Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

'Zee Stabilitee & The Wealth Effect' – Name These Two Charts

A century apart and a continent apart. With Bernanke’s fingers now glued on CTRL-C, perhaps the reality of these two charts suggests it’s really not different this time at all…


Chart 1 – Zee Stabilitee


Chart 2 -The Wealth Effect


Can you identify what is being charted in each of these images?

Doing so may help to lift the veil of Bernanke’s (and Draghi’s) Grand Plan.


Charts: Bloomberg and Bridgewater (Page 136-146)


Hint: Below is the nominal version of Chart 1:

The Fed May Be Pumped Up

Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,

Not So Fast
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” Isaac Newton tells us. It is within this context that we also account for “unintended consequences;” those nasty things that no one thinks of that tend to jump out of the bushes at you when you thought you had everything figured out. In Bernanke’s rush to increase employment and raise asset prices and lower mortgage rates, if not to help the President with his re-election; I would assert that the Fed did not go far enough in its thinking and that they may get stung by what they have not considered.
The issue here is gas at the pump.
Far more important to most Americans than the interest rate on their mortgages is how much they have to pay to fill up their cars. This is true, I think, for the group affected by both costs but the amount of people in the United States that have no mortgages and still have to pay for gas to go to work and the grocery store is a far larger amount of people than those that own houses. Further, the amount of time necessary to lower mortgage rates is a much longer proposition than the time it takes to raise prices at the gas stations. With oil hovering around $100.00 and likely to go higher as a consequence of the Fed’s recent actions; trouble may be brewing.
Even without Bernanke’s recent move the price of gas has escalated dramatically. Regular gas, since July 1, has risen 54 cents to $3.87 which is a 14% move up in just two and one-half months. It is now highly likely, in my view, that regular gas will reach $4.00/gallon and move higher from there. This will cause a hue and a cry from the streets and the Press will turn its attention to this and the Fed and Mr. Obama may well get blamed for this outcome and hence the “unintended consequence” swings fully into view.
European Banking Oversight
After this weekend’s meeting of the European Finance Ministers it is crystal clear that no new banking oversight authority is imminent. While it was a grand plan concocted in Brussels and unveiled with virtual threats that it had to be enacted immediately to save Europe; it was a flop at the meeting. The Financial Times says that any of the twenty-seven nations can veto the proposal and the push back from Sweden, Finland, Britain, Germany et al was loud and boisterous. You may recall that this concept was one of the cornerstone’s for Germany to allow the ESM to provide money directly to European Banks but it appears that it may have been more of a political place to hide than what the Germans really wanted and, in any event, the Brussels plan is nowhere close to what the Germans had in mind. The meeting had any numbers of countries intoning, “Not Happening” in a variety of languages and dialects. The two connected issues of loss of sovereignty the lack of desire to be accountable for the banks of other nations poured like a Tsunami on the scheme dreamt up in Brussels. The Germans were quite clear, once again, that any money for the Spanish banks, as one example, would have to go through the Spanish government and they would have to be accountable and also audited by the various EU institutions and by the IMF. The odds are virtually 100% that nothing will be accomplished in 2012 and quite high that nothing will be accomplished ever given the absolute power of a veto on this issue. The roll down would then be no money directly for any banks of any nation and no change to the current structure of the Stabilization Funds.
Vive la Difference
The recent position of the Fed was spelled out and will be enacted. You may be happy, unhappy or camped in between but they will do exactly what they have said they are going to do. This is a Continent apart for the recent announcement of the ECB and should be noted. The European Central Bank waved the banner of “unlimited” and “without cap” subject to the CONDITION of the EU’s acceptance and audits and the approval of any nation applying for aid. It may not have dawned upon you or most of the world but the ECB may never do anything as a result of the yoke that it placed upon itself; nothing at all may ever happen. If the Austrians and the Dutch are to be taken at their word and no more of their money is going to be used to bailout other nations then all of the fluff raised upon giant banners may be no more than flags waving in the wind. The strategy has worked to date and driven down interest rates but when people figure out that the condition is actually an impediment; the winds may begin blowing in the other direction. If “A” depends on “B” and “B” is not forthcoming then “A” is a worthless proposition.
Tell no one that I told you though. It could cause indigestion in Brussels and their food is rich enough now and costly enough for the other nations in Europe. It is a funny thing you know; when a promise made is not a promise kept then Pandora jumps about with her little box of miseries.
“Let the key guns be mounted, make a brave show of waging war, and pry off the lid of Pandora’s Box once more.”
                         -Amy Lowell

9/11: The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7 was Not An Inside Job

Clipboardwtc7 9/11: The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7 was Not An Inside Job

Preface:  If you believe that the government always tells the truth, you have gotten lost in a bad neighborhood, and you should turn around and get back on the freeway as quickly as possible.

If you believe that politics, war and terrorism do not greatly affect your lifestyle, your investment portfolio and the economy, you are sadly mistaken.  See this, this, this, this and this.

If, on the other hand, you believe that 9/11 was an inside job, then please point out any inaccuracies, shortcoming or erroneous conclusions contained within the post.   Please don’t just label it as being a “limited hang-out” propaganda sell-out hit piece … instead, if you believe it is wrong, please link to actual evidence which disproves what I am saying, or which adds pieces of information which you think are missing.  Maybe I’ll agree with you, maybe I won’t.  But I will consider every comment.

People who state that 9/11 was an inside job are claiming that it is a false flag operation which killed people, was used to justify wars in Iraq and elsewhere and a power grab in the U.S.

But  World Trade Center building 7 – the third building to collapse on September 11th – has nothing to do with any inside job:

  • No one died as a result of the collapse
  • No airplane hit the building, and so it was not directly involved in the terrorist attack
  • No wars were launched to avenge WTC7
  • No power grabs or loss of civil liberties ensued because of the collapse of this building
  • Unlike the rest of 9/11, the government has been very quiet about its destruction

As such, the collapse of the building – also known as the “Solomon Brothers Building”  – was not an inside job.

Of course, the building might have been demolished to save lives.  For example, Paul K. Trousdale – a structural engineer with decades of experience – says:

I had always thought the 3rd building was destroyed to prevent unpredictable collapse.

(some point to the World Trade Center owner’s statement about the decision to “pull” the building as confirming Trousdale’s theory).

So why am I wasting your valuable time in discussing this?

Because the government – as part of its political cover-up of negligence before and on 9/11 – pretended that the building collapsed due to “natural causes”.  This should not be entirely surprising … we know that government personnel sometimes misspeak about things like the economy or Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, and they may also have made some minor errors peripherally related to 9/11:

Again, this post has nothing to do with “9/11 inside job”: no one died when building 7 collapsed.

What Do the Experts Say?

What does the evidence show about the Solomon Brothers Building in Manhattan?

Numerous structural engineers – the people who know the most about office building vulnerabilities and accidents – say that the official explanation of why building 7 at the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 is “impossible”, “defies common logic” and “violates the law of physics”:

The collapse of WTC7 looks like it may have been the result of a controlled demolition. This should have been looked into as part of the original investigation

  • Robert F. Marceau, with over 30 years of structural engineering experience:

    From videos of the collapse of building 7, the penthouse drops first prior to the collapse, and it can be noted that windows, in a vertical line, near the location of first interior column line are blown out, and reveal smoke from those explosions. This occurs in a vertical line in symmetrical fashion an equal distance in toward the center of the building from each end. When compared to controlled demolitions, one can see the similarities

  • Kamal S. Obeid, structural engineer, with a masters degree in Engineering from UC Berkeley and 30 years of engineering experience, says:

Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition

  • Steven L. Faseler, structural engineer with over 20 years of experience in the design and construction industry:

    World Trade Center 7 appears to be a controlled demolition. Buildings do not suddenly fall straight down by accident

  • Alfred Lee Lopez, with 48 years of experience in all types of buildings:

    I agree the fire did not cause the collapse of the three buildings [please ignore any reference in this essay to the Twin Towers.  This essay focuses solely on Building 7]. The most realistic cause of the collapse is that the buildings were imploded

  • Ronald H. Brookman, structural engineer, with a masters degree in Engineering from UC Davis, writes:

    Why would all 47 stories of WTC 7 fall straight down to the ground in about seven seconds the same day [i.e. on September 11th]? It was not struck by any aircraft or engulfed in any fire. An independent investigation is justified for all three collapses including the surviving steel samples and the composition of the dust

  • Graham John Inman points out:

    WTC 7 Building could not have collapsed as a result of internal fire and external debris. NO plane hit this building. This is the only case of a steel frame building collapsing through fire in the world. The fire on this building was small & localized therefore what is the cause?

In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation

Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . .

How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective.


Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames—just as the handle on a frying pan doesn’t get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, “if” the structure in the vicinity … started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side—much like the topping of a tall redwood tree—not a concentric, vertical collapse.

For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse ….

We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn’t know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from?

Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings [Again, please ignore any reference to the Twin Towers … this essay focuses solely on WTC7]. Impossible for the three to collapse at free-fall speed. Laws of physics were not suspended on 9/11, unless proven otherwise

The symmetrical “collapse” due to asymmetrical damage is at odds with the principles of structural mechanics

It is virtually impossible for WTC building 7 to collapse as it did with the influence of sporadic fires. This collapse HAD to be planned

  • James Milton Bruner, Major, U.S. Air Force, instructor and assistant professor in the Deptartment of Engineering Mechanics & Materials, USAF Academy, and a technical writer and editor, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

It is very suspicious that fire brought down Building 7 yet the Madrid hotel fire was still standing after 24 hours of fire. This is very suspicious to me because I design buildings for a living

  • David Anthony Dorau, practicing structural engineer with 18 years’ experience in the inspection and design of buildings under 5 stories tall, who worked as a policy analyst for the Office of Technology Assessment, an arm of the U.S. Congress providing independent research and reports on technological matters
  • Jonathan Smolens, 11 years experience, with a specialty in forensic engineering

The above is just a sample. Many other structural engineers have questioned the collapse of Building 7, as have numerous top experts in other relevant disciplines, including:

  • The top European expert on controlled building demolition, Danny Jowenko (part 1, part 2, part 3)
  • Harry G. Robinson, III – Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Architecture and Design, Howard University. Past President of two major national architectural organizations – National Architectural Accrediting Board, 1996, and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, 1992. In 2003 he was awarded the highest honor bestowed by the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Centennial Medal. In 2004 he was awarded the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architecture Societies Architect of the Year award. Principal, TRG Consulting Global / Architecture, Urban Design, Planning, Project Strategies. Veteran U.S. Army, awarded the Bronze Star for bravery and the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Viet Nam – says:

The collapse was too symmetrical to have been eccentrically generated. The destruction was symmetrically initiated to cause the buildings to implode as they did

Watch this short video on Building 7 by Architects and Engineers (ignore any reference to the Twin Towers, deaths on 9/11, or any other topics other than WTC7):


Fish In a Barrel

Poking holes in the government’s spin on Building 7 is so easy that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

As just one example, the spokesman for the government agency which says that the building collapsed due to fire said there was no molten metal at ground zero:


The facts are a wee bit different:

  • And see witness statements at the beginning of this video
  • Indeed, not only was structural steel somehow melted on 9/11, but it was evaporated. As the New York Times reports, an expert stated about World Trade Center building 7:

    A combination of an uncontrolled fire and the structural damage might have been able to bring the building down, some engineers said. But that would not explain steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated in extraordinarily high temperatures.

    (pay-per-view).   Evaporation means conversion from a liquid to a gas; so the steel beams in building 7 were subjected to temperatures high enough to melt and evaporate them

Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:

Approximately three million gallons of water were hosed on site in the fire-fighting efforts, and 1 million gallons fell as rainwater, between 9/11 and 9/21 ….

The spraying continued for months afterward (the 10 day period was simply the timeframe in which the DOE was sampling). Enormous amounts of water were hosed on Ground Zero continuously, day and night:

“Firetrucks [sprayed] a nearly constant jet of water on [ground zero]. You couldn’t even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there,” said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. “It was like you were creating a giant lake.”

This photograph may capture a sense of how wet the ground became due to the constant spraying:

murphy 9/11: The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7 was Not An Inside JobIn addition, the fires were sprayed with thousands of gallons of high tech fire-retardants.

The fact that there were raging fires and molten metal even after the application of massive quantities of water and fire retardants shows how silly the government spokesman’s claim is.

Again, this has nothing to do with “inside job” … no one was killed in the collapse of Building 7, no wars were launched based on a rallying cry of “remember the Solomon Brothers building”, and no civil liberties were lost based on a claim that we have to prevent future WTC7 tragedies.

It is merely meant to show that government folks sometimes lie … even about issues tangentially related to 9/11.


Guest Post: Janet Tavakoli: Understanding Derivatives and Their Risks

Submitted by Adam Taggart of Peak Prosperity,

Global financial markets are awash in hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives. By some estimates, the total amount exceeds one quadrillion.

Derivatives played a central role in the 2008 credit crisis, as they had a brutal multiplying effect on the magnitude of the carnage. As a bad asset was written down, oftentimes there were derivative contracts written against it that resulted in total losses 10x greater than the initial write-down.

But what exactly are derivatives? How do they work?

And have we learned to treat these “weapons of mass financial destruction” (as Warren Buffet colorfully coined them) any more carefully in the aftermath of the global financial crisis?

Not really, claims Janet Tavakoli, derivatives expert and president of Tavakoli Structure Finance.

But the danger behind derivatives doesn’t lie in their existence, she stresses. They play and important and constructive role in a healthy financial system when used responsibly.

But when abused, derivatives can create massive damages. So at the root of the “derivatives problem”, Tavakoli stresses, is control fraud – the rampant unchecked criminal action by influential players on Wall Street. (This is the same method of fraud we’ve explored in past interviews with Bill Black [13] and Gretchen Morgenson [14]). Derivatives contracts are too often constructed in favor of these parties, who if they end up on the losing side of the trade, are able to socialize their losses. Until we address this root problem of corruption, says Tavakoli, derivatives (as well as other securities: stocks, bonds, etc) will continue to subject investors and our makets, overall, to unacceptable risk.

On The Nature of Derivatives

Derivative just means “derived from.” It’s just referencing another obligation, like a bond or an equity, or you can even reference an option. You can have options on futures, as an example. So a derivative is just like handing out fifty photocopies of a model; you know it’s a derivative of something that actually exists.


Let’s take an example. Goldman-Sachs used derivatives they used to help supply money to mortgage lenders by creating securitizations. And those securitizations were simply packaging up loans that were made by people like Countrywide. Countrywide of course was sued for fraud and settled for $8.3 billion with a number of different states for their predatory lending practices.


So you take these bad loans, you package them up in securities, and if you can combine them with leverage, it will always look like you are making a lot of money. That’s classic control fraud, as William Black so eloquently keeps explaining to the market and as our financial media keeps ignoring. Now, how do you combine it with leverage? Well, derivatives are a very handy item if you want to lever something up. So as an example, the Wall Street Journal looked at a $38 million dollar sub-prime mortgage bond that Goldman created in June of 2006, and yet Goldman was able to leverage that up to cost around $280 million in losses to investors.


Now how did they do that? They did that with the magic of derivatives.


Because with a derivative, you can reference that toxic bond, that $38-million-dollar bond can be referenced, you can say If that bond goes up or down in value, the value of your securitization will change as that bond goes up or down in value. So you don’t actually put that bond in a new securitization; instead you use a derivative – a credit derivative, in this case – to reference that bond. And so with the credit derivative, you can basically create as many of those referenced entities as you want. Now, they stopped at around thirty debt pools; they could have done a hundred and thirty.


Because with a credit derivative, all you’re doing is saying you are going to look to the value of that bond and we’re going to write a contract that your money is going to change when that bond goes up or down in value. That’s a derivative. You’re not actually putting the bond in; you’re just referencing that bond. You are basically betting on the outcome of something. And you don’t actually have to own its physical security. Now that’s a derivative. And that’s how derivatives were used to amplify losses and to magnify losses to make a bad situation much, much worse.                 

On Control Fraud

The root cause of it is control fraud – people in the financial system being able to do whatever they want and remain unchecked.. Where you have a group of individuals who are well rewarded for this kind of behavior and yet there is no punishment for this kind of behavior. As long as we keep that in place, you will just see more of the same. The way the Fed and regulators have chosen to deal with it is to pretend it’s not happening and just continue to print money. And, as I say, it acts as a neurotoxin in the financial system, 

On Deriviative Risk in a Market Downturn

When you most need liquidity, it isn’t there. And that’s always true of leveraged products, by the way. You know, the thing that people overlook is – and this is why fraud is such a potent neurotoxin – when the market freezes, when you end in combination with that, when you have a liquidity event, then you see even good assets deteriorate in value quickly, as people need to sell them into a market that has no liquidity. So you get sucker punched a couple of different ways. So if you can’t stand low liquidity, again, you shouldn’t be playing with credit derivatives.


Now, if you custom tailor your contract, it will be more difficult to offload that contract because people will have to take the time to read the contract, if they bother to read it at all. But that said, that’s not a reason not to re-write the language. With the ISDA standard documentation, the hype was, take our language, because if everyone accepts it, it will make it easier to trade these securities. And that was true, until credit events happen and then everyone pulls out their documents and says Oh my god, what did I sign?

On Gold and Countyparty Risk

Counterparty risk is the biggest risk.

And if you’ve been reading the Financial Times, you see a lot of people who are dismissive of gold. Well, here’s an interesting thing: The Derivatives Exchanges accept gold in satisfaction of margin calls.


We had credit derivatives traders who wanted to have contracts on credit derivatives on the United States that would settle in gold. Because if obviously the United States is in credit trouble, what would you want? You would want gold.


You don’t want euros, you don’t want any other currency; you want gold.


The thing about gold is that you don’t have counterparty risk. And if you look at the rebuttal for people who are saying that gold isn’t money, well, I’m sorry, but gold is being used as money already on derivatives exchanges around the globe. Now that wasn’t true five years ago. It’s true today. J.P. Morgan itself, around eighteen months ago or two years ago, said it will accept gold as collateral in satisfaction of margin calls. So they’ve de facto said gold is a currency.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris Martenson’s interview with Janet Tavakoli (54m:27s):



Click here to read the full transcript

Visualizing Japan's Debt Crisis

From the largest Japanese pension fund unwinding its JGB holdings to Kyle Bass’ infamous ‘debt-saturation Japan Trade’ and Dylan Grice’s original Japan funding crisis discussion, the nation – now facing Chinese dis-satisfaction over the recent island-purchase – continues to stagger with its Keynesian-endgame heading to a Koo-nesian disaster. The following info-graphic, via Informed Trades, provides everything the savvy investor needs to know about Debt/GDP, balance of payments, energy imports, demographics, and currency debasement.


Source: Informed Trades