Thursday, June 30, 2011

Obama press conference follow-up to the analysis: satire + satire = ? (video)


Satire of what really was satire in the first place: The Obama press conference on the debt ceiling debate

In "The debt ceiling debate and Presidential chutzpah (Video)" TPC examined the audacity of the chutzpah of President Obama.

This video looks past the chutzpah and zeroes in squarely on the delusion of the President!


H/T The Daily Bail

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Sex sells but it can be hard to make a buck! (Video)

Whether it's in the movies, situation comedies on T.V., cologne or clothing ads or commercials like the one below from Virgin Atlantic, sex sells!

We all know this! Everyday we are bombarded by images and dialogue dripping with sexual innuendo (sometimes without the innuendo) everywhere and anywhere that you (and your kids) look. It's on the sides of buses, billboards, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Despite the fact that sex sells, and sells very well, the last bricks and mortar "adult video and sex toy emporium" on the Upper West Side in New York City, Amsterdam Video, recently shut its doors for good.

Is the closing due to an uptick in societal values and morality, or is it because you can get porn for free on the internet?

Hmmmm.


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The debt ceiling debate and Presidential chutzpah (Video)


The debt ceiling debate: President Obama lectures the Republicans on work ethic and on how things gets done!

Presidential finger-pointing, defensiveness and the presidential thin-skin on full display during the Obama debt ceiling debate press conference yesterday.

President Obama, to use a term from the lexicon of his "good friends" the Jews, has an enormous amount of chutzpah.

For the uninitiated, chutzpah is defined as having shameless audacity, nerve and cajones (not as in courage but as in the aforementioned nerve to make certain statements).

In those statements yesterday chastising the Republicans for not having the same amount of focus and work ethic as the Obama children when it comes to the debt ceiling debate, the level of chutzpah was off of the charts.

BTW is it only permissible to bring children into the conversation when it is politically expedient to do so?

When he talked about his leadership and the things he has accomplished in office, the level of chutzpah was off of the charts.

When he spoke of the tough decisions that he has made and the time he spends in Washington focused on the work that needs to be done (such as putts that need to be made) the level of chutzpah was off of the charts.

Note to the President: Just because you say something is so, doesn't make it that way! The Obama record stands on its own and it is not a pretty picture!

A video of audacity and nerve aka chutzpah!


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Greece austerity passes, the bond market yawns!

Greece Parliament passes austerity package 155-138! The bond market just doesn't believe it will make a difference!

Today the Greek Parliament will vote on the details for the implementation of the plan!

Bonds, bonds, bonds!

At the risk of beating the dead horse concept where the bond market is the arbiter of investor fear and of investor belief, I want to take a look at how Greece sovereign debt closed out the day where it had its fiscal viability supposedly addressed!

Or was it? Was Greece instead thrown a temporary lifeline with the prospect of default merely delayed and not permanently avoided? That would seem to be more of the case!

If the vote today actually had any real significance the price of the Greece 10-year government bond would have rallied hard and the yield would have declined sharply.

Greece 10-year Government bond June 27: 16.80%
Greece 10-year Government bond June 28: 16.45%
Greece 10-year Government bond June 29: 16.28%
Source: Bloomberg

But of course, that was not the case as the inevitable was merely postponed!
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama! (Video, Obama 2007)


Holy hypocrisy Batman!!!

It would be completely understandable if then candidate Obama was just your run-of-the-mill politician looking to get elected or re-elected.

He did, and will do, what politicians always do which is to tell the people what they think they want to hear while blaming someone else for all of the problems.

Unfortunately for the country he was, and still is, simply a run-of-the-mill politician but with a significant caveat.

Typical politicians will look to a) feather their own nests while, b) having the the greater good of their constituents in their heart, if only for the purpose of being re-elected.

Obama?... very unsure about about his commitment to that second part!



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Iran carries out secret missile tests while Waldo goes to Iowa!

Iran carries out secret missile tests of weapons capable of deploying and delivering a nuclear payload!

While President Obama jets off to an Iowa campaign stop at a manufacturing plant designed to try and counteract the surge in popularity enjoyed by Michele Bachmann from her presidential campaign announcement, the news on the Iranian front continues to be extremely troubling and very much ignored by those in Washington.

In the article "Iranian nukes through political humor cannot soften the message" on June 22nd this scenario of U.S. government malignant neglect was described.

Seemingly content to allow the Iranian nuclear weapons development crisis to proceed at its own pace and on its own terms, the attention in Washington, and more specifically in the Obama White House, is focused on certain important issues such as the debt-ceiling debate, and many insignificant ones such as the 2012 presidential campaign.

This as the Iranians tested missiles that are reportedly capable of reaching both Israel and U.S. military bases.

What is the plan to deal with the Iranian nuclear development problem?

Unfortunately, in the face of the real and present danger faced by the west from Iranian nuclear ambitions, there is no clear and potentially effective plan in place to deal with it.

What we have are a coalition of countries, led by Obama, who are more than happy to proceed down the merry path of playing a game of charades.

In this game the coalition, led by the U.N., imposes "biting" sanctions on a rogue regime that could care less about them now, and who will continue to be dismissive of them in the future.

Meanwhile Iran's development of a nuclear weapons capability moves forward, for the most part unfettered by any resistance from outside forces.

The Iranian threat

From Human Events, "... The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative states that Iran’s now twice-successful Safir satellite launch vehicle, if converted into a ballistic missile, would likely be able to carry a 1,100-pound warhead 1,875 miles (reaching Berlin), or a 2,200-pound warhead approximately 1,250 miles (covering the entire Middle East). Put that capability into perspective.



The warhead’s weight and explosive yield depend on the technology used. The “Fat Man” atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945 weighed 10,300 pounds and produced an explosive yield of 21 kilotons. By comparison, modern atomic weapons can weigh just a few hundred pounds and produce an explosive yield equal to hundreds of kilotons. 



Today, Iran is experimenting with all the technologies necessary to produce a powerful nuclear warhead, and the missiles to deliver those weapons. The question for the West is not whether, but when, Iran will field such a weapon..."

This situation, more than any other, needs to be addressed in a proactive fashion because having to react to a nuclear missile strike is certainly the less attractive of the two options!
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July 4th edition of the Watcher's Council

The Watcher's Council July 4th nominations

The Watcher's Council is a group comprised of some of the top bloggers from around the blogosphere (The Political Commentator is proud to be a member).

Each week one article is submitted by each of the members and a winner is then selected by secret ballot. For the week:

The Noisy RoomThe Fascist Stealth of Agenda 21

New ZealKey Socialist Fears “White Working Class” Could Defeat Obama

Simply JewsZ-ranha first time in action: sabotages Gaza flotilla ship

The Glittering Eye -The Guilds

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnDDrones Alone

The Colossus of RhodeyWhere I disagree with Victor Davis Hanson

The RazorThe New Misogyny: The Left’s Sexist Treatment of Conservative Women

Right TruthIraq: Grow up, you’ll be on your own soon.

Rhymes With RightOn The Pulitzer Prize Winning Illegal Alien

Bookworm RoomSliding down the slippery slope on abortion

VA Right - Virginia Public Schools Using SOL’s to Indoctrinate Children in Islamic Theology and Purge Christianity – Part I

The Political CommentatorIranian nukes through political humor cannot soften the message! (Cartoon)

Snapped ShotHack

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Automobiles: Be American, buy American can be easier said than done!

Automobiles: Made in America is getting harder and harder to find!

Since 2008 over 6,000,000 jobs in the United States have been lost. Of that number over 2,000,000 have been in the manufacturing sector.

These well paying jobs were lost as companies needed to cut employees because of lost sales due to the recession/depression or because these well paying jobs were shipped out of the country.

The reason they were relocated elsewhere is one that boils down purely to economics as the wage/benefits scale in countries like China, India or Vietnam can be a fraction of what it is in the United States.

The result has been that jobs have been permanently lost and replacement jobs for these workers, if they can find one, will typically be paying much less!

Automobile parts and manufacturing, "Made in the U.S.A!"

While finding a car or truck with parts manufactured 100% in America can be difficult, Cars.com has come out with its annual America-Made Index that includes those made with parts and assembly that are 75%+ made in the U.S.A.

The Cars.com America-Made Index Top 10



Auto Insurance


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Grundhofer resignation from Citigroup: Where there was smoke there was no fire!


Jerry Grundhofer resigns from Citigroup!

In an article last week the question was asked about whether a high-level resignation at Citigroup was an indication of some new crisis at the bank that was about to be disclosed.

Jerry Grundhofer, a Citibank director and the head of risk management abruptly resigned with the accompanying press release providing the vague, yet commonly used, reason of a desire to pursue other interests.

It turns out that indeed Mr. Grundhofer had significant opportunities as he was announced as the non-executive Chaiman of the Board of Santander Holdings USA.

As a former trader these types of resignations were often the harbinger of greater issues to come, but in this case Jerry Grundhofer merely moved on to greener pastures.


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Eurozone bond yields continue to hit record highs ahead of the vote in Greece

Update June 29th, 2011 at 9:15 AM: The Greek parliament passed a $40 billion austerity package that should allow the country to avoid a sovereign debt default, at least for the time being.


The day changes but the story of Eurozone government bond yields remains the same!

Germany 10-year: 2.88%
Portugal 10-year: 11.63%
Ireland 10-year: 12.08%
Greece 10-year: 16.80%
Spain 10-year: 5.72%
Italy 10-year: 5.01%

As it has been discussed here many times in the past, the arbiter of safety and quality is not political rhetoric or temporary bursts of euphoria from the stock market.

The best indicator are the yields being demanded by bond investors to take on the risk of owning an entities debt. This is true whether the entity is a small corporation or a country.

As the charts below show, the yields for Eurozone sovereign debt being demanded by these fixed-income investors are in many cases at record highs, and if not at records they are very close as in the case of Greece.

The lone exception is the debt of Germany which is considered the safe-haven in the Eurozone.

Greece Parliamentary vote

There will undoubtably be some type of a compromise that will temporarily assuage the markets and result in some type of equity market rally as pundits will say something along the lines of "equity markets rally as fears of a Greece bond default subside."

For those looking for the true indication of investor comfort levels, however, look no further than the bond market!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Fukushima nuclear disaster: More than meets the eye (or ears)?

The Fukushima nuclear disaster

Is there more to the Fukushima story than either the U.S. or Japanese governments are letting on? It's hard to tell as updates have become fewer and farther between on the part of both the government and media sources.

Last week TPC touched on a report claiming that in the northwest corner of the United States there had been a spike in the infant mortality rate since the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant began.

There are conflicting opinions on the merits of this specific study but the fact remains that the United States is on one of the many potential flight paths of nuclear debris from Fukushima.

So what is happening at Fukushima vis a vis nuclear waste containment and meltdown resolution?

The disaster at Fukushima has seemingly not abated as the various reactors at the Tepco facility continue to burn and generate nuclear waste and fumes that are spewing into the atmosphere and that seeping into the ground and ocean.

There has, however, been a curious media silence (or at the very least uncharacteristic quiet) regarding Fukushima as I am hard-pressed to find any real and consistent coverage of either the attempts to mitigate and/or resolve the problem or on the human impact of the release of radiation in Japan and around the world.

This from a media that gloms onto much less significant stories such as a sexually deviant congressman and who then doesn't let go!

Visiting the EPA website where periodic updates on the the radiological impact of Fukushima on the United States and on various parts of the food supply had been given, we found that there have been none since May 3rd!

On March 28th there was this statement from the EPA on the environmental impact to the United States to that point, but no updates on the website since:

"... Some of the filter results show levels slightly higher than those found by EPA monitors last week and a Department of Energy monitor the week before. These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are still far below levels of public health concern..."

Similarly at the IAEA website there have been no updates since June 2nd.

Is there more to the story than meets the eye or is the story insignificant enough as to warrant the general lack of consistent media attention that it has gotten.

I suppose that when a study of atmospheric and ground contamination in the United States actually does occur and is then reported, we will know!

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All Americans will pay for a loss of our AAA! S&P analysis determines what The Political Commentator knew a longtime ago!

The U.S. will pay for a loss of our AAA!

If U.S. government borrowing costs increase significantly in the near term the cause will undoubtably be some combination of
  • inaction on the debt ceiling, or
  • the "kicking the can down the road" for a resolution of our long-term fiscal condition.
These two events could possibly result in a downgrade of U.S. debt from the previously thought to be untouchable AAA rating. As a result of a downgrade and higher yields demanded by investors,
  1. Current holders of treasury's will face immediate and substantial paper losses (if held to maturity no losses would be realized), and
  2. We the people will face the prospect of paying more in order to entice anyone to buy our bonds.
A classic lose-lose situation.

From S&P last week:

"... The S&P analysis calculates a reduction in the rating to double A or single A would spark a decline of 2 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively in the price of the 10-year Treasury note, sending yields higher.

The price of the 30-year bond would drop by 3.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent under these scenarios. The analysis focuses on Treasury debt with a maturity longer than two years as this sector is least affected by the Federal Reserve’s near zero interest rate policy. As such, the estimate of costs associated with a downgrade is considered conservative..."

From The Political Commentator on April 18th:

"... Increased federal borrowing costs through higher required interest rates due to an imposed risk premium by our lenders will effectively throw the United States into a fiscal death spiral.

We will face larger deficits requiring higher interest rates leading to larger deficits and so on until we will be in the same condition as the EU PIGS Greece, Ireland and Portugal paying 10%+ to borrow money..."

A high-stakes game of chicken looms on the horizon with Americans facing the consequences from the eventual outcome!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Bumps on the road to recovery" aka The Obama economy (Video)

The Obama economy is recovering, just ask Obama!

And why not! His is a story of golf, country clubs, rich donors and taxpayer funded trips to raise money for his campaign to retain the White House.

It's about glorious family vacations, date nights in New York and safari's in Africa.

It is a story of an out of touch politician with the one known goal of re-election and many other unclear goals of questionable benefit to the U.S.

But, if you ask ordinary Americans, they will tell you a different story of "economic recovery."
  • A story of 9% plus unemployment (16% for blacks and 12% for Hispanics),
  • American jobs lost and not created,
  • Of rising health insurance, food and fuel costs,
  • Of exploding federal budget deficits and spending with little return,
  • Of record numbers of people on food stamps and welfare, and
  • A resurgence of the Misery Index first compiled during the dark days of the Carter administration! The Misery Index, unemployment and inflation added together, is at a 28-year high of 12.7.
A re-run on 60 Minutes brings me to this!

I am not a big fan of 60 Minutes and in fact will rarely watch it unless a specific story is of great interest.

Tonight, however, a segment about a generation of children facing poverty, homelessness and hunger drew me in.

It is a story that represents some of the "bumps in the road" the President referenced that are in reality so much more. But for an out of touch politician possessing serious problems with empathy it is not that big a deal.

The real life "bumps in the road"

Is there a smoking fire at Citigroup as head of risk management abruptly resigns?

Heads up for conspiracy theorists as Jerry Grundhofer, head of risk management and finance committee abruptly resigns as a Citibank director!

Is there more to the story in the scheme of the ongoing financial crisis or is just another guy who wants to spend more time with his family? Note his affiliation to Lehman Brothers. Stay tuned!

This from Barron's:

"Citigroup (C) announced after the market closed on Friday that director Jerry Grundhofer had resigned, effective immediately. The company did not elaborate much on the reason for his sudden departure in its release: “We understand his desire to now dedicate more of his time to other interests and we are grateful for his service,” said Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons.

A company spokesman said that there was no further information about why Grundhofer was resigning.

Grundhofer, who has served on the board since 2009, used to be the chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp (USB). He has also served as the vice chairman of Bank of America (BAC) and was on the board of Lehman Brothers.

He was the head of Citigroup’s risk management and finance committee as of the company’s most recent proxy statement. He also served as a director at Citibank."


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Industries gaining and losing jobs since 2008 (Charts)

What industries in the U.S. have experienced the greatest job losses and job gains since 2008?

The economy is down 6.3 million jobs since 2008 with the greatest job losses coming in construction and manufacturing. No surprise there.

While President Obama talks about an economic recovery he says is taking place, albeit slower than he is comfortable with, the numbers on the jobs front seem to tell a different story.

The story being told is one of an economic malaise that has left the economy around 12 million jobs light assuming that instead of losing 6.3 million jobs over the past three years close to 2 million per year should have actually been created!


Jobs Gained or Lost Since Dec 31, 2007
Industry2008200920102011
Health Care461,860792,6791,023,9071,278,794
Finance & Insurance323,802629,082490,384444,530
Mining & Oil195,813345,116337,917422,752
Educational Services121,337195,899236,766295,498
Government358,591451,680398,85390,393
Arts & Entertainment92,418108,26377,18165,855
Management60,98525,37116,32326,615
Utilities13,01920,77313,77111,275
Professional203,493-107,607-164,853-39,124
Agriculture & Forestry-18,909-26,033-33,643-71,928
Other Services-30,456-221,109-246,875-82,177
Food & Lodging71,681-242,538-273,658-145,099
Information-30,863-203,185-299,866-331,269
Real Estate-76,068-232,452-335,391-359,874
Transportation-107,538-501,697-559,415-486,346
Admin & Support-389,951-1,226,173-1,097,484-774,404
Retail & Wholesale-428,934-1,759,253-1,977,146-1,854,109
Manufacturing-478,023-2,072,959-2,415,322-2,290,390
Construction-612,184-1,955,402-2,468,184-2,519,538
Totals-269,927-5,979,545-7,276,735-6,318,546


Jobs Gained or Lost vs. Year Ago
Industry2008200920102011
Totals-269,927-5,709,618-1,297,190958,189
Admin & Support-389,951-836,222128,689323,080
Health Care461,860330,819231,228254,887
Other Services-30,456-190,653-25,766164,698
Food & Lodging71,681-314,219-31,120128,559
Professional203,493-311,100-57,246125,729
Manufacturing-478,023-1,594,936-342,363124,932
Retail & Wholesale-428,934-1,330,319-217,893123,037
Mining & Oil195,813149,303-7,19984,835
Transportation-107,538-394,159-57,71873,069
Educational Services121,33774,56240,86758,732
Management60,985-35,614-9,04810,292
Utilities13,0197,754-7,002-2,496
Arts & Entertainment92,41815,845-31,082-11,326
Real Estate-76,068-156,384-102,939-24,483
Information-30,863-172,322-96,681-31,403
Agriculture & Forestry-18,909-7,124-7,610-38,285
Finance & Insurance323,802305,280-138,698-45,854
Construction-612,184-1,343,218-512,782-51,354
Government358,59193,089-52,827-308,460



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