1 Feb 2013

The Full Willie - Jackass talks to Turd

TFMR: Now, I always try to be respectful of your time...and attention span. Therefore, I try to keep these podcasts to something less than 30 minutes. However, visiting with The Jackass is something entirely different and this baby clocks in at about an hour and ten. If you don't have that much time or interest, then you are certainly entitled to skip around and cut the thing short. However, we live in tumultuous times and 2013 promises to be a year of significance, so I strongly encourage you to listen to this entire interview. Maybe break it up into 20 minute intervals if you must. But, The Brain of The Jackass is large and complex. If you skip around too much, you're likely to miss something.
So, if you're ready...kick back, relax and hit the play button.
Jim Willie is an original. If you want to be official about it, you can call Jim a "statistical analyst" as Jim has a PhD in statistics from Carnegie Mellon. Since 2004, however, he's simply been known as "The Golden Jackass".  

Smoke Signals

The Slog: Dutch Auction. The Netherlands having just nationalised the fourth-largest Dutch mortgage lender SNS minutes before it imploded, there is word from mainland Europe that this could be the start of something big.
French lender Credit Agricole announced a whopping impairment this morning, not long after Deutsche Bank suffered a  €2.2bn quarterly loss yesterday. CreditAg says it’ll write down the value of goodwill on its balance sheet by €2.7bn.
Much of this vindicates the predictions of distinguished author Gary B. Gorton. He argues that most post-mortems of the recent financial crisis failed to recognise the culpability of what he calls “the shadow banking system”, and new-fangled forms of debt.
Ace US trader Butch writes on this one, “If the Dutch had had derivatives and the ECB back during Tulip mania, no losses would have been realized, and we would still be kicking the can”. Quite so.
Scamming the DWP. There may yet be life after all among the mainstream meeja hacks. Word reaches Slogger’s Roost that the private sector’s outrageous ripping off of the taxpayers’ attempts to get desperate people back to work is to be full-frontally exposed by a major media provider this weekend. Think McAlpine victims, and you shall not be far wrong.

Time for a truth between the EU and the UK

The Slog: There’s a bit of a catastrophe fest going on in the EU at the moment, but not much of it makes sense. Predictably, Brussels and its UK Fifth Columnists are arguing that the effect of a British exit from the Union would be catastrophic for London, because mainland financial centers would simply regulate the City out of the game. They couldn’t and (more to the point) they wouldn’t even if they could, but the bollocks will continue until enough people are frightened, or simply stop listening entirely.
What beats me however is how this catastrophe is going to square with the other one now on the horizon: the collapse of Cyprus. This time, the agenda is “we need another bailout”, and so Olli Rehn is leading the charge on how the sky would fall in without one. Now clearly, the sky can’t fall in on the eurozone if Cyprus defaults and on Britain because it leaves the eurozone. Nobody should listen to the ezoners anyway, but if they’ve all been blown over by Cypriot debt, the credibility of their “you’ll be destroyed” shtick is pretty seriously scuppered.
There’s another option hanging around in my mind, although it isn’t in the air just yet, as such: if the EU decides to take action against the UK banking system, we should default, and thus destroy theirs. I mean blimey, if little Cyprus can deliver a eurozone belly-up, Britain could destroy the entire Western world, couldn’t it? Once this sadistic kamikaze mentality takes off, there’s no saying where it could lead.
So we need to nip the entire thing in the bud right now, today. I propose, not a truce, but a truth.

Kyle Bass Tells 'Nominal' Stock Market Cheerleaders: Remember Zimbabwe

Tyler Durden's picture Amid the euphoria of today's crossing of the Dow's Maginot Line at 14,000, Kyle Bass provided a few minutes of sanity this morning in an interview with CNBC's Gary Kaminsky. Bass starts by reflecting on the ongoing (and escalating) money-printing (or balance sheet expansion as we noted here) as the driver of stock movements currently and would not be surprised to see them move higher still (given the ongoing printing expected). However, he caveats that nominally bullish statement with a critical point, "Zimbabwe's stock market was the best performer this decade - but your entire portfolio now buys you 3 eggs" as purchasing power is crushed. Investors, he says, are "too focused on nominal prices" as the rate of growth of the monetary base is destroying true wealth. Bass is convinced that cost-push inflation is coming (as the velocity of money will move once psychology shifts) and investors must not take their eye off the insidious nature of underlying inflation - no matter what we are told by the government (as they will always lie when its critical). Own 'productive assets', finance them at low fixed rates (thank you Ben), and finally, on HLF, don't bet against Dan Loeb.

George Galloway on dictators

Georgous George Galloway talks about support for dictators, and how the British government (like most others) pick sides, especially when they have something to gain like selling weapons. Source

'US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture' – CIA veteran John Kiriakou

RT: Ten years ago, the idea of the US government spying on its citizens, intercepting their emails or killing them with drones was unthinkable. But now it’s business as usual, says John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent and torture whistleblower.
Kiriakou is now awaiting a summons to start a prison sentence. One of the first to confirm the existence of Washington's waterboarding program, he was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years in jail for revealing the name of an undercover agent. But even if he had another chance, he would have done the same thing again, Kiriakou told RT.
­RT: The judge, and your critics all seem to believe you got off lightly. Would you say you got off lightly?
JK: No, I would not say I got off lightly for a couple of very specific reasons. First of all, my case was not about leaking, my case was about torture. When I blew the whistle on torture in December 2007 the justice department here in the US began investigating me and never stopped investigating me until they were able to patch together a charge and force me into taking a plea agreement. And I’ll add another thing too, when I took the plea in October of last year, the judge said that she thought the plea was fair and appropriate. But once the courtroom was packed full of reporters last Friday she decided that it was not long enough and if she had had the ability to she would have given me ten years.

1,000 Green Berets Stand Against 'Baby Bomber' Obama's Gun Ban Decree

Over 1000 Green Berets have signed a letter re-asserting their oath to support and defend the Constitution by protecting the second amendment rights of American citizens.

The letter, which originally featured at ProfessionalSoldiers.com, was written by "current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers."

Israel’s airstrike in Syria shows how journalists can be manipulated by governments

By Dean Walsh: On Wednesday, January 30th the mainstream media reported that Israeli jets had launched air strikes against a target on the border between Syria and Lebanon. This story was reasonably prominent in the world news sections of the press. The Israeli government refused to comment, but ‘anonymous sources’ inside Israel told several major media organization that the attack had targeted a convoy of trucks traveling from Syria to Lebanon, which were carrying anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah.
This version of events – being the only version in the public domain at the time – was widely reported across the media.
Today the Syrian government disputed that version of events, saying that the strike had actually hit a military research facility just outside Damascus. This story has not received anywhere near the same attention from the mainstream media as the original reports including the information gained from anonymous Israeli sources.
I have no idea which version of events is true – it is impossible to tell. But this whole saga does serve to show how anonymous sources can be used by governments to manipulate the media narrative.

Chomsky slams US for hypocrisy in foreign policy + Christian Zionism promoting Islamophobia in US

Former Ambassador Edward Peck identifies with critics of US foreign policy.

This week the US was put in the spotlight for its unabashed support of Israel despite settlement building and the hypocrisy of assassination drone attacks in areas of Pakistan and potentially parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Galloway slapped down on dictators by pants on fire Cameron

UK Respect party's "Gorgeous" George Galloway gets a slapping down on the issue of dictators by ruling lame stream party, the conservatives, chief bullshit artist "Pants on fire, MIC and bankster shill" David Cameron. Source

“Everybody in the Industry Knows the US Doesn’t Have the Gold”

By John Rubino: In this week’s talk with National Numismatics’ Tom Cloud, he explains why Germany’s gold repatriation is just the beginning, the US Mint’s silver shortage will continue, and the big money is right about precious metals.
DollarCollapse: Hi Tom. It’s been an eventful few weeks in precious metals, though you wouldn’t know from the price action alone. Hit the high points for us.
Tom Cloud: Germany’s gold repatriation is obviously a game changer. They got all their gold back from France right away. But the US government put them off for 7 years, probably by offering them some kind of premium to take their gold back slowly. More gold, Treasuries, no one knows what exactly but clearly it was a big inducement. It’s also clear that Germany won’t be the last country to bring its gold home. The Netherlands is next and then probably Switzerland. It’s become a game of musical chairs. No one wants to be caught when the music stops. And make no mistake, it will stop. Everybody in the industry knows the US doesn’t have the gold and can’t deliver it. They’ve leased it all out.
It’s important to understand that there are two big stashes of gold in the US. Fort Knox supposedly holds the gold that belongs to us. And the New York Fed holds gold that has been deposited by other countries for safe keeping. That’s where Germany’s gold would be if the US hadn’t leased it out.
DC: Then there’s the US Mint running out of silver eagles.
TC: They sold out in the first three weeks of the year and had to stop taking orders.

China accounts for nearly half of world's new money supply

Renminbi banknotes. There's new ones all the time. (File photo/Xinhua)Want China Times: China has seen its money supply surpass that of developed countries since 2009 and has emerged as the world's biggest "money printing machine."
In 2008, the country added 7.1 trillion yuan (US$1.13 trillion) to the currency market, while the United States added 5.08 trillion yuan (US$815 billion) and Europe 5.7 trillion yuan (US$915 billion).
In 2009, China added 13.5 trillion yuan (US$2.1 trillion), while the US, Japan and the eurozone significantly scaled back their supplies. China has been steadily adding 12 trillion yuan (US$1.9 trillion) each year since 2009.
Following the global financial crisis of 2008, major economies in the world have been "printing money." Examples include the quantitative easing measures adopted by the United States and the European Central Bank's "unlimited" bond-buying program. Most recently, Japan launched its own version of quantitative easing on Jan. 22 by raising its inflation target and announcing open-ended purchases of government bonds.
The amount of newly increased money supply peaked in 2012, totaling over 26 trillion yuan (US$4.1 trillion), with China accounting for nearly half of it.
China also saw record surplus money in 2012, with its money supply pegged at 1.88 times that of its GDP. The global average in 2011 was 126% of GDP.
A jump in China's consumer price index in December last year had further fueled concerns about the surplus supply of money printed by the central bank and its potential risks.