Wall Street Journal Discovers How Algorithms Broke The Financial Markets

This blog and the other websites controlled by Greenteeth Digital Publishing have always warned against the tendency to be fooled by the hyperbole that is attached to concepts like Artifical Intelligence, Machine Learning and Algorithms.

“Algorithms will always make better decisions that humans because they are not hampered by emotions,” the people who long for they day when all humans will have processors implanted in our brains so our every action can be controlled by that bunch of fascist nerds who run Google. These people are not human enough to understand emotions are a vital part of decision making just as undefinable qualities humans possess are what propelled us to the top of the food chain.

One of the areas in which we are told machines have already surpassed humans is trading in the financial markets. Computer Algorithms can trade shared many times in a minute, which has been responsible for the crazy fluctuations we have seen over the past few years in stock markets. Computers, algorithms and mathematical models of various market sectors look at the numbers but do not see the bigger picture.

“Governments to ban petroleum fuelled vehicles by 2050 scream the headlines.”
“Buy Tesla, buy NIO, Buy Frarday Future the algorithms tell the automated trading systems seeing the likelyhood that these stocks will rocket in value. Go long on cobalt says the wise human trader, seeing after in depth research that sales of EVs in nations which have cut subsidies on green vehicles have collapsed, but calculation that despite technical and practical problems not being talked about (if you live in mountainous country, forget that Tesla, they’re rubbish at getting up hills,) EVs have a future as city cars and short range delivery vehicles. Cobalt is an essential component of lithium – ion battery packs, there are not enough cobalt reserves to make battery packs for a tenth of the number of vehicles now on the world’s roads and lithium is not exactly plentiful when we consider the amount needed to provide batteries for 1.4 billion vehicles (the estimated number on the road in 2017.

Logically, when news of a cut in subsidies, or the threat posed by China controlling 90% of the world’s cobalt reserves his the financial news feeds, algorithms will pick it up, stocks are going to crash in price, but demand for cobalt will still be there.

Rather belatedly (it’s algorithms spooked by the massive losses suffered in global markets towards the end of 2017 perhaps, )it seems the wall Street Journal has picked up on this flaw in algorithm driven trading.

Since about two years after the last great crash in 2008, markets rose in what appeared to be an irreversible trend, driven by  the $£€ trillions of Quantitative Easing cash central banks [umped into the major economies. Algorithms were programmed to ‘buy the dip’ while frontrunning (an illegal insider trading practice,)  every buy , virtually nobody – except for a few “fringe”, “fake news” blogs – complained about the threat posed by algo trading and thee accompanying deterioration in market stability.

Algorithm  – driven trading enables trades to be conducted so quickly it is almost impossible to police this practice. A few financial pundits and bloggers who tried to warn that the practice would artificially inflate share prices were dismissed as fake news merchants as the official line that the economies of the liberal democracies were first recovering strongly and then forging ahead as demonstrated by competely false measures like the Dow Jones Industrial Index and The Financial Times 100 share index.

In December 2018 it looks as if the financial centres are entering their first ‘bear’ market since the 2008 crash, which those with long memories will recall was brought about by banks’ and investment funds’ exposure to dodgy debt derivatives (toxic debt,) and now as then politicians, media and regulators launched witch hunts as they sought scapegoats (anyone but the guilty banks of course,) and tried to deflect blame from the real culprit, then the irresponsible risks taken by traders looking for quick profit, this time, in their quest to help commercial banks make risk free profits the central banks, supported by governments, have pushed the cause of “computerized trading.”

*

An article on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, 26 December 2018, titled “Behind the Market Swoon: The Herdlike Behavior of Computerized Trading”, features contributions from a number of WSJ writers who collectively opine that “behind the broad, swift market slide of 2018 is an underlying new reality: Roughly 85% of all trading is on autopilot—controlled by machines, models, or passive investing formulas, creating an unprecedented trading herd that moves in unison and is blazingly fast.”

Absolutely true, furthermore a majority of the “autopilot” trading is also on the upside, that is on the assumption that a stock already trading at its highest valuation ever will go even higher. Strangely government finance chiefs, bankers and financial journalists did not see fit to mention this  for several years. Of course, to new media readers, the story is all too familiar: after all we bloggers and citizen journalists have covered all of this not just on occasions when markets dipped sharply lower, but more importantly in the times when on an almost daily basis they soared to new, ever crazier heights, making an eventual crash inevitable.

From the WSJ article:

Today, quantitative hedge funds, or those that rely on computer models rather than research and intuition, account for 28.7% of trading in the stock market, according to data from Tabb Group–a share that’s more than doubled since 2013. They now trade more than retail investors, and everyone else.

Add to that passive funds, index investors, high-frequency traders, market makers, and others who aren’t buying because they have a fundamental view of a company’s prospects, and you get to around 85% of trading volume, according to Marko Kolanovic of JP Morgan.

Deutsche Bank argues that momentum has emerged as the most important force in markets, something we have claimed for years:

However, one key reason why trading has become so complicated for most, and certainly the algos, is that there is currently virtually no momentum in the market – with the MTUM ETF which tracks momentum stocks having its worst month and quarter since its 2013 inception – results in making any attempt to piggyback on the market a money-losing trade.

Bad news for those whose savings or pension pots are invested in index tracking funds. But what does it mean in plain English. Let’s turn to that WSJ article again and some quotes from traders who after a week of crazy fluctuations are suddenly very concerned about maret conditions:

Boaz Weinstein, founder of credit hedge fund Saba Capital Management LP, said the market had been underpricing uncertainty. Now it’s taking into account political issues “at the same time as the Fed is hiking, the economy is slowing, and a lot of people are feeling like the best days for markets are over,” he said.

Mr. Weinstein says there are dangers building in the junk-bond market. One worry, he says, is that so many junk bonds—he estimated about 40%—are held by mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that allow their investors to sell any day they like, even though bonds inside the funds are hard to sell.

When enough investors want to cash out, such a fund has to start selling bonds. But without much liquidity, finding buyers could be hard.

A selloff could start simply, he said. “It has its own gravity.”

The punchline to all this is delivered by COOPERMAN [Sorry US reders, that joke will only be accessible to UK readers of a certain age 🙂 ] :

Electronic traders are wreaking havoc in the markets,” says Leon Cooperman, the billionaire stock picker who founded hedge fund Omega Advisors.

There is much more in the full WSJ article, which also addresses a collapse in market liquidity, the a knock on effect from equity markets to the credit market. If that happens, and it seems to be happening already, the stage it set for an almighty crash, but let’s face it, afall from around 26000 to 21600 between December 1 and close of business on December 24, followed by a 1100 point rally on 26 December is not sane trading, unless we accept that the behaviour of the electronic herd is “the new sanity.”

Pundits were not talking about algorithm driven, high frequency EFT trading “wreaking havoc in the markets” when the indexes were soaring ever higher. 2018 has been a terrible year for financial traders, the wild fluctuations have become more exaggerated than ever while public trust has fallen below decimal zero and is heading from absolute zero. This maybe explains why the WSJ article reports on the previously unmentioned aspect of what the force that propelled markets to such unrealistic heights. For around a  decade now High Frequency Trading by computer, algorithm driven decision making  and various other computer based trading technologies including the ridiculously misnamed Artificial Intelligence Systems that so many people not old enough to understand how computers actually work place such great faith in, have been overruling the professional traders most vital tool, gut instinct. Computers and their algorithms and Artificial Intelligence only do what their human programmers, who are rarely people who have ever been equity, currency or commodity traders, instruct them to. Thus they  simply accentuate momentum either up, or down by frontrunning the orders from investors

HFTs can only frontrun the flow of orders,to elaborate on the brief explanation in the opening paragraphs, looking at figures on financial news feeds only visible on the deep web it seems that after the massive sell off in December fund managers needed to tie up cash over the quarter end (I’m not going to go into why, I’m an IT systems person not a fund manager,) and placed orders for around $60 billon-worth of equities to bed-and-breakfast their cash for tax reasons. And the algorithms, having noted the sell off, followed their programmed instruction to “buy the dip” to the tune of that $60 billion.

In the process, instead of adding liquidity to the market, the HFTs sucked liquidity out of it. It’s good that mainstream media is finally reporting on the problem which will ultimately kick off the next big crash and possibly bring down the corporatist economy, i.e.  the takeover of the market by computerized trading.

*

– a crash which, however, will only be made possible by the Fed blowing the biggest asset bubble in history to monstrous proportions, something which the WSJ article does at least acknowledge in its final paragraph:

“It’s not just about the equity market throwing a temper tantrum, it’s far deeper than that,” said David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates in Toronto. “This is a much broader global liquidity story.”

Encouraged by signs of economic strengthening, the Fed has been gradually raising interest rates from rock-bottom levels and selling back the trillions of dollars in bonds it bought in the postcrisis years. The central bank says the roll-back of stimulus is smooth. Others aren’t so sure what comes next. There has never been such a huge stimulus, and one has never before been unraveled.

Some believe there’s a hidden risk in debt that consumers and companies took on when borrowing was inexpensive. The Fed’s campaigns were  “fundamentally designed to encourage corporate America to lever up, which makes them more vulnerable to rising borrowing costs,” said Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners. “The reversing of the process is actually more powerful,” he said.

Read the full WSJ article here.

 

TTIP on the Brink of Failure: EU ‘Frustrated’ By US Refusal To Accept Conditions It Insists Europe Must Accept

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has been pushed by the Obama Administration and the European Union’s ruling bureaucratic dictatorship, looks increasingly close to being abandoned as public opposition to it mounts in both Europe and the USA.. The EU negotiators are frustrated by American intransigence in refusing to grant the EU access to US markets, while demanding the removal of all obstacles of all obstacles to American goods being dumped in European markets. It is now becoming apparent that the potential deal should always have been a non starter, as the business culture of European countries and the US have little in common, German business newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) wrote.

Referring to the website EUobserver, the newspaper noted that EU negotiators have become frustrated about the deal and don’t believe in the success of the TTIP anymore.

The main problem is fundamentally different visions of the US and the EU about the nature of the agreement.

“The US is pressuring the EU to roll back environmental and health standards as part of a free trade deal,” EU observer wrote. “The US also wants to keep the current arbitration system that allows corporations to sue governments for perceived loss of profits.”

According to DWN, the US is playing hard, making “unacceptable” demands and trying to bully EU negotiators. US attempts to talk up the non existent threat to the EU from Russia should the deal fail have angers the EU side and contributed to growing “frustration among Member States”. Russia will be very happy to see the deal fail as that would open the way for closer economic ties between the EU and the Russian Federation.

Several clauses in TTIP have sparked controversy as critics fear they will allow global orporations to overturn national laws (as has happened in Canada which signed a similar  trade treaty with the US some years ago.) These fears are exacerbated by secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the power they could give to international corporations at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses.

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Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … Daily Stirrer …[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

Oil price: Britain’s North Sea Oil Industry ‘Close To Collapse’

We were perhaps mistaken in calling this page ‘Currency wars’ and focusing initially on American attempts to undermine Russia’s economy which is overly dependent on oil and gas. That of course is just a skirmish in a much wider economic war that is now hurting those nations that complied with Obama’s diktat and imposed economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Moscow’s refusal to surrender its strategically vital satellite state, Ukraine, to NATO and the EU.

Britain, because of our north sea oil interests is one of the hardest hit.

The price of crude oil began to collapse when The United states Of America, the swaggering bully of the world community decided to use its new status as a net exporter of oil, due to the shale boom, to flood world markets, finding because their oil is the most expensive to extract, that their wells were not economically viable, and damage Russia’s oil dependent economy. Naturally prices in world markets dropped due to the law of supply and demand. With typical stupid arrogance the Americans demanded that the Arabs and other traditional oil producers cut production to hold up prices.

The Arabs and other oil producing nations, sensing Amerca’s push to become gobal hegemon had run off track and what they were threatened with was the empty bluster of a bully whose cowardice and weakness has been exposed in effect said, “Fuck the fucking fuck off,” by pumping more oil and sending prices crashing even further. Result? Approximately $1trillion worth of new shale fracking projects planned in the USA have been cancelled. If it ended there the world would only have the minor problem of a US / Russia currency war.

Unfortunately the plunging oil price has brought about a “huge crisis” in energy markets, one of the worst hit is the UK’s North Sea oil industry, expert have warned. With North Sea oil now selling at below $60 a barrel, it is “almost impossible to make money”, Robin Allan, chairman of independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC.

“It’s a huge crisis. This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs,” he said.

After several days of volatile trading in oil markets, Brent crude, the global benchmark, ended the day down 1 per cent at about $60 per barrel after having risen 3 per cent in early trading. In recent weeks, oil prices have crashed to their lowest levels in five-and-a-half years following falls demand due to weakening in major economies and concerns of a global oil glut.

Up to £55bn worth of North Sea oil projects scheduled for 2015 could be cancelled due to the falling prices, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Concerns over the financial state of the oil industry have increased since Opec voted not to cut production in an attempt to arrest sliding prices when they met in Vienna last month. Iran’s oil minister has publically criticised Opec’s inaction. Bijan Zanganeh told the country’s state petroleum news agency: “The prolongation of the downward trend of the oil price in world markets is a political conspiracy going to extremes.”

The US-based oil company ConocoPhillips has already moved to cut 230 out of 1,650 jobs in the UK and some analysts predict that other large firms will make similar cost-cutting announcements in the coming months.

However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said yesterday that even though reductions in oil prices have proven “very challenging” for companies active in the North Sea, “we have seen very little evidence of new projects being cancelled or deferred in reaction to lower oil prices”.

[more]

Market Rigging: Another Conspiracy Theory Is Expose As Truth

goldman-sachs
Evidence of market rigging

A few days ago I had a comment from outside the community complaining about my having suggested several times in one article that the Rothschild Banking Dynasty was well served by the latest scaremongering pack of lies about climate catastrophe to come out of the United Nations Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I was gobsmacked to learn that there was still somebody who either did not know Goldman Sachs is owned by Rothschilds or did not know that Goldman Sachs was the leading player in efforts to create a trillion dollar carbon trading market. G. S. made many times more money from the putative carbon cap and trade scam than even Al Gore.

But after a promising start back in 2009 the putative carbon cap and trade market stalled and the Rothschilds had to look elsewhere for opportunities to loot the saving and pensions of ordinary punters. And their greedy, beady eyes focused on other cash cattle. And that is where out latest “conspiracy theory” that has proved to be pure, 24 carat truth.

Why then did Goldman re decide to redesign its uber-profitable FX vertical and redo it from scratch? Simples – their ability to rig and manipulate FX markets, which are now under every global regulator’s microscope after the “Cartel” members so foolishly let themselves be caught with their fingers in the till, no longer exists. The last big sting by the Goldman banksters was the gold bubble a couple of years ago when after spiking briefly at around $1900 an ounce, the yellow, shiny stuff crashed back to below $1200. That was done by short selling, a system for getting rich in the markets by selling stuff you don’t have and that probably does not exist at all as I explained in Naked Finance.

Exposure of a conspiracy to rig FX markets, coming so soon after the Libor scandal which exposed the manipulation of interest rates was a gift to make us “conspiracy theorists” (aka truth tellers) feel a little tingle in our lower abdomen.

Goldman’s move out of the naked shorting business in foreign exchange was confirmed when news broke that a dozen large investors have filed law suit against 12 major banks for “allegedly conspiring to rig global foreign-exchange prices.” Actually, “allegedly” is redundant in that sentence, anyone who has not known for years that the foreign exchange markets were rigged is either a Buddhist monk or a heavy drug user.

Wall Street Journal had this to say:

“The class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York late Monday, was from a group of investors across the U.S. and Caribbean, including city and state pension plans.

“They accused the banks of communicating “with one another, including in chat rooms, via instant messages, and by emails, to carry out their conspiracy,” and for rigging foreign-exchange rates as far back as January 2003, the lawsuit said.

The banks sued are BofA, Barclays, BNP, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche, Goldman, HSBC, JPM, Morgan Stanley, RBS and UBS, or, in other words all the usual suspects. And certainly all the Too Big To Fail banks that know they can rely on our money being stumped up to cover their arses.

In the complaint, the investors accused the banks of controlling foreign-exchange rates via a “small and close-knit group of traders.” They allege it became possible for banks to rig the market because the traders “have strong ties formed by working with one another in prior trading positions” and by in many cases living “in the same neighborhoods in the Essex countryside just northeast of London’s financial district.”

“They belong to the same social clubs, golf together, dine together and sit on many of the same charity boards,” the complaint adds.

And I can tell you they are often linked by having shagged the same women, oh yes, it’s an incesteous little world out there.

But the punchline is not that FX is rigged, as I said everybody who was paying attention knew that, but that as Goldman has shown by shifting its focus, the commodity market is the only one where manipulation, rigging and fraud are not only possible but smiled upon by regulators. Because one of the key commodities in said market is gold. And as everyone knows, alongside getting the stock market indices to all time highs, the other core mandate of central bankers everywhere is to push gold to 0, thus making fiat money the only currency in which goods can be traded and making us all slaves of our debts.

The worst news for champions of scepticism and freethinking is we are rapidly running out of “conspiracy theories” that haven’t been revealed as conspiracy facts yet.

(picture source)

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Are We Heading For A Financial Crash? Chief Reptillian Soros Is Betting On It

soros reptillian
Still think talk of a reptillian elite is just for nutters? Picture Source – blogspot commons

Investmentwatch reports that Soros Fund Management, the company run by legendary pantomime villain investor George Soros has doubled up a bet that the S&P 500 SPX is headed for a fall. Soros you may remember vastly increased his fortune by betting against the Thai Bhat in the early 1990s, skillfully manipulating markes so that the Bhat soared and then crashed, a ploy that wrecked the Thai economy.

Last Friday’s Wall Street reports reveled that Soros’ firm had increased a “put” position on the S&P 500 ETF SPY -0.04% derivative by a whopping 154% in the fourth quarter, compared with the third. (A put or short position basically gives the owner the right to sell a security at a set price for a limited time, and in making such a bet, an investor generally believes the security is going to decline.)

Soros has previously highlighted risks coming out of China and drew a comparison with the lead-up to the crash of 2008. Read full story:

Soros once said: “I rely a great deal on animal instincts.” And as we all know, George’s animal instincts have led him to make some big, crazy, winning bets in the past. We all know also that Soros and others in the same business are sociopaths whose psychotic behaviour lends credibility to people who talk of a “reptillian” caste that runs the world.

What does this tell us Boggart Bloggers and our readers? It tells us that our elected representatives are powerless and the world really is run by a wealthy elite who may or may not be part reptile but are total custards*.

And yet if if use the phrase New World Order someone is bound to yell “conspiracy theorist.”

What can you do? Lay in stocks of tinned food, dried lentils and chickpeas and porridge oats, it’s could turn out to be a long, rough ride.

*custard: a person who is simultaneously a cunt and a bastard.

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The Soros Page An omnibus of articles and links concerning the activities of the anti democratic, anti – liberty billionaire george Soros.
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Does Stock Markets Crash Herald The Apocalypse?

Following terrible economic news announced too late last Friday to affect trading, the world’s stock markets all crashed on opening this morning.

Scaremongers and the kind of people who like to run around like headless chickens shouting “Don’t panic” every time someone yells “the sky is falling down” predicted this is the beginning of the end or perhaps the beginning of the end of the beginning or even the begining of the end of the end that comes after the end of the beginning or … oh well, you get the idea.

The collapse of the stock and commodity markets, they say, will cause the banks to run out of cash, fuel pumps to dry up, water supplies to fail, stock to disappear off supermarket shelves, power to go off and all football to be cancelled for ever.

It will be catastrophic in other words.

Every cloud has a silver lining however. Al least all those sad bastards who thought the millennium bug would usher in the apocalypse will have chance to use the baked beans, pasta and tomatoes, tinned rice pudding, torch batteries and bottled water they stockpiled back in 1999.

The crisis soap opera.

It started back in 2007 when Northern Rock Went bust and French bank Paribas suspended trading in some of their secure collateralised debt funds.
And it has been going on in episodes like a soap opera ever since, piling agony on agony, crisis on crisis. Now markets are crashing, government securities are being given junk bond status and many of us are kissing our pensions goodbye.

Boggart Blog and our companions Little Nicky Machiavelli and The Daily Stirrer could say “We told you so,” but we won’t. Instead we will paraphrase Sir Edward Grey:

All over Europe, one by one, the sphincters are opening up. We shall not clean up the mess in our lifetime.

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Getting Started With Existenialism

Q.E. with Stephen Fry: The television panel game for recession and financial crisis.

A television studio set of a pnel game. four panellists are arranged in pairs on either side of the host, Stephen Fry.

Stephen Fry:
A very good evening and welcome one and all to Q.E. the panel game about Quantitative Easing and other aspects of the financial crisis that have led to recession and possibly the end of civilisation as we know it. This is a show similar to QI in many ways in that I ask incredibly difficult questions about the collapse of the global economy so the panel can give excruciatingly incorrect answers. I then correct them in a smug and patronising yet simultaneously witty and charming way only a national treasure like myself could possibly carry off.
It matters not though that our panel are seldom able to give the correct answer as nobody truly knows what the correct answer is so we give them points for being Quite Entertaining which is a form or Quantitative Easing for the stressed out spirit.

Well now that everybody is totally confused about what is going on I shall introduce the panel. On my left we have The Politicians, a dour, curmudegeonly Scot to whom we shall refer as The DCS and a Tory Posh Boy (though obviously he is not as posh as me) who shall go by the monicker of TPB.

Over on my right meanwhile, straining at the leash as they wait to dive into the fray we have The Entertainers, a Working Class Dolt or WCD for short…

WCD:
That’s a bit like WMD innit? WCD, that could be weapon of complete destruction. I like that.

SF:
That is Quite Entertaining so you can have a point. It is I however who shall be the Weapon Of Complete destruction as I make you all look ridiculous. And speaking of looking ridiculous, completing the line up tonight our final panellist is the woman with the biggest tits in Britain; Katie Price. And now the formalities are done with let us move to the first question. Who or what is to blame for the credit crunch?

WCD:
Yeah, I know this. It was Oscar Wilde. (bells ring, sirens wail and a chorus of Flash Bang Wallop What A Picture plays.)

SF:
No, no, no, oh dear me no. In this game you should not give the obvious answer because nothing is ever what it seems to be. No it was not Oscar Wilde, a character portrayed with no little excellence by myself in a film some years ago I might add.

WCD:
Samuel Johnson, George Bernard Shaw, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill?

SF:
Unfortunately it was not Samuel Johnson, George Bernard Shaw or indeed any of the usual suspects. When an inquisitor asks for the originator of a particular epigram it is always a good idea to answer Wilde of Shaw. The point you missed though is the credit crunch is not an epigram but a sobriquet for the collapse of confidence in the global banking system.

DCS:
Aye och aye, it was the last Tory government.

TPB:
What ho chaps and chapesses; It was the Dour Curmudgeonly Scot on my right, Absoluteleah yah?

SF:
You all lose points for not being entertaining.

Katie Price:
I got the biggest tits in Britain.

SF:
That’s very nice for you Katie but I hardly think it is the cause of the credit crunch.

WCD:
It might be, right. If the Sun and Nuts and all that lot paid Katie per inch for the amount of busty tissue she was getting out cos they knew the more she got out the more copies they’d sell if could have led to all the blokes in the world maxing out their credit cars to see more of Katie’s boobs.

SF:
Total nonsense but very entertaining. Have some points.

TPB:
It was the ban on foxhunting.

SF:
Why, how did the ban on inbred idiots like you molesting small furry animals cause the credit crunch you inbred idiot?

TPB:
No idea but it did. I said so and I’m posher than you.

DCS:
I know, och aye. It was that fat tongued idiot Jamie Oliver and his healthy school dinners. Mt predecessor Tony (hack – phut) Blair let the fool loose with school dinners budgets and instead of feeding little cavs on turkey twizzlers and monster munch that they enjoy he was giving them cous cous that costs a fortune and they hate.

SF:
A cous cous conspiracy. That’s quite entertaining but completely wrong.

TPB:
I say you chaps, it was caused by the Bee Colonies dying. (Bells ring, Sirens wail and a chorus of The Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive plays)

SF:
Oh dear, we knew somebody would say the decline of the Bee population was to blame but it is not right. The decline of the bee population is a problem as bees are responsible for pollinating many important food crops but I’m afraid they are not involved in pollinating the global economy.

WCD:
Did you know Bees invented radar.

TPB:
Two bees featured on the logo of Bradford and Bingley Mortgage Banks and the credit crunch started when they went bankrupt.

WCD:
My uncle had his savings in Bradford and Bingley. When they went bankrupt he lost the lot. It stressed him out so much he had an attack of hives.

SF:
That’s very entertaining, you can have five points.

Katie Price:
Ashley, the credit crunch was caused when the so called sub prime mortgage market in Britain and the USA was revealed as a glorified Ponzi scheme. Bad loans made to clients lacking the means to repay were collateralised by over-valuing poor quality properties. Eventually the overvaluation of assets to provide collateral for loans reached such ridiculous levels the banks lost confidence in the collateralised debt obligation they were trading, realising that such derivatives were not underwritten by real, negotiable assets.

SF:
That’s amazing Katie, you’re absolutely right, but who is Ashley? Moving on to the next question, what is the biggest thing in the solar system?

WCD:
A Blue Whale. (Bells ring, trumpets blare and the theme from Jaws plays.

SF:
Oh no, you always fall for it, it isn’t a Blue Whale.

WCD:
It’s a very big Blue Whale that is swimming through space with The Universe balanced on its back.

SF:
Not, that’s a turtle you are thinking of. Lose all your points.

WCD:
You know in The Bible right? It says a whale swallowed that bloke Jonah. Well a Blue Whale can’t swallow anything bigger than a grapefruit so Jonah must have been a dwarf.

SF:
Very good, that is quite entertaining, you can have back half the points you just lost. Anyone got an answer? What is the biggest thing in the solar system.

Katie Price:
Ashley it’s me tits.

SF:
I’m sorry Katie, I don’t want to destroy your self esteem but there are much bigger things in The Solar System than your tits although a Blue Whale could not swallow either of them let alone both.

DCS:
This is easy, it’s the Labour majority in Parliament. (Bells ring, foghorns hoot and a chorus of The Red Flag plays)

SF: No.

TPB:
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Sun. (bells ring, a lone wolf howls and a chorus of The Sun Has Got His Hat On is played.)

SF: Absolutely wrong and very obvious. You will have to be more entertaining than that.

Katie Price:
Ashley it’s the total indebtedness of the American nation, not the annual trade deficit, not even the national debt but the total indebtedness of every household, business, non commercial organisation and government department. It currently stands at $63.7 trillion and if you stacked up 63.7 trillion dollar bills they would reach further into the sky than me tits do when I lie on be back.

SF:
Absolutely right Katie but don’t call me Ashley, it isn’t my name.

Katie Price:
I know you’re called Stephen Ashley.

SF:
No, I’m called Stephen Fry actu… oh I see. Apologies. Anyone able to tell me what a trillion dollars is?

WCD:
The amount what Katie has insured her tits for?

Katie:
Gerrahtofit. Those is priceless.

SF:
They would be if you had them amputated but on to the final question. If the government’s Quantitative Easing policy fails what could possibly solve the global crisis?

DCS:
Och aye, copy everything Barack Obama does

TPB:
OK yah, we can bet The Crown Jewels on Kauto Star to win The Gold Cup again next year.

WCD:
Start printing money.
Rob a few banks.
Ask Vince Cable.

SF:
All wrong except for the one about Vince Cable but he isn’t here. Everybody loses all their points.

DCS:
Aye but ye see Mr. Fry…

WCD:
You sound like a Bond villain, ye see Mr. Bond nobody can stop me because I control all the porridge in the world.

DCS:
Ye see Stephen Quantitative Easing cannae fail because transferring toxic assets to the taxpayer will free the banks to restart lending at usurious rates to people who have no jobs, no income and no means to repay the loan except by borrowing more, using the toxic assets they hold as collateral.

TPB:
OK yah, my party would reintroduce slavery. There has never been a successful economy that was not based on slavery.

Katie Price:
The Tory Posh boy is not living on Planet Reality and the Dour Curmudgeonly Scot has lost the plot, what he is proposing is just a repetition of the debt fuelled boom that got us into the mess. We must first address the deep flaws in the system used to move money around the world by introducing strict but fair and transparent regulation then the banks can be held accountable for their malfeasance. Secondly the government must be willing to let banks fail rather than throwing taxpayers money at them. It is sufficient to underwrite clients’ savings. Bail outs and stimuli are simply a reward for failure. Third we must buy up houses with serious mortgage arrears due to the mis-selling of mortgages. By doing that we can allow people to stay in the homes they have made for themselves. Finally we must close tax loopholes which make it profitable to import from China good that could be made here. A system that exports British jobs and punishes local enterprise is insanity.

SF:
Absolutely right. Katie Price, you astound me.

Katie:
Of course I do because…

(she rips off her prosthetic breasts and tears away the false skin that has covered her face)

I’m not Katie Price at all, I’m really Vince Cable, the only personb in politics who saw the crash coming.

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The Slug And The Snail – poetry for the recession

The Dead Flag

As the idiocies of Brown, Lord Mandy and their Nu Labour buddies get even more inept we take one of our occasional excursions into song with a new revolutionary anthem. If you don’t know the tuneCLICK for the melody and original lyric to The Red Flag which was once the official song of The Labour Party. On visiting the plage click Play Midi to hear the audio track.

The Dead Flag.

Now all the bankers have gone broke
And can’t afford a line of coke
They rigged the markets, cooked the books
And filled their wallets, oh what crooks
Where selfish greed has led the way
Now we the public have to pay,
But will we get a word of thanks
Or will New Labour help the banks.

As rich folk move their wealth offshore
Our savings have walked out the door.
Their funds are sealed as tight as clams
by clever tax avoidance scams,
The bastards say they’re hard done by
But still not one can tell us why
we are bankrupted by the crash
as they the rich get bailout cash

But social justice cuts no ice
in this New Labour Paradise
However you choose to relax
they’ll hit it with a higher tax.
Surveillance with CCTV
curtails your civil liberty,
and even when we’ve paid our due,
the buggers tell us what to do.

They treat us if we are retards
and plan to charge us for ID cards
that will track us through GPS.
How did we get into this mess.
They tell us what to eat and drink,
and even what we’re allowed to think.
A revolution’s overdue
We’ll tell the bastards where to go.

Are Barack Obama and Gordon Brown planning an attempt to achieve world domination this week or are they just meeting up in Washington DC for a bit of mutual analingus. Read what Jeff Scheiber thiks in Made For Each Other an article on Brown’s sudden reconversion from Free Market capitalism to Keynesian tax and spend economics.

Worth A Read: Texas Darlin’ on how Michelle Obama has elevted herself from minger to fashion icon by blagging designer dresses from top designers in Buy You Own Damn Designer Dresses Michelle No matter which designer Michelle hits on however, it does not disguise the fact that she is a minger with an arse the size of an asteroid and the dress sense of a sack of potatoes. But as Texas Darlin’ a US Democrat BTW asks, why is Michelle proclaimed an icon for bumming free outfits when the much better looking (even if you do hate her politics) Sarah Palin was pilloried for doing the same? Double standards among the Politically Correct Thought Police across the pond maybe?

We boggart Bloggers like a bet as much as anyone and with Grandad having been a bookie why not. So is it worth opening a book on how much the Brown / Obama global bailout will cost taxpayers. not according toeconomic writer Will Hutton who was warning anyone who’d listen about the state of the world economy a decade ago. Will writes today Thanks To The Credit Crunch All Bets Are Off. Now he tells us.

It’s Odds-on the media is dumbing down.

The traditional (or mainstream) media is constantly complaining that new media is siphoning off it’s revenue stream and bleeding its business dry. Strangely though they never mention the way publications have dumbed down as a possible cause of the drop in sales and advertising revenue.

Editorial and journalistic standards have definitely dumbed down in recent years. Perhaps this is because the publishers are more eager to hire journalists leaving University with a degree in journalism than eager young cub reporters willing to cut their teeth on the local rag. Where are the Parkys, the Keith Waterhouses or the John Humphrys of tomorrow, guys who knew the business of news reporting inside out before going on to other things, thus taking with them the priceless asset of life experience. Those guys had to be good because their audience, the ordinary punters, was the most critical anywhere.

Now it seems anyone can sell themselves as an expert in anything.

Take this example from a guy named Dan Roebuck who has a column on betting in one of the quality dailies.

Dan begins:
Given Chelsea’s indifferent for recently it seems strange they remain favourites to win the FA Cup…weight of money could have something to do with it.

Dan, my dear old chap, if it’s a betting market we’re talking about, weight on money has everything to do with it.

The question is, how does someone who needs to have this explained to them get to be writing a column about betting for a serious publication? Could it be perhaps, given the level of his fiscal understanding, Dan is a refugee from the financial markets which are after all only glorified betting shops where the punters do not have to know as much about odds, probabilities and the workings of the market as the guys with the perpetual Players Number 6 in their mouths and terminal personal hygiene problems you can meet down Ladbrokes?

When politicians talk of “old fashioned values” I wonder do they ever think of knowing what you are doing as an old fashioned value.

BETTING is not confined to horse racing now but a wager on football, political elections or the outcome of a 5 day cricket match ever be as much fun as a day at the races. Don’t decide until you have read Ascot Follies