Monday, December 29, 2008

Peak Oil!

It's very easy to lose sight of the queen of spades in the game of three card monte that constitutes our financial and commodity markets. A mere six months ago the calls for $200 dollar a barrel oil were deafening, now they are drowned out completely by predictions for $15 or $20 dollar a barrel oil. Who to believe? As a place to start (and possibly finish) answering that question, I would like to point you in the direction of a slide show courtesy of oil industry expert Matthew Simmons. I hope you find it helpful.

P.S. Putting aside the message contained in the slide show, remember that, strictly speaking, the U.S. dollar is worthless, but oil is not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Approximately some two hundred and thirty five years ago the great city of Boston gave the loudest and most persistent voice to the clarion call for Revolution. Of all the many injustices perpetrated by Great Britain against the colonies, none affected a greater insult than that known as Taxation without Representation. It was this grievance above all others that provided the colonists with their greatest justification to overthrow the yoke of British oppression.

Today, the Legislative and Executive branches of our Federal government, by virtue of a mixture of cowardice, stupidity, and/or corruption, are committing acts against the citizenry that easily rival those perpetrated by The British Monarchy against the colonists. It is my belief that The Legislature and The Executive have, by their egregious actions, effectively abdicated their responsibility as our elected representatives. Whether through ill advised and possibly criminally negligent bailouts for corrupt and insolvent investment banking houses, to, in the case of primarily (but not exclusively) this most recent Executive Branch's clear disregard for almost all of the original Ten Bill of Rights, the interests of "We The People" have been systematically ravaged.

Many of you may be holding out hope that President-elect, Barack Obama, will, in due course, set the American ship of state on the right course. This is understandable, but given Mr. Obama's series of appointments (insider and status quo purveyors all) and given the many false dawns that American politics has for generations delivered, I submit that NOW is the time to take matters into our own hands for the purposes of enacting revolutionary change.

There is much more to say about what sort of change is in order, but further discussion of the crucial details can wait. What I want to know now is who is with me regarding the imperative for Revolutionary change? Who believes that the United States must seek a path that has barely been imagined let alone articulated by those of our so called leaders? Who is serious about the necessity of aligning ourselves with the forces of history, forces that are, I believe, at odds with our government's so far successful attempts to compel us to invest, literally, in the revival of the now dead FIRE economy? My fellow citizens, we are letting ourselves be led off a cliff, and we can not wait one minute longer to start acting in our own best interests. If we do not we will have no wherewithal with which to resist our own ruin. WHO IS WITH ME?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where's The Money, Bernie?

Where did the fifty billion dollars go? Clearly Bernard Madoff doesn't have it. So where is it? No professional market maker trades so badly that all that is left from a fifty billion dollar fund is a measly two or three hundred million dollars. How does one senior citizen manage to plausibly claim sole responsibility for the fleecing of such an enormously endowed hedge fund? It's like claiming one has singlehandedly halted the path of a herd of rogue elephants by waving one's arms wildly and making loud noises. It's ludicrous on the face. But speculating on the actual nature of Mr. Madoff's criminal enterprise isn't precisely what I am after today. No, despite the fact that this particular hedge fund collapse makes me ponder the possibility that we are looking at a case akin to the infamous CIA front, Bank of Commerce and Credit International, I am more interested in simply passing along my view that sometime in the next few years, as the greatest financial (and possibly economic) debacle since the Industrial age began, subsides, we will, I hope, be treated to sordid insider accounts of the real activities of our spectacularly successful kleptocracy.

As a student of history, I doubt seriously the enormous corruption that underlies our present desperate circumstances has ever been equalled, let alone surpassed. After all, when so much corruption occurs in broad daylight, (the list of crimes committed in full view of the public is almost too long to recount, including the savaging of just about every Bill in the original ten Bill of Rights) then the crimes committed out of sight of prying eyes and interested minds must be as unfathomable as the means by which one old man managed to lose fifty billion dollars all by himself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rahm We Hardly Knew Ye.

The scuttlebutt is that no less than Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel is the one on the line with disgraced Illinois Governor Blagojevich in a discussion regarding who to give the vacant Illinois Senate seat to. We'll find out if this rumor is true soon enough. In the meantime, Mr. Emmanuel is not answering questions. Quel Surpise!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Alas, Through The Looking Glass

I stopped writing about financial matters and the economy in recent months because quite frankly I was tired of of talking about what was then an incipient catastrophe. Well, in my view, the oft prognosticated Depression is here, and it will become obvious, and I mean OBVIOUS, to everyone by Christmas at the earliest, and by Spring at the latest. You may have noticed that the authorities have now admitted that the nation has been in a recession for a year, and no less than Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman has offered that what he has seen so far in the U.S. is even more dire than what occurred in the worst year of Japan's so called lost decade. Well, Professor Krugman, that is because, in my humble opinion, what we are witnessing is the greatest economic contraction of The post Enlightenment epoch. Planet Earth, with the U.S. acting (for the time being) as its economic epicenter, is now in the process of correcting several centuries worth of economic growth. With that in mind, it is not only possible, but probable, that anyone over the age of thirty will not see general prosperity, at least as we have known it, again in their lifetime.

All the great panics of the last two hundred years, including the 20th century's Great Depression, were economic calamities that qualify, by my reckoning, as ones that were an order of magnitude smaller than the one we are now experiencing. No one alive, and none of our ancestors going back several generations, had any experience with the manifestation of a super cyclical trend of the size and scope of this one. Our only consolation, if indeed it can be any consolation at all, is that history of the sort that is written about and discussed for hundreds if not thousands of years is being made right now. I know, what I am saying sounds like the rankest hyperbole, and though I suspect you are likely dismissing my fantastic claim, I think by this time next year, most, if not all doubts, will be erased.

This is because the changes I have in mind are coming very quickly and will affect everything to a degree that will be the unmistakable harbinger of something that could only come along but very rarely in human history. Most, if not all of what is now still fashionable, ( I use that term not to denote trendiness, but rather to refer to what passes as "common practice/status quo" behavior) as reflected in art, entertainment, civic life, education, farming, governance, and money itself, will, as a result of what is transpiring right now, become almost unrecognizable within approximately a decade. Such are the times that we are living in and hopefully that we will live through.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sarah Palin Watch.

I know, I know, one would like to never have to ponder again, even for one second, the ghastly Whore of Babylon. But duty calls, and so I will not rest until I have done my utmost to insure that Sarah Palin, a human plague upon the body politic if ever there was one, never returns to the lower forty eight states for the purposes of gaining high government office.

I say this because, despite the Governor of Alaska's self evident unworthiness, she may yet, like a dormant cancer, reemerge. There are just too many witless boobs and folks about the land who show a willingness, if not eagerness, to play with hand grenades, to insure that The Whore of Babylon need no longer bother us with her obvious over vaulting ambitions and designs. With that in mind, I offer the latest evidence of Sarah Palin's unfitness for office of any kind.