What's scarce in a world awash in free content and nearly infinite entertainment content?
After 3,701 posts (from May 2005 to the present), here are my observations of the Alternative Media from the muddy trenches.
It's increasingly difficult to make a living creating content outside the corporate matrix. The share of advert revenues paid to content creators / publishers has declined precipitously, shadow banning has narrowed search and social media exposure and the expansion of free content and competing subscription-based publishing has made subscription services an increasingly tough sell.
The most effective ways to silence critics and skeptics is to 1) de-monetize their sites / platforms and 2) restrict their access to the public via shadow banning and search algorithm "adjustments." The two are related, of course; as audiences dwindle, so do revenues and opportunities to sell subscriptions or promote patronage.
The corporate media's lumping of all alternative media in with "fake news" and troll-farms has intentionally tarnished all alternative media, as underminings independent journalism and commentary is an essential part of unifying public opinion behind "approved" ideologically uniform narratives.
Significant swaths of the public get their "news" and commentary solely from social media (Facebook and Twitter, and to a lesser degree, Instagram) or a handful of corporate media (which included PBS/NPR). As these channels limit / delegitimize alternative media voices, the public's access to alternative analysis and commentary diminishes even further.
From 2000 through 2012, the price of gold increased every year, rising from around $280 an ounce to nearly $1,700. It was an unprecedented run.
Then, in 2013, gold took a nose dive, losing over 27% of its value.
It was widely reported that the Swiss National Bank, the former bastion of monetary conservatism, lost $10 billion that year just on its gold holdings.
As you probably know, central banks hold a portion of their reserves in gold. The practice goes back to when central banks actually had to have gold on hand to trade in and out of paper money (or even trade for goods and services).
And central banks still hold reserves in gold today, even though they don’t need it to transact like they used to.
So that begs the question, did the Swiss National Bank actually lose $10 billion? It still had every ounce of gold in its vaults. And gold, after all, ismoney.
Justin’s note: Today, we turn to Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker for more on one of the biggest investment opportunities today: the legal sports betting market.
E.B. has been following this trend since May, when the Supreme Court opened up the floodgates to this new, multibillion-dollar industry.
In today’s essay, E.B. shows why the once-illegal sports betting market will be as lucrative as selling alcohol… why it will be bigger than the entire legal marijuana space… and most importantly, how early investors can stake a claim…
By E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic Investor
Last month, I showed you how the Supreme Court ushered in a new, billion-dollar market with its landmark ruling on sports betting in May.
Just to catch you up, the case revolved around something called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). It outlawed sports betting across the U.S. The only exceptions were states such as Nevada that already had sports betting laws on the books.
What the Supreme Court decided in May was that PASPA was unconstitutional. Specifically, the court ruled that PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government have to be left up to the states to decide on.
And it didn’t take long for states to make up their minds…
House prices down $265,000 from peak, down $60,000 from year ago. America’s most majestic housing bubble begins to deflate.
In San Francisco, the median price of single-family house sales that closed in November fell to $1.435 million. This is down a blistering $265,000 or 15.5% from the crazy peak in February of $1.7 million – a time when only the sky was the limit. And down by $60,000 from November 2017. This puts the median house price below where it had first been in May 2017. Note the steep slope from the peak in February:
Median price means half of the homes sold for more, half sold for less. So on the bottom end, people can try to push their luck with an occasional small shack in the $800,000 range. All data via Patrick Carlisle, Chief Market Analyst at Compass.
About 53% of total sales in San Francisco were condos; for years, all new housing construction has been condos and apartments, with practically no single-family houses being built, resulting in ever greater population density – and an increasing share of condos in the sales mix.
Last weekend, I was ordered to get out of the ocean by a Florida sheriff...
He watched my two friends and me surfing for 20 minutes from his vehicle before it all started. We figured he was bored. The waves were outstanding – it was one of the best days of the year. There was nobody else in the ocean as far as the eye could see.
Then, another sheriff's vehicle arrived. He soon turned his sirens on and waved us in to the beach.
"I will just give you guys a warning today," he said. "But being out there without a life jacket is an $80 ticket."
A life jacket? You can't swim under a mountain of whitewater coming at you while wearing a life jacket!
I was on a surfboard. My friends were surfing on their paddleboards. The sheriff said the problem was that my surfing buddies had to have life jackets – that it was the law from the Coast Guard.
Here’s what President Trump tweeted on Monday:
He was referring to a handshake deal brokered with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires over the weekend.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” And he called the informal agreement “one of the largest deals ever made.”
Word from the Chinese media differed, though. They said that a tariff deal is conditional on the two countries resolving key issues within 90 days.
Regardless, markets soared on the news.
On Monday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq opened up 1.5% and 2% higher, respectively. And that’s on top of last week’s 4% gains.
Multinationals did even better: Airplane manufacturer Boeing jumped 6% immediately after the news… Heavy-machinery maker Caterpillar spiked 4%… And chipmaker Micron Technology rose 4%.
“Great bull markets always end in euphoria. But that’s not where we are today… not even close.“
During a special event aired on Wednesday, my friend and partner Dr. Steve Sjuggerud explained to an audience of tens of thousands of people why there’s still room for the current bull market to run.
And I agree.
Just take a look at the money you can make in the final months of a bull market…
If you haven’t been in the market over the past nine years, you’ve been missing out on incredible gains. Since March 2009, the S&P 500 has gained about 300%.
But, according to Steve, “The biggest gains are still to come.”
That’s where Steve’s True Wealth Systems comes in. Our publisher has spent millions developing True Wealth Systems… Steve and his team use the system to track how well stocks are doing across 40 sectors and what you should buy now.
This isn’t the type of information available to the average investor.
In the late 1990s, my dad flew to Texas to see a small land grant company he was interested in recommending to his subscribers: Texas Pacific Land Trust.
I thought Dad was crazy. Internet stocks were the talk of the town—and where I was placing my bets.
Just about every new tech company that went public in the late ‘90s was doubling, tripling, or more… within days or even mere hours. As a young and oh-so-confident analyst, I had no interest in buying a land company and holding it long-term.
So of course I didn’t believe him.
And of course I was an idiot.
Companies like Texas Pacific fly under the radar of most investors and brokerage firms. It’s an operator of land… sitting on property for years, looking to sell or lease it.
And most land operators have strong balance sheets and rarely acquire companies. That means there’s no value for Wall Street to provide research on these companies, since they won’t generate investment fees.
In what is being hailed as a first in America, Ohio’s State Treasurer Josh Mandel has made it possible for businesses to pay taxes using Bitcoin.
Businesses will be able to pay 23 different taxes using BTC through an online portal that has been set up by the state treasury office. As it stands, individuals will not be able to use the service to pay private taxes.
The Ohio Treasurer has made it clear that it will not actually hold any Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency will be immediately converted to U.S. Dollars after payments have been made to BitPay. Businesses of any size will be able to make use of the payment service.
Even though interest in precious metals has fallen over the past few years, investment demand is still the largest growth sector in the silver market. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but physical silver investment has grown the most since the 2008 financial crisis compared to the other sectors. And while industrial users consume the highest amount of silver in the overall market annually, its total demand has fallen over the past decade.
Furthermore, a new study shows that global PV solar demand will decline by 40% over the next five years. But, I will get to that later in the article. However, I wanted to focus on physical silver investment demand because the alternative media community seems to have this idea that SILVER IS DEAD… IT’S NOT. While it’s true that investment demand has declined significantly from the peak a few years back, it is still much higher than what it was before the 2008 financial crisis.
Interestingly, silver coin bar and coin demand seem to spike the most when prices are falling rather than when they are rising. This was true in 2015 when total global silver coin and bar demand hit a record high of 292 million oz (Moz) as the silver price fell to a low of $15.68 versus 161 Moz in 2012 when the average price was $31.15:
[Editor’s note: While Simon is traveling today, other members of the Sovereign Man team penned today’s missive.]
This doesn’t make front page news… But it should.
Every year, cost of living adjustments increase Social Security benefits.
Over the past decade, payouts have increased by an average of 1.66% per year, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
But for 2019, the increase will be 2.8% to keep pace with inflation.
Seems like a trivial difference until you realize that’s 69% higher than expected.
That amounts to about $39 extra per check for the average retiree, according to the SSA.
And with about 62 million Americans receiving Social Security, that’s an extra $2.4 billion per month… $29 billion per year.
Justin’s note: Today, we hand the reins to Casey Report chief analyst Nick Giambruno, who has an important message.
Nick says the Federal Reserve is set to pop the “everything bubble.” When it does, it will trigger a market collapse of epic proportions.
Below, Nick explains why the coming crash could happen before the end of Trump’s first term… And how you can start preparing yourself now.
By Nick Giambruno, chief analyst, The Casey Report
I think there’s a very high chance of a stock market crash of historic proportions before the end of Trump’s first term.
That’s because the Federal Reserve’s current rate-hiking cycle, which started in 2015, is set to pop “the everything bubble.”
I’ll explain how this could all play out in a moment. But first, you need to know how the Fed creates the boom-bust cycle…
Technically speaking, the chart of Bitcoin looks god awful. Each bounce has been feeble compared to the prior decline.
The above chart is from yesterday but it hasn't changed much.
Bitcoin is $3797 as I type. It bounced from around this level a couple days ago to $4125 and here we are again. The first level of support is just a bit lower.
Weekly Chart Support Levels
Those are simply areas from which Bitcoin bounced previously from pullbacks. It's not a prediction that it will necessarily do so again.
As bad as that chart looks, consider Bitcoin Cash. It forked off Bitcoin and still maintains it is the "true bitcoin".
My model for forecasting oil prices has three top-level factors, represented graphically by arrows pointing up, down or sideways. An up arrow is colored green and points to higher oil prices. A down arrow is colored red and points to lower oil prices. The sideways arrow is colored grey and suggests that the relevant factor is neutral with respect to oil prices.
Of course, there are innumerable subfactors behind each of the main factors that form a lattice of cause and effect and that lend themselves to inferential methods. Still, the top-level “three arrows” predictive analytic model has served us well when it comes to oil prices.
The first factor is basic supply and demand. If global economies are growing strongly or if supply channels are jammed or restricted in any way, that arrow will be green, indicating higher prices. Conversely, in a global slowdown or a situation in which Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have their taps wide open, the arrow will be red, pointing toward lower prices.