Leveraged Financial Speculation to GDP in the US at a Familiar Peak, Once Again

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Posted on 30th August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

“I believe myriad global “carry trades” – speculative leveraging of securities – are the unappreciated prevailing source of finance behind interlinked global securities market Bubbles. They amount to this cycle’s government-directed finance unleashed to jump-start a global reflationary cycle.

I’m convinced that perhaps Trillions worth of speculative leverage have accumulated throughout global currency and securities markets at least partially based on the perception that policymakers condone this leverage as integral (as mortgage finance was previously) in the fight against mounting global deflationary forces.”

Doug Noland, Carry Trades and Trend-Following Strategies

The basic diagnosis is correct.   But the nature of the disease, and the appropriate remedies, may not be so easily apprehended, except through simple common sense.  And that is a rare commodity these days.

Like a dog returns to its vomit, the Fed’s speculative bubble policy enables the one percent to once again feast on the carcass of the real economy.

‘And no one could have ever seen it coming.’

Once is an accident.

Twice is no coincidence.

Remind yourself what has changed since then.  Banks have gotten bigger.   Schemes and fraud continue.

What will the third time be like?  And the fourth?

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Sanders and Trump at the Iowa State Fair – Loss of Confidence in the ‘Political Establishment’

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Posted on 17th August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse
This is a funny election season in the US. Yes it is still early times, and many things may happen between now and next November.  But one thing for certain is that the people of the US are rejecting the fake popular reform of corporate brand Obama, and the smarmy deceitfulness and slick branding of mainstream party politics.Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are ‘genuine’ candidates, whether you agree with them or not. People are flocking to their messages because they see them as telling the truth about what they think, and what they will do, without bowing down to special interests for money, or saying whatever people wish to hear to get elected and then do whatever they wish for those who pay them.And make no mistake, the mainstream establishment in the US, in the media and the professional political ranks, hate and fear both of them.  The establishment candidates, duly anointed by the moneyed interests, are Hillary and Jeb, with some designated stand-ins should either of them stumble too badly. And the established party machines and their enablers will do everything in their power to make sure that you can only choose one or the other of their approved products next year.

And we are seeing similar phenomenon abroad in the UK with Corbyn and Fararge, and in France with Le Pen.

Obviously I do not know how this will end.  I am not necessarily hopeful in the short term.  If they were wise, the ‘establishment’ would allow for peaceful evolution, and more forcefully rein in the abuses and plundering being done by themselves and their predatory patrons.  And they have shown little wisdom, or self-awareness, existing as they do in hermetically sealed envelopes of money and power.

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Lawrence Wilkerson: Travails of Empire – Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar

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Posted on 16th August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

 

“We are imperial, and we are in decline… People are losing confidence in the Empire.”

This is the key theme of Larry Wilkerson’s presentation.  He never really questions whether empire is good or bad, sustainable or not, and at what costs.  At least he does not so in the same manner as that great analyst of empire Chalmers Johnson.

It is important to understand what people who are in and near positions of power are thinking if you wish to understand what they are doing, and what they are likely to do.  What ought to be done is another matter.

Wilkerson is a Republican establishment insider who has served for many years in the military and the State Department. Here he is giving about a 40 minute presentation to the Centre For International Governance in Canada in 2014.

I find his point of view of things interesting and revealing, even on those points where I may not agree with his perspective.  There also seem to be some internal inconsistencies in this thinking.

But what makes his perspective important is that it represents a mainstream view of many professional politicians and ‘the Establishment’ in America. Not the hard right of the Republican party, but much of what constitutes the recurring political establishment of the US.

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What Recovery – Currency Wars

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Posted on 11th August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

China shocked the world markets overnight by devaluing their currency by the most in two decades.

A devaluation of this sort is designed to improve the domestic economy by stimulating exports, lowering domestic costs of production relative to other sources, and to inhibit imports by raising their relative prices.

In other words, China clearly signaled that the US dollar, to which they were matching their own currency, is overvalued relative to the state of the global economy, and especially their own.

China is ‘the canary in the coal mine’ for the global economy, a major source of labor and supply. Their own economy is sick because demand from overseas is down.

And why is demand lower? Because multinational corporations and the banking system have been financializing nearly everything to increase corporate profits and the wealth of a very few, pretty much at the expense of everyone else.

So if the people do not have the money to buy, and cannot keep increasing their private debt to service consumption because of the predatory lending and fees in the system, guess what happens to aggregate demand? Duh.

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Shanghai Gold Exchange Sees 61.8 Tonnes Withdrawn In Eighth Largest Week Ever – Talk To the Hand

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Posted on 19th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

“Gold has worked down from Alexander’s time. When something holds good for two thousand years I do not believe it can be so because of prejudice or mistaken theory.”

Bernard M. Baruch

Asia continues to add significant amounts of gold bullion to their wealth reserves.

Wall Street and its sycophants would like us to consider gold to be just ‘a pet rock’ or ‘like trading sardines.’   And yet central banks have turned to be net buyers, and Asia and the Mideast continue to buy bullion in record amounts.   Talk to the Chan.

One of the few coherent things Alan Greenspan said was that statists of all persuasions, both right and left, have ‘an almost hysterical antagonism towards gold.’ This is because gold resists their will to power over others.

So why isn’t gold ‘working’ at this moment in history?

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‘Peace In Our Time’

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Posted on 14th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

“Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Thomas Paine

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seems to have folded precipitously, after apparently having taken all other options off the table including a Grexit, a movement toward the burgeoning China Development Bank, an impasse.

His strategy seemed a bit out of joint. I have heard that Victoria Nuland made him a personal offer he could not refuse, and he did not wish to offer a ‘principled resignation’ as did Varoufakis.

(Note: I am now mulling this and a few other things over in light of this new interview by Varoufakis.)

It could be that he was then taken aback and surprised by the sheer ferocity of the European (German) proposal, which was to essentially make Greek into a protectorate, and to visit a looting of national assets, given that the loans being granted are completely unpayable and the collateral will be forfeit.

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The Greek Deal From Germany – Reading Between the Lines – Darkness Over the Earth

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Posted on 13th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

Perhaps the Greeks made a mistake, and relied too much on rationality, on a belief in a Eurozone in which good sense and reason would prevail. As it was, the Germans were willing to ruthlessly crush the Greek banking system, while the ECB and IMF stood idly by, fomenting a financial panic and humanitarian disaster in order to displace a sovereign government and put an entire nation ‘in its place.’ We certainly have seen this kind of example made before.

This was an exercise in raw power. It was a financial blitzkrieg, an act of economic warfare and reckless destruction on a people that ought to be condemned by the free world. But this kind of ruthless abuse of financial systems seems to be the accepted thing now amongst the developed economies. And we might view Greece as a sort of an experiment in a new form of warfare and ruthlessness, as were Guernica, Warsaw, and Lidice.

It is a shame if the Greeks have not prepared for Grexit, although there are still clearly options despite the naysayers who see only difficulties in everything. Freedom is rarely the easier way.

The lesson that the countries of the Eurozone cannot trust Germany to act with wisdom and goodwill was known, but now we also see that restraint is also not in their repetoire. If one can read between the lines, it would be a pity if the rest of the European countries do not start planning now for their own active exit from such an failed concept as the European Monetary Union.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

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Posted on 7th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“…and then they come for the others: the dissidents, the different, and the other.

And sometimes, for those who just happen to be where we do not wish them to be.

Once people have been sufficiently desensitized, over time made utterly apathetic to the condition of their fellow human beings, and provided an official rationale in the form of symbols and slogans, for murder, torture, and even the most heinous crimes out of fear and a taste for violence, almost anything is possible.

And in the end, the people are driven mad by their complicity. They imagine themselves as other than human, first as some types of superior beings. But when that illusion falters, and the romantic allure of their symbols and slogans become tattered, And after a time they find their refuge, merely as beasts.

Great worldly power can at first appear to be awe inspiring, almost beautiful, in its scope and majesty. How can we possibly oppose something so vast, so shocking in its scope and reach. But as we draw closer, we may at times perceive the smell of decay, and corruption, the rot beneath the appearance of the glamour. And perhaps, drawing close enough, we may even catch a glimpse of the diseased eyes and evil leer behind the mask. But by then, alas, we are his.”

Jesse


Praetorian Guard: US Role In The New World Order

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Posted on 4th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Jesse

“The major function of secrecy in Washington is to keep the U.S. people and U.S. Congress from knowing what the nation’s leaders are doing. Secrecy is power. Secrecy is license. Secrecy covers up mistakes. Secrecy covers up corruption.

The United States [is] cast in the role of Praetorian Guard, protecting the interests of the global financial order against fractious elements in the Third World. As the Praetorian Guard, fighting wars for multinational interests while also paying for such adventures, our relative economic stability, domestic social and material infrastructure, and the freedom and liberties of the American people may all be forfeited.

James Stockwell, Praetorian Guard: US Role In the New World Order

“There are only two reasons why you should ever be asked to give your youngsters. One is defense of our homes. The other is the defense of our Bill of Rights and particularly the right to worship God as we see fit. Every other reason advanced for the murder of young men is a racket, pure and simple.

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket


The 14 Trillion Dollar Scam and the Unfinished Business of Financial Reform

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Posted on 3rd July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

  1. Financial Institutions should not be allowed to cheat people through confusing and complex products, or just plain lying about credit cards and mortgages.
  2. Financial Institutions should not be allowed to use taxpayers to pick up their risks through deposits or bailouts.

We know what needs to be done. Big financial institutions are flexing their political power to keep us from doing it, and to undermine what has already been attempted.

Auto loans now look like the pre-crisis mortgage market because they were exempted by Congress from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight.

Department of Justice relies on deferred prosecutions and does not take repeat offending institutions to trial, and the SEC is even worse. They are abusing a system that was designed for low level non-violent offenders.

It is time to end the slap on the wrist culture at DOJ and SEC. Fines should be equal, at a minimum, to every dime of profits gained, and there should be an independent judicial review of these deals.

It is time for the Fed to make enforcement a top priority. Big financial institutions have every incentive to commit large financial offenses, and that is what they do. They rig global markets, and launder criminal funds and help the very wealthy to engage in tax cheating.

Dodd-Frank did not end ‘too big to fail.’ We need to stop talking about it and break up the Big Banks now, and force them to face the consequences of their own investment decisions. Too much of a technocratic approach is undermined over time, favoring a few well-connected, lawyered-up firms over time. What is needed is a structural approach, not a heavier layer of regulation. We need a new Glass-Steagall Law.

Congress must be able to limit the Fed’s emergency lending of subsidized loans to global financial institutions without oversight.

Reforming the tax laws is critical to effective reform. Corporations are incented for short term thinking and using stock buybacks to manipulate price performance. The tax code incents Banks to engage in higher leverage and lower capitalization.

High Frequency Traders introduce more volatility without adding value. A targeted financial transaction tax would curb this without affecting mom and pop investors.

The shadow banking system is unregulated and open to serious short term financial risk before the next Lehman or Bear Stearns starts another financial crisis.

The system is rigged, and those that rigged it want to keep it that way.


Debt: War and Empire By Other Means

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Posted on 19th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

This video below may help one to understand some of the seemingly obtuse demands from the Troika with regard to Greece.

The video is a bit dated, but the debt scheme it describes remains largely unchanged. The primary development has been the creation of an experiment called the European Union and the character of the targets. One might also look to the wars of ‘preventative intervention’ and ‘colour revolutions’ that raise up puppet regimes for examples of more contemporary economic spoliation.

From largely small and Third World countries, the candidates for debt peonage have become the smaller amongst the developed Western countries, the most vulnerable on the periphery.

And even the domestic populations of the monetary powers, the US, Germany, and the UK, are now feeling the sting of financialisation, debt imposition through crises, and austerity. What used to only take place in South America and Africa has now taken place in Jefferson County Alabama. Corrupt officials burden taxpayers with unsustainable amounts of debt for unproductive, grossly overpriced projects.

It would be wrong in these instances to blame the whole country, the whole government, or all corporations, except perhaps for sleepwalking, and sometimes willfully, towards the abyss. For the most part a relatively small band of scheming and devious fellows abuse and corrupt every form of government and organization and law in order to achieve their private ambitions, often using various forms of intimidation and reward. It is an old, old story.

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Wall St Pleads For More Government Subsidies and Handouts In NYT Op-Ed

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Posted on 17th June 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

“It was the incarnation of blind insensate Greed. It was a monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a thousand hoofs: it was The Great Butcher — it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh.”

Upton Sinclair

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”

Erich Fromm

Surely you cannot be surprised by this headline.

Greed is incapable of having enough, by its very definition.

It does not need. But it always wants– more.

Wall Street On Parade
Wall Street Front Group Pleads for Government Help in New York Times OpEd
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
June 17, 2015

After the U.S. government pumped the secret, astronomical sum of more than $13 trillion into Wall Street during the years surrounding the 2008 financial crisis to bail it out of its own greedy and reckless gambles, Wall Street is shamelessly asking for more government handouts in the opinion pages of the New York Times. The woman pitching this pathetic poppycock, Kathryn S. Wylde, was actually on the Board of Directors at the New York Fed during the crisis – the very institution that sluiced the secret $13 trillion into Wall Street’s coffers.

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