Monday, February 28, 2011

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

The indexes are at their highest in a long time. Wish I had a crystal ball because there are forces propelling it up and plenty of reasons out there for it to tumble. The bottom line is still profit. Today's data on rising consumer spending and increasing savings added to decent fourth quarter numbers have investors still talking bull markets.

I still think the GOP wants to tank the economy this year. They have already demonstrated that they could care less about employment. We could very easily see another 1/2 to 1 million layoffs with State and Fed union employees sent packing. Also notice that the GOP is no longer complaining about jobs or job creation, not a peep.

Reuters: Nikkei rises helped by Japan's low inflation risk

Buyer's Remorse

Walker's popularity has indeed taken a big hit in recent polls. In fact if the election were held today, he would lose.

Many union members did vote for Walker and now they are changing their tune. This is primarily the sector that is changing its mind.

Raw Story: Wisconsin voters would not elect Gov. Walker in retrospect: poll

Top Seductive City

Democracy Now - Libyans Organize Citizen Councils To Run Eastern Cities "Liberated" From Pro-Gaddafi Loyalists

'Brooklyn Lobster'

GOP Increasing Unemployment

Look the GOP is out to tank the economy. They know that the elite will get bailed out on the backs of the remaining middle class and the poor. This just happened as you know, and they liked it. They come into power in November on some crazy half brained ideas about how to create jobs, and it was smoke and mirrors hyped up on a lot of fear as usual.

Here's the GOP game plan: tank the economy in 2011 as a way of gaining more power in 2012, make unemployment worse, remove as much equity as possible from the hands of the middle class, privatize as much of the infrastructure as possible as in Wisconsin and other states, and expand poverty.

WaPo: GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says

Joe Scarborough - Glenn Beck "Out Of Control"

Even Joe says he's bad bad bad - how about that.

Conservatives are best when they are fighting amongst themselves so the rest of the world can move on peacefully.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Extreme

Wisconsin Police Union Announces Solidarity With Occupation Of State House

Fast Food For The Rich

Heartbreaking, would you agree? The recession has brought the rich into the fast food fold.

Junk is the new gourmet...

CNN: Rich Americans flock to fast food
"Dining out on a daily basis was completely normal for us...Now we eat in or get some form of take out of less expensive food."

Spending And Incomes Up In January


The government has released data showing that consumer spending was up in January and that incomes (incomes?) were also up in January. Now don't you feel wealthy and wise?

Sure if you take all the billionaires in the USA and average all of their vast wealth accumulation out along with the rest of us ingrates then yeah sure, it all looks better.

This is ridiculous data, nevertheless the stock market will rise for at least an hour...

Reuters: January consumer spending edges up, incomes surge
The Commerce Department said spending edged up 0.2 percent (in January), the smallest increase in seven months...


Incomes rose 1.0 percent last month, the largest increase since May 2009, after increasing 0.4 percent in December.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Wisconsin Protestors Clean, Orderly, Helpful, And Making Mom Proud

What better way to assist an ailing economy that was brought to its knees by Wall Street criminals than to blame unions for the entire mess.

This is the logic that Walker is presenting to the world.

Meanwhile the protesters are showing perseverance and dedication.

We have to look at the poll numbers because Walker has got to be taking a hit here.

McClatchyDC: Wisconsin Capitol Police allow protesters to stay overnight
Tubbs announced the decision to let the protesters stay after he saw how they moved aside while work crews went about cleaning the Capitol, including mopping and polishing floors.


"People are very cooperative," Tubbs said. "I appreciate that."


"Using a recession created on Wall Street to try to bust unions on Main Street."


During the protest, demonstrators organized cleanup details, set up a system of marshals and brought in food.

The Market On Monday

Good morning. It is raining and around 32 degrees here in Upstate NY. We seem to be in a wave of very fluid news with the assault on democracy in the US and the craving for democracy in the Middle East. How about Governor Walker, he is unmoved by 100,000 people screaming in his bedroom. Walker's policy has fallen apart at the seems, its nothing more than a greedy attempt to privatize Wisconsin's infrastructure.

At 8:35 a.m. futures are modestly up, the dollar is mixed, and oil is down.

News from the Federal Reserve suggesting that the economy is continuing its ascent and news from Warren Buffet on his interest in going into buying frenzy mode have made investors happy for the moment.

I am of the opinion that the GOP is out to tank the economy this year. They want more power in 2012 and a tanking economy that will be blamed on Obama is their route of choice.

Hey GOP, where are the jobs? Jobs will not be coming from the GOP.

CNN: Investors taking a step back
...reports on personal income and spending.


"The news has been largely positive for equities and there is a bias towards seeing the positive side of things..."


Investors will get January personal income and spending figures from the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. ET.


Oil for April delivery slipped 34 cents to $98.22 a barrel.

'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker'

Ramones

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

The Berkeley Earth Project

In a few weeks a new kid on the block of global warming, The Berkeley Earth Project, will unveil a huge collection of climate data.

I think the naysayers won't budge regardless. Global warming has entered the minds of many people with the same intensity that religion has. Its like a belief in god.

Guardian UK: Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change? The Berkeley Earth project say they are about to reveal the definitive truth about global warming
Starting from scratch, with new computer tools and more data than has ever been used, they will arrive at an independent assessment of global warming. The team will also make every piece of data it uses – 1.6bn data points – freely available on a website. It will post its workings alongside, including full information on how more than 100 years of data from thousands of instruments around the world are stitched together to give a historic record of the planet's temperature.


The wealth of data Rohde has collected so far – and some dates back to the 1700s – makes for what Muller believes is the most complete historical record of land temperatures ever compiled.

Anonymous Takes On The Koch Boys

I would have to say rounds 1 through 15 have gone Koch.

Indeed it will be interesting to see what anonymous can dig up.

AnonNews.org: OpWisconsin
It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch--the billionaire owners of Koch Industries--have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.


Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker's union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch's have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state's power supplies.


The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating 'grassroots' organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America's broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers' political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.


Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse - is complicit in these attacks. We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries' paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.

Perfect

Outrageously gorgeous day here in Upstate NY.

Just spent 2 hours walking outside in the glorious sunshine.

Heading back out...

'The Nature Of Existence'

The Onion - Open-Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He's Wasted Listening To Bullshit

Five Wackies

I would run barefoot if I lived near the ocean. Otherwise - ouch.

I will try tongue scraping.

Live Science: 5 Wacky Things That Are Good for Your Health
- Vibrating exercise platforms


- Tongue scraping...one of the most effective means for curing bad breath.


- Barefoot running


- Curing with parasites


- Fecal transplants

Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Liberated Liyba

Sections of Libya are now in control of the people.

The fear has been that various tribal loyalties would create civil wars and a breakdown of that country into tiny kingdoms.

CS Monitor is reporting that these potential fears are not occurring and that a sense of unity is prevailing in the parts of Libya out of Gadaffi's control.

More power to them...

CS Monitor: Across 'liberated' eastern Libya, volunteerism and a pulling together
Qaddafi is still reportedly holed up in his Tripoli stronghold of Bab al-Aziziya, a neighborhood filled with his friends, clansmen, and thousands of soldiers who answer to his sons.


At the “Voice of Free Libya,” the country’s first uncensored radio station in decades, people working there tell of strangers showing up with baskets of food. In the courthouse, an old man scrubs toilets – his way of doing something for the country...

Social Stability - Not Here, In China

Reining in inflation - check
Maintaining social stability - check
Working for the rights of the working poor - check
Building affordable housing for the poor and cracking down on a speculative housing market that can cause disastrous bubbles - check

No not here in the USA, you ingrate, this is occurring in China.

Just the opposite is occurring in the USA as the GOP goes about dismantling the middle class with the precision of a micro surgeon. You see the middle class has something that the ultra elite wealthy want complete control over. Its called equity and political power.

Reuters: China's Wen puts social stability at heart of economy
...maintaining social stability was central to the country's foreign exchange policy...


The jobs of millions of poor rural migrants were at stake...


...the government was determined to stamp out graft and corruption...


The government aims to ensure that 36 million units of affordable housing for poorer workers are built by 2015...

'Pet Sematary'

Ramones

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Diet Soda - Increased Risk Of Stroke

'Source Code'

trailer - preposterous supposition but who cares...

Overreach

The GOP is out to tank the unions. This is their long held plan. Unions interfere with privatization especially privatization where the contractor of the day is in the pocket of the GOP.

It could be that Wisconsin's governor uncorked the genie just not the one he was expecting.

People are not ready to lay down just yet.

Reuters: Labor rights protesters rally across United States
The stakes are high for labor groups because more than a third of U.S. public employees, including teachers, police and civil service workers, belong to unions. Only about six percent of private sector workers are unionized.

'Subject 13'

Fringe

Breast Milk Ice Cream

Its being billed as a free range food.

Reuters: Shop to make breast milk ice cream

Reuters - Pain At The Pump

Gaddafi

Gaddafi has no conscience. I hope the Libyans can oust him soon.

Gulf News: Qatar-based Libyans see end to Gaddafi's regime
Libyans living in Qatar are confident that it is only a matter of time before Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi flees the country.

ATFP

This is not a joke.

It is a website where one can 'Adopt A Terrorist For Prayer.'

Adopt A Terrorist For Prayer

I need time to process the information in order to comment. Some things just catch you at an unusual angle.

The GOP War On Women

So GOP where are the jobs?

Ah, you didn't have jobs in mind all along now did you?

Very sneaky GOP, you pointed out the pitfalls of the jobless recovery and slid in on people's fears proclaiming yourselves to be the real job creators.

Looks like the real agenda is becoming crystal clear and all this jobs yap yap was a pretext...

NY Times: The War on Women
...the elimination of support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Iraq's Day Of Rage

The Middle East Revolution has hit Iraq.

Who can blame these poor people given the size and duration of the atrocity of shock and awe forward to now. That's a lot of years of trauma.

So the average Iraqi has very little and they are following the Egyptian and Tunisian lead. The comment has been made that Saddam would have shot every single protester dead. Sitting in my comfortable middle class bed in white America, who the hell am I to comment, but I will.

That is still a speculation. Yes, Saddam would not have gone easily. There is a critical mass, where people cannot tolerate the status quo. It is point of no return. That type of momentum can be suppressed but it can't be erased. Also one does not know what kind of material support outside sources might or might not provide. The point is we can't second guess, reality progresses from the present forward, not from a what if forward.

CS Monitor: Iraqis stage 'day of rage' despite government lockdown
The "day of rage" protests rocked other Iraqi cities as well, as demonstrators burned or tried to storm government buildings from the southern port of Basra to the northern cities of Mosul and Huwaijah, where at least five protesters were shot dead by security forces.


...the fortress-like green zone, a mini-city housing the Iraqi government and the huge US embassy, was further sealed off with new concrete barriers.

GOP Kicking Out The Legs Of The Recovery

Good morning. We are snowed. Its the Winter of the snow, its the type of Winter people remember from their childhood, Winter like the way it used to be.

CNN is addressing the new threats to the mildly resuscitated economy.

Oil spiking is an obvious one. However when Goldman Sachs points to the Republican spending proposals, then something is amuck.

Obama is up for re-election in 2012. He has overseen a jobless recovery, nevertheless recall that the economy was literally a hair away from a complete shutdown. That shutdown would have made the recession that we did experience look like a romp in the park. It was very serious indeed.

The Republicans came into power in January running on a theme of creating jobs. Well guess what, the Republicans have something else in mind. They are, as we know, setting out to dismantle as many of the hard earned democratically fought for institutions that ordinary people want and need. Let me offer two obvious examples - women's rights and unions.

I am going to cut to the chase here. The Republicans are not going to create jobs. They are going to sell Americans on a tough love fiscal fantasy and they will use the appropriate word twisting and FOX News to go about it. They are good at screwing the ordinary sheeple and convincing them its a good screwing as long as poor people or the other guy is getting thrown out in the cold.

Here is one, of many, larger reasons why they want to do this. The recovery now with Republican pushing will fall flat on its tush by the end of this year. Obama in turn gets painted as steering the economy back into crisis. Making sense yet?

One more thing, if you are involved in the equities market, the first warning flag from this blog is being raised. Pay attention, pay very close attention to the market in the next several months.

CNN: Economy faces new threats
Goldman Sachs put out a note Tuesday estimating that Republican spending proposals which would cut $61 billion between March and Sept. 30 could reduce economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters.


End of QE2: Economists are also wondering what will happen to the economy once the Federal Reserve stops pumping $75 billion a month into the economy with its purchases of Treasuries, a policy known as quantitative easing, or QE2.


If the bull market that doubled the value of stocks in less than two years comes to a sudden halt, that would be another blow to the economy.

'Fish Beach'

Michael Nyman

***** five stars - Sande

Friday, February 25, 2011

Night All

Shoveled the driveway three times today.

I am beat.

Have a great night.

'TGS Hates Women'

Snowed

We got socked with snow today and its still coming down in a fine spray.

We are running out of places to put all the snow.

Its been one helluva harsh damn winter.

Democracy Now - Wisconsin Today

2.8%

The latest and last reading on the fourth quarter GDP has it increasing at a rate of 2.8%. This is down from the earlier reading of 3.2%

The Bureau Of Economic Analysis: Gross Domestic Product, 4th quarter and Annual 2010 (second estimate)
...increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010...


The small fourth-quarter acceleration in real GDP primarily reflected a sharp downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, an upturn in residential fixed investment, and an acceleration in exports that were mostly offset by downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in state and local government spending.

Eagles

Krugman On Walker's Bill

Krugman compares the power grab in Wisconsin to the privatization brought to Iraq in 2003. He reviews how this shock doctrine failed in Iraq, and he demonstrates how the radical right is implementing the same policies in Wisconsin.

If anything the article gets into some of the hidden little gems in Walker's bill that essentially circumvent democracy and pushes full out privatization on Wisconsin.

Walker's bill is a model for disaster.

NY Times: Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Here Comes $4 Gas

Nice little spike in gas prices today. The average cost rose almost $.06 per gallon overnight. The average cost is now $3.28 per gallon. $4 per gallon is on the way.

CNN: Here comes $4 gasoline

The Onion - Governor Walker Should Be Flogged For His Inability To Control His Underlings

To Green Or Not To Green In California

Curious dilemma in the potentially progressive state of California.

Governor Jerry Brown (and that still seems very strange to write) is faced with a mangled choice.

He needs to adroitly address that state's budget mess and he needs to move the state towards more green energy. The two i.e. a balanced budget and green energy are not completely compatible when a massive recession is occurring.

I hope he takes the plunge, bites the bullet as it were, and goes along with a proposal to improve the state's percentages of green energy by 2020.

CS Monitor: Jerry Brown's tough choice: green energy in hard economic times
Democrats (in California) are resurrecting an idea vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would require utilities to buy at least 33 percent of state electricity from renewable sources by 2020, hoping Mr. Brown will be more amenable. On Thursday, the bill passed in the state Senate.


“Brown clearly supports the green industry effort and wants California to be a leader, but his top priority is the budget problem he has to deal with.”


Because green energy currently costs more to produce.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

CNN - Wisconsin Moves Towards Union Busting

The Market On Friday

Good morning. It is snowing and hovering around 30 degrees here in Upstate NY. It is a heavy type of snow, sticky and more on the wet side. Walking was a little harder this morning, the snow was clumping. Winter has a few more weeks with us.

At 8:30 a.m. futures are moderately up, the dollar is mixed, and oil is up but stabilizing around $97.

The investment journalists are writing about a more stable type of day. The final reading on the fourth quarter GDP comes out this morning. More consumer sentiment data also comes forward.

If I were a betting type of person right now I would be leaning toward a day of gains. However the last three days have been jumpy with the market over that period losing almost 3%. This might not be the beginning of that long expected 10 to 15% correction just yet.

CNN: Stocks set for higher open after 3-day rout
Wall Street will get a second reading on U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product Friday morning.


A final read on February's University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey also is on the docket.


Oil for April delivery gained 50 cents, or 0.5%, to $97.77 a barrel.

'Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend'

Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

'Dick Cheney Hunting'

Lewis Black

Gaddafi Dead Rumor Sends Commodities Down

'Live In Detroit'

Iggy And The Stooges

Democracy Now - Glenn Greenwald On Wikileaks

Housing Market Fractures

At noon the DOW is down roughly 75 points. The news on US housing continues to show a weak market.

CNN: Sales of new homes fall a shocking 11.2%

Senator Psy And Senator Op

How the US military impressed their needs on US politicians using psy-op techniques.

Totally out of control...

Rolling Stone: Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators

Democracy Now - The Koch Brothers

Midlife Crisis Number 10

I thought everybody had these...

I wish I had known they were a myth, then maybe I wouldn't have had several...

Live Science: The Midlife Crisis Is a Total Myth
"There is no specific time in life that predisposes you to crisis..."

Libyan Revolution

The Libyan revolution is gaining traction throughout that country.

I am not clear yet on how organized the rebels are but they seem to be coalescing around a revolution. They are controlling oil fields and some cities.

Its starting to look like they could do it.

Guardian UK: Libya rebels isolate Gaddafi, seizing cities and oilfields
...shutting down oil exports and mobilising rebel groups in the west of the country as the revolution rapidly spreads.


...almost all shops remain closed and the internet is blocked.


All southern oilfields are in rebel control.


...when Gaddafi started killing them they rose up.

The Daily Show - Rumsfeld

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Birthright Citizenship Faces Arizona

Do we recall the Tea Party and its subservient wing, The GOP, talking up the Constitution and how the Constitution was being violated by Obama, lots of Constitution talk, and its big news all over FOX.

Constitution.

Well, the Republican controlled State of Arizona, now wants to bring forth legislation in direct conflict with the 14th Amendment to that very same Constitution.

Do I smell a conflict here, or possibly a little itty bitty bit of hypocrisy?

Constitution.

CS Monitor: Immigration fight: Bill to end 'birthright citizenship' advances in Arizona
In a challenge to US Constitution’s 14th Amendment, a Senate panel in the Republican-controlled state legislature late Tuesday gave the green light to two companion bills that would deny automatic US citizenship, sometimes called "birthright citizenship," to children born to illegal immigrants.

391,000

First time unemployment claims dropped below 400,000 this week. This will be regarded as good news.

The Market On Thursday

Good morning. It is very cold and sunny here in Upstate NY. The Sun is climbing higher and higher each day and soon we will push the clocks forward. Notice that Obama has cleared a path for gay marriage. Pit that against the assault on women's rights and workers' unions being waged by the GOP and one can see that the larger battle for the country's center is in full command.

At 8:30 a.m futures are moderately down, the dollar is mixed, and oil is up over $100 per barrel.

Today the investment journalists are back to Libya as the instigator of fear and loathing over the world's oil supply. Recall that the other day, that was not considered a problem.

My opinion, and I must emphasize the word opinion, is that investors are going on a profit taking run and the Libyan crisis is just a convenient backdrop or coat rack to hang the fall on.

CNN: Stocks set for lower open as oil hovers at $100
...profit-taking after a strong couple of months on Wall Street, in the face of concerns that a "larger, systemic problem" could be haunting oil supply in the near future.


The Commerce Department issues its new home sales report at 10 a.m. ET, which will be followed by a report on crude oil inventories.


Oil for April delivery gained $2.72 to $100.82 per barrel, dropping from the earlier prices of more than $101 a barrel.

'Smokestack Lightning'

Howlin' Wolf

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

'The Maestro'

Nikkei Opens Lower On Thursday

All Or Nothing

Click the image to see a larger version.

Everybody in America needs to see this chart.

Trouble is most won't, many can't make any sense of it, even more don't really care, FOX will reverse the words and scramble the meaning, and life goes on...

Mother Jones: It's the Inequality, Stupid

'Windtalkers'

NYC Smoking

NYC just took a closer step towards a complete outright ban on public smoking.

Fantastic!

Medical News Today: New Smoking Ban New York City And World Report
The popular Mayor Michael Bloomberg achieved another success with the 36-12 New York City Council vote to now ban smoking in 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas like the one in the heart of Times Square. This is a passing that keeps in line with the 2003 ban of smoking in NYC bars and restaurants.

Saunas

From a deep operative.

Really liking the sauna at the Y.
The basic idea of sauna therapy is to heat your body several degrees. Saunas can dramatically improve circulation and relieve internal congestion. It is also said that by heating the body it helps destroy bacteria, viruses and some tumors. In addition, it assists the body in detoxification by ridding harmful toxic metals and chemicals, radioactive particles, and other toxins.
The effects of a sauna session occur in two phases. The first phase, which usually is within the first ten minutes, induces light sweating as your body temperature remains approximately at basal level of 98.6 degrees. The body dissipates the extra heat by increasing circulation, shunting blood to the skin’s surface, and sweating.


The benefits of phase one of a sauna session include:


• Muscle relaxation, which leads to increased overall body relaxation
• Enhanced flexibility of tendons and ligaments
• Minor pain relief
• Improved oxygenation and dilating the peripheral blood vessels
• Relieving internal organ congestion


After about 10-30 minutes in the sauna, the body enters phase two. During this phase your body can no longer dissipate the heat of the sauna and your body temperature begins to rise. Your heart rate and sweating increase as blood is more forcefully shunted to the surface. Some of the greatest benefits occur during this phase, which include:


• Improved circulation due to the heart rate increase
• Increased body temperature is said to hasten the death of weaker cells

Fake Or Real Koch

The Koch Brothers are the Tea Party's and now Gov. Walker's billionaire backers.

Raw Story: Buffalo Beast allegedly tricks Wisc. Gov. Walker into taking call from fake ‘David Koch’

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: WI Gov. Scott Walker's Past

The Onion - NASA Completes 52-Year Mission To Find, Kill God

Defense of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz Dropped

Jose Padilla is suing Bush era Pentagon officials for torturing him. One judge has thrown out the case but another is allowing a version of the case to proceed. The Obama administration has dropped the legal representation of all involved except Gates.

I recall reading about Padilla a few years ago and wishing I had not eaten anything just before. Its some scary torture techniques and the guy was reduced to some pre-conscious unrecognizable being.

The long story short version is that somewhere along the line the case gets shut down because important state secrets will not be allowed to come forth, they could somehow threaten the very foundation of our society. This is the usual company line. However from here on out it will be mostly on the Rumsfeld defense fund dime and not our dime.

Politico: Justice drops defense of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz
...Judge Richard Gergel said allowing the case to proceed could result in “a massive discovery assault on the intelligence agencies of the United States Government….and lengthy and probing depositions of high-ranking government officials with national security clearances and personal knowledge of some of the Nation’s most sensitive information.”


...a federal judge in San Francisco, weighing a separate but parallel suit against former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo ruled that case could go forward.


His lawyers claim that Padilla’s captors in the brig subjected him to abuse including sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation, imminent death threats, forced drugging and interference with his practice of Islam.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Showdown Staredown

It looks like the stalemate in Wisconsin might get some traction this Friday. Wisconsin legislators will start tackling that state's debt restructuring on Friday and the Dems want to be in on it. They have to come out of hiding to show up for the structuring debates.

The signs point to Walker holding his policy intact and thereby diminishing the power of the state's employees union.

CS Monitor: Why neither side is blinking in Wisconsin's union-GOP budget showdown
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) isn't budging...


The Democratic contingent of 14 state senators remains in hiding outside the state...


...43 percent (of Wisconsin residents), approve of Walker's collective bargaining plan...


...Friday is the deadline to restructure the state's debt, and next Tuesday the state's next biennial budget is rolled out. Staying away from that debate could cede too much power to Republicans and could become a major political liability for Democrats..

The Market On Wednesday

Good morning. It is very cold and sunny here in Upstate NY. After working with a lingering cold for the last week, I regained my stride and went walking this a.m. Happy to report that the world looks terrific, activity is bubbling, and people are as angry as ever...

At 8:30 a.m. futures are modestly up, the dollar is mostly down, and oil is continuing its scary rise. One might suggest that the market will open with some gains, the trifecta is 95% in.

Reading the investment journalists this morning brings pained humor. Turns out that Libya doesn't produce that much oil after all, and none of it goes to the USA (or so they say). Investors got a little trigger happy yesterday, folding in the face of nothing.

Today things are better except that the understanding about who exactly is running the hen house has fallen once again into question. Are we supposed to chalk up yesterday as a nod to the youthful unseasoned adroitness of the investment world. Apparently yes, but rest assured, your money is in good hands...

CNN: Stocks poised for higher open after sell-off
...Libya just doesn't produce that much oil and not that much comes to the U.S....


...National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales numbers for January at 10 a.m. ET.


The dollar dropped versus the euro and the British pound, but was flat versus the Japanese yen.


Oil for April delivery gained 55 cents to $95.97 a barrel.

'Improv'

Collin Stetson

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

'You Must Remember This'

House

BBC - Hitler's Bodyguard

Democracy Now - Protests To Defend Labor Rights Spread to Ohio

This Old Inexpensive House

Housing is not picking up as housing prices on average are falling. Las Vegas and Detroit are leading the pack down.

Now if that's not disturbing then this next issue definitely should be. There is talk of removing the mortgage interest tax deduction. When that happens, how will the average person be able to afford a house. It is the tax deduction that enables people to do things like make home improvements, and even do simple home maintenance. This is the war on the middle class. This mortgage tax deduction is the thing that makes the middle class happen. I will bet my house that this idea is supported by the GOP.

CNN: Home prices near 2009 lows -- and may fall more
"There's a substantial risk of home prices falling another 15%, 20% or 25% more..."


There's also talk of possibly ending the mortgage interest tax deduction for many homeowners.


In three cities, Detroit, Cleveland and Las Vegas, home prices have dropped below their January 2000 levels...

Confident And High

How confident are you? As a human being who knows. But as a consumer, you oh ingrate, are confident. You are consumer confident and are now willing to plink down plastic, paper, or coin, more so than one can recall in recent years.

Pretty soon it will become cool again to go into unbelievable high credit card debt...

Bloomberg: U.S. Consumer Confidence Rose in February to Three-Year High
“The consumer believes that growth is picking up pace.."

The Onion - Suspension Of Disbelief Goes Unrewarded

Entomophagy - Eating Insects

I may have just changed my mind about global warming......

Live Science: New Idea to Reduce Global Warming: Everyone Eat Insects

Wal-Mart Posts 7th Consecutive Earnings Dip In The USA

First off Wal-Mart is still making gobs of money throughout the globe.

Wal-Mart's USA sales have been dipping. My sense is that people are looking for an even cheaper way out due to the recession. So the dollar stores are picking up the slack. Wal-Mart is being undercut.

Long story short - people are poorer and are buying at cheaper alternatives.

Reuters: Wal-Mart's U.S. sales woes deepen
...has lost customers to dollar stores while it also is still recovering from a poorly executed decision, since reversed, to pare down the number of items it offered.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Libyans Walk Through Fear

The uprising in Libya appears to have hit a critical mass. At the moment it may be unstoppable. People want democracy, they want Qaddafi out.

He isn't relinquishing power easily. This is not like Egypt. The Libyans are facing death. Many have been killed. Qaddafi's civility and humanity are absent, and we know this. The Libyans are facing an intense fear campaign of words and guns as a means of suppressing their democracy wish.

Qaddafi has been accumulating massive amounts of oil wealth. You would think he could walk away from it at this point, sated to the heavens with billions of dollars. The man has certainly used his position as a world stage in which his eccentricity is uniquely displayed to say the least.

There has to be a sub story here. Libya has Africa's largest oil reserve. This can only mean that big oil has its big long arm in this thing at least up to and including the shoulder.

CS Monitor: Libya protests spread as barrier of fear crumbles
“My sense that the regime’s willingness and eagerness to use not only extreme violence but all sorts of horrific tactics, shooting with the intent to kill, tricking people into a sense of safety and coming near the gates of buildings and then shooting them, hiring mercenaries to attack people and to go to protesters’ houses and damaging their property and so on … is working against it..."


Libya, a country of about 7 million people, has Africa’s greatest oil reserves, although that wealth has not been shared beyond Qaddafi’s family and a coterie of loyalists.

The Market On Tuesday

Good morning. It is clear and bitter cold here in Upstate NY. The bitter cold is becoming a little oppressive at this point. Its been a demonstrative winter.

At 7:25 a.m. DOW futures are down 115 points, the dollar is mixed, and oil is significantly higher.

The investment journalists are all about Libya and the impact the unrest in this major oil producing country is causing. Markets are rattled and oil is climbing to two year highs. Its all about disruption of supply in a world that needs oil more than anything.

With all this emphasis on Libya, one can expect that some other factor is quietly entering the stream. Its always like that. When our attention is diverted, somebody is tip toeing around the chicken coop causing all sorts of mischief.

Not that I would technically know, but we are in for a correction. Could this be the excuse needed to get that momentum going.

CNN: Libya uprising drags down markets premarkets
...as oil prices continued to skyrocket...

...sources in the Libyan capitol report a food shortage, gunfire and violence by security forces.

Oil for April delivery jumped $6.79 cents to $96.49 a barrel.

Brent crude, the benchmark oil contract in Europe, was up $4.81 to $107.33 a barrel.

'Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago'

Soul Coughing

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

'German Guy'

Family Guy

Gaddafi Hanging On For Now

Looking forward to seeing this guy gone for good. He's a boil on the skin of humanity and for so many years. Are corporate interests probably in the middle of his long stay? Ya think?

Reuters: Gaddafi under threat as revolt hits Tripoli
"What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead..."

Wisconsin "Budget Repair Bill" Protest

Libya Unrest Creates Oil Price Surge

Libya is a major oil producer. Curious how this all leads to inflation at the pump.

Reuters: Libya turmoil prompts oil surge, hits equities
Brent crude gained $2.50 a barrel to hit a new 2-1/2 year high above $105.

Democracy Now - Iran, the Green Revolution and the USA

The Onion: Embarrassed Republicans Admit They've Been Thinking Of Eisenhower

Land Conservation As An Imperative

Unrecognizable

Wisconsin Developments

The union workers are agreeing to concessions on health care and pensions but want to keep their collective bargaining power.

Will a compromise be reached?

AlterNet: 10 Developments in the Huge Story of Wisconsin's Uprising
In return they ask only that the provisions that deny their right to collectively bargain are removed. This will solve the budget challenge.

The Most Chemically Contaminated Veggies And Fruits

Just buy organic, if you can.

Topping the list is celery and peaches with up to 67 pesticides and chemicals invovled in 'conventional' growing methods.

Incidentally they call food grown with 67 different pesticides - 'conventionally grown' as if human history has made it so.

Yahoo: 10 dirty fruits and veggies

Gulf Floor Is Dead

Apparently BP has stated that all will be well by 2012. Not so.

Turns out the Gulf oil spill also released large quantities of methane that mixed with the water. I was not even aware of this fact.

Yahoo: Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead

Wall Street Is Closed Today

Today is Presidents Day and the American markets are closed.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Divide And Conquer

The Monitor article linked below is trying to calibrate the pulse of the country and how they feel about labor unions. The majority are favorable but that support is eroding. Is it any wonder given the fear people hold regarding the economy and their place as workers within it, and the non stop assault on collective bargaining rights and all things democratic coming from the authoritarian right.

CS Monitor: Wisconsin protests: Do Americans agree with tea party view of unions?
Although the share of respondents taking some form of favorable view (45 percent) was slightly larger than the camp with unfavorable views (42 percent), support for unions has clearly ebbed over the past decade. When Pew asked the same poll question in 1999, the margin was 59 percent "favorable" to 36 percent "unfavorable."

Curveball Admits He Made It All Up

Hey, turns out the Iraq War was just a big mistake because Curveball made it all up.

Oh well, gee, I hope the next defector is not such a liar. Clearly this let's George Bush completely off the hook. It was all just little mistake, oops.

Guardian UK: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war
- Man codenamed Curveball 'invented' tales of bioweapons
- Iraqi told lies to try to bring down Saddam Hussein regime
- Fabrications used by US as justification for invasion

'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'

Eva Cassidy passed away in 1996 at the age of 33. She suffered from bone cancer. The song can make one weep knowing that such sublime talent can be so tragically short lived. This performance easily shows that she was in the highest echelons of popular song performers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who Financed Walker - Tea Party's Koch Brothers

'Vegeterrible'

Corporate Economic Outlook

Not really a great article but it does indicate that if companies are making their money globally, they simply don't really care what's going on domestically. Also companies that rely on domestic income are weaker. No surprises here.

Reuters: Corporate America's economic outlook
...Wal-Mart...has posted six consecutive declines in quarterly sales at its U.S. discount stores.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

Compare

Pistol Packing Pupils

The Ed Show - Wisconsin Responds To Limbaugh's Insults

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Dunk-A-Licious

The Republican Strategy

Read it and weep, or get incited to take action.

Robert Reich: The Republican Strategy
These three aspects of the Republican strategy – a federal budget battle to shrink government, focused on programs the vast middle class depends on; state efforts to undermine public employees, whom the middle class depends on; and a Supreme Court dedicated to bending the Constitution to enlarge and entrench the political power of the wealthy – fit perfectly together.


They pit average working Americans against one another, distract attention from the almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the top, and conceal Republican plans to further enlarge and entrench that wealth and power.


What is the Democratic strategy to counter this and reclaim America for the rest of us?

'Mulholland Falls'

CNN - G20 In Paris

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Retiring Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Fall Short

An extremely sobering look at the retiring baby boom generation. The median 401k's are not enough to cover a decent yearly wage and the maintenance of a standard lifestyle.

I am reading that many 401k holdings were shifted into bonds during the recession and that many have missed out of the rebound in stocks. This really saddens me.

Look if you have a 401k you have to be a least minimally savvy with finance. Its not their money, its not your financial adviser's money. Its your money G.D.it. Its yours. Your financial adviser is getting a nice percentage cut of your holdings probably quarterly or yearly regardless of how much your account goes up or down.

I swear to god, reading this article pisses me off. Excuse me I have to go scream.

WSJ: Retiring Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Fall Short
"The discussion turns out to be: What kind of part-time work do you want to do after you retire?"


He has clients contemplating part-time work into their 70s...


She says she lost more than half her savings in the recent financial crisis, then shifted heavily to bonds and missed the stock rebound.


The median 401(k) plan held $149,400...(which) would generate just $9,073 a year for a couple...less than one-quarter of the $39,465 needed.

Union Buster Walker

Curious that the pro-union busting bill of Wisconsin's Gov. Walker is supported by the Tea Party.

I thought the Tea Party was for the little guy, for helping the little ordinary man. I feel so cheap, so used...

The Tea Party came out to support Walker's policy, and they were way over matched protest wise.

Interesting that the anti-bill protesters numbering in the tens of thousands seem to get the idea of contributing more to pensions and health care costs. The problem is they don't understand why Republican Walker wants to bust up their union.

No authoritarian politician is going to support a union. The union disrupts the top down non-democratic imperative of the authoritarian. Demands to maintain health care benefits, pensions, these things in themselves need to be removed at all costs from the authoritarian's point of view. Benefits are part of socialism, and unions harm the imperative for corporate privatization and sending as many jobs as possible to the country authoritarian flag waving jingo Republicans love best, Communist China.

After all if it weren't for the communists, most flag waving GOP authoritarian corporate types wouldn't be nearly as amazingly wealthy as they are now.

How about that, the GOP hates democracy, unions, benefits, education, pensions, woman's rights, but they are communist sympathizers. Go figure...

Reuters: Competing Wisconsin protests draw thousands
...officials put the combined total at 55,000 -- but no more than 5,000 of those appeared to be there for the rally backed by Tea Party groups...


"I'm just opposed to the bill. I have no problem contributing more to my healthcare and pension. I understand about the deficit, but some of the proposals are just about union busting."


"As bad as this is at the Wisconsin State level, it is far worse in about 20 states..."

The Secret Life of Chaos

'Don't You Want Me'

Atomic Tom

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good Night

See you tomorrow...

CNN - Soros Responds To Beck And Fox News

'6B'

Fringe - latest episode

War On Women

Disgraceful...

Its time to get out there and hit the streets.

MoveOn: Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women
5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

NY Times - Walker's Pretext

Walker is bringing out the wrath of the people because of his own bad choices.

The integrity of the unions has nothing to do with Wisconsin's deficit issues.

In addition the Governor has chosen to make tax give-aways to big business. If he chose not to do that, his deficit is much smaller.

NY Times: Gov. Walker’s Pretext
Just last month, he (Walker) and the Legislature gave away $117 million in tax breaks, mostly for businesses that expand and for private health savings accounts. That was a choice lawmakers made, and had it not been for those decisions and a few others, according to the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state would have had a surplus.

Democracy Now - Friday Recap

The Onion - FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Un Corrected

Good morning. It is 32 degrees and snowing here in Upstate NY. The full moon was spectacular last night and its a special way to go into the weekend. On the other hand I am looking forward to my head cold lifting.

The ongoing story continues. Everyone is wondering when the market correction will occur. Everyone is trying to read the tea leaves for signs of a turn, checking on things like the Volatility Index, the VIX, which is slightly up and trading volume which is down. These two together are part of the correction recipe.

The DOW is now at 12,391.25. Who knew. The rise has been fast and startling. Another fear arises with history which might indicate that this fast high rise will lead to a bigger correction. One thing to keep in mind is that we are not reading any recent news in the mainstream reports that indicate fear of another crash.

CNN: Analysis: U.S. investors fear volatility but remain steadfast
"Domestic equities are where the capital has been going into and we don't know when that will stop."


"When the market grinds higher and the longer that persists, the fall tends to be more abrupt and volatile..."

Speeding Tickets

The info that blows me away is that traffic tickets are a $4.5 to $6 billion yearly industry!

Yahoo: America's Worst Speed Traps

'Dagenham Dave'

Morrisey

Friday, February 18, 2011

Republican Lobbyist Edwina Rogers Wraps Gifts In Money

Planned Parenthood Cut

The GOP has forgotten one salient fact. Abortion is legal in the United States.

Raw Story: House votes to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood

More Wisconsin

As The Crowd Shouts 'Fox Lies'

'Threat Level Midnight'

The Office

Its Spring - Like

Oh my god, its feels so nice out.......I think I'll leave it out.

That is an old joke.

If you live is the area, I hope you were or will be able to get out in the fresh air. At 4:30 it is 59 degrees out. The snow is melting the icicles are in great remission and people are out walking without hats and gloves on. The young people are jogging in shorts. Its been a monster of a winter, a real heartbreaker. We are depleted and miserable and yes it will get cold again. But the light is improving and today we got a glimpse of our future.

'Recall Walker'

Democracy Now - Chomsky

Excellent interview. Chomsky is completely on his game and tackles unions, the deficit, SSI, medicare, who to vote for, all of it. This is a very empowering clip.

Watch it.

Wisconsin Protest

Clip is from Thursday.

Reuters - Hypnotise

The Onion - Iams Executives Scrambling To Figure Out Why Brand Is Losing 2- To 4-Year-Old Chocolate Labs

Quash The Net

The GOP hates democracy.

Raw Story: Republicans seek to quash ‘net neutrality’ rules

Dwarfism, Ecuador, Cancer Free

Wisconsin Labor Union Battle

Wow big goings on in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will bust up the teachers' and related workers' union. The teachers are not pleased. The protests are huge.

Everybody knows that the GOP hates unions. Notice that the governor is not picking on the police and firemen unions.

Hmm.

This is an easy choice, we need to stand behind these teachers and support them in any way that we can. Sign the petitions, talk it up. This governor sounds like the typical authoritarian we have come to know and pretty much sneer at.

If its GOP, its authoritarian.

CS Monitor: Union battle echoes beyond Wisconsin: 'We’re fighting for our very existence'
The bill would force workers in non-law-enforcement unions to pay more for their pension and health benefits, remove their collective-bargaining power on anything but wages, force members to vote every 12 months to certify their union’s existence, and bar them from deducting union dues from state paychecks.


“There is no question that the big business elites in this country and the political right wing together see the recession in general and state and local fiscal crises in particular as an opportunity to advance their agenda..."


The 33-member state Senate needs 20 members present for the passage of a fiscal bill, making the chamber’s 19 Republicans not enough for a vote.


He adds that making police, fire, and state trooper unions exempt from the bill reflects the governor’s political agenda. “He’s afraid of those people,” he says.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

The Market On Friday

Good morning. It is partly sunny and around 40 degrees here in Upstate NY. The sidewalks are relatively clear with the occasional ice and water puddle blockage, the second thought obstacle. Its hard to tip toe through it and walking around it is a problem too.

At 8:30 a.m. futures are relatively flat, the dollar is mixed, and oil is slightly up.

Monday is the generic President's holiday and the markets on Wall Street will not be open. This means that today will be quiet as many investors are extending the holiday. So one can expect light volume, and I would suspect a little southward drifting, hopefully nothing worse.

There's a big deal G-20 meeting occurring in France. One topic will be the rising inflation affecting the globe. We went to the supermarket last night and it sure seemed like everything was more expensive. Yikes. Who can afford food? The other problem is that the food one can afford isn't really food, its a mess of white flour, corn syrup, and preservatives. Sound good?

CNN: G-20 meeting hovers over stocks
U.S. markets will be closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.


The two-day G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers got underway in Paris.


Oil for April delivery edged up 36 cents to $89.20 a barrel.

'Overkill'

Men At Work

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

'A Day In Tokyo'

Rove Wants Birthers Confronted

This is an amazing piece.

Rove is tying to quell the massive birther movement within the GOP. Miraculously, the instigator of this movement is - Obama!

He is blaming Obama for the birther movement.

TPM - Dem Rep Receives Threat Over NASCAR Proposal

Rep. McCollum (D-Mn) wants the Army to stop using taxpayer money to support NASCAR through advertising. But her proposal is meeting with opposition.

Now one would think that a deficit slashing proposal like McCollum's would be a welcome thing among Tea Party people.

TPM: Dem Rep Receives Threat Over NASCAR Proposal

Link to the death threat here.

Reuters - Police Teargas Bahrain Protesters