Monday, June 28, 2010

Pick a Side and Let's Fight-But Wait Us Bloggers Shouldn't Talk About Economics

According to Kartik Athreya of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond a Peacock proud of his PHD in economics who after reading him must believe he and the rest of the Fed are the only ones capable of understanding the problems of modern day economics.  In his piece "Economics is Hard. Don't Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise"  is exposed by Bruce Krasting as a typical egotistical ass of the FED.  If you can , read his piece on why bloggers shouldn't talk about economics, if you don't go to sleep and get to the end you will find yourself asking "What the fuck did this jerk just say?  If his economic papers are as unreadable of his criticism of economic bloggers (I don't pretend to be in the class he's trashing)  but I would not be afraid to debate him in a room full of blue collar workers (particularly unemployed one's)

This post was being written when I came across Bruce's piece on this Athreya guy.  For some real barn burners try his web page for sleeping tools.  If this kind of stuff is what you come out of a PHD program spouting I'm glad I didn't go to college at all. My one venture into college economics was being taught by a dude who when asked to explain how the banking system worked replied he didn't know anything about the banking system.  Never went back, I think I was lucky.

Now to get back to my original post you get to pick between the two linked commentators  that today were saying the exact opposite things, one for stimulus one for austerity.  I'll save my comments till after you read the two stories.

You get to choose between Paul Krugman an economist or Mish Shedlock an investment adviser. Krugman says we are in the 3rd Depression and if we are not to go deeper the one thing we don't need is an Austerity program.  As you might have guessed ahead of time Shedlock is pushing for austerity programs and sites a Wall Street Poll that says 63% of Americans think controlling  the deficit is more important than booting the economy. Which one do you think needs to go to stupid study (you do remember stupid study don't you?) In my high school days that's where the underachievers were sent.

The stage is set for this argument by the world governments showing huge budget deficits  mostly do to the attempted bailout of funny money investments they got sucked into.  Led down the road to hell by the US mortgage market aided and abetted by derivative markets and bad loans from banks at high interest that finally rise to the point of no return (they say) The only answer is a huge world wide Austerity program out to cut benefits for the working man by reducing his pension and health care benefits and ah hell let's cut their wages by 30%.  No where in these proposed programs have I seen one word of the top end of the workplace taking any hits.  Just us working folk,

These charts clearly show during whose regime the deficits were created.  Starting with Saint Ronnie's 3 trillion addition to the credit card, for military spending and tax cuts, then a period of declining deficits (supposedly) comparatively. Give Billy some credit he was out fucking the troops with NAFTA , GATT, AND THE WTO. We then proceeded to add  another 4 trillion or so for more tax cuts and a couple of wars and of course put them on the card.  Now hand this time bomb off to President Obama after Bush put another 750 billion on the card to bail out the banks, which now blame  gets shifted to Obama.  Do to the critical nature of the banks in the early days Obama is convinced to bail out the banks to the tune of (oh well! we don't really know) 13 Trillion maybe?  No matter how you look at it or who you blame it on , it's a shit load of money.

You don't have to have a PHD in anything other than "Life on the Street" to know we are in deep trouble and incidentally led there by FED folks saying they don't see a bubble, but they do now see a recovery.  They should really patent their magic bubble that nobody can see including them.  But it would probably be denied because it was damned obvious to some.

There have been some interesting back and froths  on my economic attempts on this blog but nobody has been the pompous ass this PHD is.  To even site Elizabeth Warren as an amateur says it all for me.  She has demonstrated time and again in her speeches and books why the middle class is suffering , but of course she isn't a PHD in economics (thank God or whomever)

It's my belief Economics is not hard if you approach it from the household level which I hold theory wise is no different the state, nation and world econ.  What you and I can't do they can't do , the numbers are just bigger.

We have been sold ideas in the last 30 years that Globalization would rise all boats, maybe so but they didn't tell us our boat would have so many holes and that the bilge pump they gave us was made in China and had an expected run time of 15 minutes till it blew up.

I would suggest that  folks like this PHD we should ignore.  After all it was that kind that made the formulas that brought about the huge size of our current problem.
I know the whole world is facing the same thing but we are only going to focus on the US , the problem is big enough here.  Notice please that the debt run up was either incurred on Republican watches or left by Republican problems that democrats thought they had to fix.

So here we are , deeply in debt and in the midst of the Third Depression (krugman) for which we need more stimulus spending  or facing a huge Austerity program proposed by the (shedlocks ) of the world who want to cut social benefits, pensions, and wages.  Some economists say we are in recovery, some say just a pause before the big down. You can manipulate numbers like Shedlock and the government to make bad look good (it really just hides) till you can't ignore it any more.  For investment advisers and economists to use government numbers and try to compare depressions is a laughing matter , it's apples and oranges and cannot be compared unless you get the old formula and apply the new numbers.  John Williams does just that and charts them for you, but you only get to see some of the data for free.  Enough for any lunk head like me to figure out where we are going. You need  to look at just a few numbers , unemployment of 22%   and a drastic decrease in the all the m money supplies.   No need to complicate the problem, if large numbers of people are not working and their physical assest are  depreciating in value, there will be no recovery.  Consumer spending is 70% of our GDP and too many have nothing left to spend.

But first where have we been and how do the presidents stack up on deficit spending>

It really doesn't matter much now who put us in the hole were in, all that matters is to stop digging the hole deeper, which sounds like I might be for austerity programs, I'm not.  We proved all the austerity stuff didn't work in the Great Depression, we were in a modest recovery then too, till the deficit freaks got their way and drove us back into the hole again.  This is where some give cred to the war got us out of the GD, and at this point in time that is right.  I would suggest that we are already in two wars longer then any we have ever been in.  Please don't tell me we have to have a 3rd to get out of this Depression.

What we really need is an army comprised solely of PHD's you pick the subject, mine choice are enonomists, send them all , give ole Elizabeth Warren a call and she'll tell you how to get out of this mess. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's a God Damned Conspiracy-Prosperity Requires Austerity

When you scream Conspiracy you automatically get thrown into the nuthatch bin, so before you do, just read the following post.  My response  probably will be full of profanity because no nice words convey the seriousness of the consequence of what is being done to us by those with the money and power to bring us down.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that is not their goal, it is , and is clearly spelled out by this Michael Hudson piece  .  The Wall Street Journal says it's time for you and me to pay the piper because we watched as our government spent us into debt so big it will now strangle us.

We were doing just fine putting huge tax cuts for the rich and two wars on the government credit card until they told us (and we believed them) that we should spend like they did.  Housing prices started to rise 10, 15, 20% a year and we were urged to get a big equity line and spend the equity like it was really cash.  We did and oh boy did we have fun.  (I did, I didn't feel the joy) as I recognized the housing affair as the bubble it really was.  Shit maybe I should have been Fed chairman , if I had been the world would not be facing horrible austerity programs that it now faces.

But our glorious leaders encouraged us to spend large, buy them SUV's , boats and houses we could not afford, and helped us do it by allowing gangster mortgage brokers to lie , cheat and steal us into mortgages they knew would blow up in due time.  Even old duffers like me were talked into loans that would cause them to loose their houses a lot of which had been paid off till they did an equity line loan.

All this led to a maximum mortgage value of (2 to 7 Trillion) dollars which could have been corrected by refinancing loans that were made based on fraudlent lending.

Instead they sliced and diced and repackage crap loans and wrapped them in toilet paper brightly colored and sweetly scented to hide the crap wrapped up in them. Although we will probably argue on how big this problem really is the truth is we don't and they don't know how big it is.  Big enough that the Fed put trillions into saving the biggest banks (we can't handle the truth) so they won't tell us how much or to who.  Fine, we won't tell them we aren't going to pay for their fun, let them find out the hard way, when China comes to foreclose  on the White House.

They not only took us down , they took the whole world with us.  It's still hard for me to believe that investment managers of the world were so god damned stupid to buy this crap they couldn't find out what was in them or how they were rated.  They bought them for a % or two above normal returns.  It looked to be too good to be true (shit  they taught us that in  econ 101) promised high returns always carry high risk , we all know that.  Why didn't they?

There are so many felonies in the mortgage problem that we would have to build new jails to house them (wait , we can't afford that) so , quick trials and quicker hangings somehow seem appropriate.

Although some will argue for the maintaining of derivatives markets I want them gone , they mean nothing to you and me even though they say they do.. Oh wait, they do matter they are so huge they move the markets as a whole or a company at will.  If they decide to destroy you , you are probably toast.

So now they say we must endure huge austerity programs, which really means they are going to screw with your pensions, healthcare, and wages.  Some countries in the EU have reduced wage by 30% and say they will do more.  Our Deficit Reduction Commission wants to do the same to us.

A major focus is on Federal and State workers and their Pension funds both of which they claim are totally out of line with industry (which can only be true ) if you accept the fact that private wages and pensions have been destroyed by outsourcing and giant organizations like (Walmart) and some others who have been able to drive wages to the $10 range, with no or limited health benefits, and pensions and in most cases neither because they are held in part time positions.  I draw a Federal Pension that me and uncle bought and paid for and according to recent stats is mainly funded by invest returns on the fund and contributions by uncle and me.  The investment return pays roughly 70% of the bill most of the time.  If it is underfunded it is because they didn't put in their share.  I know this is true for city pension funds because they actually say so.  Some claim they sold bonds to pay their pension fund contribution and now the bonds are due and they want to default.  Seems like an honest bookkeeper is needed  (is there one?) Have to be a little guy all the big one's are either out of business, in jail , or under indictment.

What the hell , corporations do it and the courts say it's  perfectly ok to screw the troops.  Remember Chesley Sullenberg he was working for half his former wages, with a pension fund destroyed, by management who was crooked at best.  It has happened time after time starting when Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers Union.

Now they want to do the same to the last remaining workers who earn decent wages, and pensions (they call them contracts negotiated by evil unions) which proves they don't have a clue on how these contracts are negotiated. Having did a little time as shop steward and a contract negotiator for the USBR  I can tell you our wages were set on wages averaged by other utility workers in our region.   I can also tell you that there were times when we couldn't negoiate even though those in our comparison group got them.  I will also tell you when we finally would catch up the good times rolled.  As all pay raises the euphoria lasted a few months and then we would start bitching again.  I might add new federal employees after 84 I think that was the year they changed to them paying into SS with investment plans to supplement the SS retirement funds.  Not as good a deal as mine at least so far, if the second leg of the downturn goes as I think they will do a lot worse.

So here we sit, waiting for the Austerity axe to fall on us, we just don't know yet how many limbs they will cut off.  They are after wages, and benefits, Medicare cuts,healthcare cuts, SS  cuts.  If the cuts racing across Europe come here there is more than a 50% chance that the predictions of some of riots in the street will come true.  They will kick our collective asses if we go to the street and odds are we won't win.

I like my idea better, prepare for a 3 month siege, and then don't show up for work.  It doesn't require a leader, it just requires you and me on our own to say Fuck It and quit.  Mail your credit cards back to the bank that holds them, and your keys to the house if your deep underwater on the mortgage and just refuse to move out like some are already doing with success,  They cannot prove they own your house in a huge number of cases.

They are planning on getting rich or our pain.  Pain can be  given to them maybe easier then they can inflict in on us.  By cutting off their profits and their capital investment to boot my guess in that way before your 3 month is up they will cave.  If they cave, Congress  will cave , and say ok what is it you want.  It's pretty simple "WE WANT OUR LIVES BACK"

Look , it's simple, the measure of wealth for them is the stock market, which has become nothing but a casino for the super rich, which in actuality means exactly nothing to  you and me.  We cannot play in a market that is controlled by Fast Track Trading, Hedge Funds and government Plunge Teams.  I know the Pension Funds could loose their asses but only if they are as stupid as they have been in the past.  If they get taken to the cleaners like the rest of us.  They will be in good company of honest hard working Americans that don't deserve what is about to happen.  If we can pull this off the market will crash, the big banks will fail , but they will loose all and we will loose damn little.   The simple truth is , if we don't take action , we will loose it all and learn to say Yassa Master as the best of slaves were taught to do.
I like the phrase "Kiss my rosy red ass you pricks"  hope you have fun on the rock pile..


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apologize My Ass

his is a first for me linking to a story from the Heritage Foundation and even more unnerving it is brought to us by Newsmax.

I have been hearing bits and pieces of this story on talk radio for weeks. This article provides more detail than I have heard so it is worth passing on.
Of interest to me are the details of how North Sea oil companies must operate and the governments involvement in setting up fleets of oil skimming vessels to handle incidents like this , make ours look like play toys in comparison.

There are claims that in a Saudi oil spill tankers sucked 85% of the spill drastically reducing the damage of the spill. Add to this a rumor that BP refused to bring their North Sea tankers to do this job.

Then there are the tales of the EPA standing firm on really rigid rules that for instance prevent the EU skimmers to operate because their discharges of sucked up oil and water return to the sea water with small quantities of water in it. Never mind that they are retaining most of the oil.

So for me an apology just doesn't cut it no matter if your talking about oil spills, financial misdealing, bad calls from a blind Fed Chairmen who didn't see a housing bubble or flaws in his financial formulas. So stick your apology where the sun don't shine, get your shit together and get to work fixing all the things that have been broken the past 30 years.

I truly don't know how this will get done when every move is calculated on it's political effect. Fire McChrystal , pass a strong financial bill, extend unemployment , provide more stimulus, all questions that don't even need to be asked , they are medulla based decisions, no questions necessary .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal's Folly

Image is everything for a politician and a four star general.  In General McChrystal's case he just shit in his own hat.  The Rolling Stone interview is not nearly as bad as the MSM is presenting it to be as this reporter was just considered as one of the boys during his long stay with the generals entourage.  Too long for the general's good apparently.

It is clear to me after reading the complete story in the Stone that the general and his staff hold the opinion that they are the only one's who know what to do and are stupid (or arrogant enough) to say so in front of a reporter from a notorious magazine , and to say everybody else is fucked up.

Never mind discussing his strategy in Afghanistan (it's fucked up at best) nor his considered brilliant career in the past.  You know like covering up Pat Tillman's death, like torturing prisoners in Iraq, and god knows what atrocities he ordered when commanding the Black Ops department.

All that does not matter in this problem.  The fact that it appears that he is challenging the President's authority and everybody else in his chain of command is all that is required to can his ass.  If I were the President when old Stan showed up tomorrow , he will hand in his resignation, and I would say the standard ole line "Thank you for your service"  have a nice retirement.  My opinion is the President has no choice he must fire him or hand in his nuts.

Just listening to Mike Malloy's opening rant and he is totally fucked up in my opinion to send McChrystal back in country to finish the war and to purge his inner circle.

1. Mike is willing to sacrafice more boys lives in an unwinable war being fought by a now apparent flawed theory.  Mike has never served, perhaps a little front line experience would change his mind.  Not my gradnson you dimwit.

2. Why would you expect the General to change his ways when it would appear he backed the president down.  What in hell are you smoking Mike.

3. You shouldn't fire him because the right wing would curcify him. So what , they will no matter which way he goes.  Is a political consideration anything to consider in this matter.  Not if you have any nuts at all.  Can the freak!!

More on the Gulf Spill

 First a 4 minute video showing the heartbreak of the Gulf residents and their anger at Palin and the reptiles (ooops I meant republicans) who still chant "Drill Baby Drill"  perhaps we won't have to hear it much longer??

A string of pictures showing the damage.

And now if you think you are mentally stable enough read LATOC today

Although I gave up on religion a long time age, why did the words "World Without End , Amen" come to mind??

The Well in detail


Monday, June 21, 2010

Water , Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

Gasland travels through 10 states interviewing people who have had their waster supplies ruined by the drilling of natural gas well that use the fracking technique .  The stories are way to similar to be untrue.  Most of the folks interviewed have lived on the property for years and in some cases their family had lived there for decades with never a problem with their water supplies. Josh the maker of this film got on the story when he was offered $100,000 bucks for drilling on his upstate New York 19 acres.  He started asking around and discovered the problems with the Fracking process nationwide.  34 states have the problem and the stories are all the same.  Here's a link about the movie

Scenes in the movie show facuets on fire with gas from the wells that contain not only gas but also contain fracking chemicals most of which are deadly to humans, and wildlife alike.  These chemicals most of which are not found in nature but are contained in fracking fluids.   Black water that smells like sewage and other foul odors all that emit from the fracking chemicals.

The Fracking Process

A quick review of the process should reveal to you if you don't already know will show that this is almost as dumb as deep water oil drilling and startling as it may be they are about as careless as the Deepwater Horizon crew was.  A total disregard for anything but bucks is once again the driving force.

We all know that water is projected to be the next big problem we face after if course all the other shit hits the fan.  With all the water already polluted by this extraction process and Josh (the maker of the film) lives on the headwaters of the watershed for all of New York state, a supply to 15 million people on which they propose to drill 50,000 wells .  For once I'm on the side of the Not in My Back Yard Crowd/

Here's an interview with Josh on Now,

Stand by for a blog soon, and I know you'll love this blog  "Four Strikes and Your Nuclear Powered"

PS , if you would like to be a contributor to this blog , you will need a gmail address which if you email it to me I will add you as a contributor and you duel it out with me.  So please do .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The End of Corporate Media

A few days ago I trashed the Democrats and the media for their blind support of Israels attack on the Gaza supply ships on my Smirking Chimp blog.  Then a few days later I attacked once again this time pointing out that our MSM is also in the closet with AIPAC  along with politicians of both sides.

Today Paul Craig Roberts on  CounterpunchCOUNTERPUNCH  flat out says the Editorial page of the Wall Street Journal (he use to be an editor there) is now nothing more than a newsletter for the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) (not his words) is being written in favour of Israeli actions.  He sites the journalist (questionable) who wrote the piece that lit Paul off.  No surprise to those who know who owns that rag now.

If that were not enough in her defense Ralph Nader jumps to her support here and clearly points out that tons of non talking head journalists and  progressive writers jumped to her defence.

My take, Helen will be sorely missed, she was just about the only real journalist left in the White House Press .  She was my way of judging just how brave a President was, did he call on Helen first  or at all.   If not, he was a devout coward (are you listening GWBush).  Live Long and Prosper Helen we will miss you!