Month: June 2012

The Egyptian Coup is in Progress

So, now that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate is winning the presidential election, the military has taken what amounts to complete power:

Egypt’s generals awarded themselves sweeping political powers in an 11th-hour constitutional declaration that tied the hands of the country’s incoming president and cemented military authority over the post-Mubarak era.

The announcement on Sunday night came as early presidential election results put the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi ahead of his rival Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s final prime minister and an unabashed champion of the old regime. But with thousands of polling stations yet to declare following the two-day runoff vote, the overall winner was too close to call.

Pro-change activists and human rights campaigners said the junta’s constitutional declaration – which came just days after judges extended the army’s ability to arrest civilians and following the dissolution of the Brotherhood-dominated parliament by the country’s top court – rendered the scheduled handover of power to a democratically elected executive meaningless.

The Brotherhood was quick to label the declaration “null and unconstitutional”, raising the prospect of a dramatic showdown within the highest institutions of the state.

They gave themselves the power to write legislation and draft budgets, which is pretty much the whole ball of wax, since they have shown that they already own the courts.


A number of West Virginia “Democrats” who qualify as super delegates have announced that they won’t be attending the convention because they do not want to be supporting Barack Obama:

Democratic West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he won’t attend the party’s national convention, citing serious problems with President Barack Obama.

A Tomblin spokesman, Chris Stadelman, said Monday that the governor has serious problems with Republican Mitt Romney, too.

Tomblin is an automatic superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention. He says his time is best spent working in West Virginia, not attending the four-day political rally in Charlotte, N.C.

In West Virginia’s presidential primary, Tomblin refused to say whether he voted for Obama.

Tomlbin isn’t alone in sitting this one out — West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin and congressman Nick Rahall say they don’t plan to attend the convention, either.

What they are really saying is that they don’t want to be seen as supporting Barack Obama, because their voters are from West Virginia, and he’s a Ni*bong*. (Blazing Saddles reference)


There is a level of sacrifice to be made by people in leadership positions, and this ain’t it.

I’m not saying that you have to go, but as a person in a leadership position in the party, you don’t advertise the fact.

The Bad Guys Win in Greece

I’m not sure what the right path is, but Antonis Samaras and the New Democracy Party, which appears to have eked out a 2% win, are not it.

They are the ones who created the crisis in the first place, working with Goldman Sachs to create the swaps that masked the debt.

I don’t see a government coming from this.

SYRISA, the leftist party, and close 2nd place finisher, wants to completely renegotiate the bailout agreement, and PASOK (Socialist in name only and almost as corrupt as the New Democracy Party) which fell even further as a 2rd place finisher has said that it will not join a government without SYRISA.

ND needs 43 seats to gain a majority, they have 108 in the 300 seat parliament, but SYRISA and PASOK have 104 together, which means that they would either need to go hard right (which would have to include the facist/neo-Nazi Golden Dawn) or try to thread the needle with the left of center, but not as left of center as SYRISA, Democratic Left, and the Independent Greeks, who were formed by politicians thrown out of ND when they voted against the austerity packages.

Not a clue as to how this will shake out.

Another Busy Bank Failure Friday

Three banks this week, four last week, following a three week lull.

Not a trend by any means, but definitely not reassuring.

Here they are, numbered for your amusement

  1. Putnam State Bank, Palataka, FL
  2. Security Exchange Bank, Marietta, GA
  3. The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, TN

Full FDIC list

So, here is the graph pr0n with last years numbers for comparison (FDIC only):

I’m not sure if the little uptick means anything at all.

Who Says that Irony is Dead?

I present to you the The Karl Marx MasterCard:

No, this is not a photoshop.

Some context:

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some eastern Germans are once again carrying round images of Karl Marx – if only in their pockets.

The disappearance of communist former East Germany has not deterred them from using credit cards emblazoned with the image of the man who foretold the end of capitalism and the triumph of communism.

More than a third of customers at Sparkasse bank in Chemnitz opted for the picture of a bronze bust of the bearded 19th century German-born philosopher, bank spokesman Roger Wirtz said.

Marx’s stern face is depicted gazing towards the logo of Mastercard.

Excuse while my head explodes. <Jimi Hendrix guitar riff>

Eclipse to Restart Production

I thought that they were dead, but it appears that repirts if its death are greatly exaggerated🙁paid subscription required)

As Eclipse Aerospace loads the jig for its first new-production very-light jet, the company’s ambitions are not those of its predecessor, which failed spectacularly in its bid to blacken the sky with low-cost air taxis. The new company instead aims to make a solid profit on modest production.

The original Eclipse Aviation was formed in 1998 with the vision of selling thousands of million-dollar jets into a booming air-taxi market. But its biggest customer, unable to raise financing in an economic downturn, closed its doors in 2008, taking with it 1,400 of the 2,600 orders on the books.

The new-build Eclipse 550 will have better cockpit displays and processors, synthetic and enhanced vision and autothrottle.

Eclipse’s business model was based on high volume, and the failure of air-taxi operator DayJet helped push the company into bankruptcy and eventually liquidation. Its successor has a more moderate approach, with a slow production ramp targeting a recovery in the global business-jet market by around 2014-15.

“We are not in the same position as other manufacturers,” says Chairman and CEO Mason Holland. “We are growing the business at a measured pace behind the speed at which the market is moving, where others have had to consolidate and cut back to get down to the pace of the market.”

The first new-production Eclipse 550, an improved version of the original Eclipse 500, is slated for delivery in July-August 2013 and, where the original company built more than 100 aircraft in its first full production year, Eclipse Aerospace is targeting 45-50 deliveries in 2014.

It’s still (relatively) cheap, just under $3 million, which is well above what they were selling the aircraft for when they went belly up, it’s still at a good price point.

Gripen Plans Progress

It looks like the Swiss and the Swedes have got their program together:

Provided nationally endorsed plans in Sweden and Switzerland survive political or economic upsets, the JAS 39E/F, the product of the Gripen Demo and Next Generation programs, will be delivered to customers in 2018. This will mean that Saab and its supplier team will have created what is in most respects an entirely new aircraft, compared to the original JAS 39A/B, since development of the in-service C/D started in June 1997.

This has been done so far under fixed-price contracts for development, new production and retrofits, according to a presentation by FMV, the Swedish defense procurement organization. After the delivery of the last Gripen C/D, Saab returned an unspecified sum of money to the Swedish government because costs were lower than predicted.

More details of the JAS 39E/F emerged at an aerospace conference hosted by the Swedish air force and Saab earlier this month at Malmen air base, and attended by current and prospective Gripen operators.

The schedule is set by two interlocking commitments. The Swedish government has decided to replace the C/D with the E/F and has committed to developing the aircraft in time to support Switzerland’s requirements. The Swiss government has selected the E/F as the sole affordable replacement for the F-5E/F, and subject to a referendum and negotiations will sign a contract in 2014, triggering a full-scale go-ahead by Sweden .

Some development work will continue to lay the foundation for the four-year program. As long as the political process stays on track, the first of two built-from-the-ground-up E/F development aircraft, identified as 39-8, will fly in late 2013. The Gripen Demo has been equipped with a prototype of the Selex Raven ES-05 active, electronically scanned array radar and will be used to test the E/F’s revised avionics system and weapons.

The E/F airframe will be largely new, although it should be possible to use some major components from existing C/D airframes, including the wings. Mid and aft fuselage sections will be new, to accommodate the General Electric F414 engine (and its larger airflow) and the new landing gear. The blended wing-body sections will be larger, placing the wing attachment points an estimated 30 in. farther apart. The goal is to maintain the same wing loading for the E/F’s 2.5-ton increase in gross weight. The body will be slightly longer, maintaining or improving fineness ratio. Sources suggest the design will incorporate F-35-style diverterless supersonic inlets.

So, it looks like the New Gripen is going to be basically a new aircraft.

One of the interesting points is that they intend a large amount of systems commonality between the E/F and the C/D, particularly in terms of upgrades, which can serve to address concerns about the costs of upgrades, which Norway used as an alibi to select the F-35. 

It should that this did problem did occur with Italy, when they were the sole customer for the Sparrow capable F-104S, and were stuck with shouldering upgrades on their own.

Seeing as how the Gripen is about half the direct operating cost of the Typhoon and Rafale, and probably less than 1/3 that of the F-35, I think that it continues to occupy a niche at the low end of the market.

This Ain’t Good

The Egyptian Army has blockaded parliament:

Egypt’s military rulers moved to consolidate power Friday on the eve of the presidential runoff election, shutting down the Islamist-led Parliament, locking out lawmakers and seizing the sole right to issue laws even after a new head of state takes office.
The generals effectively abandoned their previous pledge to cede power to a civilian government by the end of the month, prolonging the increasingly tortuous political transition after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year. The power play has also darkened the prospects that Egypt, the most populous Arab state and one that historically has had tremendous influence on the direction of the region, might quickly emerge as a model of democracy for the Middle East.
Their moves, predicated on a court ruling on Thursday and announced with little fanfare by the state news media, make it likely that whoever wins the presidential race will — at least at first — compete with the generals for power and influence. The military counsel also indicated through the official news media that it planned to issue a new interim constitution and potentially select its own panel to write a permanent charter. The generals have already sought permanent protections for their autonomy and political power.

Additionally, there are indications that the military is preparing to engage in massive voter fraud on behalf of the Mubarak hack running for President:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy is tempering forecasts of victory in Egypt’s presidential election with a warning that vote rigging typical of the Hosni Mubarak era may hand victory to Ahmed Shafik, the deposed leader’s last prime minister.

On the eve of the run-off, Morsy, 60, hopes a big turnout of voters worried about a revival of the old regime will prevent that outcome and make him Egypt’s first Islamist president.

But after a court ruling by judges appointed under Mubarak dissolved a new parliament in which the Brotherhood was the main force, momentum appears to have ebbed away from Morsy, reflecting a broader sense that a political transition which had brought his movement dramatic gains is no longer going its way.

What a surprise, the generals like running things.

With a real civilian government, their control of much of the economy would be at risk, and the the gravy train would end.

So, When Do They Convict a White Guy?

Still no big name white guys caught

So, Rajat Gupta has been convicted of insider trading:

Rajat K. Gupta, the retired head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and a former Goldman Sachs board member, was found guilty on Friday of conspiracy and securities fraud. He is the most prominent business executive convicted in a wave of prosecutions that followed the government’s sweeping investigation into insider trading on Wall Street.

After a monthlong trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a jury took only two days to deliberate before reaching a verdict. It found Mr. Gupta guilty of leaking confidential information about Goldman to his former friend and business associate, the fallen hedge fund titan Raj Rajaratnam, on three different occasions in 2008. He was also convicted of conspiring in an insider trading scheme with Mr. Rajaratnam.

Mr. Gupta was found not guilty of two instances of tipping Mr. Rajaratnam, including an allegation that he divulged secret news about Procter & Gamble, where he also served on the board.

“Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Mr. Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan said in a statement.

“Almost two years ago, we said that insider trading is rampant, and today’s conviction puts that claim into stark relief, ” he said.

I’ll believe that this is real when a Caucasian is put in the dock.

Until we start seeing pale people frog marched out of their offices in handcuffs, this isn’t real.


Jon Stewart on the how the Senators (with 2 exceptions) sucked up to Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase when they were supposed to be grilling him.

I was going to write about it, but there weren’t enough obscenities in my vocabulary to do it justice, and Jon Stewart nails it with a PG rating.

Go figure.

There’s Going to Be a Recount in Wisconsin Senate Race

This is no surprise:

A Republican Wisconsin state senator asked Friday for a recount in the election that could hand Democrats their only victory in this month’s six recalls, and at least a temporary majority in the state Senate.

An official canvass this week showed incumbent Racine Republican Van Wanggaard trailing Democratic challenger John Lehman by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent of the nearly 72,000 votes cast.

Democrats had called on Wanggaard to concede, saying a recount would only waste taxpayer money and delay the inevitable. But Wanggaard’s campaign said it was concerned about reports of voting irregularities and wanted to ensure the outcome was accurate.

The state Senate currently has 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans, meaning the winner of the Wanggaard-Lehman race will give his party majority control. The victory, however, could be largely symbolic. The Legislature isn’t expected to convene again until January, and the November elections could cause the balance of political power to shift once again.

Of course he’s asking for a recount.

800 votes objectively does not seem like many, but it’s 1.2%, which is well nigh insurmountable.

It’s (mostly) about being a dick, and perhaps about delaying control of the professional staff in the Senate by the Democrats.

Gee, We’re Caught Lying About Syria

It turns out that the allegation that Russians were selling attack helos to Syria made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were false.

Syria has owned the copters in question for years:

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accused Russia on Tuesday of shipping attack helicopters to Syria that would “escalate the conflict quite dramatically,” it was the Obama administration’s sharpest criticism yet of Russia’s support for the Syrian government.

What Mrs. Clinton did not say, however, was whether the aircraft were new shipments or, as administration officials say is more likely, helicopters that Syria had sent to Russia a few months ago for routine repairs and refurbishing, and which were now about to be returned.

“She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position,” said one senior Defense Department official.

This is called lying like a rug.

We are going to bomb Syria.  This is exactly the same sort of crap what we saw with build up Iraq, Libya, etc.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Shorter Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn’s writes an article complaining about how she can no longer throw, or go to, dinner parties with the movers and shakers in Washington, DC.

Fortunately, Jonathan Chait read the article so you don’t have to, and reaponds with “Sally Quinn Forced to Dine With Non-Fake Friends.”

While the title is good, the last ‘graph is even better:

Once Washington was a happy place where a girl and her mother could be groped simultaneously in good fun by a white supremacist. Sadly, it has all been ruined by Kim Kardashian and Ezra Klein.

This is a classic example of the snark genre.

Go read.