Joseph Goebbels was a politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933-1945. Of all the things he is infamous for, and believe me there are many that will make your skin crawl, he is widely known for this following quote;
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.
It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
It is with this in mind as a lead in to a piece Paul Farrell over at the web site MarketWatch has today. I have read Mr. Farrell's stuff for some time, mainly due to his white hair which I equate with credibility (re: experience) but also as a result of his level headed views.
Farrell's piece entitled Dow 12,000 next? or New Record 14,165? Wall Street's happy talkers making fools of 95 million investors (again) is a doozy. In it he calls out all the Joseph Goebbel wannabees.
For your reading pleasure I have posted the article in its entirety below or you can click on the link above and read it over at the Marketwatch site. Enjoy.
Paul B. Farrell
April 13, 2010, 12:01 a.m. EDT
Dow 12,000 next? Or new record 14,165?
Commentary: Wall Street's happy talkers making fools of 95 million investors (again)
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- Yes, we hit 11,000. Propaganda. Yes, we'll quietly sneak past 11,722 (Dow's 2000 peak). Yes, we'll happily climb to 14,164 (Dow's 2007 peak). Maybe. But you're being conned: Even a new record of 14,165 barely equals CPI inflation the past 10 years.
Get it? Wall Street's lost more than 20% of your money the past decade. Now they're blowing a new bubble, filled with more toxic costly hot air.
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Yes, the bull's back. But not the bull market kinda "bull." The "happy talk" kinda "bull" propaganda. Did you hear the double-speak coming from our Greenspan clone, Ben Bernanke, the Fed's No. 1 lobbyist, Washington's cleverest politician and Main Street America's biggest enemy? His "best guess" last week: "If economic conditions improve, as I expect, we should see increased optimism among consumers and greater willingness on the part of banks to lend, which in turn should aid the recovery."
Yes, if this, if that, if, if, if ... pure bull. Bernanke said nothing that a high school student couldn't recite from an Econ 101 text. What's he really telling us? The Fed's member banks won't lend a dime till the consumer get more optimistic. What nonsense: He shoveled trillions to Wall Street fat cats last year when consumers had zero optimism.
Bernanke's spouting the happy-talk sound bites for cable news. Why? Bernanke's under fire: Congress is considering restrictions on the Fed's secretive out-of-control spending that's adding an estimated $23.7 trillion in new debt to America. You can't trust Ben's propaganda.
Now check on the other end of the "truth-or-consequences" spectrum: Yale Economist Bob Shiller's warning a double dip in the economy "has a substantial probability." Bloomberg/BusinessWeek also says Pimco boss Bill Gross has turned bearish, warning that the "almost three-decade bond-market rally is coming to a close," that "bonds have seen their best days" as "rates are moving up." Stuff Bernanke should be telling us.
The Propaganda Machine: In 2007-2008, in 1999-2003, in 1929-1933
Yes folks, we're all optimists, blind optimists. We dismiss facts, block reality, deny history, even recent meltdown. Not just Wall Street, also Main Street's 95 million investors. Yes, you. We all want to be deceived. We want to trust in a better future, want the good news, optimism, happy talk, bull markets. We desperately want to forget the harsh reality of the recent past.
And Wall Street and co-conspirators in cable TV know this too. You're profiled as a loser. They know you're a sucker for happy talk.
Yes, this Propaganda Machine is feeding the media a steady diet of happy talk. And the No. 1 rule for ratings success is: "Know what the masses want and feed it to them." Audience become sheep, cheer, want more. Today people are desperate for good news after the tragic lack of leadership the past few years.
We got a dark reminder last week as two former Citigroup bosses (one a former U.S. Treasury Secretary) admitted they "did not have a grip on what was happening" in their "too-big-to-fail" bank. Yet those bozos created a disaster and still pocketed hundreds of millions. And far more evil, their fat-cat successors are spending hundreds of millions of their shareholders' money to defeat financial reforms that will prevent this from happening to them again.
Unfortunately this historical cycle is doomed to recur. Except the next time it'll end in another, bigger meltdown, and the Great Depression 2 that the Fed and Treasury keep pushing downstream. So expect the Propaganda Machine to keep feeding sound bites to the media, as this Happy Conspiracy between Wall Street, Washington and Corporate America keeps manipulating Main Street's 95 million investors. It never ends.
Here are three historical reminders:
The Propaganda Machine in 2007-2008 meltdown
BusinessWeek, Kiplinger's and USA Today reported on the false predictions made before the 2008 subprime credit meltdown spread rapidly across America and the world:
Bernanke: "I don't anticipate any serious [failures] among large internationally active banks."
Ken Fisher: "This year will end in the plus column ... so keep buying."
"Mad Money" Jim Cramer: "Bye-bye bear market, say hello to the bull."
Goldman Sachs' Abby Joseph Cohen: "The fear priced into stocks is likely to abate as recession fears fade."
Barney Frank: "Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are fundamentally sound."
Barron's: "Home prices about to bottom."
Worth magazine: "Emerging markets are the global investors' safe haven."
Kiplinger's: "Stock investors should beat the rush to the banks."
Madoff: "It's virtually impossible to violate the rules."
Bad calls? Very bad. But Main Street's a willing victim, we want to believe the happy talk. We're all trapped by this deadly disease, like sheep waiting to be slaughtered.
The Propaganda Machine in 2000-2003 crash and recession
Back a few years ago we reviewed a 2003 book, "Bull! 144 Statements from the Market's Fallen Prophets," published during the 30-month recession, when Wall Street was losing $8 trillion in market cap. Here's a few of America's opinion leaders spreading their misleading happy talk as the market slowly disintegrated for 30 months from 11,722 to 7,286 in October 2002. Yet they prattled on.
Unfortunately, many of these Fallen Prophets are still misleading investors as members of the new Propaganda Machine:
James Glassman, author "Dow 36,000." "What is dangerous is for Americans not to be in the market. We're going to reach a point where stocks are correctly priced, and we think that's 36,000 ... It's not a bubble. ... The stock market is undervalued." A month earlier Dan Kadlec published "Dow 100,000." (October 1999)
Larry Kudlow, CNBC host. "This correction will run its course until the middle of the year. Then things will pick up again, because not even Greenspan can stop the Internet economy." (February 2000)
"Mad Money's" Cramer: "SUNW probably has the best near-term outlook of any company I know." (September 2000)
Lehman's Jeffrey Applegate. "The bulk of the correction is behind us, so now is the time to be offensive, not defensive." (December 2000)
Alan Greenspan. "The 3- to 5-year earnings projections of more than a thousand analysts ... have generally held firm. Such expectations, should they persist, bode well for continued capital deepening and sustained growth." (December 2000)
Suze Orman. "The QQQ, they're a buy. They may go down, but if you dollar-cost average, where you put money every single month into them ... in the long run, it's the way to play the Nasdaq." (January 2001)
Maria Bartiromo. "The individual out there is actually not throwing money at things that they do not understand, and is actually using the news and using the information out there to make smart decisions." (March 2001)
Goldman Sachs' Cohen. "The time to be nervous was a year ago. The S&P then was overvalued, it's now undervalued." (April 2001)
Lou Dobbs, CNN. "Let me make it very clear. I'm a bull, on the market, on the economy. And let me repeat, I am a bull." (August 2001)
Larry Kudlow. "The shock therapy of a decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple thousand points," with Dow 35,000 by 2010. (June 2002)
All propaganda. No facts. All happy talk designed to manipulate you and me. All part of a tacit conspiracy, the Propaganda Machine. In fact, the Dow bottomed only after a 30-month bear market, in October 2002 at 7,286. The Iraq War started in April 2003.
The Propaganda Machine in the 1929 crash and 1930's depression
The Propaganda Machine never stops, and thanks to the Supreme Court, it will make matters worse in coming years. Let's go back to the crash of '29 and the first Great Depression. Unfortunately it will take a replay of the 1929 disaster to trigger Wall Street reform. Dodd's bill is too little, too late.
So listen closely to all the happy-talking -- past, present and future -- and plan accordingly because 2012 is the new 1929:
Irving Fisher, Yale Ph.D. in economics: "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months." (Oct. 17, 1929)
Goodbody market-letter in New York Times: "We feel that fundamentally Wall Street is sound, and that for people who can afford to pay for them outright, good stocks are cheap at these prices." (Oct. 25, 1929)
Business Week: "The Wall Street crash doesn't mean that there will be any general or serious business depression ... For six years American business has been diverting a substantial part of its attention, its energies and its resources on the speculative game... Now that irrelevant, alien and hazardous adventure is over. Business has come home again, back to its job, providentially unscathed, sound in wind and limb, financially stronger than ever before." (Nov. 2, 1929)
Harvard Economic Society: "A serious depression seems improbable; [we expect] recovery of business next spring, with further improvement in the fall." (Nov. 10, 1929)
Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon: "I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism ... I have every confidence that there will be a revival of activity in the spring, and that during this coming year the country will make steady progress." (Dec. 31, 1929)
President Herbert Hoover: "The depression is over." (June 1930)
Yes, the Propaganda Machine is relentless, is growing stronger. And thanks to the Supreme Court's incredibly stupid decision making corporations human, the Machine will feed more and more propaganda through the media, lobbyists and campaign donations, to control Washington. "The Machine" has your profile, knows you're easily manipulated by happy talk and nonsense optimism.
There's little you can do: Capitalism and democracy are dead. And unlike 2008, we will not be able to dodge a replay of 1929 and a Great Depression 2 after the coming crash.
Goebbels somewhere must be beaming with envy at Wall St. Great piece Paul, thanks once again for your perspective and for calling out all the false prophets.
Good speculating to you all and please remember to never forget that "an investor is a speculator who made a mistake and will not admit it".
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