Saturday, February 26, 2011
I think some of the operative words here are "Sabotage, violent action and terrorism". Unions in general are designed to become monopoly owners of the labor market and therefore be positioned dictate to the owners of a company their terms of employment. Their actions on the compensation issues drive up the cost of labor and dramatically reduce the profit margins of the owners and investors. Sometimes, this continues until the company is driven to the point of bankruptcy and the company closes it's doors and goes out of business.
Public sector unions, like the SEIU, attempt to strong arm the government, using the same tactics as those unions in the private sector. The problem here, of course, is the company they work for never goes out of business. The profit margins are not affected. When they government gets strong armed by the public sector unions, they simply raise taxes or print more money to pay them, which in turn is passed on to the rest of us.
They think nothing of resorting to violence whenever the regular extortion methods stop working so well for them. During the town hall meetings leading up to the vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a young man named Kenneth Gladny was beaten and hospitalized by members of the SEIU. Violence is the favored tool of the labor union. There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples violence associated with union activity and apparently today, my friend Dr. William Greene became another.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
In other words, hold on to your ass, you are about to get screwed. The BenBernanke is running his presses like there is not tomorrow. Food prices are skyrocketing, oil prices are up, the commodities market in general is trouncing the US Dollar. It's going to get bad, really, really bad.
Hey, how ’bout that Ben Bernanke… He’s a freedom fighter! Look what he’s done to North Africa!
Seems like every time we pick up the paper another dictator is toppling over. Where does it lead, we wonder? What would a world be like without dictators? Without them, who will the CIA and the State Department give our money to?
On the run this morning (but not quite given up) is Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.
Wait… Is this guy a friend or an enemy? We can’t remember. Wasn’t he a bad guy a few years ago? But recently we’ve heard that he is a good guy. He’s helped with the War on Terror. And he sells oil.
Friend or foe, we don’t know…but whatever he is, he’s beginning to look past tense. As of this morning, reports say he’s lost control of Libya’s second largest city. His troops are firing on protesters in the capital, where he and his loyal guards are holed up in a few government buildings.
His son vows to fight back. He says there will be “rivers of blood” before he gives up.
That “rivers of blood” image was used by Enoch Powell in Britain fifty years ago. It came from Virgil’s Aeneid, in which a character foresees “wars, terrible wars, and the Tiber foaming with much blood.”
Powell was referring to the effects of immigration into Britain from Africa and elsewhere. He thought he saw race wars and power struggles coming as a result.
But the younger Gaddafi uses the language as a threat, not a prophecy.
Still, it didn’t do Powell much good. Maybe Gaddafi will have better luck with it. Most likely, he’ll high-tail it out of the country before the blood is his own. That will bring to three the number of regime changes in the last few weeks. Which leads us to ask: what’s up?
The answer comes from our old friend, Jim Davidson. He pins the revolutions on Ben Bernanke. Behind the popular discontent is neither the desire for liberty nor the appeal of elections. It’s food. And behind soaring food prices is Ben Bernanke.
The Arab world is a model Malthusian disaster, says Davidson. Populations have ballooned. Food production has not. Which makes Arab countries the biggest importers of cereals in the world. And when the price of food goes up, the masses rise up too.
From Jim’s latest newsletter, Strategic Investment:
Food prices hit an all-time high in January. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) “the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) rose for the seventh consecutive month, averaging 231 points in January 2011, up 3.4 percent from December 2010 and the highest in both real and nominal terms” since records began. Note that prices have now exceeded the previously record levels of 2008 that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries. “Famine-style” prices for food and energy that prevailed early in 2008 may also have helped precipitate the credit crisis that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described in closed-door testimony “as the worst in financial history, even exceeding the Great Depression.”
This time around, the turmoil surrounding commodity inflation has taken center stage with more serious riots and even revolutions across the globe. Popular discontent is not just confined to “basket case” countries like Haiti and Bangladesh as in 2008. High food prices have roiled Arab kleptocracies with young populations and US backed dictators such as Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen. Even dynamic economies have been affected. Indeed, all of the BRIC countries, except Brazil, have witnessed food rioting.
Well, how do you like that, Dear Reader? All those billions of dollars spent propping up dictators – $70 billion was the cost of supporting Hosni Mubarak in Egypt alone – and then the Fed comes along and knocks them down.
The Fed lowers the cost of money so speculators can borrow below the rate of inflation. And then it prints up trillions more – just to top up the worlds’ money supply.
Is it any wonder food prices rise? Imagine you’re a farmer…or a speculator. You can sell food. Or you can hold it in storage. You know the food is valuable. You know the world has more and more mouths to feed everyday. You know food production is limited. And you know Ben Bernanke can print up an unlimited number of dollars. What do you do?
Do you sell immediately? Or drag your feet…holding onto your valuable grain as the price hits new highs?
While Mr. Bernanke modestly declines the credit for de-stabilizing much of the world, close analysis confirms that he played an informing role. His QE2 program of counterfeiting trillions out of thin air has helped ignite a raging bull market in raw materials with food and commodities – up 28% in the past six months. The fact that the US dollar has heretofore been the world’s reserve currency means that almost all commodity prices are denominated in dollars. As a matter of simple math, when the dollar goes down, the prices of commodities tend to go up.
Today, Libya. Tomorrow…Yemen? Or Saudi Arabia.
In North Africa, Cereal Revolutions…
In North America, Zombie Wars…
Yes, the battle rages in the Dairy State. And yes, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman (Economics!) has no idea what is going on:
It’s “not about the budget. It’s about power.”
He thinks it is a battle between the rich and powerful, whom he calls the “oligarchy,” and the decent lumpenproletariat. Wisconsin’s governor is trying to bust the union, says Krugman, so that the elite can ride roughshod over poor government workers, cut their pay, and reduce their benefits (thereby downsizing the state’s budget deficit).
It’s not about money, says the New York Times columnist. He’s wrong, as usual. The Zombie Wars are always about money. There is less money available and more zombies who want it.
In the present case, rather than hire honest people to work at market rates…Krugman wants the state to be forced to deal with a privileged union. Union zombies should bargain with government zombies, he says. Together, in cooperation, not in conflict, they should figure out how to rip off the taxpayer.
Stay tuned…the Zombie Wars are just beginning.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Reckoning.
GM posts 1st full-year profit since 2004
By TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer © 2011 The Associated Press
DETROIT — In an impressive comeback from bankruptcy, General Motors last year posted its first annual profit since 2004.
GM's net income totaled $4.7 billion last year, fueled by strong sales in China and the U.S. as the global auto market began to recover. It earned $2.89 per share on revenue of $135.6 billion.
It was the company's best performance since earning $6 billion in 1999 during the height of the pickup truck and sport utility vehicle sales boom.
The performance, while beating Wall Street expectations, didn't help GM's stock price, which fell more than 4 percent Thursday afternoon to $32.75, below November's initial public offering price of $33 per share.
David Whiston, an auto analyst with Morningstar, said fears about the impact of $4 per gallon gasoline on a company traditionally known for selling SUVs and trucks and talk of GM's aging model lineup are possible reasons.
Still, GM's full-year profit is remarkable considering that from 2004 through 2009, GM was in a state of perpetual restructuring, trying to downsize its work force and shrink factory capacity to match falling demand for its vehicles. The company lost more than $80 billion during the period and almost ran out of cash in 2008, when the government began a bailout that eventually reached $49.5 billion.
With government financing, GM went into bankruptcy protection in June 2009, leaving a quick 40 days later cleansed of burdensome debt and labor costs.
It lost $4.4 billion in the second half of 2009, but began making money as auto sales started to recover last year. It posted $4.2 billion in profits during the first nine months, helped by its lower costs and new models such as the Chevrolet Equinox — a small SUV that seats five.
It touted the profits to convince investors to buy stock in the revamped company. It then returned to the stock market in its IPO in November.
"Last year was one of foundation building," Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said Thursday. In fact, GM showed it could turn profits consistently — for four straight quarters in 2010 — even though demand for cars still remained relatively low.
For the fourth quarter, GM reported net income of $510 million, or 31 cents per share, its lowest quarterly profit of the year, but still far better than the $3.5 billion it lost in the same period in 2009.
The net income included $400 million in charges for paying preferred stock dividends and buying preferred shares from the U.S. government. Without the charges, the company earned 52 cents, beating Wall Street's estimates. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 49 cents per share.
Revenue for the quarter totaled $36.9 billion, also beating analysts' estimates of $34.3 billion.
GM still faces a challenging 2011 with an aging U.S. model lineup, rising gas prices that could cut into truck sales and a European unit that must be restructured to turn a profit.
This year will be one of transition for GM, which has only a few new vehicles slated, said Citigroup Global Markets analyst Itay Michaeli. In the U.S., sales generally wane as models grow older.
The company, he said, had a market share of just over 20 percent in the last quarter of the year, and that rose to 21.8 percent in January as GM increased incentives such as rebates and low-interest loans.
Michaeli said his surveys show that February should run above analysts' expectations of 18.5 percent, a sign that GM has enough momentum to carry it through the year with its current model lineup.
"Hopefully they'll continue to run at a higher market share without having to use more incentives," he said.
GM Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said the company's U.S. incentives dropped $800 per vehicle in the fourth quarter from the same period of 2009. But GM increased them by $400 from December to January as the company saw a chance to gain sales, he said.
GM Falls Below IPO Price as Rising Oil Dims Truck Sales Outlook
By Craig Trudell and David Welch
Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. fell to the lowest since its initial public offering in November as rising oil prices dimmed the outlook for truck sales after the largest U.S. automaker’s most profitable year since 1999.
GM slid $1.89, or 5.5 percent, to $32.70 at 1:21 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The drop marked the first day GM traded at less than its $33 initial offering price in November.
Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson is speeding the development and introduction of new models, including more fuel- efficient cars that may sell better as gas prices rise. GM used larger discounts and sales incentives in January and February to lure buyers before vehicle introductions pick up in 2012.
“The worst-case scenario is that GM uses pricing to get them through this gap in new product they’re in, and then you combine that with oil spiking,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at BNY ConvergEx Group in New York, said in a telephone interview.
Crude oil for April delivery reached $103.41 today, the highest intraday price since Sept. 29, 2008, on concerns an uprising in Libya may reduce supply.
GM, which emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009, today reported fourth-quarter net income of $510 million and $4.67 billion for 2010, the largest annual profit since its predecessor earned $6 billion in 1999. The full-year comparison excludes a $127.1 billion profit in the third quarter of 2009, when GM accounted for its post-bankruptcy recapitalization.
Net income in the quarter was 31 cents a share, Detroit- based GM said today in a statement. Excluding a charge related to a purchase of preferred shares from the U.S. Treasury Department, profit was 52 cents a share. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of 44 cents.
Sales rose to $36.9 billion, topping the $34.6 billion average estimate. Revenue for 2010 climbed to $135.6 billion.
The drop in GM shares may be an overreaction to events in Libya and rising oil prices, said David Whiston, an equity analyst with Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. There was no fundamental change in GM’s performance that would scare investors away from the stock, he said.
GM increased fourth-quarter truck production 22 percent from a year earlier to about 463,000 units, while car production rose 2.1 percent to about 240,000 vehicles.
The inventory of trucks could be a concern if oil prices rise because of violence in the Middle East, said Whiston, who has a $46 target price on GM’s shares. Whiston said oil prices would have to stay elevated to change his outlook on GM.
“If this is temporary, I won’t change my valuation at all,” Whiston said.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
From JoongAng Daily:
Domin Bank, which has six branches in Gangwon, was placed on a watch list last week by the Financial Services Commission. The move triggered a bank run on Domin Bank.According to Domin Bank, deposits amounting 31.8 billion won ($28.2 million) were withdrawn since last Thursday, including 18.8 billion won on Monday.The news of Domin Bank’s temporary closure came as FSC Chairman Kim Seok-dong was visiting Mokpo, South Jeolla, where recently suspended Bohae Savings Bank is located.
“This savings bank was supposed to submit a management improvement plan to the FSC by Feb. 24,” said Kim. “We will now have to review whether [the closure] is even legally O.K.”
More classic quotes follow:
Bae Joon-soo, senior FSC deputy director, said, “I think it is legally and morally wrong for a financial firm to do such a thing.”
Now we get it: according to the banking cartel's ethical standard it is "legally and morally wrong" for a bank to admit it is insolvent. Perhaps if America had made this clear 2 years ago, we could have spared ourselves two years of fingerpointing and fictitious lawsuits. After all, say what you will about the tenets of banker national socialism, at least it's an ethos.
The financial regulator and the Federation of Savings Banks failed to persuade Domin Bank to resume its operation yesterday.The bank in notices posted on the doors of every branch said that it had taken the move “as a means to soothe the crisis involving massive withdrawals.”The notice continued, “We will resume operation after we are reborn as a sound savings bank by increasing our paid-in capital to achieve a capital adequacy ratio of 8 percent.”
We repeat our appeal for the FDIC and Treasury to send our crack fraud and book cooking team to guarantee to the Koreans that their bankrupt banks are perfectly ok before this thing gets really out of control, and migrates to China, where a billion man bank run will be a little harder to keep under wraps.
h/t Tyler Durden @ www.zerohedge.com
"I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going," Capuano said, according to the Dorchester Reporter.
"Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."
Political observers have been the lookout for potentially incendiary rhetoric in the wake of January's shooting in Tucson, Ariz., where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) survived an assassination attempt, six were killed, and 13 others were injured. Political rhetoric has become especially heated in Madison, Wis., where Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed major labor reforms that sparked more than a week's worth of rowdy protests at the state capitol.
"We take security seriously, whether it's for me, the lieutenant governor and all 132 members of the state legislature, Democrats or Republicans alike, because there's a lot of passion down here," Walker said Tuesday on MSNBC about his safety in Wisconsin.
"And particularly when we see people coming in being bussed in from other states, that's what worries us."
Capuano made his remarks before a crowd of union members in Boston, along with other members of the state's congressional delegation. Massachusetts has an influential union population that could loom large over the 2012 Senate race. Capuano is considering getting in that race to challenge Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) next fall.
“This is going to be a struggle at least for the next two years. Let’s be serious about this. They’re not going to back down and we’re not going to back down. This is a struggle for the hearts and minds of America,” Capuano told union members.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A change in our climate is taking place very surely. Both heat and cold are becoming moderate within the memory of even the middle-aged, and snows are less frequent and less deep.
UPDATE Jefferson in 1809:
Snow is nearly a thing of the past.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I think that there is so much turmoil on the political scene in the Arab world and even here at home in the states, that I am a little overwhelmed with what to write about. The world's economies are in the pooper, across the board. The precious metals markets are booming and prices of commodities are going through the roof.
We are expecting food prices to skyrocket, and it's already well underway, due to weather issues around the globe.
Today, I read a great story about an emminent solar storm that will have the effect of a "Global Katrina", which basically will be a TEOTWAWKI scenario.
So, yeah. I've been a little preoccupied and didn't feel like writing.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
For the record, most of the Tea Party quit their principles of liberty on February 14, 2011 – 20 days into the new Congress – when Tea Party leaders abruptly abandoned their opposition to the Patriot Act and voted to extend intrusive domestic surveillance, wire tapping and warrantless searches of American citizens. In so doing, they exposed the fraud of their soaring campaign promises to defend the liberty of ordinary Americans, and fight government intrusions on freedom. All those wide-eyed speeches that flowed with such thrilling devotions, all of it proved to be self-aggrandizing lies.
The Tea Party didn't even put up a fight. Briefly they rejected a sneak attack to renew three surveillance clauses of the Patriot Act on a suspension vote. That filled my heart with hope. One push from the Republican elite, however and they went down with a loud thud.
My disappointment is particularly acute. Rather notoriously, I am distinguished as the second non-Arab American to face indictment on the Patriot Act, after Jose Padilla.
My status was pretty close to an enemy non-combatant. One would presume that I must have joined some terrorist conspiracy? Or engaged in some brutal act of sedition, such as stock piling weapons and munitions to overthrow those crooks in Congress?
You would be wrong. I got indicted for protesting the War in Iraq. My crime was delivering a warm-hearted letter to my second cousin White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, which correctly outlined the consequences of War. Suspiciously, I had been one of the very few Assets covering the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years. Thus, I was personally acquainted with the truth about Pre-War Intelligence, which differs remarkably from the story invented by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
More dangerously still, my team gave advance warnings about the 9/11 attack and solicited Iraq's cooperation after 9/11. In August 2001, at the urging of my CIA handler, I phoned Attorney General John Ashcroft's private staff and the Office of Counter-Terrorism to ask for an "emergency broadcast alert" across all federal agencies, seeking any fragment of intelligence on airplane hijackings. My warning cited the World Trade Center as the identified target. Highly credible independent sources have confirmed that in August, 2001 I described the strike on the World Trade Center as "imminent," with the potential for "mass casualties, possibly using a miniature thermonuclear device."
Thanks to the Patriot Act, Americans have zero knowledge of those truths, though the 9/11 Community has zoomed close for years. Republican leaders invoked the Patriot Act to take me down 30 days after I approached the offices of Senator John McCain and Trent Lott, requesting to testify about Iraq's cooperation with the 9/11 investigation and a comprehensive peace framework that would have achieved every U.S. and British objective without firing a shot. Ironically, because of the Patriot Act, my conversations with Senator Trent Lott's staff got captured on wire taps, proving my story.
You see, contrary to rhetoric on Capitol Hill, the Patriot Act is first and foremost a weapon to bludgeon whistleblowers and political dissidents. Indeed, it has been singularly crafted for that purpose.
The American people are not nearly as frightened as they should be. Many Americans expect the Patriot Act to limit its surveillance to overseas communications. Yet while I was under indictment, Maryland State Police invoked the Patriot Act to wire tap activists tied to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group dedicated to wind power, solar energy and recycling. The DC Anti-War Network was targeted as a "white supremacist group." Amnesty International and anti-death penalty activists got targeted for alleged "civil rights violations."
All of these are American activists engaged in lawful disputes of government policy. All of them got victimized by the surveillance techniques approved by Tea Party leaders, because they pursued a policy agenda that contradicted current government policies. The Tea Party swore to defend the freedom of independent thinking in Congressional campaigns. One presumes those promises are now forgotten until the next election.
I cannot forget. I cannot forget how I was subjected to secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony that denied my right to face my accusers or their accusations in open court, throughout five years of indictment. I cannot forget my imprisonment on a Texas military base for a year without a trial or evidentiary hearing.
I cannot forget how the FBI, the US Attorneys Office, the Bureau of Prisons and the main Justice office in Washington – independently and collectively verified my story – then falsified testimony to Chief Justice Michael Mukasey, denying our 9/11 warnings and my long-time status as a U.S. intelligence Asset, though my witnesses had aggressively confronted them. Apparently the Patriot Act allows the Justice Department to withhold corroborating evidence and testimony from the Court, if it is deemed "classified."
I cannot forget threats of forcible drugging and indefinite detention up to 10 years, until I could be "cured" of believing what everybody wanted to deny – because it was damn inconvenient to politicians in Washington anxious to hold onto power.
Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. The Patriot Act would be right at the top of that list. Nobody who has supported that wretched law should ever be allowed to brag of defending liberty again. That goes for the Tea Party. By voting to extend surveillance of American citizens, they have abandoned the principles of freedom that brought about their rise to power. They have shown their true face.
It is a face that we, the people, will remember. I, for one, have no intention of allowing them to forget.
Reprinted with permission from The People's Voice.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Now, even third world countries are picking the bones of a once great republic.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
According to Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics report, a 0.4 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate means "the number of unemployed persons decreased by about 600,000." Where did the other 564,000 January jobs come from as they cannot be found in the reported jobs data?
The jobs are phantom jobs created by faulty seasonal adjustments. As statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) puts it, "the extraordinary severity and duration of the economic duress in the United States during the last three to four years has destabilized traditional seasonal-factor adjustments and the related monthly reporting."
In other words, the 564,000 people are, in reality, unemployed and are not employed in the non-existent seasonally-adjusted jobs that the government added to the numbers. Williams reports that the unadjusted data show that "the employment rate rose in January."
It's BLS magic. Unemployment rose, but the unemployment rate fell.
Washington pulled the same stunt last month. Using this government ploy, theoretically, the U.S. could have a zero unemployment rate while the entire population is out of work!
Don't expect the financial press to tell you what this Trend Alert just told you. In response to the cooked numbers, Bloomberg quoted economists, whose job is to hype recovery, that "we're setting ourselves up for a pretty strong improvement in payrolls." (4 February 2011)
According to John Williams, even the measly 36,000 job gain is an illusion created by the faulty "birth-death" model, which guesses that new startups add more jobs each month than business failures subtract. This might sometimes be true, but not during an economic downturn. Without the jobs added by this faulty estimating technique, "the reported January 2011 payroll gain of 36,000 would have been a decline of 52,000!"
Indeed, the BLS "birth-death" model's over-estimate of payroll jobs results in quiet annual revisions in the number of employed. In Friday's employment report, largely unnoticed by the financial press, the BLS reports in its benchmark revision that there were 483,000 fewer people employed in December 2010 than previously reported.
The U.3 unemployment rate is the headline rate. It receives all the media attention, because it only measures 40 percent of the unemployed, thus making the recession look smaller than it really is. No discouraged workers who have given up looking for work are included. The government has a more complete measure of the unemployment rate known as U.6, which includes the short term discouraged (less than one year). That rate is16.1 percent. John Williams adds in the long term discouraged, which brings the true rate of unemployment to 22.2 percent.
Economists have no known way of explaining how an economy, in which millions of manufacturing and professional service jobs have been offshored, can compensate for the lost American incomes and purchasing power. The profits from offshoring flow to a narrow segment of the population consisting of corporate management, shareholders, and Wall Street. These income flows cannot replace the millions of lost incomes and careers of those whose jobs have disappeared. There is a limit on the ability of the mega-rich to buy and to consume. The consumption of a few people cannot drive an economy. This is why the concentration of income and wealth in a few hands kills an economy.
For a decade the American economy has been driven by private debt accumulation. Today policymakers in Washington are trying to drive the economy with public debt accumulation. The plan cannot succeed. The annual budget deficit of the U.S. government is being financed by the Federal Reserve by creating new money. For now, because of the impaired condition of U.S. financial institutions and the over-indebtedness of the American population, the money injected into the financial system by the Federal Reserve is not being lent. The banks need the reserves to bolster their solvency and consumers are too indebted to borrow. Thus, the money multiplier has collapsed, preventing the Federal Reserve's money creation from resulting in rapidly increasing inflation.
More BS from the BLS Just as the unemployment rate is understated, so is the Consumer Price Index. The CPI no longer measures the prices of a fixed basket of goods, but assumes that people substitute cheaper items for those that rise more in price.
Moreover, inflation can also arise from decline in the dollar's exchange rate vis-a-vis other currencies. With the dollar being the world reserve currency, many commodities are priced in dollars. As more dollars are being created than other currencies, food and commodity prices are rising as a result of the dollar's falling exchange rate.
The Fed chairman says that he can avoid inflation when it appears by pulling the excess money out of the economy by selling bonds. But the Fed can sell bonds only by lowering bond prices, thus raising interest rates. What do you think happens to the depressed U.S. economy if interest rates rise?
Stocks and whatever remains of the housing market would collapse, as would the bond portfolios of whatever remains of Americans' pension funds. The remnants of the investment incomes of ordinary people would be wiped out.
In other words, the Fed believes it can control the inflation, whose seeds it is planting, by wiping out the remnants of the wealth, and the income from it, of ordinary people.
This tells you all you need to know.
by Paul Craig Roberts
©MMXI The Trends Research Institute®
Friday, February 11, 2011
After Obama discussed fruitcakes and a better start, his speech quickly turned into a lecture telling businesses how to do business. "American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets," he said. "I know that many of you have told me that you're waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand, and that with millions of Americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like." He continued his challenge, saying, "[M]any of your own economists and salespeople are now forecasting a healthy increase in demand. So I want to encourage you to get in the game."
Such posturing is laughable coming from a man so completely lacking in private-sector experience. Furthermore, as has been well documented in this space, Obama's Keynesian stimulus failed to keep unemployment down or to stop the feeling of economic malaise. Worse yet, his regulatory frenzy and his promises to raise taxes on small business owners have created great uncertainty.
In January, the president appeared ready to deregulate, but as we noted then, that was a farce. The pace of new regulations under Obama is historic. Monday, he talked about eliminating "burdensome regulations," while insisting that "not every regulation is bad" or "burdensome on business." In other words, businesses will take the regulations he gives them and like it.
Obama did offer what appeared to be an olive branch, saying, "[I]f there's a reason you don't share my confidence, if there's a reason you don't believe that this is the time to get off the sidelines -- to hire and to invest -- I want to know about it. I want to fix it." Of course, if we thought the problem was bad, his solutions have been worse.
Businesses didn't even wait for the speech to provide feedback. Earlier Monday, Republicans released 2,000 pages of letters from businesses detailing the negative effects of the administration's regulatory policies. Obama's message may have been that "we can and we must work together," but he needs to stop treating the Chamber of Commerce like a prison chamber for commerce. It's called the free market for a reason.
(From The Patriot Post)
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
And it surely will be used in industrial consumption, because as Mr. Cook says, “it’s hard to fathom all the bullish aspects credited to silver. You have a rare metal used in so many important industrial applications as to be termed miraculous,” so much so that “the billions of ounces mined over 2,000 years are gone forever.”
In fact, I am considering raising money to launch a Discovery Channel special, which will be a revealing new documentary that blows the lid off the explosive situation in silver, beginning with how things would have been worse a long time ago if the Neanderthals had invented electrical generation and a distribution network, both silver-consuming, 100,000 years ago.
And ditto those Renaissance hotshots who everybody thinks are so hot, but couldn’t even come up with a good cell-phone, or how Thomas Edison can invent a light bulb and the phonograph, but not take the logical next step of inventing the CD and CD player, which would have produced much better sound quality than those stupid, scratchy, tinny wax cylinders of his.
Now, as interesting as all this is, it is not enough to enthrall us because we have such short attention spans, but as soon as we say, “Bah! Show me how to make money on it!” and reach for the remote control with which to change channels, our ears prick up in sudden rapt attention when he says, “The disappearance of this hoard should have sent the price to much higher levels. It didn’t.”
This seemed so odd that Theodore Butler went to “track down the reason” and, as I understand it, discovered the gigantic short futures position in silver, and all of that slimy, illegal rigging of the silver futures markets, and by extension, all the rigged markets, and all of it made possible only because the foul Federal Reserve created the excess money to finance it all! Hahahaha!
Of course, rigged markets are nothing new, and again our interest wanes, and soon we are beginning to think of pizza, and our stomachs gurgle, “BurrRRRrrRRrrRRp!”
This was unfortunate, because while we were distracted, we almost missed the whole point, which is making a lot of money without working. And on that subject, the aforementioned Theodore Butler writes that JP Morgan, apparently the biggest naked short-seller of silver futures and thus the biggest price suppressor, looks like it has decided to get out of the business of depressing the price of silver by creating and selling so much “paper silver” futures out of thin air, and has unexpectedly “covered roughly 4,000 contracts in the past month and 8,000 contracts in the last two months, the equivalent of 40 million ounces” of silver.
Familiar with the explosive results of suppressed prices that stop being suppressed, I am beside myself in Greedy Mogambo Glee (GMG) in anticipation of silver shooting to the moon, and I am humming the tune “We’re in the money! We’re in the money! We got a lot of what it takes to get along!”
Mr. Butler, who is much more professional than I, calmly and cautiously opines that “This holds profoundly bullish implications for the future of silver prices,” which may have something to do with the fact that covering a naked short position when the price of silver is rising means taking a loss, and, “In the history of the silver manipulation going back to 1983, never has the big concentrated silver short ever covered shorts on rising silver prices.”
I am always impressed with the use of the word “never,” probably because of that time when I was young and full of hormones, when I asked Debra Sue, the hottest girl in the tenth grade and who knew it, too, to go out with me, but she pretended not to hear me, but who told her friend Jessica, who told her friend Mary, who told her boyfriend Bob, who was my friend, who told me that Debra Sue said she would never – never! – go out with me because she thinks I am “icky.”
Sure enough, she never did go out with me! Or even acknowledge my existence, for that matter, except to once say to me, in the hallway outside of the chemistry lab, “Get out of my way, creep!”
That girls think I was creepy is not interesting, not surprising to anybody, but probably the most interesting fact about silver is that it is “used in tiny amounts in its multitude of applications. This makes much of its usage insensitive to price.”
If you are not sure what being “insensitive to price” means, imagine that you are the CEO of a company manufacturing Mogambo Hair-Growing Machines (MHGM) under license from Mogambo Interstellar Enterprises (MIE).
In the course of production, you use one ten-thousandth of a cent of silver per unit, meaning that you use 10 cents worth of silver a day to make a full day’s run of 100,000 units, most of which are defective because my design is bad and I insist that you use the cheapest and shoddiest of materials and labor so as to keep profit margins high enough to make the most money on the front-end before people find out what a worthless rip-off my stupid hair-growing machine really is, and people stop buying the damned things because word gets around that they don’t work.
In my defense, the business plan looked good on paper, but my lack of ethics as the price of greed is neither here nor there, and the point is that you are “insensitive to price” if the price of silver doubles to 20 cents a day. “Ho-hum,” you would say, unconcerned about such a trifle.
And you don’t care if the price triples to 30 cents a day, either, as would be evidenced by another bored “ho-hum” were you even told of this trifling news.
Ditto if the price quadruples to 40 cents a day, or quintuples to 50 cents a day.
And you don’t even care if the price of silver goes up by a thousand-fold to cost you $100 per day, even though there will plenty of people who will care if the price of silver is $29,000 an ounce!
And now with China, a third of the world’s population is going to want electrical and electronic things that all must have silver in them, insensitive to price as those things are, the upper end on the price of silver is so hard to imagine that I don’t even try, and I just buy it now while the price is still ludicrously low.
Whee! This investing stuff is easy!
by Richard Daughty
Monday, February 7, 2011
The problem here is that he has no clue that wage earners agree to produce a product for a given amount of pay and benifits. If someone is lucky enough to work for a company that has a profit sharing or bonus plan in place then there is a predetermined amount of "sharing" that will take place if certain goals are met. Most people don't risk their own capital to create businesses to be told by the President of these United States that the profits and return on their investments have to be divided up among their employees.
Does this sound a little Marxist to you? It sure does to me.
Friday, February 4, 2011
February 4, 2011
Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public. Rogelio Serrato is the latest case to be in the news of an innocent person murdered by the police. Serrato was the wrong man, but the Monterey County, California, SWAT team killed the 31-year old father of four and left the family home a charred ruin.
The fact that SWAT teams often go to the wrong door shows the carelessness with which excessive force is used. In one instance the police even confused the town’s mayor with a drug dealer, broke into his home, shot dead the family’s pet dogs, and held the mayor and his wife and children at gun point. But most cases of police brutality never make the news.
Most who suffer abuse from the police don’t bother to complain. They know that to make an enemy of the police brings a lifetime of troubles. Those who do file complaints find that police departments tend to be self-protective and that the naive and gullible public tends to side with the police.
However, you can find plenty of examples of police brutality on youtube, more than you can watch in a lifetime. I have just searched google for “youtube police brutality” and the result is: “497,000 results.” There’s everything from police shooting a guy in a wheelchair to body slamming a befuddled 89-year old great grandmother to tasering kids and mothers with small children. The fat goon cops love to beat up on women, kids, and old people.
The 497,000 google results may contain duplicates as more than one person might have posted a video of the same event, and the incidents occurred over more than one year. However, probably only a small percentage of incidents are captured on video by onlookers, and many incidents of police brutality have no witnesses. What the videos reveal is that a large percentage of police move with alacrity to assault the public. The number of incidences could be very high. One million annually would not be an exaggeration.
In contrast, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is compiled), there were 806,000 aggravated assaults (not including assaults by police against the public) by criminals against the public, of which 216,814 were committed by hands and feet and not by weapons. (In the U.S. if you merely push a person or grab his arm, you have committed assault. “Freedom and democracy” America uses any excuse to multiply the number of felons.)
Considering the data, one might conclude that the police are a greater danger to the public than are criminals.
Indeed, the trauma from police assault can be worse than from assault by criminals. The public thinks the police are there to protect them. Thus, the emotional and psychological shock from assault by police is greater than the trauma from being mugged because you stupidly wandered into the wrong part of town.
Why are the police so aggressive toward the public?
In part because their ranks attract bullies, sociopaths and psychopaths. Even normal cops are proud of their authority and expect deference. Even cops who are not primed to be set off can turn nasty in a heartbeat.
In part because police are not accountable. The effort decades ago to have civilian police review boards was beat back by “law and order” conservatives.
In part because the police have been militarized by the federal government, equipped with military weapons, and trained to view the public as the enemy.
In part because the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes have made every American a suspect. The only civil liberty that has any force in the U.S. today is the law against racial discrimination. This law requires that every American citizen be treated as if he were a Muslim terrorist. The Transportation Security Administration rigorously enforces the refusal to discriminate between terrorist and citizen at airports and is now taking its gestapo violations of privacy into every form of travel and congregation: trucking, bus and train travel, sports events, and, without doubt, shopping centers and automobile traffic.
This despite the fact that there have been no terrorist incidents that could be used to justify such an expansive intrusion into privacy and freedom of movement.
The TSA has not caught a single terrorist. However, it has abused and inconvenienced several hundred thousand innocent American citizens.
The abuse happens, because people with authority are dying to use the authority. The absence of terrorists means that the TSA turns innocent Americans into terrorists. There have been so many absurd cases. One woman traveling with her ill and dying mother, who required special food, had contacted the TSA prior to the flight, explained the situation, and was given permission to take the special food onboard. But when she went through “security,” the food was taken away, and when she protested she was arrested and hauled off, leaving the elderly mother in a wheelchair deserted.
Others have been arrested because a member of the household used a suitcase or carry bag to take guns and ammunition to the gun club or on a hunting trip and forgot to remove all the ammo, or the explosives test detected gunpowder residuals. Boy Scouts forgot to remove pocket knives from backpacks that they took on camping trips. Lactating mothers forced to give up breast milk. And so on.
These are the “great dangers” that the TSA protect the american sheeple from, and the sheeple submit, even servilely thanking their oppressors for protecting them.
Submission is what the government and the police want. Anyone who argues with TSA or the police will be abused. An American who stands up for his rights is likely to be beaten to a pulp. TSA has announced that such Americans are “suspects” and will be held in indefinite detention.
And “our” government assures us that we have “freedom and democracy.” We have a police state, and everyone who forgets it is in deep trouble.
The Amerikan police state is closely allied with police states all over the world–Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East and former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire in Central Asia. The U.S. government never lifts a finger in behalf of democracy anywhere. In fact, the U.S. government quickly moves to overthrow democracy wherever it rears its head, as the U.S. recently did in Honduras. Before Honduras it was Palestine where the U.S. overturned the election that brought Hamas to power. Now Washington is targeting Lebanon where Hisbollah has gained.
Everywhere on earth the U.S.government prefers an autocracy that it can purchase to free elections that bring to power candidates unwilling to serve as American puppets.
The U.S. government is the most determined foe of democracy in the world. Yet, Washington lectures China, which has more civil liberties than Bush/Cheney/Obama permit Americans.
The video below speaks volumes, but to enumerate Obama's suggestions:
Refrain from violence against peaceful protesters
Support "universal human rights" to peaceful assembly, association, and free speech
The responsibility for peaceful dissent is exclusively on protesters
Suppressing ideas is not the answer
All governments have a responsibility to listen to, and respond to, their citizens
All governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion
Comments will follow the video to address violations by the U.S. government of each of these six points:
1. Violence has in fact been used toward peaceful protesters on many occasions in the United States. Modern tactics now include tear gas, stun grenades, bean bag guns, dogs, sound and water cannons, and good-old-fashioned random beatings. All of these tactics were used at the G20 protests in Pittsburgh shown in the video above, mostly on unarmed college students and the elderly, including women.
2. The right to peaceful assembly has often been cordoned off within free speech zones in the United States. Permits can be required, restricting when, where, and how a protest can be conducted. In other words, you may protest, but be careful that you are not violating any regulations. The right to free association has increasingly come under attack with activists of many stripes being targeted with surveillance and intimidation.
3. Obama's directive to protesters is to keep things peaceful. However, there has been widespread use of agents provocateur both to infiltrate activist groups themselves, as well as to stage violent actions at events in order to justify a police-state crackdown. Obama should call upon agents of the police and the federal government to use the same discretion in maintaining the peace.
4. False media coverage, particularly as to the true scope of a physical protest has been used to discredit ideas, or render them as insignificant. It is quite easy to film a crowd of ten thousand and creatively make it seem like a few hundred. This concept is now being taken to the Internet, where legislation has been introduced to restrict the playing field to one where the message of mainstream outlets will rise to the top of search engine rankings, also to be combined with the "fairness doctrine" which will superimpose government and mainstream messaging along "electronic sidewalks" over the alternative media.
5. The American government clearly is not listening to, or responding to its citizens. In poll after poll, people did not approve of the bank bailouts, do not approve of continuing the endless wars, and do not approve of TSA tyranny. Nonetheless, The Department of Homeland Security not only has ignored the public, it has increased its rollout of the police state with surveillance drones, robots, and VIPR teams in a demonstration of total disregard for the will of the people. DHS is even implementing the East German model of citizen spies by partnering with private businesses in an attempt to have Americans snitch on one another as a "soft" addition to their mechanized, digital control grid.
6. It is clear that the American government is behaving in a coercive way against its people, similar to the dictatorial regime in Egypt and elsewhere who are being educated by Barack Obama as to the rules of conduct. It has forgone consent of the people in its mission to loot the nation's productivity and fill the coffers of unelected bureaucrats in the United States, as well as the offshore banksters who fund all sides of wars, revolutions, and manipulated economies. With an Internet kill switch set to be placed firmly in the White House, there is very little difference in the structure of oppression between the supposed Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, and countries which are in open revolt against such a system. The only consent being given to the current course of events in the U.S. is ignorance and apathy.
Reprinted with permission from the Activist Post.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Faber believes the global economy may be okay for the next six months. “We have to realize that it’s an artificial recovery driven by ultra-expansionary monetary policies and also ultra-expansionary fiscal policies,” he comments. Faber predicts that deficits will lead to renewed problems down the road.
“The annual cost of living increases are more than 5% today and the Bureau of Labor Statistics is continuously lying about the inflation rate, including Mr. Bernanke. He’s a liar. Inflation is much higher than what they publish.”
Faber says the true cost of living increase for most US households is 5-8%, and just below that in Western Europe.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The measure is known as an act “to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.”
Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, is sponsoring the bill and knows it will be killed. But he said he is introducing it to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional.
“Do I or the other cosponsors believe that the State of South Dakota can require citizens to buy firearms? Of course not. But at the same time, we do not believe the federal government can order every citizen to buy health insurance,” Rep. Wick said.
Unlike the Federal Mandated purchase of health insurance, this bill, if passed at the State level, might actually have some teeth. The arguments for the Federal Mandate often cite automobile insurance as the precedent for requirement of purchasing insurance.
While the ownership and operation of an automobile in most states requires the purchase of liability insurance, ownership of the automobile itself is elective. You don't have to own an automobile.
The Federal Government's argument for the mandate cited the "Interstate Commerce Clause" in the Constitution as basis for authority to force individuals to purchase insurance. I find it personally humorous that the Federal government would point to this clause, especially since you can't purchase insurance on an interstate basis, and the government had no intent to allow it.
All of this to bring me to the fact that Rep. Wick of South Dakota may find that there is precedent which allows the mandate at a State level and his bill may just find a way to become law.
In 1982, the Kennesaw, GA City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition.
The ordinance states the gun law is needed to "protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants."
The law is still on the books and Kennesaw has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
Clearly a state can mandate purchase of firearms, but not necessarily health insurance.
All of this may be moot, since a Federal Court in Florida handed down the decision yesterday that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is null and void due to the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate.
Heh: Florida Judge Strikes Down Obamacare, Uses Obama’s Own Words Against Him — Trifecta: Judge is a Reagan Appointee : The Powers That Be
“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.