Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Housing Prices Still Need To Fall Much More

And they will.

TPC at Pragmatic Capitalism shows three charts here which demonstrate historically where we've been and where we are with respect to supply, demand and price.

From the peaks, demand for new homes is off nearly 80%, while prices of new homes are off only 25% and represent levels last seen in 2003.

Supply of existing housing is up over 70%, however. The current drop in supply to 10.5 months is seasonal but is still something like 160% higher than it was at the end of 2003. Clearing this inventory remains unemployment's doppelganger.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spain's Property Bubble Sounds Familiar: 6 Years of Supply

Reported here by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

We can argue whether the overhang of unsold properties in Spain will reach 1.5m, or six years’ supply, as claimed by Madrid consultants RR de Acuna, but there is little doubt that the "Cajas" and smaller banks have played a game of “extend and pretend” to disguise the true scale of losses on their property loans.

Tom Petruno on the Zombie Bears

Not once in this more or less even-handed discussion does the massive rot infecting bank balance sheets because of declining housing and commercial real estate prices get mentioned.

You'd never know that half of the nearly 8000 banks in this country have serious problems, nor that the savings of millions of Americans have disappeared because of the bursting of the housing bubble.

But hey, we can live with rot, and maybe even recover, right? Cancer patients do it all the time. Except for the ones that die.

Against the sickening round of prolonged chemotherapy and radiation currently being applied through extend and pretend and stimulative liquidity, the bears instead advocate surgery:

The zombie bears are certain that the worst lies ahead, and that consumers and investors should prepare accordingly — although how exactly to prepare is a matter of debate.

"We need a deleveraging, deflationary depression, and in three to five years we're going to have a much better economy," said Michael Pento, senior economist at Euro Pacific Capital in New York.

"We just have to go through hell in the meantime."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Real Estate Loan Problems are Significant in Half of All Banks

And the total number of all banks is now fewer than 7800 due to mergers and failures, according to Richard Suttmeier of ValuEngine.com:

The total number of banks with real estate loan pipeline problems is 3938, or 50.7% of all banks in the banking system.

Read more about it, here.

Everything else is happy talk.

Friday, November 26, 2010

TSA Represents Danger to America, Says Roger Cohen

Roger Cohen for The New York Times says a word here on behalf of the Fourth Amendment, and seems to see in Homeland Security and the TSA an incipient threat to our American way of life:

The unfettered growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA represent a greater long-term threat to the prosperity, character and wellbeing of the United States than a few madmen in the valleys of Waziristan or the voids of Yemen.

America is a nation of openness, boldness and risk-taking. Close this nation, cow it, constrict it and you unravel its magic.

There are now about 400 full-body scanners, set to grow to 1,000 next year.

The trouble is, Roger Cohen has commented half-approvingly (here) that the large-scale targeted killings of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been "more eloquent than words," killings made possible by the use of predator drones, which, before long, Homeland Security and the TSA might very well use here at home to invade the privacy of the American people as surely as do these scanners.

Consider that the very same predator drone used by the military was already tested out of Fort Drum over northern New York in the summer of 2009 to evaluate its utility to law enforcement, according to this story. Not a year later five such drones are on active duty flying missions over America's southern and northern borders for US Customs and Border Control, as reported here by TheHill.com. The technology for drones has advanced so rapidly that their size is down to 3' in diameter and they are virtually silent, meaning they are becoming increasingly attractive to law enforcement. Three examples of law enforcement use of drones in 2006 and 2007 have been discussed here at The Rutherford Institute. Obama has been described as "in love" with the things.

The airport scanners represent only one element of the new national security state Obama and his surveillance enthusiasts Janet Napolitano and John Pistole want to erect in America. They are equally eager to install thousands of cameras all over the country, and they are funding them. Security check points are going to spring up everywhere if they get their way.

We'll see how eloquent people think all this is when the government comes looking for Roger Cohen and other American citizens with a complete portfolio of your movements and associations in hand, matched to your naked image.

Gold Hoarding IN GERMANY

From the UK Telegraph, here:

"You cannot find a bank safe deposit box in Germany because every single one has already been taken and stuffed with gold and silver. It is like an underground Switzerland within our borders."

-- Professor Wilhelm Hankel, Frankfurt University 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The New National Security State Under Obama Progresses to Houston

In another installment in Aristotle's meme that tyrannies are abetted by women, we learn that the next city to fall to the transformation of America into the national security state is Houston.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting here that the Department of Homeland Security is helping fund the installation of 300 surveillance cameras there:

Judith Hanson, who was visiting downtown to watch her daughter's performance at the Wortham Center, said the cameras could provide comfort to women who come to the area.

"Just knowing that there is a camera just makes me feel a little bit safer," she said.

Most Newark Backscatter Scanners Idle on National Opt Out Day

The majority of Newark’s full-body scanners were idle throughout much of the day, depriving most passengers of the chance to opt out of the controversial screening procedure even if they had wanted to.

As reported here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1000 Words

Traveler Wears Bikini To Avoid Scanner and Enhanced Pat Down

Her story is here.

Uncalled House Race Update: CA-11 Remains a Democrat Hold

So says Real Clear Politics tonight.

But the hold is not by much, and the Republican challenger, who is down by just under 3000 votes, has yet to concede.

Jerry McNerney, the incumbent Democrat, looks to have benefitted by a third party challenge to the Republican David Harmer's right. A Constitution Party candidate siphoned-off about 5% of the vote from the Republican, over 9000 votes, more than enough to have made all the difference.

With one race not yet called, NY-1, the Republicans have a net gain of 63 in the US House.

Numerous Reports of TSA Chickening Out, Not Using Naked Scanners

TSA is co-opting the date set for the protest.

The backside of Thanksgiving may look very different.

Isn't it comforting to know that PR is more important than "security"?

See here for the story at gizmodo.com.

The Terrorists Have Won Because They've Already Imposed Authoritarianism

Leftist Glenn Greenwald seems happy John "Don't Touch My Junk" Tyner is a reader and gets off a couple of good lines at the government and the media at Salon.com here:

[G]overnment officials run to the nearest media outlet ... and anonymously scream "TERRORISM." No evidence is needed; the anonymity precludes all accountability; fear levels are quickly ratcheted up; and everything the Government wants to do then becomes justifiable in its name. That's the frightened, authoritarian society we've allowed ourselves to become. ... [J]ournalists ... dutifully disseminate whatever fear-mongering claims their anonymous government friends tell them to write . . . .

It's a recurring phenomenon that left and right in America often agree on a few things, because they are not nihilists and actually believe in something, unlike many self-identifying Democrats and Republicans. But I digress.

Greenwald is worth reading.

Scenes from National Opt Out Day: Screw Big Sis

Watch the video here.

Hey Big Sis! We're watching you, too.

Obama To Transform Bush's TSA Into National Security Force

How do you spell Gestapo? KGB? How about TSA?

Remember how Obama said on July 17, 2008 (video here) that he wanted a national security force as powerful, strong and well-funded as the US military? Here are his words:

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

People on the left went ballistic when conservatives and Republicans suggested that those words could be construed as sinister and ominous. Some on the right were upset enough about the tone that they grasped at anything that fit them as Obama's regime unfolded. Some even thought they discovered a "health care army" buried deep in the weeds of the Senate healthcare bill.

But now with Homeland Security's decision to go full steam ahead with scanners in airports after last Christmas' Fruit of Kaboom bomber incident, we're getting a clearer picture of Obama's commitment to the national security state, and that picture centers around a radical expansion of the role and scope of the TSA. How else do we explain these comments from the new head of the TSA, John Pistole, made in July and reported here in USA Today?

Pistole said he wants TSA workers, including 47,000 screeners at 450 airports, to operate as a "national-security, counterterrorism organization, fully integrated into US government efforts."

"I want to take TSA to the next level," Pistole said.

In other words, Obama's vision for a national security force is going to come to fruition through the expansion of the TSA George Bush created after 911.

We now know that that expanded scope will involve putting scanners everywhere. TSA's mandate covers all modes of transportation, not just those over which the federal Department of Transportation has jurisdiction. Train and subway stations and points of maritime embarkation immediately come to mind. But also federal highways, where the feds use scanners to detain and inspect truck traffic. In fact, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano just recently went on the record saying as much:

“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”

Think also of stationary federal jurisdictions: all federal buildings. Scanners have already been deployed in a Colorado courthouse according to this report, and expanded use of them has not been ruled out:

"Although we have no current plans for deployment, the US Marshals Service believes in the technology," said Washington-based Michael Prout, assistant director for judicial security for the US marshals. "We will continue to explore the use of body scanners as a security measure for the federal judiciary."

Can you imagine reporting for jury duty but being treated like a common criminal having to submit to a full body naked scan?

Being a surveillance enthusiast whose installation of cameras everywhere on Phoenix highways was rebuffed by its freedom-loving population, Janet Napolitano as head of DHS has made it a priority to fund cameras in New York, which is nearly half way to its goal of 3000 cameras in the city, 90% funded by DHS. She made a high profile visit to Chicago last summer to praise its commitment to camera surveillance.

Will introduction of small, silent 3' spy drones be next?

TSA's mandate currently involves security "in all modes of transportation." Obama appears to be concentrating his efforts on the "all." Expect to see thousands and thousands of new federal hires by the TSA to man the national security state. They will interfere with your every movement, unless you stop this now. Today is a good day to begin.

Opt out!

National Opt Out Day: Uncovering Nakedness is Wickedness

Leviticus 18: 6-19 :

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover [their] nakedness: I [am] the LORD.

The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she [is] thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father's nakedness.

The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, [whether she be] born at home, or born abroad, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs [is] thine own nakedness.

The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she [is] thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she [is] thy father's near kinswoman.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she [is] thy mother's near kinswoman.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she [is] thine aunt.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she [is] thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it [is] thy brother's nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; [for] they [are] her near kinswomen: it [is] wickedness.

Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [her], to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].

Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lefty Jane Hamsher Mocks TSA Stooge Pistole as a "Genius"

In the story here.

But her reasoning is as muddled as Pistole's. 

National Opt Out Day is not about opting out of enhanced pat downs, as Pistole seems to present it. It's about opting out of the scanners and forcing delays through long pat down lines to protest the scanners.

A person refusing a pat down will be escorted out of the airport, says Pistole. If he tries to come back in, it will be considered a security breach and make himself subject to arrest. But the protestors aren't going to refuse the pat downs. They're going to refuse the scans.

And why does Hamsher think this telegraphs to a terrorist posing as a protestor how to shut down the airport? He could, but he'll also get arrested in the process. Hardly worth blowing one's cover for, is it?

The interesting thing is Pistole's focus on the pat downs. That shows how important they are to the TSA. Without the threat of them, the public would not easily comply with the scanners.

It's all about humiliating and subjugating the resident population. They think you are sheep and intend to treat you like sheep, to get you to do what they want.

So, whatever it is they want, opt out of it. It's that simple.

Uncalled House Races Update: CA-20 and NY-25

Real Clear Politics is showing CA-20 to be a Democrat hold tonight. The Hill says incumbent Democrat Jim Costa had picked up 3000 votes in the interim since the election, even though as of November 9 the totals showed Costa had trailed the Republican challenger Vidak by 27 votes. Vidak apparently had not yet conceded.

RCP also shows NY-25 to be a GOP pick up over incumbent Democrat Maffei, an Obama freshman, who conceded to the Republican challenger Buerkle after Buerkle's tally was trimmed only by roughly a hundred votes from the 659 vote lead she had as of November 10.

So the net Republican gain now stands at 63 with two races still not called: NY-1 and CA-11.

Rep. Ron Paul (TX-14) Calls For Airline Boycott

He's tired of getting frisked, over and over again. He's calling on Americans to boycott airline travel until the TSA gets reined in.

The story is here.

Napolitano, Like TSA Head Pistole, Wants Scanners Everywhere

I told you so.

The story is reported here in "Next Step For Body Scanners Could Be Trains, Boats, Metro":

“[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,” Napolitano said in an interview that aired Monday night on "Charlie Rose." 

“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”

These people will stop at nothing until your every movement is no longer free.

If you want the country you remember, you must stop Obama and company now before it is too late.

I-90 Will Be Closed Tomorrow Across South Dakota

A 200 ton lump of coal is headed for Mt. Rushmore for some reason.

TSA: Stands For?

Tough shit, America!

Security Theatre with Jeffrey Goldberg

If you haven't read "The Things He Carried" by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic, November 2008, here, you should. 

He successfully sneaked the following past security and onto aircraft at major airports all across America:
pocketknives, matches from hotels in Muslim countries, dust masks, rope, cigarette lighters, an 8 oz. tube of toothpaste in a front pants pocket, box cutters, a Beerbelly wrapped around his stomach containing two cans of beer, and a variety of terrorist-themed souvenirs.

Oh yeah. He also tore up fake boarding passes in full view in a bathroom and no one reported him. And he used one to get on a plane with a 12 oz. bottle of saline no one verified was saline.

The TSA's Goal is Humiliation, not Security

"[T]he effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check."

-- Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, October 29, 2010, here 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The M/O of Tyranny: Crush Resistance, Enlist Accomplices, Screw Slowly

As Barack Obama transforms the creations of George Bush into the architecture of the national security state, it is well to remember how the process worked in another time, another place, for clues about what one could expect as the TSA tightens its grip on the American people:

There were perhaps three key factors to the success of the anti-Jewish measures in Holland. First, the initial wave of public protest on the part of the Dutch population was immediately and ruthlessly suppressed with extremely severe reprisals. From that point on protest became a more private matter, conducted largely by small underground groups engaged in sabotage against the Germans, or in aiding Nazi victims, particularly Jews, to hide or escape. As public protest disappeared, the Germans were encouraged to proceed with their systematic plan to empty the Jews from Holland.

The second factor was the German device of setting up a Jewish Council, the Joodsche Raad, composed of a group of prominent middle-class Jewish leaders, for the purpose of conveying German commands efficiently to the Jewish population. The Jewish leaders reasoned among themselves, as they did in other occupied countries, that their role in keeping the channels of communication with their German oppressers open, and of maintaining law and order in the newly formed chaotic ghetto population of uprooted families, would help the bereft Jews more than harm them. In retrospect it is easy to see how wrong they were, as the Council quickly became the unwitting tool of the German destruction machinery, actually delivering the Jews directly to the German deportation trains.

The third factor was the gradual nature of the implementation of the anti-Jewish measures, which lulled Jew and non-Jew alike into believing that despite the difficulties and inconveniences, things weren't that bad, and the Germans' demands could be accommodated. The common feeling was that the Germans would certainly lose the war and it was just a matter of waiting out the interim as best as possible. With this in mind, a great many Dutch Jews willingly reported to the trains, which they believed would take them to work camps where they would labor for the Reich.

Learn more from this episode here.

Well Known Politicos Profited as Employees of Scanner Companies

So says USA Today, here:

Linda Daschle, wife of Democrat Senator Tom Daschle, lobbyist for L-3 Communications;
Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security under George Bush, paid consultant to Rapiscan Systems;
Beth Spivey, former aide to Republican Senator Trent Lott, lobbyist for Rapiscan Systems. 

"I Want to Take TSA to the Next Level"

So said the new head of the TSA, John Pistole, in July, quoted here in USA Today.

That means security gauntlets at subway and rail stations, here, in America:

"Given the list of threats on subways and rails over the last six years going on seven years, we know that some terrorist groups see rail and subways as being more vulnerable because there's not the type of screening that you find in aviation," he said. "From my perspective, that is an equally important threat area."

The architecture of the national security state is being planned before our very eyes. George Bush started it. Barack Obama is transforming it. The airport scanners are only the tip of the iceberg. Americans must stop this march to tyranny before it is too late.

Question authority! Resist! Boycott! Protest! And above all, arm yourselves, and learn how.

Think if their motto had been "Every Jew a .22," instead of this:

Look at them. Some in proper hats, suits, ties, and pocket squares, dutifully complying with the law, lining up for death. The most civilized peoples, Christians of high culture, all over Europe watched and participated in the systematic extermination of scapegoats.

They say it can't happen here. 

How did it happen there?

Biochemist Warned White House in April Scanners May Threaten Skin Cancer

A group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) raised concerns about the "potential serious health risks" from the scanners in a letter sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology in April.

Biochemist John Sedat and his colleagues said in the letter that most of the energy from the scanners is delivered to the skin and underlying tissue.

"While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high," they wrote.

More here from Agence France-Presse.

TSA Wrote to Complainer: Find a Different Form of Transportation

Reported here about this woman:

Miernik said the worst experience she had came when her 7-year-old granddaughter was at the airport with her. When her granddaughter saw the pat down, “She went ‘Grandmama, they touched you on your special girl spots.’”

Miernik was mortified, as was her granddaughter, she said.. She believes the pat downs are unnecessarily intrusive, and she hasn’t even experienced the “more aggressive” pat downs the TSA started employing Oct. 29.

“If this happened to me in college on a date, I would have called the police,” Miernik said.

According to the US Code here, the TSA's mandate involves security for all transportation which comes under the jurisdiction of the federal Dept. of Transportation, not just airline transportation:

How long will it be before the invasive procedures of the TSA affect every other way we get around in this country?

ABC News Employee Gets Free OB-GYN Exam From TSA

An ABC News employee said she was subject to a "demeaning" search at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday morning.

"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," she said. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."

That search was against protocols and "never" should have happened, TSA Administrator John Pistole told "Good Morning America" today.

Lots more here, summarizing similar incidents in recent days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes Sir, Right Away Sir

TSA Throws Down the Gauntlet to National Opt Out Day

John Lantigua for The Palm Beach Post here reports that the TSA says it owns your ass until they say so if you enter the airport checkpoint.

Refuse the naked scan and refuse the enhanced pat down sexual molestation and it won't just be a simple matter of not flying. You won't get to leave the checkpoint area until they say so, and if you do leave before they say so, you face fines up to $11,000 and arrest. In addition, police may be called in to determine whether there is probable cause to search you anyway.

This is pure intimidation.

The only way to stop this is going to be economic, by boycotting all air travel until the airlines and the politicians feel the pain.

The American people are not the enemy. Muslim extremists are the enemy. Go after them, not us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Selling China The Rope They'll Hang Us With

Pat Buchanan still isn't finished ridiculing the 20th century Republican party, trying to get it to remember what it used to be:

The policy the Chinese are pursuing, economic nationalism, was virtually invented by the Republican Party. Protectionism was the declared policy of the GOP from the day its first president took office in 1861 to the day Calvin Coolidge left in 1929.

Free trade was the policy of a Great Britain whose clocks those generations of Americans cleaned, even as the Chinese are cleaning ours.

Read more from "Who Fed the Tiger?" here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go Ahead, Line Up for the Airport Scanners. They Would Have, Too.

Representative Ted Poe (TX-2) On Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Quoted in TheHill.com, here:

"There is no evidence these new body scanners make us more secure. But there is evidence that former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff made money hawking these full body scanners."

"[T]he populace is giving up more rights in the name of alleged security. These body scanners are a violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures ... There must be a better way to have security at airports than taking pornographic photographs of our citizens, including children, and then giving apparent kickbacks to political hacks."

You rock, Ted.

Burritos? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Burritos!

In China, Those Who Mock Japan Bashers Go to Labor Camp

Reminding us yet again that political correctness and totalitarianism go together like a horse and carriage:

A Chinese woman has been sentenced to a year in a labor camp for retweeting a Twitter post that mocked Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products during a recent demonstration, her fiance said Thursday.

CNN.com has the story at this link.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. Hasn't Gotten It For Years

That whole freedom thing kind of glazed over years ago when he picked up his ball and left the midwest for the beltway.

Here he defends the scanners and the groping, and joins the sheeple:

The other day, a CBS News poll found that 81 percent of Americans approve of the use of the high-tech machines at airports, but that means nothing to Drudge. How many more Americans would welcome a soothing pat-down midst the hurly-burly of travel at our nation's stress-filled airports I do not know, but count me in -- especially if the patter-downer is a cute little number on the order of, say, Sarah Palin.

Yes, and the majority of Americans were loyalists and against independence in 1776, too.

Count me in, er, out. Well, you know what I mean. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unemployment Tab to Date is $319 Billion

The cost of unemployment benefits already paid over the last three years has soared to $319 billion, according to this story from CNNMoney.com, $109 billion of which has been federally funded borrowed, and $41 billion of which to date the states have had to borrow from the feds.

Employers face $26 billion in new taxes by 2015 to replenish and pay back the depleted and borrowed funds, which represents an increase of 68% from the $38 billion businesses paid in 2009.

Another reason jobs are in short supply.

Strict Control on Internal Travel The Hallmark of a Police State

It starts under the appearance of protecting the public, until the public becomes the enemy and the protection becomes tyranny.

From The Washington Times editorial page:

Once freedom at airports is "locked down," it's inevitable that TSA will next target buses, trains and the Metro. After all, al Qaeda has attacked each of these modes of transportation in other parts of the world. Strict controls on internal travel is the hallmark of a police state.

Read the rest at this link.

Uncalled House Races Update: Republican Wins in IL-8

CNN.com reports here that the incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean has conceded to the Republican challenger Walsh in the IL-8 House district race.

It appears that Walsh won by fewer than 500 votes in the race where a third party Green candidate siphoned-off 3% of the vote on the Democrat's left.

That would give the Republicans a net gain of 62 seats in the US House, with four races still to be decided: CA-11, CA-20, NY-25 and NY-1.

Real Clear Politics also shows IL-8 a Republican pick-up overnight. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Federal Workers Owed $3.3 Billion in Delinquent Taxes in 2009

US Postal Service employees were $283 million plus in arrears.

Department of Veterans Affairs workers were behind $156 million plus.

Retired military personnel were delinquent by more than $1.5 billion.

Executive office workers from The White House owed more than $831,000 in back taxes.

CNBC.com has the story here.

Scanners and Gropes are Beneath You, America

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin, 1755

TSA Thugs Think Airports Are No Longer Part Of America

The constitution no longer applies in the airport, according to the TSA, and also apparently according to the courts, so if you just plan to buy a ticket to fly like John "if you touch my junk" Tyner,  that simple commercial transaction now means you are relinquishing your rights under the constitution:

Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor on tape, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.” ...

According to [Michael J.] Aguilar, [TSA Chief, San Diego], Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving. ...

Aguilar said that once a passenger enters the security area, there is a legal obligation to follow through with the process.

So by buying a plane ticket and entering the airport, you become the TSA's slave, in their view.

The complete story from The San Diego Union Tribune is here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Golden Fact of the Day

From James Grant in The New York Times:

From 1900 to 2009, at much lower nominal gold prices than those prevailing today, the worldwide stock of gold grew at 1.5 percent a year, according to the United States Geological Survey and the World Gold Council.

Fascinating reading, here.

Refuse the Backscatter Scanner, Get Felt Up

As reported here:

“They’re feeling up old ladies and children and they’re calling it security, but it’s not security,” said Babb, 

Bank Failure Update: FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund Balance is Minus $19.8 Billion

The insolvent banks are being bailed out by an insolvent FDIC.

From Richard Suttmeier for Minyanville, here:

The FDIC Deposit Insurance fund has now been drained by $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter to date, which brings the DIF Deficit to an estimated $19.8 billion. The FDIC has already burned through the assessments for 2010. The assessments for 2011 and 2012 have been pre-paid at $15.33 billion per year. ...

The three failed banks last Friday had extreme overexposures to C&D and CRE loans. C&D exposures for the three overexposed were between 143.7% and 654.7% versus the 100% regulatory guideline. The CRE exposures were between 896% and 1397% versus the 300% of risk-based capital regulatory guideline. The CRE loan pipelines were between 96% and 99% funded versus a healthy pipeline of 60%.

Unreasonable Search: You're Guilty Until Proven Innocent By The TSA

The San Diego Union Tribune details the story of John Tyner, who told the incompetent and authoritarian TSA, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested":

Tyner points out that every terrorist act on an airplane has been halted by passengers. "It's time to stop treating passengers like criminals and start treating them as assets," he said.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Uncalled House Races Update: Republican Challenger in KY-6 Concedes

As reported here, the Democrat Chandler holds on to his seat, winning by less than 700 votes.

The Republican net gain continues at 61 seats, with 5 uncalled races: CA-11, CA-20, IL-8, NY-25, and NY-1.

Massive Social Security Hearings Backlog: Millions Waiting, Many More Than Two Years

Sure that Obamacare thing will be different. You won't have to wait that long. Maybe only half as much! You can live with that hernia for a year, right?

As reported here:

A Senate subcommittee is expected to hear testimony on Monday at a field hearing in Akron, Ohio, about the rising number of threats, as well as the status of the massive backlog in applications for disability benefits, which are available to people who can't work because of medical problems.

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for benefits, with many having to wait more than two years to see their first payment.

This Is The Way We Check You Out, Check You Out, Check You Out

Boycott the Airlines Until the Scanners and the Gropers Come Out

From Steve Chapman for The Chicago Tribune, here:

The good news is that last year, the House of Representatives voted to bar the use of whole-body scanners for routine screening. But only a sustained public outcry will force a change.

We will soon find out if there is a limit to the sacrifices of personal freedom that Americans will endure in the name of fighting terrorism. If we don't say no when they want to inspect and handle our private parts, when will we?

S&P 500 Fair Value is 900

So says Jeremy Grantham, here.

Defining Middle Class

Maureen Callahan for The New York Post takes a look at the big squeeze of the middle class in "Class Dismissed: Why Middle Income Jobs Are Not Coming Back."

Here's an excerpt:

‘I don’t know if I’m middle class anymore,” says Mark Lieber, 54. “From what I read, if you’re earning over $150,000, you’re in the top 5% of earners.” He echoes Francese: “In New York, that’s not rich.”

Here's how you know you're solidly middle class:

You retired last year at age 65 and your last salary was $107,000. You own your 3 bedroom house and one car outright, you're still married to your first wife who never earned a paycheck but raised your four kids, for whose college educations and the weddings of two who were girls you paid (mostly), and you have no debt and about $391,000 socked away in cash.

That's the territory between the third and fourth income quintiles from 1980, adjusted for inflation.

Know anyone like that?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Time to Get Serious About Coastal Defense is Long Past

In the summer of 2009, after Russian nuclear submarines were detected only 200 miles off our East coast, one commentator on the subsequent news story which bragged about our ability to detect  two  boats thought saying nothing about it would have been smarter in the absence of an official recommendation that the US actually beef up its coastal defenses with conventional defensive submarines. The reason? They're might have been three Russian subs.

The US military's response to the California mystery missile incident 35 miles off the coast of Los Angeles on Monday hardly inspired more confidence. We should have said nothing at all. Instead we said we didn't know what it was. Piling on to the airplane contrail theory a day later only made that worse, giving the impression the military was grasping at straws.

Unfortunately, from the commander in chief on down our government and military give the impression of being run by un-serious people. From the delay measured in days in responding to the Christmas Day underwear bomber to telegraphing our disengagement schedules in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's as if matters of war and peace are at best distractions from the really important matters like Obamacare, repealing DADT and defending the Ground Zero Mosque.

We could learn something about coastal defense from the Chinese, who understand the realities of American forward air, surface and submarine operations off their waters all too well. They have embarked on an ambitious naval modernization to counter our activities, which includes a commitment to robust coastal defense and power projection with submarines of varying designs. One such submarine, a Song, punked the USS Kitty Hawk in October 2006 over there, and it may be that Monday's incident over here was the work of a lately launched submarine of more recent design:

As other nations continue to develop naval capabilities we need to recognize that the operation of submarines off the US coast is going to become more common, not less. Indeed, what is the first thing China will do when tensions at sea rise over Taiwan or some other matter? Most likely, the deployment of submarines off the coast of Guam, Sasebo, Pearl Harbor, and if the PLA Navy has any strategic thinking at all, San Diego. ...

But this is what the US Navy needs to think about... the submarines off Guam, Sasebo, and Pearl Harbor can be Yuan class, because Yuans appear to have much better endurance for submerged operations than Song class submarines do, but for west coast operations it will be nuclear submarines.

Whether or not a missile was fired off the California coast this week to send such a message to America, we'd better get busy and start preparing for defensive submarine operations ourselves. Because sooner or later, Chinese boomers will come calling on the west coast just like the Russians do on the east.

 But we'll have to get serious first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who Said It?

"We can’t constantly explain to our voters that taxpayers have to be on the hook for certain risks, rather than those who make a lot of money taking those risks."

-- Barack Obama Angela Merkel

To Hell With The TSA

"We spend my child's whole life telling him that only mom, dad and a doctor can touch you in your private area, and now we have to add TSA agent and that's just wrong," he told Reuters. "At some point the terrorists have won."

More here.

Uncalled House Race Update: VA-11 a Democrat Hold

Real Clear Politics has been showing this race a Democrat hold since yesterday.

Politics Daily shows the incumbent Democrat Connolly with just 920 votes more than the Republican challenger Fimian.

Three third party candidates could be blamed for the Republican's loss. The Independent garnered 1,838 votes, the Libertarian 1,381 votes, and the Green 959 votes. All together those votes represented barely 1.75% of all votes cast.

Net Republican gains remain at 61 with 6 races still not called: CA-11, CA-20, IL-8, KY-6, NY-25 and NY-1.

Was Monday's California Missile Launch a Chinese Cruise Missile?

Did history just rhyme on Monday with an incident which embarrassed the US Navy back in October 2006? Has the People's Liberation Army been (California) dreamin' about this since 1996?

Consider this from James Kraska, a former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

In 1999, the PLA Navy introduced the sophisticated Song-class diesel electric submarine. Reportedly quieter than the fast attack US Los Angeles-class boats, the Song was equipped with wake-homing torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles. In one incident in October 2006, one of the ultra-quiet Song submarines surfaced inside the protective screen of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. Admiral Gary Roughead, who was commander of the US Pacific Fleet and who would later go on to serve as Chief of Naval Operations, was visiting China at the time of the incident. In 1996, at the end of the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, PLA General Xiong Guangkai warned a visiting US envoy, ‘‘. . . you care more about Los Angeles than you do about Taipei.’’ ...

[T]he US Pacific Fleet was in panic after the Kitty Hawk embarrassment over its vulnerability to Chinese diesel-electric boats.

In the decades after the end of the Cold War, China closed the gap in naval capability, even surpassing the United States in some areas in terms of both quantity and quality of platforms. For example, China concentrated on advancing its large diesel-electric submarine force. Sweden became the first nation to develop a diesel-electric submarine with air-independent propulsion (AIP), which extended underwater endurance from a few days to one month. The first in class of these vessels, the HMS Gotland, was leased by the US Navy for two years in order to practice anti-submarine warfare. The Gotland proved extremely quiet and effective, and AIP submarines are able to sprint under water—greatly increasing their attack radius. China integrated AIP technology into the Type 041 Yuan-class boats, which followed the Song. Having launched several of these smaller, stealthy boats each year since 2004, a decade later, the US Seventh Fleet could never be certain whether China was shadowing US vessels.

Monday's incident could have been a shot across our bow, meant to embarrass the president in his own backyard while he's visiting in theirs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cutting Paychecks of 535 Members of Congress by 10% is Silly

Do the math:

$174,000 per year

10% of which = $17,400

x 535 members of Congress = less than $10 million.

That'll really hurt the plutocrats like John Kerry and Darrell Issa.

$10 million dollars goes into a $3.5 trillion budget 350,000 times for crying out loud. It's like taking a long piss in the Pacific ocean. NO ONE WILL NOTICE!

Get serious! Cut an entire Cabinet level department or two, starting with Education.

Story here.

About Half of New Republicans Term Limit Themselves

Pure idiocy.

To paraphrase George C. Scott playing General George Patton: Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won by term-limiting himself for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard term-limit himself for it.

These dopes haven't learned a thing on the outside. Why, I'll bet they're ready to compromise on all sorts of things. Heaven help us.

I predict rising spirits among Democrats.

Politico has the story here.

Another Guy Goes on the Record that it was a Missile

According to National Journal here:

Naval expert Norman Polmar, a long-time consultant to the Navy and Pentagon, said he believes the missile was almost certainly launched by the US military. “From the video it’s clearly a land- or sea-launched ballistic missile, and it couldn’t have come from a French or British submarine, because they are only deployed in the Atlantic and Mediterranean,” he told National Journal. “Chinese submarines have never ventured farther east than Hawaii, nor have they ever successfully test fired a ballistic missile. That only leaves the Russians, but for the life of me I can’t fathom why Moscow would have a submarine sail 5,000 miles to launch a missile off the coast of California.”

I can fathom why a North Korean submarine would do it, or a Chinese submarine, especially just ahead of Obama's arrival in Seoul for the G-20 meeting.

But the capability question is still there in both cases.

Do the North Koreans have a blue water submarine, let alone the technology?

Do the Chinese have the technology?

And why would the US government lie about a test of its own?

Solid Propellant Missile From A Submarine or Surface Ship

If it wasn't a missile that's news to at least one expert, as related here:

Doug Richardson, the editor of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, examined the video for the Times of London and said he was left with little doubt. 

"It’s a solid propellant missile," he told the Times. "You can tell from the efflux [smoke]." 

Richardson said it could have been a ballistic missile launched from a submarine or an interceptor, the defensive anti-missile weapon used by Navy surface ships. 

Obama Doubles Number of Federal Workers Getting $150K or More Per Year

Dennis Cauchon for USA Today keeps on the trail of federal worker pay:

The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is National Opt-Out Day: Pass it On

Check it out here:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is NATIONAL OPT-OUT DAY!  

It's the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government's desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an "enhanced pat down" that touches people's breasts and genitals.  You should never have to explain to your children, "Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK."  

The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change.  No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping.  We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent.  This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly.

Here are the details:

    You, your family and friends traveling by air on Wednesday, November 24, 2010. 

    National Opt-Out Day.  While the government doesn't always like to advertise this, you have the ability to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines (AIT, or Advance Imaging Technology, as the government calls it).  All you have to do is say "I opt out" when they tell you to go through one of the machines.  You will then be given a pat down.

    At an airport near you!  

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  That's right: November 24 - one of the busiest travel days of the year!  We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about how a government employee molested them at the airport.  We hope the outrageous experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and demand change.  

    We are sick of "security theater."  These naked body scanners do not make us a more secure nation.  In fact, the scanners, which use radiation, may not even be safe for our long-term health.  The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants.  Why should a government employee get to see a naked scan of a passenger, and do who knows what in the back room while viewing that image?   We have already heard stories of TSA officials laughing at small genitals and making certain women go through the machines or taking off extra clothes, reducing them to tears.  This is absolutely sick behavior.  If you don't like it and don't want to be virtually strip searched, then too bad says the government.  To try and make everyone comply with the naked body scanners, the government has made the alternative worse!  With their enhanced pat downs, TSA now touches the genitals and private areas of men, women and children!  We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or feel you up just because you bought an airline ticket.  There are better, less invasive security measures that can be taken.

    By saying "I opt out" when told to go through the bodying imaging machines.  Also, be sure to have your enhanced pat down by TSA in full public - do not go to the back room when asked.  Every citizen must see for themselves how the government treats law-abiding citizens.

follow us on twitter:  http://twitter.com/nationaloptout

Arrogant Flight Attendants Want Special Treatment On Enhanced Pat-Downs

But your choice is to get scanned virtually strip-searched or groped, that's it, against your 4th Amendment rights.

Calling enhanced pat-downs by the TSA "invasive," Deborah Volpe, Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Local 66 in Phoenix, says they want a different "crew pass" procedure for flight attendants and pilots, according to a story here from ABC15 in Phoenix:

"We don't want them in uniform going through this enhanced screening where their private areas are being touched in public."

"They actually make contact with the genital area."

"They've already contacted the ACLU."

"We just feel this pat-down is a little much."

If it's a little much for you, isn't it a little much for anyone? What makes union members so special?

Want to crash the TSA? November 24 is National Opt-Out Day. Refuse the scanners. Make them feel you up. And make sure to film it and upload it to YouTube.

Pass the word: optoutday.com.

Wikipedia Article Debates Possible Role of North Koreans in Missile Launch

The article in question is about the Golf II class of submarines, which you can find here.

Here is a screen shot of the relevant passage which was removed overnight, claiming "vandalism":

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Was The Missile a Stunt from Kim Jong Mentally Ill?

Here's a theory:

Obama leaves the country on his grand Asia tour, which involves a G20 meeting in South Korea. While the cat's away, the North Koreans sneak a missile sub 35 miles off our California coast to demonstrate their ability to strike us and embarrass him, catching us flat-footed. The event gets credited to Kim Jong-Il's son, the new general and heir apparent, cementing his position with the military. Meanwhile we've got a president who's disengaged from and unrealistic about matters military whose liberal death wish could very well get us all killed. Would this have happened with a 600 ship navy under Reagan instead of the 300 ship one we have now?

The Macroeconomics of Gold

Edmund Conway has an excellent discussion of the macroeconomics of gold for The UK Telegraph here, at the heart of which is this:


Undecided Races Update: WA-2 Stays Democrat

Real Clear Politics shows the race as a Democrat hold this morning.

Politics Daily shows just 11 precincts left to be counted and 98% of the vote in with incumbent Democrat Larsen ahead of Republican challenger Koster by almost 5,500 votes.

That leaves the Republicans with a net gain of 61 seats in the US House, with 7 races still not called: CA-11, CA-20, IL-8, KY-6, NY-25, VA-11 and NY-1.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Obama Bows to Indian Parliament

The guards of a tyrant are foreigners.

Pilot Union President Urges Scanner Boycott By Pilots

In a story reported here, Captain Dave Bates objects to the scanners on both health and privacy grounds, conceding that the scans could be harmful not only to pilots but to frequent flyers, and that the opt-out procedure, the enhanced pat down, is so demeaning that if pilots have to go through that, it should occur out of view of the public.

So the guy thinks it's ok for the rest of us to get groped by uniformed government employees, and in front of everyone?!

What happened to equal treatment under the law, eh Captain?

Pilots should boycott both the scans and the pat downs, and so should the rest of us. Don't fly, period. That's the only way to get this madness stopped once and for all.

Was Centreville, Virginia, UFO Actually a Spy Drone?

The story about the appearance one day after the midterm election was reported here.

Here Come the Spy Drones

How long before they have backscatter scanners like the airports and mobile vans have to see through the roof of your home to search you without a warrant?

These aerial robots from England can hover silently for hours, and at only 3 feet in diameter can conceal themselves easily. Equipped with cameras and thermal imaging scanners, they can see you hiding in the bushes. They can track you as you drive, mow the lawn, go for a walk, or have a picnic. All your comings and goings, and those of your associates, can be tracked, recorded and studied without your knowledge or consent.

The story here says they're coming to the US.

Your freedom and privacy are being destroyed as we speak!

What are you going to do about it?

Start by boycotting every place where scanners are installed. That means not flying. And complain, loudly, until this is brought to a halt.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Of 8 More Close Uncalled House Races, 3 Look to go Republican

With a net gain to date of 61 seats, 3 more defeats of Democrat incumbents look possible.

Bloomberg.com reports similarly here:

“It’s expected that Republicans will hold on and pick up a total of 63 or 64 seats, though recounts can occasionally produce a surprise,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Vote totals taken from PoliticsDaily.com show Republican Vidak overturning Democrat Costa in CA-20 50.8% to 49.2%.

In IL-8, the Republican Walsh looks to overtake Democrat Melissa Bean 48.5% to 48.3% thanks to Green Party Scheurer siphoning off 3.2% on the Democrat incumbent's left. This was conservative Republican Phil Crane's old seat.

And in NY-25 the Republican Buerkle has a similarly razor thin lead over incumbent Democrat Maffei 50.2% to 49.8%.

Other races don't look as promising for Republicans, close as they are.

A constitutionalist third party candidate in CA-11 has managed 5% of the vote in a race leaning to the incumbent Democrat McNerney over the Republican Harmer by just .3%.

Incumbent Democrat Chandler in KY-6 has a .2% lead over Republican challenger Barr.

Three third parties in VA-11 have bled off 1.8% of the vote in favor of the Democrat incumbent Connolly vs. Republican Fimian who trails by .4% of the vote. Libertarian and Green parties strike again.

WA-2 is a different matter with 95% of the precincts reporting because of voting by mail. The Democrat Larsen is ahead of Republican Koster 50.7% to 49.3%.

The race in NY-1 has looked like Democrat incumbent Bishop's over Republican Altshuler 51% to 49% until the report of a closer count in the Bloomberg story. The Republican says many absentee ballots have not yet been counted. 

Third Party Candidates in Colorado Senate Race Hand Victory to Democrat Bennet

Where the difference between the Democrat winning and the Republican losing was only 16,000 votes.

The Independent Reform candidate, a self-described social liberal and economic conservative, in other words a libertarian, siphoned off 18,000 votes. A non-originalist crank, he thought two bad innovations of the past have been good for the country, as in this:

The graduated income tax and direct election of senators were originally third party ideas adopted by the major parties to win back votes.

The Libertarian Party candidate in the race bled off 21,000 votes.

Two unaffiliated candidates trying to capitalize on opposition to bailouts and ineffective stimulus spending siphoned off another 16,000 between them. One was a dope advocate who subsequently took credit for stopping the election of the Republican Buck.

That's 55,000 votes on the more or less economic right to the environmentalist wacko Greens on the left who bled off 36,000 votes of their own.

Stronger candidates from the two major parties admittedly would have reduced this hemorrhaging. On the right, however, it's evidence of the voters' justifiable distrust of the Republican commitment to economic conservatism. 

If You Opt Out of Airport Naked Scans, Prepare to be Otherwise Intimidated

From Joe Sharkey for The New York Times here:

I have always disliked uniformed authorities shouting at me. So I was unhappy last week when some security screeners at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago started yelling.

“Opt out! We got an opt out!” one bellowed about me in a tone that people in my desert neighborhood in Tucson usually reserve for declaring, “Rattlesnake!”

Other screeners took up the “Opt out!” shout.

Sheeple. Led to the slaughter.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TSA Fondles Women and Children Refusing Airport Naked Body Scanners

Resist the government and the airlines by not flying! Don't submit! Boycott air travel until the scanners come out! The terrorists are laughing at us.

See why here.

Traveling to India: Outlandish, Luxurious, Unprecedented

"Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America."

-- The UK Daily Mail, here

4 Libertarians, 1 Conservative Cost Republicans 5 Victories in US House

In AZ-8, the Libertarian took 4% of the vote in a 2 point race between Democrat Giffords and Republican Kelly.

In IN-2, the Libertarian took 5% of the vote in a 1 point race between Democrat Donnelly and Republican Walorski.

In IA-1, the Libertarian took 2% of the vote in a 1 point race between Democrat Braley and Republican Lange.

In MO-3, the Libertarian took 3% of the vote in a 2 point race between Democrat Carnahan and Republican Martin.

And in NY-23, the Conservative Hoffman took 6% of the vote in a 2 point race between Democrat Owens and Republican Doheny.

By garnering less than 40,000 votes these pests managed to disappoint the hopes of half a million Republicans in just five races. Democrats just love third parties.


Net Republican Pickups 61

Republican pickups number 64 gross, but the net must subtract Democrat pickups, which were 3: the at-large seat in Delaware vacated by primary defeated Mike Castle in the Senate race, Abercrombie's seat in Hawaii only very temporarily occupied by a Republican, and Cao's seat in Louisiana, who lost as the only Republican voting for Obamacare.

So net 61 Republican pickups, as shown at Real Clear Politics, with 8 races still not called.

Uncalled Races Update

Looks like NY-1 all of a sudden goes into the undecided category, with Real Clear Politics this morning showing Bishop vs. Altshuler at 50-50.

The others are (Democrat vs. Republican):

CA-11, McNerney vs. Harmer, 48-47
CA-20, Costa vs. Vidak, 49-51
IL-8, Bean vs. Walsh, 48-49
KY-6, Chandler vs. Barr, 50-50
NY-25, Maffei vs. Buerkle, 51-49
VA-11, Connolly vs. Fimian, 49-49
WA-2, Larsen vs. Koster, 50-50.

So we're back to 8, not 7, uncalled. Republicans still have 64 pickups.