Monday, June 29, 2009

Captain Morgan & Cap and Trade: What HAPPENED?!

Whatever happened to INTEGRITY?

In case you blinked last week and missed it, Cap and Trade was introduced, amended, voted and passed, in a stunning new demonstration of just how ridiculously illogical our political system has become

Here's how it went down:

  • The original cap and trade bill, HR 2454, was introduced to congress May 15th
  • June 23rd, the thousand-page bill was replaced by a whole new bill - HR 2998 - weighing in at 1200 pages
  • At 3:09 am on June 26th, a 300 page amendment was filed
  • 16 hours later, the house voted and passed the bill none of them had read

Our government was designed to move slowly, for a reason. When massive new bills are rammed through like this, it's a deliberate attempt to cut the public out of the process.

Here's an example of what happens when they sneak in these last minute amendments - we as taxpayers get saddled with things like the $2.7 billion in tax rebates approved under TARP for a British rum producer. That's right - thanks to TARP, you're now subsidizing the production of Captain Morgan rum, and they're not even a US owned company!

All of these massive "emergency" bills prove one thing: Our representatives' incentives revolve around corporate welfare and special interest favors, and the only weapon we have that can trump their money and resources is our sheer numbers - it's time to make a ruckus.

Start calling your reps to let them know you're voting them out for negligence - they have an obligation to read and understand what they are voting into law, and if the process doesn't allow them sufficient time to do so, they need to change the process. If they don't agree, they're out. It's as simple as that.

Seriously. The gloves are coming off. Who's with me?

Declaring War on the American Economy

The Cap-and-Trade bill that passed the House yesterday will be a declaration of war on the American economy if it ever is enacted into law. It is ostensibly supposed to help the American economy transition from the old, carbon-based industrial economy to the broad, sunlit (and presumably unpolluted) uplands of a post-industrial one. According to an infomercial masquerading as an AP news story, the “climate bill may spur energy revolution.” Overlooked by the AP and other minions of the left is the fact that that revolution has been underway, largely without the federal government’s help, for more than a generation now. In 1970 a one-percent increase in GDP meant a one-percent increase in oil consumption. Today its means less than a third of one percent increase in oil consumption. It would be considerably less than that had the left not brought the development and exploitation of nuclear power to a screeching halt thirty years ago because too many of them went to see The China Syndrome. (The producers, to be sure, arranged, in a stroke of commercial genius, for the movie to open twelve days before the accident at Three-Mile Island occurred.)

And as Kim Strassel pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the so-called science behind this massive bill is looking increasingly shaky.

If it’s enacted in its present form, what the cap-and-trade bill will certainly do is

1) Massively increase federal power not only over the economy but over daily life as well. Building codes have always been the province of the states, but this bill, according to one blogger, would require federally mandated energy audits before you could change a window in your home and specifies the number and location of electrical outlets to be permitted;

2) Start a trade war with India and China by slapping tariffs on goods from countries that don’t conform to US standards on carbon emissions;

3) Act like the governor on a steam engine, increasingly slowing down the economy through energy taxes whenever the economy accelerates. In other words, its virtually guarantees economic stagnation at best. And most economists who are not working for liberals think it will be far more economically pernicious than that.

This last, at least, is in the great tradition of the Democratic Party. The party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, tried to deal with the high-handed ways of the Royal Navy and French privateers by a blockade–not of their ports, but of ours. Thomas Jefferson, in other words, went to war with the American economy. In a series of acts beginning in December, 1807, that Congress passed at Jefferson’s behest, American merchants were forbidden to trade with any other country on pain of fines of $10,000 and forfeiture of goods. The U.S. Navy was dispatched to help enforce the act by stopping vessels leaving American ports. Port cities (which at that time were all large American cities and many small ones) plunged into depression. Smuggling across the Canadian border grew so extensive that Jefferson actually declared parts of northern New England to be in a state of rebellion. The New England economy came close to collapse as it was then heavily dependent on foreign trade. (The American merchant marine at this time–mostly New England owned and built–was second in size only to Britain’s.)

The Embargo Act was, politically and economically, an utter disaster, as anyone who understood anything about commerce, economics, and human nature could have foreseen. Indeed, Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, did understand and wrote the president, “As to the hope that it may. . . induce England to treat us better, I think is entirely groundless. . . . Government prohibitions do always more mischief than had been calculated; and it is not without much hesitation that a statesman should hazard to regulate the concerns of individuals as if he could do it better than themselves.”

Good advice from a very wise man who did this country many a good service. Too bad Thomas Jefferson didn’t take it. Nor, alas, will his present-day successor if he gets a chance to sign this utterly misbegotten bill.

Beijing Formalizes Call for New Reserve Currency

BEIJING -- China's central bank reiterated its call for the creation of a new international currency that could replace currencies such as the dollar in countries' official reserves.

In its annual report on financial stability, issued Friday, the People's Bank of China said the country will push reform of the international currency system to make it more diversified and reasonable. While it didn't specifically target the U.S. currency, it said it aims to reduce over-reliance on the current reserve currencies, of which the dollar is the biggest.

"To avoid the shortcomings of sovereign credit currencies acting as reserve currencies, we need to create an... international reserve currency that can maintain the long-term stability of its value," the PBOC said.

The report, a lengthy document that addressed a broad range of issues, reiterated a proposal made by PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan in March to use Special Drawing Rights, the synthetic currency developed by the IMF, as a super-sovereign reserve currency. That proposal, made just before the G20 summit in London earlier this year, appeared in an essay authored by Mr. Zhou and posted on the PBOC's Web site.

The call for a new global reserve currency was among a host of factors exerting pressure on the dollar Friday. The U.S. currency fell during New York trading against the U.K. pound, Australian dollar, yen, Swiss franc and euro.

The PBOC comments "fuel concern about reserve diversification undermining the U.S. currency," said analysts at Credit Suisse.

Senior Chinese officials, including Premier Wen Jiabao, have repeatedly expressed concern about the dollar, which comprises most of China's roughly $2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves. China is concerned that the dollar's dominance exacerbates global financial imbalances. It also worries that massive U.S. government borrowing to support stimulus spending could eventually lead to inflation, hurting the value of China's holdings.

The SDR proposal's inclusion in the central bank's latest stability report appears to formalize the idea as an official view of the central bank, which ultimately reports to China's State Council.

China's central bank said in the annual report that under the proposal, the IMF should "manage part of the reserves of its members" and be reformed to increase the rights of emerging markets and developing countries.

It also urged stronger monitoring of countries that issue reserve currencies. Central banks around the world hold more U.S. dollars and dollar securities than they do assets denominated in any other individual foreign currency.

The central bank's report, on the PBOC Web site, comes a day after Li Lianzhong, an academic at a key think tank under the Communist Party of China, said China's yuan should become the fifth currency in the SDR, joining the U.S. dollar, yen, euro and sterling. Mr. Li proposed an equal 20% weighting in the SDR basket for the five currencies.

In its report Friday, the PBOC also said China is facing both deflationary pressures in the short term and inflationary pressures in the longer term.

Deflationary pressures have strengthened this year partly because of overcapacity in the domestic market due to weak external demand and falling global commodity prices, it said. But the possibility of global price rises after market confidence recovers, excessive money supply and increasing fiscal deficits in some economies, will likely create inflationary pressures in the longer run, the report said.

The central bank's report echoed a theme in comments Thursday by former PBOC adviser Yu Yongding. At a three-day United Nations conference on the economic crisis, Mr. Yu pushed for monetary and financial-infrastructure reforms.

—Liu Li. Joan R. Magee and Riva Froymovich contributed to this article.














前首相敦阿都拉(左)週日(6月28日)早上一身輕鬆地亮相國會,結果他的出現自然引起攝影記者的高度關注,紛紛趨前拍攝,一時間鎂光燈閃個不停。 儘管有4名近身保鑣隨行,但是“伯拉”依然與國會的同僚們握手打招呼,完全沒有架子,他走到行動黨甲洞區國會議員陳勝堯(右二)的身旁時,也不忘與對方寒暄,雖然只是閒聊,但伯拉的一舉一動牽動媒體攝影,他的一投足、一舉手都離不開媒體的目光,看來前首相想過平凡的生活都很難。(圖:星洲日報)
前首相敦阿都拉(左)週日(6月28日)早上一身輕鬆地亮相國會,結果他的出現自然引起攝影記者的高度關注,紛紛趨前拍攝,一時間鎂光燈閃個不停。 儘管有4名近身保鑣隨行,但是“伯拉”依然與國會的同僚們握手打招呼,完全沒有架子,他走到行動黨甲洞區國會議員陳勝堯(右二)的身旁時,也不忘與對方寒 暄,雖然只是閒聊,但伯拉的一舉一動牽動媒體攝影,他的一投足、一舉手都離不開媒體的目光,看來前首相想過平凡的生活都很難。


(檳城)正當檳州準備在7月7日慶祝列入世界文化遺產城滿一週年之際,州政府卻被告知,由於在喬治市的古蹟核心區和緩沖區核准了四項發展計劃,而導致馬六甲和喬治市在世界文化遺產名錄的地位或被列入瀕危的遺產(The World Heritage Sites InDanger)。









調, 兩個在古跡核心區的發展商,也就是Boustead Holdings有限公司及Asian GlobalBusiness私人有限公司,需要將建筑物的高度減低至18公尺,而另兩個在緩沖區的發展計劃,則必須依據檳島市政局所能接受的程度進行修 改,以減少任何不利的影響。









建築物高度:84.47公尺(為32層樓高, 但依恩奧自願減至16層)

計劃:海乾綜合性發展計劃,包括Royale Bintang酒店
進展: 建築工程已在進行

計劃: Rice Miller酒店
發展商:Asian Global Business有限公司










Eastern Market merchants' triumphant return

It was like a family reunion.

The merchants and customers of Eastern Market were delighted to be back "home" Friday.

After a devastating fire that severely damaged the market April 30, 2007, the historic building finally reopened for business.

The plaza was packed elbow-to-elbow, and celebratory customers, including parents with babies in strollers and school-age children, lined the streets.

More than 200 community members waited in Seventh Street's North Hall Plaza on Friday morning, welcoming back the 14 permanent indoor merchants of Eastern Market. Some were there as early as 7 a.m. trying to get a sneak peek, while others were attempting to beat out everyone else in getting the freshest produce.

Merchants filled their stands and welcomed back their customers with various fresh items, including produce, meats, flowers and seafood in the South Hall for the first time after 788 days of being temporarily located across the street in the East Hall building. Vibrant colors flooded the open-air market.

"It's a wonderful historic structure, but also it is the oldest continuously operating market in the city," Council member for Ward 6 Tommy Wells said. "It's a great community amenity and gathering place for the neighborhood. It's really one of our city treasures."

Smiles spread across the sea of diverse faces, both merchants and community alike. Hugs were exchanged. Laughter was found in every nook and cranny of the pristine, newly restored market.

Many of Friday's sentiments stem from the memories rooted in the 136-year-old market.

Marian Wilson, a District resident, said she's seen a lot of changes during her time, but this is one place that remains close to her heart. Her father used to take her all the time to do everyday grocery shopping when she was growing up.

"On weekends, it's fun to mingle around and buy stuff," she said. "It's a wonderful feeling that they were able to keep this market."

Even non-District residents visit every once in a while. Eartha Ball, a resident of Waldorf, Md., and formerly of the District, used to visit on weekends with her sisters and children. However, what ultimately kept her coming back were the people, she said.

"It's the people," she said. "You have to come here on Saturday when it's full swing. You have all the vendors outside. It's exciting."

Leon Calomiris, owner of Thomas Calomiris & Sons Produce, who has been involved with the market since he was 10 years old, has numerous memories there.

"I used to go hang out behind everybody's stand. I was the little punk of the market at the time," he said. "They are like a second family. I've grown up there. I see people grow old. I've seen people die. I've seen them have kids. I've seen their kids grow up. I've spent my life down there. That's what I know."

The market has been a place for several traditions, said Donna Scheeder, chairman of Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC). For example, every Thanksgiving, people get in Mel Inman's Market Poultry line to purchase their turkeys, she said.

"It doesn't matter that the line is long because everyone's chatting and in a good mood," Ms. Scheeder said.

However, without the actual history of the market and the structure in which it is housed, the community ties to the market might not have been what they are today.

The original building, known as the South Hall, was designed by Adolf Cluss and opened in 1873, said Monte Edwards, chairman of capital improvements for EMCAC. The Center and North halls, designed by Snowdon Ashford, were added in 1908, he said.

Mr. Cluss' plan had a roof-truss system with high, open ceilings, natural ventilation and a cellar for storage. At the time, this design was innovative for a functional public market, said Mr. Edwards, who is also the secretary for EMCAC.

However, with supermarkets popping up around the District, Eastern Market's fate became uncertain. It was then threatened not just with closure but demolition, as well. Charles Glasgow Sr., who ran the fish stand, lobbied Congress to keep the market open, said Tom Glasgow, owner of Market Lunch.

"When my Dad took over Eastern Market, there were only a couple stands at the north end," said Tom Glasgow, Charles' son. "My Dad came onto the scene, and the market was actually being ready to be torn down. He appeared before Congress and said, 'Hey, this is a building that's worth saving.'"

Jim Hodgeson, president of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, also played a key role in keeping the Market alive, Mr. Edwards said. He showed that it was economically viable, thus keeping the market safe, Mr. Edwards said.

Shortly after, Eastern Market was designated a D.C. Historic Landmark in 1964 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

In 1974, the South Hall was partially restored using federal grant money. However, there was no attention paid to historic detail, Mr. Edwards said.

In 1999, then-Council member for Ward 6 Sharon Ambrose helped enact legislation that defined how Eastern Market would be managed, regulated and improved, Mr. Edwards said.

"It placed the Market under the jurisdiction of the District's Office of Property Management (OPM), required unified management of the Market and created the EMCAC to advise OPM about the operation, management and capital improvements for the Market," Mr. Edwards said.

It was EMCAC that initially recommended renovation and repairs to the Market, Mr. Edwards said. Plans were nearly 95 percent complete when the fire occurred in April 2007.

"But the things that were destroyed were the historically inaccurate things like the artificial slate, glazing the windows with plastic and … (the) propping up (of) the floor with steel columns that made the basement inaccessible," Mr. Edwards said.

On the day of the fire, residents were extremely sad when it burned, said Ms. Scheeder.

"You walked up there, even a few days after, and people were staring at the building with that look on their face that you see at funerals," Ms. Scheeder said.

Mr. Edwards said the Capitol Hill Community Foundation began raising money almost immediately for emergency expenses such as display tables, scales and refrigerated trucks to maintain vendor operations until a temporary structure was erected.

"Through community contributions and fundraising events that took place throughout the Hill, over $450,000 was raised," Mr. Edwards said. "The residents of Capitol Hill regard the market as the unofficial town center, and whenever the fate of the market has been in jeopardy, protests, campaigns and creative efforts by civic groups, customers, merchants and the city have saved the day."

Mr. Glasgow said he never realized how much the market meant to the community until that day.

"It was just a wonderful outpouring of a sense of community," he said. "It really makes you proud to be thought of as a member of the Capitol Hill community, even though you're just part of the business community."

Now, $22 million later from city and federal grant money, the building is newly restored and renovated. Many of the historic elements have been kept intact. However, new features have been added, such as air conditioning, heating, additional public restrooms, a skylight, special tinted glass and a functional basement. With additional funds, the Department of Transportation laid a new cobble street in front of the market on Seventh Street.

"I really actually never imagined it was possible for it to look so good inside," Tom Glasgow said. "The sad reality and the one thing that is true is that the old Eastern Market that everybody loved is gone … So whether or not it will kind of redevelop its own character, like it once has, only time will tell."

So from the trials and tribulations of the market to a place that has watched generations of merchants grow old together and interact with a tight-knit, passionate community, Eastern Market could be called a neighborhood family.

"The historic character in there is not just the building, but everything that goes on and the people in there," Ms. Scheeder said. "It's one big fabric. If any of that is missing, then there's a rip."

Tata Adds Jaguar, Land Rover to India's Luxury-Car Segment

MUMBAI -- Tata Motors Ltd. on Sunday introduced the Jaguar and Land Rover luxury-car brands in India as the company tries to challenge BMW AG, Audi AG and Daimler AG in this potential growth market for premium vehicles.

The first showroom in the country in Mumbai will market models including the Jaguar XF, XFR and XKR sedans, as well as the Land Rover Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover sport-utility vehicles.

Luxury-car makers such as Daimler, BMW, Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Volkswagen AG's Audi brand are introducing vehicles in India to tap the country's growing number of millionaires. Shrinking demand in the U.S. and Europe also has led the auto makers to diversify into higher-growth markets such as China and India.

Tata Motors acquired Jaguar last year. Above, Chairman Ratan Tata and a Jaguar XF in Mumbai on Sunday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Tata Motors acquired Jaguar last year. Above, Chairman Ratan Tata and a Jaguar XF in Mumbai on Sunday.

"It is an exciting time to be entering the Indian market, a country with increasing affluence and an economy which is still growing," David Smith, Jaguar-Land Rover chief executive, said in a prepared statement. "We believe that the Indian market holds significant growth potential in the long term, and we hope to tap the demand for premium vehicles from discerning customers."

Tata Motors acquired U.K.-based Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. in June last year to gain access to new technologies and widen its reach in overseas markets.

But the global financial crunch took a toll on sales of Jaguar cars and Land Rover SUVs, especially in the U.S. and Europe -- which account for about 65% of Jaguar-Land Rover's total volumes.

Sales of Land Rover vehicles fell 40% to 120,000 cars during June 2008-March 2009, while Jaguar sales declined 4% to 47,000 cars.

Tata Motors posted a consolidated net loss of 25.05 billion rupees ($521.5 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31 amid lower sales at Jaguar-Land Rover and falling demand for its trucks and buses in the Indian market.

Even so, Mr. Smith said emerging markets such as India, Brazil, China and Russia offer strong growth potential for Jaguar-Land Rover vehicles. "We have been successful in the last three years in developing our business in markets like China, Brazil and Russia," he said. "Already India has great potential and can offer incredible, new opportunities."

Depressed demand for luxury cars has forced Tata Motors to cut jobs at Jaguar-Land Rover and shut factories in the U.K. The auto maker also asked for a U.K. government guarantee for a £340 million ($561.9 million) loan sanctioned by the European Investment Bank for Jaguar-Land Rover.

Mr. Smith later told a news conference that Jaguar-Land Rover may cut more jobs if global demand for automobiles remains weak.

"During the current economic slowdown, we have to take several stringent measures to reduce labor costs," he said.

He said labor unions at Jaguar-Land Rover are aware that more jobs losses may occur. Talks with the unions are under way, he added.

Ravi Kant, vice chairman of Tata Motors, also said Friday that Jaguar-Land Rover may shed more jobs in addition to the 2,000 job cuts planned until December. The two brands currently employ a total of 15,000 workers, predominantly in the U.K.

Tata Motors doesn't have an immediate plan to assemble Jaguar-Land Rover vehicles in India, Chairman Ratan Tata said.

耗時三年 第一本海外華人節稅聖經問世

有感於各地華人對於稅務規劃有迫切且頻繁的需求,由安致勤資會計師事務 所(KEDP CPA Firm)所長呂旭明會計師邀集林清吉會計師、孫美蘭會計師、張天駿律師等人合著的《美中台跨國稅務Q&A》一書於6月26號正式發表。這本書特 色在於用Q&A的方式列舉美中台三地華人常見的稅負問題,捨棄艱澀的專業用語,用最簡明的方式讓有稅務困擾的一般讀者一看就懂。

新書發起人 呂旭明會計師在記者會中提到,有感於兩岸三地美國、中國、台灣之客戶與朋友經常詢問三地之稅務問題,而部分問題已非他專業所及,常要靠越洋電話求助國外會 計師與律師,因此他更感到跨國間的稅務問題對於華人的重要性,因而決定邀集其他幾位作者來共同解決各地華人常遇到的稅務問題。忙碌的他在多次跨洲的搭機旅 程途中,醞釀出書中一百多個華人常遇到的稅務問題;讓其他作者在這些題目當中發揮所長,提出專業解析與建議。


四 位作者當中有三位美國會計師、律師都在百忙當中抽空返台參加記者會與新書發表會,而張天駿律師笑說他做了一件「這輩子都沒做過的事」,那就是在飛機起飛四 個小時之前,才倉促間買了一張頭等艙的機票,急忙搭機返台參加記者會。呂旭明會計師打趣說:「這本書的版稅可能都沒辦法支付張律師的頭等艙費用了!」

負 責出版《美中台跨國稅務Q&A》的哈佛人出版社執行長張錦娥,自己本身也是會計師的她提到:「市面上雖然有與美國及台灣相關的稅法書,但不是專供 台灣稅法,就是侷限在美國稅法,沒有一本是能夠將跨國的稅法規範完全納入討論的,尤其現在華人產業西進,遇到的稅負問題更常是發生在中國。」由此可見,美 中台跨國稅務的問題的確越來越頻繁,這本書正提供相關人士「合法省稅、節稅而不逃稅」的方法。

TD Ameritrade "Stock Heat Mapping and Pattern Matcher" 2009 TV Commercial

Watch this .....



































































中國‧上海塌樓9人被捕‧全市建築工程大檢查 Nearly completed high-rise collapses in Shanghai








HONG KONG (Reuters) - A 13-storey residential building under construction in Shanghai collapsed on Saturday, killing one worker and highlighting the dangers of shoddy building in fast-urbanising China.

The building, in the outskirts of the city, collapsed at around 6 a.m. (2200 GMT), with one construction worker killed, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The block of high-rise residential flats was shown toppled onto its side in a muddy construction site, in footage from Hong Kong's Cable Television. Exposed pilings stood in the remains of the building's foundations.

It appeared to be almost complete with fitted windows and a finished, tiled facade. Other similar-looking blocks in the same property development were still standing nearby.

Shoddy construction and the use of sub-standard materials is a concern in China's construction sector as the country scrambles to build out cities and finish massive infrastructure projects to keep pace with fast economic growth.

Construction-related accidents last year included the collapse of a steel arch on a new railway bridge, which killed at least seven and a crane which fell on a kindergarten killing five.

The collapse of dozens of schools during last year's Sichuan earthquake, sometimes when buildings around them withstood the tremor, also led to a wave of public outrage about corrupt officials and construction firms.






















Israeli's Invent a Robotic Spy Snake

Have you seen this before? ......

I Swear I Wasn't There (But I Was)

Single Dose Memory Drug Resolves a Fundamental Question of Neuroscience

The movie Memento has two mind-bending story lines: one moves forward in time, while the other moves backwards. Leonard is determined to avenge his wife's murder. However, unable to remember anything that happens day-to-day due to short term memory loss, he copes by tattooing notes on himself and taking pictures of things with a Polaroid camera.

Most of us have trouble remembering little things, like where we left the cell phone or the keys. But there are many individuals like Leonard who cannot remember events that occurred even minutes ago. By 2050 –- given today’s biotechnology and demographic trends –- it’s estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

The New York Times recently reported on an announcement by Dr. Todd C. Sacktor and André A. Fenton at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in which the doctors stated that a substance called PKMzeta is responsible for memory-related tasks in the brain. The Times characterized this as an “open door to editing memory.” Studies with rats and mice show that a drug called ZIP interferes with PKMzeta, erasing learned behaviors. Editing memory may also mean enhancing the ability to remember things.

Sacktor found that the PKMzeta molecule was present and activated in cells precisely when connected to a neighboring neuron, “The PKMzeta molecules appeared to herd themselves, like Army Rangers occupying a small peninsula, into precisely the fingerlike connections among brain cells that were strengthened.” The molecules stayed there indefinitely, “like biological sentries,” the stuff of memory associations.

Fenton, who specializes in spatial memory in mice and rats, devised a way to imprint animals with memories for where things are located. He taught them to move around a small chamber to avoid a mild electric shock to their feet. Once rats learn, they do not forget. Placed back in the chamber, they remembered how to avoid the shock.

Single Dose Memory Drug

But when injected with ZIP (a Zeta inhibitory peptide) directly into their brains, they had to start over again and learn how to avoid the electric shock. “When we first saw this happen, I had grad students throwing their hands up in the air, yelling,” Dr. Fenton said. “Well, we needed a lot more than that one study."

Twelve other researchers have now independently confirmed Sacktor and Fenton's findings –- essentially resolving a fundamental question of neuroscience about how memories are stored. A jointly published paper describes how long-term memories are stored as physical traces in the brain using a molecular mechanism of long-term memory storage.

The researchers showed that “unpleasant memories are stored by the persistent action of the enzyme PKMzeta, a form of protein kinase C,” and that “these memories can be rapidly erased by injecting a PKMzeta inhibitor into the brain.” They confirmed that by using ZIP, “unpleasant long-term memories in the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical for storing spatial information, are rapidly erased.”

This raises many questions. If human memory can be erased like a computer's hard drive, what happens to the “overwritten” memories? Is there a biochemical equivalent to disk restoration software? Can the erased memories ever be recovered? How does this affect learned behavior?

If memories can be edited –- erased, enhanced, or supplanted –- what replaces them? Several novels and short stories by SciFi master Philip K. Dick explore this idea. His novelette, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, loosely adapted as the movie Total Recall, describes a man who has “extra-factual memory” implanted so that he remembers things he supposedly never did, like visit Mars. He ends up deciding to have his implanted Mars memories suppressed and is offered a set of wish-fulfillment false memories in exchange. When he undergoes the memory-implanting procedure a second time, the implant company uncovers a different and older set of suppressed memories revealing that the unbelievable memories they are about to insert are already there and are true.

With the discovery of PKMzeta’s role in storing memories, it’s now easy to imagine a new class of performance-enhancing drugs that remove or replace unpleasant memories or restore hidden memories like the character in Dick’s novelette. For Alzheimer's patients or someone like Leonard in Memento, this might mean the difference between vegetative regress and remembering who, what, or where you are/were.

Smart drugs such as Modafinil – the latest in a growing number of pharmaceuticals that include Ritalin and Adderall to enhance cognition and mental performance –- let students study for hours without the jitters that often go hand-in-hand with pots of coffee, Red Bull, or amphetamines. A new class of “smart” memory editing drugs could conceivably eliminate the need to study at all.

Is editing a memory in some sense editing the self? Could I project an alternate identity –- perhaps even multiple identities –- and selectively edit memories to realize that identity or identities as me? This is a concept familiar with socially networked Internet users of services such as Facebook and MySpace, as well as virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft or Second Life. Alts –- alternate identities –- give users the ability to experiment with alternate versions of themselves. Initial studies of patients with Asperger’s syndrome –- people with extreme difficulty in social settings –- show great promise for the use of alts as a way of learning social skills.

The upside of PKMzeta is that it could open the door to new treatments for Asperger’s syndrome, age-related memory decline, trauma such as childhood abuse or war, and the emotional scaring of bad memories in general.

The downside of using ZIP-like drugs to erase memory is spelled out by Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, “The authors and followers of the heinous ‘Final Solution’ were guilty not only of their unutterable crimes, but also of the will to erase their traces from the memory of others… Indeed they killed their victims two times: first with guns or in the gas chambers, and then by obliterating their memory.”

How easily we forget – or deny. Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have dropped language describing the Holocaust as “ambiguous and dubious” from his recent U.N. speech attacking Israel, but he’s previously called for it to be wiped off the face of the Earth and described the Holocaust as a "myth.” Wiesel comments, “This is why I am somewhat hesitant to trust the proposed therapeutic means to use forgetting as a tool for healing. Once forgetting has begun, where and when should it stop?”

Billionaire Madoff tied to intelligence agencies

No conspiracy charge by feds against Madoff is covering up links to domestic and foreign intelligence.

The failure of federal prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against Bernard Madoff, the mega-billion dollar Ponzi scammer who pleaded guilty March 12 to eleven counts of fraud and other crimes in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, is providing cover to those who pulled the strings on Madoff's illegal operation.

WMR spoke to a former close aide to Madoff who related how he handled a number of transactions personally for Madoff. The source said that Madoff was running a special type of "pump and dump" scheme. The source said Madoff would "pump money out of the system and dump it out to another place." When asked what that "other place" was, the source replied, "Israel."

The source believes that no conspiracy charges were brought by the federal government against Madoff because it is the government and not necessarily Madoff that is trying to protect his "network and superiors."

Madoff's Chief Financial Officer was Frank DiPasquale, who is being represented by Marc Mukasey of Bracewell Giuliani. Mukasey's father is former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The U.S. judge handling the Madoff case, Denny Chin, is, according to informed legal sources in Manhattan, over his head in corruption.

WMR has learned how some of Madoff's international operations were conducted. At 3:30 pm every day Madoff Investment Securities employees would call banks in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and tell them to "roll the accounts." That was insider language for "lend the money."

In some cases, money was moved to the Belize Bank, which was described by a Madoff insider as a "back side" for secretive banking operations in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.

Madoff would also dispatch messengers to 55 Water Street in New York's financial district to pick up securities bearer bonds that could fit into an "Army duffle bag." Those types of transactions dramatically decreased for Madoff after 9/11.

The weekend following the Fourth of July, Madoff would sponsor a three-day bash for Madoff employees and "special guests" at Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island. One of Madoff's special guests was Norman F. Levy, a billionaire who Madoff considered as a father figure. After his death, Levy's old firm continued to maintain an office at 885 Third Avenue in Manhattan, the same location as Madoff's firm. A Madoff insider speculated that Madoff may have been using Levy's company as a conduit for his business activities.

The annual Montauk conclave featured a dinner for Madoff's "special guests" on the Saturday evening at the Montauk Yacht Club. Madoff's "special guests" were kept segregated from the regular Madoff employees. The special guests were often found in a special place called the "money fund room."

In addition to Madoff's immediate family members, including his brother Peter, he also tended to surround himself with key individuals who were veteran officers of the U.S. military.

Madoff's London operation was handled out of a one-room small office located at 43 Newell Street. Every time Madoff visited the office, the London staff was extremely nervous. According to a Madoff insider, the Madoff London office was nothing more than a "front" operation. There may have also been some synergy between Madoff's London operations and American International Group (AIG), which reportedly is missing $500 billion from a similar small office pass-through operation in London.

Madoff's number one foreign destination was not England but France, where he maintained a luxurious estate in Provence.

Madoff routinely got his cash from the Bank of New York (BONY) and Chase. One favorite Bernie Madoff term was an "inch of fifties," which equates to $5,000.

The day before Madoff was arrested, he sent a "package" to Citibank's private banking facility at 850 Lexington Avenue. Usually when Madoff Securities sent out a "package," a set of documents in an 8 1/2 x 11 inch envelope authorizing electronic funds transfers, there was always a signed receipt from Citibank. One exception was "packages" personally sent by Madoff to Citibank. On December 10, Madoff sent a "package" to Citibank with no receipt from the private banking service. That evening Madoff attended the company's annual Christmas party, which had always been held on December 17. Madoff was reportedly not acting normal and his wife Ruth was trying to play the gregarious role normally handled by Madoff in previous parties. WMR's inside source believes that Madoff knew then that he was facing arrest the next day.

WMR has also learned that Madoff Securities was for sale in the late 1990s. One of the names mentioned in the potential sale is Ezra Merkin, also under investigation by the federal government's probe of Wall Street. WMR has learned that Madoff almost sold his firm for $1 billion. The potential purchaser, who was not identified, flipped a coin between buying Madoff or Charles Schwab. The purchaser opted for a potential purchase of Schwab.

Madoff often had a tense relationship with his family associates. In the mid-1990s, WMR was told of a particularly nasty exchange between Bernie and his brother Peter. Bernie allegedly told his brother, "When you see your name on the door, you can tell me what to do. Until then you have one percent of the stock so you can keep your fucking mouth shut."

When Peter's son Roger died of cancer at the age of 30, a cancer fund was established in Roger's name. Our source said that the fund for Bernie Madoff's late nephew was also defrauded. The source said, "Bernie would never do that to his nephew," adding, "Bernie was operating a "pump and dump" scheme for a domestic and foreign intelligence agency." Asked to name the domestic agency, the source replied, "CIA." Asked about the foreign agency, the source claimed it was "the Russia-Israeli mob operating with Mossad."

It is also reported that a number of key Madoff employees died suddenly from various causes, including what was described as "fast-acting cancer." The cancer victims included Madoff's 55-year old in-house lawyer and his "mid-fifties" computer software engineer. The woman who created Madoff's over-the-counter stock trading system was struck and killed by a bus while walking to Bloomingdale's in Manhattan.

One long-time Madoff employee told WMR that Bernie Madoff's father, Ralph Madoff, who worked as a New York plumber, once told the employee, "Never, never invest in Wall Street cause it's run by crooks and SOBs." Ralph Madoff told the employee to take his money and "buy books." In Bernie Madoff's case, the apple fell extremely far from the tree.

As a postscript, someone who worked with Madoff told WMR that he does not expect his old boss to live until his sentencing in June. The ex-employee believes that Madoff will not physically survive prison for very long. Given Madoff's extensive and murky intelligence links, there is every reason to believe the ex-employee is making the correct prediction.

More on Madoff operation emerges from insiders – WMR has been informed by former Madoff Investment Securities sources that jailed Ponzi scammer Bernard Madoff's wife Ruth revealed as early as September 2008 that her husband was "under great stress." However, the source also revealed that Mr. Madoff "thrived under great stress."

FBI investigators reportedly asked Madoff employees, after Madoff's arrest on December 11, 2008, whether Madoff had been "acting strange" before the arrest. Employees were also asked to provide the FBI with a psychological profile of Madoff.

A Madoff Investment Securities insider told WMR, "Bernie's mission was to keep the company he created alive with infusions from strangers. They turned out to suffer collateral damage." The source added, "Bernie could not give customers bad news."

Madoff insiders also described how the Ponzi scammer formed his company in 1961. Madoff began his firm with a mere $5,000 in capital.

Madoff was not able to gain a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) because of the prohibitive cost of $250,000. Bypassing the NYSE, Madoff developed over-the-counter (OTC) trades and "back doored" trading into the NYSE. Madoff first used card punch machines in the OTC process, progressed to magnetic tape computers, and then employed newer, state-of-the-art technology.

WMR also learned that the computer systems engineer for Madoff who developed Madoff Investment Securities computerized trading system used proprietary software and, more oddly, proprietary hardware. In 1999, Madoff initiated the development of a top secret new trading system called Primex, which attracted the interest of NASDAQ, where Bernard Madoff served as chairman and his brother Peter had previously served as a board member. The computer engineer died a few years ago in her mid-fifties of what was described by a colleague as a "fast-acting" cancer.

WMR learned that Madoff was somewhat incensed about the high cost of gaining a seat on the NYSE. Actor Rick Jason, who co-starred with Vic Morrow in the TV series "Combat," actually had a seat on the NYSE that was bought for him by Jason's father. That made Madoff all the more determined to bypass the expensive NYSE seat requirement to carry out trades. Jason reportedly shot himself to death on October 16, 2000.

When Madoff was considering selling his firm to an unnamed suitor in the late 1990s, WMR was told by a firm insider that one reason Madoff was hesitant to sell was that even during that time frame he was concerned that if his company's books came under scrutiny from a sale that the company would "crash."

WMR also learned that a close associate of one of Madoff's top corporate officers was involved in trying to obtain a U.S. State Department contract for Halliburton, the firm once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney. The individual in question reportedly was working with Halliburton's office in Baghdad, Iraq.

A Madoff firm source also revealed to WMR that American International Group's (AIG) London office, which reportedly lost some $500 billion, was engaged in an "economic warfare" scheme against countries of the former Soviet Union. The operations coincided with the funding by George Soros of various campaigns to oust governments in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and even Russia itself.

WMR also learned additional details of events that transpired the day before Madoff was arrested, December 10, 2008. Madoff unusually switched his firm's annual Christmas Party from its normal December 17 date to December 10. Not only was that seen as unusual by Madoff employees but so, too, was the fact that Madoff's two sons, Andrew, who ran a spin-off called Madoff Energy, and Mark, were not present at the party. Earlier in the day, both had reportedly spoken to FBI agents about their father's Ponzi scheme activities.

Thousands demonstrate silently in Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Watched closely by police, several thousand protesters moved slowly down a major Tehran thoroughfare Sunday in the first demonstration over the country's disputed presidential election that authorities have allowed in days.

Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi protest in the Turkish city of Ankara June 27.

Supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi protest in the Turkish city of Ankara June 27.

About 5,000 people shuffled in silence down Tehran's Shariati Street to the Ghoba mosque, where two of the opposition candidates in the June 12 election were to appear to honor a slain hero of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Authorities rode motorcycles alongside the marchers, who tried to walk slowly. Police beat their batons on their shields to keep them moving, but some demonstrators told officers that they had the legal right to protest in peace.

Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi, the leading opposition candidate in the race, attempted to address the crowd at one point via a mobile phone patched through a public-address system. The resulting sound was largely unintelligible, however.

Another opposition candidate, former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, arrived at the mosque on foot Sunday evening after the crowd had rendered the streets surrounding the mosque impassible.

There was a heavy police presence outside the mosque, and as evening set in members of the government-backed paramilitary Basij force watched the crowd and videotaped protesters from a nearby rooftop. At least one man was arrested during the protest by green-uniformed police in riot gear, who beat him with batons before taking him into custody, but people were still pouring off side streets to join the march well into the evening.

Sunday's gathering officially was in honor of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti and 69 others, including several prominent Islamic revolutionaries, who died in a 1981 bombing. Beheshti was chief justice of the 2-year-old Islamic Republic at the time he was killed.

The protest follows two weeks of protests against the official results of the presidential elections, which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for an end to street demonstrations Sunday.

"I advise both sides not to provoke the emotions of the youth, not to stage people against one another," he said in a speech on government-funded Press TV. "This integrated nation must not be split and a group must not be incited against one another."

Ahmadinejad won the disputed election by a margin of two-to-one over Moussavi, his nearest rival, according to official results. Moussavi and Karroubi said the results were rigged and have called for the vote to be annulled.

Esmaeil Gherami Moghaddam, a spokesman for Karrubi's party, said Sunday the candidate would pursue a re-vote "through legal channels, until the end."

And another member of the country's Shiite Muslim clerical leadership, Grand Ayatollah Abdol Karim Mousavi Ardebili, told an Iranian newspaper Sunday that the Guardian Council -- the body of judges and religious scholars that oversees elections -- should respond to complaints "within a logical framework."

"Rest assured that words of logic will be accepted by the people, and those who speak illogically will not find acceptance," Ardebili told the Iranian newspaper Tahlil Rooz.

Although authorities allowed Sunday's demonstration -- intended for "the pious" -- they intensified their crackdown over the weekend, reportedly seizing wounded protesters from their hospital beds and arresting local British Embassy staff in Tehran. And Amnesty International said Saturday that government-backed paramilitary forces are preventing doctors from getting names from wounded demonstrators or asking how they were hurt.

"The Basijis are waiting for them," said Banafsheh Akhlaghi, western regional director of the human rights group.

The clampdown comes ahead of the Guardian Council's Sunday's deadline to file complaints against the results of the disputed election, which has prompted weeks of demonstrations. At least 17 protesters have been killed, according to official statistics, and the actual number may be higher.

Iran has restricted international news agencies -- including CNN -- from reporting inside the Islamic republic. Its intelligence minister, Gholam-Hosein Mohseni Ejei, blamed Western powers for stirring up protests Sunday, saying the British Embassy in Tehran "played a heavy role in the recent disturbances," but describing the effort as one led by the United States.

"The fact that Iran is stable, calm and secure, they're upset with this," Ejei told Iran's Press TV.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband protested the arrests of embassy workers as "harassment and intimidation of a kind which is quite unacceptable."

"About nine" staffers have been affected, he said, but some have since been released.

"The idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran in recent weeks is wholly without foundation," he said.

Last week, Tehran expelled two British diplomats. London responded by booting two Iranians, prompting Iran to recall its ambassador to Britain -- a serious gesture in diplomatic circles -- and threatening to reconsider Anglo-Iranian diplomatic ties.

British Rum Maker Got a $2.7 Billion Payout from TARP


I'm getting so tired of these stories. I mean, what's the point? Americans are perfectly happy to stay home and watch TV while our elected officials rob us blind and we struggle along without needed health care:

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- In June 2008, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John deJongh Jr. agreed to give London-based Diageo Plc billions of dollars in tax incentives to move its production of Captain Morgan rum from one U.S. island -- Puerto Rico -- to another, namely St. Croix.

DeJongh says he had no idea his deal would help make the world’s largest liquor distiller the most unlikely beneficiary of the emergency Troubled Asset Relief Program approved by Congress just four months later.

Today, as two 56-foot-high (17-meter-high) tanks for holding fermenting molasses will soon rise from the ground on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, the extent to which dozens of nonbank companies benefited from last October’s emergency financial rescue plan is just beginning to come to light.

The hurried legislation adopted by a Congress voting under the threat of sudden global economic collapse led to hidden tax breaks for firms in dozens of industries. They included builders of Nascar auto-racing tracks, restaurant chains such as Burger King Holdings Inc., movie and television producers -- and London’s Diageo.

“It’s kind of like the magician’s sleight of hand,” says former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman William Thomas, a California Republican who ran the committee from 2001 to 2007 and oversaw all tax legislation. “They snuck these things in a bill that was focused on other things.”

[...] The added tax breaks prevented the TARP legislation from being rejected a second time, says Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner. Twenty-six Republicans, including Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, John Shadegg of Arizona and Zach Wamp of Tennessee, reversed their earlier no votes.

Each of the tax provisions has a story -- and plenty of defenders.

Masud: 9/11, Waterboarding, a Confession and the Iraq War

Check this link ........