Saturday, July 17, 2010

District of Columbia Earthquake History

District of Columbia Earthquake History

No historical earthquake has been centered within the District of Columbia.

Ground vibrations from earthquakes in such seismic regions as the St. Lawrence River Valley, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and South Carolina have been felt by D.C. residents, but have caused no damage. A great earthquake which did considerable damage at Guadeloupe, West Indies, was felt in the Eastern United States, especially at Washington, D.C., in 1843.

The earliest shock that may have affected some sections of Washington occurred on April 24, 1758. Its probable center was near Annapolis, Maryland, and it was felt into Pennsylvania.

A sequence of great earthquakes occurred in the Mississippi Embayment in 1811 and 1812. They were noticed by people over an area of 2 million square miles, including the District of Columbia. District residents were "badly frightened" according to old records.

An earthquake in March 1828 was felt over a wide area, including seven Eastern States and the District of Columbia. Although no damage occurred, it was reported to be "violent" in D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. John Quincy Adams, then President of the United States, left the following account in his diary of the occurrence as he observed the shock at the White House:

March 9, 1828. There was this evening the shock of an earthquake, the first which I ever distinctly noticed at the moment when it happened. I was writing in this book, when the table began to shake under my hand and the floor under my feet. The window shutters rattled as if shaken by the wind, and there was a momentary sensation as of the heaving of a ship on the waves. It continued about two minutes, then ceased. It was about eleven at night. I immediately left writing, and went to my bedchamber, where my wife was in bed, much alarmed.

A moderate shock with probably epicenter in Virginia was felt in D.C. on April 29, 1852. It caused no damage in the District, but downed at least one chimney at Wytheville, Virginia.

A moderate shock in August 1861, probably centered in Virginia or North Carolina, was felt along the Atlantic coast from the District to South Carolina. Throughout most of the area, it was strong enough to awaken people, and to rattle doors and windows. Two shocks, at five second intervals, were noted at D.C.

A shock in September 1884 near Columbus, Ohio, was distinctly felt by District workmen on top of the then unfinished Washington Monument, 500 feet above ground. The tremor caused light effects in Ohio, Indiana, and parts of adjacent States.

A Virginia earthquake in October 1885 was felt strongly at Staunton and Lexington, and was claimed to have been felt by at least one perceptive person in Washington, D.C. The shock sent people running from buildings near its center, and shook furniture and windows.

The destructive South Carolina shock in August 1886 was probably felt by D.C. residents. At Alexandria, Virginia, there was considerable alarm, and many rushed into the streets. It killed 60 Charleston, South Carolina, citizens and caused heavy property damage. It is speculated that its magnitude was at least 7 on the Richter scale. An aftershock on October 22 was also felt north to D.C.

A tremor in May 1897, more popularly known as the Giles County (Virginia) earthquake, was felt in D.C. Near its epicenter (Pearisburg area), old brick houses and chimneys were cracked, bricks were thrown from chimney tops, and slight ground fissures were noted. This was the strongest earthquake in Virginia's history.

A moderate tremor in the Luray, Virginia, area in April 1918 reportedly broke windows in D.C. Earth sounds were heard over a very large area. Windows broke and plaster badly cracked in Shenandoah Valley.

A magnitude 7 earthquake in Canada's St. Lawrence River region shook a 2 million square mile area in February 1925. The felt area included Washington, D.C.

Another Canadian earthquake in November 1935 caused minor damage in New York and was felt south to Washington. The magnitude 6 1/4 tremor shook U.S. residents from Maine to Wisconsin.


BP Gulf Oil Spill Well Integrity Test Failing, 24 Hours Into Test Pressure Remains At 6,700 PSI

As I reported yesterday an insider in the BP control room leaked to the Washington Post that the pressure inside BP’s blowout preventer had only risen to about 6700 psi.

He said that indicated that the well casing could be blown down hole although yesterday he cautioned that we needed to wait for about 24 hours to make that determination.

Fast forward to now and we are almost 24 hours into the test.

Apparently Kent Wells from BP isn’t aware that the pressure reading was leaked to the Washington Post yesterday because he just tweeted that the pressure inside the well is around 6,700 and still rising.

So no Kent the pressure is not still rising.

The pressure is the same as it was yesterday when the well was first closed.

As Washington’s Blog points out at close 24 hours into this operation the pressure should have rose to between 8,000 and 9,000 psi if there where no leaks in the wellbore down hole.

As Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen has explained, sustained pressure readings above 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi) would show that the wellbore is more or less intact, while pressures of 6,000 psi or less would mean there could be major problems:

We are looking for somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 PSI inside the capping stack, which would indicate to us that the hydrocarbons are being forced up and the wellbores are being able to withstand that pressure. And that is good news.

If we are down around in the 4,000 to 5,000, 6,000 range that could potentially tell us that the hydrocarbons are being diverted someplace else, and we would have to try and assess the implications of that. And as you might imagine, there are gradations as you go up from 4,000 or 5,000 PSI up to 8,000 or 9,000. …

We will at some point try to get to 8,000 or 9,000 and sustain that for some period of time, and these will be done basically, as I said — if we have a very low pressure reading, we will try and need (ph) at least six hours of those readings to try to ensure that that is the reading. If it’s a little higher, we want to go for 24 hours. And if it’s up at 8,000 or 9,000, we would like to go 48 hours just to make sure it can sustain those pressures for that amount of time.

The former director of Sandia National Laboratories says the pressure readings so far have been ambiguous.

Hunter, who witnessed the test from BP’s war room in Houston, told The Washington Post that the pressure rose to about 6,700 psi and appeared likely to level out “closer to 7,000.” He said one possibility is that the reservoir has lost pressure as it has depleted itself the past three months.

“It’s just premature to tell. We just don’t know whether something is leaking or not,” Hunter said.

We will need to wait another 24 hours or so – and engineers will have to continue monitoring sonar and visual images (both help determine if any oil is leaking from the seafloor), and seismic data (to determine if there are any new leaks below the seafloor) – before engineers can determine how stable the well is.

Well here we are and almost 24 hours has elapsed and things just aren’t looking good.

The pressure has still failed to rise to the 8,000 psi that engineers were hoping for and while BP is assuring us the pressure is still rising that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Overnight things weren’t exactly quiet either.

ROV’s spent the night scanning the seafloor for leaks and the just may have found some on both the seafloor and from BP’s equipment.

Update: July 16th 3:43 PM

The first oil industry expert, to my knowledge, has stepped forward to confirm my analysis.

Bob Cavnar has posted the following update saying the failure for the pressure to increase indicates a leak in the well bore on the Daily Hurricane.

Kent Wells just completed his morning McBriefing, lasting a whopping 8 minutes, including questions (limit one per customer, follow ups not allowed, no coupons accepted). He said that the test is continuing, and that pressure continues to build, currently at 6,700 psi. Even though Wells said that pressure is continuing to rise, the 6,700 happens to be the same pressure reported by the Washington Post last night, a few hours after the well was shut in. Tom Hunter, a retired Sandia Laboratories director and member of the government scientific team, said the pressure rose to 6,700, and appeared likely to level out “closer to 7,000.” Since the pressure is still at 6,700 psi, it looks like it’s been level for about 12 hours. In my experience, it would be unusual with a well of this pressure and permeability to rise much more after that number of hours. We could more tell if BP would disclose the actual feed rather than one data point that is completely uninformative.

The reported pressure is at the lower end of the ambiguity range that Adm Allen talked about a couple of days ago. Recall that he said that 8,000 to 9,000 would show strong integrity, 6,000 to 8,000 would be ambiguous, and below 6,000 would indicate a leak. With the pressure now virtually level at 6,700, it’s at the lower end of the ambiguity range, so it seems there is a good chance there is leak-off. That makes a lot of sense to me since there is 1,200 feet of open hole from the bottom of the 9 /7/8″ liner to TD at about 18,300 feet. That’s not to mention possible casing damage up hole.

Cavnar went on to explain that BP will be going on to rerun the siesmic survey and compare it to the original survey performed before the well as capped.

But Cavnar warns that the survey isn’t as sure of a thing as BP and the Government has made it sound to be and his analogy seems to indicate that the survey is highly likely not to pick up any leaks down hole.

Wells did say they were going to run seismic again to see if they can see fluid movement below the surface.

They ran a baseline survey a couple of days ago, and will compare that data to the data that they’ll get today to see if anything has changed around the well to indicate fluid movement. But, as one of my geologist friends of mine likes to say, reading seismic for precise conclusions is often like trying to observe airplanes flying overhead while lying on the bottom of a swimming pool. It’s difficult to draw definite conclusions, even using high frequency seismic, but it will be another data point.

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*Just IN* Rep. Markey says Congress unable to “PUBLICLY disclose” integrity of wellbore — More (VIDEO)

Interview With Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey, CNN, July 15 @ 10:18pm EST:

Rush Transcript Excerpts

COOPER: Congressman Markey, on I think it was June 23, you wrote a letter to BP, one of the many letters you’ve — you’ve written to BP, that they haven’t really responded to.

This one, you were asking for detailed information about the wellbore, about the — what they knew about the seafloor, about the status of it. That information is obviously crucially important now. Have they — and, yesterday, you were saying, look, they haven’t responded. Have they responded at all over the last 24 hours?

MARKEY: They have not responded.

And, again, I wrote back there on June 23, so that we could publicly disclose what the integrity of the wellbore is, we could publicly disclose what the integrity of the geology around the wellbore, so that we could better understand. …

Can it withstand that extra pressure, as the oil is now backed up? Can the soil, can the rock, can the sediment around the well withstand the additional pressure?

And, so, all of this is key information, which is why I believe the federal government has been wise in ensuring that BP move much more slowly than they had intended on doing. BP really has wanted to shut down this well as quickly as possible, although their incompetence has made it impossible for them to achieve that goal.

But, recently, they have wanted to move more quickly, and the federal government, led by Admiral Allen, has forced them to slow down, so that we don’t take something and make the cure actually worse than the disease by having this pipe or the rock formation around this well actually now spring leaks and make the problem even worse than it is now.

Markey all but confirms that the government has knowledge of the condition of the wellbore, but is not permitted to release the information publicly.

Markey’s wrote the June 23 letter to pressure BP to publicly disclose the problems with the wellbore. This would have allowed the information to be released without Markey doing it directly.

However, the questions raised in his letter serves to inform the public about what Congress does know about the condition of the well, without directly stating the information as fact.

The letter was excerpted in a June 30 report on this website, Congressman suspects BP tapped multiple oil reservoirs while drilling the Macondo Well; Oil may also be rushing IN to damaged casing:

The Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee Rep. Ed Markey is now questioning not only if oil and gas are seeping out of the damaged casing into the seabed and surrounding rock, but whether oil and gas may be rushing IN to the casing after BP drilled into oil formations above the target reservoir.

Chairman Asks About Well Integrity, Design of Relief Wells, Timeframe, Sea Floor Leaks, Energy and Environment Subcommittee:

Are there significant deposits of oil and gas in formations above the target reservoir?

Please provide an estimate of the total amount of oil and gas that is contained in i) the Macondo well target formation and ii) each formation above the target formation that could leak hydrocarbons into the annulus as a result of poor cementing, damage caused by the initial explosion(s), or the failed Top Kill effort.

Questions on other potential hydrocarbon reservoirs in the well. …

Please provide documents related to the possibility that the initial drilling encountered leakage from other formations above the target reservoir

A May 23, 2010 article… in the Orlando Sentinel stated that well records indicate that in late February, there was a loss in drilling mud pressure. According to the article, this could mean that the mud fractured layers of sand or shale in the formation and vanished. The article goes on to state that in early March, the pressure of the oil and gas encountered overwhelmed the pressure of the drilling mud. In mid-April, a loss of drilling mud was reportedly again experienced. Do any or all of these events indicate that oil and gas could be flowing from somewhere other than the target reservoir? If so, please explain fully, and if not, why not?

Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter. Please provide your response no later than Friday July 2, 2010. If you have any questions or concerns, please have your staff contact Dr. Michal Freedhoff of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee staff at 202-225-2836.


Edward J. Markey
Energy and Environment Subcommittee

cc: Honorable Henry Waxman, Chairman
Honorable Joe Barton, Ranking Member
Honorable Fred Upton, Ranking Member

Chairman Asks About Well Integrity, Design of Relief Wells, Timeframe, Sea Floor Leaks

YouTube Video

Consumer Metrics Institute: In about 20 days the 2010 slowdown could be more severe on a day-to-day basis than the 2008 'Great Recession'

Here's how Richard Davis of Consumer Metrics sees the current economy. Bar none, his is the best real time macro-economic tracking data. He emails:

On July 6th we reported that the nearly relentless decline in our 'Daily Growth Index' had leveled off, but cautioned that the index should be viewed from a longer perspective. Since then the decline has resumed:

(Click on chart for fuller resolution)

When the most recent period of contraction in our 'Daily Growth Index' (January 15, 2010 to date) is charted along with the similar 'Daily Growth Index' contraction events from 2006 and 2008 (with the first day of each contraction aligned on the left-hand axis) the relative severity of each contraction can be visualized.

(Click on chart for fuller resolution)

One measure of the true severity of an economic slowdown is the 'area under the curve' (or 'above' the curve in this case) swept out by the 'Daily Growth Index' over time. This area is just the average magnitude of the decline times the duration of the contraction event. During the 2006 slowdown this area was about 136 percentage-days of contraction, while the 2008 event was much more severe at 793 percentage-days. The 2010 event has now reached 288 percentage-days, over twice the severity of 2006 and well over a third of 2008 'Great Recession' -- and it is still growing.

The key point to notice in the above chart is that if the current 2010 curve continues its current course, in about 20 days the 2010 slowdown will be more severe on a day-to-day basis than the 2008 'Great Recession' was at the same point in its respective evolution. Unless the economy begins to pick up quickly, a double dip is likely -- with the second round milder but lingering longer than the first.

Greenspan: Congress Should Let Bush's Tax Cuts Lapse

Congress should let the George W. Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire to help trim the mushrooming budget deficit, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says.

Tax rates will automatically revert to pre-2001 levels, unless Congress changes the law by year's end. President Bush proposed the tax reductions to pull the economy out of its slump at the time.

And Greenspan’s support helped convince Congress to approve them.

However, Greenspan now feels differently.

“They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan told Bloomberg Television.

The former U.S. central bank chairman told Bloomberg that the economy is in “a temporary slump” and would emerge with a “sluggish” 3 percent growth rate in the second half of the year.

Greenspan said that allowing the cuts to lapse "probably will" slow growth, but that the risk posed by doing nothing about the deficit is greater.

The budget deficit totaled a record $1.4 trillion last year, or about 10 percent of GDP. And the Obama administration forecasts an increase to $1.6 trillion this year.

Greenspan obviously believes spending cuts by themselves won’t be enough to get the deficit under control.

Many other experts agree with him.

“The political question is coming down to: What are the alternatives to solve this problem?” Clint Stretch, director of legislative affairs at Deloitte & Touche, tells Barron’s.

“You can’t solve the deficit problem with spending cuts alone. It’s inevitable that we’re going to have to raise taxes to do so.”

Congress is wrangling over what to do about taxes. If it does nothing, the top rate will increase to 39.6 percent next year from 35 percent currently.

President Barack Obama has proposed increasing rates for people who earn at least $200,000 a year and leaving rates unchanged for less wealthy taxpayers. Republicans want to leave rates unchanged for everyone.

Greenspan goes even further than Obama. He says the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire for middle-class as well as high-income taxpayers.

While ending the tax cuts would probably hamper economic growth, reining in the budget deficit is more important in the long run, Greenspan says.

“Unless we start to come to grips with this long-term outlook, we are going to have major problems,” he said.

“I think we misunderstand the momentum of this deficit going forward.”

Democrats may be coming around to Greenspan’s view. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Md., said last month that the exploding government debt burden may make a permanent extension of the middle-class tax cuts unfeasible.

It would be difficult for members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans — to face voters in November having approved a tax increase. Of course, if they do nothing, they will in effect have implemented higher taxes.

The result may be a one-year extension of the entire tax-cut package, says Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

“The simplest solution this year would be to say ‘we have a struggling economy; we don’t want to raise taxes at all,’” he told Bloomberg.

“It’s a compromise that would get things past the end of this year.”

© Moneynews. All rights reserved.

Pushing on a String … Again?

In the wake of the latest batch of “double-dip” chatter, the market’s attention is shifting back to the Federal Reserve. Investors are asking a simple question:

“What, if anything, will the Fed do if the economy craps out again?”

Before I give my answer to that question, I’m inclined to ask a different one:

“Who cares?”

These guys have already done just about everything they can … pulled every trick out of their hats … and bailed out and backstopped virtually the entire financial system!

While all of that free money helped boost ASSET prices, it hasn’t done a heck of a lot for the “real” economy. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Housing continues to slump. Investment is anemic and confidence is lacking.

In other words, the Fed is pushing on a string — and more pushing isn’t going to do a darn thing for those of us living in the real world! But since the market is focusing on the Fed again, let me address the question at hand …

Is QE2 Coming?

The latest economic data clearly suggests that my double-dip scenario is becoming much more likely.

Just this week, for instance, we learned that retail sales dropped 0.5 percent in June after falling 1.1 percent in May. That was worse than economists expected and the first back-to-back decline since early 2009.

What about housing?

Well, if you believe purchase mortgage applications are a good leading indicator of demand — and I do — then you should be worried. A Mortgage Bankers Association index that tracks loan activity just fell to 163.30. That’s the lowest level going all the way back to December 1996!

Finally, as Claus noted on Wednesday, a key leading index is pointing decisively lower. The inescapable conclusion? Despite the happy talk on Wall Street and the recent market rally, the economy appears to be rolling over.

The Fed has cut interest rates to the bone, and there's not much chance they'll go up in the foreseeable future.
The Fed has cut interest rates to the bone, and there’s not much chance they’ll go up in the foreseeable future.

The last time the economy fell into the drink, the Fed reacted by slashing interest rates to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent. The federal funds rate has remained there ever since, and there’s no indication it’ll rise anytime soon.

But the Fed did much more than lower the funds rate …

It also embarked on a policy of “Quantitative Easing” (QE). That’s a fancy way of saying it printed money out of thin air and bought more than a trillion dollars of securities: Mortgage-backed bonds, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, long-term Treasuries, and so forth.

The idea was to lower mortgage rates and bond yields, thereby spurring home purchases, refinances, and corporate investment.

Did it work?

Well, mortgage rates definitely tanked. At around 4.5 percent, in fact, 30-year fixed mortgages are the cheapest they’ve been in the last century! But as I noted above, housing activity is now plumbing depths we haven’t seen since Bill Clinton’s first term in office. Bond yields did drop initially, but not much. And they subsequently rose again.

Bottom line: I’d argue the Fed didn’t accomplish much. Even some Fed officials doubt the rampant money printing and QE policy worked all that well, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That hasn’t stopped some of the Keynesian acolytes from begging for even more free money from Helicopter Ben Bernanke though. Take New York Times columnist Paul Krugman …

He lambasted the “Feckless Fed” this week, begging it to do “all it can to stop it” — the “it” being deflation. Buy government bonds? Buy private bonds? Pledge to keep short-term rates low, essentially, forever? Krugman is all for it!

So far, the Fed itself appears split. The Journal this week puts Fed governor Kevin Warsh, Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker, and Kansas City Fed president Thomas Hoenig in the “No more funny money” camp.

But Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren and New York Fed president Bill Dudley appear more open to the idea. Bernanke is reportedly somewhere in the middle, preferring to just wait, watch, and let the market sort itself out.

If So, Should We Care?

But again, my answer is that whether the Fed goes hog wild printing money or not, it won’t matter much to the real economy. It’ll probably boost gold prices. It’ll likely hammer the dollar. And it could temporarily boost stocks, even in the face of lousy fundamentals.

No matter what the Fed does right now, it won't help the
No matter what the Fed does right now, it won’t help the “real” economy.

But all the kings horses, all the kings men, and even a further ballooning of the Fed’s balance sheet — currently around $2.3 trillion vs. $900 billion before the credit crisis burst onto the scene — won’t matter to most Americans.

Private companies aren’t firing workers and hoarding cash because interest rates are too high. They’re doing so because there’s too much factory and labor capacity.

Consumers aren’t cutting back on spending because loans are too expensive. They’re doing so because they just went on the wildest debt-fueled spending binge in U.S. history, and they’re trying to repair their balance sheets.

Look, we’ve had twin bubbles in stocks and housing over the past decade and a half. They both popped. The fallout will be with us for a long, long time.

I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if a long Japan-like period of economic stagnation lies ahead. In fact, I’d invest accordingly — by paring back stock positions into rallies, and using inverse ETFs and put options to target downside profits.

And when the Fed chatter reaches a fever pitch, I have some advice: Turn off the TV and go play with your kids or grandkids. It just doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things.

Until next time,


Obama-Dodd-Frank FinReg Monstrosity Delays Derivatives Curbs until 2022!

The Obama-Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, a miserable excuse for real Wall Street reform, is now about to gain final approval in the Senate. This wretched bill is now supported by the New England liberal (meaning Wall Street) Republican clique including Olympia Snow, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown, who are joined by the notoriously corrupt reactionary Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska. This bill will create a multitude of new regulations and a number of large new bureaucracies, but it is utterly devoid of any bright-line prohibitions against the causes of the financial panic which struck the United States in 2008, and which continues to the present day in the form of a world economic depression.

The cause of the 2008 banking panic was that zombie banks and hedge fund hyenas were speculating with toxic and highly leveraged derivatives. The new bill does virtually nothing to attack the causes of this ongoing financial disintegration. It is a total defeat for the interests of the American people, and an historic victory for the Wall Street financier oligarchy which owns both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Stockbrokers and investment bankers have battled mightily to avoid any legal compulsion to act in the best interests of their clients, who are often the retail investors which both parties claim to care so much about. The new bill will not prevent unscrupulous used-car dealers from ripping off their customers through inflated financing costs. There is nothing in the bill to stop the plague of foreclosures, which last year turned almost 4 million American families into displaced persons on the home front. There is no ban on the disastrous use of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), the financial equivalent of time bombs, which are ruining the lives of so many millions of Americans. There is no cap on leverage banks can use in financial transactions. Despite widespread complaining about the Federal Reserve, this bill gives the Fed more regulatory power rather than less. It represents the complete triumph of the Wall Street derivatives lobby, so much so that even hardened cynics are astounded by the impudence and insolence of Obama and both parties in the Congress.

The graveyard of Hope and Change

Senator Dorgan proposed an amendment to abolish the concept of banks that were too big to fail. His amendment was rejected. Senator Kaufman tried to limit the size of banks, but his amendment was deleted. Senator Whitehouse tried to limit interest rates on credit cards and predatory payday loans, or at least to allow states to regain their regulatory role in this area, but he was defeated. Granted, many of these amendments were mere public relations exercises that were always virtually doomed to failure.

Senators McCain and Cantwell tried to restore the firewall, contained in the landmark Glass-Steagall Act of 1933-1999, which rigorously separated commercial banks with FDIC insured deposits on the one hand from investment banking and stock-jobbing on the other. Glass-Steagall was one of the signature legislative achievements of the New Deal, and there are few better illustrations of the deep hostility of the modern Democratic Party and of Obama in particular to the heritage of Franklin D. Roosevelt than the stubborn refusal of the degenerate Democrats of today to force through the necessary restoration of the Glass-Steagall protections – even in the wake of a breakdown crisis of the entire Anglo-American banking system.

Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who is fighting for her own political survival because of her record of subservience to Wall Street, tried to redeem herself with paragraph 716 of title VII of the bill, an attempt to ban trading in credit default swaps (derivatives) by FDIC banks. Notice that by this point there was no effort whatsoever to prevent these banks from dealing in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which were the toxic derivatives which destroyed Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Citibank. Nor was there any effort to curb the use of structured investment vehicles (SIVs), toxic instruments which are often used as the final packaging of a mass of CDOs and other kited derivatives. Still, since credit default swaps had been the main culprits in the bankruptcy of AIG, costing the American taxpayer $182 billion and counting, it would have been a meritorious project to keep commercial banks away from these diabolical instruments.

But it was not to be. In a dirty deal negotiated far away from the C-SPAN cameras, Dodd, Frank, and Rahm Emanuel completely gutted any effort to get commercial banks out of the business of placing side bets using credit default swaps. At a certain point in the televised reconciliation hearings, Congressman Peterson of Minnesota, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, came forward with a compromise which made paragraph 716 into a macabre joke. The infamous Peterson demanded that banks be allowed to trade credit default swaps in the form of foreign exchange swaps ( thought to be the largest category of swaps), interest-rate swaps, and credit derivatives – provided that the underlying securities were investment-grade. Since these categories represent the vast majority of swaps, and since it is not hard to procure an investment grade rating on junk paper from corrupt agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s, this alleged compromise meant that nothing was left of Senator Lincoln’s attempt. Treasury Secretary Tiny Tim Geithner had vehemently proclaimed the irreducible hostility of the Obama regime to any interference with this type of derivative. Interestingly, the German government had already explicitly banned naked credit default swaps issued as bets on government securities denominated in euros.

Since the restoration of the real Glass-Steagall firewall had been defeated early in the process, Senator Cantwell attempted to provide a weak face-saving substitute in the form of the so-called Volcker rule, which posited that commercial banks were not allowed to engage in speculation and other proprietary trading for their own account. This Volcker rule was already vitiated by the obvious gray area between speculation and so-called market-making, which entities like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were sure to exploit to circumvent any new legislation. However, zombie banks like State Street Bank and Bank of New York-Mellon (the latter the back-office of the TARP program. i.e. the October 2008 Wall Street bailout) found even the weak Volcker rule to be too onerous.

Demagogue Scott Brown Drives His Truck Through the Volcker Rule

Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts won election last January by duping gullible voters with a cultural populist prop in the form of a pickup truck. At this point in the haggling, Senator Brown documented his subservience to Wall Street by driving his truck through what remained of the Volcker role. He forced through a provision allowing commercial banks to use 3% of their capital for speculation through hedge funds. It might seem that 3% is a minute fraction of a bank’s Tier I capital, and that Brown’s amendment might not be so dangerous after all. But this is not the case.

If you buy stocks and their price falls to zero, you can lose 100% of your investment, but no more. But when you are dealing with derivatives, your losses can be geometrically pyramided into interplanetary space. This proposition is not a matter of theory, but has been documented through a decade and a half of bankruptcies by hedge funds which had been speculating with derivatives, all the way back to Long-Term Capital Management of Connecticut in 1998.

Cantwell Recants

In the case of two Bear Stearns hedge funds which imploded in 2007-8, losses of about 50 times the original capital were attained. Under Scott Brown’s loophole, losses of 50:1 would already be enough to bankrupt the bank. But the 2008 crisis offers cases in which derivatives losses might attain or exceed 100:1 on the capital being wagered. These cases occur when debt instruments are wrapped into a mortgage-backed security or other asset-backed security. These latter are then included in a collateralized debt obligation, which together with other collateralized debt obligations can be made into a super CDO or CDO². Credit default swaps can be attached to these super CDOs. A number of super CDOs thus equipped can then be wrapped up in a structured investment vehicle (SIV). At every level of this cancerous mass of kited derivatives, leverage comes into play geometrically. The investment of 3% of capital in such a poisonous concoction can easily bankrupt any financial institution many times over. This phenomenon is one of the basic reasons why losses were so great in 2008, despite the fact that subprime mortgages are a relatively marginal area of the financial world. The losses became so monstrous because derivatives are the most effective tools yet devised for magnifying and multiplying financial destruction. As for Senator Cantwell, she capitulated and announced that she would support the resulting phony bill anyway.

Perhaps the members of the Massachusetts Tea Party would like now to contemplate their own roles as dupes and useful idiots for the Mitt Romney faction of Wall Street asset strippers and hedge fund hyenas, who are the people who put Scott Brown into office. From now on, Brown should be referred to on Capitol Hill as the senator from Bank of New York-Mellon, since he has no regard for the welfare of the people of Massachusetts.

But even this 3% loop hole, big enough to drive a truck through, was still too restrictive for Wall Street. The army of Gucci-clad lobbyists decided that even these nominal restrictions had to be postponed for more than a decade, quite possibly in the hopes that they may be overturned by some future reactionary majority likely to emerge amid the shipwreck of the feckless and treacherous Obama regime.

Plenty of Time for More Financial Catastrophes Before 2022

At the time of the reconciliation hearings, the remaining Volcker rule provisions were apparently supposed to take effect after seven years, allegedly to give the swaps-jobbers time to unwind their positions. But after the C-SPAN televised reconciliation proceedings were over, dark forces loyal to Wall Street revisited the conference report and introduced even longer delays in implementing even the meager restraints on credit derivatives. This crime appears to have occurred on June 28-29. On the Bloomberg Business Week website we read a report dated June 29:

Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup Inc. are among U.S. banks that may have as long as a dozen years to cut stakes in in-house hedge funds and private- equity units under a regulatory revamp agreed to last week. Rules curbing banks’ investments in their own funds would take effect 15 months to two years after a law is passed, according to the bill. Banks would have two years to comply, with the potential for three one-year extensions after that. They could seek another five years for ‘illiquid’ funds such as private equity or real estate, said Lawrence Kaplan, an attorney at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP in Washington. Giving banks until 2022 to fully implement the so-called Volcker rule is an accommodation for Wall Street in what President Barack Obama called the toughest financial reforms since the 1930s…. Partly as a result of last-minute changes to the wording of the bill, analysts, lawyers and congressional staffers say it’s unclear whether the extension period for illiquid funds would run concurrently with the other transition periods. That could mandate full compliance in less than 12 years. 1

The London Guardian also detailed the ingenious dilatory tricks for stalling, dodging, and postponing which the Wall Street lobbyists had built into the bill:

Language in the act …allows for a six-month study and a further nine months of rule-making. The measure is supposed to become effective 12 months after the final rule is laid, then banks have two years to conform. But if they need to, they can apply for a three-year extension. On top of that, a five-year moratorium is available for ‘illiquid’ funds that are hard to unwind. 2

The Revenge of The SIVs

Encoded in the 12-year delay are most emphatically those structured investment vehicles which cause so much damage in the second half of 2008. As Business Week pointed out:

The Volcker rule forbids banks from stepping in with capital infusions or other forms of support when their own funds fail. In December 2007, Citigroup agreed to assume $59 billion of assets bought by ‘structured investment vehicles’ sponsored by the bank. During the following two years, Citigroup lost more than $3 billion on the SIVs, which were a kind of hedge fund that invested in mortgage bonds, credit-card securities and other assets that soured amid the financial crisis. 3

No account of these tragic events would be complete without some attention to the systematic betrayal of the national interest by the reactionary Republicans. The Republicans are in practice more fanatically committed to derivatives than even the Democrats, and they wear their love of derivatives on their sleeves. At one point in the reconciliation process, Senator Shelby of Alabama proposed an amendment which would have removed any and all destructions on the use of derivatives by anyone whatsoever, period. The Republican method is to pretend that derivatives are used exclusively for the traditional hedging which has been carried out from time immemorial by the users of certain commodities, specifically to protect themselves from price fluctuations during the time these raw materials are being turned into finished commodities. The GOP simply ignores that 99% plus of the notional value of today’s $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble has nothing to do with the end users of any commodities. If the Republicans were acting in good faith, it would be easy to craft a narrowly defined exemption for the end-users of raw materials and other commodities, but this is not their real purpose. The GOP serves the derivatives-mongers and the swap-jobbers cynically and blatantly, while the Democrats do this under a veil of deception and anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

As Senator Harkin pointed out, Shelby was really arguing that a hedge fund of the first magnitude was really a mom-and-pop Main Street business. Shelby’s goal of opening the barn door wide to any derivatives to be issued by anybody at any time was not successful, but the Peterson amendment and similar Democratic betrayals substantially accomplished the same goals under a cloak of deception. Intervening along the same lines in defense of Wall Street come out hedge funds, and derivatives were hardened reactionary Republicans like Senators Corker, Gregg, and Chambliss. Caught between these Republicans and their own venal Dodd-Frank leadership, the small positive initiatives of figures like Blanche Lincoln, Cantwell, Harkin, and Kanjorski were surrounded and crushed.

The last Democrat in the Senate: Feingold

The one principled no vote of a Democratic senator is now likely to come from Feingold of Wisconsin, who is fighting for political survival against a reactionary Republican opponent. Feingold says that his litmus test for the bill is simply the question of whether this measure can stop the next financial meltdown. Since the answer is so obviously no, and since the fingerprints of Wall Street are all over the bill, he promises to oppose it. Feingold has voted in the past against the Iraq war powers resolution of 2002, against the Patriot Act of 2001, and against the Wall Street bailout of October 2008. He points with pride to his opposition to the Interstate Banking Act of 1994, which would have prevented the emergence of “too big to fail” by maintaining the sensible New Deal ban on commercial banks operating in more than one state. He also voted against the catastrophic Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which opened the door to the derivatives bubble by completely deregulating these toxic instruments.

The utter failure of Wall Street reform means that the door is now wide open for the second wave of the current world economic depression to continue, as the world descends still further into the financial maelstrom. As for the Obama regime, they are preparing an austerity program of unprecedented savagery which they intend to impose on the American people with the help of large numbers of defeated Congressmen during the lame duck session of November-December of this year. You were warned: Obama is a Wall Street puppet, and the events of this year are a first installment of the tragic consequences of such an administration.


Gun Sales Expected to Shoot Up: A Good Thing for American Liberty

Read entire article HERE.

" Violence-plagued Chicago's ban on handguns and automatic weapons was unique in its strictness -- only the District of Columbia had ever attempted to legislate an outright ban on handguns, and that was overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2008. But many states, such as New York, have extremely strict permit laws pertaining to purchasing and carrying firearms."

Note: And back in the late 80's when I lived in Washington, D.C. they were the murder capital of the world. Several years in a row - with the toughest gun laws. They blamed all their problems on Virginia. There is one place where prohibition works to control human behaviour - fantasyland.

I'm glad the public is armed because that will keep those intent on tyranny thinking. Recent history proves that even the American military with all their money and highly priced high-tech stuff fails when facing good old fashioned partisans.

I don't want everybody packing heat - but the recent actions of my government make me prefer a population armed to the teeth over a government armed to the teeth with a disarmed population.

One other thing - the cops are NOT protecting us. They have become an industry attached to the private prison industry, much of the "drug war" law industry, and the tyranny (war on horror/terror) industry. They only show up later to pick up the bodies and find somebody to blame.

Sorry if I'm so down on police - but they are no longer what they were when I was growing up. I new Mr. B. - the cop who lived in my neighborhood. He was a likable guy - you could talk to him. He was my neighbor. He did NOT wear black ninja outfits with gas masks and carry a machine gun.

The money is drying up - and the public is waking up. Nobody wants a police state - and these gun sales tell me nobody is going to tolerate one either. It also demonstrates that the public IS willing to take responsibility for their own protection. A much cheaper alternative to "safety" than hired thugs with assault weapons and Tasers.

Somehow I think the more guns out there - the LESS likely it will be that there will be a violent revolution. We'll see.

Consider this recent waste of money - pay special attention to the assortment of agencies, Police Departments and pseudo-soldiers involved in a false alarm:

Where's the bill for the waste above?

Here's another you may remember - where more high-tech goodies, at taxpayer expense are tested with our "public servants" hiding behind half-opened tinted cruiser windows. Obviously they forgot who they are supposed to work for...

Take a look at this excellent article - where we find that more guns means less crime. This comes from the FBI's own stats.

" The early 2009 data suggests the crime-dropping trend of 2008 is not just continuing but accelerating. In 2008, the same data showed a nearly 4 percent drop in murder and manslaughter, and an overall drop in violent crime of 1.9 percent from 2007 to 2008.—Associated Press"

Rabbit Conclusion:

The nanny state doesn't work. We are on our own here in America - nobody is coming to save us. The public seems OK with that. If only our government would stick to their real business - the business of protecting our liberty. They can't lead, we won't follow - perhaps they should just get out of our way.

Psychopaths in the Gulf

We have never faced anything like what we are facing today. Most of us have planned our lives in terms of a world that is quickly disappearing and we have not set new sails based on the prevailing winds that will blow across our future bows. What will surprise most people is the fact that our true enemies are not terrorists in far away countries but psychopaths that walk among us and populate corporate boardrooms, banks and government chambers.

We have not learned what to do about the world's psychopaths so we will see our civilization ripped asunder. Psychopaths and sociopaths have little choice but to hurt others as well as the environment because it is in their very nature to do so. These vicious individuals and the institutions they manage are at war with the peoples of the world and there is little defense against them. The very nature of our civilization encourages these people to seek the pinnacles of power and they certainly found just that inside the oil companies.
They aren't that rare. In fact millions of people are 'psychopathic enough' to destroy other people's lives.
The concept of "corporate psychopaths" is an emerging realization and has been described by Dr. Robert Hare who is a world-renowned psychiatrist and professor at the University of British Columbia. The 2008 Australian documentary, I, Psychopath, points out that the vast majority of psychopaths are not crazed axe murderers: "Most of them function incognito in high-powered professions, all the way to the very top." These are people who have no conscience. They are described as being manipulative, charming, glib, deceptive, parasitic, irresponsible, selfish, callous, promiscuous, impulsive, antisocial, and aggressive. Their main defect - what psychologists call "severe emotional detachment" or a total lack of empathy and remorse - is concealed and harder to describe than the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder."

There is an enemy that lurks, a dangerous group of people that want to do harm to the American people.

George Bush
Bush got this one right. Many people are struggling to understand and explain what is really happening in the Gulf of Mexico, who is really responsible for the explosion, and how the devastation is serving certain special interests among the elites of this world. We can assume that the most dangerous people on the planet - that have mixed their genetic deposition with greed and power - have anti-life agendas when it comes to us and pro-life ones for themselves.
Captain Joyce Riley stood before Louisiana government officials and told them the only acts of terrorism ever conducted on American soil have been perpetrated by our own government.
Dr. Robert Hare says that, "Psychopaths see nothing wrong with themselves, experience little personal distress, and find their behavior rational, rewarding, and satisfying; they never look back with regret or forward with concern. They perceive themselves as superior beings in a hostile, dog-eat-dog world in which others are competitors for power and resources."

Today there can be no possible doubt that evil exists and that there are people who are capable of extremely destructive behavior. Any lingering doubts on this score will be swept away by an evening spent in front of the television.

Alice Miller

It is the choice of our civilization to favor the bad over the good and this is telling in corporate politics. "Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies. In other words, warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as C.E.O.s. Organized, dogged, anal-retentive and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive," writes David Brooks for the New York Times. What Brooks is saying is that we have created the conditions for the most ruthless humans to populate the top strata of civilization.
Because psychopaths can't feel emotions such as fear, they are well suited to executive decision-making. They can eliminate emotion from weighing the upside and downside of actions; there will be no sleepless nights for them because they have closed a plant and put thousands out of work.

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Psychopaths, even those who are psychopathic killers, however, are not mad, according to accepted legal and psychiatric standards. Their acts result not from a deranged mind but from a cold, calculating rationality combined with a chilling inability to treat others as thinking, feeling human beings. We really have no idea how cold hearted even the medical profession is and how pediatricians insist on injecting more and more poisons into their young patients.

The medical response to the Gulf disaster is shameful, to say the least, for they are leaving men, women and children throughout the Gulf region vulnerable to severe contamination. They are not telling them anything about basic ways of treating airborne poisons. Several institutions are standing naked in front of the world during this disaster. In Russia they tried to help the people from the radiation and even used spirulina and chlorella but for some ungodly reason there seems to be little to none of that in the States.
Butoxyethanol is a major component (30-60% by weight) of Corexit 9527, an oil spill dispersant product. In the United States, the primary manufacturers are Eastman Chemical, Dow Chemical and Equistar. Corexit 9527 is being used in conjunction with Corexit 9500 in the oil spill disaster.
Psychopaths often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets - and they do not always ply their trade by killing. Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. But what we do not see is how these people and companies thrive by creating chemicals, foods, and many products, drugs, and dental products that poison and kill people without a trace back to the source, which are the boardrooms of these companies who make these products in the first place.

Psychopaths are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. They know their poisons are going to hurt us and our children but they just go ahead and enjoy their lives at our expense. God must see a reason for their existence. Could it be that they are here to teach us about the true nature of evil? Or the true nature of ourselves?
It is likely that at some time in your life you will come into painful contact with a psychopath. For your own physical, psychological, and financial wellbeing, it is crucial that you know how to identify the psychopath, how to protect yourself and how to minimize the harm done to you.

Dr. Robert Hare
Next time you see a child dying of leukemia (chemical poisoning) think about these psychopaths in their boardrooms who are causing a health disaster of truly sickening proportions. Reports of oil toxicity in Texas know no end and yes, go ahead and keep eating the beef from that polluted state. It's like playing Russian roulette; you never know when you are eating a steak grown right from the side of an oil pit.

There is so much wrong with our modern civilization it will be a miracle if we can ever make it right. We have accepted the madness of modern day life mostly because we have been addicted to promises and dreams of riches and comfort. Also because we are afraid to lose what it is we have. But what is it modern man has that is worth so much? Have our decades of wealth and comfort been worth so much that we have willingly sacrificed the future of our children and the carrying capacity of the planet?

Psychopaths are simply people without hearts. Sure they have pumps beating in their chests but the heart of man goes much deeper than a muscle. It is my opinion that there is just too little heart in this world, too little love. We are facing a doubtful future because we have not learned the lessons of love. Certainly the captains of civilization are not loving nor do they like to listen to anything that conflicts with their agenda.

The next effort at building a civilization will have to be fundamentally different. It will need to be built on love of our fellow human beings and that is not about to happen as long as those in power remain so. It's the elites that we have to be most careful about for they have sociopathic goals and have no compunction against using psychopathic means. They certainly have their hands on the power strings that control contemporary civilization so their lack of heart is crushing.

Why Do The Rich Default on Their Mortgages? Because In California and Arizona, They Can

For OpEdNews: David Fiderer - Writer

Why throw away good money after bad? It's a frequently-asked question in the five most expensive real estate markets in the mainland United States--San Jose, San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego--where over a million home mortgages are under water. That's nine times the number in all of New York State. In fact, that's more than 30 other states combined.

"If you default, your credit score will take a hit," advises Jane Bryant Quinn on CBS MoneyWatch. "But as long as you pay all your bills on time, both before and after the default, your walk-away will become less important after a couple of years." No one is counting on a strong recovery of home prices any time soon. Even during normal times, real estate markets go through multi-year cycles. The value of a typical home purchased in Los Angeles in 1990 fell by 25% within five years; by 2000, the cumulative home price appreciation after a decade was exactly zero.

Of America's 11 million homeowners with negative equity, a majority live in the four sand states where the real estate bubble was concentrated--California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Over three million live in California and Arizona, where a borrower can hand over the keys to the lender and walk away. These are two antideficiency states, where the lender has no recourse beyond the collateral property. So of course it makes sense that wealthy homeowners would default on their mortgage loans. They live where in places home prices were the highest and the fell the steepest, and where the consequences of default are the least onerous. The New York Times overlooked the "where" and "why" of the story.

The wealthy are also less dependent on consumer credit. They can buy cars for cash; and charge expenses on their debit cards. So for them, it's easy to make a fresh start. But the mortgage debt doesn't go away. It's simply pushed off to the banks insured by the Federal government. The rest of us pick up the pieces.

In Phoenix, total home mortgage debt exceeds the market value of all homes with mortgages. The 58% of homeowners with negative equity are seriously under water, while the remaining 42% with positive equity worry about continued deterioration of their home values. (CoreLogic's disclosures do not include homes with no mortgage.)

"Even if the economy is the, quote, No.1 issue," said John McCain when he was running for President in January 2008, "the real issue will remain America's security. And if they choose to say, "Look, I do not need this guy, because he's not as good on home loan mortgages,' or whatever it is, I understand about that, I will accept that verdict," he told Florida voters. "I am running because of the transcendental challenge of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism." Since then, Phoenix home prices have fallen by 38 percent. No wonder he wants to talk about immigration.

Obama's recovery chief thinks is a 'great success,' says data errors aren't important

G. Edward DeSeve, the man running President Obama's economic recovery effort has a post up today on that deserves a special place in the Out-of-Touch Government Officials Hall of Fame.

DeSeve is Special Advisor to the President, Assistant to the Vice President and Special Advisor to the OMB Director for Implementation of the Recovery Act.

Titled "Looking at the big picture on the Recovery Act," DeSeve claims all those "mistakes," like the thousands of jobs created in congressional districts that don't exist or counting raises as jobs created by stimulus funding, "are relatively few and don't change the fundamental conclusions one can draw from the data."

DeSeve might as well have said "nothing to look at here, folks, now move along." Or perhaps "hey, it's close enough for government work, so what's the problem?"

As anybody who knows elementary statistics can attest, entering one piece of bad data can render an entire database useless, or worse, produce analytical results that bear absolutely no relation to reality.

DeSeve also claims some of the mistakes are "frustrating typos and coding errors that don't undermine information at the heart of the data." But when hundreds of "frustrating typos and coding errors" are found in a database, competent database analysts and statisticians know you go back to the original source, correct the errors, and then start doing analysis and drawing conclusions.

DeSeve and his bosses in the White House want us to just ignore such data-entry problems and accept the Obama administration's fairy tale conclusions about what the data allegedly tell us regarding the amazing success of the stimulus program.

Third, DeSeve claims that having so many errors is okay because "transparency is going to be messy but it is better than the alternative." That's like telling a lung cancer patient that his surgeon today didn't finish med school but, hey, letting him cut you open is better than the alternative, which is dying.

The reality DeSeve is avoiding is that, for whatever reason and regardless of who is at fault,'s data is worthless as an indicator of the value of the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. It is incredible that he would argue to the contrary after multiple mainstream media organizations dug into the numbers and found endless examples of mis-counting, mis-representation, and outright fraudulent claims.

Such as here, here, here, and here.

And that's just a sample of what's been found so far by mainstream media journalists, bloggers, and investigative journalism outfits. If President Obama is genuinely interested in restoring honesty in government and public trust in its statements, he will fire DeSeve, shut down, and apologize to the American people for allowing this farce to go on as long as it has.

By the way, if you want accurate data about the stimulus program, check out, which is maintained by Onvia, a private company that specializes in tracking government data, funding, contracts, etc.

Consumer Prices Drop, Sentiment Sours

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Weak energy costs pushed U.S. consumer prices down for a third straight month in June while consumer sentiment dropped to a near one-year low in July, highlighting the sluggishness of the economic recovery.

However, prices excluding food and energy rose 0.2 percent, their largest monthly gain since October, the Labor Department said on Friday. Analysts said that suggested deflation risks were easing and called it further proof the economy was not slipping back into recession."We are seeing some loss of momentum in growth, but it's not the start of a double-dip. The core inflation number should lessen deflation fears, the economic recovery is still intact," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global in New York.

The Consumer Price Index dipped 0.1 percent last month after falling 0.2 percent in May. Analysts had expected consumer prices to hold steady.

Energy prices fell 2.9 percent and food prices were flat.

But a rise in rental costs after months of stagnation allowed the core CPI to move higher. The core rate had risen 0.1 percent in May and markets had expected a similar gain last month.

Analysts said the rental costs' increase was encouraging and reflected a labor market that was starting to create jobs, although at a pedestrian pace.

A second report showed consumer sentiment early this month pulled back from a near 2-1/2 year high on worries about income and jobs. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index plummeted to 66.5 from 76.0 in June. That was below market expectations for 74.5.

Prices for safe-haven U.S. government debt rallied as investors viewed the data as suggesting the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates near zero well into 2011. The U.S. dollar fell to a seven-month low against the yen.

The dour confidence report and weak revenues from corporate giants Bank of America , Citigroup and General Electric hammered stocks on Wall Street. Major U.S. stock indices ended down more than 2.5 percent.


U-Haul Price Gouging Floridians Shocking Details Revealed

Click this link ....

Goldman Sachs Mafia Pays Hush Money to the S.E.C. Police

The New York Times reported yesterday that the criminal gang at Goldman Sachs is paying a $550 million "fine" to the Securities and Exchange Commission to "settle" their fraud case. If approved, the settlement would "represent only a small financial dent for Goldman, which reported $13.38 billion in profit last year."

Meanwhile, Goldman Sach's shares rose 5% in after-hours trading alone on the news adding about $3.5 billion in value to their market cap. Ah, life is good for the banksters at the top of the pyramid, especially when the media is on your side too. The New York Times piece went on to say:
Even so, the settlement is humbling for Goldman, whose elite reputation and lucrative banking business endured through the financial crisis, only to be battered by government investigations that shed light on potential conflicts of interest in its dealings.

'This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing,' said Robert S. Khuzami, the commission’s director of enforcement.
The crime that Goldman Sachs is sweeping under the rug in this case is for a single mortgage security, Abacus 2007-AC1, that they pushed on clients while privately dumping it. The case had nothing to do with their deceptive lending practices, the bait and switch on the TARP bailout, or their front-running software that assures them that they can never lose on their stock trades.

The Times reported the details of the crime and subsequent "hush" deal as vaguely as any loyal mainstream media outlet would:
The commission contended that Goldman misled investors, who were making a positive bet on housing, because Goldman did not disclose Mr. Paulson’s involvement in creating the deal. Mr. Paulson has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Though Goldman did not formally admit to the S.E.C.’s allegations, it agreed to a judicial order barring it from committing intentional fraud in the future under federal securities laws.

In addition, Goldman acknowledged that the marketing materials for Abacus 'contained incomplete information' and that it was 'a mistake' not to have disclosed Mr. Paulson’s role. As part of the agreement, the bank also said it 'regrets that the marketing materials did not contain that disclosure.'
Then came the public statements to make us all feel warm and fuzzy that Goldman is now on the up-and-up with the American people. First, Goldman issued their PR statement, “We believe that this settlement is the right outcome for our firm, our shareholders and our clients.”

After the settlement announcement, wannabe tough guy Senator Carl Levin released the following in a written statement that is so ironic it could be a stand-up comedy routine:
'Goldman played fast and loose in the Abacus deal, misled its clients, and got called on it today. A key factor in the settlement is that Goldman acknowledges wrongdoing, in addition to paying a fine and changing its practices . . . I hope the Goldman settlement together with the new financial reform law — which prohibits additional unethical practices and conflicts of interest — signal an end to the abusive practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis and the beginning of needed Wall Street reforms.'
The hand slapping followed by pats on the back for job well done is truly disgusting to witness. They really think the public so stupid to believe that Congress actually wrote the financial reform bill for the benefit of protecting the American people. What a joke -- as Ron Paul clearly points out here:

Pink Floyd’s Waters And Gilmour Tear Down “The Wall”

Pink Floyds Unite for Palestine

For the first time in half a decade, rock legends Pink Floyd reunited for a Palestine awareness benefit concert in England to raise money for young Palestinians, MSNBC reported Tuesday.

Feuding PINK FLOYD stars DAVID GILMOUR and ROGER WATERS put their differences aside on Saturday (10Jul10) to perform together at a the Hoping Foundation awareness benefit in England.

The two rockers hit the stage at Kiddington Hall in Oxfordshire, England to the amazement of guests in attendance. It was the first time the duo had shared a stage since Pink Floyd’s Live 8 appearance in 2005.

The former bandmates, who were accompanied by Guy Pratt and Waters’ son Harry, among others, played Floyd favourites:

“Wish You Were Here”

“Comfortably Numb”

“Another Brick in the Wall”

as well as a cover of Phil Spector’s “To Know Him Is To Love Him.”

The event raised over $500,000 (£333,000) for the charity organisation which aids Palestinian kids.

A slew of musicians, including Elvis Costello and The Pixes recently cancelled concerts in Israel in protest of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and the deadly attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31st.

Waters has been involved in pro-Palestinian activism for years. In 2006 he spray painted “tear down the wall” on Israel’s West Bank separation wall in the city of Bethlehem. He also worked with the United Nations to produce a short film about the wall’s impact on life in the West Bank.

Walled Horizons – Narrated by Roger Waters (Pink Floyd founding member) Part 1

Walled Horizons – Narrated by Roger Waters (Pink Floyd founding member) Part 2

Walled Horizons is narrated by and features Roger Waters (founding member of the rock band Pink Floyd), who visits the Wall in the Palestinian territories and comments on his observations as a musician and a songwriter who has written on walls. The film explores how Palestinians in urban and rural areas have been impacted by the Walls construction since the International Court of Justices Advisory Opinion in 2004, which declared the Wall’s route in the West Bank illegal. Several senior Israeli security officials are interviewed in the film, two of whom were directly responsible for planning the Wall route and who explain the Israeli position for constructing it. The film was made by the United Nations Jerusalem.

Rockefeller Study Envisages Future Dictatorship Controlled By Elite

Rockefeller Study Envisages Future Dictatorship Controlled By Elite

Blueprint for life under the new world order revealed: Global pandemics that kill millions, mandatory quarantines, checkpoints, biometric ID cards, and a world of top-down government control

Global pandemics that kill millions, mandatory quarantines, checkpoints, biometric ID cards, and a world of top-down government control. These things are not lifted from the latest sci-fi blockbuster movie, they’re part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s vision for what the globe might be like in 15-20 years’ time under a new world order tightly controlled by the elite.

This is one of four scenarios for the future of the planet outlined in the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” a study produced in association with the Global Business Network.

Entitled “Lock Step,” the scenario depicts,”A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.”

After global H1N1 pandemic originating from geese infects 20 per cent of the global population and kills 8 million people, the economy grinds to a halt and governments impose authoritarian measures to respond to the crisis.

“During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and
restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets,” states the study.

Tellingly, even after the pandemic fades, these draconian measures remain in place and even intensify, as leaders take a “firmer grip on power” and citizens willingly sacrifice their sovereignty and privacy, leading to “a more controlled world” bossed by “paternalistic states” who impose biometric ID cards for all citizens. “Enforced cooperation” with global regulatory agreements forges the path towards global governance even as a backlash ensues following public displays of “virulent nationalism”.

Eco-fascism is also brought to the fore in the “lock step” scenario, which discusses how “high-emission” cars will be banned and every home will be forced to install solar panels by law.

The implementation of top-down authoritarianism causes entrepreneurial activity to wither and the economy stutters, but by 2025 people start to grow weary of “so much top-down control and letting leaders and authorities make choices for them” and an organized “pushback” against this tyranny begins to gather momentum.

“Even those who liked the greater stability and predictability of this world began to grow uncomfortable and
constrained by so many tight rules and by the strictness of national boundaries. The feeling lingered that sooner or later, something would inevitably upset the neat order that the world’s governments had worked so hard to establish,” the study concludes.

The important thing to understand from the scenario outlined by the Rockefeller study is that China is praised as the model for how governments globally should respond to crises. The most draconian and dictatorial policies, including mandatory quarantines, are praised in the scenario as having “saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post pandemic recovery,” while allowing people freedom of mobility is scorned as having worsened the crisis.

Ironic therefore it is that just this week, the Associated Press reported on how the Chinese government has already virtually imposed checkpoint quarantines on its poorer citizens, by “gating and locking some of its lower-income neighborhoods overnight, with police or security checking identification papers around the clock, in a throwback to an older style of control.”

The Rockefeller study is not a warning against preventing the kind of tyranny contained in this scenario from unfolding, it’s a blueprint for how globalists want to exploit global crises like bio-terror attacks and pandemics in order to completely destroy society and rebuild it under a new world order in their image.

The Rockefeller scenario bears more than a passing resemblance to a 2007 UK Ministry of Defence study which forecast that by 2035, people would have brain chips implanted, that the middle class would become revolutionary, and that society would be gripped by chaos and civil unrest as a result of increased globalization, immigration and a more authoritarian state.

It is crystal clear from reading the “Lock Step” scenario that the oppressive society portrayed in the study is not presented as an admonishment of how governments would cynically seize upon a pandemic to set up a police state and empower themselves as dictators, it’s a ringing endorsement that this approach would be the correct thing to do.

This is the post-industrial society demanded by Bilderberg luminaries like European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

This is what the globalists want – pandemics, warfare, chaos and crises that they can engineer and then exploit to lock in place a dictatorial society ruled by the elite from their ivory towers, while the citizens are reduced to impoverished, squabbling, dependent peasants tightly controlled with sophisticated big brother technology, far too concerned about where their next meal is coming from to have time to overthrow their new rulers.