"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." -- James Madison - (1751-1836)

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. " :
Ayn Rand in "The Nature of Government"

"Throughout history there have been tyrants and murderers. And for a while they seem invincible, but always they fall. Always."-Mahatma Gandhi

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings: Helen Keller

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is , more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime ; he is a good citizen driven to despair.--H.L Mencken

"When even one American-who has done nothing wrong-is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth-then all Americans are in peril" Harry S. Truman

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed: Ayn Rand - (1905-1982) Author - Source: Atlas Shrugged, Francisco's "Money Speech"

"Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband -- it creeps up insidiously...step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone." ~ Baron Lane

U.S. Constitution - R.I.P.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Send Old Shoes to Washington...Gifts For the Bush-Man

Please Help Send These Beauties to Washington

Personally, I'd love the chance to congratulate the Iraqi journalist who had the courage to make a very public protest of the latest Bushco outrage in his country. At a press conference called to celebrate the latest "agreement" made between our government and his, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network -- could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!" as he fired first one shoe, then the other at President Bush, barely missing his head. For those who are not aware of the symbolism behind this act, throwing shoes at a person, in Muslim cultures, is a grave insult, the sole of the shoe dirty and always low to the ground. Being compared to a dog is also quite an insult in Muslim countries, as they are considered filthy beasts.

Along with my congratulations for shoe well hurled...a pair of them in fact...I'd like to contribute to the effort to tell the Bush-boy how so many people around the world feel about his corrupt regime.

To that end, I have imposed upon my teen aged son to part with a pair of his old sneakers, well used and quite fragrant, to send to the White House. If you feel inspired to show some solidarity with this outspoken and outraged journalist, I am soliciting donations to help start a shoe hurling campaign....will surely find plenty of old shoes to send this message with a little help from my friends for the shipping costs. I'd love to be able to send a barrage of smelly old shoes to the Bushco crowd...I hope you'll join me in this symbolic little show of dissent.

Bush shoe-thrower in hospital after beating

BAGHDAD (AFP) — The Iraqi journalist who hurled shoes at US President George W. Bush is in hospital after being beaten up by security guards, his brother charged on Tuesday, as judicial authorities launched a probe into the incident that grabbed headlines around the world."He has been taken to Ibn Sina hospital because he has a broken arm and ribs and is also suffering injuries to his eye and leg," Durgham al-Zaidi said of his brother Muntazer.

Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody'

The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody. Muntadar al-Zaidi has allegedly suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC.

Yep....MUCH better for these folks under US occupation right? Imagine, under Saddam's regime, the man might have gotten a beating rather than a fair trial....thank goodness we've rescued them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Rare Bit Of Common Sense...Not to Be Found in the Corporate Media of Course.

Optimists on the Titanic
As we blindly sail farther into the twenty first century, we are just beginning to witness the unraveling of our economic foundations. Like the fabled HMS Titanic, the U.S. economy was thought to be invincible. And like the Titanic, our economy has drifted into dangerous waters and has mired itself on an iceberg.

Certainly a better solution than that proposed by the government....they seem to think that continuing to do things the same way will bring different results....Hasn't that method of doing things been cited as the "very definition of insanity?" Stepping back to the basics of community based economy is the common sense answer...and, it will happen as the global economy has become hopelessly corrupted and unsustainable.

Can You Say Depression? The Feds Can't Quite Do It.....Yet, Anyway

US manufacturing hits 26-year low: ISM
US manufacturing slumped to a 26-year low in November, highlighting the abrupt downturn in the world's biggest economy, a survey showed Monday.

"The worsening credit crisis and deepening global slump have pushed the ISM index below the 41 figure that is consistent with past recessions," said Sal Guatieri, economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"The fact that the index continues to decline points to more than your garden-variety downturn."

U.S. May Be in for ‘Great Recession’

The U.S. economy, now officially in recession, may be in the midst of the longest slump in the post- World War II era as job losses mount and credit dries up.

“This may be referred to as the Great Recession,” because of its length, said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management’s factory survey. “It looked like we were headed for a shallow recession earlier in the year because of higher energy prices. With the meltdown in the financial sector, it has become something more serious.”

Mortgage delinquencies shoot up to nearly 4 percent in 3Q, nearly double historical average

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, 3.96 percent of people holding a mortgage were at least 60 days behind in payments, compared with 2.56 percent in the 2007 third quarter.

"It's nothing short of staggering," said Ezra Becker, principal consultant in TransUnion's financial services group. Becker noted the rate had hovered at about 2 percent for years, until the second quarter 2007, when it started climbing.

Moreover, the climb is not likely going to slow, he said. "Our projections are that it's not only going to be increasing but it's increasing at a faster pace," he said. The fourth quarter of 2008 could see the percentage of mortgages past due jump as high as 4.6 to 4.7 percent, he said, an estimate that reflects the recession and rising unemployment rates. "This is more pessimistic than what we would have forecast a quarter ago," he acknowledged.

Breakdown of the Global Monetary System by Summer 2009

The G20-meeting held in Washington on November 14/15, 2008, is in its essence a historical indicator that the Western - above all Anglo-Saxon - monopoly on global economic and financial governance, is coming to an end.
Four key-factors are now pushing the Bretton Woods II (2) system to collapse in the course of the year 2009:

• Fast weakening of the central players: USA, UK
• Three visions of the future of global governance will be dividing world’s largest players (United-States, Eurozone, China, Japan, Russia, Brazil) by spring 2009
• Unbridled speeding-up of the last decade’s (de-)stabilizing processes
• Increasing number of more and more violent backlashes.

The agitation that has seized global leaders since the end of September 2008 indicates that panic has struck at the highest level. Worldwide political leaders have now understood that the house is on fire. But they have not yet perceived something obvious: that the very structure of the building is involved.

The Worst Is Yet To Come

Anonymous Banker Weighs In On The Coming Credit Card Debacle

Today, we are bailing out the banks because of their greedy and deceptive lending practices in the mortgage industry. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. More is coming, I’m sorry to say. Layoffs are being announced nationwide in the tens of thousands. As people begin to lose their jobs, they will not be able to pay their credit card bills either. And the banks will be back for more handouts.

Even Bushie has finally admitted that the economy is in big trouble, acknowledging that we are in a "recession"....of course, this is more than a recession, but the powers that be just can't bring themselves to admit to the big "D" word yet....but, it's coming, and they just make it worse by dancing around the issue. The majority of the American people, even those tuned in enough to see what's happening, don't want to believe it can happen here...but it is happening. Our economy and a good part of the global economy is collapsing. We are in for quite a ride over the next few years.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Russian Analyst Predicts Decline and Breakup of U.S.

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

Could happen. One of the many possibilities we are faced with as our economy hits the skids. I wonder, would the federal government let loose the reins of power it holds on the states should they decide to strike off on their own? Or, will we have another civil war, with the Feds unleashing the armed forces against its own citizens. Or, perhaps martial law will be in effect by the time the economy has collapsed completely, the population largely disarmed. I also wonder how many of our citizens are aware of the extent of our financial and political crisis. Certainly it seems that there should be a larger and louder outcry by now....but then again, that should have been the case years ago. Very uncertain future for sure. And, still, so many are determined to believe that it can't happen here...sigh...discouraging.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Common Sense: A Revolutionary Idea

Interesting little film...the link is in the title.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Election: It Had to Be this Way

The Democrats winning Congress and the White House just had to happen. If we are ever going to change this country from an empire to a representative democracy, we have to rid ourselves of the notion that one corporate political party can do anything toward that goal. Barack Obama will be the catalyst for a new movement, away from false hope and false promises, not because he will deliver to the people of this country anything worthwhile, but because he won’t. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our corporatist society.

There are so many so-called “progressives” that have believed that it was the Bush Republican neo-cons that have gotten us where we are. This is wishful thinking. The Democratic 110th Congress did nothing but rubber-stamp every bill that was put before it. Democrats have blindly caved in to fear of being called “anti-patriotic” if they voted against the meaningless war in Iraq. They put their political fortunes ahead of their conscience at every opportunity, from Pelosi taking impeachment “off the table” to voting for the new FISA bill that granted telecoms immunity from illegally working with the executive branch to illegally eavesdrop on US citizens. They passed every military budget and went along with almost every Bush attack on our civil liberties.

While its nice to see that some people do realize that the hypocrisy and corruption are not limited to the Bush administration and the rethuglicans, but a systemic issue, I can't say that I share the writer's optimism that the American people will wake up to that fact. After all, we've already elected a demofascist majority in the Senate and House of Representatives on the promise of change...and the sheeple were quite convinced that would ensure a repudiation of all the insanity dealt out by the Bush cabal. Well....didn't happen. And, for those that didn't already know that there is no real opposition party, THAT should have been plenty of proof. AND YET...they are celebrating the election of Obama as if it will mean a damn thing. As I said before the infamous midterm elections and this one...the only issue these two parties disagree on is who should be dictator. The link to the rest of the article is...as always...in the title.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fascist America: I Live in a Constitution Free Zone...And You Probably Do Too

ACLU Assails 100-Mile Border Zone as 'Constitution-Free'

Government agents should not have the right to stop and question Americans anywhere without suspicion within 100 miles of the border, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday, pointing attention to the little known power of the federal government to set up immigration checkpoints far from the nation's border lines.

The government has long been able to search people entering and exiting the country without need to say why, which is known as the border search exception of the Fourth Amendment.

"It is a classic example of law enforcement powers expanding far beyond their proper boundaries – in this case, literally,” said Caroline Fredrickson, who heads the ACLU's Washington, D.C., Legislative Office.

In a video shown to reporters at a national press conference event Wednesday, retired San Diego social worker Vince Peppard complained that he and his wife were stopped at a checkpoint on a road east of San Diego on I-94, many miles after crossing back into the United States with tiles he'd bought in Mexico.

When he refused to let the Customs and Border Protection officer search his car, the officer led him to a bench, called in the contraband dog and then "ransacked" his car.

"I didn't feel like I was inside the U.S.," Peppard said, calling the search on the side of the road embarrassing. "I felt like I was in a B-movie with Nazis asking for my papers."

ACLU attorney Chris Calabrese is certain there are more people who have been negatively affected than have complained.

As an example, he cited Seattle's domestic ferries, where DHS agents ask passengers for ID to check their citizenship and use license plate readers.

"The people who live on these islands are undergoing this extra scrutiny just when they are going to get their groceries," Calabrese said.

Be sure to hit the link and see the map there...You'll be amazed to find that Homeland Security has placed these Constitution Free Zones in such a manner as to encompass two thirds of our population. Obviously it is us, the citizens of the United Fascist States of America that are to be controlled, not immigrants. I too have to pass through one of these checkpoints--100 miles in from the border-- to go grocery shopping, and I drive away fuming each and every time. On several occasions, we've been hauled out of the vehicle to be searched and questioned. Once, in our RV, they claimed that the dogs signaled we might be smuggling an illegal alien...they searched everything, tearing through our luggage and all...apparently they thought I might have concealed a very small Mexican among my clean underwear. This is America? "Your Papers Please" for going to buy food?

Monday, October 20, 2008

It is Time

The truth is that the current system has become corrupted beyond possibility of repair, and needs to be allowed to collapse. It will do so anyway, whether we 'allow' it or not. It must collapse, so that something more attuned to the genuine needs of people can be created. Destruction must often precede creation... slums have to be razed before fine living quarters can be constructed.

When a system is corrupt it will attract only corrupt people and only the corrupt will flourish. We have provided history with a wonderful example of that. Look at the legislators who sit in not only the American Congress, but in the UK and Australian parliaments, and in governments all across the western world. Only an utterly corrupt system could elevate and reward such second-rate people.

As of this morning I see that the DOW rose almost 1000 points overnight in the US. This on the promise of politicians taking firm action. Looking to politicians to effect a solution for this situation is as futile as poking around in a parrot's entrails in an attempt to divine Saturday's winner at Randwick. Bush claims that it is an effort to preserve the free market. The free market needs no help, it needs less hindrance. It is government 'help' that has killed the economy. As Reagan once said: "the nine most scary words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' It's actually eleven words, but what's a 20% error with any government figure.

Look at the criminals who infest Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. How foolish and shifty they look as they sit blinking in front of the television cameras struggling to provide coherent answers to simple questions; and yes, on one level it is laughable, but that is our money and wealth that has been destroyed. That is the material present and future of our families that has been stolen.

Our education system is run by people whose job is to ensure that children attain adulthood without gaining any dangerous ideas about personal integrity or individual responsibility. Our media no longer even pretends to publish the news, they are merely organs of propaganda for the government, and for those vast corporations allied to government. It is time to be done with all our institutions. No part of what we have is worth saving. The corruption has penetrated and permeated from the very top to the very bottom. Society has been rotted down to the last point of resistance... the core level of the family and individual. The institutions have become a part of the problem, not the solution. The solutions can now only be at the level of the family and the individual.

The link to the entire article is in the title. An interesting read. And yes, it is time....it is well past time...almost too late.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Well....That Whole Freedom Thing Was Good While it Lasted, Wasn't It?

Cramer: It's a Worldwide Crash

Now along comes Sheila Bair and Hank Paulson, who alternately want us to believe that everything is sound (with public pronouncements that the worry is misplaced) and that there is a list of obscure banks that might have to be taken over.

Then Paulson comes to the Capitol and says the truth, that the Western world of finance is going to break, and Bair seizes Washington Mutual and tries to seize Wachovia(WB Quote - Cramer on WB - Stock Picks), no doubt to save Citigroup(C Quote - Cramer on C - Stock Picks), which could have risen, done an equity offering and joined Bank of America(BAC Quote - Cramer on BAC - Stock Picks), JPMorgan(JPM Quote - Cramer on JPM - Stock Picks) and Wells Fargo(WFC Quote - Cramer on WFC - Stock Picks) as the new titans of finance.

Which is where we are this morning, in a worldwide crash that will leave us with gigantic institutions that we have never heard of, with balance sheets that are ridiculously large that must fall, and a hedge fund community that has lost control of its asset base.

Down the Road to Serfdom

Sensing a pushback by the world's dollar-surplus regions – Asia and the Mideast – to finance the largest debtor economy, the U.S. government will now plunder its own countrymen to keep capital running "uphill." As with most statist remedies, it is being marketed as a boon for Main Street, tantalizing its inhabitants with the prospect of profits wafting westward from those malodorous Wall Street investments. However, Congress has inured the Treasury from accountability and legal recourse, giving Paulson dictatorial power over the nation's financial sector. Rather than let this bloated segment of the economy shrink and consolidate, Paulson and his successor will extend it unlimited life support, bloodletting everything else, in a final ruin of the nation.

French Premier Francois Fillon: We're on "the edge of the abyss”

Now we're in a terrible fix. People are scared and removing their money from the banks and money markets which is intensifying the freeze in the credit markets and driving stocks into the ground like a tent stake. Meanwhile, our leaders are "caught in the headlights", still believing they can "finesse" their way through the biggest economic cataclysm since the Great Depression. It's madness.

Naomi Wolf: Americans are facing a coup, as of this morning it’s happened

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lessons of the Past, Fear for the Future

Those who remember the Depression fear its return

Geneva Spickard is pretty sure America today couldn't do again what America did to live through its hardest economic times and reign as the financial power it has.

Turner Hinkle agrees. We simply don't know how.

"I'm afraid if the next depression that hits is like the one in the '30s, we would not long have a democracy," says Turner Hinkle. "I don't think the government can let it be. People are too used to having everything handed to them."

At 91, she is plagued by arthritis of the spine. She is proud of her two sons, one who became a stockbroker, one who became a doctor.

But a woman who was never afraid during the Depression is afraid now. She is afraid for her great grandchildren and for the world they have been born into.

She calls it "cruel."

Then adds, "God help them."

Americans just don't have the backbone they used to, we've got rough times ahead for sure. I'm so glad I live miles from nowhere, as life in the cities is bound to get dangerous. Small communities are the place to be, where a few old fashioned values still survive. I would be afraid for my children if we were still in the city. With today's culture it will be every man for themselves in the urban areas, rather than neighbor helping neighbor as it was during the first Great Depression.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Day, Another Bank Failure

JPMorgan Chase buys Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual Bank, the country's largest savings and loan, was seized late today by federal regulators and immediately sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co., the New York banking giant that has long coveted the thrift's California and Florida branches.

With assets of $307 billion and deposits of $188 billion, Washington Mutual is the largest bank to fail in U.S. history.

And just look at the fine analytical minds that are in charge of solving the crisis...

The Paulson Plan, Bad News For The Bailout

In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

Inspires confidence, doesn't it? Meanwhile the public is treated to patronizing statements that everything will be ok, the fundamental economy is strong. They say that even while admitting that they're making it up as they go along. Incredible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Psychologists Reject the Dark Side: American Psychological Association Members Reject Participation in Bush Detention Centers

The movement against U.S. torture experienced a significant victory last week. The members of the American Psychological Association [APA] rejected the policies of their leadership, policies that abetted the Bush administration’s program of torture and detainee abuse. By a vote of 59%, the members passed a referendum stating that APA members may not work in U.S. detention centers that are outside of or in violation of international law or the U.S. Constitution “unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.” Passage of this referendum is a significant milestone in a years long effort by activist psychologists to change policies that encouraged participation in detainee interrogations because psychologists, the APA leadership claimed, helped keep those interrogations “safe, legal, and ethical.”


Monday, September 22, 2008

Keiser: US dollar "backed by bananas"

Press TV interviewed Paris-based financial analyst Max Keiser on the US financial meltdown on September 20. What follows are his free-wheeling comments on the US government bailout of Wall Street and the potential consequences for America.

"To pay for all this insanity from Hank Paulson, they have two options. They can either raise taxes or they can inflate the money supply. They can destroy these things US dollars [waves a dollar bill at the camera]. Dollars 30 years ago used to be backed by this stuff - gold [waves a gold coin at the camera]. Now thanks to Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke US dollars are backed by these - bananas [waves a banana at the camera]. They're absolutely worthless. Anyone buying US dollars today is going to lose money."

"For the average American, this is what they will experience. The price of food and oil are going to skyrocket due to hyperinflation. The only way they can possibly pay for all these bailouts is to inflate the money supply. This means hyperinflation in America like you had in Germany in the 1920s. This is what the average American will experience: destitution, poverty, social unrest due to flagrant bank mismanagement - and it could have been avoided.
But unfortunately the banks in the USA are run by greedy, insane private marketeers and this is the result."

A rather straight forward assessment of our current situation...And, he's got lot's more interesting things to say...the link to the rest of the article is in the title.

Martial Law in the Making

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or man made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Ominous. I wonder, will we even have an election? The current economic crisis would surely make as good of an excuse as any for the Bushco regime to take advantage of those "emergency powers"....Ah well, at least the guys will get to use some of those skills they learned in the war zone on the folks back home...regardless of that old fashioned American delusion that the people have Constitutional rights.

Economic Desperation Notes of the Day

Grasping at Straws

21/09/08 "ICH" -- - On Friday morning, Senator Christopher Dodd, the head of the Senate Banking Committee, was interviewed on ABC's “Good Morning America.” Dodd revealed that just hours earlier at an emergency meeting convened by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, lawmakers were told that "We’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system.” Dodd added somberly, that in his three decades of serving in public office, he had "never heard language like this.”

The system is at the breaking point, and despite Wall Street's elation from the proposed $1 trillion dollar bailout to remove toxic mortgage-backed debt from banks balance sheets, the market is still correcting in what has become a vicious downward cycle. This cycle will persist until the bad debts are accounted for and written off for or until the exhausted dollar-system collapses altogether. Either way, the volatility and violent dislocations will continue for the foreseeable future.

Government To Steal $15,000 From Every American Household To Bailout Big Banks and Lenders

If someone came into your home and held you at gunpoint and forced you to fork over $15 thousand dollars in cash (provided, of course, you kept such a large amount at home), you’d call the cops as soon as you could, wouldn’t you? In fact, if you had a gun at home, you might even try and shoot the bastards before they could get away with your money. But what happens when it is the U.S. government that is about to break into your house and make off with that much money? Whom do you call? Batman? And yet, that is exactly how much money, thus far, the current round of government bailouts of big financial institutions is costing American households.

The Cost of the Bailout: $2,000 Per Person - WashingtonWatch.com

Bailout legislation that may sail through Congress this week will cost about $6,500 per U.S. family, a little over $2,000 per person, according to an estimate published on the WashingtonWatch.com blog.

Well, things are moving right along lately aren't they? The economy is on its way to an incredible collapse. I saw this coming, but I was hoping for a bit more time to prepare. But I guess my bunch is better prepared than most. How horrible it will be for the majority of people who have been taken totally by surprise. I hate to think of it, hungry children and desperate families. And the perpetrators of this financial mess made trillions over the years, yet they will be bailed out by the tax payer and never be held accountable for the destruction of so many lives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Financial Storm of the Century, and the Levees are Breaking"

Roubini: You Should Worry About Deposits

With the "financial storm of the century" hitting financial institutions, many Americans are worried about the safety of their bank deposits. While the FDIC insures individual accounts up to $100,000, the reaction to IndyMac's failure this summer -- lines outside retail branches -- shows Americans have limited faith in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which guarantees individual accounts up to $100,000.

But Americans are justified to be worried, says Nouriel Roubini, of NYU's Stern School and RGE Monitor, who notes there is already a "slow-motion run on retail banks" occurring nationwide.That "run" could accelerate as people realize the FDIC fund has about $50 billion to "insure" about $1 trillion in assets at the nation's financial institutions, says Roubini. "They're going to run out of money" unless Congress acts soon to recapitalize the FDIC.

Be sure to check out the video on the page and hear what this man has to say. The "Financial Storm of the Century, and the levees are breaking".....and where exactly is Congress going to get the money to recapitilize the FDIC? The government is beyond bankrupt, it is trillions in debt, making us more and more dependent on foreign governments, the very ones we continue to antagonize...Russia, China, and the Gulf states....bright "leadership" in this once great country..what a shame. And, through it all, Paulson is still busy reassuring the sheeple that everything is under control...have faith in our economy...with a straight face even...what a joke. Only the beginning folks...hold on to your hats, the worst of storm is yet to come.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dreaded D Word Hits the Mainstream Media

From CNBC:

Bailouts Will Push US into Depression

The end result of the global economic slowdown may be the U.S. announcing national bankruptcy as the government cannot afford the bailouts that it promised and the market will not bail out the government, Martin Hennecke, senior manager of private clients at Tyche, told CNBC on Thursday.

"We expect a depression in the United States. We expect a depression, very possibly, also in Europe," Hennecke said on "Worldwide Exchange."

Of course, many other sources have been predicting another US depression for quite some time, but the mainstream media has been busy aping the propaganda of the Chimp in Charge, telling Americans that our current problems are but a temporary blip in our otherwise "solid" economy. Imagine how ominous things must be if the mainstream is finally admitting that there is real trouble on the horizon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ultimate Irony

Just as I hit the "Publish" button on the previous post, This popped into my email inbox , from my brother.........

Saint Paul to Welcome Return of Declaration of Independence
During Convention

City Hall/County Courthouse to Display Copy of Declaration
SAINT PAUL – As part of the celebrations surrounding the Republican National Convention in
September, an original printing of the Declaration of Independence will return to Saint Paul for
public viewing Sept. 2-4 at Saint Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse.
“I am happy to partner with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to bring the Declaration of
Independence back to Saint Paul,” Mayor Coleman said. “A national political party convention is
about so much more than just the nomination of a candidate. It is a celebration of democracy and
American civic pride, and having the Declaration of Independence on public display provides
another dimension for residents and visitors to participate and enjoy all that a convention brings
with it.”
“I am thrilled that Mayor Coleman and county officials are making this possible for Minnesota,”
said Secretary of State Ritchie, whose office is orchestrating the display. “The Declaration of
Independence represents the origins of the very idea of democracy, and bringing it to Minnesota
during a time when a presidential candidate will be nominated will give residents and visitors a
chance to see the very birth certificate of our nation.”

I wonder if the hundreds of journalists and protesters who have been pepper sprayed, tear gassed, beaten, and "detained" for exercising their constitutional rights will be allowed to take a peek at
the "origins of the very idea of democracy" when the gestapo releases them....quaint little artifact these days, isn't it?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Targeting the Free Press

Police Seize Journalists Notes About RNC Protest Plans

National Lawyers Guild reports..... A trio of journalists who have a track record of documenting police abuse at political conventions were stopped and searched during the early morning hours in Minneapolis. Police took their video equipment, cell phones, computer, hard drive and notes about protests planned for next week's Republican National Convention. They took away their ability to report.

RNC Raids Have Been Targeting Video Activists

"St. Paul is a free country!" cried a resident of Iglehart Avenue, a neighborhood street in St. Paul, Minn., as she watched her next-door neighbor's house being overtaken by police officers on Saturday afternoon. Just one in a series of house raids over a 24-hour period the weekend before the Republican National Convention, St. Paul police surrounded the private home with weapons drawn, detaining people in the backyard, while journalists, activists and neighbors -- including several children -- looked on.

Their crime? None whatsoever. No one was trespassing or engaging in acts of civil disobedience. Instead, members of I-Witness Video, a New York-based media watchdog group that records police activity in order to protect civil liberties, were holding an organizing meeting at 949 Iglehart, the home of St. Paul resident Mike Whalen, when armed police officers arrived in the early afternoon and ordered their surrender.

Apparently, independent journalists, the last bastion of the free press, are frowned upon in fascist Amerika, only the corporate lapdog press need apply to cover the RNC. The gestapo seems to be actively seeking out journalists who don't publish the official propaganda, detaining them without cause, stealing their equipment and notes, assaulting and intimidating them. Breaking heads and taking names they are...Isn't this type of tyranny exactly why Freedom of the Press is guaranteed by the Constitution? Oh and, by the way, the Declaration of Independence is quite clear on our obligations in just this sort of situation..."But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." Oh..darn...is it still legal to quote the Declaration? Well, I guess I should have at least been in designated "free speech zone"before doing such a radical thing....hell, these days Homeland Security labels you a terrorist if you admit you have read the Constitution....sigh...big red flag attached to my name on the no fly list for sure....no Bahamas vacation for me.

The American Gestapo is Busy Today

Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Interesting. Generally, the more well known journalists are left alone, as they don't want to outrage the people...they must be pretty sure that the American public has degraded to spineless sheeple to pull this one. Unfortunately, they're probably right, and they probably haven't got much to worry about.

Considering a protest? You Too Could Be Arrested for THOUGHT CRIMES

Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis

Federal government involved in raids on protesters

We've gone from seeing citizens brutalized, intimidated, and arrested for exercising their right to free speech, to a bizarre state of affairs where one can receive that treatment for THINKING about doing so. Or being a journalist covering the story of police thugs attacking people in their homes for THINKING about protesting. OR, even being a lawyer willing to represent innocent, non violent people who have broken no laws. We have reached the ultimate police state. They can kick in your door for thought crimes, for disagreeing with the government. Took a bit longer than Orwell thought, but it is here. The inmates are in charge of the asylum, and the sheeple seem to be content with letting them run the show.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Financial Tidbits of the Day

Worsening Credit Markets Cause More Banks To Fail

An increasing number of federally insured banks are on the government's "problem" list as a result of the worsening credit crisis in the United States.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said on Wednesday that 117 banks and saving institutions were now on the list — the highest number since 2003. At the end of the first quarter of 2008 there were 90.

Fannie's Mudd Shakes Up Management to Boost Investor Confidence

Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Daniel Mudd replaced three top deputies in an effort to restore investor confidence after record losses and a 90 percent drop in the shares.

Mudd is seeking to show investors the company is taking action after $9.4 billion of losses the past four quarters eroded capital and sparked concern the company may not weather the worst housing slump since the Great Depression.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Disarm: The Lesson of the Georgia Fiasco

George Bush, with the clock ticking down the last months of his presidency, nearly started yet another war that might have escalated in the manner of World War I: a diplomatic failure backed by arms that resulted in a superpower clash.

It is a wonder that the world has survived his "war on terror," which turned out to be a war on American liberty and anyone in the world who got on his nerves. His confrontation with Russia in defense of a belligerent little client state of the US could have sealed his fate and ours too.

We need to examine Bush's actions and see how the US nearly stumbled into a calamity. For in the last weeks, we have gained a picture of the future with this continued push for a secure American world empire with its endless webs of payments, relationships, jockeying for power and treasure, and a diplomatic corps honeycombed with belligerents and lobbyists for foreign governments. The peace, such as it is, can be shattered through small screwups that will end in massive death.

Make no mistake about it: the flare-up was caused entirely by US diplomatic failures. You wouldn't know this, however, if all you did was watch television news. Fox and CNN have portrayed Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili as a benevolent leader of a "young democracy" struggling in the shadow of the mighty bear Russia.

In fact, Saakashvili was elected on a "National Movement" ticket with a centralizing, revanchist platform of retaking the autonomous provinces in the Caucasus, and he has ruled this country the size of South Carolina with an iron fist under a state of emergency for years. He had every intention of ruling these non-Georgian peoples who do not want to be ruled by him, as even the CIA admits.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sick, Psychotic Brutality...In The Name of Freedom?

It’s women and children now

Today, Aafia sports a broken nose, improperly reset. Her teeth have been pulled out. One of her kidneys has been removed, leaving a gashing scar down her abdomen. It is reported that she has been repeatedly raped. She is dehydrated and weak, unable even to walk. Psychologically, Aafia is confused and possibly suffers from brain damage.

But the physical and psychological nightmare hasn’t ended for her. Before and after every legal visit or trip to the court, Aafia is stripped naked and has to endure a cavity search. She has informed her legal team that she will not accept visits anymore due to the degradation and humiliation of the procedure.

Aafia is due to face trial this September. Ahmad, her eldest child, is still detained in Afghanistan. The other two, certainly the youngest American prisoners of war ever, are still unaccounted for. America’s disappeared in the War on Terror have been given scant attention. With women and children now victims, will the silence be broken?

Cry, Lady Liberty !

The US authorities pull a straight blank regarding the whereabouts and condition of Dr. Siddiqui’s three minor children. There have been conflicting statements about whether they are alive and if so, where. While the unforgivable brutality inflicted on ‘Prisoner 650′ has been shamelessly justified on the grounds of her ’suspected involvement with Al Qaeda’, no amount of ‘logical discourse’ or ‘legal argument’ can ever attempt to justify how and why her baby and two toddler sons have been ‘punished.’ So much for America’s commitment to fundamental Human Rights and basic justice.

God help us all. We have become worse than rabid animals to allow this to be done in our names. Torture and terrorism in the name of preventing torture and terrorism? How could any society condone this? Collective insanity. Impeach, prosecute, PLEASE!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who's to blame for the Russian Georgian conflict?

Georgian troops launched an aerial bombardment and ground attack on its separatist province of South Ossetia on Thursday. South Ossetians want to join up with their ethnic brethren in North Ossetia, an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. Seeing this as an act of aggression Russia launched bombing raids against Georgia, vowing to defend its citizens. More than half of South Ossetia's citizens are said to have taken up Moscow's offer of a Russian passport. Pepe Escobar believes that "the hypocrisy of the international community knows no bounds for if the West forced the issue of Kosovar independence then the independence of South Ossetia should also be on the cards."

They don't want independence; they want to unite with North Ossetia. The last referendum in the region was in November 2006. Ninety-one percent of attendance. Ninety-nine percent, they voted for union with North Ossetia and Russia. And the referendum was totally ignored by Georgia, the US, and in Europe. Once Saakashvili decided to attack South Ossetia last week, he was applying Pentagon tactics. US troops had just finished teaching Georgians how to ethnically cleanse an area. That was part of the so-called, I quote, "Georgian-US Immediate Response 2008 Military Exercises." This whole thing ended less than two weeks ago, on July 31. Saakashvili's game was to smash South Ossetia. In fact, his troops killed more than 2,000 civilians, destroyed the capital, Tskhinvali, killed 10 Russian peacekeepers, at least, provoked an exodus of 35,000 people to North Ossetia.

I have been watching the coverage of this conflict in the Amerikan corporate media. Amazing. They are all reporting it as if the Russians invaded Georgia, when Georgia, in fact, was the aggressor in the situation. These days you have to go to foreign news sources to get past the propaganda and political spin. Insane...free press my a**. The link to the entire story is in the title.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stalin? Hitler? Saddam?...Nope...We the People

Update: Apparently one of her children has been "found"....a twelve year old who the government has now admitted is a "detainee" as well. See link below for more info
PRESS RELEASE: Aafia Siddiqui claims she was held by the US in Bagram for years

FBI concedes Aafia Siddiqui in US custody: lawyer

WASHINGTON, Aug 3: Five years after her mysterious disappearance in Karachi, the FBI has finally conceded that an MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist is alive and is in US custody in Afghanistan.

Aafia Siddiqui, 36, disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her over her alleged links to Al Qaeda.

Her family’s lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp said she believed recent media reports about Mrs Siddiqui’s incarceration increased pressure on the US and Pakistani authorities to divulge more information.

“I don’t believe that they just found Aafia,” she said. “I believe that she was there all along.”

The fate of her three young, American-born children is still unknown.

Before her disappearance, Mrs Siddiqui lived in a Boston suburb of Roxbury and studied at Brandeis University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In a 2006 report, Amnesty International listed Mrs Siddiqui as among a number of “disappeared” suspects in the war on terrorism. On July 6, 2007, AI listed Mrs Siddiqui as a possible CIA “secret detainee”, although she was still on the FBI’s Seeking Information - Terrorism list. Late last week, Mrs Siddiqui’s photo still appeared on the FBI’s list of people wanted for questioning.

Aafia Siddiqui detained for political reasons: lawyer

WASHINGTON, Aug 4: Elaine Whitfield Sharp, the lawyer representing Aafia Siddiqui’s family, alleged on Monday that the MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist was being detained for political reasons.

Talking to Dawn, Ms Sharp also claimed that so far all the allegations brought against Ms Siddiqui had “proven wrong and unsubstantiated”.

The US media reported on Sunday that Ms Siddiqui was in US custody in Afghanistan, but gave no details.

The FBI office in Washington, when asked to comment on the reports, referred this correspondent to the US attorney’s office for New York’s southern district. Rebekah Carmichael, a press officer at the attorney’s office, however, said she had “no comments” to offer,

Ms Siddiqui, 36, disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her over her alleged links to Al Qaeda. The fate of her three young, American-born children is still unknown.

Ms Sharp said Ms Siddiqui’s family and lawyer were still trying to locate her and her three children. Ms Sharp, who spoke with an FBI agent on Friday, said the agent told her that she was alive but that injured.

Ms Sharp claimed that “every time that US authorities accused Aafia of something, we showed it was false”.

“They accused her of brokering a diamond ring for giving the proceeds to Al Qaeda. They said she was in Liberia when she did this. We showed she was here in Boston, running a play group with her sister.

“They said she was involved in the production of neuro-chemical to be used by terrorists in the US. We showed that she was not.”

Ms Sharp said US authorities also had accused her of other wrongdoings, but “when ask for evidence, they never gave us any evidence”.

That's OK folks...no need to care...she's just a foreigner...wears one of those rags on her head. ....
The fate of her three young, American-born children is still unknown. Is this how we want to live...to be perceived by the world? Who will be next ...me, you, your neighbor? What became of the children? What will they do with yours? How many years will it take for your family to find out where you were taken...will they ever?...DOES THIS SOUND LIKE AMERICA TO YOU? DO YOU CARE YET?

Jungle "Justice": Kangaroo Court Serves the Chimp in Charge

The first person to be tried in a military tribunal at Guantanamo will remain incarcerated no matter the verdict. Concerns remain about the procedure's fairness.
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 4, 2008
GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA -- The war crimes case against Salim Ahmed Hamdan today goes to a jury of his enemies, hand-selected by the Pentagon official who charged him on behalf of a president who has ordered him imprisoned even if acquitted.

"The eyes of the world are on Guantanamo Bay," U.S. District Judge James Robertson said July 17 in declining to halt the first trial by military commission.

"Justice must be done there, and must be seen to be done there fairly and impartially."

But as the first U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War II draws toward a conclusion, many outside the Bush administration question what they've seen.

Why bother even presenting such a transparent farce of a "trial"?...what a waste of time and money...he won't be released even if found innocent. If acquitted, he will join the ranks of the "detainees" held simply because they have stories to tell...tales of torture and abuse....that cannot be allowed out while Bushie Boy is in residence in the White House. Disgusting.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ben Bernanke’s Hush Money

The bailout of IndyMac’s depositors will probably deplete 10% of the FDIC’s reserves.

Congress will back up the FDIC if the FDIC ever (1) runs out of T-bills to sell (2) to raise money (3) to pay off depositors of insolvent banks. But where will Congress get this money? From the Federal Reserve System, if lenders will not fork over the money.

The Federal Reserve System backs up Congress. This is the heart of the threat to the solvency of the dollar.

The $4 billion that the FDIC will pay to a handful of depositors at IndyMac is hush money. It is paid to them to silence every other depositor in the country. "Don’t spread rumors about any insolvent bank." Why not? "Because, in a fractionally reserved system, all of them are technically insolvent." They are all borrowed short and lent long.


So, we face a recession. We also face bankruptcies of overleveraged small banks like IndyMac. But the large banks are far more leveraged than the public understands. They have lent huge chunks of their capital to hedge funds that are leveraged 100 to one. A 1% move opposite to what a hedge fund has expected can wipe out 100% of a 100-to-one fund’s equity. It can be insolvent faster than you can say Carlyle Capital Corporation.

Warren Buffett says that the stages of the investment cycle is managed by three successive groups: first, the innovators; second, the imitators; third, the idiots. We are well into stage three.

Great article on the smoke and mirrors economy..the link is in the title.

FDIC Takes Over 2 More Banks, Closing 28 Branches

FDIC takes over all 28 branches of 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank

The 28 branches of 1st National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank, operating in Nevada, Arizona and California, were closed Friday by federal regulators.

The link is in the title..but I'm sure we'll be seeing this story over and over again in the coming months.....the names will change but the will story remain the same...until the FDIC runs out of money anyway.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Evidence of the US Banking System Teetering on the Brink of Collapse

1. Paulson appears on Face The Nation and says "Our banking system is a safe and a sound one." If the banking system was safe and sound, everyone would know it (or at least think it). There would be no need to say it.

13. Citigroup (C), Lehman (LEH), Morgan Stanley(MS), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Merrill Lynch (MER) all have a huge percentage of level 3 assets. Level 3 assets are commonly known as "marked to fantasy" assets. In other words, the value of those assets is significantly if not ridiculously overvalued in comparison to what those assets would fetch on the open market. It is debatable if any of the above firms survive in their present form. Some may not survive in any form.

25. Of the $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits, the total cash on hand at banks is a mere $273.7 Billion. Where is the rest of the loot? The answer is in off balance sheet SIVs, imploding commercial real estate deals, Alt-A liar loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, toggle bonds where debt is amazingly paid back with more debt, and all sorts of other silly (and arguably fraudulent) financial wizardry schemes that have bank and brokerage firms leveraged at 30-1 or more. Those loans cannot be paid back.

Interesting and scary stuff, as always...the link to the article is in the title...well worth a look

The Spin Continues...But So Too Does Reality....

Crystal Ball Gazing: Visualize the Dow at 6,000

24/07/08 "ICH" -- - Last Wednesday, at an improvised press conference, George Bush gave what may have been the most comical performance of his eight year presidency. Looking like the skipper on the flight-deck of the Hindenburg, Bush tried his best to reassure the public that "all's well" with the economy and that everyone's deposits were perfectly safe in the rapidly disintegrating US banking system. Leaning lazily on the presidential podium, Bush shrugged his shoulders and said,

“My hope is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government. We're not seeing the growth we’d like to see, but the financial system is basically sound."

Right. "Breath deep" and chill out; no need to panic. One shouldn't let the long lines of anxious depositors who are presently trying to extract what's left of their life savings from the now-defunct Indymac Bank upset one's basic equanimity. The banking system is perfectly safe, you heard it from President Trickledown himself.

At the same time Bush was offering his soothing words on all the major TV news networks, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke was on the other side of Washington giving a decidedly grimmer assessment of the economy:

"The contraction in housing activity that began in 2006 and the associated deterioration in mortgage markets that became evident last year have led to sizable losses at financial institutions and a sharp tightening in overall credit conditions. The effects of the housing contraction and of the financial headwinds on spending and economic activity have been compounded by rapid increases in the prices of energy and other commodities, which have sapped household purchasing power even as they have boosted inflation. Against this backdrop, economic activity has advanced at a sluggish pace during the first half of this year, while inflation has remained elevated."

Keep in mind, that these two events were perfectly coordinated to take place at exactly the same time; 10:20 AM Wednesday. Quite a coincidence, eh? Just another masterful public relations coup engineered by the Bush PR team, the last functioning agency in the entire bureaucracy. To no one's surprise, the collusive media managed to divert attention from the impending financial firestorm long enough to lull the American people into believing that nothing is really wrong; the economy is just hunky-dory.

GM, Ford `On the Verge of Bankruptcy,' Altman Says

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the two biggest U.S. automakers, have about a 46 percent chance of default within five years, according to Edward Altman, a finance professor at New York University's Stern School of Business.

``Both are in very serious shape and the markets reflect that,'' Altman, the creator of the Z-score mathematical formula that measures bankruptcy risk, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The model shows that these companies are ``on the verge of bankruptcy,'' he said.

Who's Next? List of Troubled Banks Worries Wall Street, DC

Banks in Colorado, Maryland, Georgia and California top privately-prepared lists of troubled banks being circulated on Wall Street and in Washington.

Wachovia loses $8.9B, cuts 6,350 workers, dividend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Wachovia Corp. reported a surprisingly large second-quarter loss Tuesday, deflating Wall Street's hopes that the nation's big banks are weathering the credit crisis well. The bank said it lost $8.86 billion, is slashing its dividend and eliminating 10,750 positions after losses tied to mortgages soared.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Creeping Crud of Contagion

Bank of China may hold huge US debt

Bank of China Ltd may own about $20 billion of debt issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, representing two-thirds of total holdings among the six largest Chinese banks, according to CLSA Ltd.

Feds can't fix Fannie and Freddie

Fannie Mae (FNM, news, msgs) and Freddie Mac (FRE, news, msgs) do not have a liquidity problem that can be solved by the Federal Reserve or even by an injection of Treasury capital. It's a solvency issue. Short-term cash isn't the real problem. Over time, the mortgage giants' liabilities are quite likely to swamp their assets. Thus their assets are contingent, but their debts are forever.

Fannie, Freddie spent $200M to buy influence

If you want to know how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have survived scandal and crisis, consider this: Over the past decade, they have spent nearly $200 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.

But the political tentacles of the mortgage giants extend far beyond their checkbooks.

The two government-chartered companies run a highly sophisticated lobbying operation, with deep-pocketed lobbyists in Washington and scores of local Fannie- and Freddie-sponsored homeowner groups ready to pressure lawmakers back home.

They’ve stacked their payrolls with top Washington power brokers of all political stripes, including Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign manager, Rick Davis; Democrat Barack Obama’s original vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson; and scores of others now working for the two rivals for the White House.

Global economy won't bail out the US

This nation is the world's biggest consumer, so a slowdown here means a slowdown everywhere. And there is no safe harbor -- not in tech nor in the media's market misconceptions.

Commercial bankruptcies soar, reflecting widening economic woes

Driven by a sour economy and skittish consumers, U.S. business bankruptcies saw their sharpest quarterly rise in two years, jumping 17 percent in the second quarter of 2008, according to an analysis by McClatchy.

Commercial filings for the first half of 2008 are up 45 percent from last year, as the national climate for commerce continues to deteriorate amid rising energy and food costs, mounting job losses, tighter credit and a reticence among consumers to part with discretionary income.

Wachovia, WaMu still in big trouble

Think we've seen the worst of the credit crisis? Not so fast: America's mortgage problems won't be over anytime soon, analysts say, and that means more bad news for these big lenders.

Those ill-fated twins of the mortgage calamity, Washington Mutual (WM, news, msgs) and Wachovia (WB, news, msgs), are getting clobbered again, after some dramatic housecleaning at the top.

Could your bank be the next to fail?

Surprisingly, about 37% of the nation's $7.07 trillion worth of deposits at the end of the first quarter was uninsured, according to a Wall Street Journal report. One reason may be that a lot of people have several accounts at a single bank and don't realize that it's the sum of all their deposits at a bank that counts -- not how much they have in any single account.

Many businesses and local governments also probably exceed the $100,000 limit.

Credit fallout is just beginning

A shrewd observer of the US credit mess says the problems are 'considerably worse' than reported. He's betting on financial-system upheaval, failing companies and an even-slower economy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Report: Suspicious Cookies

The police, invoking the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, suggest that any operation undertaken for any reason is legitimate. "In a post-9/11 world," said Col. Terrence B. Sheridan, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, officers are duty-bound "to protect the citizens of Maryland from threats foreign and domestic." But if they cannot distinguish five middle-aged peaceniks from criminals, the police themselves become the real threat to American society.

Remember when these types of reports came from foreign, totalitarian nations? When we couldn't imagine this sort of repression in the "Land of the Free"? Will our children have a clue what freedom really means? We have forgotten our roots...and we will pay dearly for that I'm afraid.

The Crisis Is Upon Us

America, with her traditions of free markets and property rights, led the way toward great wealth and progress throughout the world as well as at home. Since we have lost our confidence in the principles of liberty, self-reliance, hard work and frugality, and instead took on empire building, financed through inflation and debt, all this has changed. This is indeed frightening and an historic event.

The problem we face is not new in history. Authoritarianism has been around a long time. For centuries, inflation and debt have been used by tyrants to hold power, promote aggression, and provide “bread and circuses” for the people. The notion that a country can afford “guns and butter” with no significant penalty existed even before the 1960s when it became a popular slogan. It was then, though, we were told the Vietnam War and the massive expansion of the welfare state were not problems. The seventies proved that assumption wrong.

Today things are different from even ancient times or the 1970s. There is something to the argument that we are now a global economy. The world has more people and is more integrated due to modern technology, communications, and travel. If modern technology had been used to promote the ideas of liberty, free markets, sound money and trade, it would have ushered in a new golden age – a globalism we could accept.

Instead, the wealth and freedom we now enjoy are shrinking and rest upon a fragile philosophic infrastructure. It is not unlike the levies and bridges in our own country that our system of war and welfare has caused us to ignore.

I'm fearful that my concerns have been legitimate and things may even be worse than I first thought. They are now at our doorstep. Time is short for making a course correction before this grand experiment in liberty goes into deep hibernation.

There are reasons to believe this coming crisis is different and bigger than any the world has ever experienced. Instead of using globalism in a positive fashion, it's been used to globalize all of the mistakes of the politicians, bureaucrats and central bankers.

Being an unchallenged sole superpower was never accepted by us with a sense of humility and respect. Our arrogance and aggressiveness have been used to promote a world empire backed by the most powerful army of history. This type of globalist intervention creates problems for all citizens of the world and fails to contribute to the well-being of the world's populations. Just think how our personal liberties have been trashed here at home in the last decade.

The financial crisis, still in its early stages, is apparent to everyone: gasoline prices over $4 a gallon; skyrocketing education and medical-care costs; the collapse of the housing bubble; the bursting of the NASDAQ bubble; stock markets plunging; unemployment rising; massive underemployment; excessive government debt; and unmanageable personal debt. Little doubt exists as to whether we'll get stagflation. The question that will soon be asked is: When will the stagflation become an inflationary depression?

Excellent commentary from one of the few voices of reason in the halls of government. The link is in the title.
Watching our country tear itself apart from the inside out is very depressing. What incredible potential has been wasted. For the greed of a few and the apathy or ignorance of many. It's very much like the frustration of watching an intelligent kid, who could have the world at his or her feet, throw all that promise away for a drug habit...you just want to shake them...bring them back to their senses. Incredible....astounding....unthinkable.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do You Trust the Government to Safeguard Your Bank Account?....The Banks Don't!

Banks reportedly not taking IndyMac checks

Finally able to withdraw their money, customers can’t open new accounts

LOS ANGELES - The frustration didn't end for some IndyMac customers when they finally were able to withdraw their funds from the failing Southern California bank seized last week by federal regulators.

Some people have run into more problems when they tried to deposit IndyMac cashier checks at other banks.

Sheryl MacPhee said she waited in line two hours Tuesday at an IndyMac branch in San Marino to liquidate a certificate of deposit. But when she took it to a Washington Mutual branch in South Pasadena to deposit, she said a manager told her their new policy was not to accept IndyMac checks. If the customer insisted, she said she was told, it could take eight weeks or more to access the full amount.

"Sure, IndyMac will give you a check," MacPhee told the Los Angeles Times, "but what good is it if no other institution will accept it?"

WaMu spokeswoman Olivia Riley said her bank is accepting IndyMac checks, "but depending on the specifics, funds will be subject to an extended hold period."

Quite interesting...it seems the banks have little faith that the FDIC can make those checks good...certainly should give anyone who still trusts the banking system with their life savings something to consider.

The Militarization of Our Police