April 5, 2012
Investors may be taken for a ride by today’s Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which expand on the FOMC’s March 13, 2012 statement; in the interim, we believe the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke has gone out of his way to assure the markets that monetary policy will remain “highly accommodative,” at least through late 2014.
The Fed does indeed have a credibility problem: having assured investors that rates will remain low for an extended period, it may only take one or two FOMC members to turn more optimistic about the economic outlook to cause the markets to more aggressively price-in tighter monetary policy. Conversely, Bernanke has made it clear that he is most concerned about a recovery in the housing market and that low interest rates – throughout the yield curve – are desirable. Operation Twist is specifically aimed to achieve that, lowering long-term rates and flattening the yield curve. However, should investors become increasingly optimistic about economic improvement, odds increase that investors sell bonds, putting upward pressure on long-term rates.
To understand the Fed’s “communication strategy”, one needs to be aware of who is calling the shots. We are not just talking about Fed Chairman Bernanke, but also the composition of voting FOMC members. Without a doubt, the “hawks” (hawks are FOMC members considered to favor tighter monetary policy compared to “doves”) on the FOMC are getting more vocal. At the same time, the only voting “hawk” on the FOMC this year is Richmond Fed President Jeff Lacker:
April 5, 2012
Joe Banister is the first and thus far only IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent ever to conduct, while serving as a special agent, an investigation into allegations that the IRS illegally administers and enforces the federal income tax. He respectfully reported the results of his investigation to his IRS superiors, up to and including the IRS Commissioner. Rather than address the legitimate concerns raised by one of their own distinguished investigators, his IRS superiors suspiciously refused to address the chilling evidence of IRS wrongdoing raised in his report and instead encouraged him to resign from his position. Observing that IRS management intended to cover up the deceit and illegal conduct alleged in his report, Banister chose to resign from his position so that he could report his findings to the American public. In effect, Banister had to resign from his position in order to abide by his oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.
April 5, 2012
By Tyler Durden
Treasury yields retraced more than 50% of their rise post-FOMC yesterday leaving them only marginally higher on the week as, despite another late afternoon light volume surge to VWAP, stocks closed with their second biggest daily loss of the year. Three days in a row now, ES (the S&P 500 e-mini futures contract) has closed at its VWAP – suggesting institutional blocks continue to look for opportune/efficient selling levels (as opposed to buying the dips which we are so used to). After Spain’s auction debacle and the ISM Services miss, it seems that with no Fed standing guard that good is good but bad is not better anymore as the S&P 500 cash lost over 1% (down 2% from Monday’s peak to today’s trough). Financials underperformed and the majors (which we noted on Monday sagging after Europe’s close) have been really hurt with Citi, BofA, and MS down 6 to 7% since then. Equity markets in the US and Europe played catch up once again to credit’s more realistic assessment of the world as HYG (the high-yield bond ETF) is back at one-month lows, down 2.7% from its end-Feb highs (or five months worth of yield, oops). Investment grade credit (which remains rich to its fair-value) was not helped as Treasuries were the place of refuge for the day as 30Y yields dropped their most in 2012. Commodities suffered significant damage as Silver tumbled to meet Gold’s loss for the week, both down 3% Copper and Oil also dropped notably and are now back in sync with the USD for the week -1% or so. Most major FX remained USD positive except for JPY which retraced its snap lower from yesterday as carry trades were generally exited (with EUR and AUD weakness mirroring JPY strength post-FOMC) leaving DXY near 3-week highs. Who-/What-ever was doing the buying in the afternoon clearly levered the position (using AAPL or options) as VIX dumped once again out of nowhere intraday – closing near its lows of the day. However, VIX did close up near one-month highs as it catches up to Europe’s VIX flare. Given the drop in implied correlation (and in-line VIX-S&P move) we suspect the covered-call strategy of the year was coming undone a little at the seams as single-name vol underperformed.
April 5, 2012
By Chris Cillizza
“Here is just one more example that shows just how different Ron Paul is from the rest of the pack.” –KTRN
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) isn’t sure he will support the eventual GOP nominee, he told D.C.’s WMAL today. “I haven’t decided,” he said. “I want us to stand for something.” There’s also still a chance he will mount a third-party bid.
April 5, 2012
“Ron Paul has already won by changing the political discourse. One can only hope he will run as a third party candidate.” –KTRN
April 5, 2012
By Nicholas West
“There is something seriously weird about HAARP.” –KTRN
It is indisputable that weather weapons have been considered as a means for agricultural and societal control. Elite grand master, Zbigniew Brzezinski, stated in his book Between Two Ages (1970) that “Technology of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm.” (Source) Moreover, it is a stated military goal to “Own the Weather by 2025.”
This HAARP facility and its substations scattered throughout the U.S. have been tracked by intrepid weather researcher Dutchsinse who has made some startlingly accurate predictions based on the tell-tale radar flares of these facilities, already linked to earthquakes in the area of the New Madrid seismic zone.
Beyond earthquakes, however, there is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that the injection of frequencies into storm systems can prolong, or intensify their output. The massive system that moved through the Dallas area yesterday seems to bear the signatures of a similar frequency injection that Dutchsinse has used to predict previous tornado outbreaks. The patterns show up as HAARP rings (circle sweeps) or scalar squares (square waves) which are pinpointed below.
Incidentally, I have two friends who live in the Dallas area and they observed very different cloud behavior than previous tornadic systems. Whether or not HAARP is to blame in this instance, the manipulation of earth’s ionosphere should not go without further open-minded study.
April 5, 2012
By James Smith
There are two stories that have come to light recently, the first is the awarding of a contract to a munitions manufacturer for 450,000,000 hollow point rounds for the .40 caliber.
The second story which I wrote is how the Department of Homeland Security had already ordered 200,000,000 rounds of .40 caliber, but also ordered 15,000 gun cleaning kits for the .40 caliber weapons, and has put a request out for a virtual shooting gallery for the .40 caliber handguns.
650,000,000 round of ammunition is quite a bit of lead and brass. It will sure to drive the price of copper and brass way up. But Homeland Security is not alone in their requests.
The other departments — the ones that handle mundane things like meat quality — believe they need to be armed to the teeth as well. It’s enough to make a non-paranoid person, well, paranoid.
The US Department of Agriculture put in a bid for a wide variety of ammunition. I guess raiding farms and raw milk dairies can be very dangerous work. The required rounds are listed below, and include shotgun slugs.
Frangible rounds – for those who don’t know, are rounds that are designed to break apart when they hit walls or other hard surfaces to prevent ricochets during close-quarters combat.
April 5, 2012
By Kurt Nimmo
“Shouldn’t the school be asking the parent’s if they want their kids to see this propaganda?” –KTRN
An Infowars.com reader from Colorado writes to tell us the Cherry Creek Public School district in western Arapahoe County is forcing students to watch Kony 2012. According to the father of a student attending school in the district, students were instructed to write “a letter to Senator Mark Udall in support of Invisible Children’s effort to capture Joseph Kony.”
“This is incredibly disturbing that this assignment’s goal was to force students into some level of political activism in support of a potentially violent conflict (war). Schools are not to be utilized for any activist purposes or those viewpoints forced upon the students outside of the will of the parents,” the father writes.
“I plan on consulting a lawyer to find out if there is any legal action I can take against the school district.”
The Invisible Children project used viral video as a delivery vehicle for Africom propaganda. It faced a landslide of criticism within hours of the video’s release on YouTube. The criticism was so intense that the film’s director, Jason Russell, experienced a mental breakdown. He was hospitalized after he was found running through streets in his underwear, screaming incoherently and banging his fists on the pavement, according to The Telegraph.
As we have documented, Invisible Children is a “USAID centric” front group run out of the State Department. On March 17, soon after the Kony 2012 video surfaced, Tony Cartalucci wrote that in addition to the State Department, the group is supported by “Wall Street speculator George Soros and his Open Society Institute, and a myriad of corporate-funded foundations.”
April 5, 2012
By Maia Szalavitz
“The Republicrats are the problem. It is time to start voting for anyone but the political elite.” –KTRN
Shakespeare asked rhetorically whether Christians and Jews are not “hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer?” The same can be said of Republicans and Democrats, but if you ask people on opposite sides of the aisle to try to empathize with one another, they tend to consider their rivals as not equally human.
That’s not a mere observation of election-year political antics, but a finding from scientific research. Led by Ed O’Brien, scientists from the University of Michigan crafted a study on inter-party empathy based on prior data on the emotion, which finds that our ability to empathize is greatly affected not only by whom we’re trying to empathize with, but also by our own physical and emotional states.
Physical states, especially, are difficult to transcend. If you’ve ever packed for a tropical vacation in the dead of winter and had difficulty imagining yourself basking on a warm beach when it’s freezing at home, you’ve experienced the challenge most people face when trying to take the perspective of another — or even of your own future self. When our visceral state is overwhelming, we tend to project the same feeling onto everyone else: if I’m cold, then you must be cold too.
Studies also find that thirsty people perceive others as being equally dehydrated, and those who feel frightened similarly think everyone else must be afraid too. Even exam cheaters project their own willingness to cut corners on fellow test takers.
But this kind of empathy doesn’t always extend to everyone. History is filled with examples of warriors who were brutal to their enemies, but kind to their comrades. Biologically speaking, the hormone most associated with empathy — oxytocin — has been found to increase people’s feelings of warmth and generosity toward their friends and family while simultaneously increasing prejudice against outsiders.
April 5, 2012
Stop The Drug War
By Phillip Smith
“Prohibition has never worked, so why are we even trying?” –KTRN
Federal agents raided Oaksterdam University and associated businesses in downtown Oakland Monday morning shortly before 8:00am local time. The entire building was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape, and an hour later, agents were spotted carrying trash bags filled with unknown materials to a waiting van.
Also hit in the early morning raids were the nearby Oaksterdam Museum, the Oaksterdam gift shop, and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club. None of those businesses actually distribute medical marijuana.
The Bay Citizen reported that Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee had been detained at his home and that four university plant tenders had been arrested. The Bay Citizen also reported that the former location of Lee’s Blue Sky dispensary had been raided.
Oaksterdam University is the beating heart of the Oakland cannabis revival, which has helped revitalize the city’s downtown core. Founded in 2007, it was the first institution in the country devoted to providing instruction in medical marijuana cultivation.
Owned and operated by Richard Lee, who put his personal fortune into getting 2010′s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana on the ballot, the university has trained thousands of people in how to grow their own medicine and other aspects of medical marijuana business. It has also served as an organizing center for the Bay area medical marijuana movement.
Medical marijuana defense groups, such as Americans for Safe Access, were mobilizing their members Monday morning and calling for supporters to head to the scene. They did so in large and angry numbers, shouting obscenities and imprecations at the federal agents. Oakland police were called in for crowd control after protestors spilled onto Broadway. Two people were arrested during the protest.