“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Resist! Keep Your Medical Files Out of the Hands of the Government

One of the more odious ideas and laws being handed down in the recent Democratik Diktats is the mass mandatory government collection and computerization of your medical records. Tell the government to kiss your ass. Here is why:

The internet is an unmitigated disaster when it comes to privacy. I realize, using some GI parlance from the sixties that the fourth amendment "don't mean shit" anymore. I mean who could possibly take this
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
seriously in the time of credit agencies with the zest of the Stasi watching Americans without a peep of protest.

There is no indignation at Google for recording photos and maps to our homes for the world's voyeurs. Our rulers and masters wish to data bank all of our medical records. They assure us that they will be safe. Ya vohl mein commandant, you can't even keep a secret about the president's helicopter. What's next?


Marine One details leaked from P2P net
Posted by Richard Koman @ March 1, 2009 @ 2:07 PM

Bottom line: P2P is the biggest disaster for security “of all time.”

A company that monitors P2P networks says it found details about the president’s helicopter, Marine One, on a computer in Tehran. Pittsburgh station WPXI reports.

Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, said, ”We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One. … What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, MD had a file sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One,” Boback said.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, added:

We found where this information came from. We know exactly what computer it came from. I’m sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went.

It’s no accident the information wound up in Iran, the company said. Countries like Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar and China are “actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence,” Boback said.

Rep. Jason Altmire said he will ask Congress to investigate the risk to national security of this sort of exposure.

Cnet’s Charles Cooper interviewed the Tiversa’s Sam Hopkins (Cooper says he’s the CEO but the original report said Boback is CEO; the company website doesn’t list executives), who said someone at the company was running a Gnutella client - possible a buggy one.

Hopkins said it’s hardly an unusual occurence - although presumably the usual breaches aren’t so closely connected to the President.

Everybody uses (P2P). Everybody. We see classified information leaking all the time. When the Iraq war got started, we knew what U.S. troops were doing because G.I.’s who wanted to listen to music would install software on secure computers and it got compromised. … We see information flying out there to Iran, China, Syria, Qatar–you name it. There’s so much out there that sometimes we can’t keep up with it.

Bottom line: P2P is the biggest disaster for security “of all time.”

We’ve had people come into our data center and we’ve shown them things that are out there on P2P and they go away with their minds blown.

from Cnet


  1. Well, I guess we'll just have to buy a dozen of them 747 priced new ones for Barry after all.
    The Mourning would NEVER STOP if the Messiah went down in flames.


  2. 32. RAH:
    Nice idea to take away the credit cards after Obama spent over the max limit and the card company (US Congress) accepted the overcharge.
    Too late.

    I thought that Obama would not be able to charge this since

    1) We were entering recession,

    2) already had a high deficit,

    So that was supposed to limit the credit card use.

    Regrettably Bush showed the way with the TARP 1

  3. Markopolos on Madoff

    "All they had to do is pick up the phone. They never did."

  4. Bob,

    My grandfather had a Newport 41' sailboat moored at this marina. I spent every summer there growing up.

  5. For more
    on securities fraud,
    and a very corrupt
    Securities and Exchange Commission


    h/t: Buddy Larsen

  6. That didn't work so well. It's the marina just east of Fernan Lake Village.

  7. “The big corporations deal with big matters, and when it comes to the small stuff for individuals, it’s left undone,” said Robert J. Brassell Jr., who does some business as a lobbyist outside of his law practice at his own Long Island firm, Process Handler For Hire Inc. He says he’s lobbied for free for more than 20 clients in recent years, ranging from retirees with financial problems to Korean War veterans trying to keep their benefits.

    He’s also represented quite a few dead people — or, more precisely, their estates — on issues such as tax legislation.

    “I can actually sleep at night,” Brassell says.

    Personal Lobbyist

  8. On Tuesday, she is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

    She is also scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, hold a joint press conference with Livni, and attend an event at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

    On Wednesday she is scheduled to go to Ramallah for talks with the Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad. She is scheduled to leave Wednesday afternoon.


  9. Average overtime hours worked per capita among Japanese manufacturers plunged 40 percent in January from a year earlier, posting the largest fall on record, as exporters accelerated production cuts amid the global economic downturn, the government said Monday.


    Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts opened its first luxury hotel in Japan in the heart of Tokyo Monday, its debut coming at a tough time as the country grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades.


    Tokyo stocks fell sharply Monday morning, tracking a Wall Street decline Friday following a deal to put embattled U.S. financial giant Citigroup Inc. effectively under state control, while investors also unloaded shares due to a stronger yen.

    News Summary

  10. Just east of Fernan Lake Village....hmmm....well anyway I know about where you are talking about.

  11. European Union leaders spurned pleas for special aid for eastern Europe and a rescue package for automakers, bowing to German concerns over budget deficits as the economic crisis escalates.


    Investors fleeing eastern Europe to cover losses at home have pushed down Poland’s zloty by 28 percent against the euro in the past six months, Hungary’s forint by 21 percent, Romania’s leu by 18 percent and the Czech koruna by 12 percent.


    Merkel, representing the biggest contributor to the EU budget, said aid for eastern Europe needs to be channeled through institutions like the International Monetary Fund.

    Carmaker Bailout

  12. Just think of Ash poking around in your medical records.

    That should scare the pants off you.

    All this talk about some medical data base being 'more efficient' is bs. Right now we can send our records from doc to doc at the speed of light, if we want to and give consent.

  13. There was a guy--Leo--Leo's Club--from the south, who had a restaurant/bar/night club/motel at Worley, Idaho back in the day. In the summer, on the weekends, he'd put on a smorgasboard. The entire populace seemed to turn out. We went many times. Music, dancing, drinking, and all the food you could eat--crab, oysters, meats, fish, anything you wanted. Good times.

  14. Taxpayers now on hook for $180 BILLION for AIG w/ mkt. cap. of $1.13 billion, AND we don't own it outright

    According to, "Under the deal, the third government rescue of AIG since September, the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve would provide around $30bn in fresh capital to the insurer, lower the interest rate on a $60bn-loan and ease the terms of a $40bn preferred share investment."

    Here we have a private (yes, "public," but in reality it's private capital [until Sept. '08 that is] with PRIVATIZED PROFITS), non-banking company. The government has already lavished $150 BILLION of taxpayer funds on it with NO MANDATED cuts in compensation, removal/replacement of management/board, restructuring plans. It has NOT had to "refund" ANY of the billions of dollars of profits it had made in the preceding years, WHILE NOW getting the TAXPAYERS to pay for the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars of its LOSSES. It is about to report $60 BILLION IN LOSSES for the 4th qtr., with NO END in sight given that it's loaded to the hilt with toxic derivatives.

    And, here, "our" government is bending over backwards giving it more and more of OUR money, AND, YET AGAIN, "restructuring" earlier terms to SCREW us taxpayers EVEN MORE.

    Per Bloomberg: “The government has accepted all the downside with little chance of upside,” said Phillip Phan, professor of management at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore.

    We taxpayers have now been FORCED, IN SPITE OF THE OVER 90% OPPOSITION TO SUCH "BANK BAILOUTS," to pay out $180 BILLION for a company with a current market value of $1.13 billion. THAT'S MORE THAN 159 TIMES THE MARKET VALUE!!! AND WE DON'T EVEN OWN THE DAMN THING OUTRIGHT!!!


    The corporate domination of media in this country is just SO COMPLETE. The corporate propagandizing SO COMPLETE. Its indoctrination SO COMPLETE. People's subservience to "authority" SO COMPLETE.

  15. And everyone is fully cognizant of what is going on.

  16. And everyone is fully cognizant of what is going on.

    Mat, I admit, I'm not. I have insurance on the house, the cars, my rentals, etc. but I don't really know who is behind it. I had Farmers for awhile, now I'm with some independent guy. I've switched around a bit.

    Am I hooked into AIG someway?

    I really have no idea.

    Back when I was farming I always carried crop insurance too, sometimes with the government, most times privately. I really don't know who was behind that either.

    Last time I switched was at the time of Katrina, when my rates went up to pay for that. We noticed, and switched immediately.

  17. The thing about insurance is you really got to have it, if you have anything to protect. I've gone most of my lifetime and never made any kind of meaningful claim, yet I know a couple of folks who got wiped out by not having simple car insurance. So, you really got to have it.

  18. I do know there have been some court decisions in our area--got this from my lawyer--that have made the insurance companies tow the mark. Seems that if there is some question as to whether this or that is covered or not, our courts here having been going against the insurance companies. The idea being, all this is very confusing, pages and pages of terms and definitions, you're in the insurance business, pay up.

    But, don't count on that.

  19. I don't follow you.

    What difference does it make whether you have or you don't have a policy with AIG?

    What difference does it make if AIG exists or doesn't exist?

  20. I was just wondering whether or not AIG is lurking in the background of my policies, or not.

    I really don't know.

    In fact I'd never heard of AIG before all this stuff came up.

  21. AIG is the cannon fodder to maintain the myth of any semblance to world solvency. They are throwing in dimes to protect dollars.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. The Germans just told GM and Eastern Europe to fsck off. Why is it so difficult to say the same to a company that sent its corporates on a $440,000 vacation at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in California after receiving previous bailout funds?

  25. Almost every bank on the planet has a huge exposure to AIG. They are integral to credit default swaps. The numbers are astounding. The interconnections are unfathomable. AIG has to keep paying on claims and has no capital left to do so. You could let it fail and have to start all over, probably with script and barter.

    AIG like everyone else bet the farm on ever rising prices in real estate. I am sick of talking about how avoidable this was if steps had been taken faster to stall the fall in real estate prices.

  26. Piece in the NYTimes, by Joe Nocera, lays out the status que on AIG

    Donn Vickrey, who runs the independent research firm Gradient Analytics, predicts that A.I.G. is going to cost taxpayers at least $100 billion more before it finally stabilizes, by which time the company will almost surely have been broken into pieces, with the government owning large chunks of it. A quarter of a trillion dollars, if it comes to that, is an astounding amount of money to hand over to one company to prevent it from going bust. Yet the government feels it has no choice: because of A.I.G.’s dubious business practices during the housing bubble it pretty much has the world’s financial system by the throat.

    If we let A.I.G. fail, said Seamus P. McMahon, a banking expert at Booz & Company, other institutions, including pension funds and American and European banks “will face their own capital and liquidity crisis, and we could have a domino effect.” A bailout of A.I.G. is really a bailout of its trading partners — which essentially constitutes the entire Western banking system.

    I don’t doubt this bit of conventional wisdom; after the calamity that followed the fall of Lehman Brothers, which was far less enmeshed in the global financial system than A.I.G., who would dare allow the world’s biggest insurer to fail? Who would want to take that risk? But that doesn’t mean we should feel resigned about what is happening at A.I.G. In fact, we should be furious. More than even Citi or Merrill, A.I.G. is ground zero for the practices that led the financial system to ruin.
    Here’s what is most infuriating: Here we are now, fully aware of how these scams worked. Yet for all practical purposes, the government has to keep them going. Indeed, that may be the single most important reason it can’t let A.I.G. fail. If the company defaulted, hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps would “blow up,” and all those European banks whose toxic assets are supposedly insured by A.I.G. would suddenly be sitting on immense losses. Their already shaky capital structures would be destroyed. A.I.G. helped create the illusion of regulatory capital with its swaps, and now the government has to actually back up those contracts with taxpayer money to keep the banks from collapsing. It would be funny if it weren’t so awful.

    I asked Mr. Arvanitis, the former A.I.G. executive, if the company viewed what it had done during the bubble as a form of gaming the system. “Oh no,” he said, “they never thought of it as abuse. They thought of themselves as satisfying their customers.”

    That’s either a remarkable example of the power of rationalization, or they were lying ...

  27. CDS are a fraud and should be labeled as such. So let's just stop this nonsense already and move on.

  28. Lawrence Kudlow spoke of just what the trigger was to the current crisis, back on 7Oct08. It was not an Act of GOD, but pulled by best and the brightest, at the Federal Reserve. They knew full well what they were doing, all the casual observer has to do ...
    Figure out why.

    From the beginning of 2007 to the middle of 2008, the monetary base controlled by the Fed has grown only 1.6 percent at an annual rate. The basic M1 money supply has been flat. This amounts to a long-run liquidity squeeze. The credit-crunched economy desperately needs cash. But the Fed is not providing it.

  29. And if that sinks the European economies?

  30. rufus was saying that, too. Just a day or so ago.

  31. This quote does seem to represent the percieved reality

    A bailout of A.I.G. is really a bailout of its trading partners — which essentially constitutes the entire Western banking system.


    What a load of crapola. But that's standard fare for the WSJ.

  33. As to the medical records, fuck the doctors, quit goin' to see 'em.

    Digitalizing the Doctor records was always one of Newt's pet projects. Said there'd be huge savings and efficiencies gained by going digital. There has been everywhere else digital technology has been applied

  34. This CDS story is a fraud and a gigantic scam. Anyone with a 6th grade acumen can surmise this. Don't believe any of this nonsense.

  35. Or we all carry our med files with us, like the Patrick Swayze character did in "Road House".

  36. So the European banks are sent into bankruptcy, that is your solution, the remedy. Let the Euros bleed?

    Suits me, as I see US interests more aligned with China, than Europe for the next century, at least.

    Especially as the Islamification of Europe continues apace.

  37. The story is a scam or the CDS are a scam?

  38. No. My solution is to make this CDS fraud illegal, null and void.

  39. As to the medical records, fuck the doctors, quit goin' to see 'em.

    Alas, sometimes it is necessary. If you want to live your life out a few more years.

    If you don't, sign up with the 'Ash Medical Plan' now, cause they are going to bump you off when they figure your time is up.

    Honestly, I'd like to meet Ash on a street corner somewhere.

    And I'm a pleasant man.

    You will notice, Ash is not a doctor, nor a nurse, nor has any medical experience whatsoever, and he couldn't be, because he has no sense of duty, but he is telling us how to manage our own affairs.

    Piece of shit.

  40. The story is a scam or the CDS are a scam?


  41. How, why, what is inaccurate, in the story?

  42. Americans Are Angry and Divided

    By Joseph Calhoun

    Americans are angry and divided. The sources of our anger vary depending on political persuasion, but it is all a deception designed to distract us from the theft of our freedom and treasure by politicians whose sole interest is power. We have been divided and conquered by our fears, ceding our freedom without a shot being fired. The mass market manipulators of public opinion use fear to enhance the power of the political elite over the mendicants who gather at their feet to beg alms from the public purse. The proletariat is left to scramble for the scraps among the rushes spread around the Capitol to cover the stench of public corruption.

    We now live under a constant cloud of fear manufactured by the political intelligentsia and spread to the masses by the glitterati of the multi media. Coulter, Limbaugh, Kudlow and Kristol for the Republicans. Huffington, Olbermann, Moulitsas and Hollywood for the Democrats. The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute on the right. Brookings and Economic Policy Institute on the left. The Council on Foreign Relations for both. Fear of terrorists. Fear of recession. Fear of inequality. Fear of the changing climate. Fear of offending. Fear of capitalism. Fear of free trade. Fear of competition. Fear of risk. Fear of failure. Fear of immigrants and foreigners. Fear of different lifestyles. Afraid of freedom.

    The latest deception is the current economic crisis which Rahm Emmanuel has assured us won't be wasted by the new Obama administration. The crisis is being sold as the failure of capitalism so that the captains of the ship of state can accrue more power at the expense of those of us confined to steerage. The crisis is more accurately described as a failure of the fascistic marriage of corporate and political power, but we are asked to ignore the truth hidden behind a curtain of legislation and campaign contributions. We are told to ignore a Federal Reserve system set up by bankers for the benefit of bankers and politicians. We are told that trillions of our dollars must be "invested" to save a system that is as harmful to our values as it is beneficial to those who lack them.

  43. The sources of the economic crisis are the deception of a fiat currency that distorts the price signals that a market system requires to function properly, and a culture of political corruption disguised as altruism. When our money's value is based on nothing but trust of politicians, is it any wonder that its value has plummeted? When politicians tell us that deficits don't matter, is it any wonder that we incur heavy debts? When the Federal Reserve, in the course of its history, destroys 90% of our money's purchasing power, is it any wonder that we value consumption over saving and investment? When government demonizes corporations and confiscates the rewards of success, is it any wonder that there is a reluctance to invest? This is not a failure of the market; this is the revenge of the market which can be restrained by the leash of central banking for only so long.

    The market demands that borrowers be creditworthy despite the wishes of community organizers who use extortion to shackle the poor in the bonds of debt thereby ensuring the employment of future community organizers. The market demands that the supply of houses match the real demand for shelter rather than the artificial demand of speculators enabled by the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve. The market demands that we ultimately must produce sufficient goods to pay for those we wish to consume. The market demands that assets be valued based on a rational appraisal of future cash flow rather than the overly optimistic assumptions of computer models designed by rocket scientists who would have served society better by sticking to rockets. And can we blame the rocket scientists for succumbing to the siren song of Wall Street when the Federal Reserve conjures money from thin air and makes the alchemy of modern finance more profitable than the design and production of real goods?

    Our leaders are now working feverishly to construct a "recovery" plan that is built on the sands of further deception. We are expected to believe that the path to redemption can be softened by enacting policies that perpetuate the very causes of the present crisis. If our economy is functioning poorly because we have borrowed and spent too much, how can recovery be manufactured by the borrowing and spending of the political elite? The implied message is that they know better than us how to spend our future earnings, that they are wiser than the collective wisdom of the citizens they presume to rule.

  44. The public needs to see through these deceptions. The Federal Reserve cannot create prosperity by printing more money. Politicians cannot create growth by spending it. The factions who now dictate policy are not interested in our welfare but their own. The media is not unbiased but rather are purveyors of propaganda for their ideological sponsors. The answers to our problems are not to be found in Washington, D.C., but in our own abilities and actions. This country was founded by men who understood the evil that comes from excessive political power and designed a system to ensure it was limited. That system has now been perverted to serve the aims of the very people it was designed to shackle. It is time for us to recognize that fact and start acting to reverse the damage.

    It is time for Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Christians and atheists to put aside the petty squabbles that the political elite use to distract us. It is time to send a message. It is time for a cleansing. Throw them all out. Vote against every incumbent from local to state to federal. It is time for a fresh start.

    Joseph Calhoun is chief investment officer for Alhambra Investment Management in Coral Gables, Florida. He blogs at

    The choice is not, cannot be, reduced to a binary selection between two peas in a pod.

  45. That was one unkind blow, al-Bob, on EB Brother Ashley.

  46. Can't you just feel the love coming from the Obama administration?

    Like foster children in a crack-house.

    Kailey | 03.02.09 - 2:54 am | #
    (Gateway Pundit)

  47. How, why, what is inaccurate, in the story?

    Because it doesn't tell you the reader how illegal and fraudulent the transactions are. There's not enough money in the world to cover these bets, and it's obvious all the parties involved know this and are partners in this lie and embezzlement of the public purse

  48. How Washington can prevent ‘zombie banks’

    By James Baker
    Published: March 1 2009 19:38 | Last updated: March 1 2009 19:38

    Beginning in 1990, Japan suffered a collapse in real estate and stock market prices that pushed major banks into insolvency. Rather than follow America’s tough recommendation – and close or recapitalise these banks – Japan took an easier approach. It kept banks marginally functional through explicit or implicit guarantees and piecemeal government bail-outs. The resulting “zombie banks” – neither alive nor dead – could not support economic growth.

    A period of feeble economic performance called Japan’s “lost decade” resulted.

    Unfortunately, the US may be repeating Japan’s mistake by viewing our current banking crisis as one of liquidity and not solvency. Most proposals advanced thus far assume that, once confidence in financial markets is restored, banks will recover.

    But if their assumption is wrong, we risk perpetuating US zombie banks and suffering a lost American decade.

    Evidence – a mountain of toxic assets, housing market declines, a sharp economic recession, rising unemployment and increasing taxpayer exposure through guarantees, loans, and infusion of capital – strongly suggests that some American banks face a solvency problem and not merely a liquidity one.

    We should act decisively. First, we need to understand the scope of the problem. The Treasury department – working with the Federal Reserve – must swiftly analyse the solvency of big US banks. Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner’s proposed “stress tests” may work. Any analyses, however, should include worst-case scenarios. We can hope for the best but should be prepared for the worst.

    Next, we should divide the banks into three groups: the healthy, the hopeless and the needy. Leave the healthy alone and quickly close the hopeless. The needy should be reorganised and recapitalised, preferably through private investment or debt-to-equity swaps but, if necessary, through public funds. It is time for triage.

    To prevent a bank run, all depositors of recapitalised banks should be fully guaranteed, even if their deposit exceeds the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation maximum of $250,000 (€197,000, £175,000). But bank boards of directors and senior management should be replaced and, unfortunately, shareholders will lose their investment. Optimally, bondholders would be wiped out, too. But the risk of a crash in the bond market means that bondholders may receive only a haircut. All of this is harsh, but required if we are ultimately to return market discipline to our financial sector.

    This is not a call for nationalisation but rather for a temporary injection of public funds to clean up problem banks and return them to private ownership as soon as possible. As president Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the Treasury, I abhor the idea of government ownership – either partial or full – even if only temporary. Unfortunately, we may have no choice. But we must be very careful. The government should hold equity no longer than necessary to restructure the banks, resume normal lending and recoup at least a portion of taxpayer investment.

    After replacing bank management with new private managers, the government should have no say in banks’ day-to-day operations.

    The FDIC can assist. Just this year, it has placed more than a dozen American banks – admittedly all small – into receivership. We might also consider setting up something akin to the Resolution Trust Corporation, created in 1989 to liquidate the assets of failed savings and loans. The RTC eventually disposed of almost $400bn in assets of more than 700 insolvent thrifts.

    To avoid bank runs and contain market disruption, the Treasury should announce its decisions at one time. Washington will also need to co-ordinate its actions with other major capitals, especially in western Europe and east Asia. At best, this will encourage other countries to take similar steps with their own banking systems. At a minimum, other governments can prepare for the financial turmoil associated with the announcement.

    This approach is not pretty or easy. It will cost a lot of money, with the lion’s share coming from US taxpayers, at least in the short to medium term. But the alternative – a piecemeal pumping of more public money into insolvent banks in the vague hope that things will improve down the road – could truly be historic folly.

    Eventually our banks and economy will start to recover. When they do, we would be wise to avoid another Japanese mistake – raising taxes. To counter mounting debt created by government stimulus packages, Japan increased taxes in 1997. Consumption dropped and the country’s economy collapsed.

    Our ad hoc approach to the banking crisis has helped financial institutions conceal losses, favoured shareholders over taxpayers, and protected senior bank managers from the consequences of their mistakes. Worst of all, it has crippled our credit system just at a time when the US and the world need to see it healthy.

    Many are to blame for the current situation. But we have no time for finger-pointing or partisan posturing. This crisis demands a pragmatic, comprehensive plan. We simply cannot continue to muddle through it with a Band-Aid approach.

    During the 1990s, American officials routinely urged their Japanese counterparts to kill their zombie banks before they could do more damage to Japan’s economy. Today, it would be irresponsible if we did not heed our own advice.

    The writer was chief of staff and Treasury secretary for President Ronald Reagan and secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush

    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

  49. AIG Bailout

    The CNBC video is very telling. Steve Liesman asks why didn't the government act as a clearing house for all these fraudulent CDS contracts and renegotiate them, instead of throwing cash at these companies so they then transfer that money to 3rd parties like Goldman Sucks. No one had an answer, except to present The Big Lie and say we have to take it on faith that what the US government is trying to do is avoid a global financial meltdown. BS.

    This reeks to me as a deliberate plot to defraud and embezzle the public purse.

  50. The Oracle with Max Keiser - 27 February 2009




  51. Email from a friend:

    Thanks Congress, I can't find anything on this anywhere. I did wonder
    > why they bailed out AIG since its not a bank. I don't know. Remember
    > when this economic crisis hit, and Congress let Bear Sterns be taken by
    > Chase, let Lehman Brothers go under completely, then pushed a bunch of
    > forced marriages between banks? Then, out of the blue, they bailed out
    > AIG without saying a word. At the time, I thought: "That's strange.
    > What does an insurance company have to do with this crisis?" I think I
    > just found the answer: AIG INSURES THE PENSION TRUST OF THE UNITED
    > STATES CONGRESS!! No wonder they got bailed out right away! Our
    > Senators and Congressmen said by their actions, "To hell with the
    > people, let's protect our future". ISN'T IT NICE TO SEE WHERE THEIR

  52. Britain's secretary of state for international development, Douglas Alexander, visited the Gaza Strip this week, thereby becoming the first British minister to visit Gaza since Hamas seized control of it in 2007.


    Alexander prefers to focus on humanitarian aid. In Gaza, he announced a 30 million pound sterling aid package for the Strip, and urged Israel to make it easier for aid to enter Gaza.

    Despite a recent meeting between British parliamentarians and Hamas representatives in Beirut, Alexander insisted that Britain is committed to boycotting Hamas unless it meets the Quartet's conditions.

    2 State Solution

  53. The euro traded at $1.2560-2565 and 121.95-122.00 yen versus $1.2571- 2581 and 122.58-68 yen in New York and $1.2594-2597 and 122.49-53 yen in Tokyo late Monday.

    In New York overnight, the dollar was sold on the view that the U.S. financial turmoil will be prolonged, dealers said.

    The market "lacked a clear direction as there remain fears that the Japanese economy may fall deeper" into recession, said a U.S. currency analyst.

    Tokyo Deals

  54. Clinton said the US would pledge $900m to the Palestinians, subject to approval by Congress, but warned of tight supervision of how the money would be spent. Although she did not mention Hamas she spoke forcefully against extremism and condemned the continuing firing of rockets into southern Israel.

    "We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure our funding is only used where and for whom it is intended and does not end up in the wrong hands," she said. "It is time to break the cycle of rejection and resistance, to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the suffering of innocent people."

    Clinton made no reference to the closure of the Gaza crossings, or to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are a prime concern for the Palestinians.

    Peace Push

  55. The government approved a bill Tuesday to enroll foreign nationals living in Japan for more than three months in the nationwide resident registry system together with Japanese people.


    The new system is intended to help local municipalities form a precise picture of the foreign nationals living in their areas and better provide them with welfare and educational services.

    The new resident registry system would cover Korean residents with special permanent permission to live in Japan as well as foreign nationals living in Japan for more than three months.

    Resident Registry

  56. What Next?
    by james howard kunstler

    Isn't that a question, though....
    The Peak Oil story was never about running out of oil. It was about the collapse of complex systems in a world economy faced by the prospect of no further oil-fueled growth. It was something of a shock to many that the first complex system to fail would be banking, but the process is obvious: no more growth means no more ability to pay interest on credit... end of story, as Tony Soprano used to say.
    There was a popular theory among Peak Oilers the last decade that the world would enter a "bumpy plateau" period when the global economy would get beaten down by peak oil, would then revive as "demand destruction" drove down oil prices, and would be beaten down again as oil prices shot up in response -- with serial repetitions of the cycle, each beat-down taking economies lower -- the only imaginable outcome being some sort of quiet homeostasis. This scenario did not play out as expected. It was predicated on a mistaken assumption that all systems would retain some kind of operational resilience while ratcheting down. Anyway, the banking system was mortally wounded in the first go-round and the behemoth is dying hard.
    The last desperate act of the banking system in the face of Peak Oil's no-more-growth equation was to engineer species of tradable securities that could produce wealth out of thin air rather than productive activity. This was the alphabet soup of algorithm-derived frauds with vague and confounding names such as credit default swaps (CDSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), structured investment vehicles (SIVs), and, of course, the basic filler, mortgage backed securities. The banking system is now choking to death on these delicacies.
    The trouble is that the EMT squad brought in to rescue the banking system -- that is, governments -- can't remove these obstructions from the patient's craw. They don't want to drown in a mighty upchuck of the alphabet soup.
    The collapse of complex systems is actually predicated on the idea that the systems would mutually reinforce each other's failures. This is now plain to see as the collapse of banking (that is, of both lending and debt service), has led to the collapse of commerce and manufacturing. The next systems to go will probably be farming, transportation, and the oil markets themselves (which constitute the system for allocating and distributing world energy resources). As these things seize up, the final system to go will be governance, at least at the highest levels.
    If we're really lucky, human affairs will eventually reorganize at a lower scale of activity, governance, civility, and economy. Every week, the failure to recognize the nature of our predicament thrusts us further into the uncharted territory of hardship. The task of government right now is not to prop up doomed systems at their current scales of failure, but to prepare the public to rebuild our systems at smaller scales.
    The net effect of the failures in banking is that a lot of people have less money than they expected they would have a year ago. This is bad enough, given our habits and practices of modern life. But what happens when farming collapses? The prospect for that is closer than most of us might realize. The way we produce our food has been organized at a scale that has ruinous consequences, not least its addiction to capital. Now that banking is in collapse, capital will be extremely scarce. Nobody in the cities reads farm news, or listens to farm reports on the radio. Guess what, though: we are entering the planting season. It will be interesting to learn how many farmers "out there" in the Cheez Doodle belt are not able to secure loans for this year's crop.
    My guess is that the disorder in agriculture will be pretty severe this year, especially since some of the world's most productive places -- California, northern China, Argentina, the Australian grain belt -- are caught in extremes of drought on top of capital shortages. If the US government is going to try to make remedial policy for anything, it better start with agriculture, to promote local, smaller-scaled farming using methods that are much less dependent on oil byproducts and capital injections.
    This will, of course, require a re-allocation of lands suitable for growing food. Our real estate market mechanisms could conceivably enable this to happen, but not without a coherent consensus that it is imperative to do so. If agri-business as currently practiced doesn't founder on capital shortages, it will surely collapse on disruptions in the oil markets. President Obama at least made a start in the right direction by proposing to eliminate further subsidies to farmers above the $250,000 level. But the situation is really more acute. Surely the US Department of Agriculture already knows about it, but the public may not be interested until the shelves in the Piggly-Wiggly are bare -- and then, of course, they'll go apeshit.
    The recent huge drop in oil prices has left the public once again convinced that the world is drowning in oil -- if only the scoundrelly oil companies were forced to deliver it at reasonable prices. The public has been consistently deluded about this for decades. What's missing so far is for the president of the US to lay out the reality of the situation in a dedicated TV address. I know a lot of you think that Jimmy Carter already tried this and failed to make an impression (and ruined his presidency in the process). I guarantee you that Mr. Obama will have to do this sometime in the next few years whether he likes or not, and he'd be well-advised to get it done sooner rather than later. And by this I don't mean just vague allusions to "energy independence" or "renewables" in speeches devoted to many other issues. I mean telling the public the plain truth that we'll never offset oil depletion and the intelligent response is to do everything possible to transition to walkable towns and public transit, not to sustain the unsustainable.
    The alternatives -- i.e. what we're trying now -- is to further delude ourselves into thinking that we can run WalMart and the suburbs by some other means than oil. Despite all our investments in these things, we won't be able to run them by other means, and the news about this had better get out before enormous disappointment turns into titanic rage. If Americans think they've been grifted by Goldman Sachs and Bernie Madoff, wait until they find out what a swindle the so-called "American Dream" of suburban life turns out to be.
    On this blizzardy Monday in the power centers of America, attention is fixed on the never-ending fiasco of AIG -- a company whose main product turned out to be credit default swaps, and is now choking on them. Kibitzers on the sidelines of finance are forecasting a king-hell bear market suckers' rally in the stock markets followed by a belly flop to Dow 4000 or lower. I myself called for Dow 4000 two years ago -- and was obviously a bit off on my timing. All this is surely trouble enough. But while your attention is focused on Rick Santelli in the Chicago trader's pit, or Larry Kudlow desperately seeking "mustard seeds" of new growth in financials, try to let one eye stray to the horizon where these other complex systems are working out their next moves. Farming. The oil markets. These are the coming theaters of alarm and distress.

    Because it's Monday!

  57. "The secretary-general is deeply saddened and dismayed by the assassinations of President Joao Bernardo Vieira and his chief of general staff, Gen. Batista Tagme Na Waie," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement released by his office. "He remains in close contact with his representative for Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, who along with others in the international community is working to promote peace, political stability and development in the country."

    Diplomats said Vieira was slain by army troops Monday following a bombing that killed the army chief of staff. The former Portuguese colony has been wracked by instability in recent months.

    In its statement, the State Department said the United States "condemns the violence" that resulted in men's deaths and called upon "all parties in Guinea-Bissau to respect the rule of law and follow the established constitutional order regarding succession."

    Guinea-Bissau Violence

  58. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell Tuesday morning as investors fled to safe-haven bonds following drops in U.S. and Japanese stocks stemming from renewed fears about the U.S. financial sector.

    In interdealer trading, the yield on the No. 298, 1.3 percent issue lost 0.015 percentage point from Monday's close to 1.280 percent.

    The price of the key March futures contract for 10-year bonds gained 0.24 point to 139.39 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

    Bond Yield Falls

  59. Hillary Clinton is to begin her first visit to Israel and the West Bank as the United States' top diplomat.


    Mrs Clinton's two days of talks will start in Jerusalem on Tuesday before she is due to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas in the West Bank on Wednesday.


    As many as 120 rockets, fired from the strip, have been counted since the two sides entered into a ceasefire on 18 January, AFP says.

    Israel Visit

  60. The government will provide $5 billion from its approximately $1 trillion in foreign reserves later this month to Japanese companies having trouble raising dollar funds through the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said Tuesday.


    In a related move, the minister also said the government is prepared to increase the size of its emergency financing for corporate borrowers from 1 trillion yen to 1.5 trillion yen in the current fiscal year through March 31.

    The loans to meet the growing capital needs of Japanese firms toward the end of the business year will be provided through the state-backed Development Bank of Japan, which was privatized in October.

    $ Strapped Firms

  61. The format is different.

    Anyway, the DOW sure tumbled today, and we are lower than
    Rufus predicted.

  62. Could Mat possibly be right, with his prediction of 4,000?

  63. "As bad as things are, they can still get worse, and get a lot worse," said Bill Strazzullo, chief market strategist for Bell Curve Trading, who said he believes the Dow might fall to 5,000 and the S&P to 500.

    The Dow's descent has been breathtaking. It took only 14 trading sessions for the average to fall from above 8,000 to below 7,000. For the year, the Dow has lost 23 percent of its value.

    I don't have a dog in the fight, but this is really bad for the old retirees.

    Not to mention the young folk too.

  64. Forced selling by hedge funds is driving the market. Max Keiser has it right.

  65. This economy is not only a problem, it’s a great camouflage. It allows the NFL to lay off employees while citing “the economy” even though the league’s monstrous TV revenues are locked into place.

    It fools fans into thinking their team is doing all it can.

    Heck, if the next A-Rod is smart, he’ll just take the podium and say he juiced to get a big contract in a selfless attempt to stimulate the economy with his spending habits.

    Quit Blaming the Economy

  66. "She can't hold it much longer, Captain!"

    How long before the 401K money stats running for the exit doors. We're breaking key support areas.

  67. Obama 'ready to drop shield plans for Russian help on Iran'

    Sam, you're sleeping at the wheel. ;)