Privatized Highway No Bargain for Taxpayers

96 comments

This is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks public-private partnerships are a great way to build highways without burdening taxpayers. That’s what Coloradans thought when a $552 million expansion of the 24-mile Boulder-Denver Turnpike got under way two summers ago. The east-west thoroughfare originally opened as a toll road in 1951, but the toll was dropped in 1968 when the bonds were paid off early. Expectations were that U.S. 36 would carry 3,000 cars a day by 1980, but by the mid-1960s daily traffic was averaging nearly five times that. It has since gotten much worse, and currently as many as 124,000 vehicles use the road each day, packed bumper-to-bumper during the commute.  In 2005, U.S. 36 was ranked as the worst “heartburn highway” in the state, based on poor maintenance, congestion and accidents.

The solution? A state-of-the-art reconstruction that when completed early in 2015 will be an urban planner’s dream.  The highway will feature a special fast lane for high occupancy vehicles, bus rapid transit service, an electronic toll system for single-occupant cars and a bike path. Sounds like a winner for everyone, right?  Think again. Although the road itself cannot help but improve the flow of traffic, at least for some commuters , the way in which it was approved and financed carries the stench of Tammany Hall. Consider the following:

  • Colorado Senators and Representatives were not allowed to read the secret, 500-page contract with the Australian toll-road developer before it was signed, notwithstanding the fact that it will be in effect for the next 50 years.
  • Neither will they be allowed to amend the contract, nor similar contracts under consideration for the refurbishment of nine other high-speed roads in Colorado.
  • The state is required to compensate the operator if any other roads or new transit systems are built that would compete with it.
  • Initially, the rush-hour toll for the short round trip between Denver and Boulder will max out at $12, but the operator can raise it to as much as $28 over the life of the contract.
  • The amount of profit the road’s private operator, a consortium of five companies, will make from maintaining it is a secret that has not been disclosed to Colorado taxpayers or elected officials, only to CDOT.
  • The operator is thought to have paid somewhere between $10 million to $50 million to collect tolls on a road whose $552 million cost was borne mostly by taxpayers.
  • The toll lane will add to the congestion of free lanes. However, any changes in the contract, including dropping the toll, would generate penalties that could ultimately cost Colorado hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.

Shrouded in Secrecy

It’s no surprise that CDOT kept the negotiations under wraps, since public scrutiny would have caused a political firestorm capable of stopping the project in its tracks.  But when some of the details came to light a month ago, Transportation Department spokeswoman Amy Ford had to lie through her teeth  to give her employer cover at the eleventh hour. Shades of Obamacare!  She claimed, among other things, that the contract could be amended if needed; that there were no alternative sources of funding; that public funding would have delayed the project by 20 years; and that the contract contained no non-compete clause to prevent surrounding communities from upgrading roads or transit systems near U.S. 36.  All of these statements were subsequently proven to be false, but it was too late. With the public clamoring for CDOT scalps, the department hastily signed the contract without holding any hearings, clinching a lucrative 50-year deal for the operator. Noted one observer, “The private financing is essentially just a high-priced loan. Instead of raising more of their own public revenue to finance the road, the state will make larger annual payments to the private road builders.” Far from unburdening taxpayers, this public-private partnership could conceivably have swindled them.

Guess Who!

And now for the $64,000 question: Who do you think arranged the deal and furtively steered it through the political shoals with such consummate skill?  Go to the head of the class if you guessed Goldman Sachs — this time partnered with an Australian toll-road developer called Plenary Group. Combine the unstoppable force of the U.S. highway lobby with the political clout and savvy of Goldman, and a project like this one could soon be coming your way. Forewarned is forearmed.

  • ELIV DLAV March 16, 2014, 10:56 pm

    just like I predicted, in my 2-days ago post (host has not deigned to post my posts lately)
    crimea voted today by humongous 93% landslide to become russian, and fkkk the ukraine).

    http://www.elpais.com.uy/mundo/crimea-vota-referendum-union-rusia.html
    (got to read spic language to get it, or use google translator)

    I also stated, that weak-sister obumba will do nothing, and now I add, merkel will neither.

    and I assure you, all of ukraine will go next, to mother russia, for their top desire is– odessa.

    as to next week, where my small puts still exist, there is a small chance, of in-the-money time.

    whatever. real story is china’s downfall, which will asap bring all world down, for 2 decades.
    until they rise from ashes, as top gun, with major nuke military, and miles of under bunkers.

    but then again, site’s beatch maria happy-chappy from china, never tells that story. too ugly.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    almost forgot. here is where putin gives ukraine a ‘chance’ to pull 100% out of crimea,
    and any resemblance of ukraine authority. or else. haha. and he just gives them– a week.
    before he comes in ah blastin’ their bases.

    almost like a stupid ussa action movie. interesting. maybe these movies weren’t so stupid.

    maybe they predicting the soon to be future.

    • ELIV DLAV March 16, 2014, 11:00 pm

      here’s putin’s ‘last chance, ukrainians get out or else’ link–

      http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2014/03/16/53259be0ca4741ae5b8b4572.html

      again, you’ve got to know spic; or, google translate it.

    • mario cavolo March 17, 2014, 2:16 am

      And pray tell WHY are we now impending “china’s downfall”? To say I’m curious is an understatement. On the other hand, I already know such proclamations are delusional so it doesn’t much matter what the answer is.

      Yes we know China’s exports plunged 18% last month. But I also know, and I’m happy to REMIND you that China’s exports now represent only an 11% share of total China industrial sales. Did you READ that? Only 11%, down from 21% in 2004.

      I could go on and on, and I would if I thought you were listening.

      • Dean Barber March 17, 2014, 3:57 am

        We’re listening Mario, we just think you’re wrong. There is a monstrous real estate and construction bubble in China, which could burst anytime.

      • mario cavolo March 17, 2014, 3:19 pm

        Hi Dean, candidness much respected here, I swear on high heaven there’s NOT. 🙂 Real estate price rises are absolutely inline with rising incomes across 90% of China’s real estate market and there is a 6-10 trillion dollar off the books economy feeding everything…reality is NOT an opinion!

  • DK March 16, 2014, 2:14 pm

    As an aside, here’s some greeaat news:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/us-to-relinquish-remaining-control-over-the-internet/2014/03/14/0c7472d0-abb5-11e3-adbc-888c8010c799_print.html

    “In a statement, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) called the move “consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.””

    Shocking….

  • Redwilldanaher March 15, 2014, 5:05 am

    El Douchay, where would your nonsense be if everything wasn’t rigged? If something is moved “off balance sheet” isn’t that the equivalent of the memory hole? Please stop with the transparent obtuseness you fool. I’ve stated this for about 6 years in this forum, if you want to argue that they’ll extend the rig job and lever the markets higher then I agree and always have, but simply stop trying to convince people here that it is legit. It’s a fraud through and through. It is pathetic that you show up here relentlessly to shill as puppet to convince people of falsities that the’ll never believe especially when they consider you as the contra-side. You have to be in the top ten of internet posters that not only buy the lie but try to sell it to everyone else. Tokyo Rose would have needed 2 minutes and you would have laid down your rifle.

    • allen42 March 16, 2014, 5:26 am

      Amen

  • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 11:10 pm

    Rick,

    I recently went back through the archives related to the final editing of my coming book. Here’s what I found:

    Our Man in China Sees No Global Crash (March 2010)
    “The following essay provoked a firestorm in this forum, so it was run twice. Cavolo’s point of view is far more bullish than my own and most of those who responded to it evidently do not share Mario’s optimism that the world’s financial crisis will simply go away. —Rick Ackerman”

    As I just re read that article, I see only one key variable standing out – continued low interest rates. We all know the bond market is the root of the roots. I said back then that the Dow would hit 14,000 and you all thought that was insane, its now 16,000. Gold didn’t make it to $2500, only $1800. I suggested oil would be up in the 90’s, its been even higher these few years.

    Bottom line I see in review is two key points:

    1. That via QE and other mechanisms, interest rates have been held persistently low. An upturn in interest rates is the gravest economic danger we face and that is more and more the case as the debt continues to pile on.

    2. The rise of Asia led by China has happened as i freakin’ told you all it would and it will continue.

    The financial crisis certainly hasn’t gone away. They just keep throwing more debt at it, kicking the can down the road and changing nothing that’s wrong with the corrupted systems. While some good does also come out of it, its not widespread benefit across western society and its very scary.

    Cheers, Mario

    • Troll March 15, 2014, 1:49 am

      Mario, you are (as I believe I have said before) the voice of reason. All the best to you.

  • mava March 14, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Why do I hold such a negative view?

    I think it is because I do not believe in a viability of fiat money – central bank approach to economy. I essentially think that such approach will inevitably result in long term dis-balance and fundamental problems.

    In my mind, the only possible consequence will be an eventual default or hyperinflation, or some mix of those two. There are others on this board, that hold very similar opinion, but see a deflationary outcome.

    So, this is why when I look at the news, I tend to pick out the negative events, that serve as sequential markers of impending doom. I totally understand Gary, in that if he is not seeing any fundamental issues, then there is no reason to give the negative news so much weight and all the reasons to try to keep a positive outlook.

    Here is where we agree, Gary. Sans the directed effort of human beings to destroy the economy, I too agree, that the skies should never be falling. It’s just that I see that effort and I think it has to have a result.

    Ironically, perhaps, and for my own reasons, I can use your line: “We are now living in a quantum universe where any and all events can happen simultaneously. Time has no meaning.”

    Here is what I mean by it. If we presume that nothing matters, that we can both, have a central bank issuing fiat and yet have an economy, this means rules don’t matter anymore, time has no meaning. You can shoot yourself in the head forty times with a shotgun and still have a date after. So, just like yourself, I obviously think that rules do matter.

    As for the timing of the collapse, it is very hard to call for two reasons:
    – the degree to which people are willing to be impoverished is hard to predict. For instance, the generation of TJ would have gone out of control long time ago, but we are just fine licking the banker’s boots.
    – the government can postpone the collapse anytime by putting forth yet another program that further impoverishes the people.

    It could be months or it could be years.

    • mario March 16, 2014, 2:51 am

      Nicely stated Mava, issuing massive amounts of debt certainly “could” serve to stimulate economies. The real question becomes what happens to the money suggested, where and how odd it directed to benefit the country. And of course, THAT’S where the game is so terribly and unfortunately rigged in favor of those in power and against the common people who get sales with the majority of the burdens, taxes and expenses of daily life. As so many times in history, the masters control the game to their own gain more than anything else while spinning masterful mis and dis information to give the impression that equality and fairness and freedom are the hallmarks of wonderful America, democracy and capitalism. I’m absolutely convinced the form of govt is far less important than the decisions that get made by the government’s leaders.

      Cheers, Mario

  • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 10:16 pm

    more news of the current deflationary weird,
    compared to the blithely ever happy ussa markets.

    one of greatest (front-page NON-famous) investors of last 30+ years, called seth klarman,
    (and if you doubt me, just look at his track record
    “generating annualized returns of 18 percent since 1983”
    has this to say, on march 10 2014, about current ussa stockmarket—
    “KLARMAN WARNS OF IMPENDING ASSET PRICE BUBBLE”
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101479544

    “On almost any metric, the US equity market is historically quite expensive. A skeptic would have to be blind not to see bubbles inflating in junk bond issuance, credit quality, and yields, not to mention the nosebleed stock market valuations of fashionable companies like Netflix and Tesla Motors…”

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    more news, on the DEFLATIONARY pre-crash weird—

    ALLTIME RECORD MARGIN DEBT keeps piling in ussa markets, like turkeys in turkeyshoot.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2014/03/12/wall-street-margin-debt-hits-record-high/6295187/

    march 12—“The amount of money investors borrowed from Wall Street brokers to buy stocks rose for a seventh straight month in January to a record $451.3 billion, a potential warning sign that in the past has coincided with irrational exuberance and stock market tops.”

    yep. you read that right. your neighbors BORROWED a half-trillion bucks, just in january,
    to ‘easy win’ at the rigged casino, of the FED-fed ‘surething,’ ussa’s ‘price is right.’

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    interesting article on how current ussa deflationary trends, are ‘eerily’ tracking 90’s japan’s.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/could-we-be-heading-for-deflation-2014-03-11?pagenumber=2

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    very good short interview of investigative financial journalist, bob ivry, and book he just wrote

    “The Seven Sins of Wall Street:
    Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis.”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/seven-sins-of-wall-street-134840129.html

    this guy knows too much, says too much truth, even on this short interview, so I predict that
    he will die of a mysterious, weird death this year, in some ‘freak accident,’ or of ‘rare disease.’

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I personally found this very interesting, from the ‘mouse that roared’ syndrome weird.

    tiny luxembourg has halted (temporarily?) the groveling of 27 eu nations, at ussa’s tax feet.

    http://news.yahoo.com/tiny-luxembourg-blocks-tax-evasion-law-eu-210418303–finance.html

    because proposition requires unanimous vote.
    so tiny luxembourg stands alone vs. other 26 eu nations.

    interesting. so let’s see how long they hold. I read deadline for this, was end of march.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    and no news of the current weird could end, without the ukaine vs…. themselves.
    (with putin as ‘arbiter.’ ha.)

    like I wrote last week, it’s a foregone conclusion, IMO, crimea goes back to russia, and asap.
    (and I further state, like I did last week, ALL of ukraine, will soon belong to russia, once again).

    for those of you that care, here are a few backup links (like I said, it was all smoke and mirrors):

    http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-wont-intervene-crimea-president-224530588.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/crimea-assembly-votes-independence-ukraine-105347330.html

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    and no stockmarket story would be complete, without at least quoting once,
    ussa market veteran of all market veterans, the 89 yr old dow-theory richard russell:

    “In the big picture, I continue to believe that we’re in a world depression,” Mr. Russell warned his 12,000 subscribers earlier this year (2014). “I think we’re at the inflection point where the primary bear trend is overcoming the frantic action of the Fed.”

    • gary leibowitz March 14, 2014, 12:14 am

      Is the end here? Must be because you and everyone else keep writing the same conclusions year after year after year. I finally figured it out! The micro world has replaced the macro world. We are now living in a quantum universe where any and all events can happen simultaneously. Time has no meaning.

      You have convinced me so many times, that each and every time I go to the “source” for corroborating news. Yes you and FOX NEWS have declared for 5 years now that the world as we know it is gone.

      Now all I need to know is how do I jump ship? This time-warp thing is getting me down.

      • VILE VLAD March 14, 2014, 9:47 pm

        what the hell is fox news, ever boringly blathering socialist one-eyed fool?
        I don’t know what it is, and I don’t care to know, otherwise I’d look it up.

        but I know that anything recommended by you, is narrow-minded village-idiots-ville,
        so why waste my valuable time, on ravings of an obvious pinko commie trash like you.

        fyi, practically all I read daily, starts at ‘yahoo finance’; yet, link within link,
        I sometimes end reading something from elsewhere, like nikkei asian review, today.

        and I have many great links for all to read today, but, you are such a commie bummer,
        that it is a waste of my time, to sift what’s TRULY IMPORTANT worldwide,
        away your usual EXTREMELY BORING, happychappy ussa COMMUNIST dribble.

        GO TO ANOTHER SITE, GARY. THIS SITE IS FOR INDEPENDENT CAPITALISTS,
        NOT FOR COMMUNIST SYMPATHIZERS, OF CURRENT 100% CORRUPT USSA.

    • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 10:41 pm

      Lots of people around here don’t seem to be able to get that yes they are right, the world as we knew it IS gone, but that doesn’t mean the whole thing is going to blow up.

      Yes, the U.S. economy is anemic and experiencing dangerous internal shifts, namely the gutting of the middle classs and the inequality of wealth to corporations and bankers.

      Yes, Europe is much the same. In both those cases, economic growth is dismissal and even in recession.

      We can easily say yes, that’s all pretty damn bad. We’re talking about 150 million middle class Americans and another 150 million middle class Europeans in a very bad situation, even if you just want to note that its the timing of the economic cycle that began post World War II.

      But what most of you seem to forget that is that the above is only HALF the global picture. Starting with China, India and Latin America we’ve got a RISING middle class which in total is FOUR times the size of the declining middle class size of the U.S. and Europe combined. Their lives are doing nothing but getting better, with expanding economies and rising wages, a trend that is likely to continue for the next 30 years. Why? Simply because they are early in their economic cycle.

      Next, are the countries who are doing as bad as we all say really in fact doing that bad?

      However, there are illusions and games being played. Tell me about how broke Spaniards and Greeks and Italians are. However, much of it is complete BS. There are HUGE cash economies in those countries. People on the surface pissing and moaning about the govt and how broke the country is when in fact, many people are doing plenty of business off the books and have loads of cash which they never admit to having except in their private transactions. I have read definitive reports and articles about this being the case in those countries. Cam has noted it about his life in Africa. And my own book being published next month on China is on the same subject. And finally, the off the books $2 trillion economy of the U.S. is growing because of the gov’t mismanagement there. People get sick of it all and they exit the system. To be blunt, once a person decides to exit the system and start living in a cash world, they have simply thumbed their nose at the govt and the IRS. At that point, there is very little the IRS can do to “catch” the person cheating on their taxes. Money, what money? The only thing a govt could ultimately do is ban cash transactions or scare you into being stupid enough to think you are “required” by law to report them.

      Cheers, Mario

    • mario March 16, 2014, 2:41 am

      I recognize that you just enjoy using colorful insulting language like calling Gary pinko commie trash. What I don’t get is why Rick has decided to tolerate and kowtow to your antics, you’ve singlehandedly knocked the quality, value and integrity this board is capable of sharing down several rungs on the ladder. it’s far more annoying than contribution. Next of course I’ll read your response declaring how much you don’t give a shit what the chink lover says…please go away.

  • gary leibowitz March 13, 2014, 7:57 pm

    I forgot to add a major point concerning retail brick and mortar businesses. The over expansion of stores over the last few decades is reason enough to see big winners and losers. On the food front the trend is simple, its called explosive. Consumers eat out at a torrid pace.

    http://www.eturbonews.com/41788/us-restaurant-industry-enters-fifth-consecutive-year-growth

    I wonder how the actual dollar growth in spending is possible if 93 percent of consumers are dead with no discretionary spending. Food for thought. In fact this has been the number one shinning growth segment for a very long time. But listening to Rick no one eats out, or only the top 7 percent do.

    Where is the unbiased analysis? Am I just making these stats up? I see such dismal one-sided stats presented on a daily basis here, yet the world seems to contradict your facts? If you just want to talk debt, there is absolutely no argument with me. I am talking about wall street and earnings. the two don’t coincide. good times can and do usually go on way after the music stopped. I have never been in disagreement over the destructive trend we are living in. I just have a little more hope and faith in human nature that it doesn’t become an Armageddon event.

    • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 9:22 pm

      were you hammered on the head repeatedly when you were young, gary?
      or were you called ‘look only one way gary’? or ‘wrong way lefty gary’?
      or ‘boring droning commie gary’? or ‘only sees out of one rosy glass pinko eye gary’?

      &&&&&

      Perhaps he simply has too much time on his hands. Merely saying ‘I agree’ over and over would not be a very satisfying way to while away the hours. RA

      • gary leibowitz March 14, 2014, 12:03 am

        It isn’t me that has declared a “sky falling” event every single day for the last few years. It certainly isn’t me that keeps interpreting news articles as if you work for FOX.

        Listening to you folks I can understand why you would be convinced it’s one big conspiracy. Either that or you would have to admit your analysis is way off.

        My agreement is analogous to agreeing the Earth will one day be totally destroyed. I keep harping on this because everyone here is convinced it has already happened or will so when we wake up tomorrow.

        You just totally ignore any and every fact that will contradict your theory of immanent disaster. Case in point restaurant closures. You conclude that’s an ominous sign while I actually look at all the contributing factors. Its called supply and demand. We had a HUGE increase in stores building up for over a decade. Now that competition is biting into profits you declare the end is near. I call it adjusting the supply/demand formula. Same is true with clothing retailers. just look at the competition.

        http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2013/what_s-cooking-in-the-u-s–restaurant-industry–competition.html

        No conspiracy, no end of the world get your ammo and silo kit; no need for that cyanide pill so you don’t have to face tomorrow. While the trend is obvious, the determination of when it all happens is debatable. Nor is the intensity of the outcome a foregone conclusion. It’s everyone here that act like savants where the end is a know entity with no need for debate or interpretation.

        I wish I was a sure as you all in all things in life. It would make life so predictable and easy to navigate.

        I keep bringing up this point because you love to label me as naïve and a bleeding heart liberal, which is synonymous in your minds. I know the facts and hate the end game scenario that will most likely play out. I just didn’t declare the game over after seven innings.

      • Redwilldanaher March 15, 2014, 5:09 am

        People are forced to eat out because they are so squeezed for time. There is not enough time to prepare a proper meal so they eat out. Many people are working two subpar jobs. Wake up you shilly clown.

      • gary leibowitz March 15, 2014, 6:14 am

        RED, total BS and you know it. If you don’t than you certainly haven’t seen any big metropolis on a Friday/Saturday when the fun really begins. Packed restaurants of all costs and every single bar is packed. Do you live under a rock? Just look up the restaurant industry stats. They break it down for you.

        People eat, drink, text, buy expensive toys, because they can. Do you know how much Starbucks charges?
        Perhaps people are rooming together to pay the expenses of rent and entertainment. Perhaps mommy and daddy are helping out. All I know is go into main street in any big city and watch the events unfold. You would never know there was any hardships. In fact ask any person under the age of 35, that have a job, if they think the world is in such bad shape.

        Right now its all a “state of mind”. People focus on what they want to focus on. Until real hardships comes for the majority of consumers that support this culture you will not see a major drop in our economy. The easy way to view the macro world is look at spending. Even disposable personal income has risen in all of the past 5 years. When total spending drops again we will see a fallout. Until then you can only guess when debt and added borrowing along with fed intervention ends this parade.

        http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/consumer-spending

        Sorry but I don’t see this ending in the next few months. I do still see a bear coming based on valuations alone.

      • mario March 15, 2014, 7:16 am

        Besides the fancier joints, eating out in America is a freakin consumer bargain, moderate prices, huge portions…so I’m not surprised about any growth in that sector. However their margins are forever being squeezed tighter and tighter….

        Cheers, Mario

  • John Jay March 13, 2014, 4:40 pm

    I will add some thoughts on why even allowing for the Government cooking the books, GDP and other statistics are very misleading.
    Retail sales numbers include retail gasoline sales, correct?
    Well, about 10 years ago I paid 1 dollar a gallon for premium gasoline, now I am paying 4 dollars.
    So if I used 50 gallons a month 10 years ago, that counted as 50 dollars.
    If I am using 25 gallons a month today, that counts as 100 dollars.
    I cut my usage in half, and it registers as a 100% increase in dollar terms.

    GDP is a joke if expressed in dollar terms.
    Here is a link to chart by the US Government showing retail gasoline sales in gallons:
    http://tinyurl.com/7rdzt77
    In ten years usage has dropped by about 60%.
    But the price at the pump has increased 400%!
    Pick a thing you buy and the same principle applies.

    And on my “Dark Ages” theory, it looks like the public school system has decided to adopt my “Close the schools and just mail everyone a HS diploma when they turn 18” plan.

    http://tinyurl.com/l8mad4e

    “BRIDGEPORT — The Bridgeport Adult Education Department, in partnership with The Friends of the Bridgeport Public Library, is offering area residents an opportunity to obtain their high school diploma.

    The National External Diploma Program awards diplomas to adults who demonstrate life experiences without requiring classroom instruction. Candidates work independently, and require computer access and experience, while maintaining weekly appointments with their NEDP advisor/assessor.”

    Life experience?

    I rest my case!

    • Redwilldanaher March 15, 2014, 5:11 am

      Gary will skip over this if he first fails to hack Rick’s site and delete it all together JJ. Nice work while it lasts! The shilly clown will never let fraud exposure or reality intrude on his dream within our nightmares.

      • John Jay March 16, 2014, 6:37 am

        Red,
        Premium gasoline has gone from $3.77 a gallon at Christmas 2013, to $4.25 a gallon when I bought some today.
        That is a 13% increase in 3 months.
        The Government doesn’t count it in their inflation calculations.
        But they do count it in their retail sales calculation.
        Abbot and Costello accounting lives on!

  • DK March 12, 2014, 9:51 am

    Seems these are the kind of shenanigans that are happening in perpetuity in N.J., Corzine-esque 2008.

    Goldman is perfect for this stench.

    Perhaps of interest to the board, particularly Mario:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/10688667/Markets-hold-breath-as-Chinas-shadow-banking-grinds-to-a-halt.html

    Another great article from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

    • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 9:16 pm
      • mario cavolo March 15, 2014, 12:21 am

        V, try reading your own links:

        “(1) Let’s not underestimate Chinese onshore investors’ resilience; (2) Defaults of bonds and trust products are not on a similar scale to a collapse of a major financial institution which is intertwined with many other institutions; (3) The Chinese government, with its massive savings and control, still has a deep pocket to at least prevent systemic credit squeeze; (4) The Chinese economy, thanks to its huge savings, has a below 70% loan-to-deposit ratio, US$4.0tn FX reserves, and a very small amount of foreign debt. Like all other economies, the Chinese economy has its own ups and downs, but we think the chance for China to face a severe downturn and financial crisis is rather small.”

        ONE company missed an interest payment and ONE company defaults on a $280 million bond and the media writes that we’re headed for a “lehman” moment?

        Do the words “massive” and “deep” in the above paragraph mean anything to you?

        And finally, copper’s drop is linked NOT to its use and demand as an industrial metal, but to the fact that in China copper happens to have been widely used as loan collateral in the shadow banking system. With Beijing putting the screws to the shadow banking system, which is a good thing that needs to happen, copper’s price will obviously will suffer as it is being sold more heavily to cover loans as Beijing tightens credit to reign in that issue.

        Good grief. There’s little news here folks.

        Cheers, Mario

      • VILE VLAD March 16, 2014, 11:06 pm

        boy-maria, I already answered you 2 or 3 times, but you are protected by the host,

        &&&&&&

        I hereby declare the Vlad v. Mario thread dead. You know exactly what I expect of you by now, Vlad, so don’t be shocked if I tighten my censorship. It is QUITE A BIT of trouble — especially at 11:45 on a Sunday night, when I’d rather be watching episodes of Deadwood — to have to take this time to clean up your posts. You are the only person posting here who requires filters and special editing. Why should I bother?

        And don’t rant, rave and protest, because no matter what you say, or how nasty you say it, you’ll be back here within three days, temporarily on your best behavior. You can no more boycott this forum than Gary could. RA

    • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 1:24 pm

      Hi DK and thanks,

      I’m happy to provide this clarification on developments in China. Shakeouts happening as they will, including within China’s own shenanigans, alot of which is in the shadow economy and shadow banking system here. Beijing wants the shadow banking system to slow down and is taking steps to making that happen so its no surprise to see. The shadow banking system is the latest cute China media headline but as a percentage of total liabilities, its scale is small, well below 15%. So its really just a cup in the big bucket, not the source of a coming crisis. Beijing may decide to clamp down on it even harder, regarding that as purely a domestic matter to deal with.

      Domestically here there’s so much strength in the private sector coupled with several other fundamental realities that are completely different than in the west, that I’m not at all inclined to think its indicative of anything that resembles a crisis.

      People, especially outside of China, seem to find it very hard to swallow the reality that China is adding $700B plus to its annual GDP figure each year even as growth slows. You need to pay attention to the incremental increases in GDP, not the percentage. Remember a few years back when China had growth of 10% but GDP was only $5 trillion back then. Let me explain further: Last year: What’s 8% of 10 trillion? 800 billion. This year: What’s 7% of 10.8 trillion? 756 billion. Next Year: What’s 7% of 11.56 trillion? 805 billion. The Next Year: What’s 6% of 12.3 trillion? 738 billion. The Next Year: What’s 6% of 13 trillion? 780 billion. That’s at 13.8 trillion.

      So even if China’s growth slows to an official 7% 7% 6% 6% these next four years, those are the numbers.

      One strong explanation for the growth here is that there are so many trillions in China’s off the books economy which are slowly migrating into the official GDP figures as the country continues to develop its modernization, reforms, rule of law, enforcement, etc.

      China has a completely different legal, financial
      and political structure for local governments and the central bank, which has loads of money, regularly tops up local budgets.

      China has 370 million employed in the urban private sector, still strongly rising, and 70 million in the govt sector. The only problem in that sector is too many college grads and not enough nice jobs for them. The strong private sector growth and continuing decline of manufacturing and infrastructure investment as a % of GDP is THE most important trend in China.

      Iron ore, copper, aluminum are popular indicators but they only represent a small chunk of China’s total commodities markets. So again, headlines are treating them as key indicators, which they are not.

      I’m MUCH more concerned with the impact of how America’s bottom 60% have been gutted. The wealth transfer in that country and other issues are a far bigger concern.

      Cheers, Mario

      • DK March 16, 2014, 1:52 am

        Hey Mario,
        The subject of the article was deflation, where the shadow banking system in China was used to illustrate the point. That is all. It was not meant to be a criticism, just another example.

      • mario March 16, 2014, 2:24 am

        I know DK :). I felt compelled to add related points because as most media articles on a “subject” , because they are so focused, give an inaccurate, misguiding impression of reality. Cheers

      • mario March 16, 2014, 2:31 am

        Re deflation, it’s a smart point as Rick well points out. Tightening credit is deflationary and the the unwinding of China’s copper carry trade is a real good example. I just think folks then proceed to incorrectly suggest such a situation has far wider implications….

      • DK March 16, 2014, 2:13 pm

        Perhaps this smacks as sensationalism to you, Mario, fair enough.
        Rick’s latest Copper tout portends a potentially ominous situation.
        The drum beating over Crimea grows, oil and treasuries being toyed with (guess that’s not news), although, I read somewhere that this probably has more to do with a strategic move to help Keystone gain momentum.
        Let the war games ensue.

      • mario cavolo March 17, 2014, 2:07 am

        I’ll go on record placing the copper games in the same category as Crimea according to Rick; A blip that in the real world has little to do with the markets. For heavens’s sake it is crystal clear regarding the copper carry trade, somewhere between 50 to 70% of copper purchases in China on credit, were for the purposes of carry trade/collateral as credit, NOT industrial use. Beijing has tightened credit as it is dealing with its various finance/shadow economy shenanigans and copper is simply caught in the middle, as much of said credit was being used to purchase said copper. It is an externality, as I believe an economist would say. That doesn’t mean the unwinding won’t continue sending copper lower as Rick suggest, certainly could…

        Cheers, Mario

  • John Jay March 12, 2014, 3:11 am

    I was half asleep last night watching some obscure movie or TV show when one of the characters kept making this joke:
    ‘If Pro is for and Con is against, is Progress the opposite of Congress?”
    Or maybe I was dreaming it.

    Anyway, to add another straw to the camel’s back, one of the Board members on a Water District out here has not had a driver’s license since he lost it for DUI back in 2003.
    However, that did not prevent him from filing for mileage expense for trips to meetings etc.
    They already receive some sort of per diem for that stuff, so he was really being bold by doing that.
    Someone ratted him out on it, so now they will all play “Dueling Transgressions” for a spell.
    And the descent into The Dark Ages continues!

    • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 11:23 pm

      Did he have a driver? 🙂

      • John Jay March 15, 2014, 4:51 am

        Mario,
        As far as I know he had no car, no driver.
        Just expense reports!

  • VLAD March 11, 2014, 4:04 am

    today I read a lot of crap about how everything worldwide is dropping in price.
    called deflation. china, japan, ussa, europe of course, russia eastern europe, all deflating.
    faster now.
    and that metal with a long time phd in economics, copper, dropping dropping.

    bank of international settlements, bis, the central bank for all central banks (wink, 1%er)
    telling that world big bank DEBT is now at 100 tril usd, while in 2007 was at only 70 tril usd.
    all the while, inter big bank loans have dropped by near 2%, specially eu banks, that don’t lend.
    don’t lend to each other, that is, unless they are national. just like prechter predicted.
    when shhtt gets bad, all retract, not expand. nationalistic. the big ‘international’
    experiment, boy-mario ever raves about, is failing. every man (nation) for itself,
    AS IT IS NORMAL, just like every family for itself. SEVERE CONTRACTION OCCURING.
    has not hit the ever deluded ussa idiot masses yet, but, it soon will. like a lightning bolt.
    AND I CAN’T WAIT. TO WATCH. FOR JUMP-OFF BUILDING RETRIBUTION.
    EN MASSE.

    • VILE VLAD March 11, 2014, 11:16 pm

      more on the news today, of the deflationary weird–

      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-wholesale-inventories-rise-sales-140340200.html

      here is a quote from the article above–

      “Sales at wholesalers fell 1.9 percent in January, their biggest drop since March 2009, compared to a revised 0.1 percent increase the prior month. Economists had forecast sales to edge up 0.2 percent.”

      HUH? economists had forecast a .2% edge up, for january 2014, when in reality, wholesaler sales actually FELL by near 2%, the biggest monthly drop in five years, since..
      (hum, what IS that month? rings familiar, for some reason…) MARCH 2009?

      and were these the same ‘economists,’ that had to revise down their ussa gdp# for 4th q 2013, TWENTY FIVE PERCENT, from 3.2% to only 2.4% gdp growth,
      using their wellworn abacus’es?

      (I mean, even a 1st year college, statistics or accounting major, will flunk out of school,
      their very 1st year, for a TWENTY FIVE PERCENT mistake–and much less for the gdp).

      $$$$$$$$$$$$

      never ceases to amaze me, how current amerikanus accept ANYTHING, from those in power,
      and ever try to explain it, rationalize it, accept it, live with it, as long as–they have a job and tv.

      • Oregon March 12, 2014, 2:37 am

        “never ceases to amaze me, how current amerikanus accept ANYTHING, from those in power,
        and ever try to explain it, rationalize it, accept it, live with it, as long as–they have a job and tv.”

        Better than unemployed with internet. Quieter too.

      • gary leibowitz March 12, 2014, 3:54 am

        We did JUST get the weekly sales figures that showed a strong rise in first week of March. Perhaps the nasty winter weather this year had something to do with it?

        Now here is where I would love some sort of record keeping to take place. Tally up all the reports and your assigned importance to them. Look at these reports in say 1 to 3 months time and decide if the data is on course or deviates. Just a way to keep track of all the negative selective reports and determine if there really is a conspiracy out there. My money is on pent up demand. If so we should see that rally to the peak soon. Food for thought.

        &&&&&&&

        You’re like some wind-up toy from hell, Gary. Below are two stories in full, written by one Michael Snyder, for you to process. RA

        THE U.S. RETAIL APOCALYPSE:

        If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores? If we truly are in an “economic recovery”, then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country? Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact. Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. Personally, when I published my novel I made it solely available on Amazon. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing. In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing. Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer. Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up. That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.

        And sadly, this is just the beginning. Retail experts are projecting that the pace of store closings will actually accelerate over the course of the next decade.

        So as you read this list below, please take note that things will soon get even worse.

        The following are 20 facts about the great U.S. retail apocalypse that will blow your mind…

        #1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.

        #2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

        #3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

        #4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

        #5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

        #6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

        #7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.

        #8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.

        #9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

        #10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 stores over the next couple of years.

        #11 Macy’s has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

        #12 The Children’s Place has announced that it will be closing down 125 of its “weakest” stores by 2016.

        #13 Best Buy recently shut down about 50 stores up in Canada.

        #14 Video rental giant Blockbuster has completely shut down all of their stores.

        #15 It is being projected that sales at U.S. supermarkets will decline by 1.7 percent this year even as the overall population continues to grow.

        #16 McDonald’s has reported that sales at established U.S. locations were down 3.3 percent in January.

        #17 A home appliance chain known as “American TV” in the Midwest is going to be shutting down all 11 stores.

        #18 Even Wal-Mart is struggling right now. Just check out what one very prominent Wal-Mart executive recently admitted…

        David Cheesewright, CEO of Walmart International was speaking at the same presentation, and he pointed out that Walmart would try to protect its market share in the US – where the company had just issued an earnings warning. But most of the growth would have to come from its units outside the US. I mean, via these share buybacks?

        Alas, outside the US too, economies were limping along at best, and consumers were struggling and the operating environment was tough. “We’re seeing economies under stress pretty much everywhere we operate,” Cheesewright admitted.

        #19 In a recent CNBC article entitled “Time to close Wal-Mart stores? Analysts think so“, it was recommended that Wal-Mart should close approximately 100 “underperforming” supercenters in rural locations across America.

        #20 Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz is projecting that up to half of all shopping malls in America may shut down within the next 15 to 20 years…

        Within 15 to 20 years, retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America’s shopping malls to fail. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus will survive.

        So is there any hope that things will turn around?

        Well, if the U.S. economy started producing large numbers of good paying middle class jobs there would definitely be cause for optimism.

        Unfortunately, that is just not happening.

        On Friday, we were told that the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs during the month of February.

        That sounds pretty good until you realize that it takes almost that many jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.

        And according to CNS News, the number of unemployed Americans actually grew faster than the number of employed Americans in February…

        The number of unemployed individuals 16 years and over increased by 223,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

        In February, there were 10,459,000 unemployed individuals age 16 and over, which was up 223,000 from January, when there were 10,236,000 unemployed individuals.

        Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate continues to sit at a 35 year low, and a staggering 70 percent of all Americans not in the labor force are below the age of 55.

        That is outrageous.

        And things look particularly depressing when you look at the labor force participation rate for men by themselves.

        In 1950, the labor force participation rate for men was sitting at about 87 percent. Today, it has dropped beneath 70 percent to a brand new all-time record low.

        The truth is that there simply are not enough jobs for everyone anymore.

        The chart posted below shows how the percentage of working age Americans that actually have a job has changed since the turn of the millennium. As you can see, the employment-population ratio declined precipitously during the last recession, and it has stayed below 59 percent since late 2009…

        Employment Population Ratio 2014

        If we were going to have a “recovery”, we should have had one by now.

        Since there are not enough jobs, what is happening is that more highly educated workers are taking the jobs that were once occupied by less educated workers and bumping them out of the labor force entirely. The following is an excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article…

        Recent college graduates are ending up in more low-wage and part-time positions as it’s become harder to find education-level appropriate jobs, according to a January study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

        The share of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree in jobs that don’t require that level of education was 44 percent in 2012, up from 34 percent in 2001, the study found.

        Due to the fact that there are not enough middle class jobs to go around, the middle class has been steadily shrinking.

        In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. Today, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be “middle class”.

        That is a pretty significant shift in just six years, don’t you think?

        For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “28 Signs That The Middle Class Is Heading Toward Extinction“.

        Despite what the politicians and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that something is fundamentally wrong with our economy.

        On a gut level, most people realize this.

        According to one recent survey, only 35 percent of all Americans say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago. And according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 28 percent of all Americans believe that this country is moving in the right direction.

        The frightening thing is that this is about as good as things are going to get. The next great wave of the economic collapse is approaching, and when it strikes the plight of the middle class is going to get a whole lot worse.

        &&&&&&

        THE COLLAPSE OF THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS

        The death of the middle class in America has become so painfully obvious that now even the New York Times is doing stories about it. Millions of middle class jobs have disappeared, incomes are steadily decreasing, the rate of homeownership has declined for eight years in a row and U.S. consumers have accumulated record-setting levels of debt. Being independent is at the heart of what it means to be “middle class”, and unfortunately the percentage of Americans that are able to take care of themselves without government assistance continues to decline. In fact, the percentage of Americans that are receiving government assistance is now at an all-time record high. This is not a good thing. Sadly, the number of people on food stamps has increased by nearly 50 percent while Barack Obama has been in the White House, and at this point nearly half the entire country gets money from the government each month. Anyone that tries to tell you that the middle class is going to be “okay” simply has no idea what they are talking about. The following are 28 signs that the middle class is heading toward extinction…

        #1 You don’t have to ask major U.S. corporations if the middle class is dying. This fact is showing up plain as day in their sales numbers. The following is from a recent New York Times article entitled “The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World”…

        In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.

        As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

        #2 Some of the largest retailers in the United States that once thrived by serving the middle class are now steadily dying. Sears and J.C. Penney are both on the verge of bankruptcy, and now we have learned that Radio Shack may be shutting down another 500 stores this year.

        #3 Real disposable income in the United States just experienced the largest year over year drop that we have seen since 1974.

        #4 Median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

        #5 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

        #6 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. In 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be “middle class”.

        #7 In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. In 2014, an astounding 49 percent of them do.

        #8 Incredibly, 56 percent of all Americans now have “subprime credit”.

        #9 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

        #10 The average credit card debt in the United States is $15,279.

        #11 The average student loan debt in the United States is $32,250.

        #12 The average mortgage debt in the United States is $149,925.

        #13 Overall, U.S. consumers are $11,360,000,000,000 in debt.

        #14 The U.S. national debt is currently sitting at $17,263,040,455,036.20, and it is being reported that is has grown by $6.666 trillion during the Obama years so far. Most of the burden of servicing that debt is going to fall on the middle class (if the middle class is able to survive that long).

        #15 According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest payments on the national debt will nearly quadruple over the next ten years.

        #16 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance.

        #17 More Americans than ever find themselves forced to turn to the government for help with health care. At this point, 82.4 million Americans live in a home where at least one person is enrolled in the Medicaid program.

        #18 There are 46.5 million Americans that are living in poverty, and the poverty rate in America has been at 15 percent or above for 3 consecutive years. That is the first time that has happened since 1965.

        #19 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 47 million.

        #20 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the percentage of working age Americans that are actually working has declined from 60.6 percent to 58.6 percent.

        #21 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen from 19.8 weeks to 37.1 weeks.

        #22 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

        #23 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year in wages.

        #24 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

        #25 According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.

        #26 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

        #27 Only 35 percent of all Americans say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago.

        #28 Only 19 percent of all Americans believe that the job market is better than it was a year ago.

        As if the middle class didn’t have enough to deal with, now here comes Obamacare.

        As I have written about previously, Obamacare is going to mean higher taxes and much higher health insurance premiums for middle class Americans.

        Not only that, but millions of hard working Americans are going to end up losing their jobs or having their hours cut back thanks to Obamacare. For example, a fry cook named Darnell Summers recently told Barack Obama directly that he and his fellow workers “were broken down to part time to avoid paying health insurance”…

        And the Congressional Budget Office now says that Obamacare could result in the loss of 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021.

        Several million people will reduce their hours on the job or leave the workforce entirely because of incentives built into President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

        That would mean job losses equal to 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021, in large part because people would opt to keep their income low to stay eligible for federal health care subsidies or Medicaid, the agency said. It had estimated previously that the law would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs by that year.

        But even if we got rid of Obamacare tomorrow that would not solve the problems of the middle class.

        The middle class has been shrinking for a very long time, and something dramatic desperately needs to be done.

        The numbers that I shared above simply cannot convey the level of suffering that is going on out there on the streets of America today. That is why I also like to share personal stories when I can. Below, I have posted an excerpt from an open letter to Barack Obama that a woman with a Master’s degree and 30 years of work experience recently submitted to the Huffington Post. What this formerly middle class lady is having to endure because of this horrible economy is absolutely tragic…

        Dear Mr. President,

        I write to you today because I have nowhere else to turn. I lost my full time job in September 2012. I have only been able to find part-time employment — 16 hours each week at $12 per hour — but I don’t work that every week. For the month of December, my net pay was $365. My husband and I now live in an RV at a campground because of my job loss. Our monthly rent is $455 and that doesn’t include utilities. We were given this 27-ft. 1983 RV when I lost my job.

        This is America today. We have no running water; we use a hose to fill jugs. We have no shower but the campground does. We have a toilet but it only works when the sewer line doesn’t freeze — if it freezes, we use the campground’s restrooms. At night, in my bed, when it’s cold out, my blanket can freeze to the wall of the RV. We don’t have a stove or an oven, just a microwave, so regular-food cooking is out. Recently we found a small toaster oven on sale so we can bake a little now because eating only microwaved food just wasn’t working for us. We don’t have a refrigerator, just an icebox (a block of ice cost about $1.89). It keeps things relatively cold. If it’s freezing outside, we just put things on the picnic table.

        You can read the rest of her incredibly heartbreaking letter right here.

        This is not the America that I remember.

        What in the world is happening to us?

      • mava March 13, 2014, 5:06 pm

        “What in the world is happening to us?”

        A monopoly game with fake money is happening. And just like in that game, nobody has any particular interest in making all that fake money, after a while.

        You might object, after all, that money is still good for something…?

        Yes, but the values shift so much that it then only makes sense to make huge amount of money, where the effort to make that is disproportionally small. But at the margin where you need to work for few bills, your subconscious knows it is not worth the effort.

        You can say that the money as we know it, that have value at all levels, have disappeared.

      • gary leibowitz March 13, 2014, 7:38 pm

        Bottom line: Net worth is rising much faster than spending. Debt has been going down until very recently. Asset values have gone up for all economic classes regarding home prices. Once again the latest (today) figure on retail sales is higher than expected. The weather was been one of the worst in a decade. I see inventory buildup at very high levels due to the winter slump. I also see consumer comfort index continue to rise, as it did show today.

        If only the top tier enjoyed this 5 year recovery the market would not show earnings at peak levels. While the top 93 percent had gained a huge percentage of the wealth, this trend didn’t just start 5 years ago. it is a long 40 year trend change that will eventually collapse. With the Fed’s intervention, and easy money flowing back into the economy, I don’t see the end yet. It’s all about timing. So far the 5 years of waiting for the debacle has resulted in a huge missed opportunity.

        You can selectively pick WalMart (less help from government on lower end consumer), Sears and JCP (mismanaged for decades), and the brick and mortar change over as reasons to think the market is about to fall hard. Your analysis over the years has not changed. If you can’t see the whole picture and continue to selectively use the monthly and weekly reports that fit your cause you will continue to be shocked why the market goes higher.

        The market trend is in no way showing a top. The amount of new inflow of money into the equities arena is one of the strongest in 5 years. Corporate cash is high, and earnings reports are still showing 70 percent beating estimates, and guidance is not decidedly negative.

        United States disposable income report shows a continual rise:

        http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/disposable-personal-income

        I never argued the trend is dismal. I only point out that the demise of this economy could take years going forward. In the mean time you can’t use your facts and figures as proof that the economy is in shambles when the data is pointing the other way. Are you saying that corporations are lying? It is absolutely impossible to continue to grow earnings at such a pace for 5 years in a row if we are already a dead society. Impossible. Either we died 5 years ago or your analysis lacks objectivity.

        I am only echoing the real world as it stands today. You keep referring to these stats as proof that the whole 5 years is wrong. You never mentioned in all these dismal reports that the trend is a long one. It didn’t start 5 years ago. The lack of wage growth will kill this market. It has not so far because consumers have offset that with increases in disposable income. Why does the consumer retraction from debt and increased spending caused by the 5 year debacle never play a role in your analysis. Why does the housing recovery (price) not play a role? You look at this with blinders on. The demise of the brick and mortar industry is offset by internet and social media gains. Is it only one-sided? Sorry but your obsession to be proved right is clouding your investment decisions when it comes to wall street. Good thing you have an unemotional trading system.

        The recent stock market jitters are coming from overseas. Do you see a major trend change based on your system?

      • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 10:21 pm

        Gary, I think you’re being far too general with positive assessments when you’re pointing out stats like net worth is rising. It doesn’t tell us anything about the health of the overall economy/society.

        Who’s net worth? In the U.S., the bottom 70% have been gutted and it is getting worse. But the top 30% are doing better than ever, that’s why overall net worth and retail figures are not that bad on the surface.

        If 66% of the people get their economic lifestyle level cut in half and the top 33% have theirs up quadruple, that looks like break even on paper. The 33% are amazingly happy. But in reality, you’ve got 66% of the population totally devastated. That seems to be the scenario in the U.S.

        The other point about wealth transfer happening. Yes it has been going on for many year, but it strongly accelerated since ’09, making the inequality far worse than it already was. These are serious concerns. Trillions have been sucked out of the U.S. society. Bloomberg reported that there’s $18 trillion dollars of U.S. economy money which was accumulated by the top and is now sitting in offshore bank accounts, never to reenter that economy again. Meanwhile, the common people are economically gutted.

        Cheers, Mario

      • mario March 15, 2014, 7:48 am

        I take those articles by Michael Snyder to heart. They are clearly indicative of stupid damage to the lower 60% or so of the US economy for which things are getting worse to where even the Wal-Mart low end retail sector is struggling.

        The positive view would be to say that once all of the 2200 or so retail locations listed have closed, the rest will do well, have more stable and profitable business. . Too much retail supply not enough demand is not a new story. That happened to our business in Phoenix in the 80s-90s when Peter piper pizza owned the town until pizza hut, little Caesar’s and dominoes all came to town opening up 30 stores each, starting a competitive war with every one struggling.

        Generously assuming 50 jobs per closed store in Michael’s article, , 11,000 people will need to find other work.

        Cheers, Mario

    • Redwilldanaher March 15, 2014, 5:24 am

      I was extremely busy all week long but I knew
      I could count on the shilly clown. He’s as reliable as a 1c earnings “beat”. What happened to everything that was moved “off balance sheet” , eh el douchay? Was it imagined out of existence? Were you contracted to do the heavy imagining? This mirage wouldn’t be possible if not for willing dupes like you, billions of willing dupes. You are the emblem that represents perfectly the reality that there is no chance for the masses. You make the prison planet possible. I’m sure that’s what God had in mind for you when inspiro time rolled around for you. Never read anyone else that seemed to make being such a servile b!tch for wall street such a point of pride.

  • Craig March 10, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Rick this is going on everywhere, it is not an accident or incompetency. It is a plan to subvert America from every angle. I knew when I read the headline (even thou I knew nothing about this) that an offshore company was involved, how? This is what has happened and is happening everywhere. In Texas the taxpayers pay for the road then magically it is sold to offshore interests for pennies then a toll is added, all illegal of course but who cares? Not the public, only if American idol got canceled over it, you will be a lone voice screaming about the B.S.

    BTW Alex Jones covers these topics nonstop like the Fukushima cover up with experts on each subject that you are concerned about. You should really listen to him for a week or more an find what his show is really all about. Yes he has a huge ego and talks over his guests but he covers the important topics and has the bests guests…and he only talks about stuff that can be proven through documents. He is not the UFO, Bigfoot chaser that everyone believes he is based on what detractors and MSNBC “says”. He will not even talk about stuff like that. his show is right up your ally of interest and you can podcast it too.

    • mava March 11, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Alex is OK, but his voice and a manner of speech, truly, is very hard to bear.

      • Craig March 12, 2014, 5:06 pm

        His information is solid. His style can be entertaining at times but very alarmist at times. That’s why he has such a big audience and also why he loses some first time and long time listeners. He scares some away or wears out others, it’s kind of like the in your face football coach. The Ukraine issue yesterday was a good example, Joel skoulsen (who is always spot on) told alex that this is just a rouse to further move the sentiment and perceived tensions to where the elite want them in 10 years where Alex completely agreed but two days later is screaming that this could start WW3 with Russia tomorrow. You have to use to your own mind and process all the great information yourself some of the time.

  • Spud March 10, 2014, 5:02 pm

    “WICKED DEBT FRAUD” The one and ONLY answer to the debt problem is to declare it null and void because of FRAUD! It is fraud because it is mathematically impossible to repay ! It can not be repaid because the interest is never created on the loan and that is fraud ! And fraud voids all ! If we don’t void all out of thin air debt the bankers will own almost EVERYTHING ! And we will be homeless slaves ! They have a license to counterfeit ! Can I counterfeit the money to repay the loan ? Why not ? If we even attempt to repay a impossible debt (the national debt) all we do is show our ignorance ! The way to fix this mess is so simple a 3rd grader can figure it out ! We void the fraudulent debt! and everyone keeps ALL the items they have so called debt on ! And then we start to use a debt free currency and / or gold and silver ! And then we will have a robust economy like never before — OR WE LET THE BANKERS STEAL EVERYTHING !
    I was in about the third grade when the news was talking about the national debt and I asked my dad who do we owe money to and who could possibly be richer than the United States? and where did they get the money? And then my dad took a gulp off his beer and said we owe it to our self ! I said that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard of ! that’s like me borrowing from my right pocket and setting fire to the interest and putting the rest in my left pocket ! This was about 1972 ! But Dad was wrong! We owe it to international Bankers running the biggest Ponzi scheme on earth called The Federal reserve system! And yes it really is this simple ! The bankers have a shoe in on ALL loans they make ! All they have to do is stop lending and then start foreclosing on ALL debts!-meaning they now own everything that has a debt by having a license to counterfeit ! So we” 1″ keep getting fleeced by continuing to pay this fraudulent scheme ! OR” 2 “we declare ALL out of thin air debt NULL AND VOID because of FRAUD ! And we keep everything we have so called debt on! MOST people don’t get this part Every car, boat, house, machine, tool, farm,ect. has already been paid for by the fraudulent paper! So no one looses ! WE sure as hell cant give it to the banksters! (let them steal it) AND IT DOESENT MATTER IF YOU WANT TO REDUCE THE DEBT 99% ITS STILL UNPAYABLE! So when we void the FRAUD This will be the ultimate FRESH start for everyone ! Share this if you want THE solution to the WORLDS problems! If not everything will continue to get worse until we have HONEST DEBT FREE MONEY /and GOLD AND SILVER ! And there is plenty of gold and silver! just Divide the paper money (FRN) by the gold /silver and you have the value of them! NO MATTER WHAT IT COMES TO per OZ ! Then we would be happy to work for SAY A ONE OZ. SILVER COIN A day ! Because a one OZ. silver coin ( REAL MONEY ) will buy what $100 – $200 did before the reset! THINK ABOUT IT! This is what Scripture calls the jubilee ! “WICKED” Debt And the amount and size of the debt has nothing to do with it being mathematically impossible to pay This fraud is so “WICKED” that even a $10 loan is a Ponzi scheme here’s how it works ! I’m the new banks first customer ( CHUMP ) I borrow $10 @ 1% interest I now owe the bank $10.10 but ALL the money in the world is $10 the .10 cents doesn’t exist so some one else has to borrow some so called money and I have to find a way to get .10 cents from them so I can repay my loan ! Now say they borrowed $10 also now I somehow get .10 cents from them to pay my loan back ! But now he is short .20 cents to pay his loan ! so now you can see how a $100,000. house that will cost you $ 265,000 to pay off because you have to pay $165,000 in interest is a GIGANTIC PONZI SCHEME ! Now multiply that by millions of people in the U.S. and you can see how It turned into the monster debt we see today ! And for the loans that do get repaid multiple people have to default on there loans for you to pay off your loan ! NOW you can understand why we have a rapidly growing homeless problem ! Now that is a WICKED debt money system that we must declare Void !

    • mava March 11, 2014, 4:38 pm

      If I create 1000 pieces of unique paper and loan them to you, with interest, you think you should be never able to repay with interest, because I did not create the interest?

      Assuming that you are correct, then, if I had also created the interest, you should never need the job, right?

      Because as it is, you work for me and I pay you that interest as wage. By the time you have had returned the original 1000, you have had earned another 300, that you now in possession of and will be able to turn over to me as interest.

      Try to remember, that it is not my goal to earn paper. What I want is you laboring for me, which I exchange for the interest you will need to pay me back.

      I could have said just as easy: borrow these 1000 notes and return them to me, and labor for me in the meantime.

    • mava March 11, 2014, 4:50 pm

      The mountains of debt is not a ledger of accumulated interest. They are instead a ledger of the money that the governments has stolen, – i.e. the money they have printed from thin air.

      As I have explained above, the interest gets worked out in exchange for wage. It does not accumulate.

      However, when I “borrow form an imaginary friend”, I do it without any intention to repay, because the repayment in this context would mean at some point I will burn the money I have printed.

      This is exactly what is promised by the Keynesians, except we know that there is no bigger liar than the Keynes. It NEVER happens.

      This is because I create money out of thin air for a reason. I want to spend it. Once spent, it is no longer up to me to burn it. I would need to earn it back, and as you know, bankers do not work, they do not produce anything useful, and as such, they can not “earn”. Besides, I do not need to “repay”. The people are too stupid to understand this, so why worry? I can just keep “borrowing from imaginary sources” with all the “intention to pay back one day”.

      Some money I manage to print without any record. Yet, at other times, I have to proceed with records, and those records add up, creating the mountain of debt.

      It is not debt, because I didn’t borrow from anyone. I have printed the money, and you took at as something real.

      Therefore, it is a record of money that the government has stolen from their people. If there is a trillion dollar high mountain of debt, it should instead be sad that there was a trillion dollar theft of people’s goods and labor.

      &&&&&&

      Well said, Mava. The claims on our children, and on their children, have gown so large that they will NEVER be able to work their way out of the hole.
      RA

      • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 8:56 pm

        “…they will NEVER be able to work their way out of the hole. RA”

        so, what does that say to you, ackerman, but, to get them OUT of the HELLhole, 100%?

        believe it or not, you can still leaving this HOLE. and you can still get your assets OUT too.

        but opportunity WON’T still stay open for long. for as you well know, writing is on WALL.

        nowadays, through internet, you can run your business, from anywhere in world.

        aden sisters, golden jackass willie, doom and gloom faber, bowtie motorcycle rogers,
        just to name a few, along with fellow argentinian doug casey, left ussa,
        long ago. so, ackerman, why are you still there, is it your nsa deepthroat connections?
        why does your denver culdesac appear to you so defensible, with your peewee ruger?

        more weird tales, from the world deflationary front.

        &&&&&

        Yes, V, it’s all about deflation. We will never actually walk away from our trillions in debts, since they will ultimately settle — are currently settling — against our already steeply falling standard of living. RA

      • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 11:33 pm

        I see, from your non-answer to my direct question (obumba-like, at town hall ‘meets’),
        that at your home, tail wags dog. I understand. so, you will go down with the ship. ok.
        hey, who knows. maybe you can create a colony in colorado, like senator in ‘lucifer’s.’

      • mario cavolo March 14, 2014, 10:10 pm

        Mava, Rick,.

        Wait a sec. A silly scenario popped into my head just now on this, but I want an answer. I’m being obviously simplistic yet…

        A person has a trillion dollars, doesn’t matter where it came from.

        They give me $250 million dollars. Whether they charge me interest or not, let’s say they gave it to me.

        I go out and spend it or invest it. I’ve added $250 million to the economy. I bought lots of stuff with it. I started a business. I created commerce. I paid people wages.

        I then don’t pay it back, doesn’t matter why, I just don’t.

        So what?

        The lender took a loss. He still has $750 million.

        This happens 3 more times to the lender. He’s pissed.

        He’s a banker, so he prints another $ 1 trillion. We play this game again. The banker’s money doesn’t get paid back.

        What’s the problem with this? Money keeps getting added to the economy.

        You keep telling us that all money is issued debt. Such money now these days has a very low rate of interest on it. But whether the money owed is principal or interest really doesn’t matter. It is “owed”, but it doesn’t get paid back.

        I ask again, so what?

        Cheers, Mario

  • mava March 10, 2014, 4:47 pm

    A good reason to sign that, however, would be a prior knowledge of coming devaluation. If the contract specifies $28 as a max price, there is nothing else to read about that contract. Road, being a very long term investment, will soon become essentially free, with a proprietor gong broke on this project, when $28, the max price, becomes equal to today’s 28c in purchasing power.

    • Farmer March 10, 2014, 5:20 pm

      Actually that is a good point Mava. Plenty of people believe the gov or Fed will bring about inflation if for no other reason than the debts can’t be paid any other way. So yeah….that road could sound cheap in ten years time provided wages actually rise to meet the new burden of costs that is coming.

    • Craig March 12, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Do you really think city planners are that informed or even care?

      They are pushed/blackmailed/bribed to get their State/County/City/Town into debt so that the only way to get out is a bailout where the the state/county/city/town must waive their rights to het bailed out. Those little strings that are attached will be to take away your freedoms at the the state/county/city/town level. That is the plan, it’s been in place for awhile and is going very well for them and bad for us.

      • Craig March 12, 2014, 5:55 pm

        Anyone that can’t see this was completely asleep during the Obama stimulus Bravo Sierra. Notice how Bushs was small and not controversial, to set the stage for the big one where all the payoffs would go out under Obama, the left and right workin together in harmony, the jab (the republicans) set you up for the hail maker (the democrats) as the the citizens are on the canvas everyone still says if we would just elect more jabs we won’t get the hailmaker.

  • ter March 10, 2014, 4:28 pm

    John Wilson please share your story of comparable corruption in Florida. I’m not doubting your word. I’d like to know how and what. It may turn out I once knew but forgot. Years ago, the state pension fund made some disastrous investments following the guidance of a Wall Street misleader. Public learned about them in 2008 or 2009, as I recall. State legislature assumed responsibility for making up the losses; didn’t sue the adviser. In general, I think Florida’s government is among the more honest. I may be out of touch, however.

  • Benjamin March 10, 2014, 12:31 pm

    I’m wondering what’s so cruel and unusual about…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_cradle

    … I mean, in cases where the public trust is similarly violated.

    I know that I’d be _catatonically horrified_ from even so much as dreaming in my sleep of doing a highway robbery like Colorado government allowed!

    • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 8:41 pm

      “I know that I’d be _catatonically horrified_ from even so much as dreaming in my sleep of doing a highway robbery like Colorado government allowed!”

      and there lies the rub. bottomline–you need to get tougher. for everybody else is.

  • mava March 10, 2014, 8:27 am

    Ditto, Mario. What next? How about selling US citizens into slavery to some foreign countries?

    • Jason S March 10, 2014, 3:03 pm

      Mava, I can start a list…how do you spell congress?

  • mario cavolo March 10, 2014, 3:47 am

    What good could possibly be said in response. Its the first of the list that gets me, they had to sign it without being allowed to read it and signed it anyway? Despicable stuff….

    • PhotoRadarScam March 10, 2014, 8:24 am

      You have to ask, what compelled them to sign it? Why were these politicians so willing to commit to such a deal? No honest or responsible politician would have, they are clearly corrupt. Doesn’t anyone understand the art of negotiation? I’m sure GS and the Plenary Group wanted the deal bad enough they would have relented on the non-disclosure clause if they had to.

      • Rick Ackerman March 10, 2014, 8:52 am

        It was sold as The Highway of the Future, and CDOT’s current slate of bureaucrats undoubtedly were eager to have their names attached to it for all eternity. An almost identical situation resulted in the recent approval of a high-density ghetto in my own town of Superior, Colorado. A California developer patiently took two years to sleaze his way into the hearts and minds of the board of trustees, so that by the time the final vote came the project was unstoppable.

        At the eleventh hour on the night of the vote, the trustees allowed that they were ‘surprised’ that there was no underground or multistory parking facility, just a large, ugly, flat parking lot visible from Highway 36. I assumed at the time that this egregious oversight would be a deal-breaker, but the trustees approved the project anyway after feigning concern for about 20 minutes.

    • Farmer March 10, 2014, 9:19 am

      Good point Mario. Why would they sign it? What defense could they have afterwards? Who had the power to present a document to legislators with a demand for signatures but could also withhold the rights of examination of the contents? We have got to know who that person is. They are truly powerful if they accomplished so much without a weapon. What idiot would put his John Henry on something he could not read first? There is obviously not responsible government in Colorado. Does that not strike you as weird? Was there was no vote? What the hell do they think they got elected to do anyway? Is this not a half billion dollar deal? Why would Colorado Senators and Representatives not be privvy to all the details nor permitted to strike down a deal that was distasteful to the public? Maybe the cops were there and threatened anyone who might look inside the pages that their arms would be broken if they did! Is that not possible? A very powerful force caused those people to take pen in hand and sign against their will. Satan himself perhaps? Seems to me they are very weak willed in that state. What is the point of having elected officials when they can’t exercise proper restraint on the public purse? Why does a signature from CDOT official carry more weight than an elected body? Something stinks in Colorado that allows a branch of government so much power over tax dollars and even a Senator is irrelevant. I don’t think I have ever heard anything this stupid in my life. I am being told a document was circulated around a room of theoretically educated men and women, some of which no doubt have a legal background, and everyone just signed it without trying to take a little peek inside? Are they on dope or something? Or are they corrupt to the rotten core and taking kickbacks and favors from the contractor and insiders?

    • John Jay March 10, 2014, 3:13 pm

      Mario,

      Why did they do it?
      Same as it ever was.
      A small bribe, or a promise of a “Job” in the future, or, to be more sophisticated, a large bribe in an offshore bank.
      They were Bribed to do it.

      And from the postings from our friends in Canada and Australia, it’s the same all over the world.
      The reason this condition exists is simple.
      Kind, gentle, honest people have always been “Kicked to the Curb” early on in life.
      They will never rise to a position of power at any level of Government.
      That is the realm of vicious, violent, liars.

      LBJ comes to mind.
      And JFK was as close to kind, gentle, honest as we will ever see as a leader.
      That’s a bit of a stretch, but he did ignore Le May and the other lunatics and avoid nuclear combat over Cuba.
      And he was most definitely “Kicked to the Curb.”
      The “Meek” are very unlikely to “Inherit the Earth”.

  • John Jay March 10, 2014, 3:06 am

    Goldman Sachs?
    Checkmate!
    I do believe Securities firms are exempt from both RICO and Money Laundering Statutes.
    How lovely.

    Same thing out here with private toll roads.
    Not to mention the School District out here that raised $100 million by selling a note that pays back a billion dollars in 20 or 30 years.
    Big surge of outrage over that one, and then????
    Crickets chirping!

    Reminds me of that wonderful PBS series “Connections” with James Burke as the host.
    I will always remember his intro that featured the fall of the Roman Empire.
    He said,

    “What caused it? Well, something you would understand instantly. The taxes were too high.
    So you were better off running off to live with the barbarians than hanging around your Provence to be robbed blind by the Roman Tax guy!”

    Same as it ever was.
    Rick,
    Are you in the section of Colorado that wants to form a new State?
    Do you see the “Connection?”
    I’ll bet you do!

    &&&&&&&

    I live in Boulder County, which was not among the several that recently voted down secession. I hadn’t thought about Burke’s series in years. It was some of the best TV ever. RA

    • VILE VLAD March 12, 2014, 4:16 am

      sounds like a good pbs series, this ‘Connections’, but, I’ve never seen it.

      the best pbs series I’ve seen, was based on a true story, “reilly: ace of spies.”

      deception within deception. a way of life. same as it ever was.

      reminds me of the original ‘day of the jackal.’ or, one of my favorites, ‘eye of the needle.’

      &&&&&

      Two of my favorite movies as well. Interesting coincidence. To the best of my knowledge, neither has been shown on cable (all re-runs, all the Time, plus 500 channels of infomercials, all for $100 a month) within the last five years. RA

      • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 8:38 pm

        akerman, ebay.UK. lots of dirt cheap TOP english-speaking films, in used dvds there.
        (many of them were given out free with their sunday newspapers for years, believe it or not).
        you can buy a bundle of them for 1 or 2 pounds each, say fifty, and shipping is way cheaper.
        however, you must have a region 2 dvd player decoder (I’ll let you figure that out).

        &&&&&&

        That obscure decoder seems to be one of life’s constants nowadays. When I was five, the only decoder one needed came from a cereal box. You ought to try digitizing audio cassettes that used DBX encoding popular 20 years ago. RA

      • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 11:47 pm

        throughout entire 3rd world, most dvd players are universal decoders, all from china.
        (world ‘region’ dvd-decoding was only another typical ussa scam, to lock in their sheep).

        I love china. not to live there, but for the maverick risk citizens take daily, to survive,
        in a world that’s gone totally corrupt, and the only cynical controllers, ‘to protect’,
        ‘property rights’, whether physical or intellectual, are the LIAR big bro ussa wolves.

        and you still defend them. wake up. 21st cent. ussa IS most corrupt gov. in world history.

      • John Jay March 14, 2014, 5:20 am

        Vlad,
        You can watch the entire “Connections” series on youtube.
        Just enter “James Burke Connections” in their search engine and all the episodes come up.

        And if you want to watch a very entertaining old movie, just Netflix “Deadman” with Johnny Depp from 1995.
        I saw it on Showtime recently, wow, a reviewer from back then called it a “Western on acid” and it is.
        Worth watching, it has an actual plot, character development, and a bizarre guitar score for the film by Neil Young who just made it up as he watched the movie I believe.

      • VILE VLAD March 14, 2014, 11:37 pm

        jj, I will check out the ‘connections’ pbs series, as per your suggested free youtube to it.

        as to johnny depp’s “dead man”, I own the dvd, I have seen it around 4 times.
        my favorite depp movie is “donnie brasco”. have seen it about 12 times. with pacino.
        after that, “fear and loathing in las vegas.” probably my favorite comedy of all time.
        (usually hate all comedies, only like serious drama, but hunter thompson is ‘special’).

        you liked “dead man”?
        then you’ll like depp’s “the brave” (1997), not only acted, but produced by him.
        not easy to find. I own it. even darker that “dead man”. warning– m. brando is in it.

        I don’t netflix. netflix is for rich amerikain.

      • VILE VLAD March 16, 2014, 12:22 am

        john jay, saw 1st episode today, of burke connections from 1978.
        1978.
        made me think of tower built on salt. easy to dissolve. 1965. 1978. 2014.
        electricity is all.
        just loose electrons.
        will watch entire series. and all else free by burke, as he ain’t yet dead.

  • Franco Mazzuca March 10, 2014, 2:54 am

    I believe this is the same group that owns the 407 Hwy in Toronto, Canada. You can google the financial statements.

    I the conservative government that I voted into office at that time sold the highway(never an election platform).

    There are many options. Tolls to retire the debt to build is one. We are told to buy and house with a mortgage and then pay the mortgage until the debt is paid off.

    Basically know you will be renting for the rest of your life.

    Users of the this road should be burning down the government offices. Why should they be paying to drive to work when every other resident that does not need to use this highway does not pay a toll to drive to work.

    Do these users get a reduction on the taxes they pay to repair other drivers roadways.

    Future toll payers rise up. Don’t let them win.

    Over the years I have paid $20,000 to use the toll highway to go to work. While other people that live in Toronto that do not need to take this highway are that much richer. That $20,000 today will buy a nice fuel efficient vehicle. But with my pockets emptied, I could only afford a $8000 used vehicle. You may ask yourselves what is a $1,000 dollars a year to use this highway, wait and see how fast it rises. In 10 years it adds up.

    Don’t put yourself in toll highway bondage.!!!!

    • Benjamin March 11, 2014, 12:30 am

      “Do these users get a reduction on the taxes they pay to repair other drivers roadways.”

      That touches upon another point: the loss of revenue that must be made up from more/other taxes. That’s probably one reason why the operator of U.S. 36 is allowed to keep profits a secret. And CDOT, being the only other privy party to that information, can claim whatever it wants in “revenue shortages”!

      Rick: How much rage is there over this in Boulder-Denver? Please tell me there’s a lot!

      &&&&&

      Plenty, Benjamin. But once the contract was signed, there was no outlet for rage, and so it died. RA

    • Kevinr March 11, 2014, 3:48 am

      The E-470 is a scam! I have basically stopped using it because I am tired of getting raped. Every February first like clockwork the toll rate goes up by a minimum of 10% (compounded of course)! Check out your statements for the last 3 years. It’s now up to over 30+ cents per kilometer, not to mention the ‘trip’ charge is now up to like 80 cents per trip! This is even with the transponder that is supposed to do all the tracking/work! Such a bloody f’n scam!

      &&&&&

      It wasn’t long ago that the four tolls on the very short stretch between my house and Denver Airport were 50 cents; now they are $3.50. The Catch-22 is that the less the highway is used, mainly because of the ridiculously high tolls, the more the tolls have to be increased to pay the bondholders. RA

      • VILE VLAD March 14, 2014, 11:18 pm

        gasoline prices in 3rd world countries are double+ what they are in spoiled ussa.
        tolls of the few big highways, are also outrageous, since you have no other choice.
        amerikain are so spoiled, and most don’t even see it. that’s why you are so hated worldwide.

      • mario March 16, 2014, 2:17 am

        V, finally THE most sensible, correct and accurate thing you’ve ever said. Be careful, you open up a can of worms with such pronouncements in this forum.

  • PhotoRadarScam March 10, 2014, 2:10 am

    I have yet to see a PPP that did not financially rape tax payers.
    Although the road may be desperately needed, it is a shame that politicians can’t learn to “live” within the means. If the project needed to be delayed or stretched out, so be it. Better than handing over the keys to the kingdom.
    Also to consider, of all of the things the government provides and spends money on, infrastructure is usually (IMO) the best use of the public treasury. Naturally, this is the one area that governments are trying to pass off to private partnerships.

  • GVM March 10, 2014, 1:19 am

    Welcome to a taste of what we in New South Wales, Australia have been subject to for the last decade; incompetent [or corrupt – after retiring earning consultant fees with the banks involved] State legislators and greedy investment banks. The model used was first rolled out in NZ in the late 90s and perfected by Macquarie Bank [nickname: the millionaire factory] in the last 15 years

  • John Wilson March 10, 2014, 12:30 am

    What would be surprising is an honest politician and honest federal/state employees.
    What you mention here is the norm of how the Federal government and state government works.
    Lie, connive, cheat and make sure the powers that be get their cut, payoff, bribe – whatever you want to call it – is what is expected from people who work in any portion of the government.
    Sad, but true, that we cannot rely on any portion of our government – whether state, local or federal- to be honest and straight forward about the problems that face our country and states.
    They’ll do whatever it takes – and I would not be surprised if there were a murder or two – to get what they want.
    Obamacare, roads, airports (Read about how many politicians got caught up in that scam in Atlanta), marinas (Arabs buying US ports) and on and on.
    Whether it be a republican or democrat (small caps on purpose), the only difference is that one is on the other cheek of the same butt.
    Shock me with news that tells me a federal or state employee is not a crook. Like Snowden – who’s head is on Obamas block to be chopped off if he ever returns for be a whistle blower about more corruption than Americans wanted to hear about.
    I can share similar stories about Michigan, Georgia and Florida and wasted money and screwing the sheeple of the country.
    Time to drop out and move on to greener fields.
    Leave the country to the idiotic masses and find a place where you can live your life with minimal interference by any others trying to “save” you from yourself.

    • Craig March 10, 2014, 6:28 pm

      John,

      I would love to move…where thou? Please tell me. There is nowhere to run. They have every country under control. Once America falls everywhere goes into complete free fall. America is the dam that is holding back complete control. And I it gets that bad here they will haul you back here pennyless unless you have 10’s of millions to pay off the locals/local gov officials in the place you reside.

      • VILE VLAD March 11, 2014, 10:31 pm

        damn, craig, you are seriously paranoid about the corruption of your own gov. and
        their supposed powers to infiltrate and control every world nation. Horsefeathers, I say.
        THAT is the IMPRESSION they want to portray, via their constant cia/nsa ‘dog wags’,
        but their REAL power, is much much less. you think the ussa owns other nations? B.S.

        here is the story of 5 that not only left the ussa, but also dropped their citizenship,
        due to EXTREME USSA CORRUPTION, THIEVERY, OPpRESSION, SUBJUGATION.

        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/expats-ditching-u-s–passports-151127757.html
        (of course, all these five left ussa decades ago, and have only recently, dropped citizenship)

        IMO, the current 21st century ussa is the most corrupt country in the history of man.
        it is orwell’s wet dream come true. even he could not have imagined, nth degree of oppression.

        I mean, if you look on youtube, how children and women are stripped and fondled,
        in ussa airports, routinely, daily, in the name of ‘terrorism’, when the only true
        terrorists, are the fondlers and strippers, that degrade, molest children and women.
        and purpose is clear–to rub in your face daily, that you belong to them, are their cattle.

        like I’ve said here for several years, get out of ussa dodge asap,
        before the doors to escape the ussa hellhole, are permanently closed.
        and once unavoidable vacuum overnight crash of world banks occur, it’ll be too late.

        I suggest for most amerikanus seeking escape, new zealand. second, large australia.

      • Craig March 12, 2014, 5:14 pm

        Paranoid? Just stating facts, I enjoy most of your commentary as you have some good info, except for the obviously ridiculousness you portray sometimes and Rick calls you out on. But obviously you are missing some info here. You think NZ, aulstrialia and Canada are free??? Are completely naive? They are more controlled than the USA. They have no guns except the ones that are registered….Austin city counselor admired (he didn’t know he was being filmed or didn’t care) that once they register the guns they will picking all of them up. The royal family still completely runs NZ austrialia and canada…need proof? They installed similar gun laws at the same time! And the royal family are pretty high up on the pyramid in case you were not aware. Don’t argue for the sake of arguing it’s very Gary-like. Yes NZ would be nice…unarmed of course, until the hammer drops in the US and the world then you would have wished you just stayed in the US.

      • Troll March 13, 2014, 4:59 am

        You give your country too much credit. So, too, has your school system. America is not the be all and end all. Russia used to think the same exact way.

      • Craig March 13, 2014, 6:32 pm

        Troll if your talking to me, no I don’t, America will be a hell hole. And other places will be much better to live. But as an American citizen, the best place to blend in and live would be America. Very difficult for an American citizen to blend in Chile unless they looked and talked like the locals. And being there on a passport will get you sent back with nothing unless you have a lot of money to payoff everyone. What’s going to unfold over the next decade will make America out to be the villain (aka like Germany and Japan before) to justify what is going to happen to us due to the actions of this Globalist controlled paid off blackmailed government.

      • Craig March 13, 2014, 7:01 pm

        So other countries will be happy to return all the Americans that fled, unlike the Jews in Germany. If you know a country that will harbor Americans after the hammer drops, let me know. The whole world will blame us for the millions if not billions that starve to death due to the collapse o the dollar. Along with being the big bully that takes out countries at will, murders, rapes and plunders all the resources. Not for the benefit of the US but for international corporations. And the murder and rapes…it doesn’t matter if it’s one rape and murder or thousands, the media is and will over play it so it appears like that’s all us troops do. We will be the villains because we do what we are told/ordered. USA 2014 is basically 1937 Germany…but with no where to escape to. But the western US is wide open and will be hard to contain. The east coast will resemble a large prison.

        &&&&&

        Always the optimist!
        RA

      • VILE VLAD March 13, 2014, 8:25 pm

        craig, don’t flip out on my recommending to you zealand and australia.

        I only suggested them for 2 reasons, one which you get, another I think you don’t.

        yes, you do get, that going to a non-english speaking country, is probably not
        a great thing, for only 1 language amerikans.
        so I suggested only english-speaking countries, for your seek for asylum, elsewhere.
        so, maybe try also, ex-amerikan colonies, or ex-british colonies, for english.

        however, no matter where you go, if you get enough guts to go, I think, without doubt,
        THAT ANYWHERE, anywhere on planet earth, is better, than staying in ussa, IMO.

        for I consider the current ussa, the most corrupt, LYING, trash nation, in history.
        and the 100% subjugation, that will occur, once HUGE DEBT shhtt finally hits fan,
        is defined by this—for not only your money will be blocked from leaving ussa, but you too.

        for you are already a ussa slave, craig, and you don’t know it. but you will soon, I think.
        and I’ve said this here for years, that all ussa windows are closing, as LIES get bigger.

        I mean, just look at this ussa whopper LIE. that ussa gov is worried, that UBER ussa corps,
        are stashing billions in usd cash, abroad, due to congress loopholes. what bullshhtt.

        BIG CORPS = USSA GOV = BIG BANKERS

        any part of the equation you didn’t get? all equal. same people. same thing.

        and here is the article, that shows, to the already pauperless jobless ussa people,
        that ‘bad guys’ are not us (the ussa gov), for being broke, but it’s those ‘nasty’ big corps,
        with ‘endless’ funds overseas (that could fund ‘goodguy’ obumba’s road repairs),
        with 30 to 90 usd billion yr in taxes ‘lost’ (quite a spread, but, let’s split it, say 60 bil).

        “That report cites academic estimates of the annual revenue loss to the U.S. that ranges from $30 billion to $90 billion.”
        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cash-abroad-rises-206-billion-090012024.html;_ylt=AwrBJR_L9iFTWXUAwA6TmYlQ

        hey, that mega ugly old white bird that took over for the ‘bearded benny from thin $ air’
        top ussa fake dollar maker, at clip of 65 bil of funny money going to crony big banks,
        could make up that supposed big corp offshore yearly taxation, in just one little month.

        entire modern world is just one big scam.
        everything.
        and it starts from the head of the scam.
        ussa.

        but, as one of last bogart movies was called, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’.
        therefore, I still expect the worst world retribution, soon deservedly coming, to ussa.

        ergo, I think getting out of ussa is crucial, and asap.

        along with your money, of course, while you still can.

        1 more suggestion, craig, but you’ll have to learn spanish, yet it’s better than chile.
        still ‘backwater’ ecuador.
        by the pacific ocean.
        look it up. it’s the best escape place, inexpensive, pretty, peaceful, good healthcare.

        but, get out of dodge asap, unless you want to slave die there. and that is an option.
        in case staying a ‘patriot,’ to worse scumbag nation in history, still matters to you.
        enough said.

        &&&&&

        Okay, Vlad, we get that you don’t like the USSA and that you think the country is headed toward collapse. No argument from me. But is there perhaps something else on your mind, so that you don’t start sounding like a broken record? Better yet, how about doing next week’s commentary: essay format, as short as 400 words, without all the shhhts, fkkks and references to our dim President’s nubian ancestry that I’d have to delete.
        RA

      • VILE VLAD March 14, 2014, 12:11 am

        ackerman, only essay I might write for you to post herein, is wholly philosophical.
        and it would not deal with specifics, only with human nature. I’ll deal with 400 words.

        probably be on nature of power, betrayal, and how ‘truth,’ is greatest lie of all.

        (btw, your half-caucasian half-nubian pres. is not dim. he just has a strict agenda,
        of destroying all middle-class ussa caucasians, one way or another–his 1%er dictum).

        IMO, last ussa pres. that was not a scumbucket was reagan. he actually believed crap he said.
        he was a not an imaginative actor, of course. but from clintons on, ussa pres. are pure filth.

        &&&&&&

        Good enough, Vlad: 400 philosophical words. I’d like to publish it as the next Topic of the Week, so please make it thoughtful, suitable for family discussion, and — if you accept the assignment — have it to me by late Friday.

        We’ll have to agree to disagree about Obama’s intelligence, though, since I think Dan Quayle would smoke him in a head-to-head IQ competition. RA

      • VILE VLAD March 14, 2014, 11:13 pm

        ackerman, I will not send you a blog this week by today’s late friday, I am too busy.
        I’ll try for next week, however, I want you to increase possible words–400 are too few.

        besides, my measly puts still have 1 more miserly week to live, and I’ll track them daily.

        as to obumba, I only said he was not dim; after all, he is (supposedly) half-caucasian.
        however, he surely is weak, as he has repeatedly worldwide shown, many times.
        he has been rebuffed and humiliated in uk, japan, china, russia, etc, and he takes it.
        I think he likes it. you should really check out pics from last week’s ‘sigmund fraud.’

        also, check out this link at it’s end, and see what japs really think, about current ussa ‘pres.’

        “President Obama on March 6 imposed temporary economic sanctions on Russia, but international affairs experts see the sanctions as a squirt-gun response. Russia will not be affected.”

        http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/New-Cold-War-reflects-global-uncertainties

        however, it is certainty obumba lives, solely to destroy as many ussa caucasians as possible.

      • mario cavolo March 17, 2014, 1:58 am

        Hi Craig, they do NOT have every country under their thumb as you suggest. Asia offers many choices…the only challenge is finding an environment and culture which you enjoy and can earn a good living if you don’t already have a substantial nest egg yet…

        When will the People’s Bank of China agree to start handing over the bank account info its American citizens living abroad to the IRS as many other countries have begun doing? I will leave it to you to answer that very very easy question and ponder its implications…

        Third, we all clearly understand it is officially illegal to marry a foreign woman solely for the purpose of tax evasion or vice versa. Rather, in real life, a man often finds himself genuinely meeting, loving and marrying a foreign woman and living happily ever after. Along the way, he also finds out that in doing so, he has created a completely legal offshore life out from under their thumbs.

        So, it is illegal to marry without love and enjoy the tax planning related advantages of doing so. It is however not illegal to first love the woman, become her roommate and then marry her. Photos along the way are all you need in terms of real world evidence that your relationship is legit.

        Silly, isn’t it?

        The funniest part is that before 100 years ago in societal history, in fact, the majority of marriages were exactly for social/financial reasons as their primary driver, not love.

        I believe people are wise enough to read between the lines here. The illusion that someone has you under their thumb is only superceded by the realization that in fact they don’t, you have them under yours if you simply choose to as a wise and sensible person.

        Cheers


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