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James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 29 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a... More
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  • FOURTH TURNING ACCELERATING

    "In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability -problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action." - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe - 1997

    This past week saw an event revealing the cluelessness and ignorance of the linear thinking establishment. They are oblivious to the cyclicality of history and unaware of their precarious situation, as the mood of the country and the world portends their demise. Eric Cantor, the ultimate establishment neo-con Republican House Majority Leader, was crushed in a primary by a completely unknown economics professor, outspent by Cantor $4.9 million to $123,000. Cantor spent more at steakhouses than David Brat spent on his entire campaign. Cantor, a lackey for Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Israel, and dozens of other mega-corporations, was the first House Majority leader defeated in a primary since the position was created in the 1890s. He won his last primary by 60%.

    This was as big a shock to the Republican establishment as it was to the Democratic establishment, the mainstream corporate media establishment, and the Tea Party establishment that didn't provide David Brat one red cent of their vast horde of contributions. They are now scrambling to generate a storyline explaining this unexplainable development as if it was entirely predictable. These wealthy, myopic, propaganda peddling, purveyors of the status quo just felt the foundation of their world shudder beneath them. Like a volcano, with pressure building within, the world as we know it is about to blow. Who gets devastated by the massive explosion and flow of molten lava is yet to be determined, but there is nothing the establishment can do to stop the eruption. This entire Deep State hierarchy has been developed over decades, as they have flawlessly implemented Edward Bernays teachings from the Propaganda playbook.

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." - Edward Bernays - Propaganda - 1928

    The linear thinkers, who constitute the invisible government and unelected true ruling power, are flabbergasted their game plan, which has worked for the last seven decades, is failing to have the usual sway over the normally compliant masses. Lies, misinformation, deception, propaganda, easy debt, cheap oil, endless commercial expansion, relentless marketing, never ending war, politicians selected by bankers and mega-corporations, tax code created to benefit the .01%, and laws written by the lobbyists for the oligarchs designed to control the plebs and enrich the modern aristocracy, made the world go round until 2008. Linear thinkers in government, business, banking and media have been perpetuating the falsehood of a return to normalcy, recovery, and linear progress. They are willfully ignorant of history because acknowledging its cyclicality would be admitting how precarious their positions of power, wealth, and control truly are.

    History does not proceed in a straight line of forward advancement. It has a seasonal nature geared to the 80 year life cycle of human beings. The most basic lesson of history is we never seem to learn the lessons of history. A period of Crisis arrives like Winter, approximately 60 years after the resolution of the prior Crisis, with a climax occurring approximately 80 years after the prior Crisis climax. The generational dynamics based upon human life cycles have lined up once again into Crisis mode. Anyone who hasn't sensed the mood change in the country since 2008, hasn't been paying attention. The linear thinking establishment refuses to accept the inevitability of their existing paradigm collapsing in a chaotic whirlwind of violence, death on a grand scale and decisive war. The existing social order is always swept away during a Fourth Turning.

    Saeculum(climax year) Crisis (Full Era)Time from one Crisis climax to next Crisis climax
    Revolutionary(1781) American Revolution(1773-1794)
    Civil War(1863) Civil War(1860-1865)82 years
    Great Power(1944) Great Depressionand World War II(1929-1946)81 years
    Millennial(2025?) Global Financial Crisis(2008-2029?)81 years?

    The Global Financial Crisis, which began in September 2008, marked the beginning of a likely two decade long episode of fierce winter-like blizzard conditions that will get progressively worse as this Fourth Turning churns toward its bloody climax. The evil wealthy men and their paid off pawns in politics and the media who constitute the invisible government, governing behind the scenes, molding minds, forming tastes and suggesting ideas to the gullible masses, will not relinquish their wealth and power without a fight. They have been utilizing all emergency monetary and fiscal levers, while conducting a data disinformation campaign and utilizing their control of the dying legacy media to keep the masses distracted, entertained and confused.

    The establishment has convinced a vast swath of the public to actually believe 0% interest rates for the last 5 years, adding $1 trillion per year to the already Himalayan national debt, allowing the Federal Reserve buy $3 trillion of toxic debt from their Wall Street banking cabal owners, while creating a high rate of inflation in energy, food, healthcare and tuition costs, and negative growth in real wages, is somehow beneficial to them and reflects a return to normalcy. The current state of our economic, financial, political and judicial systems, along with the fraying social fabric of society reflects EXTREME dysfunction and in no way exhibits anything resembling a normal state of affairs. The government apparatchiks, corporate media talking heads, Wall Street captured economists, and lackeys for billionaire oligarchs are highly paid liars using every Bernaysian trick to manipulate the beliefs, desires, and prejudices of the willfully ignorant masses. They capitalize on the cognitive dissonance and normalcy bias being practiced by the majority of people in the country. Like a dog chasing its tail, they have the public up in arms about meaningless social issues and ignoring the looting of the country by sociopathic bankers.

    Those in power need to sell their storyline of advancement, despite the overwhelming evidence of a societal implosion and economic regression for the 99.99%. They need to distract the masses with inconsequential emotional issues like gay marriage, mass murderers, climate change, party politics, racism, and phantom terror threats, so the masses don't focus on how badly they are being screwed by the One Party invisible government. For those who have been too dumbed down by our government public education system to even comprehend anything beyond a third grade level, we have The Kardashians, Bridezilla, Duck Dynasty, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, iGadgets, Twitter, Facebook, professional sports, Hollywood blockbusters, and toxic fast food paid for with your EBT card. Our world is besieged by triviality, plagued by idiocy, inundated with propaganda, and consumed with consumption.

    In a country of 318 million people, the few believe they must mold the minds of the masses in order for society to function smoothly. Of course this is a huge lie. They need to mold those minds in order to retain their power, wealth, control. They are focused on the daily dose of lies, mistruths, disinformation, and distractions required to keep the masses anesthetized. They have ignored the lessons of history and the big picture driving the Crisis events which will change the world over the next fifteen years. Fourth Turnings don't calm down, fizzle out, or revert to what happened in the prior twenty years, just as the unyielding harsh Winter cannot revert to the glorious days of Fall or the sweltering days of Summer. There is no escaping the dire, deadly and dangerous times directly ahead of us.

    "Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impossible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization - bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments - all recede into irrelevance. Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don't think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted." - Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning

    Strauss and Howe wrote their epic historical treatise in 1997 and their predictions, based upon centuries of generational analysis, have been uncannily accurate. The predictions are not event based, but based upon generational mood and core elements of Crisis, which were predictable over a decade before the 2008 start to this Crisis. The core elements of Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder were evident to anyone with a functioning critical thinking brain, not in the employ of the establishment. These core elements are front and center today, as the Fourth Turning gains momentum like a gathering winter storm. The captured mainstream media does their utmost to obscure, downplay, and ignore these issues, but alternative truth telling websites like Zero Hedge, Mike Krieger's Liberty Blitzkrieg, Mike Shedlock, John Rubino's Dollar Collapse, Jim Kunstler, John Hussman, Charles Hugh Smith, Karl Denninger, and number of other freedom minded websites keep the spark of truth alive for those seeking it. A perusal of headlines from these sites over the last week or so provides the true nature of this worsening Fourth Turning Crisis:

    Debt

    Mindblowing Fact Of The Day: China Has Over 52 Million Vacant Homes

    The Subprime Auto-Lending Credit Bubble Is Bursting

    China HSBC PMI Misses; Economy Contracts For 5th Month In A Row

    Will Spain Default?

    Fed Prepares to Maintain Record Balance Sheet for Years

    Steve Forbes Warns Of Economic "Catastrophe" Due To Fed's Dollar Debasement

    Obama Unveils Student Loan Debt Bubble Bailout

    America's Insatiable Demand For More Expensive Cars, Larger Homes And Bigger Debts

    China Scrambling After "Discovering" Thousands Of Tons Of Rehypothecated Copper, Aluminum Missing

    Western Banks Scramble As China's "Rehypothecation Evaporation" Goes Global

    Consumer Credit Has Fifth Biggest Monthly Jump In History; Revolving Credit Soars By Most Since November 2007

    Abenomics' Legacy: Japan's Greatest "Misery" In 33 Years

    NIRP Has Arrived: Europe Officially Enters The "Monetary Twilight Zone"

    EU Warns Greece Is "A Cause Of Serious Concern" As Top Tax-Collector Resigns

    Why Central Bank Stimulus Cannot Bring Economic Recovery

    Summer Gas Prices Highest Since 2011 As Oil Hits 9-Month Highs

    It Was A Reeeeeally Bad Winter: JPM Cuts Q1 GDP From -1.1% To -1.6%

    How The Fed Feeds The Sharks, While Shafting Wage Earners And Savers

    Fed's Bubble Finance Is Primary Cause of Massive Wealth Gains At The Top

    Former ECB Chief Economist Says Central Bank Run Monetary System Is "Pure Fiction"

    More On The China Property Bubble: April New Housing Starts Down 25%; Beijing/Shanghai Sales Down 50%

    What Happens After The Bubble Bursts: 85% Of Pension Funds Could Fail Due To An Era Of Niggardly Returns

    Civic Decay

    Across America, Police Departments Are Quietly Preparing For War

    Meet The "Minerva Research Initiative" - The Pentagon's Preparation For "Mass Civil Breakdown"

    The Obama Administration Is Forcing Local Cops To Stay Silent On Surveillance

    In 33 U.S. Cities, Feeding The Homeless Has Been Criminalized

    Obama Popularity Plunges To New Low: "No Longer Likeable Enough"

    Historic Loss: House Majority Leader Cantor Loses Virginia Primary To Tea Party's Brat

    Suspect Yells "Tell The Police, The Revolution Has Started" Before Shooting Spree In Las Vegas WalMart

    Two Thirds Of Gen X Households Have Less Wealth Than Their Parents Did At The Same Age

    7 In 10 Americans Believe The Crisis Is Not Over Or Worst Is Yet To Come: 52% Can't Afford Their Homes

    1 In 4 Obamacare Signups Are Faulty - But, We Are Sure Obama Never Knew Anything About It Until Now

    Fed Warns The Plunge In "Routine" Jobs Won't Slow Down Anytime Soon

    US Finally Recovers All Jobs Lost Since 2007 While People Not In Labor Force Increase By 12.8 Million

    Two-Thirds Of Americans Do Not Back Obama's Decision On Bergdahl

    Hiring In The US Remains Far Below Pre-Recession Levels

    Half The Country Makes Less Than $27,520 A Year And 15 Other Signs The Middle Class Is Dying

    The Rich Get Richest: Household Net Worth Rises To All Time High Courtesy Of $67 Trillion In Financial Assets

    Challenger Job Cuts Soar 45%; Most Layoffs Since Feb 2013

    It's Not Just Europe; As Many As 16 California Counties May Seek Secession From The State

    America's Insanely Complex And Endemically Corrupt Tax Code: Mother Lode Of Crony Capitalist Plunder

    Global Disorder

    Al-Qaeda Jihadis Loot Over $400 Million From Mosul Central Bank, Seize Saddam's Hometown

    Al Qaeda Militants Capture US Black Hawk Helicopters In Iraq

    Iraq Update: Kurds Take Kirkuk, Al Qaeda Surges Toward Baghdad

    "Well-Armed" Taliban Tried To Hijack Airplane Leading To Pakistan Airport Shootout

    Gruesome Footage Of ISIS Atrocities Reveals Al Qaeda Jihadists "Will Stop At Nothing"

    Ukraine Military Transport Plane Shot Down, 49 Killed

    Marc Faber Blasts "American Military Presence In Asia Is Completely Unacceptable"

    B-1 Stealth Bomber "Friendly Fire" Strike Kills 5 US Soldiers In Afghanistan

    World Needs Record Saudi Oil Supply as OPEC Convenes

    Déjà vu: echoes of pre-crisis world mount

    Chinese military spending exceeds $145 billion, drones advanced: U.S.

    Ukraine Closes 8 Border Crossings On Reports Of Russian Troop Movement

    Firefight Underway As Russian "Rebels" Cross Border Into Ukraine

    US Begins Delivering F-16s To Iraq This Week, A Decade After It Wiped Out Iraq's Air Force

    Two Ukraine Helicopters Shot Down: Watch As Gunship Engages Eastern Militia In Intense Fighting

    Saudi Arabia Reveals Surge In MERS Deaths: One Third Of Infected Patients Die

    Japan Base Wages Decline 23 Months In A Row

    Obama Calls for $1 Billion Europe Security Fund; Will Increase U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe

    China Sends 4 More Fighter Jets To Oil Rig Area As Vietnam Threatens Legal Action

    "Political Earthquake" - Nigel Farage "Big Winner" In Local Elections

    Do these headlines indicate a lessening or deepening of the ongoing Crisis? You won't see these truthful headlines in the mainstream captured media. You will see feel good headlines touting non-existent economic recoveries, decreasing unemployment rates with record levels of non-working Americans, and storylines of government, corporate and consumer austerity as debt levels reach all-time highs. You will see stories scorning Edward Snowden as a traitor for exposing the highest levels of the United States government as criminals for shredding the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. You will see articles hyping one hundred years of shale oil and gas as energy prices approach record highs and the point of peak cheap oil has been passed. You will see publications owned by billionaires peddling hogwash about fantastic Wall Street profits entirely dependent upon mark to fantasy accounting and accounting journal entries relieving loan loss reserves as loan losses rise. You will see hyperbolic fear mongering dreck about foiled terrorist plots concocted by the FBI and DHS. You will see stories about the evil Russians and evil Chinese as our CIA promotes the overthrow of democratically elected officials in countries around the globe. You will see stories about the dangers of foreign countries conducting cyber-warfare against the U.S. as our government intercepts every electronic communication of our allies and citizens. It's as if we are lost in a blizzard of lies.

    Debt, Civic Decay, Global Disorder

    Propaganda and the molding of minds cannot change the course of history. Those in power can ignore the facts, but they can't change the facts. During the "austere" period from 2009 through until today, total credit market debt in the U.S. has expanded from $53.4 trillion to $59.4 trillion. It now stands at 350% of GDP, even after the government added $500 billion out of thin air to GDP to further their deception of recovery. The U.S. national debt is at a record $17.5 trillion and goes up by $2.0 billion per day. This doesn't include the $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities politicians have committed taxpayers to pay over the next few decades. Corporate debt is at record highs as CEO's borrow to buy back their stock at record highs in order to boost EPS and drive their compensation higher.

    US total debt 2014

    Consumer debt has surged to new highs reaching $3.2 trillion, as government pushed subprime student loan debt and government peddled subprime auto loan lure more math challenged dupes into the banker web of debt. Even credit card debt surged in May as people can no longer make monthly payments for energy, food, rent, and healthcare. Retailers continue to report horrific profits as disposable income has been disposed of by the Federal Reserve's QE and ZIRP "solutions". The immense levels of debt plague the entire world as total global debt now surpasses $230 trillion, 313% of world GDP. The 40% surge in global debt since the 2008 debt created collapse is unprecedented in its scope and lunacy. Trying to resolve a debt problem created by criminal Wall Street bankers by allowing Wall Street controlled central bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats to issue more debt, reduce interest rates to zero, and enrich the oligarchs, will end in catastrophe. The house of cards is teetering as trust dissipates, rehypothecated assets evaporate, the suppression of price discovery fails and the rigged stock market crashes for the third time in fourteen years.

    The 2008 global financial crash was the catalyst for this Fourth Turning and the next leg down will unleash the fury of the masses as their remaining wealth, along with their hopes and dreams are obliterated. The civic decay is unmistakably visible, like a fissure in the road after an earthquake, and has left the masses angry, confused, dependent, ignorant, distracted, and suspicious. The extreme and growing wealth inequality driven by Federal Reserve policies, corporate lobbyist written government regulations and tax laws, and bankers controlling the political, economic, financial, and media levers has reached levels previously associated with collapse and revolution. The greed, hubris and arrogance of the .01% will lead to their downfall.

    (click to enlarge)

    A country with 102 million of its 247 million working age population not working is a powder-keg and the politicians are acting like slow witted monkeys lighting matches. With 20% of the 145 million jobs part-time, more than half low paying service industry jobs, real wages lower than they were in 1998, and a median salary of $25,000, it's understandable why 20% of the population relies on food stamps to survive. The discontent is growing. We got a preview of how the establishment will deal with disgruntlement during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests. Liberal Democrat mayors aligned with Fox News neo-cons, Wall Street bankers, and police state thugs to eradicate, beat, tear gas, and pepper spray young people exercising their right to free speech protesting the wolves of Wall Street, who had pulled of the largest heist in human history with absolutely no consequences for their criminality. Both OWS and the Tea Party were co-opted by the establishment in short order and have been used by the One Party of oligarchs as a means to divide and conquer, by keeping the masses blaming liberal or conservative phantoms for the state of disunion.

    The seemingly never ending revelations from the hero of this Fourth Turning - Edward Snowden - of government surveillance regarding every electronic communication of every American by the NSA is proof of a complete disregard for Constitutionally guaranteed protections by the powers that be. The current administration in conjunction with the hacks from the two headed party ignore, flaunt and show disdain for the Bill of Rights and legal precedent as they run roughshod over the citizens. The transformation of our republic into an authoritarian surveillance police state is almost complete.

    The militarization of local police forces by the DHS, military training exercises in major cities, and plans being drawn up by the authorities to confront civil unrest all point towards the coming breakdown of civil society. The complete lockdown of Boston to apprehend two teenage cooking utensil terrorists was a dry run and probably gave the oligarchs confidence in their plan, as Bostonians cowered in their homes as heavily armed police thugs pissed on the Fourth Amendment by conducting door to door searches. If you listen closely, you can hear the fabric of our civilization being torn asunder.

    The past few weeks have seen global disorder reach new heights, as Iraq has become Mission Un-Accomplished, the Ukraine explodes into civil war as Russia cuts off their natural gas, violent protests continue to rock Brazil, Egypt, Spain, Greece, France, Turkey and a myriad of other hotspots around the world. The very same forces Obama, McCain and the military industrial complex have been arming in Syria to fight a dictator who was our ally, are now ransacking Iraq, murdering the people we put into power when we deposed another dictator who had been our ally when he was fighting our sworn enemy - Iran. It seems Iran is now helping Iraq fight these jihadists, as they slowly but surely gain control over Iraq. The EU has papered over their national insolvency problems with more debt, while imposing austerity measures on the peasants. See French Revolution for the ultimate resolution of this banker-centric solution. The endemic fraud in China, along with an imploding real estate market, and corruption on an epic scale are creating a perfect storm which will derail the China miracle meme.

    Meanwhile, the new dictator in Egypt who overthrew the democratically elected government, after our former dictator ally was deposed when Obama refused to support him, has clamped down on the citizens with his military force. The Ukraine is being torn apart after the CIA and their counterparts in the EU undermined the democratically elected government and started a civil war to undermine Russian influence in that country. To an impartial observer, you might think the American Empire is purposely sowing seeds of discontent, war, and disorder around the globe. Never ending war benefits the military industrial complex, as tremendous profits are generated from the sale of arms to all parties involved. Iraq and Syria are good for the bottom line of the U.S. Defense Industry. War and global disorder also benefit the worldwide banking cabal, as the only way to fund these misadventures is through debt. As we all know, debt is what makes this world go round - until it doesn't.

    There has been a virtual mainstream media blackout regarding the Ukraine as government forces bomb and murder civilians. The billionaires running America need to support the billionaire president of the Ukraine because he is one of them. Truth has no place in modern governmental affairs. The mainstream media ignores the fact the United States has armed Sunni terrorists in Syria who are now on the verge of overrunning Baghdad, as they slaughter Iraqi Shiites by the thousands. They ignore the fact that Iraq was a modern, stable, non-religious, oil producing nation under Hussein, with no Al Qaeda or sectarian violence. The United States invaded a sovereign country under false pretenses, wasted over $1 trillion of precious national wealth, killed over 100,000 Iraqis, sustained over 37,000 physical casualties, untold numbers of mental casualties, and now Iraq is dissolving into a quagmire of religious violence threatening oil supplies and driving prices higher. After 13 years and 21,000 casualties in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than ever as we declare victory and slink away. Libya has been another feather in the cap of American foreign policy as we deposed another former ally dictator and have left the country in disarray and civil war. Just because the American corporate media doesn't report these facts, doesn't make them not so.

    It should be clear to anyone willing to open their eyes and not be influenced by the establishment propaganda that this Fourth Turning is entering a new ominous phase, as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis catalyst has ignited a volcanic eruption which has put tremendous strain on the areas of extreme vulnerability - debt, civic decay, global disorder. The few aware Americans who frequent truth telling websites are frustrated and impatient, waiting for the tsunami of change to sweep over the world. History operates at its own cyclical pace. An accelerated Fourth Turning would likely not be a positive development. The Civil War Crisis was accelerated, resulting in 700,000 deaths in four years. With the worldwide proliferation of nuclear missiles, this Fourth Turning could be over with the push of a button. I don't think anyone is rooting for that outcome.

    You can easily be distracted by the day to day machinations of evil men, relentless propaganda, meaningless distractions, and various forms of bread and circuses. But history is unforgiving. The details and events will be different, but the path of this Crisis will follow past Crisis periods. The worldwide debt bubble will burst. The resulting loss of wealth, jobs, entitlements and trust will ignite mass civil disorder as years of civic decay lead to a swift societal collapse. With China also entering a Fourth Turning, a global debt implosion, resource wars breaking out, religious extremism, and nationalistic drums beating, the likelihood of global war is high.

    For some perspective, six years into the last Fourth Turning in 1935, GDP had risen by 30% from its 1933 low and FDR's New Deal was supposedly lifting the country from its depths. In reality, the population was experiencing a worsening depression and a few years later a world war killed 65 million people. After six years the Civil War Crisis was resolved with 5% of the nation's male population killed, a president assassinated, and the South left in ruins. This Fourth Turning will proceed along its destined path at its own pace. The molten ingredients of debt, civic decay and global disorder are conjoining in an explosive concoction leading to a conflagration which will flow across the globe on a scale not seen since the Second World War. There is no escaping the trials and tribulations awaiting us. The outcome is uncertain. It could end in glory or destruction. Individual sacrifice, shared burdens, courageous stands and inspired leadership will be required to survive the perilous trials ahead.

    I see the bad moon arising

    I see trouble on the way

    I see earthquakes and lightnin'

    I see bad times today

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    "Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

    • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
    • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
    • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
    • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction" - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe - 1997

    Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Jun 17 12:53 PM | Link | Comment!
  • RETAIL DEATH RATTLE GROWS LOUDER

    The definition of death rattle is a sound often produced by someone who is near death when fluids such as saliva and bronchial secretions accumulate in the throat and upper chest. The person can't swallow and emits a deepening wheezing sound as they gasp for breath. This can go on for two or three days before death relieves them of their misery. The American retail industry is emitting an unmistakable wheezing sound as a long slow painful death approaches.

    It was exactly four months ago when I wrote THE RETAIL DEATH RATTLE. Here are a few terse anecdotes from that article:

    The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

    Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun.

    The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end.

    Retail store results for the 1st quarter of 2014 have been rolling in over the last week. It seems the hideous government reported retail sales results over the last six months are being confirmed by the dying bricks and mortar mega-chains. In case you missed the corporate mainstream media not reporting the facts and doing their usual positive spin, here are the absolutely dreadful headlines:

    Wal-Mart Profit Plunges By $220 Million as US Store Traffic Declines by 1.4%

    Target Profit Plunges by $80 Million, 16% Lower Than 2013, as Store Traffic Declines by 2.3%

    Sears Loses $358 Million in First Quarter as Comparable Store Sales at Sears Plunge by 7.8% and Sales at Kmart Plunge by 5.1%

    JC Penney Thrilled With Loss of Only $358 Million For the Quarter

    Kohl's Operating Income Plunges by 17% as Comparable Sales Decline by 3.4%

    Costco Profit Declines by $84 Million as Comp Store Sales Only Increase by 2%

    Staples Profit Plunges by 44% as Sales Collapse and Closing Hundreds of Stores

    Gap Income Drops 22% as Same Store Sales Fall

    American Eagle Profits Tumble 86%, Will Close 150 Stores

    Aeropostale Losses $77 Million as Sales Collapse by 12%

    Best Buy Sales Decline by $300 Million as Margins Decline and Comparable Store Sales Decline by 1.3%

    Macy's Profit Flat as Comparable Store Sales decline by 1.4%

    Dollar General Profit Plummets by 40% as Comp Store Sales Decline by 3.8%

    Urban Outfitters Earnings Collapse by 20% as Sales Stagnate

    McDonalds Earnings Fall by $66 Million as US Comp Sales Fall by 1.7%

    Darden Profit Collapses by 30% as Same Restaurant Sales Plunge by 5.6% and Company Selling Red Lobster

    TJX Misses Earnings Expectations as Sales & Earnings Flat

    Dick's Misses Earnings Expectations as Golf Store Sales Plummet

    Home Depot Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic Only Rises by 2.2%

    Lowes Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic was Flat

    Of course, those headlines were never reported. I went to each earnings report and gathered the info that should have been reported by the CNBC bimbos and hacks. Anything you heard surely had a Wall Street spin attached, like the standard BETTER THAN EXPECTED. I love that one. At the start of the quarter the Wall Street shysters post earnings expectations. As the quarter progresses, the company whispers the bad news to Wall Street and the earnings expectations are lowered. Then the company beats the lowered earnings expectation by a penny and the Wall Street scum hail it as a great achievement. The muppets must be sacrificed to sustain the Wall Street bonus pool. Wall Street investment bank geniuses rated JC Penney a buy from $85 per share in 2007 all the way down to $5 a share in 2013. No more needs to be said about Wall Street "analysis".

    It seems even the lowered expectation scam hasn't worked this time. U.S. retailer profits have missed lowered expectations by the most in 13 years. They generally "beat" expectations by 3% when the game is being played properly. They've missed expectations in the 1st quarter by 3.2%, the worst miss since the fourth quarter of 2000. If my memory serves me right, I believe the economy entered recession shortly thereafter. The brilliant Ivy League trained Wall Street MBAs, earning high six digit salaries on Wall Street, predicted a 13% increase in retailer profits for the first quarter. A monkey with a magic 8 ball could do a better job than these Wall Street big swinging dicks.

    The highly compensated flunkies who sit in the corner CEO office of the mega-retail chains trotted out the usual drivel about cold and snowy winter weather and looking forward to tremendous success over the remainder of the year. How do these excuse machine CEO's explain the success of many high end retailers during the first quarter? Doesn't weather impact stores that cater to the .01%? The continued unrelenting decline in profits of retailers, dependent upon the working class, couldn't have anything to do with this chart? It seems only the oligarchs have made much progress over the last four decades.

    (click to enlarge)

    Retail CEO gurus all think they have a master plan to revive sales. I'll let you in on a secret. They don't really have a plan. They have no idea why they experienced tremendous success from 2000 through 2007, and why their businesses have not revived since the 2008 financial collapse. Retail CEOs are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They were born on third base and thought they hit a triple. Now they are stranded there, with no hope of getting home. They should be figuring out how to position themselves for the multi-year contraction in sales, but their egos and hubris will keep them from taking the actions necessary to keep their companies afloat in the next decade. Bankruptcy awaits. The front line workers will be shit canned and the CEO will get a golden parachute. It's the American way.

    The secret to retail success before 2007 was: create or copy a successful concept; get Wall Street financing and go public ASAP; source all your inventory from Far East slave labor factories; hire thousands of minimum wage level workers to process transactions; build hundreds of new stores every year to cover up the fact the existing stores had deteriorating performance; convince millions of gullible dupes to buy cheap Chinese shit they didn't need with money they didn't have; and pretend this didn't solely rely upon cheap easy debt pumped into the veins of American consumers by the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street bank owners. The financial crisis in 2008 revealed everyone was swimming naked, when the tide of easy credit subsided.

    The pundits, politicians and delusional retail CEOs continue to await the revival of retail sales as if reality doesn't exist. The 1 million retail stores, 109,000 shopping centers, and nearly 15 billion square feet of retail space for an aging, increasingly impoverished, and savings poor populace might be a tad too much and will require a slight downsizing - say 3 or 4 billion square feet. Considering the debt fueled frenzy from 2000 through 2008 added 2.7 billion square feet to our suburban sprawl concrete landscape, a divestiture of that foolish investment will be the floor. If you think there are a lot of SPACE AVAILABLE signs dotting the countryside, you ain't seen nothing yet. The mega-chains have already halted all expansion. That was the first step. The weaker players like Radio Shack, Sears, Family Dollar, Coldwater Creek, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster and dozens of others are already closing stores by the hundreds. Thousands more will follow.

    This isn't some doom and gloom prediction based on nothing but my opinion. This is the inevitable result of demographic certainties, unequivocal data, and the consequences of a retailer herd mentality and lemming like behavior of consumers. The open and shut case for further shuttering of 3 to 4 billion square feet of retail is as follows:

    • There is 47 square feet of retail space per person in America. This is 8 times as much as any other country on earth. This is up from 38 square feet in 2005; 30 square feet in 2000; 19 square feet in 1990; and 4 square feet in 1960. If we just revert to 2005 levels, 3 billion square feet would need to go dark. Does that sound outrageous?

    (click to enlarge)

    • Annual consumer expenditures by those over 65 years old drop by 40% from their highest spending years from 45 to 54 years old. The number of Americans turning 65 will increase by 10,000 per day for the next 16 years. There were 35 million Americans over 65 in 2000, accounting for 12% of the total population. By 2030 there will be 70 million Americans over 65, accounting for 20% of the total population. Do you think that bodes well for retailers?

    (click to enlarge)

    • Half of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have no retirement savings. The other half has accumulated $52,000 or less. It seems the debt financed consumer product orgy of the last two decades has left most people nearly penniless. More than 50% of workers aged 25 to 44 report they have less than $10,000 of total savings.

    • The lack of retirement and general savings is reflected in the historically low personal savings rate of a miniscule 3.8%. Before the materialistic frenzy of the last couple decades, rational Americans used to save 10% or more of their personal income. With virtually no savings as they approach their retirement years and an already extremely low savings rate, do retail CEOs really see a spending revival on the horizon?

    • If you thought the savings rate was so low because consumers are flush with cash and so optimistic about their job prospects they are unconcerned about the need to save for a rainy day, you would be wrong. It has been raining for the last 14 years. Real median household income is 7.5% lower today than it was in 2001. Retailers added 2.7 billion square feet of retail space as real household income fell. Sounds rational.

    (click to enlarge)

    • This decline in household income may have something to do with the labor participation rate plummeting to the lowest level since 1978. There are 247.4 million working age Americans and only 145.7 million of them employed (19 million part-time; 9 million self-employed; 20 million employed by the government). There are 92 million Americans, who according to the government have willingly left the workforce, up by 13.3 million since 2007 when over 146 million Americans were employed. You'd have to be a brainless twit to believe the unemployment rate is really 6.3% today. Retail sales would be booming if the unemployment rate was really that low.

    • With a 16.5% increase in working age Americans since 2000 and only a 6.5% increase in employed Americans, along with declining real household income, an inquisitive person might wonder how retail sales were able to grow from $3.3 trillion in 2000 to $5.1 trillion in 2013 - a 55% increase. You need to look no further than your friendly Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks for the answer. In the olden days of the 1970s and early 1980s Americans put 10% to 20% down to buy a house and then systematically built up equity by making their monthly payments. The Ivy League financial engineers created "exotic" (toxic) mortgage products requiring no money down, no principal payments, and no proof you could make a payment, in their control fraud scheme to fleece the American sheeple. Their propaganda machine convinced millions more to use their homes as an ATM, because home prices never drop. Just ask Ben Bernanke. Even after the Bernanke/Blackrock fake housing recovery (actual mortgage originations now at 1978 levels) household real estate percent equity is barely above 50%, well below the 70% levels before the Wall Street induced debt debacle. With the housing market about to head south again, the home equity ATM will have an Out of Order sign on it.

    (click to enlarge)

    • We here the endless drivel from disingenuous Keynesian nitwits about government and consumer austerity being the cause of our stagnating economy. My definition of austerity would be an actual reduction in spending and debt accumulation. It seems during this time of austerity total credit market debt has RISEN from $53.5 trillion in 2009 to $59 trillion today. Not exactly austere, as the Federal government adds $2.2 billion PER DAY to the national debt, saddling future generations with the bill for our inability to confront reality. The American consumer has not retrenched, as the CNBC bimbos and bozos would have you believe. Consumer credit reached an all-time high of $3.14 trillion in March, up from $2.52 trillion in 2010. That doesn't sound too austere to me. Of course, this increase is solely due to Obamanomics and Bernanke's $3 trillion gift to his Wall Street owners. The doling out of $645 billion to subprime college "students" and subprime auto "buyers" since 2010 accounts for more than 100% of the increase. The losses on these asinine loans will be epic. Credit card debt has actually fallen as people realize it is their last lifeline. They are using credit cards to pay income taxes, real estate taxes, higher energy costs, higher food costs, and the other necessities of life.

    The entire engineered "recovery" since 2009 has been nothing but a Federal Reserve/U.S. Treasury conceived, debt manufactured scam. These highly educated lackeys for the establishment have been tasked with keeping the U.S. Titanic afloat until the oligarchs can safely depart on the lifeboats with all the ship's jewels safely stowed in their pockets. There has been no housing recovery. There has been no jobs recovery. There has been no auto sales recovery. Giving a vehicle to someone with a 580 credit score with a 0% seven year loan is not a sale. It's a repossession in waiting. The government supplied student loans are going to functional illiterates who are majoring in texting, facebooking and twittering. Do you think these indebted University of Phoenix dropouts living in their parents' basements are going to spur a housing and retail sales recovery? This Keynesian "solution" was designed to produce the appearance of recovery, convince the masses to resume their debt based consumption, and add more treasure into the vaults of the Wall Street banks.

    The master plan has failed miserably in reviving the economy. Savings, capital investment, and debt reduction are the necessary ingredients for a sustained healthy economic system. Debt based personal consumption of cheap foreign produced baubles & gadgets, $1 trillion government deficits to sustain the warfare/welfare state, along with a corrupt political and rigged financial system are the explosive concoction which will blow our economic system sky high. Facts can be ignored. Media propaganda can convince the willfully ignorant to remain so. The Federal Reserve can buy every Treasury bond issued to fund an out of control government. But eventually reality will shatter the delusions of millions as the debt based Ponzi scheme will run out of dupes and collapse in a flaming heap.

    The inevitable shuttering of at least 3 billion square feet of retail space is a certainty. The aging demographics of the U.S. population, dire economic situation of both young and old, and sheer lunacy of the retail expansion since 2000, guarantee a future of ghost malls, decaying weed infested empty parking lots, retailer bankruptcies, real estate developer bankruptcies, massive loan losses for the banking industry, and the loss of millions of retail jobs. Since I always look for a silver lining in a black cloud, I predict a bright future for the SPACE AVAILABLE and GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign making companies.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    May 27 10:05 AM | Link | 1 Comment
  • SMOKING GUN FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE MURDER OF THE MIDDLE CLASS

    "Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy - especially when the economy is struggling." - Ben Bernanke

    "The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake." - Alan Greenspan

    There you have it - the wisdom of two Ivy League educated economists who are primarily liable for the death of the American middle class. They now receive $250,000 per speaking engagement from the crooked financial parties their monetary policies benefited; write books to try and whitewash their legacies of failure, fraud, and hubris; and bask in the glow of the corporate mainstream media propaganda storyline of them saving the world from financial Armageddon. Never have two men done so much damage to so many people, so quickly, and are not in a prison cell or swinging from a lamppost. Their crimes make Madoff look like a two bit marijuana dealer.

    The self-proclaimed Great Depression "expert" Ben Bernanke peddles pabulum about inflation being too low and posing dire risk to the economy, but is blasé that swelling the Federal Reserve balance sheet debt from $900 billion in 2008 to $4.4 trillion today with his digital printing press poses any systematic risk to the country and its citizens. Either his years in academia have blinded him to the reality of his actions upon the lives of real people living in the real world, or his real constituents have not been the American people, but the Wall Street bankers that pulled his puppet strings over the last eight years.

    Now that he has passed the Control-P button to Yellen, he is reaping the rewards of bailing out Wall Street and further enriching them with QEfinity. Ben earned a whopping $200,000 per year as Federal Reserve chairman. He now rakes in $250,000 per speech from the very financial interests who benefited from his traitorous monetary machinations. I don't think he will be invited to speak at any little league banquets by formerly middle class parents whose standard of living has been declining since the 1980s. Is it a requirement that every Federal Reserve chairperson lie, obfuscate, misinform, hide the truth, and do the exact opposite of what they say they will do?

    "It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve - nor would it be appropriate - to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions." - Ben Bernanke - October 2007

    Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen have always been worried about deflation, while even the government suppressed CPI calculation reveals that inflation has risen by 108% since the day Greenspan assumed office in August 1987. The dollar has lost 52% of its purchasing power in the last 27 years of Fed induced bubbles and busts. And these scholarly academic bozos have been worried about deflation the entire time. Since Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and unleashed the two headed inflation loving gargoyle of debt issuing bankers and feckless self-serving politicians upon the American people, the dollar has lost 83% of its purchasing power (even using the bastardized BLS figures).

    Any critical thinking person with their eyes open knows the official inflation figures have been systematically understated since the 1980's by at least 3% per year. Should the average American be more worried about deflation or inflation, based upon what has occurred during the 100 years of the Federal Reserve controlling our currency?

    I'm sure Greenspan is content and proud, as he succeeded through his own endeavors in rewarding, encouraging and propagating excessive risk taking by the Wall Street cabal during his 19 year reign of error. He exited stage left as the biggest bubble in history, created by his excessively low interest rate policy, blew up and destroyed the 401ks and home values of the middle class. This was the second bubble under his monetary guidance to burst. The third bubble created by these Keynesian acolytes of easy money will burst in the near future, further impoverishing what remains of the middle class and hopefully igniting a long overdue revolution.

    Greenspan's pathetic excuse for a career has benefitted those who owned him, while leaving a trail of casualties that circles the globe. His inflationary dogma, Wall Street enriching doctrine and Keynesian motivated schemes have drained the savings and confiscated the wealth of the middle class through persistent and devastating inflation. And it was done by a man who knew exactly what he was doing.

    "Under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth… The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit… In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation" - Alan Greenspan - 1966

    The abandonment of the gold standard in 1971 set in motion four decades of consumer debt accumulation on an epic scale, currency debauchment, and real wage stagnation. The consumer debt accumulation was a consequence of the American middle class being lured into debt by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks and their corporate media propaganda machine, as a fallacious response to stagnating real wages when their jobs were shipped to China by mega-corporations using wage arbitrage to boost quarterly profits, their stock prices, and executive bonuses.

    The bottom four quintiles have made no progress over the last four decades on an inflation adjusted basis. The middle quintile, representing the middle class, has seen their real household income grow by less than 20% over the last 43 years. And this is using the understated CPI. In reality, even with two spouses working today versus one in 1971, real household income is lower today than it was in 1971.

    (click to enlarge)

    The more recent data, during the Greenspan/Bernanke inflationary era, is even more disconcerting and destructive. Real median household income has grown at an annualized rate of less than 0.5% over the last thirty years. During the bubblicious years from 2000 through 2014, while Wall Street used control fraud and virtually free money provided by the Fed to siphon off hundreds of billions of ill-gotten profits from the economy, the average middle class family saw their income drop and their debt load soar. This is crony capitalism success at its finest.

    The oligarchs count on the fact math challenged, iGadget distracted, Facebook focused, public school educated morons will never understand the impact of inflation on their daily lives. The pliant co-conspirators in the dying legacy media regurgitate nominal government reported income figures which show median household income growing by 30% over the last fourteen years. In reality, the real median household income has FALLEN by 7% since 2000 and 7.5% since its 2008 peak. Again, using a true inflation figure would yield declines exceeding 15%.

    (click to enlarge)

    Greenspan and Bernanke's monetary policies loaded the gun; Wall Street bankers cocked the trigger with their no doc negative amortization mortgages, $0 down - 0% interest - 7 year subprime auto loans, introducing the home equity line ATM, and $20,000 lines on dozens of credit cards; the media mouthpieces parroted the stocks for the long run and home prices never fall bullshit storyline, encouraging Americans to pull the trigger; government apparatchiks and bought off politicians and their deficit expanding fiscal policies, pointed the gun; and the American people pulled the trigger by believing this nonsense, blowing their brains all over their leased BMWs in the driveway in front of their underwater McMansion.

    Median household income in the United States peaked in 1999. The internet boom, housing boom and now QE boom have done nothing beneficial for middle class Americans. They have been left with lower real income, less home equity, no savings, and no hope for a better tomorrow. Most states saw their median household income peak over a decade ago, with more than half the states experiencing double digit declines and ten states experiencing declines of 19% or higher. It's clear who has benefitted from the fiscal policies of spendthrift politicians and the spineless inhabitants of the Mariner Eccles Building in the squalid swamplands of Washington D.C. - the pond scum inhabiting that town. The median household income in D.C. stands at an all-time high. Winning!!!!

    A former inhabitant of Washington D.C. spoke the truth about inflation and the men who benefit from it in the 1870's. He was later assassinated.

    "Who so ever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate." - James Garfield

    The Federal Reserve, a private bank representing the interests of its Wall Street owners, has been in existence for 100 years. It has managed to diminish the purchasing power of the dollar by 95%, while causing depressions, enabling never ending warfare, allowing politicians to expand the welfare state to immense unsustainable proportions, and enriched its true constituents on Wall Street beyond the comprehension of average Americans. In 2002 Ben Bernanke made his famous helicopter speech where he promised to drop dollars from helicopters to fight off the ever dangerous deflation. After the Fed created 2008 worldwide financial collapse he fired up his helicopters, but dropped trillions of dollars on only one street in America - Wall Street. He dropped turkeys on Main Street, and we all know from Les Nesman what happens when you drop turkeys from helicopters.

    Les Nesman: Oh, they're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! This is terrible! Everyone's running around pushing each other. Oh my goodness! Oh, the humanity! People are running about. The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Folks, I don't know how much longer... The crowd is running for their lives.

    Arthur Carlson: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    The intellectual turkeys running this treacherous institution create a new and larger crisis with each successively desperate gambit to keep their Ponzi scheme alive. Even though Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen are highly educated, they are incapable or unwilling to focus on the practical long-term implications of their short-term measures to keep this perverted financial scheme from imploding. Denigrating savings and capital investment, while urging debt financed spending on foreign produced trinkets and gadgets passes for economic wisdom in the waning days of our empire. Courageous and truthful leaders are nowhere to be found as the country circles the drain. Farewell middle class. It was nice knowing you.

    "There are men regarded today as brilliant economists, who deprecate saving and recommend squandering on a national scale as the way of economic salvation; and when anyone points to what the consequences of these policies will be in the long run, they reply flippantly, as might the prodigal son of a warning father: "In the long run we are all dead." And such shallow wisecracks pass as devastating epigrams and the ripest wisdom." - Henry Hazlitt - Economics in One Lesson

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    May 19 3:31 PM | Link | Comment!
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