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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When know-it-alls know nothing

~ "I'm tellin' ya.. you gotta' be in the market!  Buy lotta stocks.. ya Gotta!"

Don't know which I hate more- the stock market, those who invest in it or those who report on it.  Tough call- all equally dreadful and in the case of investors and media, both worthy of a face scratching.  The reasons we've stated too often to take time to repeat here.  Suffice it to say, if you're not part of the 1%, you should be wanting to sharpen your claws as well...

But as much as I despise these entities, they also make me laugh at times.  I tend to find it humorous when cocky cock know-it-alls think they have all the answers and can accurately predict economic events based on assumption that all will work out when push comes to shove, then are proven wrong.

Here's a headline from this morning:


Emerging Stocks Set for Biggest Monthly Gain in Three on Greece Optimism (Bloomberg) -- "Emerging-market stocks rose, with the benchmark index set for its largest monthly gain since October, after Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said major progress has been made in debt-swap talks... he’s “strongly committed” to reaching a debt-swap accord with bondholders that is crucial to lowering Greece’s debt burden and freeing up another round of aid before the country faces a 14.5 billion-euro ($19 billion) bond payment on March 20."

And the market rejoiced and figuratively held hands as they danced around in the garden of eternal optimism and never-ending profit making...  La La La...
But then later in afternoon...

Greek officials attack EU and IMF as debt talks stall (Guardian.UK) -- "Greek officials launched a vociferous behind the scenes attack on European Union and International Monetary Fund negotiators as talks in Athens over the country's mounting debts appeared to stall... a crisis meeting of party leaders would be called as early as Thursday to thrash out a response to an increasingly intransigent negotiating team sent by Brussels, which is demanding severe austerity measures before sanctioning a further €130bn (£109bn) of bailout funds...


"On the negotiations over the bailout funds, Greek MPs have objected to demands by the troika for further wage cuts and reductions in the minimum wage.  The troika (European Union, International Monetary Fund & European Commonwealth Bank) doesn't appear to be willing to accept any concessions whatsoever on reducing the minimum wage and scrapping bonuses," said the government aide. "No political party is willing to move either, saying wage cuts are a red line they are simply not going to cross. You tell me how this is going to be resolved. We have no idea and we're very worried.""

A&G does not pretend to hide the fact we want this to fail and overall, desire Greece to do what it should have done two years ago... Default.
 "Meowww... hate investors & banks sooo much.. Meeeowww!! Rrrr Rrrrr"

Investors and banks have not had to take any real financial hit or punishment since the global economic crisis began with Lehman Bros in Oct, 2008. That is now 39 months.  Its about time they did..  Its about time the ultra-wealthy around the world who do nothing but create misery in populaces then financially profit from it, hemorrhage Severe losses and feel real pain.

Unfortunately the way this game has been played for over 3 years, there's always some magic trick or scheme or compromise pulled from thin air (or someone's ass) to keep all the plates spinning so no one at the top financial echelon ever feels any economic pain.   So we're realistic to the probability that all will work itself out for the bankers and the Investors will continue to rejoice and 'dance'.

But Lord knows, we are not hoping for it.

And if Greece sells all of its soul to the banks, well there's always a ray of hope that the Portuguese wont.. or the Irish... or the Italians.. or the Spanish..

Monday, January 30, 2012

Framing the argument

Since today was an insignificant day in finance- the type instantly forgotten by tomorrow, if not sooner, we thought we'd write on a broader concept which affects the US & global economy and which is as much a reason for the stagnation as any policy decision or lack thereof.

Some may call it 'framing the argument' or 'controlling the debate'... really works the same.  In essence, policy makers and their whore corporate media basically frame all policy discussions as 'A' or 'B'.  No option 'C', much less a 'D' or 'E'...  Everything is 'A' or 'B'  They don't trust the populace is smart enough to understand more than two choices and its much simpler to keep people kept in their ideological Left v Right 'pens' like ostriches.

Let's take the current housing crisis.  The big question on Capitol Hill is whether to allow people who are underwater on their homes (their home value on the open market is worth less than the mortgage the homeowner holds) to be allowed to refinance.  This would supposedly save each mortgage holder thousands of dollars annually and hopefully be the difference in enticing someone to continue paying vs simply walking away.  Refinance or Not-  'A' or 'B'.

Yet no discussion of option 'C'-  force the banks who pushed those mortgages, to take a 25% loss and re-calculate the monthly payment and trigger a 25% monthly savings.  A person paying $750/month for example would then pay $562.50 and not have to have the life of the mortgage extended or his/her credit rating adversely affected which is something no one tells you when you apply for a government backed re-financing program.
Or Option 'D'- the Government directly get into the lending market rather than using Fannie/Freddie Mac as a proxy then establishes what we call a  2 to 1 valuation lending policy.  What do I mean?  Concept works like this:  a home is purchased and $300k is needed for mortgage.   The home buyer gets a mtg of $300k but only $200k is expected to be paid back while homeowner is living in dwelling.  The remaining $100k or 1/3rd value is held by the government in a form of 'escrow'  Monthly payments are based on $200k lent to the buyer.

Every month, a nominal fee is paid to the government to hold that 1/3 value.. let's say $10/mo.  Then once the home is re-sold,  the government gets back its $100k from the value of the sale. The rest of the money goes to the seller to pay rest of mortgage and pocket.   What this does is alleviate the financial burden of the home buyer by 33%, the government retains a 1/3 ownership of the home to get repaid upon re-sale, and it benefits the seller because homes are kept at near pre-recession levels so that home sellers can hold some of the 'cards' which buyers now exclusively possess.

There are more options to solving the problems of this financial crisis than simply 'A' or 'B'  Let's quickly take a look at job creation.  All worthless politicians promise to create jobs.  But how?  Its always through corporations.  Lower corporate taxes..  lower taxes on wealthy... they'll take that money and magically create jobs.  Um,, No!  Not how it works in real world.
Notice no one ever talks about an Option 'C' of encouraging individual entrepreneurship at physical brick n mortar locations (not Internet businesses working from your bedroom) via loans or grants which would create immediate job creation of at least on average 4 workers per new business).  Or Option 'D'- establish work apprenticeships in skilled positions with a portion of salary offset via tax credits to encourage more hiring in developing and vital fields from employers who may have limited budgets for hiring.

Now you may think all those other options wouldn't work or disagree in some way with the premise.  The point is, you are thinking.   The more options on the table, the more choices and the more stimulation of thought and discussion.

America prides itself on choice-- 30 different coffee brands to choose from.. 50 different cereals at the supermarket, etc... Yet anything and everything of importance that affects this nation, we're always left to two choices.  Republican or Democrat.  Tax cuts or tax hikes.   Bottom line or common good...

Though politicians don't want you to think outside their constructed 'A' vs 'B' box, there is always an Option C.. and D..  Always.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Never-Ending Greek Debt Cock (a-doodle) Tease

The Greek government is sure damned determined to stay in the Eurozone vs going back to the drachma.  A poll recently showed about 80% of the Grecian people were brainwashed to want the same thing even though they're suffering horrible austerity and their stubbornness to refer to outright default two years ago has turned a regional nuisance into a global crisis.

If you turn on mainstream financial news this weekend, you will probably hear or read a crisis has been averted because, "Greece and its private creditors said on Saturday they were piecing together the final elements of a debt swap and expected to have a deal ready next week, essential for sealing a new bailout and avoiding an uncontrolled default. (Reuters)

This is pretty much akin to watching a dying man on the street and police waving their arms and saying, "Move along folks.. nothing to see.. everything's under control"

But see, here's the thing.. unless something major and drastic changes, Greece will default in late March.  The banks and financiers are already coming up with clever terms like "orderly default" and "strategic default"--  sounds so much more uplifting-- implies the ones who will suffer from the default are the ones controlling it.

"Move along folks.. financial crisis averted.. everything's under control"

In simple understandable terms, imagine you bring in a salary of $50k with zero in savings, your yearly expenditures no matter how much you slash, comes to $75k, putting you in the hole by an additional 50% per year and you already owe creditors $500k.

That is Greece.
And then this doozy:  "Greece must surrender control of its budget policy to outside institutions if it cannot implement reforms attached to euro zone rescue measures, the German economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday." (Reuters)

Can you see Greece willingly give up its economic budgetary sovereignty to another nation?  To Germany-- a nation who once took over Greece during WWII and who the Grecian people still have bitterness toward?!!

Any "agreement" you hear with bondholders is pure BS, much like if a bill collector calls and you promise "check is in the mail" when you barely have enough money to pay for the stamp on the envelope. Whatever it takes to stop the pestering phone calls for a couple days.. whatever it takes~

 Greece can't get its budget under control, can't pay its creditors back even 5% what is owed, really needs 145billion Euro by March, not the 130b reported by others, and oh yes... will need even More money by May of this year.

And let's not even talk about the rest of the Eurozone..

And so the financial cock (a-doodle) tease goes on and on..

Friday, January 27, 2012

1-27-12 News of Day: 25 Words or less

Been a good month for the market... everyone Happy Happy...  all the Investing boys n' girls going to bed every night, dreaming lovely happy dreams as to how they will spend All that undeserved money while ignoring the decaying environment around them..  Shhh...  don't wake them... they need their rest.  Taking money from others is exhausting, don't you know..

Anyways, as the weekend approaches, we turn to a super-fun segment where we comment on news headlines in.. yes, guessed it..  25 words or less.  Its super-fun for you all because its a moderately pithy and easy read, and its super-fun for us because we've written quite a bit this week and it allows us to let our collective typing fingers relax a bit..  

Here we go...

Republican Debate Veers Toward the Absurd (Spiegel.de International)  -- "The US Republican candidates' debate in Florida quickly devolved into a horror show of absurdities on Thursday night as candidates argued about immigration and moon colonies. Mitt Romney was branded the winner, but the real losers were the viewers, the truth and politics in general."

~ Pure political pandering due to Florida's Space Coast being decimated by job losses.  Next up- Nevada and why every American should be gambling more...

Euro ministers upbeat on Greece, crisis solution  (Reuters) -- "Euro zone finance officials voiced optimism on Friday that a deal to avert a disorderly Greek default was imminent and that key building blocks to resolve Europe's sovereign debt crisis are gradually fitting into place."

~ Isn't naivete lovely?  Greece needs €130 billion by March.  Then will need more.. and More.. Money down a hole..  like in US.  Default already!

US economy picked up pace in final quarter of 2011 with 2.8% growth (Guardian.UK) --  "Growth between October and December was fastest of year, but US economy expanded by a modest 1.7% overall in 2011...  almost 2% of the 2.8% GDP growth was accounted for by firms rebuilding their stocks of goods – an effect that is likely to be temporary."

~  For perspective, US economy expanded 3% in 2010. Be nice if government give up meddling in economy; stop manipulating capitalism & let banks/financials fail.

Fitch Downgrades Several Euro Countries (MarketWatch) -- "U.S. ratings agency Fitch says it is downgrading the credit ratings for five European nations.. Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain."

~ Actually, wrong!  Fitch is French; majority-owned subsidiary of FIMALAC headquartered in Paris. Must be why it didn't downgrade France like S&P had

Most Americans say feds should act on foreclosures (AP) -- "A majority of Americans say the federal government should act to prevent home foreclosures, but a sharp partisan divide exists between Democrats and Republicans on the issue"

~  Here's how you prevent foreclosure- pay mortgage & budget, renegotiate lending terms, or rent (by room or entire home)  But Keep your obligation!

It will be nice to see January end.. This faux 'normalcy' around the world just is too much to take; lulls people into a false sense of security-- an intellectual slumber.  Not that most people need an excuse to drift  off into a world of 'recovery' dreams; a place where governments 100% of the time magically come up with can-kicking solutions so populaces don't have to directly face the consequences of their economic life-choices, non alter their lifestyles or mindsets in any meaningful way.

February is still four days away so back to bed, young ones... dream away~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Video: Why Dow rises when US economy falters



Thought this was good video to share.  Its about 5:30 long.  TrimTabs' CEO Charles Biderman explains the reasons stocks have continually gone up, why they don't seem to care that "the Fed is pumping $100 billion in newly created money a month" to keep the economy running, and why a drop is inevitable.

I don't agree with 100% of what he says-- for instance he tends to blame Washington much more for the housing bust than I do.  I place most of the blame specifically on banks who enticed people to borrow on low interest with no background checks because they already had "buyers" for the mortgages before that were even created then packaged so banks knew they wouldn't be on the hook when the home buyers defaulted.

Overall though, he is accurate which is why I share.  If you find yourself getting caught up on technical talk and confused, don't fret- the bigger picture is easily understandable.

**  For those who can not make the video work for some reason, the link is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUvmUtWm-HE

In a Perfect World- political primaries

The other day I wrote a post entitled "In a Perfect World- State of the Union" where I laid out the type of speech I would have given if President specific to curtailing and controlling Wall Street so they knew who was Truly boss...

So I thought I would continue that theme though take a step back from the first-person 'What I would I' and instead reflect on how the current political landscape for the 2012 would be in a perfect world...

1)  There would be at least 1 Republican candidate running for President with morals, ethics and decency who actually kept their word to some degree.  Recently a poll found 33% of registered Republicans wish there was different candidate than the four left before them.. Couldn't agree more.

Here are the 4 candidates in brief:

Mitt Romney- Obscenely filthy rich (made his money by buying companies, firing the workers then breaking up to smaller pieces to turn into great profit) yet only paid 15% taxes last year, has millions in offshore accounts in the Caymans, is the true inspiration for Obamacare which is not a good thing if courting conservative votes, and is a Mormon; a cult religion that believes all black people are descendants of Lucifer, among other absurdities.

Newt Gingrich - Numerous ethics violations as House Speaker which forced him to resign, had numerous marital indiscretions including an affair with a student while he was a Professor whom he later married and is still currently with, was given a $500k credit at Cartier with zero percent interest on repayment- something no 'regular' customer received, and received over $1 million as a "consultant" for Freddie/Fannie Mae.
Rick Santorum - Basically, the Tea Party's "bitch"-- completely bought and paid for by the ultra-conservative Koch Bros who believe essentially government should not tax corporations or impose any regulations- just simply step back and allow them to make as much profit as humanly possible

Ron Paul-  Talks a good game but is really full of shit.  He has served in the US Congress for over 18years and in spite of all his anti-Fed rhetoric has never Once proposed legislation to end or at least curb the power of the Fed.  Not once.  He also supports legalization of all drugs-- not just pot but hard substances like cocaine and heroin, wants a minimalist government without any regulations, and pushes forth an unrealistic Isolationist foreign policy where every nation who is our ally is to fend for themselves economically and militarily. He likes pointing out for instance that Israel receives US $3 billlion/yr in foreign aid yet conveniently forgets that the US gives an Exact equal amount to Egypt as part of the 1978 Camp David Accord, as well as provides financial aid to at least 2 dozen other nations.

So in a perfect world there would be at least one truly good person running on the Republican side who wasn't corrupt, immoral, didn't believe in cults or was an outright charlatan.
2) Equally desirable, in a perfect world there would be a REAL Democrat running in the primaries vs Obama that either forced the President to confront 3 years of being an outright Liar to his constituents; the millions upon millions of loyal Democrats who believed his 'hope' and 'change' con.    Someone to push.. prod... outright Force Obama to truly care about the middle and lower classes instead of continual lip service.

The candidate--someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders or Rep Dennis Kucinich, may not beat Obama for nomination but would eviscerate him for wasting the first year of office while Democrats controlled Congress, on his vanity project, Obamacare instead of a job creation bill or FDR-like recovery stimulus program.  Obama would be held feet to the fire for his catering and back-bending to Wall St, allowing the Fed to spend Trillions simply to prop up the market on the backs of future generations,  Guantanamo still being open, capitulating to the Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts, on and on...
~ 2008 Obama or President Contribution list

The 2012 election as it stands today is a pretty Depressing sight.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Markets cheer; people cry (if they knew any better)

* Market Trader: "Oh Bernanke, I love you so much... you da' man!

From around 1p till bell close, the market spiked over 200pts..

Why?

Well the Fed released its official minutes and the rats & other filth liked it..

No interest rate climb till 2015 at Least!

That's at least 3 more years of very low interest for banks to borrow money from Fed to swap the collective Trillions in toxic debt its holding on its books for cash...

At least 3 more years of encouraging speculation in the market and expansion of another asset bubble to replace the housing bubble, which replaced dot.com.. etc..etc..

At least 3 more years of the Fed spending money like there's no tomorrow everytime there's a correction in the market.  They want Dow 20,000 and they will spend us all into Hell to get it...

At least 3 more years of people being enticed to borrow and borrow beyond their means in the hope they can or can't pay it back-- doesn't matter either way to the Fed.  An individual can go fuck themselves as far as the US government is concerned

At least 3 more years of getting one tenth to one hundredth of 1 percent back in interest from the bank for the thousands upon thousands of dollars you are Foolishly allowing banks to hold for you.  Fed hopes you put your money in the market.   A smart person keeps it in a coffee can-  deprive banks of fractional reserve 10x lending.

Quite a stupid populace... so many ways to demonstrate legal, lawful civil disobedience against this present financial system and yet so few people have the heart, brains or will to take any action.
~ "Market is stronger than ever.. USA!  USA!  USA!"

Get your money out of the banks.. Get your money out of the market... Don't buy expensive frivolousness or get yourself into needless debt...

Deprive this system legally of its lifeblood-- your money.

And if you don't have money, just hope & pray the market Crashes because as bad as you have been told it will be when it does, your life will be Far Far worse if the stock market continues going up...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In a Perfect World- the ideal State of Union speech

There's an old adage- If you don't want to be aggravated, do not expose yourself to things that will aggravate you.    One of these days, I shall take up that advice though today is not that day.

Came across this article in Yahoo! Financial --  5 Things Wall Street Wants From Obama’s State of the Union Address.  In a perfect world, government would be forcing Wall St to heel like an undisciplined Dog to show who really is Master.  Of course, the world we live in is as imperfect as can be, and historically, Presidents end up being the lap-dog of Wall St.   Our current leader being no exception-  there is after all a re-election to consider.

The five things it mentioned Wall St wanting from Obama were:

1) To "Crank up Stimulus Spending" which of course would put us further in debt and if we were really, really lucky, some table scraps would "Trickle Down" to the populace.

2)  End the foreclosure/housing crisis by throwing obscene amounts of money at it.   A recent audit found Freddie/Fannie Mae needing At Least $100 Billion more taxpayer dollars.  What's a few billion when the trendy word for this crisis as been "Trillion".  This would really help Investors make money.

3)  Dramatically increase oil production by 'Drill, Baby Drill!'..  Anywhere... Everywhere...   Peak Oil be damned (Peak Oil means there is a  "peak" on how much oil is available for drilling and from that point, the supply dwindles which pushes price up via supply/demand)

4)  To " Cap the tax rate on capital gains and dividends at 15%"  -- Brilliant!  Allow the Scum and Shit who caused the depression and still profiting off it, to keep even More money..  I am sure "Mittens" Romney and his $21 mill salary while paying only 15% in taxes would Love that so much, he'd be tempted to vote Obama.

5)  The "Do Not Say" list, including "discussing the election and GOP candidates, discussing Warren Buffett and the 1%, and playing the blame game."  Last thing these rats want to hear is they're to blame, they made too much money off the crisis and the gravy train must stop.
So..  What to do when one reads a piece of garbage article like that?


Simple.. respond with 5 things that in a perfect world, the President Would say and do in the State of the Union to show Wall St who is really boss.  Of course, for this exercise, I am the President, and not a corporate shill, like the last four in office.

5 Things in my State of the Union specific to Wall St.:

1)  If stimulus spending is going to occur, it would bypass Wall St and specifically the banks to be recycled into the real everyday economy.  The government would either issue debt debit cards of $10k per person who earned under $500k/yr to assist in paying down debts or the government would simply buy up All outstanding private debt so every American could start at $0 and have a chance at a good life they'd be deprived if under the weight of bank debt.

2) Legislation to control what credit cards charge to consumers.  If you have good credit and never miss payment, no card can charge more than 5.9% interest. Ever!  If consumer misses a payment, he/she is charged a fee but rate does not spike to 20% or 30%.  And if consumer has difficulty paying off 1 card, other card companies can not raise the interest rate in collusion.  The new goal of credit card companies would be to profit without capital-P "Profitting" off people.

3) If there was a way as President I could take oil off the commodities trading board so no rat or roach could speculate and drive the price artificially high, I would.  Barring that, I would take away the federal tax on gasoline per gallon for everyday drivers and trucks on the road, but then place an excise tax on jet fuel with a discounted rate for public airlines so that the airline industry would not be severely affected.  Think of it as a Sin tax for those with private jets.

4)  The tax rate on capital gains and dividends would be lowered for those who earn $50k or less in profit from investing in the market.  However, earn more and the tax rate would start at 35% with a cap of 75% for those who earn more than $2million/yr in profit specifically from Investing.  No more free ride for the rats... they Pay too.

5)  Announce that any bank who can not pass a stress test is to be Nationalized, then broken up into smaller banking units much in the way Bell Telephone or Standard Oil was broken up historically.  Enough of a warning would be given to the public so funds could be withdrawn and accounts closed in an orderly fashion without fear of panic or loss of access to funds.   Glass-Stegall would be re-introduced as law where a firewall would be in place between normal everyday banking and speculative risk.

~ The American people seem to like it...

Of course Congressional approval would be needed for many of my declarations but where none was to be found I would use Executive Privilidge wherever legally allowed to get my policies through.

Wall St would howl & begin to understand who runs this nation.

"I scratch your back.. you scratch mine.."

Gee, wonder why Obama vetoed the XL Keystone pipeline deal?

"Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit."  (Bloomberg)

But why would Obama feel indebted to Buffett?

"Mega-star investor Warren Buffett will be hosting a fundraiser for President Obama on September 30 (2011) in New York City... the event is slated to be an "economic forum""  (Fox News- Aug 25, 2011)

And...

"Warren Buffett attended a Chicago- area fundraiser last night (Oct 27, 2011) to benefit President Barack Obama’s re-election, the second time this year the billionaire investor has lent his appeal to help collect campaign cash for the man who has named a tax-increase proposal after him."  (Bloomberg- Oct 28, 2011)

Ahh.. That's why.

Example of the Basic Flaw of Capitalism

We write often here at A&G about our absolute Hatred & Despisal of Investors and really by extension the entire post-Lehman stock market.   Previously we wrote how we see the global investor-- as one soulless, verminous rat.  Here's a headline to explain why...

TI says chip demand is improving; to close 2 factories (Reuters) --  "Texas Instruments Inc reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter chip sales as customers in a broad array of industries replenished depleted inventories.  TI shares rose more than 3.4 percent in late trade on Monday... (TI) plans to close two factories -- one in Texas and another in Japan -- in the next 18 months to cut costs."

Let's go over that...

1)  Better than expected 4Q sales = more profit taking for Investors

2)  More profit means more investment in TI ("shares rose more than 3.4% on Monday)

3)  Rising shares means TI will cut all necessary costs to ensure greater profitability so that Investors are continually pleased (closure of two factories)

4)  Those 'cuts' are lost jobs- people's livelihoods.  In the US where we are in a depression but no public official has the cajones to say it openly, and in Japan that is experiencing its economic miseries of their own.

End result-- Hundreds of people newly out of work and dependent on their respective governments to financially care for them,  TI saves some money and Investors are happy bunnies

This is the basic flaw of Capitalism, an economic system that otherwise is better than all the rest.

~ When one loses their job because the corporation is losing money, its called "downsizing".  And when one loses their job while the corporation is making profit, its called "restructuring".   Given the choice I rather be downsized-- at least I know the entity causing me economic hardship is feeling it as well

Monday, January 23, 2012

King Rat

Market ended today -10 pts..  yawn..   Big Deal...

Would have preferred seeing an '8' or '9' before that '10', but its ok.. we're patient.   Sincerely can't wait to turn on CNBC when the market does drop 800pts.  though we still believe they would tell their viewers to 'buy' or 'hold' rather than admit things were bad.

Now even though for the most part, we don't post during weekends, we're still quite active here at A&G, reading and listening to an array of information from a wider array of sources.  And among the psychobabble and pollyanna optimism, one quote in particular from one professional rat Investor stuck in the mind (or rather, stuck in the craw):

"Never let reality get in the way of making money."

What did he mean?  A few things actually.  First, that no matter how bad the economic news coming from Europe or Asia or even the good ole USA, if stock prices are going up, does it really matter?  And if the rats to the left & right are ignoring, you do so as well.  He also meant that ultimately it really doesn't matter to a professional Investor if a nation is crumbling or its populace is suffering.

Profit- nothing else matters.  Fear is a money-making opportunity.

Let's take the situation with Iran as an example.   Today, the European Union with immense US pressure behind it, banned the purchase of Iranian oil which caused Iran to threaten to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's crude is transported.
Let's put aside politics and the 'right-wrong' argument to look at this through the eyes of a sociopathic Investor rat or floor trader.  He/she is salivating at the thought of rising tensions.   Lickin' them chops at the profit to be made on investment of crude oil.  Just based on today's news alone, oil went up $1.53 to close at $99.86.

So let's say a professional investor has just invested $100k into oil based on that price.   What do you think he/she wants-  tensions to be soothed n' smoothed?   The price of oil to go down??

Doesn't matter to an investor that closing the Strait will cause gas prices to spike to possibly $5/gal or more, especially if the action is prolonged.  Doesn't matter that food prices will spike as well and that could lead to civil unrest in some nations, like in Egypt and Tunisia last year.  Just means a good time to invest in corn, wheat and other edible commodities.  Doesn't matter that a dramatic increase in the price of oil would cripple the global economy and hundreds of millions, if not billions of people would be hurt..

Nope. To an investor, its a single minded focus--  Buy today at $99.86 and hope it spikes to $150 or $200/barrel so they reap enormous profit for their sole benefit.

When you turn on financial news or hear someone extremely wealthy who made their money through investing, you should not have any admiration or respect for such vermin. Soft words and expensive threads doesn't cloak who they are--  rats.  Honestly--  you're heart should be filled with hate toward such 'things'.  For they, more than banks, financials and even corrupt politicians, are the cause of many of the problems we still are facing today.
Doesn't matter the background-  black, white, hispanic, asian... Christian or Athiest.. global investors are simply rats.   And they, the rat Investors are the "royalty". All nations, financials and corporations- in debt far beyond reasonable means of repayment and Desperate for new injections of money.. they all bow and pay homage.

This is the reality of things in the modern world.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How a nation prostitutes itself...

~ A Brothel in Ancient Greece

What is the worst thing a person can sell for money?

Usually one's body is the worst, just slightly above one's soul.

And the worst thing a nation can sell short of their soul i.e. autonomy?

Greece's ancient sites to play starring role in recovery  (GuardianUK.co) --  "Archaeological treasures including the Acropolis and the temple of Delphi will be available as backdrops for filming and photographic shoots for as little as €1,600 (£1,339) a day... The debt-choked nation has taken the dramatic step of deciding to exploit some of its past majesty by utilising the Acropolis and other antiquities – cultural gems until now considered too sacred to besmirch with commerce...

"The move follows intense pressure from the European Union and IMF, the foreign lenders keeping the nation afloat. With fears of Greece defaulting on its debt mounting by the day, EU officials stepped in saying the time had come for its cultural treasures to be put to work"

Did you get that folks?  Its not that Greece wishes to do this... its the Worthless EU and by extension, the money-hungry US led IMF loan sharks pressuring the nation's government's historical antiquities "to be put to work".

Maybe its just me but reading that, I had this visual in my mind of a Bastard piece of shit 'pimp' stepfather forcing his wife to put her young daughter on the street to whore to contribute to the family income.

Can't hide it folks- that's what I think of the EU and IMF... You should too..

Greece.. Grecian people..  How much are you going to take?

Keep some pride and national autonomy... Default already!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bird in hand better than Two in a Bank

The market keeps going up, up, up...

All based on nothing, nothing, nothing...

And all the roaches on Wall St are happy, happy, happy..

And Yet, if everything is so great, great, great,

Why this...

"During the first 10 trading days of 2012, roughly 6.8 billion shares a day changed hands in the United States, down from 8 billion in 2011 and 8.3 billion in 2010, according to the New York Stock Exchange... " -- CNN/Money

And this...

"The Federal Reserve is likely to step in with $1 trillion worth of easing that could be announced as soon as this month, according to a growing consensus of economists who see the recent uptick in economic growth as unsustainable."  -- CNBC

Huh?  Thought everything was going super?  Markets keep rising.  Traders keep profiting.   What's this about "Unsustainable" and trading overall Down?   Where's all that money that is supposed to be in the market so professional traders and investors can maximize their profits on the backs of 'mom & pop'?
"Americans have been hoarding record amounts of cash since last July, according to the Federal Reserve data.   The monthly amount of cash placed in checking, savings and money market accounts, known as M2, grew at the fastest rate during the last six months of 2011 since the period following September 2001...  $889 billion, or eight times as much (has been put) into checking and savings accounts as put into stocks or bonds during the first 11 months of 2011, according to TrimTabs Investment Research. " (CNN/Money)

Nice to see people waking up to the stock market con game.  Its a nice start.  Eventually people will also wake up to the fact that their excess money shouldn't be in a bank either.

Here's two fun little math problems--   1)  Say you have $5000 in your savings account at 0.1% interest, how much interest do you collect yearly?   2)  How much profit does a bank make off your $5k if it lends to others at 6.9% interest?

Give you a moment to think...
~ Wait!  I need more time.. I don't do good at math..."

OK, answer time:

1)  $5,000 x 0.001 = $5.00   Allowing a bank to hold onto $5k of your money for a full year earns you one big fat, crisp Abraham Lincoln bill.  You can rent One whole movie and still have 75 cents after taxes to buy some chewing gum.

2)  Thanks to fractional reserve lending, a bank is allowed to lend up to 10x what it holds from depositors.  So your $5,000 allows Mr. Big Bank to lend out $50,000.  The interest based on 1 year works out as this:

$50,000 x 0.069 = $3,450, enough to buy.. well, a whole lot of stuff.

Subtract $3,450 - $5 and Mr Big Bank made $3,445 PROFIT off you

And if you think getting one-tenth of one percent is bad, just you wait!!

"The goal of the ( QE3 mortgage backed securities) purchases will be to drive down interest rates even further from current record-low levels..." (CNBC)


Who knows?  Maybe next year at this time $5k brings in a yearly savings return of a Whole Dollar!  Imagine what you can do with a buck?!
What's the morale to the story?

The government, i.e. Fed or Treasury is going to do absolutely nothing for your financial benefit unless you are extremely obscenely wealthy or are a 'Too Big to Fail'.   If somehow it could be orchestrated that tens of millions of people withdrew their non-essential money en masse from banks, it would cause the necessary chaos and fear to cause the Fed to raise interest rates one again to encourage the money to be re-deposited.

But short of something drastic, you, Mr & Ms everyday American will continue getting Bleeped by your government economically.

So really...  why is your $$ in a bank?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can't have oxymorons without 'morons'

~ Greek drachma coins

The know-nothings who run the global financial world, and by extension, run and own the financial media, have recently been a wee bit more honest and forthright about Greece's economic situation than any time in the past few years.

Many are openly acknowledging that Greece will default.  But there's a catch isn't there?  Always seems to be one...

The new cool, kitchy-catchy catchphrase to be sweeping the globe on the Top 40 'Bullshit Double-Speak Phrases of the Week Countdown' IS ~drum roll~ :

'Orderly Default'

Of course this is an oxymoron, much like 'military intelligence' or 'sexy pig'.  And if this "orderly" destruction of a nation's economy was so easy or even possible, why wasn't it done two years ago before hundreds of billions of euros were dumped down Greece's drain and its corrupt leaders were so passionately determined to not go back to the drachma and sovereign autonomy?

But for laughs, here's how the scum who control global finance explain it:  Greece's creditors, bondholders, etc allow on its own for Greece to 'default' by taking very large haircuts and supposedly because this is all done "voluntarily", it will not trigger what the European banks and EU fears the most-  Credit Default Swaps
~ 1000 drachma note

CDS are a form of insurance bondholders take out when their investments pose a risk of not being paid back.  The insurance is offered and sold freely from institution to institution, but no one really expects there to be a day they'd have to be paid back.

Think of it like this- Let's say insurance companies sell tons of hurricane coverage policies for NYC and New England residents, never expecting a True Cat. 5 hurricane to directly hit.  So buying the policy is no biggie... the insurance company is happy to take your money.  But if the unforeseen becomes reality, the insurance companies can never cover even a portion of the total damage it would bring.

CDS are no different with one exception-  unlike acts of God, banks and other financials can easily manipulate economics and finance to suit their purposes.

Greece had to be propped up all this time to protect them, not the Greeks.   Now that the realization is upon everyone that Greece will default, the goal is to now perpetrate the investor 'confidence' con -- convince credit rating agencies, banks, and all vested parties the default is 'orderly' and essentially contained.

Will they succeed?  Probably.. unfortunately..   but Hopefully not.

Someone somewhere in global finance and investing-land Must take severe pain and hardship.  Someone somewhere must lose their shirt...

Sink or swim on your own, and if you drown, no one picks you up...  Could have sworn that was what Adam Smith Capitalism was all about...

~ Ancient drachma coins set as cufflinks

___________________
___________________

PS.. Didn't feel like writing a new post when a couple sentences suffice..

Reuters headline today:  'IMF seeks $600 Billion more in funds'

Because the US runs/controls the IMF they supply 17.4% of its budget

17.4% of $600 billion is $104.4 billion.. that's how much More money in US taxpayer dollars is requested/needed to bailout Europe's national rots

It Never ends does it?   Perhaps economic capitulation and financial "reset" isn't such a terrible option in comparison..

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Here's how the US Economy works in 2012

Wall St is back after a 3 day weekend; the filth of the world dressed in expensive attire making deals; making profit based on mirages and insignificance..   market is up today.. yawn..  One of those trading days instantly forgotten by 5min after closing bell rings.

So what to write about? 

We're going to try to address a Very complex topic with as much simplicity as we can convey to educate the reader how truly absurd the economic picture is and how fortunate things have not spun truly out of control as it is.

Now for the purposes of clarity, we're not going to bog the mind with statistics and equations for all that does is stunt even the most advanced intellect from understanding the bigger picture.  For instance, if you are asked to close your eyes and picture a woman between 30 and 50, you can easily and with detail.   Now, try picturing a million women at once with similar detail?  

The mind just doesn't work that way.  Which is a big reason why terms like billions and trillions and zillions have no real meaning beyond the fact we know its a lot. So for this lesson, we're going to use very small and understandable dollar amounts.
OK..  here's how the US Economy works in 2012..

The government has a budget for running expenses- everything from defense to Social Security and many necessary functions in between.   Now for simplicity sake, let's say the total US budget for 2012 based on known expenses is $100 dollars.  I say 'known' because while the government may set aside contingency funds, it can not predict natural disasters, acts of terror, etc.

Now, right now the government takes in less tax revenue than it spends, mainly due to a refusal to tax the super-wealthy and corporations their fair share, so for simplicity, we will say the government collects $95 in taxes.    

It is $5 short.. this is the deficit.

The US has been short for many years and borrowing from China among others- it owes its creditors $115 dollars.   That's the debt.   Now the US brings in $95 in total tax revenue, so even if 100% went to the repayment and severe austerity was enacted- zero to anything else, we still could not pay back our creditors in full in a reasonable period.

So in a very simple world, the US spends more than it takes in.. creditors get owed more and more on the total balance but get nice monthly repayment checks with interest, and the debt continues growing, albeit very slowly. 
Now the government also collects revenue through something called Treasury auctions where it sells bonds to investors at periods of anywhere from 3mths to 30 years based on interest rates offered.  In a perfect world, the US is always able to sell its bonds which gives the necessary and immediate money to continue operating, and over time the investors get repaid on their risk.

OK, now let's make things more realistic--  Since the financial crisis of 2008 began, the US has had to spend A Lot of $ to keep the system from collapsing and economically resetting itself.  So if we use the example of the Govt spending $100 a year in normal operating expense, then the Fed Reserve and Treasury by proportion gave the zombie banks and other Wall St financials $1,000-$2,000.

Now the US govt. really didn't have this money to give.  So, how did it?  Well, it sped up the printing presses, creating lots of lots of money to go to the banks and other entities to keep afloat while the money, while being mere pieces of paper with pictures backed by nothing, also create debt which at a future point must be repaid.

So let's get a little more specific about the banks, Freddie/Fannie Mae and institutions like them.  Why is it when the US govt bails them out, is it not enough?  Well, see the banks and other financials are never honest about how much toxic debt is on their balance sheets.  

So let's say Bank A is holding $100 in debt, it can't ask the Govt for $100. No way the Govt could help, especially if Bank B, C and D also is holding $100 a piece in debt.   So instead each Bank says they only hold $5 in bad debt and if repaid, that solves the problem.  So they get the $5 and a few weeks later magically "discover" another $5 in bad debt and ask for more.  And if not bailed, the system will collapse-  that's the Bank's bargaining chip.
Now the Fed "lends" this money to banks at a very low interest rate .25% or 1/4th of one percent.  But the Fed doesn't want this new money circulated or loaned out to people; so it offers the banks another .25% to hold the money for them.  So basically, the interest paid to hold the money pays the interest to lend, and the banks now have free money to speculate especially in the stock market where the Fed wants it to go, and buying US Treasuries.

Basically, most of the money the government gets each month do not come from true outside investors.  It either comes from the banks, which the Fed gave for free essentially, or the Fed itself directly buys the bonds to spare the government the embarrassment of a lack of buyers.   And how does the Fed pay?  It prints more money.  And what does that do to the National Debt?   Yes, it increases it.

It gets more intricate from here but I want to tie up loose ends.  The US used to be on the Gold Standard until Nixon took the nation off in 1971 due to the expense of funding Vietnam.  Now money is basically pieces of paper, hollow coinage and digital ones and zeros.  

Everything is kept afloat in the US economy for one reason-- confidence.  I give you a piece of paper with Andrew Jackson's picture in it in exchange for something you possess, and you accept because you feel confident that piece of paper will be accepted elsewhere by someone else.   And when you put those pieces of paper in a bank and see your balance digitally blinking, you feel confident you will be able to access those funds at any time.

We're getting close to a point in time where people aren't feeling as confident about being repaid on services rendered or debts held... Nationally.. globally.. and when that happens, all the bad stuff no one wishes to think about, will begin to occur; the things one experienced in the 1930's Depression.
Its all about confidence.. con man.. con game...   

Con.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr King's courage & "saluting" the cowards

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the US where the nation honors a courageous man who wasn't afraid of adversity, difficulties or challenges; a man who spoke direct and forthright with words of conviction and sincerity.  And since Wall St. is closed today,  we decided instead we would draw comparison by focusing the areas where few to none possess Any of Dr. King's traits:  finance, investing, politics, banking and media

And we 'honor' these people a with sarcastic 'toast'--

The Sour MiLK face Salute!
A coward by definition is a person or entity which lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; to be timid or easily intimidated.  Anyone who fits this criteria, deserves the Salute, but because we don't wish to write endlessly for hours to compile such a list, here are mere highlights...

** All Quotes below in blue font are from Dr King...

"A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan."

To Fitch credit rating agency -- For not having the courage or 'balls' to downgrade France's undeserved AAA credit rating until 2013 when it was obvious to anyone with open eyes that their finances are a complete mess, but were afraid of criticism and blowback from Europe.

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."

To S&P credit rating agency -- For while getting credit for downgrading France when Fitch would not, you still get the 'Salute' for only downgrading one notch, allowing that lying ferret Sarkozy and other french leaders the opportunity to minimize your downgrade and thus minimize the significance of your agency.  A two-notch downgrade would have had Europe's leaders and banks in a much deserved Panic.  Instead, you punted.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'


To Goldman Sachs --  The most despicable, Evil corporation in the US, if not the world, which is really saying something when compared to all the other multinational corporations and banks such Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase 100% financially propped up by the Treasury & Fed i.e. US taxpayers.  While commonplace that corporations donate to both parties to 'hedge' their bets so in the loop no matter who is President, it still is pretty Pathetic that you were Obama's #1 financial supporter in '08 and still donate heavily to his re-election campaign and Yet are the #1 donor to Republican challenger Mitt Romney's campaign, already giving him over $300k in donations and it not even the end of January.

Double MiLK face Salute to you...

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

To President Obama -- Who seems to have forgotten that his political party affiliation is Democrat and the vast majority of those who support the Party have nothing but hate and mistrust for Wall St, and expect their leaders to represent them- the middle class & working people.  The American people also desire justice and fairness-- under your leadership, not one vile scumbag Wall St big-wig has been arrested, cuffed and humiliated like Bernie Madoff and former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was.   Your Dept of Justice has failed or refused to indite anyone that matters in this economic criminal enterprise and that's on you Mr President as much as your Attorney General.
"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."



To all Republican nominees -- Who refuse to talk about the US economy in their speeches and debates unless to criticize the President.  They are either too gutless or clueless to come up with real solutions to get millions of people back to work in good paying jobs that will allow the American Dream to continue.  Cutting corporate taxes and those on the rich don't solve anything-- they simply get liars and phonies elected.

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

Creating jobs means taking risks- you as a business owner are hiring people and expanding your business in the hope that you will be able to sell enough product or service to make that hiring economically beneficial.  And if it doesn't work out and the economy is still in a rut, you as the owner are forced to let people go.  Cowards do not make good business owners.  They make for great politicians though. Honestly-- how can cowardly politicians seeking election, re-election or a nice Presidential library be built for them, ever have the courage and strength to risk innovative ideas to get people working when every aspect of who they are is controlled by 'handlers' who tell them everything from what to say to what color tie to wear?

Think about that..
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

To Greece's leaders -- For not having the courage to default and leave the Eurozone a long time ago.  Yes, the conversion back to the drachma would have been painful and securing foreign loans & credit even more so, but think of it this way- your beautiful nation is in such horrible circumstances now that it still will end up defaulting if not pushed out of the EU, and you experienced an additional 12-18mths of needless pain for nothing.  What you did is akin to ignoring and stalling treatment of a tooth needing root canal

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

To CNBC --  I guess I could include Bloomberg & Fox Business but CNBC is the Worst at being lying propagandists for Wall St and finance.  As an entity they are more corrupt than North Korean TV.  Here's the CNBC mantra:  When stocks go up, encourage more buying.  When stocks go down, encourage viewers to buy more.  And when market plunges, tell viewers its best to 'hold', then wait for bottom and invest Hard!  Everything is a buying opportunity.

Everything is a money making opportunity to CNBC  And yet they state at end of show segments that investing is a risk and essentially if you lose Everything, don't blame or sue them.  Everyone who appears on the network including guests all are uber-capitalists who are blindly loyal to free market and trickle-down as the Only way to preserve freedom and save the economy.  Of course its not, but that's the kool-aid they push.  No one criticizes the Fed or US economic policy itself for the depression we're in- they're all too ingrained in the System

"There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will."

Global Investors -- Nope, we didn't forget about them.  In some ways the most disgusting, putrid cowards of them all.  When things are going well and they're making huge profits off their investments, you will not meet a more Arrogant and Cock-sure person.  And when they start losing money and the market drops too far and too quick for their liking, they are the Biggest Babies, screaming for the Fed to enact Quantitative Easing and any other policy that will help them recoup their money at the financial expense of their countrymen and women. And when they do invest, most of the time it is not based on logic or analytical data, but rather on fear and how the masses are reacting.

Every day the investor wakes up with one singular goal- to make money; to have more at the end of the day then at the start.  They are sociopaths.. they are scum.  They are investors.

Well, like we said, we could have written for hours upon hours... Soooo many cowards in the realm of finance, banking, investing, politics and the media.

So many to MiLK face Salute... only one MLK
"We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th- semi scary & semi-funny

So much to write about this Friday the 13th, but since I am a little bit under the weather, we'll stick to highlights and summaries- enough information to keep my readers well-informed without ruining their weekends...

~  File this under "Too Funny.." -- we mentioned earlier in the weekend that Fitch's credit rating agency promised France it would not lower its undeserved AAA pristine credit rating until at least 2013.  And markets rejoiced, and the snotty, snooty French became more smug...

Well it turns out there isn't just one credit rating agency that determines how nations are to be rated, but three-  Fitch, Moody's and S&P which today announced they will cut the credit ratings of France along with Austria and two notches cut for Italy, Spain and Portugal.   S&P would spare Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg the axe this go-round.

The official announcement will come at around 4:30 pm ET, after the US stock market has closed, (though the roaches who profit on Wall St. aren't taking it well so far) so there's always a chance things can be altered, but if sources are correct...
 Hawww Hawww Hawww~

~  Next topic: Greece...  Here's the quickest, most concise summary I can give as to where things are at moment:  Greece is virtually bankrupt. It needs another 130bill Euro to survive. Its running out of bare necessities like aspirin.  Parents literally putting children on streets with notes saying they can't take care of them anymore....

Germany says "Greece, you must negotiate with bondholders and banks to come to an agreement First.  Bondholders and banks say: Fuck you & your problems Greece- we're not taking any more cuts--give us our money!  So Stalemate for now.  IMF- US owned & run finance arm doesn't want to keep helping Greece; looks horrible for Obama in election year.  No one wants to prop Greece anymore but everyone scared of consequences if they don't...

Will more billions upon billions be poured into Greece's caverns?  And what about Ireland, Hungary, Portugal, etc...  Stay tuned folks and keep a clean pair of panties or undies nearby.

~ The NY Times wrote a good article today entitled, Inside the Fed in 2006: A Coming Crisis, and Banter.  Its a long article which you can read in its entirety by clicking the link below via Yahoo! Finance:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/inside-fed-2006-coming-crisis-124207691.html

Here are a couple of my favorite nuggets:

"“We think the fundamentals of the expansion going forward still look good,” Timothy F. Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, told his colleagues when they gathered in Washington in December 2006.  Some officials, including Susan Bies, a Fed governor, suggested that a housing downturn actually could bolster the economy by redirecting money to other kinds of investments."

"And there was general acclaim for Alan Greenspan, who stepped down as chairman at the beginning of the year, for presiding over one of the longest economic expansions in the nation’s history. Mr. Geithner suggested that Mr. Greenspan’s greatness still was not fully appreciated...  "I’d like the record to show that I think you’re pretty terrific, too,” Mr. Geithner said in adding his voice to the chorus of tributes at that final meeting (of Greenspan's- Jan '06). “And thinking in terms of probabilities, I think the risk that we decide in the future that you’re even better than we think is higher than the alternative.”

 And lastly.. "“It’s fitting for Chairman Greenspan to leave office with the economy in such solid shape. The situation you’re handing off to your successor is a lot like a tennis racquet with a gigantic sweet spot.”" -- Janet Yellen, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Is it any wonder this nation, and the entire global economy is in such dire straits with such soulless incompetents like Greenspan running things then, and in the case of Golden Boy Timmy Geithner, running things still today?

Time Magazine - Feb 15, 1999; Cover Text: "The inside story of how the Three Marketeers (Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan & Larry Summers) have prevented a global economic meltdown-- so far"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Consumer is Back! (but really not..)

~ Ah, Children.. they learn so young...  OOh.. Barney the Dinosaur!!

When it comes to the US economy, the media are pretty much All liars.  They want you to believe "recovery" so badly they will beat you over the head with incessant pollyanna headlines and distorted statistics until you fully comply with your 'masters' and accept it or get migraines fighting...

And even when you find honest reporting, there's always empty optimism to keep the reader from wanting to go hari-kari (also known as seppuku), or even Worse-- to stop reading/watching and stop looking at the ads.

So anyways, just curious-- how did the US consumer fare in December?

Well, Bloomberg today said:


Consumer Comfort Highest in Six Months -- "Consumer confidence in the U.S. last week reached the highest level since July as the improving job market helped allay pessimism... Less unemployment and growing payrolls may be lifting consumers' moods, providing the spark for increases in consumer spending"

Yayyy!  Whooo-Hoo!!   Let's celebrate and Shop n' Spend!!
Hmm, wait.. What did CNN/Money report today?


Shoppers Pulled Back At Holidays -- "Consumers pulled back on their spending in December despite the holiday shopping season... The Commerce Department report showed that overall retail sales rose only 0.1% compared to November...  stagnant wages are not keeping up with prices overall, and rising credit card balances, (so) there's a limit in how much consumers will be able to spend"

Jeepers!  What to believe?  Who to trust?

Hmm, OK Reuters-- tell me what or who to believe...

Retail sales weak, jobless claims up last week -- " Retail sales rose at the weakest pace in seven months in December and first-time claims for jobless benefits moved higher last week, signs the economic recovery remains shaky"

That seems abnormally honest and completely destroys Bloomberg's arguments.

OK now I am seriously bummed out.  Certainly there has to be a pollyanna nugget somewhere? I do so much hate reading depressing things...  Just ruins my bridge game
"Within the retail report, the upward revision for November sales suggests consumers frontloaded their holiday shopping as retailers discounted heavily and extended store hours in the days following Thanksgiving." - Reuters

Whewww..  OK, good.  So THAT'S why December retail sales were so poor-- everyone spent all their money in November.  I was beginning to fear it was because the nation was entering year 4 of a depression with no end...

Now I can relax... and go shopping...