Energy Drinks in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, there is little government regulation and no national standards for imported drinks, food, or medicines. That has meant the Afghan market has been flooded by outdated, low-quality energy drinks deemed unfit for sale in other countries.

Abdullah, an assistant shopkeeper, says Afghan distributors for foreign beverage companies sell expired products for discounted prices and that some shopkeepers readily buy the inferior products and sell them for a quick profit.

"Some of the drinks are past their expiry dates or have gone bad. They pose a health risk to people and shouldn't be sold. Only those that are legal, with expiry dates, and in good condition should be sold," he says. "The Public Health Ministry must regulate the market and take the necessary steps to stop this."


The Bernanke Put

French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

[a]fter an increase in duty has seen the price of heating oil double in two years.
Smog hits Athens as cash-strapped residents choose fire over fuel

Some 300,000 Brits had to choose between heat or food this Christmas season, while 9 million more are at risk of falling into 'fuel poverty' by 2016, a government advisory group has warned, calling on the PM for swift action.

Austerity Britain is experiencing a nutritional recession, with rising food prices and shrinking incomes driving up consumption of fatty foods, reducing the amount of fruit and vegetables we buy, and condeming people on the lowest incomes to an increasingly unhealthy diet.




What About Food Inflation, Bernanke?

[B]ut while the Fed moves on with its bond bonanza assuming rapidly rising prices won't be a problem, or at least not any time soon, it will be hard to convince shoppers at the grocery aisle.
Producer food prices are up 2.6% from a year earlier, compared with an annual gain of just 1.5% for all goods. In particular, chicken prices have surged 14.3% during the last year and wholesale beef and veal prices rose 8.2% in November, the biggest monthly gain since 2008.
For months, the US Department of Agriculture has warned about higher food prices. Next year, U.S. consumers may pay 3% to 4% more for food, the agency forecasts. The price of beef may rise as much as 5% amid tighter supplies of corn, which is used to feed cattle. Since June, the price of grain, the country's biggest crop, rose by more than 50%.
What About Food Inflation Bernanke?

[T]he study showed British families are buying up to 20 percent less fruit and vegetables in order to cut costs since 2007, saying that households are buying less food but paying far more for it.


Re-Post from 11/02/10

Twas the night before QE2, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Wall St banker louse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Ben Shalom soon would be there

Blankfein and Dimon were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of free money danced in their heads


first have to talk to his Probation officer about traveling out of state

not come down the chimney cuz' he aint trying to scuff his new J's.

have pitbulls pulling the sleigh instead of reindeer

Show up December 28th

wrap your presents up in aluminum foil

check to see if the police was in the neighborhood before he stopped at you house

fly with a suspended license

pick the lock instead of going down the chimney

give you food stamps instead of toys

give you the gift of life. His condom broke and he ain't paying no child support. Merry Christmas.                 

turn down the radio when he parallel park his sleigh"

Hashtag belongs to a black man. No racist intent.



168 Pakistan Children Killed by U.S. Drone Strikes over the Last Seven Years

This count as of August 2011

"Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians, a new report claimed today.
And the authors lay much of the blame on the use of the ‘double-tap’ strike where a drone fires one missile – and then a second as rescuers try to drag victims from the rubble
 Investigators also discovered that communities living in fear of the drones were suffering severe stress and related illnesses. Many parents had taken their children out of school because they were so afraid of a missile-strike.

Every reported U.S. drone strike from 2002-2012
"I've been tweeting for 12 hours and we're only at March 2010."

Barrosso Channels Clemenceau

"The next elections must not serve as a pretext for putting in doubt how indispensable these measures are,"


"The graveyards are full of indispensable men."


Retail Sales Rebound and Initial Claims Decrease?

“We’re off to a fairly strong holiday-spending season,” said Millan Mulraine, senior U.S. strategist for TD Securities in New York.
Bloomberg Pumps a Whole Lot of Nothing

Covered employment, those employed that are eligible to file for unemployment benefits:
7/7/2001:     128,116,562
11/17/2012: 128,066,082

Eleven years later and there are less employed that are eligible to file for unemployment insurance. Widely stated estimates for new entrants into the US workforce put that number at 1.8 million per year. 1.8 million times 11 = 19.8 million workers unaccounted for and missing.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadion Slaski, Chorzów, Poland Full Concert 2007.07.03

Red Hot Chili peppers Live at Slane Castle Full Concert

Alice in Chains - MTV Unplugged Full Show


Gérard Depardieu

has fled France's 75% income tax and moved to the bucolic tax shelter Belgian border town of Néchin. In 2011, Mr. Depardieu urinated in the aisle of an Air France flight forcing the plane to turn back.


The State Department's Top Pick for Cultural Ambassador to Bahrain

"[H]e had said earlier that the State Department had asked him to be a cultural ambassador to Bahrain, a religiously conservative Muslim country, “promoting music, freedom and positive party power.” "

 [Warning: the longest 2 minutes and 29 seconds of your life]


Initial Impression - a Vague Idea in Which Some Confidence is Placed Based on a First Look, a Cursory Glance

Change You Can Believe In

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Enrique Pena Nieto took the oath of office as Mexico's new president Saturday vowing to restore peace and security and take on the vested interests that have hindered economic prosperity.
Pena Nieto marked the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
"Mexico has not achieved the advances that the population demands or deserves," Pena Nieto said in an inaugural speech

Newly elected President Nieto's party, the PRI, held power from 1929 until 2000.


Christ. Seven Years of College Down the Drain. Might as Well Join the Fucking Peace Corps.


"[D]oes this mean that the prospects for student loan delinquencies are similar to those for the household debt in general, and thus no special attention is warranted? Unfortunately, this is not the case—some special accounting used for student loans, not applicable to other types of consumer debt, makes it likely that the delinquency rates for student loans are understated.
From this exercise, we find that as many as 47 percent of student loan borrowers appear to be in deferral or forbearance periods, and thus did not have to make payments as of third-quarter 2011. Specifically, 17.6 percent of borrowers had exactly the same balance in the third quarter as in the second quarter of this year, and 29.1 percent increased their overall student loan balance by taking on new originations or accruing interest to the balance.

We then recalculate the proportion of borrowers with a past due balance excluding this group of borrowers. We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent—much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively


Who Shot First?

[G]eneral Dayan interrupted: ''Never mind that. After all, I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let's talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was.''


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Speaks

Speaking in Thailand Sunday, President Obama defended Israel's counter-assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip by saying, "There's no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.
That is a very interesting thing to say at a time when the U.S. is regularly raining missiles down on Pakistan and Yemen.

Lloyd Continues Doing God's Work

BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.

Income inequality in the US is higher than Russia and equal to China

Wages paid as percent of GDP



Marc Faber

"I keep in my toilet a picture of Mr. Bernanke. And every time I think about selling my gold,
I look at it and I know better!"

From the link below:

"Our analysis leads us to believe that recovery is sound only if it does come of itself. For any revival which is merely due to artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of the depressions undone and adds, to an undigested remnant of maladjustments, new maladjustments of its own."
oseph Schumpeter

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt."
John Adams

Marc Faber

Amman Jordan

— Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets on Friday
The unrest began late on Tuesday after the government raised prices for cooking and heating gas by 54 percent and some oil derivatives by up to 28 percent. In response, thousands of Jordanians poured into the streets, pelting riot police with stones and torching police cars, government offices and private banks in the largest and most sustained protests to hit the country since the start of the region's uprisings nearly two years ago.



No Love für Deutschland

The protests began peacefully enough in Brussels, but the situation deteriorated as eggs were thrown at the Geman embassy in the Belgian capital.

In Thessaloniki:

Protesters heckled and threw coffee at Germany's consul to Thessaloniki over civil service layoffs, local officials said on Thursday, forcing riot police to intervene.
The protesters flung water and coffee at consul Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier on the sidelines of a conference on Greek-German trade initiatives, police said.
"Stand united to kick out the Nazis," some of the protesters chanted.
Other members of the German delegation were pelted with eggs by the group that numbered around 300 people, according to police.
Officers moved in to extricate the consul from the crowd, but nobody was injured and no arrests were made, the police said

Silvio chimes in: "The data after a year of technocratic government is disastrous and so I think there absolutely has to be a change in this economic policy imposed on us by Europe and above all by the hegemony of Germany." Berlusconi told reporters


Banned in Germany...for some reason

Five minute video produced by two Portuguese citizens intended for public view in Germany and released to coincide with Merkel's Portugal visit is banned for "political reasons."



Two Suicides of Those on the "Lagarde List"

Greek Government "Loses" List of Tax Evaders

"[T]he parliament has ordered a full inquiry into how the list slipped through their fingers. It was supplied two years ago by the-then French finance minister Christine Lagarde who, as IMF boss today, is one of Greece’s lead creditors."
Can't Fool the Fatman
Greek government chief found hanged
A former government official has been found hanged at his home in central Greece.
Leonidas Tzanis, 57, a former socialist politician and deputy interior minister from 1999 to 2001, was found dead by his wife in the town of Volos, said a police official.
The official said Mr Tzanis's death is being treated as suicide but no suicide note has been found.
Mr Tzanis was on a list of 36 politicians that a local website claimed were allegedly under investigation by Greece's financial police.
An official with knowledge of the probe said Mr Tzanis had been under investigation following an anonymous tip-off but no indication of wrongdoing has emerged.

A Greek businessman who had been accused of being part of the bribery and money laundering network involving former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is in jail on charges of stealing as much as $1.29 billion from defense contracts has been found dead in a hotel room in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Ben & Barry's Funky Chunky Monkey Recovery

...[f]oodstamp usage for both persons and households, has jumped to a new all time record.
More disturbing is that in the same month, the number of US households reliant on foodstamps rose by a whopping 99,493 to 22,541,744.
Finally, and putting it all into perspective, since December 2007, or the start of the Great Depression ver 2.0, the number of jobs lost is 4.5 million, while those added to foodstamps and disability rolls, has increased by a unprecedented 21 million.

Ben and Barry's Chunky Monkey Recovery


Greek Government "Loses" List of Tax Evaders

"[T]he parliament has ordered a full inquiry into how the list slipped through their fingers. It was supplied two years ago by the-then French finance minister Christine Lagarde who, as IMF boss today, is one of Greece’s lead creditors."
Can't Fool the Fatman


World Food Prices at 2008 Crisis Levels

FAO's index is below a peak of 238 points hit in February 2011, when high food prices helped drive the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, but current levels are very close to those seen in 2008 which sparked riots in poor countries.

Thanks Bernanke.


Q&A With Neil Barofsky

[A]nd, as we started discussing it, he gave me a warning. He said that I was doing myself real harm for my ”future prospects,” in his words. And by that, he explained that I had a very harsh tone. I was very critical of Wall Street and very critical of the Obama Administration as I was carrying out my job as SIGTARP and providing oversight. And he warned me that if I didn’t change my tone, it was going to hurt my ability to get a job after SIGTARP when I left the government, presumably to go get a job on Wall Street, that I was doing myself real harm. When I explained to him I wasn’t really interested in that, he then said, ”Well, even within the administration.” But then if I changed my tone, became a little bit more upbeat and positive, good things could happen to me. He mentioned even perhaps an Obama appointment as a -- as a federal judge, if only I would change my tone.
I was once told by an IG pointblank that he wished he could do what I was doing, but he was afraid for his job, that he had kids in college and he had -- he couldn’t afford to lose his job. And that’s one of the problems. They live in fear of being fired if they’re too aggressive in carrying out their duties.
Geithner was much more dismissive. I didn’t really meet with him all that often. Maybe a couple of meetings at times is very combative, at times very aggressive, at times profane.
They kept their jobs. They kept their bonuses. They kept their rich compensation they received prior to their bailouts. They kept -- those bonuses were soon restored for those executives.


"[A]nother factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

"Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect."


Spain's Banking Sector is Rock Solid. No, Really. Oliver Wyman Says It's So

From The NY Times:
[T]he number was within the range of previous estimates and well below the potential 100 billion euros, or $128.8 billion, in bailout money Spain negotiated with the other members of the euro zone union in June.
And of the 14 banks assessed by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, half are not in need of any emergency funds, including Santander, BBVA and La Caixa — the country’s three largest financial institutions.
and the European Commission both issued statements Friday, applauding the audit and expressing support for Spain. “This is a major step in implementing the financial assistance program and toward strengthening the viability of and confidence in the Spanish banking sector,” the commission, the administrative arm of the European Union, said in a statement.
The independent report, which Oliver Wyman based on its own work...
But wait. Let's check out some other results from Oliver Wyman:

Re-Post From 11/13/2010


Today We Are All Spaniards In Support of Liberty

Democracy.. is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty ... is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. -- Benjamin Franklin

A protester holds a sign that reads 'Without fighting, neither bread nor freedom'
Picture: Reuters



Jesse M. Unruh. A Great American

Jesse pulled a young fellow politician off to the side one sunny afternoon and offered this sage advice regarding lobbyists: "If you can't eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here."


"1.3 Billion People Will Flatten Little Japan"

"But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow"



Portugal, Spain and China. The Pot, it Simmers, and Soon Will Boil Over

Portuguese citizens protest against tax hikes imposed not by their elected officials but the EU and IMF:

Tens of thousands Spaniards gather in Madrid to protest austerity and tax hikes imposed on them from abroad:

Thouands of Chinese citizens protest against Japan, attack Japanese property:


Burning For Netanyahu

Israelis try to extinguish flames from a protester who set himself on fire during a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2012.
Israelis try to extinguish flames from a protester who set himself on fire during a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2012.

An elderly Israeli woman has set herself on fire, becoming the fourth person to self-immolate in the country over the past month.
Moshe Silman, who died from his wounds a week after, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a note, saying "the state of Israel robbed me out of everything and left me with nothing."
Hours before Silmon’s funeral, a 45-year old disabled army veteran died after setting himself on fire in a bus stop in the city of Yehud about 15 kilometers east of Tel Aviv.
Prior to the protest move, Akiva Mafa’i read out a letter and accused the Israeli officials of “taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”

Taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Related post:


“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” Henry Ford


What Could Go Wrong?

"If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration." Monti
"The greed for German taxpayer money is blossoming in undemocratic ways with Mr. Monti," party General Secretary Alexander Dobrindt said. "Mr. Monti apparently needs a clear announcement that we Germans will not be prepared to eliminate democracy in order to finance Italian debts."

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Figures Often Beguile Me...

"Here, courtesy of Zero Hedge, we might be able to provide Dave with a clue as to how the BLS managed that little trick: It added 377,000 jobs for seasonal adjustment. That just happened to be the largest such adjustment in July for the past 10 years.
Moreover, the always interesting but not particularly reliable birth/death model chipped in 52,000 additions. Together, , which even by our rudimentary math dwarfs 163,000.these happy statistical enhancements added up to something like 429,000



"[T]he correct approach is to reduce taxes and make it easier for businesses to fire workers."

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 | 12:14 a.m.
The number of unemployed keeps rising in Spain, official figures showed Friday, as the International Monetary Fund called on European leaders to quickly fulfill their promises to help the country and the 17-country eurozone.
The recession-hit country's unemployment rate rose to 24.63 percent in the second quarter.
For those under 25 years of age, the unemployment rate climbed to 53 percent, from 52 percent in the previous quarter.
Greece's rate was not far behind at 22.5 per cent, though the latest figures available are for April. Many countries that use the euro, including France and Italy, also have double-digit unemployment rates


Democracy My Fat White Ass

Map shows the level of income inequality. As stated, income inequality in the US now surpasses Russia and is comparable with China.