Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is It All "CRAP?" Being Hopeful in the Face of Cataclysmic Catastrophe for the Lower Classes: Religious/Politically Insaneville Rulers Take the Reins

Lots of desultory (and fearful) pondering of the immediate future is going on here at Pottersville as we await the next heavily dropping (or dropped?) economic shoe . . . . Professor David Harvey* tells us why all the political discussion we hear today is "CRAP!" Right. No one is addressing the real issues. But you knew that already. Listen here for the discussion (and not even at a "college level" (gasp!)) that may disturb the Beckd/Limpbaughed masses just that little important bit (and get them moving?). And he hardly mentions the banks (Oh, all right, he does mention the Bank of London and has a graphic of the banker from your Monopoly game for inspiration!).

Crises of Capitalism (*David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York CUNY), Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of numerous books. He has been teaching Karl Marx's Capital for nearly 40 years. Read his CV. Discuss the course.)
I'm pretty certain that no one (including myself, friends) wants to hear this, but we better (makes me nostalgic for the gentle predictions I heard in the past from analysts like Ralph Acampora during my Lou Rukeyser-watching days). And the word "better" is a poor joke here even when considering the past reporting of the New York Times. (ATTN: Lisa! He's got your number here.) (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)
A Market Forecast That Says ‘Take Cover’

By Jeff Sommer July 2, 2010 WITH the stock market lurching again, plenty of investors are nervous, and some are downright bearish. Then there’s Robert Prechter, the market forecaster and social theorist, who is in another league entirely. Mr. Prechter is convinced that we have entered a market decline of staggering proportions — perhaps the biggest of the last 300 years. In a series of phone conversations and e-mail exchanges last week, he said that no other forecaster was likely to accept his reasoning, which is based on his version of the Elliott Wave theory — a technical approach to market analysis that he embraces with evangelical fervor. Originating in the writings of Ralph Nelson Elliott, an obscure accountant who found repetitive patterns, or “fractals,” in the stock market of the 1930s and ’40s, the theory suggests that an epic downswing is under way, Mr. Prechter said. But he argued that even skeptical investors should take his advice seriously. “I’m saying: ‘Winter is coming. Buy a coat,’ ” he said. “Other people are advising people to stay naked. If I’m wrong, you’re not hurt. If they’re wrong, you’re dead. It’s pretty benign advice to opt for safety for a while.” His advice: individual investors should move completely out of the market and hold cash and cash equivalents, like Treasury bills, for years to come. (For traders with a fair amount of skill and willingness to embrace risk, he suggests other alternatives, like shorting the market or making bets on volatility.) But ultimately, “the decline will lead to one of the best investment opportunities ever,” he said. Buy-and-hold stock investors will be devastated in a crash much worse than the declines of 2008 and early 2009 or the worst years of the Great Depression or the Panic of 1873, he predicted. For a rough parallel, he said, go all the way back to England and the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, a crash that deterred people “from buying stocks for 100 years,” he said. This time, he said, “If I’m right, it will be such a shock that people will be telling their grandkids many years from now, ‘Don’t touch stocks.’ ” The Dow, which now stands at 9,686.48, is likely to fall well below 1,000 over perhaps five or six years as a grand market cycle comes to an end, he said. That unraveling, combined with a depression and deflation, will make anyone holding cash “extremely grateful for their prudence.” Mr. Prechter is hardly the only market hand to advocate prudence now, but nearly everyone else foresees a much rosier future, once current difficulties are past. For example, Ralph J. Acampora, a market analyst with more than 40 years of experience, said he moved entirely out of stocks and into cash late last month. Now a partner at Alverita, a wealth management firm in New York, he said recent setbacks suggested that the market would drop another 10 or 15 percent, probably until September or October, before resuming another “meaningful rally.”

Over the next several years Mr. Acampora expects an “old normal market,” characterized by relatively short-lived swings that will provide many opportunities for smart investors — one that resembles the markets of the 1960s and 70s. “I’ve lived through it,” he said.

Like Mr. Prechter, he is a past president of the Market Technicians Association, the leading organization of technical market analysts, and he said that his colleague has done “some very good work.” But Mr. Acampora doesn’t agree with Mr. Prechter’s long-term theories, either intellectually or emotionally.

The “mathematics don’t work,” Mr. Acampora said, because such a big decline would imply that individual stocks would need to trade at unrealistically low levels.

Furthermore, he said, “I don’t want to agree with him, because if he’s right, we’ve basically got to go to the mountains with a gun and some soup cans, because it’s all over.”

Still, on a “near-term” basis, he said, “We’re probably saying the same thing.”

Similarly, Larry Berman, who co-founded ETF Capital Management in Toronto and recently ended his term as the president of the technicians association, says he sees a “classic” short-term negative market trend developing now. But he doesn’t use the Elliott Wave theory, saying Mr. Prechter is trying to “measure the market in decades, which is too long a time frame for practical trading purposes or for risk management.”

Mr. Prechter, 61, lives in Gainesville, Ga., where he runs Elliott Wave International, a forecasting and publishing firm. He graduated from Yale as a psychology major in 1971, dabbled as a singer, drummer and songwriter in a rock band and became a technical analyst for Merrill Lynch.

He became fascinated by Mr. Elliott’s writings, which suggest that the market moves in predictable if complex patterns. Along with A. J. Frost, Mr. Prechter wrote “Elliott Wave Principle,” a 1978 book that predicted the emergence of a great bull market a forecast that was largely fulfilled. By 1987, he was widely regarded as an expert in technical analysis.

Articles in The New York Times said he was known as “the market’s leading technical guru” — and more. An article in October that year said he had “emerged as both prophet and deity, an adviser whose advice reaches so many investors that he tends to pull the market the way he has predicted it will move.”

He has far less day-to-day influence now, after years spent developing a theory he calls “socionomics,” which holds “social moods” as the cause not only of market cycles but also of economic and political events. A grand cycle is ending, he says, and the time for reckoning is near.

In 2002, he published “Conquer the Crash,” which predicted misery ahead. Even so, he said in 2008 that the market would soon rally sharply — then said late last year that stocks were about to fall and that the great decline would resume.

Since 1980, the advice in his investing newsletters, when converted into a portfolio, has slightly underperformed the overall stock market but has been much less risky, losing money in only one calendar year, according to calculations by The Hulbert Financial Digest. Mr. Prechter said he disagreed with the methodology used in these measurements, but offered none of his own.

For his part, Mr. Acampora says that the Elliott Wave has some validity as an indicator but that “it’s only part of the story” of technical market analysis, which also needs to be buttressed by economic and fundamental research.

Mr. Prechter says his unifying theory, socionomics, is a “young science.” “We’re quantifying it,” he said. “We’re working on it.” In the meantime, he contends, it has enabled him to “look around the corner” and prepare for a dangerous future.

From Zeppo at Barking Rabbits we receive another huge grain of the Truth (one that is getting increasingly hard to ignore (emphasis marks added - Ed.)).
Friday, July 02, 2010

How is that that we are even considering the possibility of major Republican gains in November?

It appears that Republicans, en masse, have lost their freaking minds. And a majority of American votes might actually vote for this party of morons?

To whit:

-Michael Steele apparently believes that President Obama is the one that started the war in Afghanistan and that the position of the Republicans has been to oppose the war.

- Sharron Angle thinks that unemployment benefits should be curtailed so that all these lazy people on the dole will get back to work.

- Michelle Backmann doesn’t understand that the United States is already involved in a global economy.

- Joe Barton, among others, apologize to the CEO of BP on national TV for President Obama “shaking down” BP.

- Paul Rand thinks building an underground fence” is a pretty swell idea to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but can’t explain exactly how an underground fence would work.

- John Boehner slams President Obama’s moratorium on deep water drilling, but supports putting a halt to deepwater drilling in the Gulf until we find out what exactly happened, apparently unaware that is kind of what “moratorium” means.

- Sarah Palin lies about her feelings about her dad who used to set bowling pins in Idaho, in front of a bowling exposition.

- Pamela Gorman apparently believes one of her big selling points to win an election is how well she can shoot a machine gun. And these are only on the top of the “Crazy List” for the last couple of weeks. This insanity has been ongoing and getting worse for months.

And we aren’t even talking about their political agitators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. These people seem to be certifiably insane to act as they do in public and expect their actions to be well received. It’s one thing to be a nutjob and keep it to yourself or act like a relatively sane person while out in public. It’s entirely another thing to believe acting like a lunatic will cause a majority of Americans to support you and your political party. If Democrats were to go around saying stuff like this on a consistent basis, the press would be all over them and the Democratic Party would take decades to recover.

But apparently, crazy is the new norm for the Republican Party, and they might actually make significant gains in the November election. What a society we have constructed for ourselves. Act like a crazy bastard and get elected, and the media pretty much pretends this is normal.

UPDATE: Yes, President Obama certainly hasn't done much to energize the Democratic/Progressive base of voters. A number of us are pretty disenchanted with the Dems in power right now. But truly, I would prefer this bunch of Dems 1000 times over than the cast of Gilligan's Island that the Republicans are putting out there. If you don't want to vote for Democrats, then at least go to the polls or vote by mail to vote AGAINST the Republicans. I don't think we can even imagine what might occur if these jokers get back in power. I imagine that impeaching President Obama will be one of the very first priorities.

And if not actually having the votes in their part of Congress to impeach (like they didn't have for a very long time for Clinton (and never even close to the votes needed for a conviction), you know they will still be playing that card for the whole two years after the election. And you can hardly expect the Fox News-dominated airwaves not to be at a hysterical pitch the whole time.

And then we have one of our best and most trusted reporters, Russ Baker, who reports from Who What Why on these two most important issues (events about which we still know too little). (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Keeping the War Far From Home

The other day, I received a press release about an upcoming event. The release had been forwarded to me after the event, and, since I found it compelling, I wondered how much media attention it got. The answer in a minute…. But first, the release:

DETROIT — On June 26, at 2 pm, a group of U.S. military veterans will hang a large banner on the abandoned Eddystone Hotel, on Sproat St., between Cass and Park, to protest and reveal the effect of war spending on American cities.

Members of Veterans For Peace (VFP), attending the U.S. Social Forum, a gathering of over 8,000 activists from across the U.S., created and erected the 10 x 15-foot sign that reads, “HOW IS THE WAR ECONOMY WORKING FOR YOU?” Detroit has an unemployment rate of 15 percent and 10,000 abandoned homes on the mayor’s demolition list.

That’s bad enough, but what really got my attention were the following statistics:

Taxpayers in Detroit have sent a total of nearly two billion dollars to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The city’s 2011 general fund budget of 1.3 billion dollars contains an estimated deficit of 300 million dollars, even after years of cutbacks in services once assumed to be part of urban life. The budget for Detroit schools has a deficit in the same range. “Detroit, like so many of our cities, is in crisis,” said Mike Ferner, National President of VFP. “This crisis is no different than a five-alarm fire and we should respond the same way. Instead, we watch America’s cities literally crumble while we pour thousands of lives and trillions of dollars into wars abroad.”

John Amidon, President of VFP Chapter 10, added, “It’s absolutely criminal that the people who built the U.S. auto industry have to watch their city collapse around them while they send $2,000,000,000 to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is indeed the purest form of madness and it’s coming to a city near you.”

The release concluded with a fairly innovative plan for future action:

VFP, with over 100 chapters, is beginning a campaign to work with local government officials to place war counters on city halls stating the amount of money each community has sent to the wars. . . .

Ok, so how much coverage did this protest get — or the relevant and moving accompanying statistics? Answer: None at all. Nothing. Nada. That, in short, in the state of journalism today: keeping the war far from the home front.

And then we have the necessary John Lennon metaphorical reference to remind of us of how far we've fallen since "we" allowed the Reagan Injustice Department to attempt to drive him from this "Land of the Free" (which even then it never legally accomplished, although the news coverage certainly made it seem as though he was leaving every day). (Some editing was necessary and emphasis marks were added - Ed.)

Oil Execs On Safety: “I Am the Walrus . . . .”

In a remarkable display of finger-pointing, oil company executives went after BP today,claiming that if they had been running the Deepwater Horizon rig, no accident would have been possible. But as several congressmen pointed out, all the companies’ safety procedures are absurdly inadequate. Which raises the question: how well do we, as a society, police risks? And, more to the point of this site, how well does journalism monitor potentially catastrophic projects of all kinds? Not well. We’re generally much better at reporting disasters after they happen.

As reported by the New York Times: The chief executives of the world’s largest oil companies faced a Congressional panel of inquisitors on Tuesday and tried to cast the BP spill as a rare event that their companies were not likely to repeat. . . . Rex W. Tillerson, chairman of Exxon Mobil, testified that if companies follow proper well design, drilling, maintenance and training procedures accidents like Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 “should not occur,” implying that BP had failed to do so. . . . John S. Watson, chief executive of Chevron, also pointed an implicit finger at BP, saying that every Chevron employee and contractor has the authority to stop work immediately if they see anything unsafe. . . . Well, yes. Sure. But… Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House committee, focused on the spill response plans of the five companies. They were prepared by an outside contractor and are virtually identical, Mr. Waxman said. Each of the plans addresses a worst-case spill. BP’s plan says it can handle a spill of 250,000 barrels a day; Chevron and Shell say they can handle 200,000 barrels a day. The current estimate for the BP spill is about 30,000 barrels a day, and it is clear that the company’s plan was not adequate to deal with it. Mr. Waxman said it is clear that the plans are “just paper exercises.”

“BP failed miserably when confronted with a real leak,” Mr. Waxman said, “and Exxon Mobil and the other companies would do no better.”

That’s not just rhetoric, according to Energy subcommittee chairman Ed Markey:

“In preparation for this hearing, the committee reviewed the oil spill safety response plans for all of the companies here today. What we found was that these five companies have response plans that are virtually identical. The plans cite identical response capabilities and tout identical ineffective equipment. In some cases, they use the exact same words. We found that all of these companies, not just BP, made the exact same assurances.”

Like BP, Mr. Markey said, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for three million years.

“Two other plans are such dead ringers for BP’s that they list a phone number for the same long-dead expert,” he said.

Wow. Now let’s talk about nuclear power . . . . Or, better, turn to the Beatles for insight:

I Am the Walrus

Author: John Lennon; Lead vocal: John Lennon

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.

I'm crying.

Sitting on a bench, waiting for the bus to come.

Corporation t-shirts, stupid bloody Tuesday.

You've been a naughty boy, you let your hair grow long.

I am eating eggs, they are eating eggs, I'm John Lennon,

Goo goo ga joob.

________________ As a final comment on what is upcoming politically (and why lots of very smart people are saying - and have been saying for quite some time - that the Rethugs will pull a vomitous victory out of the Obama asses - I'm talking about you, Rahm!), we have Lambert at Corrente with some very bad short-term news (and the more I think about this happening, the more I foresee almost that religious Armageddon the Jeebus-crazies are so fervently hoping and praying for, which will be very good news for them (and that can't be right) but very bad news for the rest of us who don't live in Religious/Politically Insaneville).

So, for the Ds . . . . Where else are they going to go? They can't go to the banksters any more, and they can't go to the wealthy liberals. And they can't go to the small donors, because they small donors hoped or assumed that "It's the economy, stupid!" was something that any D presidential candidate or president would understand and deliver on.

Hopefully, the funding clusterfuck portends the collapse of the Ds. I know we'll take a hit with the Rs, but at this point, I think it's best that we just brace ourselves for the impact, rather than pretend it's not going to happen. And for the legacy party system to be destroyed, and, one hopes, replaced with a system that is electorally responsive, one of the parties has to go down, and when it does, the other one will, too. And if the Ds go first, I couldn't be more pleased.

NOTE * Leaving aside the fact that to this day the OFB are lying about the dominance of small donors in 2008.

NOTE ** I apologize if this post seems to insult prostitutes. As we now understand, any Versailles courtier does far more evil in a few minutes than any prostitute can do in an entire lifetime.

Read on MacDuff for the full flavor of Lambeth's blog. Suzan ______________


Cujo359 said...

Sorry, stopped paying attention after a while. The person who said he prefers these Democrats 1000 times over the Republicans is an idiot. He has not been paying attention, because what the Republicans are threatening to do, regarding Social Security, health care, the environment, is exactly what Democrats are doing.

The only difference is that Republicans are making the mistake of being honest about it.

If you like what's been going on for the last six years, keep voting Democrat. You'll get lots more. The only way I see of changing this right now is to make Democrats realize they can't stay in power as long as they continue to do these things.

Suzan said...

I'm more than a little bit uncomfortable with your argument, Cujo, in that this would mean I should go out and campaign alongside the Beckd Limpbaughites.

Our task presently is to uncover the rest of those Blue Dogs and replace them with Democrats like Dennis Kucinich.

Of course, I am an idealist.

Thanks for commenting!

One Fly said...

I have to agree for the most part with Cujo and some dims have said the same. They are the enablers of the right wing. But that's neither here nor there.

Reading your post Suzan it is one of pretty much doom and gloom and I agree as well.

All that I know that this country can not sustain more lies more war more unaccountability for much longer. We are seeing right now what you get for that. Repugs winning in Nov probably. That probably is based on what the dims are doing now and that is not much. I don't see one firing up anybody except for Grayson. Those are strong words in the video from Kucinich but remember how he was talking before the vote on health care and then he caved. Will he cave again- of course if he's told to.

There are ramifications when you base decisions and stop law making in serious times because of your belief in sky beings and finger snappers that do not exist and debunk science and mathematics to suit your beliefs.

I just think the shit is going to hit the fan sooner than later and the gusher in the gulf will be a major player in that.

Will the dims fight and and say what needs to be said-probably not as they haven't done that so far.

When the repugs get control it's over I tell you.


Jazzbumpa said...

The “mathematics don’t work,” Mr. Acampora said, because such a big decline would imply that individual stocks would need to trade at unrealistically low levels.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Of course they can trade at unrealistically low levels, and it can go on for years or decades. After 1929 the DJI didn't reach the pre-crash peak again until 1954. From the mid 60's to the early 80's it went absolutely nowhere, while stock-holders got devoured by inflation. Prechter has idiotic libertarian political beliefs, but is one hell of an analyst.

Re: dims. Exclusive of blue dogs, they are still 1000x better than Repugs. As Fly said, if they get in, we're done. We might be done anyway, but that will nail it down very tight, indeed.

Thanks for the visit today. Who is M. Bouffant? I'd like to see her chart.

WAF, but Cheers! anyway,

Suzan said...

Thanks for the comments, guys!

You know I agree with you, oh great One! I just can't give up on the only group in Congress who at least has a few sane members (now), and I don't think Dennis caved without some type of good Obamic rationale. Wish we knew what it was as people are losing their health care right and left (and people like me still don't have ANY), and if it turns out to be the finger snapper, I take it ALL BACK!

Jazz, one reason I made the statement about Acampora's past reasonableness was to show up exactly what you've referenced.

And these are the smart guys, right?


Did you get by M. Bouffant's place?

She's got great stuff!

Love ya,