Effective Immediately, Her Name Shall Not Be Spoken On This Website. Ever.



That's it. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hearing her name and I'm sick of hearing her opinion on everything from quantitative easing to Wikileaks. Who the fuck is Sarah Palin to show up everywhere with an opinion on everything? Is she running for office or something? Somehow qualified to be featured on every news cast?

It's over. I know TLP loves to rip on her but effective immediately I will not be allowing any mentions of Sarah Palin on this website. I reserve the right to change that if she runs for office in 2012, at which point I will have to dust off my snob hat and commence to ripping on her once again but for now I do not want to see her name printed anywhere on this particular piece of Internet real estate.

Maybe if we all ignore her she will actually go away.

Update: Not even 10 minutes after hitting "publish" on this post, I received a scathing email from a cowardly commenter who shall not be outed accusing me of being an asshole liberal trying to silence Queen Palin. It went something (exactly) like this:

Are you one of those intolerant liberals? Funny, when someone doesn't agree with your views, you want to shut them down. So predictable, so intolerant of other views.

What is it about this woman that inspires such rabid madness in her supporters? It is a sickness, people, especially if conservatives are actually going after their own to defend her. Nowhere in this post did I say Palin should be silenced, I merely exercised my right as an Internet real estate mogul to refrain from posting about her on my own property going forward. What's wrong with that?

Obviously I made the right choice.

TLP: It's Like the Tea Party. With a Kick.

tequila party
Now this puts the "p" in party.

Las Vegas Sun:
Latino leaders in Nevada and nationwide are quietly debating whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group.

The idea, born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought, Latino leaders have discussed the idea among themselves locally and in conference calls with colleagues across the country.

The unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party — not in substance, of course, but in its grass-roots organizational style. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration, Latino leaders have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.”

These Hispanic leaders have noticed that while the Tea Party has had spotty electoral success, it has called attention to its concerns and values and put the establishment on notice.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but there’s talk,” said Fernando Romero, president of the nonpartisan Hispanics in Politics, Nevada’s oldest Hispanic political group. “There’s discussion about empowerment of the Latino vote.”
Think about the possibilities. The passion of the Tea Party, combined with a growing and motivated voting bloc. Plus tequila.

¡Olé!

TLP: Well, Considering How that Whole C Street Thing Went Down ...

new congress
How cute. A dozen or so of the newly elected members of Congress are planning to sleep in their offices. You know, to show how frugal they are and how much they're not like the rest of those bastards they couldn't wait to be.

WSJ:
The class of 2010 is arriving in Washington during the worst economic crisis since the Depression, carried into town atop a surge of anti-incumbent anger that swept many longtime Capitol denizens aside. For them, appearances and substance merge.

Freshman Todd Rokita (R., Ind.) was floored when shown a 600-square-foot, $2,000-a-month studio. He'll sleep in his office instead. "I'm not doing this as a political stunt," he says. "I'm doing this because I'm a cheap b—." Most House members earn $174,000 a year and maintain homes in their districts.

"I don't want to be comfortable in Washington because I need to get back to metro Detroit," says Democrat Clarke Hansen, another office sleeper-elect. "Businesses are struggling right now. Families are struggling. I'm only in Washington to work."

One veteran sofa extremist is Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican who has camped out in his office two or three nights a week since 1993. In his failed run for Michigan's governorship this year, he put out an ad showing him sitting on his couch in his plaid pajamas. Now he's retiring, and hundreds of his constituents have let his successor, Republican Bill Huizenga, know they expect him to sleep on the sofa, too.

"I think back home there's a sense of frugality and sort of a spartan element that this isn't a place where you're going to call home and get too comfortable," says Mr. Huizenga. Still, he's a bit cautious. He's six-foot-one, and the Hoekstra couch is just six feet long. Maybe an inflatable mattress, he thinks.
So, is this being cost-conscious and demonstrating some sort of "I'm one of you" solidarity with constituents? Or is it being cheap and getting free living accommodations on the taxpayer landlords who own the offices? The answer will come when we see how long it lasts.

Foreign Dignitaries Beware, Big Brother Is Watching You



Of all the bizarre Wikileaks data released Sunday night (at least what I've looked at so far), this little bit has to be the strangest. Yes, stranger than the Batman and Robin reference and even stranger than the fact that we let the Saudi king tell us what to do.

Looks like Condi Rice and Hilary Clinton have some 'splainin to do:

The United States has expanded the role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas and at the United Nations, ordering State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries.

The cables give a laundry list of instructions for how State Department employees can fulfill the demands of a “National Humint Collection Directive.” (“Humint” is spy-world jargon for human intelligence collection.) One cable asks officers overseas to gather information about “office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes,” as well as “internet and intranet ‘handles’, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.”

Now we already know this is being done in the U.S. to U.S. citizens so why would anyone believe we aren't also treating our friends overseas the same way? What fucking paranoia has overtaken this country to lead us to think this is a reasonable way to deal with other nations? And you wonder why everyone hates us.

Unlike the thousands of cables, originally obtained by WikiLeaks, that were sent from embassies to the State Department, the roughly half-dozen cables from 2008 and 2009 detailing the more aggressive intelligence collection were sent from Washington and signed by Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

One of the cables, signed by Mrs. Clinton, lists information-gathering priorities to the American staff at the United Nations in New York, including “biographic and biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.”

Listen, everyone knows it's being done and everyone is doing it to everyone else but the fact that it is now known it is being done might be a bit of a problem when we're already trying to work on cleaning up the PR disaster that is the financial crisis of 2008.

And the funny part is that Hillary is now heading out on a tour to Central Asia to go kiss ass and make friends. That's going to make for some truly awkward diplomat dinners, eh?

TLP: Hmm, Maybe We Should Have Let the Russians Keep It

alaska politics
What is it about Alaska that inspires denial in its politicians. It's not enough, apparently, that Sarah Palin can't STFU. Pretty soon, she'll have been not governor for longer than she was governor. And now, Republican nominee Joe Miller can't seem to give up in his U.S. Senate bid. Despite having lost.

The Washington Post takes a look at his strange quest:
Never mind that the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), has already declared that she made history by mounting the first successful write-in campaign for Senate in more than 50 years. Or that the Alaska Republican Party has called on Miller to "end his campaign in a dignified manner." Or that there is but a sliver of a chance he could win even if all his court challenges prove successful.

Miller, a tea party favorite who beat Murkoswki in the GOP primary, has alleged bias on the part of state officials as well as voter fraud, arguing that some of the ballots have suspiciously similar handwriting. He has attacked the state Division of Elections for accepting minor misspellings of Murkowski's name. He has complained that the hand-count of the write-in ballots started too early to give him enough time to train his volunteers to monitor the outcome.

And he has asked for a hand recount of all the ballots, saying the machine-counted votes that went largely for him should receive the same scrutiny - and potentially benefit of the doubt - as the write-in ones cast for Murkowski.
There seems to be some sort of all-about-me phenomenon at work. Palin, of course, is Exhibit A. Miller certainly demonstrates it, finding every bizarre potential reason to keep up his challenge. Even Murkowski couldn't give up and let the primary results stand.

Maybe they'll get back to paying attention to the people at some point. You know, before the next time they're looking for votes.

If You're Going To Be a Consumer Whore, At Least Be a Patriotic One



As some of you know, I grew up in Milwaukee, a town known for its bratwurst, fat asses and factories. My mom worked in a factory before she finished nursing school and my Grandpa spent his entire working life in one. By the time I was of age, the life doomed to factory work wasn't what it was a generation before as many plants had been moved out of the frozen tundra of Wisconsin to the cheap rolling hills of China and India. Anyone remember Schlitz? Hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon (swill to the natives, just so you know) isn't the PBR of yore, as that PBR ripped off pensioners and broke union contracts to bail out of Milwaukee in 1996. It might say "Milwaukee, WI" on the side of the can but it's really owned by a holding company and brewed to give hipsters piss to drink (says the hipster who dares to drink it). Point being, the factories (and accompanying infrastructure) are gone and what we have left is a throw-away economy that craves crap goods made by tiny hands in places like Indonesia and China. We don't even want to answer our own customer service calls and instead outsource to Indian guys named Patrick (yeah right). And you wonder why our economy is in the sad state it is.

Anyway, in honor of Black Friday - or rather, my powerful need to avoid it at all costs - I offer you a handful of my favorite American companies, should you feel compelled to waste money you don't have you better do it in a way that supports us here at home instead of that asshole Patrick in Calcutta.

Disclaimer: None of these companies have paid me for my endorsements but if they feel compelled to send me free shit I'm more than happy to change my disclaimer and alert the FTC immediately. Ping me, bitches.

Skatersocks: I'll let you in on a secret, I have a really weird fetish. OK, I have a few but this one is pretty strange. I've been hopelessly addicted to striped tube socks since 2008 and you will never EVER catch me without Skatersocks on my feet. Once they ran a 50 for $100 promotion where you got FIFTY pairs of assorted tubes for $100 (do the math, genius, that's $2 a pair!) and I hardly ever have to do laundry as I've always got plenty of socks. I feel good throwing my money at this San Marcos, CA based brother-and-sister-owned company as they offer a well-made, long-lasting, awesome product at a really reasonable price (3 pairs of 25" socks will run you a mere $15). I won't tell you how many pairs I actually own, let's just say I've got more socks than any reasonable person could ever need in their entire lifetime. Bonus points for the blue lovers combo and thigh high pink and black cupcake socks. These guys rule!

Rizzo Tees: Clever t-shirts are nothing new but if you're looking for some clever, Rizzo Tees carries some of the best. American-made, printed on American Apparel out of downtown LA, you can rest assured you're doing your part while being a smartass. Win. Follow RizzoTees on Twitter for promotions (and musings on the awesomeness of bacon).

Body Art Forms: If you don't already know, JDA is a longtime fan of, uh, modification. Since plugs and jewelry can be horribly marked up in traditional piercing shops, I started searching for a reasonable alternative years ago. Lucky for me, I came across BAF and have since cashed in on their customer loyalty program that offers 10% off on all future orders once you meet their minimum of all-time spending (I think it was $250 if I am not mistaken). Based out of Texas, orders are processed promptly and, at least for me, items on their website almost always arrive even better than they appear. I made the mistake of ordering plugs from a different company once and was disgusted with the cheap, dingy quality but have spent hundreds (maybe thousands) with BAF and have never been disappointed. See if you can spot JDA's ears in the customer photos. Supporting BAF supports a small American business (that appears to have thrived through the recession!) as well as the artists who design and create many of the pieces they sell like Esoteric Body and Omerica Organic.

TeeFury: For t-shirt addicts with ADD, TeeFury is a great way to get your t-shirt fix without committing or worrying about running into some asshat wearing the same shirt as you. Here's how it works: TeeFury gets a design from a different artist every day, pays them $1 per shirt sold, sells each design for just 24 hours and unloads them for $9 a pop plus economical $2 shipping. That's $11 for a nearly one-of-a-kind shirt. Don't like today's shirt? Look again tomorrow. Artists retain all rights to their work and can get a pretty nice payday by letting TeeFury print up their design, depending on how popular it is. JDA is a proud owner of Mod Zombies and Super Mario Sushi.

Brew City: Maker of promotional items, Brew City Brand is also proud owner of the "beer cozy hoodie" patent and t-shirt company based in JDA's own hometown of Milwaukee. Over Black Friday weekend they offered 40% off on EVERYTHING, including the hilariously awesome "Ed Gein Furniture Co" shirt. Get your Milwaukee classic "Run, Bambi, Run!" memorial shirt while they last (homage to the late Laurie Bembenek, who you probably don't know if you didn't grow up here in the 80s). Non-Milwaukeers are also invited to indulge, tell them JDA said so.

This list is by no means comprehensive, nor is it meant as a directive to spend if you do not have the disposable income to do so. It is merely an acknowledgment of the companies and products that I enjoy, appreciate, and feel good supporting. It's the patriotic thing to do, as opposed to getting your t-shirts from Wal-mart where you are merely supporting the globalization scam by giving some 5 year old in Indonesia a sweatshop job instead of stimulating the economy at its most important root: small business.

Don't let Bernanke tell you otherwise.

Via the Minneapolis Fed, Munis are Where It's At



For a great read, check out No shortage of credit here (April 2010) via Minneapolis Fed's Fedgazette. In it, Fedgazette editor Ronald Wirtz admits outright that federal incentives have pretty much kept munis afloat, leaving any reasonable person to wonder what happens when the incentives dry up:

In today’s skittish financial markets, this might seem like fantasy. But not so with municipal bonds, which are getting a generally warm reception from investors when state and local governments seek to borrow money for a new bridge, low-income housing or a variety of other public uses.

The reasons for this amenable credit environment generally have to do with the secure nature of municipal bonds, the lack of good, comparable alternatives and, more recently, a federal bond program that encourages municipal issuers to sell bonds and offers incentives for investors to buy them. Data on current bond issuance also omit a significant amount of additional local and state financing being propped up by other federal initiatives. While these federal supports might be viewed as a boon for municipal issuers that need to raise money, they also distort bond markets and impose significant costs on taxpayers.

Bring on the chart porn!

When local and state governments (including their related authorities) need to borrow money for capital projects and a host of other priorities, they sell municipal bonds—the umbrella term for these debt securities.

Last year, the value of municipal bonds issued in the Ninth District rose by just 1 percent; since 2006, annual values (inflation-adjusted) have been table-top flat. Gains were higher last year at the national level, though annual levels over the past few years have been more volatile compared with the Ninth District.

Meanwhile, California just issued $14 billion in municipal bonds, perhaps preemptively trying to capitalize on Bernanke's goodwill tendency to monetize everything that isn't nailed down. That's awfully optimistic of California to believe individual and corporate investors might be interested in that large a dump of munis and frankly the math just doesn't work out if a potential Fed municipal bond bailout isn't factored into the equation.

Are we calling Build America Bonds a success? That remains to be seen, though the Minneapolis Fed seemed more than happy to trumpet the program's success months before its planned expiration at the end of this year. It makes sense that municipalities are scrambling to issue as much debt as they can ($160 billion so far) but since when is manipulation a reasonable solution for sick markets? Oh wait, I forgot this is Bizarro World.

Check out BAB Expiration Could Have Upside via The Bond Buyer:

John Hawley, a portfolio manager with Aviva Investors, pointed out there was a time when taxable municipal yields were lower than comparably rated corporate yields: before BABs.

The market used to recognize that taxable municipal yields warranted a premium for poor liquidity and a discount for superior credit quality, Hawley said. On balance, that meant corporates traded at spreads to taxable municipals.

The Barclays Credit Index yield 134 basis points more than the 20-year Treasury at the end of 2006. The taxable muni index of comparable maturity, yielded 70 basis points more.

BABs didn’t change this calculus in any fundamental way, except that they invited almost $100 billion of new issuance annually into an industry that was accustomed to about $25 billion of taxable municipal bond sales a year.

The supply influx has pushed spreads on taxable munis up, Hawley said. The disappearance of new BAB supply would likely pull them back down.

Seriously, who thought taxable munis were a good idea?

The Answer Is No



Someone please alert the authorities so they are aware of potential fraud at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, if the idiots are Googling for this answer chances are the fraud will be fairly easy to track down.

p.s. the answer is NO

Dear American Consumer, Stay Home


As many of you already know, today is Black Friday which means stampedes, possible death, fistfights over the last $99 50" LCD TV (sorry, there were only 2 in stock anyway) and waiting in line just to get your grubby little paws on a 75% off bedroom set. I hope, nay, pray that no loyal JDA readers spent their morning camped out in the Wal-Mart parking lot as we are better than that.

An interesting new twist on retail desperation, you may have noticed a few stores operating on Thanksgiving Day, perhaps in a sad attempt to tack on one more shopping day to round out the all important end of the year rampage we call the holidays. You know, that time of year when you are reminded of (bombarded with) consumerism as the ultimate expression of love and affection for those closest to you. If you don't give a bunch of crap, you're a bad friend. If you don't get a bunch of crap, no one loves you. The teevee says so, it must be true.

Check out the Guardian:

Retailers say they need every advantage they can get to get people shopping, whether or not that overturns tradition. Still, some retailers are resisting pressure to open on the holiday. "Somebody else is chasing a dollar? Let them do it," Kevin Mansell, chief executive of the discount chain Kohl's, told the Wall Street Journal. "I think our associates, and frankly our customers, deserve time with their families and that's what Thanksgiving is about."

Unfortunately for retail, the American consumer is tired. Complacent but tired.

The consumer accounts for about 70% of all economic output but has been badly beaten and broken over the last two years. Anyone who recalls the frigid fear of 2008's holiday season can confirm that many of us are still a tad reluctant to jump in and trash our credit on steals and deals, especially the nearly 10% of Americans that are still unemployed.


Oh how quickly we forget:


The number of consumers who feel little or no stress over their family's debt, which includes credit cards, mortgages and other loans, climbed to 59 percent, up considerably from the 49 percent who responded similarly a year ago, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. This was largely attributed to more Americans being disciplined in the way they use their credit cards.

However, 52 percent seldom or never worry about their financial liabilities, which is about the same proportion as last year, the report said. But some consumers face serious problems nonetheless. One in eight said they're concerned they may never get out of debt, and one in five said they fret about their outstanding balances most of or all the time. Further, 10 percent said they believed their debts would become a major problem in the next five years.

CNBC will be covering the State of the American Consumer starting at 6a, let's hope China gets that channel all the way over there.

JDA will be hiding in the Milwaukee 'burbs with Grandpa celebrating Buy Nothing Day by moving furniture, looking through old photo albums and stuffing ourselves with turkey sandwiches and pumpkin cheesecake pie. I'm proud to announce this is now my third annual BND and frankly a tradition for me going back much farther as I've never been one for stores and loading up on crap, especially if it means having to shove my way through a crowd to get to it. If you really want to revolt, try an entire week:

A few people start breaking their old patterns, embracing what they love (and in the process discovering what they hate), daydreaming, questioning, rebelling. What happens naturally then, according to the revolutionary past, is a groundswell of support for this new way of being, with more and more people empowered to perform new gestures unencumbered by history.

Think of it as an adventure, as therapy – a week of pieing and pranks, of talking back at your profs and speaking truth to power. Some of us will put up posters in our schools and neighborhoods and just break our daily routines for a week. Others will chant, spark mayhem in big box stores and provoke mass cognitive dissonance. Others still will engage in the most visceral kind of civil disobedience. And on November 26 from sunrise to sunset we will abstain en masse – not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.

Grandpa wasn't down for revolution so we will be quietly revolting from the burbs watching the sheep on teevee scramble for the last $100 teevee.

Rats. All of you. Show some restraint. Please.

Here's a blast from our pathetic consumerist past, anyone else remember this? For the record, baby JDA never got one of these, Mom didn't get down like that and I preferred LEGO to ugly ass dolls.

Happy Turkey Day, Turkeys



Despite the fact that we're headed directly towards total financial meltdown, I have to admit I'm thankful for quite a bit. I won't waste your time by listing everything here, that's not what we're here for.

Mostly I'm thankful that I have something to write about each and every day and that you, dear reader, show up to read it.

Thank you.

Will The Fed Bail Out The Muni Bond Market?


I very nearly missed this juicy little bit so hopefully Bernanke did too, don't let the guy know he's got this kind of power or it's really all over.

Check out this quietly suggested bombshell by David Blanchflower via Bloomberg:

The economic models are telling us that we need more stimulus. Lowering interest rates and more fiscal stimulus are out of the question. Quantitative easing remains the only economic show in town given that Congress and President Barack Obama have been cowed into inaction.

The major questions about quantitative easing aren’t so much if, but how much will the Fed buy and of what type? There is little point in moving slowly. So $100 billion a month for six months seems a reasonable amount.

What will they buy? They are limited to only federally insured paper, which includes Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But they are also allowed to buy short-term municipal bonds, and given the difficulties faced by state and local governments, this may well be the route they choose, at least for some of the quantitative easing. Even if the Fed wanted to, it couldn’t buy other securities, such as corporate bonds, as it would require Congress’s approval, which won’t happen anytime soon.

[emphasis mine]

Did you read that? Read it again. "[T]hey are also allowed to buy short-term municipal bonds, and given the difficulties faced by state and local governments, this may well be the route they choose, at least for some of the quantitative easing."

That means they can bail out munis to their heart's content and no one can say a thing. They don't even have to announce it if they don't want to (independence, you know) and what's to say they aren't actively engaged in it as we speak while the rest of us are sitting down to an overpriced turkey and awkwardly staring at our families tomorrow?

ECB Hack Mersch: An Ireland Bailout Will Help Us Stop Handing Out Bailouts



Yes, he actually said that.

Reuters:

Ireland's acceptance of a EU/IMF bailout will allow the European Central Bank to press on with gradually phasing out its crisis support measures, ECB Governing Council member Yves Mersch said on Wednesday.

"We only can welcome that now that we have a programme that will lead to stability in Ireland, this will allow us to continue on our gradual and prudent exit strategy," Mersch, who also heads the Luxembourg central bank, said in an interview with CNBC.

"I think I would not take issue with the expectations that are presently in the market," he added.

For a great laugh, watch Mersch squirm as he explains the strength of the euro and his expectations for the future.

Big Business Has Its Greatest Quarter EVER?!


pic credit: Modern Mechanix

Filed under: totally unbelievable headlines that are even less believable once you actually dig into the truth behind the big fancy headline.

Does anyone else believe corporate America just celebrated its most successful quarter on record? Yeah, me neither. And it's pretty clear why these numbers shouldn't be trusted at face value (which you, dear JDA reader, already know not to do no matter where the numbers come from) but let's go there anyway just in case there is any confusion.

NYT:

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms.

The government does not adjust the numbers for inflation, in part because these corporate profits can be affected by pricing changes from all over the world and because the government does not have a price index for individual companies. The next-highest annual corporate profits level on record was in the third quarter of 2006, when they were $1.655 trillion.

Cue the chart porn:


Does this mean that American business is booming? Not at all. It means that these numbers are not inflation-adjusted, for one, and do not really shed much light on where these profits are coming from, meaning international arms of American companies account for much of this boom. It also doesn't clarify that American workers are being whip-cracked to increase productivity while costs have been driven down thanks to mass layoffs (fewer workers to pay = more money to call "profit").

So really this is meaningless data and should simply be ignored. Nothing is as it seems in... the Twilight Zone.

Barney Frank Wants You To Get Off the Fed's Back



Way to manufacture a completely unrelated straw man that has nothing to do with the actual argument, you asshat.

Here's the deal, Barney Frank would like you to forget about all the epic Fed failures of the last two years (and beyond) and do the American thing, which would obviously be to support our non-government central bank as if they are our troops in Afghanistan. Go America!

The Boston Globe:

“Debating American economic policy is one thing; joining in a broad attack by foreign central banks, who insist that America somehow must subordinate our own legitimate economic needs to their currency requirements, is quite another,’’ he said in a statement.

Republican economists sent a separate letter to Bernanke last week criticizing the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying plan. Foreign leaders from China, Germany, and Brazil have also signaled their displeasure.

“I was not surprised at the extreme hypocrisy of the Central Bank of China insisting that America — apparently alone among nations — has an obligation to subordinate its own legitimate economic needs to international currency movements, nor was I surprised that other central banks, including Germany’s, joined China,’’ Frank said in his statement.

“What did disappoint me was to see conservative economists, high-ranking officials of previous Republican administrations, and Republican congressional leaders share the attack by these foreign banks not simply on the substance of the Federal Reserve’s proposal, but on the very notion that America has a right to give a primary focus to our own economic need for growth at this time.’’

Frank calls it "growth" but any of us with a quarter to half a brain calls it what it is: intentionally manufactured inflation. The problem with the Fed printing $600 billion is that we, the American people, are on the hook for paying that back. The Fed isn't doing us any big favors by "stimulating the economy", they're simply writing us out a check for a payday loan so we can keep the lights on at the White House. You didn't think that money was free, did you?

It's alright though, once inflation hits we'll just pay them back with worthless paper and call it even.

Forget About Touching Junk, You're Going To Piss Yourself When You Hear This



A 61 year old retired special education teacher and bladder cancer survivor gets humiliated by TSA agents who felt him up, broke his urostomy bag and left him standing at airport security covered in his own urine.

Who are the real terrorists?

TLP (who has had his junk scanned but not groped... yet) and I usually spend my upcoming birthday together in some random city but will NOT give our hard-earned FRNs to the airlines this year and will instead stick around DC where we can be in control of our own groping thankyouverymuchyoufuckingterroristpricks.

Criminally Conflicted Former Fed Governor Frederic Mishkin on Fed Credibility



In the largest LOL I've had in quite some time, former Fed governor Frederic Mishkin seems to believe the Fed's "credibility" is under historic attack, according to this latest piece from CNBC:

The Federal Reserve is undergoing what former central bank governor Frederic Mishkin is calling an unprecedented level of attacks caused by its inability to articulate a clear message regarding its multitrillion-dollar monetary policies.

In a CNBC interview, Mishkin said the Fed has done a poor job justifying its efforts to buy Treasurys and other securities as a way to stimulate the economy—a policy often referred to as quantitative easing.

Washington officials have sharply criticized the central bank, with some recently saying that the Fed ought to lose its dual mandate of controlling inflation and ensuring maximum employment, and focus solely on inflation.

"Monetary policy is never easy. You're always the whipping boy. The question is the degree," he said. "Now you're getting whipped with a little bit harder lash than usual. But you've got to make the tough calls and you've got to provide leadership. This is what you do with central banks."

Upon reading this, TLP wondered out loud if his version of the CNBC article was missing the opening paragraph that begins with "Mishkin, who collected $125k for giving Iceland's economy a nice warm blowjob just before its balls fell off ..." and I have to admit I had the exact same thought. If anyone is equipped to talk about Fed credibility, it's the asshat who grabbed $125,000 for writing some fake paper about Iceland's financial stability and then turned around and changed the title of the paper when the truth came out and Iceland collapsed. With qualifications like that, it's no wonder he's criticizing the Fed's handling of their latest PR disaster. Where's that Enron PR hack when the Fed really needs her?

Moreover, the central bank has gotten itself in trouble politically because "the way they communicated this whole strategy is very problematic," Mishkin said.

"The credibility of the Fed has been hurt not only by the issue of not putting this in a long-run context, but secondly by the tremendous dissension from the committee, which again is unprecedented," he said. "I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more done internally to rein this in."

HAHAHAHAHAHA LMAO and ROFL!!!!!!!1! I suppose having a Fed alumni collecting huge fees for writing bogus papers does nothing to damage the Fed's credibility then?

My bounty for a Janet Yellen bitchslap remains at $50,000 for the first FOMC member reach across the conference table and knock her upside the head but I'll throw in an extra $5,000 if anyone's willing to head over to Columbia and give this jackass a good smack.

Beware Chattering Fed Asshats, Here's Why



WSJ's Real Time Economics had an interesting piece the other day about our darling Fed representatives traditionally dodging any dollar-related questions and diverting them to the Treasury instead. Allegedly, it's the Treasury that has the ultimate authority over the dollar though actual dollars read "FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE" and Treasury has absolutely no control over all important dollar-related issues such as how many to print and how cheap to make them. Seems silly, doesn't it? It is.

In the piece, we get a lovely sampling of recent Fed asshat comments on their dollar assault of late, quite uncharacteristic from our traditionally tight-lipped friends at the Fed. Hey, they did pledge transparency, didn't they?

Anyway, RTE:
We’re not trying to push the dollar to any particular level,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley told CNBC Tuesday. “We don’t have a view about where … the dollar should go,” he said, in an interview that said overseas leaders should be grateful for the U.S. pursuing a policy that will return the nation to health.

Newly installed Fed vice chair, Janet Yellen, told the Wall Street Journal this week the Fed isn’t trying “to push down the dollar” or to start a currency war, as some overseas officials have suggested.

Meanwhile, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said Wednesday that while the Fed isn’t trying to depress the dollar per se, textbook economics would suggest that “a modest currency depreciation is the normal consequence of easing monetary policy.” Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said Thursday he doesn’t see “big effects” on the dollar from current Fed policy, in a speech where he offered support for the bond-buying program.

The Fed’s leader, Ben Bernanke, has also entered the fray. His highly anticipated address Friday punched back at international critics who think the central bank policy is an unfair manipulation of foreign exchange markets. Emerging economies like China, with its peg to the dollar, are pursuing a “strategy of currency undervaluation” that prevents a needed rebalancing of global economic variables, Bernanke said. If he can say other currencies need to rise in this way, it suggests he’s comfortable with a dollar drop.

Finally, a speech released Friday by the New York Fed’s international division chief noted in unusually specific terms that “the dollar has weakened of late, but as a side-effect of policy, not as a goal, and not by more than might be expected in light of our recent slowing and recent changes in interest rates and inflation expectations.”
Wow!! Could it be? A new and improved, totally transparent, out-in-the-open Creature from Jekyll Island ready to expose its motives and be completely honest about its goals and how it plans to get there?

Yeah right. Instead, what we have is a desperate central bank scared to death of how this will turn out (you cannot tell me a single one of them actually believe they'll be able to steer us out of this mess at this point and with things as dismally flat as they have been). This isn't transparency, it's a last ditch effort to convince us that they have control of the situation by exuding an air of transparency. You know, for our sake.

There's no bread but plenty of circus and this is only the beginning.

Have you ever seen a repentant sinner on his deathbed confessing his transgressions to whomever will listen? Yeah, it's like that.

TLP: Investors Look for Baseball to be Berry Berry Good to Them

baseball futures
Forget about gaming the future prices of coffee and bacon, the new hot commodity is fresh meat from the Caribbean.

NYT:
Investors from the United States believe they have found an exotic new prospect: Latin American baseball players, some as young as 13 and many from impoverished families.

Recognizing that major league teams are offering multimillion-dollar contracts to some teenage prospects, the investors are either financing upstart Dominican trainers, known as buscones, or building their own academies. In exchange, the investors are guaranteed significant returns — sometimes as much as 50 percent of their players’ bonuses — when they sign with major league teams. Agents in the United States typically receive 5 percent.
This is encouraging news. Ordinarily, the kind of recruiting done in connection with overseas teens is significantly darker.

TLP: The Way She Complains, You'd Think She Actually Wrote It

palin book
Boo-fucking-hoo. Sarah Palin is so upset that parts of her latest "book" have gotten out ahead of the publication date that she's taken to some very miffed tweeting. And lawyered up.

NYT:
When Sarah Palin found out that some Web sites had posted excerpts from advance copies of her new book, she took her lament to Twitter.

“The publishing world is LEAKING out-of-context excerpts of my book w/out my permission? Isn’t that illegal?” she wrote in a post on Thursday.

Gawker, which had posted more than a dozen pages of the forthcoming book, mocked her legal analysis.

But it turns out that for the time being, Gawker has been legally prohibited from publishing the material.

On Saturday, a federal judge told the media gossip blog it must take down the excerpts until a hearing on Nov. 30, according to a spokeswoman for HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, which sued Gawker on Friday. That means Gawker’s scoop is essentially squashed until after the book, “America by Heart,” is released on Tuesday.
Until the book comes out, the fun is in the media sideshow. Commenters on the NYT story seems to be auditioning for Gawker. "It's just amazing how much the left hates Palin. I can't wait until Bristol wins DWTS. The sound of liberal heads exploding will probably deafen most of the two coasts," said Washington Dame. Dwane Bivens counters: "$arah Palin complaining about folks taking things out of context? Um, what's the Alaskan term for 'chutzpah'?" And Schwartzy seems just plain disgusted, but has been paying attention to the news: "ugh, your kidding me? Another book by a ghost writer? Didn't we just get one of those from Bush?"

Oh, well. Palin peepers will just have to wait til Tuesday. And then stand in the bookstore and read it for free.

TLP: If the TSA Doesn't Get to Touch Leonardo DiCaprio's Junk, Do the Terrorists Win?

tsa pat-down
Just in time for the bustle of Thanksgiving travel, airline pilots have gotten themselves exempted from the hassle of the security checks required of everyone else who gets on an airplane.

NYT:
On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would let uniformed airline pilots skip the screenings, reversing an earlier policy that everyone had to go through the screenings as part of the agency’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. Pilots who are traveling out of uniform or not on official business will still be subject to searches, the agency said.

The full-body scans and pat-downs being performed at a number of airports have angered travelers, many of whom said the searches were invasive and likened them to virtual strip searches. Passengers have also raised concerns about the long-term effect of radiation exposure from airport scanners.

The agency said pilots would still have to pass through a metal detector at airport checkpoints and present two photo identifications that would be verified against a flight crew database.

The government ruling comes after an extensive two-year lobbying campaign by unions and organizations representing airline pilots. The groups made the argument that because their members had already been through extensive background checks by federal law enforcement officials, there was no need for the added security searches.
Now not every pilot is as recognizable as the the now-retired Captain Sully, who supported the changes in pilot screening. So it's possible that impostors could slip through.

And if the rationale is that you're good to go if you've already passed a federal background check, you might as well grab your own junk and say a prayer (just not in Arabic, tyvm), airport security will be truly meaningless.

Tim Geithner Muses On Fed Independence, Redefines "Credibility"



Watch him squirm!

Bloomberg:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the Obama administration would oppose any effort to strip the Federal Reserve of its mandate to pursue full employment and warned Republicans against politicizing the central bank.

“It is very important to keep politics out of monetary policy,” Geithner said in an interview airing on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” this weekend. “You want to be very careful not to take steps that hurt our credibility.”

Wait a second, bailing out Bear Stearns but allowing Lehman to die didn't hurt their credibility? What about that whole thing with Crooked Pinky Hank Paulson going in front of Congress begging for TARP claiming that they'd use the money to buy crap assets and then turning around to use it as a bailout slush fund for suffering banks? Or how about that time the Fed decided to buy $300 billion in Treasurys and then decided that wasn't enough and went for $600 billion instead? None of that hurt our credibility but somehow stripping the Fed of a duty it has failed miserably in anyway would? Please. WC Varones shares my sentiment on this issue, it's a little late to start talking about politicizing the Fed now.

Timmy is confused as to the actual definition of credibility but that shouldn't be shocking to anyone familiar with his sleazy hypocrite ass. After all, Timmy is the one who was president of the New York Fed as the bailout checks went out, "credibility" is the last word one might pluck from the dictionary when describing our esteemed Treasury Secretary.

Little Timmy met with several House GOP members last week, presumably trying to charm them into seeing his viewpoint and/or not making him look like a complete and total tool (as if he needs any help on that).

Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo felt compelled to point out last week that though the Fed is allegedly independent from the political whims of the moment (as in "Hey, Ben, it's Barack. Can you guys do me a favor and print me up $600 billion or so? We're a little low on cash and those fucking Chinese aren't loaning us any more money, just tell them it's because the economy sucks or something."), that doesn't translate into being able to do whatever they want. If you buy that, I also have a bridge to sell you and sorry, payment in gold only.

Dow Jones:

The Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions are rightly insulated from short-term political pressure, but the U.S. central bank is not completely free to do what it wants, a top Fed official said Friday.

Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said the U.S. has a wise tradition of keeping the central bank's decision on interest rates insulated from the poltics of the moment. But he underlined it's the "politics of the moment" from which the decisions are insulated--not from basic policy decisions taken by Congress.

"It's not as if we're just independent in the sense that we're out there and we can kind of take whatever policies we want," Tarullo said.

See, I think that would imply that Congress has any idea what it is doing. I gather that they don't even realize they ultimately have the power to kill the Fed if it comes to that and why would they? Bernanke is the one who signs all the checks at the end of the day, with few of those Congressional asshats smart enough to realize that we do, in fact, have to pay for all of this in the end.

Geithner is afraid that if Congress starts going for the Fed's throat, even on an insignificant issue like redefining their alleged dual mandate, that it will dawn on many of them that our central bank has been robbing us blind for nearly 100 years under the guise of monetary policy. A criminal will do anything to make sure his crimes are not uncovered, until he gets sloppy and one day leaves a bloody footprint leading from the scene of the crime.

Seeing as how Geithner practically signed a lot of those 2008 bailout checks himself, it makes sense that he'd be extra paranoid to have anyone sniffing around at his former place of employment.

Is The Fed Monetizing the Debt? According To The Fed They Are



While pundits, economists and Fedbashers waste quality air arguing over the specifics, the reality remains that those Fed brainiacs are out of moves and doing exactly what Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said they wouldn't: serving as handmaiden to the Treasury. "Handmaiden" is a kind word, I would have used "bitch" or "cumdumpster" myself but that's just me.

See "Monetizing the Debt" via the St Louis Fed circa 1984 for clarification on what exactly monetization is. This should make the goal of the Federal Reserve's latest $600 billion Treasury purchase program all too clear in case anyone is a little sketchy on the details.

In large measure, the phrase “monetizing the debt” grew out of the experience of the Federal Reserve immediately after World War II. At the time, the Federal Reserve had a tacit commitment to the U.S. Treasury to stabilize the Treasury’s cost of financing the war debt. After the war, individuals began liquidating their holdings of Liberty Bonds. Because of its agreement with the Treasury, the Federal Reserve purchased substantial amounts of government debt.

These purchases increased the reserves of the banking system and, consequently, the money stock; the Federal Reserve was said to have monetized the debt. In March 1951, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury reached an accord whereby the Federal Reserve established its independence. Since then, the Federal Reserve has been free to pursue its policy objectives independent of the debt financing needs of the Treasury.

We won't argue the point of Fed independence now, been there done that and not much has changed, it's still just a clever ruse that keeps them safely insulated from the curious eye of the unwashed masses while they do whatever the fuck they want.

In July of 2009, Ben Bernanke looked the House of Representatives in the eye and said the Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt. Peep:


Fantastic, Zimbabwe Ben, but isn't that exactly what you are doing now per your own fellow Fed asshat's definition above?

In his June 2009 testimony, Bernanke used the all-too-endearing term "we" as if his Fed and the American people are one in the same. Cute, isn't it?

The increases in spending and reductions in taxes associated with the fiscal package and the financial stabilization program, along with the losses in revenues and increases in income-support payments associated with the weak economy, will widen the federal budget deficit substantially this year. The Administration recently submitted a proposed budget that projects the federal deficit to reach about $1.8 trillion this fiscal year before declining to $1.3 trillion in 2010 and roughly $900 billion in 2011. As a consequence of this elevated level of borrowing, the ratio of federal debt held by the public to nominal GDP is likely to move up from about 40 percent before the onset of the financial crisis to about 70 percent in 2011. These developments would leave the debt-to-GDP ratio at its highest level since the early 1950s, the years following the massive debt buildup during World War II.

Certainly, our economy and financial markets face extraordinary near-term challenges, and strong and timely actions to respond to those challenges are necessary and appropriate. Nevertheless, even as we take steps to address the recession and threats to financial stability, maintaining the confidence of the financial markets requires that we, as a nation, begin planning now for the restoration of fiscal balance. Prompt attention to questions of fiscal sustainability is particularly critical because of the coming budgetary and economic challenges associated with the retirement of the baby-boom generation and continued increases in medical costs. The recent projections from the Social Security and Medicare trustees show that, in the absence of programmatic changes, Social Security and Medicare outlays will together increase from about 8-1/2 percent of GDP today to 10 percent by 2020 and 12-1/2 percent by 2030. With the ratio of debt to GDP already elevated, we will not be able to continue borrowing indefinitely to meet these demands.

So though he very clearly warned against borrowing indefinitely to meet those demands, he and his Fed seemed all too willing to do the loaning should the Treasury need to come up with operating cash.

And that's not monetization? My ass. Or Bernanke's ass. Whatever.

Cleveland Fed Insists Its Hacked Network Was "Test Only"



If you've been under a rock for the last few days, you probably haven't heard about the Malaysian hacker who got into Fed systems and lifted hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers from other bank institutions. If you briefly glanced at the media during all of this, you may have read incorrect reports that made it sound like the guy got into the Fed and snatched credit card numbers from there but we are assured that the Dirty Fed is not in the business of hoarding financial information unless we're talking about the Treasury's allowance account.

Still disconcerting, the Cleveland Fed is saying its compromised PC was little more than a programmer sandbox and not actually connected to Fedwire or any other sensitive network of Dirty Fed machines. Shit.

PC World:

The Secret Service says it found more than 400,000 bank card numbers on Poo's laptop at the time of his arrest. But those numbers apparently did not come from the Fed, which said Friday that none of its sensitive data was compromised during the incident. "We don't process credit cards or debit card information," said June Gates, a spokeswoman with the Federal Reserve of Cleveland.

According to Gates, the hacker managed to break into a single Fed test PC that was connected to other test computers. "This is a system that is used to test software and applications with fake data and information," she said. "The incident did not involve our live production system on which we process our work."

"Fake data and information"... like those dollars that Bernanke is wildly printing?

Strange, though, because the DOJ complaint alleges that Poo's FRB funtime cost the Cleveland Fed "thousands of dollars" and affected at least 10 Fed computers, which is quite an exaggeration from the Fed's claim of one:

In his post-arrest statement, the defendant admitted compromising the computer servers of a number of major financial institutions and companies.For example, the defendant admitted that he compromised a computer network of the Federal Reserve Bank (“FRB”) by exploiting a vulnerability he found within their secure system.The FRB in Cleveland, Ohio has confirmed that an FRB computer network was hacked in approximately June 2010, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages, affecting ten or more FRB computers, and forming the basis for Counts Three and Four.

So either the Fed is minimizing or those tards at the DoJ can't count. I'll leave dear reader to do the wild speculating, I'm done with this subject.

The Day of Reckoning Comes: Ben Bernanke Has Officially Lost His Mind



If I were more of an asshat myself, I might tell you that Bernanke is completely insane and should be committed before he can cause any more destruction while he's being choked by mania. Since I'm not as much of an asshat as I appear to be, I remind dear reader that the poor bastard has a pretty awful job and, like OMG Obama, inherited a pretty awful set of circumstances with the expectation that he'd be able to turn things around. How's that working out for you?

I haven't seen this side of Bernanke and have to say it's pretty frightening. Entertaining, of course, but frightening.

Call me crazy (even though he's the one who has obviously gone nuts) but I don't think overstepping the Fed's limited authority and threatening nations who have their shit together is going to get us very far.

Check out his comments from Frankfurt today:

The global economy is now well into its second year of recovery from the deep recession triggered by the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression. In the most intense phase of the crisis, as a financial conflagration threatened to engulf the global economy, policymakers in both advanced and emerging market economies found themselves confronting common challenges. Amid this shared sense of urgency, national policy responses were forceful, timely, and mutually reinforcing. This policy collaboration was essential in averting a much deeper global economic contraction and providing a foundation for renewed stability and growth.

In recent months, however, that sense of common purpose has waned. Tensions among nations over economic policies have emerged and intensified, potentially threatening our ability to find global solutions to global problems. One source of these tensions has been the bifurcated nature of the global economic recovery: Some economies have fully recouped their losses while others have lagged behind. But at a deeper level, the tensions arise from the lack of an agreed-upon framework to ensure that national policies take appropriate account of interdependencies across countries and the interests of the international system as a whole. Accordingly, the essential challenge for policymakers around the world is to work together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome--namely, a robust global economic expansion that is balanced, sustainable, and less prone to crises.

The problem, it seems, is that economies that used to be dependent on cheap American money and our insatiable hunger for crap we couldn't afford have broken free of our leash and are now making us look like a bunch of lazy losers who can't fix our perpetually broken financial system. Bernanke seemed totally cool with the whole thing when everyone was screwed but now that we (and Europe) seem to be the ones with more issues than National Geographic while emerging economies are thriving, he's broken down and is lashing out. Naturally. Peep the chart:


Who knew Ben Bernanke was in a position to dictate to other countries how they deal with their own economies? I didn't see the Federal Reserve jumping to accommodate everyone else when they were busy inflating the last bubble but that doesn't matter now, it's about what the Fed wants, right?

What is clear is that the different cyclical positions of the advanced and emerging market economies call for different policy settings. Although the details of the outlook vary among jurisdictions, most advanced economies still need accommodative policies to continue to lay the groundwork for a strong, durable recovery. Insufficiently supportive policies in the advanced economies could undermine the recovery not only in those economies, but for the world as a whole. In contrast, emerging market economies increasingly face the challenge of maintaining robust growth while avoiding overheating, which may in some cases involve the measured withdrawal of policy stimulus.

Oh and don't call QE 2 QE, you heathens. Crazy Ben doesn't like that.

Incidentally, in my view, the use of the term "quantitative easing" to refer to the Federal Reserve's policies is inappropriate. Quantitative easing typically refers to policies that seek to have effects by changing the quantity of bank reserves, a channel which seems relatively weak, at least in the U.S. context. In contrast, securities purchases work by affecting the yields on the acquired securities and, via substitution effects in investors' portfolios, on a wider range of assets.

Who is this guy? Certainly not the Gentle Ben I've come to know and loathe over the last two years. Go, ZB, go!!

Should The Fed's Dual Mandate Be Abolished?



The answer to that question is obviously no, the Fed itself should be abolished.

Instead, though, we get Republicans Senator Bob Corker and Representative Mike Pence suggesting that the Fed might have too much on its plate trying to keep inflation low and employment high. Besides, it's not like they can fix the unemployment problem at this point so instead of insisting that they have failed and firing them, why not pretend like that was never their job?

Reuters:

Two U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve should focus solely on inflation and ditch its "dual mandate" to promote both price stability and full employment.

The pressure from Senator Bob Corker and Representative Mike Pence adds to the pile of international criticism over the central bank's plan to buy an additional $600 billion in government bonds to try to speed up a sluggish economic recovery.

Opponents worry the program will weaken the dollar and sow the seeds of inflation at home and abroad without doing much to lift U.S. economic growth.

Pence said in a statement that the Fed's dual mandate policy had "failed" and he would introduce legislation on Tuesday to strike that provision from the Federal Reserve Act of 1977.

How is that appropriate?

Boston Fed's Eric Rosengren: Debt Pimp and Enabler



Oh dear. Did he just say that?

Bloomberg:

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said that the central bank risked a worsening outlook for inflation and jobs if it hadn’t embarked this month on a second round of unconventional monetary stimulus.

“Not changing policy risked further disinflation, a rise in the real cost of funds tantamount to monetary tightening, and risks of continued and possibly worsening pain in labor markets,” Rosengren said today in a speech in Providence, Rhode Island. “There are real and significant long-term costs to individuals and the economy when the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.”

And what's this? Is this an admission from one of the Fed's own that they are, in fact, intentionally weakening the dollar to gain a competitive trade advantage? You don't say!

Rosengren, 53, defended the central bank’s strategy, saying he is “very confident of the Fed’s ability and will to exit, when necessary.” He also said devaluing the dollar is “not a goal of our policies,” though it will “stimulate exports and reduce imports,” which is a “normal consequence” of monetary easing.

Funny, how can he be confident in the plan that they do not have? Unless they somehow snuck out a plan and I just haven't noticed it but the odds of that are slimmer than the odds that the Fed will be able to get out of the corner they've backed themselves into.

QE 2 Isn't the Problem, It's the Critics That Are



Surely William Dudley knows how stupid saying this makes him sound or perhaps I am but a confused critic who missed the big announcement about a solid Fed exit strategy (still waiting), either way this is just dumb.

Bloomberg:

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said critics of the expansion of monetary stimulus are underestimating the central bank’s ability to raise interest rates when necessary.

“People do not understand clearly” that “we can have an enlarged balance sheet and not have a long-term inflation problem,” Dudley said in an interview with CNBC. “We are very confident of our ability to exit when the time comes.”

Oh I don't think understanding is the problem, you conniving little Dirty Fed asshat.

I can only speak for myself but not once have I actually claimed that the large Federal Reserve balance sheet is inflationary by itself and any informed person who knows what they are talking about knows as much. The "money" is not money at all and isn't a problem until it becomes "money" (when it hits the open air), which it likely won't any point soon. No one is arguing that. At least no one I know. The Fed can manufacture $15 bazillion in blips and it still will not be inflationary as long as it remains as blips, or electronic debits and credits from the Fed to the banks and back to the Fed again. QE 2, on its own, is not inflationary for the same reason and that's why the Fed announced they'd be buying Treasurys from the banks (who borrowed blips at $0 from the Fed to buy them in the first place), which is really more money laundering than an actual strategy but hey, who am I to criticize?

Dudley is missing the point and skirting the issue. We still have not seen an exit strategy and if they have one, now would be the time to start hinting strongly about the details.

They got nothin'. And everyone knows it.

So no, inflation isn't a problem. Yet.

San Francisco Lunacy: First Happy Meals, Now This



What next, San Francisco? You've banned Styrofoam, cigarettes at Walgreens, plastic bags and now Happy Meals, what's left? Somehow crack cocaine and blowing guys in the back of trucks on Capp St is allowed and plastic bags - while banned at Walgreens and Safeway - still flow freely in Chinatown, and let's not forget the human excrement that still dots the pavement every few feet (unless they've somehow cleaned up the problem in the >month that I've been gone) but this next one takes the cake. Is San Francisco going to try and ban circumcision? Yeah, if this one asshat gets his way.

Lloyd Schofield - a foreskin crusader, as it were - needs 7000 signatures to get this on the ballot in front of San Francisco voters and the scary part is I think he might have some support in the land of Sodom, Gommorah and that guy Bruce who wears a cockring and not much else.

I believe the fine people of SF have forgotten that as adults, we should all be capable of making these decisions, more so when it comes to life-altering choices we make on behalf of our baby sons. I don't need the Board of Supervisors telling me what I can and cannot do within the realm of acceptable behavior and it's pathetic that someone would take an issue like this so far so as to seek to institute a citywide ban on circumcision punishable by $1000 fine and a year in the already over-crowded county jail. 

Sick. You're all a bunch of sick fucks and you need to remember that the reason you moved to free, do-what-you-want San Francisco in the first place was so that people could not tell you all how to live your lives, nor what to think, eat, drink, nor who to screw nor how you had to screw them. And this is what it comes down to? A nanny state where the all-seeing Board of Supervisors decides where you can shop (no Target within city limits, damnit! You'll buy overpriced panties at the boutiques like normal people!!), what you can eat, and whether or not you are allowed to carry home your groceries in a plastic bag?

Thank God I got out when I did, you people are insane.

Prince George's County Cops, Liquor Stores and Cocaine Oh My!



Remember the drama on Friday with Prince George's County executive Jack B. Johnson and his newly-elected councilmember wife Leslie? It just got a whole lot more interesting (as if $200,000 town the toilet and $76,000 in Leslie's panties weren't interesting enough). Surprise surprise, there's coke involved.

WaPo:
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein officially announced the arrests and charges in a press release. A total of nine people were arrested, including the three police officers. The charges are conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

There is no mention of County Executive Jack B. Johnson, and the charges may stem from the larger probe of corruption in Prince George's County.

The charges stem from a scheme involving the transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol.

Besides Sgt. Rich Delabrer and Cpl. Chong Kim, the third officer charged is Officer Sinisa Simic.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $3.5 million, 25 properties, 13 vehicles and 84 bank accounts that allegedly are proceeds of crimes or were used to facilitate crimes.

Others involved include liquor store owners and the owner of a glass store.

Holy shit! This is some Goodfellas-level shit here. Continue to follow PostLocal for breaking details as JDA can't promise to stay on top of it, being stationed somewhere in the Milwaukee suburbs for the foreseeable future.

TLP: Congress Ready to Go Postal

postal service
As if the Postal Service wasn't having enough trouble. Congress rejected a request for a 2-cent stamp price increase and the USPS has announced an $8.5 billion annual loss. Now, this.

NYT:
Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican of California, who is set to become chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the next Congress, said on Friday that he would push for major changes at the Postal Service, which has announced an $8.5 billion annual loss.

“This loss only underscores the urgent need for the Postal Service to trim its operating costs to match revenues,” Mr. Issa said in a statement. “Congress has an obligation to ensure that effective solutions are implemented and taxpayers don’t get stuck paying for a bailout.”

Mr. Issa has long warned that ongoing losses by the Postal Service could force taxpayers to “bail out” the agency, which by law is supposed to be self-funded.

He has cited the need to downsize the labor force and reduce costs to reflect declining demand and new market conditions.
Issa seems to have big plans once the Republicans become the majority party in the House, such as non-stop investigations — "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks," he told Politico.

All the Postal Service officials can hope is that their summons gets lost in the mail.

Breaking: Prince George's County Government Headquarters Stormed By Feds



Where on Earth is Prince George's County, you ask? Well it's JDA's new homebase in Maryland and surprise, surprise, the FBI and US Attorney's office have taken the joint by surprise and are ousting dirty government bastards as we speak.

WaPo reports:

Two law enforcement sources say Prince Georges' County Executive Jack B. Johnson was taken into custody, Friday morning by federal authorities. Neither the FBI nor the U.S. attorney's office would immediately confirm

Federal authorities are executing search warrants Friday at Prince George's County government headquarters, a spokeswoman for the Maryland U.S. Attorney's office said.

Great to know that I left one criminal enterprise in San Francisco for another in the Maryland 'burbs. Good times, kids!

Johnson's wife, newly elected PG District 6 council member Leslie Johnson, has also been picked up by the feds. Jack Johnson was a former senior attorney for the IRS and state's attorney for PG County.

Stick with the PostLocal for breaking details as they unfold.

UPDATE: the feds are apparently swarming Johnson's home and office as we speak. I'll do my best to keep you abreast of the situation and if I get bored this afternoon might take a trip over there to gawk and point fingers.

UPDATE: The FBI called in a plumber to check Johnson's house and make sure he didn't flush anything "useful" to the investigation. That's just sad but at least the Post is still on top of it:

A plumber arrived shortly after 1 p.m. saying that he got a call from the FBI asking him to come over. "I'm checking the toilet to make sure there is nothing in them," said Steve Wilson, of Gene's Plumbing in Harwood.

Johnson has come under scrutiny for county development deals worth millions of dollars that have gone to people with ties to the county executive. Several of those people had little or no development experience or were given no-bid contracts, according to government records.

UPDATE: Johnson and his wife were charged with witness tampering and destruction of evidence:

Prince George's County Executive jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie have been charged with tampering with a witness in connection with a criminal offense destruction of evidence in a federal investigation. Each offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The offense occurred today, according to the judge in the case.

So... if they were checking Johnson's toilets, does that mean he was using evidence to wipe his ass? Just sayin.

Homicidal Hypocrite Alan Greenspan On a Manipulated Dollar

 Pic credit: Popular Science, 1933 (via Modern Mechanix)

Hahahahaha wait a second, what do you mean by "currency weakening" exactly? If anyone can recognize it, it's Alan Greenspan but at least when he did it we got a bunch of big ass houses and cars and new kitchens out of the deal.

Said homicidal maniac Alan Greenspan in the Financial Times on Wednesday, "America is also pursuing a policy of currency weakening. The suppression of the renminbi and the recent weakening of the dollar are, of necessity, producing firming exchange rates in the rest of the world to, as they see it, the rest of the world’s competitive disadvantage. Something has to give in this arena of zero-consolidated current account balances."

Well Tim Geithner really didn't like to hear that and immediately took issue with Greenspan's statements even though Greenspan didn't specifically name Geithner nor Treasury in his accusations and frankly probably meant the Federal Reserve first and Geithner's needy ass second. Has our esteemed Treasury Secretary ever heard of you smelt it you dealt it?

CNBC:

"We will never seek to weaken our currency as a tool to gain competitive advantage or to grow the economy," he said, adding that it was "not an effective strategy" for any country.

Greenspan claimed in the Financial Times that the policy was pushing up exchange rates in the rest of the world.

"That's not an accurate description of either the Fed's policies or our policies and again I don't think it's an accurate description of what's happening in markets today," Geithner told CNBC.

Was anyone fortunate enough to see the actual tape of Steve Liesman grilling Geithner? You could practically feel the beads of sweat seeping through the remote.

See if you can click on this and not void your laptop's warranty by barfing all over the keys.