Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Affirms Health Care Mandate; Stocks Erase Losses on European Rumors

Kiss the US constitution goodbye... or, rather, what's left of it.

When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court breaks ranks with his fellow conservative justices to affirm that all Americans must purchase health care insurance or be fined, siding with four liberal justices - who, by the way, should be stripped of their robes - in a matter of such great economic and political importance, then there's no hope left for the system left by our founding fathers.

Count Chief Justice John Roberts as just another Washington politician either bought and sold by special interests, playing presidential politics serving a master other than the people of the United States. Whatever the case, the law be damned with this horrendous decision, which accomplishes nothing other than to feed more fodder into the cannons of the upcoming political debate.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately went on the offensive, while the White House checked off a mark in the victory column. Choosing to evade the issue of whether the mandate violated the commerce clause, by calling the "penalty" a tax, the five affirming justices simply kicked the can down the road a pace, a maneuver that's well-learned in the halls of power these days.

Next, they'll be telling Americans to quit smoking or be fined, stop eating fatty foods or go to jail or by whatever "legal" means strip common citizens of even more rights while emptying their pockets of any available cash.

It's a sham, much like most of what comes out of Washington, DC, these days. The best solution, on an individual basis, is to ignore the law and resist any and all attempts to circumvent the constitution with passive opposition, or, failing that, take to the streets and fight (the author is dreaming).

After the initial shock and awe over the Supreme Court shocker, stocks continued to trend lower, as they had all day, until, with less than an hour left in the session, news from Europe that Angela Merkel had cancelled a conference call scheduled for tonight had stocks moving well off their lows, finishing with comfortable losses rather than worrisome ones.

The official story of the Dow erasing most of a 177-point decline is, of course, bunk. This was an orchestrated move to get stocks back into a more tenable range of trading as the second quarter comes to an end with Friday's closing bell and make today's closing numbers look more appealing to the herd of sheeple that populate the nation.

Not a thing is going to be resolved in Europe at the latest in a series of meaningless summits, so, for whatever reason, the HFT mechanisms which control 85% of the trading on Wall Street simply went into overdrive on a "risk-on" scenario late in the day.

The move, like most of what passes for economy and trading these days, was another pathetic example of why most individual investors have pulled their money out of stocks altogether and will remain on the sidelines until some semblance of balance and fair play is returned to the equity markets (more wishful thinking).

Meanwhile, commodities were lambasted, with oil down sharply, silver closing at its lowest level of 2012 and gold dropping close to its lower support.

For whatever it's worth, a growing number of Americans and professionals in the fields of finance and economics think the Wall Street casino is a complete and total farce.

Those embracing that line of reasoning are surely on to something.

Dow 12,602.26, -24.75 (0.20%)
NASDAQ 2,849.49, -25.83 (0.90%)
S&P 500 1,329.04, -2.81 (0.21%)
NYSE Composite 7,597.50, -0.55 (0.01%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,753,433,750
NYSE Volume 3,867,150,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2697-2879
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 122-99
WTI crude oil: 77.69, -2.62
Gold: 1,550.40, -28.00
Silver: 26.25, -0.70

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