Some days, there’s not much to read in the papers

Today is not one of those days:

Bailouts/Financial Crisis

Bankers Told by Paulson to Accept U.S. Aid or Be ‘Vulnerable’ (Bloomberg)

U.S. Moves to Regulate Derivatives Trade (WSJ) Also, U.S. Regulators Seek Trace-like Reporting for OTC Derivatives (Bloomberg)

S&P: U.S. banking crisis may last until 2013 (Reuters)

Inside Citi’s Stress Test: More like an F than a B+ (Time)

US ‘sham’ bank bail-outs enrich speculators (Telegraph)

Is it time to stress-test the Federal Reserve? (Marketwatch)

A.I.G. Says It Needs 3 to 5 Years to Overhaul Itself (NYT)

Real Estate/Mortgages

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Hit Record for Second Straight Month (Bloomberg)

Slow Start to Federal Plan for Modifying Mortgages (NYT)

Zillow: Most U.S. homeowners think a bottom has been reached (Reuters)

Another View: A Market-Based Fix for Mortgages (Dealbook)

Rents Crashing in London to 1991 Prices (Bloomberg)

U.S. to Use Bailout Repayments to Aid Small Banks (NYT)

Economy/Markets

Signs of Consumer Strain Hit Stocks (WSJ)

Recession Drains Social Security and Medicare (NYT)

State Taxes Take a Nose Dive (Economix)

•  The Almighty Renminbi? (NYT)

•  Jobless Claims in U.S. Increase More Than Forecast (Bloomberg)

Cargo Ships Treading Water Off Singapore, Waiting for Work (NYT)

Bank of England Warns of ‘Slow and Protracted’ Recovery (NYT)

GM Now Sees Bankruptcy as ‘Probable,’ CEO Says (Bloomberg)

Media

Power Problem: The business press did everything but take on the institutions that brought down the financial system (Columbia Journalism Review)

Category: Financial Press, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

81 Responses to “Morning Reading”

  1. rktbrkr says:

    It’s really reassuring that it took a lawsuit to get the administration to comply with the Freedom of Information law and disclose what happened with the Paulson/Geithner bank meeting. I voted for O’B but his approaching to this financial catastrophy is a continuation of the incompetent Bush regime. Geithner is paulson light, maybe ultra light. In retrospect his appointment will be seen as O’B biggest mistake

  2. Mike in Nola says:

    Two addional links:

    Mr. Mortgage’s latest blog post. Cheery as ever.

    http://www.fieldcheckgroup.com/2009/05/13/5-12-april-foreclosure-servicer-tracker-report/

    On the shipping slump, here’s something from the BBC on ships idling in a Cornish estuary because of lack of work. It’s from last week.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8038471.stm

  3. rktbrkr says:

    green shoots whither already!

    WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, pushed up by auto plant shutdowns related to Chrysler’s bankruptcy.

    Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits increased 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 637,000 in the week ended May 9, reversing an easing trend of the previous two weeks.

    A Labor Department official said “a good part of the increase is due to automotive states and claims.”
    Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

    Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast new claims rising to 610,000.

    The number of people staying on the benefit rolls after collecting an initial week of aid jumped 202,000 to a record high of 6.56 million in the week ended May 2, the latest week for which the data is available, from 6.36 million the previous week.

    This was the 15th straight week that so-called continued claims touched a record high and lifted the insured unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, the highest since December 1982, from 4.8 percent the previous week.

    The four-week moving average for new claims, considered to be a better gauge of underlying trends as it smoothes out week-to-week volatility, rose 6,000 to 630,500 in the week ending May 9, from 624,500. This measure had declined for four straight weeks.

  4. Cursive says:

    @rktbrkr 8:52

    Market looks flat on the news, so worse than expected is not affecting equities in PM. Then again, this is opex week, so anything goes. Will be interesting to see where things are about 10:30 ET.

  5. Bruce in Tn says:

    Well, noticed today that the IEA also is cutting demand forcast for oil:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aad9ztkv.cO4&refer=australia

    Oil Falls for a Second Day After IEA Cuts 2009 Demand Forecast

  6. Bruce in Tn says:

    And this is just wrong.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lockyer14-2009may14,0,7700998.story

    California treasurer asks U.S. to backstop state borrowing

    They will never grow up unless they face their own problems….

  7. for those still wondering what Bill Joy was getting on about, see:

    “…WE ARE on the brink of technological breakthroughs that could augment our mental powers beyond recognition. It will soon be possible to boost human brainpower with electronic “plug-ins” or even by genetic enhancement. What will this mean for the future of humanity?
    This was the theme of a recent Neuroscience in Context meeting in Berlin, Germany, where anthropologists, technologists, neurologists, archaeologists and philosophers met to consider the implications of this next stage of human brain development. Would it widen the gulf between the world’s haves and have-nots – and perhaps even lead to a distinct and dominant species with unmatchable powers of intellect?
    One view is that this is merely the next phase in a process that has been taking place throughout human history. Humans have always played an active role in improving their own brainpower, says Lambros Malafouris of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge, UK, who was one of the organisers of the Berlin meeting. It began with inherited gene mutations that gave us uniquely “plastic” brains, capable of changing physically to meet hitherto unassailable intellectual and practical challenges….”
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227083.700-will-designer-brains-divide-humanity.html?full=true&print=true

    also, that Story, from Bloomberg, above, about Crashing Rents in London, reminds me of, too many, arguments with US RE NAR Kool-Aid drinkers whose central ‘Thesis’ was “Rent is ‘Throwing your money away..”–fun times..

  8. franklin411 says:

    @rktbrkr
    Actually, if you look at the data, you’ll see that the states with the largest declines in initial claims are also the states that have been hit the hardest in the recession: (largest to smallest decrease) NY, MI, NC, MA, CT, GA, VA, AL, CA, KY, SC.

    The states with the greatest increases are the states that thought they were immune from it: (largest to smallest increase) IL, KS, PR, IN, OH.

    IE, this is just the normal process of bottoming out. It’s to be expected that UI claims would peter out in the states that were hardest hit first while the states that were “immune” from the recession are still getting hit.

    http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm

  9. cvienne says:

    @Franklin

    The question has less to do with whether we’ve bottomed out or not (although the 4 week MA – which is a better “smooth-out” indicator actually showed an INCREASE in jobless claims)…

    Nevertheless…The looming question is “Where do we go from here?”…

    GDP in this economy needs to grow at AT LEAST a 2% rate to support out job market…Forecasts peg it for MINUS 3-6% for ’09, and at best 1% for 2010…With no guarantees of much higher growth in the next decade or so…

    Stimulus packages from the government may have helped stopped blood from squirting across the room, but the patient is still losing blood…

  10. Quack in the Box gets ‘Mainstreamed’

    “…And even if $77 throat cultures or $30 physicals do not represent a vast new source of profit for hospitals, retail clinics can play a marketing role, helping establish relationships with customers who may eventually need more lucrative in-hospital care.
    Consumers who use the clinics are often “exactly the customers that hospitals want — women of child-bearing age,” said Margaret Laws, a policy expert at the California Health Care Foundation. “The hospitals want to deliver babies,” she said.
    The idea of retail clinics took root about four years ago, and more than 1,000 are now operating around the country in drugstores, supermarkets and big-box discounters. But in the early going, few were linked to hospitals or medical centers. Now, though, about 1 in 10 has a hospital connection, according to Merchant Medicine News, an online newsletter for the clinic industry. And many more are planned…”
    Via: New York Times:
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=8517

  11. Mannwich says:

    Certainly not “better than expected?”

  12. Note to our Female readership, “Diamonds are Forever” is an Ad Campaign.

    “…Each day, the contents of the bags spill into the stainless steel hoppers of the receiving room. The diamonds are washed and sorted by size, clarity, shape and quality; then, rather than being sent to be sold around the world, they are wrapped in paper and whisked away to a vault — about three million carats worth of gems every month.
    …Via: New York Times
    Russia quietly passed a milestone this year: surpassing De Beers as the world’s largest diamond producer. But the global market for diamonds is so dismal that the Alrosa diamond company, 90 percent owned by the Russian government, has not sold a rough stone on the open market since December, and has stockpiled them instead.
    As a result, Russia has become the arbiter of global diamond prices. Its decisions on production and sales will determine the value of diamonds on rings and in jewelry stores for years to come, in one of the most surprising consequences of this recession.

    Largely because of the jewelry bear market, De Beers’s fortunes have sunk. Short of cash, the company had to raise $800 million from stockholders in just the last six months…”
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=8515
    If Russia was Thinking, they’d use Diamonds as a loss leader, break DeBeers’s, and sell more Platinum, for settings, in the process..

  13. leftback says:

    Glad to be on the sidelines today, needed refreshment and a step back.

    Mike, I saw your post on London office rents. Here:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a6DMLSwbH.aQ&

    At Schadenfreude, we do hope most sincerely this doesn’t happen in Manhattan* ;-)

    *not a sincere statement.

  14. franklin411 says:

    @cvienne
    95% of the stimulus funding has not been spent, so you can’t say that stimulus got us where we are. The stimulus hasn’t even begun.

  15. cvienne says:

    I’m referring to TARP money and QE by the Fed…

    And let me ask you a simple “yes” or “no” question…

    If, as you say, (and you’re right about that) that most of the “Stimulus” package hasn’t been spent…and we’re seeing all of these GREEN SHOOTS as you are so proud to point out…why don’t we just CANCEL the stimulus package because the economy as you are quick to point out seems to be healing itself?

    Would you agree with that notion…OR, would you agree with the notion that early next year when Congress re-convenes and looks over the landscape…There will be ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to go to the taxpayer for yet ANOTHER “stimulus package” (Stimulus II)…

    Or actually you could call it ‘Stimulus III, because Congress passed the FIRST stimulus package in early ’08…That did a lot of good didn’t it?

    Anyway…No more “stimulus”…YES OR NO?

  16. cvienne says:

    You’re “boxed-in” by that question because if you answer with a definitive NO, then if and when that scenario would occur, people would no longer trust you…

    If you answer YES, then these “green shoots” you talk about now are all a mirage…

  17. “…What does a Ford Motor Company fuel economy technical expert do for fun at the end of the day?

    He heads home to his own shop and custom builds an aerodynamically efficient, two-passenger, 3-wheel motorcycle capable of 125 mpg (US) at 65 mph (1.9 L/100 km @ 105 km/h) and a top speed of over 100 mph (161 km/h). And then after using it for 3,200 miles (5,150 km), he puts it on eBay to make room in his garage for the next version which will be a plug-in hybrid…”
    http://ecomodder.com/blog/hyperrocket-125-mpg-100-mph-3wheel-motorcycle/

    people would do well to Remember:
    http://www.tuckerclub.org/index.php

    60 years later, his cars could still be considered World Class.

    but, “we Need 1000′s of new Engineers..”–Bullsh*T ArtisTe

  18. franklin411 says:

    @cvienne
    Green shoots means that there are signs of life in the economy, not that there will be an instant return to growth. If you looked at the projections during the stimulus debate, the choice was presented as a return to growth in 2012-2014 w/o stimulus, or a return to growth in 2010 with stimulus. Life is never as black and white as demagogues would have us believe.

    The only ones saying there would never be a return to growth were the bears.

  19. I-Man says:

    Nice collection of material there BR- Thank you for taking the time to post.

    Do I need to mention that Ron Paul kicks ass?

    or…

    That the Stress Tests were a complete sham?

    or…

    That if AIG needs 3-5 years to “right” itself… what does that say about the zombies that are Citi and BAC???

  20. edhopper says:

    And the market is up despite the bad news. I am convinced that this is more than a mere Bear Market Rally, this is a stock bubble. Let’s see how long the Fed can keep it from popping?

  21. greg says:

    On CNBC a few minutes ago. One of the Chrysler dealers getting a notice of closure, is and has been profitable. That makes sense I guess, I mean who wants to keep profitable dealerships around.

  22. cvienne says:

    I’ve got news for you Franklin, the infrastructure of the US economy cannot be maintained at anything less than 2% growth…Without that, you can’t even keep job growth positive…

    Without growth in excess of that, you’ll either need to cut government spending, or raise taxes…

    The former goes AGAINST any notion of allocation for stimulus, the latter is a drag on the economy (more or less ‘cementing’ the idea that you will have growth sub-2%)…

    GROWTH occurs when a nation produces goods and services that people can afford to buy with REAL MONEY…Growth DOES NOT OCCUR when the government taxes money out of people to create jobs that don’t provide goods and services which are in perpetual demand…

  23. batmando says:

    @f411
    ” The only ones saying there would never be a return to growth were the bears”
    Quotes/citations, please, esp. of you’re implying such was said hereon.

  24. Mike in Nola says:

    leftback: Don’t think that there was a big chance of my misunderstanding your sincerity :) Still got any SRS? I bought some too soon, as always.

    Re: Commodities

    For those counting on China to goose demand, here are some interesting reports that show some Chinese companies are just goosing prices:

    http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2009/05/14/55869/quote-du-jour-chinas-fake-recovery-edition/?source=rss

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Money/Story/STIStory_376688.html

    Query: Already bought some SMN, too early. Would rather just buy some puts on an industrial commodity index rather than targeting a single stock where there could be lots of extraneous factors. Looked at IYM, but almost no option volume. Also looked at DBC, but almost as bad, although more open interest.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    Macro stuff

    Ran across Hugh Hendry’s video again this morning and really like his attitude to the green shoots sheeple.
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/30447441/site/14081545

    Looked up his firm and it turns out it was only a few blocks from where we were staying and likely walked past it. Small world. Anyways, he”s got a few videos and links on his company’s site that many here would agree with. Acoustics are terrible; had to use headphones. Esp. liked the first two videos and his youtube on China.

    http://www.eclectica-am.com/video.aspx?target=news&sub=video

  25. cvienne says:

    Franklin…let me dumb it down for you…

    It’s SUPPLY and DEMAND…

    The DEMAND side has worn down due to overleveraged debt and the ubiquitous amount of inventory in our aged system…Sure, there are “pockets” of demand here and there, but the aggregate is less…

    So the SUPPLY needs to shrink along with it (that means less jobs, which means less revenue for your friends in government – LESS STUFF TO TAX)…

    Ironically, the “fix” to the problem is to rev the engine back up and get the DEMAND side up…For the last decade, the hope has been that the population base of India & China would lead us there…

    But the larger problem is that even if we go that direction, there are not enough resources in the world (of basic materials) to build out, and support, consumption on that level…

    So we either PULL BACK…or try and ACCELERATE head first into a BRIC wall…

  26. rktbrkr says:

    Franklin & others, if we look hard enough we can always find a green shoot in a particular week or a particular state but that doesn’t mean that we’ve turned the corner. Aside from just running out of workers to fire and temporary gummint hiring I can’t think of too many “themes” for really turning the corner in job losses. Actually one, the smart grid will be meaningful economically but I doubt there will be enough new jobs created to make a big difference.

  27. cvienne says:

    @Mike in NOLA

    I believe that the so called “spike” in commodity demand from China was overstated…

    First of all, it was the typical season when they do their re-stocking…Next, they were most likely stocking up a little EXTRA this time because they didn’t want to diversify away from US Treasury purchases…

    So the BIG question is, are they going to “utilize” that hoarde or not?…Are they going to build anything with it? And if they do build something, will it produce goods that people want to buy? Where are those customers going to come from?

  28. Onlooker from Troy says:

    cvienne

    Agreed on China. They’re spending a lot of money on more capacity and real estate in a world & country in which there is already too much of it. How’s that going to work out? So once again it provided “stimulus” in the short term, but the long term just gets worse. The China head fake right now is a big one, I believe.

  29. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Another thing about the China story, they forced banks to lend, regardless of actual demand, and that’s leading to wasted resources building more capacity and inventory. The unintended consequences of govt intervention.

  30. Mike in Nola says:

    cvienne: Everything I read about the Chinese economy is that they don’t really have a use for most of this. The banks have been ordered to lend money as stimulus. So they lend to industries with massive overcapacity. Government officials ordered to buy cars.

    Check out http://www.mpettis.com

    and http://chinesepolitics.blogspot.com/

    one is by a finance teacher in Bejing and the other is by a native. Both seem to have good insights, and, more importantly, to agree with me :)

  31. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/business/global/14frugal.html?_r=1&hp

    Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson

    …I think TBP readers will find this interesting…one of the main points is that in good times they didn’t spend what they were bringing in! Imagine that!…aslo they are a net exporter of oil…

    Even though I am not a proponent of socialism, this article shows that economies can be run well, if some basic tenets are not violated…

    “Instead of spending its riches lavishly, it passed legislation ensuring that oil revenue went straight into its sovereign wealth fund, state money that is used to make investments around the world. Now its sovereign wealth fund is close to being the largest in the world, despite losing 23 percent last year because of investments that declined.”

  32. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/business/global/14frugal.html?_r=1&hp

    Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson

    “Instead of spending its riches lavishly, it passed legislation ensuring that oil revenue went straight into its sovereign wealth fund, state money that is used to make investments around the world. Now its sovereign wealth fund is close to being the largest in the world, despite losing 23 percent last year because of investments that declined.”

    I found this article interesting….very.

  33. cvienne says:

    It appears that China is at a point similar to the US industrial base in 1929…Overbuilt…

  34. cvienne says:

    @Bruce N Tennessee

    Wow – we should start our own soverign wealth fund here in the US! :-)

    Oh wait…We’re in debt (and BHO’s shovel jobs are simply digging us deeper)…shucks

  35. scm0330 says:

    Franklin, it’s almost painful to read your mining of the data. Seriously. We’ve had a couple of bum economic reports this week (retail sales and unemployment claims). These reports were a reversal of some faintly encouraging reports from the few prior weeks. Let’s not parse and nitpick. Leave that for the academy. And please, since you’re such a sport, do your latest round of economic forecasts include a multi-week shutdown in GM and Chrysler auto production, and rolling BK’s and liquidations among the second and third-tier suppliers? Because that’s what coming, whether or not the MSM and CNBC want to report it.

  36. Mannwich says:

    @Bruce: This quote really hit home:

    Eirik Wekre, an economist who writes thrillers in his spare time, describes Norwegians’ feelings about debt this way: “We cannot spend this money now; it would be stealing from future generations.”

  37. Onlooker from Troy says:

    What a concept, eh Mannwich? To think about future generations rather than selfishly eating their seed corn. I may want to emigrate, but I’m sure they have limits, and they’ll probably get more stringent as the world goes to hell.

  38. Mike in Nola says:

    Re: Chrysler dealers

    Illustrative of where you sit. CNBC is drumming up sympathy for Chrysler dealers who business is being take away. But, if you think about it, the dealers have been subsidized by cheap credit for a long time and we are now having to pay for it through bailouts. If the free market, including market based interest rates, had functioned, most of these guys would have been out of business already..

    Larry is thrashing someone with green shoots at the moment.

    Going to work out.

  39. cvienne says:

    @Mannwich & OT

    What our present Administration doesn’t seem to understand is that MOST AMERICANS right now are doing exactly what the Norwegians are doing (SAVING THEIR MONEY)…

    Instead, they are trying to SPEND AS FAST AS THEY CAN…And spending OUR future, while WE are saving…

    They’re really in touch!

  40. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    @cvienne:

    Even though Norway is fortunate to be an oil exporter, what I thought was interesting in this socialist country was that they saved money in good times and now have money to fall back on…

    Goes to my balanced budget amendment soapbox thingy…

  41. Cursive says:

    @rktbrkr 10:52

    Are you referring to an electrical smart grid? If so, there are boondoogles and then there are boondoogles…

  42. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    @Manny:

    EXACTLY

  43. Cursive says:

    Today’s action in the market is why I don’t believe markets are news-driven. OK, maybe to some extent, but if the markets were news-driven, the worse-than-exected initial claims and PPI should have had the opposite effect. Not only is it opex week, but the more I watch the tape, the more I think it is technically driven. You could go crazy trying to pin market movements to news events. As somebody says on this board at least weekly, correlation is not causation.

  44. MRegan says:

    http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/090513-best-illustions.html

    Illusions. In the CNBC clip of Hendry that Mike in NOLA linked to, HH asserts that World GDP was being overstated, and that demand for industrial commodities was likely to remain weak. Copper, anyone?
    I am unable to view the green shoots thesis as anything other than illusion. If I’m wrong, well, sucks to be me but if the ‘bears’ are right and people choose to disregard Hendry’s basic recommendation to be extremely risk averse, then their chance of undergoing deep and irreparable principal losses is certain. The deflationists’ argument is not that a sudden, catastrophic collapse is two heart beats away. Seems rather that the view is that we will undergo a long, painful grind.
    The growth argument seems to have insurmountable opposition from reality. You cannot capitalize debt. See, we all want to sh^t gold coins, but it ain’t a-gonna hap’n, no how, no wayz.

  45. “The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions,
    which, if not covered, will end in their destruction…
    I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous
    than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to
    be paid by posterity… is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
    http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/thomas_jefferson_quote_78b4

    yes, we should forget the Man on the $2-bill, ol’ number 3, what did He Know!~

    let us take our heed from the “Hip, Here, and Now”– Euros, it’s all the rage~

    Remember, We know Nothing, and have Learned Less. We Need to be Re-Educated~ Our Euro-Betters have the Plans we Need, We, obviously, are UN-able to take care with our Responsibilities and Need the
    caring hands of Others to guide our Path.

    It/That is F****ng B*****it.

  46. leftback says:

    @MRegan said: “The deflationists’ argument is not that a sudden, catastrophic collapse is two heart beats away. Seems rather that the view is that we will undergo a long, painful grind.”

    In complete agreement. It’s the long and painful part that people can’t get their heads around. Lived this in UK in the 1970s-1980s, and it’s coming to the US of A.

    @Mark: Thanks for the commentary from Mr Jefferson. Timeless.

  47. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    From my post at 11:19.

    Even though the Norwegians are socialist, they had two overwhelming good things happen:

    They are a small country blessed with excess oil…

    AND the leaders of the country were frugal with management of the country’s wealth…

    ….Think what this country could be with leaders like that…

  48. Mannwich says:

    @MRegan & leftback: Precisely, which is what frustrates me about our “instant gratification” culture. People still don’t seem to understand that this is not your garden variety recession or event. Too many assume that it’s business as usual and that things will snap back to the salad days of ’04-’07. It ain’t happening any time soon and policy actions by Uncle Gov’t are only going to prolong the grinding pain. This is a multi-year story that’s going to have many chapters to it. When are people going to understand that?

  49. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pfizer15-2009may15,0,2216632.story

    Free Lipitor, Viagra, other drugs for jobless

    There are so many snarky comments I should make….

  50. HCF says:

    @ Mannwich:

    It’s like the analogy I’ve given to my wife. It’s like the economy drove off a cliff, paused for a second and then just continued to try to drive forward as if nothing happened even though the car pretty much exploded and got wrecked. No visit to the mechanic, no hospital visit. It is as if the markets are saying, “Let’s do the same shit investment-wise as we did two years ago and everything will be fine!” Must face reality before we can really heal!

    HCF

  51. MRegan says:

    I thought that in light of recent policy moves in the Senate and the impervious quality of the shield around the Monster Banks that the following news item and the quote that I would remind you all that ‘debt slavery’ is unpleasant.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8047960.stm

    ‘Workers, not slaves’

    The system hinges on the creation of debt that people have little chance of paying off. Workers are given cash and food, which is then docked from the average daily wage of $2 (£1.30).

    “Some have debts owed by their fathers,” Wilson Changaray, a Guarani leader, says in the dusty town of Camiri. ——–

    If you are going to borrow far more than you can ever repay, use some of that money to buy this guy’s book:

    http://www.frankahearn.com/keystodisappearing.html

    Ha ha ha, just kidding.

  52. cvienne says:

    If it is all true, then it is kind of ironic that someone like Obama would lead us BACK INTO slavery…

  53. (AP:NEW YORK) The Carlyle Group, one of the nation’s largest private equity funds, has agreed to pay $20 million over its role in a corruption scandal involving New York’s public pension fund.

    The Carlyle Group was one of several firms that paid millions of dollars to an aide to New York’s former comptroller in exchange for help obtaining investments from the retirement fund.

    New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says the company has also agreed to limit campaign contributions by its employees and stop hiring politically connected middlemen to help land government pension fund business.

    The Carlyle Group says the reforms will “set a new standard for ethics in the industry.”
    http://news.ino.com/headlines/?newsid=689864797500

    looks like they reminded Cuomo of his HUD daze..

    U$D 20 MM in exchange for a Tarp over the U$D Billions they’ve Evaporated, how do you walk from a Trade like that?

  54. cvienne,

    keep noting the “Irony”–has that word completely Oxidized by now?–the Brits have a marvelous Sense of “Gallows Humor”, as well..

    We Need to Aspire to be as our Euro-betters, that’s Change We Can Believe In..

    Si, Se Puede!~

  55. MRegan says:

    To be honest with you all, we need to come to grips with the fact that many are choosing slavery- in all its manifestations.

    And other choose to enslave. WRT Carlyle Group:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3070798.ece

    Is the European model inevitable? And just what is the European model?

  56. @ Hoffer
    Re Tucker

    The man was far ahead of his time, but he wasn’t politically connected and was squashed like a bug.
    A wise man (company, car company to be exact) would embrace his concepts, especially in these turbulent times.
    Loaner engines, what a concept, 40 minute engine changes, etc.
    Some Corvette engineer liked his body styling, it seems to me.
    I’ll see if I can dig up the project he was working on when he died.
    A roadster, that converts into a pick-up.

  57. Thomas Jefferson quotes:
    Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (adminstrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.

    Thomas Jefferson quotes:
    An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.

    Thomas Jefferson quotes:
    We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]… till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
    http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quotes_by/thomas+jefferson
    ~~
    but, but, that Slave-Owning Conspiracy Theorist was Just ‘Talking his own Book..”

    ” He is Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College and author of American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, winner of the 1997 National Book Award. He was one of the many Jefferson historians who considered the Jefferson-Hemings relationship unlikely.

    How central was slavery in Jefferson’s life?
    His whole life was lived in the midst of slaves over the course of his lifetime. He owned approximately 600 slave persons. At any one time, he owned about 200. And his lifestyle, his standard of living itself at Monticello, were all dependent upon the institution of slavery.

    He was born as a member of the Virginia planter class, into an institution that was rooted in his world and his country–he called Virginia his country. And he grew up with that as a kind of fait accompli.

    How thorough was this dependence? Did Jefferson have other means of income besides slavery?

    In an economic sense, he was almost completely dependent on the institution of slavery. The bulk of his life was spent in public service and as a white planter in Monticello, growing tobacco. It was an ironic form of dependence, because he went bankrupt, as did a significant percentage of the planter class in Virginia, in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Slavery in Virginia was not working as an economic institution….
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jefferson/interviews/ellis.html
    from May 2000
    brough to you by your Tribute to National Propaganda Radio/ Propaganda Broadcasting System..
    ~~
    “Joseph J. Ellis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning history professor who admitted lying to his students about serving in Vietnam will be suspended for one year without pay and will give up his endowed chair at Mount Holyoke College, the school announced Friday.
    “I strongly rebuke professor Ellis for his lie about his military experience,” President Joanne Creighton said.
    “The year away should give him and the college time for reflection and repair,” she said. “This sanction is consistent with our honor code for students and its emphasis on education, reflection and ultimately restoration to an honorable place in our community.”

    Ellis, 57, became a popular professor at Mount Holyoke in part by sharing his experiences in Vietnam. In June, The Boston Globe reported that Ellis never went overseas.
    The Associated Press
    8/17/01 12:22 PM
    ht tp://ww w.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies58.htm

  58. cvienne says:

    The model is this…

    The government, or industry, creates this thing called a “safety net”…It promises to take care of you after you retire and takes small amounts of your wages for many years…

    It all works beautifully until the system reaches the point where there are too many ‘recipients’ of benefits and not enough ‘payers-in’…

    At that point, it starts making RISKY bets with the pot of money in an attempt to perpetuate the illusion…OR, it uses what it perceives to be its “good name” to borrow money to do so…It hopes there are enough suckers around to take that chance…

    At some point, the game will end…

    It hasn’t ended yet because there are evidently enough FRANKLIN411′s still around that believe in “hope”, “change”, and “green chutes”…

    Who knows? There may even be one more bubble to go (for old times sake)…After all, lounge lizard Larry is still kicking around…Hey, he’s even gainfully employed, right?

  59. “…In a statement to The Scientist magazine, Elsevier at first said the company “does not today consider a compilation of reprinted articles a ‘journal’”. I would like to expand on this ­statement: It was a collection of academic journal articles, published by the academic journal publisher Elsevier, in an academic ­journal-shaped package. Perhaps if it wasn’t an academic journal they could have made this clearer in the title which, I should have mentioned, was named: The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine.
    Things have deteriorated since. It turns out that Elsevier put out six such journals, sponsored by industry. The Elsevier chief executive, Michael Hansen, has now admitted that they were made to look like journals, and lacked proper disclosure. “This was an unacceptable practice and we regret that it took place,” he said.
    The pharmaceutical industry, and publishers, as we have repeatedly seen, have serious difficulties in living up to the high standards needed in this field, and bad information in the medical literature leads doctors to make irrational prescribing decisions, which ultimately can cost lives, and cause unnecessary suffering, not to mention the expense…”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/09/bad-science-medical-journals-companies

    “The pharmaceutical industry, and publishers, as we have repeatedly seen, have serious difficulties in living up to the high standards needed in this field, and bad information in the medical literature leads doctors to make irrational prescribing decisions, which ultimately can cost lives, and cause unnecessary suffering, not to mention the expense…”

    Poli-Sci-Fi did make this up.

  60. willid3 says:

    what does every one make of this
    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1897987,00.html?xid=rss-business

    if the consumer doesn’t come back and spend what does take their place? Business? not very likely hasn’t done in a decade why start now. government will only do it for a while.

  61. MRegan says:

    MH-

    And you say you’re not into polyvalence.

    Saw it on BoingBoing on Monday.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/05/09/elsevier-has-an-enti.html

  62. Here are some pics from Rob Ida

    http://www.robidaconcepts.com/carioca.html

    re Jefferson
    ‘Slaves’ in the past were always of ‘color’, black, yellow, brown, being the faves
    in the future(now, as we speak?) they will be of a different hue.
    A little lighter.
    Wage slave, debt slave, call them what you will, the result is all the same.

  63. call me ahab says:

    Bruce in Tn Says:

    “California treasurer asks U.S. to backstop state borrowing

    They will never grow up unless they face their own problems….”

    so true Bruce- they have to make hard decisions- increase taxes or cut services or both- they can wring their hands all they want but they will in the end have to make choices about what is important to the State of California and jettison those things they can no longer afford- it’s nice to be generous with benefits and programs but if you don’t have the money- well- something’s gotta’ go

  64. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    The Chrysler dealership in my town is not closing!

    I am a little amazed at this fact…every Saturday morning, we drive by there on the way to the mountains, and I haven’t seen a soul in 6 weeks…

  65. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    @ Ahab:

    My brother works in the silicon valley (he’s the smart one…I had to settle for all the good looks…) and he thinks things are getting worse fast…I simply can’t imagine why the residents of the state don’t just vote out everyone in office and start over with those who promise to be fiscally conservative.

  66. call me ahab says:

    hoffer Says:

    “Remember, We know Nothing, and have Learned Less. We Need to be Re-Educated~ Our Euro-Betters have the Plans we Need, We, obviously, are UN-able to take care with our Responsibilities and Need the
    caring hands of Others to guide our Path.”

    Mark- had to re-read a second time – almost fell out of my chair- but now- after the 2nd read I see you were mocking that train of thought- whew!

  67. MRegan says:

    “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers…”

    The cost of empire always exceeds the amount of plunder looted from the vanquished. Where does this “perpetual debt” come from? Isn’t likely that it comes in part from our desire for debt?

  68. Mannwich says:

    @Bruce: Because even though they may promise to be “fiscally conservative”, they quickly change their tune once in office and they see reality. Our political system is hopelessly broken. Don’t you know that THEIR constituents’ spending isn’t wasteful and THEIR reps aren’t incompetent and corrupt, it’s others’ who are? That’s the problem – - everyone thinks that their own special projects and spending are indeed great and worthy, while others spending projects are wholly unnecessary and wasteful. We are the instant gratification, ME-FIRST-LAST-ALWAYS country where nobody wants to make a sacrifice for the greater good. I hate to say it, but this notion started to gain true steam in the ’80′s and has gotten much worse over that time period to today.

  69. MRegan says:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/05/13/whiskey-rebellion-an.html

    “In 1791, Alexander Hamilton imposed a new tax on Americans – both as a way of paying down the national debt and, in his words, “more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue.” The taxes led to widespread organizing, protests, and ultimately insurrection. The first shots were fired in the town now known as South park (not Colorado, but Pennsylvania, but it always made me wonder what Trey Parker had in mind).”

    Ironically, almost all the appointees in the DOJ under Bush 43 were Federalists. Hans Von Spakovsky was my favorite one. Just the kind of guy Prescott Bush would have loved to hire.

  70. willid3 says:

    Mannwich you are correct. and its not a state problem, its a national one too. but oddly enough, i suspect its not really a new one either! most politicians only have flashes of doing good things for their constituents at best. and this time i think they have back slid to the early 1900s.

  71. willid3 says:

    did any one else see where the FED is reviewing the use of rating companies?

  72. Foghorn,

    Interesting that those slobs from Orange county Choppers can be made into “Celebrities” producing useless S***, but no one, save a few, has heard of Rob Ida..

    Propaganda, it isn’t just for Breakfast, anymore…

  73. MRegan says:

    Mannwich-

    When a culture’s calculus injects ‘economic’ justification into everything then we get what got. Most people in this country do not believe that there are ethical and moral dimensions to one’s economic behavior. Getting one over on the other guy is A-OK! And even better when it’s Granny from Pasadena.

    BTW, don’t let this guy near yer granny

    http://www.businesspundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/mozilo.jpg

  74. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    @Manny:

    That’s why the fiscal conservatism of the Norwegian government was a little surprising in the article I posted this morning…these leaders were, uh, leading…!

  75. call me ahab says:

    BR Says (on Yahoo Tech Ticker):

    “You can’t drink yourself sober and you can’t leverage your way out of excess leverage.”

    well put- but you could stay drunk all the time if you don’t want to be sober and you can keep borrowing money to pay creditors- until the music stops and you are either dead or bankrupt

  76. Mannwich says:

    Imagine that, Bruce. Although it’s a bit easier for a country that has such a homogeneous culture. I love the Melting Pot that is the U.S., but it’s certainly a lot harder to manage. So many competing interest groups everywhere but to me the biggest problem is a lack of seriousness in our culture (along with political, economic, and market systems that are very broken = the perfect storm). Very selfish, lazy-thinking, and shallow. A lack of intellectual curiosity pervades our culture. Soulless, one could surmise.

  77. Mannwich says:

    @MRegan: Barry’s next book should be titled, “Predator Nation”. It’s depressing to think about.

  78. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    I believe Karl Marx called religion the opiate of the people…no longer:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pfizer15-2009may15,0,2216632.story

    This should help those jobless fill the idle hours…

  79. MRegan says:

    Mannwich-

    Thanks. I was at a loss for depressing topics to ponder. Everything had been going so swimmingly.

    Although, regarding Barry’s next one, I’m thinking a biography of Savion Glover. Titled “Stepping on Their Little Green Shoots”.

  80. Mannwich says:

    @Bruce: Great. So we can have even more people who shouldn’t be procreating multiple times…….procreating multiple times. Or at least having fun trying.

  81. call me ahab says:

    post