Monday, March 30, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Federal Reserve Now Owns 15 Percent of the U.S. Treasury Market

According to the U.S. Treasury, as of February 29, 2020, there was $16.9 trillion in marketable U.S. Treasury securities outstanding. Of that amount, at the end of February, the Federal Reserve held $2.47 trillion or 14.6 percent – making it, by far, the largest single holder of U.S. Treasuries anywhere in the world.

By this past Friday, the Fed’s ownership of the Treasury market had increased to $3.12 trillion. It had grown by an unprecedented $650 billion in one month’s time. And on March 23, the Fed announced that it would buy unlimited amounts of both Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities “to support smooth market functioning.”

But exactly how can a so-called “free market” function smoothly if the country’s own central bank is cornering the market. Salomon Brothers paid a $290 million fine and came close to getting slapped with criminal charges by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1992 for manipulating prices in the Treasury market. And make no mistake about it, the Fed’s massive purchases are having a demonstrative impact on driving up prices in the Treasury market while driving down yields – meaning the income that determines if senior citizens in America can buy real groceries or have to live on one pot of soup for the week.

At the end of 2007, before the Wall Street crash in 2008, a senior citizen could invest $10,000 in a 10-year Treasury note and get $400 a year in income, or 4 percent. Today, that same $10,000 generates just 0.67 percent or $67. Seniors who were living on their Treasury income have experienced an 83 percent drop in income while food costs and pharmaceutical costs have soared.

If the Fed keeps up this pace of Treasury buying, it will own the entire Treasury market in about 22 months. If you look at the New York Fed’s list of the Treasury securities that are being submitted to it for sale by Wall Street’s trading houses versus the amounts the New York Fed is buying, you will see that Wall Street is puking up Treasuries in something akin to projectile vomiting.

This is clearly another one of those unanticipated consequences of a corporate-controlled Senate that passed the massive tax cut for corporations and the one percent in December 2017 and created a $1 trillion+ deficit as far out as the eye can see with no plan for who was going to buy all of the gargantuan amounts of Treasury debt that had to be issued as a result.

Because yields on Treasury securities have collapsed by 83 percent since the financial crash, investors, including risk-adverse senior citizens, have been driven into the stock market in order to capture the higher dividends paid on stocks. That’s also been great for the richest top 10 percent of Americans who own the vast majority of the stock market.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Stock Market Bounces (and a personal note)


So the stock market just had it's best three day run since 1931. Yep, that's impressive. And I honestly hope that this is the first sign of confidence in a general economic recovery. But something worth remembering is that the early 30's on Wall Street became infamous for bear market rallies. These wild upward ticks, also known as suckers rallies or a dead cat bounce, never fully recouped the earlier losses and always preceded another sharp sell off. 

With a veritable wave of ugly news still waiting in the wings, I have no confidence in this stock market. And now that the government is printing money like it is water and monetizing the bond market, the only asset I'm nibbling in right now, is gold.

To be clear, I'm not making any predictions here. All I'm saying is that these are dangerous times economically and it does not feel like we are near the end. My gut says things may be just warming up. So if you have a well diversified portfolio (stocks indexed, bonds, a solid cash reserve and maybe some gold) I'd just sit tight and wait things out. Nine times out of ten, selling into a financial panic just locks in losses. But I'd definitely not be making speculative investments right now unless it was with money I could afford to lose.

[On a personal note; thank you to those who have inquired about my health. My symptoms have, thank God, been very mild. A persistent dry cough that turned into the achy blahs with on again off again low grade fevers. A little shortness of breath and the urge to lie down every time I did anything even remotely active. This has lasted for around three weeks now and I am sorry to say when it first started I didn't even realize my cough could be more than a reaction to my dogs shedding. Happily the symptoms have been fading lately to the point where I mostly feel fine now. I hope to be able to begin the seven day countdown either tomorrow or Saturday where if no symptoms return I can bust out of this joint. Options of places to go are pretty limited right now but even just a trip to the gas station would be a relief. Stay safe everybody.]

Study: COVID-19 Impacts Men, Women More Than All Other Genders Combined

BALTIMORE, MD—A new study by Johns Hopkins University found that the novel coronavirus is impacting men and women more than all the other genders combined.

According to the study, 100% of coronavirus cases have affected men and women and not a single other gender.

"It's incredible - we've found this virus is far more likely to affect biological males and biological females than any other biological gender," said Head of Gender Research Dr. Benji Charmin. "We thought the data had to be flawed, but we checked again and again, and sure enough, this thing is aggressively going after men and women and ignoring the other genders entirely."

He shrugged. "It's just science."

Progressives quickly applauded the virus for not attacking any of the other genders and only focusing on traditional, outdated, binary genders.

"Finally, a virus that ignores the demiboys, dragonkin, and those who identify as tater tots," said one activist in Portland. "It's about time the tables were turned. Thanks, COVID-19!" He then headed over to his local Communist cafe to lick a doorknob -- "just my little way of showing my gratitude."


Source

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Comments

Hi everyone. A quick reminder that this is a Christian blog and comments that are deemed inconsistent with that will be removed. I do understand that some topics can generate heated discussion, but that should not extend to ad hominem posts directed in a personal way at other commenters. Additionally please remember the season. See the guidelines for posting comments that are linked in the sidebar. Thank you.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

For the record

Yes, I probably have the bug. Nothing serious. Dry cough and a few bouts of the achy blahs. I get tired easily. Time for a nap and then some reading. Stay safe everybody.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Ecumenical Patriarch has suspended public liturgies

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople issued a statement on Wednesday announcing the Church’s new decision in regard to the covid-19 global coronavirus pandemic.

According to this statement, all religious ceremonies, events and rituals will be suspended in all of the Patriarchate’s regions around the globe until March 31, 2020.

These include parts of Greece as well, such as Macedonia, Thrace, and many of the Greek islands.

After the Ecumanical Patriarch’s announcement, a letter sent by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to parishes clarifies that services in the USA may continue behind closed doors and without any parishioners present in the church.

Elpidophoros writes: “Having discussed the situation with the Sacred Center of Orthodoxy, at length, and having inquired specifically about the United States, I received His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s reply, namely, that we should allow for the divine services, including Divine Liturgies, to be celebrated in our Holy Churches behind closed doors, as is the case with the Monasteries.

“In this way we may be able to keep our liturgical tradition alive, even in this minimal way, but also that we may broadcast through streaming and other means the aforementioned services for the spiritual benefit of our faithful.”

Additionally, personal prayer will still be allowed in all churches which will remain open.


Read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Holy Cross Monastery is Live Streaming All Services

 [Received via email. A/O]

Due to the reports we have received of many Orthodox parishes being forced to close the divine services to the public, Archimandrite Seraphim has blessed for the monastery church services to be livestreamed for the duration of this crisis. While viewing the services over the internet is certainly less than ideal, nevertheless it is for now the only way that many of the faithful now have to participate in divine worship. We wish to make our life of prayer for the world, which will continue unabated, available to those confined to their homes or who are otherwise unable to worship in their parish temple during this trying time.

Please feel free to share this news, as well as the schedule and links below, with anyone who might benefit from this ministry.

SCHEDULE FOR LIVESTREAMED SERVICES

WEEKDAYS WITHOUT PRESANCTIFIED
5:00am – 7:00am Matins, First Hour, Typica, Litia for the Departed
12:00pm – 12:15pm Sixth Hour
5:00pm – 5:45pm Ninth Hour & Vespers
6:30pm – 7:30pm Great Compline (Monday-Thursday)
6:45pm – 7:15pm Universal Pannykhida (Friday)

WEEKDAYS WITH PRESANCTIFIED
5:00am – 7:00am Matins, First Hour, Typica, Litia for the Departed
12:00pm – 12:15pm Sixth Hour
4:00pm – 5:50pm Ninth Hour & Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
6:30pm – 7:30pm Great Compline (Monday-Thursday)
6:45pm - 7:15pm Universal Pannykhida (Friday)

SATURDAY
5:00am – 8:15am Matins for the Departed, First Hour & Liturgy
12:00pm – 12:10pm Sixth Hour
6:30pm – 10:00pm Vigil

SUNDAYS & VIGIL RANK FEASTS
9:00am – 11:30am Hours & Liturgy
5:00pm – 6:00pm Ninth Hour & Lenten Vespers
6:30pm – 7:00pm Small Compline



Stream via YouTube

MOLEBEN IN TIME OF DEVASTATING EPIDEMIC: 3/18 at 12pm Eastern

On Wednesday, March 18 at 12pm Eastern the whole brotherhood will gather to serve a Moleben in Time of Devastating Epidemic to our patron the Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon as well as to St. Nikephoros the Leper. This service will likewise be live-streamed for as many of the faithful to join in prayer as possible.

Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America writes:

    Already reports are coming in that the Archangel Michael has appeared to many people promising them his powerful help. Also, the newly-glorified Saint Nikephoros the Leper has appeared in Greece to a pious Orthodox serviceman and assured him that he will intercede for all who ask his prayers to be protected and healed from the Corona virus.

The monastery's YouTube channel may be found here.

Time for General Confession?

I've never been a fan of the practice, but we are living in extraordinary times. This is going to get worse before it gets better, maybe a lot worse. I am wondering if this might not be the moment to invoke oikonomia and hold a service of general confession and absolution in those parishes and jurisdictions where Sunday liturgy is still being held. Realistically, church services are likely to soon be banned, at least in some places. And even where they are not, many people will, for perfectly legitimate reasons, choose not to attend.

A sobering report from Imperial College (London)

Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand

Sunday, March 15, 2020

They need to close the financial markets

Trump should issue an emergency decree and close the financial markets for the next thirty days. The global economy is slowing to a near halt in some sectors. There are reports of a run on banks and ATMs for cash. There is no reason to allow the rapidly spreading panic to cause even more economic damage.

Friday, March 13, 2020

COVID-19: How bad could it get?

Very...
One of the agency’s top disease modelers, Matthew Biggerstaff, presented the group on the phone call with four possible scenarios — A, B, C and D — based on characteristics of the virus, including estimates of how transmissible it is and the severity of the illness it can cause. The assumptions, reviewed by The New York Times, were shared with about 50 expert teams to model how the virus could tear through the population — and what might stop it.

The C.D.C.’s scenarios were depicted in terms of percentages of the population. Translated into absolute numbers by independent experts using simple models of how viruses spread, the worst-case figures would be staggering if no actions were taken to slow transmission.

Between 160 million and 214 million people in the U.S. could be infected over the course of the epidemic, according to one projection. That could last months or even over a year, with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities, experts said. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.

And, the calculations based on the C.D.C.’s scenarios suggested, 2.4 million to 21 million people in the U.S. could require hospitalization, potentially crushing the nation’s medical system, which has only about 925,000 staffed hospital beds. Fewer than a tenth of those are for people who are critically ill.

The assumptions fueling those scenarios are mitigated by the fact that cities, states, businesses and individuals are beginning to take steps to slow transmission, even if some are acting less aggressively than others. The C.D.C.-led effort is developing more sophisticated models showing how interventions might decrease the worst-case numbers, though their projections have not been made public.
Read the rest here

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

On this date...

In 1708 Queen Anne became the last British monarch to withhold the Royal Assent from a bill passed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Court orders US Navy to release report on the loss of the USS Thresher (1963)

SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — At 9:12 a.m. on April 12, 1963, the nuclear-powered submarine Thresher issued its final coherent message.

“Experiencing minor difficulties,” it began. “Have positive up angle. Am attempting to blow. Will keep you informed.”

The first and last sentences were unduly — and tragically — optimistic. After a garbled message from the boat at 9:17 a.m., none of the 129 aboard Thresher were ever heard from again. The difficulties had not been minor. They had been fatal, taking the vessel and her crew to a watery grave in the North Atlantic.

Almost 57 years later, this remains the U.S. Navy’s worst undersea disaster. It’s also one of the most mysterious. While there are numerous theories about what caused the Thresher’s sinking, the official story is still under wraps.

The Navy’s investigation resulted in a 1,700-page report. Only 19 pages have been publicly released.

Capt. Jim Bryant, a submarine skipper retired in Point Loma, wants the public to see the other 1,681 pages.

“I feel a responsibility to the men who were aboard,” he said, “and their families.”

Last year, Bryant went to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to pry loose the report.

On Feb. 10, a federal judge ordered the Navy to release its report in monthly 300-page segments, beginning May 15 and continuing until Oct. 15. When the Navy requested more time to review documents and redact classified information, Bryant’s lawyer noted that the Navy already had promised to do this — 22 years ago. Then, in 2012, the Navy announced it had nearly completed its declassification review but wasn’t going to release anything.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden noted that history this month, while rejecting the Navy’s plea for more time. “Normally I defer to the government,” he said during a hearing, “but I can’t say I have a lot of confidence in how this looks now.”


Read the rest here.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Miracle: Coronavirus Passes Over Houses With Chick-Fil-A Sauce Smeared On Door Posts

U.S.—The CDC is suggesting lots of weird ways to avoid contracting coronavirus, such as "washing your hands" and "not licking doorknobs." These methods sound kind of sciencey, so we were immediately suspicious of them.

Sure enough, it seems the best way to avoid getting infected is supernatural: many have found that if you paint Chick-fil-A sauce on your doorposts, the virus will pass right over you and your household.

Research seems to indicate that the Angel of Coronavirus passes through each town and city every night and looks for the telltale sign that you are one of God's elect, Chick-fil-A sauce. Those with the correct sign of being one of God's people are passed over, while those without the sign are visited and immediately infected.

"We have no explanation," said one so-called "scientist." "This must be some kind of miracle from God." The scientist said that they tried other substances, such as liberal tears, hand sanitizer, and essential oils, but only Chick-fil-A sauce proved 100% effective at staving off the Angel of Coronavirus.

At publishing time, President Trump had vowed to lead the nation's Christians away from the Coronavirus-infested country and into the Promised Land where there are hardly any diseased people, or people at all. This turned out to be Greenland.


Source.

Obviously fake news since no true Christian would set foot in Chick-fil A during Lent.

Bones found in Kent church likely to be of 7th-century saint

Saint Eanswythe Abbess of Folkstone

Bones discovered more than a century ago in a Kent church are almost certainly the remains of an early English saint who was the granddaughter of Ethelbert, the first English king to convert to Christianity, experts have concluded.

Saint Eanswythe, the patron saint of the coastal town of Folkestone, is thought to have founded one of the first monastic communities in England, probably around AD660. She died a few years later, while still in her teens or early 20s.

n 1885, workers renovating the parish church of St Mary and St Eanswythe close to Folkestone harbour found a lead container of human remains in an alcove – probably hidden to avoid the destruction of relics during the Reformation.

The bones, which comprised about half of a skeleton, were assumed to belong to Eanswythe. But it was not until January this year, following a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, that a team of experts set up a temporary laboratory in the church, which was closed for five days.

Initial analysis suggested the bones were consistent with Eanswythe: they came from one person, probably female, probably aged between 17 and 20, and with no signs of malnutrition, so potentially a person with high status.

A tooth and a foot bone were sent to Queen’s University Belfast for radiocarbon dating. The tests confirmed it was highly probable the person died in the mid-seventh century. Fears that the remains might be part of a medieval fad for fake relics were allayed.

Andrew Richardson, of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said: “It was a brave move by the church. We could have come out and said: ‘Folks, it’s not her.’ I was 50-50 about it, and a lot of colleagues were sceptical. But everything is consistent with it being her.”

He said the result of the analysis was of national significance. “It now looks probable that we have the only surviving remains of a member of the Kentish royal family, and one of the earliest Anglo-Saxon saints.


Read the rest here.