Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Friday, 7 November 2008
David Rovics sends out an email about the future with our new president Obama
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: No change with the Obama .... or will America demand change
Topic: POLITICS

Hi My Friendly Z3 Readers I recieved this email today and knew it needed to be shared. Just how good is our "new hope and change" president going to be?

Well read on .... might as well as cross your fingers, and keep your "protest signs close by and handy"

~peace joe anybody

********************************************************

Some Thoughts on Obama


by David Rovics

www.davidrovics.com


Friends around the world keep asking me questions.  Are you excited?  What do you think of Obama?  Others are simply congratulating me.  And I must say, it was a thrilling moment.

As a teenager, in 1984, I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign, mostly pushing bumper stickers.  An anti-nuclear group was doing this, in the belief that Mondale would be less likely to cause Armageddon.  I grew up in an overwhelmingly white, Republican town.  I was a news junky from an early age, though, and politically active in one way or another.  Of the Democratic candidates my favorite was Jesse Jackson, but looking around me I reasoned he had a slim chance of getting elected.

As an adult, living in urban areas all over the US, I saw little to dispel this illusion.  There were more African-Americans getting elected to political office, but usually we were talking about mayors of majority-Black cities or Congresswomen from hotbeds of progressivism like Berkeley.  But here I was, hanging out with my toddler, listening to my favorite local band, the Pagan Jug Band, sitting in a pub in Portland, hearing that Barack Obama has been elected President.

My initial reaction was that of Jesse's.  I got a lump in my throat, and tears came to my eyes, thinking about the insanity of all the suffering that has gone down for so many centuries, the homes, dreams, and bodies broken by slavery and racism.  And in fact until very recently, on the news broadcasts when they would mention the number of Black people in the Congress, in order to be factually accurate they always had to include the caveat, "since Reconstruction."  More than that is rarely said about this ten-year period of Union Army occupation that allowed something approximating democracy, and even serious land redistribution, to exist in the South, before the Union withdrew and the South was plunged into at least a century of Apartheid rule.

Whether South or North, the prisons are filled with mostly dark-skinned people from places where you can graduate from high school without having learned how to read, where you can get asthma from breathing the air, where the police shoot first and ask questions later.  They're in prison, but Barack Obama's not, he's on the TV giving a humble victory speech, quoting Lincoln.  And this crowd of mostly young white people around me at the pub are all cheering at the TV screen, shouting his name, laughing, crying, and drinking.  I'm pretty sure they all voted for him.  Or if some of them were slacking too much to get around to it, they would have voted for him.

I had just gone there to hear the music, but it turned into a spontaneous Obama party, at that pub and at pubs and sidewalks and streets in cities all across the US, and apparently in other parts of the world as well.  I remember being near the front of a march of tens of thousands of people back in 1985 or so, seeing Jesse Jackson at the front of the march with many of his volunteers lining the marchers, all wearing football-style shirts that read "88" on them, for his next Presidential campaign effort.  I remember seeing on the faces and the placards of this mostly white crowd of marchers, an admiration and affection for the man at the front of the march, and I was wishing the whole country could be more like this crowd.  And I feel so gratified that all the people talking about the so-called Bradley effect were wrong, that a majority of our eligible voters (not counting those millions of ineligible felons) would really end up voting for Obama.

There was one black-clad young man from Olympia who happened to be at the crowded pub, which was more crowded than I had ever seen it before.  He bummed a light from me and started to talk.  "This is great, you know, but I just can't help but think, 'meanwhile, in Afghanistan...'"

Every party needs a spoiler, and here he was.  Too cynical to be entirely swept up in the moment, he was worried about the possibility that Obama might actually follow through with his campaign promises and send more troops to Afghanistan.  And then over the past few days, the news gets more and more grim.  Rahm Emanuel, a zealous supporter of Israeli Apartheid for Secretary of State.  Larry Summers, Clinton's chief advocate for the World Trade Organization and deregulation of the financial sector, is being suggested as an economic advisor.  Joe Biden, who voted for the war in Iraq, is already his VP.

Obama is surrounding himself with folks from Bill Clinton's administration.  I remember those eight years well, I was protesting his policies the whole time.  Welfare was reformed and social spending was gutted even more.  The prisons became even more crowded with nonviolent drug offenders.  The sanctions and ongoing bombing campaign in Iraq that happened on Clinton's watch killed hundreds of thousands of children, and his Secretary of State said the price was worth it.  NAFTA was passed and then the WTO was formed, all with Clinton's blessings.  These trade deals that Clinton and most of his party supported plunged millions of people around the world into poverty and an early death.  Yugoslavia and Iraq will glow for thousands of years because of the nuclear waste littering the land that fell during the Clinton years.

Of course, Clinton inherited the mess in Iraq, and Clinton certainly did not invent neoliberal economics, nor did Clinton start the process of the de-industrialization of the US, the growth of Mexican sweatshops, or the support of the death squad regime in Colombia.  But he embraced all of that, and much, much more.

On the other hand, in previous generations, things were different.  Before the export of America's manufacturing base, before all the free trade agreements, before real wages in the US lost half their value, the US was run by liberals.  Liberals like FDR and Nixon.  Nixon?  Yes, well, I studied economics a little, and social spending in the US actually continued to increase from the time of FDR to the time of Nixon.  It was under Nixon that the EPA, the NEA and other such institutions were born.  It was after Nixon that the budget-cutting began in earnest.  From FDR to Nixon, whether the administration was Democratic or Republican, social spending increased.  Since Nixon, under Democratic and Republican administrations, social spending has decreased.

There have, of course, been variations.  FDR enthusiastically bombed Japan into the stone age, killing millions of innocents.  Eisenhower was a Republican president, he preferred to bomb Koreans and Vietnamese.  Johnson bombed them a lot more, killing millions.  Nixon did it, too, of course.  All along the way, by and large, there was overwhelming bipartisan support for these policies.  Not among the population, but among the elite who rule it.

Several days ago I was exchanging email messages about the state of the world with my good friend Terry Flynn, a professor of economics and the social sciences at Western Connecticut State University.  In one email he wrote, "a damn interesting time. The hegemon is rocked. I'm sure we're witnessing a re-configuration of the global order on par with the post-WW2 period."  I asked what kind of reconfiguration did he see happening, and this was his eloquent reply:

It's a shift from one hegemonic era to another. The U.S. took over from the U.K. after the war. But our time is up. Don't know which country or alliance will dominate in the next cycle. The major contenders are China and India. But Russia is working very hard to leverage its massive geopolitical presence, natural resources, and techno-military culture, despite huge demographic deficits in comparison with the former countries. Russia has Europe by the balls due to, e.g., Germany's utter dependency on Russian natural gas. And it's far superior to India and China in many important ways. It's still a fucking wreck in terms of law and economic and social policies. But this whole transition is probably a 20 year affair. I just think that the catastrophic U.S. response to 9/11 and the current financial crisis push the regime change hard against the U.S.

If Obama wins the election, he might very well be a fine negotiator for the new, diminished role for this country. He can sell it as enlightened internationalism, not the decline of the American Empire. Of course, the patriots here will insist on waving the flag and encouraging the barbarians to bring it on. They won't go down without a fight. However, the U.S. simply can't afford to sustain its customary role. And there's no reason that China will continue to lend money for us to do so.

Anyway, that's a taste of my thinking on this matter. Oh, by the way, I don't for one minute expect that the new regime will be any kinder to the working classes. They'll still be global capitalists with a lust for power. In principle, no better or worse than the present crew. But as our country is diminished we might start talking seriously about peace and environmental degradation, etc.  That could be ironic.


The Democrats have gotten more corporate donations than the Republicans in this last election cycle.  The corporate elite has mostly decided that the Dems are better for business now.  Better to send them in to clean up the mess.  Obama is most definitely his own man, and an extremely intelligent, eloquent, youthful, good-looking and well-organized one at that.  He has a brilliant background in community organizing and a first-hand familiarity with reality, the realities, for starters, of poverty, racism and US foreign policy -- those realities that, among others, so desperately need to be changed.  Not only is he his own man, but he's the man of the people, of so many people, who so enthusiastically have supported his campaign, going door to door as part of his well-oiled campaign machine, giving him hundreds of millions of dollars in small donations, packing stadiums around the country and around the world, and waiting in line for hours to vote for him in the polls.

But he is also the man of the corporations, of the banks, of the insurance industry, who have funded his campaign massively, and are expecting a dividend for their investments.  And they're getting it already, in the form of the appointment of those "liberals" (whatever that means) who supported Clinton's wars, sanctions and neoliberal economic reforms.

Obama has promised to raise taxes on the rich back to what they were under Clinton.  I haven't carefully studied the numbers, but I believe we are talking about increasing the income tax on anything above $100,000 from 35% to 38%.  Nobody is talking about returning it to what it was when the Progressive Income Tax was formed -- 90%.  He is talking about taking soldiers out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan -- not bringing them all home and cutting military spending by 90%, in line with international norms, and doing away with this rapacious empire.  He is talking about the middle class, and sure, he had to do that to get elected, but when does he ever talk about the poor, the imprisoned millions, the thousands of homeless walking cadavers haunting the streets of every major American city?  Every politician talks about building schools, but what about free education through graduate school like they have in most European countries?

No, the scope of debate is far more limited than that.  It is a scope defined by that increasingly narrow grey area in between "conservative" and "liberal."  There are distinctions, some of them important.  That 3% tax increase will do good things for many people, I hope.  Perhaps we won't start any new wars, I don't know.  Perhaps we'll withdraw from Iraq, but I'll bet no reparations for what we've done there will be forthcoming.  Perhaps there will be no new wars on our civil liberties in the next few years, but I'll bet the prison population will not get much smaller.

I hope I'm wrong.  But if I am to be proven wrong and there are to be serious changes in the welfare of people in the US and around the world, it will only be as a result of a popular uprising of people calling for a real New Deal for the 21st century, an end to the empire, housing, health care and education for all, and so on.  Because even if Obama secretly wants all of these things, as so many of us would desperately like to believe, he's going to need plenty of popular pressure to point to if any of these things are going to become reality.  If he really is the socialist wealth redistributor his opponents said he is, he's going to need massive popular support just to avoid being impeached for treason by those corporate stooges who dominate both parties in the Congress.

And if, on the other hand, he really believes his own campaign promises of meager tax increases for the rich, raising the salaries of teachers a bit, fighting terrorism, passing more free trade agreements, being Israel's best friend, and so on, then what we have in store is another Democratic administration.  Different kind of like Starbucks is different from McDonald's -- they both pay poverty wages and feed you shit, but Starbucks includes health insurance.

David Rovics is a singer/songwriter and unashamed socialist based in Portland, Oregon.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:57 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2008 3:59 PM PST
Terror Label Unconstitutional (for Oregon Charity)
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: A fucked up system - God Help America (please!)
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS

Over at The Mercury there is an excellent article by Matt Davis titled:

Judge: Terror Label Unconstitutional

For Oregon Charity

***

Posted by Matt Davis on Fri, Nov 7 at 2:22 PM

Back in April I covered efforts by lawyers for the Ashland-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation to get the Treasury Department to unfreeze its assets. The story was later covered by the New Yorker. In terms of how the government has acted since 911, the story is a massive, Orwellian deal. Yet I think there is something off-putting to most average readers in the complexity of the case...Nevertheless, the decision to pursue this policy by the treasury came about as the result of a Bush executive order. Let's hope this is the last time such a case has to come before the court.

Simply put, the government seized the property of an Islamic charity without justifying why. Yesterday, a federal judge said that's against the fourth amendment of the constitution, unless the government can provide more information to justify the designation. ..... (keep reading)

More to this story here in link below

http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2008/11/07/judge_terror_label_unconstitu


Posted by Joe Anybody at 2:39 PM PST
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Hope n Dreams and Used Car Salesmen
Mood:  down
Now Playing: Obama the used car salesman
Topic: POLITICS

Hope n Dreams & Used Car Salesmen

Written By Ben Waiting 

11-5-08

(joe anybody is ben waiting)

 

 

its like a couple that are buying their first (used) car together

they shop

they look

they dream

they imagine

they hope together

they look over all the options

they get the 'sales pitch' from the car seller, it sounds sooooooo good!

so then they get their 'dream' and buy their car.... the happy days are in the air

but they soon find out

...the car is not what they "hoped for'

nor is it the "dream" they had, in fact its almost seems they were "ripped off"

it seemed like it was going to be so good and so right...

it was suppose to be their "dream"

but they got a run of the mill / lemon ... they were sold out and used and their dreams were destroyed by the very people they placed their hope with ..."the salesman"

their car they bought for their "change for better transportation" that was going to be their "hope and their wheels for the future"

... was not as it now turns out what they were told it would be

did they know it was coming?

no ...they were so ecstatic about their dream car

and they couldn't imagine it would be any different than in their dream, and from what they were "told" it would be

they were warned by others ...but they couldn't let their dream die ....until it was too late

i was happy for their idea and ambitions when i seen them looking and 'comparing'

i was proud for their desires to invest so much "together" for a decent ride

but I shook my head when I seen them go to the "same old car shop"

the only consolation is "now they know better!"

the tragedy is that in this case, here (now)today... is this is not just a dream about a car ....

 

it is sad to see the rip off, transpiring... when we already know the lemon has been bought from the same used car salesman as time and time before

the dream sounded so cozy and righteous...

oh well

 

(( i ))

this was posted by me on Portland Indy Media the day after the election:

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/11/381923.shtml?discuss


Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:12 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 5 November 2008 3:43 PM PST
Monday, 3 November 2008
911 TRUTH good new information
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Updated links and good info on what really happened on Sept 11
Topic: 911 TRUTH

Hello one-n-all Z3 Readers

Here is your daily reading according to "truth about 9.11"

 

()()()()()()()() () ()()()()()()()()

 

<http://zero911movie.com/>ZERO, an investigation into the events of 9/11
<http://www.911blogger.com/node/14103>Italian film shown in European
Parliament 26 February 2008,
Also broadcast <http://911blogger.com/node/17641>on Russian State
Television 12 September 2008
and with <http://valley911truth.org/>Valley 9/11 Truth in
<http://9-11.meetup.com/270/calendar/8790655/>Greenfield, MA; November 5, 2008

Please join us the day after the election at the Green Fields Market
in Greenfield.
Discussion will include about the film, and current events!

ZERO: An Investigation into 9/11,
has one central thesis -
that the official version of
the events surrounding
the attacks on 9/11
can not be true.

This recent feature documentary from Italian production company
Telemaco explores the latest scientific evidence and reveals dramatic
new witness testimony, which directly conflicts with the US
Government's account.

Featuring presentations from intellectual heavy weights; Gore Vidal,
and Noble Prize winner Dario Fo, the film challenges assumptions
surrounding the attacks. In the words of the Italian daily newspaper,
Il Corriere de da Sera, "What results is a sequence of
contradictions, gaps, and omissions of stunning gravity."

The importance of this film can not be overstated.

If its thesis is correct, the justification for going

to war in Iraq is built on a series of outrageous lies.

The following include some recent reports posted at
<http://www.flybynews.com/>FlybyNews.com

CRITICAL BREAKING NEWS

<http://worldreports.org/news>WORLD REPORTS
<http://worldreports.org/news/179_blair_has_rolled_over_to_avoid_arrest_and_jail>Tony
Blair 'Rolled Over' and Exposed Other Rats
<http://worldreports.org/news/178_the_corrupt_octopus_has_been_severely_wounded>Gang
Holding the World to Ransom Are On The Ropes
<http://worldreports.org/news/174_latest_false_prospectus_from_paulsons_treasury>Latest
False Prospectus from 'PAULSON'S' TREASURY

<http://www.velvetrevolution.us/electionstrikeforce/2008/10/thirteen_election_integrity_ex.html#more>E-Voting
Problems and How to Stop Them

<http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Documents_reveal_how_Ohio_routed_2004_1031.html>Documents
reveal how Ohio routed 2004 voting data..

<http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1014738186,11057,>Bush
and 9/11 Investigative Reports,
looking into the unanswered questions.

CAMPAIGNS * ACTIONS * RESOURCES

<http://www.nomorestolenelections.org/>Take the Pledge:
<http://www.nomorestolenelections.org/>No More Stolen Elections!

<http://911blogger.com/node/18096>Financial Crisis solution policy
<http://911blogger.com/node/18096>- Open letter to Obama -
from Jonathan Mark

For Independent Investigations
<http://www.nyc911initiative.org/>NYC 9/11 Ballot
I N I T I A T I V E

<http://zero911movie.com/>ZERO, an investigation into the events of 9/11
<http://www.911blogger.com/node/14103>Italian film shown in European
Parliament 26 February 2008,
Also broadcast <http://911blogger.com/node/17641>on Russian State
Television 12 September 2008
and with <http://valley911truth.org/>Valley 9/11 Truth in
<http://9-11.meetup.com/270/calendar/8790655/>Greenfield, MA; November 5, 2008

<http://www.madcowprod.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=MP&Product_Code=MOTU>MASTERS
OF THE UNIVERSE:
The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve
A timely film by Daniel
Hopsicker<http://www.madcowprod.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=MP&Product_Code=MOTU>.

<http://9-11.meetup.com/270/calendar/8871915/>Green Fields Market,
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Tuesday, November 18, 2008; 5:30 PM

<http://valley911truth.org/>Valley 9/11 Truth
will be presenting
<http://fabledenemies.com/>Fabled Enemies
<http://fabledenemies.com/>A film by Jason Burmas
<http://9-11.meetup.com/270/calendar/8872146/>Media Education
Foundation, Northampton, MA
<http://9-11.meetup.com/270/calendar/8872146/>November 11, 2008; 7:00 PM

For an important investigative drama that
challenges the official version of 9/11
<http://www.reflectingpoolfilm.com/>The Reflecting Pool
Watch the Jonathan Mark interview:
<http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=624DC3A76EADEB2D>Jarek Kupsc
and Joseph Culp

Also, note this Podcast audio link:
<http://www.911podcasts.com/files/audio/Daria-Fisk-Jonathan-Mark.mp3>Jonathan
Mark Interviewed by Daria Fisk
Upfront<http://www.911podcasts.com/files/audio/Daria-Fisk-Jonathan-Mark.mp3>
Valley 9/11 Truth and Flyby News

Please if ever communicating with Barack Obama, request Clemency
with time served to free Leonard Peltier in his first 100 days in office.
33 years inside prison is enough time for this political prisoner.

This <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5iTvAnSkDw>YouTube of Leonard
reading his own words to music and photos is really beautiful.

Free Leonard Peltier -- "Amnesty International considers Leonard
Peltier to be a political prisoner whose avenues of redress have long
been exhausted....Amnesty International recognizes that a retrial is
no longer a feasible option and believes that Leonard Peltier should
be immediately and unconditionally released." Documents show that
although the prosecution and government pointed the finger at Peltier
for shooting FBI agents at close range during the trial in 1976, for
three years the prosecution withheld critical ballistic test results
proving that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied
to Leonard Peltier. This trial also denied evidence of self defense.
The U.S. Prosecutor, during subsequent oral arguments, stated: "we
can't prove who shot those agents". The Eighth Circuit found that
"There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard
Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense
been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the
inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case."
Yet, a new trial was denied. Judge Heaney, who authored the denial
now supports Mr. Peltier's release, stating that the FBI used
improper tactics to gain Mr. Peltier's conviction. A good way to
learn about Leonard Peltier is to read his book: Prison Writings: My
Life Is My Sun Dance. For excerpts, see the following link, under
article by Louise Erdich:
<http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid978364686,28469,m>Time
for Human Rights on Native Ground. This
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5iTvAnSkDw>YouTube of Leonard
reading his own words to music and photos is really beautiful. For
more resources:
<http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1013207483,22139,>Free
Leonard Peltier!

News fit to transmit in the post Cassini flyby era
<>~<>~<>~ <http://www.flybynews.com/>FlybyNews.com ~<>~<>~<>
for life's survival in the 21st Century


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:27 PM PST
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
neo-Nazi skinheads threaten Obama
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Obama Life & Racist Skinheads Hate
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY

My fellow activists, and friends and faitful Z3 Report Readers

Below is a copy of an email I recieved about HATE

It is about the threats on Obama's life

Read and be informed - Thank you  - Promote Peace

****************

Dear Friend,

Over the last few days, we've been swamped with requests for information about the two neo-Nazi skinheads who planned a murderous rampage ending with the assassination of Barack Obama. We've been consulted by law enforcement because of our expertise.

We reported on our website that one of the skinheads involved was affiliated with a newly formed organization called the Supreme White Alliance (SWA).

The SWA is headed by a man named Steven Edwards, who is steeped in a violent culture of racial extremism. We've been following his activities for some time. You can find out more about Edwards in a report by ABC's Nightline that aired last night.

The skinheads' plot to kill Obama and murder other African Americans is a chilling reminder of the threat posed by these domestic terrorists.

Unfortunately, I fear we're entering a dangerous period. Obama's candidacy has aroused fierce passions among white supremacists. And during times of economic hardship, minorities are often targeted as scapegoats for our country's problems.

We cannot afford to take threats like this lightly. With your help, we're doing everything we can to track and expose violent racists — and we'll continue providing the best intelligence available to law enforcement.

Thanks for being on our team. With your moral and financial support, we'll continue this important fight against the forces of hate and intolerance.

Morris Dees photo

Sincerely,
Morris Dees
Morris Dees
Founder


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:56 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 October 2008 7:01 PM PDT
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Total Fed Credit & Getting Drunk
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Who gives a shit - Just give the Feds want they want
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT

 

 Hello Friendly Z3 Readers this ws copied from

 http://www.dailyreckoning.com/

RESERVED SEATS FOR BIG CREDIT SPENDERS


by The Mogambo Guru

When I come to my senses, I find that I am in some dingy little bar on the other side of town, stinking drunk; and the bartender has grabbed me by the front of my shirt to haul me unceremoniously halfway across the bar, and is rudely in my face, telling me through gritted teeth that if I want to stay there, I am going to have to "Shut the hell up about the Federal Reserve creating so much money and credit in the banks, as there is nobody in this whole freaking bar who gives a rat's ass about Total Fed Credit one way or the other."

I look to my left and see a drunken woman named Shirley (I think to myself, "How do you know her name is Shirley?") winking at me and saying, "Give 'em hell, Tiger! Now, let's all have another drinkie-poo! Hic!"

I look around, and I can see that the bartender was right, as there doesn't seem to be anybody here who can even say "Total Fed Credit" without slurring the words and probably getting some of their foul breath on me, stinking of cigarettes and (sniff, sniff) onions and garlic with a hint of pepperoni.

But whether they care or not, the fact is that last week the Federal Reserve boosted Total Fed Credit, namely the amount of fresh credit that appears on the books of the banks, by another staggering $245.4 billion! In One Freaking Week (OFW)!

And this whopping increase in TFC is just the beginning of the credit-becomes-money-through-debt cycle, where this original $245.4 billion is multiplied, theoretically, by infinity, as there has not been an increase in Required Reserves in the bank since 1994, and it always hovers around $43 billion, which is still exactly what Required Reserves is today, too! Hahaha!

You can see how this constant, piddly $43 billion in reserves is chump change when compared to how Non-Borrowed Reserves in the banks has surprisingly zoomed to a NEGATIVE $363.1 billion! Hahaha! Hell, Free Reserves, which used to always run about $1.5 billion or so, is now a NEGATIVE $407 billion! Hahahaha! We are so freaking doomed!

And, just as you would expect, the Monetary Base has exploded to $984.717 billion from $911.454 billion last week, and which is up from $827.367 billion just 12 months before! Money is being expanded at unbelievable, unbelievable, Freaking Unbelievable Rates (FUR)!

And most of it is being used by the government, as the Treasury Gross National Debt is now $10.326 trillion, up from $10.245 trillion the week before, and up by a staggering $1.271 trillion from the $9.055 trillion in national debt only 12 months ago! Yikes! We're freaking doomed!

All of this mountain of money and credit will have disastrous consequences, which I was going to turn into a long, eerie wail, like a hungry banshee keening from beyond the dead as a "performance art" thing that I have been working on in my spare time, but instead we have John Embry of Sprott Asset Management jolting me back to reality, which is the fact that I can't change anything, and so I am only in this to make a lot of money betting on the stupidity and failure of the Federal Reserve and the Congress abusing their stupid fiat currency and stupid central bank to finance some bizarre regime of perpetual deficit-spending.

To this end he succeeded admirably, and he captured my full attention with his essay's title "Rescue Will Send Gold To Surreal Price Level", mostly because I am so familiar with things surreal, like my wife coming home early and yelling, "Why in the hell aren't you at work, and who's been eating all the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies like the big, fat pig that he is?" which makes it sound like there are two people involved when there is only one! Weird! See what I mean about my experiencing "surreal" first hand?

I noticed that Mr. Embry was appreciably staggered, although it turns out he was not affected by my surreal experience, but about how "The recent events that have occurred on the U.S. financial scene can only be described as mind-boggling."

Such as, perhaps, noting the extreme differentials between the prices of sold and silver futures versus the prices of gold and silver bullion, and in the case of silver, sometimes there's a difference of up to 100%! People are reportedly paying up to $20 - and more! - for an ounce of silver when the futures price for silver is less than $10!

Anyway, whatever the reason, Jim Willie of the Hat Trick Letter concludes that we should "Expect defaults in the COMEX with gold & silver, whose prices for paper vastly diverge from physical, to the anger of foreigners watching" because those foreigners "hold massive precious metals assets" which I figure shows just how much smarter they are than we Americans, thus giving me something else to worry about.

He figures that these defaults will constitute a "breath-taking discontinuity event", to which I say, "Whee!" as the result will be a Big, Big, BIG Profit (BBBP) for those who own gold and silver, and this will all happen thanks to the arbitrageurs, who are pouncing all over this huge price disparity by buying in the cheap futures market and simultaneously selling in the expensive bullion market to pocket the difference, and who will make a lot of money, too.

And one of them is Jason Hommel of SilverStockReport.com, who announced that he, too, is starting a new arbitrage business to take advantage of that surprising disparity by buying silver on the Comex at the manipulated low, low price, then taking delivery, having it minted into individual ounces and small bars, and then auctioned off at prices that more approximate supply and demand, making a profit, and everybody is theoretically happy! Perfect! Effortlessly capitalizing on the governments' regulatory corruption and the rules of Comex that apparently allow it! Hahaha! Go silver!           

And it will continue until the price disparity disappears to the point where arbitrageurs can no longer make a profit at it, either because the price of bullion went down or the price of a futures contract in silver went up.

I know which way I am betting, and soon, I am wistfully wasting the day away, marveling at the lovely, lovely profits I will make and all the wonderful, wonderful things I will buy, and all the lovely, wonderful things I will do with all that lovely, lovely, wonderful, wonderful money when silver zooms in price as it must. Sigh.

And then, lost in a reverie of such sweetness, secret sins and delicious depravities, nothing seems all that important anymore. Like finishing this stupid column. Sigh.

Until next time,

The Mogambo Guru
for The Daily Reckoning

Editor's Note: Richard Daughty is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the editor of The Mogambo Guru economic newsletter - an avocational exercise to heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it.

The Mogambo Guru is quoted frequently in Barron's, The Daily Reckoning and other fine publications.

Click here to visit the Mogambo archive page.

This full article was found here:

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/

 

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:01 PM PDT
ELECTRICITY CRISIS - Nobody is ready, let alone prepared
Mood:  surprised
Now Playing: Capitalism, Greed, and who gives a shit politics
Topic: TECHNOLOGY

THE COMING ELECTRICITY CRISIS
by Byron W. King

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/index.html

OK, so I don't have a copy of the Sunday business section from next March. But I think I know what at least one major issue will be within the next 24 months. The headlines will scream, "Power Failures, Price Spikes Plague Northeast U.S." And the same thing will also hit the Western U.S. And the Southeastern U.S. And parts of the Midwest.

They sure did not talk about power failures in the presidential debates, did they? I don't know why not. All the insiders know about it. Indeed, power failures and price spikes are baked into the national economic cake. People who follow these things are quite sure of it. It's just a question of when, exactly, the lights will start to flicker.

We already had one experience with a regional blackout. Do you remember the power failure of Aug. 14, 2003? Almost the entire Northeast U.S. went dark, except it occurred in the middle of the day. The effects were immediate on over 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada.

Skyscrapers just stopped working - no elevators, no lights, no water, no nothing. Hospital operating rooms went dark. Traffic signals stopped functioning and people were in the midst of instant gridlock. If you ran out of gas, there was no power for the pumps at the gas station. Refrigerators stopped humming and large amounts of food spoiled. Rail systems stopped running - from streetcars in Toronto to subways in New York and Amtrak and freight trains in the middle of nowhere. FAA flight controllers had to communicate with airborne pilots via battery-powered walkie-talkies. Sewage systems shut down, and a lot of you-know-what backed up in many low-lying areas.

The 2003 power failure was bad news, although short in duration. And then it was back to business for the U.S. Things became (if you will excuse the expression) "normal" again. Just like in Amity.

Looking back, the utility companies got the power back up and running, right? And the experts investigated the origins of the problem, right? The people who know all about power grids fixed the problem, right? It could not happen again, right? The U.S. power grid has ample electricity-generating capacity, right? And there's plenty of transmission to move power from one region to another, right?

Well, no.

Earlier this week, I attended a privately sponsored presentation on U.S. energy policy. The main speaker was a senior faculty member from Carnegie Mellon University. This guy has been "doing electricity" for about 40 years or so. He has written reports for the National Academy of Sciences. When the people at the U.S. Department of Energy have a question about electricity, they call this CMU professor.

The news is not good. In 2007, there were about 144 new coal-fired power plants on the drawing boards of the U.S. energy utilities. But, said the professor, "We will probably build none of them." Indeed, "The electric industry in the U.S. is in terrible shape," said the CMU man. So we should expect local and regional brownouts and blackouts to become common occurrences "within five years." But the first isolated instances of brownout and blackout will hit us much sooner than that.

Why is there such a gloomy forecast? Because essentially, the deregulation of the 1990s was botched. According to the CMU electricity expert, botched deregulation "slowed investment, raised prices and led to more and more uncertainty." So now few utilities or their executives want to take political, regulatory, technical or financial risks. Hence, the entire long-range planning cycle has broken down.

It's almost impossible to decide what to build, and at what scale. Costs are exploding, particularly for new construction. It's safe to say that most power plant construction cost projections have doubled within the past 18 months. The prospect of fast-changing environmental regulations also adds to the uncertainty. No one wants to build a power plant and learn in five or 10 years or so that environmental regulations are going to shut it down.

Even the alternative energy industry - with wind, solar and geothermal as the poster children - has formidable challenges. The biggest issue is cost competitiveness. That's because alternative systems provide power at costs that range from slightly higher to much higher than traditional power from, say, coal plants. Then there are issues of reliability, due to the intermittent nature of wind and solar, and the still-novel nature of geothermal power. And other issues include the lack of transmission from the usually remote sites of wind and solar facilities.

Overall, U.S. power producers face the prospect of many different forms of investment uncertainty. What will be the availability of different fuel mixes? Will coal still be useable? Or will natural gas be available at a cost they can afford? Can power producers invest in nuclear systems when there is still no definite program for disposing of the waste stream over the next 50 years? Or should the utility companies go all out for alternative systems?

But the next question is how much can consumers afford to pay? And what rates will the regulators allow? If utilities invest in alternative power systems (like wind or solar) that produce electricity at, say, 20-30 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh), will the regulators set those relatively high costs as the level of reimbursement? And for how long? What if the regulators permit the higher costs for only a few years and then penalize the utilities because some "better" technology comes along? At the end of the day, the base line cost of electricity is set against the cost to produce comparable coal or natural gas-based electricity. And this cost setting occurs even though there is a growing bias against burning carbon in the U.S. political and regulatory culture. One attendee at the discussion commented, "When you're in a 'no-win' situation, guess what? You can't win."

The CMU professor has looked at historical trends for power in the U.S. His best estimate is that over the next decade or so, the price for electricity will about double on average throughout the nation. "This would put the cost of electricity about on par, as a percentage, with where it was back in the 1950s." But that is only if people keep making investments in new power systems and the nation adopts conservation and efficiency measures on a large scale. Absent that? It's lights out.

So you might not see it in your daily life - not yet, anyhow - but the power industry is currently paralyzed by the uncertainty of lopsided risks. And as old power plants age and go off stream, there will be less and less reserve power. Costs are going to rise. And reliability will fall. It's inevitable.

So one investment sector that ought to do well over the next five years is power and backup power systems. And particularly, the companies that should do well are involved in power systems that are off the drawing boards and in some phase of construction, or near completion.

Best wishes, until we meet again...

Byron W. King
for The Daily Reckoning


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:47 PM PDT
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Democracy Now - Grassroots Activists save Foreclosure
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Grassroots Effort Helps New York Mother Avoid Foreclosure
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
Democracy Now! 
Voltaireweb

Grassroots Effort Helps New York Mother Avoid Foreclosure

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/20/grassroots_effort_helps_new_york_mother 

Jocelyne Voltaire, a resident of Queens Village, New York, saw her home go up for auction after a mortgage company foreclosed. She had made a fifty percent down payment twenty years ago, but recently saw her mortgage payments skyrocket under a predatory loan scam. Her mortgage is controlled by the company Litton Mortgage, an affiliate of the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. Voltaire had fallen behind on her payments in part because she no longer had the support of her son, a former Marine who served in the Iraq war. She was told her of son’s death just weeks after being informed of the foreclosure. [includes rush transcript]

 


 

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Guests:

Jocelyne Voltaire, threatened with losing her home under a predatory loan scheme. Her son, Robert Force Cyprien, is an Iraq war veteran who died in January.

Medea Benjamin, Peace activist and founder of CODEPINK. CODEPINK helped raise more than $30,000 to help Jocelyn Voltaire keep her home.

Bruce Marks, Founder and CEO of NACA, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America

Rush Transcript

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the corporate media was abuzz with talk of “Joe the Plumber”, the Ohio man invoked by Senator John McCain to criticize Senator Obama’s tax policy. Well, Joe Wurzelbacher was said to embody the plight of millions of average Americans, because he sought to buy his own small business but worried Obama’s tax plan would hold him back. It turns out that probably Obama’s tax plan would have benefited him more than McCain’s.

But here in New York, another story unfolded that went almost entirely ignored despite also touching on problems many Americans face. Jocelyne Voltaire, a resident of Queens Village, New York, saw her home go up for auction—almost—after a mortgage company foreclosed on it. She had made a 50 percent down payment twenty years ago but recently saw her mortgage payments skyrocket under a predatory loan scam. Her mortgage is controlled by a company called Litton Mortgage, an affiliate of the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.

Voltaire had fallen behind on her payments in part because she no longer had the support of her son, a former Marine who served in the Iraq war. She was told her of son’s death just weeks after being informed of the foreclosure.

Jocelyne Voltaire’s home was set to go on the auction block on Friday, but a grassroots campaign led by the peace group CODEPINK helped prevent the sale. Within hours of an emergency appeal, CODEPINK raised more than $10,000 to make a payment on Jocelyne Voltaire’s home. The auction has been avoided for now, but Jocelyne still faces a crippling mortgage.

Jocelyne Voltaire is here in our firehouse studio, just days after nearly losing her home. We’re also joined by two other guests. Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK, who helped organize the campaign, raced up to New York to hold a news conference with Jocelyne on Friday. She joins us from San Francisco. And we’re joined on the phone by Bruce Marks of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, NACA. He speaks to us from Boston.

Jocelyne Voltaire, your home was going up for auction on Friday.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: How did it happen?

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: First of all, I did not receive any notice. The bank never contact me. It’s by a friend, by a couple of friends, they called me, and they said they saw my house is on auction from 17. But that date was the 9th. It was October 9. So they bring the paper to show me. It was on the Newsday that time. So that’s the time, you know, I start to find out, you know, to see what I can do. But the mortgage company doesn’t give me much time to do anything, because, first, they don’t send me no paper. They don’t send me notice. They don’t send me—they don’t let me know. They don’t give me a call. You know, Litton Mortgage.

AMY GOODMAN: Affiliated with Goldman Sachs.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: When we brought the story out on Friday, playing the piece that was produced by American News Project—

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —you were holding a photograph of your son.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about your son.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: OK. My son is my fifth son. I was married when I was eighteen. And he’s my love and my everything in my life. So, my son never go to public school, because I always try to protect him so much, because of the violence at the public school. My son always goes to Catholic school. After Catholic school, my son go to the high school and college. He finished college. He was at a good job at a Wall Street at the Citibank, as a manager at the Citibank.

Somehow, they brainwashed my son. They make him—they said they’re going to give him $100,000, they’re going to give him a beautiful home, he’s going to travel all kind of country, all kind of place. So my son decided to go. But I was explaining to him, I say, “You have everything. Why are you going there for?” I said—

AMY GOODMAN: This—go to Iraq.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes—no, to Kuwait first.

AMY GOODMAN: To Kuwait.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: So he served four years in Kuwait. Then they put him on reserve. Then, after that, he spent four more years in Iraq. Totally is ten years. Then two more years, and he was on the special duty.

AMY GOODMAN: Special duty?

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes, that’s what he was telling me on the phone.

AMY GOODMAN: And where was he when he died?

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: He—they give me a different story. They give me two different stories. First, it was the Australia consulate, Australia was calling me, and they explained to me, say, “Are you Jocelyne Voltaire?” I say, “Yes.” “And you are a mother of Robert Force Cyprien?” I say, “Yes.” And “We have a bad news for you.” I say, “He’s dead?” And they say, “Yes.” Then I—my brother was there. I pass my brother the phone, because I cannot—I don’t feel like listening to him.

Then Washington, D.C. called me after that, and they say, “Your son—you’re Jocelyne Voltaire?” “Yes.” “Your son—we’ll confirm your son is dead.” I explained to Washington, D.C., I said, “Are you sure, sir?” He said, “Yes.” So, they say, “Don’t worry. If there’s anything we can do, we’re going to make sure you get the body.”

First, you know, Australia was asking me to cremate him. I say, “No, we don’t believe in that.”

AMY GOODMAN: To cremate.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes. I say, “Send the body over here, and because he born here and all his family here, all his friends here.” So they say, “OK.” Then, Pentagon called me and said, “Mrs. Voltaire, we’re going to send your son’s body here, but we have to make sure we check every bones to know how he died. Also we’re going to send the autopsy file.”

AMY GOODMAN: How did they tell you he died?

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: They was telling me at the beginning that—Australia was telling me he died—you know, like he died in Iraq, you know, like some—on duty. Next, next, next story they tell me is a gentleman who called me, and he say, “I believe your son killed himself.”

AMY GOODMAN: Committed suicide.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes, but only three-story building, you know, new building he just bought for his girlfriend in Australia. Three short story building—that’s not true. I don’t believe it, because my son is very, very strong. He will never kill himself. And he’s so happy, too. If you see all the pictures that lady send for me, he was so happy. His birthday was October 7, and he died on January 9, 2008. It’s not true. And still, I was waiting for the body to come.

AMY GOODMAN: And it did never come.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: And they asking me, you know, the consular of Australia asking me $15,000 to send the body. And I say, “How come?” They say, after, they reimburse me the money. Then, I wait for—you know, I make arrangement with all my family to get $15,000 together to send the body, and I went to the funeral home to make arrangement everything. And after that, the funeral home make lot of phone call. And when they make lot of phone call, you know, for them to send the body now, they raise the money for $25,000. I cannot afford it. And that’s the time the consular from the consulate from Australia give me another call, say to me, “You don’t have the $25,000 to send?” I say, “Sir, I’m trying hard to get it, but, you know, I don’t get it.” He say, “You don’t have to bother. We’ll give you only two days, and we will decide what we’re going to do with the body.” That’s it. That’s—

AMY GOODMAN: And they never sent the body?

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: No. Then, after that, I kept calling. They don’t respond. I sent a fax. All those papers, they was faxed to me. I faxed them back. I sign. Nothing, no. Until now.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re dealing with your son’s death—

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —what the US government told you was a suicide—

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —Iraq war vet.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re being foreclosed on.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: He was—first, you know, I was refinanced my house to send my son at school, OK, to send my son at college, because I was want him to finish. My son used to support me with my bill, because I have two small young kids. One is ten years, one is sixteen. So, because of my—I become so sick, and I don’t have no income—I’ve been working all my life, spend all my life doing two jobs, and I spent twenty years working at one job, at [inaudible] nursing home, 11:00 to 7:00 at night. And plus, I’ve been going to another job, 9:00 to night and afternoon. I only have only two hours sleep or hour and a half sleep, going to another job at night. So, only when I’m off on the day off I get some sleep. So I don’t have no income. I become so ill. I’ve been paying union dues every month. I don’t get no income, no coverage.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me go to Medea Benjamin, who is sitting in the studio in San Francisco. Medea, you were here in New York on Friday. Explain what happened, how you raised the money.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, I saw the video clip that the American News Project put out about Jocelyne’s case. I was sitting in the CODEPINK house in Washington, D.C., and thought, oh, my god, we can’t let this woman lose her home, jumped in a car with other CODEPINK colleagues. We got to Jocelyne’s house at 11:00 at night on Thursday night. We talked to her and her brother until 1:00 in the morning. And we said we’re going to come with you to the courthouse, where the house was supposed to be auctioned off at 11:00. At 8:30 in the morning, we put out an alert to our CODEPINK list, and by an hour later, we had $10,000. An hour and a half later, we had $15,000. We raised $30,000 and just in time to stop the house from going on the auction block, in fact, literally ten minutes before it was going to be sold.

And now, we’re committed to working with Jocelyne, and not only Jocelyne—now, we’ve gotten a lot of calls from other people who are facing this situation. She is part of a crisis of people trying to keep their homes, and we feel that we not only have to help individuals like Jocelyne, but we have to force Congress to come back in session and put a moratorium on foreclosures and reform the bankruptcy laws so that people like Jocelyne can stay in their homes.

AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Marks, we don’t have much time, but as you hear Jocelyne Voltaire’s story, can you put this in a bigger context? You’ve been working to help people who are facing these mortgage foreclosures for years now.

BRUCE MARKS: Yes. I mean, what’s going on with Jocelyne is happening to literally tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of homeowners around the country. And when you looked at Litton and their CEO, Larry Litton, they have to be held personally responsible, because Litton is one of the worst out there. They’re not willing to restructure mortgages to make them affordable. They’re not willing to do a moratorium on foreclosures. And so, we’ve got to—we shouldn’t be taking out of our hard-earned pockets $10,000 for Jocelyne. She should be able to stay in her house. She’s a hard-working person going through a devastating loss, and it’s personal.

And that’s why—the one player out there who can overnight change everything for at-risk homeowners is Fannie Mae. And that’s why we’re going—next week we’re going to go to the homes of the Fannie Mae executives around this country and shut down Fannie Mae, because if Fannie Mae does a moratorium on foreclosure, if Fannie Mae stops the interest rate increases, and if Fannie Mae restructures mortgages to reduce the interest rate to make these mortgages affordable, that will overnight—that will immediately impact virtually every at-risk homeowner around the country, because they set the national standard. And that’s Paulson. Paulson makes that decision. And as we all know, he’s with Goldman Sachs. He was with them; he’s still with them. He’s got to make the decision to make these mortgages affordable.

AMY GOODMAN: And Litton’s relationship with Goldman Sachs?

BRUCE MARKS: I’m sorry?

AMY GOODMAN: Litton’s relationship with Goldman Sachs?

BRUCE MARKS: Oh, they—the biggest investor in Litton who has really bailed them out is Goldman Sachs. And the fact of the matter is, and they have this CEO, Larry Litton, who says he’s doing the right thing, but it’s a lie. And we have to hold them personally responsible. But Fannie Mae, if we can get Fannie Mae to change their practices, owned by the American taxpayer, so, in essence, the American taxpayers are foreclosing on themselves. And that’s what we have to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Medea Benjamin, if people want to get more information on how to help individually in cases like Jocelyne’s, where do they go online?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Please go to our website, codepinkalert.org, or a new site we just created called healmainstreet.org. And you can support Jocelyne, others like her, and find out other ways to get involved to pressure not only the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like Bruce is talking about, but also force Congress to do something about this.

AMY GOODMAN: Jocelyne Voltaire, thank you very much for being with us.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes. Thank you. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: We will continue to follow your case.

JOCELYNE VOLTAIRE: Yes. Thank you. I will appreciate it.

AMY GOODMAN: That does it for our broadcast. I want to thank Bruce Marks, Medea Benjamin and Jocelyne Voltaire, who now goes back to her home in Queens Village here in New York.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:51 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 23 October 2008 6:52 PM PDT
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
50,000 people gather for " Get out of Iraq Rally" (in Iraq)
Mood:  on fire
Now Playing: GET THE HELL OUT OF IRAQ - - SHIT DONT WE GET IT ?
Topic: WAR

GET THE HELL OUT OF IRAQ  

 

Z3 Readers here is the BBC link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7677551.stm

 

Iraqis stage mass anti-US rally

 

Moqtada Sadr's supporters are strongly opposed to the US presence in Iraq

Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr have staged a mass demonstration in Baghdad in protest against plans to extend the US mandate in Iraq.

An estimated 50,000 protesters chanted slogans such as "Get out occupier!".

Iraqi and US negotiators drafted the deal after months of talks but it still needs approval from Iraq's government.

Under the agreement US troops would withdraw by 2011, and Iraq would have the right to prosecute Americans who commit crimes while off-duty.

The UN mandate for US-led coalition forces expires at the end of this year. About 144,000 of the 152,000 foreign troops deployed there are US military personnel.

Political battle

Chanting slogans and waving banners, tens of thousands of Shias, mainly young men, marched on the eastern suburb of Sadr City towards the centre of Baghdad.

US troops in Baghdad
Iraq regards blanket immunity for US troops as undermining its sovereignty
The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says Moqtada Sadr's militant opposition to the US presence has strong grassroots support among many Shias - and this was a physical manifestation of that opposition.

He says leaders of the 30-strong Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament will have expressed that rejection at a meeting of Iraq's Political Council for National Security late on Friday.

The meeting of top political leaders and the heads of parliamentary factions was convened to discuss the draft agreement covering the US military presence after its mandate expires.

No decisions were taken but the Council is to meet again to hear back from military experts on what is a very complex and detailed document.

Our correspondent says its passage through parliament may follow naturally if it is approved by the Council, but this is by no means assured and a tough political battle is already shaping up.

In Washington, US defence chief Robert Gates has been courting support for the deal from key members of Congress - although their approval is not mandatory.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:59 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 22 October 2008 7:01 PM PDT
Hedge Fund Manager: Goodbye Idiots and F---- You
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Andrew Lahde's has quit the hedge fund industry, read his goodbye letter
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT

My friendly informed Z3 Readers

Please check out the Portland Indy Media article below. 

************************  

Hedge Fund Manager: Goodbye Idiots and F---- You

author: xxx

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/10/381166.shtml 

Andrew Lahde's has quit the hedge fund industry with an extraordinary farewell letter dismissing his rivals as over-privileged "idiots" and thanking "stupid" traders for making him rich.

In his farewell letter, which concluded with an appeal for the legalisation of marijuana, Lahde said he was happy with his rewards and did not envy those who had made even more money.

"The low-hanging fruit, ie idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking," he wrote. "These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government," he said.

"All of this behaviour supporting the aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
 
So long, suckers. Millionaire hedge fund boss thanks 'idiot' traders and retires at 37
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/18/banking-useconomy




Oct 17 2008 12:01PM EDT
Hedge Fund Manager: Goodbye and F---- You

 link to www.portfolio.com

From the Scorched Earth Files:

Andrew Lahde, manager of a small California hedge fund, Lahde Capital, burst into the spotlight last year after his one-year-old fund returned 866 percent betting against the subprime collapse.

Last month, he did the unthinkable -- he shut things down, claiming dealing with his bank counterparties had become too risky. Today, Lahde passed along his "goodbye" letter, a rollicking missive on everything from greed to economic philosophy. Enjoy.

Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, "What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it." I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.

So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don't worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer's company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.

I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life -- where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management -- with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.

On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man's interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft's near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.

Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won't see it included in BP's, "Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions," television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM's similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant -- marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States this week. Please people, let's stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.

With that I say good-bye and good luck.

All the best,

Andrew Lahde

homepage:

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/daily-brief/2008/10/17/hedge-fund-manager-goodbye-and-f-you
 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:14 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 22 October 2008 4:17 PM PDT

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