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This Is Your Life!

June 22, 2012
By

Labor market conditions improved in the latter part of 2011 and earlier this year. The unemployment rate has fallen about 1 percentage point since last August; and payroll employment increased 225,000 per month, on average, during the first three months of this year, up from about 150,000 jobs added per month in 2011. In April and May, however, the reported pace of job gains slowed to an average of 75,000 per month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent. This apparent slowing in the labor market may have been exaggerated by issues related to seasonal adjustment and the unusually warm weather this past winter. But it may also be the case that the larger gains seen late last year and early this year were associated with some catch-up in hiring on the part of employers who had pared their workforces aggressively during and just after the recession. If so, the deceleration in employment in recent months may indicate that this catch-up has largely been completed, and, consequently, that more-rapid gains in economic activity will be required to achieve significant further improvement in labor market conditions. – Ben Bernanke

Did you get that? Never have so few, said so much, to say so little. The cause of the slowdown in the economy is warm winter weather. “Guys,” the foreman says slowly, “I got some bad news, the plant is shutting down.”

“But why,” Jim asks?

“Well Jim,” he answered wearily, “management thinks it’s just too warm to run the plant. Plants and retail outlets all over America are shutting down because it’s too gosh darn warm. Car washes, auto parts stores struggling to make it in the warm winter weather. Traffic at the nation’s shopping malls is down and all I suppose, due to the warm winter weather?”

Banking and financial conditions in the United States have improved significantly since the depths of the crisis. Notably, recent stress tests conducted by the Federal Reserve of the balance sheets of the 19 largest U.S. bank holding companies showed that those firms have added about $300 billion to their capital since 2009; the tests also showed that, even in an extremely adverse hypothetical economic scenario, most of those firms would remain able to provide credit to U.S. households and businesses. Lending terms and standards have generally become less restrictive in recent quarters, although some borrowers, such as small businesses and (as already noted) potential homebuyers with less-than-perfect credit, still report difficulties in obtaining loans. — Ben Bernanke

“Banking and financial conditions in the United States have improved significantly since the depths of the crisis.” Or, things have gotten much better since we put the fire out. It has almost a Stan Laurel quality to it. Though this is my favorite line, “even in an extremely adverse hypothetical economic scenario,” I’ll bet he was up half the night coming up with that line. Tell the truth, does it sound like something the captain of the Fukushima power station would say? And the answer is, “most”. Most of those firms would still be able to supply credit but since they’re not supplying credit now, they won’t be supplying credit in the near future.

Definition of Prospectus:

A formal legal document, which is required by and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that provides details about an investment offering for sale to the public. A prospectus should contain the facts that an investor needs to make an informed investment decision.

A prospectus is supposed to be an unbiased opinion of your company, normally a prospectus would be written by an independent third party. It is after all, a legal document filled with pertinent facts about the company’s financial standing. It would be considered odd to downright unusual for a company to manipulate the findings of a third party. That is the legal standing. I mention this only so you can consider just how out of bounds it would be to allow Facebook Chief Financial Officer, David Ebersman, to write the prospectus by himself, alone in a lonely room. It was Ebersman along with Morgan Stanley who decided at the eleventh hour to increase the Facebook stock offering by twenty five percent

Facebook investors have lost $32 billion since its May 16th IPO, but that money wasn’t lost really; most of it just simply changed hands. The toothless Securities and Exchange Commission, akin to the Nevada Boxing commission, says the following about the crime of the century: “Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said, her agency will examine ‘issues’ surrounding the IPO in an effort to ensure confidence in public markets. An SEC spokesman declined to elaborate.”

“Lead underwriter Morgan Stanley has insisted that limited disclosure of forecasts, far from breaking any rules, was standard procedure for an IPO and in compliance with all applicable regulations. Rules designed to protect investors prohibit underwriters from publishing research on pre-public companies, while allowing verbal communication of such information.” – Reuters

A dreamy eyed prospectus while the lead underwriter admits selling a pumped up stock claiming as its defense, a ridiculous loophole. So you take this dreamy eyed prospectus and sell it to the public while the big boys nod and wink to each other. Then because demand is so strong among the uninformed, they push up the number of stock shares issued by twenty five percent. Small brokerages ask for stock allotments expecting to receive perhaps thirty percent of what they asked for and suddenly find they’ve gotten a hundred percent. Since the big investors had prior knowledge, unavailable to the general public of the coming pump and dump scheme, there were plenty of leftover shares available.

Then the most amazing thing that could ever happen to a guy falling off the back of a turnip truck just happened. When the NASDAQ opening bell rang their trading computer just sort of broke. That’s right, it just golly gosh broke after sending out all of those buy confirmations to those uniformed investors. For 30 minutes the market delayed the IPO, then, for several hours buy and sell numbers were mismatched. “Oh heaven forefend, now how did that happen? Sellers lost millions as brokers made millions on the sales of Facebook stock as the stock price nosedived. A classic, pump and dump stock scam where investors receive more stock than they expect and are unable to sell.

Well who is in charge here? Chairman of NASDAQ Robert Greifeld said, “Clearly, this was a low point for us, we have to get better as a company, and we will.” Now put yourself in Greifeld’s shoes; you’re about to have the highest profile IPO in recent years and Facebook choosing the NASDAQ exchange was considered sort of a plum. So where was Greifeld on the big day? He was out of contact for five hours, “I think he will be lucky to keep his job through the end of the year,” said Andrew Stoltmann, a securities lawyer in Chicago.

As a mea culpa, NASDAQ proposes a forty million dollar restitution program for buyers injured due to the computer breakdown. Only thirteen million of that amount will be offered in cash, the rest will be in the form of credits and discounts on future trades; a pocket comb or novelty pencil from the carnival barker, better luck next time sucker.

The Swiss bank UBS reportedly lost $ 350 million on the Facebook IPO; Citi Bank $20 million as NASDAQ offers a pittance of $13 million to buyers who can prove damage. “Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said, her agency will examine ‘issues’ surrounding the IPO in an effort to ensure confidence in public markets,” sounds reassuring doesn’t it?

And the winner is… Scott Walker. The baseball manager Davey Johnson used to say, “Everybody wins sixty games and everybody loses sixty, it’s about what you do with the other forty games.” It is a truism and it is likewise in politics, when a state is in economic trouble the incumbent suffers. Also, when you run candidate ‘A’ versus candidate ‘B’ in a statewide election and candidate ‘A’ defeats ‘B’ given a second opportunity to duplicate the election, most of the time the results will be the same. Tom Barrett had won his sixty and lost sixty and the blame for that is entirely a self-inflicted wound. Running the same guy who lost last time and expecting a different result is the definition of what?

In the recent history of Wisconsin never have both sides been more energized or more polarized. Scott Walker raised over $30 million dollars primarily from out of state donors. Barrett raised only $4 million. Four of Walker’s largest donors gave more than Barrett raised in total. We mostly like to think that it can’t happen here, but it has and it does. Propaganda works, perception management is perception control. Walker’s camp deluged the media market with perception management reshaping the campaign issue to Barrett.

And in Washington the administration and the Democratic Party took a hands-off approach, but why? In an election year it would seem at least, somewhat important to try and win a democratic victory before heading into fall; an election victory which would clearly illustrate the rise of the left, of labor unions and of the people taking control of their own futures. Obviously, there must be some schism or under current, almost as if the national Democratic Party really doesn’t give a damn about Wisconsin. Well, maybe they don’t? Maybe they don’t like the goals of a rising Wisconsin more than they care about picking up a state Governorship. Maybe the National Democratic Party didn’t think Barrett stood a chance.

“My name is Clifford Eugene Curtis,”

“What is your profession?”

“I am a computer programmer,”

“Mister Curtis, are there computer programs that can be used to secretly fix elections?”

“Yes,”

“How do you know that?”

“Because, in October of 2000 I wrote a prototype for Congressman Tom Feeny at the company I worked for in Florida that did just that.”

“And when you say did just that, it would rig an election?”

“It would flip the vote 51 to 49.”

“And would that program, something you design be something elections officials on county boards could detect?”

“You’d never see it,”

“How could a program, a secret program that fixes elections ever be detected?”

“You would have to view it in the source code or you’d have to have a receipt and then count the hard copies against the actual vote total, other than that, you won’t see it.”

Curtis had worked for NASA and for Exxon Mobile. He isn’t a hacker or a wanna be. He testified before Congress that it is a rather easy matter to alter an election outcome. So it all comes down to a matter of who counts the votes.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” – Joseph Stalin

The national Democratic Party knew this as well — a sham election turbo charged and on overkill. A candidate who had all ready lost to Walker once, swamped by a six to one money disparity, promoting an agenda contrary to national Democratic fund raising needs during an election year.

Davey Johnson used to say, “Everybody wins sixty games and everybody loses sixty, it’s about what you do with the other forty games.” This was an unwinnable game, and this is our life.

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” – Hunter S. Thompson

 

David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, The Servants of Pilate.

 

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