Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree show just isn't watchable anymore

Tony Bennett last performed two years ago, showing the other performers a thing or two about real vocals. He appeared last year but didn't sing, and in fact he didn't look well.

This year he didn't appear at all, which was a sign of how low the show has gotten. What a continuous train wreck: good talent but bad songs, overacting, fakery (euphemistically called "lip-synching"), self-indulgent screeching, Lennox looking and singing like she's from the Church of Satan, and then Jessica Simpson trying to sing at the end. Not even a few seconds of Mike Bloomberg singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with the Tishman Speyer and NBC chiefs, like last year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen, RIP

Thanks for all the laughs, and in advance for those yet to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ben Bernanke's "quantitative easing" quackery and "stimulus" smokescreen

I've been as busy as ever, and in the few blogs I can regularly follow, no one has written about this. The truth doesn't need much thinking to be uncovered.

Helicopter Ben has "wrestled" with how much "aid" the U.S. economy needs from the Federal Reserve, meaning how much in Treasury securities it will buy. The final number: $600 billion, about $100 billion over six months. There are just two problems: it won't work, and it's all a lie to disguise the real reason.

Even playing the Keynesians' game, the U.S. economy has already been in a liquidity trap for a long time. The FFR (already so close to zero) and other interest rates indicate that there's plenty of money and credit floating around, but it's just not moving the economy. I pointed out the liquidity trap (a real one, not the claptrap Krugman has talked about) in December 2008, when the Fed decided to cut the FFR to 0.5%. Since late October 2008, however, when investors were dumping stocks and scrambling for the seeming safety of U.S. Treasuries, the effective FFR started dipping below 0.5%. Therefore, even if Keynesians' delusions about monetary policy had any more than an artificial, short-lived effect, it still wouldn't work for anytime in the last two years.

Now the second part isn't to the level of a Big Lie. It's sadly just the latest one of this financial Reichstag fire:

"There isn't enough money in the world to borrow (there isn't enough that lenders are willing to lend, to be more specific), so the Federal Reserve has been buying U.S. Treasury securities like mad. The overt reason has been so it can drive down mortgage rates, including 30-year rates. It's a cover story so the common American voter won't realize how much new money is being created."

I said that in March 2009. It's actually gotten worse: lenders are completely tapped, even were they willing. There's simply no more money for the federal government to borrow from anyone, whether national governments or individuals. Japan, South Korea and the UK likewise have no more money, and their economies are in trouble. China's tapped and has its own problems.

So the central bank steps in, as the European-American varieties have invariably done for centuries, to create "money" when there isn't any more real money around for the government to seize. In more antiquated times of less accessible information, no cover story was needed. Shopkeepers would eventually feel in their bones that there were more, say, deutche marks floating around, and they'd raise prices accordingly, but it wasn't commonly understood what was really happening. Even as late as the 1970s, the Fed acted with great impunity because so few realized what it was doing.

Today, though most Americans having heard of "the Fed" still don't know exactly what it does, the euphemism "quantitative easing" is employed so that we'll think things are just fine. We're told the central bankers are in control and that there's no inflation, when both are bald-faced lies. The plain truth is that the Treasury has no more money, taxed or borrowed, to keep paying for Obama's agenda. Thus the Fed must create more money in the guise of buying Treasury securities -- a time-honored scheme that should make the most sophisticated money launderer jealous, because it's being done in plain sight.

By law, the Fed supposedly remits (after deducting its expenses) any interest payments back to the Treasury. If that's such a wonderful thing, then why borrow from real creditors in the first place? Because creating this new money creates new inflation, and the federal government is using statistical trickery to claim there isn't any. Housing and technology prices are overweighted, while food and energy are underweighted as needed, to keep the inflation calculations looking legitimate. It also helps the government that stores, trying to keep consumers from getting discouraged at creeping inflation, are charging the same price for reduced sizes.

My friend Mike Pollaro pointed out earlier this year the unspoken truth, that the Fed is already monetizing a quarter of all new debt. In other words, of every dollar of new debt, 25 cents was created by the Fed. Lord knows what it is now, what it will be in several months. A country doesn't need to get to Weimar Germany or today's Zimbabwe to be wrecked by inflation. It only needs enough voters to fall under the spell of a Chavez, who blames the evil capitalists for raising prices. We aren't that far away.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The stupidest phishing attempt of all time

from Credit Card Team.
reply-to creditcard2010@ymail.com
date Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 8:03 PM
subject Credit Card

This to notify all credit card users that we are undergoing some mentainance
and verifications of credit due to high rate of fraud going on over the world. all
credit card owners are advised to provide their full credit card details for
verification and confirmation of their credit to prove that they are trully the
genuine owner of his/her credit card.

We advise you to fill the below credit card verification form and send it back to
us by replying to this message for further clarifications that you are rightful
owner of your credit and for upgrades.

Please fill:

1)Card Type:
2)Card Number:
3)Expiration Date:
4)Name as it appears on card:
5)Credit Card Verification Number:
6)Zip Code:

Please reply with the required details.

Thank you.