Category Archives: Podcast

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It’s just an oil town…

Unterm Rad

Riding the yellow line, out to the beach – with the obligatory two-minutes of sadness for the beasts who plunged into the tar pit knee deep, then struggled until they died to break free of the morass…

LA Woman, sunny afternoon,

drivin’ through your suburbs

Into yo’ blues

Into yo’ blues

Into yo’ blues

Into yo’ blues…

Motel burnin’

murder madness

will change a fool 

from glad

to sadness…

– The Doors

‘Because of the insurance’ the new world order

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Pay or die is nothing new, but one of Texas’ largest health care providers is demanding payment prior to results as a watchword of the Affordable Health Care Act, it seems.

This recording came in over the transom, so it’s a raw piece of intelligence in which an executive of Scott & White is heard to say that 1) not everyone pays their bills, and 2) the hospital giant has no alternative but to make its other patients pay in advance for trauma care.

His interlocutor is heard to say that he and many other families are leaving for better conditions, but the executive is unperturbed. He’s here to stay, and this is the new way.

Unfortunately, because of patient confidentiality laws, it’s not possible to learn much more from this sound byte, but there it is.

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They’ve done it again!

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Somewhere, a copy editor is wringing his hands in utter delight.

Our Story: The deal is this. On a junket to Galveston, Texas, Stephen Crain covered the dedication of Galveston’s jetties to a glorious future as the Queen of Texas deep water Gulf ports, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project.

The city was still on its seeming perpetual quest to outstrip Houston in its bid to dig a ditch 50 miles to the jaws of Galveston Bay and thus become an alternate to a great natural harbor.

A the termination point of a rambling account of his visit, the author of The Red Badge of Courage reported his dialogue with a merchant seaman, who asked “Do you know why so few of our young men are seeking professions in the seafaring trades?”

When Crain said, no, he didn’t, the man replied, “Because saddles are so expensive.”


End of story.

And then I found this impassioned account of Istanbul’s quest to become a smokeless town, reported earlier in this century in “The Atlantic.”

Get a load of this:

Faruk Tas, the manager of Ali Papa Nargile, dragged on a steady supply of Marllboro Reds. “Where are these people going to smoke?” he said. “I can understand banning cigarettes, but this is a water-pipe garden. This is in our culture.”

He motioned to a friend who’d entered his shop. “Ask him what he thinks about it.”

Do you think the smoking ban will work in Turkey?”

Of course,” replied the visitor, rather dismissively. Then he sat down and lit a cigarette.


End of story.

I put it to you. It’s loose in the land, once again. Must be something in the air, maybe the water.

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Nation gripped by financial coup

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America entered the third world this year – very quietly.

Communicating undercover in a 2009 number of “The Atlantic,” risk management executives of the International Monetary Fund warned of a “financial coup” at work in Americans’ lives. 

The scam is at end-game, and it’s not that different than those foisted upon the peoples of third world nations such as Indonesia, Argentina, Russia, or South Korea.

The formula for recovery is very simple – increase exports, reduce imports – and live within the national means – but it’s also very, very expensive.

When conventional bankers begin to reject proposals for further borrowing, that leaves the more expensive, less desirable route offered by IMF.

According to experts quoted without attribution in the Simon Johnson article, “One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you. Typically, your ‘clients’ have come in only after regional trading-bloc partners have been unable to throw a strong enough lifeline, after last-ditch attempts to borrow from powerful friends like China or the European Union have fallen through…”

It’s as simple as that.

Most Americans are only now waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

According to Johnson’s article: “The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary.

That’s the way out, according to conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom beats no money, and those with conventional wisdom have it to lend.

Big banks gained political strength by being too big to fail, and that came only after the “crisis” – so-called – was well underway.

By 2007, financial industry profits as a share of U.S. Business profits had risen to 30 percent, up from slightly less than 10 percent in 1945, while pay per worker in the financial sector had risen from 120 percent of an average worker’s to double that over the same period.

As an emerging market economy, the U.S. is trapped, according to Philip Turner of the Bank for International Settlements. “The global long-term interest rate now matters much more for the monetary policy choices facing emerging market economies than a decade ago. The low or negative term premium in the yield curve in the advanced economies from mid-2010 has pushed international investors into EM local bond markets: by lowering local long rates, this has considerably eased monetary conditions in the emerging markets. It has also encouraged much increased foreign currency borrowing in international bond markets by emerging market corporations, much of it by affiliates offshore. These developments strengthen the feedback effects between bond and foreign exchange markets. They also have significant implications for local banking systems.

Keywords: Term premium, international corporate bonds, monetary policy triangle, currency mismatches…”

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Coup marks Asian unrest

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Bangkok –

Martial law is in force in Thailand following a coup in which the Army’s chief of staff replaced the head of government. Gatherings of five or more people are prohibited.

According to news reports, the cabinet refused to resign when called upon to do so.

China and Vietnam are at odds over territorial waters. Chinese head of government has said he is seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict as the United States and Japan have joined Vietnam in making overtures for increased cooperation between the nations.

Evidence in banker deaths

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Eleven key risk management players at the world’s top financial firms have committed suicide since the first of the year.

Last week, evidence emerged in one case that pointed to a reason. A Deutsche Bank executive was distraught after having been replaced by a more experienced colleague following a government veto of his appointment to the key post, it was learned at an inquest into his death in London.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

While a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said Tuesday that “Bill was not under suspicion of wrongdoing in any matter,” according to statements read at a coroner’s inquest in London, the former senior executive at Deutsche Bank, who committed suicide in late January, was concerned about investigations into the German bank.

 William Broeksmit, an executive who worked in the bank’s risk function and advised the firm’s senior leadership, was “anxious about various authorities investigating areas of the bank where he worked,” according to written evidence from his psychologist, given Tuesday at an inquest at London’s Royal Courts of Justice.

 Mr. Broeksmit, an American born in Chicago who retired from Deutsche Bank in February 2013, hanged himself at his London home on Jan. 26, according to a statement read at the coroner’s inquest…

 A close colleague of Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain, Mr. Broeksmit was expected to be appointed the bank’s chief risk officer in 2012, but the move was vetoed by BaFin, the German financial regulator, because of a lack of suitable experience, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Ms. Wilcox, citing written medical evidence from Mr. Broeksmit’s doctor and psychologist, said the executive was sleeping badly during the summer of 2013, and his “self-esteem had been greatly undermined.” He was also trying to stop smoking cigars and his alcohol intake was high, according to a medical report.

1 – William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.


2 – Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.


3 – Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.


4 – Mike Dueker, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.


5 – Richard Talley, the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.


6 – Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.


7 – Ryan Henry Crane, a 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.


8 – Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong this week.


9 – James Stuart Jr, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say whatcaused the death


10 – Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, commited suicide by jumping in front of LIRR train


11 – Kenneth Bellando, 28, a trader at Levy Capital, formerly investment banking analyst at JPMorgan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment.

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Waco – In their zeal to conceal, obfuscate and confuse the criminal record, public officials have written a blank check to the criminal element and the defense bar in McLennan County.

In this case, the blank line when filled in exacted a price of an innocent woman’s life. There is no telling how many similar cases are out there, the details simply unavailable due to red tape.

Nevertheless, the paper trail of the bad acts of David Wayne Zahirniak weaves a tangled streak of malefacation seldom seen as perpetrated by one man.

Oddly enough, one complicating factor – entry of a wrong number on a document outlining condition of bond – may have had a great contribution to the mixups that made the cases fall through the cracks.

A Deputy District Clerk applied a number of a case closed to the document supporting bond in an April, 2008 case of aggravated sexual assault of two girls whom he was caring for at the time.

In November of 2007, Zahirniak assaulted a juvenile corrections officer and wound up charged with official oppression. He was sentenced to a year in County Jail and a $4,000 fine, the sentence suspended, and placed on probation. In the following year, prosecutors moved to revoke his probation, recommending 270 days in jail and suspending six months of the sentence to allow credit for 90 days time served.

In the April, 2008, case of three counts of aggravated sexual assault, Zahirniak remained in jail for more than 90 days without prosecution. He gained his release on a writ of habeas corpus when his attorney applied under the delay in prosecution provision of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

A June, 2009, conviction for less than a gram of methamphetamine netted Zahirniak a sentence for a State Jail Felony.

In April of 2014, he assaulted Caitllyn Reed with a cane, was charged with aggravated assault, and bonded out. Only days later, he went back to her house and engaged in an altercation during which he is alleged to have murdered her with a gun belonging to her father.

In the end, the State of Texas expected her to defend herself with a borrowed pistol.

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High court challenge to NDAA martial law plan –


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After the string of black Suburbans pulls away, it is difficult to believe that the military would provide relatives or lawyers with any information whatsoever as to where the person being detained was being held.”

WASHINGTON – Most people have no idea that within days, they could be rounded up by U.S. military troops, held without bond – or charges – unable to communicate with family or friends, and without the benefit of counsel following the Supreme Court’s refusal to review what a panel of activists have labeled a “clearly unconstitutional” version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014.

While most Americans sweated out whether Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson would get to continue his run as Cabela’s factotum of conservative backwoods wisdom, 85 out of 100 U.S. Senators quietly fast-tracked a systemic method of totalitarian military authority into play.

The 2014 version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will grant the President unconstitutional authority to “arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely” American citizens thought to “represent an enduring security threat to the United States,” according to lawyers who are pressing the Supreme Court to change their minds.

A blue ribbon panel of plaintiffs spearheaded by journalist Chris Hedges filed a friend of the court brief that asserts, “If this court refuses to hear the Hedges Challenge, it will leave American citizens subject to unconstitutional military arrest and detention.” Their rank includes such luminaries as Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O’Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the political action group “Day of Rage.”

They are now suing the government to stop the enforcement of a law that grants presidential authority to detain anyone who is deemed a troublemaker, or a threat to national security.

The terms are actually that vague. That is despite what the president himself said at the time of the middle-of-the-night hurry up session that passed the law to start with. “It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges says of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.”

Although President Barack Hussein Obama made palliative noises at the time, “Simply stating that means it could be interpreted as the contrary,” according to veteran journalist Bob Unruh, of “World Net Daily.”

The law would authorize executive actions similar to the 1944 detention of Japanese-Americans and confiscation of their property and goods.

In the Second U.S. Circuit of Appeals, justices overturned a ruling of the trial court in the Southernn District of New York when the trial court, on Sept. 12, 2012, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District Court of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and placed a permanent injunction on the indefinite detention provision.

Obama then appealed, and the 2nd Circuit authorized the government detention program.

Since the law passed, multiple states have passed laws banning its enforcement. Herb Titus, a constitutional expert, previously told news outlets that Forrest’s ruling underscored “the arrogance of the current regime, in that they will not answer questions that they ought to answer to a judge because they don’t think they have to.”

The judge explained that the plaintiffs alleged paragraph 1021 is “constitutionally infirm, violating both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment as well due process rights guaranteed by the 5th Amendment.”

She noted the government “did not call any witnesses, submit any documentary evidence or file any declarations.”

It must be said that it would have been a rather simple matter for the government to have stated that as to these plaintiffs and the conduct as to which they would testify, that [paragraph] 1021 did not and would not apply, if indeed it did or would not,” she wrote.

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Free on writ, lover kills victim with her own gun

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Around the close-knit Bohemian community of Tokio Loop Road, David Zahirniak had acquired a reputation for being the kind of man who likes to watch children committing lewd acts.

He admitted as much to arresting officers when they learned from two small children’s father that he walked in on them while caring for them and found them acting out sexually. He then encouraged them to continue, according to the children, who told their father.

Though he was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault of the two children in 2008, those charges lost their thunder when 19th Criminal District Court Judge Ralph T. Strother reduced his bond from $455,000  to the terms of a personal recognizance bond due to delay in prosecution past 90 days. Authorities released him on a writ of habeas corpus.

When on March 21, 2014, he attacked Caitlyn Reed with a cane at her home at 1363 Tokio Loop, he left her bruised at hip and thigh, her arms similarly marked. When police summoned an ambulance to take her to the hospital, he left his home in nearby West to intercept the emergency vehicle, attempting to ram it on its route to the hospital. At the time, McLennan County Sheriff’s Officers noted that he left a message on his victim’s phone, threatening to rape and beat her for her calling them to her rescue. He faced an aggravated assault charge with enhancement by a deadly weapon, his bail set at $150,000, later reduced to $100,000, until on August 29, Judge Strother released him on his personal recognizance due to a delay in prosecution.

Following that incident, according to published reports, she took a .40 cal. Springfield XD semiautomatic pistol from her family’s home, hoping to use it in her own defense. Zahirniak found the weapon and returned it to her parents, but she again obtained it from their home and took it with her.

When officers walked in on the scene of her murder on April 5, it was at the call of Zahirniak, who claimed he found her shot dead, lying in her bed with her back facing north. He claimed she was possibly a suicide victim. They found the same weapon on the floor next to her bed, one fired round ejected, and other live rounds still available.

Deputies disbelieved him. According to Capt. Bubba Colyer, “Based on trajectories of the fired round and or rounds that we found at the residence they were not consistent with the initial story that was told to us by the defendant.”

Zahirniak is charged with the murder of Ms. Caitlyn, jailed on $100,000 bond. His alleged victim is survived by two small children whose father is now caring for them.

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