Category Archives: ASHAT
“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Federal authorities in Puerto Rico have arrested an executive at Pfizer Pharmaceutical for allegedly producing child pornography.
Officials say 48-year-old Reinaldo Diaz Camacho was charged after Puerto Rico police received information that he was having sexually explicit conversations with a 16-year-old boy on Facebook.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Thursday that the boy’s mother told authorities she had seen the conversations on her son’s cellphone….”
“While almost no one was looking, a law making it easier for congressional and top executive branch staffers to engage in corrupt trading was signed into lawMonday.
The law is a modification of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. The modification was passed by unanimous consent by the House and the Senate last week with no debate or even discussion.
The STOCK Act, which became law just a year ago, was designed to discourage insider trading by members of Congress and top government officials. In addition to outlawing trading based on non-public information gleaned by government officials during the course of their public duties, the law required extensive disclosure of financial holdings by Congressional staffers and 28,000 senior executive branch employees.
The financial disclosures of these officials were to be posted in an online database open to the public.
The disclosure requirements were an important part of the law. They would have allowed researchers to detect abnormally successful trading activity by unelected senior government staffers—just as similar disclosure requirements for Congressmen and Senators had allowed scholars to produce evidence that suggested members of Congress were benefiting from non-public information.
Currently, although the reports of staff financial positions are officially part of the public record, they aren’t readily available. Often they have to be requested from individual agencies using the names of the individuals about whom information is sought. The result is that the public is effectively blocked from learning the information disclosed in the reports….”
“The boy who cried wolf is now openly screaming “thermonuclear war.” No, really. AFP reports that North Korea said Tuesday the Korean peninsula was headed for “thermo-nuclear” war and advised foreigners to consider leaving South Korea, as the UN chief warned of a potentially “uncontrollable” situation. “Tuesday’s advisory — greeted largely with indifference — followed a similar one last week to foreign embassies in Pyongyang, to consider evacuating by April 10 on the grounds war may break out. “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war,” the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.” The result – a big yawn, which sadly for Kim Junior is the worst reaction. After all what is a dictator with an inferiority complex and a laughable military to do to get some respect around here and score some “nuisance value” cash from the superpowers (which has been his entire plan all along).
The problem is he has done all the possible jawboning he could, and the next option is i) to follow through on one or more of his endless and increasingly idiotic threats, or ii) step back from the “thermonuclear” brink and be on the lookout for a military coup as he has pushed so far he can’t possible retrace without losing all credibility, and fear a violent overthrow. Naturally, both options are hardly appetizing but the time to chose is rapidly approaching. And if he can’t make up his mind, the increasingly ample US military presence in the region will be happy to make it for him….”
Saying it did not want to see foreigners in South Korea “fall victim”, the statement requested all foreign institutions, enterprises and tourists “to take measures for shelter and evacuation”.
The committee blamed the heightened war risk on the “warmongering US” and its South Korean “puppets” who were intent on invasion.
The US dismissed the warning as “unhelpful” on Tuesday. White House spokesman Jay Carney criticised Pyongyang for more “unhelpful rhetoric that serves only to escalate tensions”.
The “thermo-nuclear war” threat has been wielded several times in recent months — most recently on March 7 — despite expert opinion that North Korea is nowhere near developing such an advanced nuclear device.
“It is our current assessment that there is no immediate risk to British nationals in South Korea,” a British embassy spokesman said, echoing similar statements from the US, French and other missions.
Last week’s warning to embassies in Pyongyang was also largely dismissed as empty rhetoric, with most governments making it clear they had no plans to withdraw personnel….”
“A risky business strategy as well as “negligent conduct” by former Chief Executive Officer Jon S. Corzine and his management team contributed to the unraveling of MF Global Holdings Ltd., MFGLQ +2.56% a new report said Thursday.
The report, released by Louis J. Freeh, the trustee for MF Global Holdings, laid much of the blame for the company’s 2011 bankruptcy at Mr. Corzine’s feet, accusing him of implementing trading strategies with minimal oversight and exceeding board-approved limits for some European trades the company made under his stewardship.
The brokerage Mr. Corzine was trying to turn around was doomed due to “inadequate systems” and a trading strategy that had “fatally flawed” capital and liquidity assumptions, said the 174-page report, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Thursday morning.
Mr. Freeh planned to bring a lawsuit alleging breaches of fiduciary duty against former MF Global executives including Mr. Corzine, but held off to join settlement talks instead, according to the report and a person familiar with Mr. Freeh’s thinking.
Mr. Freeh agreed to postpone filing any suit until a mediator in a related MF Global civil case could complete his work, the person added. Mr. Freeh and other attorneys representing customers of the firm hope that settlement talks will result in faster distributions of payments to all parties.
Parties in the settlement talks are expected to meet next week, people familiar with the matter said. The talks are being handled by a mediator, retired California Judge Daniel Weinstein.
Steven Goldberg, a spokesman for Mr. Corzine, said in a statement that Mr. Freeh’s report “is a clear case of Monday-morning quarterbacking.” He added that the report “intentionally ignores the failure of” counterparties to fulfill contracts with MF Global, a result that contributed to the firm’s demise….”
Under an agreement with the government, Taylor, 34, pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud yesterday before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley in Manhattan federal court. He told the judge he took the position to boost his standing, and his bonus, at Goldman Sachs.
Reading from a prepared statement, Taylor told Pauley that on Dec. 13, 2007, he accumulated a position 10 times the amount he was allowed to take in futures contracts tied to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX). He said he made false entries in a manual trading system to hide the position on the CME Globex electronic-trading platform used by Goldman Sachs. He said he lied when questioned about the position by other Goldman Sachs employees.
“I accumulated this trading position and concealed it for the purpose of augmenting my reputation at Goldman and increasing my performance-based compensation,” Taylor said. “I am truly sorry.”
Before accepting the guilty plea, Pauley questioned a provision in the agreement stipulating that the loss, for sentencing purposes, was the $1 million to $2.5 million Taylor hoped to win in bonuses from the trades, instead of the $118 million loss suffered by Goldman Sachs.
Forget What Liberals Say … Listen to What Republican Leaders Themselves Say
Many rank and file Republicans assume that only liberals claim the Iraq war was for oil.
In reality, the top Republican leaders say the same thing.
For example, U.S. Secretary of Defense – and former 12-year Republican Senator – Chuck Hagel said of the Iraq war in 2007:
People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.
4 Star General John Abizaid – the former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq – said:
Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that.
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan – a long-time Republican – said in 2007:
I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil
President George W. Bush said in 2005 that keeping Iraqi oil away from the bad guys was a key motivefor the Iraq war:
‘If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. ”They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.”
John McCain said in 2008….”
“A Chinese general who once threatened to nuke the US is visiting Washington this week as part of a military exchange program with the Pentagon.
The Pentagon’s collaboration with Major Gen. Zhu Chenghu, head of China’s National Defense University, is surprising considering the threats the general made against the US in 2005.
“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu told a Financial Times reporter in 2005, describing his country’s predicted reaction if the US were to conflict with China over Taiwan.
A State Department official called the comment “highly irresponsible”. The comment closely reiterated similar statements Zhu had made in the past, describing his intentions to nuke the US if the US were to defend Taiwan in a conflict.
“We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian,” he said in 1995. “Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.” …”
“…..After he set the rumor in motion, and the stock took off, he followed up by saying he was selling his Apple shares, notes Philip Elmer DeWitt.
He was selling his shares because, upon closer inspection, he decided the rumor made no sense.
Kudos to Kass for being transparent, but boy does it look fishy. He was getting hammered on Twitter and defended himself by saying the stock split rumor has been floating around for days, and just picked up steam because we’re closer to the shareholder meeting.
He also called people who said he was breaking the law “dumbie” on Twitter. So, there’s that…..”
The folly of foreign policy and supporting al -Qaueda militants.
“In addition to banks and retailers selling off Americans’ personal data, the Democratic Party is also planning to make a buck off individuals who have shared their information.
The process began in 2011, when state Democratic party leaders formed the National Voter File Co-op to sell their voter data to certain nonprofit groups in order to recover some of the money spent collecting and updating local voter lists.
Now, however, Democrats may sell their databases to credit card companies and chain stores, such as Target.
“Much of the data the co-op sells comes from the government and is already part of the public record—information such as voters’ names, addresses and party affiliation,” writes Lois Beckett of ProPublica.
But other information for sale would include voters’ views and preferences that could be helpful to businesses looking for new marketing opportunities.
Democrats claim the sell-off would be legal, according Karl Sandstrom, a former vice-chairman of the Federal Election Commissionand an attorney for the co-op.”
“China, whose government is short on cash, is disingenuously agreeing to join with other nations in pursuing reduction of emissions from its industries, but there’s a catch: they want U.S. taxpayers to buy more products from Chinese industries to offset the fees they incur from their pollution.
The Doha conferences in November and December of last year called for the Kyoto Protocol to extend to 2020, an essentially meaningless gesture because China abandoned Kyoto in 2011; Russia, Canada and Japan have walked out, too. Only 15% of the world’s emissions are now covered by the Protocol. The U.S. never ratified the Kyoto Protocol because it left China, the worst producer of greenhouse gases, without an emissions cap….”
“Regulators and banks should develop a system whereby lenders go bust without damaging the world economy to help restore public trust in the industry, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said.
“We’ve got to get rid of too big to fail,” Dimon, 56, told investors during a panel discussion in the German town of Koenigstein, near Frankfurt, Monday.
“We have to ensure big banks can be taken down without harming the public and at no cost to them.”
Governments and central banks propped up banks with trillions of dollars to prevent further shocks to the financial system and ensure the flow of credit to the economy following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008.
Regulators are pushing banks to strengthen capital reserves and liquidity to help them weather financial shocks and avoid taxpayer-funded rescues.
“There’s still the presumption that we can’t let some global banks go to the wall,” Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain said at the same panel. Some countries such as Spain don’t feel confident enough to allow smaller lenders to fail, he said….”
“Right-wing television host Glenn Beck last week revealed a personal goal that he hopes to achieve: building his very own self-sustaining community that he will name “Independence, USA”.
On “The Glenn Beck Program” last week, the television host said his free market community will ideally produce its own food and entertainment content and live in a city completely cut off from the rest of the world. Beck described his imaginary community as having its own homes, baseball fields, a theme park, small businesses, news, information and technology, and education system.
Independence, USA would remain distant from outside stores and businesses and would therefore have to produce everything for itself. And in order to ensure sustainability, Beck said his community’s members would have to “be able to produce more than they consume.”
But the conservative network producer and media personality admitted he has a fear of cows and no knowledge on how to grow his own food. Residents in Independence, USA would therefore be required to learn how to produce their own food, as well as start their own businesses.
“There’s not going to be a Gap here. There’s no Ann Taylor. You want Ann Taylor, go someplace else,” Beck said, referring to his imaginary community’s lack of popular clothing stores.
The learning curve to survive in Beck’s village would likely be steep: residents in independence will have nothing handed to them, and be required to produce their own movies, TV shows and documentaries.
The main purpose of this community would be to isolate its residents from the propaganda that Beck believes Americans are exposed to in their current society, as well as provide them with freedom and a place to live that doesn’t discriminate based on income…..”
First the soda, then the gun talk, now the pain killers???
After that comes a lobotomy…
“IN the continuing fiscal negotiations between President Obama and House Republicans, both sides have, from the very beginning, agreed on one point: Taxes on the middle class must not rise. But maybe it’s time to reconsider this premise. An unwavering commitment to keep middle-class taxes low could be one reason the political process has become so deeply dysfunctional.
Let’s start with the problem: the budget deficit. Under current policy, the federal government is spending vastly more than it is collecting in tax revenue. And that will be true for the next several decades, thanks largely to the growth in entitlement spending that will occur automatically as the population ages and health care costs increase. As a result, the ratio of government debt to the nation’s gross domestic product is projected to rise, substantially and without an end in sight.
That can happen for a while, or even a long while, but not forever. At some point, investors at home and abroad will start questioning our ability to service our debts without creating steep inflation. It’s hard to say precisely when this shift in investor sentiment will occur, and even whether it will strike in this president’s term or the next, but when it does, it won’t be pretty. The United States will find itself at the brink of an unprecedented financial crisis.
Republicans and Democrats agree on the nature of the problem, but they embrace very different solutions. My fear is that both sides are engaged in an excess of wishful thinking, with a dash of mendacity.
If Republicans had their way, they would focus the entire solution on the spending side. They say that reform of the entitlement programs can reduce their cost. The so-called premium-support plan for Medicare, from Paul D. Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential candidate, would let older Americans use their health care dollars to buyinsurance from competing private plans. (Interestingly, it’s similar to the system envisioned for the nonelderly by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.) The hope is that competition and choice would keep health care costs down without sacrificing quality…”
While the actual raise is not very much it seems extremely distasteful and disrespectful to the American people who are hurting and pissed at the folly on the hill.
I suggest that no federal worker should be allowed to make more than the national income average. You want to get payed more…WELL THEN HIT THE BRICKS AND GO TO WORK FOR AMERICA!
Dennis Hof, owner of Moonlight Bunny Ranch, wants to help America avoid the fiscal cliff by legalizing and taxing prostitution. Is that why Germany is doing so well?