Tag Archives: economy

Fascinating Interview with Biographer of Blythe Masters (in English)

17 May

This interview presents the raw perspective of a journalist, Pierre Jovanovic, who spent several years researching the career of Blythe Masters. His comments are extremely insightful for everyone who wants to understand who she is and what she has done. Unfortunately, his book is only available in French. This interview is the only means I know of to access the core of what he addresses in his book.

For those of us who are familiar with Masters, much of what he has to say is merely confirmation of we know. What’s interesting is how seriously this man, who is more of a journalist than an economist, reacts to Masters’ effect on the global landscape.

I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to finally hear his thoughts. I encourage you to check out his website that says more about the book: http://jovanovic.com/angeQDM.htm. Thankfully, non-French speakers can use translation features in their browser (available at least in Chrome) to understand the page. Hopefully the book comes out in English too.


Jamie Dimon’s Obfuscation = JP Morgan’s Guilt?

13 May

I want to draw your attention to one of the most important things Jamie Dimon said to David Gregory in their recent conversation of JPM’s $2 billion proprietary trading loss:

GREGORY: The immediate question, the SEC is looking into this: Did the bank break any laws? Did it violate any accounting rules or SEC rules?

DIMON: So we’ve had audit, legal, risk, compliance, some of our best people looking at all of that. We know we were sloppy. We know we were stupid. We know there was bad judgment. We don’t know if any of that is true yet. Of course regulators should look at something like this, that’s their jobs. So we are totally open to regulators and they will come to their own conclusions. But we intend to fix it and learn from it and be a better company when it’s done.

The question Gregory asked was extremely simple: did you break any laws, accounting rules, or SEC rules? The answer Dimon gave was essentially this: “We’ve looked into it and I know the answer, but I’m not going to say right now what it is.”

Think about all the different things he could have said. Think about why he might have said this. This is bad, folks.

When baseball players are asked to testify before Congress about steroid usage, they obfuscate like this. When cyclists are asked to testify about blood doping, they obfuscate like this. When Jon Corzine responds to questions about MF Global, he obfuscated like this. Why? Because the level of cover-up is so massive that drawing any attention to the truth is overwhelmingly frightening for them. What you see from Mr. Dimon is a high level of fear about what this problem means for him, his bank, America, and the world.


Something to Think About

9 May

I write about gold and silver. I write about why our economy is where it is and where it might go. But when I think about what that will look like, I’m not happy about it.

There are people in the precious metals trade who feel the way I do. Guys like Chris Martenson, Peter Schiff, and others.

And then there are people that seem to be emotionally attached to gold and silver sky-rocketing one day. When it goes down they cry and talk about their pain and lament the powers that be “smacking it down”. I get that things shouldn’t be manipulated. But you should never feel that emotional about money.

Furthermore, think about this video, which shows what Zimbabwe is like: a place where paper money is worthless and gold is everything. It’s pretty awful.

Just think about that, next time you start hoping for silver or gold to double or triple. Be real. Focus on what matters.


Ron Paul Demolishes CNBC for an Hour

30 Apr

This show is unbelievable. At least 6 different people offer the most complex questions they can throw at the aging-yet-energetic congressman, Ron Paul. Calling his views “extreme”, bringing on multiple economists, and implying that he has no chance of victory are just a few of the games they played with him. But Congressman Paul rose far above the fray.

No one can watch this video and deny his competence and commend him for such excellent answers. Furthermore, Paul is extremely patient, dignified, and nuanced in all his assessments and responses. This appearance is flawless as it gets.

And yet, one gets the sense that, in spite of his ability to comprehensively speak to all types of issues, these people will simply continue obfuscate and misrepresent such ideas in the future.

But man, what an incredible performance from Ron Paul. Go Ron!

A Suggestion for CNBC

16 Apr

There are rarely clear options for those who seek truth in financial markets today. On one side of the fence, you have people like Dennis Gartman, who come out on every other side of gold depending on the month, care nothing about fundamental analysis, and like to come on TV to brag about every trade that they (allegedly) made like they just won big at a casino, only they can never tell you when the next one will be. And then you have the Melissa Lees of the world who rehearse and prepare just well enough every day in order to know how to address questions to the Gartmans of the world and repudiate or ignore others who actually do fundamental analysis.

ImageDon’t get me wrong, both of these people seem to have plenty of experience and a fair amount of data in their preparation, but they have no curiosity.Truth as a concept is lost on them. CNBC gives you other options, like the hyperactive Jim Cramer and the reactionary Rick Santelli, but what kind of personal responsibility do they take for their speech? How much real research can you do before you host your daily show?

These people are supposed to be real experts, but I see no reason to trust them. Give every person who regularly appears on CNBC a hypothetical $10,000, tell them to invest it in any assets they choose, and make a Fox-Box in the upper left hand corner that shows the total return of that portfolio every time they host their show. Then you have transparency.

Will it happen? I don’t think so. This kind of exposure would be so detrimental to the idea of a free exchange of equally unaccountable ideas, it would probably make many segments of programming untenable. It would have been like making a camera crew follow Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong around whenever they spoke with their “trainers”, “doctors”, and other unseemly associates. America believes the lie and idolizes the liars far too often for the person who wants to know what’s really going on. But one day the charade will end.

Inflation – Why it Matters

9 Apr

In the media climate of America in 2012, headlines have focused on some of the most inconsequential nonsense of our history. Celebrity deaths, Kardashians, Rick Santorum’s sweater vests, the Catholic church’s view of contraception, and the last 35 or so debates between Republican candidates which only led us to find the guy everyone liked most at the beginning is the one they like most in the end.

Why does the news cycle focus so much on things that are so far from being important? I have no idea. But I do know who enables them: you and me. When we talk about this nonsense, when we re-post it, and when we google it, we pay back the advertisers for every dime they pour into the media.

Image What should they be talking about? Cereal.

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Blythe Masters Shows her Hand in New Interview

6 Apr

Throughout the blogosphere, especially ZeroHedge, there has been major news due to a rare appearance from the head of JP Morgan’s Head of Global Commodities: Blythe Masters. The vitriol poured out on her in the comments at zerohedge is unbelievably bad. Some comments should not be read, let alone written.

Let’s shift away from the smut and point out a few things no one has yet said: Blythe should be congratulated on such a great performance. While she starts out looking quite pensive, her overall demeanor is composed, she made eye-contact continuously, and she generally engaged in very few lying “tells”. But also note how her attire itself (today and, to some extent, the 2009 interview) is almost militant. Most women try to look strong in a competitive business world. But Masters seems to wear clothing that appears particularly secure and defensive.

Second, this interview is highly scripted. CNBC camera crews don’t just hang out at UC Boulder waiting for executives to drop by. This is a coveted exclusive interview with a reclusive voice from the financial center of the world. And just judging from the interviewer’s incidental remarks, they had an extensive pre-interview talking about silver already. Blythe has been extensively prepped by the interviewer. You think they do that for Peter Schiff? You think they’re going to cut her off when she filibusters? Not a chance.

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