News & Analysis
The Genius of Bernanke
Ben Bernanke: The New Maestro? ... Ben Bernanke is now positioned to outshine his long-serving predecessor among those making the greatest impact as leaders of the U.S. Federal Reserve. It's not just that the 18-year reign of Alan Greenspan – the once universally admired Maestro – is now perceived as severely tarnished from the vantage point of our post-2008 woes. Greenspan, who once could do no wrong with the denizens of Capitol Hill and the inhabitants of bank trading rooms, now stands accused of being so allergic to economic downturns as to prime the system for asset price bubbles. His utter faith in the self-correcting mechanisms of the market also proved misplaced. – Wall Street Journal
Dominant Social Theme: As Bernanke's regime unfolds, a new opinion takes hold?
Free-Market Analysis: We are pursuing a theme we have identified previously and written about in many analyses, most recently in the article "Senator Scott Brown's Disturbing Story." The theme spells trouble for the power elite because it indicates the threadbare nature of their tactics. When met with deep-seated resistance to their dominant social themes, they have a habit of attempting to insist that their promotions are functioning properly nonetheless.
Which brings us to this latest sub-theme, that Ben Bernanke is a budding maestro, an unheralded genius. We tend to doubt it. In fact, Bernanke is a facile symbol manipulator, someone that the elite identified early as a promising student and likely continually cultivated with an eye toward using his talents. Central banking itself is nothing but a promotion. The idea that a small circle of wise men can run the economy by fixing the price of money is ludicrous. The result cannot be other than disaster. And it is.
We have no idea how the Wall Street Journal came up with this blog singing the praises of Bernanke. But we have excerpted the article above and used its rhetoric as an example of a specific trend. It shows once again how the elite seems immune to opposing viewpoints; Bernanke is in terrible odor in America, and yet the powers-that-be will insist on his rehabilitation. This is par for the course. It is illustrative of elite promotions generally.
Global warming was obviously exposed by emails and falsified data to be a promotion. It was intended to move the Western world toward a carbon currency that would function as a monetary chastity belt as well, taxing people for using energy and revealing their every energy-related activity. Yet the fear-based global warming promotion is with us still. Several panels have examined whether those involved were in any sense involved in conscious attempts to mislead and all have concluded that there was no wrongdoing.
However, even a cursory examination of the emails will present evidence otherwise. The solution? The panels apparently did not even look into the most damning emails, coming to rapid-fire conclusions that precluded serious investigations. And now, with the panels behind them, the movement's founders are trying their best to rebuild momentum. Predictably, the only real support being pro-offered is coming from the political class.
There are other examples, of course. The Afghanistan war seems a promotion. There is no doubt from our humble perspective that the powers-that-be hoped to subdue Afghanistan and put an end to Pashtun independence (perhaps while taming Pakistan). But it hasn't worked out that way. Instead of withdrawing, the Pentagon and its media enablers have manufactured one rationale after another for staying in Afghanistan and expanding the military footprint. Again, we see that when a promotion (and its implementation) is failing, the elite tendency is simply to "double down." Here's some more from the article on Bernanke:
Let's credit the central banker with one clear victory already, even if the economy's still a mess and regulatory success is an open question. Bernanke was certainly influential in beating back the biggest threat to Fed monetary policy independence in recent memory.
Remember, it was just December of last year when the full U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of the financial regulatory reform bill that included giving powers to the Government Accountability Office to "audit" monetary policy decisions. In other words, congressional watchdogs would expose the inner workings of necessarily independent interest-rate policy for second and third guessing by politicians.
Also, early regulatory reform proposals in the Senate removed, rather than enhanced, the Fed's bank regulatory powers. And yet, the Fed wound up with more regulatory power. Maybe there's a new maestro in town.
We can see from this additional excerpt that there is not much of a reason to recommend Bernanke because the evidence – the one clear victory – doesn't involve the economy but in "beating back ... a threat to Fed monetary policy independence." Of course, this is the one kind of victory that Bernanke CAN achieve, because the powers-that-be still have a pretty good hold over the political process.
But when it comes to the economy it is harder to make the case that Bernanke and his circle of wise men have been successful in any meaningful way. This is not surprising of course because the central banking toolkit is brutally limited. While there are numerous fancy ways for explaining the banking process, the actual activities come down mainly to pumping electronic and paper money – delinked from actual assets – into the economy in the hopes that the phony "stimulus" will somehow translate into real economic activity.
But in big downturns like this one, such artificial mechanisms are difficult to implement with any degree of effectiveness. It's not as if the average citizen doesn't "get it" either. This is the first financial crisis in the history of central banking to be carried out in full view of the general public. There is no place for central bankers to hide in the era of the Internet, and their every move has been subject to scrutiny and increasingly, we would argue, to skepticism and even contempt.
Here's an article on the way Americans apparently REALLY feel about the economy. It appeared recently in the Financial Times, and there is no implication that Bernanke is a genius or maestro of any sort. In fact, the people questioned for this survey probably feel exactly otherwise.
Americans lose faith in recovery ... A large majority of Americans believe their economic situation is the same or worse than it was a year ago when the US was still mired in recession, according to a new survey that will heighten concerns about waning consumer confidence in the world's largest economy.
The study by AlixPartners, a business consulting group, will show that even after almost a full year of growth in the US economy, many Americans are still not feeling the benefits of the recovery, and remain more preoccupied with fixing their household balance sheets than spending money.
The outcome of the study chimes with recent drops in other US consumer confidence indices – most recently the consumer sentiment survey from Reuters and the University of Michigan, which plummeted unexpectedly in July, causing a sharp drop in equity indices when it was released on Friday.
Such mounting pessimism will reinforce the belief among economists that the US recovery has hit a significant roadblock in recent months, and that consumers are in no position to drive the economy forward as government stimulus fades in the second half of 2010.
Politically, it will further raise the heat on the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, given that the sluggish economy and the 9.5 per cent unemployment rate are expected to be at the heart of midterm election campaigns later this year. ...
"People are starting to wonder if relief will ever come, and in some ways, they are giving up hope," says Bryan Eshelman, managing director in the global retail practice at AlixPartners. "Consumers are frozen in their decision-making. Nobody can get a good feeling that we have solid ground beneath us."
This doesn't seem to bode well for Bernanke's legacy, such as it is. The mainstream media can continue to paint Bernanke as a maestro-in-the-making but we think his legacy, as it develops, will be a good deal murkier than that. Which brings us to the main point we wish to make: It is impossible for the power elite to muscle its fear-based promotions into success. Promotions by their nature are amorphous and suggestive. To attempt to create an atmosphere of credibility around a failed promotion through a declaratory procedure is foolishness.
But let us try to present this point another way, as we have in the past. It is most important. There are very few of the power elite, though they apparently control most of the Western world's wealth. But in order to maneuver the world in a certain direction, the elite needs to create dominant social themes. These are essentially frightening fictions intended to panic people into giving up wealth and power. There is no other way to direct people effectively except to make them feel self-directed. This is the only way a few thousand "elite" can control six billion.
But many elite promotions are sputtering in the Internet era. They have been disrupted, just as the Gutenberg press undermined them previously. The continuing effort to animate these carcasses tells us the elite's toolkit is bare. It has no answer to the Internet's corrosive truth-telling except to continue to maintain the fiction that its promotions are believable and actionable.
Ultimately, the process begins to resemble the insistence of a child who has not told the truth, but who continues to insist on the falsehood even when others have seen through it. This does not make the untruth any more compelling however, but only adds to its potential objectionableness. Thus it is with the power elite and its promotions. They seem increasingly incredible, yet those in high places seem to insist on them. This merely creates more questions – and ultimately ill will among the very audience these themes were intended to influence.
Conclusion: This is, in fact, how political parties fail, and social comity is undermined. By insisting on the validity of increasingly discredited promotions, the elite puts its entire program in jeopardy and diminishes the probity and credibility of its various allies as well. The elite may be determined to seed the wind, but they are increasingly in danger of reaping the whirlwind.
Posted by Kevin Beck on 12/05/10 11:46 AM
I agree, and will say: The genius of Bernanke is proving that Alan Greenspan was not the worst idiot possible to operate the money-press that is the Federal Reserve. I originally couldn't posit that anyone could be worse than Greenspan, but I am living through it right now. Thankfully, I started preparing myself for this foolishness 20 years ago; those early preparations are now helping to save me.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 07/24/10 02:32 AM
"Nothing happens / is created "just by thinking"." ..... Posted by Bill Ross on 7/22/2010 7:00:25 AM
Do you want to reconsider and correct that false statement? For there are more than just one posting here, who would know that everything and anything can happen and is created just by sharing thinking and developing ideas. Artists in the true sense of the word, in whatever Field of Play they would Be a Prime Actor and Catalyst, know this unknown known particularly well.
That XXXXStreamly Subtle Semantic Embellishment which spreads thinking further afield and into the Consciousness of Others, does make the Fundamental Significant Difference that Changes a Dodgy Doubt into Secure and Sincere Belief.
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 06:49 PM
I hope you don't dress like Helen Reddy...
See, not everything is instrumental. Take Mike Oldfield for example. The best line in Tubular Bells is sluggug wak tog wagunuwow. I say it to my dog and he goes crazy play time. If you have never heard of that album, then I guess I should maybe ask Mr Postman for a delivery of some wood so I can knock together some carpenter's analogies for you.
Never any hard feelings.
I cannot tell you how old I am for net reasons, other than to say we are both only as old as we think we are; and you sound younger than me.
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 06:36 PM
Wait a mo, what was this?
"I wager that you view Weeble as Warden of this wonderful website where you weave 'whoppers' and walkover all who don't get whackjobbery".
Warden? No way. I walk the tightrope of amusing banter only. I have no illusions of grandeur. If I was noticed too much, like some sort of Oracle database, then I would SQL my tires in every gear (except 4th) and cruise back into the cloud (in 5th). No rep for this dude. The only warden is DB.
Wonderful? Yes it is.
Whoppers? A whoppers prompt reactions, which I don't recall ever experiencing here (never blogged consistently anywhere else).
"Walking over whack jobs", if that is what you were meaning, is rarely done by me, and reserved mainly for unhealthy talk (in my humble opinion). If I get whacked, as a result, it is virtually painless and necessary, as proven with you.
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/23/10 05:14 PM
Weeble, if the limerick was
"There was a young lady named Jeannie,
Who's bulitts flew fast like McQueenie',
then yes, I did read it, but must correct you on the young lady part. A lady I am, and even though some folks put me at 20 yrs younger than my chronolocal age,as does my doc, truth be known,I'm no longer a spring chicken.
Not exactly a dried up hen either or a waddling turkey. Let's just say, it's all good at this point And like Helen Reddy said in her hit song,
"You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul"
So lover boy, put a shrimp on the barbee for me,
and a cold Colsen to swallow it down. Friends again?
Hope so, for although sometimes your writing is hard
to decipher, at times I actually get the drift, that
is, when I'm not too tired or overwhelmed with all that
is on my plate. Yes, we do have lives beyond DB, but
having said that, I always return to this feast that
provides us with the best of intellectual appeteazers,
entrees and sweet desserts hardly found elsewhere.
We can thank DB for serving up the best on the web!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks for the kind words.
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 04:33 PM
Yah baby, that's the spirit. I think you may have cured me of my sarcastic bent.
Primes are 1, 2, 3, 5... Hence 5th beer. No drugs, no booze, just good wholesome non-plastic food and RO water.
We are both making nothing out of something now, so I bow to your excellent come-backs.
I guess you didn't get my limerick then...
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/23/10 02:39 PM
Whacky Winsome Weeble...Wonderboy or whippersnapper? You tell us! Your weaselword wavelengths are wearying we readers. I wager that you view Weeble as Warden of this wonderful website where you weave 'whoppers' and walkover all who don't get whackjobbery.
Now that I got that out of my system, let's get down to business.
I didn't reply to your nasa/muslim multitude of posts, for there was nothing to reply to. Further, one cannot reason with the unreasonable. You said that I didn't get the last word...excuse me, but is there a pissing contest going on here that I know not of? If such is the case, I can't enter the race, for I don't have what you have in that dept, but don't need one either, for with what I have I can get one of 'those' anytime I want...na na na nahh nahh...
I also don't know what 'clip' of which you refer. As for Rhapsody in BLue between the lines..just what does George Gershwin's famous music have to do with anything here...and as far as I know there were no lyrics, just music. And as for your rock band boy names, leave me out on that for we are from diff generations. Have been an avid jazz enthusiast my whole life. Rock doesn't do it for me.
Further anyone that needs brain burning drugs to do music, clearly cannot create with a crystal clear cranium sans the crystals!
Which brings me to ask why at 10:01 this morn, you were already on #5 Colsen. It's TGIF, but most folks wait until 3:00...geez louise.
And speaking of prime, are you past Prime? What is this about here..'6.8 billion that would also agree'----agree to WHAT? Me thinks you wrote the above when the foam of your mug had gone from the corners of your mouth, making you look like 'got milk?" to a space above your mouth which clouded those baby blue or brown eyes.
In closing, I am still lmao over your 'Some people understand my idiocy. I debated you and won on your stimulating virginal appearance on this site, so I would be the master debater (never won against DB though (he the mang)". Methinks you had a freudian slip with your touting you are the master bater. As for the virgin bit, with five kids,I hardly qualify as a vestal virgin, even though I do keep my sacred fires perpetually burning at my altar of Athena.
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 10:01 AM
And that would be the 5th beer, if I'm counting.
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 07:58 AM
I know they were couplets, but I rushed the ending. I will raise my glass of beer and snort some cocaine, while listening to some Clapton with you on my negating error at the end. I am not an animal; I am a human being, slurp. (elephant man).
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 07:44 AM
Part 2 of 2
5) No beer either. Kids, working too much, and need to "focus rather than forget" preclude the melting of that Malt Teezer.
6) Yes. There are 6.8 billion that would also agree.
7) See limerick.
8) If the nation is within you, then yes to that.
9) Then take off the governor. See 2.
10) Your word association football is pretty good too.
11) Look up Fibonacci and Phi. Prime numbers are in our DNA, reflected everywhere, and we are driven by the Sun. It was merely a call to number 5, the next prime number. Maybe you accidentally found you needed something to get something out of nothing, and that is as far as it goes? But it was number 3, nevertheless.
12) No, see 1 and 4. I prefer to have no rep. Since I am Weeble, there is no rep available under that name and can be shot at with great ease as I fly away into a cloud and re-appear as, let's say, Oops, or Gerald Bostock, or Esh Alon.
Oh, and my limerick was way better than your 2 Costanza Panzer! Na, na, na,, na, naaaaah!
Posted by Weeble on 07/23/10 07:42 AM
Just woke up, to you, of all people!
There was a young lady named Jeannie,
Who's bulitts flew fast like McQueenie,
She doesn't know what,
The Hell Lewis got,
When he showed normal being so seamy.
1) The Monty Python skit clip referenced BR and HIS problem with lack OF communication SKILLS. If you read carefully, I won by conceding on the point that his rep was on the line and by continuing, he would bury himself, and I do not want that to happen. But I don't regard winning as a goal, or the point of this site. I do not want to win; I want us all to win, just by evening up the score with the PE.
2) Poetic metaphor or alliteration with your handle (sorry if it was taken as a moth metamorphosis or illiteration) took bad about cocaine and all, but Bowie, Poe (along with many others, even non-art producers) suffered with not being able to handle the truth either.
3) No, I'm not on drugs, the song should be taken with a grain of salt. The title was used for alliteration and a synaptual segue. Bowie's arrangements were top notch and unique. Like Marc Bolan, Abba, Nelly Furtado, Led Zeppelin, among many others. The producers and session musicians (and sometimes writers behind the curtain) "guide them" well when they need it.
4) Some people understand my idiocy. I debated you and won on your stimulating virginal appearance on this site, so I would be the master debater (never won against DB though (he the mang). I actually tuned you into me on the AM/FM dial (NASA / Muslim) and turned the volume up full blast for you. Maybe you should read my retort to you. It was Rhapsody in Blue (between the lines). Your silence afterwards and subsequent tack into the "here and now" is testament to the fact you let me have the last word.
End Part 1 of 2
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/23/10 02:44 AM
Your wife might call you her 'Pookie,'
but your last reply makes you look kooky.
You send me to Bowie's, Jean Genie,
A song written by a singular weenie.
That song in no way made sense
So are you on drugs or just dense?
You say you bend light to create.
Yet, you seem unable to debate.
With your obliqueness I surely do fear,
That your insights are obscured via beer.
With your light bending abilities i see,
that you sure are so different than me.
So when Screwtape proposes a toast,
what about that thrills you the most?
His take on ersatz american education?
Or his take on the state of our nation?
I've never been a Jean Genie in the bottle.
I get high on life, as my art is my throttle.
I don't need a bottle, I don't need a brew.
All I need is a brush, any canvas will do.
You accuse me of being prime 1, 2 and 3.
Then tell me I'm headed for 5, oh me!
When you mock do you feel like a hero?
Tell you this..I'd rather be five than zero.
Posted by Weeble on 07/22/10 11:44 PM
John Cleese, playing a wonderful (no, the best) actor, explaining how good he is at acting. He is being interviewed by Eric Idle about Hamlet.
John Cleese (in an excitable tone):
To BE, ornottobe
to BE, OR, notto, BE
Eric Idle (sounding dull):
John Cleese (still excited):
And of course inflection!
I am a happy person, who feels free on his leash, which is 99 percent of the battle. If I could only eat through the leash.
I think other people have to eat mine and I have to eat theirs, because it is really close to my neck.
"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn". LUTHER
"The devil...the prowde spirit... cannot endure to be mocked". THOMAS MORE
Those 2 quotes are at the front of The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, the book I am re-reading (probably the 7th time).
Both those quotes, as well as the actual book give me information on why this word turns as it does. It is only 209 pages. A few hours investment. It is a PE decoder. Every time I plow through it, I get more information. I need information!
My heart is actually in the right place...
Posted by Bill Ross on 07/22/10 12:34 PM
Referring to the photo above, it could be argued that Bernanke lies not just with words, but deeds also and, to be brutally truthful: Is giving us the wrong finger...
DB: I will understand completely, if you choose to remove the following ...
I wish someone, other than me would put Weeble out of his misery, to avoid the perception of me picking on the "disadvantaged" (insert one of many apt politically incorrect terms).
Reply from The Daily Bell
We do not understand Weeble for the most part and thus have difficulty doing anything with him.
Posted by Weeble on 07/22/10 08:03 AM
@ Jeannie Queenie
Now I have my 3rd wish, Jean Genie. You really "let yourself go" on that one. Very enlightening, and we are now officially out of the bottle.
Click to view link
I too, bend light to create.
You are such a prime number. We have 1, 2, now 3.
Next is 5.
Posted by Bill Ross on 07/22/10 07:00 AM
"thoughts turning into something tangible is definitely something out of nothing"
Are you claiming to be telepathetic? Nothing happens / is created "just by thinking".
Thinking has many work inputs:
a) The efforts of those who discovered language and those who taught you the concepts and methodology, countered by those who seek to subvert intelligence / knowledge.
b) The time and energy you spent at school, an (un)willing victim of indoctrination...
After all of that, if you just think and do not act in the physical world (at least write down your thoughts), you have managed to create nothing out of something. If you use the product of your thoughts to successfully create something REAL, that something has inputs in the physical world and IS NOT from nothing.
The concept that seems to be missed is a FULL accounting of ALL factors contributing to anything REAL. Externalities / cost are glossed over.
The biggest cost that seems to be missed is the time and energy (life) required as inputs to create anything REAL. It is like a mass brainwashing resulting in the general perception that life has ZERO cost / value.
By odd coincidence, this is exactly what predators / slavers would have us believe, so we do not defend that with zero value: life (equals time and energy) and property (equals the result of expending life in trade).
The "something from nothing" false belief is resulting in "nothing from something", the complete and utter destruction of the civilization (the rules by which we cooperate for MUTUAL self-interest) bequeathed by our far wiser ancestors. Events and near future history are / will not be very kind to us.
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/22/10 01:52 AM
@Monsieurs Ross, Weeble and Manfrommars,
What say all of you that there is no mystical free lunch? Or you can't get something from nada, zilch, zero? Says who? I think I can disprove that theory.
I have been LMHO for you have proven in your tete a tete that you are making much ado about nothing! Thus proving in your repartee that you made 'something', that would be, 'ado', out of nothing!
Further, maybe you never had a mystical free lunch, but I have enjoyed dining on them most my life. As an artist, I know that nothing costs nothing. I don't pay for my ideas or imagination, but the mystical free lunch bar supplies me with lots for nothing.
When I take nothing and turn it into something, I needn't spend a red cent to use intelligence, imagination or even the hard work involved. There is a return in that value creation whether in a painting or a sculpture I have created. You could even apply that to the market when you hit the right stock, buy it cheap and it ends up a ten bagger...now that's what I call getting something for nothing.
Recall the words of JFK, "Some people see things as they are and ask, "why"? We dream of things that never were and ask, "why not?" What can I say, but that the blank canvas is such a turn on! The very act of creativity is a thrill, thus proving what a hell it is for those creative souls under regimes that control and command fidelity to the framers and fools of frightful futility.
In the final analysis guys, something comes from nothing, which comes from something! I leave it to you to judge what it is when something springs from nothing, but which springs from something.
All I know is that I've discovered most of my life, that yes, indeed, the best things in life are free. I hope that my words of wisdom were not all for nothing, for they are free for the taking!
Posted by Weeble on 07/22/10 12:03 AM
I was sitting here in deep thought after reading every related feedback about getting "something from nothing". I hoped "SP" was not offended by my glib musing on his (or her) choice of "handle", after he complemented me on my banter. It just reminded me of my early days in school when ervybodie hadd "sp" al ovver there worek, bute mien was freeofem. Saury.
My wife looked over and said "what's wrong, Pookie?" (she calls me such stupid names). I said: "how do you get something from nothing?" She said "you think about it" (absolutely true, just happened).
I previously used the concept of someone having the idea to pick wild bluebells to sell for a few bucks, or Archimedes thinking up the screw idea (gear pump). Now, thinking up a new business venture, or modifying an existing operation to improve it, is merely a thinking process. It can make you money, or lose you money, depending on how you thought it out. If it works out, then the thoughts turning into something tangible is definitely something out of nothing. The human mind is capable of anything.
Another feedbacker, I won't say who, reminded me that the people that run this world do not deserve this position of control and we need to take it back (sometimes using force, yuk). There are all sorts of ways of expressing this phenomenon, such as "The Emperor has no clothes" and other ways, such as "I can't believe this is happening to us" or "what planet am I on; people don't get it!"
So here we are, the people that run the world have created something out of nothing. Control of the world.
It is time I went back to The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis, for some ideas on this, as I clearly remember him saying that the human mind has had a lifetime of training and manipulation into the "evil" camp, and it is a very tenuous thread that is holding him there. It doesn't take much to ruin everything and he reverts to the good camp. 911 did it for me about 4 years ago, so I am somewhat of a youngster. I did not speak on the internet until about 3 months ago, and pretty well only on the Daily Bell.
I may be gone for a while on this, most intriguing situation in which I find myself.
I have said it before and I will say it again, "evil" exists and it needs to be there in order to know what "good" is. If you look at the first quote from Master Po above, he said the same thing.
Now, though War Drobe I go ...
Posted by Weeble on 07/21/10 08:52 PM
I accidentally left the tab for the Kung Fu show hanging around on my browser. I scrolled down and found a few interesting ditties:
Quotes from Master Po:
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Be nothing, and you will have everything to give to others.
Yet, it is eyes which blind the man.
Because a man can see, he does not look.
And a couple from Master Kan:
Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious and cannot be replaced.
To suppress a truth is to give it force beyond endurance.
Posted by Bill Ross on 07/21/10 08:26 AM
There's hope of rationality for you yet, Weeble. At least you have the wit to "agree to disagree" when confronted with a, for compassionate arguments sake: stalemate. But, you KNOW. Disillusionment IS a good thing. Reality sets the rules, aligning with it is crucial for survival.