Archive for October, 2008

October 30th, 2008

9/11 truthers
shout down Bill Maher

I don’t know how old this tape is.  Kinda interesting.

And here’s a good montage of early reportage re explosions in the buildings that eventually fell.

Bonus Clip: Michael Scheuer, former CIA bin Laden hunter and author of Imperial Hubris and Marching Toward Hell, faces off with Bill Maher.

October 29th, 2008

Hersh says Beltway background boys are waiting for January 20 to unload dirt on Bush-Cheney

The airy author of this Guardian piece misleads with the notion that Seymour Hersh is the greatest American investigative reporter.

He is, rather, the trusted mouthpiece of hundreds and hundreds in the National Security Apparat.

Nevertheless, it’s good news that he’s expecting rain once the new president has been installed.  Perhaps enough to float criminal prosecution of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Libby, Wolfowitz, Feith, Bush et al.

October 28th, 2008

JFK: Dallas Deputy Sheriff
Roger Craig speaks

Posted in Death, JFK, Movies by ed

I didn’t know this doc from 1976 was on the web. 

It features a lengthy interview with hero Roger Craig, a Deputy Sheriff in Dallas who, among other things:

– was on the trail of a Grassy Knoll assassin within moments of the murder, and

– was present when the rifle of the Book Depository was discovered and found to be a sharpshooter’s Mauser (not the old Italian soldier’s rifle that the Warren Commission reported and attributed to Lee Oswald).

Pressing these differences across the years seems to have cost Mr Craig his life. From the excellent Spartacus vault run by John Simkin in England:

In 1973 a car forced Craig’s car off a mountain road. He was badly injured but he survived the accident.
In 1974 he surviving another shooting in Waxahachie, Texas.
The following year he was seriously wounded when his car engine exploded. Craig told friends that the Mafia had decided to kill him.
Roger Craig was found dead on 15th May, 1975. It was later decided he had died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Craig’s suiciding prompted another hero, the attorney Mark Lane, author of two of the most important books on the subject, to put together this documentary, based on a filmed interview conducted with Craig in 1974.

Very much worth watching. Five parts, all there on YouTube.

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It’s hard to always look away

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October 27th, 2008

The Fed’s actions to date

Posted in Money by ed

Here is a great look at the latest Fed balance sheet.  It summarizes everything the Fed has done since August 2007 in response to the credit crisis.

When the Fed began to widen its windows and criteria for lending to financial institutions last year, it had roughly $900 billion in assets — ie, notional credits that it manufactures in cyberspace and then uses to buy Treasury bonds from the US gov’t or, now increasingly, wounded bonds of all sorts from wounded institutions.  And the Fed said it was willing to use a quarter of its balance sheet to rescue the latter.

Fast forward a year.  The balance sheet has doubled, to more than 1.8 trillion — roughly $1.3 of which is wrapped up in rescues.

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Thus, the commentator linked above observes:

The Fed’s first $100 billion didn’t do it. The Fed’s first $1 trillion didn’t do it. Having the Treasury take over the $5 trillion in debts and guarantees of Fannie and Freddie didn’t do it. The Treasury’s $3/4 trillion rescue/bailout package didn’t do it. And another quarter trillion will?

This (again) echoes the early 30s — when the banks took and took and took everything the Fed had to give, until, in late 1932, the people who own and operate the Fed cried Uncle and the Great Depression settled in, to endure until the stimulus of the world war.

October 27th, 2008

Alaska’s biggest newspaper endorses Obama

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Pretty cool.

October 25th, 2008

Cyber-divorcee arrested in the flesh for “murdering” avatar of her cyber-ex

Wow.  A new frontier in notional crime and relations between the sexes.

October 24th, 2008

Electoral College map Blue Shifts

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

This NY Times electoral college map incorporates among other things current state polls nationwide.

The map this week evinced a strenthening Blue Shift:

Colorado went from Tossup to Leaning Obama.  And Missouri and Indiana (!?!) went from Leaning McPalin to Tossup.

The week before, Virginia had gone from Tossup to Leaning Obama.

And the week before that, North Carolina had gone from Leaning McPalin to Tossup, and Oregon from Leaning to Strongly Obama.

Obama is gauged to have 196 solid votes and 90 leaning.  270 are needed to win.

Six states are now gauged Tossups:  Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.

Here’s a site where with a map upon which one can play with the state votes.  (Click and doubleclick on the states to change color.)

October 24th, 2008

Greenspan, global recesssion —
1932 arriving on schedule

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Alan Greenspan’s broad confession before Congress yesterday brings to mind the parade in 1932 through those once hallowed halls of big brains from Wall Street and the Fed, all confessing their ideas were bankrupt and that they’d nothing left to suggest.

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“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?

Mr. Greenspan conceded: “Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.”

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On a day that brought more bad news about rising home foreclosures and slumping employment, Mr. Greenspan refused to accept blame for the crisis but acknowledged that his belief in deregulation had been shaken.

“This modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades,” he said. “The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year.”

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As if in reaction, Asian and European stock markets went off the cliff overnight — Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Index down 9.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 8.0%, the Financial Times 100 down 5.0% — and the US markets are now following.

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Sheer panic and forced selling (by margin callers) aside, the more slightly more concrete cause seems to be data and earnings reports indicating that the credit crisis that began 15 months ago has surely pushed the industrialized world into recession.

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By the time FDR took office in March 1933, every bank in the United States was closed.

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In general, however, the banking system then was much stronger than it is now.  The crisis of the early 30s was largely a liquidity crisis created by bad austerity policy enacted post 1929 crash, which artificial austerity crushed the general economy.  The crisis of today is an insolvency crisis created by a mountain of bad debt, crushing the finance sector first.

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Opportunities and strategies for recovery, then, are likely to be different than they seemed to the bewildered owner-operators 76 years ago.  Last week a bunch of Friedmanesque Chicago-School economists warned that today’s Fed and Treasury were fighting the last Great Depression (as if the crisis were merely a lack of liquidity in the credit system).

served.gifInto all this strides Barack Obama (it seems).

His entry brings to mind the early years of Bush-Cheney, when Secretary of State Colin Powell was repeatedly sent on foreign missions, including to East 42nd street in New York, to explain (as if it were possible) and take flack for the collateral damage of their radical policies.

Will the Obama movement and all its hopes for a new age get crushed by the economic misery that will characterize his four years?  Or will the misery be so widespread that it serves to found and root that new age?

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October 23rd, 2008

Iranian leader finds Obama “more rational”

Posted in Mideast & Oil by ed

The comment may work against Obama to some degree.  Something of a kiss of death.

But the story seems otherwise promising.

Perhaps Larijani — the current Speaker of the Iranian parliament, with “close ties” to the supreme ayatollah — would be shuffled to the Iranian presidency if Obama were to win?

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October 22nd, 2008

Tiger and Barack

I keep forgetting to mention this … Came to mind during the late winter, as the primary and golfing seasons got underway.

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The astounding play and mind of Tiger Woods these past nine years have something to do with the astounding fact that the United States seem on the verge of electing a black man to the presidency.

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Perhaps the point is obvious. If not, click on …

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October 21st, 2008

Bosnia: Things falling apart in the ill-conceived federal state

Posted in Bosnia et al. by ed

A bad moon rising again.  Everyone who knew anything at the time of the Dayton Accord felt it wouldn’t work. 

Richard Holbroke (the chief architect-salesman) now seems to agree.

October 21st, 2008

Brits release more UFO data / “Area 51″ Phone call

Posted in UFOs by ed

In May the UK’s Ministry of Defense released files on UFOs through 1987.

Last week they released files for ’87 through ’92.

Bonus clip!  Art Bell radio show call-in:  Pilot supposedly invades Area 51 in Nevada and gets shot down …  (?)

October 21st, 2008

Prez chat

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

I guess people with televisions have already seen:

McCain on the Letterman show last week.

Hillary after the last debate.  Looking pretty hot.

October 19th, 2008

President Palin at play
in the Oval Office

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Pretty funny.

(Rollover and/or click about the office)

October 19th, 2008

Colin Powell’s
endorsement of Barack

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

Pretty cool.

October 15th, 2008

Enter the Palindrones

Sarah’s perfect.

And there’s more where she came from

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October 15th, 2008

Oww, Dow sinks 700

Posted in Money by ed

The Market giveth and it taketh away.

The powers that be seem indeed out of bullets.

Guess they’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way

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October 13th, 2008

Zow, Dow rockets 936 points

Posted in Money by ed

Biggest ever raw point rocket.  Fifth all time largest percentage gain.

Causes:  Extremely oversold condition.  European bank rescues over the weekend.  Pending US bank rescue (out after the bell:  Treasury will take $250 billion equity stakes in banks).  And fear among the big shorts of another Plunge Protection Team assault (intervention, manipulation) of the sort that swung the Dow 900 points to the upside Friday afternoon.

Ho hum.

October 13th, 2008

From the Archive:
Voting from the Outside in 1992

Democrats sixteen years ago were desperate to boot the GOP from the White House.

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October 12th, 2008

“Bor-ring!”

Posted in 2008 Elections by ed

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Apparently Hillary’s finding it hard to decompress.