Cyber Riot: Greek Protesters Use Lasers to Dazzle Police, Then Attack Them With Catapults, Stones And Petrol Bombs

Targeted: Protesters use a laser pen to track a riot police officer during violent protests in Keratea, Greece, where locals are opposing a planned rubbish tip

Dazzling: The officers are caught in the beam as they attempt to protect the town’s police station

Explosive situation: A petrol bomb is thrown at riot police, who responded with tear gas

Defiant: A protester walks among the burning barricades

Laser-guided: A protester uses a beam to help aim his catapult

It looked like a scene from a science fiction film featuring forces of the future in an apocalyptic battle zone.

But these images were captured during a riot in Keratea, Greece, where residents opposing a decision to establish a new landfill rubbish tip nearby took to the streets.

They used laser pens to dazzle riot police officers and then attacked them with catapults, stones and petrol bombs.

Three people were arrested and two officers injured during the violent clashes which began when people in a crowd attacked the town’s police station.

They were objecting to the detention of a local man suspected of involvement in previous clashes.

Police responded with tear gas.

Residents of the town, 25 miles south east of the capital Athens, have clashed repeatedly over the past two months with riot police guarding the site of the planned rubbish dump.

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:46 AM on 9th February 2011

Source: Daily Mail

Are Americans Stupid Enough to Sign Up For A Credit Card Charging Them 59.9% Interest? YES!!! 700,000 Americans Have Signed Up, With 200,000 to 300,000 New Applications A Month!

59.9 Percent? Americans Are Racking Up Huge Credit Card Balances Once Again And Some Of The Interest Rates Are Absolutely Outrageous!

Well, it was nice while it lasted.  One of the really good things that came out of the recent economic downturn was that millions of American families decided to get out of debt.  In particular, we had seen a sustained trend of reduced credit card usage in the United States.  It looked like Americans had finally wised up.  But we should have known that Americans would not be willing to tighten their belts forever.

Unfortunately, it appears that getting out of debt is no longer so “trendy”.  In fact, the month of December was the third month in a row in which consumer credit grew in the United States.  Prior to that, consumer credit in the United States had declined for 20 months in a row.  The American people were doing so, so good.  Why did they have to stop?  It appears that the American people have fallen off the wagon and have gotten a taste for credit card debt once again.

This time, however, the credit card companies are back with interest rates that are higher than ever.  In fact, one national credit card company has hundreds of thousands of customers signed up for a card that charges interest rates of up to 59.9%.


You mean there are people that are stupid enough to actually sign up for a credit card that will charge them 59.9% interest?

Unfortunately the answer is yes.

In fact, the top rate was 79.9% before First Premier Bank lowered it.

These cards are targeted at Americans that have a poor credit history, and these days there are a whole lot of those.

A recent story on the website of CNN described how large numbers of U.S. consumers with poor credit are gobbling up credit cards like these.  Unfortunately, many of these consumers are also not smart enough to realize what they are getting into.  The CNN story contained a quote from a woman who was in complete shock when she discovered that her interest rate was going to go up by 50 percentage points….

“I about had a heart attack when I got a disclosure notice saying that my starting rate of 29.9% was going up to 79.9%.”

First Premier Bank has since lowered the top rate on those cards to 59.9%, but that it still completely outrageous.

Not only are the interest rates on those cards super high, but they also charge a whole bunch of fees on those cards as well.  The following are some of the fees that First Premier Bank charges….

*$45 processing fee to open the account

*Annual fee of $30 for the first year

*$45 fee for every subsequent year

*A monthly servicing fee of $6.25

So you would think that nobody in their right mind would ever sign up for such a card, right?


CNN is reporting that almost 700,000 Americans have signed up for the card.


In fact, CNN says that First Premier Bank gets between 200,000 to 300,000 new applications a month for the card, but that they only open about 50,000 new accounts each month.

Are there really this many Americans that are this gullible?

If Americans would just remember the “DBS” rule they would be so much better off.

DBS = Don’t Be Stupid

Do you know how long it would take to pay off a credit card with a 59.9 percent interest rate?

Read moreAre Americans Stupid Enough to Sign Up For A Credit Card Charging Them 59.9% Interest? YES!!! 700,000 Americans Have Signed Up, With 200,000 to 300,000 New Applications A Month!

US: Farm Insurance Fraud is Cheating Taxpayers Out of Millions

Perpetrators falsely claim weather or insects destroyed their crops and cash in on a government-backed insurance program. Some don’t bother planting at all. Others sell their harvests in secret.

A satellite image of fields, showing plant density. The federal government has been using satellites, data-mining and other tools to look for fraud. (U.S. Department of Agriculture / January 9, 2006)

Reporting from Sacramento — The federal investigator took the witness stand and described the crime scene: a sprawling field clogged with boulders, native grasses and knee-high sagebrush.

The defendant, a California farmer, had said the site was a 200-acre wheat field. But the investigator found no tilled soil, no tractors, no plows. In fact, she testified, she found no wheat.

The field was just a field — and a prime example, federal prosecutors allege, of a wave of agricultural insurance scams sprouting across the nation.

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Read moreUS: Farm Insurance Fraud is Cheating Taxpayers Out of Millions

New Orleans Population Nearly 30 Percent Lower Than Before Hurricane Katrina

As intended by the elitists.

For more information see this:

Jesse Ventura Conspiracy Theory: ‘Gulf Coast Oil Spill’

A barge sits in a New Orleans neighbourhood destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The population of the city is nearly 30 per cent lower than it was in the years before the natural disaster

Over five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the aesthetic scars may be slowly healing but the impact clearly still remains – as it was revealed that the population of the city is nearly 30 per cent smaller than a decade ago.

The Louisiana city, which was the 24th biggest city in the U.S. two decades ago, is now languishing as the 53rd most populated.

According to the Census Bureau, just 343,829 people were living in the city as of April 1 last year.

n 2000, five years before the hurricane which claimed the lives of over 1,800 people, New Orleans was inhabited by a healthy 484,674.

Read moreNew Orleans Population Nearly 30 Percent Lower Than Before Hurricane Katrina

Bush Cancels Switzerland Visit (To Address A Jewish Charity Gala) Due To Threat Of Torture Prosecution

Former President George W. Bush laughs while answering questions about his presidency at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, November 18, 2010.
Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

GENEVA (Reuters) – Former President George W. Bush has canceled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.

Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod’s annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.

Human rights groups said they had intended to submit a 2,500-page case against Bush in the Swiss city on Monday for alleged mistreatment of suspected militants at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base in Cuba where captives from Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts in the so-called War on Terror were interned.

Read moreBush Cancels Switzerland Visit (To Address A Jewish Charity Gala) Due To Threat Of Torture Prosecution

Lies, Damn Lies: The B(L)S Jobs Report

“Change you can believe in?
More like bullshit you can take a bath in, if you ask me.”

– Prof. Dr. David Michael Green (Dec.19, 2009)

From the article:

“The 9% unemployment rate is more misleading than Citigroup’s corporate derivatives team and it only takes third grad math to figure it out.  Just think about it.  All else being equal, if only 36k jobs were added and ~150k people enter the workforce every month, right off the fucking bat we have ~100k more unemployed people going in to the population, and using the theory of something called Mathematics, that should cause the unemployment rate to increase, not decrease.  Of course the actual calculation has more moving parts than a Rube Goldberg machine or the Octomom’s vagina, so it’s not quite that clear cut (though it should be), but the point is that just using the headline numbers and saying unemployment dropped by .4% is intellectually bankrupt.

Here is a simpler, logical way to think about it.  The unemployment rate went from 9.4% to 9.0% with the addition of 36k jobs, so that would imply that for every 9k jobs added, the rate goes down by .1%, holding everything else equal (and Money McBags would like to hold these equal).  So, using basic math, for a 1% drop in the unemployment rate, the ponzeconomy™ just needs to add 90k jobs and thus to get the rate down from 9%, to a cockposterous 0% full employment, never been reached before level, the ponzeconomy™ just needs to add 810k jobs.  Ok, sounds simple enough, but here is the part where our minds get blown (and please let it be Alice Eve doing the blowing, and it not be our minds), according to B(L)S’ report, there are 13.9MM unemployed people, so if 810k jobs get added (and thus take unemployment to absolute zero, according to our calculations above), we’ll still have 13.1MM people unemployed.  That’s right, using the B(L)S’ math, 13.1MM unemployed people equals a 0% unemployment rate which only makes sense in the land of Make Believe or Art Laffer’s head.  Perhaps it’s a derivative of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, we’ll call it the Hildasolis uncertainty principle where the more you know the unemployment rate the less you know the number of unemployed.   So just step back from the numbers and think about this for a second (and then step back from that and think about this for a few hours).”

Quotes from the Great Depression

Wow.  Just fucking wow.  Even with stability in the Middle East more fragile than an osteoporosis sufferer’s boney coccyx as Egyptian government officials join in the protests against their own government (which is a bit like Alan Greenspan protesting against fiat currency or Camille Crimson protesting against hummers) and Jordan contemplates reforms to lessen the monarchy’s power (and newsflash King Abdullah, you might want to do some reading on Czar Alexander II because once you let Pandora out of the box, she’s not going back in, it’s called entropy (though if it were Brooklyn Decker‘s box that she were let out of, perhaps she would go back in)), with the jobs report not just relatively awful by missing guesses by a fuckton, but absolutely awful by showing fewer jobs are being created than in Whoopi Goldberg‘s pants (and Money McBags is not entirely sure what that means), and with propoganda being spread to impressionable of age females that a rise in cancers are linked to oral sex, the market still went up.  Unfuckingbelievable.  As the market seems to care about geopolitical unrest, a national depression, and anything tangible about as much as Mark Sanford cares about family values, all we can do is buy the fucking rip.

The big news was obviously the B(L)S jobs report which headlines lauded as a fantastic report as the unemployment rate dropped to 9.0% in a mathematical sleight of hand that would make Fibbonaci proud and Bernie Madoff’s dick hard, the private sector added 50k jobs which would have been more if not for that frisky weather (and um, the fucking depression), and the last two months of data were revised upwards by 20k each month (apparently the checks got lost in the mail).

So while analysts try to spin this number as positive (even though it was more disappointing than the book Cooking with Pooh is for coprophiliacs who order it sight unseen) as it was way below their guesses of 145k and way fucking below the whisper number of 180k (and as always, Money McBags only cares about whisper numbers if Kelly Brook is doing the whispering and the number is 69), Money McBags will break it down for you and show why it was so ugly that not even Bill Clinton would sleep with it.  So below are Money McBags’ thoughts on the B(L)S employment situation report and the Street’s reaction to it:

Read moreLies, Damn Lies: The B(L)S Jobs Report

Egypt Gas Pipeline Attacked, Cutting off Supplies to Jordan and Israel

Feb. 5 (Wall Street Journal) — An Egyptian gas pipeline in the Sinai peninsula was attacked Saturday, cutting off supplies to Jordan and Israel.

The pipeline was attacked by “subversive elements,” Egyptian state TV reported. There were no further details on those responsible, but the attack was the latest sign of deteriorating security in the key buffer between the Egyptian mainland and Israel.

A gas pipeline blows up in North Sinai in a suspected attack affecting supplies to both Israel and Jordan.

Conditions on the Sinai have been unsettled by the power vacuum created by nearly two weeks of massive demonstrations against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

In a sign of the rising tensions, Bedouin in the northern Sinai on Friday used rocket-propelled grenades to attack the headquarters of Egypt’s state security in El Arish, a town close to Egypt’s border crossing into Gaza, according to witnesses. The pipeline attack occurred in the same general area.

Read moreEgypt Gas Pipeline Attacked, Cutting off Supplies to Jordan and Israel

The German State of Hesse Bans The Burka, Risks Muslim Anger

A German state yesterday became the first region in the country to ban Muslim women from wearing burkas.

The country has been gripped for several months by an angry debate on multiculturalism with many Germans voicing their concerns over immigration.

Hesse, a state run by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has now became the first German region to ban Muslim face veils for public sector workers.

Hesse Interior Minister Boris Rheinsaid it was ‘not acceptable’ for a teacher in Frankfurt to wear a face veil because ‘public sector workers are obligated to have neutral religious and political views’.

The decision was prompted by a local teacher who had told her school she wanted to wear a burka in the classroom after returning from maternity leave. She had not previously worn one.

Debates about outlawing burkas have spread across Europe after France banned the Muslim face veils.

Read moreThe German State of Hesse Bans The Burka, Risks Muslim Anger

Joe Saluzzi on High-Frequency Trading: The Equity Market Is Now Controlled By The Machines

Joe Saluzzi, co-founder of Themis Trading LLC and outspoken exchange expert, is concerned with how high-frequency trading has brought the capital markets into uncharted – and dangerous – territory.

“Things have changed,” he cautions. With 50-70% of all trades being conducted by algorithms at micro-second time intervals, real human traders are increasingly challenged to understand how our markets actually work. “No longer do the technical patterns – that have lasted for years and years, and are written about all over – work anymore.”

In the following interview, Joe and Chris plunge into “dark pools” and other poorly-understood elements of our now-machine-dominated financial exchanges. The current system is fraught with risks of further “flash crash”-like disruptions, and at a fundmental level, feels a lot like sanctioned theft by the deep-pocketed institutions who can outspend on technology and speed. This is an important interview for anyone involved in trading (professionally or personally), as well as investors who want to know how today’s markets truly operate.

Download/Play the Podcast
Read the Transcript of the Podcast (You’ll find the transcript also below.)

In this podcast, Joe sheds light on why:

  • The flash crash happened and why our vulnerability to future crashes is even higher now.
  • How the majority of trades that happen on a daily basis are now conducted by machines that have no underlying concern or understanding for the companies who’s securities they trade. The market has become volume for the sake of volume – which is not healthy.
  • How the complexity and pace of the current technology driving trades has become so complex that it has effectively evolved beyond our ability to fully understand its risks.
  • Why the government agencies responsible for understanding and overseeing exchanges are woefully under-resourced and unprepared to be effective in this new era.
  • How the average trader is destined to lose in today’s market, while the big banks & HFT firms who can afford to win the arms race are making essentially-guaranteed profits.

As with our recent interviews with Jim RogersMarc Faber and Bill Fleckenstein, Jim ends the interview with his specific advice for the average trader/investor.

Transcript for Joe Saluzzi on High-Frequency Trading: The Equity Market Is Now Controlled By The Machines

Below is the transcript to Joe Saluzzi on High-Frequency Trading: The Equity Market Is Now Controlled By The Machines:

Chris: Hello this is Chris Martenson of, and today we’re going to be talking about a very important subject: how the stock market works. Specifically, about something called high frequency trading and its importance to you, its importance to the markets and its importance to our future. We are very fortunate today to be talking with Joe Saluzzi, a partner, cofounder and co-head of the equity trading firm Themis Trading, a leading independent agency brokerage firm that trades equities for institutional money managers and hedge funds. Prior to Themis, Joe headed the team responsible for equity sales and trading for major institutional accounts at Instinet corporation for more than 9 years. He’s a frequent speaker on issues involving market access, algorithmic trading, other sell and buy side concerns. He’s provided expert commentary for media outlets such as 60 minutes, Bloomberg, CNBC, Wall St Journal and many others.

Joe, welcome, it’s a real pleasure to be able to talk to you today.

Joe: Thanks a lot, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Read moreJoe Saluzzi on High-Frequency Trading: The Equity Market Is Now Controlled By The Machines

IT BEGINS: Bloomberg Unveils His Plans To Slash Benefits, And Raise The Retirement Age From 57 To 65

New York City’s pension was on track to run out of money in ten years. Thus no one is surprised that Bloomberg has proposed for major reform.

The key changes include raising the retirement age from 57 to 65.

He also wants to up the minimum term of employment from 5 to 10 years.

Additionally he would proscribe practices like adding accumulated overtime to final year pay to boost pension benefits.

The first two changes are constitutionally protected and require support from the state. Normally this would be unlikely, but in 2011 there’s a pension crisis everywhere from Albany to Greece.

Here are the full details from the Mayor’s press office, via the NYT:


Retirement Age/Vesting

· New Tier: Newly hired civilians and teachers will vest after 10 years of city employment and will be eligible to receive pension checks at age 65.

· Current: Most employees can vest after five years. Retirement ages vary, but are generally age 57 for civilians and as low as 55 for teachers with 27 years’ experience.

Employee Contributions

· New Tier: Civilian employees and teachers will contribute 5 percent of their salary in all years of employment.

Read moreIT BEGINS: Bloomberg Unveils His Plans To Slash Benefits, And Raise The Retirement Age From 57 To 65