Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Bank Fails

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Integrity Bank of Alpharetta, Georgia, was closed by U.S. regulators today, the 10th bank to collapse this year amid a surge in soured real-estate loans stemming from the worst housing slump since the Great Depression.

Integrity Bank, with $1.1 billion in assets and $974 million in deposits, was shuttered by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Regions Financial Corp., Alabama's biggest bank, will assume all deposits from Integrity, which was run by Integrity Bancshares Inc. The failed bank's five offices will open on Sept. 2 as branches of Regions, the FDIC said.

``Depositors will continue to be insured with Regions Bank so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship to retain their deposit insurance,'' the FDIC said.

Banks are being closed at the fastest pace in 14 years as financial companies report more than $505 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007. California lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc., which had $32 billion in assets, was closed July 11 in the third-largest bank seizure, contributing to a 14 percent drop in the U.S. deposit insurance fund that had $45.2 billion at the end of the in the second quarter.

Regions will buy about $34.4 million in assets and will pay the FDIC a premium of 1.01 percent to assume the failed bank's deposits, the FDIC said. The FDIC estimates the cost of the Integrity failure to its deposit-insurance fund will be $250 million to $300 million.

Told to Raise Capital

Integrity was ordered by federal and state regulators in May to present a capital-raising plan within 60 days. At the time, the company had been trying without success for at least eight months to raise $40 million after loans to residential and commercial developers were hurt by the collapse of the real estate market.

``Banks must meet certain regulatory minimums to ensure safety and soundness,'' Georgia bank commissioner Rob Braswell said in a telephone interview. ``When those minimums are not able to be met and solvency is in jeopardy, we have no choice but to close the institution and to place it into receivership.''

Integrity Bancshares, which sold for more than $14 a share in January 2007, closed today at 4 cents in over-the-counter trading.

The FDIC insures deposits of up to $100,000 per depositor per bank, and up to $250,000 for some retirement accounts at 8,451 institutions with $13.3 trillion in assets.

`Problem' Banks

The FDIC this week said 117 banks are classified as ``problem'' in the second quarter, a 30 percent jump from the first quarter. The agency doesn't identify ``problem'' lenders.

``More banks will come on the list as credit problems worsen,'' FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said at an Aug. 26 Washington news conference.

The credit market turmoil may topple some of the nation's biggest banks, Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, said in Singapore Aug. 19.

``Like any shrinking industries, we are going to see the exit of some major players,'' Rogoff told Bloomberg, declining to name the banks he expects to fail. ``We're really going to see a consolidation even among the major investment banks.''

Before today's action, the FDIC had closed 36 banks since October 2000, according to a list at The U.S. shut 11 banks in 2002, the highest in the period. In 1994 the government had closed a dozen institutions by the end of August.

U.S. regulators this year also closed Columbian Bank and Trust of Topeka, Kansas, on Aug. 22; First Priority Bank of Bradenton, Florida, on Aug. 1; Reno-based First National Bank of Nevada and Newport Beach, California-based First Heritage Bank in July; Staples, Minnesota-based First Integrity Bank and ANB Financial in Bentonville, Arkansas, in May; Hume Bank in Hume, Missouri, in March; and Douglass National Bank in Kansas City, Missouri, in January.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alison Vekshin in Washington at; Ari Levy in San Francisco at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is this Freedom of the Press?

All he did was take pictures of DNC leaders and big money donors.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

117 Banks about to fail thanks to the Feds.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of troubled U.S. banks leaped to the highest level in about five years and bank profits plunged by 86 percent in the second quarter, as slumps in the housing and credit markets continued.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data released Tuesday show 117 banks and thrifts were considered to be in trouble in the second quarter, up from 90 in the prior quarter and the biggest tally since mid-2003.

The FDIC also said that federally-insured banks and savings institutions earned $5 billion in the April-June period, down from $36.8 billion a year earlier. The roughly 8,500 banks and thrifts also set aside a record $50.2 billion to cover losses from soured mortgages and other loans in the second quarter.

"Quite frankly, the results were pretty dismal," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said at a news conference, but they were not surprising given the housing slump, a worsening economy, and disruptions in financial and credit markets.

Total assets of troubled banks jumped from $26 billion to $78 billion in the second quarter, the FDIC said, with $32 billion of the increase coming from IndyMac Bank, which failed in July - the biggest regulated thrift to fail in the United States.

"More banks will come on the (troubled) list as credit problems worsen," Bair said. "Assets of problem institutions also will continue to rise." Nine FDIC-insured banks have failed so far this year, compared with three in all of 2007.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Is this how we want our police?

Everything you tell your Doctor on the Internet?

How would you feel about your everything you ever told any Doctor flowing freely over the Internet between public health officials, healthcare providers, insurance and data clearinghouse companies, and others – without your permission?

If this doesn't sound like a good idea, it's time to become informed about federal health privacy law.

Today, when Americans visit a healthcare provider for services (including dental and eye exams), they receive a form with a title such as "Notification of Privacy Rights." Many assume that signing the form guarantees that personal information won't be shared with third parties. But the form offers no such guarantees. And neither does federal law.

In fact, the privacy rule established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) legally permits healthcare providers to share patients' information with more than 600,000 health- and data-related entities – without a patient's consent. Yet the notification form doesn't clearly explain this.

Individuals control their information when they give consent; they don't with notification. When you sign a notification form, all you are doing is acknowledging its receipt. The HIPAA notification form offers no control over who sees your information and instead just tells you about some of the entities that can access your information, rather than asking for your permission.

Consequently, many physicians and other healthcare providers are urging Congress to strengthen privacy rights. They know firsthand that the HIPAA rule fails to ensure true confidentiality.

"...[T]he regulations under [HIPAA], which were intended to extend patient privacy as we moved from a paper-based system of medical records to a digital system, are a sham. HIPAA allows the routine release of personal health information without patient consent or knowledge, and even over a patient's objection…" stresses Dr. Janis G. Chester, president of the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists.

HIPAA has so many medical privacy loopholes, it makes Swiss cheese look solid. The organization also points out that under existing federal regulations, the term "privacy" hasn't been well defined. The ACLU is urging Congress to define medical privacy as "patient control of electronic medical records."

Moreover, these organizations and others are lobbying for privacy amendments to key health Internet-technology (HIT) bills currently being considered in Congress.

Lack of privacy has serious consequences. It fosters making personal health information a commodity that businesses sell and trade in the marketplace, notes ACLU. Weak privacy rights also interfere with doctor-patient relationships. When drafting the HIPAA privacy rule, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) noted that "Privacy violations reduce consumers' trust in the healthcare system and institutions that serve them." The ACLU noted recently that at least one third of Americans are not sharing their complete personal medical histories because they feel their privacy will be weakened in the name of efficiency. Additionally, without strong privacy rights, individuals can't take steps to adequately protect themselves from bad, lost, stolen, or misused data.

Meanwhile, more and more personal data is being collected during routine healthcare visits, including information about marital and sexual matters. A married woman (wedded for over 30 years) and mother of two adult children, said she was appalled when asked during a routine visit if she preferred men or women. She stressed that while she "has nothing to hide," she doesn't think it's anyone's business what her sexual preference is or when her first sexual encounter was (which is often asked during exams).

What's more, it is becoming easier to share healthcare information with just a click of a mouse. As HHS has noted, "Until recently, health information was recorded and maintained on paper and stored in the offices of community-based physicians, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals and institutions.... Today, however, more and more health care providers, plans, and others are utilizing electronic means of storing and transmitting health information…. In a matter of seconds, a person's most profoundly private information can be shared with hundreds, thousands, even millions of individuals and organizations at a time."

Do Americans really want the intimate details of their lives and families shared so easily without their consent? If not, they need to urge Congress to establish stronger privacy rights. Tinkering with HIPAA won't do it. That would just keep a lot of people busy rewriting regulations that don't guarantee privacy. Rather, Congress needs to pass a new law that defines "privacy" and upholds the precious ethic of consent. The new law should guarantee individuals' freedom to decide whether to be part of electronic medical-record and genetic databases for years to come.

• Sue A. Blevins is president of the Institute for Health Freedom in Washington.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama The Flip Floppin' Liar

Obama Flip Flop on whether he should run for president in 08

Obama Flip Flops on the Iraq Surge

Obama Flip Flop On War With Iran

Obama Flip Flops on Welfare

Obama Flip Flops on Gun Rights

Obama Flip Flops on Iraq Withdraw

Obama Flip Flops on Rev. Wright

Obama Flip Flops on Jerusalem

Obama Flip Flops on Oil Reserve

Obama Flip Flops on Cuban Embargo

Population Control by man made famine

The Father of Reaganomics on Russia & Georgia

Paul Craig Roberts served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics".

President Reagan and Treasury Secretary Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department's Meritorious Service Award for "outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy." From 1975 to 1978, Roberts served on the congressional staff, where he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill and played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy.

He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.

In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.

Listen to what Paul Craig Roberts has to say about Georgia, Russia and the US.....

More War From The Left & Right

Reprinted from George Washingtons Blog

Georgia is located in Eurasia, in what some call the "Eurasian Balkans", and possesses important resources, including oil pipelines.

For months previous to the start of hostilities in the Georgia-Russian war, American trainers have been getting the Georgians ready for war.

As revealed in a July article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "A large contingent of Georgia Army National Guard soldiers flew to the Republic of Georgia on Sunday for joint military exercises at a time when tension is brewing in the region".

And you won't hear it on the tv news, but Georgia started the war. It is clear that the U.S. has been behind Georgia's military adventures.


McCain's top foreign affairs advisor was until very recently a high-level Georgian lobbyist (and was long after he started advising McCain), a neocon, and a key player in pushing fake intelligence and the Iraq war. He is a hawk who is very good at starting wars.

Former LA Times' journalist Robert Scheer thinks the war was started to boost McCain's election chances.


Obama's top foreign policy advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote in his book The Grand Chessboard, that the top priority for the U.S. was seizing control of the Eurasian Balkans.

Here are some sample quotes from the Grand Chessboard:

The Eurasian Balkans include nine countries that one way or another fit the foregoing description, with two others as potential candidates. The nine are Kazakstan ... Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia ... as well as Afghanistan. (p.124)

"Moreover, they [the Central Asian Republics] are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold." (p.124)

"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power."- (p. xiii)

"It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)
In short, Brzezinski argues that Eurasia is the ultimate prize, and the key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the Eurasian Balkans, of which Georgia is a part.

It is clear that the US is following Brzezinski's playbook for the region.

Indeed, this is exactly what Mikhail Gorbachev was referring to when he wrote:
"By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its 'national interest,' the United States made a serious blunder."
And given the above, it is not surprising Brzezinksi is all for U.S. backing of, and direct involvement, in Georgia's military fight against Russia: Brzezinksi not only supporting the U.S.-Georgia alliance, but comparing Putin to Hitler.

Bottom line: Both McCain and Obama's top foreign policy advisors want a war. And, obviously, the other neocons and assorted hawks want one also.

Ron Paul predicted Russia invading Georga in 2002

Is Obama His Brothers Keeper?

Senator Barack Obama's long lost brother has been tracked down for the first time living in a shanty town in Kenya, reports claimed.

By Nick Pisa in Rome
Last Updated: 3:54PM BST 20 Aug 2008

George Hussein Onyango Obama, Senator Barack Obama's long lost brother was tracked down living in a hut on the outskirts of Nairobi Photo: Guy Calaf, Vanity Fair, Italy The Italian edition of Vanity Fair said that it had found George Hussein Onyango Obama living in a hut in a ramshackle town of Huruma on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Mr Obama, 26, the youngest of the presidential candidate's half-brothers, spoke for the first time about his life, which could not be more different than that of the Democratic contender.

"No-one knows who I am," he told the magazine, before claiming: "I live here on less than a dollar a month."

According to Italy's Vanity Fair his two metre by three metre shack is decorated with football posters of the Italian football giants AC Milan and Inter, as well as a calendar showing exotic beaches of the world.

Vanity Fair also noted that he had a front page newspaper picture of his famous brother - born of the same father as him, Barack Hussein Obama, but to a different mother, named only as Jael.

He told the magazine: "I live like a recluse, no-one knows I exist."

Embarrassed by his penury, he said that he does not does not mention his famous half-brother in conversation.

"If anyone says something about my surname, I say we are not related. I am ashamed," he said.

For ten years George Obama lived rough. However he now hopes to try to sort his life out by starting a course at a local technical college.

He has only met his famous older brother twice - once when he was just five and the last time in 2006 when Senator Obama was on a tour of East Africa and visited Nairobi.

The Illinois senator mentions his brother in his autobiography, describing him in just one passing paragraph as a "beautiful boy with a rounded head".

Of their second meeting, George Obama said: "It was very brief, we spoke for just a few minutes. It was like meeting a complete stranger."

George added he was no longer in contact with his mother and said:"I have had to learn to live and take what I need.

"Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death. The police don't even arrest you they just shoot you.

"I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists."

1 Timothy 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.