Elaine Meinel Supkis
I didn't post this story yesterday due to being too tired after taking apart a collapsed oak tree that fell on our driveway. But today, it is raining hard and I have time inside to talk about the similarities to the death of one of the oldest and greatest oak trees on my property and how this mirrors our economy and our future.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is probing Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings for strong-arming debt issuers into giving them business.
Blumenthal's office is investigating complaints that the credit-ratings companies rank debt against issuers' wishes, then demand payment, he said today. The state also is probing whether the companies threaten to downgrade debt unless they're awarded business to rate all of an issuer's securities, and the practice of offering ratings discounts in return for exclusive contracts.
The entire financial system has been corrupted and corroded. This is a classic situation. Every time a financial system is saved from its own tendency towards deceit and deception, the rules forbidding fraud and follies are dropped or terminated one by one, step by step. Then the bubble/collapse happens again. Starting with the Tulip Mania, everyone assures each other, this will be prevented. The downside of a bubble economy are painfully obvious and everyone wants to avoid this pain as much as possible. Yet they do it over and over again.
On top of this, the desire to make money in a system that is out of whack with economic health and well-being is very strong so the people who have political and economic power will re-engineer economic rules so they can get rich quickly even if this means outright fraud, theft and the destruction of the core of an economy. Like my oak tree which dropped off one third of its limbs yesterday, stopping all traffic on my mountain, so it is here with our United States.
My oak tree is huge. It used to be twice as big but over the last 20 years, even as it continues to grow and have lots of leaves, it has really been dying. This is due to two things: when this field was first cleared 250 years ago by the Slatterlys, a colonial family in Berlin, they needed one spot in the field to rest out of the hot sun, a place for the oxen and the people haying that would be cool and also have a nice view of the entire valley. These hard-scrabble famers recently fleeing Europe lived in great poverty but they still appreciated the beauties of nature and so this tree grew greater and greater alongside America's growth into the world's greatest empire.
My huge oak tree attracted us when we came here in 1990 to build a house. Already, in the October Blizzard of '89, it lost one of its bigger limbs. Because it grew in the open and not in a forest, the limbs didn't reach to the sky but rather, grew outwards at a 90º angle to the ground. By 1990, this meant the branches were over 100' long in places. And this was the physical limit for this tree. No system in Nature is allowed to grow infinitely. There is always a breaking point.
The single branch that fell this week is at least 4' in diameter. The split in the trunk is over 7' tall. The fallen branch stretched across not only part of the hay field but the entire two lane road I built years ago. Now the tree, weakened by industrial pollution, namely acid rain, will die rapidly. Already, the crown shows many dead branches. Insects will enter the core of the tree and eat it inside-out. No longer can one rest at peace in its shade: the tree is no longer shelter but deadly, a hazard. For this great limb fell on a windless day. Silently, it suddenly fell with a tremendous boom.
So it is with our empire. Even if nothing is happening, it can suddenly fall with a boom. The fall itself will be violent but the trigger doesn't have to be any storm or earthquake: like the fall of the British Empire or the Soviet Union, previous storms will shake it and weaken it but the actual fall will take all by surprise. Economies are like this, too: there doesn't need to be any great event for it to collapse, all it needs is to be sick, overextended, overweighted and weakened by previous storms. Then it falls. We are watching exactly such a fall.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Thursday insider trading appeared to be "rampant" among Wall Street professionals and the agency has formed a working group to focus on it.
"I believe we're going to see more insider trading cases," Linda Chatman Thomsen, the SEC's enforcement director, told reporters on the sidelines of a securities fraud conference.
"I am disappointed in the number of cases we are seeing by people who make an abundant livelihood in the market that they are sort of abusing by insider trading," Thomsen said, referring to cases already brought against professionals this year.
A wise farmer prunes their trees. When I bought this field, I climbed up into this tree to try to save it by pruning it but the damage from the first limb ripping off was too great. It was a fatal wound to a very lovely tree. My husband cut up the fallen limb to make firewood and we burned it. This latest, even bigger limb, is also going into the fire. In America, we are now taking the fallen limbs and chopping them up and literally burning them. Ever since 1974, when the US hit its personal Hubbert's Oil Peak, we have been 'growing' just like my tree, but dying at the same time, just like my tree. If one stood far off, the tree looks magnificent. But as a seasoned forester approaches the tree, the obvious signs of death are easily read.
One of my father-in-laws once joked that all stock trading is really insider trading. With his own company, he knew long before anyone, even anyone inside the company itself, what was going on. He could see trouble from very far off, he was a well-known publishing executive! By definition, he always knew better than anyone, what his stocks were really worth. Being a painfully honest man, a totally honest businessman, a humane boss and a man with a very powerful conscience, Joe never exploited this information. Nor did he use it to destroy the lives of his employees. He never sold stock to pirates, hell hounds or raiders. He fought them off, he was willing to take a personal loss rather than gain by destroying his own employees who considered to be his 'family.'
He is no longer with us, alas. Nor is his company flourishing, alas. Joe didn't stand alone: many of his contemporaries had this sense of responsiblity: they were building America! Joe's family fled Russia right before the Revolution due to the anti-Jewish progroms. They came here with nothing and lived on the Lower East side and worked harsh hours to survive. Joe won a scholarship and went to college but graduated right at the very start of the Great Depression.
His sense of honor and humanity was forged by his family being refugees, then the Depression and WWII. He told me, 'I want America to be strong because we have to protect everyone from people like Hitler.'
Today, I see an army of anti-Joes: people who want to WEAKEN America. They want to be richer and more powerful and think, they will be very powerful even if this means killing this nation, destroying the world's economy and starting many wars! Joe was a stunning example of goodness and these people are horrible examples of badness. I remember once, an executive decided he wanted more money for himself and his fellow top officers for Christmas so he frivolously announced a huge layoff of his workers.
The horror, despair and frantic attempts at getting a new job, the suicides, bankruptcies and divorces his careless action caused didn't bother him in the slightest. The stocks soared, he and his gang sold shares and made out like bandits. And they were bandits! Far from 'growing' their company in a HEALTHY way, they were destroying it. This ethos is now nearly universal in our empire: schemes to enrich the guys 'in the know' are being pursued ruthlessly even if this means utterly destroying everything.
Moody's Investors Service cut the ratings of collateralized debt obligations tied to $33 billion of subprime mortgage securities that were downgraded this month, a decision that may force owners to mark down the value of their holdings.
Securities with ratings as high as AAA from at least 45 CDOs were either cut or put on review for a downgrade, according to individual statements distributed today by the New York-based ratings company. Moody's didn't release a summary.
The collapse of this huge branch blocked all traffic. I couldn't go out to do business and this meant cancelling appointments. Two neighbors came over to help us clear the road and with several chainsaws, we did this in 5 hours. The collapse of whole sectors of the US economy are causing traffic to flow elsewhere just as we had to walk around the backside of this tree in order to get up and down our mountain. And it will all be burned just as the insiders are burning our economy in order to heat their mansions.
Joe didn't live in a mansion. Taxes in the 1950's and 1960's were very high on the rich. So there was no point in him grabbing a huge share of profits for himself. Instead, he supervised the spreading of these profits so they flowed mostly to the workers. He was one fo the people who helped devise this system of taxes. When he graduated from college with a degree in mathematics, he was hired by the government for this purpose. So he lived a modest life and was the HEART of his community! Many people looked up to him and sought him out for advice. He was beloved by not only his loving family but the entire community. Since he lived only slightly better than his own employees, they all felt he was one of them and loved him in return.
His funeral was packed and spilled into the streets of Brooklyn. Everyone genuinely cried. The present crop of crooks are not like this. They live far from their own employees who they don't associate with. They live like gods and like gods, are quite cruel and cultivate cruelty. When Enron's executives were lying, cheating and stealing, they encouraged their employees to toy with California and to shut down power plants frivolously and then make the resulting energy deficits worse and worse. Some employees were on tape, chortling like so many little demons working for Satan, laughing as they yelled, 'Die, you old bitches!' as they shut down systems, causing economic chaos and deaths in auto accidents or fires in homes when desperate people tried to light up the night with candles!
This attempt at exhorting money from California rate payers was one of the triggers of the Dot Com collapse. California is a huge part of the US economy. By deliberately sawing off a branch of our economy in order to make more profits for Enron, Lay and his Bush Pioneer gang unwittingly wrecked internal US trade and caused even more companies to flee this nation to better climes.
Joe used to say, 'Jesus saves but Moses invests.' And Joe invested in his community. This is why he was a pillar of the community, not a stalker seeking victims to rip off. Joe wouldn't shirk his taxes and use tax havens so he could then live above everyone while weakening America. Right now, many of our rich, despite record tax cuts that give them huge wealth advantages, are treasonously fleeing our taxes entirely to 0% tax havens. Europe is in the same boat. For a long time, the Japanese resisted this. They ran Japan like Joe ran his company. But the lure of easy riches, living like gods while everyone else starves to death, was too great.
This is the Zeitgeist of our civilizaton! No longer the beacon of democracy, the shining light in the dark, the generous harbor in the world's rough seas, the US is leading the entire world down the path of destruction as we encourage irresponsiblity, cruel labor practices, despotic rule and outright theft! Our ethos is now cruelty and inhumanity, torture and outrageous invasions on specious charges. We are living the lives of outlaws even as we yell about law and order.
We yell at the Chinese for manipulating their currency while the G7 manipulates currencies and gold markets. We pretend to be outraged by insider trading while secretly knowing that all trade by the top guys in business are insider trading from the get-go. All the blame for overspending is placed on the sick, the lame, the weak, on the elderly and children. Instead of dealing with the economic challenges of today's world, the people at the top work day and night to shove all blame onto the most helpless in the world. The people running this system put all the onus of dealing with this system's weaknesses on the poor, not the rich. On the powerless rather than the movers and shakers themselves.
Many people who support draconian cuts or the annihilation of the poor, the heatless economic system that is being imposed on us, the people who want even fewer taxes, less control over the thieves and frauds running things, they don't understand that they are digging their own graves. Far from some fabulous future whereby these right wingers who are at the lower levels of the system will end up in mansion is growing less and less possible. The chances they will be servants of another empire that views them as so many cattle, is growing, not shrinking.
If we kill off all grannies, children, poor people, etc, this won't make America stronger. It will be like signing our own death warrants. One never knows when one will be poor or weak. It can, like the falling of the limbs of my mighty oak, happen without warning, on a fine day. Fires can sweep in! Hurricanes or tornadoes can lay all to waste! Earthquakes, meteorite strikes, whatever, can happen with no warning at all!
This is why we need a community and not a devil-take-the-hindmost nation. All the people destroying America keep telling us, 'There is nothing wrong with this economy. Our nation is the strongest on earth. All is well,' even as they frantically move to protect themselves from our economic collapse. Stocks are up this last quarter only because the stock market no longer mirrors the economy. It really reflects the fraud economy. There are many non-taxpaying, offshore, international entities in the stock markets that make their profits by destroying the US work force, driving our government into debt and running all our systems in the red. Far from being a bellweather for us to gage how healthy our economy is, it is the opposite.
This is why we saw for the last 30 years, 'good news' for Wall Street nearly invariably was BAD NEWS for all of us. For example, when Bernanke decided to utterly destroy savers and kill grannies with inflation, he did this without hesitation in order to make Wall Street boom. And it boomed. But the process killed more jobs, killed more of our mighty economic oak tree. He fed the termites, not the workers. When job layoffs occur, stocks shoot up. When our nation goes to war but doesn't pay for this, stocks soar. Our own military can't protect America anymore, look at the absence of the National Guard from California or New Orleans! They aren't here! And on 9/11, a series of attacks on the heart of our empire wasn't even slightly impeded.
The wars this launched were treated as looting expeditions and the loot was here in America: the wild spending has cost more than the Vietnam war in today's dollars. And the government is now looking for the Jewish guy who sold defective vests and who had a multi-million dollar bat Mitzvah for his spoiled child. He is being accused of fraud and insider trading. But he isn't the criminal, it is our own government that treated this war as a great opportunity to make a handful of Halliburton stock owners like Cheney, richer. This is all about them, not us. They wanted this war so they could line their own pockets. And this is killing our economy. The 'growth' we saw was actually people profitting on things that were destructive. And this caused more and more red ink and the red ink is still flowing like crazy.
There is a lot of growing anti-semitism due to people like the above example. Instead of using their influence and power to make America stronger, AIPAC and the others are using this as a golden opportunity to line their own pockets and make out like bandits. They are focused on destroying America for their own benefits. But Christians are doing this too! Atheists are doing this! People of ALL ethnic identities are doing this!
This is because our empire is dying. It is not healthy. It isn't growing, it is dropping huge branches. Right now, we are seeing our automotive branches falling. GM is still growing but NOT HERE. Ford is still growing but NOT HERE. Apple is growing but NOT HERE. The list of companies that are growing but NOT HERE is very long! The military/industrial complex is also guilty of this. They are 'outsourcing' stuff not just mere privatization, they are outsourcing it to other nations! This is because the executives can make more money this way.
Based on a desk-by-desk survey of traded notional at LCDX market makers, slightly over $55 billion of estimated notional was traded for the month of September for LCDX8.
This, as with previous surveys, includes a conservative discounting of the notionals supplied by dealers to ensure inter-dealer trades are not double-counted.
The total volume traded on the index since inception is approximately $405 billion.
Nearly half a trillion is traded doing nearly nothing useful. It is all about making money any way possible and these systems were set up recently and have no real, honest function. None of these money-creation systems are strengthening America, they are WEAKENING America. This means they are bad, bad. Like, very bad. Yet they are being protected and even extended. Our Federal Reserve is focused on enabling them, not protecting us. This is why we have fake inflation caclulations: it is a cold-blooded attempt at shifting the burden of making wealth away from honest labor and towards ripping off people.
I wrote about this fund when it was launched. I groaned and said, 'This is so destructive! It is pure gambling!' And it seems to have collapsed. Many of the branches we see falling this year are deadwood. But they infected this mighty oak and let in the termites which ate at the heart of this dying oaken economy. The frantic efforts as saving these deadly limbs is not only wasted, it is criminal. I want the SEC and others to investigate all these financial games and systems because they are bad. I want Congress to fix the huge tax loopholes that helps traitors to evade their obligations to this nation. I want Halliburton delisted from the Stock Exchanges here since they are now based in a tax haven in Dubai! And arrest Cheney, of course.
Congress, instead of doing the right thing, is soliciting bribes for the next election. Many of our politicians are courting the termites that are destroying our mighty economic oak tree. They are moving heaven and earth to continue the destruction. Instead of changing course, we sail into more ice fields as our Titanic sinks.
Mr. Howe, the inventor and tinkerer I interviewed yesterday isn't running off to tax havens nor is he destroying the economy. Even while retired, he is launching new industries, new businesses that hire people here to make things and bring him profits. He is doing this because he loves doing this and he cares passionately about America. He is one of the 'good guys' who reminds me of Joe and his fellow capitalists in the old days. There is hope for us as long as there are people like Joe, like Mr. Howe. People who understand we are all in this together. And we all have to make sacrifices in order to be free and safe. We can't be free or safe if we allow people to loot this nation, to evade taxes while ringing up huge deficits in trade and finance.
The United States has entered a recession, according to highly-regarded investor Jim Rogers, who told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday he was switching out of the dollar and into yen, the yuan and the Swiss franc.
"The US economy is undoubtedly in recession," Rogers told the Telegraph in Hong Kong in an article published on its Website.
"Many parts of industry are actually in a state worse than recession. If it were not for (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben) Bernanke putting huge amounts of money into the market, the stock market would probably be down much more than it is."
Here is someone who is making money in Britain pointing out the obvious. He works for Soros and they make money playing money games. Making money by shifting funds from one currency to another is the most USELESS business imaginable. It is directly responsible for the collapse of our economic base, the collapse of the world's old systems. Clever countries with powerful leaders are cynically exploiting this desire to get rich by trading money for money, they are taking over the economic systems entirely just by manipulating the people who are trying to 'game' the monetary systems of all nations. The biggest players in this game are China, Japan and Russia. Since China and Russia are two-teaming Japan, we see the present market instabilities due to Japan desperately trying to keep the carry trade going while Russia and China are focused on strengthening their internal bases as Japan hollows out Japan by destroying the buying power of the working classes! So Japan is yet another sick oak tree. With nearly a trillion in FOREX reserves.
People who understand this new financial game are getting very, very rich. Soros is interested in the news so he understands this new, utterly rigged game. But our own termites here in America refuse to understand the implications of this new game. For it is making China the world's top industrial power and is destroying the grand US/EU/UK empire! And this is the Chinese plan: to help the termites eat out our economic oak tree and then we fall, boom, one fine day, on a calm, sunny day.
The Bank of England today warned that the credit crunch is set to continue as Chancellor Alistair Darling was quizzed by MPs over the Northern Rock crisis.
In a report, it said the short-term outlook for financial stability had been left uncertain by recent turmoil.
There is no economic stability! England is dying. The US is dying. The system is extremely unstable because our economies are dying! So assuming there is some small problem to be tinkered with is pure insanity. This week, the US/EU/UK empire decided for very stupid reasons, to attack Iran Kitty yet again. World oil prices surged to well above $92 a barrel. This is killing our economic oak tree every bit as much as a hurricane or blizzard. Every day that oil is expensive and rising, so rises inflation, so falls our economy that imports vast seas of oil. For we passed the Hubbert Oil Peak here, long ago. Our entire system depends on cheap oil all the time. The cheaper, the better.
And this is pure madness. Inflation will now rage out of control due to easy-term money below the rate of inflation as Bernake tries to save all the termites eating our oak tree economy.
Mexico's central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates and said inflation will take longer to retreat than policy makers previously estimated.
The five-member board, led by Governor Guillermo Ortiz, 59, lifted the benchmark rate a quarter percentage point to 7.50 percent, surprising 22 of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The peso climbed to a three-month high, making the biggest one- day jump since September.
As Russia, China and Japan play currency games, as Bernanke kills the dollar, everyone else is seeing inflation. Mexico is beginning its own downslope, falling down the same Hubbert Peak we fell from long ago. More limbs falling from our oak. For we need Mexico's oil. We import tremendous amounts of this oil and all Mexico got from this is a society with a top that is very, very rich and a bottom that is very, very poor and a country that limps along with virtually nothing to show for all this.
This is why we must become aware of what is going on. We can't blissfully live under this huge oak if it is going fall on all our heads.