Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Some would even suggest that Nobel Prize winning President, Barrack H. Obama, was the perfect shill for the New Normal; the Black JFK, the Harvard trained ghetto worker from Chicago's South Side. There are some who would even suggest the left/right paradigm is like coke/pepsi - where two entities slug it out for market dominance - only to wake up and discover both products are manufactured in the same plant, that the stockholders for both are owned by one equity fund.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Women have made huge strides climbing to the penthouses of power. But all too often, when they get there, they still face incredible opposition. To endure the cultural misogyny of university, corporate culture, and politics to aspire to the top displays a depth of character and selflessness non-existent in their male counterparts. A woman rises on individual strength: Men in power rise on the strength of their associations and allegiances to the club of men.
One such woman is Brooksley Born. Selected by Bill Clinton to head up the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Born fought a lonely battle in the 90's to curb the unregulated derivatives market that threatened the economy. In the end she was bullied, slandered, and ostracised by the brethren for daring to question the status quo. This PBS documentary goes in-depth to expose the legacy of shame that rests on the shoulders of Summers, Rubin, Geithner, Greenspan, and many others, in the destruction of a good human being.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It's clear that the global strategy of central governments is to deal with the economic crisis by pretending it is over. Nobel prizes, H5N1 flu, Health Insurance Reform, Afghanistan, and DOW 10,000 rally caps are all subterfuge to keep us from looking too deeply at what has been the largest PONZI scheme in history; a time when trillions of dollars of assets were funneled to people living in the capstone of the pyramid. Naked Capitalism has compiled a great post detailing the extent of the fraud.
Industrial activity and manufacturing have been usurped by financial engineering on an unimagined scale - the new credo "Greed is Good" has become doctrine instead of a catch-phrase. But as Roger Bootle writes in the Telegraph, "Greed is not good, It's dangerous".
And for all the happy fizz-bangs coming from resource-rich countries, the Chinese, Australian and Canadian economies have similar asset bubbles waiting to be burst. Flush with capital, China has been on a commodities buying binge. At the same time, the dragon has been on their own real estate spree inflating the cost of land, housing, and commercial real estate. This has been documented by John Mauldin, a founder of the site: Thoughts from the Frontline Mauldin references The China Files when he writes:
The real estate market in China, particularly the residential side, is a burgeoning bubble that is growing bigger and more breakable by the day. Land and housing prices were already rising steadily when Beijing's stimulus package hit the sector in early 2009. Now prices are surging, with developers, bureaucrats and investors cashing in while urban Chinese - once encouraged to invest in home ownership by the central government - become less and less able to buy.c/o John F. Mauldin
This Youtube video provides a glimpse of China's foray in commercial real estate.
The planet suddenly seems much smaller. The US has become a very large stopper in a sea of global debt. Any belief that emerging economies - like China, have the capacity to backstop the freefall of capitalism are founded on a vague hope. When the New World Order takes shape it is clear that those of us born in the '50s will chronicle a lifestyle that will seem mythical to our grandchildren.
The whimsical nature of our changing world is found in Judith Warner's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times To me it captures a feeling of disconnect between reality and our hopes for our children. All of us who remain silent are complicit in the legacy of debt we leave our children. Josh, a fellow blogger, quote Robert F. Kennedy:
"All it takes for evil to prosper, is for good men to do nothing"
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Let's see... inaugurated January 20th...... nominations close for Nobel Peace Prize February 1st.
Blogsite Club Orlov likens it to the Nobel Prize Gorbachev received while the Russian economy dissolved around him: A sort of consolation prize.
Less than two weeks in office and he wins the Nobel Prize. Is there something wrong with this? Or is it just me? And who nominated him, LLoyd Blankfein? Nobel Committee defend their ground.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Take a couple of hours and go through this blog entry by Karl Denninger. This is especially useful if you are one of those who believe our global economy will somehow come right.
The entry features a presentation by William Black, the lead investigator for the Savings and Loan scandal back in 1989. Famously, Charles Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan ordered a "hit" on Bill Black. You may recall the "Keating Five" Senate investigation of five Senators who conspired to quash the federal inquiry. It's a very long watch, but worth it for people who believe the worst has passed. Black is currently advising the government of Iceland on their investigations into the banking collapse. For an idea of how that's going read: The Telegraph article via Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed Blog.
Market Ticker is a very good source for finding out when the next - even bigger collapse will happen. Denninger has the exuberance of a kid with a new toy. I enjoy listening to his weekly radio blog because he is patient with phone-in questions and explains the "why" about what is happening in the markets.
Friday, August 07, 2009
The left wing, right wing split in American politics appears to be an illusion. People are waking up to the realisation that regardless of whom occupies the big office on Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been business as usual for Wall Street.
Legislation coming out of Congress in the last decade has uniformly served the interests of financiers by dismantling the safeguards built into the system after The Great Depression. Bill Clinton's administration was a runaway train of change. Signing the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, and keeping Alan Greenspan at the Fed, was arguably the root cause for much of the economic destruction today.
George Bush will be remembered as a warmaker, so consumed with Al Queda, that the kids in Treasury and the Fed declared a free-for-all of consumption paid for by cheap debt. By the time Bush had packed his bags for Texas, the collapse had begun and it was "Good Luck" and a hug for Obama on the steps of the White House.
Obama entered the White House with the third highest approval ratings since Gallup began keeping track. And now, after 200 days in office, his ratings have dropped to the third lowest level since tracking began in 1930. Campaign promises to engineer change have not manifested. War has been expanded in Afghanistan, lobbyists still roam the halls of Congress and White House. Bankers emerged from last year's financial collapse intact; their losses socialised and "moral hazard" a forgotten threat.
Strangely, George W Bush achieved the highest approval rating ever - at 98%, following 9/11, with the traditional support given to a President at war. But efforts to shore up Obama's ratings seem destined to follow the Market, this October. This administration is poised to oversee financial collapse in America. The 5-year bond auction failed last week and the 7-year auction that followed was heralded as a success - until it was revealed as a fraud. It's just a question of time. Read here
Everything is hedged on his passing the Health Reform Bill, H.R.3200, to provide health insurance to the more than 30 million Americans who don't have any. The Democrats have the numbers to get the Bill passed, but voters on both sides are showing increased hostility. They realize that nothing in the legislation will reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care. The current recess, a time when congressman and senators return to their districts and feel the pulse of the people, is not going well for those politicians seeking re-election next year. At town hall meetings all across America the party faithful are turning on legistators now seen as puppets.
A grassroots movement has begun in Los Angeles that is puzzling analysts. Posters began appearing in Los Angeles and spread to San Francisco and beyond. The Joker posters are blamed on the American right but there is nothing to support this claim; Rupublicans and Libertarians are just as puzzled by the origin of the posters. Indeed, Democrats are now putting up their own version with the word "Fascist" dubbed in place of "Socialist". People are downloading the image from the internet and paying for the printing themselves. Kinkos reports people coming in with memory keys and getting a hundred, or so, at their own expense.
This may be the groundswell of a second American Revolution. Republican voters are embracing Libertarian candidates in local districts. Rand Paul is running for Congress in Kentucky and Peter Schiff is putting together a team to challenge Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. It seems likely that a third party will emerge from the ashes to contest the next presidential election.
But it may be too late for Obama to recover the "Hope" that used to emblazon his posters. Facing a Carter-like, one-term presidency, Obama needs listen to the people instead of the retreaded syncophants he began with in January.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Photo courtesy of www.noquarterusa.net
This is one of those (rarer these days) posts to express some idea of where we are headed as a collective body. Its like finding everybody you hold, in respect and love, attending a drug-fueled satanic ritual involving the sacrifice of your baby brother. It is a time when innocence and childish things are lost forever.
The year began with so much promise. True; the economy was in a tatters, but when Obama was inaugurated all but the most cold-hearted of neo-cons had to feel some degree of hope that 'here was the man who might lead us out of the darkness'. Now it appears we are being led towards Armageddon instead of Camelot.
The amount of money in circulation is double what it was this time last year and there is nothing to demonstrate new industry or ideas. Instead, the government is the only growth industry today. Wars are expanded, industry nationalized, and new taxes in the form of carbon credits are soon to be felt in a country that is running out of customers for the never ending auction of treasury bonds offered, week after week. This week the 5yr bond auction failed, like a sharp chest pain to someone with heart disease.
The FDIC, backstopping what is left of peoples' savings, is broke. This year, two million Americans face a Christmas having exhausted the last of their unemployment insurance. California is bankrupt and is issuing IOUs to contractors and suppliers. Michigan is dead. Futures trading in food and oil show skyrocketing increases on the horizon. This October will see bank runs, a currency failure, and a fresh tsunami of housing foreclosures and job losses.
The stock market has become bloated with disease. Stock prices continue to rise, despite any earnings, growth, or dividends. Dark pools of traders meet in hidden rooms behind the hum of racks of servers plugged into the matrix of global trading, skimming pennies off the blind by the supertanker load. There is no regulation, no oversight, no justice for the impoverished retirees at the hands of bankers who have lost their humanity. Moral hazard... indeed.
And presiding over this band of merry pranksters is "The One". He's a perfect choice really. His color deflects any criticism with cries of racism. His manner is reminiscent of a newly elected JFK, but slowly the veil is being lifted to reveal the Wizard as nothing more than an actor. The Congress is a hen house full of blatherers. Content with their C-Span moment, they cannot fathom their complicity in the greatest fraud ever to take place.
Another war won't fix it: Nobody will be lining up to buy war bonds for an institution now regarded as an enemy. As Oliver Stone wrote, "Charlie is out there... and he's hungry.' So all that's left is to huddle behind the ring of nuclear might and blackmail the nations of the world to submit, if they don't collapse first.
Or will the unthinkable happen: that the elites will unleash a pandemic among its denizens and neighbours in a last stand effort to turn back the clock to a time when there was plenty for everybody. Once more Americans will be told to stand in line for the shots. This time, it may be a soylent concoction with the real intent of removing all but the most essential from among us. Carbon footprint erased, all debts eliminated, and resources enough for another millennium of V8 cruising and malteds at the corner store.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
In short, it says that half of Americans who carry health insurance do not claim anything. That it is only when you reach the 95th percentile that you find any appreciable costs - in this case: $11,487. It is the top one percent who are responsible for 22% of the costs. So far, so good.
But the insurance industry hedges against this one percent of policy holders by including convaluted and hard to understand questions in their application process. The health insurance underwriters will happily accept your premiums. But the minute you report cancer or some other high cost condition, a team from the company go over your quesionaire and application to see if you screwed up. Through this process half of all policies - in the 1% group - are cancelled.
Listen to this testomony on Capital Hill:
So President Obama promises health care for all Americans, but instead of universal care like systems found in Canada, New Zealand, or Britain, he proposes to deliver the care by subsidising the cost of health insurance. Only in America.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Wayne Madsen talks about the Swine Flu outbreak, He states that more than 100 people have died of swine flu in New Zealand.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
My wife's executive assistant has been off work for the past ten days. He thought he was getting better and then the flu came back with a vengeance. He has lost consciousness a couple of times and is being cared for by his sister. He has not seen a doctor. He is 32 years old.
Our next door neighbour's eldest teenage son is in quarantine at home. My grandson's pal is beginning to have symptoms. What began as an abstract news item has begun to hit closer home. I imagine it's only a matter of time before the flu enters my inner circle. I am not worried for myself, but this disease seems to find strength in the young and I worry for my children and grandchildren.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Community clinics to fight the pandemic are beginning to pull out of the effort to deal with the disease because of funding fears.
New Zealand has ordered 300,000 doses of vaccine from Baxter Pharma, enough to immunize 150,000 people. The as yet unproven vaccine is still in production. Baxter Pharma was the company that sent 5,000,000 doses of another vaccine to Europe. A Chechoslovakian centre tested the vaccine on ferrets first, but they all died. It was discovered that the vaccine contained live Avian flu.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Anyhow, I had all the symptoms: headache, diarrhea, aching muscles and joints, a temperature of 37.9C, nausea. As a school worker, I called it in and about an hour later got a call from the department head. After I explained why I couldn't come in she asked me, "So you can't come in?" I said, "No". I should explain that I work with "difficult" students. These are the ratbags nobody wants in their classroom but are legally bound to do something with - that's where I come in. They bundle all of them up together for me. The department head asked suggested I come in anyway and hopefully the students would get it too. She wasn't laughing.
Just to be on the safe side I telephoned the 1-800 number advertised nationally for those showing symptoms of swine flu.... I got an answering machine message that advised me to telephone my local district health board. I phoned them and they told me to contact my GP (general practitioner). When I called them they asked what my temperature was? I told them and there was an audible sound of relief: "We're only seeing people with a temperature over 39C," they said. So I'm at home, reading about flu. The national health department announced that they were no longer trying to contain Swine flu. Instead, they would just manage it.
So, I can't tell you whether I have THE FLU, or just a flu.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I am beginning to wonder if this global financial crisis is just the fallout in a game of chicken between New York and London. Britain stopped building anything a long time ago and North Sea Oil revenues allowed them the capital to reestablish their throne as the center of the planet for bankers. Wall Street fought back by engaging in the same chancey trading of shadow banking instruments. When current customers were sated they just created a new subprime market. The winner will only be declared when one cries, "Uncle" and cannot fool the world into buying more of their bonds.
The Financial Services Act, 1999 was America’s response to what was happening in London, where Glass Steagal didn’t exist in the first place. The UK can’t be blamed for trying to recapture the financial predominance Fleet Street enjoyed during the time of Queen Victoria, but it has to be acknowledged that the derivatives market was an invention of the Poms.
The lack of transparency in European accounting requirements allowed banks there to adjust their books to offset and postpone losses in a way US banks could not (until last April’s G20 Conference anyway). However, these losses will have to present themselves eventually. Timing is everything. It may well be a footnote in history that America survived by pouring enough cash into the financial bubble to wait out a more devastating European crash that followed.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Yesterday's $45 billion bond issue fell flat, along with the stock market, so where is the money going? As Bernanke employs QE, the big question is are foreign sovereign funds dumping their bonds at the same time, driving up yields? Karl Denninger writes in his blog:
There apparently is a new wrinkle to the intermediation trade between buying from Treasury to sell to the Fed with real money, including central banks, now in on the act. Indeed, several Street sources relay central banks were aggressive offers into this morning's coupon pass, with one letting go of a large block of old 5-years. Other offers too are coming in from embedded Asian real money longs -- in the higher coupons -- also looking to sell size without unduly upsetting the market, and especially considering the illiquidity in off- the-run bids from the Street.
Whether influenced or not by the much higher tenders coming in on the Fed Passes ($45 bln tendered for $7.4 bln bought in today's pass for a 16.2% hit rate), fast money has been tattooing the bid and especially so in the belly with the 10-year most leaned on. Note as well, earlier this week the Bank of England (BoE) gilt pass too saw a need to offer paper at or below the market's bid side in order to get sales off.
So now what Ben?
If Foreign Central Banks are selling into Ben's bid then the game is literally weeks or even days away from being over.
May 21, 2009, 11:11 a.m. EST
Treasury to sell $101 billion in debt next week
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The Treasury Department said Thursday it plans to sell $101 billion in debt next week in its monthly round of shorter-term note offerings. The government will sell $40 billion in 2-year notes (UST2YR 0.83, 0.00, -0.48%) on Tuesday, matching the amount expected by Wrightson ICAP. It will also offer $35 billion in 5-year notes (UST5YR 2.01, -0.01, -0.69%) the following day and $28 billion in 7-year notes next Thursday. The 7-year security was reintroduced in March to help the government spread out the increasing debt issuance needed to fund all of lawmakers' stimulus plans and the Fed's programs to stabilize financial markets.
This next week will prove to be pivotal.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
All over America fields are being leased by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to stockpile hundreds of thousands of plastic coffins. Manufactured by a company in Covington, Georgia, called Vantage Products, these coffins have been purchased by FEMA. The following video shows them stacked like dixie cups.
Monday, May 04, 2009
My last post compared the 1918 "Spanish Flu" with the current "Swine Flu". One of the promising factors about the most recent outbreak was the missing link between pigs and humans. Yesterday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported that a sick worker, returning from Mexico had infected 200 pigs at his workplace in Alberta. The pigs seem to be recovering. What is troubling is that a bridge between pigs and humans has been established.
The WHO will step down their alerts in the coming two weeks. However, we should hold our collective breath throughout the summer (winter in Australasia). If the flu reappears again in June, it may be following the wave pattern of infection that occurred in 1918. This will be confirmed if a resurgence results in a higher death rate. By then the virus manufacturers should have prepared a new generation of vaccines for the marketplace. New infections will retract and the mortality rate will fall. This will be attributable to the new regimen.
But, following the 1918 paradigm, infections and rates will decline anyway, irrespective of treatment; the worst months were in October and November, when the virus returned. I'm very concerned this is a very real scenario. The conspiracy theorists in the blogosphere are telling everyone that the whole pandemic was a staged hoax, to take our minds off the economy and tighten control on society.
Economists are beginning to be divided into two camps; Keynesians vs. Mises. The Keynesians are telling us to get ready for a slow recovery this fall. The Austrian School (Mise) are warning of a more devastating collapse of the equity and forex markets this October.
So October may prove to be a watershed month for all of us. Economists do agree on one thing: If the pandemic returns with greater strength, the cost to the global economy will erase all of the gains in the past year and leave us once more poised on the precipice of a sytemic collapse.
Friday, May 01, 2009
We seem to have taken the same approach to solving the economy and the H1N1 virus, throw money at it and hope it goes away. Masks are handed out that do nothing to screen out the virus. Tamiflu, not specific enough to kill this virus, is distributed and sold throughout the world. These things reassure people, who see action being taken and since the disease seems to kill only Mexicans, life can go on.
When the so-called "Spanish Flu" hit in March 1918, it was not unlike any other flu on the day; people got sick and then they got better. The flu seemed to be gone by the end of April. But it wasn't gone... it came back with renewed strength in June and people began to die. Again it seemed to be gone by the end of July. but it wasn't gone... it came back even stronger than before in October, this time killing many more people than ever. Another, less deadly wave, broke out again in 1919. And then it was gone.
When comparing the 2009 virus with its distant cousin from 1918, there is one reassurance. The 1918 virus affected pigs the same as people. So far, pigs are reported to be unaffected. Hopefully our virus lacks that little something that accounted for so many deaths.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Those looking for a hot stock to buy should consider a flutter on Dow Global Technologies Inc. (NYSE:DOW). They have developed a new technology to ferment vaccines much quicker than traditional methods, especially important in finding vaccines for recombinant strains of virus' such as H1N1. Merck and Pfizer have both signed agreements with DowPharma for the new technology.
They also hold a patent on a vaccine filed in 2006. Their production subsidiary is Serum Institute of India Ltd., the world's largest producer of vaccines.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This carved wooden Maori cenotaph was erected at Te Koura marae in memory of those who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The cenotaph was designed and carved by Tene Waitere of Ngati Tarawhai. He also created a similar cenotaph at Te Ihingarangi marae, Waimiha. This photograph was taken in 1920 by Albert Percy Godber.
Serviceman returning from The Great War brought the flu to New Zealand with them. The population in 1918 was 1,150,000. One characteristic of the flu was that it came in waves. The first wave served to immunize communities to some extent. Many people were lulled into believing it was not the same flu as the one that had killed so many elsewhere. But it was the second wave of the flu, catching previously unaffected communities that caused the majority of the 8,600 deaths in New Zealand.
Maori were seven times more likely to die from the flu.
Maori suffered heavily: their overall rate of death was 42.3 per thousand people, seven times that of Europeans. In one community, Mangatawhiri in the Waikato, about 50 out of 200 local Maori died. Whina Cooper recalled similar suffering at Panguru, Hokianga:
Everyone was sick, no one to help, they were dying one after the other. My father was very, very sick then. He was the first to die. I couldn't do anything for him. I remember we put him in a coffin, like a box. There were many others, you could see them on the roads, on the sledges, the ones that are able to drag them away, dragged them away to the cemetery. No time for tangis. (writer's note: official statistics identify only 9 deaths in the Hokianga.)
But there was an exception. Mortality amongst Maori on the East Coast of the North Island was, according to historian Geoffrey Rice, ‘much less than expected in comparison with other North Island districts'. This may have been because they had received partial immunity from the first wave which was reportedly widespread in the district during August and September.
To date, nobody has died from the flu outside of Mexico. However health officials there cannot say whether the deaths there, which are now more than 100 people, are because what we are seeing is a second wave asserting itself.
Certainly, this H1N1 virus sweeping through Mexico bears striking similarities to the 1918 flu. Both have origins in swine and both are claiming the lives of healthy people between the ages of 19 - 35. What makes this virus more alarming than the 1918 variety is the hybrid nature of it: This virus contains elements of Avian Flu from two different continents, elements of different swine virus' from two different continents, along with a human influenza virus.
The last pandemic fear was during the SARS scare 3 years ago. That virus proved to be a false flag because it did not make the transition from, bird to human transmission, to human to human transmission. This new virus, almost certainly a virus that was manufactured in a laboratory, has combined the most dangerous elements of both the swine and avian varieties. Because of the exotic nature of this strain, it is highly unlikely that tamiflu or any other vaccine will be effective. A new vaccine - specific to this virus, is estimated to take months to develop; most of those who died in New Zealand, did so in the two months following the first outbreak wave.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
New Zealand Health Minister Tony Ryall has this evening confirmed ten positive influenza results from testing carried out on 13 Rangitoto College students who returned from Mexico early yesterday morning.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
On October 5th, 2005 the CDC announced they had successfully reconstructed the virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic. The work, done in collaboration with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, determined the set of genes in the 1918 virus that made it so harmful. The 1918 pandemic killed an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States. The pandemic’s most striking feature was its unusually high death rate among otherwise healthy people aged 15-34.
The Army's Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of three vials of a virus. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the command, said this latest investigation has found "no evidence of criminal activity."
The vials contained samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, a virus that sickens horses and can be spread to humans by mosquitoes. In 97 percent of cases, humans with the virus suffer flu-like symptoms, but it can be deadly in about 1 out of 100 cases, according to Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. There is an effective vaccine for the disease and there hasn't been an outbreak in the United States since 1971.
The vials had been at the research institute's facility at Fort Detrick, home of the Army's top biological research facility, for more than a decade. The three missing vials were among thousands of vials that were under the control of a senior scientist who retired in 2004. When another Fort Detrick scientist recently inventoried the retired scientist's biological samples, he discovered that the three vials of the virus were missing. The original scientist's records about his vials dated back to the days of paper-and-pen inventories.
Health officials in Dallas County are urging anyone with upper respiratory ailments to be tested for a rare strain of swine flu after two cases surfaced in Texas.
Elsewhere across Texas, health departments are on the lookout for the illness, which sickened two high school students from Guadalupe County near San Antonio and a 10-year-old boy from San Diego who visited Dallas before his diagnosis. All three, and the other four victims in the U.S., have recovered and are fine.
"This virus that has been isolated has never been seen before," said Dr. John Carlo, medical director for Dallas County's health department. "The good news is this has been very mild."
It's unclear how anyone caught the virus that combines pig, bird and human viruses in an unusual way, he said. None of the seven people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other.
Test results the state received from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the Texas illnesses were caused by a swine influenza-A virus that appears to closely match the viruses from the five in Southern California.
It's not yet known whether those cases are related to the swine flu virus that may have killed 60 people in Mexico, sickened hundreds of others there and has health officials fearful of a possible global flu epidemic.
There have been no reported deaths in the United States and health officials say there's not yet cause for alarm here.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
God help us all. This man is not alone... Marc Faber gives advice on how you can benefit from today's market, but there is little doubt he comes to a similar conclusion as to the endgame.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
With employment in the US at 8.5% and increasing by more than 600,000 a month, the new focus is on credit card debt. The typical American consumer uses their credit card as a cash flow management device. When they lose their jobs, credit cards are used to carry expenses over. The banks know this and analyze each transaction for signs you may be having trouble. Use your card to pay for utility or food at the grocery store, or take out a cash advance and your credit line may be cut short... on the spot. At the very least your interest rates will get jacked up to the "high risk" level.
Hidden fees, credit line cuts and dramatic increases in rates has unfairly targeted people whose credit is good and has meant big profits for the banks. Currently three regulatory bodies have announced changes to the rules that allow banks to trap cardholders, but these changes don't take effect until mid 2010. In a bid to resurrect a badly damaged image, Chairman of the Senate Banking Services Committee, Senator Christopher Dodd, is fast-tracking legislation that would see changes happen now. You may remember that it was Dodd, whose Connecticut seat is home to AIG headquarters, who took out bonus restrictions from the TARP I bill and touched off the recent furor over AIG's bonus bonanza, last month.
This legislation could touch off another "shit-storm" in the banking sector.
Speaking with Steve Forbes, Meredith Whitney believes that instead of a 'run on the banks', there is a high possibility of a 'run on the cards' by American consumers. The new legislation restricts card issuers from changing credit lines and interest rates on the fly, so when someone loses their job there are fears that person will max out their cards before the 24-day grace period featured in the bill. In anticipation of these changes, credit worthy holders are seeing their credit lines reduced ad-hoc.
Before any of the new regulations were introduced last year, credit line were chopped by $1 Trillion as banks reduced their exposure to credit card debt. A reduction in the $2.3 Trillion of existing credit lines in the US could do to the consumer what the banking crisis has done to the banking industry.
The average American owes more than $8,000 on their cards. With 1.5 billion credit cards in circulation in the US, half of the card holders pay the minimum each month.
Friday, April 03, 2009
First, the G20 have agreed to adopt International Accounting standards when banks issue reports. US accounting standards are much more strict; a protection for investors and a bulwark against the prevalence of lawsuits in the US, arising from misleading bank reports. This article, published last year in the Washington Post, shows how these standards allowed European banks to bilk investors. In short, International accounting standards allow banks to shift losses to another place in time. This means that when the expected bear rally fizzles in October, the collapse will be compounded by unreported losses floating their way back to the top at some time in the future.
The second move was to shift away from Mark to Market. This will permit US banks to backdate the value of the derivatives they are holding to the date they were purchased, not on their value today. One can only wonder how this will affect the outcome of Geithner's PPIP plan to purchase the toxic assets that has frozen the banks. Banks are afraid of exposing their assets in today's market because it will prove they are insolvent. Getting rid of Mark to Market will permit the banks to substitute bad assets for good cash... all at the expense of the taxpayer.
All this has done has moved back the day of reckoning. There has to be losers somewhere in the mix, but these two moves forestalls the collapse and does nothing to solve the problem.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Joseph Stiglitz: Yet another nobel laureate in economics, whom believes Geithner Plan II, (PPPIP) guarantees profits for the banks at the expense of taxpayers.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
The future of the world economy hinges on trust:
How can anyone trust bankers, whom not only bankrupted their balance sheets, but used derivatives to bet on that very thing happening? And now we are being asked to suspend the evidence and trust that they will not use Geithner Plan II to jack up the value of their credit default swaps and cash out at the expense of future generations.
How can anyone trust the Federal Reserve, whom flooded the world economy with ridiculously low interest rates for more than a decade, to police the banking system?
How can anyone trust House and Senate representatives, so deeply indebted to banking lobbyists, whom poured billions in campaign contributions into both Republican and Democrat coffers, in return for a dismantling of every regulation put in place after the last Great Depression?
How can anyone trust President Obama, when he appoints a Treasury Secretary who was complicit in the breakdown as Governor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was an employee of Goldman Sachs, and didn't pay his taxes? This same president whom promised transparency, accountability, and a political system free of lobbying?
At some point, the injustice of it all will turn into public insurrection. More than the economy is at stake now; the very fabric of society hinges on a fragile hope that America's elites have the country's best interest at heart.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Smartish people say nationalize the insolvent banks, clean out their balance sheets, recapitalize them, and sell them.
But Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, chooses to do none of this, because to do so would necessitate the dissolution of management, stockholders, and Boards of Directors. His former employer, Goldman Sachs, paid $6 million dollars into Obama Campaign coffers... against today.
So, Geithner has concocted a way to keep these insolvent banks intact, at the expense of prudent banking practice. What Geithner's Plan II intends, it to launder these toxic assets through the taxpayer filter. This video explains how that will happen.
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Economy rescue: Adding up the dollars
The government is engaged in an unprecedented - and expensive - effort to rescue the economy. Here are all the elements of the bailouts.
2At least $20 billion
3Estimated budget impact for 2009 is $120 billion
4Making Home Affordable foreclosure prevention program will get $50 billion from Treasury, $20 billion from GSEs and $5 billion from HUD.
5Includes $70 billion from TARP
6Bridge loan allocation to be reduced to not less than $25 billion once government takes stakes in life insurance units
Sources: Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC, CBO
Note: Figures as of March 30, 2009