WC Varones

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

David Stockman on CNBC: We are totally screwed, and it's all the Fed's fault

It's always nice to see someone lay down some truth before the bubbleheads on Bubblevision. Former OMB budget director David Stockman dropped in this morning to say what we've been saying here for years: the Fed created the current mess, and Congress will never find fiscal responsibility as long as the Fed is monetizing its debt.

The scales fall from my eyes

Anyone who's read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man has to be a little suspicious of Hugo Chavez's medical condition. The U.S. government tried a coup against him once; does anyone doubt they would poison him if they had the chance?

I'm pleased to say that I had caught on to U.S. imperialism in Latin America even before reading Confessions. Helps to have been there and seen it first-hand, I suppose.

U.S. out of South America!

Conflagration!

(bumped)

An original film from our friend Charlie McDanger.

Hot (liberal) girl-on-girl action! Melissa Harris-Perry and Joan Walsh

Obama's disappointed white liberal fans meet his bitter black race-baiting fans. Hilarity ensues.

James Taranto:

Yesterday we noted that The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry was accusing white liberals of abandoning President Obama for racially invidious reasons. This prompted a defensive and very long response from one white liberal, Joan Walsh, who began by stipulating that she and Harris-Perry are friends:

When I say Melissa Harris-Perry is my friend, I don't say that rhetorically, or ironically; we are professional friends, we have socialized together; she has included me on political round tables; I like and respect her enormously. That's why I think it's important to engage her argument, and I've invited her to reply.

And reply she did:

I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We've eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way.

Take that, Joan! Note that Walsh and Harris-Perry are in agreement about the facts of their association, they disagree only over what to call it.

It seems to us that Walsh merely meant to suggest that she meant her criticisms of Harris-Perry in a spirit of goodwill. But Harris-Perry doesn't stop at renouncing friendship with Walsh. She accuses Walsh of employing a "common strategy of argument about one's racial innocence: the 'I have black friends' claim." Harris-Perry has twisted Walsh's olive branch into a racially invidious provocation. With friends like these . . .


See also white leftist woman Yves Smith's response at Naked Capitalism.

Greenspan's Body Count: Beckie and Stephen Boudreaux

If you haven't driven through Utah, please plan to do so. There's a reason the early Mormon settlers thought it was the Promised Land.

Nevertheless, even those in God's Country are not safe from Alan Greenspan's reign of terror. The Salt Lake Tribune on a murder-suicide in Salt Lake City suburb Sandy, Utah:
Sandy police Sgt. Jon Arnold said evidence indicates that Beckie Boudreaux, 66, shot and killed her husband, Stephen Boudreaux, 69, and then turned a handgun on herself.

"Our preliminary investigation does indicate homicide-suicide," Arnold said Tuesday. "There is no indication that Stephen was aware of Beckie’s plans or the financial struggles that appeared to be the motive behind Beckie’s choices."

Arnold also said Boudreaux family members had found "documentation that indicated she had been researching this for several months."

The shootings occurred late Sept. 22, and the couple’s bodies were found just before 1 p.m. Friday in the Boudreaux’s garage by a neighbor near 1900 Quail Crossing Lane. The neighbor had gone to investigate after noticing the Boudreaux’s garage door had remained open overnight.

The couple were found dead in one of the two cars parked inside the garage.

Arnold said that early last week Beckie Boudreaux had called her lawyer asking what would happen to debt in the case of suicide.

The answer to that last question is that if it's mortgage, business, auto, or credit card debt, you can file bankruptcy and start over. Beckie and Stephen should have taken that option. If it's student loan debt (unlikely in this case given the Boudreaux's ages), however, government policymakers have made it bankruptcy-proof and left suicide as the only way out. How sick is that?

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 190.

Thanks to reader Lee for the tip.

Operation Fast and Furious goes global

It wasn't enough for the ATF to arm the drug cartels with semiautomatic weapons.

Nope. Obama had to bomb the crap out of Libya so terrorists could get their hands on 20,000 surface-to-air missiles. Yes, the kind that can shoot down commercial airliners.

Americans finally develop healthy distrust of government

Well, it only took an economic collapse, two foreign occupation quagmires, multiple crony capitalism scandals, TSA goons groping children, the War on Drugs, taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street crooks, the ATF arming the Mexican drug cartels, clueless Fed policymakers, Greece-sized fiscal deficits, etc.

But Americans finally distrust and dislike their rotten, corrupt, intrusive, and incompetent government.
  • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

The Founding Fathers would be proud.

W.C. flip-flops on Elizabeth Warren

I loved Elizabeth Warren when she was fighting the dirty banksters.

Now that she's just another authoritarian Obamunist running for Senate, I appreciate this mockery of her statist campaign (click to enlarge).

How crony capitalism and Fed easy money are tearing America's social fabric apart

Fifteen months into the Recovery Summer, and with crony capitalism and Fed FAIL featuring prominently in the headlines, I think it's worth revisiting this January post.

Government-sponsored income inequality in the U.S.

Robert Shiller via Washington's Blog:
There have been political changes in the US that allow the extreme high end to garner more wealth. Ultimately, it represents a failure of our society to take account of the fact that the extreme high end can lobby and can organise for its own interests, and we’ve let it happen.

[...]

You might think that in a system of majority voting, the middle class and the poor would dominate and would prevent this kind of inequality from developing. But it hasn’t been that way – it’s been even less so that way lately, especially in the US.

Shiller doesn't give concrete examples, so allow me to list a few.

1) Wall Street bankers, through their lackeys Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke, threaten Congress with the end of the world if the banks don't get bailed out. The banks get bailed out.

2) Wall Street bankers insist that the American economy can't be competitive unless Wall Street banks remain Too Big To Fail. Financial reform is gutted and banks are allowed to become even bigger.

3) Even after the bailouts, banks remain insolvent, so bankers lobby for accounting rule changes that allow them to hide their insolvency. Banks get their accounting rule changes.

4) Even after the accounting rule changes, banks are still in terrible financial shape. So the Federal Reserve pins interest rates at zero percent so that the banks can generate giant profits by borrowing at zero percent and buying Treasury bonds.

Et voila! You have more obscene profits and bonuses on Wall Street just two years after Wall Street corruption and incompetence blew up the American economy. At the same time, Main Street still suffers with stagnant wages, high unemployment, and rising food and energy costs.

"Let them eat credit." Indeed.

Liberals always paint this as an issue of tax policy and campaign finance reform. But that is a naive view. Where there is money and power, it will find influence. The Wall Street - Washington cabal is far too deep and intertwined to be restrained by campaign finance rules, and they will always find a way to push the burden of higher tax rates onto the middle class while buying loopholes for themselves. The revolving door between Wall Street and Washington is far more pernicious than any campaign contributions. Hank Paulson was a Wall Street multi-multi-millionaire before he came to the Treasury and used his position to bail out his Wall Street buddies. And Timmy the Tax Cheat knows that he'll have a seven-figure Wall Street job waiting for him as long as he does Wall Street's bidding as Treasury Secretary. That kind of giant personal wealth incentive makes any campaign contributions seem quaint by comparison.

I simplify this somewhat by focusing on Wall Street, but the same principle applies obviously to government contractors, ethanol makers, TSA nudie-scanner makers, and every other industry funded, subsidized, or mandated by politicians handing out Other People's Money. Every department of the government is filled with bureaucrats at every level hoping to get rich by doing favors for, and then landing a cushy job with, private industry.

The answer was set out for us by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Only restraints on the scope and breadth of what the government can do will prevent the rich and powerful from seizing the levers of government for their own advantage. The government our Founding Fathers gave us was never supposed to be allowed to bail out private banks or manipulate interest rates for the benefit of the wealthy. The way to restore representative democracy and reduce government-sponsored inequality is to restore limited government.

End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Congratulations to our gay friends who now have the right to serve their country.

Greenspan's Body Count: 346 Via Metates, Oceanside: Robert and Shelly Bradford

Serial killer Alan Greenspan has been very active in the San Diego area this year.

Yesterday in Oceanside, a working-class community north of San Diego, two bodies were found:
The bodies of a financially distressed 56-year-old Oceanside man and his sick 52-year-old sister were found in their home Monday afternoon in what police say appears to be a murder-suicide.

The woman's black Labrador dog was also killed.

[...]

Police did not release the names of the individuals and declined to give their relationship Monday night, as their relatives were still being told of their deaths. Three neighbors confirmed they were brother and sister.

Oceanside police found the bodies shortly before 4 p.m. in separate bedrooms of their house near the end of a cul-de-sac on Via Metates, just east of College Boulevard.

A gun was found in the room with the man, said Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Mata.

[...]

Rodarte and neighbor Mary May both said the siblings were in dire financial straits. They had recently sold their house and were scheduled to leave Tuesday.

"He was saying he didn't know how they were going to make it," Rodarte said. Rodarte said the brother didn’t seem like a violent person.

The woman had lived in the home since 1988 and was among the first residents in the neighborhood, May said. Neighbors said she was friendly and popular, and she played catch with her black lab daily in the front yard.

"She loved that dog," Rodarte said.

The sister had taken care of the siblings' mother until she died about a year ago, Rodarte said, and the brother had moved in shortly before the mother's death. After their mother died, the siblings began having financial problems, she said.

"They were stressed out because they couldn't afford the house after the mother passed," Rodarte said. "And he couldn't find work."

The home at 346 Via Metates was listed for sale at $269,000 on August 1 and went pending on August 5. If you're the buyer and had a 45-day escrow, congratulations! It's move-in time!

Sources tell Greenspan's Body Count that the siblings were Robert and Shelly Bradford and the mother was Loreta Bradford.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 188.

A Tea Party view of Chris Christie

Sunday morning brought an e-mail from Leslie at Temple of Mut alerting me to this video



... where Paul Gigot says Chris Christie is seriously considering running. Look at the guy. He hasn't thought about running in his life. But I kid.

I was thrilled to hear this because the current field is so weak. Rick Perry is an unprincipled, crony capitalist, loose cannon, and Mitt Romney is a liberal RINO who would coddle the big banks. I probably can't vote for any of the current field other than Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

I think Chris Christie is just about the perfect Republican candidate. He's a straight-talker, which the public is craving after four years of Obama's empty promises. He's got no social conservative baggage to scare off moderates, independents, and libertarians. He's a Northeasterner, refreshing for a national Republican, with a real chance to win swing states like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. He's got successful executive experience, even working with a Democratic legislature. And most of all, he has stood up to the public employee unions which Americans know are bleeding the country dry.

Along comes fellow San Diego Tea Party blogger Shane Atwell to throw some cold water on Christie. Shane did a great round-up of Conservative New Jersey's series bashing Christie. Please click on over and read the whole thing at Shane's blog, but I'll extract and comment on the key points in Shane's summary of CNJ's beef:

CNJ: Christie didn't cut spending, he just reduced it from the Democrats' projected baseline increase.

WCV: True, but he arrested the out-of control growth rate of spending and held it almost flat. And adjusted for inflation, it's a cut. As a percent of GDP, it's a cut. Per capita, it's a cut. You try that with big Democrat majorities in the legislature. President Christie would have a Republican Congress, and would be able to pass real structural reforms.

CNJ: Christie fought only local teachers unions, not state employee unions.

WCV: I'll let Shane cover this one. "Keep in mind that the background piece of this very [CNJ] series describes how the local school teachers and administrators are bankrupting New Jersey. Part 1 also points out the reason the Governor should be interested in local costs: state taxes support municipalities and schools. Part 1 also bizarrely criticized Christie for cutting those funds, referring to those cuts as 'raids'. So what is the point here, that Christie should bailout the out of control local unions if budget decisions are made locally? And then to follow this contradictory criticism with a grudging admission that Christie has started to reform pensions, but that he hasn't gone far enough. Give me a break."

CNJ: Christie campaigns for RINOs like Meg Whitman and Linda McMahon, not conservative candidates.

WCV: True but big whoop. He's a team player and not a movement conservative.

CNJ: Christie campaigned touting "green jobs" nonsense.

WCV: True, but his proposals were pretty bland and generic (recruit green businesses with tax breaks, etc.) and I'm not aware of him having implemented any heavy-handed green policy. You have to talk green to win in Democratic New Jersey. Christie did.

CNJ: Christie didn't join other states in suing to block ObamaCare.

WCV: He's a Republican in a Democratic state. He was fighting tough legislative battles. Wasting political capital to be one more name on the lawsuit would have accomplished nothing.

CNJ: Christie supports gun control.

WCV: True but irrelevant to legislation. No gun control bill is going to go through a Republican Congress, and Christie is not stupid enough to do anything in his executive powers to piss off the Republican base.

In short, Chris Christie is not Ron Paul. But then no one under 70 years old or over 20% in the polls is Ron Paul. If Ron Paul can win the primary, he's my guy. But if Paul falls short, Chris Christie will be just fine with me.

AP finds student who still likes Obama, shocker he turns out to be a leech who profits from government handouts

UPDATED: Name redacted at request of subject.

AP:

"People are taking out $100,000 in debt and they're graduating next year," says [redacted], a 25-year-old MBA student at Northwestern University.

[Redacted] voted for Obama in 2008 and remains a strong supporter. "I think he's doing the best he can in these circumstances," he says.


His LinkedIn page shows exactly why he's such a big Obama fan:

Corporate Development
Amonix, Inc.


Privately Held; Renewables & Environment industry
2010 – 2011 (1 year)

solar project development, key accounts management, sales, M&A, investor relations, fundraising, corporate partnerships, internal process development

Co-Founder, Chief Financial Officer
532 Solar


Privately Held; Renewables & Environment industry
2009 – 2010 (1 year) Newport Beach, CA

Solar power development business focused on large commercial and heavy industrial distributed generation solar power plant projects. Acquired by Amonix.
Shocker: someone who profits from Obama's taxpayer-funded "green jobs" bullshit supports Obama! Amonix "received $15.6 million in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Initiative (SAI)" and "received $9.5 million in stimulus funding as part of the federal Recovery Act’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit."

The ranks of Obama's remaining fans appear to have dwindled to welfare recipients, union thugs, and crony capitalist corporate leeches. If Obama gets his way, there will be a lot more of all of those.

Ron Paul wins California straw poll

That's not surprising. What is surprising is that an MSM outlet is reporting it accurately and without derision.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul won a California straw poll, the state Republican Party announced in a statement Saturday night.

A total of 833 ballots were cast during the straw poll, the statement said.

Paul won with 44.9% of the votes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry came in second with 29.3% of the votes, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in third with 8.8% of the votes.

The California Republican Party, associated members and registered guests were allowed to vote in the straw poll, according to the statement.

Paul was scheduled to give speeches in Los Angeles on Saturday, including the keynote at the Republican Liberty Caucus of California.

He has gained momentum in the race for the White House in recent weeks, according to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll. Among current GOP candidates, Paul placed third in the poll with 13%, following Romney in second place with 21% and Perry in first with 32%.

His win came the same day he celebrated Constitution Day with another one of his "money bomb" fundraisers.

The online event attempts to raise a large sum of cash in 24 hours, a tactic that's proved successful in the past for Paul.



This is the same CNN whose Candy Crowley lied about Ron Paul's electability.

Constitution Day moneybomb for Ron Paul

If you don't support Ron Paul, you're implicitly supporting the false choice of liberal RINO Mitt Romney, faux conservative crony capitalist Rick Perry, and the love child of Jimmy Carter and Richard M. Nixon, Barack Obama.

Please donate here.

UBS gets Ghana-rrhea: "rogue trader" Kweku Adoboli loses $2 billion

UBS just lost $2 billion and is blaming it on a "rogue trader" from Ghana in its London office. Sounds like a convenient guy to throw under the bus.

Kweku Adoboli's LinkedIn profile describes him as "Director ETF and Delta1 Trading at UBS Investment Bank." For the uninitiated, "Delta1" is a theoretically low-risk strategy similar to ETFs. FT Alphaville explains:
Delta One products are a class of financial derivative that have no optionality and as such have a delta of one (or very close to one) – that is a 1% move in the underlying results in very close to 1% move in the derivative. They often incorporate a number of underlying securities and as such give the holder an easy way to gain exposure to a basket of securities in a single product.

You're not supposed to take huge directional bets. The idea is you sell an index to a client and then you hedge your risk by buying a bunch of stuff that is 99% like the index you sold. So everything is fine unless something really crazy happens and the stuff you bought behaves nothing like the stuff you sold. Think of it as picking up nickels in front of a steamroller. You're making a steady income until -- WHAM!!! Game over.

So either our Ghanaian friend was able to take on huge directional bets with his supervisors and risk managers completely unaware, or, more likely, the bank was systematically taking little risks that would never blow up unless something crazy happened like the Swiss National Bank going Full Bernanke. And when it blows up, blame the black guy with the foreign name.

Union Fail, eh!

This from our Canadian stock guru pal Tim Sheithner:

What should a union do when their company’s stock is trading at $1.58? Why threaten to go on strike over unfair working conditions and poor pay of course!

The Globe and Mail:
As a strike deadline approaches, Air Canada is coming out swinging by telling flight attendants to buck up and accept the unpredictable nature of their jobs.

“This departure from the routine is what makes the role attractive, and why we receive, on average, 25 applicants for every cabin crew member we hire,” Susan Welscheid, Air Canada’s senior vice-president of customer service, said in an internal letter to flight attendants.

[...] She produced a table to show that a cabin crew member, age 55 with 30 years of service, garners $51,500 in salary, plus $27,880 in various benefits and pension contributions to boost the total annual compensation to $79,380. Air Canada flight attendants are among the highest-paid crew members in the North American airline sector, she said.

$80 grand plus free Mile High Club benefits for someone with a high school education. Not bad. But then why not ask for more when the market is telling you the company is near bankruptcy?



Back when he was a value investor, before he was just a crony capitalist and tax loophole exploiter, Warren Buffett said of airline stocks:
But seriously, the airline business has been extraordinary. It has eaten up capital over the past century like almost no other business because people seem to keep coming back to it and putting fresh money in.

You've got huge fixed costs, you've got strong labour unions and you've got commodity pricing. That is not a great recipe for success.

I have an 800 number now that I call if I get the urge to buy an airline stock. I call at two in the morning and I say: "My name is Warren and I'm an aeroholic." And then they talk me down.

The Air Canada stewardesses seem determined to prove Buffett right.

TSA Annihilates JDA's laptop



I brought my laptop to Minneapolis thinking maybe if someone broke into my house while I was gone (I do live in DC, after all), at least I'd have my laptop. I didn't plan on using it.

In fact, I used it so little (read: at all), I forgot I had it in my bag when I tried to head back to DC from Minneapolis.

As of tonight, it's glowing green, the white parts of the screen are now pink and I can hardly see to type. I apologized to the TSO, who wasn't trying to mess with me when he pulled my laptop out and carefully examined my "Stop Bernanke" stickers. I couldn't possibly be a threat; I'm far too obvious to be useful for someone's covert mission to do anything. This is somewhat intentional, as the last thing I want is for my trip to be delayed because I forgot to be obvious in the airport.

Anyway, I'm not sure what happened differently at the airport except that the laptop was accidentally inside my bag (having not used it once, I genuinely forgot it was in there... while still somehow managing my 2 oz of lotion) and now it's jacked up. It got scanned twice, if that means anything.

In TSA's defense, the MSP TSA is nice, having experienced them in Richmond, both sides of DC, Chicago, Dallas, SFO... it's mostly been traumatic, so maybe my plan of being obvious (and dumping all liquids above 3 oz, f*** it, I'm not trying to make them mad, I have places to go) is not working out for me. That's why I apologized, that's just what you do up there, and it was nice to spend a few days in a place where people do that on a daily basis. The TSO wished me a nice day when it became obvious to his trained eye that I was a lazy DC-er on "vacation," not any sort of threat to their mission to keep our airports safe. I couldn't say the same for the old lady who was pulled out for further inspection near us, but it's not my job to worry about her.

I'm not the first one to claim a laptop destroyed by TSA but mine could have also been old, neglected, or maybe stepped on. Or ruined by TSA. I guess we'll never know.

I had a good trip, that's all that matters. No junk was groped that day. By TSA. God bless America.

Don't cry for me, Argentina

Obama: "If you love me, you've got to help me pass this bill."

Zing

Timmy the Tax Cheat's alternate reality

"I'm a fiscal hawk and I'm a big hawk on bank capital." - Tim Geithner being interviewed by Kramer the Klown on CNBC just moments ago (transcript, video).

You mean like when you were head of the New York Fed, charged with Wall Street oversight, from 2003 - 2007 and you allowed all the TBTF banks to run wild with near-infinite leverage and bogus assets, Timmy?

He also says there is "no chance" Europe will have a Lehman event. Hmmm... what was the last thing Geithner said there was no chance of? Oh yeah, that's right. The U.S. being downgraded.

Obama's "bipartisan" jobs plan: Social Security looting, handouts to state unions, and permanent tax increases on small business owners

You know how Obama kept saying his plan was "bipartisan," how it was chock full of Republican ideas, and how it was time to put politics aside and "pass this bill immediately?"

Yeah, here's the "bipartisan" details.

- Looting Social Security by suspending collection of the taxes that fund it
- Temporary, "sugar high" payroll tax cuts to prop up the economy through Obama's re-election, letting TSHTF in January 2013
- Permanent tax increases on families making $250,000 (i.e. small business owners)
- Cutting mortgage and charitable contribution deductions for those families, thus nuking America's charities
- Sending $130 billion to bad states to bail out the public employee unions

WSJ:
The largest chunk of Mr. Obama's tax package comes from limiting itemized deductions for families with more than $250,000 in yearly taxable income and individuals with more than $200,000, including those for home-mortgage interest, state and local property taxes and charitable donations. The White House says that measure would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years.

That sounds exactly like what Republicans ran on, right?

SolarGate: Obama's crony capitalist deal with bankrupt Solyndra

You can now add "crony capitalist" to all the other things you've been calling Obama.

Bloomberg:
Two months before Obama’s visit, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP warned that Solyndra, the recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, had financial troubles deep enough to “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

The Obama administration stood by Solyndra through the auditor’s warning, the abandonment of a planned initial public offering and a last-ditch refinancing where taxpayers took a back seat to new investors. That unwavering commitment has come under increasing scrutiny since the company’s travails culminated in its filing for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 and a raid on its headquarters by the Federal Bureau of Investigation two days later.

“People including our government put blinders on and did not want to believe in the obvious,” Jonathan Dorsheimer, an analyst in Boston for Canaccord Genuity Inc. of Vancouver, said in an interview with Bloomberg Government. “The fact that the government chose Solyndra as their white horse is mind- boggling.”

Mind-boggling except for the fact that the beneficiary of the $535 million taxpayer bailout is George Kaiser, a big Obama fundraiser. Funny how that works.

War is over, if you want it

On this tenth anniversary of 9/11, a repost of my thoughts from a few years ago:

The Global War on Terror is over.

Though George W. Bush for his own reasons denies that he's won, it's over. And it's over thanks in large part to the aggressive measures Bush took after 9/11: tracking down terrorist financing, intercepting communications, and unleashing military and intelligence teams around the world. And Guantanamo. Thank God for Guantanamo. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sang like a canary after a little waterboarding. If you don't love waterboarding, you're not paying attention.

It is a remarkable achievement that we have not had another organized terror attack on U.S. soil in six years. How hard would it be for a few Islamist nuts to put together an Oklahoma City-style truck bomb? Or send a couple dozen suicide bombers into shopping malls in a simultaneous wave of attacks across America? Or even set off a dirty bomb in a big city?

The fact that the Islamists haven't been able to pull off even the easiest of attacks is testament to the job GW has done destroying their network. I am not just surprised, but amazed. But the record is what it is.

Now I'm not saying that we should stop the tracking of terrorist finances or the monitoring of overseas communications or targeted military strikes against terrorist targets. To the contrary, these routine operations are what keep the terrorists from coming back. But that's not war. It's ongoing security maintenance.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Have you noticed how your airport TSA personnel have a less fascist attitude recently? They know the war is over. I got through a couple weeks ago with more than three ounces of toothpaste, which would have triggered a cavity search last year.

But most of all, the chief warriors in the Global War on Terror know that the war is over. GW Bush and John McCain are openly hostile to any attempt to secure the borders, which are obviously our most glaring vulnerability. They defunded the Secure Fence Act. If Al Qaeda wanted to put operatives in the U.S., it would be trivially easy to bring hundreds of them across the border from Mexico. GW and McCain obviously know what I'm telling you now: there is no threat of Al Qaeda operatives coming to the U.S.

I said some time ago that Osama bin Laden is a decrepit jackass hiding in a cave. That may have been giving him too much credit; he may well be dead. Regardless, it's clear that his network is not capable of what it was at the turn of the century. For that, we owe George W. Bush a debt of gratitude. But we don't need to heed Bush's, or his heir McCain's, call for perpetual war.

Unfortunately, we've regressed since I wrote that in 2008. The Obama regime has used the al-Qaeda boogeyman not only to expand Bush's perpetual foreign war, but also to allow TSA and DHS to violate American's civil liberties in increasingly intrusive ways.

It's time to bring the troops home, secure the borders, and restore our civil liberties.

Government issues CYA alert ahead of 9/11

(cross-post from Charlie Mcdanger)

Our big dumb government "anonymously" leaked a report that there are terrorists among us (U.S. citizens even!), and the lapdog media duly licked its master's hand and played along with the fear-mongering.

This is a no-lose proposition for the government. If something bad happens on Sep. 11, they can say, "See? We told you so!" If nothing at all happens, they can take credit for being vigilant and protecting everyone.

I wonder, what exactly is everybody commemorating tomorrow? The day our government was issued infinite power over individual rights, and a blank check to go bombing?

Tomorrow will fill us to the brim with homages to America's indomitable spirit and tributes to our heroism and resilience; meanwhile the government will carry on fondling our wives and children, reading our email, and encouraging us to report one another.

Call it Osama Bin Laden Day, if you want to make a holiday out of it; any other interpretation is a delusion.

"The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect . . . They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions, and their sensations. They conferred as against the government the right to be left alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men." -Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1928

Woman dies after hot beef injection

I'm not making this up:
A Homewood woman died Thursday shortly after injecting heated beef fat into her face, but the injection, the latest in a series, did not cause her death, authorities said.

An autopsy Friday determined that 63-year-old Janet Hardt died of peritonitis, a severe abdominal inflammation caused by a bacterial infection, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Infections in her face from the injections did not lead to her death, which was ruled natural, officials with the medical examiner’s office said.

A short time before Hardt died, she injected heated beef fat into her face around her mouth and chin, a procedure she had done before on several occasions, according to a source. Hardt had infections in her mouth and lip as well as scarring from performing the injections “for some time,’’ the source said, adding that she previously had multiple facial surgeries.

On Thursday, Hardt went to the hospital after complaining that her face felt like it was burning, the source said.

Illegal is the new Legal

The Associated Press wrote a disturbing account regarding the ILLEGAL actions of a bunch of union members who believe that the law of the land gives them the right to work at the facility that they illegally damaged. The article does its best to avoid claiming the actions of the union members are actually illegal. Let's take a look.
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Union activists aren't backing off demands to work at a new Washington state grain terminal after hundreds of Longshore workers stormed the facility, overwhelmed guards and dumped grain.
Let's itemize this:
  • hundreds of workers stormed the facility - Trespassing and possible property damage - illegal? Check.
  • overwhelmed guards - assault? Check.
  • dumped grain - property damage? Check.
When was it that those activities became legal again? Surely our legal system will protect those who were assaulted and those who had their property damaged, right?
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton issued a preliminary injunction to restrict union activity, saying there was no defense for the aggressive tactics used in recent days.
AGGRESSIVE TACTICS? It's not assault but merely tactics? Let me ask this - if a known radical Muslim employed the exact same "tactics" on the port, would the judge have used the same terms? Probably not because Muslims aren't allowed to break the law in this country.

Ok but what else?
Workers have been battling for the right to work at the new terminal in Longview.
Associated Press, I think it would have been excellent if you had referenced the section in the Constitution where it explains our right to work where we desire. I so want to work at Goldman Sachs as a high level director so as soon as I find that section I'll be able to live my dream.

But really, what happened to the guards?
Six guards were trapped for a couple of hours after at least 500 Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said. He initially referred to the guards as "hostages," but later retracted that after the guards clarified no one had threatened them.
Oh right, I'm sure those guards aren't scared for their lives if they claim otherwise. I'm sure they are just being honest. Just like wives that get beaten by bad husbands, it doesn't really happen if a wife says it's ok right?

And what about that broken glass, is that normal? Can I go down to any business and break the glass of it's store front? What would happen to me if I did that?

There is plenty more creative prose in this article to avoid the fact that these people broke the law. It would not at all be a stretch to call these people terrorists but since they are union members then the press regards them as heroes apparently.

Massive power outage in San Diego

San Diegans were spared listening to Dear Leader read from the teleprompter again about how we need hundreds of billions in stimulus "infrastructure" again.

We're experiencing a countywide power failure that is expected to last until tomorrow.

This is a good test run for the coming zombie apocalypse. If you don't have food, water, flashlights, batteries, bullion, and guns and ammo, this is your final warning.

The W.C. Varones Blog is up and running on two massive, gasoline-powered generators, and will keep you informed of developments.

Bizarro World Without Ron Paul

Bloomberg: Perry’s First Debate Solidifies Frontrunner Status. It does? For fun do a word search on the page for Ron Paul. He's mentioned exactly 0 times. He was there right? I even think some thought he won. Well at least on Yahoo and MSNBC's polls he did. But BillyTG on Motley Fool comments on that:
...see how the mainstream media polls of the debate show Ron Paul winning by huge margins, but the graphical representations try to downplay the margins by which he won!

**This MSNBC poll shows Paul getting 47% of votes versus 20% for Romney. If you graphed that, Paul's bar should be nearly 2.5 times as long as Romney's right. Check out MSNBC's chart! Good thing their financial charts don't look like this!!!


**This Yahoo poll shows Ron Paul crushing his debate opponents last night, but the way they order the results makes no sense. It's not alphabetical and it's not ordered by votes. It illogically places Romney and Perry at the top and Paul down lower. But hey, I'm sure that makes sense t someone somewhere, right?

This is astonishing. Just for the sake of fairness, this is how MSExcel presents MSNBC's results:There might be 2 parties running in the next election. If Ron Paul wins the nomination then it will happen. Otherwise, as the media has already determined, you'll be voting for Corporate Liberal A or Corporate Liberal B. Both with the same beliefs, agenda and pimps. And the MSM will have won. Goooooooo FREEEEDOMMM!!!!

Greenspan's Body Count: Cy Young award winning pitcher Mike Flanagan

Greenspan's Body Count hits even famous people with good jobs. Sports Illustrated:
Former Cy Young award winner Mike Flanagan died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, the Maryland medical examiner ruled Thursday.

A police investigation revealed the 59-year-old pitcher was upset about financial issues. He left no note.

Flanagan's body was found Wednesday afternoon about 250 feet behind his home. An investigation showed he was home alone when he took his life.

Flanagan earned a good chunk of change as a baseball player even though he played before the multi-million-dollar roid-rage days. And he still had a good job as a broadcaster. So to have had financial troubles, he must have been enticed, in Greenspan's easy money party, to take on enormous debt either for conspicuous consumption or for silly business propositions.

Somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
But in his final words I found
An ace that I could keep

The lessons to us from the tragic tale of Mike Flanagan are clear: when you're making good money, save a good chunk aside for a rainy day. And never, ever, take on recourse debt for conspicuous consumption or risky business ideas. Donald Trump, George Soros, Warren Buffett, and Hank Paulson never take on recourse debt. They gamble with other people's money. If you're gambling with recourse debt, you're gambling with your life.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 186.

HT: IPFreely

Swiss National Bank goes Full Bernanke

For decades, the Swiss Franc has had a reputation of quality and stability, as the Swiss could be counted on for sane fiscal and monetary policy (not to mention a refreshing lack of entanglement in foreign military quagmires).

No longer.  Swiss Franc Collapses 7% - Swiss National Bank to Fix CHF to EUR and Debase Currency.

[...] the Swiss National Bank has decided to fix the country's exchange rate at 1.20 Swiss francs per euro. The SNB indicated it would buy an unlimited amount of euros regardless of the risk to maintain that value.

[...] The SNB said in a statement that it "is prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities."

The SNB has once again clearly indicated that the so called safe haven currency that is the Swiss franc is set to be debased alongside the dollar, the euro, the pound and all fiat currencies.
 We've discussed global competitive devaluation here for years.  The idea is that as the U.S. and Europe debase their currencies to try to prop up their bad banks, other countries will devalue as well in order to keep their export and labor markets competitive.  No country can afford to have the only sound currency in a Zimbabwe Ben world.  Not even Switzerland.

We've recommended positions in Australian and Canadian dollars in the past.  While these currencies are healthier than Bernanke Bucks (and have performed well since our recommendations), they are not immune to the forces of Global Competitive Devaluation.  Get thee to a gold dealer.

They're both right

Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:
Mr. Romney's people see Mr. Perry as a dopey Texas barbarian. Mr. Perry's people see Mr. Romney as Northeastern, elite, effete and opportunistic.

Free $100 for W.C. Varones readers

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We take care of our readers.  Click here and get a Citi credit card that will give you $100 just for taking the card and spending $500 on it.

Better get it quick before the FHFA takes Citi down for dumping fraudulent mortgages on Fannie and Freddie.

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Spirit of Unity

There's a bunch of halfwits in San Diego for a convention called "Spirit of Unity." Hard to tell if it's a religious cult or Obamunists.

Happy Anniversary! 803 Ida celebrates 4 years on the market.

A big congratulations to our friends at 803 Ida in Solana Beach on their fourth anniversary on the MLS.

We first covered 803 Ida back in 2008 when they were asking $995,000, down from $1.2 million earlier. Then on their second anniversary, they were asking $899,000. Two years later, and they are at $749,000. Just wait until 2013 and you'll be able to pick it up for $600,000. Unfortunately, all that time on the market hasn't been kind to the building. The Redfin agent notes that it "could use a little TLC."

In other news of misguided Solana Beach condo developers, remember 140 - 146 N. Rios? These glue-sniffers were trying to sell strip-mall-view condos for the same price as nearby big, beautiful, ocean-view single-family homes. Well, that didn't work out so well. Three years later, they're still trying to sell them at the same asinine prices.



"Seller may carry" indeed. That dude would carry you on his back across the Sahara Desert if you'd give him $1.65 million for a concrete jungle condo.

Thieving swine

This morning we noticed a friend-of-a-friend's post on Facebook, regarding George Lucas and his hatchet job on Star Wars.


Haha! Funny friends this guy has...and his other friends pat him on the back for it. It almost reminds me of a post about George Lucas that appeared a day earlier on Tyler Durden:
Very obviously George Lucas is a complete moron who simply lucked his way into this franchise because there were talented people around him and everything good about the first two movies were someone else’s idea that he hated but the studio made him use. I’m amazed we even still have James Earl Jones on here, and that Lucas didn’t replace him with Eddie Griffin or someone like that, so Darth Vader can say things like, “where my big girls girls at?”
What a striking coincidence! It would seem that either Sean is a personal friend of the guy who runs Tyler, or he's a thief. This obviously doesn't rise to the level of a Carlos Mencia theft, but it's still pretty pathetic.


Famous last words

Too much laggard teabagging pessimism and ignorance around here.

Good luck America.

Enjoy the boom.

- Soot and Ashes (successor to HousingPANIC blog), April 16, 2010

How's that Hope and Change working out for you?
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