Believe many of us conservative bloggers have said the same things, but not condensed quite as well as this.
"American capitalism gone with a whimper
Front page / Opinion / Columnists
27.04.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru
"It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.
True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.
Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.
First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.
Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.
The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.
These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?
These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.
Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.
So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.
Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.
So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.
The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.
The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker."
The article has been reprinted with the kind permission from the author and originally appears on his blog, Mat Rodina"
Another installment in the current financial debacle.
Quoted from article: "Bernanke thought it would be an easy task to keep down mortgage rates. So much for a $1.2 trillion commitment. What's next? A $2.4 trillion commitment? Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA are the lenders of only resort yet the Fed is still struggling to rig the market."
"Mortgage Market Locks Up
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
Source MISH'S Global Economic Trend Analysis
"Field Check Group has this report that I can share.
As Bad As You Can ImagineTreasuries Massacred
With respect to yesterday’s episode in the mortgage market -- yes, it is as bad as you can imagine. Yesterday, the mortgage market was so volatile that banks and mortgage bankers across the nation issued multiple midday price changes for the worse, leading many to ultimately shut down the ability to lock loans around 1pm PST. This is not uncommon over the past five months, but not that common either. Lenders that maintained the ability to lock loans had rates UP as much as 75bps in a single day.
A good friend in the center of all of the mortgage capital markets turmoil said to me yesterday “feels like they [the Fed] have lost the battle...pretty obvious from the start but kind of scary to live through it ... today felt like LTCM with respect to liquidity”.
The negative consequences of 5.5% rates are enormous. Because of capacity issues and the long timeline to actually fund a loan very few borrowers ever got the 4.25% to 4.75% perceived to be the prevailing rate range for everyone A significant percentage of loan applications (refis particularly) in the pipeline are submitted to the lender without a rate lock. This is because consumers are incented by much better pricing to lock for a short period of time…12-15 day rate locks carry the best rates by a long shot. But to get this short-term rate lock, the loan has to be complete enough to draw loan documents, which has been taking 45-75 days over the past several months depending upon the lender’s timeline. Therefore, millions of refi applications presently in the pipeline, on which lenders already spent a considerably amount of time and money processing, will never fund.
Furthermore, many of these ‘applicants’ with loans in process were awaiting the magical 4.5% rate before they lock -- a large percentage of these suddenly died yesterday. To make matters worse, after 90-days much of the paperwork (much taken at the date of application) within the file becomes stale-dated and has to be re-done with new dates -- if rates don’t come down quickly many will have to be cancelled out of the lender’s system. To add insult to mortal injury, unless this spike in rates corrects quickly, a large percentage of unlocked purchases and refis will have to be denied because at the higher interest rate level, borrowers do not qualify any longer. For the final groin kicker, a 5.5% rate just does not benefit nearly as many people as a 4.5%-5% rate does. Millions already have 5.25% to 5.75% fixed rates left over from 2002-2006.
This is a perfect example of why the weekly Mortgage Applications Index is an unreliable indicator of future loan fundings and has been for a year and a half. As a matter of fact you will see this index crumble over the next few weeks at the same disproportional rate as it increased over the past several months if rates don’t settle lower quickly.
With respect to banks, mortgage banks, servicers etc, under-hedging a potential sell-off with the Fed supposedly having everybody’s back was a common theme. Banks could lose their entire Q2 mortgage banking earnings and middle market mortgage banker may never recover or immediately have to close shop.
Lastly, consider sentiment -- this is a real killer. This massive rate spike may have invalidated hundreds of billions spent to rig the mortgage market literally overnight. This leaves the mortgage and housing market very vulnerable. Mortgage loan officers around the country are having a very bad day today explaining to their clients why their rate was not locked and how rates are going to come right back down. They will not feel like getting too aggressive taking new loan applications at least for the next month unless this corrects quickly.
We have to see where all this settles over the next few days before making a near to mid-term call on the outright damage because at this point, Fed or Treasury shock and awe is almost certain. Another common theme has been ‘if it doesn’t work throw much more money at it’. Obviously they have been following this closely for the past few weeks, as conditions started to deteriorate, and have likely been waiting to see where the upper range was before shocking in order to get maximum benefit…that would be a humongous short squeeze in Bonds. The problem is…if they do shock her and it is sold into with the same fury that we have been seeing, there may not be an act two.
"Danger Room What's Next in National Security
"North Korea: The Mother of All Stability Ops?
By Nathan Hodge
May 28, 2009 7:45 am
"Let's say you've got a country somewhere north of the 38th Parallel. It has a large conscript army; a whole lot of artillery tubes; and a few Hiroshima-style nukes.
Oh, and a population on the brink of starvation.
North Korea's recent nuclear test - and its threats of all-out war - have diplomats and top officials racking up the frequent-flyer points. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates set off Wednesday on a trip to reassure jittery Asian allies that the United States will stand firm in the crisis; President Barack Obama is supposed to talk the situation over with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; And China may finally take a tougher line with the North Korean regime.
Noah has looked at some of the scenarios for war on the Korean peninsula, and the outcomes don't look pleasant. Since the armistice ended the Korean War 56 years ago, military planners have been readying for a nasty fight over the DMZ. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - and the amount of manpower and resources that they have sucked up - have made it much more likely that conflict with North Korea would get ugly, fast.
In a 2006 press briefing, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quite blunt. A fight with North Korea, he said, would require "more brute force" because of what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Why?" he asked. "Because you need precision intelligence to drop precision munitions. And a lot of our precision intelligence assets are currently being used in the Gulf region, so some of those would not be available if you had to go someplace else. And some of our delivery platforms for delivering precision weapons are being employed right now. So you would end up not having all of the precision weapons that you might otherwise have going into a second theater, wherever it might happen to be, and therefore you would end up using more 'dumb bombs,' so to speak, more brute force than you would otherwise."
Let's assume that the U.S. and Republic of Korea forces succeed - with brute force, or without - in smashing North Korea's no-tech army. Then what? Well, you might have to deal with a few more consequences. Try dealing with millions of starving North Koreans, for starters. Add to that the threat of a few loose nukes. And finally - this is the really hard part - try administering a country that has been under the control of a Stalinist regime for six decades. I wouldn't expect a swift transition to democracy or a painless reunification.
In a recent conversation I had with strategist and Pentagon consultant Tom Barnett, he made precisely that point. "North Korea is not really a war scenario, let's be honest," he said. "It's a humanitarian scenario; it's a hunt for the weapons of mass destruction scenario." And you thought Afghanistan and Iraq sucked."
Found via SteveQuayle.com. Read it twice to half wrap my mind around what he's talking about. Lots of details, many allegations, lots of intrigue.
This article appears to be talking about systematically dismantling a mechanism or means by which something is brought about for the purpose of fraudulently depressing gold prices to artifically strengthen US dollar on world markets.
"...........The global creditors for the USTreasury Bonds are so angry at the past suffered losses, the prospect of deep future losses, and the corruption laced throughout the US financial system, that they have hired third parties to kill off the US$-gold platforms, to destroy the burdensome banking ballast dominated by protected entrenched fraud experts, to lay waste to the vehicles used by the US-UK bond trafficking syndicate totally saturated with corruption, dishonesty, and collusion, replete with greed, totally absent conscience. They have systemically been dismantling the COMEX pillars and levers over the last several months, quietly and without fanfare, surely without publicity........."
Jim Willie CB
May 28, 2009
......... "An historically unprecedented mess has been created by compromised central bankers and inept economic advisors, whose interference has irreversibly altered and damaged the world financial system, urgently pushed after the removed anchor of money to gold. Analysis features Gold, Crude Oil, USDollar, Treasury bonds, and inter-market dynamics with the US Economy and US Federal Reserve monetary policy.
"Major dislocations are coming. Tremendous disruptions are coming. Price discontinuities are coming. Price chart patterns might be rendered useless soon. Last week, the case for a grand Paradigm Shift was made, covering many elements in order to paint a mosaic. Taken in isolation, any one point is important in its own right, but not enough to convince of a structural change. Taken in entirety, the many points create a full picture that is more easily recognized. The ruinous events of the Wall Street banks last September and October surely served as an extreme event loaded with profound disruption. The Chinese have proceeded with a transition to yuan-based domestic banking, with an installation of yuan swap facilities around the world, with an ASEAN regional fund again supplied by yuan for flexible purposes, with permission granted to two Hong Kong banks to sell yuan-based bonds, with an admitted rise in significant gold bullion reserves, and with continued verbal battles over legitimacy of the USDollar as the global reserve currency. These Chinese initiatives in recent weeks, occurring rapidly, are serving as a collective extreme event with the potential for profound disruption. A gold-backed yuan currency would surely cause massive disruption in a climax merger of events. The barter system set up between Russia and Europe will bypass the US$-based settlement system, as will the barter system set up between Russia and China. The avoidance of contract settlement in USDollars would result in extreme disruption to the global banking system. The creditor nations are plotting to organize and launch alternative currencies, maybe to fortify existing currencies (like the euro or yuan or ruble) with a gold component, maybe also with a crude oil component. A challenge to the USDollar by asset-backed currencies would result in extreme disruption to the global banking system. The hidden nitroglycerine to the disruptions is the Russian military, and any pledges of support for nations attempted to force systemic changes. These are just some important examples of change agents.
All Paradigm Shifts result in extreme disruption. That is the essence of Paradigm Shifts. The entire table changes, like its shape, its seats, its location, even who sits at the table, and in particular who sits at the head of the table. Big disruptions are to come from the COMEX pit of corruption, the central nexus for controlling illicitly the price structure for gold, the USDollar, and the USTreasury Bonds. The COMEX in all likelihood is the weakest link in the US-UK chain of corrupted financial markets. For many months my view has been that gold fights the political battles, while silver gathers more than its share of rewards and spoils. Gold has a long history of experience fighting grand battles. It can be placed in dungeons, but not for more than a couple decades. The rot in financial systems without golden foundations forces gold to the surface!
THE HITMEN COMETH
It has come to my attention that several private parties have accepted contract assignments to neuter the COMEX and London Metals Exchange, to render ruin to its gold market.
That bears repeating from the rooftops.
MUTLIPLE HIRED HITMEN HAVE ASSIGNMENTS TO KILL THE COMEX GOLD MARKET.
That is the lynchpin to control the USDollar, the USTreasurys, and the corrupt mechanisms used by the New York and London syndicates. Their clear criminal behavior is beyond the reach of law enforcement, but they are not beyond the reach of hitmen. The USDollar has been in violation of the US Constitution since 1971, perpetuated by a renegade series of administrations. The global creditors for the USTreasury Bonds are so angry at the past suffered losses, the prospect of deep future losses, and the corruption laced throughout the US financial system, that they have hired third parties to kill off the US$-gold platforms, to destroy the burdensome banking ballast dominated by protected entrenched fraud experts, to lay waste to the vehicles used by the US-UK bond trafficking syndicate totally saturated with corruption, dishonesty, and collusion, replete with greed, totally absent conscience. They have systemically been dismantling the COMEX pillars and levers over the last several months, quietly and without fanfare, surely without publicity. If gold investors knew of their actions, they would become much bolder. Some want the bankers in their gunsights not to be warned. They await their fate with the Financial Grim Reaper. Their executions will be as swift as brutal.
The HITMEN have been hired, with highly lucrative contracts and wide berth in methods to be put to use. Their assigned task is to castrate the levered family jewels from some of the major players who illegally keep the gold price and silver price artificially low. The targeted victims know their awaited fate, and are presently defecating in their skivvies. A short list of banks facing the firing squad is already known, details for < snip > members. Some detailed speculation will be devoted to the June < snip > reports, since too controversial. This will be an evolving story, with new chapters soon written. The executions will be sudden. The missing US-UK levers will be immediate. Since last autumn, the global powers have aligned against Wall Street, even if the central bankers have supported it. If one wants to destroy a building, then weaken its pillars, cut a few support beams, then rush in a crowd of people, and wait for a turbulent storm. In the case of the COMEX, the wicked players will crowd the corrupted building. They will sink into ruin and then oblivion. They might become objects of mockery when they make noises from prison. If lucky, they will join Ken Lay from Enron fame in a remote Caribbean island where other favored operators live a secluded life, but a life nonetheless, complete with plenty of sunshine, fresh air, beaches, bikinis, and sailboats, but no intrusive cameras. Please, do not disturb the quasi-dead!
The financial cartel dominated by the United States and United Kingdom is soon to suffer some serious blows. The list of their financial crimes is as magnificent as it is long. Its list of victims is as prominent as it is long. The harbored resentment is great by many global players. They waited patiently for the Obama Admin to install a new group, but the old group remains due to a revolving door from the same smoky club, dominated by Goldman Sachs once more. Their influence, if not bribery, of the USCongress is in continuation, sufficient for unwanted obsequious approval. The regulatory agencies are from the same encrusted chambers replete with stench. The Coup d'Etat of the USGovt financial offices has not changed with Obama, who sounds like a refreshing leader but who is actually a marionette under control by those who selected him, favored him with publicity, then enabled his election. Nothing has changed except the rhetoric of change and the pace on the path to bankruptcy for a few icon firms like General Motors and Chrysler, if not the desperate cries from the 50 states suffering from insolvency. More prominent failures will follow, since nothing has been remedied. The channeled funds directed to Wall Street firms continue unabated. The bread crumbs to Main Street and the people continue unabated. Even the war continues unabated. Forget not that Marie Antoinette once said "Let them eat cake" before the French Revolution and the Storming of the Bastille. Today, the Bastille is the entire USEconomy where insolvent Americans are stuck.
Some might wonder what was the turning point that resulted in hired hitmen to be under contract against certain US financial markets. Some might say the failures of Lehman Brothers, American Intl Group, and Fannie Mae. Not so! In my opinion, it was the invasion in the South Osettia region of Georgia in August 2008. The events around Georgia, with the United States Military deeply involved, along with a certain tiny mischievous ally nation, lit a fuse that set off a chain of events. In time, events led to orders given by high level powers, for the US fraud kings on Wall Street to swallow the medicine no later than first thing Monday morning on September 15th. When the Jackass inquired as to the nature of the urgency leading into that understood stated deadline date, no answer was given. The guess of the Bank For Intl Settlements was submitted by me, and it was confirmed. Other sources, the USTreasury Bond creditors, also applied the pressure, it was told. Rumor was thick that death threats had been delivered to certain Wall Street executives, such as Paulson. Thus the pressure passed on to the USCongress for passage of T.A.R.P. funds. The disbursement of those funds have not been made public partly because Wall Street (read Goldman Sachs) does not want the US people to be aware of payoffs for bond fraud under death threats. Also, the Congressional Inspector has cited a few dozen recommendations for criminal fraud investigations of the same T.A.R.P. funds. The US financial sector has become a den of vipers, no longer the bastion of gentlemen, but rather of syndicate bosses.
COMEX STRESS NEAR A BREAKING POINT
Sources from GATA (the Gold Anti-Trust Action committee) report growing distress for participants in the COMEX gold contracts, where a commercial party is very short and in deep trouble. They have sold more gold bullion than they can deliver. They are likely one of the big banks who violate the law with impunity, with USGovt sanctioned protection. By that is meant they routinely do not post 90% of the metal as collateral that they illegally sell. This is naked shorting by any other name. There are reports of grave concern over the upcoming June gold option expiration. If too many deliveries are ordered, then the commercial shorts would be under stress for exposure for naked shorting. They will eventually be caught in a bind and default on contracts. The important loaded monthly contracts are March, June, September, and December. The COMEX has tried to limit the ability of buyers to take delivery, running them around in circles, and entangling them in red tape, all clearly restraint of trade endorsed by the USGovt. Such rules are not in effect for cotton or soybeans or crude oil or pork bellies. After all, a financial crime syndicate has taken control of the USGovt, ever since Robert Rubin took charge at the USDept Treasury in 1992. His major project was to gut the nation of its gold, for the private profit of his friends. Recall Rubin came from Goldman Sachs. Rubin was the author of the Strong Dollar Policy which brought ruin to the nation. Hey, just my opinion!
Background inventory strain has come from unexpected sources. The Germans have demanded that gold bullion held in US custodial accounts be returned to their owners, with physical gold shipped back to Germany. The Dubai bankers have demanded that gold bullion held in London custodial accounts be returned to their owners, with physical gold shipped back to the United Arab Emirates. They are following the hired German counsel. In all likelihood, neither US nor London sources are in possession of all the gold held in those custodial accounts, since at least some of it probably was improperly leased. By that is meant without owner permission or knowledge. So an uproar could come soon with charges of gold bullion theft, or at least failure of fiduciary responsibility. Theft is a simpler description.
China is the biggest gold producer in the world now, but none of its output is directed to the open market. Russia is a significant gold producer also, but none of its output is directed to the open market either. A near default occurred in early April from a close call to Deutsche Bank on 850 thousand ounces of gold. The tarnished bankers at D-Bank dug up over a million ounces on the quick from the ready Euro Central Bank mine shifts in the nick of time. Never ignore the basic fact that COMEX lies through its teeth about the gold bullion in its vaults, since audits do not occur, some is leased (replaced by paper certificates), and some is committed in some fashion to very wealthy parties (unavailable). Far less gold bullion rests in COMEX vaults than is advertised. All signals point to serious strain in COMEX gold supply.
FEEDERS FOR GOLD FULLY LOADED
Two important feeder systems continue to be USDollar weakness and USTreasury Bond weakness. More important than these is the systematic ruin of the major global currencies generally, but a convenient chart is not offered to track it. Just note the near 0% official rates dictated by the failed franchised Politburos known as central banks in most countries, or the movement toward 0%. The USDollar has broken below important support at 81. Expect it to fall further after more dithering. The long-term USTreasury Note has suffered a fast rising surge in its bond yield. Its target from different perspectives is 4.1%, and right quick. These two highly favorable charts will power the gold price to new highs very soon. Nobody knows how soon, but soon. Rarely does one see both the USDollar and USTreasurys fall in value simultaneously. They are now, and will provide a jet assist to gold, which is held back only by COMEX corruption. Their illicit maneuvers are more obvious and desperate with each passing week. Someday their actions might even be on the news. The imminent Standard & Poors debt downgrade of the UKGilt (bonds from British Govt) hit the credit market last week like a bolt of lightning. My belief is that it might have short-circuited the US-UK financial foundation, and burned out some major circuit boards. The US and UK share Third World finance characteristics. If a Fourth World existed, the US would merit it.
(Click on images to enlarge)
The gold price is on the verge of a breakout to new nominal highs. The chart demands it. It needs only a trigger, in a land where potential triggers dot the charred landscape. A gold event will be unavoidable. Its chronic strain has derived from the extreme disparities between the physical market mired in shortage, versus the paper market with unlimited supply. The tail is wagging the dog here, as it has been for years, soon to end. The silver price will easily recover to the 17 level in a flash. It has already surpassed the February high. It is loading up for the next little surge to resistance that awaits at the 17-19 range. The potential sling shot momentum boost for silver will be powerful, enough to send its price to 30 with ease. Think pendulum.
NOW FACTOR IN DISRUPTIVE EVENTS, THE PRICE DISLOCATIONS, AND THE OVER-ARCHING PARADIGM SHIFT IN PROGRESS. THE GOLD PRICE COULD REACH 1300 SUDDENLY. WITH EXTREME CONTROVERSY FROM COMEX, LIKE DELIVERY DEFAULTS, PUBLICIZED CORRUPTION, AND EVEN FRAUD INDICTMENTS, THE GOLD PRICE COULD OVER-RUN THE 1300 TARGET AND HEAD FOR 1500 AND BEYOND. SILVER COULD AS A RESULT FOLLOW ITS WARRIOR BROTHER, HEAD PAST 20 IN A FLASH, AND PURSUE 30 EASILY.
Little attention has been given lately to one of the most reliable time-tested forward indicators of the gold price. The ratio of the 10-year USTreasury Note yield to the 2-year USTreasury Bill yield has always been highly reliable in predicting a move in the gold price. The simple chart of bond yields versus maturity years is known better as the Treasury Yield Curve. The ratio is more amenable to chart analysis.A breakout in the Treasury Yield Ratio is in progress. All benefits from the mid-March monetization announcement have vanished. If the 2-year bond yield remains near 1%, where it appears stuck, then the breakout target would indicate that the 10-year bond yield is heading to 4.1% at least. Yet another method targets 4.1% in the long bond yield. The presented ratio contains information on the future prospect of price inflation, in a reliable contrast of time perspectives. Knuckleheads who insist on pounding the Deflation Tables might want to check this indicator, and look at the crude oil price. It is $63 per barrel, not the $20-25 predicted by these lost troopers. Yo Mish Bro, can you spare me a deflating dime? The strict definition of money is useless anymore. The Shadow Banking system is an actual part of the real world, which you do NOT count.
To the fools, dolts, and morons out there who cling to notions of recovery and Green Shoots, bless your heart. Hope has clouded your minds. Once more you believe the liars and purveyors of propaganda, after being nearly fatally burned. You must believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy. You should not be in charge of investment funds, but rather of crayon supply cabinets and Beanie Baby collector items. The Case Shiller housing price index this week reported a 19.1% annual decline in 1Q2009 from Q1 last year. Foreclosures in April were up 32% over last year, as the nightmare continues. That is 1 in 374 homes with mortgages in America in some process of foreclosure. A relentless decline in home prices erases household wealth, and the source of consumer spending. Consumer confidence is ephemeral and baseless. The mortgage rate has just gone above the pre-March levels, when the USFed announced they would monetize $1050 billion in both USTreasury Bonds and USAgency Mortgage Bonds. The benefit has been erased. Today's underwater mortgage is tomorrow's foreclosure, made worse by job losses. The FDIC this week reported a 25% rise in non-current loans in 1Q2009 from Q4 of last year. Greater bank losses will come, much like floods follow hurricanes. And lastly, give credit to the USGovt statrats in their busy laboratories. They decided to ramp up the Q2 Gross Domestic Product by including all USGovt rescue funds for the big banks, including the diverse funds from the many liquidity facilities. All those funds will go directly into the GDP for Q2 as a special line item. Expect a miraculous economic recovery in the second quarter, based in vapor. The stock rally since March was based in accounting fraud. These are true American innovations, but too bad they are not exportable! They are not, since they have no value."
Wonder why they want ACORN to take GPS coordinates on ever door in America .......
"Obama and ACORN GPS Marking EVERY Front Door in America?
Now "every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory"??????????????????????????????????????????
"Pelosi appeals for China's help on climate change
"..........We have so much room for improvement," she said. "Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory ... of how we are taking responsibility.............."
Finally some practical suggestions. Much earlier last century many roofs were tin which reflected heat well, although noisy in the rain and a lightning rod during storms. Then in the 50's you'd see most houses with white asphalt shingles ... most houses didn't have air conditioning so it served them well.
However, in the 70's it became vogue to design houses which bore darker exterior colors, dark roofs which they said blended into the environment much better. That trend has continued until today. Have also heard some insurance companies won't insure houses with current metal roofs due to conductivity if struck by lightning.
In the 50's-60's many expressways were constructed from light grey concrete and functioned enormously well. However, petroleum industry influence seemed to come into play and they began using dark asphalt for expressways. Anyone who's ever been in bumper to bumper traffic on dark asphalt can attest to how sweltering it can be.
Maybe common sense is returning to a minute digree.
"President Obama's energy adviser has suggested all the world's roofs should be painted white as part of efforts to slow global warming.
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:33PM BST 27 May 2009
Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, said the unusual proposal would mean homes in hot countries would save energy and money on air conditioning by deflecting the sun's rays.
More pale surfaces could also slow global warming by reflecting heat into space rather than allowing it to be absorbed by dark surfaces where it is trapped by greenhouse gases and increases temperatures.
In a wide-ranging discussion at the three-day Nobel laureate Symposium in London, the Professor described climate change as a "crisis situation", and called for a whole host of measures to be introduced, from promoting energy efficiency to renewable energy such as wind, wave and solar.
The Nobel Prize-winning physicist said the US was not considering any large scale "geo-engineering" projects where science is used to reverse global warming, but was in favour of "white roofs everywhere".
He said lightening roofs and roads in urban environments would offset the global warming effects of all the cars in the world for 11 years.
"If you look at all the buildings and if you make the roofs white and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of colour rather than a black type of colour and if you do that uniformally, that would be the equivalent of... reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars in the world by 11 years - just taking them off the road for 11 years," he said.
The three day Nobel laureate Symposium will end in a memorandum that is likely to influence any international agreement on climate change at the end of this year in Copenhagen.
Environmentalists insist the developed world must commit to cutting carbon emissions in order to set an example for poorer countries.
Secretary Chu said he was optimistic the US could lead the way through energy efficiency measures and boosting the use of renewables like solar, wind, nuclear and clean coal.
"The US will move, inevitably it will move first, as a more developed country we should be moving first, and I hope China will follow," he said.
The symposium has gathered some 60 scientific experts and 20 Nobel Laureates to talk about climate change.
The high level meeting, hosted by the Royal Society and the Prince of Wales, is likely to influence any international agreement on climate change at the end of this year. "
"Millionaires Go Missing
Maryland's fleeced taxpayers fight back.
Source The Wall Street Journal
"Here's a two-minute drill in soak-the-rich economics:
Maryland couldn't balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O'Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were "willing and able to pay their fair share." The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would "grin and bear it."
One year later, nobody's grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.
No doubt the majority of that loss in millionaire filings results from the recession. However, this is one reason that depending on the rich to finance government is so ill-advised: Progressive tax rates create mountains of cash during good times that vanish during recessions. For evidence, consult California, New York and New Jersey (see here).
The Maryland state revenue office says it's "way too early" to tell how many millionaires moved out of the state when the tax rates rose. But no one disputes that some rich filers did leave. It's easier than the redistributionists think. Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, notes: "Marylanders with high incomes typically own second homes in tax friendlier states like Florida, Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia. So it's easy for them to change their residency."
All of this means that the burden of paying for bloated government in Annapolis will fall on the middle class. Thanks to the futility of soaking the rich, these working families will now pay Mr. O'Malley's "fair share."
I've heard Neal Boortz co-author of the Fair Tax books say time and time again that businesses don't pay taxes, they collect them from the consumer and pass them along in higher cost of goods as embedded/hidden taxes. If we realized just how much embedded or hidden taxes we actually pay, we'd be tea bagging from coast to coast.
"Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look
Levy Viewed as Way to Reduce Deficits, Fund Health Reform
By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
"With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax.
Common around the world, including in Europe, such a tax -- called a value-added tax, or VAT -- has not been seriously considered in the United States. But advocates say few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity.
At a White House conference earlier this year on the government's budget problems, a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT. A recent flurry of books and papers on the subject is attracting genuine, if furtive, interest in Congress. And last month, after wrestling with the White House over the massive deficits projected under Obama's policies, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate.
"There is a growing awareness of the need for fundamental tax reform," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said in an interview. "I think a VAT and a high-end income tax have got to be on the table."
A VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services that ultimately is borne by the consumer. Highly visible, it would increase the cost of just about everything, from a carton of eggs to a visit with a lawyer. It is also hugely regressive, falling heavily on the poor. But VAT advocates say those negatives could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American -- a tangible benefit that would be highly valuable to low-income families.
Liberals dispute that notion. "You could pay for it regressively and have people at the bottom come out better off -- maybe. Or you could pay for it progressively and they'd come out a lot better off," said Bob McIntyre, director of the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, which has a health financing plan that targets corporations and the rich.
A White House official said a VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" as a means to pay for health-care reform. "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers," said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.
Still, Orszag has hired a prominent VAT advocate to advise him on health care: Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed." Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul A. Volcker, chairman of a task force Obama assigned to study the tax system, has expressed at least tentative support for a VAT.
"Everybody who understands our long-term budget problems understands we're going to need a new source of revenue, and a VAT is an obvious candidate," said Leonard Burman, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, who testified on Capitol Hill this month about his own VAT plan. "It's common to the rest of the world, and we don't have it."
Seeking New Revenue
The surge of interest in a VAT is testament to the extraordinary depth of the nation's money troubles. While some conservatives have long argued that a consumption tax would provide a simpler and more efficient alternative to the byzantine U.S. income tax code, this time it's all about the money.
The federal budget deficit is projected to approach $1.3 trillion next year, the highest ever except for this year, when the deficit is forecast to exceed $1.8 trillion. The Treasury is borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends, largely from China and other foreign creditors, who are growing increasingly uneasy about the security of their investments. Unless Congress comes up with some serious cash, expanding the nation's health-care system will only add to the problem.
Obama wants to raise income taxes for high earners and impose new levies on business, but those moves would not generate enough cash to cover the cost of health care, much less balance the budget, and they have not been fully embraced by Congress. Obama's plan to tax greenhouse-gas emissions could raise trillions of dollars, but again, Congress is balking.
Key lawmakers are considering other ways to pay for health reform, including new taxes on sugary soda, alcohol and employer-provided health insurance. The last proposal could raise a lot of money -- nearly $1 trillion over the next five years, according to White House budget documents. But options on the table would raise a fraction of that sum. And while it might pay for health care, it would barely dent deficits projected to total nearly $4 trillion over the next five years and to grow rapidly in the future, as baby boomers draw on Social Security and Medicare.
Enter the VAT, one of the world's most popular taxes, in use in more than 130 countries. Among industrialized nations, rates range from 5 percent in Japan to 25 percent in Hungary and in parts of Scandinavia. A 21 percent VAT has permitted Ireland to attract investment by lowering its corporate tax rate.
The VAT has advantages: Because producers, wholesalers and retailers are each required to record their transactions and pay a portion of the VAT, the tax is hard to dodge. It punishes spending rather than savings, which the administration hopes to encourage. And the threat of a VAT could pull the country out of recession, some economists argue, by hurrying consumers to the mall before the tax hits.
A VAT's Bottom Line
What would it cost? Emanuel argues in his book that a 10 percent VAT would pay for every American not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid to enroll in a health plan with no deductibles and minimal copayments. In his 2008 book, "100 Million Unnecessary Returns," Yale law professor Michael J. Graetz estimates that a VAT of 10 to 14 percent would raise enough money to exempt families earning less than $100,000 -- about 90 percent of households -- from the income tax and would lower rates for everyone else.
And in a paper published last month in the Virginia Tax Review, Burman suggests that a 25 percent VAT could do it all: Pay for health-care reform, balance the federal budget and exempt millions of families from the income tax while slashing the top rate to 25 percent. A gallon of milk would jump from $3.69 to $4.61, and a $5,000 bathroom renovation would suddenly cost $6,250, but the nation's debt would stabilize and everybody could see a doctor.
Sales Tax Gains Momentum
Burman, who helped House Democrats craft an unsuccessful 2007 plan to repeal the alternative minimum tax, said he's received a number of phone calls from lawmakers interested in his idea, though "they can't quite imagine how to make it happen politically." Burman said the 25 percent rate has caused some sticker shock, and he's trying to figure out how to bring it down.
Graetz's proposal drew an endorsement from Volcker, who last year called it "a sensible plan for reform." (Volcker did not respond to a request for comment.) It also has piqued the interest of Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman who argues that it could be modified to accommodate Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on families who make less than $200,000 a year.
"I think interest is quietly picking up," Graetz said. "People are beginning to recognize that the mathematics of the current system are just unsustainable. You have to do something. And a VAT has got to be on the table if you want to do something big and serious."
Still, the Senate Finance Committee declined to include a VAT among the options it is considering to pay for health reform. And even VAT supporters doubt the tax will find a place among the tax-reform proposals the Volcker panel has been asked to produce by Dec. 4.
Though the nation's fiscal outlook is grim, Burman said "the situation will have to get more desperate" before lawmakers are likely to consider a new levy aimed directly at the pocketbooks of every one of their constituents.
Most lawmakers are still looking for "a painless source of revenue" to overhaul the health-care system and dig the nation out of debt, Burman said. "Who knows?" he added. "Maybe the tooth fairy will bring that to them."
People were having a cow over "carnivore" being used in the Bush administration to track suspected foreign terrorists after 9-11. Given such broad sweeping powers how can this be any different?
Follow the crumb trail GPS mapping of every door in the US by ACORN census takers, Homeland Security labeling anyone not agreeing with the current administration a potential domestic terrorist and now this.
Guess since newspeak calls it something different it gets a free pass.
"Obama Set to Create A Cybersecurity Czar With Broad Mandate
Shielding Public, Private Networks Is Goal
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a "cyber czar," a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation's government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.
The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.
The announcement will coincide with the long-anticipated release of a 40-page report that evaluates the government's cybersecurity initiatives and policies. The report is intended to outline a "strategic vision" and the range of issues the new adviser must handle, but it will not delve into details, administration officials told reporters last month.
Cybersecurity "is vitally important, and the government needs to be coordinated on this," a White House official said Friday, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The report give conclusions and next steps. It's trying to steer us in the right direction."
The document will not resolve the politically charged issue of what role the National Security Agency, the premier electronic surveillance agency, will have in protecting private-sector networks. The issue is a key concern in policy circles, and experts say it requires a full and open debate over legal authorities and the protection of citizens' e-mails and phone calls. The Bush administration's secrecy in handling its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, most of which was classified, hindered such a debate, privacy advocates have said.
The White House's role will be to oversee the process, formulate policy and coordinate agencies' roles, and will not be operational, administration officials have said.
Obama was briefed a week ago and signed off on the creation of the position, the sources said. But as of Friday, discussions were continuing as to what rank and title the adviser would have. The idea is to name someone who can "pick up the phone and contact the president directly, if need be," an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Obama pledged during his presidential campaign to elevate the issue of cybersecurity to a "top priority" and to appoint a national cybersecurity adviser "who will report directly to me."
Having the adviser report to both the national security and economic advisers suggests that the White House is seeking to ensure a balance between homeland security and economic concerns, the sources said. It also indicates an effort to quell an internal political battle in which Lawrence H. Summers, the senior White House economic adviser, is pushing for the National Economic Council to have a key role in cybersecurity to ensure that efforts to protect private networks do not unduly threaten economic growth, the sources said.
The report suggests that although it is a key government responsibility to help secure private-sector networks, regulation should be the last resort, the sources said. The report touts the concept of public-private partnerships to protect nongovernmental systems. It discusses the need to provide incentives for greater data sharing and risk management, and to use the procurement process to drive greater security, they said.
The report recommends that members be appointed to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive branch agency created by Congress in 2007 to ensure that privacy concerns are considered in the implementation of counterterrorism policies and laws. The report suggests that the board's mandate expressly include cybersecurity, the sources said.
The document is based on a 60-day review of cyber policies, led by Melissa Hathaway, the interim White House cybersecurity adviser and former intelligence official who is a contender for the new position. During that review, Hathaway's team had dozens of meetings with representatives from industry, academia and civil liberties groups, and received more than 100 papers. "
This one features a young William Shatner, real hair, slim physique.
Twilight Zone "Nick Of Time" PT.1 Air Date Nov 18,1960
Twilight Zone "Nick Of Time" PT.2 Air Date Nov 18,1960
Twilight Zone "Nick Of Time" PT.3 Air Date Nov 18,1960
Rod Serling a genius before his time passed way too young. Wonder what tv would be like today were he still living?
Cloris Leachman and Billy Mumy are in this one.
"Twilight Zone "It's A Good Life PT.1 Air Date Nov 3,1961
"Twilight Zone "It's A Good Life" PT.2 Air Date Nov 3 ,1961
"Twilight Zone "It's A Good Life" PT.3 Air Date
Cartoon below for fun.
8 part interesting interview for conspiracy theorists about global elitist agenda also naming players dates and times. What is hype, what is accurate is up to your imagination. Was sufficiently interesting for me to listen all the way through.
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen part 1/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen part 2/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen part 3/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen part 4/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen Part 5/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen Part 6/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen Part 7/8
Coast to Coast AM - May 12 2009 - World War III with Joel Skousen Part 8/8
Who we really are versus social conditioning, political social engineering designed to turn us out as cookie cutter replicas of one another.
Abraham-Hicks Daily Quote
"Everyone doesn't have to be the same. Most say,"Well, it's so much easier if we're all the same." And we say, it is not easier when you're all the same; conformity is the thing that thwarts you most. That massive wanting to get you to conform - to all think the same way and want the same things - is what is causing the revolt that is happening within you. You are determined to be freedom-seekers in a Mass Consciousness society that is determined to make you the same."
"Sheep in human clothing -- scientists reveal our flock mentality
February 14th, 2008
"Have you ever arrived somewhere and wondered how you got there? Scientists at the University of Leeds believe they may have found the answer, with research that shows that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals.
Results from a study at the University of Leeds show that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd's direction - and that the other 95 per cent follow without realising it.
The findings could have major implications for directing the flow of large crowds, in particular in disaster scenarios, where verbal communication may be difficult. "There are many situations where this information could be used to good effect," says Professor Jens Krause of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences. "At one extreme, it could be used to inform emergency planning strategies and at the other, it could be useful in organising pedestrian flow in busy areas."
Professor Krause, with PhD student John Dyer, conducted a series of experiments where groups of people were asked to walk randomly around a large hall. Within the group, a select few received more detailed information about where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate with one another but had to stay within arms length of another person.
The findings show that in all cases, the 'informed individuals' were followed by others in the crowd, forming a self-organising, snake-like structure. "We've all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd," says Professor Krause. "But what's interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren't allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn't realise they were being led by others."
Other experiments in the study used groups of different sizes, with different ratios of 'informed individuals'. The research findings show that as the number of people in a crowd increases, the number of informed individuals decreases. In large crowds of 200 or more, five per cent of the group is enough to influence the direction in which it travels. The research also looked at different scenarios for the location of the 'informed individuals' to determine whether where they were located had a bearing on the time it took for the crowd to follow.
"We initially started looking at consensus decision making in humans because we were interested in animal migration, particularly birds, where it can be difficult to identify the leaders of a flock," says Professor Krause. "But it just goes to show that there are strong parallels between animal grouping behaviour and human crowds."
Source: University of Leeds "
"U.S. stirs a hornet's nest in Pakistan
MAY 18, 2009
"PARIS -- Pakistan finally bowed to Washington's angry demands last week by unleashing its military against rebellious Pashtun tribesmen of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) -- collectively mislabelled "Taliban" in the West.
The Obama administration had threatened to stop $2 billion US annual cash payments to bankrupt Pakistan's political and military leadership and block $6.5 billion future aid, unless Islamabad sent its soldiers into Pakistan's turbulent NWFP along the Afghan frontier.
The result was a bloodbath: Some 1,000 "terrorists" killed (read: mostly civilians) and 1.2 million people -- most of Swat's population -- made refugees.
Pakistan's U.S.-rented armed forces have scored a brilliant victory against their own people. Too bad they don't do as well in wars against India. Blasting civilians, however, is much safer and more profitable.
Unable to pacify Afghanistan's Pashtun tribes (a.k.a. Taliban), a deeply frustrated Washington has begun tearing Pakistan apart in an effort to end Pashtun resistance in both nations. CIA drone aircraft have so far killed over 700 Pakistani Pashtun. Only 6% were militants, according to Pakistan's media, the rest civilians.
Pashtun, also improperly called Pathan, are the world's largest tribal people. Fifteen million live in Afghanistan, forming half its population. Twenty-six million live right across the border in Pakistan. Britain's imperialists divided Pashtun by an artificial border, the Durand Line (today's Afghan-Pakistan border). Pashtun reject it.
Many Pashtun tribes agreed to join Pakistan in 1947, provided much of their homeland be autonomous and free of government troops. Pashtun Swat only joined Pakistan in 1969.
As Pakistan's Pashtun increasingly aided Pashtun resistance in Afghanistan, U.S. drones began attacking them. Washington forced Islamabad to violate its own constitution by sending troops into Pashtun lands. The result was the current explosion of Pashtun anger.
I have been to war with the Pashtun and have seen their legendary courage, strong sense of honour and determination. They are also hugely quarrelsome, feuding and prickly.
One quickly learns never to threaten a Pashtun or give him ultimatums. These are the mountain warriors who defied the U.S. by refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden because he was a hero of the anti-Soviet war and their guest. The ancient code of "Pashtunwali" still guides them: Do not attack Pashtun, do not cheat them, do not cause them dishonour. To Pashtun, revenge is sacred.
Now, Washington's ham-handed policies and last week's Swat atrocity threaten to ignite Pakistan's second worst nightmare after invasion by India: That its 26 million Pashtun will secede and join Afghanistan's Pashtun to form an independent Pashtun state, Pashtunistan.
This would rend Pakistan asunder, probably provoke its restive Baluchi tribes to secede and tempt mighty India to intervene militarily, risking nuclear war with beleaguered Pakistan.
The Pashtun of NWFP have no intention or capability of moving into Pakistan's other provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. They just want to be left alone. Alarms of a "Taliban takeover of Pakistan" are pure propaganda.
Lowland Pakistanis repeatedly have rejected militant Islamic parties. Many have little love for Pashtun, whom they regard as mountain wild men best avoided.
Nor are Pakistan's well-guarded nukes a danger -- at least not yet. Alarms about Pakistan's nukes come from the same fabricators with hidden agendas who brought us Saddam Hussein's bogus weapons.
THE REAL DANGER
The real danger is in the U.S. acting like an enraged mastodon, trampling Pakistan under foot, and forcing Islamabad's military to make war on its own people. Pakistan could end up like U.S.-occupied Iraq, split into three parts and helpless.
If this continues, at some point patriotic Pakistani soldiers may rebel and shoot the corrupt generals and politicians on Washington's payroll.
Equally ominous, a poor people's uprising spreading across Pakistan -- also mislabelled "Taliban" -- threatens a radical national rebellion reminiscent of India's Naxalite rebels.
As in Iraq, profound ignorance and gung ho military arrogance drive U.S. Afghan policy. Obama's people have no understanding what they are getting into in "AfPak." I can tell them: An unholy mess we will long regret."
In addition to being put last in line for any potential payback by surviving companies as stated in this article our children, grandchildren have been strapped with with paying back another $15.4 billion plus accrued interest.
"Thuggery And Mob Action, Government Style"
Government plays but we pay.
"GM could be wholly owned by U.S. gov't after bankruptcy, $15.4 billion in loans forgiven
With General Motors' bankruptcy filing all but assured, details of the deal are being hashed out as you read this and sources are coming forward to secretly divulge some of the more critical aspects of the plan. The newest tidbit comes from an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations speaking with Reuters who said that GM's Chapter 11 filing would create a new company comprised of the General's positive assets and will be initially owned by the U.S. government. The report lends further credence to the "good" GM, "bad" GM plan we've been hearing about for weeks, with one company taking on all of GM's deficient assets and another separate entity comprised of the positive assets, the latter of which could honor the claims of secured lenders, possibly paying back most or all of the money owed. But what about the taxpayer loans?
Reuters' source indicated that the new government strategy for GM would include extending the U.S.' credit line to the newly formed company and forgiving the majority of the $15.4 billion federal loans to the automaker. Additionally, the government could give both bondholders and GM's unions a stake in the company, and although a new board would be established - pending review from the government's oversight board - Rick Wagoner's successor and GM's new CEO, Fritz Henderson, would likely head the new company. Shocking? Hardly. Disturbing? Sound off in the comments below. Thanks to all who tipped in."
Back to inspirational stuff, these videos are totally awesome!!!
Em, hope your kitties haven't chewed your speaker wires again.....
"What You Think Is Reality Is Illusion
La Realidad es una Ilusión (1 de 2)
Member of another forum used the following quote as their signature ... found it appropriate for our new lesson in PC by the thought police.
"Political correctness defined.
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end"
R. J. Wiedemann LtCol. USMC Ret."
Newspeak: What's in a Name? Re-Branding Madness Consumes Washington
Published on 05-18-2009
Source: Fox News
"Global War on Terror is out -- "overseas contingency operation" is in.
Terrorist attack is out -- "man-caused disaster" is in.
Since the new administration took office, Washington has been consumed, on both sides of the aisle, by a kind of re-branding madness. This marathon in semantics has had a variety of tactical purposes, depending on who's got his Sharpie on the dictionary.
The Obama administration, through a string of delicate shifts in terminology, has softened -- or at least obfuscated -- the essence of the war against Islamic extremism.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, arguably the Washington equivalent to Madonna of re-branding, delivered an entire set of testimony without using the word "terrorism." She says she prefers "man-caused disasters."
And the administration as a whole phased out the term "Global War on Terror." "Overseas contingency operation" became the tag that is now used in budget documents to explain where billions of taxpayer dollars are going.
Napolitano told the German magazine Der Spiegel she's avoiding such hot-button words like "terrorism" to demonstrate the administration's desire to "move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave even less of an explanation, telling reporters in March that the name switch for the War on Terror "speaks for itself."
Republican marketing guru Pete Snyder, with New Media Strategies -- who called former President George W. Bush a "horrible" brander -- guessed that these new names serve a common purpose.
"The premise there is they want to confuse the public," he said, noting that Obama is pursuing a national security agenda not so far afield from Bush's.
Doing so under the title of "overseas contingency operation" might not draw the same backlash of Code Pinkers.
But re-branding fever has taken hold in other areas, in other departments and in the other party. Marketing wonks say this is leading to mixed results.
"What's in a name, it's hugely important," Snyder said. "Billions of dollars are spent by corporations every year to try to take a product or a concept that is complex and boil it down into something that is very succinct and burn [it] into the brains of Americans."
With public policy, Snyder said, branding is even more important, since lawmakers are selling products that are far more complicated.
Unfortunately, "politicians and policymakers tend to be absolutely horrible marketers," he said.
Bush drew criticism for the War on Terror title since it was essentially a war against an intangible force. Bush also took heat for such terms as the Clear Skies Act and Healthy Forests Initiative, both of which critics said obviously undermined their namesakes.
Similar title-tweaking is happening in Obama's White House.
The Treasury Department, for instance, tried to substitute the term "legacy assets" for "toxic assets" -- those stinky financial holdings that pollute the books of banks and that the government wants to take off their hands.
"Legacy" might connote "investment" rather than "risk." But few in the media are actually using the term on a regular basis.
Then health officials in the U.S. and the World Health Organization tried to rein in the media from using the term "swine flu" to describe the outbreak they feared would reach pandemic levels. H1N1, please, they said, as the pork lobby expressed concern that irrational fear of the pig was leading to international bans on U.S. pork products. But as one Associated Press report noted, "the virus that is scaring the world is pretty much all pig."
But there's another re-branding campaign, this one not yet official, coming out of the Republican Party, which is not trying to re-brand itself but the other guys.
Politico.com reported that the Republican National Committee plans to approve a resolution to rename its rival the "Democrat Socialist Party."
This comes after the GOP tried, to little avail, to rename the Democratic Party the Democrat Party. A few lone conservatives still use the term, but party members declined to codify the change last year and mainstream Republicans generally call the party by its real name, for now.
Snyder said this latest move inevitably comes off as petty and misguided.
"If the dog food we're making is being recalled, just changing the tagline isn't the best way to go about it," he said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has distanced himself from the impending decision, telling NBC's "Meet the Press," that "if they do that, they do that."
But party members opened themselves up to endless Democratic ribbing with the apparent name-change.
"Given the challenges they face, seems exactly the way I would be using my time, too," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs joked on Friday.
Eric Swartz, founder of the San Francisco-based brander TaglineGuru, said the GOP needs to focus more on reinventing itself than the Democrats.
"You just can't throw a word against the wall and expect everyone to fall down and fall in love with it," he said.
There needs to be an infrastructure behind it. For this reason, branders see a more promising campaign in the nascent attempt to overhaul the so-called War on Drugs.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske wants to drop "War on Drugs" from the national lexicon.
"We're not at war with people in this country," he told the paper, summing up the longstanding criticism of the term.
Swartz said a new name for the War on Drugs could be effective if paired with new policy.
He attributed the intense interest in Washington branding lately in part to President Obama's successful campaign, which he said showed Washington what good branding can do.
"He owned the word 'change.' Other people tried to encroach on that -- I guess he was there first," Swartz said. "He had the logo, he had a great motto."
So what's next?
There's still plenty of other security-related terms to toy with, and lawmakers could certainly benefit from new terminology to soften the impact of their ongoing spending binge.
Swartz took a crack at rebranding some key policy terms for the Obama administration, or anybody else, to use. His suggestions:
Detainees: Custodial informants
Terrorists: Improvised ideologues
Deficit: Long shortfall (or inverted surplus)
One trillion dollars: Nth power financing
Abortion: Reproductive choice
Border violence: Territorial imperative
Torture: Non-verbal questioning
Taxes: Income tweaks
Have at it, Washington. "
Copyright © 2006-2009 BlackListedNews.com
For those interested in preserving their rights as enumerated under the US Constitution, this is suggested reading.
"Legal Advisor Nominee Advocates Global Gun Control
by Brian Darling 05/04/2009
"Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Harold Koh, a former Dean of the Yale Law School, to be Legal Advisor to the State Department. One of the many concerns with Koh is his belief that international organizations should be empowered to regulate the Second Amendment right to own a firearm.
On April 2, 2002, Koh gave a speech to the Fordham University School of Law titled "A World Drowning in Guns" where he mapped out his vision of global gun control. Koh advocated an international "marking and tracing regime." He complained that "the United States is now the major supplier of small arms in the world, yet the United States and its allies do not trace their newly manufactured weapons in any consistent way." Koh advocated a U.N.-governed regime to force the U.S. "to submit information about their small arms production."
Koh supports the idea that the U.N. should be granted the power "to standardize national laws and procedures with member states of regional organizations." Koh feels that U.S. should "establish a national firearms control system and a register of manufacturers, traders, importers and exporters" of guns to comply with international obligations. This regulatory regime would allow U.N. members such as Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and Iran to have a say in what type of gun regulations are imposed on American citizens.
Taken to their logical conclusion, Koh's ideas could lead to a national database of all firearm owners, as well as the use of international law to force the U.S. to pass laws to find out who owns guns. All who care about freedom should read his speech
Senators need to think long and hard about whether Koh's extreme views on international gun control are appropriate for America.
FDA Regulation of Tobacco
As if the federal government weren't interfering enough in your daily decisions, now officials want to greatly expand the FDA's regulatory power over tobacco. The House has passed a bill that would, among other things, allow the FDA to regulate nicotine and mandate more warnings about the health risks of tobacco. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is spoiling for a fight when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid schedules a vote on the bill. Let's hope others join the fight against an ever-expanding federal government.
The First Amendment Under Attack
Many conservatives are aware of the now-infamous DHS report on "rightwing extremism" -- as well they should be. This report said that the possible passage of gun control legislation, the election of the first African American president, the economic downturn and the return of military veterans could lead to domestic terrorism: "Rightwing extremism in the United States ... may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single, issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration." This report serves to demonize many elements of the conservative movement by characterizing them as potential radical domestic terrorists.
Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) have introduced a resolution requesting that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issue a formal apology to the nation's military personnel and veterans whom the report deems extremist because they are pro-life and/or hold other conservative views. It's an outrage that those who served this country honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan would be scrutinized by federal officials. Conservatives should be wary that the federal government may be monitoring conservative groups who differ with the president on policy grounds.
Energy Tax Hikes
This week, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and his top climate deputy, Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will try to advance the innocuously named American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES). The bill, a de-facto energy tax, would undermine America's economic recovery and punish low- and middle-income families with staggering electricity price hikes.
A handful of moderate Democrats have joined Republicans to oppose such a scheme. The key difference is that, according to Roll Call, Waxman and Markey are meeting with hesitant Democrats members to find a bill that protects their own districts. This amounts to picking winners and losers behind closed doors, giving the politically connected a chance to avoid (if only for a year or two) the massive economic harm likely to occur.
President Obama has spoken eloquently about the need for transparency. Americans should demand similar, if not greater, transparency from Reps. Markey and Waxman. If they're going to pick winners and losers, they should do so openly."
"IT IS GETTING VERY SERIOUS NOW
By Chuck Baldwin
May 12, 2009
"First, it was a Missouri Analysis and Information Center (MIAC) report; then it was a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report; now it is a New York congressman's bill. Each of these items, taken on their own, is problematic enough; taken together they portend "a clear and present danger" to the liberties of the American people. It is getting very serious now.
As readers may recall, the MIAC report profiled certain people as being potential violence-prone "militia members": including people who supported Presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and myself. In addition, anyone who opposed one or more of the following were also included in the list: the New World Order, the U.N., gun control, the violation of Posse Comitatus, the Federal Reserve, the Income Tax, the Ammunition Accountability Act, a possible Constitutional Convention, the North American Union, the Universal Service Program, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), abortion on demand, or illegal immigration.
The MIAC report prompted a firestorm of protest, and was eventually rescinded, with the man responsible for its distribution being dismissed from his position. The DHS report profiled many of the same people included in the MIAC report, and added returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as potentially dangerous "extremists."
As I have said before, it is very likely that when all of the opinions and views of the above lists are counted, 75% or more of the American people would be included. Yet, these government reports would have law enforcement personnel to believe we are all dangerous extremists that need to be watched and guarded against. If this was not bad enough, a New York congressman has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to deny Second Amendment rights to everyone listed above.
According to World Net Daily, May 9, 2009, "A new gun law being considered in Congress, if aligned with Department of Homeland Security memos labeling everyday Americans a potential 'threats,' could potentially deny firearms to pro-lifers, gun-rights advocates, tax protesters, animal rights activists, and a host of others--any already on the expansive DHS watch list for potential 'extremism.'
"Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has sponsored H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009, which permits the attorney general to deny transfer of a firearm to any 'known or suspected dangerous terrorist.' The bill requires only that the potential firearm transferee is 'appropriately suspected' of preparing for a terrorist act and that the attorney general 'has a reasonable belief' that the gun might be used in connection with terrorism.
"Gun rights advocates, however, object to the bill's language, arguing that it enables the federal government to suspend a person's Second Amendment rights without any trial or legal proof and only upon suspicion of being 'dangerous.'"
WND quotes Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt as saying, "By [DHS] standards, I'm one of [DHS Secretary] Janet Napolitano's terrorists. This bill would enable the attorney general to put all of the people who voted against Obama on no-gun lists, because according to the DHS, they're all potential terrorists. Actually, we could rename this bill the Janet Napolitano Frenzied Fantasy Implementation Act of 2009."
Pratt was also quoted as saying, "Unbeknownst to us, some bureaucrat in the bowels of democracy can put your name on a list, and your Second Amendment rights are toast." He went on to say, "This such an anti-American bill, this is something King George III would have done."
Now that DHS has established both a list and a lexicon for "extremists," it looks to Congress to confer upon it police-state-style powers through which these individuals may be disarmed and eventually done away with. Rep. Peter King is accommodating this goal with H.R. 2159.
Let me ask a reasonable question: how long does anyone think it would be, after being profiled by DHS and denied the lawful purchase of firearms, that those same people would be subjected to gun confiscation? And how long do you think it would be before DHS began profiling more and more groups of people, thus subjecting them to gun confiscation?
This was exactly the strategy employed by Adolf Hitler. The Jews were the first people denied their civil rights--especially the right to own and possess firearms. Of course, after disarming Jews, the rest of the German citizenry was likewise disarmed. And we all know where that led.
I'm not sure how many of the American people realize that it was the attempted confiscation of the colonialists' cache of arms in Concord, Massachusetts, that started America's War for Independence. Yes, my friends, it was attempted gun confiscation that triggered (pun intended) the "shot heard 'round the world." And now it would appear that, once again, a central government is on the verge of trying to deny the American people their right to keep and bear arms.
I am told that as of 2004, 50% of the adults in the United States own one or more firearms, totaling some 270 million privately owned firearms nationwide. I would venture to say that the vast majority of these gun owners would find themselves matching the DHS profile of a potential "extremist." I wonder how many gun owners realize the way they are now being targeted by their government, and just how serious--and how close--the threat of gun confiscation has become?
If one doubts the intention of the elitists in government today to deny the American people their right to keep and bear arms, consider what former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is purported to have said just a couple of weeks ago. Kissinger attended a high-level meeting with Russian President Medvedev that also included former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz; former Secretary of Defense William Perry; and former Senator Sam Nunn. Included in the discussions was Kissinger's assertion that the American people were now ready to accept a "New Global Order." He is also reported to have told Medvedev, "By September we'll have confiscated all privately owned guns so it really doesn't matter what we do, we'll still be in charge." (Even though the national news media has not reported this statement, the Internet is abuzz with Kissinger having said it. Whether Kissinger actually made that statement or not, he, and rest of his ilk, have repeatedly called for a New World Order, in which there will be no constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms.)
This leads to a very serious question: how many of America's gun owners would allow their government to deny them gun ownership? Further, how many would passively sit back and allow their guns to be confiscated?
As humbly and meekly as I know how to say it: as for me and my house, gun confiscation is the one act of tyranny that crosses the line; debate, discourse, discussion, and peaceful dissent cease and desist at that point. I say again, it is getting very serious now."
© 2009 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
Via SteveQuayle.com. Pithy information everyone should know. Live links for reference.
"I am beyond words today.
The Ticker here, which talked about the first half of the hearing related to AIG, was bad:
Specifically, I quote: "The Federal Reserve decided we should pay 100 cents on the dollar", but Mr. Issa nailed the truth on this in a followup - they could have purchased those contracts for far less in the open market at the time.
The bottom line is that the testimony was that The Fed decided to settle the contracts in a non-economic manner that resulted in screwing the taxpayer by transferring more than $100 billion dollars of taxpayer money out to these banks when the cash value at the time was FAR LESS.
Now that's pretty good thuggery - literally grab $100 billion of taxpayer money to intentionally overpay for bets that were already, in the case of Goldman Sachs, covered!
the entire thing is well worth the time, but if you don't have nearly 4 hours, the most important portions start around 2:28 into the hearing, where Marcy Kaptur gets Liddy to admit that The Federal Reserve took all responsibility for settling the CDS contracts held by AIG.
I thought I had been bowled over for the day.
I was wrong.
The afternoon session, with the so-called "Trustees", was even worse. Scroll into that video 3:01:00, and listen to the exchange related to the Trustees that are supposed to have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer through The Fed and Treasury for the 80% of the stock in AIG now owned by the taxpayers.
Bluntly, an invited expert witness and professor absolutely screwed this "Trust Agreement" to the wall.
The provisions of the so-called "Trust" document in fact, it was alleged, effectively put the taxpayer at the end of the line - behind Treasury's political desires - despite the fact that it is taxpayer money and thus the taxpayers that are the actual beneficial owners!
Worse, the Trustees are permitted to invest personally in any opportunities they may learn of through their duties, secretly and without the permission of or even notice to Treasury or The Fed.
If you can believe it, it got even worse:
The Trustees are indemnified in that agreement even against bad faith actions or those not in the interest of the beneficiaries of the trust!
I sat slack-jawed listening to this testimony. The bottom line here is that there is essentially no protection for the taxpayer to any material degree nor any recourse against the trustees with regards to the taxpayer funds committed to AIG, should the trustees act in a fashion that is not in the best interest of the taxpayer.
Isn't this all very nice?
Do I have hard evidence that any of these people have active conflicts and have benefited personally from the actions they've taken? No. But does this smell bad? Absolutely. Indeed, one of the trustees worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (for 36 years), another was a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (!), and the third appears to have come from "private" industry. Indeed, the Trust Document calls for all reports to go to the NY Fed - and not to Congress or Treasury!
It gets better.
The minutes of the Trustee meetings were claimed to be the property of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York - even though we the taxpayers are the supposed beneficiary? Mr. Kucinich asked for the records - and was rebuffed.
There is no transparency!
The Trustees of course objected to the characterization presented to the committee, but were strongly rebutted by the committee's invited expert.
Mr. Issa may have not wanted to question the Trustees, but I will. The insular nature of this "Trust", the incestuous nature of where these people came from, and the outrageous nature of the so-called "Trust Document" is enough for me.
Then things got really interesting.
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it forced the Obama administration to release documents about the October 13, 2008, Treasury Department meeting that coerced major banks to allow the government to take $250 billion equity stakes. Among the other news, the documents confirm former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told the CEOs of nine major banks that they had no choice but to allow the government to take equity stakes in their institutions. The documents show Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, FDIC Chairman Shelia Blair, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke co-hosted the meeting with Paulson.
President Obama's Treasury Department attempted to prevent the disclosure of these documents, refusing to respond to an FOIA request. Judicial watch sued.
On February 4th The Obama Administration claimed it had no documents related to the meeting, but was forced to recant and release them.
In other words, THE PRESIDENT LIED AND ATTEMPTED TO COVER UP THE FACTS.
The Obama Administration also redacted Geithner's edits to some of the documents.
These documents show that the banks in question were literally forced to accept the interference of the government in the form of equity investment under the direct threat that their primary regulator (the OTS or OCC, as the case may be) would force them to do so if they refused. Both OTS and OCC are run by Treasury.
The outrage here is not just that these CEOs were forced (literally) to take the money. It is also that they were forced to, at the same time, accept whatever FUTURE restrictions on activity, including compensation, Treasury or Congress desired to impose.
In short the banks were forcibly nationalized without a prior finding of insolvency; this is blatantly unconstitutional as a "taking" without compensation.
The raw document dump shows an insane amount of redaction. But what's also clear is one entry: "Good morning. FYI, Futures up 380."
Point a gun at people's heads and threaten to shoot, all in the name of goosing the stock market.
This, after refusing to demand that banks not lend out more in unsecured funds than they have in excess capital - for more than ten years.
A recent Ticker commented on the nascent bill to provide a "backstop" to state and local municipal bond issuance. I believe it is quite safe to say that the precise same sort of thuggery used with the banks will be employed with the States, if we do not stop it. After all, there is zero evidence that this changed with the Obama Administration; they in fact tried to prevent the release of the FOIA'd documents from Treasury, redacted an awful lot of the material, refused to provide Geithner's notes on the matter and further, have failed to act to restructure that odious "trust" document mentioned above.
We are no longer a nation of laws; this is a bigger scandal, by far, than Watergate and it is 100% bipartisan.
If we the people allow any of this to stand we can consider our nation's founding document to be nothing more than toilet paper.
We need a special prosecutor, we need indictments and impeachments, and we need them now."
Interesting video interview Sen. Kit Bond first article.
Second one Pelosi doing the backstroke fast as she can. Way too power hungry for any high position, she does not wear it well.
Wish she'd do the honorable thing and resign.
Video: Sen. Kit Bond on Pelosi's CIA Claim
"Hoyer wants Pelosi facts out
By Jared Allen and Mike Soraghan
Posted: 05/12/09 07:53 PM [ET]
Source The Hill
"The No. 2 Democrat in the House on Tuesday said Americans should be provided answers on what Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about interrogations of suspected terrorists and when she knew about it.
But he also indicated that those answers might give the embattled Speaker political cover.
"I think the facts need to get out," Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters on Tuesday when asked about calls from both sides of the aisle for congressional investigations into the formulation of the so-called torture memos.
The Pelosi interrogation controversy has become a major distraction as the White House and congressional Democrats are seeking to move their top agenda items, most notably healthcare reform and climate change legislation. It is likely that Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be grilled about interrogations at her weekly press conference on Thursday.
Hoyer accused Republicans of creating a diversion by focusing on what information leading Democrats received about interrogation techniques. But he is now the highest-ranking Democrat to say that such information should be made public.
"I think the Republicans are simply trying to distract the American public with who knew what when," Hoyer said. "The issue is not what was said or what was known; the focus ought to be on what was done.
"But I think, frankly," the majority leader added, "the information about what was said and when it was said and who said it - I think that probably ought to be on the record, as well, so the American public knows that rather than what I think is somewhat of a distraction rather than a substantive debate."
Since the release of Bush administration memos authorizing interrogation practices that President Obama has deemed "torture," Republicans have deflected the heat back at Democrats.
Over the last couple of weeks, they have highlighted a steady drip of revelations that have undercut Pelosi's statement that she was told that waterboarding had been declared legal in 2002, but not used on prisoners. She has also said she had no power to stop it, and little ability to protest.
Republicans claim that Pelosi has known for years that intelligence agents were waterboarding terrorism suspects, but waited to complain until years later, when the practice was made public. The revelations have infuriated liberal activists.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, has pushed for hearings after engineering the release of CIA documents that say Pelosi, the panel's ranking Democrat in 2002, was briefed on interrogation techniques used on a terrorism suspect who is now known to have been waterboarded.
But former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who received a similar briefing at the time, has also said he wasn't told that prisoners were being waterboarded.
Pelosi did join in a protest filed after the first briefing that specifically mentioned waterboarding in 2003
Democrats are stressing that Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who became ranking Democrat when Pelosi became minority leader, were not explicitly told of waterboarding until the 2003 briefing, when it had been used for six months, and that it continued after Harman protested.
They also note that the House passed legislation that would have banned waterboarding months after Democrats took control of the chamber in 2007.
Pelosi herself has not asked for any information about the briefings to be made public. And on Tuesday the respected political fact-checking website PolitiFact deemed Pelosi's explanations on waterboarding "false," in light of the CIA documents released last week and even in spite of CIA Director Leon Panetta's letter accompanying the documents saying agents' memories about the briefings could be faulty.
Hoyer's comments seem to indicate that Pelosi may be vindicated at the end of the day.
"To some degree she was in a position where ... she was bound by requirements of secrecy as a condition of those briefings, so it's a little bit of a conundrum there as well," he said.
And when asked if the controversy surrounding what the Speaker knew about interrogation tactics was damaging her support among House Democrats, Hoyer answered flatly: "No."
Yet Hoyer left unclear the manner in which he would like to see such information made public, and did not directly answer a question about whether Pelosi and other members of Congress should have to testify publicly, as Republicans have called for.
While calls for a "truth commission" have faded, congressional hearings are already under way on the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.
The Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight and the Courts subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday billed as the first hearing on the "torture memos" since their release.
Subcommittee Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who also is a member of the Intelligence Committee, told The Associated Press that he offered legislation in the committee to ban the harsh methods, which was later incorporated into broader legislation.
But Whitehouse said he never protested to the Bush administration because "it never crossed my mind that it would make the least bit of difference."
Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday to discuss the memos. "
"Panetta to CIA employees: We told Pelosi the truth
Technology is a wonderful thing otherwise Big Brother could 'burn all the books.'
"Flashback: Gore Calls Bush Policies "Un-American" In 2002 Speech
****** AUDIO ******* Wasn't able to embed it.
On CNN Friday morning Former Vice President claimed he "waited two years" to criticize the Bush administration. In fact, In September of 2002 he trashed then President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the cabinet for their handling of the war against terrorism. "From the outset, the administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right," Mr. Gore said. Gore called the Bush administration's "attack on fundamental constitutional rights" beyond the "pale and un-American." The Weekly Standard has more quotes of Former Vice President Al Gore speaking out against the Bush administration prior to the two-years he claimed to wait. Transcript:
AL GORE: Vice President Cheney said after the war against terrorism began, "This war may last for the rest of our lives." I kind of think I know what he meant by that, but the apprehensions in the world that I spoke of earlier are not calmed down any by this doctrine of preemption that they are now asserting. By now the Bush Administration may now be beginning realizing that national and international cohesion are indeed strategic assets. But it is a lesson long delayed and clearly not uniformly and consistently accepted by senior members of the cabinet. From the outset, the administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right, at the expense of solidarity among all of us as Americans and solidarity between our country and our allies. On the domestic front, the administration, having delayed for many months before conceding the need to pass Joe Lieberman's bill and create an institution outside the White House to manage homeland defense, has actually been willing to see this legislation held up for the sake of an effort to coerce the Congress into stripping civil service protections from tens of thousands of federal employees. Now which is more important: passing the Homeland Security Act, or satisfying a relatively small yet powerful member of the right-wing coalition that has as its number-one priority dismantling labor unions? If that's the most important priority in that legislation, that explains why they're refusing to let the bipartisan consensus in favor of it go forward.
Far more damaging is the administration's attack on fundamental constitutional rights that we ought to have and do have as American citizens. The very idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedies, and that this can be done on the sole say-so of the president of the United States or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale and un-American and it ought to be stopped. "
"Al Gore to Dick Cheney: 'I waited two years'
Al Gore said Friday that fellow former Vice President Dick Cheney has jumped back into the political fray too soon into the new administration's term.
"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical," Gore said during an interview on CNN, pointing out that his critiques were focused on "policy."
"CNN's John Roberts Fails to Press Gore on Bush Criticism Whopper
By Matthew Balan (Bio | Archive)
May 15, 2009 - 17:14 ET
"CNN anchor John Roberts failed to catch former Vice President Al Gore make a significant exaggeration about his criticism of the Bush administration in its early years during an interview on Friday's American Morning"
Two very interesting articles about mind control. Live links for reference.
"Pentagon Preps Soldier Telepathy Push
May 14, 2009 10:46 am
Forget the battlefield radios, the combat PDAs or even infantry hand signals. When the soldiers of the future want to communicate, they’ll read each other’s minds.
At least, that’s the hope of researchers at the Pentagon’s mad-science division Darpa. The agency’s budget for the next fiscal year includes $4 million to start up a program called Silent Talk. The goal is to “allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.” That’s on top of the $4 million the Army handed out last year to the University of California to investigate the potential for computer-mediated telepathy.
Before being vocalized, speech exists as word-specific neural signals in the mind. Darpa wants to develop technology that would detect these signals of “pre-speech,” analyze them, and then transmit the statement to an intended interlocutor. Darpa plans to use EEG to read the brain waves. It’s a technique they’re also testing in a project to devise mind-reading binoculars that alert soldiers to threats faster the conscious mind can process them.
The project has three major goals, according to Darpa. First, try to map a person’s EEG patterns to his or her individual words. Then, see if those patterns are generalizable — if everyone has similar patterns. Last, “construct a fieldable pre-prototype that would decode the signal and transmit over a limited range.”
The military has been funding a handful of mind-tapping technology recently, and already have monkeys capable of telepathic limb control. Telepathy may also have advantages beyond covert battlefield chatter. Last year, the National Research Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency released a report suggesting that neuroscience might also be useful to “make the enemy obey our commands.” The first step, though, may be getting a grunt to obey his officer’s remotely-transmitted thoughts.
– Katie Drummond and Noah Shachtman"
By Nick Thompson
August 16, 2008 7:03 am
"Forget performance-enhancing drugs for soldiers, the next frontier is performance-degrading drugs for our enemies. Rick Weiss at the Science Progress blog has just written a nice post about a just-released 150-page report from the National Research Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency that argues that the military needs to do a better job keeping up with neuroscience: in part so it can learn how to make our enemies stupider.
“Although conflict has many aspects, one that warfighters and policy makers often talk about is the motivation to fight, which undoubtedly has its origins in the brain and is reflected in peripheral neurophysiological processes," quotes Weiss from the report. “So one question would be, ‘How can we disrupt the enemy’s motivation to fight?’ Other questions raised by controlling the mind: ‘How can we make people trust us more?’ ‘What if we could help the brain to remove fear or pain?’ ‘Is there a way to make the enemy obey our commands?’… As cognitive neuroscience and related technologies become more pervasive, using technology for nefarious purposes becomes easier.”
"Dead People Get Stimulus Checks
Updated: Thursday, 14 May 2009, 10:30 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 14 May 2009, 5:28 PM EDT
"MYFOXNY.COM - This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail. The problem is that a lot of them are dead. A Long Island woman was shocked when she checked the mail and received a letter from the U.S. Treasury -- but it wasn't for her.
WATCH DICK BRENNAN'S REPORT (VIDEO, LEFT)
Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream was expecting a $250 stimulus check. But when her son finally opened it, they saw that the check was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago. He'd been a U.S. citizen when he left for Italy in 1933, but only returned to the United Stated for a seven-month visit in 1969.
The Santopadres are not alone. The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, says that some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death. That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.
The feds blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. The strange this is, some of the checks were made out to people -- like Romonini -- who were never even part of the Social Security system."
Came in email, found it very worthy of posting. Hope you enjoy.
Oath Keepers Orders We Will NOT Obey Full Length Video
Men of honor
SUMMARY LIST OF ORDERS WE WILL NOT OBEY:
1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants or to subject them to military tribunal.
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a state of emergency on a state.
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to keep the peace or to maintain control.
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
(Read the full declaration here http://oath-keepers.blogspot.com/2009...
OATH KEEPERS is an association of Military, Veterans, and peace officers who will honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, will NOT just follow orders, will stand for liberty, and will save the Republic, so help us God. Our motto is:
"Not on Our Watch!"
Our tax dollars at work. Someone didn't look before they jumped in .... taking us down with them.
"Under Restructuring, GM To Build More Cars Overseas
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 8, 2009
"The U.S. government is pouring billions into General Motors in hopes of reviving the domestic economy, but when the automaker completes its restructuring plan, many of the company's new jobs will be filled by workers overseas.
According to an outline the company has been sharing privately with Washington legislators, the number of cars that GM sells in the United States and builds in Mexico, China and South Korea will roughly double.
The proportion of GM cars sold domestically and manufactured in those low-wage countries will rise from 15 percent to 23 percent over the next five years, according to the figures contained in a 12-page presentation offered to lawmakers in response to their questions about overseas production.
As a result, the long-simmering argument over U.S. manufacturers expanding production overseas -- normally arising between unions and private companies -- is about to engage the Obama administration.
Essentially in control of the company, the president's autos task force faces an awkward choice: It can either require General Motors to keep more jobs at home, potentially raising labor costs at a company already beset with financial woes, or it can risk political fury by allowing the automaker to expand operations at lower-cost manufacturing locations.
"It's an almost impossible dilemma," said former labor secretary Robert B. Reich, now a professor at the University of California-Berkeley. "GM is a global company -- so for that matter is AIG and the biggest Wall Street banks. That means that bailing them out doesn't necessarily redound to the benefit of the U.S. or American workers.
"More significantly, it raises fundamental questions about the purpose of bailing out these big companies. If GM is going to do more of its production overseas, then why exactly are we saving GM?"
The administration has aroused similar complaints by shepherding a merger between Chrysler and Italian automaker Fiat. But it has extracted a promise from Fiat that it will build small cars in the United States.
The complaints about GM's operations portend a potentially larger argument, a political dispute led in part by the United Auto Workers.
"The bottom line is GM would rather pay $2 an hour -- and it's a slippery slope downward," said Alan Reuther, the UAW's legislative director. "If GM is going to be getting government assistance, they ought to be maintaining their manufacturing footprint in the U.S. rather than going off to China, Mexico and South Korea."
Labor costs in those countries are far lower. While paying a U.S. autoworker with benefits costs about $54 an hour, a South Korean worker earns about $22 an hour, a Mexican worker earns less than $10 an hour and some Chinese workers can earn as little as $3 an hour, industry sources said.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, GM chief executive Fritz Henderson met with legislators and sought to ease their concerns over the overseas operations.
He emphasized that the company, which is shuttering factories at home, is also canceling projects in Mexico, Russia and India.
He also assured legislators that none of the figures are final, and that negotiations with the union are ongoing.
"We continue to work closely with GM, UAW, and all the stakeholders to further refine and develop GM's plan," a Treasury spokesman said.
The U.S. government has loaned GM $15.4 billion. But billions more are expected to be invested, and under the current plan, it will be the majority owner of the company.
The company forecasts that between 2010 and 2014, as the recession recedes, its U.S. sales will rise from 2.4 million to 3.1 million.
Most of that growth -- about two-thirds of it -- will occur in the United States. But about one-third of that growth will come from other countries, mostly Mexico and South Korea.
Those proportions roughly reflect how GM builds the cars it sells in the United States today -- about two-thirds come from the United States and one-third from other countries.
According to the figures shared with lawmakers, the percentage of GM's U.S. sales of cars built in the United States dips from 67 percent in 2009 to 61 percent in 2012. Yet the company projects that by 2014 the percentage will rebound to 66 percent.
Under the viability plan, "the U.S. percentage stays roughly the same," Henderson said in an interview last week.
But the union and some legislators object that the company's U.S.-funded revival should not help pay for expanding foreign operations. Moreover, they believe that planned cuts in Canadian production -- down 23 percent -- will have direct effects on U.S. jobs because the U.S. and Canadian auto industries are so intertwined.
"If you are shutting down plants in this country, U.S. tax dollars should not go for building plants in other countries," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who was among those who met with Henderson.
But company officials and industry analysts have long argued that, even putting aside the issue of labor costs, it makes logistical sense to build some cars in other countries, even if they are destined for sale in the United States.
Take, for example, the Chevrolet Spark, a tiny car that GM sells in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia. In the next few years, the company plans to send some of those cars -- which are built in Changwon -- to the United States for sale.
But since only about 5 percent of the car's market will be in the United States, the manufacturing will remain in South Korea.
Analysts who study the auto companies and their global operation warn against allowing political passions to obstruct GM's efficiency.
"If we start making political decisions with the auto industry, we're going to be in tremendous trouble," said Michael Robinet, vice president of global vehicle forecasts at CSM Worldwide."
"The Worst Case Scenario (Someone Has to Say It)
by: Big Jake May 03, 2009
Source Seeking Alpha
"Since the economy began sliding downhill in late 2007, mainstream economic and market experts have consistently erred on the sunny side.
As late as June 2008, mainstream consensus held that the U.S. was heading for a "soft landing" and would avoid recession. Several months later, the slump was acknowledged to have started in January 2008, but we were supposed to see renewed growth by mid-2009, with unemployment peaking in the eight-to-nine percent range. A quick "shovel-ready" stimulus bag was supposed to set us back on the road to prosperity.
In January, recovery projections were pushed forward to late 2009. Today, the consensus is for a mid-2010 recovery, with unemployment peaking at just over 10 percent. Clearly, the mainstream has struggled to catch up to reality for well over one year. What are the chances that they finally have it right this time?
Moreover, the mainstream continues to see what is going on as a plain-vanilla recession that will be quelled with some on-the-fly monetary and fiscal tinkering. Washington, we are told, will pull us out of this slump-as soon as the masses can be enticed back to the shopping malls. Then things will return to how they were before. But what if the experts and politicians are wrong not only on their ever-changing recovery timeline, but also on the nature-nay, the very existence-of a recovery?
America's reigning political-economic ideology has demonstrably failed. Given that its government is obviously fumbling along without a clue, its foreign and domestic credit is tapped out, and its 300 million people are discovering that their hopes for continuous material improvement will never be met, could the U.S. be headed the way of the USSR?
Instead of a recovery as the mainstream envisions it, what if America permanently bankrupts, impoverishes, and marginalizes itself? What if its cherished institutions fail across the board? For example, what happens when the police realize that their under-funded pension plans cannot support a decent retirement? Will they stay honest, or will they opt to survive by any means necessary? These are questions that the mainstream does not even begin to contemplate.
In the interests of providing you with an alternate vision-something outside the mainstream-below are ten predictions for America through the year 2012. This is not boilerplate doom-saying. Rather, I am laying out in highly specific terms what will happen over the next three-odd years. Others have thrown around the term "Depression", but I am going to tell you precisely what it means for you, your investments, and your community.
When these predictions come true, I expect to be rewarded with a seven-figure consulting gig, a book contract, or a high-level position in whatever administration succeeds the doomed Obama team-that is, if anyone succeeds it at all.
Prediction one. The twenty-five-year equities bubble pops in 2009. U.S. and foreign equities markets will stop treading water and realign with economic reality. Stock prices will cease to reflect the "greater fool" mentality and will return to being a function of dividend yields, which have long been miserable. The S&P 500 will sink below 500. In a bid to stem the panic, the government will enforce periodic "stock market holidays", and will vastly expand the scope of its short-selling prohibitions-eventually banning short-selling altogether.
Prediction two. With public pension systems and tens of millions of 401k holders virtually wiped out-and with the Baby Boomers retiring en masse-there will be tremendous pressure on the government to get into the stock market in order to bid up prices.
Therefore, sometime in 2010, the Federal Reserve will create and loan out hundreds of billions of fresh dollars to the usual well-connected suspects, instructing them to buy up stocks on the public's behalf. This scheme will have a fancy but meaningless name-something like the "Taxpayer Assurance Equities Facility". It will have no effect other than to serve as buyer of last resort for capitulating smart-money types who want to get out of stocks entirely.
Prediction three. Millions of new retirees-including white-collar people with high expectations for a Golden Retirement-will be left virtually penniless. Thousands will starve or freeze to death in their own homes. Hundreds of thousands will find themselves evicted and homeless, or will have to move in with their less-than-enthusiastic children. Already strained by the rising tide of the working-age unemployed, state and local welfare services will be overwhelmed, and by 2012 will have largely collapsed and ceased to function in many parts of the country.
Prediction four. "Quantitative easing" will fail to restart previous patterns of lending and consumption. As the government sends out additional "rebate" checks and takes ever-more drastic measures to force banks to lend, hyperinflation could take hold. However, comprehensive debt relief via a devaluation of the dollar is even more likely. This would entail the government issuing one "new" dollar for some greater number of "old" dollars-thus reducing both debts and savings simultaneously. This would make for a clean slate a la Fight Club.
As there are many more debtors than savers in the U.S., the vast majority would support devaluation. The Chinese and other foreign holders of our bonds would be screaming mad, but unable to do anything. Every country that has not found a way out of dollar-denominated reserve assets by 2012 will see its reserves eliminated.
Prediction five. The government will stop pretending that it can finance continuous multi-trillion-dollar deficits on the private market. By late 2010, the sole buyers of new U.S. Treasury and agency bonds will be the Federal Reserve and a few derelict financial institutions under government control. This may or may not lead to hyperinflation. (See prediction four).
Prediction six. As the need for financial industry paper-pushers declines and people have less money to spend on lawyers and Starbucks (SBUX), unemployment will rise until the private sector has eliminated all of its excess capacity and superfluous or socially needless jobs. The government's narrow unemployment figure (U3) will rise into the high teens by late 2010. The government's broader unemployment figure (U6) will cease to be reported when it reaches 25 percent-it will simply be too embarrassing. Ultimately, one in three work-eligible Americans will be unemployed, underemployed, or never-employed (e.g. college grads permanently unable to find suitable work).
Prediction seven. With their pension dreams squashed, and their salaries frozen or cut, police and other local government workers will turn to wholesale corruption in order to survive. America's ideal of honest, courteous, and impartial cops, teachers, and small-time local functionaries will have come to an end.
Prediction eight. Commercial overcapacity will strike with a vengeance. By 2012, thousands of enclosed malls, strip malls, unfinished residential developments, motels, truck stops, distribution centers, middle-of-nowhere resorts and casinos, and small-city airports across America will turn into dilapidated, unwanted, and dangerous ghost towns. With no economic incentive for their maintenance or repair, they will crumble into overgrown, plywood-and-sheet-rock ruins.
Prediction nine. By the end of 2010, tens of millions of households will have fallen behind on their mortgages or stopped paying altogether. Many banks will be unable to process the massive volume of foreclosure paperwork, much less actually seize and resell the homes.
Devaluation (as mentioned in prediction four) could ease the situation for those mortgage holders still afloat, but it would also eliminate any incentive for most banks to stay in the mortgage business. In any case, the housing market in many parts of the country will lock up completely-nothing bought or sold.
With virtually no loans being made, even the government will finally acknowledge that most banks are fundamentally insolvent. A general bank run will only be averted through a roughly one trillion-dollar recapitalization of the FDIC, courtesy of new money from the Federal Reserve.
Prediction ten. As an economy is never independent of the society within which it functions, the next few paragraphs will focus on social and political factors. These factors will have as much of an impact on market and consumer confidence as any developments in the financial sector.
Whether rightly or not, President Obama, having come to power at the dawn of this crisis, will be blamed for it by over 50 percent of the population. He will be a one-term president. In response to his perceived socialization of America, there will be a swarm of secessionist and extremist activity, much of it violent. Militias and armed sects will be more prominent than in the early 1990s. Stand-off dramas, violent score-settlings, and going-out-with-a-bang attacks by laid-off workers and bankrupted investors-already a national plague-will become an everyday occurrence.
For both economic and social reasons, millions of immigrants and guest workers will return to their home countries, taking their assets and skills with them. The flow of skilled immigrants will slow to a trickle. Birth rates will plummet as families struggle with uncertainty and reduced (or no) income.
Property crime will explode as citizens bitter over their own shattered dreams attempt to comfort themselves by taking what is not theirs. Mutinies and desertions will proliferate in an increasingly demoralized, over-stretched military, especially when states can no longer provide the educational and other benefits promised to their National Guard troops.
There will be widespread tax collection issues, and a huge backlash against Federal and state bureaucrats who demand three-percent annual pay raises while private sector wages remain frozen or worse. In short, the "Tea Parties" of tomorrow will likely not be so restrained.
Finally, between now and 2012, we are likely to see another earth-shaking national embarrassment on the scale of the 9/11 attacks or Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. This will demonstrate conclusively to all Americans that their government, even under a savior-figure like Obama, cannot, in fact, save them.
By 2012, there will be a general feeling that the nation is in immediate danger of blowing up or coming apart at the seams. This fear will be justified, given that the U.S. has always been held together by the promise of a continuously rising material standard of living-the famous "pursuit of happiness"-rather than any ethnic or religious ties. If that goes, so could everything else. We were lucky in the 1930s-we may not be so lucky again."
Disclosure: no positions relevant to this column. "
Via SteveQuayle.com, a bit of objectivity from across the pond.
"666: Goldman's latest bonus bears the mark of the beast
Something strange is stirring. Even the young are joining the chorus of concern that this tarnished giant is part of a financial oligarchy that holds the US in its grip, writes Stephen Foley in New York
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Source The Independent.co.uk
"Something strange is afoot when Popbitch - provider of a weekly email beloved of students, stuffed full of celebrity tittle-tattle and links to the silliest miscellany of the web - breaks off from such glorious trivia to encourage readers to support GoldmanSachs666.com ( http://www.goldmansachs666.com/ ), a deadly serious website measuring the political tentacles of the mighty investment bank.
Something strange, too, when Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, becomes a hero of the internet and the satirical comedy-show circuit on cable TV, promoting his theory that the US is in the grip of a financial oligarchy.
The credit-market catastrophe that has plunged the world into recession is everywhere stirring new ways of thinking about how banking relates to the wider world, but nowhere more so than among a generation coming into political consciousness in these searing times. Something is brewing, some argue, that could make the "regulatory-financial complex" something to rail against in the same way that the military-industrial complex was in the Cold War.
And for all the impression it is giving that it has survived the credit crisis with its pre-eminent position on Wall Street intact, this should worry Goldman Sachs. More so than any other firm, it exists at the intersection of politics and high finance, and therefore has most to lose if this nascent movement turns it into the next ExxonMobil or Wal-Mart - firms whose every move could attract protest, and whose reputation could take years to repair.
"It was listening to the news coming out of AIG that got me fired up," says Mike Morgan, founder of GoldmanSachs666.com. "While politicians were screaming about $165m paid out to AIG executives in bonuses, $180bn was walking out the door."
Goldman, incidentally, has abandoned its attempts to shut the site down.
Mr Morgan is referring to the government bailout of AIG, whose collapse would have sent shockwaves through the markets. The Federal Reserve and the then-treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, decided to funnel public funds to AIG, and its counterparties were paid in full. You don't have to scratch far into the internet to find conspiracy theories: Mr Paulson was chief executive of Goldman before going into government; he appointed Edward Liddy, formerly of Goldman, to run AIG; Goldman was AIG's biggest counterparty, receiving $12.9bn from AIG after the bailout. (It says it was hedged and would not have lost even if AIG did go under.)
Mr Morgan is not the sort of young hot head you find protesting against the G8. He is a 53-year-old registered financial adviser from Florida, but he has attracted a handful of volunteers to beef up the website and to amass information on the Goldman alumni network and its power. "Goldman dipped into taxpayer funds via AIG," he says. "Who gets paid off 100 cents on the dollar these days? Only Goldman it seems. It is all about looking at the connections. Where do all the Goldman Sachs executives go? I see them as running the world. They are like the Standard Oil of the last century, too big and too powerful, with people flocking from Goldman to government and from government to Goldman."
It is a point that is being made forcibly by a growing number of people, from the lowliest bloggers to the most respected economists. Mr Johnson's claims of oligarchy are echoed by Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, for example, and the notion is going mainstream. The New York Times devoted acres to a forensic investigation of Tim Geithner's diary from when the Treasury Secretary was running the New York Federal Reserve and appeared to have what it claimed were "unusually close ties with Wall Street executives", including those at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, thanks to his mentor, Robert Rubin, a former treasury secretary who has been a senior figure at both banks.
Goldman has swung into action to try to arrest a public-relations nightmare in the making, and its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, knows precisely what is at stake. He has been most outspoken among Wall Street bosses in speeches and newspaper op-ed columns about Wall Street's need to change. At a speech to the Council of Institutional Investors last month, he said the disasters of the past year have been "humbling", and that pay practices on the Street look "self-serving and greedy in hindsight". He has argued that bonus practices should be changed, to reflect longer-term performance rather than one-year profits, which we all now know can be wiped away in future years. But reducing the psychological primacy of the bonus culture on Wall Street does not appear to be on his corporate agenda, and Goldman's first-quarter results revealed it was setting aside $4.7bn (£3.2bn) to pay salaries and bonuses for the quarter - 18 per cent more than in the same period a year ago, despite a 7 per cent fall in the number of staff.
"It is not about what you say, it is about what you do," says Anthony Johndrow, the managing director of the Reputation Institute, a New York consultancy. "Financial services firms cannot simply run a warm and fuzzy PR or ad campaign. The challenge is to find a way to make a statement and to address the trust that has been violated, to promise action that proves the company 'gets it'. The authentic enterprise takes responsibility for its actions and their impact."
Authenticity has become one of marketing's hottest concepts. Advertising executives insist that any message that does not reflect what a company really stands for is doomed to backfire. In the PR world, the "authentic enterprise" is one that understands how changing its image requires changing the fundamental way it does business. For Goldman, its reputation on Wall Street is that it is the smartest, best-connected and most lucrative place to be. Beyond Wall Street, is that enough to satisfy?
Mr Johndrow's Reputation Institute has just conducted research that suggests it is not - far from it. In its annual survey of the public reputation of 153 of the biggest companies in the US, released a few days ago, Goldman has plunged into the bottom six, in with oil companies and Dick Cheney's old oil-services firm, Halliburton. The survey gives a score based on public ratings of the trust and good feelings they have for each firm, and Goldman's rating fell 17 per cent. Only AIG's fell more.
Goldman Sachs's spokesman, Lucas van Praag, says: "We think our reputation is critically important, particularly in our hiring activities. The Reputation Institute survey is mainly focused on retail brands and we are not a retail firm. Although we were disappointed, we were not particularly surprised."
Mr Johndrow explains: "The world of Wall Street is a small world, and up to now it seems executives have considered that the reputations of the banks only really matter to a few people within that world. The reputation of Goldman Sachs versus, say, Credit Suisse, is the most important thing, and its regard for the general public as a stakeholder has been minimal. But now the public has a stake as taxpayers, yet the banks have not yet done anything to acknowledge what that means."
Reputation is an "intangible asset" whose diminution could have profound business consequences, he adds. Public fury can quickly be channelled through politicians into harsh new regulations and restrictions.
And it could, ultimately, hit Goldman's ability to attract the brightest graduates. As Mr Johndrow explains: "When you go back to your home town or your school, it stops being about how many expensive cigars and yachts and mansions you have. Justifying your job involves talking about its wider impact on society."
"CURL: Stimulus oversight left up to taxpayers
By Joseph Curl POLITICAL THEATER | Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Source The Washington Times
"So just who's tracking that $787 billion in taxpayer money that President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress are doling out? You are. Or you're supposed to be, anyway.
"We are, in essence, deputizing the entire American citizenry to help with the oversight of this program," said Rep. Brad Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology's subcommittee on investigations and oversight.
So, too, said Earl Devaney, the ex-cop who's now chairman of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board, charged with tracking the torrent of cash now pouring out of federal coffers.
"I'm going to have millions of citizens to help me," he said, comparing run-of-the-mill Americans to inspectors general, the high-ranking officials charged with ferreting out waste and abuse in federal agencies.
"I'm going to have a million little IGs running around," the chairman said Tuesday after his testimony before the subcommittee.
And perhaps that's just as well, given the turnout of the panel tasked with keeping track of thousands of millions of dollars. Just three of the 10 members bothered to show up for the subcommittee's second meeting, dramatically titled "Follow the Money Part II."
"These hearings are titled 'follow the money' after the character in the movie - and the book - 'All the President's Men,' " Mr. Miller said. "The Deep Throat character, he told [reporters Carl] Bernstein and [Bob] Woodward to trace the money back to find out where the corruption began.
"We hope this will not end up as anything as sordid as that was," he joked.
Still, the North Carolina Democrat said he realized that tracking so much money will be difficult, acknowledging that "we're trying to spend $500 billion quickly."
Mr. Devaney, though, said his board - made up of 10 IGs - has a dual mission: "First, the board is responsible for establishing and maintaining a Web site." Oh, and second, it's supposed to "help minimize fraud, waste or mismanagement."
While Mr. Miller and the panel's top Republican were there, only Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Pennsylvania Democrat, also came along to the hearing. Absent were Democratic Reps. Steven R. Rothman of New Jersey, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Charlie Wilson of Ohio, Alan Grayson of Florida and Bart Gordon of Tennessee. Republican Reps. Brian P. Bilbray of California and Ralph M. Hall of Texas also skipped the session.
Still, to a sparse crowd, Mr. Miller got right to the point. "President Obama promised a level of transparency, through the Internet, Recovery.gov. ... How do you intend to provide that level of transparency, to see how - who actually got the contract to pour asphalt?"
"As I mentioned in my testimony," Mr. Devaney said, "that Web site is evolving. ... I would probably be the first to admit today the Web site doesn't give you that kind of information."
Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, the subcommittee's ranking Republican, noted that he voted against the $787 billion stimulus plan.
"Simply put, the American people need to know what they got for their money," he said. "Under the Obama budget, the national debt will double in five years and triple in 10."
Mr. Broun was most interested in Mr. Obama's claim that the recovery plan would create "or save" 4 million jobs, but noted that the number of jobs "saved" is likely unknowable and that since the president took office, 1.3 million jobs have been lost.
"How do you plan to verify the actual number of jobs created?" he asked.
"Sir, we haven't really received any information about that on the Web site," Mr. Devaney said.
The repeated lack of information, though, sets up a fantastic sequel: "Follow the Money III."
Just found via Steve Quayle, Q-factor. Shaking my head on this one, when are they going to mandatorily chip and bar code us????
"Obama and ACORN GPS Marking EVERY Front Door in America?
JB Williams Wednesday, April 29,2009
"Republican Senator Judd Gregg was Obama’s first choice for the Secretary of Commerce post, and Gregg was actually considering joining the Obama team, until he found out that control of the US Census was being stripped from the Commerce Department and placed under the direct control of White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.
Then, the same week that Americans learned that they were “domestic terrorists”—at least according to Obama’s new DHS (Department of Homeland Security),—if they own a bible, a pocket Constitution or guns, and still believe in Life, Liberty and Freedom, - they also learned that Obama’s Census Bureau had hired thousands of new temporary employees, equipped each with a handheld GPS computer and sent them out to mark GPS coordinates for every residential front door in America.
Oddly, it was this same period that news was breaking of an international flu pandemic, suspected of being a weaponized strain of the virus never before seen, - and that Obama’s team still sees no need to close the US-Mexican border, despite the cross continental spread of a deadly illness now claiming American lives.
Now, if any one of these events happened alone, one might not get too excited. But when a string of such events happen all at once, one begins to question the string of freedom and life threatening coincidences…
I can’t resist the urge to question the authority and purpose behind such a BIG BROTHER initiative, when the official Census itself is not due to be taken until 2010…
No imagination is required to think up a whole laundry list of evil that could be done with a nationwide GPS grid of coordinate’s markers painted on every private home across the country. But I was having trouble thinking up one good reason for it, even one legitimate use that would justify what must be a very expensive undertaking.
According to one of the Census workers, who spoke with me on condition of anonymity, they must GPS mark the coordinates “within 40 ft of every front door” in America and they are supposed to complete that mission nation wide, within 90 days, by the end of July 2009.
The workers were not told why they were GPS marking every front door. But a supervisor is sent out to follow them door-to-door, to make certain that no door is left unmarked. Every door will be marked by one employee, and then checked by a follow-up supervisor.
Why does the Obama administration need or want the latitude and longitude coordinates for every home in America? Why the rush to GPS paint every home in the next 90 days? Why must the marker be within 40 ft of every front door? For what possible purpose does the Fed need GPS coordinates for every home, and under what authority do they have the right? Census workers, whom I asked, had the same holy-crap look on their faces that I had by then…
ACORN signed on as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2009 to assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go door-to-door to count every person in the United States — currently believed to be more than 306 million people. But the count doesn’t take place until 2010… This is April 2009.
Obama’s interest in an ACORN controlled 2010 Census, for the purpose of redistricting to the advantage of Democrats before the 2010 mid-term elections, comes as NO shock from a regime known for their heavy handed Rules for Radicals political strategies. But what does this have to do with GPS marking every home in the country?
The 2% of Americans, who have served military duty at some point in life, are very familiar with the most common use of GPS target painting. The other 98% of Americans might want to pick up a book on the subject, such as The Precision Revolution: GPS and the Future of Aerial Warfare ...
RightSoup.com has just about the only online report available on the matter, and they report, “Why does the government (and ACORN) need to have the GPS coordinates of your FRONT DOOR? Your house is probably on Google Maps already. But the front door? Sounds like a jackboot convenience to me. This is a developing story, and several reports of those who have already been visited by the GPS squad can be found in this forum thread.”
If you challenge Census Bureau employees about the GPS marking of your private residence, you will be handed a preprinted explanation referring you to Sec. 223, Title 13, U.S. Code, Chapter 7, Subtitle 2, which explains the penalties for refusing to provide names and statistics of occupants when asked for by a census taker. This only applies when they are taking a census, (which will not be taken until next year), and the penalty for refusing to answer questions for a census is up to a $500 fine.
However, since the actual Census is not due to be taken until 2010, nobody is asking for any information today. They are only GPS marking your front door today, and Sec. 223, Title 13, U.S. Code, Chapter 7, Subtitle 2 provides the Fed NO authority to GPS paint your front door.
Best I can tell, the Fed has NO authority whatsoever, to paint the front door of every private residence in America. Still, that is exactly what they are doing. Now, the trillion dollar question is, why?
From Wikipedia - The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property (such as states and their counties and municipal divisions) within the United States.
In short, the statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard operating under federal authority, from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States.
As members of the military are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, a federal order to do the exact opposite, and take aim at American citizens, would be a clear violation of the US Constitution and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, unless…
US Military personnel are trained to follow orders. But they are also obligated to refuse any order deemed “unlawful.” In order to make such an order appear “lawful,” the federal government would first have to declare a national “state of emergency,” such as in the case of an international pandemic, which can be demonstrated to threaten the health and well-being of American citizens.
Following a state of emergency declaration, a federal order for Martial Law would be expected, to allegedly provide law enforcement and security for citizens. This type of scenario can be followed by a presidential order to quarantine, disarm and contain American citizens in the name of national security, all of it, having the appearance of being “lawful.”
Is this what is happening?
Alone, individual events look concerning, but not conspiratorial. What about when you place the pieces of the puzzle together and take a look at the entire picture developing?
Under this “theory,” how does the GPS marking of every private residence in the nation fit into the picture?
I wish I knew… but I don’t!
What I do know is this… Coincidences of this number and magnitude don’t happen. They certainly do not happen all at the same time, within hours or days of each other, out of the wild blue tin-foil hat heaven…
I also know that people had better start asking the right people the right questions and demanding answers fast. Begin with asking the mainstream press why there has been no public notification of the federal governments GPS marking your front door?
Then, I suggest contacting your local Census Bureau office immediately, and demanding an explanation as well as advice as to what law gives them the right to GPS paint every front door in America?
I’d also recommend sending a copy of this column to your state and federal representative, demanding that they put a stop to it or explain why it’s necessary, and what law gives them the right?
Unfortunately, we live in a moment of history when real events are much stranger than nutty conspiracy theories. The people have every right to know what is happening. But unless you demand to know, nobody’s talking!
Bill Clinton sold US nuclear technology to Red China for a mere $300,000 in campaign contributions. The event landed Chinese bagman Johnny Chung in prison, but put Hillary Clinton in the US Senate, and now at the helm of the US State Department.
Highly secured government servers are hacked daily. Soon, hackers will be able to grab a nation wide GPS grid map, marking the front door of every home in America.
How much is a GPS grid of every American household worth to the enemies of America, both foreign and domestic? I’d estimate, PRICELESS!
There is a foul odor resonating from the current regime in Washington DC and most Americans can smell it. Can most Americans gather the strength to do something about it? "
One of the most interesting articles I've come across.
"Study: Cat Parasite Affects Human Culture
By Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 03 August 2006 03:47 pm ET
Source Live Science
"A parasitic microbe commonly found in cats might have helped shape entire human cultures by manipulating the personalities of infected individuals, according to a new study.
Infection by a Toxoplasma gondii could make some individuals more prone to some forms of neuroticism and could lead to differences among cultures if enough people are infected, says Kevin Lafferty, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In a survey of different countries, Lafferty found that people living in those with higher rates of T. gondii infection scored higher on average for neuroticism, defined as an emotional or mental disorder characterized by high levels of anxiety, insecurity or depression.
His finding is detailed in the Aug. 2 issue of the journal for Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology.
T. gondii infects both wild and domestic cats, but it is carried by many warm-blooded mammals. One recent study showed that the parasite makes normally cautious rats outgoing and more prone to engage in reckless behavior, such as hanging around areas frequently marked by cat urine, making the rats easy targets.
Scientists estimate that the parasite has infected about 3 billion people, or about half of the human population. Studies by researchers in the Czech Republic have suggested T. gondii might have subtle but long-term effects on its human hosts. The parasite is thought to have different, and often opposite effects in men versus women, but both genders appear to develop a form of neuroticism called "guilt proneness."
Other studies have also found links between the parasite and schizophrenia. T. gondii infection is known to damage astrocytes, support cells in the brain that are also affected during schizophrenia. Pregnant women with high levels of antibodies to the parasite are also more likely to give birth to children who will develop the disorder.
In light of such studies, Lafferty wondered whether high rates of T. gondii infection in a culture could shift the average personality of its individuals.
"In populations where this parasite is very common, mass personality modification could result in cultural change," Lafferty said.
The distribution of T. gondii could explain differences in cultural aspects that relate to ego, money, material possessions, work and rules, Lafferty added. In some countries, infections by the cat parasite are very rare, while in others nearly all adults are infected.
Adding to cultural diversity
To test his hypothesis, Lafferty looked at published data on cultural dimensions and average personalities for different countries. The countries examined also kept records of the prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in women of childbearing age. Countries with high prevalence of T. gondii infection also had higher average neuroticism scores.
"There could be a lot more to this story," Lafferty said. "Different responses to the parasite by men and women could lead to many additional cultural effects that are, as yet, difficult to analyze."
Lafferty thinks that climate could be an important factor in determining which human populations are infected by T. gondii. The parasite's eggs can survive longer in humid, low-altitude regions, especially at mid latitudes that have infrequent freezing and thawing.
Other factors could also influence infection rates, including how a culture's attitudes about having cats as pets and the hygiene practices of its people.
Despite its association with neuroticism, Lafferty doesn't think all of the cat parasite's effects on human culture are bad.
"After all, they add to our cultural diversity," he said. "
Two brainless, without conscience heads on the same body hand fed by lobbiest. Likely if they did an indepth real investigation half of congress would go to jail ........ but why worry people keep voting for them because they deliver the pork back home. We got what we elected.
"Why Congress Won't Investigate Wall Street
Republicans and Democrats would find themselves in the hot seat.
OPINION: THE TILTING YARD APRIL 29, 2009
Source WSJ.com Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A11
"The famous Pecora Commission of 1933 and 1934 was one of the most successful congressional investigations of all time, an instance when oversight worked exactly as it should. The subject was the massively corrupt investment practices of the 1920s. In the course of its investigation, the Senate Banking Committee, which brought on as its counsel a former New York assistant district attorney named Ferdinand Pecora, heard testimony from the lords of finance that cemented public suspicion of Wall Street. Along the way, the investigations formed the rationale for the Glass-Steagall Act, the Securities Exchange Act, and other financial regulations of the Roosevelt era.
A new round of regulation is clearly in order these days, and a Pecora-style investigation seems like a good way to jolt the Obama administration into action. After all, the financial revelations of today bear a striking resemblance to those of 1933. In his own account of his investigation, Pecora described bond issues that were almost certainly worthless, but which 1920s bankers sold to uncomprehending investors anyway. He told of the bonuses which the bankers thereby won for themselves. He also told of the lucrative gifts banks gave to lawmakers from both political parties. And then he told of the banking industry's indignation at being made to account for itself. It regarded the outraged public, in Pecora's shorthand, as a "howling mob."
The idea of a new Pecora investigation is catching on, particularly, but not exclusively, on the left.
It's probably not going to happen, though, in the comprehensive way that it should. The reason is that understanding our problems, this time around, would require our political leaders to examine themselves.
The crisis today is not solely one of bank misbehavior. This is also about the failure of the regulators -- the Wall Street policemen who dozed peacefully as the crime of the century went off beneath the window.
We have all heard the official explanation for this failure, that "the structure of our regulatory system is unnecessarily complex and fragmented," in the soothing words of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. But no proper Pecora would be satisfied with such piffle. The system was not only complex, it was compromised and corrupted and thoroughly rotten even in the spots where its mandate was simple.
After all, we have for decades been on a national crusade to slash red tape and stifle regulators. Over the years, federal agencies have been defunded, their workers have grown dispirited, their managers, drawn in many cases from antiregulatory organizations, have seemed to care far more about industry than the public.
Consider in this connection the 2003 photograph, rapidly becoming an icon of the Bush years, in which James Gilleran, then the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision (it regulates savings and loan associations) can be seen in the company of several jolly bank industry lobbyists, holding a chainsaw to a pile of rule books. The picture not only tells us more about our current fix than would a thousand pages about overlapping jurisdictions; it also reminds us why we may never solve the problem of regulatory failure. To do so, we would have to examine the apparent subversion of the regulatory system by the last administration. And that topic is supposedly off limits, since going there would open the door to endless partisan feuding.
But it's not only Republicans who would feel the sting of embarrassment. Launching Pecora II would automatically raise this question: Whatever happened to the reforms put in place after the first go-round?
Now a different picture comes to mind. It's Bill Clinton in November of 1999, surrounded by legislators of both parties, giving a shout-out to his brilliant Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and signing the measure that overturned Glass-Steagall's separation of investment from commercial banking. Mr. Clinton is confident about what he is doing. He knows the lessons of history, he talks glibly about "the new information-age global economy" that was the idol of deep thinkers everywhere in those days. "[T]he Glass-Steagall law is no longer appropriate to the economy in which we live," he says. "It worked pretty well for the industrial economy, which was highly organized, much more centralized, and much more nationalized than the one in which we operate today. But the world is very different."
It turns out the world hadn't changed much after all. But the Democratic Party sure had. And while today's chastened Democrats might be ready to reregulate the banks, they are no more willing to scrutinize the bad ideas of the Clinton years than Republicans are the bad ideas of the Bush years.
"We may now need to be reminded what Wall Street was like before Uncle Sam stationed a policeman at its corner," Pecora wrote in 1939, "lest, in time to come, some attempt be made to abolish that post."
Well, the time did come. The attempt was made. And we could use that reminder today."
Now I get it, ability, integrity, honesty aren't what matters in public office it's popularity inflating ego to epic proportions.
"Berlusconi says he world's most popular leader
"NAPLES (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has compared himself to Jesus Christ and Napoleon, boasted on Friday that he was the world's most popular leader.
The conservative premier, in his third term in office, said opinion poll findings in his possession showed his popularity at just over 75 percent, making him far more popular than U.S. President Barack Obama -- or any other head of government. .........."
Quoted directly from:
Power Line Blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff
"Banana Republic Capitalism
April 30, 2009 Posted by John at 10:28 PM
"The Chrysler reorganization is shaping up as another milestone in the decline of the rule of law under Barack Obama. We've said for quite a while that bankruptcy is the only viable option for Chrysler and General Motors, not--as Obama claims--because they don't know how to make the right kinds of vehicles, but because their unsustainable union contracts make it impossible for them to be profitable. That reality has now been turned on its head, as the administration has tried to bully Chrysler's secured creditors into going away, while the United Auto Workers Union, solely on the basis of political clout, would be paid at an implied rate of 50 percent and would emerge owning 55 percent of the company, with the government also holding a stake.
This is banana republic capitalism at its worst. Political influence, rather than the law, dictates the rights of the parties. When some of the secured creditors refused to be intimidated, Obama libeled them in the press, saying, outrageously, "I don't stand with those who held out when everyone else is making sacrifices." Actually, under Obama's plan the politically favored parties, principally the UAW, will benefit--will steal money, to put it crudely--from the parties who held out. Those parties call themselves the "non-TARP lenders."
This highlights the government's conflict of interest in this transaction, as in so many others now underway. Some of Chrysler's secured creditors are banks who received TARP money. As the New York Times put it, those lenders are "beholden to Washington" and "defying the administration was never a serious option."
It remains to be seen what will happen in bankruptcy court. Already one key player, Perella Weinberg Partners, "under intense pressure from the White House," has caved in and agreed to accept Obama's terms. Whatever the ultimate result, this episode will have consequences. The Wall Street Journal notes:
If the current plan is pushed through, then good luck to any unionized firm trying to raise secured debt on decent terms in the future.
For Chrysler, the administration's plan spells disaster. It is inconceivable that the UAW, the principal source of Chrysler's problems, will manage the company back to profitability. More likely, Chrysler will become a vehicle through which the federal government provides uneconomic subsidies to unionized auto workers and retirees.
Barack Obama's conduct in this affair has been disgraceful. Our bankruptcy laws are well developed and are fairly implemented by experienced bankruptcy judges. Priority among creditors is established according to legal rules and precedents. The process is transparent and subject to appellate review. But in this case, the law did not favor the parties who have the most influence with the White House--notably, the United Auto Workers--so Obama substituted political threats and bullying for due process. Il Duce would have approved.
UPDATE: Michael Barone has similar thoughts:
The bondholders made a good point. They are secured creditors, and in our bankruptcy law secured creditors get paid off in full before unsecured creditors get anything. That's a sound legal principle: why would secured creditors lend anyone anything unless they can get their security back if the loan isn't paid off? In this case, the small bondholders were willing to settle for only 60% of what they were owed. But, they complain, the government wouldn't negotiate directly with them, but only through JPMorganChase, which (unwillingly) took TARP money on October 13 and thus is under pressure to do what the government wants.
Translation into politispeak: The government squeezed the small bondholders too hard in order to protect the United Auto Workers, which of course has over the years been a bounteous source of money (and manpower) for the Democratic party."
Updating TigerAngel's blog post, "Contaminated Vaccines Were Shipped to 18 Countries, below is more info.
"Live Avian Flu Virus Placed in Baxter Vaccine Materials Sent to 18 Countries
Source Socio-Economics History Blog via Steve Quayle, Q-factor
"Is Big Pharma trying to heal us or kill us ? Toronto Sun reports :
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.
And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.
"At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present," medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.
"But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau." The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.
The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn't die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.
Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a "serious error" on Baxter's part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.
On Friday, the company's director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected. "It was live," Christopher Bona said in an email.
The contaminated product, which Baxter calls "experimental virus material," was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine - including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly - at a facility in the Czech Republic.
People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted. Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.
While H5N1 doesn't easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people. That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created. There is no suggestion that happened because of this accident, however. "We have no evidence of any reassortment, that any reassortment may have occurred," said Andraghetti.
"And we have no evidence of any increased transmissibility of the viruses that were involved in the experiment with the ferrets in the Czech Republic."
Baxter hasn't shed much light - at least not publicly - on how the accident happened. Earlier this week Bona called the mistake the result of a combination of "just the process itself, (and) technical and human error in this procedure." He said he couldn't reveal more information because it would give away proprietary information about Baxter's production process.
Andraghetti said Friday the four investigating governments are co-operating closely with the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Control in Stockholm, Sweden.
"We are in very close contact with Austrian authorities to understand what the circumstances of the incident in their laboratory were," she said.
"And the reason for us wishing to know what has happened is to prevent similar events in the future and to share lessons that can be learned from this event with others to prevent similar events. ... This is very important."
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor writes in Vaccines as Biological Weapons? Live Avian Flu Virus Placed in Baxter Vaccine Materials Sent to 18 Countries :
Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Baxter International Inc. has just been caught shipping live avian flu viruses mixed with vaccine material to medical distributors in 18 countries. The "mistake" (if you can call it that, see below...) was discovered by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Canada. The World Health Organization was alerted and panic spread throughout the vaccine community as health experts asked the obvious question: How could this have happened?
Or, put another way, Baxter is acting a whole lot like a biological terrorism organization these days, sending deadly viral samples around the world. If you mail an envelope full of anthrax to your Senator, you get arrested as a terrorist. So why is Baxter - which mailed samples of a far more deadly viral strain to labs around the world - getting away with saying, essentially, "Oops?"But there's a bigger question in all this: How could this company have accidentally mixed LIVE avian flu viruses (both H5N1 and H3N2, the human form) in this vaccine material?
Was the viral contamination intentional?
The shocking answer is that this couldn't have been an accident. Why? Because Baxter International adheres to something called BSL3(Biosafety Level 3) - a set of laboratory safety protocols that prevent the cross-contamination of materials. As explained on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosaf...):
"Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone. All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features."
It is bad enough that governments all over the world have been warning about the likely pandemic flu. Now we find out we cannot trust Big Pharma to handle such bio-hazardous material in a safe manner.
Who knows whether it was intentional? But I sure would like to know what really happened? And I sure would like to see the people responsible fired!
Paul J. Watson adds in 'Accidental' Contamination Of Vaccine With Live Avian Flu Virus Virtually Impossible :
Czech newspapers are questioning if the shocking discovery of vaccines contaminated with the deadly avian flu virus which were distributed to 18 countries by the American company Baxter were part of a conspiracy to provoke a pandemic.
The claim holds weight because, according to the very laboratory protocols that are routine for vaccine makers, mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible.
"The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses," reports the Canadian Press.
Baxter flu vaccines contaminated with H5N1 - otherwise known as the human form of avian flu, one of the most deadly biological weapons on earth with a 60% kill rate - were received by labs in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Slovenia.
Initially, Baxter attempted to stonewall questions by invoking "trade secrets" and refused to reveal how the vaccines were contaminated with H5N1. After increased pressure they then claimed that pure H5N1 batches were sent by accident. This was seemingly an attempt to quickly change the story and hide the fact that the accidental contamination of a vaccine with a deadly biological agent like avian flu is virtually impossible and the only way it could have happened was by wilful gross criminal negligence.
According to a compiled translation from Czech newspaper stories, the media over there is asking tough questions about whether the contamination was part of a deliberate attempt to start a pandemic.
"Was this just a criminal negligence or it was an attempt to provoke pandemia using vaccination against flu to spread the disease - as happened with the anti-B hepatitis vaccination with vaccines containing the HIV virus in US? - and then cash for the vaccines against H5N1 which Baxter develops? How could on Earth a virus as H5N1 come to the ordinary flu vaccines? Don't they follow even basic precautions in the american pharma companies?" states the translation.
The fact that Baxter mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses is the smoking gun. The H5N1 virus on its own has killed hundreds of people, but it is less airborne and more restricted in the ease with which it can spread. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which as everyone knows are super-airborne and easily spread, the effect is a potent, super-airbone, super deadly biological weapon.
Spreading bird flu would create an instantaneous surge of demand for bird flu vaccines. The profits that vaccine companies such as Baxter International could reap out of such a panic are astronomical.
In addition, as we have previously reported, those that have a stake in the Tamiflu vaccine include top globalists and BIlderberg members like George Shultz, Lodewijk J.R. de Vink and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Authorities in both Europe and the U.S. have openly detailed plans for martial law, quarantine and internment should a bird flu pandemic occur.
The other motivation, as we have exhaustively documented on this website for years, is the fact that elites throughout history have openly stated that they want to see a world population reduction of around 80 per cent. Shocking stories like this take the plausibility of that narrative out of the realms of conspiracy theory and into the dangerous reality of conspiracy fact.
This is not the first time that vaccine companies have been caught distributing vaccines contaminated with deadly viruses. In 2006 it was revealed that Bayer Corporation had discovered that their injection drug, which was used by hemophiliacs, was contaminated with the HIV virus. Internal documents prove that after they positively knew that the drug was contaminated, they took it off the U.S. market only to dump it on the European, Asian and Latin American markets, knowingly exposing thousands, most of them children, to the live HIV virus. Government officials in France went to prison for allowing the drug to be distributed. The documents show that the FDA colluded with Bayer to cover-up the scandal and allowed the deadly drug to be distributed globally. No Bayer executives ever faced arrest or prosecution in the United States."
"Company warned officials of flu 18 days before alert was issued
By Les Blumenthal | McClatchy Newspapers
"WASHINGTON - A Washington state biosurveillance firm raised the first warning about a possible outbreak of swine flu in Mexico more than two weeks before the World Health Organization offered its initial alert about a public health emergency of international concern.
Both federal and international health officials had access to the warning from Veratect Corp. Later e-mails calling attention to the company's subsequent report that the disease was possibly spreading in Mexico were sent to 10 officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Robert Hart, the company's chief executive.
Hart said he wasn't sure why health officials didn't act sooner.
"They have a lot of other responsibilities," Hart said on Thursday. "But every day makes a difference."
CDC officials in Atlanta said they were aware of Veratect's claims and hadn't been working with the company.
"We have nothing to add about their claims," said CDC spokesman Llelwyn Grant, adding that the CDC and other public health agencies had plans in place to deal with a flu pandemic and responded rapidly once they became aware of the Mexican outbreak.
Veratect, based in Kirkland, Wash., uses a technique known as "data mining" to automatically search tens of thousands of Web sites daily for early signs of looming medical problems or civil unrest anywhere in the world. Anything of interest is turned over to a team of 35 analysts to determine its significance and to post on the company's Web site. The company markets access to its Web site to government agencies, businesses and others and has tried unsuccessfully to sell its service to the CDC, the World Health Organization and the Department of Homeland Security.
Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., who talked with the CDC, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies as late as January about Veratect, said the federal government had made a mistake in not purchasing the company's program, especially in light of the flu outbreak.
"I am very upset about this," Dicks said. "Not to have it is totally ridiculous. This is a perfect example of why they needed this and now we are paying a price."
Earlier this year, Hart said, Veratect gave free access to its Web site to the CDC and the WHO on a trial basis.
On April 6, 18 days before the WHO issued its alert, Veratect reported on its Web site a strange outbreak of respiratory disease in La Gloria, Mexico, noting that local residents thought the outbreak was linked to contamination from pig breeding farms nearby.
Hart said the information was available to the CDC and many state and local health authorities. The company's server showed an epidemiologist at the Pan American Health Organization, which is part of the World Health Organization, looked at the message about the La Gloria outbreak twice, on April 10 and 11, Hart said.
Ten days after the warning was first issued, on April 16, Veratect reported the disease was possibly spreading in Mexico with an "unspecified number of atypical pneumonia cases" detected at a hospital in Oaxaca. Because of the heightened concern, an automated e-mail was sent to 10 people at the CDC to notify them the report was available.
With the outbreak apparently spreading, Hart said the company's chief scientist, James Wilson, called people he knew at the CDC's Emergency Operations Center on April 20 to alert them to what was happening in Mexico. At that point, the CDC was focused on possible swine flu events in Texas and California, and a physician at the emergency operations center indicated the CDC was not aware of the spreading outbreak in Mexico, Hart said.
"We thought this deserved immediate attention and they started looking at it," Hart said.
Four days later, the World Health Organization made its announcement.
Veratect's warnings came as President Barack Obama prepared for his trip to Mexico, arriving in Mexico City on April 16. The White House said Thursday that an Energy Department staffer who was part of the advance team for Obama's visit is suspected of having contracted swine flu in Mexico and transmitting it to his family in Maryland. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the man, who wasn't identified, never got within six feet of the president.
Hart said his company's system operated as it was supposed to.
"We don't make predictions," he said. "We give the earliest wisp of smoke before the fire."
Hart said he wasn't critical of the CDC or other health organizations, adding that what was needed was an effective global health monitoring system that Veratect should be a part of.
"Hindsight is great and it's hard to say whether (the delay) altered anything," he said. "The only way to stop anything like this is to break the cycle."
Others, however, cautioned that the use of data mining to track a possible disease outbreak was untested and said a number of questions about its effectiveness remained unanswered.
"This approach is not yet vetted," said Dr. Marguerite Neill, an infectious disease specialist at Brown University and a spokeswoman for the Infectious Disease Society of America. "It is an interesting idea, but we haven't used it before."
Neill said the problem with using information picked up through data mining was determining whether it was just an indication of a routine disease outbreak or something much more serious.
"It needs to be put in a clinical or epidemiological context," she said. "I'm not sure Veratect can do that."
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