Archive for July, 2009

Another Obama Stimulus Spending Bill Looms On the Horizon

July 4th, 2009 Comments off

Only a few weeks ago, the cheerleaders from the financial community and Obama administration were preaching the gospel of “green shoots,” those supposedly subtle indicators that the U.S. recession was bottoming out , and a recovery was just around the corner. However, amid a flood of dire economic and financial news, not the least being the bad unemployment numbers for June, there is increasing talk in Washington that a second dose of deficit-driven stimulus spending  will be required from Washington if the nation’s severe economic contraction is to be reversed.

Not surprisingly, the Republicans are already labelling President Obama’s economic recovery spending package a failure. They point out that Barack Obama’s economic team had envisioned the unemployment rate stabilizing at 8% during 2009, as the impact of nearly $800 billion in borrowed money being unleashed by the Federal government would arrest the free fall in employment numbers. The June statistics released by the Labor department reveal that nearly half a million Americans lost their jobs in June, a significantly higher number than was posted in the previous month, taking the official U3 unemployment rate to 9.5%. However, the disastrous economic performance of the George W. Bush administration, aided and abetted by a  Congress under Republican domination for most of the previous president’s term of office, undercuts the credibility of the GOP’s criticism of the Obama administration on economic policy. Of far greater significance is that much of the criticism is now coming from the left-of-center of the Democratic Party.

Many neo-Keynesian economists  were critical of the original Obama stimulus package for allegedly being too small. Their position was that the  contraction brought on by the Global Economic Crisis required governments across the world, but especially in the United States, to borrow massively in order to compensate for the diminution in private sector economic activity. In a recent op-ed piece in The New York Time, economist Paul Krugman represented this point of view forcefully in labelling the current stimulus package as being  totally inadequate, and emphasizing that a second stimulus spending bill of sizeable dimensions was essential if the U.S. was to avoid slipping into an even worse economic crisis. He drew parallels with the economic downturn that occurred in 1937, when the Roosevelt administration pulled back from New Deal pump-priming in order to bring the Federal budget back under control.

While the Obama administration has been hesitant thus far in committing to a second stimulus spending bill, the combination of growing calls for more deficit spending combined with political realities, namely the 2010 mid-term elections, will likely create accelerating momentum towards another so-called “economic recovery act.” No Democrat wants to run in 2010 with unemployment continuing to rise.

Putting aside political factors, is a second stimulus spending bill a wise course to follow? In my view the answer is no. Just as I disagreed with the wisdom of both the original $800 billion spending bill and the $700 billion TARP Wall Street bailout package of last fall, I fail to see how the at best short-term enhancement of certain economic indicators outweighs the massive liability of further damaging the already frail fiscal health of the country. The neo-Keynesian economists fail to understand that the United States no longer has the luxury of engaging in counter-cyclical economic policy when its bank balance is mired in red ink. The global bond market is already providing early warning signs that  profligate borrowing needs on the part of the U.S. government are simply unsustainable in the long-run. Not only would another stimulus spending orgy  probably not improve the nation’s long-term economic health; the further deterioration in the fiscal viability of the U.S. government will inevitably create its own negative feedback loop, further exacerbating the underlying weaknesses in the American economy.

The fiscal catastrophe  underway in America’s largest state, California, should serve as a brightly-lit red warning lamp for the entire nation. Endless debt by the sovereign does not guarantee long-term economic equilibrium. It is a roadmap to financial and economic Armageddon.


For More Information on “Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015” please go to the homepage of our website, 



Sarah Palin Nude? Why the GOP Presidential Frontrunner Should Bare All For My Cameras

July 3rd, 2009 Comments off

Rush Limbaugh, the unofficial, corpulent and titular leader of what passes as the contemporary Republican Party, has made his decision early about the GOP standard bearer for 2012. Making full use of his electronic platform, Limbaugh has anointed Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his preferred presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

Raised up from the obscurity of Alaska politics, Ms. Palin was vaulted onto the national stage by 2008 GOP presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, as his Vice Presidential pick. Despite the obvious deficiencies in her resume for national office, she has not let go of that delivered prominence. There is no doubt about her intentions to run in the primaries for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination and credibility as a serious contender.

However, the doubts that surfaced about her intellectual acumen and global comprehension in 2008 do remain, and will prove a potentially insurmountable barrier if she is destined to engage in gladiatorial combat with President Barack Obama directly, instead of sparring with Joe Biden as she did in 2008. Writing off her critics as incorrigible “liberals” will not suffice to close the electoral gap, even if the economy remains in recession. Her chances of defeating Obama in 2012 appear meager at best, unless Sarah Palin were to confound not only her critics but also the entire political establishment by doing something bold and dramatic. And I have just the suggestion.

Governor Sarah Palin should seriously consider posing nude for me. “Surely you jest,” I can hear echoing among my skeptical readers. However, I offer this suggestion to Palin in all seriousness, and here is why. Let us assume that Palin’s decision to run for President in 2012 is predicated on her firm belief that the governor has the exceptional intellect and leadership skills required to make the case that she would be a superior commander in chief in comparison with President Obama. Factor in the conviction that conservative Republicans have that there is a built-in liberal bias by mainstream media that inhibits her ability to communicate that innate and sparkling brilliance to a large segment of the voting American public. Does Sarah Palin really believe that round two with the likes of Katie Couric on foreign policy will prove more successful in showing her up as a superior geopolitical thinker to Obama? I say to Palin, skip the intellectual media duel with Barack Obama, and beat him on aesthetics.

What I propose for the 2012 GOP presidential frontrunner is a full-course nude art study. This is distinct from a Playboy photo spread, which would simply portray her as another naked female celebrity. A fine art nude exploration of the physicality of Sarah Palin would bring out the complexity and spiritual essence, as well as external beauty of Sarah Palin, in a manner that is both intriguing yet substantive. More substantive than another appearance on Saturday Night Live, and not nearly as tortured as one-on-one media interviews. She would not have to speak a line, play “name that foreign leader” or otherwise expose herself to ridicule about her knowledge deficit. Yet, by posing for a nude art study, she would actually be saying much about herself that even those deemed by her supporters as iconoclast liberals would admire. Sarah Palin as a subject for my photography would be demonstrating courage, boldness, and an appreciation for the value of art in American culture that would shatter most of the stereotypes that exist about her. By allowing herself to be the subject of a nude art study, Sarah Palin would also be making a statement to the American electorate that would be unprecedented; here is a politician who is comfortable in her own skin, and willing to reveal everything about herself. Symbolically, Sarah Palin as a nude Venus would be an aesthetic affirmation of her intention never to conceal anything from the American people.

Sarah Palin as nude art would not only establish her dominance and feminine power in the tough world of male-dominated American politics; it would give her an advantage over President Obama that would be unassailable. Despite all his other political gifts, there is no possibility that Barack Obama would pose nude, nor would there be equal interest in his doing do.

So here I offer Sarah Palin most excellent advice for creating momentum for her 2012 presidential run. Best of all, this advice is offered free, unlike the torturous reinvention of her persona being fabricated by highly priced political consultants. As the Alaska governor considers this unique political opportunity, she may be curious of what posing nude for me is actually like. Her staff can do the research by checking the testimonials of several women who have posed for me, posted on my website,,

Is the Alaska Governor, who believes she is destined by history to defy political trends by defeating a popular incumbent president and becoming America’s first woman president, bold and courageous enough to do something so unconventional and unanticipated? Only if she is the truly exceptional and gifted politician she claims to be. Do I think she will actually take up my creative offer? Well, I’ll put it this way. Unlike Janis Joplin, I won’t be sitting around waiting each day until 3.00 PM. However, in the unpredictable world of America’s media-based politics, you never know.


For More Information on “Global Economic Forecast 2010-2015” please go to the homepage of our website,

Bernard Madoff and the Art of Financial Self-Delusion

July 1st, 2009 Comments off

In the aftermath of the Madoff scandal and the implosion of his $65 billion ponzi scheme, many interpretations have been offered as to its historical significance. The financial establishment and oligarchy will seek to portray the Madoff phenomenon as merely a single bad apple who was appropriately punished  for his crimes. More cynical commentators will present Madoff as a by-product of unregulated casino-style capitalism run amok, a harbinger of the credit default quicksand that ultimately sank the American economy and unleashed the Global Economic Crisis. For myself, I find the victims of Madoff more instructive than the sordid criminality of the con artist himself.

Among the multitude of Madoff clients who were literally picked clean of their life savings, I was struck by the  contradiction between their apparent intelligence and acute naiveté. Many of those now dispossessed of their lifetime of financial achievement by the sinister chicanery of Madoff were businessmen and businesswomen, accomplished in their respective fields, and apparently savvy at the competitive game of entrepreneurship. Yet, so many of these same admirable human beings literally knocked down the doors to invest with Madoff, in effect throwing almost all their net worth into his hands, without even a modicum of due diligence. This is self-delusion on steroids, a phenomenon not new to the American experience, especially when it involves the rarefied world that comes under the pedestrian rubric of “financial planning.”

As the United States evolved into the leading  industrial and financial force in the global economy, an ethos with a powerful mythology evolved; invest with a “money manager” with a genius for picking the right stocks and bonds, and one will embark on the true path to prosperity.  Among the earliest victims of Madoff’s precursors was former President and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant, who lost his life’s fortune to a Wall Street swindler he had been persuaded to invest with by  his son.

In the period leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, the voices of those sober enough to see what was coming were drowned out by the much louder rhetoric of the supposed wizards of Wall Street. Surprisingly, the Federal Reserve, so complicit with our current global financial and economic crisis, was actually a voice in the wilderness prior to 1929, warning of the danger of Wall Street speculation  and the looming disaster that would ensue from unregulated purchasing of stocks on margin. An economist at Princeton, Joseph Stagg Lawrence, published a widely acclaimed book prior to the `29 crash,  “Wall Street and Washington,“  in which he condemned the Federal Reserve in the harshest terms as a conglomeration of bigoted, illiterate provincials who had the  effrontery to question the genius of Wall Street. It was the voices of those such as Lawrence who dominated the conversations about the stock market prior to its collapse. Any dissenting viewpoint  was not only ridiculed but marginalized and quarantined. In the words of Professor Lawrence, “the world’s most intelligent and best-informed judgement on the values of the enterprises  which serve  men’s needs“ populate the hallowed suites on Wall Street. No wonder so many upper and middle class Americans were so heavily invested in the stock market when it crashed in 1929, destroying  much of their accumulated wealth.

Madoff was an accomplished criminal, and probably will not be the last to exist in the field of money-management. However, there also exist many operators on Wall Street who may not necessarily have criminal intent, but who exist within a compensation model that provides irresistibly massive rewards for short-term gains, often at the expense of the long-term financial interests of investors. We have already seen irrefutable evidence of ratings agencies and  analysts adjusting their opinions to reflect the interests of their major clients. Among the army of stock brokers and financial planners who rely on such “research, “  few have demonstrated sufficient independent judgement to preserve their clients` net worth.

Then there are the investors themselves, who all too often have succumbed to the metaphysics of supposedly ingenious money management. The thousands of shattered lives, with their golden years transformed into an impoverished  retirement as a result of uncritical trust in Madoff, are another tragic monument to the powerful art of financial self-delusion .


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