June 22, 2009
Sorry folks, but heading off on a long adventure (without internet), so time to sign off.
I hope HP and S&A were helpful, and made you think.
That was my goal.
"Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all folks!" - Porky Pig
"The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity" - Winston Churchill
June 21, 2009
Has the Iranian Revolution 2.0 had an impact on you? Or are you more interested in what was on sale at Wal-Mart this weekend?
"The revolution is your legacy. To protest against lies and fraud is your right. Be hopeful that you will get your right and do not allow others who want to provoke your anger to prevail."
- Mir Hossein Mousavi, June 21, 2009
We tried to warn the Latvians that their economy was overheating, that their "Baltic Tiger" was simply a Ponzi Scheme. They didn't listen.
And now the lives of their citizens are ruined.
It didn't have to be.
Maybe next time they won't listen to realtors and developers and bankers.
And next time British dentists call up to buy 2-bedroom flats sight-unseen, just drop the call.
Latvians shell-shocked, resigned to economic pain
Schoolteacher Daila Klinstone has seen half her income disappear in Latvia's budget cuts. But she is more shell-shocked than angry and says she will not take to the streets in protest.
Teachers, hospital workers and pensioners are taking the heaviest blows in Latvia's battle to avert national bankruptcy. The health minister has quit rather than impose the latest cuts - the 'easy path' according to Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis [ID:nLH629470].
"I have three children... all of whom I have to support on my salary that'll be 124 lats ($245.9)," said Klinstone, a 47-year-old physics and chemistry teacher in Riga.
"I have no idea how we'll survive."
This is the kind of intelligent political debate I want to see. Not the hate porn O'Reilly and Hannity serve up day after day after day after day.
The only thing missing is a woman.
Two rich white men debating abortion is like two Hungarians debating Ethiopian fiscal policy.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 1|
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 2|
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 3|
"I wrote a couple weeks back that something is happening in Iran. But it is not the only place where something is happening. The rejection of al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan; the ground-up election of Obama in America; and now the rising up of Iranians for freedom and civility with their neighbors: these are the green shoots of recovery from 9/11 and its wake.
Empowered by new information technology, chastened by the apocalyptic conflicts of the last few years, determined to shift course away from civilizational warfare, the people of many countries are grasping for a new order and a new peace.
It will not be easy; and it will not be short. But it is the only path worth taking.
And these Iranians are now leading the rest of us."
- Andrew Sullivan, June 20, 2009
China had an easy time with it. They let them gather in one place, then they mowed them down with their tanks. In Iran, not so easy.
Because the freedom fighters are EVERYWHERE.
"I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?” one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”
Another green-eyed woman, Mahin, aged 52, staggered into an alley clutching her face and in tears. Then, against the urging of those around her, she limped back into the crowd moving west toward Freedom Square. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “We want liberty!” accompanied her."
- Roger Cohen, NYT, June 20, 2009
June 20, 2009
It is over. The evil despotic regime in Iran has fallen. They may not know it now. Or maybe they do. But they will be swinging from ropes soon.
The despots are in their last days.
It hath been foretold.
These citizens are done with their leadership. The trust has completely and irretrievably dissipated, and the fear, although present, is not sufficient, especially as it becomes more clear the army will remain on the sidelines. And the mullahs have opened all the playbooks on repression and crowd control simultaneously; it's a smorgasboard attempt at blocking the rising tide of resentment; if you'll recall, that's called the mullah's-ass-on-a-pressure-cooker-lid-to-retard-fulmination rule. If things look bad with the pressure cooker, piling more mullahs on the lid will only result in a more spectacular finish.
If the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had been broadcast to the entire world, Hitler's demise most surely would have come several years sooner. The mullahs have no way out. They are, essentially, fucked. It's now only a matter of time. And Iran's negotiations on their nuclear program? Suspended indefinitely due to lack of credibility; nobody will believe anything they say now.
TICK, TOCK, MOTHERF*****...
This is not the time for peaceful protest, as the Ayatollah's thugs shoot people in the streets like dogs.
This is a revolution. This is war.
And revolutionaries, when being fired upon by despots, need guns. Not slogans. Not chants. Not rocks.
They need to decapitate this evil regime.
"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples' belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness."
-President Barack Obama, June 20, 2009
The men of Iran who are not with the regime should take matters into their own hands.
The world is watching.
3pm GMT - Dramatic video out of Tehran as Ayatollah's thugs do his dirty work. Because Allah would of course want innocent protesters shot.
Shooting unarmed protesters, because they are afraid, and morally bankrupt.
And they fight them with rocks.
June 19, 2009
"Of the two most significant events that impacted on the entire Middle East in the last two generations — the Arab loss in the June 1967 war and the Iranian Revolution in 1979 — the Iranian revolution has probably had wider and greater impact in the long run. Iran impacts on many parts of the region, because of its ideological influence and logistical support to Islamist movements in the Arab world, combined with its leadership of the “resistance front” of regional forces that defy and challenge the United States, Israel and conservative Arab regimes. If Iran once again sets the standard for mass political protest or even revolutionary change, the impact throughout the Middle East is likely to be enormous."
So, will you be spending your Saturday at Wal-Mart? Well, some people won't be. "Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed."
I'm two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow's children..."
Iran's dick-head Ayatollah Khamenei plans to kill his people by the thousands tomorrow. Obama tells him "The world is watching". Will he care?
Truly, I don't think he cares.
Sociopaths seldom do.
Pol Pot. Adolph Hitler. Joseph Stalin. Mao Tse-tung. Idi Amin. Genghis Khan. Dick Cheney. Atila the Hun. Jeffrey Dahmer. Vlad Tepes. Ayatollah Khamenei.
I think more brave Iranians will die tomorrow.
Do you care?
Hey, good news America! Iran's dick-head Ayatollah no longer wants a piece of you. No, now it's "Death to the UK! Death to the UK!"
Ayatollah: 'UK Is Our Most Treacherous Enemy'
Iran's supreme leader has insisted there was no vote-rigging in a presidential election and attacked "enemies" - naming the UK government as the "most treacherous".
"Their enmity toward the Islamic establishment -- they are showing this," Khamenei said. "The most treacherous is the government of Britain."
The crowd then chanted, "Down with the UK Death to the UK."
Regale us with tales of times in the past few years you told people (friends, family, co-workers, strangers) that home prices were going to crash
And that this whole Ponzi Economy was going to unwind.
Did they listen?
Did they laugh at you?
And what do they think of your prescience today?
The despotic and afraid leaders of Iran are going to kill their people now, in a desperate attempt to retain power. So it's kill or be killed.
Like China, they will run you over with tanks.
Like the Soviets, they will shoot you in the streets like dogs.
The brave Iranian protesters will now be put down or jailed.
Their dick-head Ayatollah has said so.
Unless they rise up first.
Kill or be killed.
The time for peaceful protests and negotiations are over.
Revolutions aren't picnics.
Against armed despots, they're bloody.
Of course, the tyrants could have planned this whole thing out - fix the elections, allow the opposition to protest and identify themselves, then kill them.
Machiavelli (and Stalin and Hitler and Mao) would be proud.
In the meantime, this is the beautiful Prague Spring. This is Tiananmen before the crackdown. This is Hungary 1956.
Which way will history turn this time?
We'll soon find out.
The United States is going to try to pawn off $120 billion in T-bonds next week. Uh, good luck with that.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Seriously, who the f*ck would be dumb enough to buy these, at yields of 0.15% - 3.82%?
No, seriously. Who the f*ck would be dumb enough to buy these?
Besides Bernanke of course.
$31 billion in 3-month bills
$27 billion in 7-year notes
$40 billion in 2-year notes
$37 billion in 5-year notes
$30 billion in 6-month bills
June 18, 2009
Did you ever think you'd live to see the day that Americans would view the Iranian people as heroes, as brothers, as friends? Well, welcome to today.
Things have changed.
Who knows, it's a crazy thought, but maybe world peace is at hand.
It has been a strange year.
Elevation Chandler, The Dumbest Condo Project Ever Conceived By Man™, goes predictably into foreclosure
Year round golf?
Or maybe nobody wants to live in the middle of nowhere.
Chandler Arizona. There is no there here.
If we hadn't spent $12 trillion, hadn't bailed out the banks, hadn't passed the stimulus, and hadn't done a thing, what would America look like today?
What would the unemployment rate have been?
Where would the Dow be trading today?
How far would GDP have fallen?
What would be the deflation rate?
What percent of homes would have been in foreclosure?
Would there have been riots and violence and hunger and looting?
Would the ATMs still be working?
--- Amounts (Billions)---
Total $11,623.63 $3,800.18
Federal Reserve Total $7,565.63 $1,478.88
Primary Credit Discount $110.74 $65.14
Secondary Credit $0.19 $0.00
Primary dealer and others $147.00 $25.27
ABCP Liquidity $152.11 $12.72
AIG Credit $60.00 $37.36
Net Portfolio CP Funding $1,800.00 $248.67
Maiden Lane (Bear Stearns) $29.50 $28.82
Maiden Lane II (AIG) $22.50 $18.82
Maiden Lane III (AIG) $30.00 $24.34
Term Securities Lending $250.00 $115.28
Term Auction Facility $900.00 $447.56
Securities lending overnight $10.00 $5.59
Public-Private Investment Fund $1,000.00 $0.00
Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility $1,000.00 $0.00
Currency Swaps/Other Assets $606.00 $417.86
MMIFF $540.00 $0.00
GSE Debt Purchases $600.00 $33.58
Citigroup Bailout Fed Portion $220.40 $0.00
Bank of America Bailout $87.20 $0.00
FDIC Total $1,551.50 $400.30
FDIC Liquidity Guarantees $1,400.00 $261.30
GE $139.00 $139.00
Citigroup Bailout FDIC $10.00 $0.00
Bank of America Bailout FDIC $2.50 $0.00
Treasury Total $2,206.50 $1,621.00
TARP $700.00 $387.00
Tax Break for Banks $29.00 $29.00
Stimulus Package $168.00 $168.00
Stimulus II $787.00 $787.00
Treasury Exchange Stabilization $50.00 $50.00
Student Loan Purchases $60.00 $0.00
Citigroup Bailout $5.00 $0.00
Bank of America Bailout $7.50 $0.00
Support for Fannie/Freddie $400.00 $200.00
HUD Total $300.00 $300.00
Hope for Homeowners FHA $300.00 $300.00
June 17, 2009
Bernie Sanders asks Ben Bernanke who got the $2.2 trillion. Ben Bernanke basically tells him to f*ck off.
When the government loses control of the financial affairs of the land, what does that say about the land?
It truly is amazing.
Damn, those grifters were good.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is threatening websites that report on the protests. Uh, good luck with that.
This will end in one of two ways
1) The Revolutionary Guard will realize that to retain power, they need to go against the current regime, and with Revolution 2.0. And a peaceful and bloodless revolution will commence.
2) The Revolutionary Guard will start shooting the Revolution 2.0 protesters. And then they'll start shooting each other. And all hell will break loose.
And isn't it fun to see despots trying to retain power in an age of the internet, mobile phones, blogs, youtube and twitter?
Those will win over bullets any day.
Iran opposition defiant as media grip tightened
The country's powerful Revolutionary Guard -- which enforces strict Islamic codes -- said it will prosecute Web sites it accuses of inciting riots, adding to a ban on foreign media reporting on the protests and a block on Internet site such as Facebook or Twitter.
Even as the Guard made its announcement, thousands of Iranians planned to head to Haft-e-Tir Square in central Tehran on Wednesday evening despite a stepped-up government crackdown that has seen people arrested across the country.
- Barack Obama, admitting what we all know is true, June 2009
June 16, 2009
These scenes from Iran are the most uplifting and inspirational I've seen since Tiananmen Square. Let's hope this time history is kind.
I salute you, young heroes of Iran.
The world is falling in love with you.
Fight the power.
With everything you've got.
I want to be there so bad I can taste it.
If only Americans could be so brave.
Look real hard at this photo. See the green shoots? Come on, they're obvious. Oh, wait, you mean those are just weeds?
The next couple of months should be telling.
Either up, up and away.
Or down, down we go.
13% unemployment is gonna be rough.
Trillions in government cheese is gonna be good.
Put it all in a blender, and what do you have?
We'll soon find out.
Until then, I'm going fishing.
Roubini sees weeds amid green shoots
The U.S. economy will not recover until the end of this year, and even then growth will remain meek and vulnerable to higher interest rates and commodity prices, economist Nouriel Roubini said on Tuesday.
Roubini, who rose to prominence for predicting the global credit crisis, tore down the "green shoots" theory that a rebound is imminent, saying there was a significant risk of a "double-dip" recession where the economy expands slightly only to begin contracting again.
"In addition to green shoots there are also yellow weeds," he told the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit in New York.
He pointed to the growing divergence between business sentiment surveys, which have been improving in recent months, and industrial production, which is down sharply and receded another 1.1 percent in May.
Roubini, the head of economics research firm RGE Global Monitor, said the U.S. jobless rate, already at a 26-year high of 9.4 percent, would reach 11 percent before it begins to ease. He added that he saw few engines for growth given that U.S. consumers are tapped out
As a result, Federal Reserve policy-makers, whom Roubini says completely missed the magnitude of the crisis at its inception, face an unenviable set of policy choices.
You're seeing that day.
Things are changing.
A 73-year-old shopkeeper said he walked more than six miles to the demonstration. "I have only ever voted twice, once at the beginning of the revolution...and once for Mousavi," he said. "Today was wonderful. Tomorrow will be even better."
If marijuana was made legal, and available at your local grocery store (you know, like alcohol), would you use it?
Have you tried pot?
Do you currently partake?
Are you in favor of legalization?
If it were legal, would you try it or use it?
If you smoked pot, could you lose your job?
And what do you think the odds are that marijuana will be legal by 2012?
Legalize pot movement gains steam
NEW YORK - The savage drug war in Mexico. Crumbling state budgets. Weariness with current drug policy. The election of a president who said, "Yes — I inhaled."
These developments and others are kindling unprecedented optimism among the many Americans who want to see marijuana legalized.
Doing so, they contend to an ever-more-receptive audience, could weaken the Mexican cartels now profiting from U.S. pot sales, save billions in law enforcement costs, and generate billions more in tax revenue from one of the nation's biggest cash crops.
June 15, 2009
If that was just a bear market rally, and the green shoots were just a mirage, here's what we'd be looking at
If I was wrong, I'll be the first to admit it.
I don't think I am. But you never know.
I don't think bears or bulls can have a lot of confidence right now.
So after that massive and historic rally, maybe the sidelines are again the best place to be as the dust settles.
With popcorn. Lots of popcorn.
So they're finally gonna start bulldozing America's empty cities, starting with the rustbelt. How long until they get to Maricopa, Buckeye & Phoenix?
We asked time and time again "what will we do with all these damn houses?"
Well, now we know.
Just tear them down.
US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive
Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.
The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.
Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.
GOP strategist: "The demographics.. are changing in a way that is deadly for the Republican Party as it exists today. A GOP ice age is on the way."
Mike Murphy is correct - the demographics are deadly, and the negative mean angry white male fundamentalist thing was doomed to 22% no matter what.
So the GOP faces a choice.
Or inclusive, positive, green, kind, libertarian, anti-spending, anti-tax, competent and above all - secular.
Which will they choose?
Based on how things are going, looks like doom.
June 14, 2009
Here's the Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea. 105 stories and 3,000 empty rooms. I'm not sure what was stupider. This, or "Elevation Chandler".
Can you imagine Kim Jong-il strung up from a rope swinging from the top of this?
Kinda looks like the Nikkei chart.
Communists do build some hilarious buildings. But then again, so do Phoenix developers.
June 13, 2009
On 3/22/09, I posted "Green Shoots". And I got flamed. Well, three months have passed, along with one of the greatest stock market rallies ever.
Oh, and this chart too:
March 22, 2009
I'm feeling a sense of returning confidence. That the worst has passed. That we're done with nuclear surprises. That the recovery is starting.
There will still be terrible news to come, especially on the jobs front. Our corrupt monkeys will still be f*cking things up. And companies will be releasing horrific Q1 reports.
But this downfall can't last forever. It's already gone on for more than two years. $40 to $50 trillion has been lost. Half of the wealth of the world has been washed away. GM still needs to go Chapter 11. Banks still need to fail. And the criminals still aren't in jail.
But at one point, we level off, and the recovery begins. And it is always darkest before dawn.
After Bernanke's $1.2 trillion money bomb, Geithner's new toxic asset plan that will be announced this week, the revision of mark-to-market and restoration of the uptick rule that comes the first week of April, and even the start of spring, and I see the recovery beginning soon, if it hasn't already.
And after two massive bubbles, I think there's a risk we'll see a third. 0% interest rates and trillions being pumped into the system is a dangerous game. Unless Volker comes back and takes control (again).
Yes, I have an optimism problem, that's well documented. But something feels different right now. And when all the sheeple are negative and hopeless, that makes me look the other way.
So what do you think? Are we on the road to recovery? Or do we keep dropping into the depths of financial hell?
I see green shoots. Even if that seems nuts.
IRAN VIOLENCE: Protesters Chant "Death To The Dictator, Death To Ahmadinejad"
Mousavi, who became the hero of a powerful youth-driven movement, had not made a public address or issued messages since declaring himself the true victor moments after polls closed and accusing authorities of "manipulating" the vote.
"I'm warning that I won't surrender to this manipulation," said the Mousavi statement on the Web on Saturday. "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials ... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran sacred system and governance of lie and dictatorship."
He warned "people won't respect those who take power through fraud" and called the decision to announce Ahmadinejad winner of the election was a "treason to the votes of the people."
I love a good revolution.
I hope this one takes off.
Do it, brave young Iranians.
Some of the more mainstream blogs are finally finding our Suzanne gem. Here's some comments:
June 12, 2009
When you consider the power of the tobacco lobby, this is actually quite shocking.
Something has changed. Big-time. Two of my big pet issues - MPG standards and cigarette regulation - are now here. Finally. 30 years too late.
But let's go.
* I want cigarette warning labels that will shock you.
* I want all cigarette marketing to be banned. All of it.
* I want the packaging to be black and white text only.
* And yet I want the product to be sold freely and legally, so that adults stupid enough or suicidal enough can buy it.
Regulate it. Ban the marketing. Collect the taxes. Avoid a black market. And let idiots buy it.
The way it should have been all along.
And the way marijuana should be treated today.
Congress sends Obama bill to regulate tobacco
ongress sent legislation to the White House Friday granting the federal government unprecedented authority to regulate and restrict cigarettes, the single largest cause of preventable death.
President Barack Obama quickly expressed his support, appearing in the Rose Garden almost immediately after the House gave final approval to the bill giving the Food and Drug Administration control over tobacco production, marketing and sales.
"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society." - Thomas Jefferson
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." - Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
June 11, 2009
This is what O'Reilly, Hannity, Rove, Cheney, Palin and Limbaugh hath wrought.
A nation of hateful, bigoted, ignorant, unstable, dissatisfied, misinformed idiots.
And now they're after the doctors and the Jews.
Who's next on the right wing hate parade? Women? Blacks? Gays? Actors? Scientists?
Disgusting. And frankly, if this is you, go away. Your ignorance adds nothing to our debate.
1. Albuquerque, N.M. (don't mind the drunk Indians in the road)
2. Auburn, Ala. (Squeal like a pig!)
3. Austin, Texas (Some Texans actually do hate Bush, smoke pot and wear Birkenstocks)
4. Boise, Idaho (Dammit! Now everyone knows!)
5. Durham, N.C. (Did you see the size of that mosquito?)
6. La Crosse, Wis. (Oh, crap, it's 1PM, time to get up)
7. Loveland, Colo. (is the town's one restaurant open yet?)
8. San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Get out of the way gramps! We're doing beer bongs!)
9. St. Augustine, Fla. (Mixer tonight for under-100's)
10. Upper St. Clair, Pa. (where?)
June 10, 2009
Man, I wish the US had President's Questions every Wednesday.
Maybe we could sell ad time and help pay off the deficit.
It's always great political theatre. Especially when the opposition smells blood.
Because nobody's been spending ANY money to find, extract or refine oil lately. Nor will they be soon.
Meanwhile, as the world economy heats up, and the Chinese and Indians put down the bikes and get in their swift new cars, oil demand goes way up, just as supply tanks. And oh, the dollar melts down.
$250? Might hit that next year or two.
And that would be a good thing. Get us off the black stuff and out of those gas-guzzlers as fast as you can.
Oil May Top $250, Says Gazprom CEO
A shortage of oil and gas investment means the sector will fail to meet demand when the global economy begins to recover, Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said on Wednesday.
There are no guarantees that further increases in oil demand will be supported by a sufficient growth in investments, the head of the Russian natural gas giant said.
Nobody has solved the issue of the "2012 supply gap" which may emerge later than thought but which will be deeper.
"It means prices may even jump over the $250 hurdle we have forecast a year ago," Miller said in a written text of a speech at a conference in Italy on the financial crisis and energy.
Nice to see the Daily Show audience now in-tune with the Fed, over-consumption, corruption in DC, and, well, stuff we talk about here. And isn't it interesting to see a Republican like Schiff received so well on a "leftist" show like the Daily Show? Hmmm... maybe something there for the now-dead GOP to consider.
A senate run against Dodd hopefully is next. And folks, I think Schiff can beat that turd.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Could Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson go to jail? Or do you think Obama would pardon them if they were convicted?
Congress subpoenas Fed over Bank of America acquisition of Merrill Lynch
House lawmakers on Tuesday said they have subpoenaed the Federal Reserve to hand over e-mails, notes and other documents related to its role in Bank of America Corp.'s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.
The lawmakers' subpoena comes after claims that top government officials pressured Bank of America Corp. CEO Ken Lewis to complete the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch, threatening his job security. Lewis has testified that he had been advised by the officials, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, not to disclose details of Merrill Lynch's difficult financial position, according to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.