Monday, April 30, 2012

Hugely wrong call by Morgan Stanley exec lands him cush government post

This analyst report of Lehman Brothers in 2008 was authored by a Morgan Stanley Vice President of Equity Research at the time, Patrick Pinschmidt.  The title of the report declared, "Lehman Brothers - Bruised, Not Broken--and Poised for Profitability."

Sixty days after the report was released to Morgan Stanley clients, Lehman Brothers collapsed in what was then the largest bankruptcy in US history.  Mr. Pinschmidt is now the Senior Policy Adviser at the US Treasury Department.

Patrick Pinschmidt LinkedIn profile

The Bulging Costs Of America's Obesity Epidemic

When Fundamentals No Longer Apply, Review the Fundamentals,-review-the-fundamentals/

"We Are Number One!", Or Why At Least Broke Greece Is Not America

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Warren Buffet and the New Calculus of Gold

This blog entry is earth-shattering.  Not because of its' bullishness on gold, or its advocacy for a return to the gold standard (and its various options).  No, what is shocking is that it's coming from Lew Spellman.

Spellman is a former economist at the Fed, and served as an assistant to the Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, both decidedly anti-gold organizations.  He isn't some ranting blogger. :-) 

Mexico Raised Gold Reserves in March, IMF Data Shows

Does Government Have a Revenue or Spending Problem?

Has America Been Crippled By Intellectual Idiots?

What Costs How Much, Where? Presenting The "Apple Index"

This is a real-time thermometer of inflation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Happens When All the Money Vanishes Into Thin Air?

A Front Page You Won't See In The US

SEC Emerges From Carbonite Deep Freeze, Sues Egan-JonesSEC Emerges From Carbonite Deep Freeze, Sues Egan-Jones

This is a clear case of shooting the messenger of bad news, while letting the wolf guard the hen house.  The moral decay at the SEC and CFTC just reached new depths.

Greek deposit and loan growth

Click on image to enlarge.

Sleight-of-Hand Won’t Save Global Financial System

John Hathaway - 8 Key Charts, Gold, Fed & The Big Picture

Norcini - If History is Any Guide, This is Going to End Badly

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Egypt ends gas deal with Israel, stakeholder says

Remember how Americans yawned when there was rioting and military skirmishes in the middle east / north Africa (MENA) last year?  The US had their own domestic economic problems, yet we chastised the foreign sovereign governments for their violent treatment of their citizens' uprising.  "Those poor, poor folks..." was the general sentiment.

Well, a power vacuum has been filled by militaristic entities, and Egypt has just cut off energy supplies to Israel.  If this sounds vaguely familiar (see Iran being cut off of the global financial system), it's understandable.  The posturing has now turned into trade sanctions and economic warfare.  If one applies a bit of extrapolation, the end game doesn't look so good.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How the Fed Favors The 1%

How the Fed Favors The 1%

The Fed doesn't expand the money supply by dropping cash from helicopters. It does so through capital transfers to the largest banks.

A major issue in this year's presidential campaign is the growing disparity between rich and poor, the 1% versus the 99%. While the president's solutions differ from those of his likely Republican opponent, they both ignore a principal source of this growing disparity.

The source is not runaway entrepreneurial capitalism, which rewards those who best serve the consumer in product and price (Would we really want it any other way?) There is another force that has turned a natural divide into a chasm: the Federal Reserve. The relentless expansion of credit by the Fed creates artificial disparities based on political privilege and economic power.

David Hume, the 18th-century Scottish philosopher, pointed out that when money is inserted into the economy (from a government printing press or, as in Hume's time, the importation of gold and silver), it is not distributed evenly but "confined to the coffers of a few persons, who immediately seek to employ it to advantage."

In the 20th century, the economists of the Austrian school built upon this fact as their central monetary tenet. Ludwig von Mises and his students demonstrated how an increase in money supply is beneficial to those who get it first and is detrimental to those who get it last. Monetary inflation is a process, not a static effect. To think of it only in terms of aggregate price levels (which is all Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seems capable of) is to ignore this pernicious process and the imbalance and economic dislocation that it creates.

As Mises protégé Murray Rothbard explained, monetary inflation is akin to counterfeiting, which necessitates that some benefit and others don't. After all, if everyone counterfeited in proportion to their wealth, there would be no real economic benefit to anyone. Similarly, the expansion of credit is uneven in the economy, which results in wealth redistribution. To borrow a visual from another Mises student, Friedrich von Hayek, the Fed's money creation does not flow evenly like water into a tank, but rather oozes like honey into a saucer, dolloping one area first and only then very slowly dribbling to the rest.

The Fed doesn't expand the money supply by uniformly dropping cash from helicopters over the hapless masses. Rather, it directs capital transfers to the largest banks (whether by overpaying them for their financial assets or by lending to them on the cheap), minimizes their borrowing costs, and lowers their reserve requirements. All of these actions result in immediate handouts to the financial elite first, with the hope that they will subsequently unleash this fresh capital onto the unsuspecting markets, raising demand and prices wherever they do.

The Fed, having gone on an unprecedented credit expansion spree, has benefited the recipients who were first in line at the trough: banks (imagine borrowing for free and then buying up assets that you know the Fed is aggressively buying with you) and those favored entities and individuals deemed most creditworthy. Flush with capital, these recipients have proceeded to bid up the prices of assets and resources, while everyone else has watched their purchasing power decline.

At some point, of course, the honey flow stops—but not before much malinvestment. Such malinvestment is precisely what we saw in the historic 1990s equity and subsequent real-estate bubbles (and what we're likely seeing again today in overheated credit and equity markets), culminating in painful liquidation.

The Fed is transferring immense wealth from the middle class to the most affluent, from the least privileged to the most privileged. This coercive redistribution has been a far more egregious source of disparity than the president's presumption of tax unfairness (if there is anything unfair about approximately half of a population paying zero income taxes) or deregulation.

Pitting economic classes against each other is a divisive tactic that benefits no one. Yet if there is any upside, it is perhaps a closer examination of the true causes of the problem. Before we start down the path of arguing about the merits of redistributing wealth to benefit the many, why not first stop redistributing it to the most privileged?Mark Spitznagel

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Are Witnessing The Largest Financial Bubble In History

George Carlin Philosophy - The End of America & Social Stratification (Part 1)

George Carlin was way ahead of his time.  RIP.

Greek Town Develops Bartering System

If bankrupt Greeks can use "TEMs" as an alternative currency in the world of barter, then it's not much of a stretch to imagine gold and silver as viable currencies--with a much longer history than any other current paper currencies.  As I've blogged in the past, during times of war and/or financial crisis, whiskey and cigarettes were legitimate currencies.  In American prisons, cigarettes and postage stamps are traded as money.  Please watch this video.

More U.S. cities set to enter default danger zone

Iran foreign trade rises 45% in a month to hit new record: Report

Baghdad Bob's counterpart has spoken:  all is well with the Iranian economy.  Does anybody even believe this $hit?

"Not if, but when" for Spanish bailout, experts believe

We've read story before...Spain is on deck, and Italy is in the hole...

IMF tells US to sort out debt, quickly

In a case of the corrupt warning the corrupt,

Derivatives Lobby Has U.S. Regulators on the Run

The derivatives industry has Washington regulators over a barrel, which only means this is a pretext to the next financial lock up.  Glad to see nothing substantial has been done.

Spanish Banks Gorging on Sovereign Bonds Shifts Risk

Jim Sinclair is right:  QE to infinity is as sure as death and taxes.
Spanish, Italian and Portuguese banks are loading up on bonds issued by their own governments, a move that shifts more of the risk of sovereign default to European taxpayers from private creditors.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easy Money + Low Rates = Gold at $2000 by Year End

Thanks to Dick for finding this video.

The Future of Gold and Money

The fact that an editor from the The Economist, a traditionally anti-gold financial media outlet, endorses gold as an alternative monetary asset is somewhat surprising, altho as he states, gold does have thousands of years of history behind it.

Video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"No risk" Tim Geithner

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner last year (April, 2011) on the question of whether US Treasury debt would be downgraded below AAA.  His answer:  "No risk."  You only need to watch the first few seconds.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner this year (April, 2012) on whether the US will become Greece in 2 years.  His answer:  "No risk."  Again, you need to watch only the first few seconds.

Fix income inequality with $10 million loans for everyone!

Now that's she doesn't hold a government post anymore, former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair is free to inject some snarky criticism--and boy, does she take advantage of it.

Pento - Inflationary Death Spiral & The Global Credit Card

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ruger stock chart

Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Misconduct alleged against Secret Service agents

A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Barack Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty because of allegations of misconduct.
A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

Jim Sinclair - Expect Another $17 Trillion of QE & War in Gold

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Iran halts Spain oil export, mulls supply cut to Germany, Italy

Wait a minute--I thought the US was banning other countries from buying oil from Iran.  Iran is playing along by cutting off oil exports to already strapped European countries.  Great, right?  Not so fast.

This raises two disturbing questions:
1) why is Iran announcing this halt of crude oil exports?  Because it infers European countries were non-compliant (i.e. ignoring US threats on the oil ban, while continuing to import oil).
2) which countries are damaged more by the ban?  The oil importers (Euro countries)--or the exporter (Iran)?

In the developed world's desire to punish Iran via economic sanctions, why is Iran more than happy to comply by jumping the gun and cutting off their customers?  And if they do indeed cut off Europe, who is buying from Iran?  The Chinese? Indian?  Russians?  Japanese?  All of the above?

SBSS 18. Silver Confiscation

Saturday, April 7, 2012

There Will Never Be A Failed US Treasury Auction... Until There Is

Spain: The Ultimate Doomsday Presentation

Doomsday predictions are usually not accurate, but Pollyannish economic propaganda from governments are NEVER prescient. Having said that, Spain is next up on the Euro default chopping block.

U.S. Bank, Chase Pull Back from Student Lending

JPMorgan was one of the first big banks to get out of the subprime mortgage lending business in 2006--before the bubble burst.  They are now one of the first big banks to get out of the student lending business in 2012.  Arrive at your own conclusions.

NIALL FERGUSON: This Is The Study That Shows Why The US Economy Is Doomed

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Face of Authoritarian Environmentalism

Paul Krugman: Not Enough Inflation

The message to both hawkish Republicans and dovish Democrats:  QE to infinity is is destruction of the USDollar.  When you have Nobel Laureate economists screaming for more inflation, you know the world has turned mad.  Sell your gold and silver at your own risk.

Egan Jones Downgrades USA From AA+ To AA, Outlook Negative

JPMorgan Trader Accused Of "Breaking" CDS Index Market With Massive Prop Position

This case of a JPMorgan trader manipulating markets is more evidence that Blythe Masters, JPMorgan's head of commodities trading, is a liar.  Here is the reference article on Blythe.  Anybody who believes that markets are not being manipulated needs to pull their head out of the sand.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meet The People Bringing You Currency Manipulation On A Daily Basis

Art Cashin On Bernanke's Secret Banker Meeting To Keep Europe Afloat

Don't be surprised if US taxpayers bail out Europe--again, at which point in the future, the focus will return to US shores before the general election, as the US debt ceiling is in danger of being breached in September--again.  Meanwhile, the Masters golf tournament starts today...

Brian Sack Is Out

Another rodent abandons ship.

Bank Downgrade Forward Calendar

So wait a minute:  Morgan Stanley, a bank about to be downgraded by credit ratings agencies, is calling for other banks to be downgraded?  The fish are eating the fish.  The cliff approacheth...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Couple says Goldman misused shares to assist short-sellers

This article hits home for me, as a couple colleagues and I literally saved Marvell when they were a small startup.  If my recall is correct, my colleagues at Teradyne, a semiconductor test manufacturer, were Greg Kinoshita, Darryl Gee, and John Glazzy.  At Marvell, the Vice President of Operations was Steve Zadig, and Christine Deutch was performing the tests.  There were many other Marvell employees who contributed, and managed to save the day.

Due to emergency procedures implemented by my team and Marvell over that fateful weekend in the late 1990's, Marvell was able to ship product to fill their first big order despite their production line going down (or more correctly, when a subcontractor's line went down).  By filling that first big order, Marvell was able to achieve a string of successful design-ins and become a multi-billion dollar enterprise, as a leading semiconductor supplier to the storage and communications industries.

I personally dealt with Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai, who were the CEO and COO, respectively.  I also dealt with the Chief Technology Officer and Sehat's brother,  Pantas Sutardja.  Sehat and Pantas were the co-founders in another silicon valley, straight-from-the-garage success story.  Like many other technology entrepreneurs, they created tons of value.  All it took was an investment banker like Goldman Sachs to almost destroy it.

Here is commentary from Zero Hedge:


Global Collapse Explained

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Understanding Fiat

Why Regulation Is Good For Growth

With tongue firmly in cheek, this author mocks Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate from Princeton who really believes his own bull$hit version of Keynesian economics.

On Goldman's Fascination With Pimping And Prostitution

Zoellick throws support behind Brics bank

This is a sure sign emerging economics don't want to be burdened by a decrepit USDollar any longer.  They understand a debased currency when they see one--in fact, all they need to do is look into their own countries' respective histories of currency debauchery.  It's also why the US can't wait for outgoing World Bank President Robert Zoellick to exit already.  The truth is a bitch.

In a rare moment of central bank candor, Zoellick two years ago suggested the world should re-examine a return to a form of the gold standard (click here).  Blasphemy, I tell you!

From Elastic Economics To Elastic Money: The True "Economic" Underpinnings Of The Status Quo