Thursday, November 19, 2015

Breaking Point? Household Costs Skyrocket, Incomes Crashing

(Bankster Bubble)  Even if nothing else doomed the status quo, the widening gap between household incomes and costs will push the corrupt contraption over the cliff by itself. The status quo (whatever you wish to call it) requires “growth” to sustain itself–growth in consumption, spending, sales, debt, asset valuations, profits and of course taxes, and ultimately all of those “growths” depend on household incomes.
Incomes even for the most highly educated workers are stagnating:

Adjusted for inflation, median household income is down significantly in the ‘recovery”:

Some observers quibble that since this doesn’t include food stamps and other transfer payments, it isn’t accurate: in other words, it’s not so bad if we include social welfare.
If the status quo now depends on government payments to households to sustain “growth,” then the system is nearing the cliff edge.
Another trend that pushes the contraption closer to oblivion is income disparity:virtually all the non-welfare gains in income have gone to the top 5%, with most of those gains concentrated in the top 1%:

We all know what’s happened to major household expenses such as higher education, healthcare, rent/housing: they’re soaring to the moon. Here’s higher education:

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Why banks want you to drop Mint, other ‘aggregators’

More scare tactics by the big banks, consumers are slowly waking up…
The days of the big banking are slowly dying, read more from this Reuters report:
Millions of people share their bank account passwords with third-party sites and apps that help them track their spending, but some of the biggest financial institutions, wary of hacking risks, are trying to scare people into not using them.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Capital One Financial Corp, for example, warn on their websites that customers could be liable for any fraud in their accounts – even though federal regulations say otherwise.
Capital One’s site (here) tells users: “If you choose to share account access information with a third-party, Capital One is not liable for any resulting damages or losses.”
Chase (here) admonishes, “If you give out your user ID and password, you are putting your money at risk.”
The warnings were enough to cause Morris Armstrong, a registered investment adviser and enrolled agent in Danbury, Connecticut, to recently close his account with, a so-called aggregator website and a division of Intuit Inc.
“People are hacking left and right. You don’t want to make it easier,” Armstrong said.
However, the same warnings infuriated heavy Mint user Mark Ranta, head of digital payments at ACI Worldwide Inc, who says the banks are far more worried about competition from these aggregation sites than about electronic safety.
“Mint makes it so I don’t have to go to the individual bank sites,” said Ranta. “They [banks] don’t have the opportunity to cross-sell me.”
The banks’ warnings, however, are off base.
Federal banking rules known as Regulation E (here) sharply limit customers’ liability for unauthorized electronic transactions from their accounts, provided they report the fraud promptly.
The rules say that customers’ negligence – such as writing a PIN on a debit card – does not increase their liability.
A customer would be on the hook for unauthorized transactions if she gives her card or credentials “and grants authority to make transfers to a person (such as a family member or co-worker) who exceeds the authority given,” the rules say. Customers are fully liable for the transfers until they notify the financial institution that the person is no longer authorized to use the account.
That is the passage that Chase and other banks point to when warning people they may be liable if they share credentials with a third party.
But Lauren Saunders, associate director and managing attorney of the National Consumer Law Center, calls the banks’ position “ridiculous.” Sites such as Mint collect data about transactions but typically are not authorized to make transactions, said Saunders.
“When you give Mint your bank password, you don’t give them permission to make transfers,” Saunders said. “You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand that you are not a consumer who ‘grants authority to make transfers.'”
Even when people use a bill-pay app that does move money, they are granting access to the app – not to hackers who steal their credentials.
“You are still outside the provision about giving someone an access device because you didn’t give the hacker permission,” Saunders said.
Who would be liable, though, is an unsettled question of great concern to banks. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon discussed with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray the security risks posed by aggregators.
Chase and the CFPB declined comment. Intuit declined comment on the banks’ warnings, saying in a prepared statement: “Delivering secure and seamless connectivity is a shared priority across Mint and thousands of our financial institution partners.”
It is worth pointing out that Mint has never had to announce a security breach – unlike Chase, which last year reported a cyber attack had compromised 83 million of its accounts.
Making people reluctant to use account aggregators could just make them more vulnerable to fraud. Mint and other account aggregators can help people spot unauthorized transactions that might otherwise go unnoticed, said independent journalist and technology expert Bob Sullivan, author of “Stop Getting Ripped Off.”
Rather than scaring people, the financial sites and banks should work together to create a common secure standard for sharing information – one that might involve app-specific passwords, Sullivan said.

The Federal Reserve is buying stocks via their primary dealer banks. The Fed is unaudited, so what’s to stop them?

I am 100% convinced the Federal Reserve is buying stocks via their primary dealer banks. The Fed is unaudited, so what’s to stop them? They are desperate to keep the confidence game going. Don’t believe me, ok.. You tube: “Alan Grayson Federal Reserve”.. your jaw will drop!

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claims that Europe's anti-Russia policy will lead the region nowhere.

ROME (Sputnik) — Europe's anti-Russia policy will lead the region nowhere, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Wednesday.
"Only the ones who did not experience the Cold War can like it. The anti-Russia approach in Europe will lead nowhere," Renzi told the Italian Sky TG24 TV channel in an interview.
Italy has been long asking Russia to return to cooperation with the Western countries, the prime minister added.
Renzi has been repeatedly voicing support for Russia and maintaining dialogue with Moscow, even amid deteriorating Russia's relations with the EU members states and the United States.
On Tuesday, Renzi said the Italian people could trust Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the issues of international stability.

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BREAKING: New Footage Shows French Police in Shootout with Suspect in St.Denis (Raw)

The 1% Is Rolling Over – When The Only Healthy Part Of An Already-impaired System Turns Negative, Everyone Will Feel The Resulting Pain

by John Rubino
Today’s financial world is a tough place for the average person, but paradise for rich guys. As easy money raises asset prices, the owners of those assets make effortless profits. Then they buy expensive toys and trophy properties. Hence the recent boom in fine art, high-end real estate, yachts and private jets.
But this, like all financial trends, has a limit, and that limit is now in sight. The 1%, it seems, is rolling over:

Sotheby’s Offers Employees Voluntary Buyouts to Cut Costs

(Bloomberg) – Sotheby’s is offering employees voluntary buyouts to cut costs after a drop in third-quarter revenue grabbed more attention from the company’s investors than its largest ever semiannual auction season.
The auction house told employees in an e-mail Friday that if not enough employees make use of the buyouts, it may have to resort to layoffs. Sotheby’s didn’t say how many jobs it plans to cut.
Shares of Sotheby slumped as much as 16 percent this week after the firm reported a 9 percent decline in third-quarter revenue.
“Sotheby’s costs of doing business – increased staff, more expensive catalogue production, huge marketing and promotional costs, etc. – have to be balanced against the declining revenue from commissions,” said David Nash, co-owner of Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York and former head of Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s.

San Francisco in housing ‘correction’

(CNBC) – San Francisco homes are still some of the priciest in the nation, but sales of those houses are showing significant weakness. September sales were down 19.5 percent in the city from a year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors.“We’re going through a kind of correction, as we have a lot of new developments being built right now. The supply is definitely on the rise,” said Justin Fichelson, an agent at Climb Real Estate Group in San Francisco. “The market is not going to continue going up like we’ve seen in the past two years, because prices are already high.”

London Mansion Prices Fall 11.5% as Home `Bubble’ May Have Burst

(Bloomberg) – Prices of homes valued at 5 million pounds ($7.6 million) or more fell 11.5 percent on a per square foot basis in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to Richard Barber, a director at broker W.A. Ellis LLP, a unit of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Sales volumes across all homes in the best parts of central London dropped 14 percent in the period, the realtor said on Thursday.“The bubble may already have burst” for the most expensive homes, Barber said. Now, “36 percent of all properties currently on the market across prime central London are being marketed at a lower price than they were originally listed at, with the average reduction in price being 8.5 percent.”

Luxury-Jet Market Value Seen Slipping for First Time Since 2009

(Bloomberg) – Global long-term spending on private jets is starting to slow for the first time since 2009 as slumping commodity prices sap demand in emerging markets, according to an industry forecast.Deliveries for the 11 years ending in 2025 will be valued at $270 billion, Honeywell International Inc. said Sunday in its annual survey of the luxury-aircraft market. That’s down 3.6 percent from last year’s comparable projection, and snapped a streak of gains since the last U.S. recession ended.
The decline reflects weakness in Brazil, Russia, India and China, the group known as the BRIC countries, and the impact of political conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, according to Brian Sill, chief of Honeywell’s business and general aviation unit. Delays in some new plane models are also pushing back demand, he said.
Jet shipments will drop 2.6 percent to 9,200 planes, according to Honeywell, whose forecast had predicted fluctuations in deliveries but no drop in the planes’ list value in the post-recession years. Large planes that had spearheaded the recovery are now seeing slower growth.
“We’re just slogging along,” said Janine Iannarelli, president of Par Avion Ltd., a Houston based plane brokerage. “There is a shortage of buyers, there’s limited activity and prices keep correcting.”
So the rich are becoming less rich? To an extent, yes. Recent declines in commodity prices and emerging market debt have no doubt taken a bite out of some big portfolios. Meanwhile, hedge funds, the preferred investment management vehicle of the uber-wealthy, have done badly for the past couple of years, with some high-profile implosionsgenerating headlines.
These disappointments have lowered the net worth of some big players and made others more cautious. Hence the lessened demand for the most pretentious assets.
The impact on the global economy? Almost certainly bad, since the 1% are the marginal buyers of so many reference assets like blue-chip stocks and government bonds. To the extent that they grow cautious, the bid for a lot of things will be lower, cutting corporate profits, equity valuations and high-end asset prices.
Put another way, when the only healthy part of an already-impaired system turns negative, everyone will feel the resulting pain.

War Is Good? Weapons Manufacturers Stocks Soar After Paris Attacks

Submitted by John Vibes via,
A recent report by journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out stock prices for weapons manufacturers sharply increased just after the terrorist attacks in Paris last week. Greenwald was following the tip of Brooklyn journalist Aaron Cantú, who posted screenshots for the  recent stock performances of major weapons contractors on his Twitter page early Monday morning:
On Monday, nearly as soon as the markets opened, stocks for weapons manufacturers began to soar — Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Thales saw increases in a day that was rather calm for the rest of the market.

As Greenwald pointed out in his report, “The markets could barely wait to start buying. The Dow overall is up today only .12 percent, making these leaps quite pronounced.”
It seemed that the whole world knew immediately after the attacks that more war was on its way, and these rising stock values appear to substantiate the case. This week, various European countries, along with the United States, have promised more military action in the Middle East, despite the fact Western military intervention over the past decade created this mess to begin with.
Billions of dollars in tax money is spent every year so militaries can wage wars across the planet and there is an unspeakable amount of money to be made by the people who sell weapons and ammunition to countries at war. Arms dealers and weapons manufacturers never take sides, but are always happy to take billions of dollars from opposing nations in every war so they can destroy each other.
In fact, it could be argued that the financial incentive created by both the weapons industry and the plunder of foreign resources, is what drives governments to war to begin with. In fact, a recent study proved that resource-rich nations are 100 times more likely to have a foreign power intervene in their internal conflicts. There is a ton of money made in this industry, which is perhaps why people spread the popular myth that “war is good for the economy.” However, it should be obvious this industry isn’t good for anyone economically, aside from perhaps politicians and weapons manufacturers, as countless people are killed and untold damage is done to property — creating a situation where the economy will end up less profitable because less people are working, creating, and becoming entrepreneurs.