Archive for May, 2010
Once upon a time the United States was a land of abundance and prosperity that was truly blessed from sea to shining sea. Tens of millions of Americans enjoyed living the American Dream in a land filled with happy, healthy and prosperous people. But these days it seems as though there are new stories of tragedy and despair almost daily. Whether it is the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or the horrific flooding in Tennessee, or the tornadoes ripping through the Midwest, or the gut-wrenching economic despair in cities like Detroit, it just seems like a whole lot of horrible things are happening to America all at once. So why is all of this hitting the U.S. right now? Why does it seem like there is just about nowhere in the United States right now that is untouched by a major crisis?
Just consider a few of the items that have been making headline news recently….
Ihad a couple of interesting exchanges about gun control last week. One was a reasonable debate with a guy from the National Rifle Association who thinks Chicago (and everywhere else) would be better off if concealed weapons were legal. The other was with Mayor Daley, who didn’t like a question I’d asked him and suggested maybe he could make his point better by sodomoizing and shooting me.
By now you’ve undoubtedly heard something about the mayor’s strange “joke.” It’s gotten around—a friend wrote me over the weekend to say that “halfway around the world in South Korea where I live, I still caught you in the news (or I should say caught your ass in the news).”
Daley had called a press conference to talk about what his administration is planning to do in the likely event that Chicago’s gun ban is overturned by the United States Supreme Court next month. He spoke in vague terms about lobbying for federal legislation and finding ways to pressure gun manufacturers and “extremists” like the NRA. “It’s really amazing how powerful they are,” he said, standing next to a table strewn with handguns, rifles, and even a machine gun that he said had been seized by police. “They’re bigger than the oil industry, bigger than the gas industry, bigger than Google, bigger than President Obama and the rest of them.”
Mesa Financial Plaza, the 17-story office tower that lights up the night sky with a neon-blue silhouette, has been noticed for trustee sale.
The 309,000-square-foot midrise at the southeast corner of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road was built in 1986 by Valley developer Conley Wolfswinkel. It now is owned by BPG Properties Ltd. of Yardley, Pa.
The $40.6 million default is just one of many that are starting to drop in the Valley. The number of defaults for loans of more than $20 million is increasing rapidly for all product types, including office, industrial, retail and large apartment complexes.
Some of Wall Street’s biggest names said they are frightened and worried by the debt crisis in Europe, but still don’t expect a double-dip recession in the United States.
“We’re frightened at this moment to see how this can all play out with these countries already in a fragile position,” Larry Fink, chief executive of asset manager BlackRock Inc., said at a Reuters Insider newsmaker panel in New York.
He cited austerity measures that countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal must implement to deal with heavy debt loads.
“Now they’re going to have to bring down their deficits in the tens of billions of dollars to stabilize their country, but will that destabilize their social fabric?”
Recent riots in Greece have sparked concerns about how austerity measures will play out in other countries, like Spain, where unemployment is already very high, Fink said.
05/21/10 Tampa, Florida – I waited until I had sobered up to re-read Agora Financial’s 5-Minute Forecast, where it reported that “Bill Clinton shocked us the other day when he came out and suggested the financial crisis would never have happened if the dollar was still tethered to gold.”
Notice that they used the word “shocked”, because that was when I realized that I was too blotto to be likewise “shocked” at such an admission, but was obviously too plastered to feel shock, much less have any sensation left in my lips or even feel myself drooling into my lap.
And speaking of shocking, Jim Willie CB of GoldenJackass.com wrote an essay titled “Shock Events & Gold Breakout” in a thorough, connected way, but without screaming his guts out in anger and fear, perhaps because his lips are also numb from trying to drown his outrage and fear with alcoholic excess, although he doesn’t admit it, he does admit that “public disgust and anger is growing fast” a fact to which he ascribes the notion that “The Tea Party movement has gained acceptance and vigor at the grassroots level” which is certainly true enough about me!
For the third time this year, Congress is scrambling to stave off a hefty pay cut to doctors treating Medicare patients — even as the Obama administration mails out a glossy brochure to reassure seniors the healthcare program is on solid ground.
The 21.3 percent cut will take effect June 1 unless Congress intervenes in the next few days. Recurring uncertainty over Medicare fees is making doctors take a hard look at their participation in a program considered a bedrock of middle-class retirement security.
If the problem is allowed to fester, it could undermine key goals of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, which envisions using Medicare to test ideas for improving the quality of care for all Americans. Doubts about Medicare’s stability can also create political problems for Democrats in the fall elections, since polls show seniors are worried about the impact of the remake on their own care.
“We will not have that cut,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed Wednesday.
Yes this is it! We have crossed the Rubicon and events in the world economy are now likely to unfold in a totally uncontrollable fashion. Clueless governments still don’t understand that it is their ruinous actions that have created a credit infested and bankrupt world. They will continue to prescribe the same remedy that caused the problem in the first place, namely more credit and more printed money. The consequences are clear; we will have hyperinflation, economic and human misery as well as social unrest.
When will the world finally begin to understand that we have reached the point of no return and that “the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)? Sadly, we are probably not very far from that point. It is already starting to happen in many countries.
The latest EU and IMF package of $1 TRILLION (Euro 750 billion) is yet another futile attempt by governments to abolish poverty by printing paper. Let’s be absolutely clear, this money does not exist and the EU governments are hoping by declaring such a large amount that they can con the Wolfpack speculators. At this point the EU has just picked a large round figure out of the air. But when their bluff is called by the Wolfpack and the next attack happens, EU governments will after initial huffing and puffing start printing unlimited amounts of paper.
“This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling …”
That was legendary Lakers’ radio announcer Chick Hearn’s signature way of calling a game early, telling fans the home team won … you can head for the exits before the final buzzer. Chick wrote the book with popular sports phrases like “slam dunk,” “air ball,” “charity stripe,” and a “bunny hop in the pea patch” for a traveling violation.
Chick’s our inspiration today: Last March I wrote “6 reasons I’m calling a bottom and a new bull.” Today it’s time for a new call. We’ve had a good year. Net gains over 50% in 2009. But now: “Game over, head for the exits.” Bears beating bulls.
No, no, “it’s a buying opportunity,” says another legend, hedge fund manager, Barton Biggs. Buying opportunity? For who? Remember, Biggs isn’t advising Joe Lunchbox about what to do with his little 401(k). Biggs’ customers are mega-millionaires in his $1.5 billion Traxis Partners Fund. Main Street investors like Joe are prey in his casino.
Read on, you decide: As you stare from high up in the nose-bleed bleachers watching the game, staring at a Dow that not long ago was above 11,000 and heading for 12,000. Now the Dow’s sitting on the bench, ready for the showers, weak after a couple air balls around 10,000. No more timeouts. “This game’s in the refrigerator.”