Florida Judge Rules New Healthcare Law Unconstitutional

Posted By on January 31, 2011

Here we go….things are going to get real interesting with the new healthcare law.  A federal judge ruled that Congress violated the Constitution by requiring Americans to purchase health insurance in the new health overhaul, and said the entire law “must be declared void.”

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.  “I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday. 

The Greatest Bank Heist Ever! No, We’re Not Kidding

Posted By on January 31, 2011

Nearly a trillion U.S. dollars are gone, heisted and nobody knows who done it or how!  WikiLeaks might have exposed this mess.  How long has this been going on? Quite a while according to The Times, which has relied on Wikileaks cables to support some of what is being reported. 

What a bunch of morons, with our public money to boot!  Geez does it ever end?  Yes…..it ends when we run out of money or morons!

From Joe-Duarte and The New York Times

As if the Obama administration didn’t have enough problems, the next shoe might be the collapse of the Afghan banking system, where the losses at Kabul’s leading bank may be as high as $900 billion according to a report.

Banking “experts” are now expecting a possible “run on solvent banks, destroying the country’s nascent banking system and shaking the confidence of Western donors already questioning the level of their commitment to Afghanistan,” says the New York Times. The situation, according to the Times is a result of “fraud and mismanagement” which could lead to the “collapse” of the bank and a “broad financial panic in Afghanistan” according to American, European and Afghan officials who spoke to the New York Times.

So where did the money go? No one knows, of course. According to The Times: “Afghan officials and businessmen have said the money was invested in a real estate bubble that has since burst in Dubai, as well as in dubious projects and donations to politicians in Afghanistan. Millions of dollars have yet to be traced, and some of the money seems to have gone to front companies or individuals and then disappeared.”  According to the Times “but the problems are so serious that the International Monetary Fund has not yet renewed an assistance program to Afghanistan that expired in September.”

How long has this been going on? Quite a while. In fact, according to The Times, which relied on Wikileaks cables to support some of what it is reporting: “While Afghan and American officials depict a crisis far worse than has been made public, State Department cables released by WikiLeaks show that Afghan and Western regulators were aware of many of the problems, but were most focused on the problem of terrorist financing, rather than the fraud scheme that was the main problem at Kabul Bank.” So the old omelets can’t be made without breaking eggs principle seems to have been applied rigorously here. The problem is that the insurgents continue to operate, and the money is gone, leaving the U.S. and other countries with nothing to show for their efforts, both in terms of money and more important in terms of lives lost.

How long has this been going on? Quite a while. In fact, according to The Times, which relied on Wikileaks cables to support some of what it is reporting: “While Afghan and American officials depict a crisis far worse than has been made public, State Department cables released by WikiLeaks show that Afghan and Western regulators were aware of many of the problems, but were most focused on the problem of terrorist financing, rather than the fraud scheme that was the main problem at Kabul Bank.” So the old omelets can’t be made without breaking eggs principle seems to have been applied rigorously here. The problem is that the insurgents continue to operate, and the money is gone, leaving the U.S. and other countries with nothing to show for their efforts, both in terms of money and more important in terms of lives lost.

And as with the subprime mortgage crisis, accountants and consultants remained quiet. According to The Times: “Deloitte, a top United States accounting firm that had staffers in the Central Bank under a United States government contract over the last several years, either did not know or did not mention to American authorities that it had any inkling of serious irregularities at Kabul Bank. Deloitte was not responsible for auditing the bank’s books; a spokesman for Deloitte did not respond to requests for comment.”

The Times reports that there may be as much as $800 million in loans outstanding and that the bank has negotiated for as much as $300 million to be repaid, but “little” money has actually come back to the bank.

The government there is not likely to fall, at least not yet. But there is a trillion dollars missing. And it is possible that the government, or members of the government may have some of that money in their pockets in one way or another.

The U.S. is trying to balance its budget, yet there is a trillion dollars missing in Afghanistan. Who will answer to this? How did it happen? What if that money had been put toward Medicare and Social Security? Why are U.S. citizens footing the bill for the Afghan government’s graft?

The bottom line is that the lost money is never coming back. If you add the losses of the subprime mortgage crisis, the cost of bailing out the U.S. banking system and the U.S. automobile industry, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, you will probably come up with enough money to balance the U.S. budget and to shore up Medicare and Social Security for a few years.

Yet, the U.S. continues on a reckless course of action while it’s about to put the big squeeze on its population. Heady stuff to think about as the streets of Cairo burn.

More at: www.joe-duarte.com

Stratfor: Special Report On The Egypt Crisis In A Global Context

Posted By on January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011

By George Friedman

The Egypt Unrest: Full Coverage

It is not at all clear what will happen in the Egyptian revolution. It is not a surprise that this is happening. Hosni Mubarak has been president for more than a quarter of a century, ever since the assassination of Anwar Sadat. He is old and has been ill. No one expected him to live much longer, and his apparent plan, it was a possibility a year ago. There was no one, save his closest business associates, who wanted to see Mubarak’s succession plans happen. As his father weakened, Gamal’s succession became even less likely. Mubarak’s failure to design a credible succession plan guaranteed instability on his death. Since everyone knew that there would be instability on his death, there were obviously those who saw little advantage to acting before he died. Who these people were and what they wanted is the issue.

Let’s begin by considering the regime. In 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a military coup that displaced the Egyptian monarchy, civilian officers in the military, and British influence in Egypt. Nasser created a government based on military power as the major stabilizing and progressive force in Egypt. His revolution was secular and socialist. In short, it was a statist regime dominated by the military. On Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat replaced him. On Sadat’s assassination, Hosni Mubarak replaced him. Both of these men came from the military as Nasser did. However their foreign policy might have differed from Nasser’s, the regime remained intact.

Mubarak’s Opponents

The demands for Mubarak’s resignation come from many quarters, including from members of the regime — particularly the military — who regard Mubarak’s unwillingness to permit them to dictate the succession as endangering the regime. For some of them, the demonstrations represent both a threat and opportunity. Obviously, the demonstrations might get out of hand and destroy the regime. On the other hand, the demonstrations might be enough to force Mubarak to resign, allow a replacement — for example, Omar Suleiman, the head of intelligence who Mubarak recently appointed vice president — and thereby save the regime. This is not to say that they fomented the demonstrations, but some must have seen the demonstrations as an opportunity.

This is particularly the case in the sense that the demonstrators are deeply divided among themselves and thus far do not appear to have been able to generate the type of mass movement that toppled the Shah of Iran’s regime in 1979. More important, the demonstrators are clearly united in opposing Mubarak as an individual, and to a large extent united in opposing the regime. Beyond that, there is a deep divide in the opposition.

Western media has read the uprising as a demand for Western-style liberal democracy. Many certainly are demanding that. What is not clear is that this is moving Egypt’s peasants, workers and merchant class to rise en masse. Their interests have far more to do with the state of the Egyptian economy than with the principles of liberal democracy. As in Iran in 2009, the democratic revolution, if focused on democrats, cannot triumph unless it generates broader support.

The other element in this uprising is the Muslim Brotherhood. The consensus of most observers is that the Muslim Brotherhood at this point is no longer a radical movement and is too weak to influence the revolution. This may be possible, but it is not obvious. The Muslim Brotherhood has many strands, many of which have been quiet under Mubarak’s repression. It is not clear who will emerge if Mubarak falls. It is certainly not clear that they are weaker than the democratic demonstrators. It is a mistake to confuse the Muslim Brotherhood’s caution with weakness. Another way to look at them is that they have bided their time and toned down their real views, waiting for the kind of moment provided by Mubarak’s succession. I would suspect that the Muslim Brotherhood has more potential influence among the Egyptian masses than the Western-oriented demonstrators or Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is emerging as their leader.

There is, of course, the usual discussion of what U.S. President Barack Obama’s view is, or what the Europeans think, or what the Iranians are up to. All of them undoubtedly have thoughts and even plans. In my view, trying to shape the political dynamics of a country like Egypt from Iran or the United States is futile, and believing that what is happening in Egypt is the result of their conspiracies is nonsense. A lot of people care what is happening there, and a lot of people are saying all sorts of things and even spending money on spies and Twitter. Egypt’s regime can be influenced in this way, but a revolution really doesn’t depend on what the European Union or Tehran says.

There are four outcomes possible. First, the regime might survive. Mubarak might stabilize the situation, or more likely, another senior military official would replace him after a decent interval. Another possibility under the scenario of the regime’s survival is that there may be a coup of the colonels, as we discussed yesterday. A second possibility is that the demonstrators might force elections in which ElBaradei or someone like him could be elected and Egypt might overthrow the statist model built by Nasser and proceed on the path of democracy. The third possibility is that the demonstrators force elections, which the Muslim Brotherhood could win and move forward with an Islamist-oriented agenda. The fourth possibility is that Egypt will sink into political chaos. The most likely path to this would be elections that result in political gridlock in which a viable candidate cannot be elected. If I were forced to choose, I would bet on the regime stabilizing itself and Mubarak leaving because of the relative weakness and division of the demonstrators. But that’s a guess and not a forecast.

Geopolitical Significance

Whatever happens matters a great deal to Egyptians. But only some of these outcomes are significant to the world. Among radical Islamists, the prospect of a radicalized Egypt represents a new lease on life. For Iran, such an outcome would be less pleasing. Iran is now the emerging center of radical Islamism; it would not welcome competition from Egypt, though it may be content with an Islamist Egypt that acts as an Iranian ally (something that would not be easy to ensure).

For the United States, an Islamist Egypt would be a strategic catastrophe. Egypt is the center of gravity in the Arab world. This would not only change the dynamic of the Arab world, it would reverse U.S. strategy since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Sadat’s decision to reverse his alliance with the Soviets and form an alliance with the United States undermined the Soviet position in the Mediterranean and in the Arab world and strengthened the United States immeasurably. The support of Egyptian intelligence after 9/11 was critical in blocking and undermining al Qaeda. Were Egypt to stop that cooperation or become hostile, the U.S. strategy would be severely undermined.

The great loser would be Israel. Israel’s national security has rested on its treaty with Egypt, signed by Menachem Begin with much criticism by the Israeli right. The demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula not only protected Israel’s southern front, it meant that the survival of Israel was no longer at stake. Israel fought three wars (1948, 1967 and 1973) where its very existence was at issue. The threat was always from Egypt, and without Egypt in the mix, no coalition of powers could threaten Israel (excluding the now-distant possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons). In all of the wars Israel fought after its treaty with Egypt (the 1982 and 2006 wars in Lebanon) Israeli interests, but not survival, were at stake.

If Egypt were to abrogate the Camp David Accords and over time reconstruct its military into an effective force, the existential threat to Israel that existed before the treaty was signed would re-emerge. This would not happen quickly, but Israel would have to deal with two realities. The first is that the Israeli military is not nearly large enough or strong enough to occupy and control Egypt. The second is that the development of Egypt’s military would impose substantial costs on Israel and limit its room for maneuver.

There is thus a scenario that would potentially strengthen the radical Islamists while putting the United States, Israel, and potentially even Iran at a disadvantage, all for different reasons. That scenario emerges only if two things happen. First, the Muslim Brotherhood must become a dominant political force in Egypt. Second, they must turn out to be more radical than most observers currently believe they are — or they must, with power, evolve into something more radical.

If the advocates for democracy win, and if they elect someone like ElBaradei, it is unlikely that this scenario would take place. The pro-Western democratic faction is primarily concerned with domestic issues, are themselves secular and would not want to return to the wartime state prior to Camp David, because that would simply strengthen the military. If they win power, the geopolitical arrangements would remain unchanged.

Similarly, the geopolitical arrangements would remain in place if the military regime retained power — save for one scenario. If it was decided that the regime’s unpopularity could be mitigated by assuming a more anti-Western and anti-Israeli policy — in other words, if the regime decided to play the Islamist card, the situation could evolve as a Muslim Brotherhood government would. Indeed, as hard as it is to imagine, there could be an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood designed to stabilize the regime. Stranger things have happened.

When we look at the political dynamic of Egypt, and try to imagine its connection to the international system, we can see that there are several scenarios under which certain political outcomes would have profound effects on the way the world works. That should not be surprising. When Egypt was a pro-Soviet Nasserite state, the world was a very different place than it had been before Nasser. When Sadat changed his foreign policy the world changed with it. If Sadat’s foreign policy changes, the world changes again. Egypt is one of those countries whose internal politics matter to more than its own citizens.

Most of the outcomes I envision leave Egypt pretty much where it is. But not all. The situation is, as they say, in doubt, and the outcome is not trivial.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com

The Class Structure Favoring The Rich And Powerful Is About To Be Fully Challenged

Posted By on January 30, 2011

Got a good point here…the powers to be and the rich should pay attention to this… before it’s to late!
When a country, among other shortcomings, relinquishes its financial system and its population’s well-being to the pursuit of ‘good deals’, there is going to be substantial fallout. The citizens protesting in the streets of Greece, England, Tunisia, Egypt and anywhere else, may be revolting on a national basis against individual leaderships that have shafted them, but they also have a common bond; they are revolting against a world besotted with benefiting the powerful, the rich and the deal-makers at the expense of ordinary people.

Heads Up On The United States And Egypt…

Posted By on January 30, 2011

In a nut shell it’s not going well for the U.S. interests in Egypt, as our favorability rating in Egypt hit an all time low of 17% in 2010!

Land Locked Between Tunisia And Egypt…Guess Who? Yep Libya And Its Dictator Since 1969, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi

Posted By on January 30, 2011

Gaddafi has had a long run as dictators go, and at 68 he’s no spring chicken.

Al Jazeera reports that the Libyan government has imposed a state of emergency for “fear of demonstrations and rallies” comparable to those in Tunisia and Egypt. And ranked 17 in the world for oil production (and 9th in proven reserves), this is one we may want to keep an eye on.


Tough Love Against The United States

Posted By on January 30, 2011

Fodder for change…. Jordan’s economy struggles, weighed down by a record deficit of $2 billion this year, rising inflation and rampant unemployment and poverty.

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The leader of Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood Hammam Saeed’s warned Saturday that unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.

Jordan’s protests have been relatively small in size, but they underline a rising tension with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a key U.S. ally who has been making promises of reform in recent days in an apparent attempt to quell domestic discontent over economic degradation and lack of political freedoms.

More at: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110129/D9L25G0G1.html

Who’s On Deck As The Old Baseball Saying Goes…More Changes In The Middle East, Then Cuba Shouldn’t Be Far Behind In A Bid For Democracy

Posted By on January 30, 2011

We haven’t heard much out of Cuba recently, our guess is it wouldn’t take much to get things rolling there…….

Egypt….Mohamed ElBaradei: “Change Is Coming”

Posted By on January 30, 2011

The big question now is how far does this all spread around the Middle East?

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei made his way through the crowd in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday in an appearance that defied the military curfew and President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year regime.

“You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back,” ElBaradei told the protesters, according to Al Jazeera reports.

“We have one main demand — the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt. … I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience. Change is coming in the next few days.”

Muslim Brotherhood officials have said that ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has the authority to negotiate for the opposition.

“Egypt needs to catch up with the rest of the world. We need to be free, democratic and a society where people have the right to live in freedom and dignity,“ he said.

Asked if he would serve as interim president of Egypt, ElBaradei told CNN on Sunday that if the people of Egypt requested his leadership, he would serve.

More at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2011/01/egypt-opposition-leader-tells-protesters-change-is-coming.html

Egypt Opposition Leader Mohamed ElBaradei Speaks

Posted By on January 30, 2011

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the U.S. approach to fostering democracy in Egypt has not worked and Washington must move away from supporting longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt has a powerful military that has kept Mubarak’s ruling party in place for more than 30 years. Its largest and best-organized opposition group is the banned Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group. In this environment, other opposition groups have not been able to develop, and that absence could make a democratic transition difficult.

ElBaradei called fears that Egypt may end up with a religious-based government “bogus” and said the U.S. has been incorrect in seeing the only two options as Mubarak’s repressive regime or a fundamentalist Islamic state. Egyptians want democracy, he said, and it starts with Mubarak stepping down.

The United States is “losing credibility by the day” in calling for democracy in Egypt while continuing to support Mubarak, ElBaradei told CBS on Sunday. “On one hand you’re talking about democracy, rule of law and human rights, and on the other hand you’re lending still your support to a dictator that continues to oppress his people,” he said.

More at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond

It’s An Interconnected World We Live In

Posted By on January 30, 2011

This is not a recommendation….we’re just the messenger!

Want insurance against an interconnected worldly disorder?   Gold is one of the best insurance policies.

Gold is insurance…By nature insurance is a small percentage of your assets. Gold is proactive.  Gold is being your own central bank.  There are few other choices that leave you in control.  Currencies can and are being devalued (destroyed in value by governments and inflation), empires rise and fall, food crops fail and national disasters happen, but Gold will buy you much if not all of the things needed to survive these various events. A small insurance policy is protection.  Remember, the idea isn’t to put all of your money in insurance….just a small portion.  If you never need it, everything will be fine.   Gold will always have a value.   Enough said.

From Jim Sinclair

At last, the doubters have nowhere to hide. The world is revealed as an interconnected political economy force, and not as a disparate grouping of various nations, some authoritarian, some choosing democratically agreed upon policies, creating policy choice and thereby shaping of political outcome. Greece, Ireland, Tunisia, and now, the fulcrum of the Arab world, Egypt, stand as testimony. They are countries caught up in the machinations of a monetary policy to debase the world’s reserve currency.

All “he” wanted was some inflation, a little inflation to get America and the west out of the deflationary spiral caused by the failure of financial instruments (a.k.a. OTC Derivatives) and un-payable government debt – but he can’t get it. Everywhere it rages, but the place he wants it – home. So it erupts in global food prices and manifests itself in the attempts to bail out stone dead banks on the backs of the marginal economic player – post-destruction of the middle class. Most of the world has no savings to get through difficult times. Most of the world cannot “hedge” inflationary outcomes. Those outcomes appear quickly and change realities violently. The inflationary reality is their reality – the difference between starvation and survival. The result? Global upheaval, leading to where, we are not sure… but probably nowhere nice. Think American monetary policy was a uniquely sovereign, American affair? Think again. You are watching QE II live on television. American monetary policy and the global “race to debase” is that raging crowd you see on the television from Ireland to Greece and Egypt. It is that nascent force which Chinese leaders awake in terror, wondering what a billion plus people might do if faced with stark choices. If you can’t make the connection between the monetary policy and the political reality, you need to change the causal way you look at the world.

Nations hold dollars in reserve to meet the demands of running an economy. When debasement takes place, the marginal economic player gets hit first. This is what we see now. But there is another, geo-political aspect many are missing. The western attempts to control multiple political outcomes and a global geo-political/military order rests on the ability to finance and control that order. When the money gets degraded, the ability to finance that order goes with it. Degradation of currency inhibits foreign force projection, both militarily and politically. Nobody in Egypt believes America is capable of controlling political outcomes, as they did from Suez to Mubarak. That era has passed. It passed with the Shah of Iran, and the death of the widely despised (in Egypt) Anwar Sadat. The Mubarak intermezzo is over. In the Arab world, what happens in Egypt doesn’t stay in Egypt. The potential for “regime change” in Saudi Arabia is growing. Now we find that the financial necessity for Dollar debasement wasn’t as politically benign as people in Washington thought. Instability rages across a region that could usher in an era of global conflict.

People say, “be careful what you wish for” when you talk about the end of western hegemony, but while the political hegemony is dying by the hour, the monetary hegemony is currently intact and its results are evident. When those results swing full circle and return to the west, currency upheaval will be guaranteed. Global system breakdown, which made its debut in 2008 is now back for its main act. Money printing didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to. This time, a rush to the security of Treasury instruments is unlikely to be the fallback position for global capital that now sees Fed monetary policy as a destructive boomerang cutting inflationary swathes across the planet… en route to its place of origin.


Arabic Broadcaster Al-Jazeera Shut Down In Egypt

Posted By on January 30, 2011

It was just a matter of time before this happened…The Qatari government bankrolled Al-Jazeera when it launched in 1996 and is believed to still fund the station, but it operates with considerable editorial freedom compared with other government-run media outlets in the Arab world.

Anti-government riots also have spread to Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh claimed the tone of Al-Jazeera’s coverage incited “unrest, violence and sabotage in the Arab countries.”


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Sunday that Egyptian authorities ordered the closure of its Cairo news hub overseeing coverage of the country’s massive street protests, denouncing the move as an attempt to “stifle and repress” open reporting.

The Qatar-based network has given nearly round-the-clock coverage to the unprecedented uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and had faced criticism by some government supporters and other Arab leaders as a forum to inspire more unrest.

Al-Jazeera called the Egyptian ban “an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists.”

Egypt has moved aggressively to try to control mobile phones and the web since the protests swelled late last week — inspired by the uprising by drove Tunisia’s long-ruling leader from power. Egyptian authorities cut mobile phones and web links in tactics that mirrored the information choke-hold imposed by Iran’s security forces in the chaos after last year’s disputed elections.

More at: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-egypt-al-jazeera-20110131,0,148417.story

Just So You Know…The Egypt Full Shutdown Of The Internet And Mobile Phone Networks Is First In History

Posted By on January 29, 2011

Just how important is the Internet…well, without it your bank ATM won’t work, nor will most cash registers of major chain stores or many gas stations…the stock market wouldn’t open nor would the commodity markets, the electric grid could be effected so might water works, etc, etc. And we don’t really know what total effect it would have on the new highly electronic and Internet connected dependent automobiles or navigation systems.  You get the point.   What we have here is the tell tale of how the next world war might be fought.  Not a pretty picture.

PARIS (AFP) – The scale of Egypt’s crackdown on the Internet and mobile phones amid deadly protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak  is unprecedented in the history of the web, experts said.

“It’s a first in the history of the Internet,” Rik Ferguson, an expert for Trend Micro, the world’s third biggest computer security firm, told AFP.

Eric Sprott On The Tape With What Sounds Like An Outlandish Prediction…The Only Problem Is Eric Sprott Does A Lot Of Market Related Homework, Manages $8 Billion Dollars And Doesn’t Have A History Of Being A “Pie In The Sky” Kind Of Guy!

Posted By on January 28, 2011

Remember…..we’re just the messenger here, this isn’t our prediction!

Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management with $8 B as in billion dollars in money under management, has an unbelievable interview with Eric King of King World News.  Eric says that Gold (currently $1338.40/ounce) could be $2,150 and Silver (currently $28.01/ounce) $50.00 by spring….sounds hard to believe, unless the Dollar collapses or the Middle East blows up taking Oil to the moon…. come to think of it, those two go hand in hand.  But hey, Eric Sprott is another of those Top 10 smartest guys in his area of expertise.  Actually we would put him at #1 or 2.

Interview: www.kingworldnews.com

Iran, Tunisia And Syria Have Imposed Internet Restrictions In Attempts To Quell Opposition

Posted By on January 28, 2011

The move by Egyptian authorities to seal off the country almost entirely from the Internet shows how easily a state can isolate its people when telecoms providers are few and compliant.

“Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide,” Jim Cowie, chief technology officer of U.S.-based Internet monitoring firm Renesys wrote on the company blog.

“Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world.”

More at: http://www.cnbc.com/id/41311587

Jim Grant Of Jim Grant’s Interest Rate Observer Has Some Choice Words For Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke

Posted By on January 28, 2011

Jim Grant is well known and respected in interest rate market circles, but he has some harsh words here….he’s letting off some steam on Ben Bernanke.  Pay attention everyone, Jim is one of the big ten….that is one of the smartest 10 guys around.

Jim Grant appeared on Bloomberg TV, telling Margaret Brennan upfront that Bernanke owes the world an apology. Grant’s criticism of the Fed should really start to grate on the Fed Chair: “I think what would be very good for the Fed if there would be a confession, the Fed should confess that it has sinned grievously, and is in violation of every single precept of its founders and every single convention of classical central banking”. Quantitative Easing is a symptom of the difficulties that the Fed has created for itself. The Fed is running a balance sheet which if it were the balance sheet attached to a bank in the private sector would probably move the FDIC to shut it down. The New York Branch of the Fed is leveraged more than 80 to 1. Meaning, that a loss of asset value of less than 1.5% would send it into receivership if it were a different kind of institution…The Fed is now in the business of manipulating the stock market.” Jim also has some very critical discussions on how the Fed never settles up on the $3.4 trillion in custodial debt on its books.

Listen to Jim Grant’s interview here: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/jim-grant-fed-now-business-manipulating-stock-marketshould-confess-it-has-sinned-grievously

Egypt Updates

Posted By on January 28, 2011

Sounds like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is just buying some time….before heading out the back door!  In the past, most exits around the Middle East seem to lead to France, Great Britain or the U.S.

Updated 5:31 p.m. (0031 in Egypt) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he has asked the government to resign, and that he will appoint a new government Saturday. He gave no indication that he would step down or leave the country.

Updated 5:27 p.m. (0027 in Egypt)] President Hosni Mubarak said he is “on the side of the people” and vowed to take steps to guarantee the rights and freedom of Egyptians, develop job opportunities and to “stand by the poor.”

More at: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/28/clashes-erupt-in-cairo-elbaradei-told-to-stay-put-cnn-camera-confiscated/?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

WikiLeaks Rival Launches New Platform Called “OpenLeaks”

Posted By on January 28, 2011

How timely…..just as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos of all places!

DAVOS, Switzerland — A former WikiLeaks spokesman launched a rival website Friday, saying he planned to give whistleblowers more control over the secrets they spill.

The new platform, called OpenLeaks, will allow sources to choose specifically who they want to submit documents to anonymously, such as to a particular news outlet, said Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

“We’d like to work with media outlets that have an interest in informing the public,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting of top business and political leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos.

The difference between his group and WikiLeaks, he said, would be that his group leaves reviewing the material up to the publication or advocacy group chosen by the source to receive the information.

Domscheit-Berg said giving more professional journalists and analysts the opportunity to receive and sift through documents would speed up the process while making OpenLeaks less of a target, as it would not be publishing any of the material itself.

“We are not going to get under the same kind of scrutiny from governments and big corporations as WikiLeaks is currently,” he said.

More at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012801980.html

Stratfor Watch Report: Unconfirmed Reports of Military, Police Clashing in Egypt

Posted By on January 28, 2011


January 28, 2011

Unconfirmed reports from Al Jazeera on Jan. 28 say the army and police forces are clashing in Cairo. These reports have come after reports from state-owned Egyptian satellite Al-Misriyah TV saying army leadership extended the curfew from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time to the whole country.


Wall Street Rocket Scientists Try To Revive CDO Derivatives

Posted By on January 28, 2011

Warren Buffett calls them weapons of mass destruction for a reason….they almost took down the world in 2007-2008….Folks, we have some slow learners here…

This period is more degraded than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Pompei was kindergarten compared to the sociopaths of Wall Street.

The problem is that the present day demons own the place. Who needs enemies when you investment bankers.

                                                     Jim Sinclair

FCIC Publishes Report; Goldman Got $2.9 Billion on AIG Bets

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, tasked with determining the causes of the financial crisis, released its report yesterday in Washington, simultaneously publishing a 545- page book.

Among its findings, the report said Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  received $2.9 billion for its own account as a taxpayer bailout enabled American International Group Inc. to make good on credit-default swaps linked to mortgages.

The money was included in about $3.4 billion in swap- related payments, most of which AIG made following the government’s bailout, the FCIC said. That was in addition to about $14 billion that Goldman Sachs collected from AIG and passed to other counterparties, according to the report.

Syria Shuts Down Internet Service

Posted By on January 28, 2011

Dominoes falling….Syria has just shut down its Internet service.  We’ll see if it stays down!


Egypt Puts ElBaradei Under House Arrest

Posted By on January 28, 2011

The pot is starting to boil here……Egyptian security officials said Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is under house arrest. 

Long Time Friend Gene Inger Reviews World Matters

Posted By on January 27, 2011

Gene Inger’s Daily Briefing . . . for Friday January 28, 2011:
Good evening;
Consider ‘global revolution’ . . . as rising beyond its infancy if Egypt, the largest of all Arab nations, overthrows the 30-year old Mobarek regime. As we first reported just a couple days ahead of the major news media, the President’s wife and son already had fled to London on separate flights (or seemingly fled, rather than a shopping trip).
‘Revolution’ in Egypt, likely led by Mohamed El Baradei (yes, the nuclear expert from Vienna who headed the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, and is not extremist at all as far as anyone knows; thus might NOT welcome radical Moslem Brotherhood support), will be (if it goes thusly) a kind of change the United States should support. So would Israel, as there would be no reason for a challenge to mutual recognition as well as no reason to envision any radical effort to block or limit Suez Canal usages. It might be only monarchs down the Arabian Peninsula who will shake in their thrones.
If matters sour (given that El Baradei has arrived in Cairo so that exposes him to risk, should the Brotherhood extremists attempt to hijack the popular demand for reforms, and perhaps new governance), then all hell breaks loose, as this is a strategic issue. A million plus protest that succeeds or installs El Baradei, could be the best outcome hoped-for by both the Egyptian people overall, and the Western world in particular. It is not so relevant that Egypt is not a notable oil producer, but that much oil traverses the Suez Canal, as well as the Peace Agreement by which Israel allowed Egypt on the Sinai side of the Canal only based upon peace and respect between the parties.

If a radical group took control and seized Canal operations; you’d be facing a crisis in some aspects similar to the 1956 situation, which sparked the Anglo-French invasion to retake the Canal (a joint British / French project which Egypt’s Nasser nationalized) and which was opposed by both Russia and the United States (stupidly as we were it seems swept-up worrying about the Hungarian Revolution at the time and threats by the Russians to nuke London and Paris if the ‘brits and French didn’t retreat from the very success swift retake of what was their property. Frankly, it occurs to me that the successful takeover by Nasser of Suez, emboldened other Arab states to nationalize oil properties later, with the creation of OPEC ensuing (to create an illegal cartel that to this day is operating oil wells and facilities established by what now comprises the ARAMCO operations (Arabian American Oil Co. and so on). This was originally the so-called ‘five sisters; ie: Chevron, Standard of New Jersey (now Exxon/Mobile); and of course Mobile, Texaco and British Petroleum.

Now… to my point about ‘global revolution’. Lots of Americans (and others who are in a society which benefits from profit-motive objectives) want really honest free-market capitalism, not the elitist-semi-fascist (solely) pro multinational corporate cabals that’s been dominant for at least the last two decades, while (both parties allowed lengthy) dismantling of our manufacturing base was encouraged by absurd national policies. If this leads to a ‘default’ on the astronomic promises our (mostly) parents made during the immediate post-war decades, as were amplified by our baby-boomer generation, you could see the basis for getting out of the impossible ‘money-printing’ absurdity of the current era, which historically has not ended well for any (empire or nation) doing it. What started after World War II as growing personal or family net worth while being compassionate to others and maintaining a strong defense (today that might be what is advocated closest by ‘blue dog Democrats’ or moderate Republicans or Tea Party advocates, albeit not all of them) morphed into a twisted acceleration of excess greed that increasing made decisions based presumably on necessity and not on humanity.

Yours truly predicted this mess over 25 years ago as you know (warning shoe maker firms at two annual American Footwear Assoc. gatherings), because the government here was not replicating protective policies there, and in fact trying to help foreigners at the expense of the U.S., particularly with respect to facilitating the China opening. Of course it deterred confrontation, but invited degradation (intended or not) here for the U.S.A. Almost three decades later (more slightly) little has been done but finally it is recognized (right; after the most damaging collapse since the Great Depression as we forecast back in 2007). They would love to blame housing and leverage for it all; but the blame goes far deeper and absolutely relates to government tax/trade policy.  

Bottom-line: the nexus for societal discontent is something we’ve warned of from the May of 2007 ‘epic debacle’ call. Why then and not 20 years ago? Because creation of paper wealth, and perceived asset equity growth (like real estate) gave the illusion to the mass of the population to keep them content, and complacent about politics while the industrial base of the Nation was being persistently and perceptibly dismantled. A few commentators and writers addressed the subject, but generally the media acted as propaganda spokesmen for the various Administrations, with little journalism that addressed the implosion of the real capability of making most things we need here in the United States. Now we have a President (and we applaud the statement) saying we will do so here. But how fast and with what new policies? Even now there’s been no ‘urgency’ really impressed upon Congress, such as demanding a trade policy or tax reform bill on his desk within 3-6 months at the most. The clock is ticking on the American peoples’ patience; so now Washington gives this lip-service, but little more.

In the backdrop we think the Fed is in total panic (they won’t reveal that), as they now realize neo-Keynesian monetary policy did not work the way they implemented it (and just as I warned back in 2007 they would do, and said then don’t, as it won’t work). As we look at history, some of the biggest moves in financial history started slowly at first, then accelerated so rapidly, that once unleashed there was really no stopping it.

More at: www.ingerletter.com

Egypt Arrests Muslim Brotherhood Leaders

Posted By on January 27, 2011

This is getting nasty…..

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt rounded up members of the Muslim Brotherhood including at least eight senior leaders of the group ahead of planned countrywide protests on Friday.  

A security source confirmed that authorities had ordered a crackdown on the group overnight: “We have orders for security sweeps of the Brotherhood,” the source told Reuters.

Egypt Shuts Down Internet And Text Messaging Ahead Of Million-Man Protests

Posted By on January 27, 2011

Reports are emerging that Internet has gone down in Cairo and throughout Egypt, only hours before the largest planned protests get rolling.

More from the HuffPo:

According to a report from The Arabist, “Egypt has shut off the internet.”

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that BlackBerry Internet has been taken offline in Egypt.

New Report Details Wall Street Crisis In 2008

Posted By on January 27, 2011

“As a scholar of the Great Depression, I honestly believe that September and October of 2008 was the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression,” ….. Ben Bernanke.

The common thought out there is that this can’t happen again….WRONG! The causes have not been remedied.  All eyes should be on the economic road dead ahead from 2012 to 2014.  Risk of currency crashes, inflation, revolutions and food shortages among other problems will be unusually high during the next few years according to the Kress cycle.  It shows a potential period that may be worse then 2008.  Let’s hope it’s wrong, but by nature our best advice is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  If things work out for the better, we’ll all be fine….if not, well you can see where this will be going.

Twelve of the 13 largest U.S. financial institutions “were at risk of failure” at the depth of the 2008 financial crisis…..and at least 50 hedge funds tried to capitalize on it, according to a report released Thursday by a U.S. panel investigating what happened to the financial system during the melt down in 2008.

The report for the first time quantifies a huge run on the bank at Morgan Stanley, describes the alleged trading practices of a secretive hedge fund and tallies the number of such funds betting against U.S. homeowners.

The 545-page report paints a picture of a financial system let loose by lax regulation and careening out of control. Regulators now are hammering out the details of a major financial-regulatory overhaul. 

“As a scholar of the Great Depression, I honestly believe that September and October of 2008 was the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression,” Mr. Bernanke said, according to the commission’s report.  Of the 13 most important U.S. financial institutions, “12 were at risk of failure within a period of a week or two,” the report continued.

Social Security May Run Permanent Deficits

Posted By on January 27, 2011

It’s the new math that’s the problem, nobody knows what the word “deficit” means….in a mathematics nutshell, it means “minus”…or in simpler terms “subtraction”.  Funny how everyone understood what “surplus”,  “plus” and “add” meant, especially in thier bank accounts and house supported ATM!

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sick and getting sicker, Social Security will run at a deficit this year and keep on running in the red until its trust funds are drained by about 2037, congressional budget experts said Wednesday in bleaker-than-previous estimates.

The massive retirement program has been suffering from the effects of the struggling economy for several years. It first went into deficit last year but had been projected to post surpluses for a few more years before permanently slipping into the red in 2016

This year alone, Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in retirement, disability and survivors’ benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said. That figure nearly triples – to $130 billion – when the new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included.

Congress has promised to replenish any lost revenue from the tax cut, but that’s hardly good news, either, adding to the federal budget deficit. In another sobering estimate, the congressional office said government red ink this year will increase to $1.5 trillion, the most in U.S. history.

More than 54 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, averaging $1,076 per month.

Snowstorm Shatters New York City, Philadelphia Records

Posted By on January 27, 2011

Records are made to be broken,…..but the hope is (was) ‘not in our lifetime’.

New York City and Philadelphia are included in the mid-Atlantic storm that broke daily snowfall records on Wednesday. New York City set a new record for January,  the snowiest January in history.

With the storm grounding out, final snow tallies exceed a foot throughout the corridor from Philadelphia to New York City.

The recent storm total snowfall in New York City was 19.0 inches. The 12.3 inches that fell alone on Wednesday broke the day’s long-standing snowfall record of 9 inches from 1871.

The storm also pushed the month’s snow total to 36.0 inches in New York City and makes this January the snowiest on record, bypassing January 1925 and its 27.4 inches.

Top Earnings By Sport Including Endoresments

Posted By on January 27, 2011

The NHL had lowest top-earner of the group. Sidney Crosby salary of $9.0 million and endorsements of approximately $2.2 million has him well off the pace of the other athletes.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-the-top-endorsement-earners-in-each-sport-2011-1#ixzz1CGbjfsmy

George Soros On The Tape

Posted By on January 27, 2011

Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros said Thursday in an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo that the deficits facing U.S. municipalities will be the “drama of the next year.” Soros also said that what ever recovery we have will be finished by mid year and that interest rates will start to rise later in the year. 

Rising Price Pressures Spur World Wide Inflation Concerns

Posted By on January 27, 2011

Hey, what about us here in the USA, Uncle Sam says nope, no inflation here, you on social security get no cost of living raise….but our good buddies in Congress, well that’s another story.

Inflation is one of the issues on the agenda in Davos, as the prices of food and other commodities rise, reducing the disposable incomes of poor people and triggering street protests in North Africa.

NBA Team Values Increase 1% From Last Year On Average, But 17 Of The 30 Teams Lost Money

Posted By on January 26, 2011

Guess the contraction (subtracting teams from the league) issue is for real…so whitch teams will get the boot?   We can start with New Orleans….being that the NBA now owns them.

NEW YORK — The New York Knicks have overtaken the Los Angeles Lakers as the NBA’s most valuable franchise, and 17 of the 30 teams are estimated to have lost money last season, according to Forbes.

The Knicks’ value rose 12 percent from $586 million to $655 million, the magazine said Wednesday in its annual evaluation. The rise was attributed to increased ticket sales and sponsorships at Madison Square Garden.

The Lakers went up 6 percent from $607 million to $643 million.

Chicago was third at $511 million, followed by Boston ($452 million), Houston ($443 million) and Dallas ($438 million).

After signing LeBron James, the Miami Heat had the biggest percentage rise, a 17 percent increase to $425 million, good for seventh place. Following the loss of James, Cleveland dropped a league-high 26 percent to $355 million.

The average value of a franchise increased 1 percent to $369 million, down from $379 million two years ago.

Forbes estimated teams averaged $6.1 million in operating income. It said the total of teams that lost money is the most since the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

The Parched Hot Sun Does Funny Things To You!

Posted By on January 26, 2011

Excuse us, but we could have sworn that the president said things were getting a lot better and the recession was behind us…..or was that just a mirage in the parched desert sun!

The federal budget deficit will reach nearly $1.5 trillion in 2011 due to the” weak economy, higher spending and fresh tax cuts”, the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said, in a stark warning!

Say What….How Much Did You Say That Nickel Was Worth?

Posted By on January 26, 2011

Yep, a nickel is worth 6.8 cents in metal value or 36% more then the $.05 it represents in spendable value!

Yes, it’s true; the value of a nickel is soaring, even as the value of a dollar is slumping. That’s because every nickel that rolls out of the U.S. Mint contains about 3.75 grams of copper and about 1.25 grams of nickel. Current metallic value: 6.8 cents per nickel.

We present this illustration merely to underscore the obvious: A small piece of imprinted paper contains less real-world value than a small piece of copper and nickel.

Furthermore, as pointed out in an edition of The Rude Awakening, “a U.S. dollar is a poor conductor of electricity and combusts near an open flame. It contains no measurable quantity of any element on the Periodic Table, nor any resource whatsoever that could contribute to any industrial application. Rather, a dollar contains little more than a politician’s IOU.”


Judicial Emergency Declared In Arizona

Posted By on January 25, 2011

We’ve never heard this before…..except maybe in Mexico!

Federal court officials declared a judicial emergency Tuesday in Arizona, allowing courts to delay criminal trials up to six months because of a shortage of judges worsened by the shooting death two weeks ago in Tucson of the state’s chief jurist.

Arizona federal courts were already overwhelmed by a 65% increase in criminal cases in the last two years and two judicial vacancies when U.S. District Judge John M. Roll was killed in the Jan. 8 attack that also severely wounded Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Natural Gas….No Shortage Here!

Posted By on January 25, 2011

This article explains why natural gas is so cheap.  Oil companies used to just burn off the natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico  because they didn’t know what to do with it.   Who has been harking on this subject for years, yep….Oklahoma farm boy and self made billionaire T Boone Pickens.  He says we need to take advantage of the current supply situation on natural gas….it will solve many of our energy problems and make for a cleaner environment.

The world may have twice as much natural gas than previously thought, according to the rich nations’ think tank the International Energy Agency (IEA). The world may have 250 years of gas usage at current levels thanks to “unconventional gas” from shale and coal beds, Anne-Sophie Corbeau, senior gas expert at the IEA told BBC News. Estimates may even be revised upwards.

Studies are underway into newly-recoverable sources. In 2009 it had become the world’s biggest gas producer. This is phenomenal.

The U.S. achieved the change through a technological breakthrough in which firms found a way of using tiny explosions to free gas previously trapped in a common rock – shale. Other nations were now rushing to replicate the U.S. success by exploiting gas currently trapped in various types of rock where it was thought to be impossible to access.”

A New Superabundance of Game Changing Shale Gas Will Provide 250 Years of Natural Gas

Internet “Kill Switch” Back On The Table

Posted By on January 25, 2011

Hmm….There is a new push to give President Obama an Internet “Kill Switch”.

Portions of the Lieberman-Collins bill, which was not uniformly well-received when it became public in June 2010, became even more restrictive when a Senate committee approved a modified version on December 15. The full Senate did not act on the measure.

The revised version includes new language saying that the federal government’s designation of vital Internet or other computer systems “shall not be subject to judicial review.” Another addition expanded the definition of critical infrastructure to include “provider of information technology,” and a third authorized the submission of “classified” reports on security vulnerabilities.

Obama To Call For Freeze In Nonsecurity Government Spending

Posted By on January 25, 2011

Inquiring minds want to know how you can have growth with a spending freeze?   Right, you can’t!

Obama will call for a five-year freeze on nonsecurity discretionary spending in his State of the Union address “as a down payment toward reducing the deficit,” a White House official said.

The president will propose some new spending in certain areas that address the speech’s theme of “How We Win the Future”: innovation, education and infrastructure. But those increases will be proposed within the context of a proposed partial budget freeze.

We’re In Deep Demographic Poop, With No Help As Far As The Eye Can See!

Posted By on January 24, 2011

It’s hard to have substantial economic growth when you don’t have population growth.  So, real estate will have a hard time bouncing very far, and the same goes for other asset classes that the U.S.Fed has artificially stimulated like stocks and commdities for an example!

Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Dies At 96

Posted By on January 23, 2011

We probably all grew up watching Jack LaLanne on TV…..

Jack LaLanne, who died Sunday at age 96 at his home in Morro Bay, Calif., opened a string of gyms in the 1930s and went on to host “The Jack LaLanne Show,” syndicated nationwide.

Cheerful and distinctively dressed in a jumpsuit and ballet slippers, Mr. LaLanne was fond of slogans like, “First we inspire them, then we perspire them.” But behind the glib exterior was a philosophy of exercise and whole foods that was decades ahead of its time.