I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.- Thomas Jefferson.

debt clock

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another one the Mainstream Media seems to have missed

When I saw the GM TV commercial recently, w Big Fat (private jet flying) Liar GM CEO Ed Whitacre claiming GM had paid back his government Bailout loan, I threw up in my mouth a little bit, and then yelled at the idiot box, receiving, in the process, an evil glare and eye-roll from my wife.  Last night, Beth's Aunt Jeannie was visiting and asked me about the same thing (has Glen Beck been on top of this?)

Luckily, I didn't have to do a lot of research to confirm what I already knew ;  that this "payback" doesn't count the 60.8% ownership stake the American govt took in the company for which taxpayers are still on the hook.  What I didn't know was that they also got money from the Canadian govt, who now have a 11.7% Stake in GM, Making it more than 70% govt owned.  And he's using your tax dollars to brag aboiut what a good job he's doing?  While not as bad as the Giant Squid assholes, he's still an asshole.

read more

More goldman sachs

How Goldman Sachs Screwed Ghana

Slightly less damning story- Senior Executives at Goldman Had a Role in Mortgage Unit

There's a New AIG Story. I Was an AIG Exec. Here's the Deal.

What was the SEC doing during all this?  Watching porn.  Nothing wrong w that, except if you're doing it at work, when you're being paid a lot of money by the tax-payers.

Although I tend to focus on GS, there are more players involved, Shadow Elite: Goldman Sachs - Fraud Is Not the Scandal.  I recommend this article- a short excerpt below-

With just one Goldman employee actually named in that civil suit, the most insidious scandal has little to do with accusations of outright fraud by a few bad apples. Top Goldman officials, former officials, and their allies, have been thoroughly enmeshed in Washington financial decision-making for nearly two decades, moving back and forth in short order between Wall Street and White House positions of power in what has been called an "evolving door."

These power brokers have made fateful economic decisions in ways that defy our expectations of accountability, and in which their agendas are impossible to fully discern. The average citizen had no voice in these decisions, and no way to even understand how they were made. Barry Lynn, author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, says America's political economy "..is run by a compact elite ....with almost complete freedom [to determine] who wins, who loses, and who pays."

Were Goldman, Citigroup and other firms "too big to fail"? The former chief executive of Washington Mutual, the largest U.S. bank ever to fail, told a Senate hearing last week that these firms were actually "too clubby to fail", and WaMu was not in the club. Though he has obvious bias, it's hard not to see some truth in that statement.

Golf tournament, weekly funnies, Giant Squid update

I need 1 more person to fill out my foursome for the May 18th, Foundation for Children with Cancer golf event.  As of monday night, we still needed more people to make this event a success, so if you can get your own foursome or more or less, go to the link above.  If you want to join my group w Todd Stromsdorfer and Brett Mosley, call or e-mail me.

David Tracey sent me a really good video.  Some of you may have heard Obama's speech (which one?  Doesn't he do 10 a day) when he challenged his administration to cut $100 million from the budget.  Talk about setting the bar low.  Now I'm not the first to suggest that that's not very much, this video does a better job than I can, I give it a 10!

Did you watch the video?  Does a challenge to cut $100M deserve a press conference?  I'd argue that $100B budget cut would hardly rate a press conference at this point.  Talk to me when you cut $1 trillion, or when you balance the budget (actually do it, not CBO projections).


In the same vein, Art Mosley sent me the following, which I've seen (and forwarded) before, so if you've been on my mailing list a long time, you might have seen this before.  I think it's worth another look.

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to do the studies, and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created the following positions; a time keeper, and a payroll officer, then hired two people to fill the new positions.

Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost."

So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW slowly, let it sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the "DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY"

...during the Carter Administration?




Didn't think so!

Bottom line: We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency... the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

Ready?? It was very simple...

and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on August 4, 1977.


Hey, pretty efficient, huh???


Ah, yes -- good ole bureaucracy.


HELLOOO! Anybody Home?

I would like to add a few comments of my own-
1.  Energy independence is a silly concept, probably unachievable, and would lower living standards. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/lets-not-be-energy-independent/ ,http://www.ocregister.com/articles/oil-243386-price-energy.html

2.  We could save even more money if, in addition to the Energy Dept, we eliminate the Depts of Agriculture and Education, none of which are constitutionally authorized to the federal govt in the first place.


Finally,  does the Goldman Sachs case have merit?

10 Things You Don’t Know (or were misinformed) About the GS Case

By Barry Ritholtz

I have been watching with a mixture of awe and dismay some of the really bad analysis, sloppy reporting, and just unsupported commentary about the GS case.

I put together this list based on what I know as a lawyer, a market observer, a quant and someone with contacts within the SEC. (Note: This represents my opinions, and no one elses).

Ten Things You Don’t Know (or were misinformed by the Media) About the GS Case

1. This is a Weak Case: Actually, no — its a very strong case. Based upon what is in the SEC complaint, parts of the case are a slam dunk. The claim Paulson & Co. were long $200 million dollars when they were actually short is a material misrepresentation — that’s Rule 10b-5, and its a no brainer. The rest is gravy.

2. Robert Khuzami is a bad ass, no-nonsense, thorough, award winning Prosecutor: This guy is the real deal — he busted terrorist rings, broke up the mob, took down security frauds. He is now the director of SEC enforcement. He is fearless, and was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award (1996), for “extraordinary courage and voluntary risk of life in performing an act resulting in direct benefits to the Department of Justice or the nation.”

When you prosecute mass murderers who use guns and bombs and threaten your life, and you kick their asses anyway, you ain’t afraid of a group of billionaire bankers and their spreadsheets. He is the shit. My advice to anyone on Wall Street in his crosshairs: If you are indicted in a case by Khuzami, do yourself a big favor: Settle.

3. Goldman lost $90 million dollars, hence, they are innocent: This is a civil, not a criminal case. Hence, any mens rea — guilty mind — does not matter. Did they or did they not violate the letter of the law? That is all that matters, regardless of what they were thinking — or their P&L.

4. ACA is a victim in this case: Not exactly, they were an active participant in ratings gaming. Look at the back and forth between Paulson’s selection and ACAs management. 55 items in the synthetic CDO were added and removed. Why?

What ACA was doing was gaming the ratings agencies for their investment grade, Triple AAA ratings approval. Their expertise (if you can call it that) was knowing exactly how much junk they could include in the CDO to raise yield, yet still get investment grade from Moody’s or S&P. They are hardly an innocent party in this.

5. This was only one incident: The Market sure as hell doesn’t think so — it whacked 15% off of Goldman’s Market cap. The aggressive SEC posture, the huge reaction from Goldie, and the short term market verdict all suggest there is more coming.

If it were only this one case, and there was nothing else worrisome behind it, GS would have written a check and quietly settled this. Their reaction (some say over-reaction) belies that theory. I suspect this is a tip of the iceberg, with lots more problematic synthetics behind it.

And not just at GS. I suspect the kids over at Deutsche bank, Merrill and Morgan are working furiously to review their various CDOs deals.

6. The Timing of this case is suspect. More coincidental, really. The Wells notice (notification from the SEC they intend to recommend enforcement) was over 8 months ago. The White House is not involved in the timing of the suit itself, it is a lower level staff decision.

7. This is a Complex Case: Again, no. Parts of it are a little more sophisticated than others, but this is a simple case of fraud/misrepresentation. The most difficult part of this case is likely to turn on what is a “material omission.” Paulson’s role in selecting mortgages may or may not be material — that is an issue of fact for a jury to determine. But complex? Not even close.

8. The case looks thin: What we see in the complaint is the bare minimum the prosecutor has to reveal to make their case. What you don’t see are all the emails, depositions, interrogations, phone taps, etc. that the prosecutors know about and GS does not. During the litigation discovery process, this material slowly gets turned over (some is held back if there are other pending investigations into GS).

Going back to who the prosecutor in this case is: His legal reputation is he is very thorough, very precise, meticulous litigator. If he decided to recommend bringing a case against the biggest baddest investment house on Wall Street bank, I assure you he has a major arsenal of additional evidence you don’t know about. Yet.

Typically, at a certain point the lawyers will tell their client that the evidence is overwhelming and advise settling. That is around 6-12 months after the suit has begun.

9. This case is Political: I keep hearing that phrase, due to the SEC party vote. It is incorrect. What that means is the case is not political, it means it has been politicized as a defense tactic. There is a huge difference between the two.

10. I’m not a lawyer, but . . . Then you should not be ignorantly commenting on securities litigation. Why don’t you pour yourself a tall glass of STF up and go sit quietly in the corner.

I have $1,000 against any and all comers that GS does not win — they settle or lose in court. Any takers? My money is already in escrow — waiting for yours to join it. Winnings go to the charity of the winners choice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

the Nanny State to save us from a salty death

Most of you have probably seen the new proposals by certain "expert" panels urging the FDA to REQUIRE food manufacturers to lower salt content in their products.  Not just label salt content, but lower it.  It shames my profession to see doctors making such ludicrous recommendations.  I hope most of you agree that diet should be an individual choice, but there are actually many Americans who think that the govt should be restricting our dietary choices.  The Nanny State marches forward.  Other recent dietary examples- ban on new fast food restaraunts in LA,  ban on foie gras in Chicago (not for health, to impose morality), trans-fat bans, bans on junk food in schools, etc.  Some might not be bothered by the junk food in school ban, but I would argue that this should be more a parenting issue, and remember what happens any time you ban something.  Black Market. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235279/Boy-12-suspended-crisp-dealing-school-banned-junk-food.html.  Am I going to have to buy my salt on the corner of 9th and Washington, where I buy my heroin?

I heard Eleanor Clift actually say what I've warned about in the past, re National Health Insurance, this weekend.  "Now that the federal government is involved in our health care, this is a matter of public health... you could throw out every salt shaker and you would have a very difficult time reducing salt, because the processed foods that many of us buy for convenience are loaded with salt...Most people are more threatened by salt than they are from a hard-working Mexican coming across the border...I don't care whether we're Americans, what nationality you are. Unless you're willing to go to the supermarket and read every label, you have no idea how much sodium you get."

There you have it. Americans can't be trusted to look after themselves, we can't actually be bothered w reading labels.  Perhaps we should all be locked in our homes, have appropriate foods delivered to our doorstep, and placed in a special refrigerator, that can only be opened after we burned the authorized number of calories on the govt installed treadmill.  Or maybe we will be allowed to choose between a treadmill and a rowing machine (Do they still have those?  I haven't been to a gym in a while.)  I think I should have the right to pour as much salt as I want on my Bacon wrapped, trans-fat impregnated, deep fried twinkies.  And I should be allowed to purchase whatever private health insurance is willing to over-charge me for my risky behavior.  They should also have the right to offer me discounts if I curtail this risky behavior ;  I shouldn't have to subsidize YOUR health insurance if you want to engage in this behavior.

Back to salt, specifically.  There are certainly a large number of americans w HTN who will benefit from reduced salt.  The science is unclear on whether salt reduction can prevent the developement of HTN in people w currently normal BP.  While some studies suggest this, I think it is safe to say that there are a large number of people for whom salt reduction will do nothing.  There are some uncommon conditions in which increased salt intake may be beneficial.  To have a federal regulation to limit a non-poisonous substance in all food, for which lower total intake of said substance will benefit some people, is foolhardy at best (even if it were a substantial majority who would benefit, it would not be appropriate.)

Most Americans and I are, I believe, capable of making informed decisions as to how to run our lives, better than the govt.  Govt, please stay out of my refrigerator, my doctors office, my gun cabinet, and just about every place else.



(CNSNews.com) – President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging the public to create video advertisements that explain why federal regulations are "important to everyone."

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations. The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length.

“The contest will highlight the significance of federal regulations and help the public understand the rulemaking process. Federal agencies develop and issue hundreds of rules and regulations every year to implement statutes written by Congress. Almost every aspect of an individual’s life is touched by federal regulations, but many do not understand how rules are made or how they can get involved in the process.”

“Regulations have the power of law. Breaking them can result in fines and even jail time. Regulations outnumber Congressional statutes. For every statute passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, federal agencies create about 10 regulations, each of which have the force of law.”
Please also describe in detail the type of lubrication you use, and how best to apply it.


We've done too good a job at cleaning up air polution.  It was air polution that was staving off Global Warming in the 70's.  It's time to get rid of the EPA, and save some money.

What a Piece of Work Is Man: Hubris and the Scientific Illiterates in the MSM

As a scientist, I try to maintain a relatively respectful tone when discussing the lamentable state of journalism vis-à-vis environmental and scientific issues, though I may pepper in the occasional wisecrack designed to spice things up. But when Science correspondent Eli Kintisch’s Op-Ed piece that recently ran in the Los Angeles Times was brought to my attention, I threw up repeatedly. In this case, nothing but a rant will do.  Pease read this for a good laugh.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tax Day +6

Do they deserve tax breaks?

Tax Loss Carry Back

Before last year, a company could write off losses against gains in the last two years, so '09 tax losses could be set against '07 and '08 gains. Part of the stimulus plan was a nifty provision that lets companies write off their losses against taxes paid on gains in the last five years, so it now includes '04, '05, and '06. The practical affect is a cash giveaway by the US government as companies claim refunds for taxes paid in previous periods. How big of a deal is it? The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the cost to be $33 billion. Who are the beneficiaries of this? A partial list reads like a who's who of companies that greatly assisted in our economic meltdown - JP Morgan ($2.6 billion), Pulte Homes ($867 million) and the two bond insurers MBIA ($502 million) and AMBAC ($440 million). So while average Americans have seen their incomes fall, their state taxes and fees march higher, and are gearing up for higher federal taxes, at least these companies can rest easy with a big bucket of our cash, all thanks to the stimulus plan.

The Greatest Gift of All - GM's Tax Loss Carryforward

General Motors has a problem. Well, actually, GM has lots of problems, but they have one very particular problem when it comes to taxes. They don't owe any. Since 2004 GM has managed to accumulate $88 billion in losses. Then in the Fall of 2008, GM told the world that they were unable to make payroll. The US government stepped in and gave GM $19.7 billion, and a stern warning to get their act together in the next few months or they would have to pay the money back! On the face of it, this made no sense. If the company was broke and you gave them cash to pay their current bills, just exactly what money were you going to take back? In the end it didn't matter, because GM said, "We have no plan, we have no money, and really we have no equity, as our liabilities far exceed our assets." So the US government did the only reasonable thing - stepped in and gave the company an additional $30 billion.

However the story doesn't end there. The US government recast its monetary gift to GM as part loan ($6.7 billion) and part equity purchase ($43.3 billion). Now, put aside for the moment why anyone would pay $43.3 billion for a piece of a bankrupt company, and focus on the process. The US government guided GM through a fast-tracked bankruptcy that was not a reorganization plan. Along the way the government allowed subordinate bondholders to leapfrog secured bondholders, all in direct conflict with existing bankruptcy law and precedence. The US government left the "bad assets and debt" with the old GM which still trades on the stock exchange, and created a new, almost-debt free, unfettered GM that is currently a private company. All of this is important because it means that GM is not, definitely NOT, the same company as the one that operated for over 100 years and near the end racked up $88 billion in losses. However, in another bizarre twist of "make the law what I want to," the US government has allowed the new, unfettered GM to keep all the tax credits it has accrued through tax loss carryforward, which could now be worth about $12 billion.

Normally a company is not allowed to keep these tax losses. If a company did keep the losses, then some devious profitable company would buy the bankrupt company with large tax losses for next to nothing (this fictitious company is bankrupt, so it is not worth anything) and then use the losses of the bankrupt company to offset the taxes in the profitable company. That makes sense. So then, why is the new GM allowed to happily carry around the historical tax losses of the old GM? That's a great question that does not have an answer.

The 36.3%

Finally, there is the very large group of individual tax filers (notice I did not say tax payers) who work and yet pay no income tax at all. According to the Tax Foundation, for 2008 the number of tax filers who owed no federal tax at all was 51.6 million, or 36.3% of the142 million tax returns filed for that year. This is the largest number and percentage of non-payers on record. Now obviously there are many in this group that we would consider the working poor, people who are employed, working hard, but earn so little in their situation (married with children, perhaps?) that paying federal taxes makes no sense. However, it is hard to believe that this situation is true for greater than one-third of all tax filers. Something is definitely amiss.

Not Yet Ready For Prime-Time

For all of our antics over healthcare reform and the stimulus package, American citizens and voters still appear to be mostly uneducated and impotent players in the fight over government spoils. Another year goes by, another tax return filed, and our elected officials continue as they always have - rewarding special interest groups at the expense of the larger public.

Consider that as you write out your check to the "US Treasury."

from Rodney Johnson

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

volcanos and vacations

satellite image of volcano


Is this volcano ready to erupt?

"Distressed debt, defined as bonds or bank debt of companies or government entities that are in default, under bankruptcy protection, or heading toward such a condition, has been under significant pressure since the housing bubble popped. The nominal amount of debt entering distress has jumped 451% since 2007, while the number of issuers in trouble rose 160%.

In a commissioned report from Debtwire, a global financial data provider, 100 distressed debt investors were interviewed, including hedge fund and asset managers. Their outlook:

64% said the peak in distressed debt has not been reached

Real estate, consumer products, and financials will provide the largest flow of workouts, in particular commercial real estate

41% expect significant tightening of liquidity in 2010.

Lax FASB accounting standards may allow institutions to mask their debt with bogus financial statements, but there's no disguising the market realities from the distressed debt investors on the front lines. Sightings of a "V" shaped recovery seem premature."  from Casey's Research

I don't think I need to add any commentary to this.


I can't belive the democrats didn't think of it first- Vacationing a human right, EU chief says-

The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips.

Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, proposed a strategy that could cost European taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros a year, The Times of London reports.

Hating the government finally goes mainstream-  Come on and join the party.

Anarchy, Part Two, if you read part 1...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Financial reform (not), anarchy (I'm all for it, esp on tax day), and liberalism

Casey's Daily Dispatch

I liked yesterdays entire article, with good pieces on Reagan's deficits (too high), and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and his rational arguments for cutting spending against the usual complaints about govt programs being too important to cut.  I would encourage reading both sections.  A third section on financial reform, and why it probably won't work is even better, and I'm copying it below.

The next item on President Obama’s populist to-do list, we are told, is for his administration to unleash righteous reform on the financial services industry. Already, the Democratic National Committee is airing ads linking the Republicans to Wall Street, while conveniently ignoring that many of the Great One’s top advisors, including Treasury Secretary Geithner himself, attended the Goldman Sachs Finishing School for the Power Mad.

Regardless, while there are few certainties in this world of ours, you can take it to the bank that by the time the ink is applied to whatever financial reform bill is pushed through, the only real reform contained in the hundreds of pages of detail will be a change in the location of the boys’ Thursday lunch club from Dickie Brennan’s to Harry’s at One Hanover Square.

Of course, people will think some sort of reform has been passed and so will continue to unthinkingly trust their preferred financial institution, without having any real idea what they are doing with their money.

Am I advocating sweeping financial reforms? No. Call me a utopian idealist, but in my book the appearance of regulation is a major part of the problem.

Entertain me for just a moment, and try to envision a world where there were literally no financial regulation at all. Now, I am not talking about doing away with laws sternly punishing frauds, but rather about a world where anyone could create and market any security or bond their scheming brains could concoct.

Kind of scary, eh? So, in this new world, what would be the first thing you’d do when pitched on a hot, hot stock or a thrilling new fund that showed all the promises of a rich tomorrow, with no discernable downside?

Would you jump at it like a trout at a succulent slice of fresh liver? Or might you actually do some due diligence?

Do you suppose that, just maybe, some enterprising financial institutions might look to grab market share by building a totally transparent enterprise, one that submits to a forensic audit every six months?

Might some other enterprising firm make a business out of doing said forensic audits, charging investors a subscription fee to be privy to their findings?

And how much do you think financial institutions, the government, and individuals could save if the entire regulatory apparatus were to be shuttered tomorrow?

I know, I know – it’s never going to happen. But then again, neither is effective financial reform. Especially not with the wolves directly, or indirectly, in charge of building the better chicken coop.

Staying with the storyline of financial shenanigans, following are a couple of stories on the inside dealings that played a role in the current financial meltdown.

The first was sent to me by a friend who knows of what he speaks. It provides some illuminating detail about what was called the “Magnetar Trade,” after a hedge fund that made out very well by soaking the unsuspecting with packages of bad loans. In my friend’s view, this is a good exposé of the sort of thing happening behind the scenes in the collateralized debt obligations (CDO) market.

(Embedded in the article is also a good video explaining CDOs in lay terms).

Then, after reading that, read this second article – sent along by Bud Conrad – which contains some additional finger pointing at the cozy relationship between Alec Litowitz-, the head of Magnetar, and certain well-connected individuals in Washington. Here’s a quote…

The sponsors of this toxic trade did bother to make sure they had a powerful friend. The head of the firm in question gave substantial amounts of money by political contribution standards to Rahm Emanuel’s PACs, and only his PACs, over the period when these transactions were in play.

Litowitz and his wife had never before made significant political donations. In 2005, they started giving to Rahm and his PACs, and only PACs connected to Rahm, just before the Magnetar CDO program began, and continued through the first quarter of 2008, when the trade would have started to pay out handsomely. The Litowitzs gave a total of $8,000 to Emanuel and $10,000 to his Our Common Values PAC in May 2005. In 2006 and 2007, they contributed $51,700 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, while Emanuel was chairman. We have been advised by individuals involved in political fundraising that the amounts given would be considered significant, and the way the payments were distributed across the PACs is sophisticated. Put it another way: this money was not given impersonally.

But this troubling connection should be no surprise. Rahm has long been a favorite of the hedge funds, having raised more money from them than any Senator not running for President. Not surprisingly, he has been a staunch supporter of the financial services industry, and is widely credited with playing a key role in securing passage of the TARP after its initial defeat.

As the Magnetar-Rahm connection highlights, Obama raised more money from financial services players than any previous presidential candidate, so it can hardly be a surprise that he and his minions are happy to give the industry a free pass. Key policy figures maintain that no one was at fault, that there was a pervasive lack of regulation, and there are therefore no bad actors. That party line also means that destructive behavior is and will remain unquestioned, unexamined, uncorrected, and unpunished. We are still paying for the costs of the financial train wreck of 2007 and 2008. We can no longer afford the costs of willful blindness.

Read the full article here.


As a nice segue, I was waiting for a place to put an earlier article, also by Doug Casey, on the real meaning of anarchy, and why it would be preferable any other form of Govt, including our current Unconstitutional Republic (We are not a democracy.  It is one of the failures of Govt run education that so many in the Media, and politicians, and perhaps even some of you reading this, persist in calling the US a democracy, and talk about bringing democracy to Iraq, and making the world safe for democracy.  We need to make the world safe FROM democracy.)

an excerpt- Look, I’d be happy enough if the state — which is an instrument of pure coercion, even after you tart it up with the trappings of democracy, a constitution, and what-not — were limited to protecting you from coercion and absolutely nothing more. That would imply a police force to protect you from coercion within its bailiwick. A court system to allow you to adjudicate disputes without resorting to force. And some type of military to protect you from outside predators.

Unfortunately, the government today does everything but these functions — and when it does deign to protect, it does so very poorly. The police are increasingly ineffective at protecting you; they seem to specialize in enforcing arbitrary laws. The courts? They apply arbitrary laws, and you need to be wealthy to use them — although you’re likely to be impoverished by the time you get out of them. And the military hardly defends the country anymore — it’s all over the world creating enemies, generally, of the most backward foreigners.

Anarchy, Part One


Thanks to Peter Newton for the following article-  The descent of liberalism (...or humanity as animals)

It's a little longish but a good read about the co-opting of classical liberalism by modern or (as Glen Beck would say) progressive liberalism.  Please believe me when I say the only time I ever see Glen, is when John Stewart or Stephen Colbert are making fun of him.  It is probably more important to read this if you call yourself a liberal.


George Soros, with whom I rarely agree, predicts another major market crash.  I think he's right, but the timing is off.  He says 8 years from now, I don't think it will take that long.

I know I had something else, but have run out of time and can't find it.  Until next time, Happy tax day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Debt problems

Government is the only institution that can take a valuable commodity like paper, and make it worthless by applying ink. - Ludwig Von Mises

Here are a few stories about debt-

IMF Executive Board Approves Major Expansion of Fund’s Borrowing Arrangements to Boost Resources for Crisis Resolution

Press Release No. 10/145

April 12, 2010

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a ten-fold expansion of the Fund’s New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) and the transformation of the Fund’s premier standing credit arrangement into a more flexible and effective tool of crisis management. The NAB will be increased by SDR 333.5 billion (about US$500 billion) to SDR 367.5 billion (about US$550 billion), representing a major increase in the resources available for the Fund’s lending to its members.  more

Can anyone tell me what an SDR (special drawing right) actually is, and why it's worth about $1.5 US?  It's bad enough when individual countries and the EU print worthless fiat money, but now the IMF, a group of semi-private bankers, can on a whim, conjure into existence 34 billion SDRs, to be used to enrich more of their banker friends (I'm sure Goldman Sachs won't miss out on this teat's suckfest.)  In case you were wondering, the US is the largest contributer to the IMF, so those are your tax dollars at work.  We'll probably be bailing out Greece, to be followed by the rest of the PIGS, after selling 200 tons of IMF (mostly US originally) Gold to India, and another 200 tons being sold soon (to China?).  Let's give all our gold away, I'm sure we can trade it for SDRs.  We're f***ed!

Or maybe (conspiracy theory alert), the banksters sold the Indians hollowed out gold bars filled w tungsten, but that's still the banking cabal f-ing some-one.http://www.zerohedge.com/article/genesis-gold-tungsten-rest-story

This is a must read for you conspiracy bugs as it gets into some of the nitty-gritty detail of involvement from Bush, Barrick, Clinton, the Banksters etc.  here

The plate belongs to Morgan Stanley Vice-Chairman Rob Kindler.  Asshole.


California ire over Borat bonds

By Spencer Jakab

Maybe Bill Lockyer not make benefit glorious state California?

Taking a page out of Greece’s playbook, the peeved treasurer of America’s largest state fired off letters this week to the chiefs of Goldman Sachs and other banks questioning their marketing of credit default swaps on California’s debt. The instruments, he complained, “wrongly brand our bonds as a greater risk than those issued by such nations as Kazakhstan.” (follow link for rest of article)


When We Could Afford the Welfare Scheme of Social Security , by Vedran Vuk

Every generation scolds the next one down the line and blames society’s ills on the guy up at bat. Considering past policy decisions, this common perspective doesn’t make much sense. Just look at the Great Depression generation, both known for its great character as well as the worst policies of the century. Clearly, older generations did not always make the best decisions.

One of those bad decisions, Social Security, still haunts America today like the grim reaper waiting to take his harvest. It’s strange to think the same men who courageously stormed the beaches of Normandy didn’t have the political courage to dismantle this ticking time bomb. If it wasn’t for WWII veterans, many believe that this article would be written in German. That might be true. But due to an exploding national debt and that generation’s failure with Social Security, we’ll be speaking Chinese sooner than German.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Could $5500 gold save the US?

Jim Rickards thinks revaluation of gold to $5500 per oz could save the US.  Mr. Rickards is quite knowledgeable about the gold market  Of course it would take more than that.  Govt fiscal restraint going forward would be necessary. Chris Powell at GATA also has these questions-

Of course Rickards' suggestion presumes 1) that the U.S. government really still has all the gold it claims to have and that there are no foreign encumbrances on it; and 2) that the U.S. government has the ability to control the gold price.

The former presumption is increasingly in doubt, what with the Federal Reserve acknowledging that it has secret gold swap agreements with foreign banks and insisting that these agreements remain concealed from the American people, to whom the gold is supposed to belong:


The latter presumption -- about the ability of the U.S. government to control the gold price -- is denied in many respectable quarters even as GATA has been complaining for 11 years that gold price control in fact long has been the first if largely surreptitious objective of U.S. government economic and foreign policy:


At its collapse in 1998 LTCM was suspected of being uncoverably short 300 or so tonnes of gold, and the risk of the gold price spike that might result from the firm's default on that gold was seen as another reason for the takeover of the firm that was frantically arranged by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Having been LTCM's counsel during the takeover, Rickards may know a lot more about gold than he's telling, which is why what he says about gold on business television programs and in written commentaries should be watched closely, and why his candid memoirs might make a best-seller -- or get him run over by the truck taking the latest load of shredded Federal Reserve records to the McLean dump.

Rickards' commentary is headlined "Debt Denial"

The sovereign debt crisis has crossed a threshold. It’s no longer about economics. It’s about math and a complex system whose dynamics tell us there is little time to avoid catastrophe and almost no exit. Going forward, elections and policies will matter less as the debt plague takes hold and dictates hard outcomes. read more

With regard to the govt's ability to set the price for gold, IMO, there is no need.  All it needs to do is enforce existing CFTC regulations, and perhaps set position limits in the futures markets, and gold will find an equilibrium price near or north of the $5500 mark.  (see many prior posts re CFTC and gold manipulation)

Gold/Silver manipulation has hit the mainstream press w the stories I've been peddling picked up by the New York Post.  JPM is suspisciously silent in this matter.  In fact, in the above article their spokesman claimed no one at JPM had ever heard of key whistleblower Andrew Maguire, which is either a blatant lie, or the spokesman was chosen specifically for his lack of knowledge of the PM trading side of JPM's business.

While I don't expect the banksters to go down w/o a fight, the exposure of their illegal behind the scenes activities to the mainstream press could spell the end of their ability to keep the gold/silver price depressed.  Both metals gapped up when far east trading began last night, but have since filled those gaps.  The gold charts look to be making an inverse head and shoulders base, any move up from here would be expected to take out old highs in gold, and at least challenge old highs in silver. 

For my sister Jennie, now would be a good time to switch out of your stock mutual funds and into gold and silver.  I wouldn't be surprised to see big moves this week, more likely to the upside, but don't discount another last ditch effort to make a bear raid.  The PM markets are very small and easy to manipulate compared to currencies.

That's all for this morning, I'm heading down to the Cardinals' home opener this afternoon.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

health news

Before we get started, I would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes. 

Let me provide some free Health advice.


March 26, 2010 (Boston, MA) – Light and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular mortality than complete abstention, in a new study of more than 245 000 US adults. Heavy drinking was not clearly associated with higher or lower risk.  Let's go tie one on...


and then drink lots of coffee and eat chocolate the next day for the hangover

March 26, 2010 (Düsseldorf, Germany) – A small study published this week points again to the beneficial effects of coffee consumption. Researchers showed that drinking coffee led to improved markers of subclinical inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)–cholesterol levels


April 1, 2010 (Nuthetal, Germany) — The largest observational study so far to examine the association between chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease has found that those who ate the most chocolate--around 7.5 g per day--had a 39% lower risk of MI and stroke than individuals who ate almost no chocolate (1.7 g per day)



and a shamelessly stolen political story-

Heaven or Hell?

While walking down the street one day, a “Member of Parliament” (or Congress) is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the man.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the MP.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises…

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

“Now it’s time to visit heaven.”

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. “I don’t understand,” stammers the MP. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning… Today you voted.”
Heaven or Hell?

While walking down the street one day, a “Member of Parliament” (or Congress) is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the man.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the MP.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises…

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

“Now it’s time to visit heaven.”

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. “I don’t understand,” stammers the MP. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning… Today you voted.”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The temperature in Hell just dipped below 32F degrees!

I agree w Robert Reich!  The blame for the current financial crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of Bob, Alan, and Larry (Moe, Larry, and Curly?), although they clearly had a lot of help, and the problems go back to the abandonment of the gold standard by Nixon in 1971, gold confiscation by FDR in 1933, and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Greenspan, Summers, and Why the Economy Is So Out of Whack

By Robert Reich - April 6, 2010, 8:48AM

I'm in the "green room" at ABC News, waiting to join a roundtable panel discussion on ABC's weekly Sunday news program, This Week.

Alan Greenspan is now being interviewed. He says he bore no responsibility for the housing bubble that catapulted the nation into a financial crisis in 2008 because no one could have known about the bubble when he chaired the Fed in the years before it burst. Larry Summers was interviewed just before Greenspan. He said the economy is expanding, that the Administration is doing everything it can to bring jobs back, and that the regulatory reform bills moving on the Hill will prevent another financial crisis.

What?  read on

And now Mainstream Media, current adminstration, congress, and most of the American sheeple call on the same MORONS who got us into this mess to save us?  Greenspan drones on, on This Week, citing obscure stats and other pabulum to convince us that the worst is over.  Really?  I invite my readers to find a single person who can understand and translate Greenie's obfuscacademic claptrap anyway.  Please direct your attn to the middle of the above made up word- "CA-CA"

Yes, the graph above clearly shows the recovery has begun.

But is there something going on behind the scenes?  Is Greenspan secretly waging a war on the banking Cabal and delibrately destroying paper money and the banking system?  Bix Weir has been claiming this w his Road to Roota theory.  It's a little far-fetched, but certainly has some likable aspects to it.  His latest post-

Alan Greenspan testifies before the Angelides Commission about the causes of the financial crisis. Even though he will be under oath I'm sure that the commission has been coached with their script to ask those softball questions that Greenspan can babble for hours about. Congressmen make lousy actors.

...but what if someone else got to ask the questions? And what if Greenspan actually told THE REAL TRUTH this time? The truth that only a few people in the world know!


No real news from the CFCT hearings on Gold manipulation, but plenty of commentary.  It seems more and more sceptics are being persuaded by the clear evidence of manipulation presented at these hearings.

Is Your Safe Haven a House of Cards?
Commentary: Gold-conspiracy theories go mainstream

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Father

My father died Easter Sunday. He will be missed.

Dr. Edward Richard Graviss, pediatric radiologist at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, died April 4 at the age of 67, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Graviss was born in Philadelphia, PA and received both his BS and MD from the University of Louisville. He was an intern at Philadelphia General Hospital, and a resident and fellow in radiology at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. He was a professor in the Department of Radiology and the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at St. Louis University as well as Professor of Radiology at University of Missouri-Kansas City. For a number of years, Dr. Graviss was the Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Cardinal Glennon.

Dr. Graviss was active in professional organizations, including The Radiological Society of North America, the International Congress of Radiology, the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society, the Missouri State Radiological Society, and the American College of Radiology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Roentgen Ray Society, and the Society for Pediatric Radiology. He was a board examiner for the American Board of Radiology. He was responsible for over fifty publications and over 90 scientific presentations.

Devoted to his family and profession, Dick was also an avid tennis player, active in the USTA and the West County Tennis Ladder. A recent convert to scuba diving, Dick and his wife Joan traveled frequently to Roatan, Honduras, where they own a home. Dick was an adventurous traveler, accomplished skier, lover of fine wines, and enthusiastic gardener.

Dr. Graviss is survived by his wife of 47 years, Joan (nee Leeds), three children: Dr. Christopher Graviss (Beth), Jeannette Graviss (Chris Dornfeld) both of University City, and Melissa Graviss (Jim Farber) of San Francisco; five granddaughters: Margaret Lindsay Graviss, Madeline Graviss Dornfeld, Alexandra Graviss Dornfeld, Ella Rose Marie Graviss, and Lauren Elizabeth Graviss, all of University City; one sister: Julia Hatton of Orlando, Florida; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Dr. Graviss donated his body to the St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Former diving teammate and college roommate Spencer Rogers writes-

I found this interesting.

I wonder how many millions, by comparison, are pumped into media campaigns warning of climate change (anthropogenic or other) and what special interests might gain from one.

I haven't seen that much of Rachel Maddow, we don't lie very close to one another on the political spectrum.  I find her somewhat entertaining.  In the infotainment field, is she the left's answer to Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck?  She seems to be a little to the left of Eleanor Clift.
I don't know if you had a chance to see the video link on that subject from the other day....Jesse Ventura puts the SMACKDOWN on the AGW conspiracy.

In the above clip, Rachel gets indignant over 23 million dollars spent over a few years from Koch industries to fund global warming skeptics.  Let's look at some of the money spent on the war against Carbon.

Climate Science: follow the money

Government monopsony distorts climate science, says SPPI
The climate industry is costing taxpayers $79 billion and counting
Washington, DC 7/22/2009 09:12 PM GMT from TransWorldNews

The Science and Public Policy Institute announces the publication of Climate Money, a study by Joanne Nova revealing that the federal Government has a near-monopsony on climate science funding. This distorts the science towards self-serving alarmism. Some Excerpts:

The US Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Most of this spending was unnecessary.

Despite the billions wasted, audits of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of “global warming” theory and to compete with a lavishly-funded, highly-organized climate monopsony. Major errors have been exposed again and again.

Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks, which profit most, are calling for more. Experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 – $10 trillion in the near future. Hot air will soon be the largest single commodity traded on global exchanges.

Meanwhile in a distracting sideshow, Exxon‐Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying a grand total of $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government has put in, and less than one five‐thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the single year of 2008.

Read the entire report here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bix Weir dollar destruction update

Conspiracy theory that's a little out there, but interesting none the less.  Its linked under my section on conspiracy theories.  Barney Frank and Dianne Feinstein as good guys?  I haven't fact checked everything he's written, and at least in this article he references JFK exec order 11110 related to his assasination, which most of us experienced conspiracy theory explorers have debunked.