Archive for October 2009
THE US GOVERNMENT HAS ISSUED a new report that recommends blocking access to popular websites during a pandemic outbreak in order to preserve internet bandwidth for investors, day traders and securities clearing house operations. The concern is that a pandemic would cause too many people to stay at home and download YouTube videos and porn, hogging all the internet bandwidth and blocking throughput for investment activities, thereby causing a stock market meltdown.
This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. It’s all based on a public report issued by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), available from their website at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d108.pdf
In this article, I’m going to explain how a pandemic outbreak could theoretically bring down Wall Street. But to get to that, you’ll first need to find out what the GAO said in its curious report (see below). Parts of this article are presented as satire, but the underlying facts quoted here are all true and verifiable (links are provided to all sources).
This report in question is entitled, “GAO Report to Congressional Requesters, INFLUENZA PANDEMIC” and includes this subtitle: Key Securities Market Participants Are Making Progress, but Agencies Could Do More to Address Potential Internet Congestion and Encourage Readiness.
Originally posted October 13, 2009
I AM WRITING THIS ARTICLE for those of you who suffered losses due to the market meltdown of 2008. So I guess I’m writing this for pretty much – nearly everyone. It’s my sincere hope that you’ve been able to recoup some of your losses considering we’ve just had the greatest bear market rally in history. My aim is to get anyone who will listen to take advantage of the breathing-room this rally has bought us and ask yourself a series of questions.
The two most important questions anyone with any money at risk in the US financial markets should ask themselves at this critical point in economic history are exceedingly simple. One, are you prepared for another market meltdown? And two, what is your new exit strategy when things do go wrong?
Another perplexing question you might ask yourself is this. How did my financial advisor not have a clue that history’s most catastrophic economic storm was brewing in the credit markets? It was blatantly obvious. The canary in the coal mine fell off its perch, dead as a doornail, in February of 2008 when the ‘auction rate preferred’ paper froze (an instrument of 7 to 28 day maturity that the wealthy have historically kept their liquid cash in at 100 basis points higher than money market funds) – a sign that anyone with any knowledge of the financial markets should have known was ominous and would precipitate other catastrophic events.
ONE DOESN’T NEED TO BE AN ECONOMIC genius to see that the US dollar is in trouble. That Americans are hopelessly confused about what is happening to their currency is no surprise. However, before we get to the point of whether Obama’s economics will do the dollar in I think it is important to provide a brief outline of the history behind the economic thinking that is sometimes used to explain exchange rate movements in the hope that this will give readers a better understanding of the current situation.
Economics is not as easy as some people think, particularly those political activists who are passing themselves off as honest journalists. Unfortunately, most of the economic commentariat are not much better informed. Regardless of what some commentators assert a weak currency does not necessarily reflect a weak economy.
More than 80 years ago Mises pointed that those who argue that a strong economy must always mean a strong currency “…do not understand that the valuation of a monetary unit depends not on the wealth of a country, but rather on the relationship between the quantity of, and the demand for, money. Thus, even the richest country can have a bad currency and the poorest country a good one.” (On the Manipulation of Money and Credit, 1978. The article was first published in 1923).
by Jim Willie CB
Originally posted October 15th, 2009
THE HERALDED END TO THE Petro-Dollar defacto standard completes the loop, the vicious cycle that will work to destroy the USDollar. In a sense, the US$ had to face an end, its sunset guaranteed when Nixon defaulted on its redemption value. The United States served as custodian for the global reserve currency. Naturally, the most damage will be to the US as a consequence of its twilight, especially after the recent era of fraud & counterfeit. Few look back to that date in 1971 as prophetic for declaring the USDollar’s days as limited and finite.
The world will continue to trade the US$ in future years, but it must stand on its own value, based upon its own merit, the result of balancing its supply & demand, from the integrity of its fundamentals. Some climax events have come, or at least are previewed on an unfortunate path.
Never in my memory has USGovt leadership been so disrespected. Never has Wall Street been so culpable for financial ruin, yet still in power running the USGovt finance ministries. The global revolt against the United States has many sides, but the financial aspect is most profound. It is hardly even covered in the US press. The US citizens have little comprehension of the enormity of a lost global reserve currency, with all its privileges, abused for constructing financial engineering towers and funding foreign wars. The direct effects will be felt in higher costs and assured supply, including credit.
by Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
Originally posted Oct. 20, 2009
JACK BOGLE PUBLISHED “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism” four years ago. The battle’s over. The sequel should be titled: “Capitalism Died a Lost Soul”. Worse, we’ve lost “America’s Soul”. And, worldwide, the consequences will be catastrophic.
That’s why a man like Hong Kong contrarian economist Marc Faber warns in his Doom, Boom & Gloom Report: “The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today.”
No, not just another meltdown, another bear-market recession like the one recently triggered by Wall Street’s too-greedy-to-fail banks. Faber is warning that the entire system of capitalism will collapse. Get it? The engine driving the great “American Economic Empire” for 233 years will collapse, a total disaster, a destiny we created.
OK, deny it. But I’ll bet you have a nagging feeling that maybe he’s right, that the end may be near. I have for a long time: I wrote a column back in 1997: “Battling for the Soul of Wall Street.” My interest in “the soul” – what Jung called the “collective unconscious” – dates back to my Ph.D. dissertation, “Modern Man in Search of His Soul”, a title borrowed from Jung’s 1933 book, “Modern Man in Search of a Soul.” This battle has been on my mind since my days at Morgan Stanley 30 years ago, witnessing the decline.
Has capitalism lost its soul? Guys like Bogle and Faber sense it. Read more about the soul in physicist Gary Zukav’s “The Seat of the Soul,” Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul” and sacred texts.
by James Howard Kunstler
WHEN SOBER-MINDED INDIVIDUALS begin to regard an enterprise within a nation as “an enemy of the people” you can bet that some serious blood is going to flow. This is now essentially the situation for the Goldman Sachs company, which last week announced third-quarter earnings of over $3 billion largely derived from converting zero percent loans from taxpayers into zero risk profits off of anything paying more than zero percent in interest, revenue, or dividends.
The “people” across this big country may not have a clue how any of this is done, and there may be much to fault them on from the care-and-feeding of their own bodies to the content of their dreams, but you can’t argue with the fact that they are heavily armed to an extreme. And although it may be hard to measure with precision, one might venture to state that they are increasingly pissed off. How else explain popular entertainments like “Zombieland”?
by Stephen Lendman
Posted originally September 4th, 2009
AUSTRIAN ECONOMIST LUDWIG VON MISES (1881 – 1973) said: “There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
Under Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and successive US Treasury Secretaries, America chose the latter path and now faces the consequences of their reckless, criminal behavior. In early 2009, economist Michael Hudson said: “The (US) economy has reached its debt limit and is entering its insolvency phase. We are not in a cycle but (at) the end of an era. The old world of debt pyramiding to a fraudulent degree cannot be restored, but only delayed to postpone a painful day of reckoning.”
Economist Hyman Minsky (1919 – 1996) described a “Ponzi finance” system during prolonged expansions and economic booms. Speculative excesses create bubbles, triggering structural instability, then asset valuation collapse that turns euphoria to revulsion and market crashes.
On December 29, 2008, the Wall Street Journal online headlined: “As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of US” and then continued: