April 16, 2012
Personal Liberty Digest
By Chip Wood
“Don’t be excited over your tax rebate. You should have been able to keep all of that money to begin with.” –KTRN
Arghhh! It just happened again. No, I’m not referring to the billions of dollars hard-working taxpayers will have to send to Uncle Sam by April 17. (We get an extra two days to file a return this year, thanks to the 15th falling on a Sunday and the 16th being a holiday in Washington.)
What gets my goat is when someone — especially a near and dear family member — celebrates receiving a tax refund. People act as though it’s manna from heaven. They rejoice in their totally unexpected bounty from a beneficent government.
I try to explain that the Internal Revenue Service really isn’t doing them a favor and that, in fact, the opposite is true. I tell them that by overpaying their taxes during the past year, they have in effect been giving a profligate and wasteful government an interest-free loan. When I say that, they look at me as through I’ve suddenly sprouted two heads.
They are utterly perplexed by my suggestions: They should not celebrate their tax refund, and they should do everything they can to keep as much of their money for as long as they can while working to put Big Government on a starvation diet.
April 16, 2012
By David Gutierrez
A Venn diagram released by Harvard law professor and political activist Larry Lessig reveals the shocking connections between our government and banking and investment giant Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs was a major contributor to (and beneficiary of) the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis that helped initiate the current depression. The bank then proceeded to heavily avail itself of bailout payments and other monetary assistance from the federal government.
In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that it had deceived investors about the nature of one of its products, costing them a total of $1 billion.
Goldman Sachs was defended in the lawsuit by its longtime legal firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. One of its advisors on defense strategy was a partner in the firm by the name of Gregory Craig, who had left his job as White House Counsel only months before. When observers raised ethical concerns, some of them pointing out that the Obama Administration prohibits its former members from lobbying it for at least two years, Craig responded by saying, “I am a lawyer, not a lobbyist.”
Craig is a classic example of the “revolving door” in this country between industry and government. He has moved back and forth over the years between government positions — he served as foreign policy advisor to both Senator Edward Kennedy and to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — and legal work, often taking on major corporate clients like Goldman Sachs.
April 16, 2012
By Tyler Durden
Three years ago, when virtually nobody had yet heard of High Frequency Trading, Zero Hedge wrote “The Incredibly Shrinking Market Liquidity, Or The Upcoming Black Swan Of Black Swans” in which we asked “what happens in a world where the very core of the capital markets system is gradually deleveraging to a point where maintaining a liquid and orderly market becomes impossible: large swings on low volume, massive bid-offer spreads, huge trading costs, inability to clear and numerous failed trades?” Subsequent to this, our observation was proved right on both an acute (the May 6, 2010 Flash Crash), and chronic (the nearly 50% collapse in average daily volumes since the 2008 top) secular basis. And while we are not happy to have been proven correct in this particular forecast, as it ultimately means the days of equity capital markets in their current configuration are numbered, we now note that none other than Morgan Stanley’s Quantitative and Derivative Strategies released a note which, with a three year delay, effectively predicts the end of capital markets in a world where every declining retail participation (another topic we have been hammering for the past 3 years as it is only the most natural response to a world in which not only equities are openly manipulated by central banks, but in which perpetrators for massive market disturabances are neither identified nor prosecuted) is replaced by artificial high frequency trading churn, which never was and never will be a true liquidity provider on a long-term basis.
To wit from Morgan Stanley: “In our mind, many of the approaches to algorithmic execution were developed in an environment that is substantially, structurally different from today’s environment. In particular, the early part of the last decade saw households as significant natural liquidity providers as they sold their single stock positions over time to exchange them for institutionally managed products… While the time horizon over which liquidity is provided can range from microseconds to months, it is particularly shorter-term liquidity provisioning that has become more common.” Translation: as retail investors retrench more and more, which they will due to previously discussed secular themes as well as demographics, and HFT becomes and ever more dominant force, which it has no choice but to, liquidity and investment horizons will get ever shorter and shorter and shorter, until eventually by simple limit expansion, they hit zero, or some investing singularity, for those who are thought experiment inclined. That is when the currently unsustainable course of market de-evolution will, to use a symbolic 100 year anniversary allegory, finally hit the iceberg head one one final time.
How does Morgan Stanley frame their analysis? First, MS notes the ever increasing ownership of the stock market by big institutions, as retail investors took a back seat to investment allocation decisions, a secular theme until 2008, which however has subsequently plateaued:
April 16, 2012
By Info Wars
“The global elite are some seriously weird people. Watch this classic video from Alex Jones.”
We tend to forget just how strange the elite really are. Here is David Gergen, the Karl Rove of more than 4 presidential administrations freaking out when Alex asks him about the rituals at Bohemian Grove.
April 16, 2012
By Diane Macedo
“The IRS is just another government institution that is out of control. But in all fairness, they need our money to fight more wars.” –KTRN
A new bill making its way through Congress could allow the federal government to prevent Americans who owe back taxes from leaving the country.
The provision is part of Senate Bill 1813, which was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in November and passed by the Senate on March 14 “to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”
Those “other purposes” have come to include a little-known amendment recently introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would allow the State Department to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the Internal Revenue Service certifies as having “a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000.”
While the provision does make exceptions if the debt “is being paid in a timely manner” or “in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons,” it doesn’t require that a person be charged with tax evasion before having their passport revoked — only that the IRS has filed a notice of lien or levy against them.
April 16, 2012
By Heather Callaghan
“The video is graphic and should make you angry. How could anyone think this was a good treatment option? When you give people power, this is what they often do.” –KTRN
“I never signed up for him to be tortured, terrorized and abused,” Cheryl McCollins told a jury on Tuesday. “I had no idea, no idea, that they tortured the children in the school.”
In February, we reported Ms. McCollins’ plight and her calling for the public viewing of startling footage of her then 18 year-old son, Andre, receiving 31 electroshocks at Judge Rotenburg Center for the disabled (JRC) for not removing his jacket.
In 2002, Andre, now 27, had been zapped, restrained, sprawled out face down with a helmet, and shocked another 30 times anytime he flinched or screamed out in pain. The aversive shock “treatment” continued all day with no food, water, or bathroom breaks.
When Cheryl visited her son, he was unresponsive and later rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with acute stress response.
McCollins is suing Canton, MA-based JRC and calling the treatment torture. Cheryl wanted the public to see this “therapy” as an unacceptable act of torture.
Of course, JRC fought vigorously to block the video release. A new Superior Court Judge on the case, Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara, refused JRC’s repeated request allowing public-court viewing for the first time.
Cheryl also testified that the staff members were laughing as Andre was shocked.
April 16, 2012
End The Lie
By Madison Ruppert
“Facebook probably knows more about you than members of your own family.” –KTRN
April 16, 2012
By Tony Cartalucci
“More war for America.” –KTRN
As if there was any doubt, NATO’s official “Alliance News Blog” has confirmed that the US is committed to the overthrow of Syria’s government and is “already committed to helping [President Bashar al-Assad] fall,” but is “merely looking for the least violent, lowest cost way to get there.” The April 9, 2012 blog entry features an op-ed titled, “US ‘already committed to helping Assad fall’,” and fully admits that the US is equipping the so-called “Free Syrian Army” which has received weapons, leadership, and cash from the NATO-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) terrorists led by notorious mass-murderer Abdul Hakim Belhaj.
Additionally, NATO admits that the Kofi Annan brokered “peace deal” is merely a ploy stating, “if the pace of the killing slows, that could buy time: time for economic sanctions to undermine the regime, time to cajole Russia to switch sides and help pull the rug out from Assad, but also time for the opposition and its new army to organize themselves into a more effective force.”
This confirms what the Fortune 500-funded US policy think-tank Brookings Institution said regarding Kofi Annan’s plan. In Brookings’ latest report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” it is stated (emphasis added):
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts. — page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.
April 16, 2012
By Jennifer Lynch
“If you thought survelliance drones were only used by the federal government, think again.” –KTRN
EFF recently received records from the Miami-Dade Police Department in response to a Public Records request for information on its drone program. These records provide additional insight into domestic drone use in the United States, and they reinforce the importance of public access to information on who is authorized to fly drones inside US borders.
The records the Miami-Dade PD released include the Federal Aviation Administration-issued Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly the MDPD drones. This appears to be the first time a law enforcement agency has made its COA available to the public without redactions.
The COA and the other records EFF received show that Miami-Dade’s drone program is quite limited in scope. The two small drones the MDPD is flying—Honeywell T-Hawks—are able to fly up to 10,000 feet high, can record video or still images in daylight or infrared, and can “Hover and stare; [and] follow and zoom,” (pdf) according to the manufacturer. However, the COA limits their use to flights below 300 feet. The drones also must remain within visual line of sight of both a pilot and an observer and can only be flown during the day. They cannot be flown within the Miami city limits or over any high-rise buildings, populated beaches, outdoor assemblies of people, or heavily trafficked roadways (which seems to severely limit their range). Also, the MDPD has stated it doesn’t use the drones to record incidents or store image files and that the drone is set up to “clear the picture upon the next picture being captured.” (It is not clear from MDPD’s records whether the department has another system set up to retain the image files.)
April 16, 2012
“If anyone needs more evidence of how the cops are out of control, here you go.” –KTRN