18 December 2014
Posted by Jesse at 1:51 PM
David Cay Johnston is an American investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting.
Since 2009 he has been a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer who teaches the tax, property and regulatory law of the ancient world at Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management.' From July 2011 until September 2012 he was a columnist for Reuters, writing, and producing video commentaries, on worldwide issues of tax, accounting, economics, public finance and business. Johnston is the board president of Investigative Reporters and Editors.
17 December 2014
The Fed brought out not so much the jawbone, but perhaps its dentures, and changed 'considerable' to 'patient' and set some expectations for a rate hike perhaps as early as April.
Of course this is all rubbish, and the Fed will do what they need to do to protect the US' financial paper, especially in the time of currency war.
Gold took a somewhat perfunctory hit by the little wiseguys sometime after the announcement, almost as an afterthought, and silver pretty much held its level.
If they can't keep the genie in the bottle we might be getting ready to rock 'n roll. Can you feel things winding up, getting tighter and tighter, as the paper kings keep pushing it to the limit?
We can be patient too, Bubbe Yellen, while we wait for some potentially considerable changes to come.
I am leaving a bit early today to do things related to family and the holidays. These things will remain. The trappings and vanities of Empire are already turning to dust.
Gold and silver will be fine I suspect. But we must be wary of the desperation of those who are both corrupt and powerful.
Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends, acquaintances, and patrons of Le Café.
Have a pleasant evening.
Posted by Jesse at 3:35 PM
Posted by Jesse at 3:31 PM
“Unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.”
"Take up the White man's burden,
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard."
"For better or worse — fair and foul — the world we know today is in large measure a product of Britain's age of empire. The question is not whether British imperialism was without blemish. It was not. The question is whether there could have been a less bloody path to modernity. Perhaps in theory there could have been. But in practice?
...The policy mix favored by Victorian imperialists reads like something just published by the International Monetary Fund, if not the World Bank: free trade, balanced budgets, sound money, the common law, incorrupt administration and investment in infrastructure financed by international loans."
Niall Ferguson, Empire and The Empire Slinks Back
"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation that is governed by shopkeepers."
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
"First...there is not a single prince, state, or potentate, great or small, in India, with whom they have come into contact, whom they have not sold: I say sold, though sometimes they have not been able to deliver according to their bargain. Secondly, I say, that there is not a single treaty they have ever made which they have not broken. Thirdly, I say, that there is not a single prince or state, who ever put any trust in the [East India] Company, who is not utterly ruined; and that none are in any degree secure or flourishing, but in the exact proportion to their settled distrust and irreconcilable enmity to this nation."
Edmund Burke: Speech on Mr. Fox’s East India Bill, Dec. 1, 1783
"Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new...
While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control...
The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."
Francis I, Evangelii et Gaudium
Posted by Jesse at 2:16 PM
“All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.I can’t even give you hope that it will be different someday— that they’ll come out, and forget death, and lose their technology’s elaborate terror, and stop using every form of life without mercy to keep what haunts men down to a tolerable level— and be like you instead, simply here, simply alive.”Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
As you know The Hunger Games society has been a recurrent theme here for some time.
An elite minority economically oppresses the rest of the nation, using force and fraud to keep the public in line.
The Capitol district is unproductive, effete, and consumed with the self, consumption, fads, status, power, and fashions. And of course the sentimentality and reality televised gore of The Hunger Games themselves. They are beautiful on the outside, in inwardly filled with every manner of corruption and the bones of their victims.
The games are designed to provide the Districts with some hope, but primarily fear. Anyone may be chosen and destroyed, with debt increasing the odds of being chosen.
Hope and fear. And what happens when the people lose confidence in a corrupt and manipulative system, and therein lose their hope?
And may the odds be ever in your favour.
The ‘Hunger Games’ EconomyBy David Cay JohnstonDecember 15, 2014That our Congress is intent on taking from the many to enrich the few was on full display during passage of the new $1.1 trillion federal spending bill, as five provisions show.In a Washington run by and for oligarchs, official theft happens suddenly and without warning. No public hearings. No public debate. Instead, as we saw in North Carolina and Wisconsin, it occurs with just abrupt moves to shift power and money from the many to the richest few.And with little focus by our best news organizations on the consequences for people’s lives, especially if they are in the 90 percent, many people have no idea they just got officially mugged.The continuing resolution to fund the government was combined with an omnibus spending bill to create a 1,603-page statutory monster called the “cromnibus.” Among the provisions that show how both political parties help corporations pick the pockets of the vast majority, while far too many mainstream journalists help obfuscate the awful truth...
16 December 2014
Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perception, and we return to a darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning, still find themselves in the thickest darkness of the night."Maimonides
Today was a volatile day in the markets to say the least. And gold and silver in particular had been taken out and beaten over the last two days by the triumphant US dollar.
US equities are probably the best example of this volatile market. Stocks plunged on the open, rallied back to triple digit gains in the Industrials, and then sold off again into the close.
The continuing drop in Oil is creating quite a few concerns with funds, companies, and even nations.
There is almost no doubt in my mind that this is the result of a gameplay with the US and Saudi Arabia, coupled with slack demand from emerging economies like China. Saudi Arabia is more than happen to maintain high supply levels to spank Putin for the US, and they are also cleaning out the investments in oil production in the more marginal explorations and fracking that depend on higher prices.
The big news all day was the plunging Russian rouble, which is under assault on the forex markets by the Western banks, assisting with plunging oil revenues. Reminders of the Russian default in 1998 were being broadcast, although given that Russia has about 10% debt to GDP that is not much of a sovereign threat.
More likely we would see Russian investments fail and corporate bonds default in emerging market portfolios. In other words a commercial rather than a sovereign failure which we saw the last time in 1998 when the rouble failed and was reissued. In contravention to the theories of MMT I might add, as short and selective as their memories seem to be.
Jeb Bush is apparently going to be running for President in 2016. Oh joy, Bush v. Clinton. Come mister tally man, tally me bananas.
FOMC tomorrow. With the dollar this strong I seriously doubt the Fed will be raising rates anytime soon. But they might make some noises.
This is a currency war. Never forget it when you are attempting to find sense and surety in this. And we are not necessarily the good guys this time.
I am not sure what is more disheartening. The shamelessness of the neoliberal thugs, or the pettiness and selfish grasping of the so called intellectual class, utterly lacking in any moral compass or principle except their own howling in subjective wells of dwindling power, as visions of progressive reform swirl down the sink of forgotten dreams, into the maw of the Beast.
Have a pleasant evening.
Posted by Jesse at 4:16 PM