I've been doing this a long time.
Joined Oct 7, 2015
67 Blog Posts

Greece brought to standstill by 48-hour strike as Christine Lagarde demands immediate talks on debt relief



This story is a couple of days old. Remember when the Greece Debt Crisis was front-page news? Labor unions in Greece want to bring back those good old days. The Greek economy has not magically healed itself. The shit is about to hit the fan. Just in time for Brexit.

Tensions also increased between two of Greece’s bailout monitors, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, as IMF chief Christine Lagarde demanded urgent talks on Greek debt relief.

In a letter to eurozone finance ministers, Ms Lagarde said that talks on “contingency” tax measures that could raise cash if Greece’s finances disappointed were breaking down.

“For us to support Greece with a new IMF arrangement, it is essential that the financing and debt relief from Greece’s European partners are based on fiscal targets that are realistic because they are supported by credible measures to reach them,” she wrote in the letter seen by the FT.

Meanwhile, Adedy, the country’s biggest public sector union, labelled the proposed new pension cuts “despicable”.

The strike, which is also being joined by major private sector union GSEE, will be followed by a rally outside the Greek parliament on Sunday evening.

The EU wants this kept quiet with Brexit looming. Good luck with that. Until then, we dance!

Source: Greece brought to standstill by 48-hour strike as Christine Lagarde demands immediate talks on debt relief

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FCC confirms approval of Charter, Time Warner Cable merger

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission confirmed on Friday that it had voted to approve Charter Communications Inc’s acquisitions of Time Warner Cable Inc and Bright House Networks.

Source: FCC confirms approval of Charter, Time Warner Cable merger

This is profoundly disturbing.

How many media companies are left? Between this behemoth, Rupert Murdoch and a handful of others, we are tumbling headlong into a scenario where the flow of information is being squeezed tighter and tighter into a controllable, easily filtered data stream.

It is all for the best, Citizens.  We know what is best for you. the shareholders have approved the deal, and the Authorities have granted the Special Waivers we spoke about.


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Forget the Oil Glut. Prepare for the gasoline glut.

imageAs crude seemingly hits new YTD highs daily while we are literally swimming in the black stuff, there is something hanging over the head of the number chasers and speculators that have been driving the futures price for the past month. As crude storage reaches critical levels all over the world and crude tankers line up in ports hoping to be able to offload their cargo, refiners in Asia are flooding the market with gasoline. This from Reuters:

“Asia contributed more than 50 percent of global gasoline growth last year,” said Energy Aspects analyst Nevyn Nah. “Yet gasoline cracks (crack spreads) are way lower this year compared to the same time last year because supply has overwhelmed.”

Oil market analysts at Barclays said on Monday that “non-OECD product exports… have the potential to move prices lower over the next several months”.

The article goes on to say that Japanese refiners can’t sell enough product at home, so they have turned to the international markets. China is exporting 316% more diesel YoY and gasoline exports have increased by 9%. China is refining more gasoline and diesel than it can consume. Think about that for a minute.

In Singapore, traders have started storing excess gasoline aboard tankers as they run out of onshore storage.

Goldman Sachs already warned late last year that an emerging glut in refined products would eventually spill back into the crude market.

“If all the major consumers sell off their gasoline, it begs the question who will buy it?” said one Singapore fuel trader. “The answer is that much will remain unsold and in storage, and once that happens prices will crash.”

Way back in the dark days of Fall 2015 (remember when?) there was a rather large surprise build of gasoline in one week’s EIA data and crude futures turned to shit in the blink of an eye.

It’s tough to pick a top in any bullish trend, but I think great rewards are coming for patient bears trading /CL. Just watch out for the number chasers and the speculators.

This is a great time to show the world your Patriotism, so go support our AmeroCanadiMexican Automobile Manufacturers and purchase a new pickup or full-size SUV. With $1 gasoline on the horizon you will thank The Maven for his foresight. Who wants a Tesla when electricity is so expensive.

Love your machine.


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Oil, Saudi Arabia, and The Case for Iran – Part 1


imageI understand that soon I may be able to buy some small percentage of Saudi Aramco via a 5% offering from our Dear Friends at the House of Saud. Even The Maven has his limits. The Maven is a Mercenary and has profited handsomely from investing in Philip Morris over the years. But this is bullshit. This is UN-American. Why don’t I just PayPal some funds to Abu in Anbar Province so he can replenish his stockpile of IED’s?

Saudi Arabia is the most extreme fundamentalist state in the world. It’s also a missionary state. It’s expending hmuge efforts — has been for many years — to disseminate its extremist Wahhabi-Salafi version of Islam, all with U.S. backing.” — Noam Chomsky

imageWhen the subject of the Middle East comes up, common sense flies right out the window. Right now, as we speak, Wahhabist versions of the Qur’an are being cranked out of Saudi Arabia to be disseminated all over the world. There is a concerted effort to replace the holy book with it’s Wahhabi-Salafi interpretation. This is a drive to challenge the very idea of Islam. And it is being fueled by US Petrodollars and an alarming alliance with the very people who attacked us on 9/11.

Hijackers by Nationality:
Mohamed Atta

United Arab Emirates
Fayez Banihammad
Marwan al Shehhi

Ziad Jarrah

Saudi Arabia
Ahmed al Ghamdi
Hamza al Ghamdi
Saeed al Ghamdi
Hani Hanjour
Nawaf al Hazmi
Salem al Hazmi
Ahmad al Haznawi
Ahmed al Nami
Khalid al Mihdhar
Majed Moqed
Abdul Aziz al Omari
Mohand al Shehri
Wail al Shehri
Waleed al Shehri
Satam al Suqami

So – what is the common thread in this list? Every single hijacker was a Sunni. And most, if not all of them, were influenced by Wahhabist ideology. Up next, The Case for Iran. Stay Tuned.

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The Sword of Damocles

Negative yields now account for a quarter of JPMorgan’s index for government bonds. No wait, I’m sorry, that was in January. Surely things are better, yes? Perhaps this handy chart will help:


“Bank of Japan’s Kuroda says rates could go to -.4%”

There is a policy meeting in Japan scheduled for the 27th of April. The fate of Abenomics should be the Topic of Discussion, but we know better. Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that BOJ Governor Kuroda called the yen’s recent rise “excessive”. Steps will be taken.


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This Is No Way To Start A Weekend


MANCHESTER CT — The Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a tax-abatement agreement and living-wage waiver for the construction of a new headquarters for Bob’s Discount Furniture.

Source: Directors approve tax abatement, waiver for Bob’s Discount Furniture 

Since it is the weekend and the markets are closed, I doubt the commissars will mind if I take up a little space on the server farms here at iBankCoin  this morning. Jeff Macke has 5 terabytes of virtual server storage specified in his contract, so fuck it, I’ll take my chances.

I had planned on starting a rant on the fiscal State of my State – Connecticut – “The Constitution State”, founded by religious lunatics who broke away from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to form a Taliban-like government that required church attendance and levied a tax payable directly to the church. In fact the Congregational Church was the Official Church of the State of Connecticut until 1818. This situation was what prompted Thomas Jefferson to write his famous letter to the Danbury Association regarding the meaning of separation of church and state.

It has taken about four centuries, but Massachusetts is now finally fighting back against the breakaway colony and has been luring away businesses from their debt-laden southern neighbor via tax incentives. The biggest prize of course being the World HQ of conglomerate General Electric Corporation which is packing up and moving to the Boston area after residing in CT pretty much forever.

Then I saw the story about Bob’s Discount Furniture and it put me in a shitty mood so Connecticut’s fiscal mess can wait for another time. So please, Dear Reader, if I am missing something here, enlighten me because it gives me Bad Feelings about the state of the union and our basic priorities as a nation.

We all know Bob. He always reminded me of that uncle who might have been a little too fond of the Sherry, the one you tried to sit far away from at the Thanksgiving table. Bob Kaufman started off selling water beds back in the 1970’s and together with his partner went on to create an enormous chain, building a huge presence through tv ads hawking cheesy leather sofas with dual power recliners, built-in USB ports and Bob-O-Pedic foam cushions. Bob is now a very, very wealthy man since he sold majority interest for $350 million – to venture capital.

Bob’s employs a couple of hundred people at it’s Manchester location and recently announced an expansion of the corporate HQ, which will bring in an additional 125 employees at an average salary of $56000. This all sounds pretty good to a Kapitalist like myself until I see the “incentives” (bribes) being given to the company in an effort to keep it in Connecticut.

“The Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a tax-abatement agreement and living-wage waiver for the construction of a new headquarters for Bob’s Discount Furniture.
The abatement, which will last seven years, will save the company $2.9 million.
The value of the currently undeveloped land on Tolland Turnpike where the facility will be built will increase to $17 million when the building is completed, according to town estimates, but over the period of time, the company will pay only a portion of the related real estate tax.
In the first three years of the abatement, the company will pay $7,285 in taxes, based on the land’s current assessment. For the fourth through seventh years, that figure rises by either 5 percent or 10 percent.”

imageI pay $12000 yearly property tax on my house. In fucking Norwalk.

Now don’t get me wrong, Dear Reader, as 125 jobs is nothing to sneer at. And those 125 jobs will pay the same exorbitant taxes as the rest of us toiling in this high-tax state.

But here is where the shit gets weird, and I finally come to the point of this exercise. There is a Living Wage Waiver specified in the corporate welfare, sorry tax abatement that I am discussing.

I did not even know what that meant so a little digging in The Hartford Courant urged up this nugget…17 of the new employees to be hired would not receive what Manchester’s own laws specify as a wage necessary to feed a family of four. 17 employees. For an estimated savings of $32000.

“However, the town’s living wage ordinance requires companies that receive such benefits to pay their workers an hourly wage based on 115 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four. The rules also allow directors to waive the requirement. Bob’s sought a waiver because 17 entry-level employees of a total of 1,052 workers in the state do not make the wage specified in the ruling”.

And here is where it goes off the rails: The majority owner of Bob’s Discount Furniture is our old friend Bain Capital. This pisses me off. Maybe I am missing something. To be fair, Bob’s has a sterling record of giving back to the community via charities. Have a great weekend.

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I’m getting that feeling again. I get it every time the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovers near 18000.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has once again lowered its forecasts for the world economy, expecting just 3.2% growth this year.
Source: IMF: World economy ‘too slow for too long’ – BBC

The only problem with this is that the IMF has been lowering its forecast every time it makes a new forecast. They are masters at making an imminent and inevitable market correction feel like a small bump on the Autobahn at 190mph in a Bentley Mulsanne Speed.image

While the Fed strives to be cryptic to enhance its Aura, the IMF prints a Headline of Impending Doom followed by an explanation of why we should not be too concerned as long as things go according to plan. A plan that keeps getting revised. Downward.

Another article by the same BBC writer Andrew Walker details an IMF statement that states “risks to government finances are rising almost everywhere” while IMF managing director Christine Lagarde has put it “we are on alert, not alarm”.

What exactly would put her on “alarm”? The collapse of the Eurozone?

I can understand not wanting to roil the markets. But this is ridiculous.



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