Non-Farm Friday – Is America Working?

I try my best to make people aware of the ridiculous BS that goes on behind the scenes in the halls of power.  I try to help people understand the way Big Business manipulates our Government, the same way the Banksters and Billionaires manipulate the markets. In short – we explore the dark side of Capitalism as having a realistic outlook helps us make better trading decisions.  


But today, I give up!  Why?  Because the head of JP Morgan’s Commodity Division has been INVITED by CTFC Chairman Mark Wetjen to join the Global Markets Committee that sets the rules for Futures trading.  This is not letting the fox guard the hen-house – this is simply serving the fox all the hen he can eat!  Didn’t we just fine JPM $17Bn for manipulating the markets and screwing over investors?

Didn’t Jamie Dimon just get a 75% raise because he got the Government to settle for ONLY $17Bn?  Does anyone even remember these things?  Thank God for Miss Lizzy:

Elizabeth Warren and Pope Francis are about the only things keeping me from giving up this year.   Well, that and this High School Football team, God bless them!  Still, I feel like we’re fighting a real uphill battle on the place Jon Stewart calls Bulls#%t Mountain (whole, great clip here):

Yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked a 3-month extension of Unemployment Insurance, leaving what is now 1.7M people without benefits (benefits we all paid the insurance for our whole working lives, don’t forget!).  To be fair, 4 Republicans did vote with 55 Democrats to not force fellow citizens into poverty and starve their families but it was one righteous person shy of the 60 needed to end the Republican filibuster and the legislation died on the floor of the Senate.

“We’ve given them everything they wanted. Paid for,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, flashing his irritation at Republicans who blocked the bill.

Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to extend the program, an emergency measure enacted during the recession to provide up to 47 weeks of supplemental payments to the long-term unemployed.

“We cannot allow one vote to stand in the way of supporting these Americans as they struggle to find work,” a White House statement said Thursday. “Both sides of the aisle have worked together to prevent this kind of hardship in the past, and neglecting to do so now is unacceptable — especially given the high long-term unemployment rate.”

This was, of course, the front-page story in the NY Times and most newspapers but I challenge you to find mention of it in Mr. Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal or try listening for it on Fox News, CNBC or Bloomberg – it’s as if it never happened!   

And, what’s really hysterical about that is that, on the front page of the WSJ, is an article about how the Pentagon was stopped from mothballing an aircraft carrier – part of a group of cost cuts that would have saved more money than the cost of extentding the unemployment benefits ($6Bn).

That’s right, $6Bn, barely 1/3 of what JP Morgan was fined in 2013 alone – that’s “too much” money for our Government to spend to keep 1.7M people out of poverty ($3,529.41 per person).  Now, keep in mind that an average of $361 for all 140M workers in America ($50Bn) are paid into an insurance pool every year, including this one – and a 3-month extension of benefits is $6Bn – just over 10% of the “INSURANCE” those same employees contributed into.

Keep in mind that, even if we get a great Non-Farm Payroll number today, we’re only going to be creating, AS A NATION, 160,000 new jobs this month.  There are 3M people unemployed (who haven’t given up yet) so, NO MATTER HOW BADLY THEY WANT TO WORK, it will take 2 full years of 160,000 job per month growth to absorb them into the work-force.  How is this their fault?

Also, our population grows (1% of 300M is another 3M!) and kids come out of college and need jobs so JUST adding 160,000 jobs per month (and last month was 80,000) is barely enough to keep us even – it doesn’t put a dent in unemployment.  What’s the GOP solution to this problem?  AUSTERITY!

Actually, that’s not true, it’s austerity for you, austerity for people on food stamps, austerity for the unemployed and the uneducated and the sick and the poor but they SAVED that aircraft carrier and they SAVED those tax breaks for Billionaires and Billionaire Corporations and now they are SPENDING unprecedented amounts of money to take over your local Government:

So, is America working?  Regardless of the outcome of the upcomming jobs report – I’d have to say, no – America is broken….

We got the news yesterday at about 2:30 that the Senate screwed over 1.7M people and, amazingly, the markets did not drop but I read the news today (see our Member Chat) and I see nothing to indicate that this is anything but a bad thing – no mater what the Conservative talking heads in the Financial Media would have you believe.

8:30 Update: Only 113,000 jobs created.  I already told our Members this morning, in our Chat Room, that 120-140,000 jobs would be a “worst-case” scenario and 113K is close enough that we’re sure to take a dive off these numbers.  We already have plenty of shorts in play but we will grab some more if we finsih below our weak bounce levels (see yesterday’s post).

It’s Friday and China is open again next week so I’m sure they will try to put lipstick on this market pig and close us even or better today.  yesterday was a low-volume fiasco and this morning “THEY” have already dropped the Dollar back below 81 to mask the overall market weakness (hit 80.50 for a minute) by re-pricing the units the market is measured in – nice trick for the CTFC to look into and – oh F*CK – I forgot…

Well, we’re just screwed.

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies flash-crashed Saturday night, one day after the US Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas four cryptocurrency exchanges in an ongoing probe into bitcoin manipulation that began in late July - following the launch of bitcoin futures on the CME, according to the Wall Street Journal
CME’s bitcoin futures derive their final value from prices at four bitcoin exchangesBitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and KrakenManipulative trading in those markets could skew the price of bitcoin futures that the government directly regulates.
In delay reaction, Bitcoin fell as much as $433 or 5.6% in Saturday night trading, with some noting that the flash crash happened shortly after a 90th ranked crypto exchange, Coinrail, had suffered a "cyber intrusion", and was likely the more relevant catalyst for the crypto price drop.
While major Cryptocurrencies were down from 4.5 - 5.5%, Bitcoin Cash dropped over 8.4%. 
The CTFC subpoenas were issued after several of the exchanges refused to voluntarily share trading data with the CME after being asked last December. Of note, the CFTC regulates the CTC. 
According to the WSJ, the CME, which launched bitcoin futures in December, asked the four exchanges to share reams of trading data after its first contract settled in January, people familiar with the matter said. But several of the exchanges declined to comply, arguing the request was intrusive. The exchanges ultimately provided some data, but only after CME limited its request to a few hours of activity, instead of a full day, and restricted to a few market participants, the people added.
What is curious, is that if there was indeed manipulation since the launch of bitcoin futures, it was to the downside, as the price of cryptos peaked around the time the crypto futures were launched, and are down well over 50% in the 6 months since.
Coinbase in particular has been under the watch government regulators. On February 23, Coinbase sent an official notice to around 13,000 customers to notify them they were legally required to turn over their information to the IRS
The IRS had initially asked Coinbase in July 2017 to hand over even more detailed information on every one of its then over 500,000 users in an attempt catch those cheating on their taxes. However, another court order in Nov. 2017 reduced this number to around 14,000 “high-transacting” users, which the platform now reports as 13,000, in what Coinbase calls a “partial, but still significant, victory for Coinbase and its customers.”
Coinbase told the around 13,000 affected customers that the company would be providing their taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records from 2013-2015 to the IRS within 21 days. Coinbase’s letter to these customers encourages them “to seek legal advice from an attorney promptly” if they have any questions. Their website also states that concerns may also be addressed on Coinbase’s Taxes FAQ. The ongoing legal battle between Coinbase and the US government dates back to November, 2016, when the IRS filed a “John Doe summons” in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
On Feb. 13, personal finance service Credit Karma released data showing that only 0.04 percent of their customers had reported cryptocurrencies on their federal tax returns. 
And in April, former New York Attorney General, Eric "we could rarely have sex without him beating me" Schneiderman, launched a probe of 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges according to the Wall Street Journal - claiming that investors dealing in the fast-growing markets often don’t have the basic facts needed to protect themselves.
Former AG Schneiderman’s office said the program, called Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative,  is part of its responsibility to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial markets, and its goal is to ensure that investors can have a better understanding of the risks and protections afforded them on these sites.
CFTC Commissioner: Crypto is a "modern miracle"
While the CFTC, IRS and New York Attorney General's office are all cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, it seems to all be part of the government's embrace of virtual currencies.  Last week CFTC Commissioner Rostin Benham called cryptocurrencies a "modern miracleat the Blockchain For Impact Summit held at the UN in New York last week. 
But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere.  Let me repeat that:  these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet.  Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival.  And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.
We are witnessing a technological revolution.  Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle. -Rostin Benham
Rostin hinted at the upcoming legal action against the exchanges during his speech:
Under the CEA and Commission regulations and related guidance, exchanges have the responsibility to ensure that their Bitcoin futures products and their cash-settlement process are not readily susceptible to manipulation and the entity has sufficient capital to protect itself.  The CFTC has the authority to ensure compliance. In addition, the CFTC has legal authority over virtual currency derivatives in support of anti-fraud and manipulation including enforcement authority in the underlying markets.

Meanwhile, the official Bitcoin website removed references to Coinbase, and Bitpay, according to Crypto News - only one of which, Coinbase, was subpoenaed.  just removed/censored the 2 largest US Bitcoin companies (@BitPay Payment processing and @coinbase Bitcoin Exchange). It’s a good move: Bitcoin Core is obviously no longer Bitcoin, and should ideally be removed from both @BitPay and @coinbase too.

The CFTC officially recognized bitcoin as a commodity in September of 2015 when it went after Coinflip for operating a platform for trading bitcoin options without the proper authorization. Since the agency effectively asserted its dominance over the bitcoin market with that decision, this is the first time it has given its blessing to an bitcoin options trading platform. Expect a burst of institutional trading activity to follow - especially since they approved institutional options trading in July
This post sponsored by Total Cryptos @  


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