James Howard Kunstler

Deep State Blues

Those of you too caught up in Lady Gaga’s latest cutting edge art project — she arranged for another woman to vomit on her while seated at the keyboard to show, well, I guess to demonstrate that not even vomit cannot stop the power of pop music — may have missed the latest moves in our nation’s foreign policy quest to remain Hall Monitor of the World.

Forward Guidance – James Howard Kunstler

“Guidance” is the new organizing credo of US financial life with Janet Yellen officially installed as the new Wizard of Oz at the Federal Reserve. Guidance refers to periodic cryptic utterances made by the Wizard in staged appearances before congress or in the “minutes” (i.e. transcribed notes) from meetings of the Fed’s Open Market Committee. The cryptic utterances don’t necessarily have any bearing on reality, but are issued with the hope that they will be mistaken for it, especially by managers in the financial markets where assets are priced and traded.

The Smog of Fraud – James Howard Kunstler

Team Obama pulled a cute one last week nominating Blythe Masters, JP Morgan’s commodity chief, to an advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which supposedly regulates activities on the paper trades in corn, pork bellies, cocoa, coffee, wheat, corn — oh, and gold, too, by the way, in which JP Morgan has been suspected of massive gold (and silver) market manipulations and other misconduct lately. That would include the 2011 MF Global Fiasco in which nearly a billion dollars from “segregated” customer accounts somehow ended up parked over at JP Morgan as a result of bad derivative bets on tanking Eurozone bonds.

Shake me, wake me! – James Howard Kunstler

The rot moves from the margins to the center, but the disease moves from the center to the margins. That is what has happened in the realm of money in recent weeks due to the sustained mispricing of the cost of credit by central banks, led by the US Federal Reserve. Along the way, that outfit has managed to misprice just about everything else — stocks, houses, exotic securities, food commodities, precious metals, fine art. Oil is mispriced as well, on the low side, since oil production only gets more expensive and complex these days while it depends more on mispriced borrowed money.

Like Your Hair’s On Fire – James Howard Kunstler

The past two months I’ve taken in all but the final few episodes of Breaking Bad, America’s loathe letter to itself. What a metaphor for a nation’s transition from an ethos of earnest effort to a mood of criminal buffoonery. For you who haven’t tuned in to this cultural artifact, Breaking Bad is a cable TV series about a bland high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who, facing an expensive battle with lung cancer, decides to get into the lucrative business of cooking methamphetamine, the most atrocious recreational drug there is. The series follows his misadventures in the trade.