This Real News Network segment describes some recently-exposed strategies the Obama Administration uses to control the press.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
New Zealand: if Investment Fraud was Typhoid, Cathy Odgers Would be Typhoid Mary, (but Lucy Lawless Would Still be Xena, Warrior Princess)
We offer the latest sightings of the wake left by Cathy Odgers, including two mercifully brief, but searing, personal appearances by the lady herself, and some frauds.
Asian stock markets continued to fall today, propelled at least in part by the adverse reaction to the Saudi announcement yesterday that they would let oil prices fall to $80 a barrel. And further reports indicate that the Saudis intend to keep oil prices low enough to force a realignment of prices not just among various grades of crude, but also for intermediate and long-term substitutes.
It is critical to remember that the Saudis have no compunction about imposing costs on other nations to maximize the value of their oil resource long term and hence the power they derive from it. Their oil price cut looks to be a strategic masterstroke.
Today’s Water Cooler: Columbus Day, Hong Kong, Ferguson, Kansas mystery candidate Greg Orman’s murky financial ties, and the latest Nobel.
Ebola is a very nasty disease, but it is actually fairly easy to understand mathematically, which is why the disease prevention folks are confident in the best ways to manage this epidemic that otherwise seems to be growing exponentially.
Yves here. Commodity prices have been screaming deflation for some time, but oil prices remained stubbornly resistant…until now. In a period of mere weeks, oil prices have fallen considerably and the slide continues. Today, for instance, Brent fell by $1 this morning despite stronger-than-expected trade data out of China due to reports that OPEC won’t cut production till oil prices hit $80 a barrel. Note that that news hit after this post was published, and represents a much lower price level than analysts assumed. So the outlook is even gloomier than this downbeat piece indicates.
In addition, as this post discusses, the plunge in oil prices has an impact on other energy prices. Or perhaps to put it another way, the way deteriorating economic fundamentals are whacking oil prices clearly has ramifications for other fuel products.
Yves here. One might argue that stock market jitters are a sign that investors are finally taking note of crappy fundamentals, since even ZIRP and QE, which central bankers keep insisting won’t go on forever, were starting to lose their effectiveness in already-frothy asset markets.
Yves here. Be warned, this isn’t standard Naked Capitalism fare. It’s a bit of “road trip meets oil boom subculture.” But while there has been a lot of reporting on what is happening in communities where fracking is underway, there has been comparatively little on-the-ground-coverage of what is arguably the bigger story, the development of the Bakken oil field.
Yves here. It’s good to see Gaius Publius, a regular fixture at AmericaBlog, now writing at Down with Tyranny, Howie Klein’s blog. Among other things, Howie helped raise funds for a 2010 MMT conference. As Lambert says, “He’s one of the good guys.”
There’s one small sour note in this otherwise fine piece, that of calling Elizabeth Warren a progressive. The fact that Gaius feels compelled to include her speaks to the dearth of individuals who can be accurately described as progressive in roles of any prominence in the Democratic party.
One of the complaints too often taken seriously by the business press is employer claims that they can’t find workers with the right skills for open job slots. We’ve looked at some of these stories in the past, and when employers complained, it pretty much without exception reflected that because the economy is slack,they expect to be able to hire workers cheaply, which often includes not being willing to spend time to train someone. In fact, there has been a perverse trend starting more than a decade ago of employers putting out incredibly narrow job specifications. They were effectively saying they were willing only to hire someone who had been in precisely the same role at a similar company.
But even as McJobs look to be the fastest growing employment sector, just because they want to hire workers for as little as possible does not mean that prospective employees will hit their bid.
Yves here. Unfortunately, correcting Paul Krugman continues to be a staple at Naked Capitalism because he keeps asking for it.
Yves here. This post by Michael Hudson is one entry from an issue of a journal critiquing Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. Hudson argues that even though Piketty’s findings about wealth accumulation over the centuries are useful, he nevertheless has done a great disservice by treating “wealth” as an undifferentiated lump. By contrast, classical economists differential between rentier behavior (such earning income from economically unproductive activities such as land ownership), financialization, and leveraged speculation on asset prices. Hudson argues that Piketty’s failure to probe the types of wealth and the impact of income-generation strategies for various types of wealth, as well as his failure to incorporate legal and political arrangements means his book tacitly supports the status quo. Inequality for him is a state of nature, not a function of how our economy is organized.