13 January 2018

Martin Luther King Day - Still a Dark Day In Our Nation


"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. You who murder your prophets, and abuse those whom God has sent as messengers to you.   How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings.  But you would not let me. 

As you have willed it, so your house is now yours to command— but it is made desolate.’”

Matthew 23:37-38


"And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.  We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak."

Martin Luther King, A Time to Break the Silence,  Riverside Church, 4 April 1967


"It is a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced."

Martin Luther King, Riverside Church, 30 April 1967


"Take a stand for that which is right, and the world may misunderstand you and criticize you, but you never go alone, for somewhere I read that 'One with God is a majority,' and God has a way of transforming a minority into a majority. Walk with him this morning and believe in him and do what is right and he'll be with you even until the consummation of the ages.

Yes, I've seen the lightning flash, I've heard the thunder roll, I've felt sin's breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul but I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on, he promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone; no, never alone, no, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.

Wherever you are going this morning, my friends, show the world that you're going with truth. You are going with justice, you are going with goodness, and you will have an eternal companionship.

And the world will look at you and they won't understand you, for your fiery furnace will be around you, but you'll go on anyhow.

But if not, I will not bow, and God grant that we will never bow, before the gods of evil."

Martin Luther King, Ebenezer Baptist Church, 5 November 1967


"And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, 'What is it that I would want said?' And I leave the word to you this morning...

If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind."

Martin Luther King, 4 February 1968


“Now the problem is not only unemployment.  Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working every day?  And they are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation.  These are facts which must be seen, and it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income...

If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”

Martin Luther King, 18 March 1968


"We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place.

But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.

So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything, I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Martin Luther King, 3 April 1968


The next day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee, 4 April 1968.





"It is a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced."

Martin Luther King, Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam'  30 April 1967
And, some might observe, the sermons given at Riverside Church in April 1967 began his year long march towards the mountain top, and his murder in Memphis in April of the following year.  He was a threat to the moneyed interests, the political establishment, and the captains of industry.

Are we not exceptional?  Are you not entertained?


12 January 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - Are You Not Entertained?


"And the Lord came and called, “Samuel! Samuel!”   And Samuel replied, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something that will shock all those who hear of it.  I am going to chastise Eli and his people for their continuing offenses against me.  I have warned him that my judgment is coming."

1 Samuel 3:10-12

Stocks were on a tear again today, finishing at new highs.

The rally was sparked by renewed enthusiasm for the corporate tax cuts.  JP Morgan suggested in its earning report this morning that it sees upside from the tax reform bill.

Gold was also in rally mode, running up to the price resistance at 1340 after cracking through the intermediate trendline.   Silver also rallied a little harder, taking back all the losses it had from earlier in the week, finishing in the black for another week of gains.

There will be a stock option expiration next Friday.

The next Comex option expiration will not be until the 25th.

The stock market is frothy, and speculative frauds being tolerated, such as the meaningless name game with blockchain for quick stock gains, 

There may be some drama next week, as the next deadline for the continuation of the US budget to avoid a government shutdown on the 19th.

Trump did a remarkably odd thing for a political leader.  After strongly signaling to the Congress that he would approve a bipartisan compromise on immigration, as long as it contained provisions for border security, he ambushed a delegation presenting such a compromise in his office with two virulently anti-immigration Congressmen, and dismissed their compromise out of hand.  It was then he resorted to some particularly harsh language aimed at the lottery provision that reverberated in condemnations around the globe.

This may be an effective tactic in hardball negations in NY business deals, where one has the upper hand with their contractors, for example.  Some joker at one of our suppliers pulled that stunt on me in my corporate career.  The way he put it to a colleague, who told me later, is that he liked to punch his opponent in the stomach, and then say, 'let's race!'

And I said that his bosses should know that it would be 'for the best if he never stopped running.'  I never saw him again. It is relatively easy when you have done your homework, and have a good sense of where the leverage lies.  And the relationship between our two companies flourished for years afterwards.  It is never good when a manager has such a poor sense of relationship management and character judgement. Just because someone is fair does not mean that they are weak.

In terms of Washington, Trump just pissed in his own punch bowl by pandering to the fringe of this supporters, once again, stooping to what might best be described as an amateurish negotiating tactic.  US Senators have long memories, and that seemed like an odd move for a guy that is bound to need a lot of friends in the future.   Friends are hard to find;  life delivers enemies and obstacles for free.

Trump seems to be burning his bridges in front of himself.  These sorts of bullyboy tactics probably worked well for him in the past, especially in asymmetrical relationships with suppliers.  But applying that sort of thing in the wrong circumstance may betray a poor sense of situational awareness.  This is not good for the country, especially in areas of foreign policy and relationships. And we certainly could use a better negotiator than in our past dealings in the world, especially with regard to trade. But that is our fault, and the burden of corporatism, which has loyalty to none but itself.

Have a pleasant weekend.











"Not Nero, but God, rules the world."

Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis


11 January 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Power Elite and the Deep State


"We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process.  And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate.  It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State...

But the main casualty is the FBI’s 18-month campaign to sabotage candidate-and-now-President Donald Trump by using the Obama administration’s Russia-gate intelligence 'assessment,' electronic surveillance of dubious legality, and a salacious dossier that could never pass the smell test, while at the same time using equally dubious techniques to immunize Hillary Clinton and her closest advisers from crimes that include lying to the FBI and endangering secrets."

Ray McGovern, The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate

Stocks were on a roll higher today, with the major indices setting new all time highs.

No one can really see what will derail this new 'super bull' market, as they say on financial TV.

I can think of about a dozen things off the top of my head, but all of them are relatively low probability events.  But I do think this market is a bit frothy, with underpinnings made out of meringue.

But with the lift of the corporate tax cuts coming in under earnings, I would not get in the way of these markets.

So the VIX was down, stocks were up, and all is very well in tax cut land.

The precious metals managed to eke out some small gains.

I wonder if Dandy Don is 'mouse-trapping' himself by hanging his hat on the stock market as validation of his presidency.   I don't think it is a genuine validation, especially given its highly speculative nature.  I wonder how he might feel if the market tosses his administration a ten to fifteen percent correction later this year.  Live by greed, die by greed.

Speaking of the Donald, some time ago I suggested that this implausible and histrionic Russia-gate investigation fomented by the Clintonistas appears to be a thinly-veiled fishing expedition.   The target is not any significant 'collusion' to throw the election, but much more likely an obstruction of justice, coming off dodgy private real estate deals and assorted financial arrangements with a small group of Russian oligarchs that involve money laundering and a certain very large German bank.

Watching the well-paid courtiers of power in politics and the media dancing through hoops to make the case for this grand collusion conspiracy has been quite a spectacle.

I am in no way a supporter of Trump or his agenda. He reinforced that again today by noting that the US has too many immigrants from shithole countries, and not enough immigrants from countries like Norway. 

But I cannot use my dislike for Trump to ignore the damage that the Clintons have done to the Democratic Party.  They had been using it as their private piggy bank and its leadership as their servants.  The people's loss of confidence in the party is likely to take years to repair.

The Democrats may need a twelve step program to recover from their addiction to easy money and power.  So far they are in extreme denial and deflection.  I am concerned that if they get a backlash wave of seats in this year's election, that they will go into the 2020 elections and blow it all over again using the same old arrogant gameplan.

And as also previously noted, the Republicans appear to be captivated in the service of big money, almost beyond practical hope of redemption.

Tough times for the quiet of the land.

Have a pleasant evening.













10 January 2018

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - This Forgotten Babylon


"The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the weak are clothed with strength.
Those with plenty must labour for bread,
but the hungry need work no more.

The childless wife has children now
but the fruitful wife bears no more.
It is the Lord who gives life and death,
he brings men to the grave and back;
it is the Lord who gives poverty and riches.

He brings men low and raises them on high.
He lifts up the lowly from the dust,
from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
to give him a glorious throne."

1 Samuel 2:4-8


"In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
I am great Ozymandias, saith the stone,
The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
The wonders of my hand. — The City's gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race,
Once dwelt in that annihilated place."

Horace Smith, Ozymandias, 1818

Stocks were slumping and the precious metals caught a bid as an exclusive story at Bloomberg said that China is considering curtailing or even halting its purchases of US Treasuries.

Bloomberg's own spokesmodels were snickering the mere possibility of that aside, as just a rumour, and unthinkable to boot.

And the markets seemed to join in as stocks recouped most of their losses, and the precious metals back off. Bonds had an interesting ride as well as the US dollar.

The gold inventories in Hong Kong CME warehouses remain markedly low.

Have a pleasant evening.