Archive for the ‘history’ Category
Things look eerily similar to 1936: From devaluations lifting stocks to inflationary side-effects of money flow and from short-covering, money-on-the-sidelines, Jobs, Europe, low-volume ramps…
While chart analogs provide optically pleasing (and often far too shockingly correct) indications of the human herd tendencies towards fear and greed, a glance through the headlines and reporting of prior periods can provide just as much of a concerning ‘analog’ as any chart. In this case, while a picture can paint a thousand words; a thousand words may also paint the biggest picture of all. It seems, socially and empirically, it is never different this time as these 1936 Wall Street Journal archives read only too well… from devaluations lifting stocks to inflationary side-effects of money flow and from short-covering, money-on-the-sidelines, Jobs, Europe, low-volume ramps, BTFD, and profit-taking, to brokers advising stocks for the long-run before a 40% decline.
Things look eerily similar eh?
But when we look at the headlines in the Wall Street Journal from mid 1936 to mid 1937 as the market topped out (orange oval), dipped, was bought back, then collapsed 40% in 3 months, nothing ever changes…
Government Bailouts Repaid – Bullish Implications…
N.Y. Central Has Repaid All Government Loans
The Wall Street Journal, 978 words
Dec 1, 1936
WASHINGTON Numerous railroad developments here yesterday were climaxed by the announcement of RFC Chairman Jesse H. Jones that New York Central had repaid all of its government loans, totaling $16,858,950, most of which was not due until 1941.
For a wonderful comparison of this Fiscal Cliff with the one in 1937 see Steve Keen’s presentation before congress in Dec of 2012:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A record number of U.S. counties – more than 1 in 3 – are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.
New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.
Despite the plethora of propagandist panderings, the reality of the Business Roundtable (BRT – an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies) findings are far less enthralling than the headlines might suggest. In fact, despite the protestation that their economic outlook ticked up – which as the chart below shows so evidently – is merely a reversion to the lows of 2011; the sad ‘fact’ is that expectations for higher Sales, CapEx, and Employment are as bad as they have been since early 2010. CapEx, the much-vaunted miracle driver of revenues this year, is below Q4 2009 levels of expectation. Even the BRT itself offers up the words ‘moderate’ when describing the changes and yet the mainstream media pounce on an uptick like cardinals to the new Pope. It appears that we will have to wait another quarter to see what the CEOs of the nations largest companies are really doing as their stocks soar to record highs.
The BRT CEO Economic Outlook in context… back at the lows of the pre-crisis and post-crisis 2010 lows – and as is very clear, the hope in the blue lines continues to be dragged back to reality of the economy (green line)…
If anyone is confused why European stocks just hit their highest levels in nearly 5 years (if not all time highs – there America with its 48 million foodstamp recipients has it beat), the chart below should provide some lack of color. According to Eurostat, in Q4 the number of persons employed in Europe compared to Q4 declined by 0.3% in the Euroarea, and 0.2% in the Eu27. The decline was -0.8% and -0.4% for the EA17 and EU27 compared to a year ago. Of course, if the Fed and ECB keeps pushing stocks higher, monetary illogic dictates that eventually this number will rise because somehow having more diluted claims on money floating around is good for jobs. Just not yet.
Ever since Italian elections yielded inconclusive results a few weeks ago, everyone has been wondering what happens next and how markets will digest the process.
Center-left candidate for prime minister Pier Luigi Bersani was expected to come out on top. While he managed to do that, center-right rival Silvio Berlusconi and anti-establishment candidate Beppe Grillo took a bigger share of the vote than anyone expected. Now, Bersani has to form a coalition with one or the other in order to form a government, and both routes could be problematic. (For more on that, click here.)
That means Italy could be headed straight back to elections, introducing further uncertainties that could result in unfriendly scenarios for markets.
Luca Jellinek, head of European Rates Strategy at French investment bank Crédit Agricole, suggests that the worst case scenario going forward is also most likely.
Someone is obviously not complying with the central-planner script and rotating fast enough into equities.
In February, total NYSE matched volume (defined as the number of shares of equity securities and exchange-traded products executed on the NYSE Group’s exchanges), dropped 13.6% from a year ago, 9.4% from January, and at 20.5 billion shares in the 19 trading days of February, represents a fresh decade low for the exchange (source).
For some odd reason every 13th year since the 1974 stock market low, a historical event/year has taken place….13 years later.
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
Is the number “13″ Lucky/important to the stock market?
For some odd reason every 13th year since the 1974 stock market low, a historical event/year has taken place….13 years later.
1974….Stock Market low
1987… Stock Market Crash
2000…Tech Bubble Peak
2013…Another important historical year at hand?
At first I thought this was just another one of ‘those videos’….you know, another one about the Federal Reserve, Jekyll Island, evil Joos, etc. Uh…no. This video examines history MUCH further back and when it comes to history, specifically American history, I’m no slouch. This film taught me things of which I had NO IDEA. It’s hard to stun me with anything regarding the depths of economic and government corruption these days, but this one shocked me.
I cannot say that 100% of this film is accurate, but I can say that the first thing I was impressed by was that right out of the gate, it gets it right about the debt vs. production (they run in opposite directions) and its presentation of the QUANTITY or VOLUME of money in the monetary system being the key to control of governments. It was also impressive that they got the Thomas Jefferson quote RIGHT! (The one that is widely circulated alleging that TJ made a quote talking about inflation and deflation is bogus.) I also spent a bunch of time fact checking some of the other points in history with regard to certain people mentioned. The facts presented about the random people I chose, DID verify, despite picking some I thought were going to be blown out of the water.
Bottom line: This film is worth every minute of its hour and a half run time. If you THOUGHT you knew it all about how controlled we are, you still don’t know the half of it.
Discussion (registration required to post)
The Panic of 1920 started out as a contender for the greatest depression of all time, with a drop in prices and production during its first twelve months that dwarfed those of any other economic crash, and she piled on an unemployment rate that skyrocketed from invisible to 12% in a flash. Ignoring calls to do something, anything, to “help”, Washington, DC simply allowed the economy to adjust wherever it chose to go. In tandem, Federal Reserve officials looked upon the rapid deflation in prices not with horror but with a declaration of its necessity. Yet, despite the lack of government intervention and monetary “pump-priming”, the economy corrected itself within two years. As a modern day American, I can hardly imagine.
Prior to the denouement, the Fed money spigot had been on full blast for seven years; an index of wholesale prices had surged from a base of 100 in 1913 to 226 in early 1920. One economist from the time noted a concurrent “outbreak of speculation in business and stock market circles that for recklessness has had few parallels”.
The storm broke in May of 1920 and arrived as these things usually do – almost everyone at the opera was caught napping when the lights suddenly came on. Bank failures, which numbered 63 in 1919, spiked to 506 by 1921. By June of the latter year, the money supply had dropped 9%, GNP 17%, and the index of wholesale prices collapsed from 247 in May of 1920 to 141 by July of 1921. To this day, the index has yet to show a more precipitous drop in such a short time.
Across America, the suffering began.
The prevailing opinion on the proper response was summed up in Warren G. Harding’s speech as he accepted the 1920 Republican presidential nomination. He pledged an “intelligent and courageous deflation, and (to) strike at the government borrowing which enlarges the evil”. He was a man of his word. Between 1920 and 1922, the federal budget fell by almost one half, tax receipts by 38%, and outstanding debt by 5%. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials made no attempt to maintain prices at any level.
With prices allowed to adjust, the recovery was already underway by August of 1921. Between then and 1923 manufacturing production in the US rose 48% while unemployment declined to 2.4%. The depression of 1920 was notable not only for its quick turnaround but also for its absence of political and monetary intervention. In many ways it was to be the curtain call for American laissez faire; to read of 1920 today sounds not only of another time but of another country altogether.
Today there are more fish swimming the Sahara Desert than people in DC who would dare utter such things as Warren G. Harding once spoke. If President Obama called for “intelligent and courageous deflation” he’d be tossed into the Time Out Corner with Ron Paul and derided as a lunatic. Yet, the short-lived Panic of 1920 suggests that there may be other options available than just more inflation and debt – that we can seek economic recovery by doing absolutely nothing, by allowing our much ballyhooed free market for once to be just that – free.
Harding’s depression, one of far greater initial ferocity than 1929, lasted barely two years. In contrast a meddling Herbert Hoover passed a fat and healthy depression to FDR, who nurtured, loved, and stuffed it to bursting with the New Deal. Why don’t we try Harding’s response? He has the far better track record.
Instead, today our Fed officials artificially set their fund rate at zero – during a time of extreme economic distress – then wonder why nobody is willing to lend, all in a misguided effort to ward off falling prices for all, bankruptcy for the insolvent, and to keep money “cheap”. I believe that it is not money that lubricates an economy, but prices. Prices are the clearing mechanism that moves goods and services efficiently. Break down the price mechanism – and constant political and monetary interventions are an excellent way to do so – and you can have all the money supply that trees can provide and it will do nothing of any benefit.
While we may look upon Fed officials from 1920 as ignorant oafs who did not understand monetary policy (and so failed to “re-inflate” prices), we fail to consider that in our response we might have it wrong. This is not a knock on the modern day American economist; forgetting to remember something important is nothing new. A group of economists remarked in 1937 on “the melancholy fact that each generation must relearn the fundamental principles of money in the bitter school of experience”. Yet, while our faulty memory is tragic, to me a far greater defect within us has been revealed by the current economic trauma.
Once upon a time, our forefathers stormed ashore at Normandy into the teeth of German machinegun fire with nothing between them and Heaven but a khaki shirt; while today far too many of us tremble at the mere thought of our largest banks and other institutions collapsing into their well-deserved bankruptcy. To me, this fear of taking our medicine is the saddest spectacle of all. While that Greatest Generation fought Hitler’s Wehrmacht so that we, their descendants, would never have to, today we are sticking our descendents with trillion dollar bailout bills for fear of our well-earned comeuppance.
What will future generations say of us?
CJ Maloney lives and works in New York City. His first book “Like Moving Into Heaven: Arthurdale, West Virginia and the New Deal” will be published February 2011 by John Wiley & Sons. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the publisher or the author’s employer. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by James Bianco of Bianco Research
• The Wall Street Journal – Fed Proposes Tool to Drain Extra Cash
The Federal Reserve on Monday proposed selling interest-bearing term deposits to banks, a move the U.S. central bank would make when it decides to drain some of the liquidity it pumped into the economy during the financial crisis. The new facility is intended to help ensure that the Fed can implement an exit strategy before a banking system awash with Fed money triggers inflation. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has described term deposits as “roughly analogous to the certificates of deposit that banks offer to their customers.” Under the plan, the Fed would issue the term deposits to banks, potentially at several maturities up to one year. That would encourage banks to park reserves at the Fed rather than lending them out, taking money out of the lending stream.The central bank said the proposal “has no implications for monetary policy decisions in the near term.” “The Federal Reserve has addressed the financial market turmoil of the past two years in part by greatly expanding its balance sheet and by supplying an unprecedented volume of reserves to the banking system,” it said. “Term deposits could be part of the Federal Reserve’s tool kit to drain reserves, if necessary, and thus support the implementation of monetary policy.” Michael Feroli, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase, said “it’s another step forward in the exit-strategy infrastructure, but it’s been well flagged in advance, so it’s not a surprise.” When Fed officials decide to tighten credit, they would likely use the term-deposits program ahead of — or in conjunction with — adjusting their traditional policy lever, the target for the federal funds interest rate at which banks lend to each other overnight. The Fed also said Monday that its balance sheet rose slightly to $2.2 trillion in the week ending Dec. 23. The Fed’s total portfolio of loans and securities has more than doubled since the beginning of the financial crisis. As part of its efforts to fight the downturn, the central bank is buying $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, a program it says will end in March. The Fed now holds $910.43 billion in mortgage-backed securities, it said Monday.
• Bloomberg.com – Fed Proposes Term-Deposit Program to Drain Reserves
The Federal Reserve today proposed a program to sell term deposits to banks to help mop up some of the $1 trillion in excess reserves in the U.S. banking system. The plan, subject to a 30-day comment period, “has no implications for monetary policy decisions in the near term,” the central bank said in a statement released in Washington. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is preparing tools and strategies to shrink or neutralize the inflationary impact from the biggest monetary expansion in U.S. history. Central bankers are also conducting tests of reverse repurchase agreements and discussing the possibility of asset sales. Term deposits may help the central bank “assert operational control over the federal funds rate” once officials decide to lift the overnight bank lending rate from the current range of zero to 0.25 percent, said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. Excess cash “would be locked up” rather than put downward pressure on the federal funds rate, he said.The Fed won’t begin raising interest rates until the third quarter of 2010, according to the median estimate of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News in the first week of December.
• The Financial Times – Fed to offer term deposits to banks
The US Federal Reserve plans to offer term deposits to banks as part of its “exit strategy” from the exceptionally loose monetary policy used to fight the recession. In a consultation paper released on Monday the Fed said it planned to change its rules so that it could pay interest on money locked up at the central bank for a defined period. The Fed added that the well-flagged rule change – designed to allow it more influence over the $1,100bn in excess reserves held by banks – was part of “prudent planning. . . and has no implications for monetary policy decisions in the near term”. It is one of a number of measures that has been outlined over the past few months by Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, as an option to drain liquidity from the financial system in a manner that protects the economic recovery while heading off the threat of inflation.
• The Federal Reserve – Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for public comment.
The Board is requesting public comment on proposed amendments to Regulation D, Reserve Requirements of Depository Institutions, to authorize the establishment of term deposits. Term deposits are intended to facilitate the conduct of monetary policy by providing a tool for managing the aggregate quantity of reserve balances. Institutions eligible to receive earnings on their balances in accounts at Federal Reserve Banks (”eligible institutions”) could hold term deposits and receive earnings at a rate that would not exceed the general level of short-term interest rates. Term deposits would be separate and distinct from those maintained in an institution’s master account at a Reserve Bank (”master account”) as well as from those maintained in an excess balance account. Term deposits would not satisfy required reserve balances or contractual clearing balances and would not be available to clear payments or to cover daylight or overnight overdrafts. The proposal also would make minor amendments to the posting rules for intraday debits and credits to master accounts as set forth in the Board’s Policy on Payment System Risk to address transactions associated with term deposits.
We believe the proposal of this new tool signals the Federal Reserve is still flailing around trying to look busy so everyone is assured they have a plan. The fact is they have no plan and are still throwing everything on the wall to see what sticks. From the November 4 FOMC minutes:
Participants expressed a range of views about how the Committee might use its various tools in combination to foster most effectively its dual objectives of maximum employment and price stability. As part of the Committee’s strategy for eventual exit from the period of extraordinary policy accommodation, several participants thought that asset sales could be a useful tool to reduce the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and lower the level of reserve balances, either prior to or concurrently with increasing the policy rate. In their view, such sales would help reinforce the effectiveness of paying interest on excess reserves as an instrument for firming policy at the appropriate time and would help quicken the restoration of a balance sheet composition in which Treasury securities were the predominant asset. Other participants had reservations about asset sales–especially in advance of a decision to raise policy interest rates–and noted that such sales might elicit sharp increases in longer-term interest rates that could undermine attainment of the Committee’s goals. Furthermore, they believed that other reserve management tools such as reverse RPs and term deposits would likely be sufficient to implement an appropriate exit strategy and that assets could be allowed to run off over time, reflecting prepayments and the maturation of issues. Participants agreed to continue to evaluate various potential policy-implementation tools and the possible combinations and sequences in which they might be used. They also agreed that it would be important to develop communication approaches for clearly explaining to the public the use of these tools and the Committee’s exit strategy more broadly.
The Federal Reserve first hinted at term deposits almost two months ago, although exactly what they were talking about was left vague until now.
Remember that the Federal Reserve has to withdraw over a trillion dollars of excess liquidity. The easiest way to do this is to sell hundreds of billions of MBS, Treasuries and agencies. As the bold highlighted passage above implies, they are scared to death of doing this, so they propose complicated schemes to withdraw liquidity like reverse repos and now term deposits.
We have argued that these schemes will not work. They cannot be done in the sizes necessary or enough to even matter. The Federal Reserve could possibly drain tens of billions of dollars via these schemes, but collectively that will amount to a rounding error when the goal is to withdraw over a trillion in excess reserves.
The Federal Reserve does not want to admit defeat, so they continue pursuing these strategies that will not make a difference. We believe they also do it to “look busy” as they are taking measurements and notes as to how to withdraw all the liquidity they have pumped in. They think this will give the market comfort that someone is on the case and that inflation expectations will not get out of control. The market is not buying this. Inflation expectations, s measured by TIPS inflation breakeven rates, are going vertical.
As to term deposits, the Federal Reserve is proposing an illiquid short term instrument for banks to invest in. Banks would buy these instruments and “lock up” the excess reserves they now have. This would have the same effect as draining excess reverses. The maturities of these instruments would be as long as one year.
It is unclear if there will be a secondary market for these instruments, and if so, how liquid it will be.
Without a secondary market, buyers of these instruments face huge reinvestment risk. The future course of short term interest rates is arguably to the most uncertain it has been in decades. Will the Federal Reserve stay near zero until 2012 or will they be forced to raise rates in the first half of 2010? Given all this uncertainty, who wants to lock up money in something that cannot be sold before maturity? This is especially true given the Federal Reserve’s statement that the “maximum-allowable rate for each auction of term deposits would be no higher than the general level of short- term interest rates.”
The general level of short-term interest rates is set on known instruments that have generations of history and active secondary markets. If the Federal Reserve wants to introduce a new, and wholly unknown instrument with an uncertain secondary market and offer no interest rate premium, then we cannot see how this will work beyond a token amount after some arm twisting to get them sold. The Federal Reserve will have to offer a premium for uncertainty and illiquidy to make this fly in any major way, something they said they will not do.
Complicated Is Simple
The Federal Reserve owns 80% of AIG. With each passing day it looks like the Federal Reserve is adopting AIG Financial Product’s business practices. That is, when faced with a financial problem, they create complicated tools (like CDS). When critics says these new products will not work, tell them they do not know what they are talking about and create even more complicated tools to dazzle everyone. Once the tools are so complicated that no one understands them, you will be hailed as an expert with no peer. You might even be named TIME’s Person of the Year.
Good morning, worker drones: This Week in Mayhem
by Project Mayhem
Project Censored releases top censored news stories of 2009, Market Skeptics highlights catastrophic fall in global food production, gold bounces off $1100, Copenhagen succeeds in building global governance framework, Pakistan and Yemen sink further into chaos..
LAST WEEK IN MAYHEM
Project Censored releases list of 25 censored news stories of the past year
* 1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
* 2. US Schools are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
* 3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
* 4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
* 5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
* 6. Lobbyists Buy Congress
* 7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
* 8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
* 9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
* 10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
* 11. Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
* 12. Mysterious Death of Mike Connell—Karl Rove’s Election Thief
* 13. Katrina’s Hidden Race War
* 14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
* 15. World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
2010 Food Crisis for Dummies
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions.
The following article is HIGHLY recommended for anyone trading in the commodities futures markets or interested in possible future outcomes in 2010.
“If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.
So far the crisis has been driven by the slow and steady increase in defaults on mortgages and other loans. This is about to change. What will drive the financial crisis in 2010 will be panic about food supplies and the dollar’s plunging value. Things will start moving fast.”
Gold bounces off $1100
Gold has bounced off $1100, as expected, but the question is whether this level will hold. This is almost impossible to predict…what we do know is that gold is going much higher intermediate-term. Short-term, we could see pricing pressures on gold until we get a new leg down in the economic crisis and/or war in Central Asia. Things are heating up around the world, particularly in Yemen and Pakistan. Regardless, we expect a hard floor for the gold price in the range of $1000-1050. We will watch carefully for the next two business weeks leading into Jan 1st, as this will involve year-end mark-to-market for gold on many balance sheets so expect volatility. In terms of the next year (2010) we are expecting a dollar crisis so it would be wise to own gold under such circumstances.
Copenhagen Treaty yields start of Global Governance
The Copenhagen treaty was a success despite the massive scientific scandal; the global bankster-gangsters got precisely what they wanted. The objective was to establish the framework for a world government, which is often called ‘global governance’ in policy planning circles. The seeds of this were successfully planted. There were two main accomplishments at Copenhagen: 1) agreement on a global transaction tax on GDP, paid to the World Bank and 2) agreement on preliminary funding for global governance, conservatively $100bn by 2020 but we believe this number will be much much higher (probably in trillions).
“In 2004, it was less than $300 million. But in 2005, the trade really started to soar, ending the year with $10.8 billion-worth of transactions. A year later, in 2006, the “carbon” market had grown to $31 billion. In 2007, again it more than doubled its turnover, to $64 billion. Last year, it did it again, reaching a colossal $126 billion. By 2020, some estimates suggest the annual value will reach $2 trillion.”
“This is the biggest heist in history. As they poured carbon over snow-covered Denmark from their gas-guzzling jets, world leaders were congratulating themselves on securing a deal which will make their backers and financiers a trillion pounds a year. These riches will come from buying and selling permits, the so-called ‘carbon credits’ which allow industry and electricity generators in developed countries to emit carbon dioxide.
The frenzied negotiations we have just seen were never about ‘saving the planet’. They were always about money.”
Copenhagen accord keeps Big Carbon in business
“The part played at Copenhagen by all the tree-huggers, abetted by the BBC and their media allies, was to keep hysteria over warming at fever pitch while the politicians haggled over the real prize, to keep the Kyoto system in place.
The only tree they were concerned with hugging was the money tree and all the vast political apparatus that now supports it, allowing governments to tax and regulate us into handing over ever more of our money, largely without realising it, every time we drive a car, fly in a plane, pay our electricity bill or carry out any of a vast range of activities that involve the emission of CO2. ”
Saudis rain missiles down on Yemen
Saudi warplanes rain ’1,011 missiles’ on Yemen
“Houthi fighters say Saudi warplanes have fired some 1,011 missiles on the borderline with Yemen where the Shia population is already under heavy state-led and US-aided bombardment. “
US air raids kill 63 civilians in Yemen
“Yemen’s Houthi fighters say scores of civilians, including many children, have been killed in US air-raids in the southeast of the war-stricken Arab country.”
Pakistan on brink ; Obama feigns surprise
Internally displaced Pakistani women and children, aka alQueda
Pakistan continues to deteriorate, as we have been expected since the election of Obama. There is definitely a new war brewing in the region. The most likely conflict is either an event justifying going into Pakistan, or an event justifying going into Iran. In either case, doing so would land us in deep deep trouble, and would escalate into a regional war. Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country, with ballistic and cruise missiles, and Iran has advanced Russian weaponry. War in either country would be a big mistake with catastrophic consequences for the world, but our fearless leaders do not seem to care about the people of the world or their lives. Regardless, the CIA and ISI are doing an excellent job of destabilizing Pakistan, which seems to be the policy objectiive.
Pakistan political crisis deepens
“THE political crisis in Pakistan has deepened after the Government’s anti-corruption agency sought a warrant for the arrest of the country’s Interior Minister.”
Symptom of a Deeper Malady Pakistan’s Refugee Disaster
In the meantime, with the winter months fast approaching, hundreds of thousands of “unintegrated” refugees who do not find more durable shelter, even as military sweeps continue, could face exposure and starvation. Some aid groups are demanding that the United States pressure Pakistan to respect international humanitarian law and allow independent access to the refugees.
THIS WEEK IN MAYHEM
Not much happening this week due to the Christmas holiday. Tuesday brings us the GDP number and existing home sales, Wednesday is new home sales, and Thursday is durable goods orders and jobless claims. This week we are watching Yemen and Pakistan.
Have a great week and Merry Christmas
Project Mayhem Research (PMR) is a DC/Baltimore-based grassroots think tank dedicated to exposing corruption worldwide. PMR is affiliated with Zerohedge.com, a popular and growing anti-corruption site, through contribution of free articles for the public. Topics include the politics of war and weapons systems, unexpected applications of cybernetics, the growing international surveillance state, global warming ‘deindustrialization’ economics, broad systemic international corruption , in-depth policy analysis of studies from bank and military funded research groups, genetic analysis and surveillance of pandemic influenza, corruption in the international gold market, the power structure and history of the global elite, and analysis of their political objectives expressed through monopolistic international finance capital (read: powerful banks) between now and 2050.
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Submitted by Greg Simmons and Brett Buchanan of Scope Labs
Are financial markets a direct reflection of the overall health of a nation? I wish they were not, but I fear they are.
I wonder at times if our nation has entered a state of purgatory –
all of us mulling around in the waiting room to Hell, anxiously
counting the minutes until the grim reaper saunters through the door
sickle in hand his mission to send us off to eternal damnation.
Unfortunately, there is little time to close this door so that we may
stave off this potential fate that looms so near. What we need to alter
this course is a procession of men who possess moral fortitude and
common sense, men of rationality and reason. Men of action who will set
in motion the dismantling of institutions that bleed this nation dry.
Hope is not a strategy. This present state of manufactured optimism
emanating from the White House and our news outlets is contemptible. We
are in dire need of new reformist leadership and of new voices that
will speak the truth. A national purification is long overdue. Time is
not on our side. Look at the track record this nation has racked up
over the last few decades and this economic and moral purgatory in
which we find ourselves might very well mark the beginning of our walk
of death down the long road to Hell.
I make this analogy of a national state of purgatory not in jest,
but rather in practical terms. This nation has gone the way of an
absolute meltdown of morality and ethics. We’ve reverted to a sort of
Wild West where anything goes. From the halls of congress to our
corporate boardrooms our collective morality bar has sunk so low we
cannot go any lower without disconnecting from the great past this
nation is starved to regain. We stand dangerously close to the point
where immorality begets our undoing.
Personally, I am father to a daughter of fourteen years. Brett, my
co-author, is father to a twenty-month old daughter and an
eighteen-year old son. We desperately want to create for our children a
better world. But we are fallible men, and certainly not saints. The
paragraphs you are about to read are not written from some moral high
ground, or a Holier-than-thou pulpit, but rather from saddened hearts
when we see that by walking our own moral tightrope, if we were to
allow ourselves to slip below the bar, however slightly, we would be
just as guilty as the worst perpetrators of our nation’s moral
destruction. Also, when witness to greater moral transgressions, by our
own inaction, we become part of the problem. And we are just two men.
Amplify this by fifty million, one hundred million, or three hundred
million fold and it is no wonder immorality permeates our society.
This article is our personal effort to call people’s attention to
the truth. The brevity of our circumstance is immeasurable by past
reference. Economically, we have never been so challenged. Over the
past few decades a gullible US population cheered the halls of congress
and the Oval Office alike as the incestuous bedfellows of money and
politics ushered in a financial Coup d’état – co-opting our public
trusts with the greed and excess of Wall Street. Profits are now had at
any cost – damn the long-term consequences. Instead of being exposed as
the obvious fraud he was, Bernie Maddoff was coddled by the SEC – an
institution whose role as regulator is a complete failure. As Wall
Street and Washington raped an entire nation, employees of the SEC were
too busy surfing porn on the Internet and running private businesses
instead of doing the jobs taxpayers pay them to do. All the while,
young girls were selling their virginity to the highest bidder in
public cyber-forums where grown men (not hormonally charged teenage
boys) seek out their sexual fantasies in the netherworld of Internet
pornography. What of the wives, children, and even parents of these
men? Do they approve of such questionable actions?
Think of our children turning on the television to see people eating
bile, cow blood, and live bugs for money on game shows like Fear
Factor, or Flavor Flav and his hit reality show where he maintains a
stable of women all of whom physically fight each other to have sex
with him because he’s a celebrity – and a damn ugly one at that. And
finally, there’s always Survivor, the ultimate demonstration of all
things wrong with modern human interaction. A reality show that pits
person against person in a deceitful game of moral destruction where
lack of ethics are rewarded, instead of punished. Survivor, this is
what our nation’s leadership has become. Win at any cost. Damn the
future of anyone but myself.
Morality is in great part the measure of a nation. Have we unlearned
morality? Is this why we find ourselves staring down the abyss?
We are allowing ourselves to become more corrupt by the minute. We
stare into the face of our future being raped, but we do nothing. We
are as corrupt as the corrupters. We accept the unacceptable. We fail
to understand that absolute power, corrupts absolutely. In what will go
down as the greatest financial heist in history our leaders have chosen
to reward corrupt individuals and their hollow corporations for what
are arguably criminal levels of risk behavior by the moneyed elite of
this country. What message does that send to our children, or to anyone
for that matter? Be as corrupt as possible in the US and you will be
rewarded? Be the biggest failure jeopardizing the fate of others then
stand in the corporate welfare line with all the other wealthiest
institutions of the world, your greedy hand extended for a government
bailout check while you simultaneously foreclose on an entire nation?
Talk about the rich corralling the masses. It’s no wonder someone
coined the term “The Sheeple.”
The path we traveled to this purgatorial limbo is both easily
understood and misunderstood. The answers to understanding are
sometimes right in front of us. What are seemingly benign things or
actions, those everyday judgments or decisions we make to do one thing
or another, are not always benign. Tell a little white lie to make that
one sale that will put us into our bonus. Rig the game in our favor so
that we might enjoy a little more opulence for the few decades we have
remaining on this planet. Look the other way while the Federal Reserve
and Wall Street blow economic bubble after economic bubble and in the
process create a six-hundred trillion dollar shadow banking system that
plays by no one’s rules but its own. In the case of Goldman Sachs, and
Wall Street in general, lie, cheat, and steal their way to
profitability at the expense of three hundred million taxpayers. The
fact is that we have become an uncooperative nation willing to take
advantage of anyone for the sake of profit. The idea of building a
cooperative future where everyone wins has been sacrificed at the altar
It might be this purgatorial limbo I speak of is simpler than it
appears. It could be that we are collectively suffering the
consequences of the “Peter Principle”, or getting to the job of
failure. This principle supposes that an individual rises in a
corporate hierarchy to their first level of incompetence. An assembly
worker gets promoted to supervisor then to assistant manager, then
manager, until he next gets promoted to an upper management job for
which he is ill equipped and subsequently gets promoted no further as
he can no longer demonstrate the competence required for the task at
hand. He rather relies on subordinates who are then stuck with an upper
manager who cannot carry out his own duties. Could this be the state of
our nation? Have we been promoted as far as our competence allows? Are
we in fact incompetent to handle our future? Have we now elected a man
just incompetent enough for the Presidency who is being manipulated by
Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, and a circle of (previous) Wall
Street insiders now on the government payroll as cabinet members and
high-ranking advisors? The saddest thing is that we sit idly by whilst
our virtue is being stolen. We do nothing.
A view of the world through rose-colored glasses does no one, any
good. We are not as resilient as we think we are. Instead, we exist in
a world of synthetic productivity where multi-tasking renders us
incapable of doing anything effectively or with any level of
competence. Multi-tasking, that art of simultaneous ineffectiveness is
a counter productive weapon that to a large degree has contributed to
the potential failure of this nation. If you were to listen to Alan
Greenspan however, you would believe that multi-tasking through
technological gains by way of the “new paradigm” was the gold at the
end of the Information Superhighway and that exotic mortgages and the
burgeoning spending class paved the road to riches. We now know these
premises to be empirically wrong.
It can now be argued that what would seemingly be advancements in
productivity are proving to be setbacks. The Information Superhighway
has led us to an era of technological arrogance. In reality all we have
accomplished is to dilute our ability to carry out simple tasks as we
click from a quarterly sales report due in an hour, to Facebook, to
on-line solitaire, to writing an email explaining to our boss why the
quarterly report will be delayed this day. We are a nation of excuse
makers. We look for someone else to keep us one step ahead of our
accumulating debt that smothers the potential of what could have been
an equitable future. Ironically, it is our technological arrogance that
impedes our ability to produce and manufacture our way to prosperity.
Craftsmen who used to flock to this country to fulfill the needs of
a manufacturing base flock here no more. “Made in the USA” used to mean
something. It meant quality. It was the definition of industrial
capitalism. But now through the wonders of globalization we have
exported our craftsmanship through an outflow of jobs to China and
India as we turned everyone in the USA into real estate agents,
mortgage brokers, and web designers – a perfect playground for bankers
to ply their craft, lending money in every creative manner both
thinkable, and unthinkable. “Made in the USA” has been reduced to the
status of punch-line – synonymous only with “Mortgage Backed
Securities” and other “Toxic Derivatives.”
Is it any wonder we have evolved into the ‘entitled society’? If we
weren’t on the government payroll, or subsidized by the US taxpayer
through social welfare then we were borrowing our way to prosperity.
Enter the God-fearing middle class. Just dumb enough to buy into the
scam a couple hundred million people began signing over their
paychecks, selling their future for the enjoyment of having things now.
We were transformed into non-productive Sheeple, selling our souls for
an easier life in lieu of a better future for our children. At our
current rate of productive attrition we will soon be a nation of
declawed housecats, possessing no skill-set whatsoever to survive in a
world where the ability to produce real goods still reins supreme. Yet
we remain the ‘entitled society’, when we are entitled to nothing.
We forget (through economic amnesia) that throughout history all
societies fail. Nicolaus Copernicus maintained that civilizations
failed when bad money, controlled and understood by an elite few, drove
out good money. The same can be said for morality. Bad, drives out
good. This is a reality of which we should all be acutely aware but
rather are immune to its possibility. We dangerously believe we cannot
fail. That, in fact, is the greatest gamble of all. A roll of the dice
against history, a bet against all natural laws of the universe, all
things are in a state of entropy. All things eventually wither away to
nothing. To possess longevity is to be ahead of the universe. Sadly, we
have constructed a fragile world that produces material things that do
not last. The fiat money we use as the currency of our production is by
design, destructive itself. The Federal Reserve prints greed, nothing
more. But still we covet it. We pursue it as if it had value. And in
this pursuit we destroy earth’s resources as if the laws of nature have
no relevance. We believe there is only now.
We, the entitled society, morally and fiscally bankrupt have borrowed,
spent, and bailed our way into a historical corner. Nero should be so
proud. Our public trusts are nothing more than government sanctioned
check-kiting operations shifting liabilities from one credit card to
another faster than our creditors can say “Federal Reserve.” The
Ponzi-scheme that is our fiat currency system is about to go the way of
what was for a time the symbol of American superiority, General Motors.
It used to be said that what was good for General Motors was good for
our nation. As I claimed in 2005 that GM would go bankrupt I will now
guarantee that the US government is soon to follow. How our ultimate
entropy will take form I cannot say, but form it will. We will default.
We will restructure. It will be at this point our arrogance will end.