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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Videos

Here are some interesting Youtube videos out of Japan showing efforts by workers to regain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

This first one (made approximately March 22nd) shows workers spraying water on top of a damaged reactor building.

This second one (made March 27th) is a fly over of the facility. It is still a smoking mess.

These are 2 out of over 270 videos from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster uploaded by YomiuriShimbun (website: yomiuri.co.jp)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Economists Warn: US Deficit is a Severe Threat (So what!)

When 10 former ex-Chairpersons of the President's Council of Economic Advisors warn of a pending financial crisis, due to the deficit, maybe Congress and the President should pay attention. One of the ten is Christina D. Romer, who served as the chairwoman in the Obama administration, from 2009 to September 2010. However, our Congress is happy to fight over measley $50 billion chump change  budget cuts. One blog perfectly labeled this worthwhile effort: "spitting into the ocean".

Op-Ed / Politico.com:
Unsustainable budget threatens nation -- [By 10 Ex-Chairs of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, 6 Republicans and 4 Democrats]

Repeated battles over the 2011 budget are taking attention from a more dire problem—the long-run budget deficit.

Divided government is no excuse for inaction. The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, under co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, issued a report on the problem in December supported by 11 Democrats and Republicans — a clear majority of the panel’s 18 members.

As former chairmen and chairwomen of the Council of Economic Advisers, who have served in Republican and Democratic administrations, we urge that the Bowles-Simpson report, “The Moment of Truth,” be the starting point of an active legislative process that involves intense negotiations between both parties...

While the actual deficit is likely to shrink over the next few years as the economy continues to recover, the aging of the baby-boom generation and rapidly rising health care costs are likely to create a large and growing gap between spending and revenues. These deficits will take a toll on private investment and economic growth. At some point, bond markets are likely to turn on the United States — leading to a crisis that could dwarf 2008...

discussion:
David Wessel / NY Times:
Former White House Economists Say Deficit Is 'Severe Threat' -- Ten former chairmen of the White House Council of Economic Advisers called on politicians to get to work soon on reducing the federal budget deficit, saying a plan crafted by fiscal commission appointed by President Barack Obama should be "the starting point" for addressing what they labeled a "severe threat" to the nation's economy...

Andrew Stiles / National Review:   The Little Deficit Commission That Could
Catherine Rampell / Economix:   Ex-White House Economists Urge Action on Deficit
related:
Gregory Mankiw / NY Times:
It’s 2026, and the Debt Is Due -- For years, the United States government borrowed on good terms. Investors both at home and abroad were confident that we would honor our debts. They were sure that when the time came, we would do the right thing and bring spending and taxes into line.

But over the last several years, as the ratio of our debt to gross domestic product reached ever-higher levels, investors started getting nervous. They demanded higher interest rates to compensate for the perceived risk. Higher interest rates increased the cost of servicing our debt, adding to the upward pressure on spending. We found ourselves in a vicious circle of rising budget deficits and falling investor confidence...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

London Austerity/Spending Cuts March Gets Violent

The austerity measures and spending cuts in the United Kingdom are hurting. How soon before we see this level of violent protest erupt in the US? The Wisconsin protests were only a first act. Central London this Saturday, March 26th, 2011, is a nasty reminder of how class warfare is now actually looking like warfare.


An HSBC branch bank is broken into and vandalized in the above video.

----


CNN
Demonstrators swarm central London to protest spending cuts -- Scattered violence broke out Saturday as tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through central London to protest proposed austerity measures and public sector spending cuts...

The Trades Union Congress, which organized the demonstration, said nearly half a million people were taking part, far exceeding their original estimate of 100,000 participants...


CNN understatement: "A small bit of vandalism"
----
UK Telegraph:
TUC protest march -- [timeline]
20:10: Scotland Yard says the number of arrests stood at 202...

19.30 The base of Nelson's Column has been vandalised, with the anarchist symbol spray painted onto masonry.There are several thousand protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square...

19.20 A spokesman for civil liberties group Liberty says: "The demonstration appeared to have been infiltrated by violent elements who periodically separated from the main route in order to attack high profile commercial properties and the police before melting into the demonstration once more...

Anarchists confront police on Oxford St., London
----
Approximate route of march through central London by the main group of demonstrators. The HSBC branch bank at Cambridge Circus and the London Ritz were two locations that were attacked by anarchists.

Route: Victoria Embankment > Bridge Street > Parliament Square > Parliament Street > Whitehall > Trafalgar Square > Cockspur Street > Pall Mall > Waterloo Place > Regent Street > Piccadilly > Hyde Park Corner > Park lane > South Carriage Drive > Hyde Park [rally].

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japan Needs to Guard Against Kamikaze Attack on Nuc Plant

Please take a moment from your stressful day and allow me to put some fuel into your apocalyptic nightmare tank.

Let's consider that the radioactive glow coming off the crippled reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant might draw some crazy person, like a mentally deranged moth to a nuclear flame. Is Japan taking enough measures to guard the Fukushima nuclear reactors from a possible kamikaze attack?

The nuclear meltdown story is just the sort of long building, high profile story that could tip your standard mentally unbalanced person into going full batshit crazy. Not having the Fukushima problem resolved is giving the nuts too long to think their crazy thoughts. Also, let's not count out your regular run of the mill terrorist, who wants to exploit a target of opportunity that is Fukushima.

----
When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. This will also enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination, meanwhile reinforcing your excellence in flight skills. — An excerpt from a kamikaze pilots' manual.
----
Kamikaze, a Japanese word meaning "divine wind", were suicide attacks by Japanese military aviators against Allied vessels during the last months of World War II. A total of 3,912 Japanese kamikaze pilots died and forty-seven ships were sunk during that final campaign.

Suicide has never been criminalized in Japan and, in fact, suicide has become a significant national problem. The Japanese have a special form of suicide with ritualistic gutting called Seppuku. The crippled Fukushima nuclear plant presents a super inviting target for a spectacular suicide mission. Cracking a Fukushima reactor wide open would be a suicide for the ages. It would be a gutting of the entire Japanese homeland. For some sickos it could offer a glorious Slim Pickins style, ride that baby into the nuclear fire, ending.


The U.S. Government was accused of not "connecting the dots" following the 9-11 attack. The hints that something bad would happen with terrorists and commercial airliners were littered all over the pop culture and intelligence landscape. Now if you start connecting some of the dots regarding Fukushima, or any nuclear plant for that matter, then you need to be a little worried.

Japan has a history of crazy people trying to kill a bunch of Japanese. Members of the Japanese Aum Doomsday cult launched a Sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway on March 25, 1995. Their motives are still murky, but doomsday might have had something to do with it. The attack sent more than 5,500 people to the hospital, 688 by ambulance. Thirteen people died*, one women had both her eyes removed after her contact lenses became fused to her cornea. Seventeen people were critical, thirty-seven severe and 984 moderately ill with vision problems.

Back in the 19990's the Aum cult even attempted to get Russian nuclear weapons and prospected for uranium in Australia's outback. In 2000, the organization changed its name to Aleph - the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Some are still bitter over their leader's imprisonment. However, they claim that they have renounced their violent past. The cult remains active today with reportedly over 2,200 members. Hopefully, they are all tame now and they don't have pilot licenses.

Also, there are many Asians like the Koreans and Chinese who have a history of hatred for Japan. Finding someone there, out of nearly 1.4 billion people, who could meltdown, go critical, and who also bears a big grudge against Japan would not be impossible. The Japanese occupied Korea for 35 years, from 1910 to 1945. The Japanese colonized and exploited Korea. They also destroyed the Korean culture in what has been called "cultural genocide." There are still very bitter feelings in Korea over Japanese brutalities during that occupation. The Chinese, of course, have the stinging memory of the Rape of Nanking and all the other atrocities committed by the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War, from 1937 to 1945. All this serves as more than enough back story fuel to provoke some mentally unstable person to attack Japan.

There are also the nut case North Koreans, who have abducted Japanese citizens, blown up airliners, and launched random attacks against South Korea. It would not be hard to imagine a rogue element there luring some lunatic into an explosive-packed plane and sending him off on a one-way flight to Fukushima.

A hypothetical airplane attack on the US nuclear plant at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been described as follows:
Every night, jetliner after jetliner fly directly over The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS, in Southern California...

Routing dozens of jetliners fueled to capacity directly over or very close to the nuclear plant at relatively low altitudes as they climb out of or descend into San Diego is a risk that could prove to be a catastrophic disaster...

The following scenario was painted by a top military and commercial jet pilot:

"You charter a private jet about the size of an airliner, like a Gulfstream or Challenger. You load your luggage with explosives. As soon as the jet leaves Palomar full of fuel, the pilots are quite busy. Just as the jet is over the coastline, you kick open the flimsy cockpit door - if it is even closed - kill the pilots, turn the jet to the north and you are about three minutes from San Onofre. You push the throttles forward, and the jet accelerates rapidly to hundreds of miles per hour. You are already at a low altitude of a few hundred feet headed for the nuclear plant right smack in front of you. Air traffic control is frantically calling your call sign: `Whisky Papa 77 do you copy? Over.` By the time they make the third or fourth attempt at contacting you, it is over."...
Tom Clancy imagined a suicide airliner attack seven years before 9-11. His 1994 novel, Debt of Honor, concludes with a suicide airliner attack on the U.S. Capitol. Described by Wikipedia as follows:
However, an embittered Japan Air Lines pilot who is driven mad by the deaths of his son and brother-in-law during the brief conflict, murders his co-pilot and flies their Boeing 747 directly into the U.S. Capitol building during the proceedings. Nearly the entire United States presidential line of succession is eliminated, including the President, most of Congress, nearly all of the Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all nine Supreme Court Justices. Ryan, who had just been confirmed as Vice President moments before, narrowly escapes the attack and is immediately sworn in as President. He begins his term of office in the immediate sequel, Executive Orders.
Will irony strike Tom Clancy's book a second time, because of his use of a mad Japanese pilot as the agent of destruction?

One current requirement of nuclear plant construction is that reactors be built inside a containment structure that can withstand a suicide airplane crash like 9-11. Now, of course, the outer containment structures at Fukushima reactors are damaged and the reactors are exposed. A main line of defense against an airplane attack is gone.

Even a poorly skilled pilot could find Fukushima. Flying along the northeast coast of Japan (Honshu island) will bring you right to the Fukushima nuclear plant. You can't miss it. It's the massive structure, with four distinct reactor buildings, tall smokestacks, and with the extended break wall jutting hundreds of meters into the ocean. A break wall that proved to be a little on the short side. Anyway, once there a kamikaze then simply does a fly-by and then pulls a 270 degree turn and hits one of the damaged reactors from either the east or the west. Reactors two or three look like the best targets.


If the attack is in the early morning and the pilot turns out over the ocean and comes in from the east the sun will be at their back. They will be coming out of the sun to hit the Land of the Rising Sun right in its nuclear cojones.

A night time attack would not be that difficult to pull off either. The plant is bathed in light now since the power is back on and extra lights have been brought in to help monitor the situation.

Also, who says a kamikaze attack has to be solo? A group attack with a small squadron of private aircraft is certainly possible. I'm sure a kamikaze pilot would be emboldened with a wing man or two.
----
Center for Asia Pacific Aviation / March 16, 2011:
Japan invokes 30km no-fly zone around Fukushima plant -- Japan's Transport Ministry have initiated a 30 km no fly zone around the Fukushima nuclear power station, due to concerns that radioactive particles from the damaged plant to could enter passing aircraft...
----
Setting a thirty kilometer no-fly zone, of course, does not stop a kamikaze threat. A thirty-year-old Cessna could cover that distance in under 9 minutes. Are the Japanese just staying quiet on the terror aspect of their exposed plant, because again they want to cover-up and shield their public from that scary scenario?

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force does have some air defense missile units. The Japanese should have quietly moved some of their anti-air missile batteries and the associated radar units to cover Fukushima. Have you seen any main stream media reports of defensive measures around Fukushima? The downside here is that these military personnel will be exposed to more radiation.

They should also have some air defense fighter planes at airfields near Fukushima on quick stand-by, with the pilots sitting in the cockpit, ready for take-off. Flying a continuous stand-by might be too much of resource drain for the small Japanese Air Force.

The Japanese can not let their guard down. They must plan to stop any random act of craziness at Fukushima. It would be a cruel irony if a kamikaze attack on a Fukushima reactor, and an easterly demonic wind, spreads radiation over the Japanese homeland.

correction: A total of 13 people died in the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Spiderweb of Insider Crooks


If you had any doubt that Wall Street was infested with crooks all you need to do is check out the Bloomberg Businessweek Insider's Guide To Insider Trading. It nicely breaks down the complex three overlapping insider networks that swapped corporate information. So far 22 individuals have pleaded guilty. The three major overlapping insider networks in this case were the following:
  • The Galleon Network -- Rajaratnam and five others were arrested on Oct. 16, 2009.
  • The Zvi Goffer Network -- Goffer and other former Galleon employees were part of a second wave of government arrests in November 2009.
  • The Expert Network Network -- Starting in November 2010, the Justice Dept. brought charges against persons related to Primary Global Research, alleging the “expert networking” firm dealt insider tips.
Is there any doubt that the market is a rigged game and that insiders get the jump on any and all materially significant information?

Here is another diagram of the networks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More On Spent Fuel Rod Concerns

Many more people are now focusing on the problem of the spent uranium fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

NY Times:
Danger of Spent Fuel Outweighs Reactor Threat -- Figures provided by Tokyo Electric Power on Thursday show that most of the dangerous uranium at the power plant is actually in the spent fuel rods, not the reactor cores themselves. The electric utility said that a total of 11,195 spent fuel rod assemblies were stored at the site.

That is in addition to 400 fuel assemblies that had been in active service in reactor No. 1 and 548 in each of reactors No. 2 and 3. In other words, the storage pools hold more than seven times as much radioactive material as the reactor cores.

Now those temporary pools are proving the power plant’s Achilles heel, as the water in the pools either boils away or leaks out of their containments, and efforts to add more water have gone awry. While spent fuel rods generate significantly less heat than newer ones, there are strong indications that the fuel rods have begun to melt and release extremely high levels of radiation...

Very high levels of radiation above the storage pools suggest that the water has drained in the 39-foot-deep pools to the point that the 13-foot-high fuel rod assemblies have been exposed to air for hours and are starting to melt...

related:
Sky News:
Japan Admits Nuclear Problem Is 'Severe'

Kirk James Murphy / Fire Dog Lake:
Why Fukushima’s “spent” fuel rods will continue to catch fire

Zero Hedge:
Detailed Look At The Spent Fuel Rod Containment Pools At Fukushima

All Things Nuclear:
Spent Fuel Pools at Fukushima

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spent Fuel Storage Pools at Fukushima Pose Biggest Danger

update:


At 11:57 JST (Japanese Standard Time), Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) released a photograph of Fukushima No.4 reactor showing that "a large portion of the building's outer wall has collapsed." Technicians were reported to be considering spraying boric acid on the building from a helicopter.

The new Wednesday fire cast into doubt the earlier hope that the Tuesday blaze in the Unit 4 housing was caused by lubricating oil pumps; instead at approximately 14:30, TEPCO announced its belief that the storage pool may have begun boiling, raising the possibility that exposed rods would reach criticality. BBC commented that criticality would not mean a nuclear bomb like explosion, but rather some enhanced and sustained release of radioactive materials would be a possible scenario.

Around 20:00 JST on 16 March it was planned to use a police water cannon to spray water on unit 4.

Julius Andreev, former director of the Soviet Spetsatom clean-up agency involved in Chernobyl clean-up, as well as Laurence Williams, professor of nuclear safety at the University of Central Lancashire, speculate that the Fukushima management could have been engaged in an unsafe industry practice of re-racking spent rods in the pool well beyond its rated capacity, in effect heightening danger of melting and pool boil-off.

On 16 March the chairman of United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, said in Congressional testimony that the NRC believes all of the water in the spent fuel pool has boiled dry. Japanese nuclear authorities and TEPCO instantly disclaimed that this was the case and stressed that the situation was stable.
----
Early reports from Japan on Wednesday say all the workers at the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant have been withdrawn after radiation spikes. Before the worker evacuation a fire was observed through the 8 by 8 meter hole in the outer shell of reactor unit #4. That fire apparently extinguished itself. There was also white smoke seen billowing out of Fukushima reactor unit #3. However, since all the workers had left the plant it was unclear if another fire had ignited.

However, the spent fuel storage pool at Unit #4 at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant is currently the biggest danger as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC explains in this clip. Units #5 and #6 also have spent fuel storage pools that may pose a future problem.

----


related:
NY Times:
In Fuel-Cooling Pools, a Danger for the Longer Term -- Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger...

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) / Press Release:
Fire occurrence at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 4 (2nd Release)--

At approximately 5:45 am, a TEPCO employee discovered a fire at the northwest corner of the Nuclear Reactor Building while transporting a battery to the central control room of Unit 4 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

TEPCO immediately reported this incident to the fire department and the local government. In addition, TEPCO also contacted related parties about this incident and began immediate preparations to extinguish the fire. (previously announced)

However, during an inspection at approximately 6:15 am, TEPCO staff found
no signs of fire. The area will be kept under strict surveillance.

more TEPCO News: here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

US Economy: Numbers Check


This set of numbers for the U.S. economy does not look good. The prime reasons boil down to reckless spending by Congress and the President, and reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve. Who's got the guts to stop this run away train? Or is it already unstoppable?

January 2009
Today (3/10/11)
% chg
Source
Avg. Retail price/gallon gas in U.S.
$1.83
$3.520
92.34%
1
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
$43.48
$114.93
164.33%
2
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
$38.74
$104.38
169.44%
2
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
$853.25
$1,431.00
67.71%
2
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
$3.56
$6.8275
91.78%
2
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
$9.66
$13.554
40.3%
2
Sugar, cane, raw, world, per lb.
$0.125
$0.2871
129.7%
2
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
7.6%
8.9%
17.1%
3
Unemployment rate, blacks
12.6%
15.3%
21.42%
3
Number of unemployed
11,616,000
13,673,000
17.73%
3
Number of fed. Employees, ex. Military (curr = Feb. 2011 prelim)
2,779,000
2,856,000
2.77%
3
Real median household income (2008 v 2009)
$50,112
$49,777
-0.7%
4
Number of food stamp recipients (as of Dec. 2010)
31,983,716
44,082,324
37.83%
5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients (2/19/10)
7,526,598
8,772,818
16.56%
6
Number of long-term unemployed
2,600,000
6,000,000
130.8%
3
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009)
13.2%
14.3%
8.3%
4
People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)
39,800,000
43,600,000
9.5%
4
U.S. Rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
5
9
n/a
10
Present Situation Index (curr = 2/11)
29.9
33.4
11.7%
11
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)
140
180+
29%
12
U.S. Dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
89.76
82.93
-7.61%
2
U.S. Money supply, M1, in billions (current =  2/21/11)
1,575.1
1,878.5
19.3%
13
U.S. Money supply, M2, in billions (current =  2/21/11)
8,310.9
8,893.7
7.01%
13
National debt, in trillions
$10.627
$14.229
33.89%
14
Note the last item:  In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history.  Over 27 times as fast!  Metaphorically, speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane 27 times faster . . . It would be doing 1,755 MPH!
Sources:
 (1) U.S. Energy Information Administration
 (2) Wall Street Journal 
 (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics 
 (4) Census Bureau 
 (5) USDA 
 (6) U.S. Dept. Of Labor 
 (7) FHFA  
 (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 
 (9) RealtyTrac 
 (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ 
 (11) The Conference Board 
 (12) FDIC
 (13) Federal Reserve (Data360.org)
 (14) U.S. Treasury (US Debt Clock)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Milton Friedman on Greed

CNBC has been running a portion of this clip as a promo for the network.



The above clip is from (YouTube part 3) a Phil Donahue interview of economist Milton Friedman in December 1979, on The Phil Donahue Show. They discussed The Great Depression, the New Deal, the auto industry, the Chrysler bailout, Kmart and Sears, greed, Amtrak, auto emissions regulation and airbags, Ralph Nader, tariffs, free trade, price controls and gas shortages, oil companies, OPEC, plus other topics. Much of which is still relevant today.

Ironically, capitalism and the free market ended Phil Donahue's dominance of day-time talk. In 1986 Oprah Winfrey's syndicated show began and it soon brought in double Donahue's national audience, displacing Donahue as the number one day-time talk show in America. America is much better off for that happening.

Here is the full interview, which is packed with Friedman's philosophy that extolled the virtues of a free market economic system:

YouTube.com:
Milton Friedman on Donahue 1979 [10:34] (part 1 of 5)--
The Federal Reserve is a "weak reed for a nation to lean on in time of trouble" -- Herbert Hoover
Milton Friedman on Donahue 1979 [10:18] (part 2 of 5) --
"There is a problem in oil. Oil is expensive. The fact the OPEC nations have formed an effective monopoly and quadrupled the price of oil hurts us. No question, we pay more. But, we have multiplied the injury to ourselves by our bad government policies..."
Milton Friedman on Donahue 1979 [9:28] (part 3 of 5)

Milton Friedman on Donahue 1979 [9:58] (part 4 of 5) --
"Almost all government regulation favors big companies over little ones."
Milton Friedman on Donahue 1979 [6:51] (part 5 of 5) --
"Inflation is the kind of thing that leaves you with no good choices."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ben Bernanke Living Large

Peter Jeffrey / Wall Street Journal:
Bernanke Defends Himself as Rock Star From Mars -- Charlie Sheen His Media Coach

Q. Ah. Now, you've been under fire at home and abroad for your aggressive program of low interest rates and big Treasury bond purchases. Is that policy misplaced at this point?

A. I've been kicked around, I've been criticized. I've been this "aw, shucks" guy with this bee-atchin' econometric life. And I just decided I'm going to completely embrace it and defend it, violently, through violent hatred.

[...]

Q. But isn't your $600 billion bond-buying program excessive? The Europeans and Chinese seem to think so.

A. Right, and look where they live: Europe and China. What can I say, I'm me, I'm a rock star, I got tiger blood, I got 12 regional Fed banks to support and love, and people a lot more important than me are relying on that money to fuel the magic...

----
Buzzfeed:
Charlie Sheen Quotes As New Yorker Cartoons
----
Bernanke gives a vague rock star answer to the question of what his definition of the dollar is. An item that cost $1 in February 2006 when Bernanke took office as Federal Reserve Chairman now on average would cost $1.11. This is because of Fed induced inflation.



related:
InflationData.com:
Inflation Calculator

Wall Street Journal:
Ron Paul to Bernanke: ‘Define the Dollar’ -- The real cause of price inflation, which is a deadly threat to us right now, is the Federal Reserve system and our monetary policy,” Mr. Paul said...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inside Job ... and ignoring Wall Street Fraud


----

The Nation:
FCIC Report Turns a Blind Eye to Wall Street Fraud --
Nothing erodes the authority and legitimacy of government more severely than a spreading awareness of unequal justice. The feds send hapless drug mules to prison for twenty years. For billion-dollar swindles, they won’t even call a grand jury. This corrosive contradiction can become a national disease. Americans are learning from these events—another investigation with shocking evidence, but not much happens afterward. This will sound farfetched, I know, but this is a road that leads eventually to Cairo.
----
Washington's Blog:
Failing to Prosecute Wall Street Fraud Is Extending Our Economic Problems --
Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky and the Wall Street Journal all say that the U.S. economy is a giant Ponzi scheme.

Virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that rampant fraud was largely responsible for the financial crisis...
----
Nelson D. Schwartz and David Streitfeld / NY Times:
Officials Disagree on Penalties for Mortgage Mess -- Even as state attorneys general and regulators in Washington approach the end of their investigation into abuses by the nation’s biggest mortgage companies, deep disputes are emerging over how much to punish the banks as well as exactly who should benefit from a settlement.

The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pushing for $20 billion or more in penalties, backed up by the attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation...
discussion:
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture:
“Extend & Pretend” Practices Attracting SEC Scrutiny -- The SEC is investigating bank practices that seem to have been enacted with the blessing of the Fed and Treasury: Extend & Pretend...

Calculated Risk:
Update on Possible Mortgage Servicer Settlement -- ... sounds like criminal charges are off the table.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia