WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Happy New Year!


Song by request from Caz

Good luck with that

Fed discusses limited bond sales to withdraw stimulus

Yeah, right.

China has wised up and ain't buying any more just as Timmy the Tax Cheat needs to issue trillions in new debt to pay for Obama's reckless spending spree. And you think Zimbabwe Ben is going to jack long rates by selling Treasuries (at a significant loss) into a no-bid market?

And while we're on the Dollar Destruction Crew, be sure to check out the Fed's Greatest Hits of 2009 at Jr. Deputy Accountant.

Hard-hitting business journalism

I'm addicted to this song



Wandering the awesome wilds at archive.org, I found this crazy high-energy beat from Use To Abuse, a Bavarian rock band with a punk flavor.

Get the free mp3 here.

The nerve of some people


Things are tough enough as it is...I sure don't want to be in dire need.

Yale out-sissies Harvard

Yale's pansy students and pantywaist administrators decided political correctness had to win out over humor, college rivalry, and literary reference. They banned T-shirts quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, "I think of all Harvard men as sissies."

I guess they were worried that Sissy-Americans (or is it "courage-challenged"?) would be offended to be associated with Harvard.

If churning out douchebags like John Kerry and George W. Bush is not enough reason to keep your kids far away from Yale, this ought to be.

HT: Instapundit.

Why Capital is Doomed (It's the Financials, Stupid)


Damnit, I haven't had to use this picture
since the "stress tests"
it's warranted here. You'll see.



Listen, despite the name (I know, "Jr Deputy Accountant" might be misleading but wtf did you think the "Jr" was?!), I'm not an accountant, I just play one on TV.

I can calculate earnings per share and I've endorsed more than one accounting book. I'm written into an Auditing and Attestation textbook as "Gonzalez and Gonzalez, CPAs" but that's just because my boss isn't that creative. I don't have a CPA, I just train them. I love every second of it and in three years with my company, I've devoured all of it, even the really really boring parts of BEC that delve into variance analysis. zzzzzzz

Anyway. This is worth paying attention to and you don't have to be an accountant to figure out what it means for the rest of America's capital. If we have a snowball's chance in hell of making out of the financial crisis alive, we've got to prove that our financial statements are worthy of investor money. That's it. No one buys it and that's why Ben Bernanke is the only one plugging money into financials that normally wouldn't stand a chance.

Point is, it's really obvious and you don't need three letters after your name to figure out why this might be a problem. OMG! It's, like, material!

But then you have the auditors, like our friends at KPMG, happy to play accomplice to the scam. You may have missed the whole thing about Overstock.com having to restate financials. You might have even missed it when they got "fired" by their former auditors and commenced to bitchfighting. But please, please don't miss KPMG picking up the crumbs and swooping in to "save" Overstock. And you wonder why foreign investors don't want to put a dime (or krona or rupee or WTFever) into us?

When looking for crime it's best to consult with the crooks, that's why JDA endorses our friend, criminal and former Crazy Eddie CFO Sam Antar. Hell, he's been on Overstock's nuts forever and if anyone knows a cooked balance sheet.... He had this to say about KPMG's latest audit client (via Going Concern):

KPMG is taking a client with no management integrity and is well advised to study SAS No. 99 about “Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit” regarding the unethical “tone at the top” set by Overstock.com’s unprincipled management team. Every single initial financial report for every reporting period issued by Overstock.com has failed to comply with GAAP and other SEC disclosure rules since the company’s inception. Overstock.com has restated its financial reports two times in the last three years and now is trying to avoid a third restatement of financial reports resulting from its improper use of “cookie jar” reserves to inflate its financial performance from Q4 2008 to Q3 2009.
LOL! Good luck with that, KPMG.

Some other KPMG winners include Citigroup (you can find a full list of banks and their respective auditors here, useful when the s^%t starts hitting the fan, as it were) and that whole UBS tax shelter thing.

Like I said, you don't need the letters to get it. Hell, there aren't even numbers involved, sweartoGod. Obvious. It's the financials, stupid!

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is an Extremist

He's a suspect and extremist but not a terrorist. Wouldn't be politically correct to call him that. From CNN on Obama's speech:
"It's been widely reported that the father of the suspect in the Christmas incident warned U.S. officials in Africa about his son's extremist views," Obama said. "It now appears that weeks ago, this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect's name on a no-fly list."
...
"Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence, and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged," Obama said. "The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America."

He praised the dedication and professionalism of U.S. intelligence services, crediting them with saving the lives of Americans every day. But he added that the inability to take proper action on "information on a known extremist" showed the system had failed.
"God darnit, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore."

Does it bother anyone else, especially any other teabaggers, that MaObama uses the same term to describe a terrorist and teabagger? The population has elected a real doozy this time.

HT: Be John Galt

How to make TSA even worse? Unionize them, of course!

As Congress and the Dept of Homeland Security ponder the key question of how it can make the Transportation Security Administration any worse, it has apparently come up with a fool-proof answer:

Let's Unionize TSA workers!

I kid not. Napalotino wants to unionize them, and so does Obama's nominee to head the TSA, Erroll Southers. Republican DeMint has so far blocked the nomination until Southers gives his opinion about Unionization of TSA workers.

From Washington Examiner:
The flexibility that DeMint speaks of is crucial. After a British airliner bombing plot was uncovered in 2006, the TSA overhauled security procedures in a matter of 12 hours to deal with the threat of liquid explosives. It's difficult to imagine that kind of flexibility under ossified union rules.
From the Hill:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has placed a hold on Southers's nomination and has said he wants answers from Southers on whether he'll support unionizing TSA workers. DeMint views unionization as a potential threat to the agency's ability to swiftly perform security upgrades at airports, and has described the failed attack in Detroit as an example of why unionization of TSA should not be allowed.

But Thompson says that the agency needs an administrator to run at full capacity.

"If TSA is to become the kind of nimble, responsive organization the American people deserve in times like this, it will need a Senate-confirmed administrator," he said. "If nothing else, the events of last week highlighted this lack of leadership."

GMAC Asking for More

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- GMAC Inc., the home and auto lender, is discussing with the Obama administration an additional aid package of about $3 billion to $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Yup, GMAC, that is a worthless turd is going to be bailed out by our communist overlord again. And I'm sure not for the last time. Because America stands for failure, supports failure and encourages failure. Maobama LOVES failure. The more failure he props up, the more party members he acquires.

But remember kids, if you want an AWESOME CD return of a whopping 1.84%, look no further than Ally Bank - the bank that openly lies about not being GMAC. I just wish they'd call those CDs what they really are: t-bills.

CFA Exam - Mars Edition

'Ethical practices by investment professionals benefit all market participants and stakeholders and lead to increased investor confidence in global capital markets. Clients are reassured that the investment professional they hire have the clients best interest in mind and investment professionals benefit from the "reputational capital" such integrity generates. Ethical practices instill a public trust in the fairness of markets, allowing them to function efficiently. In short, good ethics is a fundamental requirement of the investment profession.'

~Ethical and Professional Standards, CFA Curriculum Level 1

Three comebacks for that unintentional comedy:
1. I didn't realize the CFA institute had such a great sense of humor!
2. Which planet are they certifying for? Certainly not Earth.
3. I think Goldman Sachs ought to get a CFA charterholder or 2 on staff.

The Fed's "Exit Strategy" for Total Idiots (Like the Fed)




Sorry, I tried to come up with a clever title but there's really no other way to phrase it. This is what I waited months for? This is what I'm supposed to get butterflies in my Fedbashing little tummy for?! Please, this is pathetic.

So. Here's the big plan, the big stupid stinking plan to sop up all of that liquidity our buddy Zimbabwe Ben splurted all over the place I've been waiting forever for (via the Board of Governors):

The Federal Reserve Board on Monday proposed amendments to Regulation D (Reserve Requirements of Depository Institutions) that would enable the establishment of a term deposit facility.

Under the proposal, the Federal Reserve Banks would offer interest-bearing term deposits to eligible institutions through an auction mechanism. Term deposits would be one of several tools that the Federal Reserve could employ to drain reserves to support the effective implementation of monetary policy.


If this isn't a Bad Bank for filthy Fed money, I'm not sure what is.

It gets funnier. The Fed claims that this "vehicle" (or "facility" or whatever stupid ass acronym it calls this Filthy Fed Bad Bank for Fake ZimBen Dollars) will not affect monetary policy. The Fed has an interest-bearing vacuum plugged directly into the vault and has the audacity to claim this does not affect monetary policy.

That right there should be a raging red flag pointing to the fact that these guys are clueless.

If they are not lying, it means they're idiots. A readjustment in their balance sheet of that size should most certainly factor into monetary policy as dollars (the "monetary unit" here, duh) are involved and a critical component to that balance sheet. WTF makes them think staving off inflation using some really wacky central bank tactics never tested in the wild isn't a factor in monetary policy? It would really be useful for the Fed to have this piece of information. Someone shoot them an email. Nevermind, I will.

If they are lying, well, that's sort of expected. If this is the best plan they could come up with as an "exit strategy", imagine what kinds of ideas they didn't go with. I almost prefer the scenario that paints the Fed like a bunch of lying asshats, at least in that one they know what they are doing. I fear that's fantasy and they're running blind. At least if they're lying, they understand the risks and will adjust monetary policy accordingly, just without letting us know. Oh please, who are you kidding anymore?

A commitment to as low as possible interest rates until doomsday and a Western Union payday loan-esque operation paying interest on money that the banks were supposed to loan out in the first place? I'm beyond confused. And pretty ill. If this is the best they've got, we really are doomed.

TSA: We're Here to Help!

The TSA sucks. Please, let me express my family's experience from yesterday's flight out of O'Hare(ORD).
  1. Me, wifey, 3 year old and 3 month old arrive at ORD at 6AM for a 7:50 flight and check in.
  2. We head to nearest TSA checkpoint noted in the diagram below and get into the preliminary line. This is the line where they determine if you are in the right place, check your ID and shuffle you into the appropriate queue. This is nice because families get to go into a special line after this step.
  3. We are about 10 people away from our first handler who would then presumably send us into the family line; and there are about 40 people behind us. Then all of the sudden a TSA official muckedy-muck comes up and orders the line closed. Why? Because there is a TSA checkpoint noted in the diagram below that is empty. Therefore to "help out" the entire population in line we are ordered to the alternative checkpoint AT THE OTHER END OF THE TERMINAL.
  4. When I ask the official why, he literally yells at me in disgust because WHY WOULDN'T I WANT TO GO TO AN EMPTY CHECKPOINT. No seriously, he yells at me. When I say I'd like to stay HE YELLS AT ME SOME MORE, YELLS ABSOLUTELY NOT and then walks away in disgust; the checkpoint remains closed.
  5. Now those with a non-TSA intellect will have realized that moving at speed to maintain that 10th position in line is difficult WITH A 3 YEAR OLD AND AN INFANT! So we went from 10th in line to 50th in line after walking across the terminal SO IT WOULD BE MORE CONVENIENT FOR US!
  6. When I looked back halfway across the terminal, they had re-opened the original checkpoint. We didn't go back because I think I would have been arrested for expressing my freedom of speech. I know my wife would have been.
* The 2 TSA checkpoints in between were loaded to the gills so we didn't think it was worth it to stop at them. I mean there's an empty checkpoint right!?!?

So the TSA helped me out by extending my checkpoint time by about 25 minutes by making me walk across the terminal with 2 kids and shorting the amount of time I could get food for my family.

But don't worry, Obamacare is going to be totally different....

A Brief History of Air Terrorism in the United States, 2001-present

pre-2001: Some bad dudes are busy cooking up a scheme to hijack airplanes and smash them into U.S. buildings. FBI agents in the Minnesota office report suspicions to their higher-ups in D.C. Incompetent/corrupt officials drop the ball.

Sep 2001: Dudes smash planes into WTC and Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000.

Oct 2001: U.S. invades Afghanistan, ostensibly to capture Osama Bin Laden.

2002: FBI threatens and intimidates agent who points out the agency's ineptitude (see above link). By year-end, 70 coalition troops and ~5000 Afghan civilians are dead. No sign of Osama.

March 2003: With the "War on Terror" in full swing, U.S. invades Iraq, ostensibly to seize weapons of mass destruction. Year-end: no sign of WMD.

2002-2009. TSA adds an array of security enhancements and travel restrictions. Cumulatively, more than 6,000 American deaths in war, hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilian deaths.

Dec 25, 2009. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boards a U.S.-bound plane with high explosives but in a fortunate fluke fails to detonate them.

Dec 27, 2009. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: "One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked."

That about says it all

If a terrorist disguises a bomb as a check-in kiosk, TSA will be right there on top of it.

Ruh-roh Remocrats

From National Review:
And the wind is changing. The problem is this: The Democrats over-read the mandate in the election of '08. They assumed it was for great change of American social policy and making America into a kind of European social democracy — radical changes in health care, energy, and in education.

That was not what happened in '08. It was rejection of the Bush administration, a weariness of war, and the rejection of an administration at a time of economic collapse. It was nothing more. They [the Democrats] overreached. They have tried to push a centrist country to the left, and [therefore] they're going to lose a lot of seats in the November election.

Christmas Eve Surprise: Obama nationalizes entire US mortgage market to create permanent power base

Business Insider: Obama plans to permanently nationalize the GSEs and use them as vehicles to bail out deadbeat homedebtors at taxpayer expense. Not only will he not wind down the zombie companies, he will massively expand them so that they will buy up the entire mortgage market as the Dirty Fed winds down its purchases.

Folks, get your hands on some tangible assets whether it be gold, real estate, farmland, or commodity stockpiles. Obama has just announced that he will destroy the dollar and the U.S. Government to bail out Wall Street.

UPDATE: Because Obama now directly controls the entire US residential mortgage market, he'll be able to dictate who can build housing, where it can be built, and what type of housing will be built. And he'll be able to extract enormous political contributions from the industry to keep his corrupt regime in power. Wall Street Pit

Here we go again

As usual, the TSA has to act like it's doing something useful, so we've already been promised "heightened security measures" in response to the latest bomber wanna-be.

First the inept shoe bomber made all of us take off our shoes; then the inept liquid bombers made us ditch all our liquids. Now Inepto #3 mixes up ingredients mid-flight, and presumably that's the end of flying with "stuff" or "material."

It's been said before but I'll say it again. The TSA is a mammoth, monstrous joke, offering an illusory security at a cost of billions annually--to say nothing of the toll in dignity and freedom.

Crowds will always be susceptible to mass murderers. Ask Israel. Why we fixate on this fraud of airline security is a mystery; even if it did become effective, we would then have to create a new TSA for every bus line, movie theater, shopping mall, and stadium.

One idea I've tossed around my head is that the TSA makes a convenient repository for tens of thousands of marginally employable stooges, who otherwise would be bloating the unemployment rolls. So, if you want to chalk up your Sep. 11 security fee to charity and economic stimulus, feel free. But if you think it's making you safer, well, as the scholarly might say: LOLOLOL.

Your government at work

... letting known terrorists fly with explosives while making little old ladies take off their shoes and unwrap their Christmas presents.

I can't wait until these people are running our health care!

Bill Gross: Bernanke hates old people and wants them to eat Alpo so Goldman Sachs can pay record bonuses

He said it, not me:
“What the average citizen doesn’t explicitly understand is that a significant part of the government’s plan to repair the financial system and the economy is to pay savers nothing and allow damaged financial institutions to earn a nice, guaranteed spread,” said William H. Gross, co-chief investment officer of the Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco.

Oh wait, I did say it. But now Bill Gross agrees with me.

But before we get all warm and fuzzy about Bill Gross, look at his next comment:
“It’s capitalism, I guess, but it’s not to be applauded.”

Exsqueeze me? What the f&^@ do central planners manipulating interest rates for the benefit of the politically connected wealthy have to do with capitalism?!?

Bill Gross is an asshat.

HT: Calculated Risk

Timmy the Tax Cheat hands blank check to Fannie and Freddie

Nice how that little weasel released this on Christmas Eve when nobody was looking.

Treasury takes $400 billion limit off, promises to throw infinite amounts of money down black holes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

If Fannie and Freddie are just conduits for the government to spend hundreds of billions trying to re-inflate the housing bubble, why the hell do we have to pay the CEOs $6 million each? Any government bureaucrat could do just as good a job losing money by guaranteeing bad mortgages.

HT: Housing Doom

The gift of free music

One of the most brilliant resources on the Internets is archive.org, which compiles all sorts of music, audio books, and other media that you can stream and download free and legally.

Happen to like Dylan, Jerry, and the like? Check out this show:
Jackie Greene live at Fairytale Town

I fought the law and I won



Smuggling wrapped Christmas presents through TSA.

Good thing Mrs. V didn't ask for C-4 this year!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who post, comment, and read here and make this a fun place (for me anyway!) to exchange ideas and gripe about vampire squid, orange midgets, fascists, the Dirty Fed, and hypovehiculation.

May 2010 hold good things in store for you and your family.

New Chain of Government-Run Discount Stores Announced

You're dying to know; Where is Obama putting these government run stores? It's a realistic headline these days, isn't it? And it is real. I bet you didn't even bat an eye. You wake up, turn on your news medium of choice you think, "let's see, what else has I-bama taken over today?" I know. Me too! We're all so nicely conditioned/assimilated. I can't wait until there are no more old people around who remember how much freedom there used to be here. With such good memories of freedom, they'll never vote for the right thing; expansion of government. Thank goodness there's rationing now. It ensures that the day when there's no one around who remembers the experience of real American liberty will come sooner than later.


So where are these government-run stores opening up? First, you won't believe where they're not opening up (yet); Amerika! No, really. No government stores here, yet (aren't our politicians just so lazy? I mean, it's fine to not read the bills before voting, but Congress could instead get to work and put up some government-run discount stores, already!) At least someone is on the ball in Venezuela. They're doing the right thing for "the party" down there.


Yup, down in Venezuela, Obama is opening up brand new….I mean…sorry….Chavez is opening up a chain of government-run discount "Socialist stores". He is totally putting Oba-Mao to shame. You lazy, lazy president/chairman O!


President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday announced a new chain of government-run, cut-rate retail stores that will sell everything from food to cars to clothing from places such as China, Argentina and Bolivia.

"We're creating Comerso, meaning Socialist Corporation of Markets," Chavez said at the opening of a "socialist" fast-food location for traditional Venezuelan arepas (cornbread).

"They'll see what's good. We'll show them what a real market is all about, not those speculative, money-grubbing markets, but a market for the people," said Chavez in his drive to change Venezuela from a market-based economy to a socialist one.

Merry Xmas Eve Eve + Santa Ends the Fed


WCV actually "modified" this
and it's pretty much perfect.



I'm going to get really squishy here for a second and introduce myself. WCV links to me all the time so most of you know who I am but I finally offered to write here (sorry, I'm late in asking) and WCV was totally down. Of course. You sort of do that for someone who offers to push you past the SF Fed with an offensive sign in a wheelchair 40 years from now. Jr Deputy Accountant shows up here all the time, might as well just show up and write every now and then.

WC Varones once said I'd ventured into the Heart of Darkness and if anyone knows just how deep, it's him. I'll try to be your official Fed correspondent and here's to hoping no one cuts me while I'm reporting back from enemy lines.

Promise not to swear. If you want that, you have to come to my sandbox. A little birdie told me WCV is anal about F-bombs (why am I here again?) so I'll try to control myself.




Anyway, now that we got that out of the way, Merry f&*^ing Christmas if you celebrate it. I've been injected with "The Spirit" lately but more with $2.99 LED battery-powered lights from Walgreens and glitter antlers than burning out the credit card I don't have. In case you guys didn't hear, things stopped looking up a bit ago and while that's sad, it's reality. You can call it the government machine chugging out if you want to, it feels like "normalization" to me and if that's not a reason to bust out some blinking lights for your (about to be more expensive) commute, I don't know what is.

There's a lot to be grateful for. I still have a job. I get to do a lot of amazing things. I got to flip off the Fed Board of Governors over the summer in DC. That's something to be proud of.

But something is really wrong here. I hate to have to point it out but it's not for Tim Geithner to tell us that everything is under control. He is like the alley cat that doesn't know where it will find its next meal, sniffing around whatever is dumb enough to feed the strays.

Anyway, in the spirit of the holidays, here's my list of demands for Santa. Ending the Fed is a good start but I'm cool with any sort of neutering, cauterizing, tying up, or otherwise reigning in of the Fed. I'm not a picky girl.

U. of Chicago Law Prof. Epstein on Health Bill's inner scheme to eliminate private Insurance

From the Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2009:
Harry Reid Turns Insurance Into a Public Utility

The health bill creates a massive cash crunch and then bankruptcies for many insurers.

As Harry Reid's 2,000 page health-care bill is being rammed through the Senate, most of the public debate has been focused on its expanded coverage, its now defunct public option, and its high taxes. Lost in the shuffle has been its intensely coercive requirements on health insurance issuers, especially in the individual and small group markets. Taken together, these restrictions are likely to drive them out of business and run afoul of the constitutional guarantee that all regulated industries have to a reasonable, risk-adjusted, rate of return on their invested capital.

[...]

At this point, the Reid bill is on a collision course with the Constitution. I take it for granted that, constitutionally, the federal government could not just require all private health insurers to liquidate tomorrow, without compensation.

What's done here is a close second. The inexorable squeeze between the constricted revenue sources allowable that insurers get under the Reid bill and the extensive and uncertain new legal obligations it imposes is likely to result in a massive cash-flow crunch that will drive the firms in the individual and small-group health insurance markets into speedy bankruptcy. The Supreme Court should apply the constitutional brakes to this foolhardy scheme if Congress doesn't come to its senses first.
Click on over and read the whole thing.

Happy Festivus!

... from Temple of MUT, and I echo the sentiments.

Your War on Drugs at work

Hit Men Kill Mexican Hero's Family:
More than a dozen hit men carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles burst into a house in eastern Mexico around midnight Monday, gunning down several relatives of 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo, the 30-year-old who was hailed as a national hero last week after being killed in a battle that left drug lord Arturo Beltrán Leyva dead. Mr. Angulo's mother, aunt, a sister and a brother were killed in the attack Tuesday.

Another sister was badly wounded and remained in critical condition, according to Rafael González, the attorney general of Tabasco, the Gulf Coast state where the shootings took place.

Every time you vote for a politician who supports Prohibition, you're contributing to the senseless violence.

No Prohibition, no excess profits. No excess profits, no drug wars.
A special selection for Chairman Varones, who might well have written one of the questions. Warning: foul language.

It's the leverage, stupid!

Here's an old Skeptical CPA column where ex-Fedster Bob McTeer argues that it's just so mean to make the banks accurately mark the value of their assets on their balance sheets. If we just let everyone use fantasy valuations, everyone can be rich!

Mark-to-market isn't the problem. Excess leverage is the problem. If home buyers were required to put 20% down on legitimate appraisals, and banks had to keep reasonable leverage ratios like 10x on sound portfolios, bank capital could absorb the modest mark-to-market writedowns. And there wouldn't be big markdowns in the first place, because there wouldn't be giant asset bubbles periodically imploding.

Tuesday arvo linkies

Kumar strikes again: White House texts/e-mails MSNBC hosts live during show to complain about guests.

ObamaCare: in cartoons and pictures.

JDA takes on former Dallas FedHead and current ZB supporter Bob McTeer. "Hard money populist." I'll wear that label.

On Lenin, Rather, and Internet truths

This may come as a rude surprise, but much of what you read on the Internet is no more truthful than a White House press conference or a CBS news story.

There's an excellent alleged Lenin quote that would be highly appropriate for our current circumstances. It's widely reported around the Internets as legit:
The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
Sadly, it may be, in the now-familiar phrase, "fake but accurate."

The most authoritative source I can find (during a commericial break of Family Guy) on a similar quote casts doubt on a lot of what was attributed to Lenin.



(How ironic that Keynes ended up implementing the Lenin millstones by laying his idea of omniscient and benevolent politicians and bureaucrats perfectly taming the business cycle as the theoretical groundwork that paved the way for Greenspan and Bernanke to crush the bourgeoisie!)

When the politicians, the media, and now even the Internets will lie to you, what's a boy to do?

Don't take any wooden nickels, kiddos, and always wear a Snopes.

Your California higher education institutions at work

A review on RateMyProfessors.com of an English class:
Spent way to much time working on English essays and neglected other classes and still received a B-. Office hours are useless. If you expect higher then a B, your going to have to read and pass the quizzes. Grades way to difficult on everything.

Yeah, it's Riverside, but it's still part of the allegedly prestigious UC system. If I had a high school sophomore who wrote like that I'd encourage him to brush up on his "Would you like fries with that?"

Inflation or default?

I write about this topic a lot, because it is the single most important question facing investors deciding on asset allocation. It also will have a direct bearing on the form and severity of the coming social and political troubles.

There are two ways out of the U.S. debt crisis: printing or defaulting. I've leaned toward believing the Fed/Treasury/bankster complex would choose inflation for a couple reasons:

1) It's not as sudden or dramatic as default so the politicians and Fedheads think the consequences will be less severe (not that they've thought that far ahead yet; but that's what they'll think when they get to that point).

2) The powerful get richer (see Goldman Sachs during the Reign of Terror of Zimbabwe Ben) as their highly leveraged asset holdings skyrocket in price, and inflation steals from the asset-poor working and middle classes.

Prior posts touching on this include The Slow Puncture (November 2007) and What Comes Next (Oct 2008).

But today I belatedly (it's an August article) came across a thought-provoking contrary opinion by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, who says default on U.S. Treasuries is likely. We agree that taxes and spending cuts cannot be sufficient to service the debt, but Hummel thinks inflation won't work either. His conclusion:
It is not literally impossible that the Federal Reserve could unleash the Zimbabwe option and repudiate the national debt indirectly through hyperinflation, rather than have the Treasury repudiate it directly. But my guess is that, faced with the alternatives of seeing both the dollar and the debt become worthless or defaulting on the debt while saving the dollar, the U.S. government will choose the latter. Treasury securities are second-order claims to central-bank-issued dollars. Although both may be ultimately backed by the power of taxation, that in no way prevents government from discriminating between the priority of the claims. After the American Revolution, the United States repudiated its paper money and yet successfully honored its debt (in gold). It is true that fiat money, as opposed to a gold standard, makes it harder to separate the fate of a government's money from that of its debt. But Russia in 1998 is just one recent example of a government choosing partial debt repudiation over a complete collapse of its fiat currency.
And Hummel thinks default is not only what will happen, but what we should do:
To be clear, I am not denying that a Treasury default might be accompanied by some inflation. Inflationary expectations, along with the fact that part of the monetary base is now de facto government debt, can link the fates of government debt and government money. This is all the more reason for the United States to try to break the link and maintain the second financial firewall. We still may end up with the worst of both worlds: outright Treasury default coupled with serious inflation. I am simply denying that such inflation will forestall default.
Read the whole thing. And don't you EVER buy a security backed by the full faith and credit of Timmy the Tax Cheat and Zimbabwe Ben.

HT: Henry Blodget via Repudiate the Debt.

Vive le Bubble

Presidential Triptych

Found this for sale on my flight yesterday in the Skymall catalog. It looks lovely:

The Ponzi Economy Illustrated

At Market-Ticker.

Congratulations

Here's a delightful video of one Dallas Cowboy celebrating another's touchdown.

Taxi!

Whenever you see a sports car or Hummer painted this color, wave your arm to get the driver's attention and yell, "Taxi!" They love it.

The worst poker player in the world

Yellowman here on the left dropped $1500 in a couple hours at a 1-3 table at the Palms on Friday night. He raised just about every hand by absurd amounts, and was systematically picked off by people who had real hands, or at least something better than 10 high. One memorable hand saw him raise 300 on the river. His opponent thought long and hard before calling with 4th pair. Opponent won.

The weird thing was that he dressed like a competent grinder, headphones and all, and was not drunk. Must be a trustafarian.

Caption Contest!


Leave yours in the comments.

Tell my secretary I ain't takin' any calls

Dems to people with pre-existing conditions: Drop Dead!

... unless you can survive until 2014 when we'll cover you.
Starting immediately, insurers would be prohibited from denying children coverage for pre-existing conditions. A complete ban on the practice would take effect in 2014, when the legislation seeks to create a network of state-based insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where people who lack access to affordable coverage through an insurer can purchase policies.

The Republicans have publicly offered to fix pre-existing conditions immediately if the Democrats just drop the 2000+ page backroom deal monstrosity and start over. Why not take them up on that?

And with no Teleprompter. How novel!

Over 1 million views on youtube. Goin' viral, and I can see why.

highlights:

1)"We got tricked in 2008! But we're gonna take Saul Alynski's rules for radicals, and we're gonna turn it on them, and we're gonna drive it through them, and take this country back."

2) "If we are not willing to take a stand right now, and take this country back and put it on the right track, with the principles and values it was established upon, you're complicit! It's your fault, your fault, and your fault! It's ok to come here and cheerlead. But you better get your butts out there and understand it's a fight! And you better be willing to fight for this country!"


I think this guy's been ghost-writing my posts behind my back.

GOP activist mocks Grayson on website. Grayson asks Attorney General to Jail her.

Democrat Congressman Grayson (Orlando, Florida), who does well when facing Bernanke, is otherwise obviously a fascist leftist. He has now requested that the Attorney General Eric Holder put a GOP activist who is criticizing him in his Florida campaign, in jail for 5 years!

What did the evil Republican activist do to deserve a 5 year sentence without a trial? She put up a website, mycongressmanisnuts.com, that parodies Mr. Grayson as it tries to raise funds for the campaign against him. It seems criticizing a Democrat is illegal in Obama-land.

The biggest shock to me was that the domain name mycongressmanisnuts.com wasn't previously taken! With the Congress we've been subjected to since the dawn of the domain-selling era, I would've guessed mycongressmanisnuts.com would be one of the most in demand and expensive names possible. Yet anti-Grayson activist Angie Langley was able to grab it. That's just 1 more sign that the American citizens have been asleep at the ballot box!

But wait, you might think Democratic Congressman Grayson's complaint has some legal validity. After all, Angie Langley doesn't live in Grayson's district, so certainly she can't legally be allowed to own a website named mycongressmanisnuts.com, can she? See Mr. Grayson's perfectly reasonable stance in his own words:

“Ms. Langley has deliberately masqueraded as a constituent of mine, in order to try to create the false appearance that she speaks for constituents who don’t support me,” writes Grayson. “[She] has chosen a name for her committee that is utterly tasteless and juvenile.”


Mr. Grayson's never said anything utterly tasteless or juvenile, like saying "the Republicans health plan is to hope you die quickly."

Uh-oh! Timmy's in trouble!

Congress is pissed about Timmy the Tax Cheat's illegal $38 billion gift to Citigroup.
A House subcommittee said Thursday that it will investigate the Treasury Department's decision to change a long-standing law so that Citigroup could keep billions of dollars in tax breaks.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) called Treasury's action a "farce" and an "outrage" during a hearing Thursday of the domestic policy subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Kucinich, the subcommittee chairman, said that he would demand an explanation from Treasury officials.

"This committee is not going to rest until we've examined this last deal threadbare, until we have spoken to every individual associated with it, examined every communication related to it, with every person that may have had an interest in it, or who may have had some kind of a channel of influence," Kucinich said.

You don't write the laws, Timmy. You are supposed to enforce the laws that Congress writes. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

Drunk 4-year-old in drag steals Christmas presents

Chattanooga, Tennessee:
A 4-year-old boy, beer in hand, is accused of stealing Christmas presents from his neighbors. It's a strange story, but also a sad one.

April Wright is 21 years old and is going through a divorce with her husband who is in jail. She says she is not sure how her 4-year-old managed to get out of the house, open a beer, and steal the neighbors presents from under their tree. Now she's just glad he's okay and says she won't let it happen again.

The child, Hayden Wright, was found around 1:45 am Tuesday, wandering the streets of his neighborhood. In a police reports, officers said he was wearing a little girl's dress and drinking a beer. The police report says the child had to taken to the hospital to be treated for alcohol consumption.

BWP



This guy got busted for Bicycling While Poor in Carmel Valley. Carmel Valley may be a bunch of overpriced tract homes on tiny lots with freeway noise, but the cops are as fascist as you'd find in your finest gated community.

Citigroup and the Zimbabwe Ben school of capital structures

Yesterday, Citigroup issued 6.5 billion new shares. That brings the total shares outstanding to around 29.4 billion.

Citigroup's total shares outstanding at the end of last year? 5.45 billion. That's right: Citigroup printed more shares yesterday alone than there were in the entire company at the end of last year. And every share you held last year now represents less than 1/5 as much ownership now as it did then.

Zimbabwe Ben could take a lesson. He's only tripled the Fed's balance sheet.

Meanwhile, Timmy the Tax Cheat canceled plans to sell the government stake in Citigroup because he didn't want to face headlines about losing money for the taxpayers, even with fraudulent numbers that omit the $38 billion gift given to Citi by Treasury/IRS without the authorization of Congress.

So like a loser down more than he can afford to lose at the blackjack tables, Timmy is going to let it ride and hope his luck changes instead of cutting his losses and walking away. Only it's not his money; it's ours.

Obama sends secret letter to Kim Jong Il: Contents Leaked

Obama sends secret letter to North Korean leader. The contents (below) have been leaked.

Dear Mr. Il (or is it Mr. Kim?),
I have always been a great admirer of you, and also of your father's work. Therefore, it is an honor to finally write to you, one Head of State to another.

As our mutual network has surely informed you by now, I am currently engaged in a large-scale endeavor in my country, the nature of which is similar enough to your father's work that I couldn't put off writing this letter any longer. Simply put, I seek some advice.

So far, I've made a good deal of progress. I've successfully co-opted large sectors of our rotting free-market system, and I'm leveraging their power to build a stronger foundation for the next stages. I've dabbled in trying to get our citizens to turn each other in if they speak ill of my agenda (but I have to admit I need to start taking that effort more seriously soon). I've established my image as a new iconographic national symbol, though only informally. I've tested the allegiance of my citizen-army, and have even given them a non-partisan color (purple). The results were pleasing to me. They happily beat-up a man who had a different opinion at a "town hall" meeting. My backers, some of whom you might have worked with, long ago bought the media, and they are holding up. Now, with my Health bill and Cap and Trade being diligently forced through my puppet legislature, and my impending gift of Amnesty/Citizenship to all the currently "illegal" comrades who live here, I am, as we say in this country, "rounding 2nd base". I humbly ask your advice as I approach 3rd base.

How do you suggest I implement the next stages? I do have my own plans, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I think, with your advice, and my work-ethic, 2010 will be a year that "The Party" will look back upon as fondly as it does 1917. This is the biggest fish of all I am trying to capture for us! Wish me luck.

In the meantime, please send my best to your family. I look forward to joining you in Committee meetings, once we've consolidated "The Party" internationally.

Yours with trust in the Party,
-Chairman MaObama

P.S.: As an official State Gift, enclosed is an Ipod with some of my speeches stored on it. Yes, I admit sometimes capitalists can make handy devices, but that won't stop me from buying ropes from them. Oh, and Van, Andy, and Bill say Hello.

Hump day hot links

Mish: Pittsburgh mayor: tax education to fund overly generous pensions

Calculated Risk: Citigroup gets massive special tax break that vastly outweighs any "profit" that Timmy the Tax Cheat claims Treasury made

Rand Paul moneybomb today

Rand Paul is running a great campaign and leading in the polls, but he needs money to sustain the momentum against the establishment candidates who are getting bankrolled by Washington insiders.

Please donate to Rand Paul today here.

Come on, you're going to buy hundreds of dollars worth of cheap Chinese crap this holiday season. Can't you spare a fraction of that sum for liberty?

Sometimes people say truly Prophetic things.

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship… To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic and have no place in a republic… The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."

-Benjamin Rush (1776)
-Signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
-The only MD to attend the U.S. Constitutional Convention.
-America's first Surgeon General.
Rush tried to get medical freedom included in the Constitution and failed, unfortunately. Now his words have come true.

--UPDATE--
For some info on the authenticity of this quote:
Some say the attribution is questionable. Others cite sources such as
Rush, Benjamin & Corner, George Washington ; The autobiography of Benjamin Rush; his "Travels through Life" together with his Commonplace Book for 1789-1813, ed. with introd. and notes by George W. Corner. Now first printed in full from the original manuscripts in possession of The American Philosophical Society and The Library Company of Philadelphia. ; Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1948. Art and Medicine

Still others cite (Grinspoon; 2003: 63; Lord,2 1994)

12 Months of Default

Merry Christmas everyone!



HT: Zerohedge

Keep your Mitts off our Tits protest Tuesday 12/15

If you're anywhere near downtown San Diego tomorrow at lunchtime, please attend the Keep Your Mitts Off our Tits protest at Boxer's and Feinstein's offices. It's to raise awareness about the rationing of mammograms likely under ObamaCare. The same panel that just said women under 50 should not get mammograms would decide what procedures are covered under ObamaCare.

Fox News national is going to be there to cover the protests.

And keep your hands off their glands, Obama.

You will be assimilated

The weekend brought a visit from an old friend who had last graced the Varones household in September. She had tried Mrs. V's vegan cooking then, and just informed us that she hasn't eaten meat since!

I'm serious. We're vegan and we're coming to get you.

Five-year anniversary -- and Richard Lees Capital Management still hasn't apologized

Happy anniversary, everybody! We've been at it for five years here!

Here's the post that got it all started:
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Richard Lees of Richard Lees Capital Management insults market commentators and professional investors, calling them "gridiots," "so-called pro's," and the "wRONg Insana crowd" for disagreeing with him on monetary policy or the market.

Meanwhile, he creates a shockingly incorrect graph by entering the exchange rates upside down:

As the US dollar has fallen since mid-2002, foreign investors in US-dollar-based assets have lost money. So even though the S&P 500 has rebounded 40-50% in dollar terms, Europeans have lost much of those gains as the dollar has lost 30-40% against the Euro. Richard, however, appears to have entered the numbers wrong in his charting software, with the result that Euro-based investors look like they gained, rather than lost, from this currency movement.

This erroneous graph then becomes the basis for a long diatribe. In between boasts of his past brilliant market calls, he raves:

"No one has fared better in the rise of the S&P since the lows of 2002 than those whose stake has been funded in Euro’s [sic].... In fact, in Euro terms -- and only in Euro terms -- the US stock market has now gone to an all time high even higher than the Y2K high!"

As the great John McLaughlin would say, "WRONG!!!"

It takes some kind of investment pro to believe that European investors who buy US dollar-based assets profit as the dollar falls. It's bad enough that he doesn't know how to use his charting software. But anyone with the most basic understanding of finance should realize how wrong this chart is before publishing a smug 1200-word essay that relies on it. This guy is actually in the investment business with other people's money?!?

I'm not going to put a lot of weight on this guy's endorsement of Greenspan.

UPDATE (12/15): The column has been heavily edited, without comment. Gone are the graph, much of the text, and most of the braggadocio and name-calling.

How the Greenspan stole Christmas

WSJ:
As a longtime Santa Claus at a suburban Chicago mall, Rod Riemersma used to jokingly tell children they would get socks for Christmas if they were naughty.

This year, he stopped telling the joke. Too many children were asking for socks.

LA Times: cost-cutting ObamaCare universal coverage will raise costs and leave 24 million Americans uninsured

When you've lost the L.A Times...

Nelson



So Lieberman is officially off the reservation. That can be overcome by picking up a RINO like one of the Bangor Sisters.

But how do you overcome the loss of the Nelson twins?

Copenhagen and Totalitarianism

For anyone who missed it, here is part of the brilliant WSJ piece from Dec 8, 2009, on the mentality of totalitarians, of the blindly devoted Copenhagen attendees, and of manipulative power-grabbers.
Still, the really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.

One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warming true believers are closet Stalinists. But their intellectual methods are instructively similar. Consider:

Revolutionary fervor: There's a distinct tendency among climate alarmists toward uncompromising radicalism, a hatred of "bourgeois" values, a disgust with democratic practices. So President Obama wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% from current levels by 2050, levels not seen since the 1870s—in effect, the Industrial Revolution in reverse. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists that "our lifestyles are unsustainable." Al Gore gets crowds going by insisting that "civil disobedience has a role to play" in strong-arming governments to do his bidding. (This from the man who once sought to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.)

Utopianism: In the world as it is, climate alarmists see humanity hurtling toward certain doom. In the world as it might be, humanity has seen the light and changed its patterns of behavior, becoming the green equivalent of the Soviet "new man." At his disposal are technologies that defy the laws of thermodynamics. The problems now attributed to global warming abate or disappear.

Anti-humanism: In his 2007 best seller "The World Without Us," environmentalist Alan Weisman considers what the planet would be like without mankind, and finds it's no bad thing. The U.N. Population Fund complains in a recent report that "no human is genuinely 'carbon neutral'"—its latest argument against children. John Holdren, President Obama's science adviser, cut his teeth in the policy world as an overpopulation obsessive worried about global cooling. But whether warming or cooling, the problem for the climate alarmists, as for other totalitarians, always seems to boil down to the human race itself.

Intolerance: Why did the scientists at the heart of Climategate go to such lengths to hide or massage the data if truth needs no defense? Why launch campaigns of obstruction and vilification against gadfly Canadian researchers Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick if they were such intellectual laughingstocks? It is the unvarying habit of the totalitarian mind to treat any manner of disagreement as prima facie evidence of bad faith and treason.

Monocausalism: For the anti-Semite, the problems of the world can invariably be ascribed to the Jews; for the Communist, to the capitalists. And as the list above suggests, global warming has become the fill-in-the-blank explanation for whatever happens to be the problem.

Indifference to evidence: Climate alarmists have become brilliantly adept at changing their terms to suit their convenience. So it's "global warming" when there's a heat wave, but it's "climate change" when there's a cold snap. The earth has registered no discernable warming in the past 10 years: Very well then, they say, natural variability must be the cause. But as for the warming that did occur in the 1980s and 1990s, that plainly was evidence of man-made warming. Am I missing something here?

Grandiosity: In "SuperFreakonomics," Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner give favorable treatment to an idea to cool the earth by pumping sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, something that could be done cheaply and quickly. Maybe it would work, or maybe it wouldn't. But one suspects that the main reason the chapter was the subject of hysterical criticism is that it didn't propose to deal with global warming by re-engineering the world economy. The penchant for monumentalism is yet another constant feature of the totalitarian mind.

Today, of course, the very idea of totalitarianism is considered passé. Yet the course of the 20th century was defined by totalitarian regimes, and it would be dangerous to assume that the habits of mind that sustained them have vanished into the mists. In Copenhagen, they are once again at play—and that, comrades, is no accident.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com

Always striving for more

Obama smashes his personal record for public disapproval:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19.

Today is the second straight day that Obama’s Approval Index rating has fallen to a new low. Prior to the past two days, the Approval Index had never fallen below -15 during Obama’s time in office.


Prince Philip likes boys

Prince William to share Queen's duties.

Just close your eyes and think of England, Will.

Neal Fox's "On the Backs of the Few" Video

Neal Fox just made a video for his song "On the backs of the Few."



It's on his recent album Songs for the New Revolution, along with the beautiful "We're All Gonna Be There (When She Dies)" and the catchy call-to-arms "F$%^ the Fed."

"We're All Gonna Be There" just won honorable mention at the Doing Dylan songwriting contest.

Go on, buy the record. It's a bargain at $10.50 for a CD or $4.50 for a digital download.

Greg Mitchell's Editor & Publisher bites the dust

Yesterday brought the news of the death of Editor & Publisher, a 100-year-old news industry journal.

Where have we heard about E&P recently? Oh yeah, when its editor Greg Mitchell wrote an arrogant and oblivious defense of John Edwards' marital fidelity and trashing of the National Enquirer's reporting, then disappeared his embarrassing column down the memory hole.

The National Enquirer had the story nailed, and survives today. The arrogant Mitchell's E&P doesn't. Maybe if Editor and Publisher had practiced real journalism like the National Enquirer does, it would still be around.

Good riddance.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll has found what appears to be the full text of Mitchell's Edwards post, copied contemporaneously into a comment on Godlike Productions. It lines up with this contemporaneous partial post on Yahoo Buzz.
In a shocking update, The National Enquirer is reporting today that not only do John Edwards and Rielle Hunter have a "love child," their secret baby has two heads and may have been produced when the couple was kidnapped by aliens last year and taken to a UFO in the backwoods of North Carolina.

The tabloid says it has obtained proof, in the form of pictures of the baby, who reportedly has unusually large googly eyes. But the paper has not yet released the pictures. It promises "updates."

Edwards and Hunter have not denied the story, lending credence to the report. The fact that the bombshell emerged with the release of the new X-Files movie also adds to its credibility, some claim.

Charges from conservatives and blogosphere that the press has a double standard in not reporting on the "love child" are sure to now grow. Some have already pointed to the massive coverage of Sen. Larry Craig's scandal last year -- and he doesn't even have any children with an alien pedigree (although it has been said that Craig himself often let his own "second head" lead him astray).

The Los Angeles Times has ordered its bloggers to ignore the bombshell, proving the media conspiracy. Slate has covered it but says it stands ready to apologize if it doesn't pan out.

The alien visitation was allegedly arranged by a mutual friend of Edwards, Hunter and the visitors.

Edwards' aides are reportedly "spitting mad and furious" about the revelation. It is certain to doom his chance for the vice-presidential nod on an Obama ticket.
Yes, the National Enquirer has a history as a trashy tabloid. It's a shame that Greg Mitchell and the rest of the groupthinkers in the "respectable" press have abandoned the practice of journalism and left it to the likes of the National Enquirer and bloggers.

Blog comments

Comments all got blown away- haloscan is shutting down. I have the old comments archived and if there's an easy way to reattach them to the correct posts, I'll do it. For now, we're starting fresh using blogger comments.

I, for one, welcome our new government employee overlords

This is what the struggling middle-class taxpayers are supporting amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression:

Federal Pay Explodes
The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector. [...]

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.

And that's before benefits, which include massive pensions and top-of-the-line cradle-to-grave heath care, which most private sector workers don't get.

HT: T-Dub

Chinese Market Punishment

In the United States if you are part of a scheme to steal billions of dollars from the government and the taxpayers you are rewarded with hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts and you get to keep your job and bonus.

In China you steal as little as $13.8 million and you get a bullet to the head.
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- A former senior trader at a Chinese securities company was executed yesterday for embezzlement and misappropriating 94.5 million yuan ($13.8 million), the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing court documents.
Can you imagine if you applied Chinese financial fraud law to the USA? It would be a holocaust and we'd have a population crisis!

Breaking Tiger News

Tiger responsible for the AIDS epidemic!

No, seriously.

Rolling Stone Magazine - Obama's Big Sellout Matt Taibbi

This is a must read:
...What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.

How could Obama let this happen? Is he just a rookie in the political big leagues, hoodwinked by Beltway old-timers? Or is the vacillating, ineffectual servant of banking interests we've been seeing on TV this fall who Obama really is?

Whatever the president's real motives are, the extensive series of loophole-rich financial "reforms" that the Democrats are currently pushing may ultimately do more harm than good. In fact, some parts of the new reforms border on insanity, threatening to vastly amplify Wall Street's political power by institutionalizing the taxpayer's role as a welfare provider for the financial-services industry. At one point in the debate, Obama's top economic advisers demanded the power to award future bailouts without even going to Congress for approval — and without providing taxpayers a single dime in equity on the deals.

How did we get here? It started just moments after the election — and almost nobody noticed.
That's just the introduction. On Citibank's theft of taxpayer dollars:
It is bad enough that one of Bob Rubin's former protégés from the Clinton years, the New York Fed chief Geithner, is intimately involved in the negotiations, which unsurprisingly leave the Federal Reserve massively exposed to future Citi losses. But the real stunner comes only hours after the bailout deal is struck, when the Obama transition team makes a cheerful announcement: Timothy Geithner is going to be Barack Obama's Treasury secretary!

Geithner, in other words, is hired to head the U.S. Treasury by an executive from Citigroup — Michael Froman — before the ink is even dry on a massive government giveaway to Citigroup that Geithner himself was instrumental in delivering. In the annals of brazen political swindles, this one has to go in the all-time Fuck-the-Optics Hall of Fame.
...
Left unnoticed, however, was the fact that Geithner had been hired by a sitting Citigroup executive who still had a big bonus coming despite his proximity to Obama. In January 2009, just over a month after the bailout, Citigroup paid Froman a year-end bonus of $2.25 million. But as outrageous as it was, that payoff would prove to be chump change for the banker crowd, who were about to get everything they wanted — and more — from the new president.

It's painful to have been so right at the time of his appointment, that Geithner is the worst possible appointee for the Secretary of the Treasury other than the Evil Lord Blankfein.

But really the point is - where is the change? This is more of the same times 10. I guess as long as the Democrat crooks get their cut, they are all for it. Washington is tremendously corrupt and the country will fall because of it.

Free TV!

It's in Chicago. Sic boy, you interested?

Update: it was taken down but fortunately we got a screen shot for your viewing pleasure.

I pledge allegiance to Global Warming

Taranto:
The Met Office, Britain's national weather service, "has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science" in the wake of a whistle-blower's revelation of widespread misconduct by climate scientists, London's Times reports:
More than 1,700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the "professional integrity" of global warming research. They were responding to a round-robin request from the Met Office, which has spent four days collecting signatures. . . .

One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming," he said.

The concept of scientists--or journalists, or artists--signing a petition is ludicrous. The idea is that they are lending their authority to whatever cause the petition represents--but in fact they are undermining that authority, which is based on the presumption that they think for themselves.

The problem with the petition as a form is also a problem with the Met Office petition's substance. The purpose of the petition is to shore up scientists' authority by vouching for their integrity. But signing a loyalty oath under pressure from the government is itself a corrupt act. Anyone who signs this petition thereby raises doubts about his own integrity. And once again, the question arises: Why should any layman regard global warmism as credible when the "consensus" rests on political machinations, statistical tricks and efforts to suppress alternative hypotheses?

To be sure, Joseph McCarthy was right about communism even though the ways he combated it were wrong and counterproductive. But that's all the more reason that honest scientists who view global warmism as credible--if such creatures exist--should rise up against these McCarthyite tactics.

British people eat the strangest things

The Guardian:
To fight climate change and tackle the growing crisis of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, British consumers must cut down on meat and dairy produce, reduce their intake of processed foods and curb waste.

I know some people have a hard time giving up meat, but how hard could it be to stop eating curb waste?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Contact Us

e-mail: wcvarones *at* yahoo *dot* com

Blog Archive