Tuesday, July 31, 2012

100, drought, food riots, blackouts, SHTF now? Evacuate California

100 degrees here today but did not feel hot -- no sun all day and not very humid and no smog. I was out walking around all day stepping into stores frequently that are very cool. Hot weather is good for plants if they have water. Hot weather is not painful if no smog.

However global warming may be linked to drought. 9 of the 10 hottest years have been since 2000. The attached photo indicates the severity of the USA drought. Corn and other major crops are clobbered. When USA crops fail then some people will starve, maybe millions. People around the world depend on USA crops directly or indirectly. The lead article in Bloomberg Business-week recognizes "the age of scarcity" but says the crop failure will only raise prices a few percentage points and conclude "For all the problems facing the world, this is one we know how to fix." Really?
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-26/the-age-of-scarcity

India had a massive blackout
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-30/grid-collapse-in-india-leaves-360-million-people-without-power.html
Seven states that are home to more than 360 million people were plunged into darkness early yesterday as power networks collapsed
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-31/india-blacks-out-from-new-delhi-to-kolkata-as-grid-fails-again.html
India’s electricity grid collapsed for the second time in as many days, cutting off more than half the country’s 1.2 billion population in the nation’s worst power crisis on record.

Food, power, and other infrastructure are stressed to the limit worldwide. Global warming has arrived. Millions will die. Maybe before the election?

Mitt Romney cannot produce food by fiddling with taxes and the financial system.

Mitt Romney cannot fight wars if soldiers die from starvation and there are riots and fires all across USA.

Better get prepared. Catastrophe may arriving sooner than expected. Secure your sources of water and food supply. Evacuate California and areas that might see rioting or wars over dwindling resources.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

GM Ramps Up Risky Subprime Auto Loans To Drive Sales; Taxpayers Still Own 26.5%

I agree Obama should get booted out of office. Obama showed his true colors with big government spending and steps toward socialized medicine Obama-care. He made the recession worse and maybe could have prevented it altogether. Upon taking office he should have cut taxes for the poor and middle class. Like a $50,000 standard deduction and suspension of the payroll tax. This would have given a lot of purchasing power to lots of people, overnight. They would spend that money and thus stimulate the economy immediately. Further, they might not default on their mortgages and throw more houses on the market and stress on the banks. The recession might not have happened or may have been very mild and brief instead of the USA 4 year stagnation that shows no sign of improvement.

Instead of a tax cut, Obama went to big spending that took too long to implement. That spending did not have much impact except help some fat cats got richer from their shovel ready projects (pork barrel politics). Also Obama propped up General Motors (Government Motors) which should have gone through a normal bankruptcy where some of the problems of the auto industry could have been fixed by market forces. Now we may have a subprime auto loans in addition to subprime student loans that the taxpayer will need to pay for.

I won't even bother with Obama's many other failings in social policy, foreign policy, etc. If Mitt Romney flops then give him the boot after 4 years. We have a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee from the two major liberal parties in our increasingly liberal uneducated country. People get the politicians they deserve. Not enough voters are fed up with this mess to vote in better politicians. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweedledum_and_Tweedledee

GM Ramps Up Risky Subprime Auto Loans To Drive Sales; Taxpayers Still Own 26.5%
By DAVID HOGBERG
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
President Obama has touted General Motors (GM) as a successful example of his administration's policies. Yet GM's recovery is built, at least in part, on the increasing use of subprime loans. The Obama administration in 2009 bailed out GM to the tune of $50 billion as it went ...

http://news.investors.com/article/620090/201207271807/gm-risky-subprime-auto-loans-fuel-sales.htm

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breaking up those banks

Where were these pundits when the problems of too big to fail banks were growing? I did not like the trend in the 1980s and became more and more astonished at the huge problems that they allowed to develop in the 1990s. I thought LTCM was the last straw that would break the camel's back, and then 9/11 was worse but the system kept on going for 7 more years. In theory with modern electronics the financial institutions should be shrinking, not growing, as more and more people have cheap access to information needed in banking. Banking economies of scale, if any, are hard to detect http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2009/2009-054.pdf The problems of monopoly and oligopoly are covered in Economics 1. Most of the justifications of the free market and "pure competition" argue for many smaller competitors. The anti-trust law evolved to break up the trusts and large monopolies such as in the early 1900s when President Teddy Roosevelt stood up to JP Morgan, Standard oil, etc. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h951.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depository_Institutions_Deregulation_and_Monetary_Control_Act

Increased liberalism in the 1970s led to weakening of laws regulating the financial system.

The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (H.R. 4986) (often abbreviated DIDMCA or MCA) is a United States federal financial statute passed in 1980 and signed by President Jimmy Carter on March 31st.[1] It gave the Federal Reserve greater control over non-member banks.
It forced all banks to abide by the Fed's rules.
It allowed banks to merge.
It removed the power of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors under the Glass–Steagall Act to use Regulation Q to set maximum interest rates for any deposit accounts other than demand deposit accounts (with a six-year phase-out).[2]
It allowed NOW Accounts to be offered nationwide.[2]
It raised the deposit insurance of US banks and credit unions from $40,000 to $100,000.
It allowed credit unions and savings and loans to offer checkable deposits.
It allowed institutions to charge any loan interest rates they choose.[3][4]
It required that banks be charged Fed Float for use of funds received before clearing between depository institutions.


Architect of too-big-to-fail banks says it was a ‘mistake’



Former chairman and chief executive of Citigroup

Fri Jul 27, 2012

By Dave Lindorff

Imagine for a moment what would happen if former President George W. Bush were to give an interview on television and declare that his invasion of Iraq, and the ensuing nine years of death and mayhem that resulted from that war, had been the wrong thing to do. Imagine if he were to say “mistakes were made.”

Well, something equally momentous happened yesterday when Sanford I. Weill, the former CEO of Citigroup back when it was the nation’s largest bank, announced in an interview on the cable network CNBC, that banks should never have been permitted to merge with insurance companies and investment banks. Discussing the financial crisis that continues to wreak havoc in the US and the global economy, he said, “What we should probably do is go and split up investment from banking. Have banks done something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not going to be too big to fail.”

Incredibly, this shocking comment, surely as big as Bush announcing that he was wrong to invade Iraq, was buried on the business page in the New York Times. Many other major newpapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, didn’t even run the story!

Sanford Weill, it must be recalled, was the Wall Street financier who pushed the government to the wall to get banks deregulated, and to end the Depression-era law, called Glass-Steagall, that since 1933 had barred them from engaging in investment banking and dealing in insurance.


Banking Titans Call for Break Up of “Too Big to Fail”

The following bankers are calling for the big banks to be broken up:

Former Citi CEO Sandy Weill
Former Citi CEO John Reed
Former Citi chairman Richard Parsons
Former Merrill Lynch chairman and CEO David Komansky
Former Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell
Former managing director of Goldman Sachs – and head of the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London- Nomi Prins
Numerous other bankers within the mega-banks (see this, for example)
Former Natwest and Schroders investment banker, Philip Augar
The President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Camden Fine
Top Economists and Financial Experts Agree

It’s not just bankers.

The following top economists and financial experts believe that the economy cannot recover unless the big, insolvent banks are broken up in an orderly fashion:

Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz
Nobel prize-winning economist, Ed Prescott
Nobel prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman
Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan
Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
Dean and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, R. Glenn Hubbard
Former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, Simon Johnson (and see this)
Former 20-year President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – currently FDIC Vice Chair - Thomas Hoenig (and see this)
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher (and see this)
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Thomas Bullard
Deputy Treasury Secretary, Neal S. Wolin
The Congressional panel overseeing the bailout (and see this)
The former head of the FDIC, Sheila Bair
The head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King
The Bank of International Settlements (the “Central Banks’ Central Bank”)
The leading monetary economist and co-author with Milton Friedman of the leading treatise on the Great Depression, Anna Schwartz
Economics professor and senior regulator during the S & L crisis, William K. Black
Leading British economist, John Kay
Economics professor, Nouriel Roubini
Economist, Marc Faber
Professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales
Economics professor, Thomas F. Cooley
Economist Dean Baker
Economist Arnold Kling
Chairman of the Commons Treasury, John McFall
Click here for background on why so many top bankers, economists and financial experts say that the big banks should be broken up.

Friday, July 27, 2012

banks, crooks, Glass-Steagall re-regulation, breakup the banks and get rich!

Sanford Weill got rich by making Citigroup too big to fail after Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs) got rid of Glass Steagall.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rubin#Economic_record_and_the_2008_global_financial_crisis

After the big banks got too big and crashed the economy, then the poor and middle class people had to bailout those big banks. That is poor and middle class teachers, soldiers, truck drivers,... had to bailout the rich bankers who paid themselves handsomely for creating the financial mess. It turned out that the banks needed the regulations such as Glass-Steagall to prevent themselves, the bankers, from going bankrupt.

Further, the Bush era tax cuts lowered the taxes that the rich paid as they built those overgrown bank dinosaurs. Further, the zero interest rate policy of Bernanke is punishing the elderly and retirees who need the interest income. This makes it hard for CalPERS CalSTRS and other pension funds from earning enough income on their investments to pay retirees.

Now the rich want to get richer by breaking up the big banks! The rich got paid a lot for combining the banks, now the rich will get paid for breaking them up. They make money on the way up and then on the way down. Who pays? The middle-class taxpayers and bank customers. it seems unfair.

Do you think Mitt Romney will put an end to this financial shenanigans or is he part of the problem, stamped from the same mold? Are Republicans too cozy with Bill Clinton-era crooks? Are there any true conservatives in government who could police the big banks without getting corrupted? Are there any honest, safe, sound bankers left in the too big to fail mega-banks?

I remember back in the 1970s the banks were smaller, friendly, and more local, restricted to 1 state or city. Banks were easy to deal with and responsible. Similarly for the airlines. It was fun to fly before deregulation circa 1980. Nowadays airports and airplanes are crowded, noisy, dangerous, terrorist infested, patrolled by orange haired gays and addicts carrying guns who want to feel out all the passengers before letting them on the plane. I liked the old days better.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-25/former-citigroup-chairman-weill-says-banks-should-be-broken-up.html

President Bill Clinton said when he signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 that it was “no longer appropriate” for the economy

Alan Greenspan, who fought for the repeal of Glass- Steagall when he was chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in 2009 that breaking up the banks might make them more valuable

Citigroup paid Weill about $1 billion

Sanford “Sandy” Weill, whose creation of Citigroup Inc. (C) ushered in the era of U.S. banking conglomerates a decade before the financial crisis, said it’s time to break up the largest banks to avoid more bailouts.

“What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking,” Weill, 79, said yesterday in a CNBC interview. “Have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not going to be too big to fail.”

Weill joins regulators, investors, analysts, former bankers and lawmakers in calling for the break-up of too-big-to-fail banks to unlock shareholder value and prevent another financial crisis.“There is finally a growing recognition among a wide range of market analysts, financial market participants and policy makers that the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a mistake,” said Thomas Hoenig, a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board member and former head of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. “It’s time now to restrict banks to core services.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Colorado gunman, mass shooter, psycho marijuana

I suspected that he used drugs. I always thought psychology majors are often crazy and trying to figure out what is wrong with themselves. Introverts too are suspect. This incident supports that view. Also, Universities in California lately are catering to freaks, women, minorities and political correctness more than merit. Students expected to be docile and stupid like sheep, not like virile males out to accomplishing something important. The shooter was not ready for competition in a better college so flunked out. He was on a government grant: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/07/24/james-holmes-received-26k-grant-from-bethesda-based-national-institutes-of-health/

Does the second amendment include automatics? They were not invented when the constitution was written. Maybe civilians should be restricted to crossbows or muzzle loading black powder muskets. That would give the deer a better chance too.

Better carry a gun if you go to the movies. There will be copycat crimes.

Seems if shooters want to shoot, they should at least join the army and shoot the bad guys, not Mexican movie watchers.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/colo_massacre_suspect_mum_as_he_u7cmDKWFZ3fckw36trd9II
His hair still dyed a flaming orange-red, Holmes, 24, said nothing while sitting in court with a female guard close to his side

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9419299/Batman-Colorado-shooting-James-Holmes-fixated-by-altered-states-of-mind.html

Batman Colorado shooting: James Holmes fixated by altered states of mind

James Holmes, the alleged "Joker" gunman, described his fascination with altered states of mind in a lecture to other students, an illusion that allows you to change the past". Holmes said he had been working on "subjective experience, which is what takes place inside the mind as oppose to the external world".

He had recently undergone an intense three-part oral exam, before withdrawing from the course.

On June 25 he applied to join a private gun range, the $250 Lead Valley Range, the owner, called to invite him for an orientation and got through to a "bizarre" voicemail message.

and dosed up on prescription medication before the atrocity, it emerged on Sunday.

awkward, nervous 18-year-old giving a talk at a science summer camp in San Diego on "temporal illusions". It also emerged that in the days before the attack, Holmes, a cannabis smoker tried to join a gun club.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/us/pain-and-puzzles-in-wake-of-deadly-colorado-attack.html?_r=1&hp

Neighbors and former classmates in California said he was a loner who said little and was easily forgotten
a criminology professor who studies mass killings, said she was not surprised Holmes was studying neuroscience and mental disorders. "It could be he was interested in that because he knows there's something different in him,"

Before dropping out he took a class that explored the biological origins of psychiatric and neurological disorders, and was scheduled to give a presentation on “MicroRNA Biomarkers,” demonstrates an interest in the genetic basis of mental illness.

The federal grant pays for six pre-thesis doctoral students in the university’s neuroscience program. Such grants are usually quite difficult to obtain, going to only the top students. graduated “at the top of the top” from the University of California, Riverside,

But Mr. Holmes struggled through his first academic year at the University of Colorado, Denver, and had dropped out by this spring. He recently took an intense three-part, oral exam that marks the end of the first year of the four-year program there, but university officials would not say if he passed. The university said Holmes gave no reason for his withdrawal in June.

Neighbors from his gang-ridden neighborhood in Aurora described him as a solitary figure, recognizable as one of the few white residents of a largely Hispanic neighborhood,

With his academic career in tatters Mr. Holmes began to assemble another plan. Over the last two months, he bought two handguns, a shotgun and an assault rifle from local gun dealers. He bought and stockpiled 6,000 rounds of ammunition. he began to receive large deliveries to his home and work. He outfitted himself with black body armor and a gas mask.

Apart from a speeding ticket, Mr. Holmes had no previous encounters with the police. He left no easily identifiable online messages or videos that might offer any insight to his mind-set.

how Mr. Holmes was able to afford the large amount of weapons, ammunition and protective gear. how he learned to booby-trap his apartment.

He kept to himself more than he socialized. friends and neighbors said Mr. Holmes was hesitant to make small talk if seen on the street, slow to smile in conversations with strangers, often seemingly tucked away inside himself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Higher Education Needs a Financing Overhaul

I am certainly not anti-education. But there are far too many in college who do not belong there due to lack of talent. There is far too much money being spent on colleges, facilities, administrators, and, worst of all, loans. This article by Gary Schilling lays out the relevant facts fairly well. Many have said the same things. Some of these problems afflict K-12 education as well. I am looking forward to the second article in the series. To improve the economy USA will have to improve education and the quality of its people. Obama is wrong to want to "give" everybody a college education.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-to-drop-the-college-for-all-crusade/2012/05/27/gJQAzcUGvU_story.html
The college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it. Like the crusade to make all Americans homeowners, it’s now doing more harm than good. It looms as the largest mistake in educational policy since World War II. In 1940, fewer than 5 percent of Americans had a college degree. Going to college was “a privilege reserved for the brightest or the most affluent” high-school graduates. By 2012, 30 percent had a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution. dropout rates are high; at four-year schools, fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate within six years. Many others aren’t learning much.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-23/higher-education-needs-a-financing-overhaul.html

“This hat cost me $110K.” That was the message a 2012 graduate displayed on her mortarboard at her university commencement.

The recent flare-up over huge student-loan balances, especially among jobless recent college graduates, is exposing deep flaws in the way higher education is financed. Historically, the U.S. has always emphasized education as the route to financial success. In much of Europe, the link between education and economic achievement has never been as deeply ingrained.

This U.S. zeal for schooling has been so vigorous that it has blurred the distinction between education (the development of the mind and the thinking process) and training (the preparation for a job or career). Today, a person studying for a doctorate, a pursuit that traditionally drew those with a thirst for pure learning, may well be aiming for a career in business in the same way as a candidate for a medical degree or a master’s in business administration. Middle-class American parents have long believed that the more degrees their offspring collect, the higher they will end up on the social and economic scale.

The Education Department found that in 48 percent of for- profit schools, fewer than 35 percent of recent graduates are repaying their student loans. That compares with only 18 percent of public and nonprofit institutions. In 2008, about 53 percent of those who earned bachelor’s degrees at for-profit institutions owed $30,500 or more in student loans compared with 24 percent at private schools and 12 percent at public universities and colleges.

In Part 2, I will examine the effects of the recent recession on higher education and what some schools are doing in response.

(A. Gary Shilling is president of A. Gary Shilling & Co. and author of “The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation.” The opinions expressed are his own. This is the first in a two-part series.)
Looks like the free market is finally figuring out that the big banks teetering on the brink of bankruptcy are not going to be very profitable. Bankers should sell off the good parts, pocket the profits, retire, and dump the remaining mess of derivatives into the hands of the FDIC, Fed, and the taxpayers. Smaller banks were making money from traditional banking activities, but the big banks cooked up a big batch of derivatives that paid big bonuses but ruined the banks involved.

http://www.garp.org/risk-news-and-resources/risk-headlines/story.aspx?newsid=50063

Break up the banks: Value seen in Spinoffs

Wall Street's biggest banks may have to break up to make up - billions of dollars in shareholder value.

After suffering through some of the worst performances in a generation over the past couple of years, big banks are starting to hear cries that the old tried-and-tested banking model is broken.

Bank executives and Wall Street analysts believe the trampled- down banks - with revenue, profits and share price well below normal levels - are believing more and more that to unlock value banks may have to break themselves up.

"I suspect that there will be some spinoffs that occur," he added.

"You're getting a lot of frustration from investors and you're getting a lot of people that are saying that the business model is broken,"

results over the past year: Citigroup shares are off 30 percent and are trading at a fraction of their book value; Goldman Sachs shares is off 25 percent; Bank of America is down 24 percent; JPMorgan Chase is off 12 percent; and Morgan Stanley's shares are off 36 percent.

The decline is even worse when you look back to 2007.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Universities: California vs Missouri

The attached report from collegeresults.org indicates that California Universities are not all they are cracked up to be. I printed the results for two nondescript Missouri Universities -- Harry Truman State, and Missouri Science and Technology U in Rolla. Missouri outranked most of the UCs and all of the CSUs in terms of SAT scores of accepted students. Further the Missouri Universities flunk out more students. California lets them stay and get a degree. Universities would function better if they restricted themselves to higher IQ students without all the riff-raff causing distractions and trouble. USA has built up a trillion dollars of student loan debt. Taxpayer will probably have to bail them out some day. Much of that money went into lavish facilities and overpaid administrators instead of education.

Missouri weather is fairly good but I would prefer a little cooler, farther north, higher altitude. But warm weather is great for plants and animals. Missouri has a fantastic complex ecosystem with many large lakes and fishes. After walking my 10 miles this morning by the lake I went wading at Moonshine beach and chased crayfish and a variety of fish that braved the large crowds of people. The fish hatchery 2 miles from my home releases over a million 11 inch trout per year into the lake that flows by my home. I don't have to shop or hunt to eat well. Branson will have an in-city limits bow hunting deer season to reduce number of deer-auto collisions that are bad for the tourist business -- people injured and dead deer all over town. I never saw so many groundhogs and armadillos before.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

surviving the incoming Coronal Mass Ejection

You may be able to restart your car but it won't run long without the power grid. Gas stations need electricity to pump gas, run cash registers,.... Most economic activity needs electricity. Local or widespread damage can result from EMP, earthquakes, freezing rain, tornado, hurricanes, tsunami, wars, etc. One needs to get prepared by getting off the grid as much as possible. That includes less reliance on government and big companies for electricity, food, water, police services, etc. Buy a survivable ecosystem in a civilized region. When possible, use mechanicals and biologicals instead of electricals. There are excellent low prices on small farms in nice areas across the USA. Economy is often better there too, leading people to being in a better mood.

----------------------------------------
Recent tests on cars with computer systems found them to be resilient to EMP. Because Cars are electrically noisy, all of the electronic components need to be hardened. Gov't tests showed that most cars simply stalled but could be restarted and there was no lasting damaged to the car from an EMP. The biggest danger will be to the Grid, since the grid serves as a huge antenna collecting very large amounts of energy from the EMP. This will likely take out power plants and damage the very large transformers which are already on a two year waiting list. However, most of the large transformers can still be used, but a much reduced power capacity (ie work with rolling blackouts). However its difficult to say if the grid can be made functional enough and in time to avoid a collapse. There is a report linked on survivalblog.com about the EMP effects on modern vehicles (which I am summarizing here).

Personally I think it will be difficult to reboot the entire nation after an EMP attack. There is simply too much infrastructure that is dependant on the grid (and electronic communications).

That said, it would be difficult for small (rogue) nations to take out the CONUS with an EMP attack. for a nation wide attack would require very large nukes (10 Megaton or larger) or a large number of multiple nukes that are distributed regionally. Currently only three nations can carry out a nation wide EMP attack: the US, Russia and China. Everyone else lacks the missile capability and the nuke capacity to put it off. it takes a very large rocket capable of moving a 20 ton warhead (for a 10 Megaton device) 170 to 200 miles above the US. A rogue nation like N. Korea or Iran at best could implement a regional attack affecting a region with a few metropolitan cities (such as the NY-Philly-DC) region. Another issue, is that launching a EMP attack it will be very easy to determine who launched the attack. It would be pure suicide. The book "One Second after" does not account for the size of the nuke required to take out the CONUS.

A solar flare\CME will never be powerful enough to take out vehicles, but could take down the grid. Since CMEs take several days to reach, power companies can shutdown the grid in preparation of the CME. The question is how long will the Grid need to remain shutdown since it make be several days before the CME passes and how societies act under this condition. A grid shutdown more than a few days raises real risks for nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools which need near constant power for cooling. Nuke power plants are only required to have three days of diesel on site.

trader animal spirits, low interest rates, high income tax, high gas tax, sales tax, property tax,...

Since the 1980s "behavioral finance" and "behavioral economics" have been booming fields (although Keynes had some of this figured out decades ago). Gambling caused the crash of 2008 (and many other crashes and bankruptcies). Low interest rates are a policy response to the crash. Taxpayers and savers are still paying for bailouts. The big 6 banks write most of the risky derivatives (weapons of mass destruction) but still enjoy low financing costs because they are "too big to fail" so carry implicit insurance by the federal government (taxpayers). Taxpayers also subsidize the education of trader gamblers by student loans and huge financing from both federal and state governments. Taxpayers today pay for activities that cost them more taxes in the future. By moving to a different state, taxpayers can lower their tax burden substantially. Lowering taxes would help reduce the amount of damage that can be done by the political-banking complex (or the military-industrial complex, prison-industrial complex,...) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex

---------------------------------
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-31/managing-wall-streets-winner-effect

Coates once ran a derivatives desk at Deutsche Bank (DB) in New York, until he decided he was more interested in trying to figure out why people are such poor judges of risk than he was in trying to profit from it. Now a senior research fellow at the University of Cambridge, he is employing the tools of neuroscience to identify the biological basis of what John Maynard Keynes called the market’s “animal spirits.”

In particular, Coates focuses on two hormones: testosterone, which increases our appetite for risk, and cortisol, which makes us shy away from it. Drawing on his Wall Street connections, he has been able to treat the trading floors of investment banks as his labs. The answers he’s finding could help financial institutions understand how the banking culture exacerbates the very tendencies companies should be guarding against.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Economics Expertise Re: the LIBOR (global BIS etc) banking situation

These writers cannot forecast what the bankers and policy makers will do. They are probably paid to spread disinformation. Or they may just be preaching nonsense that sounds good. The internet has become the new talk radio -- a cheaper way to divide the sheeple into smaller herds that can be devoured more easily by feeding them bait that lure them into error. Anybody can join the crowd and start a disinformation blog in exchange for some free lunches and monetary compensation. http://www.arvixe.com/ is $4 per month a Santa Barbara LLC website host with computer servers in Texas. They specialize in Wordpress, the free and most popular blogging software. Search engines follow blogs carefully ... bloggers get paid by google and microsoft for putting ads on the blog. That pay is in addition to money from those who want to spread disinformation. Its all legal. Why google, facebook... are worth so much.

Most publicly available forecasts are wild speculations if not deliberate disinformation. Good forecasts are secret or available only at a very high price. Some middle grade forecasters are surveyed and carefully audited by "blue chip forecasts" $1045 per year subscription. You can get a free sample copy such as attached at http://www.aspenpublishers.com/product.asp?catalog_name=Aspen&product_id=SS01934600&cookie_test=1

These are middle grade forecasters who try to be as accurate as possible to enhance their career. They are too rich to be paid to spread disinformation and they would not want to jeopardize their status -- If they do some poor forecasts they get kicked off the list and probably fired! The accuracy scores have been carefully compiled for decades. Forecast users can monitor this list to avoid paying attention to losers who get kicked off the list or never made it onto the list.

Non-professionals should not pay attention to forecasts or economics until they are completely out of debt, own their own family farm in a solid ecosystem surrounded by stable society with good services in a location that can be defended from the most likely attacks and practicing good health, diet, exercise and low stress habits without media distractions. Most moderns are severely deficient in basic needs. Wasting time worrying about economics would postpone basic investments needed for survival.

If one succeeds in the essentials and wants to become a financial expert then they should get a ivy league BA in economics and an MBA in finance. They would then partly understand how to find out what is going on in the economy and financial markets. They would be able to spot the liars, crooks, frauds. They would make better trading and investment decisions. But even with a good background they would still need to exercise extreme caution. They would specialize in a small area they could master. Or maybe they would learn to stay out of trading and investments altogether. It is hard for even the best to win or win repeatedly for long periods of time. They often drop out and go into business, teaching, farming, cheese, wine... Finance is hard to understand for the trained, hard to keep current, and impossible for the untrained.

Part of the strategy of the 1% rich is to get the poor 99% confused and stressed out about the economy, politics, etc. so that they get sick, don't vote, vote against their own interests, buy the wrong products, live in dangerous polluted risky places, eat junk food, work in dangerous jobs, stay out of the centers of power, ... It is to some extent a conspiracy. The 1% are not stupid... that is how they maintain power.


The effective federal funds rate of 0% may also be supplying the banksters with funds to support a carry trade with Greek and Italian and Spanish banks paying 6-8%. These are very risky but are the only game in town paying anything approaching the inflation rate. This may explain the huge increase in Credit Default Swaps issued for insurance purposes on PIIG bonds. The IMF will continue to pump money into the PIIG nations to support this trade and also to prevent a default which would trigger payment of derivative insurance. If my memory serves me I believe a couple of mos ago the European organization that determines if a default has occurred (name escapes me) would not label Greek bonds that would only pay 60% as having defaulted. This would have required J.P. Morgan to payout CDS insurance money to bondholders. Shortly thereafter the IMF agreed to another round of loans to Greek banks to maintain liquidity.

What is missing from this article is the comparison with Japan ’s central bank, which went Zero Interest in 1991 on advice of the US , following the Plaza Accord. Their stock market lost 80% and has NEVER recovered. All governments us a carrot and a stick - they are supposed to reward good behavior and punish bad. When they punish savers and reward criminals (as with the zero interest policy) you can see what happens. Here’s a chart to give you the REAL picture.

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It’s over - we wuz robbed. And NOTE – this is NOT a “left-right” thing. Both parties are bought and paid for by the Banksters. There will be no change in policy and no return to Constitutional money. The cost to the power junkies would be catastrophic. All that’s left now is a nice big war to paper things over.

Libor Exposure Of Banker Corruption, Bank Of England And U.S. Fed Both Implicated



Interest-Rates / Market Manipulation Jul 05, 2012

By: Jim_Willie_CB

Interest-Rates

Diamond Rated - Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFew observers make the connection, but the current LIBOR scandal is a middle inning of two important events. The first is the demise of the Western banker leadership crew. The executives from the most powerful banks will be last to be deposed, all sharing an ethnic strain. The second is the open fracture of the Western financial system. Over the past few years, to be sure a great many people have grown tired of Jackass descriptions of corruption within the banking sector and financial system in general. Well, hear this: TOLD YA SO! The London Interbank Offered Rate scandal will erupt into an uncontrollable firestorm, hitting one chamber and then the next, with rapid contagion.

The Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve are both implicated, but they will skate until the end game. They control the prosecutors and the news networks. Few yet connect the LIBOR rigged prices to the important parts of the financial kingdom run by the harried banker elite. The supposedly informed experts point to the rigged low rates for adjustable rate mortgages, for credit cards, and for student loans. Only the ARM rate is important among these, since it kept and housing bubble going. If truth be told, the LIBOR anomalies have persisted since late 2008. The intrepid first class forensic bond analyst Rob Kirby linked the sordid trails and mismatched discrepancies of the LIBOR to the JPMorgan monster, the US Federal Reserve syndicate ring leader, and the USDept Treasury (haven for Goldman Sachs lieutenants). See his 2008 article on Financial Sense (CLICK HERE). Regulators have done nothing for four years. It was not fully appreciated at the time, like it might be today. The LIBOR should match the settled EuroDollar contract, but it has not for years. The evidence for price rig has been glaring for years. The big banks have skimmed the difference for profit for years. Imagine selling milk or concrete with a variation in price at the wholesale level, enabling vast profits from skimming. It has been permitted for the big banks, a grand blemish on an already scarred sector.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

FREE VOTE by twitter, facebook, linkedin, wordpress, tumblr, pinterest

Let your voice be heard using the social network. When you read an article, click on the buttons. An army of Obama Bush Romney handlers and media monitors scan what people click and use that to plan their campaigns, ads, and policies. Emails are harder to send and are never read by people with power and get lost forever. Blogs will last forever. Any button you see on an article is an opportunity to sign up and click to be heard!

twitter -- anything good I click on twitter or if bad I add 1 word like bullshit

facebook -- allows easy commenting for a sentence or more, like lots of bullshitlinked in -- a professional version of facebook that gets more attention, use clean language

pinterest -- for posting pictures that you like, I just started it, seems to be taking off fast

Blogs let you write more. They get read more intensely by politicians but are harder than just clicking

wordpress -- the #1 blogging platform, good for paragraphs and essays.

tumblr -- can post videos, articles, all sorts of stuff. Newer but seems to be the fastest growing and best blog site. Simpler than wordpress

The article below exposes a plot to exterminate sheeple by food. I clicked on all the buttons

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/07/05/monsanto-roundup-effects-on-honeybees.aspx?e_cid=20120705_DNL_artNew_1

An Illinois beekeeper whose bee hives were stolen and allegedly destroyed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture has stirred up a hornet's nest with his questions on why the state did this, and most importantly, what they did with his bees.

The state claims the bees were destroyed because they were infected with a disease called foulbrood.

But when the 58-year apiary keeper had his hearing—three weeks after the removal of his bees without his knowledge—the state's "evidence" had disappeared, leaving more questions than answers about the raid on the beekeeper's hives.

Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram's 15 years of research on Monsanto's Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.

Interestingly, the state's theft targeted the queen bee and hive he'd been using to conduct the research.



The Ingram Case



A recent article by Tom Kocal in the Prairie Advocate retells the full story of how Terrence Ingram's bees and hives wound up being taken by the Illinois State Department of Agriculture (IDofAG)i.

While the state claims the removal of the property was due to Ingram's failure to comply with the Department's notice instructing him to burn the affected hives, they have been less than open about why the inspectors came in and took the bees and hives without due process.

At a time when the Ingram's were absent from the property. Ingram claims the Department also conducted three out of four inspections on his private property while no one was home.

While Department inspectors claim his hives had foulbrood—an allegedly highly contagious disease—Mr. Ingram believes he could prove that this was not the case. As reported by the featured Prairie Advocate article:

"Ingram knew that the inspectors could not tell what they were seeing and had warned the Department that if any of them came back it would be considered a criminal trespass. Yet they came back when he was not home, stole his hives and ruined his 15 years of research."

Ingram initially reported the missing bees and hives as having been stolen on March 14, unaware that they'd been removed by the IDofAG. News of the theft was published in the Prairie Advocate on March 21.

As a result of that article, an area County Farm Bureau manager called the reporter, stating he knew the equipment hadn't been stolen, but that it had been "destroyed" by the Department of Agriculture because they were infected with foulbrood and Ingram hadn't disposed of them as instructed.

The most nonsensical part of this story is that Ingram didn't get a hearing to determine whether his hives were affected by the disease until three weeks after they were removed and destroyed.

Yale: Shiller on Financial Morality. “The ethical standard has deteriorated recently. The anger in the public view is not entirely unwarranted,

Now is a good time to examine theoretical issues in finance and economics. I think all graduates should take both economics and finance. Yale has excellent open classes available for download for free http://oyc.yale.edu/courses

But there should not be so many bankers and other finance professionals. The percent of Yale graduates going into finance fell 50% in 2 years but is still many. In an increasingly electronic information society those bankers should be replaced by computers. The need is for more theoreticians and better theories.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/apr/10/looking-at-the-morality-behind-the-money/

In 2008, 26 percent of Yale students were employed in business or finance one year after graduation, though that number fell to 14 percent in 2010.

“The greatest generation of economists emerged after the Great Depression, and I expect to see a similar wave right now,”

Looking at the morality behind the money April 10, 2012



For professor Robert Shiller, there is a conversation that must be had about finance. After teaching the course “Financial Markets” for about 25 years and seeing it uploaded on Open Yale Courses in 2008 and again in 2011, he said he felt responsible for ensuring that his students understood the morality behind their career choices. His book “Finance and the Good Society,” published March 20, aims to answer questions about the virtues of the field.




“I was worried that I was preparing young people for a career that was morally challenged,” Shiller said. “I wrote the book for my students. I didn’t know what else I would assign on that. I had to discuss basic moral issues that all of these people are going to confront in their career.”

Shiller said finance in its simplest form coordinates people and resources, a task that is essential for the functioning of the economy. He said that coordination will be critical for the progress of developing nations in the years to come.

“The world is being transformed by finance right now,” Shiller said. “The emerging world is growing at an extremely rapid pace. I think finance is indispensable to the advance of civilization.”

Professor Jeffrey Garten, who teaches “Understanding Global Financial Centers” at the Yale School of Management, said working in finance can be socially beneficial in addition to being lucrative for its practicioners. Future investments in American manufacturing, developments in alternative energy and improvements in education all rest on financial underpinnings, he said.

“It is a socially redeeming activity to create value by merging two companies that can do better than either alone; it is a socially redeeming activity to help a country restructure its debts so that it can better provide for its citizens; it is a socially beneficial activity to help people manage their money so that they can have a secure retirement,” Garten said. “There are many aspects of our country which would never have happened without smart capable financiers.”

But the current state of finance is unsustainable, and the financial sector must reimagine itself, said economics professor John Geanakoplos ’75, who teaches “Financial Theory.” Geanakoplos said Americans now have to “rein in” the financial sector, whose out-of-control activities caused the financial crisis of 2008.

Regulation — both self-regulation and regulation by the government — will be necessary for finance to succeed, Shiller said. Otherwise, Wall Street may see a “race to the bottom,” where finance firms feel forced to do “sleazy business” in order to compete with their peers, he said.

Geanakoplos suggested regulating leverage as an important first step. Prior to the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve paid little attention to leverage rates in favor of a more free-market approach. However, he said, there is no reason to believe the economy can gauge the right level of leverage, so the Federal Reserve should step in.

“The Federal Reserve needs a complete rethinking on what its mission is and how best to achieve it,” he said. “Financial stability should be a priority instead of just full employment and moderate inflation.”

Garten predicted that financial industry would shrink in size in the future, which would be a positive development because the oversized finance sector was prone to crises.

“In the future, I expect that financial services will be a smaller part of the economy than they have been in the last decade,” Garten said. “To me that is a good thing. I do believe there have been excess banking and excess financial capacity, and this has been part of the problem.”

It would be a healthy development, he added, if more students pursued careers in production rather than financial services.

For years, Americans have considered finance an easy and morally sanctioned way to get rich. But last month, Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith published a public resignation letter in the New York Times, calling the large investment bank’s culture “toxic” and declaring many of its employees to be “morally bankrupt.”

There are both good and bad people in every organization, Shiller said in response to questions about Smith’s letter. He said that any consideration of morality needs to take into account how bankers spend the money they earn, and he lauded Goldman Sachs’ chairman for his philanthropic contributions and activism in social causes.

“There probably are people who are still criticizable, and maybe the organization needs a refreshment of its principles, but it’s not black and white,” Shiller said. “I think there’s a lot to admire in Goldman Sachs.”

The debate over finance’s moral implications bears particular relevance for Yale students, who often feel the field’s lure. In 2008, 26 percent of Yale students were employed in business or finance one year after graduation, though that number fell to 14 percent in 2010. The stagnant economy might prompt some students to go into finance, but others to go into other economics-related fields instead, Geanakoplos said.

“The greatest generation of economists emerged after the Great Depression, and I expect to see a similar wave right now,” Geanakoplos said. “There’s obviously something wrong with how our economy works now, and whenever an area is in disarray, it’s an opportunity.”

Mary Liu ’12, director of corporate and campus relations for the Yale Undergraduate Economics Association, said that much of the current distaste for finance stems from a sensationalist media. Especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the media used overly dramatic rhetoric to discuss the economy, she said.

A strong financial services industry is necessary for a developed economy, she added, and as long as the financial sector practices transparency in its actions, students should not feel qualms about entering the field.

“Go into finance if you enjoy it and stick to your principles,” Liu said.

Shiller said he wished that more students from fields other than economics, such as engineering and the sciences, would take his course, because many career paths involve finance in some way. One argument he makes in his classes, he said, is that those who make money in finance have a moral obligation to give some of it back in philanthropy.

Shiller said he hopes that “Finance and the Good Society” will address these issues and give students the ethical background to approach careers in finance.

“I don’t whitewash it,” Shiller said. “The ethical standard has deteriorated recently. The anger in the public view is not entirely unwarranted, but I think it will come around. There is a healing process after this crisis.”

Shiller will teach “Financial Markets” in the fall.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Libertarians. Born fighting: Scotch Irish

Branson style libertarian politics is discussed below. I recognize the attitude in my relatives and myself. Majority of Branson residents and visitors are veterans and retired military. Ron Paul for example got more support from the military than all other candidates combined http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/ron-paul-military Goes back to the Scots-Irish who are are from TN and other middle states and make up much of the military (map attached). The local college is Scots-Irish Presbyterian (free tuition because students are required to work for pay). I was well regarded in the military and well suited for a military career. I did not know why at the time but probably a native talent that goes back thousands of years. My father was a professional libertarian, publisher in I am aware of problems from excessive libertarianism as in the ghetto lifestyles of Los Angeles, Berkeley and the rural ghettos of Humboldt County MO TN WV etc. As explained below these attitudes may be in part genetic and are shaped by 1000s of years of warfare still celebrated in the movies The Eagle, Robin Hood, Braveheart, etc. Meth, pot is the new moonshine whiskey. NASCAR hot rods to outrun the police, etc.

American politics cannot be understood without knowing the 4 main groups from the British Isles as discussed below. Later immigrants follow the thinking of these earlier groups. Other branches of my ancestry: Germans are very liberal, Bismark and the welfare state, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Bismarck#Welfare_state and susceptible to dictators and strange religions like the Nazi religion (beware of music). Scandinavians are even more liberal in some ways but more of a practical bent if not on too much alcohol and get enough Vitamin D. So I combine these to form a liberal libertarianism as was common in Iowa, Minnesota and California in the 20th century. Branson is a little too libertarian and not liberal enough for me. Boston, NY, CT, DC are Irish Italian Catholic big government liberals for a long time hard to agree with. Now California is Catholic Mexican big government tax and spend radical left wing, increasingly alien to me since the 1960s. I would probably better fit in north of here in more of a liberal German Scandinavian intellectual environment. But MN is very cold.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch-Irish_American

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Fighting-Scots-Irish-Shaped-America/dp/0767916883

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

James Webb tells the epic story of the Scots-Irish, a people whose lives and worldview were dictated by resistance, conflict, and struggle, and who, in turn, profoundly influenced the social, political, and cultural landscape of America from its beginnings through the present day.

More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England’s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, traveling in groups of families and bringing with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy and a military tradition, and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working class America, and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself.

Born Fighting is the first book to chronicle the full journey of this remarkable cultural group, and the profound, but unrecognized, role it has played in the shaping of America. Written with the storytelling verve that has earned his works such acclaim as “captivating . . . unforgettable” (the Wall Street Journal on Lost Soliders), Scots-Irishman James Webb, Vietnam combat veteran and former Naval Secretary, traces the history of his people, beginning nearly two thousand years ago at Hadrian’s Wall, when the nation of Scotland was formed north of the Wall through armed conflict in contrast to England’s formation to the south through commerce and trade. Webb recounts the Scots’ odyssey—their clashes with the English in Scotland and then in Ulster, their retreat from one war-ravaged land to another. Through engrossing chronicles of the challenges the Scots-Irish faced, Webb vividly portrays how they developed the qualities that helped settle the American frontier and define the American character.

Born Fighting shows that the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; they were the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only 5 percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army).

It illustrates how the Scots-Irish redefined American politics, creating the populist movement and giving the country a dozen presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. And it explores how the Scots-Irish culture of isolation, hard luck, stubbornness, and mistrust of the nation’s elite formed and still dominates blue-collar America, the military services, the Bible Belt, and country music.

Both a distinguished work of cultural history and a human drama that speaks straight to the heart of contemporary America, Born Fighting reintroduces America to its most powerful, patriotic, and individualistic cultural group—one too often ignored or taken for granted.

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