Friday, March 14, 2008

SAR #8075

We know we cannot fool all of the people all of the time;
that was just tried in the credit markets.
- Yves Smith

Inside Joke: Bear Stearns was in the financial advice business.

Now Boarding: The CIA has held a Yemeni man incommunicado for more than 2-1/2 years. If the Decider decides to designate you as an 'enemy combatant', you too can take a Caribbean vacation without packing your habeas corpus.

Yesteryear: Let's remember Elliot Spitzer as the prosecutor who won $1.4 billion in settlements from Goldman Sachs, Merril Lynch, Morgan Stanly, Lehman Brothers and other major brokerage houses defrauding their customers through stock promotions. At least he was using his own money and it wasn't the public he was screwing.

Hint: A National Realtor Association guy was on CNBC touting "increased activity" in real estate nationwide. The February data shows foreclosures were up 60% over last year. Activity!

Taxation: U.S. soldiers shot and killed a 10 year old Iraqi girl Thursday. 54% of our tax money goes to the military and some part of that must go to buy ammunition and some of that ammunition is used in Iraq. Bullets cost about 48 cents. I wonder if that was my 48 cents. Or yours.

Exports: The White House will not close an OMB crafted loophole inserted in the budget which exempts companies from investigation for fraud committed on government contract work if it is performed outside the US. The weaker dollar is increasing our exports, especially fraud and related Wall Street products.

Interconnections: Nippon Steel, world's second largest steelmaker, is raising prices. Coking coal has gone from $200 a ton in January to $600 a ton today. Their profits were going up in smoke.

Ratios: A little white girl goes missing and the press is all atwitter and a rescue mounted. Thousands of little non-white kids starve and get no notice. Bear Stearns got greedy, got caught, got rescued. Guess what that makes the rest of us?

Earliest Later: Economists predict that housing prices will fall through all of 2008 and 'bottom out' in late 2009 in the relatively unaffected areas and later in the 'bubble' areas, followed by a few years of smaller declines. Depending, of course, on location, location, location.

Old Ben: The Fed is going to 'save' the weak dollar. The government spending money it doesn't have on things we do not need and cannot afford is the problem. The steps are obvious: eliminate the budget deficit through raising taxes, cut the defense budget in half. A dollar saved is actually better than a dollar earned.

Reunion: Hedge funds are becoming about as welcome as red headed kids in an Italian family. Seven more have "suspended redemptions". I'm glad I'm not sophisticated enough to be allowed to invest in unregulated firms that won't let you get your money back.

Something's Fishy: The West Coast's salmon population has collapsed. No salmon fishing will be allowed in California and Oregon this season. Years of over-fishing, and now diseases spread from commercial salmon growing pens, have driven the salmon to the edge of extinction.

Drumming: Two reasons to attack Iran: The presidential elections and the economy. The GOP must encourage the patriotic to disregard the economy and focus on the purported enemy.

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