Friday, December 31, 2010

One Defining Moment of 2010 - May 6, 2010

It was the day of the Flash Crash. I was sitting in front of the computer, trading. Dow was down something like 400, slowly grinding downward all day. And all of a sudden the floor dropped. I thought a nuclear war must have broken out somewhere. Thank you algo bots for the scare much bigger than when Lehman Brothers went down. Back then, we knew what had happened (Lehman went bankrupt). But in May 6, there was absolutely no news that could have triggered the drop. I didn't feel any sense of someone, something, buying to support the market. None.

That particular date and time, the Senate was debating Bernie Sanders' bill on auditing the Federal Reserve. The Flash Crash clearly scared the s--t out of the Senators including Mr. Sanders, who opted for a much weakened version of the bill. That was convenient for the banksters, wasn't it? In addition, it was particularly good for the High Frequency traders who had gone short the week before and were doubling down on shorts that week.

Then, just as fast a Flash Dash happened, taking the indices back up very rapidly. No rhyme nor reason, both ways, that the carbon-based life-forms could comprehend. Many small retail investors couldn't access their accounts. I couldn't, though I wanted to buy. That's when I finally thought enough was enough, screw this. This ain't no market any more, where information is exchanged to assess the value of a company and allocate capital accordingly. The market is totally controlled by the algo bots, and they are used to bring about the desired outcome for the powers that be.

The Flash Crash of May 6, 2010 showed all who cared to see what a sham the whole edifice of capital markets had become.

For the record, this is a recording of the S&P500 pits that day, that moment. It was linked at Zero Hedge.

Happy 2011 Everyone!

Less than an hour and a half till 2010 ends here in California. I hope the year 2010 was a good one for you and your family. Not for the country most likely but we go micro here, to what we can still control. Thank you for reading my posts this year. Best of luck to you in 2011. Keep an eye on the macro issues so that you can protect your micros.

Here's some fun end of the year arts from Williambanzai7 at Zero Hedge. More at the link.

GDP Grows 14.7% in 2010 ..... in Singapore

I was looking for a cheerful bit of news outside CNBC and Goldman Sachs (who recently switched to cheerleading with their bright outlook on the US economy), and I found one. It's just not about the US economy, but cheerful nonetheless...

Singapore's 2010 GDP jumped 14.7%.

AFP via Breitbart:

Singapore's economy expanded at a record 14.7 percent in 2010, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Friday, in a sharp recovery from last year's recession for the city-state.

It was the best performance ever for Singapore's trade-led economy, surpassing the previous record 13.8 percent growth achieved in 1970.

The annual 14.7 percent surge announced by Lee is also at the top end of the government's growth forecast of 13-15 percent.

For next year, growth will moderate to 4.0-6.0 percent, Lee said.

"The Singapore economy recovered strongly in 2010," the prime minister said in his annual New Year speech.

"This is a dramatic rebound from the negative growth last year.

"We should rejoice in this exceptional performance, but please remember that it is also the result of special circumstances, and so is unlikely to be repeated soon."

Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 1.3 percent last year because of the global downturn when demand from the US and other developed economies collapsed.

Its GDP, valued at 247.33 billion Singapore dollars (191 billion US) in 2009, is highly dependent on external trade and any slip-up in the global economy will affect the city-state's economy.

A sharp recovery after a sharp decline. It seems to me that the city state's economy is much freer than what we have here in the US.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is "Dumb Money" Coming Back to the US Stock Market?

Is this a sign that the top is indeed in?

Zero Hedge reports that after 33 consecutive weeks of outflows, the money is flowing back to the US equity funds:

The inflection point has arrived. After pulling money for 33 consecutive weeks, and withdrawing over $98 billion in capital from domestic equity mutual funds, in the week ended December 21, the Fed has finally succeeded in getting the rotation out of bonds and into stocks as per ICI. After a total of $4.4 billion was redeemed from bond funds in the same week, mostly from municipals but also $837 million from taxable bonds (still a major decline from the almost $9 billion in bond outflows the prior week), domestic equity funds saw a token inflow of $335 million, compared to last week's $2.4 billion outflow. Just enough to halt the seemingly endless outflow. Still, since the bulk of the move seems predicated upon a move out of muni bonds, with $9.5 billion in outflows in December alone, should the muni crisis accelerate, and validate the investor concern, stocks as an asset class will certainly be impaired once the muni insolvency thesis start being played out... unless of course it is met with further action from Ben Bernanke in the form of QE3, as most Zero Hedge readers believe will inevitably happen. At that point, and as always when the Fed intervenes, all bets are off, suffice to say that gold will be well over $2,000 by then.

Go Ben! Before Congress takes away your power to print money so that Timmy can print on demand... (If you're interested, take a look at the bill (HR 6550) proposed by Dennis Kucinich, who seemingly has become a mouthpiece for the "Greenbackers" like Ellen Brown.)

At this point, I don't care how much Ben's gonna print, or Timmy's gonna print. Bring it on, so the whole system can crash and we get to start fresh.

Winter Wonderland in NYC Courtesy of Sanitation Workers and Mayor Bloomberg

As New York City is snowed under, it turns out the City's sanitation workers may have been contributing to this natural wonder. New York Post reports:

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

... The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.

and to collect fat overtime checks. They are ostensibly doing this to stick it to Mayor Bloomberg.

Emergency vehicles are stuck on the streets of New York thanks to them. Instead of sticking it to the billionaire mayor, they are likely killing people. One new-born baby in Brooklyn was dead probably because of them.

And what does Mayor Bloomberg do? Blame the public.

That's the public union and the elected official for you. And remember, taxpayers in New York City, you are paying for their destructive non-service and for their fat benefits and pensions while some among you are paying for it with their lives.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How AAA-Rated Foreign Banks Made Out on Ben's Term Auction Facility

Financial Times reports [emphasis is mine]:

The Taf was set up in December 2007 to provide one-month loans to creditworthy banks as markets dried up for lending longer than overnight. In August 2008, it began offering three-month loans as well.

Rabobank of the Netherlands and Toronto-Dominion of Canada, two of the only banks in the world with triple A credit ratings, used more than $20bn in cumulative Taf loans.

Ed Clark, TD chief executive, said that using Taf was logical even though his bank never had a liquidity problem. “That wasn’t how we made a lot of money. But you make a dollar here, you make a dollar there. What’s the spread you make on a billion dollars?” he said.

In the summer of 2008, TD was borrowing $1bn from TAF at rates of between 2 and 2.5 per cent. For that borrowing it used the lowest quality – and hence highest yielding – collateral acceptable to the Fed.

More than 80 per cent of its collateral had a triple B credit rating at a time when such bonds yielded about 7 per cent. TD could therefore have made a notional gross spread of about $4m a month during 2008.

A BBB rating is the lowest a bond can be rated and still considered to be an investment-grade. In other words, one notch above junk bonds, which are rated BB and lower.

And we are supposed to think everything is OK and justified because the money was fully repaid with interest. Hurray for the banks who took advantage of risk-free free money from the Fed and made out like the true bandits that they were and continue to be.

Chris Matthews and His Two Guests Sneer at 43% of Americans

who either do not believe Barack Obama was born in the US or do not know.

At least Matthews kept asking whether his guests were calling almost half the US as stupid "birthers". Smug-faced Clarance Page of the Chicago Tribune and David Corn of Mother Jones kept defending the non-action (or obstruction) from the White House until the end when they had to concur with Matthews that yes, just produce the long form and get it over with.

Well, what do you say, Mr. Obama?

I had to laugh when I heard Mr. Page defending Obama by saying he has more important things to do. (Yeah right. Like vacationing in Hawaii and watching ESPN and playing golf? Or burdening the country with ever more intrusive bureaucracy while the country is struggling to recover from the worst recession since World War II?)

The whole eligibility issue may be a trivial matter, as these three gentlemen say, but it is the matter which should have been cleared up at the very beginning of his candidacy when Obama was being vetted. (Who vetted him anyway?)

Here's the vid of the segment in MSNBC "Hard Ball":

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, December 27, 2010

Randall Wray: Time to Audit REMICs!

Yes, those REMICs (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits) that didn't have any mortgage to back their MBS, which therefore was "mortgage-unbacked securities".

Randall Wray, who's been writing extensively about mortgage origination - securitization - foreclosure fraud which he calls "the worst in human history", says it is time we audited the REMICs:

We now know that the “mortgage backed” securities were not backed by mortgages. In reality they are unsecured debt. The “pooling and servicing agreements” (PSAs) that govern securitization require that the mortgage documents (including the wet ink notes as well as a clean chain of title) are transferred in a timely manner to the trustees. This was rarely and perhaps never done, because it was counter to the recommendation made by MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registry System). Instead, notes were either destroyed or held by the servicers to speed the foreclosures that were always envisioned as the end result of the mortgage origination process. Not only does this practice render the securities fraudulent but it also violates the federal tax laws that govern the REMICs—meaning back taxes are due.

But worse than all that, by breaking the chain of title and by destruction of documents, MERS and the servicers have jeopardized the entire system of property rights. Most, perhaps all, foreclosures have been fraudulent, which means that resales of the homes are also frauds. It goes without saying that the original mortgages were frauds from the very beginning—to complete the transformation to the ownership society it was necessary to ensure that by construction, default was inevitable. Either the homeowner would be unable to pay, or the servicer would “lose” the payments. By obscuring the chain of title, it would be impossible for the debtors or the courts to sort things out. Separating home owners from their property was necessary to ensure that we can create Bush's ownership society. It is the modern form of the feudal foreclosures and seizures of peasant lands that concentrated ownership in the hands of agricultural capitalists—creating the first ownership society.

...It is time to push the reset button. All foreclosures should be stopped immediately. The REMIC trustees should be audited to see if they have properly followed the requirements of the PSAs and laws applying to REMICs. If they do not have the notes, the securities should be put back to the banks. If the banks cannot absorb the losses, they must be closed and resolved.

On a very thin trading today, banks who are servicers and/or trustees of a REMIC - Bank of America, J.P.Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of New York, etc - are all up.

OT: How to Lose That Holiday Fat in the Middle...

A diet plan devised by two doctors that uses whey protein, cream, oil and meat.

I tried this earlier this year, and while I was at it IT WORKED, for me, without doing hardly any exercise.

From UK's Daily Mail (4/9/2010):

... The authors, Dr Mary Dan Eades and Dr Michael Eades, have drawn on two decades of experience running obesity clinics in the U.S. Not only will you lose this dangerous fat, but you'll do so drinking shakes made with cream; and after the first two weeks, you are actively encouraged to include oils and fats in your diet.

The plan has been devised to force your body to use this harmful abdominal fat as fuel, while at the same time re-training it to store fat in a more healthy and slim-waisted way.

Beating your middle-aged middle is all about tricking your body into reversing some of the harmful processes that lead to it.

Spread is caused by a combination of factors, including poor diet, changing hormones and certain medications.

The problem with poor diet is that it can lead to 'fatty liver' - a condition that affects one-third of people in Western populations.

While the exact cause is not clear, excessive consumption of sugar and omega-6 fats ( polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils) in modern diets is thought to be to blame.

'Fatty liver' affects the organ's ability to perform one of its primary jobs, detoxification - the breaking down of harmful toxic substances such as drugs, environmental pollutants and hormones.

Meanwhile, the body is also coming under pressure from too much sugar in the diet; and this, combined with stress, causes high blood sugar levels. The body produces more insulin to mop it all up, but a fatty liver can't break it down as it should and it ends up as more fat in the middle of the body.

Hormones add to this. The female hormone oestrogen instructs the body to store fat on the hips and thighs; but as levels decline with age, the target for storage shifts to the abdomen.

Likewise, men experience a drop in testosterone levels. And if they have high insulin levels or a fatty liver, this can lead to more fat on their breasts and bellies.

The problem is not just one of aesthetics, either. The fat that gathers in and around the vital organs in the abdomen is called 'visceral fat', and it behaves very differently to ordinary 'subcutaneous fat', which settles all over the body under the skin.

In fact, when there's enough of it, visceral fat can behave like an active organ that responds to brain chemicals and hormones and sends out its own chemical messages.

One of the things it triggers is inflammation in the blood vessels - damaging them and making it more likely for your blood to form clots, which is bad news for the coronary arteries. Some scientists believe that this, not cholesterol in the blood, triggers cardio-vascular disease.

The two Dr Eades argue that middle-age spread doesn't respond readily to the old adage of 'eat less and exercise more'. But with the right nutritional tools, it can be quickly reduced.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Words by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn composed the music for a different occasion, but never mind that...

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Lew Rockwell: Economic Lessons of Bethlehem

Don't trust the government blindly, trust your own judgment and hard assets of high value, and a free market brings peace and prosperity.

Here's the post from last year:

Merry Free-Market, Hard-Money, Libertarian Christmas! (12/25/2009)

There are lessons to be learned from Christmas some two thousand-plus years ago, according to a merry (and heart-warming) piece written by Lew Rockwell eight years ago.

The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem (or Who Was the Inn Keeper?)
(Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 12/22/01 [emphasis is mine]

There's no room at the inn so they had to stay in a stable. (Cruel inn keeper!)

"Far from being cruel, the inn keeper offered what he could to satisfy a customer. As a money-making private businessman, he would have no reason to turn away "this man of royal lineage and his beautiful, expecting bride."

"In any case, the second chapter of St. Luke doesn’t say that they were continually rejected at place after place. It tells of the charity of a single inn owner, perhaps the first person they encountered, who, after all, was a businessman. His inn was full, but he offered them what he had: the stable. There is no mention that the innkeeper charged the couple even one copper coin, though given his rights as a property owner, he certainly could have.

"It’s remarkable, then, to think that when the Word was made flesh with the birth of Jesus, it was through the intercessory work of a private businessman. Without his assistance, the story would have been very different indeed. People complain about the "commercialization" of Christmas, but clearly commerce was there from the beginning, playing an essential and laudable role."

Why were they in Bethlehem to begin with?

Because of the Roman emperor's decree that everyone be counted and taxed.

"It was because of a government decree that Mary and Joseph, and so many others like them, were traveling in the first place. They had to be uprooted for fear of the emperor’s census workers and tax collectors. And consider the costs of slogging all the way "from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David," not to speak of the opportunity costs Joseph endured having to leave his own business. Thus we have another lesson: government’s use of coercive dictates distort the market."

What did Three Kings (or Three Wise Men, and Lew points out they are usually mutually exclusive) give?

Did they give the new parents some debased Roman coins? No. They gave them frankincense, gold, and myrrh. They give them hard assets of high value.

"These were the most rare items obtainable in that world in those times, and they must have commanded a very high market price.

"Far from rejecting them as extravagant, the Holy Family accepted them as gifts worthy of the Divine Messiah. Neither is there a record that suggests that the Holy Family paid any capital gains tax on them, though such gifts vastly increased their net wealth. Hence, another lesson: there is nothing immoral about wealth; wealth is something to be valued, owned privately, given and exchanged."

Herod wanted to know where Jesus was so that he could come and adore him.

Was that true? Not really. He wanted to kill him.

"...Roman Emperor's local enforcer, Herod. Not only did he order people to leave their homes and foot the bill for travel so that they could be taxed. Herod was also a liar: he told the Wise Men that he wanted to find Jesus so that he could "come and adore Him." In fact, Herod wanted to kill Him. Hence, another lesson: you can’t trust a political hack to tell the truth."

When they learned of Herod's plan to kill the newborn, what did Wise Men and the Holy Family do?

Were they resigned to the reality that the government did whatever it wanted anyway and there was no point in resisting? Hell no. Three Wise Men went home without telling Herod, and the Family fled.

"The Wise Men, being wise, snubbed Herod and "went back another way" – taking their lives in their hands (Herod conducted a furious search for them later). As for Mary and Joseph, an angel advised Joseph to "take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt." In short, they resisted. Lesson number four: the angels are on the side of those who resist government."

"In the Gospel narratives, the role of private enterprise, and the evil of government power, only begin there. Jesus used commercial examples in his parables (e.g., laborers in the vineyard, the parable of the talents) and made it clear that he had come to save even such reviled sinners as tax collectors.

"And just as His birth was facilitated by the owner of an "inn," the same Greek word "kataluma" is employed to describe the location of the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified by the government. Thus, private enterprise was there from birth, through life, and to death, providing a refuge of safety and productivity, just as it has in ours."

Women Feel Safer after a Rape Victim (a Woman) is Hurled to the Floor by TSA Agents

Sorry to bring a disgusting piece of news on the Christmas Eve, but Ms. Gwen Washington, a black woman, and Emily Protine, a white woman, felt a little safer seeing Ms. Claire Hirschkind handcuffed and being dragged 25 yards across the floor by the TSA agents at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

I'm almost completely losing any shread of hope that I still have for the country.

From KVUE in Austin, Texas:

Early Wednesday morning, a computer glitch shut down a security checkpoint for a couple of hours at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The line snaked out the door as many travelers waited for more than an hour and some missed their flights. One of the first people in line after that shutdown never made it through. She was arrested and banned from the airport.

Claire Hirschkind, 56, who says she is a rape victim and who has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, says her constitutional rights were violated. She says she never broke any laws. But the Transportation Security Administration disagrees.

Hirschkind said because of the device in her body, she was led to a female TSA employee and three Austin police officers. She says she was told she was going to be patted down.

"I turned to the police officer and said, 'I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights. You can wand me,'" and they said, 'No, you have to do this,'" she said.

Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.

"I told them, 'No, I'm not going to have my breasts felt,' and she said, 'Yes, you are,'" said Hirschkind.

When Hirschkind refused, she says that "the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me. I was crying by then. They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security."

... Other travelers KVUE talked to say they empathize with Hirschkind, but the law is the law.

"I understand her side of it, and their side as well, but it is for our protection so I have no problems with it," said Gwen Washington, who lives in Killeen.

"It's unfortunate that that happened and she didn't get to fly home, but it makes me feel a little safer," said Emily Protine.

Dragging a 56-year old woman across the floor, handcuffed, is for "our protection" that should make us "feel a little safer".

Get that? For our protection.

One minor point: I do not think it is "the law". If it is the law, when did Congress pass it? Congress didn't pass a law that says you have to be groped in order to board a plane. This is a "regulation" that suddenly appeared after the midterm election, concocted by the Department of Homeland Security under the direction from the Obama White House.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dominant Meme in This Christmas Season: Flash Mob Singing "Hallelujah" Chorus

Who could have imagined? (I sure didn't.) A flash mob in food courts and department stores bursting into the joyous, glorious Hallelujah chorus by George F. Handel.

This one was done back in October, in Macy's in Philadelphia. It has over 6 million hits on Youtube. Just like the one I linked the other day (that one now has over 25 million hits), look at the faces of people who were not the part of the organizers (singers).

You don't need a fancy concert hall or solemn cathedral. Handel would have been so proud.

Peace on earth. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

News That Disappeared Very Quickly from MSM

For the umpteenth time, news that disappeared from MSM, in no particular order of importance:

WikiLeaks' leak of the US diplomatic cables that confirmed that the US taxpayers have been paying for these elites at the State Department who were revealed as bumbling idiots;

TSA's "love pats" aka sexual assault and naked body scans: now, MSM is squawking that everyone loves it after all, and/or everyone is adjusting for the sake of "security".

Now, these two makes a good juxtaposition. Recall that WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange is accused of "rape" by Swedish authorities for having a consensual, unprotected sex. TSA agents, on the other hand, grope your genitals and puts hands inside your pants and they get away with it. I suppose they call it "consensual", because you have no way, repeat, no way, to say NO unless you want to risk getting arrested and fined $11,000. If you don't say no, it is the same as saying yes, according to the TSA logic.

Moving on...

Foreclosuregate. When it does appear in the MSM, it's the same old, same old - it's just a hiccup in the process, nothing fundamental. And nothing is further from the truth. (See the vid I created, "Foreclosuregate Explained" which is in the right-side column.)

Iran and its nuclear threats to the "West". After the computer worm Stuxnet did the work, the neocons have gone quiet. For now.

Euro sovereign debt crisis, for the umpteenth time. Until the euro core (Germany, France) shows a visible sign of strain, no one cares. Now that China has stepped up to buy the euro debt at a discount, no one cares.

QE2. Ben "Bernank" and the Inkjets are printing, often twice a day. That keeps the stock market eking out gains day after day on a pathetic volume, and every talking head on MSM and the bankster economists on Wall Street are screaming "Economic recovery!" The stock market is the economy, just like it was in late 1920's.

What Congress and the White House had done during the lame-duck session, which is mercifully ending. It has been the most disastrous lame-duck session for people who value personal liberty and freedom from government interference and regulation (more in the next post). And of course the spin by MSM and the White House is that it has been the most "productive" Congress after the mid-term election.

That's it for now. BTW, have you read about a new CIA taskforce on WikiLeaks? WTF do they have to select a name like that? People are LOL, ROTFLMAO.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Assange says It Is Bank of America

AFP reports:

...In an interview with The Times on Tuesday, ...Assange also confirmed that WikiLeaks was holding a vast amount of material about Bank of America which it intends to release early next year.

I was secretly hoping that the "bank" he's been talking about was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. I'll have to wait for Ron Paul to attack that bank...

Shares of Bank of America (symbol: BAC), which has been under pressure since the rumor spread that it was the next target of WikiLeaks, ended at $13.07 in after-hour trading.

(For traders, it was, I believe, a technical breakout from the double-bottom pattern, with the target price of $14.56. For more, see my TA blog. I'm not recommending anything here, and BAC would be the last thing I want to trade.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

China to the Rescue of EU in Sovereign Debt Crisis

I wonder how long it will take for the politically correct EU to declare China as part of Europe and offer a full membership. (Turkey should have offered to buy the euro debt.)

Bloomberg reports:

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said China has taken “concrete action” to help the European Union with its debt problems as he officiated the opening of a one-day forum in Beijing to discuss economic and trade relations.

...Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in October that China supports a stable euro and won’t reduce its holdings of European bonds. The Portuguese government said last week that China had made a “clear statement” of financial support during Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos’s visit to Beijing.

Japan's Nikkei Shinbun takes it to mean the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe will abate with the Chinese purchase of the euro debt, and euro will strengthen.

China got so close to overrunning Europe during the Yuan Dynasty (a Mongolian dynasty founded by a grandson of Genghis Khan) in the 13th Century. This time, the Chinese won't even have to fight a battle. All they need to do is to buy the euro debt on a discount and stick it to Germans. They can use US Treasuries as payment.

Climate Experts in 2000: "Snowfalls Are a Thing of the Past"

As much of the UK and the continental Europe remain frozen shut, it is amusing for the non-warmers to re-read the article from March 2000 in which a leading researcher from University of East Anglia (of "Climategate" fame) proclaimed:

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is."

From Independent, 3/20/2000:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

In case you haven't followed these scientists and their babbling, the narrative has shifted to "global warming produces extreme weather."

They don't give up easily, do they, the Algores of the world?

But as for the UK children not knowing what snow is, that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hindenburg Omen Confirmed On December 15

The last time that Hindenburg Omen was confirmed was back in August. Back then, Hindenburg Omen happened not once, not twice (confirming the omen), but 4 times. Traders and analysts were being fixated on the big "head and shoulders" pattern on the major stock index, which was about to break down from the neckline.

And what happened in September? The stock market rallied. So much for the Omen as a harbinger of a stock market crash, thought many people.

But Karl Denninger at Market Ticker warns us things may not be the same this time around:

- Bernanke has given no indication he cares about rising bond yields;
- Political risk is extremely high with regard to government overspending and The Fed;
- The speculative indices are at 20+ year highs;
- Low TICK alarms have been much more prevalent than high TICK alarms;
- Several momentum stocks are breaking down severely;
- The Corporate Leverage Index, after, what appeared to be a retracement move, took off bigtime in the third quarter and now stands at a ridiculous 12.

For detailed explanation for each point, follow the link.

I am paying attention, because (1) this time around hardly anyone has mentioned Hindenburg Omen; (2) the stock market indices are near the top, instead of near the breakdown point in August.

But then we have Ben "Bernank". As one of Bernank's justifications for QE2 was the ever-rising stock market to give us the sense of well being. We may find out soon enough which is bigger - Ben's Fed or the market. (I have this feeling that it's the latter, but don't underestimate Ben.)

Foreclosuregate Explained

as I see it...

Friday, December 17, 2010

SEC Looking at Securitization Process in Mortgage Foreclosure Probe

About time, and therefore that means the feds are getting close to striking a deal with the banksters, legitimatizing everything they've done.

Reuters reports that the SEC has sent out a new round of subpoenas to Wall Street banks in its probe of mortgage/foreclosure fraud, and this time the regulators are looking at the very root of the fraud - securitization:

U.S. regulators have opened a new line of inquiry in their mortgage foreclosure probe and are asking big Wall Street banks about the beginning stages of mortgage securitization, two sources familiar with the probe said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission launched the new phase of its investigation by sending out a fresh round of subpoenas last week to big banks like Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Wells Fargo & Co, the sources said.

The SEC's subpoenas focus on the earliest stage of the mortgage securitization process, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the probe is not public.

The sources said the SEC is asking for information about the role of so-called "master servicers" -- specialized firms that oversee the selection and maintenance of the large pool of home loans that go into every mortgage-backed bond.

...One of the sources said the SEC is seeking information about the role banks had in mortgage securitization. The regulator is also looking at the role trustees for the trusts that issued the mortgage-backed securities had in monitoring the performance of the underlying loans.
"Master servicers" - read Bank of America, J.P.Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank. Servicers are the ones who collects mortgage payments from the borrowers.

"Trustees of the trusts [REMIC]" - read Wells Fargo, US Bankcorp, Bank of New York Mellon, Deutschebank. Trustees of the REMICs are the ones who were supposed to verify all the necessary documents were properly transferred to the trusts.

Foreclosures in mostly judicial states have turned out to be the discovery process, as the homeowners and lawyers defending them have found out that their mortgages were never transferred properly to the REMICs, and the foreclosing parties (either the servicer or the trustee) do not have the legal standing in foreclosure.

Attorneys who have been trying to help homeowners in foreclosure will tell you that they've known for a long time that mortgages were never transferred to the REMIC, but that was business as usual for the industry and no one raised a stink about it.

And who bought the securities issued out of these trusts, which may have been issued without any backing? Banks, hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds around the world. One of the largest holders of these securities - mortgage-backed securities - is the Federal Reserve under Ben "Bernank". The Fed has over $1 trillion of these MBS.

These banks have been telling us "Oh it's just minor document processing problems", precisely because it is not.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Obama to Dems: My Presidency Will End If You Don't Pass Tax Deal That I Detest


Is this some kind of ploy to make sure that the tax deal will be voted down? (I'm sure there are many people who will rejoice if Obama;s presidency ends in 2012, if not sooner.)

The Hill reported on 12/15 that the Obama White House is urging the House Dems to vote for the bill that will extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years; otherwise, the WH says, Obama's presidency would end:

In urging lawmakers to vote for his tax deal, President Obama is using one of his go-to lines from the healthcare debate, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) said.

"The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this bad deal," he told CNN's Eliot Spitzer.

But the White House shot back late on Wednesday.

"The president hasn’t said anything remotely like that and has never spoken with Mr. DeFazio about the issue," said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Obama's push shows that the president is going to the mat in order to push through Congress the compromise brokered with Republicans.

During the end of the healthcare debate, Obama reportedly told Democrats upset that the bill did not contain a public healthcare option that not passing it could put his presidency on the line and stall the liberal agenda for decades.

The White House has been aggressively selling the deal, which includes a two-year extension of all the expiring Bush tax cuts in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits, to skeptical lawmakers and the public.

Hmmm. Tough choice. I believe to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire in a moribund economy would be a disaster, unduly punishing people who work to earn income (as opposed to super-rich who may not necessarily work to remain rich). But if we have Obama as a one-term prez by not passing the bill, It may be more beneficial to economy in the long run.

But as always, we the small people don't have any say. House passed the bill today by 277-148. Oh well. (So Obama's presidency will continue beyond 2012? Yuck.)

I know the real reason why Obama was pushing for the passage of the bill. He just wants to start his Hawaiian vacation - playing golf and watching ESPN.

Let's see if Moody's downgrades the US tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flash Mob Sing "Hallelujah" in a Mall Food Court

from George F. Handel's famous oratorio "Messiah".

From Wikipedia:

In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of the performance. The tradition is said to have originated with the first London performance of Messiah, which was attended by King George II. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king rose to his feet and remained standing until the end of the chorus. Royal protocol has always dictated that when the monarch stands, everyone in their presence is also required to stand. Thus, the entire audience and orchestra stood when the king stood during the performance, initiating a tradition that has lasted more than two centuries.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Iceland May Ban Mastercard and Visa Over WikiLeaks

Iceland, on the way to economic recovery since it decided to let its troubled lenders fail two years ago, is considering taking away the operating licenses from Mastercard and Visa in the country over their ban on donations to WikiLeaks.

From Raw Story on 12/13/2010:

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

"People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it," Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. "They said this decision was taken by foreign sources."

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

(Full article at the link)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Man Bites Dog, or Robosigner Sues Foreclosure Defense Attorney

St. Petersburg Times in Florida reported on 12/10/2010 Friday:

Nationwide Title Clearing, a Palm Harbor company at the center of the nation's robo-signing controversy, is going on the offensive against its critics.

On Wednesday, the company sued a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense lawyer, Matthew Weidner, for alleged libel and slander.

And it recently obtained an injunction, ordering Sarasota lawyer Christopher Forrest to remove videotaped depositions he had posted of three Nationwide Title employees describing an assembly-line process of signing mortgage-related documents.

The ACLU of Florida said Thursday that it has filed an emergency appeal of the injunction, which it called a "gag order" and a restraint of free speech.

The legal action marks another chapter in a storm over the validity of documents used to foreclose on millions of American homes. Earlier this fall, Bank of America and other lenders temporarily halted foreclosure proceedings because of evidence that many documents contained errors and fraudulent statements.

One of the most outspoken critics of the foreclosure process is Weidner, who writes a widely read blog in which he has criticized not only banks, but judges, lawyers and companies like Nationwide Title that process mortgage-related documents.

... In a suit filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, the company says Weidner has "deliberately and maliciously" used the term robo-signers "to vilify NTC for signing documents … when (Weidner) knew that it is entirely legally and appropriate to do so."

The "gist" of statements on Weidner's blog, the suit says, is that Nationwide Title is an "unethical company" that manufactures false evidence used to foreclose. The statements have permanently damaged the company's reputation and subjected it to "public hatred, scorn and ridicule," according to the suit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

ROTFLMAO! Nationwide Title's feeling is hurt! Poor thing!

Matt Weidner's blog is here.

Richard Holbrooke Dead; Obama Czars Now 35

US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, aka Obama's Af-Pak czar who had collapsed in Hillary Clinton's office on Friday, died tonight from torn aorta. He was 69.

From ABC News:

Holbrooke, who served in the Obama administration as the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was putting the finishing touches on a major report on American military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan, due to be released on Thursday.

... Holbrooke had been in Clinton's office on Friday when he collapsed. He was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where he went through 20 hours of surgery. His wife, along with their children and other family, were in the hospital room when he died. Just an hour before, they had had a private meeting with Obama at the State Department. The president praised him as "a tough son of a gun."

Virginia Judge Ruled Obamacare Unconsitutional

From Bloomberg:

The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy insurance, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the president’s plan.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, said today that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid that are unrelated to it. He didn’t order the government to stop work on putting the remainder of the law into effect.

Hudson found the minimum essential coverage provision of the act “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.” Hudson was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002.

The decision left intact other provisions of the law and only affects the part that requires most U.S. citizens to maintain minimum health coverage beginning in 2014.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

President Clinton Back in the White House, Fielding Questions

at an impromptu press conference after meeting privately with Obama.

And Obama, the current president, leaves in the middle of the press conference to attend a Christmas party (or go see his wife, whatever).

And as usual, Drudge Report has the best photo and title:

What was he thinking?

When Obama said he got to go attend another Christmas Party, the only person who did a courtesy giggle was Clinton. But Obama stayed on. As Clinton droned on and on for more than 7 minutes, Obama got increasingly impatient but he continued to stay. 7 minutes 45 seconds into the press conference, President Clinton started to field the questions from the reporters. Obama continued to look on Clinton as if to say "Oh just shut up."

Clinton may be an attention hog, but he is also a much better and more engaging speaker than Obama, and unlike Obama, Clinton knows what he is talking about and he can speak without teleprompters and he can answer questions. When he talks, he talks, not lectures like Obama. He connects with the reporters. It looks like Obama got jealous and left the stage in a huff, after standing next to Clinton for 10 minutes.

Thin-skinned and amateurish, I have to say, not to mention lazy. MSNBC called Obama as he looked on Clinton, after he declared he would have to leave for a party "a demoted beauty queen. "

And Clinton, hardly missing the beat and not even seeing Obama off, continued to field questions on the tight credit situation, party politics, structural deficit, "principled compromise" (sorely lacking ever since Obama became the president) for another 20 minutes. He was clearly enjoying the occasion.

Here's the press conference vid. It is 33-minute long. I ended up watching all of it, and found myself wishing Clinton were at the White House. I suspect many of the reporters there wished the same thing. When he said "I care about my country and want this economy to get going again", it was more believable than the current occupant of the White House.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"We're gonna either row or sink. I want us to row."

I do too, even though I probably don't agree with any of the Clinton's ideas or positions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

UK Student Protesters to Prince Charles and His Wife: "Off With Their Heads!"

UK students protesting the university fee hike attacked the Rolls Royce Phantom VI carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, who was in a state of shock. The protesters threw paint at the car, and smashed the rear window.

Towards the end of the video, someone started to chant "Off with their heads! Off with their heads!"

Well, the last time a royal lost his head was in 1649, when Charles I was executed.

Silver Keisers Issued to "Crash J.P.Morgan, Buy Silver" Campaign

A one-ounce silver coin bears an image of Max Keiser.

From's official press release:

Bid Bullion releases its limited edition silver bullion to commemorate Max Keiser and his efforts in increasing the prices of silver.
, a new penny auction selling precious metals at pennies on the dollar, has released a limited edition silver bullion by the name of the Silver Keiser.

This move couldn’t have been taken at a better time. On November 11th, 2010, Max Keiser, a finance critic and former stockbroker, told the listeners of the Alex Jones show that they should start “Google Bombing” the term “Crash JP Morgan, Buy Silver” to increase the rankings of pages that aimed at exposing the obvious short in the paper silver market.

Keiser and Jones’ underground campaign was met with a worldwide success, and went viral. As a result, the value of silver increased more than 8% in value thus far and continues to rise. According to Keiser, people’s efforts should only cease when silver is finally sold for its true value, which is $500 per physical ounce.

With such a historical event unraveling before the whole world, Bid Bullion decided to release the limited edition Silver Keiser. Jeremey Hillsdon, Bid Bullion’s co‐founder said, “We wanted to help capture the moment by commemorating Keiser's life's achievements thus far, by creating a piece of history.” Aside from thanking Keiser for his efforts, the Keiser Silver will help remove 171,250 ounces of physical silver from the global markets and place them in people’s reach.

Bid Bullion has created 25,000 units in 1/10, ¼, ½, 1 ounce and 5 ounce rounds. Each of these has the picture of Max Keiser engraved into its fine, flawless surface, and has the quotes "Global Insurrection Against Corporate Occupation" and also "Crash Banksters, Buy Silver". In addition, each bullion will be marked with its related weight, the dates 2010/2011, and .999 Fine Silver to add more value for silver investors and collectors.

Silver Keisers will be available in the first week of January, according to the above press release. Spot silver is trading at $28.75 today. One year ago it was $17. Two years ago it was $10.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Did You Know That House Passed DREAM Act Today?

while we were distracted with fireworks like:

TSA "love pats" and naked scanner scandals
Federal Reserve bailout details
FBI raiding hedge funds for insider trading

The bill, a pet project of progressive Dems for nearly a decade, will allow illegal aliens (read Hispanics) to remain permanently and legally in the US.

The Hill reports:

House lawmakers on Wednesday passed legislation allowing illegal immigrant students to remain permanently and legally in the United States.

The DREAM Act — a top priority of Democrats in both Congress and the White House — was approved by a tally of 216 to 198. Eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the bill, while 38 Democrats voted against it.

The bill now moves to the Senate, which is expected to take up the measure Thursday morning. The proposal's success is much less likely in the upper chamber, where a GOP filibuster will require 60 votes for passage. The Senate shot down a similar measure in 2007, and most of the opponents at the time haven't changed their positions over the last three years.

First introduced in 2001, the House legislation extends conditional legal status for five years to those illegal aliens who:

• Were younger than 16 when they entered the country

• Have lived in the U.S. for at least five years

• Have a degree from a U.S. high school, or the equivalent

Beneficiaries can apply for an additional five years of conditional nonimmigrant status if they've completed at least two years of higher education or military service. Afterward, they could apply for permanent legal status.

In the Senate, Harry is ready with not just one but FOUR versions of the bill, S.3827, S.3962, S.3963, and S.3992 , and the Senate will vote on Thursday 11:00AM. I wonder which one, though.

I wonder why illegal Hispanics would want to become permanent residents. They can and do receive government subsidies and benefits as "undocumented immigrants". Permanent residents, on the other hand, cannot receive such taxpayer-funded benefits, although it is possible, even probable, that there are many loopholes for the "minority" permanent residents to continue to receive government subsidies.

This is just ridiculous, pushing the major bills like this during the lame-duck session, with Congressmen and Senators who lost in the November election voting on the bill that will gravely affect Americans.

Let me guess... Congress will pass the climate bill to fight global warming and Obama will sign the bill on Christmas Eve, on his way to another Hawaiian vacation.

"Operation Payback" Takes Down Visa and Mastercard Sites

Well, you wanted a cyber war, Mr. Obama. Now you've got it. Good luck to you.

"Operation Payback" took down the website of Mastercard, and then proceeded to do the same at Visa's website. It was successful in less than a minute. The entity behind "Operations Payback" didn't like it when Mastercard and Visa did the bidding of the government and stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.

Paypal froze the WikiLeaks account under the government pressure, preventing WikiLeaks from receiving donations.

And yet another popular Internet site has caved in to the government's demand and removed the user behind "Operation Payback": Twitter.

Ah, the futility of the action by Twitter, and they should know it. Now you can follow "Operation Payback" again, on Twitter, at these accounts:


Let's see, the next thing that Obama the cyber warrior (with Senator Rockefeller in tow) may do is to demand that Twitter hand over the information of the followers of "Operation Payback" and WikiLeaks, and harass them as "terrorists" and "traitors".

Doesn't seem odd to you that the ruling class and their wannabes are all up in arms against WikiLeaks and its founder over a bunch of diplomatic cables many of which, many say, are no more than petty gossips, childish temper tantrums? Absolutely nothing happened when WikiLeaks leaked the war documents.

Isn't it ironic that the companies who must depend on free flow of information in the cyberspace - Amazon, Twitter, Paypal, Facebook - cave in to the government pressure very easily and curtail that freedom (and the First Amendment, by the way)?

UK's Guardian had a poll on December 5, asking readers "Would you donate to WikiLeaks if you could?" The result?

86.7% YES
13.3% no

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Denninger: You're Paying Your Mortgage - WHY?

so Karl Denninger at Market Ticker, who has been on top of the "foreclosuregate", asks, as he describes a lawsuit in Texas in which Bank of America is accused of trying to collect on the fully-paid mortgage.

I fully agree with his shouting and screaming in bold letters and capital letters. But alas, none of that matters in non-judicial states where even the real estate attorneys tell you to forget it (unless you are financially able to retain them), and it is unlikely to change any time soon. And the big national banks like Bank of America and J.P.Morgan Chase, acting as the loan servicer or the trustee of the mortgage trust, keep pocketing the houses that they have no title to, as government regulators look the other way.

Now, Denninger's shouting and screaming:

Now comes this lawsuit out of Texas alleging that Bank of America not only tried to collect on a PAID IN FULL mortgage but refused to listen to the fact that it had been paid in full and in fact threatened that the owners were "going to lose their home."

These banks all claim there is no "real problem" with securitization, there are no pernicious issues with paperwork not being in order, it's all on the up and up, yet we continue to see filings like this, and these filings - extreme measures, lawsuits even - come only after reasonable attempts to communicate with these institutions and resolve problems are met with STONEWALLING and games - even when, as is alleged here, there is evidence that the loan in question was paid in full and discharged!

Had enough yet?

This is all "minor paperwork errors" and "nobody has lost their home" (or been unjustly harassed, dunned and threatened for money they do not owe, right?)






IMF's Strauss-Kahn Wants Eurozone Growth, and Doesn't Want Eurozone Growth

It must be the translation, I hope.

According to AP, Director General of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in Greece Tuesday:

there was a need "to have something more dynamic, which is something where the center of the eurozone will be stronger because you can't have a single currency and not have at the same time a coordinated economic policy. And that's the big weakness."


Now, can you figure out what the hell he meant? Did he speak Greek? Did he speak French? Did AP use Google translation? What am I missing?

Julian Assange: Don't Shoot the Messenger

His Op-Ed piece appeared on The Australian, just as he surrendered to the UK police for not wearing a condom in a consensual sex with a radical feminist in Sweden who's been campaigning for making an unprotected consensual sex a "rape" in that PC country.

The governments in the US and Europe are all up in arms over the leaks this time of the US diplomatic cables which make their elites look like bumbling idiots in the eyes of the governed (the rest of us). Australia is closing the entire post office that receives WikiLeaks mails.

Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths
(Julian Assange, 12/08/2010 The Australian)

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat" and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

► The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.

► King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.

► Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by any means available.

► Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".

► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.

► The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government". The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

In the meantime, people are calling for the boycott of (here's one from Justin Raymondo), and hackers around the world are rallying behind Assange.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pan-European Bank Run Tomorrow?

I wonder if they are still serious about doing it.

The simple plan - to withdraw money from your bank account - was hatched first in France, then spread to Germany, the Netherlands, UK, and Greece.

If anything, it will be no more than a symbolic gesture, a middle finger to the European banks who are being bailed out by the European taxpayers (and the US and Japan and the rest of the world, via the IMF). But is there any chance of actually causing bank runs in Europe?

Well, it might. Why? Because the European banks remain much more leveraged than the US banks. 1 euro taken out of the deposit (liability) may impact the banks' assets much more.

Here are two charts that shows the potential vulnerability of the European banks vis a vis the US banks. The first one is from Zero Hedge's November 1st article on the topic. The second one is from Wall Street Journal's July 15 article. They are both pretty much self-explanatory.

(Just a reminder: the GDP of the US and the GDP of EU are about the same, $14 trillion. Japan's GDP is about $5 trillion.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ben 'Bernank' Is Ready to Go Beyond $600 Billion

on his way to outdo Rudolf E. A. von Havenstein .

Bloomberg reports that Ben 'Bernank' is ready and willing to go beyond $600 billion:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the Fed’s decision to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities and didn’t rule out expanding the program, in an interview for CBS television’s “60 Minutes,” the network said.

“He explains why the Fed announced its intention to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities, defending against charges the move will lead to inflation and not ruling out the purchase of more,” according to a press release today from CBS.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nancy, Harry, and Barry Full Steam Ahead in Lame-Duck Congress

and the world becomes crazier by the day.

When the election result came in and confirmed the massive defeat for the Democrats, many people thought the Democratic leaders and the Obama White House would move to a more moderate position and collaborate with Republicans.

I didn't think so at all. Instead, I thought Nancy and Harry and Barry would go full-steam ahead with their progressive, ultra-left and statist agendas during the so-called "lame-duck" session.

Sure enough. Right after the election, Barry ordered Janet to go ahead and sexually molest airline passengers in the name of national security. (Now TSA is doing the same at Grayhound Bus Stations, supposedly as a test.)

Then, the cyber "security" bill passed the Senate committee with bipartisan support that will give the Department of Homeland Security an incredible, tremendous power over the Internet.

Then they passed the food "safety" bill that will be implemented by the inept FDA and supported by Obama's food czar, a former Monsanto exec. Expect more food poisoning, and sharply increased food cost. If you take supplements and vitamins to protect and improve your health, hoard them now.

Now, it's Harry's turn. He has introduced 4 different version of the immigration "reform" bill, the DREAM Act, and they are going to be voted on, without any committee hearing.

As if we need any more stimulation, Ben at the Fed is bombarding the financial markets with several billion dollars almost every single day while dumping the raw data of 2007-2010 bailout of the financial firms.

Speaking of dump, WikiLeaks dumped the diplomatic cables of the US government, and indicating the next target to be a big US bank (everyone thinks it's Bank of America, who already hired a "legal swat team") its founder Julian Assange has become the target of assassination.

All I wanted was a quiet, uneventful, peaceful holiday season.

But you can always count on Barry to ... go on another vacation! I hear that he and his family are going to Hawaii. Probably staying at the same vacation rental that rents for several thousand dollars a night, enough to make a mortgage payment in California, and probably several months of payment in many other states.

(Oh wait, Barry is willing to delay the vacation until Christmas Eve to negotiate a tax cut deal with Republicans. Oh what a noble sacrifice by the nation's multi-millionaire president!)

Ruling Class (and Wannabes) Calling for Assange's Assassination

What's his "crime", other than making the ruling class look like a bunch of bumbling idiots?

Oh I see, that's really a serious crime, isn't it, to reveal the emperor with no clothes?

But calling for his assassination (and not to mention Huckabee's idiotic idea of "treason" - Assange is not a US citizen) over a bunch of diplomatic cables?

Or is it because of Assange's hint that the next up will be a US bank, which everyone took to mean Bank of America? Did the Fed order UK to arrest Assange to protect one of the largest Fed member banks?

Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden says it all:

Once again, it only goes to show that if you threaten to take down a government nobody cares; do the same with a bank, and one's arrest becomes imminent.

The political left's hypocricy shines through yet again. Just imagine what they would be saying, if the leak was made during the sorry reign of Bush the Lesser.

Except, as usual, Glenn Greenwald, who had this to say in his 12/1/2010 post: soon as Scott Ritter began telling the truth about Iraqi WMDs, he was publicly smeared with allegations of sexual improprieties. As soon as Eliot Spitzer began posing a real threat to Wall Street criminals, a massive and strange federal investigation was launched over nothing more than routine acts of consensual adult prostitution, ending his career (and the threat he posed to oligarchs). And now, the day after Julian Assange is responsible for one of the largest leaks in history, an arrest warrant issues that sharply curtails his movement and makes his detention highly likely.