Geithner… Just Another Crook Doing What Crooks Do

A night where I almost didn’t write. I have had a full day of travel, returning from travel this afternoon to a dog that had chewed the corner of the wall in the kitchen during the six hours he was alone, drywall and all. After cleaning the mess up, and setting up his new cage for sleeping in at night, I quickly showered and headed to work. And tonight I spent a good hour lying on my back in the cold watching the Leonid meteor shower. I can never pass up the opportunity to watch a meteor shower, I just love all forms of nature. But I decided that I hadn’t written while traveling last night (I literally didn’t get to a hotel room until 4:30 am) so I was kind of obligated to do so tonight. So I left the meteor shower and came in to write about something. I was determined to not write about the Fort Hood stuff tonight or the idiotic move to bring the 9/11 conspirators to NY for a civilian trial. So the night was as much me avoiding certain subjects as finding one… then I stumbled on to this article at the top of the Huffington Post home page.

As many of you know, I am not a fan AT ALL of Timothy Geithner. It began for me when we learned early on that the man being nominated to be the top economic guy in the US was one of the nominees from this administration that decided that paying his taxes was optional. But to be honest, there is not a single thing that Geithner has done since assuming the role of Secretary of the Treasury that I feel was a good move, a sound financial move, or a constitutionally legal move, for that matter. I think that he has been a miserable failure from day one. Apparently, there are some at the Huffington Post, and some in the Special Inspector General of TARP office that agree that he has been a failure. From the Huffington Post:

Geithner Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report On AIG Bailout
by Shahien Nasiripour

A brutal report issued Monday by a government watchdog holds Timothy Geithner — then the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and now the nation’s Treasury Secretary — responsible for overpayments that put billions of extra tax dollars in the coffers of major Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman Sachs.

The authoritative new narrative describes how, while bailing out insurance giant AIG last fall, a team led by Geithner failed nearly every step of the way.

Instead of bargaining with AIG’s numerous counterparties to resolve its billions of dollars in souring derivatives contracts, Geithner’s team ended up paying top dollar for toxic assets — “an amount far above their market value at the time,” the report notes.

“There is no question that the effect of FRBNY’s decisions — indeed, the very design of the federal assistance to AIG — was that tens of billions of dollars of Government money was funneled inexorably and directly to AIG’s counterparties,” the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said.

Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia got full value for their derivatives contracts with AIG, and taxpayers got the bill. In total, $27.1 billion of public money was transferred to companies that did business with AIG.

Throughout the bailout of AIG, the report says, the New York Fed failed to develop appropriate contingency plans; failed to properly assess the impact of its decisions; and generally engaged in negotiation strategies that were doomed to fail.

Then, after Geithner’s team paid off AIG’s counterparties on Wall Street, it imposed “onerous” terms on the troubled insurer, the report says.

“[T]he decision to acquire a controlling interest in one of the world’s most complex and most troubled corporations was done with almost no independent consideration of the terms of the transaction or the impact that those terms might have on the future of AIG,” the report finds.

Geithner, now the nation’s chief financial officer, just didn’t bargain hard enough with Wall Street’s biggest companies, the report concludes:

[T]he refusal of FRBNY and the Federal Reserve to use their considerable leverage as the primary regulators for several of the counterparties, including the emphasis that their participation in the negotiations was purely “voluntary,” made the possibility of obtaining concessions from those counterparties extremely remote. While there can be no doubt that a regulators’ inherent leverage over a regulated entity must be used appropriately, and could in certain circumstances be abused, in other instances in this financial crisis regulators (including the Federal Reserve) have used overtly coercive language to convince financial institutions to take or forego certain actions. As SIGTARP reported in its audit of the initial Capital Purchase Program investments, for example, Treasury and the Federal Reserve were fully prepared to use their leverage as regulators to compel the nine largest financial institutions (including some of AIG’s counterparties) to accept $125 billion of TARP funding and to pressure Bank of America to conclude its merger with Merrill Lynch. Similarly, it has been widely reported that the Government, while arguably acting on behalf of General Motors and Chrysler, took an active role in negotiating substantial concessions from the creditors of those companies.

Meanwhile, the Fed was attempting to keep the details of AIG’s counterparties hidden from public view — another big mistake, according to the report:

The now familiar argument from Government officials about the dire consequences of basic transparency, as advocated by the Federal Reserve…once again simply does not withstand scrutiny. Federal Reserve officials initially refused to disclose the identities of the counterparties or the details of the payments, warning that disclosure of the names would undermine AIG’s stability, the privacy and business interests of the counterparties, and the stability of the markets.

After public and Congressional pressure, AIG disclosed the identities. Notwithstanding the Federal Reserve’s warnings, the sky did not fall; there is no indication that AIG’s disclosure undermined the stability of AIG or the market or damaged legitimate interests of the counterparties. The lesson that should be learned — one that has been made apparent time after time in the Government’s response to the financial crisis — is that the default position, whenever Government funds are deployed in a crisis to support markets or institutions, should be that the public is entitled to know what is being done with Government funds.

While SIGTARP acknowledges that there might be circumstances in which the public’s right to know what its Government is doing should be circumscribed, those instances should be very few and very far between.

Read the original article at the Huffington Post here:  Geithner Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report On AIG Bailout

I am now forced to ask… Is there anyone who actually believes, at this point, that Timothy Geithner was a good, or even acceptable, choice to be the Secretary of the Treasury?I never thought he was a good choice, but I attempted to reserve any real opinion without several months to make sure that what he does is well thought out, and ultimately efficient and effective in the results that the move was supposed to accomplish.

But I think that this time, not only is he making the economy worse than it was before, the entire fiasco of TARP is showcasing for us the inherent flaws built into every government program. But further, I think that this entire article points to the fact that Geithner should be charged with theft at a massive level. And, in my opinion, it points out the inherent disaster that the Obama administration has been thus far.

So I will now turn it over to al of you.

Comments

  1. USW,

    I’d like to express my condolences on the loss of your loved one. It seems to be a more regular thing as age creeps up on us.

    Aren’t dogs great! Got a massive rawhide to keep my pup busy, seems to be working so far.

    As I said yesterday, Obama and his administration could be deemed (a loosely termed) terror organization. They are scaring the crap out of people. Posting for comments this morning, still quite early.

    G!

  2. Even the Chinese are calling this administration crooks, but using diplomatic language to say it. Sad, but this group of incompetents just don’t seem to get the message.

    • this group of incompetents

      are you refering to the Obama administration and/or the media and/or the folks who voted for Obama?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        The administration is actually FAR FROM incompetent.

        They are doing a VERY good job of exactly what it is that they are setting out to accomplish.

        They just APPEAR to many people to be incompetent because many people do not recognize what their actual goals are.

        • Peter:

          There can only be two options as I see it.

          1) They are competent. Which means that the results they get are exactly what they want. Or;

          2) They are incompetent. Which means they don’t get the results they want. Whether that is due to ignorance or to stupidity matters not in reality. The don’t get the predicted results.

          Now, give a history of economic booms and busts, decades of sudden needs to bailout failing and ever “important” sectors, deficits not forseen, surpluses that vaporize unexpectedly, which of the two possible options seems most “probable”?

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I thought it was pretty clear I was advocating option 1.

            They APPEAR to be incompetent, because most people BELIEVE that the administration is attempting to pursue policies that are good for the people and the country and they are failing.

            The REALITY is they are pursuing policies designed to accomplish exactly what they are accomplishing and doing a very good job of it.

            • Peter:

              I see no evidence for option 1. I see decades for option 2.

              Most of these clowns are married to the underlying philosophy that “they can control it”. That in turn leads them to try and “save the system at all costs”. Because if the system doesn’t resond their philosophy is bankrupt.

              I think they are caught up it “do something” and the bigger the problems make sure to “do something really big”. Remember the comments by the Fed representative I posted here a few weeks back.

              “We knew we had to be BOLD. We didn’t know what exactly to do but we knew we had to be bold.” Something to that affect.

              I don’t believe all of these actions are being orchestrated to “take down” our economy. I think these fools worship their belief system of the need and ability to control an economy. They can not accept the idea that a depression might be both acceptable and good for us in the long run. It is antithetical to what they have worshiped.

              My vote is INCOMPETENCE driven by ARROGANCE, upon a chariot of STUPIDITY.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                JAC,

                You and I will simply have to disagree on this one.

                I think that Obama is following his Bible (Rules for Radicals) to a T, but I could be wrong.

              • JAC/Peter;

                I think you both may have valid points; certainly Peter does, as I agree that it is a caculated plot. The issues between us is this;

                Why are they moving in a direction to further their control doing whatever they think is the best way to ENSURE their reign, or at least not to loose any ground.

                If we had a crystal ball and could look into the minds of the morons we might see that they believe an “ism” is a way to accomplish that which they covet; control, power and influence.

                I have never claimed to understand the reasoning for their actions, just that they were evil. Maybe they really do believe that they are truely saving the system, and as Matt would advocate, additional controls, laws and influences are how they figure to get there.

                One thing is for sure, they don’t believe the Common Man has any logical input or sensible solutions. they figure we ae too stupid or lack the knowledge that only they, the ellte, possess.

                CM

              • CM:

                What difference does it make to you what their reasons are.

                You are not swayed by their bankrupt philosophies so why does it matter.

                Focus on your future, not theirs. Make sure your thinking is sound and supports your goal (freedom and liberty I hope).

                Fight holding actions where needed (health care, cap/trade, etc).

              • JAC,

                I’d REALLY like believe that the problem is due to imcompetence, arrogance and stupidity. However, when I consider the czars, the new legislation, the union involvement, the hatered of the Left toward the right, and the professional histories of people like Giether, Holder, Frank, and all the other little things that jump out at me everyday, I just can’t convince myself the problems we have are anything but intentional.

              • I agree that the things that were happening were intentional but I’m beginning to wonder if their manipulations are starting to cause problems that they didn’t expect and don’t know how to handle. Just my gut reaction to all that’s currently going on.

              • Peter, Cyndi and V.H>

                The other thing to realize is that there are goals for differing levels of the players.

                The Fed and Treasury folks are married to their bankrupt economic philosophy. The politico’s in the white house do have an agenda. But they are not in total control of the Treasury and Fed. and their “agendas” may not be the same.

                The reality is that they need the economy to flourish. Because if it doesn’t the people will finally see through the curtain. The only plausible reason to “deliberately” sabotage the economy would be if they “knew” they could complet their “hidden agenda” within a four year time frame.

                In the end, I may be proven wrong. In the meantime I just urge everyone to be careful in the conclusions we reach regarding “motives”.

                I would rather stick with my motivation and I hope yours. Resurrection of the country we were promised by our founders.

                Everything else is just a holding action against the Statists.

              • JAC,

                The hidden agenda sounds like THE reason for this. Why do you believe it is the unlikely motivator of people with this much power and influence?

                When it comes to regular folks, I agree that incompetence and stupidity can explain much, but when it gets to the level of Obama and the others, I just can’t swallow that. They are not like us. I hope you’re right because if I’m right, we’re are truly doomed.

              • v. Holland says:

                Great points, especially the different goals of different players-I personally believe we know their agenda-power-I don’t believe that they want to destroy the economy just to damage it enough and long enough to take advantage of the fear that engenders. Whats important is for the people to start seeing that they are willing to hurt us to get through their policies and that the end purpose of those policies is their complete power over us not the greater good.

              • v. Holland says:

                Let me rephrase that-Even if their intentions are good they believe the only way to realize their “greater good” ideology is to control us. If their intentions are just power -control us. Same outcome-Their intentions really doesn’t matter. Just makes me like or dislike them a little more.

              • V,

                I think that destroying the economy is a great way for them to accomplish their goals. I’m pretty sure the real power players are making a fortune on this ‘crisis’. don’t you think that by financially destroying the middle class, and demoralizing them, it would be easier to push through an agenda? How can we resist if we’re homeless? How can we resist if we are depressed or stressed out? Deperate people will latch on to anything that seems like an improvement. How do we square Rahm Emmanual’s words of ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’? Why would he say that?

              • v. Holland says:

                In the end, their intentions don’t really matter-I fear the outcome will be the same.

              • Cyndi,

                Then they are playing with fire that would utterly destroy them.

                The elite are powerful because of the system they have set up – which, at a core, is wholly dependent on a highly specialized division of labor. The higher the specialization of labor, the more effective the delivery.

                The more specialized the work, the greater ‘distance’ between the cost of “me” doing it, and it being done for me.

                It may cost a specialist 10c to do a job that would cost me $10. He can charge $5, make a huge profit, and save me $5 at the same time.

                It is this pervasive specialization across the whole economy that gives all a profit – and the consequential prosperity. Everyone gets the best specialists.

                Because of this specialization, products and services are delivered simultaneously by different hands.

                What is delivered where, and when is all communicated by pricing mechanisms.

                “Highest bid wins”

                Destroying the ability to price goods and services (inflation) begins to degrade the ability of specialization.

                It causes specialists to withdraw their services and goods so to prevent loss.

                The prosperity of the economy begins to unwind – and reverse.

                Things stop.

                The quicker the stop, the far worse the effect – very much like hitting a brick wall while traveling at 100mph vs. slowing down the car before hits the wall.

                They have organized themselves to create an economy that was on afterburner boost.

                The wall is approaching very fast.

                If they misplay this hand, we will hit the wall – and they will be completely destroyed (ie: “Fall of Rome and the destruction of Western society).

              • Cyndi:

                I have not found evidence of a single “hidden agenda” throughout govt. If one existed it would be surfacing at this point. And for the life of me I can not figure out what it would be other than moving this country farther down the socialist path. But that agenda was never “hidden” in my view.

                I believe there are different motivations for different folks. They could all result in a similar outcome but the motivations differ.

                For example lets take the whole “one world govt” issue. The Enviro’s want an actual global governing body with police authority. You can’t save the planet if someone is not playing nice.

                The economist/financial folks may want a global clearing house and currency for reasons they believe will reduce risk and enhance trading efficiency. It also allows them to profit from ALL global transactions.

                The socialist human resource folks may want a UN with authority to move money from rich nations to poor nations.

                The mega corporations want a level and predictable playing field around the world. Same rules everywhere.

                All four motives differ but they lead to the same end result.

                As for the current white house I think they have a socialist agenda but are stifled by their mercantilist/fascist economists who are running the Fed and Treasury. They are also being confused by their “pragmatist” alter ego and their NEED to stay in power.

              • I can accept your reasoning, JAC. All of them use the same tools to acheieve the same goal regardless of motivation. Is it the same as incompetence, arrogoance and stupidity?

                Now what?

              • Cyndi,

                The only thing you can do is try your best to prepare, so that you don’t get wiped out when it the economy reboots.

              • I’m doing that. Unfortunately all most of my wealth is tied up in my house in Florida.

                Still researching opportunities in other countries. I’m in touch with relations in Peru and Brazil.

              • Cyndi P:

                We keep fighting the good fight.

                The purpose of my discourse here was to help us all focus on the REAL issues.

                What they are doing is of no matter to us, except that it takes effort to slow or halt the leaks in the old boat while we are trying to build the new boat.

              • That’s true, but wouldn’t it be useful to understand why it is being done? Wouldn’t it give us an edge and maybe help out with slowing them down, if not exposing them?

              • JAC is correct, I believe.

                This disaster hurts the elite deeply. They have the most to lose.

                They have no more understanding then the economists they hire.

                They hire Keynesians.

                ’nuff said.

    • You’re almost there. They are lauding this administration as naive idealists which to them is pretty much worth getting a woody over. This was very much apparent in Obama touting America’s support for the one-China (be very aware of what ASEAN and one-China really means to America) initiative. China now has in place what it has wanted for a long time, an America too afraid to act and too indebted to interfere. Bought and paid for your president might be traveling in a 71 car motorcade but he’s arriving on his knees every stop.

      Through ASEAN, China is set to become the “IT” country for the next 100 years. The company I now contract to exclusively has already sent over one man for a year’s “immersion” in China (which pays too well for a year’s vacation learning culture and language if you ask me) and another leaves in December for his 365 days of learning to work and speak with the Chinese. Both formerly dealt exclusively with American mining companies and now will do so with Chinese very interested in taking up that ball America can no longer afford to carry. Comprehend.

      • Its interesting that Hillary Clinton gave a speech and mentioned America needs to regain its fiscal sovereign. Think it was this past weekend, sorry, could not find the link.

        • LOI, is this (from Meet The Press) what you’re thinking of?

          GREGORY: Let me turn to the issue of China, where you and, and the president head next. The, the lead of a New York Times story out this morning about the president’s visit there says this: “When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in may ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay his respects to his banker.” With that as the backdrop, with China holding so much U.S. debt, $2 trillion worth, what is your assessment of U.S.-China relations?

          SEC’Y CLINTON: Well, I think that our relations are on a positive, cooperative basis, with a comprehensive agenda that we are exploring together. Secretary Geithner and I co-chair the strategic and economic dialogue that we started this, this year because we didn’t want to just have an economic dialogue, we wanted to have a much more comprehensive engagement. I think that there is evidence that there’s some positive results already. The Chinese have stood with us in the sanctions against North Korea. The Chinese are part of the P5+1 effort to try to engage Iran on its nuclear program. We are seeing signs of, you know, a cooperative relationship.

          Now, let me go, though, to the premise of your question. When I ran for president, I started saying all the time, you know, that in effect we were seeding our fiscal sovereignty and that China was our banker. So it’s not news that that’s going to be in the papers on the eve of our visit to China. We have to get back to fiscal responsibility. It, it breaks my heart, David, that in 2001 we had a balanced budget and a surplus; and if we’d stayed on that path, we were heading toward eliminating our debt. Well, here we are eight years later, thanks to wars that weren’t paid for, thanks to financial collapses and so many other crises that we inherited. But the president understands clearly that, you know, we have to get back some control over time of our fiscal sovereignty.

          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/11/15/secretary_clinton_on_meet_the_press_99171.html

          • Csm,

            That’s it, thanks for finding.

            “I started saying all the time, you know, that in effect we were seeding our fiscal sovereignty and that China was our banker.”

            When the Sec. of State makes a remark like that, why is the media not all over it? I know, stupid question.

          • CsM and especially to Hillary Clinton if your watching.

            “It, it breaks my heart, David, that in 2001 we had a balanced budget and a surplus; and if we’d stayed on that path, we were heading toward eliminating our debt.”

            You maddam are a liar, and you know it.

            Those supposed surpluses were gone by July/August 2001, long before any effect of the Bush tax cuts or budgets could have an impact.

            While it all looked good on paper, none of it was in touch with reality.

            I will give credit where due, however. The combined effect of a Clinton presidency and Gingrich/republican congress restored some sense of “fiscal responsibility” in Congress as a whole. And the Republicans of 2001 and beyond helped destroy that “sense of agreement” between both parties on fiscal matters.

            That does not eliminate the fact that these professional politicians have selective memory loss on these economic issues.

        • Hello LOI,

          I think Hillary might have been saying that for American public consumption. Its the old tell-’em-what-they-want-to-her routine. Obama pretty much got elected doing that.

          • I’m not sure, it strikes me as a Joe Biden type remark. One of those truths that they never want to actually state on camera. They know it, but will not
            admit it in public.

            Could Hillary be preparing to distance herself from Obama?

            • Ever heard of an underhanded compliment. Or reading between the lines, or maybe just a subtle insult. Me thinks Hillary has not given up on the idea of being Queen. Personally I like calling it a half truth-“a statement that mingles truth and falsehood with deliberate intent to (My personal definition for this situation)smack Obama upside the head.

              • I agree with you V. Hillary is having Queenly dreams. I don’t know about you but it give me nightmares!

                🙂

              • Nightmares and daymares-although I would have preferred Hillary I think-I believe that the Clinton’s are more opportunistic than ideological and that may seem like a bad trait but I suspect in the long run it would cause them to be more moderate.

              • I agree. Hillary would have been less bad.

      • Addendum From Chinadaily.com.cn:

        “China approves of President Obama’s repeated reiteration of the one-China principle,” Hu told reporters in the Great Hall of the People after meeting with his US counterpart there.

        “We hope the US understand and support China’s government’s stance and concerns, properly manage the Taiwan issue, and disallow any ‘pro-Tibet independence’ and ‘the East Turkistan’ forces to commit to any moves on the American soil to separate China,” Hu said.

        The East Turkistan has long sought to separate Xinjiang from China.

        Obama stressed that the US recognizes and respects China’ sovereignty and territorial integrity on Taiwan and other issues.

        • Gee they are lauding Obama having secured a promise from the Chinese to purchase more American debt on ye old news… I wonder what it cost? Or should I say who?

        • v. Holland says:

          He threw Poland to the wolves, too.

          “President Obama’s announcement on September 17 that the US is shelving its plans to build a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in Central Europe is likely to raise painful historical memories in Poland.
          The Obama White House cancelled ballistic missile defense plans for Europe on a date with important historical significance for the people of Poland. Under the terms of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland 70 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1939, while western and central parts of Poland were being overrun by German armies.”

          http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/279349

          • He did not throw Poland to the wolves – he most definitely lowered the chance of a conflict with Russia.

            Russia has no designs on Poland for the foreseeable future.

            Any move on Poland would be a threat to Germany, and they will not stand for it.

            The US move into Poland threatened Russia directly on her border. It was a bad move to threaten the Bear.

            Doing so also broke the word Reagan gave Gorbachev. With Reagan’s promise not to move troops and weapons into the Eastern bloc States, Gorbachev let them fall without sending 3 million soldiers to stop it. This move saved the world from WW3. Russia was incredibly angered by Bush’s play into Poland, Georgia and the Ukraine.

            • v. Holland says:

              Why did he choose September 17th-it was intentional?

              • Many pundits claim Obama was duped into announcing it on that date – since most people (and probably including Obama and his staff) are not aware that the 17th was the day Soviet Russia invaded Poland in 1939.

                Politics at the international level is a highly skilled, professional sport. Amateurs should not try to play.

              • v. Holland says:

                I give him and his staff more credit than that-so they were in my opinion sending a political message along with their decision-for some reason they seem to find it necessary to insult our allies in snide little ways-so I thing saying he’s throwing Poland under the bus by sending them the middle finger while announcing his decision qualifies.

            • Thank you for remembering. The gipper’s best plays have been ignored. What a bunch of jerks! What opportunity squandered!

            • Economically active Germany is already regretting the inclusion of their Eastern brothers into their economy. While they speak highly of socialistic society and the “common goody goodness” of things, they speak less than favorably of that other German caste. I’m headed back there in 7 days.

  3. Ray Hawkins says:

    It is situations as such that make my advocacy for smart & effective safeguards in the financial system (read: regulators doing their GD jobs) even more difficult to support (thanks TG!). I firmly hold that controls are needed – a car can go faster because it has brakes – but more and more regulators fail because there are little to no consequences for their failure in oversight and actually applying the laws and regulations. Maybe the prospect of jail time should enter their minds?

    • more and more regulators fail because there are little to no consequences for their failure in oversight and actually applying the laws and regulations

      Not to mention that everyone realizes they will be bailed out by the government. Bailouts are not a new thing. They happened in the 80’s and 90’s and that led to even riskier investing than before resulting in the recent banking crisis.

      I agree, Ray. Good regulations are necessary.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        There may or may not be such a thing as a “good regulation”. I personally would say that there is not.

        When you put foxes in charge of the henhouse, the foxes are naturally going to ignore any “regulations” which favor the chickens.

        Such regulations are put in place so that the government appears to be protecting the public from the “evil corporations”, but the government is the primary enabler that allows the “evil corporations” to exist, and the corporations in turn enable the government by donating huge sums of money to ensure that elected politicians will not enforce any of the window-dressing “regulations”.

    • Regulators don’t fail (primarily) because of lack of consequences. There is something more insidious at work. You see, if we stick with your analogy (I do so love analogies), it’s like setting up speed traps on a highway – and then announcing their locations. The only thing that happens is that motorists learn to take a different route or slow down at that specific point before speeding up again.

      So, we ban this, and they do that. We regulate this, so they create that. We monitor this, so they go through a shell corporation in another country. The financial wizards create new instruments and ways to keep one step ahead of the regulators. This is what happened when MBS’s collapsed, is is why CDS’s were able to destroy so many otherwise healthy underwriters.

      And here’s the key. Because they are taking more and more scenic detours to avoid existing regulations, these instruments need to become more and more exotic. And, as this happens, they become more and more unwieldy. The order management systems and data warehouses do not track them well. The details become more convoluted. And, most importantly, the auditors have a hard time figuring them out. Asking auditors to check out the activities of a fun which uses these instruments is like asking an auto mechanic to check the engine of the space shuttle.

      So if the auditors can’t figure it out, there’s no way for them to tell when something inappropriate (fraud) or overly risky is being done. Thus, off-balance sheet and exotic risk perpetuates.

      I am the head of middle office at a hedge fund. We are a mid-sized shop and stay (mercifully) away from most of the really crazy stuff. But even so, I have a hell of a time making sense of some of the stuff we do. Let me recap that: I work in the field, I am specifically charge of tracking our positions and making sure they are executed correctly, I am no intellectual slouch, I have years of experience and substantial training, we don’t do anything too exotic, and I still have a hard time with it. What are the odds Barney Frank is going to be able to author an effective regulations bill that wouldn’t be circumvented by a new class of (annoyingly over-complicated) instruments before the President’s ink dries.

      • Barney Frank was indeed able to address specifically those things HE PUT IN PLACE and with ease because HE PUT THEM IN PLACE! As long as his agenda of “spweading da weawth” was met, he cared not a whit about what needed to be traded for accomplishing such. His turning a blind eye paid for social redistribution of $$$, so be it. Barney was there from 1991 and knew full well something was coming but it wasn’t going to be happening to those people enveloped by HIS agenda. Hell, he’s even at it once again and if you’re in that field, you certain know that to be true.

        Wake up America indeed.

        • Right on Alan!

          The current Freddie mac/Fannie Mae blowout was a replay of what happened in ’89-’91. I started noticing they were at it again around 2003. Nobody cared because everybody was making tons of money.

          It was not an issue of regulation from my perspective so much as greed. Most of the players got rich quick and moved on. They were not around for the blow out. Most were never connected to the “follies” that they launched. It truly was the last hireds who took the flack then and now.

          The way to get ahead in mortgage banking in those days was to put massive amounts of money on the street. No one seemed to care about the quality of the loans. When the roof fell in, it was the current occupant of the VP for mortgages slot who lost his job,and his reputation. In my experience the originators of the concept all got away scott free. The good mortgage bankers all were let go unless they went along with the game plan.

          I find it not only hard to believe but painful that the exact same thing was allowed to happen again. Regan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama, all have missed what has been going on. All their regulators have missed. Why should I, a lonely grunt in the trenches pick up on it and be ignored. Has it really come to pass that the American people have the same attention span as one of Gregor Mendel’s fruit flies?

    • Good Morning, Ray. Some “yankee” weather has infiltrated down here. We need to send it back. However, it will throw the deer into rut.

      I have always agreed that financial controls are needed on the Federal Level and there needs to be strong penalties for failing to provide oversight. I was willing to give this “hope and change” agenda a chance. Being conservative in financial matters, and not liking what I saw in the Bush administration, I knew that Obama was a snake oil salesman but was willing to give the man a chance. After Enron, I thought that nothing could top it. Crap….was that proven wrong. Enron was “romper room” compared to what is going on now.

      First, Mr. Timothy (I am not a crook) Geithner….I think that the cartoon in USW’s post is dead on target. The vetting process was blamed for missing points on Geithner and to that I throw the flag. Obama knew exactly what Geithner was and is. First of all, he is a tax cheat. No one can really claim “I made a mistake” on my taxes. Tens of thousands of dollars? Hard working people that actually make 200 dollar mistakes end up paying triple fines and penalties and this guy gets off free and the media says little or nothing. Then Obama puts him in as treasury chief? No one can tell me he does not know. So, this makes Obama, to me, just as guilty as Geithner. Sorta like the person riding in the car when they know the driver is drunk or on drugs and does nothing about it…guilty as driving him/her self…much less volunteering to get in the car and then claim…I did not know? Bull hockey.

      Second, if you or I pulled a “ponzi” like GM is doing today, we would be in jail. Geithner and Obama can stop this and they choose not to. In my opinion, failure to provide oversight is impeachable and criminal. More so than the general public because these “so called” officials are in public trust.

      This administration no longer gets the benefit of doubt. It is full of crooks from the very top down and they knew it taking over. I was willing to discount the rantings of Beck and Hannity and the far right. I am not so sure that they are not on target, now, or at the very least right in their assumptions. And before some of you start “hollerin” about that last statement, “let me be perfectly clear”…. I do not condone this type of behavior from ANY side. It is criminal…..more criminal than any claim of trumped up Iraqi or Afghanistan Wars. Why? Because this systematic destruction and dismantling of our economic system, is more devastating than the perception of America abroad.

      D13

      • D13,

        G’ Morning Sir, was out after the rain ended yesterday, too windy, nothing stirring. They are moving some in S. Ark. Know of a ten pointer taken Sun. around 4:30. Was sent a rant a few days ago, seems appropriate.

        Unaware isn’t flying anymore! Mr. President, you are a liar! I remember my mom telling me if you tell a lie, you have to lie again to cover the first lie, and then all of a sudden you tell so many lies you can’t cover them up anymore.

        Barack Obama , through his spokesman, claimed that he was unaware of the tax day tea parties. Grant ed, the main stream media has done a good job in suppressing any sort of coverage ahead of time (and the little coverage they did provide was derisive at best)… but how out of touch is the Community Organizer in Chief, really?

        This much.

        – He was unaware that he was attending a church (for 20 years) with a racist pastor who hates America .

        – He was unaware that he was family friends with, and started his political career in the living room of, a domestic terrorist.

        – He was unaware that he had invested in two speculative companies backed by some of his top donors right after taking office in 2005.

        – He was unaware that his own aunt was living in the US illegally.

        – He was unaware that his own brother lives on pennies a day in a hut in Kenya ..

        – He was unaware of the AIG bonuses that he and his administration approved and signed into a bill.

        – He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce was under investigation in a bribery scandal.

        – He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services was a tax cheat.

        – He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of the Treasury was a tax cheat

        – He was unaware that the man he nominated to be the U.S. Trade Representative was a tax cheat.

        – He was unaware that the woman he nominated to be his Chief Performance Officer was a tax cheat.

        – He was unaware that the man he nominated to be #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was under investigation for mismanaging $25 million in EPA grants..

        For the love of God, there are people in comas that are more aware of world affairs than this smooth talking, village idiot.

        • Best yet he was unaware of how strongly his familiarity with the phrase “There is only one god and Muhammad is His prophet.” and his feelings for those uttering that phrase daily would influence his administration.

    • Ray and Matt:

      You guys should know by now where I stand on this. Look at your own comments on this, although it looks like Ray is starting to see the light a little more than Matt.

      It is human nature to protect against those things that threaten our well being. Govt regulates, the financiers react in defense. The more govt tries to control the more power is concentrated in govt, the more money is spent lobbying and trying to manipulate, the more corruption grows , the more power is concentrated in govt., the bigger the booms and busts due to market distortions (risk artificially reduced).

      It is a circle we need to figure out how to break. If you remove the regulations and let investors pay the price of risky investments you will see the whole thing reduced. There will always be fools who are willing to take the risk. Our economic and monetary and fiscal policies all have an effect here. It is all tied together.

      The car analogy is flawed in this respect. If you give the car adequate room, think Bonneville Salt Flats, it can go faster and faster without any breaks. Because once you take your foot off the accelerator the coefficient of friction and gravity (think market forces) will cause the car to slow and eventually stop.

      For those who think Good Regulations are the way to go, then why not just make all secondary paper money investments illegal. No real commodity (resources, stocks, commodities, etc) attached to the paper then illegal. No more derivatives, only original mortgages. No more spiders, ETF’s and other such trading instruments. Two pages of regulation and problem gone.

      Or, limit all such investments to “individuals” who have over 2 million in liquid assets. No more retirement funds or any funds for that matter at risk. Two pages of regulation and part of the problems is solved.

      Obviously I don’t support these two ideas. I present them to show that there are in fact SIMPLE Regulatory solutions that actually solve the supposed problem. But that would mean that Matt’s Ox gets gored.

      I hope you do some deep thinking about how this has all developed over the many years and then ask how doing more of the same is going to get a better result. Just one more effective and efficient tweek. I have to give you this, you are true optimists.

      Best O’ the day to ya all.
      JAC

      • As usual, JAC provides good thinking material.

        The People cannot fathom that the banking cartel exists, not for the benefit of the People, but for the benefit of a few of the elite.

        The People get all hazy-in-the-brain listening to the elite claim the cartel is good for the People.

        Clear your heads.

        A monopoly can only exist by grant of government.

        All monopolies operate to the disadvantage of the people.

        It is of no surprise to see one of the elite benefit from the cartel he has been charged with protecting.

        • All you say, here, is correct. But the reality is that it is happening not like you or JAC envision the way it SHOULD happen. So, in the meantime, what do you do? Ignore it? Fend for yourself and no others? I have to look at it in a much broader perspective. The proverb of shutting the barn door after the horses got out is obviously no good…but, there is a pasture out there that can still corral the horses.

          Consequently, if we have individuals in positions of trust (Fiduciary) and those individuals are appointed through the POTUS, and there is NO oversight and no penalty in place to force proper oversight, what is the answer except to make sure the pasture is properly locked and fenced and then reign in the horses and get them back to the barn.

          The cartel is NOT good for the people….in that we agree. That is common sense. But we are there, now…today..and there is little or no time left. I refuse to be a doom and gloomer and hide myself under a rock…that is a cowards way out. So, in the meantime, what to do to change the system we are in? I do not like it but we have it…so what now? My answer is to change the system. And, despite what many think, it is not too late….not yet.

          I have organized a pretty cohesive and conservative group of men and women. We are actually focusing on State and local issues. We are getting successful in obtaining conservative thinking individuals that are running for local and state offices. The only Federal race I am behind is the replacement for Senator Kay Hutchinson and we have a great candidate. Conservative, yes, right wing, no. Probably what most of you would call a moderate, although I hate labels. That is what we are doing. We are also keeping the pressure up in the Texas Legislature. That is our start. We will keep the balanced budget, no deficit spending, pay as you go system here. we will keep the people in office that refuse government money with “strings” attached. We are pissed that our current governor took Federal Highway money in the stimulus. He probably will not do that again as the backlash here was severe to him.

          However, BF, have a question for you. I am doing what you say cannot happen. I am creating a monopoly, albeit regional, not national, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it unless there is a regulation that will stop me and there is none so far. I have a service that I am producing…not a product but a service. So far, in a 5 square mile area, I have produced this service at a cost under what the others can do it for. I am unmatched. There have been numerous entities that tried but none can do it so far. People want my services at my price and they will drive for it. I am now broadening my sphere. My sole point is, through competition, to move into another area, and provide services for lower than my competitors and I know they do not have the staying power. Once I have established my self, I will raise my prices for that same service. Then I have another area in mind after that. Your theory is that people will control me by choosing to either pay or not pay. So, I can play with my prices to find their breaking point, correct? True free market at work, correct? I also have the monetary staying power to eliminate others that wish to break into my line of work. My goal, in two years, is to be the only provider of this service in all of west Fort Worth…there are none in east Fort Worth. The closest provider is 18 miles away. So, have I not created a monopoly of sorts, in my regional area? I have no employees (all independent contractors) and, therefore pay no payroll taxes of any kind. I will have no medical provision nor will I be required to have one even under the abomination of the current proposal. I have legal contractual arrangements with my independents that in order to do business with me that upon leaving, they cannot start a competitive program within a 50 mile radius for three years. If anyone moves into east Fort worth to try to emulate me, I have the staying power to compete next door and run them out of business, then close down, in that area and keep my prices at the breaking point. Is this not a monopoly? I even have the capacity, that through contacts and friends in Austin, I could probably be successful in creating new start up provisions that would be cost prohibitive for competition to start while grand fathering me. Is this not a monopoly? Could I not go unchecked? Free will? As long as demand is there and I control demand by controlling prices, is this not a monopoly? Should it be allowed to go unchecked? I am even predicting that people will not drop my services no matter the price because it is ego driven and I understand that and can exploit that. Is this not a monopoly? The only thing that would stop me would be my OWN ethics and a government edict but, under your philosophy, let’s take government out of it as far as stopping me. Total free will. would you consider this ethical? What if I could end up controlling the mid cities, creating a demand that people would drive 45 miles for and control my prices to control demand? Freeze out competitors and pay no taxes…except income taxes and local property taxes, that, under free will can be manipulated and can be sheltered with LLC’s.

          Your thoughts please.

          • D13

            “Once I have established my self, I will raise my prices for that same service. Then I have another area in mind after that. Your theory is that people will control me by choosing to either pay or not pay. So, I can play with my prices to find their breaking point, correct? True free market at work, correct? I also have the monetary staying power to eliminate others that wish to break into my line of work.”

            If you raise your prices another YOU or the guys you undercut will come a calling on your customers.

            It is not just the consumer but the flow of investment capital that will slow. If your sales drop and your growth has maximized the capital will move to someone offering higher returns. That would be the competitor who just entered your market with lower prices.

            There is no way you have enough capital to bury competition indefinitely. It will raise up again like the Phoenix. Unless you get government to impose “cost of market entry” on those you wish to exclude. Kind of like the oil refinery business.

            Now for the real question. What is wrong with a monopoly that evolves under free market principles? Is not the true measure in the price paid by consumers? If I control the entire market I will be able to find the maximum economic efficiency point, where in price is minimized and profit maximized. If I raise prices it will only encourage competition as it will reduce their risk of market entry.

            Nobody has ever been able to capture a market and then raise the price without competition popping up. Nobody without Govt help that is. Kind of like the old Railroad monopolies in Calif. and the northeast.

            You may maintain your small monopoly for awhile, but you will eventually succumb to the market forces. If you find the balance needed to maintain your monopoly then what is the damage? This would mean the consumer is getting the value they wish and you the profit you desire. It would in fact bring “stability” to the local market place.

            • I would agree with the exception, that raising my prices has not brought in the competition yet. But, I am not in a capital position. It is a service and a procedure. I have applied for the patents, of course. I do not have the problem of undercutting because no one has perfected…at least not right now…. the same thing. I am trying to patent the procedure. Expect to have it done in another 3 months…slow government. Can you imagine….they wanted me to give them the procedure to study carte blanche without any safeguards…yeah…right. So since it is a procedure and health related, there is not much capital investment except buildings and some product.

              Anyway, your point is taken but I see nothing wrong with monopolies. Unless I misunderstood BF, and that is highly probable, I thought his line of thinking was that all monopolies are evil because one cannot exist without government.

              • I am trying to patent the procedure

                Now, you can call yourself a monopoly.

                By government writ, you are able to prevent competition.

              • Ahhh…good point.

              • D13:

                None have ever existed without govt, to my knowledge. As you try to grow you will come up against others with deeper pockets. End of monopoly.

                And of course there is the little matter of: “I am trying to patent the procedure. Expect to have it done in another 3 months…slow government. ” You are trying to get Govt to support your monopoly. Like all others, yours can not exist for long without Govt protection.

                I doubt BF would have a problem with a ‘truly free market monopoly’. But nobody has ever been able to create one and maintain it for very long. I guess we never have discussed the time limit on a free market monopoly nor the scale involved. In very small markets they could exist for some time I suppose. By definition a monopoly is contol over a majority of an economic market. Controlling a local or regional part of the market is not a monopoly in the truist sense. Unless the market for this service is limited to that smaller area.

                Raising prices will not bring competition immediately unless customer value is violated, or the deep pockets see a chance to knock you out and take your pricing structure. It sounds like you are really creating a “new market” sector. Others will be happy to sit by and let you do the grunt work in getting it established. Then they will come for you.

                The loss of a monopoly is not immediate. It could take many years but you will lose it if there is any real money in it.

              • JAC says: But nobody has ever been able to create one and maintain it for very long. I guess we never have discussed the time limit on a free market monopoly nor the scale involved. In very small markets they could exist for some time I suppose. By definition a monopoly is contol over a majority of an economic market. Controlling a local or regional part of the market is not a monopoly in the truist sense. Unless the market for this service is limited to that smaller area.

                D13 says: Good point. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder. And, unbder yours and BF’s philosophy, that using the current laws as they exist to protect myself instead of the point of a gun is using government to create what I could do, I suppose, at the point of a gun. Interesting thought. I wonder of that falls under BF’s theory of clear and present danger. I develop a money making procedure and talent and choose NOT to have the gov’t protect my procedure. I wonder if, under the free market rule, if I protect myself from theft of my procedure by whatever means is ok and if someone steals my procedure, I can eliminate that threat by whatever means…if that fits within your philosophy. No gov’t interference and my right to self protection of property.

              • I think you know better than that. You trying to restart the Twist craze?

              • Yeah man…..if I can get it by ya….apparently not today…..lol

              • Nope, we’re to close in age.

                Recognized it right off.

              • D13, remember the root of the philosophy of freedom – thou shalt not impose or initiate violence on another.

                Go forth and do likewise, and whatever you earn in favor of your prosperity – good on ya!!

              • Thas’ ok fellas…..I am a Texas boy….never leave home without the peace maker.

                Don’t steal from me…you live.
                Don’t tread on me…you live.
                Don’t come on my property uninvited….you live.

                See how easy it is? Texas is great.

              • Just remember.

                Once you sell that cream it aint yers no mo’.

              • JAC,

                Indeed – a monopoly in a free market can only exist theoretically – in reality, it is impossible.

                A free market monopoly could only exist if the company was ‘perfect’.

                It had a perfect product -where continuous development occurred at a pace faster than competition could market, at the perfect price -high enough to profit, low enough that the investment of competition is too high to have a ROI worth investing. Now, this is remotely possible – very unlikely – but remotely possible.

                However, it would also require prefect suppliers – and this is where the theoretical possibility turns to impossible.

                A perfect supplier would need to be a monopoly as well – perfect in every way – which would require THEIR suppliers to be perfect and a monopoly – which would require THEIR suppliers to be perfect and a monopoly, and so on.

                In other words, for a Free Market monopoly to exist, every business and enterprise in the market place would need to be a monopoly!

                Thus, a free market monopoly, which requires the whole economy to be a monopoly, cannot exist

          • D13:

            You say take Govt out of the equation, but then you quickly put it back in:

            “Freeze out competitors and pay no taxes…except income taxes and local property taxes, that, under free will can be manipulated and can be sheltered with LLC’s.”

            AND

            “I even have the capacity, that through contacts and friends in Austin, I could probably be successful in creating new start up provisions that would be cost prohibitive for competition to start while grand fathering me. Is this not a monopoly? Could I not go unchecked? Free will?”

            And No, this is not a “free market” monopoly. Yes, it is a classic example of a Govt protected monopoly. Yes you can go unchecked, you have govt helping you. It is NOT free will nor is it a free market.

            Of course now your cost of business just went up exponentially because those friends in Austin need new shoes for their kids and swimming pools, and new cars, and………………. And if you don’t pay up your new competitors will.

            YOU ARE TOAST regardless how you slice it.

            • It was hypothetical, JAC….on the govt. I am NOT doing that at all…will not do that because it violates my ethics. But, I bet that I could. However, are you saying that government is still involved because I can manipulate the current laws to my benefit on taxes? How so?

              • D13

                Yes.

                Govt creates the LLC loophole which you use to your advantage.
                It creates the Inc. loophole to protect you personally from the consequences of your unethical behavior, which you use to your advantage.

                Govt creates the advantage of one group over another, thus the market is not free. Taxes are used to control behavior. By utilizing them you are using the advantage provided for the purpose it was intended. Favor one group over another.

              • NOw, I guess it boils down to unethical and whose ox gets the horn?

              • Rand once wrote it was not unethical to use the govt. system to your advantage. You are simply trying to get back the money they took without your permission in the first place.

                I try to live the other way, but the system is stacked so heavily one can not ignore it all the time. In fact I would be insane to ingnore the “breaks” offered at the expense of my family.

                And of course, your deeper ethical standard is to self and family.

                Hope that helps you sleep better.
                JAC

              • I, again, agree with JAC.

                Wherease I do not deal with government when at all possible, I use whatever rules exist to my advantage.

                You are in a game that is next to impossible to ‘not play’.

                The rules of the game you cannot stop playing are wholly stacked against you and in favor of a small elite of players.

                Any loophole that allows you to take an advantage away from this elite should be seized – you’re losing the game anyway, it just makes the score a little closer.

              • But the same loopholes ARE available for everybody….how does that make it government controlled then, if everyone can use LLCs and INC’s?

              • D13:

                They are not available to anyone. Not all businesses or folks in business are prepared for such. Look at the paperwork requirements for example, vs. a sole proprietor.

                The LLC rules are not the same for all states by the way. Some require actual partners, sorry…other investor/owners.

                The fact that everyone can theoretically get govt protection does not eliminate govt control. You no longer have to worry about personal lawsuit because the govt is protecting you.

                They are controlling one of the biggest market forces available to consumers against the unethical. Personal liability lawsuits.

              • ok…understand your position.

              • Again! JAC is correct.

                In a free market, cash (and therefore the buyer) is King.

                This law protects the SELLER at the diminishment of the Buyer’s power.

          • I have a service that I am producing…not a product but a service. So far, in a 5 square mile area, I have produced this service at a cost under what the others can do it for. I am unmatched.

            A monopoly can only exist if by force, you can prevent competition.

            Because you are able to supply a service economically better than competitors does not make a monopoly.

            The moment you can no longer supply your service economically (or less so), competition will come. It is at this point that the prove (or not) that you are a monopoly is tested. If they are disallowed by law to compete, you are a monopoly. If they are not, they will compete and you are not a monopoly.

            Unless you have a government writ or permission, you cannot become a monopoly.

            There have been numerous entities that tried but none can do it so far. People want my services at my price and they will drive for it. I am now broadening my sphere. My sole point is, through competition, to move into another area, and provide services for lower than my competitors and I know they do not have the staying power. Once I have established my self, I will raise my prices for that same service.

            Then, you will attract competition – unless the barrier to entry is government license.

            Then I have another area in mind after that. Your theory is that people will control me by choosing to either pay or not pay. So, I can play with my prices to find their breaking point, correct?

            Correct. Free market system is “Highest Bid wins”

            I also have the monetary staying power to eliminate others that wish to break into my line of work. My goal, in two years, is to be the only provider of this service in all of west Fort Worth…there are none in east Fort Worth. The closest provider is 18 miles away. So, have I not created a monopoly of sorts, in my regional area?

            No.

            What you have done, however, is subsidize everyone in Fort Worth using your services.

            To eliminate your competition, you have had to lower your prices near or below your cost.

            You have been selling your self far below what the market for your services is willing to pay. Thus, you are subsidizing them.

            You continue to do this until competition, who cannot afford to subsidize the public, quit.

            Your plan, then is to raise your price to equal or higher than what the market values your service to recoup your subsidization losses.

            However, as soon as you do this, you will create a market for the return of your competition – who will feast on your overpricing.

            To eliminate competition, you will have to drop your prices back to subsidizing level, again.

            Your customers love you, until you go bankrupt, then they will replace you with someone else.

            I have legal contractual arrangements with my independents that in order to do business with me that upon leaving, they cannot start a competitive program within a 50 mile radius for three years.

            Good luck getting them to sign. Why would they? If they are the ones doing the work, why do they need you?

            If anyone moves into east Fort worth to try to emulate me, I have the staying power to compete next door and run them out of business, then close down, in that area and keep my prices at the breaking point.

            All you will do is drive your prices down to barely profitable, if that.

            To eliminate competition (or prevent it from entering) you will be subsidizing your customers.

            As I said, your customers love you.

            Is this not a monopoly?

            No.

            Because you are merely subsidizing your customers allows you to market to them. But are they complaining?

            Hell no!!

            They love you!

            They are making a killing off of your business model!

            As soon as you are unable or unwilling to subsidize, you will raise your prices – and all your competitors will flow right back in to reap the reward of high prices.

            Only if you have government force to prevent them from doing so, can you recoup your subsidization.

            I even have the capacity, that through contacts and friends in Austin, I could probably be successful in creating new start up provisions that would be cost prohibitive for competition to start while grand fathering me. Is this not a monopoly?

            Now you’re talkin’ monopoly.

            By the use of government writ to create barriers of entry for your competition is the only way you can become a monopoly

            Could I not go unchecked?

            If you are able to get government to create your monopoly, why would government work to un-create it?

            The only way would be for the consumer or your competition to be more active in government then you – but you’re there first.

            It would take years of politics for them to displace you.

            Free will? As long as demand is there and I control demand by controlling prices, is this not a monopoly?

            Controlling prices cannot create a monopoly.

            You are subsidizing your clients.

            Controlling barriers to entry via government is monopolization. Now you can raise prices without fear of competition, because price is not the issue – licensing is the issue and wholly subjective to political whim.

            You can prevent even those who are more efficient then you – price no longer matters, all that matters is politics. Now you’re a monopoly.

            Should it be allowed to go unchecked?

            Government gives and takes away. Who checks government? Why, the government! Nice loop.

            I am even predicting that people will not drop my services no matter the price because it is ego driven and I understand that and can exploit that. Is this not a monopoly?

            Why does ego determine monopoly?

            People buy “designer” crap for 10x the price for their ego – that doesn’t make the ‘designer’ monopolists. Just smart marketing to those that have more money then brains.

            The only thing that would stop me would be my OWN ethics and a government edict but, under your philosophy, let’s take government out of it as far as stopping me.

            Tell ya what. Give it a try. Let me know how it worked out after you go bankrupt.

            Understand the flow of competition – it always appears when the profit margins rise. It is unstoppable except by government writ.

            Profit attracts people who want to make money.

            The only way you can operate without competition is to operate at a level where it is NOT profitable. However, this is unsustainable UNLESS you have an incredibly efficient business, working at the edge of costs/price, and constantly work to be the most effective, efficient and lowest price offering to your customers.

            And if you can do that, who would complain? Certainly not your customers….

            Alcoa is the closest thing to a monopoly in producing Aluminum. They work hard every day to cut costs, improve efficiency, and sell at the lowest price possible and still eek out a small profit.

            The consequence is that the cost is so low, we throw away aluminum cans in the garbage.

            Total free will. would you consider this ethical?

            Sure, up to using government to stop competition.

            As I said, who would complain?

            What if I could end up controlling the mid cities, creating a demand that people would drive 45 miles for and control my prices to control demand?

            If your prices are so good that people will not find your services within 45 miles, good on you!

            Your customers love you!

            Freeze out competitors and pay no taxes…except income taxes and local property taxes, that, under free will can be manipulated and can be sheltered with LLC’s.

            How you organize your affairs to avoid taxes and costs, more good on you.

            • Thank you, sir, for your reply. My profit margin is 15.4% currently at my prices. I guess I should be glad that Pelosi or Reid are not after me…after, am I not considered as making obscene profits?

              FYI….I do not understand it either but I do not have a shortage of independent contractors. Very interesting indeed. Actually have a waiting list.

              As far as ego is concerned….oh, yes…it is directly aimed at the ladies. Not designer anything….not a product. Just a way of reducing the look of aging by 81% and reducing cellulite by almost 91% (90.9). Believe it…women will drive 100 miles for a hair dresser….more for younger looks…and indefinitely for no cellulite..well, little….have not gotten rid of it 100%…not yet. No surgery…no invasive procedure…not subject to FDA….just a procedure and combination of products already FDA approved. THAT is where ego comes in. 🙂

              But thank you for your response. It was as expected except you made a point I did not consider. Thanks.

              • v. Holland says:

                Where can I sign up???? 🙂

              • One only has to come to Fort Worth. 🙂 But, I would give you a courtesy procedure….because…the beauty of it…it is not a one time procedure. It is like exercise…want to keep the look? Keep coming.

              • v. Holland says:

                Well aren’t you sweet!-but alas even with a free procedure I’m afraid that having to continue to come back to Fort Worth might get a little expensive, could move there or better idea,why don’t you branch out and send some of those independent contractors down my way. 🙂

              • And that is where, V?

              • v. Holland says:

                Actually, it would be up my way-Tennessee-close to Memphis

              • v. Holland says:

                We’re also currently looking for another business to buy-any plans to have franchises.

              • I am beautiful as I am, I’d only come to if
                (1) I am able to duplicate it profitably where I am.

                I’m a business man, and the business of looks is a good business.

              • v. Holland says:

                If I was you D13-I wouldn’t let him come.

              • Women, BF, he said Women……

              • Thank you, sir, for your reply. My profit margin is 15.4% currently at my prices. I guess I should be glad that Pelosi or Reid are not after me…after, am I not considered as making obscene profits?

                Heck no.

                Designer clothes reaps profits in the range of 300% to 800% – jewelery, 1500% or more.

                By the way, I would like to know more and see if it is applicable for me.

                I’m always interested in business with a good margin and a natural barrier to entry.

                If it is interesting, we can discuss licensing agreements, or I trade Ideas to protect yourself from *you know who*

                FYI….I do not understand it either but I do not have a shortage of independent contractors. Very interesting indeed. Actually have a waiting list.

                The market place is probably seeking high ROI businesses to place labor and capital. Naturally, it would find you.

                As far as ego is concerned….oh, yes…it is directly aimed at the ladies. Not designer anything….not a product. Just a way of reducing the look of aging by 81% and reducing cellulite by almost 91% (90.9). Believe it…women will drive 100 miles for a hair dresser….more for younger looks…and indefinitely for no cellulite..well, little….have not gotten rid of it 100%…not yet. No surgery…no invasive procedure…not subject to FDA….just a procedure and combination of products already FDA approved. THAT is where ego comes in. 🙂

                You’ve got a winner! A persons looks often represents their own self image, and the reverse – how they look creates their self-image.

              • correctomundo….USW has the email. Look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps a connection….who knows, maybe I can pull you to the side of D13….naaah.

                🙂

              • The pull of gravity is one way – towards the Dark side and freedom!

                I’ll touchbase and we can talk…

              • Alright…..give it up, D13. Do I really need to come to Fort Worth? You need to get online with a website…….

            • Failed to answer a question you posed. Sorry. Here is the answer.

              BF says: Good luck getting them to sign. Why would they? If they are the ones doing the work, why do they need you?

              D13 says: In order for them to do my procedures, they have to be taught. They also pay me for this, however, I do have in place a proprietary user agreement that they must sign. The user agreement bars them for 10 years on my procedures. The three year 50 mile limitation is something completely different since I also offer another service. In addition, I have specific products that they have to use that they do not have the formula for but I am sure that a good chemist can beat that.

              • D13:

                Have your lawyers reviewed your limitations on contractors?

                States differ but there are limits to the limits one can impose, legally.

                Damn, more govt interference. See how it crops up everywhere?

              • yessir….did not make a move before it was “blessed”.

      • I think Matt presented a pretty good case against regulation’s potential effectiveness (perhaps unwittingly).

  4. Bottom Line says:

    People like Geithner with his criminal endeavors, only serve to further illegitimise our monetary system. IMHO, this cannot and should not be tolerated, as anything that successfully undermines our system is and/or could be a serious threat to our nations welfare. Because we have a bunch of crooks in charge, our system is becoming unstable.

    So I am compelled to ask…What are we gonna do about it?

    • I received this from a friend of mine…………………………….

      We were in slow-moving traffic the other day and the car in front of us had an Obama bumper sticker on it. It read: “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8”.

      My husband’s Bible was lying on the dash board & he got it & opened it up to the scripture & read it. He started laughing & laughing. Then he read it to me. I couldn’t believe what it said. I had a good laugh, too.
      Psalm 109:8
      “Let his days be few; and let another take office. ”

      Also, please pray for his salvation!

      • Bottom Line says:

        Funny, lol.

        I also find it interesting that the only answer I got to the question of “What are we gonna do about it?” is to pray.

        • That was deliberate on my part, kinda with a
          crooked smile.

          Flags says big business and big government support each other. VDLG will be a long term fix. Short term, I have to agree with D13, there are steps we can take to stop the GE’s and Goldman’s from screwing us at will.

          I think GOOOH’s ideal of going after the house has the best chance of timely results. The Tea Parties and Project 9/12 may also be a force.

  5. Common Man says:

    I must say this regime does seem to have a plethora of schemes and plots to carry out their plan of control. Every time we turn around they have another trick up their sleeve.

    I take my hat off to the diabolical minds that have carefully calculated, plotted, planned and executed the obvious effort to take complete control of a beloved nation.

    They are working diligently to overthrow a nation and re-engineer it as they envision; into some kind of “ism”. As I have claimed before, elect a charismatic leader, obtain a majority in Congress, appoint authoritarin figures in posession of calculated battle plans, assume control of the financial world, invade industry, embrace the unions, defy the Constitution and enlist foreign governments to assist, remove the rights of the citizens, and manipulate the media are all key elements to topple a weakened society.

    This is not a group of individuals banned together to promote a utopean plan to assist the downtrodden, poor, or less fortunate, NO, it is an organized plan to obtain control over an entire nation and it’s people.

    There is a crack in the damn that they did not envision or plan for, and that is the awakening of the sleeping masses. Each day more and more wipe the sleep from their eyes and begin to ask “What the hell?”. It is this growing populace that will eventually regain hold of the reins and bring the nation back around. We just don’t know how much damage will first be realized.

    It is time for all free men and women to realize their very lives and liberty’s are being ripped from their hands to be burned and banned. It is time for all of us to put aside our petty differences and unite around a common cause; to regain control of the people, by the people and for the people. We cannot expel our energies arguing less pertinent issues like ‘financial or industrial regulations’, abortion rights, Gay rights, eminent domain, public education, Iraq, Afganistan, foreign policy, illegals, climate change etc, etc.

    I offer this: Is it possible that these issues, regardless of how ever important they are, might just be sideshows? Are we missing the main attraction in the big tent because we are so caught up in the circus and/or carnival barkers touting their trades and attractions?

    Is it possible that through a historic calculated plot we are being diverted away from the apparent or obvious effort to turn us all into a ‘herd’?

    Look at all the ‘crap’ being thrown at us each day that we are expected to digest and deal with. There is so much gong on around us that we don’t know which way to look sometimes. It doesn’t matter whether you are liberal, conservative or moderate, all you have to do is pick up a paper, turn on the TV or log onto the internet and you are blasted with issue after issue designed to draw you in and stir your emotions.

    THEY ARE DIVIDING AND CONQUERING!!!!!!!!!!!

    We need to focus our attention specifically on the effort of the government to ‘herd’ us, and direct our energies towards regaining individual liberties.

    We need to realize that regardless of the ‘act, bill or proposition’ originating from the government we must demand a “NO!”.

    Nothing good can come from those whom strive to control us, therefore everything offered from them is corrupt and laden with the yokes of oppression.

    CM

    • Bottom Line says:

      CM,

      You just said quite a bit. Nice post.

    • CM – Saving myself some time – DITTO!

    • Careful there CM. You’re saying some of the same things I’ve been saying for months, both here and off-line. Folks will think your crazy, hateful, racist, and or stupid if you don’t watch it 😉 Of course, that doesn’t mean your wrong. I agree with you completely. The KSM trial is a perfect example of a side show used to distract the masses and keep us agrueing amongst each other while the power and money grab continues out of sight. My question is how do we get most if not all, Americans to see that they are being manipulated? They’d rather kill the messanger than consider the message.

    • Morning, CM. Nice post.

      • Common Man says:

        D13;

        Was fortunate this past opening day. Nailed a huge buck. He scored in the 150-160 range and had an inside spread of 19 inches. Big bodied boy too, hanging weight was 210. I am guessing, but from his teeth I would say a 4 or 4.5 year old.

        I know the hat racks are bigger in Texas, but ya’ll don’t get the big bodies we do here in Michigan.

        Hope you are well

        CM

        • Yes….we do not get the big bodies….too damned many deer. Have to go to the big bend area to bag a mulie for the big bodies.

  6. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    As I have pointed out before, the Fed, the Treasury, Goldman Sachs, and several other mega-banks and mega-corporations are all run by exactly the same people. It is just a giant revolving door where people work for Merrill or Goldman, then come head up the Treasury or the Fed or work for one or the other, and then when they are done, they go right back to the mega-banks.

    With this arrangement firmly in place, why should it come as any surprise to anyone that the actions of the Fed and the Treasury are going to favor the mega-banks? To put it colloquially, “C’mon! Y’all ain’t stupid!”

    As BF CONTINUALLY points out, government ENABLES mega-corporations, by just such arrangements as are patently obvious here! Make the government truly small (or perhaps even non-existent) and you eliminate this horrendous enabling partnership.

    In modern psychobabble terms, big government and big corporations are co-dependent. Eliminate one, and the other will fall under its own weight. As the people of this country, it will be VERY difficult to limit government or replace it with something with a true moral foundation, but that will be MUCH easier than eliminating mega-corps without taking the steps needed to limit or replace government.

    Oh, and I cannot resist relating to you all this last comment which my friend Greg uttered the other day:

    “If Bush was in the pocket of big corporations, Obama is in their pants!”

    Change we can believe in apparently means taking all of the really bad Bush policies and magnifying them by a factor of 5 🙂

  7. There is a strong message here regarding the state of our media. Hint, its not about Dobbs or Obama. There is a “confession” made that you all need to understand.

    http://video.foxnews.com/11663423/factor-exclusive

    • I happened to catch this interview last night. Interesing that Dobbs said his stance had not changed and when he was vocal during the Bush Adm. against illegal immigration and not happy with Bush, it was OK. Now when he is saying the same things against illegal immigration but BO is in charge, it did not go over.

      Also found it interesting that CNN (siNN) claims they want to go with straight news – no opinions and that was why Dobbs was becoming unpopular. Yeah, right.

      • Kathy my dear, you missed the real message.

        Also remember Dobbs said absolutely no one asked him to stop doing what he was doing while he was doing it. They let him run. It was the outside viewers that cooled. CNN ratings, including Dobbs were tanking. But even this is not the real message.

        Hint, we are not getting news from most outlets. We only think we are getting news.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Opinion is what works, opinion is what drives ratings (opinion is NOT news!).

          However, I find this analysis flawed in some respects.

          I would say Fox and MSNBC are about equally opinionated, although in different dirrections. Fox has very good and increasing ratings, MSNBC has ratings that are lower than “in the toilet”.

          So I personally disagree that it is “opinion” that drives ratings. I think it is “opinion that more people actually can relate to” that drives ratings.

          • Peter:

            But you assume that MSNBC is concerned about total ratings.

            I’ld bet their ratings are UP within the demographic they are looking to capture.

            That is the real point. Once a belief develops that “opinion” is what drives revenue then media becomes a business that fights for market shares whereever they can be attained. Home improvment crowd, the food crowd, the lefty crowd, the righty crowd.

            The other point I wish to make is that we are being manipulated by “opinion” journalism. It is all around us on TV, radio and the print media. If you look you will see or hear opinion leaking into virtually everything. Sometimes it is as subtle as a facial expression or inflextion in a written sentence. The more those opinions are put forth the greater their effect on our thinking.

            Opinions are like any other advertising in some ways. The more often the message is carried the greater the number of “buyers”.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Good point JAC,

              MSNBC may well have exactly the ratings that they desire within the demographic they are trying to capture, although I cannot prove this one way or the other.

              But the main point (opinion is what drives ratings) was definitely an important confession.

  8. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110173330.htm

    Papa Dawg,

    We almost caught another one…. missed by a few thousand kilometers….

    • Pretty close, galaxy speaking. 7 meters wide…wonder what the impact would have been and how much would have survived the atmosphere. Be interesting research and a respite from politics.

      • I read that it would be equivalent to a a 500kilo ton nuke or 10x Hiroshima.

        • Nah it would have just burned up in the atmosphere, not enough mass.

          • No, I would have exploded above ground, like the 10 m asteroid explosion in Indonesia in Oct. (that one was estimated at 50 kt explosion – large enough to set off international monitoring stations for nuclear weapon tests 10,000 miles away).

            The ‘burn up’ only if they are very small and/or if they are moving too slow.

            Simple calculation:

            The thickness of the atmosphere – up to the Stratosphere is about 40 miles. The rock was traveling in excess of 25,000/hr. – it would cross that distance in less than 5 sec.

            The surface – marginally – begins to burn away as it goes through the Stratosphere.

            When they hit troposphere, the thickness of the air increases substantially and resists compression – and the rock slams into it like it hit a wall – causing the atmospheric detonation.

            If it larger, it will continue to strike the ground – and if it is really large, like the one the hit the Yucatan a million years ago, it will punch a hole into the crust of the earth – setting of global devastation.

  9. Judy Sabatini says:

    Morning All

    Just doing some reading for now.

    Hope you all will have a good day.

    Judy

  10. I posted this link a few weeks back, but it bears repeating. They are all in this together and we need to get a large paddy wagon head to NY and round them up and then head to Washington and get the rest. Put them into a cell together and throw away the key.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/30481512/wall_streets_naked_swindle/print

  11. Here is a little summary of the stock market so far today provided by MSNBC:

    “Stocks mostly fell Tuesday as investors found little to pull them into the market after two weeks of big gains. A rebounding dollar also sapped buying sentiment.”

    Now, any of you young financial wizards want to explain to folks here why a “rebounding dollar” is reason for people to stop buying stocks.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      If the “real value” of a stock remains relatively constant, the price of that stock (in dollars) will rise as the value of the dollar falls, and will fall as the value of a dollar rises.

      Make sense?

      So, if the dollar falls to 0.33 Euros (for example), and the “real value” of IBM stays relatively constant over that time period, the price of IBM in dollars would double.

    • Foreign investment.

    • OK I guess I’ll have to do it.

      The stock market is betting on inflation devaluing the dollar.

      The run up in the market exceeds the “experts” inflation predictions.

      Who do you think is more likely to be right?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        The market usually has a way of being more right than the experts.

        Look at gold for example. It just keeps going up in spite of the dollar being relatively “stable” vs. other currencies right now.

        We have a strange factor taking place right now:

        A huge stock rally and a huge gold rally. This NEVER happens!

        Why is it happening now? Because the current investing strategy is “anything but cash”. Instead of Cash being King, Cash is now CRAP.

        The problem with stocks is, eventually you have to turn them back into cash! Most people will not trade you goods for stock certificates. Most people WILL trade you goods in exchange for gold and silver though!

  12. How depressing….

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/11/15/2009-11-15_the_worst_is_yet_to_come_unemployed_americans_should_hunker_down_for_more_job_lo.html

    The worst is yet to come: Unemployed Americans should hunker down for more job losses
    BY Nouriel Roubini

    Sunday, November 15th 2009, 4:00 AM
    Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

    While losing 200,000 jobs per month is better than the 700,000 jobs lost in January, current job losses still average more than the per month rate of 150,000 during the last recession.

    Also, remember: The last recession ended in November 2001, but job losses continued for more than a year and half until June of 2003; ditto for the 1990-91 recession.

    So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. In other words, if you are unemployed and looking for work and just waiting for the economy to turn the corner, you had better hunker down. All the economic numbers suggest this will take a while. The jobs just are not coming back.

    There’s really just one hope for our leaders to turn things around: a bold prescription that increases the fiscal stimulus with another round of labor-intensive, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, helps fiscally strapped state and local governments and provides a temporary tax credit to the private sector to hire more workers. Helping the unemployed just by extending unemployment benefits is necessary not sufficient; it leads to persistent unemployment rather than job creation.

    The long-term picture for workers and families is even worse than current job loss numbers alone would suggest. Now as a way of sharing the pain, many firms are telling their workers to cut hours, take furloughs and accept lower wages. Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.

    This is very bad news but we must face facts. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs. Recent studies suggest that a quarter of U.S. jobs are fully out-sourceable over time to other countries.

    Other measures tell the same ugly story: The average length of unemployment is at an all time high; the ratio of job applicants to vacancies is 6 to 1; initial claims are down but continued claims are very high and now millions of unemployed are resorting to the exceptional extended unemployment benefits programs and are staying in them longer.

    Based on my best judgment, it is most likely that the unemployment rate will peak close to 11% and will remain at a very high level for two years or more.

    The weakness in labor markets and the sharp fall in labor income ensure a weak recovery of private consumption and an anemic recovery of the economy, and increases the risk of a double dip recession.

    As a result of these terribly weak labor markets, we can expect weak recovery of consumption and economic growth; larger budget deficits; greater delinquencies in residential and commercial real estate and greater fall in home and commercial real estate prices; greater losses for banks and financial institutions on residential and commercial real estate mortgages, and in credit cards, auto loans and student loans and thus a greater rate of failures of banks; and greater protectionist pressures.

    The damage will be extensive and severe unless bold policy action is undertaken now.

    Roubini is professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University and Chairman of Roubini Global Economics.

    • Oh yes, the nail that sealed the coffin shut. Just brilliant.

      “There’s really just one hope for our leaders to turn things around: a bold prescription that increases the fiscal stimulus with another round of labor-intensive, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, helps fiscally strapped state and local governments and provides a temporary tax credit to the private sector to hire more workers. Helping the unemployed just by extending unemployment benefits is necessary not sufficient; it leads to persistent unemployment rather than job creation.”

      Is there no shortage of ignorance in the economic profession?

      • That stood out to me too. How can more of the same get a different result? I’m no economist, or superior intellect, but, good grief, this should be common sense. They’ve already tried it, and all its done is make things worse!

      • Maybe this moron is just stating the worst senerio in order to further his belief in continuing the governments present plan.

        The irony of it all is that should congress and obama get all their wishes this guy is probable correct.

        CM

      • No NO…JAC….Ignorance is bliss in that department…why do you think they are so happy?

    • And here is more of their “game”. Obey was a major author of the original stimulus, which as we know, was filled with pork and payback and other than some sign manufacturers promoting the stimulus, created few jobs. But now, so that he doesn’t get caught in the backlash, he is demanding accuracy from the WH on reporting these jobs. THERE AREN’T ANY AND YOU KNEW THERE WOULDN’T BE – DO NOT CLAIM SHOCK AT THE RESULTS!

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/17/congressman-blasts-white-house-faulty-job-data-government-web-site-849363506/

      • Kathy:

        Excellent observation. I did not comment right away on USW’s overall post but I firmly believe reports such as those referenced to be nothing but Bulldookey.

        The files of the govt are filled with reports issued by folks who don’t have complete understanding, were not involved in the actual decisions at the time, and who are trying to cover their own backsides. We called them the “O” agencies when I was with uncle.

        OMB, GAO, CBO, you get the idea. Always looking backward and always finding fault located where those asking the questions wish them to look.

        The reports are responded to in writing, testimony is given and then they are all filed away in the archives. Along with the lessons supposedly learned.

  13. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey all, just got this from my son, thought I’d share.

    Even if you don’t want to “add your name” to the list, at
    least check the list out before deleting….I usually don’t pass along these
    “add your name” lists that appear in my email, but this one is too
    important.

    This one has been circulating for months. Please, keep it
    going!

    To show your SUPPORT for Obama’s health care reform, please
    go the end of the list and add your name to the rapidly growing list below
    and send it on to your entire e-mail list.

    1.Nancy Pelosi
    2.

  14. Hehehe, more global warming? from FOX

    Russian Cruise Ship Carrying 100 Tourists Stuck in Antarctic Ice

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    MOSCOW — A Russian icebreaker carrying over 100 tourists, scientists and journalists on a cruise around Antarctica was struggling to free itself from sea ice but was not in any danger, a shipping company said Tuesday.

    The Captain Khlebnikov icebreaker is about 5 miles from clear water near Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea, German Kuzin of the Fareastern Shipping Company told Russia’s Vesti 24 television. He said neither the ship nor the passengers faced any risks.

  15. Judy Sabatini says:

    Thought I’d share some more funnies with you all.

    TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!

    An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car
    has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to
    the dispatcher: ‘They’ve stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the
    brake pedal and even the accelerator!’ she cried. The dispatcher said,
    ‘Stay calm. An officer is on the way.’ A few minutes later, the officer
    radios in ‘Disregard.’ He says.
    ‘She got in the back-seat by mistake.’

    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!
    >
    > ______________________________________________________________________
    >
    >
    > Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night
    > the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells
    > to the other sisters, ‘Was I getting in or out of the bath?’ The
    > 94-year-old yells back, ‘I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.’ She starts
    > up the stairs and pauses ‘Was I going up the stairs or down? The
    > 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to her
    > sisters, she shakes her head and says, ‘I sure hope I never get that
    > forgetful, knock on wood.’ She then yells, ‘I’ll come up and help both
    > of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.’
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!
    >
    > ________________________________________________________________________
    >
    >
    >
    > ‘I CAN HEAR JUST FINE!’
    >
    > Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine
    > March day. One remarked to the other, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’ ‘No,’ the
    > second man replied, ‘it’s Thursday.’ And the third man chimed in, ‘So am
    > I. Let’s have a beer.’
    >
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!
    >
    > _______________________________________________________________________
    >
    > A little old lady was running up and down the halls in a nursing home.
    > As she walked, she would flip up the hem of her nightgown and say
    > ‘Supersex.’ She walked up to an elderly man in a wheelchair.. Flipping
    > her gown at him, she said, ‘Supersex.’ He sat silently for a moment or
    > two and finally answered, ‘I’ll take the soup.’
    >
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!
    >
    > ____________________________________________________________________
    >
    > Now this one is just too Precious…LOL!
    >
    > Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years,
    > they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their
    > activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.
    >
    > One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said,
    > ‘Now don’t get mad at me … I know we’ve been friends for a long time,
    > but I just can’t think of your name! I’ve thought And thought, but I
    > can’t remember it. Please tell me what your name is..
    >
    > Her friend glared at her for at least three minutes she just stared and
    > glared at her. Finally she said, ‘How soon do you need to know?’
    >
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!
    >
    >
    >
    > _______________________________________________________________________
    >
    > SENIOR DRIVING
    >
    > As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang.
    > Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, ‘Herman, I
    > just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on
    > Interstate 77.
    > Please be careful!’ ‘Heck,’ said Herman, ‘It’s not just one car. It’s
    > hundreds of them!’
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!
    > _________________________________________________________________
    >
    >
    > DRIVING
    >
    > Two elderly women were out driving in a large car – both could barely
    > see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an
    > intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through. The
    > woman in the passenger seat thought to herself ‘I must be losing it. I
    > could have sworn we just went Through a red light.’
    >
    > After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the
    > light was red. Again, they went right through. The woman in the
    > passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was
    > really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous.
    >
    > At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went
    > on through. So, She turned to the other woman and said, ‘Mildred, did
    > you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could
    > have killed us both!’
    >
    > Mildred turned to her and said, ‘Oh, crap, am I driving?’
    >
    >
    >
    > TELL ME THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO US !!!!

  16. From Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index:

    Least corrupt:
    Singapore, Denmark and New Zealand

    Most corrupt:
    Somalia followed by Afghanistan, Iraq was 4th from the bottom.

    The United States, which was in 19th place compared with 18th last year, remained stable despite Transparency’s concerns over a lack of government oversight of the financial sector.
    The report also pointed out that the U.S. legislature is another reason for concern, as it is “perceived to be the institution most affected by corruption.”

  17. Amazing.

    • http://www.theonion.com/content/news/u_s_deports_lou_dobbs

      works better when I include the link…

      • Matt:

        OK, thats funny. But is that Ron Paul helping haul him away?

        • Sam Whitlock of the U.S. Border Patrol, who was injured during the arrest[, said] “He pulled a knife on me, like they will, and swore a bunch in Spanish and spit on us when we finally managed to grab him by the serape and throw him against a wall. But the important thing is that he’s now back where he belongs.”

          I nearly lost it when I read that.

          Of course Ron Paul isn’t helping haul him away. Ron Paul is just providing logistical support. Tancredo is doing the physical hauling. I hear they’re coming for Joe Scarborough next..

  18. Judy Sabatini says:

    HI ALL

    Just wondering how everybody is doing today. Hope all is well with everybody.

    Judy

  19. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi all,

    I decided to do a test — stay away and see if the attraction for SUFA was simply hero worship or figure out if SUFA is the real thing – a place where I can come, exchange ideas, figure-out who I am, be stimulated 😉 and just be comfortable? Guess what…It’s the latter! Oh…I have missed each and every single one of you. I’ve been following a bit and do see some new faces.

    Life has been tough over the last couple months. We’ve dealt with the death of my daughter’s Father and then the following week, her half-siblings’ Mother passed away. My Uncle passed away. It has all been very sad. I’ve been knee-deep in preparing for my upcoming legal battles – I don’t see any relief anytime soon on that end though.

    Here is my contribution for today…it’s a hijack though (Sorry USW)!

    Stupak: Health Care Bill Will Stall if White House Strips Abortion Restrictions

    See http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/17/stupak-health-care-stall-white-house-strips-abortion-restrictions/ for article.

    ***********

    I sincerely hope the darn thing stalls…Not because of the “dis”Honorable Stupak and 15 to 20 other “less-than”Honorables being upset that their unjust Abortion Amendment might get stripped out of the Bill (as suggested by David Axelrod). The whole bill in general is just upsetting! So, I do want it to stall… BUT, if we must (do you see me rolling my eyes here) have a Health Care Bill (i.e. public options that I’m paying for) shoved down our throats, then our illustrious Leader needs to take out this abortion Amendment.

    – Really, truly, the last thing that I want to do is pay for someone’s abortion. But, let’s face it, it is a LEGAL medical procedure (whether you like it, love it, dislike it or hate it).

    – Really, truly, the last thing that I want to do is pay for someone’s HIV treatment because the patient had unprotected sex or shared needles…But, let’s face it, it is a disease that must be dealt with.

    – Really, truly, I don’t want to pay for someone’s ingrown toenail because he or she cut down into the nail instead of across…but, let’s face it – it’s a medical problem that hurts that can be corrected.

    – Really, truly, I don’t give a hoot if your kid has acne, but, it is treatable, so let’s face (no pun intended) and treat it.

    My whole point here is that how dare our legislators attempt to cherry–pick for payment medical procedures based upon morality/belief. I do realize that in the current Medicaid, Medicare system, abortions are excluded – they shouldn’t be, but they are.

    A person’s healthcare is between the patient and their doctor; a person’s choice for obtaining said healthcare is between that person and who that person chooses to involve; if religious, then between that person and God or Allah or Buddha or Sam the Milkman.

    Best Regards to all,
    RS

    • v. Holland says:

      Why do people always say that objecting to abortion is based on a religious conviction-it can be- no doubt- but I objected to abortions other than for the life of the mother, which is a decision between one life or another and no one has the right to say you have to die- before I had any religious beliefs. My objection to abortion is that it is taking a life-and I do not have to be religious to believe that.

      • Richmond Spitfire says:

        Hi V…

        I have always leaned towards pro-choice. The older I get though, I lean more towards pro-life. My beliefs are not based upon religious beliefs, but are based on the “human/life” factor – maybe similiar to before you had religious beliefs..

        Regardless of my beliefs (be they religious or not), they are my beliefs and I refuse to force them upon another person in one direction or another.

        Have a wonderful day!

        RS

        • v. Holland says:

          Fair enough-it’s just that a lot of people say -Against abortion=Religious belief- which means that any argument against is null and void because of separation of Church and State-I find this argument irritating.

        • Spitfire, good to hear from you again. I think you nailed a key point on abortion.

          “I refuse to force them upon another person in one direction or another.”

          That describes perfectly why I identify myself as pro-choice. Its not that I agree with their choice, but that I see it as being theirs to make.

    • RS

      My dear southern belle. Sorry to hear of your misfortune these past few months.

      But I see despite all of that you are still on your game.

      Tip of the hat and very big hug.
      JAC

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hey RS

      You will always have friends here that love you.

      Judy

    • Abortion = Elective Surgery

      Are other electives going to be covered? Enhancements? Lipo?

      • Kathy:

        That is an excellent point, with the exception of the mother’s health of course. But since the Doctor must make the call, how do we know it is in fact elective and not necessary?

        I do wonder if other electives are included? Guess that would be up to the Face Panels and the Leg Panels. I want on the Breast Enhancement Panel.

        OK, got carried away there. Couldn’t help it, visions just popped into my head.
        LOL.

        Best wishes Kathy. Some really good points today.
        JAC

        • I have already applied for the boobie czar position. I am unsure whether I am radical enough to get the spot though. As I understand it, a pre-requisite is a belief that every woman must have the same cup size, and that those with DD will be forced to contribute some to those with A. I cannot get behind silicone redistribution.

      • Did I say enhancement was about women and their chests? Was actually thinking of men and body parts they might need enhanced…….

  20. Back on topic, old news

    http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2009/03/bloomberg-was-reporting-about-bonuses.html

    Tim Geithner and Congress claim that they got blindsided by the AIG bonuses late last week, before anyone had a chance to stop AIG from paying them. However, C-SPAN’s video library tells a very different story. Watch the clip from a March 3rd hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in which Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) specifically mentions the upcoming payouts of over $162 million in bonuses to AIG execs, the very same number that inflamed Washington DC this week . . . . .

    The BBC reports that Geithner negotiated the deal with AIG last fall:

    [Geithner] played a pivotal role in the intense negotiations which took place before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and also helped forge the deals involving AIG and JP Morgan. . . . . .

  21. Hi Ya’ll!

    With all the talk about “What the hell are they up to”, I received an email I’d like to share. I’ve always enjoyed reading the historical postings done here, Black Flags were always informative. So here’s a historian with a message.

    Disclaimer: This may scare the crap out of you! Viewer discretion advised.

    David Kaiser is a respected historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European Warfare to American League Baseball. Born in 1947, the son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C. , Albany , New York , and Dakar , Senegal .. He attended Harvard University , graduating there in 1969 with a B.A. in history. He then spent several years more at Harvard, gaining a PhD in history, which he obtained in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.

    He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United States Naval War College . He has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Williams College and Harvard University . Kaiser’s latest book, The Road to Dallas, about the Kennedy assassination, was just published by Harvard University Press.

    History Unfolding

    I am a student of history. Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus.

    Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

    We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

    We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has “loaned” two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of “we the people,” who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

    We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy.. Why?

    We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

    We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

    Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) – the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten…And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

    And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska .. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

    Mr. Obama’s winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?

    I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

    This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

    And that is only the beginning..

    As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s In those times, the “savior” was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative “losers” read it right now.

    And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his “brown shirts” would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did – regularly. And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand – the Great Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course,

    How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world. He did it with a compliant media – did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and ….. . .. change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

    If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It’s all there in the history books.

    So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

    Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most cultured country in Europe . It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors.. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

    As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

    I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

    I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

    David Kaiser
    Jamestown , Rhode Island
    United States

    I would like some opinions on this if there are any.

    G!

  22. From The Daily Reckoning. Ignore the ads. There is a good explaination of what JAC was talking about above….

    From: The Daily Reckoning
    Date: Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 6:38 AM
    Subject: Debts… They Grow Up So Fast!

    The Daily Reckoning
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Bill Bonner, reporting from London, England…

    Gold hit a new record yesterday. The price rose $22.50 to $1,139.

    And today we take up a foul and disagreeable task. We ask ourselves: what if we are wrong?

    If you bought gold when we first recommended it, ten years ago, you are in a very comfortable position. Gold sells for more than 4 times as much today. But what should you do now? And what if you didn’t go for broke on gold in the early ’00s? Is it too late to get in on the bull market?

    To give you a warning, in the following windy ambulation we come to no conclusion we haven’t come to before. We say gold is going to the moon. If we are wrong about when…we will be delighted sooner than expected…self-satisfied…and insufferable for years. If we are right, we may have to wait a long time before saying “I told you so.”

    — Outstanding Investments Metals Research Report —

    From Hulbert’s #1 Ranked Advisory Letter Over a Five-Year Period…

    Even if Gold hits $2,000 by the end of this year…here’s a hidden way you can get in for less than one cent per ounce

    Over the next two years, you’ll witness the greatest surge in gold prices in market history – at least 119% above where gold sits today, as I write this.

    But even better, I’ve just discovered a way for you to sneak into the soaring gold market for next to nothing, with what I call “penny-per- ounce” gold.

    That is, doing this is a “backdoor” way to own as much of a position in gold as you like… for the equivalent of paying a single cent per ounce.

    —————————————————————

    First, the press has certainly noticed the bull market in gold. How could it not? Most reporters say gold is going up simply because the dollar is going down. In the popular press, we found no other explanation. In fact, much of the notice of gold seems to occur within articles about the dollar. We found, for example, that the dollar is at a 15 month low…and, coincidentally, gold has just hit an all-time high.

    There’s something lopsided about this account of things. If the yellow metal has hit a record high, how come the dollar is down for only 15 months and not since the Flood? Makes you wonder if the dollar isn’t the whole story.

    Elsewhere, we find that the dollar is trading at $1.49 per euro. Wait a minute. We remember the dollar at the exact same level…was it a year ago…more…? And it’s been at that same level, more or less, all the while gold has gone up more than 10%.

    It’s not the fall of the dollar that is driving the gold market, in other words, it’s something else…it’s the fall of ALL paper currencies. For when the dollar goes down, so do the rest of them – more or less. No nation wants its currency to rise too much against the greenback. Americans are still the world’s biggest spenders. They spend dollars…not rubles…not euros…not zloties. A nation whose currency rises against the dollar is in a competitively weaker position. Its costs – in local currency – go up while its sales – in dollars – go down (it has to charge higher prices). Typically, central banks buy up dollars with money created for that purpose…thus increasing their own money supply and thus decreasing the value of their own local currencies relative to the dollar.

    Since all the world’s central banks, more or less, are doing this, all paper currencies are going down together – compared to gold.

    But wait, wouldn’t they be going down together against everything else too? If currencies are getting weaker…shouldn’t they be getting weaker against oil…and McDonalds’ hamburgers…and woolen underwear? The oil price is at $78 – where it’s been stuck for a while. Oil is a special case, but almost all consumer prices are stuck too. Take out energy and food, and consumer prices are deflating in the US. Put back in the energy and food and they’re just stuck. There is no sign of generalized consumer inflation – not in the USA and not in Europe either.

    The only thing that is going up is gold. There is a bull market in gold and gold alone. But why?

    According to the law of supply and demand, you expect the price of a thing to fall when its supply increases faster than the demand for it. In today’s news are two reports on gold production. One, from South Africa, tells that a scientist says the nation’s residual gold in-the- ground is much less than expected. It has been overstated by 900%, he says. Another report shows the output of from the gold mining industry clearly topping out. Gold supply, in other words, is increasing, but not as fast as it used to.

    The supply of paper money, on the other hand, needs no new discoveries. Since there have been huge increases in the monetary base of paper money all over the world, it is reasonable to expect the price of paper money to go down. Gold, traditionally the thing that paper money is priced in, should go up. Speculators are buying it now in anticipation. Even central banks are buying again. And nearly everyone expects the price to continue going up.

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    As near as we can tell, gold is properly priced already. Comparisons are rough, but an ounce of it appears to buy about as much stuff as it did 2,000 years ago. You can buy a suit of clothes for an ounce of gold – no problem. Go to Wal-Mart; you can buy 4 suits.

    As Roy W. Jastram wrote in his 1977 book, The Golden Constant, gold’s “price has been remarkably similar for centuries at a time. Its purchasing power in the middle of the twentieth century was very nearly the same as in the midst of the seventeenth century.”

    Gold…or the people who speculate in it…may be looking ahead. Or, they are dreaming. If gold is already about where it should be why would you pay more? You must expect paper currencies to go down…to buy less stuff. In other words, you’d have to be anticipating a fall- off in the value of the paper currency.

    It may come to pass exactly as they imagine it. Gold may rise and rise and rise…as paper currencies fall and fall and fall some more. In that case, we here at The Daily Reckoning headquarters as well as all of our dear readers who followed our advice 10 years ago will be delighted. Gold may hit $1,500 by the end of the year. By the end of next year it may be $3,000. By the year after, well…who knows…? “We told you so,” we will say.

    But there is almost always more under Heaven than speculators think. When we look into it, we see gaudy increases in the monetary base…but only very modest increases in M2, the money that buys stuff. What’s more the rate of increase for M2 has fallen in half over the last 8 months. It’s now only about 7% annually in the US. And when we look at the CPI we see no increase at all. And despite the ‘recovery,’ unemployment is still rising and house prices are still falling. So, if speculators see the price of stuff going up in paper currency terms, they must be looking way over our heads.

    To more fully describe our own state of mind, we don’t doubt that all the liquidity added to the world’s monetary system will eventually be soaked up by paper currencies. But it could take a long time; we might be dead before it actually happens.

    But since we are entertaining the possibility that we might be wrong; let us look at what is going on in more detail. If there were a real recovery – as announced in the world’s newspapers and proclaimed by its stock markets – you’d expect a rising increase in demand…leading to higher prices…leading to a higher gold price.

    Yesterday’s news brought word of greater retail spending than anticipated. This was greeted as more evidence that a recovery is actually underway. But upon examination, we discover that the evidence comes almost all from auto sales. We also find that the number crunchers contributed to the lift by revising figures for September. These are month to month movement numbers. So you can raise October’s number simply by lowering the number for September.

    What’s more, while sales went up…auto prices actually went down – in paper dollar terms. This doesn’t sound inflationary to us.

    Meanwhile, news reports said that fewer people are defaulting on credit card debt. The reports also tell us that delinquencies on credit card debt are up. So, we’d have to call that a draw.

    And then there’s the news from GM. The giant, government-owned auto company says it will repay its loans from the feds earlier than expected. But wait…we also find that the company continues to lose money. How then will it repay debt? Perhaps by refinancing!

    Other reports are similarly confusing and inconclusive. Profits are up on Wall Street. But wait…sales are down. You can increase profits by cutting expenses (getting rid of employees, mainly). But you can’t increase sales. And as long as sales are falling you have to expect lower profits in the future. (Stock market buyers…take note.)

    Our colleagues over at The 5-Min. Forecast sent through this chart, illustrating the “recovery that wasn’t.”

    “With the majority of publicly traded companies done reporting third quarter earnings,” writes 5 editor, Ian Mathias, “the trend is clear: Profits were way better than expected, revenue was flat at best.

    “Of what little we recall from freshman year, Finance 101 insists that profit equals revenue minus costs. Thus there really can’t be any questions left as to how the market pulled off this quarter…companies are simply trimming the fat at an incredible clip. Not exactly a long- term plan for growth.”

    The New York Times reports that job losses continue to be “deep and enduring.” Mortgage applications are running lower than they were 9 years ago. “More households report food shortages,” says a Wall Street Journal headline. And insiders are still selling their own companies.

    So, it still looks to us as if we are in a depression…one that will take many years to sort out. It is unlikely that the bull market in gold will reach its final blow-off top while the depression continues. But stranger things have happened. Eventually, gold will reach the apogee of its bull market. And when it does, we want to be ready for it. We will celebrate with champagne and sparklers.

    Still, we wouldn’t get out the party hats…not just yet.

    Until tomorrow,

    Bill Bonner
    The Daily Reckoning

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    —————————————————————
    The Daily Reckoning PRESENTS: “China?” It’s perhaps the most crucial one-word question facing investors in the new century. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to feature a few China-related articles with (hopefully) thought-provoking ideas for bulls and bears alike. In today’s installment, Hong Kong-based Puru Saxena tells us why he thinks the next age belongs to the Middle Kingdom. Please enjoy and feel free to send any comments to your managing editor here: joel@dailyreckoning.com

    Debts… They Grow Up So Fast!
    By Puru Saxena
    Hong Kong, China

    The 19th century belonged to Britain, the 20th century belonged to America and in the 21st century, China will rule the business world. Whether you like it or not, this transition is already underway and it will intensify over the coming decades.

    Throughout history, no empire has managed to rule forever. Instead, empires rise to power, they prosper and spread their influence. Thereafter, they over-extend themselves and then break down in some fashion. In fact, all the glorious empires of history had one thing in common – a spectacular collapse.

    Now, there can be no doubt that America ruled the economic world for the better part of the previous century. However, this powerful nation has now entered a terminal decline. The recent credit crisis and the failure of some of the largest American financial corporations is compelling evidence that the world’s largest economy is well past its prime.

    Today, America finds itself heavily in debt and to make matters worse, its demographics are also worsening. Unfortunately, the American leaders are attempting to postpone the day of reckoning by taking on even more debt! It is noteworthy that over the past year alone, America’s federal debt increased by approximately US$2.1 trillion and its projected budget deficit over the next decade is now slated to be almost US$9 trillion! If this does not shock you, then consider the chart below which shows the total obligations of the US government.

    As you can see, over the past six years, American unfunded obligations increased by almost 50% from US$79 trillion to US$114.7 trillion! Alarmingly, over the same period, American government revenue rose by only 12%! Now, you do not have to be a genius to realize that no entity can continue to increase its liabilities by more than four times the rate of its revenue. If this spending frenzy continues, commonsense dictates that at some point in the future, the solvency of the American government will come into question. When that happens, foreign capital will flee America, interest-rates will skyrocket and we will witness an epic currency crisis.

    Furthermore, it is worth noting that apart from the American government, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is also in serious trouble. In an ironic twist of fate, the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund has spent so much money covering bank failures over the past three months that it has completely run out of money! This implies that there is no capital available now to insure bank deposits held at American banks.

    Given the horrendous deficits and ugly debt obligations, the American government is now left with the following options:

    a. Raise taxes (not sufficient to meet obligations)
    b. Cut back on spending (highly unlikely)
    c. Default (unimaginable)
    d. Print money (only viable option)

    Remember, America is the largest debtor nation the world has ever seen and the only way it can repay its obligations is through a process known as quantitative easing (euphemism for printing money). In fact, this stealth confiscation of savings is already well underway. A recent report published by the Federal Reserve revealed that the American central bank purchased half of the newly issued US Treasuries in the second quarter of this year. Needless to say, the Federal Reserve financed these purchases by creating dollars out of thin air – a short- term fix but a long-term disaster.

    Let us put it bluntly; the days of American hegemony are drawing to a close and within the next two decades, China will become the world’s most dominant economy.

    If you are sceptical about our claim, you may want to note that twenty years ago, China’s economy was worth only US$342 billion and as of last year, its GDP had grown to US$4.4 trillion; representing an annual growth rate of 13.6%. Now, if China succeeds in growing its economy by roughly 8% per annum over the next two decades, its GDP will grow to US$20.5 trillion by 2029. At that point, China may well replace America as the world’s largest economy.

    It is worth keeping in mind that whereas American households are up to their eyeballs in debt, their Chinese counterparts have a savings rate of almost 40%! Furthermore, at a time when America and other nations in the West are struggling to stay afloat, China’s foreign exchange reserves have surged to US$2.3 trillion!

    Now, we are aware that many commentators are criticising China for the sheer size of the stimulus unleashed by its leaders. In our view, this ridicule is baseless because instead of spending printed or borrowed money, at least the Chinese are spending their savings.

    In any event, the stimulus applied by the Chinese policymakers seems to be working. Over the past seven months, money-supply growth in China has risen by 26% and loans have surged by 32%. In turn, this inflationary orgy is creating a residential construction boom. All this economic activity is in stark contrast to America, where despite all the policy-actions, private-sector credit is contracting.

    Look. The Chinese economy is roaring along…and you can be pretty certain that the country’s rapid growth will cause domestic consumption to explode. Already, roughly 900,000 cars are sold each month in China and by the end of this year, the Asian powerhouse will replace America as the world’s largest market for automobiles. Interestingly, similar trends of rising consumption can be observed in various household items such as refrigerators, motorbikes, mobile phones and so forth.

    So it seems to us that in this low-growth world, investors would do well to take a good hard look at high-growth opportunities like China.

    Regards,

    Puru Saxena,
    for The Daily Reckoning

    Joel’s Note: Mr. Saxena publishes Money Matters, a monthly economic report, which highlights extraordinary investment opportunities in all major markets. In addition to the monthly report, subscribers also receive “Weekly Updates” covering the recent market action. Money Matters is available by subscription here.

    Puru is also the founder of Puru Saxena Wealth Management, his Hong Kong based firm which manages investment portfolios for individuals and corporate clients. He is a highly showcased investment manager and a regular guest on CNN, BBC World, CNBC, Bloomberg, NDTV and various radio programs.

    Copyright (c) 2005-2009 Puru Saxena Limited. All rights reserved.

    — Outstanding Investments Metals Report —

    From Hulbert’s # 1-Ranked Advisory Letter Over 5 Years, Our Most Shocking Forecast Yet…

    GOLD $2,000

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  23. “Whatever the State saith is a lie;
    whatever it hath is a theft:
    all is counterfeit in it, the gnawing, sanguinary, insatiate monster,”

    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche;

  24. Just checking in, folks. Been very busy … mostly fighting a war with another left wing blogger but that came to a screeching halt (hopefully today). Of course I was accused of being “the new face (he posted my picture) of Right Wing America” because I’m against the terrorist trial taking place in NY. It was ugly for a while. I thought he’d extended an olive branch late the night before and I tried to respond in kind but he ignored me and was threatening to post an “I hate Charlie Stella” blog (i did you not). So, I counter punched and ended the nonsense it had become.

    I’m ripping about this dopey trial (you have no idea) and that was what had started the war with the other blogger.

    DOC wasn’t happy with it either.

    http://temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com/

    There’s an open apology to the guy I had it out with before the post about the trial and the new political party, which has to do with USW’s friend who is running in Maryland. She inspired me to discuss a new party. It’s probably half right and half left (I don’t expect converts here) but it’s all in good fun.

    I’m 100 pages into Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead … not bad at all and I can see where the extreme views are starting to take shap. It is intriguing, though … I’ll carry on.

    • Just curious Charlie, why all the uproar over the trial?

      G!

      • My angst or the guy who went crazy on me?

        For me it’s simple. I’m not happy it is being tried in federal criminal court (I’d prefer a military tribunal) but I’m crazed that it will be taking place in New York. This guy is one of their heroes. Let them prosecute it in DC if they want to make political points. We’ve been hit twice (the towers). It runs through our heads all the time what one lunatic can do to a crowd of people going/coming to/from work in Manhattan.

        I’d rather they just shoot the SOB’s wherever they are now or drop them from a plane over their home countries with anvils tied to their backs but that’s not gonna happen.

        • I would agree wholeheartedly that NY was a very poor choice. IMHO, New Yorkers have been through enough crap cuz of these people. I do agree that they should be tried as murdurers, in a Federal Court, anywhere but NY. They were not members of a standing army for a foreign nation, but were foreign citizens, captured and sent here to be judged by our legal system, by a jury of peers. That is, in my mind the correct way to deal with these losers.

          G!

          • Charlie, just for you I’ll call the POTUS and ask him to move it to my hometown courtroom. I’d accept that sacrifice to help the NYers out!

            G!

            • They need to be tried in Texas, Arkansas, or other states with death penalty.
              I have no interest in slaves, nor for paying for their pampering. Or maybe send them to Sheriff Joe’s tent prison?

            • Cool, brother.

              You nailed it for me; I’d prefer a military tribunal for the sake of sanity (because this will become an absurd circus) and because our army is now at war because of what I consider an act of war against us, but if they are determined to try the case in federal court, let it be anywhere but NY. We’ve gone through this twice now (Clinton-Bush) … and don’t kid yourself about how tough NY’ers are … no more or less than the next guy … but we’re all thinking about the possibilities of something happening again. I watch the remake of Pelham 1,2,3 the other night with my wife and I’m not sure if the guy used an Uzi or whatever but it was the first thing she said to me: “Imagine?”

              It is horrifying.

              • Having it in NY was a very poor decision. To me it shows a lack of consideration and caring for the people there, and that is inexcusable. I always said that despite my opposition to Obama’s policies, he was most likely a good man inside, but I have since had my mind changed.

                I will hope for the best and pray that nothing bad happens, but what a stupid decision!

                G!

    • Charlie:

      “extreme views “???

      Remember BF’s post the other day?

      Liberals want the govt to intervene in domestic affairs.
      Consdervative want the govt to intervene in foreign affairs.
      Moderates want the govt to intervene in both.
      Those who do not want the govt to intervene are called “extreme”.

      By the way, if you really want to understand what Rand is trying to say you will have to read more than her two big novels.

      Have you checked our USW’s link above to past multi article series? I think it was the 5th of the Resurrecting America series that summarizes Rand’s philosophy.

      In fact I hope you, Matt and Buck all take time to read that series. The last article isn’t important, just the first five.

    • Without a guilty plea, I doubt they can convict the guy.

      Of course, I also doubt he did anything about 9/11 – maybe the embassies or the US Cole or the Marine barracks – but not 9/11; the MO is all wrong.

      • BF, Why the MO not being right?

        • Al Qaeda had only attacked military and government targets, within their region of operation

          Marine barracks – Beirut
          USS Cole – Yemen
          Embassies – Tanzania and Kenya.

          Specifically, Bin Laden has stated that attacking women and children is against his version of Muslim law. It would be reasonable his followers hold the same view.

          So an attack, out of the region, directed at primarily civilian targets holds multiple MO shifts from the norm.

          • I humbly disagree when it comes to KSM.

            He had previously showed a willingness to target civilians in non-military targets.

            So it is totally within his MO.

            And I believe it was their goal to expand their sphere of operations in order to up the ante’.

            But it will be interesting to see what actual evidence we have in that regard.

            My question to you dear Flag. Will you accept Al Queda documents presented by the prosecution as “real” when the time comes? Or will you simply dismiss them as “forgeries”.

            • I’ve read lots of what is available in a simple search about him.

              Absolutely nothing is conclusive other than his own testimony – which is contrived.

              The government is skilled in creating false documents; this doesn’t mean all documents they have are false.

              I have a good nose for fakes.

              Let’s see what they have and let the chips fall.

              PS: I have no dog in this hunt other than the truth.

              • I do.

                The SOB tried to blow up the plane I was supposed to fly on.

                But then again, that is what the govt claimed.

                In the end my hunting dog may be nothing but a hot dog.

                I agree, lets see the evidence.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hello

        But didn’t he admit it? Didn’t he admit he was the master mind behind it?

        • After being tortured 183 times…..

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Didn’t know that.

            • It still maybe moot. I believe he wants to be convicted and executed – it would further his aims by trying to show the sham of the whole process.

              I would like to see a full trial with all the proper trial evidence – it could answer a lot of questions.

              I do not believe the government wants to show their evidence – because I believe it is shallow, incomplete and potentially could expose the weakness of the American justification for the wars.

              • Judy Sabatini says:

                You told me what you believe to be true and I told you what I believe to be true, we’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome is.

              • Based on all that torture stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole case gets thrown out before a jury is picked. The left would scream “blame Bush and Cheney” and provide ammo for 2012. Maybe that’s Obama’s plan.

                G!

              • G-Man

                Not if the prosecution DOES NOT use any evidence connected to the waterboarding.

                They should have plenty of evidence for the alleged crimes without that acquired subsequant to his excessive bathing.

                Remember, KSM was indicted for conspiring to kill me, and hundreds of others, in the mid 90’s. That conspiracy was broken so there should be evidence to prosecute on that alone.

              • v. Holland says:

                So why are they having it, IYO in civil court instead of military court?

              • Because he is not solider, he is a civilian.

                Thus, crimes committed by civilians are tried by criminal courts.

                IMO, he should have been tried in Pakistan, but I assume Pakistan waived extradition (as if they had a choice).

              • v. Holland says:

                Come on BF, even if by our laws he should be tried in a civil court(which I’m still thinking about, seems we don’t actually have a word that accurately describes this new type of war or people that we are fighting we may need to come up with some new ones and put some thought into what the rules should be)-that doesn’t mean that Obama’s administration is doing it this way in order to follow the actual Constitution. So really what do you think they hope to achieve?

              • V.H.

                We have the word, it is “criminal”. The other choices are POW, or non-combantant or unprotected non-combantant. There is War Criminal as well but I don’t think we want to go there.

                I have no idea what they really hope to achieve. I would hope it is trully justice but I am sceptical. Especially since they picked N.Y. for the trial. Thats an automatic request for change in venue.

                I am sceptical because both Political Parties have politicized this whole thing from the beginning, as in starting 8 years ago.

              • v. Holland says:

                I don’t know JAC-when these “criminals” start killing hundreds and 1000’s of people-we might need a better word-treason if they are citizens, something else if not.

              • V.H.

                I don’t think we need to names for the criminal.

                Perhaps more creativity in the sentencing.

                I am still looking forward to having KSM slop my hogs and clean out their pens every day.

                Just sayin.

              • Boy, that would be worse than death for KSM!

                😆

              • that was supposed to read “new names”

              • v. Holland says:

                As long as you build a really strong jail cell around that pig pin-he should fit right in. 🙂

              • V.H.

                No worries. He’ll be wearing an explosive collar with the trigger point at the edge of the property.

                His choice, hogs or suicide.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Not going to even get into that with you BF, we’ve been there before. I’ll just follow along for now. But, if I do have something to say, I will put my 2 cents worth in.

          • Dear Flaggy,

            I throw the bulldookey flag on 183 torture secessions. Barney theme song torture? I will agree torture took place, but we would have to agree on what is torture? A kid made fun of my nose in the third grade, (shudder) still not over that.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/opinion/3042533/On-torture-terrorism-and-all-that-jazz

            I’ve been thinking of this because of the coalition of musicians, including Pearl Jam and REM, who are currently demanding to know if their music was used to torture detainees at Guatanamo Bay. Unsurprisingly, to people who’ve had neighbours like I’ve sometimes had, incessant very loud music is banned by the UN Convention Against Torture.

            There is a British human rights group campaigning against music torture and, according to their sympathisers, death metal band Deicide’s “F Your God” and “I Love You” by Barney the Dinosaur were enlisted to crack the terrorist suspects. Former detainees say this tactic was one of the worst and most painful used against them and I think any mother of a young child in living memory would sympathise with that. That purple dinosaur has had it coming for years.

            Musicians can be ultra-sensitive about these things. Tom Morello, guitarist with Rage Against the Machine, is outraged that their number, “Killing In the Name of” was also used at Guantanamo. “The fact that music I helped create was used as a tactic against humanity sickens me,” he has declared.

            Naturally Metallica featured in the torture sessions; “Enter Sandman” has been cited; while Queen’s “We Are the Champions” was apparently a fave with US guards at Camp Cropper in Iraq. Come to think of it, that belongs on my drive-yourself-mad list as well.

            • Old buddy, LOI

              I throw the bulldookey flag on 183 torture secessions. Barney theme song torture? I will agree torture took place, but we would have to agree on what is torture?

              If you believe the government merely uses insults as a tool of torture truly demonstrates how badly the US has fallen.

              There should be absolutely no doubt that the “good guys do not torture”.

              But it isn’t even doubt.

              The US and their proxies have tortured children in front of their parents to force confessions or information…Have killed people by torturing them to death…

              How can this be defended?

              How can any of this be defended?

              All the while knowing that information from torture is completely worthless?

              The old war movies always had the Nazi’s torturing and the Americans giving the German prisoners medical treatments and cigarettes – and befriending them for the info.

              How times have reversed the situation….

              • BF, Hasn’t history taught us that even the kindest people can become the most vicious of animals to protect their own? Sadly, torture has been around as long as man, it is not defendable, but it is a fact of human activity. If your daughter was kidnapped, and you had one of the members of the gang that kidnapped her, would you not get that info you need to save her, by any means necessary?

                G!

              • “by any means necessary”

                Yes….however….

                Torture is a negative means.

                There is only one thing worse than no information.

                That is wrong information.

                There are ways and means to achieve good information – even under stress.

                The Germans perfected it – its called compassion and friendship (even if it is faked).

                It breaks down more barriers than fear.

              • I likbelow, too squishy

          • Actually he admitted it before he was tortured. Minor detail and probably irrelevant, but that is the case anyway.

            • I’d be interested in your sources, USWep.

              He was captured in 2003, and the CIA admits he had been sent directly to Jordon to be for ‘enhanced’ interrogation.

              Quote from USNews:

              During one or more of these interrogations, Mohammed confessed that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He also reportedly confessed to organizing the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia and the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.”

              • And that’s the point.

                Anytime torture is involved – it destroys the whole case – no matter how strong other evidence may be presented.

                It is a pollution of truth.

              • BF,

                I could be wrong or partially wrong. I will research it a bit better later when I have the chance. I am not sure about his admission under enhanced interrogation. I am fairly sure, though, that he admitted it before he was waterboarded. I don’t dispute that his confession was coerced, in any regard. If it weren’t, he would simply be pleading guilty at this point and it would be a moot point.

                USW

    • One last point (OK probably not) on this trial business. The Repubs are screaming about National Security secrets getting out in court evidence.

      There are established procedures to maintain secrecy of such information if it is Truly of that nature. I don’t know all of them but I know they have been used in the past. This includes protecting the identity of the CIA agents. He gets to face his accusers. NOT and audience nor the MEDIA.

      Anyway, I hope it Does Not turn into the circus feared by many. But if it doesn’t the Republicans are going to look like idiots. You should never go around shooting off your mouth with certainty when there is considerable uncertainty about the outcome.

      Best to All and Especially to those in New York Tonight
      JAC

  25. v. Holland

    So really what do you think they hope to achieve?

    Closure.

    They have to ‘do something’ with Gitmo et al.

    • v. Holland says:

      Personally, I think they want to satisfy their base(because they have disappointed them so badly) and remind everyone how bad Bush was-hoping to take the focus off themselves.

    • I do hope this doesn’t become another O.J. event. I also hope this whole trial thing is done so that the truth will be known, and justice, if proven guilty, can be served. My fear is that it is political. First, why N.Y.? Even McViegh was tried far from the crime (Denver). What are the likely outcomes and how do they play politically? I’ll try and guess:

      1. Perfect trial, found guilty. The truth is known. Obama claims huge political victory, claiming that Bush and the Repubs couldn’t get the job done.

      2. Hung jury or mistrial. Obama blames Bush again for his mistakes that are claimed. Political victory to a lesser extent.

      3. Charges thrown out or found not guilty. Once again Obama blames Bush and the Repubs for mishandling everything. This would anger many, and further help Obama politically.

      4. A circus trial with guilty as the result. During the trial, KSM testifies that because of torture, he told of plans that would have cost thousands of innocent lives throughout the world. These plans are all brought out in the trial and while found guilty, his testimony kills Obama politically and credits Bush and the Repubs with saving thousands of lives. Obama gets blownout in 2012 and we are all saved from the Obamanots.

      5. Japan makes a movie, Godzilla vs. The Obamanots. Godzilla wins again!

      Any thoughts?

      G!

      • v. Holland says:

        Okay 6. The trial is a circus but he is found guilty-Bush and Obama and America look bad-America 0 Terrorist 1

        • Obama has been making the US look bad since Jan 20th. Maybe he can help with your pigs in 2013!

          G!

          • v. Holland says:

            Maybe, but you will have to ask JAC-I’m not much for having crazy people on my property-except of course for a few family members-but you know blood-it’s a responsibility.

  26. The Irony and Hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    http://video.foxnews.com/11685042/gag-order

    • At the rate this Administration is going, we all might be feeling their pain! Where is the line in the sand going to be drawn? What will happen when they will blatantly cross that line?

      G!

  27. Cyndi P:

    Here’s one country you can scratch off your list of hidaways.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575452,00.html

    Can’t wait to hear the “justification”.

    • Remember Matt’s argument about ‘intent’?

      The government of the world cannot survive on intent. They must criminalize all the People – especially those that try to do what is right.

      When the People are wholly confused between doing right and doing legal – they become slaves to arbitrary rule.

      • True story….

        I became an “informal” mentor for a smart, young fellow at a company I was consulting to.

        I got a call one day from him … he found an abandoned backpack – with hard drugs inside.

        God bless him for calling me first! He wondered if he should be a good citizen and give it to the police!! Yeoh NOOOO!!!

        I told him to leave the bag, get a far distance away (but remain watchful) and call the police for them to pick it up. If he is found even touching the bag (let alone holding it) he could be charged with felony possession.

        A very good kid barely missed making a life changing mistake – by accident!

    • Wow. What stupidity on the part of government. In anycase, UK was never a consideration after 1997, when I moved back to the US from UK. It was already screwed up under the Tories. Obviously more so these days. South America is lookin’ okay. I’m waiting to hear back from distant relatives on some questions I asked.

    • Good story that seems shocking at first until you find out what the guy did before. The guy who handed in the gun a few months before had assaulted a parking attendant with a pool cue that resulted in the guy being put in hospital. He managed to get off on a technicality and the police remembered the case very well. They decided to not be lenient when he handed the gun in (which he should have called them about as any handling by himself would have destroyed any forensic evidence if the gun had been used in a crime). There is always more to stories, I suggest you find more than one source to your stories.

      • Bob:

        All you just did was make the story even more egregous.

        The COPS decided to go harder on him, and obviously the prosecutor as well, because his civil rights allowed him to get off on another, totally unrelated, case.

        I stand by the post Bob.

        And the saddest of all is that a jury of his peers didn’t recognize the travesty of justice. Lemmings, nothing but lemmings.

        • He broke the law and got the punishment for it, nothing more to be said. He knew it was an offence to carry an unregistered firearm in public, calling the police and letting them sort it out would have avoided this mess.

          • Yep, Bob you’re right.

            Bow before God almighty called government – who can do no wrong.

            If a mere mortal does what is right, but it is wrong by government, then it is wrong in the Universe!

            If the Government-God says the sky is now called Red – so it shall be known as Red!

            So saith the Lord Almighty!

            • If he didnt want to follow the law he would have been free to leave the country anytime. In regards to following the laws of the land which he has agreed to follow please explain what he did right in this situation?

              • The ol’ “If you don’t like being bludgeoned – you can always abandon your house” argument.

                What agreement did he make to that law of banal stupidity?

                …he found a dangerous weapon and turned it into the authorities for disposal…

              • When he should have contacted the police so they could remove it instead, he carried a firearm in public and would have destoyed any forensic evidence if it had been used in a crime. Sorry he agreed to live by the law by deciding to live here, just as you agree to live by the laws set in the US. If you disagree with laws set in the US can you break them?

              • Perhaps, he should have, but what he did was reasonable.

                Bob, you have no idea what laws you’ve broken today – did you agree to them all?

                He didn’t agree to that law (unless he has said so).

                I haven’t agreed to any law here either.

                By your position, if the law said you need to shoot left handed blond people, you agree to that, right?

                And yes, I have no obligation to follow what other men write on a piece of paper.

                Do you regularly obey what other men write on a piece of paper?

                If you do, let me know – I have some very interesting writing that says I own your house and car.

              • Think you have gone a bit off the rails here BF. I am sure I have broken plenty of laws due to speeding I sure as hell dont go to the police station and say “Sorry guys broke the speed limit again”. Phew, well sure am glad I dont have to follow the 70 mph speed limit on the motorway anymore as I dont agree with it, if I get pulled for doing 80 I will just tell the police officer I think the limit should be faster. I am sure he wont have any problem and let me go on my way. There arent any laws asking me to shoot blondes, there are however laws about carrying unlicensed firearms in public, lets stop going into fantasyville.

                Well I hope you get a better defence then “I dont agree with the law” if you ever get charged with anything, it will be a short trial.

              • Bob, see #33

  28. BF, I like your style. Your answers are well thought out. As far as the scenario I presented, I’m not sure that most people would be a panic, and doubt being nice would be considered.

    That wasn’t my point though, I was just saying that torture has been apart of human activity since the beginning. I’m not condoning it. Let’s hope we can keep our kids safe from these things, I’m sure that ripping eyelids off with pliers would be against our moral standards!

    G!

  29. Something to make you giggle!

    The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree and think 25 to life would be appropriate.
    **********************

    America needs Obamacare like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.
    **********************

    Q: Have you heard about McDonalds new Obama Value Meal? A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.
    **********************

    Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon? A: A fund raiser.
    **********************

    Q: What do Vanilla Ice, Eminem and Barack Obama have in common? A: They all made careers pretending o be black men.
    **********************

    Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary? A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.
    **********************

    Q: What’s the difference between Simba and Obama? A: Simba is an African lion while Obama is a lying African.
    **********************

    On Halloween you put on a false face and trick people. This year Barack Obama is going as – Barack Obama.
    **********************

    If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved? ….America !
    **********************

    If Nancy Pelosi has her face lifted one more time she’ll have a beard!
    **********************

    Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo? A: Bo has papers

    • Is this true?

      It’s a slow day in a little East Texas town. The sun is

      beating down, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit…..

      On this particular day a rich tourist from back east is driving through town. He stops at the motel and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

      As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

      The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

      The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

      The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

      The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

      The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

      At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the $100 bill, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

      No one produced anything. No one earned anything.

      However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is conducting business today.

      ——————————————————————————–

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hey G how you doing? I see you’ve been busy here. Me, not saying anything, just reading. Have to catch up.

  30. As I tried to explain before, whether a circus develops with the KSM trial will depend on the judge and lawyers. Thankfully they have precence to deal with the sensitive stuff. And yes, national secrets were still maintained.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34001021/ns/us_news-security/

  31. I am just feeling so deprived. Why can’t we keep up with all the other fasciolist countries. There should be a law to fix this injustice.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33999914/ns/business-us_business/

  32. Bob,

    Think you have gone a bit off the rails here BF.

    You’ve been on this blog long enough to know I have never been on the rails to fall off of them!

    I am sure I have broken plenty of laws due to speeding I sure as hell dont go to the police station and say “Sorry guys broke the speed limit again”.

    And probably neither would the subject of our discussion.

    You wouldn’t do that, because you know you broke the law.

    But he did not think he broke the law – in fact, I’d wager he thought he was being a responsible citizen in removing what your society would consider a deadly threat.

    There arent any laws asking me to shoot blondes,

    USWep hates when I use the “shoot left-handed blondes” argument – but, he understands my point.

    You stated laws are sacrosanct – obey them at your peril.

    I offered a law (loosely based on factual historical recorded) that requires you to shoot innocent people. Now, you and I know you wouldn’t do that – but now you’ve contradicted your position on the sanctity of law.

    So, why do you get to decide when a law is worthy of obedience or not, but deny that to others??

    (As far as court – do you really think they operate on logic and reason??)

  33. A move that signals the power of derivative departments over the legitimacy of outright investment.
    That the derivative scheme has been spared to wreak even greater future havoc on global markets is proof that Mr. Geithner knows not the basic tenants of sound finance.
    Value for Value is the primary of supply and demand.
    Derivatives reward speculative gains in default: as if so many planks nailed one to other could create a bridge to infinity… or value based profits.
    The Derivative market will strike again. Reality accepts no bounced checks.

  34. Most people of the time did not like Abe Lincoln and most of people of today love him and adore him.

    Why?

    Results were realized AFTER blood was spilt. Ignorance can never foresee this and most people choose to be ignorant.

    But in that case there was a fight, a struggle or a sustained effort with a logical strategy to gain something worth gaining. It is how Gandhi took down the British Empire.

    Why is our fight against terrorism or global poverty any different?

    Any kind of results come from lots of sacrifices, we all know this.

    Where is Gietner’s fight? What is Obama struggling for?

    I can’t say these stooges are of the same mind, yet we face more than what India faced against the Brits.

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