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Some 17,000 anti-bailout demonstrators rally in Greece
Some 17,000 people took to the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki on Monday (Jun 29) to say 'No' in an upcoming referendum on the latest bailout proposals, accusing Greece's international creditors of blackmail. "Our lives do not belong to the creditors!" read banners held aloft by demonstrators, many of whom support Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and said they would heed his call to vote against the latest deal in Sunday's referendum - despite risks it could send the country crashing out of the eurozone. "The people of Greece have made many sacrifices. What interests me is not the euro but guaranteeing a dignified way of life for the next generations," 50-year-old Vanguelis Tseres, who has been unemployed since the start of the debt crisis in 2010, told AFP in Syntagma square in the capital. European leaders had earlier on Monday pleaded with Greek voters to back the hotly disputed bailout proposals or face leaving the euro.

Puerto Rico governor calls for bankruptcy; adviser says island 'insolvent'
Puerto Rico's governor on Monday called for the commonwealth to be allowed to restructure its debts under U.S. bankruptcy code, while a newly appointed adviser to the U.S. territory said it is "insolvent" and will soon run out of cash. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, in a televised address, said sacrifice must be shared by bondholders, as he called for Washington to allow a bankruptcy debt restructuring. The Caribbean island is struggling to relieve a $73 billion debt burden. It came to a crunch point on Monday - ironically at the same time as did debt-laden Greece - after a dire report on its stability by former International Monetary Fund economists was released ahead of key deadlines on Wednesday to repay debt. Steven Rhodes, the retired U.S. bankruptcy judge who oversaw Detroit's historic bankruptcy and has now been retained by Puerto Rico to help solve its problems, gave a blunt assessment on Monday.

What Makes America Different?

Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere
While there is no official review process required for labeling a product as “Made in the U.S.A.,” a company can get into legal trouble for misusing that label, as doing so may constitute false advertising. A new report from an advertising watchdog group claims that Walmart’s website has more than 100 examples of products incorrectly marketed as made in America. According to a letter [PDF] recently sent by the group Truth In Advertising to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, “Walmart’s website is mired in USA labeling errors.” Among the items singled out in the letter are Walmart’s Equate store-brand makeup sponges in the image at the top of this story. TINA says these were given the Made in the U.S.A. label on Walmart.com even though the product’s own packaging clearly states that they were “Made in China.” Another Equate-brand product called out by TINA are these teeth-whitening strips that the company simultaneously lists as made in America...

Microsoft Said to Exit Display Ad Business, Cut 1,200 Jobs
Microsoft Corp. is shutting down its Web display advertising business and handing operations over to AOL Inc. and AppNexus Inc., a person with knowledge of the matter said. About 1,200 jobs at Microsoft will be impacted, with some positions to be moved to AOL and AppNexus, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal hasn’t yet been announced. Some people will be offered other positions at Microsoft, while other jobs will be cut, the person said. The software maker is shedding the business as Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella works to sharpen focus on three key areas: personal computing, cloud platforms and business productivity. Since becoming CEO early last year, Nadella has been streamlining the workforce, acquiring mobile and cloud software makers, and paring units not central to his strategy.

China Resets The Currency Markets
The Chinese central bank is backing its Yuan with GOLD. This may set the Yuan as a “New Reserve Currency.” If this happens, a new order in global currencies will appear. This would attract new foreign capital. The rest of the world will view the Yuan as a real currency rather than a fiat currency. Creating the Yuan with a gold standard will surely make China more powerful and become a more influential world power. The United States Dollar will no longer be the only “Reserve Currency” in the World anymore. China will most likely become the world’s largest economy catapulting over the United States. They already have close ties to the world’s largest energy nation (Russia), and consumer based BRICS (acronym for the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South America). It is only a matter of time before a large portion of the world systematically rejects the Dollar. The world will seek stability in a much different type of financial construct.

S&P Downgrades Greece
S&P just downgraded Greece's credit rating to CCC- from CCC. That's about as deep into junk territory as it gets in sovereign credit ratings. The country is a day away from a major debt payment that it cannot pay. Meanwhile, panicked Greeks trying to drain ATMs of whatever cash they can get are being limited by new capital controls. Greek Banks are closed and expected to remain closed through July 5, when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum to vote on the latest terms of a bailout agreement set forth by Greece's creditors. "We interpret Greece's decision to hold a referendum on official creditors' loan proposals as a further indication that the Tsipras government will prioritize domestic politics over financial and economic stability, commercial debt payments, and eurozone membership," S&P said. "In our view, the probability of Greece exiting the eurozone is now about 50%," they continued.

Greek banks are bankrupt but who’s to blame for crisis?

The 99% did better last year; the 1% did great
Although the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, by some measures the economic recovery didn't start for most Americans until last year. An analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service found that incomes for the bottom 99 percent of families on the economic ladder rose 3.3 percent in 2014 from the prior year's levels, marking the best annual growth rate since 1999 (see chart below). In wake of the housing crash, people saw their income plunge nearly 12 percent between 2007 and 2009, and those earnings largely stagnated during the fitful recovery over the next five years. Evidence that income started to rebound in earnest last year, even as wages barely stayed ahead of inflation, is another sign the U.S. is slowly but surely turning the corner. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity, and forecasters expect rising income to boost growth in the second half of the year.

Obama signs trade bills
President Obama on Monday signed a fast-track trade authority bill into law, cementing a major legislative victory at the end of a bruising months-long battle within his own party. Obama signed the measure during a brief ceremony in the East Room of the White House, where he hailed the bipartisan cooperation that was needed to get the legislation through Congress after an intense lobbying campaign that pitted the president against congressional Democrats and created a rare alliance with Republicans. The president was surrounded by key lawmakers and members of his administration who kept this trade agenda alive through several procedural hiccups even though, he said, it had “been declared dead more than once.” The trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation, also known as fast-track, is expected to speed the completion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations with 11 other Pacific Rim nations in the coming weeks. Obama also signed a measure into law that provides $450 million...

Several Factors Could Impact Early Payrolls and Unemployment Report
This might seem as though it would be a quiet week, if the markets can overlook Greece and Puerto Rico. The Fourth of July holiday has created a shortened week, and that means that the typical first-Friday unemployment and payrolls report will be released on Thursday morning. Still, this is likely to create a nearly unique situation in which unemployment is released at the same time as weekly jobless claims. 24/7 Wall St. wanted to address some of the key issues ahead of the formal unemployment report this week. The following consensus estimates are from Bloomberg, and they were as of Monday morning. In short, those estimates could change slightly by the time the formal reports are issued this week. A first report this week will be the consumer confidence view for June. Bloomberg sees the Conference Board reporting 97.4, with a range of 94.5 to 99.0. ADP will release its employment and payrolls report on Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time.

$43.1 million intended for veterans sat unspent for 3 years, auditors find
For three years, more than $43 million the Department of Veterans Affairs had set aside to inform veterans about their benefits sat in an account, not a penny spent, until an agency financial manager happened to notice. By then, it may have become too late for the cash-strapped agency to spend the money, a new report says. The inspector general's office, in a report issued this month, cited a "breakdown of fiscal controls" and "lack of oversight" in concluding that VA officials had "no need" for the $43.1 million — at least not for the purpose they claimed, which was to print personalized handbooks that explain in detail what benefits for which a veteran is eligible. Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin's audit came as top VA officials prepared to tell House lawmakers last week that they're facing a $2.6 billion budget shortfall that's partly responsible for a new explosion in wait times for medical care. Senior leaders say they may have to freeze hiring or furlough employees...

Why Is Gold Not Reacting To Greece? - RBC's George Gero

Feds predicted surge of illegals, see another 127,000 this year
Despite claims the administration was caught off guard, the White House and four Cabinet departments predicted last year's surge of at least 60,000 illegal juveniles over the U.S.-Mexico border and expect it to more than double to 127,000 this year, according to an internal document. A 24-page administration PowerPoint for congressional appropriators dated April 22, 2014 bluntly stated that border arrivals of "unaccompanied alien children" would rise "by nearly a factor of 10" in 2014 to 60,000 and jump to 127,000 "if these growth rates continue." It is shown below. Indications are that this year's surge won't meet that record number, but will be the second highest in recent history. The document and accompanying graphs, provided by congressional sources, also set a price tag of $2 billion "to accommodate" the juveniles, some members of the MS-13 crime gang, this year. The briefing counters claims by top federal officials that they didn't see the surge coming last year.

$15 Minimum Wage Advocacy Group Posts Job Paying $12.25 an Hour
The advocacy group Working America posted a job listing on Facebook looking for grassroots organizers willing to start campaigns pushing for a $15 minimum wage — for $12.25 per hour. The fact that the job paid less than the hoped-for federal standard came to light after a Facebook user named Cody McLaughlin replied to the listing, asking whether the group would be paying its own organizers the wage it was hiring them to advocate for. He received the following reply: Hi, Cody! Our field organizing positions start at $12.25 per hour. After 90 days of employment the pay increases to $15 per hour. If you are interested in learning more about the job details, please contact us at 503-331-5800. Thanks! McLaughlin responded by asking, “So you want people to #FightFor15 for 12.25/hour?” Fair question, but Working America never answered it. In fact, the group deleted McLaughlin’s comment altogether — but not before he took captured it in a screenshot.

Can China Save Greece - and the EU?
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Europe this week to attend a China-EU summit in Brussels, as well as paying official visits to both Belgium and France. This trip marks Li’s sixth visit to Europe in the past three years, and his first official visit to EU headquarters since he assumed office in March 2013. Li met with Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. Juncker and Tusk took office in November and December 2014, respectively; it was Li’s first meeting with them. The festivities weren’t exactly what might have been hoped for, as lingering questions about a possible Greek exit from the eurozone cast a pall over the meeting. The main deliverables focused on economics, as is typical for China-Europe summits. Li announced that China will play a role in Juncker’s investment plan, the European Fund for Strategic Investment, that calls for 315 billion euros ($353 billion) to be invested in strategic projects around Europe...

App Let’s You Track Anything, Even The Location Of President Obama, Pope Francis
TrackTrack.net is a new app that literally let’s users track anything in the world, even including the location of Pope Francis or President Barack Obama. It is even fully possible to use TrackTrack.net to try and track the Islamic State down (or you can just look for ISIS selfies). But what makes TrackTrack unique is not the tracking of people, but the other objects it can discover. In a related report by the Inquisitr, the TrackTrack locations for Pope Francis and Obama will merge this fall when the Catholic church’s leader visits the United States for the first time. TrackTrack.net founders Bobby and Jason are in the U.S. Navy, and they have traveled the world and seen many sights. Due to these travels, they created this new service since they love watching where something goes on the map. Bobby says a tracking code has already been created for President Obama, and people can update it with Obama sightings in addition to comments and photos.

What Do Rating Agencies Think about “Too-Big-to-Fail” Since Dodd-Frank?
Did the Dodd-Frank Act end ‘‘too-big-to-fail’’ (TBTF)? In this series of two posts, we look at this question through the lens of rating agencies and financial markets. Today we begin by discussing rating agencies’ views on this topic. The belief that very large banks may be too big to let fail appears to date back to the demise of Continental Illinois Bank in 1984. Continental, then the seventh largest bank in the United States by deposits, experienced deposit runs following news of significant loan losses. Concerns that Continental’s failure might topple other banks led regulators to take the unprecedented step of protecting even uninsured investors, including large depositors, bond holders, and the shareholders of Continental’s holding company. In the financial crisis beginning in late 2007, the U.S. government provided liquidity and capital support to some of the largest U.S. financial institutions out of concern that a potential failure would threaten the entire financial system.

The $3 Million Federal Grant to Cure ‘Pot Addiction’
Did you know that marijuana addiction is not only a thing, but also, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse’s drugabuse.org, an affliction that will affect nearly 1 in 10 habitual pot smokers? And if you broaden “addiction” to “dependence,” well, then it’s nearly 20 percent. As the iron bars of pot prohibition slowly fall, “pot addiction” is a thing that the kind folks at the federal government are becoming more and more concerned with. So concerned, in fact, that in the ashes of in-school anti-drug rhetoric movement D.A.R.E. and the widespread failure of the so-called War on Drugs, the government has decided they’re just going to ask for help. To help incentivize it, they’re offering a cash reward. Basically, find a cure for cannabis addiction, become a millionaire. Simple. Well, maybe not that simple. The National Institutes of Health has ponied up $3 million in cash for scientists and doctors to chase after a cure. The three best potential treatments for what they are calling Cannabis...

Most Dangerous Time-Since the History of Economics, Gold and Silver Update and More!

U.S. Office of Personnel Management to suspend IT system after hack
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said on Monday it would temporarily suspend a program it uses to complete background investigations, following a data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of Americans. The program, called Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP), was not involved in either of two attacks by suspected Chinese hackers on personnel data and applications for security clearances, OPM said. The breaches were announced earlier this month. After a security review ordered by Director Katherine Archuleta found a vulnerability in the system, OPM said it would take e-QIP offline for 4-6 weeks until security can be enhanced. In a statement, the agency said there was no evidence the vulnerability had been exploited. But the move amounts to an implicit admission the electronic submission system is vulnerable, and some agencies are considering switching to a more old-school process of submitting data on paper...

Recession vs. Wealth Inequality
The economy contracted 0.2% in the first quarter, based on the latest revision released last Wednesday. But as we know, a number of temporary factors including another harsh winter, the west coast port strike, and of course the stronger dollar, tarnished economic growth. With those concerns largely out of the way, many leading indicators are signaling a resumption of the current ~2% growth that we’ve been seeing since the recession ended. The housing sector is rebounding, consumer spending is rising, household formation is growing, and labor conditions are improving. These and other factors, namely high stock prices and rising real estate values, have resulted in American household wealth hitting another record high of $84.9 trillion in the first quarter of 2015. This may sound encouraging, but there are some caveats to keep in mind. First, these figures do not take inflation into account. They are also not adjusted for population growth. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the wealth gap in America...

Panicked Hedge Funds Now Praying for a Miracle in Greece
“The Bank of Greece governor confirms the stability of the banking system, which is fully secured by the joint actions of the Bank of Greece and the European Central bank,” the Bank of Greek announced on June 19. After chaotic emergency meetings, this weekend culminated, for this Greek banking system, with an ECB press release that contained this harmless-sounding but deadly line: Emergency liquidity assistance maintained at Friday’s (26 June 2015) level. It meant no more cash for Greek banks from taxpayers of other countries, no more cash for Greeks depositors to withdraw and stuff under the mattress. Banks were now illiquid. They’ve been insolvent for a long time. Only the fresh cash, recently supplied on a daily basis, has kept from toppling altogether. What has been rumored since June 18 has become reality: the banks are toast. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras got on TV and announced that his government decided to close the banks for over a week, impose capital controls...

Facts About The Tremendous Financial Devastation That We Are Seeing All Over The World
As we enter the second half of 2015, financial panic has gripped most of the globe. Stock prices are crashing in China, in Europe and in the United States. Greece is on the verge of a historic default, and now Puerto Rico and Ukraine are both threatening to default on their debts if they do not receive concessions from their creditors. Not since the financial crisis of 2008 has so much financial chaos been unleashed all at once. Could it be possible that the great financial crisis of 2015 has begun? The following are 16 facts about the tremendous financial devastation that is happening all over the world right now…1. On Monday, the Dow fell by 350 points. That was the biggest one day decline that we have seen in two years. 2. In Europe, stocks got absolutely smashed. Germany’s DAX index dropped 3.6 percent, and France’s CAC 40 was down 3.7 percent. 3. After Greece, Italy is considered to be the most financially troubled nation in the eurozone, and on Monday Italian stocks were down more than 5%.

Tuesday 06.30.2015

NEWS to Disturb the Comfortable...

We don't tell you what to think,

but we give you something to think about.