New York Times
The issue at hand is the sense that we have entered a phase of exponential criminality and corruption. A slavering crook like Corzine who stole $200 million of clients’ funds can walk free. Meanwhile, a man who exposed evidence of serious war crimes is for that act so keenly wanted by US authorities that Britain has threatened to throw hundreds of years of diplomatic protocol and treaties into the trash and raid the embassy of another sovereign state to deliver him to a power that seems intent not only to criminalise him, but perhaps even to summarily execute him. The Obama administration, of course, has made a habit of summary extrajudicial executions of those that it suspects of terrorism, and the detention and prosecution of whistleblowers. And the ooze of large-scale financial corruption, rate-rigging, theft and fraud goes on unpunished.
- Investors Shift Money Out of China (WSJ)
- Rajoy Risks Riling ECB in Bid to Avoid Union Ire (Bloomberg)
- Romney-Ryan See Fed QE as Inflation Risk Amid Subdued Prices (Bloomberg)
- Spanish savers offered haircut then money back (FT)
- Must wipe all traces of illegality and settle for $25,000: Standard Chartered Faces Fed Probes After N.Y. Deal (BBG)
- Greece debt report backs cuts plan (FT)
- Greece seeks two-year austerity extension (FT)
- Brevan Howard Looks To U.S. To Raise Money For Currency Fund (Bloomberg)
- Can he please stop buying gold? Paulson, Soros Add Gold as Price Declines Most Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
- BOE Drops Reference to Rate Cut as It Considers Policy Options (Bloomberg)
- EU Banking Plans Asks ECB to Share Power, Documents Show (Bloomberg)
- Gu Kailai Trial Has Ended, verdict imminent (WSJ)
- Greek unemployment rises to 23.1 pct in May, new record (Reuters)
- Greece’s Power Generator Tests Euro Fitness Amid Blackout Threat (Bloomberg)
- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Results May Ease Wind-Down Push (Bloomberg)
- Monti takes off gloves in euro zone fight (Reuters)
- U.S. Fed extends comment period for Basel III (Reuters)
- HP in $8bn writedown on services arm (FT) - must be good for +10% in the stock
- News Corp in $2.8bn writedown (FT) - must be good for +10% in the stock
- Japan to Pass Sales Tax Bill After Noda Avoids Election Push (Bloomberg)
- China May Set New Property Controls This Month, Securities Says (Bloomberg)
Anyone betting that the global financial system will continue to muddle along indefinitely deserves to reap the whirlwind that’s coming. As the rest of us well know, the international banking system is being kept afloat solely by political lies, stupidity, corruption, greed and, most of all, egregiously misplaced confidence. It would seem to be only a matter of time before the rotted timbers of this belief system give way. But what will be the catalyst? The possibility or even likelihood that the financial system will be toppled by some event no one was expecting was an implicit theme of Nassim Taleb’s widely read 2004 book.
Presented in the usual manner of challenging the ENTIRE sell side of Wall Street to offer analysis anywhere near as cogent, honest, straightforward, accurate, complete and credible. Or put more succinctly, the Goldman and Morgan Stanley clients can tell their advisers that Reggie Middleton advised them to kiss his As
Emotion, while an important element in man’s array of mental tools, can unfortunately triumph over reason in crucial matters. In the context of simple economic reasoning, today’s intellectual establishment often disregards common sense in favor of emotional-tinged policy proposals that rely on feelings of jealously, envy, and blind patriotism for validation rather than logical deduction. “Eat the rich” schemes such as progressive taxation and income redistribution are used by leftists who style themselves as champions of the poor. Plucking on the emotional strings of envy makes it easier to arouse widespread support for economic intervention via the state. Printed money is not the same as accumulated savings which would otherwise fund sustainable lines of investment. The truth is that capital is always scarce; there is never enough of it. Krugman and Stiglitz believe, as most do, that Americans should be born with the opportunity to succeed. What they fail to see (or refuse to acknowledge) is that the free market provides the best opportunities for someone to make a decent living by providing goods and services.
Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Core Problem Is Too Much Centralization ... In Both Government AND the Private SectorSubmitted by George Washington on 08/07/2012 23:47 -0400
We've Gone Way Too Far ... It's Time to Decentralize
Investors now look to the European Central Bank’s rate decision at 1145 GMT. If “Super” Mario Draghi doesn’t come out with a loaded arsenal (bold intervention), then the markets will be disappointed. Mario Draghi will be confronting his colleague and nemesis in the ECB Jens Weidmann. Weidmann is the Head of THE Bundesbank, a former Merkel economics advisor, and an ECB governing council member who has just 1 vote out of the 23 today at the ECB MEETING in Frankfurt. However Weidmann sees his role differently. "I certainly would not say that we are just one of 17 central banks [in the Eurozone]," he said in an interview published on Wednesday. "We are the largest and most important central bank and we have a greater say than many other central banks in the Eurosystem. This means we have a different role." The disagreement here lies with the fact that the Germans are against the ECB becoming like a US Federal Reserve in Europe. Weidmann feels it would be wrong to give the ESM a banking license allowing it to tap large quantities of funds from the ECB. Can “Super” Mario make the jump happen? Time will tell.
When it comes to building wealth, muddying the difference between perception and reality is the key manipulation tool that banksters use to goad people into wrong choices.
While markets await details on the next round of quantitative easing (QE) -- whether refreshed bond buying from the Fed or sovereign debt buying from the European Central Bank (ECB) -- it's important to ask, What can we expect from further heroic attempts to reflate the OECD economies? The 2009 and 2010 QE programs from the Fed, and the 2011 operations from the ECB, were intended as shock treatment to hopefully set economies on a more typical, post-recession, recovery pathway. Here in 2012, QE was supposed to be well behind us. Instead, parts of Southern Europe are in outright depression, the United Kingdom is in double-dip recession, and the US is sweltering through its weakest “recovery” since the Great Depression. QE is a poor transmission mechanism for creating jobs. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The Hilsenrath-Haggle Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is likely to ease monetary policy at the July 31-August 1 meeting in response to the continued weakness of the economic data and the persistent downside risks from the crisis in Europe. While we expect nothing more exciting than an extension of the current “late 2014” interest rate guidance to "mid-2015", Goldman adds in their preview of the decision that although a new Fed asset purchase program is a possibility in the near term if the data continue to disappoint, their central expectation is for a return to QE in December or early 2013.
As usual, the stock market was vexatiously out of step with reality last week, soaring on word that the ECB plans to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro and the political union that it binds. For U.S. investors, especially those who believe in hope and change (and, presumably, the Easter Bunny), there was also the invaluable news that the U.S. economy is once again verging on recession – a development which is widely believed to portend yet more Fed easing.
The unconscionable behavior of the political class should be thought of as a contagious disease that infiltrates any industry that comes within influence of the state. Government contractors, lobbying associations, favored corporations, and even the press all seek to use the monopolized power of government to further their own interests. Instead of attempting to roll back stifling regulations, many of these firms simply wish to get in on the spoils of the great extortionary scheme. The results are always the same. Politicians pretend to be saving the people from cold-natured capitalism while politically-connected businessmen and bankers act as if their commercial success is completely of their own doing. The hidden truth is both act in tandem to fleece the average taxpayer.
In Defining Hypocrisy, Weill, Who Led Repeal Of Glass Steagall, Now Says Big Banks Should Be Broken UpSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/25/2012 08:18 -0400
Who is Sandy Weill? He is none other than a retired Citigroup Chairman, a former NY Fed Director, and a "philanthropist." He is also the man who lobbied for overturning of Glass Steagall in the last years of the 20th century, whose repeal permitted the merger of Travelers of Citibank, in the process creating Citigroup, the largest of the TBTF banks eventually bailed out by taxpayers. In his memoir Weill brags that he and Republican Senator Phil Gramm joked that it should have been called the Weill-Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Informally, some dubbed it “the Citigroup Authorization Act.” As The Nation explains, "Weill was instrumental in getting then-President Bill Clinton to sign off on the Republican-sponsored legislation that upended the sensible restraints on finance capital that had worked splendidly since the Great Depression." Of course, by overturning Glass Steagall the last hindrance to ushering in the TBTF juggernaut and the Greenspan Put, followed by the global Bernanke put, was removed, in the process making the terminal collapse of the US financial system inevitable. Why is Weill relevant? Because in a statement that simply redefines hypocrisy, the same individual had the temerity to appear on selloutvision, and tell his fawning CNBC hosts that it is "time to break up the big banks." That's right: the person who benefited the most of all from the repeal of Glass Steagall is now calling for its return.
"The drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States this summer is the most widespread in more than half a century," and as the New York Times points out "is likely to grow worse." However, a glance at the last 112 years' June 'drought' conditions does not suggest this is a systemic trend (a la global warming) - with notably drier/hotter periods in the past - but we do note some interesting analogs as drought conditions as epic as the current one evolve and fade: from 1936-1938 the Dow fell almost 50%; from 1955-1957 the Dow fell over 18% (11% p.a.); and 1987 of course saw a 40% plunge. "It’s got the potential to be the worst drought we’ve ever had in Arkansas," said Butch Calhoun, the state’s secretary of agriculture. "It’s going to be very detrimental to our economy."