Oprah Interviews Junkie Bernanke

"I have been mainlining monetary heroin for years." ~ The Bernank HT: Daily Bail



LVRJ: "He first touched her near her anus, and then digitally penetrated her with his fingers."

How about that?  When I was a kid that sort of thing was all analog.

Brain teaser

Click to enlarge.


Will Chuckie Schumer demand Tina Turner pay his Reich Flight Tax?

Last year, news of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin's forfeiting his U.S. citizenship caused Chuckie Schumer to propose a Reich Flight Tax to confiscate the assets of wealthy Americans trying to change citizenship. The proposal was similar to the Nazi Reichsfluchsteuer imposed on Jews escaping Hitler's Germany. Schumer even got Vichy Republican John Boehner to agree with the idea.

So where is Chuckie's outrage now that Tina Turner is giving up her citizenship in favor of Switzerland? Afraid to pick a fight with a pop icon?

The U.S. remains the only developed nation to tax its citizens' income even when they no longer live or work in the country.


Zimbabwe Ben comes to Trader Joe's

In 2010, we noted the Bernanke effect on packages of chestnuts at Trader Joe's, shrinking the contents by 19% for an effective 23% price inflation.

2012 brings us more news of the Monetizer-in-Chief's impact on Trader Joe's shoppers. The store's iconic "Two-buck Chuck" Charles Shaw wine is getting a 25% price increase.

As the intellectual heavyweight team of Robert Reich and Sarah Palin note, QE infinity is designed to crush the working and middle classes with food and energy inflation while making the rich richer by increasing the value of their (often leveraged) assets.

Are your wages increasing as fast as grocery prices are?


Charles Hugh Smith: the Road to Debt-Serfdom

No one writes about America's corrupt, crony capitalist bankster-government complex as succinctly as Charles Hugh Smith:
The road to debt-serfdom is paved by the banks and enforced by the Central State.If there is any point that is lost on ideologues, Progressive and Conservative alike, it is this: the first-order servitude and second-order tyranny of debt-serfdom can only occur if the banks' power is extended and protected by an expansive Central State.

Progressives are blind to the State's essential role in creating and empowering a parasitic financial Aristocracy, and Conservatives are blind to the tyranny of debt-serfdom imposed by the private-sector financial Aristocracy, i.e. the banking sector.

Answer these questions before reaching for your ideological blanket:

1. How many banks would loan penniless, near-zero-income students $100,000 if the State did not backstop and ruthlessly enforce its parasitic, exploitive "student loan" programs? Answer: none.

The consequence if the tyrannical State ceased to enforce the debt-serfdom of Student Loans: the Education Cartel would collapse in a odoriferous heap, and the banking Aristocracy would be stripped of a highly profitable State-run business.

2. Under what conditions would banks originate mortgages if the State did not guarantee mortgages via FHA and the other socialized-mortgage agencies? Answer: 30% to 35% down, hefty points and a higher rate of interest than FHA loans.
Click on over and read the whole thing. Then check out the rest of his blog.


Greenspan's Body Count: Hans Walters, Kathryn Walters, and child

The real estate wasteland of Las Vegas has been a favored hunting ground of serial killer Alan Greenspan. Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count comes from the Las Vegas suburb of Boulder City:
A Las Vegas police lieutenant and two family members are dead after an apparent double murder, suicide and arson at a home in Boulder City, authorities said Monday.


Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said a man called 911 at about 8:20 a.m. Monday and told a dispatcher he killed his wife and child, set his house afire and would shoot anyone who approached.

The home is owned by Hans Walters, according to Clark County assessor records. Many know Walters as a Las Vegas police lieutenant married to a former Las Vegas police officer, Kathryn Walters. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that she left the department in 2005.

Boulder City police arrived to find the homeowner with a handgun in the doorway of the burning house before he retreated back inside and apparently killed himself.
Hans Walter bought the home at 1313 Esther Drive near the peak of the bubble in 2005 for $305,000. Zillow currently values the house at $155,124.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 236.


Terminator was right

I knew it. (youTube)

I have a dream

... that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

- Martin Luther King, 1963

U.S. Post Office cuts threaten source of black jobs

- Reuters, January 21 (Martin Luther King Day), 2013

Sovereign Man

As the U.S. appears irrevocably on the path to a bankrupt welfare and police state (face it: we were already in trouble after Bush, but Obama has destroyed the middle class and the rich will never generate enough tax revenue to cover his spending trajectory), I've been thinking and reading more about escape plans.

International Living has practical advice, largely oriented toward retirees, on the best places to live and how to navigate immigration and health care systems.

Sovereign Man is geared toward younger John Galt types who refuse to be debt serfs to a corrupt regime. He offers both practical advice (Chile is a current favorite) and a libertarian philosophy:
Think about it. We live under a system where, simply from being born on a piece of dirt, citizens are obliged from birth to pay taxes on our worldwide income, fight and die in foreign wars, pay down the massive debts of our forefathers, etc. None of which we volunteered for.

It’s crazy. This system may have made sense several hundred years ago… the nation state was a natural progression from the days of kingdoms and empires, where people swore allegiance to a genocidal king.

Today, we pledge allegiance to a piece of dirt, to institutions run by criminally incompetent politicians, to neighbors we’ve never met, and to a society that no longer shares our values.

Again, though, technology is rapidly making this system obsolete.

With modern travel and telecommunication, geography hardly matters. We can now forge relationships with people across the globe. Money can be moved across borders in an instant. Many countries offer big incentives to attract foreign residents.

In today’s world, we can live in one country, earn income and do business in another, hold savings in another. This chain can go on almost forever. We can store our gold in another. Receive high quality, inexpensive healthcare in another. Store ‘digital assets’ in another. Etc.

These are no longer tactics of the wealthy. Technology makes this all possible for nearly everyone, if you have the right information.
It's a welcome message for those of us who despair over what's happening in America. While freedom in America is dying, there's a wide world out there, and freedom is blossoming somewhere else.



Government debt slavers advertise on Drudge

The government debt slavers have got so much funny money to spend, and need to recruit new slaves so badly, they don't even notice when they're funding the anti-regime media.

The ad closer up:

For background on why the government needs student debt slaves, please see Student loan suckers: the last poor schlubs propping up the U.S. Ponzi.
[W]hat keeps consumption going? Debt, euphemistically known as "consumer credit." The great GDP and stock market boom of the last thirty years was driven by consumption growth. And that consumption was not just in line with personal income growth, but turbo-charged by rising indebtedness [...]

Working folk are tapped out, don't want more debt, and in many cases wouldn't qualify for more debt if they did want it. Who to sucker into taking on debt? Young people who don't know any better, of course. Just as young families were suckered into taking on unsustainable housing debt a few years ago because "home ownership is the key to the American dream," now the next generation is being suckered into taking on unsustainable student debt because "education is the key to the American dream." Well, taking on $100,000 of debt for a four-year liberal arts degree will turn out about as well as buying that tract home in the Inland Empire at 10x median income. Even worse: you can walk away from a tract home, but you can't walk away from student debt.


Reuters selectively edits Fitch statement to change meaning

Here's what Reuters said about Fitch's debt ceiling warning:
Fitch warns U.S. AAA at risk from debt ceiling struggle

Jan 15 (Reuters) - There is a material risk the United States would lose its triple-A if there is a repeat of 2011 wrangling over raising the country's self-imposed debt ceiling, rating firm Fitch said on Tuesday.

"If anything the pressure on the U.S. rating is increasing," Fitch's head of sovereign ratings David Riley said at a conference hosted by the firm.

"If we have a repeat of the August 2011 debt ceiling crisis we will place the U.S. rating under review. There will be a material risk of the U.S rating coming down," he added.

That's the news story, in its entirety, clearly implying that Fitch just wants the debt ceiling raised in order to avoid a downgrade. In other words, the Republicans should unconditionally surrender to Obama's demands.

Not quite. Here's what Reuters left out:
"In the absence of an agreed and credible medium-term deficit reduction plan that would be consistent with sustaining the economic recovery and restoring confidence in the long-run sustainability of U.S. public finances, the current negative outlook on the 'AAA' rating is likely to be resolved with a downgrade later this year even if another debt ceiling crisis is averted."
In other words, the exact opposite of Reuters' spin.

Is it any wonder the Democrats keep winning the PR battles with the MSM carrying their water like this?


Higher education bubble update: college girls prostitute themselves to creepy old dudes

Hey, it's better than getting deeper in student debt, the new herpes!

In the face of rising college costs and mounting student debt, more college students are joining an online dating site that bills itself as “the world’s largest Sugar Daddy website.” Student membership increased by more than 50 percent in 2012, Angela Jacob, a spokeswoman with the site said. That includes 57 female students from UC San Diego and 32 members from San Diego State University.

The site, SeekingArrangement.com, based in Las Vegas, pairs “sugar babies,” which include actors, models and students, with older benefactors. Its pitch is that as student debt keeps creeping upward, these “mutually beneficial arrangements” can give two parties what they each desire. One page shows the photo of a middle-aged man fanning $100 bills and leering into the camera. “I love beautiful young ladies, and I am not ready to commit. This website is the perfect dating website for me.”

Sign-ups from UCSD more than tripled from the year before, while SDSU’s membership more than doubled. Annual full-time in-state tuition at UCSD is $13,234 and $6,578 at SDSU.

The site’s college student members receive around $3,000 per month on average “to cover the cost of tuition, books and living expenses,” Jacob said.
Who am I to tell a naive young girl that the degree she'll pay for by sleeping with a dirty old man isn't a ticket to a dream job and a middle class life any more? She'll figure it out on her own eventually.


Well, in that case, keep spending!

This is the good news on the deficit, according to liberal defenders of the Obama-Bernanke policy of endless spending, borrowing, and printing.

The Good News about Big, Bad Government Debt:
We may simply be on a long, slow road to Japan-style impoverishment that never comes to an end in a Greece-style blowup.
Who wouldn't want to leave their children a life of Japan-style impoverishment?


Pakistan kiln laborers much like US student loan debt slaves

... or, for that matter, all future US generations who will bear the burden of Obama's debt.

Pakistan kiln laborers hemmed in by debts they can't repay.
Brick makers and others live a life of indentured servitude known as bonded labor. They must borrow to live, and their debts pass on to their children when they die.
Debt kills. Don't do it.

Jobs - the Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Forbes provides "The 10 Best Cities for Finding Employment Right Now" and "The Worst Cities for Jobs Right Now". The MSM in full brilliance.

No. 5 Best:

No. 6 Worst:

Kind of reminds me of CDOs in 2006 and the Goldman Sachs trading desk...


Eponymy kills

Geelong [Australia] Advertiser:
A man and a woman were found dead in their loungeroom at Indented Head yesterday after an apparent murder-suicide.

Music was playing inside the couple's unlocked home in Brett Drive when police found the bodies.

The woman was lying on a day-bed, and the man was slumped in a nearby armchair. Both had gaping head wounds.


Gold: a multigenerational store of value

Welcome to Camp Marston, a historic summer camp near Julian, California, from the early days of the San Diego YMCA.

"Photo from 1928, when boys would meet at the Downtown YMCA at 8th & C Avenue, then climb aboard this old truck for the long ride to Julian.  The fee for a camp session that year was $11.50 plus $1.50 for transportation." - photo caption.

This summer, a child can attend for $685.

That $11.50 in 1928 was just over half an ounce of gold, which was then around $20.66 per ounce.  The price today is just under a half an ounce of gold at $1650 per ounce.

Fiat currencies will come and go, but gold remains a remarkable long-term store of value.  And with central banks only recently ramping up the game of Global Competitive Devaluation, the next 85 years could see an even bigger divergence between gold and fiat than the last 85 years.

In the post-1971 pure fiat currency regime, gold has generated equity-like average returns with the diversifying benefit of a low correlation to equities.  It can be expected to outperform equities in a number of economic and policy scenarios for which the probabilities are decidedly non-zero.  I cannot fathom a valid excuse for any investor having a 0% allocation to gold.


Hollywood Hypocrisy

This illustrates Hollywood hypocrisy perfection.

Warning - profanity and horribly violent scenes that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars for the actors giving the message.

Global competitive devaluation hits German renters

Germany ought to have low rent inflation, with its sluggish economy and declining demographics.  But a funny thing happens when people lose faith in a currency.  They begin to chase scarce assets with limited supply: fine art, gold, beachfront property, Berlin apartments.

The exploding costs and dwindling supply of urban housing are slowly pushing Germans of average means out of the cities. As September's national election approaches, politicians are jockeying to find viable solutions to a problem they helped create.

[...] Of the 1,200 apartments Mingazzini has sold this year, 150 were bought by Italians seeking to invest their savings in German real estate, which is seen as crisis-proof. "They know full well that if they buy an apartment that's currently being rented for €5 ($6.60) a square meter (about $0.60 a square foot), they can charge a lot more on a new lease," Mingazzini says.

The method being used by Italian teachers and lawyers to protect themselves against the euro crisis is causing turmoil in Germany's capital. Berlin's housing market is going haywire as local rents explode. Since 2007, average rents in the western part of the city have gone up by 20 percent, and other major cities are now experiencing the same development. Even apartments in second-tier cities have become nearly unaffordable for people with average incomes.

There was a time in my naive youth when I thought the Euro would be a sounder currency than the dollar because of the "stability pact" which imposed strict fiscal discipline on member states, limiting them to deficits of 3% of GDP.  Little did I realize that the "stability pact" was as big a farce as Gramm-Rudman, Pay-Go, the debt ceiling, or any budget gimmick that will be broken by politicians as soon as it becomes inconvenient.

Fasten your seat belts.  You wouldn't like the Germans when they're angry about inflation.


Fascism Speaks

Joseph Goebbels would be proud of this op-ed in the NYTimes by Georgetown constitutional law professor Louis Michael Seidman:
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
He opens with that gem and closes with perfect Orwell:
If we acknowledged what should be obvious — that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions — we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey. It would become apparent that people who disagree with us about the Constitution are not violating a sacred text or our core commitments. Instead, we are all invoking a common vocabulary to express aspirations that, at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. Of course, that does not mean that people agree at the ground level. If we are not to abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we might at least understand it as a place for discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith effort to understand the views of others, rather than as a tool to force others to give up their moral and political judgments.

If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.
The document that guarentees our freedom is the Constitution of the United States. If one actually reads each sentence one would realize that beyond a shadow of a doubt its intent is to protect our freedoms. Seidman's argument should astonish and terrify. Our political class is in end game mode. Their goal is the destruction of the United States so that they can further their wealth transfer dominance to a global level. All that is in their way is that pesky document because once American freedom and democracy is destroyed, the rest of the world will be a piece of cake....of course as long as in that campaign they don't try to take Stalingrad in the winter.

This is one of the faces of the new America Fascism:

Oh government, you crazy kidders you!

So the folks down in El Paso thought it would be a good idea to stage a school shooting without warning anybody.
EL PASO, Texas — 
At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, the students and teachers at Eastlake High School were told to vacate the hallways and lock down in their classrooms. According to students and parents, gunshots and screams were heard. The SWAT team was seen entering the school.The Socorro Independent School District stands behind its decision to simulate an act of terrorism without warning teachers, parents or students.
At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, the students and teachers at Eastlake High School were told to vacate the hallways and lock down in their classrooms. According to students and parents, gunshots and screams were heard. The SWAT team was seen entering the school.
I keep forgetting, who are the terrorists again?


Republicans surrender on fiscal cliff

Tiny tax increases, spending cuts revoked, trillion-dollar Obama deficits as far as the eye can see.
The changes in tax rates that were agreed to between Messrs. Biden and McConnell would raise roughly $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years.
$600 billion over ten years, when we are running trillion-plus-dollar deficits each and every year. In other words, less than 6% of the deficit!

Gee, who could have seen that coming?
We will get tax increases that raise a trivial amount of money relative to the deficit, no real spending cuts or entitlement reform, and no path to fiscal sustainability.

To illustrate what a complete farce this whole thing is, the "spending cuts" that had everyone's panties in a twist were a $24 billion "sequester." Yes, $24 billion, or 2% of the permanent trillion-dollar deficit.

It gets worse. Some of the "tax increases" actually make the long-run fiscal situation worse. WSJ:
Republicans had insisted the cuts of $24 billion be offset with savings in other areas. The White House wanted some of the offset to be in the form of tax increases, not just other spending cuts.

The deal pays for delaying the sequester with a mix of new taxes and spending cuts, according to several congressional aides.

Of that $24 billion cost, $12 billion would come from a shift in the rules affecting workplace-based 401(k) plans. The change would allow plan holders to roll their 401(k) assets into a Roth IRA plan, which would require them to pay taxes up front on any gains in their plan. The benefit for investors would be that disbursements from Roth plans in retirement are tax free.
Get that? Allowing the option of a Roth conversion is a "tax increase." It will bring in a trivial amount of additional revenue in the near term, but reduce future revenues much more substantially by zeroing out income tax revenue from those converted IRAs after they have multiplied in value decades in the future.

To summarize, Congress is going to keep running trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and Zimbabwe Ben is going to coincidentally monetize almost exactly a trillion dollars of debt per year. Got gold?

Nailed it

Twitter (X) : To be fair, though, I thought they'd come up with someone more appealing than Cackles Harris.