Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami alert

If you look across the ocean right about now, you'll see no indication that a giant wave approaches Hawaii. But, experts will tell you, a wave is on the way, hidden from sight, under water, and it will not rise from the ocean until it hits a land mass.

Something similar is about to hit on the economic front. You'd best prepare. Because it's coming as sure as that wave about to hit Hawai.

PS. Often, right before a tsunami hits, sea water recedes. People often walk out into the receding water to pick up fish and shells, only to be engulfed when the waves arrive.

PPS. Well, the Hawaiin tsunami appears to have come and gone, a non-event. Sometimes, the experts are wrong.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fuck Citibank

Apparently Citibank sent out letters informing depositors that they may be denied the right to withdraw funds from their checking accounts for up to 7 working days.

Citibank then came out and said that it was all a big mistake, the letters should have been sent out only to Texas depositors.

Fuck you very much, Citibank.

If I had any money in their bank, I'd withdraw every fucking penny, today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monsanto seeks patent for a pig

The first of a five part video at youtube. Monsanto is attempting to take over the world's food supply.

That should scare the hell out of you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Matt Taibbi uncorks

Want real hard hitting editorial pieces? Forget your local newspaper or the mryiad of business magazines out there. Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone Magazine delivers the goods.

An excerpt:

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative."

Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we're so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses.

Goldman wasn't alone. The nation's six largest banks — all committed to this balls-out, I drink your milkshake! strategy of flagrantly gorging themselves as America goes hungry — set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007. In a gesture of self-sacrifice, Blankfein himself took a humiliatingly low bonus of $9 million, less than the 2009 pay of elephantine New York Knicks washout Eddy Curry. But in reality, not much had changed. "What is the state of our moral being when Lloyd Blankfein taking a $9 million bonus is viewed as this great act of contrition, when every penny of it was a direct transfer from the taxpayer?" asks Eliot Spitzer, who tried to hold Wall Street accountable during his own ill-fated stint as governor of New York.

Beyond a few such bleats of outrage, however, the huge payout was met, by and large, with a collective sigh of resignation. Because beneath America's populist veneer, on a more subtle strata of the national psyche, there remains a strong temptation to not really give a shit. The rich, after all, have always made way too much money; what's the difference if some fat cat in New York pockets $20 million instead of $10 million?

The only reason such apathy exists, however, is because there's still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street "earns" its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around "earns." The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits — Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation — is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street's eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its "performance" was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?

The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The thing about taxes...

A guy comes up to me and says he needs a hundred bucks to pay a fine. A couple of days later, he returns and asks for a hundred bucks, once again, to pay a fine he owes. The third time he comes, yet once again looking for money to pay this fine, I'm tired of seeing his face and hearing his lies.

This is like the government that collects taxes from me in the name of doing good things and then spends the money elsewhere.

Comes a day when the answer is no.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Consensus building

My head is swimming after a morning jaunt through the myriad of web-sites and blogs I try to follow. More and more I've come to realize how ridiculous it is to believe something is true only when enough people agree upon it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ruminations from the garden gets a new face

Paul Speir decided to move Speir publishing from POD publishing to the traditional offset mainstream variety. Ruminations from the garden will be the first book created under the new format.

The book will be professionally bound but more importantly, it will be thoroughly edited (unlike the POD version now available). Paul is doing what an editor should, tuning the engine as opposed to overhauling it.

I'm anxious to see the result.

Review copies should be available soon, for anyone interested.

Paul has many hurdles to clear erected to keep common folks like us out of the arena. We're going to knock them down one by one. Woe to the motherfucker that tries to stop us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is China gonna save the world?

The short answer is no.

A more detailed explanation can be found


Friday, February 12, 2010

Chris Hedges--Zero Point of Economic Collapse

Chris Hedges has written a good article about our impending apocalypse and offers clues on how to negotiate this period while maintaining a bit of civility and decency. (Hint: most won't bother.)

Read it here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mexico, Venezuela and oil exports

Mexico is currently the #2 supplier of crude to the United States and Venezuela #3. But not for long.

Read and weep.

Like I said, the polarization continues. War will follow. It's just a matter of time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The polarization continues

Reading Strauss and Howe's excellent book, The Fourth Turning reinforced something I already knew at gut level, have known for over thirty years: there will be in the lifetime of my generation, another major world war. Furthermore, I think the US will be knocked from its postion of prominence as a result of that war.

But before hostilities erupt, a polarization must take place, is taking place, as countries unite in a struggle over diminishing natural resources.

Another piece of evidence surfaced this week as the US and China square off on trade and monetary issues.

In our hemisphere, I envision leftist South American countries like Venezuela, Cuba, etc, joining the China brigade, Northern Mexico and Colombia the US sphere. I say northern Mexico because I think it likely that Mexico may have a revolution, or a split between North and South.

It isn't that I want these things to happen. I'm just a scribe writing down what I see happening.

As for the predictions, they were made long before I sucked a breath of air.

Friday, February 5, 2010

National Debt

I came across a link to a short primer on our national debt. Well worth your time.

The bottom line: all the money in existence isn't enough to pay off our national debt. In other words, we are owned, lock, stock and barrel.

Denninger provides another dose of reality to the mix.

They say don't panic when bank runs start. I say be first in line.