The Arizona Cardinals signed running back Darius Victor on Tuesday and placed running back D.J. Foster on injured reserve after he suffered a torn ACL and MCL during Sunday’s third preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.Victor, who entered the NFL out of Towson as an undrafted rookie with the Saints in 2017, played on the Cardinals practice squad late in 2017 after signing on Nov. 29. He was released by Arizona on May 1. Top Stories Arizona Cardinals quarterback Mike Glennon (7) hands the ball off to running back D.J. Foster (37) during practice at the NFL football team’s minicamp Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 1 Comments Share On Sunday, Foster injured his knee during kickoff coverage and was carted off the field. The 24-year-old was listed as the third back on the depth chart behind David Johnson and rookie Chase Edmonds.The Cardinals signed Foster from the Patriots’ practice squad last season.Related LinksCardinals RB D.J. Foster tore ACL, MCL vs. CowboysCardinals running back D.J. Foster injures knee, carted off fieldBefore the Patriots signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016, Foster starred at Scottsdale Saguaro High School and Arizona State.Second-year pro T.J. Logan is likely to receive more playing time with an increased chance of making the team in the wake of Foster’s injury.Logan rushed for 86 yards, including a 59-yard burst for a touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday.
21Jul Rep. Noble invites students to be “Rep. for a Day” Categories: Noble News State Rep. Jeff Noble of Plymouth announced his essay contest for students in Plymouth, Canton and Northville.The contest is open to students in grades six to twelfth. Students are asked to write a minimum of 250 words and no more than 500. The topic is “Why do you like living in Michigan?”Essays should be submitted by mail or email by Sept. 1 and must include student’s name, address, email or phone number, school and grade level.“I am challenging the students of our community to put their thoughts into words,” Rep. Noble said. “This contest is a great way to keep your writing skills sharp during the summer and offers a unique opportunity for the winner to come to Lansing and see their state government in action.”The winner will be announced on Sept. 18 and invited to Lansing to be a Rep. for a Day in the fall.Essay submissions should be sent toJeffNoble@house.mi.govorN-699 House Office BuildingP.O. Box 30014Lansing, MI 48909#####
Bouygues Telecom is working with NDS to provide the technology platform for the next generation of its Bbox IPTV set-top.NDS is providing integration services for the launch of the new platform, together with integration consultancy and a selection of critical software components to enable an enhanced pay TV experience.The NDS set-top box software components to be deployed by Bouygues include a graphical engine to power a user interface with HD and 3D capability and an application manager engine to enable the development and management of new apps based on HTML5 and Flash.Yves Caseau, executive vice-president, technologies, services and innovation, Bouygues Telecom, said: “We are exceptionally proud of our new platform – and more so in the collaborative nature of the development process. We were very selective in the partners that we chose for this project, and with their extensive track record of innovation and integration expertise, NDS is the perfect choice to support us in creating a TV experience that will greatly satisfy the needs of our subscribers.”
Sponsor Advertisement Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany.Company highlights:Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drillingGold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locationsCovas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the projectStrong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd.Low risk exploration strategyShare structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011):16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investorsApprox. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe)Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012.Please visit our website for more information. And so it begins…another precious metals rally in the making…at least that’s what the talk is on the Internet right now.Gold’s low print on Friday came about 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time…and the subsequent rally was only ten bucks…and that came to an end shortly after 10:00 a.m. in London. From that point, gold gave back half those gains going into the Comex open.The rally that began at that point came to an end at its high tick of the day…$1,667.70 spot…just a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. Eastern time in New York…which was a few minutes after the London close at 4:00 p.m. GMT. But by the time that electronic trading was done in New York at 5:15 p.m…gold had slid back five bucks from that high.Gold closed at $1,662.80 spot…up $17.90 on the day. Net volume was on the lighter side…around 112,000 contracts.Silver’s chart looks more or less the same as the gold chart…but the rally during the Comex trading session in New York was far more substantial on a percentage basis…and the high tick of the day [$32.41 spot] came either shortly before, or just after, the close of Comex trading at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. From that high, silver gave back a bit of its gain going into the weekend.Silver closed at $32.24 spot…up 65 cents on the day. Net volume was pretty light…around 31,000 contracts.The dollar index traded mostly flat during early Far East trading, with the high tick [79.74] coming shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time…less than an hour before London opened on their Friday morning.Less than three hours later…and a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. in London…the dollar index had fallen 50 basis points. Three hours after that…8:00 a.m. in New York…the dollar index had gained back 30 points of that decline…but continued to fall after that, closing almost on its low of the day. When all was said and done, the dollar index was down 43 basis points from Thursday’s close.If you examine the major dollar index inflection points against the major deflection points in gold and silver prices, you’ll find a perfect match but…as I’ve said for the last three days…the match is almost too perfect. It looks suspiciously like the same traders buying gold/silver and selling the dollar simultaneously…or doing the exact opposite…selling gold/silver and buying the dollar. There’s no lag time at all, as the inflection points in both are either simultaneous or within minutes…and the only people who would know the exact price direction of either the dollar index or the precious metals, would be those who are doing those trades at the same time.Talk about insiders gaming the system! I wish I was making their money.But, as I’ve said before, maybe I’m looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there.Even though both gold and silver were up a decent amount at the open of the New York equity markets, the HUI opened flat…but began climbing from there…reaching it’s high tick a few minutes after 12 o’clock noon Eastern time. It held that level until about 1:45 p.m…and then declined a few basis points going into the close at 4:00 p.m. All in all, the gold stocks pretty much mirrored the gold price. The HUI finished up 1.74% on the day.Well, the silver shares were certainly the stars yesterday…particularly the juniors. It’s too bad that Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index doesn’t reflect all that, but it still closed up a respectable 3.18%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for Friday showed that 29 gold and 113 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday and, as has been the case all year, it was Jefferies as the short/issuer on all 113 contracts…and the Bank of Nova Scotia and JPMorgan were the long/stoppers…with 75 and 31 contracts respectively. The Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a look…and the link is here.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday…but an authorized participant withdrew a rather smallish 339,921 troy ounces of silver out of SLV.And, for the first time in a while, the U.S. Mint had a sales report worthy of the name. They sold 8,500 troy ounces of gold eagles…4,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 275,000 silver eagles. Month-to-date the mint has sold 43,500 ounce of gold eagles…23,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 2,137,000 silver eagles.So far this month, silver eagles are up about 33% over February’s sales month…and gold eagle/buffalo sales are up 120% over the same period. I would agree with what Ted Butler had to say in one of his recent commentaries, that once this market turns to the upside with some real force behind it, we’ll see some daily sales that will make your eyes water, because the mint has probably been building up inventory over the last six weeks or so…and will be able to fill all orders regardless of size, as they won’t be constrained by current production levels.Thursday was another day of big silver inflows into the Comex-approved warehouses. They reported receiving 1,215,567 troy ounces of silver…and shipped out an insignificant 10,610 ounces. When they finally parked the forklifts on Thursday night, the five depositories held 135,850,575 ounces of silver. The link to that action is here.It suddenly dawned on me yesterday that maybe the reason that silver inventories are climbing at these warehouses is that Jefferies has been bringing in silver to meet its delivery requirements since December 1st of 2011. From then until yesterdays close, Jefferies has delivered 2,874 silver contracts on the Comex. That works out to 14.37 million ounces…447 tonnes…and that, dear reader, is a lot.The Commitment of Traders Report came in as Ted Butler expected…however I was hoping for a bigger improvement in silver, but regardless of what I thought, the improvement was pretty substantial, as the Commercial net short position declined by 3,505 contracts…or 17.5 million ounces. The Commercial net short position in silver is now down to 160.6 million ounces. That’s pretty low, but about 90 million paper ounces above its late-December absolute low.The ‘1 through 4’ largest Commercial traders are short 188.3 million ounces of silver…and the ‘5 through 8’ Commercial traders are short another 42.3 million ounces on top of that. Once you subtract all the market-neutral spread trades out of the Non-Reportable category, the ‘1 through 4’ Commercial traders/bullion banks are short a bit more than 43% of the entire Comex futures market in silver. That’s preposterous!!!For the second week in a row, it was gold that showed the biggest improvement, as the Commercial net short position declined by 25,550 contracts, or 2.56 million ounces. As of Tuesday’s cut-off, the Commercial net short position is now down to 16.6 million ounces. The ‘1 through 4’ and ‘5 through 8’ Commercial traders on the short side are short 11.4 million and 5.2 million ounces respectively. And once the market-neutral spread trades are removed, the ‘1 through 4’ Commercial traders/bullion banks are short 28.4% of the entire Comex futures market in gold. That’s equally as preposterous.Here’s Nick Laird’s up-to-date “Days of World Production to Cover Short Contract” chart that he designed at Ted Butler’s request over a decade ago. This shows all the commodities that are traded on the Comex in New York. Notice that the biggest short positions by the four largest bullion banks are in the four precious metals…and how silver stands out “Above the Crowd”…as they say over at Re/Max.(Click on image to enlarge)I got a monster e-mail from Nick Laird late last night…and thought all the charts, plus everything had to say in association with them, was worth posting….so here goes.“The gold oscillator is indicating that the latest move up by gold is a breakout.“There is good probability that gold has finished it’s decline and the next wave should be up and taking out the recent highs at $1,780.(Click on image to enlarge)“On a larger scale, the impending move up – if it is strong enough i.e.. takes out $1,800 & then $1,900 – will then trigger a massive rise out of the triangle shown in the chart below.“This is indicative of a major rise coming in gold – something strong enough to take us up to the mid $2,000’s.(Click on image to enlarge)“The first rise up off the bottom was from $1,520 to $1,790 – a rise of 270 or 17.7%. We are now down at the retest level and should move up from here so a 270 rise up from $1,640 will take us up to $1,910.“We will in all probability see a larger rise here i.e. larger than 18%.“With that rise we retest the all time highs & break through. This will trigger the breakout on the Long Term Gold Oscillator giving us the buy signal for the next leg up to $3,500.“The last major wave up took us from $700 to $1,900 in 2.5 years. This major wave up should take us from $1,500 to $3,600 in 1.5 years.“So – a rise from here up to the old highs should occur in the next leg up. This should trigger the buy signal signaling a major move up to the mid $2,000’s. A pullback and then a continued rise into the high $2,000’s – low $3,000’s.“Another pullback and then the parabolic move up to the top of the leg in mid 2013 at around $3,500. This a possible wave structure for the major rise – a major wave comprised of several sub-major waves.“That will put in a wave up that will fit in with the e-wave chart…(Click on image to enlarge)“So expectations are for a strong move up to be continued by strong moves – large runs up with minor pullbacks moving the market up over 100% from low to high i.e. from $1,500 to $3,500. If it does take on this stance then it will be affirmative of the plotted advance speculated on in the chart above.“If it doesn’t then one can suspect that we are more likely to follow Martin Armstrong’s path for gold with a soft year this year as gold gathers strength to run up from 2013 through to 2017.“At the moment I prefer my version & believe that it has good chance to play out. What the market will depend upon is any manipulation that will prevent the above scenario from playing out.“But when I look at the last 12 years I see nothing that has impeded the price and amounted to much in stopping gold’s relentless rise.“So we are fast closing in on a position that if confirmed would mean that you should be fully invested in gold & ready for the rise ahead…and I still prefer bullion over gold stocks for this move up.“I’m still looking for a major bear market in equities & believe that this will weigh heavily upon gold stocks leaving few out performers.“However if we do get this equities correction then gold stocks will become a definitive buy.“So – exciting times ahead of us. – NickFrank Barbera’s The Gold Stock Technician report for Thursday had this to say in its opening paragraph…“This report is unlike any other report we have ever written, as the list of data extremes in the Gold Stocks has grown so rapidly in the last few days, that it is almost impossible to stress how potentially major a low we could be witnessing in the mining stocks at the current time. That a violent upside reversal rally, lies dead ahead, there can be virtually no doubt. Personally, I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Gold Stocks up 150% to 200% over the next 18 months coming off the current lows. There is now historical technical evidence in spades to support the case that we are watching the final day or two of what is likely another major secular low in the group, and a bottom which could easily kick start a major bull market advance. We feel there is very good chance that today was the closing low on GDX, XAU, and HUI. In the past, readings like those now present, have systematically led to major upside advances in the sector, and we see no reason to believe that past precedent won’t repeat again. In this report, which we believe will stand as a seminal update, we summarize our views right up front, and then provide a lot of historical charts to support the case walking down the long list of individual indicators which we track each day. For some, looking at a long list of charts, can be to taxing, and that is why we cut straight to the bottom line on this first page.”This is all well and good. I’m certainly of the belief that we saw the bottom on Thursday…but how things turn out in the future is…as Nick Laird pointed out in his comments…as always, in the hands of JPMorgan et al. Supply and demand fundamentals mean nothing when you’re dealing with a managed market.And as much as the wildly bullish part of me wants to believe both Nick and Frank…the ‘born in Missouri’ part of me says “show me”. Stay tuned.Here’s a chart from a Zero Hedge article that Australian reader Wesley Legrand sent my way yesterday. It need needs no further embellishment from me…and the link to the hard copy of the story is here.(Click on image to enlarge)These last three charts were sent to me by reader Phil Barlett…and shows just how much monetary pumping at all levels is currently going on at the moment. It’s already showing up in the real inflation numbers…and certainly before the end of the year, monetary inflation will be noticeable to all…even if official government figures don’t show it.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)In his latest blog, reader Scott Pluschau points out that the Commitment of Traders short/long ratio for the U.S. dollar is now greater than 10 to 1. I would suggest that his short blog is worth the read…and the link is here.Since it’s Saturday, I have a huge list of stories for you that I hope you have the time to plow through in what’s left of the weekend.A “simple” question: Is the U.S. stock market a Bubble? Have the Fed and global central bankers prolonged the U.S. Credit Bubble sufficiently to the point of having again incited Bubble dynamics within our equities market? Sure looks like it. As we’ve witnessed repeatedly for twenty-odd years now, every government bailout/policy response to a burst Bubble ends up inflating fledgling Bubbles to full-blown Bubble fruition excess. From my point of view, U.S. stocks were, at the minimum, a “fledgling” Bubble prior to recent LTRO and concerted global central bank liquidity operations. – Doug Noland, Credit Bubble Bulletin, 23 March 2012Here’s a ‘blast from the past’ that you’ll recognize instantly. I can’t remember how many times in my life I’ve danced my brains out to this 1978 disco classic. The link is here. Enjoy!And so it begins…another precious metals rally in the making…at least that’s what the talk is on the Internet right now after Thursday and Friday’s action.I, like you, would really like that to be the case. But, as I’ve said ad nauseam in this column for years…it’s all up to JPMorgan et al. Will they be the short sellers of first and last resort when this rally starts to grow some real legs? Don’t know.We’re now below the 50 and 200-day moving averages on the all the precious metals…and once prices break over that level, the game will hopefully be on. At that point we’ll find out soon enough how these rallies will end.Of course there could still be some more down-side price action, but one has to wonder just how much more blood ‘da boyz’ can get out of these precious metal stones.This column has already gone on for too long, but before I sign off, I want to remind you one more time that with the precious metals and their shares still on sale…but for how much longer, nobody knows…there’s still the opportunity to either readjust your portfolio, or get fully invested in the continuing major up-leg of this bull market in both silver and gold…and I respectfully suggest that you take a trial subscription to either Casey Research’s International Speculator [junior gold and silver exploration companies], or BIG GOLD [large producers], with all our best (and current) recommendations…as well as the archives. Don’t forget that our 90-day guarantee of satisfaction is in effect for both publications.Enjoy what’s left of your weekend…and I’ll see you in this space on Tuesday.
Of course, even newer disruptive technologies, such as 3D printing, will, over time, begin to carve into the market share of Internet retailers – so that’s another interesting area for personal and professional study. Regardless, the nature of local businesses has changed, and it’s not changing back. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the excellent work that Alex Daley and his team at Casey BIG TECH do in keeping subscribers up to speed on the latest big developments in technology and how to profit. At just $99 a year, with a full three-month money-back guarantee, it’s truly a no-brainer. Learn more and sign up today.) Three Reasons the Case for Gold Remains Intact While it’s nice to see gold bounce off recent lows and stage a rally of late, short-term price action is of little personal concern as I don’t trade the physical metals: I own them as a long-term insurance against further currency depreciation. In that regard, however, it’s worth periodically pondering whether the base case for holding gold – or any asset, for that matter – remains intact. Here are three quick observations on why I think the gold bull is still well intact. Reason #1: Opposition to Austerity Today it was announced that EU unemployment continued to rise into record territory, up to 12.2%. As this is a region-wide stat, you can safely assume that in the poorer member countries, and especially among the young and minority groups, the rate is easily twice that number. As a consequence, the odds of the EU adopting widespread austerity – i.e., significantly pulling back government spending – is just not going to happen. Supporting that contention was an article out of the Financial Times today, titled “EU eases hard line on austerity.” And I quote… “Brussels will on Wednesday give its clearest signal yet that it is moving away from a crisis response based on austerity, allowing three of the EU’s five largest economies to overshoot budget deficit limits and pushing instead for broader reform.” Likewise, looking forward to the near future here in the United States, as our own Bud Conrad did in the current edition of The Casey Report, shows that rather than moving into a period of easing demand on government expenditures, the aging baby boom bubble is about to greatly exacerbate the problem. On the other side of the podium, we witness social proof in action – the deep-seated human trait of unquestioningly modifying behavior in order to stay in sync with the actions of others around us. Which is to say that because we see everyone else going along like sheep, we go along too. Otherwise we might have answered Jabba’s ridiculous questions with something along the lines of, “Look moron, if you can’t read the identification card in your hand that confirms my name, or the ticket that confirms my destination, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work.” But we don’t do that, because no one else is doing it. And sadly, if we did, then Jabba would press a button on his podium, and we’d fall into the Pit of Rancor (or whatever the equivalent is in today’s militarized Homeland Security system). I mention all of this because this scenario – and the underlying forces at work – when considered on the larger stage of the US, are equally evident. You have a bloated government degraded by its power, choking on its own neck fat (debt), foisting ridiculous and ineffective regulations and policies on a spineless public who has been trained through media and overt intimidation to toe the line, or else. Just as the TSA agent felt comfortable loudly joking about lording it over the passengers unfortunate to be in his queue, the US government feels comfortable ignoring principles, morals, and ethics that, until recently, pretty much defined the national character. And why not? Anyone brave enough to “see something and say something” – at least as far as government overreach is concerned – will, as the recent IRS and AP cases demonstrate, quickly find a target painted on their back. And so it was that we shuffled through the final security lines and onto our plane back to Vermont. The War on Bitcoin When I first read the government inquisitor’s comments on Liberty Reserve, my initial impression was that they were referring to Bitcoin. That’s because the terms used in describing the federal indictment for Liberty Reserve’s purported crimes read as if lifted from a Bitcoin sales brochure. Simply, the crux of the complaint is that the transactions through Liberty Reserve were designed to be outside of the central banking system and anonymous, and so were conducive to the laundering of money. It seems hard to argue that government prosecutors, in their attack on Liberty Reserve, were taking great pains to frame the argument for going after Bitcoin next. The champions of Bitcoin immediately rallied behind the BC flag, touting the fact that unlike the operators of Liberty Reserve, Bitcoin is a massively distributed system with no obvious individuals readily available for perp-walking. Now, I know I will sway no one with my comments – Bitcoin has that sort of dedicated followers – but, in my opinion, having laid hands on the people behind Liberty Reserve, the governments will now publicly crush their bones as part of deterring the average person from wanting anything to do with Bitcoin, or, for that matter, any other non-sanctioned e-currency. Moreover, I suspect it is the first shot in a wider campaign to scare away heretofore vocal and visible champions of Bitcoin, the “thought leaders” that have been so helpful in Bitcoin gaining market share. Is publically advocating the use of Bitcoin the equivalent of publically advocating a money laundering service? Could such an advocacy result in your arrest and confinement? Don’t know… maybe you’d like to push the outer edge of the envelope and find out? (Do criminal defense lawyers accept bitcoins? You could find that out, too.) Regardless, I think it is as certain as certain can be that the government is preparing to wage war on Bitcoin – and that will scare off merchants who accept Bitcoin, or who were contemplating it. While individuals may be able to fly below the radar, merchants who need to advertise their willingness to deal in bitcoins offer up a fixed target. Okay, I suppose you could get away with it on Silk Road, but for demand for Bitcoin to grow – very definitely a driver of its value – it needs distribution. With regular folks and merchants alike deciding the risk is not worth the possible reward of dealing in BC, demand and prices will be capped. While it’s hard to tell how Bitcoin will ultimately fare… I think the right questions we as possible consumers of the e-currency have to ask is, (a) whether its value is intrinsically linked to its ability to operate in the open, and (b) whether it can withstand a full-on government assault. And never for a minute lose sight of the fact that the government defines the rules. If your permanent government file might be amended to flag you as a possible anti-government revolutionary solely for visiting a Bitcoin-related website, would you take the risk? Though I certainly appreciate the effort to launch an alternative, anonymous currency – I see Bitcoin as V.1. in that regard and very much susceptible to being mugged by the monetary mafia running this joint. Maybe I would buy some solely for entertainment purposes, but for anything resembling real money, I’ll take things more tangible. The Changing Face of Main Street Living in a small town in the middle of nowhere in Argentina very much changes one’s priorities. In my opinion, for the better. For instance, given the lack of big stores and easy access to consumer goods, you quickly come to understand what you actually need to live a good life… fresh food, basic transportation, good friends, and, as a real luxury, domestic help. In the US, by contrast, it is easy to become convinced that a fulfilled life requires the latest in an unceasing river of electronic gadgets, fancy cars, etc., etc. Case in point, I deliberately only took a small wardrobe to Cafayate – a handful of shirts, a couple of jeans, underwear, socks, etc. As the place is very informal, as there’s no need for cold-weather gear, and as we have a maid that washes five days a week, there’s never a risk of running short of anything. Only on returning to the States did it dawn on me just how much “stuff” we have accumulated over the years, starting with a large closet overflowing with clothes for every occasion… much of which I almost never wear. Then there are the toys and electronic gadgets and other clutter, each piece of which I had become convinced at one point or another that I simply had to own – but now that I do, for the life of me I can’t remember why. But that’s sort of the point. In the US, especially, exceptional marketers are supported by technology that makes shopping ridiculously easy. Thus, once you become convinced you simply must own something, the thing almost falls into your lap. That is very much not the case in a small town in Argentina or, for that matter, thanks to the anti-trade stance of government there, in the big city either. Yet, yesterday, needing a new headset for my computer (I left mine in Argentina), I stopped in at three local retail stores of the sort that would typically be expected to carry headsets and was surprised that not only they didn’t carry them, but that their inventory of anything at all was positively skeletal. In each case, the clerk apologized and offered to order it for delivery later in the week. Given that I am entirely capable of logging onto Amazon and choosing from a seemingly limitless array of headsets, I politely declined and, on returning home, did just that – ultimately selecting a pair from over 63,000 offerings with the help of a convenient rating and review system. As a result of this experience, I was reminded that the very nature of commerce in the US has gone through a profound shift over the last decade. No longer can mom and pop hope to set up shop on Main Street and successfully sell anything other than items appealing to instant gratification (ice cream, prepared food, candy bars, wine, etc.), or services related to existing goods (dry cleaning, car repair), or services related to navigating the complex society (accounting, legal). Pretty much everything else falls under the purview of the online merchants or the mega-box stores that can afford to carry a big enough inventory of reasonably priced products to compete with the online sellers. In time, even the big-box stores won’t be able to compete with infinity, however. Interestingly, though, online sales are still only about 5% of total retail sales in the US. This despite the latest surveys that show that, across all demographic groups, about 41% of the public prefer shopping online. Which, of course, means that 59% of the people prefer to do their shopping in stores. To me this feels like the sort of crossroads that must have arisen during the early adoption of the “horseless carriage”… when a majority of people, when asked, would have sworn by old Betsy and vowed to never change. It feels like opportunity to me, as the creative destruction of the Internet moves inexorably forward. Of course, it’s just a matter of time before widespread changes in the tax structure stop giving the online retailers a tax advantage over local merchants, but all that will accomplish is to cause consumer prices to rise. That still cannot address the distributed merchandising model such as used by Amazon that means if they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, one of their tens of thousands of affiliated merchants will. Young people in America face the real challenge of finding a way to succeed in an economy on the downslope, where government regulations and labor-related costs make employees a liability and not an asset. I think Internet retailing is one of the few real bright spots, convinced as I am that it is still in its infancy. Dear Reader, When last I wrote, it was from my favorite place in the world, Cafayate, Argentina, as I prepared to return to the United States for the Northern Hemisphere summer. Leaving off, I was positively brimming with the health and vigor of life lived large in the big-sky country of the Argentine outback. Unfortunately, immediately upon arriving back in the US, I was laid low by a high fever, exacerbated by a week-long absence of the sun, and topped off with a spell of freezing temperatures and even snow… this at the end of May! Today, a week and a bit later, I’m mostly recovered though still periodically hacking like a TB patient. Other than a single afternoon, the sun has put in sporadic appearances, and the forecast for the next three days is more of the same. Ugh. Given the backlog of work that has built up during the transition back north, compounded by the unexpected bed rest, I don’t think I’ll get stuck in any particularly long or complicated themes today, but instead plan on sharing some briefer observations that have come to mind since my return. Human Nature One of the advantages of flying into the US via Asunción is that relatively few Americans traveling to the Southern Cone include Paraguay on their itinerary. I’m not sure why, but when mentioning my tangential affection for Paraguay to an American, I invariably get the same sort of look I imagine would be given on announcing I enjoy vacationing in the rougher parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Regardless, unlike traveling from Buenos Aires, which is hugely popular among Americans, a US citizen arriving at JFK airport from Asunción has the “US Citizens Only” line pretty much to themselves. While it is irksome to have any institutionalized interference in one’s travels, in fairness, the processing back into the US as a citizen is mostly painless, a quick question or two followed by a “Welcome back.” Thus welcomed, we had to gather our bags, change terminals, and recheck in for the continuing flight to Burlington, Vermont, the nearest big city to our home here. As the bags took a surprisingly long time to spew forth onto the luggage carousel, the leisurely connection time we had allowed for was greatly diminished, resulting in something of a scramble in order to make our connecting flight. Thanks to the AirTrain at JFK, once we had bags in hand, we made solid progress before once again getting hung up in the “baggage drop” process at JetBlue where the line was both long and slow. In Argentina I have become comfortable with patiently waiting in lines; however, back in the Land of the Efficient, I found my stress level rising thanks to the uncaring inefficiency. To wit, even though the line was well backed up, the airline had only two people working the counter, and one of those was tied up with a problem case (there’s always at least one). Thus what should have been a quick and painless operation dragged out for the better part of thirty minutes. Finally, with our flight time rapidly approaching, it was time to run the security gauntlet, stepping into a rope chute leading, side by side with another chute, to a podium whence a TSA operative was charged with checking the tickets and credentials of passengers. While one should give credence to differences in metabolic functioning – people process body fat more or less efficiently, leaving some people effortlessly thin while others have to fight a constant fight against weight – the only conclusion one could reasonably draw in the case of this particular TSA security officer was that he had long ago given up any pretense of dietary restraint or physical activity more strenuous than lifting cupcakes to his lips. As a result, rather than sitting in his high chair at the podium, he pretty much enveloped it with unflattering rolls of body fat cascading droopily over the side of his belt and dangling, jiggling, to the level of his seat. The idea that this was “America’s first line of defense” would have been somewhat funny if we hadn’t been in such a hurry and hadn’t known that to proceed, we first had to bow and scrape to his satisfaction. Even so, I’m a go-along-to-get-along kind of guy, especially when it comes to getting along to my flight, so I waited patiently for my turn at the podium. Which gave me about ten minutes in relatively close quarters to watch this first responder in his dealings with the public. Encouraged by the presence of a bland-countenanced female TSA officer who was standing nearby in order to observe him, I guess as a trainee, the human roadblock cavalierly split his attention between her and the two streams of passengers, one on his right and one on his left, that met up at his podium. The conversation went something like this… Jabba the TSAHutt (turning to his female trainee, but loud enough for us wannabe passengers to hear): “Oh, sometimes I get in a devilish mood, like now. So I ask people annoying questions such as…” (turning to the nondescript woman waiting on the right side of the line, taking her ticket and ID in hand and examining it)… “So, what’s your name?” Waits for her to answer, “And where are you going today?” That he already has the information directly at hand is part of the joke, which he acknowledges by turning back to the female trainee and winks, “See?” Moving at the speed of a slow glacier, he dragged the farce out for all it was worth, constantly pausing to make quips to the trainee, then leisurely turning back to ask the travelers similarly ludicrous questions, pausing every minute or so to stop a line and command people to step back away from the podium – even though if anyone encroached on some invisible line, it was by an inch or two as far as I could see. But he was having a grand old time, yakking it up with the emotionless TSA trainee (if she was getting the humor, she wasn’t showing it, but that didn’t seem to register with him), and treating the public like slow-witted children. I vividly recall the expression of a distinguished older couple in their seventies as they made their way slowly towards the TSA joke… er, joker. Written across their faces were a litany of emotions from anger and thinly disguised disdain to embarrassment that America had come to this. The husband visibly gritted his teeth when Jabba shoved a mitt in front of his wife’s face when she, too, came too close to the imaginary line separating the public from his official podium and said in his best imitation of a real cop, “Back away from the podium!” Finally, mercifully, it was our turn, which meant we might still make our flight. Like everyone else, I had to reply to his nonsense questions that had nothing to do with anything, then stand by while he similarly grilled my children. “What’s your name? Where are you traveling? Are these your parents? How old are you?” Then it was on to the backscatter X-ray machines, assuming the humiliating hands-over-the-head position, leaving us with only a couple of minutes to spare to make our already boarding flight. Now, I mention all of this not just to gripe about how degraded the travel experience in America has become – and it’s nothing like this anywhere else I have traveled in the last decade – but as a lead-up to a quick comment or two about human nature. You see, while the whole “show” was grating, the TSA officer was acting entirely in sync with human nature. For starters, he was showing off to a member of the opposite sex. Hasn’t that been a primary driving factor behind the actions of men since time immemorial? In addition, he was clearly imbued with the power that members of America’s security apparatus find so attractive. Everyone likes power, but for a person who has let themselves personally degrade to the point where he’s just a couple of Sloppy Joes away from drowning in his own neck fat, the TSA is pretty much the only job in the world that he can hold down with minimal effort and that offers power as a perk. But the psychological aspects run deeper than just that, because in the same way that white trash attempts to boost their ego by looking down their nose at Mexicans or blacks – this particularly poor specimen of humanity is able to find some modicum of self-respect in harassing and humiliating others, and being able to do so without fear of blowback. And thanks to the stultifying and downright stupid policies of the Fed, hand in glove with the government, over the last couple of decades, the aging population has been left horribly unprepared for their retirement, and hugely at risk to the next leg down. This from the Washington Post today… From the peak of the boom to the bottom of the bust, households watched a total of $16 trillion in wealth disappear amid sinking stock prices and the rubble of the real estate market. Since then, Americans have only been able to recapture 45 percent of that amount on average, after adjusting for inflation and population growth, according to the report from the St. Louis Fed released Thursday. In addition, the report showed most of the improvement was due to gains in the stock market, which primarily benefit wealthy families. That means the recovery for other households has been even weaker. “A conclusion that the financial damage of the crisis and recession largely has been repaired is not justified,” the report stated. And this… The Fed is spending $85 billion a month to lower long-term interest rates and stimulate the economy. It has also kept short-term interest rates to near zero. That has helped push stock markets to record highs, while home prices have jumped by the most in seven years. Consumer confidence is at its highest point since February 2008. Officials hope those factors will eventually result in more consumer spending power. Here’s the full article. So, in essence, the stock market, which the Post actually conflates with the economy, is being propped up by the Fed… as is the housing market. So, riddle me this, what happens when the Fed stops spending $85 billion a month? The answer is as clear as it is obvious. The Fed can’t stop QE, or if it does, it can’t stop it for long. This effectively leaves only one option to government policy makers – competitive currency devaluations of the sort that Japan is now pursuing. This despite the clear implications to the future of the fiat currencies. I thought the following, from Bloomberg earlier this week, pretty much says all that needs to be said on the situation… Koichi Hamada, an economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told South Korea to adjust its own monetary policies if officials are concerned at the effects of a yen weakened by unprecedented easing. “Each country can take care of itself through its own monetary policy,” Hamada, 77, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. South Korean officials “shouldn’t blame the Japanese central bank, they should demand the Korean central bank have a proper monetary policy,” he said. South Korean exporters such as Hyundai Motor Co. stand to lose ground to Japanese rivals because of the yen’s 20 percent slide against the dollar in the past six months. The currency’s decline is adding to the risk of deteriorating relations between the nations, after South Korean Finance Minister Hyun Oh Seok said last month that the weak yen is a bigger economic risk than North Korean threats. In other words, it’s every country for itself. Buy gold with confidence. Reason #2: Declining Global Gold Production David Galland Managing Director Casey Research As Doug Casey has often pointed out, mining is a hated industry. Starting up a new mine, or even expanding an existing one, is viewed in much the same light as starting up a nuclear plant on a geological fault. As a result, despite prices having better than quadrupled over the past decade, gold mine production has peaked and is trending down. Even Chile, a country that has seen its fortunes substantially improved thanks to its mineral legacy, is now turning its back on the miners. This from Reuters yesterday… OPPOSITION TO MINING PROJECTS Opposition by environmental, indigenous and community groups to mega mining and power projects has led to a series of setbacks to billion dollar investments in Chile, the world’s No. 1 copper producer. Despite being one of Latin America’s most stable, prosperous countries, Chile suffers from high levels of income inequality, and many in the Andean nation feel a mining boom has bypassed them and harmed the environment. Pascua-Lama is one of the most unpopular mining endeavors in Chile. Many opponents are incensed that it has produced environmental harm and are particularly worried about the project’s effects on glaciers. Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50 percent since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published in January in the journal The Cryosphere. Separately, Chile’s judiciary is seen taking all of 2013 to weigh the indigenous allegations against the project, setting the stage for a protracted, costly legal battle. Critics say unclear Chilean regulations have contributed to a legal limbo that has led to the suspension of plans for hydropower projects in Patagonia, thermoelectric plants across the country and major copper mines high in the Andes. Here’s the entire article. Now, just to be clear, Pascua-Lama is located between 12,500 and 17,000 feet high… altitudes that are just shy of being fatal to the human species. The idea that there is a thriving community of “indigenous” people living the life at that altitude is a bad joke. The point is this: if a company is willing to actually spend the $8.5 billion required to bring a mine into production in a purportedly mining-friendly country in a remote corner that would otherwise be uninhabited, and it is blocked, then what are the odds of the industry being able to continue to move new projects into the pipeline? Somewhere between slim and none, and Slim just keeled over from altitude sickness. Reason #3: Physical Demand While no one can say with complete certainty when the bottom will be put in for gold, there is abundant evidence that at a price of under $1,400, there is a deep well spring of demand. Support for this contention is abundant – for example, just this week… Asia gold demand to hit quarterly record, absorb ETF outflow-WGC LONDON, May 29 (Reuters) Asian gold demand from this April to June will reach a quarterly record as bullion consumers in the region take possession of supply freed up by selling from exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Wednesday. Gold prices fell to their lowest in more than two years at $1,321.35 an ounce in mid-April on signs of economic improvement in main markets and fears that central banks around the world could start to curtail their bullion-friendly policy measures. The council expects Indian gold imports to reach 350-400 tonnes in the second quarter, 200 percent higher than a year earlier and almost half of last year’s total imports. This also compares to imports of 256 tonnes in the first quarter of 2013. “We now definitely expect Indian demand to come in at the upper end of the 865 tonnes to 965 tonnes range that we had previously forecast for 2013 because of the effect of what happened in April,” Grubb said. Grubb said as net imports of gold into China reached around 160-170 tonnes in April alone and physical demand shows no sign of abating, total off take this year could reach more than 880 tonnes. This compares to a previous forecast of 780-880 tonnes. The implication is that the market is able to calculate the value proposition of owning gold over paper and, below $1,400, is clearly choosing gold. And it’s not just individuals, but institutional investors and even central banks. There are other reasons for the base case for gold remaining intact, including the very real potential of a black-swan event related to the mega-trillion dollars in derivative positions, but the combination of locked-in currency debasement, pressure on supply, and pent-up demand gives me all the reason I need to continue viewing short-term fluctuations to the downside with no concern, other than as a potential opportunity to add to positions. Friday Funnies High School 1957 vs. 2012 Scenario 1: Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack. 1957 – Vice principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack. 2012 – School goes into lockdown, FBI is called, Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors are called in for traumatized students and teachers. Scenario 2: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school. 1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies. 2012 – Police is called and SWAT team arrives – they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it. Scenario 3: Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students. 1957 – Jeffrey is sent to the principal’s office and given a good paddling by the principal. He then returns to class, sits still, and does not disrupt class again. 2012 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability. Scenario 4: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car, and his dad gives him a whipping with his belt. 1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman. 2012 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself, and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist. Scenario 5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. 1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the principal out on the smoking dock. 2012 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons. Scenario 6: Pedro fails high school English. 1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, and goes to college. 2012 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files a class-action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from the core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English. Scenario 7: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant bed. 1957 – Ants die. 2012 – ATF, Homeland Security, and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents, and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again. Scenario 8: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him. 1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing. 2012 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. It’s No Fun Getting Old My new neighbor is single and lives right across the street. I can see her house from my living room. I watched as she got home from work this evening. I was surprised when she walked across the street in the rain and up my driveway. She knocked on my door. I rushed to open it. She looked at me and said, “I just got home, and I have this strong urge to have a good time, get drunk, and have sex all night long! Are you busy tonight?” I immediately replied, “Nope, I’m free… I have no plans at all!” Then she said, “Good! In that case, would you look after my dog?” It’s no fun being old!!! And With That… I’ll sign off for the week by thanking you for reading and for being a Casey Research subscriber. Before I duck, I will also remind you that registration is now open for the only Casey Research Summit to be held this year – and it’s going to be a great one. The faculty, led off by Dr. Ron Paul, is truly exceptional. Most speakers, including Dr. Paul, are scheduled to participate side by side with attendees throughout the entire event as we systematically examine the truth behind today’s global economy and investment markets. The dates are October 4, 5 & 6, the location is Tucson, Arizona. Here’s a link to learn more and to sign up today while the early-bird registration pricing still applies. Until next time…
In This Issue. * Bias to sell dollars remains weak. * One more day until D-Day. * London calling. * James Rickards on a Gold Manipulation end. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Will We, or Won’t We? Good day. And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well, looky here! It’s Rocktober 16th! 16 days in Rocktober have flown by very quickly, leading us to tomorrow, the 17th, when all hell is supposed to break loose. China, the U.S.’s largest creditor, sent a message to the U.S. lawmakers urging them to raise the debt ceiling, and the Tea Party responded, “Butt out” Recall, that I told you a couple of weeks ago, that this was all going to get ugly, and it appears to be heading in that direction in a hurry! “The U.S. must shoulder its responsibility as the world’s biggest economy and holder of the main reserve currency and take concrete measures before Oct. 17 to avoid a default,” said Deputy Finance Minister, Zhu Guangyao. He then went on to mention the Tea Party. Well, those may end up being fightin’ words! But. before this tempest in a teacup gets blown out of proportion, let me say that I personally don’t think China is that concerned with the U.S. defaulting, but instead look at this as a chance to lay down the soundtrack that will be played over and over again in the future, when they can remind everyone that they tried to warn the U.S. but they failed to listen. So. Here we are, at the precipice of what could be a very momentous, historical event. That I still think is just a bunch of drama, just like it was in 2011 and what did we get out of that hand wringing, sweat dripping, sawdust on the floor, drama? Well, we got some debt cuts on future spending increases over the next 10 years. Was it really worth losing our AAA rating with S&P over that? Well, the ratings agency Fitch says their AAA rating for the U.S. is “under watch”. The Treasury Bond market isn’t fazed by all of this, as yields remain steady Eddie. The U.S. dollar also isn’t too fazed by all of this, as the dollar index remains around 80. U.S. stocks seem to be caught in the middle, but all the trading in these assets, seems to be muted, as if there’s a “lock-down order” on them. Now, I don’t know who could put a “lock-down order” on stocks and bonds, do you? ” HA! Gold seems to be the only asset class that has really taken it on the chin with the U.S. dangling a default in front of the markets’ eyes. To me, someone who normally thinks logically about stuff, seeing the reality of a situation long before most, I would think that stocks, bonds and the dollar would be getting the snot knocked out them, while Gold would be soaring. My longtime friend, and one-time mentor in bond trading, Ed Bonawitz, always used to remind me that the “markets are never wrong”. You can think you are so right, and the markets are wrong, but the markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. So. This is what we have to work with these days. Of course tomorrow could be a whole different ballgame. Remember what the rock group Pink Floyd sang about. “It’s a battle of words, and most of them are lies”. Man, the lawmakers must be sitting around with their IPods and headphones, listening to Pink Floyd! HA! Right, and my first wife was a young Elizabeth Taylor, yeah, that’s the ticket! The great Steely Dan song, Black Friday, is playing right now.. That could very well be playing out in a couple of days, eh? When Black Friday comes, I’ll collect everything I’m owed, And before my friends find out, I’ll be on the road. Oh, and this is great! That song was followed by Kansas doing “play that game tonight”. That’s exactly what the lawmakers will be doing tonight! Remember what the analyst told us last week about what happens when you attempt to wait until the 11th hour to do a deal? That things could go awry, and then no deal is done! This is the risk in the markets, although, as I said above, I just don’t see this default happening, now that is. So. the bias to sell dollars remains in the markets this morning, but as I said above, it is muted. The euro recovered its lost ground yesterday, and has added a bit today, while the Aussie dollar (A$) is also up a bit. Gold did a quick recovery yesterday morning, gaining back the $20 it was down when I was writing. That was an interesting move for Gold, given that the 4 previous days, it got taken down about the same time each morning. The shiny metal is off a couple of bucks today. Well, the $20 hit that Gold was taking on yesterday morning, was reversed in the early hours trading on Tuesday. So, for once, the trading pattern of early morning (when NY Traders arrive) taking Gold to the woodshed, didn’t happen yesterday. Were the NY Traders still making their way home from Hamptons? That would be my guess! But the analysts that refuse to see the truth, would tell us that the price action in Gold is all about whether the markets believe the U.S. will default. The trading pattern would then lend itself to be one of: buy Gold if it appears the U.S. won’t default, and they will continue to build debt, and print money, and sell Gold if it appears that the U.S. will default. All last week, as we experienced Groundhog Day over and over again, it appeared as though lawmakers would be happy to brings us to the doorstep of default. And yesterday, it appeared that a deal was in the making. But NOOOOOOOO! I always check the headlines of the Drudge Report each afternoon. The Headlines, in most cases, are better than the actual stories, and yesterday afternoon, one of the headlines read: “It’s All Fallen Apart” Now, that’s not going to give anyone a warm and fuzzy, eh? OK, let’s talk about something else, this debt/ default stuff is giving me a rash! Oh! How about the story on the Bloomberg this morning talking about the U.K. joining Taiwan and Hong Kong as a country that will be able to take part in a program allowing offshore renminbi / yuan to be invested in Chinese securities. An $13 Billion (in dollar terms) quota for investors in London to buy onshore assets was approved by China overnight. Folks, I don’t know of any other way I can tell you, other than the way I’ve told you for the last few years. This is just another step China is taking to eventually get to an internationally traded currency. Remember how I told you last month that China had opened the pilot areas where the renminbi / yuan can be converted. I think that China has really stepped up the pace of their plans to remove the dollar as the reserve currency of the world, and replace it with the renminbi / yuan. China is finally opening up their financial sector. They have removed the dollar’s relevancy in the terms of trade in countries throughout the world, they have become the world’s creditor, they have begun to allow convertibility of their currency. It’s all right there before our eyes, folks. Oh. And China allowed the renminbi/ yuan to reach a 20 year high VS the dollar (low in their price number, remember renminbi is a European priced currency, which means that the lower the price number goes, the more value it returns) In the past year, we’ve had so many renminbi investors lose their patience, and sell. Well, if they held renminbi long enough, they had some nice gains to take. But, to eventually hold the reserve currency of the world? Isn’t that worth waiting for? There was a good story on MarketWatch yesterday, that caught my eye. The title read: 5- Countries Whose Bonds Are Safer Than Treasuries. Let’s listen in to a bit of what the writer, Brett Arends has to say here: “According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the U.S. government’s net debt is now 89% of gross domestic product. By contrast, Germany-often thought of as Europe’s most financially sound nation-has net debts of only 56% of GDP. But if you want really, really safe, you should look a little further north of there-or a long way south. Scandinavian countries, and the Antipodes, have the best financial picture of all. New Zealand’s net debt is just 29% of its economy, and Australia’s is just 13%, according to the IMF. The Governments of Sweden and Norway are actually sitting on net assets. In other words, their Governments’ assets exceed their liabilities. Norway has by far the strongest finances on the block. If you imagined a country that managed its financial affairs perfectly, it would look like that. Seriously.” -Brett Arends Chuck again, the other country he mentions in his story was Denmark, who’s debt runs a mere 10% of GDP. Now. the only country I think he missed here, and probably because it’s viewed as a closed economy that’s difficult to deal in, and that would be China. Whenever I go out on the road and talk about ways to diversify, I always talk about foreign bonds and stocks, but mostly about foreign bonds. Many long time readers know that I got my feet wet in the foreign markets by being a foreign bond trader for the old Mark Twain Bank. So, foreign bonds are part of me. The way I always told the salespeople to talk to investors about foreign bonds is that it’s an excellent diversification tool, and gives you a longer view on a country and a currency, while hopefully giving you a pickup in yield over U.S. deposits. At EverBank, our NASD affiliate brokerage firm, EverTrade Direct, executes foreign bonds and stocks. Brokerage is not Bank, and they are not deposits of the bank, but that doesn’t make them any less of a great diversification tool! OK. that was a nice change of pace, talking about foreign bonds, eh? It’s funny, but when people stop me and ask me to list my best currencies, the list looks pretty much like the one that Brett Arends listed. So, there you go! I found it interesting that New Zealand was on his list. The do have a smallish debt to GDP ratio, but their Current Account Deficit is not good, and has been weighing on the currency (kiwi) ever since the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) had to make the 2 emergency rate cuts a couple of years ago to help out after the earthquakes in New Zealand. Well, last night, New Zealand printed their latest CPI (consumer inflation), and it surprised to the upside! OK. I’ve been telling you that the recent data, and RBNZ talk is that it’s about time to reverse the emergency rate cuts, well. This data doesn’t water down that talk one bit. In fact, I think it is just another notch in the rate hike belt for early 2014, and those that are seeing this, like I have seen it, are pushing kiwi higher each day. Before I head to the Big Finish this morning, I thought I would share this funny with you from Jay Leno last Friday night. “It is now day 11 of the government shutdown and we knew sooner or later something like this was going to happen. Despite the national parks being shut down, several men were severely mauled by bears yesterday. But enough about the New York Giants” – Jay Leno For What It’s Worth. OK, long time readers know that I truly appreciate the things James Rickards has to say. And this morning, I have a couple of snippets from an interview that was on the GATA website with James Rickards, talking about Gold manipulation. Let’s listen in. “Central bank manipulation of gold markets can and will last until physical shortages become so acute that banks and exchanges can no longer deliver on futures and forward contacts when requested by customers. At that point, contracts will be terminated and exchanges will order that trading be conducted “for liquidation only” which means that futures customers can close out or rollover contacts, but they cannot receive physical delivery of gold. The signs that the manipulation is coming to an end will include depletion of warehouses, price spikes and notifications from banks that they will no longer allow the conversion of gold forward contacts into physical gold.” – James Rickards Chuck again. When asked if he anticipated an overnight ending of manipulation or a progressive process, James Rickards replied: “Both. The process will proceed slowly at first, then gain momentum, then reach a panic buying stage where the termination of deliveries under futures and forward contacts will be announced very suddenly. At that point, physical gold will be scarce and interested parties will not be able to acquire it in small quantities at any price.” Chuck again x 2. I would pay attention to what James Rickards has to say folks. That just my opinion, of course! But who else has come out with this scenario? To recap. We’re down to the last day before the expiration of the extraordinary measures that are keeping the country paying its bills. The markets don’t believe a default will happen, and neither does Chuck, although he does admit there is a risk that an 11th hour deal might fail. Fitch puts the U.S. AAA rating on watch. that should have sent Treasuries to the woodshed, but it didn’t. New Zealand CPI printed stronger than expected, thus putting everything in alignment for a rate hike early in 2014, pushing kiwi higher. Currencies today 10/16/13. American Style: A$ .9535, kiwi .8420, C$ .9645, euro 1.3560, sterling 1.6045, Swiss $1.0985, . European Style: rand 9.96, krone 6.0050, SEK 6.4975, forint 218.20, zloty 3.0770, koruna 18.9350, RUB 32.23, yen 98.30, sing 1.2440, HKD 7.7545, INR 61.84, China 6.1408, pesos 12.96, BRL 2.1775, Dollar Index 80.34, Oil $101.36, 10-year 2.72%, Silver $21.23, Platinum $1,391.60, Palladium $708.85, and Gold. $1,281.50 That’s it for today. My beloved Cardinals moved within one win of going to the World Series. We were here last year too, with a 3-1 games lead, and lost 3 consecutive games to the Giants, I hope that they learned something from last year. It’s an afternoon game today, so I’ll actually get to see the whole game! Let’s hope it’s something I want to see! Jen is out in LA to attend the game today, now that should be fun! I was asked to go, but I’ve been having too many problems with my stomach to risk a 4 hour flight! So, I sent Jen, who is the biggest baseball fan I’ve ever met, for a female that is! The morning air was quite chilly when I walked across the bridge from the garage today. I guess it’s time to get out the jacket. UGH! Because I know what follows that. And soon I’ll be complaining about how cold it is, and how I want to go where it’s warm! So, you have that to look forward to! HA! Hey.. go out and have a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
The same pattern has played out again and again around the world and throughout history. The worse a government’s fiscal health gets, the more destructive its policies become.This is the root of political risk.It’s no secret that political risk is snowballing in many parts of the world. This is especially true in the US and Europe, where welfare and warfare spending continues unabated. It doesn’t matter which party is in power.But no matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial well-being.You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset eggs in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks.The same idea applies to political risk. If your home country “breaks”—and turns to the destructive policies I just mentioned—you could lose everything.Most people have medical, life, fire, and car insurance. You hope you never have to use these policies, but you have them anyway. They give you peace of mind and protect you if and when the worst does happen.International diversification is the ultimate insurance policy against an out-of-control government. Think of it as “freedom insurance.”It frees you from absolute dependence on any one country. Achieve that freedom, and it becomes very difficult for any group of bureaucrats to control you.The results can be life-changing. Recommended Link [EXPIRES MIDNIGHT] Today is your last chance to get the top pick of one of the most successful analysts in Bill Bonner’s network… and lock in a free year of one of his most popular research services. Click here for all the details. — Justin’s note: As longtime readers know, owning gold for the long term is one of our core recommendations here at Casey Research. And it’s now more important than ever. That’s because every day, the window to protect your personal and financial freedom closes a bit more.Today, we’re handing the reins to Crisis Investing editor Nick Giambruno to explain why… By Nick Giambruno, editor, Crisis InvestingIt’s predictable…A government in need of cash will turn to destructive “solutions.”Money printing, higher taxes, and more regulations often come first. Unfortunately, these are just the hors d’oeuvres before a 10-course meal.As they become increasingly desperate, governments implement increasingly destructive policies. This might include capital controls, price controls, people controls, official currency devaluations, wealth confiscations, retirement account nationalizations, and more. Less than 10 people in the world know about thisTrue breakthroughs rarely happen in the world of market trading… But this is one of them. Developed in secrecy over five years, it’s a never-before-seen indicator of short-term stock profit opportunities. Only a handful of people know about this data-proven 93.5%-accurate way of picking future market wins… But now we’re throwing back the veil on it — so that YOU can get rich. Discover it now by clicking here. The Easiest First StepIt’s crucial to place some of your savings beyond the easy reach of your home government. It keeps that government from trapping your money if and when it implements capital controls or outright asset seizures. Any government can do either without warning.The ultimate way to diversify your savings is to transfer it out of the immediate reach of your home government and into something tangible.Something that cannot be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat or with a couple of taps on the keyboard—while retaining as much privacy as legally possible.Something whose value is recognized around the world and is not controlled by any government.Gold (and silver) fit the bill perfectly.There is nothing particularly American, Chinese, Russian, or European about gold. Different civilizations have used it as money for millennia. It’s always been an inherently international asset.Buying gold is perhaps the easiest step you can take towards diversifying your savings.When you buy gold, you trade in paper money—which the government can devalue and confiscate at will—for a hard asset that’s been a stable store of value for thousands of years.Gold is universally valued. Its worth doesn’t depend on any government.In other words, simply buying gold is the easiest way to lessen the political risk to your savings.Freedom InsuranceSomehow, someway, your home government will keep squeezing your pocketbook harder. It will keep subjecting you to escalating, arbitrary, and burdensome regulations and restrictions.Expect more government and less freedom all around.With each passing week, the window to protect your personal and financial freedom closes a bit more.Fortunately, you don’t need to be hostage to a desperate and out-of-control government.International diversification is a time-tested route to freedom. Wealthy people around the world have used it for centuries to effectively protect their money and their families.Buying gold is an important first step.Regards,Nick GiambrunoEditor, Crisis InvestingP.S. Buying gold is where to start. But there’s much more to do…The US government gets bigger, more invasive, and more aggressive by the day. But you can take concrete steps to protect yourself from this hostile giant.That’s why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released an urgent video that explains more about the crisis that’s about to hit America…and why it’s so important that you take action today.You can learn more right here. Recommended Link —
Mt. Gox’s website is mysteriously back up and Blockchain.info is frustratingly down. Ah, the roller coaster drama Bitcoin users endure.Blockchain.info crashes, but funds remain unscathed Blockchain.info, Bitcoin’s most popular Bitcoin wallet and block explorer service, blames a “bug in some database handling code” for causing an ongoing outage. Its site now reads “We Will Be Back Shortly,” and directs visitors to the company’s Twitter feed for updates. We’re still working on the server issue, & are looking at a phased approach to bring the services online one at time. More updates to come.— Blockchain.info (@blockchain) March 18, 2014 Add to Queue Blockchain Limited Chief Security Officer Andreas M. Antonopoulos said on the company’s blog yesterday that the outage “may last more than an hour.” That was nearly 20 hours ago. A more recent blog post reports that the company is “working around the clock” to fix the problem.Related: ‘I Did Not Create Bitcoin’: 4 Major Takeaways From Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto’s Letter of DenialBlockchain.info houses some 1.4 million Bitcoin wallets, all of which Antonopoulos said are “safe” while the site is offline. He also noted that the “security of funds and the completion of executed transactions” also remain unaffected by the outage.“Unlike other services that have ownership over private keys, Blockchain is superior because it allows users to access their private keys, thus enabling them to have access to their funds under circumstances such as this,” a blog post by the “Blockchain Team” reads.Related: One-Time Bitcoin Exchange Giant Mt. Gox Collapses Amid Insolvency, Trading Allegedly Suspended Addressing mounting customer concerns, the company also posted instructions on how to import Blockchain.info funds into a Bitcoin wallet client called MultiBit. Blockchain.info customers who don’t have a wallet backup are being asked to fill out a helpdesk request. Mt. Gox resurrects its website…Kind ofMeanwhile, signs of life are showing over at troubled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Its website, which went blank last month, is now mysteriously back up and letting users log in and check their wallet balances.But not without a hefty legal disclaimer:This balance confirmation service is provided on this site only for the convenience of all users.Please be aware that confirming the balance on this site does not constitute a filing of rehabilitation claims under the civil rehabilitation procedure and note that the balance amounts shown on this site should also not be considered an acknowledgment by MtGox Co., Ltd. of the amount of any rehabilitation claims of users.Rehabilitation claims under a civil rehabilitation procedure become confirmed from a filing which is followed by an investigation procedure. The method for filing claims will be published on this site as soon as we will be in situation to announce it.So Mt. Gox customers can at last check their balances, but they still don’t know if they’ll ever be able to retrieve their money, even partially. March 18, 2014 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: 360b / Shutterstock.com Bitcoin Former West Coast Editor Next Article 3 min read –shares Glitch Sparks Ongoing Blockchain Outage; Mt. Gox Resurrects Site to Let Users Check Balances Kim Lachance Shandrow The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now »
The clinical work, strength of character and determination that characterised Ignaz Semmelweis should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. Ignaz Semmelweis can be counted as one of the ten greatest clinical doctors in the world. He championed his theory throughout his entire life and his insights saved millions of lives. I am delighted that his memorial now stands here at MedUni Vienna – because, after Budapest, Semmelweis’s life is primarily associated with Vienna.”Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University Budapest Feb 21 2019Gift from Semmelweis University Budapest to mark 200th birth anniversary of the “inventor” of hand hygieneThe 200th anniversary of Ignaz Semmelweis’ birth was commemorated on 1 July 2018. On Wednesday evening, a statue of the doctor, kindly donated by Semmelweis University Budapest, was unveiled at MedUni Vienna, in memory of the “inventor” of hand hygiene. The unveiling ceremony was attended by Hungarian State President Janos Ader, the first President of Vienna State Parliament, Ernst Woller, Director of Vienna General Hospital Herwig Wetzlinger, Béla Merkely (Rector of Semmelweis University Budapest) and MedUni Vienna Rector Markus Müller. The statue was created by Hungarian artist Péter Párkányi Raab. The statue is a gift from Semmelweis University Budapest to mark the 200th birth anniversary of the “inventor” of hand hygiene. Ignaz Semmelweis was one of the most important doctors of his time and an ardent champion of medical innovation. Medicine has much to thank him for. If he were alive today, he would certainly be a favorite candidate for a Nobel prize. Sadly, his immense achievements were only recognized after his death at the tender age of 47,” said Markus Müller, Rector of MedUni Vienna, underscoring the huge importance of Ignaz Semmelweis.About Ignaz SemmelweisRelated StoriesPesticide exposure may increase risk of depression in adolescentsStudy finds slime and biofilm hidden in hospital sinks, faucetsHow measles detectives work to contain an outbreakThe Budapest-born, Viennese surgeon and obstetrician (1 July 1818 to 13 August 1865) is regarded as the pioneer of medical hygiene and a champion of medical progress. In the face of strong opposition, he established the strict hospital hand hygiene regulations in around 1847 at the first Viennese Maternity Hospital. This measure significantly reduced mortality due to puerperal (childbed) fever. Semmelweis observed that the mortality rate on obstetric wards where patients were cared for by nuns or midwives was much lower than onwards where doctors and medical students worked, since the latter also performed autopsies.Semmelweis discovered that the infections, and hence the associated mortality, were caused by the transfer of infectious material (bacteria were not known about at the time). He instructed the doctors and medical students to disinfect their hands thoroughly with a chlorine solution, and later with chlorinated lime, before each delivery or before examining a pregnant woman. This hygiene measure proved extremely effective and the mortality rate fell from a maximum of around 8% to 1.3%. Later on, Semmelweis tightened up these regulations so that doctors had to disinfect their hands before every examination, with the result that, after a few months, there were no fatalities at all.About the artistPéter Párkányi Raab, Hungarian sculptor, born in Balassagyarmat on 6 September 1967. He commenced his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1987, studying old masters István Kiss and György Jovánovics. He graduated in 1992 and three years later gained his master’s degree at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. He strives for integrity in his synthetic materials and seeks beauty, grace, inner harmony and truth in his works. He sees the Semmelweis bust as a salute to the man “who saved wives for their husbands and mothers for their children”. Source:https://www.meduniwien.ac.at/web/en/about-us/news/detailsite/2019/news-im-februar-2019/statue-of-ignaz-semmelweis-unveiled-at-meduni-vienna/
There’s more to multiple sclerosis than white matter lesions. There’s evidence of inflammation in the brain’s grey matter, not just the white matter. Here we have a technique to detect it and a path to develop this technique for use in the clinic in looking for early signs of progression and the effects of treatments.”Corresponding author Tarun Singhal, MD, a neurologist at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 2 2019Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is a relentless disease. Over time, patients experience worsening physical, mental and mood-related symptoms. And yet, even as their symptoms progress, the brain white matter lesions found on a patient’s MRI scans often remain unchanged. Suspecting that changes in the grey matter regions of the brain may be playing a critical role in the disease’s progression, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted an initial study assessing the differences in the activity of microglial cells in the grey matter regions of healthy volunteers versus those with MS. Using a novel tracer molecule known as [F-18]PBR06 and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, the team detected widespread and abnormal activation of microglia in MS patients and a link to brain atrophy, physical disability, and progressive MS. The team’s findings are published in the July 2019 issue of Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Currently, there are several disease-modifying drugs on the market to help patients with relapsing remitting MS experience fewer and less severe relapses, but few drugs exist for patients with secondary progressive MS. Investigations to develop new drugs are underway, but many questions remain about the underlying biology of the disease and how it progresses.The new study leverages the novel radioisotope, [F-18]PBR06, a tracer that targets a specific protein (TSPO) found in activated microglia, key immune cells found in the brain. Many other research projects use C-11, an isotope with a much shorter half-life. But, unlike C-11, the F-18 tracer has a significantly longer half-life and a higher potential to be used in the clinic.Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustFor the pilot study, investigators evaluated results for 12 patients with MS — seven with relapsing remitting MS and five with secondary progressive MS — and compared it with healthy controls using the F-18 tracer. They found more grey matter microglial activation in the MS patients as compared to healthy controls, particularly in hippocampus, parahippocampus, cingulate gyrus and amygdala regions of the brain. These regions of the brain are known to influence critical processes, including emotion, memory and cognition, all of which may be affected in MS patients. Brain structures in the deep grey matter, particularly the thalamus, showed higher microglial activation in secondary progressive MS than in the relapsing remitting MS patients and healthy controls. This correlated significantly with physical disability and brain atrophy.The authors note that the pilot study is small and its findings will require additional confirmation in larger studies with a longitudinal design, but it offers the first assessment of [F-18]PBR06 PET for grey matter changes in MS, demonstrating the potential value of this technique.”Unless we can measure the progress of a disease accurately, our ability to treat that disease remains limited,” said Singhal. “When a patient tells us that their symptoms are worsening, we want to have a technology that can reflect that, or better yet, predict the progression before it is clinically obvious. This technique may have the potential to do that and give us critical insights into neurodegeneration and its relationship with neuroinflammation.” Source:Brigham and Women’s HospitalJournal reference:Singhal, T et al. (2019) Gray matter microglial activation in relapsing vs progressive MS A [F-18]PBR06-PET study. Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000587.
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 12 2019Once again, the fate of the Affordable Care Act is before the courts. The health law has traveled all the way to the Supreme Court (twice!) and is highly likely to make another visit.On that path, the law made a stop Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Both sides presented arguments, interrupted, at times, by sharp questions from two of the judges.For those just tuning in, the Trump administration is not defending the nine-year-old ACA.It instead has sided with the 18 “red” states that seek to have the law overturned.In doing so, Department of Justice lawyers appeared to use strategies and take positions that sounded somewhat unconventional to a layperson. But are they?KHN checked with some legal experts for their take.For starters, this is the third time the administration has changed its position. Does this often happen? No. It’s unusual for an administration to shift its own legal opinions during the case, say experts.When the lawsuit was filed, the administration said only the parts of the law tied to a requirement that most Americans carry insurance, the so-called individual mandate, should be tossed. (That’s a pretty big part, which includes protections for people with preexisting conditions.)The red-state plaintiffs, conversely, argued that the entire law should go, pointing to Congress’ 2017 vote to zero out the individual mandate’s tax penalty. The Supreme Court’s 2012 decision to preserve the ACA hinged on that penalty.But, last December, a United States district court judge in Texas sided with the states, saying the whole law should be tossed, which would affect provisions as diverse as the preexisting condition protections, Medicaid expansion and calorie counts on restaurant menus.That’s when the Trump administration shifted its position to agree that, indeed, the whole thing had to go.And that’s rare.”You don’t usually say, ‘Oh, never mind,'” said Tom Miller, resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “It’s unusual to do that flip.”But that’s not the last flip. Another change came up in legal papers filed shortly before the Tuesday hearing and in oral arguments.DOJ attorney August Flentje told the appeals court that, well, maybe only those provisions of the law that directly affect the plaintiffs — the 18 states — should be struck.”It’s complicated,” he admitted, calling to mind a similar statement made in 2017 by President Donald Trump amid the repeal debate in Congress: “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”Even as this legal challenge works its way through the courts, the ACA remains the law of the land. The evolving legal positions, however, are fodder for professors.”I’m teaching a class this fall and this gives me more material,” said Miller. “But if I had to consistently try to argue a position at the DOJ, I would go crazy.”Related StoriesStudy estimates health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the U.S. over next 20 yearsKHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Could the ACA really go away?Gender biases are extremely common among health care professionalsSo, the government wants to skewer some provisions of the law, but not others — and have those changes apply only in some states. How would that work? Questions about that argument came from 5th Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007.The government wants to have it apply “in certain states and strike it down in certain states?” Elrod asked. “The government believes that’s a possibility?”Unasked but implicit: How would some states enforce the law and not others?Flentje said “a lot of that would have to get sorted out” but not until after all the appeals in the case are exhausted.Behind the argument may well be an ongoing dispute in the legal community about whether lower-court judges should make decisions that have nationwide implications, said John Malcolm, director of the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Still, it would be difficult, he said, for the ACA to be declared unconstitutional in some states, but remain in effect elsewhere.Beyond that legal question, such a position has financial and policy implications for consumers and state regulators.”It would create a very untenable situation for the rest of the states,” said Mila Kofman, executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, where individuals and small businesses buy health insurance.Some of the very sickest people in the states where the rules were dropped would likely move to states keeping the preexisting condition protections so they could maintain their insurance, she said. That could drive up costs in those areas.Arguments Tuesday revolved around whether parts of the law were “severable” from other parts. Did it seem the government wants it both ways — to toss the entire law, but also keep parts of it?Elrod again queried Flentje.The government wants the health insurance provisions to go, but “you would leave in the calorie guide?” Elrod asked, referring to the ACA’s requirement that chain restaurants display calorie counts of menu items.Flentje said the government’s “argument on scope is totally separate from argument on severability.”She pressed him for clarification: “So, are you saying it’s entirely inseverable, or arguing that some parts can be kept?”The government’s position remains that “the entire act is not severable,” he replied, adding, however that the judgment could be “narrowed a bit to provisions that injure and impact the plaintiffs.”He suggested some of those details would still have to be worked out.”They’ve gone from saying a couple of provisions have to go to the whole thing has to go, to now there are some things we might not have to get rid of,” said Miller. “But they’ve never defined how far back down the ladder to go.”A ruling by the appeals court isn’t expected for weeks or months, and some questions may well return to the district court.
Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James https://images.performgroup.com/di/library/NBA_Global_CMS_image_storage/8f/60/kawhi-lebron-062519-ftr-gettyjpg_tlbddpwzd72b1pkafwplq6eag.jpg?t=-1875093893&w=500&quality=80Irving: I think we’re going to be able to call them the LM Clippers and LM Lakers instead of LA … it’s going to be load management city in Los Angeles next season, which makes me think that their durability may not factor into this as much as it once would have.After seeing how much that paid off for Kawhi and the Raptors this past season, I don’t see why both the Lakers and Clippers wouldn’t take a similar approach with their stars this season. I think when Kawhi, PG, AD and LeBron are all on the floor, we’re going to see the most refreshed and rested versions of themselves.Even though injuries, of course, are unpredictable.Rafferty: That’s fair.I will say this – my gut leans towards Leonard and George, but it’s more because I don’t know for certain what version of LeBron we’re going to get next season. He was still one of the best players in the league when he was healthy, but he wasn’t quite the same player as the season before.I just don’t know if we can expect him to be an MVP type player in the regular season at his age anymore.The playoffs are a different story…McGregor: Is it definitely because of age? Or do you think that insane eight-year run had a hand in it, to the point where he could bounce back this upcoming year?Rafferty: I think it’s a bit of both. It’s just tough for players to keep playing at this high of a level this late into their careers. There’s basically no precedent. LeBron is different, but I’m just not sure what quite to expect.MORE: Why Leonard and George make Clippers title favouritesIrving: I think – if he plays enough games – LeBron is going to have a statement season and win MVP. The “change” to being labeled a point guard is an intriguing storyline. After making 11 straight All-NBA First Teams, he made the All-NBA Third Team last season. He missed the playoffs for the first time since Year 2 in the league.All these things are stacking up for a ridiculous bounce-back season for The King. Maybe I’m giving him too much benefit of the doubt, but I’m also just paying the respect he’s earned over the course of his career.McGregor: I don’t think there’s such a thing as giving Bron too much benefit of the doubt – he’s definitely earned it.Rafferty: To be clear, I could totally see that happening as well. I guess I’m just lowering my expectations because of what happened last season and where he’s at in his career.Here’s another question: is LeBron still the best player out of the four of them? Or is it Kawhi?Irving: 2K tells us they’re equal at a 97 overall … but if we’re talking about paying our respects, I think it’s Kawhi after this past year.Rafferty: So if Kawhi is the best player, why aren’t the Clippers the better duo? Is Davis that much better than George?McGregor: But seriously, at his peak, yes. I think AD has a higher ceiling and floor.Honestly, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it: I’m not sure how sustainable what we saw from Leonard and George last year really is.Kawhi absolutely went out of his mind to have an insane run this past postseason. It’s by far one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. What PG did during the regular season, is pretty similar in my eyes – he put forth career-best numbers, even though he tailed off towards the end due to his injuries.I liken it to a guy getting hot in a game. You can’t expect him to do it all the time. We saw things out of the ordinary from Kawhi and PG which speaks volumes of what they’re capable of, but I’m not comfortable just saying that will be the norm.You’ve also got to take their situations into account and how that allowed them to be who they were last season.Irving: I think AD is that much better than PG just based off of what we’ve seen consistency-wise over the course of their careers so far. But I’m not counting out George putting together another season just like last year.There’s going to be less attention on him on the offensive end than there ever has been in his career. But until I definitively see him doing it again, I’m saying AD is that much better.MORE: How Lakers signings help LeBron and DavisRafferty: One thing that I don’t think we’re paying enough attention to is that Leonard and George might be the best defensive tandem we’ve seen since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.That’s something else that tips the scales in their direction because LeBron certainly isn’t the defender he once was.The Lakers as a whole will be interesting defensively. Like how do they match up with the Houston Rockets, a team built around two perimeter players in Russell Westbrook and James Harden?McGregor: While they’re older, the Lakers have brought in Avery Bradley and Danny Green – two guys who have been known for their perimeter defence. Let’s not forget AD is on the backend to protect the rim.Factor in a defensive-minded coach in Frank Vogel and they could schematically cover up any deficiencies.Irving: I think it’s safe to say defensively the edge goes to the Clippers. Even though AD is a top-tier defender in the league, like Scott said, this duo of Kawhi and PG has the chance to be historic on that end of the floor.Rafferty: So now that we’ve talked this out, has your opinion changed since we started this discussion? Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Both L.A. teams have made big moves this offseason. The Lakers kicked things off by trading for Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James in the twilight of his career. The Clippers, meanwhile, won free agency by signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George in a deal nobody saw coming. It’s safe to say that the two best duos in the league are now in Los Angeles. But of the two, which one do you think is better?Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): It’s tough, but give me LeBron and AD. I think both guys are coming with something to prove this upcoming season and we’re going to see them at peak-level play … which is top-five in the league.Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Deciphering which is the better of these two duos really is as tough as it gets. My heart is telling me it’s Kawhi and PG, but my gut is telling me it’s LeBron and AD, so I’m with Gil on this one.Rafferty: I feel the same way – this is about as tough as it gets – but my gut is leaning towards Leonard and George. I think their ceiling on both ends of the court is higher than LeBron and AD’s.Irving: I think the transition of Kawhi and PG playing together will be smoother from the get-go than LeBron and AD. But as Gil said, LeBron and AD both have a chip on their shoulder going into this season. LeBron still has a lot to prove to the Kobe-loving Lakers fan base and AD is trying to prove he can win.It’s scary to think about that duo playing with that type of motivation.McGregor: That’s exactly what I was thinking, too. We all know last year was FAR from what LeBron wanted in Year 16 and he definitely hears the chatter of his falling off. I think the drama surrounding Davis’ final season as a Pelican has caused some people to forget just how good he is.They probably wouldn’t admit this, either, but I think the notion that they aren’t the best duo in their own building will even be extra motivation.On the flip side, I have some concerns about the durability of the Clippers duo.MORE: How do Davis and LeBron fit together?Rafferty: Do you not have some concerns about the durability of LeBron and AD, though? LeBron has a ton of mileage – he’s going to climb into the top 10 all-time in minutes played next season – and Davis has suffered a number of injuries in his career.McGregor: On the LeBron front, I’m not too worried.The amount of time and money he invests in his health leads me to believe that last year was an anomaly and more of a product of his having essentially played 10 seasons in eight years. His body finally gave in, but he essentially rested/recovered for a third of last season and is coming off of his longest offseason since he was 20-years-old.AD is a bit more of a question mark, but I believe a change of scenery can have a number of positive effects, including for his health. He didn’t add too much mileage on his body last season, either, and that was more a product of the trade saga rather than durability. McGregor: I haven’t changed my stance at all, I’m still giving LeBron and AD a slight edge … but ask me on a different day and my answer could change. It’s that close and there are a couple of unknowns still.Irving: I’m still sticking to my gut with LeBron and AD too. I don’t know how this got more difficult to decide because it was nearly impossible not to ride the fence on this from the start, but after this chat, it’s made me realize it’s even closer than I already had thought.The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs. (NBA Getty Images)
COMMENT medical colleges Dr Sudha Seshayyan December 29, 2018 COMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on SHARE Dr Sudha Seshayyan, a senior faculty of the prestigious Madras Medical College (MMC), was Saturday appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University.Governor Banwarilal Purohit issued the order appointing her to the post for a term of three years, a Raj Bhavan release here said.Seshayyan, presently the Director and Professor of Institute of Anatomy in the over a century old MMC, has an outstanding academic record with a teaching experience of more than 30 years, it said. She also has rich administrative experience having held various positions, including the post of the Vice-Principal of the MMC, and been a member of premier Editorial Review Board for Grays Anatomy and continues to be a member of the International Advisory Board for reviewing the publication. She had led the team that embalmed late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaas body in 2016. Noted for her Hindu religious discourses and oratory in Tamil, she has for long been a master of ceremonies of key government events, including swearing in functions of new governments. universities and colleges