Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day . . . Already? (Can You Yell "FIRE?")

Who can believe it? It's Valentine's Day, and although I'm not feeling it, I'll give it a try. Nope, still not working, but here's a neato Valentine present! From the New York Times courtesy of White Noise Insanity (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Shirley Sherrod Served Andrew Breitbart a Lawsuit at the CPAC 2011 Conference Andrew Breitbart, the owner of several conservative Web sites, was served at the conference on Saturday with a lawsuit filed by Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who lost her job last year over a video that Mr. Brietbart posted at his site

The video was selectively edited so that it appeared Ms. Sherrod was confessing she had discriminated against a farmer because he was white. In the suit, which was filed in Washington on Friday, Ms. Sherrod says the video has damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work.

Mr. Breitbart said in a statement that he “categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech.”

Who wants to bet BreitBARF was hoping Shirley was going to serve him some lunch? Bah hahahahahahahaha! Nope! He didn’t even get a drink! Instead he got a proverbial kick in the teeth. Way to go Shirley!
My buddy, Michael, over at Urantian Sojourn has the ultimate Valentine Day present (from the rightwingreednutters to their darling USA). (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)
In free enterprise America, you can go shopping for and purchase an angry mob. I don’t mean just a few “action figures,” either. I mean an enormous, angry, malleable mob of real people. Just ask Dick Armey and the Koch Brothers.

“The Mob” as they like to call themselves, have become the living, breathing toys of the super-rich; cuzz nothing beats the thrill of manipulating 20 to 30% of the population through fear and hatred in an effort to further entrench yourself behind power, bigotry, and obscene amounts of personal wealth.

And the disgusting irony is this: The Mob, while angrily insisting out of one side of their mouths that America is a “Christian Nation” founded on the teachings of love, mercy, and the Golden Rule, is also telling their fellow man out of the other side of it, to go fuck himself.

But. It’s just another (and no doubt misspelled) sign the culture war in America is gearing up for another pitched battle between the forces of Progress and the forces of Greed.

“What’s in your wallet?” “Honk if I’m paying your mortage!” (sic) Indeed.

Our friend at Stark Raving Viking had some very appropriate pre-Valentine's news for US, and his commentary is actually peculiarly uplifting about these dark events. Oh, and thank you and HVD to ADM, etc., who have poisoned our food (and planet) for the last 30 years in pursuit of those yummy astronomical profits (emphasis marks added - Ed.).
This is James Corbett of with your Sunday Update for this 13th day of February, 2011.

Leading the news this week, war criminal Donald Rumsfeld was on hand at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. to receive an award signifying his status as a Defender of the Constitution.

The honour was particularly baffling to observers who noted that in his time as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, Rumsfeld oversaw the unconstitutional imprisonment of American citizens without trial, the unconstitutional torture of detainees under American detainment at Abu Ghraib, the unconstitutional Information Operations Roadmap, which instructed US psyops personnel that American military propaganda could be used against the American population and the unconstitutional declaration of the Coast Guard as a branch of military under the newly-formed and unconstitutional Department of Homeland Security in 2003 with the unconstitutional authority to administer martial law on civilians.

Added to these points are the equally dubious – although not necessarily unconstitutional–distinctions of having presided over a Defense Department that lost at least 3.5 trillion dollars in fiscal years 2001-2005, 2.3 trillion of which was reported missing on September 10, 2001, the day before Rumsfeld’s military presided over the most spectacular failure of US air defenses in the history of America.

Rumsfeld also participated in the deliberate deceit about weapons of mass destruction which led to an unconstitutional war in Iraqwhich was in fact never declared a war by Congress, but remained an unconstitutional military operation decreed by unconstitutional executive fiat.

Appropriately enough, the Orwellian scene was capped when ex-Vice President Dick Cheney was called out to present the award to Rumsfeld. At least one audience member, however, was struck by the discordant nature of the scene to apply a different moniker to the former Vice President:

(I know I've already run this video, but it never stops thrilling me, so you're stuck with it.)
In related news, unindicted war criminal George W. Bush was not able to laugh off such a serious accusation earlier last week when a Swiss human rights group’s threat to file war crimes charges against him led to Bush cancelling a trip to Switzerland.

In related news, the US-military trained and Israel-approved Egyptian transition leader, Omar Suleiman, is coming under fire as he is being revealed to be not only a successor puppet for US-Israeli interests in the region, but an active collaborator with war criminal Bush in his illegal and unconstitutional extraordinary rendition campaign.

Many are pointing out that the Obama Administration’s tacit support for a Suleiman presidency in Egypt is the 2011 equivalent of the Reagan Administration’s friendship with Saddam Hussein, in which representatives of the Defense Department (including Donald Rumsfeld) gave approval and support for Hussein’s brutal dictatorship and sold him the chemical weapons that they only blamed him for using when they were building a case for war against him.

In related news, the current political destabilization in Egypt has been largely pegged on recent dramatic rises in food prices around the world. Now, much of the spike in food prices in recent years is being blamed not on crop failures or weather anomalies, but on speculation by the very hedge-fund speculators who brought about the subprime loan fiasco and the current economic depression.

In related news, those who are using the scientifically discredited theory of anthropogenic global warming to blame rising food prices on increases in manmade carbon dioxide are now paradoxically seeking to combat the problem by raising food prices.

The journal “Climate Change” has just released a study that shows that adding $82 of tax onto the cost of beef for each ton of carbon dioxide equivalent would greatly reduce meat consumption, thus reducing the greenhouse gases released in the raising of livestock.

However, the study is contradicted by findings that crop growth is in fact dependent on high levels of carbon dioxide,and that the current level of 380 parts per million in our atmosphere actually represents a relatively carbon-dioxide-starved environment, with commercial greenhouses pumping in as much as 1000 parts per million carbon dioxide to achieve three times greater crop yield.

Ironically, it was an earlier global warming fad, the use of ethanol for biofuel, that is in part responsible for rising corn prices. Now, 24% of the US corn crop is mandated to go to ethanol, putting further strains on already-scant world corn supplies.

It remains to be seen when US-backed Omar Suleiman will receive a Defender of Human Rights award for participating in torture programs, when Goldman Sachs speculators will receive a Defender of the Hungry award for helping create more starving people on the planet, or when the global warming alarmists will receive a Defender of Low Food Prices award for helping to raise food prices.

I almost hate to mention the latest Mish take on what the future holds from those busy destroying civilization (at least the one accommodating us as theirs will be just super!). And you gotta ask, "stability for whom?" It's scary. Quit reading NOW! (And Happy Valentines to everyone!)
Ex-Goldman Sachs Managing Director is Leading Candidate to Replace Trichet as ECB President ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet's term expires in October. Alex Weber president of Bundesbank (Germany's Central Bank), an inflation hawk was widely recognized to be the leading candidate to replace Trichet.

However, that idea came to a crashing end last week when Alex Weber resigned from Bundesbank.

Supposedly Trichet's replacement is a wide-open race. However, Mario Draghi, an Ex-Goldman Sachs Managing Director has the clear inside track.

Please consider Axel Weber Resigns Bundesbank, Throws ECB Race Open

. . . Weber, 53, . . . is leaving for “personal reasons” after deciding to step down a year early on Feb. 8 and then being asked by Merkel to postpone the announcement, the Bundesbank said.

Attention shifts from Weber to the qualities of other candidates who, according to 1991’s Maastricht Treaty, must be from the euro area and boast “recognized standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters.” Likely meeting that criteria are central bankers Mario Draghi from Italy, Luxembourg’s Yves Mersch and Erkki Liikanen of Finland.

. . . This week’s decline in the euro against the dollar suggests the “FX market is not pleased” by the loss of Weber given his status as an inflation fighter, said Lutz Karpowitz, a currency strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

. . . Weber is not leaving for "personal reasons" per se. He is leaving because of huge feuds with current President Jean-Claude Trichet, and the likelihood he would be in disagreement with the the rest of the ECB as well.

For example, please consider ECB’s Trichet Rejects Weber’s Call to End Bond Purchase Program.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet rejected Bundesbank President Axel Weber’s call to end the bond purchase program that has provided a lifeline for European governments and banks trying to shore up their finances.

“This is not the position of the Governing Council, with an overwhelming majority,” Trichet said when asked to respond to Weber’s Oct. 13 call for an end to the program, according to the a transcript of an interview published yesterday in Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Weber, who also sits on the ECB’s 22-member decision-making council, said the risk of “exiting too late” from the emergency measures was greater than pulling out too soon. The remarks, the strongest from any ECB official advocating a removal of stimulus, came as governments and banks in Ireland, Portugal and Greece struggle to convince investors they can control their finances in the aftermath of this year’s sovereign debt crisis.

“Trichet is sending a clear signal to Weber,” said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING Group NV in Brussels. “The majority seems to favor a safety belt option for the moment and isn’t comfortable with sending conflicting signals to the markets.”

“There is only one single currency; there is one Governing Council, only one monetary policy decision, and one president, who is also the porte-parole of the Governing Council,” Trichet told La Stampa.

Weber was never in favor of the ECB's bond program to begin with, and that caused a feud at the outset.

Weber felt the ECB was not only violating the Maastricht Treaty, but making unsound decisions on monetary policy as well. Given Weber was in a distinct minority on many decisions he decided to say to hell with it.

Mario Draghi is now recognized as the leading candidate to replace Jean-Claude Trichet.

Inquiring minds are interested in Mario Dragh's Background

Mario Draghi is a member of the Governing and General Councils of the European Central Bank and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. He is also governor for Italy on the Boards of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank. In April 2006 he was elected Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum, which became Financial Stability Board in spring 2009.

He graduated from the University of Rome, received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and subsequently served as professor of economics at the University of Florence from 1981 to 1991.

Prior to taking the helm of the Bank of Italy, he was vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the firm-wide management committee (2002-2005). He was director general of the Italian Treasury (1991-2001), chairman of the European Economic and Financial Committee, a member of the G7 Deputies, and chairman of OECD Working Party 3. He was appointed chairman of the Italian Committee for Privatisations in 1993, and, from 1984 to 1990, was an executive director of the World Bank.

Mario Draghi's Role In Greek Debt Swaps Under Review

Please consider Mario Draghi and Goldman Sachs, Again

March 17, 2010

The latest revelations regarding the Goldman-Greece relationship (on the Senate floor, no less) clearly indicate that Goldman was a lead manager of Greek debt issues in spring 2002, i.e., when Mr. Draghi was on board.

This raises three entirely reasonable and straightforward questions.

Was Mr. Draghi involved in the Goldman-Greece relationship? Sources indicate that this was very much part of his set of responsibilities, but this may be disputed.

If Mr. Draghi was involved in marketing Greek debt, did he at that time know the true Greek debt numbers - i.e., was he aware of the "debt swap" arrangement? Perhaps his Goldman colleagues concealed that information from him.

And when/if Mr. Draghi became aware of the inherent misrepresentation involved this transaction, did he take steps to fully informed investors (and any relevant regulatory bodies)? Again, it is entirely possible he learned of this matter only recently and from the newspapers.

SEC Names ex-Goldman Sachs Employee to Oversee Asset Managers and Hedged Funds

While on the subject of ex-Goldman Sachs employees turning up in high-power jobs, please consider SEC Taps Goldman Sachs Executive as Division Head

The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chief Investment Officer Eileen Rominger to head its division overseeing asset managers and hedge funds. Rominger will come to the SEC after nearly 30 years in the investment management business, according to an SEC press release Tuesday.

She managed equity funds at Oppenheimer Capital and at Goldman before becoming Goldman's chief investment officer for its global portfolio management teams.

All we need now to complete the picture is for an ex-Goldman employee to run for president of the United States and for another ex-Goldman employee to replace Bernanke at the Fed.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Well, at least some types of women are getting ahead.

Read Mish's comments here. More "Be My Valentine, please" news?

Italy Struggles With Tunisia Influx

Italy is struggling to cope with a flood of refugees escaping political upheaval in Tunisia, with around 6,000 crossing the sea to the tiny island of Lampedusa in the last week.

The Italian government has appealed to the European Union for aid after declaring a humanitarian crisis over the weekend, and is hoping that Frontex, the EU border agency, will get involved.

At least 2,000 refugees have been ferried to Sicily where their fate is yet to be decided. Another 2,000 remain on the tiny outcrop, which lies in between Africa and Italy, housed in a re-opened holding centre. ________________


Beach Bum said...

Saw a little of the CPAC stuff somewhere, possibily CSPAN, Ron Paul is largely insane but on several issues I felt for the guy. I thought he was going to be burned at the stake by the angry conservative pod people.

The Ex-Wiz said...

Yeah, I remember the first time I thought Paul was sane.

I lived to regret it.

He does stand up against the truly mad though.

Thanks for commenting, friend.

Love ya!