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Tuesday, March 04, 2014 – Everybody Clap Your Hands

Everybody Clap Your Hands by Sinclair Noe DOW + 227 = 16,395SPX + 28 = 1873NAS + 74 = 435110 YR YLD + .08 = 2.69%OIL – 1.57 = 103.35GOLD – 15.90 = 1335.40SILV – .27 = 21.24 Ukraine has not exploded. The situation has not escalated, nor has it de-escalated. Apparently Russia and the West have both figured out that conflict has the potential for mutually assured destruction, not along the lines of the old nuclear Cold War, but potentially painful for both sides; and so today, everything is on hold. Vlad Putin said he sees no immediate need to invade Ukraine; the Obama administration is trying to put together $1 billion in loan guarantees. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev and there is still talk of sanctions if things don’t de-escalate. Putin says sanctions would be cause for retaliation. The Ukrainian military has shown remarkable restraint, adopting a Gandhi-like non-violence stance in the face of overwhelming firepower. And for the moment, there is a standoff but not a truce. That could change tomorrow. A story in Politico today says the Russians no longer respect or fear Western leaders. Why? “Russia thinks the West is no longer a crusading alliance. Russia thinks the West is now all about the money.” Quite so. More specifically, “Putin’s henchmen know this personally. Russia’s rulers have been buying up Europe for years. They have mansions and luxury flats from London’s West End to France’s Cote d’Azure. Their children are safe at British …

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – The Year in Financial Review

The Year in Financial Review by Sinclair Noe They say you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re coming from, so today on the Review, we’ll review some of the financial milestones of 2013. You may recall that 12 months ago, we were headed over the fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff really started in 2001 with the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, also known as the Bush tax cuts; after various extensions, they were set to expire at the end of 2012. And they did. In the end, Congress did not approve an extension of most of the tax cuts until late on New Year’s Day. Because all the Bush tax cuts had technically expired, Republicans could say they had not violated their No New Taxes pledge. The marginal rate on incomes over $400k increased, plus cap gains, and qualified dividends for high-income taxpayers, plus some estate tax changes, and the holiday on the payroll tax ended; just to be sure everybody felt some pain. President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on January 2. The ATRA is usually described as a tax increase although technically it might be a tax cut. The confusion arises because there were so many expiring provisions at the end of 2012.  ATRA could be described as either a $618 billion tax increase, relative to maintenance of all of the provisions that had been in place – that is, relative to so-called “current policy”; or a $4 …

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Monday, August 26, 2013 – And the Answer Is

And the Answer Is by Sinclair Noe DOW – 64 = 14,946SPX – 6 = 1656NAS – 0.22 = 365710 YR YLD – .02 = 2.78%OIL + .29 = 106.21GOLD + 7.20 = 1406.00SILV + .25 = 24.43 President Obama awarded Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House today. Carter is now the fifth living recipient of the decoration for heroic actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor was awarded for Carter’s distinguished service on October 3, 2009 at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. More than 300 Afghan insurgents launched an attack against the remote, mountainous outpost; of the 53 fellow 4th Infantry Division soldiers who defended the outpost that day, eight were killed and 25 others injured. They were outnumbered six to one; the fact that anyone survived is a testament to the heroism of the day. In another part of the compound, former Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha, battled against incredible odds. Romesha was the second survivor of that battle to receive the Medal of Honor. Carter risked his own life to resupply his fellow soldiers and to rescue a battle buddy; Carter was wounded but continued to fight; all this while under heavy and constant fire that lasted more than six hours. It is hard to imagine the hell those soldiers endured that day. The wounded soldier that Carter rescued, Specialist Stephan Mace, would later die. Carter blamed himself. For Carter, the …

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