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Barack Obama: Change to what? Socialism?

Perhaps if we followed  legislatively mandated "truth-in-advertising," principles for political pronouncements we could headline this press release: "A political  attention-seeking media whore comments on Countrywide (and everything else)...

"Statement of Barack Obama on Countrywide Execs Who Will Reportedly Collect Multi-Million Dollar Payouts"

"Senator Barack Obama issued the following statement today in response to reports that two Countrywide executives, who are accused of exacerbating the ongoing home mortgage crisis, are slated to receive multi-million dollar payouts tied to the company's performance during their tenure."

Compensation for a lifetime of hard work is not as outrageous as Barack Obama would have you believe.

Playing the "class" card...

"All across this country, we've seen how it's becoming harder and harder for working families to make ends meet. That's because for far too long, the rules in our economy have been written to benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street."

Just what company has Barack Obama built from scratch into a multi-billion dollar enterprise that previously (prior to the present financial crisis) produced large-scale wealth for its investors and executive?

"We saw this again today when we learned that two executives at Countrywide, the nation's top subprime lender, are set to walk away with nearly $20 million in payouts. This is an outrage."

Far from being an "outrage," it is American entrepreneurship at its finest. It appears to be an outrage only to socialists and communists who stress the "collective" over individual achievement.

Let Barack Obama give back all of the contributions from wealthy individuals and large labor unions who are fleecing their members into supporting positions which may not represent their beliefs. If Barack Obama wants to talk the talk, make him walk the walk.

Politicians bought and paid for...

"Top mortgage lenders spent $185 million in recent years lobbying Washington to look the other way, while they tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford, forcing millions of Americans to face foreclosure and pushing our economy toward recession."

You may as well ask which of Barack's fellow politicians were on the receiving of all that largesse? Their vote was purchased: plain and simple. So why isn't Barack Obama deriding his fellow politicians and calling for a massive investigation?

Tricked? I hardly think that the majority of buyers were tricked... what they were was "tickled pink" to be offered the chance to obtain a house with no credit ("wink-wink") and no income. They were complicit.

Unless, of course, they were part of some ethnic minority whose very activist/leaders feel that they must actually be dumber than the general population and therefore need special political protections. Both fraud and struggling to obtain a house cuts across all ethnic and racial lines.

Most people actually thought that if they could get a house using the toxic payment option adjustable rate mortgages, that their house would appreciate in value and they would simply re-finance their loans to lower rates. No fraud there -- just pure American-style optimism.

Unfortunately, they got caught up in the bursting of a real estate bubble where the Fed's easy credit policies and Wall Street's GREED encouraged builders to over-build and amplified the downturn in real estate -- leaving these people stranded without the income stream needed to support a fully-indexed and amortized loan. Again, for the majority, no tricks -- just optimism.

Playing by the rules?

"These executives crossed the line to boost their bottom line. We should be reprimanding them, not rewarding them. Rewarding their bad behavior just encourages others to pursue the same kinds of irresponsible practices that led us into this financial mess in the first place."

Prove criminal activity and prosecute them, if you can. Just don't just slander and libel them in a press release and move on.

What did your legislation do to mitigate the problem?

"That's why nearly two years ago, I introduced legislation to treat those who commit mortgage fraud like the criminals they are.

So what happened to that legislation? Was it simply a duplicate of everyone else's legislation? Or did you just sign on to another politician's package? Or did some industry group lobbyist or activist group feed you the legislation? If your statement was to be taken literally, I am sure you would find many more borrowers than mortgage executives or loan officers being branded as criminals.

Criminals?

And speaking of criminals -- or, in your case, your alleged criminal friend, Tony Rezko, did he buy your favorable attention in community housing matters by assisting you with your home's land purchase. Was this a simple conflict of interest or did you sell influence? Why aren't you calling for a full investigation of Rezko?

"And it's why in a speech last week, I called for realigning incentives and compensation packages, so that both high level executives and employees better serve the interests of shareholders."

It offends me that some office-seeking politician thinks that they should have the right to determine compensation packages. If the shareholders are upset, they vote by selling their shares. It's the American way. Something, no doubt, that might make your wife proud she is an American.

"We have to restore balance to our economy, and make sure that we have rules of the road that work for ordinary Americans, not just the wealthy and well-connected. And that's what we'll do when I'm President of the United States."

Without the wealthy, there would be no jobs or roads. Without those who risk their own time, energy and capital to actually produce something or provide a useful service, where would this national really be? Who is going to pay for all your social programs? Who will insure that America stays productive in the face of global competition.

It's the Wealthy, unlike the worthless lawyers, the larval stage of politicians, who produce nothing but chaos, corruption and a continuing legal foodfest for others of their ilk.

What can YOU do?

Consider what it really means when a politician plays the class or race card to garner support?

Perhaps the 20 years of Sundays listening to his racist, anti-Semitic and anti-American pastor might have been better spent actually making his way in industry rather than living off the public teat.

Obama appears to be a far-left socialistic liberal politician who is ready to spend other people's money and tell other people how to live. A junior Senator who has barely experienced public life and who lacks the basic domestic and foreign policy qualifications for the President of the United States. And we should ignore all of this  because he happens to be black? I don't think so. I would vote to Colin Powell as a Presidential candidate in a heart-beat. Just compare his accomplishments and abilities with those of Barack Obama and you will see that BO is just another empty suit... a Carter or a Clinton -- and you know what happened there.

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 their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "Life is an unbroken succession of false situations."  - Thornton Wilder

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:

Barack Obama | Change We Can Believe In |


“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



THE FED: MOVING FROM MARCH MADNESS TO APRIL FOOLISHNESS

Transactional Transparency: Saying one thing, doing another...

Everyone in the media, financial industry and government is calling for more transparency in financial transactions.

Why then is the Federal Reserve trying so damn hard to hide the truth about what they are doing?

Why are the Fed Governors hopping about, speechifying on various and sundry matters that serve only to roil the market?

Why does the Fed hide the extent of institutional borrowing behind gross numbers and fail to reveal who the recipients of these "loans" are and what collateral they have actually pledged?

Why is the Securities and Exchange Commission failing to regulate hedge funds and ratings agencies; failing to curb rampant speculative short selling and increase the margin ratio to insure that speculators have more "skin" in the game?

Why is the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) promoting new reporting requirements and restructured financial reports which eliminates such concepts as "net income?"

The apparent answer is that many major financial firms are "in trouble" and it is in the best interests of the United States, and by extension the global economy, to avoid investor panic and the demise of "signature name" financial institutions by avoiding naming those that are borrowing from the Fed and allowing the institutions to legally obscure the gory details. By reducing fiscal transparency while failing to implement prudent rules and regulations and then actually enforce them as they are written.

Complicit in defrauding the public?

However, does that not make the Federal Reserve, its member banks and governors complicit in one of the largest frauds in financial history? Along with the accountants and lawyers who certify the results?

Does this also mean that the Fed actually gets a legal pass to screw the citizens of the United States in order to preserve and protect a few large financial institutions?

One need only to look at the results of the Fed's continual lowering of the target Federal Funds rate and its effect on fixed-income citizens who bought into the fiction that a bank is a safe place to keep your money and that it is offering a fair rate of return higher than the debilitating effects of inflation which is steadily eroding purchasing power.

What is the Fed Saying...

Is this what  is actually being institutionalized by the Fed:

The fiction that a depository financial institution (bank) is a safe harbor for your hard-earned life's earnings?

That you need to switch your money from savings to securities to stay ahead of inflation and survive? Whipsawed by brokerages who create nothing but commissions as they charge for buying, holding and selling ever churning securities?

That it is your patriotic duty to "spend, spend and spend some more" to keep the wheels of commerce well-lubricated with a continual flow of consumer money? Even though most consumers already carry a crushing debt burden which makes them extremely susceptible to downturns in the economy and disaster should they encounter health or employment problems?

That the Fed's rules and regulations which are administered by jointly by the other regulators of financial institutions (Comptroller of Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, et. al) can be ignored with impunity? And if an institution is caught, allowed to settle with a "record" fine paid into the general Treasury fund, a slap on the wrist, a "go forth and sin no more" proclamation... and, most importantly, no admission of guilt which can be used in civil proceedings? A fine which is miniscule when compared with the ill-gotten gains of the offending institution.

Divided Loyalties...

Of course, one must remember that the Fed is not subject to ordinary rules and regulations. They are not a part of the government and they are not totally private either. They are a quasi-governmental fiction. A seemingly public institution that is owned, in actuality, by their member banks. and chartered by the government to act as the "central banker" for the United States. There is no doubt that their first allegiance is to the banking industry and secondarily to the large financial institutions and brokerages which support banking activities. So why continue the fiction that the Fed is attempting to protect the "little" people?

Does the Fed actually know what it is doing?

While we would all like to think that the Federal Reserve has some amazing power, based on their great insight into financial matters and computerized crystal balls to foretell the future,  the truth is that they know about as much as any other competent industry economist. A lot about the past, but very little of the present and almost nothing of the future.

Considering the number of speeches of the Federal Reserve Governors (plus the number of speeches by the member bank representatives), one might conclude that the Fed actually does have a handle on the situation. Or at least an understanding of what is actually occurring in the financial markets.

    • March 27, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Comfort Zones, Shmumfort Zones" at the Sandridge Lecture of the Virginia Association of Economists and the H. Parker Willis Lecture of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
    • March 27, 2008: Governor Randall S. Kroszner, "Protecting Homeowners and Sustaining Homeownership" at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Legislative Conference 2008, Washington, D.C.
    • March 14, 2008: Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, "Fostering Sustainable Homeownership" at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.
    • March 11, 2008: Governor Randall S. Kroszner, "The Importance of Fundamentals in Risk Management" at the American Bankers Association Spring Summit Meeting, Washington, D.C
    • March 7, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Exchange Rate Pass-Through and Monetary Policy" at the Norges Bank Conference on Monetary Policy, Oslo, Norway
    • March 7, 2008: Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn, "Implications of Globalization for the Conduct of Monetary Policy" At the International Symposium of the Banque de France, Paris, France
    • March 4, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Outlook and Risks for the U.S. Economy" at the National Association for Business Economics Washington Policy Conference, Washington, D.C.
    • March 4, 2008: Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, "Reducing Preventable Mortgage Foreclosures" at the Independent Community Bankers of America Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida
    • March 3, 2008: Governor Randall S. Kroszner, "Liquidity-Risk Management in the Business of Banking" at the Institute of International Bankers Annual Washington Conference, Washington, D.C.
    • February 29, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Leveraged Losses: Lessons from the Mortgage Meltdown" at the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, New York, New York
    • February 27, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "The Importance of Economic Education and Financial Literacy" at the Third National Summit on Economic and Financial Literacy, Washington, D.C.
    • February 26, 2008: Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn, "The U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy" at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Cameron School of Business' Business Week Program, Wilmington, North Carolina
    • February 25, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Does Stabilizing Inflation Contribute to Stabilizing Economic Activity?" at East Carolina University's Beta Gamma Sigma Distinguished Lecture Series, Greenville, North Carolina
    • February 25, 2008: Governor Randall S. Kroszner, "Improving Risk Management in Light of Recent Market Events" at the Global Association of Risk Management Professionals Annual Risk Convention, New York, New York
    • February 15, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "The Federal Reserve's Tools for Responding to Financial Disruptions" at the Tuck Global Capital Markets Conference, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
    • February 4, 2008: Governor Randall S. Kroszner, "Protecting Homeowners and Sustaining Home Ownership" At the American Securitization Forum 2008 Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
      Governor Kroszner presented identical remarks at the Women in Housing and Finance Subprime Symposium, Washington, D.C., on February 6, 2008
    • January 11, 2008: Governor Frederic S. Mishkin, "Monetary Policy Flexibility, Risk Management, and Financial Disruptions" At the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York, New York
    • January 10, 2008: Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, "Financial Markets, the Economic Outlook, and Monetary Policy" at the Women in Housing and Finance and Exchequer Club Joint Luncheon, Washington, D.C.
    • January 5, 2008: Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn, "Recent and Prospective Developments in Monetary Policy Transparency and Communications: A Global Perspective" at the National Association for Business Economics Session, Allied Social Science Associations Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • January 4, 2008: Vice Chairman Donald L. Kohn, "Expertise and Macroeconomic Policy, Comments on 'Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making,' by Timothy Besley, Neil Meads, and Paolo Surico" at the American Economic Association Session, Allied Social Science Associations Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana

However, the Fed, like other financial institutions does not specifically know what is contained in those toxic securities or the status of the underlying collateral. Likewise, they do not specifically know how to untie the "Gordian Knot" of interlocking dependencies and calls on the collateral should there be a significant number of foreclosures.

Like the rest of the financial community, they must rely mostly on the representations and warranties offered by the executive management of regulated, poorly-regulated and non-regulated financial institutions.

In short, they are making informed guesses about what has happened and what is likely to happen in the future... sort of like gambling with the public's money with no guarantee of a favorable outcome.

But the Fed does have the collective power to move markets and somewhat mitigate the effects of major adverse financial effects.

The Fed plan seems to be a simple one...

Other than managing the perceptions of the media and the investment community, almost all of the Fed's actions to date seem to be for the purpose of:

  • allowing the major depository institutions to avoid the "insolvency" designation by shoring up their legally-mandated core capital reserves;
  • allowing  the major financial institutions to bolster "investor confidence" by postponing the need to create such large loan loss reserves that everyone notices that the institution has zero shareholder equity and has a computational negative net worth;
  • neutralizing the "mark-to-market" requirement for toxic securities by allowing those securities to serve as collateral for loans;
  • buying time for the foreclosures and other adverse events to work their way through the system thus preparing for the next growth phase;
  • allowing the major financial institutions to continue to do business as usual by providing additional working capital for new loans;
  • avoiding the failure of major financial firms by arranging for takeovers by more liquid firms to prevent a cascading failure of the firm's customers --which could snowball into the widespread mutual destruction of investor confidence and the necessity of the United States government guaranteeing everyone's investment;
  • but most of all, not providing an open and transparent balance sheet that would allow the investing public to peek behind the curtains.

The unstated goals of not angering the present Administration, interfering in the current election cycle, and insuring that Fed governors will have a cushy and profitable retirement should not be overlooked. 

Where is the money going...

No matter what you call the Federal Reserve program; the Discount Window, TAF (Term Auction Facility), TSLF (Term Securities Lending Facility), the fact remains is that the Federal Reserve is loaning  BILLIONS of freshly printed dollars to financial institutions and accepting questionable "paper" as collateral. Most of the money is being used to buy the time necessary  to work beyond the current difficulties. Exacerbated, no doubt by people who want instant gratification and quarter-by-quarter improvements.

A reward for greed and fraud...

Unfortunately, on a macro scale, people who knowingly engaged in institutional fraud, aided and abetted by their lawyers, accountants, consultants are likely to escape without criminal or civil penalty -- and keep those outrageously large bonuses which we often based on cooked books.

On a micro scale, we see homeowners and speculators who have committed state and federal crime in connection with their loans being given a pass and a bailout as the price for keeping the financial industry's balls in the air.  Or should I say, "out of a sling?"

What should happen...

In my not so humble opinion, I believe that the present Administration, in cooperation with the regulatory agencies and Congress should formalize the Federal Reserve's fictional loans. The should create another quasi-governmental organization to serve as the repository for all suspect loans.

All of the loan processing, payments as well as foreclosures, would be centralized and would be handled on an individual basis. Instead of the mishmash of  "voluntary efforts by the financial industry," uniform processing regulations would apply.

All monies would be pooled and distributed on a pro-rata basis to those who had first call on the underlying collateral. For those who engaged in leveraged investment activities, they could recover any leftover funds (doubtful) or be rewarded by an embossed, engraved and suitably inscribed certificate of loss -- along with a cover letter expressing the mutual regrets of the financial industry and the personal regrets of the CEO of the institution which sold the toxic paper. 

This quasi-governmental corporation could also sell "stay out of jail" certificates to executives who received major bonuses based on nothing more than being a part of management who systematically defrauded the investing public. The cost of these "indulgences," if you will, would be exactly 98% of the actual bonus amounts awarded.

Next, we could deport all of the executives who used offshore entities in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere to hide their manipulated monies to their new home located next to the post office box which serves as their current (or former) company's official offshore address.

Politics?

While political and economic conditions would not allow for many of my suggested ("wished for") remedies, I would appreciate it if the Administration took official notice that the shell game is continuing and that if they do not take the following eight actions, it is likely to, once again, spin out of control.

  1. Regulate the hedge funds, offshore capital funds doing business in the United States, and the ratings agencies.
  2. Increase the regulatory scrutiny of firms formed, headed or operated by executives and key personnel of organizations which lost significant investor or depositor funds or were complicit, but unindicted, in wrongdoing. The national mortgage registry should be extended to executives and other who may exert operational control over a mortgage-related business.
  3. Sanction  the accounting and legal firms associated with wrongdoing or massive investor losses by preventing them from rendering audit or operational opinions to firms engaging in the same general business. This would be a precursor to the loss of the entire practice or the surrender of a professional license by individuals.
  4. Restore "simple" accounting rules which provide for financial transactional transparency.
  5. Treat derivatives like pyramid schemes and restrict the number of abstraction layers to three or less.
  6. Restore the "uptick" rule against short selling or prohibit it altogether during periods of financial unrest. We have seen numerous firms buy "put" options then massively sell short as to drive the prices downward. Making additional fortunes when the sheeple abandon their investments -- based on bad publicity and falling stock prices.
  7. De-politicize the Administration's regulators and fire and/or prosecute those who have been complicit in fraud, waste and the mismanagement of an Agency.  Reinforce the Inspector General's office to avoid the conflict of interest in having the Administration investigate their own appointees. One need only look at what happened in the prosecution of former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros (who went on to serve on the Board of Countrywide Financial) or National Security Advisor Samuel Berger who stole classified documents to get the point. 
  8. Implement a plan to "sop up" all of the excess capital which has been pumped into our economy lest we become prey, once again, to easy money and increased inflation which robs everyone of their purchasing power.

The game continues...

To provide a simple illustration of how the game is continuing, I will introduce you to the latest financial organization, somewhat cutely-named to form a recognizable acronym  resembling the quasi-governmental agencies (Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac):

Private National Mortgage Acceptance Co. LLC or as it will be popularly known "Penny Mac." ("PNMAC")

  • The new organization will be headed by Stanford Kurland,  who, depending on the story, either resigned or was forced out as the President of Countrywide Financial.
  • The company will be partially funded by BlackRock, Inc. one of the largest public asset managers and the hedge fund Highfields Capital Management.
  • The new company is seeking to raise $2 BILLION dollars to purchase delinquent residential mortgages at deep discounts -- thus insuring a substantial profit when the economy recovers.

A quick look at the major players indicates that the new firm taps into a wealth of expertise from both Countrywide Financial and its one-time sister firm, IndyMac. 

Considering the IT (Information Technology) requirements listed on PNMACs  website, one could believe that this company could be well-positioned to quickly become a major player in the mortgage workout sector as well as potentially trumping other servicing firms in becoming one of the Government's preferred contractors should the Government decide to "federalize" delinquent loans.

It potentially could roll its own Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) to sell into the marketplace to internally sustain its own growth. And provide another multi-million dollar payday for its investors and executives if and when a portion of the organization is sold off to the public.

For Stan Kurland, unlike his Countrywide replacement David Sambol who is reportedly being paid $28 million in cash and stock  to move to the Bank of America and operate Countrywide, this is an opportunity to make his mark as a top banana in the mortgage marketspace.

The new organization, headquartered in Calabasas, should not be confused with the National Mortgage Acceptance Corporation ("NMAC") whose principal business is issuing bonds principally secured by, or with interests in, "Mortgage Collateral." Mortgage Collateral may include mortgage loans and deed of trust loans secured by real estate and certificates evidencing interests in pools of such mortgage and/or deed of trust loans, which certificates may be issued or guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and/or private issuers.

Full Circle?

Lest we not forget, Merrill Lynch owns approximately 50% of BlackRock and was responsible for the subprime activities of First Franklin (purchased for 1.3 BILLION) and the now-bankrupt Ownit Mortgage Solutions (20% purchased for $100 MILLION). The very same Merrill Lynch that can now borrow additional money from the Fed, using mortgage backed securities (possibly acquired by PNMAC) as collateral, to feed additional monies into BlackRock or even for investing directly in PNMAC.

In the final analysis...

How bad could the mortgage business really be if hedge funds are lining up to purchase all manner of distressed mortgages,  mortgage-backed securities and distressed property pools? Either they have some estimate of the real risk involved or they are planning to spin them off as additional securities to continue the shell game.

One more time...

I though this might be a nice time to repeat my little ditty which originally appeared in my blog entry, The Ways of Wall Street: Circles within Circles."

"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."

Reference Links:

Speeches by Federal Reserve Officials|The Fed

PennyMac website

The Ways of Wall Street: Circles within Circles|OneCitizenSpeaking


“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



IS GORE'S PROFIT MACHINE BASED ON THE BIG LIE: GLOBAL WARMING IS MAN MADE?

Al Gore's Profit Machine...

The ONLY man-made thing connected with Gore's Global Warming Warning is Al Gore's profit machine: a tax exempt foundation that allows the former Vice President to travel the world in the style of a billionaire while he continues to spread his "global warming" propaganda.

Gore on 60 Minutes...

In a 60-Minutes interview (to be Broadcast Sunday Evening on March 30th) with correspondent Leslie Stahl, Gore continues to claim that global warming skeptics are in a tiny, tiny minority like those who believe the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and the earth is flat.

The $300 million advertising campaign...

Promoted as a public service program to raise the public's awareness of the global warming issue, the campaign is pure propaganda and showmanship.

Do you really care that people who cannot get along in real life, mostly people who are connected to religious activism and politics, but who are diametrically opposed to each other, sit down and push the global warming mantra?

Do you really care about the opinions of such people as the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Pat Robertson, Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks, and Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich? I don't!

I care about the opinions of scientists who make their case in peer-reviewed journals and whose findings are open to discussion and dispute by other reputable scientists who rely on facts, not feelings, and who concede that their computerized mathematical models may be based on questionable assumptions (that is why they are assumptions) and that the outlier results (results way beyond the central data points)  may have little or no statistical relevance or probability when it comes to causal events.

The most egregious example of the political nature of the discussion can be found in the assertion that carbon dioxide; a natural substance that, along with oxygen, is a key ingredient necessary to support life, causes global warming and thus we need to impose carbon caps and controls as well as institute an emissions credit trading scheme to mitigate the man-made damage.

Other than the fact that Al Gore heads a company deeply involved with "green" technology and emissions credits (Generation Investment Management), it is a well-known fact that the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas is massively dwarfed by the effects of another greenhouse gas (water vapor) which itself is massively dwarfed in effects by solar activity. In fact, considering that CO2 dissolved in the oceans and the CO2 present in the atmosphere is somewhat constant, presents the case that CO2 is part of a self-regulating feedback loop that operates without man's intervention. But the killer idea, which make me crazy, is that man's puny CO2 output, when compared with natural sources such as volcanoes and animal life is a causal agent in global warming. Cyclical warming which has been shown to occur in times prior to the industrial revolution when man's influence was effectively "nil." But the biggest fact overlooked by the global warming proponents is that the rise in carbon dioxide levels precedes the rise in temperature by approximately 600-800 years. Hardly the behavior of a "trigger" causal event which should precede the suggested effect of temperature rise.

What we really know is that the global climate is constantly changing and appears to be cyclical. We do not know where in the cycle we presently are positioned and whether or not the observed changes today are going to increase, decrease or remain static for a brief period of time. The idea that this is a global emergency is ludicrous for all -- except those who want to panic the public into adopting political solutions which may result in the curtailment of our freedoms and in a massive transfer of wealth from the public's pockets to those, like Al Gore, who are promoting global warming for their own interests: power, profits and prestige.

More of the interview...

How noble of Gore to donate his Nobel winnings...

Overlooking the fact that Al Gore's prize is a political one and not to be confused with the Nobel prizes that are awarded for scientific achievement, many people give credit to Gore for donating his prize money to charity.

"Gore’s campaign to make the world more aware of man’s role in global warming won him the Nobel Peace Prize last year."

"He donated the $750,000 prize money to The Alliance for Climate Protection, the non-profit he started to help him on his quest. He and his wife, Tipper, tell Stahl they not only matched the Nobel money with their own, but they are also donating to the organization the significant profits from his book and Oscar-winning documentary film about global warming, 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"

Not so noble when you consider that this is a legal tax dodge to avoid paying the same taxes that you and I must pay each year to fund "special interest" legislation which does very little to accomplish its stated goals. One need only consider the billions that went into funding the "War on Poverty" to realize that most of the money was siphoned off by administrative costs and sweetheart deals with connected insiders.

To "his" greater glory...

"The funds will help The Alliance for Climate Protection execute a new $300 million ad campaign on global warming set to start next week." 

"Some of the ads will feature unlikely alliances to drive home the message that people of all stripes are concerned about global warming."

"These include the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Pat Robertson, Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks, and Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich."

Countering the criticism...

Widely criticized for his jet-set lifestyle and large living, Gore attempts to mitigate some of the public relations damage by hosting Leslie Stahl at his Nashville home.

"Stahl also visits the Gore's Nashville home, recently refitted with touches that include roof solar panels that make it more environmentally friendly."

The upcoming election...

"She asks him his feelings on the Supreme Court ruling that handed his opponent, George W. Bush, the electoral votes of Florida and the presidency. Stahl also asks Gore, an uncommitted superdelegate of the Democratic Party, who he supports for his party’s nomination."

Why should Gore even want to become more involved in politics. He has built the perfect profit machine which allows him to travel the world like a billionaire and be feted as a conquering hero wherever he decides to go. The fact that it is based on a "big lie" and that Gore does not answer his critics is almost irrelevant.

What can YOU do?

Gore is continuing to promote the idea that global warming is real, it is man made and it is a real emergency. Make him prove it. Make him open his "costly" fundraising conferences to the press and answer questions posed by expert climatologists.

Do not support any past, present or future political candidate or legislative program that will have severe economic repercussions and which is  based on "computer models" which contain significant flaws. 

Watch Gore's 60-Minutes appearance to see how the media is manipulated into supporting a political position based on very little scientific knowledge.

Check out this site for some surprising information on Al Gore's money machine.

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 their personal philosophy, 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:

Gore's Message To Climate Change Skeptics, Tells 60 Minutes That Doubting Global Warming Is Manmade Is Akin To Believing Earth Is Flat - CBS News

Note:  This is a business model which may be extremely attractive to that faded ex-movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger who is rapidly becoming wise to the ways to manipulate foundations to pay his travel expenses and who is a committed proponent of so-called global warming.


“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



UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNS FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF RELIGION...THE WORLD IN CRISIS?

UPDATE: 04-01-08 WILDERS FORCED TO MODIFY FILM

According to a report by the Associated Press, the creator of the widely-reviled film on the Koran is being forced to remove the Dutch cartoon that led to violent protests due to copyright restrictions. Although a case could be made for "fair usage" based on critical commentary of a social or political nature, it is unknown if such protections exist in that part of the world. It was the Danish Union of Journalists who threatened to sue if the cartoon was not removed. It is still unknown whether the Dutch government will bring charges against Wilders for using "hate speech."

And speaking of "hate speech" and cartoons, here is another example of the Muslim hypocrisy and copyright infringement by "the other side."

Hate Speech Example One...

According to reporting by Haaretz.com...

"Following the 'demise' of the Hamas Mickey Mouse character 'Farfur' at the hands of a belligerent Israeli soldier, Hamas' television station has introduced a Bugs Bunny lookalike who declares "I will eat Jews," a British newspaper reported Wednesday. "

"According to the Daily Mail, Hamas-controlled TV in Gaza has introduced 'Assud', a rabbit, claiming that he sneaked into Gaza from Egypt after the border was breached last month."

"Farfur, the Mickey Mouse lookalike who called for the terror attacks against Jews was beaten to death by an Israel Defense Forces soldier, only to be succeeded by Nahul the bee."

"Nahoul was killed a week later when an Israeli siege prevented him from receiving medical treatment."

"The Hamas TV show faced global condemnation - and the threat of a lawsuit from Disney - before Farfur was taken off the air."

"The newspaper report said that the new show ended with a song, 'We will never recognize Israel, until we liberate our homeland from the Zionist filth.'"

"In the new show, Assud speaks with Saraa, a young girl narrator. 'We are all martyrdom seekers, are we not Saraa?' Assud asks. 'We will sacrifice our souls and everything we own for the homeland,' he says."

"'We will liberate al-Aqsa from the filth of those Zionists,' Saraa replies."

"'I Assud will get rid of the Jews and I will eat them up, Allah willing,' Assud concludes the scene."

Hate Speech Example Two...

From CNSNews.com...

"The Hamas television station that brings anti-Israel propaganda to children is doing it again -- this time with a puppet of President Bush who is killed by a Muslim child."

"Hamas' Al-Aksa satellite television station aired a children's puppet show on Sunday in which the Bush puppet is stabbed to death by a puppet identified as an orphaned child. The child puppet blames Bush for killing his relatives."

"The puppet show is part of a weekly children's program that imitates the news and delivers sermons. A translation was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute."

"The anti-American message is clear: The President Bush puppet, dressed in an army uniform and black boxing gloves, asks to speak to the child's parents, but the child replies that he is an orphan."

"'You killed daddy in the Iraq war,' the puppet says. 'As for my mom -- you and the criminal Zionists killed her in Lebanon. You and the criminal Zionists also killed my younger and older brothers in the Gaza holocaust. I'm an orphan, you criminal!' the child cries."

"The puppet vows to take revenge on Bush with 'this sword of Islam.'"

"'I have brought thousands [and] thousands of children from Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. You have denied all these children their fathers and mothers. That's why I have come to take revenge on you and on all the criminal traitors who collaborated with you,' he says."

"The child puppet repeatedly stabs Bush, after telling him the White House has been turned into 'a great mosque for the nation of Islam.'" 

So where is Ban ki-Moon and the United Nations' condemnation of these examples of "hate speech?" Or does the anti-American, corrupt and chaotic United Nations only pander to despots?

Which begs the question, why do you not see militant Jews rioting in the streets, destroying their own property and watching Rabbis on public television demand that the program's creators and distributors be beheaded or mutilated? Perhaps because the Jewish religion, teaching and Holy documents all teach peace, tolerance and respect for other ideas and cultures -- unlike Islam which declares itself to be the only way to the "afterlife" and that all unbelievers should be killed or subjugated.

Both examples prove the point of Wilder's film: Islam, as it is being practiced, is intolerant and must be modified if it is to exist and be welcomed into the world community or the jihadists who perverted the religion must be destroyed. There can be no co-existence with evil without selling your soul to the devil. One need only look at the occupation of France by the Nazis in World War II.  

Original Blog Entry...

Once again the United Nations proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it openly supports anti-human rights concepts and repressive regimes that deny freedom to much of the world's population.

According to Wikipedia...

"The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. The UN was founded in 1945 to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between nations and to provide a platform for dialogue."

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion are basic human rights...

As I written before, free speech, by its very nature, is the freedom to say anything you want about any subject, anytime and in any forum.

The only prohibitions are giving false alarm (crying "fire" in a crowded theatre); bearing false witness (libel, slander) and inciting a riot which is contrary to the maintenance of good public order and conduct. Other than that, it is what it is!

In this case it is not the filmmaker that is inciting a riot, it is those that believe that their religion allows them to kill, maim and create havoc with impunity -- all in the name of the "Religion of Peace."

Only despotic regimes, their enablers and apologists fear free speech.  Only the cowardly will apologize to the oppressors and plead for calm when the truth is openly and courageously told.

According to Reuters...

"U.N.'s Ban condemns Dutch film as anti-Islamic"

"U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as 'offensively anti-Islamic' a Dutch lawmaker's film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.

"Ban acknowledged efforts by the government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of the film, which was launched by Islam critic Geert Wilders over the Internet, and appealed for calm to those 'understandably offended by it.'"

"'There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence,' Ban said in a statement. 'The right of free expression is not at stake here.'"

Notice how Ban cleverly twists the truth from a true statement in the first part of the paragraph ('There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence.") to a demonstrably untrue statement at the end of the paragraph ("The right of free expression is not at stake here.")

There is no doubt in my mind that the right of free expression is EXACTLY what is at stake here! After all, nobody is censoring Ban's comments or demanding a retraction -- only commenting on them; which is as it should be.

"The short film, titled "Fitna," an Arabic term sometimes translated as "strife," intersperses images of the September 11 attacks on the United States and Islamist bombings with quotations from the Koran."

"The film urges Muslims to tear out 'hate-filled' verses from the Koran and starts and finishes with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb under his turban, accompanied by the sound of ticking."

"Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility," Ban said.

Cultural sensitivity as a precursor to defeat?

Coming from North Korea, Ban is probably culturally attuned to the "go along to get along" Asian culture where there is slavish devotion to the "collective" rather than supporting "individual" dissenting acts.

Social responsibility is far different from a required adherence to a social outlook promoted by a political or religious viewpoint.

Is there a point where the United Nations should transcend cultural sensitivity for the greater good? Is there a point when you must speak the truth about any religious book that lacks apparently tolerance for dissenting views and prescribes death for all of those who do not submit?

A diplomatic canard?

"'We must also recognize that the real fault line is not between Muslim and Western societies, as some would have us believe, but between small minorities of extremists, on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict,' Ban said."

Common sense will tell you that this is not true. If the main religious documents are intolerant of other faiths and demand the execution of those who do not believe and submit, then the religion, as it is practiced, is fundamentally flawed.

There cannot be any other interpretation. If there was another, more enlightened version, religious leaders far and wide would proclaim it from the highest pulpits and condemn those who distorted and denigrated the "official" interpretation. There has been no such outcry among mainstream Muslims or their religious leaders.

One man stands up and tells the truth...

One man, Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker stands up and claims that ISLAM is:

  • not tolerant of free speech;
  • does not recognize any other religion;
  • commands its followers to kill and destroy those who do not harbor and spread the religion's beliefs; and
  • openly promotes itself as the ONLY way to live in this world!

He illustrates his beliefs by juxtaposing passages from the Koran with the acts of violence that they allegedly inspired.

The film is extremely difficult to watch as it contains the 9-11 planes hitting the Twin Towers, the falling body where the choice was being burned alive or jumping to a certain death and the beheading of a captured American.

No Korans were destroyed in the making of this film...

It should be noted that the filmmaker actually goes so far to claim that the sounds of the page tearing was generated by tearing the pages of a telephone book -- so as not to destroy someone's Holy book.

Academy Award?

There is no doubt the film engenders strong emotional responses in its viewers: dismay by some, joy by others. But is that not the purpose of  such a film? If Hollywood had any real guts, they would nominate the film for an Academy Award. After all, it has generated far more viewers in a shorter period of time than most other films of a political nature. Will Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon et. al. stand up for the filmmaker's rights of free speech?

Condemned as being irresponsible...

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Geert Wilders' film as being  "offensively anti-Islamic."

Why?

Because the extreme elements of Islam, the so-called Islamo-fascists, might turn to murder and mayhem or  participate in riots leading to the widespread destruction of property?

These are the same ignorant and intolerant crazies that show no tolerance for other viewpoints and rioted over the type of "political cartoons" found in most civilized, democratic and free countries. 

Where the individual nations should have prosecuted and deported everyone involved in the disruptive criminal activities, the politicians lacked the courage of their convictions and did nothing but apologize to the perpetrators. Thus insuring "more of the same" outrageous behavior in the future.

Ban Ki-moon is the irresponsible party...

Ban Ki-moon does not seem to openly refute the film's truth or stand up for the filmmaker's freedom to put forth his opinion, but appears to condemn the film project as being "socially irresponsible."

I suggest that Ban Ki-moon is shirking his official duties and he should be convening a United Nations' panel on Islam. They should be charged with a simple task: determining whether or not the main documents of the faith are intolerant of other beliefs, whether or not the religion demands that unbelievers submit or face death -- and whether or not these findings can be tolerated in an ever-shrinking world by those who respect the human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly?

Judging for yourself...

According to CNSNews.com...

"The film juxtaposes graphic images of Islamist terrorism -- including bombings and beheadings -- with verses from the Koran, footage of Muslim clerics endorsing violence, and newspaper headlines dealing with various aspects of radical Islam."

"In recent months reports on the planned film, entitled Fitna (an Arabic word in the Koran translated as "strife" or "ordeal"), have prompted reactions in the Islamic world ranging from allegations of blasphemy and diplomatic maneuvers to angry street demonstrations."

"European authorities warned of more violence to come, and the Dutch government urged Wilders to drop the plan. Dutch television channels declined to broadcast his film."

"Wilders' earlier attempts to post the movie on a Web site he registered for that purpose ran into trouble when the U.S.-based hosting company suspended it, citing complaints, even though the site was merely a holding page with no accessible content."

The Americans refuse to host the film...

The American firm Network Solutions, once the top Internet firm in the world, posted this notice on the www.fitnathemovie.com website:

"This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation. For more information about Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy visit the following URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/legal/aup.jsp"

Far from respecting the rights of authors, filmmakers and others to enjoy American freedoms, Network Solutions seems to be waffling about the propriety of posting this material -- although it had little comment about the number of sites that feature similarly objectionable pornography --which is also offensive to a large number of religious people.

A British firm, LiveLeak, steps up...

"The right-wing lawmaker subsequently succeeded in getting the film posted on the British video sharing site, LiveLeak. Despite a few hitches overnight, as of early Friday morning (U.S. eastern daylight time) the English version had been viewed more than 2.5 million times and the Dutch one 2.7 million times, according to figures on the site."

"LiveLeak said in a statement it did not endorse the views expressed in the film, and that many of those involved with the site found some of the material offensive. But, it added, 'our being offended is no reason to deny Mr. Wilders the right to have his film seen. Pre-emptive censorship or a discriminatory policy towards freedom of speech are both things we oppose here.'"

LiveLeak relents under serious threats...

"Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill-informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, LiveLeak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers," the site LiveLeak.com said in a statement.

Here is their withdrawal statement...

This video is "proof positive" that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim and that the vocal and vicious majority hold sway over the complicit mass of so-called "moderates" -- if they even exist.

You cannot blame LiveLeak, a private company without the physical protections of a governmental agency, for choosing employee safety over an adverse outcome. Which clearly makes it a governmental matter to protect its citizens from terrorism and terrorist acts.

The world in crisis? 

Which leaves us with the question: should all threats made against the film's creator and distributors be treated as "terrorist" threats and subject those who are guilty of making these threats to the severest punishment available under the law?

Can a rational society, a free society, a tolerant society permit any single religion to so dominate its actions as to constitute a clear and present threat to the very fabric of democratic freedom?

If these threats should be treated as terrorist activities and society, collectively, determines that the practice of a single religion is inimical to and orderly society, what might be the next likely steps to contain the spreading contagion or moderate its viewpoint?   

Had it not been for the profligate wealth of certain oil-bearing countries, this issue would have been contained to the Middle East... but now threatens to explode onto the world stage ... perhaps as the foundation for WW III.

And, what greater demonstration of the wisdom of our founding fathers when they wrote the Second Amendment.

Reference Links...

U.N.'s Ban condemns Dutch film as anti-Islamic | Reuters


“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



WALL STREET'S LYING, THIEVING BASTARDS AND THEIR POLITICAL WHORES

There is no doubt that I am in a bad mood... probably caused by reading Forbes Magazine before dropping off to sleep.

In the April 7th edition of Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief, presidential aspirant and a member of one of Wall Street's prominent and influential families, writes in his "Fact and Comment" column titled, "Here's How to End the Panic,

"THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION MUST TAKE TWO STEPS IMMEDIATELY to quickly halt the unending, enervating credit crisis: shore up the anemic dollar and, for the time being, suspend "marking to market" those new financial instruments, such as packages of "subprime mortgages."

Bypassing Forbes' comments on the dollar, Steve goes on to say...

"The other measure: The Treasury Department and the Fed should get together with the SEC, the Comptroller of the Currency and other bank regulators and announce that financial institutions for the next 12 months will no longer write down the value of exotic financial instruments (primarily packages of subprime mortgages)."

"Instead, writedowns will occur only when there have been actual losses on those assets. If a mortgage defaults, a bank will then -- and only then -- recognize the loss."

"It is preposterous to try to guess what these new instruments are worth in a time of panic. Such assets are being marked down to increasingly arbitrary low levels. But when a bank books such a loss, it must replenish depleted capital, even though cash flows for most financial firms are still positive.  Worse, when forced by panicky regulators and lawsuit-fearing accountants to write down the value of these securities, institutions will dump assets in a market where there are temporarily few or no buyers. The result is a spiraling disaster. So let's have a time out on markdowns until we actually have real experience in what kind of losses are actually going to occur."

"Those two steps would quickly end the panic. Until that happens, expect more trouble."

Great, Steve! Just continue to stick your head in the sand, reward Wall Street for creating an abomination and buy time by bandaging the patient to prevent anyone from seeing the unsightly wounds.

Papering over Wall Street's misdeeds...

According to Wikipedia, the "flight to liquidity" is defined as:

"A flight-to-liquidity, is a stock market phenomenon occurring when investors sell what they perceive to be less liquid or higher risk investments and purchase more liquid investments instead, such as US Treasuries. Usually, flight-to-liquidity quickly results in panic leading to a crisis."

The root of our present crisis lies in the financial engineering performed by the Wall Street Wizards. Wizards who, in their rush to generate outrageous commissions and even more outrageous personal bonuses, decided to create products for sale where none existed before.

By taking debt collateralized by mortgages, they pooled similar mortgages together and sold them to investors as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).

Had there been a one-to-one relationship between the mortgage (collateral) and the debt instrument, there would be no problem in valuing the paper, collecting a major portion (over 50%) of the loan's value in a foreclosure and booking either a profit or loss.

But Wall Street recognized that some loans were made to flaky borrowers with crappy (a technical term) credit or under conditions (no doc, stated income, teaser rate, payment option adjustable rates, interest only, negative amortizing) which allowed a person with little or no real credit capacity to purchase a home in an over-inflated speculative real estate market.

Non-existent insurance...

So Wall Street performed some wizardry... they executed "repurchase" agreements with originators who were contractually obligated to "buy back" or replace non-performing loans that experienced either a "first payment" or "early payment" default. Nobody, it seems in some cases, recognized that the total value of the loans originated greatly exceeded the originator's ability to repurchase a significant portion of the generated loan portfolio should borrower defaults exceed a certain mutually agreed-upon level. This was exacerbated by originators who allowed the borrower to keep re-financing their non-performing loan in order to keep the shell game going.

Those that noticed potential problems with loan pools sought a greater degree of protection by using a form of mortgage insurance which guaranteed that the lender would be made whole if the unthinkable (a foreclosure) occurred. The insurers knew that some money would be recovered and thought that they correctly understood the risk. Again, nobody, it seems in some cases, recognized that the insurer's ability to handle and increasing number of loans exceeded their balance sheets and other re-insurance arrangements. And for those who wanted an even greater amount of "insurance," there were sophisticated hedges where a "counterparty" agreed to cover a certain degree of value shortfall in return for a healthy premium.

Then GREED happened.

Originators, pushed by Wall Street's demand for product, dipped lower and lower into the borrower pool to originate even more risky mortgages. Wall Street's wizards started playing with their computerized risk models and sliced-and-diced various levels of risk into new synthetic securities (derivatives) where there was only a tenuous connection between the paper and its underlying collateral. More and more paper was generated without regard to the fundamental stability of the underlying collateral.

Nobody, apparently, noticed that some originators were engaging in fraud by creating documents out of the thin air, by inflating appraisals and by simply overriding their fraud detection systems. After all, the risk was being transferred from the originator to the secondary market and the greatest exposure period for the originator only lasted for a few months.

Fairy dust sprinkled by the ratings agencies...

Of course, investors would have never purchased such speculative securities if they had really known that the access to the underlying collateral was legally tenuous or next to impossible.  Enter the ratings agencies who listened to their own clients as they explained "how safe" these securities were with their multiple protections against defaults. So the ratings agencies, to earn their thirty pieces of silver, waved their magic wand and "certified" these deeply flawed securities as being of "investment grade." All based on the "warantees and representations" of management.

The truth, of course, was far different. These investment grade derivatives had no apparent value early in their life, could only be valued by complex computer models and were somewhat illiquid - unless you could find a willing buyer to purchase the paper; hopefully for a profit.

Keep 'em coming...

But Wall Street didn't care, they made their commissions buying and selling these collateralized debt instruments. Win, lose or draw -- they pocketed their commissions.

The Wall Street Wizards saw large investors (the hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds and others) leverage their derrivatives investments by using short term money to purchase longer term securities. Something that is abhorred by those who believe in "old fashioned" banking practices.

The trigger event: the real estate bubble burst...

Aided and abetted by the nation's most optimistic cheerleaders, the National Association of Realtors, real estate agents loudly proclaimed, "It's a great time to buy a house or sell your house in order to 'trade up.'" People were purchasing multiple properties in hot housing markets. Often by lying about their "owner occupied" status to get favorable loan terms. At some point the hot markets became saturated by newly built homes and prices started to drift downward. With appraisal values declining, troubled borrowers could no longer justify their re-financing activities and a downward spiral was exacerbated.

Someone finally shouts "FIRE" in the crowded stock exchange and the panic sets in...

As time went on, as it is wont to do, more and more large investors found that the media was playing up the "toxic" paper story and that their pool money was drying up. Investors, large and small, were not renewing their short-term capital investment in the larger pools after the maturation of their investment. They were taking their money and placing it elsewhere. (Re-read the definition of "flight to liquidity")

With highly leveraged investments, an acceptable 5% loss in a market downturn can turn into an unacceptable 35% loss which encourages investors to demand the return of their investment. Thus faced with an increasing number of redemption requests, pool operators were forced to borrow more money to pay their investors or liquidate "illiquid" securities... and the spiral downward increases.

Full faith and credit...

All of the financial community is based on mutual trust and the understanding that an institution's books fairly represent the financial condition of the enterprise.

Whoa! Not so fast. Here we have the Financial Accounting Standards Board promoting FAS Rule 140 which allows corporations to actually keep their toxic securities hidden in plain sight -- but off their books -- in so-called "Special Purpose Entities SPEs). ENRON-style accounting at its best.

Bottom-line: a major liquidity crisis!

Those with investment capital became wary of all financial institutions. Banks refused to loan money to brokerages simply because they could no longer determine if the firm was profitable, contained sufficient realizable assets to cover its debts and because they were uncertain of the hidden obligations and value of paper held by the institution using the SPEs to hold the risk off the balance sheet. There are no computer models for pricing this risk scenario as no buyers can be found.

Financial institutions are now forced, by "mark-to-market" regulations, to recognize that their "paper" has been significantly de-valued and that they must place a greater amount of their capital into a buckets called "reserve accounts." With much of their capital thus transferred from one balance sheet account to another, the institution's legally  mandated "core capital reserves" may fall to levels that would be judged by the regulators as approaching "insolvency" levels. A very dangerous situation.

Enter the FED...

Bernanke and the boys come to Wall Street's aid... not surprising as the Federal Reserve has always provided a "bail out" plan for depository financial institutions in trouble, and by extension, their Wall Street Associates. So to prevent the insolvency of a major institution or institutions  (remember, the Fed is all about secrecy), the FED starts pumping hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars into the banking system (and now, apparently, directly to the larger Wall Street brokerage) ostensibly to increase systemic liquidity -- but, in reality, to shore up sagging reserves to prevent a catastrophic collapse of a major bank -- with national and world-wide economic repercussions.

Which brings us current...

Now that you understand what is happening, you can appreciate my anger at the lying thieving bastards of Wall Street and their political whores.

Reality: we were failed by our government's financial regulators!

Not only did our financial system's regulators, like the Securities and Exchange commission, fail to protect us from toxic accounting (they signed on to FASB 140) and their non-regulation of ratings agencies and hedge funds; but we were failed by those who regulate both depository (banks, credit unions)  and non-depository (mortgage originators) lending activities when they failed to enforce "proper and appropriate" banking safeguards already on the books.

They looked the other way when accounting irregularities and management malfeasance resulted in BILLIONS of dollars in losses from the GSEs (Government Sponsored Entities) like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others. Fines were levied, accounting controls were improved and the game continued.

They looked the other way when politically-connected law and accounting firms allowed their clients to create works of fiction without raising one note in protest. One need only review the allegations of the chief investigator of New Century financial who openly criticized KPMG for their accounting activities and alleged acquiescence to management's representations and wishes.

Reality: we are still being hosed by the politicians...

The President, members of his Administration (especially Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson), Congress and the presidential candidates are now proposing even more "look good-feel good legislation." Legislation which will further confuse the financial industry with a continuing patchwork quilt of overlapping, conflicting and nonsensical regulators and regulations.

The solution...

Unlike Steve Forbes who apparently wants to "bandage the patient" in order to buy time for an orderly work out, I have a different set of prescriptions.

One, adopt a goal of increased transparency in financial accounting. No more "legal" fictions to squirrel away bad results or the manipulation of reserves to "smooth" earnings. Keep the mark-to-market provisions. If something has a future value, recognize it in a footnote along with the valuation assumptions -- but do not allow computer-generated fiction to become facts on someone's balance sheet.  There is a significant difference between "fair market value" and "no market value" when no buyers can be found. To recognize and record value where there is none, is to post false and misleading financial information -- which is still a crime under the current laws.

Two, immediately regulate the ratings agencies and hedge funds.

Three, suspend or limit the ability to "sell short" in times of financial panic. There is no doubt that we are seeing not only the results of speculators bidding up commodities of which they will never take possession, but also the misuse of large capital reserves to manipulate the stock market by selling millions of dollars of securities to force the decline of a stock -- and book a profit when the short positions are covered. And since there may have been nothing fundamentally wrong with the underlying company, re-purchasing the stock for its ascendancy to its un-manipulated original value. Along with the regulation of short selling, raise the margins for speculative commodities and stock purchases which will force more capital into the system and discourage "gambling" as opposed to "investment."

Four, let insolvent firms fail to the point that they are liquidated and their assets shared by their shareholders. Thus a Countrywide or Bear Stearns, whose book value significantly outweighs the purchase price offed in pre-arranged "bailout deals," could return real value over time as the assets are sold for the benefit of creditors and investors.

Five, punish the guilty. Force those who were complicit in creating the problem to return a significant, if not all, of their salary and bonuses. Along with sanctions against the ratings agencies, law firms and accounting firms that signed off on these financial works of fiction.

What can YOU do?

Do not accept any politician's plan to bandage the patient so the wound cannot be inspected and then treated.

Remember, the current crisis is more a "crisis of confidence:" than it is a true financial crisis. Do not sell into panicked markets.

What we need is more transparency in financial transactions, not less. Anyone who even suggests that less transparency is necessary for fiscal stability is wrong. All assets, inluding real estate, should be subjected to mark-to-market requirements.

Realize that the current economic crisis is not as bad as thy media and political parties would have you believe. Subprime mortgages are a small part of overall mortgages. Overpriced real estate will again be sold enthusiastically to willing purchasers once the prices are rationalized at a more reasonable level.

Ask about the other collateralized assets which far outweigh those held in subprime mortgages: credit card debt, auto loans, leasing contracts, merger/buyout debt -- and what they are not telling you about their chances for default.

If you must assign blame, it falls directly on the Fed (cheap money), the Administration (payment option ARMs to promote home ownership), the various and sundry regulators who hope that you will not notice that they are complicit in the fraud now being perpetrated on the American public, and the law and accounting firms which created legal fictions to enable these dastardly deeds.

Watch for the adverse results of pumping billions into our markets: either in inflation or an upcoming bubble in commodities. We are now repeating the exact same "easy money" program that led to the last bubble.

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 their personal philosophy, 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



POETIC JUSTICE: TSA FORCED TO DEAL WITH GLORIA ALLRED

If there is a more annoying woman who frequently pops up in the media than attorney Gloria Allred, who almost single-handedly pioneered the concept of attorney representation for witnesses (Amber Frey), I have yet to encounter her.

But there is a sense of "balance" in the world...

On one side, we have the universally hated TSA (Transportation Security Administration) with their inane and nonsensical rules which do little other than to provide frustration to travelers. A "feel good" agency beset with problems, mostly of their own making.

And on the other side, we have Gloria Allred, champion of the downtrodden woman and self-styled media expert. Ubiquitous, unrelenting and overwhelmingly annoying to say the least.

And the issue that is going to bring the wrath of Gloria Allred upon the TSA...

According to the Associated Press...

"Woman Told To Remove Nipple Rings For SoCal Flight"

"A woman was forced by the Transportation Security Administration to remove her nipple rings before she was allowed to board a flight, an attorney said on Thursday."

"'The woman was given a pair of pliers in order to remove the rings in her nipples,' said Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred. 'The rings had been in her nipples for many years.'
Allred and the woman planned to hold an early-afternoon news conference in Los Angeles to explain what they plan to do 'to ensure that no other person is forced to suffer' the same fate, the attorney said in a statement."

"The Transportation Security Administration does not have a specific policy addressing nipple rings or any other jewelry, said TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird. Baird said he did not know of the incident Allred mentioned in her statement."

They will have a specific policy shortly ... and an expensive one at that. I am just sorry that we all cannot be privy to the negotiations between Allred and the TSA.

We will post the video that is sure to be made from the news coverage.

Another reason for a happy Thursday.

Reference Link:

Woman Told To Remove Nipple Rings For SoCal Flight


“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



Steve's Random Musings for a Thursday...

Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a pass to illegal aliens: "it would be a 'big mistake' to blame illegal immigrants for the state's looming $8 billion budget problem.

According to the Sacramento Bee...

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, responding to the mother of a Republican state legislator, said Wednesday it would be a "big mistake" to blame illegal immigrants for the state's looming $8 billion budget problem."

"The Republican governor was in San Luis Obispo to pitch his budget proposal to local officials and business leaders when he was asked by Diane Blakeslee, mother of Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, how the state should handle fiscal burdens created by illegal immigrants."

"'There is, you know, always a time like this where you start pointing the finger at various different elements of what creates the budget mess, and, you know, some may point the finger at illegal immigrants,' Schwarzenegger said. 'I can guarantee you, I have been now four years in office in Sacramento, I don't think that illegal immigration has created the mess that we are in.'"

Schwarzenegger is absolutely correct. It was caused by the profligate spending of the far-left liberal democrats on special interest matters such as massive union salary increases and social engineering programs to make the illegal aliens feel welcome in our country; aided and abetted by a governor who wants to be "admired by all" rather than fulfill his constitutional duties. Unfortunately, Californian's did not regard the possibility of another fund-raising whore/big-spending politician who just couldn't say "NO" loud enough to bring spending under control, when they replaced the former Governor Gray Davis. The former Governor is looking much better than his replacement, Schwarzenegger, as time goes on.

Who is McCain trying to fool ... or impress?

John McCain, looking presidential and being in command of foreign affairs, decided to impress the United States Jewish voters by loudly announcing he was all for peace and brokering a deal with the rocket-firing Palestinians. Unfortunately he spent ONLY one day in Israel and ONLY telephoned the Palestinian President.

If McCain had any real insight into the situation, he would have simply declared that a true peace is impossible without an unlikely reform of Islam, but a brokered "cease fire" might be doable during his term of office. Left unspoken: BILLIONS of U.S. dollars would need to be paid to both sides to achieve even a "historic meeting" for a photo-op. So look forward to the Israeli-Palestinian stimulus payment of 2009. More on the McCain-Lieberman-Graham visit can be found here. But the real story about the infighting between Hamas and Fatah to be the representative on the other side of the table can be found here

What should Islam fear? KARMA!

Ali Hussein allegedly snatched Rabbi Uria Ohana's yarmulke last week inside a New York subway station. The Rabbi gave chase and reportedly two of Hussein's friends started punching the Rabbi's face yelling " Allah Akhbar (God is great)." Now comes the good part... As Hussein ran out of the station into the road, he was hit by a car. The Rabbi reportedly intends to seek the prosecution of Hussein while the authorities waffle over whether or not it was a hate crime. More on the story can be found here.

California liberals use science to expand ammunition ban...

After Governor Schwarzenegger signed A.B. 821, the "Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act" to require the use of nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition when taking big game and coyote within specified areas. the Department of Fish and Game immediately issued rules to expand the ban to other ammunition (rimfire, muzzle-loader and shotshells) containing lead. Ironically, the original legislation requires the state to provide hunters with suitable nonlead ammunition at little or no cost, possibly through a voucher system -- "if funding is available." Highly unlikely with an $8 BILLION deficit.

The legislation was necessary because one Condor in California apparently died of lead poisoning since 1977 and several others seem to have high concentrations of lead in their blood... leading liberals to conclude the condors were eating dead meat shot with lead bullets and left in the field by hunters.

It has not occurred to them that California has any number of gold and silver mines which would count for lead leaching into the water supply, or that car's still emit lead and many roads contain lead-bearing slurries. Or that soil sediments containing both lead and mercury are relatively abundant in various areas of California.

There are approximately 77 Condors left in California. Considering that California condor flew over woolly mammoths and saber toothed tigers, perhaps nature is finally phasing out the Condor. But only California would spend millions of dollars to preserve an artifact of nature -- which does not greatly interact with the greater ecostructure.

Telephone carriers are looking out for their customers?

Verizon wants the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling that will make it easier for a cable customer to switch to a fiber optic system to deliver television content over the fiber lines. Just another service to be measured, metered and sliced-and-diced into various tariffed rates. It seems that the telephone companies are combating network neutrality by demanding that the TELCOs should be able to switch a customer from a cable system to a fiber system as easy as switching between two telephone providers. More on the story can be found here.

And on-and-on it goes...

What can YOU do?

Ignore the petty, the ridiculous and the downright stupid and have a great Thursday.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "

This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them." -- Bertrand Russell

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



LOSING YOUR PRIVACY ONE DEVICE AT A TIME - GPS TRAFFIC DEVICES

It always sounds like a great idea...

Labor-saving devices or devices which ease the burden of daily living are always being invented. In many cases, the devices are innocuous and cannot betray the user if they are used inappropriately. However, a new class of interactive devices is emerging and the consequences of using such devices should be realistically examined.

The Washington Post is reporting...

"Beating Traffic By Joining the Network: New System Takes and Shares Data From Cars"

"For a solitary driver, the ebb and flow of traffic can be maddeningly unpredictable."

"So some tech entrepreneurs wondered what would happen if all of those isolated drivers could be connected and warn one another what lies ahead."

"The idea will get a closely watched tryout this week, when Dash Navigation begins selling two-way GPS devices for cars, creating, in essence, a network of drivers. A central computer will collect speed and location information from each car, then create and transmit back what the start-up company hopes will be the most complete and up-to-the-minute picture of traffic ever created."

"A driver who installs a $599 Dash unit would, in theory, be able to learn about the traffic ahead from someone in the network who had just experienced it."

"...the Dash network will operate in real time and rely less on humans for input than on the devices. The more people who have the devices in a given area, the more accurate the information."

"The units have been tested near Dash's home base in Sunnyvale, Calif., and in other cities around the country, including Washington, where travel delays from congestion are the second-worst in the United States, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. Starting Thursday, the company plans to begin selling the devices, which offer traffic information, directions and Internet search."

"Dash's effort is considered the first mass-market attempt to use GPS-based tracking with such a potentially broad U.S. audience. GPS devices in cars have until now provided directions but not such potentially broad-based real-time traffic information."

Entrepreneurs, truck fleets and cellphone companies have been experimenting with similar ideas for years and have encountered thorny issues of privacy and accuracy along the way.

"As criminals, cheats and others have discovered to their dismay in recent decades, a person who uses cellphone or GPS technology can be a lot easier to track. Use of the technology to monitor traffic has repeatedly raised questions about whether the tracking data might be used for other purposes."

No notice given?

"A 2005 experiment by the Maryland Department of Transportation, for example, was scuttled after complaints that the cellphone data gathered from unwitting passersby to gauge traffic speeds could be used to track those cellphone users. That system measured speed by collecting information on how fast cellphone customers were moving between cell towers."

"Other states, including Missouri and Georgia, have pursued or are pursuing similar plans. Georgia has deployed two services that use the cell-tower data to gauge traffic speeds on major roads in the state."

"'We're not spying on anybody,' said Paul Marshall, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation. 'When we tell people about it, we say, 'We have a new way of getting traffic volume and speed information.' . . . They get paranoid when they hear it's cell data."

"The cellphone data that the state receives, however, are "anonymized" -- that is, stripped of any identifying information such as the user's phone number -- and that allays most people's concerns, officials said."

Until the government needs to raise revenue...

We are finding that there is an increasing trend to install red-light cameras and other devices which are being used, not so much for safety purposes, but as sure-fire revenue enhancers which return a steady stream of money to both the system operators and the vendors which supply the systems, sometimes on a contingency-fee basis.

Anonymous by purpose, not design?

"The location information Dash gathers -- which by contrast comes from GPS coordinates, not cell-tower data -- will similarly be anonymized, company officials said."

"'If the FBI comes in tomorrow and says, 'Where were you at 3 p.m. yesterday?' the honest answer will be, 'We don't know,' " Robert Acker, Dash's senior vice president of marketing, said."

Notice the vendors never say that the data is anonymous, they always claim it is being "anonymized." Which means it is accessible under certain situations. One need only to refer to CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) to know that the common carriers handling telephone and Internet traffic are legislatively mandated to  build-in law enforcement access to their systems.

Unless DASH is using their own communications network, which is highly unlikely, they may, in fact, be designated a common carrier under CALEA.

"The Dash device also offers a layer of what might be called domestic privacy: It allows users to delete recently searched-for destinations and services. Internally, company officials call that 'the girlfriend program.'"

It's not easy to process the data...

"The thorniest technological challenge facing efforts like Dash's is how to turn the mountain of minute-by-minute location data from cars into a sensible map of traffic."

"Simply translating a car's speed into traffic levels doesn't work. A car's slow movement might only reflect a slowpoke behind the wheel. A faster speed might only reflect an aggressive driver, or someone cruising the HOV lane. And unless they are properly accounted for, stoplights could look like traffic jams, which is why earlier efforts focused on highways alone. To address such problems, the Dash software looks for patterns in the data and throws out the outliers."

Now I am beginning to get worried...

"'It isn't enough to take the data and say this is the speed on the roadways,' said Bryan Mistele, president of INRIX, a traffic-reporting company spun off by Microsoft that provides the baseline data in Dash's system. "You have to figure out what's going on."

Microsoft?

Pardon my paranoia, but every time I hear the name Microsoft, I think "proprietary data collection with no privacy guarantees." And, in this case, I think of a car's entire system being managed by a Microsoft operating system -- returning "who knows what" data to "who knows where" for "who knows what purpose." 

Considering the all ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are covered under various laws...

"The company hopes that by using INRIX's traffic data as a baseline, and by offering Internet access, it will draw customers before the Dash driver network becomes widespread."

"Whether the Dash venture works out, experts in the field say that eventually one of the companies experimenting with the technology will get it right."

"John Frawley, executive vice president of broadcast operations at Westwood One, which provides traffic information to more than 2,400 radio stations around the country, including WTOP, called it the industry's hottest topic."

"Once it works, 'this kind of GPS tracking is going to make some of the older technology obsolete almost instantaneously,' he said."

Sometimes the paranoid person is right...

It should be noted that there is anecdotal evidence that federal investigators were not only able to track a vehicle with General Motor's OnStar safety system, but also listen to the conversation of the passengers without their consent or knowledge. One hopes that the government did have a court-sanctioned warrant for the surveillance.

There is also anecdotal evidence of the same type of surveillance being performed using modern mobile phones with GPS-enabled tracking which was legislatively mandated to support the 911-emergency response system.

Incriminated by your own electronic device...

We are starting to see an increasing number of cases in which the contents of computer hard drives, answering machines and Internet accounts (the big computer in the clouds) have been entered into court proceedings.

It is known that automotive "black box" data has been subpoenaed and used in insurance cases to deny claims. With modern OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) packages, there is a wealth of information available to anyone who can access your car's computer system. In the case of a crash, certain data is burned into a chip which records throttle position, braking, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment and other parameters which were to originally be used to develop safer cars.

We have also seen certain rental companies track speeding and hard-usage of their rental cars. Perhaps being logged into a database which could serve to raise your rental rates when you next require a rental vehicle. Not to mention various devices which will allow you to track your teenager and monitor their driving performance.

You must develop an awareness that, with all electronic devices which can report on your activities, unless the data is otherwise protected by rock-solid legislation guaranteeing your privacy, much of the information collected may be discoverable by private parties during the discovery phase of a lawsuit and by the government through the use of either a court-sanctioned subpoena or an administrative letter.

Therefore, information regarding your location, speed and possibly your driving habits may be used to your disadvantage by an insurance company seeking to deny your claim.

Similarly, electronic devices can be used by governmental authorities to build potential witness lists comprised of all persons in the immediate vicinity of a criminal event -- along with the actual criminal if he was electronically-enabled. Big brother to the max.

This blog entry is not meant to discourage you from buying that latest whiz-bang gizmo (and I personally have lots of them), but to increase your awareness of any potential legal liability which may arise from such usage.

Of course, the more optimistic among you may point out that the opposite is also true -- that the electronic device can provide you with a rock-solid alibi. To which I can reply, somewhat seriously, that almost all systems can be hacked and data spoofed. The days when a photograph or recording could be taken as gospel are long over.

In any event, since the good almost always outweighs the bad, the average citizen should not worry too much about the everyday consequences of using life-enhancing devices.

What can YOU do?

Remember, before acquiring, installing and using any electronic device which may be used to track your location and/or report on your activities, you must consider the unintended consequences of the use of the data.

Demand that your legislators craft privacy laws that will protect your rights -- although the best protection for any device is an accessible on-off switch which will activate the device only when necessary.

Be aware of the adverse consequences of the misuse of the data. I strongly suggest that you may want to ask a constitutional attorney whether or not your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination extends to electronic devices which may be operated by you or your family. Although the data may be subpoenaed, there may be grounds to suppress the information before it can harm any case in which you may be involved.

Get involved with a civil rights protection organization that was created to protect your privacy. I wholeheartedly believe in the good works being performed by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) which can be found at www.eff.org. I do not recommend the support of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) as they have become a political action group that apparently serves the needs of far-left liberals rather than protecting everybody against egregious violations of our civil rights.

Enjoy you new toy -- as long as you keep your activities within the bounds of the law.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "

It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative." -- John Burroughs

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:

Beating Traffic By Joining the Network|Washington Post


“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



BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: ELECTION DEAL BREAKER

Presented without further comment...

dealbreaker

(Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.)


“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



Black Minister proclaims "I am Your Last Hope."

Barack Obama's apparently racist, anti-Semitic and anti-American minister may not be the only one preaching hate...

Following Barack Obama's lecture on the status of racial relations in America in defense of his long-time mentor, friend and pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, people have been submitting extreme examples of exactly what ministers such as Wright have been preaching to their congregations.

And many do not support Barack Obama...

One especially egregious sermon by Dr. James David Manning openly claims that Barack Obama is "the mac daddy" pimping white women. And openly brands him from the pulpit as the emissary of the devil.

His over the top sermon goes on to claim...

"I'm not a diplomat... I'm here to speak the word of God. I do not have to compromise with you. You've been losing for five hundred years. You've been in this country as slaves for five hundred years and you're still marching and complaining that you you don't have anything. After five hundred years! There must be something deficient about your intellectual strengths. There must be something deficient about your GOD to let you be on the bottom as long as you're on the bottom. And two years from now, Mexicans are going to running your life and writing your  paycheck. If I do not stand up, I am your last hope. I'm your last hope. After me there'll be no hope.

"Farrakhan didn't get it for you. Barack  is an emissary of the devil. I'm your last hope."

Reverend Manning in his own words...

What can YOU do?

Condemn bigotry and stupidity whenever it appears.

Recognize that a title connoting a position of respect or having a well-credentialed background does not exempt you from being a bigot or acting stupidly in private or in public.

Walk away from those who teach hatred, bigotry and division in the guise of religion.

Relegate them to the dung-heap from which they have arisen.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  "There is nothing worse than  encouraging the prejudices of others for your own profit, prestige and power." - 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