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Trade stocks by day, and at night am writing a historical epic about the ancient Mayan civilization. "Maya: Spirits Of The Jaguar" is a sweeping saga set in the ancient and magical Mayan landscape where a wronged family struggles against prophecy, power, treachery and forbidden love,... More
  • The Scariest Financial Site On The Web 27 comments
    Aug 16, 2009 6:05 PM

    Having made the rash decision of taking my e-trading account to 75% cash on Friday, I decided to relax and open my brain and think about what is really going on with the US economy. For some reason, I had a flashback to my youth, when my parents took me to Times Square. I remember my father pointing out the massive signage that counted the US national debt, and recall way back then how stunned I was at how fast the debt was climbing; it was in the billions, then.

    Now it's in the trillions, and climbing at more than $1,000,000 every five seconds.

    Yesterday, as I was trying to wrap my brain around the "Things-Are-Getting-Better" versus "No-They-Are-Not" debate, I thought of that debt clock, and decided to Bing "US National Debt Real Time."

    I was led to the following website:

    Here's a summary of what I found, year-to-date:

    -US National Debt is $11.65 trillion, or $38,091/person

    -US Spending is $2.427 trillion, or $8,072/person

    The largest budget expenditures:

    -Defense/War Spending is $407.37 billion

    -Social Security is $400.8 billion

    -Medicare/Medicaid is $388.34 billion

    -The interest payment on the debt is $294.77 billion

    The clock also has the number of "officially" unemployed at 14,611,726, and the "actual" unemployed count of 18,591,843. The clock states that we are nearing $60 billion traded to the OPEC members, and $145 billion overall for imported oil.
    If the above numbers do not scare you into a martini-gulping stagger, then what follows will. According to the "clock" the US government bailouts are currently $11.882 trillion. The loss of national household wealth is $12.11 trillion, and climbing $100,000 every two seconds. The "Cramer-sheeple" who claim housing has already bottomed are obvioiusly misleading you.

    But the last number, the one that shook me to the core, the number that I find excruciating and frightening and maddening and outraged, is the Estimated Currency and Credit Derivatives: $644.520 trillion. And going up by 1 million dollars every five seconds.

    Further, the clock shows that the unfunded liabilities are at $58.9 trillion. That figures to be just short of $192.000 per person. This includes the unfunded Medicare/Medicaid liability of $39.36 trillion, the Social Security liability of $10.7 trillion, and the Prescription Drug liabiltiy of $8.56 trillion. 

    Maybe my Friday decision to take profits and go to a large percentage of cash was a wrong one. I've never played the short ETF's; they go against my positive and bullish way of thinking. But soon, maybe as early as Monday, for the first time, I will begin to establish those positions.

    Nowadays, you don't have to travel to Times Square to see that clock. You can see for yourself these terrifying numbers at:  

    Disclosure: I own no short ETF's, yet.
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Comments (27)
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  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    I've got to plant this somewhere, where hopefully it won't be seen until I get response from that MF.


    Your Qoute in a Peterson Article:


    "1) Carter's policies reduced US oil imports by 50%"


    That Qoute is followed by this quote in the same Article:


    Performance [View article] sorry, the above comment should have been Carter reduced US foreign oil imports by "5 million barrels per day", not "50%". typing too fast....
    29 Aug 2009, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » One Owl, glad to know you! Let's keep beating the drums about this horrifying Freya incident. As soon as I recieve, what I'm sure will be a long and passionate email, I will bring it "on the air." That might be my last post here, too?


    By the way, in my saga about the ancient Mayan civilization, I have a very prominent character named "One Owl Eye."


    Say his name quickly and see what you get. The question, throughout the novel is to whom, which side is he an ally. I'm still not sure even I know!


    Did you open the link above?


    I'm going to update and do some math and compare from where the locked in numbers above were, to where they are now. Every concerned American should be forced to do the same excersise.
    29 Aug 2009, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • Mark Bern, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (7517) | Send Message
    Hey, Maya!


    My power just went out a few minutes ago. I was reading your post and poof. Blue skies, calm breeze outside; a beautiful day. For a moment I almost told my daughter to stay away from windows! Then the power came back on. I have no clues. I did some checking and thankfully it wasn't just me, so my concerns were for nil.


    Very interesting post. Yes. I check the clock site occasionally myself. It is very disturbing and will continue to become even more disturbing each day for several more years, if not forever. I sometimes wonder if the Administration plans to pile up the debt so high that the only way out is to default. Maybe that's their foreign policy! The same as their domestic policy: Promise (lie), promise (lie), promise (lie) and then take all their money away.


    I am mostly in cash but have a little short exposure here that I just put on last week. I suspect that I may be early to the party. I plan to add more if the banks are unable to keep the rally going. However, without a major event that they can't manage, manipulate or discredit through the press, they may be able to keep propping this thing up with minimal corrections (5% - 10%) along the way until the event happens.


    I'm holding off to see if the H1N1 virus starts hitting the news and CDC/WHO/IMF forecasts start hitting the headlines. We need a little old fashioned panic to really get things rolling. Then I'll go all in to the downside and wait for a bottom for the ride back up. I suspect that we are going to have a very bumpy market for at least the next 3 years. But that is just my bias. I just don't see a sustained recovery until the new base is in place. Then it will become easier to beat yoy results.


    Next year probably won't be very good, with little or no growth, without the consumer, in revenues. And since the impact to earnings is already showing up in earnings this year, it will be difficult to find much more to prop up the bottom line. The following year should find the bottom in real estate, by my estimates, with little or no top line growth again. But that should put in a solid base from which the economy can start grinding higher. I just wonder how many people will forget the lesson. I know there are plenty out there that just want to believe and will continue to do so no matter what happens. But I think that by the time this whole process is over they will a very small minority.


    I know that I have espoused my political views in other posts so I won't get to far into that here. But, perhaps the best thing for the country long-term is for the current power structure to stay in place until at least 2012 and possibly longer. It may take that much sacrifice and pain for the real Americans to wake up and decide to take back their country so that much of the harm can be undone.
    29 Aug 2009, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    Will this protect me?


    Stay away from companies that require large amounts of energy for production;
    Increase precious metals allocation;
    Increase allocation to miners;
    Buy more international energy stocks;
    stay away from derivative products that can be too easily manipulated;
    hedge with brazilian real and aussie dollars;
    Look for asian growth stocks
    29 Aug 2009, 07:08 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    stephen leeb is predicting dow 6500.
    29 Aug 2009, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » My mistake. I have an edited version that I submitted to SA for publishing (this one), and another one below that I put out earlier; comments still there.
    29 Aug 2009, 09:15 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » It's Saturday night. I'm heading out to join some friends. Tomorrow and Monday are going to be interesting!
    29 Aug 2009, 09:33 PM Reply Like
  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    Check out TBSI, a couple of Insiders buying, not normal for this stock.


    I planted the Bait and the Trout bit. Its really amazing how arrogant he is.


    Maya: so what do you think, should I go with One Eyed BAT. You should have received my Email by now. Any Ideas on a Picture?


    OG: look at TBSI.


    I'm trying out a new correlation for GLD's intraday direction, PNPFF seems to give advance warning, at least it did last week.
    30 Aug 2009, 06:22 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Incredible that I was on to you even before I knew I was on to you! Hiarious!


    Third eye is always working despite my scientific, logical, linear, progressive noggin.


    I do have a suggestion: Go to the following website and scroll down to, "Camazotz." that's the demon bat-god inhabiting the Mayan Hell, Xixalba. He clawed off the head of Hunahpu (one of the Hero Twins of ancient Mayan lore) but was ultimately defeated and cast out of creation.



    The pic is in black and white, however the symbolism is off the charts. Not even close to being criptic!
    30 Aug 2009, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » opps! "cryptic."
    30 Aug 2009, 12:11 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    Just started to look at it. Had to hold my nose between the debt and losses ( some of the best ones start out that way, don't they?) An interesting contrarian play if you are willing to buy it and sit through the gyrations. Mark Anthony wrote a good article in July - here is the link:
    The chart is making higher lows and lower highs. I need to look at the chart more and
    to compare it to the ETF SEA. More later.
    30 Aug 2009, 12:28 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    Maya- would you please consider rewriting your talk with your broker, and/or those h1n1 plays he suggested? Thanks.
    30 Aug 2009, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    Maya: nice link, I haven't had a chance to look at the Other link you Mailed me.


    There Was an Aztec Serpent God (a 1970's movie 'C.... the Flying Serpent God or something like that with great special effects) that intrigued me but I shied away from the South American Mythos once I saw how complicated it was.


    OG: I'm looking at a one year/daily. TBSI seems to be plying the Asia routes, which will benefit more than the US/European ones. Go back into my Comment stream to User 283's insta on the H1N1.


    My Clients say hi. I'm going to turn this into a "Freedom of Speech" issue like you suggested to Freya, You know that comment you made about putting a "value on a comment", as in why the Freedom of Speech is given to a Person who is an Obvious Liar versus a Person who is exposing those Lies.


    I'll have to Email this to myself to get the Date and Time Stamp, & to keep its very existence alive. Preferential Treatment in the Realm of Freedom of Speech!


    Boys and Girls, its great to be working again, Especially on something as Big as a Constitutional Right, a violation of Federal Laws not by an Individual but by a Website. Freedom of Speech denied. Floating Rules applied. Oh my.
    30 Aug 2009, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » OG: Summing things up from the broker talk, excluding his witty humor:


    - US inflation not an issue for one or two years, because of high unemployment and...


    -Expects dollar to weaken modestly


    -Year end S & P to be 1015 (my broker now thinks S & P as high as 1100 is possible)


    -Thinks there may be a pull back before years end (that's WFC's position, in a later call with my broker, he thinks real bouncy until October, then pullback)


    -Industrial inventories up, especailly auto-related


    -H1N1 virus a wildcard


    -Iran a wildcard


    -Thinks market has support from all the hedgies who've yet to get back in; market will not drop more than 10% (can't resist, my broker said toward this point, "The hedge funds who haven't gotten back in yet are like a Christian Scientist with a broken appendix."


    -Market will not return to the March bottom


    -WFC will be adding postions to small and mid-cap equities


    OG: That's all I can pull out of my hat for now. If I remember more, I'll post comments here. Should have made an Insta from what I wrote so that I could update it now and again. Maybe next time. Still bumming about all the great stuff we lost.
    30 Aug 2009, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Broker H1N1 plays:


    Quest Diagnostics (DGX)
    Labratories Corp. of America (LH)
    SonofiAventis (SNY)


    I believe that (NVAX) and (SVA) will have a greater % uptick than the above broker pics. My brokerage account is much more conservative than my e-trading account. What I talk about here is a much more aggressive investing strategy. I'm over 200 trades made this month. The only stock I still own shares in that I bought last year is Jaguar Mining (JAG).
    30 Aug 2009, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • Mono
    , contributor
    Comments (156) | Send Message
    maya et al-


    ill throw my two scents in the hat just cuz. i don't think there will be the orderly unwinding of the USD. i mean if you are going it better for you to slowwwwwly watch yourself go broke. so you see your money evaporating are you gonna try and take it out before it completely goes away? the dollar collapse won't be slow and methodical. some times i like to look at the two year treasury. one week it was yielding .98 % and within 8 days it was 1.20%. people are seeing inflaitonary pressure that wont take years to fall into place. i do understand it has pulled back but you will catch these 20% swings much sooner than most believe.


    the modest dollar is not going to be modest. we have the JPY/GBP and it will be scaled into even more. they are repatriating profits back into japan and it will bolster the currency. also DPJ had a sweep and that will push the currency above the dollar. how the DX has kept at 78.75 is impressive. the G20 will push it up a bit friday but till then it will soften. the boys will hold hands and high five and smile.


    man oh man this s&p. i am confused and interestingly enough john lounsbury gave a great instablog about a silly chart.



    i would have referenced another crack baby had anyone said this but the chart is impressive. another 40% is the title. but hey so were the last 4 months. interestingly again the JPY/GBP cross is a great indicator over the s&p i have noticed after going back. with the increase in spread you see a stumble in the index. great correlation.


    autos huh...well hey who really knows. i did read toyota is worried about overcapacity. notice how Toyota, the best-run auto company in the world, is scaling down production. all the while, our crappy US auto companies are increasing production. they're going to be hit very hard early next year as their expenses rise and sales plummet from these levels.


    h1n1: well...i don't know shiz about it so i won't speak on it.
    30 Aug 2009, 06:26 PM Reply Like
  • Mark Bern, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (7517) | Send Message
    I haven't seen anything lately on BPAX. I believe that was one of Freya's picks in the H1N1 vaccine area, but I don't have any details. Does anyone else have any recollections of the prior post?
    30 Aug 2009, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    These diagnostics companies are a good place to be in if the Obama health care plan goes through ( in almost any form). Diagnostics are relatively cheap ( compared to treatment) and preventative in nature. It can even act as a tool for a gatekeeper, so these companies will be the beneficiaries of any additional health care coverage. I think that is promising, even if swine flu doesn't turn into a monster. Gotta check them out further. My husband and I went to see Inglorious Basterds tonight. It was really great. Quentin Tarrantino at his violent yet hilarious best!


    On Aug 30 05:35 PM Mayascribe wrote:


    > Broker H1N1 plays:
    > Quest Diagnostics (
    > Labratories Corp. of America (
    > SonofiAventis (
    > I believe that ( and (
    > will have a greater % uptick than the above broker pics. My brokerage
    > account is much more conservative than my e-trading account. What
    > I talk about here is a much more aggressive investing strategy. I'm
    > over 200 trades made this month. The only stock I still own shares
    > in that I bought last year is Jaguar Mining (
    31 Aug 2009, 12:01 AM Reply Like
  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    Okay, I give, Major PO'wed Tirade is over.


    BPAX was a Maya Pick, Fr's candidates were NVAX, QDEL, APT. The first for the Vaccine, the other two for Medical Detection Devices and Sanitary Apparel.


    Emotion should never dominate Investment selection.


    Monday down drafts have been followed by gap closings through the Majority of this upmove. Seasonals suggest a continuation of this uptrend through the rest of the week. Program Traders were geared heavily to the Upside in the week ended Aug. 21st. They are still the Tail.


    NVAX was Fr's "Black Swan" Pick. (Had to get that back in here, by request. Something about someone else trying to use it as their own).


    Charts are devoid of Emotion, Accounting is devoid of emotion as well.
    Investing should include both.


    31 Aug 2009, 09:52 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11198) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » OG: My broker unhappily expects ObamaCare to get passed.


    The above diagnostic stocks will not only benefit from the coming rash of tests due to H1N1, but beyond that years out, baby boomers will be aging (like us), as well as in that all the new comers to the US will be having an increasing amount of bloodwork done.


    You're right in that bloodwork is relatively cheap and preventative. More and more, a trip to the doc's ogffice is followed up by a trip to have some blood drawn.


    Another biotech stock to keep an eye on is Arena Pharm (ARNA). The fat pill is coming...




    Today I'm buying China. Re-establishing "light" positions. The bad news is good news to me.




    Also picked up some Atlas Pipelines (APL). I'm becoming a NG bug, pipeline-wise.


    Thanks for the strong memory, One Eye! Will be looking into (QDEL) and (APT).
    31 Aug 2009, 10:35 AM Reply Like
  • Mono
    , contributor
    Comments (156) | Send Message
    man i wish i could keep up with you bottom up cats. impressive to say the least. jpy/gbp keeps moving tho and s&p is following. might start layering in more and more. USD decoupling a bit today which is a good sign.
    31 Aug 2009, 10:42 AM Reply Like
  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    3 income/energy plays:




    PSEC is holding strong, probably because its a Business Model Investment company. Better details on, a 16% yield doesn't hurt either. 19 straight qtrs of div. increases.


    CQP is an LNG Trust, Current yield about 20%, only 2 more $0.425 payouts guaranteed by The Parent LNG, Positive Earnings for Q1 and Q2 of 2009, They have enough cash to finish construction of the $1.5 Billion Facility. They also have contractual throughput by some of the Oil Majors. The Hope has been that it would drop like a rock with NG prices but it has been even stronger than PSEC.


    The only one reacting is TNK. But, it too has great future potential as distances to where the Oil is located back to where its needed increase. Its Tankers are new, Double Hulled and they will payout almost 100% of whatever income they generate. The Company was structured that way by its Majority owner TK.


    September has a bugaboo which was forgotten. There is a UN deadline on Iran scheduled for Sept. 20th., if nothing comes of it. The Israeli tensions will escalate.
    31 Aug 2009, 04:05 PM Reply Like
  • Mark Bern, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (7517) | Send Message
    One eye - Your last point is well taken. There are so many possible catalysts for the downside and only the continuation of manipulation and some technical views that support the upside of this market. And that timing is in line with the September/October jitters that usually sets in this time of year.
    31 Aug 2009, 04:32 PM Reply Like
  • one eye
    , contributor
    Comments (645) | Send Message
    The Only real problem, I have with the Sept/Oct Scenario is the Same one I had with the "Sell in May and go away" scene.


    Everybody and their Mother's Uncle knows about it and Is expecting it.


    Markets tend to do the Opposite of Expectations: Case in point, Ron Ensana, CNBC was on and announced that He was in Cash and shorting.
    31 Aug 2009, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    Re: UN deadline on Iran 9/20: Thanks for the reminder!


    Can the UN afford to see another "front" open on this war that already includes Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan? Do they have any "teeth" for enforcement?
    31 Aug 2009, 08:41 PM Reply Like
  • optionsgirl
    , contributor
    Comments (5202) | Send Message
    another shoe to drop?


    * SEPTEMBER 1, 2009


    The Coming Deposit Insurance Bailout
    Another lesson that federal guarantees aren't free.


    Americans are about to re-learn that bank deposit insurance isn't free, even as Washington is doing its best to delay the coming bailout. The banking system and the federal fisc would both be better off in the long run if the political class owned up to the reality.


    We're referring to the federal deposit insurance fund, which has been shrinking faster than reservoirs in the California drought. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported late last week that the fund that insures some $4.5 trillion in U.S. bank deposits fell to $10.4 billion at the end of June, as the list of failing banks continues to grow. The fund was $45.2 billion a year ago, when regulators told us all was well and there was no need to take precautions to shore up the fund.


    The FDIC has since had to buttress the fund with a $5.6 billion special levy on top of the regular fees that banks already pay for the federal guarantee. This has further drained bank capital, even as regulators say the banking system desperately needs more capital. Everyone now assumes the FDIC will hit banks with yet another special insurance fee in anticipation of even more bank losses. The feds would rather execute this bizarre dodge of weakening the same banks they claim must get stronger rather than admit that they'll have to tap the taxpayers who are the ultimate deposit insurers.


    It isn't as if regulators don't understand the problem. Earlier this year they quietly asked Congress to provide up to $500 billion in Treasury loans to repay depositors. The FDIC can draw up to $100 billion merely by asking, while the rest requires Treasury approval. The request was made on the political QT because, amid the uproar over TARP and bonuses, no one in Congress or the Obama Administration wanted to admit they'd need another bailout.


    But this subterfuge can't last. Eighty-four banks have already failed this year, and many more are headed in that direction. The FDIC said it had 416 banks on its problem list at the end of June, up from 305 only three months earlier. The total assets of banks on the problem list was nearly $300 billion, and more of these assets are turning bad faster than banks can put aside reserves to account for them. The commercial real-estate debacle is still playing out at thousands of banks, even as the overall economy bottoms out and begins to recover.


    Meantime, even as it "resolves" and then sells failed banks, the FDIC is also guaranteeing the buyers against losses on tens of billions of acquired assets. This is known in the trade as "loss sharing," which is another form of taxpayer guarantee that taxpayers aren't supposed to know about. Most of the losses won't be realized if the economy recovers. But this too is a price of taxpayers guaranteeing deposits. Even as Treasury and the press corps broadcast that the feds are making money on TARP repayments, these guarantees go largely unnoticed.


    FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair continues to say that deposits will be covered up to the $250,000 per account insurance limit, and of course she's right. But we wish she'd force Congress—and the American public—to face up to the reality of what deposit insurance costs. Amid the panic last year, Congress raised the deposit limit from $100,000. While this may have calmed a few nerves—though the worst runs were on money-market funds, not on banks—it also put taxpayers further on the hook.


    The $250,000 limit was supposed to expire at the end of 2009, but in May Congress extended it through 2013, and no one who understands politics thinks it will return to $100,000. The rising bank losses mean that the FDIC's ratio of funds to deposits is down to 0.22%, far below its obligation under the insurance statute to keep it between 1.15% and 1.50%.


    Rather than further soak capital from already weak banks, the FDIC ought to draw down at least $25 billion from its Treasury line of credit. Ms. Bair is going to have to ask for the cash sooner or latter, and she might as well do it before the fund hits zero and we get another round of even mild depositor anxiety. We suppose Congress could raise a faux fuss, but these are the same folks who ordered the FDIC to broaden the insurance limit. They need to face the political consequences of their promises.
    Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A16


    Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
    1 Sep 2009, 02:59 PM Reply Like
  • FocalPoint Analytics
    , contributor
    Comments (6282) | Send Message
    This is one of the stocks mentioned by Maya's broker that was in the lost instablog. I am posting it here as well.


    This is from August 21, 2009.
    The recent outbreak of the swine influenza virus H1N1 subtype has led to a need for rapid detection and accurate surveillance of the spread.


    Focus Diagnostics Launches 2009 H1N1 Flu Test Kit To Commercial Laboratories In The U.S. Focus Diagnostics, the infectious disease diagnostics business of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), announced that its Influenza A H1N1 (2009) Real Time RT-PCR test is now available as a test kit for use by "high complexity" clinical laboratories in the U.S.




    The chart on DGX is all over the place. A buy at $51, sell target $55?
    1 Sep 2009, 03:45 PM Reply Like
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