Joined Nov 11, 2007
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Traders Place Bets on the VIX After a Releativley Calm 2013

“Options (VIX) tied to gains in the benchmark gauge for American stock volatility reached the highest prices in six years last week, reflecting bets that the calm prevailing in equities for the last year won’t last.

A series of calls that appreciate in tandem with the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index climbed to the highest since May 2007 relative to puts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The increase reflects bets that swings measured by the VIX will widen this year after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 30 percent in 2013 without ever suffering a decline of 10 percent or more.

The intensifying standoff between Ukraine and Russia in the Crimea added to concerns facing global stock investors. U.S. equities completed a rebound last week from a selloff spurred by emerging-market turmoil that erased 5.8 percent between Jan. 15 and Feb. 3, the biggest retreat since June.

“Any time geopolitical risks escalate, especially in a major way — and we’d say this is a major escalation and a major increase in risk — you subject global stock markets to increased volatility,”Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at New York-based Solaris Asset Management LLC, which manages about $1.5 billion in assets, said by phone yesterday. “The impact may end up being modest if the situation de-escalates, but right now there is no sign of that.”

Ukraine Crisis

The crisis in Ukraine deteriorated as Russian President Vladimir Putin won parliamentary backing to send troops into Russia’s southern neighbor. Ukraine, which put its forces on combat readiness, said over the weekend an invasion would be “an act of war,” and U.S. President Barack Obamawarned Russia not to intervene. The conflict follows a month in which global equities, bonds and commodities rose together for the first time since July and the S&P 500 rallied 4.3 percent to an all-time high after a 3.6 percent decline in January.

Futures on the S&P 500 slid 0.8 percent at 9:15 a.m. in London today. The HSI Volatility Index, which measures the cost of options on the Hong Kong equity gauge, jumped 10 percent, while the Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index climbed 7. Europe’s VStoxx Index surged 17 percent, the most since January, to 19.56.

Calls predicting a 10 percent gain in the VIX cost 18.2 points more than puts betting on a 10 percent decrease as of Feb. 28, according to three-month options data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the biggest gap since before the start of the financial crisis.

Market Movement….”

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Global Markets Fall While Commodities Shoot Higher on the Developing Ukraine Turmoil

“U.S. stock-index futures fell, tracking a global selloff in equities, as Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine sent investors searching for havens.

Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. each lost 1.5 percent as financial stocks tumbled. The Market Vectors Russia ETF tracking companies from Gazprom OAO to OAO Lukoil dropped 8.2 percent. Yandex NV, a U.S.-listed online search engine operating in Russia, slumped 8.7 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 (SPX) expiring this month lost 0.8 percent to 1,843.00 at 8:05 a.m. inNew York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts dropped 104 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,203 today.

“We never know what will happen with Russia and this always makes people nervous,” said Michael Morris, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management in London. “You have a president that is trying to expand Russia’s global political powers but the country may not have the capacity for this fight. It’s too soon to know what the outcome might be but I’m not at all surprised to see the markets down today.”

The tensions sent stocks tumbling around the world, with the MSCI All-Country World Index sliding 0.9 percent. Russian stocks had their biggest decline in five years and the Europe Stoxx 600 plunged 2 percent, its biggest slide in five weeks. Emerging-market stocks dropped 1.5 percent. Gold soared 1.8 percent and Treasuries rallied.

Ukraine Tension

Ukraine mobilized its army and called for foreign observers after Russian President Vladimir Putingot approval to use military force in Ukraine. Groups of as many as 100 Russian soldiers attacked Ukrainian army units in Crimea, where ethnic Russians comprise the majority, the border guard service said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Kiev today after warning of possible sanctions against Russia. European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting today, while the Group of Seven nations suspended planning for the Group of Eight summit in Russia in June.

The geopolitical tension comes after the S&P 500 rose 4.3 percent in February, the most since October, to end the month at a record 1,859.45. Investors have been speculating that recent weakness in data from housing to jobs was caused by weather and that the Federal Reserve will continue to support the economy.

U.S. equities are set to enter the sixth year of a bull market that started March 9, 2009. Three rounds of stimulus have helped push the S&P 500 up 175 percent from a 12-year low.

Volatility Spike….”

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The Yuan’s Descent Brings on Opposite Reaction

“SHANGHAI—China’s sudden move to engineer a weaker yuan to curb heavy inflows from abroad has led to an unexpected and undesirable upshot: a sharp increase in cash flowing into its financial system.

Investors have been buying up U.S. dollars and selling yuan over the past two weeks, leading to local currency flooding China’s money markets and sending short-term interest rates plummeting. That has concerned economists, however, as it contradicts Beijing’s campaign since June to keep borrowing costs high to rebalance a credit-driven economy and rein in risky financing such as the loosely regulated “shadow-banking” sector.

The policy makers’ dilemma also shows how complex it is to manage the vast state-controlled economy and how interlinked the entire financial system is.

“If you want to deleverage the economy, you have to keep interest rates high and liquidity tight. If you weaken the currency, liquidity will increase. The two objectives are conflicting. So what is it that the central bank wants to achieve?” said Teck Kin Suan, an economist atUnited Overseas Bank U11.SG -0.87% in Singapore.

The problem has arisen as the People’s Bank of China has been guiding the yuan weaker, seeking to discourage speculative foreign funds that profit from high interest rates and gains in the currency. Those flows are a problem as they add excess cash to the economy and contribute to soaring property prices.

The central bank’s moves to guide the yuan appear to have worked. The currency Friday suffered its biggest one-day fall since its revaluation in 2005. The yuan is down 1.7% since reaching a record high in January.

But while it is seeking to block cash from abroad entering China, the increased supply of the Chinese currency in the financial system because of its foreign-exchange intervention is still adding liquidity to the banking system.

As a result, money-market interest rates are falling with the benchmark cost of short-term loans among banks–the weighted average of the seven-day repurchase agreement rate–down to 2.83%, from 3.84% two weeks ago and a high of 8.94% on Dec. 23.

The rate is now at levels seen before an unprecedented cash crunch that Beijing engineered in June to help curb explosive growth of shadow banking activities. Since the summer credit crisis, the Chinese central bank has allowed three more cash squeezes to occur in October, December and January, pushing the benchmark borrowing cost to average around 4%-5%.

Now with easy-money rates back though, worries are resurfacing that banks will feel emboldened again to take on the riskiest forms of lending, economists said.

“To me, deleveraging is still a more critical task for the central bank right now because the risks associated with shadow banking and local government debt are much higher. They will have to make a choice,” said Mr. Suan.

Some economists say managing the world’s second-largest economy, ranging from ensuring growth doesn’t slow too much to tackling rising financial risks and deterring speculative so-called hot money inflows, means the authorities can sometimes adopt short-term measures at the expense of achieving long-term goals….”

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Documentary: Unraveling Sandy Hook

For those of you who have little time or limited attention spans the following is the crib notes on questions being raised about SandyHook.

If your interested in the subject matter then a much more detailed analysis is presented below.

All one can say is that nothing is what it seems anymore. Unless you immerse yourself in the subject matter you will never begin to accept what might be possible.

Reverting to a case closed mentality, is really a mind closed mentality. These days we are plagued misinformation and deception.

Cheers on your weekend!

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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1yfJDCMU64 450 300]


[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JkIs37a2JE 450 300]


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Kiss the 4th Amendment Goodbye

“On Tuesday the Supreme Court ruled in Fernandez v. California that when a resident who objects to the search of his residence is removed through a lawful arrest, the remaining resident may give police consent to search without first demanding a warrant.

While the back story is much more complicated than the above summary, the ruling diminishes Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures. In this case, it was the three dissenting liberal judges on the court who gave the majority a lesson in how the Fourth Amendment is designed to restrain police power. In previous decisions, the court has ruled that anyone objecting to a warrantless search provides sufficient deterrent to such searches. This would apply even in cases where other residents approve such a search. In a word, it just takes one who knows his rights to be able effectively to defend them. Following Tuesday’s decision, that is no longer the case.

Fernandez attacked an innocent on the streets of Los Angeles back in 2009, and then ran back to his apartment to hide. When police arrived at the apartment his wife opened the door. When Fernandez heard the commotion at the door, he shouted: “You don’t have right to come in here! I know my rights!” The police, noting that his wife was bleeding, arrested Fernandez on suspicion of domestic violence but returned an hour later to search his apartment for evidence linking him to the street attack. His wife consented both verbally and in writing to the warrantless search. The search turned up enough evidence to convict Fernandez and send him to prison for fourteen years….”

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U.S. GDP Revised to 2.4% from 3.2%

“The U.S. government slashed its estimate for fourth-quarter growth as consumer spending and exports were less robust than initially thought, leaving the economy on a more sustainable path of modest expansion.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.4 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was down sharply from the 3.2 percent pace reported last month and the 4.1 percent logged in the third quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth would be cut to a 2.5 percent pace.

It is not unusual for the government to make sharp revisions to GDP numbers, as it does not have complete data when it makes its initial estimates. In fact, the latest figures will be subject to revisions next month as more information is received.

The revision left GDP just above the economy’s potential growth trend, which analysts put somewhere between a 2 percent and 2.3 percent pace.

Consumer spending accounted for a large chunk of the revision after retail sales in November and December came in weaker than assumed.

Consumer spending was cut to a 2.6 percent rate…”

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The Chines Yuan Continues to Crater, Largest Drop Since 2005

“The Chinese yuan fell 0.9% to a 10-month low of 6.1808 per dollar in Shanghai, the most on record going back to 2007, report Fion Li and Kyoungwha Kim at Bloomberg News.

This is the largest drop since the revaluation in 2005, reports Fiona Law at The Wall Street Journal.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) fixed the yuan at 6.1214 per dollar, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

This reference rate was stronger than the fix on Thursday. But the yuan continued to weaken.

After rising 3% against the U.S. dollar in 2013, the onshore yuan (CNY) weakened against the greenback last week. The offshore yuan (CNH) has also  weakened….”

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Ukraine Accuses Russia of a Military Invasio of Crimea, Meanwhile Former Leader Yanukovy Makes a Formal Statement

“Ukraine’s interior minister on Friday accused Russian forces of staging an “armed invasion” in Crimea, claiming they had blocked one air base and entered another airport overnight on the Black Sea peninsula.

The incidents come a day after dozens of pro-Moscow gunmen seized government buildings in the Crimean capital of Simferopol including the regional parliament, which subsequently voted to hold a referendum on May 25 to expand the region’s autonomy from Kiev.

“I consider what is happening to be an armed invasion and an occupation,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.

Avakov said that troops from Russia’s Black Sea fleet — stationed in Russian-speaking Crimea — had blockaded the Belbek airfield near Sevastopol, where Ukrainian soldiers and border guards were stationed.

No armed clashes had occurred but the base was not operating as normal….”

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“Ousted Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych is speaking to the press from the southern Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don, where he is under Kremlin protection.

On Thursday Yanukovych asserted that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine. He is now calling for a reorganization of the government, new presidential elections, and a new constitution.

His statement sounds like he is trying to get back to the truce signed on February 19, which was subsequently rejected by protesters. After a day of bloodshed, Yanukovych fled and parliament stripped him of his position.

A new government was approved yesterday, but neither Yanukovych nor Russia recognize it.

“I believe that the Ukrainian parliament is not legitimate,” he said. ….”

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Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy, Customer #Bitcoins Vanish

“The troubled MtGox Bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan Friday, saying it had lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the digital currency in a possible theft.

Mark Karpeles, who has not been seen in public for several days, re-emerged to tell a press conference that his firm’s digital vaults had been almost completely emptied.

“We have lost Bitcoins due to weaknesses in the system,” the France-born Karpeles said in Japanese.

“We are really sorry for causing trouble to all the people concerned,” he said, before bowing deeply.

The company’s lawyer said 750,000 Bitcoins belonging to customers had gone, along with MtGox’s own store of the currency, which she said was around 100,000 units.

That number of Bitcoins would be worth around $477 million dollars, calculated against the price on the Coindesk exchange at 1030 GMT.

The global Bitcoin community was shaken this week by the shuttering of MtGox, which had frozen withdrawals earlier this month because of what the firm said was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoin that allowed hackers to pilfer them….”

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Wake Up


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Your Tax Dollars at Work

Nobody will argue that Gaddafi was an all around good guy.

We do know that Gaddafi made a pledge to,  (click here,) help route out terrosits.

We do know dollar hegemony was potentially threatened by Gaddafi’s recreation of a, (click here,) gold backed Dinar.

We also know that Gadaffi, like Hussein, was keeping the peace between religous sects and jailing religous militants.

We know that after Gaddafi was killed that all militants were released from prison and an Al-Qaeda flag was flown.

Now that hindsight is 20-20, and all those guys who are said to be wearing tinfoil hats can say they told you so, why are we as a nation standing for this type of foreign policy?

As Albert Einstein once said:

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ 

So i ask you: Are you good men and women of the Christian faith ? Afterall, this is a Christian nation and your lord Jesus Crist promoted non violence, asking you to turn the other cheek. Do you think just maybe, you might be disobeying the laws of your God? Have you washed the blood off your hands yet? Talk among yourselves.


“Two politicians could be sentenced to death over a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam when a verdict is issued in their case on Sunday 2 March, said Amnesty International. The organization is calling for the charges against them to be dropped immediately.

The cartoon, which depicts a group of men discussing the role of women in society, appeared on a Libyan National Party electoral campaign poster in the main streets of Libyan cities ahead of parliamentary elections in 2012.

“It is shocking that two political figures may face a firing squad over a cartoon that was published on an electoral campaign poster. No one should be prosecuted for freely expressing his or her views in public – however offensive they may seem to others,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Libyans must be free to speak their minds, regardless of whether those views are expressed verbally, or appear on a poster, in a poem or a newspaper article. It is ludicrous that doing so could be considered a crime punishable by death.”

The cartoon caused an uproar because, unintentionally, it featured the same character used to depict the Prophet Mohammed in anti-Islamic comic published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. However, the Libyan poster made no reference to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed….”

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If You Accept $100k in Bribes Your a Fucking Piker


“A California state senator was charged for allegedly accepting $100,000 in bribes on Friday along with lavish trips and what a report called “no-show jobs” for his children in exchange for pushing legislation.

State Sen. Ron Calderon, a Democrat, is now facing a 24-count federal indictment related to his pushing legislation to benefit what the Associated Press called “a hospital engaged in billing fraud and participating in a film industry tax scheme that actually was an FBI sting.”

Calderon’s brother Tom, a former lawmaker who now works as a lobbyist, is also facing charges. Tom Calderon was charged with money laundering for allegedly funneling bribe money through a tax-exempt group under his control, according to prosecutors.”

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Draghi’s “What Ever It Takes” Statement Has Been Converted to “Failing Fast & Furious”

“With just released inflation figures out of Germany coming weaker than expected, Mario Draghi’s monetary nightmare – how to spur credit creation in Europe to the private sector – just got even worse. Incidentally the topic of Draghi’s “Monetary Nightmare” is well-known to regular readers and has been covered here extensively in the past, most recently here. So while we await to see how the ongoing deflation in Europe, soon hitting its core too, spreads through the system, the most recent data out of Europe is that lending to non-financial corporations declined once again in January, this time by €11.7billion, adjusted for securitizations and sales. On an annual basis, the decline in January was -2.0%, the same as December, and worse than the -1.8% in November as reported by the ECB.

The long-term chart is an absolute disaster.

Here is what SocGen has to say about it….”

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$TSLA: How Do You Like Me Now ?

:Perhaps the biggest hurdle Tesla faces in its goal to build an affordable electric car is the cost of batteries that eliminate the need for gasoline. To deal with the problem, Elon Musk’s upstart automaker is planning to build a “Gigafactory” — a huge factory that by 2020 would exceed 2013 global production of battery packs.

In a release today, Tesla explained the goal of the new factory:

The Gigafactory is designed to reduce cell costs much faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. By the end of the first year of volume production of our mass market vehicle, we expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30 percent.

In 2013, the first full year of Model S production, Tesla accounted for more than a third of the industry’s battery usage. The company now works with Panasonic to produce the batteries that power the Model S, but Musk said in an earnings call earlier this month that he expects to have more than one partner on the Gigafactory.

The automaker will directly invest $2 billion into the project, and partners will provide another $2-3 billion….”

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Depositors of #bitcoin Will Probably Not Be Made Whole From the Mt. Gox Meltdown

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – What can you do if you deposited bitcoins at Mt. Gox, which shuttered on Tuesday with little explanation? Probably not much.

Customers of the bitcoin exchange may have little chance of recovering their funds if they prove to be missing, legal and regulatory experts said.

Clients could file lawsuits, claiming negligence or breach of contract, but the virtual currency is subject to very little regulatory oversight and no government guarantees.

Japan-based Mt. Gox went dark on Tuesday, weeks after a spate of cyber attacks, leaving customers unable to access their accounts and underscoring the risks associated with bitcoins.

Bitcoins, which exist in electronic form, depend on a network of computers to solve complex mathematical problems in order to verify and record every transaction. Investors deposit their bitcoins in digital “wallets” at various exchanges; Mt. Gox had been the largest as recently as February 7, when it and other exchanges were forced to halt withdrawals following several cyber attacks.

Unlike bank accounts…”

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A Look at the Top 10 Emerging Technologies

“The World Economic Forum, famous for its annual Davos convention in Switzerland, has put out a new report identifying the top technological trends for the coming year.

“Technology has become perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world,” writes WEF’s Noubar Afeyan. “While never without risk, positive technological breakthroughs promise innovative solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time, from resource scarcity to global environmental change.”

“By highlighting the most important technological breakthroughs….”

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State of the Union: America, Land of the Free No More

“A federal judge ruled Thursday that the NYPD’s secret spying on Muslims in schools, restaurants, and mosques with no evidence of wrongdoing is perfectly legal, and it was the media’s exposure of this surveillance that was the real cause of harm. The decision prompted outcry from civil rights and racial justice advocates.

“The idea that the only harm was that you found out you are being spied on is ridiculously absurd logic,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an interview with Common Dreams. “When a judge says it’s okay for a government to do any level of spying on a religious community, that has a chilling effect,”

U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey, on Thursday tossed out the lawsuit Hassan v. City of New York, brought against the NYPD by a group of New Jersey-based Muslims—including an Iraq war veteran and the former principle of a Muslim girls’ grade school—who had been directly targeted by the surveillance. In a complaint filed by the civil rights organization Muslim Advocates and counseled by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiffs charged they had been unlawfully targeted on the basis of race, religion, and country of origin, causing them direct harm.

Martini—a Bush appointee and former Republican congressman—rejected their argument, writing, “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.”

The judge went on to argue that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press investigations of the NYPD’s spying on Muslim communities—not the surveillance itself—caused harm to the plaintiffs. He wrote,

None of the Plaintiffs’ injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not “fairly traceable” to any act of surveillance.

“Martini essentially said that what the targets didn’t know didn’t hurt them,” writes Dan Froomkin for The Intercept.

Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy slammed the ruling: “In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD’s illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD’s blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices….”

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