little, too late, to save what is left of what was once one of the cheapest electricity grids in the world.
EAPI represents the average commodity price of retail electricity paid by Australian businesses based on a Standard Retail Contract (commences in 6-months and operates for 2½ years).

EAPI represents the average commodity price of retail electricity paid by Australian businesses based on a Standard Retail Contract (commences in 6-months and operates for 2½ years). Source Energy Action

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Crude Oil Verifies Breakdown

By Nadia Simmons – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

On Friday, the black gold gained 1.15% and climbed to the previously-broken lower border of the trend channel. Is this a verification of the earlier breakdown or something more?

Crude Oil’s Technical Picture

Let’s take a closer look at the charts and find out (charts courtesy of http://stockcharts.com).

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PetroDollar System In Trouble As Saudi Arabia Continues To Liquidate Foreign Exchange Reserves

By SRSrocco – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

The U.S. PetroDollar system is in serious trouble as the Middle East’s largest oil producer continues to suffer as the low oil price devastates its financial bottom line.  Saudi Arabia, the key player in the PetroDollar system, continues to liquidate its foreign exchange reserves as the current price of oil is not covering the cost to produce oil as well as finance its national budget.

The PetroDollar system was started in the early 1970’s, after Nixon dropped the Gold-Dollar peg, by exchanging Saudi Oil for U.S. Dollars.  The agreement was for the Saudi’s only to take U.S. Dollars for their oil and reinvest the surpluses in U.S. Treasuries.  Thus, this allowed the U.S. Empire to continue for another 46 years, as it ran up its ENERGY CREDIT CARD. 

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Here Comes Quantitative Tightening

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

All of a sudden the Fed got a little tougher. Perhaps the success of the hit movie Wonder Woman has inspired Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to discard her prior timidity to show us how much monetary muscle she can flex when the time comes for action.

Although the Fed’s decision this week to raise interest rates by 25 basis points was widely expected, the surprise came in how the medicine was administered. Most observers had expected a “dovish” hike in which a slight tightening would be accompanied by an abundance of caution, exhaustive analysis of downside risks, and assurances that the Fed would think twice before proceeding any farther. But that’s not what happened. Instead Yellen adopted what should be viewed as the most hawkish policy stance of her chairmanship.

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Venezuela Vigilante Mobs: Your Country on Socialism

By Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From Eagle Rising

Due to desperation caused by starvation, there are now Venezuelan vigilante mobs lynching accused thieves.

The story was published today at Yahoo News, but here’s another story about Venezuelan vigilante mobs posted by a French news program eight months ago.

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Amazon’s Whole Foods Conquest Is a ‘Game Changer’

By Mark Lennihan – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

CNBC’s Jim Cramer says Amazon.com Inc.’s purchase of Whole Foods is a “game changer” for the food industry.

Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it would buy U.S. organic supermarket chain Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion, including debt, marking the internet retailer’s largest deal and biggest foray into the brick-and-mortar retail sector, Reuters reported.

“This is such a game changer. … They will now dominate food within the next two years,” the “Mad Money” host said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“I’m taking down numbers for everybody who sells food. Everybody. Because you can’t compete [with] Amazon. They will not let you compete,” Cramer said, noting Amazon can now “change the whole paradigm.”  Continue reading

Illinois Bankruptcy Acknowledged by the Mainstream Media

By Joe Scudder – Re-Blogged From Eagle Rising

The fact that Illinois bankruptcy is practically inevitable finally gets reported on.

There are signs of Illinois bankruptcy everywhere. The gridlock in the state legislature may be a cause of it, but it is more significant as a symptom. The Democrat-dominated system has broken down because there is no money left. The usual compromises don’t work anymore because they cost too much.

Another sign is that both Powerball and Mega Millions are halting business in Illinois because the state can’t afford to pay off winners. They’re afraid continuing in Illinois will wreck their reputations.

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Falling Rocks In The Promised Land

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Yes, traumatic market events (falling rocks) occur, even though markets are “managed,” statistics are manipulated, and politicians pretend to care about something besides their next election.

From John P. Hussman, Ph.D. Fair Value and Bubbles: 2017 Edition

“Unfortunately, investors seem to have concluded that central bank easing is omnipotent, despite the fact that the Fed eased persistently and aggressively, to no effect, through the entire course of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 market collapses.”

From Bill Gross: Bill Gross Says Market Risk is Highest Since Pre-2008 Crisis

“Central bank policies for low-and-negative-interest rates are artificially driving up asset prices while creating little growth in the real economy and punishing individual savers, banks, and insurance companies, according to Gross.”

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Vegans are not from Vegas

[There is yet another study out – this one from U of Minnesota – saying how we could save the world by cutting beef from our diets. -Bob]

By Willis Eschenbach – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

In response to my recent post about whether we could feed more people if everyone were vegetarians (I say no), a poster named Marissa wrote a heartfelt paean  to Veganism.

Figure 1. Perhaps the world’s best-known adherent of a strict Vegan diet.

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Brexit And UK Election impact UK Housing

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

  • Growing evidence of slowdown in UK property market
  • Slow-down in activity in UK housing market in run up to UK election
  • Average UK house prices dropped in the three months to May
  • Halifax report annual house price growth fallen to a four-year low of 3.3 percent.
  • “Political instability breeds procrastination on the part of homebuyers and sellers”
  • Sterling drop will increase divide in housing market, first time buyers continue to struggle
  • House price growth has lost momentum, volumes continue to drop

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Brexit, Germany And Asia

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Britain’s general election went horribly wrong, with the Conservatives forced into a putative coalition with the Democratic Ulster Party. Theresa May’s failure to secure a clear majority has provoked indignation, bitterness, and widespread pessimism. The purpose of this article is not to contribute to this outcry, but to take a more measured view of the situation faced by the British government with regards to Brexit, and the consequences for Europe. In the interests of an international readership, this article will only summarize briefly the current situation in the UK before looking at the broader European and geopolitical consequences.

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Protect Your Wealth from Hackers

By Stephan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

Could your wealth be hacked? It’s a threat most investors overlook. But they do so at their own peril.

If elections can be hacked, then so can bank and brokerage accounts, as well as any online platforms for digital currencies.

More than five months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the “Russia hacked the election” conspiracy theories still won’t go away. They’re expanding to also implicate Russian hackers for meddling in elections in France and elsewhere. The latest Russian hacking story centers on Qatar.

Hackers

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Standing Up to the G-7 Bully!

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

What’s the best way to deal with a bully?  Punch him (or her) in the nose.  It appears that President Trump just punched the G-7 climate bully in the nose…

Isolating Trump

Merkel’s G-20 Climate Alliance Is Crumbling

The German chancellor had been hoping to isolate Donald Trump on climate issues at the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg. But Merkel’s hoped-for alliance is crumbling, underscoring Germany’s relative political weakness globally. Many countries are wary of angering the United States.

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Are Democrats Declaring WAR on the United States

[This item was even more inflammatory before I edited it. I re-blog it only to show that a breaking point may be too close for comfort. -Bob]

By Robert McClain – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

I know the Democrats do not like the comparison (who would?) but they are doing exactly what their ancestors did over a century and a half ago.

What happened to the congressman in Alexandria is similar to the assaults on Republican legislators just prior to the outbreak of war that required the new, duly elected president to fire 3/4 of the federal government because of Democrat leaks and sabotage, and to raise an army to invade his own country.

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Supermarket Meltdown as Global Deep-Discounters Promise Price War in Stagnating US Market

By Wolf Richter – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

Aldi’s $5 billion bet at a brutal time.

Today, Albertson’s explained in an amended S-4 filing for a debt exchange offering just how tough things have gotten for traditional supermarket chains.

As is so often the case, there is a private equity angle to it. Albertson’s was acquired in a 2005 LBO by a group of PE firms led by Cerberus. In January 2015, it acquired Safeway to eliminate some competition. It then wanted to sell its shares to the public. But in October 2015, as brick-and-mortar retail began to melt down, it scrapped its IPO.

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Wind Power Fails in Canada

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

From the Calgary Herald and the “waiting of the government cash cow” department:

Oldest commercial wind farm in Canada headed for scrapyard after 23 years

By: DAN HEALING, CALGARY HERALD

A line of turbines on metal lattice legs catch the breeze at the Cowley Ridge wind farm in southern Alberta. The 23-year-old facility, Canada’s first commercial wind project, is being decommissioned. TED RHODES / CALGARY HERALD

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The Laws of Averages: Part 1, Fruit Salad

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

1st_Law_of_Averages_sm

Averages: A Primer

As both the word and the concept “average” are subject to a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the general public and both word and concept have seen an overwhelming amount of “loose usage” even in scientific circles, not excluding peer-reviewed journal articles and scientific press releases,  let’s have a quick primer (correctly pronounced “primer”), or refresher,  on averages (the cognizanti can skip this bit and jump directly  to  Fruit Salad).

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Tesla’s Updated Autopilot to Launch Next Weekend

By Karla Lant – Re-Blogged From Futurism

In Brief

Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the Autopilot release for HW2 Suite Teslas will go wide next weekend. In addition to improved safety, Tesla drivers can expect “additional smoothness” and “improvements to longitudinal control” from the update.

This Sunday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted about the imminent Autopilot release for HW2 Suite Teslas which, as promised, will launch next weekend.

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Ultra-Low Volatility…This Time Is Different…?

By Axel Merk – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

We increasingly see claims low volatility in the markets may be structural. Even as we agree that some of the analyses we see make good points, we are concerned we may be setting ourselves up for a major shock. Let me explain.

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This New “Super” Carbon Is Tough, Elastic, and Electrically Conductive

By Chelsea Gohd – Re-Blogged From Futurism

In Brief

By superheating and pressurizing an existing form of carbon, researchers have developed an incredible new form that is light, ultra-strong, elastic, and electrically conductive. In addition to having many potential applications, the carbon could lead to even more unique forms that have yet to be discovered.

A New Kind of Carbon

An international team comprising scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science and Yanshan University has developed an incredible new form of carbon. It is extremely light, ultra-strong, elastic, and even electrically conductive. This unusual combination of qualities makes this material versatile for a number of applications.

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Indirect Effects of the Sun on Earth’s Climate

By Mike Jonas – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

And what might they be?” – Dr. Leif Svalgaard

For a long time, I have been bitterly disappointed at the blinkered lopsided attitude of the IPCC and of many climate scientists, by which they readily accepted spurious indirect effects from CO2-driven global warming (the “feedbacks”), yet found a range of excuses for ignoring the possibility that there might be any indirect effects from the sun. For example, in AR4 2.7.1 they say “empirical results since the TAR have strengthened the evidence for solar forcing of climate change” but there is nothing in the models for this, because there is “ongoing debate“, or it “remains ambiguous“, etc, etc.

In this article, I explore the scientific literature on possible solar indirect effects on climate, and suggest a reasonable way of looking at them. This should also answer Leif Svalgaard’s question, though it seems rather unlikely that he would be unaware of any of the material cited here. Certainly just about everything in this article has already appeared on WUWT; the aim here is to present it in a single article (sorry it’s so long). I provide some links to the works of people like Jasper Kirkby, Nir Shaviv and Nigel Calder. For those who have time, those works are worth reading in their entirety.

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Politics Can Defeat Economics

By Joanne Davidson

A lot of people consider economics as the most powerful element to control the world. Money makes the world go round. Right? However, our friends at http://loweguardians.com/ believe that there are times when politics can win over economics. Here’s how:

Modern society is complicated as it is. As the world has become more and more inter-connected because of technological developments in communication and travel, politics and economics also tend to overlap and influence each other more by the day.

Despite overlapping features, politics and economics rarely meet halfway. Sure, both are the same in a sense that they are driven by human interests – politics being a ‘popularity contest’ of while economics is driven by supply and demand.

However, this is basically an over simplistic view. There are many factors that drive both the winds of politics and economics. Though economics usually rely on statistics and historical data, politics is usually driven by public perception and influential groups or institutions that also have specific interests.

This is why in the greater scheme of things, economics is usually defeated by politics and to fully illustrate that point, we list several examples of that below.

First things first, majority wins.

Most experts would say that the majority opinion is not always right, but the fact is, politics is dictated by it. Take for example the latest Brexit fiasco – a move which took even the European Union itself by surprise. In an economic sense, the U.K. is bound to lose tax and tariff privileges that were once enjoyed under the E.U., possibly prompting an increase in imported goods and services in the long run.

This is a well-founded possible consequence for leaving the union, but this did not matter to the British majority which blamed the ease of immigrant entry to the E.U., causing stiff competition among their job market.

In the Brexit scenario, the majority might have affected the import and export economy of the U.K., but they voted for their own self-interests – to make jobs more available for the homegrown population.

Economic Impact is Hard to Predict

Politics usually offers ways to solve current issues and problems which makes it more appealing and relatable to the people. Economics meanwhile is more about data analysis, and it usually takes years before economists realize how certain policies (shaped by politics) were effective or not in the long-run.

Although a lot of analysts are consulted when it comes to policy-making, a not-so-rosy view for a supposed solution is bound to be unwelcomed by the general public. Then again, growing public frustration puts pressure in politics which can eventually put economic doomsayers aside.

So instead of coming up with inclusive and holistic solutions, the pressure usually prompts leaders to place band-aid solutions to complex societal problems. It may seem great ‘now,’ but economists are usually more concerned by its long-term effects.

There are also times wherein economic doomsayers are proven wrong. This is because some economists also forget to consider changes in human behavior, technology and trends – and these mistakes also reinforce the belief of many people that politics is more helpful when it comes to daily living compared to economics which is more or less uncertain.

In the event however when pessimistic economists were proven right, it is almost always too late. Once jobs and investments are declining, and prices are way too high for the average person, it is only by then when the problems are acknowledged – and the people will again demand solutions from their politicians.

[Note: Economics used to be called Politcal Economy, which better relates the true political nature of Economics. The philosophical battle between all the various forms of socialism – communism, fascism, the welfare state, crony ‘capitalism’, progressivism, Keynesianism, monetarism, and on and on – versus Free Market capitalism as described under the Austrian School is a purely political schism. -Bob]


Author Bio:

Photo: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5UUWTtyiLKNTUJSUjZvZldSWW8

Joanne Davidson is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.

Check out her company here: http://loweguardians.com/

The Cryptocurrency Market is Exploding. Here’s What You Need to Know.

[It’s an interesting concept, but I can’t see how a private currency – backed by nothing of intrinsic value – can command a price above zero. -Bob]

By Chelsea Gohd – Re-Blogged From Futurism 

On April 1, 2017, the total market cap for all cryptocurrencies was slightly higher than $25 billion. Roughly two months later, the cap exceeded $100 billion. In just over 60 days, the value of cryptocurrencies surged by 300 percent. So what is going on?

The leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin,  recently made headlines by climbing dramatically in value (it’s currently sitting around $2,600 USD, about 160 percent higher than its value in April). But Bitcoin hasn’t been alone in this extreme growth. The cryptocurrency market as a whole has spiked in value within the last few months.

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Which Nation is Most Vulnerable to Climate Change?

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

  • Tuvalu… No.
  • The Seychelles… No.
  • Bangladesh… No.
  • Kiribati… No.
  • Vanuatu… No.
  • The Solomon Islands… No.

The Country Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

By Hakim Abdi, June 12, 2017

Of the 186 countries assessed in a recent survey of climate vulnerability, Chad was rated most in peril. A combination of high poverty, frequent conflicts, and the risk of both droughts and floods means the central African nation is bottom of the list, just below Bangladesh and some way behind Norway, the country least vulnerable to climate change.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #273

By Ken Haapala, President – The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

Rule of Law? In a frank interview about President Trump’s withdraw from the Paris Agreement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt articulates what many skeptics believe to be a major failing in the EPA and other government regulatory entities – the rule of law has been replaced by judicial and regulatory interpretations of vague language.

“‘I think that what’s lost in the debate and discussion at times is the tools in the toolbox, if you will, that the EPA actually possesses or doesn’t possess to respond to the CO2 issue,’ said Pruitt.

“He looked back to the legal battle between the state of Massachusetts and the EPA in 2007, which ended at the Supreme Court. He noted the outcome did not force the EPA to regulate CO2 but ‘simply said it had to make a decision on whether CO2 actually poses a risk to human health and the environment.’

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Qatar’s Feud With the Gulf States Reaches New Levels

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Long-standing tensions among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that intensified over the past two weeks have culminated in several Arab governments suspending relations with Qatar. The current crisis has roots in multiple areas in which GCC states do not see eye to eye, including in their attitudes toward Iran, their manifold perspectives on supporting political Islamists and the degree of economic and strategic rivalries among them.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced they would suspend diplomatic relations with Qatar, which has long bucked the Saudi line on condemnation of Iran and support for Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Their declarations were followed by those made by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives government in Libya, which has close ties to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt; the Saudi-backed government of Yemen led by President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi; and the Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius and the Maldives, which have close ties to the Saudi and Emirati governments.

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