Week in Review

Quote of the week

“Inflation is here. And the more you see politicians and central bankers denying it, the more you should be preparing for what may come.” – Simon Black

The Rise of Illiberal Democracy

by Fareed Zakaria

“It has been difficult to recognize this problem because for almost a century in the West, democracy has meant liberal democracy—a political system marked not only by free and fair elections, but also by the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. In fact, this latter bundle of freedoms—what might be termed constitutional liberalism—is theoretically different and historically distinct from democracy. As the political scientist Philippe Schmitter has pointed out, ‘Liberalism, either as a conception of political liberty, or as a doctrine about economic policy, may have coincided with the rise of democracy. But it has never been immutably or unambiguously linked to its practice.’ Today the two strands of liberal democracy, interwoven in the Western political fabric, are coming apart in the rest of the world. Democracy is flourishing; constitutional liberalism is not.” more… [A PDF is here. This article was written in 1997, but is quite relevant today, if even perhaps for reasons the author did not intend. I highly recommend it. There is also a book, which is an extension of this essay called: The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. It was published in 2003.]

From Military-Industrial Complex to Permanent War State

by Gareth Porter

“[D]espite their seeming invulnerability, the vested interests behind U.S. militarism have been seriously shaken twice in the past four decades by some combination of public revulsion against a major war, opposition to high military spending, serious concern about the budget deficit and a change in perception of the external threat. Today, the Permanent War State faces the first three of those dangers to its power simultaneously — and in a larger context of the worst economic crisis since the great depression.” more…

End of Euro? … Ireland Prints Own Notes

by The Daily Bell

“Now comes Ireland. In news reports that have thus far not attracted much attention, the Irish Central Bank has been printing euros out of thin air to prop up its ailing banks. The whole of Europe will pay for this action, as the result will be increased euro-zone price inflation. We can only imagine the reactions of Germans if this continues – though apparently the Irish action is legal from the EU’s standpoint so long as the ECB is ‘informed’ in advance and approves. As is often the case, we doubted our reaction to the news, so we went trolling the ‘Net to see if anyone shared our instinctive reaction that this was overwhelmingly bad news for the euro.” more…

Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here

by Economic Collapse Blog

“Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe. Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here. Well, guess what? Austerity has arrived in America. At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same. Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts. Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.” more…

Regulars

  • The Bain Report: Articles from Michigan and Beyond
  • Comics
  • Four failed banks this week.
  • Amazon Best Sellers: #1 The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie, Gordon S. Murray; #2 The Carb Lovers Diet: Eat What You Love, Get Slim For Life by Ellen Kunes, Frances Largeman-Roth; #3 Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,871.84 (+84.46/0.72%)
S&P 500 – 1,283.35 (-9.89/-0.76%)
VIX – 18.47 (+3.01/19.47%)
CSI 300 (China) – 2,983.456 (-108.406/-3.51%)
BSE 500 (India) – 7,402.92 (+42.91/0.58%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,747.39 (+2.65/0.15%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 69,133.094 (-1,807.125/-2.55%)
Nikkei 225 (Japan) – 10,274.52 (-224.52/-2.14%)
RICI (Commodities) – 3,922.63 (-1.75/-0.04%)
Gold/oz – 1,341.00 (-19.50/-1.43%)
Silver/oz – 27.427 (-0.893/-3.15%)
Copper/lb – 430.90 (-10.30/-2.33%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 97.60 (-0.78/-0.79%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 824.50 (+51.25/6.63%)
Corn/bu – 657.25 (+8.50/1.31%)
Rough Rice (CBOT) – 14.865 (+0.855/6.10%)
EUR-USD – 1.3621 (+0.0233/1.74%)
USD-JPY – 82.566 (-0.3012/-0.36%)
USD-HKD – 7.7922 (+0.0179/0.23%)
USD-BRL – 1.6777 (-0.0074/-0.44%)
NZD-USD – 0.7591 (-0.007/-0.91%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.15 (UNCHG)
2 Year Treasury – 0.61 (+0.04/7.02%)
10 Year Treasury – 3.40 (+0.08/2.41%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.57 (+0.04/0.88%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.30 (UNCHG)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 14,056,313,474,932.60 (+49,096,499,555.00/0.35%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 1,370.00 (-69.00/-4.79%)

Wow, what a week.So very very busy. Lots of reading, work, shoveling snow.

If you have been reading these notes for a while you’ll know that I am pretty bearish on the status quo. Of course I’m not one to idly complain. I back my complaints with actions. One thing I have been considering is to write a bit about the kinds of things I have done to prepare for what I think is coming, and the additional steps I am taking. If this is of interest to anyone drop me a note. I’m on the fence about this.

On the home front, Baby Girl is getting very interesting. She has discovered the word “no”, and likes to use it. It’s actually kinda cute. Ask her, “do you want to go night-night”, and she’ll shake her head and say “no-no-no”. There’s other words though too. Funny thing happened tonight. We were at Red Robin waiting for our food and she was drinking some water. She put the glass down and started pointing at the coaster. I said “this?”. She nodded, and so I handed it to her. She set the coaster on the table and then put her glass on it. Talk about observant…

And on one political note, if you have not read it in a while, check out Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address. The 50th anniversary of it was this week.

Tomorrow we have our liberty breakfast at the Classic Cup Cafe at 8AM. If you’re in the Ann Arbor area come join us. The conversation is always good. Otherwise, have a great weekend!

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  1. #1 by rabman13 on Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 11:06

    Excellent informative information highly recommend!

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