Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 8 April 2013

Jim Rogers says the U.S economy is poised for a major crash and is warning investors to protect themselves immediately -

Jim Rogers says the U.S economy is poised for a major crash and is warning investors to protect themselves immediately - 

Despite the current stock market rally, legendary investor Jim Rogers say the U.S economy is poised for a major crash and is warning investors to protect themselves immediately.

In a riveting interview on Fox Business, Rogers warned Americans not to trust any of the positive economic news coming from world governments.

"I don't trust the data from any government, including the U.S., Rogers said. "We know that governments lie to us. Everybody's printing money, but it cannot go on. This is all artificial."

Rogers, who for years has been an outspoken critic of the Feds policies of "Quantitative Easing" says all the money printing is creating false hope that we are in the middle of some kind of super bull market.

But in reality, he says, "we're living in a fool's paradise."

"The Bank of Japan says it's going to print unlimited amounts of money... Then Mr. Bernanke said I'll match that... I'll print that money too. The Europeans are catching on. You've got money printing going on everywhere and that has never been good for anybody," Rogers said.

Currently, Bernanke and company at the U.S. Fed is buying $1 trillion of Treasury and housing agency bonds each year. That's about $85 billion per month against a budget deficit that is about the same level.

The real risk right now is an all-out 1930s-style currency war that could devastate an entire class of investors who have put their faith in the current economic dogma of endless bailouts and money printing

"It cannot go on," Rogers warns.

Rogers believes things will really get bad after the German elections this fall

How bad?

Worse than even Roger predicts, according to a new investigation.

In a newly released documentary that went viral last month, a team of influential economic experts say they have discovered a "frightening pattern" they believe points to a massive economic catastrophe unlike anything ever seen before.

"What this pattern represents is a dangerous countdown clock that's quickly approaching zero," said Keith Fitz-Gerald, the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Map Press, who predicted the 2008 oil shock, the credit default swap crisis that helped bring about the recession, and the Greek and European fiscal catastrophe that is still wreaking havoc until this day.

"The resulting chaos is going to crush Americans."


Dogs should be given medical marijuana too -

Dogs should be given medical marijuana too - 

Some pet owners legally give their dogs antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
Now that several states, including Colorado and Washington, have legalized marijuana use, one veterinarian says that dogs dealing with chronic pain and other debilitating conditions should be allowed to benefit from the medicinal effects of cannabis.
That doesn’t mean dog owners should blow pot smoke in their beloved pets’ faces, Dr. Doug Kramer said in an interview with Vice Magazine.

But he acknowledged that after he ‘dosed’ his own dog Nikita, who had been suffering from terminal cancer, she was up and about and enjoying a better quality of life until she reached her end.
Medical marijuana can also be used to give felines the munchies when they’re not feeling hungry, said Kramer.
‘We're using it on cats ... as an appetite stimulant,’ he told Vice, noting how picky cats become about what they eat when they’re sick.

All told, any animal with cannabinoid receptors, including pigs, chickens, monkeys and rats, could feel the effects of THC, Kramer said.
But the non-human marijuana users wouldn't smoke it. 
They would receive it in a tincture or in food cooked in oil or butter made from cannabis.


Smog-eating pavement -

Smog-eating pavement - 

The big rigs rattling past smokestacks sure don't make this Chicago roadway look like the greenest street in America.

But their tires roll over smog-eating pavement, the streetlights run on solar and wind power, the sidewalks were made with recycled concrete, and shrub-filled "bioswales" keep storm water out of overtaxed sewers.

"Sustainability is critical for us," Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the city of Chicago, told AFP.

"We think of it as a part of quality of life, about economic opportunity in terms of what kinds of jobs we attract and about stewardship of tax dollars."

The Windy City has been experimenting with greener approaches to urban planning for years as part of a broader plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change: more intense storms and more extreme temperatures.

The $14 million project to reshape two miles (3.2 kilometers) of the industrial Pilsen neighborhood incorporates pretty much everything city planners could come up with to cut energy use, fight pollution, reduce waste, manage water use and help build a sense of community.

Amazingly, it cost 21 percent less than a traditional road resurfacing project and is expected to be cheaper to maintain.

"These are all critical issues for cities to address," said Karen Hobbs, a water analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Heavy rain washes pollution off roofs, roads and parking lots which too often ends up in rivers and lakes that supply drinking water. If the storm drains get flooded, raw sewage can also end up in the mix.

Planting more trees, shrubs and grass belts doesn't only help keep rain out of the sewers, it also helps capture carbon dioxide, reduces the "heat island" effect of sun-soaked asphalt and generally makes a neighborhood more pleasant.

Improving public transportation and adding bicycle lanes reduces congestion while cutting pollution, which also improves quality of life.

Cutting energy by using more efficient street light bulbs or installing the mini solar and wind power stations not only helps reduce emissions but also saves money.

Chicago is one of a growing number of cities that are no longer waiting for the federal government to deal with climate change and are instead finding local, "no-regret" solutions, Hobbs said.

"In other words, activities that save its residents and businesses money, improve quality of life and, as an added bonus, reduce emissions," she added.

Chicago says it is the first in the nation, however, to lay down smog-eating cement.

The seemingly magical material was first developed when the Vatican wanted to build a church to celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of Christianity that would stay white in the face of Rome's pollution.

Italian cement giant Italcementi developed a product that uses titanium dioxide to set off a chemical reaction with sunlight that essentially cleans the surface of the church by speeding up the decomposition process.

They discovered that it wasn't just cleaning the grime off the Dives in Misericordia church, it was also cleaning the air up to 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) above the roof's surface.

Because it's significantly more costly than traditional pavement, Chicago is using it in thin, permeable pavers for the bicycle and parking lanes along Blue Island Avenue and Cermak Road.

Project manager Janet Attarian insists that while the smog-eating pavers are pretty impressive, it's the combined approach that is going to make a real difference.

"I really hope this project inspires people to think about the full range of opportunities that are available," Attarian said during a site visit.

"We tend to take the roads for granted, like 'oh it's just a road what can we do about it.' But there's actually quite a bit."

Reducing the storm water impact on sewers by as much as 80 percent means the city can hopefully prevent, or at least delay, multimillion-dollar upgrades to its aging system.

Recycling 60 percent of the project's construction waste and sourcing 23 percent of new materials from recycled content means less pressure on the city's landfills and showed local contractors a new way to cut costs.

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Japan Bond Market Halted For Second Day In A Row -

Japan Bond Market Halted For Second Day In A Row - 

With every modestly positive datapoint being desperately clung to, now that even Goldman's Hatzius has once more thrown in the economic towel after proclaiming an economic renaissance in late 2012 just like he did in late 2010 only to issue a mea culpa a few months later (and just as we predicted - post coming up shortly), the key prerogative is to ignore the elephant in the room. That, of course, is that the JPY 1 quadrillion bond market had to be halted for the second day in a row as the Japanese capital markets are fast becoming a very big and sad joke. The resulting flight to safety from Japanese investors, who sense that their own bond market is on the verge of breaking down completely, has managed to send French and Belgian bonds to record lows, the Spanish 2 Year to sub 2%, the German 6 month bill negative in the primary market, the US 10/30 year constantly bid and so on. The immediate result is that the bond-equity disconnect continues to diverge until one day we may get negative 10 Year rates coupled with an all time high stock market. Gotta love the fake New Normal market, in which the Japanese penny stock market was up another 2.8% to well over 13,000 even as the Shanghai Composite plumbs ever redder territory for 2013 on fears the birdflu contagion will hurt the already struggling economy even more.

As for the good news, there wasn't much. German Industrial Production beat estimates handily even as the general economy and stock market continues to deteriorate, printing at 0.5%, on expectations of +0.3%. This however came at the price of a downward revision in the prior month, which was revised from 0.0% to -0.6%. Alternatively, the EURUSD which dropped to an overnight low of 1.2970 before beginning its overnight levitation coinciding with Europe open, has been doing everything in its power to ignore the fact that Portugal, as BNP summarized it, is rapidly moving toward a second bailout in the aftermath of this Friday's much discussed constitutional court decision, and subsequent announcement that public workers may be paid in Treasury bills instead of cash. The Portugal-German spread has blown out as a result, but so far the damage has been contained and the EURUSD is ramping to overnight highs, oblivious in its certainty that the Portuguese "lack of cash" haircut will not be a template, nor a blueprint, and is a very, very special situation. 

Macro newsflow out of the US will be light this week, however all eyes will be on yet another quarter of weak corporate data, with Alcoa as usual kicking off earnings season after the close. Markets will be sure to ignore weak cash flow data as well, just as they have been great at largely ignoring the rapid deterioration in the macro data in the month as well.

Bloomberg's bulletin notes the other various key overnight highlights:

Treasuries steady as JPY falls to 99.01 vs USD, weakest since May 2009; third day of declines after BoJ said last week it would boost monthly bond purchases to $76b.
Friday’s weak U.S. non-farm payrolls will put a stop to QE tapering discussion, at least until it becomes clearer on whether the slowdown is just a soft patch,   Goldman’s Jan Hatzius writes in client note
Portugal will carry out more spending cuts this year and ruled out further tax increases after the Constitutional Court blocked a plan to suspend a monthly  salary payment to state workers and pensioners
Distrust of the Fed and concern that U.S. dollars may become worthless are fueling a push in more than a dozen states to recognize gold and silver coins as legal tender
Slovenia’s creditworthiness is deteriorating as investors speculate a banking crisis will force it to follow the  island nation and become the sixth euro country to need aid
German industrial production rose 0.5% in Feb., more than 0.3% est.; Jan. revised to -0.6% from previous 0.0%
North Korea may detonate a nuclear device and carry out a missile test together as early as this week, South Korea’s government said
David Cameron will take his case for a more flexible EU to Spain, France and Germany this week, seeking the alliances he needs to renegotiate Britain’s status  within the 27-member bloc
Nikkei gains 2.8%; European markets, U.S. index futures gain. Energy gains, precious metals lower


Shanghai McDonalds Slashes McNuggets Price By Nearly Half As Birdflu Fears Drive Away Buyers -

Shanghai McDonalds Slashes McNuggets Price By Nearly Half As Birdflu Fears Drive Away Buyers - 

How do you know when the people "just say no" to chicken over rampant bird flu concerns? When even McDonalds (whose ad campaign for the past decade "I am loving it" continues to be an anagram for "ailing vomit") is forced to slash chicken-related prices, in this case the 20 piece McNuggets, from CNY36 to CNY20. Pretty soon not even giving away the McMystery meat will clear out the shelves of all chicken-related fast food first in Shanghai and soon elsewhere in China. Finally, we dread to imagine the horrors that will befall Yum (read China KFC sales), now that after so much pain, the fast-food chain had finally reported a modest bounce in Chinese sales. So much for that.

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