Friday, February 26, 2010
The Consumer Confidence Index figures released Tuesday were much worse than analysts had expected and showed that Americans are morose about the job market and their economic prospects.And AP reports on States revenues -
The index fell almost 11 points to 46 in February, down from a revised 56.5 in January and the lowest level since a 40.8 reading in April 2009. It erased three consecutive months of improvement, according to the Conference Board, the research group that releases the monthly index.
Analysts were expecting only a slight decrease to 55. Economists watch the confidence numbers closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
Outside of the Great Recession, the index hasn't been this low since December 1974.
States again saw sharp declines in tax collections in the last quarter of 2009 -- a record fifth straight quarterly drop, according to a new report that predicts more looming spending cuts or tax increases.Housing -
Overall, revenue from state tax collections dropped 4.1 percent for the quarter compared to the same quarter in 2008, the Rockefeller Institute of Government reported Tuesday.
First American CoreLogic reported today that more than 11.3 million, or 24 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages, were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 10.7 million and 23 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2009. An additional 2.3 million mortgages were approaching negative equity at the end of last year, meaning they had less than five percent equity. Together, negative equity and near‐negative equity mortgages accounted for nearly 29 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide. (Emphasis mine)Employment? -
The Labor Department said the number of mass layoff actions -- defined as job cuts involving at least 50 people from a single employer -- increased by 35 to 1,761. Mass layoffs had trended lower since August.Banks? -
The number of "problem" U.S. banks jumped 27 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 to 702, the highest level since 1993 and a sign the industry's recovery is still shaky, regulators reported on Tuesday.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the industry overall eked out a profit of $914 million for the quarter, benefiting from a healing economy, but said the improvement was concentrated in the largest banks. (Emphasis mine)
The Real Effect
Let's make this clear, there are primarily only two groups that are profiting here. Those that take the money from the people and those that receive the money from those who take it. When those that take the money start losing ground, as indicated above, lookout.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Billionaire financier Jim Rogers has predicted that the British Pound could completely collapse within weeks, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy and heralding the beginning of a downturn that would make the recent economic crisis look tame in comparison.The Real Effect
“Other currencies aren’t strong and the Euro has real problems, with cracks much wider than Greece beginning to show,” Rogers said.“But it’s the Pound that’s most vulnerable. In real terms, it’s already devalued against virtually every currency barring the Zimbabwean dollar and it’s especially exposed over the weeks running up to the UK election. In a basket of currencies, the Pound is potentially a basket case. And that will put Britain in an extremely bad position for the shakedown.”
“The last few months have seen a ‘false bounce’, shorn up by massive short-term injections of government underwriting,” Rogers, the former business partner of George Soros, said.
“But it can’t last. We’ve been applying temporary sticking plasters, not long-term cures. Later this year we’ll see the start of the real recession, with more Lehman-scale disasters and a fallout which won’t stop until the underlying malaise is genuinely cured.” he added.Rogers’ sentiments echo those of Swiss Bank UBS, which this week speculated that there could be a run on the pound if the government too aggressively tackles Britain’s huge deficit, projected to reach £178bn this year.
Last week, Sterling hit a nine month low against the dollar, falling to $1.05, and slumping beyond parity for the first time against the euro.
An announcement yesterday by Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, that the bank was ready to print more money and “do whatever seems appropriate”, sent the currency sinking once more.
Sterling fell sharply, from $1.5529 at 9.13am, just before King began speaking, to $1.5398 at 10.30am, when he finished giving evidence to MPs.
The stark downturn has led Jim Rogers and Marc Faber to predict a currency crash foreshadowing a full scale global “shakedown”.
Back in September of 2008 (before the plunge), I referred to the economy/stock market as a sugar addict. (See prediction timing on chart below. Right before it lost over 40%)
The market is reacting like an addict, convulsing with desire for more goods (I.E. - Fiat debt-based liquidity). This will only make the fall that much harder.Why? Because 1) It's an accurate description of the relation between the market and those that juice the market and 2) It helps us understand how this whole thing will play out.
Now imagine that you had a friend in the same position. Out all night, hopped up on caffeine/sugar, tired, hasn't slept in 3 days. What do you do? Give him more sugar to keep him going or tell him to sleep it off? Well if you don't follow the latter point, it's only a matter of time before his heart gives out and HE DIES!
Our economy is no different. More debt will only keep the fool alive a little longer but surely amplify the poison's negative consequences. Except our friend, the economy, has been resurrected once already. Now it's time for him to fling himself off the side of 100 story building.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Karl Denninger of the Market Ticker opines on our current economic status -
Yes, I know all about the stock market rally from last March. I know all about the claimed GDP "improvement." But I also know that we got both by adding more than $2 trillion in debt to the United States - or roughly 14% of GDP - over the space of the last 18 months. That's about 10% of GDP annualized, and incidentally, a 10% GDP contraction is the common economist's definition of an Economic Depression.
So let's cut the crap - we are in a Depression right now. We are pretending we are not, just like you can pretend you didn't really lose your job so long as your credit card does not reach its limit. We have been in that depression for about 18 months and there is no evidence that we will exit it, as we have yet to find a way to pull back the deficit spending without an instantaneous collapse in the economy.
You haven't seen the half of what happened though - not yet. It appears that AIG - the company we have bailed out (thus far) to the tune of some $100 billion plus, in fact isn't done. It appears they may have written credit protection on Greece. If this allegation by the German equivalent to The New York Times is true Americans are going to be asked to pay billions of dollars - or more likely, hundreds of billions (since Greece is almost certainly not the only place - try Spain, Portugal, Ireland, etc) to bail out a bunch of FOREIGN NATIONS.
If you do not believe it is going to get much worse than it is now, economically and otherwise, you once again need to go have that Thorazine dosage adjusted.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has filed notice with the federal government that it intends to abandon 233 miles of track that stretch across the northern third of the state, from Millinocket to Madawaska.North Carolina -
Railroad President Bob Grindrod says freight revenue has plunged as shipments of lumber, logs and wood chips have fallen. The products are largely used in home construction.
Top lawmakers say North Carolina will come up $500million short of its $19billion budget by the end of June."It would not surprise me if it hit $600[million] or $700million," said Sen. David Hoyle, a Gaston County Democrat and co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "But $500million seems like a given."Revenue at the end of January was $35million behind estimates. The state would be in a $300million hole if not for a special Revenue Department program that settled dozens of business tax disputes, bringing in a flood of money. But income and sales tax collections continue to trail what the legislature's fiscal staff projected.Michigan -
Michigan has at least $51.5 billion in unfunded liabilities for state pensions and retiree benefits which could require a tax increase or cuts to services if not corrected, according to a new Pew Center on the States report.Illinois -
The shortfalls represent what the state was obligated to pay current and retired state employees as of the 2008 fiscal year.Nationwide, there is a $1 trillion shortfall in the public sector's retirement benefits, according to the report that was released Thursday.The report states Michigan has an $11.5 billion shortfall in unfunded pension fund liability, and a $40 billion shortfall in health-care and other retiree benefit contributions.
To become solvent, the state must enact the largest tax-increase package in Illinois history, whack another $2 billion from already starved government programs and wrest major financial concessions from the state's unionized work force, a nonpartisan government watchdog contends.The Real Effect
In a new analysis of Illinois' "horrific" finances, the Civic Federation lays out the painful choices awaiting Gov. Quinn and the Legislature as they stare down an epic $12.8 billion budget deficit that has choked the flow of state cash to public universities and schools, transit systems and social-service agencies to the point of economic collapse.
"Doomsday is here for the State of Illinois," said Laurence Msall, the organization's president.
The Civic Federation recommends that the state income tax be increased from 3 percent to 5 percent for individuals, that retirees' pension and Social Security checks be taxed for the first time at the same rate as workers' paychecks, and the tax on cigarettes be raised by another $1 per pack. The group also favors getting rid of $181 million in corporate tax breaks.
So far we've covered Ohio, New York, Illinois, Nevada, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington and Texas, and adding the ones in from today brings us to (+3) sixteen states out of 50 (32%) that I've covered. Who's willing to bet that it's just as bad in the other 34 states?
Here is one of the most succinct versions of the last two years that I have read yet -
In October 2008, the mainstream media and politicians of the Western world were warning of an impending depression if actions were not taken to quickly prevent this. The problem was that this crisis had been a long-time coming, and what’s worse, is that the actions governments took did not address any of the core, systemic issues and problems with the global economy; they merely set out to save the banking industry from collapse. To do this, governments around the world implemented massive “stimulus” and “bailout” packages, plunging their countries deeper into debt to save the banks from themselves, while charging it to people of the world. Then an uproar of stock market speculation followed, as money was pumped into the stocks, but not the real economy. This recovery has been nothing but a complete and utter illusion, and within the next two years, the illusion will likely come to a complete collapse.
A new advisory being sent by America’s third largest bank to its account holders has stoked fears that major financial institutions could be preparing for old fashioned bank runs if the economy takes a turn for the worse.The Real Effect
Originally reported by John Carney over at the Business Insider website, Citigroup is sending the following information to customers along with their bank statements.
“Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”
According to the Future of Capitalism blog, Citigroup originally claimed that the warning was only sent nationwide as a result of a mistake, but that the measures do apply to account holders in Texas.
However, in a statement, Citigroup confirmed that they had reserved the right to impose the new 7 day rule on all account holders nationwide, but claimed they had no plans to enforce it. The bank stated that they had been forced to enact the new policy as a result of federal regulations.
This is not a good development. This combined with the information that 10.5% of all houses are either delinquent or in foreclosure, lack of employment and other various factors things are far from better, they're setting up for the big plunge down.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I stated in January -
Now in 2010 we have individuals that are at best, moderates, clothing themselves in liberty dress in an attempt to garner votes. And we think this is going to change anything? Hardly.The following comes from the Wall St. Journal -
The new Tea Party, 9/12, Turner, Hannity, Limbaugh, Petraeus, Palin, Beck, O'Reilly and Brown; these individuals are all Benedict Arnolds to the cause of liberty and will sell you down the river if the right situation arises.
Freshman Republican Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) is to vote with the Democratic majority and support a crucial procedural motion on a $15 billion piece of legislation aimed at spurring job creation, an aide to the senator said Monday. The move by Mr. Brown to break with most of his party's members in his first ever vote in the Senate is a significant development.The Real Effect
Oh, they called it a jobs bill. Isn't that cute. Is it like the Patriot Act? Oh, it must be good. It's entertaining to see the "conservatives" fall for the same political move; hook, line and sinker. Feel dumb yet?
Hope and change, hope and change!!! We did it, yeah
Hey, you up front! Sit down and SHUT UP!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
With the Georgia House of Representatives passing a revised 2009-2010 budget and the Senate now working up its own amended version of the current budget, local lawmakers say the financial health of the state is a major concern, and next year’s budget will likely require an additional $1.5 billion in cuts.Yes because cutting spending usually means taxes go up. What kind of dystopian nightmare do we live in? I understand that the cuts might mean a "tweak" to the "formulas" that might result in more cash coming from the property tax bucket, but what the Rep. have the good citizens of Georgia do? Nothing!? Let's just keep spending until we all die?!
Last Thursday, the Georgia House passed an amended version of the 2010 budget to account for decreases in revenue since the budget was finalized last spring, with cuts this time around coming at $1.15 billion. Members voted 122-44 in favor of the new version of the budget, which included a mandate that teachers and other state employees take three furlough days by June 30 in addition to the furlough days already taken.
On his Web site, Rep. Dubose Porter, D-Dublin, who is the Democratic leader in the House, condemned the House’s budget, saying it hurts the state’s already underachieving public education system. He predicted it would result in increased property taxes.
A highly unusual closed-door meeting of the state Senate lasted about an hour and a half today, and participants said many of the chamber's 59 Democrats and Republicans attended to hear a presentation on budgeting and the economy from national experts.and Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Rhode Island -
Lawmakers barred reporters from the meeting, saying it was a joint gathering of the Democratic and Republican caucuses that was not required to be public under the state Constitution or open meetings law.
Illinois ranks 50th among the states in setting aside the tens of billions of dollars needed to pay its employee pensions.Washington -
The report by the Pew Center on the States, a Washington research group, concludes that Illinois has set aside barely half -- 54%, to be exact -- of the amount it will need to pay benefits in its five worker pension funds, leaving an unfunded liability of $54.4 billion.
That 54% easily is the worst of any state in the union. Only Kansas, at 59%, and Oklahoma and Rhode Island, at 61% each, come anywhere close.
The state's economic picture is stabilizing but still precarious, and employment levels likely won't rebound until the second half of 2010, economist Arun Raha said Friday.Wooo...we really dodged a bullet there. It's a great thing that the STATE'S revenue is up. No one has a job, but at least bourgeoisie are intact!
Raha told the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council that the state's deficit now sits at about $2.8 billion, with a recent $100 million uptick in demand for state services and a $154 million hit from a court case.
Without the court case, which cost the state revenue from certain out-of-state companies operating in Washington, the state would have seen positive revenue growth -- about $32 million -- for the first time in two years.
"The Great Recession may be over, but it has wrought havoc in our economy which will take time to heal," Raha said.
Even Texas is going after old parking tickets. But just how do these statists feel about these sort of things?
Albany Police Officers Union President Chris Mesley says that, regardless of the faltering economy, a no-raise new contract is unacceptable.
And to hell with the public.
“I’m not running a popularity contest here,” Mesley said. “If I’m the bad guy to the average citizen . . . and their taxes have go up to cover my raise, I’m very sorry about that, but I have to look out for myself and my membership.“
And police wonder why they are becoming targets much less not respected in their communities? Little word of warning police, when they take your lawfully protected pensions and you see fit to caterwaul about it, you won't be getting any sympathy from John Q. Public seeing as how you were complicit in this whole mess. I myself got endure such antics at the hands of blustery mob of angry public school nazis.
Well, there's an alleged terrorist and he's got a manifesto. Joy. Here's some excerpts of what is sure to be huge news -
Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”.The Real Effect
How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.
Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”)
I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.
Wow...this stinks to high heaven.
The banksters need to cover their tracks, they need a distraction. I wouldn't be surprised to see a building with all sorts of documentation get targeted.Breaking from Austin, TX -
A plane crashed into a Northwest Austin building that houses federal offices about 9:30 this morning, sending plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.The Real Effect
Paramedics have set up a triage center at the scene, though it is unclear how many people are injured. EMS officials said one person was unaccounted for.
Mathilda Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Seton Family of Hospitals, said University Medical Center Brackenridge received two patients, and that no other hospitals had received any.
The Internal Revenue Service has offices in the building, including its civil enforcement and criminal investigations divisions, said Special Agent Michael Lemoine, a spokesman for the criminal investigations division.
He said that some IRS offices are on the first floor, which Lemoine said was hit by the plane.
According to an FBI agent who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to release information, the incident is being investigated as an accident, although eyewitnesses said the plane seemed to come in at full throttle. He said the plane was out of Waco and that Federal Aviation Administration officials are en route to the scene.
The agent said it was believed the plane had come from Waco, and that witnesses said it had hit the building at full-throttle.
Something is very fishy about this. Could it be that Austin, TX is about to have a gubernatorial election and this will help the incumbent Rick "Bilderberg" Perry get Debra Medina off his back? Further on in the article it talks about the plane being "very controlled" and a "big boom". We'll definitely keep our eyes open on this one.
Even as the 27 finance minsters of the European Union gathered in Brussels yesterday and ordered Greece, again, to impose yet more hardship on its people in order to slash the national deficit, some may have been eyeing their colleagues around the Brussels meeting room warily.The Real Effect
For all are concerned about which nation might next suffer from the dreaded "contagion." The fear is that the next member of the so-called "PIIGS" — Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain — to suffer a crisis of confidence will be Spain.
Spain's banks are strong and acquisitive, stronger than most other countries' institutions. But Spain's annual budget deficit, like the UK's and Greece's, has spiralled well into double figures – at almost 12 per cent of GDP it rivals Greece's Olympian disregard for the old Maastricht treaty rules of prudence.
And the markets are worried. Not, admittedly as fretful as they are about Greece, but the market price of insuring Spanish government debt has jumped in recent weeks (the mysterious-sounding credit default swaps), and now stands at €139,000 per €10m of debt – four times the cost of insuring an equivalent German bond.
The EU's Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia – a Spaniard – has suggested that Spain's economic problems look increasingly like those of Greece and Portugal. But in a worst case scenario, Greece is affordable – about 2.5 per cent of European GDP.
Spain, conversely, accounts for about 16 per cent of EU GDP, and is a much more expensive proposition for restoration work. Indeed, there are some grounds for supposing that, even if Berlin wanted to, it might be unable to afford to take on Spain's fiscal challenges.
As I stated at the beginning and the end of January -
I do know that Greece's woes are going to blow out into the eurozone specifically Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland as they are all big holders of Greek bonds. This in turn will cause their economies to suffer as the fallout becomes contagious.It would appear that Greece is the fuse and Spain is the explosives.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The council of EU finance ministers said Athens must comply with austerity demands by March 16 or lose control over its own tax and spend policies altogether. It if fails to do so, the EU will itself impose cuts under the draconian Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty in what would amount to economic suzerainty.Consider the following EU tyranny -
While the symbolic move to suspend Greece of its voting rights at one meeting makes no practical difference, it marks a constitutional watershed and represents a crushing loss of sovereignty.
The international meddlers are going after the Greek Underground Economy, aggressively. They are using the current government debt crisis to gain as much control over the GUE as thay canBut wait, Greece has a card up it's sleeve -
Effective January 1, 2011 every transaction above 1,500 euros will be considered illegal if it is done in cash. Transactions will have to be done through debit or credit cards.
Greece's 2001 deal to swap some of its debt using currency derivatives was in line with what other euro-zone countries were doing, Yiannos Papantoniou, the country's finance and economy minister when the deal was made, told CNBC.com Wednesday.Oooo...is it getting thick in here?
"We took a loan that was to be repaid in 2019," he said in a telephone interview. "It was public. I know that what we've done then was consistent with what was done by many euro zone countries."
Italy, France and Spain were among the euro zone members doing such swaps at the time, he added. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, has asked Greece for explanations on these debt swaps by Feb. 19.
The Real Effect
All Americans would do well to consider the implications of these items in light of our current ongoing currency/economic collapse. Once the Union hooks are in, you can't get out and those politicians are going to make sure that they get their pound of flesh.
The EU will make it through this in one form or another (It might cease to be called the EU but it will still be the EU.) However, the globalists will see to it that America and vestige of independent thinking burns.
A wise man once said -
The long and short is they are bleeding the real assets out of the United States and passing them into foreign control. Make no mistake, they will bleed this country dry. Savings, checkings, 401K, gold, assets, they want it all and will not stop until they get it.
The Federal Reserve fractures -
The US must fix its growing debt problems or risk a new financial crisis, Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, warned on Tuesday, adding a mounting deficit could spur inflation.Too late, the fat lady is singing an entire opera solo. AFP -
Mr Hoenig said that rising debt was infringing on the central bank’s ability to fulfil its goals of maintaining price stability and long-term economic growth. “Stunning” deficit projections were putting political pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates low, infringing on its independence at the risk of inflation, he said.If the Fed succumbed to pressure to increase the money supply, Mr Hoenig said, inflation would lead to a loss of confidence in the dollar and in the economy. Meanwhile, a potential stalemate between the fiscal and monetary authorities that govern the economy could allow growing imbalances to go unchecked, thus raising the costs of borrowing and of capital for the US.
China's holding of US Treasury bonds has tumbled, according to US Treasury data released Tuesday, after Beijing expressed concern over the swelling US deficit and amid new US-China tensions.
The drop in China's bond holdings by 34.2 billion dollars or 4.3 percent to 755.4 billion dollars in December also fueled the biggest drop in foreign purchase of short-term US bonds, said the Treasury's latest international capital data report and based on comparative figures.
China's US bond holding decline was also its biggest drop since August 2000 and allowed Japan to regain its position as top holder of American government debt after a 15-month hiatus.
Japan's holding meanwhile increased to 768.8 billion dollars in December from 757.3 billion dollars the previous month, Treasury data showed.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
From LewRockwell -
James Rourke was living out a parent’s worst nightmare when two Pennsylvania State Troopers arrived and promptly made matters much worse.
A little after 6:00 p.m. on January 28, Rourke, a 59-year-old man widely respected among residents of Doylesburg for his generosity and service to others, learned of a car crash involving his 19-year-old son Freddy.
James and his wife Betty rushed to the scene on Path Valley Road, where the car — which was driven by a family friend — had collided with a utility pole. Freddy and his friend, Chad O’Donel, were trapped inside, and live power lines snaked across the wreckage.
At the request of emergency personnel, Mr. Rourke — who had been sitting in a van across the street — walked to an emergency vehicle in the middle of the road to provide a brief medical history on his son. He was accompanied by his daughter, Betty Barrick.
As the medical discussion took place, a police vehicle pulled up and decanted two truculent troopers — Elmer Hertzog and James Erne — who were apparently looking to drum up business for themselves.
Eyewitnesses described Hertzog and Erne as “rude and disrespectful, using profanity in addressing Rourke and calling him a vulgar name” as they ordered him away from the emergency vehicle. The verbal abuse took place before Rourke and his daughter had a chance to leave — as did the ensuing assault by Hertzog.
By his own admission, Hertzog was the first to lay hands on Rourke, grabbing him by the front of his coat and pushing him backwards. This was an act of criminal battery. Rourke, a 59-year-old man with a heart condition, grabbed Hertzog’s jacket in what his daughter described as an effort to keep from falling backward to the pavement.
A local newspaper account twice uses the expression “deliberate attack on the trooper” to describe one possible description of Rourke’s action. Both he and his daughter deny that Rourke did anything more than act out of an understandable defensive reflex. However, given that Hertzog had committed an act of criminal violence against him, Rourke was entirely within his rights to counter-attack, if necessary and possible, irrespective of the official costume worn by his tax-devouring assailant.
Trooper Erne, Hertzog’s cohort in official crime, didn’t exactly “have his partner’s back.” Instead, in a fashion familiar to students of bullying tactics Erne ganged up on the victim by attacking him from the back, striking him in the small of the back with a knee and then piling on when Hertzog took Rourke to the ground.
Rourke’s daughter, frantic for her father’s safety, demanded that his assailants leave him alone, only to be given an abrupt reminder of how members of the state’s coercive caste perceive the rest of us: “You don’t ever touch a cop,” one of them snarled at her.
“I told them they didn’t need to do this, but it was as if they had to show their authority,” she later remarked.
Eventually the uniformed bullies allowed the victim to stand. But as eyewitness Timothy McMillen recalls, the harassment “didn’t just stop at the scene after they took him to the ground, but continued at Chambersburg Hospital,” where Freddie was flown for treatment.
By that time, a horde of donut-grazers had gathered to show solidarity with Hertzog and Erne. “There were four carloads of cops there when we got there,” continues McMillen. The stalwart defenders of public order apparently had no better use of their time than to intimidate and persecute a father whose son was in critical condition.
One of them, apparently stranded in perpetual adolescence, was playing the familiar bully’s game of bumping into Rourke in an attempt to antagonize him, and then lying by claiming that Rourke had bumped into him. While this was happening, doctors were telling Rourke that his comatose son might not survive.
An EMT, giving adult guidance to the overgrown playground tormentor and his playmates, told the police to let the Rourke family leave and to let the doctors get on with the task of saving Freddy’s life.
Freddy was still in a coma when Rourke was informed that he was being charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, and “failure of disorderly persons to disperse upon official order” — for the supposed crime of refusing to allow himself to be thrown to the ground for no reason by an officious prig in a government-issued costume.
Freddy, an honor roll student planning to major in (of all things) criminal justice, will require extensive hospitalization and rehabilitative therapy. When he returns to his home, notes local crime reporter Vicky Taylor, Freddy “will probably find major changes, not only in his life, but also in his parents’ lives. The aggravated assault charge James Rourke faces carries a state prison sentence of as long as 10 years.”
The only role played by the police in this tragedy was to insert themselves where they didn’t belong, assert “authority” they didn’t possess, assault a man who had done nothing wrong, and charge their victim with crimes he didn’t commit.
All of this offers a compelling case for the proposition that we would be much better off without the state’s armed enforcers. And it’s difficult to think of two bullies more richly deserving of getting their backs dirty than Troopers Elmer Hertzog and James Erne of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.In Dubai -
As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.
The cost of insuring Dubai's sovereign debt against default rose to its highest level since November as concerns resurfaced over the emirate's large debt.From the Washington Independent -
According to CMA DataVision, Dubai's five-year credit-default-swap spread—a measure of credit risk—rose close to 0.5 percentage point to trade up at 6.32 percentage points in late trading Friday. These elevated levels indicated that Dubai is considered one of the riskiest sovereigns in the world behind only Argentina, Venezuela, Ukraine and Pakistan.
Amid fears that Switzerland might come to an agreement with the United States on banking privacy and tax evasion disclosures, Credit Suisse issued a report identifying those countries it determined to have the highest risks of default on their sovereign debts. Number 16 on the list was the United States, based primarily on its 2009 budget deficits and government debt.In the States -
Countries ranked less likely to default include corruptocracy Kazakhstan, less-than-reform-minded Indonesia, the debt-ridden Philippines and violence-ridden Colombia. By comparison, U.S. Treasuries prices are up today despite a new issuance this week.
States are looking to the federal government for more help balancing their budgets, but the Senate is not heeding their call.The Real Effect
Federal aid to the states was among the top priorities in an early Senate job creation bill, as well as in a $154 billion measure passed by the House in December. But it has fallen off the list as Senate Democrats look to craft legislation that will attract bipartisan support.
The debt deleveraging has just begun and has a long way to go before it's run its course. Look for continued crisis as sovereign defaults become a more and more plausible scenario. This, of course, will give way to calls for a Shiny New Global Tax/Currency/Bank System which will be purported to solve all humanities woes. But first, we crash...
Friday, February 12, 2010
Foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta jumped 27 percent in February, compared with January. They were up 34 percent when compared to a year ago, according to data just released from Equity Depot.Phoenix -
According to the latest report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, almost half of the existing home transactions were foreclosures.Dallas/Ft. Worth -
For now, foreclosures and the re-sales of foreclosed on properties combine to total 67 percent of the activity in the Valley housing market. That's down from December's 4,060 foreclosures, indicating some positive momentum.
Foreclosure filings on homes in the first quarter of 2010 jumped 22 percent when compared with the same period last year, a new report from Foreclosure Listing Service Inc. said Thursday.New York -
The number of New Yorkers at risk last month of losing their homes surged 35% compared with January 2009, according to stats set to be released Thursday by foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac.And in the U.S. -
The number of U.S. households facing foreclosure in January increased 15 percent from the same month last year, and a surge in cash-strapped homeowners who've fallen behind on mortgages could be on the way.And -
More than 315,000 households received a foreclosure-related notice in January, RealtyTrac Inc. reported. That is down nearly 10 percent from 349,000 in December, which saw the third highest total since the company began tracking foreclosure data in 2005.
In 2009 all 50 states revealed the sharpest revenue drop in 46 years, according to a state finances report by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in New York.But we can always turn to the U.S. government who will bail us out, right? Wrong! The latest auction fails -
Rick Santelli gave the auction an "F" and I agree - there's simply no possible way to read this as anything positive at all, and that the equity market is ignoring it (other than a quick, small spike downward on the release) likely has more to do with how tightly equities have become coupled to the dollar in the last couple of weeks than anything else.But who could have seen this coming? Oh yeah that's right -
The long and short is they are bleeding the real assets out of the United States and passing them into foreign control. Make no mistake, they will bleed this country dry. Savings, checkings, 401K, gold, assets, they want it all and will not stop until they get it.That's right, I said that in September of.....2008! Before the crisis hit. What else did I say?
Get food, get water, get a gun and get ready to defend yourself.Why? Maybe this will shed some light on the situation -
MILLIONS of people could lose almost every penny of their assets under a new “death tax” being considered by Labour to fund care for the elderly. And poorer people would lose out the most, leaving their children with next to nothing to inherit, analysis showed yesterday. In some cases the new levy could be as high as 100 per cent.Oh, they want everything...
Thursday, February 11, 2010
AFTER a week of fruitless debate, the Los Angeles City Council takes up the budget debate again today. And if past discussions are any indication, very little will be decided by a council too afraid to make the hard - and politically unpopular - decisions. Instead the city will slip one step closer to insolvency. The city of Los Angeles is in immediate financial danger with a $212 million shortfall just for the last few months of this current fiscal year. Next fiscal year, which begins in July, the city is anticipating $400 million less in revenue than expenses.
Vallejo, CA -
Public officials shouldn’t think about filing for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy to solve mounting labor costs and pension liabilities. Even talking about this action will invite an inquiry from Fitch Ratings, the company said in a report published Jan. 27. “The more bankruptcy is publicly discussed as an option for financial relief, the more its tarnish wears off, increasing the likelihood of its actual use,” Fitch said. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression is squeezing municipalities across the country. Since Vallejo, California, successfully petitioned for bankruptcy protection in May 2008, California’s towns, Detroit’s schools and Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg have all talked about Chapter 9.Harrisburg, PA -
Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg was downgraded to five levels below investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service, as the city considers bankruptcy in the face of $68 million in debt payments this year.N.J. -
Harrisburg’s city council and controller, Dan Miller, have said Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection is one option under consideration as the city contends with debt payments this year that exceed the size of its general fund budget for services such as police and parks.
Calling New Jersey on "the edge of bankruptcy," Gov. Chris Christie today declared a fiscal emergency, seizing broad powers to freeze aid to more than 500 school districts and cut from higher education, hospitals and the Public Advocate.Nationwide Zillow says it about to get much worse -
Along with eliminating programs "that sounded good in theory but failed in practice" across state departments, Christie is cutting $475 million in aid to school districts, $62 million in aid to colleges and $12 million to hospital charity care.
December brought signs that the fledgling recovery of home values in many markets is slowing again. U.S. home values got a bit lower again in December relative to November levels and the rate of decline got just a little bit higher as well.And how does the establishment "deal" with the issues?
More significantly, a number of large markets saw an end to their streak of consecutive monthly gains, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore. In total, one in five (29) of the 143 markets tracked by Zillow saw monthly depreciation or flattening of home values in December after having experienced at least five consecutive month-over-month increases in home values during 2009. If these declines are sustained, as we expect to happen in many markets, the result will be a “double dip ” in home values, defined as two periods of sustained declines in home values separated by a brief period of stabilization or recovery.
Three state Senate committees are set to consider legislation that would raise Hawaii's general excise tax and use special state funds to eliminate teacher furlough days later this year.What a joke.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
So long and short is - the Ron Paul/Campaign for Liberty started the "tea party", the RNC kidnaps the "tea party" and when Republicans blow the election in 2012 they WILL blame the original Tea Party and proclaim liberty dead and attempt to return to the "big tent" mentality. They will effectively split the vote and confuse the issues.
"Wait is Palin pro war? Or anti-war? But I thought the Tea Party was anti-war? Oh, I'm confused, I'll vote for Palin because she "tough"."
Nevada officials on Tuesday outlined drastic cuts to the state's Medicaid program that include plans to ration adult diapers, eliminate denture and hearing-aid programs, and force personal care assistants to buy their own disposable gloves.Hawaii's tax refunds may get delayed and more -
To close Nevada's $881 million budget deficit, Gibbons has proposed eliminating public school mandates for class size and full-day kindergarten, and suspending collective bargaining for teachers. Public schools would lose $166 million, and administrators say hundreds if not thousands of teachers could lose their jobs.
The state Department of Human Services has warned health insurance companies that the state may not make payments for Quest — the state's health plan for low-income families — for the last quarter of the fiscal year, leaving insurers to absorb about $300 million in medical expenses until at least July.Not only do they steal your money, they won't let you have the money back that they owe you under their rules! It doesn't take long to figure out that the solution is simply to change the rules so they don't have to give it back.
To those who are retiring: You thought that you could have mandated wages and prices, planes, trains and sick days all guaranteed by your friends at the U.S.A. But the laws of supply and demand yield to no one and now you have to pay the piper.
In short, you took a ride with the dragon and you lost. And now you look in the mirror and realize that you've been used, albeit willingly, like a $2 dollar whore. Your safety is not paramount to these scoundrels, they don't care anymore because they got what they want.
Face it, you've been caught. Your "revolution" dating back 50 plus years failed and now not only is payment being extracted from you, but your offspring as well. The real question is the following: Will you come clean, deal with your losses and try like your forefathers to leave your children in a better state or will you capitulate and attempt to get Congress to re-inflate the bubble and in the process damn your children to a life of poverty so you can have your cozy little retirement?
The choice is yours.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
The latest CDC report shows an overall rise (from 8.9% to 13%) in samples positive for H1N1 in Region 4 in the week 4 report, providing additional evidence for the start of wave 3 in the United States. Earlier media reports had described increases in various states in region 4. Le Boehner children’s hospital in Memphis had seen an increase in hospitalized patients and a high frequency were being admitted to the ICU, where at least 2 of the 7 died. One was from MS while then other was from TN. University of North Carolina hospital also reported an increase in confirmed H1N1 in college students, and the North Carolina website showed an increase in samples testing positive for H1N1 to 25%, the highest level since mid-November when wave 2 was declining.From California -
These sharp increases in region 4 raise concerns that these cases will spread. Region 4 led the nation at the beginning of the fall wave, which largely followed school openings. Many of the schools in region 4 opened in August. The rise in positive patients in region 4 raises concerns that wave 3 will be more severe, with an associated increase in deaths.
The above pediatric deaths for week 4 are in Friday’s MMWR and will be in the CDC week 4 report. The six deaths in California are striking and once again signal a high level of fatalities when there is no seasonal influenza A and reported pandemic H1N1 levels are low. In addition, the Pneumonia and Influenza deaths for week 4 will be 8.1%, virtually unchanged from the spike reported in week 3, which increased the rate to 8.2%
When we saw the news on Thursday that the pandemic is over and yet the CDC is encouraging children to get a second H1N1 shot, that's a signal that it's not over yet. A lot of sick people in the last week. We'll have to watch a little longer to see if it's the real thing this time.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Egyptian military sources have put out information purporting to outline Israel's preparations to strike Iran.And from PressTV -
They report that the Israeli Navy together with the US Fifth Fleet have for some weeks been charting Persian Gulf waters and Iranian shorelines in preparation for attacks by Israeli naval and special operations forces.
IDF intelligence and special forces officers, they also say, have been marking out routes for their air and ground forces to drive into Iran and hit its nuclear installations.
According to these Egyptian sources, Saudi Arabia has demanded clarifications from Washington about reported US-assisted Israeli preparations to strike Iran and asks why they were not brought to the notice of Riyadh and the Gulf Arab governments.
The Saudis added that several Gulf intelligence and naval units had tracked Israeli movements and gathered documentary evidence.
Some of this information was leaked in Cairo Wednesday night to Shorouk, a publication which Egyptian intelligence often uses as an outlet for information held to be credible.
Shorouk was first out with the story of the Israeli Air Force attack on Iranian arms convoys in Sudan in January 2009.
As Israel keeps threatening the regional countries with war, Egyptian maritime sources say the Israeli navy has deployed two missile ships to the Persian Gulf.We're definitely not moving away from war.
Citing the sources, Yediot Ahronot reported Saturday that two Israeli missile ships passed through the Suez Canal en route to the Red Sea on Thursday morning.
The first three quarters of 2009 were the worst on record for states in terms of the decline in overall state tax collections, as well as the change in personal income and sales tax collections. The Great Recession hit virtually every single source of tax revenue and pushed a number of states to revise revenue forecasts numerous times throughout fiscal 2009 and 2010, with significant impacts on services.
While it appears unlikely or even impossible for a state to hide out from creditors in Bankruptcy Court, Illinois appears to meet classic definitions of insolvency: Its liabilities far exceed its assets, and it's not generating enough cash to pay its bills. ... "I would describe bankruptcy as the inability to pay one's bills," says Jim Nowlan, senior fellow at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs. "We're close to de facto bankruptcy, if not de jure bankruptcy."New York again -
New York's governor unveiled a painful budget plan Tuesday that slashes services, raises fees and implements some creative actions to close a yawning $7.4 billion fiscal gap.Ohio -
"There are no more easy answers. We cannot keep spending money that we do not have," Paterson said in a written statement.
The state's woes are a bellwether of what others around the nation are facing. New York's fiscal year starts in April, the earliest of any state.
Ohio's tax coffers are nearly $100 million lighter than officials had expected by this point in the fiscal year, largely due to a January income tax shortfall.Do I even need to bring up Detroit?
Officials say total tax receipts for the seven months ending in January fell short of projections by 1.1 percent, or $99.6 million. According to preliminary numbers, last month's income tax collections missed the mark by 15.6 percent.
Here's a good example from Pewaukee what to do -
The city voted in November to close the police department and then contract with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department. Officials claim it will save the city around $1 million. 26 officers lost their jobs with Waukesha County hiring 16 of them.Ahhhhh, non duplication of services and reduced cost. Good to see that my county is going about it the right way.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Friday, February 05, 2010
In what could be construed as a precursor to martial law, on January 11th, Obama announced the creation of the Council of Governors via Executive Order. Initially, the consuming thought was the fact that Obama would use an Executive Order to accomplish such a thing, however, after a few minutes of thinking, it dawned on me that Obama could use these 10 positions to fulfill a "Governor" headship for each of the previously created 10 FEMA regions to govern during a period of martial law.
Surely, I thought, this is far to easy and readily identified as there's no way Obama would be THAT obvious. So I created a list to test my theory. I started by picking all the governors who governed a state which hosted the FEMA headquarters in their state. At that point I had 6 dems and 4 repubs, but alas I never finished the list. Here is the list:
|FEMA I||MA||Patrick, Deval||D|
|FEMA II||NY||Paterson, David||D|
|FEMA III||PA||Rendell, Edward G.||D|
|FEMA IV||GA||Perdue, Sonny||R|
|FEMA V||IL||Daniels, Mitch||R|
|FEMA VI||TX||Perry, Rick||R|
|FEMA VII||MO||Nixon, Jay||D|
|FEMA VIII||CO||Ritter, Bill||D|
|FEMA IX||CA||Schwarzenegger, Arnold||R|
|FEMA X||WA||Gregoire, Christine||D|
Just a little while ago, I caught wind of the fact that Obama had actually named the 10 Governors. So I matched up my list against the White house list. Lo and behold simply picking those items netted me 3/10 right. Here is the list by Region:
|FEMA I||VT||Governor James H. Douglas, Co-Chair, Council of Governors|
|FEMA II||PR||Governor Luis G. Fortuño, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA III||MD||Governor Martin O’Malley, Member, Council of Governors|
|VA||Governor Robert F. McDonnell, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA IV||GA||Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA VI||OK||Governor Brad Henry, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA VII||MO||Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA VIII||SD||Governor M. Michael Rounds, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA IX||AZ||Governor Janice K. Brewer, Member, Council of Governors|
|FEMA X||WA||Governor Chris Gregoire, Co-Chair, Council of Governors|
Now a few things jumped out at me right away:
- Illinois' Region (V) is vacant.
- Region II's leader is the Governor of Puerto Rico
- Region III has two leaders.
- Region IV is the Regional headquarters and in the Center for Disease Control's home city.
- Region VI is not in Texas.
- Regions I and X share the chair.
Any way you look at this, this development doesn't signal a decrease in hostilities towards the citizens of this country and specifically the Patriot movement as this piece in Infowars notes. Look for continued hostilities towards all those who would dare oppose imposition of a perpetual fiefdom by this fascist administration.