Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hedge funders' suit claims money went to porn investment, swingers' resort

BY Jose Martinez

Wednesday, August 12th 2009, 4:00 AM

A swingers' resort was one of the investments, a suit claims Milton (Todd) Ault 3rd invested their money in.

A California moneyman with X-rated interests is being sued by several hedge funds who accuse him of shoveling their millions into porn and a planned Catskills swingers ranch.

Milton (Todd) Ault 3rd is charged with stiffing a dozen hedge funds on a $4.2 million investment with his firm Zealous Inc.

The Manhattan Supreme Court suit says the money was supposed to be steered to an "integrated global community of trading partners."

"The financing was a scam," the suit says. "He intended to, and did, use plaintiffs' money to fund [his] lifestyle, which included the development of a 'swingers ranch' in the Catskills and other pornographic-related endeavors."

Ault, whose online bio boasts that he has traded stocks since he was 11, has dabbled in adult entertainment, and his company co-produced a porn flick based on Sarah Palin.

He declared the suit "worthless" and said any talk of a swinger hideaway in New Lebanon, N.Y., was a "joke."

"We were subdividing it into eight lots," Ault said. "There was never going to be a swingers club."

Ault, who worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Prudential Securities before starting Zealous, said the money was always earmarked for the creation of a platform for the trading of securities.

"These hedge funds didn't do their homework when they made their investment," said Ault, adding that the funds have already recouped a chunk of the money.

He said the 130-acre plot of land on Wadsworth Road was purchased long before the hedge funds invested in his company.

Last September, Ault merged Zealous into Adult Entertainment Capital Inc., a publicly traded firm that issued a press release about plans for a 140-acre East Coast project for the "fast-growing swingers lifestyle."

Ault insisted yesterday a swingers ranch was never seriously planned for woodsy Columbia County.

"That was simply a joke," he said.

A lawyer for the hedge funds did not return calls.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Uncle Sam Manipulating Bond Market

Originally Posted in "Freedoms Phoenix" News That Matters or Should Matter to YOU!
08/08/2009 • Market Skeptic

Uncle Sam is goosing the bond market just like he is the stock market. Take a look at Treasury's latest bit of chicanery which was stuffed in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal back in June: "The sudden increase in demand by foreign buyers for Treasurys, hailed as proof that the world's central banks are still willing to help absorb the avalanche of supply, mightn't be all that it seems. When the government sells bonds, traders typically look at a group of buyers called indirect bidders, which includes foreign central banks, to divine overseas demand for U.S. debt. That demand has been rising recently, giving comfort to investors that foreign buyers will continue to finance the U.S.'s budget deficit. But in a little-noticed switch on June 1, the Treasury changed the way it accounts for indirect bids, putting more buyers under that umbrella and boosting the portion of recent Treasury sales that the market perceived were being bought by foreigners."

Reported by Lori Smith

Click on title above for full article as appeared in "Freedoms Phoenix" ;

Laundering Money through the Big Banks: Bernanke's Quid Pro Quo

Global Research, August 3, 2009
by Mike Whitney

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is a man who knows how Washington works and uses that knowledge to great effect. His appearances on Capital Hill are always worth watching. He sits politely with his hands folded in front of him playing the bashful professor while one one preening congressman after another makes a fool out of themself. In contrast, Bernanke looks like a modest and thoughtful academic faithfully upholding the public's trust. But things aren't always as they seem. The Fed chief is sticking it to the American people big-time and no one seems to have any idea of what's really going on. Former hedge fund manager Andy Kessler sums it up in a recent Wall Street Journal article, "The Bernanke Market". Here's a clip:

"By buying U.S. Treasuries and mortgages to increase the monetary base by $1 trillion, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke didn't put money directly into the stock market but he didn't have to. With nowhere else to go, except maybe commodities, inflows into the stock market have been on a tear. Stock and bond funds saw net inflows of close to $150 billion since January. The dollars he cranked out didn't go into the hard economy, but instead into tradable assets. In other words, Ben Bernanke has been the market."

What does it mean?

It means the revered professor Bernanke figured out a way to circumvent Congress and dump more than a trillion dollars into the stock market by laundering the money through the big banks and other failing financial institutions. As Kessler suggests, Bernanke knew the liquidity would pop up in the equities market, thus, building the equity position of the banks so they wouldn't have to grovel to Congress for another TARP-like bailout. Bernanke's actions demonstrate his contempt for the democratic process. The Fed sees itself as a government-unto-itself.

Over at Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden did the math and figured that the recent 45% surge in the S&P 500 had nothing to do with the fictional economic "recovery", but was just more of the Fed's hanky panky. Durden noticed that the money that's been sluicing into stocks hasn't (correspondingly) depleted the money markets. That's the clue that led him to the truth about Bernanke's 6 month stock rally.

Zero Hedge: "Most interesting is the correlation between Money Market totals and the listed stock value since the March lows: a $2.7 trillion move in equities was accompanied by a less than $400 billion reduction in Money Market accounts!

Where, may we ask, did the balance of $2.3 trillion in purchasing power come from? Why the Federal Reserve of course, which directly and indirectly subsidized U.S. banks (and foreign ones through liquidity swaps) for roughly that amount. Apparently these banks promptly went on a buying spree to raise the all important equity market, so that the U.S. consumer who net equity was almost negative on March 31, could have some semblance of confidence back and would go ahead and max out his credit card. Alas, as one can see in the money multiplier and velocity of money metrics, U.S. consumers couldn't care less about leveraging themselves any more."

So, the magical "Green Shoots" stock market rally was fueled by a mere $400 billion from the money markets. The rest ($2.3 trillion) was main-lined into the market via Bernanke's quantitative easing (QE) program, of which Krugman and others speak so highly.

Wouldn't you like to know if Bernanke sat down with G-Sax and JPM executives and mapped out the details of this swindle before the printing presses ever started rolling?

So, how long can this kind of fakery go on before our creditors grow weary of dealing with chiselers and stop buying US Treasuries altogether? Here's a blurp from Friday's Wall Street Journal on that very topic:

"Shaky auctions of Treasury notes this week reignited concerns about whether the government can attract buyers from China and elsewhere to soak up trillions in new debt.

A fuse was lit this week when traders noted China's apparent absence from direct participation in two Treasury bond auctions. While China may have bought Treasurys just before the auctions, market participants read the country's actions as a worrying sign that China and other foreign investors may be ratcheting back purchases at a time when the U.S. is seeking to fund a $1.8 trillion budget deficit.

This week alone, the U.S. deluged the bond market with more than $200 billion in record-size sales. The U.S. has had little trouble finding buyers in recent months. But that demand is fading, and the Treasury market has become volatile."

Uncle Sam is goosing the bond market just like he is the stock market. Take a look at Treasury's latest bit of chicanery which was stuffed in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal back in June:

"The sudden increase in demand by foreign buyers for Treasurys, hailed as proof that the world's central banks are still willing to help absorb the avalanche of supply, mightn't be all that it seems.

When the government sells bonds, traders typically look at a group of buyers called indirect bidders, which includes foreign central banks, to divine overseas demand for U.S. debt. That demand has been rising recently, giving comfort to investors that foreign buyers will continue to finance the U.S.'s budget deficit.

But in a little-noticed switch on June 1, the Treasury changed the way it accounts for indirect bids, putting more buyers under that umbrella and boosting the portion of recent Treasury sales that the market perceived were being bought by foreigners." ("Is foreign Demand as Solid as it Looks, Min zeng)

Nice touch, eh? So, someone doesn't want you and me to know when foreign demand drops off a cliff, so they just bend-and-twist the definitions so they meet the Fed's requirements. How's that for transparency?. Apparently, Bernanke et al. don't believe the Chinese have translators who can make sense of all this subterfuge. That may be a miscalculation, however, given recent rumblings from the Orient.

Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mike Whitney


Ill Winds Blowing Fast & Hard

Things Grow Worse So Fast These Days

Posted by Neal McCluskey

This morning, posted an op-ed I wrote on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsbility Act (SAFRA). It lays out a lot of the problems with this horrible bill, but given the blistering pace at which Congress is trying to blow stuff by the public, op-eds can’t be written and posted quickly enough to keep up with all the latest news. Indeed, congressional leaders are moving so fast their own budget office can’t keep up.

In my op-ed, I offer the following warning about the likely, true impact of the bill, which supporters say won’t end up costing a new dime thanks to $87 billion in savings to be achieved by ending federal guaranteed student lending and going completely to direct lending:

Finally, roughly $10 billion is supposed to go toward reducing the federal government’s deficit, a ludicrously small figure considering that it recently surpassed $1 trillion for fiscal year 2009 and the SAFRA bill supposedly creates savings without causing current beneficiaries any pain. If all the proclaimed savings don’t appear, the last two words in ‘Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility’ become an even bigger joke.

Well, reading the bill, and then taking in two CBO analyses of it released after the House Education and Labor Committee passed it, shows that the latter half of the bill’s title really is laughable.

First off, the bill doesn’t say one word about reserving bucks for deficit reduction.

Next, looking at the first CBO estimate released after Education and Labor passed the bill, it’s clear that once one considers all the new spending in it, SAFRA will cost taxpayers many additional ducats. While the bill is expected to save a net $7.8 billion in direct spending over ten years, it’s expected to cost $13.5 billion in additional appropriated funding, such as administrative costs, for a net new cost to taxpayers of $5.7 billion. And that’s not all….

In a letter to Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) written a few days after the official cost estimate, the CBO said that had its estimate fully accounted for additional risk to the government of doing all direct lending, the projected savings would have been about $33 billion lower than projected. Add that greatly reduced savings to the net costs in the previous estimate, and suddenly a bill being touted as a deficit reducer is a deficit grower, to the estimated tune of almost $40 billion!

Of course, those probably won’t be the final numbers, so there will no doubt be more news on this bill to come.

Monday, August 10, 2009

During Crisis, Paulson's Calls to Goldman Posed Ethics Test

Before he became President George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary in 2006, Henry M. Paulson Jr. agreed to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than his predecessors. He not only sold all his holdings in Goldman Sachs, the investment bank he had run, but also specifically said that he would avoid any substantive interaction with Goldman executives for his entire term unless he first obtained an ethics waiver from the government.

But today, seven months after Mr. Paulson left office, questions are still being asked about his part in decisions last fall to prop up the teetering financial system with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, including aid that directly benefited his former firm. Testifying on Capitol Hill last month, he was grilled about his relationship with Goldman.

“Is it possible that there’s so much conflict of interest here that all you folks don’t even realize that you’re helping people that you’re associated with?” Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, asked Mr. Paulson at the July 16 hearing.

“I operated very consistently within the ethic guidelines I had as secretary of the Treasury,” Mr. Paulson responded, adding that he asked for an ethics waiver for his interactions with his old firm “when it became clear that we had some very significant issues with Goldman Sachs.”

Mr. Paulson did not say when he received a waiver, but copies of two waivers he received — from the White House counsel’s office and the Treasury Department — show they were issued on the afternoon of Sept. 17, 2008.

That date was in the middle of the most perilous week of the financial crisis and a day after the government agreed to lend $85 billion to the American International Group, which used the money to pay off Goldman and other big banks that were financially threatened by A.I.G.’s potential collapse.

It is common, of course, for regulators to be in contact with market participants to gather valuable industry intelligence, and financial regulators had to scramble very quickly last fall to address an unprecedented crisis. In those circumstances it would have been difficult for anyone to follow routine guidelines.

While Mr. Paulson spoke to many Wall Street executives during that period, he was in very frequent contact with Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman’s chief executive, according to a copy of Mr. Paulson’s calendars acquired by The New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

During the week of the A.I.G. bailout alone, Mr. Paulson and Mr. Blankfein spoke two dozen times, the calendars show, far more frequently than Mr. Paulson did with other Wall Street executives.

On Sept. 17, the day Mr. Paulson secured his waivers, he and Mr. Blankfein spoke five times. Two of the calls occurred before Mr. Paulson’s waivers were granted.

Michele Davis, a spokeswoman for Mr. Paulson, said that the former Treasury secretary was busy writing his memoirs and that his publisher had barred him from granting interviews until his manuscript was done. She pointed out that the ethics agreement Mr. Paulson agreed to when he joined the Treasury did not prevent him from talking to Goldman executives like Mr. Blankfein in order to keep abreast of market developments.

Ms. Davis also said that Federal Reserve officials, not Mr. Paulson, played the lead role in shaping and financing the A.I.G. bailout.

But Mr. Paulson was closely involved in decisions to rescue A.I.G., according to two senior government officials who requested anonymity because the negotiations were supposed to be confidential.

And government ethics specialists say that the timing of Mr. Paulson’s waivers, and the circumstances surrounding it, are troubling.

“I think that when you have a person in a high government position who has been with one of the major financial institutions, things like this have to happen more publicly and they have to happen more in the normal course of business rather than privately, quietly and on the fly,” said Peter Bienstock, the former executive director of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity and a partner at the law firm of Cohen Hennessey Bienstock & Rabin.

He went on: “If it can happen on a phone call and can happen without public scrutiny, it destroys the standard because then anything can happen in that fashion and any waiver can happen.”

Inevitable Questions

Concerns about potential conflicts of interest were perhaps inevitable during this financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. In the weeks before Mr. Paulson obtained the waivers, Treasury lawyers raised questions about whether he had conflicts of interest, a senior government official said.

Indeed, Mr. Paulson helped decide the fates of a variety of financial companies, including two longtime Goldman rivals, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, before his ethics waivers were granted. Ad hoc actions taken by Mr. Paulson and officials at the Federal Reserve, like letting Lehman fail and compensating A.I.G.’s trading partners, continue to confound some market participants and members of Congress.

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“I think it’s clear he had a conflict of interest,” Mr. Stearns, the congressman, said in an interview. “He was covering himself with this waiver because he knew he had a conflict of interest with his telephone calls and with his actions. Even though he had no money in Goldman, he had a vested interest in Goldman’s success, in terms of his own reputation and historical perspective.”

Adding to questions about Mr. Paulson’s role, critics say, is the fact that Goldman Sachs was among a group of banks that received substantial government assistance during the turmoil. Goldman not only received $13 billion in taxpayer money as a result of the A.I.G. bailout, but also was given permission at the height of the crisis to convert from an investment firm to a national bank, giving it easier access to federal financing in the event it came under greater financial pressure.

Goldman also won federal debt guarantees and received $10 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It benefited further when the Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly changed its rules governing stock trading, barring investors from being able to bet against Goldman’s shares by selling them short.

Now that the company’s crisis has passed, Goldman has rebounded more markedly than its rivals. It has paid back the $10 billion in government assistance, with interest, and exited the federal debt guarantee program. It recently reported second-quarter profit of $3.44 billion, putting its employees on track to earn record bonuses this year: about $700,000 each, on average.

Ms. Davis, the spokeswoman for Mr. Paulson, said Goldman never received special treatment from the Treasury. Mr. Paulson’s calendars do not disclose any details about his conversations with Mr. Blankfein, and Ms. Davis said Mr. Paulson always maintained a proper regulatory distance from his old firm.

A spokesman for Goldman, Lucas van Praag, said: “Lloyd Blankfein, like the C.E.O.’s of other major financial institutions, received calls from, and made calls to, Treasury to provide a market perspective on conditions and events as they were unfolding. Given what was happening in the world, it would have been shocking if such conversations hadn’t taken place.”

Although federal officials were concerned that Goldman Sachs might collapse that week, Mr. van Praag said the only topics of discussion between Mr. Blankfein and Mr. Paulson at the time involved Lehman Brothers’ troubled London operations and “disarray in the money markets.” Mr. van Praag said Goldman was fully insulated from financial fallout related to a possible A.I.G. collapse in mid-September of last year.

However, Mr. Paulson believed he needed to request the ethics waivers during that tumultuous week, after regulators had become concerned that the same crisis of confidence that felled Bear Stearns and Lehman might spread to the remaining investment banks, including Goldman Sachs.

At a conference call scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2008, Fed officials intended to discuss the financial soundness of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, and they had asked Mr. Paulson to participate, according to Mr. Paulson’s calendars and his spokeswoman.

That was the first time during the crisis that Mr. Paulson’s involvement required a waiver, Ms. Davis said. The waiver was requested that morning and granted orally that afternoon, just before the 3 p.m. conference call.

A few minutes later, in an e-mail message to Mr. Paulson, Bernard J. Knight Jr., assistant general counsel at the Treasury, outlined the agency’s rationale for granting the waiver.

“I have determined that the magnitude of the government’s interest in your participation in matters that might affect or involve Goldman Sachs clearly outweighs the concern that your participation may cause a reasonable person to question the integrity of the government’s programs and operations,” Mr. Knight wrote.

Goldman’s Windfall

For investors in the United States and around the world, the days after the A.I.G. rescue were perilous and uncertain; the Dow Jones industrial average fell 4 percent on Sept. 17 as credit markets froze and investors absorbed the implications of the insurance giant’s collapse. That day, Mr. Paulson and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve were scrambling to contain the damage and shore up investor confidence.

But Mr. Paulson has disavowed any involvement in the decision to use taxpayer funds to make Goldman and A.I.G.’s trading partners whole. In his July testimony to the House, he said: “I want you to know that I had no role whatsoever in any of the Fed’s decision regarding payments to any of A.I.G.’s creditors or counterparties.”

Ms. Davis reiterated this, saying that Mr. Paulson’s involvement in the A.I.G. bailout was meant to forestall a collapse of the entire financial system and not to rescue any individual firms exposed to A.I.G., like Goldman. However, she said, federal officials were worried that both Goldman and Morgan Stanley were in danger themselves of failing later in the week and it was in that context that Mr. Paulson received a waiver.

“The waiver was in anticipation of a need to rescue Goldman Sachs,” Ms. Davis said, “not to bail out A.I.G.”

Treasury Department lawyers said a waiver for Mr. Paulson regarding A.I.G. was not necessary, Ms. Davis said, because the A.I.G. rescue was conducted by the Federal Reserve. The Treasury had no power to rescue A.I.G., she said. Only the Fed could make such a loan.

But according to two senior government officials involved in the discussions about an A.I.G. bailout and several other people who attended those meetings and requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements, the government’s decision to rescue A.I.G was made collectively by Mr. Paulson, officials from the Federal Reserve and other financial regulators in meetings at the New York Fed over the weekend of Sept. 13-14, 2008.

These people said Mr. Paulson played a major role in the A.I.G. rescue discussions over that weekend and that it was well known among the participants that a loan to A.I.G. would be used to pay Goldman and the insurer’s other trading partners.

Over that weekend, according to a former senior government official involved in the discussions, Mr. Paulson said that he had been warned by lawyers for the Treasury Department not to contact Goldman executives directly. But he said Mr. Paulson told him he had disregarded the advice because the “crisis” required action.

Ms. Davis said: “Hank doesn’t recall saying that. Staff had advised that he interact one on one with Goldman as little as possible, not because it would be a violation but for appearances, recognizing someone would likely attempt to read too much into it.”

On Sept. 16, 2008, the day that the government agreed to inject billions into A.I.G., Mr. Paulson personally called Robert B. Willumstad, A.I.G.’s chief executive, and dismissed him. Mr. Paulson’s involvement in the decision to rescue A.I.G. is also supported by an e-mail message sent by Scott G. Alvarez, general counsel at the Federal Reserve Board, to Robert Hoyt, a Treasury legal counsel, that same day.

The subject of the message, acquired under the Freedom of Information Act, is “AIG Letter,” and it contains a reference to a document called “AIG.Paulson.Letter.draft2.09.16.2008.doc.” The letter itself was not released.

Ms. Davis said this letter was intended to confirm that the Treasury and Mr. Paulson supported the loan to A.I.G. and that its officials recognized that any Fed losses would be absorbed by taxpayers. She said the existence of the letter did not confirm that Mr. Paulson was extensively involved in discussions about an A.I.G. bailout.

Since last September, the government’s commitment to A.I.G. has swelled to $173 billion. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office questioned whether taxpayers would ever be repaid the money loaned to what was once the world’s largest insurance company.

Constant Contact

In the ethics agreement that Mr. Paulson signed in 2006, he wrote: “I believe that these steps will ensure that I avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in the performance of my duties as Secretary of the Treasury.”

While that agreement barred him from dealing on specific matters involving Goldman, he spoke with Mr. Blankfein at other pivotal moments in the crisis before receiving waivers.

Mr. Paulson’s schedules from 2007 and 2008 show that he spoke with Mr. Blankfein, who was his successor as Goldman’s chief, 26 times before receiving a waiver.

On the morning of Sept. 16, 2008, the day the A.I.G. rescue was announced, Mr. Paulson’s calendars show that he took a call from Mr. Blankfein at 9:40 a.m. Mr. Paulson received the ethics waiver regarding contacts with Goldman between 2:30 and 3 the next afternoon. According to his calendar, he called Mr. Blankfein five times that day. The first call was placed at 9:10 a.m.; the second at 12:15 p.m.; and there were two more calls later that day. That evening, after taking a call from President Bush, Mr. Paulson called Mr. Blankfein again.

When the Treasury secretary reached his office the next day, on Sept. 18, his first call, at 6:55 a.m., went to Mr. Blankfein. That was followed by a call from Mr. Blankfein. All told, from Sept. 16 to Sept. 21, 2008, Mr. Paulson and Mr. Blankfein spoke 24 times.

At the height of the financial crisis, Mr. Paulson spoke far more often with Mr. Blankfein than any other executive, according to entries in his calendars.

The calls between Mr. Paulson and Mr. Blankfein, especially those surrounding the A.I.G. bailout, are disturbing to Samuel L. Hayes, a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and a consultant in the past for government agencies, including the Treasury Department.

“We don’t know what they talked about,” Mr. Hayes said. “Obviously there was an enormous amount at stake for Goldman in whether or not the A.I.G. contracts would be made whole. So I think the burden is now on Mr. Paulson to demonstrate that there was no exchange of information one way or the other that influenced the ultimate decision of the government to essentially provide a blank check for A.I.G.’s contracts.”

In a letter accompanying the government’s production of Mr. Paulson’s calendar under the Freedom of Information Act request, Kevin M. Downey, a lawyer for Mr. Paulson, raised questions about how comprehensive the schedules were. He noted, for example, that the calendars did not reflect the Treasury secretary’s attendance at several public events. Mr. Downey did not return phone calls or e-mail messages seeking further comment.

Moreover, because the schedules include only phone calls made through Mr. Paulson’s office at Treasury, they provide only a partial picture of his communications. They do not reflect calls he made on his cellphone or from his home telephone.

According to the schedules, Mr. Paulson’s contacts with Mr. Blankfein began even before the height of the crisis last fall. During August 2007, for example, when the market for asset-backed commercial paper was seizing up, Mr. Paulson spoke with Mr. Blankfein 13 times. Mr. Paulson placed 12 of those calls.

By contrast, Mr. Paulson spoke six times that August with Richard S. Fuld Jr. of Lehman, four times with Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and only twice with John Thain of Merrill Lynch.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What Is This "Free Market" We Keep Hearing About?

By Tom Mullen
Published 08/08/09

"... every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interests his own way and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of other men."
— Adam Smith (1776)

As President Obama and his pet Congress continue their crusade to expand the reach of government into our lives, "conventional wisdom" continues to tell us that socialized medicine, rampant wealth redistribution, and government control over one industry after another is "necessary" because of the supposed failure of the free market to adequately address the needs of society. The way the "free market" is characterized by politicians and media pundits, it is not surprising that most Americans seem to regard it as some sort of special interest group (Mr. Undersecretary, the gentlemen from the free market are here to see you). Doubtless, when most Americans hear the words "free market," they picture the CEO’s of Detroit automakers flying in on corporate jets or Wall Street financiers busy mastering the universe. This mischaracterization of the free market is ironic, seeing as both of these groups have recently sought and obtained capital from people who were not free to refuse (taxpayers).

So, before trying to ascertain whether or not the free market has failed society, it is necessary to define exactly what it is. This is not so much difficult as it is inconvenient for those who either wish to exert control over our lives or who wish to be controlled by those that they believe can offer them security in exchange for their liberty - even if it means destroying liberty for everyone. For both of these groups, the "free market" is something that must be characterized as something that it is not. To recognize it for what it is would both threaten their own ability to justify their positions and concede to their victims that what they advocate is in fact abject slavery. Neither result is palatable to opponents of the free market, so gibberish is necessary for them from both a moral and practical perspective.

So, let us say here what it seems that no one anywhere wants to come out and say: the free market is nothing more than all members of society exercising their inalienable rights. It is nothing more and nothing less. Any other system, by definition, violates some or all of these rights.

Every individual has a natural right to labor and to keep the fruits of his labor (his property). This is his only means of pursuing his happiness. There is only one role for government in this area: to defend the property of each individual against theft by another person or group. A truly free market limits government’s role in regards to property to this natural boundary — for any further role constitutes government committing the very crime it exists to prohibit.

Every individual has a natural right to liberty — to do as he pleases as long as he does not commit aggression against the equal rights of another. In a free market, there can be no "regulation" (as we incorrectly understand the term today). The laws that restrict human action must be limited to those few necessary to ensure that no individual is forced or defrauded while participating in an exchange of property nor forced to accept any terms that he does not freely consent to. As the quote from Adam Smith illustrates, one cannot talk about "free markets" without at the same time incorporating the Non-Aggression Principle of Liberty. While Smith is generally regarded as the "father of capitalism," he never actually called his economic system by that name. Instead, he referred to it as "a system of natural liberty." Given the confusion that now accompanies the word "capitalism," it might be better to revert to Smith’s terminology.

Since a free market is by definition the only system that allows individuals to exercise their rights, to say that an unfettered free market does not work is to say that society will not work unless those rights are systematically violated and that those violations must be protected by the law. A greater perversion of justice is unimaginable. Yet, the majority of our elected officials champion exactly this. Sadly, the majority of their constituents blindly parrot their horrific slogans.

In response to this argument, the more cunning opponents of liberty will say that we have given the free market a chance to work and it has failed. False prophet of freedom Alan Greenspan is notable among this gang of vipers. However, any lucid analysis of the difficulties that we find ourselves in now can indisputably be traced to the aspects of our society that prevent free markets. Bad mortgage loans were made because government committed the fraud of monetary inflation combined with the theft of guaranteeing loans with taxpayer money. The skyrocketing cost of health care is a result of government committing the theft of taking money from one individual and using it to buy health care for another, suspending the natural law of supply and demand with artificial demand. Contrary to the idea that individual rights must be balanced with societal needs, it is the violation of individual rights that causes all of our societal problems, most pervasively our economic problems.

As it is merely the economic application of the Non-Aggression Principle of Liberty, the free market is the only system that allows individuals the ability to exercise their right to pursue their happiness. By doing so, they naturally seek to profit from their labor and compete with each other without committing aggression against each other’s rights. History shows that individuals acting in this manner produce enormous benefits for their fellow human beings. The steam engine, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, and virtually every other technological advance that provides a tangible improvement in the quality of human life have been the result of human beings peacefully competing with each other for profit.

Conversely, the atomic bomb, the concentration camp, and every other technology which serves the purpose of death, destruction, and enslavement have been the result of governments forcefully confiscating property from their citizens which would otherwise have been put to productive use.[2] It has only been by violating the individual, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property that any of these horrors were able to come to fruition.

The free market has not failed. The free market is Freedom itself, and while it has only occurred for brief moments throughout history, it has never, will never, and can never fail. When we are confronted with gibberish about the failure of free markets and the need for government to "play a role in the economy," or for a "public-private partnership," let us not let ourselves be led into a carefully framed argument about what might provide more health care, produce more automobiles, or save more jobs. Let us recognize these arguments for what they are: a declaration of war upon our inalienable rights.

As our Declaration of Independence states, government’s purpose is to secure our rights, including our inalienable right to a free market within which to exchange our property. Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of this end, it is our right and our duty to alter or abolish it. Not only must we resist further government expansion into our economy, we must begin dismantling the institutions of tyranny that government has already established over the past century. Our representatives must hear this from us every day until they call off their attack upon our rights or until they can be removed from office. There is nothing in any of our lives that is more important than this right now.

1. Smith, Adam An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations from An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations: Selections edited by Laurance Winant Dickey Hackett Publishing Indianapolis, IN 1993 pg. 165
2. The reader should avoid confusing private companies developing weapons for the government with "the free market." The fact that the companies are privately owned does not mean that they are operating in a free market. Quite the contrary. Since the buyers of their products do so involuntarily (taxes), the development of new weapons and subsequent sale of them to the government has nothing to do with a free market.

Copyright © 2009 Thomas Mullen

The Health Care Smoke Screen Masking the Financial Cancer

Saturday, August 8, 2009

By Mike Morgan of

The ObamaRamaLamas continue. While Goldman Sachs was slithering away with more than $12 billion out the back door, the ObamaRamaLama buffoons were busy stoking the flames about $165 million in AIG bonuses. We saw demonstrations throughout the country, as well as in Europe. All of this over $165 million while Goldman Sachs slithered out with 72 times that amount.

Wake Up America . . . Obama promised CHANGE and he is doing just that. He's changing the very fabric of America . . . and it will be dark, ugly and violent.

Health Care - Just Another Smoke Screen - Instead of addressing the financial crisis from the roots, Obama and his team of merry banditos are once again throwing up a smoke screen. Do you really think the town meetings and all of the demonstrations are spontaneous? Do you really think the outrage over the pittance of AIG bonuses was spontaneous? Not a chance. If either of them were, than why are we not seeing the same outrage over the billions in bonuses being paid out or the $100 million bonus being paid to just one man that was most responsible for the oil bubble and world oil crisis last year. Crooks paying off crooks. That's what Congress and the Regulators are all about?

Let's take this from the very basic level. We are told that we need about a trillion dollars to make health care happen. What are we arguing about?

We gave Hank Paulson $700 billion based on a one page document and his "word" that the world was going to end. And what did he do with the $700 billion? First he put a 35 year old nobody in charge of it . . . because this nobody was a Goldman Sachs lieutenant. Then King Henry leveraged it up to almost $2 trillion with the help of Bernanke, Geithner, Bair, Dodd, Frank and others. And where is this money going? Into the deep pockets of King Henry's Bankster Buddies . . . Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and the lesser princes like Fifth Third Bank, Suntrust, etc. Not to mention a myriad of buddies and blackmailers like insurance companies, auto companies and the likes..

If we had half the money that King Henry scammed from the American public, we could pay for health care. Unfortunately, paying for health care is one thing. Having enough doctors and nurses to provide the care, is another story. And we don't have anywhere near enough doctors and nurses. That's the problem in Canada.

But back to reality. King Henry himself made almost a billion dollars while he orchestrated the world's biggest financial crisis. And he's not alone. There are several thousand people that were unjustly rewarded at the expense of Americans and the world. If we only had the balls to go after these crooks and claw back the money they stole, we could pay for health care and still have enough left to cure cancer, autism, world hunger and a few other problems facing humanity.

But instead, we will allow men like King Henry, Lord Blankfein, Carney Frank, Desperado Dodd and our Pompous President continue to rape America. CHANGE is what Obama promised. And CHANGE is what he is giving you. He will turn this country upside down and leave it in chaos.

Health Care is a smoke screen. If he really wanted it, he could pay for it by going after the thieves. And he can start with King Henry and his band of evil thugs.
Posted by Mike Morgan, J.D., CRS, SRES at 10:05

Friday, August 7, 2009

Big Oil & Gas "Energy & Investment" Conference Planned

August 4, 2009
EnerCom, Inc. Announces Presenting Companies for The Oil & Gas Conference(R) August 9-13, 2009
PR Newswire

DENVER, Aug 04, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- EnerCom, Inc., today announced the lineup and schedule for The Oil & Gas Conference(R), on August 9-13, 2009 in Denver. In its 14th year, the Conference is the oldest and largest energy investment conference hosted in Denver, showcasing more than 80 companies with a combined enterprise value of more than $750 billion. This premier forum offers institutional investors, energy research analysts, retail brokers, investment bankers and energy industry professionals a unique opportunity to meet and discuss important topics concerning the global oil and gas industry over five days. Participating industry leaders and key senior management from micro-cap to billion-dollar-plus companies in the global energy exploration, production and service sectors will discuss their future plans, growth opportunities and industry trends. The schedule of presenting companies at the Conference can be found at

EnerCom, Inc. founded The Oil & Gas Conference(R) in 1996. Sponsors for this year's events include: Calyon Corporate Investment Bank; Netherland, Sewell & Associates; NYSE Euronext; Natixis Bleichroeder Inc.; Rivington Capital Advisors, LLC; Howard Weil Incorporated; Tristone Capital; Preng & Associates; Allied Irish Bank; Hein & Associates LLP; and Stifel Nicolaus.

Investment professionals interested in attending this event can register at This year's line-up for EnerCom's 2009 The Oil & Gas Conference(R), listed alphabetically by day:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Charity Golf Tournament at Arrowhead Golf Club, benefiting Cerebral Palsy of Colorado.

Monday, August 10, 2009 Presentations

Arrow Energy Limited (ASX: AOE)

Bill Barrett Corporation (BBG)

Brigham Exploration Company (BEXP)

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG)

Calyon Securities (USA), Inc.

CARBO Ceramics Inc. (CRR)

Cimarex Energy Company (XEC)

Continental Resources Inc. (CLR)

Core Laboratories N.V. (CLB)

Dawson Geophysical Company (DWSN)

EnerCom, Inc.

Energy XXI (Bermuda) Limited (EXXI)

Goodrich Petroleum Corporation (GDP)

Panhandle Oil & Gas Inc. (PHX)

Range Resources Corporation (RRC)

Rex Energy Corporation (REXX)

Shell (NYSE: RDS-B)

Southwestern Energy Company (SWN)

Superior Well Services Inc. (SWSI)

TransGlobe Energy Corporation (TGA)

Venoco Inc. (VQ)

Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 Presentations

Bucking Horse Energy Inc. (TSX: BUC.TO)

Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (CRZO)

Dune Energy Inc. (NYSE Amex: DNE)

Endeavour International Corporation (NYSE Amex: END)

Energen Corporation (EGN)

EQT Corporation (EQT)

Geokinetics Inc. (NYSE Amex: GOK)

GeoResources, Inc. (GEOI)

GMX Resources, Inc. (GMXR)

McMoRan Exploration Company (MMR)

NGP Capital Resources Company (NGPC)

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. (PTEN)

Petrohawk Energy Corporation (HK)

Petroleum Development Corporation (PETD)

PetroQuest Energy Inc. (PQ)

Progress Energy Resources Corporation (TSX: PRQ.TO)

Rosetta Resources, Inc. (ROSE)

St. Mary Land & Exploration Company (SM)

Ultra Petroleum Corporation (UPL)

Unit Corporation (UNT)

XTO Energy Inc. (XTO)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Presentations

ATP Oil & Gas Corporation (ATPG)

BPZ Resources, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BPZ)

Callon Petroleum Company (CPE)

Concho Resources Inc. (CXO)

Denbury Resources, Inc. (DNR)

EnCana Corporation (ECA)

EnerPlus Resources Fund (ERF)

FX Energy, Inc. (FXEN)

Gastar Exploration, Ltd. (NYSE Amex: GST)

GeoMet, Inc. (GMET)

Harvest Natural Resources Inc. (HNR)

InterOil Corporation (IOC)

Key Energy Services Inc. (KEG)

Mariner Energy, Inc. (ME)

Natixis Bleichroeder Inc.

Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc.

Parker Drilling Company (PKD)

Penn Virginia Corporation (PVA)

Questar Corporation (STR)

Willbros Group Inc. (WG)

Thursday, August 13, 2009 Presentations

American Energy Group Ltd. (AEGG)

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC)

Atlas Energy Resources LLC (ATN)

Baytex Energy Trust (BTE)

Berry Petroleum Company (BRY)

Forest Oil Corporation (FST)

Gastem Inc. (TSX VENTURE: GMR.V)

Gulfport Energy Corporation (GPOR)

Legacy Reserves LP (LGCY)

Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NYSE Amex: NOG)

NYSE Euronext, Inc. (NYX)

Penn West Energy Trust (PWE)

Pinnacle Gas Resources, Inc. (PINN)

Precision Drilling Trust (PDS)

RPC, Inc. (RES)

Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM)

Transatlantic Petroleum Corporation (TSX: TNP.TO)

About EnerCom, Inc.

Founded in 1994, EnerCom, Inc.,, is a nationally recognized investor communications consultancy firm advising and serving energy-centric clients on corporate strategy, investor relations, media and corporate communications, and visual communications design. The Company's professionals have more than 150 years of industry and business experience and a proven track record of success. Headquartered in Denver, EnerCom uses the team approach for delivering its wide range of services to public and private companies large and small, operating in the global exploration and production, drilling, Oilservice, and associated advanced-technology industries.

For more information about EnerCom and its services, please call: Gregory B. Barnett, President, at +303-296-8834 or visit

About Calyon Credit Agricole CIB

Calyon is the corporate and investment banking arm of the Credit Agricole Group, the world's seventh-largest and Europe's third-largest bank on the basis of Tier 1 capital. The Group is present in 70 countries and has 162,000 employees worldwide. Calyon, with approximately 13,000 professionals in more than 50 countries, specializes in capital markets and corporate & investment banking.

Calyon Americas oversees Calyon's corporate and investment banking and market activities in the Americas, with the exception of execution and clearing in futures markets handled by Newedge, and European brokerage, handled by Cheuvreux. With headquarters in New York City, and U.S. offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Houston, Calyon offers its corporate and institutional clients financial products and services and made-to-order structuring, origination and distribution, through both its banking unit Calyon, and the full service broker-dealer Calyon Securities (USA) Inc., which is a member of the NYSE and NASD. Calyon is also present in Montreal, Canada, and in Latin America with offices in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

Specializing in this sector for over 100 years, Energy represents the single largest concentration of industry exposure at Calyon. Calyon focuses on all segments of the business and covers it on a truly global basis. The Bank's Energy practice for the U.S. is located in Houston, Texas.

For more information about Calyon, please contact Dennis Petito, Managing Director, Head of North American Energy, Calyon Credit Securities at 713-890-8601 or Mark Urness, Managing Director, Head of Energy Research, Calyon Securities, at 212-408-5683.

About Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc.

Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. (NSAI) was founded in 1961 to provide the highest quality engineering and geological consulting to the petroleum industry. Today they are recognized as the worldwide leader of petroleum property analysis to industry and financial organizations and government agencies. With offices in Dallas and Houston, NSAI provides a complete range of geological, geophysical, petrophysical, and engineering services and has the technical experience and ability to perform these services in any of the onshore and offshore oil and gas producing areas of the world. They provide reserves reports and audits, acquisition and divestiture evaluations, simulation studies, exploration resources assessments, equity determinations, and management and advisory services. For a complete list of services or to learn more about Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. please visit

For more information about NSAI, call C.H. (Scott) Rees, Chief Executive Officer, at 214-969-5401 or send an email to

About NYSE Euronext

NYSE Euronext (NYX) operates the world's leading and most liquid exchange group, and seeks to provide the highest levels of quality, customer choice and innovation. Its family of exchanges, located in six countries, includes the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest cash equities market; Euronext, the Eurozone's largest cash equities market; Liffe, Europe's leading derivatives exchange by value of trading; NYSE Liffe, the company's U.S. futures business and NYSE Arca Options, one of the fastest growing U.S. options trading platforms. NYSE Euronext offers a diverse array of financial products and services for issuers, investors and financial institutions in cash equities, options, futures and derivatives, ETFs, bonds, market data, and commercial technology solutions. As the world's largest exchange group by number of listings and market capitalization, NYSE Euronext is home to more than 6,500 listed issues (as of Oct. 1, 2008) with total global market capitalization more than four times that of any other exchange group. The average daily trading value of NYSE Euronext's equity exchanges represent more than one-third of the world's cash equities trading. NYSE Euronext is part of the S&P 500 index and the only exchange operator in the S&P 100 index.

For more information about NYSE Euronext and its services, please call: Bruce Poignant, Managing Director, 212-656-5804.

About Natixis

Natixis's dedicated Energy team combines renowned expertise and personalized client service to tailor solutions that assist energy-related businesses in North America, Europe and the Emerging Markets with their strategic financial goals. Seamlessly integrating market expertise across our entire franchise, we provide our energy clients with a comprehensive range of services including financing, investment banking, distribution, sales and trading, and equity research, among others. Since 1979, our commitment to serving the needs of E&P, Oilfield Services, Midstream, Downstream, Coal and Energy Financial Sponsor clients has only strengthened. It does not end at the transaction; we invest in a relationship for the long term.

By leveraging an extensive banking network spanning 68 countries and a 22,000-strong workforce, Natixis acts as a partner to corporations and institutions worldwide, providing expertise through five complementary divisions - Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset Management, Private Equity and Private Banking, Financial Services and Receivables Management. Natixis is a listed subsidiary of two major French banking groups whose central institutions are scheduled to merge in summer 2009 to create the second-largest banking group in France.

Within the US, our Energy team operates primarily out of our office in Houston, as well as our US-registered broker-dealer Natixis Bleichroeder.

To learn how we can help you, contact Tim Polvado, Head of US Energy at Natixis (713-571-8739,, Donovan Broussard, E&P at Natixis (713-759-0973,, Gregg Schoenberg, Head of US Capital Markets at Natixis Bleichroeder (212-698-3412, or Michael London in Energy Capital Markets at Natixis Bleichroeder (212-698-3108,

About Rivington Capital Advisors, LLC

Rivington Capital Advisors, LLC ("RCA") is an independent advisory firm providing services to small and medium-sized energy companies ("issuers") and the financial institutions investing in these sectors ("investors"). Advisory services include arrangement and execution of all forms of private debt and equity placements, merger, acquisition, divestiture and financial due diligence assistance, derivative and hedging assistance, reorganization, recapitalization and corporate valuation work. RCA principals have extensive experience in sourcing, structuring, negotiating and closing transactions for issuers and investors.

For more information about Rivington Capital, contact: Scott A. Logan, Co-founder, Rivington Capital Advisors, LLC, 303-225-0880, or visit us at

About Howard Weil Incorporated

Howard Weil is an energy investment boutique that provides equity research, institutional sales and trading, and investment banking services. Established in 1946, Howard Weil is comprised of experienced professionals who focus exclusively on the energy industry. Howard Weil has been recognized as one of the top boutiques and regional firms in the energy industry by Institutional Investor's "Best of Boutiques and Regional Firms" annual research survey.

Equity Research: Howard Weil's equity research professionals cover energy companies operating in the following sectors: Major Integrated Oils, Exploration and Production, Oilfield Service, Gas and Power, Independent Refiners and Coal Producers.

Institutional Sales and Trading: Howard Weil's sales and trading professionals are focused exclusively on the energy sector. As a result, the firm believes that its sales and trading professionals possess a deeper understanding of energy-industry and company-specific events and trends than sales and trading professionals at more diversified firms. Howard Weil's sales and trading expertise spans multiple sectors of the energy industry and includes small, mid and large market capitalization companies.

Investment Banking: Howard Weil offers a full range of investment banking services, including public offerings, private placements, M&A and other financial advisory services, fairness opinions and valuations. With its exclusive focus on the energy industry, Howard Weil's investment banking professionals have developed a deep level of industry knowledge and contacts, which can significantly enhance the level of service to the firm's energy investment banking clientele. Since re-establishing its investment banking department in 2005, Howard Weil has served as a co-manager, co-placement agent or lead manager of 49 equity and debt financings, collectively raising over $17 billion for a wide range of energy companies.

For more information about Howard Weil, please visit

About Tristone Capital

Tristone Capital is a global energy advisory firm that provides comprehensive Investment Banking, Acquisitions & Divestitures, and Global Equity Capital Markets services. With over 170 employees, and offices in five locations on three continents, Tristone is the solution for global financial energy needs. Founded in 2000, Tristone has more than 150 technical and financial experts throughout offices in the UK, Argentina, Canada and the United States. Tristone offers exclusively energy-focused expertise to exploration and production companies, oilfield service and midstream companies, government entities, royalty trusts, MLP's and institutional investors worldwide.

The energy industry worldwide involves global commodities, global corporations, and global capital. As one of the largest independent, international energy advisory firms, Tristone provides fully integrated global solutions for our clients no matter where they, or their opportunities, are located. Since 2001, Tristone has participated in more than 400 energy equity financings with proceeds over $25 billion, 100 corporate energy M&A transactions valued over $27 billion, and more than 300 energy asset packages valued over $17 billion.

Tristone Capital is a Member of the CIPF, SIPC, IDA and FINRA. Tristone Capital Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

For more information about Tristone Capital, please contact George Gosbee, Chairman, President & C.E.O. at 403-294-9541.

About Preng & Associates

Preng & Associates, founded in 1980, is the only retainer-based, international executive search firm specializing solely in the energy industry. Its number one priority is to assist clients with their executive selection, organization development, and human resource needs by providing the highest quality service. Preng's record of accomplishment is directly attributable to their experienced staff, worldwide network of industry contacts, proven search methodology, and high standards of professionalism. Preng has conducted over 2800 searches in its 29-year history and has the highest success and repeat client track record.

Preng's practice is based on the premise that the search process is most effective when conducted by professionals with significant search industry experience. The company has earned a reputation for combining professional search disciplines with an in-depth industry and market understanding and has succeeded in some of the industry's most challenging and high-profile searches. Preng's international reach allows it to effectively conduct global engagements; and as a member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants, Preng practices and promotes its high standards of conduct and professionalism.

For more information about Preng & Associates, contact Charles Carpenter, Partner at 713-243-2610 or

About Allied Irish Bank

At AIB Corporate Banking North America, the bank's Structured, Energy & Utilities Finance Group comprises an expert team that specializes in lending to the U.S. and Canadian Oil & Gas markets. AIB is active in the Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream segments of the Oil & Gas industry, and has successfully executed numerous highly structured lending transactions including Reserve-Based Facilities, Asset-Based Facilities, and Project Financings. The team is very active in both club transactions and the wider syndicated loan markets, both primary and secondary. We are committed to growing the U.S. and Canadian Oil & Gas business, as demonstrated by the opening of our Houston and Toronto offices in 2007. We continue to seek opportunities to build broader customer relationships in our Oil & Gas core market, and other core markets such as Wind and Power finance.

We are involved in the following areas in Energy lending: oil & gas (upstream, mid-stream and downstream); regulated utilities; traditional power generation; renewables (hydro, wind, biomass and ethanol); and infrastructure transactions.

For more information about Allied Irish Bank, please contact: Ed Fenk, Vice President, 713-292-1022, or

About Hein & Associates LLP

Hein & Associates LLP is one the few full-service accounting and business advisory firms in the nation with a primary market niche in the oil and gas industry. For over 30 years, we have provided a full range of professional services to public and private companies of all sizes, including: financial statement audit and review, tax planning and consulting, SEC reporting and SOX compliance, enterprise risk management services, IT management services, and litigation/valuation advisory services. Our professionals work regularly with private equity groups, investment banks, and other financial organizations whenever our clients participate in acquisitions or seek funding.

With offices in Denver, Houston, Dallas, and Southern California, and a network affiliation with one of the largest associations of accounting and advisory firms in the world, we serve as a resource for the business community both domestically and around the world. Ranked as one of the 50 largest firms in the country, our SEC practice is recognized as among the largest in the nation. We regularly conduct seminars and roundtables, as well as publish articles on a variety of topics affecting the energy industry. In addition, our partners communicate regularly with public company policy-makers as members of the (1) Professional Practice Executive Committee of the American Institute of CPAs, and (2) Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council. These groups provide access to the PCAOB, SEC, FASB, and other regulators for public companies. We remain on the cutting edge of important changes affecting public companies and can provide a forum for clients' questions and concerns.

For more information about Hein & Associates, contact Larry Unruh, Managing Partner, at 303-298-9600, or visit us at

About Stifel Nicolaus

Founded in 1890, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated is the principal subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp. (SF), a financial services holding company headquartered in St. Louis. Stifel Nicolaus is a full-service retail and institutional brokerage and investment banking firm with 236 offices in 36 states and the District of Columbia and 3 European offices through Stifel Nicolaus Limited.

Stifel Nicolaus is a leading Investment Bank principally focused on the middle-market. Our Energy and Natural Resources Investment Banking Group delivers timely advice to a wide range of firms in the oil and gas exploration and production, oilfield services and equipment, mining and metals and midstream/master limited partnership industries. We provide strategic advisory, underwriting and placement agent services, including mergers and acquisitions advice, equity, convertibles, preferred stock and debt issuances, in both the public and private capital markets. Our Energy and Natural Resources Investment Banking Group's success is driven by the depth of its expertise, longstanding relationships with key industry participants and thorough understanding of the internal and external forces driving industry trends and the financial markets.

For more information about our Energy and Natural Resources Investment Banking Group's capabilities, please contact either of our co-Group Heads: Sandy Stewart (443-224-1407) or Chris Shebby (301-941-2407). To learn more about Stifel, please visit the company's web site at

SOURCE EnerCom, Inc.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Independence Day with Earnest Hancock

"Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock" - August 6th 2009

Ernest Hancock
Date: 08-06-2009
Subject: Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock

Thursday August 6th 2009

Broadcast on

Republic Broadcasting Network

Monday - Friday
11am - 1pm Central DST

Listen Live

Show Archive

Hour 1 mp3
Bud Burrell

Burrell is an expert in the area of naked short selling counterfeit shares on Wall St ...
Source: []

Bud Burrell is a hero Patrick Byrne a hero Bob Obrien a hero you are just a slime hiding under a rock come out and discuss this with me ...
Source: []

Bud Burrell is a known penny stock tout with sleezy offshore dealings and CFRN uses Christianity for stock fraud and mind control just as the CMKX Diamond fraud has of Urban Cassavant ...
Source: []

Burrell is an industry expert ...
Source: []

Bud Burrell is a corporate finance generalist specializing in development stage companies ...
Source: Welcome To The Christian Financial Radio Network []

Hour 2 mp3

Bud Burrell

Feature Article • Ernie's Favorites Edition
Economy - International
Understanding How Screwed We All Are - "The Greatest Depression" – by Ernest Hancock
Ernest Hancock

(August 1st 2009 - Originally posted July of 2008 - Some of these things have yet to pass - Listen to the first link to a very informative interview and be afraid... this whole thing has just started)
I'm starting to see the pattern in the tape

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Feature articles, columns, illustrations, and photographs are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the credited writer, artist, or photographer.

OBomBaNation Warned: China says "Get a Grip" on Finances

China Warns Developed Nations of Inflation, Currency Threats

By Bloomberg News

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- China’s central bank warned that monetary easing by developed nations threatens to cause “severe” inflation and currency volatility.

“Failure to manage the degree of easing may lead to concerns about mid- and long-term inflation and exchange-rate stability,” the People’s Bank of China said in a quarterly monetary policy report, posted on its Web site yesterday.

China, the owner of $801.5 billion of Treasuries, pressed the U.S. at a summit in Washington last month for economic polices to protect the dollar’s value. The Bank of England is poised to end a five-month program of bond purchases, part of so-called “quantitative easing,” according to a Bloomberg News survey of firms bidding at government debt auctions.

“The discussion about quantitative easing and the reversal of it is going to capture the market’s attention for the rest of this year,” said Tai Hui, head of Southeast Asian economic research at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “The fact that China is talking about it, again, is reflecting its concern about its holdings of U.S. Treasuries.”

Quantitative easing is the creation of new money to purchase government or private assets, including bonds, to encourage new bank lending.

Great Depression

Exiting too quickly from such policies, which the Chinese central bank said helped to prevent a repeat of the Great Depression, may undermine an economic recovery, the report said. Waiting for too long may trigger “a new round of asset bubbles and severe inflation,” the central bank added.

“Central banks in major developed nations face a difficult choice between keeping government bond yields relatively low to promote economic recovery and maintaining currency stability” to protect national creditworthiness, it said.

Consumer prices are falling in the U.S., China and Europe from a year earlier as rising unemployment and the worst economic slump since World War II smother demand.

The U.S. and China engaged in “a lot of discussion” at last month’s meetings in Washington on the appropriate timing for withdrawing economic stimulus, David Loevinger, the Treasury’s senior coordinator for China affairs, said July 27.

‘Fragile’ Recovery

“There was general agreement that it was very important that this doesn’t occur too soon because the recoveries are still very fragile, but also an acknowledgement that they have to take place at the right time, and not let another set of imbalances and bubbles build up in the economy,” Loevinger said.

China’s central bank pledged in yesterday’s report to maintain a “moderately loose” monetary policy, fine-tuning where necessary, and to guide “appropriate” lending growth, reiterating that the nation’s recovery is not yet on solid foundations.

An explosion in credit is fueling concern that China’s banks are taking on too much risk and bubbles are inflating in stocks and property. New lending tripled to more than $1 trillion in the first half of 2009 from a year earlier and the Shanghai Composite Index has climbed 88 percent this year.

To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Paul Panckhurst in Beijing at

Last Updated: August 5, 2009 12:00 EDT

Douche-Bank Predicts 1/2 of Mortgages will Tank by 2011

About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011
Wed Aug 5, 2009 5:12pm EDT

By Al Yoon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.

Home price declines will have their biggest impact on prime "conforming" loans that meet underwriting and size guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bank said in a report. Prime conforming loans make up two-thirds of mortgages, and are typically less risky because of stringent requirements.

"We project the next phase of the housing decline will have a far greater impact on prime borrowers," Deutsche analysts Karen Weaver and Ying Shen said in the report.

Of prime conforming loans, 41 percent will be "underwater" by the first quarter of 2011, up from 16 percent at the end of the first quarter 2009, it said. Forty-six percent of prime jumbo loans will be larger than their properties' value, up from 29 percent, it said.

"The impact of this is significant given that these markets have the largest share of the total mortgage market outstanding," the analysts said. Prime jumbo loans make up 13 percent of the total market.

Deutsche's dire assessment comes amid a bolt of evidence in recent months that point to stabilization in the U.S. housing market after three years of price drops. This week, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales rose for a fifth straight month in June. A widely watched index released in July showed home prices in May rose for the first time since 2006.

Covering 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, Deutsche Bank in June forecast home prices would fall 14 percent through the first quarter of 2011, for a total drop of 41.7 percent.

The drop in home prices is fueling a vicious cycle of foreclosures as it eliminates homeowner equity and gives borrowers an incentive to walk away from their mortgages. The more severe the negative equity, the more likely are defaults, since many borrowers believe prices will not recover enough.

Homeowners with the riskiest mortgages taken out during the housing boom have seen the greatest erosion in equity, in part because they were "affordability products" originated at the housing peak, Deutsche said. They include subprime loans, of which 69 percent will be underwater in 2011, up from 50 percent in March, Deutsche said,

Of option adjustable-rate mortgages -- which cut payments by allowing principal balances to rise -- 89 percent will be underwater in 2011, up from 77 percent, the report said.

Regions suffering the worst negative equity are areas in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and West Virginia. Las Vegas and parts of Florida and California will see 90 percent or more of their loans underwater by 2011, it added.

"For many, the home has morphed from piggy bank to albatross," the analysts said.

(Editing by Dan Grebler)

Huron Consulting Group, Inc. HURN Securities Stock Fraud

Company: Huron Consulting Group, Inc.
Ticker Symbol: HURN
Class Period: Apr-27-06 to Jul-31-09
Date Filed: Aug-5-09
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: Oct-4-09
Court: Northern District of Illinois
A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of those who purchased the common stock of Huron Consulting Group, Inc. ("Huron" or the "Company") between April 27, 2006 and July 31, 2009 (the "Class Period").

The Complaint charges that Huron and certain of its officers and directors violated federal securities laws by issuing materially false statements regarding Huron's financial results. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company misaccounted for payments made as part of acquisitions.

On July 31, 2009, Huron announced that it would restate its financial results from 2006 through 2008 and the first three months of 2009 due to its failure to properly account for earn-out payments made in connection with four of its acquisitions. As a result, Huron expected to dramatically reduce its revenue reported for the period by 48% from $120 million on an aggregate basis to $63 million. Huron further announced that the SEC had commenced an inquiry into the Company's allocation of chargeable hours related to its recognition of revenue. On this news, Huron's stock fell $30.66 per share to close at $13.69 per share on August 3, 2009, a decline of approximately 69%.

If you acquired the securities of the defendants during the Class Period you may, no later than the Lead Plaintiff Deadline shown above, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff through counsel of your choice. You may also choose to remain an absent class member. A lead plaintiff must meet certain requirements.

Huron Consulting Group, Inc. HURN Securities Fraud Legal Help
If you have suffered from financial losses, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible Huron Consulting Group, Inc. securities class action lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your complaint for a free evaluation.

Click on title above for legal help and a free evaluation of your possible case


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

State regulators tell Bloomington bank to clean up

State regulators have served First Commercial Bank with a cease-and-desist order.


Last update: August 3, 2009 - 10:35 PM

Regulators have hit another Minnesota bank with a cease-and-desist order, this time targeting First Commercial Bank, a Bloomington lender with assets of $362 million.

State banking regulators ordered the bank to clean up bad loans on its books, beef up its reserves for loan losses and reduce its reliance on brokered deposits, among other things, according to a copy of the sanction released Monday by the state Department of Commerce. Brokered deposits, or "hot money" as they're known, are bulk deposits banks buy from third parties.

The bank also was instructed to reduce concentrations of loans in its portfolio. Though regulators didn't specify the type of concentration, First Commercial Bank has been active in commercial real estate -- a sector suffering big declines that have battered banks across the country.

Busy time for regulators

Since the start of 2008, regulators have shut down two Minnesota banks and hit more than a dozen others with major enforcement actions. Many of the troubles relate to souring development and construction loans and bank analysts and regulators predict more failures.

As of the first quarter, First Commercial Bank's load of commercial real estate loans was more than five times its total risk-based capital, exceeding the federal threshold of 300 percent for defining a potentially risky concentration.

Brad Meier, president and CEO of First Commercial, said that his bank has been addressing the issues for several months and that the bank remains profitable and well-capitalized.

"We continue to work collaboratively with our real-estate clients as, together, we navigate a complex market," Meier said.

As of the end of the first quarter, the bank's key capital ratios exceeded minimum standards that federal regulators require for a bank to be well-capitalized. First Commercial's Tier 1 leverage ratio, or core capital ratio -- a key measure of a bank's ability to withstand future losses -- was 8.5 percent at the end of the first quarter, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Regulators require 5 percent. First Commercial Bank also reported profit of $726,000 in the first quarter.

The order, dated July 21, resulted from an examination the state did from mid-December to mid-February.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Food Industry to be Next "Big Oil"

This came across in my email as an investment opportunity;

Food, and of course, its producers, BigAg;

Forces Line Up to Push Food Prices Higher

New ‘Green Revolution’ Is Starting

What an amazing time the past 18 months has been for food prices. Worldwide grain reserves dropped to a historic low at the beginning of 2008, and that sparked a price explosion. There were bread riots in dozens of countries around the world, and 25 nations, including some of the biggest grain exporters, imposed restrictions on food exports.

Then the combination of a global economic crisis and a bumper harvest deflated food prices as quickly as they went up. The world breathed a sigh of relief. We’re all glad that problem is behind us, right?


The fact is food is becoming the new oil! Demand for food is increasing, supply can’t keep up, and the next crisis is probably around the corner ... just like oil!

Here’s a big difference — you could maybe live without oil if you had to. You CAN’T live without food.

Now, grain prices are scraping bottom. The world has moved on to new crises, ignoring bullish forces in agriculture that are starting to line up again.

I’m talking forces like ...

Fast-Spreading Disease. A new fast-spreading strain of a wheat fungus that causes stem rust — a harvest-destroying plant disease — that is now being carried by the wind around the world. The Los Angeles Times described the fungus this month as a "time bomb" that could "wipe out more than 80 percent of the world's wheat as it spreads from Africa."

Changing diets in emerging markets like China, where 1.3 billion people are eating more food and especially more meat all the time. If you think that doesn’t affect you, think again. There is a global competition for food, and the Chinese want to eat your lunch!

How a falling U.S. dollar could supercharge U.S. grain prices. Grain is priced in dollars, so as the buck falls, the prices of corn, wheat and soybeans go up for Americans. But American grains become CHEAPER in foreign currencies as the dollar falls — and this quickly supercharges U.S. grain sales overseas.

If these sound like the same forces that push oil prices around — supply problems, increased demand from China and a falling U.S. dollar — you’re right! I’ll say it again, food is the new oil!

Scoop Up the Big Winners of the Next
Agriculture Boom While They’re Still Cheap!

Just like there are select oil companies that can make a killing when oil prices go higher, there are select agriculture companies that are poised to reap bushels of profits as the price of food surges.

So I’ve put together a new report, “Harvest of Gains.” In it, I dish out seven hot picks — five stocks and two funds — that I believe can make the biggest gains as food prices soar. I give you the straight scoop on the stocks from the U.S., Canada, and China that will ride the next surge in agriculture prices.

To find out more about the formidable forces threatening to squeeze global food supplies even as demand goes much higher — and how you can protect yourself against higher food prices by investing in an elite group of stocks — CLICK HERE.

Yours for trading profits,


P.S. The next leg of the great agriculture boom is about to begin — and YOU can position yourself to start profiting NOW! Don’t hesitate — CLICK HERE to find out more.


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Update: The Latest Wall St. Bonus Numbers

Hold on to your hats cause you are about to have your hair blown back!

2008 was a disastrous year for the big banks of Wall Street. But that didn't stop bonuses. It's a well covered subject but a new report out by New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is raising eye brows. The report finds the 9 firms that received the most federal bail out money actually gave out $1 million bonuses to 5,000 employees. That's right -- the banks that got taxpayer dollars to stabilize their crisis -- actually handed out million dollar bonuses to thousands of their traders. The lesson appears to be no matter how bad the economy, no matter how much pain their is felt by their investors, Wall Street will still take care of it's own.

Tracing Our $timulus $$$: 3.5 Mil to Northshore Yacht Club

Stephen Crowder takes a road trip cross-country attempting to track down where some of our stimulus money went. Be sure to click on title above to see his hilarious vid and to see all the wonderful comments. People are "FED-up" with the Federal Spending Spree to Big Corporations and just about everything and everone else except to those working class and poor famlies struggling to stay in their homes and make ends meet. Indeed people ARE Fed-Up and beginning to wize up to the way things really are in this country....stacked deck against the hard working middle class and poor.

Where’s My Stimulus Money?!
by Steven Crowder

It seems that a lot of people have completely forgotten about the billions of tax-payer dollars that have already been spent. Don’t you worry folks, I’ve got you covered. Steve the P.A. from Iowa and I hightailed it across the country to see if our money was truly being put into a legitimate recovery program… Or being spent on frivolities. Take a guess!