Saturday, June 27, 2009

Leading Indicator Action

Zero Hedge says: California lost more than Michael Jackson on Thursday. They also lost their credit rating as Fitch dropped them to A-minus and even that rating was immediately placed on negative credit watch. California faces a $24 billion-plus budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday, rapidly declining sales tax revenues and an impotent legislature that can’t agree on solutions. Faced with the prospect of running out of cash, State Controller John Chiang said Wednesday the state will begin to issue IOUs for all general fund payments other than those categories protected by the state constitution, federal law and court decisions.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waxman-Markey Government Control Act of 2009

Mama says: I don't think the average person realizes that much of our current power plant dates from decades ago, that nuclear plants are going to going off line in about a decade due to age, and that we are apparently signing on to something that will raise the basic cost of living in a very substantial way, without actually having any alternatives.

Okay, so in pursuit of a goal that's nonsensical, for a problem that is international and that will not be addressed internationally (India and China, for example, are refusing to starve their people to death), we adopt legislation that either sets up an iron wall of tariffs or drives half the nation into poverty in about 15 years. This is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen in my lifetime. Let's hope it can be stopped in the Senate.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Intrigue Ending

Joe Posnanski says: I can tell you that whenever I went to the swimming pool in the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, “Human Nature” was playing on the radio. The opening guitar strains on “Beat It” — Eddie Van Halen, of course — still evoke a trip to the lake I took with high school friends. The sounds of “Off The Wall” can be so powerful, I can almost smell a sunny afternoon in 1981, just as my family had moved, just as I was about to enter high school, when I was afraid of just about everything.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The $134.5 Billion Mystery Chap 2

Karl Denninger says: This is stuff out of a Tom Clancy novel, and the longer it goes on and the more twisted the "explanations", the less sense it makes. I find it incomprehensible that the Italian government released these two if they were actually caught in a massive counterfeiting operation with $134 billion in fake US Securities.

I find it equally incomprehensible that there was not an immediate indictment out of a US Prosecutor coming from such an event and a demand for extradition back to the United States. And further, I find it equally incomprehensible that if the securities are in fact real, and Treasury is lying, that Italy would not impose the fine.

Only the latter scenario, however, covers what apparently has happened - the two "couriers", whoever they are, have been released and, according to some accounts, they took the allegedly "fake" instruments with them, and there has been no US indictment issued for counterfeiting the instruments. Uh, can we have some truth here folks, because none of what is being reported adds up and my BS detector is ringing off the hook.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who Switched the Playbooks?

Managing the Dragon says: When I was starting up in China, many experts cautioned me on what I would encounter. “It’s not a free market and there’s no rule of law, they told me. “The government controls the courts, the companies and the banks. Central planners in Beijing, not the marketplace, decide what goods to produce and which companies should produce them.”

“Decisions are made for political, not economic reasons,” they went on to explain. “The heads of China’s state-owned enterprises serve at the pleasure of the Party, the banks are told what loans to make, and making a profit is secondary to ensuring employment. That’s the reason why China’s banks are a mess and full of non-performing loans.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

The $134.5 Billion Mystery

Contrarian Profits says: For those of you who don’t know, a report surfaced on Monday, June 8, on an obscure Vatican-sponsored news website,, that Italy’s financial police (Guardia Italiana di Finanza) had “seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland.”

The story has received a lot of coverage in Europe and Asia. But US media outlets have ignored it, despite the fact that it concerns either the biggest ever counterfeiting or the biggest ever smuggling of US bonds. (A third possibility is that the story itself is a fake. Even so, this would merit serious attention as it implies that someone or some state or state agency is interested in destabilizing the value of US debt at a time when it’s most sensitive to destabilization, i.e., when America is issuing most of it.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crisis Problems Demand Harsh Remedies

EarthTimes says: Any person caught using plastic bags in Uganda from early 2010 will be jailed for three years or be fined an equivalent of 1,500 dollars, press reports said Saturday, quoting government environment lawyers. Madison City Council take note.

Don’t Confuse Activity with Revolution

Pamela Geller says: Mousavi positioned himself as a reformer. It was shaping up to be a first-class piece of political theater: the "reformer" would win, and would con the UN and the President while finishing their extensive, comprehensive nuclear weapons program. Not one nuke, not two nukes. Many nukes. The world wants so desperately to be fooled. And so the "new" Iranian President would "engage" in a "new era," "new dialogue," and "diplomacy," to Obama's delight.

It was always a ruse. Mousavi is as establishment as they come. He was Prime Minister of Iran from 1981to 1989, and editor in chief of the official newspaper of the Islamic Republic party. Further, he's cut from the same Nazi cloth as Ahmadinejad: he was one of the founders of Hezb'allah, and also helped construct Iran's murderous intelligence services.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Computers Are Data Recorders

Zero Hedge says: Don't believe the hype. Twitter may be helpful short term, given the ability to create "flash crowds," but absent authentication and stronger organizational tools it is equally useful as a tool of secret police everywhere. The picture of Iranian Twitter operators running around the capital, looking for the next undiscovered internet connection, the secret police hunting for satellite dishes, and the folly of trying to collect news to distribute when your office moves every few hours is not pretty. Will someone please tell them to open an encrypted tunnel to an exile organization in London and Tweet from there?

The only reason the internet is serving the "revolution" at all presently is Iran's ineptitude in putting together the means to control it. Imagine how short lived would be an internet "revolution" if Iran had passed the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and appointed a Cybersecurity Czar, for instance.

Authorization to Shut Down the Internet?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Planet is Safe – Duh!

Conclusions: 1. The sun puts out more than enough energy to totally roast the earth. It is kept from doing so by the clouds reflecting about a third of the sun’s energy back to space. As near as we can tell, this system of cloud formation to limit temperature rises has never failed.