Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama Date Night

Keeping A Campaign Promise Is Great

President Obama made quite a few promises during his campaign including taking his wife to a Broadway show. Good for him. He kept that one last night and in the process has sparked debate (at least for me) regarding the appropriateness of the trip.

Now President Bush spent many a day at his Crawford, Texas ranch and at Camp David, and there is no doubt that the stresses of the presidency requires some down time.

However, at a time when the economy in cities such as New York are in the crapper, GM is about to file for bankruptcy, many people don't have the money for a movie let alone a fancy dinner and a Broadway show and a presidential visit turns the City into a tangled mess, is this an appropriate thing to do at this time?

What do you think?

obamas' date night draws to a close

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More North Korean Missile Activity and Sponge Bob

No More Pontification On North Korea, Just The Story

I am done with the opinions on North Korea. I have made mine clear. Here is the story of yet more of the planned provocations by this member of the axis of evil. Read it and weep.:

"YEONPYEONG, South Korea — Spy satellites have spotted signs that North Korea may be preparing to transport another long-range missile to a test launch site, South Korean officials said Saturday, as the U.S. defense secretary issued his harshest warning to the North since its recent nuclear test.

"We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia — or on us," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a regional defense meeting in Singapore.

He said the North's nuclear program was a "harbinger of a dark future," but wasn't yet a direct threat.

Since last Monday's nuclear blast, North Korea has test-launched six short-range missiles in a show of force and announced it won't honor the 1953 truce that ended the fighting in the Korean War.

Now, the reclusive communist state appears to be preparing to move a long-range missile by train from a weapons factory near Pyongyang to its northeastern Musudan-ni launch pad, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said..." (

More of the Sex On T.V. During Kids Hours

Morality no, Advertising Sex To Children Yes

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is The North Korea Story Just A One Day Wonder? Whew!

Friday Morning North Korea Update!!! (7:00 AM)

(AP)Report: NKorea test-fires short-range missile
5 hours ago

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A news report says North Korea has test-fired another short-range missile off its east coast.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency did not provide any details about the reported launch Friday.

The launch would be the sixth short-range missile North Korea has test-fired since its nuclear test on Monday...

...YEONPYEONG, South Korea (AP) — North Korea warned Friday it would take "self-defense" action if provoked by the United Nations Security Council, which is considering tough sanctions on the communist regime for conducting a nuclear test..."

If I Cover My Eyes And Make A Lot Of Noise, Will The North Korean Nuclear Crisis Go Away?

The focus and attention span of the media, the American public, the financial markets and our politicians is nothing short of remarkable.

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea photos by Imre Solt, 1/November/2009

Now the fact that our politicians are willing to let a crisis of this potential magnitude, not even a week old, fade to the background is understandable. These are not courageous men, but merely sheep who will do nothing unless it is politically expedient to do so. They are actually in many cases the worst types of cowards who will put their own political careers and financial gain ahead of national security (see Democrat).

Our leaders (actually a misnomer because they typically follow and do not lead) will make all of the right statements (right meaning what it is they think people want to hear), make all of the correct platitudes (the political art of seeming to do or say something meaningful when you are actually saying nothing at all), pander to all of their proper base constituents (working towards their next term) and at the end of the day do absolutely nothing.

That is of course unless circumstances prove so dire that it is impossible to avoid some type of decision, and even in that case they will try. It could actually get to the point (hopefully not) that even Obama and Clinton can't say U.N. sanctions or six party talks anymore, but actually may have to make a decision with or without our "allies" on board.

Where is the follow on action being taken to address the nuclear and missile tests by North Korea? Out of sight out of mind? I didn't see much on the news or out of Washington today on it. Saw a lot on the potential G.M. bankruptcy deal. Saw how a good note auction pushed the stock averages higher. Heard talk on the Supreme Court nominee. Saw that mortgage delinquencies rose and that prime foreclosures are now greater than sub-prime. Listened to President Obama tell us how good President Obama is.

Maybe I worry to much. I suppose our politicians know what is going on better than I do. They wouldn't just ignore this madman because it is easier than the alternative would they? They wouldn't back burner this because it doesn't help them in any way to address it, right? They wouldn't sit by, ignore the blatant signs and watch as North Korea and Iran look to acquire the capability to take out one of our allies or even the United States itself with a nuke. Is that even possible? I guess they must know that the "tough" statements made by Secretary of State Clinton threatening sanctions will be enough to have NK running away with it's tail between it's legs.

Unfortunately, if it is politically expedient, I am not so sure what these guys (and gals) would or wouldn't do. How about that?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Major Sell-off In Bonds and North Korea Verbal Spanking (Not)

But First An Update On The North Korea Crisis From Hillary Clinton

As I had surmised, the Obama administration's answer to the crisis of a madman firing missiles and setting off nuclear tests is as expected: reliance on trying to get the madman to a negotiating table so that he can agree to terms he has no intention of abiding by and some more of those tough U.N. resolutions and sanctions. Read:

Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton visits United States Army Garrison (USAG) Yongsan, Seoul, South Korea - 20 Feb. 2009

(Fox)"North Korea will have to pay a price for its aggressive actions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday, and she urged Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks that it abandoned in favor of nuclear weapons.

"North Korea has made a choice, chosen to violate the specific language of the U.N. Security Council (Resolution) 1718. It has ignored the international community, abrogated the six-party talks and continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner," Clinton said during remarks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit.

"In the United Nations, as we speak, discussions are going on as to the consequences that North Korea will face coming out of the latest behavior, trying to rein in the North Koreans and get them back into a framework they have chosen where they fulfill their obligations," she said..."

Pyongyang must be quaking with fear. As I have said many times before these are hopefully Obama's words for public consumption with covert action behind the scenes. This leader is a grave danger to the entire world, and mere table talk will unfortunately be an utter failure.

What Does A Steep Yield Curve Mean...If Anything In This Case

When I was a bond analyst for a sell side firm out of business school, a steep yield curve was a way to get retail investors into long bonds which in turn translated into more revenue for the firm. That is because the "spread", or the amount that a firm can make, is typically greater the further out on the maturity spectrum that you go. Back then for the purposes of Wall Street the steep yield curve proved to be a great marketing ploy.

Lend your money to your government Buy a United States government bond, second Liberty Loan of 1917, U.S. Treasury will pay you interest every six months. 1917

What Is This Steepness I Speak Of?

The steepness of a yield curve is the difference in yield between short-term bonds like the two year, and longer-term bonds like the 10 year. The yield of the 10 year treasury is currently 3.66%, and the yield of the treasury 2 year is .92% for a difference of 274 basis points which is close to record steepness.

Typically, a yield curve will steepen when the Fed lowers short term interest rates (it has no control over long rates other than open market operations)to stimulate the economy, and investors in fixed rate securities such as treasury bonds sell to move into the stock market, pushing yields up.

Is This Time Different?

In this case, could the rise in long term rates signify something other than economic expansion? Could it be inflation fears fueled by the amount of stimulus that has been injected into the economy? Could it be a normal adjustment in the level of rates due to that age old concept of supply and demand?

The federal government will be borrowing in the neighborhood of $2 trillion (with a t)in 2009, and the foreign governments that are providing this liquidity definitely have something to say about where rates will go from here.

China is the single largest foreign owner of treasuries, and without it's participation in new auctions, or worse yet if they decided to be sellers, yields will rise significantly.

What if the "green shoots" as the pundits on T.V. love to call them are really stink weeds, and the economy is not beginning to come out of recession? What will the trillions of dollars of stimulus money injected by the government chasing too few goods do to the level of interest rates due to spiking inflation?

We can only hope that President Obama and his band of merry men led by Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke have some semblance of a clue as to what it is that they are doing. God help us if they do not!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Art Of Political Spin Ala Harry Reid

A Politician Can Spin Anything!

The following is a story about the great-great uncle of Senator Harry Reid. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet.

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

NOW ........THAT's how it's done, Folks!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Korea Nuclear Test AND Missile Test: What Now President Obama?

The Intelligence Community Did Not Have A Clue

Just more Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk....

Rocket Science

President Obama, this is on you. This is not a situation that can credibly be blamed on the Bush administration although I am sure that you will try. No more crap about failed policies of the last 8 years.

This is not about micro-managing the auto industry. This is not about telling bankers how much they can make. This is not about pandering to Americans by attempting to vilify capitalism and capitalists.

This nuclear test the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima is because of the weakness that you are showing and your endless rhetoric about 6 party talks and your reliance on the United Nations to serve as the linchpin of our foreign policy.

This is no longer the campaign where your empty words that sold well across the country will work with terrorists around the world. This is your 3:00 AM call. What are you going to do.

Is the danger that Iran poses to the world in any way connected with North Korea? You bet it is!

WHAT IS THE PLAN? NOT THE TALK. NOT THE WORDS ABOUT THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION. We know the seriousness of the situation. We know it for us, for Israel, for Europe and for the entire world.

You really want to sit down and have diplomatic negotiations with these guys? All that will do is buy them time to continue doing what they are doing, and provide you with cover to make no real moves. They will then sign whatever is "negotiated", ignore and violate it, and buy themselves even more time while we sit there and wring our hands about how they are violating the terms and proclaim that we are getting mad about it.

Stop the charade and understand who we are dealing with if your underlings haven't figured it out yet.

North Korea thinks that there will be no ramifications for what they do beyond threats of the Saturday Night joke of United Nations sanctions. Just rhetoric. Stop relying on international consensus. Stop worrying about how your base will react. Stop worrying solely about how you can turn the United States from a capitalistic force to just another European economy.

Start listening to smart people like Ambassador John Bolton who know what is going on and what must be done about it. Stop listening to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for direction because that will lead us down the path to disaster.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day: Not Just About Barbecues and the Beach

Let's Remember What It Is Really All About!

Who is more important than the people who have protected our way of life for us since the United States came to be, many of whom that paid the ultimate price? From muskets to laser guided missiles, from horses to fighter jets, from America to Europe to the far east, fighting one regime with visions of world domination to the next and today with the addition of enemies with no borders with even a more dangerous goal, it is our armed forces that we rely on!

Take a moment to pay respects to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom!!!

Sacrifice: American Cemetary at Normandy

Let's Remember and Honor!!!

Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in military service to their country.

The Marine Corps War Memorial  - Battle of Iwo Jima

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pelosi May Finally Have Been Exposed For Who and What She Is

Eventually Even Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch Figure It Out!

Although the American public generally will give politicians a pass (at least liberal and left politicians, an oxymoron), Nancy Pelosi may have gone to far with her anti-American blast at the agency tasked with keeping us safe.

The following are the Gallup Organizations findings:

(Gallup)Pelosi Gets Poor Marks for Handling Interrogation Matter

More disapprove than approve of speaker’s response by Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- More Americans disapprove than approve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handling of the matter concerning the government's use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects. Majorities approve of President Barack Obama's and the CIA's handling of the matter.

Even though Obama has pledged that the United States will no longer use harsh interrogation techniques (like waterboarding) that many consider to be torture, the issue has remained in the news, with some in Congress -- including Pelosi -- calling for an investigation into the use of such techniques during the Bush administration.

Last week, Pelosi attempted to respond to allegations that she learned of the use of waterboarding in September 2002 during a CIA briefing of congressional leaders. In her press conference, she asserted that the CIA misled her by denying that waterboarding was being used, even though government reports indicate it had been used on an al Qaeda terror suspect in the month prior to that briefing. The CIA responded and disputed her assertions that the agency misled her. Republican leaders have roundly criticized her remarks.

Sixty percent of Americans say they are following the news about the government's use of harsh interrogation techniques closely, including 22% who say they are following it "very closely." Republicans (66%) are slightly more likely than independents or Democrats (each 59%) to be following the matter closely.

The May 19 poll finds Pelosi largely losing the public relations game, as she gets a significantly more negative review for her handling of the matter than do the other major players in the controversy, including the CIA. Also, notably, Americans are much more critical of Pelosi's handling of the matter than they are of the broader group of the Democrats in Congress she leads as speaker of the House.

Those who are paying the closest attention to the matter are especially critical of Pelosi, with 63% of this group disapproving of her, compared with just 30% who approve. This highly attentive group is generally somewhat more critical than the general public is of each of the actors -- aside from the CIA, which is rated much more positively by those who are following the matter closely (63% approve) than by the broader population (52% approve).

As might be expected, Republicans and Democrats have very different opinions on how each of the actors has handled the matter. Democrats generally approve of the way Obama, congressional Democrats, and Pelosi have reacted, while Republicans evaluate the Republicans in Congress' and the CIA's actions positively. Democrats are about evenly divided in their evaluations of the CIA -- with 42% approving and 41% disapproving. By comparison, Pelosi's rating among Democrats is more positive than negative, 45% to 31%.


Although there are no trend data on this particular question, it appears that Pelosi's attempt last week at damage control did not do a great deal to bolster her image on the interrogation situation. More Americans disapprove than approve of her handling of the interrogation matter, particularly those paying a high level of attention to the controversy. Also, Americans make a clear distinction between Pelosi and her fellow Democrats in Congress and in the White House. So far, the Democratic caucus is standing firmly behind its leader. But the controversy is certainly an unwelcome distraction to the Democrats as they seek to pass an ambitious agenda this summer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obama Rhetoric Over Reality Part.....

The Obama Administration And Guantanamo Bay Closing

...And they got no help Wednesday when FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress that bringing Guantanamo detainees to the United States could pose a number of risks, even if they were kept in maximum-security prisons.

Gibbs and Attorney General Eric Holder both quickly responded that Obama would never do anything to endanger Americans...

If They Thought It Would Earn Political Capital, I Have My Doubts About That

The fact remains that President Obama remains extremely naive (or something else) when it comes to dealing with terrorists around the world as well as those that we are fortunate to have under lock and key.

Continually enamored by rhetoric over potential results, this White House will key in on any topic to which you can insert the name Bush, and make decisions solely on that as opposed to what really needs to be done going forward. Americans, our allies and other innocents around the world are going to be the ones paying the price!

Politics May Save Us, At Least In This Case

The thing that is going in our (the American public) favor on this topic is that there appears to be a feeling on the part of many in Congress that closing Guantanamo may result in detainees being brought to their states. In the never ending election cycle this would be unacceptable.

(AOL)"In spite of lawmakers' concerns, the Obama administration plans to send a top al-Qaida suspect held at Guantanamo Bay to New York to stand trial for the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, Attorney General Eric Holder announced early Thursday. The suspect, Ahmed Ghailani, would be the first Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S. and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.

On his second day in office, Obama announced that within one year he would close the prison that was constructed by the Bush administration at the U.S. naval base in Cuba to hold terrorism suspects, most of them captured in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration says the lockup had become a "recruiting poster" for al-Qaida because prisoners were being held indefinitely without charges and some were subjected to "enhanced interrogation," including waterboarding — a simulated drowning technique that Obama has called torture.

But when prisons close, inmates must either be released or sent to other jails, and Obama still "has not decided where some of the detainees will be transferred," spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

That's the nub of Obama's problem with both U.S. politicians and America's allies abroad, who have been asked by the administration to accept some of the prisoners.

With Wednesday's action in the Senate, lawmakers from both houses of Congress have gone on record criticizing the lack of specific plans about where to house inmates who are considered too dangerous for release or transfer to other countries.

Some Republicans also cite what amount to ideological concerns, viewing the closure as a security misstep and a further repudiation of former President George W. Bush. And both Democrats and Republicans have been retreating from an uproar in their districts over the possibility that terror suspects would be housed in local prisons.

That's a fairly empty sales pitch for administration officials who are trying to persuade European and Muslim allies to take some of the detainees."

Perhaps the protesters pictured below should demonstrate against the treatment of those whose heads or limbs are cut off, eyes burned out or worse. Perhaps they should volunteer to have the detainees stay in their towns. But we know that will never happen. The United States in many peoples minds can do no right, while others, including those perpetrating atrocities, can do no wrong.

Close Guantánamo Amnesty International Protest

Iran Tests New And Improved Missile: Must Be Sanction Talk Time Again

The Obama Administration Will Pursue The Diplomatic Avenue In The Attempt To Get Iran To Halt It's Nuclear Ambitions

As discussed in this blog about 6 different times since the end of April, the Obama plan of sitting down and holding "substantive" talks with Iran over it's attempt to build, and to develop the capability to deliver nuclear weapons is nothing short of folly.

Or perhaps it is the politicians way of putting off proactive steps while appearing to do something proactive. Or perhaps it is meant to appease the world by showing that the United States is willing to waffle and procrastinate while danger builds around us.

Or maybe the Obama administration truly believes that the Iranians are not trying to gain this capability. How scary would that be. Or maybe Nancy Pelosi convinced the President that any CIA evidence is not to be believed, particularly since they apparently took attendance wrong at a meeting held in 2006. There are so many different options here.

What do we know for sure?

New Medium Range Missile Tested

Apparently, according to Secretary of Defense Gates, the Iranian test was a success and the missile has a range that could take it to Europe. The Iranians already have a missile that can reach Israel, so who is this new missile for? Word has it that they are working on a missile that may be able to reach the United States. Who is that one for? Maybe we can discuss it all during our talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Then again, maybe not.

All I can say is that I hope there is a Plan B for Iran rolling around somewhere, or the world is just sticking it's collective head in the sand, only to come out when it is to late. We do not live in a Leave It To Beaver world anymore.

For the Presidents staff that has to decide if and when to hold our "negotiations" with Iran, listen closely to what Ahmadinejad has to say, and take him at his word.

Iranian Missile Crisis: Hailey

What Does Our Negotiating Partner Have to Say About All Of This?

"The UN Security Council has imposed three packages of sanctions against Iran after it failed to heed ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which makes fuel for nuclear power stations but in highly extended form can also produce the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Ahmadinejad again insisted on Wednesday that Iran would not give in to international pressure over its nuclear ambitions.

"They (Western governments) said if you don't stop, we will adopt (sanctions) resolutions... They thought we would retreat but that will not happen," he said.

"I told them you can adopt 100 sets of sanctions, but nothing will change." (AFP)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are These Democrats Kidding Me?

Question: What Is More Important Than National Security?

Answer: Trying To Help Nancy Pelosi Keep Her Job With Further Attempts To Undermine The Credibility Of The CIA!

In yet another stunning example of partisanship over patriotism, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey, came out on Tuesday with the incredible revelation that the CIA had taken incorrect attendance at a briefing held in 2006, where a staffer, Paul Juola, was alledgadly listed as present when in fact he was not.

First of all, who among us has not been in a meeting and been marked absent, or not been in a meeting and marked present? This happens all of the time in the private sector where people (particularly underlings) are actually held accountable for their actions. It also happens in Washington, but in this town there seems to be no level of accountability for anything (the list of examples here is long, and out of respect for his condition I will not use Ted Kennedy to make this point). Only the game of plausible deniability matters there.

Second of all, is trying to save Nancy Pelosi's job, which by all accounts she deserves to lose anyway, worth trying to tarnish the image of an agency that is tasked with helping to keep the United States safe?

Historical Portrait Figure of Aaron Burr by artist-historian George Stuart (1)

Apparently for the Democrats it is. This level of partisan politics, pettiness, treasonous activity or any other adjective that you would like to use boggles the mind and stretches the imagination, even in the world of make believe that Nancy Pelosi and her allies operate in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The First 100 Days: What If Bush Had Done It?

If George Bush had done some of the things that Barack Obama has done, how would it have been received by the media?

Obama must have a much stronger public relations firm working for him. Either that or the media in his back pocket!

100 Days . . .

Subject: Presidential Quiz

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Tony Blair a set of inexpensive and useless (to Tony Blair's UK video formatting) DVDs, when Tony Blair had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current on their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 10 weeks -- so you'll have three years and nine-and-a-half months to come up with an answer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Does CNBC Know What A Bid and Ask Are?

Squawk Box: Sometimes I Wonder

Breaking News Friday morning: JCP (J.C. Penney) earnings beat for the quarter and it lowers guidance for the next quarter and for the full year.

Now this is bad news, so you would expect the stock to drop. It closed at $26.65. If a stock does not drop on bad news, or drops only slightly, that is eye candy for a trader.

The anchors of this show are Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla, and at different times if you watch the show long enough (as I have) you have to seriously question their level of knowledge on various topics, even though they have been on the channel for quite some time.

The Slippery Slope of the Stock Market

The initial JCP move in the third market (the institutional market which trades before, during and after the New York, American and NASDQ exchanges open at 9:30)was $21.50 bid, $27.50 offer. Now New York Stock Exchange stocks tend to be inactive and illiquid during the pre and post market trading sessions which means the bid ask spread will tend to be very wide, volume low and a trader has to trade there with caution.

For some basic background, the offer is the price where an owner of the stock wants to sell it, and the bid is the price where a buyer wants to buy it.

A seller could conceivably put their offer to sell a stock that is trading $30.00 at $1,000 and it would be irrelevant because it would be out of the market. You can say you want to sell, but that doesn't mean that you will.

A buyer could put a bid for the same $30.00 stock at $.01 and it would be irrelevant because it is out of the market. You can bid to buy a stock at any price you want, but that doesn't mean that you will.

When the initial bid/ask spread on JCP was $21.50/$27.50, Becky said that someone must reporting the earnings news incorrectly because the offer price of $27.50 was above the close. Remember that offer does not matter unless someone takes it. As the owner of a stock you can offer it at any price, but unless someone is willing to pay that price you are out of the market.

Now had the bid, or the price that someone was willing to pay for the stock been at or above the closing price of $26.65, that would have indicated that the story was being read wrong or that there was more to the story because now someone is willing to pay more that the prior days close. That would look something like this: $27.00/$27.50.

The fact is that the bid/ask spread was initially in the range of $23.00/$25.50. The offer, or the price someone is willing to sell their stock at was below the previous days close indicating the fact that the story was being read exactly right. It was negative and a seller was willing to take a loss from the closing price.

This hopefully makes some sense, but the point is that investors need to understand what is happening and the way that markets work, because in many instances the "experts" on television do not and are not.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nancy Pelosi Has Her Work Cut Out

This was the message from Leon Panetta, a longtime Democrat and now head of the CIA, to the Agency employees regarding the allegations of Nancy Pelosi. He doesn't seem to put much credence in her either.

Nancy Pelosi's New Book: Abusing Power

Can the calls for her impeachment or at the very least loss of her position as Speaker be far off?

Message from the Director: Turning Down the Volume

Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta: Turning Down the Volume

May 15, 2009


There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.

My advice—indeed, my direction—to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.

We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is—even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.

Leon E. Panetta (CIA)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pelosi Is Selling; Are You Buying?

I Am No Body Language Expert, But This Much I Can See!

Nanacy Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to the Congress in the briefing it held on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2002.

In Video 1 note the involvement that Pelosi had in the passage of interrogation legislation during the Bush administration.

In Video 2,watch the heavy swallowing, listen to the stammering and throat clearing and notice the body language during her denial of involvement and accusation of CIA misleading and lying to her.

Then you make the call.

Pelosi is calling for the creation of a Truth Commission to explore the situation, a move that she would most likely come to regret.

Note: Glenn Beck has filed a FOIA request for the minutes of the meeting in question.

I Declare War On...

Daily Government Intervention Update: Obama Continues To Press For Credit Card Company Reform in New Mexico (see article dated 5/11/09)

Russia Claiming The Arctic Circle

Just when you thought that all we had to worry about was terrorism, Iranian nukes, North Korean nukes, the fall of the Pakistani government and it's nukes, loose nukes, Swine Flu, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, a financial meltdown, global warming if you believe in it and whether the Cubs will ever win the World Series, another threat may loom on the horizon.

We all know that finding huge reserves of oil and gas, particularly in this environment, is extremely desirable and critical in getting the U.S. off of it's dependence on countries that are less than our friends. The only reserves that we apparently are not interested in are the ones that are already directly under our noses in ANWR and off of our coast. But that is a story for another time.

This story has to do with the fact that Russia is claiming the Arctic Circle, and the potentially huge oil and gas reserves that are hidden beneath it. What is it that gives Russia the right to do this. The flag, pictured above that it placed on the ocean floor, is it's proof of the claim. A claim that they are apparently willing to go to war to protect.

"The country’s new national security strategy identified the intensifying battle for ownership of vast untapped oil and gas fields around its borders as a source of potential military conflict within a decade.

“The presence and potential escalation of armed conflicts near Russia’s national borders, pending border agreements between Russia and several neighbouring nations, are the major threats to Russia’s interests and border security,” stated the document, which analysed security threats up to 2020.

“In a competition for resources it cannot be ruled out that military force could be used to resolve emerging problems that would destroy the balance of forces near the borders of Russia and her allies.”
The Kremlin has insisted that it is not “militarising the Arctic” but its warnings of armed conflict suggest that it is willing to defend its interests by force if necessary as global warming makes exploitation of the region’s energy riches more feasible.

The United States, Norway, Canada and Denmark are challenging Russia’s claim to a section of the Arctic shelf, the size of Western Europe, which is believed to contain billions of tonnes of oil and gas." (TimesOnline.UK)

What will the U.S. response be to this type of sabre rattling? I suppose it will be determined by who is in office at the time. Hopefully someone who is prepared to deal with it, and not just talk about it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

FOIA: Banks Had No Choice

Public versus Private

Another Glaring Example Of The Government Dulling The Line Between Public and Private.

In a story that broke on Wednesday, Judicial Watch, through the Freedom Of Information Act, forced documents to be released that the Obama administration claimed did not exist.

The documents indicate that the 9 banks that were brought in on October 13, 2008, did not have a choice regarding the government taking an equity stake in them. Read on...

Washington, DC -- May 13, 2009

Documents Detail Historic Treasury/Bankers Meeting – but Geithner Input on Key Document Withheld from the Public

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it forced the Obama administration to release documents about the October 13, 2008, Treasury Department meeting that coerced major banks to allow the government to take $250 billion equity stakes. Among the other news, the documents confirm former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told the CEOs of nine major banks that they had no choice but to allow the government to take equity stakes in their institutions. The documents show Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, FDIC Chairman Shelia Blair, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke co-hosted the meeting with Paulson.

U.S. Treasury Department - Cash Room Doors

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the bankers meeting on October 16, 2008. After months of stonewalling, a FOIA lawsuit was filed against the Obama Treasury Department on January 27, 2009. Incredibly, on February 4, Treasury responded it had no documents about the historic meeting. Pressure from Judicial Watch forced Treasury to reevaluate its response, which resulted in this document release last month. Included in the new documents are:

"CEO Talking Points" used by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson confirming that the nine bank CEOs present at the October 13 meeting had no choice but to accede to the government's demands for equity stakes and the resulting government control. The talking points emphasize that "if a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware your regulator will require it in any circumstance." Suggested edits of the "talking points" by Tim Geithner, then-New York Fed President, were withheld by the Obama Treasury Department.

"Major Financial Institution Participation Commitments" signed by the nine bankers on October 13. The CEOs not only hand wrote their institution's names but also hand wrote multi-billion dollar amounts of "preferred shares" to be issued to the government.
Email documenting that, on the very day of the meeting, the Chief of Staff to the Treasury Secretary and other top Treasury staff did not know the names of any of the banks that would be in attendance.
Email showing Treasury officials wanted to use the Secret Service to help keep the press away from the CEOs arriving at the meeting.

Email showing a public relations effort, run in part out of the Bush White House, to tamp down public concerns about "nationalizing the banks."

Email showing that Paulson was able to brief Barack Obama about the bankers meeting almost immediately, but could not reach Senator John McCain.

The CEOs present at the October 13 meeting were Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, Richard Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, John Thain of Merrill Lynch, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Robert Kelly of Bank of New York, and Ronald Logue of State Street Bank.

"These documents show our government exercising unrestrained power over the private sector. Despite promises of transparency, the Obama administration tried to cover up the very existence of these smoking-gun documents. And the cover-up continues, as the Obama administration protects Timothy Geithner by withholding a key document about his role in this infamous bankers meeting," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

(Judicial Watch)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Welcome To 1984: The Government Is Watching You

Beware The Reach Of Big Brother

New Rules Imposed Today. More To Be Imposed Tomorrow

1) Mandatory daily viewing of Obama news conference (attendance will be taken and those found missing will face disciplinary action)

2) There will be a mandatory dress code for all Americans, and if found to be in non-compliance you will face the prospect of the non-patriots garb.

3) There will be a strictly enforced method for diapering all babies, acceptable food to feed them and allowable stores to shop for both food and diapers in. To violate this edict will label you as non-cooperative and bordering as something other than an American.

4) Finally, any disagreement with any administration proposals will be punished by having to Tivo and listen to #1 four additional times!

Sound far fetched? So did some of the items below.

We Are Not Alone

Bye Bye Sardis

Are you a bondholder or the manager of a fund holding bonds with fiduciary responsibility? Play the workout game the Obama administrations way or you are not a true patriot. Far from it. “While many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you that some did not,” Obama said Thursday. “I don't stand with them. I stand with Chrysler's employees, families, and communities ... I don't stand with those who held out while everyone else was making sacrifices.” The hell with contracts and bond indentures. The hell with specifically purchasing the highest lien bonds. If you don't play ball, you will be crushed by the machine.

Are you the CEO of a publicly traded company that has taken a government loan? Don't get to attached to your job if the Obama administration thinks that you are not doing a good job.

Are you a bank that took TARP money either because you needed it or because you did so at the request of the Treasury? Stay tuned, and the government will let you know if and when you can return it. Returning it would cost the government it's control, and they just may not want to do that.

Are you a lender that entered into a mortgage "contract" with a borrower? The contract may be determined to be null and void with a government instituted method for making it more acceptable to both the borrower and government.

What Do We Have On The Menu For Today?

The Obama administration has begun serious talks about how it can change compensation practices across the financial-services industry, including at companies that did not receive federal bailout money, according to people familiar with the matter.(Wall Street Journal)

In the overall context of 1984 and government intervention, nothing more needs to be said.

Do the Democrats Have Amnesia?

Waterboarding, Not Waterboarding

I am reprinting an article I read in Real Clear Politics written by Victor Davis Hanson, who is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution as well as Stanford University. In it, he recounts the history of where we were at the time of 9/11, and how some of the same democrats that are now calling for torture trials were complicit in the decision to perform it in the first place. This includes indignant people such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and our Attorney General Eric Holder (As discussed in this blog in April).

Be careful what you wish for people! It isn't always about political expediency.

Waterboarding is Torture #2


Waterboarding at Trigg Beach

May 12, 2009

Do the Democrats Have Amnesia?

By Victor Davis Hanson

That Was Then, This is Now...

The current furor over the three water-boarded terrorists is right out of the old Greek idea of excess leading to hubris leading to nemesis leading to destruction. Do we really wish to revisit 2002?

In that seminal year 2002-remember Bali, the intifada bombings, the 800 Russian hostages, John Lee Mohammad, Jose Padilla, the Buffalo Six al-Qaedists, and the lingering fumes from Richard ("shoe-bomber") Reid and the anthrax letters?-Democrats were chest-thumping about keeping us safe. To be fair, everyone was. Bush had a 62% approval rating, and gained in the mid-term elections that hinged on matters of national security. The new Department of Homeland Security was having us remove shoes and throw away liquids from our carry-on luggage.

Meanwhile everyone from Thomas Friedman to Andrew Sullivan was advocating an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam. Democrats were edgy, as the Clinton era was framed as a period of "firewalls" and futile cruise missile attacks that had only empowered al Qaeda. A majority of the Democrats in the Congress, worried about the upcoming November elections, voted in October for 23 reasons to go to war against Iraq. Harry Reid was giving fire and brimstone speeches about going into Iraq. Clinton was toxic, deemed dallying with Monica as our enemies plotted their attacks.
In this context, the country was convinced that radical Islam was on the rise, that another 9/11 was inevitable, that genocidal tyrants like Saddam were whipping up anti-American feeling in the Middle East, and that a popular George Bush was doing all that he could to keep us safe-barely.

So Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller were briefed on the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that led in 2002 to the waterboarding of the first of three murderers in Guantanamo. Neither at the time objected to the practice.

The Strange Case of Eric Holder

Here's what Eric Holder-set to examine whether or not to depose, indict, whatever Bush's legal advisors, told CNN in January 2002 about Guantanamo inmates:
"It seems to me you can think of these people as combatants and we are in the middle of a war. And it seems to me that you could probably say, looking at precedent, that you are going to detain these people until war is over, if that is ultimately what we wanted to do." Later in 2002 Holder elaborated, "One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located. Under the Geneva Convention, you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people...[They] are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war...Those in Europe and other places who are concerned about the treatment of al-Qaida members should come to Camp X-ray and see how the people are, in fact, being treated."

Again, that was 2002, when the Democrats, like the Bush administration, were desperate to show the public that they too could stop another 9/11 and keep us safe.

All We Need Now is Joe McCarthy

Nancy Pelosi, after calling for an inquisition, now would find herself right in the middle of it. If a lawyer is to be tried, ruined, or disbarred for offering a legal opinion, then what about a Congressional representative whose oversight allows waterboarding to continue? Will Pelosi want more memos released, à la Cheney, to show that the practice that she authorized by her complicity in the oversight briefings paid dividends by preventing new attacks?

The fact is, that once war is redefined as a criminal justice matter, everyone in government comes under this French Revolution-like reign of revisionism-did Eric Holder once authorize Clinton-era renditions? Does blowing apart suspected terrorists by Predator attacks in Pakistan without habeas corpus constitute executions?

And, of course, if we are hit again by another 9/11 attack, will all the above cease in a nanno-second, replaced by new recriminations of laxity? And would people look back in appreciation that Bush & co kept us safe for years.


If I were the Democratic leadership, I'd move on, so to speak. (RealClear Politics)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Commentary For The Times: Never Forget

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana


Please read the strip below carefully, it's powerful. Then read the comments at the end. Click on the strip to make it larger.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War ended. This is part of a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved, and humiliated with the German and Russian Peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iraq, Iran, and others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

President Obama Seeking To Take Control Of Yet Another Industry

The Obama Administration Thinks Credit Card Company's Need To Be Spanked

The fact of the matter is that credit card companies will invoke punitive measures on people that have either had a setback or have in some way violated the extremely small print on the application that they filled out for the card. These punitive measures are painful, but what punitive measures aren't. They are also typically spelled out clearly, albeit in a font that you need a magnifying glass for.

Truth be told, who among us has ever read the fine print on that "contract", or many other contracts that we sign which have potential financial ramifications. This can include, but is not limited to, car rental agreements, car leases and mortgages.

Theme: Credit Cards

It would seem, according to the Obama administration, that the mere act of being able to sign our names (even if it is with an X) is the limit of our personal responsibility in this. We, as mere citizens, cannot be expected to understand fully the transactions that we are entering into. It is therefore incumbent on the government to step in, take care of us, and punish and invoke yet more control on another private industry in our capitalistic system in order to protect us from ourselves.

Think how lucky we are to have such a protective government that is willing to step in where we cannot or are not able to.

"...Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "But they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties and hidden fees that have become all too common...

...You shouldn't have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application. And the abuses in our credit card industry have only multiplied in the midst of this recession, when Americans can least afford to bear an extra burden," the president said...

...Railing against what he said was "abuse that goes unpunished," the president stressed the need "to strengthen monitoring, enforcement and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans."(AOL)

It is a lesson that we should teach to our children. Don't worry about what you do, what you sign, what contracts you enter into because if they are harmful you bear no responsibility and the government will take care of it. Big Brother has your back.

Seriously though, I have no sympathies for credit card companies or any of the other industry's whose contracts are written in type so small that my old eyes can't possibly read it. I have been dinged myself when I forget to send my payment in and get charges.

But "abuse that goes unpunished? Do they invoke penalties that are not in the contract? If so I agree with that statement. If not, then it is a ridiculous statement designed to pander to the public and gain fuel to take over the management of an industry!

But can the government step in, or should the government step in to every aspect of business or society that in it's mind is being unfair to the citizenry?

What ever happened to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Air Force Done AKA The Fall Guy

Presidential Outrage? If Only He Had Known

President Obama expressed his outrage at the incident where Air Force One buzzed the Statue of Liberty at 1000 feet, cost $350,000 and basically terrorized a city that has already been terrorized.

Louis Caldera, the head of the White House Military Office resigned and is taking the fall for the incident which he apparently authorized by himself. This according to a White House "internal review".

I would like a second opinion, as it seems this administration is a well orchestrated machine and leaves little to chance. Getting this second opinion is definitely a long shot.

As I have said time and time again, this President travels the world apologizing for the actions of the U.S., and apparently does not like to be in the position to apologize for the actions of his own administration. Step up Mr. President!

Boeing VC-25A 747 - SAM 28000 Air Force One departs EFD

Friday, May 8, 2009

President Obama: How Do You Get A Schoolteacher This Mad?

Outrage Over The First 100 Days Of The Obama Administration

The Obama apologists love to invoke the first 100 days argument. That is, how can you expect miracles in 100 days when the president "inherited" the huge problems left by the Bush administration. Now I have my problems with the Obama administration, some of which I detail below, but nothing like those expressed in the letter following the picture of the one room schoolhouse.

Number one, as my expectations from a president go, I don't give a timeline of when I expect accomplishments to be seen. I just want to see steady progress being made.

Number two I also don't like to hear constant excuses as to why things are as they are and how the problems are so difficult. When a man or a woman chooses to run for office, they know what they are signing on for. Just do it.

Finally, as an observer of the President of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, I don't like to see them going around the world apologizing for what it is we do, bowing to foreign leaders (although not all foreign leaders if you know what I mean) and cozying up to leaders such as Hugo Chavez.

This is all separate from his foreign policy charade of appeasement and serious "negotiations" with rogue countries that does nothing except buy these rogue nations time to accomplish whatever it is that rogue nations want to accomplish.

The Anger Of A Fourth Grade School Teacher

What does it take to stir the ire of a schoolteacher? How do you manufacture outrage that erupts into an open letter to President Obama. I guess I will step aside and let you read it for yourself:

Winton School House

Mr. Obama:

I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on your recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an adequate representative of the United States of America collectively or of me personally.

You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world that you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the United States of America . You are responsible to the citizens of the United States. You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth.

I personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the United States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their status in the world. Sir, what do you think the First World War and the Second World War were all about if not the consideration of the peoples of Europe? Are you brain dead?

What do you think the Marshall Plan was all about? Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century?

Where do you get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does not consider itself a Christian country? Have you not read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States? This country was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles governing this country, at least until you came along, come directly from this heritage. Do you not understand this?

Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all Americans. Our President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the king of Saudi Arabia. You don't show Great Britain, our best and one of our oldest allies, the respect they deserve yet you bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia. How dare you, sir! How dare you!

You can't find the time to visit the graves of our greatest generation because you don't want to offend the Germans but make time to visit a mosque in Turkey. You offended our dead and every veteran when you give the Germans more respect than the people who saved the German people from themselves. What's the matter with you?

I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have the historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be ashamed of yourselves, all of you. You are so self-righteously offended by the big bankers and the American automobile manufacturers yet do nothing about the real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you intend to do about them? Anything? I seriously doubt it.

What about the U.S. House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses to their staff members - on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay raises that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House aide got a 17% bonus. I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my employer. You haven't said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely didn't!

Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving $210 million in bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that's $45 million more than the AIG bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie executives have already been awarded $51 million - not a bad take. Who authorized that and why haven't you expressed your outrage at this group who are largely responsible for the economic mess we have right now.

I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and not caring about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are doing and we are getting increasingly fed up with all of you.

I also want you to know that I personally find just about everything you do and say to be offensive to every one of my sensibilities.

I promise you that I will work tirelessly to see that you do not get a chance to spend two terms destroying my beautiful country.


Ms Kathleen Lyday

Fourth Grade Teacher

Grandview Elementary School

11470 Hwy. C

Hillsboro, MO63050

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Post Turtle: How Did It Get There?

An Old Political Joke

This is a joke that has been around for some time, and through the years the names have been changed, not to protect the innocent, but to reflect the political environment of the time. It's almost like that old game of Ad-libs, but much more serious.

In this version, we are using the name Obama.

"While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, who's hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his bid to be our president.

The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a 'Post Turtle''.
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.
The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'.

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. 'You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, and he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with."

As time goes on and we see more and more of the moves that President Obama makes or does not make, are there beginning to be second thoughts on the part of some of his supporters?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Faultline USA: Obama Plan to Destroy Israel: Two State Solution

Faultline USA: Obama Plan to Destroy Israel: Two State Solution

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama Plan to Destroy Israel: Two State Solution

by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

The following offers deep insight into the world's quest for a two state solution agreement between Israel and Palestine. Put your thinking cap on and delve in.

Obama's Plan to Destroy Israel
by Sultan Knish

If there's one thing that the Carter Administration can be given credit for, it's creating the new wave of Islamist terrorism, both Sunni, operating out of Afghanistan, and Shiite, operating out of Iran. The Carter Administration cracked down on Israel and put its "faith" in Muslim terrorists, who then went on to wage war on America, even while Carter was in office...

Click to read the full story. Extremely interesting.

Saddam Hussein Had Sleepless Nights

The King Of Torture Had Trouble Sleeping At Night

You know the typical bully. All bluster and then when someone stands up and pops him, it's all running away with the tail between the legs. Apparently that was the exact story behind Saddam Hussein, known for his hideous torture of people whose "crimes" could consist of an offense that in the United States would not even get you a ticket.

Air strike destroys torture house (1).jpg

The man who would portray himself as a man's man, who happened to have been found cowering in a small hole, without the honor to take his own life and spare himself, and the rest of the world a trial.

He did not take his secrets to the grave, withstanding fierce interrogation, but instead gave it all up: "...A brilliant FBI man, George Piro, was Saddam's sole interrogator. But the Arabic-speaking Lebanese-American agent didn't have to resort to CIA waterboarding techniques to elicit Saddam's confessions of massacring fellow Iraqis. Instead, Piro's now-legendary interrogations relied on another ancient method - conversation..."

Pity him and his treatment:

"...The tyrant and his family, who maintained their 24-year reign over Iraq by torturing and executing thousands, complained that his lockup - believed to be at Baghdad International Airport - was an American-made chamber of horrors.

"My opportunity to sleep in this place is limited and almost scarce," Saddam wrote. "I don't think there is anyone with a sensitive and humanitarian heart who can sleep amidst the screams of the tortured and the many blows of the doors and the squeaking sounds of the chairs."

Saddam whined that his "total hours of sleep did not exceed four to five hours." (NY Daily News)

When they read of the fact that Saddam Hussein gave it all up by simply being asked, the left will seize on this as a reason why torture is not necessary to obtain information. The problem is that few prisoners are as soft as this "strong dictator"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Iran/Israel Follow-up: Biden at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

The Old Saying Goes That Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Vice President Biden spoke a the AIPAC Conference and defended the fact that the Obama administration is making diplomatic overtures to Iran. If you read my article this morning which spoke about the moves that Iran is making in the region to become the de facto leader, it's spoken desire to obtain a nuclear capability, it's undying hatred of Israel, and severe dislike for the United States (or maybe hatred is another word), what is the purpose of opening a dialogue?

President Obama, an appeaser at heart, a man who seems to desire be liked by all, is going to sit down at a table and enter into "substantive" talks with Iran, whose only purpose of sitting down is to move world opinion in it's favor and to buy itself time to continue to work on the ability to obtain and deliver nukes.

All of this in the face of our ally Israel, who is being painted as the villain and who ultimately will have to take matters into it's own hands. All no doubt with no support from Obama. What does Joe Biden have to say (after he takes the perennial foot out of his mouth to do it)?

it's c-c-catchin' on ...

"...But Biden stressed that American foreign policy would change, as he sought to reassure the packed AIPAC crowd at the Washington Convention Center that those changes wouldn’t endanger the security of Israel.

“All the good intentions of the last decade have not resulted in a more secure, stable Middle East,” Biden said.

Biden added that Obama had a “personal connection to the Zionist idea.” In the introduction of the vice president, the crowd was reminded several times that Biden has called himself a Zionist.

“There must always be a place for the Jews to go and that place must be Israel,” the vice president said to a standing ovation.

While noting that “a nuclear-armed Iran risks an arms race in the region,” Biden conceded that “what will work remains to be seen” in stemming the threat.

“That’s why we will pursue direct, principled democracy with Iran,” Biden said, adding that the U.S. “will approach Iran initially in a spirit of mutual respect.”

Going to talks first will give the U.S. greater leverage, Biden said.

“If our efforts at engagement are not successful, we have greater international support to pursue other options,” he said. “We must sometimes act alone, but it’s always stronger when we act in unison...” (

Just more empty rhetoric from the Obama administration!!!

Iran, Israel, the Middle East and the World


The article below discusses the book by Aaron Klein that looks at how the fate of Israel is being compromised by the strengthening of Iran and it proxies around the region, as well as by the policies of the Obama administration and other governments around the world which indicate a lessening of interest in the political goings on there and the ramifications that they may have.

In the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, an opinion piece by Amir Tehari also looks at how Iran is moving to consolidate it's power and influence around the region. From Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan, to bridging across religious ideologies, Iran is seeking to gain control. The moves are both covert and public, but the bottom line is that regional dominance is the goal. As it moves closer and closer to a nuclear capability, this becomes more and more of a crisis, not only for Israel, but for the world.

As mentioned previously, is Israel going to be left to do the worlds dirty work, and if so, will the Obama administration have her back? Ironically popular among Jews in the United States, just how supportive of Israel will Obama be? This new administration shows a willingness to let bygones be bygones no matter how egregious, but will they support Israel in the fight for it's life? I'm afraid we may have to see.

"...Tehran plays a patient game. Wherever possible, it is determined to pursue its goals through open political means, including elections. With pro-American and other democratic groups disheartened by the perceived weakness of the Obama administration, Tehran hopes its allies will win all the elections planned for this year in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

"There is this perception that the new U.S. administration is not interested in the democratization strategy," a senior Lebanese political leader told me. That perception only grows as President Obama calls for an "exit strategy" from Afghanistan and Iraq. Power abhors a vacuum, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is only too happy to fill." (Wall Street

Iran tightens noose around Israel's neck
New book warns of urgent danger to Jewish State

JERUSALEM – U.S. and Israeli policies and follies the past few years have been strengthening Iran, which has now surrounded the Jewish state with dangerous proxies, according to a new book released last week.

These and other revelations are contained in the bombshell new book – "The Late Great State of Israel." In the urgent work, author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein documents the unprecedented, mortal danger that Israel faces.

The subtitle of the book – released as Israel celebrates its independence – reads, "How enemies within and without threaten the Jewish nation's survival."

Klein writes, "Iran has tied a noose around Israel's neck that U.S. and Israeli policies and follies have actually been strengthening in recent years. I am referring to concessions to Iran's proxy war, which is killing Jews and strangling Israel at the country's borders."

Klein highlights the threats from what he says are Iran's proxies in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Syria and Lebanon.

"Iran now has the ability to wreak havoc on the Jewish state by remote control," Klein warns.

According to Klein, the great Middle East democracy is headed down a road that, if not altered, may result in catastrophe.

"The greatest threat, the one that magnifies all others exponentially," writes Klein, "is that only a few in Israel or abroad are aware of the real extent of the dangers facing the Jewish country – both from within and without."

He continues, "Unless these perils are countered soon, the only remnant of the Jewish country may soon be an epitaph: 'The Late, Great State of Israel.'"

While Klein fingers the Israeli government as often being its own worst enemy, he also shows how policies from the Obama administration and international community harm Israel's interests and how Iran, Hamas, Palestinian terrorists and a host of other players are poised to end the Middle East democracy once and for all.

If Israel falls, America will be next in line, argues Klein.

Among the highlights of "The Late Great State of Israel":

How the Israeli government has turned a blind eye as Islamic authorities physically erase archaeological evidence on the Temple Mount, including actual Temple artifacts.

How Jerusalem has already been divided.

Is Obama poised to legitimize Hamas terrorists? Plus, how Obama's Mideast policies, including talks with Iran and Syria, threaten the Jewish state and, ultimately, America.

How Iran is positioning its proxies to wreck havoc on Israel while Tehran inches toward nuclear weapons.

How the U.N. fuels a fake "refugee crisis" that directly threatens Israel's existence.

How and why Israel failed in its recent 22-day war in Gaza.

How Israel is waging war against some of its own citizens who want the country to be defined by unique Jewish traditions and character.

How the U.S. funds and fuels Middle East terrorism.

How the news media is covering for terrorists and playing a dangerous lying game about the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In doing so, how they are emboldening the enemies of the U.S. and Israel.

Israel's "peace partner" exposed; and much more.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pakistan: Country and World in Crisis

Pakistan: Country and World in Crisis

When the crisis and danger is finally recognized by The New York Times, it becomes even more apparent that the situation is in fact dire. The articles below had been written by me back to March, when the level of the problem in Pakistan became obvious, to all except the Obama administration which continues to tell us that the situation is being monitored and the Pakistani government is on top of things. Hillary Clinton remains the invisible Secretary of State.

"The officials emphasized that there was no reason to believe that the arsenal, most of which is south of the capital, Islamabad, faced an imminent threat."(see below)

Funny, as a concerned outside observer I feel there is an iminent threat.

The problem is that we do not really know who is in charge of the government, or more to the point who do those in charge of the government (and by extension the nukes) hold allegiance to. All this as Pakistan remains our "reluctant ally"

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Pakistan Strife Raises U.S. Doubts on Nuclear Arms (New York Times)

Published: May 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — As the insurgency of the Taliban and Al Qaeda spreads in Pakistan, senior American officials say they are increasingly concerned about new vulnerabilities for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, including the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.

The officials emphasized that there was no reason to believe that the arsenal, most of which is south of the capital, Islamabad, faced an imminent threat. President Obama said last week that he remained confident that keeping the country’s nuclear infrastructure secure was the top priority of Pakistan’s armed forces.

But the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns have intensified in the last two weeks since the Taliban entered Buner, a district 60 miles from the capital. The spread of the insurgency has left American officials less willing to accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.

Pakistani officials have continued to deflect American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites, the officials said....

R.I.P. Jack Kemp (1935-2009)

The Meaning Of A Life Is Not What You Have Materially, But How You Have Touched People. When Someone Is Eulogized And Remembered In The Future, It Is Not About Stuff, But About What You Have Contributed and How Your Life's Work Has Affected Others. In That Regard, Jack Kemp Won The Super Bowl!

I enjoyed watching and listening to Jack Kemp whenever I could, as he was a voice of reason in the conservative movement. He will be missed. You can read more about his life at Wikipedia.

Obit Jack Kemp

“Pro football gave me a good perspective. When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded, and hung in effigy.”

“When people lack jobs, opportunity, and ownership of property they have little or no stake in their communities”

“Every time in this century we've lowered the tax rates across the board, on employment, on saving, investment and risk-taking in this economy, revenues went up, not down”

“Democracy without morality is impossible.”

“Democracy is not a mathematical deduction proved once and for all time. Democracy is a just faith fervently held, commitment to be tested again and again in the fiery furnace of history.”

“We will not rest, ... until there's a quality education -- public, private, parochial, charter, magnet or whatever -- for every child living in the United States of America, every family in America. We should be their party.”

“The supply-side claim is not a claim. It is empirically true and historically convincing that with lower rates of taxation on labor and capital, the factors of production, you'll get a bigger economy.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: The Need Is Clear! Let's Go To The Videotape

The Taliban Moves To Within 60 Kilometers Of Controlling Nuclear Weapons

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

For those on the extremely naive and holier than though left, read this very, very carefully.

If there was any question regarding the use of any technique at our disposal to pull actionable information out of terrorists, I believe the transcript and clip below of Kuwaiti Professor Abdallah Al-Nafisi speaking on the topic of terrorist attacks on the United States should go a long way towards quelling it.

Unless of course you are an employee of the ACLU, or someone that is willing to die, going to the grave with your incorrect principles intact.

Now this professor does not speak for everyone, but for enough to be a concern at the highest level.

This is an excerpt from a specch on Al-Jazeera in February, 2009:

"Abdallah Al-Nafisi: Four pounds of anthrax – in a suitcase this big – carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the US, are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour, if it is properly spread in population centers there. What a horrifying idea. 9/11 will be small change in comparison. Am I right? There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings, and so on. One person, with the courage to carry four pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this "confetti" all over them, and then will do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real "celebration."

The WMD is a problem. The Americans are afraid that the WMDs might fall into the hands of "terrorist" organizations, like Al-Qaeda and others. There is good reason for the Americans' fears, because Al-Qaeda used to have in the Herat region... It had laboratories in north Afghanistan. They have scientists, chemists, and nuclear physicists. They are nothing like they are portrayed by these mercenary journalists – backward Bedouins living in caves. No, no. By no means. This kind of talk can fool only naïve people. People who follow such things know that Al-Qaeda has laboratories, just like Hizbullah. Hizbullah has laboratories in South Lebanon, in which it produces weapons and sells them. Hizbullah has laboratories in South Lebanon, from which it sells weapons to Romania and Hungary..." (Memmritv)

This is a clip of the speech:

Any questions?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Man, Is This A Real Bull Market?

Why Do I Watch CNBC?

I'm not sure, but if you look closely at CNBC during the day the anchors are all wearing Dallas Cowboys cheerleading uniforms. Men and women. Now it is my fault for watching it, as I have the option to change the channel, but I do like the ticker going across the bottom. Takes me back to my trading days.

Now there is no question that we have had a strong bounce off of the bottom set in March, but this is on the heals of an unbelievable run to the lows starting in earnest at the beginning of the new year. Now it is understandable, as a television network that has a primarily long viewership (I would think), that the bias would be to the long side. However, all they are talking about is that we are ending the best 8 week period in the market since 1999.

That Would Only Be Relevant If You Were Flat And Bought The Bottom Or Had The Money To Add To Crushed Positions

What does this mean to the mom and pop investors, many or most of whom did not have any money to invest at the bottom, but who were despondent during the run to the bottom. To hear them tell it on CNBC, their viewers are all deep pocketed individuals that have the wherewithal and funds to constantly be investing. That they are always keeping the proverbial powder dry.

The reality is that there were some unbelievable trades to get done, partiularly in the financials, but that for most people this was a time of survival mode. The big question now is whether this is a bear market rally or the start of a new bull market. I may not be an expert like some of the retreads they continue to parade across the screen who have for the most part been wrong the majority of the time, but it seems to me that some extremely major problems still exist.

In any event, let's go to the videotape and take a look at the percentage decline in the market from the beginning of the year to the lows, and from the lows to where we are today, and you make the call if happy days are here again:

1/2/2009 to 3/9/2009 (Using SPY as a proxy for the S&P): -26.8%

3/9/2009 to present : +28.2%

Where we go from here is anyone's call!

President Obama: Blind Faith Versus Analysis

Blind Faith

Definition: Belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination


Definition: The examination and evaluation of the relevant information to select the best course of action from among various alternatives.

Interrogation Techniques

10,9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.... This is not a James Bond movie where the bomb is always disarmed at 0:07. No, the war on terrorism is real life, with real potential countdowns that lead to real deaths. What is it that President Obama said during his 100 Day coming out party on Wednesday night regarding the use of torture:

"...Obama said the information gained from terror suspects through its use could have been obtained by other means. “In some cases it may be harder,” he conceded.

"Obama also said he was “absolutely convinced” he had acted correctly in banning waterboarding and making public the Bush administration memos detailing its use as well as other harsh interrogation. “Not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees ... but because we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, in ways that were consistent with who we are.” (JapanToday)

Well let me throw this out there. Let's say that we have a known terrorist in custody, one who we have serious reason to believe has actionable information that could help to prevent a potential attack. Using the techniques from the Bush administration years, we could possibly obtain the information on Monday. But because we now use the interrogation technique of goodness and niceness, the information is actually gotten out of him or her the following Monday, if at all?

Now let's say, just for arguments sake, that an attack happens on that Wednesday after the Monday when waterboarding would have gotten the information? Well, President Obama, for your sake and your family's sake I hope that attack doesn't hit Washington, but what about those in the place it does hit?

I suppose that we could tell them that it is a shame all those people had to die, but feel good in knowing that the United States stood by the Geneva Convention and the values of the Liberal Elite, and can look at ourselves in the mirror knowing we did the right thing.

But in reality what those that believe in analysis and not blind faith will say, is that it will all be on the Obama administration, whose "ideals" and pandering to the left has the potential to put the United States and her allies in real and serious danger.

Put America first Mr. President and your poll numbers and ideological base second, and do what it is that those that voted for you put you in office to do, and what those that did not vote for you were hoping that you would do. That is, act in the capacity of Commander in Chief and do whatever it takes to protect the interests and citizens of this country.