Just in case you haven't seen it yet, James Howard Kunstler, major American author and great longtime friend of The Automatic Earth (Jim would be the first to acknowledge he learned a thing or two about finance here at TAE), gave another big shoutout to us this week in his list of favorite sites. Always a pleasure and an honor, Jim.
Blogger Pater Tenebrarum of Acting Man put it nicely today: Since Mario Draghi "bought" European bankers and politicos a summer vacation by promising to pull out all the stops to save the Euro, this blog will take a break (not a vacation) for a week from the nauseating ongoing melodrama of international finance and instead offer reviews of the other bloggers and podcasters out there that I follow.
1. Outstanding for consistent excellence, acuity, clarity, and the milk of human kindness is the McAlvany Weekly Commentary. David McAlvany manages an investment company out of Durango, Colorado, with an emphasis on precious metals. His interview subjects are high-caliber figures often outside the posse of usual suspects making the rounds elsewhere on the web. He speaks beautifully in complete sentences, shows enough emotion to come off as sympathetically human, and has an equally intelligent sidekick in Kevin Orrick. Together they present the most coherent view of money and politics on the web. A Christian enthusiast, he admirably keeps religion mostly out of the script.
2. For years, The Automatic Earth has presented the most consistently intelligent, wide-ranging, and intellectually rigorous view of the overall ongoing financial fiasco in the written blog format. Until the past year, most of the commentary was written by the droll Raul Ilargi Meijer. Now he is joined by the brilliant energy and finance analyst Nicole Foss and young Ashvin Pandurangi. Their combined point of view is staunchly deflationist. They do immense amounts of homework, cut through all the bullshit to the dense core of our troubled reality, and publish several times a week. The title of the blog comes from a Paul Simon lyric out of Graceland.
3. Zero Hedge. The mysterious person(s) behind this massive continuous stream of reports and analysis from the loony bin of Wall Street and beyond has a manic edge but accurately reflects the madness of the current situation. Zero Hedge seems to post virtually around the clock, every day. They are relentless and hugely comical, with exactly the right sharply malicious overtones required in these evil times. The characters who infest their comment section are some of the worst vermin in trolldom.
4. Mish's Global Analysis. I don't know how Mike Shedlock ("Mish") does it. He puts out two or three commentaries a day as well as holding down a regular job. His great service to us is providing the best breaking analysis of breaking news, that is, making sense of events that are often mystifying — since mystification is one of the prime tactics of financial playerdom in these dark, non-transparent times — and getting it done in a very timely way. The upshot is that few of the dodges and ruses emanating from the money world get by this guard-dog, to the huge benefit of us civilians.
5. Charles Hugh Smith's blog, Of Two Minds, manages to publish keenly insightful analysis practically every day in the form of essays that tend to follow big picture themes: governance, energy, taxation, culture, electoral politics. Smith's penetrating, dogged analysis connects vast constellations of dots between the forces that are shattering late industrial economies. He apparently does it all by himself and has also produced several excellent books that form a rich matrix of understanding for anyone trying to make sense of the epochal changes coming down on us.
6. Naked Capitalism is Yves Smith's daily roundup of first rate essays on disasters of banking, including her own forceful callings-out of the ubiquitous misconduct that surrounds her on Wall Street where she works. Her writing is fluent and clear on subjects that would otherwise appear hopelessly abstruse, which is especially valuable where complexity is a cover for misbehavior.
7. In an earlier incarnation of this life, Chris Martenson was a PhD biochemist toiling for da man in the corporate swamps of Connecticut. He literally dropped out and reinvented himself as a blogger / podcaster when the peak oil and debt trap equation startled him into recognizing that the reigning system of political-economy's days were numbered. Since then, he has produced perhaps the best book on the failures of contemporary finance, The Crash Course, and has lately ginned up an excellent weekly interview podcast that should be indispensible.
8. The Archdruid Report. To the casual observer John Michael Greer would seem an odd figure, being a long-bearded, shambling, threadbare enthusiast of things druidical (whatever they are), but he's also about the most humane, articulate, and lucid observer of the crumbling economic and political scene from the realm of totally outside the box. He puts out a beautifully crafted essay every Thursday from the backwater of Cumberland, Maryland, and his view of where the human race is headed is sobering, reassuring, and full of authentic empathy for our multiple predicaments.
9. Jim Willie's Hat Trick Letter at The Golden Jackass Report is a deep, complex, often savage dissection of financial reality that always manages to illuminate new angles on the giant hairball of lies and swindles that the money world has become in our time. He writes in a singular telegraphic style that is delightful to read in a way similar to the pleasures of watching certain horror movies. He assumes that his readers already know a lot and can follow the often recondite pathways of financial discourse that he is such an excellent guide to
10. The Keiser Report with Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert. Stacy is the straight-person to Max's antic persona. But no one has flogged the evil-doers of banking as hard and unrelentingly as Max, who worked on the inside of the investment racket until driven by outrage to become one of its fiercest attackers. His perch in Paris gives him a front-row seat on the shenanigans now unraveling civilization in the Eurozone, but he shines his lamp under the rock of Wall Street regularly and loves to put the wicked Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan in the spotlight.
11. King World News. Eric King is the reigning gold bug of podcastdom. While he unabashedly "talks his book," one gathers he does it because he sincerely believes in the arguments for precious metals (as I do) and he brings out around five punchy interviews a week with a revolving cast of fellow gold bugs and other generally intelligent high level players in that world – though I could do without the snide Gerald Celente.
12. Financial Sense New Hour. Jim Puplava recently expanded his formerly weekends-only massive three hour podcast to include premium-priced weekday interviews with a lineup of insiders. Puplava covers the waterfront energetically, but he has some weaknesses: 1.) his malaprop rate is staggering; 2.) he doesn't challenge guests spouting obvious nonsense; 3.) other than being a staunch inflationist, his views on the markets shift with whatever wind is issuing from a guest's mouth; and 4.) he's a closet John Bircher who does an annual summer show (any week now) featuring an appalling roster of right-wing crazies. In a normal culture, that alone would tend to discredit all his other worthy endeavors. His sidekick John Loeffler sounds more consistently intelligent. Both of them are jesus freaks, of course.
13. Added Monday p.m. I almost forgot the memorable, mordant, and brilliant Dmitry Orlov (sheer brain fart on my part). Orlov is a fantastic writer and a great mind. Visit ClubOrlov
I left a few characters off the main list, but shoutouts to CK Michaelson's Some Assembly Required blog, Bruce Krasting's blog, Bill Bonner's The Daily Reckoning, Whiskey and Gunpowder, the brave Martin Armstrong, Jesse's Caf Americain, Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture, Carl Denninger, Peter Schiff, the great, sobering Doug Noland of the Prudent Bear's Credit Bubble Bulletin, Pater Tenebrarum of Acting Man, Doug Henwood, the savvy and beautiful Lauren Lyster, Bill Moyers… and probably several others who I am (unfortunately) too rushed to mention.
James Howard Kunstler's newest nonfiction book, TOO MUCH MAGIC, will be available in stores in July 2012. The book will be available at booksellers, large and small, online and off. To find out how you can help support local bookstores with your purchase, CLICK HERE