It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Ode to the Common Man... Irish style.

Zero Hedge posted this interview with a regular Irishman. The language is rough, but the sentiment real.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Denial

Denial: I don't even know I lied.
With George Bush's memoirs out we grasp the picture of a man who has looked into the abyss much the same way Dicken's Scrooge did when he bore witness of his own legacy and hoped he could dodge justice by manufacturing a glowing self-portrait. Somehow, we expected it of the man -- and chose him anyway, like a repentent flaggelant, flailing away at our own backs.

Obama is different. He promised change we could believe in and delivered an even more opaque version of the marriage between government and corporatism; but his crime is the greater, having revealed us to be a greater collection of fools for thinking things would be different this time. History will judge him badly I'm afraid. Take the case of author Christopher Hitchens.

Dying of esophageal cancer, he looked back over his life. Once the darling of the left, he turned into a rabid voice against the Muslim world following the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeine against Salman Rushdie. He denied the label of "neo-con", preferring the label of "anti-atheist" in what became known as the "New Atheism Movement. As a literary critic he even disparaged Mother Theresa. In his book, God is Not Great, he defined religious faith as totalitarian -- arguing that man alone determined his ethical destiny. As he is dying he reflects upon his staunch support for the Iraq invasion:
I'm glad we're not having an inquest now, as we would be [if there had been no invasion], into why we allowed a Rwanda or a Congo to develop on the Gulf, an imploding Iraq right in front of our eyes, a vortex of violence and meltdown, a whole society beggared and fractured and traumatised, waiting to fall to pieces.

I look forward to reading what President Obama will write about when he begins his memoirs after 2012. Like Hitchens, he betting there is no God.

And now, a lighter look at denial.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Must Watch Video

This video marries conspiracy theorists to realists. Examples about the loss of individual rights in America, our education system, our food distribution system are based on researchable facts, not hyperbole. Given this video has been in production and post production for the past year, we have drifted exponentially closer to the conclusion stated by the National Inflation Association. Please watch this video and look for the similarities not the differences.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Market Ticker's Denninger Reveals Illegal Flash Trade

Karl Denninger is one of many voices speaking out against illegal market manipulation. Here he captures live screen proof of algorithmic flash traders pinging the Comex to alter the price of gold.

Monday, May 31, 2010

BP - The Nuclear Option

This interview sheds light on the options available to plug the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. This interview examines the possibility of oil escaping through another area, 5 miles from the drill site. This expert says the military needs to take over the repair job from BP and consider using a nuclear detonation to seal the rift.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is Iran Next?

The Herald of Scotland reported today that 387 Bunker Buster bombs are being shipped to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for an attack on Iran.

Could Joe Biden's embarassment in Jerusalem last week have been an elaborate ruse to hide his real mission - to plan a co-op attack with Israel? At the very least, this apparent "chilling" of US/Israeli relations takes Iran's eye off the ball. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Afghanistan, last week, to visit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, only pours more fuel on a situation that could explode into an expanded regional war.

Despite Obama's visible "Open Hand Policy" with Iran, there is little support for a gasoline embargo on Iran. China (perhaps in response to US arms shipments to Taiwan?) and Russia have both said they would not support an embargo. Last year, a Bipartisan Policy Task Force wrote a report called, "Meeting the Challenge: Time is Running Out."
In an Op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the authors warned that Iran could fast-track production of a nuclear device by 2010. They suggested an embargo would not work and urged the United States to prepare a contingency plan to use air strikes to take out Iran's capability. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies prepared a report entitled:
"Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities", one year ago.
1800 K Street, NW Suite 400 Washington,
Iran has said they will choke off the Suez Canal and cut oil shipments to the west if attacked. The "Blu" series bunker-busters were thought to be incapable of penetrating Iran's hardened sites. A new type of bomb called the "Massive Ordnance Penetrator" (pictured above) was said not to be ready until July 2010. The MOP was developed to hit deep re-enforced sites like those thought to exist in Iran.

The likelihood of an attack, without the requisite "last ditch" attempt to find a UN solution, is not expected. However, if Iran should attempt to close the Suez or stage an attack on its neighbours, all bets are off. In any case, today the world took one step closer to a new conflict that could provide the "Black Swan" event that catapults the world into a new oil crisis and almost certain Global Depression.

A Rigged Game

The Lehman Brothers 105Repo fiasco being brought to light, begs the question? Who else was doing this? In a classic off-balance-sheet switch, Lehman "sold" fragile debts to offshore banks to hide them, a week prior to the regular checks made by banking regulators, then bought the assets back after the regulators left. This was done in full view of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the SEC, without repercussion. In the end, Lehman was brought down by their competitors, JP Morgan and Citibank, who demanded cash collateral in deal roll-overs - cash Lehman never had.

The nail in the coffin was when Hank Paulson, then Treasury Secretary, allowed the firm to die. "Hammering" Hank had accomplished the job he was hired to do by Goldman Sachs, where he had served as CEO, prior to taking public office. The former linebacker was made CEO to counter the presence of Lehman CEO, Dick Fuld, a notorious bully who intimidated his staff and competitors alike. Hank's physical presence neutralised Fuld's dominance of the Wall Street banking community.
“Dick is in no condition to make any decisions,” Paulson is quoted as telling a group of bankers gathered at the New York Fed to try to arrange a private rescue of Lehman. “He is in denial,” Paulson added, calling Fuld “dysfunctional.”

One can only imagine the satisfaction for Paulson, when Fuld came begging during Lehman's dying hours.

Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, has written a new book called, "The Big Short" that gives insight into the financial mess that is so deep, and has so captured the framework of checks and balances that was supposed to regulate it. Check out his interview on 60 minutes:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

An excerpt from The Big Short is included in the recent edition of Vanity Fair.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wireless energy in a cube..... today

This has to be seen to be believed. An 8 inch square box that produces clean energy, and delivers it wirelessly. It's called Bloombox.

Watch CBS News Videos Online
Hat tip to The Big Picture

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Sixth Sense Technology

This young man, Pranav Mistry, pushes the personal computing experience to levels that are life-changing. This is the kind of thinking that can engineer an economy - both sustainable, and which builds on existing infrastructure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Carbon Tax may save us.

I have not considered the pluses with respect to climate change economics. But economist Jeff Rubin makes a strong case for a global tax on energy consumption. This is a long video but it is well worth a look and listen. Thanks to Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Terminal Turbo Timmy

Turbo Tim's time in "The Show" is drawing to a close.

The much heralded phenom is about to be relegated to the minors after the New York Times revealed the former FRBNY's chairperson put the kybosh on the release of counterparty details in AIG's backdoor payout to Goldman Sachs, That the Washington Post also got copies of the e-mails between AIG and FRBNY smells of Team Obama's desperate need to save face on composting economic matters and offer a sacrificial lamb on the altar of public opinion. William D. Cohen's Op-ed in the Times, that identified Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner as the three horseman of the economic collapse provides the third witness.

Bloomberg reports that Geithner will be called before Congress on January 18th to testify on his role in the affair. White House Press Secretary issued a hearty "of course" when asked if the President still supported the Treasury Secretary... the kiss of death.

Senator Byron Dorgan, who recently announced he would not stand for re-election, has added his name to those placing a hold on Ben Bernanke's second term as Federal Reserve Chairman. Dorgan makes six Senators- from both sides of the House - who want a vote on Bernanke's reappointment. 41 votes in the Senate and Bernanke is toast. Only a neophyte could believe the two matters are not closely related.

Rahm Emmanuel's iron fingerprints are all over the brown envelopes slid under the doors of the Times and Post after being caught flat-footed by the momentum of HR 1207. Ron Paul's audit the fed bill revealed the soft underbelly of House politics in the face of growing popular dissent, Obama does not want the same dynamic to take out Ben Bernanke.

With mid-term elections on the fore, Congress needs to show some steel and Timmy is the fall guy. It's a win-win situation for everyone: Timmy gets to pull in some 'Rubinesque' coin, Summers gets his shot at Treasury(?), and campaigning Congressmen and Senators get to flex and preen for voters.

But the real game is putting a stop to the multiple crosshairs being brought to bear on Time's Person of the Year.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Nexus Point - March 2010

The pivotal month is March. The Fed has signalled an exit from purchasing MBS (Quantitative Easing) and the results from Q1 earnings and job numbers will be in. This is Big Picture's Peter Boockvar's take on early 2010:
The US Treasury market, Fed and the level of interest rates hold the key to stock market performance in 2010 and the thesis will specifically be put to the test just in the next few months. If the Fed decides to stick to their current plan to end the purchases of MBS/Agency debt by March 31st, yields are going higher with mortgage rates following and stocks are going lower as they’ve already priced in, in my opinion, a healthy rebound in corporate earnings. If the Fed caves in because of the fear of what higher rates will do to a still fragile but improving economy and announces another round of asset purchases, aka more money printing, no matter what the size, the reflation trade will be in full force, the US$ will resume its downward trend and nominal gains in stocks will continue.

PIMCO's Bill Gross believes there will be a need for Stimulus II, shifting the focus from backstopping financial institutions to kickstarting job creation. In this interview for Time Magazine, the Managing Director for the world's largest Bond firm says this:
The first half will be dominated by government stimulus and by inventory accumulation or a lack of [inventory] liquidation among businesses. I expect nothing from consumer [spending] and nothing really from housing or really any of the standard cyclical leading sectors. It's hard to put a number on GDP growth rates, but let's say 4% in the first half and then 2% in the second half, which would basically call for some additional help.,8599,1951623-1,00.html

By March we will know if Bernanke/Geithner did enough and if there is enough residual from Stimulus I to effect the national economy in any real way. If stocks retrace significantly and if Interest Rates increase (I think they will), then fears of a double-dip recession will generate the need for a second stimulus package. If we are being set up for Stimulus II, the $2 trillion dollar question is: How will we finance the deficit without more QE?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Best 2010 Forecasts

Well, this is the time of year when everybody selling investment advice or books gives you their forecast for the year. Since this site provides a bearish point of view, I'm starting off with this list of Doom Forecasts put together by Paul Farrell at Market Watch...My favourite from that list?
Barton Biggs warns us to prepare for a "breakdown of civilization ... Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food ... It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc ... A few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage."

Those wanting a more mainstream view can check out this wonderful list put together by the team at The Pragmatic Capitalist.
Another great post from James Howard Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation, who rivals Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone in turning a phrase. Kunstler's 2010 forecast is would be funny if it wasn't so true.