Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22 2011: A reality we wouldn't want to live in


National Photo Co. Sennett girls 1919
Producer Mack Sennett's comedy reels featured a bevy of "bathing beauties," among them Marvel Rea, seen here in the harlequin costume


Ilargi: It's a thin line beteeen comedy and tragedy. From time to time, quite often actually, stories pass before my eyes that make me think: did I really just read that? Was that serious? Like I had one last week, with Paul Krugman talking about aliens:
Paul Krugman: Fake Alien Invasion Would End Economic Slump
"If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months [..]"

Ilargi: Only, what I found weird was not so much that he talked about aliens, but that he implied that a “common enemy" would end the US economic slump in 18 months. That to me, once again, shows such a deep lack of understanding of the issues at hand that what's maybe truly weird is that the man still has readers. Unless the US declares all-out war on its creditors, there's no way it can get rid of its piles of debt, public and private, in 18 months. So, nah, not all that remarkable perhaps, just more Krugman.

The following series of articles form today's Daily Telegraph, however, does have that je ne sais quoi level. First off, James Hurley writes:
UK household finances are 'worse than during height of recession'
Household budgets are deteriorating at a faster rate than during the height of the recession in early 2009, according to an analysis of consumers' finances. Almost 40pc of households saw their finances deteriorate between July and August, compared to just under 6pc that reported an improvement as Britons were hit by rising prices and a squeeze on take-home pay.

The latest Markit household finance index also found consumers suffered the fastest fall in their available cash since the monthly survey began in February 2009. Income from employment fell for the eleventh month running – August saw the steepest decline in take-home pay for nine months – while spending power continued to be squeezed by rising prices.

Markit said these factors contributed to the sharpest reduction in savings since March 2009. Debt levels increased for the fifth consecutive month, and at the fastest pace since November 2010. The gloomy outlook applied to all income groups, age ranges and regions monitored by the survey, but consumers in the north of England are suffering more than those in the south, the financial information company found.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said: "With consumer spending accounting for around two-thirds of UK gross domestic product, this does not bode well for the second half of the year. It is likely that the UK economy will be increasingly dependent on external demand."

Ilargi: In short, the UK economy is gasping for air, being gutted alive. Nothing we didn't know already. So it’s only logical that we see this item by Rebecca Choules next up:
Half of first-time buyers have given up hope
More than 50pc of would-be first-time buyers have given up hope of being able to afford property.

Fifty three per cent of would-be home buyers believe that they won’t ever be able to afford to buy a home. According to the Post Office, half of prospective home owners said that in order to save enough money for a deposit, they would need to either get a better-paid job with a higher salary, or receive a lump sum from a relative. The average age of a first-time buyer is 35 today compared with just 23 in the 1960s. The Post Office blamed rising house prices and the huge deposits needed to get on the property ladder.

The research found that on a regional basis, would-be buyers who are already living in London are being hit hardest when trying to raise a deposit, as they are faced with the obstacle of high property prices. Some 43pc of people living in the capital say that they could not afford a deposit unless their financial circumstances changed. This is considerably higher than the national average of 37pc.

Ilargi: Yeah, color me surprised to see all those people still looking for homes to buy. They should than the banks for saving them the misery. Britain has a huge housing bubble waiting to blow. Or is it different this time, and this place? Emma Wall reports:
UK house prices to rise 14% to record highs by 2015
The housing slump is over, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The think tank has predicted that by 2015 house prices across the UK will have risen on average 14pc – to an all-time high. A new report from the CEBR predicts that the average British home will be worth more than £200,000 by 2015, up from the current value of £176,000. This is nearly £10,000 more than the previous house price peak in 1997, when the average home was worth £191,200.

This prediction is less aggressive than the previous forecast from the CEBR in May, when it predicted that house prices would grow 16pc over the next four years. The CEBR blamed the lack of houses compared to demand for the expected rise. Shehan Mohamed, an economist for the CEBR, said: "We forecast an average of 110,000 new homes to be built every year over the medium term.

"This is significantly lower than the 225,000 homes that need to be created every year to keep pace with current housing needs, population growth and the trend towards reduced household sizes.

Ilargi: Let's see: prospective first-time buyers can't get a loan no matter what they try, but home prices will still rise to record highs, according to the CEBR. The question then becomes: who's going to furnish the loans that will be needed for those record purchases? Will it be these guys that Patrick Jenkins writes about in the Financial Times?
Pension conundrum at UK banks
The slump in equity values in recent weeks – particularly acute for Britain’s banks – has done much to undermine confidence in the financial sector and the economy’s prospects for growth. But it has also left the industry with a peculiar anomaly. Of the big four high-street groups, only HSBC now boasts a market capitalisation greater than its pension fund liabilities.

Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are, in the view of the stock market, worth less than the amount they owe their current and future pensioners. The gap is widest at Lloyds – with pension liabilities of £27bn, against a market cap of less than £20bn. It is pretty dramatic as trivia facts go. But since pension liabilities are long-term in nature, they have no direct connection with the banks’ own short-term market values.

The pension funds in question – so-called defined benefit schemes – are also independent from the banks, with their own assets to cover their liabilities. But there are ways in which the costs of meeting pension fund obligations can spill over into the banks themselves.

Ilargi: They can't pay their own employees' pensions, but they are going to push up home prices to infinity and beyond? Hmm. Here's what British banks lost in market cap since August 2006:
  • Lloyds: -94.54% (-58.10% in past year)
  • Barclays: - 76.85% (-53.08% in past year)
  • RBS: -96.83% (-54.15% in past year)

No, I don't think so. I don't think home prices in Britain are going to rise. I'd say it's pretty obvious it's in the early stages of a severe credit crunch, the same one the entire western world is in. US home prices have dropped over 30% to date, and that's where Britain will go. And then, just like the US, it will go on falling, For a long time.

Unless, unless, the crazy scheme Jenkins was talking about actually flies. Hard to imagine, but hey, nothing seems too far-fetched anymore in the world of finance, does it?
Banks shift assets to cut pension deficits
Some of Britain’s biggest banks have begun quietly ridding themselves of billions of pounds of assets they have found difficult to sell following the financial crisis, moving them off their balance sheets and into staff pension funds.

The moves – designed with the dual purpose of clearing unwanted assets from the banks’ own books while at the same time closing pension fund deficits – have been made as exceptional top-up payments into the pension schemes over recent months.

HSBC made a £1.76bn exceptional payment into its pension scheme, comprising a portfolio of assets ranging from subordinated debt to asset-backed securities, last December. Lloyds also made a £1bn commitment to its pension fund as part of a £5bn transfer of assets into an intermediary funding vehicle. Lloyds did not respond to requests for information about the arrangement, but pensions experts said the measures were comparable with the HSBC plan. [..]

Nobby Clark, who runs HSBC’s pensions solutions group, said the transfer of illiquid assets into pension schemes was a sensible way for banks to deal with funding deficits. "The pension scheme has the ability to take liquidity risk with assets that aren’t liquid temporarily," Mr Clark said. Pension funds’ liabilities are long-term, so short-term illiquidity is unimportant.

Many big banks found themselves with vast portfolios of illiquid assets, such as asset-backed securities tied to the US mortgage market, following the 2008 financial crisis. Not only must banks mark the value of the assets, held in their trading books, to still-low market rates, but the majority also attract higher capital requirements under new regulations. The rules do not apply to assets in pension funds, however.

Banks gain from capital and tax relief on the transfer transactions, while the pension fund typically secures contributions much sooner than if it were to wait for cash payments. Some pension fund trustees have expressed concern that they are receiving questionable assets in place of cash. "[Trustees] might say: ‘If I can have a crisp new white shirt why would I want one you wore yesterday?’" said Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-chief executive of consultancy Redington.

But bank executives point out that transfers into bank pension funds have occurred at impaired book values. In addition, some assets have been given another valuation "haircut" of as much as 20 per cent, according to pensions experts – sufficient to placate pension fund trustees.

Ilargi: Yes, you read that correctly: Britain's banks, having been propped full with taxpayer money but still lost 75%-95% of their market value, are busy unloading their landfilling toxic waste (a term that comes straight from the banking world) unto their very employees. Who at least to some extent should be bankers, and understand what this stuff is worth; they may have well sold it themselves. And all this is presented as being beneficial to all parties. No scruples there.

Got to love this, though: ”... transfers into bank pension funds have occurred at impaired book values. In addition, some assets have been given another valuation "haircut" of as much as 20 per cent [..]" Oh, is that a fact? Now that makes me wonder what these"securities" are carried on the banks' books for.

The people whose pension funds are poisoned with the toxic paper can stand in line with all the others who -will- have no pensions left. There's a number that actuallydoes show remarkable growth rates, says Rachel Louise Ensign in the Wall Street Journal:
For Many Seniors, There May Be No Retirement
Many older people are finding themselves in a position they never expected to be in at retirement age: still working or in need of a job. And the laundry list of reasons just keeps growing. Already battered nest eggs took another beating this month with the market's wild swings.

With interest rates essentially at zero since 2008, income from Treasurys and certificates of deposit is pretty paltry. And the Federal Reserve recently said it would likely keep rates "exceptionally low" through mid-2013. On top of that, housing prices are still in the doldrums, leaving homeowners with much less equity to tap.

More than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past 65 -- and 47% of that group say they'll do so because they'll need the money or health benefits, according to a 2011 study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

Ilargi: Calculated Risk's Bill McBride summarizes a survey on the topic.
The New Retirement Plan: No Retirement
The survey found that for many Americans, the foundation of their retirement strategy is simply not to retire, to work considerably longer than the traditional retirement age, or work in retirement:
  • 39 percent of workers plan to work past age 70 or do not plan to retire
  • 54 percent of workers expect to plan to continue working when they retire
  • 40 percent now expect to work longer and retire at an older age since the recession

Workers’ greatest fears about retirement include “outliving my savings and investments” and “not being able to meet the financial needs of my family.”
  • Workers estimate their retirement savings needs at $600,000 (median), but in comparison, fewer than one-third (30 percent) have currently saved more than $100,000 in all household retirement accounts
  • Most workers, regardless of age or household income, agree that they could work until age 65 and still not have enough money saved to meet their retirement needs
  • Of those who plan on working past the traditional retirement age of 65, the most commonly cited reasons are of need versus choice
  • Many workers (31 percent) anticipate that they will need to provide financial support to family members

Ilargi: Pensions, health care, education, you name it. Whatever field does not produce profit will be gutted, cut out and thrown by the wayside, no matter the consequences for anyone. It’ll happen in Greece, in Britain and in the US. And nowhere will it be accepted lying down once reality sinks in. The reality we're busy creating is one most of us wouldn't want to live in. So we choose to ignore we're creating it. Until we're in it, and ignoring is no longer an option.










Support The Automatic Earth
Donate to our Summer Fund Drive

















UK house prices to rise 14% to record highs by 2015
by Emma Wall - Telegraph

Property prices will rise 14pc to hit an all-time high by 2015 predicts Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The housing slump is over, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The think tank has predicted that by 2015 house prices across the UK will have risen on average 14pc – to an all-time high. A new report from the CEBR predicts that the average British home will be worth more than £200,000 by 2015, up from the current value of £176,000. This is nearly £10,000 more than the previous house price peak in 1997, when the average home was worth £191,200.

This prediction is less aggressive than the previous forecast from the CEBR in May, when it predicted that house prices would grow 16pc over the next four years. The CEBR blamed the lack of houses compared to demand for the expected rise. Shehan Mohamed, an economist for the CEBR, said: "We forecast an average of 110,000 new homes to be built every year over the medium term.

"This is significantly lower than the 225,000 homes that need to be created every year to keep pace with current housing needs, population growth and the trend towards reduced household sizes."

Though the 14pc rise may be bad news for first time buyers, this rate of increase is less than the Government's official rate of inflation which rose to 4.4pc this week. Douglas McWilliams, CEBR chief executive, said that first time buyers need not worry that this increase is a repeat of the housing boom in the Nineties. He said: "We do not expect a house price boom, but the housing shortage is likely to push prices gently upwards."




Half of first-time buyers have given up hope
by Rebecca Choules - Telegraph

More than 50pc of would-be first-time buyers have given up hope of being able to afford property.

Fifty three per cent of would-be home buyers believe that they won’t ever be able to afford to buy a home. According to the Post Office, half of prospective home owners said that in order to save enough money for a deposit, they would need to either get a better-paid job with a higher salary, or receive a lump sum from a relative. The average age of a first-time buyer is 35 today compared with just 23 in the 1960s. The Post Office blamed rising house prices and the huge deposits needed to get on the property ladder.

The research found that on a regional basis, would-be buyers who are already living in London are being hit hardest when trying to raise a deposit, as they are faced with the obstacle of high property prices. Some 43pc of people living in the capital say that they could not afford a deposit unless their financial circumstances changed. This is considerably higher than the national average of 37pc.

In contrast, only 32pc of people living in the West Midlands said that raising the deposit was the main reason impeding their decision to buy. However, it seems they are feeling the pinch more that their southern counterparts, as 32pc of people in the region cited unaffordable mortgage repayments as their main reason, compared to the national average of 12pc.

David Hollingworth, mortgage broker for London & Country Mortgages recommended first time buyers prioritise saving a deposit in order to access a more affordable loan rate. He said: “The key issue for any first time buyer is the size of deposit that they can manage to pull together. The bigger the deposit the more options they will have and the cheaper the interest rates will be.

"Mortgage options for those with only a 5pc deposit can be pretty much counted on the fingers of one hand and although there’s been slow but steady improvement for those with 10pc to put down, the market remains restricted."

Mr Hollingworth compared Skipton Building Society's two year fixed rate mortgage at 5.99pc, which requires a 5pc deposit with Chelsea Building Society's home loan, which requires a 10pc deposit but has a rate of 4.39pc. "At the other extreme if you have a 40pc deposit, ING Direct offers a two year fixed rate of just 2.49pc," he said.




UK household finances are 'worse than during height of recession'
by James Hurley - Telegraph

Household budgets are deteriorating at a faster rate than during the height of the recession in early 2009, according to an analysis of consumers' finances. Almost 40pc of households saw their finances deteriorate between July and August, compared to just under 6pc that reported an improvement as Britons were hit by rising prices and a squeeze on take-home pay.

The latest Markit household finance index also found consumers suffered the fastest fall in their available cash since the monthly survey began in February 2009. Income from employment fell for the eleventh month running – August saw the steepest decline in take-home pay for nine months – while spending power continued to be squeezed by rising prices.

Markit said these factors contributed to the sharpest reduction in savings since March 2009. Debt levels increased for the fifth consecutive month, and at the fastest pace since November 2010. The gloomy outlook applied to all income groups, age ranges and regions monitored by the survey, but consumers in the north of England are suffering more than those in the south, the financial information company found.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said: "With consumer spending accounting for around two-thirds of UK gross domestic product, this does not bode well for the second half of the year. It is likely that the UK economy will be increasingly dependent on external demand."

Although respondents were slightly less pessimistic than in the previous survey about the outlook for their finances in 12 months' time, 49pc said they expected their financial position to worsen while just 27pc anticipated an improvement.

Markit said the pressure on purchasing power is unlikely to ease in the short term, with the Bank of England expecting inflation to reach 5pc later this year as higher prices continue to filter through to household budgets. Fears over the eurozone crisis and the prospect of a double-dip recession are also hitting consumer confidence, Mr Moore added.




Banks shift assets to cut pension deficits
by Patrick Jenkins- FT

Some of Britain’s biggest banks have begun quietly ridding themselves of billions of pounds of assets they have found difficult to sell following the financial crisis, moving them off their balance sheets and into staff pension funds.

The moves – designed with the dual purpose of clearing unwanted assets from the banks’ own books while at the same time closing pension fund deficits – have been made as exceptional top-up payments into the pension schemes over recent months.

HSBC made a £1.76bn exceptional payment into its pension scheme, comprising a portfolio of assets ranging from subordinated debt to asset-backed securities, last December. Lloyds also made a £1bn commitment to its pension fund as part of a £5bn transfer of assets into an intermediary funding vehicle. Lloyds did not respond to requests for information about the arrangement, but pensions experts said the measures were comparable with the HSBC plan.

Both moves were revealed in annual reports, although few details were disclosed. Royal Bank of Scotland is believed to have considered a similar transaction, though this month it decided for the time being to use only cash to address its pension fund deficit. Like many companies, all the big UK banks are currently running deficits, with insufficient assets to cover projected liabilities.

Nobby Clark, who runs HSBC’s pensions solutions group, said the transfer of illiquid assets into pension schemes was a sensible way for banks to deal with funding deficits. "The pension scheme has the ability to take liquidity risk with assets that aren’t liquid temporarily," Mr Clark said. Pension funds’ liabilities are long-term, so short-term illiquidity is unimportant.

Many big banks found themselves with vast portfolios of illiquid assets, such as asset-backed securities tied to the US mortgage market, following the 2008 financial crisis. Not only must banks mark the value of the assets, held in their trading books, to still-low market rates, but the majority also attract higher capital requirements under new regulations. The rules do not apply to assets in pension funds, however.

Banks gain from capital and tax relief on the transfer transactions, while the pension fund typically secures contributions much sooner than if it were to wait for cash payments. Some pension fund trustees have expressed concern that they are receiving questionable assets in place of cash. "[Trustees] might say: ‘If I can have a crisp new white shirt why would I want one you wore yesterday?’" said Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-chief executive of consultancy Redington.

But bank executives point out that transfers into bank pension funds have occurred at impaired book values. In addition, some assets have been given another valuation "haircut" of as much as 20 per cent, according to pensions experts – sufficient to placate pension fund trustees.

The trend is a version of a pension funding strategy popularised by retailers in recent years, based on property transfers. The news comes as HM Revenue and Customs prepares to close a loophole in tax relief rules governing asset-based pension fund transfers.

Last week HMRC concluded consultation on a plan to clamp down on what it said was a ruse by some companies to claim double corporate tax relief on pension contributions, by routing assets into an intermediate vehicle first, before income is then paid on annually in a series of secondary transactions into the pension fund.

Pensions experts say as many as 20 companies may have adopted the structures, with Lloyds being the biggest, though it is unclear how many are "double-dipping" on tax relief.

John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert, believes Lloyds may lose out on as much as £155m of anticipated relief on its £1bn planned contribution when the loophole is closed. "The real issue," Mr Ralfe said, "is why it has taken HMRC since 2007, when the first transaction was completed, to take the first step to plug this loophole."




Pension conundrum at UK banks
by Patrick Jenkins - FT

The slump in equity values in recent weeks – particularly acute for Britain’s banks – has done much to undermine confidence in the financial sector and the economy’s prospects for growth. But it has also left the industry with a peculiar anomaly. Of the big four high-street groups, only HSBC now boasts a market capitalisation greater than its pension fund liabilities.

Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are, in the view of the stock market, worth less than the amount they owe their current and future pensioners. The gap is widest at Lloyds – with pension liabilities of £27bn, against a market cap of less than £20bn. It is pretty dramatic as trivia facts go. But since pension liabilities are long-term in nature, they have no direct connection with the banks’ own short-term market values.

The pension funds in question – so-called defined benefit schemes – are also independent from the banks, with their own assets to cover their liabilities. But there are ways in which the costs of meeting pension fund obligations can spill over into the banks themselves.

As analysts at Citigroup recently pointed out, the bank with the biggest issue is probably Barclays. Its deficit is the widest, at nearly 16 per cent of market capitalisation, using an end-2010 accounting measure.

Deficits matter because they get deducted from banks’ core tier one capital ratio – the key measure of financial strength and a sharp focus point of regulatory scrutiny. They also matter because they need to be remedied. After valuations by actuaries, companies have to promise pension fund trustees that they will fill funding gaps with top-up payments.

Like most companies, the banks are likely to see deficits increase in the current environment. Not only is the value of the equities they hold declining; low interest rates mean the so-called discount rate applied to the calculation of liabilities inflates the amount needed to meet pay-out requirements.

The banks, though, have not been idle. In recent years, they have started to take pension deficits seriously, applying innovative financial tools to deal with assets and liabilities.

HSBC took the lead, following a review of its pension schemes in 2004. "We started to drag pensions away from HR and into the bank’s Treasury function," says Nobby Clark, who runs the bank’s pensions solutions group and oversees more than 200 schemes. "As soon as you start to think of pension liabilities as part of the overall balance sheet – and think about the way the deficit evolves – that is a useful discipline."

Part of the approach has involved cutting liabilities by closing schemes to new members, restricting the amount of future pay increases that would count towards "final salary" calculations. But there has also been a more creative approach to managing liability risk. One of HSBC’s innovations was to start using derivatives, such as interest rate swaps, in large quantities.

Robert Waugh, who has a similar role at RBS, has also overseen liability hedging but has also focused on improving asset management. "One of the first things we did was to cut the number of investment consultants we used and reduce asset management fees. We instantly generated a 10 per cent cost saving," he says.

Asset allocation has also evolved. The banks have shifted more of their assets away from equities and towards long-dated bonds that more closely match the funds’ liability profile. RBS, for example, cut its equity allocation from 39 per cent to 26 per cent last year. Barclays has been the exception, increasing equity exposure from 27 to 30 per cent.

The biggest innovation of recent times, though, has been the realisation that just as retailers have been able to use their property assets instead of cash to make pension contributions, so banks have also been able to use balance sheet assets. The banks are shy to talk about the practice, since it may involve moving assets that were sometimes dubbed "toxic" amid the financial crisis off the banks’ own balance sheet and into the pension funds. Both Lloyds and Barclays declined to be interviewed.

But HSBC, which took the lead in this area, is convinced it makes sense for both sides. Many "toxic" assets, such as asset-backed securities may be only temporarily impaired in value and illiquid in terms of market appetite. That should not matter for a pension fund, whose liabilities are long-term. "The pension scheme has the ability to take liquidity risk," says Mr Clark.

Last December, HSBC put £1.76bn of assets into the fund as part of a 10-year plan to close the £3.2bn actuarial deficit identified in December 2008. Lloyds has made similar transfers and RBS is believed to have considered the idea. Pension fund trustees appear to have been mollified by discounts applied to the assets’ book value.

Not everyone believes the mechanism is appropriate. "It’s a matter of whether trustees are happy to accept these assets," says Alistair Asher, partner at Allen & Overy, the law firm. But if Mr Clark is right, it could be a crucial answer to the pension funding challenge, allowing pension funds to benefit in the long term and banks to benefit now.





For Many Seniors, There May Be No Retirement
by Rachel Louise Ensign - Wall Street Journal

When Angela Gregor's mother became ill and needed long-term care in the 1990s, Ms. Gregor tapped her individual retirement account for funds and stopped making contributions. Then came the tumultuous stock-market ups and downs of the past decade, dealing the IRA another blow.

To make ends meet, Ms. Gregor went back to work part time last September, as a data-entry clerk at a senior center near Chicago. The 67-year-old hopes to retire by age 70, but says she'll have a hard time doing so if she can't sell her home. "Everything is more expensive. I cannot retire, I wish I could," says Ms. Gregor. "Like most older people, my money is in my home. ... I'm caught between a rock and a hard place."

Many older people are finding themselves in a position they never expected to be in at retirement age: still working or in need of a job. And the laundry list of reasons just keeps growing. Already battered nest eggs took another beating this month with the market's wild swings. With interest rates essentially at zero since 2008, income from Treasurys and certificates of deposit is pretty paltry. And the Federal Reserve recently said it would likely keep rates "exceptionally low" through mid-2013. On top of that, housing prices are still in the doldrums, leaving homeowners with much less equity to tap.

More than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past 65 -- and 47% of that group say they'll do so because they'll need the money or health benefits, according to a 2011 study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. But in this tight labor market, working into your golden years isn't easy. And you'll have to make your age and years on the job come across as assets, not liabilities. In addition, with the current market upheaval, you'll need a financial plan that puts your savings on the fast track and takes into account how Social Security and Medicare benefits could be affected.

Staying the Course
For many older workers, the easiest option may be to continue with their current employer. But that will entail making themselves essential. Workers should take on new projects when possible. And it's crucial to stay on top of the latest technology being used; you don't want to be perceived as the old guy who doesn't know what's going on. Older employees also can put their experience to use -- and on display -- by volunteering to mentor younger workers either formally or informally.

Dave Bowe, 70, says he has kept his position at Stacy Adams Shoe Co. since 1977 because he has continued to be one of the men's footwear company's top-selling sales representatives. He says working has helped him pay for expenses related to his wife's disability and keep insurance that covers her medical expenses, though he also enjoys the job.

Mr. Bowe says he stays close with longtime customers, answering their calls at night or on the weekend. When he had to cut back on overnight travel when his wife became disabled, he made up for lost business by aggressively pursuing new clients closer to home. "I have to produce or the company wouldn't let me work out here," says Mr. Bowe.

Of course, some workers may have to take illness or physical limitations into account. If you feel like you can no longer manage physical labor, late hours or travel, talk to your manager about moving to a different position, says Beverly Harvey, a career coach in Pierson, Fla. Suggest the position you'd like to move to and show how you're qualified for it, she says. If your boss is the one initiating such a conversation, chances are your standing at the company has already suffered.

Another option is phased retirement programs that let workers gradually reduce their hours, says Cornelia Gamlem, president of human-resources consulting firm GEMS Group. There also are job-sharing arrangements, she says. For instance, if you and a co-worker are both thinking of paring your work hours, approach management with a plan detailing how you could divide your time and responsibilities. Just keep in mind that a change to your full-time status could affect your eligibility for benefits such as health insurance or a 401(k) match.

Starting Over
Finding employment outside your company will present more of a challenge since you essentially have to prove yourself from scratch. Ideally, you want to seek work within the same industry to take advantage of your network and work experience. If you look in a different field, figure out what skills you can translate into a new role.

When Ms. Gregor interviewed for her position at the senior center, she highlighted the computer and accounting skills she'd honed in decades of office work, even though she had most recently worked as a home health aide. Some employers are known to hire senior citizens. AARP (aarp.org) has a directory. Search for "National Employer Team." Some temporary-employment agencies, including Kelly Services and Adecco, specialize in placing seniors.

Keep Saving
While you may need a steady paycheck to pay the bills, you'll still need to save for when you eventually do stop working. Workers age 50 and older typically can contribute an additional $5,500 to a 401(k) annually and an extra $1,000 to an IRA. You also can get a tax credit of up to $2,000 annually if you contribute to a retirement plan and make $55,500 or less (for joint filers) or $27,750 (for single filers). You generally don't have to take required distributions from your 401(k) as long as you keep working for the employer offering the plan -- regardless of your age. But at age 70[frac12], you'll need to start taking annual distributions from a regular IRA. So make a plan to set aside or reinvest as much of those distributions as you can afford.

Hold off on taking Social Security benefits as long as possible since the longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be. If you keep working, benefits are likely to be subject to federal income tax and may be further reduced if you take them before full retirement age. Finally, if you're using Medicare, keep in mind that your premiums are determined by your income.




Stock Market Plunges Begin To Feed Economic Fear
by Bernard Condon and Christopher Rugaber - AP

The stock market is starting to feed economic fear, not just reflect it.

Stocks have fallen four weeks in a row. Some on Wall Street worry that the resulting blow to confidence, not to mention 401(k) statements, has set off a spiral of fear that could push prices even lower, cause people and businesses to pull back and tip the economy into a new recession. "I'm nervous that fear will lead companies to stop hiring and people to stop spending," says Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist of Wells Capital Management, famous for his usually bullish take on the markets.

A home sales report this past week showed that more sales than usual fell apart at the last minute, which suggests plunging stocks and dismal economic news gave buyers cold feet. At least 16 percent of deals were canceled ahead of closings last month, four times the rate in May. Beth Ann Bovino, senior economist at Standard & Poor's, says that another big plunge in stocks could "push us closer to the brink."

The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index ended Friday at 1,123.53, down 5 percent for the week. The average is down 16 percent during the four-week losing streak. One reason for the drop is fear that another recession, if not certain, is more likely now. The run of bad economic news started last month when the government said the economy grew much more weakly in the first half of this year than thought. Growth, at an annual rate of 0.8 percent, was the slowest since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

The economic weakness has made investors more likely to sell stocks at the first hint that things are getting worse. And last week, they got signs aplenty. A regional survey by the Federal Reserve said manufacturing had slowed in the mid-Atlantic states by the most in more than two years. Existing home sales fell in July for third time in four months. Another report showed that exports from Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, had slumped for the fifth straight month. Japan is still reeling from the effects of an earthquake and tsunami in March.

The housing market, which usually helps lead an economic recovery, keeps getting worse. The plunging stock market and scary economic news won't make it any better. "What you're seeing with the economy, on the job front – it's scaring a lot of people," says Brian Fine, a loan manager at Mortgage Master in Rockville, Md. He says the housing market will languish until buyers and sellers feel more secure about the economy. "People are really motivated by larger economic trends. It's all about if you feel confident enough to buy a home right now," he says.

The news from Europe got worse, too. Its economy has slowed considerably – even in Germany, which has been its greatest source of strength. Fear spread that European banks, already ailing because they hold bonds of countries that are struggling with debt, were having trouble getting short-term loans to pay for day-to-day activities.

Some Wall Street analysts say reports of trouble were exaggerated, but that didn't seem to matter. For investors, the prospect of banks scrambling for cash dredged up bad memories of the global credit freeze that hit in the fall of 2008 – and they sold stocks. "A negative feedback loop ... appears to be in the making," two economists at Morgan Stanley wrote Thursday in a widely cited report that itself seemed to beget more fear and selling. It warned that the U.S. was "dangerously close" to recession.

Stock investors aren't the only ones worried. Martin Fridson, global chief credit strategist at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, notes that investors in bonds issued by the riskiest U.S. companies are dumping them, too. These investors fear that in a recession companies might not be able to pay interest on these so-called junk bonds. The selling has forced up the average interest rate on the bonds to 8.3 percent. If investors had faith in the economy, the rate would be 4.6 percent, Fridson says. "I'm nervous," says Fridson, who has followed the junk bond market since 1984. "I think there's a very material risk of falling into recession."

Investors are responding to the risk by putting their money where they feel safe. Demand for the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was so high last week that the yield dipped below 2 percent for the first time in half a century. And the price of gold has set one record after another. It topped $1,800 an ounce last week.

Although unemployment remains stubbornly high, at 9.1 percent, there are signs that the economy, while not strong, is still growing. Retail sales grew in July at the fastest pace since March. Employers added 117,000 jobs last month – a modest gain, but far better than the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost each month during the Great Recession. Factory production rose in July because automakers made more cars.

And Wall Street analysts who analyze companies and advise investors when to buy and sell don't seem to be worried. As stocks were falling Friday, research firm FactSet released figures that showed just how much more optimistic these analysts are than the average investor.

Stocks are priced at roughly 11 times their expected earnings per share over the next year. That's a steep discount compared with the market's long-term average of 15 times. Translation: If you believe the U.S. will avoid recession and companies will generate profits as high as the analysts think they will, the S&P should be trading at 1,560 – just below the S&P's record high of 1,565 in October 2007.

Of course, if the economy is weak and earnings don't come in as expected, it could turn out that stocks were trading today at 15 times the next year's earnings. That's what many of today's sellers seem be expecting. And skeptics note that analysts are notoriously bullish, and tend to overestimate profits as the economy slows. Wells Capital's Paulsen thinks stocks should be trading higher, though he suggests investors will pay a steep price if he's wrong. "If we have a recession, we'll probably break 1,000" on the S&P index, he says.

Investors will be on edge this week as they scrutinize new data on the economy. On Tuesday, new home sales for July are released, followed on Thursday by a weekly report on how many people are joining the unemployment line. On Friday, the government will give its second estimate of how fast the economy grew from April through June.

The most anticipated event, though, is a speech the same day by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at a retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Fed pledged earlier this month to keep interest rates super-low through mid-2013. Investors hope Bernanke will announce, or at least preview, further steps to help the economy. But economists say it is unlikely Bernanke will unveil anything ambitious.

With all the high emotion surrounding stocks, economist Joel Naroff cautions investors not to read too much into the recent swings. He says that stocks have a habit of running from one extreme to the other, including this spring, when he thought they were far too high. He thinks stocks may be fairly valued now. They reflect an "economy that is growing but not growing at any great pace," he says. "It is not in recession."




Bernanke May Have to Go for 'Shock and Awe': Strategist
by CNBC.com

As global markets await hints of further stimulus in Fed Chief Ben Bernanke's annual speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week, one strategist says the U.S. central bank may be forced to take extreme measures to prop up the U.S. economy.

"If the Fed really is going to go down the route of another round of unconventional policy making, I think they've got to go in for, what I called, shock and awe," Russell Jones, Global Head of Fixed Income Strategy at Westpac Institutional Bank told CNBC on Monday.

"The problem from Bernanke's point of view is that, really, he is beholden to price action in equity markets, which is not something really where any central bank wants to be."
Jones believes the pressure on Bernanke to respond with a policy move will be "absolutely overwhelming" if the U.S. stock market sees further selloff. He thinks the trigger point would be a decline of a further 10 percent from the current levels. The recent stock market rout has already wiped out more than 10 percent from major indices. "If we really are in trouble at the end of the week, I think they'll have to respond," Jones said.

Pressure has been mounting for the Fed to take to take action - possibly a third round of stimulus or quantitative easing 3 (QE3) – after recent data, particularly the Philly Fed manufacturing index and weekly jobless claims, pointed to continued economic weakness. Still, higher inflation and the Fed's already pledging to keep interest rates low till 2013 have many thinking there may not be anything new at Jackson Hole later this week.

But Jones thinks otherwise. "Aggressive or dramatic weakness in the stock market probably trumps any fears about inflation, and that would dominate," he said, adding that "the Fed would seek to look through an inflationary threat and offer up a policy response." He believes there may be some effort by the Fed to extend the maturity of its balance sheet, though this would only be an incremental policy move.

For more impact, Jones says the Fed should launch a much bigger quantitative easing program than the previous two rounds, including formally targeting longer term interest rates such as setting the 10-year Treasury at 2 percent or lower for an extended period and allowing the balance sheet to expand to whatever level is necessary to achieve that aim. "That would certainly be shock and awe, and I think that might generate a more positive response in stock markets."




Merkel defies pressure on debt crisis
by Gerrit Wiesmann, Jennifer Thompson and Kerin Hope - FT

Angela Merkel on Sunday urged Europe to stand firm in the face of market pressure and the "dramatic crisis" gripping the eurozone, insisting the solution was for states to slash public debt and boost competitiveness.

"Politics cannot and will not simply follow the markets," Germany’s chancellor said, repeating her refusal to countenance funding indebted nations with a bond guaranteed by all members of the single currency bloc. "The markets want to force us into doing certain things, and that we won’t do," Ms Merkel said, shrugging off last week’s gyrations in equity and bond markets.

Her remarks came as a leading French banker warned that anxiety swirling around European banks could continue for months to come. "Nervousness around banking stocks could last at least until the beginning of November," Frédéric Oudéa, chief executive of Société Générale, told a French newspaper.

Shares in European banks have slumped by more than 20 per cent so far this month amid fears over the debt crisis and slowing global growth. US officials remain deeply concerned about Europe’s inability to resolve the crisis and the potential knock-on effects on the world economy.

Greece’s four biggest banks on Sunday stepped in to rescue a small lender and avert a run on the country’s fragile banking system. The deal to recapitalise Proton Bank was essential to prevent "creating a mood of fear with unpredictable consequences", one banker said.

Ms Merkel was backed by Wolfgang Schäuble, her finance minister, who said the eurozone would become an "inflation community" if countries opted to sell a joint bond without first unifying their fiscal policies. Mr Schäuble is due to meet his French counterpart François Baroin on Tuesday to discuss the crisis, including proposed remedies such as a tax on financial transactions.

With investors increasingly worried about the government debt in core eurozone countries including Italy, Spain and France, calls to issue a so-called eurobond have grown louder. But in her most comprehensive rejection of the idea so far, Ms Merkel spoke of legal hurdles including lengthy ratification of an amended EU Treaty and possibly tricky changes to the German constitution. "Solving the current crisis won’t be possible with eurobonds and that’s why eurobonds are not the answer," Ms Merkel told German television.

Instead, states should continue to tackle the markets’ crisis of confidence "at the roots" by pursuing the "extremely difficult task" of improving competitiveness and growth. "The ‘debt union’ has to be replaced by a ‘stability union," she said. "This is a hard and arduous path, which we will not be able to avoid by means of some magic bullet, like issuing eurobonds."




Why The Current Bear Market Is Far From Over
by Comstock Partners

What is currently happening in the market and the economy was predictable and is following the sequence we have long expected. Households accumulated enormous debts in the past decade, leading to the credit crisis and recession of 2007-2009. The government stepped in with massive monetary ease and fiscal expansion that produced only a weak recovery and a vast increase in government debt. The market erroneously assumed that the recovery would follow the pattern of typical post-war expansions and rallied strongly from the early 2009 bottom to the recent highs.

A similar pattern developed in Europe where sovereign debt of the weaker EU members has become a serious problem that EU leaders have been unable to solve. Now we are undergoing the aftershocks of the crisis.

As we have repeatedly stated, crisis recoveries are characterized by short sub-par recoveries and numerous recessions as household debt burdens dampen consumer spending for long periods. We did see the short sub-par recovery and now it seems to be ending at a time when the Fed has already used its best weapons and fiscal policy is due to become more restrictive. First half GDP was revised down sharply. Housing has continued to weaken. Consumer spending has been sluggish. Initial jobless claims for the latest period jumped back over 400,000. The ECRI leading index has declined to 127.9 from its April peak of 131.1.

Even more shocking was the plunge in the August Philly Fed Index to minus 30.7 from 3.2 in July. The drop was the weakest since October 2008. In addition, the August University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 54.9, lower than any level during the recession and the lowest in 31 years. These are the types of readings seen only in recessions. Although the Fed only recently lowered its economic outlook for the second half of this year and 2012 these projections already seem outdated. Today the New York Fed lowered its outlook while numerous brokerage firms and banks have belatedly been scrambling to cut their forecasts as well.

If anything the situation looks even worse in Europe. Germany reported second quarter GDP growth of 0.1% and growth in France was zero. Moreover European banks with exposure to PIIGS debt have been turning to the ECB for emergency loans. Today the ECB reported that one bank (not named) has borrowed 500 million Euros a day for seven days.

The remaining areas of the world cannot stop global GDP growth from shrinking. Japan is in a recession. China is still tightening to dampen inflation. China as well as the other emerging nations are export-driven economies that depend heavily on American and European consumers.

We, therefore, believe that the market has now entered a major downtrend. It is a mistake to dismiss the slide we’ve seen to date as mindless and devoid of fundamentals as many strategists maintain. These are not just scary headlines—-they are scary fundamentals. As usual, there will undoubtedly be some more sharp rallies that will be interpreted as new bull markets. In our view, however, the bear market has only begun, and has a long way to go.




We are in an 'L' of a mess on all fronts
by Bill Jamieson - Scotsman

No autumn storm or "soft patch" this. Across the world, confidence - not just in financial markets but in governments - drained notably in the past week. Bank shares have been battered back down to the crisis lows of 2009. Fears are rising of a massive and resounding failure.

Across America and Europe the markets have priced in a relapse back into recession. But there is something much worse that investors fear. It is a failure of leadership - in America and in Europe - to lift us out of a self- fulfilling collapse of confidence.

How have we gone, in a few months, from an expectation of modest but hopeful recovery to the precipice of a prolonged debt depression - one we thought we had avoided in the financial crisis of 2008-9?

There is a growing sense, not just of recession but of a much larger, epochal step change. In America as much as in Europe, the belief is gaining ground that this will be no short dip back into recession but a period of negative to low growth stretching for years ahead.

Too pessimistic a view? In America last week the yield on US government bonds was driven down to its lowest since 1950. Here in the UK, research by the Bank of England showed gilt yields have fallen to their lowest since 1899. Investors are now pricing in a financial crisis and slump greater than that of the Great Depression.

Little wonder that all eyes are now focused on the annual banking get-together next weekend at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet will both attend. Hopes are now desperate that Bernanke will signal a further bout of quantitative easing (QE).

But there is still insufficient support for this in the Federal Open Markets Committee. As for the ECB, it is reluctant to take on more liabilities on its balance sheet while Germany's Angela Merkel will not countenance the introduction of "eurobonds" without a Euro-wide iron grip on the budgets and fiscal policies of the member states.

Little wonder markets are running out of hope. The market plunges, says veteran UBS economic guru George Magnus, "reflect not only a rise in anxiety about the deteriorating health of the global economy, but the draining of confidence that political elites are up to the task of addressing it".

Allied to this is a growing view that we did not dodge but only delayed the consequences of the banking crisis, and indeed may have made them worse. The transfer of vast debt obligations onto the balance sheets of governments and central banks in 2008-09 fed the illusion that a debt transferred was a debt paid off. What a delusion that was.

In the immediate aftermath the consensus was that economies and markets would rebound. Little therefore needed to change, either in the structure of these economies or in the dynamics of government spending and borrowing, barring some short-lived belt-tightening. This, too, has proved a mirage. Now add to this the loss of faith in the ability of conventional politics and government to handle the scale of the challenge we face.

Political divisions have sharpened in intensity. Last week saw an American presidential candidate Rick Perry denounce any further resort to quantitative easing by the chairman of the US Federal Reserve as "tantamount to treason". With this sort of rhetoric, what hope is there?

Despite tough-sounding austerity talk, deficits and debt have continued to grow. America narrowly avoided formal debt default by last minute agreement to raise its $14.3 billion (£8.7bn) debt ceiling - but still lost its Triple A credit rating. Here in Europe, Ireland, Portugal and Greece have already required bail-outs. Spain and Italy saw massive rises in government bond yields, prompting emergency purchases by the ECB. France then became the target of attack. Whatever "solution" is adopted, the crisis just gets bigger. Amid all this, serious collective action to halt a slide into recession has been notable by its absence.

Governments cannot resort to higher spending because the politics of vote-buying has taken borrowing to the limit of creditor tolerance. Resort to higher taxation may provide a temporary boost to revenues. But this hits consumer pockets, depresses spending and denies governments the very growth needed to bring down those sky-high debt ratios.

Remarks last week by Paul Polman, chief executive of the consumer products giant Unilever, sent more shivers down the spine. Europe and America, he warned, were entering a period of "low growth" so the group is now planning to have 75 per cent of its revenues in emerging markets by the end of the decade.

To this has now been added the spectre of global slowdown, knocking hopes of an export-driven recovery. Conventional "V" or "U" shaped recovery is now being replaced by arguably the most nightmarish shape of all in economics - a prolonged "L" .

It is this prospect that explains why the market falls experienced last week were beyond any reasonable response to disappointing US data on manufacturing and employment.

Prospects are no better in continental Europe where Germany, the continent's motor economy, reported a sharp slowdown to growth of just 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. The French economy is at a standstill. And there was nothing in yet another of those photo-op summits between German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy last week that brought comfort - either in immediate and urgent reform of EU financial institutions or in an economic strategy. On the contrary.

The summit came out with plans for a tax on financial transactions. There were few more effective ways of worsening the mood in markets.

So the fear now is of a prolonged recession, stretching for years ahead. If there is no prospect of a cyclical upturn, then market prices will adjust accordingly. What is now desperately needed is targeted QE, a shift away from crippling, money-no-object welfare budgets, a sharp reduction in business taxes - especially on employment - and political leadership to see all this through. The flight of confidence will not stop until these are evident.




Foreclosure Talks Snag on Bank Liability
by Ruth Simon, Vanessa O'Connell and Nick Timiraos - Wall Street Journal

Efforts to reach a settlement that would end the long-running probe of foreclosure practices are snagged over whether banks will get broad legal immunity from state officials for mortgage-related claims. Federal and state officials are seeking penalties of $20 billion to $25 billion from Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and other financial firms under investigation since last fall. The banks are pushing hard for a deal, but they have insisted on a wide-ranging legal release from state attorneys general.

"They wanted to be released from everything, including original sin," said a U.S. official involved in the discussions. The legal protection sought by the banks included loan origination; securitization and servicing practices; fair-lending procedures; and their use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, an industry-owned loan registry that often acts as an agent for owners of mortgage loans, people familiar with the discussions said.

"The reason the banks would settle or pay anywhere near $20 billion to $25 billion is to get this behind them," said one person familiar with the banks' thinking. "There's no reason the banks would pay that amount of money and leave their flank exposed."

U.S. and state officials dismissed the push for broad immunity as a "nonstarter," according to a federal official involved in the talks, but they have countered with a narrower offer. It would cover robo-signing and other servicer-related conduct but leave banks open to potential legal action for wrongdoing in fair lending and securitization, according to people familiar with the situation. Attorneys general in California, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York have said they are investigating mortgage-securitization practices.

"Those of us at the table…have maintained this investigation is about robo-signing and loss-mitigation problems," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in an interview. "The release should be narrowly drafted to cover those issues."

The debate over the release is one of the most contentious issues facing banks and government officials, who began formal settlement discussions in March, and must be resolved for a deal to proceed.
Federal officials are aiming for a settlement by Labor Day, with some insisting that making a deal soon would give the housing market a much-needed boost and avoid the risk of a protracted legal showdown with the banks. The foreclosure machine has been sputtering since the issue came to the fore last fall, though banks insist their procedures resulted in few or no wrongful foreclosures.

Federal officials say they plan to step up their outreach directly with individual attorneys general as they bridge remaining gaps between different parties and that they remain optimistic about the prospect for reaching a settlement.

Legal releases are thorny to negotiate, since parties under investigation want the broadest possible protection and government officials want to maintain their ability to pursue wrongdoing. In the foreclosure investigation, the process is unusually complicated by the large number of regulators and financial institutions involved, big money at stake and high-profile status of the case.

The banks have said the size of any settlement should be tied to the scope of the legal release and number of states signing an agreement. One tactic being weighed by the banks is to agree to a settlement acceptable to 80% of the states, sources familiar with the banks' position said.

The scope of a release isn't likely to be a substantial hurdle for states that aren't pursuing their own investigations of mortgage practices. In addition, some types of legal claims could be difficult to pursue regardless of an immunity agreement because statutes of limitation might have expired, lawyers said. Some state attorneys general are publicly resisting a broad legal release or even a narrower agreement if it would impede existing cases. "We in Illinois have made it eminently clear every time we talk about releases that we are not releasing fair-lending claims," said Ms. Madigan.

Illinois has filed fair-lending lawsuits against Wells Fargo & Co. and Countrywide Financial Corp., acquired by Bank of America in 2008. A Wells Fargo spokesman said the company has filed a motion to dismiss the Illinois lawsuit, and is awaiting the court's ruling. A Bank of America spokesman said: "We continue to believe that the best way to get the housing market going again in every state is a global settlement that addresses these issues fairly, comprehensively, and with finality."

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said she is "going to be very cautious" about any release that could affect investigations or litigation. Ms. Masto has alleged that Bank of America violated the law in its handling of troubled loans. "A broad release isn't going to do … any good [for me] or the people of my state."

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley recently said she won't let banks escape potential legal liability for claims related to securitization and use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems "until we know all the facts and all of the damage." Doing otherwise "is like buying a used car without looking under the hood. There's a good chance you will get a lemon."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas or requests for information to a range of parties involved in the mortgage machine. The attorney general "remains concerned by any settlement agreement that would preclude attorneys general from conducting comprehensive investigations of the mortgage crisis," a spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman said.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has also begun investigating securitization and other mortgage-industry practices. "We would oppose any settlement that would release claims broader than servicing conduct," says Delaware Deputy Attorney General Ian McConnel."That would include origination, securitization and [Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems] claims."




Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Loans
by Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz - Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley, got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”

Foreign Borrowers
It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS AG, which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.

The largest borrowers also included Dexia SA, Belgium’s biggest bank by assets, and Societe Generale SA, based in Paris, whose bond-insurance prices have surged in the past month as investors speculated that the spreading sovereign debt crisis in Europe might increase their chances of default.

The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 -- the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg -- was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Peak Balance
The balance was more than 25 times the Fed’s pre-crisis lending peak of $46 billion on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Denominated in $1 bills, the $1.2 trillion would fill 539 Olympic-size swimming pools. The Fed has said it had “no credit losses” on any of the emergency programs, and a report by Federal Reserve Bank of New York staffers in February said the central bank netted $13 billion in interest and fee income from the programs from August 2007 through December 2009.

“We designed our broad-based emergency programs to both effectively stem the crisis and minimize the financial risks to the U.S. taxpayer,” said James Clouse, deputy director of the Fed’s division of monetary affairs in Washington. “Nearly all of our emergency-lending programs have been closed. We have incurred no losses and expect no losses.” While the 18-month U.S. recession that ended in June 2009 after a 5.1 percent contraction in gross domestic product was nowhere near the four-year, 27 percent decline between August 1929 and March 1933, banks and the economy remain stressed.

Odds of Recession
The odds of another recession have climbed during the past six months, according to five of nine economists on the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an academic panel that dates recessions.

Bank of America’s bond-insurance prices last week surged to a rate of $342,040 a year for coverage on $10 million of debt, above where Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bond insurance was priced at the start of the week before the firm collapsed. Citigroup’s shares are trading below the split-adjusted price of $28 that they hit on the day the bank’s Fed loans peaked in January 2009. The U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.1 percent in July, compared with 4.7 percent in November 2007, before the recession began.

Homeowners are more than 30 days past due on their mortgage payments on 4.38 million properties in the U.S., and 2.16 million more properties are in foreclosure, representing a combined $1.27 trillion of unpaid principal, estimates Jacksonville, Florida-based Lender Processing Services Inc.

Liquidity Requirements
“Why in hell does the Federal Reserve seem to be able to find the way to help these entities that are gigantic?” U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, said at a June 1 congressional hearing in Washington on Fed lending disclosure. “They get help when the average businessperson down in eastern North Carolina, and probably across America, they can’t even go to a bank they’ve been banking with for 15 or 20 years and get a loan.”

The sheer size of the Fed loans bolsters the case for minimum liquidity requirements that global regulators last year agreed to impose on banks for the first time, said Litan, now a vice president at the Kansas City, Missouri-based Kauffman Foundation, which supports entrepreneurship research. Liquidity refers to the daily funds a bank needs to operate, including cash to cover depositor withdrawals.

The rules, which mandate that banks keep enough cash and easily liquidated assets on hand to survive a 30-day crisis, don’t take effect until 2015. Another proposed requirement for lenders to keep “stable funding” for a one-year horizon was postponed until at least 2018 after banks showed they’d have to raise as much as $6 trillion in new long-term debt to comply.

'Stark Illustration'
Regulators are “not going to go far enough to prevent this from happening again,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and now an economics professor at Harvard University.

Reforms undertaken since the crisis might not insulate U.S. markets and financial institutions from the sovereign budget and debt crises facing Greece, Ireland and Portugal, according to the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council, a 10-member body created by the Dodd-Frank Act and led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “The recent financial crisis provides a stark illustration of how quickly confidence can erode and financial contagion can spread,” the council said in its July 26 report. Any new rescues by the U.S. central bank would be governed by transparency laws adopted in 2010 that require the Fed to disclose borrowers after two years.

21,000 Transactions
Fed officials argued for more than two years that releasing the identities of borrowers and the terms of their loans would stigmatize banks, damaging stock prices or leading to depositor runs. A group of the biggest commercial banks last year asked the U.S. Supreme Court to keep at least some Fed borrowings secret. In March, the high court declined to hear that appeal, and the central bank made an unprecedented release of records.

Data gleaned from 29,346 pages of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and from other Fed databases of more than 21,000 transactions make clear for the first time how deeply the world’s largest banks depended on the U.S. central bank to stave off cash shortfalls. Even as the firms asserted in news releases or earnings calls that they had ample cash, they drew Fed funding in secret, avoiding the stigma of weakness.

Morgan Stanley Borrowing
Two weeks after Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008, Morgan Stanley countered concerns that it might be next to go by announcing it had “strong capital and liquidity positions.” The statement, in a Sept. 29, 2008, press release about a $9 billion investment from Tokyo-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., said nothing about Morgan Stanley’s Fed loans.

That was the same day as the firm’s $107.3 billion peak in borrowing from the central bank, which was the source of almost all of Morgan Stanley’s available cash, according to the lending data and documents released more than two years later by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The amount was almost three times the company’s total profits over the past decade, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for New York-based Morgan Stanley, said the crisis caused the industry to “fundamentally re- evaluate” the way it manages its cash. “We have taken the lessons we learned from that period and applied them to our liquidity-management program to protect both our franchise and our clients going forward,” Lake said. He declined to say what changes the bank had made.

Acceptable Collateral
In most cases, the Fed demanded collateral for its loans -- Treasuries or corporate bonds and mortgage bonds that could be seized and sold if the money wasn’t repaid. That meant the central bank’s main risk was that collateral pledged by banks that collapsed would be worth less than the amount borrowed.

As the crisis deepened, the Fed relaxed its standards for acceptable collateral. Typically, the central bank accepts only bonds with the highest credit grades, such as U.S. Treasuries. By late 2008, it was accepting “junk” bonds, those rated below investment grade. It even took stocks, which are first to get wiped out in a liquidation.

Morgan Stanley borrowed $61.3 billion from one Fed program in September 2008, pledging a total of $66.5 billion of collateral, according to Fed documents. Securities pledged included
$21.5 billion of stocks, $6.68 billion of bonds with a junk credit rating and $19.5 billion of assets with an “unknown rating,” according to the documents. About 25 percent of the collateral was foreign-denominated.

'Willingness to Lend'
“What you’re looking at is a willingness to lend against just about anything,” said Robert Eisenbeis, a former research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and now chief monetary economist in Atlanta for Sarasota, Florida-based Cumberland Advisors Inc.

The lack of private-market alternatives for lending shows how skeptical trading partners and depositors were about the value of the banks’ capital and collateral, Eisenbeis said. “The markets were just plain shut,” said Tanya Azarchs, former head of bank research at Standard & Poor’s and now an independent consultant in Briarcliff Manor, New York. “If you needed liquidity, there was only one place to go.”

Even banks that survived the crisis without government capital injections tapped the Fed through programs that promised confidentiality. London-based Barclays Plc borrowed $64.9 billion and Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG got $66 billion. Sarah MacDonald, a spokeswoman for Barclays, and John Gallagher, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Below-Market Rates
While the Fed’s last-resort lending programs generally charge above-market interest rates to deter routine borrowing, that practice sometimes flipped during the crisis. On Oct. 20, 2008, for example, the central bank agreed to make $113.3 billion of 28-day loans through its Term Auction Facility at a rate of 1.1 percent, according to a press release at the time.

The rate was less than a third of the 3.8 percent that banks were charging each other to make one-month loans on that day. Bank of America and Wachovia Corp. each got $15 billion of the 1.1 percent TAF loans, followed by Royal Bank of Scotland’s RBS Citizens NA unit with $10 billion, Fed data show.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the New York-based lender that touted its “fortress balance sheet” at least 16 times in press releases and conference calls from October 2007 through February 2010, took as much as $48 billion in February 2009 from TAF. The facility, set up in December 2007, was a temporary alternative to the discount window, the central bank’s 97-year-old primary lending program to help banks in a cash squeeze.

'Larger Than TARP'
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which in 2007 was the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, borrowed $69 billion from the Fed on Dec. 31, 2008. Among the programs New York-based Goldman Sachs tapped after the Lehman bankruptcy was the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, or PDCF, designed to lend money to brokerage firms ineligible for the Fed’s bank-lending programs.

The Fed’s liquidity lifelines may increase the chances that banks engage in excessive risk-taking with borrowed money, Rogoff said. Such a phenomenon, known as moral hazard, occurs if banks assume the Fed will be there when they need it, he said. The size of bank borrowings “certainly shows the Fed bailout was in many ways much larger than TARP,” Rogoff said.

TARP is the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, a $700 billion bank-bailout fund that provided capital injections of $45 billion each to Citigroup and Bank of America, and $10 billion to Morgan Stanley. Because most of the Treasury’s investments were made in the form of preferred stock, they were considered riskier than the Fed’s loans, a type of senior debt.

Dodd-Frank Requirement
In December, in response to the Dodd-Frank Act, the Fed released 18 databases detailing its temporary emergency-lending programs.

Congress required the disclosure after the Fed rejected requests in 2008 from the late Bloomberg News reporter Mark Pittman and other media companies that sought details of its loans under the Freedom of Information Act. After fighting to keep the data secret, the central bank released unprecedented information about its discount window and other programs under court order in March 2011.

Bloomberg News combined Fed databases made available in December and July with the discount-window records released in March to produce daily totals for banks across all the programs, including the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, Commercial Paper Funding Facility, discount window, PDCF, TAF, Term Securities Lending Facility and single-tranche open market operations. The programs supplied loans from August 2007 through April 2010.

Rolling Crisis
The result is a timeline illustrating how the credit crisis rolled from one bank to another as financial contagion spread. Fed borrowings by Societe Generale, France’s second-biggest bank, peaked at $17.4 billion in May 2008, four months after the Paris-based lender announced a record 4.9 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) loss on unauthorized stock-index futures bets by former trader Jerome Kerviel.

Morgan Stanley’s top borrowing came four months later, after Lehman’s bankruptcy. Citigroup crested in January 2009, as did 43 other banks, the largest number of peak borrowings for any month during the crisis. Bank of America’s heaviest borrowings came two months after that.

Sixteen banks, including Plano, Texas-based Beal Financial Corp. and Jacksonville, Florida-based EverBank Financial Corp., didn’t hit their peaks until February or March 2010. “At no point was there a material risk to the Fed or the taxpayer, as the loan required collateralization,” said Reshma Fernandes, a spokeswoman for EverBank, which borrowed as much as $250 million.

Using Subsidiaries
Banks maximized their borrowings by using subsidiaries to tap Fed programs at the same time. In March 2009, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America drew $78 billion from one facility through two banking units and $11.8 billion more from two other programs through its broker-dealer, Bank of America Securities LLC. Banks also shifted balances among Fed programs. Many preferred the TAF because it carried less of the stigma associated with the discount window, often seen as the last resort for lenders in distress, according to a January 2011 paper by researchers at the New York Fed.

After the Lehman bankruptcy, hedge funds began pulling their cash out of Morgan Stanley, fearing it might be the next to collapse, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission said in a January report, citing interviews with former Chief Executive Officer John Mack and then-Treasurer David Wong.

Borrowings Surge
Morgan Stanley’s borrowings from the PDCF surged to $61.3 billion on Sept. 29 from zero on Sept. 14. At the same time, its loans from the Term Securities Lending Facility, or TSLF, rose to $36 billion from $3.5 billion. Morgan Stanley treasury reports released by the FCIC show the firm had $99.8 billion of liquidity on Sept. 29, a figure that included Fed borrowings.

“The cash flow was all drying up,” said Roger Lister, a former Fed economist who’s now head of financial-institutions coverage at credit-rating firm DBRS Inc. in New York. “Did they have enough resources to cope with it? The answer would be yes, but they needed the Fed.”

While Morgan Stanley’s Fed demands were the most acute, Citigroup was the most chronic borrower among the largest U.S. banks. The New York-based company borrowed $10 million from the TAF on the program’s first day in December 2007 and had more than $25 billion outstanding under all programs by May 2008, according to Bloomberg data. By Nov. 21, when Citigroup began talks with the government to get a $20 billion capital injection on top of the $25 billion received a month earlier, its Fed borrowings had doubled to about $50 billion.

Tapping Six Programs
Over the next two months the amount almost doubled again. On Jan. 20, as the stock sank below $3 for the first time in 16 years amid investor concerns that the lender’s capital cushion might be inadequate, Citigroup was tapping six Fed programs at once. Its total borrowings amounted to more than twice the federal Department of Education’s 2011 budget.

Citigroup was in debt to the Fed on seven out of every 10 days from August 2007 through April 2010, the most frequent U.S. borrower among the 100 biggest publicly traded firms by pre- crisis market valuation. On average, the bank had a daily balance at the Fed of almost $20 billion.

“Citibank basically was sustained by the Fed for a very long time,” said Richard Herring, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who has studied financial crises. Jon Diat, a Citigroup spokesman, said the bank made use of programs that “achieved the goal of instilling confidence in the markets.”

'Help Motivate Others'
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a letter to shareholders last year that his bank avoided many government programs. It did use TAF, Dimon said in the letter, “but this was done at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” The bank, the second-largest in the U.S. by assets, first tapped the TAF in May 2008, six months after the program debuted, and then zeroed out its borrowings in September 2008. The next month, it started using TAF again.

On Feb. 26, 2009, more than a year after TAF’s creation, JPMorgan’s borrowings under the program climbed to $48 billion. On that day, the overall TAF balance for all banks hit its peak, $493.2 billion. Two weeks later, the figure began declining. “Our prior comment is accurate,” said Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan.

'The Cheapest Source'
Herring, the University of Pennsylvania professor, said some banks may have used the program to maximize profits by borrowing “from the cheapest source, because this was supposed to be secret and never revealed.”

Whether banks needed the Fed’s money for survival or used it because it offered advantageous rates, the central bank’s lender-of-last-resort role amounts to a free insurance policy for banks guaranteeing the arrival of funds in a disaster, Herring said. An IMF report last October said regulators should consider charging banks for the right to access central bank funds.

“The extent of official intervention is clear evidence that systemic liquidity risks were under-recognized and mispriced by both the private and public sectors,” the IMF said in a separate report in April. Access to Fed backup support “leads you to subject yourself to greater risks,” Herring said. “If it’s not there, you’re not going to take the risks that would put you in trouble and require you to have access to that kind of funding.”




QE3 is not a magic bullet for Ben Bernanke
by Larry Elliott - Guardian

A third round of quantitative easing may not be the best way for the Federal Reserve to boost output in the US and head off a double-dip recession

Jackson Hole is to central bankers what Cannes is to film-makers. Each year, the Federal Reserve bank of Kansas City invites policymakers to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming for a thinkathon, where they expect to be wowed by something new. It doesn't have to be a big budget production: central bankers can get just as excited by an elegant paper on the shortcomings of the Basel 2 capital adequacy arrangements as they can about a policy initiative from Sir Mervyn King.

Financial markets take a different view, this year in particular. They are not interested in low-fi musings on the merits of inflation targeting; they want the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, to do the full George Lucas bit and produce a real blockbuster of a speech that will rally share prices and prevent the world economy from sliding back into recession.

Last year, Bernanke turned up at Jackson Hole with a clear message: the US was preparing to turn on the money taps for a second time, something it finally did in November with the announcement of a $600bn package spread over eight months.

The Fed chairman's message to his fellow central bankers was the signal for the markets to take off, and share prices on Wall Street rallied by 8% over the next three months. If Bernanke did it in 2010, goes the thinking, he is sure to do it again in 2011, especially with the markets in a state of upheaval. On Friday, the hope in the City and on Wall Street was that we were about to have the first screening of QE3: the central bank fights back.

Those who work in financial markets like to think of themselves as awfully clever but there are times when their analysis is strangely unsophisticated. Just because Bernanke turned up at Jackson Hole last year to announce QE2 – the second round of quantitative easing – does not mean he is going to repeat the performance this week. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Last year, the Fed had already endorsed Bernanke's Jackson Hole remarks about QE. This year it is clear that no such prior approval has been given, or sought.

Politically charged
With a presidential election little more than a year away, the Fed knows that the debate about QE has become highly politically charged. Sceptics do not see it as the light sabre with which Bernanke fends off a second Great Depression. For them, QE is throwing good money after bad: less Star Wars than The Money Pit 3.

Bernanke justified QE2 not by the need to boost US growth but as necessary to prevent the world's biggest economy from slipping towards deflation. Last year there was some evidence that deflation was a risk; in the three months to July 2010, core inflation was falling at an annual rate of 0.2%. In the same three months of 2011, the annualised rate of core inflation is 3.1%.

QE is also designed to bring down long-term borrowing costs. The mechanism is as follows. By buying bonds, the central bank reduces their supply and hence pushes up their price. Bond prices move in the opposite direction to their yields, so dearer bonds means lower yields. Lower yields on Treasury bonds means the US government can borrow more cheaply. But it also means individuals and companies can borrow more cheaply as well. So QE helps the economy by leading to lower long-term interest rates.

But bond yields in the US (and in the UK too, for that matter) are already at historic lows, primarily because the markets fear a double-dip recession. It is far from obvious that another dose of QE would bring long-term interest rates down much lower than they already are.

On the other side of the ledger, the experience of the past two and a half years suggests that QE has costs as well as benefits. The main drawback is that the boost to the money supply does not appear to do much for domestic production but has heldholds back the economy's recovery by causing higher inflation.

The unintended consequence of QE was that commercial banks and hedge funds had more money with which to speculate. Since the intention in creating new electronic money was clearly to drive down the value of the dollar, much of this pile of casino chips found its way into the commodities market. China's rapid growth meant demand for industrial metals, oil and food was already strong: QE gave prices an additional upward twist.

In countries like the US and the UK, where wage increases have been extremely modest, higher inflation resulted in falling real disposable incomes. Consumers, already worried about being made unemployed and keen to reduce their indebtedness, have cut back on their spending.

The Fed will wait before embarking on a further bout of QE, and that may be no bad thing. Action now would look like a panic response to the events of the past month, engendering the suspicion that the Fed has been forced into emergency action because it knows something that nobody else does

Oil price drop
What's more, one of the few bright spots amid the market turmoil has been the drop in the price of oil. Cheaper fuel prices should start to feed through into lower inflation over the coming months, boosting real incomes and hence providing a bulwark against a double-dip recession. This would be put into jeopardy were QE3 to unleash a fresh wave of speculation in the commodity markets.

It would be a good idea for central banks to keep a few shots in what is starting to look like an awfully empty locker. Bernanke has said that the Fed currently sees no reason why short-term interest rates should be raised for the next two years, but he has no room to cut them further. Similarly, deficit reduction will start to bite in the US next year as tax breaks are withdrawn and spending is cut. The case for QE3 will look stronger in six months' time if the economy remains weak and inflation is coming down.

There is one school of thought which argues that the best course of action for policymakers would be to do nothing. Given time, low interest rates and the boost to the money supply will lead to recovery: all that is required is patience.

This advice is unlikely to be heeded if activity weakens over the coming months. In those circumstances, careful thought should be given to the best way of boosting output, since it is by no means obvious that QE in its current form is the best solution.

One suggestion, floated by Gerard Lyons, the chief economist of Standard Chartered, would be for countries like Britain and the US to take advantage of ultra-low bond yields by borrowing at low interest rates for long-term infrastructure projects. Another possibility would be for the money created to be used to finance national regeneration banks. In the UK, an alternative use would be to pay off the long-term financial burden incurred by projects built under the private finance initiative.

If QE is deemed to be necessary, some recalibration is called for. Thus far, it has operated as a welfare system for finance. The benefits have been enjoyed on Wall Street; the tab has been picked up on Main Street.




Prospect of New Core Euro Gains Traction
by Simon Kennedy - Bloomberg

The euro area may need to shrink to survive.

As its sovereign-debt crisis nears a third year and rescue efforts fail to stop the rot in financial markets, economists from Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian to Harvard’s Martin Feldstein say ensuring the euro’s existence may require members to leave the 17-nation currency region.

The result would be what El-Erian, Pimco’s Newport Beach, California-based chief executive officer, calls a “smaller, much better integrated, fiscally strong euro zone.” While leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel consistently rule out that option, El-Erian told “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene on Aug. 17 that they eventually may embrace it over the fiscal union required to maintain the status quo.

“We’ve been warned by European policy makers never to underestimate their commitment to economic and monetary union, but that can also be interpreted as perhaps them, in the end, choosing quality over quantity,” said Stephen Jen, managing partner at SLJ Macro Partners LLP, an investment and advisory firm in London. “Political commitments to resolving the crisis cannot be infinite. We can’t have all the chips on the table.”

That the euro’s membership is even in debate is testament to the failure of its leaders to snuff out a debt turmoil that began in Greece in late 2009 before spreading to Portugal and Ireland. It now threatens Italy and Spain and this month has jolted France.

Europe’s Woes
So far the rescue bill includes 365 billion euros ($524 billion) in official loans to Greece, Portugal and Ireland, the creation of a 440 billion euro rescue fund and 96 billion euros in bond buying by the European Central Bank.

Investor concern that the turmoil will drag on was evident last week amid fear the global economic expansion is running out of energy, in part because of Europe’s woes. The Euro Stoxx 50 sank for a fourth week, falling 6 percent, and the cost of insuring against default on European sovereign and corporate debt rose. Questions about the ability of European banks to fund themselves pushed the price of insuring their senior bonds against default above the level when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in 2008.

“Politicians have to have a game plan and get in front of the market, but unfortunately I don’t see any readiness to do so as they are frightened of thinking the unthinkable,” said David Marsh, co-chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a London-based research group, and author of “The Euro: The Battle for the New Global Currency.”

'Economic Liability'
El-Erian isn’t alone in questioning the number of nations using the euro, which grew from 11 in 1999. Feldstein, a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, warned in a 1998 paper that monetary union would prove an “economic liability.” He has long said the single currency could falter because divergent economies couldn’t fit under one monetary roof and nations such as Greece could take a “holiday” from it.

Any exit would occur “by mutual consent,” Feldstein said by e-mail today. “Even if Germany and the others are willing to pay the cost of avoiding a default, they would not solve the longer-term problem of Greece and Portugal trade deficits and their inability to be competitive without a gradual adjustment of their currency,” he said. “So they would have to keep borrowing to finance their trade deficits and there would be perpetual debt problems.”

'Scary Story'
Joachim Fels, Morgan Stanley’s London-based chief economist, wrote at the outbreak of the crisis in April 2010 that Germany “might conclude” it would be “better off with a harder but smaller currency union” comprising only countries that share its support for price stability. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman said in an Aug. 18 interview in Stockholm that there is more than a 50 percent chance Greece will leave and 10 percent odds of Italy following.

“It’s a scary story,” said Krugman, who three months ago put the risk of Italy and Spain being forced to leave the common currency at 1 percent. The euro initially was envisaged as the currency for a band of northern European economies led by France and Germany. The project swelled when then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand decided in the early 1990s that broader membership would deliver deeper economic integration.

Rallying Cry>
Even as the inflation-sensitive Bundesbank shuddered at opening the door to the deficit-prone southern European nations, Kohl turned the group into a political tool by declaring he wanted “the greatest possible number of countries” in the bloc. That was a rallying call for Italy, Spain and Portugal to meet the economic targets required for membership in 1999 and Greece two years later.

Once in -- and perhaps even before, given that Greece later admitted it had fudged its budget math to win entry -- countries started to break the fiscal curbs. Every year since Greece began using the euro, it has failed to keep its budget deficit below the required 3 percent of gross domestic product. Germany and France weakened the rulebook when they, too, failed to meet the standards.

The euro area is far from the optimum currency zone outlined by Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, proving instead to be a collection of disparate economies amassed under the same currency and interest rate.

Economic Divergence
Societe Generale SA economist Klaus Baader says growth rates in the region have never been so divergent under the euro as they are now, with a standard deviation of more than 3 percent. Debt varied from 143 percent of GDP in Greece to Estonia’s 7 percent last year, while unemployment is 21 percent in Spain and 4 percent in Austria.

And while ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet once cheered the convergence in bond yields toward Germany’s, Greece now pays 14 percentage points more than Germany to borrow for 10 years and Portugal pays 8 percentage points more.

Growth differentials and the likelihood that countries will prove unwilling to continue bailouts will mean a break-up of the euro by 2013, the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research said in a June report. It predicted average growth from 2011 to 2015 of 1.2 percent for Italy, 1 percent for Spain and 0.6 percent for Portugal, while Greece contracts 0.5 percent.

'Necessary Steps'
Europe’s leaders are refusing so far to countenance the idea of slimming down. Defending the single currency means taking ‘the necessary steps to do so,” Merkel said last week at a summit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who expressed “absolute determination.” Trichet said June 13 that leaving the euro is “not a working assumption” for any government. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in a July 19 interview that Greece assumes the crisis is “something that we are going to get through.”

The meeting between Sarkozy and Merkel shows that the major euro nations “want to do everything” to keep Greece in the currency area, “so I am seeing a bigger chance of that,” billionaire investor George Soros told Hungarian news portal hvg.hu last week.

That’s because the advantages of being bound together, such as easier trade and a deeper single market, still outweigh the disadvantages, said Julian Callow, chief European economist at Barclays Capital in London. The Maastricht Treaty that created the euro also lacks an escape hatch through which a country can abandon or be forced out of the euro region.

Speculative Attacks
For now, the likely fallout on economies and bank balance sheets from an exit is enough for officials to keep pumping money into the so-called periphery, said Joerg Kraemer, Commerzbank AG chief economist in Frankfurt. Among the risks: Banks could be pounded by speculative attacks and suffer losses, financial markets could be roiled by investor uncertainty, the core countries that remain might lose trade as the new euro surges, weaker members could face pressure to quit, too, and the departed could be locked out of markets and suffer insolvencies as their new currency slides.

“Excluding a country would be chaotic, so to avoid difficulties, politicians are likely to stick with the bailouts,” Kraemer said.

That will require even more money and unity than they’ve provided so far, says Marchel Alexandrovich, an economist in London at Jefferies International Ltd. Governments need to at least triple the size of their euro-area-wide rescue facility and consider issuing joint debt, he said. Merkel and Sarkozy rejected these initiatives last week, choosing instead to promote ideas already in the works, such as national balanced- budget amendments and a financial-transactions levy.

Cheaper Currency
Economists also disagree on which countries would leave. Greece and perhaps Portugal may decide financial stability and the bailouts aren’t enough to compensate for the continued austerity and bet it would be easier to write down debt, spur exports and improve competitiveness with a cheaper currency.

AAA-rated members such as Finland also may come under domestic pressure for a rethink of their own if they find themselves dispatching continued dollops of cash to the debt- stricken nations such as Greece, Callow said.

The euro-skeptic True Finns won record backing in April elections, making them Finland’s third biggest party. Creating a U.S. level of integration would force Germany to transfer 3.5 percent of GDP compared with the 0.7 percent it contributes to the current EU budget, economists at Nomura International Plc in London estimate.

“Sometime in the next two years, we probably will see an exit as it becomes increasingly impossible for the euro to overcome its internal contradictions,” Marsh said. “It’s like cutting off a gangrenous leg to preserve the body.”




315 comments:

1 – 200 of 315   Newer›   Newest»
p01 said...

Krugman FTW!!!. (repost from last post`s comment)

You don`t mess with the KrugoBorg.

Greenpa said...

El Gal; previous thread: "Since sulphate to sulphide is a reducing reaction, this would imply a whole different sort of photosynthesis other than chlorophyl which I would find unlikely. Comment?"

One of the major things we've learned in the past 2 decades; the microbial world is 100 orders of magnitude more complex than we thought it was.

One non-chlorophyll path is known; bacteriorhodopsin; suggesting to me there will definitely be more found.

Greenpa said...

Speaking of unreliable sources of information...

I quit reading or commenting on John Tierney's NYT "science" blog several years ago; his personal biases permeate his work to the point of making it worthless.

But; this time his teaser headline caught me; since it's a topic I struggle with: Do you suffer from decision fatigue?" So; I read it.

http://tinyurl.com/42ajycd

Very long, for him; but his reporting of the research seems clean; and the topic of very great interest to anyone seriously striving to understand how humans make decisions.

I learned some stuff; possibly foremost that I really could use a good year long sabbatical...

Greenpa said...

"The housing slump is over, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)"

TRULY hilarious.

And illustrative of a societal need. CEBR is clearly a delusional think tank; but there is no penalty for that in our current system. 3 years from now, the newspapers will be printing more of the latest revealed truths.

We need an organization; or group of organizations, that track and report the accuracy of such statements; source by source; over the decades.

Imagine; you could go to this Consumer Reports For Prognosticators, and get their ranking. "These guys are always wrong", for example would be just as fabulously useful as knowing who is usually correct.

But. I don't think anyone provides this service. Am I mistaken/uniformed? If the service existed, I would sure expect to see it cited, often.

ghpacific said...

Perhaps Paul Krugman wrote the book 'To Serve Man', meanwhile, Harry Dent says to hold cash and sell gold in these 2 interviews, http://tinyurl.com/43tzqve and http://tinyurl.com/3pxmvln I like his analysis based on demographics and aging, but have a hard time seeing when one generation ends and another begins.

Greenpa said...

For our entertainment; the NYT has an official "Editorial" today; with the full moral authority of the Editors (gasp) - announcing that "our economy will not recover until the housing market does."

Delusional to the same degree as the UK think tank pontiffs. I made a comment there- not posted yet, and perhaps never; so I'll put it here; purely as entertainment:

A little disappointing to find this magical thinking among NYT editors.

No, the House Fairy is not going to suddenly appear, hit us on the head with her wand, and tell us "Go out and play!" (thank you, Bill Cosby.)

The entire "Financial Fantasy Sector" - is dead, and will stay that way. They have successfully sucked most the "real money" out of the "Real Economy" - and diluted it into non-existence in the Never-Never land of CDOs, credit default swaps of all flavors, and other "financial innovations" (read "cons").

For all of human history, wealth and value have been created by the accumulation of honest sweat- not sneaky debt.

How did we get to the place where a huge industrial nation suddenly believes its engines can be kept running by building places to sleep and another restaurant? And how did Economics descend so completely to the levels of Alchemy and Astrology- where you can just make up the rules?

el gallinazo said...

Greenpa

"How did we get to the place where a huge industrial nation suddenly believes its engines can be kept running by building places to sleep and another restaurant? And how did Economics descend so completely to the levels of Alchemy and Astrology- where you can just make up the rules?"

Part of the answer can be found on Mad Max's last Keiser report where he interviews Michael Hudson. Hudson says that Milton Friedman and his boy Chicago Nazis captured all the prestigious academic economics journals so if you ever wanted to make associate professor, you had better tow the party line.

Greenpa said...

Bloomberg: "The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret. "

Whaddya mean "until now"? The public is still completely oblivious here, aware only of a few whispers in the background.

Greenpa said...

The most stunning thing to me from today's post is Ilargi's spotlight on the movement of obscene toxic bank waste into retirement funds.

Grandma is going to be helping Grandpa build and sharpen guillotines over that one.

Obscenity is too soft a word for that little trick.

Greenpa said...

Ok; time for a little techno cheer. When even the MSM pundits start murmuring about "epochal" economic change, then our work is done, right? Time to move forward.

So, I just learned about "basalt rebar", for concrete construction. I'd totally never heard of it; but did my homework; the US National Academy says "I'll be damned, it works."

http://tinyurl.com/3rpoxxe

(big pdf report)

Anybody here have any familiarity with melted basalt fiber rebar? Sounds crazy; but - it's much lighter than steel; has no corrosion problems, actually stronger than steel in a couple of ways; and has a couple decades track record in eastern Europe.

Potential game changer in that: no iron needed; less energy intensive than mining/smelting/forming steel; more durable, much cheaper transport; cheap/infinite resource.

bemusing.

el gallinazo said...

Why only the Squid and the Morgue should lose our future to casinos? Now congress has decided that all Americans should have that right. Paul Krugman, renowned faux Nobel laureate, was a major lobbyist in this effort.

http://www.theonion.com/video/law-gives-all-mistreated-americans-right-to-open-c,21179/

el gallinazo said...

The UK banks dumping their toxic waste in their workers' pension funds is like Cheryl dumping her week old garbage in Manuel's living room. At least a lot of the pensioners were bankers of one sort or another. If you lie down with rats you are going to get up with fleas.

Robert 1 said...

New post by Arnie Gundersen. The link title explains the subject: http://www.fairewinds.com/content/new-data-supports-previous-fairewinds-analysis-contamination-spreads-japan-and-worldwide

Greenpa said...

woohoo! Big Schadenfreude Potential!

"Goldman Sachs dropped 4.7 percent to $106.51, the lowest price since March 2009, after Reuters said Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein hired a defense attorney, citing an unidentified government official. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) tumbled 7.2 percent."

from current Bloomberg market gossip column.

So will Ol Blue-Eyes Blankfein be dreaming of bars and walls tonight?? And we don't mean the booze and Street kind, neither! We hope the defense attorney is a cute blonde, because we'll certainly be seeing a lot of her/him. :-)

Greenpa said...

El Gal; great info on Uncle Bilkie Miltie. It's not an unknown tactic inside academia; those Asperger's guys are not dumb. My personal experience; I was doing weird (ie no precedents) animal stuff as a grad, had my own animal room. A senior prof from the Med school told me not to worry about the animal inspectors too much; because the med school had taken control of the local Humane Society boards- long long ago. For exactly this reason.

Thank god for the Onion. When are they getting their own cable channel?? The same people that believe Lush Rimjob would take that stuff as gospel, too. It's got all the flashy light things that go with truth. They'd make great voters.

el gallinazo said...

Greenpa

I'll give you two to one odds on a gross of dunkin donuts that the Lloyd never spends hard time beyond perfunctory processing. If he does, it will destroy my faith in the system.

Greenpa said...

Robert1- the info from Gundersen correlates with a bit of information hiding in the NYT today; buried in the "Asia Pacific" section:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/asia/22japan.html

reports say the Japanese government has found radiation far worse than "expected" in the evacuation zones; and is getting ready to tell some people the cannot go back "for decades"; ie, forever.

Interesting thing to me is; this is leaked into world media; but there's no hint of it on the NHK news feed- which usually is days ahead of world news awareness.

hm. Timed to coincide with the end of Gaddafi?

Supergravity said...

Now its becoming absurd with the alien ecofascists.

"Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions,"

Atmospheric co2 has been much higher in the distant past, and regularly fluctuates with 100ppm or more over time naturally, as those graphs showed, any increase on this planet would not seem unusual or directly reveal the presence of industrial civilization, the swift rate of increase would only indicate vulcanics or other natural causes. Other trace gasses would be better candidates to reveal such an industrial presence.

"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,"

The applicable ways to detect co2 at other planets, what we ourselves use to scrutinize exoplanets, cannot discern atmospheric constituents from too far away. To be able to detect a rise in co2, visitors would have to be observing from pretty close, and definitely no further away than 150ly, since the light containing the data of co2 increase in the past 150 years couldnt have travelled further yet.

NASA has not yet suggested that superluminal travel, such as by warp or wormhole, is possible. Adhering to the known laws of physics, it shouldn't be. One cannot suggest that it ought to be just to enable visitations.
At sublight speeds, any possible visitors would have to live close by, say within 150ly or so to even attempt to reach us, even at relativistic velocities, 0,99c, the trip might take too long at greater distances, time dilation notwithstanding.

The odds that a sentient spacefaring species has evolved or currently resides on any planet within 150ly are still statistically zero, since the existence of no extraterrestrial life has yet been confirmed, but inputting outrageously optimistic variables in a drake equation might yield one in a million or several million chance of such a neighbour that close. And then they would obviously be ecofascists, this makes perfect sense.

Any civilization sufficiently advanced to get here with superluminal speed, or any beyond type-2, would not consider us a threat at all, not even when presuming our eventual stellar expansion, and would likely be more ethically advanced than to attack a subsentient species for whatever reason. Ecofascist aliens, what insanity. The remake of "The day the Earth stood still" had just such a theme.

Other scenarios presented make more sense, but we should keep our sociopaths away from first contact at all costs, ET might get the wrong impression.

Supergravity said...

The article doesnt mention Co2, but its obviously inferred that this is the greenhouse gas we ought to be limiting to avoid alien invasion, the narrative is slightly ecofascist by obviously using fear as coercion. ET could be monitoring for other greenhouse gasses, yet detection of radio signals would also give our position away, and our nefarious intent, so better cease transmitting those.

The carp who jumped Hukou Falls said...

You've missed something about the UK property market. I read an article very recently about this; I suspect it was in the Times, in which case it's behind their online paywall. The simple answer is: the Russians.

From memory, the article said that the London property market is being propped up by Russian money. The UK property market working the way it does, that means that Londoners are thus priced out and have to buy outside London; buyers in those areas are forced outwards into yet cheaper areas, and so it goes.

Greenpa said...

SuperG- the "scientists" publishing that incredible crap about alien motivations and actions fit right in with the observations here a few days ago- they are idiots, with no concept of the science, conversation, and science fiction, in this case that has gone before them. They are an embarrassment to our scientific education system; and the publication an embarrassment to the system of "peer review" for publication.

Not one original idea in their lot; all of it favorite themes in Science Fiction from the 1930s and '40s. Most sensible examination of the topic is in Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" - where he examines all the possibilities these morons raise, and essentially ends with "we can't sensibly guess what they'll be like, you morons." Which I think is true.

Incidentally; a very long standing dogma of both science and science fiction recently proved false; that being "if you don't have hands, you can't use tools; ergo animals with flippers can't develop civilizations."

Dolphins have now been documented as making and using a tool - and they teach their offspring how.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1157020/

Oh, yeah, we know all about everything.

I. M. Nobody said...

Greenpa,

Your link doesn't seem to go where you intended.

ocmsrzr said...

@Supergravity
Yes, it’s really quite ridiculous to argue that one of the risks of rising atmospheric co2 levels is from environmentalist aliens that might use such data to paint an ugly picture earth’s inhabitants. As though the intergalactic interspecies language is atmospheric composition.
@Greenpa
RE: “We need an organization; or group of organizations, that track and report the accuracy of such statements; source by source; over the decades.”
I like the idea of graphing the accuracy of statements over time. For example, imputing the “truthiness” of statements from the federal reserve and plotting them where (x) is time and (y) is % accuracy. One could create a chart overlay consisting of the national employment rate and the accuracy of statements made at the fed, drawing conclusions about the relationship/correlation between the two.
Also, coming from the premise that financial bubbles work in tandem with perception distortion (the ‘this time it’s different’ scenario), one could determine the frothiness of a bubble by graphing the objective truth of statements made on a particular topic.
Have a look here:
http://www.factcheck.org/2008/10/who-caused-the-economic-crisis/

el gallinazo said...

Greenpa

OTOH, Jersey Shore gets MW beamed to the galaxy and any self-respecting uberspecies would wipe us out after the second episode viewed simply to maintain their homeostasis. . Who says we are not a threat?

Skip Breakfast said...

I finally did it. Just withdrew $50,000 USD in cash and put it into a safety deposit box.

Amazing how difficult it was, in fact. Mainly due to inertia. And here I begin to understand why I&S are early-adopters pushing people to start planning now. Because it's slow-going trying to buck the accepted system of doing things.

I couldn't get over how, inside my head, I felt like a "criminal" as I was sitting there watching the bank manager count out the bills. I really did. I felt dirty like I was doing something wrong.

Maybe it's because no one takes out cash anymore, and so the manager surely thought I was up to no good. I was about to do a runner out of the country and ditch the wife and kids (I have neither). Or maybe he thought I was setting up a Meth-lab. Or maybe he thought I was just a nutter preparing to go stuff live in the woods with my gun collection (nope, also don't have those).

It was unnerving, and despite the teller's words when I requested such a large cash withdrawl--"no problem, sir, it's your money"--I felt uneasy like it WAS a problem. Like she was trained to say that in some early anticipation of fear-induced bank-runs. So I would feel reassured and just keep my cash in a bank that does not have nearly enough bills on hand to cover even 10% of their deposits.

It cost me 1% to do it too. But I concluded that that premium could very well be going up in the near future. If more people start doing what I did, they'll make it 2% and then 5%. Anything to stop people doing what I did.

Or we're all wrong, and things will go back to "normal," and house prices will rise, unemployment will fall, and banks will be stable and responsible again. In which case, I guess I just bought some expensive insurance policy. That peace of mind is worth it to me, though.

ocmsrzr said...

El G and Greenpa

this clip from the film Contact is apropos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyYdJ_YgUmQ&feature=related

progressivepopulist said...

Skip,
The insurance you just bought sounds pretty reasonably priced to me. I tucked 1k in twenties into a secret spot a while back, just to deal with bank holidays, withdrawal restrictions, etc. Though I have considered squirreling away a bit more, but there isn't much more to worry about, and much of what is left is being used to build the lifeboat.

I. M. Nobody said...

Skip,

What you have done is not a crime, but there are undoubtedly at least a few Federal Agencies that now think you probably are a criminal.

I would advise anyone wishing to cash out to do it in much smaller increments. Also, I hope you understand that if the bank is closed because of a banking holiday or the FDIC is unable to keep it open, it is very unlikely you will be allowed entry to your deposit box. I'd go get some of it and follow the advice of the Plumbers of the Caribbean.

Greenpa said...

IM - oh, the link. actually, it does, if you assume the worst (always a good idea) and drag down and select the blank space too-

but; that is exactly why I usually go tiny

http://tinyurl.com/3kfesyc

I was foolishly optimistic, and hoped the original would turn out short enough not to be problematic. I should know better, yes, I know.

Nassim said...

I'd go get some of it and follow the advice of the Plumbers of the Caribbean.

The principle is a good one. However, I don't think that burying it on a sandy beach is the best option. There are usually too many people about over time and some are using metal-detectors. Also, waves can on occasion move far inland and move the sand elsewhere. Wind also moves sand about.

Greenpa said...

Occam of Seville- thanks. Now; we need somebody to DO it. Actually it could be a whole lucrative career for a batch of people. Basically it would be a new type of Ratings Agency- and they make out like Ali Baba and the 40 Rockefellers. (borrowed from Robert Benchley).

You could even launch two agencies, simultaneously. One would generate revenue by selling the information to those who need it. The other would, like S&P et al surely have, make money by dickering with the folks who want to make sure they look good. We should emulate our successful businessmen- they keep telling us.

El Gal- re: Jersey- well, but on the other hand; perhaps the aliens are immense fans of the 3 Stooges, and Jerry Lewis; like the French. They would most likely capture and keep the Jersey folks as Prophets of Slapstick; and sell tickets.

D. Benton Smith said...

@ El G

" If you lie down with rats you are going to get up with fleas."

Yup, and possibly Bubonic Plague.

Jack said...

About aliens
I think we have enough evidence to prove that they do exist.
They might even be coming and going.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjWkTRHMNpw

There are more videos like this

Greenpa said...

and, not to be fussy or spooky or anything- but- the history of what happens to safe deposit boxes in bank emergencies is NOT encouraging; and fairly well known.

bluebird said...

Skip,
It's anybody's guess what the banks will do, so best to get some cash and store the stash in a creative place in your house. There are some small inexpensive fire-resistant safes for less than $50 that I found at Lowe's.

Jack said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_XIa2hRBy8
here is another one

VK said...

We're off to the races!

So quick question? Which global bank fails first?
A) BOfA
B) SocGen
C) UniCredit
D) Surprise me!

The charts are getting nasty all round, credit markets diverging with equity markets.

I reckon we have fresh lows below the March 09 lows by end of November. The FEDs game is up...sadly.

Cry me a Fukushima credit crunch river ! :(

bluebird said...

Three years ago, 6/6/08 Mike "Mish" Shedlock, wrote about the raids of safety deposit boxes in California and London. He has links to the ABC article (about Calif) and the British Telegraph article in this link. The raid in California, is quite shocking. Lawsuits had been filed.

http://tinyurl.com/5r4wvy

seychelles said...

Skip

Congratulations on your new insurance policy. I share IMN's reservations about storage in a bank SDB and think the 1% charge was a rip. You can get reasonably fireproof used safes in larger cities for a fraction of the cost of new ones.

bluebird said...

@VK - I don't think it matters which global bank fails first. They're all going down together.

Jack said...

bluebird
I still have my money in the bank
Here in Canada things look good .
But I am thinking about taking it out and putting it in a safety deposit box.
With the interest they are giving me I don't know what I have my money there.
The thing is I am still not sure when that second leg is going to come down.

seychelles said...

Ref Skip's comments
If you MUST take out large quantities of cash at one time it might be a good idea to rent a SDB ahead of time for show, take a briefcase with you to put the cash in, and let the bank employees see that you are going to the SDB. Pretend that you are putting the cash into the SDB but take it with you in the briefcase, acting nonchalant on the way out. Then after a few months cancel the SDB. There have been quite a few thefts from SDBs that were inside jobs, often by management. In addition to the access issue and I also think that the contents of SDBs are not insured by banks.

ocmsrzr said...

@Greenpa
It’s really a hell of an idea I’m curious about exploring further. Hire some well educated, out of work folks to do the research and data entry perhaps?
@VK
Check out the Bloomberg CDS quotes on individual banks:
http://www.distressedvolatility.com/2010/07/nice-to-see-cds-quotes-credit-default.html

DIYer said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgDw-w6ZoJs&feature=related

A fraction of it is from coal burning. Another fraction is from forest clearing. I don't have the figures in front of me right now, but most of the current carbon increase is man-made.

You may now stop using the crude ad-hominem "ecofascist", as if it is somehow inferior to your regular brand of fascism.

But El G, I think you are probably right -- soon as they see a couple episodes of Jersey Shore, they'll realize the _we_ are the dangerous aliens and sterilize the planet.

VK said...

@DIYer

Climate change represents everything that is wrong about the current system - institutional failure.

The hypothesis is that man induced carbon emissions are resulting in climate change that could result in catastrophic dieoff due to drastic changes in the environment.

A) If the hypothesis is correct, it represents the biggest political failure in the history of mankind.

B) If false, it represents the biggest failure in the scientific establishment to date. The entire peer review system would have to be reworked.

Either one of the pillars of western civilisation has completely failed. And thus the whole edifice weakens.

VK said...

Institutional failure,

Banks can't do their core function with any sort of competency - prudent lending.

Media is complicit with big advertisers & government. News is distorted & biased towards the status quo.

Education system doesn't even teach kids what money is but teaches them to chase money for life.

Political system is supposed to provide a counterbalance to corporations. Instead it went to bed with corporates.

Food industry led to an obesity epidemic.

Entertainment industry largely caters to the lowest common denominator aka mindless distractions.

Regulators, totally captured by those they are supposed to regulate.

Nassim said...

The FBI has used those informants to set-up and thus shut-down several of the more high profile would-be attacks in recent years. The report reveals that the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York City subway plot, the attempt to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and dozens more were all orchestrated by FBI agents. In fact, reads the report, only three of the more well-known terror plots of the last decade were not orchestrated by FBI-involved agents.

FBI organises almost all terror plots in the US

VK said...

You can throw all the debt money you want at broken institutions. All you'll get is the same institutions but you'll end up deeper in the debt money hole.

Broken institutions => Broken outcomes.

400 Americans at the top have more wealth than 150,000,000 Americans at the bottom.

Can the US be saved? Only by a deep shift in consciousness.

Our economic system is a reflection of our collective consciousness. Economics isn't objective, it is simply one subjective method of understanding the meta narrative of human life, thought & culture.

The sole question at the heart of the global financial architecture should be this, & a new monetary system can be designed around this question.

"Will this action or undertaking serve to bequeath a habitable, sustainable planet for future generations?"

p01 said...

Always had a bad feeling about deposit boxes. The moment the bank is closed army is in front, I'm pretty sure one will not have any privacy while opening the box. All that while the officer in charge might have a print-out of your financial situation in hand, and possibly a new emergency law he does not know how to interpret yet and might make a mistake applying it, if you get my drift.

@VK
Add the Squid to the list and shuffle the names in a hat. Any one will do.

Nassim said...

Either one of the pillars of western civilisation has completely failed. And thus the whole edifice weakens.

VK,

I don't see where the political failure is. They need to distract people who are not so interested in what "celebrities" are up to. They need people to worry about something, anything to get their minds off the important questions like peak oil, wars, jobs, education and healthcare. They try several things and one of them is a winner - Climate Change. The next step is to reinforce success. Easy. This process is called by those in the PR business as flying a kite

... or flying a kite (flagging an issue to test public reaction). There’s nothing sinister about using these tactics to influence politicians – that’s why it’s called politics.

As for the scientific establishment in the USA. A look at the average American (or Australian) and the way they live, eat, study and pass their time will convince almost anyone that the "scientific and medical establishment" has been co-opted for quite a while.

NZSanctuary said...

Greenpa said...
SuperG- the "scientists" publishing that incredible crap about alien motivations and actions fit right in with the observations here a few days ago- they are idiots, with no concept of the science, conversation, and science fiction, in this case that has gone before them. They are an embarrassment to our scientific education system; and the publication an embarrassment to the system of "peer review" for publication.

Cosmology as a whole falls within this description. Black holes, neutron stars, dark energy, dark matter, WIMPS, etc., are not needed, EXCEPT to hold up a cosmological theory that largely ignores the dominant force in the universe – electromagnetism – because of a couple of fundamental misunderstandings about magnetism & plasma.

bluebird said...

Just on twitter:

WSJ- Standard & Poor’s President Deven Sharma leaving credit-rating firm at the end of 2011, according to a person familiar with the matter.

el gallinazo said...

Nassim

The part about burying your treasure on the beach was just to keep in character with my Plumber of the Caribbean motif. I would only recommend it if you have a grungy black curly beard, a hook for a hand, and a parrot on your shoulder muttering Arghhh! However, as to the metal detector, there is no metal in my simple system. (Be sure not to use paperclips.) Also, I would recommend that you only cap one end and use a female adapter and a plug with a good teflon tape wrap on it so you don't have to cut it to access it. If you don't plan to access it for years, than a double cap is a little tighter against moisture. Finally, using a SDB is not the best idea. Not only inside theft and lack of access during a bank holiday, but all a DEA dickhead has to do is **accuse** you of being into drugs ( i.e. breaking the CIA monopoly), and they can confiscate it without court redress. As to a safe in the house, it's good against burglaries, but how about armed robberies? Like a 9mm to your head and a, "Let's see if you can remember the combination, dude."

seychelles - slick. I am impressed.

Jack,

I have been studying the UFO/alien thing now for close to 55 years, and I would bet the farm it's a reality. But coming from me, that may make you feel worse :-) What I say is total BS would be any talk or action from TPTB or their minions that they are a military threat.

el gallinazo said...

NZSanctuary said..

What a great idea! Solving the Grand Unified Theory by expelling the strong and weak nuclear forces and gravity. If only Einstein had thought of that the latter part of his life would have been so much more productive. A truly Alexandrine solution :-)

Skip Breakfast said...

Yes, it is the risk of a home theft that prompts me to keep it in a SDB. I don't want that much cash in my home under any circumstance.

I will add that it is in a non-bank SDB through a national bullion house.

And the 1% is outrageous. Keep in mind I'm not in the U.S. though. If I'd withdrawn local currency, I'm not sure I'd have been charged that. Again, part of the insurance policy.

I don't like having to live this way. It makes me angry at the banks and politicians and society. I feel like I don't know who to trust. Apparently next to no one. I'd much rather just leave it in the bank where I'm paying someone else to worry about its protection. Instead, I've been paying someone else to squander it and risk the whole shebang. I don't think that's fair or even legal. But there you have it.

ben said...

skip, I took some more money out during the recent excitement. unlike you I felt smug and happy and, like it did for you, it felt vaguely illicit. I managed to get all 20s this time and the girl expertly counting them out in lots of 500 (we went into the boardroom to do it) mentioned that quite a few people had been coming in lately to withdraw large amounts of cash, before stumping for the fdic and suggesting it wasn't like the 'olden days'. my girlfriend was with me, getting her money out, too. fun.

don't mess with us, y'all. i'm serious. we're thinking about locking the front door and everything.

thanks for the radio raheem clip, p01 :)

ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
progressivepopulist said...

VK,

Did you happen to see this:

David Suzuki & Thich Nhat Hanh in "Conversation: How Do We Bring About a Collective Awakening?"-

David Suzuki, Zen Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and David Suzuki Foundation Chair Jim Hoggan in conversation about mindfulness, climate change and how to bring about the collective public awakening needed to restore health to the planet.

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2011/08/20

I'm only halfway through but so far I'm finding the discussion very worthwhile.

Frank said...

@board

The current US Republican pravda has moved on from "climate change is not man made" to "there is no climate change"

I cannot speak for the world, but here in New England, I can resoundingly say "Garbage" or perhaps a stronger word.

I've raised crops here for 20 years. I know people who have done so for 50.

The growing season is a month longer than it was in 1990. The coldest winter night is 10 degrees F warmer than it was in 1990.

I agree that the runup was from 1995 to 2005, with a plateau since. But it is a plateau, not actual cooling.

I am buying hay, stacking firewood and tapping maples based on the new climate and so far it's money in my pocket.

Nassim or anyone else. Let's choose as fairly as we can 100 taps to do on Feb 24, and 100 to do on March 10. Please research climate history here in [town I'll tell you]Let's take a three year average because one year's random weather could clobber either of us.

I'll bet you a years syrup from those 200 taps (call it 4 grand at retail) that early beats late. I'll push the bet and say that at least once there is big sap by March 1, which never would have happened in the 20th century.

scandia said...

@Jack and other Cdn readers. I was told at the BNS it is illegal to keep cash in a SDB in Canada.
ZeroHedge had a couple of articles about Cdn banks last week. The Globe had a retort which ZH shot down. I didn't read the Globe article but the comments were in the hundreds. It was a shock to many( TAE excepted ) that the myth about Cdn banks may be just that.I was shocked that the Globe writer had never heard of ZeroHedge.I'll cut him some slack for not hearing about Ilargi and Stoneleigh but ZeroHedge? Where's he been?

el gallinazo said...

skip breakfast

Poof. It's gone!

http://tinyurl.com/3vk7yp6

I. M. Nobody said...

I guess no blog is complete without a gaggle of climate change pontificators. It seems that for every pro there's always a con. The joys of living on a dichotomous planet. I wonder if it is possible those fearsome aliens might all see everything the same way. Wouldn't that be weird?

My theory is that they will have picked up lots of electromagnetic spectrum signals indicating we are a numerous and busy bunch of hand equipped beavers. Then they likely noticed occasional bursts of gamma radiation. And now lots of carbon and methane in our spectral analysis. Why would they bother coming all that way to sterilize the planet. Surely they would realize that we are a self-extincting race. When they stop receiving the electromagnetic and gamma signals, they will know we threaten no one but ourselves.

My 2cents on climate change. Based on my admittedly limited knowledge of how greenhouse gas reradiation of captured far infrared photons works, it will probably be awhile before we feel those temperatures rising on our sweating backs.

The energy that fails to make it out to space tends to remain trapped in the troposphere. It is gradually piped down to the surface and lower atmospheric layers by a mechanism well understood by meteorologists.

For those that suppose AGW is a scam invented by David Rockefeller, you will be shocked to learn that the principle was well understood when David was still just a pup controlling almost nothing.

That probably explains a lot about the changed nature of airplane contrails. Perhaps a warmer stratosphere and of course much larger turbofan engines burning vast quantities of improved kerosene. That is lots more water out the tail pipe than those old turbojets could possibly produce. Also, the bypass fan can under some conditions cause water vapor to condense.

You chemtrail devotees really should be looking for one of the many ground crewmen that could describe where the poison tanks are installed in the aircraft and the location of the spray nozzles. And also, how they secretly fill the tanks. These are not the kinds of things that would go unnoticed and those guys do love to talk about their airplanes. Or you could try getting a life. Two tips for the price of one. Who says I don't give bargains?

progressivepopulist said...

Wikipedia has a page on ecofascism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecofascism

Alas there is not yet an entry exclusively for Neo-Malthusians.

I did not find one for Bed-Wetting Conservatives or Looney Liberals either. Though there is a general entry for Ad Hominem:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Some here might benefit from scrolling down to the Associative Fallacy, and in fact there are Wikipedia entries for a number of logical fallacies, though I did not see one about using The Blaze as a source of "information".

The problem with the profligate use of logical fallacies when making an argument (from the point of view of those who must endure them) is that deconstructing and debunking such an argument requires an inordinate amount of time and effort- time and effort that will invariably prove itself to be pointlessly spent. I may as well try to convince the Pope that there is no God as to try to debate one whose brain is riddled with well-rehearsed logical fallacies.

scandia said...

RE my meme watch heard another one yesterday. It was presented in a radio discussion about Libya. It was " The job is not done yet. " Just like it's not done in Iraq nor in Afganistan. Clearly there is money to be made in occupation and there is the oil, the gold.
I feel sorry for those rebels who think Nato forces are going to leave.

skilo said...

From previous post...

@ocmsrzr

>>Randomly associating conspiracy-flavored themes, such as the fluoride plot,<<

When the term "fluoride plot" is used, I read that to mean that fluoride ingestion is proven effective with very minimal side effects and that those who disagree are "conspiracy theorists."

Do correct my view if wrong.

Ad hominem doesn't sway me, science does.

The science reviewed by the EPA scientists in concluding that water fluoridation should stop until a proper scientific evaluation can be done.

You know, like a randomized, double blind placebo study that can't be lobbied for passage.

That's right - the best science hasn't been applied to fluoridated water efficacy.

Oversight? I think not. There is a reason and we need to do the test to find out the reason.

Are you against science?

I can see why the toxic waste creators would be against the science - it is expensive to lose those fluoride profits and lose the toxic waste storage costs.

Science has linked fluoride to reduced IQ, significant increase in bone cancer and other serious ailments.

My wife's coworker's son has bone cancer - perhaps fluoride was involved in creating it... I don't know, but I do know I don't want toxic waste put in my water until it has been proven effective via the most accurate means available - a randomized, double blind placebo study.

Others prefer to avoid being labeled and so ingest toxic waste without bothering to apply science to see if it makes sense.

I'm not that guy.

Review the *science* here...

http://www.nteu280.org/Issues/Fluoride/NTEU280-Fluoride.htm

In short, questioning fluoridated water is the scientific thing to do - which is why the EPA scientists question it and demanded bottled water to avoid drinking 1 PPM fluoridated water.

scandia said...

@Jack, here is the ZH article on Cdn banks
" Who Is John Paulson,And Why Should The Globe and Mail Care"
http://www.zerohedge.com/?page=3

skilo said...

@Greenpa,

Ever heard fo climate gate and "hide the decline?" We can't pretend that didn't happen.

GIGO.

Garbage in / garbage out.

If the data was bad, and it wasn't open to public review and it is now "lost," Einstein couldn't figure it out.

You can't pretend that the people holding onto the secret, manipulated data are lily white in all this.

Remember, Wall Street claimed to have all kinds of "quant models" that showed housing increasing in price, against flat lined incomes, forever.

Of course, they hid the data and nobody can see it. Just like CRU.

Just "trust" them.

Uh, no. My third grade teacher marked a math problem wrong even though the answer was 100% right.

"I don't care that you know the right the answer, I care that you know the process to arrive at the right answer."

Lesson learned. ;-)

@bosuncookie,

I disagree with the Buddhist philosophy you highlighted based on the fact that selfishness is obviously the root cause of the human caused ailments given my paradigm.

It would be interesting to test the hypothesis, though.

Let's take someone, eliminate the ignorance problem and see how much that changes their behavior over time.

I think people know others suffer and simply don't care about their suffering. Definitely in a macro / general way. Individual responses will vary.

Some people simply don't want to know - and that's selfish, too.

Of course, if they are the ones suffering, they'd want others to take interest and help. But they aren't, so they don't, in general.

But I do agree that people are ignorant of what their long term self interest really is... but that's due to selfishness, too.

But I have no desire to dictate anyone else's beliefs and any person or group doing positive things is a good thing, IMHO.

el gallinazo said...

IMN

"You chemtrail devotees really should be looking for one of the many ground crewmen that could describe where the poison tanks are installed in the aircraft and the location of the spray nozzles. And also, how they secretly fill the tanks. These are not the kinds of things that would go unnoticed and those guys do love to talk about their airplanes. Or you could try getting a life. Two tips for the price of one. Who says I don't give bargains?"

Absurdly snarky. If it is being done, and I am not saying I am a believer, I would doubt that it is done alongside the single prop crop duster at the municipal airport. (Though on second thought, isn't that how the CIA brought in the crack from Central America through the Mena, Arkansas Airport?) It would be total, compartmentalized black ops.

As to global warming, the real argument for people who neither support Ric Perry nor are uncontrollable droolers, is whether there should be an A in front of it, not whether it exists. I lean toward the CO2 theory, but I know some people who are much smarter in the science dept. than I who do not.

Nassim said...

Frank et al.,

The fact that you continue discussing this issue is a feather-in-the-cap of those who don't want you to talk about more serious and imminent events - events that are not 100% out of your control.

Already I feel regretful for having responded. :)

VK said...

@Skilo

Humans are 'cooperative - competitive'.

Our money system is designed around usury.

This encourages competing behaviour. Because we are always looking for ways to pay back debt, chase yield because of inflation etc.

Change the money system, change the behaviour. Humans respond to the structure of their environments.

It requires a consciousness shift.

As I posters earlier we need meaning & purpose in our economic system & a money system designed around this purpose.

The purpose can be, "Will this action or endeavour bequeath future generations with a sustainable, habitable planet?"

Change the structure. Change the behaviour. We're not simply selfish creatures I say, I've met many wonderful, giving, selfless people & many are on this blog including Ilargi, Nicole, El G, Grandpa Nobody etc.

Even capitalism is entirely dependent on households that are communist in nature & built around love!

muchtooloose said...

.


Blogger Jack said...

" bluebird
I still have my money in the bank
Here in Canada things look good .
But I am thinking about taking it out and putting it in a safety deposit box.
"

Jack, have you thought of using the US banks as an early warning system. I think one would be quite safe, here in Canada, to hold ones cash in the bank until one sees withdrawal lineups in front of US banks.

Actually I think there is a lot of unnecessary fear mongering about savings banks regarding runs. If money can not be digitally printed fast enough to satisfy an insured account I would like any one here show me why? During the Wiemar hyperinflation the only limit to printing was the ability to run physical presses fast enough.

And according to i&S we will not be experiencing hyperinflation but deflation ... so go figure.":)

skilo said...

@Skip,

Don't worry, you are in a government database - someone to be monitored.

But not the people who put $378 billion in drug money to be laundered by Wachovia, the bank that just happened to lease and run the planes for the drug cartel.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/03/us-bank-mexico-drug-gangs

Nope, they aren't "monitored" - none of the drug money was reported recovered and nobody was arrested when trying to pick up the cash. $378 billion ain't chump change.

The bank charged you 1%? Was that an early withdrawal penalty?

Also, a word to the wise, a "safety deposit box" might not be that safe...

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=4832471&page=1

http://consumerist.com/2007/07/havent-checked-your-safe-deposit-box-in-3-years-california-may-have-seized-your-stuff.html

I wouldn't recommend "putting all your eggs in one basket," as it were.

VK said...

The 'elites' who run the show are not representative of humanity. They represent the worst of humanity. These elite are mostly rich, old, White, Japanese, Jewish, men from elite academic, political & financial institutions who mostly hang around with each other in NY, London & Tokyo.

Where are the women, blacks, Chinese, Indians, Arabs, young & poor at the global decision making table? They aren't there! The elites & their system excludes 99pc of humanity.

Shift the dialogue.

People can live with much, much less.
All you need is love. Change the money system.
People perform extraordinary acts of selflessness, love, compassion & kindness every single day. Let's not forget that!
People can change their behaviour, given the right incentives & structures - Promote the notion that less is more, frugal is in!

progressivepopulist said...

"Like a lawyer, the human brain wants victory, not truth; and, like a lawyer, it is sometimes more admirable for skill than virtue." -Robert Wright, author and journalist

It is important to keep the mind supple and flexible, but sometimes Occam's Razor suffices to sort the bullshit from the approximate truth.
We are really to believe that Climate scientists around the world knowingly or unknowingly are working in the service of shadowy groups of neo-malthusians or ecofascists to convince the world of the dangers pumping 30 billion tons of extra CO2 into the atmosphere in order to convince mankind to submit to some kind of draconian population controls AND to justify the maintenance of global economic inequalities or implement some kind of socialist, atheist, communist earth-worshiping totalitarian one-world government.

Meanwhile the virtuous fossil fuel industry is left with no recourse but to spend millions on lobbyists, PR flacks, and mediocre scientists (often from unrelated fields) to try to convince the masses that a: GW is not happening; b: if it's happening, it's not anthropogenic; c: if it's happening it's a good thing, or if it's bad there's nothing we can do about it; d: AGW is a liberal plot to expand the powers of Big Government; and e: taking away any of the implicit or explicit subsidies for the Fossil Fuel Industry would destroy the economy.

Oh, and according to gallup polls, in spite of the tremendous efforts of National Academies of Science, Universities, Peer Reviewed Journals etc- Americans are now more dubious than ever that GW is to any significant extent a serious problem- leaving those of us plotting the downfall of the capitalist edifice and the mass-sterilization of brown people frustrated and dejected. Of course, what could be more reasonable than the above?

skilo said...

@VK

>>Humans are 'cooperative - competitive'.<<

And selfishly so. Think about it. ;-)

Seriously, imagine a world where everyone cared for others EQUAL to themselves... where everyone made sure everyone else was fed, clothed and lived a decent life.

Would tens of thousands of children die every day if everyone cared about their welfare the same way they care about their own?

Would wars exist?

Would theft exist?

Would there even be a need for laws?

No courts.

No jails.

debt-dollar tyranny wouldn't exist - it is, by its very nature, selfish to set up such a criminal system that harms people so much.

The concept is so simple, yet very deeply profound.

Greg L said...

>>>Yes, it is the risk of a home theft that prompts me to keep it in a SDB. I don't want that much cash in my home under any circumstance.<<<

Now that is a real dilemma. If you don't trust the banks, how do you go about securing currency and coin at home? Sure, a fireproof box can protect against fire, but what about robbery? Can you really trust a non-bank safety deposit box?

The fact these questions are getting raised speaks volumes about the breakdown in trust, so this issue is not one to dither around on as once that reaches a critical mass, it's too late to do something. It's my understanding that a few of the banks in Europe are encountering funding problems owning to withdrawals and the press is keeping this tamped down for now which gives this topic a bit more urgency.

ocmsrzr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ocmsrzr said...

@skilo
This is all getting a bit complicated. My memory is that you were making an argument about temperatures remaining flat over the last decade. Progressive Populist then responded to your arguments with NASA data. You then responded to PP’s data by saying that you expect people to not vote their economics. At that point you dropped ~10 links to support your response, citing al Qaeda in Libya among other things.

The reason that I quoted Supergravity was that your links were not on the topic of climate change….it had nothing to do with fluoride in particular. If you carefully read the comments of the last few days from the more venerable you will notice an effort to keep the conversations sane.

I think we’re on the same page in terms of “Ad hominem doesn't sway me, science does.” You may very well be on the right track in re fluorinated drinking water. I’m all for science. I’m also all for logical debate.

The non-threaded nature of the comments section can cause conversations to get a bit jumbled at times.

Glennjeff said...

Ok re home stash security,

Two floor safes, under false floor covering (e.g. carpet, floating floor) and one box safe in a semi concealed place. 10% in box safe and 45%+45% in floor safes. If robbers come to your home give up the box safe with minimal resistance.

Also, one should live inside a steel cage, as I do, may even provide some protection from EMP's and solar flares.

Am also thinking of booby trapping my property with a sprinkler system that pumps gasoline and self ignites :}

Beautiful World - DEVO

I really should stop "taking the piss" out of us unfortunate monkeys shouldn't I.

clever monkeys that's What We Are

skilo said...

@ocmsrzr,

Your memory is correct except for three very important points.

1. The argument was made that AGW was true because "the system" promoted it. My links were on topic in showing that "the system" promotes frauds all the time. I listed a lot of them - all sourced. So the argument that AGW is true because "the system" represents it as such is a fallacy.

2. I also pointed out that NASA has rigged the data - eliminating about 5 of the colder, on average, temperature gauges and not going back and rerunning the prior data. So the NASA data is suspect.

3. Nassim showed satellite data that showed actual technical "cooling."

I wouldn't call it cooling, rather, I'd call it "noise" and refer to the overall trend as flat lining for about a decade.

Nobody answers how over 300 billion tons of CO2 can be pumped into the atmosphere and temperatures (satellite, anyway) remain flat if that 300 billion is the single biggest factor driving temperature increases.

Hopefully, that clears up my thought process.

I apologize for dropping so much data, but the criminals hide in complexity and there is no real way to explain all the crimes without dumping lots of information.

I. M. Nobody said...

@ ocmsrzr

It appears that keeping the conversation sane is a lost cause. What seems like a long time ago now, it mostly was sane and quite enjoyable for us doomers. The other side would drop in occasionally to tell us we are loonie (not to be confused with Cdn money :). But, we could usually persuade them to go away.

We now have a New and Improved Commentariat. One that tends to respond to such sanity steering attempts with either indifference or accusations of snarkiness.

As VK might say, where's the love? Most likely hiding in a big bramble patch somewhere. If I knew where it was, I think I'd go join it.

As far as skilo is concerned, back in June I was present when Stoneleigh made multiple attempts to contact him to find out if he had arranged a speaking event, which she had informed him he would have to do when he asked her if she would come to San Diego. What she got was silence. That's all I need to know about him.

skilo said...

@Board,

Mike maloney and Chemtrails - see below:

Mike Maloney predicting $20k gold after deflation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj2s6vzErqY&feature=player_embedded

Jack, lots of good information here.

Where TAE differs from Mike is that Mike apparently thinks that deflation will be short lived and gold will hold its value (as he sells it, of course) and the hyperinflation will carry the day rather quickly and TAE believe the deflation will last long enough for BFC ruling class to asset strip much of society so that very few common folks will be in a position to hold onto their gold to take advantage of the hyperinflation.

Chemtrails:

What in the World are they Spraying

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BARt9ccu8no&feature=fvst

Chemtrail Fuel Patent:

http://chemtrails.cc/2009/02/08/patent-stratospheric-welsbach-seeding-for-reduction-of-global-warming/

I suggest folks read up on The Big Lie Technique.

Social engineers know the value of The Big Lie and that is an argument that isn't valid - it is too big to be false.

Yeah, that's what they want you to believe - and they even say that!

Show me the data. Show me how the results were achieved. Appeal to authority is often used to cover up deception and ulterior motives.

ben said...

isn't that the oldest trick in the book, glennjeff? it also requires lying, which, if poorly executed (under duress, mind you) and the floor safes are found, seems like a good way to get your face smashed in (which may just happen right off the bat anyway). (note to self: think about ditching the ear plugs and switching out the eye mask for toothpick.) if the money is to be kept at home then keeping it in a single, heavy ass safe for when you're out of the house makes most sense to me so far. if someone comes when you're home it seems to me that it's probable that they've got big balls, possible that they've caught a whiff, and certain that they are intent on being thorough.

if i'm caught with my pants down at home it's a straight up case of easy come easy go, this is partly due to the fact that it's inherited westinghouse money, and partly due to the fact that it's just plain money. but yours may not be quite so undeserved.

skilo said...

@IMN,

>>As far as skilo is concerned, back in June I was present when Stoneleigh made multiple attempts to contact him to find out if he had arranged a speaking event, which she had informed him he would have to do when he asked her if she would come to San Diego. What she got was silence. That's all I need to know about him.<<

That's a completely inaccurate representation of what occurred.

Without posting the details, our contact dates went thusly...

6/5/2011 - I Contacted Nicole
6/5/2011 - Nicole responded

6/7/2011 - I followed up with Nicole
6/7/2011 - Nicole responded

6/9/2011 - I followed up again with Nicole informing her that Plan A wouldn't work because it interfered with a graduation ceremony.

6/13/2011 - Nicole followed up to see if Plan B had been worked out.

6/13/2011 - I responded back saying that, unfortunately, nothing opened up.

6/15/2011 - I followed up with note letting Nicole know I had referred a couple friends to her Laguna lecture over the weekend.

I have the email thread. Nicole was very nice and professional and I was very disappointed I couldn't find a venue.

I still am.

>>What she got was silence.<<

No, what you have is ignorance and a lack of sense to control it.

So please verify your facts first before spreading defamatory disinformation or stop lying.

ben said...

SFA tried to get bobby brown to sing the verses on the song 'juxtaposed with u' to no avail. that's his prerogative, it's true, but he really missed out on a great song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k3LfXWIDhA

ocmsrzr said...

@ben
I think we share a foundation for money loathing that could be dangerous were we ever to meet in real life.

I. M. Nobody said...

I just can't pass this one up. An actual patent for chemtrailing. That certainly proves it then doesn't it? Well not exactly. As it happens, once upon a time I wrote patent application documents for a living. There are a number rules regarding the granting of patents. That it describes anything that can actually be done is not one of them. That it will actually do what it says is not required either. And most importantly, the granting of a patent even of something potentially useful does not mean the invention will ever be used.

Now the above paragraph was just window dressing. I actually read a few parts of the patent and noticed that the inventor is apparently saddled with a misunderstanding. It says the metal oxides will absorb near infrared photons and emit far infrared photons. Which seems reasonable, since that is what the earth's surface does.

It would do this in the stratosphere, which is below the troposphere. What it would apparently accomplish is alter the spectral balance of surface solar insolation by shifting the sun's near infrared photons to far infrared. I have no idea what effects that would have on our lives, but I assume there would be some. But, roughly half of the captured energy would be radiated up to the troposphere where those greenhouse gases could do their thing. Talk about your really bad science.

I'll leave it to Lynford1933 to say whether or not he would be willing to fire up the engines and attempt to take off with lots of metal oxides suspended in his JP4. As was suggested in the patent.

This isn't Big Lie Territory. This is beyond stupid.

I. M. Nobody said...

@ skilo

Sorry, I did not get that feedback from her. She is, of course, the height of professionalism and courtesy. It is unfortunate that you did not get to see the presentation. She is dynamite.

ben said...

occam, regarding foundational money loathing: while I loathe money unfortunately I don't loathe my money anywhere near enough to put it on the last train to transcentral like the justified ancients of mu mu at the k foundation:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_Foundation_Burn_a_Million_Quid

beep boop boop beep, klf is gonna rock ya.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXEOESuiYcA&feature=related (music video)

if you have money to burn might I suggest the gek gasifier someone here linked to.

see you never!

Ka said...

Who needs conspiracies? What is said and done openly by those in power should be enough to convince anyone paying attention that we who are not in power are in big trouble. All this talk of secret nefariousness, no matter whether or not it is true, just lessens the value of TAE, because it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. Too much debt and not enough oil does, and that's not secret.

Ka said...

@occam and ben,

"Gonna save my money and rip it up" (B. Dylan, though I suspect he didn't)

Glennjeff said...

ben,

Having multiple layers of security at ones residence is, to my thinking, a necessary investment in these troubled times.

Had our systems installed 5 years ago after a couple of home invasions, fortunately the invaders where ameteurs and got a lot more than they anticipated:)

Didn't bother to call the police.

We are about to install steel security cages around our raised garden bed setup.

If you're not deadly serious then don't even try is the take away from our comments I guess.

ocmsrzr said...

@ben
In re KLF: Incredible.

snuffy said...

For those who worry about theft..

My "Black sheep of Da family" Uncle,who had enough been there done that,to literally,write the book had the problem of storing cash from sale of his home[75k].His solution,a shoe box under the bed.Everyone in the family knew it,but no one outside the family did.2 years like that,no problem. The problems begin when you talk,or someone who you should not have told knows.


Tell no one.

That is how to hide stuff.Read CHS survival plus,he has some interesting thoughts on storing "wealth",that I truly agree with.The most valuable things I have are my seeds,water filter & sterilization ability,fruit trees,spring,R-50 walls of my house.You have a crawl space?or a Attic w/insulation?.Hiding money or PMs is easy.Just don't "Talk" about it.To ANY one. Let a wife,or kid know where a letter is with some directions only they would know..ala"Second hand Lions"[feel good flick]should you worry about hiding it too well..


I find it easier to speak with folks if you refer to it simply as change.Everyone I know,knows,in their heart of hearts, that the weather is getting more extreme than in their early life.Certainly here in Oregon where they whacked down a good chunk of the coastal rain forest that used to "wick up"a lite mist over most of the Willamette valley during the winter.That mist is gone mostly,with the forest.[Where is the Oregon forest you ask?.Most of it is sunken in a bay in Japan..
Point of this rant is that everyone with 2 brain cells working in tandem knows that the weather is getting weirder.Based on each of our backgrounds,we all have different notions of "The why".I just know,as a gardener,and a beekeeper,its changing,and not for the better.

Toxic debt in a pension fund.

This is such a poisonous act ,in itself,those folks should be head for a prison.Or just Be-headed.
Mr banker,[Mr.Investment rapist]How bout you take your bonus money in these "safe"securities?.

90% of folks will roll over and say "My bad luck"...

9% will try to raise all kinds of Legal hell about it,and find out they been "legally" screwed by their .gov and the banks..

That 1% is the ones "the boyzs" had better worry about.Old hardcase...,ex-warriors,ex-lawmen,ect.The ones who "fall out" when their needed.They should be very, very,aware,that when you take away everything some one has,and leave them nothing to care for,to live for,they become a very-damned-dangerous person.Radicalized in spades.
mild parasite,to deadly disease.
As has been said,the boyzs feel no reason to give back ANYTHING now.Its whatever they can screw out of the little guy or the middle class.They have went from being Now we have the SEC having been doing the exact 180 degrees from its mission.It hides evidence of lawbreaking by the elites.It now makes it impossible to enforce the rule of law to the financial elites who rule this country.This is the most dangerous thing I have ever seen to the nation as a whole.This is what will kill this nation."Equal protection under the law."is more than words on a dusty old manuscript.It is at the very heart of our society

Radicalize the wrong folks,and you best bring your lunch,and a lot of body bags.May be that a revolution may never happen here.During the bailout, the curses and threats I heard from the Industrial/construction types I used to work with chilled me to the bone.
I honestly believe that the policy of the .gov to promote home ownership was a tool used to stabilize a good chunk of the work force,and the rest of society,by making sure the boat was never rocked too far,less the paycheck stop,and the house note came due.Keep your little hamster ass racing around the wheel till he drops dead..with a paid off house,to give to the next little hamster
continued..

ocmsrzr said...

@Glennjeff

If you get the automatic flame-throwing sprinkler system installed i promise to personally make a site visit for a false flag event.

Talk about deadly serious. I like your style.

snuffy said...

I grow very weary of seeing it day after day.If I pay too close attention to whats going on,what is slowly killing my beloved country,the anger ruins deep and cold as ice.3-4 hrs of bone hard work usually gets me free of it,but I know I am not alone,and I know that the greed of these sick MF will have consequence they cannot dream of.Fate bats last.

sleepy..

Bee good,or
Bee careful

snuffy

ben said...

glennjeff, good for you in not calling the police. you obviously know what the hell you're doing. beg your pardon if I suggested otherwise. multiple layers of security would be nice indeed. shared housing would come in handy for that, which is the future anyway. night owls like me repurposed to be like snuffy's dogs. great post, snuffy.

NZSanctuary said...

el gallinazo said...
What a great idea! Solving the Grand Unified Theory by expelling the strong and weak nuclear forces and gravity.

Either you're way off or that's a poor straw-man.

Greg L said...

>>>For those who worry about theft..

My "Black sheep of Da family" Uncle,who had enough been there done that,to literally,write the book had the problem of storing cash from sale of his home[75k].His solution,a shoe box under the bed.Everyone in the family knew it,but no one outside the family did.2 years like that,no problem. The problems begin when you talk,or someone who you should not have told knows.


Tell no one.<<<<

Ok, I can see not telling anyone and using various hiding places to evade thieves, but the only problem then is fire or some natural disaster. I suppose a fire proof safe covers that, but in a bad fire, that may prove difficult to retrieve. What about just burying it in a water tight container?

Also, unless I could install it myself, I'd probably pass on the floor safe thing. Otherwise, that means you gotta trust the installer and you never know if someone might compromise him or her or, worst yet, they may decide to revisit and rob knowing where they put the thing.

progressivepopulist said...

Great post Snuffy. I concur.

scandia said...

RE selfishness or ignorance one can't debate without knowing which of the 3 brains is at the helm in any given moment.
Nor is it as simple as to say one can simply chose altruism. One can if earlier attachment needs were met and the brain developed accordingly. If not then not. Lots of wounded( underdeveloped brain synapses) folks about including me.

I give strong support to VK's comment that " love " matters. Love heals, love creates an environment for trust/attachment. Then and only then can the underdeveloped develop.

Jack said...

Hi Folks!
How are you all.
I really appreciate all your help and comments
God Bless You

Mister Roboto said...

As long as we're talking about safes, here's what I have my eye on for my own purposes. This page doesn't tell you the weight, but it weighs 33# according to the manufacturer's website and is fire and water proof. It's more a compromise between a cash-box and a safe, but I have high blood pressure, and I want something I can carry up a flight stairs myself but isn't easy to just casually walk off with. My deceased father had his appointment with God trying to lift a television set out of a trunk of a car, after all.

D. Benton Smith said...

On Human Bondage SIDEBAR

On reading back through my last few posts one might surmise a few Marxist tendencies in my train of thought. Let me derail that little choo choo right now.

I've never bothered to delve beyond the first few pages of Marx because it was obvious from the start that although his analysis of CAPITALISM was stunningly brilliant, his bone crushing ignorance of the PROLETARIAT was of equal magnitude in the opposite direction. That pretty much zeroes out any net gain from reading the rest of his stuff or giving much credence to his embarrassingly naïve solutions like organized communism.

I mean, give me a break! If you ORGANIZE the proletariat along the same lines as you ORGANIZE a Capitalist corporation... then you will wind up with pretty much the same ORGANISM won't you? A tyrannical dictatorship. Duh! And of course that is exactly what happened every time it was attempted.

I'm don't mean to run the guy down. He was a genius and way smarter than me, BUT; he was totally CLUELESS about the struggling masses he wanted to save, and that's a real pity because if he had actually had 20 or 30 years of first hand experience IN the working classes … instead of IN the academic radical intelligentsia... then we might really have had something.

Being an outsider, he missed a lot of stuff that is so obvious to “the masses” that they take it for granted. For example : management is by definition organized to serve a stated purpose, hierarchical and UNdemocratic (silly committees notwithstnding.)

The flow of Proceeds are purposefully CONCENTRATED by channeling them “upwards” towards a focal point ( the ultimate owners of the activity. ) Labor, on the other hand, inescapably DISPERSES proceeds and dilutes authority as authoritative directives and rules are sent “down” the organizational pyramid to the level of individual laborers. Lower pay directly attaches to lower position.

It's all right there in the First Law of Thermo Dynamic Plumbing : shit flows downhill.

It is inescapable. Organization CREATES dictatorship and inequality by it intrinsic nature. ( From an engineers point of view, organization is an “engine” that concentrates and exploits inequalities so as to make the differences big enough to extract a portion of it as useful work despite entropic losses. )

So, pretty clearly I'm not Commie, or Capitalist. What's that make me, an Anarchist? Nope to that one, too. I'm not selling solutions. The sorry truth is closer to just being a high functioning autistic entertaining his brain.

Just remember this: as soon as one adopts a purpose ( by choice, birth or error ) then surplus energies from other systems SHALL be sacrificed to it... else the purpose is not being served and one had better go get one that fits better.) Those sacrifices are REAL, and they have consequences. The trick ( if there is one ) is in knowing what the sacrifices are , courageously owning up to their consequences, and being able to choose between making them... or not. LYING seems to interfere with that quite a bit.

Nice thing about TAE is a remarkable dedication to the pursuit of truths.

Next up ( I hope ) is my grand finale, a nasty little truth about sovereign bonds... that Devan Sharma should have thunk about before getting his ass canned from S & P yesterday.

p01 said...

DBS:
So, pretty clearly I'm not Commie, or Capitalist. What's that make me, an Anarchist? Nope to that one, too. I'm not selling solutions.

May I use that as a signature? :-)

D. Benton Smith said...

@p01

Sure. No attribution necessary.

Reminds me of a single panel cartoon I saw a few dcades ago. This pollster is standing at the apartment door of a hippie/beatnik type and asks, " Good day, sir. Would you have the time to provide a few answers to our survey ? "

The beatnik answers, " I'm sorry, man, all I've got is questions. "

Greenpa said...

I'll make one attempt to insert rationality into the climate fuss.

The world conversation on climate has, as of 10 years ago, reached the exact same point as discussions of Christian "scripture".

One of the things seminary students learn is "The Devil quotes Scripture." - as indeed he does. There is so much scripture available, it can rather easily be twisted to suit any desired outcome whatsoever.

Factoids have no value in advancing understanding. Particularly when so many are actually facturds.

Your denial of the factual existence of the Trinity is unlikely to convert those who know otherwise.

Energies might more usefully be expended elsewhere.

justaguy said...

I second that Snuffy, thanks.

skilo said...

@IMN,

Thanks for "manning up," as it were. Few people actually do in similar circumstances.

Apology accepted and I apologize for any harshness in my response.

I posted two pieces of information - you responded to one and called it a name.

Reaching conclusions based on partial information - usually not the best scientific approach. It leads to false conclusions, as we just observed.

How do you explain the barium found in the snow on top of mt hood?

How about aluminum and barium found in rain water?

The government admits to the desire for weather modification

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lKcWtSi-d0&feature=player_embedded#!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/01/climatechange.endangeredhabitats

A few chemicals in the fuel might amplify this effect, no?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1289893/Attack-vapours--jet-trails-block-sunshine.html

As in the AGW debate, I don't claim to authoritatively know exactly what is going on and how.

I like the evidence to guide me, not preconceived fox holes I then feel compelled to "guard," as it were.

Here's the trailer. I recommend you completely ignore the extrapolating (trying to figure out why) and focus on the information presented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te_FOsKL_5Q

Or not. The problem with knowing everything is one is incapable of learning.

BTW, Monsanto has aluminum resistant seeds to deal with all that aluminum that's coming down in the rain.

Yay Monsanto to the rescue! -lol-

Greenpa said...

D Bento- "It's all right there in the First Law of Thermo Dynamic Plumbing : shit flows downhill."

Yes, but you do need to keep in mind the First Corollary; which is "The Scum Also Rises".

Greenpa said...

skilo- "How do you explain the barium found in the snow on top of mt hood?

"How about aluminum and barium found in rain water?"

How about frog and fish rains? well documented. I suppose we could have a secret program going to seed frogs and fish into corn fields.

Do you suppose tornadoes ever hit dumps, mine tailings, settling ponds, etc? I would suggest we know they do.

ghpacific said...

Regarding the title of this post, 'A reality we wouldn't want to live in', It's too late! http://tinyurl.com/3hyw7ct Silicon based life is replacing carbon based life at the speed of light, thanks to algorithms.

Jack said...

About re-designing this web site.
I think the layout and everything else about it is good so why change it.
I got used to it and I am able to find everything so maybe when it is is changed maybe it will not be as good
Thanks

el gallinazo said...

Cutting to the chase, the one thing that I would like to see prevented with the whole global climate change fiasco is a "carbon tax" with "credits" exchangeable on a bourse. Beyond that, let the cow chips fall where they may. Unfortunately, this appears to be the plan of never letting a crisis go to waste.

IMO, the only thing which is going to stop the consumption of fossil fuels, if that is really the cause, is post peak oil and NG, which is coming right up. Most of my eco-activist friends are still driving cars and pickups fueled by crude oil. While the changes will undoubtedly encourage a mass die off in some currently heavily populated areas of the planet, hopefully by the time the fossil fuels run out, there will be still enough hospitable places to propagate our cursed species.

D. Benton Smith said...

@ Greenpa

" Yes, but you do need to keep in mind the First Corollary; which is 'The Scum Also Rises'. "

Right.

And for whom the bells will soon toll I think. I notice they're lawyering up.

Let 'em rise, I say, all the better to skim them off and put 'em to productive use.

I've had excellent results with duckweed and pond scum in my compost, for instance.

I. M. Nobody said...

el g,

Completely agree on the carbon tax and trading scheme. If they want it badly enough they will undoubtedly get it. If AGW won't get it for them, it seems to me they could pitch it as a market based way to ration a rapidly declining energy resource.

@ board

It has been alleged that I am a closed minded know-it-all that refuses to learn anything new. The truth is, what I don't know fills libraries and web server farms. When I feel the need to know something, I know where and how to look.

For instance, until this week I had never seen or heard the word chemtrails nor did I know anything about how greenhouse gases trap and reradiate long wave infrared energy or where they do it. I also did not know that the solar energy reaching the planet surface is mostly UV, visible and short wave infrared. I did know the earth radiates infrared, but was not aware of the short verses long (near vs far) bands of infared. I also was not aware of the potential for rain inside the bypass duct of turbofan engines.

I was aware of the raining frogs and fishes phenomena. As to why anything is where it is, I figure most things are where they are because that is where Gaia decided to put them. Some things are placed or misplaced by the inhabitants of this lively planet. It can be hard to tell sometimes which agent did it. It is worth noting that our atmosphere resembles a gaseous sewer with all kinds of crap floating in it. A lot of nasty stuff goes up the stacks of coal and oil fired power plants.

If I can find this stuff then any of you should be able as well. The hippie that only has questions is more valuable than the man with all the answers.

seychelles said...

ghpacific
What a fantastic link!! Much food for thought here. Market fundamentals=oxymoron. Like a new deck of cards that has been accidentally mismarked.

DBS
My sense of earned justice for TPTB has more Torquemadesque end than simple composting.

seychelles said...

Carbon tax and all its associated implications emanate the unmistakable TPTB stench. A transparent political puppet/climate disaster NWO theft scheme.

Mister Roboto said...

Wow, it would appear the financial markets are pleased, however momentarily, by Col. Gadhafi's imminent ouster.

jal said...

I hope everyone is following the news about DOOMSTEADS.

Gadaffi had, he thought, the best.

There will be a lot of strip mining from all that broken glass.

jal

p01 said...

I.M.N.
The hippie that only has questions is more valuable than the man with all the answers.

Far out! :)

jal said...

Where the cash will be going.

1. Libya, there will be a lot of bargains/deflated opportunities.

2. BoA is a deflated asset and will be a good buy.

3. Disasters ... buying and repairing broken glass at deflated prices.

Its all means more reduced standards of living.
Money is not going to go where it will be needed the most.
jal

ocmsrzr said...

el g + imn
I'm curious about why you guys are against carbon cap and trade. Is it coming from a big brother, hands off, libertarian perspective, or because you think it is an ineffective economic incentive, or something else? Seems to have worked pretty well in the US with regards to SO2.

SecularAnimist said...

DBS said:
""I've never bothered to delve beyond the first few pages of Marx because it was obvious from the start that although his analysis of CAPITALISM was stunningly brilliant, his bone crushing ignorance of the PROLETARIAT ""

The communist manifesto was not his best work. It was kind of like the Beatles before drugs. As far as logistics on a way out of this hell we are creating, he really has nothing to offer. Though, understanding it's contradictions, blindness, and dominating nature is a start. Everything that has ever been done starts with "could", doesn't it.


DBS said:
"I mean, give me a break! If you ORGANIZE the proletariat along the same lines as you ORGANIZE a Capitalist corporation... then you will wind up with pretty much the same ORGANISM won't you? A tyrannical dictatorship. Duh! And of course that is exactly what happened every time it was attempted. "

No, not really. Yes, looking at things through the prism of the predacious monetary culture that has evolved over the past 7000 years will garner a response like this. It's a hard prison to break and requires giving humans the benefit of the doubt regarding their "nature".


"For example : management is by definition organized to serve a stated purpose, hierarchical and UNdemocratic"

The only real dictator is the planet and it's limits. This needs to be institutionally interpreted and by definition are entirely totalitarian. It's pretty obvious that intelligent management of resources is the most important thing going into the future That is without question. Money and market systems do not do this - in fact, they encourages the opposite. Along with a massive misvaluing of resources and refusal of the market mechanism to incorporate externialities - it's obvious the price system has to go. It serves to purpose but to propagate the "game"

Now these interpretations do not necessitate hierarchy - just good science, data and systems. But, yes , it is not a democratic process- you can't vote on how much oil is left.

If this is not institutionally interpreted with a feed back to "economic" decisions then it will be what we have now, mass over consumption (that is actually making people sick and less happy) with no social benefit concentrated in the top 20% and huge amounts of unnecessary structural waste, which would eventually will start starving of the bottom without the deflationary collapse coming. But that is driven by mismanagement and waste more than anything.


""Nope to that one, too. I'm not selling solutions.""

Now, everybody is selling something. Seems you know your target demographic.

Gravity said...

@DIYer
"You may now stop using the crude ad-hominem "ecofascist", as if it is somehow inferior to your regular brand of fascism."

I agree that its easily used that way, 'eco-extremist' would be less emotive and more descriptive.

Climate believers generally are reasonable. The term 'ecofascist' is violent, maybe, but it is simply describing a politically extremist ecological fundamentalism, which tends to offend human and civil rights to coerce [collectivised] behavior change in climate actions.
Neo-malthusianism may be integrated as a subset of it, expressions of eco-extremism dont necessarily involve depopulation, they seem complementary themes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH71XCmsbCc

Some might say the intent there is to effect political persecution of climate sceptics, almost inciting violence against them, or rationalising such violence, rather than advertising the event itself. Maybe its just tasteless advertising.

This propaganda tactic does detract from the validity of the more humane climate imperatives, it delegitimises more moderate climate believers, and causes climate sceptics to feel offended or threatened, making them more zealous deniers perhaps.

Climate change itself is likely happening, as it periodically does naturally, whether humans are causing climate disruption, rather than any measured change of climate being a fully natural shift, becomes irrelevant when confronted by [eco]extremism, since it abides no rational mindset for policy either way.

ocmsrzr said...

@D Benton Smith

I’d agree with you in terms of Marx’s misunderstanding of the proletariat.

There are many ways to fragment Marx’s thinking. One way cleave it as such: ownership of the proceeds from labor (capitalism) leads to revolution which leads to workers taking back the means of production (socialism). Marx’s work on ownership of labor (capitalism) was pragmatic in the sense that he was reporting on his experience of living in capitalist societies. His writings on necessary revolutions and socialism, however, were based on deductive reasoning.

I think that what you’ve said about capital flowing upwards towards management, while directives and rules limit capital from flowing downwards is accurate. In Marxist theory, this is described as the substructure of capitalism, ie division of labor, relations between management and labor, work conditions, ect… Every substructure has a corresponding superstructure. The superstructure is the state, the culture, and the institutions that necessarily flow from a capitalist substructure. We would describe this as democracy.

So, in short, Marx says that capitalism in this form leads to liberalism (used in a completely non-contemporary sense, even the tea party fall within the liberal spectrum), which is the competing forces of capitalism and democracy balancing themselves out. He then goes on to say that imbalances between these competing forces will lead to workers taking back the fruit of labor….and set up a system whereby workers get to keep all of the proceeds from their labor (socialism, which is democracy balanced with publicly owned labor).

My response is that while Marxist theory is certainly flawed as you point out, it is still quite valuable in providing an analytic framework. Your discussion of surplus value (which I didn’t get into) is a concept that was developed by Karl Marx, as was your discussion of organization creating dictatorship (substructure/superstructure), as was your discussion of an organized proletariat leading to a tyrannical dictatorship. You may not be a commie, but you may be horrified to realize that your analysis falls within the Marxist theoretical perspective. Perhaps that was your point?

ocmsrzr said...

@SA + DBS
In re: ""Nope to that one, too. I'm not selling solutions."
Now, everybody is selling something. Seems you know your target demographic." Reminded me of this monologue from the dearly departed Bill Hicks:


By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.

No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.

Seriously though, if you are, do.

Aaah, no really, there's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke..." there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking makinations. Machi... Whatever, you know what I mean.

I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."

Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

"Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing."

Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that."

God, I'm just caught in a fucking web.

"Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..."

How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?

"What didya do today honey?"

"Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight." [snores] "Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know?" [snores] "Yeah, you know the mums will love it." [snores]

Sleep like fucking children, don't ya, this is your world isn't it?

Greenpa said...

OckhamsFrizeur: re Bill Hicks:

Had me laughing out loud, there. He must have had a ton of fun writing it.

Disclosure; I've given seminars on marketing; got asked to write a text book chapter...

But I'm not a MARKETER, you understand; I just STUDY it. Ok, so I did learn how to make my own rings, but look, it's just another kind of education.

No, really- the marketing world is where people study how people actually act in the really real world. And if your research doesn't really work; your ass gets fired; unlike the worlds of Psych and Sosh; where you can teach pure crap all your life and get promoted.

:-)

Greenpa said...

You will all be happy to know that USA Today is faithfully reporting what Snooki is tweeting about the earthquake.

ok, yeah, that's definitely Polka Dot Gallows material.

http://tinyurl.com/3r99n7l

ocmsrzr said...

@Greenpa
Yeah i'm into a bit of marketing theory myself. Interesting stuff. Lived with a woman for a while that was pretty high level in that regard. The problem, of course, is that it all leads towards getting people to buy things that they otherwise would not...and i place over-consumption pretty high on the list of western society's problems.

Bill Hicks is a comedic genius.

Gravity said...

@Skilo
Sorry for being imprecise,
by what I wrote it did seem I considered the fluoridation of tapwater a nonsensical plot, but I find it a serious concern.
@DIYer
Sorry for insinuating that you were being disingenuous for you mentioning fluoride there in reaction to a non-connected case.

Generally, any association of other conspiracy-flavored themes, whether believed substantiable or not, in reaction to an argument towards, or presented evidence of, a persumed criminal conspiracy, is distracting, as this is often used as a rhetorical tool for misdirection and negative association, and can have this effect even when using a self-believed conspiracy anaology in the same category of presumed crime [poisoning].
Its best to handle only one conspiracy case at a time in such discussions.

Im also beginning to see Ilargi's wisdom in banning the 9/11 case, but fluoridation, chemtrails or geophysical weapons, although not of the same dissentive gravity, shouldn't become overactively discussed either, unless those cases have some direct link to deflation or financial collapse, which can likely be proven with enough youtube videos.

Gravity said...

For closure;
@IM Nobody,
"That probably explains a lot about the changed nature of airplane contrails. Perhaps a warmer stratosphere and of course much larger turbofan engines burning vast quantities of improved kerosene. That is lots more water out the tail pipe than those old turbojets could possibly produce. Also, the bypass fan can under some conditions cause water vapor to condense."

Thats plausible, I have considered it before, as well as novel kerosine combustions, it would explain why the trails at lower altitude didnt appear before like they do now. Direct chemical analysis of trail fallout could possibly contest that its not just water. Incidental analysis does allegedly indicate that certain pollutants not common to kerosine are being trailled and fall out, with reports of aluminum and barium being found in heavily contrailled areas, it would lend credence to some kind of aerosol geoengineering project, but not conclusively so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0MV_5aigsY
I see this all the time around here, its so abnormally dense trailing, it must be seriously interfering with the weather by now.

For the intermittent trails in some movies seemingly switching off instantenously in mid-flight for some distance, extremely localised variable air conditions might explain it, but the cuttoff is so sharp in some, pressure or humidity pockets seem unlikely.
The radar images of trails cant reasonably be called incontrovertible or conclusive evidence of particulate or aerosol spraying, its circumstantial evidence that some persistent trails behave differently. If the radar blob in that second german radar image is a cloud of chaff, as the military apparently stated, then no spraying of chemical trails was actually admitted there, but the first radar image I posted show a different event of trails which remain unplausibly explained.

The videos of organic material found in trail fallout throughout the world are also compelling, as well as other rumors involving nanotech, but easily hoaxable.
Im done now on this topic.

Brunswickian said...

http://tinyurl.com/3ugfna2

Apparently the situation is not as clear cut as the MSM portrays. The rebels did not fight their way to Tripoli, they were landed by NATO.

Just recently I saw a report that the loyalists had retaken Benghazi.

?

D. Benton Smith said...

@seychelles
" My sense of earned justice for TPTB has more Torquemadesque end than simple composting. "


What they experience prior to arrival in the compost bin isn't really anything I intended to ask a bunch of nosey questions about.

The only prerequisite is that submitted material be suitably prepped for nice, quiet, decomposition.

Jack said...

The important issues
1.The environment
2.The economy
We can be positive or negative.
A few changes we have to face
1.The environment
Flooding of Bible proportions,drought,hurricanes ,tornadoes.
2.The economy
Whatever we see here in the Automatic earth.
Now ahead and adapt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP4CQyj0GJ0

Jack said...

I love the way Powell raises her hands up the way john travolta did in Saturday night fever

bosuncookie said...

North Anna declared its Alert, the second-lowest of the NRC’s four emergency classifications, when the plant lost electricity from the grid following the quake just before 2 p.m. Tuesday. Power is being provided by onsite diesel generators and the plant’s safety systems are operating normally. Plant personnel and NRC resident inspectors are continuing to examine plant conditions.

From an NRC News Release: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2011/11-153.pdf

Gravity said...

Heavy fighting around Gaddafi's compound and throughout Tripoli, with loyalists still somewhat organised, and Gadhaffi's sons perhaps still commanding the troops, but it seems this is no revolution, but a coup d'etat by NATO itself, under the guise of a civil war, with the rebels as cannon-fodder, since Ghadaffi was in the way of their rule anyway.
The rebels may have had old grievances against him, but must have been incited and armed by western powers beyond their natural propensity to revolt, the rebels rapid advances were enabled by NATO's bombing alone.
Gadaffi himself may be dead, or still in the compound, or retreated to more defensible positions.

Thousands of casualties, more to come with all the shortages and chaos, its a great tragedy and a crime against humanity, the events leading to the siege of Tripoli have been fomented mostly by NATO and western operations directly, this civil war/coup is by no means perpetrated by Ghaddafi's crimes [alone].

Jack said...

Gold went down a bit but I think it will go higher before the big drop.
They are going to try to get every cent they can from the poor souls who are afraid than the big bang

Jack said...

How can he expect to have a chance with all the mighty powers against him.
I hope we can learn something from this as individuals and that is he is a greedy pig and we should not be like that.

Jack said...

I am talking about gadaffi

bosuncookie said...

DC Earthquake Devastation: http://jmckinley.posterous.com/dc-earthquake-devastation

Jack said...

5.8 magnitude
it seems like a mild one

Jack said...

cnn said it was not mild

Frank said...

@Jack, Did you see the pictures from Christchurch? That was only 6.0

Jack said...

Hi Frank
I am not sure but I think the length the earthquake rattles is also a factor

Gravity said...

On 'dominant sociopathy', its basically the same theory that 'political ponerology' describes, as a criminological framework it specifies the primary function of a socio-political subsystem, or a secondary function of the whole commercial/financial system, whether that be capitalism, oligarchical collectivism or the currency system, but clustered sociopathy is not the definitive problem of our species.
Its just that any such structure may prevent socio-economic change where possible. Although its not useful to scapegoat the ethically challenged for all problems.

It might be that any system using currency itself is subject to this function, whatever ideological framework is superimposed on the currency system.

el gallinazo said...

Just a heads up

My ability to have banking accounts was restricted by my residency on a tiny island in the Caribbean for 13 years and then traveling in Latin America for the last two years. I have extracted the cash for my living expenses through a debit card in the ATM machines in the countries I have been living in.

I have two accounts. One is with one of a TBTF which I got as a legacy to a credit card that goes back decades. The other is with a Caribbean subsidiary of a Canadian bank which is the primary bank on St. John USVI.

I went to the local ATM here in Mexico this past week to withdraw cash. My TBTF card was rejected several days in a row. I had a balance in the account of about $2800. I just Skyped the bank to find out what was up and they told me I had a restriction on the account. I asked what the restriction was and they replied that they had cancelled my account. I asked why as I had a "perfect" record and they told me that in our agreement they could cancel my account for any reason they chose and did not have to offer a reason. And the decision, apparently made by Deep Thought, was irrevocable. I also have a SDB there which is fortunately empty. They can drill out the box. They will mail me my balance to my NYC address when they get around to it.

The real reason they cancelled my account was that I was, in their parlance, a "dead beat," meaning that I was not generating any interest on debt. My other account is also connected to treasurydirect.gov so the biggest inconvenience is that I only have one egg in my basket now.

As I said, heads up.

el gallinazo said...

The Richter number of a quake only gives a very general idea of its destructive potential. The depth under ground is also a very important factor. I experienced several quakes last year in Costa Rica and Panama in the 5 to 5.5 range. I guess they can best be described as "moderate." They don't knock you off your feet but you sure as hell notice them.

Jack said...

Canadian house prices rise by as much as 13.5% is what today's paper says.
That to me is a big lie.
Europe is wiped out USA is wiped out and for the mainstream media it is as business as usual.
Just this week they had a few auctions of multi unit properties and if it was really rising than those properties would not be auctioned and they would be sold by agents like any other property.
It is a shame because many people are getting fooled by this kinds of
news.

Jack said...

Shameless bastards of Canada.

ogardener said...

Blogger Gravity said...

"Heavy fighting around Gaddafi's compound and throughout Tripoli, with loyalists still somewhat organised, and Gadhaffi's sons perhaps still commanding the troops, but it seems this is no revolution, but a coup d'etat by NATO itself, under the guise of a civil war, with the rebels as cannon-fodder, since Ghadaffi was in the way of their rule anyway."

Of course! Hell hath no fury like a Hilary scorned. I think it's the light, sweet, crude that she's after. Aaaarg! That ought to keep the system going for a couple more months. Every little bit helps ;-)

Jack said...

If you spit on their faces they will say it is raining

Jack said...

Hi ogardener
It is their game and they will make rules as they go along as long as it suits them.

Greenpa said...

El Gal- your delightful experience with the bank makes me wonder once again- why is there no bank that behaves as if they were running a business service?

It would seem to be a major business opportunity, to me. "Dear Customers: ours is the only bank that actually wants your business- because, that's our business. We will never screw you in the 400 ways all other banks do."

I would think everybody would sign up.

thethirdcoast said...

Enenews.com reporting one of four emergency generators at North Anna has failed. Obviously external power has also been lost.

North Anna Generator Failure

As an extremely petulant NFL wideout once said,

"Get yo popcorn"

p01 said...

el gallinazo said
The real reason they cancelled my account was that I was, in their parlance, a "dead beat," meaning that I was not generating any interest on debt.

Personally I use the credit cards for all possible transactions. At the end of the month, I pay in full. They get zero interest from me. You should see the pile of offers I get for 1.99% interest for 2 years! They're getting desperate to create some money that lasts more than a month. :-)

--- said...

IMN

"until this week I had never seen or heard the word chemtrails"

Where to look is not in information. You will have to go outdoors. Watch. The next time what you believe is a long, persistent contrail appears overhead, just sit and watch it for about 25 minutes. Even Wiki, prone to disinformation, admits that what makes contrails visible is ice and ice only. So if you see some aircraft passing at the same or higher altitudes and not leaving any trails, while others leave vast, persistant trails, you can be sure that what is visible for the next few hours is not ice.

This is a radical departure from what people first do in the information age, I know. People jump online and into polemics long before going outside to look.

Please spend awhile doing this.

Of course being very close to a Viet Nam veteran gave me a different outlook once the infamous white barium crystals rained all over us as the clouds widened across the sky above this. It's been done before, and for a very long time.

Chemtrails is a handy word for trolls to attack on blogs. It really helps them identify where in cyberspace the discussions occur. I expect SuperCheryl to drop in any time to counter what I´ve just written.

Nassim said...

el g,

Your tale ties in with one of my more agreeable experiences with UK banks.

I had a company account with bank X for a long time. One day, they paid into this account a sum of money which must have fallen from the skies (£1,800). I waited for them to take it out again but they did not. A couple of years later, I saw that bank Y was offering "free checking for lifetime company accounts" so I moved the account there. I had 2 reasons to move: to save money, and, to make it less likely that bank X would ask for the £1,800 back. A few years later, bank Y closed my account with no warning - they said that it was not "active enough". I guess I didn't get into debt or something silly like that. I tried reopening it but they insisted that I go through the whole "money-laundering/know your customer" rigmarole and so I told them to forget about it. :)

The one thing I learnt is that banking is not like any other business.

I. M. Nobody said...

el g,

I do believe the wind may be blowing in a new direction at the big banks. It must have been a couple of years ago that I tried to close a credit card account at Discover Card. I believe that is Ally Bank. I got so much resistance from their agent that I finally hung up on her. Since I am relocating in a few days, I thought I should probably get it closed. When I called yesterday and announced what I wanted the very polite young lady said, "I can do that for you sir." And then we were done. I am inclined to think that they are clearing the decks and preparing for trouble.

D. Benton Smith said...

@ocmsrzr
" You may not be a commie, but you may be horrified to realize that your analysis falls within the Marxist theoretical perspective. "


Well, this much I will 'fess up to : I knew I was close enough that a preemptive apologia was probably a good defensive move.

Truthfully, I have sincere admiration for Karl Marx to the extent of what I know of his intellectual power, integrity and achievements. My only serious criticism is that he over-reached... like so many giants do... and presumed to have well grounded understanding of things that were in reality quite beyond the scope of his experience.

In order to avoid being too presumptuous my own self, I will herewith make no further criticism of my betters.

And thankyou for the excellent synopsis of some of his theory... it made me curious enough to maybe do a little more delving.

skilo said...

@p01,

>>Personally I use the credit cards for all possible transactions. At the end of the month, I pay in full. They get zero interest from me. You should see the pile of offers I get for 1.99% interest for 2 years! They're getting desperate to create some money that lasts more than a month. :-)<<

Actually, they get a transaction fee, so you are still feeding the beast.

I was like you for decades until I finally decided to bite the bullet - I do cash as much as possible and I shop local and small.

I want the local community merchants to get the profits, not the crimnal banking cartel.

It wasn't intuitive or easy for me, but I know if was the right thing for me to do.

muchtooloose said...

Oops I guess that one was too close to home :)

el gallinazo said...

This American Life

Theme this week - building superintendents

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

Act two - Invest in the Indonesian stage rights to a snowman that can bunch press 400 pounds
Starts at - 27:30 - very funny

Act One - the mind of the Brazilian sociopath super

skilo said...

@ocmsrzr,

>>I'm curious about why you guys are against carbon cap and trade. Is it coming from a big brother, hands off, libertarian perspective, or because you think it is an ineffective economic incentive, or something else? Seems to have worked pretty well in the US with regards to SO2.<<

You didn't ask me, but I'll throw out some points to consider.

1. Carbon cap and trade is used to enrich the insiders at the expense of everyone else. For example, GE gets carbon waivers, nobody else does. That enriches GE and BFC that controls it and effectively monopolizes much of the coal business.

In addition, do some research into Corus Steelworks. The owner received about $1 billion in carbon credits, he shut down his plant and moved it to India, where it can pollute even more than before.

Nigel Farage...

Corus’ steelworks at Redcar, near Middlesbrough, “Teesside Cast Products”, is to be closed (”mothballed” is the euphemism). It is Britain’s last great steelworks and an essential national resource. Without it, we are at the world’s mercy.

Corus is owned by Tata Steel of India. Recently, Tata received “EU-carbon-credits” worth up to £1bn, ostensibly so that steel-production at Redcar would not be crippled by the EU’s “carbon-emissions-trading-scheme”. By closing the plant at Redcar – and not making any “carbon-emissions” – Tata walks off with £1bn of taxpayers’ money, which it will invest in its steel-factories in India, where there is no “carbon-emissions-trading-scheme”.

2. BFC will steal more money by yet another fraudulent "market."

3. There are better ways to deal with reducing CO2, assuming AGW is even a problem (maybe, maybe not, the recent flat lining of temperatures in the face of 300+ billion tons of CO2 emissions, contrary to every single prediction 10 years ago, has to at least raise some eyebrows.

4. CO2 scares are essentially enriching the BFC and being used as an excuse to impoverish everyone else. I say the biggest users of CO2 pay the dearest prices... and we find ways to improve the lot of those currently abused by the debt-dollar tyranny.

thethirdcoast said...

@ Greenpa:

El Gal- your delightful experience with the bank makes me wonder once again- why is there no bank that behaves as if they were running a business service?

I see your contention about bank service and raise you the typical auto dealer. I just lost a bit more skin to mine, and as always the experience was surreal.

The most bizarre part is when you leave someone's compartmentalized area of responsibility and run into them elsewhere in the dealership with a legitimate question. Less than 10 minutes may have passed and they will act as though they've never seen you before in their life.

I lost some skin because their mechanics screwed up a simple factory recall. Sadly, the only thing that matters is what you can prove, and I can't prove they installed faulty parts in my vehicle to get it out the door

I would've rather heard the correct parts were backordered and I would need to come in again.

I feel like this whole episode is a microcosm of the no-attention-to-detail, do-it-any-old-way, crap-sh*t joke that Usanistan and its sheeple have become.

skilo said...

@Greenpa,

>>How about frog and fish rains? well documented. I suppose we could have a secret program going to seed frogs and fish into corn fields.

Do you suppose tornadoes ever hit dumps, mine tailings, settling ponds, etc? I would suggest we know they do.<<

A straw man logical fallacy that avoided actually answering the questions posed... Is that all you have? ;-)

Have there been any fish and frogs found on the top of Mt Hood? That's where the barium was found.

On.

Top.

Of.

Mt.

Hood.

How?

BTW, I don't have the answer, but chemtrails could be the answer. I don't know for sure. But I do ask the question.

The problem with knowing it all, or at least pretending you do on the internet, is that you can no longer anything.

BTW, that's a key psyop used by BFC in order to control people.

Fluoride is a prime example. People "know" ingesting it in the drinking water is "good for the teeth."

Even though the industry has resisted all attempts at a double blind study to prove it.

Even though the EPA scientist's union has called to stop water fluoridation BASED ON THE SCIENCE THEY ACTUALLY REVIEWED.

But no matter, people who have looked at the science "know" it is good for teeth with no side effects and that's that.

No stinking evidence or evaluation required.

I don't know if AGW is real or not, the systems involved are immensely complex. What I do know is reality didn't match past AGW predictions and select BFC insiders are aiming to make billions for themselves off it. The latter two are absolute, incontrovertible facts.

I don't know for sure if chemtrails are real, but I will spend the time to research it thoroughly before mocking others who question if it is being done and throwing out completely worthless straw man logical fallacies.

Reaching conclusions on partial information is one of the quickest ways to "get played" by the system.

ocmsrzr said...

@skilo
At the risk of getting off of TAE metatopics, your arguments (if true) seem to pass the smell test. It definitely pisses me off to see regulatory favoritism. As far as I know, and my knowledge ends around 2008, SO2 is the only fully functioning federally mandated emissions cap and trade program. Also, despite its problems, (and I’m assuming the data is good here), commercial permitted SO2 emissions have been reduced considerably since implementation of the program.

D. Benton Smith said...

@SecularAnimist
" Now, everybody is selling something. Seems you know your target demographic. "

I do know one thing about the local demographic, anyway : a lot of people on this site know twice as much as I do. Consequently I am respectful to rant veeeeery carefully.

Regarding my " ...not selling solutions ", however, that's just plain truth. It's not humility or anything like that, it's just that I don't have solutions that aren't common knowledge.

What I do have from time to time are observations, by a life-long fugitive from the box... and this is one of the only places I know of where nobody EVER says, "Hey, stuff that guy back in the damned box!"

I don't think there is any paticular lack of solutions. There is, possibly, a shortage of agendaless observations about the solutions they've already got.

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

1-Year Treasury Security.

I'm thinking about bidding on a 1-Year Treasury Security during the next treasury direct auction. I don't won't to risk getting stuck with a negative yield on a 1-month, 3-month, or 6-month treasury. Yields have dipped negative on 1-month and 3-month Treasuries recently.

Since I&S have said that serious deflation will last for at least another 1-2 years (in most cases they hint that serious deflation will last much much longer than that), a 1-Year Treasury Security should be a very good bet.

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

I&S and El G, and VK, and Greenpa, and IMN, and other regulars....

When will the US bond market crack?

1 year
2 years
2-5 years?
5-10 years?
> 10 years?

This is essentially a question about when we convert from deflation to currency collapse/hyperinflation.

I&S seem to be very vague on the duration of deflation (is it 1 year 2 years or 10 years?)

They say it'll be so bad we won't recognize our world when it's done. That seems to me to imply much longer than 1-2 years.

There's a lot of wealth that has yet to vaporize and I don't see how that happens in less than 2 years.

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

Let's list some big stuff that hasn't happened yet:

1) Small scale bank run in poor developing nation

2) Systemic bank run in poor and developing nation

3) Small scale bank run in peripheral European nation

4) Systemic bank run in peripheral European nation

5) municipal bankruptcy

6) negation of public and/or private pension fund obligations

7) increase in age for social security and/or reduction of benefits

8) increase in age and/or reduction of medicare benefits

9) cuts to defense spending

10) Small scale bank runs in US

11) Systemic bank runs in US

12) Capital controls anywhere...


There is a lot that is supposed to play out.....

Do I&S expect this in 1-2 years or over a longer time frame....
Can we get some clarity here?

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

There's a 5 year Treasury Note Auction tomorrow....

I'd like to get my money to safety.

Should I go for it, or should I wait until next week for the next 3-month and 6-month auctions....

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

Are Treasury C of I safe?

Are C of I insured with the same level of federal government backing as all other Treasury securities (1-month, 3-month, 6-month, etc.)

There's no clarity on this issue. Anybody?

snuffy said...

DBS,

I spent a good chunk of my life prying hands off of me who wished to "stuff me back in a box".One of the only real personal headaches of mine is a very definite streak of anti-authoritarianism.[I work hard to keep in line when I am being a contract tech.]One of the beautiful things about being a contractor is that
#1 You KNOW You are at the bottom of the food chain.
#2 in 3-4 weeks you are "Down the road",so a bad boss is not something you will have to deal with for a chunk of your life.[Major stress reduction]Bad boss has a timestamp.

Another interesting factoid...

One of the most interesting bits of archaeology/pre-[western]history,is the topic/existence of Terra-preta,or the black carbon soils of pre-Columbia south america.[I have read a couple of books on them,and the topic]A part of me wonders how the early inhabitants of this area discovered this method of trapping carbon in the soils,as well as the use the micro-Fauna ,that, when activated,turns some of the nastiest clay to black ,rich loam for crop production.This allows a much denser population than was previously believed...

Think of the term"Trap Carbon".There exists Hundreds of thousandths of tons known,and most likely many,many,millions of tons of pure carbon,carbon not in the atmosphere any more due to the stabilization of the black "lampblack" form of carbon in those soils.
The relatively stable climate we have enjoyed for the last few millennium could well have been due, in part,to the removal of that massive amount of carbon from our atmosphere by these ancient farmers.In some circles,its reported that they fear if this became part of the package,I.E credits for industrial farming use of this very old tech to trap carbon in the soil "permanently"...might lead to over reliance on this method to offset the carbon generation of modern life.....
You can come up with some very interesting questions about "The Old Ones" when you think about this factoid for awhile.The truth is probably stranger than any of us would likely believe...

Selling a solution...

I am sure they[TPTB] have the solutions to all the problems of mankind...except most of us would not like them much,and probably want their authors locked up as being a threat to mankind...

Tired..Later folks

Bee good,or
Bee careful

snuffy

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

According to wikipedia, C of I is a government security.

Is it safe to keep my Treasury direct money mostly in C of I?

Should I split my Treasury direct savings 50/50 between actual treasury securities and C of I securities?

What's the safest ratio?

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

My Treasury Direct account is linked to a local credit union with a moderate bank rating
(*** = bankrate) and (C- Weiss). No other local banks have a better rating. Should I travel farther for a **** = bankrate and C+ Weiss just to get a second link to my Treasury direct? Is it worth it?

What about linking my account to a TBTF bank?

If I were to open an account with a TBTF bank and link it to my Treasury direct account, which TBTF bank is the best/safest?

Wells Fargo
Citi
JP Morgan
Bank of America

What about setting up an account with a "White Shoe" bank like Mellon Bank of New York or State Street. I'd need to drive 45 minutes to downtown SF for that. Is it worth it for a 2nd linked TD account?

And El G, are you being serious about your TBTF bank? Which one? How can they just eject your deposit with no clear reason? That doesn't seem legal.

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

We need more hands on banking information here....

The upper level news summary stuff is good and interesting....but I need help with the nitty gritty of locking down my pile.

We need details here.....step by step...fill us in please

Robert 1 said...

Just to add my two cents worth re. barium residues and "chem trails".

Barite (barium sulfate) is used extensively in drilling fluids. It has a high density and helps increase the density of the drilling fluids to produce counter pressure against natural liquids pressure found in petroleum and gas formations. This helps prevent blow outs.

The big push for, questionably economical, gas from gas shale has resulted in hundreds of thousands of shale gas wells being drilled.

Millions of gallons of water (and additives including barite) are used in drilling each well. During drilling and post drilling operations large quantities of water and muds come back out of the bore hole.

These liquids are supposed to be removed and treated away from site to remove toxic substances.

However, in very dry areas, Wyoming for example, the liquids are often sprayed in the air to try to evaporate water and cut costs. It is well known that large amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are also released into the air. As a result some of these once pristine areas now have air pollution problems as serious as Los Angeles.

The high pressure jets of spray will also carry suspended solids as well as water into the air. As water evaporates, aerosols of solid drilling additives (including Barite) will be formed and these particulates could be carried to high altitudes in the frequent, strong winds and powerful updrafts that are found in many of these active drilling sites.

These particulates could then be carried great distances and later settle out to the ground.

I know that prevailing winds in these areas are west to east. So whether these particulates could ever drift west to Mt. Hood or other areas to the west is open to conjecture.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

Robert 1

Robert 1 said...

One of the most interesting bits of archaeology/pre-[western]history,is the topic/existence of Terra-preta,or the black carbon soils of Snuffy said: "pre-Columbia south america.[I have read a couple of books on them,and the topic]A part of me wonders how the early inhabitants of this area discovered this method of trapping carbon in the soils,as well as the use the micro-Fauna ,that, when activated,turns some of the nastiest clay to black ,rich loam for crop production.This allows a much denser population than was previously believed... "

In spite of what is written on this subject, I believe most of this carbon would have come from periodic slash and burning in a given area. Getting wood to completely burn to ash in tropical areas can be a problem because of dampness.

I live in a temperate zone but after a few years of neglect any given bare land becomes covered with bramble, brush and rapidly growing trees. This process is amplified in tropical areas.

NZSanctuary said...

skilo said...
I don't know for sure if chemtrails are real, but I will spend the time to research it thoroughly before mocking others who question if it is being done and throwing out completely worthless straw man logical fallacies.

Such fallacies are standard practice when you mention anything outside "accepted" truth. Plus the people doing the mocking usually portray themselves as not even understanding the opposed point of view.


War mongers
There is a big story at the moment about NZ's first SAS soldier to be killed in Afghanistan. Of course he has been cast as a hero, rescuing British nationals when shot – and on an individual level that is probably true. But it is also true that he, and those he was "rescuing", were part of a combined occupying military force that has killed or caused the death of over 1 million civilians in the Middle East in the last decade. Their purpose there is not noble or heroic, but quite the opposite. The propaganda machine rolls on . . .

Goodnight Sweetheart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brunswickian said...

There is a big story at the moment about NZ's first SAS soldier to be killed in Afghanistan.


I saw an hourly news segment on TV7 where a guy on the ground in Afghanistan said he was killed by a .50 cal round. Not exactly the kind of weapon that can easily be lugged around.


Hmmmmmm........

Nassim said...

Complaints of mosquito bites are on the rise in the UK. So should Britons brace themselves for a future mosquito menace?
...
Based on a survey of UK local authorities, reports of mosquito bites over the last 10 years are 2.5 times greater than in the 10 years up to 1996.


Is the mosquito menace growing in the UK?

At first glance, this story would seem to supportive of AGW. However, if you delve a little deeper, you will find the following:

But once upon a time, malaria-carrying mosquitoes could be found in the salt marshes of south-eastern England.

It is believed that malaria - literally "bad air" - dates back at least to Roman times in the UK, and outbreaks occurred as recently as the years just following World War I.


:)

Robert 1 said...

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

"Money...lets talk Money

Money money Money money money..."

Hey Sweetheart, have you met a girl(?) called Cheryl? You would remember her she wears a large hat.

ben said...

"I saw an hourly news segment on TV7 where a guy on the ground in Afghanistan said he was killed by a .50 cal round. Not exactly the kind of weapon that can easily be lugged around."

it's only 30lbs for a .50 caliber sniper rifle. and you can shoot it effectively from more than a mile away. if you miss the head by six inches it will still tear off half the face.

Nassim said...

In spite of what is written on this subject, I believe most of this carbon would have come from periodic slash and burning in a given area. Getting wood to completely burn to ash in tropical areas can be a problem because of dampness.

Robert1,

A while back, I read up all I could on terra preta. As I recall, it is actually quite difficult to make the stuff.

There is plenty of slash-and-burn going on in the Amazon region - but none of the modern slash-and-burn has resulted in the production of terra preta. In fact, it usually results in only a few good crops before they have to move elsewhere and do some more slashing-and-burning. The soil gets degraded and washed away and the underlying laterite gets exposed - nothing grows on that.

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

Treasury Securities....

With the yield curve dipping into negative territory and approaching zero out to 2-years in duration....

We need a more detailed discussion of Treasury securities.

The incremental risks of straying out beyond 3-month duration securities...

why not 6-month
or 1-year....
or 2-year....

The thrust of I&S is that we'll be in deflation for a long long time....

That's the impression I get from Ilargi...

Stoneleigh seems to suggest it could only be 1-2 years before bond markets split and fracture...

Is that your time frame?

Goodnight Sweetheart said...

@ I&S:

Do you think the US bond market could breakdown within the next 2-years?

Robert 1 said...

Nassim said: "... It is believed that malaria - literally "bad air" - dates back at least to Roman times in the UK, and outbreaks occurred as recently as the years just following World War I."

... And only decreased because of drainage and/or dredging of many wet areas as well as the advent of DDT - and other pesticides. Since then mosquitoes have developed resistance to many pesticides and there is still no good vaccine for malaria.

Yes, large areas of temperate zones will again feel the the effects of "bad air".

In France, Tiger mosquitoes are now being found. It is only a matter of time.

Robert 1 said...

Nassim, I need to be more specific.

In any area used for cultivation year after year there will be a lot of organic material that needs burning - or partial burning. Many agricultural societies going way back in time have recognized the importance of manures and other amendments to the soil. These include the benefits of adding ashes (and partially burned materials) to gardens.

Slash and burn indeed can be very destructive. However, controlled burning followed by heavy crop cover can benefit the soil.

I have used certain areas in our fields to burn brush and other woody materials. After a few years of this, these areas develop blacker soil in what otherwise is sandy-clay. Subsequent growth is vigorous and remains so for a long time.

They have also found such terra preta soils in Mayan areas of central America and as you point out the soils are still very fertile and productive.

For sure laterite is bad stuff. In SE Asia laterite was used for construction of many ancient temples. It is relative soft and easily cut when first exposed to air but rapidly oxidizes to a very hard durable construction material.

As I final observation I relate the following. We had a certain area where we were growing sweet corn. In one area the maize was nearly twice as tall as other plants close by. Talking with a neighbour, we found out that previous people used to keep donkeys in that small area some 80 years before. Once again the benefits of manures and other amendments remained for a very long time.

Unfortunately, modern agriculture with highly water soluble fertilizers are leaving a legacy of poisoned water tables and sterile soils. No plant residues and manures and soon the soil is destroyed.

el gallinazo said...

Goodnight Sweetheart

re my earlier comment. Every detail was correct. You are new here. I wouldn't make this shit up. That's not how I deal with this group. Occasionally I get into some humor like burying treasure on the beach, but it is usually obvious. Nothing funny about this. It was the Morgue. As to whether they can do it. They just did it. It is all contained in the fine print you sign that you can't read without an scanning electron microscope. I was obviously part of a batch file since everyone there had their rap down without rehearsal. They just trimmed account holders who weren't profitable, i.e. in debt to them. The only money they made off me was my $5 per month account fee and my $5 debit card transaction fee from out of the country. I was holding, on the average mid four figures in the account, but they don't care since the Fed is no longer enforcing reserve requirements. They don't really need depositors anymore.

As to treasuries, I assume you are all set with td.gov decoder ring, Ovaltine clipped ad and all. My response is that if you will not need that money for anything for 1 year, it should be safe as a 13 week. The problem with going into longer time is if you are forced to sell into the secondary market before maturity. I have not heard of any primary auctions going negative on yields, just secondary markets. I don't see why C&I should be less secure than bills, but what do I know.

Jack said...

Goodnight Sweetheart said...
@ I&S:

Do you think the US bond market could breakdown within the next 2-years?

I think time is going to tell.
As we go along we will get more hints

Frank said...

@Nassim Malaria was endemic in New York and Ontario in the first half of the 19th century. Workers building the canals died from it.

Records are good enough to demonstrate that regional temperatures then were lower than now, or most of 20th century.

I googled this awhile ago, I think because of TAE, and got the impression that the few people who care are not satisfied by any explanation so far of why malaria vanished from the region.

p01 said...

The deranged KrugoBorg strikes again. Let's hope this time we don't get a "pro earthquakes, tsunamis and destruction in general" faction, as it happened with the aliens.

p01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
p01 said...

There's something very wrong with the linky. In short, it's on zerohedge's front page, the article about the deranged KrugoBorg's Google+ account post.

p01 said...

Greece's 2 year bond yields. Amazing, isn't it? The whole thingy still holding together, that is.

p01 said...

KrugoBorg reassures everyone it's only the alien threat that will grow whatever he thinks needs to grow.

Jack said...

Gold is going down Ilargi was saying it would start going down this week.
I was thinking that it was going to stay at those levels for another few weeks

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 315   Newer› Newest»