16 July 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Modern Discourse

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume."

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

"When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency."

Samuel Johnson

"...in the gross and scope of mine opinion
This bodes some strange eruption to our state."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

"She closed this observation with a common and trite moral reflection; which, indeed, is very ill-founded, and does great injustice to animals: 'I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves.' 'I wonder, Madam,' replied the Doctor, 'that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.'"

Anecdotes of the Revd. Percival Stockdale, Johnson Miscellanies

Today was another sleepy day on the trading markets,  the action characteristic of the dog days of Summer.

Stocks were mixed, with the financials strong, but real world stocks off on weakness in the economy outside of the paper chase.

And so in the balance, it was a mixed to unchanged sort of day.

Netflix announced its earnings.  And it bombed after the bell, and the stock was down sharply. This may affect the stock indices tomorrow given that Netflix is one of the big cap bubble darlings.

How aggressively Wall Street defends the stock price and buys the dip may give us some indication of where we are on this leg of the bust and bubble cycle being produced by lax regulation, hot money injections, and Fed policy errors.

I had the occasion to look into some heated twitter exchanges, starting with one cited by Glenn Greenwald.   And I broke with recent custom and  read some comments sections of web sites that are high volume and popular, and do little to moderate their sites.

And the image of this modern discourse, with truncated comments thrown back and forth with even less content than characters, seems like monkeys throwing feces at one another.

Seriously.  If you step back and look at the quality of conversation, there isn't any, no matter how hard some participants may try to use reason and coherent expression.

Like bad money with good, this modern style of thought exchange tends to predominate, and pushes out more meaningful discussion.

This is our clicks culture, such as it is. And it has been elevated to an instrument of public discussion and policy announcements now with this Administration.  Although I hasten to add that they are all doing it, on both sides of the professional political spectrum, albeit some more gracefully than others, but with the same effects. Fraud is the colors of the day, while truth, such as it may occasionally dare to appear, is led down blind alleys and strangled.
“Whoever commits a fraud is guilty not only of the particular injury to him who he deceives, but of the diminution of that confidence which constitutes not only the ease but the existence of society."

Samuel Johnson
The anticipation and reaction to Trump's visit to Russia is a great example of lots of sound bites being tossed with much heat but little light and less thought.  The Russia hysteria is becoming a genuine cultural phenomenon.  And there are mainstream media outlets that have become virtual sewer pipes for it, that destroy thought and trust, and then are all too ready to blame malevolent foreign powers for the erosion of confidence that follows.

This is nuts.  So why does it thrive?

It thrives because it pays in our systems of metrics and valuations, which are money and power so far above all else that hardly anything else enters into consideration.  We have become so distracted and spin-frenzied that we can only think in sound bites that are tossed around, rise to prominence, and then forgotten.

Even though the public opinion TV shows have become slightly better organized, they are even more cynically motivated feces throwing contests between highly paid talking heads.  Professional tossers if you will.

Speaking of monkeys throwing feces, let's see if Goldman's earnings tomorrow morning can do anything for the financials.

But the thriving financials are largely parasitic and extractive. And they will not help to continue to support the weighty valuations of our modern god of the markets.

Need little, want less, love more. For those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

Have a pleasant evening.

14 July 2018

Real News: About That Russian Hacking Indictment And Its Willful Misuse

Quadraro, Death of Justice
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do?  Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?  This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's!  And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?  Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons

Aaron Mate of The Real News interviews Michael Isikoff about the Russian hacking indictment in the video below.

Michael Isikoff's dismissive and almost bullying remarks aside, I think most people will continue to look at this carefully, and will keep an open mind.

Isikoff is not persuasive, except if one is intimidated by veiled references to secret evidence and the invoking of 'authority.'

And clearly Aaron Mate is not. This is what makes him a much better, or one may say genuine, journalist.

I have trouble conceiving that this indictment will ever be tested in court, unless they decide to try the defendants in absentia.   It is a convenient way to make public charges without ever having show the evidence, and test their veracity in a public court of law.  But they do make nice talking points for the prevailing narrative.

It would be as if a prosecutor in Moscow were to indict top officials in the US government for cyber crimes, such as bugging the personal phones of allied heads of state, or interfering in other countries' elections, and expect them to fly over for a trial.

I can only imagine what the reaction here would be to such an obvious ploy.

But I am sure that this indictment will be frequently misused as 'proof' of the case, and widely referenced without critical thought, to try and shame honest skepticism and alternative views on this matter.

Such as in this article in The Intercept by James Risen, for example.

But Risen has shown the weakness in the presentation of his reasoning before, in his debate with Glenn Greenwald,

An indictment is proof of nothing, other than an indictment has been granted to proceed with something known as a 'trial' of the pertinent facts to determine guilt or innocence.   As since 'the evidence' is part of an indictment, it is not subject to open, investigative examination and potential rebuttal.

It is a 'charge' that is as of yet unproven, and we need to be very careful about giving charges such weight in the public discourse.  It can ruin lives and reputations without due process, and cause potentially innocent individuals to much hardship, intimidation, and even confinement.

No matter how many functionaries may have signed off on it.   How many times do we need to have this proven to us both pro and con, from WMD's to allegations of mass government surveillance?  It is presented to the public with such authority and weight—  until the truth rears its ugly head.

And innocence is presumed, or at least it used to be, before the hysterics were engaged after Hillary's stunning loss.

As regular readers know I am no 'fan' of Trump, or Hillary, and especially not of the Russian government,.  If anything  I am concerned that we are falling into the same type of authoritarian oligarchy that prevails there.

But I am not willing to toss aside principles and reason for personal satisfaction or political gain.   If we do, we are no different from those that we pretend to oppose—  we merely serve different ends without regard to means, like competing crime families.

Isikoff and those who speak and write in the mainstream media know this.  But they do not seem to care.  Such is the lack of principles for the sake of partisanship to which our modern media has descended, especially since it has been concentrated into a few powerful hands.

I am afraid that Michael Isikoff's conclusions will obtain such thoughtful scrutiny and analysis from the Sunday morning television pundits, both pro and con.

And therefore one goes to other sources like The Real News to get a more balanced picture.

Do not point the finger at the underwhelming actions of the Russians for the lack of trust and deep partisan divide here.

We have ourselves to blame, our lack of critical thinking and demand for justice with accountability, and acquiescence to the repeated heavy-handed actions of enablers in service of money and power, might over right.

As long as the con jobs sell, and money is being made, no one in the money and power pipeline has an incentive to stop the lying unless it is their conscience. And with this craven and spiritually adulterous generation, good luck with that.

13 July 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Long Road Home

Rembrandt, Return of the Prodigal Son
“When the healthy pursuit of self-interest and self-realization turns into self-absorption, other people can lose their intrinsic value in our eyes and become mere means to the fulfillment of our needs and desires.”

P. M. Forni

"The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

C. S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy

"Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."

Hebrews 3:15

This was another very sleepy day in the heat of the summer.

And to that end, Dolly and I had a very long afternoon nap.

Stocks mostly stayed in place, digesting their gains from yesterday.

Gold and silver were off again, but so was the US Dollar. So how about that?

We will have a stock option expiration next week.

Need little, want less, love more. For those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

What more could we ask for than this?

Have a pleasant weekend.

12 July 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Love of Most Will Grow Cold - Crouching Tiger, Stagnant Wages

"Britain has followed the US model closely.  Political decisions within both countries have had highly predictable results, and we are now fated to live with them.  Good times aren’t really all that good for ordinary people any more, only for the people on top – the owners of companies, of real estate, of stocks.  Except in the very tightest labour markets, workers simply don’t have the power to demand their fair share.

If you ask me, this is the thing to panic about: not the possibility that workers might prosper, but that they’re not prospering yet...

Thomas Frank, It's Not Wage Rises That Are The Problem

"Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can’t seem to get into gear.

Recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time."

Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup, May 2009

"But there is a sort of 'Ok guys, you're mad, but how are you going to stop me' mentality at the top."

Robert Johnson, Audacious Oligarchy

"Isn't it a riddle and awe-inspiring that things can be so beautiful, despite the horror?  I've seen something wondrous peering through my joy in the beautiful,  a sense of its creator.

Only people can be truly ugly, because they have free will to separate themselves from this song of praise.  It often seems they will drown out this hymn with cannon thunder, curses, and blasphemy.

But I have realized they will not succeed.  And so I want to throw myself on the side of the victor.”

Sophie Scholl, Munich, 1942

There won't be any panic or doubts, not by the captains of industry and their terrible toddlers and enablers.  Not, at least, until they and theirs are well into the abyss and beyond.   Winning...

The big cap techs in the Nasdaq 100 were leading the way in a rally higher from the opening.

One can supply any number of reasons for it, after the fact. This one might say that the fears of a trade war have subsided because someone heard something.

Another might say that with CPI coming in weakly, then the Fed won't be raising rates so aggressively.  And didn't Jay Powell of the Fed give a rousingly positive interview?

Or one might as well just say, 'because they can.'   And so they did.

It looks like another blow off top is in the works.

Gold and silver were up slightly as risk money flowed back into them after their recent beat down.   The US Dollar was largely flat.  .

Forget the ever-flattening yield curve, the spokesmodels say. This is an unconventional recovery.

But why worry if you can get yours, and devil take the hindmost?  And because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. 

Except for those who understand the fundamentals of the economic proposition that, in the final analysis,  matters most.  For what does it profit a man?

Need little, want less, love more. For those who abide in love abide in God, and God in them.

Have a pleasant evening.