The Graham-Cassidy attempt to overturn Obamacare appears on its way to defeat this week thanks to two GOP Senators: John McCain, a bought-and-paid-for globalist dedicated to doing whatever he can to keep America in the swamp; and Rand Paul, a well-intentioned but very naïve individual who thinks that association plans will make us well. Unfortunately, they won’t. Association plans are also voluntary—which is the (intentionally-inserted) fatal flaw that has turned Obamacare premiums into a runaway train.
GOP sponsors entered the week tinkering with the bill to make it more attractive for Paul and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski. For once Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin has it right, noting that although the G-C proposal isn’t perfect, at least it is a big step in the direction of full repeal.
In addition to wiping away employer and individual mandates, block-granting the program to the states would create 50 “laboratories” where plans suited to the needs of individual states could be developed. Mandated coverage for uninsurable individuals can be replaced by state insurance pools—the same pools that worked just fine before ACA was hatched. G-C would kill tax breaks for insurance companies, so they naturally are opposing it.
The GREATEST benefit of G-C approval would be removal from D.C. control of American citizens and their medical care.
Turning against governments. Three ongoing developments illustrate the reality of predictions from Martin Armstrong’s Socrates program for a dramatic turn against governments lasting into early 2020.
Alabama Judge Roy Moore, running to fill the senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, with direct support from freedom fighters including Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage is so independent that panicked Republicans have spent millions in Alabama trying to defeat Moore and even enveigled Pence and Trump to show support for opponent Luther Strange. Moore is promising “a new level of disruption” in the Senate.
Catalonia is holding fast to its planned October 1st vote on seceding from Spain. Spanish police seized control of Catalonia’s finances and conducted raids, arresting officials and confiscating ballots and campaign materials from printing shops and delivery companies. Boats containing 16,000 military police dispatched to Catalonian ports backfired, with dockers in two ports staging a boycott and a third refusing access. Catalan police are refusing to follow Spanish government orders.
40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest Spanish actions and the percentage of Catalans supporting independence has surged from about 40% to an apparent majority—as Madrid’s crackdowns seem to be solidifying support for the vote. If you’re holding Spanish debt, this might be a good time to sell.
In a political “earthquake,” German voters filled 13% of the seats in Parliament with far-right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party (Afd) representatives, in the best showing for a nationalist party since World War II—propelled by the message “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany.”
Pension problems. One million Ohio public employees and retirees may see their pensions cut in an attempt to put the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System on sounder footing.
OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits)—a $700 billion stream of future payments promised public employees, primarily to cover healthcare costs—is also in deep trouble; funding ratios in most states are less than 1% of the promised benefits.
A package for Kim Jong-un? During an interview, U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis let slip a comment about our access to weapons in space. Kinetic weapons up there include “Rods from God,” one foot in diameter and 20 feet in length titanium rods which can be dropped on targets with less than 15-minutes notice, hitting the ground at 36,000 feet per second—comparable to the speed of a meteor. The result is complete devastation of a target, even if it’s buried deep underground.
Bottled water. Nestle’s factory in Mecosta County, Michigan is one of its roughly 100 facilities in 34 countries that takes advantage of economically depressed areas with lax water laws. It turns spring water into bottled water at a cost of nearly nothing. Keep that in mind when buying your next pack of bottled water.
Taking ET home. Fascinating comments about our black space program from Ben Rich, who headed the Lockheed Skunk Works before his death, are repeated in this article (scan down).
MARKETS – for the week ending September 22
Real money: Gold and silver continued sliding, as hurricane and North Korean concerns waned. Gold dropped $28 to $1297.50/ounce and silver dropped 72-cents to $16.98/oz.. Silver is sinking faster than gold; as a final bottom is approached, we are likely to see the Au/Ag ratio increase further–from 76 to over 80.
US stocks crept higher: the Dow closed up 0.4% at 22350 and the S&P rose 0.1% to 2502. MSCI’s index of world stocks also hit a new all-time high. The rally is slowing, but still looks solid short term. Longer term is a different story. Jim Rogers disclosed his reasoning for believing that when the bear market starts to bite, ETF holders will “get mauled” (he recommends buying stocks not held in popular ETF’s).
Mining stocks (the XAU Index) continued following the metals down, dropping 2.6% to 86.06.
Crude oil (the WTIC Index) oozed 77-cents higher to close at $50.66/barrel, looking very overbought.
Commodities (GCC Index) appear to be entering another dive, dropping 1.0% to 18.87. Iron ore and copper led the retreat.
Currencies. The Federal Reserve Note (= dollar, via USD Index) bounced from a deeply oversold condition, closing up 0.3% at 91.97. Last week featured another rambling, disjointed Janet Yellen press conference—which pushed Fed-watch focus out to December: will they, or won’t they present us with another rate hike?
The Fed announced the cessation effective October 1 of its practice of repurchasing expiring Treasury securities in its portfolio—starting with $10 billion per month and growing to $50 billion.
Cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC), pummeled by adverse news out of China and two slaps-in-the-face from Jamie Dimon, closed the week down $150 at $3600. Btc is still a good buy for its next leg up.
US Treasury bonds continued falling: 10-year and 30-year yields rose 6 and 3 basis points, respectively, to 2.26% and 2.80%.
Our next weekly blog will be on October 9, with the October Transformation Watch newsletter going out to subscribers the week of October 2.
About the Author
Wayne Peterson is an independent Registered Investment Advisor and principal of Family Business Office, a comprehensive financial planning and asset management firm he founded in 1991. He has been publisher of the Transformation Watch newsletter since 2005. A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, Peterson spent five years with the U.S. Marine Corps as a fighter pilot, followed by 20 years in aerospace management. For free weekly receipt of these financial blogs, subscribe here.
Peterson’s book, “But What If I’m Right?”, outlines the factors contributing to the impending global financial transformation and provides readers with recommendations to safeguard their families and their assets.