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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Neutering Option for Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve

Thinking Big: Give the US Government a $60 Trillion Blank Check

Joe Firestone writing at New Economic Perspectives wants the MMT's (Modern Monetary Theorists) and their brethren to think bigger. He is thinking outside of the penny jar that is currently U.S. monetary policy.

He asks, why go for a measly $5 or $6 trillion using Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS). Why not create a massive $60 trillion purse for the US Government that will totally rewrite the rules of monetary policy in this country. This plan will neuter the Federal Reserve.

Anything that will take Ben Bernanke off his high and mighty throne will get one's attention. However, turning the power to create money over to Congress and the President sounds very scary. But, let's explore the idea.

First, some background, TJN reviewed the history of the Platinum Coin Seigniorage option, in a post last July entitled, "Debt Watch / Coin Trick: the Trillion Dollar Coin."

Ellen Brown first suggested the idea in her book back in 2007.

Ellen Brown:
WebofDebt.com: The Market Has Spoken: Austerity Is Bad for Business [Aug 7, 2011] --

Another alternative was suggested in my book Web of Debt in 2007: the government could simply mint some trillion dollar coins. Congress has the Constitutional power to “coin money,” and no limit is put on the value of the coins it creates, as was pointed out by a chairman of the House Coinage Subcommittee in the 1980s..
Joe Firestone writing yesterday updates the status of the Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) discussion and then goes into his expansive view of implementing it.

Joe Firestone / New Economic Perspectives:
New MSM Trillion Dollar Coin Wave: Here’s The Big Story --
The one thing that jumps out at you when reading the mainstream posts of the past week-and-a-half bringing Platinum Coin Seigniorage (PCS) into the forefront of attention again, for the first time since last year’s debt ceiling crisis, is that every mainstream blogger or commentator is telling a story about minting a Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC), or a few trillion dollar coins as an option the President can either use or not to get around the debt ceiling. But no one is telling us the much bigger story of the enormously increased authority to cause the creation of fiat money, delegated to the Executive Branch by the Congress in the 1996 legislation enabling PCS. And no one is telling us what the possible implications of this change are for our political and economic systems.

I’ve reviewed these posts, as well as a cable segment,  in the four earlier installments of this series. The installments, beginning with this one, are here. The posts and the cable segment are by: PethokoukisWiesenthal, Carney, Drum, Yglesias,  Yglesias, Harry BradfordBrad Plumer and Chris Hayes...

CS Creates a Great Crack in Gold Standard Constraints and Austerity Justifications
 
The big story about Platinum Coin Seigniorage is not the Trillion Dollar Coin and its possible implications for solving the debt ceiling crisis, as the mainstream has been telling us. Instead it is the great crack it creates in the wall of gold standard-based constraints still hanging over our politics and economics, and the increased fiscal and policy space this gives us to use to solve our various national problems. It is the authority the Executive Branch of Government now has to break through these constraints, and begin to unify the financial functions of government behind the public purpose...

The mainstream bloggers and commentators told the PCS story solely in terms of the theoretical availability of coins with face values in the low trillions and their potential impact on the debt ceiling conflict. But they never considered or examined a more aggressive use of PCS to change the US financial system substantially, by freeing the Treasury from its gold standard chains and the political system from fiscal policy alternatives focused first  and last on their fiscal impact on deficits, debts, and misplaced solvency fears, rather than on full employment, price stability, and other public purposes. They never considered a range of PCS options and their possible wide range of impacts on economics, politics, and the federal financial system, as well as on the debt ceiling conflict...

As I’ve said in another place, a $60 T solution would allow Treasury to harness the authority of the Fed to fill the TGA (the public purse), so that Treasury need never issue debt again for the next 15 – 20 years, ample time to reconsider the unwise and damaging decision made by Congress in gold standard days to make the Fed independent of the Executive Branch and unaccountable to the public. That solution would also make the debt ceiling issue a dead letter, to the point where that legislation could easily be repealed over the next few years, since no one would expect to use it again...
Joe says the plan will not be inflationary. That is the nub of the whole issue.
I’ll consider the inflation objection at length in my next post.

However it’s also already been considered and evaluated in past writings by myself, and also by Scott Fullwiler. The bottom line, however, is that debt repayment won’t be inflationary; and that deficit spending using seigniorage, also won’t be inflationary in itself.
A President would have to have Rooseveltian cojones to implement this platinum coin option. Does Obama? Let the discussion continue..
----
update:

Here is Joe Firestone's explanation on why using Platinum Coin Seigniorage to mint trillions of dollars to break the back of the Federal Reserve will not be inflationary:

New Economic Perspectives:
Platinum Coin Seigniorage, Issuing Debt, Keystroking Deficit Spending, and Inflation

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Otis

45 years ago - Otis Redding's final performance on ABC affiliate WEWS, December 9, 1967. The next day, he died in a plane crash. via AlyssaNewcomb

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stocking Suffer

Dear Santa:

Here is a good one for this year's X-Mas list, a nice little flat screen for the backyard.

The C'Seed 201 TV has a 201-inch (5.11m) 16:9 LED screen. It only costs around $650,000 (€500,000) and it was designed by Porsche Design Studio

The 201-inch screen folds up into seven sections that form a slim, black obelisk perched on top of a rotating plinth. This pillar lurks underground in a concrete silo, emerging at the press of a button and unfolding like a butterfly on the first day of spring. The C'Seed can rotate 270-degrees and it can also sense if is too windy and duck back into its underground burrow.

----



------

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why shouldn't I work for the NSA?


So what did I think?

I'm holdin' out for somethin' better.

... why not just shoot my buddy, take his job , give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard?

I could be elected President.
-----
  The mammoth Bluffdale, Utah NSA center

James Bamford  / Wired:
The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)  -- The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.” ...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rapping Bernanke

Our god of money needs all the love he can get.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Rumble in the Air Conditioned Auditorium

The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium

Bill O'Reilly. Jon Stewart. 2 podiums. 1 Air-Conditioned Auditorium. In "O'Reilly v Stewart 2012: The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium," O'Reilly and Stewart took an entertaining and comedic approach to today's pressing political issues in an attempt to find the best direction for America. The debate was recorded live at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University on Saturday, October 6th.

-----


related:
The Daily Show:
The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium Debate Prep  -- Stephen Colbert assumes the role of a larger-than-life conservative pundit and trains Jon for "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Jungle" with Bill O'Reilly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New iPhone 5 the Same as the Old iPhone?

Jimmy Kimmel compares iPhones:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dust Bowl Children

The 2012 North American Drought brings back memories of the great Dust Bowl of the 1930's.

2012 North American Drought

Here Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss and Union Station sings Dust Bowl Children.


Dust Bowl Children – by Peter Rowan
My father’s name was Hannibal, Mama was Hanna-Mariah.
Everything we owned got all burned up in the great depression fire
Strip mines and one crop farming drained the green earth dry.
We lost it all till only love was left, and that was one thing money can’t buy.

We are all Dust Bowl Children
Singin’ the dust bowl song
And the crops won’t grow,
And the dust just blows

And the green fields are gone.
And the green grass growing fields are gone.

When the green fields are gone.
When the green grass growing fields are gone.

They said in California, there was work of every kind.
Well the only job that I ever got out there was waitin' on a welfare line.
Once I had a dollar, once I had a dream.
Now all the work is being done by a big ole machine.

We are all Dust Bowl Children
Singin’ the dust bowl song
And the crops won’t grow,
And the dust just blows

When the green fields are gone.
And the green grass growing fields are gone.

Let the green fields grow strong.
There’s a bluegrass revival going on.
Let the green fields grow strong,
There’s a grassroots revolution going on.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Man of Constant Sorrow


Dan Tyminski and Ron Block sing "Man of Constant Sorrow," at the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival. The song was featured in the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In the movie George Clooney lip-syncs to Dan Tyminski.

I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow -- by Dick Burnett
In constant sorrow all through his days.

I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days
I bid farewell to ol' Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised.

The place where he was born and raised

For six long years I've been in trouble,
no pleasure here on earth I've found
For in this world, I'm bound to ramble,
I have no friends to help me now.

He has no friends to help him now

It's fair thee well, my old true lover,
I never expect to see you again.
For I'm bound to ride that Northern Railroad,
perhaps I'll die upon this train.

Perhaps he'll die upon this train

You can bury me in some deep valley,
For many years where I may lay.
And you may learn to love another
while I am sleeping in my grave.

While he is sleeping in his grave

Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you never will see no more
But there is one promise that is given,
I'll meet you on Gods golden shore.

He'll meet you on God's golden shore.

Bigfoot Is Moving East

Bigfoot in the Ohio woods in 2012:


relevant comments:
Carrying a stick...wow! Intriguing!

What I find amazing is the reaction of the person riding the bike. It's a clear indication he/she was really startled because they basically crashed into the bushes. Why would you react like that if it's a fake?

Bigfoot walking through woods in the State of Washington in 2011:


the person recording the video:
While hiking, we accidentally caught an image of bigfoot walking through the woods. I didn't even notice until I got home and saw it on the computer! This scarred the crap out of us!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Auditing the Federal Reserve

Will Ron Paul ever have his way and win Congressional approval to audit the Federal Reserve? The result would be interesting.

Ron Paul: Audit the Fed
-----
Bloomberg:
Bernanke’s Nightmare Audit Pushed for Romney’s Platform -- Paul, in an interview, warned that if Romney’s backers resist the effort, it could result in a politically distracting and messy fight in front of the national media. “It’s good economics and it’s good legislation, but it’s also good politics, because 80 percent of the American people agree with it,” Paul said. If Republican leaders “exclude it, I would think some of my supporters would be annoyed and feel strongly enough to take it to the floor under the rules.”
Romney Position Unclear

Romney’s position on the issue is murky. 

While he says he backs a Fed audit, he has not formally endorsed Paul’s legislation -- which mandates a Government Accountability Office audit of the Fed...
----
Washington Post:
‘Audit the Fed’ bill passes in the House with bipartisan support -- A bipartisan bill requiring broader operational audits of the U.S. Federal Reserve passed the House on Wednesday by a broad bipartisan margin.

The bill passed 327 to 98; all but one Republican and 89 Democrats voted yes. The bill will be considered under the suspension of normal House rules, meaning it required at least a two-thirds majority to pass.

The measure would permit government auditors to conduct deeper audits of the Fed’s monetary policy operations. Despite opposition from some Democrats and the Federal Reserve, the bill has at least 274 cosponsors, including more than three dozen Democrats facing difficult reelection campaigns...
----

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Social Networks, the Web and the Death of Personal Privacy

You are what you post online and the Internet creates a 'second self' for you. So be careful out there in social media land and don't create a monster.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Green Energy Myth

Billions of dollars in U.S. Government funding has been lost on lousy green energy investments. Here is a list of the many bad investments made by U.S. government bureaucrats.

Sterling Burnett / environmentblog.ncpa.org:
Green Energy’s Bankruptcy Blackout -- The Obama administration green energy boosterism is no secret. With big names like Solyndra and Solar Trust of America making headlines every other day, it’s hard to get away from the administrations funding failures. What may come as a surprise is the overall amount of money being thrown away on these green companies that the administration has championed.

Here’s the breakdown of how well green energy is actually doing:

Bankrupt Green Energy Companies that received substantial federal and/or state subsidies:

  • Solar Trust of America (parent company: Solar Millennium): Received $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011 – Bankrupt in April 2012
  • Babcock and Brown: Received $178 million in federal grants in December 2009 (4 months after it went bust) – Bankrupt in early 2009 
  • Solar Trust of America (parent company: Solar Millennium): Received $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011 – Bankrupt in April 2012
  • ... etc.
other Subsidized Green Energy Companies in decline:
  • First Solar: Received $3 billion in federal loan guarantees — Biggest S&P loser in 2011, CEO fired
  • Sun Power: Received $1.2 billion in federal loan guarantees — Debt exceeds assets; French oil company took over last fall
  • BrightSource Energy: $1.6 billion federal loan approved in April 2012 – loan obtained through political connections with the administration; absent the loan, Brightsource’s solar power purchase would have fallen through.
  • ... etc
------
discussion:
John Stossel's Take:
The Green Energy Myth -- ... Unlike private investors, bureaucrats aren't guided by profit and loss. Your tax money pays for daydreams, and for projects backed by the bureaucrats' friends.

Sadly, the loan guarantees will continue. Both parties support crony capitalism.

Welfare for the rich is good politics.

But it sure is bad for America.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mommy Ben Nourishing the Big Banks

Thanks to Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve policy of negative real interest rates and excess liquidity there is plenty of the easy money, "mother's milk," for speculation. Just ask, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of mega-bank JP Morgan.

----- 
Jamie Dimon happily dove into the big pool of easy money that the Federal Reserve has created and was looking to make a big splash, speculative profit. Unfortunately his bank hit a rock when its Chief Investment Officer (CIO) took the wrong gamble.


Don't worry Jamie, Mommy Bernanke and President Obama have got your back.

Yves Smith / naked capitalism:
Dimon Testimony Whopper: CIO's Gambling on Disaster = “Portfolio Hedging” --

Well, there’s nothing like seeing Jamie Dimon swinging for the fences. Dimon has taken his defense and turned it into an offense, in both senses of the word.

In Senate testimony, Dimon revealed his idea of “portfolio hedging” to be even more egregious than the harshest critics thought. Dimon presented the job of the CIO was to make modest amounts of money in good times and to make a lot of money when there’s a crisis...

We argued yesterday that Dimon was running a hedge fund in the CIO, and his testimony confirms that. As we wrote:
It’s likely that a significant portion of the CIO’s activities were an accounting gimmick. Let’s remember why it was located in Treasury: it is the chief “investment” office, because it is managing the “investment” portfolio. Banks hold liquidity buffers so that they can meet a bank run. They get special accounting treatment on these positions. While they can sell them at any time, like trading inventories, they are NOT marked to market. Instead, they are kept in an “available for sale” portfolio, which is treated on a hold to maturity basis. That, in really crude terms, means you don’t need to recognize losses until they look pretty certain (usually, credit related).

So what does that mean, in practical terms? It means the CIO is the perfect prop trading/income smoothing vehicle. You can realize gains whenever you want to, by selling (provided the position is in a reasonably liquid market) or possibly even moving it over into your trading portfolio and you can defer most losses. If it makes a turkey trade, it can bury it until the bank has other trading gains or income in other businesses to offset it. And it can keep profitable positions around and realize them as needed to smooth earnings (while the unrealized losses are reported in footnotes, most investors don’t seem to pay much attention to that item). Investors really like smooth earnings, they mistake them for stability and strength of the business, as opposed to adept profit management. No wonder the people in the CIO were so well paid. They’d have to be Dimon’s favorite people.
----
The Daily:
SEAL OF APPROVAL --  JP Morgan boss flashes presidential bling at Senate hearing


Jamie Dimon weathered protesters and questioning at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today about JPMorgan's $2 billion in trading losses — armed with cufflinks that appear to be inscribed with the presidential seal.

The CEO that President Obama deemed "one of America's smartest bankers we've got" after the trading loss debacle, flashed a not so subtle message to the lawmakers that the boss has his back.

In more than one picture, Dimon was seen with the seal cufflinks visible. The seal reads "Seal of the President of the United States" and includes the arrow-carrying eagle...


----- 
Thank you Jamie for reminding all of us who really runs this country.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NSA: Spying on Americans

The ACLU has created an interesting infographic that highlights the abuse of the public trust by the National Security Agency.

ACLU:
The NSA Intercepts 1.7 Billion US Electronic Communications Every Day

In November 2001, the National Security Agency began illegally intercepting Americans’ phone calls and emails without warrants or suspicion of wrongdoing. In 2008, Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), rubber-stamping this warrantless wiretapping program and giving the NSA power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications.

----
related: 

Wired:
Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA --
Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.

But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial spying on Americans...

discussion:
Business Insider:
The NSA's General Didn't Lie To Congress About Spying On Americans — They Hire It Out To The Israelis

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Demographic Winter: The Closing of the Muslim Womb

Demographics is destiny, and this century will be defined by the great demographic death spiral that is swirling across Europe, Asia, and the Muslim world.



David Goldman's book, How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too), highlights the grim future. This is a must read.
If demographic winter is encroaching slowly on the West, a snap frost has overtaken the Muslim world. Europe has had two hundred years to make the transition from the high fertility rates of rural life to the low fertility rates of the industrial world. Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, and Algeria are attempting it in twenty. The graying of the Muslim world in lapsed time, as it were, can have only tragic consequences.

The Muslim world is on the brink of the fastest population decline in recorded history. Academic demographers are stunned. "In most of the Islamic world it's amazing, the decline in fertility that has happened," Hania Zlotnik, head of the United Nations' population research branch, told a 2009 conference.

Think of a train wreck: the front car hits an obstacle, and the rear cars collapse accordion-style with the momentum. Driving the demographics of Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, and other Muslim countries is a "locomotive made up of people in their teens and twenties. They were born into families of six or seven children. But this "locomotive" has hit a demographic wall: these young people are having only one or two children. Today's "bulge generation of young Muslims, whose political humiliation and frustration over economic stagnation stoked the Arab rebellions of 2011, will be followed by a generation dramatically smaller than their own.

Today there are more Iranians in their mid-twenties than in any other age bracket. But they are not reproducing. An educated twenty-five-year-old Iranian women today probably grew up in a family of six or seven children, but will bear only one child. The consequences will be catastrophic...

Aging populations present a danger even to rich countries with well-funded public pension systems. For poor countries with a primitive social safety net or none at all, a graying society will be a disaster...

This is the great underreported story of our time. Population collapse across almost the entire industrial world is threatening to disrupt the world's economy and endangering political stability. Eastern Europe and especially Russia are already facing a demographic death spiral. As the working-age populations shrinks in most of the industrial world, elderly dependents will make up most of Europe and East Asia's population. (But only two-fifths of America's.)...

For all the concern about the future cost of pensions and health care as America's population ages, America will still have the people to shoulder the burden. In the rest of the world, there simply will not be enough workers to support the elderly. Demographic winter means fiscal ruin and social upheaval.
----- 

The great demographic winter has already hit Japan.

Bloomberg today reports: Elderly at Record... --
"sales of adult diapers in Japan exceeded those for babies for the first time last year."
----

Friday, April 20, 2012

U.S. Extractive Elites and Macro-Corruption

Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative sounds the alarm on an America that is being looted by high level thieves. Our parasitic governing elites, like the Federal Reserve, Congress, the Wall Street banksters, and the military industrial complex are engaged in wholesale macro-corruption in this country.

Ron Unz / The American Conservative:
China’s Rise, America’s Fall -- Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”? ...
Decay of Constitutional Democracy
The central theme of Why Nations Fail is that political institutions and the behavior of ruling elites largely determine the economic success or failure of countries. If most Americans have experienced virtually no economic gains for decades, perhaps we should cast our gaze at these factors in our own society...

Our Extractive Elites 
When parasitic elites govern a society along “extractive” lines, a central feature is the massive upward flow of extracted wealth, regardless of any contrary laws or regulations. Certainly America has experienced an enormous growth of officially tolerated corruption as our political system has increasingly consolidated into a one-party state controlled by a unified media-plutocracy...

How corrupt is the American society fashioned by our current ruling elites? ...

Unlike the situation in many Third World countries, American teachers and tax inspectors very rarely solicit bribes, and there is little overlap in personnel between our local police and the criminals whom they pursue. Most ordinary Americans are generally honest. So by these basic measures of day-to-day corruption, America is quite clean, not too different from Germany or Japan...

However, although American micro-corruption is rare, we seem to suffer from appalling levels of macro-corruption, situations in which our various ruling elites squander or misappropriate tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth, sometimes doing so just barely on one side of technical legality and sometimes on the other.

Sweden is among the cleanest societies in Europe, while Sicily is perhaps the most corrupt. But suppose a large clan of ruthless Sicilian Mafiosi moved to Sweden and somehow managed to gain control of its government. On a day-to-day basis, little would change, with Swedish traffic policemen and building inspectors performing their duties with the same sort of incorruptible efficiency as before, and I suspect that Sweden’s Transparency International rankings would scarcely decline. But meanwhile, a large fraction of Sweden’s accumulated national wealth might gradually be stolen and transferred to secret Cayman Islands bank accounts, or invested in Latin American drug cartels, and eventually the entire plundered economy would collapse.

Ordinary Americans who work hard and seek to earn an honest living for themselves and their families appear to be suffering the ill effects of exactly this same sort of elite-driven economic pillage. The roots of our national decline will be found at the very top of our society, among the One Percent, or more likely the 0.1 percent...
-----
related: 
Ron Unz / The American Conservative:
Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison --
In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life remains cheap in China, a far poorer land of over a billion people, ruled by a ruthless Communist Party eager to bury its mistakes. But an examination of two of the greatest public-health scandals of the last few years casts serious doubt on this widespread belief...
-----
discussion:
Paul Craig Roberts / PaulCraigRoberts.org:
Unplugging Americans From The Matrix --
China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on their high horse.

However, China’s “authoritarian” government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s “elected democratic” government. Moreover, however incomplete on paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have. And it is not China that is running torture prisons all over the globe...

Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and view China’s government as unaccountable. However, Unz points out that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be unaccountable to both US and international law.

The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a “national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state masquerading as an accountable democracy...

Americans have lost control of the government, and governments that are not controlled by the people are not democracies. In America today, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and the entire social safety net are threatened by the vociferous desire for war profits by armament plutocrats and by financial institutions determined that ordinary citizens bear the cost of the banksters incompetence and fraud...
Asymptosis:
The American Conservative: “Extractive Elites” and “Macro-Corruption” --
I would highly recommend this piece to those seeking to understand and explicate the problems plaguing this country. “Extractive elites” and “macro-corruption” encapsulate it pretty perfectly. It’s also essential reading for those like me who can’t seem to look away from the decades-long train wreck of contorted, self-contradictory conservative “thinking.”
* Irresistible aside: I heard an NPR interview years back with a businessman from a South American country saying that his country is far more democratic than ours. In his country, anyone can bribe officials. In America, only the rich get to make bribes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Federal Reserve Mission: Robbing the Poor to Fatten the Rich

Ben Bernanke and his cabal of Federal Reserve Banksters are robbing the poor to fatten the rich. Call them the anti Robin Hood, and that is what Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of the world's largest bond fund, PIMCO, does in a speech given yesterday.

Bloomberg:
Fed May Have Aggravated Income Inequality, El-Erian Says --
The Federal Reserve and other central banks may have increased income inequality with policies that boosted prices of stocks and other assets without having a commensurate effect on the economy, said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co.

In a lecture prepared for delivery at the Fed Bank of St. Louis today, El-Erian said central banks may be nearing the limits of their ability to spur growth and suggested that the “collateral damage” their policies are having on the economy and financial markets may soon outweigh the benefits.

“The unusual activism of central banks may, at the margin, have worsened further wealth distribution,” said El-Erian, whose company is manager of the world’s largest bond fund. “To the extent that such policy activism succeeds in bolstering asset values, but not the real economy, the rich benefit disproportionately.”

President Barack Obama highlighted income inequality this week as he campaigned for higher taxes on top U.S. earners and criticized Republicans for opposing them. Tax fairness will be a central theme in the president’s re-election bid, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on April 9.

While the Fed and other major central banks did forestall a global depression, they have had less success in promoting a full-fledged recovery, El-Erian said...
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related:
Mohamed El-Erian / PIMCO:
Evolution, Impact and Limitations of Unusual Central Bank Policy Activism -- [full speech]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Federal Reserve Gorges on U.S. Debt

So the left hand of government, the Federal Reserve, buys most of the debt issued by the right hand of government, the Treasury. Why bother with this charade? Why doesn't the government just monetize the debt outright? Or just have the Treasury mint some of those trillion dollar platinum coins and buy up the debt with them.

This article by Lawrence Goodman is wrong. The Federal Reserve can keep buying up US debt for a very long time and there will always be demand for it.

Lawrence Goodman / Wall Street Journal:
Demand for U.S. Debt Is Not Limitless -- In 2011, the Fed purchased a stunning 61% of Treasury issuance. That can't last.
The conventional wisdom that nearly infinite demand exists for U.S. Treasury debt is flawed and especially dangerous at a time of record U.S. sovereign debt issuance.

The recently released Federal Reserve Flow of Funds report for all of 2011 reveals that Federal Reserve purchases of Treasury debt mask reduced demand for U.S. sovereign obligations. Last year the Fed purchased a stunning 61% of the total net Treasury issuance, up from negligible amounts prior to the 2008 financial crisis. This not only creates the false appearance of limitless demand for U.S. debt but also blunts any sense of urgency to reduce supersized budget deficits.

Still, the outdated notion of never-ending buyers for U.S. debt is perpetuated by many. For instance, in recent testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, former Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Alan Blinder said, "If you look at the markets, they're practically falling over themselves to lend money to the federal government." Sadly, that's no longer accurate...

The Fed is in effect subsidizing U.S. government spending and borrowing via expansion of its balance sheet and massive purchases of Treasury bonds. This keeps Treasury interest rates abnormally low, camouflaging the true size of the budget deficit. Similarly, the Fed is providing preferential credit to the U.S. government and covering a rapidly widening gap between Treasury's need to borrow and a more limited willingness among market participants to supply Treasury with credit...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ben Bernanke: The Smiling Monetary God-Hero

The Monetary God-Hero for Wall Street and the Bankers gets some more love from the Atlantic.


Some discussion of the Bernanke, the Monetary God-Hero:

naked capitalism:
Roger Lowenstein’s Disgraceful Propagandizing via “Bernanke as Hero” Piece -- 
As Winston Churchill pointed out, history is written by the victors. The big end of finance, having won decisively in the global financial crisis, is in the process of rewriting history to suit its liking. The cover story in the current Atlantic by Roger Lowenstein on Ben Bernanke, titled simply, “The Hero,” is a classic example of this type of revisionist history...

The Fed couldn’t have gotten better PR if it had paid for it. Lowenstein’s account has just enough muted criticism of Bernanke (he was slow to see the severity of the crisis, his critics on the left may have a point in saying he hasn’t been aggressive enough in trying to reflate the economy) to mask its hagiography.

And this sort of spin-meistering is effective. Not only did people at the Atlantic economy conference, which coincided with the release of the piece, take up the “Bernanke did a great job in the crisis” mantra (they seemed to appreciate a piece that reinforced inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom) but the cover, with a beatific picture of Bernanke and “THE HERO” blazed across his chest, will be seen by lots of people walking by newsstands and have an impact well beyond those who read the piece. As further proof of its faux-objectivity, the title inside the magazine is “The Villain,” to highlight the way (as Lowenstein positions the piece) Bernanke is being unfairly pilloried.

I’ll turn to the major arguments shortly, but one of the things that was particularly annoying was the way it repeatedly gilded a rotting cabbage. These are devices that most readers would miss, by virtue of not reading carefully enough to recognize their construction, or not knowing the terrain well enough to discern how Lowenstein skews his account...
Mish's Global Economic Analysis:
Ben Bernanke: Inflationist Jackass, Devoid of Common Sense, and Clueless About Trade, Debt, History, and Gold
the jackasses at the Fed (and the bubbles they have blown) have without a doubt proven they sure do not know what it is.

As Russia (and numerous other countries) have proven throughout history, the very idea that a bunch of central planners sitting in a room can decide on the proper supply of virtually anything is inane. Only free markets, operating without artificial interference from clueless bureaucrats can do that.
Biiwii TA:
The Hero --
people who care enough to see through the headlines know that he is systematically employing more of what already brought the system to this sorry state. They hate him because he and his ego are reworking the Treasury market to paint a desired picture that all is well and good. They hate him because being astute enough to extrapolate forward, they know that what he is doing paints things a certain way in the short term (for short term benefits to some) while hard wiring in future damage that would continue the progression - measured over years in the era of Inflation onDemand - of ever rising moral hazards.

I don't hate him, because that emotion is counter productive when it comes to managing this mess. He is just the self-satisfied face of those entities that would seek to destroy me (and my big picture investment stance) if I were to allow that to happen.

Look at him... look into those eyes... look at the powerful monetary god casting his gaze upon you...
Monty Pelerins World:
Bernanke is A Goat Not A Hero --
The Atlantic magazine cover of April 2012 features Mr. Ben Bernanke as savior and hero. This is silly even by the media’s standards.

Perhaps the Atlantic has suddenly become a humor magazine or perhaps they are revealing their ignorance of all things economic...

This Atlantic cover is so outrageous that it is likely to be just such a marker. It is likely to be viewed as the watershed of media folly and ignorance that preceded the coming massive economic disruption. This particular cover may be viewed as the signal for the end for the following:
  1. Ben Bernanke, his monetary policies and the Keynesian paradigm upon which they were based.
  2. The deathblow to what remains of the mainstream media’s credibility...
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Antenna People: Hotspots by Homeless

Don't believe the naysayers, America is still the land of opportunity. You too can start on the ground floor, er... in the antenna farm, of the cellular business.

“Everyone thinks I’m getting the rough end of the stick, but I don’t feel that,” Clarence Jones said. “I love talking to people and it’s a job. An honest day of work and pay.”

NY Times:
Use of Homeless as Internet Hot Spots Backfires on Marketer --
Which product at this year’s South by Southwest technology conference received more attention than perhaps any other?

Homeless people as wireless transmitters.

A marketing agency touched off a wave of criticism and debate when it hired members of the local homeless population to walk around carrying mobile Wi-Fi devices, offering conferencegoers Internet access in exchange for donations...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Read It and Weep

And people ask why newspapers are going out of business.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thousands of Shark Fins Laying on a Hong Kong Street

This video makes a compelling case for banning shark fishing. There are not enough sharks in the ocean to feed hundreds of millions of Chinese, who consider shark fin soup a delicacy.

Gary Stokes: Thousands of sharks fins are laid out across the sidewalk in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong for airing and sorting. This is a rough/raw edit due to time. Would have rather added a proper voice over, but it is what it is........bloody disgraceful!



TreeHugger:
The demand for shark fins, meat, liver oil, and other products has driven some populations of these animals to the brink of extinction. Up to 73 million sharks are killed annually to support the global trade in their fins." Clearly something has to be done!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Geithner’s Fed Told AIG to Limit Disclosure

Will there be a full investigation of this deception that was reportedly pulled off by Tim Geithner and the NY Fed? Yes, the banks do run the government for their own benefit.


----
Bloomberg:
Geithner’s Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure --
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis, e-mails between the company and its regulator show.

AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that the insurer paid banks, which included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA, 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the firm. The New York Fed crossed out the reference, according to the e-mails, and AIG excluded the language when the filing was made public on Dec. 24, 2008. The e-mails were obtained by Representative Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee...

“It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information,” said Issa, a California Republican. Taxpayers “deserve full and complete disclosure under our nation’s securities laws, not the withholding of politically inconvenient information.” ...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Obama Sings "Nobody Loves You When You're Down & Out"

Appearing before a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama gives a remarkable performance of the classic blues song "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out".



via Slope of Hope

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Daredevil Jeb Corliss and Mountain Mayhem


Jeb Corliss, the daredevil BASE jumper with the flying wingsuit, crashed into Table Mountain in South Africa on January 16, 2012. He recently posted a video showing his jump and the crash. It shows how Corliss just clipped a portion of the mountain while gliding at 120 milers per hour. He had seconds to deploy his reserve parachute, which saved his life. However, Corliss suffered multiple leg fractures and spent five weeks in a South African hospital.

Corliss said that he will keep jumping.

“The only reason I’m getting better is so that I can jump again,” he said.  “That’s what I do.  There’s absolutely nothing in this world that’s going to stop me from jumping.”

At the end of his video Corliss included a special thanks:
To the hikers that gave me water,
To the rescue team that gave me life,
To the hospital and staff that put me
me back together, THANK YOU...


-----
Here is another video of the South African accident shot from the jumping point and when Corliss was airlifted. It shows Corliss in the black suit, and fellow cameraman flyer Jeff Nebelkopf flying above him in the blue suit.


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Finally, here is the video of one of Jeb's most thrilling jumps, when he flew through a hole in Tianmen mountain, Hunan Province, China.

The famous Tianmen Hole in the limestone peak is about 360 feet tall, 96 feet wide, and 260 feet deep. He made this jump in September 2011.


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Art of the Federal Reserve Con Job

The Federal Reserve is playing you. The American public is being conned by Ben Bernanke and his bankster pals at the Federal Reserve. When it's all over the American public will find out they were fooled and fleeced by a corrupt central bank that works for the big banks and Wall Street, not for them.

Charles Smith / Of Two Minds:
The Grand Game of Perception Management --

The economy will expand if you believe it is expanding--because you'll be "animal spirited" into buying a lot of stuff on credit that you can't afford.

It all boils down to perception--that's the insight at the heart of the Grand Game of Perception Management. Economists speak of magical "animal spirits" that fuel economic expansion, but this is simply a colorful term for perception management: when people perceive others reaping outsized gains in profits or pleasure from taking risky bets and freely spending borrowed money, then they will feel an overpowering urge to follow the herd and leverage their capital (if any) and disposable income (if any) into risky bets and zealous over-consumption, i.e. "animal spirits." ...

In other words, believing it is so will make it so. That is the essence of the campaign to stimulate "animal spirits" confidence: though the economy is actually tanking, if they can only convince us the Dow is moving to 15,000 and then on to 20,000, jobs are being created left and right and things are looking up everywhere, then the resulting piranha-like shopping-feeding-frenzy will create the expansion that is currently chimerical.

This "feel-good" promotion of "growth" is also designed to persuade the millions of holdouts earning nothing on their IRA funds to drop all that cash back into the stock market, which is "breaking out to new highs." (Isn't that what they said in January 2000?)

And just in case this propaganda campaign fails to do the trick, the Federal Reserve has destroyed the return on savings and cash, all in the hope that the decimated, income-starved herd will turn from rationally avoiding risk to irrationally embracing it out of sheer desperation.

"Perception management" can be usefully shortened to a one-syllable word: "con." The confidence-man's most basic tool is to create the surface sheen of success with minimal investment of time and capital...

This exactly describes the strategy being pursued by Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, the financial media, and America's scabrous political class.
----
discussion:

Tao Jonesing: Misframing the Frame --
The cornerstone of perception management is the false certainty of superiority, in particular the false certainty of superiority of one's political economy...
Tao Jonesing: Layers of Truth

Free Republic: ...Perception Management

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sketchy Andy

Super Bowl halftime performer Sketchy Andy in all his death defying glory.



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TMZ:
Super Bowl Tightrope Guy Don't Worry, My Nads Are Fine! --
TMZ spoke with Andy Lewis ... the slackline trickster who repeatedly bounced HARD on his crotch during his show-stealing routine -- and he tells us he totally understands why people would be concerned for his man parts...

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ben Bernanke Versus Your Retirement


Last week Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low for years into the future. The Fed's zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) is designed to feed the profits of Wall Street banks and corporations at the expense of savers and retirees.

Interest income is at the lowest level in 43 years. Bernanke has declared war on retirees by trying to force them to invest in riskier assets like stocks or commodities.

Cramming Fed central planning down the throat of the American public will fail exactly like Soviet Union style central planning eventually failed in the 1980's. But in the end the American public will pay a dear price for following Bernanke economics.

related:
The Mess That Greenspan Made:
Will Ben Bernanke’s War On Savers Kick Off The Long Awaited U.S. Gold Boom? -- 
The Federal Reserve sparked a huge rally in precious metals markets on Wednesday when it forecast super-low interest rates for the next three years and hinted at more money printing to come; the gold price surged more than $50 an ounce within about an hour and silver jumping almost $2 an ounce...
Daily Reckoning:
How Ben Bernanke Rationalizes “Exceptionally Low” Interest Rates -- 
So Mr. Bernanke is fiddling the levers again, promising to keep rates lower than a sea snake’s belly until 2014. He might have just taken out an ad in the front page of the paper:

“Fed to Savers: Go to Hell!” ...

Bernanke’s commitment to holding interest rates “exceptionally low” for an “extended period,” reeks of exactly the kind of insanity required to double down on a bad bet, of repeating the same experiment and expecting a different result...
Bloomberg:
Dollar Tumbles on Fed’s Interest Rate Pledge --
The dollar fell against all its most-traded counterparts after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low for at least three years, spurring investors to seek higher-yielding assets...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Flying People Spotted over New York City



TechCrunch:
Flying People Spotted Over New York City…Film At Nine -- 
In a recent publicity venture for their new movie “Chronicle”, 20th Century Fox enlisted the help of viral marketing agency Thinkmodo to design and execute a rather unique campaign element that surely caused several doubletakes over the New York City skyline.

If you thought you saw some flying humans in the sky over parts of New York City and New Jersey in the last couple of weeks you are, in fact, not crazy. You were merely exposed to a new kind of avant garde marketing technique brought to you by the same folks that unleashed the iPad Head Girl a few months back....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vaporizing $1.2 Billion in Customer Accounts

There was a shady dude named Corzine,
Who took customer money and put a minus sign,
The Feds were baffled by the caper,
They said the money had turned to vapor,
Sorry poor folk you were screwed by design.
----
The Wall Street Journal reports the shocking story that after three months of investigation federal officials have come to the conclusion that $1.2 billion of customer money at MF Global was "vaporized" when the firm collapsed into bankruptcy on October 31, 2011.

The money was supposedly held in segregated and safeguarded accounts.

Wall Street Journal:
Money From MF Global Feared Gone --
Nearly three months after MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed, officials hunting for an estimated $1.2 billion in missing customer money increasingly believe that much of it might never be recovered, according to people familiar with the investigation.

As the sprawling probe that includes regulators, criminal and congressional investigators, and court-appointed trustees grinds on, the findings so far suggest that a "significant amount" of the money could have "vaporized" as a result of chaotic trading at MF Global during the week before the company's Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing, said a person close to the investigation...

Many officials now believe certain employees at MF Global dipped into the "customer segregated account" that the New York company was supposed to keep separate from its own assets—and then used the money to meet demands for more collateral or to unfreeze assets at banks and other counterparties as they grew more concerned about their financial exposure to MF Global.

Investigators also are examining other scenarios that have gained traction in recent weeks, such as the possibility that MF Global suffered steep losses on investments made using customer money. Officials investigating the case have looked into whether such investments were appropriate under rules at the time.

As money poured out of MF Global, much of it likely passed through J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and other banks where the securities firm had accounts, as well as trade-clearing partners such as Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. and LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.

Those companies have denied being knowingly in possession of any missing MF Global money, and any efforts to make them fill the hole would face daunting hurdles. And because the firms usually were middlemen between MF Global and other counterparties, the funds they touched were then scattered widely, complicating the search...
discussion:
Zero Hedge:
So one hand, nobody at MF Global was responsible because every member of lower, to middle to upper management was responsible (and certainly not Jon Corzine), secondly, not one regulator was responsible, because every regulator was equally oblivious of the grand theft occurring right under their noses. Finally nobody on the receiving end of this fund flow was responsible, as the money could have ratably gone to one of an infinite number of destinations. And here we were thinking that dilution is only applicable to what the central banks do to their currency. Little did we know that it is the de facto global modus operandi for the systemic fraud endemic in modern finance, whereby not one person is held accountable, as otherwise everyone would be held accountable.

Brilliant...
Zero Hedge:
MF Global Customer Funds Were Not "Vaporized" - Stanley Haar Takes WSJ to Task --
As a individual trader and CTA whose accounts are owed several million dollars by MFGI, I would like to express my shock and disappointment with [yesterday's] front page article; I expected better from the WSJ. Your article gives the appearance of having been ghost written by Andrew Levander and/or the JP Morgan legal department. Among the key errors/omissions:

Client money in segregated bank accounts was not "vaporized"; it was stolen via illegal transfers to support MF's proprietary trading positions and to repay creditors such as JP Morgan. Those transfers are and always were illegal…….even "under rules at the time". Your use of that irrelevant and misleading phrase twice only serves to deflect attention from the criminal acts committed by Corzine, et al....
Jesse's Cafe Americain:
MF Global: A Despicable State of Affairs --
And as we have heard, quite a bit of that money was also diverted in the last few days into the pockets of MF Global's bank, JP Morgan, which still reportedly holds much of it. Now whether they are legally entitled to keep that money is another matter. But this entire charade has been cloaked with a public relations campaign using terms like 'missing,' 'vaporized,' and 'mystery' to describe the customer assets as if no one really knows where the funds had gone, which the CFTC has explicity stated months ago is not the case. And that the handling of the bankruptcy and the method of ordering customers with creditors is in violation of the rule 190 and precedents which established it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Familiar Rhetoric

If you say that we've heard it all before, you would be right. Because it sounds like President Obama gives the same State of the Union speech every year.

The Gingrich Who Stole South Carolina


Jon Stewart of The Daily Show mocks the moral hijinks of Newt "The Gingrich Who Stole South Carolina."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Burning Money with Warren Buffett

"When you see me reach for the check, you'll know I'm posing." — Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett wants to get into a money burning contest with the Republicans in Congress. You would think that the 2nd richest man in the United States, with a net worth of $39 billion would know something about taxes. He probably does, but he also apparently wants to do some posing while he dares Republicans to donate taxes or burn money with him.

Taxes as we have learned from Modern Monetary Theory (or MMT) are not needed to fund the government. In fact, if you walked into the IRS office and paid you income tax bill in cash they would shred your money in the back room soon after giving you a receipt and crediting your account for the payment.

At first, this is a hard idea to get your brain around. Who for God's sake destroys money? But, the the IRS does not need to send money to the government. The government merely prints new money or more likely just credits accounts when it needs money. The US government does not need the IRS to fund its operations. These are two mutually exclusive operations: creating money and destroying money via taxes.

But, what about the $15 billion dollar federal deficient you ask? Go read up about MMT if you want the answer to that one.

Anyway, the point here is that donating money to the government is a fool's errand. Get it through your head that Uncle Sam does not need your money. The U.S. government taxes mainly to control demand for goods and services and manage the money supply.

So all the people who donate their hard earned money to pay down the Federal deficit are just making work for someone, who has to destroy that money. Of course, if you donate gold Uncle Sam will find a way to keep that.

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Rana Foroohar / Swampland:
Warren Buffett Ready to Take Republicans' Tax Challenge  — Warren Buffett is ready to call Republicans' tax bluff. Last fall, Senator Mitch McConnell said that if Buffett were feeling “guilty” about paying too little in taxes, he should “send in a check.” The jab was in response to Buffett’s August 2011 New York Times op-ed, which made hay of the fact that our tax system is so unbalanced, Buffett (worth about $45 billion) pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Senator John Thune promptly introduced the “Buffett Rule Act,” an option on tax forms that would allow the rich to donate more in taxes to help pay down the national debt. It was, as Buffett told me for this week’s TIME cover story, “a tax policy only a Republican could come up with.” ...
discussion:

Kid Dynamite:
Warren Buffett’s Bizarre Non-Sequitur Challenge to Republicans -- I thought about it for 5 seconds and realized that Buffett is off on a total non-sequitur here...

See, the Republicans’ point is that they don’t think that the rich should have to bear the brunt of the tax burden more than they already do (look: you can agree or disagree with this philosophy, but I think it’s clear that this IS the Republican philosophy. I have no interest in arguing here whether or not it is the correct policy). In other words, the entire Republican point is “WE don’t want to pay any more in taxes, if you think you aren’t taxed enough, then YOU are free to pay more in taxes.“ Thus, calling out Mitch McConnell like this, while sure to grab headlines, and result in high fives and “OH NO YOU DI’INTS” amongst liberals, makes no sense...

Bruce McQuain / Questions and Observations:
Buffett: bluffs and buffoonery  — What “bluff”? I don’t recall any of the Republicans in question complaining they paid too little in taxes, do you?

Instead it was about Buffet claiming he paid to little in taxes and his further claim that he was willing to pay more. What Republicans then promptly suggested is that he do so and even provided him an address to where he could send his voluntary contribution. They also insisted that taxes were high enough for all and that Buffett should speak for himself.

Now, at least as I see it, he’s trying to wiggle out of it by citing some sort of non-existent bluff which requires payment by Republicans before he is willing to pay.

Man up Warren Buffet … You made the claim and were provided with a solution. This has nothing to do with others paying as well, this is your baby.

Put up or shut up about paying more in taxes. You’ve become more than tiresome.
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Daniel Strauss / The Hill:
Warren Buffett: I'll match any Republican donation to pay down the federal debt  — Business mogul Warren Buffet is promising to match any donation Republican members make toward cutting the national deficit.

And he upped the ante when it came to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying he would match the leader's donations three-to-one.

His pledge comes after McConnell said that if Buffett is feeling guilty about not paying more in taxes, he should just send in a check...
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Dear Mr. Buffett,...

You know what the Good Book has to say about charity, right? We can turn to Matthew 6:1

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
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Ryan Mac / Forbes: Warren Buffett Throws Down Gauntlet To McConnell, GOP; Challenges Them To Donate

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