Times must be bad

It appears Obama may be considering the time-honored strategem of attempting to distract the populace with fireworks during a time of economic difficulty.

Yesterday we reported that the Arab League (with European and US support) are preparing to institute a no fly zone over Syria. Today, we get an escalation which confirms we may be on the edge. Just out from CBS: “The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart “immediately,” and Turkey’s foreign ministry urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria.” But probably the most damning evidence that the “western world” is about to do the unthinkable and invade Syria, and in the process force Iran to retaliate, is the weekly naval update from Stratfor, which always has some very interesting if always controversial view on geopolitics, where we find that for the first time in many months, CVN 77 George H.W. Bush has left its traditional theater of operations just off the Straits of Hormuz, a critical choke point, where it traditionally accompanies the Stennis, and has parked… right next to Syria.

Apparently the Libyan affair ended too quickly and neither Yemen nor Uganda ever really heated up enough to crack the front page. One wonders what sort of vital American interest is supposed to be at stake in Syria. And I’m curious where all the Syrian immigrants will be settled, Nebraska or Idaho?

Invest in metals

If Karl Denninger is correct, lead and gold are about the only worthwhile investments these days:

It will not be long ladies and gentlemen, when the bulk of the folks running the algorithms deduce that they’re exposed to the same risks – they have to post margin too, you know, and if it can be stolen then their capital isn’t safe either. These deposits aren’t supposed to be “at risk” when there’s no position actively open — that’s a performance bond against possible failure to pay, but is supposed to be exactly as safe as a bank deposit in a checking account under FDIC limits.

Well, it wasn’t. The CDS you bought on Greece wasn’t. And it will only take another event like this or two before people conclude that everything is unsound as the jackals running the game will redefine the meaning of words to suit themselves and, failing that will simply steal the money.

30+ years of lawless behavior has now devolved down to blatant, in-your-face theft. They don’t even bother trying to hide it any more, and Eric “Place” Holder is too busy supervising the running of guns into Mexico so the drug cartels can shoot both Mexican and American citizens.

What am I, or anyone else, supposed to do in this sort of “market” environment? Invest in…. what? Land titles are worthless as they’ve been corrupted by robosigning, margin deposits have been stolen, Madoff’s clients had confirmations of trades that never happend and proved to worthless pieces of paper instead of valuable securities and while Madoff went to prison nobody else has and the money is still gone!

Without enforcement of the law — swift and certain — there is no deterrent against this behavior.

There has been no enforcement and there is no indication that this will change.

It will take just one — or maybe two — more events like MF Global and Greek CDS “determinations” before the entire market — all of it — goes “no bid” as participants simply stuff their hands in their pockets and say “screw this.”

It’s coming folks, and I guarantee you this: Whatever your “nightmare” scenario is for such an event, it’s not bearish enough.

What concerns me most about all of this is that with a few minor exceptions, most of my economic predictions have been correct with regards to the trend and incorrect because they were too optimistic. Since my medium term predictions are fairly negative, although not catastrophic, you can understand that this pattern of being overly optimistic tends to concern me somewhat.

For example, I expected firms like MF Global to collapse. But I did not expect to hear that they had stolen over a billion dollars that their clients had on account with them. The fraud and the outright theft by the cancerous financial sector is clearly much worse than I, or nearly anyone, had imagined. The fact that Corzine could operate without the proper license, then steal over ONE BILLION DOLLARS without being questioned, much less arrested, will destroy more confidence than even the most heroic measures pushed by the Federal Reserve, the government, and the financial media can create.

Karl is sometimes accused, and not entirely unfairly, of having some chicken little tendencies. But when Chicken Little turns out to be overly optimistic in some regards, it would appear to be indicative of a fairly serious situation.

Politicians are pricks

I know, I know, it’s a revelation:

Televised congressional hearings often serve as a platform for members of Congress to berate, bloviate and showboat for the cameras, but at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday, historian Douglas Brinkley wouldn’t stand for it.

The topic at hand was drilling in the the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The trouble began when Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young misstated Brinkley’s name after referring to the hearing as “an exercise in futility.” In a certain breach of protocol, Brinkley cut him off.

Young didn’t like that one bit.

“You just be quiet,” Young demanded.

“You don’t own me,” Brinkley shot back. “I pay your salary!”

The worst thing about it is that this report actually downplays the obnoxiousness of the representative. He didn’t just misstate the historian’s name, he confused the man with the university. And what could have simply been acknowledged as an innocent slip of the tongue instead revealed the ugly and arrogant face of the elected class that believes it is beyond all accountability.

If I was an Alaskan, I would want to be sure that Don Young was never mistaken for my “representative” again.

That didn’t take long

Newt Gingrich no sooner comes within sniffing range of frontrunner status than he promptly commits campaign seppuku:

The Republican presidential hopefuls are debating how to deal with the nation’s illegal immigrants, differing on how to deal with millions of people already in the United States. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that he wouldn’t “expel” those who have come illegally but have made lives in the U.S. He says that the GOP cannot call itself a party for family when it separates parents from their children born in the U.S.

This is a remarkably stupid stand in light of Rick Perry’s immigration self-implosion. The fact that foreigners have made criminal lives in the USA does not mean that they belong here, and in almost any other country in the world, the fact that a child was born in the USA wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever regarding his legal right to continue residing there.

Gingrich can hardly claim that it is unthinkable to tell foreigners, legal or otherwise, to repatriate in light of what the Mexican Constitution has to say on the issue:

Article 32

“Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions and for all employment, positions, or commissions of the Government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable.” Foreigners, immigrants, and even naturalized citizens of Mexico may not serve as military officers, Mexican-flagged ship and airline crew, or chiefs of seaports and airports.

Article 33

“The Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.” It also states: “Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”

The GOP should be a party for family and it shouldn’t separate parents from their children born in the U.S. The children should also return to their parental homelands, in which they hold citizenships. Birthright citizenship is a foolish, short-sighted and uniquely American policy; Canada and the United States are the only countries that grant automatic citizenship to children born to illegal aliens.

No one with half a brain should support the corrupt little troll in any circumstances, so it is fortunate that Gingrich has decided to sabotage himself so swiftly.

Scientific projection

Have you noticed that the globocaustals always insist that scientists who are skeptical about the “science” of global warming must be in the pocket of Big Oil? As is so often the case when criticism is coming from the Left, it’s merely an assumption that their critics must be doing the same thing they are:

It recently came out that James Hansen, one of the two or three most prominent global warming alarmists on whose work the IPCC reports rest, “forgot” to report $1.6 million in outside income, as required by his government contracts. Is that significant? Well, yes: A handful of scientists, including Hansen, have gotten wealthy on climate alarmism. They have an enormous financial interest in the faux science they have done so much to perpetrate. It is more likely that the Pope would renounce Christianity than that Hansen, Michael Mann, etc., would change their minds about global warming, regardless of the evidence. (I say that because the Pope has far more intellectual integrity than the climate alarmists.)

Al Gore has gotten rich off his “warnings” of nonexistent global warming. James Hansen has gotten rich off his “warnings” of nonexistent global warming. And yet none of the Bezemer 12 happened to get rich off their warnings of a global financial crisis that actually happened. I haven’t either.

Now, why would it be more profitable to provide warnings of something imaginary than it is to provide warnings of something real. And why would anyone assume that either Al Gore or James Hansen, neither of whom are actual scientists, are neither corrupt nor motivated by the pecuniary gain they have demonstrably realized?

Mailvox: the dangerous Ron Paul

The cognitive dissonance at work in N’s email, written in response to yesterday’s column, is remarkable:

I like Ron Paul but I don’t like him closing all our bases around the world and bringing our army back home. This isolationist view is DANGEROUS and will only empower and embolden our enemies and actually bring us closer to WORLD WAR, this time right at our DOORSTEPS!

Is that what you want???

If Reagan said America was that “shining city on the hill”, dimming it around the world with an isolationist view will only make stronger the darkness of this world. We need to keep shining that light shining everywhere, bud. The cost of peace ain’t cheap, but war is a hell of a lot more expensive!

Yes, that is precisely what I want. All military bases closed, all American troops back in the USA. To argue otherwise is indicative of a shockingly stupid perspective which is not only illogical, but blatantly ignores both the historical record and the observable reality of present U.S. foreign policy.

First, the argument about “the cost of peace” is a non-starter. America is presently engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iran. (Don’t kid yourself, there are already CIA and most likely special forces in Iran right now.) It may still be active in Libya. That is hardly peace.

Second, the USA is bankrupt. It can’t afford ANY military operations at all. Thanks to the expected failure of the Congressional supercommittee, automatic defense cuts must be made. As the global economic contraction continues, the U.S. military will have to shrink.

Third, it is American military operations that have not only brought enemies to our DOORSTEPS, but have brought them into the country. The Saudis who attacked the Two Towers on 9/11 were angry about the U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and were “studying” in the United States. There are far more Somalis in the USA than there were before U.S. troops invaded Somalia and more Iraqis than before U.S. troops invaded Iraq.

Isolation is not dangerous. American strength and wealth waxed during its isolationist period and has declined steadily ever since, just as both the Roman and British empires declined once they started attempting to police the world. As I wrote in the column, the irony is that the one Republican presidential candidate whose policies would strengthen the American military and best protect American interests is constantly attacked by stupid and ignorant Republicans who wrongly believe that the more troop deployments that take place, the stronger the nation is.

No wonder they also fall for the Neo-Keynesian argument that the more money you spend, the wealthier you become.

The end of the casino

I don’t think we’re actually quite there yet, but perhaps we can hope that the end is in sight:

CNBC is reporting that there are now clients running out of the markets entirely because they do not believe their customer funds are safe.

That’s the end of it. The belief that there are more MF Globals has now taken hold. The thieves have pushed it too far and now we’ve got the start of a global liquidity run, and with good reason.

The authorities both in the regulatory side and on the prosecutorial side have reufsed to put a stop to the thievery and now the risk factors have turned into realized risk.

The market is done folks. You can be right but if you make your bet in the markets, are right, and then get screwed anyway when someone steals the money and nobody goes to jail there comes a time when people begin to understand that it can happen to them and will unless they depart the market.

We’re there folks.

This accompanies news from ZeroHedge that Corzine and the banksters at MF Global legally stole more than $1.2 billion of their clients’ money and “invested” it on MF Global’s behalf prior to losing it. I’ve been saying Wall Street is a casino, not an investment market, for years and recommended staying away from it. But if you’re putting money in the market now, with the knowledge that you can lose your money even if you bet correctly, you’re just stupid.

Ironically, small businesses will probably find it much easier to find investment once the casino is abandoned en masse, since investors will tend to go back to investing capital in actual companies instead of paper instruments leveraged to fictional paper assets.

Mailvox: ah, innocence

Evil Kirk has a touching faith in the technocrats:

Evil Kirk: 11/21/11 6:47 AM:

The crash already came and went. If you view crashes in the 1929 sense or the “It’s a Wonderful Life” sense, you’re out of date and just worrying over a bogeyman. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow to bank runs and general panic. We are largely in a post-radical economic discontinuity age. Too much is known, temporary technocratic leadership is too readily accepted, and people in general are too savvy and suspicious to tolerate radical discontinuity.

I just had to post this publicly to ensure it was on the record. It is indeed amusing and indicates the mindset of someone who I suspect doesn’t track a single economic statistic, let alone the ones I do. And here I’d thought the public mocking of the concept intrinsic in Reinhart and Rogoff’s best-selling book had finally killed off the theme “this time it’s different”.

WND column

There is only one

Last week, Joseph Farah expressed a certain degree of frustration with the Republican candidates for president. Like clockwork, one candidate after another has demonstrated fatal flaws that serve to completely disqualify him, or her, as the case may be, from the White House.

Mitt Romney is still the nominal front-runner, as he has been from the start. However, he is only a front-runner because of the huge quantity of corporate cash he has collected, which is hardly a positive in an election cycle when the electorate is keenly aware of the huge amount of corruption in the Wall Street-Washington axis. He has no conservative grassroots support because he is not a conservative. Not only is he a religious cultist and an architect of the precursor to Obamacare, but he is downright notorious for his lack of principle. While it is possible he could defeat Obama, there is no reason to believe he would govern in a manner that is materially different than President Goldman Sachs. Both Romney and Obama are post-ideological, in that neither appears to believe in anything but himself.

VPFL Week 10

85 Greenfield Grizzlies (7-3-0)
84 Moundsview Meerkats (6-4-0)

69 Bailout Banksters (6-3-1)
61 Macau Marauders (3-6-1)

57 RR Redbeards (4-5-1)
41 GroverBeach Quixotes (4-6-0)

87 MS Swamp Spartans (5-5-0)
56 Cranberry Rhyneauxs (3-7-0)

67 Bane Sidhe (5-5-0)
39 Green Reverends (5-4-1)

Two weeks, zero defensive points. That cost me first place last week; even a mediocre performance would have been enough to win. It was particularly galling since the White Buffalo got THIRTY (30!) out of his Chicago defense. Unbelievable, especially since I picked up KC vs Denver in preference to Chicago vs Detroit.

This week, I have to hope that Nate doesn’t make me regret dropping Denarius Moore after Carson Palmer’s dreadful debut. I really like him as a receiver, but after Campbell got hurt, I figured there wasn’t anyone to throw him the ball.