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October 2007
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THE ULTIMATE CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT

Forget Barbra Streisand and her Hillary Clinton endorsement: so diva Streisand sings well and is not so personable... and it doesn't change the fact that Hillary is shrill, ethically challenged, power mad and will do or say anything to get elected...

Forget Oprah Winfrey and her Barack Obama endorsement -- so Oprah is talented, personable and sells lots of books to middle-aged women... and it doesn't change the fact that Obama is a junior Senator, elected on a fluke and has no real experience in domestic or foreign policy...

And who would want George Clooney, Brangelina Pitt, TomKat Cruise or Ben Affleck?

Mike Huckabee has secured the ultimate celebrity endorsement with a straight shooting blue collar icon: Chuck Norris! 


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



ONCE AGAIN THE UN DISTORTS GLOBAL WARMING DATA FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

I have always questioned the motives of the United Nations and their attempt to further their political and financial control over sovereign nations such as the United States.

With cherry-picked statistics and horror stories based on the outliers (extreme cases) of their flawed computer models, they prattle on and on about global warming.

One example of this deliberate omission of critical research data involves the satellite temperature measurement program which has produced scientific and statistically relevant data which disagrees with the selected data points and massaged time periods used in United Nation's reports.

I have mentioned this discrepancy a number of times, the most recent of which can be found at the following links.

One Citizen Speaking...: UN official warns of ignoring warming ...

... considering that the satellite observations differ greatly from the terrestrial measurements, the fact that the mathematical models used for predictions ...
www.onecitizenspeaking.com/2007/11/un-official-war.html

One Citizen Speaking...: Books

While there are problems with historic global terrestrial temperature measurements, you very rarely find anyone willing to discuss the current satellite ...
www.onecitizenspeaking.com/books/

One Citizen Speaking...: I CAN'T WAIT: UNITED NATIONS TO RELEASE ...

Ask these all-knowing politicians and their paid scientists exactly why is it that the satellite weather observations (which are much more accurate) do not ...
www.onecitizenspeaking.com/2007/11/i-cant-wait-uni.html

One Citizen Speaking...: THE GRAND SCHEME: CONGRESS IS ABOUT TO ...

Three, why the satellite temperature observations show a major variance with the terrestrial observations. And four, the earthly benefits to be derived from ...
www.onecitizenspeaking.com/2007/10/the-grand-schem.html

And now another voice, that of Christopher Booker, is also noting that the United Nations' IPCC is ignoring the satellite data.

We are set on a course of 'planet saving' madness -- Christopher Booker

"The scare over global warming, and our politicians' response to it, is becoming ever more bizarre. On the one hand we have the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up with yet another of its notoriously politicized reports, hyping up the scare by claiming that world surface temperatures have been higher in 11 of the past 12 years (1995-2006) than ever previously recorded."

Apparently, politicians and businessmen of all backgrounds have signed on to this nonsense as a way to enrich both their organizations and themselves as the expense of the hard working citizens of industrialized nations.

"This carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934."

The old adage that while "figures don't lie, but liars do figure" has never been truer as these scientific frauds manipulate time frames and perform certain adjustments to the calculations in order to arrive at numbers which seems to support their thesis. However, no fancy numbers are needed to debunk their findings. It can be done with any Excel-like spreadsheet that will allow you to list two variables (temperature and carbon dioxide) and compute the correlation between the two variables and the relationship between the variables themselves. Taking the time and trouble to do this, you may find that CO2 does not lead temperature rise but actually lags temperature rise by 800-1000 years. And CO2, as a greenhouse gas, is about one-tenth as influential on temperature as is simple water vapor such as that found in clouds. In fact, the CO2 dissolved in our oceans and atmospheric CO2 is somewhat constant and varies with the vapor pressure found over the oceans. Thus is forms sort of a self-regulating feedback loop.

If these poseurs who purport to be independent scientists were to be honest, the greatest determination of temperature remains the output of the sun, the surface reflectivity of the earth and the greenhouse gases which trap heat. The exact correlation between the factors is yet to be codified and experimentally tested.

Yes, there is global climate change. It has been happening since the dawn of time and appears to be cyclical in nature. Unfortunately, we cannot determine the periodicity of the cycle and when the temperature will regress towards the mean and move towards the other direction. Science is not performed by consensus, especially by those scientists who are seeking funding of their research from governmental and non-governmental sources with a not-so-hidden agenda.

This process has been occurring for a long, long time and there is plenty of time to study the phenomenon. Those who will distort the facts and create scary scenarios need to create a mind-numbing panic that will allow various political entities to plunder the public coffers without the citizen's raising a ruckus over the overblown hype.

I can hardly understand why a charlatan such as Al Gore is not pressed to provide proof of his assertions that man can affect the global warming phenomenon... as well as justify the disruption to the lives and hard-earned wages of Americans who will be further regulated and taxed to support this suspicious and bogus scientific fraud. When all is said and done, it is my belief that Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner, will go down in history as one of the world's best con men or be remembered as the failed politician who fronted the world's biggest scientific hoax of the century.

What can YOU do?

Ignore the corrupt mostly anti-American politicians that run the United Nations and who are trying damage the United States economy for their own nefarious purposes.

Demand the candidates and elected officials establish a non-political "climate change" panel to review all of the current scientific findings as well as study the social, economic and political impact of implementing near-worthless controls over Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Christopher Booker: Planet-saving madness|U.K. Telegraph


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



THE ONE QUESTION THAT COULD ELIMINATE HILLARY CLINTON AS A SERIOUS CANDIDATE

No,  it has nothing to do with her shrill, mean-looking demeanor, polarizing nature or the numerous scandals and crazy-making events she has been involved in.

It is a simple question, apparently first asked by columnist John Hawkins, the professional blogger who runs Conservative Grapevine and Right Wing News.

IS HILLARY CLINTON THE NEW KEVIN FEDERLINE?

Kevin, as you are constantly reminded, is a man of modest talents, but is famous primarily for marrying media-magnet and supremely talented Britney Spears. Federline was given every opportunity to rise to the occasion, but apparently failed at achieving his own "break-away" fame and fortune.

Hawkins asks, "If a CEO of a fortune 500 company were to retire, would anyone seriously consider his wife to be an adequate replacement simply because she was married to him when he ran the company? What about a Super Bowl winning football team? What do you think the reaction of their fans would be if their coach's wife was being seriously discussed as his replacement?"

Considering the number of times Hillary has leaned on Bill Clinton for advice, support and to defend her against the so-called "rightwing meanies," is there any reason that we should elect a co-dependent candidate who would bring Bill and his corrupt entourage back onto the world stage?

An old politician's trick...

Well know in political circles is the old politician's trick of re-framing the situation. This is where a politician, such as Hillary, will re-frame her White House occupancy to indicate experience. Unfortunately there are not enough rational thinkers or honest reporters to point out that mere occupancy does not convey experience in handling either the government's domestic or foreign affairs any more than an executive's secretary, who closely observes the executive's behavior up close and personal, is qualified to replace the boss when he move onward and upward.

Just as no rational person would purchase stock in a company where the executive's secretary assumed power, no rational person should vote for Hillary based on her "non-existent" experience.

Hawkins continues with a few other sage observations...   

"But isn't Hillary Clinton is a brilliant politician in her own right? Oh, please. She has been involved in more scandals than the whole rest of the Democratic and Republican fields combined, she's a participant in an off-putting sham marriage, she has minimal charisma, she is one of the most polarizing figures in politics, she has a reputation as a shameless liar, and so far, in her entire tenure in the Senate, she has never once accomplished anything of great significance or displayed notable leadership on any issue."

"However, if you listen to the talking heads on TV, she's talked about as if she's a political genius."

"Does it make you a political genius to poll test every publicly stated position you have and then script out a response that allows you to change your position and go the other way if public opinion changes or, more importantly, if you think you can get away with it? Maybe it does -- if you can come across as being genuine while you do it."

"But, Hillary comes across as exactly what she is: An amoral shrew who's willing to lie about anything and everything, destroy the lives of people who get in her way, and help cover up and enable the frequent affairs of her husband, all because she has an all-consuming urge to achieve power for power's sake -- and that's just what liberal Democrats like John Edwards and Maureen Dowd think of her."

What can YOU do?

Never vote for someone who will apparently say or do anything to get elected and then, once safely in office, pursue a stated agenda that is overwhelmingly Marxists or socialist in nature.

Examine the actual record of the politician who is attempting to misdirect you by claiming accomplishments or associations to accomplishments were were clearly garnered by being in the vicinity -- an observant bystander who may have had an opinion, but was merely an observer to history, not a full-fledged participant.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Does Marrying Bill Clinton Qualify Someone To Be President?


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



DIVA POWER: CELEBRITIES GOING POLITICAL TO ENHANCE THEIR REPUTATIONS?

Most celebrities are like little children: they will do and say anything which brings them attention and seems to enhance their position on the world stage. Some of them may actually believe the tripe that they are spewing and actually like the candidates that they promoting.

In her latest foray into the political limelight, diva Barbra Streisand and notorious FOB (Friend of Bill) now claims that she has anointed Hillary Clinton as her choice for the democrat presidential candidate. According to the pundits, the real story may be "How close a friend Streisand was to Bill Clinton and was she alone in the Lincoln Bedroom?" For a list of the others who were granted this privilege, the list can be found here.

Unfortunately, as great as her talent as a singer, Streisand's sometime incoherent thoughts on politics appear to mark her as a featherweight on substantive issues and more of a follower of political candidates than serious observer of our currently troubled times.

Of course, Oprah Winfrey, a significant star with a tremendous amount of talent, is backing Barack Obama. I would be interested in knowing why Oprah believes why a junior Senator with little or no real life political and governance experience is worthy of her significant endorsement. I would like Oprah to step out of character and explain why her support goes beyond the obvious "race" issue.

And then you have George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, and the other wing nuts such as Sean Penn and Danny Glover.

It is still extremely difficult for me to believe that their support of the political system is any more than an extension of their narcissistic "it's all about me" tendency to stay in the spotlight while appearing politically knowledgeable and "relevant."  A mutual lovefest between the candidates who will do and say anything to reel in large political donors with superb media access and the easily corrupted stars.

Streisand spins her own version of reality...

To find out what Streisand thinks of herself and other news, one should really visit her blog's "Truth Alert Section." (You may be able to spot the entries that weren't written personally as her entries usually contain misspellings and grammatical errors as well as lack of subject matter knowledge.) Here is one of my favorite posts...

"What did the Republicans 'Drudge' Up Today?"

"The Distortion"

"STREISAND BOUGHT 800 SHARES OF CHENEY'S HALLIBURTON "
Drudge Report, October 3, 2002

Matt Drudge in his report stated "Streisand bought and traded 800 shares of Halliburton while Dick Cheney was its Chief Executive."

"The Truth"

"WHAT DID THE REPUBLICANS 'DRUDGE' UP TODAY?"

"How low will Republicans stoop to try to stifle the voice of singer, director, actress, activist Barbra Streisand? Today's low blow has them rummaging through the tax returns of her charitable foundation. The Streisand Foundation gives away money to organizations that work to protect the environment, our civil liberties, the rights of women and children, and fight against nuclear proliferation. The Streisand Foundation's money is handled by an outside investment adviser who, at his discretion, buys and sells stocks and bonds to support the foundation. Unfortunately, since this administration took over, the foundation has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars that would otherwise go to worthwhile causes. Before Dick Cheney became Vice President, 800 shares of Halliburton were purchased for the foundation in April of 1999. All were sold in 2000 with a loss of $1,288 dollars."

Apparently Drudge had the item right and all Streisand offers is further confirmation of the underlying facts while attempting to spin the story to her advantage. How typical of a limousine liberal to portray herself as a victim of a press attack -- and then attribute the attack to the Republican Party?

About the stock picking issue -- does anybody believe that the legendarily "cheap" Streisand does not watch over her own investments with a gimlet eye?

From her own blog... (8/5/99)...

New York Post Again Misrepresents Streisand Investments - "Barbra's Sinking Feeling"

"The many fans of Barbra Streisand may have to start passing the hat. On June 23, I reported that the diva's self-managed stock portfolio had sunk by 15 percent since she was written up as an investment maven by Fortune magazine. Well, things have gotten worse. Barbra's investments are now down 32.5 percent since our benchmark date of April 30. In the same period, the Dow Jones was off only 1.4. percent and the Nasdaq was up 1.8 percent."

"TRUTH"

"They are wrong again...very wrong! In fact, the portfolio that Ms. Streisand personally manages continues to outperform the S&P 500 index by more than double. Most of the country's professional money managers haven't been able to beat the S&P at all! The New York Post, a conservative newspaper, obviously wants to discredit Ms. Streisand's intelligence. Maybe they are anticipating her supporting Democrats in the upcoming elections. "

Again, Streisand is the victim of scurrilous press coverage. But does she understand that this blog post also seems to confirm the personal nature of her stock choices?

In Hollywood it is all about the triumph of style over substance, where perception trumps reality. In short it is always about: ME ME ME ME ME ME!  Or as the old joke goes: "Enough about me, what do you think of my watch?"

What can YOU do?

Remember, with celebrities, it is all about them and their feelings. They are continually preening and seeking media coverage. Being associated with political parties only enhances their media "face time" and allows them to capitalize on political perks should their party or candidate win.

A famous director once said, just because you have a large megaphone, it makes you loud -- but not necessarily right!" Celebrities with the media exposure, some would argue overexposure, are loud -- but you must judge for yourself if they are right.

Do not support any celebrity who makes anti-American statements on foreign soil. Statements which can be used by America's enemies as they propagandize their corrupt regimes. The classic example: Jane Fonda, the modern-day Tokyo Rose," sitting on an anti-Aircraft gun deployed to kill Americans and waffling about peace in enemy territory (North Vietnam) in apparent support of the Communist  regime -- while John McCain was being tortured in prison. Consider the visits to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez to be tantamount to, at least in my mind, aiding and abetting the enemy.

Do not confuse the celebrity's life with any of the scripted roles they may play. Many celebrities are brilliant performers who infuse the brilliant efforts of the writers with believability, but in reality are dumb as rocks. It is the job of their advisors and handlers to keep them in the limelight, lest their personal and professional retinue find themselves unemployed.

A telling truth is exposed in this riddle: When is a star, not a star? It is the answer, "When there is a bigger star in the room"  that is close to placing the phenomenon of celebrity in its proper perspective.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

Quote of the Day: Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image. -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Streisand Endorses Hillary Clinton


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



Slaying the Structured Investment Vehicle Monster with the double-edged sword of transparency

Update:  Oil Money Infusion Buoys Citigroup -- According to a bulletin from Bloomberg, Citigroup has struck a deal with Abu Dhabi's state investment group to pump $7.5 BILLION dollars into the firm to insure capital adequacy in these hard times. In return for the capital infusion, the state-owned agency will receive securities yielding 11% and which are convertible into stock. Almost double the yield that is currently being offered to ordinatry investors. Do we detect the fine hand of Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who already owns a significant stake in the corporation?  Perhaps this is part two of trying to save a New York signature bank.

Once again, we see the continuing interest in bailing out Structured Investment Vehicles with their "off balance sheet"  treatment. All challenged by HSBC which could bring the household crashing down with its plans for SIV transparency.

According to the Associated Press...

"Calls for more transparency at Citigroup Inc. grew louder Monday when HSBC Holdings PLC said it would put two funds with mortgage exposure on its balance sheet and spend $35 billion to bail them out."

Arms Length ... is that a word play on Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities?

"Citigroup said it has no plans to mimic HSBC's move. So far, Citi has committed $10 billion in liquidity to the seven structured investment vehicles it manages on an "arm's length" basis, and has kept them off its balance sheet -- meaning Citi has not been counting the SIVs' debt as its own."

Transparency -- the mythical goal of financial organizations who do not want their bad deals scrutinized or their profitable deals cloned by others...

"That strategy may end up backfiring, though, some industry watchers say, because shareholders, fed up with remaining in the dark about how much risk the largest U.S. bank holds, are selling off."

A classic explanation of leverage...

"SIVs, which JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon recently predicted will 'go the way of the dinosaur,' have hit snags this year. The vehicles sell short-term debt, such as unsecured commercial paper, to investors such as hedge funds, then use the proceeds to buy longer-term assets, like mortgage-backed securities, that yield richer returns. "

The crux of the matter: liquidity problems for SIVs...

"SIVs normally generate money through fees and the difference between short-term and long-term rates. But demand for short-term assets has vanished in the midst of the U.S. housing market implosion, creating liquidity problems for the vehicles."

And why is it, again, that these SIVs need to be kept afloat at the investors and taxpayer's expense?

Playing transparency games with its investors...

"If Citi changes its mind and put its SIVs on its balance sheet, it may be forced to take even bigger write-downs than the $8 billion to $11 billion it projected for the fourth quarter. The seven SIVs have, in total, about $83 billion in assets. "

The following is an absurd statement. "Risks looking as if it is deliberately obscuring its holdings."  Which is exactly the reason for SPEs (Special Purpose Entities) and SIVs (Structure Investment Vehicles). The Financial Accounting Standards Board recently expanded and modified Rule 125 into  FASB Rule 140 for the sole purpose of allowing certain SPEs and SIVs to be kept off their owner's balance sheets. Who are we kidding? If the investors knew the magnitude of the true risk assumed by these banks with their leveraged shenanigans, they would have never been allowed to proceed in the first place. This is ENRON-style, off-the-balance-sheet, accounting in spades.   

monkeys

It's a matter of dealing with monkeys -- the trio of monkeys that are named "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" or the other monkey saying, "Monkey see, Monkey Do."

"But if Citi doesn't put its SIVs on its balance sheets and other banks do, it risks looking as if it is deliberately obscuring its holdings. "

Is the Fed participating in a bailout?

The question that must be asked: Is the Federal Reserve bailing out the depository institutions (banks) by lowering the discount window rate and providing needed liquidity into the marketplace? Thus allowing, under specially modified rules, the proceeds of these loans to be passed to other related entities.

Sanity check?

Who, in their right mind, would participate in a superfund just to keep the owners of SIVs from having to liquidate their holdings at fire-sale prices when it makes good financial sense to wait for the crash and then buy the derivatives and underlying assets at pennies-on-the-dollar?

"HSBC's move also complicates Citi's plans for a 'super fund' to buy up hard-to-sell securities -- an arrangement that does not appear to be attracting as many participants as Wall Street hoped. So far, only Wachovia Corp. has officially agreed to participate in the plan, after Citi, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. announced the project seven weeks ago."

Here is a man who really does know Jack...

"With someone like HSBC throwing in the towel, going for transparency ... it makes Citi and the other parties look conspiratorial at this point if they don't 'fess up and do that," said Jack Ciesielski, publisher of the industry newsletter The Analyst's Accounting Observer."

Perhaps what this world needs is more bookkeepers -- the people who add and subtract numbers; and less accountants who spend their days trying to paint a false picture of a corporation's finances. The letter that they so proudly sign with the accounting firm's name and which promises that the numbers accurately represent the numbers is hooey. If they did tell the truth, the whole truth and the truth that is hinted at in the footnotes, it is certain that they would be out of a cushy accounting gig. Every major fraud seems to have their world-class auditors and world-class lawyers. How about adding some world-class truth-tellers?

So far, auditors have not told Citi it must put its SIVs on its balance sheets.

Forget the auditors, where are the regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, FDIC, the Comptroller of the Currency and the other regulatory bodies?

"'Variable interest entities' like SIVs are allowed to be off-the-books as long as the bank does not hold more than 50 percent or more of the risk or reward involved in the entity, said Russ Golden, director of technical application and implementation activities at the Financial Accounting Standards Board."

Perhaps Russ Golden can enlighten us as to why the risk cannot be quantified using mark-to-market techniques and reported on the balance sheet for the world to see -- and be used to make "prudent" investment decisions?

Creating products out of the thinnest of air -- slicing and dicing risk... all to earn a commission on the multiple sale of the underlying assets

"Still, banks remain under close scrutiny for their fixed-income holdings, particularly the products known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. CDOs are chopped-up and rebundled chunks of assets, including mortgage-backed assets, and have plunged in value in recent months."

Can you trust the auditors?

"The four major auditing firms -- PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG -- as well as BDO International and Grant Thorton have drawn up standards to appropriately value bank holdings. The paper, still in draft form, will be published in December, said PwC partner Pauline Wallace."

Who believes that the auditors have the best interests of the investment community in mind when it conflicts with their client's wishes? Perhaps the "draft" standard should be ratified by FASB after being vetted by the regulatory agencies.

Of course, by then all of the SIVs and SPEs will pass into investment history and other investment structures will be created by those financial engineers known colloquially as the "Wizards of Wall Street."

What can YOU do?

Perhaps the best advice that can be given to the investment community is courtesy of the Better Business Bureau: Investigate BEFORE You Invest.

Followed by:  if  it is too difficult to explain to the ordinary investor or too difficult to understand by the ordinary investors, perhaps it should be passed over. 

And it is always wise to remember: the Wall Street Wizards produce nothing of tangible value as they slice, dice and package their wares. To those who claim that Wall Street funds the engines of our capitalistic society, one must ask: at what artificially manipulated price?

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Quote of the Day:
Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense. -- --Marcus Tullius Cicero

Reference Links:

HSBC Fund Bailout Raises Citi Questions: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



WHAT IS HILLARY HIDING? DO WE WANT ANOTHER PRESIDENT WHO REFUSES TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCES AND ANSWER REPORTER'S QUESTIONS?

It is in Hillary Clinton's best interests not to provide access to the press. If for no other reason than to stop those pesky reporters from questioning her carefully crafted media messages. Or, if they are really rude, ask her to justify her actions when she served as Bill Clinton's war-time  Consigliere. 

According to the Washington Times...

"When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to get a message out, her presidential campaign handpicks news outlets. Or, in some cases, bypasses the media entirely."

"The New York Democrat's third-quarter fundraising blowout was leaked to the Drudge Report. She made sure an Iowa newspaper printed her comments that she found Sen. Barack Obama's answer to a foreign-policy question 'irresponsible' and 'naive.' She also uses her 'Hillary Hub' campaign creation to break news."

"The strategy allows Mrs. Clinton — who rarely holds press availabilities — to avoid taking questions from reporters who cover her campaign and who might have detailed follow-up queries to her carefully planned policy announcements. "

"Mrs. Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have been painting her as someone who dodges tough questions or parses answers to difficult issues. Her opponents stepped up the pressure after it was revealed her campaign staff planted two questions with supporters at a campaign event." 

"The campaign has been tightly controlled from the start, with Mrs. Clinton announcing her candidacy in a Web video and negotiating strict terms for her appearances on network morning shows, according to published reports."

"If transparency is such a big part of the campaign, why are the availabilities so few and far between and so short? Surely you can answer some questions," the reporter complained. "

Who needs another President who hides behind the cloak of secrecy to craft legislation on mortgage rules, immigration reform and a host of other issues? Who wants a president who has a previous record of duplicity, chaos and corruption? Who needs a candidate who thinks that having a vagina is a shortcut to the White House because women make up over 50% of the population? Who needs a candidate who is so shrill and tightly focused that she scares most people in America?

What can YOU do?

With all of her negatives and polarizing personality, who needs Hillary Clinton to bring further chaos and corruption back into the White House. The only positive is that maybe she will return some of the things that were inappropriately removed from the People's House and wound up at her house after the election.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:
Hillary criticized for press strategy|Washington Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



THE WAYS OF WALL STREET: CIRCLES WITHIN CIRCLES

Start with a mortgage. Pool like-yielding mortgages together to be rolled into a mortgage backed security. Slice and dice these mortgage backed securities by apparent risk into derivatives and repackage along with a hedging agreement and a certificate from a ratings agency claiming that the entire package is being considered the equivalent of an "investment grade" instrument. Leverage your purchase of these "investment grade" instruments by borrowing money from another financial institution using the instruments themselves in partial satisfaction of the collateral requirements. If everything goes well, everybody makes money. If things turn south, everybody loses big time and the marketability for these instruments dries up resulting in a "liquidity crisis." Enter the Fed to allow depository institutions to borrow even more money at favorable rates and lend this money to certain of their subsidiaries. Get the Financial Accounting Standards Board to issue a rule that would allow SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles) and SPEs (Special Purpose Entitites) to remain "off balance sheet" transactions thus reducing the transparency of these financial manipulations and keeping any bad news from being readily visible on the parent entity's balance sheet.

When this fails to completely ameliorate the problem, create a super SIV fund to purchase "good" paper and share the profits with their investors. The public need not apply.

Of course, not all mortgages and CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) are in default. And most of those subject to default still retain a great percentage of their intrinsic value. (Sale price of a home less processing costs = some value). By permitting the super SIV to purchase this paper, the sellers can book some income to offset their losses which have already been declared and loss allowances set aside. And any risk that would appear on the balance sheet has now vanished.

The Wall Street Boys, having made outlandish profits on the creation, packaging and sale of these toxic securities, now pass along any losses to their investors, raise fresh capital from either governmental sources or other investors and the game continues.

By way of illustration of a circle within a circle, let us consider Merrill Lynch, one of the more active participants in the game to the extent that they purchased subprime originator First Franklin for about $1.2 Billion and a 20% interest in the now-bankrupt Ownit Mortgage solutions for 100 Million.

Now from the Wall Street Journal we find that

SIV-Plan Founders to Seek
More Support for Superfund

"The three big banks assembling a plan aimed at thawing credit markets are expected next week to start soliciting their industry brethren to pitch in with the effort, according to people familiar with the situation."

"The move will be a significant step in forming the so-called superfund that has been in the works since September. It is aimed at providing an alternative for off-balance-sheet entities called structured investment vehicles that have run into trouble amid a lack of liquidity in credit markets. The SIVs issue short-term debt to buy other, higher-yielding assets but have been hurt by market upheaval that has left buyers for that debt on the sidelines."

"The fund will create a potential buyer for SIV assets. SIV managers won't be required to sell assets into the fund, which will only buy high-quality assets in an attempt to maintain investor confidence in the fund."

"In another sign of progress, BlackRock Inc. is expected next week to be named the manager for the $75 billion to $100 billion fund, people familiar with the matter said. In that role, BlackRock will be considered a neutral party and will help set pricing for the assets. As of now, it doesn't appear BlackRock would invest in the fund."

BlackRock, I've heard that name before...

"BlackRock Inc. has grown into a money-management powerhouse under Chief Executive Laurence Fink. Now, with Mr. Fink a contender for the top job at Merrill Lynch & Co., his possible departure is raising questions about the effect on BlackRock."

"Mr. Fink has been approached by Merrill as part of a job search that is expected to last as little as a week or two."

"Under Mr. Fink, BlackRock has managed to avoid much of the trouble roiling the markets in recent months. By contrast, the recent departure of Merrill CEO Stanley O'Neal came in the wake of a multibillion-dollar write-down at Merrill tied to the credit crunch. "

Sure, BlackRock's CEO, Larry Fink was mentioned as a possible replacement for Stan O'Neal the guy who was allowed to retire from Merrill with approximately $160 Million after posting an $8 BILLION loss in the third quarter.

No that's not it, there must be something else...

"Mr. Fink's familiarity with Merrill Lynch -- which made a deal to acquire roughly 50% of BlackRock last year -- is among his potential strengths. BlackRock is still working to digest last year's merger with Merrill's former asset-management arm."

Yeah, that's it: Merrill owns roughly 50% of BlackRock...

"On September 29, 2006, closed a transaction, pursuant to which Merrill Lynch contributed its investment management business, MLIM, to BlackRock. Following the closing of the transaction, Merrill Lynch owned 45% of the voting common stock and approximately 49.3% of the total capital stock on a fully diluted basis of the combined company."

Instead of my usual "What can YOU do?" section, I thought I would take this opportunity to entertain you with my little song...  to the tune of  Windmills of My Mind (Theme Song of  The Thomas Crown Affair -  Original Music by Alan Bergman and Michel Jean Legrand)

Circles within circles, wheels within wheels

It all keeps on spinning, with ever increasing deals

Until the model is broken and it reaches some undetermined end

When all the investors are broke and the game begins again.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

SIV-Plan Founders to Seek More Support for Superfund|WSJ.com

BlackRock Would Face Gap With a CEO Move to Merrill|WSJ.com

BlackRock-Merrill Transaction|Reuters

Above Lyrics (c) 2007 by Steve

 

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



DEMOCRATIC FRONT RUNNERS UNDERMINING U.S. DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS IN IRAQ -- IS THIS SYMPTOMATIC OF A DECAYING NATION?

Has anybody considered the implications of the public pronouncements by the front-running democrat candidates: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and those of the leading Congressional democrats: House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid when they loudly proclaim that their goal is to leave Iraq as fast as possible?

Think about what message that sends to the Iraqi government. If the democrats are elected, the United States is prepared to immediately start withdrawing protective troops and cutting your financial aid packages. Thereby making you more vulnerable to assassination and your fragile government taken over by some Iranian or Syrian-backed religious puppet regime. In essence, the democrats urging them to engage in relations with Syria, Iran, China and Russia -- traditional entities who do not wish the United States well -- in order to protect their fledgling government from a potentially disastrous aftermath of an American withdrawal.  For those leftists who like to compare the present situation with Vietnam, consider the millions of innocent lives lost under despotic regimes after we left the region. While we were winning militarily, the far-left was responsible for a political defeat which made a mockery of our goal of defeating communism in favor of democratic freedoms.

Think about what an immediate withdrawal means to the United States economy which supports numerous defense contractors and and economy which is buoyed, to some degree, by defense spending. And for those who believed that we went to war over oil, consider what the implications of the largest oil producers in the region all controlled by dictatorial religious regimes. Are we prepared to immediately find hundreds of thousands of new, well-paying jobs for our returning heroes? Or are the democrats planning to turn them into government workers beholden to the bureaucratic class?

Think about the recent comments by Barack Obama who declared that he would give the Pakistani government an order to search out miscreants such as Osama bin Laden or simply move U.S. troops into Pakistan to do the job ourselves. Wonderful. Invade a sovereign nation and one that is our ally in the "war on terror?" Obama is a junior Senator who has little or no foreign relations experience just as he has little or no domestic experience. His candidacy is an historical fluke of politics. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is bad enough that the Bush Administration had little or no plans for governing Iraq and dealing with tribal sectarian warfare. But the goal was worthy and we are there. Now the mandate is to promote freedom in the region or forever lose our credibility on the world stage. If we need to alter our rules of engagement and actually kill the enemy -- so be it. History is far more tolerant of winners than it is of losers who were defeated by a bunch of effete snobs who claim they know what is best for us, both as individuals and as a nation.

No progress in Iraq. This is a disaster. We need to get out NOW.

It is worse that the democrats, failing to acknowledge the lessening of United States casualties is now attempting to redefine success as the number of hours of electricity for the Iraqis. Sheer lunacy from the shrill and far-left voices that see to control the once-honorable democrat party.

In fact, the entire program as put forth by the democrats is absurd, irresponsible and wildly inappropriate in terms of foreign diplomacy.

Truth-be-told, they care nothing about Iraq or its people. Their overwhelming and somewhat self-defeating psychotic focus is in discrediting the Bush Administration and poisoning the American Public with their anti-Republican rhetoric.

Short-term politics over long-term national benefits...

Imagine the benefits to the United States if we were to establish a keystone of democracy, even a pseudo-democracy, in a region which has traditionally hated the United States and which supports a religious-based culture that not only is intolerant to other religious and cultural viewpoints, but is actually calling for our destruction and that of our closest allies such as Israel.

Are we that shortsighted as to elect politicians who care that little for the future of the United States that they would engage in rhetoric, craft legislation and do everything in their power to regain or maintain their political power -- even if it meant destroying the America we all know and love?

Is this the future you want: a nation,  once again confronted in the near future with a nuclear-armed monumentally evil nation that would like to bury us in the sands of history? And especially considering the far-left plan for the emasculation and metrosexualization of those who would be called upon to defend this nation against the aggressor.

Are the democrats so corrupt or stupid as to believe that a foreign power is susceptible to polite talk around a table laden with fine food and drink. That politeness will prevail over their baser instincts to crush a weak enemy, thereby enslaving all of their citizens and plundering their national wealth?

Who is going to come to our aid? The effete liberals of Hollywood who can do nothing more than churn out pretty pictures and propaganda? Imagine a George Clooney-type portraying a John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, or even Aldo Ray? A person who needs to make sure that they are plucked, tweezed and properly coiffed before picking up their toy gun and charging at a blue-screen background which will be filled by the special effects wizards with scenes of a battleground? The director yells "CUT" and the stars  retire to their trailers for a massage or whatever. Where the celebrities openly court the attention of dictators and spew anti-American speeches on foreign soil?

Where are those who are heeding the lessons of history? Where the nation with the strongest defenses, awesome offensive weapons and the will to use them in protecting their national interests is the best investment in PEACE because nobody knowingly confronts a strong, committed enemy.

Much has been said about the suicidal nature of the enemy we face. And much of that has been crap -- the leaders are no more willing to eschew their plush lifestyles and die than any other individual. They are, however, willing to send their crazies out to commit suicide in the commission of homicidal bombings of innocent civilians.

Why is it that we give them so much deference when they attack mostly civilians and not military targets? Why do we openly condemn killing the leadership of these lethal regimes? Is it perhaps because our pampered leaders sit solidly behind a phalanx of government-paid security. Or are rich enough to live in guard-gated protected communities when they leave office? But are afraid of the personal consequences of such a decision?

What are we doing about the political correctness that is sapping our national will? Where our enemies use our own laws against us as well as more lethal weapons. Where we tiptoe quietly past the obvious truth because we do not want to offend someone's anti-defamation group with media access?

Where is the formerly-patriotic media? Where the anchors now present overwhelmingly negative and often demonstrably false information in the guise of news. Doting over United States casualties and ignoring any military progress in the pursuit of their not so hidden agenda.

What can YOU do?

Consider carefully those politicians who want the United States to fail in domestic as well as foreign areas for the sole purpose of re-gaining or maintaining political power.

Vote. Examine your conscience. Do not be mislead by single-issue campaign pleas as that is what is being used to divide and conquer America. Are we so preoccupied with the subject of abortion as to sacrifice our vote to someone who bodes evil for the United States.

If you are concerned about the subject of abortion, understand what Roe v. Wade really means in terms of federally funding abortions. If Roe v. Wade was to be overturned, the matter would rest in the hands of the individual states where you, the citizen, could decide exactly how the matter should be handled. On the federal level the subject is merely a distraction put forth by those who are more interested in religious principles rather than defending the United States from our enemies, both foreign and domestic.

If you are concerned about immigration which may lead to the "demographic bombing of America" and the breakdown of all of our current institutions, vote accordingly. One reason the Palestinians are demanding the "right of return" to Israel is not to participate in the peace and prosperity of that nation -- but to vote them out of office as their numbers and political power dramatically increases. It is the same with other ethnic and religious minorities within the United States.

In the final analysis, all I can say is you need to VOTE to preserve the United States you know and love. If you do not feel very patriotic about our nation, I suggest you move abroad and really experience "reality." How many other nations have found people willing to risk death to enter their country? I can't think of a single one. And consider the immigration laws of those countries: intolerant of illegal immigrants to say the least.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



THE TRUTH EMERGES: The Government was NEVER prepared to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

As with most things, the truth slowly emerges from the halls of government. Just months ago, the Administration and Congress met behind closed doors to secretly craft legislation that would provide what was being billed as "comprehensive immigration reform" or as it was more popularly known in spite of government protestations to the contrary: amnesty for illegal aliens.

One particularly onerous section of the proposed McCain/Kennedy legislation (Senate Bill 1639) was to be the expedited processing of the Z-nonimmigrant status Visa applications starting no more than 180 days after the enactment of the legislation. The section mandated that a security check was to be performed in 24 hours and that if the security check could not be performed within that timeframe, illegal aliens were to be granted probationary legal status to live, work and travel within the United States. Congressional estimates of the number of illegal aliens that could potentially come under the jurisdiction of the legislation was estimated to be between 12 and 20 million individuals. 

Here in California and I suspect elsewhere, you can't even get an appointment to renew your drivers license in under twenty four hours, yet alone perform an adequate criminal background check involving local, state and federal records.

Since both Congress and the Administration knew that there was no way to perform this background check, they were complicit in offering a blanket amnesty to the entire population of illegal aliens without safeguarding the American public from violent criminals, drug addicts/pushers and those with contagious diseases such as drug-resistant tuberculosis.

To this day, birth and criminal records in foreign countries have not been, as well as in this country, have not be computerized in a commonly-accessible format and no inter-computer communications systems exist to adequately perform this security background check. The 24-hour provision was a government strategy to immediately make these people eligible for social benefits -- but to a greater extent -- influence the upcoming 2008 election since both sides believed that the illegal aliens would be so grateful that they would vote for their respective candidates.

Not only did this prove that some members, notably John McCain and Ted Kennedy were attempting to subvert the sovereignty, safety, security and economy of the United States for political purposes, but that the government could never process the number of submitted applications in a timely manner without adding at least 250,000 new government workers to the government payroll.

Which brings us to today's story as reported in the Washington Post claiming that even LEGAL immigrant paperwork has snarled the system.

Immigrant Paperwork Backs Up At DHS
Delays May Deny Vote to Hundreds Of Thousands

"The Department of Homeland Security failed to prepare for a massive influx of applications for U.S. citizenship and other immigration benefits this summer, prompting complaints from Hispanic leaders and voter-mobilization groups that several hundred thousand people likely will not be granted citizenship in time to cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election."

"Bush administration officials said yesterday that they had anticipated applicants would rush to file their paperwork to beat a widely publicized fee increase that took effect July 30, but did not expect the scale of the response. The backlog comes just months after U.S. officials failed to prepare for tougher border security requirements that triggered months-long delays for millions of Americans seeking passports."

"Before the fee hike, citizenship cases typically took about seven months to complete. Now, immigration officials can take five months or more just to acknowledge receipt of applications from parts of the country and will take 16 to 18 months on average to process applications filed after June 1, according to officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of DHS. Such a timeline would push many prospective citizens well past voter-registration deadlines for the 2008 primaries and the general elections."

"The immigration agency's workload has nearly doubled, Aytes said, with 1.4 million naturalization applications arriving from October 2006 to September 2007, compared with 731,000 applications the year before. Between July and September of this year alone, USCIS received 560,000 applications, he said."

"The number of green-card-related applications surged to 876,000 in fiscal 2007, from 497,000 in fiscal 2006, he said. At one point this summer, USCIS had 1 million applications and checks waiting to be opened and acknowledged, Aytes said, a backlog that now stands at 235,000. Overall, USCIS received 7.7 million applications for all types of immigration benefits, up from 6.3 million."

Caught in the big lie...

"I really want to target the elections," USCIS Director Emilio T. Gonzalez told the Associated Press in an interview published Tuesday. "I really want to get as many people out there to vote as possible."

"Aides, however, contradicted him. 'We are going to process these cases as responsibly and as quickly as we can, but we're not focused on any of the election cycle,' Aytes said. USCIS spokesman Bill Wright emphasized that political calculations played no role in agency decisions. "Any implication of that is ludicrous," he said."

Even LEGAL CITIZENS are being delayed by the system...

"In June, poor planning and coordination between DHS and the State Department forced the Bush administration to temporarily suspend a new security requirement that Americans present passports when flying to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Processing times for passport applications ballooned from three weeks to three or four months, jeopardizing summer travel plans for millions of Americans. Wait times returned to normal after the State Department allocated more resources and staffing."

"Frontlog," a hip new way to refer to governmental inertia...

"The new crunch -- which some USCIS officials have dubbed a "frontlog" -- threatens to create a political headache that also stems in part from a State-DHS miscommunication. In addition to raising immigration fees this summer, the Bush administration triggered another cascade of applications for legal permanent residency, or green cards, from skilled immigrant workers when it pushed back a planned July 2 deadline, largely because the two departments failed to coordinate on how many slots were available."

Predictable?

"'It is the same pattern,' said Crystal Williams, deputy director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "It strikes me as remarkable. It's not as if this could not have been predicted."

DHS Secretary Chertoff needs to resign...

On a number of occasions, I have called for Secretary Chertoff to resign on the grounds that he had, per the administration's apparent wish, politicized his department -- and personally lobbied Congress to pass the amnesty for illegal aliens legislation with the full knowledge that his department was unprepared for the paperwork blizzard which would follow and his lack of leadership in completing the outbound portion of the computerized visa tracking system so that the government could actually determine who had overstayed their visa and remained in the United States.

Considering what this government has said and done in the recent past, I really wonder if all the onerous TSA travel restrictions and hassles are little more than public diversions to keep us from asking the DHS more serious questions about how they are keeping us safe from real terrorists. Not only those sneaking in on our Southern Border, but those being ushered in via Canada's notoriously lax and almost non-existent immigration system.

A Better Plan...

There is no doubt in my mind that most citizens would like to establish a rational guest-worker program and some form of in-country worker registration program which allows those now in our Country to work, pay taxes and perhaps receive limited benefits. The key would be to register within a six-month period with no exceptions. Unregistered illegal aliens would be instantly deported upon discovery. This program would not offer amnesty or citizenship to any illegal alien or family currently residing in the United States and would eliminate provisions for so-called "anchor" babies. Illegal aliens now here would be free from the predatory practices and molestation which now affects their communities. Under the law, they would not be deported unless they committed a crime or refused to cooperate with the authorities. Criminal gang members and those associated with drugs would face immediate deportation.

Americans are a generous people as witnessed by the selfless acts that have kept Europe free from dictators and provided a relatively stable world environment.

However, we are facing a major crossroads in our history, when those who wish us harm or to confiscate a portion of our hard-earned wealth have learned to use our own legal system against us. Our politicians and bureaucrats have become increasingly corrupt as they pander to special interests which provide them with campaign funds and their families with "employment." These politicians leave government and go to work for these special interests to lobby their former colleagues and departments.

And consider John McCain...

Here is a Republican who had my vote, as well as the implied endorsement of the party,  as the designated Republican candidate for the Presidency. A honorable man with a relatively undistinguished military career who, unfortunately, was shot down over enemy territory and was subjected to torture by enemies of the United States.

[A note for you far-leftists: an enemy who not only did not abide by the Geneva Convention, but mastered the art of torturous interrogation against all rational laws and humanity itself. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib were fully-paid summer vacations compared to what this soldier experienced.]

Someone who I thought was a conservative Republican and a worthy candidate for the Presidency. But he sold out his country...

First, he was part of the misguided McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act which gave us anything but reform as it introduced new ways to influence political elections. This sole piece of legislation empowered George Soros and other anti-American wing-nuts on both sides of the aisle to further corrupt the election process with media-driven campaigns which were not subject to dollar limits or public disclosure.

And second, he sold out his country by collaborating with Ted Kennedy to cede the sovereignty of our nation to a foreign power (mostly Mexico) and engaged in the demographic bombing of America. The immediate legalization of 12-20 million unassimilated illegal aliens would have crushed our fragile legal, educational, healthcare, retirement and economic infrastructure to the point of breaking. The inevitable result would have been bigger government, more government controls, higher taxes and, in general, a move towards tyranny by the special interests promoting  greater restrictions on the average American citizen.

Which should serve as a cautionary tale about electing politicians based upon what they are saying as opposed to what they are doing. As the above Washington Post article clearly illustrates, the government was never prepared to handle its routine business, let alone the influx of applications of 12-20 million illegal aliens. A somewhat more benign repeat of the Iraq war which predicted early victory -- but did not prepare adequately for the aftermath.

What can YOU do?

First and foremost, do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

Second, demand that elected representatives be required to actually read the very legislation that they are proposing and offer a sworn statement that they have read and understand the implications of what they are voting on. Sort of a Sarbanes-Oxley Act for politicians. Not only would this result in the proposed bill to be written in understandable (8th-grade education) English, but it would prevent thousands of bills containing the same material from being submitted over-and-over to confuse the American public as well as the legislators who are asked to vote on the legislation.

Third, demand that each and every bill be accompanies by a summary by a neutral legislative analyst, a financial impact study, an environmental impact study and a social impact study prior to introduction. Again, written in plain, understandable language.

Fourth, demand that the historic, precedential rules of both the Senate and the House be codified in a written document and ratified by the respective chambers. No more hidden rules which allow politicians to hide legislative earmarks or withhold legislation without the identification of the person taking the extraordinary action.

And fifth, at this historical crossroads in our history, limit the election and appointment of lawyers to high office. It is bad enough that these self-serving politician/lawyers are inserting special interest loopholes into our legislation, but they are also endlessly debating legislation on which the people have clearly spoken. It is nice that they are lawyers and may possibly understand the arcane legal language in a bill, but it is time that they be forced to advocate for their client: the citizens of the United States, rather than be beholden to the special interests that are funding their campaigns.

It is time for the citizens to vote en mass for what they believe. I am not telling you to vote in any particular manner, but to vote for what you believe. Do not become one of those easily-manipulated hyper-partisan, single-issue voters. Ignore the political parties which have created a climate of chaos and corruption. Study the entire agenda and pick the best candidate for the office. It is your future and it is time to protect it against the politicians and bureaucrats who are acting ONLY in their self-interests.

Again, do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Immigrant Paperwork Backs Up At DHS


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



THE DEFINITION OF CHUTZPAH: Black Friday -- cost of Thanksgiving soaring according to Merrill Lynch

Chutzpa is the Yiddish word that denotes an unbelievable gall, insolence and audacity. A word that is often used in the phrase "Can you believe the Chutzpah of that [fill-in a suitable naughty word here].

Now from Reuters we have an real-life example of chutzpah...

"The cost of Thanksgiving is soaring, according to investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co, which may help explain the gloom among U.S. consumers as they head into the holiday season."

"Merrill Lynch, the world's biggest brokerage and one of the most powerful names on Wall Street, calculated a Thanksgiving cost-of-giving index using the prices of traditional holiday meal items such as turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie -- as well as the cost of flowers, gifts ranging from toys to clothing and electronics, plus gasoline, hotels, air fare, and greeting cards."

"The index has risen 7.9 percent year-over-year in the approach to the festive season -- a huge swing from a drop of 4.4 percent a year ago. In fact, this is more than double the historical trend for this time of year and the second highest since 1999, said David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch North American economist, in a report."

It is nice that they have so carefully calculated the cost of groceries and other holiday related goods while ignoring the precise "mark-to-market" pricing of the toxic derivative packages that were handled in the months previous to Thanksgiving. Or that they were so observant of the risk that they were pushing into almost every nook and cranny of the American economy.

Which leads us to the most egregious example of chutzpah...

"'One reason why consumer confidence is receding at a time of year when everyone would be so joyous may be because the cost of partaking in the holiday spirit has soared and bitten deeply into purchasing power,' he wrote.

Or  could it maybe, possibly be, that the entire nation is suffering from the financial meltdown and mortgage debacle caused by Merrill Lynch and their greedy cohorts as they have pushed the United States economy closer to the brink of disaster with their packaged derivatives and SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles)? 

"'Black Friday,' the day after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday and the start of the traditional year-end spending spree, threatens to be a Bleak Friday this time around."

Tell that to the employees that have been laid off at First Franklin (purchased for approximately $1.2 billion)  or who fear for their jobs and those who lost their jobs at the now-bankrupt Ownit Mortgage (20% ownership for $100 million). It is much blacker for thousands of mortgage-related workers who were laid off by mortgage companies nationwide which were compromised by the machinations of Wall Street firms such as Merrill Lynch.

Holidays and Merrill...

However, some current, as well as former Merrill employees have a lot to celebrate. One in particular comes to mind. Former Chief Executive Officer Stan O'Neal who should have been summarily fired and stripped of any perks, privileges and excessive retirement benefits instead of being "retired" and allowed to walk away with an approximate $160 MILLION. Great compensation for the leader of a company which wrote down losses of $8 BILLION in a single quarter.

And how about Merrill's existing employees who will share in the approximately $38 BILLION in bonuses as reported by Bloomberg news...

"Shareholders in the securities industry are having their worst year since 2002, losing $74 billion of their equity. That won't prevent Wall Street from paying record bonuses, totaling almost $38 billion."

"That money, split among about 186,000 workers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos., equates to an average of $201,500 per person, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The five biggest U.S. securities firms paid $36 billion to employees last year."

So, as the holiday season progresses, you may want to repeat the Wall Street manta instead of singing Christmas Carrolls:  "take no prisoners -- churn 'em and burn 'em! fal-lah-lal-lah-la"

What can YOU do?

Remember that one of the symbols of Wall Street and Merrill Lynch's logo is the BULL. Consider public pronouncements from Merrill on the causes of a "black holiday season" to be so much BULL[insert the appropriate word here]!

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and wish to thank all of my readers for their attention to my blog entries and insightful comments.

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Cost of Thanksgiving soaring: Merrill Lynch|Reuters

Wall Street Plans $38 Billion of Bonuses as Shareholders Lose|Bloomberg.com


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"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

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