The greatest fighting force in the world

May 28, 2009

Bully!

Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse by American soldiers, it has emerged.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

[Telegraph] [Nothing in US media yet]


“The Greatest Swindle Ever Sold”

May 27, 2009

Given the lack of transparency and accountability, don’t expect taxpayers to be able to object too much. After all, remarkably little is known about how TARP recipients have used the government aid received. Nonetheless, recent government reports, Congressional testimony, and commentaries offer those patient enough to pore over hundreds of pages of material glimpses of just how Wall Street friendly the bailout actually is. Here, then, based on the most definitive data and analyses available, are six of the most blatant and alarming ways taxpayers have been scammed by the government’s $1.1-trillion, publicly-funded bailout.

1. By overpaying for its TARP investments, the Treasury Department provided bailout recipients with generous subsidies at the taxpayer’s expense.

2. As the government has no real oversight over bailout funds, taxpayers remain in the dark about how their money has been used and if it has made any difference.

3. The bailout’s newer programs heavily favor the private sector, giving investors an opportunity to earn lucrative profits and leaving taxpayers with most of the risk.

4. The government has no coherent plan for returning failing financial institutions to profitability and maximizing returns on taxpayers’ investments.

5. The bailout’s focus on Wall Street mega-banks ignores smaller banks serving millions of American taxpayers that face an equally uncertain future.

6. The bailout encourages the very behaviors that created the economic crisis in the first place instead of overhauling our broken financial system and helping the individuals most affected by the crisis.

-Andy Kroll [TomDispatch.com]

[hat tip]


Is there no end to our suffering the mandates of a government bought and sold by corporate interests?


Peak Ethanol?

May 27, 2009

The Great Ethanol Scam

Not only is ethanol proving to be a dud as a fuel substitute but there is increasing evidence that it is destroying engines in large numbers

More than one major transportation-based industry in America besides Detroit is on the ropes. For the fourth time in our history the ethanol industry has come undone and is quickly failing nationally. Of course it’s one thing when Detroit collapsed with the economy; after all, that is a truly free-market enterprise and the economy hasn’t been good. But the fact that the ethanol industry is going bankrupt, when the only reason we use this additive is a massive government mandate, is outrageous at best.

Then again, the ethanol lobby and refiners have a solution to ethanol’s failure in America: Hire retired General Wesley Clark as your point man and lobby the government to increase the amount of ethanol in our fuel to 15%. The problems with that proposition are real—unlike ethanol’s benefits.

Don’t let anybody mislead you: The new push to get a 15% ethanol mandate out of Washington is simply to restore profitability to a failed industry. Only this time around those promoting more ethanol in our gas say there’s no scientific proof that adding more ethanol will damage vehicles or small gas-powered engines. With that statement they’ve gone from shilling the public to outright falsehoods, because ethanol-laced gasoline is already destroying engines across the country in ever larger numbers.

[BW]


Systemic risk is the pretext used to rush any and every sweetheart deal through legislative bodies and into the waiting lap of the president.


BKUNA DOA RIP Phhhhhhtht!

May 27, 2009

…and now for the rest of the story…

Like A BankUnited Sex Crime
Posted by Marla Singer at 12:08 PM

In the annals of rank regulatory intercourse there isn’t much more severe debauchery than the distant history that is the BankUnited story. Yes, big bank failures have become so common that they seem to pass through the cycle news unnoticed, untapped and unexplored.

Camner, Lipsitz and Poller and its predecessor Stuzin and Camner prior to 1998 seem to be no more than single-client (or nearly single client) firms designed to extract fees from a public institution. This has, unsurprisingly, been going on for a long time.

…we have about $31 million in inflation-unadjusted cash flowing from the bank into a small, dedicated law firm run by the Bank’s Chairman and CEO.

The concealed personal enrichment of executives of large, failed banks doesn’t seem to invigorate the public animus any longer. These tales are more than likely to end up discarded on the side of the road. Tinsel still clinging to them. Like a sex crime victim. Underwear inside out. Bound with electrical tape. Perhaps the authorities will take interest. Perhaps not.

[Zero Hedge]


“The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.” -Lord Acton


Vega$$ baby

May 27, 2009

[Hat tip]


“If we were to study this [economic bubble] as an ecological environment, you would think that humans as a species only had one purpose in life. That purpose was to eat junk food, buy gigantic cars, and upgrade every countertop in the globe to granite.” -Dr. Housing Bubble


Everything is OK

May 26, 2009

Dear Patrick

May 21, 2009

Patrick.net was one of the earliest sites to “point and holler” about the housing bubble. I also subscribe to his daily newsletter (as a news aggregator he’s a pip).

Patrick.net just started something new & different. The site is now open for registered users to initiate posts.

A few have been posted questions regarding their personal housing predicament. All readers can benefit from his unique vantage point as professor of bubblecology. Some of the comments aren’t too bad, either.

And thus we have the bloom of a familiar format.

Pretty interesting to watch and see how this concept develops. Certainly the questions being asked reflect and reveal some of the hard realities which people (such as homedebtors) are facing out in the real world, and which most of us (the solvent, the prudent, the renters) are likely unaware.

Of course  one should always employ a bit of skepticism about any information published on the web- mainstream sites included.

The blogosphere (trite term I know) has a unique, man-on -the-street p.o.v. which encompasses both the pedestrian and wise.

YMMV.

Walk Away or Keep Paying?

also,

Government Punishing Responsible People


Fight the power.