60 Minutes on muni apocalypse

If you didn't catch the Dec. 19 60 Minutes story on state finances, watch it here.

They interview Chris Christie and Meredith Whitney who describe the problem quite vividly.

The conclusion is the crisis will come to a head in 2011. I'm not so sure. I've been watching California kick the can down the road for four years now with federal bailouts, accounting gimmicks, and borrowing. I'm not so sure the games can't continue a little longer.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the new Republican Congress cave and give away billions to the states. Even with the Tea Party victories last fall, there are still a large number of establishment Republicans who will want to bail out their state and local buddies.

And if Congress doesn't bail out the states again and munis start defaulting? Expect the Dirty Fed to start bailing them out by buying muni debt.

The tendency to panic and borrow/print at the moment of default is universal: Bush/Paulson, Obama/Geithner, Congress, the Dirty Fed, the EU, the ECB, Japan... Don't be so sure it won't happen again for the states this year.


Gold: do you have your share?

(photo HT: IP Freely)

How little gold there is in the world can be illustrated in interesting ways. For instance,
All the gold mined in the world in history would fit in a cube 60 feet on each side, that is to say, it would fit in the space underneath the Eiffel Tower.

I prefer to think of it in terms of gold per person. Estimates for all the gold ever mined in the world are around 165,000 metric tons. A metric ton is 32,150 troy ounces, meaning there are only 5.3 billion ounces out there -- or less than one for every person on the planet! Do you have your ounce?

Now assuming that most inhabitants of third-world nations don't have a lot of gold, how much gold is there per developed-world inhabitant? The OECD countries have a population of about 1.2 billion, meaning there are about 4.4 ounces per developed-world citizen. Do you have your share?

Gold mine production is running about 2,000 - 2,500 tons per year, an increase to the total stock of between 1% and 2% per year, roughly inline with population growth, and well below long-run GDP growth.

With citizens in the developing world gaining wealth and sure to want their share of gold at some point, do you really want to be underweight gold the next 10, 20, 30 years?


Stop Zimbabwe Ben!

Bumper stickers now available. Really, couldn't your neighborhood use a few of these?

E-mail JDA if you want one.

Obama's great inequality

Mickey Kaus points out that Obama is worsening America's income inequality by going easy on illegal immigration and importing cheap labor to compete with our poorest workers.

Well, sure. But that's just the bottom end of the income spectrum. Don't forget what he's doing at the top end of the income spectrum: continuing to bail out Wall Street via Fannie and Freddie, AIG, GMAC, etc. Wall Street couldn't be paying those huge bonuses without free money from Obama.

And then there are the armies of six-figure government bureaucrats -- what's that do to income inequality? Put a two-income family of government workers together and you've got "The Rich" by Obama's $250,000 definition.


Know when to fold 'em

It's been a very good year for those who stayed fully invested in the Zimbabwe Ben trade: stocks, commodities, precious metals, anything denominated in dollars. Throw darts to pick stocks, because they're all going up together.

But I'm starting to wonder if we're getting late in the game for the Zimbabwe Ben trade. I'm taking a little off the table.

Too many institutional investors are too confident that policymakers will do whatever is necessary to keep the market up. I think the recent tax deal was the last gasp for massive fiscal stimulus, and I think political will for more monetization both within and outside the Dirty Fed may dry up. The new Congress is already skeptical of the Dirty Fed, and they will become even more so if food and energy inflation continues to outpace wage inflation. What does Bernanke do if he has to defend $5 gas to Ron Paul?

Then we've got Europe, the states and cities, a housing double dip, bond vigilantes, mortgage putbacks... so many things that could go so wrong, and it's not clear that all of them would bring about QE3 and QE4.

I'm still fairly heavily invested in Zimbabwe Ben, and I still believe the dollar faces a big long-run decline, but I'm raising a little cash in case of a bumpy ride in the short term.


Internets 1. Janet Incompetano 0

Homeland Security's Janet Incompetano is encouraging citizens to spy on their fellow 'Merkins at WalMart. You never know who's a terrorist, you know.

Too late, Janet. The ever-vigilant citizens of the Internets already have it covered.


Happy Festivus!

I think of this blog as a kind of year-round Airing of the Grievances, and I'm not feeling particularly grievous today, so cruise on over to Temple of Mut for a Tea Party Airing of the Grievances.

Pilot punished for pointing out that TSA is a pathetic farce

Tell the truth, lose your gun.

HT: Charlie.


Obama's FCC Appointee Grants Federal Government the New Power of Regulating the Internet

Check out the opening paragraph of this OpEd about Net Neutrality, which the FCC just passed as "new regulations". A) A Federal court already told the FCC they could not regulate the internet! B) the modus operandi of radical "Progressives" is on display here yet again:
-Huge and transformative new bills, kept secret until the last minute, then shoved down our throats quickly. (It's the same method by which they passed the Stimulus and Health Care bills)
-A belief that we should be Ruled by an unelected panel. Recall that the "Progressives" of the early 20th Century, whose political tradition Obama and Hillary Clinton proudly follow, wanted to have an entirely new layer of government, a panel of unelected "experts" that operated between the executive and legislative branches. Now read this opener:
If President Obama wants his executive branch to resemble the opaque, power-hungry political machinations in Chicago, he seems to be succeeding in the area of Internet regulation. Last April, a federal court told the Federal Communications Commission that it has no business regulating the Internet. Unfortunately, judicial rejection of the commission's first swing at the "net neutrality" ball -- the idea the FCC must regulate the Internet to insure everybody has equal access -- didn't deter Obama's FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, from taking another whack. He's bringing a new set of proposed net neutrality regulations to the five-member panel Tuesday. Unfortunately, nobody knows any details of the new proposal because Genachowski has kept them secret until the last possible minute even as he rushed them forward for a vote. How ironic that the Internet, the great and empowering liberator of information that "wants to be free," is being chopped up behind closed doors by an unelected panel. Note, too, that this is being considered by the FCC on the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year.

In their net neutrality quest, Genachowski and two of his fellow Democratic appointees are working to expand government power into an area where the commission has no jurisdiction, under the guise of solving a problem that does not exist. Meredith Baker, a Republican FCC appointee, summarized the situation well: "We have two branches of government -- Congress and the courts -- expressing grave concerns with our agency becoming increasingly unmoored from our statutory authority. By seeking to regulate the Internet now, we exceed the authority Congress has given us and justify those concerns." Incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has called on the FCC to "cease and desist."

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/2010/12/obamas-mystery-proposal-regulate-internet#ixzz18mrIpImF

We shouldn't be surprised. After all, Obama also appointed Mark Lloyd as the FCC's "Diversity Czar". And Mark Lloyd can be seen here praising Hugo Chavez's "incredible, democratic revolution" for nationalizing the media in Venezuela. It's clear that Obama is seeking vastly increased government control over the media.

Buh-bye freedom

Salon asks:
If American citizens don't object to the permanent seizure and copying of their laptops and cellphones without any warrants or judicial oversight, what would they ever object to?

Don't miss this article.


The beginning of something...beautiful?

America's gayest Senator, Lindsey Graham, votes No on DADT repeal

You ever notice how some of the most vocal gay-bashers are closet gays?

Charlie tells a story of his travels in North Dakota or some other BFE state up there, where he played pool with a bunch of local guys in a bar and one of them kept going on about "damn homos" and "f*ggots" and such. As the night wore on and the guy got enough liquid courage in him and the other locals had left, the guy tried to get it on with Charlie.

So it is with America's gayest Senator, the hissy-fit-throwing lifelong "bachelor" who goes to Afghanistan like some boys go to Fire Island. Miss Lindsey was among the small minority of 31 Senators who voted No on Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell repeal.

Self-hatred by closet homosexuals is such a senseless tragedy. I hope DADT repeal is another step toward eventual full societal acceptance of homosexuality so that the Lindsey Grahams of the world can come to terms with who they are.


California bleeding

Over at Pajamas Media, our friend Tim Daniel writes with sadness of the disappearance of the California of his youth. California has gone from a land of opportunity and innovation to a bankrupt welfare bureaucracy. My California history is similar to Tim's, and I've witnessed the same decline.

For more detail on why businesses and entrepreneurs are fleeing the state, one need look no further than Richard Rider's latest update of Breaking Bad: California vs. other states.
California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 36% of the country’s TANF (“Temporary” Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients [...] America’s top 600 CEO’s rank California “the worst place in which to do business” for the fifth straight year [...] California residential electricity costs an average of 30.1% more than the national average [...] Consider California’s net domestic migration (migration between states). From April, 2000 through June, 2008 (8 years, 2 months) California has lost a NET 1.4 million people [...] As taxes rise and jobs disappear, we lose our tax base, continuing California’s state and local fiscal death spiral.

That's just a sampling. Click on over to read the whole apocalyptic list.

The last few years, Schwarzenegger and the Democrats have been able to fake holding the budget together with accounting gimmicks and borrowing. How much longer that can continue is an open question -- it's already lasted longer than I expected. But the state has also had help from an enabling Congress: first with billions in unemployment insurance loans and then with "Build America Bond" subsidies. Now the UI bill is coming due and the BAB scam is over. And the new Republican Congress looks very unlikely to give more handouts to the worst-managed (and very Democratic) state. With no more free money from Congress, there remains one huge unaccountable, unelected potential sugar daddy. Will the Dirty Fed step in to buy California munis?


DREAM Act amnesty fails in Senate

55-41 on a cloture vote that needed 60 votes. Lisa Murkowski, Richard Lugar, and Bob Bennett were Republicans voting for amnesty.

Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell vote is starting now. UPDATE: DADT repeal passes cloture! So far, the Democrats' bad-faith, scorched-earth, lame-duck campaign isn't so bad. Failed omnibus, failed amnesty, failed Food Nationalization Act, passed DADT repeal. Sounds pretty good to me.


Moneychangers chase Jesus from the temple

Don't dare say "Merry Christmas" if you want to operate a bank during the reign of King Ben the Debaser:
A small-town bank in Oklahoma said the Federal Reserve won’t let it keep religious signs and symbols on display.

Federal Reserve examiners come every four years to make sure banks are complying with a long list of regulations. The examiners came to Perkins last week. And the team from Kansas City deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say "Merry Christmas, God With Us." were inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank's Internet site also had to be taken down.

The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]" Well, Congress created the Dirty Fed and now the Dirty Fed is prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

UPDATE: Bank fights back and wins. Constitution 1, Dirty Fed ... well, the Dirty Fed still has dozens of foul play points on the board against the Constitution, but at least this is one point for the good guys.

Fascism versus the market: vote with your bucks

Charlie takes on the security state.


Tea Party saves America from bipartisan pork bill

The Tea Party a flash-in-the-pan? Hardly.

We don't just bring electoral landslides. We also ride herd on the dirty politicians all year round:
Senate Democrats abruptly pulled down an omnibus spending bill after senior Republicans – caught with their hands in the cookie jar — deserted the measure in an effort to square themselves with tea party activists and conservatives in the party.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the announcement and signaled he would substitute a short-term spending resolution for the much more detailed year-long $1.1 trillion plus measure which many in the GOP had been quietly rooting for just weeks ago.

Have you thanked your local Tea Partier lately?

More fun with Yogi

Lieberman: Communist China Can Shut Down Internet. We Need to Have That Power, Too.

"Right now, China's goverment can disconnect its internet in the case of war. We need to have that [power] here, too." - Joe Lieberman

Gee, why haven't the American people given that power to its Federal Government? Oh yeah. It's because we're not Communists here. Oh, wait...apparently, even though we're not Communists, we are represented by them. The FCC is set to vote this month on passing Net Neutrality regulations for the internet, giving our government more control over the internet than it's ever had. They tried to pass this bill through Congress, but even the radicals in Congress couldn't get enough votes for it. So Obama, true to his "ends justify the means" approach to Socializing our nation, simply moved the issue into the realm of the unelected, unaccountable FCC regulatory committee, where they will be free to impose these new internet "Laws" on us as they call them mere "Regulations". You see, to the American Idol-watching public, "Regulations" are nothing to fear. And heck, why not get the government more involved in the internet, right? What could possibly go wrong?

Obama's Suddenly a Big Time Free Market Champion? His Brand New Image?

One of these quotes is not like the other:

"Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy -- where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending."
-Barack Obama, Winter 2009 as he tried to sell his Pork and Political Patronage-Laden $700 Billion "Stimulus" Bill.
"Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive."
- Joe Biden, October 2010.
"I believe that the primary engine of America's economic success is not government," the president went on. "It's the dynamism of our markets. And for me, the most important question about an economic idea is... whether it will help spur businesses, jobs and growth."
-Barack Obama, December 14, 2010, as he begins his attempt to re-create his image and appear to be pro-business, in order to preserve his chance at a 2nd term.

A memorial service for the Bill of Rights

Today is Bill of Rights Day.

B-Daddy remembers the old girl at Liberator Today.

I'd spill some Olde English 800 especially for the 1st, 4th, and 10th Amendments.


Student loan suckers: the last poor schlubs propping up the U.S. Ponzi

Consumer credit is a key metric monitored by economists. It is a major factor in the multi-decade economic boom that ended around 2008.

Consumption ("C") is the biggest factor in GDP:

GDP = C + G + I + NX

Consumption has been around 70% of GDP consistently the last several quarters, well above the late 20th century averages in the low-to-mid 60's. With consumption such a large percentage of GDP, any attempt to prop up the economy with Government deficits (even current maniacal 10% GDP deficits) will fail if consumption declines significantly.

And what keeps consumption going? Debt, euphemistically known as "consumer credit." The great GDP and stock market boom of the last thirty years was driven by consumption growth. And that consumption was not just in line with personal income growth, but turbo-charged by rising indebtedness (Federal Reserve data on revolving (credit card), non-revolving (auto, student, etc.), and mortgage debt). A graph courtesy of the St. Louis Fed:

So to keep consumption growing in times of stagnant personal incomes requires increasing consumer indebtedness. And with households already struggling under record levels of debt, that's a tall order. Nevertheless, last week's consumer credit report left pundits and policy-makers cheering:
WASHINGTON: US consumers opened the credit spigots in October in the biggest jump in more than two years, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

Consumer credit rose 1.7 percent in October, more than twice as much as the prior month's increase that had snapped 19 straight months of declines.

The Federal Reserve revised the September reading a half point lower, to 0.6 percent.

The October surge in borrowing was the strongest since July 2008, when the economy was grappling with the worst recession in decades.
So consumers are busting out the credit cards and buying BMWs on credit again? Not so fast (David Rosenberg via Mish):
Once again, it was federally-supported credit (ie. student-backed loans) that accounted for all the increase last month ― a record $31.8 billion expansion. Commercial banks, securitized pools and finance companies posted huge declines ― to the point where excluding federal loans, consumer credit plunged $32.5 billion, to the lowest level since November 2004 (not to mention down a record 9% YoY). Over the past three months consumer credit outstanding net of federal student assisted loans has collapsed $76 billion — this degree of contraction is without precedent.

Working folk are tapped out, don't want more debt, and in many cases wouldn't qualify for more debt if they did want it. Who to sucker into taking on debt? Young people who don't know any better, of course. Just as young families were suckered into taking on unsustainable housing debt a few years ago because "home ownership is the key to the American dream," now the next generation is being suckered into taking on unsustainable student debt because "education is the key to the American dream." Well, taking on $100,000 of debt for a four-year liberal arts degree will turn out about as well as buying that tract home in the Inland Empire at 10x median income. Even worse: you can walk away from a tract home, but you can't walk away from student debt.

Even the banks realize this is fool's debt. No bank would lend $100,000 for a liberal arts degree when most college grads will have a very difficult time paying it back. So the federal government steps in as the debt-pusher of last resort, first guaranteeing student loans, then making student loans directly. And even President Obama realizes that this debt load is unmanageable on typical college grad salaries, so he proposes forgiving debt for government workers after ten years and second-class citizens after twenty years. He'll just tack it on to the already unsustainable national debt -- kicking the can down the road to a day of reckoning after he'll be out of office, leaving our children to make the horrible choice between inflation and default.


Columbia Prof. David Epstein loves his daughter

Prominent Ivy League elitist David Epstein loves Obama, hates Sarah Palin, and writes for the Huffington Post.

His home life, however, sounds like what the NY-DC ruling class thinks of middle America. Projection?
A Columbia University political science professor and past political analyst for CBS was arrested on charges of incest. Investigators say he engaged in three year long consensual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter.


Epstein was married to Sharyn O’Halloran another lecturer at the university, but the two reportedly recently divorced.

According to sources the victim was over 18 when the relationship began in 2006 and that father and daughter often exchanged salacious text messages.

Published reports also reveal Epsten’s ex-wife O’Halloran was recently seen speaking with a private investigator.

I guess he should have adopted like Woody Allen.

Columbia's having a banner year, huh?


Obama: It depends on what your definition of "Is" is.

"This isn't the politics of the moment. This has to do with what we can get done right now."
- Barak Obama. 12/7/10

If any conservative said that, wouldn't we be hearing it over and over, played in a loop?


Schwarzenegger gives cushy $111,000 job to tax traitor Anthony Adams

So these are the wages of betraying your constituents.

Anthony Adams, who had signed a no-tax-increase pledge to get elected, betrayed his constituents and the people of California by becoming the crucial swing vote for the largest state tax increase in U.S. history.

Knowing that his constituents reviled him, he didn't bother running for re-election. But then who needs re-election when you can get a six-figure do-nothing job as reward for back-stabbing the public?

Victor Valley Daily Press:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tapped outgoing Assemblyman Anthony Adams to fill a post on the state Board of Parole Hearings that pays $111,845 annually.

Adams, 39, R-Hesperia, left his Assembly seat this week after surviving a bitter recall effort over his critical state budget vote that included the largest tax hike in California history, despite Adams’ pledge to oppose higher taxes.

Adams' appointment still requires Senate confirmation. Please contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote no if you don't approve of Sacramento backroom jobs-for-votes deals.

WalMart and DHS: A Love Story

WalMart is jumping right on the gub'mint fear train. Check out analysis from Charlie McDanger here and Shane Atwell here.


That's what you get for f___ing a feminist

Sky News' foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: "Mr Assange had sex with the two women on August the 15th and 17th but two days later they went to a police station and claimed rape and sexual molestation.

"Mr Assange admits he had consensual sex with the women but he absolutely denies the charges.

"One of the women involved in the claims is a radical feminist in Sweden who is known to have a theory that men dominate their social positions through sex and she's also been known to write a blog called 'seven steps to legal revenge'."

That's why God made most feminists lesbians. To protect us from stuff like this.

UPDATE: Feminists are not amused.


Julian Assange and the Two Minutes Hate

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even -- so it was occasionally rumoured -- in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.

- 1984, George Orwell

Julian Assange's WikiLeaks has been a thorn in the side of the powerful and corrupt for four years. A history of their reporting is here. Originally, WikiLeaks focused on "exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations." In other words, your basic human rights and transparency organization. In fact, WikiLeaks has won awards including the 2008 Freedom of Expression award from the Index on Censorship and the 2009 Amnesty International human rights reporting award.

So how did the face of an ordinary human rights / open government group become the evil archvillain denounced by everyone from Joseph Lieberman to Sarah Palin? Simple. It depends whose corruption is being exposed. As soon as WikiLeaks released information that was embarrassing to the U.S. military and State Department (and threatened to release information on an even more untouchable target, Wall Street), WikiLeaks and Julian Assange became Enemies of the State.

Sarah Palin called Assange "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands," and urged that he be hunted down like the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Joseph McCarthy Lieberman used his position of state power to pressure businesses into taking away WikiLeaks' freedom of speech. Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian Prime Minister, publicly called for Assange's murder. The State Department threatened students with employment bans if they discuss WikiLeaks online. Defense contractor Raytheon ordered employees not to read WikiLeaks even on their home computers.

Look at the disdain with which we viewed such censorship in China less than three years ago.

The original leaker, Pfc. Bradley Manning, certainly committed a crime (perhaps even treason) in stealing the classified documents. He should face a court-martial and punishment serious enough to deter others from following his path. But to demonize a media/non-profit for distributing leaked materials is ridiculous. We didn't execute the publisher of the New York Times for publishing the Pentagon papers, nor when they clearly damaged a national security objective by publishing leaked details of a surveillance program in 2007. Attorney General Eric "what voter intimidation?" Holder announced "an active, ongoing, criminal investigation" into WikiLeaks.

It is terrifying how casually politicians are blurring the line between journalism and terrorism. If WikiLeaks and Julian Assange lose their freedom of speech in America, we have all lost our freedom of speech as well. What's to stop the government from naming every embarrassing or incriminating leak a "state secret?"

UPDATE: Assange's op-ed.

Lindsey Graham left her heart in Afghanistan

"I wish I knew how to quit you."

We've noted before how Lindsey Graham loves going to Afghanistan. Hmmmm... I wonder why.

Now, despite the abysmal record of foreign empires attempting to occupy Afghanistan, Lindsey wants a permanent U.S. occupation there. A convenient excuse for Lindsey's "fact-finding" missions, I suppose.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the occupation is both losing ground to the Taliban and losing the support of the Afghan population.

I hope they at least send her flowers.


Will John Boehner throw Ron Paul under the bus to please Wall Street banksters?

This is Boehner's moment of truth. Either he's with us or he's against us.

Five GOP leadership aides, speaking anonymously because a decision isn't final, say incoming House Speaker John Boehner has discussed ways to prevent Paul from becoming chairman or to keep him on a tight leash if he does. If Boehner, who will help determine who gets to chair subcommittees as early as Dec. 8, rejects Paul, he may have to contend with thousands of grassroots supporters and dozens of younger lawmakers who see Paul as a hero. Boehner, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

If Boehner whacks Ron Paul, I'm declaring war on Boehner and the GOP.

Please contact your GOP Rep. and Boehner and tell them not to even think about it.

San Diego City Council hates black people

They'd rather have urban unemployment and poverty than Walmart.


Investment advice from true believers: Gold and John F. Wasik

Instapundit links this anti-gold column by John F. Wasik.

Who is John F. Wasik? The author of The Audacity of Help: Obama's Economic Plan and the Remaking of America. And yes, the book is exactly as the title implies: a fawning, credulous homage to Obama's central planning utopian dreams. From the preface:
Boiled down, what Obama promises is a more ecological sense of shared responsibility. By ecological, I'm referring to interrelationships within society and the economy and not just the environment. Green jobs for inner-city residents mean better education and opportunity. Reshaping the energy infrastructure translates into less dependence on foreign energy sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and lower home-ownership expenses. Can the more than $350 billion the U.S. spends annually on energy imports be rechanneled into domestic energy production and jobs? Obamanomics provides the impetus to transform the United States into a greener economy.

This new economy, in Obama's plan, means redefining connections between government investments and economic growth. Spending money on health-record digitization, renewable energy, and general education will better positsion the United States to compete in global trade. More affordable and portable health care will create more economic security for everyone, particularly entrepreneurs.

That's so naive and laden with buzzwords it could have been written by Thomas Friedman.

Obviously, anybody who believes that Obama is going to lead us to the promised land riding his candy-pooping unicorn is not going to understand the investment case for gold. Gold is for those who don't believe central planning by Ivy League propellerheads is a sound strategy to grow the economy out of 10% GDP deficits.

I've laid out my investment case for gold many times before: the debt and deficit are out of control, we will not grow our way out, and inflation/devaluation will be the most politically palatable way out of the mess. Nothing in Wasik's shallow column changes any of that.

Ucar murder-suicide house for sale - 31 Campanilla, San Clemente

Two and a half years ago, we wrote of the strange case of the Ucar family. Twin UCSD students, their parents and grandmother were all found dead in a murder-suicide or group suicide.

Little on the motive has come to light since then, but the house is on the market. Meet 31 Campanilla. Sweeping ocean views for $810,000. It Zillows at $1.1 million.

But wait. It's not just the creepy history of the house that is scaring off buyers. One house hunter caught the sellers covering up a cracked foundation. There's also lots of mold, which along with the cracked foundation, suggests drainage issues. Then there are years worth of cosmetic repairs and upgrades needed. All in, at least a couple hundred thousand dollars of work, putting the total cost of the place in line with non-murder houses in the area. This would-be buyer sounds like he's no longer interested.

The sellers apparently don't have to disclose the cracked foundation because they don't live there. The buyer/blogger reports that they are overseas, most likely foreign Ucar heirs. This would somewhat discount the Greenspan's Body Count theory, because it means there was still equity in the house and the Ucars were not at the very end of their financial rope. Unless 1) the foreign owners are lenders, not heirs, or 2) the Ucars had tried to suck out equity but had been unable to because of the cracked slab. Or maybe Margrit Ucar's other real estate speculations were just so underwater that a few hundred thousand in equity in their house really didn't help.


Get the f*** outta here

Obama to troops:
"You give me hope. You give me inspiration. Your resolve shows that Americans will never succumb to fear," he said to cheers and shouts.
Never mind the 300 million who have been terrorized into letting the TSA treat them like common criminals.

Worthless words of a worthless politician.

New Top 5 Bloomberg names

Making the e-mail rounds today was a new incarnation of the Top 25 Bloomberg names. Yes, these are all real Bloomberg users.

And our enterprising friend Blinko and his colleagues did some Bloomberg sleuthing of their own and found some even better names today:

1. Christopher Fister
2. Yu Arafuka
3. Fukky Tantang
4. Anil Bangar
5. Bang Dae-Ho

Nigel Farage Elaborates on King World News

Nigel adds some more color (darker rather than lighter) to his brilliant speech...
"Just who the hell do you think you people are?"
...to the EU Parliament last week. This is a must listen from another beacon of reason coming from the other side of the pond. The text on the page also provides good summary descriptions of the folks he was referring to.

King World News - Nigel Farage


Joseph McCarthy Lieberman

Joe Lieberman's campaign of terror against the First Amendment is truly frightening.

Never take out a recourse mortgage

In California and many other states, mortgage purchase loans are non-recourse, meaning if things go bad you can walk away free and clear (refinance loans and home equity loans are generally NOT non-recourse).

However some states, and many other countries, have recourse mortgages. Here's what happens when you take out a recourse loan and try to walk away: the bank can haunt you until your dying days, and maybe even seize assets you have in another country!
A SPANISH bank may be able to seize a house in Britain after the owners – a family of four – missed mortgage payments on their apartment in Spain. Banco de Sabadell in Marbella has used a European Enforcement Order (EEO) to take control of the couple’s 300,000 pound (€358,391) three-bedroom cottage near Chippenham in Wiltshire.

They may even be forced to sell the cottage in order to pay back the mortgage on the property they bought in Duquesa in 2004. The mortgage they took out on the Spanish property was 145,000 pounds (€173,171). They offered to give the apartment to the bank when repayments became difficult last year, but Banco de Sabadell apparently refused.

Instead they launched a bid to seize the couple’s home. Ian and Carol Chatterton, both NHS paramedics, have two daughters aged 12 and 14 and have lived in their cottage for 20 years.

An interim was posted to them by a county court in October, but if they want to appeal against the order, they must do so in a Spanish court; which they cannot afford to do.

“We’re devastated,” Carols, aged 48, told the Daily Mail.

“There are thousands more Britons in our position. This is a time bomb waiting to go off. I can see the suicide rate going up as a result. It will have massive repercussions.”

The mortgage on the cottage, which is 250,000 pounds (€298,450), is held by Halifax, who has agreed to the forced sale provided it got its money back.

The remainder would be taken by Banco de Sabadell.

Don't EVER take out a recourse mortgage!


The Truth Behind the Dirty Fed's Dirty Laundry

The Fed has been forced to open its books and reveal recipients of "emergency" loans at the height of the 2008 financial collapse. Unsurprisingly, the news ain't pretty. Read about $3.1 trillion loaned to Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, unsecured loans for McDonald's, Verizon and Harley-Davidson, plus over $550 billion in MBSs handed over to foreign banks to "save the American economy".

I'd laugh but it's actually really sad.


Obama Administration was warned that nudie-scanners are dangerous

Please read this before you subject yourself or your loved ones to invasive scans that could cause cancer. Obama's science czar John Holdren (who, by the way, advocated forced abortions and mass sterilization) apparently ignored warnings from radiation and cancer experts. The Administration was getting big donations from nudie-scan vendors, you see.

The best option is to not fly, and to write to your airlines telling them why. If you must fly, opt for the handjob.

Dirty Fed trying to get Dirtier

The NYTimes reports that the Fed is proposing a rule that will further protect the banks in their effort to foreclose on homes that they may or may not have the right to foreclose on.
First, some background: The Truth in Lending Act from 1968 gives borrowers the “right of rescission,” the ability to undo a home refinancing or home equity loan within three years of the closing if the lender did not make proper disclosures — generally of the loan amount, interest rate and repayment terms. The law makes allowances for mere mistakes by the lender, but otherwise requires strict compliance, as well it should: disclosure is the main — often the only — consumer protection in the mortgage market.

It will come as no surprise that disclosure violations are not uncommon in the loans of the bubble years, so rescissions have become a valuable defense against foreclosure. That’s because when a loan is rescinded, the lender must give up its security interest in the home — and without a security interest, the lender cannot foreclose. The borrower must still repay the loan principal, minus payments already made. Essentially, a lender that has not complied with required disclosures can get its money back, but not interest and other fees.

In practice, one of the ways that rescissions have worked is that lenders faced with rescission have instead modified the loans, by reducing principal and setting new repayment terms.

The Fed proposal would change all that. Citing concern over banks’ compliance costs, it would require a borrower to pay off the remaining principal before the lender gives up its security interest. That would be clearly impossible for troubled borrowers. So the Fed’s proposal would benefit the creditor who violated the law rather than the borrower, paving the way for foreclosures that otherwise could be avoided.

Judson Phillips tries to hijack the Tea Party for social conservatism

Judson Phillips is the huckster who created a for-profit corporation called "Tea Party Nation." He tried to cash in on the Tea Party movement by hosting a "Tea Party Convention" last January that charged $549 admission. Despite his paying Sarah Palin a reported $100,000 to speak, attendance was poor and most real Tea Party groups didn't participate. More on that here. Phillips has since been sued by an investor who fronted the money for the flopped convention.

More recently, Phillips revealed the bigotry of Tea Party Nation by writing that Keith Ellison should be defeated because (in addition to legitimate grievances), "He is the only Muslim member of congress."

All of which should cast a different light on the recent kerfuffle where Phillips was presented in the media as a legitimate voice of the Tea Party saying that the Tea Party should turn from fiscal responsibility and limited government to social conservative issues. Real Tea Partiers, of course, disagree.

Local Tea Partiers and bloggers Shane Atwell, Liberator Today, and Beers with Demo have written about the controversy, and you'll find well-articulated views that are remarkably consistent with mine. Among the four bloggers and three founders of the SoCal TRC, we are two social conservatives, one agnostic Republican artist, one Christian Republican, one Catholic Democrat, one debauched libertarian, and one Randian objectivist (I'll leave it to you to figure out who is who), but we all agree completely on this: social issues have no place in the Tea Party.


43% of Irish want to sell their children into debt to bail out wealthy European bankers

You can't make this stuff up.
The Sunday Independent poll in Dublin says 57 percent favor a loan deal that requires senior lenders to Irish banks -- chiefly other banks in Britain, Germany and the United States -- to suffer partial write-offs on their investments.

The remaining 43 percent polled agree with the existing European Union policy that defaulting on debts would cause unacceptable shockwaves in global banking. The paper said results were based on phone polling of 500 people, with a 3 percent margin of error.

Zimbabwe Ben comes to the San Diego Zoo

Annual membership price up 10% year over year.

Not that the Zoo was exactly cheap before.

Keep worrying about that deflation, folks.


Nigel Farage Gets Real on the EU

"...But it's even more serious than economics. Because if you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of their democracy, then all they are left with is nationalism and violence. I can only hope and pray that the Euro project is destroyed by the markets before that really happens."

Oh snap!

Buy Nothing Day

We've been celebrating Buy Nothing Day for a few years now. Yesterday we even went out to buy milk so we could be BND purists today.

JDA has a great write-up here.


Aim for the silly hat

The lesson of the first Thanksgiving: socialism kills

The first winter was disasterous - nearly half of the Pilgrims died of starvation, pneumonia and tuberculosis. Many claim that Bradford's first wife perished that first winter, but that is not quite true - she actually fell off the Mayflower quite close to land and drowned, never making it to Plymouth (he later remarried.)

During the first two years the colony lived under what could only be called Communism, enshrined in the Mayflower Compact. Each person was accorded a "share" of the totality of what was produced at the colony, and each person was expected to do their part in working toward the common good. The land, and that upon it, was owned by the colony as a collective.

It not only did not work out, it nearly killed them all.

William Bradford wrote in his diary "For in this instance, community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustice.”

After the second winter, realizing that the colony had survived only through the friendship and largesse of the native Americans, and would soon perish if changes were not made, Bradford tore up the Mayflower Compact. He instead assigned each family a plot of land to be their property, to be worked as the family saw fit, and with the fruits of that land to be their own. It was the beginning of private property rights in the New World.

The result? Again, from his diary: "It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction.”

From the very day that Bradford tore up the Mayflower Compact, Plymouth began to prosper. Within a year the colonists found themselves with more food than they could eat. Flush with a bountiful harvest far in excess of their need for food and having bartered for all the goods they needed to get through the winter, they had a feast of thanks with their Indian trading partners.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the leftist teachers unions to teach this lesson to your children. Better show them this video from Reason:


I couldn't have said it better myself.
From: Barack Obama
Subject: Thankful
To: "WC Varones"
Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010, 7:21 AM

WC --

When Michelle and I sit down with our family to give thanks today, I want you to know that we'll be especially grateful for folks like you.

Everything we have been able to accomplish in the last two years was possible because you have been willing to work for it and organize for it.

And every time we face a setback, or when progress doesn't happen as quickly as we would like, we know that you'll be right there with us, ready to fight another day.

So I want to thank you -- for everything.

I also hope you'll join me in taking a moment to remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and each of us owes them and their families a debt of gratitude.

Have a wonderful day, and God bless.


I, too, would like to thank the millions of ordinary Americans who have taken to the Internet, the streets, and the voting booths in defense of liberty these past two years. What we've accomplished is truly extraordinary.


Happy National Opt-Out Day!

Tomorrow is National Opt-Out Day. If you're flying, refuse the nudie scans and politely say, "I'll take the handjob, please." I'll be opting out more fully but less publicly by not flying.

A lot has been written about the intrusive and offensive TSA scans and gropes the past few weeks. Some of the best has been from our San Diego Local Order of Bloggers.

Please consider:

Shane Atwell: I will refuse The Sexual Assault. "I will refuse because they have no right to scan or touch me."

Beers with Demo: Though the establishment media and politicians are telling us to shut up and bend over, Right now, we're doing exactly what Americans should be doing.

The Liberator Today suggests we should voice our contempt by Protesting the TSA in song and verse.

As a safety professional, Temple of Mut thinks the TSA bureaucrats could use a little common sense in RISK ASSESSMENT: Sensible Security Matrix that the TSA Can Use.

And Left Coast Rebel has been all over this story, and was the first local blogger to speak up, after I had been personally violated by the TSA but before I got the chance to post about it. And his co-blogger RightKlik been on top of the corrupt Administration and Congress taking money from the nudie-scan makers.

I'd encourage you to e-mail your airlines' customer service lines telling them you won't fly as long as this keeps up. And the travel industry (which has the clout to lobby for change) is actively soliciting feedback here.

The hot Christmas gift this year


Quantifying the TSA's Body Count

A study by Cornell University professors:
According to the Cornell study, roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.

That 520 annual fatalities was just in reaction to 2003 baggage screening, which was trivial in comparison to Janet Napolitano's pornoscans and physical molestation. Napolitano's Body Count is sure to be over 1000 per year.

Fed Asshat Irony: Zero Credibility Frederic Mishkin Musing On Fed Credibility

Know what's really hilarious? When a former Dirty Fed operative with zero credibility muses on Fed credibility.


TSA kills!

Transportation economists: TSA peep-or-grope will cause more people to choose to drive and die on the highways.
As the nation readies for one of the busiest traveling holidays, Steven Horwitz, a professor of economics at St. Lawrence University, told The Hill that the probable spike in road travel, caused by adverse feelings towards the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new screening procedures, could also lead to more car-related deaths.

“Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane,” said Horwitz. “The result will be that the new TSA procedures will kill more Americans on the highway.”

I'll be canceling my Christmas flight and driving instead. If my brains end up splattered all over I-5, please be sure to add my name to Janet Napolitano's Body Count.


Escondido bombmaker was making some serious explosives

What began as an investigation into a minor explosion in North County on Thursday afternoon that injured a gardener has led to the discovery of more than nine pounds of a highly explosive homemade compound that has been used in terrorist plots and by suicide-bombers worldwide.

Known as HMTD, short for the Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, the powdery compound that resembles flour was found inside five or six Mason jars in the backyard of a home near Escondido that abuts Interstate 15 just north of El Norte Parkway.


Caldwell said it is not known why the renter of the property, George Djura Jakubec, 54, was manufacturing the explosive.

“We don’t know what he was doing,” she said. Both local and federal agencies are investigating. “There are a lot of eyes on this,” Caldwell said.

Jakubec was arrested Thursday on suspicion of unlawfully owning explosives and possessing and manufacturing destructive materials. He is to be arraigned in Vista Superior Court Monday afternoon.

The initial explosion that led authorities to the property on Via Scott happened when Mario Garcia, a landscaper, scuffed his foot on the ground apparently activating a bit of the compound which had fallen there. The resulting explosion injured Garcia’s left eye and arm.

“He was very lucky not to have been killed,” Caldwell said.

The Mason jars were later found outside the home.

Investigators were planning to enter the house Saturday afternoon where an earlier cursory inspection revealed such things as acids, bases, and solvents inside.

“He was apparently going to continue manufacturing the explosive,” Caldwell said. Officials will remain at the property indefinitely, she added.

“It’s like a witches brew inside there.”

According to news reports, HMTD was one of the components in the explosives prepared to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Years’s Eve 1999/2000, has been used by suicide bombers on numerous occasions, and was possibly used in the 2005 bombings in London.

The name Jakubec is Slavic, but there's no word yet whether he's an immigrant. I wonder if this will turn out to be an Bosnian Muslim terrorist manufacturing operation.

Or maybe he was just a hobbyist who took things a little too far.

HMTD does not appear in the Anarchist Cookbook.

Security expert Bruce Schneier: TSA scans "won't catch anybody"

Popular Mechanics: It's "security theater" designed to make it look like the thousands of TSA government workers are doing something useful.
The TSA will say, "Oh, we're not allowed to talk about successes." That's actually bullsh*t. They talk about successes all the time. If they did catch someone, especially during the Bush years, you could be damned sure we'd know about it. And the fact that we didn't means that there weren't any. Because the threat was imaginary. It's not much of a threat. As excess deaths go, it's just way down in the noise. More than 40,000 people die each year in car crashes. It's 9/11 every month. The threat is really overblown.


It's politics. You have to be seen as doing something, even if nothing is the smart thing to do. You can't be seen as doing nothing.

Saturday morning linkies

Shane Atwell analyzes a conservative campaign against Chris Christie. OK, so Christie's not the ghost of Milton Friedman but he's still better than any other potential candidates as far as I can tell. Atwell's been doing some of this in-depth blogging which stands in contrast to the snide one-liners that some bloggers call posts. See also his review of the Koran.

Proof positive: A tale of four tax cheats. Guess which one is going to prison.

Timmy the Tax Cheat warns Republicans against politicizing his monetizer. Politicize the Fed? That's like politicizing Rahm Emanuel. You mean to tell me when Zimbabwe Ben and Hank Paulson tag-teamed Nancy Pelosi, the Fed was independent and apolitical? Or when the Dirty Fed hired an ex-Enron lobbyist to schmooze Congress it was apolitical? Or when the Dirty Fed monetizes the debt to facilitate Obama's trillion-dollar deficits it is apolitical?

Progressives Against Math: the Daily Kos urges a pledge to oppose any Social Security reform at all.

Some conservative Democrats have started to cave on Social Security. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia says “we have to” raise the retirement age (link). Peter Orzag, who is President Obama’s former director of the Office of Management and Budget, is urging progressives to support Social Security cuts (link).

With Republicans, Wall Street, and the corporate media already in favor of cutting Social Security, we have to gear up to stop any Democratic capitulation. That’s why, at Daily Kos, we're looking to deny these Democrats any grassroots support for their “compromises,” and identify a group of activists who are willing to take further steps fight back. You can help us by signing a pledge to yourself promising you will never support cutting or privatizing Social Security.

Click here to sign the pledge now.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

I've found a good new libertarian blog by Cato / Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron: Libertarianism from A to Z. He's also got a book by the same name.

Food stamps as federal bailout for California: to fix the state economy and budget, we need more people on food stamps!


California still bankrupt; legislators party it up with lobbyists in Hawaii


Good question

If ObamaCare is a good thing, why are all the White House's allies getting exemptions from it?

Ethics Committee and Charlie Rangel hoodwink public

One of the country's long-time rulers has been found guilty of multiple corruption counts, and he's going to face a punishment so drastic that it hasn't been imposed on anyone in thirty years, the dreaded censure.

Wait until you hear the barbarous details: Charlie Rangel is going to get... a stern lecture. That's right, he's going to have to stand on the House floor and listen to the reading of a resolution.

As Hans Blix threatened Kim Jong-Il:
"Or else we will be very, very angry with you, and we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are."

And Charlie Rangel pretends to be traumatized by receiving a lecture, and the gullible mainstream media play along. And the crook will keep his seat in Congress in his gerrymandered district where he can never lose.


TSA boycott goes mainstream

The Atlantic's Megan McArdle: Dear Airline, I'm Leaving You.

UPDATE: And the Wall Street Journal:
I'm gratified that enough Americans are still jealous guardians of their rights to have made this an uncomfortable week for the TSA. And I admire the impulse behind making Wednesday—one of the heaviest travel days of the year—"Opt-Out Day." The idea is for everyone to gum up the works by refusing the X-ray. If the TSA has to give its lengthy semimolestations to everyone, the thinking goes, they won't be able to do it to anyone. Alas, security gridlock isn't likely to discomfit the TSA much. It is Thanksgiving travelers who will bear the brunt of the nightmare—hardly the best way to build popular support for a protest movement.

Instead, perhaps we should make 2011 "Opt-Out of Flying" year. Since buying a ticket means giving up "a lot of rights," the best way to protect those rights is not to fly unless you absolutely have to. It will help if you let the airlines know why they haven't had the pleasure of your company.

The old saw is that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged. Tom Wolfe riffed that "a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested." We might add one more variation: A libertarian is anyone whose wife and children have had their groins groped by the TSA.

Malaysian hacker breaks into "ultra-secure" Dirty Fed computers

Well, that will inspire confidence.
Lin Mun Poo was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport last month as he traveled to New York for a meeting with other hackers and to allegedly exploit some of the stolen information he had obtained, investigators said.

Officials are still looking into how he allegedly hacked his way into well-guarded computer systems at the Federal Reserve and numerous major financial institutions. Poo allegedly traded and profited on information he stole from some of the institutions.

And we trust these buffoons to centrally plan our economy?

I wonder if Lin Mun Poo got the Board minutes before even Goldman Sachs.

Chris Christie Nation

Tea Party types at Hot Air loves them some Chris Christie!

He's my favorite potential candidate for 2012 and 2016. By far.

HT: Fark


Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Teabagger

CNBC's anchor comes out of the closet as one of the fiscally conservative, socially liberal, silent-no-more majority in this interview with Instapundit/PJTV's Glenn Reynolds.

You can buy her book here. Sounds like a good one.

Palin Derangement Syndrome

No, not the elitist media's derangement over the blue-collar appeal of Sarah Palin.

This guy is even worse over Bristol.
Bristol Palin may have had her best night ever on Dancing with the Stars but for one Wisconsin man, her best wasn't good enough.

According to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal, Steven N. Cowan was allegedly so upset by Palin's performances on Monday night's show – she danced the paso doble and the waltz – that he fired a gun at his television, prompting a 15-hour standoff at his Black Earth, Wis., home.

Palin has been a polarizing figure on the show, having advanced in the competition despite consistently receiving the lowest scores from the judges.

While watching the semi-finals with his wife, Cowan jumped up and swore after seeing Palin perform, seemingly upset by her dancing skills, according to a criminal complaint.

The 66-year-old then retrieved his shotgun, which he loaded and fired at the TV, before allegedly pointing it at his wife, who fled the scene and called 911.

End the Fed

The National Inflation Association posted this 6+ minute video with more color on why the Fed is destroying, well, everything. The Fed and the Banks are destroying democracy, they are destroying the middle class, and down this road they take us will eventually lead to literally destroying life as those on fixed incomes can't afford food.

The Fed is one of the most powerful and evil organizations in history. As I've opined before, they are the mob characters from Goodfellas. The United States is the bar that the mob took over in the movie. Remember what happened to the bar once they sucked it dry of all the money they could take from it?

HT: the Daily Bail


Outrage fatigue

I used to get outraged at the Border Patrol checkpoints harassing citizens in Oceanside, 50 miles north of the U.S. border.

Now families and children are X-rayed nude and groped by government goons just to get on a domestic flight.

Oh, for the good old days.

If I could get rid of al-Qaeda or the TSA forever, I'd choose to lose the TSA.


TSA's Nude Scanners, Former Homeland Security Head Chertoff, and How Our Government Works

How our government works:
1) Get a position in the government.
2) Hype up some scare and advocate a solution to it
3) Sell/convince the government on your proposed solution, leave your government position, and partner up with the company that provides that same solution.
4) Sit back and enjoy your new money.

Michael Chertoff, while he was the Head of Homeland Security under Bush, advocated and pushed for installation and implementation of these new full-body scanners at our airports. Once he was out of "public service", Chertoff's consulting company (Read: Lobbying Company) landed as a client (Surprise!), Rapiscan, the company that makes the scanners. He is now a much richer person, I'm sure. There are multiple links to info about Chertoff and the scanner company. Below is a bit from rightpundits:
And finally, like most government scandals, follow the money. Guess which company owns a large manufacturer of backscatter x-ray devices? Give up? The Chertoff Group which is a security consulting agency run by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. That’s right, in the wake of the Christmas Day bomber Chertoff has been pushing for more and more of these full body image scanners and it’s no wonder considering that this is going to put a large chunk of money in his pocket. Go figure!
And a bit from Boston.com
Since the attempted bombing of a US airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.
What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines…
And what's this about a no-bid contract using money from the Stimulus Bill?
In the summer, TSA purchased 150 more machines from Rapiscan with $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Rapiscan was the only company that qualified for the contract because it had developed technology that performs the screening using a less-graphic body imaging system, which is also less controversial. (Since then, another company, L-3 Communications, has qualified for future contracts, but no new contracts have been awarded.)
It also turns out that none other than George Soros himself is profiting from the Nude Scanners. And the CEO of the company that owns Rapiscan, OSI, was "selected to accompany" President Obama on his trip to India last week (insert Nude Scanner Tech-Support outsourcing joke here).

HT: link 1 and link 2

Welcome Reddit readers! Please check out the latest TSA round-up from the San Diego Local Order of Bloggers (SLOBs).

Popular revolt against the TSA-Industrial Complex

Last week I went through one of the new Rapescan full frontal nudity airport scanners in San Diego. I should have refused, but I was kind of caught off-guard. The procedure was far more degrading than I ever could have imagined. You literally have to stand with your legs spread and your hands over your head like a criminal, while the machine takes a fully nude photo which it sends to some TSA guy sitting in the corner.

The process seemed designed to get people accustomed to complete submission to whatever the government demanded. If we don't take a stand here, we'll never stand up for anything.

And it turns out the maker of the Rapescan machines lavished hundreds of thousands of dollars on Congress and both the Bush and Obama Administrations to get their dehumanizing perv machines purchased and installed.

Fortunately, a huge backlash is already starting. John Tyner refused the peep-or-grope demand and started a blog sensation that has spread to talk radio and mainstream print and TV news.

Many, including Instapundit and The Atlantic, are calling for a National Opt-Out Day on the busy Wednesday November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving, but I say every day is TSA Opt-Out Day! You think Rosa Parks would have put up with this shiite?

We are all John Tyner! Just say No!

Tea Parties join gay group to tell GOP to stay focused on fiscal issues

As I've said all along, the Tea Parties are about fiscal responsibility and limited government, not social issues.

Now leading tea partiers are joining the gay group GOProud in reminding the new Congressional majority not to misread their mandate.
"On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement," they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. "This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue."

It's not just the right thing to do; it's also the politically smart thing to do. The fastest way to lose the independents and moderates you just won is to go all Jerry Falwell on us again.

The full text of the letter is here.

Quantitative Easing Explained

by xtranormal

Sempra (SDG&E) built palace for executives

This is the inevitable result of government-granted monopolies.

They claim the money didn't come from San Diego utility customers, but that's an accounting shell game. Sempra is SDG&E, and SDG&E is Sempra.

To boot, the CEO gave his buddy the no-bid construction contract.

You'll recall that Sempra is the same company that still employs lobbyist Heidi DeJong Barsuglia after she allegedly was "dripping" from her interactions with a legislator in Sacramento.



Charleston, South Carolina.

It definitely doesn't suck. The only thing bad about this place is the stench of Lindsey Graham.

Cato Institute: abolish the Dirty Fed!

Wow. Cato Institute says Federal Reserve should be abolished immediately.

Sure, Cato is libertarianish, but they're also mainstream and widely respected. Fedbusting is going big time! I guess that's what a century of FAIL will do for a Dirty Fed.


W.C. is reading...

End the Fed by Ron Paul.

It's a quick and easy read and explains in layman's terms the history of the Federal Reserve and how it is the root cause of our current financial and economic crisis.

Anyone who defends the Dirty Fed without having read this book is arguing from a position of willful ignorance.

Go on, click over and order it from Amazon. You can't afford to keep ignoring the corrupt and destructive influence of the Dirty Fed on our economy.

Time says hyperinflation will be Tea Parties' fault

Seriously. Ed Morrissey does an excellent job shredding the ridiculous argument by the feeble-minded Time writer.

And if debt apologists are going to ignore intragovernmental holdings of debt, shouldn't we throw out the Dirty Fed holdings too? It will be a lot easier to default on the $2 trillion, soon to be $3 trillion, that we owe the Dirty Fed than it will be to default on Social Securty and Medicare benefits.


Audit the Fed? Sure. But Let's Audit the Parties, Too!

If we ever get to see an audit of the Federal Reserve, we will certainly be forced to reconfigure our entire basic understanding of how our country works. Auditing the Federal Reserve is a great idea. I hope the Bill to do so comes up again for a vote and passes.

But just as a "thought experiment", what if we were able to somehow see a full audit of both our major political parties? I'd like to see beyond what the parties are legally required to release. Those donor lists they release are probably scrubbed pretty clean by the time we see them. Therefore, more extensively auditing the Democrat Party and the Republican Party would reveal so much, it would likely force most Americans to fundamentally and completely re-evaluate their own understanding of how our political system works.

Let's just see, for instance, what foreign money really is being contributed to whom. Let's see some of their internal memos. Let's see who in the media has a financial relationship with what party. I could go on. It would be disgusting and fascinating, wouldn't it? It's a pipe dream, obviously. The fox that guards the hen house doesn't often hire an outside objective entity to investigate how the fox's work is helping the hens.

The disinformation and election interference is coming from inside the house

The FBI just admitted in court that Hunter Biden's laptop is real. Here are 20 minutes of Joe Biden, U.S. intelligence officials, and th...