Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The 'Lawless' Land

Greetings good citizen,

Just when you think things can’t get any weirder…

I’ll temper that with “One day does not a ‘sell-off’ make.” Which is to point out that we’ve already witnessed how these people are capable of talking themselves into (or out of) just about anything.

We can only wonder when they will announce the pending ‘Alien Invasion’? (Which is no more incredible than all of that babble about invisible ‘green shoots’…)

Is it just me or does the whole situation seem to be getting out of hand?

Wall Street in Broad Sell-Off

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Published: June 15, 2009

Hopes for an economic and financial rebound have lifted Wall Street off its back this spring. But on Monday, investors took cover in a broad sell-off as they faced the prospect that any recovery could be slow and halting. [The article was posted around 2:00 in the PM so there are certain inaccuracies in it and some omissions, such as the ‘sell-off’ like the rally itself, was on ‘light volume’.]

In a sharp about-face, stocks slid, and the prices of oil, gold and other commodities sank in early trading. Government bonds regained some ground, and the dollar, which has been weakening against other currencies, climbed higher after Russia’s finance minister expressed confidence in the greenback. [By the end of the day, this little Russian ‘drama’ also performed an about face.]

Markets in Europe and Asia sold off, and the undertow swept through New York in early trading. [Markets around the world sold off today, which isn’t particularly unusual…]

Shortly before 1 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 196 points, or 2.2 percent, its largest daily slide since late May, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 2.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite index was 2.6 percent lower. [All three indexes rallied somewhat by the close, something else that isn’t particularly unusual either.]

Unlike the wrenching declines of last year and this winter, big banks and financial companies were not leading the markets on Monday. Industrial companies and producers of basic materials like chemicals, steel and plastics fell the most as traders wondered whether the recovery was more distant than many had hoped. [Which tells us what good citizen? It tells us that the consumer is expected to remain ‘broke’ for the foreseeable future.]

A report on manufacturing conditions in New York State released Monday was weaker than economists had expected, blunting the optimism of those who hope the economy’s declines were reaching a definitive bottom. Conditions in the industry got worse at a faster pace in June than a month earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey, falling to negative 9.4 points as orders remained low and shipments fell.

Talk of reining in stimulus spending from global finance leaders also seemed to spook investors, raising concerns that the world economy was not yet ready to stand on its own feet. [We can only wonder what their first clue was…could it be the massive losses in ‘net worth’ the nation keeps racking up?]

During a weekend meeting in Italy, finance ministers of the Group of 8 developed nations discussed how to undo bank bailouts and big government deficits as economic conditions improved and inflation started to creep back in. For many investors, it was apparently too soon to broach the subject.

Some analysts say the markets are beginning to drift as investors face the question of: What next? The financial system is no longer veering into the abyss, but unemployment is still rising steadily, consumers are wary about spending and investors are unsure about how rising gasoline prices and higher mortgage rates could affect any incipient economic recovery. [What do you suppose the media’s first clue was to the investor’s ‘uncertainty’? Do you suppose it might have been the ‘low volume’ of trading through the three-month rally? The market has tacked on 35% of mostly ‘air’.]

“It’s remarkable — here we are, 40 percent off the lows and 40 percent off the highs, trapped in the middle,” the chief market strategist at LPL Financial, Jeffrey Kleintop, said. “The stock market’s trapped in a tug of war here.”

The Treasury Department also said that foreign demand for long-term financial assets fell in April. Net purchases by foreigners of stocks, notes and bonds obtained by foreigners was $11.2 billion in April, down from $55.4 billion in March.

Nobody can point to a genuine improvement in the economy yet these bozo’s have been buying for the past three months, fully aware that the global situation isn’t improving…

Makes you wonder how the ‘reality based community’ is handling all of this, are their teeny-tiny heads ready to explode?

Which is to point out something else I bitch about all the time but haven’t, to date, pointed at directly. We have re-defined the term ‘uncharted waters’ over the past couple of years.

Nothing is behaving ‘as it should’, which leaves us ‘where’ precisely?

Dare I point out the reason things are suddenly ‘nonsensical’ is directly related to the fact the ‘rules’ are being ‘re-written’? (Rules established for hundreds of years no longer apply.)

Would I be sticking my head in a noose if a went a step further and pointed out that none of our elected officials are involved in these ‘rule changes’, they are all being handled by ‘political appointees’?

Would you yawn and remark, ‘Same as it ever was’?

Let’s take a couple of more steps off the reservation and consider if the ‘rules’ of science ever ‘bend’ never mind break?

Does it get a bit more frightening if we substitute the word ‘rule’ for the word ‘law’?

In science, laws are not ‘flexible’…a given set of actions will produce the same outcome, every time. Well, guess what, if you screw with the laws of Nature (and by extension, society) you can create some seriously bad, um, unintended consequences.

We’ve seen this enough times to know that the failure to punish ‘unacceptable behavior’ provokes/encourages more unacceptable behavior. There’s a ‘natural rule’ that never changes if you suspect I’m comparing apples to oranges by comparing the rules of science to the rules of society.

I shouldn’t be ‘messing around’ with comparisons because the important issue here is not whether it’s ‘okay’ to bend the rules every once in a while, the real problem is letting the self-interested do such things ‘at will’.

One of the most frightening aspects of Orwell’s ‘1984’ is there were no ‘rules’, so it was impossible to know when you had overstepped the boundaries. If they said you were guilty of something, you had no way to defend yourself.

No rules AND the old edict of ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ were still in play!

Which means not only was anything you did potentially illegal, but your ignorance of that fact didn’t save you from summary execution!

Bizarrely, many major corporate entities have ‘over-stepped’ the ‘normal’ rule of commerce…but they haven’t been (nor is it likely they will be) prosecuted.

Worse, in almost every case, the ‘normal’ penalty for their crime would have been ‘liquidation’.

Bankers that screwed millions of homeowners on their mortgages as well as hundreds of millions of mutual fund investors (401k account holders) got rescued, not put out of business as the laws currently read.

And nobody in our ‘rule making body’ has done a single thing in either direction…it’s as if we don’t have any laws to handle these situations even though we all know we’ve had them on the books for centuries.

Some idiot was on the radio today saying they were trying to put some new regulations in place before the ‘window closed’ on the crisis…

It’s been two fucking years and they haven’t done anything, worse, the proposed new legislation is next to worthless!

We are (allegedly) a ‘nation of laws’, until ‘entrenched wealth’ can actively circumvent the enforcement of the law, then we become a ‘closet aristocracy’.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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