3/14/2009 New Radar

by JASON | 7:48 PM in |

Heads Up: You can scroll down the blog roll on the right hand side to see the latest updates on the blogs I follow. They are posted with the most recent first. A quick scroll through will give you a pretty good idea what's raging at the moment - for example Cramer getting toasted by Stewart.

I'm always looking for new blogs with good insights.

I try to steer clear of the stuff the other blogs are covering - as they do a much better job (Calc Risk, Mish, Market Ticker, etc).

Interesting tidbit...


The pharmaceutical industry that long has benefited from Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's legislative efforts has directed large sums of money to a charity he helped found -- and still raises money for -- while also hiring the Republican lawmaker's son as a lobbyist.

Ramirez Peyro, a former Mexican law enforcer, argues that if returned to Mexico, he will be tortured and murdered with the assistance of Mexican officials, specifically law enforcers, as a payback for his snitching on drug-cartel activities.

According to the government's attorney, Tiffanny Walters Kleinert, the facts of the case, as established by the immigration judge who heard the case originally, are not in dispute and the government does not contest that Ramirez Peyro will, in all likelihood, be murdered, if deported to Mexico, probably with the assistance of Mexican law enforcers.

However, in a twist that seems out of sync with the human rights rhetoric coming out of the Obama White House, Kleinert also argues before the Appeals Court that even though Ramirez Peyro faces an almost-certain gruesome death if returned to Mexico, he is not entitled to relief from the court under the Convention Against Torture — which prohibits the U.S. from deporting an individual to a country where he faces imminent risk of being tortured by individuals acting on behalf of the government.

In other words, because any Mexican law enforcer (or soldier) involved in torturing and killing Ramirez Peyro would be acting without the “official” permission of the Mexican government, Ramirez Peyro is precluded, according to Kleinert's argument, from seeking protection under the Convention Against Torture.

If the U.S. Court of Appeals agrees with Kleinert, then the U.S. government will provide Ramirez Peyro with a one-way ticket to Mexico — where even the attorney representing the U.S. government in this case agrees he will most likely face the same fate as the House of Death murder victims — whose corpses were found buried in the backyard of a middle-class home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in various states of decay, covered in lime ("milk" in narco-trafficker parlance) to speed decomposition.

“When you see them doing this, then the fact there's a cover up of the other murders [in the House of Death] should come as no surprise,” says former DEA Special Agent in Charge Sandalio Gonzalez, who blew the whistle on the U.S. government’s complicity in the House of Death murders. “There is no Department of Justice. There is a government law firm that defends government officials, and in this case, they're going the extra step. They're trying to get rid of the witness [Ramirez Peyro]. Wow!”

The House of Death murders, which occurred between August 2003 and mid-January 2004, took place in Juarez under the watch of the Bush administration, as did the cover-up of the U.S. government’s complicity in those murders — orchestrated at the highest levels of the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This all played out despite the fact that U.S. Attorney Sutton (a “dear friend” of former President Bush who remains in office as of now under the Obama administration) had enough evidence to close out the investigation against Santillan several months prior to the first House of Death murder. Instead, Sutton chose to allow the informant to continue his bloody work — for which the U.S. government paid Ramirez Peyro some $220,000.

Previous e-bomb designs were based on explosively driven magnetic flux compression generators. They used a series of tightly wound, current-carrying metal coils that are rapidly compressed by an explosion. The new technology is much more compact. It's based on research showing that some magnets will spontaneously demagnetize when hit by a powerful enough shock wave, releasing a pulse of energy, in the process. The technical term is "pressure-induced magnetic phase transition."

Having proved the principle by blowing up neodymium magnets (like the ones in your headphones) the Army's Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (Amrdec) have moved on to lead zirconate titanate magnets. The current state of the art is described as a completely explosive ultracompact high-voltage nanosecond pulse-generating system, occupying about one-fifth of a cubic inch.

There are engineering challenges at the other end. For this new weapon to work, you need an antenna that can fit inside a warhead, but is big enough to do the job. The problem is, the size is dictated by the properties of the electromagnetic pulse to be generated. You could used some sort of folding antenna, perhaps. The Army is going one step further and using an antenna made out of fire. To be more exact, Allen Stults of Amrdec is using the jet of ionized plasma produced by the explosion as an antenna.

It has been known for centuries that flames will conduct electricity; there are a few neat applications, like flame speakers. This makes it possible to use a length of ionized gas rather than a piece of metal as an antenna. By tinkering with the chemical mixture in shaped charge warheads, Stults is creating a "plasma antenna" that will direct an electromagnetic pulse at the target. Like a lightsaber blade, the plasma antenna is a glowing tube that appears from nowhere — and it should be quite deadly to electronics.

A strategic review nearing completion is being carried out by a team of high-ranking administration officials whose recommendations will be subject to Mr. Obama’s approval. After seven years of a United States-led war effort in Afghanistan, officials involved in the review say that the military to date has succeeded primarily in driving the most hard-core Taliban and other extremist militants out of Afghanistan and into western Pakistan, including the mountainous tribal areas and the city of Quetta.

Then why the need for build-up and why has drug production gone up 600%....if the US isn't behind the drug trade...

I was wondering if you could direct me to the law (or other mechanism)
that authorizes the deployment of regular U.S. Army personnel along side
civilian law enforcement on non-federal property? This case does not
seem to fit any of the exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act. Perhaps I
am mistaken. Please clarify this issue.

What were the Fort Rucker soldiers ordered to do with regard to this
shooting incident?

The Fort Rucker soldiers appeared to be carrying sidearms. Were they, in
fact, carrying sidearms? If so, what were the rules of engagement on
this mission on 10 March 2009 in Samson, Alabama?

Thank you,
Kevin Flaherty


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.

The groups also cited an increase in "third-party collections" estimated in the 2010 budget proposal -- something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.

Currently, veterans' private insurance is charged only when they receive health care from the VA for medical issues that are not related to service injuries, like getting the flu.

Charging for service-related injuries would violate "a sacred trust," Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis said. Davis said the move would risk private health care for veterans and their families by potentially maxing out benefits paying for costly war injury treatments.

Plus, what private insurer would offer coverage to a combat veteran if they succeed with that plan? Obama doesn't care...the guy isn't even a US citizen.

Washington -- As the Obama administration begins investing billions in health information technology, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to use its unrivaled size to bring high-tech medical records to U.S. physicians.

In recent years Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has used its buying power to move into healthcare markets, negotiating steep discounts for prescription drugs and eye care products.

With the government providing $17 billion of stimulus funding to encourage use of electronic medical records, the company sees an opportunity to serve as a low-cost, one-stop option for doctors and small practices.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said Wednesday the company was partnering with computer giant Dell Inc. and software maker eClinicalWorks to launch a bundled electronic health records package for doctors, including installation and maintenance.

HELSINKI (AP) — Several European countries have restricted gun laws in the wake of school massacres, gang violence and other gun-related crimes:

_Finland announced plans Wednesday to impose stricter restrictions on firearms, including raising the minimum age for handgun ownership from 15 to 20. The proposal was prompted by two school massacres within a year in which lone gunmen opened fire on classmates and teachers.

_Germany, where a gunman killed at least 11 people Wednesday, raised the legal age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21 following a 2002 shooting in Erfurt that killed 16 people, including 12 teachers.

_Belgian lawmakers passed strict new gun control laws in 2006 in reaction to the racially motivated shooting deaths of a toddler and her black baby sitter in Antwerp.

_Swiss citizens are demanding a referendum aimed at confining army weapons to military compounds and banning private purchases of pump-action rifles and automatic weapons — following a spate of suicides and homicides.

_The Portuguese Parliament is currently discussing a government proposal to tighten gun laws, including denying bail to anyone suspected of a gun crime.

_Denmark's government said last week it will raise the penalty for illegal gun possession as part of a crackdown on gang violence that has killed three people and injured 25 in recent months.

_European Union lawmakers proposed tighter gun control across the bloc last year, including guidelines saying that only people over 18 not deemed a threat to public safety could buy and keep guns. EU members have until 2010 to adopt the measures.

House prices may fall by a further 55 percent and there is a "very real probability" that Britain will be bankrupted, a leading investment bank has warned in a private note to clients.

People who bought buy-to-let flats are expected to “begin panic selling” and the average home value could drop below £100,000.

The predictions in a 298-page report from Numis Securities, a City investment bank, are the bleakest yet on the deteriorating state of the British property market.

However, in the note written last month, Numis said: “Despite UK house prices already having fallen 21% from the peak, we do not believe that the correction is anywhere near over.

“Our core headline forecast is that UK property prices remain between 17% and 39% overvalued based on fair valuation. Moreover, history has shown us that when property…which has experienced a price bubble corrects, the price tends to fall below fair value for a period of time, as confidence in that market remains low. Prices could fall a further 40-55% if the over-correction was as bad as the early 1990s in our view.”

That would be my view also. I expect the stock market to hit early 90's levels (i.e. pre-1995) at a minimum.