09Jan Rep. Mueller ceremoniously sworn into office PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Mike Mueller was ceremoniously sworn into his first term of office on Wednesday by Michigan State Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman. He was joined by his wife Angela and four children (from left to right): Ryan Jr., Olivia, Owen, and Cole.Rep. Mueller represents the 51st District, which includes Argentine, Atlas, Clayton, Fenton, Flushing, and Gaines townships, and the cities of Linden and Fenton in Genesee County. Within Oakland County, Rep. Mueller represents the townships of Groveland, Holly, and Rose. Categories: Mueller News
Mark ItkinFormer William Morris Endeavor television co-chief Mark Itkin has joined emerging digital content business TV4 Entertainment as a senior advisor.Itkin is best known for a three-decade career as an agent in Hollywood, and packaged shows such as Deal or No Deal, Project Runway and The Real World for TV. He is considered a driving force behind the international expansion of unscripted programming and has brokered several significant deals.He has now been hired as advisor at TV4, which is the LA-based digital business former Hulu chief Jon Cody launched in 2012. He also becomes a board member.Itkin will work with Cody and other senior TV4 execs as the company moves further into original programming and bolsters its 30-strong portfolio of owned-and-operated, OTT channels such as All Warrior Network, DocCom TV and Motorland TV.His role will see him package original series, feature films and special events, and funnel new OTT channel opportunities into TV4’s globally targeted networks. He described TV4’s model as “the future of content creation and distribution,”.Cody is in Cannes this week at MIPTV, and told DTVE‘s sister title TBI the hire would allow TV4 to move on “to the next stage of our development”.So far, the privately owned firm has received backing from the likes of Warner Bros.This comes soon after TV4 struck a deal with All3Media International, an agreement TBI exclusively revealed news of earlier this year.Itkin was agent to Katy Davis, who oversaw production of The Oprah Winfrey Show and is now head of aspiration channel and original programming for TV4.“Mark Itkin is an innovator and a Hollywood institution who has always been at the forefront of the television industry,” said Cody, who is a former Fox exec and FCC chairman.“As digital migration engulfs the traditional television and film industries, we are incredibly fortunate to lock arms with Mark Itkin to drive the future.”Itkin had left his role as co-head of television at WME in 2015 after a 34-year career in entertainment.“I was fortunate and proud to walk away when I did, knowing I had contributed to and been in the front row for major television milestones,” said Itkin.“Today, I am just as excited to join Jon Cody and team as a senior advisor as I see the passion and hunger that TV4 Entertainment has to continue to drive the future of the industry and I am honored to have a hand in helping the company as we shape that next generation of television.”Since exiting WME, Itkin has become a board member of Tom Forman’s new company, Critical Content, which was born out of Relativity Television.
The UK’s youth-focused online TV channel, BBC Three, has secured an additional £10 million (€11.2 million) for new formats as it expands its commissioning remit.Damian KavanaghBBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said the cash influx came at “an exciting creative moment for the channel and the production community”.This comes two years after BBC Three became the first major linear channel in the world to go online-only. It has since been following a commissioning mantra of ‘Make Me Think’ and ‘Make Me Laugh’, and is widely seen as having been successful with the overall strategy.BBC director of content Charlotte Moore said that BBC Three’s role was “more important than ever” as the UK’s public broadcaster looks to reinvent itself for new generations.“I’m really proud of what Damian and the team have achieved over the last two years and this extra investment is a clear signal of our commitment to entertaining young audiences into the future,” she added.“We have received extra investment in recognition of the great work we have been doing since moving online and we have ambitious plans for the next stage of our journey,” said Kavanagh.“Our aim is to bring a new spirit to our content, which celebrates young people and their passions by commissioning new, innovative, contemporary takes on fact-ent, formats and entertainment which will unite and inspire our young audience.”The new commissioning pillar will extend BBC Three’s focus into “ideas with feel-good, entertaining propositions at their heart that celebrate and unite young people and get them talking”.Kavanagh sees this as adding another tone to the channel, which has ordered programmes such Fleabag, Murder in Successville, People Just Do Nothing and Murdered By My Father since going online only.Kavanagh has also commissioned new doc films from Stacey Dooley, including Shot By My Neighbour. There is also Annie Price: the Truth About Having a Baby, The Voice in My Head (WT), three-part factual series Different Like Me, comedy Enterprice and Eating with My Ex, the latter of which is transitioning from a short-form to a long-form proposition.“These new programmes emphasise BBC Three’s commitment to working with new talent and providing a platform to tell stories that resonate with young people,” said Kavanagh.
Polish pay TV operator Cyfrowy Polsat has added new Canal+-branded sports channels from rival service provider nc+ to its offering following the latter’s launch of the channels, which carry top-tier Polish football on a model that opened up distribution to other operators.Cyfrowy Polsat launched the new channels – Canal+ Sport 3 and Canal+ Sport 4 – on its platform yesterday. The channels will air the next two seasons of the PKO Ekstraklasa league in HD and. Without advertising. Cyfrowy Polsat is making the channels available via satellite and IPTV from PLN10 a month, depending on the package taken, and they will also be available as part of the Cyfrowy Polsat Go multiscreen service.Cyfrowy Polsat’s Premium Max Plus customers will qualify for the PLN10 a month price point while lower-tier customers will pay PLN20.The launch follows nc+’s launch of the channels with distribution available to third party players.Nc+ is making the channels, which will air all 296 matches from the PKO Ekstraklasa, available via its multiscreen and OTT TV services as well as via pay TV.Nc+ subscribers with TV packages including eight Canal+ channels will receive the new channels at no extra charge.The launch follows a new contract between nc+ and the PKO Ekstraklasa league in December, extending rights to the next two seasons.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICEFOYLE MLAHuman Trafficking and Modern Slavery StrategyPSNIRaymond McCartneySinn Fein‘Human trafficking still a grave danger’ – McCartney ShareTweet “Sinn Féin made a series of recommendations in its response to the Department of Justice consultation on its Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Strategy last year.“These recommendations sought to raise awareness of trafficking, train people to recognise and report signs of trafficking, and ultimately to protect victims and potential victims.“It is imperative that there is quick progress on this strategy.“I encourage anyone who has suspicions or has spotted signs of trafficking to report it immediately, because as these figures show, you could help save someone from a life of horrific human rights abuse.” ‘Human trafficking still a grave danger’ – McCartney was last modified: March 20th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: SINN Féin’s Justice Spokesperson Raymond McCartney has expressed alarm after it was revealed that six children were among 52 potential victims of human trafficking referred to the PSNI last year.The Foyle MLA said: “Human trafficking involves horrific abuses of human rights, but they are largely hidden crimes which makes it difficult to assess the scale of the problem.“Worryingly, these six children were among 52 potential victims of human trafficking, including potential victims of sexual exploitation.
“It’s reality that a crash Brexit will have disastrous implications for the north’s economy, for citizens rights and the Good Friday Agreement. “No amount of spin or advertising can hide that. “The people of the north rejected Brexit yet it is being forced upon us by the Tory Brexiteers and their allies in the DUP. “The only way to avoid a crash out no-deal Brexit is through the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop contained within it.” ShareTweet SINN Féin east Derry MLA Caoimhe Archibald has branded plans by a Government Department to spend £750,000 on advertising to reassure people about a no-deal Brexit a complete waste of money. The party’s Brexit spokesperson was commenting after it emerged the Executive Office had opened an accelerated tender process to hire contractor for the advertising. Caoimhe Archibald said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous that the Executive Office are planning to spend three quarters of a million pounds reassuring people about a no-deal Brexit. ‘Spin cannot hide no-deal Brexit disaster’ – Archibald was last modified: July 25th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: BrixitCAOIMHE ARCHIBALDEAST DERRY MLASinn FeinWithdrawal Agreement‘Spin cannot hide no-deal Brexit disaster’ – Archibald
In This Issue.* ECB & Bundesbank talk supports the euro. * Yen rallies. * Norway, Canada and others in a bind. * Gold on a losing streak.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!The Dollar Rides The White Horse.Good day. And a Happy Friday to one and all! Well after 5 days adrift, the passengers of the crippled cruise ship are back on terra firma. I bet they are very thankful for that! That must have been pretty bad. And I’m thankful I wasn’t on that cruise! See. it’s the little things, eh? I’m running a bit late this morning, as I slept right through the alarm clock. So, I need to get to what you all open this letter up to read. My conspiracy stories! HAHAHAHAHA!Well, the dollar is riding on the white horse this morning, and all the currencies (except yen) and metals are bowing down to pay homage to the dollar. The euro attempted to break out with a move higher overnight, but was quickly knocked back down. The euro jumped to near 1.34 when Bundesbank (Germany’s Central Bank) President, Weidmann, said that “one cannot say euro is seriously overvalued.” European Central Bank (ECB) President, Draghi, chimed in and said that, “real euro exchange rates are around their long-term averages.” So, all-in-all, some verbal support for the euro’s current level.OK. well, I said that the currencies were down VS the dollar except yen. And it took me by surprise too! There wasn’t much in the way of information that would indicate why yen is rallying this morning. There was some talk about yen’s appropriate range would be 95-100, but other than that, it’s position squaring or profit taking, because there’s no “real reason” to be buying yen, folks.We do have the G-20 meeting going on, and I would think that some traders that were short yen, decided to cover the short ahead of the G-20 meeting, just in case there’s talk about stopping Japan from pushing for currency weakness. I think all we’ll get out of this G-20 meeting is nothing more than a statement that they want members to: refrain from competitive devaluation. Then get on their private jets and head home.The British pound sterling is much weaker this morning, on the news that January Retail Sales fell for a second consecutive month. Retail Sales fell -.6% from December when they dropped -.3%… The spin doctors in the U.K. jumped on this drop right away, and blamed it on the cold and snowy weather conditions in the U.K. during January. So much for Bank of England outgoing Gov. Mervyn King, who earlier this week said that he thought inflation would accelerate in the coming months. I would think that given the size of the retracement in Retail Sales that he had better worry more about the economy contracting than inflation accelerating!Last week I mentioned the Brazilian real and how it had rallied to a level below the 2 figure, and remained below 2 for the whole week, which was surprising, given the Brazilian Gov’t’s penchant for weakening the real. Yesterday, when I was doing the currency round-up, I noticed that real was even stronger than it was last week. And I said to myself, “self. I bet the Brazilian Gov’t has something to say about this soon”. and lo and behold, the Brazilian Finance Minister, Mantega, was out last night, letting everyone know that, “we will not allow for an over appreciation of the real, and we won’t tolerate abnormal fluctuations”. This is what I feared last week when I mentioned that real was rallying. While I don’t believe the Brazilian Gov’t is going to pull out all stops to weaken the real again, for they need a stronger real to combat inflation that is running above their target level and has for the past two years. But, they will fight the appreciation every step of the way, in order to keep the appreciation orderly and under control. I still say to be careful here, and only use the speculative portion of your portfolio if you feel compelled to own real.The Canadian dollar / loonie touched parity again yesterday, albeit briefly. the currency continues to remain near parity, which to me is a good level for loonies right now, given some of the things going on that we’ve talked about here. The Bank of Canada (BOC) would love to raise rates to squash the housing bubble in Toronto, but the rest of Canada still needs the accommodative rates. So, the loonie sits here, without any reason to move stronger and without any reason to move weaker.Another country keeping their eyes on the currency and its appreciation is Norway. The Norges Bank would love to hike rates, but they don’t want the krone to take off for the moon. These central banks from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, and others are all in the same boat. They would love to hike rates, but they don’t want their currency going on a flight to the moon. I feel for them. but, if I were the captain of any of these ships, I would just stop the worrying, and do what’s best for their economy, and having housing bubbles, and rising inflation are not good things for the economy!And the good times for the Indian rupee didn’t last one month! Remember a month ago, I told you how the rupee was on a good run, but wondered how long that would last. well, it lasted about a month. Too many questions hang over the rupee, right now, and until they are answered the rupee will be held accountable.The price of Gold continues to weaken, much to my surprise, and I’m beginning to worry about the shiny metal’s price. I see where billionaire, George Soros, cut his Gold ETF holdings last quarter. and now I see where Dennis Gartman has put a short on Gold. But guys like John Paulson are maintaining their holdings, and I see where Peter Shiff is still calling for Gold to climb to $5,000 an ounce. So, there’s two way trading, which is always a good thing. I saw one analyst, call for Gold to fall to $1,550 and then take off to the moon. I would think that if Gold begins to head toward $1,550, a lot of people will be bailing, thinking the bull market is over. But not me. I’ll be looking to buy more at the much cheaper price!Today, the U.S. Data cupboard has some juicy tidbits for us. Two of my fave Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, will print their January outcomes.. U of Michigan Confidence for the first part of this month, and the Net TIC Flows. you know, the Net Foreign Purchases. which used to rule the data roost, but has been reduced to picking up the pieces, is always an interesting print anyway.Then There Was This. This is a real treat for you all today. The Big Boss, Frank Trotter, sent me some notes from his travels, and I have them here for you. Frank is an excellent writer, when he can find time to write! So. here’s the Big Boss!“On Wednesday night here in Aspen we hosted a reception to welcome and introduce EverBank’s mortgage team in the mountains to the community. It turns out that it was EverBank that was being introduced since each team member is well known as a true all-star in the market. It is clear that this solidifies EverBank as the premier jumbo mortgage lender in and near Aspen, Vail, Glenwood Springs and Telluride with more to come. It was great to meet all the clients and soon to be clients who attended and I enjoyed telling people about all the ways that EverBank can help with all the banking basics done right and provide opportunities for global diversification.As we look how various things impact the global marketplace we forget sometimes Burke’s reminder that “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Along those lines I was walking our dog here in Aspen along an abandoned railway line now turned into a pathway. The snow was about knee deep and when I scraped a layer off what appeared to be a historical marker (now you know who reads those things). It said that the railroad had ceased to exist when President Wilson nationalized all railroads in 1917 due to “too much competition”.I do vaguely recall this chapter of American history, but hold on there partner – nationalization of all US railroads for too much competition has legal precedent? Humm . . . We have an example within the week of what happens to currencies when the government goes on a nationalization plan as in Venezuela (with Argentina seemly attempting to follow on as an acolyte). As Chris noted the other day this is not a political blog but political actions do impact the global markets. We remain vigilant when we hear “government can fix it” out of the mouths of politicians worldwide.”Chuck again. Thanks Frank! When Frank writes or talks, he makes us think.To recap. the dollar is riding the white horse today, with all the currencies except yen, bowing down to the dollar. Yen is stronger due to what Chuck thinks is the closing of short positions ahead of the G-20 meeting, just in case something is said about Japan’s pushing for currency weakness.A handful of countries and their Central Banks would love to raise rates to squash housing problems, but don’t do it, in order to keep their currencies from taking off for the moon.Currencies today 2/15/13. American Style: A$ $1.0335, kiwi .8485, C$ .9975, euro 1.3315, sterling 1.5480, Swiss $1.0825, . European Style: rand 8.8190, krone 5.5560, SEK 6.3475, forint 219.55, zloty 3.1415, koruna 19.0650, RUB 30.14, yen 92.70, sing 1.2370, HKD 7.7545, INR 54.22, China 6.2362, pesos 12.70, BRL 1.9590, Dollar Index 80.55, Oil $96.72, 10-year 1.99%, Silver $30.31, and Gold. $1,628.10 and, it’s Friday, so here’s the link to the U.S. Debt Clock. click here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.htmlThat’s it for today. Well, did you have a nice Valentine’s Day? I was visited by two of my sweethearts, darling daughter Dawn, and granddaughter, Delaney Grace (along with grandson Everett) yesterday. They brought me a cupcake and a handmade valentine card. We’re all getting together tonight and getting fish dinners from the VFW hall. a staple for us during lent. I totally missed talking about my very good friend, and spring training buddy’s birthday the other day. Happy Birthday, Duane! And Sunday is Mike Meyer’s birthday, so Happy Birthday, Mike! He’s a youngster, that thinks he’s getting old. I told him, “don’t rush it”! and with that. it’s time to get this out the door. Thanks for reading the Pfennig, and I hope you have a Fantastico Friday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
[Ed. note: One of the best things about being a partner in a research firm employing about 40 analysts is that I have unfettered access to really smart people. While we have a great team with expertise across the spectrum, when it comes to monetary matters, my go-to guy is Terry Coxon, a senior editor for our flagship publication, The Casey Report. Terry cut his teeth working side by side for years with the late Harry Browne, the economist and prolific author of a number of groundbreaking books, including the 1970 classic, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. The timing of Harry’s book should catch your eye, because his analysis that the dollar was headed for a big fall was spot on. Anyone paying attention made a lot of money. As coeditors of Harry Browne’s Special Reports, Terry and Harry made a formidable team for over 23 years. During this period, the two deeply researched the operating levers of the global economy, with a focus on the nature of money and impact of monetary policy. They also looked for ways to apply what they learned about macroeconomics into practical investment strategies, coauthoring Inflation-Proofing Your Investments. On his own, Terry wrote Keep What You Earn and Using Warrants. Putting his expertise into action, Terry founded—and for 22 years served as the president of—the Permanent Portfolio Fund, one of the top-performing funds in history. Having Terry on the Casey Research team as a senior economist has been a huge personal boon. By the time you finish reading my brief interview with him, I suspect you’ll understand why.—David Galland] David: Let’s start by defining terms. What exactly is inflation? Most people view inflation as a noticeable increase in the prices of everyday things. How do you define inflation? Terry: The original use of the term in financial matters referred to money, not to prices. It meant an increase in the total amount of money held by the public. Such a monetary inflation can be engineered by government printing or, under a gold standard, by increasing the official price of gold, as in 1933. Monetary inflation can also be engineered by inventing a new category of legal tender, as in the case of the silver dollars minted in the 19th century. And inflation of the money supply can happen without government tinkering, such as through the discovery and development of new gold deposits (as in the cases of the California and Klondike gold rushes), or through decisions by commercial banks to operate with thinner cash reserves in order to issue more deposits. Today “inflation” usually refers to price inflation, which is a rise in the general level of consumer prices. That second use grew out of the public’s experience of episodes of monetary inflation being followed by periods of rising prices. Notice that with either use of the word, there is a little mushiness. During some periods, depending on what you include as “money,” you may find either an increase or a decrease in the supply of the stuff. Suppose that the supply of hand-to-hand currency goes up while the quantity of bank deposits goes down by a larger amount. Is that monetary inflation or monetary deflation? And what exactly does an increase in the “general level of consumer prices” mean? There’s more than one way to define an index of prices, and there are many ways to tinker with it. David: In your view, have the US government and the Fed been following an inflationary policy? Terry: Yes. Since the Lehman swoon in 2008, the M1 money supply (hand-to-hand currency plus checkable bank deposits) has increased by 72%, so the policy is clearly one of monetary inflation. And the Fed is avowedly committed to avoiding price deflation at all costs. They’ll do whatever it takes to prevent price deflation, up to and including sacrificing virgins. That deflation phobia is necessarily a commitment to price inflation, and Mr. Bernanke has indicated that consumer prices rising at a rate of 2% per year would be ideal. So either way you define inflation, the Fed is all for it. David: Based upon your studies, just how extreme or extraordinary has inflation been since the beginning of this financial crisis? Terry: A 72% growth in the money supply over a period of five-plus years is a gigantic increase. Take a look at the chart. It shows the annual growth rate in M1 over all five-year periods from 1959 to the present (dates on the chart indicate the end of a five-year period). As you can see, the only episode of monetary inflation that comes close to what is happening now is the money-printing spree of the high-price-inflation 1970s and early 1980s. David: How certain are you that the monetary inflation here in the US is going to ultimately manifest as price inflation? Terry: You’re asking for a lot when you say “certain”—certainly more than you’re going to get from me. But here’s why price inflation seems inevitable. The Federal Reserve can easily create more money. There’s no limit to that power, as they’ve already demonstrated. At any hint of deflation, they will produce more cash. They can never know how much new cash would be enough, but because they see deflation as a vastly more serious problem than price inflation, they always will err on the side of too much new money. That attitude is a guarantee of price inflation. David: When price inflation begins, how significant do you think it will be? A little inflation? A lot? Hyperinflation? Terry: Mr. Bernanke will get to visit his ideal world of 2% price inflation, but it will only be a whistle stop. The price inflation that lies ahead will be at least as bad as what happened in the 1970s episode, when the annual inflation rate approached 15%. The money that’s already been printed so far may be enough to produce such a 1970s-size problem. And more new dollars are coming, because the Fed won’t stop printing until price inflation becomes obvious. Making matters worse is that the devices for paring down the amount of cash that you need for the sake of convenience—such as credit cards, ATMs, and online banks—are now far more widely available and cheaper to use than they were in the 1970s. When price inflation becomes noticeable, people will turn more and more to those devices to reduce their holdings of value-leaking cash. That drop in the demand for money will reinforce the price inflation that originated in the Federal Reserve’s increase in the supply of money. David: I know it can only be a wild guess, but based on your observations, how long do you think it will take for price inflation to become obvious? Terry: Within twelve months after you hear that the economy has at last fully recovered from the recession. David: What is the biggest flaw with the deflation argument? Terry: Whatever process someone might have in mind as a driver of price deflation, no matter how powerful that process might be, the Federal Reserve has the power and the will to carpet-bomb it with more new money. What the deflationists overlook is that if deflation ever seems to be winning, the Fed will simply extend the game for as many innings as it takes for inflation to win. In a fiat-money system, inflation always gets another chance. David: What would make you change your view that price inflation is inevitable? Terry: Brain surgery. A time-tested way of protecting wealth is to move it out of one’s native currency and into a location that’s more economically sound. But is that even possible for US citizens these days? If so, what are the best places to explore for moving wealth offshore—and how is that best accomplished? Should you and your family follow your money and expatriate your home country? All these questions—and many more—are answered in a new, free report by legendary speculator Doug Casey. Titled Getting Out of Dodge, it offers specific, actionable advice for moving your wealth and your life safely offshore. Get started while you still can: governments around the world are beginning to tighten their nooses.
But the silver price action was slightly different. The HFT boyz set a new low price tick for this move down about 11:30 Hong Kong time on their Tuesday morning. The subsequent rally made it back above Monday’s New York close by the noon silver fix in London, and that pretty much all she wrote for the remainder of the day both in London and New York. The CME recorded the low and high ticks at $20.20 and $20.475. Silver closed in New York yesterday afternoon at $20.34 spot, down 5.5 cents from Monday. Net volume was pretty light as well at only 24,500 contracts. Platinum and palladium didn’t do much price-wise until the equity markets opened in New York. Then both spiked higher until 10 a.m. EST, and then both rallies were met by sellers of last resort. Both finished up a few dollars on the day. Here are the charts. The dollar index close in New York on Monday at 80.73, and then chopped sideways in a very tight range on Tuesday, before falling off a small cliff just before the close yesterday. The index finished at 80.54, which was down 19 basis points on the day. Sponsor Advertisement The CME Daily Delivery Report was another non-event, as only 1 gold and 1 silver contract were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday. So far this month only two gold and 106 silver contracts have been delivered in the November delivery month. That’s not a lot. Once again there was a withdrawal from GLD. This time it was 48,243 troy ounces. And as of 10:05 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV. The U.S. Mint had a small sales report, as they sold 239,000 silver eagles and nothing else. Monday was a very quiet day over at the Comex-approved depositories in both gold and silver. In gold, only 1,099 troy ounces were reported received, and nothing was shipped out. In silver, nothing was reported received, but 121,517 troy ounces were removed. The link to the silver “action” is here. I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column, and the final edit is up to you. At this time last week, I had estimated that the total net commercial short positions in Comex gold and silver would be down 25,000 contracts in gold and more than 3,000 contracts in silver, if the report was cut-off last Friday (and not the coming Tuesday). I should have left out the qualifier, as more than 28,000 contracts of gold and 3,200 contracts of net commercial shorts were eliminated as of Tuesday. The fact is that many COT mavens were expecting big declines in the commercial short positions, so my point is not to pat myself on the back. My point is that more observers who study the COT reports can see that what moves prices are how the tech funds behave on the Comex. If you think about that for a moment, it’s kind of extraordinary. I agree that not everyone makes the connection that the commercials are tricking and controlling when the tech funds buy and sell, but to my mind it’s just a matter of time before they do. As backing for my assertion I would point out that a few years ago, a very small number of precious metals investors even considered the COTs. Now, many are making predictions of what the new reports may show based upon reporting week price action. That’s just a short distance away from viewing the reports as being what caused prices to move and the realization of that is price manipulation. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 16 November 2013 I don’t have a thing to add to what I said earlier about yesterday’s price action, or lack of it, in both silver and gold. It was just another day off the calendar as we approach First Notice Day for the December delivery month. All traders who hold futures or options contracts for December, have to sell, roll, or stand for delivery, and all that has to occur between now and the close of Comex trading next Thursday. I don’t expect much price action, except to the downside, between now and then. But as I said in this space yesterday, once December goes off the board, it’s a whole new ball game in my opinion, and we’ll have to wait until then. Yesterday, at the close of Comex trading, was the cut-off for Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report. Just eye-balling the weekly price action that will be in that report, it’s a certainty that there will be an improvement in the Commercial net short position in silver, because a new low price was set for this move down yesterday. However, Ted Butler says that it’s too hard to tell with gold, as their was a big out-of-the-blue rally in electronic trading last Wednesday to start off this current reporting week, and it’s unknown whether it was short covering or a new long position being placed that caused it. So I’m prepared for either scenario. Also turning in lower prices yesterday were both copper and crude oil. The prices of these two key commodities, along with gold and silver, are also under pressure by JPMorgan et al, and both are very oversold. The traders in these commodities also have to sell, roll, or stand for delivery before next Friday as well, and it will be interesting to see how the price of these two commodities, along with the precious metals, are allowed to “react” once we get into the new front month. Here are the six-month charts in both. As I’ve said before, if the Fed is looking for a little inflationary pressure, all they have to do is get their foot off these key commodities, and the free market will do the rest. Will it happen? Beats me, but it’s a scenario that I’ve been expecting for some time. It was very quiet in Far East and early London trading on their Wednesday. As I hit the send button on today’s column at 5:15 a.m. EST, all four precious metals are at or below their respective closes on Tuesday. Volumes are about average, whatever that means these days, and there are a decent number of roll-overs in both gold and silver, but particularly in silver. The dollar index is currently up about 18 basis points, gaining back everything it lost yesterday, at least for the moment. I’m not expecting a lot of wild price action during the New York session today, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out differently, nor should it surprise you. See you tomorrow. It was more or less the same chart pattern in the silver equities, although you have to wonder why that would have to be the case, but it almost always is. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 0.13%. The gold stocks opened in positive territory and hung around just above unchanged until about 12:30 in New York. Then they got sold down into the red and struggled for the rest of the day. The HUI finished down 0.10%. All traders who hold futures or options contracts for December, have to sell, roll, or stand for delivery With net volume being what it was in gold yesterday, I wouldn’t read a thing into Tuesday’s price action, and the highs and lows aren’t even worth my while to look up. Gold closed at $1,275.20 spot, down 80 cents from Monday’s close. Net volume was microscopic at only 72,000 contracts. Celebrate Thanksgiving with Sprott Money’s Thanksgiving Sale! For 2 weeks only (November 15 – 28), enjoy FREE shipping & insurance when you buy $4,999 or more at Sprott Money! Owned and managed by Eric Sprott, Sprott Money Ltd. is a leading precious metals dealer selling gold, silver and platinum coins and bullion bars online and over the phone. Don’t miss your chance! Place your order now at http://store.sprottmoney.com/ or call us at 1-888-861-0775! No coupon code required. Since its inception, Sprott Money has prided itself on superior customer relations, providing its clients with only the highest quality bullion products in addition to delivering them discreetly and on time. Sprott Money also offers allocated, segregated, private and non-bank storage services in the US and in Canada. “In the sea of financial assets and currencies that are being decimated the world over, the one true safe haven continues to be gold.” – Eric Sprott
The Affordable Care Act very nearly failed to become law back in 2010 because of a dispute among Democrats over how to handle abortion in the bill.Now a similar argument between Democrats and Republicans is slowing progress on a bill that could help cut soaring premiums and help stabilize the ACA.At issue is the extent to which the Hyde Amendment — language commonly used by Congress to prohibit most federal abortion funding — should be incorporated into any new legislation affecting the health law.Republicans generally want more restrictions on abortion funding. Democrats generally want fewer.Here’s a bit of the history of how we got here.What is the Hyde Amendment?The Hyde Amendment, named for Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), an anti-abortion champion who died in 2007, prohibits federal funding of abortion in Medicaid and several other health programs run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Current exceptions allow for funding in cases of rape, incest or “where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed.”But the Hyde Amendment is not permanent law. It has been included as a rider every year since 1977 to federal spending bills and its exact language changes from time to time. The rape and incest exceptions, for example, were not included in the annual HHS spending bill from 1981-93. During that time, the only exception was for abortions required to save a pregnant woman’s life.Hyde-like language has been added to other annual spending bills over the years, so federal abortion funding is also now forbidden in private health insurance plans for federal employees, women in federal prisons, those in the Peace Corps and women in the military, among others.Over the years, Democrats have worked, unsuccessfully, to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, charging that it unfairly harms low-income women who cannot afford to pay for abortions. Proposed elimination of the language was included in the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform.Republicans have tried, also unsuccessfully, to write the Hyde funding prohibitions into permanent law. “A ban on taxpayer funding of abortion is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land,” said then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2011.So, what happened with the ACA and abortion funding?Republicans in both the House and Senate unanimously refused to support the Affordable Care Act when it passed Congress in 2010. In order to pass the bill over GOP objections, Democrats needed near unanimity among their ranks, abortion remaining the biggest hurdle.The Democratic caucus at the time had a significant number of members who opposed abortion, particularly those representing more conservative districts and states. In order to facilitate movement, House and Senate leaders agreed that the health bill should be “abortion-neutral,” meaning it would neither add to nor subtract from existing abortion restrictions. Even today there is disagreement about whether the law actually expands or contracts abortion rights.At the time, Democratic sponsors of the bill were buffeted by appeals from women’s groups who wanted to make sure the bill did not change existing coverage of abortion in private health insurance; and from abortion opponents, led by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who called the bill a major expansion of abortion rights.The bill passed the House in 2009 only after inclusion of an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), a longtime opponent of abortion. That bill included a government-sponsored health insurance plan that would have been available on all states’ exchanges. Stupak’s provision would have made the Hyde Amendment a permanent part of that plan. The amendment also banned federal premium subsidies for private health insurance plans that offered abortion, although it allowed for plan customers to purchase a rider with non-federal money to cover abortion services.Eventually, the Senate bill dropped the government-sponsored plan, so no restrictions were necessary on the abortion issue. And it was the Senate plan that went forward to become law. Still, differences remained over how to ensure that subsidies provided by taxpayers did not go to private plans that covered abortions.In the upper chamber, a compromise was ultimately reached by abortion-rights supporter Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and a Democratic senator who opposed abortion, Ben Nelson from Nebraska. Nelson was the final holdout on the bill, which needed all 60 Democrats in the Senate to overcome the unanimous GOP opposition. The Boxer-Nelson language was a softening of the Stupak amendment but still allowed states to prohibit plans in the ACA’s insurance marketplaces from covering abortion.In addition, President Barack Obama agreed to issue an executive order intended to ensure no federal funds were used for abortions.In the end, both sides came out unhappy. Abortion opponents wanted the Hyde Amendment guarantees in the actual legislation rather than the executive order. Abortion-rights backers say the effort constricted abortion coverage in private health plans.And both sides are unhappy, still. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group, 26 states have passed legislation restricting abortion coverage in any plan sold through the ACA’s insurance exchanges.Another 11 states have passed laws restricting abortion coverage in all private insurance sold in the state. Nine of those states allow separate abortion riders to be sold, but no carriers offer such coverage in those marketplaces, according to a 2018 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)And three states — California, New York and Oregon — require nearly all insurance plans to provide abortion coverage, according to the National Women’s Law Center.And, what’s at stake in the latest health bill?The issue for 2018 is a bipartisan bill that seeks to stabilize the individual insurance market and the ACA’s health insurance exchanges by providing additional federal funding to offset some recent premium increases. Some options include restoring federal subsidies for insurers who cover out-of-pocket costs for very low-income customers and setting up a federal reinsurance pool to help insurers pay for very expensive patients.But once again, the abortion debate threatens to block compromise.Many Republicans are dubious about efforts to shore up the health law. They still hope its failure could lead to a repeal they were unable to accomplish in 2017.Even some who say they are sympathetic to a legislative remedy want to add the permanent Hyde Amendment language that was left out of the final ACA, although included in Obama’s executive order.That is “not negotiable for House Republicans,” a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said this month. The White House has also endorsed a permanent Hyde Amendment.But Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who has been negotiating the insurance bill for the Democrats, calls any additional abortion restrictions “a complete non-starter” for Democrats.Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.