Tuesday, December 18, 2012
18 Dec 2012
VIX is not at historical lows but it is getting quite low.
Bradley Turn Point this Saturday, right after the end of the world. Something is going to change this rally. Not sure what yet. Patience.
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
Thanks to NowandFutures for the below:
"Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy. These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.
If allowed to continue, this process will turn the United States into a declining, unfair society with an impoverished, angry, uneducated population under the control of a small, ultrawealthy elite. Such a society would be not only immoral but also eventually unstable, dangerously ripe for religious and political extremism.
Thus far, both political parties have been remarkably clever and effective in concealing this new reality. In fact, the two parties have formed an innovative kind of cartel—an arrangement I have termed America’s political duopoly, which I analyze in detail below. Both parties lie about the fact that they have each sold out to the financial sector and the wealthy. So far both have largely gotten away with the lie, helped in part by the enormous amount of money now spent on deceptive, manipulative political advertising. But that can’t last indefinitely; Americans are getting angry, and even when they’re misguided or poorly informed, people have a deep, visceral sense that they’re being screwed...
So I’m not going to spend much time describing ways to regulate naked credit default swaps, improve accounting standards for off- balance-sheet entities, implement the Volcker rule, increase core capital, or measure bank leverage. Those are important things to do, but they are tactical questions, and relatively easy to manage if you have a healthy political system, economy, academic environment, and regulatory structure.
The real challenge is figuring out how the United States can regain control of its future from its new oligarchy and restore its position as a prosperous, fair, well-educated nation. For if we don’t, the current pattern of great concentration of wealth and power will worsen, and we may face the steady immiseration of most of the American population...
Before getting into the substance of these issues, I should perhaps make one comment about where I’m coming from. I’m not against business, or profits, or becoming wealthy. I have no problem with people becoming billionaires—if they got there by winning a fair race, if their accomplishments merit it, if they pay their fair share of taxes, and if they don’t corrupt their society...
But that’s not how most of the people mentioned in this book became wealthy. Most of them became wealthy by being well connected and crooked. And they are creating a society in which they can commit hugely damaging economic crimes with impunity, and in which only children of the wealthy have the opportunity to become successful.
That’s what I have a problem with. And I think most people agree with me."
-- Charles Ferguson, "Predator Nation"
at 9:23 PM