Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chris Whalen: California Will Default

Chris Whalen, a financial industry analyst and Managing Director of Institutional Risk Analytics, tells Henry Blodget in Yahoo Tech Ticker that California, and other heavily indebted states like Illinois and New York, will default on their debt, rather than accepting the federal bailout and losing their sovereignty.

And he thinks it will be a good thing. So do I.

But I don't think that will happen. These states happen to be the "Blue states" - will they care more about maintaining sovereignty? I think they would rather receive the federal bailout so that they can continue to pay to their public union workers and retirees.

Thanksgiving Present from TSA to Small People

who can't afford a private jet and who are not the member of Congress.

TSA will be happy to mete out $11,000 fine, interrogation by the local police and TSA, and possible arrest anyone who refuses to go through the naked body scanner or "love pats" aka sexual assault by the TSA thugs.

From Sun Sentinel:

If you don't want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.

That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.

"Once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave that process," says Sari Koshetz, regional TSA spokesperson, based in Miami.

Koshetz said such passengers would be questioned "until it is determined that they don't pose a threat" to the public.

Palm Beach Sheriff's Office spokesperson Teri Barbera said PBSO deputies stationed at the airport would become involved when requested by the TSA.

So, if you refuse to be seen virtually naked, or if you refuse to be molested by a total stranger in a blue uniform, you are a terrorist.

An amazing number of Liberals and Neocons are in total support of this public molestation. They either hope to be molested by a cute TSA girl, or they want to put on some nice music to get in the "mood". I just wonder how they are going to persuade their children.

And this clueless, tone-deaf head of the state says he "understands".

Understand what?

That his thugs at TSA following his order are in violation of the 4th Amendment?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wired: Web Censorship Bill (SB 3804) Sails Through Senate Committee

Republicans took back the House in the November election, but is anything going to be different? So far, the answer is absolutely not. Democratic leaders are more than ever determined to push through their pet legislations as quickly as possible during the lame duck session.

This particular bill, however, apparently has the bipartisan support, and is sailing through the Senate. It will give the Attorney General the right to shut down websites without due process.

The government is happily doing the bidding of the influential industry, again, as it has done for the pharmaceutical industry and insurance industry in the health care 'reform' bill, as it has done for the financial industry in the financial 'reform' bill, and as it will certainly do for the ag industry in the food bill (ex-Monsanto food czar will make sure of it).

Web Censorship Bill Sails Through Senate Committee
(Sam Gustin, 11/18/2010 Wired)

Who says Congress never gets anything done?

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that would give the Attorney General the right to shut down websites with a court order if copyright infringement is deemed “central to the activity” of the site — regardless if the website has actually committed a crime. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is among the most draconian laws ever considered to combat digital piracy, and contains what some have called the “nuclear option,” which would essentially allow the Attorney General to turn suspected websites “off.”

COICA is the latest effort by Hollywood, the recording industry and the big media companies to stem the tidal wave of internet file sharing that has upended those industries and, they claim, cost them tens of billions of dollars over the last decade.

The content companies have tried suing college students. They’ve tried suing internet startups. Now they want the federal government to act as their private security agents, policing the internet for suspected pirates before making them walk the digital plank.

Many people opposed to the bill agree in principle with its aims: Illegal music piracy is, well, illegal, and should be stopped. Musicians, artists and content creators should be compensated for their work. But the law’s critics do not believe that giving the federal government the right to shut down websites at will based upon a vague and arbitrary standard of evidence, even if no law-breaking has been proved, is a particularly good idea. COICA must still be approved by the full House and Senate before becoming law. A vote is unlikely before the new year.

Among the sites that could go dark if the law passes: Dropbox, RapidShare, SoundCloud, Hype Machine and any other site for which the Attorney General deems copyright infringement to be “central to the activity” of the site, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group that opposes the bill. There need not even be illegal content on a site — links alone will qualify a site for digital death. Websites at risk could also theoretically include p2pnet and or any other website that advocates for peer-to-peer file sharing or rejects copyright law, according to the group.

In short, COICA would allow the federal government to censor the internet without due process.

Read the full article at the link above.

The article says "a vote is unlikely before the new year", but don't count on it. Nancy and Harry want to move as fast as they can and pass as many bills as possible during the lame duck session. The lineup should be very disheartening for those who thought the November election signaled a major change in the government.

Nothing has changed. Dems are doubling down, Republicans are letting it slide, and Obama is outside the country since the election.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Max Keiser: Crash J.P.Morgan Buy Silver

The irreverent Max Keiser is calling for $500 silver (it is $27 today). How is he proposing to achieve that? Everyone go out and buy silver coins.


The Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver Manifesto or: How to Get Hedge Funds To Do Your Dirty Work For You And Drive the Price of Silver to $500

1 – JP Morgan has a huge short position in Silver – estimated to be 3.3 billion ounces – tied to an enormous, extremely precarious derivatives position.

2 – Various exchanges around the world have been caught manipulating the price of Silver using ‘naked’ short sales i.e., counterfeiting.

3 – Of all the actively traded commodities traded around the world, Silver is one of the least plentiful and its supply is shrinking, but its industrial uses are multiplying. The ‘networked’ age of global communications is built with Silver.

4 – Hedge funds are taking physical delivery of Silver – adding substantial demand as well as exposing these exchange’s naked short positions – who are already scrambling to deliver – jacking prices up to multi-decade highs – and inspiring these predatory funds to buy more Silver.

5 – There are billions of people around the world who are aware that banks have been committing fraud and embezzlement who are upset that their politicians seem only interested in helping the banks commit more fraud – who are looking for a cheap way to non-aggressively fight back and decapitalize these banks.

6 – Many of these people have the access and wherewithal to purchase 1 ounce of Silver – thus removing hundreds of millions of ounces of Silver from the ‘paper’ market – forcing additional scrambling by dealers to fill orders by buying back short positions – inspiring the funds to buy and take physical delivery of even more Silver – creating a colossal short squeeze – in which JP Morgan stands to be the biggest loser.

7 – Buying Silver is how the world is monetizing its anger at the banks who stole their wealth.

8 – Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver

George W. Bush: "I'd Have Endorsed Obama If They'd Asked Me"

No wonder nothing has changed for the better for the rest of us.

Alex Barker at Westminster Blog at Financial Times wrote on his November 9, 2010 blog post:

George W. Bush’s bombastic return to the world stage has reminded me of my favourite Bush anecdote, which for various reasons we couldn’t publish at the time. Some of the witnesses still dine out on it.

The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor.

Naturally the election came up in conversation. Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something diplomatic about McCain’s campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate.

Not a chance. “I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” Bush told the group, according to two people present.“I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

Endorse Obama? Cue dumbfounded look from British officials, followed by some awkward remarks about the Washington weather. Even Gordon Brown’s poker face gave way to a flash of astonishment.

President Bush must be very pleased with Obama's performance. Not only Obama continues all of his policies, but he has vastly expanded them and is furiously adding new ones to further restrict human rights and dignity.

GM IPO Today - Sell the News

I hope Turbo Timmy sold at the opening pop... The market maker for the IPO today is Getco, a Chicago-based high-frequency trading giant.

The lead underwriters for the IPO, who are set to collect millions of dollars, are J.P.Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup. There are 35 underwriters for this IPO, after UBS got dropped.

Their work is done now, having managed a pop above the IPO price. Nothing new here, move along...

And the supposed architect of this amazing turnaround 'narrative', Steven Rattner, is being charged with bribery by NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who also wants to ban Rattner from the securities industry for life. But no one gets punished as long as they are the ruling elite or well connected to the ruling elite. Rattner will probably proclaim that he will fight this unjust allegations, and quietly settle with a few million dollars.

Ron Paul: Enough Is Enough

Congressman Ron Paul has introduced HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act.

He singles out Michael Chertoff. Good. It also leads to George Soros and Warren "Medal of Freedom" Buffett (see my post).


Before the US House of Representatives, November 17, 2010

Mr. Speaker, today I introduce legislation to protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse by federal Transportation Security Administration employees conducting screenings at the nation’s airports. We have seen the videos of terrified children being grabbed and probed by airport screeners. We have read the stories of Americans being subjected to humiliating body imaging machines and/or forced to have the most intimate parts of their bodies poked and fondled. We do not know the potentially harmful effects of the radiation emitted by the new millimeter wave machines.

In one recent well-publicized case, a TSA official is recorded during an attempted body search saying, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.” I strongly disagree and am sure I am not alone in believing that we Americans should never give up our rights in order to travel. As our Declaration of Independence states, our rights are inalienable. This TSA version of our rights looks more like the “rights” granted in the old Soviet Constitutions, where freedoms were granted to Soviet citizens – right up to the moment the state decided to remove those freedoms.

The incident of the so-called “underwear bomber” last Christmas is given as justification for the billions of dollars the federal government is spending on the new full-body imaging machines, but a Government Accountability Office study earlier this year concluded that had these scanners been in use they may not have detected the explosive material that was allegedly brought onto the airplane. Additionally, there have been recent press reports calling into question the accuracy and adequacy of these potentially dangerous machines.

My legislation is simple. It establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person. It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Imagine if the political elites in our country were forced to endure the same conditions at the airport as business travelers, families, senior citizens, and the rest of us. Perhaps this problem could be quickly resolved if every cabinet secretary, every member of Congress, and every department head in the Obama administration were forced to submit to the same degrading screening process as the people who pay their salaries.

I warned at the time of the creation of the TSA that an unaccountable government entity in control of airport security would provide neither security nor defend our basic freedom to travel. Yet the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats then in Congress willingly voted to create another unaccountable, bullying agency – in a simple-minded and unprincipled attempt to appease public passion in the wake of 9-11. Sadly, as we see with the steady TSA encroachment on our freedom and dignity, my fears in 2001 were justified.

The solution to the need for security at US airports is not a government bureaucracy. The solution is to allow the private sector, preferably the airlines themselves, to provide for the security of their property. As a recent article in Forbes magazine eloquently stated, “The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility.” In the meantime, I hope we can pass this legislation and protect Americans from harm and humiliation when they choose to travel.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


HR 3808, which would have sanctioned the foreclosure fraud, was defeated today.

Yeas 185 (Dems 16, GOP 169)
Nays 235 (Dems 230, GOP 5)
No vote 13

Shame on you, Republicans (except 5).

5 Republicans who voted nay:

Djou (HI)
Heller (NV)
Jones (NC)
Paul (TX)
Rogers (MI)

Underestimating the "Foreclosuregate"

With all the efforts by the Obama administration, HUD, the banksters themselves to try to gloss over those pesky minor document "errors" in foreclosures, the problem is bigger than they portray and more people are figuring that out, albeit painfully slowly.

Even a Congressional panel.

Politico has an article titled "Foreclosure missteps still a risk". (Note the words "missteps" and "still". Politico is doing its job of trying to undermine the gravity of the situation, by choosing such words.)

The nation's biggest banks may have foreclosed millions of homes in the US in the past few years without any legal standing to do so. If that is considered "missteps"instead of racketeering, then Bernie Madoff is the savviest investor and Warren Buffett should get the Medal of Freedom for having benefited from taxpayer bailout. (Oh he's getting that, isn't he?)

But despite the lightweight title, the Politico article says the Congressional Panel to oversee the Treasury Department's bank bailout is uneasy that this "foreclosuregate" is just the tip of a huge iceberg [Emphasis is mine]:

The Treasury Department may be overly optimistic in claiming that problems with home foreclosures have been contained and pose no threat to the U.S. financial system, according to a new report from a congressional watchdog commission.

The Congressional Oversight Panel set up to look over the Treasury Department’s rescue of the banking system said the foreclosure problems uncovered so far “may have concealed much deeper problems in the mortgage market that could potentially threaten financial stability and undermine the government’s efforts to mitigate the foreclosure crisis.”

... While some of those inquiries continue, officials from the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development departments quickly concluded that the foreclosure problems were fixable and did not constitute a threat to the overall financial system.

But critics haven’t been so quick to draw that conclusion. And the watchdog commission — under its chairman, Democrat Ted Kaufman, who just stepped down as a senator from Delaware — aligned itself with those who say that more needs to be known about how foreclosures are being conducted before an “all clear” can be issued.

While it’s possible the concerns are “overblown,” the commission’s report says “the worst-case scenario is considerably grimmer.”

“In this view, which has been articulated by academics and homeowner advocates, the “robo-signing” of affidavits served to cover up the fact that loan servicers cannot demonstrate the facts required to conduct a lawful foreclosure,” the report said. “In essence, banks may be unable to prove that they own the mortgage loans they claim to own.”

Well, how about that? And as I've been saying, banks, whether acting as loan servicers or trustees of the mortgage investment conduits, continue to foreclose with impunity in non-judicial states where they don't need to be bothered by the court.

The bigger problem is the fraudulent securitization of the mortgage loans. As it turns out, loans that were sold to the mortgage investment conduits were not actually "sold", as they were not properly transferred to the conduits. But these conduits sold mortgage backed securities (MBS) to investors telling them that the securities were backed by the mortgages in the conduits.

Then credit default swaps (CDS) were sold as protection for these MBSs, and collaterized debt obligations (CDO) were created out of these CDS and sold to investors. Then a new CDO was created out of these CDOs and sold to investors... All based on the assumption that these mortgage investment conduits did own the mortgages.

Well, the conduits, called REMICs, did not own the mortgages, as many foreclosure court cases in judicial states have revealed. The whole thing was a fraud.

The only way that it is any way "fixable" is for the government to ditch the rule of law, and write a new law to retroactively approve everything that banks did in loan inducement, loan securitization, and foreclosure.

And good luck even with that, as the real estate issues are the state issues, not federal.

The Politico article ends with this remark:
The fear is that uncertainty about the ownership of all mortgages could deal another blow to confidence in the housing market and cause home values to plunge again.
Well, if we do not get to the bottom of the problems in foreclosure documentation and loan securitization, and punish the bankers who committed fraud and politicians who sanctioned fraud, the home values will never recover.

Obama to Give Buffett the Presidential Medal of Freedom and to a Bunch of Other Worthy Recipients (like Papa Bush)

and to a musician, a baseball player, a basket ball player, a labor union leader..

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award that is bestowed on individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Yup. The world has gone nuts.

From Reuters:

President Barack Obama will name billionaire Warren Buffett one of fifteen winners of the 2010 Medal of Freedom, a White House official said on Wednesday.

Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors who has donated a vast chunk of his fortune to charity, will receive the medal at a White House ceremony early next year. The award is the highest U.S. civilian honor.

No wonder Buffett is singing the praise of the government.

Alongside Buffett, these people will receive this highest civilian honor in the country:

President George H.W. Bush
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Congressman John Lewis
John H. Adams
Maya Angelou
Jasper Johns
Gerda Weissmann Klein
Dr. Tom Little (Posthumous)
Yo-Yo Ma
Sylvia Mendez
Stan Musial
Bill Russell
Jean Kennedy Smith
John J. Sweeney

Federal Reserve Orders Another "Stress Tests" for Banks

That should restore full CONfidence in the market, I'm sure.

AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's largest banks must undergo new stress tests to show they can weather another recession, and the Federal Reserve said those that pass them can boost dividends paid to investors.

Banks would need to show the Fed's bank examiners that they're in good financial health and that they have adequate capital to absorb potential losses over the next two years.

... All of the 19 largest banks overseen by the Fed must file the plans -- even if they don't intend to increase their dividend payments. The plans must be filed by Jan. 7, 2011.

The upcoming round of "stress tests" are a key part of the Fed's ongoing efforts to make sure that banks -- and the entire financial system -- are stable. The safety and soundness of the banking system is an important ingredient to the economy's health.

And They've Come Out Swinging ...

The Democratic leadership and the White House. The November election a humbling experience? Hardly, judging by the so-called "lame duck session" agendas.

It feels similar to January this year, when the Prez got upset over Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts Senate election and started throwing temper tantrum.

In the current Democratic temper tantrum, we have [of no particular order]:

1. Nancy Pelosi is becoming the House Minority Leader;

2. TSA adopts a new and improved screening procedure that's nothing but sexual assault, and which has been ordered by the Prez;

3. And several equally tone-deaf Senators call the aggressive patdowns as "love pats".

4. Harry Reid and Hispanic caucus want to push through the DREAM Act that would give citizenship to illegal Hispanic immigrants who go to college or serve in the military;

5. The presidential commission on debt reduction propose that the federal government keep spending at the current elevated level and calls it a "reduction";

6. Another commission of some sort proposes 6.5% national sales tax to "reduce deficit";

7. Big Democratic supporter Warren Buffett thanks the government for enriching him and his company further through the fiscal and monetary policies adopted in the last 2 years;

8. Chris Dodd's Committee trying its damnest best to bury the "Foreclosuregate" as quickly as possible, while state AGs are said to be close to a deal with banks so that the banks can smoothly and quickly foreclose and make tons of money in the process;

No one is in control.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House to Vote on HR 3808 on Wednesday, Again

HR 3808 is BBAAAACCCCK. If you think the new Republican Congress is somehow different from the one that got ditched, well I'm sorry to reveal this news to you that not much has changed. It feels like we're trapped in somebody else's nightmare (I have a good idea as to whose nightmare), where bad things just keep coming at us over, and over, and over again.

Remember the sneaky effort by Congress to pass this bill right before the election, which would "require any Federal or State court to recognize any notarization made by a notary public licensed by a State other than the State where the court is located when such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce"?

They actually passed it, and presented it to the President to sign. But because so many people found about the bill and cried FOUL, our Prez had no choice but vetoed it, sort of, by not signing the bill.
Well, they are at it again, apparently trying to override the wimpy veto. House is set to vote on it on Wednesday.

To recap, the implication of this bill is this (from Zero Hedge article on 10/06/2010):

"... the legislation, if enacted, could protect bank and mortgage processors from liability for false or improperly prepared documents. In other words, with one simple signature Obama has the capacity to prevent tens of billions in damages to banks from legal fees, MBS deficiency claims, unwound sales, and to formally make what started this whole mess: Court Fraud perpetrated by banks, a legal act, and to finally trample over the constitution."

STOP THE FRAUD. Call your Congressmen and Senators.

Alex Jones: TSA Now Putting Hands Down Your Pants

It gets better by the hour.

Remember, this is supposedly because of an ink cartridge from Yemen on a cargo plane.

Also remember that this is what the President of the US wants.

Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones at reports:

The TSA’s invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people’s pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.

Forget John Tyner’s “don’t touch my junk” experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts.

Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as “OhDoctah,” related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, “I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants,” after which he did precisely that.

Stone chose to conduct the search in public in the fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room.

“If you’re wearing sweat pants or baggy clothing, I was wearing sweat pants they’re not baggy, they’re sweat pants,” said Stone, adding that the agent pulled out his waistband before patting his backside and his crotch.

Even the TSA agent who put his hands down the man’s pants was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologizing profusely to the victim.
Read the full article at the link.

OK, what's left? A full cavity search cannot be far away. Maybe in the next hour or so.

Speaking of "left", where are the Left and the Progressives, who used to value and uphold the human rights?

TSA Outdoing Nazis

Goebbels would be so proud!

From Butler Shaffer at LRC Blog today [Emphasis is mine]:

Lew—So, all that it takes to legitimize its atrocities is for the state to have a website on which it describes its procedures! We are no longer to be concerned with the substance of governmental action, but only whether due process was followed. Adolf Hitler might have salvaged his reputation had he thought of this loophole. Imagine the following conversation to have taken place in Germany in the 1930s:
Mr. Goldberg: Where are you taking me?

SS Officer: Ve vill take you to the train station, vhere you vill be loaded onto a boxcar and taken to a special camp. Vhen you arrive at the camp, you vill have a serial number tattooed on your arm, be given a striped uniform to wear, and housed in some special barracks.

Mr. Goldberg: But you are depriving me of my fundamental human rights; what you are doing is morally wrong.

SS Officer: Ve are doing nothing wrong. These procedures are spelled out on our vebsite; you can check them for yourself!

That's literally what TSA is saying, that the procedure is spelled out on their website.

By the way, TSA has come out swinging, vowing to go after John Tyner who refused to be sexually assaulted at the airport with $11,000 fine and criminal charges.

TSA also says that the moment we buy airline tickets, we surrender a great chunk of our rights. I'm sure that is spelled out perfectly at their website.

Now, why would TSA take this line, which looks like a PR disaster to say the least? Why are they so tone-deaf?

Oh I get it.... It's because the order comes from our tone-deaf Prez, who is now going to Europe this week to seek more adoring crowd. Just like the health care "reform", he is exempt from body scans and intrusive patdowns.

We are being forced to live in Obama's paranoia and ineptitude, just as we were forced to live in the paranoia and ineptitude of Bush the Lesser for 8 long years.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Airport Naked Body Scans - Cui Bono?

Who benefits? Certainly not us the small people.

Ever since the 2009 Christmas panty bomber scare, ex-Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff's agency has been peddling the airport scanning machine called Rapiscan, made by Rapiscan Systems.

Rapiscan's parent company is OSI Systems (Ticker symbol: OSIS).

The biggest shareholder of OSI Systems looks like Wells Fargo & Company, holding 11.92% of shares outstanding, valued at $61 million.

Who is the biggest shareholder of Wells Fargo?

Why it's Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, holding 6.12% of shares outstanding, valued at slightly over $8 billion.

Who else holds OSI Systems' shares?

George Soros. Oh what a surprise. He's everywhere.

On December 24, 2009, OSI Systems' shares traded at $22.02. Today, they ended at $36.12. So, these super-wealthy investors have enjoyed 64% gain on their investment in 11 months. Not bad, not bad.

Ireland, Portugal on the Blink

The US stock futures took a dump as the spectre of 'congation' from Ireland spreads from Europe.

In case you aren't aware, the sovereign debt crisis of Europe has never gone away, and now it's Ireland's turn. Portugal is not far behind, neither is Spain.

Ireland has been told to accept EU or IMF bailout within 24 hours or risk triggering 'contagion' into vulnerable countries like Spain and Portugal.

UK's Guardian reports:

An increasingly isolated Irish government was coming under mounting pressure tonight to seek an EU or International Monetary Fund bailout within 24 hours amid fears that contagion from its crippled banking sector might spread through the weaker eurozone countries.

Portugal, Spain, the European central bank and opposition parties urged Brian Cowen's coalition government to remove the threat of a second crisis in six months by putting a firewall between Ireland and its 15 partners in the single currency.

With finance ministers from the eurozone due to hold emergency talks tomorrow night, financial markets were expecting Dublin to finalise negotiations with the EU over the terms of a deal to allow Ireland to rescue banks laid low by the collapse of the country's construction boom.

But the 'contagion' seems to have already spread, as UK's Telegraph reports:

Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, the Portuguese Finance Minister, has warned that the fall out from concerns over Ireland's public finances could create a contagion effect among its neighbours.

"The risk is high because we are not facing only a national or country problem," he told Dow Jones news wires, in reference to the possibility that Lisbon will need international financial assistance.

“It is the problems of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. This is not a problem of only this country. This has to do with the euro zone and the stability of the eurozone, and that is why contagion in this framework is more likely.

“It is not because markets consider we have similar situations. They are only similar in what concerns markets, but as I said they are very different.”

He added: “Markets look at these economies together because we are all in this together in the euro zone, but probably they could look different if we were not in the euro zone.

“Suppose we were not in the eurozone, the risk of the contagion could be lower.”
Hmmmm....I hope it is just a matter of translation from Portuguese to English, but the Portuguese Finance Minister's reasoning is as sharp as a rusty razor to shave a belly of a drunken sailor. Yes, Minister, if your country were not in the eurozone (as it shouldn't have been), of course there would be no contagion of Euro crisis. (Oh boy.)

Ireland does not want EU/IMF bailout. Portugal does. Like it or not, Ireland may be forced to accept a bailout.

What a coincidence that the euro sovereign debt crisis flares up just as the Federal Reserve's QE2 starts. There's no sign of the ECB printing money to provide liquidity. It looks like Ben can print a whole lot more to rescue the euro zone, again.

Latest Ulsterman Report: White House Insider "President Stood His Ground"

Against Mrs. Obama.


The latest from the "White House Insider" series by Ulsterman depicts Prez Obama in a dark mood after his 10-day Asian tour, which, according to his soon-to-be-departing adviser Axelrod, was a great success:

... As for particulars on Obama, much info received this past week. All pointing to Obama as very upset/angry at treatment by world leaders and media RE trip. Behind scenes mood “dejected and confused”. Later noted as “emotionally debilitated”. Reported outburst between President and First Lady. What makes this account unique is that “…President stood his ground.” WH staff involved in serious protective plan for President regarding incoming scandal. Very fearful of Issa. Told WH reps have already visited Issa office several times since election. Promises made? Issa is bright and loves attention. Could prove formidable vs White House. Staff sent to Chicago this past week and DA is heading there on more permanent basis in coming weeks. Why? Why indeed. PAY ATTENTION. ....

A scandal coming from Chicago? (What's new?)

Ulsterman also has an article on that topic, recalling some shady names like Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich, and Obama's pal Alexi Giannoulias, who lost in the Senate race for Illinois and whose family bank was shut down by FDIC in April this year.

GM IPO Update: $30-Plus a Share

according to Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Strong investor demand is expected to drive the pricing of General Motors Co's (GM.UL) initial public offering to $30 per share or higher, above the initially proposed range, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

GM earlier filed to sell shares for $26 to $29 each.

A higher per-share price reflects growing investor confidence about the top U.S. automaker, which emerged from a U.S. government-financed bankruptcy last year with sharply lower costs and higher profit potential.

The new GM is set to trade on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Hyping is on, of course, as one pundit who frequently appears in CNBC and says "Buy GM".

GM IPO's Market Maker Is a Chicago-Based HFT Firm

To me, it somehow perfectly captures the state of the financial market today.

GM, aka Government Motors, will have its post-restructuring IPO on Thursday. US taxpayers were forced to pay for the rescue and restructure, and a Chinese auto company backed by the Chinese government is set to acquire a chunk of the new GM shares.

The designated market maker to ensure the IPO runs smoothly is a Chicago-based firm, Getco, one of the largest high-frequency trading firms in the US (and probably in the world).

Getco has been busy doing the "regulatory capture", hiring ex-SEC officials, ex-Federal Reserve officials, even the ex-SEC chairman.

As Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden says, the Obama government is doing its best to make sure that "the worst IPO in history, that of Government Motors of course, will not be DOA."

Who's more suited than the HFT firm for that purpose, to buy and sell and buy and sell about 5000 times per second to provide "liquidity"?

What a joke.

Drudge: The Terrorists Have Won

This pretty much says it all.

Screenshot of Drudge Report this morning:

We are supposed to be so scared of the "terrorists" that we should let the TSA employees commit a sex crime each and every single day, between 1 million and 2 million crimes a day in the US, either by looking at our naked body images on the computer or physically, sexually molesting us.

Now, WHO are the terrorists?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reuters Poll: "Are new security screenings affecting your decision to fly?"

New security screenings like getting irradiated to get the virtual strip search and abusive patdowns that have already reduced many to tears.

It looks like MSMs are now at least obliged to write about the new TSA airport "security" measures, and Reuters is one of them. On its November 12 poll, it asked:

"Are you less likely to fly because of stepped-up security procedures such as full-body scans and patdowns?"

Here's the result as of 10:56 PM PST, 45,771 votes:

Yes - I will make alternate travel plans to avoid intrusive security scans and patdowns (96%, 44,101 Votes)

No - It is a necessary procedure to ensure terror plots are thwarted (2%, 1,077 Votes)

Undecided (2%, 593 Votes)

Oh people are just being unreasonable, aren't they? They are exaggerating, hysterical over nothing. It's all for the security to be groped in the crotch and we should be happy that they are doing their work so admirably.

I happened to recall September 2008, when Congress was debating what was to become TARP - bankster bailout. Anywhere from 90% to 99.99% of the taxpayers who bothered to write to their Congressmen and Senators were dead-set against it, and there were many such taxpayers that the Congressional offices of these elected officials were inundated with letters, phone calls and emails.

We know what happened then. The TARP bill was passed anyway.

Will this time be any different?

You would hope so. I would. As Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman said in his November 14 article titled "Government in our pants"

We will soon find out if there is a limit to the sacrifices of personal freedom that Americans will endure in the name of fighting terrorism. If we don't say no when they want to inspect and handle our private parts, when will we?
[Emphasis is mine]

Well, as several contributors point out, the answer is "never", for a whole lot of Americans. For more of this disappointing response (actually, non-response) from the nation's Left and Right, read these:

Sibel Edmunds: The Not So Gradual Degradation of a Nation

William L. Anderson: Supporting Sexual Assault: The Left and the TSA

William Norman Grigg: The War Party’s Jihad in Oklahoma

Among the Left-leaning bloggers and writers, even Glenn Greenwald, who can be counted on to aggressively go after any abuse at the hand of the government, is totally silent on the topic. On the front page of Huffington Post, the only thing I can find on TSA is in the entertainment section; it is an article by David Wild, suggesting mood music for your next patdown experience at the airport. Just pretend it's your wife who's touching you, and enjoy the experience!

Among the conservatives, only the libertarians like people at are openly speaking up against TSA and its latest antic to harass small people.

Another group that maintains total silence on the issue is the feminists. So what a "rape survivor was devastated" by being groped by a male TSA agent as part of the new and improved patdown procedure?

November 24 is National Opt Out Day. Let's reclaim our dignity.