May 152016
 May 15, 2016  Posted by at 9:28 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jack Delano Brakeman H.B. Van Santford on the AT&SF line from Summit to San Bernardino 1943

Steve Keen Talks Debt, Trump and Gold (RT)
Economists Disagree With Voters Who See US Worse Off Today Than in 1960s (WSJ)
China: “It Appears That All The Engines Suddenly Lost Momentum” (R.)
Chinese Banks’ New Loans Plunge By More Than Half In April (R.)
Shell Eyes $40 Billion Non-Core Asset Spin-Off To Cut Its Huge Debt Pile (Tel.)
Moody’s Downgrades Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman (AP)
German Professors And Entrepreneurs File Complaint Against ECB Policy (R.)
The Vultures’ Vultures: New Hedge-Fund Strategy Corrupts Washington (HuffPo)
Farmland Values Fall Sharply in Parts of the Midwest (WSJ)
Cameron’s Anti-Brexit ‘Remain’ Campaign Has A Major Trust Issue (Ind.)
German Government Plans To Spend €93.6 Billion On Refugees By End 2020 (R.)

Very interesting. I’ve said it a thousand times: everyone should let sink in what Steve has to say. It’s curious to see that people like Max agree with everything Steve says -as far as they can understand him-, but disagree with him on gold.

Steve Keen on Debt, Trump and Gold (RT)

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No, really, this is a serious WSJ article. Economists claim they know better then you about your own situation, and the paper gives them the space to utter their blubber. “You’re not really hungry, you’re just imagining that, and your hospital bill is not REALLY higher than it was 40 years ago, and in student debt was this high in 1970 too, don’t you remember?!”

Economists Disagree With Voters Who See US Worse Off Today Than in 1960s (WSJ)

When was America at its best? Put the question to voters and many will point as far back as the 1960s. Put the question to economists and they identify a much more recent peak in U.S. living standards. Forecasters in The Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of business, academic and financial economists were asked to rate whether U.S. living standards were higher today or at various points in the past. Around 80% say those standards are higher today than during the 1990s or earlier. The 2016 presidential campaign has exposed worries among many voters about a U.S. in decline. The sentiment played a particular role in boosting the candidacy of businessman Donald Trump, with a campaign slogan pledging to “Make America Great Again.”

While many economists view the U.S. as not fully recovered from the recession that began in 2007 or the previous recession in 2001, that still leaves a 40-year disconnect compared to voters who see the U.S. in a half-century of decline. The Pew Research Center recently polled voters on the question “Compared with 50 years ago, life for people like you in America is better or worse?” A plurality of 46% said things were worse now. Only 34% said life today is better than in the 1960s. A Morning Consult poll asked voters whether the 1960s or 1980s were better than today. In that survey, 31% said the ‘60s were better and 37% said the 1980s were better. By contrast, 88% of economists said the U.S. is better today than in 1960 and 87% see today as better than 1980.

“Between technology and health advances, today is much better than in 1960,” said Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. By many of the measures economists are inclined to look at, it is not a close call. In 1960, the life expectancy of the average American was a full decade shorter than it is today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The median personal income, after adjusting for inflation, is 55% higher today than in 1960, according to the Census Bureau. These measures of overall well-being continued to rise throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Why do so many voters put such little stock in the past 50 years? Economists point to a few culprits.

First, wages or available jobs have deteriorated for some demographic groups, particularly men without a high-school diploma and men who worked in manufacturing (two groups with some overlap). Second, we have just lived through the “first decade where the average worker lost ground,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist of Naroff Economic Advisers. Overall incomes declined during the two most recent recessions, but not enough to set people back to a 1960s standard of living. About 53% of respondents in the Journal’s survey said the U.S. today is “about the same” or “worse” than it was in 2000. About 63% said the same about 2007. The survey of 70 economists was conducted from May 6 to May 10, though not every economist answered every question.

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And these are ‘official’ numbers, which for a reason that escapes me we‘re still clinging on to. So I ‘adapted’ the title.

China: “It Appears That All The Engines Suddenly Lost Momentum” (R.)

China’s investment, factory output and retail sales all grew more slowly than expected in April, adding to doubts about whether the world’s second-largest economy is stabilizing. Growth in factory output cooled to 6% in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Saturday, disappointing analysts who expected it to rise 6.5% on an annual basis after an increase of 6.8% the prior month. China’s fixed-asset investment growth eased to 10.5% year-on-year in the January-April period, missing market expectations of 10.9%, and down from the first quarter’s 10.7%.

Fixed investment by private firms continued to slow, indicating private businesses remain skeptical of economic prospects. Investment by private firms rose 5.2% year-on-year in January-April, down from 5.7% growth in the first quarter. “It appears that all the engines suddenly lost momentum, and growth outlook has turned soft as well,” Zhou Hao, economist at Commerzbank in Singapore, said in a research note. “At the end of the day, we have acknowledge that China is still struggling.”

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The PBoC’s bizarro explanation:“..the figures don’t include new local government bond issuance to refinance debt previously issued by local government financing vehicles.” As if to say: don’t worry, we’re still borrowing like crazy, only now half of it is to refi what we couldn’t pay back.

Chinese Banks’ New Loans Plunge By More Than Half In April (R.)

China’s central bank said it has not changed its “prudent” monetary policy stance despite a disappointing release of April data showing banks had cut back sharply on new loans. Banks made 555.6 billion yuan ($85.21 billion) in net new yuan loans in April, much lower than expected and less than half the 1.37 trillion yuan seen in March, data showed on Friday. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), in a question and answer posted on its website on Saturday, attributed the slide to seasonal and technical factors, including the fact that the figures don’t include new local government bond issuance to refinance debt previously issued by local government financing vehicles.

“If this is factored in, new loans in April were more than 900 billion yuan,” the PBOC said, in answer to a question as to whether the figures indicated a decline in the real economy. That number would match analysts previous forecasts for April. However, the bank also pointed to a decline in corporate bond financing, which came in over 500 billion less than March – while still up slightly from the same period last year, and noted that banks remain cautious given increased focus on asset quality control. “On the whole, current financial support to the real economy is still strong,” it said. “Prudent monetary policy has not changed.”

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Curious attempt to make deeply troubling problems look like great opportunities instead. Nobody wants to buy these assets and everyone knows they MUST sell, which is why Shell try to sell as much as $40 billion of it now, and in the way they do (IPO?!). And that would “..let Shell benefit from a sustained oil price recovery?!”

Shell Eyes $40 Billion Non-Core Asset Spin-Off To Cut Its Huge Debt Pile (Tel.)

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is eyeing a possible $40bn spin-off of non-core assets around the globe as it grapples with a $70bn debt pile following a takeover of BG Group earlier this year. Chief financial officer Simon Henry told analysts last week that a float of Shell’s non-core assets is “very much on the agenda”. The comments were made after the Anglo-Dutch multinational announced its intention to sell off assets totalling $30bn over the next three years in an attempt to protect its dividend, after the merger with BG left it with a stretched balance sheet. Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas are now concerned that despite its attempts to offload assets, “a dry market for asset sales leaves Shell exposed”.

Reducing Shell’s debt burden is “critical for shares to perform”, said Aneek Haq, of Exane BNP Paribas, but failure to do so may force management to “bite the bullet” and make a radical move, such as an initial public offering of the parts of Shell’s empire it wants to offload. Henry said: “There are no prima facie reasons why we would not look at such a monetisation route, if that was the best way to create value.” However, given the foundering oil price, he said it was “not obvious in today’s market” where such value would be. Unlike a divestment, an IPO of the company’s mature assets, which has been dubbed “Baby Shell” would let Shell benefit from a sustained oil price recovery. Mr Haq also believes such a move would refocus management on core assets and reduce net debt by more than $50bn over four years.

The non-core upstream assets, from markets such as the UK, Norway, New Zealand, Italy and Nigeria, are cash-generative, averaging at $4bn a year free cash flow, and adding additional assets from Kazakstan could “prove attractive for shareholders”, said Haq. Although a $40bn listing would be cumbersome, it is not unfamiliar territory. In 2014, Shell raised $920m by spinning off a pipeline of US assets, Shell Midstream Partners. Given its previous form, Henry said: “It should be clear that not only are we open to innovation, [but also] we are able to deliver such complicated deals and execute over a period of time.”

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These downgrades are expensive.

Moody’s Downgrades Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman (AP)

Saudi Arabia’s credit rating has been downgraded by Moody’s because of the long and deep slump in oil prices. Moody’s Investors Service said it also downgraded Gulf oil producers Bahrain and Oman. It left ratings unchanged for other Gulf states including Kuwait and Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. Moody’s cut the country’s long-term issuer rating one notch to A1 from Aa3 after a review that began in March. Crude prices fell from more than $100 in mid-2014 to under $30 a barrel in February, although they have recovered into the mid-$40s. Benchmark international crude settled on Friday at $47.83 a barrel.

“A combination of lower growth, higher debt levels and smaller domestic and external buffers leave the Kingdom less well positioned to weather future shocks,” Moody’s said in a note. Moody’s lowered Oman to Baa1 from A3 and Bahrain to Ba2 from Ba1. The ratings agency did not downgrade Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates or Abu Dhabi, but it assigned a negative outlook to each. Oil prices slumped because of production that grew faster than demand. Surging production from shale operators in the US contributed to the glut. So did OPEC, which decided in November 2014, several months after prices began falling, to continue pumping rather than give up market share.

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Germany’s Constitutional Court has been asked for opinions on the ECB a dozen times now, but not much has come of it.

German Professors And Entrepreneurs File Complaint Against ECB Policy (R.)

A group of professors and entrepreneurs in Germany filed a complaint against the ECB’s monetary policy this week at the country’s top court, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper said. A complaint would open a new chapter in a long-running legal battle between the ECB and groups within the euro zone’s biggest economy who want to curb the bank’s power. A challenge to an emergency plan the ECB made at the height of the euro zone crisis is also back at Germany’s Constitutional Court after being rejected by Europe’s top court in June. The German court will make a final ruling this year. There has been widespread criticism in Germany of the ECB’s monetary policy in recent weeks, with politicians complaining that low interest rates are hitting the retirement provisions of ordinary Germans and could boost the right wing.

Welt am Sonntag said the issue in the latest complaint filed at the Constitutional Court was whether the ECB had overstepped its mandate by extensively buying government bonds and with its plan to start buying corporate bonds. The newspaper said the professors and entrepreneurs thought the ECB was starting programs that contained incalculable risks for the German central bank’s balance sheet, and hence for German taxpayers – under the pretence of reaching its inflation target of just under 2% in the medium term. “The ECB’s current policy is neither necessary nor appropriate to directly revive the economy in the euro zone by increasing the inflation rate to around 2% in terms of consumer prices,” Markus Kerber, a lawyer and professor of public finance who initiated the complaint, was quoted as saying.

Kerber said the ECB was losing sight of the principle of the “proportionality” of its measures, according to Welt am Sonntag. In March, the ECB unveiled a large stimulus package that included cutting its deposit rate deeper into negative territory, expanding it asset buying program and offering free loans to the corporate sector to stimulate growth. German central bank governor Jens Weidmann, who sits on the ECB’s Governing Council, said on Wednesday the ECB’s expansionary monetary policy stance was “justified for now” while Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret also said the ECB’s policy was justified by a subdued growth outlook in the euro zone.

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“They may have finally gone too far. A backlash is brewing, threatening not just their current bets, but their various tax benefits too. One senior House Republican aide who’s worked closely with the hedge funds says that members of Congress have seen enough. “I think on the Fannie stuff, they’ve hurt themselves,” he said. “We’re like, fuck em. If they’re not your friends, they’re your enemies.”

The Vultures’ Vultures: New Hedge-Fund Strategy Corrupts Washington (HuffPo)

Take Robert Shapiro. A Harvard-trained political economist, Shapiro is the head of a consulting firm called Sonecon. That business card doesn’t do it for you? He’s got a few more in his wallet: Senior fellow at the Georgetown University School of Business. Adviser to the International Monetary Fund. Director of the Globalization Initiative at NDN, a progressive think tank. Shapiro, a Democrat, has advised presidents and presidential candidates, and has held powerful government posts. It stands to reason, then, that when he has thoughts on public policy, he can find an outlet ready to publish them. Recently, he’s had ideas on how the government can address the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and how it can end the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by moving them into the private market.

Before that, he had a take on how to deal with Argentina’s debt crisis. For all three, he produced academic-looking papers, complete with footnotes and charts. All three situations have one thing in common: If they were resolved the way Shapiro suggested, a variety of bets placed by a select group of the most politically powerful hedge funds would pay off in a huge way. In the case of Argentina, they mostly have. Fights over how to resolve the other two issues are still raging in Washington. For this article, we called Shapiro to ask on whose behalf he has been waging these intellectual battles. His answer was surprising in its honesty: He’s working with DCI Group, a political dark arts master known to be advocating on behalf of a group of powerful hedge funds that are changing how Washington works.

Shapiro, it turns out, is but one foot soldier in the hedge fund infantry. A review of public documents, tax filings and interviews with people involved finds that in each of the three campaigns, hedge funds have enlisted the same set of lobbyists, political operatives, dark money groups and think-tank experts spanning the political spectrum. No single document or set of disclosures ties all of these groups together. They don’t put out joint press releases, parade themselves around Washington as part of a coalition, or chat together on conference calls. Finding the players in this game, instead, is more a process of deduction. For a group of firms and experts to be working for vulture funds on the issue of Argentine debt is normal Washington practice. (Vulture’s meaning here isn’t pejorative: it refers to an investment strategy that feeds off of assets the market has left for dead.)

For the exact same people and groups to be working on the next big issue that these funds care about — the Puerto Rican debt crisis — could be a coincidence. But now, the hedge funds are focused on a third issue — government-sponsored enterprise reform, which refers to the effort to establish new housing finance policy in the wake of the federal takeover of lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And it’s the same political firms and the same independent experts that are once again weighing in — coincidentally, all on the side of the hedge funds. Maybe it’s all coincidence, but let’s run the traps either way.

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Make basic human needs part of speculative financial markets and mayhem is inevitable. Some things do not belong in a casino. When will we learn? When we run out of water and food?

Farmland Values Fall Sharply in Parts of the Midwest (WSJ)

Real farmland values in parts of the Midwest fell at their fastest clip in almost 30 years during the first quarter, according to a regional Federal Reserve report on Thursday. Falling crop prices have weighed on land values from Kansas to Indiana over the past two years as farm income declined and investors who had piled into the asset at the start of the decade retrenched. Three regional Federal Reserve banks all reported year-over-year declines in farmland values in their districts and said the drops would continue, though their forecasts were based on surveys taken before the recent rally in corn and soybean prices.

The St. Louis Fed region that includes parts of the U.S. agricultural heartland in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri reported the steepest decline, with the average price of “quality” farmland falling 6.4% in the quarter, the biggest decline since its survey began in 2012. The Chicago Fed said prices for similar land in its district fell 4% from a year ago, the seventh successive quarterly decline. Adjusted for inflation, prices in an area that includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin fell 5%, the biggest quarterly drop since 1987. Declines in the Kansas City Fed’s district, which includes Kansas and Nebraska, were less pronounced, but the bank said prices for nonirrigated cropland fell 4% in the quarter.

Though some agricultural markets have rallied in recent weeks, prices for corn and wheat are still more than 50% lower than their 2012 peak, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected that net U.S. farm income will fall this year to the lowest level in more than a decade. Commodity prices have declined as farmers in the U.S. and elsewhere harvested bumper crops, adding to already generous stockpiles. U.S. farmers have also been hit by the strength of the dollar, which has stymied demand to export their crops. The drop in land values has been accompanied by deteriorating credit conditions, with more loans taken out to cover farm operations even as repayment rates fell on existing debt.

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Wow: “Boris Johnson is trusted to tell the truth about Europe by twice as many voters as trust David Cameron..” I can’t imagine anyone trusting Boris, so what does that say about trust in Cameron?

Cameron’s Anti-Brexit ‘Remain’ Campaign Has A Major Trust Issue (Ind.)

Boris Johnson is trusted to tell the truth about Europe by twice as many voters as trust David Cameron, according to a ComRes poll for The Independent. By a two-to-one margin, 45% to 21%, voters say that Mr Johnson is “more likely to tell the truth about the EU” than Mr Cameron. By a smaller margin, 39% to 24%, campaigners for Leave generally are considered “more likely to tell the truth” than campaigners for Remain.

The Referendum Campaigns
• Following key speeches this week, Britons are more than twice as likely to say Boris Johnson would tell the truth about the EU than David Cameron (45% v 21%).
• Conservative voters also say Boris Johnson is more likely to tell the truth about the EU than the Prime Minister (42% v 27%).
• Similarly, Britons tend to say the campaigners for leaving the EU are more likely to tell the truth than the remain campaigners (39% v 24%), although a significant minority say they don’t know (38%).

The EU Referendum
• The British public remain divided over whether they would be personally better off if Britain left the EU or remained part of it (29% v 33%). Around two in five (38%) say they don’t know how the referendum outcome would personally affect them.
• There has been a rise in the proportion of Britons saying national security would be better if Britain left the EU – 42% say it would be stronger if Britain left, compared to 38% who say it would be stronger if Britain remained. This represents an increase of 7 points from March in favour of leaving (35% in March 2016).
• However, attitudes towards immigration are clear; British adults are more than twice as likely to say the government could control Britain’s borders better if it left the EU (57% v 27% if Britain remains).

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Presenting it this way makes it look like the money is lost. Presenting it as an investment would be a lot fairer.

German Government Plans To Spend €93.6 Billion On Refugees By End 2020 (R.)

Germany’s government expects to spend around €93.6 billion by the end of 2020 on costs related to the refugee crisis, a magazine said on Saturday, citing a draft from the federal finance ministry for negotiations with the country’s 16 states. The figure is likely to stoke concerns, particularly among growing anti-immigration movements, on the impact of new arrivals on Europe’s largest economy which took in more than a million people last year, many from Syria and other war zones. The numbers arriving have fallen this year, helped by a deal between the EU and Turkey that was designed to give Turks visa-free travel to Europe in return for stemming the flow of migrants.

German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said the finance ministry’s calculations included the costs for accommodating and integrating refugees as well as tackling the root causes for people fleeing from crisis-stricken regions. Officials based their estimates on 600,000 migrants arriving this year, 400,000 next year and 300,000 in each of the following years, the report said, adding that they expected 55% of recognized refugees to have a job after five years. A spokesman for the finance ministry declined to comment on the figures but pointed to ongoing talks between the government and states, saying they would meet again on May 31 to discuss how to divide up the costs between them.

The report said that €25.7 billion would be needed for jobless payments, rent subsidies and other benefits for recognized asylum applicants by the end of 2020. Another €5.7 billion would be needed for language courses and €4.6 billion would be required for measures to help migrants get jobs, it added. The annual cost of dealing with the refugee crisis would hit €20.4 billion in 2020, up from around €16.1 billion this year, the report said.

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Home Forums Debt Rattle May 15 2016

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    Jack Delano Brakeman H.B. Van Santford on the AT&SF line from Summit to San Bernardino 1943 • Steve Keen Talks Debt, Trump and Gold (RT) • Economists
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle May 15 2016]


    Steve Keen is always interesting to hear, but I have for years been struck by his strictly economic approach to our problems. He again says in the film above that if we deal with the debt (and primarily private debt), it would be possible to return to a functional economy.

    But what about the energy situation, what about the environment (depletion of arable land and potable water, of essential resources, acidification of the oceans, sixth extinction, etc., etc.), what about our social, cultural and political issues? Do they not all tie into restoring a functional economy?

    The whole point at TAE is adopting a wider view, looking at the bigger picture. Keen is interesting, but does he fit the TAE bill?




    Steve is simply the no. 1 economist in my view, because he’s a very damn smart man who focuses his life on rigorously trying to lay bare the fallacies of the school(s) of economics that drive us towards not only economic mayhem, but most of our other problems as well. That he doesn’t deal with all the latter at the same time on top of that, I forgive him ;-), and I think it’s up to others, TAE first of all, to do that. Meanwhile his input on the economics side is extremely useful. In the same vein, I can forgive people for focusing on other issues without necessarily getting the big(gest) picture right.


    <German Government Plans To Spend €93.6 Billion On Refugees>

    That is over 100 billion US$ not going to the german populations’s education, elderly care, infrastructure, energy transition, social housing, etc but instead being hastily thrown together to cope with the influx of refugees. It is written in the sky that this demographic disruption will result in the kind of intractable problems of ghettoes of poverty, criminality and resentment that plague other countries. Countries like Sweden and Germany had rather homogeneous populations and had been spared the racial and religious animosities that have poisoned life in countries like the US or France, a consequence of which is that they have been free to spend their energy successfully building societies of by and large productive, educated citizens. Now thanks to well-meaning but demented immigration policies, they can expect public discourse to revolve around rancorous debates of discrimination and allocation of ethnic quotas. I hope they love their future of race riots and religious extremism.


    Hi Ilargi,
    I simply can’t square the idea that Keen is a good guy when he defends complete absurdities in order to defend the root cause of the problem – debt-based money – as he did in the comments section of his Forbes article…

    The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth

    Of course his claim is correct – there is technically enough money in the system to pay all debts – but in flushing out his point he unveiled and economy where the Banksters who lent money from nothing actually made more money than the workers and made the absolutely false assumption that all the money earned by these Banksters as interest on the money they lent from nothing is 100% funneled back into Main Street.
    When called on these absurdities, he doubled down and then eventually ran away when it because obvious that the commenters knew too much about the system in order to be deceived by his absurd claims.
    I agree with you that Keen is quite the economics intellect – he’s a very bright guy. Therefore, I can’t easily attribute this dissembling to his being clueless.

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it.”
    ~Vladimir Lenin

    “The better way to control the opposition is to finance it.”
    ~Yours truly, based on simple observation of that which exists in reality.

    WHO finances Steve Keen?
    Paul Krugman pretends to be a liberal, but he’s admitted to actively covering up the fraud that is the debt-based monetary system at the behest of the MIT professors who told him to do it!

    Krugman to Lietaer: “Never touch the money system!”

    It sure appears to me that Keen received the same memo… when the inherent fraud of the debt-based monetary system that systematically aggregated inexstinguishable debts in the hands of Main Street while simultaneously enriching and empowering the Debt-Money Monopolists, STEVE KEEN DIDN’T DARE TOUCH THE SUBJECT AND RAN AWAY IN SHORT ORDER.
    Steve Keen is like the guy who analyzes the knife that is currently filleting you in order to extend your life while never acknowledging their is a Debt-Money Monopolist psychopath wielding that knife with the express intent of hurting you very badly.
    The fundamental problem appears that people continue to choose mammon over what is right. Then again, it wasn’t like we were warned, right?


    The article posted here a few days ago entitled “China Bubble Set to Rock Global Markets” said:

    “Well, first of all, the recent rebound in commodity prices, here at home, and the affiliated rebound in raw materials stocks, could have been driven, at least in part, by those very speculative excesses in China.”

    No kidding! The words “could have been driven” should have read “were driven”. The words “at least in part” should have read “almost entirely”.

    “Slosh, slosh, slosh” goes the speculative money. The mafia have fixed the race.


    “Why We Are So Bad At Solving Problems” was a great article. You said, “If you use energy, you produce waste; use more energy and you produce more waste. And there is a point where you can use too much, and not be able to survive in the waste you yourself have produced.”

    The financial elite are the waste. We’ve allowed this waste to build up and we’re drowning in it now.

    Re over-population. A few days ago you posted an article re the drought in Africa. Yeah, like that hasn’t happened forever. And yet the man in the article, who used to be goat-rich, now is down to his last few and doesn’t know how he’s going to possibly feed his family of SEVEN! SEVEN!

    Optimism is great (and of course the financial elite love to spout off that the gravy train is never going to end, so jump on board), but, goddamn, doesn’t anyone – anyone – think long-term, or use a little bit of common sense, like, gee, we just might get another drought?

    The last 30 to 40 years of financial engineering has pulled forward population, pollution, resource stripping, etc. You said in your article, “The bottom line is that we may have good intentions, but we utterly fail when it comes to solutions.”

    I think there are a lot of people out there that could come up with good solutions. Problem is we’d have to fight the financial elite/corporate (expletive), and they do not have good intentions, far from it. They do not care whether the planet is stripped naked, just as long as they get to count their money while taking their last breath and know that they won, they came out on top.

    The problem isn’t good solutions, but the fact that we’re being ruled by people with very bad intentions. They own the source of money, the government, the courts, the media, the everything. They own us.


    Continuing on. I think we can all agree that the financial elite presently run the show and that they have their own agenda and, from our standpoint, very bad intentions. Are they looking for solutions? Not on your life! They don’t want solutions, have fought tooth and nail against solutions. Why? They’re happy with the status quo, are trying valiantly to maintain this status quo. They don’t want solutions.

    Solutions are there, but the financial elite don’t want them. As Steve Keen and Max Kaiser said, maybe Trump can force solutions on them, use his leverage against them, just like they’ve been doing to us for so many years now, cut a deal.

    Trump really is the last hope for America. Bernie knew he couldn’t win, not against Mrs. Super Delegate Clinton, and he’s now going to try and hand his faithful followers over to Wall Street’s bitch, Hillary. This so-called kind man, lover of America, who is closer in his positions to Trump than Hillary, is going to hand his followers over to someone who he greatly disagrees with. What? Why? He’s been very soft on Hillary the whole time. He could have gone after her, but he held himself back. Fine. I hope they both go down in flames.


    “While talking to the media, Erem opined that these entries recorded comprehensive information such as which hotel the terrorists are going to stay in, where they will wait for their car, which gas station they will use for refueling in a mosque in Kilis, how many people and who exactly would be responsible for the preparation of a terrorist attack.

    “Despite the fact that all this information was in the hands of the authorities, the security forces had not carried out any operations to detain terrorists. I ask one very simple question: why were these terrorists not arrested?”, he questioned Turkish authorities in his press conference.”

    It’s Official! Turkey is Abetting ISIS in Syria

    It goes without saying, that NATO and Turkey are parts of the US military complex.

    It is amazing how there are still a few brave people prepared to whistleblow.


    Nassim – Erdogan is fast becoming a real tyrant, but he must be a tyrant the U.S. and its NATO puppets like, otherwise they would take him out. They’ll take him out anyway, I’m sure, but not until he’s no longer useful.

    Another article you posted said that ISIS were continuing to march from Turkey into western Syria. The Syrian army would work hard and might even feel they were getting the upper hand, only to find a never-ending supply of ISIS forces trickling in from Turkey. Israel is taking wounded ISIS members into their hospitals, patching them up, and then sending them back. It’s a huge concerted effort to undermine Syria and Russia, and it gets harder and harder, as time goes on, to stop ISIS from coming through the cracks.

    I’m sure Erdogan wouldn’t be mouthing off about the refugees either if he wasn’t given instructions to do so, kind of like a pretend fight. He’ll probably get angry, they’ll all flood in, and Merkel will say, “Turkey let us down.” Meanwhile, it’s probably all been planned this way from the beginning.

    I feel sorry for Syria, for Russia. How do you stop this when the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Britain, Germany, basically all those who can really hurt you, are chipping away at your defenses?


    ” Economists Disagree With Voters Who See US Worse Off Today Than in 1960s (WSJ)”

    I think this question should only be asked of Americans over the age of sixty.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have spent the summer of 1970 in the USA – 3 months in California and one month travelling around (Alaska, Seattle, Dallas, New Orleans, Miami Beach, Las Vegas, New York, Washington etc.)

    For a couple of months, I stayed at a fraternity near UCLA campus and in a very posh area – Westwood Village. It cost $1 per night!

    I had a ticket for 9 domestic airlines – 14 days unlimited travel. This ticket cost $150. I used it for 2 weeks before someone realised that it should be stamped with the start of travel date. I met a lot of very nice and interesting people who invited me to stay with them.

    IMHO, ordinary people in the USA were far better off in those days. The students I met were getting their education almost for free in the California university system. Rich kids would go to USC. I hardly need mention how cheap cars and houses were. I don’t know anything about medical costs. It may well not have been so advanced, but it was much cheaper.


    After listening to Keen or reading one of his articles, I always feel a bit disoriented…confused…not a good sign. Of course he can sling it with the best of them, otherwise he would not be chairman of an Economics department…also not a good sign. TT4TW’s knife analogy is perfectly apt except he fails to mention that the holder is incessantly screaming “You’re hurting me” as he slices and dices.

    Dr. Diablo

    Few things: first, I believe Trump was specifically talking about the Puerto Rico debt, not the U.S. general debt, and he also wasn’t talking about a complete default. I know misquoting him is de rigeur, but we should try to have standards. So in Puerto Rico’s case, which is a de facto state, should we “print” money as Keen suggests to bail them out? Would they do it for Illinois? Texas? New York? Well they sure didn’t for NY in 1975. Nor did they in the Great Depression. So maybe the States, being uniquely DIFFERENT from the Federal government–which no one seems to understand or remember anymore–we don’t just do that? Just like how the ECB doesn’t print money for Greece and Portugal?? Just like how they don’t bail out EU consumers either?

    Okay, that aside. Trump said they should “restructure” the debt? A) is that not a better idea than printing 100 cents on the dollar and handing it to hedge funds and other bondholders? I mean, they’re big boys, they’ve known for decades they’re lending to a bankrupt ‘state’. So bondholders never lose while the people do? Is that an American value? B) isn’t “printing” itself a “restructuring”, a writedown? Of course it is: despite Keen assiduously avoiding the basic reality, it devalues the currency. Which is inflation. Which is not paying what you owe. Which is reneging on the debt. Which is the same as restructuring or if done enough, “defaulting” on it. So Keen is advocating Trump’s position, but being slimy by pretending they didn’t re-negotiate and restructure whereas Trump says he would be honest to debtors about the reality of repayment and include them in the discussion. So who’s who here? Which plan is more likely to save national support and credibility, a rule by diktat, or by open negotiation?

    With Puerto Rico sovereign debt that inflation might be modest and the Hedge Funds get paid 95% accounting for inflation. But despite Keen’s insouciance, the U.S. printing enough currency to pay off all private debts (or just a slice like all US mortgages, which they could easily have done in 2008 to save the system and all of us but didn’t) would collapse the currency. Oh yes, you can print. But you cannot control the VALUE of the dollar you print. Now why would anyone in the world accept the currency of a nation that, whenever it racked up some debt, simply printed up currency and got out without paying? Clearly, obviously, that nation’s currency wouldn’t be worth a nickel, no more than Ukraine’s, Venezuela’s, or Zimbabwe’s.

    It’s totally disingenuous to even suggest you could get away with such a thing. He knows, as all economists know, that amazing, simple plan he proposes wouldn’t last a day. Otherwise, why wouldn’t any and every nation do it? And since he knows this gol-darned well as anyone, what is Keen doing proposing it? This is why commenters disparage Keen as deeply compromised.

    Now if you WANT to totally default, as they accuse Trump of –which whatever his real plans, he didn’t suggest–then yes, you could either close the window and refuse to pay, OR print up all your US$-denominated debts in paper chits and mail them to the lenders. And that may or may not be a good idea considering the $18T-$300T we owe can never be repaid anyway. But you can’t pretend it wouldn’t be a catastrophic default of the 1st order. It would be, it would cut off our $500B/yr of foreign imports overnight, make us a pariah state, and restructuring the debt with a hard-nosed deal with the lenders to pay what we can would be the most practical, responsible approach.

    But when Trump says it, it’s cray-cray. Even when Keen repeats exactly what Trump suggested a minute later, but in a wildly more reckless way.

    All normal ideas are crazy when Trump says them. It’s the law.

    PS, please don’t make me defend Trump again. It’s embarrassing. Instead, know your stuff and what he actually said. That’s what informed discussions are all about.


    Hi Diablo, Thank you.

    >>That’s what informed discussions are all about.<<

    I’m not convinced that “informed discussions” are the point, because they lead to the conclusion that a Debt-Money Monopolist cartel is using their control of the definition of money instantiation as being an interest bearing debt obligation (there was a reason the ancients HATED usury, people… we are ignorant, NOT them!) and their control over its issuance to manipulate “a root of all evil” within society – the love of money or the worship of mammon. This is nothing new under the sun, people. But it isn’t “cool” and “trendy” to talk like Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations…

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
    ~ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

    What a kook, right? Adam Smith isn’t credible… because he accepts the obvious and not the CIA programming bankrolled by the Debt-Money Monopolists.
    And Steve Keen is entirely controlled opposition. I keep mentioning where Steve opened up the conversation just enough to expose his true allegiance – the debt-money system – and the absurd length he would go to defend the foundation of that obviously fraudulent system.

    I’ve mentioned it multiple times and, to my knowledge, nobody, Ilargi included, dares try to defend Steve Keen’s absurd and irrational position. Like Ilargi, I agree that Professor Keen is quite intelligent and bright… so I must conclude his 30 shekel mission is to play economic Benedict Arnold like Paul “never touch the money system” Krugman. But, hey, don’t let facts get in the way of emotions and feelings, right? Keen’s psy-op is to pretend that the system isn’t faulty and to suggest rearranging deck chairs on the Debt-Money Monopolist Titanic, all the while running interference for the debt-money system he pretends isn’t faulty.
    Since Steve Keen ran away like a whooped puppy, does anyone here (Ilargi?????) care to try and defend Keen’s lunacy as expressed and exposed in the comments section of his Debt-Money Monopolist financed (hint, hint, hint…) Forbes article?

    The Principal And Interest On Debt Myth

    BTW, the point he’s trying to make is technically correct (assuming that the physical money lost is replaced by sufficient specie, which he didn’t mention – too technical for the masses, I guess…), but his very own example “touched the money system,” a blatant “no no” according to Krugman and the MIT professors who taught him to defraud the American people (MIT Noam Chomsky’s response… **crickets**… these people can’t help but expose their true allegiance… to their Debt-Money Monopolist paycheck in their Rockefeller engineered schooling system), and EXPOSED THE FRAUD INHERENT IN THE SYSTEM.
    When this was brought to the very intelligent Steve Keen, he dissembled, spewed nonsense, and then lied about the truth being complex and stopped responding under the pretext he would write another article revealing the truth… WHICH WAS SIMPLE TO COMPREHEND AND EXPOSED FOR ALL TO SEE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.
    Keen defends the fraud of Debt-Money Monopolist oligarchs renting the money supply to humanity and collecting interest on it that equates to INEXTINGUISHABLE DEBT FOR THE REST OF US ORDINARY PEOPLE. Then again, he’s not the only one that refuses to mention the fraud in their main articles.

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