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Sept 30, 2020

9.30.20 - Startling News About Trump's Economy

Gold last traded at $1,892 an ounce. Silver at $23.55 an ounce

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Wednesday amid rising uncertainty and a falling dollar. U.S. stocks rose as investors cheered growing hopes that politicians might reach a new $2 trillion coronavirus bailout agreement.

UBS says you should buy gold now -CNBC
"Investors should be putting their money in gold now, as it represents a 'very good hedge' ahead of risk events such as the U.S. election, UBS Global Wealth Management told CNBC. 'We like gold, because we think that gold is likely to actually hit about $2,000 per ounce by the end of the year,' according to Kelvin Tay, the firm's regional chief investment officer, on Tuesday. 'And gold has certain hedges to it,' Tay said. 'In (the) event of uncertainty over the U.S. election and the Covid-19 pandemic, gold is a very, very good hedge. And its recent weakness represents a great entry point for investors,' he added, speaking to CNBC's 'Squawk Box.'....The precious metal is also attractive due to the low interest rate environment, Tay pointed out. If interest rates stay low as the Fed has indicated, the opportunity cost of holding gold - a non-yielding asset - will be 'quite low,' he added. That's because investors are not forgoing interest that would be otherwise earned in yielding assets."

business U.S. Retail Bankruptcies, Store Closures Hit Record in First Half -Wall Street Journal
"Retail bankruptcies, liquidations and store closings in the U.S. reached records in the first half of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated industry changes, particularly the shift to online shopping, according to a report. In the first six months, 18 retailers filed for chapter 11 protection, mostly concentrated in apparel and footwear, home furnishings, grocery and department stores...They include department-store operators Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., J.C. Penney Co. and Stage Stores Inc., home-goods retailers Pier 1 Imports Inc. and Tuesday Morning Corp. and vitamin seller GNC Holdings Inc. From July through mid-August, 11 more retailers filed, including apparel retailers Lucky Brand Dungarees LLC, Brooks Brothers Inc., Ann Taylor parent Ascena Retail Group Inc., Stein Mart Inc., and Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank parent Tailored Brands Inc. This year is on pace to rival 2010, when 48 retailers filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the 2007-09 recession. Retail bankruptcies in 2020 have already surpassed the 22 such filings recorded last year. 'This is almost certainly the worst year in recent history for retail,' said Kyle Sturgeon, a managing partner at Atlanta-based turnaround advisory firm Meru LLC. Government-mandated store closures and social-distancing measures have intensified challenges that were facing bricks-and-mortar retailers before the pandemic....'I don’t think it's going to stop anytime soon,' said Andy Graiser, co-president of commercial real-estate advisory firm A&G Real Estate Partners, who advises Tailored Brands, Ascena, Neiman Marcus and Stein Mart, among others....Shaky companies that make it through the holiday season might survive only to encounter landlords that had agreed to rent deferrals but now want payment in full. 'That's a huge bubble that is going to burst,' Mr. Graiser said."

The startling news about Trump's economy that mainstream media ignored -Puzder/Fox Business
"Released two weeks ago, the Census Bureau's report on 'Income and Poverty in the United States' for 2019 clearly shows that, pre-pandemic, President Trump's economic success blew past that of any other presidency. First, the Census Bureau reported that real median household income grew to $68,703 in 2019, an impressive 6.8% increase over 2018. It was the largest one-year increase in median income on record going back to 1967. It was also 45 percent more growth in a single year ($4,379) than Obama/Biden produced in their entire 8 years in office ($3,021). As was the case throughout Trump's first three years, the economic benefits were widespread. While the overall growth rate was 6.8%, real median income grew by an even greater 7.9% for Black Americans, 7.1% for Hispanic Americans, and 10.6% for Asian Americans. All record highs as were the new income levels for each of these groups....As incomes grew in 2019, the poverty rate plummeted 1.3 percentage points to a 60 year low of 10.5%. This was the largest reduction in poverty in over 50 years. It lifted over 4.1 million people out of poverty, the largest yearly decrease since 1966. Just for comparison purposes, over the Obama/Biden era, the number of people living in poverty increased by 787,000....The Census Bureau's Income and Poverty report for 2019 has set a new standard by which to measure economic success once the pandemic ends. President Trump has promised that the economy will exceed even the impressive results we saw in 2019 should he be re-elected. Given those results, we have every reason to believe him."

Why Nobody Cares Much about Trump's Taxes -National Review
"At Fox News, Howard Kurtz argues that the New York Times report on Donald Trump's taxes will affect the election 'barely at all.' 'These are eye-popping revelations, but most people won't wade through the details, which are complicated as hell. And even the Times doesn't claim that Trump broke any laws. He took advantage of a labrynth [sic] of legal deductions that are available to people who traffic in real estate and investments - unfairly, in my view, but that's the system approved by Congress.'....Americans are really quite tolerant of petty personal corruption in tax matters. Our tax code is complex and filled with giveaways to various political constituencies, and none of us is shocked to learn that a bartender or a waitress does not report 100 percent of cash tips for tax purposes. Is that tax fraud? Of course it is. Is it a crime? Yes. Does anybody care? No. But, for comparison, the tax avoidance attributed to Trump is, as far as I can tell, entirely legal. And let's not pretend that the Democrats are against tax giveaways to rich people...The stimulus measure that Trump exploited was in no small part a Joe Biden production. There are all sorts of ways around this stuff. The truth is that almost no one in either party wants to simplify the tax code or - here is the perverse part - to make it more effective."

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Sept 29, 2020

9.29.20 - Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus?

Gold last traded at $1,895 an ounce. Silver at $24.24 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Tuesday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell on downbeat airline news and an uptick in new U.S. coronavirus cases.

Could Gold Be Gearing Up For A Major Rally?
"Just before the COVID-19 collapse in the markets hit near February 25, 2020, Gold started a double-dip move after reaching $1,692 on February 24. First, Gold dipped from $1,692 to $1,564, then recovered to new highs ($1,704.50) on March 10, 2020. Then, as the deeper COVID-19 selling continued, Gold prices dipped again - this time targeting a low level of $1,450.90. What we found interesting is how quickly Gold prices recovered and broke to even higher price levels after this deep selling. Our belief is that when a crisis event first hits, which we sometimes call the 'shock-wave', all assets take a beating - including Gold and Silver. This is the event where traders and investors pull everything to CASH (closing positions). Then, as the shock-wave ends, traders re-evaluate the price levels of assets to determine how they want to deploy their capital. Our belief that this DIP or double-dip pattern in Gold because of crisis events presents a very solid opportunity for skilled traders to add-to existing positions or strategically target shorter-term upside price swings in precious metals....The question for gold traders right now is 'does the $1,885 level hold as support or will gold break lower trying to fund support?'. My researchers and I believe the current bottom in Gold is set up and the $1,885 price will hold as support. We also believe the next move higher will prompt a rally targeting levels near $2,250. Watch for the momentum base to continue to form near $1,885 before the breakout rally trend in Gold starts. Once it breaks the $2,035 level, it should start to rally upward very quickly."

debate Tonight's Debate Has "All The Makings Of A Classic To Rival The Rumble In The Jungle" -Zero Hedge
"First and foremost today, markets will be focusing on the first presidential election debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden (at 9p EDT). This has all the makings of a classic to rival The Rumble in the Jungle between Foreman and Ali. Except in this case, almost everyone will be watching what they believe might be The Bungle in the (media) Jungle. Indeed, supporters of both candidates will be transformed into nervous parents at an expensive Ivy League prep school on the evening of their very young child's first-ever school play: rictus smiles and silent prayers as the curtain rises that their special one makes them proud rather than having a tantrum, forgetting their lines, falling asleep, or generally humiliating themselves. After all, neither man has a reputation for eloquence, remaining calm at all times, clearly getting their point across to neutrals, or remaining gaffe free. The expectations for Biden have been set extremely low - but he has been doing debates for 50 years, so there is bound to be some deep muscle memory there along with the 'I am the guy who…' and 'C'mon man!' and 'Malarkey' shtick. Trump has only had a few rounds of real debate in his life: against Clinton in 2016 and against his Republican rivals prior to that, and the shock jock routine is hardly new at this point. We already know what the debate topics will be...Yet that does not mean we won't be hearing about whatever each candidate feels will floor his opponent best, for example: Ukraine; Russia; China; problematic children; things said to or about soldiers; things said or done about the coronavirus; the Supreme Court; tax - and who wrote the tax code; a failure to provide decent healthcare options to millions of Americans; election fraud. Who said the country was divided, eh? Anyway world, sit yourself down, get your popcorn in, and let the spectacle unfold."

America on edge as unrest rises -Axios
"Rarely have national security officials, governors, tech CEOs and activists agreed as broadly and fervently as they do about the possibility of historic civil unrest in America. The ingredients are clear for all to see - epic fights over racism, abortion, elections, the virus and policing, stirred by misinformation and calls to action on social media, at a time of stress over the pandemic. Look across America this week: Portland, Oregon - already suffering from fires and protests - is bracing for a showdown today between right and left wing activists...President Trump was booed - with chants of 'Vote him out!' ' as he paid respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court steps....For the third night in a row, a revived racial-justice movement took to streets across the country to protest the lack of charges against police in the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. CNN showed demonstrations from L.A. to Sacramento to Philadelphia to Boston. The bottom line: Everyone from Facebook to YouTube to the U.S. military is taking precautions for post-election civil unrest exploding."

Is It Insane to Start a Business During Coronavirus? Millions of Americans Don’t Think So. -Wall Street Journal
"The pandemic forced hundreds of thousands of small businesses to close. For Madison Schneider, it was a good time to start a new one. The 22-year-old in Haviland, Kan., opened Lela's Bakery and Coffeehouse on Sept. 12, naming it after her grandmother...Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade...Applications for the employer identification numbers that entrepreneurs need to start a business have passed 3.2 million so far this year, compared with 2.7 million at the same point in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That group includes gig-economy workers and other independent contractors who may have struck out on their own after being laid off....'This pandemic is actually inducing a surge in employer business startups that takes us back to the days before the decline in the Great Recession,' said John Haltiwanger, an economist at the University of Maryland who studies the data. Many of these won't pan out. More than half of new employer businesses fail within five years, he said....The pace of new launches comes amid a wave of business closures, which created an unusually large void for new entrants to fill. The U.S. lost more businesses during the first three months of the crisis than it normally does in an entire year, said Steven Hamilton, an economist at George Washington University."

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Sept 25, 2020

9.25.20 - Fake Money Will Be the Cause of Dollar's Death

Gold last traded at $1,868 an ounce. Silver at $23.18 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Gold prices see pullback Friday on a stronger U.S. dollar. Stocks wavered as worries grow over the economic outlook, S&P and Dow on track for four-week losing streak.

Gold, silver bulls working to stabilize prices -Kitco
"Gold prices prices are trading near their session highs at midday, suggesting the bulls are working hard to stabilize their markets. A rallying U.S. dollar index recently that hit a two-month high overnight....Not quite half-way through the 'rough waters' period (September and October) for the stock market, it seems odds do not favor a strong recovery to new record highs in the U.S. stock indexes. It's also a period when North Americans and Europeans will be staying inside more as colder weather approaches, with the potential for new Covid restrictions on businesses crimping their revenues. And there is no new financial stimulus package for Americans in sight. Throw in the element of the high potential for a disputed and even protracted U.S. presidential election result (President Trump said Wednesday the presidential election in November will likely be decided by the Supreme Court), and all of the above should favor trader/investor demand safe-haven assets like gold, silver, the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries."

powell Fake Money Will Be the Cause of Death for the U.S. Dollar -Bonner/Rogue Economics
"No pure-paper money has ever lasted for an entire credit cycle. The dollar will not be the first to rest among the shades. In the meantime, we will watch its inevitable decline and fall - probably the biggest financial story of the next 10 years. Because down with the dollar comes the whole U.S. capital structure - stocks, bonds, debt, credit, pensions, insurance payouts, Social Security, Medicare, the empire… the whole shebang. But we are not at the end of this story. We are only at the beginning of the end. Between the coronavirus pandemic, the debt, the Federal Reserve's falsification of interest rates, the fake dollar, and the giveaways, the U.S. economy may already be in a perpetual recession. And the feds are determined to fight it with printing-press money....The feds only have one quack medicine - printing-press money. And they're going to stick with it, whether it works or not. At first, the extra money has little effect. Fearful of layoffs and bankruptcies, people hoard cash. That is what is happening now. People are not spending their money, they're hoarding it....This is what happens in the first stage of the last stage....For the first 189 years of the Republic, the economy grew strongly, with not even a hint of the magic elixir (setting aside the War Between the States, when both sides did print money… and subsequently fell into recession). It wasn’t until 1999 - more than 200 years after the dollar was introduced - that the Fed began administering large doses of fake money. And then, it added $6.4 trillion to its balance sheet… as growth rates fell. Fake money is the poison that will eventually put the dollar in its grave."

Are Your Retirement Savings in the Government's Crosshairs? -American Consequences
"America’s national debt has soared more than $4 trillion this year alone. It now totals $26.7 trillion. That's $81,000 for every man, woman, and child. It's an astronomically large figure. And it could be paid off tomorrow if the U.S. government raided one of the biggest pools of capital on earth...Right now, Uncle Sam can get all the money he requires with a few keystrokes at the Federal Reserve....The U.S. dollar is in the last inning or two of its dominance of the global financial system...There may come a time - sooner than you think - that the dollar falters....America's total unfunded liabilities stand at $154 trillion. Faced with a still-escalating debt burden, the U.S. government might then go 'where the money is' - to paraphrase 1930s bank robber Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks. One very obvious destination: the $28.7 trillion in Americans' retirement assets, including around $8.3 trillion in individual retirement account ('IRAs') and in employer-sponsored 401(k) plans, according to the Investment Company Institute. It wouldn't be difficult for the U.S. government to gets its hands on your retirement assets. We can hope that this never happens. But it's far better to be prepared....What can you do to protect yourself? ....One way to keep your retirement assets away from Uncle Sam is to buy silver, gold, and other precious metals."

It's Time to Celebrate Historic Middle East Peace Agreement -Wicker/Vicksburg Post
"It is always an important day when the Israeli Prime Minister visits our nation's capital, but his arrival at the White House on September 15 was something truly momentous. Hosted by President Trump, the Prime Minister signed a historic peace deal with leaders from two Arab nations - the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. This agreement, known as the Abraham Accords, is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal to be signed in more than 25 years. It is especially significant given that only two Arab countries had previously recognized the Jewish state. This agreement strengthens Israel's standing among Arab nations and gives Israel new economic partners in the region. This landmark achievement makes possible a new era of Arab-Israeli cooperation. It paves the way for other countries, like Saudi Arabia and Oman, to follow suit and recognize Israel. Such a development would have been impossible to imagine a generation ago, when memories of the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War were still fresh. In both conflicts, Israel was surrounded by enemies but emerged victorious....President Trump deserves praise for bucking the conventional wisdom and brokering this deal. For decades, many analysts argued that Israel would have to strike a deal with Palestinian leaders before peace could be achieved in the region....President Trump brought a fresh approach to the situation. Instead of undermining Israel, he boosted Israel by moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. These actions strengthened Israel's position and sent a message that the Jewish state was not going anywhere. This signal encouraged the UAE and Bahrain to come to the table and negotiate a durable peace."

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Sept 24, 2020

9.24.20 - JPMorgan to pay almost $1 billion fine

Gold last traded at $1,865 an ounce. Silver at $23.05 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rebounded Thursday despite a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks gyrated as traders weighed the latest batch of economic data and tech tried to recover from its recent losses.

JPMorgan to pay almost $1 billion fine for manipulation of metal and Treasuries markets -CNBC
"JPMorgan Chase is close to paying almost $1 billion to resolve government investigations into the alleged manipulation of metal and Treasurys markets, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. A settlement between New York-based JPMorgan and several U.S. agencies could come as soon as this week, according to Bloomberg...A penalty of that size would be a record for spoofing, which is when sophisticated traders flood markets with orders that they have no intention of actually executing. The practice was banned after the 2008 financial crisis and regulators have made it a priority to stamp out. While JPMorgan may be forced to admit wrongdoing in the settlement, the deal isn't expected to result in business restrictions on other areas of the firm. The case was revealed in September 2019 when a 14-count criminal indictment against three current or former JPMorgan employees, including the global head of base and precious metals trading, was unsealed. The indictment alleges the traders, along with eight unnamed co-conspirators who worked at JPMorgan offices in New York, London and Singapore, participated in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with a multiyear scheme to manipulate the precious metals markets and defraud customers....They each were charged with one count of conspiracy under the RICO Act, which historically has been used in mafia prosecutions, as well as other federal crimes in connection with manipulating precious metals futures markets."

liberty Liberty or Lockdown -Tucker/AIER
"For most Americans, the Covid-19 lockdown was our first experience in a full denial of freedom. Businesses forced closed. Schools, padlocked. Church, same. Theaters, dead. We were told to stay home, risking fines if we leave and jail if we don’t pay. We couldn’t travel. Separated from loved ones. This job is essential, this one is not. This surgery is cancelled, this one is not. You want a visitor from abroad? Forget it. The neighboring state? Only with a two-week quarantine....We were forced to spend day after day under effective house arrest, spinning aimlessly in this small and unwelcome world of captivity, wondering about big things previously unconsidered: why has this happened to me, what has gone wrong, why am I here, when will it end, what are my goals, what is the purpose of my life?....I've been writing about pandemics and liberty for 15 years. I knew from 2005 that there were plans in place for mass quarantines. I knew from 2006 that there were fanatics out there who imagined that they could use the power of the state to suppress a virus by suppressing our freedoms. The plans were on the shelf and I wrote to warn that it was conceptually possible. Even so, I really never imagined that such would be tried. Why and how did it happen?....The politicians panicked. They feared being blamed for any and all deaths from this one virus while forgetting other ailments. The Covid-19 fear drove out every other consideration. It was madness but it was only supposed to last a couple of weeks until it turned out to last six months and longer. Why didn't we revolt? Part of the reason was that most of us were in shock. We had to believe that there was some good reason, some rationale, for these policies. But as the weeks and months rolled on, the terrible truth began to dawn on more people. This was all for naught. We destroyed the country, and much of the world, and everything people had worked hard for centuries to build, to try out something that had never been tried before. It didn’t work. The virus took its own path. And today we are left with this wreckage. As I type today (September 1, 2020), I'm feeling ever vindicated by the research, and ever more optimistic that we are going to get through this, the world will open up again, and we can begin the rebuilding. The work that is before us is not only national, institutional, and economic. It is also psychological. Our lives have been shattered in incredible ways....How do we come back from this? By reflecting, learning, and acting on the promise of renewal. It can happen, but only once we fully come to terms with the stark choice between liberty and lockdown. Liberty is right and it works. Lockdown is wrong and it does not. It’s not complex but it takes courage and determination to live out that principle. The United States was founded on the principle of liberty as a right. We must reclaim that. We must work to take away lockdown discretionary power from our leaders. And we must reclaim confidence and hope in the future."

Fed Preparing To Deposit "Digital Dollars" Directly To "Each American" -Zero Hedge
"Over the past decade, the one common theme despite the political upheaval and growing social and geopolitical instability, was that the market would keep marching higher and the Fed would continue injecting liquidity into the system. The second common theme is that despite sparking unprecedented asset price inflation, prices as measured across the broader economy - using the flawed CPI metric and certainly stagnant worker wages - would remain subdued. The Fed's failure to reach its inflation target - which prompted the US central bank to radically overhaul its monetary dogma last month and unveil Flexible Average Inflation Targeting (or FAIT) whereby the Fed will allow inflation to run hot without hiking rates....In short, ever since the Fed launched QE and NIRP, it has been making the situation it has been trying to 'fix' even worse while blowing the biggest asset price bubble in history....And yet, the lament is that even as the economy was desperately in need of a massive liquidity tsunami, the funds created by the Fed and Treasury did not make their way to those who need them the most: end consumers....Two former Fed officials: Simon Potter, who led the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's markets group i.e., he was the head of the Fed's Plunge Protection Team for years, and Julia Coronado, who spent eight years as an economist for the Fed's Board of Governors...propose creating a monetary tool that they call recession insurance bonds, which draw on some of the advances in digital payments, which will be wired instantly to Americans. As Coronado explained the details, Congress would grant the Fed an additional tool for providing support - say, a percent of GDP to households in a recession...The Fed would then activate the securities and deposit the funds digitally in households' apps....This morning, as if to confirm our speculation of what comes next, Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester delivered a speech to the Chicago Payment Symposium titled 'Payments and the Pandemic'...And in the shocking punchline reveals that legislation has proposed that each American have an account at the Fed in which digital dollars could be deposited, as liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks, which could be used for emergency payments.'...The Fed would then be able to scrap 'anonymous' physical currency entirely, and track every single banknote from its 'creation' all though the various transactions that take place during its lifetime....Absent a massive burst of inflation in the coming years which inflates away the hundreds of trillions in federal debt, the unprecedented debt tsunami that is coming would mean the end to the American way of life as we know it."

Stock market 'great speculation,' save cash -Diller/CNBC
"Billionaire media mogul Barry Diller on Tuesday urged investors to maintain sizable cash positions following the stock market's robust rally from coronavirus-induced lows in late March. 'Personally, and professionally, every nickel you can, keep it ... wherever it's banked,' the chairman of both Expedia and digital media group IAC said on CNBC's 'Squawk Box.'....'I think the market right now is a great speculation, I would stay home.' Diller is far from the first to express skepticism about the stock market's pandemic recovery....Some, such as billionaire investor Michael Novogratz, have suggested the pullback represents the end of a 'speculative frenzy.'....Should the former vice president defeat Trump, Diller said he expects there to be an initial 'downdraft' in the stock market as Wall Street braces for potentially higher taxes both on corporations and capital gains in a Biden administration."

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