WC Varones

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

Boehner folds, gives Obama $2.4 trillion debt increase in exchange for $40 billion in phony spending "cuts"

Wow. Just wow. It is scary how predictable these politicians are. A month ago, I wrote:
Boehner and the Republicans will talk tough all the way to the brink, then fold like a cheap suit and accept a deal that has something like $2 trillion in alleged spending cuts over ten years, all of which will be back-end loaded meaning no significant cuts before Election 2012, and which will not put the country on a fiscally sustainable path.

Let's break that down in light of tonight's deal:

- "will talk tough all the way to the brink..." Check. They went way past Obama's phony July 22 deadline, and stopped just two days short of Geithner's phony default threat.

- "then fold like a cheap suit..." Check. It doesn't get any cheaper than the lime green polyester leisure suit that Boner just bought.

- "something like $2 trillion in alleged spending cuts over ten years..." Check. There are allegedly $2.4 trillion in "cuts," though spending increases every year and these "cuts" are from a phony ever-increasing "baseline."

- "all of which will be back-end loaded meaning no significant cuts before Election 2012..." Check. Even under the phony baseline budgeting, "cuts" before Election 2012 number in the tens of billions out of annual $1.5 trillion deficits.

- "and which will not put the country on a fiscally sustainable path." Check. Even the pollyannas at Moody's and S&P said we needed $4 trillion in alleged cuts to be credible, and this deal doesn't come anywhere near that target.

I wish I was wrong, but that prediction from last month absolutely nailed every single aspect of this pathetic deal.

Let's take a quick spin around the financial web for reaction.

Zero Hedge: "Hank Gave Us A 3 Page Term Sheet; Boehner Gives Us A 7 Slide Powerpoint"
[...] there will be no cuts for the immediate future. But there will be a single $2.4 trillion debt ceiling raise (based on a Joint Committee green light, LOL) just as Obama desired. And of course, there will be no tax hikes. Bottom line: there will be about $40 billion in actual, real spending cuts until the next, $16.7 trillion debt ceiling limit is hit some time in Q1 2013, at which point it will have to be raised to $20+ trillion. But no really, they are cutting spending and all that.


Market Ticker: Republican "Mainstream" Self-Destructs
[...] what it does is:

* Lie once again about "cutting spending." It does no such thing. It increases spending - every year. Bogus and outright-fraudulent "baseline budgeting" means that if they intended to boost spending $300 billion but only increase it $200, that's a $100 billion "cut." If you ran your household like this you'd be broke in a week. For the US, it will take a bit longer.

[...]

* The cuts, fraudulent though they are, aren't even real anyway - and not binding either. There's nothing before 2013, which means a downgrade is almost certain. Further, raising the debt ceiling now for the whole [amount] but allegedly finding the "cuts" over 10 years is an outright fraud by a ratio of 10:1.

* A 2013 timeline for actual changes means nothing, since the next Congress is not bound by what this one does. Period.

Boehner needs to be ejected from Congress in the next election, and the remaining "mainstream" Republicans must go with him, along with any claiming to be "Tea Partiers" who vote for this abortion.


Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Futures Surge on "Pathetic" Debt Deal; Congress Should be Ashamed; US Deserves Debt Downgrade
This is a pathetic deal. It's no wonder futures are rallying. My dead grandmother could find more cuts than this. The S&P, Moody's, and Fitch should all downgrade US debt on this deal.

$1 trillion up front and promises to cut another $1.5 trillion is the wimpiest of wimpy deals. The deficit is 1.4 Trillion. The immediate cut is a back loaded $100 billion. Then there is a possibility of another $150 billion back loaded cuts.

Anyone voting for this monstrosity should be ashamed.

This is not what we elected the Republicans for.

Got ammo?



Dilbert, hat tip to Financial Armageddon.

Neal Fox's Pigeonholes now available

Neal Fox, the genius behind F__ the Fed and We're All Gonna Be There, did a one-man show at the Hollywood Bowl in 2005 for Hollywood insiders. That show has not been available to the public... until now.

Now available at Amazon.com: Pigeonholes. And pick up Songs For The New Revolution while you're there.


Trailer here.

Moody's says Obama and Geithner are lying about "default," and both the Boehner and Reid plans are completely inadequate to avoid downgrade

Well, lookie here.

Moody's, best known for "Subprime is AAA," is belatedly coming to the realization that a country running serial deficits of 10% of GDP is not a AAA credit.

Well, admitting you have a problem is the first step. And today, Moody's is admitting what we've been telling you for some time, that the debt ceiling charade is a farce and the real problem is the debt itself.

Read all about it at The Hill.

Kal Penn quits as Obama propagandist

Kalpen Modi, better known as actor Kal Penn of "Harold and Kumar" fame, is leaving his Obama Administration role of Director of Youth Propaganda.

Let's review Kumar's greatest hits:

1) Comrades are urged to report their neighbors who spread "disinformation" about ObamaCare.

2) Union members and Craigslist paid "volunteers" are bused in to create the illusion of popular support for ObamaCare.

3) The White House sends lesson plans to schools nationwide encouraging obedience to the President

4) Plan to collect personal information on millions of Americans who use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, including capturing "comments by both Obama critics and supporters, with no restriction as to how the White House would use the information" with "extremely broad secrecy terms preventing the vendor from disclosing to the public or the media what information is being captured and archived"

5) Having the National Endowment for the Arts direct artists to make pro-Obama propaganda.

All that and you still can't get his approval ratings out of the 40's? Don't quit your day job, Kumar.

Leaving Las Vegas: Bruce and Patricia Wright

Life springs eternal
On a gaudy neon street
Not that I care at all
I spent the best part of my losing streak
In an Army Jeep
For what I can't recall
Oh I'm banging on my TV set
And I check the odds
And I place my bet
I pour a drink
And I pull the blind
And I wonder what I'll find


We don't have enough information to convict Alan Greenspan in this case, but it sure smells like Greenspan's Body Count. Bruce and Patricia Wright apparently did not buy any Las Vegas real estate in Greenspan's Bubble, but it sure sounds like they were hurting in Greenspan's Depression.

'It's a romantic tragedy': Couple shoot themselves in suicide pact outside same church they married in 40 years before
A husband and wife have committed suicide together in the graveyard of the church where they were married 40 years before.

Patricia and Bruce Wright were found slumped under a tree with a shotgun and a rifle next to them near the Friendship United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Tea Party split on Boehner plan

The Boehner plan is not a serious deficit reduction proposal. It would cut less than 1% of spending and less than 2% of the deficit next year. Even the completely inadequate $900 billion in alleged cuts out of a decade of $10 trillion or more in deficit spending is all back-end-loaded, meaning impossible to enforce and unlikely to happen. We are on an express train headed over a cliff, and Boehner would stoke the coals with just slightly less vigor than Obama and Reid.

That said, the Boehner plan may be the best political option for the Republicans. The biased media will tell the ignorant public that any chaos resulting from the debt ceiling is the Republicans' fault, which could lead to a Democratic electoral sweep. Pelosi and Obama are drooling at the prospect. In reality, the ceiling would be lifted if the Senate just passed, and Obama signed, the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill which is widely popular with the American people. Reid hasn't held a vote on it because Democrats don't want to be on record voting against Cutting, Capping, and Balancing.

The San Diego Tea Party regulars are split on the plan.

In favor: B-Daddy of Liberator Today (and Beers with Demo's Dean in the comments).

Opposed: Temple of Mut's Leslie Eastman also quoting at length Shane Atwell in her post, yours truly. A few other SLOBs chimed in mostly anti-Boehner on an e-mail exchange.

A few other resources from around the web:

Cato: Boehner's new plan doesn't cut spending.



Mike Shedlock: Not raising the debt ceiling would be a blessing.

Karl Denninger: GDP Nasty.

This puts into stark relief the reality of the government deficit spending - it is doing nothing more than covering up an economic Depression, and the so-called "exit plan" - that private consumption, investment and borrowing will "take the baton back" is not working.

The deficit spending must stop now before the tax base folds back and forces a disorderly collapse.

And finally a pro-Boehner response from Charles Krauthammer: The Great Divide.

An Inconvenient Truth

From Forbes:
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
I bet you Al can see those satellites at night when flying his private jet from end-of-the-world fund raiser to end-of-the-world fund raiser.

UPDATE: Mish chimes in

Soccer Player CDSs?

THIS IS BRILLIANT: ZH is linking to a report that Christiano Ronaldo is going to be used as collateral against loans from the ECB.
“Ronaldo in the bailout fund,” headlines Süddeutsche Zeitung. The daily reports that the Bankia group of savings banks, which financed Real Madrid’s acquisition of the Portuguese player, is now seeking to borrow funds from the European Central Bank. In response to the ECB’s demand for guarantees, Bankio are putting up… Ronaldo and the Brazilian Kaka, who also plays for the Madrid football club. In 2009, Real borrowed 76.5 million euros to pay transfer fees of 100 millions euros to Manchester United, and 60 million to Milan AC."
So will JPM be issuing CDS's on those loans? Will a default occur if Christiano blows out his knee?

For those not in the know, Real Madrid spends massively on the best players in the world and then they have "soft" defaults in which the Spanish Government bails them out. Back in 2004 they purchased the best players in the world, really the equivalent of say one basketball team getting Jordon, Bird, Magic and Shaquille. Not exactly sporting and the beauty of it was that they didn't have the money to do it. So when the debt was coming do they just sold their training facility to the City of Madrid and then leased it back for something like $1 a year. Not exactly a great ROI for the Madrid tax payer.
Real's president, Florentino Perez, sold their 15-hectare training ground in the heart of fashionable Madrid to city and regional authorities for a staggering £290m in 2001. The sale helped clear the club's £177m debt, and left enough to pay unprecedented sums for Zidane, Ronaldo(Not Christiano), Luis Figo and Beckham. But the European Commission suspects the price was over-inflated and included a hidden public subsidy for what has been seen since the Franco era as Spain's official state-sponsored club.
I ask why stop at collateral? I'm sure Perez would love a new Yacht, why not also take out some equity on Christiano because I'm sure he's appreciated. I bet he could pull an extra 15 million Euro's out to purchase this:

I mean everyone knows the value of soccer stars never decreases.

From a purely soccer standpoint, it's just comical that Kaka, 2007 World Player of the Year, is worth just more than half of Christiano, 2008 World Player of the Year. At the top end, things do get absurd.

Greenspan's racial strife

Housing crash, mass unemployment, debt crisis, bankster takeover of Washington, widespread suicides...

Just when you think Alan Greenspan's legacy couldn't get any worse, it does. How about creating racial tensions by blowing out the wealth gap?
The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Latinos, according to an analysis of new census data.

The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.

"What’s pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade — because that was the American dream — are seeing big declines," said Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality.

The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Latinos and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. Those ratios, roughly 20 to 1 for blacks and 18 to 1 for Hispanics, far exceed the low mark of 7 to 1 for both groups reached in 1995, when the nation’s economic expansion lifted many low-income groups to the middle class.

The white-black wealth gap is also the widest since the census began tracking such data in 1984, when the ratio was roughly 12 to 1.

"I am afraid that this pushes us back to what the Kerner Commission characterized as ‘two societies, separate and unequal,’" said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, referring to the 1960s presidential commission that examined U.S. race relations. "The great difference is that the second society has now become both black and Hispanic."

We discussed the Fed- and government-created wealth gap in more detail here. Racial unrest is an inevitable consequence.

Boehner's got wood!

You all know that I haven't been John Boehner's biggest fan.

But he's starting to prove that a leopard can change his spots. Boehner is holding tough for real spending cuts. Tonight's rebuttal to Obama's speech was clear and convincing.

The Reid "plan" is a farce: a blank check for Obama through the 2012 election, with zero real spending cuts, as ZeroHedge so eloquently pointed out.

Obama's speech? It was good, by the low standard of achieving the goal of coming across as "moderate" to the ignorant masses who haven't been paying attention. Let's hope those folks watched Boehner's on-target rebuttal as well.

SF Picture of the Day

JDA, you missing SF yet?
I hope the crackhead that yanked my beater stereo gets a nice size rock for his effort.

Reid debt ceiling plan reaction

Harry Reid and Chucky Schumer are on TV pushing what they call a plan "Republicans can't refuse."

It's full of phony cuts that don't happen at all until long after Dear Leader's re-election, but let's turn to ZeroHedge for a non-partisan analysis.

Following hot on the heels of the proposed Boehner rehashed plan, we get the first details of where the bulk of the $2.7 trillion in proposed savings will come from. Are you ready for this? REID PLAN SAID TO HAVE $1 TRLN SAVINGS FROM WINDING DOWN WARS. That's right. In some parallel galaxy far, far away, lack of expenditures, on America's 6 front wars to be sure, is now considered a "saving"? Front lobe hemorrhage to commence in 5 seconds. And the other migraine-inducing details of the Reid plan are...

  • REID PLAN WOULD INCLUDE $30 BLN IN FANNIE, FREDDIE CHANGES
  • REID PLAN WOULD INCLUDE $400 BILLION IN INTEREST SAVINGS
  • REID PLAN SAID TO INCLUDE $1.2 TRLN DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CUTS
  • $10-$15 BILLION IN AGRICULTURE SAVINGS
  • and of course... THE CREATION OF A BIPARTISAN PANEL TO FIND FUTURE SAVINGS. I.E. WHY DO IT NOW, WHEN YOU CAN DO IT... NEVER

So $1.2 trillion in discretionary cuts, which means millions in government job losses. What was that about the unemployment rate again? And what the hell is an "interest savings" - is that the interest on the debt that would be incurred if the deficit cuts were not imposed? Or will Reid replace Brian Sack in the Fed's OMO desk and proceed to sell trillions in Long-term bond calls to get the 30 Year rate to -infinity?

Even the moronic rating agencies won't hesitate to downgrade the US to F- based on this deranged gobbledygook.

No entitlement reform? $1.2 trillion in discretionary cuts over ten years when deficits are running $1.6 trillion each and every year? This is not a serious proposal.

LA Times copy editor Kathy Gosnell Seiler buys house with little down, does cash-out ARM refi at peak of bubble, loses house, learns nothing

This is the kind of rocket scientist who works for the LA Times.
I bought it in 2005 for $503,000, most of it borrowed [...] The sellers had trashed the house before leaving for Colorado [...] To help pay for the work, I refinanced in 2007 at $511,000 with a five-year fixed-interest first lien and a variable-rate equity loan. [...] In February, Zillow.com said the house on which I owed $511,000 was worth $381,500. A comparable house a block away sold for $260,000. [...] The bank set a date for a foreclosure sale, then postponed it. Finally, in April, it agreed to an offer of $325,000 for the house. The sale closed less than 48 hours before the bank's scheduled foreclosure sale. [...] My credit, once exemplary, is shot. My lack of financial security is disconcerting, and I expect it will dog me for years.

The house appears to be 520 Meridian Terrace, for which she paid more than double what it sold for less than two and a half years earlier.

Most people would learn quite a lot from that: don't buy a house in a bubble, don't buy a house at a ridiculous multiple of its rental value, don't do cash-out refis, don't take out an adjustable-rate mortgage, don't borrow money you can't afford to pay back, etc. But not an LA Times staffer!

I can't find a life's lesson here; no insight into why this has happened to so many people. The banks could help us, but they don't.

Porter Stansberry's $3.00 silver secret

Investment pitchman Porter Stansberry has another cryptic ad up, where he promises to give subscribers an investment secret.

The ad is here, and is worth watching. He's right about the investment merits of silver.

But what's the secret, U.S. government-created way to buy silver for as little as $3? That's easy. He's talking about pre-1965 U.S. dimes, quarters, halves, and silver dollars. I've written about this before. U.S. coins used to contain precious metal. They were actually worth something. In the 1960's, as the U.S. began devaluing the currency shortly before Nixon closed the gold window, the government wanted to be able to create money out of thin air without having to put anything of value behind it. So they replaced the valuable silver with a near-worthless copper-nickel alloy.

Stansberry is right. Old coins, commonly referred to as "junk silver," are an excellent way to invest in easily recognizable silver at a very low premium to the spot price. The $3 he refers to is the approximate value of the smallest denomination, a dime. That's an indication of how fast the government is devaluing the dollar. In 37 years, the last real silver dime has gone up 30-fold. In other words, the dollar is now worth just 3% of what it was just 37 years ago -- within the lifespan of many people reading this blog! Do you want to hold Bernanke Bucks for the next 37 years?

The math works like this. There are 0.71 Troy ounces of silver per dollar of old silver coins, whether that be 10 dimes, 4 quarters, 2 halves, or a silver dollar. The weights were designed in precise proportion back when coins were actually worth something, and the size of the coins today is a legacy of that era. The spot price of silver is now $40 (see exact spot prices here). So 0.71 * 40 = $28.40 per dollar of old coins. You will probably have to pay a slight premium to that value, but the premium is usually significantly less than you'd pay for newly minted U.S. Silver Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, or other international 1-ounce coins.

I started my silver position as an accidental investor, taking junk silver to round up my gold purchases over the California sales tax threshold. Boy, am I glad I did! Since then, I've bought silver many times on its own, and junk silver is always a good, low-premium way to go. I've bought on eBay (you have to calculate the melt value so you know what premium you're paying), but for newbies I'd recommend a reputable coin shop like Del Mar's Liberty Coin. If you're not in the San Diego area, they'll ship to you.

Obama gets greedy, torpedoes debt ceiling deal

Read all about it at Temple of Mut, whose related thoughts I wholeheartedly agree with.

We have a debt crisis, not a debt ceiling crisis. Raising the debt ceiling without substantial structural reform would be worse than hitting the debt ceiling. The ratings agencies have stated that downgrades are coming unless credible reform happens this year. Which is a laughably belated admission that it's absurd to rate AAA a country running serial deficits of 10% of GDP.

UPDATE: Kevin Williamson agrees, predicting fire and brimstone if the U.S. is downgraded... but it's not the debt ceiling that's the problem:
The thing that has not been sufficiently understood, I think, is this: The United States is not on a downgrade watch because the markets fear we won’t raise the debt ceiling in time to avoid a default; the United States is on a downgrade watch because the markets believe the debt-ceiling debate presents the last real opportunity for the government to enact a meaningful fiscal-reform program before it is well and truly too late to avoid a national crisis. The credit agencies, wisely or not, aren’t worried about the short-term political fight leading to an immediate default, but about the near- to medium-term fiscal situation, which is plainly unsustainable.

Debt Ceiling Logic?

There has been tons written on the debt ceiling debate and what I fail to understand is how borrowing more money makes the country more financially sound. Hank I-Have-A-Bazooka-in-my-Pants Paulson comes out with another threat here:
And the sense of urgency is clear – failing to raise the debt ceiling would do irreparable harm to our credit standing, would undermine our ability to lead on global economic issues and would damage our economy.
I'm but a simple financial software guy so I don't understand; how could putting more money on one's credit card result in better credit? And according to this Santelli conversation we're about $160 billion short if the ceiling isn't raised RIGHT NOW. So we raise the ceiling, add to the debt and the next time around wouldn't that number likely be higher causing us to raise the ceiling, and so on and so forth until what?

And how does that translate into good credit ratings from Moody's, Fitch and S&P? Aren't they the same folks that brought us the AAA CDO's that were actually worth 0.00000 anyway?

I work in a world of 1's and 0's. I deal with pure logic and I cannot for the life of me understand the "logic" that we are being presented by our leaders. Santelli's logic makes perfect sense to me though.

TSA Tenderness

I posted a rant here after traveling to Vegas last Tuesday. I think I take it all back and the reason is Carl...

Yesterday I went to the Southwest terminal at McCarran International and found that EVERYONE goes through the nudie scanners unless one requests otherwise. Gone in this terminal are the random radiation blasts. Everyone gets radiation unless one opts out.

I opted out and got Carl. Now he was gentle, yet firm. He rubbed me in all the right spots and I loved it. Then he took his gloves, wiped them with special wipes and put the wipes in the same machine that identified my Gerber baby food as WMD's in my last TSA outing. I was actually nervous at that point because I have no faith that those machines do anything worthwhile. What if the same thing happens again? Carl might have to get medieval on my...anyway. It didn't but he did give me a second rub down which was divine. I'm not sure why.

Carl didn't penetrate any cavities and I can't imagine how he could identify if I had something logged in my rectal cavity area, but supposedly this is protecting our freedom. Just one question from this experience: do folks who make things that blow things up never change their clothes?

Anyway next time you are in the Vegas airport, do pass on the radiation blast and ask for Carl. He'll provide just the checkpoint happy ending you are looking for.

Tea Party Nation, eh!

Last year, I pointed out that Canada was a Tea Partier's dream: lower taxes, lower debt to GDP, lower debt per capita, and a sound banking system.

In today's WSJ, Fred Barnes writes that Canada had a debt crisis in 1993 very similar to our current situation. And Canada's Liberal prime minister saved his country by doing exactly the opposite of what Obama is doing now.
Mr. Chretien and his finance minister, Paul Martin, took decisive action. "Canadians have told us that they want the deficit brought down by reducing government spending, not by raising taxes, and we agree," Mr. Martin said. The new administration slashed spending. Unemployment benefits were cut by nearly 40%. The ratio of spending cuts to tax increases was nearly 7-to-1. Federal employment was reduced by 14%. Canada's national railway and air-traffic-control system were privatized.

The economy rebounded. Between 1995 and 1998, a $36.6 billion deficit turned into a $3 billion surplus. Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio was cut in half in a decade. Canada now has faster economic growth than America (3.3% in 2010, compared to 2.9% in the U.S.), a lower jobless rate (7.2% in June, when the U.S. rate was 9.2%), a deficit-to-GDP ratio that's a quarter of ours, and a stronger dollar.

[...]

Today the United States is in a situation almost identical to Canada's in the 1990s. Government spending is surging, a huge deficit and national debt are setting peacetime records, interest payments are soaring, the economy is stagnant, and unemployment is stuck at around 9%. Yet one thing is missing: Liberals in America refuse to lead.

Led by President Obama, liberals have held back, leaving conservatives to lead and then stymieing conservative proposals because they rely on spending cuts. Liberals have sought to protect domestic programs, including entitlements, from even small cuts.

Krugman whines; gold laughs

Paul Krugman blames the gold price on Glenn Beck.

Meanwhile, Korea Investment's Julia Yoo has a more plausible theory.


TSA Fun

Today's TSA story comes from OAK, California. It was so fun to watch an elderly woman who couldn't bend over, fall over as she tried to get her shoes off. It was even more fun to watch her elderly husband try to help her up because he couldn't possibly.

See the one thing that's great about the TSA is that we get ample opportunities to mock and humiliate the elderly and the sick. They can figure out technology for identifying if you are carrying a pocket knife in your anus by blasting you with XRays, but thank goodness they haven't discovered a way to deal with the shoes.

Also it's great to see that the TSA realize that they are above all law. I witnessed a TSA agent attempting to cross the busy airport road between the parking lot and the terminal right in front of an Alameda County Sheriff. I felt joy when, as the cars had green lights and the don't walk signal was illuminated, this TSA official, carrying a pizza box, decided to walk into traffic causing the cars to have to make a choice of slowing down or hitting him. The light was green for them but those cars knew that when it comes to right-of-way, it's always the TSA.

The Sheriff wasn't concerned,as he shouldn't have been. And if they want to walk when the sign says don't walk, they walk when the signs says don't walk. If they want to trash the 4th Amendment, they trash the 4th Amendment. Who's going to stop them? The Sheriff? Hah comrade, who would want to stop them is the real question?

Oh the TSA, they are fun, they are funny, and they are above the law. What great entertainment and what great security they provide for our nation. Some think I say this in jest but I do mean it when I say the true heroes of our country are not those who lost their lives fighting wars to protect our freedom. They are those that make us realize that our freedom could kill us.

TSA, you make Amerika proud. I salute you.

Spreckels mansion murder update

Last week we established that Jonah Shacknai's ex-wife Dina had both the motive and the means to have Rebecca Zahau killed.

Now we learn that she had the temper, too. Union-Tribune:

In the 2009 conflict, Dina Shacknai said that he elbowed her in the right breast and cursed at her as he tried to drive a car away from the house they had shared.

Jonah Shacknai told police that he did not hit her and that Dina tried to yank his car keys out of the ignition while repeatedly yelling, “You cannot leave me!”

The Paradise Valley police reports, which apparently led to no arrests or charges, paint a picture of a couple at bitter odds as they went through a protracted divorce.

In a 2008 incident, Jonah Shacknai told police that Dina attempted to choke him. The family German Shepherd was so agitated by the conflict that it bit her.

According to the police report, Dina told an officer that her husband had never physically struck her, but that the dog had a history of biting her in the midst of their arguments.

I wouldn't want to be on her bad side.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah, we're on to something here. "Someone" who is not Jonah Shacknai, hired former DA Paul Pfingst (coincidentally the disgraced hack of the Stephanie Crowe case) as a defense lawyer.

Wednesday evening, former District Attorney and current defense attorney Paul Pfingst showed up at the crime scene. Pfingst confirmed to News 8 that he had been hired to represent someone connected with this case, although he would not specify who his client is.

"I'm not Jonah's lawyer. I've never spoke with him. As far as I know he's not a suspect of any type," Pfingst said in a statement.

Revelation

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” - Revelation 6:5-6 (New International Version)

Sound like anyone you know?

Wikipedia elaborates:
The third horseman rides a black horse and is generally understood as Famine. The horseman carries a pair of balances or weighing scales, indicating the way that bread would have been weighed during a famine. The indicated price of grain is about ten times normal, with an entire day's wages (a denarius) buying enough wheat for only one person, or enough of the less nutritious barley for three, so that workers would struggle to feed their families.

[...] the statement ["do not damage the oil and wine"] might also suggest a continuing abundance of luxuries for the wealthy while staples such as bread are scarce, though not totally depleted.




If that doesn't creep you out enough, I'm pretty sure the first horse is referring to the perpetual foreign war of the Bush-Obama global military empire:

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come and see!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. - Revelation 6:1-2 (New International Version)

And look! There's Obama on a white horse!

Bernanke plans; gold laughs

Gold blows through $1600 and passes 1000 British Pounds. Wasn't it only a few months ago that it passed 1000 Euros? And I can remember buying gold within the last few years under 1000 Zimbabwe Ben dollars. Silver is above $40.

In related news, the head of the world's largest hedge fund, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater, says we are heading for economic collapse due to money-printing by 2013.

How did you like that May-June pullback in silver? What a gift that was! In April, with silver around $50, I was kicking myself for not having bought more physical silver at lower prices. Well, I may be dumb but I ain't stupid, and I didn't pass up that chance a second time. I hope you took advantage of the mid-30's too.

Meanwhile, Ambrose Evans Pritchard is announcing the Return of the Gold Standard.

And finally, one of my favorite quotes on money:
Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves.
- Norm Franz

A jaunt around town

A few photos from an afternoon stroll.


Cognitive dissonance: "War is not the answer, but I voted for the guy who is illegally bombing Libya without Congressional authorization and continuing the violent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'll vote for him again!" I think listening to the syrupy sirens of KPBS (an NPR affiliate) dulls critical thinking enough to get beyond foolish consistency.



Lagunitas Brewing salutes the Obama economy with their limited release:
"Wilco Tango Foxtrot. A Malty, Robust, Jobless Recovery Ale. We're not quite in the Red, or in the Black... ... Does that mean we're in the Brown?!" Indeed.



And this in a hippie shop: "Wake up America! Vote! for a change www.peaceroots.org" Double indeed.

Spreckels mansion murder theory

In a mystery worthy of a detective novel, Rebecca Zahau (aka Rebecca Nalepa) was found nude, bound at the hands and feet, and hanging by the neck from a balcony on Wednesday at the famed Spreckels mansion on Coronado Island in San Diego.

Her boyfriend, the owner of the mansion, is a pharmaceutical CEO. The man's 6-year-old son was critically injured in a fall from the mansion's grand staircase on Monday.

Here's my theory for what happened. The ex-wife did it. She's already bitter at the girlfriend for supplanting her, and then her son is gravely injured while in the care of the supplanter. She's got the motive, and as a very wealthy woman, certainly has the means to hire a professional. Chicks don't just turn up hanging naked from balconies without somebody wanting them dead.

Congress doesn't want to raise the debt limit because Obama is black

So says one of the great minds in our elected Congress:
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Friday strongly suggested that members of Congress are making it difficult for President Obama to raise the debt ceiling because of his race.

"I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times? Why did the leader of the Senate continually talk about his job is to bring the president down to make sure he is unelected?”

Earlier in her speech, Jackson Lee said Obama has been targeted unlike any other president.

"I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one," said Jackson Lee from the House floor.

I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president - only this one, only this one - has run three consecutive deficits of 10% of GDP post-WWII. Indeed, no President since WWII has run a deficit even one year anywhere close to what Obama has run for three years in a row.

When WWII ended, the deficits came to an abrupt halt, and the government actually ran surpluses. This president has no WWII to end (though ending the War on Drugs, the TSA, the bombing of Libya, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the permanent establishments in South Korea and Germany would be a good start) and no plan to run surpluses not only in the near future, but ever.

As a side note, Obama voted not to raise the debt ceiling under President Bush. Was that because Bush was black? The House vote was not recorded to spare Representatives public scrutiny of their votes, but I'm willing to bet Ms. Jackson Lee voted against the debt limit because Bush was black too.

Free Airline Miles

We reported a while back that the government was handing out free airline cheese in the form of being able to purchase US Mint coins with a credit card and have them shipped free. One would be an idiot not to take advantage of this especially if one was having to regularly fly to Brazil.

Today Forbes reports on how the government crackdown of this practice is going.
Not exactly ethical, but it's not a crime -- at least not yet. The trick (it feels more like a scam) is to use a government program meant for promoting the circulation of dollar coins for everyday use. And it's not new: travel hackers have been doing it for years, and it's only recently that the federal government has caught on and done something about it.
Now I’m being accused by my colleagues of having pulled off a scam in getting 2 tickets to Brazil for free by buying these coins. I disagree. The scam, the crime against democracy really, is the US Mint allowing purchases of legal tender using a credit card and then shipping FOR FREE! That’s absurd and to insinuate that I’m doing something unethical is scurrilous (Rand Paul is cool).

Printing money out of thin air to bailout failed banks is unethical but taking advantage of an idiotic opportunity that our idiotic government provides is appropriate. Besides the government is keeping me out of home ownership by handing wealth to those who don’t deserve it by allowing people to live for free in houses they bought but couldn’t afford. So when the rest of the world becomes ethical then come after me. Until then, GFY.

Kindest regards

Greenspan's Body Count: Arthur Darnell Bailey

Alan Greenspan has been quite active in the San Diego area recently. Now he's been sighted in the 1-hour commuter community of Murrieta in Southwest Riverside County.
A Murrieta man accused of bilking his elderly mother-in-law out of more than $200,000 was found dead of an apparent suicide in his home last week, the same day he was supposed to be in court to face charges, Murrieta police said Wednesday.

The man's wife, who is also accused of embezzling money from her own mother, apparently also tried to commit suicide in the couple's shared home on the city's north end, Sgt. Phil Gomez said.

[...]

The couple came under investigation last year after Brooke Bailey's half-brother reported to police his suspicions that the Baileys were draining the account of his mother, who is now 74.

According to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant for Brooke Bailey ---- an arrest warrant sought after she missed her court appearance last week ---- the victim's checking account showed evidence that money had gone to cover costs including mortgage and utility payments, as well as leasing payments for a BMW.

Greenspan's version of the American Dream was that nobody had to work anymore. We could all just buy more house than we could afford, then get rich as house prices rose to the moon and buy a garage full of toys. Too many people, including Arthur and Brooke Bailey, fell for that nightmare.

The Baileys were listed at 27543 Paper Bark Avenue, which they appear to have purchased in 2007 for $560,000. It is now worth $297,000 according to Zillow.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 184.

Greenspan's Body Count: Nadia Braxton, Kayla Peters, Nayah Peters, and Nyla Peters

Easy Money in the Big Easy:
A woman from Kenner, La., a suburb near New Orleans, was found dead inside her home by her husband Tuesday, lying atop the bodies of her three children, all of whom had died from apparent gunshot wounds, reports CBS affiliate WWL-TV.

The husband told police he had just come home from work when he discovered the bodies. No charges have been filed. Police have not ruled out the possibility that it was a murder-suicide.

The victims in the shooting were identified as: Nadia Braxton, 29; Kayla Peters, 12; a 1-year-old child, Nayah Peters and a 6-month-old, Nyla Peters, WWL reports.

[...]
The woman was struggling to pay the mortgage on her home, which she bought just before Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune reports.

The property was first seized by the Sheriff's Office in January of 2010 for failure to make mortgage payments, The Times-Picayune reports. Braxton's case was dismissed a few months later when she brought her payments up to date, only to have the Sheriff's Office seize the property again for non-payments in December of last year.

A mortgage is never worth killing yourself or your family over. Nadia's family could have been like this happy family if only she'd known about YouWalkAway.com.



Greenspan's Body Count stands at 183.

Timmy the Tax Cheat changes his tune

Last year: Welcome to the Recovery!

This year: This economy's going to suck longer and harder than a hooker on meth.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says many Americans will face hard times for a long time to come.

He says President Barack Obama rescued the United States from a second Great Depression and will keep working to strengthen the economy. But Geithner says will be some time before many people feel like the country is recovering.

Geithner tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that it's a very tough economy. He says that for a lot of people "it's going to feel very hard, harder than anything they've experienced in their lifetime now, for a long time to come."

Obama didn't "rescue" the United States from the second Great Depression, you sniveling little troll. We're running deficits of 10% of GDP to hide the second Great Depression, and we've got 15% of the population on food stamps! Obama is just extending the Depression so that our children will suffer the consequences of it, too.

Democrats propose to make Social Security go bankrupt even faster

... because of "shock" horrible employment numbers which were a shock to no one but the incompetent hacks in the Obama administration and their sycophants in the mainstream media.

ZeroHedge has the story.

Social Security, which is already on an express train to bankruptcy, will obviously go bankrupt much faster if we stop collecting the payroll taxes that fund it. But Social Seurity bankruptcy is not Obama's problem. It will occur after he's out of office (assuming he doesn't suspend the Constitutional two-term limit). And a little reckless short-term stimulus like payroll tax suspension might be just what Obama needs to get re-elected.

Friday morning reality slap

The US is committing imperial suicide, by Bill Bonner. See if you can refute anything he writes.

Ron Paul's Fed debt annhiliation plan

The Dirty Fed makes strange bedfellows.

Right-wing libertarian Karl Denninger hates Ron Paul's proposal to evaporate the Treasury debt held by the Fed. Left-wing bankster-hater Yves Smith likes the idea.

UCSD's Jim Hamilton presents a fair and balanced view at Econbrowser, along with operational details and what it might mean for bank reserves and inflation.

Me? I'm all for it. Let's get the inevitable default/devaluation over with, abolish the Dirty Fed, and start over with sound money and responsible fiscal policy.

Porkulus FAIL

In a Friday evening news dump, the White House released a report that concludes that what we got from Obama's Porkulus was a lot of debt, and very few jobs.

Happy Independence Day!

I'd love to be able to put up an upbeat, patriotic post like B-Daddy.

But in these dark times, I just don't feel it. We've got police goon squads murdering innocent people in their homes, the TSA molesting children and taking diapers off of elderly invalids, an imperial President waging illegal war on Libya, and an unaccountable Federal Reserve that destroyed the economy with easy money now claiming to be its savior with easy money.

Given where we are today, the song I feel is Neal Fox's beautiful We're All Gonna Be There.



I'm still in love with the America our founding fathers gave us, with the idea of America. But the country we live in isn't that America any more. Maybe we can get that America back. But it's going to take a lot of work from a fat, complacent populace. Resist the TSA. Vote out the warmongers and Ruling Class. End the Fed. If not for your own sake, for the children.

Greenspan's Body Count: Dusan and Renata Klein

It's not easy spending one's life hot on the trail of the 21st century's most prolific serial killer, Alan Greenspan. I am the Javert to Greenspan's Jean Valjean, the Clouseau to his Pink Panther.

But having spent these years tracking the fiend, I have come to know him like no other.

And so it was that I recognized his modus operandi in the killings of Dusan and Renata Klein, before Dusan's body had been found and before even news of the couple's financial distress was made public.

The sad case of Dusan and Renata Klein came to an end Friday as Dusan's body was found on a hiking trail in the Las Vegas area. He had apparently committed suicide after killing Renata and dumping her in the Angeles National Forest. The dog has not been found, but investigators reportedly found canine blood in the family truck and believe Dusan killed her, too.

Alan Greenspan is still walking the streets, and even giving interviews on CNBC.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 179.

War on Drugs: To the Victor, the Spoils

"Fresh blow for NY prosecutor" - headline, Financial Times, July 1, 2011

Schwarzenegger marriage ends same day as Schwarzenegger tax increases

How poetic. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ruined his family like he ruined California, sees his treachery come back to haunt him on both counts today.

Maria Shriver filed for divorce today, the same day that the despised Schwarzenegger tax increases on the people of Kahleefornia expired. As an added bonus, Schwarzenegger's kids hate him as much as the people of California do, so much that they are dropping his last name.

Not that I'm in orgasmic spasms of Schadenfreude or anything.

To steal the words of the venerable Frank Langone, "Everybody has his own private hell. I just hope Schwarzenegger's is a little hotter than everyone else's."

Friday night music chill*

* to steal a theme from Liberator Today and Beers with Demo

Ladies and gentlemen, the genius of John Prine:



I first heard this song on an old hippie folk radio station in San Diego in 1995 before corporate radio took over. I was transfixed and had to buy the album immediately. The tune is catchy as hell, and the lyrics are sublime. You can read it as a celebration of live-and-let-live libertarianism, which I did and do, and the video suggests he means to take it even further as a celebration of victimless vices.

I've lived many lives and been many people since then, but hearing that song today is like hearing it for the first time.

You can order the CD here.

Air Force Times: Obama is Lying

Air Force Times:
Air Force and Navy aircraft are still flying hundreds of strike missions over Libya despite the Obama administration’s claim that American forces are playing only a limited support role in the NATO operation.

An Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that since NATO’s Operation Unified Protector (OUP) took over from the American-led Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 31, the U.S. military has flown hundreds of strike sorties. Previously, Washington had claimed that it was mostly providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and tanker support to NATO forces operating over Libya.

War is peace!

Economic Armageddon and You



An excellent primer on the Obama-Bernanke Ponzi Economy. W.C. Varones readers already know this stuff, but please share it with your less-informed friends and relatives.
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