Robert Oak's blog

Friday Movie Night - The Yes Men

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!


This week's films are by The Yes Men. These guys are a scream. They walk right into organizations like the WTO and give incredible phony presentations, which believe it or not, many in the audience just nod, approve and praise.

The Yes Men Fix the World

China - The Ultimate Protectionist

When you hear how the United States doesn't want to be protectionist, please remember that's just spin to ensure we do the will of China.

A new 2009 annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is out. Below are selected excerpts that should make the hair on your head stand on end in OMG panic.

China encourages foreign manufacturing to relocate to China and uses strict capital controls to keep the value of the RMB artificially low.

Alan Grayson amendment to restrict Federal Reserve on Foreign Currency Swaps

Update: This amendment passed by voice vote.

Frankly, I just don't understand foreign currency swaps. It's above my pay grade.

Yet, we have an amendment, by Rep. Alan Grayson and Ron Paul, to restrict the Federal Reserve on issuing foreign currency swaps.

The amendment restricts the Federal Reserve by requiring five Federal Reserve members of the board of Governors approve as well as the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

The Bank of International Settlements, Switzerland, has written a paper on the U.S. dollar shortage and the international policy response, from what happened by the fall of 2008. Below is a graph of the sudden increased foreign currency swaps issued by the Federal Reserve:

currency FX swaps fed
Src: Zero Hedge, click on image to enlarge



SIGTARP as released a new study report on AIG. The report found that the AIG 100% CDS payout was a grave mistake.

Guess whose mistake it was? Then New York Fed President Timothy Geithner.

For some background on this payouts, read The Real Screw Job: AIG used as a Funnel of U.S. Taxpayer money.

Here's the money quote from the SIGTARP report, right in the summary:

  1. The original terms of federal assistance to AIG, including the high interest rate it adopted from the private bank’s initial term sheet, inadequately addressed AIG’s long term liquidity concerns, thus requiring further Government support.

Bernanke, the Dollar and Commodities

Ben Bernanke has come out with a now, now, there, there on the falling dollar:

The Federal Reserve is monitoring currency markets “closely” and will conduct policy in a way that will “help ensure that the dollar is strong”, Ben Bernanke said on Monday in rare comments on the US currency.

The Fed chairman also indicated that the US central bank would not ignore the impact of rising commodity prices when evaluating the outlook for inflation. He said he would not rule out using interest rates to combat new asset price bubbles, even though he did not see obvious mispricing in the US at this stage.

Hmmmm, no obvious mispricing. Does that include the oil speculative bubble of 2008?

Meanwhile Gold is through the roof, in part due to the dollar decoupling.


kitco gold

Sunday Morning Comics - Goldman Sachs is the New Religion Edition

Sponsored by China - Why not? Everything else is.
Cup O' Joe


Good Morning! Rise and Shine! Get that Cup O' Joe...
break out the O.J....hang out with the pooch...time to check out the Funnies!" alt="Obama visits U.S. economy in China" width="525" />
Src: Mike Keefe


Friday Movie Night - Risky Business

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!


Tonight's Friday Movie Night is a little different and why it's being posted early. Senator Bryon Dorgan has come alive and getting involved in financial reform. This is great news for Dorgan predicted derivatives were a very serious problem 15 years ago (take that Taleb & Roubini!). First, below is Dorgan's call to action. Next is a talk on derivatives and financial reform by Dorgan. Finally is Senator Bernie Sander''s Too Big to Exist bill which breaks up the systemically risky institutions.

Considering we have financial lobbyists writing the House derivatives bill (exceptional piece by William Greider) and a complex maze of financial reform (where we are still digging through to find the loopholes exemptions), we call your attention to a refreshing breeze blowing down from common sense North Dakota.

Senator Bryon Dorgan is requesting you get involved in demanding common sense financial regulatory reform and reinstate Glass-Steagall (separate out FDIC insured banks from investment banks).

Senator Chris Dodd & Financial Reform

Senator Chris Dodd has introduced a massive bill on financial regulation reform. It is over 1100 pages and attached to this post. Below is a reprint from the summary of the major regulation bodies structure overhaul:

The Financial Institutions Regulatory Administration

  • Independent: Headed by an independent chairman appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, a Vice Chairman experienced in state banking regulation, and a board including the chairmen of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve and two other independent members. It will be funded primarily
    by assessments on the industry.

Must Read Posts - Sometimes you just can't say it better for November 10, 2009

On The Economic Populist you might have noticed the middle column. We try to list other sites and blogs who have exceptional insight and writing on what is happening in the U.S. economy.

Sometimes though, one cannot say it better but miss those who did.

Must Read #1

Paul Krugman busts a serious myth that free flows of capital are successful in Finance mythbusting, third world edition.

Must Read #2

Yves Smith asks Do Businesses Hate Their Workers?