WC Varones

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

Government Motors shenanigans

It's easy to make money in business when you've got the full weight of the U.S. government putting its thumb on the scale for you.

Government Motors dealers pocketing $7500 credits for Chevy Volts.

And Government Motors' ugly stepsister Chrysler is getting the government reacharound too.

Crony capitalism at its finest. Or, if you prefer, fascism.

Hey Look, It's Another Sleazy Banker Forcing Himself on a Hotel Maid



And yes, it was in New York. What is wrong with these idiots?

Memorial Day

Let's honor our fallen heroes by not lightly creating any more.



End the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. End Obama's illegal war of aggression on Libya. And let's bring the troops home from South Korea and Germany too.

Maybe he's not as selfish as we thought



HT: TLP

Wood shampoo, Spanish style

That's champú de madera.

Courtesy ZeroHedge:



More beatings here.

You'll take your austerity and like it, pawns. The French and German banks must be paid.

Greenspan's Body Count: Alfredo Pimienta, Georgina Pimienta, Priscilla Pimienta, and Emily Pimienta


Photo credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant

It's not just the speculators and homedebtors who are victims of Greenspan's easy money. Even those wise enough to sit out the bubble and rent can be caught in the economic devastation after the collapse.

Today's story comes from San Diego, where a man and wife killed their two daughters before killing themselves.
The couple was facing financial difficulties, [police Capt. Jim] Collins said, but he would not elaborate on what those were.

[...]

Prudencio De Los Reyes, a neighbor on the other side of the Pimientas, said he didn’t suspect anything was wrong with the family. But, he and his wife, Rosario, said they believed Alfredo Pimienta “looked worried,” last week, the way he paced up and down the street and didn’t engage in small talk like he usually did.

What a tragedy. The elder girl was about to graduate from San Diego's renowned charter school High Tech High and go on to study at Cal State Sonoma.

Alan Greenspan, this family's blood is on your hands.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 169.

Fed Propaganda Gets a Modern Day Gonzo Update

Because I'm such a humanitarian, I decided to take Philadelphia Fed's advice to WaPo economics reporter Neil Irwin - who requested the Fed update their 1920's era posters for modern day - and did a little tweaking of the text.

He wanted an explanation of QE, he got it:


I also did another but I warn you, it's graphic (no pun intended). As is the very real assault on our economic well-being we're suffering as we speak at the hands of the Fed. But you already know that.

You can see the original posters via the NY Fed's Liberty Street Economics blog.

Enjoy!

Ruling Class update: Congress members use insider trading to enrich themselves

With the government more and more entrenched in the economy, is it any wonder that Congresspeople can pick stocks when they know what legislation they are going to pass that will change industries?

Well, they shamelessly profit from it.

Is This President Barack Obama or Leslie Nielsen? Naked Gun 4? President Lt. Frank Drebin?

Has the ghost of the beloved late, great Leslie Nielsen taken over the body of President Obama, and begun solo rehearsals for the long-awaited Naked Gun 4? Or does Obama just not do well whenever he has encounters with Heads of State?

Before you watch this clip, let' ask ourselves how Frank Drebin (played by Leslie Nielsen) would've handled this formal meeting of Heads of State. Lt. Drebin would likely have first spoken elegant words of praise for his host nation in that dry, serious tone Leslie Nielsen so perfectly used. Then he would have ignored the start of the official playing of the British National Anthem as his formal and obvious cue to finally stop talking. He would have awkwardly kept talking over the National Anthem, and he would have asked everyone to raise their glasses and join him in a toast, the timing of which is counter to the etiquette that everyone else in the room understands and expects. Then he would have turned to the Queen herself with his raised glass, expecting her to raise her glass to his and join him in his toast. Having had his toast silently ignored by everyone in the room, including the Queen who is standing just two feet away from him, he would have probably grabbed the mic and yelled "There's the crook! Get him!" and run out of the room. And only at that exact point would Lt. Frank Drebin's approach to this formal gathering have differed from President Obama's.

Who needs home equity when you've got...



... a Car ATM!!!

Obamacare Only For Republicans maybe?

From the Washington Examiner:
Question: What do the following have in common? Eckert Cold Storage Co., Kerly Homes of Yuma, Classic Party Rentals, West Coast Turf Inc., Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc., Only in San Francisco, Hotel Nikko, International Pacific Halibut Commission, City of Puyallup, Local 485 Health and Welfare Fund, Chicago Plastering Institute Health & Welfare Fund, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Teamsters Local 522 Fund Welfare Fund Roofers Division, StayWell Saipan Basic Plan, CIGNA, Caribbean Workers' Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Health and Welfare Plan.
Answer: They are all among the 1,372 businesses, state and local governments, labor unions and insurers, covering 3,095,593 individuals or families, that have been granted a waiver from Obamacare by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

All of which raises another question: If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?

More specifically, why are more than half of those 3,095,593 in plans run by labor unions, which were among Obamacare's biggest political supporters? Union members are only 12 percent of all employees but have gotten 50.3 percent of Obamacare waivers.
How is it conscionable that in the United States the government can order you to subscribe to Obamacare but then let those they favor not be required to? This is not democracy and this is certainly unconstitutional.

Again:
Amendment 10: the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
If you don't believe in that, and you are citizen of the United States, then exactly what is the law of this land? Seems more like a kingdom than a democracy these days.

Mark Haines Passes

Mark Haines was one of the few on CNBC that mattered. He passed away today.

Denninger posted a very appropriate eulogy:
Those of you who have followed me are well-aware of my general disdain for CNBC, in that I often call it "CNBS", and I'm sure you can figure out the expansion of the last two letters.

Nonetheless there are a couple of people on that channel who have made a difference in terms of truth-telling. Rick Santelli is one.

Mark Haines was the other.

Mark was known for refusing to cotton to commonly-run but ridiculously false assertions and looking askance at the various chainsaw-dealers who would come on the air and try to toss their wares at the investing audience - running with the throttle locked on, of course. His ascerbic and wry refusal to take crap often ended with the worst offenders among interviewees stomping off the set - a welcome change from the usual pablum-sucking nonsense that infests "business news."

Mark brought badly-needed balance to a channel that has justly earned the scorn of anyone who takes a realistic and analytical view of the markets and economy. He also had an unbridled streak of Patriotism in him that was subtle and yet pervasive - his wearing of an American flag tie on Fridays post 9/11 was one of those "little things" that many people missed, but only because they've become so dulled to the finer details of life by our media that they couldn't reason their way out of a paper bag.

Business news is poorer today by a substantial margin with Mark's passing, and while I knew him only through his public persona, I suspect he lived the rest of his life with the same sort of wry view for those who dissemble that he displayed on-air, and as such I'm sure he will be sorely missed by those of personal acquaintance along with, of course, his family.

May you rest in peace Mr. Haines.

I completely agree. I'm going to miss Mark.

Hard Times and a Guitar Virtuoso

One of the world's greatest living guitarists, Brad Paisely, has just released a beautiful song that (among other things) nicely characterizes an average citizen's perspective on this economic horror show we are living through. It's called "A Man Don't Have To Die" [to go to hell], written by gifted songwriters Rivers Rutherford, George Teren, and Josh Thompson. Sometimes songwriters and artists get it right, and capture the essence of something that's affecting millions of people.

An excerpt:

He yelled out from the back row, look here Preacher Man
We all know you're new here, but you need to understand
It don't really scare us when you yell and shake your fists
See, we already know that hell exists.

It's 6 months short of 30 years when the boss man lays you off
No thanking you, no parachute, no shiny new gold watch
It's payments that you can't make on a house that you can't sell
See, a man don't have to die to go to hell.
No, you don't have to die to go to hell.


Ruling Class Socialist Eurotrash update

Dominique Strauss-Kahn to maid: "No, baby, don't worry, don't you know who I am?"

And Arnold Schwarzenegger prefers ugly women because they're more grateful for the attention.

UPDATE: DSK's friends are trying to bribe the maid's poor African family to make the case go away. Kinda reminds me of the Marquis in Tale of Two Cities throwing a gold coin to the father of the boy he killed. That's how the Ruling Class rolls.

Steve Forbes elaborates on how Fed easy money is the root of all our problems

A couple weeks ago, Steve Forbes made waves calling for a return of the gold standard.

In Forbes Magazine's op-ed column, he elaborates:

Monetary policy is one of those rare subjects that truly intimidate most people, which is why the Federal Reserve has less formal oversight--even though it can destroy our economy--than do our intelligence agencies. Politicos are loath to go beyond bromides when it comes to treating the dollar with respect. Among the current crop of contenders only Representative Ron Paul (R–Tex.) unhesitatingly brings up the dire necessity of relinking the dollar to gold.

The economic profession and most bankers still labor under the Keynesian superstition that gold somehow caused the Great Depression and is a straitjacket that will inflict unemployment and misery. The opposite is true. After the catastrophic inflation of the Revolutionary War our first Treasury chief, Alexander Hamilton, made it a point to fix the dollar to the yellow metal (as well as to silver). He figured that a sound dollar would encourage productive investment and attract capital from overseas. He was right. The U.S. boomed.

It wasn't until the early 1970s that the connections between the dollar and gold were completely severed. The ensuing decade was an economic horror. During the 1980s and most of the 1990s the dollar price of the yellow metal moved in a fairly narrow range. But for the last decade the gold gyroscope has been spinning like crazy. We're in a 1970s-like malaise. The weak dollar is fueling speculation in commodities, currencies and farmland and is chasing off capital to Asia. Cheap money also undermines the value of capital, which is why we have subpar levels of business investment.

Timid presidential candidates should fortify themselves with the knowledge that the disastrous housing bubble could never have occurred had the Fed not printed so much money. They should also dust off John Kennedy's famous quote that the dollar should be as good as gold.

The debate should be focused on what the best gold system is, not on whether we need to go back on one. A good sound bite for candidates: Which would you trust to protect the integrity of your money--a gold standard or Washington politicians?

Stupid Euros bought Greek debt, now surprised it can't be paid back

So they'll either have to let Greece default, hammering lots of French and German banks that hold Greek debt, or buy even more bad Greek debt to let Greece dig itself deeper into a hole. When they faced the same choice last year, they chose the digging.

Read all about it at John Mauldin.

Tucson SWAT team murders Iraq Marine veteran in his home

Your War on Drugs:
A Tucson, Ariz., SWAT team defends shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, although it declines to say whether it found any drugs in the house and has had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first.

And the Pima County sheriff scolded the media for "questioning the legality" of the shooting.

Jose Guerena, 26, died the morning of May 5. He was asleep in his Tucson home after working a night shift at the Asarco copper mine when his wife, Vanessa, saw the armed SWAT team outside her youngest son's bedroom window.

"She saw a man pointing at her with a gun," said Reyna Ortiz, 29, a relative who is caring for Vanessa and her children. Ortiz said Vanessa Guerena yelled, "Don't shoot! I have a baby!"

Vanessa Guerena thought the gunman might be part of a home invasion -- especially because two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home, her lawyer, Chris Scileppi, said. She shouted for her husband in the next room, and he woke up and told his wife to hide in the closet with the child, Joel, 4.

Guerena grabbed his assault rifle and was pointing it at the SWAT team, which was trying to serve a narcotics search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown, when the team broke down the door. At first the Pima County Sheriff's Office said that Guerena fired first, but on Wednesday officials backtracked and said he had not. "The safety was on and he could not fire," according to the sheriff's statement.

Be prepared

Obama ignores War Powers Act, continues war on Libya without Congressional authorization



Did you expect anything else?
The clock is running out on President Barack Obama's military adventure in Libya. Today his campaign of pinprick air strikes and half-hearted support for the rebels will run smack into the War Powers Resolution. The law, passed in 1973, requires that the president withdraw U.S. forces from hostilities after 60 days unless he secures Congress's approval or a formal declaration of war.

[...]

When Mr. Obama first announced the Libyan intervention along with our NATO allies, he claimed constitutional authority as chief executive and commander in chief and said he was acting "consistent with" the War Powers Resolution. Congress has shown no interest in authorizing our limited military operations, nor has it provided any funding. At this point, if the president were to seek approval, Congress would likely refuse.

Remember when you learned in school about "checks and balances" in American government? Those don't apply anymore.

Ron Paul opens rift between neocons and fiscons

Our friend Left Coast Rebel has a piece in American Thinker about Ron Paul's provocative anti-war positions. I'm mostly with Ron Paul, though I don't trust the Pakis and I don't mind the occasional Seal team raid or drone strike (and I ♥ waterboarding!).

Click on over and read the whole thing.

Diane Feinstein is a very handsome man indeed

From the SFGate.com main page:

Click here to be shocked back to reality.

Help! I'm In Love With Someone Who Doesn't Share My Political Views

 pic credit: Chocolo

Fate being what it is, we don't always have a choice when it comes to who the Universe decides to match us up with. In my case, I've been in the strange position of being hopelessly in love with someone who does not necessarily share my political views for over two years now. We don't talk about politics very often but I'm pretty sure by the way he behaves and due to his strange fixation with bashing Sarah Palin that my significant other is totally of a different political sway than I am. At first, this made me really uncomfortable, especially when introducing him to my conservative and libertarian friends. Shit, was he going to embarrass me by inadvertently parroting Si Se Puede Obama comments in private Facebook conversations? The shame!

This person also happens to work for a company whose views I don't necessarily agree with, further complicating the situation. The following tips from Broke-Ass Stuart can help if you find yourself in love with a member of the opposite political group or affiliation. It's a sticky situation to say the least.

If you’re anything like no one, your world has been rocked by the breakup of Maria Shriver and Arnold Sch-whatever. If a groping son of a Nazi Republican and a Kennedy Democrat can’t work it out, what hope is there for the rest of us!?! Well, thank god those two freaks of nature are completely un-relatable. However, it does happen sometimes that you may fall for someone with different political beliefs than you.

I found #2 useful:

2) You may disagree, but does it affect your relationship?
Unless the social or global issue in question directly affects your relationship– though yes, the personal is political, etc– it’s probably OK to agree to disagree. Unless your significant other is a criminal, slave owner, racist, sexist, murderer and/or warlord, it’s probably safe to say that agreeing to disagree isn’t going to make you a “sellout”, enabler, or an “accomplice to murder”, etc.

OK, I'm not going so far as to say $4/a gallon or $12 6-packs of bad beer are actually killing anyone but it's a feeling probably not that much unlike actually dying, I know my knuckles atrophy when I have to pull out my debit card at the gas station.

In the case of the "groping son of a Nazi Republican and a Kennedy Democrat," the "experts" are calling it a personal 9/11:

"This event is like a personal 9/11," said Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, director of Yale University's Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic. "What happens after that can really contribute to the how their emotional and behavioral adjustment turns out."

In some cases, I guess you just can't make it work. I wouldn't go so far as to compare it to 3,000 lost lives and a terrorist "panic" that has terrorized all of us ever since but that's just me.

But look at how well Mary Matalin and James Carville have done! It can totally be done, you just have to avoid talking about politics (and, in my particular case, bank examiners) as often as possible. You can talk about them, just don't suggest to cuddle up to a little Rachel Maddow on a warm spring evening.

So far no one has disowned me for associating with an obvious non-libertarian with questionable gainful employment and neither of us like The Ed Show so I think we're doing alright. As for Shriver and Schwarzenegger, something tells me their public break-up has very little to do with politics and everything to do with the Taxinator's inability to keep it in his pants.

Schwarzenegger love child photos - Mildred Baena

Meet Mildred Baena and son.

Would you give up Maria Shriver for that?

Yikes!











HT: MMA Underground Forums

Who will buy America's debt when the Fed stops QE2?

We've been wondering who would step in to buy Timmy the Tax Cheat's $1.6 trillion annual debt issuance when the Fed stops printing money out of thin air to monetize it.

The Credit Strategist's Michael Lewitt has the answer: the Dirty Fed-sponsored TBTF banks.

It should also be noted that the Federal Reserve has accounted for 101 percent of the net Treasury bond issuance during the first four months of 2011 [...]. A new set of buyers willing to be paid virtually nothing for lending to a country that is drowning in debt and debauching its currency will have to be found once the Federal Reserve ends its purchases at the end of June.

Finding such buyers may not be as difficult as some suppose, however. Our friend Christopher Wood, who is always ahead of the curve, notes that the share of US banks’ assets in Treasuries is near historic levels, with only 2.1 percent of U.S. commercial banks’ total financial assets consisting of these confiscatory pieces of paper at the end of 2010.3 This suggests not only that there is scope for the banks to step into the breach and significantly add to their Treasury holdings, but in order for them to do so and earn an adequate spread over their cost of funds, Mr. Bernanke and Co. will wait as long as possible to raise rates so that the massive Ponzi scheme that funds the U.S. government can continue.

That sounds right to me. The Dirty Fed will keep lending to the banks at near zero, allowing the banks to earn free money on the spread buying Treasuries. Of course that means the the TBTF banks are going to get even TBTFer, and it will facilitate Congress' reckless spending, thus delaying -- and worsening -- the eventual day of reckoning.

Happy Wednesday!

Government Motors sponsors film celebrating Chinese Communist Party

I will never buy another Government Motors car. Not that I would have anyway, but this is insult to injury. My tax money went to bail out the unions and rip off the bondholders, and now it's going to support communist Chinese propaganda.

Father of Zimbabwe's hyperinflation says Bernanke is out of control

You know you're friggin' nuts when Zimbabwe's Gideon Gono calls you out for printing too much friggin' money:
The huge budget deficits accumulated by the United States is [sic] leading to a resistance to relying on the U.S. dollars as a base currency, Gono said. The central bank chief warned that the U.S. greenback's days as the world's reserve currency are numbered, the New Zimbabwe report said.

What is it with Eurotrash socialists and maids?



Arnold Schwarzenegger was banging the help... and has a love child (in the loosest sense of the term, as if a narcissist like Schwarzenegger could love anything other than his own roid-flab, gap-toothed, clown-hair image).

More Education

This was advertised at the top of SFGate today:


Yeah, if career involves homelessness. The administrators of these schools doth have no shame.

Public servant Dominique Strauss-Kahn was in a $3,000 per night luxury suite

NY Post:
The trouble began at around 1 p.m. yesterday when a 32-year-old housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn's $3,000-a-night suite at the luxury Sofitel on West 44th Street -- apparently unaware he was still inside.

American taxpayers are paying for that lifestyle.

We need to de-fund the IMF and the UN and kick their asses out of the country. Now.

HT: T-Dub.

North Carolina Deputies Mistake 91 Pounds of Tortilla Dough for Cocaine



Out of North Carolina:

An enzyme found in cheese triggered false drug test results that led North Carolina deputies to think a man with 91 pounds of tortilla dough was actually carrying that much cocaine, the sheriff said.

Antonio Hernandez spent four days in an Asheville jail this month before tests by a state lab showed he was carrying food, not drugs.

A Buncombe County deputy stopped Hernandez on May 1 and found what turned out to be a mix of cheese, shrimp and tortilla and tamale dough in his truck. A portable kit used by deputies changed colors, indicating the mixture was illegal drugs.

You're telling me we can test Osama bin Laden's DNA in a matter of hours (minutes? What's the story today?) but North Carolina needs four days to figure out tortilla dough isn't cocaine?

Republicans will puss out on the debt limit

Sadly, I think it's going to play out exactly as Dan Mitchell says:
Here’s a sure-fire prediction, assuming GOPers in the House actually are willing to engage in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Obama on the debt limit.

o There will be lots of political drama.

o We will get to a point where the federal government exhausts its borrowing authority.

o At that point, either Geithner or Bernanke (or probably both) will make some completely dishonest statements designed to rattle financial markets.

o The establishment media will echo those statements.

o The stock market and/or bond market will have a negative reaction.

o Republican resolve will evaporate like a drop of water in the Mojave Desert.

o The debt limit will be increased without any meaningful fiscal reform.

For all intents and purposes, this is what happened with the TARP vote in 2008. There were basically two choices of how to deal with the financial crisis. The establishment wanted a blank-check bailout, while sensible people wanted the “FDIC-resolution” approach (similar to what was used during the savings & loan bailouts about 20 years ago, which bails out retail customers but wipes out shareholders, bondholders and senior management). Republicans initially held firm and defeated the first TARP vote, but then they folded when the Washington-Wall Street establishment scared markets.

How do you feel about the TSA peeping and groping your family?

Let them know by commenting at the TSA blog.

Bike to work week

It's bike to work week!

Get on your bikes, you fat bastards!

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrested for sexual assault on maid in New York


(bumped)

JDA has the breaking news:
The leader of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested on Saturday, minutes before he was to fly to Paris from John F. Kennedy International Airport, the authorities said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a candidate for president of France, was taken off an Air France flight by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and turned over to Manhattan detectives, according to a Port Authority spokesman.

He was accused of a sex attack on a maid at a Times Square hotel earlier in the day, the authorities said.

Come on, this is the Ruling Class. Aren't they entitled to a little piece of ass from the proles now and then? And he's from France, a country that thinks it's OK for the rich and famous to drug and anally rape 13-year-olds! When he beats the charges, they'll throw a parade for him on the Champs Elysee!

UPDATE: Yep, I was right. Our international bankster overlords have a get-out-of-jail-free card for maid rape.

Captain Sexy Banjo

Yep, that'll fix it.

Not really sure what the Captain Sexy Banjo fetish is, but while you're here, have a look around for your radical libertarian Jeffersonian vegan militant bicyclist populist capitalist pig news.

P.S. Maybe it's Dominique Strauss-Kahn's nom de viol.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Recession Sessions

This is good stuff from a new folk group who have done a whole album on GD II. Well, in their folksy understated way, they call it the Recession Sessions, not the Depression Sessions, but who's quibbling?

Check out Is It Over Yet?



and the Gold Price Song.



You can buy the music at their web site Recession Sessions.

Speaking of the rule of law

Matt Taibbi once again hits it out of the park in his latest Rolling Stone article on Goldman Sachs:
They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

...

This isn't just a matter of a few seedy guys stealing a few bucks. This is America: Corporate stealing is practically the national pastime, and Goldman Sachs is far from the only company to get away with doing it. But the prominence of this bank and the high-profile nature of its confrontation with a powerful Senate committee makes this a political story as well. If the Justice Department fails to give the American people a chance to judge this case — if Goldman skates without so much as a trial — it will confirm once and for all the embarrassing truth: that the law in America is subjective, and crime is defined not by what you did, but by who you are.
Read the article. We are standing at a crossroads and Taibbi is the journalist who gets it.

Justice at work, episode 364

This is America, where the rule of law dictates that we all play by the same rules, and we are all treated equally and fairly in the courts. Of course, the Constitution carves out exceptions for bankers, politicians, and celebrities (wait, it does, right?), but apart from that, it's a pretty great system.

Have a look at the timeline of the Lindsay Lohan crime spree and consider how you would fare if you tried that. What if you were a black dude in Oakland?

The Rule-of-Law myth fits nicely along our Liberty-And-Justice-For-All motto. It's a cute story to tell the kids.

U.S. Government Argues: We Can Force Consumers to Buy Something if it "Addresses a National Problem"


Here's the case that the U.S. Federal Government's Solicitor General (their trial lawyer) made yesterday May 10, 2011 in Federal Appeals Court, in defense of Obamacare:
The Solicitor General for the United States, Neal Kumar Katyal, today claimed in a federal appeals court hearing that

Congress has the absolute power to order citizens to purchase consumer goods if lawmakers believe there is a national problem the purchases would address.
The ramifications of such being successful in court with such an argument are endless. Can they force us to buy U.S. Treasuries, then, in order to address the "national problem" of a devalued dollar? Could they force us to buy GM cars, in order to solve the "national problem" of our declining industrial capacity, or to support labor unions in difficult times? Or, hey, how about this simple question, which the U.S. Solicitor General, Neal Kumar Katyal (here pictured as the face of a Progressive), actually posed and answered himself yesterday in court:
"Could they [the Federal Government] possibly require the purchase of wheat?" he said. "The answer is yes."

Forbes calls for return to gold standard; trashes Dirty Fed

Ouch. That's gotta hurt. The consummate Wall Street insider is calling game over for the Dirty Fed.
A return to the gold standard by the United States within the next five years now seems likely, because that move would help the nation solve a variety of economic, fiscal, and monetary ills, Steve Forbes predicted during an exclusive interview this week with HUMAN EVENTS.

[...]

With a stable currency, it is “much harder” for governments to borrow excessively, Forbes said. Without lax Federal Reserve System monetary policies that led to the printing of too much money, the housing bubble would not have been nearly as severe, he added.

“When it comes to exchange rates and monetary policy, people often don’t grasp” what is at stake for the economy, Forbes said. By restoring the gold standard, the United States would shift away from “less responsible policies” and toward a stronger dollar and a stronger America, he said. “If the dollar was as good as gold, other countries would want to buy it.”

An encouraging sign for Forbes is that key lawmakers besides Rep. Paul are recognizing that the Fed is straying well beyond its intended role of promoting stable prices and full employment with its monetary policies.

Forbes cited Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.), who, he believes, understands monetary policy better than most lawmakers and has shown a willingness to ask tough but necessary questions. For example, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the House Budget Committee in February, Ryan, who chairs the panel, asked Bernanke bluntly how many jobs the Fed’s quantitative-easing program had helped to create.

Politicians need to “get over” the notion that the Fed can guide the economy with monetary policy. The Fed is like a “bull in a China shop," Forbes said. “It can’t help but knock things down.”

“People know that something is wrong with the dollar," Forbes concluded. "You cannot trash your money without repercussions.”

Got gold?

Greenspan's Body Count: Anthony Chambers, Brittany Quinn, and Jason Eisenberg



Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count occurred at 5245 Venus Drive in the town of Green Valley between the hellholes of Vallejo and Vacaville in northern California.

Jason Eisenberg, a 37-year old producer of local TV commercials, had bought a foreclosure with his girlfriend Brittany Quinn back in 2008. Aspiring to be young real estate moguls, they also had another house in nearby Sacramento county. Well, they took out some home equity, the housing values kept dropping, and you know the rest of the story. So Saturday Jason went on a killing spree, killing not only himself and Quinn, but also their roommate Anthony Chambers.

Court records show that Quinn sued Eisenberg last Wednesday for equity in their house and to be the sole owner of another home in Sacramento County. The year before, Eisenberg sent what Quinn believed to be a notarized document transferring the title of a home in Sacramento to her. However, Eisenberg then removed Quinn from the $158,400 home equity line of credit. Quinn is still listed on the mortgage loan for $47,999.

Eisenberg also opened a restraining order case against Quinn last November.

The next month, police said Quinn obtained a civil court order allowing her to move back into the residence. However, since that time, they continued to disagree about their property, assets and living arrangements, authorities said.

I guess they should have rented.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 165.

Inland Empire

We've commented before on Southern California's "Inland Empire," named by Business Insider as the #2 Most Depressing Place in America.

Well, it looks like they are gunning for #1. The Inland Empire is the sort of place where a pregnant lady can expect to be robbed at gunpoint by an elderly woman.
Fontana police confirmed that a woman believed to be in her 80s held up another woman who was waiting for her husband in the parking lot of Kohl’s. The victim, who is nine months pregnant, said the robbery occurred in broad daylight, around 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

The alleged victim, who only identified herself as “Shelly,” talked to KCAL9 reporter Nicole Gonzales.

“When she approached me. She seemed like a nice old lady that might need directions, that’s what I was thinking,” she said. “I just thought, I’m dead. I kind of froze, and freaked out a little bit.”

The alleged perp is described as a white woman, 5 feet 2 inches tall and about 140 pounds. Shelly said the woman was wearing black sunglasses, blue jeans and kept a pink flowered scarf over her face. “She pointed her gun at me, said ‘Excuse me, ma’am. I need your purse.’ She pointed the gun at me and took off.”
She made her getaway in a black sedan, possibly a Dodge Neon, with tinted windows and a missing hubcap.

A less charitable blogger might point out that Ben Bernanke's policies pay senior citizens 0% on their savings while generating significant food and energy inflation.

A stickup a day
Keeps the Alpo away

Does Unreal GDP Drive Our Policy Choices?

Yes.

We've commented on the absurd construction of GDP before. Paying one guy a thousand dollars to dig a hole and another guy a thousand dollars to fill it in adds two thousand dollars to GDP, though it doesn't add anything of value to the economy.

Policy makers focused on GDP by definition will want to increase government spending, because government spending, no matter how wasteful, corrupt, misguided, or worthless, increases GDP directly!

Rob Arnott comments on the false idol of GDP and the trap of debt-driven GDP spending here (pdf). Please read the whole thing.
GDP is consumer spending, plus government outlays, plus gross investments, plus exports minus imports. With the exception of exports, GDP measures spending.
The problem is GDP makes no distinction between debt-financed spending and spending that we can cover out of current income.

Consumption is not prosperity. The credit-addicted family measures its success by how much it is able to spend, applauding any new source of credit, regardless of the family income or ability to repay. The credit-addicted family enjoys a rising “family GDP”—consumption—as long as they can find new lenders, and suffers a family “recession” when they prudently cut up their credit cards.

In much the same way, the current definition of GDP causes us to ignore the fact that we are mortgaging our future to feed current consumption. Worse, like the credit-addicted family, we can consciously game our GDP and GDP growth rates—our consumption and consumption growth—at any levels our creditors will permit!

Consider a simple thought experiment. Let’s suppose the government wants to dazzle us with 5% growth next quarter (equivalent to 20% annualized growth!). If they borrow an additional 5% of GDP in new additional debt and spend it immediately, this magnificent GDP growth is achieved! We would all see it as phony growth, sabotaging our national balance sheet—right? Maybe not. We are already borrowing and spending 2% to 3% each quarter, equivalent to 10% to 12% of GDP, and yet few observers have decried this as artificial GDP growth because we’re not accustomed to looking at the underlying GDP before deficit spending!


UPDATE: Check out this video, which explains in layman's terms why Gross Domestic Income is a better goal than GDP.

Sheila Bair cashes out



Sheila Bair, who looted the FDIC in order to give a big payout to wealthy, uninsured depositors at IndyMac, and who recently did a stand-up comedy performance where she brought down the house saying that big banks "will not be too big to fail," is stepping down as head of the now depleted FDIC.

We have absolutely no doubt that Bair will go through the revolving door and find an excellent seven figure job on Wall Street (or six figures with equity) to reward her for her past service.

If the shoe fits

Much of what True Finns leader Timo Soini says about Euro bailouts also applies to the ongoing U.S. bank/Fannie/Freddie/AIG/GM bailouts:
The official wisdom is that Greece, Ireland and Portugal have been hit by a liquidity crisis, so they needed a momentary infusion of capital, after which everything would return to normal. But this official version is a lie, one that takes the ordinary people of Europe for idiots. They deserve better from politics and their leaders.

To understand the real nature and purpose of the bailouts, we first have to understand who really benefits from them. Let's follow the money.

At the risk of being accused of populism, we'll begin with the obvious: It is not the little guy that benefits. He is being milked and lied to in order to keep the insolvent system running. He is paid less and taxed more to provide the money needed to keep this Ponzi scheme going. Meanwhile, a kind of deadly symbiosis has developed between politicians and banks: Our political leaders borrow ever more money to pay off the banks, which return the favor by lending ever-more money back to our governments, keeping the scheme afloat.

In a true market economy, bad choices get penalized. Not here. When the inevitable failure of overindebted euro-zone countries came to light, a secret pact was made.

Instead of accepting losses on unsound investments—which would have led to the probable collapse and national bailout of some banks—it was decided to transfer the losses to taxpayers via loans, guarantees and opaque constructs such as the European Financial Stability Fund, Ireland's NAMA and a lineup of special-purpose vehicles that make Enron look simple. Some politicians understood this; others just panicked and did as they were told.

The money did not go to help indebted economies. It flowed through the European Central Bank and recipient states to the coffers of big banks and investment funds.

The True Finns appear to have the power to stop further Euro bailouts. Who will stop our Federal Reserve and Obama Administration bailouts?

Academics agree: buying a house is bad for your wealth



Why throw your money away on a mortgage, maintenance, property taxes, and insurance, when you can rent instead?

I pointed out in March that housing is a horrible investment unless we get inflation. A new study takes it even further: even during the past 30 years of phenomenal home price inflation, renters were better off than buyers.

Jaguar drivers for government propaganda



It helps keep the Ruling Class in power, after all.

Debate thoughts

On tonight's first Republican Presidential debate.

Herman Cain: Too cagey to take a position on anything. Talked process and competence. Kind of a Mitt Romney without the RomneyCare baggage.

Ron Paul: I'm biased, but I liked what he said. Especially getting out of the 10-year Afghanistan quagmire, slashing government departments, abolishing the Dirty Fed, and returning to the Constitution. Negative was that he was against waterboarding and Gitmo. From my perspective, there's a bright line between the rights of American citizens and those of foreign terrorists captured on the battlefield. Waterboard away on the latter, not the former.

Tim Pawlenty: Bullshit artist. Folksy personal stories lead into every answer.

Gary Johnson: Had the typical libertarian awkwardness. Good positions except for open borders. Open borders are fine if you don't have a welfare state. Unfortunately, we do have a welfare state. Great to call out the U.S. as bankrupt.

Rick Santorum: Don't even get me started. I've been vehemently opposed to Senator Man-on-Dog and Miracle Lights since he was a real player, not just a has-been. I couldn't even listen to what that d-bag was saying.

Greenspan goes north -- Peter and Shirley Scheeren

We've made it a policy not to credit Greenspan's Body Count with deaths due to property bubbles in foreign countries. Foreign central banks and regulators had control over their own markets, even if many of them chose to follow the Maestro's murderous easy-money policies.

Though today's story won't make the official GBC roll, it goes to show that bubbles, debt, and tragedy are inexorably linked around the world. Today's story comes from the Vancouver Island town of Langford:
Autopsies are expected to be carried out today on an elderly couple found dead in their home in an apparent murder-suicide.

RCMP named the couple as Peter Scheeren, 77, and his wife Shirley, 73

[...]

The couple bought the yellow bungalow, which has a large wraparound porch, about 30 years ago.

The mortgage on the home was paid off but the couple took out a mortgage for $125,000 in 2002, according to land title documents.

Peter Scheeren’s occupation is listed as a manager, but neighbours say he used to own a development company. Shirley Scheeren is listed as a homemaker.

The couple had owned the property next door, which they sold a few months ago. A house is in construction on the lot.

The Scheerens had a variance application before Langford council to subdivide their two-lot, bare-land strata property into three lots. That would have carved off another lot on what is now a septic field.

Langford council approved the variance at its meeting Monday night.

The couple also used to own the property at 2562 Jeanine Dr., where their son, John Scheeren, lived with his wife before selling the property.

Jane Frankson, a neighbour, recalled Peter Scheeren quipping about their pensions not going as far as they hoped and that he was relieved to have sold the adjacent lot. But he did not mention being in financial trouble, Frankson said.

Greenspan's successor Ben Bernanke deserves some blame here as well. His zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP), followed closely by the Canadian central bank, has been murder on the elderly.

West Virginia update



More details on the bath-salt-abusing transvestite goat molester here.

"He told them, 'Don't come in, I'm naked,'" Powers said. "But they opened the door and he was standing there with his pants down. He had on women's clothing and the goat was dead and there was blood everywhere. It was just a scene."

[...]

Inside the bedroom police found the small gray and white goat wearing a pink collar lying dead on the floor, blood coming from its neck, according to the complaint. There was a pornographic magazine photo laying a few feet from the goat, the complaint states.

Obama dithered on whether to get Bin Laden

UK Daily Mail:
Barack Obama kept military commanders hanging by declaring he would 'sleep on it' before taking 16 hours to give the go-ahead to raid Bin Laden's compound.

Hit squads of specialist Navy Seals - who were not even told who they were preparing to capture - had practised the mission at two reconstructions of the terror chiefs sprawling compound.

The mission looked set to be given the all clear last Thursday when analysts confirmed beyond doubt that Bin Laden was in busy town of Abbottabad in northern Pakistan.

But the president stunned officials when he told a national security meeting that he wanted more time to think - and disappeared out of the room.

'I'm not going to tell you what my decision is now - I'm going to go back and think about it some more,' said Obama, according to the New York Times. He then added 'I'm going to make a decision soon.'

Here's an unverified but very credible-sounding insider story of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett pushing not to get Bin Laden while Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton were itching to go.
[...] there had been a push to invade the compound for several weeks if not months, primarily led by Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and Jim Clapper. The primary opposition to this plan originated from Valerie Jarrett, and it was her opposition that was enough to create uncertainty within President Obama. Obama would meet with various components of the pro-invasion faction, almost always with Jarrett present, and then often fail to indicate his position. This situation continued for some time, though the division between Jarrett/Obama and the rest intensified more recently, most notably from Hillary Clinton. She was livid over the president’s failure to act, and her office began a campaign of anonymous leaks to the media indicating such. As for Jarrett, her concern rested on two primary fronts. One, that the military action could fail and harm the president’s already weakened standing with both the American public and the world. Second, that the attack would be viewed as an act of aggression against Muslims, and further destabilize conditions in the Middle East.


And now he's dithering on whether to show us the pictures we paid for in blood and treasure.

Almost heaven, West Virginia

It would be heaven if they'd quit hassling people about the goats.

AP:

A West Virginia man found wearing women's underwear and standing over a goat's carcass told police he was high on bath salts.

Mark L. Thompson of Alum Creek was arrested at his home Monday. A criminal complaint in Kanawha County Magistrate Court charges the 19-year-old with cruelty to animals.
Sheriff's Deputy J.S. Shackelford says witnesses reported Thompson standing near a neighbor's pygmy goat in a bedroom. He was wearing a bra and female underwear. The goat had at least one stab wound.

Cpl. Sean Snuffer says Thompson indicated he had been high and "wasn't in his right mind."

Thompson was held on $50,000 bond Tuesday at the South Central Regional Jail. Jail records didn't indicate whether he had an attorney and no listed phone number was available.

Academic Economic Destruction

SFGate posted a stunning article about the California Culinary Academy:
For the next 20 years, Matt Foist will be paying off his $46,000 in cooking-school loans, and all he says he has to show for it is a useless chef's diploma, a nice set of knives - but no job.

He said he'd be lucky to make $15 an hour in the culinary world, even though the school told him he would land jobs with annual salaries of $45,000. So he's gone back to his software career.
...
Tuition prices are typically $46,000 for a 12-month program and an additional three months of on-the-job training.
$46,000 FOR COOKING SCHOOL?!?

Here's a tip kids - don't take out a loan to learn how to cook. Get an entry level job at a restaurant and hang with the cooking staff. Move your way up, learn the trade there, and get paid for it. Also while it's hard work, it's not the worst thing you could do. The cooking club can be a good time if you have the disposition for it.

And the job guarantees those six figure administrators promise, duh, lies. You don't get paid jack in the cooking industry until you make it and most never do.

Osama won



Reason:
# The government launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign implying that people who smoke marijuana are implicit in the murder of nearly 3,000 of their fellow citizens.

# The government illegally spied and eavesdropped on thousands of American citizens.

# The current president has also claimed the power to execute U.S. citizens, off the battlefield, without a trial, and to prevent anyone from knowing about it after the fact.

# The Congress approved, the president signed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broadly written law making it a crime to advocate for any organization the government deems sympathetic to terrorism. This includes challenging the “terrorist” designation in the first place.

# Flying in America now means enduring a humiliating and hassling ritual that does little if anything to actually make flying any safer. Every time the government fails to catch an attempt at terrorism, it punishes the public for its failure by adding to the ritual.

# Without a warrant, the government can search and seize indefinitely the laptops and other personal electronic devices of anyone entering the country.

# The Department of Homeland Security now gives terrorism-fighting grants for local police departments across the country to purchase military equipment, such as armored personnel carriers, which is then used against U.S. citizens, mostly to serve drug warrants.

Obama Osama video

This was linked on ZH and is pretty funny:


I don't buy it. I think Osama is sipping pina coladas with Whitey Bulger somewhere in the Maldives right now. This is just more fabricated distraction as the real problems get swept under the rug.

And seriously, you can't show the world proof? I mean when they finally got Che at least they showed the body. Look at the t-shirt sales that that spiked! Of course that was Cuba invading Bolivia and not the US invading Pakist....wait...I have this backwards don't I?

I just think Obama has a stack of Get Out of Jail Free cards and he's using them right now: birth certificate, Osama, Bernanke press conference. The scary consideration is why does he need to use them now? What's coming?

UPDATE: Gonzalo Lira expresses his opinion on the matter; I agree with his analysis here.

A brief history of Ben Bernanke being consistently, spectacularly wrong about everything



This is the idiot we're allowing to centrally plan our economy.
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