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Linkfest (December 29, 2009)

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

Next Decade Will Be Good One for Stock Investors: Matthew Lynn Some connected guys (and gals like abby cohen- of GS)are paid big bucks to lie.

Thousands to be saved from losing homes by closure of legal loophole I thought you required a court order to foreclose and seize a home, on the other hand UK is a quaint country.

Housing Recovery Fails to Bolster Broker Commissions First of all, there is no sustained recovery in home prices.. never mind.

Calpers Restricts Contacts Between Board and Money Managers Calpers has demonstrated a level of incompetence that would shame a drunken chimp.

The decision follows disclosure by the pension fund that former board member Alfred Villalobos earned more than $50 million in a five-year period acting as a middleman between firms seeking stewardship of some of Calpers $200 billion in assets and the fund’s board and staff.


CalPERS expected to report losing nearly one-quarter of investment portfolio

The estimated $56.8-billion drop at the U.S.’ largest pension fund, the second annual loss in a row, would have a huge effect on what state and local governments must shell out to support retirees.

Goldman Sachs Takes Biggest Share of $923 Million U.S. IPO Fees GS can do what it wants, as it “owns” the Fed and your elected legislators. You have a problem with that?

Fannie, Freddie, Heading to Zero Guess who is paying for their unlimited creditline? You!

Fannie, Freddie exec pay suggests stock worth nothing

Fannie Chief Executive Michael Williams and Freddie CEO Charles Haldeman got $6 million annual compensation packages, according to regulatory filings last week.

Higher-End Homes Still Declining Turns out the ‘rich’ are not rich.. but don’t expect that to dampen their contempt of “poorer” people.

Despite Subsidy, Cobra’s Bite Still Stings for Many No socialism for you.

Categories: Economy, Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (December 28, 2009)

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

President Obama, It’s Time To Fire the TSA A Must read!

Today, DHS’s Napolitano’s response to the crotchbomber: “We’re looking to make sure that this sort of incident cannot recur.” But the TSA’s response to Abdulmutalib’s attempt makes one thing clear: We must stop pretending the TSA is making us safer.

The TSA isn’t saving lives. We, the passengers, are saving our own.

Pomboy: A Looming New Credit-bust a commentary on A Jolly Good Year

Stephanie speculates that one reason for their reluctance could be that while stocks have rallied, thus enriching their portfolios, dividends have been relentlessly shrinking: the $775 billion-plus annual dividend windfall the affluent had grown accustomed to has been slashed by a third or so. Or, it just may be that “even for the high-end, housing deflation outweighs equity inflation.”

Tanker Glut Signals 25% Drop as 26-Mile Queue Overwhelms Demand and crude is still 70-80 $/ barrel.. Guess who (IBers, speculators) are busy screwing YOU

How not to solve a financial crisis Another good guest post by By Edward Harrison at nakedcapitalism.com

One can only assume that alternative policy solutions were rejected because the Bush and Obama Administrations preferred the solutions they crafted to these.

2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted

But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.

Fannie, Freddie Backstop May Foreshadow Mortgage Forgiveness If it does not work, keep on trying harder.

Through November, servicers had permanently modified 31,382 mortgages under the Home Affordable program, which was announced in February as targeting 3 million to 4 million loans, the Treasury said Dec. 10. A total of 728,000 of the modifications were under way.

Berkshire Eliminates 21,000 Jobs as Manufacturing, Retail Slump But Buffett is still the seer… right?

Berkshire and its subsidiaries have about 225,000 workers, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company said this week in regulatory filings. That’s 8.6 percent lower than the 246,083 disclosed in the 2008 annual report.

War on Wall Street as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall Who has hurt us more, swarthy “evildoers” or immaculately suited sociopaths?

The Recession Begins Flooding Into the Courts It is too bad that average people have not got the memo about our “great recession” ending.

Oh wait..

Krugman: ‘Reasonably High Chance’ the Economy Will Contract The “great recession” does not want to end..

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (December 27, 2009)

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

What Iceberg? Just Glide to the Next Boardroom A virus infects a healthy cell, hijacks it, makes copies of itself, kills host cell and moves on to other healthy cells.

You might think that board members overseeing businesses that cratered in the credit crisis would be disqualified from serving as directors at other public companies. You would, however, be wrong. Directors who were supposedly minding the store as disaster struck at companies like Countrywide Financial, Washington Mutual or Fannie Mae have not all been banished from other boardrooms. In many cases, directors just seem to skate away from company woes that occurred on their watch.

In Search of Work, but at What Cost? An article that talks about the perils and scams awaiting those who try operating their own business.

How Overhauling Derivatives Died But we have the best system money can buy.. Seriously, were you thinking that IBers would let rationality and causality derail their money-making scams?

Lobbying by Wall Street has blunted efforts to step up regulation on derivatives trading by carving out exceptions or leaving the status quo in place. Derivatives took blame for some of the worst debacles of the financial crisis. But a year after regulators and critics began calling for an overhaul in the way they are traded, some efforts have been shelved and others have been watered down.

How the status quo can kill: the example of free trade

I see more of a class divide than does Greenwald and others. Seems to me that people who have secured comfortable positions in “managerial class” and “creative class” occupations tend to support the President and an incrementalist approach to addressing the nation’s problems. They tend to be reflexively hostile to any sweeping changes, such as actually annihilating the health insurance companies, or actually doing away with the big financial houses like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Chase. They seem to insist on solutions that rely as much as possible on market mechanisms, such as cap and trade to deal with climate change. They recoil in horror at the suggestion that “the system” itself is the problem. Generally, they appear to be economic neo-liberals, who have actually become acclimated to the results of the Reagan Revolution.

Another Team Obama Present to Corporate America: Health “Reform” Bill Favors Big Pharma Over Generics More change you can believe in!

Does Golden Pay for the CEOs Sink Stocks? If you reward people for playing zero sum games, they play them with more enthusiasm. The new priests (ivy leaguers) are piling in on their old benefactors. If you require a degree to say what is common sense, we are fucked!

The first study, led by corporate-governance expert Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Law School, looked at more than 2,000 companies to see what share of the total compensation earned by the top five executives went to the CEO. The researchers call this number—which averages about 35%—the “CEO pay slice.” It turns out that the bigger the CEO’s slice of the pie, the lower the company’s future profitability and market valuation. “These CEOs,” says Prof. Bebchuk, “seem to be trying to grab more than they should.”

Put Down That Shovel! Andy Kessler cannot do math or understand the need for both “old” and “new” infrastructures. I have no hope that our corrupt system can build anything on time, on budget or withou legal wrangling due to special interest groups.

Socialized Risk, with Still Highly Leveraged Survivors Too Big To Fail! Many free market supporters still believe that CEOs, board members and other assorted MBA scum deserve their compensation.

Zack Carter on OCC Chief John Dugan in The Nation: “A Master of Disaster “

Writing in The Nation, the banking reporter for SNL Financial News describes the wreckage left behind by John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency and the primary regulator for most of the US banking industry. To say that Dugan is the lackey of the largest banks is really an understatement. The former lobbyist and Treasury official has been the defacto advocate for the largest dealer banks through the crisis, opposing regulatory reform initiatives on Capitol Hill and even from the FDIC, every step of the way.

“Top Ten Reasons to Kill the Senate Health Care Bill” More evidence that the PTB are still conducting business as usual, Must read!

Categories: Economy, Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (December 25, 2009)

December 25, 2009 1 comment

In other news..

Norms of credit A very good article on the changing nature of corporate-personal “relationships”. The website Interfluidity has many other excellent articles.

Cast Your Vote for Disruptor of the Decade I have too many candidates, some positive some negative. What do you think? In popular technology- Apple (ipod, iphone, itouch), ASUS (netbook pioneer), Acer (laptops are inexpensive because of them), and AMD (would Intel have innovated without competition). I will post a more detailed list tomorrow.

U.S. Uncaps Support for Fannie, Freddie At least they are not GS, AIG, JPM, Citi, BofA, VISA, Mastercard, Discover etc..

Tamer Cards for Tougher Times and who is going to use them in a deflationary environment? Hint: Understand what charge cards are, who uses them and for what.

Money Lessons of a Lost Decade How about, “investing” is a ponzi scheme in which only true insiders and lucky tools make any real money? Investing in something you do not understand is a sure recipe for getting screwed over.

Weighing the Value of That College Diploma Talking of ponzi schemes.. higher education = better job is a ponzi scheme. Given the speed of technological changes and the whims of MBAs, lawyers and other assorted sociopaths, your degree or demonstrated ability are worthless in the current system!

With Scant Jobs, Grads Make Their Own This is YOUR future.

Can Detroit Be Saved? Not with the current paradigms.

What Doctors and Patients Have to Lose Under ObamaCare You cannot fuck up something that is so dysfunctional and will be unusable within a few years to a decade anyway.

Categories: Economy, Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (December 22, 2009)

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up A very good article that summarizes a lot of what I realized years ago.

Taxpayers Help Goldman Reach Height of Profit in New Skyscraper Surprised?

The Equity Culture Loses Its Bloom I doubt they will stop unless they are made to..

Banks with political ties got bailouts, study shows The sun rises in the east.

China to require Internet domain name registration Legalism and control is hard to let go.

China has issued new Internet regulations, including what appears to be an effort to create a “whitelist” of approved websites that could potentially place much of the Internet off-limits to Chinese readers.

U.S. Economy: Home Sales Exceed Forecasts as Buyers Seek Credit Need I say more?

Sales of existing U.S. homes in November rose to the highest level in almost three years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a government tax credit and lower prices.

Linkfest (December 20, 2009)

December 20, 2009 1 comment

In other news..

Another Chance for Small Business Loans? Seriously, why would the banks care about the real economy when they can make the government bail them out with trillions of taxpayer money. Did I mention that they have been bailed out with future tax revenues.

Still, lending remains low. Since April, Bank of America slashed its outstanding loans to small businesses by 5%, or $2.2 billion, according to the latest Treasury survey. JPMorgan’s lending total dropped by 2.5% since April, while Wells Fargo’s small business loan portfolio shed $3 billion since then, said the Treasury. Overall, the country’s top 22 banks receiving capital injections from the U.S. government have decreased total lending to small business by $11.6 billion over the period. Even when the banks do lend, some business owners say they are being asked for more advantageous terms.

BIS to Phase in Capital Rules as Conditions Improve Ya sure! People like to believe that the status quo can be restored. Having said that, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is not as delusional as Investment Banks (IBs).

The proposal was one of a host published in a consultation document by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision aimed at strengthening bank capital cushions to help them withstand financial crisis. It said the new rules that emerged after the consultation process would be phased in as financial conditions improve, but with a target of the end of 2012.

Down-Payment Standards Eased Never confuse a government directive with improved housing conditions.

The changes, which are being done on a market-by-market basis, mean buyers in some parts of the country can now borrow 95% instead of 90% of a property’s value. Until recently, mortgage companies had tighter standards for these markets because of falling home prices.

‘Shadow Inventory’ of U.S. Homes Climbs, Report Says

The number of homes that may be in the pipeline for a sale because of foreclosure and delinquency climbed about 55 percent to 1.7 million at the end of September, according to estimates by First American CoreLogic.

House Flipping Makes a Comeback
Many people choose to believe in delusions than look at reality. Have we not traveled this road before..

The minimum bid, as set by a unit of Citigroup Inc., which had a $1.3 million mortgage on the home, was $379,900. After several minutes of bidding among investors and their representatives, some wearing shorts and flip-flops, Mr. Mirmelli won the home for $486,300. A week later, he agreed to sell it for $690,000 to a woman who moved in this month.

Not All Banks Are Created Alike

The big firms that played a central role in that meltdown, and many others that continue to dominate the financial services industry today, derive far less of their income from deposits and lending than do Main Street banks. Instead, they engage in a range of quite different activities, including trading in loans that others have generated, speculation in stocks and bonds and exotic derivatives.

Linkfest (December 18, 2009)

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

In the news..

Harvard Swaps Are So Toxic Even Summers Won’t Explain But I thought that our ‘high IQ elites’ knew what they were doing, and don’t they control the future. Update- Bloomberg.com has removed the article, curious?

Unemployment Decreased in 36 U.S. States in November If only we could make it happen without fraudulent and massaged statistics.

‘Sizzling’ Shanghai Homes Defy Tax, Bubble Concerns Most of the chinese stimulus money has gone into real estate and equities speculation.. surprised?

Craft a Narrative to Instill Optimism Harvard MBA wisdom for you.. why not just tell people to lie.

Goldman’s Inner Conflicts Also Need Unraveling: David Reilly Maybe he has not received his monthly payoff check from GS?

Homeowners often rejected under Obama’s loan plan Change we can believe in.

Saving Earth From an Asteroid Will Take Diplomats, Not Heroes Really? diplomacy has been very effective in building support for such actions in the past, hasn’t it?

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System – and Themselves An interesting book.

Strategic defaults – conditioning, morality, or naïveté? If you believe that the system is working for you.. you are so wrong!

The Dark Gray Swan: No More Foreign Dollars With Which To Buy US Treasuries Will be a bigger issue in a few months.

Doctors Seek Aid From Business Schools Charlatans learning from other charlatans.

How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus An overview on climategate related shenanigans.

Categories: Economy, Linkfest

Linkfest (December 16, 2009)

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

U.S. Delays Citigroup Sale as Shares Sell at Discount Why? How was this scam pushed forward in the first place?

Government Reconsiders Quick Sale of Citigroup Stake Another explanation of the same problem.

U.S. gave up billions in tax money in deal for Citigroup’s bailout repayment Read this one, after a beer or two.

Bernanke’s ARM Explodes, Refinances into Fixed Rate Mortgage and he is running the fed!

TIME: Do you have a mortgage?
Bernanke: Oh, yes, we refinanced.

TIME: Oh, perfect. When?
Bernanke: About 5%. A couple of months ago.

TIME: Good time.
Bernanke: Yes. We had to do it because we had an adjustable rate mortgage and it exploded, so we had to.

TIME: So, did you get a fixed rate at 5%? I think this might be the most valuable piece of information. (Laughter.)
Bernanke: Thirty years fixed rate at a little over 5%.

How Banks Fleece the Unemployed Still like banksters?

Regulators to give banks Basel grace period-sources This is much bigger than you think.

Ivy League Seeks Sponsor for Its Inaugural Lacrosse Tournament Daddy cannot write a big enough check?

Persian Gulf currency union and the forex risk to nations everywhere. The beginning of another chapter..

Nearly half of Detroit’s workers are unemployed Think it won’t happen to your manufacturing based city, think again!

David Rosenberg And A Few Good Economic Observations: “Can You Handle The Truth?” His 2010 “Outlook” People do not like to hear such stuff..

Categories: Economy, Linkfest

Linkfest (December 15, 2009)

December 15, 2009 1 comment

The disillusionment with Obama continues..

Obama’s Newfound Populism: All Hat, No Cattle Marshall Auerback sees Obama’s current populist rhetoric as empty, given the inadequacy of regulatory reform efforts.

Obama’s Big Sellout The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway

Yes, Obama is Getting Serious About Banks. He is Now Calling Them Bad Names! Are we supposed to take this posturing seriously? The media is now peddling more and more banker-favoring narratives with a straight face.

Obama’s populist rhetoric about ‘Fat Cat’ bankers Another take..

Obama Hypocrisy Meter Off The Charts: “I Did Not Run For Office To Be Helping Out A Bunch Of Fat Cat Bankers On Wall Street” Obama goes back to his Wall Street-bashing rhetoric in today’s 60 Minutes on CBS, after he has already doomed this country to tens of trillions in excess debt to make sure that Wall Street not only thrives, but prospers, courtesy of Bernanke’s vertical bond curve and the daily destruction of the dollar. With statements such as “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street” which the WSJ disclosed will be uttered by Obama shortly, only the most clueless viewers will find empathy with Obama’s latest message of banker “anti-hope.”

I think Barry Ritholtz puts it best:

Don’t be fooled. Those who decry Obama’s policies as ‘socialist’ are doing so for purely political benefit. Are you telling me that Obama is governing in a vastly different way than George W. Bush at the end of his tenure? How exactly would John McCain have been any less socialist? Are you telling me McCain would have bankrupted Citi or BofA? It’s absolute nonsense. I would grant you that McCain would have sought to extend tax cuts for the rich. Otherwise, the cry of socialism is a purely political tactic using Obama’s dip in popularity in order to strip him and his party of any right-leaning independents he may have won in 2008.

The only difference between the established parties is the degree to which they believe in neoclassical laissez-faire economics. The right believes that markets are almost always right and see nearly no reason for government intervention except to lower taxes and promote free markets. The left believes that markets are almost always right too but they see more reason for government intervention in order to protect their traditional base of unions and the working class (think health care reform, taxes on the rich, and the auto bailouts).

Categories: Economy, Linkfest

Linkfest (December 14, 2009)

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

In other news..

Citigroup to Repay $20 Billion of Government Bailout (Update3) So pretending to pay stealth governments bailouts back is a viable business model? I have to say that ‘Citi’ is not the first to benefit from this new paradigm.

GM’s Lutz Extends Stay, Enforces Whitacre’s Monday-Meeting Plan Look at the bright side, he cannot screw up more than he did before. Can these people function without an existential crisis? Would not filling management positions with drunken monkeys be less disastrous for companies?

Eurosclerosis Is U.S. Diagnosis Not Japan Stagnation They ‘forgot’ that unemployment benefits, healthcare and the social net is much better in Europe. A rate of 15% unemployment in an European country is far less socially disruptive than the same rate in a “pull yourself by your nonexistent bootstraps” system. Here we have socialism from the rich and capitalism for the non-rich.

Fastest Food Inflation Since Riots Means Milk Up 39% The investment banks have to make money, even if it is through outright fraud that will kill or starve millions. This one is just like the similar ‘food shortage’ scam they tried to pull of in late 2007-early 2008.

Obama Says Banks Must Take Active Role in Accelerating Recovery What! Why would they care about a recovery in the real world, when they can go back to their old ways with bailout money? Do you believe that they can think a situation other than the status quo running towards infinity.

Three Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check Coming from a lecturer/ speaker at the Harvard MBA program? The products of that program have ruined the real world through their incompetence, and they are preaching humility!

Tiger Woods and the Coming Decline of Celebrity Endorsements Another Harvard MBA faculty member preaching about the decline of celebrity endorsements.. wow.

I will try to post a new linkfest everyday, so please check for updates.

Categories: Economy, Linkfest

Linkfest (December 13, 2009)

December 13, 2009 2 comments

Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression. Good and timely article!

Small Business Confidence Plunges — Where Will Jobs Come From? In our current status quo, jobs come from outright fraud, not real products or services. So invest in fraud based small businesses such as ‘green’ businesses.

Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor. Legalization of drugs would eliminate a major source of bank liquidity.. surprised?

Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics. But pharma has to sell newer but crappy drugs, in the best interests of their shareholders.

Goldman Fueled AIG Gambles. What can GS not do.. behold their omnipotence!

AP’s Seth Borenstein is just too damn cozy with the people he covers – time for AP to do something about it. Conflict of Interest!

Historical video perspective: our current “unprecedented” global warming in the context of scale. AGW is a scam- exhibit one million

IRS Studying ‘Protocols’ for Joint Audits With Other Countries. Need I say more..

I will try to post a new linkfest everyday, so please check for updates.

Categories: Economy, Linkfest