Thursday, May 31, 2012

GOP sleeping on Scott Walker election, Fox News snoozing, MSNBC and unions preparing as if it were Normandy-Coulter


"An election almost as important as the presidential election will be held next Tuesday, and conservatives aren't making a big deal of it, just as they didn't make a fuss over the 2008 Minnesota Senate election as Al Franken stole it from under their noses. (Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Minnesota has a reputation for clean and fair and good elections. We've got 4,100 precincts run by volunteers. They do a good job, and we thank them.")

The public sector unions are trying to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office for impinging on their princely, taxpayer-supported lifestyles. If Walker goes down, no governor will ever again suggest that snowplow operators work when it snows. No governor will dare try to deprive public school teachers of their Viagra. Forget about ever firing self-paced, self-evaluated, unnecessary government employees.

Always leading the nation, California has already been bankrupted by the public sector unions. That's the country's future if Walker doesn't win, and it's not going to matter who's in the Oval Office.

Democrats know what's at stake. They're treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead. ...

Fox News has barely mentioned this election, while on MSNBC they're doing non-stop campaigning on behalf of the unions."...via Weasel Zippers


1Q 2012 US GDP revised down to 1.9, ADP payroll number for May 2012 misses, 2011 wages revised down

5/31/12, "Economy in U.S. Expanded Less Than Previously Estimated," Bloomberg

"The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the first quarter than previously estimated, reflecting smaller gains in inventories and bigger government cutbacks.

Gross domestic product climbed at a 1.9 percent annual rate from January through March, down from a 2.2 percent prior estimate, revised Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The report also showed corporate profits rose at the slowest pace in more than three years and smaller wage gains at the end of 2011....

Other reports today showed more Americans than projected filed claims for jobless benefits last week and companies added fewer workers than forecast in May....

Figures from Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Employer Services showed payrolls increased by 133,000 this month following a revised 113,000 gain in April. The median estimate of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a May advance of 150,000.

Stock-index future trimmed earlier gains after the reports."...via Rush Limbaugh


Jobless claims rise UNEXPECTEDLY w/e May 12, 2012, 4th straight down week, 7 out of 8 weeks have been down

5/31/12, "Jobless Claims Rise for 4th Straight Week," Reuters, Moneynews

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose last week for the fourth straight week, which could heighten concerns the labor market recovery is softening.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The prior week's figure was revised up to 373,000 from the previously reported 370,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims unchanged last week.

Claims have now risen in seven of the last eight weeks. Most of those increases were marginal and the overall level of claims has held at levels consistent with a modest recovery in the labor market.

But the steady increase could add to the concerns raised by April's disappointing 115,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls. A Labor Department report due on Friday is expected to show employers added 150,000 jobs in May."...via Instapundit


Only 75% of Americans in prime earning years of age 25-54 have jobs, falloff sharpest for men

5/29/12, "Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years," Washington Post, Peter Whoriskey

The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.

By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.

During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals,

  • huge numbers are on the sidelines....

The falloff has been sharpest for men, for whom the proportion had been on a slow decline before the recession. The percentage of prime-age men who are working is smaller now than it has been in any time before the recession, going all the way back to 1948, according to federal statistics. The proportion of prime-age women is at a low not seen since 1988....

About 4 million workers have simply stopped looking, and so do not show up in the tally used for the unemployment rate."...via Instapundit


NIH awards $2million to shrink under investigation by DOJ who also failed to disclose past pharma income-Nature, May 2012

5/29/12, "Senate watchdog questions US grant to controversial psychiatrist," Nature News blog, M. Wadman

"Corruption in Big Science: A U.S. senator is demanding the NIH explain how it could give a $2 million grant to a researcher previously punished for not reporting financial conflicts of interest who is also under investigation by the Department of Justice." Robert Zimmerman, Behind the Black


Canada didn't force its mortgage industry to make risky home loans, it created economic stimulus via tax cuts, allowed dynamic industrial structure

"Nor does Canada have the equivalents of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agencies that created a moral hazard in the U.S. mortgage market."

5/30/12, "Follow Canada To Smaller Government, Stronger Economy," Investors editorial

"Canada had developed a well-earned reputation as a welfare state. But a new understanding has taken root north of the border, and Canadians have pursued some policies the U.S. should also follow.

In the May/June Cato Policy Report, analyst Chris Edwards notes: "In some ways the United States is in even worse fiscal shape today than Canada was two decades ago" when it was suffering through "a deep recession and teetered on the brink of a debt crisis caused by rising government spending."

Canada stopped its slide. Will America?...

The rocketing federal debt is 106% of our economy, the highest it's been since World War II and three times what it was during the 1970s. To say our economy is sluggish is almost to exaggerate.

Making a bleak outlook even harsher is the largest-in-history, economy-crippling tax hike coming in January when the Bush tax cuts expire....

It can happen. After years of implementing socialist policies, Canada, as Sweden has done, quietly reversed course in the 1980s, cutting taxes and launching privatization efforts. The tax cuts have acted as a stimulus while privatization, writes Edwards, "reduced government debt and helped spur economic growth by creating a more dynamic industrial structure."

Canada has pursued, as well, free trade to the benefit of its industries and consumers. It also avoided a housing crisis, such as the meltdown that still plagues the U.S. economy, because the mortgage industry there isn't pressured by the government to make risky home loans.

Nor does Canada have the equivalents of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agencies that created a moral hazard in the U.S. mortgage market."...


Japan posts anemic factory output growth in April 2012, excess vehicle inventory among problems cited

5/31/12, "Japan posts anaemic factory output growth in April," AFP

"Japan has posted anaemic factory output growth of 0.2 percent in April, slower than expected and raising concerns about a recovery for the world's third-largest economy.

The economy, trade and industry ministry put a positive gloss on its latest figures, saying output "continues to show an upward movement", while the government and Bank of Japan have both maintained in recent months that growth is on a positive track.

The ministry also pointed to a manufacturers' survey on Thursday showing that, while factory managers expected a 3.2 percent on-month dip in output in May, it would be followed by a 2.4 percent rise in production in June.

RBS Securities chief Japan economist Junko Nishioka was less convinced, saying output has "hit the ceiling" due to excess inventories in some sectors, including the vehicle and communication equipment industries."...


India shocked by weak growth data from Jan.-Mar. 2012, has highest deficit to GDP ratios in Asia


5/31/11, "India jolted by weak growth data," AFP, Reuters, P. MacRae

"India's economy grew a lower-than-expected 5.3 percent in the final quarter of the fiscal year, data showed Thursday, piling pressure on the embattled government.

The figures from the national statistics office also showed the economy expanded 6.5 percent for year to March 2012 -- lower than the government's estimate of 6.9 percent and far below the 8.4 percent of the previous year.

"The figures have reconfirmed the Confederation of India's own estimates, which show that the economy is in the throes of a serious slowdown," said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the leading industry body.

The final quarter of the last financial year saw a contraction in the key manufacturing sector, which saw output shrink 0.3 percent owing to flagging domestic and overseas demand, compared with 7.3 percent expansion a year earlier.

Farm, construction and mining production grew only modestly.

The figures came as the rupee hit a record 56.50 low against the dollar and the government faced a nationwide strike to protest against the highest-ever petrol price hike that was put in place to curb oil firms' losses....

Analysts had forecast growth of 6.1 percent in the January-March quarter and the poor performance is likely to at to the gloom shrouding Asia's third-largest economy.

The government has little room to increase spending to spur growth and interest rates cannot be cut significantly because of high inflation, which is sitting at around 7.0 percent.

Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist at Credit Agricole, had spoken of "extreme pessimism" about India's prospects before the data was released.

"Fundamentals are indeed weak with slower growth, elevated inflation and the highest deficit-to-GDP ratios in Asia," he said, forecasting annual growth will stay below seven percent until after the general elections in 2014.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 79, admitted last week his scandal-tainted Congress-led ruling coalition "need to do better" to get the once red-hot economy moving again."...


Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt says Christians will have to pay extra tax or leave Egypt-El Bashayer

5/27/12, "Morsi: I'm going after the presidency Fawzi Copts in Islam or tribute," El Bashayer, google translation from Arabic

Mohamed Morsi Alastbn candidate for the Brotherhood, Egypt Amusliman it would open for the second time and enter all the Christians in Islam or to pay tribute.

In statements to Mohamed Morsi in his dialogue with reporters at a party of freedom and justice, said: We will not allow Ahmed Shafik or otherwise impede our march to open the second Islamic Egypt.

The journalist said I was a good opening at the hands of Amr Ibn El-Aas who is the second light.

Mursi said the second is the conqueror Mohammed Morsi and me Cisgelh history

The journalist said: What do you think voting in the cluster given by the Copts for the team Shafiq.

Mercy replied, saying: They have to know that the opening is coming and Egypt will be Muslim and they have to pay tribute or migrate as one who left."

via Legal Insurrection, Gateway Pundit

Pending home sales fall unexpectedly 5.5% in April 2012, biggest drop in a year

5/30/12, "Pending Sales of U.S. Homes Decrease by Most in a Year," Bloomberg, S. Chandra

"The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year, indicating the U.S. housing recovery remains uneven.

The index of pending home resales dropped 5.5 percent following a revised 3.8 percent gain the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change in the measure.

Mortgage rates at record lows failed to sustain the pace of demand as some buyers may have waited for home prices to decline further. Limited access to credit and persistent foreclosures still weigh on housing, adding to concern it will remain a source of weakness

  • for the world’s largest economy."...

5/30/12, "Pending home sales post surprise fall in April," Reuters, Lange

"Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in April to a four-month low, undermining some of the recent optimism that the housing sector was touching bottom.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, fell 5.5 percent to 95.5, its lowest level since December, after a downwardly revised 3.8 percent increase in March....

Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which lead home sales by a month or two, to rise 0.1 percent....

Also casting a shadow, applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as refinance demand faltered, even as mortgage rates hit another record low."...via Rush Limbaugh

Obama loses another primary, Texas democrat he endorsed loses to relatively unknown Democrat in heavily democrat border district

8-term Democrat Reyes "returned to Washington after being denied even a runoff despite an endorsement from President Barack Obama and a campaign stop from former President Bill Clinton."

5/30/12, "Democrat keeps low profile after ousting Reyes," AP, Houston Chronicle, Llorca, Weber

"Many entrenched members of the Texas congressional delegation overcame reshuffled political boundaries to win their primaries, but those new maps had nothing to do with how a guitar-playing, twice-arrested former city councilman who advocates legalizing marijuana ousted a powerful Democrat in a doozy of an election-night stunner.

Beto O'Rourke kept a low profile Wednesday after defeating U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the El Paso district. The former House Intelligence chairman, meanwhile, returned to Washington after being denied even a runoff despite an endorsement from President Barack Obama and a campaign stop from former President Bill Clinton.

On Wednesday afternoon, Reyes released a statement congratulating O'Rourke on the victory and pledging to work with him to ensure a smooth transition....

Reyes, 67, was the only congressional incumbent in Texas to lose in the primary....

O'Rourke is unlikely to face much of a threat from the GOP nominee in the heavily Democratic district this November....

Reyes' defeat assures that Texas will lose a member of its Hispanic delegation. Texas was awarded four new U.S. House seats because of a population surge the last decade driven by Hispanics, whose numbers grew by 2.8 million in the last decade — second only to California.

Texas, however, hasn't elected more than six Hispanics to Congress since 1997. The majority of the voting-age population in two of the new districts is Hispanic, but the only Hispanic candidate remaining in those races is Domingo Garcia, who faces a runoff with state House Rep. Mark Veasey in newly created 33rd Congressional District."...via Free Republic


Parasite Oxfam gives pass to corrupt dictators, says it's bullets that must be subject to world government regulation

Self-appointed global dictator Oxfam diverts attention from despots, says it's bullets and guns that need regulation by unelected world government. Oxfam claims it's concerned with 'human rights' but if that were the case it would demand the UN 'Human Rights Council' be closed down.

5/30/12, "Oxfam: Sale of ammunition 'must be regulated'," BBC

"Humanitarian charity Oxfam has launched a new campaign to call for the regulation of the sale of ammunition around the world.

It comes ahead of a United Nations summit in July on bringing in a new arms trade treaty to regulate the sale of arms.

Oxfam is arguing that any treaty must also regulate ammunition trade or the treaty "doesn't make sense".

But a number of nations, including the US and China, oppose such a move.

Egypt, Syria, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and several other countries are also against including ammunition trade in any final treaty, arguing that it will be too difficult to monitor....

The parameters of the new treaty, if is is passed, will be worked at a month-long UN conference in July between arms companies, governments and aid agencies.

A draft treaty which would ban all weapons sales to countries that fail to meet various human rights criteria has already been provisionally agreed to by 153 counties.

The aim is for it to bring various international laws governing the sale of arms into one legally-binding treaty."


6/19/2008, "Nigerian ambassador elected to head UN Human Rights Council,"

Below, Sharia law in Nigeria demanded man's hand be amputated.

Stoning to death via Sharia "still exists on the law books in Afghanistan, Iran, sections of Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates."

7/8/10, "Where is stoning legal, and how is it done?" MSNBC and news service reports


9/25/11, "Government by crime syndicate," LA Times, Sarah Chayes

"As I spoke to these symposium participants (who came from Nigeria, the former Soviet republics, Pakistan and elsewhere), I couldn't help but notice a correlation between mafia government and the existence of violent religious extremism. And I realized that the phenomenon of public corruption often pooh-poohed or viewed as a part of the ambient "culture" of South Asians, or Muslims or whomever —

  • poses a substantial threat to international security.
Then my musings led me further afield, to consider political philosophy. Was mafia government, I began to wonder, also posing a threat to the entire phase of political history in which we live?"...


per Transparency International:

2011 World's Most Corrupt Nations

2011 World's Least Corrupt Nations (US does not make the Top 20)

In 2009 we at least made the Top 20, coming in at #19 for 'Least Corrupt Nations'


5/29/12, "Robert Mugabe asked to be UN 'leader for tourism'," UK Guardian, David Smith


Rockefeller and Rothschild team up to go after weakened banks around the world

5/30/12, "Rothschild and Rockefeller families team up for some extra wealth creation," UK Telegraph, A. Osborne

"RIT Capital Partners, which is chaired by Lord Rothschild, has taken a 37pc stake in Rockefeller Financial Services, the family’s wealth advisory and asset management wing. It has snapped up the holding from French bank Société Générale for less than £100m.

The transatlantic alliance cements a five-decade acquaintance between the now ennobled Jacob Rothschild, 76, and David Rockefeller, 96, the grandson of the ruthlessly acquisitive American oilman and philanthropist John D Rockefeller.

The two patricians now plan to capitalise on their family names to buy other asset managers or their portfolios, using their networks of top-notch contacts to ensure they get a seat at the table for any deal.

We’ve known each other for a long time, they have a good business,” said Lord Rothschild yesterday. “We haven’t got a presence in the US and this brings together two formidable names in finance.”

He said the two firms planned to capitalise on current market conditions where banks, like SocGen in this instance, are selling non-core assets to rebuild capital ratios. “At a time when big banks are destabilised, there may well be opportunities,” he said. “We could buy an asset management company or grow one. Rockefeller already has $34bn (£21.9bn) assets under administration.”"...via Zero Hedge


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EU Commission says taxpayer bailouts should go to banks rather than governments


Above, Chief Parasite of EU Commission Barroso, ap

5/30/12, "European Commission suggests bank bailouts," BBC

"The European Commission has proposed bailing out ailing banks directly rather than helping governments.

"To sever the link between banks and the sovereigns, direct recapitalisation... might be envisaged," the commission said.

"Flexibility and speed are of the essence," commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said.

The European Union's executive body also pushed for more integration through a "banking union"....

The commission also seemed to back the idea of eurobonds, which would be debt jointly issued by all 17 countries in the eurozone."...


10/12/2008, "Europe follows Brown plan for survival as EU bank bail-out plan is agreed," UK Guardian

"Germany, France, Italy and a further 12 European countries last night unveiled a "comprehensive" plan for salvaging their banking systems from potential ruin, as panicked European leaders met to try to ward off more financial meltdown before the markets reopen today."...


In 2011, "The Federal Reserve...agreed to join with other major central banks to lend hundreds of billions of dollars to major European banks."

(Translation: US taxpayers have been "volunteered" to transfer their lives to bankers and cronies.)

10/6/11, "And So It Begins – The First Major European Bank Has Been Bailed Out And More Bailouts Are Coming,"

"The first major European bank bailout of 2011 has now happened....So if nations such as Italy or Spain start collapsing, will the U.S. Federal Reserve step in to help bail them out?...

The sad truth is that the Federal Reserve can do pretty much whatever it wants and nobody can stop them.

As I wrote about the other day, the Federal Reserve has agreed to join with other major central banks to lend hundreds of billions of dollars to major European banks in October, November and December.

As the past few years have shown, wherever big, global banks are in trouble, the Federal Reserve is sure to step in and help."...


Ben Bernanke speaks about "swap lines" we give European banks, March 21, 2012:

"Actions Taken by the Federal Reserve

"To help calm dollar funding markets and support the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses, the Federal Reserve acted in concert with major foreign central banks to enhance the U.S. dollar swap facilities that were originally put in place during the global financial crisis and reestablished in May 2010. Use of the reestablished lines was limited until late last year. However, in late November, the Federal Reserve agreed with the ECB and the central banks of Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to extend the swap lines through February 2013 and to reduce their pricing, from a spread of 100 basis points over the overnight index swap rate to 50 basis points.1

The lower cost to the ECB and other foreign central banks enabled them, in turn, to reduce the cost of the short-term dollar loans they provide to financial institutions in their jurisdictions. As a result, usage of the swap line increased considerably, peaking at $109 billion in mid-February. The expanded use of the swap lines has helped to ease funding pressures on European and other foreign banks, lower tensions in U.S. money markets (in which foreign banks are major participants), alleviate pressures on foreign banks to reduce their lending in the United States, and boost confidence at a time of considerable strain in international financial markets. In recent weeks, as market conditions have improved, usage of the swap lines has fallen back to about $65 billion....

U.S. financial institutions do have some gross exposure to potential losses arising from sales of credit default swap (CDS) protection referencing European sovereign debt. However, for the large U.S. dealer banks, these sales have been more than offset by purchases of protection, which would imply that in the event of a sovereign default, U.S. financial institutions would be net recipients of CDS payouts. These positions still carry some risk in that some U.S. banks' counterparties might conceivably fail to make good on their obligations, but such risk is mitigated by the fact that the counterparties to large U.S. dealer banks for sovereign CDS trades are dispersed, primarily across large financial institutions. ...

Although U.S. banks have limited exposure to peripheral European countries, their exposures to European banks and to the larger, "core" countries of Europe are more material. Moreover, European holdings represented 35 percent of the assets of prime U.S. money market funds in February, and these funds remain structurally vulnerable....


UK doctors vote to go on partial strike, to withhold all but emergency care over proposed pension changes to their public sector union contract-BBC

5/30/12, "Doctors vote in favour of industrial action," BBC

"A majority of doctors have voted in favour of taking industrial action over changes to their pensions.

The British Medical Association balloted more than 104,000 medics across the UK on the government's plans which it claims are unfair....

The union's leadership will confirm its plans later, having previously ruled out a full-out strike.

However, the ballot does give the union a mandate for one, but instead it has already said it will target non-urgent care....

Industrial action would mean elective operations such as knee and hip replacements being cancelled.

GP practices would remain open, but routine appointments would not take place....


Doctors are among the best paid public sector employees - and as such they also have the most lucrative pensions....

Among public sector pensions being paid out, doctors account for two thirds of the top 1% of pay outs.

As a result, this government - and the Labour one that preceded it and reformed pensions in 2008 - has taken the judgement that it wants the best paid to subsidise the pensions of the lowest.

Contributions will rise the greatest for the highest earners. Those earning over £110,000 a year will end up contributing 14.5% of their salary."...


Mugabe named to UN Tourism role, will co-host UNWTO in 2013, free to travel to UN Gen. Assembly in NY

"The reality is that the UN is in control of the situation. If you can't defeat them, join them."

5/29/12, "Robert Mugabe asked to be UN 'leader for tourism'" UK Guardian, David Smith

"Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.

Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a "leader for tourism" by the UN's World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75. The pair signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper quoted Rifai urging tourists from around the world to visit : "I was told about the wonderful experience and the warm hospitality of this country … By coming here, it is recognition, an endorsement on the country that it is a safe destination."

The agreement will also see the two southern African countries co-host the UNWTO general assembly in August next year.

UNWTO said it had not appointed Mugabe to any formal position but acknowledged he would receive an open letter like other heads of state who have joined its leaders for tourism campaign.

The development has stunned human rights campaigners and political opponents, who regard Mugabe as a tyrant....

Mugabe and his allies are subject to EU and US sanctions preventing them from travelling to EU countries including Britain, although he does attend the UN general assembly in New York....

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party seized on his UN honour as evidence that opponents and media have exaggerated the country's problems. Spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: "There's no alternative but to accept the reality on the ground. We can theorise about sanctions but the reality is that the UN is in control of the situation. If you can't defeat them, join them: that is what we are witnessing."

He continued: "The situation on the ground in Zimbabwe is not as bad as portrayed. If we say this ourselves, you say it's propaganda.

"What do you expect from the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)? They are paid by the US and Europeans and they have nothing else to offer. They keep making noise but the reality on the ground is different."

UNWTO, which has headquarters in Madrid, insisted that it had not awarded Mugabe an official title. Sandra Carvao, its co-ordinator of communications, said: "Correct would be to say UNWTO has presented both presidents with an open letter which calls for them to support tourism as a means to foster sustainable development in their countries to the benefit of their people and consequently ask them to support the sector in this respect."" via Weasel Zippers


Media plays race card non-stop, Barbara Walters on The View asks if racism will play a part in upcoming presidential campaign

Does Barbara Walters know Obama was already elected president and before that to the Senate?

5/29/12, "First Lady: Racism is still an issue in America," Washington Examiner, C, Spierling

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on "The View" this morning and was asked about racism in the upcoming election.

"Do you think that racism is going to play a part in this campaign?" asked host Barbara Walters.

"You know, racism is still an issue in this country," the First Lady answered. "But I'll tell you right now, Barack Obama is president of the United States. And he's done a phenomenal job. And this country put him in office."

"And they will again." interjected one of the hosts."...

Local PBS radio host suggests US military veterans are racist, wonders if more support Romney because they're white and he's white:

5/29/12, "David Sanger on Post-Memorial Day Politics," WNYC Radio, Brian Lehrer Show

In the 10AM hour WNYC's Brian Lehrer interviewed "David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, WNYC contributor and author of the forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power." They discussed presidential politics. At about 10:20 Lehrer says a new Gallup poll is out showing Romney has a 20 point lead over Obama among US (military) veterans. He says to Sanger,
  • "Does that reflect (Romney's) military policy

Sanger answers it's "a little of both."

via Weasel Zippers

Wisconsin unions leaving massive carbon footprint as they drive voters to early voting in fleet of fume-belching vans


Each white van in this photo is used by union personnel to drive voters to early voting in Wisconsin. photo Healy, MacIver

5/26/12, "Left Mobilizing Massive Vote Effort in Wisconsin," Breitbart, Mike Flynn

"Expect unions to pull out every stop over the next ten days. Even though the DNC hasn't committed resources to the effort, the Obama campaign in the state has shifted all its workers to help on the recall.

In-person absentee voting began this week. The unions are conducting a comprehensive effort to get their supporters to vote early. Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots sent along this eye-witness account:

On Tues. May 22, I went to the Municipal Building in downtown Milwaukee, at the corner of Kilbourn & Broadway to cast my absentee vote for Gov. Scott Walker. After driving around for 10 minuets, I finally found a parking place. In front of the building I saw 2 white vans & one bus dropping off large groups of people to vote. At least a dozen employed workers with clip boards, wearing blue T Shirts with the logo "WI Jobs NOW" organizing loads of people into the Municipal Building, directing the as where to go, how to fill out the registration forms, and assisting their people.

There was a steady line of at least 70 people between 11am and 12 pm. It took me an hour to complete my absentee vote.

Naturally, Wisconsin election officials are doing everything they can to accommodate the early voting. The MacIver News Service reported today:

The election officials in Madison and Milwaukee are going out of their way to encourage successful early voting efforts in their cities. Both will keep the polling locations for early voting open for extended evening hours prior to the June 5 recall including being open on the weekends and the Memorial Day holiday.

While the Walker campaign, the state and county Republican parties and conservative groups are encouraging early absentee voting as well, these efforts are mostly via phone calls and mailers. There is no such comparable GOTV effort to transport likely Walker voters to the polls in Madison, Milwaukee, or anywhere else in Wisconsin prior to June 5th.

Brett Healy with MacIver shared this photo (above), which gives a sign of the size of the union effort:

Each of the white vans in the photo are part of the union fleet to drive supporters to election offices for early voting.

It was also reported today that Big Labor getting additional support from union members in neighboring states, who are traveling to WI for the campaign's final push:

In a Friday filing, We Are Wisconsin said it was getting reinforcements worth $36,770 from the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union represents such school employees as bus drivers, mechanics, crossing guards, clerical workers, custodians, aides, food service workers and security officers

"Just as hundreds of us in Wisconsin joined our friends in Ohio during the final days of the successful fight against SB 5, our brothers and sisters from Ohio have come to make phone calls and knock doors in support of Tom Barrett's campaign to reunite and move Wisconsin forward," said Kelly Steele, spokesman for We Are Wisconsin.

In the end, Walker's advantages and the increasing popularity of his budget reforms should be enough to withstand the union's aggressive get-out-the-vote efforts. But, with stakes this high, expect unions to put up a stiff fight until the very end. Supporters of Walker and government reform will have to answer the challenge."


Below, button expressing union voting philosophy.

above image from Breitbart


Eco-anarchists launching violent attacks on scientists, promise more terror

550 individuals in Italy have been assigned bodyguards.

5/28/12, "Anarchists attack science,", Leigh Phillips

"A loose coalition of eco-anarchist groups is increasingly launching violent attacks on scientists.

A group calling itself the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front has claimed responsibility for the non-fatal shooting of a nuclear-engineering executive on 7 May in Genoa, Italy. The same group sent a letter bomb to a Swiss pro-nuclear lobby group in 2011; attempted to bomb IBM’s nanotechnology laboratory in Switzerland in 2010; and has ties with a group responsible for at least four bomb attacks on nanotechnology facilities in Mexico. Security authorities say that such eco-anarchist groups

  • are forging stronger links.

On 11 May, the cell sent a four-page letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claiming responsibility for the shooting of Roberto Adinolfi, the chief executive of Ansaldo Nucleare, the nuclear-engineering subsidiary of aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica. Believed by authorities to be genuine, the letter is riddled with anti-science rhetoric. The group targeted Adinolfi because he is a “sorcerer of the atom”, it wrote. “Adinolfi knows well that it is only a matter of time before a European Fukushima kills on our continent.”

Science in centuries past promised us a golden age, but it is pushing us towards self-destruction and total slavery,” the letter continues. “With this action of ours, we return to you a tiny part of the suffering that you, man of science, are pouring into this world.” The group also threatened to carry out further attacks.

The Italian Ministry of the Interior has subsequently beefed up security at thousands of potential political, industrial and scientific targets. The measures include assigning bodyguards to 550 individuals.

The Olga Cell, named after an imprisoned Greek anarchist, is part of the Informal Anarchist Federation, which, in April 2011, claimed responsibility for sending a parcel bomb that exploded at the offices of the Swiss nuclear lobby group, Swissnuclear, in Olten. A letter found in the remains of the bomb demanded the release of three individuals who had been detained for plotting an attack on IBM’s flagship nanotechnology facility in Zurich earlier that year. In a situation report published this month, the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service explicitly linked the federation to the IBM attack.

The Informal Anarchist Federation argues that technology, and indeed civilization, is responsible for the world’s ills, and that scientists are the handmaidens of capitalism. “Finmeccanica means bio- and nanotechnology. Finmeccanica means

  • death and suffering,

via Climate Depot

Former democrat congressman Artur Davis cuts ties with democrat party, an African American rising star who had been compared with Obama

5/29/12, "Artur Davis openly flirts with GOP bid," Politico, Alex Isenstadt

"Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis announced Tuesday that he’s cutting ties with the Democratic Party, and said that he’s considering a future bid for Congress as a Republican.

Davis, who for a time had been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party,
wrote a message on his website confirming that he is switching parties.
“[I]f I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities,” Davis wrote.

The former congressman said he was thinking about waging a comeback bid in Virginia, where he currently lives. Since leaving office in 2011, Davis has been working at a Washington law firm.

The announcement marks a dramatic turnabout for Davis, a Harvard-educated lawyer
who had once been mentioned as a potential attorney general after Democrats won the White House in 2008. The ambitious Davis, who is black, routinely drew comparisons to Barack Obama.
But after Davis suffered a stinging defeat in the Democratic primary for Alabama governor in 2010, he turned sharply against his party. Much to the chagrin of party leaders, Davis refused to endorse the candidate who defeated him, Ron Sparks, and openly criticized his foe.

After leaving office, Davis accelerated his break from the Democratic Party. He donated to several Republican gubernatorial candidates and criticized Obama’s policies.
In his message on Tuesday, Davis wrote: “On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country.”

The former congressman is considering challenging Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, a two-term incumbent who represents Northern Virginia. Running against Connolly, however, might be uphill for Davis, particularly after the seat was redrawn to become more friendly to the Democratic incumbent.

Davis acknowledged the potential difficulty of another run for Congress. He did not specify when he might wage a campaign. Davis said he had also been encouraged by friends to run for state Legislature.

I by no means underestimate the difficulty of putting together a campaign again, especially in a community to which I have no long-standing ties,” he wrote. “I have a mountain of details to learn about this northern slice of Virginia and its aspirations, and given the many times I have advised would-be candidates to have a platform and a reason for serving, as opposed to a desire to hold an office, that learning curve is one I would take seriously.”"


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Obama adds bailouts for derivative traders, 'tweaks' Dodd-Frank bill, derivatives pals now 'too big to fail,' will get bailed out just like banks

5/26/12, "Obama Administration to Use Fed Dollars to Backstop Derivatives Clearinghouses: Oh My!" FireDogLake, wendydavis

"The Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall) reported on May 23 that in a secret meeting the day before that as per one part of Dodd-Frank’s Title VII, those ‘transparent clearing houses’ that could be deemed ‘systemically important’, or are, in parlance: Too Big To Fail.

The language had been created initially by Chris Dodd in 2010, was inserted into the worse-than-useless (it now turns out) Dodd-Frank Pretend Regulation Bill, and was apparently left open to final tweaks as recently as this week.

Here’s how Mary Shapiro, head of the SEC claimed it would work, twelve cool rule proposals that would be designed to keep the OTC derivative trading clean, safe and transparent. But oh dear, when the SEC/CFTC were just finalizing the regs, the Big Banks swooped in, and..well, fiddlesticks; ya might think they own the place.

Cool. Obama had made great theater this month claiming that boy, howdy, would his team make sure that nothing like Jamie Dimon’s $X-billion debacle ever happen again, nossirree. We got yer backs, taxpayers! Vote fer us! We’re for the 99%!

From the WSJ via (most complete reprint I could find):

J.P. Morgan’s recent trading loss and the resulting Washington blather about tighter regulation have grabbed headlines.

Little noticed is that on Tuesday Team Obama took its first formal steps toward putting taxpayers behind Wall Street derivatives trading — not behind banks that might make mistakes in derivatives markets, but behind the trading itself. Yes, the same crew that rails against the dangers of derivatives is quietly positioning these financial instruments directly above the taxpayer safety net. [snip]

Specifically, the law authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide “discount and borrowing privileges” to clearinghouses in emergencies. Traditionally the ability to borrow from the Fed’s discount window was reserved for banks, but the new law made clear that a clearinghouse receiving assistance was not required to “be or become a bank or bank holding company.” To get help, they only needed to be deemed “systemically important” by the new Financial Stability Oversight Council

  • chaired by the Treasury Secretary.

Last year regulators finalized rules for how they would use this new power. On Tuesday, they began using it. The Financial Stability Oversight Council secretly voted to proceed toward inducting several derivatives clearinghouses into the too-big-to-fail club. After further review, regulators will make final designations, probably later this year, and will announce publicly the names of institutions deemed systemically important.”

We’re told that the clearinghouses of Chicago’s CME Group (read the amount of derivatives trading they do and weep) and Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange (same here) were voted systemic this week, and rumor has it that the council may even designate London-based LCH.Clearnet as critical to the U.S. financial system.

Oh, yes. And London/Paris-based Clearnet:

“…clears approximately 50% of the $348 trillion global interest rate swap market, and is the second largest clearer of bonds and repos in the world, providing services across 13 government markets.”

(Do read the more of the WSJ reprint for the cool history on CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, who’s in the thick of all this derivatives ‘regulation’. Sad, sick, funny; your call.

Bloomberg News was far more sanguine about it all, at least on Monday before the meeting (suckers!).

Yeah; when Bloomberg News took receipt of the documents they’d demanded under FOIA, and discovered the Fed had secretly (bailed out) made emergency loans to foreign banks and multinationals to the tune of $1.2 trillion (cool graphics), no or low interest, no strings loans, you ranted. Now it’s the clearinghouse-moral hazard.

I thought: Oh, Barack Babee; you’re… killing me softly with your song…mmm…oooh…my goodness…aaah….aahhooooommmmm…".


Commenter 'Obey' to FDL at 11:09am: "The worst of all worlds is having these companies accorded those borrowing privileges without serious oversight, and without the people funding them facing some risk of losing their money. That is just a recipe for disaster as it will feed a culture of excessive risk-taking.

And, bingo, that is what the Obama administration is encouraging here"…


5/29/12, "Obama moves for taxpayer bailout of future carbon trading," Steve Milloy, Junk Science

"Potential future carbon trading is getting swept up into “too big to fail,” we report here for the first time....

Climate cognoscenti will recall that the now-defunct Chicago Climate Exchange — launched as the first U.S.-based platform for trading cap-and-trade-issued carbon emission permits — was purchased by the IntercontinentalExchange in early 2010.

So if cap-and-trade (or whatever its next iteration is labeled) ever returns, taxpayers will be guaranteeing the scam doesn’t fail."...(per WSJ article cited above by FDL).


Image of Obama and bankers accompanied the Rolling Stone article from Dec. 2009 posted on the blog It may be from Rolling Stone but not sure.

12/10/2009, "Obama's Big Sellout," Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi

"The extensive series of loophole-rich financial "reforms" that the Democrats are currently pushing may ultimately do more harm than good. In fact, some parts of the new reforms border on insanity,

  • threatening to vastly amplify Wall Street's political power by
  • institutionalizing the taxpayer's role
  • as a welfare provider for the financial-services industry.

At one point in the debate, Obama's top economic advisers demanded the power to award future bailouts without even going to Congress for approvaland without providing taxpayers a single dime in equity on the deals.

How did we get here? It started just moments after the election — and almost nobody noticed.

"Just look at the timeline of the Citigroup deal," says one leading Democratic consultant. "Just look at it. It's fucking amazing. Amazing!

via Climate Depot

Local PBS radio host says US veterans who oppose Obama military policy are racists, NY Times reporter agrees that's somewhat true.

5/29/12, "David Sanger on Post-Memorial Day Politics," WNYC Radio, Brian Lehrer Show

In the 10AM hour WNYC's Brian Lehrer interviewed "David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, WNYC contributor and author of the forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power." They discussed presidential politics. At about 10:20 Lehrer says a new Gallup poll is out showing Romney has a 20 point lead over Obama among US (military) veterans. He says to Sanger,
  • "Does that reflect (Romney's) military policy

Sanger answers it's "a little of both."


Dewey & Leboeuf files for bankruptcy, biggest collapse of law firm in US history

5/29/12, "Dewey files for chapter 11 in record US law firm collapse," Reuters

"The crippled law firm Dewey & Leboeuf LLP filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday night and will seek approval to liquidate its business after failing to find a merger partner, marking the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history.

Once one of the largest law firms in the U.S., Dewey has been hit by the loss of the vast majority of its roughly 300 partners to other firms amid concerns about compensation and a heavy debt load.

Dewey had warned employees earlier this month of the possibility the firm may shut down, and a person familiar with the matter had told Reuters that the firm was considering a bankruptcy filing.

"Dewey's failure is rocking the industry in the sense that most firms are saying to themselves, if Dewey could go down, could we?" Kent Zimmermann, a legal consultant at the Zeughauser Group, said in an email Monday night....

The firm had two dozen offices worldwide, including in Washington, Los Angeles and London. Some of the firm's biggest clients included General Motors Corp, eBay, Novartis, Ambac and Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Division."


Ed. note: Now, we're getting someplace.