Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day

Memorial Day: Our Day to Remember

As we Americans immerse ourselves in holiday plans this long weekend, we should try to remember its purpose; i.e., to honor those who fought, and died for the principles by which the United States was created, and for which we hopefully will continue to fight to maintain those principles -- embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.   

We are emphasizing the sacrifices of our soldiers in wars of liberation from tyranny by presenting images of the cemeteries in which our soldiers were buried in various parts of the world.  You may be unaware that some of these exist.

St Mhiel, France
For the most part, these graves of America's finest are maintained by the very elderly in these countries -- because they remember how they suffered until these soldiers sacrificed themselves so these foreigners, whom they had never met, and whose languages they did not speak, could live in a relatively free environment.     

Aisne-Mame, France
Many of the younger residents of these countries resent the US, and some even hate the US.    

Ardennes, Belgium
Flanders Field, Belgium
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Brittany, France
Aisne-Mame, France
Florence, Italy
We met a Belgian fellow who professed his hatred for the US military, referring to them as imperialist pigs.   

We clarified their status for him with the reminder that that the cemeteries in Ardennes, Flanders Field, and Henri-Chapelle were filled with the bodies of US soldiers who died so that he could live in a political environment in which he was free to express his hatred for their sacrifice.   

Had it not been for their sacrifices, chances are he would be sporting a swastica on his sleeve, speaking German and marching in Goose-Step wearing jackboots -- or existing in a concentration camp. Colin Powell expressed our imperialism motives quite well when he advised "...we ask only for enough land to bury our dead" [after they have fought and died for you.]


We found a few sites in the Pacific of which we were unaware, but in retrospect, we're not surprised: 

Australia, the Philippines [at Clark Field], Thailand in Kanchanaburi,  and Indonesia. 

In Burma, there are numerous unmarked graves which we are only now finding.
We found additional sites in areas we couldn't imagine; for example, Tunisia, Srpska [formerly in Yugoslavis], Warsaw-Poland, and not surprisingly, in Sicily.    
Not having saluted the US flag before ...
Although we would like to keep this day apolitical, we must comment that it is embarrassing that the United States is led by a President whom we're not sure is even a US citizen, who is married to a woman who expressed her disdain for the US, and who was caught on video at Ground Zero expressing her consternation that she had to sit through a ceremony honoring the US flag ["All this for a 'flag'?"]

"All this, just for a flag?"

We're not sure how this embarrassing duo came into the White House, but we will not regret seeing them depart.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FB IPO - Scam of the Year?

FB Stock Chart: Reaching New Lows!
(c) EDGAROnline


Less than a week into the Facebook IPO, and there's already a class action stockholder suit against Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Morgan Stanley [the underwriter, and OMG, not that paragon of financial virtue -- Goldman Sachs!  Seems that MS and GS withheld vital information about projected profitability from the public -- but informed their best clients.

Joe, say it ain't so!

It looks like what we've been talking about all along: market manipulation, or should we call it fraud!  --

Nah; fraud would mean a criminal indictment, and that won't happen in this Administration, since Mark has a key to the Oval Office, and Goldman Sachs seems to be running the SEC, Treasury, and the Fed.

OMG!  It's getting so BIG!                       (c) Visual Photos

The MSM pumped this up trying to get investors to offer up their savings to to the FB god.

The biggest pumper seemed to be the Washington Post, perhaps because Donald Graham [WaPo's Chairman] sits on the Board of Directors of Facebook.

OMG!  I'm so happy, Don! Can I call you dad?      (c) Mashable
[Graham was listed as holding less than 1% -- which means he could own as many as 2 MILLION shares, worth as much as $75 MILLION  -- perhaps we'll see the WaPo hyping the stock again soon].

Most IPOs in recent times have fallen flat on their opening day; this one, having been disparaged by savvy investment brokers, had little in the way of legitimacy as a money-making enterprise -- in spite of Facebook's wholesale and unacceptable client data harvesting, plus its intrusive advertising schemes.

It's still not profitable, and its attempts so far to become profitable have been at the expense of the privacy of FB subscribers -- who have tightened their hold on private information regarding themselves and their families.

Those negatives didn't help the IPO.  But, here's how it worked

1)  MSM public hype about the coming IPO

2)  Early subscriptions for Wall Street [read Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc.,] insiders

Ex-US Citizen Ed Saverin (c) dweam
3)  Lots and lots of really positive hype [e.g., Washington Post] to let us know what a spectacular success this IPO would be because FB is led by a Wunderkind Zuckerberg  -- who is tied to Obama and is smarter and richer than anyone in the universe, so we should adore him [and his co-founder, Ed Saverin, who just renounced his US citizenship as a tax-dodge].
4) Founder Zuckerberg got to ring the NASDAQ opening bell to draw attention to the IPO.

5)  Hedge traders waited for a soaring price [it got all the way to $45] so they could exercise their Sell orders and take a quick profit and run

6)  But, there were so many pending Sell orders that the NASDAQ had to cancel FB trades for nearly two  hours  [SEC was in full Nap Mode] and the NASDAQ later apologized and said it was "their" glitch [i.e., - they couldn't control the number of sellers all dumping their shares at once].

7)  Pre-Market opening price was pumped to $42.24

8)  Within minutes, share prices dropped by almost 20% to $38, then to $35.

9) Brokers [Goldman Sachs?] then artificially pumped in more "Buys" driving the price up to $41 temporarily and hoping for  a general surge, where it held for two hours before it plummeted again to $38.25 where it closed.  Later, it dropped to $30, but wobbled around with a fairly low volume. 
Recent reporting [29 May 2013] notes that NASDAQ explained away the 18 May 2012 IPO Debacle by claiming a computer "design flaw" causing 30,000 shares to be held in limbo for two hours rather than trading.

Oddly, NASDAQ itself claimed a $10.8 Million profit by "shorting" 3 MILLION shares of FB stock "in an unauthorized error account".  The SEC fined NASDAQ $10 Million; but we've seen no SEC actions against Goldman Sachs, or the other brokerages, or .... the Washington Post. 
If you had bought in after the opening bell, you would have immediately lost $4 a share.
[Price on 4 June 2013 was $23 a share -- a loss of $15 a share - or nearly 50%]

Wow! We cleaned out those suckers!    [Trading Places]
The Insider Traders were at Goldman Sachs, who, according to the SEC, sold more than 24 million shares at $37.58
[with a par value of $4 per share, would have netted about $792 million in profit]

We'd think the SEC would be all over this -- if Zuckerberg were not a White House pal -- and a major contributor to the Obama reelection campaign.

Looking at the nuts and bolts of this scam, we note that SEC records reflect: 

How did she know when to sell?                              (c) Zimbio
The SEC Registration:  The IPO

"Facebook, Inc. is offering        shares of its Class A common stock and the selling shareholders are offering       shares of Class A common stock.  We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling stockholders.  This is our initial public offering and no public market currently exists for our shares of Class A common stock.  We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $       and $         per share."       

The company created more than TWO BILLION shares, with a stated [notional] par value of about $4 per share, with an artificial opening price of $38 per share.  That created about $72 BILLION -- out of thin air. 

That's not quite the same as the Fed creating $14.5 TRILLION with their printing presses and shipping it to Europe a while back, but, Goldman Sachs seems to have the process down pretty well since they're plugged in to both the SEC, the US Treasury, and the FED.

On opening day, more than 580 Million shares were traded with an approximate value of $22 BILLION [current volume has been only around 60 million].  That's a lot of value for seemingly worthless paper.

Let's look at the insider selling on Friday:
Goldman Sachs: Listed direct sales of    19 Million shares at $37.58 [$ Million]
                             Listed "indirect" sales:  70 Million
                             Remaining shares:        66 Million
DST                      Listed Direct Sales:     132 Million [Value:  $5 BILLION]

How much?   (c) Disney

But, let's examine Zuckerberg's wealth.
It was based, pre-IPO, on the hyped value of the stock before it was offered.
And, there were over 2 BILLION shares created.

So, on paper, the company was worth more than $75 BILLION -- because, uhhh, Goldman Sachs said it was?  And then they sold that stock as if it actually had value?

Of course, the related question arises, why is GS rated as a bank, and why is it engaged in high risk stock ventures using depositors' funds -- guaranteed by the FDIC?

FB Futures?                 (c) shutterstock
Oh, yeah, this happened with Barney Franks' banking reform act, which made our financial system safer.
Will Facebook follow the same roller coaster value ride that Yahoo did?

Stay tuned -- but, don't invest just yet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Evil Doers - Foiled Again!

Click here for related story [Washington Post (Sponsored Propaganda Story)]

Still another stunning victory against international evil-doers.

The Washington Post gives front page coverage to a "successful CIA counter-terrorist operation"
[a story worthy of George Orwell's 1984].

FBI PR Series
(c) Projections Movie  Blog
"The latest al-Qaeda bomb plot targeting US aircraft was unraveled from inside the terrorist group by operatives — including an agent who posed as a willing suicide bomber ... penetrating al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen and recovering the explosive device ...  the CIA tracked the bomb’s movements for weeks and then killed suspected plotters in a drone strike after the device was seized."   

What this situation lacks is a video of an Efram Zimbalist, Jr. clone, pulling up to the CIA HQ with a background of patriotic music and flags waving.

[For you younger folks, that was the script for an FBI-sponsored TV series of long ago; today, the CIA uses the Washington Post for its PR campaign.] 
I'd feel less cynical about this latest revelation if so many of the previous "busts" hadn't had the appearance of "entrapment" [i.e., the FBI recruiting a potential terrorist, furnishing him with the materials for a bomb or weapons, creating an attack plan, and then wrapping it all up with a high-visibility arrest of the guy they recruited.

DHS News Team
(c) UrbisMedia

The Intelligence Biz seems to have evolved into a Media Circus since Obama has come into office; not that it wasn't already headed down that path since 9/11.    

The steady stream of nonsense stories about counter-terrorist successes tend to be intellectually embarrassing.

Basic rules for the professional Intelligence Biz:
1) Don't publicize your operations -- successful or otherwise.
2) Don't disclose sources and/or methods
3) Don't publicize your source placement [see #2 above]
4) Don't kill off participants; they probably have lots of information on other operatives, cells,    locations,networks, communications systems, etc. There was probably a year's worth of interrogation opportunity destroyed by the "drone strike" [if the event actually occurred]. 
5) Brief the SSCI and the HPSCI in general terms to keep your funding
6) Don't create press releases to show that Homeland Security is "working".

Terrorist Camel with Exploded Cigar
(c) Choss Climbers

This BS story reminds us of the legendary   "camel spotting corps" in the Mojave Desert designed to prevent attacks by marauding Arabs.

It was touted as one of the most successful military operations in history since, during its existence, there was not one successful attack by Arabs in the Mojave!

Of course, there were neither camels nor Arabs in the desert at the time; but, the program was dubbed a success nonetheless.       

Sorry folks.
This "news" story is such a patent piece of journalistic pap that we have to grade it D-  
it's clearly a campaign publicity stunt.

Retired Intelligence professionals around the country must be either laughing, or throwing up at this BS press release.  Once again, the US has become the laughing stock of the world.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Markets Crashing - Again?

The Dow:  500 Point loss in only a few days

Click here for related story

The Dow is plunging again today; looks like it's lost about 500 points in the last few days, which indicates bad stuff is happening.

17 Banks -- in the toilet   (c) Newsmaker Today

"Moody’s Investors Service is reviewing the creditworthiness of 17 banks and securities firms with global capital-market operations. It may cut ratings on Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG by as many as three levels."

Sarkozy welcomes his Socialist successor
Now, all that bad news was processed before France ousted President Sarkozy and voted in a Socialist President -- who promised the French he would give them lots of money and more freebies; and, before Greece ousted their pro-austerity government.

And, the deep thinkers announced this morning -- before the   markets opened -- that everything was hunky-dory.

[Keep moving, nothing to see here, keep moving]

The reality is that Europe is about to play serious politics with the Euro.

A solid work ethic, quality merchandise, a balanced budget
(c) Christian Science Monitorbudget.

They're all blaming Germany because it instituted all the austerity reforms, made the sacrifices necessary, and it now has full employment, a balanced budget, and a stable banking system -- vs the rest of Europe which is still feeding from the welfare trough.

But, but, those nasty Germans!
They should SHARE their wealth!


It only works until you run out of other people's money
(c) Marty Nemko

Spain, Portugal, and Greece are all crying the blues because they can no longer retire at full pay when they're 40, or get free health care, or take two years off from work coincident with a pregnancy.

This is a terrible situation.  One report included an interview with a gentleman who complained that he could no longer afford wine with his lunch.  What an incredible sacrifice!


Great idea;
really poor implementation
The European leadership is demanding that Germany step up to the plate and provide more low interests loans [no matter that the last series of loans was not repaid], and to support the rest of the European Economic Community; after all, the Germans now have plenty of money, industrial growth, lots of exports, solvent banks, and so, they should share their wealth!
And the EC is right there, ready and willing to spend Germany's wealth, since they have all burned through their own savings and credit limits to accommodate their Socialist programs.


Something we can look forward to here in the US should we be silly enough to allow Obama to be reelected.