“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It Doesn't Get any Better than This

It's a wacky world we live in. Full of surprises. Everyday is an adventure or a misadventure depending on your perspective. I prefer to see the "adventure" in the winding road although I have to admit there seems to be a lot more opportunity for mischief these days. For instance, the big news today:
China calls for new reserve currency

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

Published: March 23 2009 12:16 | Last updated: March 24 2009 00:06

China’s central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies”.

Analysts said the proposal was an indication of Beijing’s fears that actions being taken to save the domestic US economy would have a negative impact on China.

“This is a clear sign that China, as the largest holder of US dollar financial assets, is concerned about the potential inflationary risk of the US Federal Reserve printing money,” said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC.

Although I sometimes think he's entirely too hysterical, I like Glenn Beck. This morning he was saying that if all the world's currencies depeg from the dollar, the value of the dollar will go straight to one cent.

That's Weimar Republic/Argentina/Zimbabwe territory and we do not want to go there, but how we prevent it? It seems that more people, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, want to get off the Obama gravy train. These trillion plus dollar deficits are scaring people of all political persuasions. The problem is, no one knows what is going on anymore. It has become nearly impossible to do any business forecasting. Strategic planning requires the development of multiple scenarios for a variety of anticipated market conditions. Here it is nearly the end of March and Secretary Geithner has just this week proposed an outline for a program to relieve the banks of their "toxic assets." How many hundreds of billions of dollars have we spent so far on bank bailouts and why are we just now getting around to addressing the core problem? Could it be that the crisis opportunity was hijacked by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al? It's a rhetorical question. We all know the answer. Unfortunately, we don't know the consequences. So, for the sake of sanity, my advice is to treat everyday as an adventure, a real life quest complete with challenges, defeats and victories. Don't worry, if life kicks your butt today, there's always tomorrow.


  1. Keep repeating:

    "It's an adventure, it's an adventure"

    WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called on Congress Tuesday to grant him new powers to regulate huge financial companies like insurance giant AIG, whose failure would pose a grave danger to the U.S. financial system and the broader economy.

    Specifically, Geithner wants powers similar to those of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which has authority to seize control of banks, take over their bad assets and sell good ones to competitors.

    "AIG highlights broad failures of our financial system," Geithner told the House Financial Services Committee. "We must ensure that our country never faces this situation again."

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, appearing with Geithner, agreed. He said the government's bailout of troubled insurance giant American International Group Inc. underscores the urgent need to safely wind down financial giants on the verge of collapse and subject them to much stronger regulatory oversight.

    Everyday is a winding road.

  2. It's very easy to see how we got here, and it's very easy to see how to get out:

    The Seinorage Curse |

  3. You can't "Create" a Reserve Currency.

    You can create a currency (see "Euro,") and if the various nations of the world elect to hold it in reserve it "becomes" a Reserve Currency.

  4. A Lighter, Faster-Charging Battery Could Be on Its Way

    from by Megan Treacy

    Lithium-ion batteries (specifically LiFePO4) are currently the great hope of electric cars, laptop computers and cell phones, but they have their drawbacks. They recharge and release energy slowly, and in order to store a lot of energy, they're heavy. Researchers at MIT think they have found the underlying problem with these batteries and how to fix it - possibly bringing a lighter, faster battery in the next couple of years.

    Up until now, scientists have believed that charged lithium atoms were to blame for the battery performance - they moved slowly through the battery material on their way to deliver their charge. But now, researchers say the atoms themselves aren't to blame, but rather how the ions get into the nano-scale tunnels that deliver them to their destination.

    They've come up with a lithium phosphate coating that pushes the ions into the tunnels, where they then quickly make their way to the battery terminal. With this modification, a cell phone battery can charge in just 10 seconds. They imagine with this same boost, plug-in hybrids could fully charge in just five minutes.

    Also, this new battery material wouldn't degrade as much through constant recharging, allowing smaller and lighter batteries to take the place of heavier ones. If this theory can be proved, the next step would be to come up with an amped up power supply that could deliver the electricity needed for the quick charging.

    Two companies have already licensed the invention and because the material involved isn't new, this upgraded battery could be commercially available within two to three years.

    via AFP
    Alternatively, this technology could be used in substitute for existing batteries to extend their life and rated capacity. Imaging the Chevy Volt being able to double the range and lifespan of the existing battery pack, same space and weight, by switching to this technology. It would cut, what? $10K off the price tag as the battery pack would not have to be replaced half way through the life of the car? (with double the range) Although I guess the $15K cut would be better while leaving the range the same.

    You'd still need to figure out some way of charging that wouldn't crash the power grid.
    The world should not be using Lithium for mass power storage applications. The problem is the release of lithium into the environment where it becomes a major poison.

    Lithium has the potential to be a very serious environmental poison.
    Your cell phone might be able to charge fully in 10 seconds, however you'd need a AC/DC transformer the size of large book because you'd be drawing 1000W of power (3Wh in 10 seconds). Even if you drop it down to 60 seconds, you're still looking at 180W which is what a computer might draw. Ever open up a PC and look at the power supply?

    Its why this isn't a practical application for cars - at least not directly. EVs and PHEVs could use faster recharge times, but that is more limited by conductor size and what types of electrical outlets you have at your house. If you use a 240V/30A wall outlet like you might have for an electric clothes dryer, you can recharge a Volt in about 75 minutes (better than the 3-5 hours they quote now from 120V/20A). To recharge a Tesla Roadster in 5 minutes would require about 700kW - the conductor would be about 12" in diameter.
    Slowly charge ultra capacitors from the grid and then dump the power quickly into rapid charge lithiums.

    Ultra capacitors aren't the best answer for portable applications due to size issues. But that wouldn't matter for charging stations.

    We know how to make green power. Wind is being rapidly installed and the resulting electricity is quite affordable. (A small fraction of the cost of gas to drive the same mile.)

    We now seem to have light-enough, rapid charging batteries coming to market.

    So the only issue (for those few times that most of us will need a rapid charge) is how to deliver a large amount of electricity to the outlet plug.

    We can do that by installing large wires. So what if it takes something like a substation to rapidly charge multiple cars at once. We need only a few of these "substations" spread along our major highways to make the system functional.

    Or we can accumulate power at the recharge site and hold in ready for when someone needs a fill-up. That can be done with ultra capacitors or with more of these same lithium batteries.

    (So we lose a little power in the process. We're talking about "vacation" trips, not daily commuting.)

    And don't forget that these new lithium batteries will work great for regenerative braking. Current lithium batteries won't accept power flow rapidly enough to work.

    People have been looking at hybrid ultra capacitor/lithium battery packs to make regenerative braking functional. Now we can leave the larger, heavier ultras out of the car.

  5. No, ash, those that are working tirelessly for a 'new' currency are not US. The US printed its' last dollar with Series 1953. Federal Reserve Notes were introduced in 1913 and were used concurrently with US Treasury issued currency until 1968, when they became the sole legal tender used by the US, but issued by a privately owned bank.
    Not issued by the United States of America, but by a vendor.

    Other vendors are in the marketplace, better believe it.

    According to the U.S. treasury, "The notes have no value for themselves, but for what they will buy. In another sense, because they are legal tender, Federal Reserve notes are 'backed' by all the goods and services in the economy."

    So, in the eqities market, today, the dollar is worth twice what it was a year ago.
    A share of the Dow composite that cost $2 USD a year ago, is $1 USD, today. The dollar has doubled in value.

  6. The US, Canada, Mexico and China can create a new currency, for the purpose of equalizing trade inequities from currency values. The all agree that it is the fiat currency of bi-lateral American/Asian trade.
    Introduced by 2011, it could be decades until it replaced the Fed Note at your local Circle K.

    But the Fed Note replace the Silver Certificates, there was no hue & cry.

    "The notes have no value for themselves, but for what they will buy.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Will you be paying with dollars or ameros, today?

    Or substitute dollars for pesos, yen or yuan, in all the markets of the bi-hemispheric agreement.

    Why if the Europeans signed on ...
    it'd be Tri-lateral.

  9. Near-Catastrophe in Israel

    By P. David Hornik | Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    The worst terror attack in Israeli history was narrowly averted Saturday evening.

    Someone—it is not yet known who—managed to drive a car carrying 100 kilograms of explosives, mixed with metal ball bearings to maximize impact, into an outdoor parking lot of the Lev Hamifratz mall in Haifa. At about eight o’clock, when a malfunction in the detonation mechanism caused a small explosion, a civilian summoned police, and sappers were able to defuse the rest of the bombs.

    The car belonged to an Arab woman from East Jerusalem but may have been stolen. The bombs could possibly have brought down the entire three-story mall with over a hundred stores and 23 movie theaters. Or according to another scenario, “the attackers could have been aiming to…set other parked vehicles on fire, resulting in a chain reaction of exploding fuel tanks,” which means “the majority of the cars in the parking lot would have gone up in flames. The gas in them could have exploded. This would have been a major terrorist attack.”

    Although a shadowy Israeli Arab group called the Galilee Freedom Fighters claimed responsibility, most media reports say the security forces doubt such a group exists. Outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert implied that Hamas was responsible, claiming the attack had originated in the West Bank “where Hamas wishes to strengthen its infrastructure and status, while continuing its terror activity and [efforts to] cause severe harm to Israeli citizens.” Other suspicions center on Hezbollah. On Sunday evening, Israel’s Channel 1 reported that in any case the attack would have required collusion by Arab citizens of Israel

  10. The dollar has doubled in value.

    Why don't I feel reassured?

  11. Money's always been that way Rat - just a piece of paper grounded on faith whether backed by gold and silver or not.

  12. I wonder--don't know the answer--if there are any moneys backed by silver or gold around the world, these days?

  13. Anything behind the Canadian dollar, Ash?

  14. The Jihadists in the north of Israel are a major security threat. There's much that goes on unreported in the newspapers, but if you listen to Israeli talk radio, it's worse than what goes on in the American South. Because of the US, Israel is paralyzed to do anything about it, and the problem just gets worse and worse.

  15. No Bobal, I don't believe anyone is officially on the gold standard. When they were on it no one actually maintained it faithfully anyway. A dollar is worth what others thinks it is worth.

  16. This might be worth a listen:

    Tue 03.24 >>
    Neurosurgeon John L. Turner M.D. will discuss how metaphysical events such as remote viewing, telepathy, and life-after-death are verifiable manifestations.
    Coast To Coast Tonite

    John L Turner, M.D.

  17. Commodities based currencies like the CAD and AUD should do well against the USD.

  18. Some little island nation ought to go in the business of backing their currency with gold or silver. Bet it would attract a lot of attention.

    Worlds Safest Currency!

  19. Here in this valley we have "Valley Script" though I've never seen any. Local Chamber of Commerce idea. Can trade it around for local goods and services. It's backed by steelhead, and quail.:)

  20. bah, why trust their central bank, just by gold instead...not that there is anything intrinsic to gold that makes it valuable - unless you are jeweler.

  21. just by gold instead

    Nope. Gold is manipulated even worse than the US stock market.

  22. Gold has a few industrial uses, I read once. Don't know what they are.

    The Japanese eat little micro thin slices of gold, I saw it on tv.

  23. Gold has a few industrial uses

    Sure, when you have NASA's budget and thriftiness to play with.

  24. Can You Eat Gold?

    asked 3 years ago

    Sheel9Yes you can eat gold. It is a permissible food colouring with its own e-number which is E175. Gold was first used in cooking in the Middle Ages. While peasants went hungry the rich decorated their lavish banquets with a patina of gold. Roast birds and other meat dishes were wrapped in thin gold leaf in an ostentatious display of wealth. The most frequent use of gold in edible form today in its use by chocolatiers. Top quality chocolate makers often produce chocolates flecked with gold leaf. There is also a liqueur called Danziger Goldwasser which is flecked by minute particles of gold leaf suspended in the liquid. The liqueur is used the flavour the aptly named souffle Rothschild. Edible gold leaf is easily purchased from a range of suppliers who also supply gold powder and gold paints which contain the real thing. Premium food producers have even successfully markets marmalade with gold particles. The body does not absorb gold easily so what you eat will quickly leave the system. However, in larger quantities gold does become toxic and harmful to human health.
    answered 3 years ago

    BakaotakuYes, the japanese have introduced it now, gold leafs which float atop your coffee or drink with messages such as 'happy birthday' and 'will you marry me', its quite fascinating.

  25. One of the first influx of Wasichus in this area, other than some early farmers, was after a gold strike around Orofino and up beyond that way. Didn't pan out well though. Black Elk talks about how the Wasichus came into his country after the metal was found "that makes them crazy."

  26. I'm sure someone will get around to mentioning to China that if we put some nice, big, fat Tariffs on Chinese imports we wouldn't be buying so much from China, and they wouldn't have to worry so much about the value of all those Dollars in their vault.

    THAT will be the end of THAT.

  27. Academic Earth Aggregates Lectures from MIT, Harvard, Yale, and Others

    They've had a similar program on Israel's Channel 1, for several decades now. It was called "Open University", and lectures were broadcast on TV accompanied by a one hour discussion afterwords with questions from the audience.

  28. I think Rufus is right. We're in a better position than the Chinese.

  29. "Here we again with another gusher of pent-up stupidity. "'s worse than what goes on in the American South...

    What goes on in the American South that I don't know of, mat? Me being in the American South, and you being somewhere in suburban Toronto.

  30. "Here we again with another gusher of pent-up stupidity. "

    Because of the US, Israel is paralyzed to do anything about it, and the problem just gets worse and worse.

    Oh, woe is them getz paralyzed becuz of US. Their problems just keep gettin worse and worse. You sound just like a Gaza mom blaming Israel.


  31. Ethnic cleansing thru a tidal wave of crime, on a scale that forces people to think very hard if that's where they want to live.

  32. Oh, woe is them getz paralyzed becuz of US.

    Are you done?

  33. We can do that by installing large wires. So what if it takes something like a substation to rapidly charge multiple cars at once. We need only a few of these "substations" spread along our major highways to make the system functional.

    The system is quite functional now, and will remain so for your lifetime, mattie. All that's needed is to drill and refine while bringing bioenergy technology up to compete with petroenergy. We don't need your top down state directed subsidized boondoggles that only enrich the tax eaters and rent seekers.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Does Exxon pay you? Or are you naturally this obnoxious and stupid?

  36. Are you done?

    No. Tell us where you studied hyperbolics.

    Ethnic cleansing thru a tidal wave of crime...

    Did you glean that latest addition to your rant by hanging around KPFA?

  37. Does Exxon pay you? Or are you naturally this obnoxious and stupid?

    Sticks and stones, mattie.

    Amazes me how your comments degenerate from the banal to name calling after a little criticism.

  38. Amazes me how your comments degenerate from the banal to name calling after a little criticism.

    Right. Another tripe from a taxpayer thieving commie oil goon. You're so transparent. You don't care for free and fair competition. The only thing you're interested in is maintaining your monopolistic ill begotten gains.

  39. Geeeeezzzzzzzzzzz!

  40. The only thing you're interested in is maintaining your monopolistic ill begotten gains.


    Have a nice day. Duty calls.

  41. Exactly my point, ash, it's only money.

    There is less chance of the US imposing tariffs on Chinese goods than there is of closing the US borders to marijuana smuggling.

    We are following the Russell Company, you guys know Russell Company, their surviving trust owns the ground that Yale University is built upon.

    FDR's grandfather was a President of the firm, the largest opium traders of their day. US policy has to embrace Asia, since FDR's 2nd cousin Teddy sent the Great White Fleet on that 1908 whirled tour.

    The idea that the US will be blocking Chinese goods from America is laughable.

  42. And I would say, ash, that many of the proponents of an American Union are US nationalists, as well.

    As the US continues to export the revolution, across America and Asia.

    Leaving Europe and Africa to follow along, behind.

  43. Certainly I see US nationalists touting free trade, hence a union of sorts, and I'm sure they would be happy if others in the union would cede the use of their currency but I don't see them trying to get off of the US currency - they are too close to the power, the fed and treasury, which controls the currency. Mind you, I would think they are a little concerned at the debasement of the US currency seeing as they've got piles of it (and others - they got private banking services). Then again if they are in the money lending business they've a vested interest in getting the debtors to pay, even if in a less valuable dollar. It sure is a tangle web we weave.

  44. If Hawaii can part of America, so to could Singapore, Buenos Aires or Merida.

    There is no geopgraphic limitation to America, it is an idea, it is the revolution.

    Will reversing the trendline in Figure 9, Page 11 promote or hinder the goals of the Revolution?

  45. They'll introduce it as a trading tool. Each Nation will retain its' own, internal, currency.
    There will then be a 'new' float issued of that trading currency.
    Run by the IMF, which is the same set of international financial eliteists, regurgatated.

    Timmy was at the IMF, or was it the World Bank, when he forgot to pay his US self-employment tax.

    Not a super nationalistic patriot, he.

  46. From 1913 and the first Fed Reserve Note, it took 50 years for those notes to become the only US legal tender. For 50+ years there were two types of US currency.

    From 1963 until 2013 will be another 50 year run and it'll be time to start the ball rolling, fresh again.

    There is nothing sacred or nationalistic about a Federal Reserve Note. They'll be debased and then abandoned.

    The replacement is already in the wings.

  47. Andrew Jackson would piss on a pile of them Federal Reserve Notes

    When JFK order the next run of Silver Certificates to be printed in 1963, he was shot dead as a doornail, 5 months later.

    US Treasury issued money died with him.

  48. Message sent
    Lesson learned
    Learn it, live it, love it.

  49. Lars Larson says we shouldn't be concentrating on bailing out those that have bad mortgages, but rather should give breaks to those that have good mortgages, lowering their interest payments to 4% or so, through Treasury and bond action. This would put lots of money into the economy each month in the form of more ability to spend by those millions (50 million) whose monthly payments would now be $200 - $300 $bucks lower each month.

    Makes sense to me.

  50. Recovery and rehabilitation, both personal and economic, requires a little more truthfulness in our being and relations with others. However, those who act to take your freedom and money must also first fake their own freedom and money.

    Nevertheless, with so many fine suits doing perp walks today, change will come to these last bastions of sartorial uniformity, corruption, and idiocy. Just remember, as president Andrew Jackson said, “one man with courage makes a majority.”

    So be that man.

    Speculation and Bailouts

  51. There is no geopgraphic limitation to America, it is an idea, it is the revolution.

    Yes there is a geographic limitation to "America", and not everyone wants to take part in your hypocrisy, your Orwellian double speak, your slave trade, your Fascist Corporatism, racism, militarism, empire, etc.

  52. Headline of the day--

    US Sperm Bank Offers Stimulus Deals

    If they'd up the payment for stimulating ourselves, we might be getting somewheres.

  53. The shorts got squeezed today. We'll be heading south soon.

  54. "It's with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest."

    He also suggested what could be a recurring theme heading into the rest of the year, urging the country to give his programs time to work.

    "We will recover from this recession," he said. "But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together; when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other, that's when we succeed."

    Passage of Budget

  55. Obama is going to impose a 40% tax on aspirin because it's white and it works.

  56. "A whole host."

    If President Obama said it once, he said it half a dozen times in his press conference tonight.

    I have never heard anyone refer to half a host.

  57. Obama's top priority; reducing health care costs in order to reduce the long term and unsustainable deficits of medicare and medicaid. His intent is to drive costs down...

    Look for "cram downs" in the medical industry.

  58. Rufus says: You can create a currency (see "Euro,") and if the various nations of the world elect to hold it in reserve it "becomes" a Reserve Currency.

    If the UN says the Ruble is the One World Reserve Currency, then it's the One World Reserve Currency.

  59. Obama "inherited" the deficit in the same way Democrats insist that tax cuts must be "paid for"

  60. I just finished watching Obama's press conference and I must say he did a very respectable job putting forward his positions in a very assured and confident fashion. It is simply wishful thinking for anyone to say that Obama, without telepromters, is a bumbler. He is anything but that.

    He reminds me of some of my very competent college professors, who knew their subjects and discussed them in a thoughtful manner. I may not have agreed with their positions but respected their advocacy for them. The same goes for Obama.

  61. 2164th,

    I gotta agree with you. I didn't watch the whole thing but I tuned in for near the last half and my thoughts were along the lines that 'the guy is thinking, he is responding in a thoughtful way unlike the previous occupant of the office'. I do definitely have my problems with some of his approaches but he is a thoughtful intelligent person trying to grasp the proverbial bull by the horns. I have a lot of respect for your recent stated opinion especially in light of your animosity towards him.

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. RGE Monitor:

    Dr. Doom Finds Promise in Obama’s Toxic-Asset Plan

    March 24, 2009, 6:23 pm

    “Nouriel Roubini, a/k/a “Dr. Doom,” is giving the Obama administration’s new plan to buy toxic assets the thumbs up”

    That may be surprising given how critical Mr. Roubini, the bearish economics professor at New York University, has been in the past regarding various government plans to fix the economy. But Mr. Roubini seems to have seen something he liked for a change.

    “My take is generally positive, with a couple of caveats,” Mr. Roubini told DealBook about the new plan. He said he liked that the government was finally stepping up to clear the toxic assets off the bank’s balance sheet and that private capital would come in to make a market for it.

    “Having five people bid on a toxic asset, rather than a clueless government, will ensure that the government doesn’t overpay,” Mr. Roubini said in a telephone interview. “People say, ‘the government is putting in 95 cents on the dollar, so why not put 100,’ to do it all by itself. It’s because private-sector participants have the incentive to get the best price.”

    It wasn’t all positive: Mr. Roubini said he did not like that banks have the option not to sell an asset after the auction concludes, as this would create confusion and frustration on the part of the buyers. He also believes the government should use its leverage over the banks to force them to participate, whether they want to or not.

    In an opinion piece scheduled to be published Wednesday in The Daily News of New York, Mr. Roubini and a fellow N.Y.U. professor, Matthew Richardson, argued that “the reason that financial institutions should be “pressured” into participating is because that “they are the cause of the financial crisis.”

    “They took advantage of loopholes to avoid regulatory requirements, taking a huge bet on securities they were never meant to hold in the first place,” the two professors wrote.

    But unlike many critics of the plan, like Paul Krugman, a Princeton economic professor and columnist for The New York Times, who prefers full nationalization of the banks now, Mr. Roubini believes that the Treasury’s plan does not preclude nationalization at all. Rather, he said, it will help to clear the way to full government takeover some troubled institutions.

    “I see the option of nationalization” and the one presented by the Obama administration “as being complementary,” Mr. Roubini said. He believes that the stress tests the government plans on conducting on the banks will reveal which are solvent and which are insolvent.

    In his view, those banks that are deemed insolvent will not participate in the toxic-asset plan and will be taken over by the government. Banks deemed solvent will be the ones that get to participate.

    Nationalization “is fully on the table for banks that are insolvent,” Mr. Roubini said.

    He cited Tuesday’s Congressional testimony by the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

    “The most important thing is what Bernanke and Geithner said today about the need for an insolvency regime for systemically important institutions,” Mr. Roubini said. “You are going to need that not just for the A.I.G.’s of the world, but also the bank holding companies as they go into Chapter 11.”

    He added, “You are going to need that in shutting down, potentially, a bank like Citigroup.”

    –Cyrus Sanati

    So to clarify my view point: I see the Geithner plan as being relevant to banks that are solvent. For those that are found - after stress tests - to be insolvent I see as the proper solution to nationalize them and clean them up to prepare them for reprivatization. The stress test should do a triage between banks that are illiquid and undercapitalized but solvent given the provision of capital and liquidity and those that, under a reasonable stress scenario are effectively insolvent. Those that are insolvent should be nationalized. Those that are solvent will still have many toxic assets that need to be disposed of; and the Geithner plan provides a way to properly dispose of the toxic assets of solvent banks. So my partial support of the Geithner plan - with all the appropriate caveats - is consistent with the complementary idea of nationalizing the insolvent financial institutions. The bad assets of insolvent banks that are nationalized could be separated from the good assets and then worked out by the government; or they could be sold to private investors through an auction mechanism along the lines of the Geithner plan; or they could be sold - together with the good assets - to the investors purchasing a privatized bank that was temporarily privatized (along the lines of the Indy Mac deal where the investors purchasing the bank received a government guarantee on the bad assets after a first loss).

    - Roubini

  64. Watched most of the testimony today. Bizarrely, I enjoyed it.

  65. No, Michelle, if the US and its' main trading partners say there is a new currency, then there is.

    It is not the UN that provides value, but the willingness of the traders to use the currency as a medium of exchange.

    Look at your histories, currencies come and go, especially when they are not issued by the Treasury of the State, but by private bankers, under a management contract.

  66. Obama Trades In Teleprompter For Giant TV Monitor

    This is trading up.

    I'm immune to his siren songs, as I refuse to listen to the son of a bitch. Strapped to the mast, I am, with earplugs.

  67. Orly Has Stirred Up A Minor Storm but, alas, the better case was the Natural Born Citizen issue. Got to hand it to Orly. She may not be certain what's she's doing, but by damn, she's trying.

  68. One of the biggest problems solar panels is that they accumulate dust, dirt, and sand, which block their effectiveness. Existing installations have to be washed down continually with water. Has anybody thought of where in the middle of the desert you’re going to find enough water to wash down 10,000 square miles of solar panels every month?

    The Obumble Energy Plan

    Jimmy Carter all over again.

  69. The whole dang press conference was choreographed. Well, I didn't fall for it.:)--

    Obama skips major papers: No NYT, WASHPOST, WSJ, USATODAY...

    SOURCE: Reporters were told in advance if president was going to call on them. Senior Administration Officials notified reporters from Stars & Stripes, Univision and other news outlets that they should have question ready. Several reporters moved up in assigned seats as result...

    You can bet your ass he knew the questions. Probably wrote them himself. Or rather had the staff write them.

    What a total fraud.

  70. Never used the phrase before, butt Glenn Beck's "good people."

    Music for the night.

  71. - Dear A.I.G., I Quit! -

    I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

    After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

    I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

    I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.

    The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers...
    I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

    The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press...

  72. If the UN says the Ruble is the One World Reserve Currency, then it's the One World Reserve Currency.

    And, we will invite them to "reserve" all the rubles they want.

    A note to the non-observant: You surely noticed which direction the world raced when the "crisis" looked really, really bad. Hint: It wasn't to the Ruble (or, the Euro.)

    The ONLY way you get that away from US is "beat us in the BIG WAR." Period.

  73. Piss on Jake DeSantis. I don't believe his story.

    He worked for "$1.00/day Plus a $700,000.00 BONUS.

    Sorry Charley, it ain't selling.

  74. ...or complete success by Obama's Storm Troopers.
    Schumer, Dodd, Frank, Coumo, Obama, et al, would be beneath contempt, if I could stifle my contempt.

  75. Deuce,
    Giant TV screens are different in any substantive way than teleprompters?

    Competent or incompetent, intelligent or stupid, the "man" remains a dishonest, worthless, Marxist piece of shit.

  76. What does the size of the bonus in place of a salary have to do with the truth of his story?
    The average bonus was $360, he was a VP.

    He agrees they were overpaid.
    Shall we leave him to Mat and Schumer's tender mercies?

  77. As an MIT Grad that produced profits in commodities, I'd value him way above the people that confiscated his salary, RETROACTIVELY AFTER APPROVING IT.

  78. Media Realism
    How the GOP should handle increasingly biased journalists

    Over the past few months, a steady stream of journalists from mainstream-media outlets — at least eight, led by Time Washington-bureau chief Jay Carney — have abandoned journalism for positions in the Obama administration or with congressional Democrats. Fortunately for them, the difficult transition from objective reporting to ardent advocacy of a party’s agenda was made easier by the head start they got in last year’s campaign. Though there have long been concerns about liberal bias in the media, 2008 was the year the referees took off their striped shirts and donned a team’s jersey.

    As a conservative who has worked with reporters for 25 years and generally enjoyed friendly relations with them, it’s a dispiriting change — one to which Republicans must adapt, and soon. Despite witnessing the media’s evolution firsthand, I was slow coming to this conclusion.

  79. Hell, Doug, the bastards drove the bus into the ditch. There's not much we can do about it except give a few of them "Holy Hell."

    So, that's what we'll do.

    Don't worry, they'll have PLENTY of bucks left after we get through scolding them, and spanking their hinies.

  80. Shall we leave him to Mat and Schumer's tender mercies?

    Schumer might have tender mercies, what I bring to the table is unadulterated justice.

  81. And unmitigated stupidity

    Lineman said
    Denmark has more wind turbines per capita than any country in the world, and still, it has not been able to turn off even one coal-fired plant.
    Then mat said the dummest thing yet

    That's where EVs come in. And your oil imports drop to zero. Chew on that, Chewy.

    There are no EVs on the market, there are not production facilities that can build 10,000 EVs per year, let alone match the 19 million vehicles that Toyota and GM built and sold, last year, alone.

    On top of that, the point was that all that wind productiion did not alleviate the need for the coal fired plants they have. Because the wind power CANNOT be stored amd their source of power is intermittent and unreliable.

    That point of reality mat skips over, time and again, stupidity reigning supreme.

  82. There are no EVs on the market

    Yes. I guess only time will sort out this conundrum for your brilliant mind.

    Btw, if you were to bring green transportation to the market, how would you do it. Would you sell $50K cars with no infrastructure to support them, or you set up the green infrastructure first, and them bring cheap pure electric vehicles to the market?

  83. Even if there were capacity to build 20 million EVs per year, which there is not, it would take almost 15 years just to replace the existing fleet of almost 300 million vehicles in the US.

    mat consitintly argues for a policy that continues to rely on foreign oil supplies, for the next 15 to 20 years, closet jihadist that he is.

    mat advocates for a policy that, in real terms, maintains the oil status que, while waxing about fantasies that will never be.

    Sheer unadulterated stupidity or an agent of the Sauds, there is no further doubt about it.

    It must be one or the other.

    I favor the jihadist in disguise scenario, it is the most readily available motivating factor for the policy positions he advocates for the US to take, over the past years.

  84. If I were doing it, we be transitioning to an ethanol/gas mix. Moving to E30 for all vehicles within 5 years.

    That would have an immediate impact on oil imports.

    I would utilize non food grains or grasses for this transition.

    The EV is impracticale, there are no batteries to design those recharging stations for.
    EVs are the utilimate in materialistic toys that will not function on a grand scale.

    A dreamers delusion

  85. heh :) now I've heard everything, Mat a jihadi.

    Somehow I'm not convinced of that proposition yet.

  86. If I were doing it, I'd probably just follow Dr. Bill's advice. Transition to natural gas powered vehicles as much and as quickly as possible, build nuclear plants, drill, drill, drill, and, like he says, work on all the other stuff too. I'd pursue solar, wind, and electric vehicles, ethanol, see how well they can be made to work. And I wouldn't just snap my fingers and put coal out of business, though I don't much like coal fired plants.

    Basically I'd do the whole smorgasbord.

    Instead I see four more years of just screwing around.

  87. Cascajun:
    “The most rational explanation for Obama’s puzzling conduct — sabotaging his own program by way of his own rhetoric — is that he truly wants to be forced to nationalize the banks in pursuit of his ultimate goal of a socialist economy.” –Dick Morris

    If Obama can bring banks and the healthcare industry under government control, we will have de facto socialism. Is this Obama's goal? It is obviously where he is headed.

    Is Obama a socialist? Rather than throw around labels, let's do the math. The best measure of whether an economy is government- or private sector-oriented is the percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) that flows through government expenditure. Before the current fiscal crisis, the major nations stacked up as shown in the chart on page 27.

    Obama's stimulus package, alone, comes to about 6 percent of GDP, vaulting the United States past Japan to 40 percent on the list above. If we add in the extra spending in the supplemental appropriations bill and the likely increases for healthcare, the total government percentage will rise well past 40 percent and probably close in on the United Kingdom's 43.

    That's pretty socialistic, but Obama has three more years to get us up around Germany and really ruin our economy!

  88. "unadulterated justice"
    unadulterated mob rule/Nazi Rule

  89. ('Rat and I will Duke it out to determine if he's a Jihadi or a Nazi!)

  90. well then, I guess you side on the stupid side of the equation then bobal. Really, it gets tiresome scrolling past matties numerous fantasy policy proscriptions delivered with a self assumed perverted righteous sense of justice.

    rufus wrote:

    "The ONLY way you get that away from US (reserve currency) is "beat us in the BIG WAR." Period."

    I disagree. If the US continues to debase its currency through the printing press there is a good chance that many will shift their reserves away from such a losing proposition. If a run starts on the dollar it could fall fast.

  91. Bobal, no court has defined what a "natural born citizen" is, and if they did, they could only define it going forward, because as you know there is no ex post fucto in this country.

  92. bob, of course mat is a jihadist.
    He advocates for policies that will continue the US's dependence on foreign oil for more than the next decade, with no possible way to cut that consumption.

    The existing fleet of petroleum product vehicles assures US of that. The vehicles, all 300 million of them, are a natural fact. They exist.

    mat wants to replace all 300 million of them with battery powered vehicles, the batteries for which do not exist.

    He wants to start now, with subsidized electrical production.
    Oil is not used, in the US, to generate electricity.

    He is promoting a strawman solution, to the oil import challenge, he always has.

    When we thought the US was at war with radical Islamic terrorists, Wahabbists, that attacked the US, mat advocated for attacking Iran. Iran, a non-Wahabbist country that did not participate in the 9-11-01 raid on the US. But is a mortal enemy to the Sauds position of dominence in the Muslim world.

    mat advocates, tirelessly, for positions that strengthen the Saudi position in the wide, wide whirled.

  93. If I were doing it, we be transitioning to an ethanol/gas mix. Moving to E30 for all vehicles within 5 years.

    Ethanol is a waste time. It is an inefficient low energy source that requires as much energy input (if not more) as the output produced. And that's not taking into account issues like land availability, soil erosion, water scarcity, nitrogen and pesticide effluence poisoning the waters and seas, etc.

  94. heh, Ash takes a swipe at Mat, and me, then in the next paragraph goes on to admit his Zero is ruining the currency. And with it, the country.

  95. DR: No, Michelle, if the US and its' main trading partners say there is a new currency, then there is.

    Sarcasm is difficult to convey with text alone.

  96. Bob,

    Just think of me as Arch angel mika.

  97. mat advocated for attacking Iran

    True, and I recall, one morning on some strong coffee, the entire arab world along with it.

    I wouldn't put Mat in the Saudi camp, at all.

  98. Btw, Bob, isn't it interesting how the Jihadi snakes and the oil sales snakes band together on this.

  99. Since the ruble and the Euro are not capable of being a reserve currency, and there is demand from the major US trading partners for a new reserve currency, one will be created.

    Mr Fox of Mexico has spoken of it, publicly on Larry King Live.

    The Charlie Chicoms are going to advocate for it and so will major players within the US.

    A new "International" currency will be floated, the US will be a major particpent in that float.

    Count on it.

  100. Geithner's a Libertarian in disguise:
    He's gonna teach us all how to cheat on taxes to bankrupt
    Mat's Police State!

  101. No, bob, not one time did mattie advocate for siezing the Saudi oil fields. His focus was and is on the Iranian assets.

    When he realized the US was not going to engage Iran, he went on to his electricity message. Again bypassing any real opportunity for the US to cut oil imports within the next 20 years.

    Right out of big oils' playbook.

  102. And all big oil men are, by mattie's definition, jihadists.

  103. No bobal, no swipe intended at you. I was referring to DR's line about mat that said:

    "Sheer unadulterated stupidity or an agent of the Sauds, there is no further doubt about it."

    You didn't buy the "agent of the Sauds" side of the equation which leaves you placing Mat on the "unadulterated stupidity" side.

    Regarding the currency; the debasement of it has been going on for a long time now. The effects of running the printing presses (both Federal and non-federal) has been mitigated by being the exchange currency but the recent acceleration in output of newly minted money could very well undermine confidence in it. Now, I admit, the inflationary pressures due to the new money is offset by the huge amount of money that has disappeared but policy makers seem to often overshoot in their efforts and we are already seeing large holders of dollars expressing nervousness (see China for example).

  104. mat advocates, tirelessly, for positions that strengthen the Saudi position in the wide, wide whirled.

    Aha. That is why Israel is going ahead with converting its ENTIRE fleet of gasoline cars to EVs, and replacing its coal plant with solar.

  105. No, bob, not one time did mattie advocate for siezing the Saudi oil fields. His focus was and is on the Iranian assets.

    I advocated bombing all the oil facilities in ME, Saudia included.

  106. When I advocated for the "On to Damascus" dampaign, he demurred.

    By taking out Syria, the US would have undercut the HB in Lebannon and the Hamasi in Palistine. But that is not the Saudi position, to lessen pressure on Israel.

    So mattie opposed liberating Israel's borders and advocated for attacking Iran, causing a global economic collapse that would make the past years' trauma seem like explosive growth.

  107. Rat, I don't think you'll see the political will to form a new reserve currency until (if) there is a major crisis with the current one. Unfortunately that crisis would be a very painful one if it occurs.

  108. But eliminating Iranian oil from the whirled marketplace would only strengthen the Saudi dominence of the oil market.

  109. Ethanol, cellulosic or otherwise looks like a good replacement fuel for gasoline (until the coming ice age rolls back the growing area.) The problem with ethanol is that the watermelons don't like it. Carbon emissions, doncha know?

  110. Methanol from Coal!
    ...just like Hitler proved feasible.

  111. But eliminating Iranian oil from the whirled marketplace would only strengthen the Saudi dominence of the oil market.

    I already said don't care for Saudi oil.

  112. There is truth to that, ash, but the game is not over, nor is history.

    There could easily be another "Crisis". I think that rufus is correct, in that there will be a long periodic cycle of recovery and recession. During the next couple of years there will be a new currency introduced, but it may not enter public circulation for a decade, after that.

    It'll be a transitional change, done incrementally. Just as the Federal Reserve Notes were in circulation 50 years, before Treasury issued dollars were removed from circulation.

  113. (and just about all the rest of the petro-byproducts we use and need)

  114. Your words have little meaning, you being a jihadi propagandist.

    You are an advocate for the Sauds, every one of your proposed policy positions strengthen them and weaken US.

    That is, by the mattie definition, jihadist

  115. Ethanol, cellulosic or otherwise looks like a good replacement fuel for gasoline

    Go for it. Stop talking and do it. How much money was already thrown at this? And still nothing. Just another subsidy scam for Monsanto's franken corn.

  116. If Coal/Methanol is as environmentally destructive as Rufus maintains, why is Germany not devastated?

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. I agree with Mat the Nazi!
    ...and advocate an Hitlerian Solution!

    Heil Coal!

  119. "How much money was already thrown at this? "

  120. I'm not convinced the current 'Crisis' is over yet. I think run on the dollar could happen in the next year or two. Then again, like all bubbles, those ranting about them usually throw in the towel and give up before the bubble eventually bursts.

  121. I checked my new flexfuel Impala on E10 last week. I got 26.2 mpg.

    I filled with E17 on Monday. I intend to walk it up to E30, eventually. I'll keep you informed.

    Mat, your statement that ethanol requires as much energy to manufacture as in yields is pure silliness. Even Exxon doesn't make that kind of statement any longer.

  122. Mat, your statement that ethanol requires as much energy to manufacture as in yields is pure silliness. Even Exxon doesn't make that kind of statement any longer.

    So what's the ratio, Rufus?

  123. Ash,
    The Global Slowdown indicators make me skeptical of a turnaround soon.
    Not to mention other CDO's and mortgages yet to unwind.

    ...and the REAL unemployment figures.

  124. If the Federal Reserve issued a new currency, you'd use it, would you not?

    If the Chinese, Mexicans, Canadians, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilians all signed on, you'd still use it, wouldn't you?

    If the Federal Reserve acting in concert with the IMF started on this project, the Chinese would be pleased, as would the Mexicans.

    The US has changed currecies before.
    The History of the Dollar

    It will change currencies, again.

    The US has surrendered control of its currency to the bankers of the Fed, they will seek new opportunities, a new currency will be seen as delivering on that promise of hope and growth.

    It will said to enhance trade and recovery, watch and see it begin.
    Three years, at the outside.

  125. Yeah, I'm not optimistic dooug. IF we are at the bottom I think the recovery will be long slow and grinding. Like you point out though, many things left to unwind still. Heck, the boom lasted a long time, the workout...

  126. Even Exxon doesn't make that kind of statement any longer.

    Because it only works to their advantage. They know what a waste of time it is.

  127. Would you like the bill in dollars or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in yuans or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in pesos or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in yen or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in Reals or ameros, sir?

  128. We can look to Brasil and see an ethonal based economy, where can we look to see an electric one?

    One exists the other does not.

    One is technologically feasible, the other is not.

    There are no functional batteries available to make it happen.

  129. Mat, ethanol production is rapidly evolving. Some refineries like "Corn Plus" in Winnebago, Mn, get 76,000 btus of ethanol (1 gal) for an investment of approx 16,000 btus of nat gas. NOTE that a btu of ethanol in a high compression engine can deliver about twice the WORK as a btu of nat gas.

    Throw in about 5,000 btus of nat gas in the fertilizer, and 1,000 btus of diesel in producing the corn, and you're around 22,000 btus of nat gas for 76,000 btus of ethanol. Again, keep in mind that you can drive a car about twice as far on a btu of ethanol as a btu of nat gas.

    Having said all that, the move is toward ethanol refineries that use NO fossil fuels. They will use the lignin from corn cobs, forestry waste, etc. These are already in the early stages of construction.

    Also, keep in mind that we're powering the equivalent of 24 Million Cars with ethanol, as we speak.

    We will utilize batteries, for sure; but, guys in my area will always need a lot of "Liquid" fuel, also.

  130. Methanol from Coal requires ZERO outside energy.

  131. The Law of the Sea Treaty, The ICC, and many other international treaties have been difficult to get US folk to accept. They'll need strong incentives (i.e. worthless currency) before they give up the almighty US dollars.

  132. Mat, ethanol production is rapidly evolving.

    How many btus does it cost to get 27,000 btus of nat gas, how many btus does it cost to get 1,000 btus of diesel, how many btus does it cost to get all the water, how many btus does it cost to clean the poisonous water effluence, how many btus does it cost to maintain the soil against monoculture soil erosion, etc.

  133. Doug, We will, within a certain number (not very large) of years be "Importing" Coal. Yeah, yeah, I know, "A hundred years supply," yada, yada. The only problem is, it's lower grade coal, and we have to go deeper, and deeper to get it. At a point, it becomes not worth the effort.

    Beside, Methanol is deadly poisonous. Hell, they made them take MTBEs out of the gasoline, and it was relatively, benign.

    And, remember, Metanol is an alcohol, and as such, it is virtually impossible to get out of ground water, just like the mtbe's were.

  134. How many btus does it cost to get 27,000 btus of nat gas,

    Obviously, less than 27,000.

    How many btus to drill for oil in the middle of the ocean? To process the oil into gasoline?

    To mine the litium/zinc/etc? To manufacture the battery? To mine the coal to create the electricity? To build the Grid?

    You can get lost in the weeds here if you're not careful.

  135. You can get lost in the weeds here if you're not careful.

    True. But let's be honest about the accounting. That's all I'm asking for. Don't hide the externalities, they all have cost, and all should be taken into account.

  136. Obama is no leftist, or marxist commie, doug, the folks at "The Nation", they'd know, if he was because they are.

    Only adults are allowed to play this game. It is much too complicated for ordinary citizens so sophisticated financiers are needed to do such tricky deals. But Americans at large can have fun watching the action and rooting for various participants. The contest will be a welcome distraction from other anxieties. Who is going to accumulate the tallest stack? It's like Monopoly Olympics for the grand masters of the universe. Will Warren Buffett take a seat at the table? Bill Gross, the PIMCO bond king, is salivating at the prospect of double-digit returns and says Obama's game is "win-win-win." Can billionaire George Soros resist such an opportunity? Will legendary traders at Goldman Sachs square off against James A. Baker III's Carlyle Group with its oil-rich Arab backers? What a kick that these famous people will be playing with our money.

    But, remember, this is not about a few shrewd players accumulating more wealth. It's about saving the country. Everybody will want to do their part. Obama has shown them the way.

    Probably there are some naysayers in the public who won't get it. They will whine about the odd ways in which winners always seem to get another chance in US capitalism to win again. Some people will look around them and complain that things do not seem to be improving in their neighborhood. They will attack our president personally, try to undermine his authority.

    President Obama can charm them out of their anger. He might say, "Hey, guys, lighten up. It's only a game."

    Catchin' fire from the left and the right, must put Obama in the Center.

  137. Catchin' fire from the left and the right, must put Obama in the Center.


    Notice a pattern?

  138. I agree with Mat the Nazi!

    Doug, you should know that I'm against brown shirts and Harley motorcycle helmets.

  139. Of course I notice a pattern, mat.
    One of approval by the electorate of the policies those fore mentioned propagate.

    Personalities come and go, but the policies remain, with little change of course.

    The electorate firmly in support.

  140. One of approval by the electorate of the policies those fore mentioned propagate.

    So true. Really, why even bother with elections.

  141. desert rat said...
    Would you like the bill in dollars or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in yuans or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in pesos or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in yen or ameros, sir?

    Would you like the bill in Reals or ameros, sir?

    The coming collapse of the US dollar will be frightful...

    Hyperinflation coupled with economic collapse...

    we keep the debt, we shrink the assets and start bartering...

    I got a pound of candy, what can I trade for it?

  142. This fellow, George Packer, writing in the New Yorker thinks we're quite paranoid and delusional.

    In 2008, with a new depression looming, interest politics finally overtook status politics, which is why the name-calling and cultural appeals of the McCain-Palin campaign didn’t work. In general, this turn benefits Democrats (see F.D.R.), and it has given Obama the chance to set the terms of political discourse for years to come. But if interest politics turns into the kind of populism that rejects all forms of institutional authority—and we’re closer than we’ve been since at least the nineteen-seventies—the public mood will sweep aside Obama’s program of reforms and quite possibly turn into a new sort of reaction: anti-bank, anti-Washington, anti-immigrant, anti-global. The populist temper and the paranoid style are not the same thing, but they are related in obvious ways: when the former loses its bearings, it can degenerate into the latter. For example, the (populist) idea that Timothy Geithner is too close to Wall Street to protect the taxpayers could eventually turn into the (paranoid) idea that Timothy Geithner was appointed in order to protect the bankers at the expense of the taxpayers.

    Hell, it is my impression that mmost of the Bar patrons believe that, already.

    See what the other half think, about that.
    You just be a crazy paranoid.

  143. The elections are part of the circuses, mat.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    That is a core American believe, mat. The whirled wide flight to the United States persists, so life, here, is still better than most elsewhere.

    There is no exodus, on the contrary there is a tidal wave of educated and highly qualified people that would love to immigrate to the US.

    People voting with their feet and their pocketbooks. Is there risk, of course. But even Israel is facing a net loss of population from migration, or so it was reported in 2007.

    Given the option, you chose the NAFTA economy to build your economic future in.

    Lineman said that he had moved from equities to cash, at the beginning of the crisis. If he followed the President's call to invest in the US, he'd have double his percentage of the Dow Composite. His dollars doubling in value against a basket of industrial equities.

    The current strength of the dollar is astounding. Just depends upon the perspective you chose to take.

  144. The same is true in housing, today.
    Feb sales of new homes rose 4.7% in Feb., Obama's only full month in office.
    In the resale market, the dollar is stronger now than it has been in at least a decade, with the opportunity to buy considerably more house per dollar, now, than at any time in the past few years.

    The economic turn-around, we could be in the midst of it. All except for bob, who plugs his ears and closes his eyes, so his beliefs are not disoriented by the facts.

  145. The Dollar is the "One-Eyed Man" in the Land of the Blind.

    I don't have to outrun the bear, buddy; I just have to outrun YOU! (says the Dollar to the Euro/Ruble, etc.)

  146. The "Battle of the Bank" has been an ongoing political one since the inception of the Republic. For the past 95 years the Bankers have siezed and held the "high ground". So much so that the National Bank was no longer considered a serious political issue.

    Settled policy, to discuss it made one "unserious", "beyond the norm", "outside the lines".

    To beleve that it is still a political issue, in the US, makes you paranoid and delusional.

  147. The operative word, both from Mr Fox and Charlie Chicom, rufus, was "new".

    "New" as in not yet existing, not as in an old currency elevated.

  148. Feb was the bottom, I think.

    2nd quarter will have Positive GDP Growth.

  149. There is no exodus, on the contrary there is a tidal wave of educated and highly qualified people that would love to immigrate to the US.

    I think more and more are realizing the image sold by the propaganda machine and the reality on the ground is coming into stronger and stronger contrast.

  150. There's no chance on God's Green Earth that any politician could "Sell" any sort of shared currency to the American people, Rat.

    Mexico in a rapidly escalating state of Drug-Induced Anarchy, and we're going to "Join" them in an "Amero?" Sheeeit No.

  151. 2nd quarter will have Positive GDP Growth.

    With $8 trillion thrown into the pot, how could you not get a positive GDP? Anyway, as many smarter than I have said, the Fed buying bonds is like peeing on yourself to keep warm. It might work for a while, but pretty soon you're cold again.

  152. You're welcome to think what you want, but the reality on the ground does not bear much resemblence to your thinking, as expressed in your posts.

    Now there could be a populist movement that could
    ... sweep aside Obama’s program of reforms and quite possibly turn into a new sort of reaction: anti-bank, anti-Washington, anti-immigrant, anti-global.

    A return to greater soverignty of the individual States, but I'd not hold my breath waiting for that movement to develop.

    Indeed, as Steven Stark
    points out:
    Barack Obama is an inspirational leader, a potential realigner, and a racial trailblazer. But he's not a populist --

  153. You're welcome to think what you want, but the reality on the ground does not bear much resemblence to your thinking, as expressed in your posts.

    Seems to me you pretty much agree with me on all counts, except on the count of wanting to agree with me. :)

  154. Yes, rufus, the bankers will set up a transnational currency.

    All the major US trading partners will sign on, so will the US. Initially it will not be available as public tender, but will be used initially in trade arbitrations and debt issuances. Backed by the Federal Reserve, Charlie Chicom, and a whole host of others.

    Sure as the day is long.

    Just watch, the ground work is being laid now.
    There will not be a vote, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, as ammended would allow the Fed to do it, in conjunction with the IMF, just as Charlie Chicom requested.

    It's a brave new world, rufus.
    Better believe it.

  155. I refuse to listen to a press conference where the 'prez' is reading from a big screen tv, the reporters are self chosen, and the questions known before hand.

    But, I got to go make a living this morning....

  156. Sure as the day is long.

    How do we stop it?

  157. I been there there for years, mat.
    Back before the time you thought GW Bush was a rootin' tootin' go getter.

    Ever since my dad worked for the Rockefeller world, back in 1960's, I've known of the factions that really run the System. I know where the road leads. So could anyone that cared to look at the trendlines.

    Generations of elitist preppies from Yale and Harvard, that then annoint themselves the "best and the brightest". I've walked amongst 'em, they're not and never were.

    You're a johnnie come lately to the game.

  158. You're a johnnie come lately to the game.

    Doug says I'm slow, but I've only just arrived. :)

  159. From bob's link and then the mention of SDRs in some other reading.

    Seems a SDR is almost that "new" currency, already.

    Today, the SDR has only limited use as a reserve asset, and its main function is to serve as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations.

    The SDR is neither a currency, nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members.

    Holders of SDRs can obtain these currencies in exchange for their SDRs in two ways: first, through the arrangement of voluntary exchanges between members; and second, by the IMF designating members with strong external positions to purchase SDRs from members with weak external positions.

    SDR valuation
    The value of the SDR was initially defined as equivalent to 0.888671 grams of fine gold—which, at the time, was also equivalent to one U.S. dollar.
    After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1973, however, the SDR was redefined as a basket of currencies,today consisting of the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and U.S. dollar.

    Expand that basket, that's what the "Trading Partners" want, the US is "open" to the idea.

    The Best and the Brightest.

    Wonder who they are working for, what are ther long term goals?

  160. This begs the question: are we at a major turning point in these four markets? We are certainly set-up, given current global conditions which are horrid, if not terrifying. If we are not at a turning point in these four markets, then the world has surely entered something close to a Depression. That’s why I see this moment as very bifurcated. We either reflate now over the next 6 months, or we will endure another deflationary leg down globally in asset prices. The two possible outcomes therefore are nothing less than awesome. Let’s take a look.

    *Gregor Macdonald had some of his articles published in Pravda.Ru among others. He is therefore, according to LT, a certified Commie.

  161. While drying off from the shower, I offer up a thought of J. Campbell.

    We be in the midst of a great remything of the whirled world. It'll be the same old myth, but in a new dress, world wide dress, as the world is integrating, a long long process, seen one way, speed of light seen from the deep pool of the hominid past. We're integrating, with a new myth abuilding---unless we totally blow it up before the building is finished.

  162. I don't see how there is anyway to "stop it", mat.

    Manage it at the margins, maybe.

  163. unless we totally blow it up before the building is finished

    Where's the freaking dynamite!?

  164. I don't see how there is anyway to "stop it", mat.

    Actually, I think i know. Oil is their only collateral. Blow up the damn oil fields.

  165. That certainly would not advance my position in life.

    I'd vote no to that idea.

  166. The only reason the majority of people bother to tune in to this clown any longer is to see what his teleprompter tells him to say. Imagine their disappointment when they found out he has thrown his old teleprompter under the bus, with everyone else and now has a new gig, a GREAT BIG FLAT SCREEN TV!! Now we can ALL see what the NEW teleprompter is telling him to say.

    Isn't this EXCITING!!!

    Posted by: Joseph | March 25, 2009 at 09:13 AM

    Couldn't resist a parting shot.

  167. That certainly would not advance my position in life.

    What's your position in life? Walking on your hands and knees?

  168. Not at all, mat, not at all.

    Saved those wild horses, we did.
    Utilize that Federal retention basin, where the Barrett Jackson Scottsdale auto auction takes place, for horse shows and the like.

    No, mat, the Federals are not the center of my life, just an obstacle on the path to enlightenment.

    The machine can be raged against, but will not be brought down by a parttime dentist, a semi-retired cowboy, nor any 60 year old that was recently awakened.

    The preppies put in 20 hour days and are living it every day.
    The counter culture doesn't have any balls, the System does.

    We'll see an expansion of the inalienable rights across the balance of America, there lives the revolution and it that revolution, hope.

  169. The machine can be raged against, but will not be brought down by a parttime dentist, a semi-retired cowboy, nor any 60 year old that was recently awakened.

    You don't know that. You never tried.

  170. Idaho Fish and Game approves fall wolf hunts, paper says, as I'm out the door....

  171. We've taken on the Federals, but used the System to do it. Using one faction of it against another.

    Influencing local elections, I'd have to plead guilty, to defining the issues, a couple of times.

    But I'll not fire on a National Guardsman, nor see cause to do so.

    The System is not broken, just a tad out of balance. Go and convert Sumner Redstone to your cause. I think it's lost, myself.

    We still are the revolution, mat.

  172. We still are the revolution, mat.

    Is That Orwellian double speak for everything being upside down? :)

  173. We’re yet to see a picture of Obama taking a bubble bath with his teleprompters. I wonder why. Maybe there's no 117V outlet in the WH bathroom.

  174. "I like to know what I talk about before I speak"

    This is not a revolution, dRat.

  175. Mat: Catchin' fire from the left and the right, must put Obama in the Center.

    Obama rescuing the American free market economy is like Jack Kervorkian doing CPR.

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