Home / CRONKITE (page 50)


State of the Union

“No legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its power, position, and prestige. — Dean Acheson , 1962, speaking to the American Society of International Law.

Anthony Freda Art

Paul Craig Roberts
Activist Post

Dean Acheson declared 51 years ago that power, position, and prestige are the ingredients of national security and that national security trumps law. In the United States democracy takes a back seat to “national security,” a prerogative of the executive branch of government.

National security is where the executive branch hides its crimes against law, both domestic and international, its crimes against the Constitution, its crimes against innocent citizens both at home and abroad, and its secret agendas that it knows that the American public would never support.

“National security” is the cloak that the executive branch uses to make certain that the US government is unaccountable.

Without accountable government there is no civil liberty and no democracy except for the sham voting that existed in the Soviet Union and now exists in the US.

There have been periods in US history, such as President Lincoln’s war to prevent secession, World War I, and World War II, when accountable government was impaired. These were short episodes of the Constitution’s violation, and the Constitution was reinstated in the aftermath of the wars. However, since the Clinton regime, the accountability of government has been declining for more than two decades, longer than the three wars combined.

In law there is the concept of adverse possession, popularly known as “squatters’ rights.” A non-owner who succeeds in occupying a piece of property or some one else’s right for a certain time without being evicted enjoys the ownership title conveyed to him. The reasoning is that by not defending his rights, the owner showed his disinterest and in effect gave his rights away.

Americans have not defended their rights conveyed by the US Constitution for the duration of the terms of three presidents. The Clinton regime was not held accountable for its illegal attack on Serbia. The Bush regime was not held accountable for its illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama regime was not held accountable for its renewed attack on Afghanistan and its illegal attacks on Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen, and by its proxies on Syria.

We also have other strictly illegal and unconstitutional acts of government for which the government has not been held accountable. The Bush regimes’ acts of torture, indefinite detention, and warrantless spying, and the Obama regime’s acts of indefinite detention, warrantless spying, and murder of US citizens without due process. As the Obama regime lies through its teeth, we have no way of knowing whether torture is still practiced.

If these numerous criminal acts of the US government spread over the terms of three presidents pass into history as unchallenged events, the US government will have acquired squatters’ rights in lawlessness. The US Constitution will be, as President George W. Bush is reported to have declared, “a scrap of paper.”

Lawlessness is the hallmark of tyranny enforced by the police state……”

Full article 

Comments »

Bitcoin Hits a New All Time High, China Now Has the Largest Exchange for the Virtual Currency

“If James Bond, Sergey Brin and Paul Volcker…designed their ideal currency, it might look a lot like bitcoin.”

Bitcoin value goes up, now accepted in China(Credit: 123dartist/Shutterstock)

Bitcoin’s price hit a record at $261 on the Bitstamp online exchange, driven by wider acceptance of the virtual currency.

The digital money, which can be used to pay for goods and services on the Internet, has risen 20-fold so far this year, as trading activity has increased. Bitcoins were trading at $259.02 apiece at 1:17 p.m. in New York on Bitstamp, one of the more active Web-based exchanges where Bitcoins are traded for dollars, euros and other currencies.

The rally comes a month after the closing of the “Silk Road Hidden Website,” where people could obtain drugs, guns and other illicit goods using Bitcoins. The virtual currency lost a third of its value in the days after the website was shut down. Bitcoins are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in China, said Ugo Egbunike, director of business development at IndexUniverse, an index-fund researcher.

“I thought Silk Road is going to do some damage to the price,” Egbunike said. “But with BTC China buying this up — they seem to have picked up the slack.”

BTC China is now the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Nicholas Colas, a ConvergEx Group analyst, wrote in a Nov. 5 report.

The virtual currency exists as software that’s designed to be untraceable…”

Full article

Is Bitcoin in a bubble ?



Market Last Volume (24h) Bid Ask High Low
mtgoxUSD 316.8110 87,486.39 316.51 318.49 324.20 266.00
btcnCNY 1912.9800 65,506.58 1913.30 1913.48 1919.99 1665.01
bitstampUSD 297.0100 51,193.33 296.00 297.02 299.12 264.67
btceUSD 286.5000 36,257.66 285.30 287.20 292.50 255.00
mtgoxEUR 237.0000 13,258.27 233.96 234.00 237.00 195.60
btcdeEUR 212.0000 3,530.09 216.12 220.00 251.97 185.00
mtgoxJPY 30487.2040 2,994.61 30500.00 31186.45 31650.00 25597.96
bitcurexPLN 900.0500 2,796.03 891.00 910.00 910.00 779.50
mtgoxGBP 200.0000 1,743.34 197.00 198.71 200.00 166.50
btceRUR 8900.0000 1,383.13 8870.00 8890.00 8998.99 7900.00
virtexCAD 293.0100 1,377.72 293.01 295.00 297.99 260.51
mtgoxAUD 334.0000 1,163.03 330.10 336.64 339.48 280.00
localbtcGBP 212.4600 1,041.78 211.54 137.40 1142.68 166.67
cbxUSD 284.9500 978.85 281.01 284.96 291.13 245.01
localbtcUSD 356.9800 880.74 1172.00 131.40 500.15 202.99
mtgoxPLN 978.0000 728.57 964.99 979.88 990.00 825.00
btceEUR 218.6770 674.37 216.50 218.34 222.93 185.00
virwoxSLL 70000.0000 418.72 68708.00 70000.00 70000.00 62337.00
localbtcEUR 217.8500 360.38 286.92 129.54 299.62 136.25
mtgoxCAD 334.5000 273.24 330.00 334.35 336.74 272.77
kptnSEK 1850.0000 252.13 1850.00 1889.50 1950.00 1731.73
localbtcAUD 314.1800 170.56 429.73 256.73 367.57 210.03
mrcdBRL 788.9900 154.78 752.74 788.99 797.15 671.00
bitcurexEUR 212.0000 133.52 209.00 212.00 225.01 190.00
rockEUR 217.9900 110.53 210.00 219.80 220.00 190.01
localbtcCAD 345.8800 92.40 341.58 295.00 369.57 257.56
bitcashCZK 6000.0000 85.81 5890.00 6000.00 6250.00 4850.00
rippleXRP 30999.0000 84.58 30502.00 31888.00 35453.94 30501.00
bitnzNZD 399.0000 82.53 366.00 399.90 400.00 320.00
justNOK 1839.0000 74.73 1718.00 1823.46 1839.00 1596.86
btcmarketsAUD 320.0000 49.63 295.00 320.00 320.00 257.00
bit2cILS 980.0000 47.63 980.00 1000.00 989.00 888.00
mtgoxCHF 284.0000 46.81 284.15 295.72 290.47 249.00
fybsgSGD 383.0000 34.44 350.00 375.00 384.00 316.50
fybseSEK 1800.0000 33.48 1800.00 1870.00 1870.00 1690.00
mtgoxNZD 378.1942 31.09 368.39 382.44 378.19 350.00
mtgoxHKD 2360.2646 20.13 2393.62 2491.22 2502.36 2315.00
mtgoxCNY 1840.0000 16.50 1881.10 1952.86 1964.94 1662.77
crytrUSD 282.9900 16.49 261.00 290.00 290.00 259.00
justEUR 202.0050 15.86 209.70 212.40 212.21 196.52
bidxtrmPLN 900.0000 15.60 854.59 940.00 940.50 789.99
localbtcMXN 4247.7400 14.20 4036.08 3982.99 4798.00 3540.81
bitxZAR 3180.0000 13.27 3180.00 3250.00 3420.00 3110.00
localbtcINR 18085.3200 13.24 18526.01 19289.79 18906.60 15580.39
localbtcNOK 1892.2400 12.71 1882.52 1936.54 1892.24 1580.99
localbtcSGD 297.5000 11.42 360.01 471.57 353.86 297.50
mtgoxSEK 2038.6310 10.98 2012.59 2089.33 2074.72 1822.68
localbtcHKD 1986.5500 10.27 2302.31 2455.72 2427.89 1986.55
mtgoxSGD 392.5262 9.87 383.95 399.60 392.53 364.28
localbtcZAR 4059.7400 9.72 3081.16 4118.38 4059.74 2771.29
localbtcCHF 263.7700 8.91 271.91 281.62 313.44 217.13
localbtcARS 2755.6600 8.70 2700.00 2756.99 2900.00 2495.00
intrsngEUR 215.0000 8.52 212.39 215.00 225.00 198.96
justLTC 30.0000 6.30 41.00 69.70 74.73 30.00
localbtcBRL 751.7500 5.49 706.99 763.23 758.02 657.78
anxhkHKD 2299.9474 4.87 2152.00 3100.00 2300.00 1858.00
bitkonanUSD 281.0000 4.58 280.01 348.00 426.00 269.00
localbtcNZD 435.0900 4.35 370.00 325.18 435.09 341.89
mtgoxRUB 9568.3347 3.69 9993.74 10401.07 10185.47 8642.51
justUSD 287.7700 3.31 282.60 305.62 287.77 259.32
localbtcDKK 1516.5400 3.00 1545.54 1780.26 1516.54 1516.54
localbtcSEK 1524.3500 2.96 2326.20 2068.46 1642.05 1524.35
localbtcCZK 4782.6800 2.93 5855.87 6387.74 5255.69 4765.67
localbtcPLN 946.4000 2.88 995.66 945.00 946.40 946.40
rippleUSD 259.0000 1.56 260.00 300.00 295.00 250.00
localbtcRUB 9583.9700 1.37 9577.25 9778.81 9667.79 9518.59
justXRP 29000.0000 1.07 29000.00 34900.00 35000.00 29000.00
localbtcTHB 8927.5200 1.00 9487.26 8396.13 8927.52 8927.52
rockUSD 280.0000 0.90 268.00 299.00 280.00 268.00
crytrEUR 207.0000 0.61 207.00 280.00 214.00 207.00
intrsngGBP 69.3600 0.05 68.94 69.36 69.36 69.36

Comments »


[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnon_EfCWRc 450 300]

Comments »

The ‘Creation Myth’ of Bitcoin

“Bitcoin, an online-only currency scarcely four years old, is breaking out to new highs this week and now sports a total value of $2.8 billion.  Just a few months ago, it looked like this economic experiment as the world’s first decentralized technology-based form of money would crash and burn.  Since then, ConvergEx’s Nick Colas points out that the U.S. government has shut down a large drug website which accepted bitcoins and promised further scrutiny of its uses; and omputer science experts have warned that bitcoin is neither especially private – one of its notional values – or especially well constructed.  The market doesn’t seem to care, with incremental demand from U.S. citizens (through Second Market) and Chinese nationals leading the path higher. Could bitcoin still fail? Sure.  But, as Colas notes, its success to date speaks to how much the world is changing…  Technology – properly packaged – can engender enough trust to develop a new asset class.

Bitcoin will eventually have to develop a lot more infrastructure to be a useful global currency, to be sure.  But there’s close to $3 billion of real money to help back that transition.

Via ConvergEx’s Nick Colas,

Bitcoin – The Lazarus Currency

Every great religion, or company, or country, or rock band has a dramatic ‘Creation myth’ – the story of its birth.  The Judeo-Christian tradition has the story of God creating the world in seven days.  Google has the grad-student thesis story.  American culture is still informed by the Revolutionary War.  And where would the Rolling Stones be if Keith hadn’t chatted up Mick on the train, just because he holding some new R&B albums from the States?

Bitcoin, the online-only stateless currency, has its own creation myth and it is purpose-made to appeal to exactly the kind of people who would find value in it.  The highlights are:

The original design for bitcoin comes from a 2008 paper published by a person named Satoshi Nakamoto.  Who, by the by, doesn’t actually exist.


Bitcoin’s basic architecture is decentralized – no one is “In control.”  People with fast computers and some coding skills compete to solve a puzzle created by the algorithm described in Satoshi’s paper.  Simultaneously, they track all the transactions in the bitcoin universe – people and businesses exchanging value for goods and services.  Every ten minutes, on average, some lucky coder – or group of coders – solves the puzzle, gets a few new bitcoins, and validates the transaction list.  Then the whole thing resets and everyone gets to work on the next puzzle.


In principle, this process leaves everyone exchanging or “mining” (cracking the code gets you 25 bitcoins currently) anonymously in the system.  Everything in bitcoin is identified with a nearly-impossible-to-crack coding of letters and numbers.  No names, phone numbers, or addresses needed.

Now, who do you think would find this creation story appealing?  A few candidates:

Tech savvy people, who by their nature and high-functioning professional skills tend to have a few shekels lying around? Yep – classic early adopters.


Then there might be independence-minded older white males in the U.S., ticked off by the Federal Reserve and government in general.  Yes, they like the story as well.


And then there are the criminals – drug dealers and so forth – who might not know a creation myth from crystal meth, but appreciate the potential for secrecy.


Offshore millionaires from essentially anywhere in the world, looking for classic diversification and a liquid investment.  All you need to access your bitcoins is that long alphanumeric key and a local bank account which links to a ‘Wallet’ – an online repository to hold the currency.  Deposit money in China, write down the key, fly to Monaco and go into an Internet café.  Easy-peasy.

The basic appeal of this “Genesis” creation story lit a fire under bitcoin, starting at the beginning of 2012 at around $5 and ending up in a spectacular bubble top at $240 in April 2013.  The cause of that peak – overwhelming tulip-bulbish demand for bitcoin – was its undoing.  Exchanges where people went to trade dollars or euros for bitcoin couldn’t keep up with the volume.  Accounts froze or moved very slowly, and confidence in the currency dropped, along with the price.  Just a few days after the $240 high, bitcoin was trading for less than $60…..”

Full article

Comments »

$TWTR Prices 70 Million Shares at $26

“Twitter Inc. priced its shares at $26 apiece for an initial public offering of 70 million shares that will be the biggest U.S. technology IPO since Facebook Inc. FB -1.97% ‘s debut last year.

The short-messaging service priced shares a dollar higher the range it set earlier this week, giving the company a market capitalization of $14.4 billion.

The deal is set to raise as much as $2.1 billion for the San Francisco-based company, which remains unprofitable but which has transformed public discussion on subjects from celebrities to public policy to pets.

The price of $26 is available primarily to large investors such as mutual funds and hedge funds, as well as some of the individual clients of the banks underwriting the deal, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.GS +0.97% Other investors should be able to buy the stock Thursday when shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange NYX +0.78% under the symbol TWTR.

The average one-day “pop,” or price rise, for U.S. listed IPOs this year is 17%, the highest since 2000. Six companies so far this year have doubled in price on their first day, Dealogic said.

The banks aimed to place the bulk of the shares with a relatively small number of long-term investors, they added. About three quarters of the shares were set to be placed with around 30 investors, the people said.

Retail investors, including customers of some online brokerages and brokerages affiliated with the investment banks on the deal, were slated to receive less than 20% of the offering, people familiar with the plan said. That total could change in the final pricing. Facebook placed a larger amount of its shares, 26%, through retail channels. TD Ameritrade HoldingCorp. AMTD +0.91% and Fidelity Investments both expected to receive Twitter shares from underwriters for some customers….”

Full article 

Comments »

S-1 Additions Put $TWTR in the Crosshairs of $IBM

“As Twitter embarks on its initial public offering roadshow, the company has issued another update to its S-1 today with a curveball. IBM has recently issued a letter to Twitter alleging that it infringes on “at least three U.S. patents” held by IBM, “inviting us to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations.” The disclosure comes at the same time that Twitter has also raised its IPO estimate to $23-25 per share, up from the previous $17-20 — a sign of Twitter’s confidence that despite details like the IBM note, it’s expecting a strong turnout when it lists.

The S-1 filing appears to indicate that although IBM is seeking a settlement over the alleged infringement, it looks like Twitter is ready to defend itself. “We believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us,” the company writes.

The specific patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators; U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service; and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts.

The note appears in an update to the S-1 that offers extended caveats on how patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are frequently the subject of litigation. Twitter admits that it’s not a strong player in this area.

“Many companies in these industries, including many of our competitors, have substantially larger patent and intellectual property portfolios than we do, which could make us a target for litigation as we may not be able to assert counterclaims against parties that sue us for patent, or other intellectual property infringement,” it writes, with a special flag for trolls: “In addition, various ‘non-practicing entities’ that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert claims in order to extract value from technology companies.”

Although Twitter has shown itself up to now to be a very developer-friendly player in the patent space, it is salvos like IBM’s that may prove to test that resolve, especially as Twitter continues to evolve its service and move into new areas — a point it also makes, adding that right now it’s also potentially liable for claims against its partners and customers, too….”

Full article

Comments »

In Our Wake

“October was Iraq’s deadliest month since April, 2008. In those five and a half years, not only has there been no improvement in Iraq’s security situation, but things have gotten much worse. More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq last month, the vast majority of them civilians. Another 1,600 were wounded, as car bombs, shootings, and other attacks continue to maim and murder.

As post-“liberation” Iraq spirals steadily downward, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Washington last week to plead for more assistance from the United States to help restore order to a society demolished by the 2003 US invasion. Al-Qaeda has made significant recent gains, Maliki told President Obama at their meeting last Friday, and Iraq needs more US military aid to combat its growing influence.

Obama pledged to work together with Iraq to address al-Qaeda’s growing presence, but what was not said was that before the US attack there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq. The appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq coincided with the US attack. They claimed we had to fight terror in Iraq, but the US invasion resulted in the creation of terrorist networks where before there were none. What a disaster.

Maliki also told President Obama last week that the war in next-door Syria was spilling over into Iraq, with the anti-Assad fighters setting off bombs and destabilizing the country. Already more than 5,000 people have been killed throughout Iraq this year, and cross-border attacks from Syrian rebels into Iraq are increasing those numbers. Again, what was not said was that the US government had supported these anti-Assad fighters both in secret and in the open for the past two years.

Earlier in the week a group of Senators – all of whom had supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq – sent a strongly-worded letter to Obama complaining that Maliki was far too close to the Iranian government next door. …”

Full article

Comments »

$GS Expects Forward Looking Dovish Statements From the Fed on Rate Hike Threshold

“The extreme experiment of current US monetary policy has evolved (as we noted yesterday), from explicit end-dates, to unlimited end-dates, to threshold-based end-dates. Of course, this ‘threshold’ was no problem for the liquidty whores when unemployment rates were extremely high themselves, but as the world awoke to what we have been pointing out – that it’s all a mirage of collapsing participation rates – the FOMC (and sell-side strategists) realized that the endgame may be ‘too close’. Cue Goldman’s Jan Hatzius, who in today’s note, citing two influential Fed staff economists, shifts the base case and forecasts that the Fed will lower its threshold for rate hikes to 6.0% (and perhaps as low as 5.5%) as early as December (as a dovish forward-guidance balance to an expected Taper announcement).


Via Goldman Sachs,

  • The most senior Fed staff economists for monetary policy analysis and domestic macroeconomics, William English and David Wilcox, havepublished separate studies that imply a strong case for a reduction in the 6.5% unemployment threshold for the first funds rate hike. We have proposed such a move for some time, but have been unsure whether it would in fact happen. And while the uncertainty around near-term Fed policy remains very considerable, our baseline view is now that the FOMC will reduce its 6.5% threshold to 6% at the March 2014 FOMC meeting, alongside the first tapering of QE. A move as early as the December 2013 meeting is possible, and if so, this might also increase the probability of an earlier tapering of QE.

It is hard to overstate the importance of two new Fed staff studies that will be presented at the IMF’s annual research conference on November 7-8. The lead author for the first study is William English, who is the director of the Monetary Affairs division and the Secretary and Economist of the FOMC. The lead author for the second study is David Wilcox, who is the director of the Research and Statistics division and the Economist of the FOMC. The fact that the two most senior Board staffers in the areas of monetary policy analysis and domestic macroeconomics have simultaneously published detailed research papers on central issues of the economic and monetary policy outlook is highly unusual and noteworthy in its own right. But the content and implications of these papers are even more striking.

It will take us some time to absorb the sizable amounts of new analysis in the two studies, and we are only able to comment on a few selected aspects at this point. But our initial assessment is that they considerably increase the probability that the FOMC will reduce its 6.5% unemployment threshold for the first hike in the federal funds rate, either coincident with the first tapering of its QE program or before.

The first study, written by William English, David Lopez-Salido, and Robert Tetlow and entitled “The Federal Reserve’s Framework for Monetary Policy–Recent Changes and New Questions,” uses a smaller version of the staff’s large-scale econometric model FRB/US to analyze the optimal path for the federal funds rate. Using “small FRB/US,” a set of assumptions about Fed preferences, and a set of assumptions about the baseline performance of the economy, the authors find that the theoretically optimal policy involves a commitment to hold the federal funds rate near zero until 2017, followed by a series of hikes that push the rate well above neutral by the early 2020s. In this simulation, the unemployment rate falls below the structural rate for a time, and inflation rises modestly above the 2% target. (The optimal policy in the English et al. study is more aggressive than that shown in Vice Chair Yellen’s earlier set of optimal control simulations, which points to the first hike in early 2016; the reasons seem to include a lower assumption for the structural unemployment rate and a later baseline for the first hike in the funds rate.)

However, the authors note that such an optimal policy is possibly infeasible because it is complex and model-dependent….”

Full article

Comments »

Technical Analysis Suggests the Bull Market is on a Short Leash

“Current Position of the Market

SPX: Very Long-term trend – The very-long-term cycles are in their down phases, and if they make their lows when expected (after this bull market is over), there will be another steep decline into late 2014. However, the severe correction of 2007-2009 may have curtailed the full downward pressure potential of the 40-yr and 120-yr cycles.

Intermediate trend – SPX initial top in place.

Analysis of the short-term trend is done on a daily basis with the help of hourly charts. It is an important adjunct to the analysis of daily and weekly charts which discusses the course of longer market trends.

Market Overview

… For some indices, probably. For the SPX, DOW, and NDX, perhaps not! I mentioned some time ago that I expected a minor top to form which would be followed by the final short-term uptrend. That minor top came at 1775 on SPX — three points beyond the 1772 target I had in place since the 1646 low was confirmed – and the minor correction is under way. Although Friday saw an intra-channel bounce, there are some indications that it was only a rally in a downtrend and that the final minor low is still ahead. After that, we should experience the final up-phase of the bull market which will either re-test the tops, or make new highs in the indices listed above. The DOW has recovered and managed to eke out a fractional new high which was celebrated on CNBC last week. Indexes which tend to lead, such as RUT, experienced the most weakness in last week’s correction.

The mood on Wall Street is very bullish, most individuals believing that as long as the Fed continues its purchases at the same rate, the market will continue to rise. Now that tapering has most likely been put off until next year, the bull market is expected to continue. According to the SentimenTrader:“Active fund managers have added to their exposure to stocks and are now carrying among their heaviest loads in 7 years”.

Cycles, however, may be telling a different story and, if some of the more reliable cycle analysts are correct, the bull is on a very short leash. Also waving a red flag, sentiment indicators are reaching levels that are seen at important tops. If you are an investor, it’s time to become wary!

Chart Analysis

Even though the DOW is trying to catch up….”

Full article

Comments »

$FB 2.0? $TWTR Raises IPO Price by 25%

“This morning’s announcement of the 25% rise in the IPO price of Twitter raised a few eyebrows across Wall and Main Street. Most will argue that investors have all learned many lessons in the 18 months since Facebook IPO’d to a clarion call for retail money large and small from every form of media that exists… The following headlines from the pre-IPO suggest, unfortunately, that we learned absolutely nothing…”


Full report

Comments »

New Report Says Defense Department and CIA Health Professionals Violated Professional Ethics Standards

“WASHINGTON (AP) — A report by a medical task force says Defense Department and CIA health professionals violated professional ethics standards by helping to develop interrogation and torture techniques and participating in force-feeding of terror suspects over the last decade.

While reports of torture following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are not new, the report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession said the U.S. should do a full investigation into how much military and intelligence physicians and psychologists participated in the interrogations, saying the record “remains fragmentary.”

The report, compiled by a 20-member task force, says that government agencies improperly used legal restrictions rather than ethical standards to determine the actions of health professionals. And it said heath workers must be held to higher ethical standards than interrogators, who can inflict stress to legal limits.

“A health professional has an obligation not to participate in acts that deliberately impose pain or suffering on a person,” said the report, which was also funded by the Open Society Foundations and is titled, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror. It added that replacing ethical standards with legal ones “eviscerates the ethical standards.”

Billionaire and longtime liberal political donor George Soros funds Open Society Foundations.

The report said that medical professionals were used to advise interrogators on how to exploit detainee vulnerabilities, even as they were required to be present in order to protect detainees from severe harm. And the report said that even today reporting requirements for health professionals who witness abuse are unclear.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the report “contains serious inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions,” adding that the CIA has no detainees in custody and that the interrogation program was ended by President Barack Obama in 2009. He said the CIA’s medical staff upholds “the highest standards of their profession in the work they perform,”

The ongoing debate ….”

Full article

Comments »

$EBAY: “Its Payment Unit PayPal May One Day Incorporate BitCoin.”

“First it was China hinting that where Silk Road failed in monetizing, pardon the pun, BitCoin, the world’s most populous nation could soon take the lead. Then, none other than private equity titan Fortress said it had great expectations for the digital currency. Now, it is eBay’s turn to announce that it is preparing to expand the range of digital currencies it accepts, adding that “its payment unit PayPal may one day incorporate BitCoin.” But not just yet. FT reports that according to eBay CEO John Donahoe, “digital currency is going to be a very powerful thing.”

The ecommerce group, which has more than 124m active users, is initially focusing on incorporating reward points from retailers’ loyalty schemes into its PayPal wallet.


“We are building the container so any retailer could put their loyalty points into the PayPal wallet,” Mr Donahoe said.


“There is a limit to how many cards you will carry, or remembering what points you have or don’t have,” he said. “But in a digital wallet, you can put 50 different loyalty cards.”


Mr Donahoe said Ebay was not expanding the PayPal wallet to include Bitcoins, “but we are watching it”.


“That same technology could accept other digital currencies,” he said.

While traditional retailers have so far balked at even the vaguest idea of considering allowing BitCoin as a viable payment method, all that would take to start a seismic shift in perception would be one angel idea “investor” to show that it can be done. ….”

Full article

Comments »

Investor Confidence Builds as IPOs Get Scooped Up in a Frenzy Like State

“Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis, fueling a frenzy in the shares of newly listed companies that echoes the technology-stock craze of the late 1990s.

October was the busiest month for U.S.-listed IPOs since 2007, with 33 companies raising more than $12 billion. The coming week is slated to bring a dozen more initial offerings, including Thursday’s expected $1.6 billion stock sale by Twitter Inc., the biggest Internet IPO since Facebook Inc. FB -0.10% ‘s $16 billion sale in May 2012.

The 190 U.S.-listed IPOs this year have raised $49.2 billion, more than the $45 billion raised by the 132 deals during the same period in 2012.


Container Store Group Inc. TCS +101.11% rose 101% on its first day of trading Friday, making it the sixth company this year to double in its first day of U.S. trading. There were eight such doubles in the previous 12 years, according to data tracker Dealogic.

The rush to buy shares of newly public companies is the latest sign of investors’ thirst for assets with potential upside, at a time when relatively safe investments are generating scant income due to tepid economic growth and Federal Reserve policies that have kept a lid on U.S. interest rates.

Many of these companies aren’t profitable. But investors increasingly are willing to roll the dice, particularly on technology firms that they say have the potential to “disrupt” the industry.

“After all these years of the market going up, investors are getting reacquainted with equities,” said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments, which manages $49 billion in Atlanta. “In a slower-growth environment, the newer names are much more likely to be disruptive. Disruptive companies are more likely to grow their top line at a fast pace.”

To some, the hunger for shares of newly public companies is a sign that the IPO market has begun to find its footing after five years in the doldrums, and could return to being a driver of growth for companies looking for capital to expand and hire.

To others, however, the demand is an indication that a rally fueled primarily by abundant liquidity from the Fed, and not by earnings growth and economic expansion, is entering dangerous territory.

“When I hear intelligent investors asking me not which companies are good to invest in, but which IPOs can I get into, it scares the heck of me,” said Mark Lamkin, a wealth-management adviser based in Louisville, Ky.

So far this year, 61% of companies selling U.S.-listed IPOs have lost money in the 12 months preceding their debuts, according to Jay Ritter, professor of finance at the University of Florida. That is the highest percentage since 2000, the year the Nasdaq Composite Index roared to its all-time high of 5048.62. The index closed Friday at 3922.04.

Investors this year are putting a higher value on debut companies’ revenue than at any time since the crisis. The median IPO this year has been priced at five times the past 12 months’ sales, according to Mr. Ritter. That is the highest mark since 2007, when the median ratio was more than six times.

Companies holding their IPOs in the U.S. this year have posted an average 30% gain in share price, according to Dealogic. That compares with a 23.5% advance in the S&P 500 index…..”

Full article

Comments »

Fun With Medicine

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYBdZa2eGAs 450 300]

Comments »

Documentary: David vs $MON

In true Halloween fashion we have both a trick and a treat.

This is a David and Goliath story that shows how just one man can take on the system and win. If only every citizen of the world had David’s fervor we would certainly be a lot better off as a “civilized”  species living on this planet.

Cheers on your weekend!

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dw961tpkkA 450 300] [youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2W3aG8uizA 450 300]

Comments »

$700 Billion Ways to Get Hosed

“Do you remember the $700 billion bailout of the financial system in 2008?

It seems these days that most investors do not. People are partying like it’s 1929… as if all the issues and challenges that plagued the banking sector just a few years ago have miraculously vanished.

This thinking is absurd, and even a casual glance at the balance sheets of so many banks in the West shows objectively that the entire system is still precariously leveraged, undercapitalized, and illiquid.

In the wake of the bailout, Congress created a special position to oversee how the funds were spent. Like anything else in government, they used an unnecessarily long name followed by a catchy acronym–

Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP.

(The first SIGTARP was a former federal prosecutor who had previously indicted 50 leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia… just the right man to keep a watchful eye on bankers.)

SIGTARP just released its quarterly report to Congress… and it’s scatching, suggesting that “the toxic corporate culture that led up to the crisis and TARP has not sufficiently changed.”

There are some real zingers in the 518 page report, including:

  • “[F]raudulent bankers. . . sought TARP bailout dollars to have taxpayers fill in the holes on their fraud-riddled books.”
  • “Some bankers cultivated a culture of self dealing, criminally concealing that the bank was funding their luxury lifestyles, believing they were entitled to the finest money could buy. . .”
  • “They were trusted to exercise good judgment and make sound decisions. However, they abused that trust. Many times they abused that trust for their own personal benefit.”

Moreover, the report calls into question the Treasury Department’s administration of the bailout.

For example, many banks have been delinquent in making TARP payments, or payments to one of TARP’s sub-programs.

Yet while many banks are delinquent by 1-2 quarters, according to the report, roughly 3% of the banks who received funds under the Community Development Capital Initiative are more than –two years– behind in their payments.

Yet the Treasury Department has done nothing to enforce terms on behalf of taxpayers.

Most alarmingly, though, the report throws a giant red flag on the Treasury Department’s deceit.

In 2011, the report states, 137 banks took in billions of dollars of funding from the Treasury under the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF). They then used those funds to repay their TARP loans.

In other words, they repaid taxpayer money with more taxpayer money….”

Full article

Comments »