Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Night Live Take on Goldman Sachs and Swine Flu Vaccine

"When most people saw the headline "Goldman Sachs gets swine flu vaccine", they were super-happy, until they saw the word "vaccine". Really."

Ouch. LOL.

Japan's First Reported Death after H1N1 Vaccination

A man in his 70s died in Toyama Prefecture in Japan one day after getting the H1N1 flu vaccine. Authorities deny there's any correlation, saying the man had pre-existing medical conditions.

Hmmm. Excuse me, but the whole point of getting the vaccine, according to the government, was to protect vulnerable people like him who had pre-existing medical conditions, wasn't it? Instead of protecting people like him, the vaccine may instead have triggered acute adverse reaction that killed the man.

According to Kitanippon Shinbun (the original is in Japanese, published on 11/14/09), the man had had pulmonary emphysema. He received the vaccine on November 11. He didn't show any sign of adverse effect from the vaccine on that day, but the next evening his family found him dead. The autopsy revealed that he had suffered from acute respiratory failure.

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is insisting it has nothing to do with the vaccine. Right.

The vaccine he received was manufactured in Japan by a Japanese company.

Unlike Americans, Japanese people seem to believe just about everything they are told about H1N1 by their government, and are eagerly rolling up their sleeves to get the flu vaccine with mercury (among other things, and yes, even the Japanese-made vaccine contains mercury) in it - pregnant women, babies, toddlers, school kids, all the way up to seniors like this man who died right after he got the shot, and they seem to be very grateful they got the shot.

After all these years, almost blind trust for the government still exists in that nation of the rising sun. I'd rather join Serbians and chew on a raw garlic.

Ron Paul on Financial Regulations and Fed

Texas Congressman Ron Paul on CNBC Squawk Box, on financial regulations and the Federal Reserve audit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Price of Garlic Skyrockets in Serbia

.. they have long memory in that corner of the Balkans.

Serbians are snapping up garlic for flu prevention, over vaccines that their government recommends.

Swine flu causes surge of garlic sales in Serbia
(Dusan Stojanovic, 11/13/09 AP via Google)

"BELGRADE, Serbia — Belgrade's open-air markets were a welter of busy customers on Friday, pushing and shoving to buy one item — garlic.

"In Serbia, garlic has long been regarded as a good luck charm and a guard against many ailments. As far as the public is concerned, that includes the swine flu pandemic, which recently has spread in Serbia and triggered near panic among the local population.

"That is now evident in Belgrade's produce markets, where the price of garlic has shot up, thanks to a sudden increase in demand. The smell of the little white cloves also has become prevalent in public places as people munch on them as if eating apples.

""Garlic is the best, forget the vaccines," said Marko Jankovic, an elderly Belgrader, with the pungent smell of garlic obvious as he spoke at the crowded Kaleniceva Pijaca market. "From the vaccine, you can get sick. From garlic, you can only get bad breath."" [emphasis is mine]

Haha that's funny. And good for the old man.

As the article points out, garlic has been used around the world for centuries for treatment and prevention of medical conditions, from indigestion to cold to hypertension and cancer. (For more, check out this article from Life Extension.)

Roman legions carried garlic cloves with them, and quickly planted more garlic in lands they conquered. Dioscorides, the chief medical officer in the Roman army during the 1st century AD, treated infected soldiers with garlic. (from "How to Win the War" by Bill Sardi)

Serbian officials and doctors are not too happy about the populace gobbling up garlic, instead of their recommendations of washing hands, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and getting pharmaceutical treatment. The AP article ends with this observation:

"But in Serbia, doctors are telling the public to stop considering it as a swine flu defense.

""People must take this pandemic more seriously and focus on real prevention and medicine," not garlic, said Zoran Djordjevic, a virology doctor at a Belgrade hospital.""

It must be like telling people that the sun rises from the west. People in Serbia are taking it very seriously, I think, and are going for the century-old, proven (to them anyway if not to the medical authority there) method, without known side effect (other than bad breath), to fight it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ACORN Sues Congress on Constitutional Ground

no, it is not a joke.

ACORN Sues Over 'Unconstitutional' Funding Cuts By Congress
(Joseph Abrams, 11/12/09 Fox News)

"In an attempt to regain the millions in funding it lost in the wake of a hidden-camera scandal, ACORN is suing the federal government over congressional legislation that cut off funding to the community organizing group.

"Representatives for ACORN sued the federal government Thursday morning in an attempt to regain the millions of dollars in funding the community organizing group lost after filmmakers videotaped its workers offering advice on how to commit tax fraud and various other felonies.

"The suit charges Congress with violating the Constitution when it passed legislation in September that specifically targeted ACORN to lose federal housing, education and transportation funds.

"That qualifies the legislation as bills of attainder, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the suit on behalf of ACORN. A bill of attainder punishes a person or group without the benefit of a trial, and is illegal under Article 1 of the Constitution."

This is hilarious. It's great that ACORN is now on board defending the Constitution (as long as it suits them, maybe). Was it constitutional, by the way, for Congress to have kept funding ACORN all these years? The last I read about "bills of attainder" was when I was reading about Richard III and Henry VII.

The article continues:

"The lawsuit itself singles out three defendants -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; Director of the Office of Management and the Budget Peter Orszag, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

"The three were responsible for facilitating the defunding of ACORN by Congress, according to attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"ACORN claims it has been badly hurt by the congressional actions, and has had to fire workers and close some of its 1,200 branches around the country.

"Though it remains unclear precisely how much money the national organization was receiving from federal sources and aid programs, a lawyer pressing the suit said ACORN has already lost an amount "in the millions" since the freeze took effect."

And we don't even know how much money ACORN has been receiving.

President Bush's Speaking Engagement in Japan

for $150,000 and cheerleaders with pom-pom

Waseda University's students gathered to hear President Bush remimisce about his days, not as the president of the U.S. but as a baseball franchise owner. Huh? (And the university paid $150,000 for that?)

In Tokyo, Bush reminisces about baseball days (11/4/09 AP via Washington Post)

"TOKYO -- Exactly a year after Barack Obama was voted to replace him as president, George W. Bush was in Japan on Wednesday talking about his former life - in sports.

"Bush, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, offered no assessment of choices facing his successor on Afghanistan, climate change or the economy.

"Instead, he dished out advice to Japanese university students about running a sports franchise."

A Japanese corporation once paid $2 million to have Ronald Reagan come and speak for 20 minutes. Compared to that, $150,000 may be peanuts for Japanese.

US Budget Deficit Grows in October As Geithner Speaks of Strong Dollar

Talk is cheap (free) so of course that's what a budget-conscious Treasury Secretary would do: Talk.

Tim Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary, says the strong dollar is very important for the U.S., as he spoke in Tokyo before heading for Singapore for the APEC summit. (Unlike Chinese, Japanese apparently were too polite to laugh at him.)

Strong dollar 'very important' for US: Geithner (11/11/09 AFP via Google)

It seems Geithner opens his mouth to say this same thing every 3 months or so. However, as the U.S. dollar index chart since March shows, it's been just a talk, as actual intervention would cost money. He also talked about the administration's intention to reduce deficit in a separate interview with CNBC (near the bottom of this article).

In the meantime, his Treasury Department released the October report on receipts and cash outlays, which shows the monthly budget deficit increased again from September level. It is actually a record October high at $176.4 billion. His Department also auctioned off $81 billion worth of Treasury notes and bonds this week alone.

Talk is really cheap.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inflation Is Already Here With Us

in government statistics

Many of us are now quite familiar with a highly inflated number of jobs "created or saved" by the administration's stimulus package. Boston Globe did a review of the cases in Massachusetts where "Organizations that received stimulus money miscounted jobs, filed erroneous figures, or claimed jobs for work that has not yet started."

If you would like to refresh your memory where the stimulus money (your tax money) is going (down the drain), here's my post from July 2009 "Will Stimulus Money Create Jobs As Biden Says?"(We know the answer, don't we?) It has a list of "projects" to be funded by the stimulus.

Not to be outdone, now CDC says more than 4,000 people have died from H1N1 "swine" flu. That's almost quadruple the number that they have been saying (1,200). What's going on?

Well, not really, but you see, CDC has decided to count all the deaths that may have been related to H1N1 flu, such as pneumonia and bacterial infections, organ failure, cancer, heart attacks, etc. (basically anything that they can remotely connect to flu). Compared to "regular" flu of last year and year before, not enough people have died of this "pandemic" to justify force-vaccinating a middle-schooler with the help from two armed guards. (See my previous post, and please protect your children, don't run away.)

CDC also says "many millions" of Americans have been infected with H1N1. How do they know? They don't. The test to find out whether one has H1N1 flu apparently gives so many false positives and false negatives that it is practically worthless, and besides CDC stopped counting the flu cases back in July. They are just throwing big enough numbers, "many millions". This is from CBS news, which by the way has a very good investigative report on H1N1:

"In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1
flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there's an epidemic?"
I found one deflationary number coming from the government: number of Americans without health insurance. When they started hyping this health care "reform" (deform) way back when, the number of Americans without health insurance was over 50 million. As time went by, the number went from 50 million to 46 million, then 40 million, then 35 million, and that's about where it stands "officially" now.

However, eliminating people on temporary insurance between jobs (Cobra), people who don't want insurance and pay out of their own pockets, people who already have access to government program (Medicaid) or free programs and don't need insurance, and eliminating illegal immigrants, the estimates have been done to show there may be less than 10 million people (3% of the U.S. population) who cannot afford health insurance. (Here's an article on this topic that appeared in in July. There are others.)

So, it may well be that the U.S. taxpayers are being asked by their government to fork out $1.05 trillion (minimum, I am afraid) to cover less than 10 million people. $105,000 per person. That's about the level of "bang for the buck" a la the federal government.

Will Grigg: Toxic Injection at Gunpoint

This isn't right.

Toxic Injection at Gunpoint (Will Grigg, 11/11/09 LRC Blog)

"An inmate of the Wheeling, West Virginia Middle School had second thoughts about enduring a government-issue toxic injection. After he fled the gymnasium, the child was tracked down by a “resource officer” — that is, a prison guard — and coaxed back to the shot station. But it took two tax-fed heroes to pin down the resistant child in order for the injection to take place.

"“He tried to run,” recalled Howard Gamble, Administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Board. “I looked over and saw two Sheriff’s deputies holding him down.” The sight of a terrified child being restrained by two armed full-grown “men” didn’t disturb Gamble’s servile serenity.

"“For the most part they go easy,” he commented during a November 10 Health Board meeting. “As far as the shots, every once in a while you have to hold down one or two — but that’s why mom is there or dad is there.”

"Of course, he didn’t mean to suggest that parents are there to defend their children from such assaults; rather, he meant that it’s useful to have a parent handy to coax his child into submitting to a government-mandated violation of his bodily integrity.

"The mother of the brutalized child described above actually fled the scene rather than witnessing the abuse — or doing anything to stop it."

Parents, DEFEND YOUR CHILDREN. Don't run away like this mother did.

For more about H1N1, please read Bill Sardi's articles at

All That Glitters at Harrods London

As gold hits all-time (nominal) high of $1,119.60, Harrods of London is seeing a brisk sale of all things gold - gold bars, nuggets, bullions.

The department store started selling pure swiss gold bars on October 15. You can now buy gold ingot (5 to 1,000 gram), you can buy bullions (Sovereign, Maple Leaf, Krugerrand, Panda, Philharmonic, Eagle), and Harrods stores them for you for a fee if you like. If you buy from Harrods, you can sell back to Harrods.

How can a department store sell gold? you may wonder. Harrods Gold Bullion page says the department store has had a private banking arm, Harrods Bank, for more than a century catering to well-heeled clientele.

In Germany they have gold dispensing machines at train stations. In Japan, you can set up an account to buy gold every month with as little as $15 per month (you buy whatever amount of gold you can buy with that money). Reserve Bank of India just bought 200 tonnes of gold from IMF.

Analysts have been saying that the gold move is an inflation hedge and a move against the U.S. dollars and all other fiat currencies (just about every single currency in the world). I personally think it is more like a crisis hedge in times of financial, social, and/or political dislocation as evidenced by the gold spike in the wake of Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

But with Harrods selling gold bars and bullions along their very high-end merchandise, it makes me wonder if gold is entering a bubbly phase of being a status symbol. Not just a few gold coins here and there, but 1-kilogram (35 oz) pure gold bar (that would cost close to $40,000) or two.'s Gold Index (which is also linked in the left column of this blog under "Market Data and Tools") shows gold is bought despite the slight recovery in the U.S. dollar.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OT: Free Nobel Peace Prize If You Order Shrimp Tacos

I have seen this photo in several places on the net, and I don't know the original source. I grabbed from here.

Shrimp tacos don't quite fit the "most powerful writer since Julius Caesar", but I like shrimp tacos. I like fish tacos, too. Oh I like Caesar's salad, too, now I think about it.

(I think I'd better go to bed now to recuperate from the flu. My brain's not working.)

OT: Watch Out, Twitter, Facebook Users

FBI may be after you.

From David Kramer at LRC Blog ( The link has a video clip of a guy who was arrested for for twittering the fellow demonstrators where to go to avoid the police during the September G20 protest in Pittsburgh. (Remember that one where the police/military (indistinguishable in fatigues) used a sonic weapon against protesters that could permanently damage hearing? )

Start Kissing First Amendment Goodbye (11/10/09)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Communist-Era Goods Back in Vogue

... sign of times, perhaps.

Communist consumer goods make comeback
(11/8/09, AFP via Breitbart)

"Once the butt of jokes the world over, communist-era East European goods from sweets, to rustic washing machines and clunky cars are all the rage again."

"Two decades on, many who then welcomed change now want to turn the clock back by eating Szerencsi chocolate, driving Trabant two-stroke cars or using Frania washing machines to wash carrots."

You can read the entire article by clicking on the link above. The article attributes this renewed interest in Communist-era goods as nostalgia for bad old times for older generation, and curiosity for younger generation.

Well, it looks like they are survival goods to me.

  • A washing machine that you can operate without electricity (Poland's Rotor Frania)

  • A car so rudimentary you can fix yourself (Traband, Skoda, etc.)

  • A condiment sure to enhance any bad-tasting food with MSG (Croatia's Vegeta)

I still remember what one of my collegues told me in a company I used to work for. He was an engineer, and unlike other company engineers and scientists who went to western Europe or the U.S. to study, he went to Soviet Union. He said he came away pretty impressed. He said it was really true that the Soviet TV set could explode, but also said that the vehicles there (I think he was mainly talking about heavy trucks) could be fixed from within the vehicle. Much of the vital parts can be reached from within, he said, and you wouldn't need a mechanic.

I also recall Communist-era public housing in east Berlin was really getting popular in 2002-2003. It was partly due to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley hyping the real estate in Berlin at that time, but I wonder if that continued...

OT: Virus Scam (Computer, That Is)

If you receive a call from someone with Indian or Arabic accent telling you that they are from Microsoft, that your computer is infected with serious virus and they can help you clean and protect your system, it is a SCAM. They want to talk to you while your computer is on, so that they can either infect with virus to sell you their product or steal information on your computer or both.

If the telephone number they're calling from / they want you to call is any of these, tell them to go to hell:


This is their website: Don't even go there, but if you ever see email coming from this address, don't open it.

Not-so-tech savvy seniors are particularly vulnerable. Please warn your parents and grand parents.

Something Deadly Is Afoot in Ukraine

They are not even sure if it is H1N1 influenza.

And very peculiar, too. Up until October 29, Ukraine had only few cases of H1N1 "swine" flu. Then, almost out of nowhere, the cases with severe flu-like symptoms exploded into nearly 1 million (Ukraine's population is about 46 million), doubling in numbers in 2 days along the way.

Here are two articles from Bird Flu Pandemic:

H1N1 Swine Flu Or Something Far Worse? The Debate Over What The Heck Is Going On In Ukraine Rages On

Has The H1N1 Swine Flu Virus Mutated To Become More Like The 1918 Spanish Flu? Dying Patients In Ukraine Are Experiencing The Total Destruction Of Their Lungs

What's strange also is the number of deaths attributable to H1N1 flu. Of 155 deaths in Ukraine so far, only 14 were confirmed as resulting from H1N1. What of the rest? What are people dying from?

Speculation ranges from suddenly mutated H1N1, Ebola, hemorrhagic fever, to pneumonic plague.

And this from Bill Sardi at today suggests synthetic virus does the job like the real one:

"The synthesis of flu viruses became more than a possibility in 1999 when researchers demonstrated it was possible to overcome the previously insurmountable problem of arranging eight segments of RNA. This was accomplished by generation of RNA using an enzyme, RNA polymerase, essentially creating a cloned flu virus."

And finally, there is this strange case of Joseph Moshe.

(Just by linking these articles, I feel a bit sick again. Time to take Vitamin D3 again and try to recoup..)

US Dollar Under the Bus

While I was trying to recuperate from a flu over the weekend, Nancy Pelosi did a sneak attack and passed her monstrosity known as "Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009", or H.R. 3962 (in my mind, the health care deform) on Saturday night. (I'm sure it's a bargain for $30,000 per uninsured person.) Then, as if to prevent the stock market from tanking on Monday (Pelosi's deform will cost fortune for the rest of us; she doesn't care, she's one of multi-millionaires in Congress), G20 pledged to keep stimulus in place to prop up the global economy.

As the result, U.S. dollar was thrown under the bus. Oh for the good of the world, no doubt. Dollar carry trades in various forms (such as issuing U.S. dollar-denominated sovereign debt, for example) just got started.

The next support comes around 72 on the U.S. dollar index (DXY), which tracks a basket of currencies (Euro, Japanese Yen, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Swedish Krona, Swiss Franc) against the dollar. The last time the dollar index was in the 72 range was March - July 2008. Below that level, the currency will boldly go where no one has gone before. The area around 72 is the multi-decade low. (Remember this chart?)

The U.S. stock market cheers. Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 151 to 10,175, S&P500 up 16 to 1,086, Nasdaq up 30 to 2,143 as of 12:09 EST. What will Little Timmy and Big Ben do next?