The United States Declaration of Independence – In modern English

Several years ago, I tried to write a more modern (and less formal) version for my kids. Here it is:


The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When a group of people splits apart from another group to become their own power in the world, they should give their reasons.

We think that the following things are obvious:

* Everyone is created equal.

* God has given everyone certain rights that no one should be able to take away, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

* People make governments to help them keep those rights safe.

* If a government doesn’t do what it should, then the people have the right to get rid of it and set up a new one.

Of course, if a government has been around a while, it shouldn’t be changed unless there’s a really good reason. (In fact, history has shown that people would often rather keep a bad government than overthrow it.)

But if there have been lots of abuses and the government is just trying to keep the people down, then the people have the right, and the duty, to get rid of it and start a new one that’s better.

That’s what’s been happening here. The King of Great Britain wants to be a tyrant over us, and has repeatedly acted to make himself one.

To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

* He has refused to allow good laws to be passed.

* He forbids his governors from passing important and pressing laws until he agrees to them himself. Then, he ignores them and won’t say yes or no.

* He has refused to pass other laws unless the people agree to give up their right to representation in government. Only a tyrant would want that.

* He’s made our local governments meet in uncomfortable, weird, places that are far away, just so that they’ll be exhausted enough to agree to his demands.

* Whenever our local governments stand up to him, he dismisses them.

* After dismissing the local governments, he won’t allow new elections, so that we’re stuck without any local government at all.

* He tried to keep our population down by not naturalizing foreigners, by discouraging potential newcomers, and by making it hard to get new land.

* He has obstructed justice by not letting us establish our own court system.

* He made the current judges completely dependent on him for their salary and their jobs.

* He created a bunch of new government offices, and sent over swarms of officials to harass our people.

* He kept his army here, even though we’re at peace, and we didn’t vote for it.

* He has tried to place the military above the civil power.

* He has put us under a legislation that’s foreign to us and that we don’t acknowledge, and which has passed laws that we don’t accept, like:

– For keeping a lot of soldiers around us

– For protecting those soldiers from punishment when they murder our people

– For cutting off our trade with the rest of the world

– For imposing taxes on us without our say

– For often taking away the right of a trial by jury

– For making us stand trial overseas for bogus charges

– For getting rid of the system of laws that our neighbors follow, so that it’ll be easier to get rid of ours

– For taking away our most valuable laws and changing our constitutions

– For suspending our legislatures, then saying that their foreign legislature can handle all our affairs.

* He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

* He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

* He is right now sending over a large army of foreign mercenaries to finish the job of death, desolation, and tyranny. His cruelty and deceit are practically unprecedented in history, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.

* He has captured our sailors and forced them to fight against their own people, or be killed.

* He has tried to get people to rebel against the local government, and has encouraged the Indians to attack us.

All along the way, we’ve humbly asked for help. Each time, he has just made it worse. A leader like that, who is obviously a tyrant, isn’t fit to be the ruler of a free people.

We’ve also told the British people about what’s happening. We’ve reminded them about our ties together, and we’ve appealed to their sense of justice and generosity. But they’ve been just as deaf as the king.

So we have to think of the British people the same way we think of everyone else: Enemies if we’re at war. Friends if we’re at peace.

Therefore, hoping that the world agrees with us, we declare that these colonies are, and should be, free and independent states.

These states no longer have any allegiance to the British crown, and all political connections are dissolved. As free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do anything else that free states do.

And to support this declaration, relying on divine protection, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Cathay Pacific’s Decline

Once upon a time the people of Hong Kong were proud of the airline they thought of as their own, Cathay Pacific. When you boarded the green and white aircraft with the attractive stewardesses in Manila or Bangkok you felt you were already at home. Then along came the accountants. They chopped everything. Economy class […]

via Cathay Pacific losses of $2.05 billion: What went wrong at a once great airline? — Sai Kung Buzz

Egypt: Preview of America in 2015

Egypt: Preview of America in 2015

The rioting and looting taking place in Egypt is primarily a result of massive food inflation and shows what all major cities in the United States will likely look like come year 2015 due to the Federal Reserve’s zero percent interest rates and quantitative easing to infinity. On December 16th, 2009, NIA named Time Magazine’s 2009 ‘Person of the Year’ Ben Bernanke our ‘Villain of the Year’, saying he created “unprecedented amounts of inflation in unprecedented ways” and “When it costs $20 for a gallon of milk in a few years, Americans will have nobody to thank more than Bernanke.”

What started out a few weeks ago as protests in Algeria with citizens chanting “Bring Us Sugar!” and five citizens being killed, quickly spread to civil unrest in Tunisia which saw 14 more civilian deaths, and has now spread to riots in Egypt where 300 Egyptian citizens have been killed. Food inflation in Egypt has reached 20% and citizens in the nation already spend about 40% of their monthly expenditures on food. Americans for decades have been blessed with cheap food, spending only 13% of their expenditures on food, but this is about to change.

NIA was the first to predict the recent explosion in agricultural commodity prices in our October 30th, 2009, article entitled, “U.S. Inflation to Appear Next in Food and Agriculture”, which said we have a “perfect storm for an explosion in agriculture prices”. A couple of months later in ‘NIA’s Top 10 Predictions for 2010’ we predicted “Major Food Shortages” and said, “Inventories of agricultural products are the lowest they have been in decades yet the prices of many agricultural commodities are down 70% to 80% from their all time highs adjusted for real inflation”. Over the past year, agricultural commodities as a whole have outperformed almost every other type of asset, with silver being one of only a few other assets keeping pace with agriculture. (On December 11th, 2009, NIA declared silver the best investment for the next decade at $17.40 per ounce and it has so far risen 64% to its current price of $28.39 per ounce).

The world is at the beginning stages of an all out inflationary panic. Wheat, which NIA previously called on ‘NIAnswers’ its favorite investment besides gold and silver, is now up to a new 30-month high of $8.63 per bushel and has doubled in price since June of last year. Algeria bought 800,000 tonnes of wheat this past week, bringing their total purchases for the month of January up to 1.8 million tonnes, which was quadruple expectations. Saudi Arabia is also beginning to stockpile their inventories of wheat. Rice futures have gained 8% during the past few days with Bangladesh and Indonesia placing extraordinary large orders. Indonesia’s latest rice order was quadruple its normal allotment and Bangladesh plans to double rice purchases this year. Meanwhile, the U.S., which is the world’s third largest exporter of rice, is expected to cut production by 25% in 2011.

NIA considers rice to be one of the world’s most undervalued agricultural commodities at its current price of $15.96 per 100 pounds and forecasts a move back to its 2008 high of $24 per 100 pounds as soon as the end of 2011. NIA believes cotton, at its current price of $1.80 per pound, may have gotten a bit ahead of itself in the short-term. In NIA’s first ever article about agriculture on February 17th, 2009, we said that cotton’s “upside potential is astronomical” at its then price of $0.44 per pound. NIA pointed to increasing sales to textile companies in China and the fact that cotton was down 70% from its all time high as reasons to be very bullish on cotton at $0.44 per pound. Early NIA members could have made 309% on cotton, but today we see much bigger potential in rice. The recent spike in cotton reminds us of the 2008 spike in oil. Although we believe cotton will ultimately rise above $3 per pound later this decade, we could see a dip to below $1.40 per pound first.

Many people in the mainstream media have criticized NIA’s recent food inflation report, claiming that agricultural commodity prices have very little to do with prices of food in the supermarket. CNBC’s Steve Liesman, in particular, claims that “rising commodity prices won’t cause inflation”. Liesman has it backwards. NIA has never claimed that rising commodity prices cause inflation. Soaring budget deficits that the U.S. government can’t possibly pay for through taxation causes inflation when the Fed is forced to monetize the debt by printing money.

Rising commodity prices are only a symptom of inflation. The reason NIA was so bullish on agricultural commodities going back two years ago when we produced our first documentary ‘Hyperinflation Nation’, is because while gold is the best gauge of inflation and is often the best tool for predicting future money printing, agriculture is where the majority of the monetary inflation ends up going after the Fed’s newly printed money trickles down to the middle-class and poor. With gold prices already surging two years ago when we produced ‘Hyperinflation Nation’, NIA said in the documentary “food prices have the potential to surge most during hyperinflation”.
One thing NIA is almost 100% sure of is that come year 2015, middle-class Americans will be spending at least 30% to 40% of their income on food, similar to Egyptians today. As NIA warned in its latest documentary ‘End of Liberty’, if you don’t have enough money to accumulate physical gold and silver, it is important to begin establishing your own food storage, and store enough food to feed you and your family for at least six months during hyperinflation. Many store shelves in Egypt are now empty after recent panic buying, with shortages of nearly all major staple items throughout the country.

The U.S. Treasury is getting ready to sell $72 billion in new long-term bonds next week, as the U.S. rapidly approaches its $14.29 trillion debt limit. The debt limit is now expected to be reached by April 5th and Treasury Secretary Geithner warned the U.S. will see “catastrophic damage” if it isn’t raised. With the Federal Reserve now surpassing China and Japan as the largest holder of U.S. treasuries, the real “catastrophic damage” ahead will be hyperinflation as a result of the U.S. government doing absolutely nothing to dramatically cut spending. It is an absolute joke that Obama during his State of the Union address announced $400 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, but then the very next day, the Congressional Budget Office increased its 2011 budget deficit projection by $400 billion to $1.48 trillion.

Not raising the debt limit would be a good thing, as it would force Washington to live within its means. Sure, the stock market would collapse and the U.S. economy would enter into its next Great Depression, but at least it would save the U.S. dollar from losing all of its purchasing power. In fact, the standard of living for middle class Americans might actually improve if the government allowed the free market to put our economy into a depression, because goods and services would get cheaper.

The U.S. economy has become a drug addict that is dependent on cheap and easy money from the Federal Reserve. While Wall Street bankers took home a record $135 billion in total compensation in 2010, up 5.7% from $128 billion in 2009, this money was stolen from middle-class and poor Americans through inflation. The more monetary inflation (heroin) the Federal Reserve creates to satisfy the (in the words of Gerald Celente) “money junkies” on Wall Street, the more middle-class and poor Americans become dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps just to survive. Millions of American students are graduating college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt but no jobs. Luckily for them (but not holders of U.S. dollars), NIA is hearing reports from both unemployed and underemployed college graduates with student loans that the government is reducing their required monthly payments by sometimes 90% or more based on their current incomes.

China and Japan recently saw their credit ratings downgraded, while the U.S. credit rating remains at “AAA”. NIA believes it would make far more sense for the world’s largest debtor nation to be downgraded instead of the world’s two largest creditor nations. The Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing has yet to even reach the halfway point and the Fed already holds about $1.11 trillion in U.S. treasuries. By the time QE2 is over at the end of June, the Fed will own $1.6 trillion in U.S. treasuries, about what China and Japan own combined. Shockingly, Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig is already dropping hints about QE3. According to Hoenig, the Fed may consider extending treasury purchases beyond June 30th, 2010, (the scheduled completion date for QE2) if U.S. economic data looks disappointing.

With the Fed taking over as the largest holder of U.S. treasuries, China is beginning to rapidly move away from the U.S. dollar and into gold. In just the first 10 months of 2010, China imported 209 metric tons of gold compared to 45 metric tons in all of 2009, a stunning five-fold increase. While the western world is downplaying the threat of inflation as much as possible, Asian countries understand that hyperinflation is the most devastating thing that can possibly happen to any economy. The demand for gold in Asia now is the most intense it has ever been, as they look to tackle rising inflation before it becomes hyperinflation.

The Chinese are so smart that families are now giving each other gold bullion as gifts instead of traditional red envelopes filled with cash. China is now on track to soon surpass India as the world’s largest consumer of gold. The China Securities Regulatory Commission recently gave Beijing-based Lion Fund Management Co. approval to create a fund that will invest into foreign gold ETFs.

U.S. stock mutual funds saw $6.7 billion in net inflows during the past two weeks, the most in any two week period since May of 2009. The rioting, looting, and civil unrest in Egypt is now making the U.S. look like the safe haven of the world, even though it should be considered the riskiest place to invest. From the Dow’s low in August until now, about $38 billion was actually removed from U.S. stock mutual funds, despite the stock market rising 20%. The Dow Jones has risen from September until now solely due to the Federal Reserve printing around $350 billion out of thin air. When central banks print money, stock markets often act as a relief valve due to there being too much inflation going into the hands of financial institutions.

The U.S. M2 money supply surged by $46.6 billion during the week ending January 17th to a record $8.8623 trillion, following a rise during the previous week of $7.6 billion. The rise in the M2 money supply over the past two weeks of $54.2 billion equals an annualized increase of 16%. The M2 multiplier now stands at 4.218 compared to a long-term average of 10. When QE2 is complete, the Fed’s monetary base will likely stand at $2.59 trillion. A return to the long-term average M2 multiplier of 10 means we are due to see a 192% increase in the M2 money supply and that is not even including a possible QE3 and QE4.

The U.S. economic ponzi scheme could unravel very quickly in the years ahead, with the velocity of money increasing faster than anybody expects. As more Americans learn about NIA and become educated to the truth about the U.S. economy and inflation, a complete loss of confidence in the U.S. dollar could occur very suddenly. It is important for all Americans to prepare as if hyperinflation will be here tomorrow. At least in Egypt, their currency still has purchasing power and their citizens are trying to carry out a regime change before it is too late. By 2015 in America, it will already be too late and the civil unrest here has the potential to be many times worse.

It is important to spread the word about NIA to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, if you want America to survive hyperinflation. Please tell everybody you know to become members of NIA for free immediately at:

Tomorrow is a Banking Holiday

That means I am just working at home on some projects.  It should be great since I get to sleep later and not worry about the 1.5 hour commute to NYC.  The euphoria of President Obama is winding down as the victory sinks in.

On one hand, there is a part of me that wishes Obama can use his magic touch to talk Bernanke into resigning and go back to teaching at Princeton.  On the flipside, I suspect Obama may try to implement a New Deal 2.0 to prop up the American-created global financial crisis so that it doesn’t become the Great Depression 2.0.

The New Deal was initially supported by people such as Ronald Reagan because it had an emphasis on workfare.  It put people to work in paving roads, building bridges, and improving existing infrastructure that added value to the country and set the stage for creating greater freedom of movement in people, goods and services.  However, the New Deal increased the national debt, it was mismanaged in some cases, and its benefits took far too long to outweigh the immediate cost.  Its redeeming factor were in infrastructure improvements, paying people for large scale government works, and reigniting debate on the role of government.

I talk about this because Obama has brought up the idea of compulsory service in the form of serving in the military or doing work in the community for people between the ages of 18 to 25.  This in theory would allow the state to utilise a young and inexperienced pool of talent to work on government-sponsored projects or fight on their behalf while helping them gain experience and eventually figure out whether they want the state in their lives or not.

President Obama also has been unfairly compared to Jimmy Carter because he appears to be frank and intelligent.  For some reason, intelligence is a virtue that is frowned upon in America, especially since the time Bush took power in 2000, with anti-intellectualism being looked upon as a real American value.  Moreover, intelligence seems to be perceived as a primarily European virtue, which makes it foreign and therefore un-American.  That being said, it should be no surprise that the Republicans, now dominated by factions with an anti-intellectual (ignorant) mindset, have chosen Sarah Palin to represent them and to be a heartbeat away from becoming President.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sarah Palin Is So Dumb… | The Daily…“, posted with vodpod

-Sarah Palin is so dumb she thought Soy Milk is Spanish for “I am Milk”
-She is so dumb she thought Lincoln’s vice president was named Town Car
-Palin is so stupid she thought the capital of China is Chinatown

A clip of a Sarah Palin porn parody read by Thandie Newton and Ricky Gervais

I am just glad Obama won or stupidity would have been America’s downfall.  Tomorrow is Rememberance Day

Help the Sichuan, China Earthquake Victims / 帮助四川地震灾民



To donate directly to a Chinese Non-profit, a good choice is Jet Li’s One Foundation. Jet Li is an ambassador for the Red Cross Society of China. His fund, as of 4/15/2008, has raised RMB 10,677,267 ($6,590/RMB 46,130 from Paypal donations)
Click on the “paypal” button

The site is in Chinese only, but I have read it. One key point to know about your donation there:
1. The FULL amount of your donation will be transferred to the Red Cross Society of China.

The website provides full transparency on how its funds are distributed.

I Googled the foundation and found quite a bit of press coverage, so I felt comfortable posting it as a donation destination.


FINALLY! You can now donate directly to the American Red Cross China Relief fund. The link is provided below, before you donate, please read the paragraphs regarding fund use:

Additional information regarding relief efforts by the American Red Cross is provided here

A recent post in this group mentions the possibility that donations to the American Red Cross does not fully transfer over to the Red Cross Society of China. I am attempting to reach the local director of the Red Cross in my area for a clarification on the exact use of fund for everyone, but probably won’t get an answer until tomorrow afternoon.

If anyone has any clarification on the matter please let everyone know ASAP.

All this being said, ARC does have a four star rating from Charity Navigator for its effective use of donations.
And your donation will be used specifically for the Chinese Relief effort.

However, your donation maybe be put to best use by directly wiring money to the Red Cross Society of China (listed in the CHINA section) or through Jet Li’s One Foundation (listed in the INTERNATIONAL section) rather than the American Red Cross.

More updates to come.

Directly wiring your donation to Chinese banks is possible:

Account name: Red Cross Society of China

RMB Donations:
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China:
人民币开户行: 中国工商银行 北京分行东四南支行
人民币账号: 0200001009014413252

Foreign Current Donations:
CITIC Bank branch:
外币账号: 7112111482600000209

Hotline: (8610) 65139999
Online donations:
Red Cross Society of China website:

Thank you Clare Gu for the notification!

Online donation for Hong Kong Credit Card Holders
Hong Kong Red Cross:
Thank you Fan Zhang!


Allows online donors to direct their funds to the China Earthquake Relief effort


Direct donations to the Chinese Earthquake Effort via Online Payment has been posted.
Thank you Anna Judson for the notice!

Newest update:

NYC chapter:

Prayer and Donation Event:

Event: Prayer and Donation for Victims in SiChuan

Time: this Sat May 17th. 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Manhattan Chinese Baptist Church @ 236 W 72nd St

Please join us and pray for the Earth Quake victims.

Contact: Vincent Zou. cell. 626-825-2266

A Poem Dedicated to the last 150 years of this planet.

By a Silent, Silent Chinese.

When we were called the Sick Man of Asia, we were the Yellow Peril.
When we are billed to be the next Superpower, we are a threat.

When we closed our doors, you smuggled drugs to our markets.
When we embraced Free Trade, you blame us for taking away your jobs.

When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and wanted your “fair share”.
When we were putting the broken pieces together again, “Free Tibet” you scream, “it was an invasion!”

When we tried communism, you hated us for being communists
When we embraced capitalism, you hate us for being capitalists.

When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
When we tried limiting our numbers, you said it is human rights abuse.

When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
When we loan you cash, you blame us for your debts.

When we build our industries, you called us polluters.
When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.

When we buy oil, you call that exploitation and genocide.
When you fight for oil, you call that liberation and democracy.

When we were lost in chaos and rampage, you wanted rule of law for us.
When we uphold law and order against violence, you call that violating human rights.

When we were silent, you said you want us to have free speech.
When we were silent no more, you say we are brainwashed racists.

Why do you hate us so much? We asked.
“No,” you answered, “We don’t hate You.”

We don’t hate you either,
But do you understand us?

“Of course we do,” You said,
“We have NBC, CNN and BBCs…”

What do you really want from us?
Think hard first, then answer…

Because you only get so many chances,
Enough is enough, enough Hypocrisy for this one world.

We want one world, one dream, and peace on Earth.
This big blue Earth is big enough for all of Us.

The “Free Tibet” Protesters

Earlier today, some “Free Tibet” crowds and stereotypical Frenchmen decided to crash the apolitical Olympic torch relay. Many of them just protested and gave the torch runners a very hard time while a few were dumb enough to bring fire extinguishers to kill the Olympic flame.

That’s smart. Really, really smart guys. Even if you guys manage to extinguish the Olympic flame and brag all about it in the name of human rights or Tibet, nothing will change in Tibet before, during and after the fact. Actually the Olympic flame was extinguished three times during the Paris leg of the relay and they had to resort to secure backup flames to keep the momentum going.

In one instance, rioters ruthlessly attack a handicapped female torch bearer, who attempts to shield the torch with her body. This is simply disgusting, filthy, vile, and contemptible especially from the “Free Tibet” movement.

Was Tibet magically liberated as a result of these Olympic “riots” with monks, nuns, and nomads singing and dancing while clubbing random Han Chinese to death? I think not; but random Chinese people and private property are still being ravaged by pissed-off Tibetans.

It’s really one thing to protest at the Chinese government for mistreating them. I really have no objections to Tibetans doing a peaceful, non-violent protest targeted specifically at government buildings or uniformed officials. Hell, I would even back them or write to support the Tibetans if they actually went about their struggle in this manner.

But no, these kids just took the easy way out. First possibly at the covert approval of the Dalai Lama and the CIA, disgruntled Tibetans started first destroying businesses and private property in various cities, randomly attacked anyone who was either Chinese or did not “look” Tibetan, yet avoided confronting the government they so loathed. Seriously, this is just a cop out and a move to simply bait the Chinese government into a violent reaction, which worked to an extent.

Things got so bad that not even a sane Tibetan bothered to go out in the streets for fear of being randomly attacked, and some Tibetans went out of their way to put up white flags near their property to let others know they really are Tibetan (so they won’t get thrashed).

Ultimately, the people in France who wanted to see this rare relay missed out, and the “Free Tibet” activists claim another hollow victory. It’s a hollow victory because there are no immediate positive outcomes and no long-term benefits to Tibetans despite the empty claims of victory. It will only reaffirm the CCP’s need to take stronger measures against Tibetans and it may even generate disgust at their movement from non-Chinese.

It’s official: The American dollar is garbage

As of this post, the US Dollar is now at parity with the Swiss Franc (CHF) and can buy up to 99 Japanese Yen. On another note the Canadian dollar is once again more valuable than the US dollar, while it will cost $2.02 to buy a British Pound Sterling. Also, the Euro is now equal to $1.56 US dollars.

The Benjamins have gone from heroes to zeros in the 8 years Bush has been in power. This is what happens when you go into a fruitless war in Iraq…

The 500 Euro is what’s happening right now…If it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Giselle Bundchen, then it’s going to be great for the rest of us

People need to understand that the rest of the world is not having stronger economic growth but rather it is the United States ongoing economic decline against the rest of the world that is leading to these exchange rates. At the rate things are going the Chinese Yuan or renminbi is going to be less than 7.00 Yuan to the Dollar by the mid-summer if the Federal Reserve keeps cutting interest rates as I think.

The currency of the 21st century…Will it be all about the Chairman?

Well it is clear that Bernanke may cut interest rates next week anyway regardless of the recent problems. Bear Stearns is just the beginning of many problems for the investment banks and it will only get worse due to the current links between traditional retail and investment banks. I actually thought at one point that Glass-Steagall was a sensible law which kept commercial and investment banks as separate entities, created the FDIC, and other provisions which were designed to curb dangerous speculation. Unfortunately, the provisions which prevented banks from offering financial services was repealed in 1999 when Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

The Glass-Steagall wall was devised to prevent a repeat of the 1920s’ scams, in which banks made speculative investments, turned the debts into securities, and sold them off to unsuspecting investors with the blessing of the bank. With Glass-Steagall, commercial banks were tightly supervised and given access to federal deposit insurance, to keep savings secure and prevent runs on banks. Investment banks, meanwhile, were not government-guaranteed and were free to do more speculative transactions for consenting adult customers. But Roosevelt’s newly created SEC subjected securities markets to much tighter structures against self-dealing and insider conflicts of interest.

If you fast forward to 2000, much of this protective apparatus has been repealed. Regulators who didn’t believe in regulation and a compliant Congress have allowed financial engineers to evade what remains. In the 1980s, regulators began allowing exceptions to Glass-Steagall. In 1999, Congress finally repealed it outright, permitting financial supermarkets like Citigroup to operate any kind of financial business they desired, and profit from multiple conflicts of interest. The scandals that pumped up the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, as well as the most flagrant cases like Enron, and the crash that followed, were the result of the SEC and the bank regulators ceasing to police conflicts of interest. In the scandals of the 1990s, corporate CEOs, their accountants, and stock analysts working for their bankers, all conspired to puff up corporate balance sheets and pump up stock prices on which executive bonuses depended. This is a little harder today, thanks to the honest accounting requirements of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (which the Bush administration hopes to water down). But the same kinds of conflicts and potentials for abuse exist when a mega-bank underwrites a leveraged buyout by an affiliated hedge fund, and then hypes the sale of securities when the fund is ready to sell the company back to the public.

It’s time America learned from Japan to deal with their version of the bubble economy and the credit and real estate meltdowns…According to reliable sources America is going to be fucked in in FY2008 for Q1, Q2, Q3, with a slim chance of recovery in Q4 (assuming America is not officially in a recession).

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide on rates outlook, soft retail

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide on rates outlook, soft retail
Thu May 10, 2007 9:45 AM ET

(Updates with Trichet news conference, Wall Street open)

By Lincoln Feast

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – Stocks and government bonds dipped on Thursday as the spectre of higher global interest rates dented sentiment following monetary policy decisions from central banks in the United States, Europe and Britain.

U.S. stock indexes opened lower after weaker-than-expected monthly sales reports from a number of U.S. retailers suggested consumer spending was slowing as the economy cooled.

The European Central Bank left interest rates steady at 3.75 percent, as expected, but President Jean-Claude Trichet said “strong vigilance” was needed to maintain price stability, a signal taken by markets to mean a hike would come next month.

“Bottom line is that they will hike in June and that 4 percent is not the peak. We keep seeing rates at 4.50 percent by year end,” Aurelio Maccario, an economist at Unicredit MIB, said of Trichet’s comments.

Earlier, the Bank of England raised interest rates to a six-year high of 5.5 percent, while the U.S. Federal Reserve left borrowing costs unchanged at 5.25 percent late on Wednesday but dampened the prospect of rapid rate cuts by highlighting ongoing inflation risks.

Data showing the U.S. trade deficit widened to an above-forecast $63.9 billion in March and a slight dip in weekly jobless claims helped government bonds recoup earlier losses.


Global stock indexes proved unable to push on to fresh record highs in the absence of any positive surprises on the interest rate outlook and as a widely speculated $100 billion-plus bid for mining giant Rio Tinto <RIO.L> from rival BHP Billiton <BLT.L> failed to materialise.

Rio shares fell 4 percent and BHP shares shed 3 percent.

MSCI’s All-Country World Index <.MIWD00000PUS> dipped 0.3 percent to 396.6 points, while Europe’s FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was down 0.5 percent at 1,576.9 points by 1330 GMT.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 0.4 percent at 13,307.2 points in early trade, while the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> also fell 0.4 percent, to 2,565.6 points.

Asian markets fared better, with China’s main index, the Shanghai Composite <.SSEC>, hitting a record high in hectic trade as bullish retail investors ignored growing concern among institutions that the market had climbed dangerously high.

Japan’s Nikkei average <.N225> ended little changed as a fall in shares in Toyota Motor Corp. <7203.T> after disappointing earnings offset gains in the real estate sector.


Both the dollar and the euro made ground against the yen on expectations that the strong yield advantage enjoyed over the Japanese unit is likely to be maintained for the time being.

“Yen crosses have been hit. (The yen) is the whipping boy of weak currencies at the moment,” said Jeremy Stretch, strategist at Rabobank.

Interest rates in Japan are just 0.5 percent.

The dollar was 0.3 percent firmer at 120.40 yen <JPY=>, while the euro was up a quarter percent at 162.90 yen <EURJPY=>, within a yen of its lifetime peak set last week.

The euro was unchanged at $1.3530 <EUR=>, having hit a record high above $1.3680 in April.

Sterling <GBP=> ticked lower to $1.9890 despite the Bank of England raised UK borrowing rates to the highest in the Group of Seven nations and hinting that rates could yet go higher.

U.S. Treasuries and euro zone government bonds recouped most of their earlier losses after the U.S. trade data and comments from Trichet on moderating inflation.

Benchmark 10-year Treasuries <US10YT=RR> yielded 4.66 percent, while the June Bund future <FGBLM7> was down 1 tick at 113.68.

Buoyed by supply disruptions in Nigeria, oil prices more than recouped the previous session’s losses which followed data showing a huge build in U.S. crude inventories. London Brent crude <LCOc1> was up 87 cents at $66.06 a barrel.

Today was a very bad day at the market.  Many investors were either selling off their investments or shorting them to make the most of today’s news.  Friday doesn’t appear to bode well for the Asian markets since many indices are opening with sharp declines in light of mediocre performance in the US and EU.  Hopefully, these sharp declines will recover by the end of the year as many equities and funds suffered significant declines that nearly wiped out 2-3 months of gains.

The Roewe W2 (450) at the Auto Show Shanghai

About 3 years ago, the last volume manufacturer, MG ROVER, went into administration due to declining revenue, depleted cash reserves and rampant mismanagement from the “Phoenix Five”. From the ashes of MG Rover, rose two Chinese companies who have acquired their assets and intellectual property: SAIC and Nanjing Auto. The former company was one of the initial manufacturers that were interested in partnering with MG Rover before learning of their financial troubles, but failed to acquire the company when it was in administration while the latter was an obscure auto manufacturer that somehow won the bidding to acquire all of MG Rover’s assets.

Both companies were able to acquire the intellectual property for the Rover 75, which was the key property that SAIC wanted, while MG also got the IP for the MG TF in the process as well.

Using the Rover 75 platform, SAIC was able to update the car and introduce it to the Chinese market as the Roewe 750, which included a longer wheelbase and a facelifted front and rear end. Unfortunately, SAIC was not able to get the rights to the Rover brand since Ford used its option to buy it from BMW to prevent any confusion from their Land Rover brand. As a result, SAIC management made a snap decision to call their brand Roewe (pronounced Row-Wii) and a hastily drawn logo in response to Ford’s purchase. Personally, I would have preferred SAIC simply reused their old “Shanghai” brand for the new car or started pronouncing their new brand, Roewe, as “rowe” like Lowe instead of “Row-Wii”.

In any case, SAIC was able to work around this setback by first rehiring all the MG Rover engineers that had been working new Rover models, outsourcing some of their engineering work to Ricardo, and building brand recognition for their updated Roewe 750.

Here is the Hollywood-style ROVER 75 (Chinese call it ROEWE 750) commercial in Chinese TV. The sales has started nation-wide on January 31 year of 2007 and commercial is playing on national CCTV and other important media.

The national sales order for the first two week rocket to 3211 even when the nation-wide sales network is not built up completely. Now the order volume is stable at the number of 300 for one day.

So far the Roewe 750 has gotten good feedback from the local market and this has encouraged SAIC to produce more models for their new Roewe brand. One of these models is speculated to the the Roewe 450, a replacement for the Rover 45, and a continuation of the canceled MG Rover RDX60 model. The result of this project was a new car that would be based on the old Rover 75 platform with an updated design, that premiered as the Roewe W2 concept at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Although there’s little linking this car stylistically with the outgoing Rovers and MGs, the similarity to the ill-fated RDX60 is quite startling, indicating that the project was continued by Ricardo2010, almost seamlessly from the closure of MG Rover – indicating the earnestness of the company’s statement back in 2005, that the RDX60 was most definitely theirs…

As with the RDX60, the Roewe 450 is based upon the architecture of the Rover 75 – and because of that, it’s heading for production at an unprecedented rate. Unlike the original MG Rover, car, Roewe’s 450 will only be offered in saloon form, and will feature a pretty new interior that echoes the changing face of the original project, and how the MG and Rover marques were going to be modernised.

The 450 or W2 was spotted in various auto magazines undergoing extreme weather and performance testing in parts of the world with some speculating what it would actually look like. Fortunately, SAIC made a wise decision in rehiring most of the MG Rover design team and engineering in making this Chinese market car with British flavour.

SAIC’s new design was actually one of the more impressive concepts at the Shanghai Auto Show next to the Chery Shooting Sport concept. The Roewe 450 appears to be aimed squarely at buyers that would be interested in a Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, or even a Toyota Corolla. Although it is very likely that the front and rear ends will be simplified when the 450 is pushed to production, the W2 concept does give us a good idea of what to expect from SAIC’s Roewe brand in the coming years.

On the other hand, the best that Nanjing Auto could produce so far are Chinese assembled MG Rover models with new names. The MG ZT is now the MG7, MG ZS is the MG5, while the MG TF remains the same. Very little has been done to update the models other than new names and money spent building a new assembly plant with tooling brought over from the old Longbridge plant. In addition, Nanjing Auto decided that it was somehow a great idea to throw away all the MG history by rebranding MG as “Modern Gentleman” and doing little to show it is a new player other than emphasising the brand’s British roots. It also does not help that years of hype over newly designed models and restored jobs did not materialise as of 2007, despite what the MG-NAC fanboys say on forums.

The Chinese market looks to be an interesting venture with competitors such as China Brilliance, Chery, and SAIC. So far China Brilliance has used their joint-venture with BMW to produce the “Zhonghua” brand cars that are currently losing money in the home market and damaging the reputation of Chinese cars in Europe. Chery is becoming a rising star with their bestselling QQ model, which is a copy of the Daewoo Matiz, and with potential for growth thanks to partnerships with Fiat and Chrysler. Last, SAIC has been a major player from joint-ventures with GM and Volkswagen and it has the resources to grow their own brands such as “Shanghai” and “Roewe”. Only time will tell which Chinese company will come out on top in their home market.