Saturday, August 20, 2011

If you weren't already in a bad "Moody", read this

Federal Land finally made available to real solar projects

Goldman Sachs's coal fired power plant division has finally had its fraudulent claims to develop solar projects on Federal lands in Nevada voided. The Bureau of Land Management has been tied up continuously in frivolous claims to develop solar projects by numerous right wing companies who have no intention to ever proceed with projects, effectively keeping legitimate companies out. Goldman Sachs alone had half of the available leases tied up and never proceeded with any plans to develop the claims it had filed.

Now that's how to steal (I mean make) money

Somebody (we don't know who) bet a billion USD on the US being downgraded. The popular speculation is that was George Soros but that's only because he has that kind of money and has made wild currency bets in the past. He denies it and has been ranting against the people pushing the downgrade for years.

My personal guess is that is somebody linked to Mitt Romney. There are links between Mittens and his pals at Bane and the company the owns S&P. It's obvious that S&P can't justify their downgrade or even claim that they are capable of making this kind of rating in the first place. They don't have the resources or experience and apparently can't even do the math, having made a two trillion error in their calculations of the future debt of the US. The head of S&P pushed this through regardless and there has to be a reason. Like Deep Throat said "follow the money" (DT turned out to be the Deputy Director of the FBI)

Busting down the door from the inside

US markets ended the week down from 4 to 6%, and retail investors that didn’t have sense enough to get out of the market before, are running for the door. Investors pulled $23.5 billion from domestic equity funds during the week of Aug. 10, this was more than in any single entire month since 2008. That’s 4 and ½ times what has been flowing out even with the sensible people already leaving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You can't orbit a singularity

The markets fell through the floor today, the official reason is the bad unemployment numbers, but while Initial Claims went up slightly, they’re better than we’ve had most of the last three years. Corporate media doesn’t like to mention the fact that the zombie banks might collapse again and it’s a toss up whether they will get bailed out this time.

The Dodd-Frank law does give the government the power to take the huge banks over the way the FDIC does with smaller banks but this would take away most of Wall Street’s power. How would that work… better ask the Magic Eight Ball… [shake shake tip] “better buy canned goods”.  Let’s try again… that’s funny, it only gives one answer.

Joe Biden went to China, and out of courtesy the Chinese media toned down the scolding rhetoric that has been flowing non stop since the Republican’s tried to default on the debt. They came right out and said that they really want to hear from Biden about the negotiations he was involved in. Poor Joe, it really sucks when you have to go explain to the banker.

Biden met with his “counter part” in China, VP  Xi Jinping, in reality Mr Xi is being groomed to take over Chairmanship of the Ruling Committee when the current Comrade Chairman retires. Only in the western media, which is dominated by advertising from the US Chamber of Commerce, is the leader of Red China referred to as “president”. This to make him more palatable to the American people who live with the illusion that capitalism leads to democracy.

Comrade Xi Jinping will be Chairman of a six man committee with absolute control of the last Super Power and is referred to by the same title as Chairman Mao because there is no difference between the two leaders except perhaps in style.

The Chinese own perhaps a trillion in US bonds and were probably cheered to see the ten year note set a new record price today as investors flee to safety. This drove interest on this bond to a new low and this is the basis that sets all consumer interest rates. This has caused record low mortgage interest, so that would be great if buying house was a good idea, or if you can even get a loan. A phenomenal number of home purchase agreements are falling through because the appraisal comes back at way below what the buyer agreed to pay.

Some people who have suddenly realized that the “Free Market” means no wealth for them are fleeing to gold and it set a new all time record price today. If you think that things are so bad that you want to buy gold at this price, you should be buying canned goods and ammunition. If the economy recovers, then gold will plunge in price and you won’t be able to sell on the way down. If the economy doesn’t recover, it will be a long time before you’ll be able to find somebody with anything they want to trade for gold.  

Poverty continues to increase and the Republicans’ constant refrain is that we can’t afford to help the poor, educate the children of the middleclass or take care of the elderly because “we’re broke”, but only the bottom 99% are getting poorer. Walmart complains that their customers are suffering from falling incomes and high unemployment and that’s why their sales are down for the 9th straight quarter. It’s nothing but crocodile tears however as they more then any one corporation are responsible for the decline of their customers.

You know the story, every Walmart lays waste to a 40 mile radius and every supplier was forced to move production to China or was destroyed. Walmart stock was the only Dow component to go up today. If the Walton heirs were one person then that Walton singularity would make Bill Gates look like small shop owner. (a singularity, is a small black hole destroying everything within its gravitational field, just like Walmart does)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yell Leader for Obama

Things are deteriorating in Europe as Germany’s GDP went flat last quarter. The much anticipated meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy didn’t produce the results the markets were looking for, and the markets fell. Most Americans don’t realize that the EU is a much bigger economy than the US and in general it’s in better shape.

The Euro Zone has a few problems though with their banks in danger of collapse after being flimflammed  by Wall Street and the Euro likely to be scrapped if they can’t get a handle on bond interest rates also thanks to Wall Street. The markets were hoping to see the creation of Euro bonds but that was ruled out at this meeting.

Europe, unlike the US, has a large export sector and this is contracting rapidly. China has been a big market for high tech goods but they are producing their own. The third world is cutting way back on European goods in order to buy food and oil thanks to Goldman Sachs driving up commodities. And the United States is turning into a third world country and just isn’t buying as much.

The really big problem though, is that Europe seems to have been bitten by the Austerity Bug and the push to cut back at all costs seems to have overtaken an otherwise rational people. Austerity is of course the big job killer as it naturally becomes a self reinforcing cycle of decline. You would think that they would take heed from the UK’s bitter lesson as austerity there is driving them toward collapse.

Not that we are doing any better as Republican governors have cut a million jobs that added another full percentage point to the unemployment rate not counting the workers those government jobs supported. Unemployment would be less than the number Obama promised at the time that the Stimulus Program began, without the deliberate sabotage from the right.

Governor (scary) Perry brags about all the jobs he created in Texas but doesn’t mention the ones that pay more than minimum wage were pretty much all created by Chinese companies or by the government (47% of all new government jobs in the US from 2007-2010 were in Texas). The minimum wage jobs (Texas leads the nation in minimum wage jobs) only appeared as the population of Texas increased dramatically creating openings for burger flippers. In the last three years some 437,000 workers have moved to Texas and only 126,000 jobs were created and the rest of new workers replaced Texans at lower wages. Once Perry institutes draconian budget cuts to cover a multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall (tax cuts and declining economy together) those jobs he “created” will pretty much evaporate with government layoffs.

Since the unemployment benefits for all those displaced Texans are to be eliminated by Congressional Republicans at the end of the year, Perry will find himself being the “Yell Leader“ for Obama‘s efforts to get them extended. Unless he plans to leave Texas for greener pastures by throwing them under the campaign bus. Do you suppose Texans will want to “get ugly” with Perry for destroying their state?

Something not posted on The Drudge Report today, both Democratic Senators up for recall in Wisconsin on Tuesday won re-election handily. This happened despite Republicans and their Billionaire masters pouring more money into these few recall elections than is normally spent in a Presidential election year. If Democrats get continued support from the one independent Republican in the State Senate then all of the planned privatization of the public commons will be stopped in its tracks.

This is a major set back for the Koch Brothers and the DeVoss family of the scAmway fortune who are also responsible for your friendly Blackwater private army. Governor Scott wanted to use the Wisconsin National Guard on protesters but found that most of the Guard is made up teachers and county workers. In the good old days they broke strikes with Pinkerton mercenaries, the Republicans can’t wait to get back to those days, they already have the mercenaries on the payroll.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Helping the economy is Treason, if your goal is to destroy it

In a bid to become President of the Asylum, once the inmates takeover, candidate Rick Perry answered a question from the audience in Cedar Rapids Iowa Monday night about Federal Reserve Policy. He suggested that if the Fed Chairman prints anymore money before the election, that would amount to treason. “if this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we – we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion.”

The Bush Crime Family who originally appointed the current Fed chairman reacted harshly to Perry’s comments with Karl Rove going on at length about it to any reporter that would listen. Maybe Perry isn’t up on current events and thinks Alan Greenspan is still Chairman, you could make a case against him but the Bernanke has played his role pretty straight. The current Fed Chairman favors big money interests in all ways, but hasn’t tried to destroy the economy the way Greenspan did. Tuesday Perry refused to take back the remark but a spokesman put it off to the governor being “passionate and energized by the State Fair”. I know the State Fair always makes me want to get “pretty ugly” on Fed Chairman. It must be the deep fried butter on a stick that does it.

So far the Fed has managed to keep us from falling into deflationary spiral that always accompanies a major Depression. Fears of inflation appear to be unfounded as the price spike in commodities is wearing off. Now that the Fed has been successful in accumulating about a trillion in Treasurys it can easily calm any excessive inflation. All the Fed has to do is resell as many bonds as needed to soak up any excess money in the system. It’s a crude way to run an economy but it could keep the Depression at bay for some time.

Apparently the Republicans really fear that this could work so that’s endorsement enough for me. All that is required is for Obama to keep Congress from doing anything destructive and there lies the rub. Obama has only been able to do this so far by giving Republicans most of what they want. However the things Republicans want always favor the rich and people are starting to notice the pattern.

The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet came out today with another appeal to tax the rich. Republicans immediately painted him as a socialist or simply uninformed about economics and tax policy. Lets see we are supposed to elect Romney because he’s a businessman even though his experience is limited to tearing apart companies and selling them to China. Bush and Cheney were both MBAs and so were really supposed to know how to govern. Of course they both had crashed every company that either of them had ever ran and did the same for the country. We should elect Perry because he’s put Texas in the ditch. But we shouldn’t listen to the most successful capitalist ever because he thinks people making over a million dollars a year should pay more than 15% income tax?

I don’t know if Rick Perry has a defined policy on taxes (his policy statement says simply he will cut them) but his views almost certainly run along the same lines as the other Republican candidates who want zero corporate taxes and zero capital gains tax which would mean no taxes at all on guys like Warren Buffet. Warren Buffet says he would like to “share the sacrifice“ and that inequality is getting too extreme between the rich and the rest of the country. This doubtless has him on Rick Perry’s traitors list.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's taken forty years and the end is near

We often talk about the 30 years of Reaganomics that destroyed the middleclass but today is a 40 year anniversary that is of great significance as it denotes the real beginning of the end. On this day in 1971 Richard Nixon stopped redeeming USD in gold for foreign governments. He claimed he feared a run on gold, supposedly the Brits had asked for $2 billion in gold at $35/ounce the day before. This effectively ended the Bretton Woods Agreement on Currency and Trade named for a small town in New Hampshire where all the allied governments met in 1944 to layout the post World War II economy.

Nixon tapes reveal that he hoped that massive currency printing by the Federal Reserve (once free of needing to pay in gold) would stimulate job growth with unemployment having spiked from 4% to 6% (ahh, the good old days). To keep the stock market from panicking he also announced a 90 day wage/price freeze and the tapes reveal that the Nixon’s people spent most of their time not in debate over the consequences of this action but rather if it was wise to pre-empt Bonanza on Sunday night to announce it.

This 90 day wage/price freeze was really a PR campaign to blame Labor Unions and farmers for inflation and not the Wall Street banks who were really to blame. This turned into 1000 days of hodge podge government regulation that favored the big banks and corporations and tanked the economy for everybody else. It produced double digit inflation that persisted for ten years and this is where the term Stagflation comes from, defined as high inflation and no growth. The bad economy of course opened the door for Reaganomics which was more of the same bad policies on steroids.

It’s popular to blame LBJ and Nixon for trying to hide the real cost of the Vietnam War by spending lots of USD overseas and then inflating the currency to keep from paying for it in real dollars or gold. It’s more widespread than that as the big Wall Street banks and the large corporations were simply manipulating the system to enrich themselves, the War was just one profit center.

The early seventies was when the Financial Services Sector really started to grab hold as inflation required everybody to start borrowing money to stay in business. Credit cards became common place as mom and pop businesses could not continue to provide credit and this opened the door for the corporations to start pushing them out.

The whole thing was systematic and thorough because it was official “policy” that the billionaire (they really were only multi-millionaires in those days) funded think tanks pushed hard for this agenda with government. Political funding flowed from the rich and corporate America to the Republican Party and any Democrats that would look the other way.

Nixon actually masqueraded as a liberal and even called himself a Keynesian on economics (the right called him a Marxist). He was neither, he let the Democratic Congress have liberal programs like the EPA and even offered a healthcare system identical to “Obamacare”. In return Congress looked the other way while he set in motion an economic policy that FDR and Keynes referred to as “Economic Royalism“.  

Here we are today with the top ¾ of one percent holding 45 trillion in wealth (more than the bottom 90%) with another 6 trillion hidden overseas. This is expected to more than double by the end of the decade to 100 trillion. The very top ½ of one percent are the really wealthy that can borrow money at zero interest, evade almost all taxes and totally intimidate the government.

You wonder why Obama doesn’t save us from this? The country was long gone before Obama came to office. Only the retaking of Congress by the people could save us, but the majority of the country think that they are in the same class with the top 1%, or could be if they just pull on their bootstraps the right way. They don’t realize that their bootstraps are owned by somebody else and that no amount of pulling will help.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weeds in the Straw

I don't think I've ever heard a commentator who explains the Iowa Republican Straw Poll accurately. It's true that candidates do bus in as many supports in as they can and almost nobody buys their $30 ticket.  But this won't buy a candidate any reliable votes. They all entice the voters with free lunch, cheap country music bands and give continuous speeches. Ron Paul even had a variety of bouncy castles in a playground for the kids. But they may take freebies from one candidate and vote for another.

Odds are the crazier the candidate the more likely their supporters will show up, this explains the domination by Bachman and Paul. Neither of them are likely to survive the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. (Iowa Republicans don't caucus, just the Democrats do that, it's too complicated)

The Republican candidate will be selected by the big money bundlers that have been sitting out so far. Bachman has no problem raising money but if the really big money decides that Perry satisfies the Christian crazies, then their money will go to Bush 45. Romney has about as much chance as pizza guy unless everybody else implodes. Over the years he has produced too many sound bites to hope to get anywhere. The pundits keep saying that the Obama camp is afraid of Romney, I'd bet that the Obama people push that idea themselves. They know they can beat him and they don't want anybody better getting the nomination, not that the Republicans have anybody. Keep in mind that Bush didn't win either election and some key states have gotten rid of the touch screen machines.