Journalists should be protected, but not because of who they are or the title next to their name, but because they are engaged in acts of journalism. At the end of the day journalism is much like porn, hard to define but “you know it when you see it.” Whether you want to call Glenn Greenwald a journalist or not, what he did in the Edward Snowden affair was clearly an “act of journalism” and therefore must be protected and defended at all costs. Mike Krieger, of Liberty Blitzkrieg, is extraordinarily bothered by the manner in which the oligarch gatekeepers in the mainstream media and elsewhere are attempting to discredit Glenn Greenwald by saying he is “not a journalist.” It appears their primary strategy in fighting back against truth-tellers, whistleblowers and journalists in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations is by attempting to control the definition of the term “journalist.” This way they can then proclaim who is a “real journalist” and who isn’t.
It looks like the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be the first major U.S. equity benchmark to breach new highs, so ConvergEx's Nick Colas breaks down this closely watched measure of domestic stock prices noting that the Dow is a quirky “Index” – price weighted (not market capitalization), compact (30 names) and fundamentally global (lots of brand-name multinationals). Change just one name in the index, and the outcomes vary considerably. If Google had been added at the end of last year, we’d be at 14,330 – well over the old high of 14,165. But if the Dow committee had added Apple instead, the index would have closed at 13,475 yesterday, up less than 3% on the year. And if Netflix had been the lucky company added for 2013, well… We’d be saying hello to Dow 15,000, and then some. The point here is that the notion of a “New High” for the Dow is a little arbitrary, by virtue of the price weighting function and stock selection process.
"Yellow journalism" – which seems almost the only kind we have these days dominates our newsflow, but the truth is out there. As with everything else though, it's subject to Pareto's Law. So, 80% of what's out there is crap, and 80% of what's left is merely okay. But that remaining 4% of quality, uncensored, free information flow is extremely valuable. The terminal corruption of the major news corporations and the lack of interest in seeking the truth among the general population augurs very poorly for the prospects of the US and the current world order. This creates speculative opportunities, but prospects for mainstream investments are not good. Western civilization is truly in decline and far down the slippery slope.
So lame is Europe’s latest attempt at spin control that Americans could view it as comic relief from our own worries about the U.S. economy’s accelerating death spiral. Creating a global diversion was doubtless a goal of the exercise, which featured Sarkozy and Merkel, president and chancellor, respectively, of France and Germany, posing for the photo-op unveiling of a scheme – sorry, no details at this time – to put Greece and the rest of the PIIGS on sound financial footing. Never mind that France itself starts to look like a financial basket case if one scrutinizes their books too closely; or that the German people, if not yet their leaders, have lost their appetite for bailing out the rest of Europe. And never mind either that, rather than describing their supposed plan, Merkel and Sarkozy have merely promised to tell us more about it in the fullness of time – reportedly at a November meeting of Euroland’s potentates, wizards and feather merchants.
I almost choked when I read Lee Bollinger's op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal advocating public financial support of the mainstream media. This is the Lee Bollinger who is the president of Columbia University and was recently named Deputy Chair of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. It is unbelievable and irresponsible that anyone in his position could seriously advocate subsidies for the press.
Before delving into an ECB speech chock full of insight, a deflationist rant 'Through the Looking-Glass' of social mood as per:
 the management of inflation expectations;
 the implications within central bank (CB) exit strategery; and
 'what Alice is likely to find' in Mr. Market's immediate future. If you think Bernanke an idiot and see hyperinflation-a-coming, you probably don't wanna read this.
~ Information Technology, Social Media & the Structural Integrity of the Internet in the 21st Century ~ after China got caught with its hand in Google's POP3 Port 995 cookie jar, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fired THE first salvo in what will likely prove itself to be the terrain of WW III ~ the digital battlefield. This highlight is intended to set the stage for a short-series that will delve deeper into the multivariate 'strategery' of the issue du jour ~ China, Computers & Freedom in the 21st Century.
We prosecute Steve Cohen at SAC or Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon for insider trading, but meanwhile we name Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "Man of the Year," even though he and other officials of the central bank are stealing billions from the pockets of every American this year in terms of inflation. Since the founding of the Fed, the dollar has lost 95% of its value in terms of consumer purchasing power. Think about that as you look into the faces of your children this holiday season. And be safe and well in 2010.
Regular readers of Zero Hedge will be keenly aware of our animosity for, if not the mainstream media, the malaise that has gripped the mainstream media's ethos (and a massive swelling of its increasingly corrupt pathos, as it happens). Our expressions of disgust go back months, even as far back as the birth of Zero Hedge itself. So, today, when we recognize new manifestations of these illnesses, we are far past the point of outrage. Our reaction might be better described as a slow, mournful shake of the head indicative of an almost bored (and certainly unsurprised) resignation. The decline of journalism (and the resultant and pending takeover of yet another broken business model by the Federal Government) is a common theme here at Zero Hedge because it is so common a theme. This morning it is Reuters that prompts our sad response.
Fridays seem to have become the day to dump bad news as a consequence of the lazy tendency of some members of the Fourth Estate to head out early to start their weekends. (There is a reason it isn't FDIC Failure Tuesday- part of it involves the ease of moving retail deposits to their new home, but reporting plays a role as well). For those who are, instead, actually looking for the sort of things that might encourage concealment, Friday has become like a recurring birthday 52 times a year. There are always a few presents bouncing around on the same day. The FDIC is an especially active user of the Fourth Estate Friday gambit. Today is no exception, even before the bank failure list hits the wire. Witness the vaguely titled: Agencies Issue Final Rule for Mortgage Loans Modified Under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program.
... the 'fixed period drop-off effect,' the differences between moving average methodologies, the true nature of the term “fractal” as applied to the structural composition of trading systems, the 'four basic qualities of great technical indicators' and a practical nuance within stochastic calculus that can help you anticipate what others are about to think.
I'm very concerned about our readership of late. In the wake of recent publicity I want to call your attention to a few figures that I believe might spell doom for Zero Hedge. Doom. Pure and simple.
I know what you are thinking, but I want you to forget for a minute that crap about the statistical illegitimacy of wielding a single commenter (or even an anecdotal few) against Zero Hedge as a measure of a population that numbers over 100,000 readers. That falls right into the "fact trap" as I call it. Facts trap us. They limit us to a particular demographic and make us slaves to topics we cannot control any more than we can control the facts. Our anemic growth since January is proof of that. What is important in today's media is anecdotal data. It is richer, deeper, (once we add our fluffy prose) and fits better in prime-time print with glossy pages. One well-told story about a fringe commenter is significantly more penetrating than a regression of our entire audience. Further, it commands the interest of a wider range of readers (particularly those uncomfortable with numbers or charts). We are losing the publicity battle in the mainstream press here. True, efforts to assail our content and long missives (often error plagued) targeting some of Zero Hedge's messengers have yielded little fruit, but this new approach, attacking our readers, is frightening and dangerous. You see, apparently "day traders" make up the majority of Zero Hedge's audience.
I sent this Op-Ed proposal to the New York Times on Friday. Perhaps they will print it. If so, I will donate the proceeds (don't they pay you $450?) to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
It can hardly have escaped your notice that a battle of epic proportions, simmering at the fringes for months, was this very week finally joined. Pursuing what can only be termed a "Möbius strip news cycle" strategy, certain "financial news" programs have taken to throwing those pesky "parasitic" bloggers to the proverbial wolves at every opportunity.