David Westerfield

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Category: Economics Page 1 of 8

Icahn’s Concerns for the Economy at Large

This is an excerpt from Zerohedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-11/carl-icahn-warns-meltdown-high-yield-just-beginning

Over the course of 15 minutes, Icahn lays out his concerns about many of the issues we’ve been warning about for years and while none of what he says will come as a surprise (especially to those who frequent these pages), the video, called “Danger Ahead”, is probably worth your time as it does a fairly good job of summarizing how the various risk factors work to reinforce one another on the way to setting the stage for a meltdown. Here’s a list of Icahn’s concerns:

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Peter Schiff is (Hopefully Not) Right, Again

Mr. Bond Market Himself Endorses “Ron Paul-ish” – Zero Hedge

“I’m Bill Gross And I Endorse Ron Paul For President”

Well well well, looky there who supports Ron Paul fellers: Bill Gross, Mr. bond market himself, CNBC’s mainstream goto man for all things related to the treasury market … I wonder if he’s a conspiracy theorist too 🙂 So let me get this straight: we have former CIA officers, one of which who worked for Reagan and briefed him daily on intelligence matters, a former DIA officer (Able Danger anyone? Look it up), former CIA chief over the BIN LADEN unit in Afghanistan (you heard me), scores of military personnel giving campaign contributions adding up to more than any other candidate combined, nationally renowned law scholar Jonathan Turley giving hints on C-SPAN and elsewhere (if not right out endorsement, haven’t searched for one) … and scores of other high profile individuals who support Ron Paul.

What am I missing here when people call him “kooky” or “loony” or “old man conspiracy theorist?” Yes, I realize some of his ideas are not tenable or, if we’re honest, even possible in terms of support. But as with theology debates, those are secondary issues, if you get my drift. The guy supports freedom more than anyone, something under assault in our day, he’s a true conservative (not a neo-conservative, there is a difference), something none of the other candidates seem concerned about, and he’s pro-life. Yes, he has a different way of going about addressing that, but his pro-life stance is clear.

I just don’t get it. The fear-mongering over Iran is an exact mirror of the Iraq situation, in which we now have Colin Powell saying if we knew they didn’t have WMD’s we wouldn’t have gone in. The intelligence was skewed, either intentionally (many people’s contention, mirroring what we now know about the CIA in the 1970’s and intelligence related to the USSR in terms of their capabilities) or by pure negligence. But I digress.

It’s unfortunate the Romney’s, Gingrich’s and the Fox News’s have essentially hijacked any chance this great man might have had. If Bill Gross endorses Paul, the writing is on the wall in terms of what he thinks of the US debt situation. We’re in deep … well, debt. A debt-to-GDP ratio of over 100% must have pushed him over the edge.

What Are These Protests About?

Many are weighing in and spinning what these protests are about. Liberal pundits slam only banks and couple Republicans to the problem, ad nauseum. Conservatives defend the banks against what they perceive as a monolithic group of liberal protestors while ignoring the banks’ obvious and blatant fraud as well as their disregard for the law and yet at the same time (appropriately) slamming liberals like Michael Moore for absurdly wanting to get rid of capitalism.

While I agree with Herman Cain on a lot of issues, he proved to not understand what is happening either and frankly offered a very arrogant assessment of those without jobs or aren’t rich that can’t seem to help him win many points with voters, especially independents: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.” In other words, pull up your bootstraps you unemployed yobs!

Now I’m all for personal responsibility and taking ownership, but I also believe in the ability and likelihood of elites using power and prominence for evil. Our situation economically came from and was initiated by fraud, both in the private and public sectors, and is being perpetuated and protected by people in his position, at his level. I know a couple of people who have not been able to find jobs for over 52 weeks. It is mean and arrogant to slam them as if this is something they can prevent.

But regardless in the midst of all this back and forth and nonsensical discourse that misses the forest for the trees, the message is being lost as to what this is all about.

It really comes down to something I wrote in a couple of comments on Facebook related to the protests recently:

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Finally Found a Term to Describe What America is Unfortunately Becoming

Kleptocracy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy

From Wikipedia: “Kleptocracy is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means “rule by thieves”. Not an official form of government such as a democracy, republic, monarchy, or theocracy; a kleptocracy is rather a pejorative for a government perceived to have a particularly severe and systemic problem with the selfish misappropriation of public funds by those in power.”

Max Keiser describes it quite well in his usual over-the-top rhetoric in this edition of the Keiser Report. Hilarious … and not, all at the same time.

The Breakdown Draws Near – Chris Martenson

Enemies Both Foreign … and Maybe Domestic? Pentagon: Financial terrorism suspected in 2008 economic crash

Financial terrorism suspected in 2008 economic crash – Washington Times

Many have said the term ‘Financial Terrorism’ was extreme to describe what happened to the economy in 2008. No more. The Pentagon confirms the reality.

I agree with everything in this article about causes of the crash, and glad the government is finally officially admitting this to be the case, this was a very big step in the right direction. The only problem is we blame every foreign enemy possible, according to the report, and fail to look right under our noses at our own hedge funds, financial firms, banks, and other large players who have way too much power, exclusive access to what is becoming an unaccountable Fourth Branch of government (i.e. the Federal Reserve), and the ability to manipulate the market any which way they choose, winning on the way up and on the way down (via exotic financial products like derivatives, CDO’s, MBS’s, etc). And then appealing to the government for a bailout if another firm can’t pay up what is contractually theirs.

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US in Depression and What it Means for the Church in America

The ‘D’ word is being uttered in the mainstream now. Despite whatever the media says concerning the ‘jobless recovery’ we’re in (which is a complete oxymoron) or the ‘summer recovery’ we’ve begun that Obama touted as truth last month, all indicators are pointing to the fact that the US is officially entering an era of economic depression, something not seen in my or my dad’s generation.

The numbers tell the story. A couple of articles in particular are pointing to this fact. One on CNBC, the other by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph. In addition, even liberal, Keynesian economist Paul Krugman from the New York Times is calling this the beginning of the Third Depression, as I talked about in my last entry. He is dead wrong on how to fix it, but his diagnosis is correct.

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Credit Crisis Was a Gigantic Ponzi Scheme, on the Scale of Enron x1000

It seems this message is becoming more mainstream these days. It’s about time. Max Keiser is right to call this financial terrorism, especially in light of the fact that we, the tax payers, have bailed them out while everyone else is suffering from their dealings, and as a result, they have had record profits this past year. Unbelievable. I’m pro-profit, pro-free-market, pro-conservative, but Max Keiser is also right to call this Rigged Market Capitalism. I can’t think of a better term for it.

Anyone else find it odd the “flash crash” (1000 point dow drop within a matter of minutes) happened right when Congress was negotiating rules regulating derivatives? Oh and oddly enough now, the rules around derivatives have been completely gutted as I understand it. There is rampant corruption and looting going on within the government and the larger corporate world, particularly the monolithic banks. This is not a free market but an oligarchy.

More generally, here are Davidowitz’s views on the economy at large. Even Paul Krugman from the New York Times is calling the Third Great Depression, though he’s completely wrong about the remedy (even more spending).

Situation Vastly Worse Than Two Years Ago in the Global Markets: Taleb

http://www.cnbc.com/id/37610064

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European History Repeats Itself

“Europe’s fiscal Fascism brings British withdrawal ever closer” – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – Telegraph

“Just when you thought the EU could not go any further down the road towards authoritarian excess, it gets worse.” – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Things are spinning out of control in Europe, economically, fiscally and socially. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that “Europe is in a ‘very, very serious’ situation and that success is not yet guaranteed.” And no amount of money thrown at the situation can fix the structural cracks that are now emerging in the very fabric of the continent.

And what do these things have to do with the US? We face a very similar situation in the near future when compared in parallel to Europe with states versus the federal government. The only difference is the federal government is well established. Certainly there are differences that cannot be overlooked. Yet the situation sounds all too familiar with the federal government over-stepping its reach on several different fronts since Obama took office.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from the Telegraph hits on the historical nature of what is happening (history repeating and history being made) as well as the tyrannical nature of what the EU is proposing to alleviate problems. As one commenter said in response to the article, “I’m getting a very bad feeling about how matters economic and social are going to pan out over the next 3 – 5 years. There’s trouble blowing in the wind.”

Below are some of the summary quotes from the article above.

“Fonctionnaires and EU finance ministers will pass judgement on the British (or Dutch, or Danish, or French) budgets before the elected bodies of these ancient and sovereign nations have seen the proposals. Did we not we not fight the English Civil War and kill a king over such a prerogative?”

“Yet again we are discovering the trick played on our democracies by Europe’s insiders when they charged ahead with EMU [European Monetary Union], brushing aside warnings by their own staff economists that monetary union was unworkable without fiscal union. Jacques Delors knew perfectly well that this would lead inevitably to a crisis, but it would be the ‘beneficial crisis’ that would force sovereign parliaments to submit to demands that they would never otherwise accept.”

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