"If you get out of your car in this centrifugal metropolis, you immediately become a delinquent; as soon as you start walking, you are a threat to public order, like a dog wandering in the road." - French philosopher Jean Baurdillard
A few months ago everybody was worried if the world is headed for Depression. Now the answer is clear from the GDP data released today: America's economy has contracted more than 12% over the last two quarters. That beats even the initial devastation of the Great Depression.
How does Wall Street greet the news? With "buy, buy, buy!"
Good. Let the market climb. Let the baseless euphoria reinforce itself.
I'll be looking forward to making my first ever investment soon. Come 9,000 on the Dow I'm gonna put some disposable money into short-selling. If I take care, I think I can expect fabulous returns.
Many Pakistanis <3 the Taliban and hate the United States. That's what I gather from a very recent poll in Islamabad - the capital city under imminent threat from the Taliban. More than half the city's population see the Taliban as "heroes." Three percent remotely like the U.S.
If you think the Pakistani people are going to violently reject the Taliban and defend democracy, you might be expecting much too much.
Keep in mind, Pakistan is the worst off in this global depression. Just as Germany was in the early 30s.
WIKIPEDIA: News media reports portray Gary Lauck in different ways, ranging from laughable buffoon to dangerous "evil genius". Some claim he speaks English with a "fake German accent" while others - no less hostile - claim his unusual accent is the remnant of a childhood speech defect. Some claim his mustache is modeled after Hitler's, although he himself denies that. But they generally agree about his fanaticism. Lauck has stated that Adolf Hitler was the greatest man who ever lived, but that his only mistake was to be "too humane".
Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Panasonic Corp. has instructed Japanese workers assigned to parts of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America to send family members back to Japan because of the risk of outbreaks of new influenza strains, Nikkei English News said, without citing anyone.
I post this picture only to emphasize how there is a "chasm of modernity" (Jean Baudrillard) between Europe and America.
Modernity is original in America: everything from electricity to the car to the computer came about here. The great deal of European history was taken up by aristocracy and war. America was a break from that history and an acceleration of science and technology.
In America, Europe's utopian dreams, even some of the Marxist ones, have been solidly realized. In Europe, utopia is a never-realizable, eternally frustrated, fantasy - the pursuit of brutal, unsuccessful revolutions.
Now for the cool picture - I hope I don't elicit the hatred of European visitors, but I probably will.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has based his entire economic recovery plan on the writings of a libertarian luminary, Milton Friedman - pictured below with sheets of Ones.
Friedman is maybe the most influential economist since Karl Marx. He helped engineer capitalism in the United States, Britain, Russia, and even Iceland.
In 1963, he published "The Monetary History of the United States," a revisionist tome that forever changed America's apperception of the Great Depression.
Up to that point, the 1929 market crash had been viewed as a problem of speculation and overproduction. Of course that implied flaws in capitalism.
"Monetary History" absolved capitalism and shifted blame onto the Federal Reserve. Friedman argued that the Fed had turned an ordinary recession into a depression by raising interest rates and tightening the money supply.
Current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is a scholar of the Depression and a zealous promulgator of Friedman's theories.
In 2002, he spoke at Friedman's 90th birthday bash and issued this apology on behalf of the Federal Reserve:
"I would like to say to Milton Friedman... regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."
In "Monetary History," Friedman spelled out a government plan for averting future depressions. Here it is: drop interest rates, buy corporate bonds, lend to the banks, and print money to keep inflation going.
Like a perfect disciple, Bernanke has implemented each of these prescriptions to the tee - and to the tune of over $12 trillion. Interest rates are at zero and the Federal Reserve is now the chief buyer of corporate bonds. The banks are being shoveled up to $100 billion a week and the printing press is running at full steam.
In the face of this incredible profligacy, some have accused Bernanke of liberal, Keynesian tendencies. A libertarian would never wildly expand government, waste tax money, and intervene in the market. Only a Keynesian would!
In fact, Bernanke's infamous moniker - "Helicopter Ben" - came about when he quoted Milton Friedman on the need to rain down cash on Wall Street in the event of deflation.
Testifying before Congress this year, Bernanke told Ron Paul that Friedman is the guiding light for the Federal Reserve. The matter was sealed at a dinner in Orlando this week (which I attended), where former Federal Reserve Governor Randy Kroszner informed an audience of libertarians that the recovery plan 'is entirely consistent' with Friedman's wishes.
As dictator of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke has faithfully transcribed Milton Friedman's depression-prevention model into reality. Trillions of dollars are allocated in line with his academic theses.
So stop calling Bernanke a Keynesian. He's a Friedmanite.
Look at this epic picture of Taliban riding in a Toyota pick-up truck. They're parading through a newly conquered Pakistani province, Buner, population: 1,000,000. The Taliban takeover took place without resistance. The province was signed away by a turncoat politician.
The Taliban - with al-Qaeda in tow - is now 60 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
Islamabad is heavily fortified; there's a Green Zone around the parliament. But the highway into the city is apparently undefended: the Pakistanis have so far mounted only a tiny force, which was driven back by the Taliban.
If fighting breaks out within the capital, you can bet the government is toast. Now what do you think these men would do with Pakistan's 40-100 nuclear weapons and missiles that can hit Israel?
Nobody knows, and that's why Hillary Clinton just called this unfolding catastrophe a "mortal threat to the world."
The North Koreans are on the cutting edge of computer research. Just look at their IT center - as sleek as any of the corporate buildings in the West.
Behind that reflective glass, the North Koreans are churning out innovative new widgets - like "Taegwondo Education Software," a "Gene information search system," and a "Diagnostic System Upon Coldness Responsiveness."
Of all people, the communists are even developing a "Bank Management System."