Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Search

Federal Reserve - search results

If you're not happy with the results, please do another search

Donald Trump Is Right – Here Are 100 Reasons Why We Need To Audit...

Michael Snyder (RINF) - When one of our major politicians gets something exactly right, we should applaud them for it.  In this case, Donald Trump’s...

The Federal Reserve Just Made Another Huge Mistake

Michael Snyder (RINF) - As stocks continue to crash, you can blame the Federal Reserve, because the Fed is more responsible for creating the current...

The Federal Reserve Board and the Presidential Candidates

Some of the folks watching the Republican presidential debates were struck by the fact that Donald Trump was apparently unfamiliar with the concept of...

Federal Reserve raises interest rates for first time since 2006

The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The United States central bank's policy-setting committee made the...

US Federal Reserve allows ruling elite to control monetary policy: Analyst

The US central bank, known as the Federal Reserve System and informally as the Fed, is an “anti-democratic” institution that has enabled a small...

Donald Trump and the Federal Reserve Board

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump released his plan for changing the tax code. Trump wants big across the board tax cuts, with...

The Washington Post and the Federal Reserve Cult

“The very hallmark of central-bank independence, without which there is no point in having a central bank, is the occasional willingness to resist popular...

Federal Reserve documents stagnant state of US economy

By Barry Grey The US Federal Reserve Board last week released its semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress, providing an assessment of the state of the...
video

Video: Texas Governor Puts Federal Reserve On Notice

Governor Greg Abbott signed a law last week to build a depository for its 5600 bars of the precious metal and, as he said...

The Federal Reserve Board’s Payroll Tax on Our Children

The Fed's tax hikes are far more costly to ordinary workers than any conceivable tax increase would be.  The deficit hawks appear to be making...

How the Federal Reserve Is Destroying Your Economic Future

When it comes to what goes on in the marble corridors of the Federal Reserve, Americans tend to be suspicious. For different reasons, both...

The Federal Reserve Has Declared the Winner in the Generational Financial War

Reprinted with permission of Washingtons Blog The policy of safeguarding Boomer benefits with asset bubbles will lead to the destruction of the unprepared, the unwary...

The New York Federal Reserve Has Signaled The End Of The Dollar Is Near

Ultimately, this article is written for individuals who are naive enough to believe that 2015 will look and feel like 2014. The banksters have...

What Options at the Federal Reserve: A Global Financial Crisis is Looming?

It is being said today’s FOMC announcement is “the most important of Yellen’s tenure”, I could not disagree more. In the past I have...

Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD...

Debunking the Stubborn Myth that War Is Good for the Economy About.com notes: One of the more enduring myths in Western society is that wars are...

Federal Reserve: The Birth of the Monster

The Federal Reserve’s doors have been open for “business” for one hundred years. In explaining the creation of this money-making machine (pun intended –...

Federal Reserve Policy Keeps Fracking Bubble Afloat and That May Change Soon

In August 2005, the U.S. Congress and then-President George W. Bush blessed the oil and gas industry with a game-changer: the Energy Policy Act...

How The Federal Reserve Is Purposely Attacking Savers

There’s something we ‘regular’ citizens wrestle with that the elites never seem to: a sense of moral duty. For example, following the collapse of the...

Whistleblower Releases Tapes Exposing Federal Reserve Corruption

Do you believe that the Federal Reserve is regulating big banks? Recordings released by a whistleblower show the cozy relationship between banks “too big...

How Much Control Does Goldman Sachs Have Over the Federal Reserve?

A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator–and its history of deference to banks. Jake...

The Federal Reserve Has No Integrity

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler RINF Alternative News As we documented in previous articles, the gold price is driven down in the paper futures market...

The Federal Reserve Has No Integrity

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler As we documented in previous articles, the gold price is driven down in the paper futures market by naked short selling by the Fed’s dependent bullion banks. Some people have a hard time accepting…

The post The Federal Reserve Has No Integrity appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

The Federal Reserve Seems Quite Serious About Tapering — So What Comes Next?

Will this be the year when the Fed's quantitative easing program finally ends?  For a long time, many analysts were proclaiming that the Fed would never taper.  But then it started happening.  Then a lot of them started talking about how "the untaper" was right around the corner.  That hasn't happened either.  It looks like [...]

Why the Federal Reserve Needs an Overhaul

William Greider This 100-year-old antique is undemocratic, too close to elite banking interests and often blind to the economic conditions that affect most Americans The Federal...

Why is the Federal Reserve Tapering the Gold Market?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and David Kranzler  RINF Alternative News In former times, the rise in the gold price was held down by central banks selling gold or...

Flashback: 9/11 and the gold in the NY Federal Reserve

Flashback: 9/11 and the gold in the NY Federal Reserve by Jon Rappoport January 30, 2014 www.nomorefakenews.com With reports that Germany can’t get back much of its gold stored in the NY Federal Reserve, I remembered what I was writing just after 9/11. Here are a few quotes. Most are from my posts on 9/11 […]

“Monkey Business” Surrounding the Repatriation of Germany’s Gold Stored at the NY Federal Reserve...

Bill Holter RINF Alternative News As you know, Germany has reported that 37.5 tons were delivered last year, which is about 50 tons shy of what...

The Federal Reserve is Hiring Lots of New Armed Police Officers

Mirroring trend seen across federal government Paul Joseph Watson Mirroring a trend seen across the federal government, the Federal Reserve is...

Bank of Israel’s Governor Stanley Fisher Nominated Federal Reserve Vice Chairman

Steve Lendman RINF Alternative News Napoleon was no democrat. He had his own ideas about conquest and dominance. He knew a thing or two about money...

AIPAC’s Federal Reserve Vice Chairman

AIPAC's Federal Reserve Vice Chairman

by Stephen Lendman

Napoleon was no democrat. He had his own ideas about conquest and dominance. He knew a thing or two about money power. He said:

"When a government is dependent for money upon the bankers, they and not the government leaders control the nation." 

"This is because the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Financiers are without patriotism and without decency."

He wasn't the only world figure saying so. Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln said much the same thing. So do independent experts today.

The Fed just commemorated 100 years of financial terrorism. It operates lawlessly. It does so destructively. It enriches bankers. 

It does it at the expense of popular interests. It does it more than ever today. Obama permits it. So does bipartisan complicity.

They let monied interests run America. Whatever they want they get. They take full advantage. They're waging financial war on humanity. 

They do it by controlling money, credit and debt. They do it for private enrichment. They do it at the expense of millions grievously harmed.

In mid-December, Obama nominated Stanley Fischer as Federal Reserve vice chairman. If confirmed, he'll replace Janet Yellen.

She'll become Fed chairman end of January. She'll do so when current chairman Ben Bernanke steps down.

From January 2005 through June 30, 2013, Fischer was Bank of Israel governor. He holds dual US/Israeli citizenship. That alone should disqualify him.

He was involved earlier with the Bank of Israel. In 1980, he was a visiting scholar. In 1985, he was Reagan administration advisor to Israel's economic stabilization program.

At the time, neoliberal policies were implemented. Knesset members amended the Bank of Israel Law. 

Doing so prohibited it from printing money for industrialization, full employment and immigrant absorption. Israel embraced transformative change for the worst.

Power began shifting from various government agencies to the Finance Ministry and Bank of Israel. It's similar to how America was financialized. 

In 1985, Israeli policy included budget deficits reduced to near balance. Inflation was dampened the wrong way.

Wages, public pensions and other social benefits were cut. Shekel debasing began. Unions lost power. Worker exploitation followed.

The Arrangements Law established an emergency Economic Stabilization Plan. Doing so sidestepped normal legislative procedures.

Knesset members were prevented from debating its socially destructive provisions. A race to the bottom followed. It continued throughout the 1990s. It did so under Fisher. It does so today. 

Policies include mass privatizations, welfare and social benefit cuts, wealth disproportionately shifted from ordinary Israelis to corporate interests and super-rich elites, as well as other so-called structural adjustments.

Israel resembles the worst of America. It does so politically, militarily, economically, financially and socially. Both countries are no fit places to live in.

Both threaten humanity. Both are socially destructive. Both favor privilege of popular interests. Fisher represents the worst of Israeli policy.

He hardened it during his tenure as Bank of Israel governor. Imagine what he has in mind for Americans. 

If confirmed, his presence will make hard times for ordinary people harder than ever. He was born in Northern Rhodesia. It's now Zambia. Southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.

He studied in England and America. In the early 1970s, he was a University of Chicago associate professor. In 1976, he became a US citizen.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, he taught at MIT. From 1988 to August 1990, he was World Bank vice president and chief economist.

From 1994 through August 2001, he was IMF first deputy managing director. He's a former Citigroup vice president and president of Citigroup International. In late 2001, he became a Group of Thirty member.

Current ones include:

  • former Fed chairman Paul Volcker;

  • former ECB governor Jean-Claude Trichet;

  • current ECB governor Mario Draghi;

  • former Federal Reserve Bank of New York president/Goldman Sachs managing director E. Gerald Corrigan;

  • current Federal Reserve Bank of New York president/former Goldman Sachs partner William Dudley;

  • former Treasury secretary Larry Summers;

  • former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo;

  • former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner;

  • former Bank of England governor Mervyn King; and

  • current Bank of England governor Mark Carney, among others with similar credentials.

Fischer is a senior member. Group of Thirty policy is ideologically anti-populist. Its rogues gallery of members support wealth, power and privilege. They spurn popular ones.

They claim a divine right to control money. They want disproportionate amounts to make more of it. They do it the old-fashioned way.

They steal it manipulatively. They do so through fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, front-running, pumping and dumping, naked short selling, scamming investors, running key administration posts, and taking full advantage every time.

They're kleptocrats. They're gangsters. They're criminals. Mafia bosses pale by comparison. Fisher is a gang of 30 member in good standing. Imagine him running the Fed with Janet Yellen.

He harmed ordinary Israelis during his tenure. He'll continue destructive Greenspan/Bernanke policies in Washington. Obama wants him for that reason.

Neoliberalism writ large is official US policy. Wall Street bosses demand it. Whatever they want they get.

In the 1980s, Fisher helped Israel become by far the largest recipient of US aid. Loans increasingly became outright grants. 

Israel today gets billions of dollars in annual aid, the latest weapons and technology, unrestricted US market access, benefits afforded no other nations, and much more. 

It does so in violation of the 1961 US Foreign Assistance Act. It stipulates no aid be provided to governments that engage:

"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

Israel is a serial offender. It's guilty of multiple counts of crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. Its rap sheet is one the world's most blood-drenched.

It doesn't matter. It gets unconscionable amounts of US tax dollars. It does so annually. It gets America to fight its wars. It partners with other US dirty ones.

Fisher is AIPAC's man. He's Israel's man. Imagine appointing a dual US/Israeli citizen. Imagine him becoming the second highest Fed official. Imagine his fealty to Wall Street, not Main Street.

Imagine him supporting Israeli interests. Imagine him doing it at humanity's expense. Imagine his hardline neoliberalism harming millions more than already.

Imagine a Zionist zealot. Imagine one influencing US monetary policy. Imagine someone extremely anti-Iranian. 

As Bank of Israel governor, he helped AIPAC's sanctions campaign. Its goal is financially and politically weakening and isolating Iran. 

He supports regime change. He does so in Syria. He backs the worst of Israeli crimes. He's pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-business, pro-privilege, and anti-populist.

He's a deplorable Fed choice. He represents banksterism writ large. He's a globalist in the worst sense. He'll let Israel influence US monetary policy. He'll give AIPAC more control of US foreign policy. 

He supports Israeli belligerence and occupation harshness. His appointment makes regional wars more likely.

He'll lobby for increased Israeli aid. Providing any harms ordinary people everywhere. 

Fischer is polar opposite what's needed. Not according to the Wall Street Journal. It calls him "a dean among the world's top central bankers."

Wall Street bosses want him as Fed second in command. He'll "provide Ms. Yellen with a heavyweight partner," said the Journal.

His experience "places him very much at the center of the economic policy-making establishment of the past two decades..."

He was instrumental in arranging Citigroup's 2008 bailout. "The IMF was a lightning rod during his tenure..." 

He supported the worst of its neoliberal unfairness. He did so as Bank of Israel governor. He's got more of the same in mind for Americans.

Bernanke supports his appointment. In November he said:

"Stan was my teacher in graduate school, and he has been both a role model and a frequent adviser ever since." 

"An expert on financial crises, Stan has written prolifically on the subject and has also served on the front lines."

Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson questioned his nomination. "What's the rationale for this candidacy," he asked? "I don't get it."

In November, Fisher addressed a Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting. He called Fed QE "dangerous (but) necessary."

He lied claiming (w)ithout the Fed, we'd have had a much deeper recession."

"Without the extraordinary things that it's done, the economy would be in much worse shape today and we need to remember that."

False! QE reduced the money supply. It did so "by sucking up the collateral needed by the shadow banking system to create credit," said Ellen Brown.

It's an "asset swap." Assets for cash reserves "never leave bank balance sheets," she said.

Doing so is counterproductive. It’s self-defeating. It constrains economic growth. 

It doesn’t create jobs. It benefits Wall Street. It does it at the expense of Main Street.

It works when used constructively. Money injected responsibly into the economy creates growth. A virtuous circle of prosperity is possible.

It creates jobs. When people have money they spend it. Bernanke's QE wrecked the economy.  He did so to benefit bankers.

A protracted Main Street Depression harms millions. Conditions go from bad to worse. 

Yellen and Fischer endorse the same policy. Imagine greater pain and suffering coming. 

Imagine Obama conspiring with Wall Street to assure it. Imagine bipartisan complicity. Imagine harder than ever hard times. 

Imagine growing millions suffering more than ever. Imagine rogue politicians permitting it. Imagine a nation unfit to live in.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Video: It’s A Wonderful Lie – 100 Years of the Federal Reserve

Infowars.comDecember 24, 2013 Mr. Henry F. Potter, the seedy loanshark in the 1946 film It's a...

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer Nominated for Number Two Spot at the Federal...

The rushed campaign to insert Stanley Fischer straight from his position leading Israel's central bank into the number two spot at the Federal Reserve...

Federal Reserve Fuels Global “Financial Parasitism”. Ultra-cheap QE Money Brings Untold Wealth to Corporate...

The decision by the US Federal Reserve Board to begin to “taper” its program of “quantitative easing” (QE)–the pumping of $1 trillion a year...

The Federal Reserve: 100 Years of “Financial Terrorism”

December 23, 1913 will live in infamy. Three days before Christmas, House members passed the Federal Reserve Act (FSA). On December 23, Senate members...

One Hundred Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Federal Reserve a Public Utility

Ellen Brown RINF Alternative News December 23rd, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, warranting a review of its performance. Has it achieved the...

Obama Nominates Israeli Bankster as Federal Reserve Vice Chair

Stanley Fischer will guide QE Infinity along its destructive path Kurt Nimmo Dual American-Israel citizen Stanley Fischer has sterling globalist credentials. Photo: World Forum The Obama administration...

Amend the US Federal Reserve

Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building December 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve. Dissatisfaction with its track record has prompted calls...

Amend the Federal Reserve: We Need a Central Bank that Serves Main Street

Ellen Brown RINF Alternative News December 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve. Dissatisfaction with its track record has prompted calls to audit the...

A Precious Metals Renaissance? What the Federal Reserve Bank’s Endless QE Means for Gold...

As the Syria Crises continues with unfolding developments every day, an economic crisis looms. The US economy is on the verge of sliding in to...

The Dying Dollar: The Federal Reserve and Wall Street “Assassinate the US Dollar”

Since 2006, the US dollar has experienced a one-quarter to one-third drop in value to the Chinese yuan, depending on the choice of base....

Live: Alex Jones Protests the Federal Reserve, Fights for Free Speech in Dallas

Infowars.comNovember 20, 2013 Alex and his crew are taking back free speech at the Federal Reserve building in Dallas, Texas at the corner of...

The Federal Reserve Is Monetizing A Staggering Amount Of U.S. Government Debt

Michael Snyder Economic Collapse November 15, 2013 The Federal Reserve is creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air and using that money to buy...

Nominee to head US Federal Reserve reassures Wall Street in Senate testimony

By Andre Damon15 November 2013 Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board early next year,...

Federal Reserve Whistleblower Tells America The REAL Reason For Quantitative Easing

Michael SnyderEconomic CollapseNovember 13, 2013 A banker named Andrew Huszar that helped manage the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program during 2009 and 2010 is publicly...

Three-Quarters of All Americans — And Many Economists — Want to Rein In the...

Washington's Blog November 11, 2013 A 2009 Rasmussen poll found that 79 percent of the American public is in favor of auditing the Federal Reserve. The numbers...

74% Want to Audit the Federal Reserve

Rasmussen Reports.com November 9, 2013 Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC. Americans still overwhelmingly favor a public audit of the Federal Reserve, perhaps in part because a...

Vast Majority Want to Audit the Federal Reserve, Poll Shows

Just one in 10 American adults is opposed to auditing the shadowy Federal Reserve, with an overwhelming 74 percent supporting an audit of the...

US Federal Reserve continues massive subsidy for financial markets

By Andre Damon31 October 2013 The US Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will continue to inject $85 billion per month into the financial...

Rand Paul Moves to Stall Appointment of Federal Reserve Insider

Kurt Nimmo | Move similar to Paul's effort to impose a procedural hold on nomination of John Brennan to oversee CIA. Source: Infowars

Federal Reserve in Uncharted Territory

Lynn Fries, TRNN Producer: Welcome to The Real News. I'm Lynn Fries in Geneva. Here to talk to us about the global economy and crisis...

On Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair

On October 9, 2013, President Obama appointed Janet Yellen, current vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, as the new Fed chair, to replace Ben Bernanke...

Obama’s Federal Reserve pick reassures Wall Street of continued bank bailouts

After calling for Medicare, Social Security cuts ...

Janet Yellen to Be Named Head of Federal Reserve

CNBCOctober 8, 2013 An advisor under former President Bill Clinton, Yellen succeeds Ben Bernanke as chairperson...

The Dangers of an All-Powerful Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve is the largest player in the world's largest economy. It's a behemoth that affects us all. According to Ron Paul, “The Federal...

Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From the Federal Reserve

cryptogon.com September 24th, 2013 This is interesting, but I'm sure that these news based trades are being set up days in advance with...

A Precious Metals Renaissance? What the Federal Reserve Bank’s Endless QE Means for Gold...

As the Syria Crises continues with unfolding developments every day, an economic crisis looms. The US economy is on the verge of sliding...

The Federal Reserve, QE and Jobs

Over the past five years the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), has printed nearly $4 trillion in liquidity (money) which it has...

25 Fast Facts About The Federal Reserve — Please Share With Everyone You Know

Michael SnyderEconomic CollapseSeptember 16, 2013 As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of...

The Next Federal Reserve Chair will Decide the Fate of Dodd-Frank

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. And welcome to this latest edition of the Epstein...

New record: Federal Reserve owes more than $2 trillion in US debt

The United States Federal Reserve has set a new record, but it’s not one exactly worth celebrating. For the first time ever, the Fed...

During The Best Period Of Economic Growth In U.S. History There Was No Income...

How would America ever survive without the central planners in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve? What in the world would we...

Federal Reserve Policy Mainly Benefits Big Foreign Banks

We’ve extensively documented that the Federal Reserve is intentionally locking up bank money so that...

The Federal Reserve Is Bailing Out Foreign Banks … More than the American People...

 Federal Reserve Policy Mainly Benefits Big Foreign Banks We’ve extensively documented that the Federal Reserve is intentionally locking up bank money so that it is...

Why Larry Summers Shouldn’t Be Permitted to Run a Dog Pound, Much Less the...

I’ve been gobsmacked to see that...

The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families

This article was first published on Global Research June 1, 2011 (Part one of a four-part series) The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America,...

Most Americans Don’t Know that the Federal Reserve Banks Are Private Corporations

The country’s most powerful “agency” — the Federal Reserve — is actually no more federal than Federal Express. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1928: Instrumentalities...

Ben Bernanke says Federal Reserve stimulus still needed

Agence France-PresseJuly 11, 2013 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the Fed’s easy-money policy...

The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks NOT To Lend 1.8 Trillion Dollars To The...

Michael SnyderEconomic CollapseJuly 2, 2013 Did you know that U.S. banks have more than 1.8 trillion...

EPIC RANT: “They Take a Press Release from the Federal Reserve and They Think...

If there’s one thing that individual investors can take away from Ben Bernanke’s latest Fed update, it’s that all confidence in the financial and...

EPIC RANT: “They Take a Press Release from the Federal Reserve and They Think...

If there’s one thing that individual investors can take away from Ben Bernanke’s latest Fed update, it’s that all confidence in the financial and...

Excess Reserves at the Federal Reserve. One of The Biggest Financial Scams In History:...

Banks’ excess reserves at FED is one of the biggest scam by the FED and there is a conspiracy of silence as to its...

Excess Reserves at the Federal Reserve. One of The Biggest Financial Scams In History:...

Banks’ excess reserves at FED is one of the biggest scam by the FED and there is a conspiracy of silence as to its...

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of...

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

Alex Newman thenewamerican.com May 26, 2013 A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is...

Federal Reserve: rising inequality jeopardizes economic recovery

A top ranking member of the United States Federal Reserve cautioned economists this week that growing inequality within the US was worsening the odds...

Inflation Is the Legacy of the Federal Reserve

The father of the theory that government stimulus is the way to fight severe downturns – John Maynard Keynes – famously said about inflation:

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke also admits that inflation is a tax on the American people:

By issuing bonds to itself the government seems to have miraculously raised revenue without burdening anyone else. This is probably why the mechanism is universally adopted throughout the world’s financial system. Yet free money does not, and cannot, exist. Since there can be no such thing as a government, or anyone else for that matter, raising revenue “at no cost” simple logic tells us that someone, somewhere has to pay.

But who? This is where the subtle dishonesty resides, because the answer is that no-one knows. If the money printing creates inflation in the product market, the consumers in that product market will pay. If the money printing creates inflation in asset markets, the purchaser of the more elevated asset price pays. Of course, if the printed money ends up in asset markets even less is known about who ultimately pays for the government’s ‘free lunch’, because in this case the money printing sets off its own dynamic via the perpetual Ponzi machine that is the global financial system. The ‘free lunch’ providers will be the late entrants into whatever asset-bubble or investment fad the money printing inflates.

The point is we can’t know who will pay, only that someone will pay. Thus the government has raised revenues without even knowing upon whom the burden falls, let alone telling them. Compare this to raising explicit ‘honest’ taxes, which are at least transparent. We know who levied the sales tax or the income tax, when it was levied, when it is payable, and how much has to be paid. The burden of this money printing, in contrast, seeps silently into the economy, falling indiscriminately but indubitably on unseen, unknowing victims.

The economic hardships this clandestine tax operation imposes are real and keenly felt. But because no one knows from where it comes the enemy is unseen. Thus, during great inflations, societies turn on themselves with each faction blaming another for its malaise: the third century inflation crisis in ancient Rome coincided with Diocletian’s infamous persecution of the Christians; the medieval European debasements coincided with surging witchcraft trials; the extreme Central European hyperinflations following WW1 saw whole societies blaming their Jewish communities. More recently, the aftermath of the historically modest asset inflations in the tech market and the US real estate market have seen society turn on “fat-cat CEOs” and “greedy bankers” respectively.

By now, some of you might feel this all to be irrelevant. Surely, you might be thinking, the plain fact is that there is no inflation. I disagree. To see why, think about what inflation is in the light of the above thinking. I know economists define it as changes in the price of a basket of consumer goods, the CPI. But why should that be the definitive measure, given that it’s only one of the many possible destinations in money’s Brownian journey from the printing presses? Why ignore other destinations, such as asset markets? Isn’t asset price inflation (or bubbles as they are more commonly known) more distortionary and economically inefficient than product price inflation?

I believe economists focus so firmly on product prices in their analysis of inflation not because of any judgment over the relative importance of one type of inflation over the other, but simply because CPI-type measures of inflation are easier to see. In doing so, they resemble the fabled driver who lost his keys one evening and was found looking for them under a streetlamp. When asked by his wife why he was looking there when he’d probably lost them further back, he replied “Because here it’s easier to see.”

We know that revenue cannot be raised for one person without costing someone else. We know that money printing generates revenue for the public sector. So we also know that money printing must be a tax. We know that the magnitude of that tax – the inflation rate – can be reliably measured by the increase in the rate of base money growth. Since we don’t know which markets new money will end up in or even when, we know we can’t reliably count on measures of inflation in those markets to tell us what the ‚inflation rate? is. Thus, the only reliable measure of inflation is the expansion of the monetary base. So to those who say there is no inflation, I give you the following chart.

By now, the more polite economists among those still reading may be thinking something like: “What utter drivel you are full of Grice! When there is a recession/depression on and the pressure faced by an economy is deflation, which can become self-fulfilling, the only correct thing to do is to create inflation to protect jobs.”

To this I would reply that every right thinking person wants to see job creation. Those advocating the creation of inflation, or fiscal stimulus are doing so because that’s what the system of logic known as ‘theoretical macroeconomics’ teaches. Yet this system of logic with its deeply flawed epistemological foundations is what brought us here in the first place! The macroeconomic body of knowledge represents no such thing – a cacophony of faiths would be more accurate. The instruments and gauges it recommends policy makers rely on – CPI, trend growth, output gaps, NAIRUs, budget deficits, debt/GDP – are subject to such wide conceptual ambiguity, not to mention estimation error, as to render them utterly meaningless. The fact is the captains of our ship have no reliable gauges. They have no understanding of what a yank of this lever, or a push on that button will ultimately achieve. They just think they do. Intoxicated by trumped up notions of what they know and understand, the drunk driving of macroeconomists is what led us to where we are today.

Confirmed: Anonymous Hack Federal Reserve

Hacktivist group Anonymous have leaked a document containing the credentials of over 4,000 bank executives, including addresses and contact information, which they obtained by hacking into one of the Federal Reserves internal websites.

Anonymous Said to Breach Federal Reserve

Anonymous Said to Breach Federal Reserve

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share
Posted on Feb 6, 2013
alexander amatosi (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Federal Reserve confirmed Wednesday that one of its internal websites was accessed after the hacktivist group Anonymous claimed to have stolen information on more than 4,000 banking executives.

“The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. central bank said.

“Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system,” the spokeswoman added, saying that everyone impacted by the breach had been contacted.

The acknowledgement came after a message posted via the Twitter account OpLastResort, which is linked to Anonymous, said the group hacked the bank Saturday. “The technology news site ZDNet separately reported that Anonymous appeared to have published information said to [contain] the login information, credentials, internet protocol addresses and contact information of more than 4,000 US bankers,” The Guardian reported.

The bank would not say which site was attacked, but information provided to the bankers showed that it was a nonpublic database of contacts for use by banks during a natural disaster.

OpLastResort is a campaign that hackers associated with Anonymous started to protest against the government prosecution of Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself last month to avoid a possible 31 years in jail for stealing more than 4 million articles from JSTOR, an online scholarly journal distribution and archive service.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

A copy of the message sent by the bank to members of its Emergency Communication System (ECS) and obtained by Reuters warned that mailing address, business phone, mobile phone, business email and fax numbers had been published. “Some registrants also included optional information consisting of home phone and personal email. Despite claims to the contrary, passwords were not compromised,” the bank said.

The website’s purpose is to allow bank executives to update the Fed if their operations have been flooded or otherwise damaged in a storm or other disaster. That helps the bank assess the overall impact of the event on the banking system.

Read more

More Below the Ad


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Federal Reserve data hacked by Anonymous

Federal Reserve building.(AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

Federal Reserve building.(AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

Days after the personal information of over 4,000 banking executives was leaked to the Web by a group affiliated with the hacktivist movement Anonymous, the Federal Reserve admits to having suffered an online security breach.

Spokespeople for the Fed alerted customers on Tuesday that private information stored online was compromised during a weekend hack, all but confirming the source for a trove of data published two days earlier by the loose-knit Anonymous collective.

"The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a spokeswoman for the bank tells Reuters.

Currently, the Fed maintains that the incident was mild in nature, “did not affect critical operations” of the bank and has been resolved. An admission from the Fed does suggest, however, that hackers are capable of compromising data that is presumably well protected.

During Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Twitter account @OpLastResort announced that personal info pertaining to thousands of banking executives had been obtained, and a tweet directing followers to a hacked Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center website linked to the data. Now the Fed says that an emergency notification system was indeed breached, thus compromising private but not necessarily secret user names, phone numbers and other credentials stored on the server.

The exploit, admits the Fed, allowed for the release of user contact data stored within its Emergency Communications System, or ECS, “a system used by the Federal Reserve and state banking departments to notify depository institutions of operational status in the event of natural or other disasters.”

“Information obtained from the registrants consisted of mailing address, business phone, mobile phone, business email and fax. Some registrants also included optional information consisting of home phone and personal email. Despite claims to the contrary, passwords were not compromised, but nonetheless, have been reset as a precautionary measure,” continues a spokesperson for the St. Louis Fed in a statement first obtained by ZDNet.

A source speaking to ZDNet on condition of anonymity adds, "The banks on the list were not compromised." On the website Reddit, however, one user claims to have called some of the phone numbers published on the Alabama CJIC site and adds some insight into the severity of the breach.

“What must be so problematic for the Federal Reserve is not the information so much as this file was stolen from their computers at all. The ramifications of that kind of loss of control is severe,” Reddit user PericlesMortimer writes.

OpLastResort is an Anonymous faction of sorts that was spawned after last month’s untimely death of Reddit co-founder and computer whiz Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide at age 26 while awaiting trial. The US government was charging Swartz with violating the Computed Fraud and Abuse Act because he allegedly accessed millions of academic and scholarly articles from the website JSTOR without explicit authorization. Swartz was facing decades in prison if convicted, but OpLastResort and similar campaigns have strived in recent weeks to make progress in reforming the CFAA.

Who Owns The Federal Reserve?

Who Owns The Federal Reserve?

“Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.”

– The Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1930s

The Federal Reserve (or Fed) has assumed sweeping new powers in the last year. In an unprecedented move in March 2008, the New York Fed advanced the funds for JPMorgan Chase Bank to buy investment bank Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar. The deal was particularly controversial because Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, sits on the board of the New York Fed and participated in the secret weekend negotiations.1 In September 2008, the Federal Reserve did something even more unprecedented, when it bought the world’s largest insurance company. The Fed announced on September 16 that it was giving an $85 billion loan to American International Group (AIG) for a nearly 80% stake in the mega-insurer. The Associated Press called it a “government takeover,” but this was no ordinary nationalization. Unlike the U.S. Treasury, which took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the week before, the Fed is not a government-owned agency. Also unprecedented was the way the deal was funded. The Associated Press reported:

“The Treasury Department, for the first time in its history, said it would begin selling bonds for the Federal Reserve in an effort to help the central bank deal with its unprecedented borrowing needs.”2

This is extraordinary. Why is the Treasury issuing U.S. government bonds (or debt) to fund the Fed, which is itself supposedly “the lender of last resort” created to fund the banks and the federal government? Yahoo Finance reported on September 17:

“The Treasury is setting up a temporary financing program at the Fed’s request. The program will auction Treasury bills to raise cash for the Fed’s use. The initiative aims to help the Fed manage its balance sheet following its efforts to enhance its liquidity facilities over the previous few quarters.”

Normally, the Fed swaps green pieces of paper called Federal Reserve Notes for pink pieces of paper called U.S. bonds (the federal government’s I.O.U.s), in order to provide Congress with the dollars it cannot raise through taxes. Now, it seems, the government is issuing bonds, not for its own use, but for the use of the Fed! Perhaps the plan is to swap them with the banks’ dodgy derivatives collateral directly, without actually putting them up for sale to outside buyers. According to Wikipedia (which translates Fedspeak into somewhat clearer terms than the Fed’s own website):

“The Term Securities Lending Facility is a 28-day facility that will offer Treasury general collateral to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s primary dealers in exchange for other program-eligible collateral. It is intended to promote liquidity in the financing markets for Treasury and other collateral and thus to foster the functioning of financial markets more generally. . . . The resource allows dealers to switch debt that is less liquid for U.S. government securities that are easily tradable.”

“To switch debt that is less liquid for U.S. government securities that are easily tradable” means that the government gets the banks’ toxic derivative debt, and the banks get the government’s triple-A securities. Unlike the risky derivative debt, federal securities are considered “risk-free” for purposes of determining capital requirements, allowing the banks to improve their capital position so they can make new loans. (See E. Brown, “Bailout Bedlam,” webofdebt.com/articles, October 2, 2008.)

In its latest power play, on October 3, 2008, the Fed acquired the ability to pay interest to its member banks on the reserves the banks maintain at the Fed. Reuters reported on October 3:

“The U.S. Federal Reserve gained a key tactical tool from the $700 billion financial rescue package signed into law on Friday that will help it channel funds into parched credit markets. Tucked into the 451-page bill is a provision that lets the Fed pay interest on the reserves banks are required to hold at the central bank.”3

If the Fed’s money comes ultimately from the taxpayers, that means we the taxpayers are paying interest to the banks on the banks’ own reserves – reserves maintained for their own private profit. These increasingly controversial encroachments on the public purse warrant a closer look at the central banking scheme itself. Who owns the Federal Reserve, who actually controls it, where does it get its money, and whose interests is it serving?

Not Private and Not for Profit?

The Fed’s website insists that it is not a private corporation, is not operated for profit, and is not funded by Congress. But is that true? The Federal Reserve was set up in 1913 as a “lender of last resort” to backstop bank runs, following a particularly bad bank panic in 1907. The Fed’s mandate was then and continues to be to keep the private banking system intact; and that means keeping intact the system’s most valuable asset, a monopoly on creating the national money supply. Except for coins, every dollar in circulation is now created privately as a debt to the Federal Reserve or the banking system it heads.4 The Fed’s website attempts to gloss over its role as chief defender and protector of this private banking club, but let’s take a closer look. The website states:

* “The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations – possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.”

* “[The Federal Reserve] is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.”

* “The Federal Reserve’s income is derived primarily from the interest on U.S. government securities that it has acquired through open market operations. . . . After paying its expenses, the Federal Reserve turns the rest of its earnings over to the U.S. Treasury.”5

So let’s review:

1. The Fed is privately owned.

Its shareholders are private banks. In fact, 100% of its shareholders are private banks. None of its stock is owned by the government.

2. The fact that the Fed does not get “appropriations” from Congress basically means that it gets its money from Congress without congressional approval, by engaging in “open market operations.”

Here is how it works: When the government is short of funds, the Treasury issues bonds and delivers them to bond dealers, which auction them off. When the Fed wants to “expand the money supply” (create money), it steps in and buys bonds from these dealers with newly-issued dollars acquired by the Fed for the cost of writing them into an account on a computer screen. These maneuvers are called “open market operations” because the Fed buys the bonds on the “open market” from the bond dealers. The bonds then become the “reserves” that the banking establishment uses to back its loans. In another bit of sleight of hand known as “fractional reserve” lending, the same reserves are lent many times over, further expanding the money supply, generating interest for the banks with each loan. It was this money-creating process that prompted Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1960s, to call the Federal Reserve “a total money-making machine.” He wrote:

“When the Federal Reserve writes a check for a government bond it does exactly what any bank does, it creates money, it created money purely and simply by writing a check.”

3. The Fed generates profits for its shareholders.

The interest on bonds acquired with its newly-issued Federal Reserve Notes pays the Fed’s operating expenses plus a guaranteed 6% return to its banker shareholders. A mere 6% a year may not be considered a profit in the world of Wall Street high finance, but most businesses that manage to cover all their expenses and give their shareholders a guaranteed 6% return are considered “for profit” corporations.

In addition to this guaranteed 6%, the banks will now be getting interest from the taxpayers on their “reserves.” The basic reserve requirement set by the Federal Reserve is 10%. The website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York explains that as money is redeposited and relent throughout the banking system, this 10% held in “reserve” can be fanned into ten times that sum in loans; that is, $10,000 in reserves becomes $100,000 in loans. Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.8 puts the total “loans and leases in bank credit” as of September 24, 2008 at $7,049 billion. Ten percent of that is $700 billion. That means we the taxpayers will be paying interest to the banks on at least $700 billion annually – this so that the banks can retain the reserves to accumulate interest on ten times that sum in loans.

The banks earn these returns from the taxpayers for the privilege of having the banks’ interests protected by an all-powerful independent private central bank, even when those interests may be opposed to the taxpayers’ — for example, when the banks use their special status as private money creators to fund speculative derivative schemes that threaten to collapse the U.S. economy. Among other special benefits, banks and other financial institutions (but not other corporations) can borrow at the low Fed funds rate of about 2%. They can then turn around and put this money into 30-year Treasury bonds at 4.5%, earning an immediate 2.5% from the taxpayers, just by virtue of their position as favored banks. A long list of banks (but not other corporations) is also now protected from the short selling that can crash the price of other stocks.

Time to Change the Statute?

According to the Fed’s website, the control Congress has over the Federal Reserve is limited to this:

“[T]he Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by Congress, which periodically reviews its activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute.”

As we know from watching the business news, “oversight” basically means that Congress gets to see the results when it’s over. The Fed periodically reports to Congress, but the Fed doesn’t ask; it tells. The only real leverage Congress has over the Fed is that it “can alter its responsibilities by statute.” It is time for Congress to exercise that leverage and make the Federal Reserve a truly federal agency, acting by and for the people through their elected representatives. If the Fed can demand AIG’s stock in return for an $85 billion loan to the mega-insurer, we can demand the Fed’s stock in return for the trillion-or-so dollars we’ll be advancing to bail out the private banking system from its follies.

If the Fed were actually a federal agency, the government could issue U.S. legal tender directly, avoiding an unnecessary interest-bearing debt to private middlemen who create the money out of thin air themselves. Among other benefits to the taxpayers. a truly “federal” Federal Reserve could lend the full faith and credit of the United States to state and local governments interest-free, cutting the cost of infrastructure in half, restoring the thriving local economies of earlier decades.

Ellen Brown, J.D., developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include the bestselling Nature’s Pharmacy, co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker, and Forbidden Medicine. Her websites are www.webofdebt.com  and www.ellenbrown.com .

This Is What 1,230 Days (And Counting) Of Explicit Market Support By The Federal...

The day Lehman failed saw the launch of the most epic central bank intervention in history with the Fed guaranteeing and funding trillions worth of suddenly underwater capital. However, what Bernanke realized quickly, is that the "emergency, temporary...

Germany’s Bundesbank Repatriating Gold from the New York Federal Reserve

This move by the Bundesbank may trigger a chain reaction, prompting other countries to start repatriating the gold stored in London, New York or Paris.

The Federal Reserve Would Be Shut Down If It Was Audited

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is so out of whack that the central bank would be shut down if subjected to a conventional audit,...

The Shrinking Influence of the US Federal Reserve

Humiliation for Mr. Dollar: Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Bank, faces a general investigation by the International Monetary Fund....

Federal Reserve could be given more power

America's Treasury Department will tomorrow put forward plans for a revamp of US financial regulation in an attempt to curb the lending excesses that...

Trump administration takes steps to open up federal waters for offshore drilling

Published time: 3 Jul, 2017 18:50 In a move that overturns the Obama administration’s ban on...

Border Patrol in civil contempt of federal court for destroying videos

A federal judge in Arizona has found that the Border Patrol in Arizona violated court orders by not properly preserving video files relating to...

Federal judge grants emergency stay of Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’

A Brooklyn judge issued an emergency stay, temporarily freezing the expulsion of travelers under the newly-signed...

Clinton calls for ‘National Service Reserve’ for millennials

Hillary Clinton wants to enlist young Americans into a national service program, where they would assist...

California and EPA Poised to Expand Pollution of Potential Drinking Water Reserves

California is one of at least 23 states where so-called aquifer exemptions -- exceptions to federal environmental law that allow mining or...

Federal judge strikes down WI election laws as benefiting GOP

A federal judge found parts of Wisconsin’s elections laws to be unconstitutional, ruling they unfairly benefited...

US oil reserves top Russia, Saudi Arabia – study

Recoverable oil reserves in the United States now tops that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia,...

Non-military federal agencies have more firearm authority than entire US Marine Corps ‒ report

The militarization of local law enforcement in America has long been documented, but a new report...

Federal Trial Begins Over Voting Rights in Ferguson, Missouri

ST. LOUIS - A federal trial gets underway today over voting rights and race discrimination in Ferguson, Missouri. The American Civil Liberties Union is...

What Is Reserve Currency Status?

Three weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that the Chinese renminbi (aka yuan) would join a group of other currencies to comprise...

Federal Lawsuit Filed To Stop Execution Censorship

Lawsuit Seeks Uncensored Access to Executions, Citing First Amendment Press Freedom OKLAHOMA CITY - The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and two...

ACLU Finds Abuse, Inhumane Conditions, at Little-Known Prisons for Immigrants Run by Private Companies...

Report Shows Federal Bureau of Prisons Incentivizes Mistreatment, Shields Immigrant Prisons from Scrutiny Today the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas released...

Fed Reserve Laundering Purchases Through Belgium To Hide US Downfall – Dr. Paul Craig...

By Susan Duclos




The second the news broke that Belgium purchased $141 billion in Treasury bonds within a three month period in 2014, almost everyone understood who was really behind it and why, because Belgium simply does not have the resources to make a purchase of that volume.

The federal reserve is behind Belgium's extraordinary purchase, in order to disguise the financial downfall after Russia dumped a fifth of it's treasury holdings.

Via FT:

Russia has offloaded a fifth of its holdings of US Treasury debt in March at a time of heightened speculation that its assets would be frozen as part of sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
It was the largest seller during the month while Belgium extended its big buying streak, according to US Treasury International Capital data released on Thursday.

A decline of $25.8bn in Russia’s Treasury holdings to $100.4bn involved the selling of short-term bills.

Russia isn't the only one that has been dumping US Treasury bonds. Back in December China sold the second largest amount of US Treasury bonds, and once again, who jumped in?

Belgium!

More from Greg Hunter and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who holds a PhD in economics, explains, via USAWatchDog:


We know that Belgium didn’t have any money to buy $141 billion worth of bonds over a three month period. That sum comes to 29% of the Belgium GDP. So, they don’t have a surplus in their budget that is 29% of their GDP, and they don’t have trade or current account surplus in that amount. In fact, everything is in the red. Their budget deficit is in the red, and their trade and current accounts are in the red. So, Belgium didn’t have the money, and yet, they managed to pick up $141.2 billion in U.S. Treasuries over a three month period. So, where did they get the money?

[...]

We know their central bank couldn’t have printed euros to buy the bonds with because the Belgium central bank can’t print euros. Belgium is part of the euro system and has lost the ability to create its own money. So, the only source for that kind of money would have been the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve thought it needed to hide the fact it was buying $141 billion in bonds over a three month period when it was officially reducing or tapering the quantitative easing down to $65 billion. It didn’t want to have to admit it was really purchasing $112 billion a month, almost double the announced purchases.”

Dr. Roberts also says, “I think also the Fed did not want it to get out that some large country is unloading Treasuries. Somebody dropped over $100 billion in Treasuries in one week. If that was a large holder and that became known, it could panic smaller holders and you could see a stampede, and the Fed could lose control of interest rates. So, I think the Fed thought the best thing to do is launder its purchase through a different country; and, thereby, disguise what is actually happening.”


The fact is the US Dollar and economy is being propped up simply by being the reserve currency and countries are tired of the US using that to print money out of thin air with nothing to back it up. The economy is not growing, as is also explained in the video below, but to maintain the illusion, the administration, via the Federal Reserve, is actually laundering purchases through other countries in order to hide the impending downfall.

The entire interview below is a must-see.











ACLU Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Ohio’s Latest Attempts to Slash Early Voting Opportunities

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down a new state law and a directive...

ACLU Argues Against Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Before Federal Appeals Court

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case about whether police need a warrant...

Gov Malloy’s “Best Friend” Helped Preserve Sandy Hook Crime Scene

By James F. Tracy, with research provided by MHB Reader and Commenter Beth D.

On the day following the most tragic mass murder events in US history and amidst a cascade of local, state and federal law enforcement officials, Al Barbarotta busied himself inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. Mr. Barbarotta directed the transfer of furniture to a renovated school in the nearby town of Monroe where students would eventually resume classes.

The owner of AFB Construction Management and Conveo Energy, Barbarotta is no stranger to such work. AFB is a longtime recipient of lucrative municipal contracts throughout Connecticut, looking after 11 million square feet of public school facilities in addition to parks and beaches.[1]

After reportedly receiving a request from the Connecticut Commissioner of Education’s office within one day of the massacre, Barbarotta sprang into action. “Instantly, on Saturday,” December 15th, “we started bringing in cleaning crews and moving crews to get the furniture out,” he told the New Haven Register.

I’ve seen things I don’t even really want to talk about,” the contractor declared. “There’s markings on the floor.[sic] There’s blood everywhere. You can see the broken windows in the classroom in the whole area where the shooting took place.[2]

Despite the entire lack of law enforcement or medical credentials, Barbarotta nevertheless gained access to the scene where, just hours earlier, autopsies were performed following the most publicized school shooting in the nation’s history—one that is repeatedly pointed to as the rationale for ratcheting up school safety measures and mental health protocols nationwide.

Yet there was really no need for the Education Commissioner’s office to contact Barbarotta. After all, he’s someone who, according to the Connecticut Post, “Gov. Malloy has on speed dial.”

Connecticut residents have long understood that Al Barbarotta is to Dannel Malloy what Bebe Rebozo was to Richard Nixon. Indeed, Barbarotta is quick to point out that he is the governor’s “best friend,” regularly calling Malloy, “Danny.” And, as the Post observes, “the relationship between the two men extends far beyond the realm of friendship to the world of politics, power–and money.”

Barbarotta’s AFB Management has raked in $18.5 million for subcontracted work from Stamford, where Malloy was mayor from 1995 to 2009. AFB won its first city contract in 1999. Over the past few years, “AFB has enjoyed unfettered dominance of major city contracts,” the Stamford Advocate reports. AFB most recently sent Stamford taxpayers a $424,000 bill after “replac[ing] all the fluorescent light fixtures with LED bulbs” in one of its schools.”[3]

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 62-year-old Barbarotta was “a major bundler of campaign cash for Malloy, whose close ties to the governor have previously raised questions of impropriety and cronyism,” according to the Connecticut Post.[4]

In 2003, Malloy was the focus of an 18 month investigation by the Connecticut State Attorney to determine whether the mayor was awarding contracts to those he personally employed for home renovations. AFB figured centrally in the probe, yet Malloy was eventually exonerated.[5]

At Sandy Hook Barbarotta explains that his crews built plywood partitions isolating the crime scene. This must have involved a great deal of plywood, because according to the official story the crime scene extended to the parking lot of the school. As the reader may recall, automobiles like those of teacher Lauren Rousseau were “riddled with bullets,” supposedly caused by one of marksman Adam Lanza’s wayward weapons.[6]

On top of the Obama administration funneling millions to Connecticut officials for their participation in the Sandy Hook massacre event, and Malloy’s office similarly siphoning tens of millions to Newtown pen pushers in an effort to wholly eliminate the crime scene,[7] we now find that a longtime confidante and supporter of Governor Malloy was directly involved in preserving the immediate scene while simultaneously mourning to the press.

It has become almost amusing to observe how yet another “twist” is added to the official narrative—one now including an awkwardly compiled official investigation that overall fails to adequately address any of the unanswered questions brought up in the wake of the initial tragedy.

Notes

 [1] Kate King, Neil Vigdor, and Ken Dixon, “The Man Gov. Malloy Has on Speed Dial,” Connecticut Post, August 24, 2013.

[2] Frank Otto and Adam Poulisse, “Contractor Moving Furniture From Sandy Hook Elementary School: ‘I’ve Seen Things I Don’t Really Want to Talk About,” New Haven Register, December 18, 2012. The Newtown Bee reports that Barbarotta’s Conveo Energy was commissioned by the Malloy administration in December 2012 to relocate school equipment from Sandy Hook Elementary School “free of charge.” “State Agency: Logo Misused in Newtown School Move,” Associated Press / Newtown Bee, September 16, 2013.

[3] Kate King, “Board of Ed Under Fire Over Energy Management Services,” Stamford Advocate, January 11, 2014.

[4] “The Man Gov. Malloy Has on Speed Dial.”

[5] Ibid.

[6] Henrick Karolizyn and Larry McShane, “Mother of Substitute Teacher, Lauren Rousseau, Killed in Newtown Massacre Stunned: ‘We survive war, she dies teaching!’’ New York Daily News, December 18, 2012.

[7] “Sandy Hook School Slated for Demolition,” memoryholeblog.com, October 7, 2013; “Obama DOJ in $2.5 Million Sandy Hook Payout,” memoryholeblog.com, September 3, 2013; “Obama DOE in $3.2 Million Sandy Hook Payout,” memoryholeblog.com, January 13, 2014.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Did a Federal Court Just Kill the Open Internet?

The court said that the Federal...

Did a Federal Court Just Kill the Open Internet?

The court said that the Federal...

Federal Court Delivers Blow to “Net Neutrality”

The court said that the Federal...

Federal Court Sides With Telecom, Deals Blow to Open Internet

Developing... Image: Free Press In a decision that may "serve as a sorry memorial to the corporate abrogation of free speech," a U.S....

1.3 Million Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits; 2 Million More May Follow

Federal unemployment benefits that continue for 26 weeks after a person uses up the 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits ended Saturday, so now...

Washington, DC workers speak out on federal budget cuts

Barack Obama's Christmas gift to workers ...

Federal Judge Rules NSA Phone Data Collection Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled this week that the National Security Agency's (NSA) dragnet collection of information on all phone calls likely violates the Constitution. In...

New Cato Paper Proposes Fixes for Loss of Federalism

As the Obama administration accelerates the federal government's accumulation of all powers — those that constitutionally belong to it and those which should rightly...

Has the US Dollar Lost its Credibility? Legitimate Concerns for the World’s “Reserve”...

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - The confidence in the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency since the US government shutdown has continued its rapid decline.  On October 14th, started the third week of a US government shutdown reported that the US dollar fell against the Euro.  A deal involving a spending bill would most likely happen between both Democrats and Republicans by the October 17th deadline.  But the damage was already done to the credibility of US dollar in the long-term.  The world has no confidence in Washington.  It is fair to say that they are holding the global economy hostage because of their political brinkmanship.

According to Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist recently warned that there could be major financial disaster throughout the world if the United States did not increase their “Debt Ceiling” to avoid a default on its financial obligations as it is in the midst of running out of money.  Raising the debt ceiling by October 17 only means they can continue to borrow money to fund its operations and pay interest on government securities held by China, Japan and other investors.  Blanchard stated “Failure to lift the debt ceiling would, however, be a major event. Prolonged failure would lead to an extreme fiscal consolidation and almost surely derail the U.S. recovery. But the effect of any failure to repay the debt would be felt right away, leading to potential major disruptions in financial markets, both in the United States and abroad.”  The United States government continues to borrow money to pay its debts is already at $16.7 Trillion.  Raising the debt ceiling can go over the $17 Trillion mark.  How long can this go on for?  The US government will continue to borrow money at the expense of many nations who hold US Treasuries that are worthless due to the Federal Reserves endless money printing.

There should be a concern for international investors that include governments, big and small businesses and individuals who own U.S. treasuries.  The Federal Reserve Bank’s endless Quantitative Easing (QE) continues to devalue the US Dollar as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke promised to continue buying $85 billion a month worth of US treasuries and mortgages that will lead to high inflation.  It’s an economic policy that is bound for failure.

China, the largest creditor to the US government has been purchasing assets in Africa Asia, Europe and Latin America to diversify out of the US dollar due to the Federal Reserve’s reckless monetary policy.  The International Business Times, an online news publication based in New York City published an article last month called ‘China Steps Up Farmland, Oil and Mining Assets Acquisitions Abroad’ about how countries in Africa benefit with Chinese investments in infrastructure and from much needed capital:

In 2013, Chinese companies have acquired minority mining-sector stakes in 16 deals totaling $696m outside China, according to Dealogic. The majority of the deals are located in Australia and the rest in Indonesia, Canada and the UK.

Africa is often regarded as the most attractive destination for Chinese outbound mining acquisitions. Chinese firms are benefiting from their reserves of cash unavailable to western competitors to scoop up assets at steep discounts.

“China needs access to natural resources while African countries need a lot of capital and infrastructure support. Therefore, it is very easy for Chinese businesses to gain access to the abundant natural resources in African countries by providing them with capital and infrastructure aid,” a respondent told accountants Deloitte during a 2010 survey.

The report also said that China has been acquiring oil and gas assets worth over $100 billion dollars.  China needs oil and gas for its manufacturing sectors.

Chinese companies have completed 83 overseas oil and gas purchases worth $100.7bn in the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Cnooc’s $15.1bn acquisition of Canada-based Nexen early in 2013 was China’s largest overseas acquisition.

Over the last five years, Sinopec and CNOOC, the country’s second and third-biggest oil and gas producers, spent $41bn and $26bn, respectively, on overseas assets.

China National Petroleum Corp has invested more than $9bn to purchase overseas assets in 2013, including the $4.2bn purchase of a stake in Mozambique’s Rovuma fields in July. The company is planning to double its overseas output by 2015.

PetroChina, China’s biggest oil and gas producer, is looking to invest $60bn on overseas acquisitions over the period to 2020. By that time, the company intends to raise its production abroad to more than 50% of its total.

How long before countries that hold a large amount of US treasuries such as China and Russia.  Can they start dumping US treasuries in the near future?  It won’t likely happen this year but within the next 2 years, it is possible.  China has been making crucial decisions to solve their economic problems concerning their $1.2 trillion in US treasuries they hold.  China has been accumulating multiple assets by investing in numerous regions in the world.  For example, China has made arrangements to swap Yuan’s for other currencies with Japan and Russia for their bilateral trade agreements.  China also has arraignments with Australia, Iceland, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, India and South Africa who will use their own currencies for trade.  China has built relationships with many countries in Africa for its much needed resources for its economy.  China has even invested in numerous infrastructure projects that spur economic opportunities for the African people that create jobs for both short and long-term projects.  It is a strategic move for China by building business relationships with African governments that seek to improve economic conditions for its own people.  China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) acquired the Canadian energy giant Nexen for $15 billion.  China also invested in oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia and mineral mines in Australia and Africa.  China also signed deals worth up to $5 billion for a 600-mile long railway to transport goods with the Kenyan government who recently suffered from a terrorist attack in Nairobi.  An online website dedicated to procurements and supply chain professionals worldwide called www.supplymanagement.com stated that “the line will stretch from the border town of Malaba in the west to the busy port of Mombasa, carrying Kenyan goods as well as freight from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”  Chinese investors have been snapping up vineyards in Bordeaux, France. A Chinese meat producer recently purchased one of the world’s largest pork producers Smithfield for $4.7 billion to meet the Chinese public’s demand for pork.  With $1.2 trillion in reserves, China would only be irresponsible if it did not to purchase hard assets for its future economic growth.  The world is closely paying attention to Washington’s political charade at the expense of its own public and the world’s investors.  With uncertainty breeds distrust.  With distrust of a government’s inability to assure investors that their purchases of US treasuries are fundamentally secure, then the confidence the world once had in the US dollar is lost.  Reuters just reported that the Japanese Yen is a safe-haven (at least in the short-term) until the US Congress come to an agreement before the October 17th deadline.  “The U.S. dollar fell broadly early on Monday while the yen gained across the board as investors sold the U.S. currency in favour of the safe-haven yen as a deal to avoid a government default remained elusive ahead of a crucial deadline this week.”   China continues to buy gold as the US dollar continues its decline.  A Xinhua editorial in 2011 stated that “Should Washington continue turning a blind eye to its runaway debt addiction, its already tarnished credibility will lose more luster, which might eventually detonate the debt bomb and jeopardize the well-being of hundreds of millions of families within and beyond the U.S. borders.”

The dollar has lost 95% of its value since the Federal Reserve Bank was established in 1913 to control the money supply (See chart below).

Governments around the world are trying to ditch the dollar as an instrument for trade.  However, the US and its Western allies has declared wars and instigated coup d’états in the past against governments who were willing to use other forms of money including gold for trade.  One example was Iraq under Saddam Hussein (Once a US Patsy) tried to replace the petrodollar with the Euro.  Time magazine published an article in 2000 that openly admitted that Iraq’s president wanted to use the Euro instead of the dollar.  It was one of the main reasons that Bush administration invaded Iraq besides oil resources.  The article titled ‘Foreign Exchange: Saddam Turns His Back on Greenbacks’:

Europe’s dream of promoting the euro as a competitor to the U.S. dollar may get a boost from SADDAM HUSSEIN. Iraq says that from now on, it wants payments for its oil in euros, despite the fact that the battered European currency unit, which used to be worth quite a bit more than $1, has dropped to about 82[cents]. Iraq says it will no longer accept dollars for oil because it does not want to deal “in the currency of the enemy.

The assassination of Muammar Gaddafi is another example.  Gaddafi’s idea was to create a single African currency known as the “Gold Dinar” that would have undermined the US Dollar in Africa for all oil traded in petrodollars. It was a proposal that made Washington and its Western partners nervous.  It was also a concern that Gaddafi also called for the African Investment Bank that would have been an independent institution that would have given interest-free loans to African nations, eliminating the role of International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Gerald Pereira, an executive board member of the former Tripoli-based World Mathaba once said that “Gaddafi’s creation of the African Investment Bank in Sirte (Libya) and the African Monetary Fund to be based in Cameroon will supplant the IMF and undermine Western economic hegemony in Africa.”  The United States can no longer sustain their dollar policy, whether by force or economic coercion.  The US Dollar has lost its credibility due to the government’s actions.  Since World War II, the US government has increased its military spending over the years along with the Fed’s unlimited money printing with forever low-interest rates creating cheap money.  With the loss of its manufacturing base that produces products for export is a recipe for disaster. With a U.S. government shutdown added to the mix, projects a negative image on the world stage.  The Qatar based QNB Group (Qatar National Bank) issued a press release this past Sunday on what a default by the US government would mean for the American economy and the world.  It stated the following:

A default on US government debt would be catastrophic for the US and world economy. Ratings agencies would automatically need to classify all US government debt in default. This would force institutional investors around the world, including central banks, to sell their holdings of US government bonds, as they have statutory requirements to hold only investment- grade assets. The US government would then no longer be able to rollover a large portion of its debt, let alone issue new ones. For the US economy, the lack of debt instruments to finance government spending would mean reneging on its other obligations, including Social Security, medical payments, military deployments and food stamps. A large portion of the US economy would therefore grind to a halt. For the world economy, it would imply a loss of the reserve currency that anchors the global financial system, with severe instability in exchange and bond markets. This would inevitably result in a sharp global recession.

In light of these catastrophic consequences, QNB Group expects that Congress will pass a new budget and increase the debt ceiling in the coming days. Nevertheless, the political deadlock over the last couple of weeks has created an atmosphere of uncertainty that could affect confidence, investment and growth in the US. More importantly, the credibility of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency could be affected, as global investors seek to mitigate the risk of a future political deadlock. Overall, without political collective commitment, it is unlikely that the US dollar will continue to remain the world’s reserve currency.

The US government’s charade over the Republicans and Democrats failure to enact appropriations or a government spending bill and funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is seen as anything but dysfunctional.  The republicans want Obamacare defunded.  The irony is that Obamacare is similar to Romneycare which had the same mandate to force you to buy health insurance.  It was admitted by Jonathan Gruber, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who advised both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on how to create their healthcare plans was upset to learn that Mitt Romney lied about how his plan was different than Obama’s.  He was interviewed by an online news website called Capital New York and said “The problem is there is no way to say that,” Gruber said “because they’re the same f***ing bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying. The only big difference is he didn’t have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes.”  We are facing global economic crises by Washington’s political theater.  It will allow countries to lose confidence in the US Dollar in the long-term.  It is a dangerous economic formula that can lead to a global economic depression.

China, Russia, Iran, Brazil and many others are diversifying out of the US Dollar monopoly.  There will be a global sell-off of US Treasuries if these political shenanigans continue in any future political crises between both Democrats and Republicans.  Confidence is waning as investors seek a way out.  It will be difficult period in time.  The world must seek a better economic system that is not reliant on the US Dollar.  A gold-backed currency or a basket of various currencies backed by either gold or silver would be a good start.  Right now the world is waiting to see what comes out of Washington.  No matter what happens, confidence in the US Dollar is at an all-time low regardless if the spending bill passes and they raise the debt ceiling.  The Question is how will they convince the world to re-invest in the US Dollar once again?

Sarah Palin’s Talk About Federal Debt Slavery Drives Liberals Crazy

Kurt NimmoInfowars.comNovember 11, 2013 Sarah Palin makes sense and liberal Democrats hate it. Palin compares the national debt to slavery. “Our free stuff today is being...

Has the US Dollar Lost its Credibility? Legitimate Concerns for the World’s “Reserve” Currency

The confidence in the US dollar as the world's reserve currency since the US government shutdown has continued its rapid decline. On October...

The Dollar Crisis? Nine Mind-Blowing Facts About Money, Debt Default and Reserve Currencies

China Invented Every Form of Money China: Seized gold six centuries before Franklin Roosevelt, in order to prop up its fiat currency and prevent runaway inflation Debt...

Federal Grants Enable Increased Surveillance by Local Gov’t

Not content to let the feds have all the fun, local governments are increasing their surveillance of citizens. An article published in the Sunday New...

China Calls For New Reserve Currency, And New World Order

We assume it is a coincidence that on the day in which we demonstrate China's relentless appetite for gold, driven by what we and...

The Shutdown of the U.S. Government and “Debt Default”: A Dress Rehearsal for the...

The “shutdown” of the US government and the financial climax associated with a deadline date, leading to a possible “debt default” of the federal...

More Details on Ocean Fracking Revealed as Environmentalists Challenge Federal Regulators

Federal regulators approved at least four hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast this year by signing...

Extreme Hypocrisy! Obama Orders Federal Workers To “Make Life As Difficult For People As...

Why would the president of the United States try to purposely hurt the American people? Well, in 2013 this is done in order to...

Is the Federal Government a Drug-Induced Hallucination?

You laugh, but that could be a side-effect. Consider: The Capitol Police just murdered an unarmed mother fleeing her car on foot, declared her child...

Forces Bankruptcy and Privatization of the City of Detroit: Law Suit in Federal Court

Contradicting what the corporate media editorial boards have promoted in chorus with the multi-millionaire Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr,...

Poll: Most Americans Support Federal Shutdown to Defund ObamaCare

Despite attack ads by an Obama front group blasting Republican lawmakers for refusing to fund ObamaCare in the upcoming budget, a new poll released...

Federal Court Rules That the Bitcoin Is Money

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Trendon Shavers, the founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) with running a Ponzi scheme, Shavers challenged...

FEMA Demanding 24 Hour Delivery of Emergency Food Reserves

Feds preparing for calamity? Paul Joseph WatsonInfowars.comAugust 6, 2013 The Federal Emergency Management Agency...

Report: Disaster Looms: FEMA Scrambles To Stockpile Food Reserves

In recent years the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been regionalizing disaster supplies and rapidly procuring hundreds of millions of ready-to-eat meals, blankets, and...

Despite Federal Study, Fracing ("Fracking") Safety Still in Dispute

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finds that chemicals used in oil and gas drilling pose no threat to drinking water supplies, contrary to...

May the Federal Government Define Marriage?

In an article published on July 9, USA Today explained that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage...

Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Nullifying Federal Gun Grab

Governor Jay Nixon declared his independence from the Missouri state legislature on July 5 by vetoing a bill passed overwhelmingly by that body. With the...

Feds raid Liberty Reserve and indict founders on money laundering charges… is Bitcoin next?

Mike AdamsNatural NewsMay 29, 2013 If there’s one thing monopolists hate, it’s competition. That’s probably why...

Mammoth find: Preserved Ice Age giant found with flowing blood in Siberia

Russian scientists discovered a fully-grown female mammoth with blood and well-preserved muscle tissue trapped in ice in Siberia. The findings come amid debates on...

100 Years Of U.S. Federal Income Tax

On February 3rd, 1913, one of the two most historic events in US history took place: the ratification of the 16th amendment, which established Congress' right to impose a Federal income tax on Americans, and overturned Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which explicitly prohibited a general income tax. The amendment was brief and to the point, and read as follows: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." And with that, the US Federal Income Tax was born and has been with us for precisely 100 years.

The amendment itself:

The result: the first ever iteration of what would henceforth become the most hated form in US history.

From OurDocuments.gov

Passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913, the 16th amendment established Congress's right to impose a Federal income tax.

Far-reaching in its social as well as its economic impact, the income tax amendment became part of the Constitution by a curious series of events culminating in a bit of political maneuvering that went awry.

The financial requirements of the Civil War prompted the first American income tax in 1861. At first, Congress placed a flat 3-percent tax on all incomes over $800 and later modified this principle to include a graduated tax. Congress repealed the income tax in 1872, but the concept did not disappear.

After the Civil War, the growing industrial and financial markets of the eastern United States generally prospered. But the farmers of the south and west suffered from low prices for their farm products, while they were forced to pay high prices for manufactured goods. Throughout the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s, farmers formed such political organizations as the Grange, the Greenback Party, the National Farmers’ Alliance, and the People’s (Populist) Party. All of these groups advocated many reforms (see the Interstate Commerce Act) considered radical for the times, including a graduated income tax.

In 1894, as part of a high tariff bill, Congress enacted a 2-percent tax on income over $4,000. The tax was almost immediately struck down by a five-to-four decision of the Supreme Court, even though the Court had upheld the constitutionality of the Civil War tax as recently as 1881. Although farm organizations denounced the Court’s decision as a prime example of the alliance of government and business against the farmer, a general return of prosperity around the turn of the century softened the demand for reform. Democratic Party Platforms under the leadership of three-time Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, however, consistently included an income tax plank, and the progressive wing of the Republican Party also espoused the concept.

In 1909 progressives in Congress again attached a provision for an income tax to a tariff bill. Conservatives, hoping to kill the idea for good, proposed a constitutional amendment enacting such a tax; they believed an amendment would never receive ratification by three-fourths of the states. Much to their surprise, the amendment was ratified by one state legislature after another, and on February 25, 1913, with the certification by Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, the 16th amendment took effect. Yet in 1913, due to generous exemptions and deductions, less than 1 percent of the population paid income taxes at the rate of only 1 percent of net income.

This document settled the constitutional question of how to tax income and, by so doing, effected dramatic changes in the American way of life.

As for the other historic event of US history, ironically it, too, took place in 1913, on December 23: this was the day when the Federal Reserve was founded.

The charts below summarize what has happened next:

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

Geopolitics and the World’s Gold Holdings. US has Largest Gold Reserves, China is World’s...

Geopolitics and the World's Gold Holdings

Both the US dollar and the Euro currency systems are in crisis. During a period of waning currencies, where the value of money (in paper and/or electronic form) is tumbling, the strategic control over gold reserves and gold production is of paramount importance.

The issue is not only who controls the stock of central bank gold reserves, but who, namely which countries, control the production of mine gold.

While the US has the largest official gold reserves, China has become the World’s largest producer of mine gold.

The main players with regard to mine gold are China, Australia, Russia, South Africa, the US and Canada.

Anglo-American corporate interests exert a dominant control over mine gold. The World’s largest gold mining companies are Barrick Gold (Canada), GoldCorp Inc. (Canada), Newmont Mining, (USA).

Below are the official country level central bank holdings of gold (scroll down) as well as estimates of mine production of gold by major gold producing countries.

The figures on gold holdings pertain to central bank holdings. They do not include private holdings of gold by individuals and financial institutions.

The official central bank figures cannot be verified, nor can the total amount of gold derivatives transacted in financial markets.  There is no reliable data on private gold holdings, which have developed over several centuries.

With regard to official US gold holdings at Fort Knox, there has been no independent audit of official holdings. According to Rep. Ron Paul: “Our Federal Reserve admits to nothing, and they should prove all the gold is there. There is a reason to be suspicious, and even if you are not suspicious, why wouldn’t you have an audit?” (Ron Paul calls for audit of US Gold Reserves, quoted in The New American, August 30, 2010).

The last and only time that an audit was performed on the gold held in Fort Knox was issued within hours of President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration on January 20, 1953.” (New American, op.cit. emphasis added)

Physical gold holdings constitute a crucial geopolitical variable in the confrontation between competing economic powers. They are also central to an understanding of the debt crisis.

Both Russia and China have significantly increased their gold holdings in recent years. Large amounts of US dollar denominated debt instruments have been converted into gold.

The official figures for China are based on released data by the People’s Bank of China. There is reason to believe that only part of the official purchases are made public, to the extent that the People’s Bank of China reserves may be much higher those recorded in official statistics. Conversely, there is reason to believe that US holdings at Fort Knox may be significantly lower than what is conveyed in official figures.

“China is on a gold buying spree these days. The Chinese central bank-the People’s Bank of China-is taking a series of steps to increase its gold reserves to ensure that the precious yellow metal replaces forex reserves held in the US dollar. In the last few months, there have been talks of China following India in buying gold reserves from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). So when IMF announced that it would be selling its remaining 191 tonnes of gold in the open market, several bullion analysts predicted that China would somehow jump into the fray and buy IMF gold. Both China and India are competing in the global bullion markets to be the largest consumers and importers of gold.” (See ibtimes.com).

Both China and Russia are major producers of gold. Of geopolitical significance, China is the World’s largest producer of physical gold.

2009 Mine Production

According to 2009 figures, China is the World’s largest gold producer; 313.98 metric tons,
representing 11.8 percent of global gold production.

1. China: 313.98 mt
2. Australia: 227.00 mt
3. United States: 216.00 mt
4. South Africa: 204.92 mt
5. Russia: 205.00 mt
6. Peru: 180mt (estimate)
7. Indonesia: 90.00 mt
8. Canada: 95.00 mt (estimate)
9. Ghana 90.20 mt
10. Uzbekistan 80mt (estimate)
Other: 854mt
TOTAL: 2572mt
http://www.goldsheetlinks.com/production.htm

The Gold Standard – World Gold Holdings

SOURCE:

www.thegoldstandardnow.org
View PDF File


ANNEX

OFFICIAL GOLD HOLDINGS BY COUNTRY IN METRIC TONS (2011)

Country
Tonnes

1.
United States
8,133.5

2.
Germany
3,401.8

3.
IMF
2,827.2

4.
Italy
2,451.8

5.
France
2,435.4

6.
China
1,054.1

7.
Switzerland
1,040.1

8.
Russia
784.1

9.
Japan
765.2

10.
Netherlands
612.5

11.
India
557.7

12.
ECB
501.4

* A tonne, also referred to as a metric ton, has a unit of mass equal to 1,000 kg

Statistics acquired from: “World Official Gold Holdings.” World Gold Council.
World Gold Council, Jan 2011. Web. 1 Feb 2011.


original

The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century

Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Editors

$16.00

Save 38%


The Second Amendment Was Really Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Have you ever asked yourself why, whenever we have these battles over reasonable gun safety laws, the gun nuts huddle around the Second Amendment as if it were the Holy Grail? Say the word "militia" today and everyone thinks about those folks up in I...

Guest Post: Money Velocity Free-Fall And Federal Deficit Spending

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The velocity of money is in free-fall, and borrowing, squandering and printing trillions of dollars to prop up a diminishing-return Status Quo won't reverse that historic collapse.

Courtesy of Chartist Friend from Pittsburgh, here are three charts overlaying the velocity of money and the Federal surplus/deficit. The charts display the three common measures of money: M1, M2 and MZM. From the St. Louis Federal Reserve site:

M1 includes funds that are readily accessible for spending. M1 consists of: (1) currency outside the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Banks, and the vaults of depository institutions; (2) traveler's checks of nonbank issuers; (3) demand deposits; and (4) other checkable deposits (OCDs). 

M2 includes a broader set of financial assets held principally by households. M2 consists of M1 plus: (1) savings deposits (which include money market deposit accounts, or MMDAs); (2) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000); and (3) balances in retail money market mutual funds (MMMFs). 

Money Zero Maturity (MZM) is M2 less small-denomination time deposits plus institutional money funds.

The correlation of deficit spending and money velocity is especially striking in the chart of M2 velocity.
 

Here is MZM velocity:
 

And M1 velocity:
 

Since correlation implies causation, ideologically unbiased observers will wonder: does declining money velocity lead to more deficit spending, or does deficit spending depress money velocity?
 

Alternatively, both declining money velocity and soaring deficits reflect a contracting, post-credit-bubble economy. It is interesting to compare when the various measures of money velocity bottomed and topped out:
 

-- M1 velocity rose straight through the inflationary 1970s (no surprise there), chopped around the expansionary 1980s and then climbed along with the Bull market in stocks from 1994 to a peak in 2007, matching the peak in stocks and housing almost perfectly.
 

-- M2 velocity first peaked during the height of inflation in 1981 (when interest rates also peaked), bottomed in 1987 and then tracked the stock market and economy higher, reaching a much higher peak in 1997, much earlier than M1 velocity. M2 fell substantially to a low in 2002 and then rebounded modestly to a lower peak in 2007, after which it collapsed.
 

-- MZM velocity topped out in the inflationary surge of the early 1980s, like M2, but unlike the other measures, it did not ascend to new heights in the 1990s or 2000s; rather, it has fallen steadily for 30 years since its 1982 top.
 

The most striking feature of these charts is the complete collapse of money velocity. MZM and M2 have collapsed to historic lows, while M1 has fallen back to 1982 levels.
 

In this context, we can view unprecedented Federal deficit spending as a misguided attempt to compensate for the implosion of money velocity. I say "attempt" because the Treasury borrowing and blowing $6 trillion over the past five years and the Federal Reserve printing $2 trillion, backstopping the parasitic financial cartel with $16 trillion and buying over $1 trillion each of mortgage securities and Treasury bonds has only kept the economy stumbling along at essentially zero growth while real wages have declined by 7% to 9%.
 

This stupendous creation of money and unprecedented fiscal stimulus has had zero effect on money velocity. This conclusively shows that fiscal and monetary stimulus are not fixing what's broken with money velocity.
 

Please see these entries for more on why this is so:
 

The Neoliberal Financial Skim (January 14, 2013)

Keynesian stimulus policies (deficit spending and low-interest easy money) create speculative credit bubbles. As the above charts illustrate, post-bubble economies do not respond to additional stimulus because the economy is burdened by impaired debt and phantom collateral.
 

In sum, the U.S. economy is a neofeudal debt-serf wasteland with few opportunities for organic (non-Central Planning) expansion. As a result, the velocity of money is in free-fall, and borrowing, squandering and printing trillions of dollars to prop up a diminishing-return Status Quo won't reverse that historic collapse.
 

Put another way: we've run out of speculative credit bubbles to exploit.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (8 votes)

Frenzy in the Gold Market: The Repatriation of Germany’s Post World War II Gold...

The decision of Germany’s Bundesbank to repatriate part of its Gold Reserves held at the New York Federal Reserve bank has triggered a frenzy in the gold market.

German news sources suggest that a large portion of the German gold stored in the vaults of the New York Fed and the Banque de France is to be moved back to Germany.

According to analysts, this move could potentially “trigger a chain reaction, prompting other countries to start repatriating the gold stored in London, New York or Paris…. “

If gold repatriation becomes a worldwide trend, it will be obvious that both the US and UK have lost their credibility as gold custodians. For gold markets worldwide, this move may mark a switch from “financial gold” to “physical gold”, but the process is definitely in its early stages.

The decision to repatriate the German gold is a big victory for a part of the German press that first forced the Bundesbank to admit that 69% of its gold is stored outside Germany. Almost certainly both the German press and at least several German lawmakers will demand a verification procedure for the gold bars returned from New York, just to make sure that Germany doesn’t receive gold-plated tungsten instead of gold. It seems that German decision makers no longer trust their American partners. (Voice of Russia, January 15, 2013, emphasis added)

While the issue is actively debated in Germany, US financial reports have downplayed the significance of  this historic decision, approved by the German government last September.

Meanwhile, a  “Repatriate our Gold” campaign has been launched by several German economists, business executives and lawyers. The initiative does not apply solely to Germany. It calls upon countries to initiate the homeland repatriation of ALL gold holdings held in foreign central banks.

While national sovereignty and custody over Germany’s gold assets is part of the debate, several observers –including politicians– have begged the question: “can we trust the foreign central banks” (namely the US, Britain and France) which are holding Germany’s gold bars “in safe keeping”:

…Several German politicians have … voiced unease. Philipp Missfelder, a leading lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party, has asked the Bundesbank for the right to view the gold bars in Paris and London, but the central bank has denied the request, citing the lack of visitor rooms in those facilities, German daily Bild reported.

Given the growing political unease about the issue and the pressure from auditors, the central bank decided last month [September] to repatriate some 50 tons of gold in each of the three coming years from New York to its headquarters in Frankfurt for ‘‘thorough examinations’’ regarding weight and quality, the report revealed.

…Several passages of the auditors’ report were blackened out in the copy shared with lawmakers, citing the Bundesbank’s concerns that they could compromise secrets involving the central banks storing the gold.

The report said that the gold pile in London has fallen ‘‘below 500 tons’’ due to recent sales and repatriations, but it did not specify how much gold was held in the U.S. and in France. German media have widely reported that some 1,500 tons — almost half of the total reserves — are stored in New York.

( Associated Press, Oct 22, 2012, emphasis added )

A full and complete repatriation of gold assets, however,  is not envisaged:

“The Bundesbank plans to transfer 300 tonnes of gold from the Federal Reserve in New York and all of its gold stored at the Banque de France in Paris, 374 tonnes, to Frankfurt. beginning this year,

By 2020, it wants to hold half of the nearly 3,400 tonnes of gold valued at almost 138 billion euros – only the United States holds more – in Frankfurt, where it stores about a third of its reserves. The rest is kept at the Federal Reserve, the Banque de France and the Bank of England. (Reuters, January 16, 2012)

The German Federal Court of Auditors has called for an official inspection of German gold reserves stored at foreign central banks, “because they have never been fully checked“.

Are these German bullion reserves held at the Federal Reserve “separate” or are they part of the Federal Reserve’s fungible “big pot” of gold assets.

Does the New York Federal Reserve Bank have Fungible Gold Assets to the Degree Claimed”?  Could it reasonably meet a process of homeland repatriation of gold assets initiated by several countries simultaneously?

Why is German Gold held outside Germany?

“Why is our gold in Paris, London and New York” and not in Frankfurt ?

The official explanation –which borders on the absurd– is that West Germany at the outset of the Cold War decided to store its gold assets in London, Paris, and New York to “put them out of reach of the Soviet empire” which was allegedly intent upon looting West Germany’s gold treasures.

According to Reuters:

As the Cold War set in, Germany kept its gold reserves put, keeping them out of reach of the Soviet empire. But government officials have grown uneasy about the storage set-up and have called for the Bundesbank to inspect the bars.

The Bundesbank now wants to change the arrangement too, even though it has said it does not see a need to count the bars or check their gold content itself and considers written assurances from the other central banks as sufficient.

With the end of the Cold War it was no longer necessary to keep Germany’s gold reserves “as far to the west and as far from the Iron Curtain as possible”, Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele told reporters on Wednesday.

The Bundesbank gained more space in its vaults after the transition to the euro from the deutschmark. Reuters, January 16, 2013)

According to the Western media, in chorus, the threats of the “evil empire” in the course of the Cold War era had so to speak encouraged the “looking after” and “safe-keeping” of billions of dollars of German gold bullion in the secure central bank vaults of France, England and America. This was a “responsible” initiative undertaken by these three countries –”friends of West Germany”– with a view to assisting the Bundesbank located in Frankfurt am Main against an imminent attack by The Red Army.

But now fourteen years after the official end of the Cold War, the Bundesbank “plans to bring home some of its gold reserves stored in the United States’ and French central banks, bowing to government pressure to unwind a Cold War-era ploy that secured the national treasure.”

What was the objective of the US, in the wake of the World War II in pressuring countries to deposit their gold bullion in the custody of the US Federal Reserve?

Historically, the accumulation of gold bullion in the vaults of the US Federal Reserve (on behalf of foreign countries) has indelibly served to strengthen the global dollar system, both during the period of the (Bretton Woods) post-war “gold exchange standard” (1946-1971) as well as in its aftermath (1971-).

History: In the Wake of World War II

The gold bullion storage arrangement has nothing to do with the Soviet threat.

It has a lot to do with the history of World War II and its immediate aftermath.

The early postwar central banking arrangement was dictated by the Victors of World War II, namely America, France and Britain.

The military occupation governments of these three countries directly controlled the post-war monetary reforms implemented in West Germany starting in 1945.

West Germany had been split up into three zones, respectively under the jurisdiction of the US, Britain and France (see map below). From 1945 to 1947, The Reichmark continued to circulate with new paper money printed in the US.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

File:Map-Germany-1945.svg

Post-Nazi German occupation borders and territories. Areas in beige indicate territories east of the Oder-Neisse line that were attached to Poland and the USSR. The Saar Protectorate, on the lefthand side of the map, is also shown in beige.  Berlin is the multinational area shown within the red Soviet zone.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In 1947, the US and UK controlled occupation zones merged into an Anglo-American “BiZone”.  In 1948, under a so-called “First Law on currency Reform”, the occupation military government set up the Bank deutscher Länder (Bank of the German States) in liaison with  the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.  The currency reforms were implemented in parallel with the Marshall Plan, launched in June 1947.

The Bank deutscher Länder (BdL) was to manage the monetary system of the Länder  (equivalent to states in a federal structure) in the Bizone under the jurisdiction of the US-UK military government, leading to the establishment of the Deutsch Mark in June 1948, which replaced the Reichsmark.

Ludwig Erhard –who became Finance Minister under the FGR government of Conrad Adenauer and then German Chancellor (1963-1966)– played a central role in the process of monetary reform.  He started his political career as an economic consultant to the US military Government (USMG). In 1947, he was appointed chairman of the currency reform commission. From January 1947 to May 1949, the US  military governor of the US zone (USMG) who supervised the setting up the new currency arrangement was General Lucius D. Clay, nicknamed “Der Kaiser”.

The Deutsche Mark initiative was then extended to the occupation zone controlled by France in November 1948 (“TriZone” arrangement), with the inclusion and participation of the Banque de France.

While the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) (Bundesrepublik Deutschland), was created in May 1949, the Bundesbank only came into existence 8 years later, in 1957.

Germany’s gold reserves were under the jurisdiction of the Bank deutscher Laender (and subsequently of the Bundesbank). But the BdL was an initiative of the US-UK-France military occupation.

The important question is the following:

Did the procedures and agreements determined by the occupation military governments in 1947-48  envisage a framework whereby part of West Germany’s gold bullion was to be held in the victors’ central banks, namely the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the Banque de France?

Gold Reserves from the Third Reich

The issue of the gold reserves of the Third Reich is a subject matter in itself, beyond the scope of this article.

A couple of observations: As of 1945, large amounts of gold from the Third Reich were transferred into custody of the military governments. Part of this gold was used to finance war reparations:

In September 1946, the United States, Britain, and France established the Tripartite Commission for the Restitution of Monetary Gold (TGC). The commission has its roots in Part III of the Paris Agreement on Reparation, signed on January 14, 1946 concerning German war reparations. Under the 1946 Paris Agreement, the three Allies were charged with recovering monetary gold looted by Nazi Germany from banks in occupied Europe and placing it in a “gold pool.”

Claims against the gold pool and subsequent redistribution of the gold to claimant countries were to be adjudicated and executed by the three Allies. ” ( for further details see US State Department, Tripartie Gold Commission, February 24, 1997,

A Foreign Exchange Depositary (FED) had been established at the Reichbank in Frankfurt. Referred to as the Fort Knox of Germany, a  process of collection had been established `by the FED on behalf of the Allied Occupation Council.

Gold was collected by the FED, both in monetary and non-monetary form. By October 1947 –coinciding with the establishment of the Bank deutscher Laender–  the FED, had accumulated 260 million dollars of monetary gold (at the 1947 price of gold, this represented a colossal amount of bullion).

A large part of this gold was restituted to different claimant countries, organizations and individuals. In 1950, the remaining assets of the FED –which were minimal, according to the US State Department– were transferred to the Bank deutscher Laender. (William Z. Slany, US Efforts to Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II, US State Department, Washington, 1997, p. 150-59)

Does Bank Of England Hold €235 Million Of Irish Gold Reserves?

Ireland's finance minister, Michael Noonan, has been asked about the country's gold vaulted at the Bank of England, such as whether the gold is held in allocated form with a bar list available and whether the gold is leased out into international markets. Answers are as of yet not forthcoming.

USA to continue its wars as long as dollar remains reserve currency

Pravda | Pravda.Ru interviewed Paul Craig Roberts, an American economist, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and became...

Lives Have Been Destroyed by the Federal Government

Lew Rockwell -- - One of the hardest things to deal with in the current economic depression is the disgusting hypocrisy of the U.S....

Federal judge rules 2 Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional

A federal court on Wednesday struck down two provisions of the Patriot Act dealing with searches and intelligence gathering, saying they violate the Fourth...

Can Malaysia withstand the next financial crisis?

As developed economies of the world still continue their struggle to recover from the global financial crisis in 2008, the lack of confidence in global economic stability has placed greater demand on emerging markets to cushion themselves for the next crash. While woefully unsustainable debt levels deepen and weak regulatory oversight persist, the lack of tangible reforms creates an imperative for countries like Malaysia to stay ahead of the curve.

This was the theme of the Perdana Leadership Foundation’s sixth CEO Forum held in Kuala Lumpur last week, where more than thirty panelists analyzed the shaky state of the global economy and offered insights into Malaysia’s strengths and vulnerabilities, as well as the country’s susceptibility to external economic turbulence. In addition to market-related vulnerabilities, panelists also identified inter-religious anxieties between communities as factors that could put national unity and political stability at risk. 

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Lin See Yan, a trustee of the Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, identified how high fences built to withstand economic shocks and de-risk the financial system are seldom designed for all possibilities. He branded the European Union as the weakest link in the global financial system, noting that the bloc’s debt problems kept growing, austerity has proven to be counter productive, the euro currency remains overvalued, and the European Central Bank (ECB) has stagnated in the midst of its bond-buying strategy.

Lin also noted the possibility of another crisis originating from within the United States due to vulnerabilities posed by the country’s ballooning $17 trillion debt levels, the growing housing bubble, and the persistence of trading high-risk financial products backed by complex securitizations. He also raised concerns over recent data on the Chinese economy, which has shown a decline in fixed asset investments, raising speculation about whether or not the Chinese authorities would introduce a stimulus package. 

Tan Sri Azman Yahya, executive chairman of Symphony Life, believes that growth in China will continue to be on the upswing despite concerns of deceleration, even without significant investment, by virtue of Beijing’s prudent economic reforms. China has already announced at the recent G20 meeting of finance ministers that it will not make major policy adjustments in the form of stimulus despite slightly lower growth indicators. Reforms will be prioritized to stabilize employment and contain systemic risks such as widespread default. 

High government deficits, unprecedented government and private sector debt levels, and low household savings are deeply worrying trends in mature economies, according to Yahya, who claims that eventual tapering by the US Federal Reserve to cease quantitative easing (QE) measures could trigger a loss of confidence in the US dollar, causing an offloading and crash of US securities capable of tanking global markets. 

Yahya identified the risks posed by the lack of tangible financial sector reforms, the unsustainable US debt bubble, the growing loss of confidence in the US dollar, and surmised that the next crisis may strike within five years. He identified the high growth levels of Asia-Pacific countries as a buffer to crises emanating from stagnate western economies, noting how China’s middle class is set to expand to one billion by 2025, while growth will be increasingly be powered by consumption. 

Panelists at the forum generally agreed that the Asia-Pacific region is in a far healthier state today in comparison to the 1997 crisis, as China’s growth strategy moves away from the investment-driven template to more sustainable consumption-led expansion. Countries in the ASEAN region are also cooperating at higher levels. Analysts agree that Malaysia has proven to be fairly resilient and adept at crisis management, as it managed to navigate through treacherous economic periods while retaining consistently healthy growth levels over the past two decades. 

The country defied the IMF’s economic orthodoxy and introduced capital control measures during the 1997 Asian financial crisis to counter the short selling of the Malaysian ringgit by currency speculators, which triggered dramatic depreciation and rapid falls in stock market capitalization. Malaysia recovered faster than its neighbors and consolidated its banking system, putting buffers in place by introducing broader market regulations and strengthening banks to withstand shocks. 

During the global financial crisis in 2008, triggered by the bursting of the US housing bubble and the subsequent collapse of large financial institutions trading toxic mortgage-related financial products, the country found itself better prepared. The way the crisis struck in 1997 took Malaysian policymakers totally off guard. The country’s economy was highly stable and experiencing growth at 8 percent; loans were being repeatedly prepaid and Malaysia was stepping in rescue Thailand after attacks on the baht.

The current scenario also demands that countries expect the unexpected. The general consensus among panelists the Perdana forum was that a new financial crisis could present itself at some point within the next eighteen months to five years, with the potential for several mini-crises to bubble up and trigger recessionary depression. It is nearly impossible to accurately pinpoint when the next crisis will hit, but there are numerous flashpoints to consider.

In addition to vulnerabilities stemming from uncontrolled derivative trading and speculative hot money flows, debt and bubbles loom. During the 2008 crisis, insolvent private banks and lending institutions were deemed too-big-to-fail, but today, central banks are on the road to inheriting that status. Debt levels have ballooned to unprecedented levels driven by QE and low interest rates. Stagnate wages and easy credit has goaded consumers to keep borrowing to maintain consumption.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom are experiencing high unemployment levels and dramatic income inequality, giving rise to greater levels of social unrest while the stock markets of both countries have performed above par – surpassing the highs of pre-crisis levels. The sharp ascent of share prices, which has been heralded as proof of an economic recovery, does not correlate with rising activity in the productive economy or with per capita income.

The distinguished economist Ha-Joon Chang has referred to these developments as ‘the biggest stock market bubble in modern history.’ It is clear that share prices do not reflect real economic activity. The core of the problem is that successive rounds of QE have increased liquidity rates and fuelled asset bubbles rather than being channeled into productive assets.

Panelists addressed how many of the new jobs being created in mature economies are low-wage positions that offer little career mobility. The broad appeal of protest campaigns organized by fast-food workers to demand a living wage is a testament to the strains on ordinary people who are unable to meet the cost of living. Americans are pessimistic about their nation’s economic recovery policies because many find themselves facing more trying domestic circumstances.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad attended the Perdana forum to give the closing keynote address, where he likened the implementation of solutions to avert economic crises to a medical doctor treating a patient, stressing the need to understand the systemic contradictions of the global financial system. Dr. Mahathir denounced fractional reserve banking practices, which result in banks lending far greater amounts of money than they actually possess in cash reserves, and the leveraging practices taken advantage of by currency speculators and hedge funds.

The former Malaysian prime minister accused Europe and the US of being in a state of denial as to how markets are manipulated, primarily because the political classes themselves benefit from speculation. Dr. Mahathir believes that the role of the financial sector is overemphasized in national economies and advised greater market regulation. Governments must be ready to step in to limit the abuses of the banking system, according to Mahathir, who characterized the inherent inequality of the modern age as one where 99 percent of people are beholden to the ultra-wealthy 1 percent, citing the slogan popularized by the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Mass protest movements demanding accountability from Wall Street have remained potent because the underlying conditions that generated the crisis have not been addressed in any meaningful way. Instead of steering monetary policies in a sensible direction and broadening regulatory oversight to identify risky financial products and prevent predatory speculation, the banking lobby has strong-armed western politicians into accepting a growth model where short-term profits for the few take precedence over long-term investments in productive assets for the many.

Elsewhere in the world, the economic power and political autonomy of BRICS countries and their plans to establish a development bank to finance infrastructure growth throughout the developing world offers a far more sustainable investment model. To offset the risks of future crises, it is imperative to find the political courage to reduce the importance of the non-productive financial sector in national economies in favor of investments into productive assets that create infrastructure and job opportunities.

Panelists at the Perdana forum argued that even if measures are taken to bolster productive assets, financial and economic crises may strike in unexpected ways: resulting from cyber threat vulnerabilities, sudden geopolitical instability, conflicts over resources and the pricing of resources, and complications that can result from the use of non-traditional currencies.

Malaysia is considered a safe investment destination due to its political stability and imperviousness to natural disasters; the country’s competent young workforce is eager to enter innovative service sector positions, a major asset in contrast to other Asian countries struggling to maintain population growth. To meet the present development aspirations, it is necessary for the country to protect against both external and internal crises.

The Malaysian leadership faces a difficult balancing act on all fronts. It must do more to improve inter-communal harmony without rolling back civil liberties. Despite the country’s strong performance legitimacy, trust and confidence in the government and the integrity of institutions remains low due to endemic corruption. There is a need for a comprehensive social safety net system to address rising income inequality on a needs-basis.

Simultaneously, economic circumstances demand that developing countries remove energy and social subsidies in order to increase efficiency and become a more attractive destination for capital. Navigating through the crises ahead will require bold leadership. Malaysia will be in a better position to withstand turbulence if it takes meaningful steps to reduce income disparities and pursues inclusive social policies that will restore grassroots trust in the leadership.

This article appeared in the September 29, 2014 print edition of The Malaysian Reserve newspaper.

Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

New video: “You know a politician or talking head doesn’t ‘get it’ when ....

--2014--

784. Oct. 6-9, speaker, Praxis Peace Institute conference, THE ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABILITY-Emerging Models for a Healthy Planet, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco

783. Sept. 12-14, participant, RENY Rethinkecon conference, http://rethinkecon.com/, NY City

782. Aug. 20, interview with Rohan Freeman, ignoranti.org, 10 a.m. PST

781. July 29-Aug. 5. Moving Beyond Capitalism conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

780. July 9, speaker, 2014 Annual Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations, Inc., Radisson Newport Beach Hotel, near the Orange County John Wayne Airport, 9:15 a.m. PT

779. July 2nd IT’S OUR MONEY WITH ELLEN BROWN – EMINENT DOMAIN TO THE RESCUE? – Progressive Radio Network. Listen to archive here.

778. June 29, interview with Stephen Golden, KABC radio, Pasadena, 7 pm PT

777. June 25, interview, Kerry Lutz - Financial Survival Network, 1 pm ET. Listen to archive here.

776. June 21, participant and speaker, General Assembly of the Green Party of California, http://www.cagreens.org/ga/2014-06/agenda-draft-to-counties, Santa Barbara

775. June 7, interview with Doug Bennett, Unspun: An Experiment in Truth-Telling, KKRN Community radio, 9 am PT Listen to archive here.

774. June 2, interview, Voice of Russia (pre-recorded, check their site).

773. May 31, interview, the Joe Whitehead Show, http://thejoewhiteheadshow.com/, 11:30 am, EDT

772. May 26, interview, Wealth DNA Radio Show, Blog Talk Radio, wealthdna.us, noon EST

771. May 26, Speaker at Occupy SF Forum, Unite HERE Local 2 Union Hall, 215 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco -- along with Laura Wells, Lt. Gov. candidate Jena Goodman, Sect. of State candidate David Curtis, and Congressional candidate Barry Hermanson, 6 pm

770. May 26, interview on the Wealth DNA Radio Show (Blog Talk Radio: wealthdna.us) noon ET

769. May 25, "Occupy Oakland" barbecue at Mike Wilson’s house: 3413 Belmont Ave., El Cerrito, 1:30 pm

768. May 25, interview, the Bob Charles Show, Web Radio Station http://www.kinetichifi.com/, 2 pm EST

767. May 24, Attend and speak at the Sacramento "March against Monsanto" anti-GMO event (starts at the North steps of the State Capitol building).

766. May 23, c. 11:00 am -- Speak to the "Campus Greens" at De Anza College, Cupertino

765. May 23. Ellen and Laura Wells will speak at the "Green Party Candidates Night" -- at the Richmond Progressive Alliance office, in the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, 1021 Macdonald Ave., Richmond, 7 pm

764. May 22, Monterey Co. Green Party candidates forum, with Cindy Sheehan and Laura Wells, Monterey College of Law, 100 Col. Durham St., Seaside, CA 93955, 7 pm

763. May 20, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com (pre-recorded, check for air time.)

762. May 15, interview with Alan Butler, Butler on Business, Liberty Express Radio, 10 AM EDT

761. May 14, interview with Stanley Montieth, The Doctor Stan Show, Radio Liberty, 7 am PST

760. May 13, interview with Robert Stark and Jeff Crow, Valley Talk Live, centralvalleytalk.com, Fresno, 4 pm PT. Listen to archive here.

759. May 11, Skype participant, Green Party candidate Q&A event, Lieblyl Proctor Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94607
Between 65th and 66th St. 5 pm

758. May 10, United We Stand Festival, Pauley Pavilion, UCLA,
https://unitedwestandfest.com/confirmed-guests/

757. May 6, inteview with Rock Cash, The People Speak Radio. Listen to archive here.

756. May 1, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

755. April 29, moderator, Great Minds #66 with Nomi Prins, Los Angeles, CA., 7 pm PT

754. April 23, Ellen interviews Nomi Prins on It's Our Money. Listen to archive here.

753. April 21, interview with Robert Stark and Jeff Crow, Valley Talk Live, centralvalleytalk.com, Fresno, 4:30 PT

752. April 17, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow, 10 pm EST

751. April 17, interview with Greg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 EST

750. April 8, It's Our Money with Ellen Brown, interiews Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Listen to archive here.

749. April 8, interview with Alan Butler, Butler on Business, Liberty Express Radio, 11:30 AM EDT

748. April 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

747. April 3, interview with James Banks, KGNU radio, Boulder, CO, 5 p.m. PT

746. April 2, interview, WHDTWorldNews, Nextnewsnetwork.com, 10:30 a. m. PDT

745. March 26, 1 pm PDT, It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown. Ellen interviews Prof. ROBERT HOCKETT--fascinating background material for understanding the banks' role in the foreclosure mess and the eminent domain solution. Listen to the archive here.

744. March 24, interview with Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD, Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio, 1480 AM Washington, DC, 8 a.m. PDT

743. March 23rd, "Banking for the People—Not for Wall Street," Agenda for a Prophetic Faith Lecture Series, Claremont United Methodist Church, 211 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711, http://www.claremontumc.org/, 7 pm PT

742. Apr. 13, Interview with Chris Moore, KDKA Pittsburgh, 5 pm EST

741. March 18, 2 pm, Democratic Club, Friendly Valley Conference Room, Newhall, CA.

740. March 13, interview with Fred Smart, American Underground Network, 8 pm, CDT

739. March 12, 12 pm PDT, It's Our Money radio show with Ellen Brown, featuring Prof. TIM CANOVA on the Federal Reserve. Listen to archive here.

738. March 4, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

737. Feb. 23, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

736. Feb 20, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 3 pm, PST

735. Feb. 17, interview, Strike Debt Bay Area, KPFA, Berkeley, 2 pm (?) PST

734. Feb16, interview with Gary Dubin, The Foreclosure Hour (http://www.foreclosurehour.com/the-host.html), 5 pm PST

733. Feb. 11, interview with Clint Richardson, RBN 5 pm PST

732. Feb 9, interview with Stephen Golden, DEFENDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, KABC Los Angeles, 6 am, PST Listen to the archive here.

731. Feb. 6, interview, Move to Amend Reports, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/movetoamend, 5 pm PST

730. Feb. 5, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 9:30 am PST

729. January 30, interview, Kerry Lutz - Financial Survival Network, 12 pm EST

728. January 30, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

727. January 29, interview on Latin Waves, 8 pm PST

726. January 28, Green Party Shadow Cabinet response to State of the Union Speech. http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus 6 pm PST

725. January 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST. Listen here.

724. January 23, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here.

723. January 22, interview with Utrice Leid, "Leid Stories,", PRN.FM, 1 pm EST

722. January 21, interview, Independent Underground Radio LIVE, 9:15 PST. Listen here.

721. January 12, Open Forum with Green Party candidates Luis Rodriguez, Laura Wells and Ellen Brown, hosted by LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) 11277 GARDEN GROVE BLVD., Garden Grove, CA. 2-4 pm

720. January 11, interview with Bill Still on running for California Treasurer. Watch it here. And see another one here.

719. January 8, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here. (It's the one labelled "Take the Fed Reserve Public.")

718. Jan 7, interview, The Burt Cohen Show, 12 noon ET

--2013--

717. Dec. 30, interview, Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is, see http://stuartvener.com for stations, 11:30 am EST

716. Dec. 26, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow and Ralph Fucetola, 10 pm EST

715. Dec. 21, interview, KPRO Radio San Francisco, 9:30 am PST

714. Dec. 18, interview, The Power Hour with Joyce Riley, 8 a.m. CT

713. Dec. 18, interview, Unwrapped Radio, WRFG, http://www.tuneinradio.com/, 12:40 EST

712. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST, listen here.
711. Dec. 15, presentation, A Public Bank for Mendocino, at the Crown Hall in Mendocino, Ca., 7 pm

710. Dec. 15, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Mendocino Environmental Center
106 West Standley, Ukiah, CA 95482, 2 pm

709. Dec. 14, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Little Lake Grange, Willits, Ca. 7 pm

708. Dec. 13, interview on All About Money, KZYX radio, 9 a.m. PST

707. Dec. 13, interview, Radio Islam, WCEV 1450 AM, 12:05 pm, CST

706. Dec. 12, appearance with Doug McKenty, "The Shift," Mendocino TV, 4:30 pm PST

705. Dec. 11, interview on WHDT World News, http://NNN.is/on-WHDT, 5:30 and 11:00 pm EST. Watch the archive here.

704. Dec. 11, interview, WORT Community Radio, Madison, Wisconsin, 6:10 a.m. PST

703. Dec. 11, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 10:30 PST

702. Dec. 9, UnWrapped Radio, Atlanta, 1 pm PST.

701. Dec. 9, GOHarrison, KPFK Los Angeles, 3:30 pm PST.

700. Dec. 9, interview, Air Cascadia show, KBOO radio, Portland, 10 am PST

699. Dec. 5, interview, WHDT World News TV, 2 pm PST

698. Dec. 4, interview with David Swanson, talknationradio, 7pm PST

697. Dec. 4, interview with Rob Kall, The Rob Kall Bottom-Up Radio Show, 1360 AM, 7:30 pm EST

696. Dec. 3, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

695. Dec. 2, interview with Val Muchowski, Women's Voices, KZYX, 7 p.m. PST

694. Nov. 29, interview with Gregg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 PST

693. Nov. 16, interview This is Hell! radio show, WNUR 89.3 fm, thisishell.com/live, 11.20 a.m. EST. Listen to archive here

692. Nov. 15, interview with George Berry, The Financial News Network Show, truthfrequencyradio.com, 1 pm PST

691. Nov. 14, interview with Stanley Montieth, The Doctor Stan Show, Radio Liberty, 4 pm PSTf

690. Nov. 14, interview with Neil Foster, Reality Bytes show, Awake Radio (UK), Shazziz Radio (US), 8 pm UK time.

689. Nov. 13, interview with Bonnie Faulkner, KPFA, Los Angeles. Listen to archive here.

688. Nov. 12, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

687. Nov. 11, interview, Between the Lines News Magazine, WPKN radio, Bridgeport, CT, 9 p.m. ET. Listen to archive here

686. Nov. 10, skype participant, forum at the Putrajaya International Islamic Arts and Cultural Festival, "Global Economic and Monetary Crisis: What Needs to be Done?" Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 a.m. MYT, 7 pm, Nov. 9 PST

685. Nov. 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

684. Oct. 31, interview with Voice of Russia radio, American edition, 2:30 pm, CET (Central Europe Time.) Listen to archive here.

683. Oct. 23, interview with Daniel Estulin on RT tv

682. Oct. 16, interview with Per Fereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 11 am PST

681. Oct. 15, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 7-9 PM, Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Ireland.

680. Oct. 14, presentation, Cork, Ireland

679. Oct. 12, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 2-4 PM, Springfield Hotel in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Information on these three events here.

678. October 4, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 2:30 pm, PST

677. Oct. 3, interview with Joyce Riley, the Power Hour. Listen to archive here.

676. Oct. 1, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report 7:30 EST

675. Sept. 29, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

674. Sept. 27, interviw with Kevin Barrett, AmericanFreedomRadio.com, NoLiesRadio.org:
http://TruthJihadRadio.blogspot.com, 2 pm PST

673. Sept. 19, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

672. Sept. 19, Interview on the Global Research News Hour with Michael Welch--check site for time and archive.

671. Sept. 18, interview with David Sierralupe, Occupy Radio, KWVA, 88.1 FM, Eugene

670. Sept. 15, interview with Niall Bradley, Sott Talk Radio, sott.net, 2 p.m. EST

669. Sept. 14, interview FDLBookSalon, firedoglake.com, 5pm EST

668. Sept. 10, "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

667. Sept. 9, interview with Ken MacDermotRoe and Del LaPietro, In Context Report, 9 am PST. Listen to archive here.

666. Sept 7, interview with Valerie Kirkgaard, WakingUpInAmerica.com, 6 am, PST. Listen here.

665. Sept. 6, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 12:30 pm PST

664. Sept. 5, discussion of how to bring public banking to Colorado on "It's the Economy, Stupid," KGNU, Boulder, 5 p.m. PST

663. Sept. 5, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, 8 a.m. PST

662. Sept. 3, interview (along with Elliott Spitzer?), "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST Listen to archive here.

661. Sept. 3, interview with Jeanette LaFeve, The People Speak, 6 pm PST

660. Aug. 25, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

659. Aug. 22, interview with Christopher Greene, AMTV Radio, simulcast in audio/video over GoogleHangouts and American Freedom Radio, 1 p.m. PST

658. Aug. 22, interview, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com,
CalChronicle.com, 3 pm PST

657. Aug. 21, interview with Merry and Burl Hall, blogtalkradio.com/envision-this, 5 pm PST

656. Aug. 21, interview with Lori Lundin, America's Radio News Network, 10:30 a.m. ET.

655. Aug. 16, interview with Sinclair Noe, Moneyradio.com, 4 pm PST

654. Aug. 15, interview with Justine Underhill, Prime Interest, Russia Today TV, 1:30 pm PST

653. Aug 14, interview with Jim Goddard, This Week in Money, 4 pm, PST. Listen to archive here, starting at minute 32.

652. Aug. 14, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, 10 a.m. PST

651. Aug. 14, interview with Chuck Morse, irnusaradio.com, 8 am, PST

650. Aug. 13, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV, Switzerland, 9 am PST

649. Aug 7-11, Madison Democracy conference, https://democracyconvention.org/

648. Aug. 6, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PST

647. Aug 5, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 9 am PST

646. Aug 3, interview with Diane Horn, Mind Over Matter show, KEXP radio, 90.3 FM, Seattle, 7:00 a.m. PST

645. July 31, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

644. July 28, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

643. July 2, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

642. July 2, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 12:30 EST.

641. June 30, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT. Listen to archive here.

640. June 24, interview on RT tv re student debt, 10:30 am PST

639. June 17, interview on The Andy Caldwell Show, 3:30 pm PST

638. June 16, interview with Jason Erb, 5 pm Pacific

637. June 13, interview with Paul Sanford, "Time 4 Hemp-LIVE," http://www.AmericanFreedomRadio.com, 10 am, PST

636. June 6 presentation with Jamie Brown at the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek. Info at Favors.org, 7 to 9 pm

635. June 1, interview with Kris Welch, KPFA Los Angeles, 10 am PST

634. May 28, interview with Malihe Razazan, "Your Call" radio, KALW, San Francisco, 10 am PST.

633. May 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

632. May 23 interview with Simit Patel, InformedTrades.com (youtube) 3:30 pm PST

631. May 22, Thousand Oaks, 3 expert panel, "A Parachute For the Fiscal Cliff," University Village 2-4 pm

630. May 22, interview with Jack Rasmus, 11 am PST. Enjoy the interview here.

629. May 22, Guns and Butter show, KPFA, http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/91790

628. May 14, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

627. May 13, live appearance on RTTV, 3 pm PST Watch it here.

626. May 8, interview with Valli Sharpe-Geisler, Silicon Valley Voice, KKUP, 3 pm PST

625. May 8, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST

624. May 4, interview, Latin Waves with Sylvia Richardson, 10 am PST

623. April 30, Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST

622. April 29, interview with Rob Kall, Bottom Up Radio, 9 am Pacific
Listen to archive here.

621. April 28, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

620. April 25, interview, the the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, 5 pm EDT

619. April 17, interview with Mike Harris, rense.com, 1 pm PDT

618. April 16th, speaker, Valley Democrats United (Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley), Van Nuys, Ca. 7-9pm

617. April 13, interview with Darren Weeks, Govern America, noon Eastern, listen here

616. April 9, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

615. April 6, phone conference, Justice Party, http://www.justicepartyusa.org/public_banking_conference_call, 9 a.m.

614. April 5, interview, Butler on Business, 11 a.m. EDT

613. April 3, interview with Michael Welch, Global Research News Hour, 8:30 a.m. PDT

612. April 2, interview with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 PDT. Listen here.

611. April 1, interview with Brannon Howse, www.worldviewradio.com, 11 a.m. PDT

610. April 1, interview with Scott Harris, Counterpoint,
WPKN Radio, 8:30 pm, ET Listen to archive here.

609. April 1, interview with Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Watch and listen to archive here, starting at minute 50. Articles based on the interview are at Truthout.org.

608. March 31, interview with Jason Erb, Exposing Faux Capitalism, Oracle Broadcasting, 11 a.m. Pacific

607. March 31, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT Listen to the archive here.

606. March 29, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

605. March 28, interview with Stan Monteith, radioliberty.com, 9 pm PDT

604. March 28, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PDT

603. March 27, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PdT.

602. March 27, interview with Jack Rasmus on PRN, 11 a.m. PDT

601. March 25, interview on the Richard Kaffenberger show, KTOX, Needles, CA. 3:15 PDT

600. March 22, newly available archived radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

599. March 22, interview with James Fetzer, The People Speak Radio, 5-7 pm PDT

598. March 22, interview , Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, Santa Fe, 10 a.m. MST

597. March 12, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

596. March 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PST

595. March 9, Interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 9:30 am PST

594. March 6, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6pm PST. Watch and listen here.

593. March 3, interview with Lateef Kareem Bey, Fix Your Mortgage Mess, 4 pm PST

592. March 2, Interview with Stuart Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 11 am PST

591. Feb. 27, interview with Jim Banks, KGNU, Boulder, 12 pm PST

590. Feb 27, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, 10 am PST

589. Feb. 25, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

588. Feb. 6, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 11 am PST. Listen to the archive here: http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2013/02/this-week-in-money-70/

587. Feb. 4, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 11 am PST.

586. Jan. 31, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 5:00 pm PST

585. Jan. 27, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio
network, 10 am PST

584. Jan. 23, interview on KPFK, 8pm PST

583. Jan. 22, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

582. Jan. 3, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, Tampa, 3 pm EST

581. Jan. 2, interview, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 5 pm PST

--- 2012 ---

580. Dec. 27, video interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, listen and watch here.

579. Dec. 24, October talk at First Unitarian Church in Portland aired on KBOO radio, http://kboo.fm/, 8:00 am PST

578. Dec. 24, interview with Ron Daniels, the WWRL Morning Show with Mark Riley, wwrl1600.com, 5:05 am PST

577. Dec. 21, interview with Andy Caldwell, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com, KZSB AM1290 Santa Barbara / Ventura and KUHL AM1440 Santa Maria / San Luis Obispo, 3:30 pm PST

576. Dec. 20, interview with Fred Smart, aunetwork.tv, 9 pm EST

575. Dec. 19, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST. Listen here.

574. Dec. 19, interview with Dr. Jack Rasmus, Alternative Visions, Progressive Radio Network, 2 pm EST

573. Dec. 17, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 4 pm PST

572. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen here.

571. Dec. 14, interview with Craig Barnes, Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, 9 am PST Listen to the archive here.

570. December 9th, speaker, Mayo Arts Center (10 Mayo Street) in Portland, ME
http://mayostreetarts.org/about-us/where-we-are 7:30-9pm

569. Dec. 7, Vermont's New Economy conference, Vermont College of the Find Arts, Montpelier, VT, 9 am to 4 pm and reception at 4:30. $25
www.global-community.org/neweconomy to register

568. Dec. 5, speaker, Pennsylvania Public Bank Project's Forum on Public Banking, at the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, PA, 7pm

567. Nov. 26-27, 3rd Annual World Conference on Riba, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

566. Nov. 22, presentation before Royal Scottish Academy -- "A Public Bank for Scotland" (here), Riddle's Court, 322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2PG Scotland, 6 pm

565. Nov 8, Healthy Money Summit, speaking with Hazel Henderson at 1-2 pm PST, information here.

564. Sunday, Oct. 28, Keynote Speaker; The Buck Starts Here, 2:00pm, sponsored by the Kairos Occasional Speakers Series & OFOR, Kairos Milwaukie UCC, Milwaukie, OR.

563. Saturday, Oct. 27, Keynote Speaker; OFOR Saturday Symposium: The Buck Starts Here, 10am - 3pm, Molalla, OR

562. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 26-28, Keynote Speaker; Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation Fall Retreat - The Buck Starts Here, Camp Adams, Molalla, OR, Friday, 5pm- Sunday 12 noon

561. Friday, October 26, Invited Commentator; screening of “HEIST” (new documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis), sponsored by First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice Action Groups, Alliance for Democracy, KBOO, Move to Amend, 7:00pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

560. (Oct. 25-28, Bioneers Conference, Portland, OR)
Oct. 25, Keynote Speaker; sponsored by Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation (PFOR) and the First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice and Peace Action Groups, 7:00-8:30pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

559. Oct. 24, interview with Per Fagereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 9 am PST

558. Oct. 24, KPFA "Guns and Butter" interview. Listen to archived show here.

557. Oct. 21, speaker at BBQed Oysters and Beer Fundraiser Party for PBI, San Rafael, CA, 4 pm PST

556. Oct. 14, Live Gaiam tv interview appearance. Watch it here free at 7pm EST.

555. Oct. 12, interview with Matt Rothschild of The Progressive, 10 a.m. Central time

554. October 11-14, speaker, Economic Democracy Collaborative, Madison, Wisconsin

553. Oct. 11, radio interview with Norm Stockwell, WORT, 12 pm CST

552. Oct. 9, interview with Kevin Barrett, No Lies Radio, listen to archive here.

551. Oct. 8, interview, "Mountain Hours Revolution Radio" with Wayne Walton, on RBN, 12-1 pm PST

550. Oct. 7, interview with Lloyd D'Aguilar, "Looking Back Looking Forward", http://lookingbacklookingforward.com/, 2 pm EST

549. Sept. 26, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

548. Sept. 25, interview with Dr. Stanley Montieth, radioliberty.com, 3pm PST

547. Sept. 24, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PST.

546. Sept. 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

545. Sept. 17 interview along with Hazel Henderson, National Teach In for Occupy Wall Street, http://www.livestream.com/owshdtv 5pm EST

544. Sept. 10, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV (Switzerland), 7 am PST Watch and listen here

543. Sept. 7, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

542. Sept. 6, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

541. Aug 28, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST. Listen to archive here. And listen to excellent Meria Heller show here.

540. Aug 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, listen to archive here.

539. August 21, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com. Listen to archive here.

538. Aug 20, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

537. Aug 16, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

536. Aug. 14, interview, TheAndyCaldwellshow.com, 4:30pm PST

535. August 13, interview with American Free Press, 1 pm PST

534. July 24, interview along with Victoria Grant, The People Speak, 6pm, PST

533. July 24, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST

532. July 23, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6 pm PST

531. July 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7 pm PST

530. July 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

529. July 19, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

528. July 10-12, Speaker, Conference on Social Transformation, Faculty of Economics, Split University, Split Croatia

527. July 10, video interview with Max Keiser, the Keiser Report, on the ESM. Watch it here.

526. July 7, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 3 pm PST

525. July 6, video interview with Dr. Mercola, see it here.

524. June 23, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

523. June 21, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 4:30 pm PST

522. June 21, interview on the Gary Null Show, 9:20 am PST

521. June 18, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

520. June 17, interview with Bill Resnick, KBOO radio, 9 am PST

519. June 16 interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

518. June 9, interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, 9:45 am PST. Listen to archive here.

517. June 5, interview, Truth Quest With Melodee, KHEN radio, 7pm PST

516. June 2, interview about Web of Debt, Our Common Ground,http://www.blogtalkradio.com/OCG, 7pm PST

515. June 1, interview with Robert Stark, The Stark Truth listen here.

514. Newly available video of interview on "Moral Politics" -- see it here

513. May 30, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, ll am PST

512. May 28, interview with Pedro Gatos, "Bringing Light into Darkness", KOOP.ORG, 6 pm CST

511. May 24, interview, Make It Plain With Mark Thompson, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 2pm PST

510. May 20, interview, Women's View Radio, blogtalkradio.com, 10 am Central Time. Listen here.

509. May 13, interview, www.Blogtalkradio.com/fixyourmortgagemess, 4:15 pm PST

508. May 12, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST Listen here.

507. May 9, seminar, Re-imagining Money and Credit, Art bldg. rm 103, El Camino college, Torrance, Ca. 5-7:30 pm

506. May 8, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 9 am EST

505. May 7, radio discussion on "The Myth of Austerity", Connect the Dots, KPFK Los Angeles, 7 am PST. Listen here.

504. May 4, interview The Unsolicited Opinion, republicbroadcasting.org, 8 am PST

503. April 27-28, speaker, Public Banking Institute Conference, Friends Center, Philadelphia. Listen here.

502. April 25, speaker Global Teach-In (globalteachin.com), 12 noon EST

501. April 17, Interview with Leo Steel, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lasteelshoworg, 8:30 pm EST. Listen here.. 31 minutes in.

500. April 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

499. April 14, interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report

498. April 10th-12th Speaker at Claremont Conference, “Creating Money in a Finite World” Claremont, CA . See video here.

497. April 5, interview , This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com) 12:30 PST. Listen to the archive here.

496. April 3, speaker at COMER with Paul Hellyer, "Escape From the Web of Debt," Toronto, 7:30 pm

495. March 27, speaker on "Why are we so Broke? New ways to look at the Finances of our State and City," League of Women Voters luncheon, San Diego, 12 noon

494.5 March 24, radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

494. March 17, speaker via skype, SCADS conference, London

493. March 15, interview with Per Fagereng, Fight the Empire, KBOO radio, 9:30 am PST

492. March 15, speaker, San Rafael City Hall 6 pm

491. March 13, speaker at Sergio Lub's house, Walnut Creek, info at Favors.org, 6pm

490. March 11, speaker, TedxNewWallStreet. See it here.

489. March 10, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

488. March 6, interview with Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, http://radio.rumormillnews.com/podcast/, 11 am PST

487. Feb. 25, interview with Martin Andelman, http://www.mandelman.ml-implode.com, 9:30 am PST

486. Feb. 25, interview, This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com), 3 pm PST

485. Feb. 25, interview on CIVL Radio, Latin Waves, How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street, 11:30am PST

484. Feb 23, interview with Thomas Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

483. Feb. 17, featured speaker, Public Banking in America weekly call, 9 am PST

482. Feb. 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

481. Feb. 8, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

480. Feb. 7, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST; listen to archive here

479. Feb. 6, participant, Occupiers and Wells Fargo Executives Gather to Discuss the American Foreclosure Crisis, The Center of Nonprofit Management at California Endowment Building 1000 N. Alameda, Los Angeles, meeting 3 pm and press conference 5:30 pm

478. Feb. 2, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

477. Feb. 2, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, naturalnewsradio.com. Listen to archive here

476. Jan. 31, interview, Liberty Coins and Precious Metals, 9 am PST

475. Jan. 27, interview KPFA, Project Censored, 8:30 am PST

474. Jan. 27, FILMS4CHANGE-INSIDEJOB, panel speaker, Edye Second Space, Santa Monica Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm

473. Jan 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7:30 pm PST. Listen live here.

472. Jan. 20, interview with Mike Harris, The Republic Broadcasting Network, 7 am PST

471. Jan. 16, interview with Rob Lorei, WMNF fm, Tampa, 2 pm PST

470. Jan. 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

469. Jan. 11, interview with Jeff Rense, rense.com, 8pm PST

Did the Other Shoe Just Drop? Black Rock and PIMCO Sue Banks for $250...

For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking titans.

In June, however, the banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode onto the stage.  Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time.

The defendants are the so-called trust banks that oversee payments and enforce terms on more than $2 trillion in residential mortgage securities. They include units of Deutsche Bank AG, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Six nearly identical complaints charge the trust banks with breach of their duty to force lenders and sponsors of the mortgage-backed securities to repurchase defective loans.

Why the investors are only now suing is complicated, but it involves a recent court decision on the statute of limitations. Why the trust banks failed to sue the lenders evidently involves the cozy relationship between lenders and trustees. The trustees also securitized loans in pools where they were not trustees. If they had started filing suit demanding repurchases, they might wind up suedon other deals in retaliation. Better to ignore the repurchase provisions of the pooling and servicing agreements and let the investors take the losses—better, at least, until they sued.

Beyond the legal issues are the implications for the solvency of the banking system itself. Can even the largest banks withstand a $250 billion iceberg? The sum is more than 40 times the $6 billion “London Whale” that shook JPMorganChase to its foundations.

Who Will Pay – the Banks or the Depositors?

The world’s largest banks are considered “too big to fail” for a reason. The fractional reserve banking scheme is a form of shell game, which depends on “liquidity” borrowed at very low interest from other banks or the money market. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, triggering a run on the money market, the whole interconnected shadow banking system nearly went down with it.

Congress then came to the rescue with a taxpayer bailout, and the Federal Reserve followed with its quantitative easing fire hose. But in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act said there would be no more government bailouts. Instead, the banks were to save themselves with “bail ins,” meaning they were to recapitalize themselves by confiscating a portion of the funds of their creditors – including not only their shareholders and bondholders but the largest class of creditor of any bank, their depositors.

Theoretically, deposits under $250,000 are protected by FDIC deposit insurance. But the FDIC fund contains only about $47 billion – a mere 20% of the Black Rock/PIMCO damage claims. Before 2010, the FDIC could borrow from the Treasury if it ran short of money. But since the Dodd Frank Act eliminates government bailouts, the availability of Treasury funds for that purpose is now in doubt.

When depositors open their online accounts and see that their balances have shrunk or disappeared, a run on the banks is likely. And since banks rely on each other for liquidity, the banking system as we know it could collapse. The result could be drastic deleveraging, erasing trillions of dollars in national wealth.

Phoenix Rising

Some pundits say the global economy would then come crashing down. But in a thought-provoking March 2014 article called “American Delusionalism, or Why History Matters,” John Michael Greer disagrees. He notes that historically, governments have responded by modifying their financial systems:

Massive credit collapses that erase very large sums of notional wealth and impact the global economy are hardly a new phenomenon . . . but one thing that has never happened as a result of any of them is the sort of self-feeding, irrevocable plunge into the abyss that current fast-crash theories require.

The reason for this is that credit is merely one way by which a society manages the distribution of goods and services. . . . A credit collapse . . . doesn’t make the energy, raw materials, and labor vanish into some fiscal equivalent of a black hole; they’re all still there, in whatever quantities they were before the credit collapse, and all that’s needed is some new way to allocate them to the production of goods and services.

This, in turn, governments promptly provide. In 1933, for example, faced with the most severe credit collapse in American history, Franklin Roosevelt temporarily nationalized the entire US banking system, seized nearly all the privately held gold in the country, unilaterally changed the national debt from “payable in gold” to “payable in Federal Reserve notes” (which amounted to a technical default), and launched a  series of other emergency measures.  The credit collapse came to a screeching halt, famously, in less than a hundred days. Other nations facing the same crisis took equally drastic measures, with similar results. . . .

Faced with a severe crisis, governments can slap on wage and price controls, freeze currency exchanges, impose rationing, raise trade barriers, default on their debts, nationalize whole industries, issue new currencies, allocate goods and services by fiat, and impose martial law to make sure the new economic rules are followed to the letter, if necessary, at gunpoint. Again, these aren’t theoretical possibilities; every one of them has actually been used by more than one government faced by a major economic crisis in the last century and a half.

That historical review is grounds for optimism, but confiscation of assets and enforcement at gunpoint are still not the most desirable outcomes. Better would be to have an alternative system in place and ready to implement before the boom drops.

The Better Mousetrap

North Dakota has established an effective alternative model that other states might do well to emulate. In 1919, the state legislature pulled its funds out of Wall Street banks and put them into the state’s own publicly-owned bank, establishing financial sovereignty for the state. The Bank of North Dakota has not only protected the state’s financial interests but has been a moneymaker for it ever since.

On a national level, when the Wall Street credit system fails, the government can turn to the innovative model devised by our colonial forebears and start issuing its own currency and credit—a power now usurped by private banks but written into the US Constitution as belonging to Congress.

The chief problem with the paper scrip of the colonial governments was the tendency to print and spend too much. The Pennsylvania colonists corrected that systemic flaw by establishing a publicly-owned bank, which lent money to farmers and tradespeople at interest. To get the funds into circulation to cover the interest, some extra scrip was printed and spent on government services. The money supply thus expanded and contracted naturally, not at the whim of government officials but in response to seasonal demands for credit. The interest returned to public coffers, to be spent on the common weal.

The result was a system of money and credit that was sustainable without taxes, price inflation or government debt – not to mention without credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, central bank manipulation, slicing and dicing of mortgages, rehypothecation in the repo market, and the assorted other fraudulent schemes underpinning our “systemically risky” banking system today.

Relief for Homeowners?

 Will the BlackRock/PIMCO suit help homeowners?  Not directly.  But it will get some big guns on the scene, with the ability to do all sorts of discovery, and the staff to deal with the results.

Fraud is grounds for rescission, restitution and punitive damages.  The homeowners may not have been parties to the pooling and servicing agreements governing the investor trusts, but if the whole business model is proven to be fraudulent, they could still make a case for damages.

In the end, however, it may be the titans themselves who take each other down, clearing the way for a new phoenix to rise from the ashes.

___________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://EllenBrown.comhttp://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary Tagged: | , , , ,

Buying Up the Planet: Out-of-control Central Banks on a Corporate Buying Spree

Finance is the new form of warfare – without the expense of a military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. It is a competition in credit creation to buy foreign resources, real estate, public and privatized infrastructure, bonds and corporate stock ownership. Who needs an army when you can obtain the usual objective (monetary wealth and asset appropriation) simply by financial means?                                                                                       — Dr. Michael Hudson, Counterpunch, October 2010

When the US Federal Reserve bought an 80% stake in American International Group (AIG) in September 2008, the unprecedented $85 billion outlay was justified as necessary to bail out the world’s largest insurance company. Today, however, central banks are on a global corporate buying spree not to bail out bankrupt corporations but simply as an investment, to compensate for the loss of bond income due to record-low interest rates. Indeed, central banks have become some of the world’s largest stock investors.

Central banks have the power to create national currencies with accounting entries, and they are traditionally very secretive. We are not allowed to peer into their books. It took a major lawsuit by Reuters and a congressional investigation to get the Fed to reveal the $16-plus trillion in loans it made to bail out giant banks and corporations after 2008.

What is to stop a foreign bank from simply printing its own currency and trading it on the currency market for dollars, to be invested in the US stock market or US real estate market?  What is to stop central banks from printing up money competitively, in a mad rush to own the world’s largest companies?

Apparently not much. Central banks are for the most part unregulated, even by their own governments. As the Federal Reserve observes on its website:

[The Fed] is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.

As former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan quipped, “Quite frankly it does not matter who is president as far as the Fed is concerned. There are no other agencies that can overrule the action we take.”

The Central Bank Buying Spree

That is how “independent” central banks operate, but it evidently not the US central bank that is gambling in the stock market. After extensive quantitative easing, the Fed has a $4.5 trillion balance sheet; but this sum is accounted for as being invested conservatively in Treasuries and agency debt (although QE may have allowed Wall Street banks to invest the proceeds in the stock market by devious means).

Which central banks, then, are investing in stocks? The biggest player turns out to be the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Chinese central bank.

According to a June 15th article in USA Today:

Evidence of equity-buying by central banks and other public sector investors has emerged from a large-scale survey compiled by Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), a global research and advisory group. The OMFIF research publication Global Public Investor (GPI) 2014, launched on June 17 is the first comprehensive survey of $29.1 trillion worth of investments held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries. The report focuses on investments by 157 central banks, 156 public pension funds and 87 sovereign funds, underlines growing similarities among different categories of public entities owning assets equivalent to 40% of world output.

The assets of these 400 Global Public Investors comprise $13.2 trillion (including gold) at central banks, $9.4 trillion at public pension funds and $6.5 trillion at sovereign wealth funds.

Public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are well known to be large holders of shares on international stock markets. But it seems they now have rivals from unexpected sources:

One is China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), part of the People’s Bank of China, the biggest overall public sector investor, with $3.9 trillion under management, well ahead of the Bank of Japan and Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), each with $1.3 trillion.

SAFE’s investments include significant holdings in Europe. The PBoC itself has been directly buying minority equity stakes in important European companies.

Another large public sector equity owner is Swiss National Bank, with $480 billion under management. The Swiss central bank had 15% of its foreign exchange assets – or $72 billion – in equities at the end of 2013.

Public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds invest their pension contributions and exchange reserves earned in foreign trade, which is fair enough. The justification for central banks to be playing the stock market is less obvious. Their stock purchases are justified as compensating for lost revenue caused by sharp drops in interest rates. But those drops were driven by central banks themselves; and the broad powers delegated to central banks were supposed to be for conducting “monetary policy,” not for generating investment returns. According to the OMFIF, central banks collectively now have $13.2 trillion in assets (including gold). That is nearly 20% of the value of all of the stock markets in the world, which comes to $62 trillion.

From Monetary Policy to Asset Grabs

Central banks are allowed to create money out of nothing in order to conduct the monetary policies necessary to “regulate the value of the currency” and “maintain price stability.”  Traditionally, this has been done with “open market operations,” in which money was either created by the central bank and used to buy federal securities (thereby adding money to the money supply) or federal securities were sold in exchange for currency (shrinking the money supply).

“Quantitative easing” is open market operations on steroids, to the tune of trillions of dollars. But the purpose is allegedly the same—to augment a money supply that shrank by trillions of dollars when the shadow banking system collapsed after 2008. The purpose is not supposed to be to earn an income for the central bank itself. Indeed, the U.S. central bank is required to return the interest earned on federal securities to the federal government, which paid the interest in the first place.

Further, as noted earlier, it is not the US Federal Reserve that has been massively investing in the stock market.  It is the PBoC, which arguably is in a different position than the US Fed. It cannot print dollars or Euros. Rather, it acquires them from local merchants who have earned them legitimately in foreign trade.

However, the PBoC has done nothing to earn these dollars or Euros beyond printing yuan. It trades the yuan for the dollars earned by Chinese sellers, who need local currency to pay their workers and suppliers. The money involved in these transactions has thus doubled. The merchants have been paid in yuan and the central bank has an equivalent sum in dollars or Euros. That means the Chinese central bank’s holdings are created out of thin air no less than the Federal Reserve’s dollars are.

Battle of the Central Banks?

Western central banks have generally worked this scheme discreetly. Not so much the Chinese, whose blatant gaming of the system points up its flaws for all to see.

Georgetown University historian Professor Carroll Quigley styled himself the librarian of the international bankers. In his 1966 book Tragedy and Hope, he wrote that their aim was “nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.” This system was to be controlled “in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements,” central banks that “were themselves private corporations.”

It may be the Chinese, not acting in concert, who break up this cartel. The PBoC is no more transparent than the US Fed, but it is not an “independent” central bank. It is a government agency accountable to the Chinese government and acting on its behalf.

The Chinese have evidently figured out the game of the “independent” central bankers, and to be using it to their own advantage. If the Fed can do quantitative easing, so can the Chinese – and buy up our assets with the proceeds. Owning our corporations rather than our Treasuries helps the Chinese break up US dollar hegemony.

Whatever power plays are going on behind the scenes, it is increasingly clear that they are not serving we-the-people. Banks should not be the exclusive creators of money. We the people, through our representative governments, need to be issuing the national money supply directly, as was done in America under President Abraham Lincoln and in colonial times.

_______________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute and the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

Inflation? Only If You Look At Food, Water, Gas, Electricity And Everything Else

Have you noticed that prices are going up rapidly?  If so, you are certainly not alone.  But Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, the Obama administration and the mainstream media would have us believe that inflation is completely under control and exactly where it should be.  Perhaps if the highly manipulated numbers that they quote us [...]

Jim Rogers On Rick Wiles TruNews — The Tipping Point

By Live Free or Die - Cross posted from Before it's News




Legendary billionaire investor Jim Rogers joins Rick Wiles on TruNews to talk about the insanity of central banks around the world, the growing cooperation between China and Russia and how long the Federal Reserves ponzi scheme will be able to be kept up before it finally collapses. Jim joins Rick at the 25 minute mark.


Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, founder of Voice of the Copts, also joins Rick and talks with us about Barack Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as the Islamic beheadings of Christians and others in Mosul, Iraq. Dr. Ramelah joins at the 12 minute 10 second mark.





Are Public Banks Unconstitutional? No. Are Private Banks? Maybe.

The movement to break away from Wall Street and form publicly-owned banks continues to gain momentum. But enthusiasts are deterred by claims that a state-owned bank would violate constitutional prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state.”

California’s constitution is typical. It states in Section 17: “The State shall not in any manner loan its credit, nor shall it subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation . . . .”

The language sounds prohibitive, but what does it mean? Hundreds of state and local government entities extend the credit of the state. State agencies make student loans, small business loans, and farm loans. State infrastructure banks explicitly leverage the credit of the state. Legally, state and local governments are extending their credit to private banks every time they deposit their revenues in those banks. When money is deposited, it becomes the property of the bank by law. The depositor becomes a creditor with an IOU or promise to be repaid. The state or local government has thus lent its money to the bank.

How can these blatant extensions of the state’s credit be reconciled with the constitutional prohibitions against the practice?

North Dakota’s constitution has particularly strong language. Article 10, Section 18, provides:

The state, any county or city may make internal improvements and may engage in any industry, enterprise or business, not prohibited by article XX of the constitution, but neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation except for reasonable support of the poor, nor subscribe to or become the owner of capital stock in any association or corporation.

Yet this prohibition has not prevented the state from establishing its own bank. Currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota has been a stellar success and has been going strong ever since 1919. In Green vs. Frazier, 253 U.S. 233 (1920), the US Supreme Court upheld the bank’s constitutionality against a Fourteenth Amendment challenge and deferred to the state court on the state constitutional issues, which had been decided in the state’s favor.

In the nineteenth century, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Indiana all had their own state-owned banks. Some were extremely successful (Indiana had a monopoly state-owned bank). These banks, too, withstood constitutional challenge at the US Supreme Court level.

Were the prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state” simply ignored in these cases? Or might that language have meant something else?

The Constitutional Ban on “Bills of Credit”: Colonial Paper Money

Constitutional provisions against lending the state’s credit go back to the mid-nineteenth century. California’s is in its original constitution, dated 1849. There was then no national currency, and the National Bank Act had not yet been passed.

Several decades earlier, the states had been colonies that issued their own currencies in the form of paper scrip. Typically called “bills of credit”, these paper bills literally involved the extension of the colony’s credit. They were credit vouchers used by the colony to pay for goods and services, which were good in trade for an equivalent sum in goods or services in the marketplace.

Prior to the constitutional convention in the summer of 1787, the colonies exercised their own sovereign power over monetary matters, including issuing their own paper money. After the collapse of the Continental currency during the Revolutionary War, largely due to counterfeiting by the British, the framers were so afraid of paper money that they expressly took that power away from the colonies-turned-states, and they failed to expressly give it even to the federal government. Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution provides:

No State shall . . . coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; . . . .

Congress was given the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.” But language authorizing Congress to “emit Bills of Credit” was struck out after much debate.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Legal Tender Cases after the Civil War that the power to coin money implied the power to print money under the Necessary and Proper Clause, legitimizing the Greenbacks issued by President Lincoln. But in 1850, no state government had the power to extend its own credit in the form of bills of credit or paper money, and whether the federal government had that power was a subject of debate.

However, the expanding economy needed a source of freely-expandable currency and credit, and when local governments could not provide it, private banks filled the void. They issued their own “bank notes” equal to many times their gold holdings, effectively running their own private printing presses.

Was that constitutional? No. The Constitution nowhere gives private banks the power to create the national money supply – and today, private banks are where virtually all of our circulating money supply comes from. Congress ostensibly delegated its authority to issue money to the Federal Reserve in 1913; but it did not delegate that authority to private banks, which have only recently admitted that they do not lend their depositors’ money but actually create new money on their books when they make loans. In the Bank of England’s latest Quarterly Bulletin, it states:

Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.

This broad exercise of the money power by private banks is nowhere to be found in our federal or state constitutions, but courts have managed to get around that wrinkle. In Constitutional Law in the United States, Emlin McClain summarizes the case law like this:

A state cannot, even for the purpose of borrowing money, exercise the sovereign power of emitting paper currency (Craig v. Missouri). But this prohibition does not interfere with the power of a state to authorize banks to issue bank notes in the form of due-bills or of similar character, intended to pass as currency on the faith and credit of the bank itself, and not of the state which authorizes their issuance.

The anomalous result is that state-chartered banks are able to issue credit that passes as currency, while state governments are not. But so the cases hold, and they apply to public banks as well as private banks.

Public Banks Held Constitutional

John Thom Holdsworth wrote in Money and Banking (1937) that in the mid-nineteenth century, “several of the states established banks owned entirely or in part by the state. There was some question as to the right of these state institutions to issue circulating notes, but the Supreme Court held that such notes were not ‘bills of credit’ within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition.”

In Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 36 U.S. 257 (1837), the Court observed that the charter of the challenged Kentucky state bank contained “no pledge of the faith of the state for the notes issued by the institution. The capital only was liable; and the bank was suable, and could sue.” The Court “upheld the issuance of circulating notes by a state-chartered bank even when the Bank’s stock, funds, and profits belonged to the state, and where the officers and directors were appointed by the state legislature.”

The Court narrowly defined the sort of “bill of credit” prohibited by Article 1, Section 10, as a note issued by the state, on the faith of the state, designed to circulate as money. Since the notes in question were redeemable by the bank and not by the state itself, they were not “bills of credit” for constitutional purposes. The Court found that the notes were backed by the resources of the bank rather than the credit of the state. Moreover, the bank could sue and be sued separate from the state.

These cases are still good law. A state bank – or city bank or county bank – is not in violation of state constitutional prohibitions against lending the credit of the state.

Other Ways to Avoid Constitutional Challenge

In light of those Supreme Court cases, it hardly seems necessary for a city to become a chartered city before establishing its own publicly-owned bank; but that is another way to circumvent this debate. The California Constitution gives cities the power to become charter cities; and while General Law Cities are bound by the state constitution, cities organized under a charter have broad autonomy. They can bypass large swaths of state law, including asserting their independence from the state’s supposed restrictions on lending.

For county-owned banks, the case is not as clear. In California, Government Code 23005 forbids counties from giving their “credit to or in aid of any person or corporation. An indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this chapter is void.” But the US Supreme Court rulings validating state banks should be equally applicable to county banks; and in any case, enabling legislation can be crafted to allow public banks at any level of government.

There is another way to bypass this whole legal debate: by pursuing the initiative and referendum process pioneered in California. It allows state laws to be proposed directly by the public, and the state’s Constitution to be amended either by public petition (the “initiative”) or by the legislature with a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate (the “referendum”). In California, the initiative is done by writing a proposed constitutional amendment or statute as a petition, which is submitted to the Attorney General along with a modest submission fee. The petition must be signed by registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment) or 5% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.

Before sufficient signatures could be collected, a widespread educational campaign would need to be mounted; but just informing the public on this little-understood subject could be worth the effort. Recall the words of Henry Ford:

It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

When enough people understand that private banks rather than governments create our money supply, imposing interest and fees that constitute an enormous unnecessary drain on the economy and the people, we might wake up to a new day in banking, finance, and the return of local economic sovereignty.

______________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

 

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

The Fed Is The Great Deceiver – Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

The Great Deceiver — The Federal Reserve Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler Is the Fed “tapering”? Did the Fed really cut its bond purchases during the three month period November 2013 through January 2014? Apparently not if foreign holders…

The post The Fed Is The Great Deceiver — Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

With Greg Hunter on USAWatchDog: Banks Will Take Deposits in the Coming Financial Meltdown,...

--2014--

761. Oct. 6-9, speaker, Praxis Peace Institute conference, THE ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABILITY-Emerging Models for a Healthy Planet, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco

760. July 29-Aug. 5. Moving Beyond Capitalism conference, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

759. July 9, speaker, 2014 Annual Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations, Inc., Radisson Newport Beach Hotel, near the Orange County John Wayne Airport, 9:15 a.m. PT

758. May 26, interview, Wealth DNA Radio Show, Blog Talk Radio, wealthdna.us, noon EST

757. May 10, United We Stand Festival, Pauley Pavilion, UCLA,
https://unitedwestandfest.com/confirmed-guests/

756. May 1, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

755. April 29, moderator, Great Minds #66 with Nomi Prins, Los Angeles, CA., 7 pm PT

754. April 23, Ellen interviews Nomi Prins on It's Our Money. Listen to archive here.

753. April 21, interview with Robert Stark and Jeff Crow, Valley Talk Live, centralvalleytalk.com, Fresno, 4:30 PT

752. April 17, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow, 10 pm EST

751. April 17, interview with Greg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 EST

750. April 8, It's Our Money with Ellen Brown, interiews Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Listen to archive here.

749. April 8, interview with Alan Butler, Butler on Business, Liberty Express Radio, 11:30 AM EDT

748. April 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 9 a.m. PDT

747. April 3, interview with James Banks, KGNU radio, Boulder, CO, 5 p.m. PT

746. April 2, interview, WHDTWorldNews, Nextnewsnetwork.com, 10:30 a. m. PDT

745. March 26, 1 pm PDT, It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown. Ellen interviews Prof. ROBERT HOCKETT--fascinating background material for understanding the banks' role in the foreclosure mess and the eminent domain solution. Listen to the archive here.

744. March 24, interview with Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD, Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio, 1480 AM Washington, DC, 8 a.m. PDT

743. March 23rd, "Banking for the People—Not for Wall Street," Agenda for a Prophetic Faith Lecture Series, Claremont United Methodist Church, 211 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711, http://www.claremontumc.org/, 7 pm PT

742. Apr. 13, Interview with Chris Moore, KDKA Pittsburgh, 5 pm EST

741. March 18, 2 pm, Democratic Club, Friendly Valley Conference Room, Newhall, CA.

740. March 13, interview with Fred Smart, American Underground Network, 8 pm, CDT

739. March 12, 12 pm PDT, It's Our Money radio show with Ellen Brown, featuring Prof. TIM CANOVA on the Federal Reserve. Listen to archive here.

738. March 4, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

737. Feb. 23, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

736. Feb 20, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 3 pm, PST

735. Feb. 17, interview, Strike Debt Bay Area, KPFA, Berkeley, 2 pm (?) PST

734. Feb16, interview with Gary Dubin, The Foreclosure Hour (http://www.foreclosurehour.com/the-host.html), 5 pm PST

733. Feb. 11, interview with Clint Richardson, RBN 5 pm PST

732. Feb 9, interview with Stephen Golden, DEFENDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, KABC Los Angeles, 6 am, PST Listen to the archive here.

731. Feb. 6, interview, Move to Amend Reports, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/movetoamend, 5 pm PST

730. Feb. 5, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 9:30 am PST

729. January 30, interview, Kerry Lutz - Financial Survival Network, 12 pm EST

728. January 30, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

727. January 29, interview on Latin Waves, 8 pm PST

726. January 28, Green Party Shadow Cabinet response to State of the Union Speech. http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus 6 pm PST

725. January 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST. Listen here.

724. January 23, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here.

723. January 22, interview with Utrice Leid, "Leid Stories,", PRN.FM, 1 pm EST

722. January 21, interview, Independent Underground Radio LIVE, 9:15 PST. Listen here.

721. January 12, Open Forum with Green Party candidates Luis Rodriguez, Laura Wells and Ellen Brown, hosted by LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) 11277 GARDEN GROVE BLVD., Garden Grove, CA. 2-4 pm

720. January 11, interview with Bill Still on running for California Treasurer. Watch it here. And see another one here.

719. January 8, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, 12 noon PST. Listen here. (It's the one labelled "Take the Fed Reserve Public.")

718. Jan 7, interview, The Burt Cohen Show, 12 noon ET

--2013--

717. Dec. 30, interview, Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is, see http://stuartvener.com for stations, 11:30 am EST

716. Dec. 26, interview Dr. Rima Truth Reports, with Dr. Rima Laibow and Ralph Fucetola, 10 pm EST

715. Dec. 21, interview, KPRO Radio San Francisco, 9:30 am PST

714. Dec. 18, interview, The Power Hour with Joyce Riley, 8 a.m. CT

713. Dec. 18, interview, Unwrapped Radio, WRFG, http://www.tuneinradio.com/, 12:40 EST

712. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST, listen here.
711. Dec. 15, presentation, A Public Bank for Mendocino, at the Crown Hall in Mendocino, Ca., 7 pm

710. Dec. 15, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Mendocino Environmental Center
106 West Standley, Ukiah, CA 95482, 2 pm

709. Dec. 14, presentation, Why We Need to Own Our Own Bank, Little Lake Grange, Willits, Ca. 7 pm

708. Dec. 13, interview on All About Money, KZYX radio, 9 a.m. PST

707. Dec. 13, interview, Radio Islam, WCEV 1450 AM, 12:05 pm, CST

706. Dec. 12, appearance with Doug McKenty, "The Shift," Mendocino TV, 4:30 pm PST

705. Dec. 11, interview on WHDT World News, http://NNN.is/on-WHDT, 5:30 and 11:00 pm EST. Watch the archive here.

704. Dec. 11, interview, WORT Community Radio, Madison, Wisconsin, 6:10 a.m. PST

703. Dec. 11, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, MoneyRadio.com, 10:30 PST

702. Dec. 9, UnWrapped Radio, Atlanta, 1 pm PST.

701. Dec. 9, GOHarrison, KPFK Los Angeles, 3:30 pm PST.

700. Dec. 9, interview, Air Cascadia show, KBOO radio, Portland, 10 am PST

699. Dec. 5, interview, WHDT World News TV, 2 pm PST

698. Dec. 4, interview with David Swanson, talknationradio, 7pm PST

697. Dec. 4, interview with Rob Kall, The Rob Kall Bottom-Up Radio Show, 1360 AM, 7:30 pm EST

696. Dec. 3, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

695. Dec. 2, interview with Val Muchowski, Women's Voices, KZYX, 7 p.m. PST

694. Nov. 29, interview with Gregg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com, 11:30 PST

693. Nov. 16, interview This is Hell! radio show, WNUR 89.3 fm, thisishell.com/live, 11.20 a.m. EST. Listen to archive here

692. Nov. 15, interview with George Berry, The Financial News Network Show, truthfrequencyradio.com, 1 pm PST

691. Nov. 14, interview with Stanley Montieth, The Doctor Stan Show, Radio Liberty, 4 pm PSTf

690. Nov. 14, interview with Neil Foster, Reality Bytes show, Awake Radio (UK), Shazziz Radio (US), 8 pm UK time.

689. Nov. 13, interview with Bonnie Faulkner, KPFA, Los Angeles. Listen to archive here.

688. Nov. 12, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report, 4:30 PST

687. Nov. 11, interview, Between the Lines News Magazine, WPKN radio, Bridgeport, CT, 9 p.m. ET. Listen to archive here

686. Nov. 10, skype participant, forum at the Putrajaya International Islamic Arts and Cultural Festival, "Global Economic and Monetary Crisis: What Needs to be Done?" Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 a.m. MYT, 7 pm, Nov. 9 PST

685. Nov. 3, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

684. Oct. 31, interview with Voice of Russia radio, American edition, 2:30 pm, CET (Central Europe Time.) Listen to archive here.

683. Oct. 23, interview with Daniel Estulin on RT tv

682. Oct. 16, interview with Per Fereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 11 am PST

681. Oct. 15, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 7-9 PM, Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Ireland.

680. Oct. 14, presentation, Cork, Ireland

679. Oct. 12, presentation, "The Public Banking Forum in Ireland," 2-4 PM, Springfield Hotel in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Information on these three events here.

678. October 4, interview with Bill Deller, 3CR radio, Melbourne, Australia, 2:30 pm, PST

677. Oct. 3, interview with Joyce Riley, the Power Hour. Listen to archive here.

676. Oct. 1, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report 7:30 EST

675. Sept. 29, interview with Stephen Lendman, The Progressive Newshour, 10 a.m. PST

674. Sept. 27, interviw with Kevin Barrett, AmericanFreedomRadio.com, NoLiesRadio.org:
http://TruthJihadRadio.blogspot.com, 2 pm PST

673. Sept. 19, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

672. Sept. 19, Interview on the Global Research News Hour with Michael Welch--check site for time and archive.

671. Sept. 18, interview with David Sierralupe, Occupy Radio, KWVA, 88.1 FM, Eugene

670. Sept. 15, interview with Niall Bradley, Sott Talk Radio, sott.net, 2 p.m. EST

669. Sept. 14, interview FDLBookSalon, firedoglake.com, 5pm EST

668. Sept. 10, "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

667. Sept. 9, interview with Ken MacDermotRoe and Del LaPietro, In Context Report, 9 am PST. Listen to archive here.

666. Sept 7, interview with Valerie Kirkgaard, WakingUpInAmerica.com, 6 am, PST. Listen here.

665. Sept. 6, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 12:30 pm PST

664. Sept. 5, discussion of how to bring public banking to Colorado on "It's the Economy, Stupid," KGNU, Boulder, 5 p.m. PST

663. Sept. 5, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, 8 a.m. PST

662. Sept. 3, interview (along with Elliott Spitzer?), "Turning Hard Times into Good Times" with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST Listen to archive here.

661. Sept. 3, interview with Jeanette LaFeve, The People Speak, 6 pm PST

660. Aug. 25, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

659. Aug. 22, interview with Christopher Greene, AMTV Radio, simulcast in audio/video over GoogleHangouts and American Freedom Radio, 1 p.m. PST

658. Aug. 22, interview, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com,
CalChronicle.com, 3 pm PST

657. Aug. 21, interview with Merry and Burl Hall, blogtalkradio.com/envision-this, 5 pm PST

656. Aug. 21, interview with Lori Lundin, America's Radio News Network, 10:30 a.m. ET.

655. Aug. 16, interview with Sinclair Noe, Moneyradio.com, 4 pm PST

654. Aug. 15, interview with Justine Underhill, Prime Interest, Russia Today TV, 1:30 pm PST

653. Aug 14, interview with Jim Goddard, This Week in Money, 4 pm, PST. Listen to archive here, starting at minute 32.

652. Aug. 14, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, 10 a.m. PST

651. Aug. 14, interview with Chuck Morse, irnusaradio.com, 8 am, PST

650. Aug. 13, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV, Switzerland, 9 am PST

649. Aug 7-11, Madison Democracy conference, https://democracyconvention.org/

648. Aug. 6, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PST

647. Aug 5, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 9 am PST

646. Aug 3, interview with Diane Horn, Mind Over Matter show, KEXP radio, 90.3 FM, Seattle, 7:00 a.m. PST

645. July 31, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

644. July 28, Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

643. July 2, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

642. July 2, interview with Arnie Arnesen, 94.7 fm, Concord, NH, 12:30 EST.

641. June 30, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT. Listen to archive here.

640. June 24, interview on RT tv re student debt, 10:30 am PST

639. June 17, interview on The Andy Caldwell Show, 3:30 pm PST

638. June 16, interview with Jason Erb, 5 pm Pacific

637. June 13, interview with Paul Sanford, "Time 4 Hemp-LIVE," http://www.AmericanFreedomRadio.com, 10 am, PST

636. June 6 presentation with Jamie Brown at the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek. Info at Favors.org, 7 to 9 pm

635. June 1, interview with Kris Welch, KPFA Los Angeles, 10 am PST

634. May 28, interview with Malihe Razazan, "Your Call" radio, KALW, San Francisco, 10 am PST.

633. May 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

632. May 23 interview with Simit Patel, InformedTrades.com (youtube) 3:30 pm PST

631. May 22, Thousand Oaks, 3 expert panel, "A Parachute For the Fiscal Cliff," University Village 2-4 pm

630. May 22, interview with Jack Rasmus, 11 am PST. Enjoy the interview here.

629. May 22, Guns and Butter show, KPFA, http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/91790

628. May 14, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

627. May 13, live appearance on RTTV, 3 pm PST Watch it here.

626. May 8, interview with Valli Sharpe-Geisler, Silicon Valley Voice, KKUP, 3 pm PST

625. May 8, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST

624. May 4, interview, Latin Waves with Sylvia Richardson, 10 am PST

623. April 30, Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 1 pm PST

622. April 29, interview with Rob Kall, Bottom Up Radio, 9 am Pacific
Listen to archive here.

621. April 28, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT

620. April 25, interview, the the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, 5 pm EDT

619. April 17, interview with Mike Harris, rense.com, 1 pm PDT

618. April 16th, speaker, Valley Democrats United (Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley), Van Nuys, Ca. 7-9pm

617. April 13, interview with Darren Weeks, Govern America, noon Eastern, listen here

616. April 9, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PDT.

615. April 6, phone conference, Justice Party, http://www.justicepartyusa.org/public_banking_conference_call, 9 a.m.

614. April 5, interview, Butler on Business, 11 a.m. EDT

613. April 3, interview with Michael Welch, Global Research News Hour, 8:30 a.m. PDT

612. April 2, interview with Jay Taylor, VoiceAmerica, 12:30 PDT. Listen here.

611. April 1, interview with Brannon Howse, www.worldviewradio.com, 11 a.m. PDT

610. April 1, interview with Scott Harris, Counterpoint,
WPKN Radio, 8:30 pm, ET Listen to archive here.

609. April 1, interview with Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Watch and listen to archive here, starting at minute 50. Articles based on the interview are at Truthout.org.

608. March 31, interview with Jason Erb, Exposing Faux Capitalism, Oracle Broadcasting, 11 a.m. Pacific

607. March 31, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PDT Listen to the archive here.

606. March 29, interview, The Gary Null Show, 9:30 a.m. Pacific

605. March 28, interview with Stan Monteith, radioliberty.com, 9 pm PDT

604. March 28, radio interview, INN World Report with Tom Kiely, http://feeds.feedburner.com/INNWorldReportRadio 4:30 PDT

603. March 27, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PdT.

602. March 27, interview with Jack Rasmus on PRN, 11 a.m. PDT

601. March 25, interview on the Richard Kaffenberger show, KTOX, Needles, CA. 3:15 PDT

600. March 22, newly available archived radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

599. March 22, interview with James Fetzer, The People Speak Radio, 5-7 pm PDT

598. March 22, interview , Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, Santa Fe, 10 a.m. MST

597. March 12, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

596. March 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, Progressive Radio News Hour, 10 am, PST

595. March 9, Interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 9:30 am PST

594. March 6, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6pm PST. Watch and listen here.

593. March 3, interview with Lateef Kareem Bey, Fix Your Mortgage Mess, 4 pm PST

592. March 2, Interview with Stuart Richardson, Latin Waves, CJSF 90.1FM, 11 am PST

591. Feb. 27, interview with Jim Banks, KGNU, Boulder, 12 pm PST

590. Feb 27, interview with Sinclair Noe, Financial Review, 10 am PST

589. Feb. 25, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

588. Feb. 6, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 11 am PST. Listen to the archive here: http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2013/02/this-week-in-money-70/

587. Feb. 4, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 11 am PST.

586. Jan. 31, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 5:00 pm PST

585. Jan. 27, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio
network, 10 am PST

584. Jan. 23, interview on KPFK, 8pm PST

583. Jan. 22, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST.

582. Jan. 3, interview with Mary Glenney, WMNF 88.5, Tampa, 3 pm EST

581. Jan. 2, interview, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 5 pm PST

--- 2012 ---

580. Dec. 27, video interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, listen and watch here.

579. Dec. 24, October talk at First Unitarian Church in Portland aired on KBOO radio, http://kboo.fm/, 8:00 am PST

578. Dec. 24, interview with Ron Daniels, the WWRL Morning Show with Mark Riley, wwrl1600.com, 5:05 am PST

577. Dec. 21, interview with Andy Caldwell, TheAndyCaldwellShow.com, KZSB AM1290 Santa Barbara / Ventura and KUHL AM1440 Santa Maria / San Luis Obispo, 3:30 pm PST

576. Dec. 20, interview with Fred Smart, aunetwork.tv, 9 pm EST

575. Dec. 19, interview, Crisis of Reality with Doug Newberry, oraclebroadcasting.com, 1pm EST. Listen here.

574. Dec. 19, interview with Dr. Jack Rasmus, Alternative Visions, Progressive Radio Network, 2 pm EST

573. Dec. 17, The Bev Smith Show, thebevsmithshow.net, 4 pm PST

572. Dec. 15, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen here.

571. Dec. 14, interview with Craig Barnes, Our Times With Craig Barnes, KSFR radio, 9 am PST Listen to the archive here.

570. December 9th, speaker, Mayo Arts Center (10 Mayo Street) in Portland, ME
http://mayostreetarts.org/about-us/where-we-are 7:30-9pm

569. Dec. 7, Vermont's New Economy conference, Vermont College of the Find Arts, Montpelier, VT, 9 am to 4 pm and reception at 4:30. $25
www.global-community.org/neweconomy to register

568. Dec. 5, speaker, Pennsylvania Public Bank Project's Forum on Public Banking, at the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, PA, 7pm

567. Nov. 26-27, 3rd Annual World Conference on Riba, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

566. Nov. 22, presentation before Royal Scottish Academy -- "A Public Bank for Scotland" (here), Riddle's Court, 322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2PG Scotland, 6 pm

565. Nov 8, Healthy Money Summit, speaking with Hazel Henderson at 1-2 pm PST, information here.

564. Sunday, Oct. 28, Keynote Speaker; The Buck Starts Here, 2:00pm, sponsored by the Kairos Occasional Speakers Series & OFOR, Kairos Milwaukie UCC, Milwaukie, OR.

563. Saturday, Oct. 27, Keynote Speaker; OFOR Saturday Symposium: The Buck Starts Here, 10am - 3pm, Molalla, OR

562. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 26-28, Keynote Speaker; Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation Fall Retreat - The Buck Starts Here, Camp Adams, Molalla, OR, Friday, 5pm- Sunday 12 noon

561. Friday, October 26, Invited Commentator; screening of “HEIST” (new documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis), sponsored by First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice Action Groups, Alliance for Democracy, KBOO, Move to Amend, 7:00pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

560. (Oct. 25-28, Bioneers Conference, Portland, OR)
Oct. 25, Keynote Speaker; sponsored by Portland Fellowship of Reconciliation (PFOR) and the First Unitarian Church of Portland's Economic Justice and Peace Action Groups, 7:00-8:30pm, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR

559. Oct. 24, interview with Per Fagereng, KBOO radio, Portland, 9 am PST

558. Oct. 24, KPFA "Guns and Butter" interview. Listen to archived show here.

557. Oct. 21, speaker at BBQed Oysters and Beer Fundraiser Party for PBI, San Rafael, CA, 4 pm PST

556. Oct. 14, Live Gaiam tv interview appearance. Watch it here free at 7pm EST.

555. Oct. 12, interview with Matt Rothschild of The Progressive, 10 a.m. Central time

554. October 11-14, speaker, Economic Democracy Collaborative, Madison, Wisconsin

553. Oct. 11, radio interview with Norm Stockwell, WORT, 12 pm CST

552. Oct. 9, interview with Kevin Barrett, No Lies Radio, listen to archive here.

551. Oct. 8, interview, "Mountain Hours Revolution Radio" with Wayne Walton, on RBN, 12-1 pm PST

550. Oct. 7, interview with Lloyd D'Aguilar, "Looking Back Looking Forward", http://lookingbacklookingforward.com/, 2 pm EST

549. Sept. 26, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

548. Sept. 25, interview with Dr. Stanley Montieth, radioliberty.com, 3pm PST

547. Sept. 24, interview with Charlie McGrath, Wide Awake News, 6-7 pm PST.

546. Sept. 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

545. Sept. 17 interview along with Hazel Henderson, National Teach In for Occupy Wall Street, http://www.livestream.com/owshdtv 5pm EST

544. Sept. 10, interview with Thomas Taplin, Dukascopy TV (Switzerland), 7 am PST Watch and listen here

543. Sept. 7, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

542. Sept. 6, interview with Douglas Newberry, markettoolbox.tv, 1pm EST. Listen here.

541. Aug 28, interview, the Meria Heller Show, 11 am PST. Listen to archive here. And listen to excellent Meria Heller show here.

540. Aug 26, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, listen to archive here.

539. August 21, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com. Listen to archive here.

538. Aug 20, interview with Kim Greenhouse, It's Rainmaking Time, listen here.

537. Aug 16, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 6 am PST

536. Aug. 14, interview, TheAndyCaldwellshow.com, 4:30pm PST

535. August 13, interview with American Free Press, 1 pm PST

534. July 24, interview along with Victoria Grant, The People Speak, 6pm, PST

533. July 24, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST

532. July 23, interview with Charlie McGrath, wideawakenews.com, 6 pm PST

531. July 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7 pm PST

530. July 22, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

529. July 19, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

528. July 10-12, Speaker, Conference on Social Transformation, Faculty of Economics, Split University, Split Croatia

527. July 10, video interview with Max Keiser, the Keiser Report, on the ESM. Watch it here.

526. July 7, Interview with Phil Mackesy, This Week in Money, TalkDigitalNetwork.com, 3 pm PST

525. July 6, video interview with Dr. Mercola, see it here.

524. June 23, Interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

523. June 21, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Radio Report, 4:30 pm PST

522. June 21, interview on the Gary Null Show, 9:20 am PST

521. June 18, interview with Ken Rose, What Now radio show, KOWS RADIO OCCIDENTAL 107.3 FM, 1 pm PST. Listen to archive here.

520. June 17, interview with Bill Resnick, KBOO radio, 9 am PST

519. June 16 interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST. Listen to archive here.

518. June 9, interview with Sylvia Richardson, Latin Waves, 9:45 am PST. Listen to archive here.

517. June 5, interview, Truth Quest With Melodee, KHEN radio, 7pm PST

516. June 2, interview about Web of Debt, Our Common Ground,http://www.blogtalkradio.com/OCG, 7pm PST

515. June 1, interview with Robert Stark, The Stark Truth listen here.

514. Newly available video of interview on "Moral Politics" -- see it here

513. May 30, interview, The Tim Dahaney Show, ll am PST

512. May 28, interview with Pedro Gatos, "Bringing Light into Darkness", KOOP.ORG, 6 pm CST

511. May 24, interview, Make It Plain With Mark Thompson, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, 2pm PST

510. May 20, interview, Women's View Radio, blogtalkradio.com, 10 am Central Time. Listen here.

509. May 13, interview, www.Blogtalkradio.com/fixyourmortgagemess, 4:15 pm PST

508. May 12, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST Listen here.

507. May 9, seminar, Re-imagining Money and Credit, Art bldg. rm 103, El Camino college, Torrance, Ca. 5-7:30 pm

506. May 8, interview with Mike Harris, republicbroadcasting.org, 9 am EST

505. May 7, radio discussion on "The Myth of Austerity", Connect the Dots, KPFK Los Angeles, 7 am PST. Listen here.

504. May 4, interview The Unsolicited Opinion, republicbroadcasting.org, 8 am PST

503. April 27-28, speaker, Public Banking Institute Conference, Friends Center, Philadelphia. Listen here.

502. April 25, speaker Global Teach-In (globalteachin.com), 12 noon EST

501. April 17, Interview with Leo Steel, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lasteelshoworg, 8:30 pm EST. Listen here.. 31 minutes in.

500. April 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

499. April 14, interview with Al Korelin, The Korelin Economics Report

498. April 10th-12th Speaker at Claremont Conference, “Creating Money in a Finite World” Claremont, CA . See video here.

497. April 5, interview , This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com) 12:30 PST. Listen to the archive here.

496. April 3, speaker at COMER with Paul Hellyer, "Escape From the Web of Debt," Toronto, 7:30 pm

495. March 27, speaker on "Why are we so Broke? New ways to look at the Finances of our State and City," League of Women Voters luncheon, San Diego, 12 noon

494.5 March 24, radio interview, Mandelman Matters. Listen here.

494. March 17, speaker via skype, SCADS conference, London

493. March 15, interview with Per Fagereng, Fight the Empire, KBOO radio, 9:30 am PST

492. March 15, speaker, San Rafael City Hall 6 pm

491. March 13, speaker at Sergio Lub's house, Walnut Creek, info at Favors.org, 6pm

490. March 11, speaker, TedxNewWallStreet. See it here.

489. March 10, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

488. March 6, interview with Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, http://radio.rumormillnews.com/podcast/, 11 am PST

487. Feb. 25, interview with Martin Andelman, http://www.mandelman.ml-implode.com, 9:30 am PST

486. Feb. 25, interview, This Week In Money with Phil Mackesy (howestreet.com), 3 pm PST

485. Feb. 25, interview on CIVL Radio, Latin Waves, How Greece Could Take Down Wall Street, 11:30am PST

484. Feb 23, interview with Thomas Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

483. Feb. 17, featured speaker, Public Banking in America weekly call, 9 am PST

482. Feb. 11, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

481. Feb. 8, interview with Mike Beevers, KFCF Fresno, 4:30 pm PST

480. Feb. 7, interview with Kevin Barrett, NoLiesRadio.org, 9 am PST; listen to archive here

479. Feb. 6, participant, Occupiers and Wells Fargo Executives Gather to Discuss the American Foreclosure Crisis, The Center of Nonprofit Management at California Endowment Building 1000 N. Alameda, Los Angeles, meeting 3 pm and press conference 5:30 pm

478. Feb. 2, interview with Tom Kiely, INN World Report Radio, 7:30 pm EST

477. Feb. 2, interview with Patrick Timpone, oneradionetwork.com, naturalnewsradio.com. Listen to archive here

476. Jan. 31, interview, Liberty Coins and Precious Metals, 9 am PST

475. Jan. 27, interview KPFA, Project Censored, 8:30 am PST

474. Jan. 27, FILMS4CHANGE-INSIDEJOB, panel speaker, Edye Second Space, Santa Monica Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm

473. Jan 22, interview with Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, 7:30 pm PST. Listen live here.

472. Jan. 20, interview with Mike Harris, The Republic Broadcasting Network, 7 am PST

471. Jan. 16, interview with Rob Lorei, WMNF fm, Tampa, 2 pm PST

470. Jan. 14, interview with Stephen Lendman, progressive radio network, 10 am PST

469. Jan. 11, interview with Jeff Rense, rense.com, 8pm PST

Exactly Like 7 Years Ago? 2014 Is Turning Out To Be Eerily Similar To...

The similarities between 2007 and 2014 continue to pile up.  As you are about to see, U.S. home sales fell dramatically throughout 2007 even as the mainstream media, our politicians and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised us that everything was going to be just fine and that we definitely were not going to experience [...]

Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury

Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates.  Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel?

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute.  But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful – they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages.For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract?  That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup.   

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate at which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in over $400 trillion in derivatives called interest-rate swaps, and it is set by the sixteen private megabanks behind closed doors.

The biggest victims of interest-rate swaps have been local governments, universities, pension funds, and other public entities. The banks have made renegotiating these deals prohibitively expensive, and renegotiation itself is an inadequate remedy. It is the equivalent of the grocer giving you an extra potato when you catch him cheating on the scales. A legal action for fraud is a more fitting and effective remedy. Fraud is grounds both for rescission (calling off the deal) as well as restitution (damages), and in appropriate cases punitive damages.

Trapped in a Fraud

Nationally, municipalities and other large non-profits are thought to have as much as $300 billion in outstanding swap contracts based on LIBOR, deals in which they are trapped due to prohibitive termination fees. According to a 2010 report by the SEIU (Service Employees International Union):

The overall effect is staggering. Banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees alone from state and local governments over the past two years. This does not even begin to account for the outsized net payments that state and local governments are now making to the banks. . . .

While the press have reported numerous stories of cities like Detroit, caught with high termination payments, the reality is there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more cities, counties, utility districts, school districts and state governments with swap agreements [that] are causing cash strapped local and city governments to pay millions of dollars in unneeded fees directly to Wall Street.

All of these entities could have damage claims for fraud, breach of contract and rescission; and that is true whether or not they negotiated directly with one of the LIBOR-rigging banks.

To understand why, it is necessary to understand how swaps work. As explained in my last article here, interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how they are supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay on its separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. The rate owed on the debt is based on something called the SIFMA municipal bond index.  The rate owed by the bank is based on the privately-fixed LIBOR rate.

As noted by Stephen Gandel on CNNMoney, when the rate-setting banks started manipulating LIBOR, the two rates decoupled, sometimes radically. Public entities wound up paying substantially more than the fixed rate they had bargained for – a failure of consideration constituting breach of contract. Breach of contract is grounds for rescission and damages.

Pain and Suffering in California

The SEIU report noted that no one has yet completely categorized all the outstanding swap deals entered into by local and state governments.  But in a sampling of swaps within California, involving ten cities and counties (San Francisco, Corcoran, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Oxnard, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Riverside, and Sacramento), one community college district, one utility district, one transportation authority, and the state itself, the collective tab was $365 million in swap payments annually, with total termination fees exceeding $1 billion.

Omitted from the sample was the University of California system, which alone is reported to have lost tens of millions of dollars on interest-rate swaps. According to an article in the Orange County Register on February 24, 2014, the swaps now cost the university system an estimated $6 million a year. University accountants estimate that the 10-campus system will lose as much as $136 million over the next 34 years if it remains locked into the deals, losses that would be reduced only if interest rates started to rise. According to the article:

Already officials have been forced to unwind a contract at UC Davis, requiring the university to pay $9 million in termination fees and other costs to several banks. That sum would have covered the tuition and fees of 682 undergraduates for a year.

The university is facing the losses at a time when it is under tremendous financial stress. Administrators have tripled the cost of tuition and fees in the past 10 years, but still can’t cover escalating expenses. Class sizes have increased. Families have been angered by the rising price of attending the university, which has left students in deeper debt.

Peter Taylor, the university’s Chief Financial Officer, defended the swaps, saying he was confident that interest rates would rise in coming years, reversing what the deals have lost. But for that to be true, rates would have to rise by multiples that would drive interest on the soaring federal debt to prohibitive levels, something the Federal Reserve is not likely to allow.

The Revolving Door

The UC’s dilemma is explored in a report titled “Swapping Our Future: How Students and Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits.” The authors, a group called Public Sociologists of Berkeley, say that two factors were responsible for the precipitous decline in interest rates that drove up UC’s relative borrowing costs. One was the move by the Federal Reserve to push interest rates to record lows in order to stabilize the largest banks. The other was the illegal effort by major banks to manipulate LIBOR, which indexes interest rates on most bonds issued by UC.

Why, asked the authors, has UC’s management not tried to renegotiate the deals? They pointed to the revolving door between management and Wall Street. Unlike in earlier years, current and former business and finance executives now play a prominent role on the UC Board of Regents.

They include Chief Financial Officer Taylor, who walked through the revolving door from Lehman Brothers, where he was a top banker in Lehman’s municipal finance business in 2007. That was when the bank sold the university a swap related to debt at UCLA that has now become the source of its biggest swap losses. The university hired Taylor for his $400,000-a-year position in 2009, and he has continued to sign contracts for swaps on its behalf since.

Investigative reporter Peter Byrne notes that the UC regent’s investment committee controls $53 billion in Wall Street investments, and that historically it has been plagued by self-dealing. Byrne writes:

Several very wealthy, politically powerful men are fixtures on the regent’s investment committee, including Richard C. Blum (Wall Streeter, war contractor, and husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), and Paul Wachter (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time business partner and financial advisor). The probability of conflicts of interest inside this committee—as it moves billions of dollars between public and private companies and investment banks—is enormous.

Blum’s firm Blum Capital is also an adviser to CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which also got caught in the LIBOR-rigging scandal. “Once again,” said CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear of the LIBOR-rigging, “the financial services industry demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to make decisions in the long-term interests of investors.” If the financial services industry cannot be trusted, it needs to be replaced with something that can be.

Remedies

The Public Sociologists of Berkeley recommend renegotiation of the onerous interest rate swaps, which could save up to $200 million for the UC system; and evaluation of the university’s legal options concerning the manipulation of LIBOR. As demonstrated in the new FDIC suit, those options include not just renegotiating on better terms but rescission and damages for fraud and breach of contract. These are remedies that could be sought by local governments and public entities across the state and the nation.

The larger question is why our state and local governments continue to do business with a corrupt global banking cartel. There is an alternative. They could set up their own publicly-owned banks, on the model of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Fraud could be avoided, profits could be recaptured, and interest could become a much-needed source of public revenue. Credit could become a public utility, dispensed as needed to benefit local residents and local economies.

__________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

Today on “It’s Our Money” – Nomi Prins

Today’s guest on “It’s Our Money” is Nomi Prins, speaking on her blockbuster new book All the Presidents’ Bankers. Listen to the archive here.

Also check the archives for Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers on the burgeoning activist movement; Prof. Robert Hockett on the use of eminent domain to help underwater homeowners; and Prof. Timothy Canova on the Federal Reserve.

Great fun interviewing our favorite experts, on topics we think will interest you!

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.

It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.

The Largest Cartel in World History

On March 14, 2014, the FDIC filed suit for LIBOR-rigging against sixteen of the world’s largest banks – including the three largest US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup), the three largest UK banks, the largest German bank, the largest Japanese bank, and several of the largest Swiss banks. Bill Black, professor of law and economics and a former bank fraud investigator, calls them “the largest cartel in world history, by at least three and probably four orders of magnitude.”

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate by which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative trades, and it is set by these sixteen megabanks privately and in secret.

Interest rate swaps are now a $426 trillion business. That’s trillion with a “t” – about seven times the gross domestic product of all the countries in the world combined. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in 2012 US banks held $183.7 trillion in interest-rate contracts, with only four firms representing 93% of total derivative holdings; and three of the four were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, the US banks being sued by the FDIC over manipulation of LIBOR.

Lawsuits over LIBOR-rigging have been in the works for years, and regulators have scored some very impressive regulatory settlements. But so far, civil actions for damages have been unproductive for the plaintiffs. The FDIC is therefore pursuing another tack.

But before getting into all that, we need to look at how interest-rate swaps work. It has been argued that the counterparties stung by these swaps got what they bargained for – a fixed interest rate. But that is not actually what they got. The game was rigged from the start.

The Sting

Interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how it’s supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay out on this separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. As explained by Stephen Gandel on CNN Money:

The rates on the debt were based on something called the Sifma municipal bond index, which is named after the industry group that maintains the index and tracks muni bonds. And that’s what municipalities should have bought swaps based on.

Instead, Wall Street sold municipalities Libor swaps, which were easier to trade and [were] quickly becoming a gravy train for the banks.

Historically, Sifma and LIBOR moved together. But that was before the greatest-ever global banking cartel got into the game of manipulating LIBOR. Gandel writes:

In 2008 and 2009, Libor rates, in general, fell much faster than the Sifma rate. At times, the rates even went in different directions. During the height of the financial crisis, Sifma rates spiked. Libor rates, though, continued to drop. The result was that the cost of the swaps that municipalities had taken out jumped in price at the same time that their borrowing costs went up, which was exactly the opposite of how the swaps were supposed to work.

The two rates had decoupled, and it was chiefly due to manipulation. As noted in the SEUI report:

[T]here is . . . mounting evidence that it is no accident that these deals have gone so badly, so quickly for state and local governments. Ongoing investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California, Florida, and Connecticut Attorneys General implicate nearly every major bank in a nationwide conspiracy to rig bids and drive up the fixed rates state and local governments pay on their derivative contracts.

Changing the Focus to Fraud

Suits to recover damages for collusion, antitrust violations and racketeering (RICO), however, have so far failed. In March 2013, SDNY Judge Naomi Reece Buchwald dismissed antitrust and RICO claims brought by investors and traders in actions consolidated in her court, on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claims. She held that the rate-setting banks’ actions did not affect competition, because those banks were not in competition with one another with respect to LIBOR rate-setting; and that “the alleged collusion occurred in an arena in which defendants never did and never were intended to compete.”

Okay, the defendants weren’t competing with each other. They were colluding with each other, in order to unfairly compete with the rest of the financial world – local banks, credit unions, and the state and local governments they lured into being counterparties to their rigged swaps. The SDNY ruling is on appeal to the Second Circuit.

In the meantime, the FDIC is taking another approach. Its 24-count complaint does include antitrust claims, but the emphasis is on damages for fraud and conspiring to keep the LIBOR rate low to enrich the banks. The FDIC is not the first to bring such claims, but its massive suit adds considerable weight to the approach.

Why would keeping interest rates low enrich the rate-setting banks? Don’t they make more money if interest rates are high?

The answer is no. Unlike most banks, they make most of their money not from ordinary commercial loans but from interest rate swaps. The FDIC suit seeks to recover losses caused to 38 US banking institutions that did make their profits from ordinary business and consumer loans – banks that failed during the financial crisis and were taken over by the FDIC. They include Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure in US history. Since the FDIC had to cover the deposits of these failed banks, it clearly has standing to recover damages, and maybe punitive damages, if intentional fraud is proved.

The Key Role of the Federal Reserve

The rate-rigging banks have been caught red-handed, but the greater manipulation of interest rates was done by the Federal Reserve itself. The Fed aggressively drove down interest rates to save the big banks and spur economic recovery after the financial collapse. In the fall of 2008, it dropped the prime rate (the rate at which banks borrow from each other) nearly to zero.

This gross manipulation of interest rates was a giant windfall for the major derivative banks. Indeed, the Fed has been called a tool of the global banking cartel. It is composed of 12 branches, all of which are 100% owned by the private banks in their districts; and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been the most important by far of these regional Fed banks. New York, of course is where Wall Street is located.

LIBOR is set in London; but as Simon Johnson observed in a New York Times article titled The Federal Reserve and the LIBOR Scandal, the Fed has jurisdiction whenever the “safety and soundness” of the US financial system is at stake. The scandal, he writes, “involves egregious, flagrant criminal conduct, with traders caught red-handed in e-mails and on tape.” He concludes:

This could even become a “tobacco moment,” in which an industry is forced to acknowledge its practices have been harmful – and enters into a long-term agreement that changes those practices and provides continuing financial compensation.

Bill Black concurs, stating, “Our system is completely rotten. All of the largest banks are involved—eagerly engaged in this fraud for years, covering it up.” The system needs a complete overhaul.

In the meantime, if the FDIC can bring a civil action for breach of contract and fraud, so can state and local governments, universities, and pension funds. The possibilities this opens up for California (where I’m currently running for State Treasurer) are huge. Fraud is grounds for rescission (terminating the contract) without paying penalties, potentially saving taxpayers enormous sums in fees for swap deals that are crippling cities, universities and other public entities across the state. Fraud is also grounds for punitive damages, something an outraged jury might be inclined to impose. My next post will explore the possibilities for California in more detail. Stay tuned.

______

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary Tagged: | , , ,

Martial Law’s A Guarantee — Jim Willie

By Susan Duclos


In the video below from Finance And Liberty.com, Elijah Johnson interviews Jim Willie, but there is a quote at the very beginning which I will transcribe here and then just let the video interview speak for itself... it is powerful and encompasses the events we are seeing in the world today.


"For thirty years we've been exporting price inflation. Now we're going to import 200% price inflation... this is going to be a nightmare of price inflation and product shortages... and then you get the violence at the supermarkets, at the gas stations, and at the ATM machines... society is going to have a hard time managing it, Martial Law's a guarantee." - Jim Willie




Via the video details

IN THIS INTERVIEW:
- Japanese economic collapse ahead ►1:13
- Former Bank of Japan Governor says Japan's QE is ineffective at helping economy.** What about the Federal Reserve's QE? ►4:40
- Russia to stop trading in U.S. dollar; petrodollar system is ending ►8:44
- How will the average American be affected by the collapse of the petrodollar system - possible hyperinflation in U.S. ►15:19
- Is it too late to prepare? ►24:56
Jim Willie online ►http://GoldenJackass.com


Cross posted at Before it's News


Interview 839 — James Corbett on The Ochelli Effect

James Corbett joins previous Corbett Report guest Chuck Ochelli on his own radio program on UCY.TV, The Ochelli Effect. They discuss Patriot Mythology, the Federal Reserve, alternative monetary systems, constructing alternatives vs. "fighting the system," Fukushima updates and more.

How the Credit Card Gravy Train Is Running Over You

The credit card business is now the banking industry’s biggest cash cow, and it’s largely due to lucrative hidden fees. 

You pay off your credit card balance every month, thinking you are taking advantage of the “interest-free grace period” and getting free credit. You may even use your credit card when you could have used cash, just to get the free frequent flier or cash-back rewards. But those popular features are misleading. Even when the balance is paid on time every month, credit card use imposes a huge hidden cost on users—hidden because the cost is deducted from what the merchant receives, then passed on to you in the form of higher prices.

Visa and MasterCard charge merchants about 2% of the value of every credit card transaction, and American Express charges even more. That may not sound like much. But consider that for balances that are paid off monthly (meaning most of them), the banks make 2% or more on a loan averaging only about 25 days (depending on when in the month the charge was made and when in the grace period it was paid). Two percent interest for 25 days works out to a 33.5% return annually (1.02^(365/25) – 1), and that figure may be conservative.

Merchant fees were originally designed as a way to avoid usury and Truth-in-Lending laws. Visa and MasterCard are independent entities, but they were set up by big Wall Street banks, and the card-issuing banks get about 80% of the fees. The annual returns not only fall in the usurious category, but they are returns on other people’s money – usually the borrower’s own money!  Here is how it works . . . .

The Ultimate Shell Game

Economist Hyman Minsky observed that anyone can create money; the trick is to get it accepted. The function of the credit card company is to turn your IOU, or promise to pay, into a “negotiable instrument” acceptable in the payment of debt. A negotiable instrument is anything that is signed and convertible into money or that can be used as money.

Under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, when you sign the merchant’s credit card charge receipt, you are creating a “negotiable instrument or other writing which evidences a right to the payment of money.” This negotiable instrument is deposited electronically into the merchant’s checking account, a special account required of all businesses that accept credit.  The account goes up by the amount on the receipt, indicating that the merchant has been paid.  The charge receipt is forwarded to an “acquiring settlement bank,” which bundles your charges and sends them to your own bank. Your bank then sends you a statement and you pay the balance with a check, causing your transaction account to be debited at your bank.

The net effect is that your charge receipt (a negotiable instrument) has become an “asset” against which credit has been advanced.  The bank has simply monetized your IOU, turning it into money.  The credit cycle is so short that this process can occur without the bank’s own money even being involved. Debits and credits are just shuffled back and forth between accounts.

Timothy Madden is a Canadian financial analyst who built software models of credit card accounts in the early 1990s. In personal correspondence, he estimates that payouts from the bank’s own reserves are necessary only about 2% of the time; and the 2% merchant’s fee is sufficient to cover these occasions. The “reserves” necessary to back the short-term advances are thus built into the payments themselves, without drawing from anywhere else.

As for the interest, Madden maintains:

The interest is all gravy because the transactions are funded in fact by the signed payment voucher issued by the card-user at the point of purchase. Assume that the monthly gross sales that are run through credit/charge-cards globally double, from the normal $300 billion to $600 billion for the year-end holiday period. The card companies do not have to worry about where the extra $300 billion will come from because it is provided by the additional $300 billion of signed vouchers themselves. . . .

That is also why virtually all banks everywhere have to write-off 100% of credit/charge-card accounts in arrears for 180 days. The basic design of the system recognizes that, once set in motion, the system is entirely self-financing requiring zero equity investment by the operator . . . . The losses cannot be charged off against the operator’s equity because they don’t have any. In the early 1990′s when I was building computer/software models of the credit/charge-card system, my spreadsheets kept “blowing up” because of “divide by zero” errors in my return-on-equity display.

A Private Sales Tax

All this sheds light on why the credit card business has become the most lucrative pursuit of the banking industry. At one time, banking was all about taking deposits and making commercial and residential loans. But in recent years, according to the Federal Reserve, “credit card earnings have been almost always higher than returns on all commercial bank activities.”

Partly, this is because the interest charged on credit card debt is higher than on other commercial loans. But it is on the fees that the banks really make their money. There are late payment fees, fees for exceeding the credit limit, balance transfer fees, cash withdrawal fees, and annual fees, in addition to the very lucrative merchant fees that accrue at the point of sale whether the customer pays his bill or not. The merchant absorbs the fees, and the customers cover the cost with higher prices.

A 2% merchants’ fee is the financial equivalent of a 2% sales tax – one that now adds up to over $30 billion annually in the US. The effect on trade is worse than either a public sales tax or a financial transaction tax (or Tobin tax), since these taxes are designed to be spent back into the economy on services and infrastructure. A private merchant’s tax simply removes purchasing power from the economy.

As financial blogger Yves Smith observes:

[W]hen anyone brings up Tobin taxes (small charges on every [financial] trade) as a way to pay for the bailout and discourage speculation, the financial services industry becomes utterly apoplectic. . . . Yet here in our very midst, we have a Tobin tax equivalent on a very high proportion of retail trade. . . . [Y]ou can think of the rapacious Visa and Mastercharge charges for debit transactions . . . as having two components: the fee they’d be able to charge if they faced some competition, and the premium they extract by controlling the market and refusing to compete on price. In terms of its effect on commerce, this premium is worse than a Tobin tax.

A Tobin tax is intended to have the positive effect of dampening speculation. A private tax on retail sales has the negative effect of dampening consumer trade. It is a self-destruct mechanism that consumes capital and credit at every turn of the credit cycle.

The lucrative credit card business is a major factor in the increasing “financialization” of the economy. Companies like General Electric are largely abandoning product innovation and becoming credit card companies, because that’s where the money is. Financialization is killing the economy, productivity, innovation, and consumer demand.

Busting the Monopoly

Exorbitant merchant fees are made possible because the market is monopolized by a tiny number of credit card companies, and entry into the market is difficult. To participate, you need to be part of a network, and the network requires that all participating banks charge a pre-set fee.

The rules vary, however, by country. An option available in some countries is to provide cheaper credit card services through publicly-owned banks. In Costa Rica, 80% of deposits are held in four publicly-owned banks; and all offer Visa/MC debit cards and will take Visa/MC credit cards. Businesses that choose to affiliate with the two largest public banks pay no transaction fees for that bank’s cards, and for the cards of other banks they pay only a tiny fee, sufficient to cover the bank’s costs.

That works in Costa Rica; but in the US, Visa/MC fees are pre-set, and public banks would have to charge that fee to participate in the system. There is another way, however, that they could recapture the merchant fees and use them for the benefit of the people: by returning them in the form of lower taxes or increased public services.

Local governments pay hefty fees for credit card use themselves. According to the treasurer’s office, the City and County of San Francisco pay $4 million annually just for bank fees, and more than half this sum goes to merchant fees. If the government could recapture these charges through its own bank, it could use the proceeds to expand public services without raising taxes.

If we allowed government to actually make some money, it could be self-funding without taxing the citizens. When an alternative public system is in place, the private mega-bank dinosaurs will no longer be “too big to fail.” They can be allowed to fade into extinction, in a natural process of evolution toward a more efficient and sustainable system of exchange.

____________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the bestselling Web of Debt. In her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank platform.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Related

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

No Janet Yellen, The Economy Is NOT “Getting Better”

On Tuesday, new Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen went before Congress and confidently declared that "the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year" and that "substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health".  This resulted in glowing headlines throughout the mainstream media such as this one from [...]

Bernanke at Brookings

Bernanke at Brookings

by Stephen Lendman

On January 31, he stepped down as Fed chairman. Janet Yellen replaced him. He's entering a new world of million-dollar book deals. He'll make $100,000 a pop speeches. 

Expect appointments to corporate boards. CEOs value his rainmaking services. 

On February 3, Brookings headlined "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to Join Economic Studies at Brookings."

He's a "Distinguished Fellow in Residence." He's affiliated with the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy (HCFMP). On January 16, Brookings launched it. 

Its board of trustees vice chair Glenn Hutchins contributed $10 million in seed money. He co-founded the multi-billion dollar private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Guess what type policies HCFMP will endorse. 

"We are proud to welcome chairman Bernanke into the Brookings family," said president Strobe Talbot. He's Clinton's former deputy secretary of state. He was directly involved in some of his worst policies.

Brookings' agenda is brazenly imperial. It's pro-corporate. It's anti-populist. It feigns concern about inequality. It supports government of, by and for privileged elites alone. Expect Bernanke to fit right in.

His Fed tenure was deplorable. He betrayed the public trust. His record attests to his wickedness. 

His agenda was ruthlessly anti-populist. He did more to thirdworldize America for profit than any of his predecessors. 

He handed Wall Street crooks multi-trillions of dollars. He facilitated the greatest wealth transfer in history. He created a protracted Main Street Depression. No end in sight looms.

Noted investor Jeremy Grantham's commentaries are refreshing. He cuts to the heart of issues. He pulls no punches doing so.

He titled an earlier commentary "Night of the Living Fed: Something Unbelievably Terrifying."

He highlighted "runaway commodities, (zombi) banks back to life, homes destroyed, families evicted, and currency wars."

He blamed Bernanke. "If I were a benevolent dictator," he said, he'd limit the Fed solely to maintaining price stability. 

He'd make sure the economy got enough liquidity to function normally. He's "force (the Fed) to swear off manipulating asset prices through artificially low rates and asymmetric promises."

He referred to the Greenspan/Bernanke put. He'd eliminate "immoral hazard." It's immoral behavior. It's outsized excess. It's grand theft.

It bails out large investors. Doing so encourages imprudent risks. Winning is guaranteed. Regulatory checks are absent. Anything goes is policy.

Things persist "under the guise of 'saving the system,' " said Grantham. Money manipulators have things their way.

Fed chairmen are tools of monied interests. They know who butters their bread. They return favors manyfold. Greenspan did from August 1987 through January 2006.

Bernanke exceeded his worst policies. He did so from February 1, 2006 through January 31, 2014. 

Both chairmen qualify as maestros of misery. They created bubble financial conditions. America's 1% profited hugely. They did so at the expense of most others.

Virtually all global assets are overpriced. Bubble conditions exist. Grantham compared them to Einstein's definition of insanity. The madness of repeating the same mistakes. Expecting a different outcome doesn't work.

Last spring, Grantham compared Fed policy to beating a donkey. He called it the 1% growing economy. "(H)e keeps beating it until it either turns into a horse or drops dead from too much beating," said Grantham.

"We've been conned." We're manipulated to believe "debt is everything." In 1982, it was one-and-a-quarter times GDP.

It's nearly triple that amount now. It has nothing to do with long-term growth. It's an "accounting world. It's paper," said Grantham.

"The real world is the quantity and quality of your people, and the quality and quantity of capital spending."

"Are you building new machines? Are you being inventive?" Are you educating a new generation properly?

"We're in this death grip that only paper things matter." Vital issues go unaddressed. Wealth keeps getting transferred "from the poor to the rich."

Interest rates are outrageously now. They're practically zero. Speculators benefit. Ordinary people lose out. 

Retirees are deprived of vital income. Financial interests are served at the expense of the real economy.

During his tenure as Fed chairman, Bernanke handed speculators over $20 trillion. Most was practically interest free. They took full advantage.

Money printing madness defines Fed policy. Helicopter Ben dropped none on Main Street. In 2002, his helicopter money speech said:

"The US government has a technology, called a printing press (today its electronic equivalent)." 

It "allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost."

Most circulating money is bank-generated credit. It's created out of thin air. It's when banks extend loans.

When old ones are repaid faster than new ones, money supply shrinks. QE is supposed to reverse things.

Things haven't worked out this way. Key is where Fed money goes. Dropping it on Main Street stimulates economic growth.

Handing it to Wall Street crooks parks it in their reserve accounts. It's not used for lending.

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman said it "stayed trapped in the canyons of Wall Street." He called it "high grade monetary heroin."

It's "kill(ing) the patient." It's "legalized bank robbery." It's recklessly out-of-control.

It "inflate(d) yet another unsustainable bubble." They all burst. No exceptions. This time isn't different.

Money printing madness and bailouts reflect "the single most shameful chapter in American financial history," said Stockman.

Bernanke operated by Abraham Maslow's maxim. "(I)f the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail," he said.

QE continues. It's slowing. Yellen can rev it up full bore any time. It's self-defeating. It contracts the money supply. It's by sucking up collateral needed to create credit.

It constrains economic growth. It doesn't create jobs. It solely benefits Wall Street. Banksters made out like bandits. Speculators profited hugely. They did so at the expense of Main Street. 

Financial warfare rages. America and other societies are affected. Ordinary people are hurt most. Hard times keep getting harder.

QE works when used constructively. Money injected responsibly into the economy creates growth. It creates jobs. When people have money they spend it.

A virtuous cycle of prosperity follows. America once was sustainably prosperous. Today it’s in decline. It's heading for third world status. It's more kleptocracy than democracy.

Money power in private hands assures trouble. Ellen Brown explained more. Up to 40% of "everything we buy goes (for) interest."

It goes to "bankers, financiers and bondholders." A third or more of national wealth shifts from Main Street to Wall Street. 

Complicit politicians let it happen. They do so for generous benefits derived. Greed is the national pastime. So is looting America for profit.

Most people think paying bills and credit card charges on time avoids interest charges. Not so, says Brown. 

"Tradesmen, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers all along the chain of production rely on credit to pay their bills."

Their costs pass on to consumers. Unwittingly they pay. Ordinary people make wealthy ones richer. They do so at their own expense. What better argument for public banking than that.

Borrowing from public banks eliminates or greatly reduces interest rate charges. It works at federal, state and local levels.

Public banks don't have to earn profits. They're not beholden to Wall Street or shareholders. They're self-sustaining. They can lend for their own needs. They can do it for businesses, farmers and consumers.

The more loans roll over, the more debt-free money is created. If used productively for growth, it's virtually inflation-free. As long as new money produces goods and services, price stability follows.

Economies flourish. All boats are lifted. Millions of high-pay/good benefit jobs can be created. Homes become more affordable. Foreclosures end. So do out-of-control speculation, booms and busts.

Private savings, pensions, and investments become secure. So do Social Security, Medicare and other vital social programs. They can be in perpetuity.

Surpluses replace deficits. Sustained prosperity follows. It's not pie in the sky. It happened before. It can happen again. 

Good policies achieve good results. Bad ones wreck things for most people. Hard times get harder. Current conditions reflect Exhibit A.

They didn't happen by accident. Bernanke's Fed bears full responsibility. Economist Steve Keen commented on his legacy.

"It certainly won't be as he expected," said Keen. He'll likely "be blamed for causing the 'Great Recession...' "

He blamed his predecessors "for causing the Great Depression."

"His finger-pointing doesn't get any more blatant than" praising Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday. It was in 2002.

"I would like to say to Milton and Anna (Schwartz): Regarding the Great Depression. You're right. We did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

He's done it and then some. The worst is yet to come. 

"(I)f Ben had truly learned from both his analysis of the data and 'Milton and Anna (Schwartz), then you'd think that surely he would have ensured that the rate of growth of M1" would never drop "to or below zero, wouldn't you?"

That's exactly what happened. America's money supply is lower than when he became Fed chairman. He has no control over whether banks choose to make loans.

Doing so increases money supply growth. Holding back shrinks it. "So on Ben's own theory of what caused the Great Depression, he could quite easily be found guilty," said Keen.

Crisis conditions occurred on his watch. His policies were "the very things he said the Fed got wrong in the late 1920s."

He wrote his own legacy. It won't change now. He's ideologically over-the-top. He's responsible for more human wreckage than any of his predecessors.

He caused epidemic levels of poverty, unemployment and deprivation. He engineered the greatest wealth heist in world history. 

He debauched the dollar. He created multiple market bubbles.
He created worse crisis conditions than in 1929.

Market analyst Yves Smith calls him Greenspan on steroids. He'll be remembered as the economy wrecker of last resort.

He's unapologetic. Debt pyramiding doesn't work. Money printing madness reflects grand theft. Accountability isn't Bernanke's long suit.

He's off to greener pastures. He's cashing in for services rendered. He'll be well rewarded for enriching Wall Street. Banksters take care of their own.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Are We On The Verge Of A Massive Emerging Markets Currency Collapse?

This time, the Federal Reserve has created a truly global problem.  A big chunk of the trillions of dollars that it pumped into the financial system over the past several years has flowed into emerging markets.  But now that the Fed has decided to begin "the taper", investors see it as a sign to pull [...]

How Economists and Policymakers Murdered Our Economy – Paul Craig Roberts

How Economists and Policymakers Murdered Our Economy Paul Craig Roberts The economy has been debilitated by the offshoring of middle class jobs for the benefit of corporate profits and by the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing in order to…

The post How Economists and Policymakers Murdered Our Economy — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Obama Nominates Three Fed Governors

Obama Nominates Three Fed Governorsby Stephen LendmanIt's official. A White House statement headlined "President Obama Announces his Intent to Nominate Three to Serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System."Nominees include Stanley Fis...

Economy ‘Illusion’ To Collapse – X22 Report

By Susan DuclosThe X22 Report explains how the so-called economic recovery is an illusion being perpetrated by the Federal Reserve, the US government, and corporate media, with reports on stocks rising, holiday sales being up, unemployment down, etc......

X22Report: ‘Gov’t Is Scared Of The American People’

By Susan DuclosIn the latest release by X22Report we find out the Federal Reserve is is beefing up it's 1,000 person police force, wanting a lot more armed protection and it is very clear as to why they feel the need for increased security."They're wor...

Gold Will Break Below $960 — It’s in the Script

As gold broke below the psychologically important level of $1,200 an ounce late in December of 2013, the mainstream financial media burst with headlines like this one from Marketwatch, "Gold’s Safe-Haven Role is Over".  The Nobel prize winning economist from The NY Times, Paul Krugman, penned a wicked missive on the ‘barbarous relic’ by invoking Keynes and the absurdity of miners going to “great lengths to dig cash out of the ground, even though unlimited amounts of cash could be created at essentially no cost with the printing press.”

The basis of a vibrant and dynamic society is an open and free marketplace where people ‘vote’ with their decisions on where to spend money, where to live, what to read, who to vote for, etc.  In the United States, a good example of what occurs when decisions are centralized is healthcare and education-  the key decisions are made outside the mainstream of the marketplace and the country ranks far below the rest of the developed world, even behind countries with considerably less economic wealth.  As central planning and regulations remove potential players and solidify the positions of special interests, the quality of education and healthcare has plummeted.

So what does this have to do with the price of gold?  Everything.


What is Money?


Gold is money.  Federal Reserve Notes are not money on one important score; they are a poor long term store of value.  One ounce of gold in 1938 was worth just about $35 and a new car was worth $860.  If a new car dealer took the money from the sale of a new car in 1938, converted it to gold and gave that gold to his new born son, when the boy turned 75 in 2013 he could have bought a brand new Toyota Camry with the gold his father had given him.  If instead, the father had given him the cash, he could have gone out and bought himself a fancy new bicycle with the dollars he'd held on to for 75 years.

If the old man, feeling flush, tossed in an extra ounce of the ‘barbarous relic’ for gas in 1938 his son could have bought about 350 gallons of gas for the ounce of gold.  If the kiddo had held on to the gas money in the form of gold, he could have, in 2013, bought almost the exact amount, 360 gallons. But if the youngster had made the mistake of converting his ounce of gold into dollars, he could have, in 2013, bought a good bottle of Spanish wine with the Federal Reserve Notes he received in 1938 for his ounce of gold.
.
Money is a means of exchange, AND a store of value.  The dollar is a great means of exchange but it's a pitiful store of value.

In essence, money is work.  If someone wants to sell 1,000 kilos of wild salmon for $10,000 he might find a few buyers who, if they wanted to proceed, would ask about delivery.  If the seller pointed toward the cold waters off the Alaskan coast and indicated that the fish were out there swimming around, he wouldn't have any buyers at any price.  When someone pays for fish, they are not paying money for the fish, they are paying money for the work involved in finding them, catching them, and transporting them to market.  Money is a means of exchange-  the fisherman exchanges his work (the fish) for money and he uses the money to maintain the value of his work and later exchange it for the work of others.  That is money for the working man.


The Sucker, the Conman and the Shill



Imagine the fisherman decides he needs a new boat and wants to finance the entire purchase price. He will go to his local bank and, if approved, will be given the funds to purchase the boat in exchange for signing a promissory note for the amount and terms of the loan.

When the fisherman signed the promissory note, he assumed that other fishermen, or their equivalents in productive society, worked, earned money, deposited that money in a bank to earn interest and that's the interest he was going to pay on his boat loan, plus the margin for the bank.  The interest rate he was paying seemed reasonable, 7%.  The guy who deposited the money needs a return, and so does the bank.  In fact, it seemed cheap to him. He probably wouldn't continue fishing if the best he could do was make what the bank or the depositor made, say about half of his interest rate, 3.5%.  For that, he would sell everything and buy a ten year bond that paid close to 3% and call it a day.  But he’s not a banker and he assumes they're making money some other way.

The banker is thrilled.  He did take some deposits and put them in reserve (about 10% of the loan amount) and he will be paid interest (.25%) on that amount by the Fed.  Then he created, out of thin air, the entire loan amount to give to the fisherman.  The money he gave the fisherman never existed before the fisherman signed the promissory note.  The banker is making more than 70% on the money he has left in reserve, for which is also earning interest.  Worst case, if the fisherman goes belly up, the banker will sell the boat.  He can’t lose much.

The PhD Nobel Laureate, writing for a one of the world’s great newspapers, never a word he speaks of this, for if he did, only for Zero Hedge would he write and not a penny would he see for his poetic prose.  So instead he writes about Democrats and Republicans and higher taxes on the fisherman to pay for the bigger deficits he is so fond of.  More deficits, more debt, he exclaims. Just print the stuff like it’s going out of style and we’ll all be living high on the hog.

The fact is, only the fisherman actually does something worthwhile for society, while the banker stuffs his pockets and the PhD stuffs his ego while filling the masses with fantasies.

So what does this have to do with gold going below $960?  Everything.


The Script



To survive as a human being in the United States, as well as in most corners of this world, one needs money.  Money to put a roof over one's head, money to buy food, money to heat one's house, money to put a shirt on one’s back.  The banker's script says that fiat money (dollars, yen, euros, etc.) is real money, the same as gold.  Money is work, and gold stores the value of work.  Fiat money is a claim on future work-  it's not work itself.

What banks do is the equivalent of allowing people to become indentured servants, signing away their futures for a stack of instantly made Federal Reserve Notes, and they get their hooks in early.  The average college graduate in 2012 had just over $20,000 in student loan debt on graduation day as well as additional credit card debt.  The banker's ability to create money out of nothing and lend it to kids is a good example of how they have completely demolished any semblance of democracy in America.  Who in their right mind would loan a kid $20,000 for a college education if the money they lent was earned through work?  Would we pay billions to the NSA to spy on us, or trillions to fight imperial proxy wars all over the world if we had to pay for them with work (gold)?

Of course we wouldn't.  If the money that was loaned to governments, businesses and individuals was real, much more critical thinking would be involved in its allocation and the cumulative votes of investors would render practical results, instead Twitter is valued at over $30 billion.  But when the Fed is pumping trillions into markets, who is thinking about risk?  If people actually decided on public policy through having to pay for those polices through work, the world would look much different than it does today.  When money is created by the trillions out of nothing and simply laid as claim on the future work of the populace, then the only ones deciding on those policies are the money masters who control the printing presses.

If gold were used as the basis of our money, the only way to make more of it would be to dig it out of the ground and that takes work, something bankers and shills are quite averse too.  To loan money they would first have to either work and earn it, or make a spread on what they paid in interest and what they earned on loans, becoming intermediaries.  Neither variant is to their liking as they much prefer to print it out of thin air, loan it out and keep the interest.  The now infamous 1% are dependent on this model of money creation and when their ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008, they turned on the presses overtime and made it all back and more in a few short years.

Gold is incredibly democratic in that there is no machine to print it.  But there is paper gold, which the bankers have leveraged about a 100 times and with which they can drive the price of gold wherever they want with their fiat money.  The script says that their money is real- the new and improved version of the outdated gold.  Gold is the enemy of fiat money because its intrinsic scarcity and universally accepted value is a constant reminder of the banker's ponzi scheme.

In April of 2011 gold hit a record high of $1,923 an ounce.  Come hell or high-water, the banksters want to announce in the corporate media they own, that once and for all the shiny stuff has been deemed a relic, nice for jewelry but wholly useless as money.  To do this they will drive the price below $960 an ounce, halving its price in dollars in about three years. It doesn't take much to imagine the headlines, Is Gold a Worthless Investment? etc.  But Dr. Krugman would say these are the fantasies of conspiratorial gold nuts.  Really Dr. Krugman?


On April 11, 2013 gold closed at $1,562 an ounce.  On April 12 someone sold 400 tons of gold, 300 of which was sold in just 30 minutes, driving the price of gold down below $1,500 an ounce, crashing through important technical levels and for many, marking the end to gold's bull run which began in 2000.  How much is 400 tons of gold?  It's about 15% of all the gold mined in 2011 or .25% of all the gold ever mined in the history of man, worth about $20 billion dollars at the time.  This was obviously not done by someone who owned gold because there would be no reason to drive the price down so dramatically if someone wanted to exit a position. This was a naked short, done by someone with deep pockets to make a dramatic, headline catching move in the gold market.  Not surprisingly, Dr. Krugman wasted no time chiming in and on April 15, 2013 he wrote of gold bugs, "Maybe, just maybe, the gold crash will finally bring intellectual capitulation. But I wouldn't bet on it."

That's very interesting coming from a Nobel prize winner who doesn't even understand the basics of money creation, as was clearly shown in his debate with economist Steve Keen.

Gold is much more than an investment, it's the backbone of liberty.  Without it we will be led by the banksters and their shills down the merry way of slavery, plutocracy and totalitarianism.

It's in the script.

Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and esotericist.  Download his latest novel, Your Love Incomplete, for free here.


Looking Back on Five Years of Economic Turmoil: Heart Burn or Heart Attack?



When significant US economic markets went haywire in the summer and fall of 2008, a fear, even panic, struck those charged with developing and implementing economic policy. The prevailing thinking-- unbridled capitalism with near-religious confidence in market mechanisms-- appeared to be in irreversible retreat.
The housing market cooled, home values shrank, and the financial structure built around home ownership began to collapse. As the stock market fell freely from previous highs, led by the implosion of bank stocks, investors withdrew dramatically from the market. Credit froze and consumption slowed. Thus began a downward spiral of employee layoffs, reduced consumption, capital hoarding, and retarded growth, followed by more layoffs, etc. etc.
As fear set in, policy makers scrambled to find an answer to a crisis that threatened to deepen and spread to the far reaches of the global economy. With interest rates near zero, they recognized that the monetarist toolbox, in use since the Carter administration, offered no answer.
At the end of the Bush administration, bi-partisan leaders approved the injection of hundreds of billions of public dollars into the financial system with the hope of stabilizing the collapsing market value of banks, a move popularly dubbed a “bailout.”
Early in the Obama administration, Democratic Party administrators crafted another recovery program totaling about three-quarters of a trillion dollars, a program involving a mix of tax cuts, public-private infrastructure projects, and expanded direct relief. Economists generally viewed this effort as a “stimulus” program designed to trigger a burst of economic activity to jump-start a stalled economic engine. Dollar estimates of aggregate US Federal bailouts and stimuli meant to overcome the crisis rose as high as the value of one year's Gross Domestic Product in the early years after the initial free fall. The Federal Reserve continues to offer a $75 billion transfusion every month into the veins of the yet ailing US economy.
Bad Faith
The last three decades of the twentieth century brought forth a new economic consensus of not merely market primacy, but total market governance of economic life. Regulation of markets was believed to destabilize markets and not correct them. Public ownership and public services were seen as inefficient and untenable holdouts from market forces. Public and private life beyond the economic universe were subjected to markets, measured by market mechanisms, and analyzed through the lens of market-thought. Indeed, market-speak became the lingua franca unifying all of the social sciences and humanities in this era. With the fall of the Soviet Union, capital and its profit-driven processes penetrated every corner of the world. Only independent, anti-imperialist, market-wary movements like those led by Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and a few others gained some political success against the unprecedented global dominance of private ownership and market mechanisms.
While capitalism in its most unadorned, aggressive form enjoyed the moments of triumph, forces were at play undermining that celebration. Those forces crashed the party in 2000 in the form of a serious economic downturn, the so-called “Dot-com Recession” featuring a $5 trillion stock market value loss and the disappearance of millions of jobs. Economists marveled at how slowly the jobs were returning before the US and global economy were hit with another, more powerful blow in 2008. Clearly, the first decade of the twenty-first century will be remembered as one of economic crisis and uncertainty, a turmoil that continues to this day.
Apart from the human toll-- millions of lost jobs, poverty, homelessness, lost opportunities, destruction of personal wealth-- the crisis-ridden twenty-first century challenged the prevailing orthodoxy of unfettered markets and private ownership. Even such solid and fervent advocates of that orthodoxy as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Times were rocked by the crisis, questioning the soundness of classical economic principles. No principle is more dear and essential for the free marketeers than the idea that markets are self-correcting. While there may be short-term economic imbalances or downturns, free-market advocates believe that market movement always tends towards balance and expansion in the long run. Thus, a persistent, long term stagnation or decline is thought to be virtually impossible (with the caveat that there are no restrictions imposed on the market mechanism).
So when perhaps the greatest era of extensive global open-market economy experienced the most catastrophic economic collapse since the Great Depression, serious doubts arose about the fundamental tenets of market ideology. And during the darkest days of 2008 and 2009, a veritable ideological panic swept over pundits and experts of the Right and the “respectable” Left. Some rehabilitated an out-of-fashion economist and spoke of a “Minsky moment.” Liberals proclaimed the death of neo-liberalism (the popular term for the return to respectability of classical economics that began in the late 1970s). And still others foresaw a restoration of the interventionist economics represented by John Maynard Keynes, the economic theories that guided the capitalist economy through most of the post-war period. Even the most conservative economists conceded that market oversight, if not regulation, was both necessary and forthcoming.
Yet, change has not come forth. Despite over five years of decline and stagnation, despite a continued failure of markets to self-correct, free-market ideology continues to dominate both thinking and policy, clearly more faith-based than reality-based. In part, the resilience of open-market philosophy emanates from the shrewd manufacture of debt-fear by politicians and debt-mongering by financial institutions. By raising the shrill cry of exploding debt and impending doom, attention was diverted from the failings of the unfettered market and towards government austerity and massive debt reduction.
Diagnosis?
Clearly all the Nobel Prize-winning mathematical economic models thought to capture economic activity failed to predict and explain the 2008 crash. No amount of faith could disguise the monumental failure of raw, unregulated markets and the policies that promoted them. Two competing, sharply contrasting, and simplistic explanations came forward.
Defenders of free markets shamelessly, brazenly argue that government meddling thwarted the full and free operation of market mechanisms, thus, exacerbating what would have been a painful, but quickly resolved correction. Following the metaphor alluded to in this article’s title, heartburn was misdiagnosed, treated with radical surgery, only to create a life-threatening condition.
Of course this is self-serving nonsense.
Whatever else we may know about markets, we know this: since the process of deregulating markets began in earnest in the late 1970s, crises have only occurred more frequently, with greater amplitude, and harsher human consequences. Before that, and throughout the earlier post-war period, government intervention and regulation tended to forestall downturns, moderate their nadir, and soften the human toll. And a glimpse at an earlier period of market-friendly policy– the early years of the Great Depression-- demonstrates the folly of simply waiting for the promised correction: matters only grew worse. Then, as now, life proved to be a hard taskmaster; when market mechanisms really go awry, no one can afford to wait for self-correction.
Liberal and soft-Left opponents of an unfettered market offer a different argument. They saw the crisis as, not the absence of free markets, but the failure to oversee and regulate markets adequately. On this view, shared by nearly all liberals and most of the non-Communist Left, markets are fundamental economic mechanisms-- essential, if you will-- but best shepherded by government controls that steer markets back when they threaten to run amok.
Thus, the 2008 crisis would have been averted, they believe, if rules and regulations remained in place that were previously designed and implemented to protect the economy from market excesses; if we had not loosened the rules and regulations, we would never have experienced the disaster of 2008.
This view is bad history and even worse economics.
While liberals would like to believe that regulations and institutions spawned by the New Deal of the 1930s stabilized capitalism and tamed markets, the truth is otherwise. The massive war spending initiated sometime before the US entry into World War II solved the problems of growth and excess manpower associated with the long decade of stagnation, hesitant recovery, retreat, and further stagnation that befell the economy beginning in 1929.
Capitalism gained new momentum with post-war reconstruction. Productive forces were restored where they had been destroyed, refreshed where they were worn, and improved in the face of new challenges. This broad restructuring of capitalism produced new opportunities for both profit and growth. At the same time, the lesson of massive socialized, public, and planned military spending were not lost. New threats were conjured, new fears constructed. The hot war in Korea and the ever-expanding Cold War fueled an unprecedented US expansion. It is not inappropriate to characterize this post-war expansion as a period of “military-Keynesianism.” That is, it was an era of Keynesian policies of planned, extensive government spending married to military orders outside of the market. Insofar as it transferred a significant share of the capitalist economy to a command, extra-market sector, it marked a new stage of state-monopoly capitalism, a stage embracing some of the features of socialism.
But by the mid-1960s this “adjustment” began to lose its vitality. Profit growth, the driving force of capitalist expansion, started a persistent decline (for a graphic depiction of this trend, see the chart on page 103 of Robert Brenner's The Economics of Global Turbulence (New Left Review, May/June 1998).
The falling rate of profit coupled with raging inflation by the middle of the 1970s. The military-Keynesian solutions to capitalist crisis were spent, exhausted, proving inadequate to address a new expression of the instability of capitalism. Perhaps nothing signaled the bankruptcy of the prevailing (Keynesian) orthodoxy more than the desperate WIN campaign-- Whip Inflation Now of the Gerald Ford presidency, an impotent attempt to stem the crisis with mass will-power where intervention failed.
Contrary to the claims of liberals, social democrats and other reform-minded saviors of capitalism, the resultant shift in orthodoxy was notmerely a political coup, a victory of retrograde ideology, but instead it was an unwinding of the failed Keynesian policies of the moment. Thus, the Thatcher/Reagan “revolution” was only the vehicle for a dramatic adjustment of the course of capitalism away from a spent, ineffective paradigm.
With Paul Volker assuming the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve and the beginnings of systematic deregulation, the Carter administration planted the seeds of the retreat from the old prescriptions. Volker, with his growth-choking interest rates, ensured a recession that would sweep away any will to resist belt-tightening. But it took the election of the dogma-driven Ronald Reagan to emulate the UK's Margaret Thatcher and use the occasion to eviscerate wages and benefits in order to pave the way for profit growth.
The cost of restoring life to the moribund capitalist economy was borne by the working class. Foolishly, the stolid, complacent labor leadership had banked on the continuation of the tacit Cold War contract: Labor supports the anti-Communist campaign and the corporations honor labor peace with consistent wage and benefit growth. Instead, profit growth was restored by suppressing the living standards of labor-- cutting “costs.” A vicious anti-labor offensive ensued.
While the loyal opposition insists on portraying the break with Keynesian economics as something new (commonly dubbed “neo-liberalism”), it was, in fact, a surrender to the old. The bankruptcy of bourgeois economics could offer no new, creative answer to capitalist crisis; it could only cast off a failed approach and restore profits by relentlessly squeezing the labor market.
This response could and only did succeed because of the extraordinary weakness of the labor movement. As the profit rate began to rebound, labor lacked the leadership and will to not only secure a share of productivity increases, but to even defend its previous gains.
Thus, capitalism caught a second wind by retreating from the post-war economic consensus and reneging on the implicit labor peace treaty. Profit growth returned and the system sailed on.
But the continuing advance of deregulation and privatization brought with it a return to the unbuffered anarchy of markets. The Savings and Loan crises of the 1980s and 1990s and the stock market crash of October 1987 were all harbingers of things to come and reflections of deeper instability.
With the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialism, a huge new market was delivered to the global capitalist system, a market that further energized the opportunities for capital accumulation and expanded profits. Millions of educated, newly “free” (free of security, safe working conditions, legal protection, and organization) workers joined reduced-wage and low-wage workers from the rest of the world to form a vast pool of cheap labor. From the point of view of the owners of capital, paradise had truly arrived. Thus, an immense, one-sided class war and the wage-depressing integration of millions of new workers set capitalism on a profit-restoring path to health, putting the now impotent Keynesian orthodoxy in the rear-view mirror. Few would guess that this trip would endure for less than two decades before capitalism would again encounter serious crises.
Significant economic growth in a period of weak labor necessarily produces galloping inequality. With corporate and wealthy-friendly tax policies, many government redistribution mechanisms are starved or dismantled. The flow of wealth accelerates to corporations and the super-rich and away from those who work for a living. The coffers of the investor class swell with money anxious for a meaningful, significant return on investment. As the process of capital accumulation intensifies, fewer and fewer safe, high-yield productive investment opportunities arise to absorb the vast pool of ever-expanding wealth concentrated in the hands of a small minority.
In a mature capitalism, new, riskier avenues-- typically removed from the productive sector-- emerge to offer a home for capital and promise a return. Bankers and other financial “wizards” compete ferociously to construct profit-generating devices that promise more and more. These instruments grow further and further from productive activity. Moreover, their resultant “profits” are ever further removed from real, tangible, material value. Instead, they virtually exist as “hypothetical” capital, or “counter-factual” capital, or “future-directed” capital, or “contingent” capital. Some Marxists rush to label this product of speculation as “fictitious,” but that obscures its ultimate origin in exploitative acts in the commodity-production process. It is this expansion of promissory capital that fuels round after round of speculative investment lubricated with greater and greater debt.
Metaphors abound for the end game of this process: “bubbles,” “house of cards,” etc. But the ultimate cause of crisis is the failure to satisfy the never ending search for return. That is, the cause of crisis resides in the process of accumulation intrinsic to capitalism and the inability to sustain a viable return on an ever enlarging pool of capital and promissory capital. Capitalists measure their success by how their resources are fully and effectively put to use to generate new surpluses. That is the deepest, most telling sense of “rate of profit.” It is the gauge guiding the capitalist-- an effective rate of profit based on accumulated assets. Apart from official and contrived measures of profit rates, the growth of accumulated capital, weighed against the available investment opportunities, drives future investment and determines the course of economic activity.
In 1999, the profitability of the technology sector dropped precipitously as a result of the unrealizable investment of billions of yield-seeking dollars in marginal Dot.com companies and internet services. As an answer to the problem of over-accumulation, investing in the fantasies of 20-year-old whiz kids proved to be as irrational as sane observers thought it to be. The crash followed.
And again in the heady days of 2005, buying bizarre securities packed with the flotsam and jetsam of mortgage shenanigans seemed a way of finding a home for vast sums of “unproductive” capital. After all, capital cannot remain idle; it must find a way to reproduce itself. But what to do with the earnings from reselling the demand-driven securities? More of the same? More risk? More debt? And repeat?
The portion of US corporate profits “earned” by the financial sector grew dramatically from 1990 until the 2008 crash, touching nearly 40% in the mid-2000s and demonstrating the explosion of alternative investment vehicles occupying idle capital. It is crucial to see a link, an evolutionary necessity, between the restoration of profitability, intense capital accumulation, and the tendency for profitability to be challenged by the lack of promising investment opportunities. It is not the whim of bankers or the cleverness of entrepreneurs that drives this process, but the logical imperative of capital to produce and reproduce.
Some Comments and Observations
There are other theories of crisis offered by the left. One theory, embraced by many Communist Parties, maintains that crisis emerges from over-production. Of course, in one sense, over-accumulation is a kind of overproduction, an overproduction of capital that lacks a productive investment destination. But many on the left mean something different. They argue that capitalism produces more commodities in the market place than impoverished, poorly paid workers can purchase. There are two objections to this: one theoretical, one ideological.
First, evidence shows that a slump in consumption or a spike in production does not, in fact, precede economic decline in our era. If overproduction or its cousin, under-consumption, were the causeof the 2008 downturn, data would necessarily show some prior deviation from production/consumption patterns. But there are none. Instead, the reverse was the case: the crisis itself caused a massive gap between production and consumption, exacerbating the crisis. The threat of oversupply lingers in the enormous deflationary pressure churning in the global economy. Despite the fact that consumer spending is such a large component of the US economy, the effects of its secular stagnation or decline has been largely muted by the expansion of consumer credit and the existence, though tenuous, of social welfare programs like unemployment insurance.
Second, if retarded or inadequate consumption were the cause of crises, then redistributive policies or tax policies would offer a simple solution to downturns, both to prevent them and reverse them. Thus, capitalism could go on its merry way with little fear of crisis. Certainly this is the ideological attraction of overproduction explanations of crises: they allow liberals and social democrats to tout their ability to manage capitalism through government policies.
However they cannot manage capitalism because crises are located, not in the arena of circulation (matching production and consumption), but in the profit-generating mechanism of capitalism, its veritable soul.
Because of the centrality of profit, the over-accumulation explanation has an affinity with another theory of crisis: Marx's argument for the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. In fact, it can be viewed as a contemporary version of the argument without nineteenth-century assumptions.
Happily, many commentators today have revisited the theory outlined in Volume III of Capital, finding a relevance ignored throughout most of the twentieth century. Only a handful of admirers of Marx's work kept the theory alive in that era, writers like Henryk Grossman, John Strachey, and Paul Mattick. Unfortunately, today's admirers, like the aforementioned predecessors, share the flaw of uncritically taking Marx's schema to be Holy Grail. For the most part, Marx used very occasional formalism as an expository tool and not as the axioms of a formal system. Those trained in modern economics are prone to leap on these formulae with an undergraduate zeal. They debate the tenability of a model that depicts the global economy as a collection of enterprises devouring constant capital at a greater rate than employment of labor and mechanically depressing the rate of profit. This is to confuse simplified exposition with robust explanation. Much can be learned from Marx's exposition without turning it into a scholastic exercise.
Among our left friends, it has become popular to speak of the crisis and era as one of “financialization.” This is most unhelpful. Indeed, the crisis had much to do with the financial sector; indeed, the financial sector played and is playing a greater role in the global economy, especially in the US and UK; but conjuring a new name does nothing to expose or explain the role of finance. Like “globalization” in an earlier time, the word “financialization” may be gripping, fashionable, and handy, but it otherwise hides the mechanisms at work; it’s a lazy word.
*****
There is a point to this somewhat lengthy, but sketchy journey through the history of post-war capitalism. Hopefully, the journey demonstrates or suggests strongly that past economic events were neither random nor simply politically driven. Instead, they were the product of capitalism's internal logic; they sprang from roadblocks to and adjustments of capitalism's trajectory. As directions proved barren, new directions were taken. While it is not possible to rule out further maneuvers addressing the inherent problem of over-accumulation, the problem will not go away. It will return to haunt any attempt that presumes to conquer it once and for all. And if capitalism carries this gene, then it would be wise to look to a better economic system that promises both greater stability and greater social justice. Of course, finding that alternative begins with revisiting the two-hundred-year-old idea long favored by the working class movement: socialism. Affixed to that project is the task of rebuilding the movement, the political organization needed to achieve socialism.
As things stand in today's world, there are most often only two meager options on the regular menu: one, to save and maintain capitalism with the sacrifices of working people and the other, to save and maintain capitalism with the sacrifices of working people and a token “fair share” sacrifice on the part of corporations and the rich. Neither is very nourishing.
The first option is based on the thin gruel of “trickle down” economics and the nursery-rhyme wisdom of “a rising tide raises all boats.” It is the prescription of both of the major US political parties, Japan's Abe, the European center parties, and UK Labour.
The second option promises to save capitalism as well, but through a bogus fair distribution of hardship across all classes. This is the course offered by most European left parties and even some Communist Parties.
But a system-- capitalism-- that is genetically disposed to extreme wealth distribution and persistent crisis does not make for an appetizing meal. Instead, we need to dispense with programs that promise to better manage capitalism, as Greek Communists (KKE) like to say. That is for others who are at peace with capitalism or underestimate its inevitable failings.
The only answer to the heart failure of capitalism is to change the diet and put socialism on the menu.

Zoltan Zigedy

100 Years of Financial Terrorism

100 Years of Financial Terrorismby Stephen LendmanDecember 23, 1913 will live in infamy. Three days before Christmas, House members passed the Federal Reserve Act (FSA). On December 23, Senate members did so. President Woodrow Wilson was a tool of...

100 Years Is Enough: Time to Make the Fed a Public Utility

December 23rd, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, warranting a review of its performance.  Has it achieved the purposes for which it was designed?

The answer depends on whose purposes we are talking about.  For the banks, the Fed has served quite well.  For the laboring masses whose populist movement prompted it, not much has changed in a century.

Thwarting Populist Demands

The Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913 in response to a wave of bank crises, which had hit on average every six years over a period of 80 years. The resulting economic depressions triggered a populist movement for monetary reform in the 1890s.  Mary Ellen Lease, an early populist leader, said in a fiery speech that could have been written today:

Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. . . . Money rules . . . .Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. . . .

We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out.

That was what they wanted, but the Federal Reserve Act that they got was not what the populists had fought for, or what their leader William Jennings Bryan thought he was approving when he voted for it in 1913. In the stirring speech that won him the Democratic presidential nomination in 1896, Bryan insisted:

[We] believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government. . . . Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson . . . and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business.

He concluded with this famous outcry against the restrictive gold standard:

You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

What Bryan and the populists sought was a national currency issued debt-free and interest-free by the government, on the model of Lincoln’s Greenbacks. What the American people got was a money supply created by private banks as credit (or debt) lent to the government and the people at interest. Although the national money supply would be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it would be issued by the “bankers’ bank,” the Federal Reserve. The Fed is composed of twelve branches, all of which are 100 percent owned by the banks in their districts. Until 1935, these branches could each independently issue paper dollars for the cost of printing them, and could lend them at interest.

1929: The Fed Triggers the Worst Bank Run in History

The new system was supposed to prevent bank runs, but it clearly failed in that endeavor. In 1929, the United States experienced the worst bank run in its history.

The New York Fed had been pouring newly-created money into New York banks, which then lent it to stock speculators. When the New York Fed heard that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors had held an all-night meeting discussing this risky situation, the flood of speculative funding was retracted, precipitating the 1929 stock market crash.

At that time, paper dollars were freely redeemable in gold; but banks were required to keep sufficient gold to cover only 40 percent of their deposits. When panicked bank customers rushed to cash in their dollars, gold reserves shrank. Loans then had to be recalled to maintain the 40 percent requirement, collapsing the money supply.

The result was widespread unemployment and loss of homes and savings, similar to that seen today. In a scathing indictment before Congress in 1934, Representative Louis McFadden blamed the Federal Reserve. He said:

Mr. Chairman, we have in this Country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks . . . .

The depredations and iniquities of the Fed has cost enough money to pay the National debt several times over. . . .

Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United  States  Government  institutions.  They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.

These twelve private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted upon this Country by the bankers who came here from Europe and repaid us our hospitality by undermining our American institutions.

Freed from the Bankers’ “Cross of Gold”

To stop the collapse of the money supply, in 1933 Roosevelt took the dollar off the gold standard within the United States. The gold standard had prevailed since the founding of the country, and the move was highly controversial. Critics viewed it as a crime. But proponents saw it as finally allowing the country to be economically sovereign.

This more benign view was taken by Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a presentation before the American Bar Association in 1945. He said the government was now at liberty to spend as needed to meet its budget, drawing on credit issued by its own central bank. It could do this until price inflation indicated a weakened purchasing power of the currency. Then, and only then, would the government need to levy taxes—not to fund the budget but to counteract inflation by contracting the money supply. The principal purpose of taxes, said Ruml, was “the maintenance of a dollar which has stable purchasing power over the years. Sometimes this purpose is stated as ‘the avoidance of inflation.’”

It was a remarkable realization. The government could be funded without taxes, by drawing on credit from its own central bank. Since there was no longer a need for gold to cover the loan, the central bank would not have to borrow. It could just create the money on its books. Only when prices rose across the board, signaling an excess of money in the money supply, would the government need to tax—not to fund the government but simply to keep supply (goods and services) in balance with demand (money).

Ruml’s vision is echoed today in the school of economic thought called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). But after Roosevelt’s demise, it was not pursued. The U.S. government continued to fund itself with taxes; and when it failed to recover enough to pay its bills, it continued to borrow, putting itself in debt.

The Fed Agrees to Return the Interest

For its first half century, the Federal Reserve continued to pocket the interest on the money it issued and lent to the government. But in the 1960s, Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, pushed to have the Fed nationalized. To avoid that result, the Fed quietly agreed to rebate its profits to the U.S. Treasury.

In The Strange Case of Richard Milhous Nixon, published in 1973, Congressman Jerry Voorhis wrote of this concession:

It was done, quite obviously, as acknowledgment that the Federal Reserve Banks were acting on the one hand as a national bank of issue, creating the nation’s money, but on the other hand charging the nation interest on its own credit—which no true national bank of issue could conceivably, or with any show of justice, dare to do.

Rebating the interest to the Treasury was clearly a step in the right direction. But the central bank funded very little of the federal debt. Commercial banks held a large chunk of it; and as Voorhis observed, “[w]here the commercial banks are concerned, there is no such repayment of the people’s money.” Commercial banks did not rebate the interest they collected to the government, said Voorhis, although they also “‘buy’ the bonds with newly created demand deposit entries on their books—nothing more.”

Today the proportion of the federal debt held by the Federal Reserve has shot up, due to repeated rounds of “quantitative easing.” But the majority of the debt is still funded privately at interest, and most of the dollars funding it originated as “bank credit” created on the books of private banks.

Time for a New Populist Movement?

The Treasury’s website reports the amount of interest paid on the national debt each year, going back 26 years. At the end of 2013, the total for the previous 26 years came to about $9 trillion on a federal debt of $17.25 trillion. If the government had been borrowing from its own central bank interest-free during that period, the debt would have been reduced by more than half. And that was just the interest for 26 years. The federal debt has been accumulating ever since 1835, when Andrew Jackson paid it off and vetoed the Second U.S. Bank’s renewal; and all that time it has been accruing interest. If the government had been borrowing from its central bank all along, it might have had no federal debt at all today.

In 1977, Congress gave the Fed a dual mandate, not only to maintain the stability of the currency but to promote full employment.  The Fed got the mandate but not the tools, as discussed in my earlier article here.

It may be time for a new populist movement, one that demands that the power to issue money be returned to the government and the people it represents; and that the Federal Reserve be made a public utility, owned by the people and serving them. The firehose of cheap credit lavished on Wall Street needs to be re-directed to Main Street.

__________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the bestselling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on the Green Party ticket.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary Tagged: | , , ,

Manipulations Rule The Markets – Paul Craig Roberts

Manipulations Rule The Markets Paul Craig Roberts The Federal Reserve’s announcement on December 18 that beginning in January its monthly purchases of mortgage-backed financial instruments and US Treasury bonds would each be cut by $5 billion is puzzling, as is the financial press’s account of the market’s response. The Federal Reserve conveys a contradictory message.…

The post Manipulations Rule The Markets — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

The Meaning of a Decent Society

It’s the season to show concern for the less fortunate among us. We should also be concerned about the widening gap between the most fortunate and everyone else.

Although it’s still possible to win the lottery (your chance of winning $648 million in the recent Mega Millions sweepstakes was one in 259 million), the biggest lottery of all is what family we’re born into. Our life chances are now determined to an unprecedented degree by the wealth of our parents.

That’s not always been the case. The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches – with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone – was once at the core of the American Dream.

And equal opportunity was the heart of the American creed. Although imperfectly achieved, that ideal eventually propelled us to overcome legalized segregation by race, and to guarantee civil rights. It fueled efforts to improve all our schools and widen access to higher education. It pushed the nation to help the unemployed, raise the minimum wage, and provide pathways to good jobs. Much of this was financed by taxes on the most fortunate.

But for more than three decades we’ve been going backwards. It’s far more difficult today for a child from a poor family to become a middle-class or wealthy adult. Or even for a middle-class child to become wealthy.

The major reason is widening inequality. The longer the ladder, the harder the climb. America is now more unequal that it’s been for eighty or more years, with the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of all developed nations. Equal opportunity has become a pipe dream.

Rather than respond with policies to reverse the trend and get us back on the road to equal opportunity and widely-shared prosperity, we’ve spent much of the last three decades doing the opposite.

Taxes have been cut on the rich, public schools have deteriorated, higher education has become unaffordable for many, safety nets have been shredded, and the minimum wage has been allowed to drop 30 percent below where it was in 1968, adjusted for inflation.

Congress has just passed a tiny bipartisan budget agreement, and the Federal Reserve has decided to wean the economy off artificially low interest rates. Both decisions reflect Washington’s (and Wall Street’s) assumption that the economy is almost back on track.

But it’s not at all back on the track it was on more than three decades ago.

It’s certainly not on track for the record 4 million Americans now unemployed for more than six months, or for the unprecedented 20 million American children in poverty (we now have the highest rate of child poverty of all developed nations other than Romania), or for the third of all working Americans whose jobs are now part-time or temporary, or for the majority of Americans whose real wages continue to drop.

How can the economy be back on track when 95 percent of the economic gains since the recovery began in 2009 have gone to the richest 1 percent?

The underlying issue is a moral one: What do we owe one another as members of the same society?

Conservatives answer that question by saying it’s a matter of personal choice – of charitable works, philanthropy, and individual acts of kindness joined in “a thousand points of light.”

But that leaves out what we could and should seek to accomplish together as a society. It neglects the organization of our economy, and its social consequences. It minimizes the potential role of democracy in determining the rules of the game, as well as the corruption of democracy by big money. It overlooks our strivings for social justice.

In short, it ducks the meaning of a decent society.

Last month Pope Francis wondered aloud whether “trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness…”. Rush Limbaugh accused the Pope of being a Marxist for merely raising the issue.

But the question of how to bring about greater justice and inclusiveness is as American as apple pie. It has animated our efforts for more than a century – during the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, and beyond — to make capitalism work for the betterment of all rather merely than the enrichment of a few.

The supply-side, trickle-down, market-fundamentalist views that took root in America in the early 1980s got us fundamentally off track.

To get back to the kind of shared prosperity and upward mobility we once considered normal will require another era of fundamental reform, of both our economy and our democracy.

Bracing for An Eventual Day of Reckoning

Bracing for An Eventual Day of Reckoning

by Stephen Lendman

Financial markets today reflect a total disconnect from reality. Former Reagan administration Office of Management and Budget director, David Stockman, calls the Fed "a serial bubble machine."

"It's only a question of time before central banks lose control," he warns. He expects "panic when people realize that (market) values are massively overstated."

They're "extremely dangerous, unstable, and subject to serious trouble and dislocation in the future," he stresses.

The Fed is responsible for "exporting lunatic policies worldwide." All bubbles burst. They end badly. For sure this one. It's a whopper. It's just a matter of time until all hell breaks lose.

Market analyst Graham Summers sees dangerous equity market topping signs. They include:

  • margin debt hitting new all-time highs;

  • bearish sentiment at all-time lows;

  • market leaders peaking or approaching it;

  • declining market breadth;

  • earnings are falling; and

  • equities "diverg(ing) dramatically from earnings and revenues.

Topping takes longer than many people expect, said Summers. Recent market movements aren't "promising."

"(F)or certain we are in a bubble. It's just a question of when it bursts."

Economic Collapse blog.com discussed 2014 forecasts by noted analysts. They warn about next year "shak(ing) America to the core." They may be right or wrong.

Money printing madness kept party time going longer than most analysts expected. Eventually good times end. 

On December 13, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Markets Get Set to Lose a Crutch," saying:

"Investors are bracing for the Federal Reserve to reduce its market-boosting stimulus as soon as the coming week..."

Next Wednesday, Fed governors meet. They'll "decide the fate of (their) $85 billion monthly bond-buying" binge. 

So-called tapering may be announced. If not now, perhaps early next year.

Harry Dent expects "another slowdown and stock crash accelerating between very early 2014 and early 2015." He expects more trouble later on.

Marc Faber warned investors early. He did so numerous times before. He's doing it again, saying:

"You have to say that we are again in a massive financial bubble in bonds, in equities, in (other) asset prices that have gone up dramatically."

Mike Maloney calls the 2008 crash "a speed bump on the way to the main event." The consequences will be "horrific," he warns.

"(T)he rest of the decade will bring us the greatest financial calamity in history."

Jim Rogers said "what happened in 2008-2009 (was) worse than the previous economic setback."

It's because "debt was so much higher." Now it's "staggeringly much higher."

Whenever the next market disruption comes, it's "going to be worse than in the past," he stresses.

It's "because we have unbelievable levels of debt, and unbelievable levels of money printing all over the world."

"Be worried and be prepared," he warns. He doesn't know when trouble will arrive, he says. "(B)ut when it comes, be careful."

Robert Shiller is worried. At the same time, he's "not sounding the alarm yet." Stock price levels are high. So are other financial assets. Things "could end badly," Shiller warns.

Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff said:

"Eventually somebody recognizes (what's happening), and starts dumping their bonds, and interest rates go up, and inflation takes off, and were off to the races."

Michael Pento said Washington "brought us out of the Great Recession, only to set us up for the Greater Depression, which lies on the other side of interest rate normalization."

Russel Napier believes we're "on the eve of a deflationary shock…" It'll "likely reduce equity valuations from very high to very low levels."

Market strategist Robert Farrell is best remembered for his "10 Market Rules to Remember:"

Number one: markets (always) return to their mean average over time.

Number two: excesses in one direction lead to opposite ones.

Number nine: when conventional wisdom agrees, "something else is going to happen."

Gerald Celente publishes his annual top 10 trends. He calls 2014 "a year of extremes." His number one trend is "March Economic Madness."

Timing is one of the toughest aspects of forecasting, he said. No one knows precisely when things will happen. Often they're when few expect them.

Celente "missed the mark with (his) Crash of 2010 prediction," he admitted. Why, he asked? Because of worldwide money printing madness.

It was unprecedented. Who could have predicted it? It can't last. Celente believes "around March, or by the end of" 2014 Q II, "an economic shock wave will rattle" world equity markets. It remains to be seen if he's right this time.

Market analyst Market Weiss calls the US economy so addicted to Fed money printing madness "that just the thought of withdrawal (causes) market convulsions."

Since crisis conditions erupted in 2008, Bernanke made one excuse after another. He did so irresponsibly. 

He "smash(ed) the 100-year Fed prohibition against running the money printing presses 24/7," said Weiss.

First he claimed conditions left him no choice, saying:

"Unless we flood the banking system with money, megabanks will fail and global financial markets will collapse in a heap of rubble."

When the worst of crisis conditions eased, his "new rationale" was "trillion-dollar federal budget deficits year after year," said Weiss.

Former Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) head Neil Barofsky believes Wall Street perhaps got around $23 trillion. 

Hundreds of billions more went to troubled European banks. Perhaps they're still getting plenty. Open checkbook Fed policy assures Wall Street whatever it wants.

Fed policy reasons that "(u)nless we buy Treasuries (and mortgage-backed) securities by the truckload, the deficits will smash the bond markets and sabotage the economic recovery?"

What recovery? It landed on Wall Street. It benefitted America's super-rich. It missed Main Street. Protracted Depression era trouble persists. 

Ordinary people struggle daily to get by. Many never had things worse. Improvement is nowhere in sight. 

A "long line-up of excuses" kept Fed policy "pedal to the metal on its giant money presses," said Weiss. Fed chairwoman elect Janet Yellen promises more of the same.

Things improved from earlier, she said. They haven't done so "enough." The "not improved enough" mantra is the theme heading into next year.

Before Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the Fed's monetary base was $849.8 billion. On October 30, 2013, it exceeded $3.6 trillion.

It expanded over threefold in six years. It did what no one thought possible. It did what honest analysts called irresponsible. According to Weiss:

If the Fed expanded the monetary base at the same pace it's done since 1961, "it would have taken nearly 150 years to come this far."

Pre-2008, expanding the monetary base rapidly occurred only two other times:

  • ahead of potential Y2K trouble; and

  • post-9/11.

So far, post-2008 monetary madness exceeded Y2K expansion 43-fold. It's nearly 70 times larger than post-9/11 policy.

Most alarming, said Weiss, is that the Fed hasn't "begun to resolve the underlying diseases" responsible for earlier crises. It "merely papered over their symptoms." 

They fester and grow. They're worse than ever. They assure eventual day of reckoning trouble. 

The 2008 crisis resulted from excessive debt, derivatives and other toxic financial assets, unprecedented wealth concentration among powerful institutions, and reckless speculation fueled by monetary madness and near-zero interest rates.

Total credit market debt keeps rising. In 2008, it was $53.5 trillion. Through 2013 Q II, it's $57.6 trillion.

The notional value of derivatives held by US banks grew from $175.8 trillion in September 2008 to $231.6 trillion this year.

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC):

"Derivatives activity in the US banking system continues to be dominated by a small group of large institutions."

It names four megabanks. They include JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Goldman Sachs. They control 93% of all banking industry derivatives.

Massive federal deficits persist. So does Europe's debt crisis. Money printing madness doesn't resolve things. 

It kicks the can down the road. It does so irresponsibly. It creates greater problems ahead. It papers over what desperately needs addressing now. It needed it years ago.

Weiss thinks the only Fed solution is "panicky retreat." Consider history, he says. Fed policy created bond market trouble in the 1970s.

In 1979, Treasury bonds rose to 13% yields. T-bills to 17%, and the prime rate to 21%.

In the early 1990s, Fed policy kept short rates lower than normal. In 1994, things changed. The largest ever modern era calendar year decline in bond prices occurred.

Alan Greenspan wasn't noted for accurate forecasts. Weeks before the 2000 market peak, he claimed:

"The American economy was experiencing a once-in-a-century acceleration of innovation, which propelled forward productivity, output, corporate profits and stock prices at a pace not seen in generations, if ever." 

It was reminiscent of noted economist Erving Fisher. Shortly before the 1929 crash, he fell from grace. He did so claiming economic fundamentals were strong.

Stock market prices were undervalued, he said. An unending era of prosperity lay ahead. It took over a decade to arrive. It took WW II to deliver it.

For years into the new millennium, Greenspan let growing financial trouble fester. In January 2006, he retired. 

Ben Bernanke replaced him. Business as usual continued. Lehman Brothers collapse followed. So did hard times for millions. Things were never better for Wall Street.

Money printing madness continues. How will things change this time? Watch for telltale signs, Weiss advises. 

He promised to discuss them as they occur. The moment of truth approaches. No one knows for sure when it'll arrive. It always did before. It will this time.

Watch bond prices. They're experiencing the biggest interest rate reversal in 37 years, says Weiss. Yields are rising. 

How high remains to be seen. If history is a guide, the worst is yet to come. 

Rising bond yields spell trouble for stocks. It remains to be seen how bad things eventually get.

Note: On December 17, Fed governors announced tapering. Monthly bond buying will be reduced from $85 billion to $75 billion on January 1. 

Interest rates will remain near zero. Whether further tapering continues next year remains to be seen. So will how markets react going forward.

Wednesday they celebrated. Bubbles have a way of bursting when least expected. This one imploding is long overdue.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/bracing-eventual-day-reckoning/

Interview 794 — G. Edward Griffin Unmasks the Creature from Jekyll Island

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Federal Reserve Act we talk to G. Edward Griffin, author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, about America\'s central bank. We discuss the origins and functions of this monstrosity, as well as its role in maintaining and expanding the wealth and power base of the banking cartel that own and operate it. We also discuss the growing public awareness of the Fed and the rising movement of those seeking to abolish it.

The Taper Is On — 8 Ways That This Is Going To Affect You...

The unelected central planners at the Federal Reserve have decided that the time has come to slightly taper the amount of quantitative easing that it has been doing.  On Wednesday, the Fed announced that monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds will be reduced from $45 billion to $40 billion, and monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities [...]

US Hegemony and Puerto Rico’s Economic Crisis

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – A major economic crisis is looming in the Caribbean.  Puerto Rico, a US Commonwealth will be the center of attention in the world of finance in the coming months ahead.  Puerto Rico’s economy has been in a recession since 2006 and its bonds are close to junk status.  Puerto Rico is facing an alarming economic downturn that is clearly unsustainable.  The economy is headed for a major collapse, one not seen since the great depression, this time it could be far worse.  Puerto Rico has $70 billion in debt and an underfunded government pension system that will be eventually face cuts which only adds to more economic uncertainties for the population.  Unemployment levels are at 14.7 percent and a mass migration of the Puerto Rican people to the United States in search of better opportunities has taking hold.  Puerto Rico’s economy is dependent upon the United States government and its corporations, which many are pharmaceutical conglomerates.  It is politically and socially a “Colonial Possession” of the United States since the Spanish-American war of 1898.  However, Puerto Rico is not alone.  The United States has other colonial possessions namely Guam, American Samoa in the Pacific and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  France and Great Britain also has “Colonial Possessions” or “Overseas Territories” in a number of regions throughout the world.  Puerto Rico is no exception to the rule; it is a colony that has been exploited politically and economically for more than a century under US rule.

Puerto Rico’s economy is in a dire situation. As of October 2013, the official number of people who are unemployed is at 14.7 percent, perhaps a lot higher if you count those that have dropped out of the labor force because they are no longer looking for employment opportunities.  The Public debt is currently at $70 Billion and increasing daily. Early this month an article written by Justin Velez-Hagan who is executive director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce for Forbes magazine titled ‘Default: Puerto Rico’s Inevitable Option’ describes what lead to Puerto Rico’s debt crises:

With triple tax exemption (federal, state, and local), combined with higher-than-average yields, Puerto Rican bonds became so popular in recent years that it was able to rack up $70 billion of debt now held by institutional investors and mutual funds alike. The debt-to-GDP ratio is now nearly 70% and growing, not including pension obligations, which raises the ratio to over 90%. With a per capita debt load of $19,000 and growing, Puerto Ricans shoulder almost 4 times the burden of U.S. leader Massachusetts which carries a deficit of $5,077 per citizen

Puerto Rico’s debt is 4 times larger than Massachusetts who Velez-Hagan acknowledges as the most indebted state per citizen with $19,000. The Washington Post also sounded alarm bells concerning Puerto Rico’s economic crises. In ‘Puerto Rico, with at least $70 billion in debt, confronts a rising economic misery’ Michael A. Fletcher describes what the commonwealth faces with cuts to pensions and government jobs and a rise in taxes all across the board including small and big businesses causing a migration of Puerto Ricans to major US cities:

The economy here has been in recession for nearly eight years, crimping tax revenue and pushing the jobless rate to nearly 15 percent. Meanwhile, the government is burdened by staggering debt, spawning comparisons to bankrupt Detroit and forcing lawmakers to severely slash pensions, cut government jobs and raise taxes in a furious effort to avert default.

The implications are serious for Americans outside Puerto Rico both because a taxpayer bailout would be expensive and a default would be far more disruptive than Detroit’s record bankruptcy filing in July. Officials in San Juan and Washington are adamant that a federal bailout is not on the table, but the situation is being closely monitored by the White House, which recently named an advisory team to help Puerto Rican officials navigate the crisis.

The island’s problems have ignited an exodus not seen here since the 1950s, when 500,000 people left for jobs on the mainland. Now Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, are again leaving in droves.  They are choosing the uncertainty of the job market in Orlando or New York City or Philadelphia over what they view as the certainty that their dreams would be crushed by the U.S. territory’s grinding economic problems.

Bloomberg Businessweek also published an article with concerns affecting the “Muni-Bond Market” that can rattle Wall Street’s Mutual Fund companies. ‘Puerto Rico’s Borrowing Binge Could Rock the Muni-Bond Market’ stated the facts:

The island’s plight affects almost anyone with a mutual fund invested in the municipal-bond market. Exempt from local, state, and federal taxes in the U.S., Puerto Rican bonds are held by 77 percent of muni funds, according to research firm Morningstar (MORN). About 180 funds, including ones run by OppenheimerFunds, Franklin Templeton Investments (BEN), and Dreyfus (BK), have 5 percent of their assets or more in Puerto Rican bonds.

General-obligation bonds, or GOs, which account for about 15 percent of the commonwealth’s public debt, carry the lowest investment-grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service (MCO) and S&P. A downgrade could force many mutual funds to sell part of their Puerto Rican holdings, flooding the market. “Puerto Rico could represent a systemic issue for the municipal-bond market,” says Carlos Colón de Armas, an economist and former official of the Government Development Bank, which conducts the island’s capital-markets transactions. “We are now in a situation where the bonds are trading like junk. I think the ratings agencies have been careful not to lower the GOs further, to avoid creating havoc in the muni-bond market.”

The Obama administration is sending a team of economic advisors according to Bloomberg News last month “With a $70 billion debt load and a substantially underfunded government pension system, the island has fueled market speculation it may need a bailout from Washington.” The report also stated what was on the agenda:

Most of the group’s work will focus on improving Puerto Rico’s management of federal funds to ensure officials are getting the amounts they are entitled to and putting them to effective use, according to the officials.  “There is less here than some people think,” said Jeffrey Farrow, who served as the Clinton White House’s liaison on Puerto Rican affairs. “This is pretty straightforward and an extension of what they have been doing in the past, but more intense, formalized and public.”

The first team of officials was scheduled to be from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health, Education and Housing and Urban Development departments, officials said.  Puerto Rico’s education, health and housing departments are among of the biggest recipients of federal funding and have also been responsible for past Puerto Rico budget shortfalls.

The EPA’s intervention may stem from concerns regarding the ability of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to comply with new federal air quality regulations that take effect in 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the agencies participating under Washington’s request. Washington has required that the Puerto Rico government and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) comply with new federal air quality regulations by 2015. The online news source Caribbean Business reported back on July 11th, 2013 ‘PREPA falling behind on 2015 EPA Deadline’ that Puerto Rico is in a race to meet Washington’s air-quality standards by 2015:

A high-ranking regulatory official is concerned that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) isn’t moving fast enough to comply with strict federal air-quality standards taking effect in two years, as industry sources told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that key decisions on the compliance process won’t be taken until next spring.  Prepa plans to either close or convert most of its oil-firing units to natural gas to comply with the new air-quality standards, but it won’t select a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier and decide on a method to deliver the gas to north-coast plants until March 2014, according to industry sources. That means the final contracts would probably not be enacted and finalized until the fourth quarter of 2014, they added.

Meanwhile, Prepa has an agreement with Texas-based Excelerate Energy to construct an offshore LNG terminal to feed the massive Aguirre powerplant in Guayama. A formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was filed in April and the project remains in the permitting phase. Excelerate officials have said they expect the facility to be in service in early 2015, but that outlook depends on getting timely federal approval on its environmental impact statement and several permits.

Puerto Rico’s plan to convert most of its oil-firing units to natural gas will have an impact on its economy. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) does not have the economic capacity to invest in the construction of new plants that would supply natural gas. “While the cash-strapped public utility can’t afford to build its own plants, there is interest from large energy companies to construct new generation units through public-private partnerships (P3s)” the report stated. “That is especially the case because the move to natural gas isn’t just about compliance, but about bringing down power costs.” Caribbean Business said that Edgardo Fábregas, a former member of PREPA’s board confirmed that the public utility is considering a plan to construct a gas-fired plant “The former Prepa board member said the public utility was considering a longer-term plan to construct, through a P3 initiative, a massive natural gas-fired plant, probably on the site of Arecibo’s Cambalache plant, which is rarely used.” The report also said that Fábregas admitted to the costs associated with the project:

To do a project right, building a plant that could “flex up or down” rapidly and would have the capacity to power the entire north coast, would cost $7 billion, and take six years to build. The project would allow for the elimination of the Palo Seco and San Juan plants, Fábregas said. “We have to move to natural gas as soon as we can, but at the end of the day, you have to renew your system. I understand the cost and time implications involved, but if we don’t start, we will never finish,” he added.

According to Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank based in New York City produced a report called ‘The High Cost of Renewable-Electricity Mandates’. He wrote about the effects of Washington’s new air-quality proposal:

Motivated by a desire to reduce carbon emissions, and in the absence of federal action to do so, 29 states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) have required utility companies to deliver specified minimum amounts of electricity from “renewable” sources, including wind and solar power. California recently adopted the most stringent of these so-called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), requiring 33 percent of its electricity to be renewable by 2020.  Proponents of the RPS plans say that the mandated restrictions will reduce harmful emissions and spur job growth, by stimulating investment in green technologies.

But this patchwork of state rules—which now affects the electricity bills of about two-thirds of the U.S. population as well as countless businesses and industrial users—has sprung up in recent years without the benefit of the states fully calculating their costs.  There is growing evidence that the costs may be too high—that the price tag for purchasing renewable energy, and for building new transmission lines to deliver it, may not only outweigh any environmental benefits but may also be detrimental to the economy, costing jobs rather than adding them.  The mandates amount to a “back-end way to put a price on carbon,” says one former federal regulator. Put another way, the higher cost of electricity is essentially a de facto carbon-reduction tax, one that is putting a strain on a struggling economy and is falling most heavily, in the way that regressive taxes do, on the least well-off among residential users.

To be sure, the mandates aren’t the only reason that electricity costs are rising—increased regulation of coal-fired power plants is also a major factor—and it is difficult to isolate the cost of the renewable mandates without rigorous cost-benefit analysis by the states.

The new mandate is called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that automatically “require electricity providers to supply a specified minimum amount of power to their customers from sources that qualify as “renewable,” a category that includes wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.” The report clarified what the results of the new energy plan would bring:

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is similarly bullish on the state programs. The RPS rules are designed “to stimulate market and technology development,” the agency says, “so that, ultimately renewable energy will be economically competitive with conventional forms of electric power. States create RPS programs because of the energy, environmental, and economic benefits of renewable energy.”[4]

Although supporters of renewable energy claim that the RPS mandates will bring benefits, their contribution to the economy is problematic because they also impose costs that must be incorporated into the utility bills paid by homeowners, commercial businesses, and industrial users. And those costs are or will be substantial. Electricity generated from renewable sources generally costs more—often much more—than that produced by conventional fuels such as coal and natural gas. In addition, large-scale renewable energy projects often require the construction of many miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The cost of those lines must also be incorporated into the bills paid by consumers.

What Edgardo Fábregas forgets to mention is that Bryce’s analysis on the price of producing electricity through renewable energy sources can be astronomical. It is an amazing prediction given by the EPA under the Obama administration’s directives. It is important to note that the major players in the RPS programs are connected to Wall Street and major banks that includes Goldman Sachs who is one of President Obama’s major campaign contributors. Author and journalist Matt Taibbi wrote an article on the history of Goldman Sachs and the US government’s relationship for Rolling Stone magazine called ‘The Great American Bubble Machine’. Taibbi explains how Goldman Sachs would benefit from Washington’s air-quality mandates:

The new carbon credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Here’s how it works: If the bill passes, there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy “allocations” or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billion worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the “cap” on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison’s sake, the annual combined revenues of all electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.

One other important factor to consider regarding Puerto Rico’s energy demands in the future is the supply of natural gas. Puerto Rico is hoping to secure a steady supply of natural gas from the United States for the next 100 years. “A key part of the plan is to secure a long-term LNG contract with the U.S., which has the most economical prices in the world, the result of a boon in U.S. natural gas exploration, which has unearthed a supply that experts say will last a century” according to the Caribbean Business report.  In the 2012 State of the Union Address, US President Barack Obama said “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.” F. William Endahl, a research associate at Global Research wrote a ground breaking report, ‘The Fracked-up USA Shale Gas Bubble’ wrote that the 100 year supply of natural gas is in fact an inaccurate prediction:

In a sobering report, Arthur Berman, a veteran petroleum geologist specialized in well assessment, using existing well extraction data for major shale gas regions in the US since the boom started, reached sobering conclusions. His findings point to a new Ponzi scheme which well might play out in a colossal gas bust over the next months or at best, the next two or three years. Shale gas is anything but the “energy revolution” that will give US consumers or the world gas for 100 years as President Obama was told.

Berman wrote already in 2011, “Facts indicate that most wells are not commercial at current gas prices and require prices at least in the range of $8.00 to $9.00/mcf to break even on full-cycle prices, and $5.00 to $6.00/mcf on point-forward prices. Our price forecasts ($4.00-4.55/mcf average through 2012) are below $8.00/mcf for the next 18 months. It is, therefore, possible that some producers will be unable to maintain present drilling levels from cash flow, joint ventures, asset sales and stock offerings.” [16]

Berman continued, “Decline rates indicate that a decrease in drilling by any of the major producers in the shale gas plays would reveal the insecurity of supply. This is especially true in the case of the Haynesville Shale play where initial rates are about three times higher than in the Barnett or Fayetteville. Already, rig rates are dropping in the Haynesville as operators shift emphasis to more liquid-prone objectives that have even lower gas rates. This might create doubt about the paradigm of cheap and abundant shale gas supply and have a cascading effect on confidence and capital availability.” [17]

What Berman and others have also concluded is that the gas industry key players and their Wall Street bankers backing the shale boom have grossly inflated the volumes of recoverable shale gas reserves and hence its expected supply duration. He notes, “Reserves and economics depend on estimated ultimate recoveries (EUR) based on hyperbolic, or increasingly flattening, decline profiles that predict decades of commercial production. With only a few years of production history in most of these plays, this model has not been shown to be correct, and may be overly optimistic….Our analysis of shale gas well decline trends indicates that the Estimated Ultimate Recovery per well is approximately one-half the values commonly presented by operators.” [18] In brief, the gas producers have built the illusion that their unconventional and increasingly costly shale gas will last for decades.

However, Caribbean Business says that “Prepa has invited several suppliers to bid on a project to supply the north-coast plants with natural gas. It is spelling out its gas needs at its Palo Seco and San Juan plants, letting the energy companies decide the best way to supply the natural gas” and that “Prepa has made some progress on its natural gas conversion plan, which energy experts say is the only way to bring down the high cost of electricity.” Allowing energy companies decide how to supply gas would add to the price in the long run. Russia Today recently reported that “fracking technology” is causing major environmental problems within the United States. Since 2008, the state of Texas has been experiencing more earthquakes than ever before:

Between 1970 and 2007, the area around the Texas town of Azle (pop. 10,000) experienced just two earthquakes. The peace and quiet began to change, however, at the start of 2008, when 74 minor quakes were reported in the region. Now an increasing number of people, including scientists, are speculating that natural gas production by fracking – a process that forces high pressure water and chemicals into rock in order to extract natural gas reserves – is the culprit. The problem, however, is proving the claims.

Cliff Frolich, earthquake researcher at the University of Texas, said waste water injection wells from fracking could be responsible for the recent spate of earthquake activity. “I’d say it certainly looks very possible that the earthquakes are related to injection wells,” he said in an interview with KHOU television.

Frolich left room for doubt when he said thousands of such wells have operated in Texas for decades with no quakes anywhere near them. Frolich co-authored a 2009 study on earthquake activity near Cleburne, just south of Azle, which concluded: “The possibility exists that earthquakes may be related to fluid injection.” A recent government study lent credence to Frolich’s findings.

There have been Anti-fracking protests around the world. Fracking or “hydraulic fracturing” is a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals combined are injected underground with intensive pressure to fracture rocks that surround an oil or gas well. This process then releases extra oil and gas from the rock which flows into the well. “Fracking Technology” is proving to be environmentally dangerous for the health and safety of communities located in close proximity to these well sites. It causes many problems for the air we breathe and long-term environmental damage. For example, water can become contaminated from the toxins fracking has caused. It is an environmental hazard.

EPA rules and regulations also have the potential to impose a “carbon tax option” for states according to The Hill, A Washington D.C. based daily newspaper reported last month that Brookings Institution economist Adele Morris said that a carbon excise tax can be imposed on states:

Morris, a carbon tax supporter, argues that a carbon excise tax could be part of the “menu of specific approaches” that the agency gives states that will craft plans to meet the federal guidelines. Morris suggests that the EPA could “allow states to adopt a specific state-level excise tax or fee on the carbon content of fuels combusted by the power plants regulated under this rule.”

In other words, an excise tax associated with renewable energy supplies can be added only leading to higher energy costs for households, businesses and major industries. It would also allow Puerto Rico to contribute to the environmental degradation because of its future demands of natural gas which has no guarantee of supplies for the next 100 years. It is a recipe for disaster for both the economy and the environment.

 Will new EPA rules bankrupt farmers?

It is estimated that Puerto Rico imports at least 85% of the food supply from the United States according to the Latin American Herald Tribune. ‘Puerto Rico Imports 85 Percent of Its Food’ stated that “Puerto Rico imports 85 percent of the food its residents consume due to the lack of competitiveness among companies in this U.S. commonwealth, Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera told Efe.” Agriculture Secretary Rivera admits that the majority of food is imported from the United States even though Puerto Rico has the capability to produce its own food, but cannot compete with US food suppliers. Rivera continued “Although we have the technical capacity, we’re not able to produce competitively” Why? “The secretary attributed the drop in production to the high operating costs of growing food on the island, which are, in turn, a result of high labor costs, as well as rising energy and fertilizer prices. Rivera acknowledged that therefore many farmers – of which there are fewer than 2,000 on the island, according to recent statistics – have come to depend on government subsidies to stay in business.” With new EPA regulations, remaining farmers will bear higher-energy costs because of the EPA’s new federal air quality regulations that will start in 2015. Agriculture on the island would be affected and farmers would be economically bankrupt when energy prices begin to rise.

From the 1929 Great Depression to the Recession of 2014

Looking back to the 1930’s, Puerto Rico was in economic despair due to the effects of the Great Depression. In 1940, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) under the leadership of Washington’s puppet governor Luis Munoz Marin came to power with 37.9% of the vote compared to 39.2% of the Republican-Socialist coalition. The PPD also won the 1944 elections with 64.8% of the vote. The PPD was determined to transform Puerto Rico’s economy from an Agricultural farm-based to an export-driven modern industrial economy.

The US and Puerto Rico governments wanted to fast track the urbanization in many areas from a rural society to a modern, industrial urban center that would resemble New York City’s economy. For a short period of time, the project did increase living wages, improved housing conditions, health care and education. It also led to equitable land reforms,. At the same time the plan increased unemployment rates because many Puerto Ricans were unqualified for the types of jobs the new Industrial economy provided. It increased the migration levels to the United States, namely New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Puerto Rico became more dependent on U.S. markets and created more public and private debts. The most important aspect of US economic and political control of Puerto Rico was the cultural transformation of the population. It became what sociologist call “Americanization”. They were subjected to American culture, media, laws, and even its foods under Washington’s economic and social plan. In ‘Economic History of Puerto Rico: Institutional Change and Capitalist Development’ by James L. Dietz, professor of economics and Latin American studies at California State University wrote:

Industrialization and the accompanying decline of agriculture after the late 1940s did nothing to expand and make permanent the relative autonomy of the early 1940s. Instead, the PPD program had just the opposite result: it laid the foundation for increased dominance by U.S. capital from the 1950s to the present. The PPD’s goal of eventual political independence, after the attainment of social justice and a solution to the island’s economic problems, faded further into the future and eventually disappeared altogether. It may be that Munoz and the PPD never really were committed to independence, as many have suggested, but it is more likely that, as the PPD’s redirection of the economy under Munoz’s leadership tied its destiny ever closer to that of the United States, what they had became what they wanted as what they had wanted slipped further and further from their grasp

In ‘How an Economy Grows and why it Crashes’ author and economist Peter Schiff stated that “The evidence supporting these claims is largely emotional. What is far more certain is that the government’s monopoly control of public projects and services almost always leads to inefficiency, corruption, graft, and decay.” Puerto Rico’s economy was under US control then as it is now. Dietz says that “From 1941 to 1949, the government followed a program of land reform, control over and development of infrastructure and institutions, administrative organization, and limited industrialization through factories owned and operated by the government.” Comparing to what Peter Schiff said the Puerto Rican government’s control of certain economic sectors led to numerous “inefficiencies” and “Decay.” The bleak economic growth of Puerto Rico did not improve through a program called ‘Operacion Manos a la Obra’ or ‘Operation Bootstrap’ in English. It was known as “Industrialization by Invitation” to attract foreign investment. It failed in the long-run. Dietz further wrote:

“Yet Operation Bootstrap made it difficult for Puerto Ricans to improve their standard of living through their own efforts, since it put control over that process in the hands of U.S. firms, whose interests did not necessarily coincide with those of the majority on the island. It is likely that no one consciously intended such results from a development program that seemed so promising, but Puerto Rico’s colonial relation with the United States prevented, or at a minimum made more difficult, a more independent existence for the economy and society”

Puerto Rico’s dependence on the US mainland became evident as the years went by, but right from the beginning of World War II, Puerto Rico’s economy suffered.  “The war shut Puerto Rico off from its primary export market and source of imported goods, and meanwhile, there were no war industries to absorb surplus labor; consequently, unemployment increased” according to Dietz.  Today, Puerto Rico is suffering from a recession that started in 2006. In another report by Caribbean Business ‘PR reverses growth forecast, now predicts another year of recession’ and stated the dire predictions by the government of Puerto Rico, “The Puerto Rico government has dropped expectations for economic growth this fiscal year as the island struggles to pull out of a marathon downturn dating back to 2006. The Planning Board said Friday it is now projecting that the economy will shrink by 0.8 percent in fiscal 2014, dropping its previous forecast for razor-thin growth of 0.2 percent.” Puerto Rico’s economy will continue to decline as the US economy continues with its own economic problems. It will become more difficult as time progresses for Puerto Rico.

The Collapsing US Dollar and the Fall of Rome   

The US Dollar as a the world’s reserve currency is in its last stages because the US owes trillions of dollars in household, corporate and financial debt and future underfunded welfare liabilities.  The demand for U.S. dollars kept prices and interest rates low. It allowed the U.S. government to acquire the economic power it needed to dominate the world economically. It allowed the Federal Reserve Bank to print dollars unconditionally. Although the US dollar is still dominate with more the 50% of foreign currency reserves in the world, a gradual transition for other currencies is coming in the near future. The dollar will eventually lose its value. Interest rates on every loan and credit card will rise.

This is a recipe for disaster, because if a country such as Puerto Rico cannot produce its own food and is dependent on a foreign source that is the most indebted nation in world history with more than $17 trillion dollars in debt which continues to increase each passing day is a serious problem for Puerto Rico’s future. Tyler Durden of zerohedge.com provided a chart in 2012 to show the fiscal danger the United States faces in the near future. Durden explains:

We present the following chart showing total US Federal debt/GDP as well as Deficit/(Surplus)/GDP since inception, or in this case as close as feasible, or 1792, which appears to be the first recorded year of historical fiscal data. We can see why readers have been so eager to see the “real big picture” – the chart is nothing short of stunning.

Amend the Fed: We Need a Central Bank that Serves Main Street

December 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve. Dissatisfaction with its track record has prompted calls to audit the Fed and end the Fed. At the least, Congress needs to amend the Fed, modifying the Federal Reserve Act to give the central bank the tools necessary to carry out its mandates.

The Federal Reserve is the only central bank with a dual mandate. It is charged not only with maintaining low, stable inflation but with promoting maximum sustainable employment. Yet unemployment remains stubbornly high, despite four years of radical tinkering with interest rates and quantitative easing (creating money on the Fed’s books). After pushing interest rates as low as they can go, the Fed has admitted that it has run out of tools.

At an IMF conference on November 8, 2013, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers suggested that since near-zero interest rates were not adequately promoting people to borrow and spend, it might now be necessary to set interest at below zero. This idea was lauded and expanded upon by other ivory-tower inside-the-box thinkers, including Paul Krugman.

Negative interest would mean that banks would charge the depositor for holding his deposits rather than paying interest on them. Runs on the banks would no doubt follow, but the pundits have a solution for that: move to a cashless society, in which all money would be electronic. “This would make it impossible to hoard cash outside the bank,” wrote Danny Vinik in Business Insider, “allowing the Fed to cut interest rates to below zero, spurring people to spend more.” He concluded:

. . . Summers’ speech is a reminder to all liberals that he is a brilliant economist who grasps the long-term issues of monetary policy and would likely have made an exemplary Fed chair.

Maybe; but to ordinary mortals living in the less rarefied atmosphere of the real world, the proposal to impose negative interest rates looks either inane or like the next giant step toward the totalitarian New World Order. Business Week quotes Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office: “We’ve had four years of extraordinarily loose monetary policy without satisfactory results, and the only thing they come up with is we need more?”

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, calls the idea “harebrained.” He is equally skeptical of quantitative easing, the Fed’s other tool for stimulating the economy. Roberts points to Andrew Huszar’s explosive November 11th Wall Street Journal article titled “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer,” in which Huszar says that QE was always intended to serve Wall Street, not Main Street.  Huszar’s assignment at the Fed was to manage the purchase of $1.25 trillion in mortgages with dollars created on a computer screen. He says he resigned when he realized that the real purpose of the policy was to drive up the prices of the banks’ holdings of debt instruments, to provide the banks with trillions of dollars at zero cost with which to lend and speculate, and to provide the banks with “fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions.”

A Helicopter Drop That Missed Its Target

All this is far from the helicopter drop proposed by Ben Bernanke in 2002 as a quick fix for deflation. He told the Japanese, “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Later in the speech he discussed “a money-financed tax cut,” which he said was “essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous ‘helicopter drop’ of money.” Deflation could be cured, said Professor Friedman, simply by dropping money from helicopters.

But there has been no cloudburst of money raining down on the people. The money has gotten only into the reserve accounts of banks. John Lounsbury, writing in Econintersect, observes that Friedman’s idea of a helicopter drop involved debt-free money printed by the government and landing in people’s bank accounts. “He foresaw the money entering the economy through bank deposits, not through bank reserves which was the pathway available to Bernanke. . . . [W]hen Ben Bernanke fired up his helicopter engines he took the only path available to him.”

Bernanke created debt-free money and bought government debt with it, returning the interest to the Treasury. The result was interest-free credit, a good deal for the government. But the problem, says Lounsbury, is that:

The helicopters dropped all the money into a hole in the ground (excess reserve accounts) and very little made its way into the economy.  It was essentially a rearrangement of the balance sheets of the creditor nation with little impact on the debtor nation.

. . . The fatal flaw of QE is that it delivers money to the accounts of the creditors and does nothing for the accounts of the debtors. Bad debts remain unserviced and the debt crisis continues.

Thinking Outside the Box

Bernanke delivered the money to the creditors because that was all the Federal Reserve Act allowed. If the Fed is to fulfill its mandate, it clearly needs more tools; and that means amending the Act.  Harvard professor Ken Rogoff, who spoke at the November 2013 IMF conference before Larry Summers, suggested several possibilities; and one was to broaden access to the central bank, allowing anyone to have an ATM at the Fed.

Rajiv Sethi, Barnard/Columbia Professor of Economics, expanded on this idea in a blog titled “The Payments System and Monetary Transmission.” He suggested making the Federal Reserve the repository for all deposit banking. This would make deposit insurance unnecessary; it would eliminate the need to impose higher capital requirements; and it would allow the Fed to implement monetary policy by targeting debtor rather than creditor balance sheets. Instead of returning its profits to the Treasury, the Fed could do a helicopter drop directly into consumer bank accounts, stimulating demand in the consumer economy.

John Lounsbury expanded further on these ideas. He wrote in Econintersect that they would open a pathway for investment banking and depository banking to be separated from each other, analogous to that under Glass-Steagall. Banks would no longer be too big to fail, since they could fail without destroying the general payment system of the economy. Lounsbury said the central bank could operate as a true public bank and repository for all federal banking transactions, and it could operate in the mode of a postal savings system for the general populace.

Earlier Central Bank Ventures into Commercial Lending

That sounds like a radical departure today, but the Fed has ventured into commercial banking before. In 1934, Section 13(b) was added to the Federal Reserve Act, authorizing the Fed to “make credit available for the purpose of supplying working capital to established industrial and commercial businesses.” This long-forgotten section was implemented and remained in effect for 24 years. In a 2002 article on the Minneapolis Fed’s website called “Lender of More Than Last Resort,” David Fettig noted that 13(b) allowed Federal Reserve banks to make loans directly to any established businesses in their districts, and to share in loans with private lending institutions if the latter assumed 20 percent of the risk. No limitation was placed on the amount of a single loan.

Fettig wrote that “the Fed was still less than 20 years old and many likely remembered the arguments put forth during the System’s founding, when some advocated that the discount window should be open to all comers, not just member banks.” In Australia and other countries, the central bank was then assuming commercial as well as central bank functions.

Section 13(b) was eventually repealed, but the Federal Reserve Act retained enough vestiges of it in 2008 to allow the Fed to intervene to save a variety of non-bank entities from bankruptcy. The problem was that the tool was applied selectively. The recipients were major corporate players, not local businesses or local governments. Fettig wrote:

Section 13(b) may be a memory, . . . but Section 13 paragraph 3 . . . is alive and well in the Federal Reserve Act. . . . [T]his amendment allows, “in unusual and exigent circumstances,” a Reserve bank to advance credit to individuals, partnerships and corporations that are not depository institutions.

In 2008, the Fed bailed out investment company Bear Stearns and insurer AIG, neither of which was a bank. Bear Stearns got almost $1 trillion in short-term loans, with interest rates as low as 0.5%. The Fed also made loans to other corporations, including GE, McDonald’s, and Verizon.

In 2010, Section 13(3) was modified by the Dodd-Frank bill, which replaced the phrase “individuals, partnerships and corporations” with the vaguer phrase “any program or facility with broad-based eligibility.” As explained in the notes to the bill:

Only Broad-Based Facilities Permitted. Section 13(3) is modified to remove the authority to extend credit to specific individuals, partnerships and corporations. Instead, the Board may authorize credit under section 13(3) only under a program or facility with “broad-based eligibility.”

What programs have “broad-based eligibility” is not clear from a reading of the Section, but it isn’t individuals or local businesses. It also isn’t state and local governments.

No Others Need Apply

In 2009, President Obama proposed that the Fed extend its largess to the cash-strapped cities and states battered by the banking crisis. “Small businesses and state and local governments are having serious difficulty obtaining necessary financing from debt markets,” Obama said. He proposed that the Fed buy municipal bonds to cut their rising borrowing costs.

The proposed municipal bond facility would have been based on the Fed program to buy commercial paper, which had almost single-handedly propped up the market for short-term corporate borrowing. Investors welcomed the muni bond proposal as a first step toward supporting the market.

But Bernanke rejected the proposal. Why? It could hardly be argued that the Fed didn’t have the money. The collective budget deficit of the states for 2011 was projected at $140 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to the sums the Fed had managed to come up with to bail out the banks. According to data released in 2011, the central bank had provided roughly $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term loans and other financial arrangements to banks, multinational corporations, and foreign financial institutions following the credit crisis of 2008. Later revelations pushed the sum up to $16 trillion or more.

Bernanke’s reasoning in saying no to the muni bond facility was that he lacked the statutory tools.. The Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2% of the overall muni market.

The Federal Reserve Act was drafted by bankers to create a banker’s bank that would serve their interests. It is their own private club, and its legal structure keeps all non-members out.  A century after the Fed’s creation, a sober look at its history leads to the conclusion that it is a privately controlled institution whose corporate owners use it to direct our entire economy for their own ends, without democratic influence or accountability.  Substantial changes are needed to transform the Fed, and these will only come with massive public pressure.

Congress has the power to amend the Fed – just as it did in 1934, 1958 and 2010. For the central bank to satisfy its mandate to promote full employment and to become an institution that serves all the people, not just the 1%, the Fed needs fundamental reform.

___________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

The Debt Matrix: Consumption and Modern-Day Slavery

“Home life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowing and debt”

Henrik Ibsen

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – According to Oxford Dictionary the term Slave is defined as a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them” as in the case of the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries where slavery was a legalized institution.  Oxford dictionary also defines slavery as “a person who works very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation” as in today’s world of a person working for a company or corporation where their efforts are usually under appreciated.  It also describes a slave as “a person who is excessively dependent upon or controlled by something” or “a device, or part of one, directly controlled by another”.  Debt can be an instrument used to control an individual or a nation for that matter.  In this case, an individual is dependent upon “Credit” to buy products.  Then the credit becomes a debt that has to be repaid.  It becomes a “control mechanism” as the creditor becomes the “Slave Owner” and the debtor becomes the “Slave”.  What is the point?   In today’s world of unlimited credit, consumers become modern-day slaves to their creditors.  What is the difference between slavery in 18th century America with imported African slaves and the America of 2013?  There is no difference besides the physical abuse of the African slaves by their owners.  In America, consumers suffer psychological abuse by its creditors.  As long as an individual remains in debt bondage, that person will have to repay that debt until the day that person literally dies in most cases.

Black Friday is the day that starts the most important holiday for big name retailers and Wall Street speculators and that is Christmas.  It is the shopping season that investors, economists and corporations pay close attention to as they measure consumer confidence and the profits they reap from consumer spending.  Major retailers and corporations such as Wal-Mart expect to make profits.  Wall Street expects consumers to spend on Black Friday through the Christmas holidays following the Federal Reserve’s continued policies of Quantitative Easing (QE).  Economists across the spectrum predict that the new Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen will continue to buy US bonds indefinitely continuing Ben Bernanke’s current policies.  All the while consumers continue to accumulate debt.  Black Friday was marked with chaos followed by violence as mobs of consumers’ raided shopping centers and malls for discounts and sales on numerous products including flat screen televisions, toys, clothing and other goods they most likely don’t need.  Regardless of the economic situation, consumers will continue to buy.  Granted, Christmas is about giving your loved ones gifts in a traditional sense.  It is also about spending time with the family.  It is supposed to be a joyous holiday for families, but the American population is mired in debt ranging from credit cards, mortgages, student loans and auto loans.  Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that U.S. households increased their debt levels by continuing to borrow at unprecedented levels:

Consumer indebtedness rose $127 billion to $11.28 trillion, the biggest increase since the first quarter of 2008, according to a quarterly report on household debt and credit released today by the Fed district bank. Mortgage balances climbed $56 billion, student loans increased $33 billion, auto loans were up $31 billion and credit-card debt rose by $4 billion.

“We observed an increase of household balances across essentially all types of debt,” Donghoon Lee, senior research economist at the New York Fed, said in a statement. “With non-housing debt consistently increasing and the factors pushing down mortgage balances waning, it appears that households have crossed a turning point in the deleveraging cycle.”

Consumerism has taking hold in America.  The population continues to stampede at malls and in some cases injuring and even killing individuals.  In 2008, a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death in Long Island, New York by a stampede of hungry consumers looking for bargains.  There were also several people injured during the incident.  This Black Friday proved to be more of the same as shoppers filled shopping malls.  Some malls experienced violent crowds pushing and fighting with each other over items that were on sale.  It is absolutely mind boggling to see average people become violent over products sold at major retail stores.  Morality is in decline in America.

Regardless of debt the American public faces, it seems that shopping is the only thing that matters.  As debt increases it becomes harder for them to repay.  Can the American people ever awaken from their dystopian nightmare of mass consumption of products they don’t need?  They are accumulating large amounts of debt thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank’s printing of unlimited cheap money with incredibly zero to low interest rates.  Although, many do buy their basic necessities such as food and clothing, buying the latest products that includes video games and other computer gadgets are turning consumers into life-long debt slaves that will continue to pay their credit card companies with “interest” until the debt is paid.  That can take a long period of time since interest rates are tied to credit cards and other revolving loan payments.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank (who continues endless money printing) and other government institutions, the average US household owes between $7,000 and $15,112 on credit cards.  The average mortgage debt is at $146,215 and student loans’ reaching the $1 trillion mark is at $31,240.  The total amount of debt the United States owes to its creditors namely China is at $17 Trillion and steadily increasing as the Federal Reserve Bank continues to buy its own US bonds.

Debt Slavery is the new modern-day slavery as millions continue to buy products on credit becoming perpetual servants of mega corporations and international banks.  How?  As you buy with credit cards or loans, the “interest rates” attached to the purchases made is the bond that ties you and the corporate interests or bankers for eternity.  The debt people get into is difficult to escape as interest rates accumulate over time it becomes extremely difficult to repay since it keeps adding up.  In the 2009 film called ‘The International’ with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts which was actually inspired by the BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) scandal in real life had an interesting scene involving an Italian politician named Umberto Calvini, who is a weapons manufacturer who explains to Eleanor Whitman (Watts) and Louis Salinger (Owens) that IBBC was interested in buying a missile guiding system that his factory produces then later assassinated.  He explained that the true value was not conflicts but the debt it produces:

Calvini: “No, this is not about making profit from weapon sales.  It’s about control.”

Eleanor: “Control the flow of weapons, control the conflict?”

Calvini: “No. No No. The IBBC is a bank. Their objective isn’t to control the conflict, it’s to control the debt that the conflict produces. You see, the real value of a conflict – the true value – is in the debt that it creates. You control the debt, you control everything.  You find this upsetting, yes?  But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.”

It was an interesting scene coming out of Hollywood, which by every standard is a propaganda machine.  Debt is serious business especially for banks and corporations.  .

With all of the problems the American public faces with the prospect of a future war on Iran will impact the world’s economy.  With 100 million people out of work in the United States and a reduction in food stamps and inflation hitting food prices, there is much concern.  Celebrities’ personal lives still dominate headlines in the main stream media.  The ‘War on Terror’ has taken away civil liberties and the ‘War on Drugs’ has increased the prison population.  High-crime rates in major cities remain problematic. With the rollout of 7000 drones in 2015, endless wars, a looming dollar collapse, and endless Pharmaceutical commercials that keep people heavily drugged are serious problems for the American public.  Yet, shopping on Black Friday resulting in violence and chaos among uneasy crowds seems to be the norm.

The media and corporate advertisements have turned the American population into a “Slave” state of mind. Many people in the United States are accumulating debt at levels never seen in its 237 years of its existence.  It is a lesson to the world in what NOT to do.  An economy that is consumer based with credit is a disaster in the making because that debt only becomes unmanageable in the long run, especially when the people have no means to repay its debt obligations.  An economy based on consumerism leads to moral decay.  When people become ingrained in consumption disregarding the debt they inherit, they become immune to the realities around them.  When the situation becomes intense with a coming dollar collapse and a possible war in the Middle East, reality will sink in.  Then when the necessities such as food and shelter become scarce the people will begin to panic and lose control over their own lives.  Who knows what people in America will be capable of, but then again as you saw what happened on Black Friday, it is a reminder of how people react when products they don’t really need are on sale.  Imagine how they will react in times of economic despair.

Beijing’s Race to Diversify out of US Treasuries: New Agreements would Allow Singapore...

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - China is accelerating the role of the Chinese Yuan with agreements with Singapore that would allow direct trading between each other’s currency” according to Singapore’s central bank. The Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported that China and Singapore will cooperate on a number of agreements that would boost economic ties for both countries.  China is concerned with its US treasury holdings worth up to $1.2 trillion after Washington’s spectacle earlier this month over its fiscal policies that pushed the world’s economy into a crises.  The move, along with other agreements on financial cooperation, is expected to bolster Singapore’s status as a leading offshore trading centre for the Chinese Yuan, officially called the renminbi (RMB)”the report said.  “China and Singapore will introduce direct currency trading between the Chinese yuan and Singapore dollar,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement, adding that details will be announced separately.” China is in a good position because it allows Singapore to invest in Chinese stocks and bonds with Yuan’s boosting its capital markets. The report said that “China will also grant Singapore-based investors a 50-billion-yuan ($8.2 billion) investment quota under its Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor programme, MAS said.  This would allow investors based in the city-state to use the Yuan to invest in Chinese stocks and bonds.”  China is racing against time in case lawmakers in Washington do not come up with an agreement to raise the “Debt Ceiling” to borrow more money or solve their economic problems.  China is diversifying out of US Dollars at a rapid pace since the 2007-2008 financial crises that resulted in the bankruptcy of major financial institutions, bailouts and government takeovers such as Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citigroup and American Insurance Group (AIG).  China is also frustrated with the US government’s backing of its neighbors internal affairs with Beijing regarding the South China Sea.  Reuters reported on October 10th, 2013 the following:

The US is also aggressively backing the Philippine government’s maritime dispute with China when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry angered China’s leadership “All claimants have a responsibility to clarify and align their claims with international law. They can engage in arbitration and other means of peaceful negotiation,” Kerry told leaders at the East Asia Summit in Brunei, including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.  “Freedom of navigation and overflight is a linchpin of security in the Pacific,” he added.

It is important to note that Hillary Clinton, who is rumored to run as a Democratic candidate in the 2016 US Presidential elections, told an ASEAN summit in 2010 that the US had a “national interest” in the “freedom of navigation. “  Clinton also angered China that only proves that the US is directly intervening in a regional dispute.  Since the Obama administration got into office they have repeatedly used the ASEAN forums for multilateral discussions between China and its South East Asian counterparts supporting the opposition and ignoring Beijing’s call to settle the disputes bilaterally. The US has supported the Philippines (considered a US puppet state) and Vietnam to counter China’s claims aggressively resulting in numerous maritime incidents in the South China Sea and has divided all countries within ASEAN.  China is threatened economically and militarily by the US government (See graph below).

China is making moves to loosen the US government’s strangle hold over its economy and its regional disputes with its neighbors.  China’s economic growth will benefit Singapore in the long run as “Chinese institutional investors will also be allowed to use the Yuan to invest in Singapore’s capital markets.”  The AFP also stated that “Relevant agencies in Singapore and China are also in discussions to facilitate China-incorporated companies, which have received regulatory approval to list directly in Singapore.” And that “The new initiatives will further promote the international use of the Renminbi through Singapore,” the MAS said.  Times are changing for the world’s economy.  China and other countries are in preparation for a possible US default in the future.  When can the US Dollar collapse?  It is hard to tell since the US economy is intertwined with the global economy.  But one thing is for sure China and other countries across the planet are diversifying out of the US Dollar and it is accelerating.  That is a fact.  Singapore is not taking any chances either.  “Its managing director Ravi Menon added: “Financial ties between the two countries have deepened considerably and Singapore is well placed to promote greater use of the RMB in international trade and investment in the years to come.”  The AFP report said “China’s rise as the world’s second biggest economy has seen the Yuan take on a bigger role in international financial markets.”  2014 will be an interesting year for world financial markets.  What will happen when Washington is once again on the center stage in January?  Will they continue to increase the “Debt Ceiling” so that they can borrow until the end of time? Or will they play “Political Brinkmanship again?  Will the Federal Reserve Bank “Taper” its monetary policy by Mid-2014 if the US economy improves as Chairman Ben Bernanke promised or will the new Chairwoman Janet Yellen, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a protégé of Alan Greenspan continue to print US “Fiat” currencies with low interest rates?  Many questions on the US economy remain elusive.  China has many reasons to worry about its financial future and its sovereignty and that is a declining empire called the United States government.

The Dying Dollar – Paul Craig Roberts

The Dying Dollar Federal Reserve and Wall Street Assassinate US Dollar Since 2006, the US dollar has experienced a one-quarter to one-third drop in value to the Chinese yuan, depending on the choice of base.   Now China is going to let the dollar decline further in value.  China also says it is considering undermining the…

The post The Dying Dollar — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Remembering Jack Kennedy

Remembering Jack Kennedy

by Stephen Lendman

Killing Kennedy mattered. It changed America's direction. Things might have been different had he lived.

November 22, 1963 remains a stain on America's legacy. It was Friday. A light rain fell. 

Kennedy spent the night at the Texas Hotel. A platform was set up outside. He came out. He made some brief remarks.

"There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," he said. "I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it."

He addressed "the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership."

His motorcade traveled to Carswell Air Force Base. He took a 13 minute flight to Dallas. Rain ended. 

The plastic bubble atop his car was left off. Lyndon and Mrs. Johnson accompanied him in a separate car.

The procession headed downtown. It wound through Dallas en route to the Trade Mart. Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a luncheon.

Crowds along the route waved. His car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza. It was around 12:30PM. The procession passed the Texas School Book Depository.

Gunfire was heard. Kennedy was struck. His car sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. It was a few minutes away. It was too late. He was given his last rites. Around 1PM, he was pronounced dead.

The New York Times headlined in bold type across the top of its front page: "KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR TO DALLAS; JOHNSON SWOWN IN ON PLANE"

"Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe"

"President is Struck Down by a Rifle Shot From Building on Motorcade Route - Johnson, Riding Behind, Is Unhurt"

Less than an hour earlier, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. He was a convenient patsy. He had nothing to do with killing Kennedy.

He alone remains officially blamed. The Big Lie persists. Lots of evidence refutes it. 

Plato once said:

"Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school."

"And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool."

On November 29, 1963, Lyndon Johnson established the Warren Commission. On September 24, 1964, it delivered its 888-page report. 

Three days later, it released it publicly. It pronounced a bald-faced lie. It said Oswald acted alone.

It later published 26 volumes of supporting documents. They included testimonies or depositions of 552 witnesses.

Its distortions included over 3,100 exhibits. It went all out to conceal truth and full disclosure.

All records are in the National Archives. Included are unpublished reports. They're sealed until 2039.

They're no longer applicable under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act and 1992 JFK Records Act.

Nothing released ahead will change the official story. The Big Lie persists. It remain etched in stone. It's for others to challenge it.

The Commission's job was suppressing truth. It was coverup. It was stacked with insiders. They included:

  • Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren

  • Senator Richard Russell (D. GA)

  • Senator John Sherman Cooper (R. KY)

  • Representative Hale Boggs (D. LA)

  • Representative Gerald Ford (R. MI)

  • former CIA director Allen Dulles, and

  • former WW II Assistant Secretary of War/World Bank president/prominent presidential advisor John J. McCloy.

Testimonies were taken in secret. Sanitized versions were published.

Peter Dale Scott coined the phrase "deep politics." It means "in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so." 

Scott noted "the ability of the government to establish a guilty party or parties immediately, and the press and media consumption of that product to the exclusion of all other possibilities."

The Warren Commission's mandate was "to validate what was already decided by the FBI on the day in question." 

"In Oswald's case, FBI and CIA documents described him as five feet, ten inches, weighing 165 pounds." 

"But it contradicted the actual height and weight of the man picked up and charged being slightly shorter and weighing 140 pounds."

"It appears someone had already decided who was going to be charged before the police found Oswald in the Texas Theater." 

He was named within 15 minutes from when Kennedy was shot. It was impossible to know that soon. The official story was bogus.

Jim Marrs book titled, "Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy" discussed a Cartha DeLoach memo. He was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's close aide.

He said then Congressman Gerald Ford may have been the bureau's Warren Commission informant. He had close CIA ties.

It was later learned he reported to Hoover. He did so secretly. He admitted instructing the Commission to move Kennedy's back wound up several inches. A lower location disproved the single gunman theory.

A subsequent Commission report was titled "A Presidential Legacy and the Warren Commission." 

It said the investigation put "certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed." 

The CIA hid or "destroy(ed) some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK's assassination."

Family spokeswoman, Penny Circle, said Ford approved the text. Before his death, he publicly said the CIA destroyed or hid critical secrets related to the killing. 

He suggested a "conspiracy." He barely stopped short of admitting one. Commission conclusions were rubbish. They hid dirty truths. They were too disturbing to reveal.

Jim Fetzer has done extensive research on Kennedy's assassination. He said the following:

"The weapon Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK."

"The 'magic bullet' theory is provably untrue and was not even anatomically possible."

"JFK was hit four times - in the throat from in front, in the back from behind, and in the head from in front and behind."

"X-rays were altered. A brain was substituted, and photos and films were faked to conceal the true causes of his death."

Fetzer cited "more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting JFK up for the hit." 

"Two agents assigned to the limousine were left behind at Love Field. The flat-bed truck for reporters that should have preceded the limo was cancelled." 

"The motorcycle escort was cut down to four and was instructed not to ride ahead of the rear wheels." 

"Open windows were not covered. The manhole covers were not welded, and the crowd was allowed to spill into the street."

"...Vehicles were in the wrong order, with (Kennedy's) Lincoln first, when it should have been in the middle." 

"This was such a blatant violation of protocol that any security expert would have detected it."

The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) destroyed the Presidential Protection Records. It did so to eliminate important evidence.

Kennedy's route was changed days before he arrived. Included was a strictly prohibited 90 degree turn.

After gunfire struck him, driver William Greer pulled to the left. He stopped the vehicle.

"At Parkland Hospital, (Secret Service) agents got a bucket of water and a sponge, and washed brains and blood from the crime scene."

Kennedy's "limousine was taken back to Ford. (It) was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt."

Doing so destroyed important evidence. It included the windshield. It had "a through-and-through bullet hole."

Kennedy was shot from in front and behind. He was struck four times. 

The Warren Commission claimed he was hit twice. The Commission claimed the bullet striking Kennedy in the back passed through his neck, then exited from his throat.

It struck Governor Connally. It shattered a rib. It damaged his right wrist. It embedded itself in his left thigh.

Fetzer called this explanation "a most unlikely scenario that is known as the 'magic bullet' theory."

To make it remotely plausible, Commission member (then Congressman) Gerald Ford "had the description of the wound to the back changed from 'his uppermost back.' "

The weapon Oswald was accused of firing couldn't have killed Kennedy. His death certificate and autopsy said high-velocity bullets above 2,600 fps killed him.

Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle had a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps.

Even with a more powerful weapon, "the shots themselves were highly improbable," said Fetzer.

"(T)he simple expedient of locating where the bullet hit JFK’s back is enough to establish the existence of a conspiracy has not inhibited those who want to obfuscate the facts."

Pseudo-documentaries air on TV. They obscure what happened. They hide vital truths.

They stick to the long ago discredited lone gunman explanation. "Authentic evidence, once separated from (fabrications), refutes it," said Fetzer.

"The demise of the 'magic bullet' (theory) alone establishes conspiracy."

"Creating a false photographic record of the assassination was crucial to the cover-up."

"As much thought was given to concealing the truth from the public as was given to executing the assassination itself."

"By removing some events and adding others, the home movie known as the Zapruder film became the backbone of the cover-up." 

"As long as it was taken to be authentic, it would be impossible to reconstruct the crime."

Much has been written about Kennedy. James Douglas contributed some of the best. His book titled "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" debunked mainstream myths and much more. 

He showed how Kennedy threatened the military-industrial complex. He had to go. "(T)he CIA's fiingerprints (were) all over the crime and the events leading up to it," said Douglas.

The lone gunman theory long ago lost credibility. A state-sponsored coup eliminated Kennedy. He changed during his time in office. He evolved from cold warrior to peacemaker.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco chastened him. He refused authorizing another attempt to remove Castro.

He supported Palestinian rights. He opposed Israel's nuclear weapons program. He offended energy giants. He wanted the oil depletion allowance cut or eliminated.

RFK waged war on organized crime. JFK's first executive order expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He was a gradualist on civil rights. He believed integration was morally right.

He favored Federal Reserve reform. His Executive Order 11110 authorized replacing Federal Reserve notes with silver certificates if the occasion arose to do so. 

It's believed he ordered Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon to begin issuing United States notes. Perhaps he had in mind replacing Federal Reserve ones altogether. He was assassinated to soon to know.

He deplored the CIA. He fired director Allen Dulles and his deputy General Charles Cabell. 

He once said he wanted to "splinter the (agency) into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." It was reason enough to kill him.

He increasingly opposed imperial wars. Initially, he sent troops and advisors to Southeast Asia. He opposed sending more to Laos.

He told his Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:

"Do you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don't want to put troops in."

He opposed deploying nuclear weapons in Berlin. He was against using them in Southeast Asia.

He once called Pentagon generals "crazy" for suggesting it. He refused to attack or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. He said he "never had the slightest intension of doing so."

He urged abolishing all nuclear weapons. He knew using them is lunacy. He favored general and complete disarmament.

He opposed Pax Americana enforced dominance. He signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with Soviet Russia.

Weeks before his assassination, he signed National Security Memorandum 263. It called for removing 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by yearend. He wanted them all out by December 1965.

He underwent a spiritual transformation. It bears repeating. He switched from cold warrior to peacemaker.

He was at odds with Pentagon commanders, CIA, most congressional members, and nearly all his advisors.

He understood his vulnerability. He paid with his life. He was favored to win reelection. Imagine if he had two full terms. 

Imagine a new direction. Imagine deploring war. Imagine turning swords into plowshares.

Imagine a world at peace. Imagine nuclear disarmament. Imagine ending the Cold War a generation earlier.

In June 1956, he addressed Harvard's commencement. He was Massachusetts junior senator at the time. 

He ended by quoting an English mother. She wrote the Provost of Harrow saying: "Don't teach my boy poetry. He is going to stand for Parliament."

"Well, perhaps she was right," said Kennedy. "But if more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place in which to live on this commencement day of 1956."

Killing JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X "decapitat(ed) America's left," said Fetzer. In the 1970s, the nation began shifting right. Progressive charismatic leaders were gone. 

None exist today. Their absence is sorely missed. It lets America get away with murder and then some. 

Dark forces run things. War on humanity persists. Peacemakers aren't around to stop it. Survival hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Remembering Jack Kennedy

by Stephen Lendman

Killing Kennedy mattered. It changed America's direction. Things might have been different had he lived.

November 22, 1963 remains a stain on America's legacy. It was Friday. A light rain fell. 

Kennedy spent the night at the Texas Hotel. A platform was set up outside. He came out. He made some brief remarks.

"There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," he said. "I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it."

He addressed "the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership."

His motorcade traveled to Carswell Air Force Base. He took a 13 minute flight to Dallas. Rain ended. 

The plastic bubble atop his car was left off. Lyndon and Mrs. Johnson accompanied him in a separate car.

The procession headed downtown. It wound through Dallas en route to the Trade Mart. Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a luncheon.

Crowds along the route waved. His car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza. It was around 12:30PM. The procession passed the Texas School Book Depository.

Gunfire was heard. Kennedy was struck. His car sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. It was a few minutes away. It was too late. He was given his last rites. Around 1PM, he was pronounced dead.

The New York Times headlined in bold type across the top of its front page: "KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR TO DALLAS; JOHNSON SWOWN IN ON PLANE"

"Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe"

"President is Struck Down by a Rifle Shot From Building on Motorcade Route - Johnson, Riding Behind, Is Unhurt"

Less than an hour earlier, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. He was a convenient patsy. He had nothing to do with killing Kennedy.

He alone remains officially blamed. The Big Lie persists. Lots of evidence refutes it. 

Plato once said:

"Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school."

"And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool."

On November 29, 1963, Lyndon Johnson established the Warren Commission. On September 24, 1964, it delivered its 888-page report. 

Three days later, it released it publicly. It pronounced a bald-faced lie. It said Oswald acted alone.

It later published 26 volumes of supporting documents. They included testimonies or depositions of 552 witnesses.

Its distortions included over 3,100 exhibits. It went all out to conceal truth and full disclosure.

All records are in the National Archives. Included are unpublished reports. They're sealed until 2039.

They're no longer applicable under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act and 1992 JFK Records Act.

Nothing released ahead will change the official story. The Big Lie persists. It remain etched in stone. It's for others to challenge it.

The Commission's job was suppressing truth. It was coverup. It was stacked with insiders. They included:

  • Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren

  • Senator Richard Russell (D. GA)

  • Senator John Sherman Cooper (R. KY)

  • Representative Hale Boggs (D. LA)

  • Representative Gerald Ford (R. MI)

  • former CIA director Allen Dulles, and

  • former WW II Assistant Secretary of War/World Bank president/prominent presidential advisor John J. McCloy.

Testimonies were taken in secret. Sanitized versions were published.

Peter Dale Scott coined the phrase "deep politics." It means "in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so." 

Scott noted "the ability of the government to establish a guilty party or parties immediately, and the press and media consumption of that product to the exclusion of all other possibilities."

The Warren Commission's mandate was "to validate what was already decided by the FBI on the day in question." 

"In Oswald's case, FBI and CIA documents described him as five feet, ten inches, weighing 165 pounds." 

"But it contradicted the actual height and weight of the man picked up and charged being slightly shorter and weighing 140 pounds."

"It appears someone had already decided who was going to be charged before the police found Oswald in the Texas Theater." 

He was named within 15 minutes from when Kennedy was shot. It was impossible to know that soon. The official story was bogus.

Jim Marrs book titled, "Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy" discussed a Cartha DeLoach memo. He was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's close aide.

He said then Congressman Gerald Ford may have been the bureau's Warren Commission informant. He had close CIA ties.

It was later learned he reported to Hoover. He did so secretly. He admitted instructing the Commission to move Kennedy's back wound up several inches. A lower location disproved the single gunman theory.

A subsequent Commission report was titled "A Presidential Legacy and the Warren Commission." 

It said the investigation put "certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed." 

The CIA hid or "destroy(ed) some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK's assassination."

Family spokeswoman, Penny Circle, said Ford approved the text. Before his death, he publicly said the CIA destroyed or hid critical secrets related to the killing. 

He suggested a "conspiracy." He barely stopped short of admitting one. Commission conclusions were rubbish. They hid dirty truths. They were too disturbing to reveal.

Jim Fetzer has done extensive research on Kennedy's assassination. He said the following:

"The weapon Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK."

"The 'magic bullet' theory is provably untrue and was not even anatomically possible."

"JFK was hit four times - in the throat from in front, in the back from behind, and in the head from in front and behind."

"X-rays were altered. A brain was substituted, and photos and films were faked to conceal the true causes of his death."

Fetzer cited "more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting JFK up for the hit." 

"Two agents assigned to the limousine were left behind at Love Field. The flat-bed truck for reporters that should have preceded the limo was cancelled." 

"The motorcycle escort was cut down to four and was instructed not to ride ahead of the rear wheels." 

"Open windows were not covered. The manhole covers were not welded, and the crowd was allowed to spill into the street."

"...Vehicles were in the wrong order, with (Kennedy's) Lincoln first, when it should have been in the middle." 

"This was such a blatant violation of protocol that any security expert would have detected it."

The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) destroyed the Presidential Protection Records. It did so to eliminate important evidence.

Kennedy's route was changed days before he arrived. Included was a strictly prohibited 90 degree turn.

After gunfire struck him, driver William Greer pulled to the left. He stopped the vehicle.

"At Parkland Hospital, (Secret Service) agents got a bucket of water and a sponge, and washed brains and blood from the crime scene."

Kennedy's "limousine was taken back to Ford. (It) was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt."

Doing so destroyed important evidence. It included the windshield. It had "a through-and-through bullet hole."

Kennedy was shot from in front and behind. He was struck four times. 

The Warren Commission claimed he was hit twice. The Commission claimed the bullet striking Kennedy in the back passed through his neck, then exited from his throat.

It struck Governor Connally. It shattered a rib. It damaged his right wrist. It embedded itself in his left thigh.

Fetzer called this explanation "a most unlikely scenario that is known as the 'magic bullet' theory."

To make it remotely plausible, Commission member (then Congressman) Gerald Ford "had the description of the wound to the back changed from 'his uppermost back.' "

The weapon Oswald was accused of firing couldn't have killed Kennedy. His death certificate and autopsy said high-velocity bullets above 2,600 fps killed him.

Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle had a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps.

Even with a more powerful weapon, "the shots themselves were highly improbable," said Fetzer.

"(T)he simple expedient of locating where the bullet hit JFK’s back is enough to establish the existence of a conspiracy has not inhibited those who want to obfuscate the facts."

Pseudo-documentaries air on TV. They obscure what happened. They hide vital truths.

They stick to the long ago discredited lone gunman explanation. "Authentic evidence, once separated from (fabrications), refutes it," said Fetzer.

"The demise of the 'magic bullet' (theory) alone establishes conspiracy."

"Creating a false photographic record of the assassination was crucial to the cover-up."

"As much thought was given to concealing the truth from the public as was given to executing the assassination itself."

"By removing some events and adding others, the home movie known as the Zapruder film became the backbone of the cover-up." 

"As long as it was taken to be authentic, it would be impossible to reconstruct the crime."

Much has been written about Kennedy. James Douglas contributed some of the best. His book titled "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" debunked mainstream myths and much more. 

He showed how Kennedy threatened the military-industrial complex. He had to go. "(T)he CIA's fiingerprints (were) all over the crime and the events leading up to it," said Douglas.

The lone gunman theory long ago lost credibility. A state-sponsored coup eliminated Kennedy. He changed during his time in office. He evolved from cold warrior to peacemaker.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco chastened him. He refused authorizing another attempt to remove Castro.

He supported Palestinian rights. He opposed Israel's nuclear weapons program. He offended energy giants. He wanted the oil depletion allowance cut or eliminated.

RFK waged war on organized crime. JFK's first executive order expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He was a gradualist on civil rights. He believed integration was morally right.

He favored Federal Reserve reform. His Executive Order 11110 authorized replacing Federal Reserve notes with silver certificates if the occasion arose to do so. 

It's believed he ordered Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon to begin issuing United States notes. Perhaps he had in mind replacing Federal Reserve ones altogether. He was assassinated to soon to know.

He deplored the CIA. He fired director Allen Dulles and his deputy General Charles Cabell. 

He once said he wanted to "splinter the (agency) into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." It was reason enough to kill him.

He increasingly opposed imperial wars. Initially, he sent troops and advisors to Southeast Asia. He opposed sending more to Laos.

He told his Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:

"Do you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don't want to put troops in."

He opposed deploying nuclear weapons in Berlin. He was against using them in Southeast Asia.

He once called Pentagon generals "crazy" for suggesting it. He refused to attack or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. He said he "never had the slightest intension of doing so."

He urged abolishing all nuclear weapons. He knew using them is lunacy. He favored general and complete disarmament.

He opposed Pax Americana enforced dominance. He signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with Soviet Russia.

Weeks before his assassination, he signed National Security Memorandum 263. It called for removing 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by yearend. He wanted them all out by December 1965.

He underwent a spiritual transformation. It bears repeating. He switched from cold warrior to peacemaker.

He was at odds with Pentagon commanders, CIA, most congressional members, and nearly all his advisors.

He understood his vulnerability. He paid with his life. He was favored to win reelection. Imagine if he had two full terms. 

Imagine a new direction. Imagine deploring war. Imagine turning swords into plowshares.

Imagine a world at peace. Imagine nuclear disarmament. Imagine ending the Cold War a generation earlier.

In June 1956, he addressed Harvard's commencement. He was Massachusetts junior senator at the time. 

He ended by quoting an English mother. She wrote the Provost of Harrow saying: "Don't teach my boy poetry. He is going to stand for Parliament."

"Well, perhaps she was right," said Kennedy. "But if more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place in which to live on this commencement day of 1956."

Killing JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X "decapitat(ed) America's left," said Fetzer. In the 1970s, the nation began shifting right. Progressive charismatic leaders were gone. 

None exist today. Their absence is sorely missed. It lets America get away with murder and then some. 

Dark forces run things. War on humanity persists. Peacemakers aren't around to stop it. Survival hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/remembering-jack-kennedy/

Looking Back: 50 Years after the JFK Assassination



They are derisively called “conspiracy theorists”. They carry the torch for the beliefs that sixty to eighty percent of their fellow citizens share since the assassination of President John Kennedy. From October 17 to October 19, several hundred gathered in Pittsburgh for the “Passing the Torch” symposium, a forum devoted to many of the leading investigators discussing alternate visions to the US government's official version of the murder of Kennedy.

For three days, a group of ordinary-looking, very well-spoken, collegial people discussed and debated the plausibility of conflicting explanations of the Kennedy assassination. Those who have been misled by the corporately-compromised media would be disappointed with the participants: there were no ominous references to the Holy Grail, Area 51, or Roswell, except in jest. Rather, the atmosphere of the gathering was more akin to a convention of neurosurgeons without the glamor of a glitzy destination. The few cranks-- anti-Federal Reserve exponents and religious zealots-- saw their comments politely dismissed.

Questions and Answers

Broadly speaking, there are two research methodologies that engage assassination investigators. One group of researchers develop, examine, analyze, and debate the physical evidence. The objects of their study are the familiar artifacts: the Zapruder film, the so-called “pristine bullet,” the rifle associated with Oswald, autopsy photos, etc. Of course not all physical evidence is either direct or clearly relevant. Photos, personal accounts, audio tapes, documents, etc. may be merely suggestive and open to broad interpretation. While physical evidence may count as “hard” data, it virtually never fills all of the narrative space between the premeditation to murder and the completion of the act. The judicial system recognizes this oft-occurring opening by placing the “hard” evidence before a jury with the hope that they will have the collective judgment to satisfactorily fill the gaps and arrive at a well-considered conclusion.

But it would be naive to press the idealized courtroom analogy too hard. The court of public opinion, like the real judicial system, allows of differential resources, bias, and clandestine influence. But where honest people recognize that the courts are “overly” fair to the rich, and that the poor suffer a surfeit of fairness, the court of public opinion dispenses entirely with the notion of fairness. With the Kennedy assassination, the government and its agencies have invested overwhelmingly in the Warren Commission/Oswald-did-it-alone version. The US government has resisted, at every step, revealing relevant evidence that might shed new light on the case; it has even denied access to evidence developed to support the conventional view; and it has actively interfered with independent investigations of the assassination. Now-public documents show that the security agencies spied on and interacted with the Garrison investigation in New Orleans. Recent revelations demonstrate that the CIA established their former (1963) chief of covert operations in Miami as their liaison with the 1976 House Select Committee on Assassinations... without revealing this relevant fact (the Joannides affair). This revelation has belatedly driven the formerly compliant final head of that investigation, G. Robert Blakey, into uncharacteristic fits of indignation:

I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee.... I was not told of Joannides' background with the DRE [Revolutionary Student Directorate], a focal point of the investigation. Had I known who he was, he would have been a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the staff or by the committee. He would never have been acceptable as a point of contact with us to retrieve documents. In fact, I have now learned, as I note above, that Joannides was the point of contact between the Agency and DRE during the period Oswald was in contact with DRE. That the Agency would put a 'material witness' in as a 'filter' between the committee and its quests for documents was a flat out breach of the understanding the committee had with the Agency that it would co-operate with the investigation.

Given that researchers face a hostile government and its lap-dog media, it is truly amazing that researchers have advanced the study as far as they have. Of course hostile intelligence agencies and a media with blinders only reinforce the suspicions that the truth remains to be uncovered.

Blending into the physical evidence and further filling the evidentiary gaps are the circumstances and personal ties of the key players in the murder-- so-called “circumstantial evidence.” For example, the bizarre trajectory of Lee Harvey Oswald's brief adult life is breathtaking and complex. He crosses paths with a wide variety of diverse and contradictory characters while taking on equally contradictory personae.

Apologists for the Warren Commission want us to believe that these oddities reflect an isolated, but unstable personality. But the narrative fails the “credible-movie-script” test: No one would believe this tale if it were a movie.

Further, Oswald's Mexico trip the month before the assassination is a surreal saga fraught with confusion, misidentification, and mystery.

Beyond Circumstances

Is there anything that a Marxist could add to nearly fifty years of skepticism over the Warren Commission and the account of the assassination defended by the security agencies, US elites, and the corporate media?

Certainly a strong case could be made for the account offered by the former head of Cuban counterintelligence, Fabian Escalante. His book, JFK: The Cuba Files, based on his careful review of Cuban evidence, presents many new elements of the days, events, and personalities leading up to the assassination, though no citation of his work arose during the three-day symposium in Pittsburgh. In fact, I inquired of a lobby bookseller with a trove of assassination and associated books why he failed to offer Escalante's book in his extensive collection. He muttered something about how youthful Escalante looks in his pictures despite his retirement-- clear recognition of Escalante's work, but an evasion of its absence.

It is unfortunate that investigators ignore his book because he untangles much of the Mexico City puzzle. And his profiles of likely suspects add much to the existing biographies. But one senses a hesitance to accept a contribution from a Cuban official, a remnant of Cold War distrust. Moreover, the investigators, with only a few exceptions, own a rather conventional, naive politics. At the end of the symposium, a panelist posed what proved to be an embarrassing, but revealing question: How many here would welcome a Kennedy Presidency today?

The participants and audience demonstrated resounding approval with an enthusiasm betraying frenzied devotion to a fallen martyr rather than mere respect for a murdered President.

Perhaps it is here that a Marxist can make a modest contribution to our understanding of the Kennedy assassination by adding an element of political realism and historical context.

Regard Oswald's strange course from his adolescence in the mid 1950s through his death in November of 1963. Many point to the incredible twists and turns taken by him through this period. They argue that other forces must be at play: Oswald must have been a puppet. Opponents dismiss this as only indicative of his instability.

But these arguments miss the point.

The real conundrum is in reconciling that bizarre path with the known, demonstrable behavior of the US security services. It was in that period that their covert and overt surveillance reached unparalleled heights. And it was in that time frame that their suppression and prosecution of the left was at its pinnacle. It is simply impossible for Oswald, posturing as a Communist or Marxist militant, to have escaped their constant attention and, indeed, harassment, if anyone in the higher echelons of the many bureaus and agencies believed that posture. Consequently, it would be beyond comprehension that Oswald would have been where he was alleged to be at the moment of the assassination without those many security offices discounting his “leftist” credentials.

Reflect on the following:

Oswald was allegedly a self-proclaimed Communist in his adolescence before his Marine Corps enlistment and remained so during his 35 months in the Corps (Oct. 1956-September 1959), often sharing his politics with fellow Marines. Despite his openness, he was given at least a “confidential” security clearanceand assigned to a secret U-2 base in Japan. He was trained in sophisticated radar tracking and had access to much sensitive information.

At the same time, hundreds of Communists and thousands of liberals were under surveillance, lost their jobs, or were in jail. Communist leader Claude Lightfoot was sent to jail in 1956 when Oswald joined the Marines. A year earlier, copywriter Melvin Barnet was fired from his job at the New York Times for his political views. The infamous FBI COINTELPRO, a program of active measures against Communists and other leftists, began in 1956. Leaders of the ACLU were informing to the FBI in that period. A Professor at the University of Michigan, Chandler Davis, went to jail for his views in 1959, at a time Oswald was espousing Communism to his fellow Marines.

Is Oswald's story credible? Did he escape the net that captured liberals who were victimized by snitches and liars? What accounts for his immunity?

Upon discharge, Oswald set off within 10 days on his voyage to the Soviet Union and defection. Investigators quibble over the formalities of the defection, but no one questions that Oswald made the strongest political statement by surrendering his passport and taking residence in the USSR from late 1959 until June of 1962. After stating his misgivings about the USSR, he was smoothly integrated into a nest of anti-Bolshevik Russians living in arguably one of the most rabidly reactionary, anti-Communist cities in the US, Dallas, Texas (the other candidate being Miami, Florida). Oswald and his young wife quickly find friends who would, by inclination, stand off from his politics, social status, and manners. At no time does this produce a backlash commensurate with the tenor of the times.

It wasn't until late 1962 that Junius Scales, a district functionary of the Communist Party in North Carolina, was released from prison for merely being a Communist. The Smith Act, The Internal Security Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Communist Control Act remained in full force in this period, all aimed at suppressing and repressing Communists. Spanish Civil War vet and Communist Archie Brown was arrested in 1961 under the Communist Control Act. In 1962 and 1963, Jack O'Dell was forced out of his leading role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by the Kennedy administration for his alleged Communist affiliation. The US government pressed again to revoke Paul Robeson's passport in 1962. The Berlin Crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the October Cuban missile crisis of 1962 brought anti-Communism in the US to a boil.

It was in the midst of this atmosphere that Oswald brought his crackpot leftist ideas to Dallas and into the arms of anti-Communist fanatics. While working at an enterprise engaged in classified military work, Oswald contacted both the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party-- he had maintained subscriptions to their respective newspapers since his return to the US. Unlike thousands of people who were denied employment, experienced harassment, or found their names on watch lists, Oswald enjoyed a charmed life within a cesspool of right-wing intrigue and anti-Red hysteria.

The spring of 1963 brought Oswald to New Orleans where he mounted a one-man campaign to establish left credentials while blatantly drawing attention to his activities, a bizarre goal for an authentic leftist in a hostile environment and with no allies. Warren Commission apologists like Gerald Posner answer that these actions only prove that Oswald was unbalanced and unpredictable.

But that evades the pertinent question.

Where were the security services that were systematically hunting, harassing, and persecuting everyone in the US with even a pinkish tint? How does Oswald escape their net? Did anyone in the US leave such a trail of provocative left-wing foot prints as did Oswald?

Before, during, and after Oswald's pro-Cuban adventure in the deep South, critics were threatened, beaten, and even killed for opposing segregation. And yet Oswald's television notoriety earned by defending revolutionary Cuba brought a violent reaction only when Oswald provoked one. Lee Harvey Oswald was perhaps the only self-proclaimed leftist in the US who traveled, lived, and acted with impunity during this repressive era.

Immediately before leaving for Mexico in September of 1963, Oswald telephoned the head of the Texas Socialist Labor Party to mention that he wanted to meet before he left for Mexico City, a conversation that was surely overheard by authorities. What would be the likelihood that the correspondence between two public Marxists would not be the subject of interest in these repressive times and in the paranoid South?

Border crossings were, as they are today, designed to filter those worthy of scrutiny or detention. Yet Oswald went on his merry way to Mexico City with his passport and visa intact. For years, Mexico had been a haven for political expatriates and fleeing victims of the blacklist. All were under constant attention from US and Mexican authorities. Like Portugal and Spain in World War II, Mexico was to the Cold War a hot bed of spying and intrigue where all the antagonists maintained robust stations. Enter Lee Harvey Oswald. Flashing his leftist credentials, Oswald visited and revisited the Cuban and Soviet embassies loudly touting his desires to travel to Cuba and the Soviet Union. Without doubt, these plans were exposed to US authorities, who, uncharacteristically, did virtually nothing. Should his plans have been actuated, he could have been the US's first double-defector! No one seemed too alarmed in the higher echelons of the CIA and FBI.

This tortured history could easily be dismissed as the expression of an unstable, twisted mind. But that dismissal would only strengthen the oddness of the lack of action on the part of the US security services that would have had to curiously dismiss Oswald's vocal leftism and uncommonly audacious expression of that postured leftism.

Viewed from the Marxist left, Oswald's showy exhibition with a gun in one hand and a copy of The Worker and The Militant in the other smells of a provocation. Even a newcomer to the culture of the left knows that Trotskyists and Communists are water and oil. Thus, for a “veteran” of the left like Oswald to go to some lengths to make such a display is only intelligible if he were seeding evidence for some unrevealed purpose. Was the carefully posed picture meant to impress the left? Of course not. Was it meant to make a different impression?

Oswald was likely the only “leftist” in the US to never make first-hand, direct contact with other leftists, to never attend a meeting, to never join an organized demonstration or vigil in 6-8 years of off-and-on “activism.” He was well known as a “leftist” to non-left acquaintances and co-workers as well as much of the general public. But the broad left only knew him through correspondences.

In the end, it is impossible to reconcile Oswald the “leftist” with the unlikely indifference of the US intelligence and police establishment. At the same time, it is impossible to accept the authenticity of that leftism.

But if Oswald was not genuine, if he was only posing as a leftist, what was he really?

Since the intelligence and police agencies ignored Oswald as though they knew he were not a leftist, since he slipped easily through the net that captured thousands of the faintly pink, who did they think he was? He certainly did plenty to deserve their attention, attention that they seemed determined not to give.

Until we know who Oswald really was, we will never solve Kennedy's assassination.

Zoltan Zigedy




Thom Hartmann’s War on Your Mind

By James F. Tracy

In October a debate ensued on Memory Hole and at Project Censored regarding Alex Jones and Infowars’ legitimacy and trustworthiness as news sources. The exchange began when Nolan Higdon presented various predictions made by Jones that were not borne out by subsequent events.

Yet it looks as if the gloom and doom-style Jones has been taken to task for is being appropriated and given a “liberal” spin by Thom Hartmann–also a longtime proponent anthropogenic global warming theory. The progressive-left author and talk show host has begun touting his new conspiracy-flavored book, The Great Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America–and What We Can Do to Stop It.

Hartmann and Jones are well-acquainted, having on occasion simulcast their weekday radio programs where they once expressed mutual appreciation of each others’ views and work. For example, on April 15, 2009 the two personalities co-hosted a remarkable hour-length segment in which they generally found common ground on numerous issues–civil liberties, the financial industry’s gigantic influence over federal governance, the growing militarized police state, and even local militias.

Indeed, at one point during the above referenced broadcast Hartmann remarked, “I think that actually as Americans, Alex, who believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there’s more that unites [libertarians and progressives] than divides us” (Alex Jones and Thom Hartmann 3/4 at 8:55).

Yet in subsequent years, the two personalities drifted apart. As the reality of Obama’s presidency and shifting political winds set in Hartmann went on to host a program at RT where he increasingly disparaged Jones and the Truth movement, and from this perch even seemed to vie for a post at MSNBC.

Unlike Jones’ hillbilly-meets-DARPA-whistleblower rants, Hartmann consciously plays the bespectacled scholarly-type, appealing to his self-styled dispassionate and rational progressive audience. Appearing on Democracy Now! this week, the liberal talker’s sturm und drang economic forecast at first glance resembles not only Jones, but also Texas Congressman Ron Paul, libertarian talk show host Peter Schiff and “Father of Reaganomics” Paul Craig Roberts. Among others, these economic analysts argue that the private Federal Reserve bank’s incessant and fervent money printing will inevitably lead to and intensify the coming economic cataclysm.

Hartmann appears to “borrow” from these observers by arguing that such a crash is indeed unavoidable. Yet in a clear sleight of hand the pedantic doomsayer completely evades the problem of monetary profligacy by suggesting how the Obama administration and Fed are earnestly staving off the final reckoning. Is this White House-inspired (or perhaps sponsored) propaganda? Here are some outtakes and reinterpretations from the recent interview below (beginning at about 2:05).

“Obama was successful in the first few months of his administration by putting enough of a band aid on it that they’re holding this back with bailing wire and bubble gum.”

[Translation: The Federal Reserve (US Taxpayer) shoveled untold trillions to the bankers and corporatists to temporarily prop up the economy with another gigantic stock market bubble, yet the Fed can't print forever.]

Hartmann: “But, Bush had hoped—he saw this coming, the Bush administration—had hoped [sic] that he could wait until November 2008 so that it would be after the election so that it wouldn’t hurt the Republican candidate. He was unsuccessful.”

[Translation: The two party system is continuously at odds and competing to represent the popular will. There’s absolutely no chance that such a crash was engineered by Wall Street financiers to ensure an Obama-Biden victory. Or, “free markets capitalism” inevitably leads to dire crises.]

Hartmann: “The Obama administration is now—because they’re not doing the real structural changes necessary—they’re hoping they can push it off until 2016 and that’s why we chose that date [in the book’s title]. Now there’s an enormous amount of effort in our government and in the Fed to try to hold this off ‘til after the election of 2016. Whether they’re successful or not I don’t know [sic]. This literally could happen overnight.”

[Translation: We are doomed! Again, any conflict worthy of public attention takes place directly on the political stage. The good guys—you know, the Democratic Party, the Federal Reserve, and the prevailing economic scheme controlled by central banking--aren't fleecing taxpayers and the economic system but rather saving them.]

Some representatives of the “fanatical right wing” that progressives so readily point to in arguments about the deficit and economy argue that such a crash is in fact being intensified by the careless monetary policies of the Fed, which continue and intensify with the tacit approval of the US Congress and Obama administration. In fact, the federal debt has grown seventy percent under Obama–from $10 to $17 trillion. Such a reckless monetary policy is tailor-made for politicians who cannot resist a money-printing press that allows them to “kick the can down the road,” while leaving Americans with the ever-expanding tab.

Hartmann attempts to commandeer the economic thesis long-articulated by libertarians and their advocacy for “sound money,” while tempering it for those who hang on every word uttered by Paul Krugman. The upshot of Hartmann’s (and the overall Keynesian) version, however, is that profligate monetary policy is not the cause of the present problem, but remains to a large degree its solution. Nevermind the fact that America’s industrial base has been thoroughly gutted.

For example, Hartmann argues how the buildup to the next disaster is a replay of the prelude to the 1929 crash and, moreover, how both are rooted in “conspiracies” and “plots” developed by “economic royalists,” “banksters,” and “globalism,” against which the federal bureaucracy (FDR and his postwar successors) wages a valiant struggle.

Yet Hartmann’s sensationalism doesn’t end there. He goes on to reference his previous anthropogenic  climate change propaganda, describing the deathly carbon-based greenhouse gases destined to do us all in should they be allowed to increase even minutely over the next several decades. But wait! The scenario is even more dire. According to Hartmann (at around 12:35 in the DN! interview video above), such apocalyptic climate change could take place almost overnight, and is something the (some would argue fraudulant) United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “is not talking about.”

“It’s a very significant stressor,” Hartmann somberly informs Goodman in the November 12 interview. “Scientists [and] people are hysterical or very concerned” about the imminent release of

trillions of tons of methane hydrate–methane frozen up in ice, in the arctic and around continental shelves. If that melts, then there will be a sudden global warming. And when you look at the five past extinctions on planet earth every single one was triggered by one of these methane releases.

This will come to pass unless, of course, we can drastically reform our behavior and energy consumption … and assuming the forthcoming economic crash doesn’t get us first, or both don’t hit simultaneously.

But, hey, whoever said that a talk show host should be held accountable for making extravagant claims and suggesting that the modern situation is almost completely hopeless? Further, is the promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories and historical revisionism really all that bad? If you’re championing the “correct” political stances then negativity appears to become prophetic, shadowy plots constitute accurate economic and historical analysis and projections, and UN-distilled interpretations of climate science and “green” advocacy literature are embraced as genuine climatological research. Taken as a whole, Thom Hartmann delivers the entire package in an absolute war on your mind that is without parallel.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Rand Paul’s Zombie-nomics versus Janet Yellen

By Greg Palast for Truthout Will Senator Rand Paul, misunderstanding the voices of the un-dead, block the appointment of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve Board?No joke.  Tea Party fave Paul told the Wall Street Journal he would have preferred Milton Friedman, the free-market fanatic, to the liberal-ish Yellen.  But, as a stunned Journal [...]

From the Summer of Love to the Arab Spring

Those who believe that the world of being is governed by luck or chance and that it depends upon material causes are far removed from the divine and from the notion of the One.
— Plotinus

On May 27, 2010 the planet Uranus entered Aries and in December of that same year, in Tunisia, Tarek Bouazizi self-immolated himself after his electronic scale and the fruit he had bought on credit were confiscated from him by a corrupt policewoman.  That spark sent flames throughout the Middle East, toppling regimes from Libya to Yemen.  Uranus would make its definitive entry into Aries on the fateful day of March 11, 2011, coinciding almost to the hour with the earthquake and ensuing disaster at Fukushima.  Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and the most self driven while Uranus is the planet that represents revolution, innovation and change- together they make a radical, ego driven cocktail.

Uranus reflects many of the traits of the time it was discovered, 1781, when the American Revolution was in full bloom and the French variant was ready to boil over.  The last time the restless Uranus had passed through the cardinal sign of Aries was between 1927 and 1935, a time when two of the most revolutionary (Uranus), and megalomaniacal (Aries) leaders in history consolidated power.  Uranus will not definitively leave Aries until March 6, 2019,  by which time the world will have undergone profound changes.  We cannot say with certainty whether another calamitous dictator will appear on the world stage, but, at least in the West, we are devoid of inspired political, cultural and spiritual leadership and someone with exceptional qualities could become the focal point of a world thirsty for meaning and direction.

On one level, astrology is understanding cycles and knowing how to distinguish relevant themes from the noise.  Astrologically speaking, the synodic cycle between Uranus and Pluto lasts approximately 128 years, which means that it takes that much time for the two planets to circle each other once.  Since Uranus (84 year orbit around the sun) moves much faster than Pluto (245 year orbit around  the sun) the synodic cycle describes how long it takes Uranus to ‘lap’ Pluto in their ‘race’ around our star.  Astrologers measure these events from the moment the two planets are exactly together (conjunct) and pay special attention to when the two planets are at hard angles:  opposed to each other (180 degrees) and square (45 degrees).  The story begins with the conjunction and slowly unfolds at the first square, reaches a climax at the opposition, and resolves itself at the second square before coming full circle and beginning again.

The Pluto/Uranus Cycle


This current synodic cycle between Pluto and Uranus began when the two planets met between 1962 and 1968 in the sign of Virgo.  A conjunction in astrology refers to a more congenial blend of the planetary forces, but in the case of these two transpersonal superpowers, even when cooperating, their force can seem overwhelming.  Uranus is the symbol of revolt, change and technical innovation while Pluto is the lord of death and debt- the cosmic enforcer and the ultimate symbol of power.

When these two met in the 1960’s all hell broke loose.  Pluto waged war in Vietnam and set off the Cultural Revolution in China while Uranus instigated the sexual revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, the May of 1968 unrest in France, the Prague Spring, and the space age.  Some would say the dark Plutonian forces won out when the Prague Spring was crushed, the Kennedys and Martin Luther King were assassinated just as the Uranian energy was devolving into Mansonian madness.  The Apollo Program was one of the few areas where the Uranian revolutionary technology meshed well with Plutonian brute force.  But each planet also reached into the sphere of the other, the helicopter in Vietnam had a very Uranian flavor to it while the gods of Rock & Roll certainly had a Plutonian, underworld feel to them.

The key to unraveling where we are now is to uncover the seeds sown in the 1960’s and discover what fruits they have borne so far and how these forces will continue to interact, albeit in a more antagonistic and adversarial way as we pass through a long series of squares.  Pluto is now in Capricorn, the sign of governments, armies, corporations, bureaucracy and culture.  Pluto is certainly at home wielding all this power and the Plutonian compulsion to vaporize all that is weak, superfluous and temporary is implacable.  Just as Pluto entered Capricorn for the first time in January of 2008 the financial crisis began, and by his second entry into Capricorn in November of 2008 the world financial system was teetering on the edge of disaster.

As Pluto was shaking out the fraudulent bankers like a mafia Don knocking off underlings who had their hands stuck in the cookie jar, Uranus in Aries was creating a quirky brand of revolutionaries such as Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Eric Snowden.  The police state that emerged out of 9/11 has a very strong Plutonian flavor which is being opposed by this eccentric band of techno-freedom fighters very much in the Uranian mold.

On November 1, 2013 we reached the apex, or fourth of the seven direct squares between Pluto and Uranus, where the two planets will be at an exact 45 degree angles to each other.  Four was the number of endings, of life without spirit for the ancients, and dividing the 360 degree zodiac into four gives us the most malignant of aspects, the 90 degree square.  On the other hand, the zodiacal circle divided by the benefic number three gives us the most harmonious aspect of 120 degrees, or a trine.

Adding emphasis to the importance of this moment, we had a total solar eclipse on November 3, 2013 in the very Plutonian sign of Scorpio which could portend a resolution much like the one we had in the 1960’s.  The cosmic call to attention will become even more intense in December with the ominous entrance of the comet ISON, which could potentially put on a brilliant show across the winter nights. The last exact square of Pluto and Uranus will be in March of 2015, at which point the two planets will move apart and the cycle will look for new themes when the planets reach opposition in 2043.



What will be the outcome of this great battle?  One place to look is the last time Pluto was in Capricorn, over two hundred and thirty-years ago during the American Revolution.  At that time the strong hands were the colonists who overcame the weight of the of Capricornian British Empire, but they had someone on their side, which was Jupiter.  Jupiter is Zeus, the great benefic, giver of good fortune, opposing Pluto in Capricorn.  Jupiter was in Cancer during the American Revolution. Cancer is a very feminine, lunar sign representing the individual, the home, roots and directly opposes the authority and bureaucracy of Capricorn.

The United States has come full circle and once again, as in 1776, we have Jupiter in Cancer, and Pluto in Capricorn, only this time, instead of the enemy being the British Empire, the enemy is the US Government itself, with its NSA, CIA, Federal Reserve, and military sprawled across the world reeking havoc and chaos on the entire planet.  But it seems clear, especially after the failed attempt to attack Syria, that US power is on the wane and some major event will drive home the need for a change of the global guard.

The plan to attack Syria had a definite Plutonian flavor, not only through the gruesome massacres and filmed barbaric acts, but with the way many governments of the world quickly closed ranks to carry out the attack on Assad.  Only the Uranian rebelliousness of the British Parliament and the American voters stopped them short.  But as the sixties showed, Pluto can never be stopped, only momentarily diverted.  What started in Libya as Uranian restlessness wound up in a horrific, filmed and very Plutonian fratricide.  How will Pluto counterattack in Syria? We should remember that Pluto was discovered in 1930;  the historic background of the Depression and the rise of fascism should give us pause when considering the essence of Pluto’s meaning.

This tension will come to a head on April 20, 2014, when Jupiter in Cancer goes head to head in opposition (180 degrees) with Pluto in Capricorn, with both planets square (45 degrees) Uranus in Aires.  Astrologers refer to this aspect as a T-Square, and it is considered the most tense and conflictive aspect that three planets can form.  The Plutonian force is the NSA scooping up every email and phone conversation in the world; Pluto has no limits, and as he works his way through Capricorn, the sign of time and culture, he is shredding all the false claims of security and patriotism.  He is the Egyptian military storming its way back into power, he is the Saudis doing all that is necessary to oust the Assad regime in Syria.  Pluto doesn't do body counts.  It was Pluto who wiped Osama bin Laden off the face of the earth without trace.

Uranus is the Middle Eastern youth tired of oppression and corruption, facing down the old regime, he's the Occupy Movement and the mad rush for technology.  He’s Eric Snowden escaping to Moscow with thousands of Plutonian files.  Uranus is the upsurgent alternative media that refuses to believe the Plutonian mainstream propaganda.  Something has to give, and that is the beauty of three.


Esoterically, the unity of ones falls into the duality of two, which becomes the resolution of three.  Jupiter, the philosophical benefic, friend of man, is in Cancer where he is exalted.  Exaltation in astrology means the sign where a planet reaches its higher resonance.  The beauty and love of Venus becomes the love of God in Pisces.  The violence of Mars becomes a standing army in Capricorn, and Jupiter’s genius, philosophy and pride serve man in Cancer.  Maybe we saw Jupiter's hand in the diffusing of the American attack on Syria, though one shouldn't count Pluto out on that score;  he’ll be back to try to complete his agenda.  Jupiter is Zeus, the ruler of the Olympians, including Pluto, and through his higher thinking there still might be a way out.

The easy answer is to call for the much lauded happy medium- a little Uranian eccentric individualism, a smattering of Plutonian force behind Capricornian order, and of course the Jupiterian law and philosophy aiding the man in his Cancerian home.  But a battle of this magnitude will not end in a smoke filled room but rather a bloody, smoked covered battlefield.  The stakes have become too high.  The Capricornian financial system has created a Plutocracy never before witnessed and this regime will either conquer all or be conquered, there is no negotiating with Pluto; it will be winner take all.

The concentration of  power that we are witnessing in the world, financially, culturally and militarily, in many ways is a direct result of the Uranian technological advances of the 20th century.  We can see the Uranus/Pluto relationship perfectly in the Internet.  On one hand it’s anarchistic and liberating, but by the same token it allows the Plutonian Big Brother a clear view directly into almost every moment of our lives.

For the United States nothing captured the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the Summer of Love better than the Uranian liberation of Haight-Ashbury and the Plutonian violence of the Vietnam War. The Uranian desire for change and innovation led spiritual seekers of the sixties to turn their acid trips into PC’s and the Internet, while the humbled military industrial complex bounced back, putting soldiers in over eighty countries and killing people by remote control.  Both of these forces have made enormous strides in the dehumanization of man, from Chinese factories to Wall Street speculators, even to the point where West Coast, Uranian hipsters are playing footsie with the NSA by giving them access to literally all of humanities digital communications.  The answer to this truly Cardinal T-Square is Jupiter, Lord of Olympus, wielding his thunderbolts from the very personal and human sign of Cancer.

Astrology is very much like Schrodinger's cat in that until we open the door, we don’t know whether the poor feline is alive or dead.  The same goes with this T-Square.  Only by actively seeking an answer in the cardinal sign of Cancer, temporary home to Jupiter, will the options begin to emerge.  The consciousness we bring to it will create not only the solutions but the synchronicities that confirm them.

We have lost a central belief that the ancients intrinsically understood- that the world is alive and has a soul. They felt the world breath and saw its life force reflected in the world’s soul, the Anima Mundi.  Our modern dogmatic religion, science, refuses to accept that the earth is alive and has a meaning interwoven with its existence just as each and every one of us knows that our lives have purpose.  For dogmatic materialists, astrology is as absurd as the idea of the soul itself.  For them, the world is a dead rock, an arbitrary spark in a meaningless sea of chaos.

The meaning we give, and the connection we make between our lives and the earth's life will finally confirm the reality we help create by unmistakable signs in the heavens and on earth.  We treat dogs differently then we do rocks and we approach a plant more subtly than we do a hill of sand.  What astrology is begging us to remember is that not only are we alive, but so is the earth, our solar system, our galaxy and our universe. When we finally see ourselves as living beings, fractals of what is above, reflections of what is below, only then will we find our way.

Cancer represents the most basic feminine principle of form and being.  By denying that our very home and common mother breaths the same life we do has allowed us to drift so far on this misguided, patriarchal adventure.  The wisdom of Jupiter illuminating the primeval feminine Cancer might awaken us again to this long forgotten truth.

As we feel more and more squeezed between the financial, militaristic, and corporate Plutocracy on one hand, and the gadgetized, ever evolving, egocentric and meaningless technological void of Uranus on the other, Jupiter in Cancer may well help us re-encounter our common soul, Anima Mundi.

One analogy used by Graham Hancock is that of televisions.  Are we all creating and watching our own programming, or are we receiving a cosmic signal and each decoding it in our own manner?  If we reject the unique separation model, than our true selves lie in the signal, not the dumb terminal of the mind.  Awakening to our unified soul against a materialistically dogmatic backdrop is the great challenge of our time. What type of cosmic event could change our focus, moving us away from the mundane to the cosmic?

If there is coherent meaning to our existence, then there are meaningful coincidences, or synchronicities, as Jung called them.  On February 11, 2013, with the Sun in the sign of Aquarius, which many modern astrologers designate as ruled by Uranus, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was resigning.  The most widely recognized symbol of Western dogmatic spirituality would resign by his own accord for the first time in over 700 years.  The next day, as if for emphasis, a lightning bolt struck the top of St. Peter’s Basilica.  Four days after the papal resignation, a meteor exploded over the skies of  Chelyabinsk in the Russian Urals, shattering thousands of windows, sending over 1,400 people to the hospital and for a few moments creating a light brighter than the sun.  Uranus made its case in the opening salvos of the year in his sign, Aquarius, so what will Pluto bring us as the sun moves through Scorpio, the sign many consider to be ruled by him?

With the Sun in Scorpio, on November 1st we had the fourth exact square between Uranus and Pluto and on November 3rd a total solar eclipse.  What other events could await us as we reach the peak of activity for the current Solar cycle?  It wouldn't be surprising if in the final weeks of Scorpio we were given one more synchronicity, one more reminder that our souls lie beyond our heads, the circus that captivates us and the money we so desperately seek.  One more powerful synchronicity might reawaken the awareness of our common soul and liberate us from the prison of false isolation.  One potent sign born out of the cosmic duality that moves our attention upward and beyond the mundane with such a powerful force that few could doubt its significance.


Robert Bonomo is a blogger, novelist and esotericist.  Download his latest novel, Your Love Incomplete, for free here.

Public Banking in Costa Rica: A Remarkable Little-known Model

In Costa Rica, publicly-owned banks have been available for so long and work so well that people take for granted that any country that knows how to run an economy has a public banking option. Costa Ricans are amazed to hear there is only one public depository bank in the United States (the Bank of North Dakota), and few people have private access to it.

So says political activist Scott Bidstrup, who writes:

For the last decade, I have resided in Costa Rica, where we have had a “Public Option” for the last 64 years.

There are 29 licensed banks, mutual associations and credit unions in Costa Rica, of which four were established as national, publicly-owned banks in 1949. They have remained open and in public hands ever since—in spite of enormous pressure by the I.M.F. [International Monetary Fund] and the U.S. to privatize them along with other public assets. The Costa Ricans have resisted that pressure—because the value of a public banking option has become abundantly clear to everyone in this country.

During the last three decades, countless private banks, mutual associations (a kind of Savings and Loan) and credit unions have come and gone, and depositors in them have inevitably lost most of the value of their accounts.

But the four state banks, which compete fiercely with each other, just go on and on. Because they are stable and none have failed in 31 years, most Costa Ricans have moved the bulk of their money into them.  Those four banks now account for fully 80% of all retail deposits in Costa Rica, and the 25 private institutions share among themselves the rest.

According to a 2003 report by the World Bank, the public sector banks dominating Costa Rica’s onshore banking system include three state-owned commercial banks (Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, and Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago) and a special-charter bank called Banco Popular,  which in principle is owned by all Costa Rican workers. These banks accounted for 75 percent of total banking deposits in 2003.

In Competition Policies in Emerging Economies: Lessons and Challenges from Central America and Mexico (2008), Claudia Schatan writes that Costa Rica nationalized all of its banks and imposed a monopoly on deposits in 1949. Effectively, only state-owned banks existed in the country after that.  The monopoly was loosened in the 1980s and was eliminated in 1995. But the extensive network of branches developed by the public banks and the existence of an unlimited state guarantee on their deposits has made Costa Rica the only country in the region in which public banking clearly predominates.

Scott Bidstrup comments:

By 1980, the Costa Rican economy had grown to the point where it was by far the richest nation in Latin America in per-capita terms. It was so much richer than its neighbors that Latin American economic statistics were routinely quoted with and without Costa Rica included. Growth rates were in the double digits for a generation and a half.  And the prosperity was broadly shared. Costa Rica’s middle class – nonexistent before 1949 – became the dominant part of the economy during this period.  Poverty was all but abolished, favelas [shanty towns] disappeared, and the economy was booming.

This was not because Costa Rica had natural resources or other natural advantages over its neighbors. To the contrary, says Bidstrup:

At the conclusion of the civil war of 1948 (which was brought on by the desperate social conditions of the masses), Costa Rica was desperately poor, the poorest nation in the hemisphere, as it had been since the Spanish Conquest.

The winner of the 1948 civil war, José “Pepe” Figueres, now a national hero, realized that it would happen again if nothing was done to relieve the crushing poverty and deprivation of the rural population.  He formulated a plan in which the public sector would be financed by profits from state-owned enterprises, and the private sector would be financed by state banking.

A large number of state-owned capitalist enterprises were founded. Their profits were returned to the national treasury, and they financed dozens of major infrastructure projects.  At one point, more than 240 state-owned corporations were providing so much money that Costa Rica was building infrastructure like mad and financing it largely with cash. Yet it still had the lowest taxes in the region, and it could still afford to spend 30% of its national income on health and education.

A provision of the Figueres constitution guaranteed a job to anyone who wanted one. At one point, 42% of the working population of Costa Rica was working for the government directly or in one of the state-owned corporations.  Most of the rest of the economy not involved in the coffee trade was working for small mom-and-pop companies that were suppliers to the larger state-owned firms—and it was state banking, offering credit on favorable terms, that made the founding and growth of those small firms possible.  Had they been forced to rely on private-sector banking, few of them would have been able to obtain the financing needed to become established and prosperous.  State banking was key to the private sector growth. Lending policy was government policy and was designed to facilitate national development, not bankers’ wallets.  Virtually everything the country needed was locally produced.  Toilets, window glass, cement, rebar, roofing materials, window and door joinery, wire and cable, all were made by state-owned capitalist enterprises, most of them quite profitable. Costa Rica was the dominant player regionally in most consumer products and was on the move internationally.

Needless to say, this good example did not sit well with foreign business interests. It earned Figueres two coup attempts and one attempted assassination.  He responded by abolishing the military (except for the Coast Guard), leaving even more revenues for social services and infrastructure.

When attempted coups and assassination failed, says Bidstrup, Costa Rica was brought down with a form of economic warfare called the “currency crisis” of 1982. Over just a few months, the cost of financing its external debt went from 3% to extremely high variable rates (27% at one point).  As a result, along with every other Latin American country, Costa Rica was facing default. Bidstrup writes:

That’s when the IMF and World Bank came to town.

Privatize everything in sight, we were told.  We had little choice, so we did.  End your employment guarantee, we were told.  So we did.  Open your markets to foreign competition, we were told.  So we did.  Most of the former state-owned firms were sold off, mostly to foreign corporations.  Many ended up shut down in a short time by foreigners who didn’t know how to run them, and unemployment appeared (and with it, poverty and crime) for the first time in a decade.  Many of the local firms went broke or sold out quickly in the face of ruinous foreign competition.  Very little of Costa Rica’s manufacturing economy is still locally owned. And so now, instead of earning forex [foreign exchange] through exporting locally produced goods and retaining profits locally, these firms are now forex liabilities, expatriating their profits and earning relatively little through exports.  Costa Ricans now darkly joke that their economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States.

The dire effects of the IMF’s austerity measures were confirmed in a 1993 book excerpt by Karen Hansen-Kuhn  titled “Structural Adjustment in Costa Rica: Sapping the Economy.” She noted that Costa Rica stood out in Central America because of its near half-century history of stable democracy and well-functioning government, featuring the region’s largest middle class and the absence of both an army and a guerrilla movement. Eliminating the military allowed the government to support a Scandinavian-type social-welfare system that still provides free health care and education, and has helped produce the lowest infant mortality rate and highest average life expectancy in all of Central America.

In the 1970s, however, the country fell into debt when coffee and other commodity prices suddenly fell, and oil prices shot up. To get the dollars to buy oil, Costa Rica had to resort to foreign borrowing; and in 1980, the U.S. Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker raised interest rates to unprecedented levels.

In The Gods of Money (2009), William Engdahl fills in the back story. In 1971, Richard Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard, causing it to drop precipitously in international markets. In 1972, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Nixon had a clandestine meeting with the Shah of Iran. In 1973, a group of powerful financiers and politicians met secretly in Sweden and discussed effectively “backing” the dollar with oil. An arrangement was then finalized in which the oil-producing countries of OPEC would sell their oil only in U.S. dollars.  The quid pro quo was military protection and a strategic boost in oil prices.  The dollars would wind up in Wall Street and London banks, where they would fund the burgeoning U.S. debt. In 1974, an oil embargo conveniently caused the price of oil to quadruple.  Countries without sufficient dollar reserves had to borrow from Wall Street and London banks to buy the oil they needed.  Increased costs then drove up prices worldwide.

By late 1981, says Hansen-Kuhn, Costa Rica had one of the world’s highest levels of debt per capita, with debt-service payments amounting to 60 percent of export earnings. When the government had to choose between defending its stellar social-service system or bowing to its creditors, it chose the social services. It suspended debt payments to nearly all its creditors, predominately commercial banks. But that left it without foreign exchange. That was when it resorted to borrowing from the World Bank and IMF, which imposed “austerity measures” as a required condition. The result was to increase poverty levels dramatically.

Bidstrup writes of subsequent developments:

Indebted to the IMF, the Costa Rican government had to sell off its state-owned enterprises, depriving it of most of its revenue, and the country has since been forced to eat its seed corn. No major infrastructure projects have been conceived and built to completion out of tax revenues, and maintenance of existing infrastructure built during that era must wait in line for funding, with predictable results.

About every year, there has been a closure of one of the private banks or major savings coöps.  In every case, there has been a corruption or embezzlement scandal, proving the old saying that the best way to rob a bank is to own one.  This is why about 80% of retail deposits in Costa Rica are now held by the four state banks.  They’re trusted.

Costa Rica still has a robust economy, and is much less affected by the vicissitudes of rising and falling international economic tides than enterprises in neighboring countries, because local businesses can get money when they need it.  During the credit freezeup of 2009, things went on in Costa Rica pretty much as normal. Yes, there was a contraction in the economy, mostly as a result of a huge drop in foreign tourism, but it would have been far worse if local business had not been able to obtain financing when it was needed.  It was available because most lending activity is set by government policy, not by a local banker’s fear index.

Stability of the local economy is one of the reasons that Costa Rica has never had much difficulty in attracting direct foreign investment, and is still the leader in the region in that regard.  And it is clear to me that state banking is one of the principal reasons why.

The value and importance of a public banking sector to the overall stability and health of an economy has been well proven by the Costa Rican experience.  Meanwhile, our neighbors, with their fully privatized banking systems have, de facto, encouraged people to keep their money in Mattress First National, and as a result, the financial sectors in neighboring countries have not prospered.  Here, they have—because most money is kept in banks that carry the full faith and credit of the Republic of Costa Rica, so the money is in the banks and available for lending.  While our neighbors’ financial systems lurch from crisis to crisis, and suffer frequent resulting bank failures, the Costa Rican public system just keeps chugging along.  And so does the Costa Rican economy.

He concludes:

My dream scenario for any third world country wishing to develop, is to do exactly what Costa Rica did so successfully for so many years. Invest in the Holy Trinity of national development—health, education and infrastructure.  Pay for it with the earnings of state capitalist enterprises that are profitable because they are protected from ruinous foreign competition; and help out local private enterprise get started and grow, and become major exporters, with stable state-owned banks that prioritize national development over making bankers rich.  It worked well for Costa Rica for a generation and a half.  It can work for any other country as well.  Including the United States.

The new Happy Planet Index, which rates countries based on how many long and happy lives they produce per unit of environmental output, has ranked Costa Rica #1 globally.  The Costa Rican model is particularly instructive at a time when US citizens are groaning under the twin burdens of taxes and increased health insurance costs. Like the Costa Ricans, we could reduce taxes while increasing social services and rebuilding infrastructure, if we were to allow the government to make some money itself; and a giant first step would be for it to establish some publicly-owned banks.

_______________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

Like this:

Like Loading...

Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary

Meet Noam Chomsky, Academic Gatekeeper (video)

Is Noam Chomsky an anarcho-syndicalist or proponent of the Federal Reserve? A fearless political crusader or defender of the Warren Commission JFK orthodoxy? A tireless campaigner for justice or someone who doesn’t care who did 9/11? Join us this...

Episode 285 — Meet Noam Chomsky, Academic Gatekeeper

Is Noam Chomsky an anarcho-syndicalist or proponent of the Federal Reserve? A fearless political crusader or defender of the Warren Commission JFK orthodoxy? A tireless campaigner for justice or someone who doesn\'t care who did 9/11? Join us this week on The Corbett Report as we examine some of the subjects that Chomsky would prefer you didn\'t think about.

Is Martial Law Imminent? (video)

James takes a moment out of showing his family around Japan to answer some listener questions. This time, topics covered include the federal reserve and the national debt, the Golden Dawn in Greece, psychopaths in a free society, martial law, and that ...

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar

The number one American export is U.S. dollars.  It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars.  The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar.  For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars.  But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly.  For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a "major shift" in relations with the United States.  In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that "all options" are reportedly "on the table".  If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to make a major move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

The biggest reason why having good relations with Saudi Arabia is so important to the United States is because the petrodollar monopoly will not work without them.  For decades, Washington D.C. has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Saudis happy.  But now the Saudis are becoming increasingly frustrated that the U.S. military is not being used to fight their wars for them.  The following is from a recent Daily Mail report...

Upset at President Barack Obama's policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.

Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a 'major shift' in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria's civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

Saudi Arabia desperately wants the U.S. military to intervene in the Syrian civil war on the side of the "rebels".  This has not happened yet, and the Saudis are very upset about that.

Of course the Saudis could always go and fight their own war, but that is not the way that the Saudis do things.

So since the Saudis are not getting their way, they are threatening to punish the U.S. for their inaction.  According to Reuters, the Saudis are saying that "all options are on the table now"...

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank's net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

"All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact," the Saudi source said.

Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea how important all of this is.  If the Saudis break the petrodollar monopoly, it would severely damage the U.S. economy.  For those that do not fully understand the importance of the petrodollar, the following is a good summary of how the petrodollar works from an article by Christopher Doran...

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world's nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve. These dollars of course are not hidden under the proverbial national mattress. They are invested. And because they are U.S. dollars, they are invested in U.S. Treasury bills and other interest bearing securities that can be easily converted to purchase dollar-priced commodities like oil. This is what has allowed the U.S. to run up trillions of dollars of debt: the rest of the world simply buys up that debt in the form of U.S. interest bearing securities.

This arrangement works out very well for the United States because we can wildly print money and run up gigantic amounts of debt and the rest of the world gobbles it all up.

In 2012, the United States ran a trade deficit of about $540,000,000,000 with the rest of the planet.  In other words, about half a trillion more dollars left the country than came into the country.  These dollars represent the number one "product" that the U.S. exports.  We make dollars and exchange them for the things that we need.  Major exporting countries (such as Saudi Arabia) take many of those dollars and "invest" them in our debt at ultra-low interest rates.  It is this system that makes our massively inflated standard of living possible.

When this system ends, the era of cheap imports and super low interest rates will be over and the "adjustment" to our standard of living will be excruciatingly painful.

And without a doubt, the day is rapidly approaching when the petrodollar monopoly will end.

Today, Russia is the number one exporter of oil in the world.

China is now the number one importer of oil in the world, and at this point they are actually importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.

So why should Russia, China and virtually everyone else continue to be forced to use U.S. dollars to trade oil?

That is a very good question.

In fact, China has been making a whole lot of noise recently about the fact that it is time to start becoming less dependent on the U.S. dollar.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article authored by Michael Pento...

Our addictions to debt and cheap money have finally caused our major international creditors to call for an end to dollar hegemony and to push for a "de-Americanized" world.

China, the largest U.S. creditor with $1.28 trillion in Treasury bonds, recently put out a commentary through the state-run Xinhua news agency stating that, "Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated."

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled "9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar".

But you very rarely hear anything about this on the evening news, and most Americans do not understand these things at all.  The fact that the U.S. produces the de facto reserve currency of the planet is an absolutely massive advantage for us.  According to John Mauldin, this advantage allows us to consume far more wealth than we actually produce...

What that means in practical terms is that the United States can purchase more with its currency than it produces and sells. In theory those accounts should balance. But the world's reserve currency, for all intent and purposes, becomes a product. The world needs dollars in order to conduct its trade. Today, if someone in Peru wants to buy something from Thailand, they first convert their local currency into US dollars and then purchase the product with those dollars. Those dollars eventually wind up at the Central Bank of Thailand, which includes them in its reserve balance. When someone in Thailand wants to purchase an imported product, their bank accesses those dollars, which may go anywhere in the world that will take the US dollar, which is to say pretty much anywhere.

And as Mauldin went on to explain in that same article, a significant amount of the money that we ship out to the rest of the globe ends up getting reinvested in U.S. government debt...

That privilege allows US citizens to purchase goods and services at prices somewhat lower than those people in the rest of the world must pay. We can produce electronic fiat dollars, and the rest of the world accepts them because they need them to in order to trade with each other. And they do so because they trust the dollar more than they do any other currency that is readily available. You can take those dollars and come to the United States and purchase all manner of goods, including real estate and stocks. Just this week a Chinese company spent $600 million to buy a building in New York City. Such transactions happen all the time.

And there is one other item those dollars are used to pay for: US Treasury bonds. We buy oil and all manner of goods with our electronic dollars, and those dollars typically end up on the reserve balance sheets of other central banks, which buy our government bonds. It's hard to quantify the exact amount, but these transactions significantly lower the cost of borrowing for the US government. On a $16 trillion debt, every basis point (1/10 of 1%) means a saving of $16 billion annually. So 5 basis points would be $80 billion a year. There are credible estimates that the savings are well in excess of $100 billion a year. Thus, as the debt grows, the savings also grow! That also means the total debt compounds at a lower rate.

Unfortunately, this system only works if the rest of the planet has faith in it, and right now the United States is systematically destroying the faith that the rest of the world has in our financial system.

One way that this is being done is by our reckless accumulation of debt.  The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.  The rest of the world is watching this and they are beginning to wonder if we are going to be able to pay them back the money that we owe them.

Quantitative easing is another factor that is severely damaging worldwide faith in the U.S. financial system.  The rest of the globe is watching as the Federal Reserve wildly prints up money and monetizes our debt.  They are beginning to wonder why they should continue to loan us gobs of money at super low interest rates when we are beginning to resemble the Weimar Republic.

The long-term damage that we are doing to the "U.S. brand" far, far outweighs any short-term benefits of quantitative easing.

And as Richard Koo has brilliantly demonstrated, quantitative easing is going to cause long-term interest rates to eventually rise much higher than they normally should have.

What all of this means is that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are systematically destroying the financial system that has enabled us to enjoy such a high standard of living for the past several decades.

Yes, the U.S. economy is not doing well at the moment, but we haven't seen anything yet.  When the monopoly of the petrodollar is broken, it is going to be absolutely devastating.

And as I wrote about the other day, when the next great economic crisis strikes it is going to pull back the curtain and reveal the rot and decay that have been eating away at the social fabric of America for a very long time.

Just check out what happened in Detroit recently.  The new police chief was almost carjacked while he was sitting in a clearly marked police vehicle...

Just four months on the job, Detroit’s new police chief got an early taste of the city’s hardscrabble streets.

While in his patrol car at an intersection on Jefferson two weeks ago, Police Chief James Craig was nearly carjacked, police spokeswoman Kelly Miner confirmed today.

Craig said he was in a marked police car with mounted lights when a man quickly tried to approach the side of his car. Craig, who became police chief in June, retold the story Monday during a program designed to crack down on carjackings.

Isn't that crazy?

These days, the criminals are not even afraid to go after the police while they are sitting in their own vehicles.

And this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much, much worse than this.

So let us hope that this period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now will last for as long as possible.

The times ahead are going to be extremely challenging, and I hope that you are getting ready for them.

Is Martial Law Imminent? — Questions For Corbett #010

James takes a moment out of showing his family around Japan to answer some listener questions. This time, topics covered include the federal reserve and the national debt, the Golden Dawn in Greece, psychopaths in a free society, martial law, and that strange toy on the bookshelf behind James.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm… Like The Freaking Fed

The Fed has painted itself into an almighty corner with QE, and it looks as though we are finally getting to the point in the process where that fact begins to (a) occur to people and (b) matter.

Bill Fleckenstein has often spoken about the Fed's reaching the point where it "loses control of the bond market", and it is quite possible that we are rapidly approaching that point (the signs have certainly been strong in Japan). We may be there already. We won't know until we can look in the rearview mirror, I'm afraid; but the nonvirtuous circle the Fed has created is extremely clear:

The simple truth, as you can see from the diagram above, is that the economy and the markets are now 100% dependent on the largesse of the Federal Reserve to sustain them. What you CAN'T see from the diagram is the scary proposition that the Federal Reserve in turn is entirely dependent upon hope to get itself out of this unholy cycle.

The Fed is hoping (as are the ECB, BoE, and BoJ) that the economy recovers sufficiently through massive stimulus so that the recovery will be "self-sustaining"; but, as can clearly be seen by the action of the markets in recent weeks and months, that strategy (such as it is) appears doomed to failure.

Fortunately, Obama has finally been left with just nominated Janet Yellen as the new Fed chair, and she can be relied upon to continue Greenspan & Bernanke's work in conjuring unlimited free money out of thin air

Which is great for the status quo, but if we take another look at that chart of the US 10-year Treasury yield again, we see something that ought to set alarm bells ringing...

The retracement of interest rates AFTER the Fed's refusal to follow up their tough talk with a Taper has been far less marked than the rout that ensued after the subject was first tabled; and that spells trouble, because the housing market — the engine of the US "recovery" — cannot stand higher rates without being choked off...


...

Well, Janet Yellen might well confound everybody and launch the Taper as her first order of business. Or Buysenberg may even begin it as his last act in power; but either way, the market will now likely call the Fed's bluff, because it knows that the gun hanging on the wall in the shape of the Taper is not guaranteed to be fired. It may even turn out to be completely superfluous to the narrative; and if that is the case, then chances are it will never be fired.

Just as Walter White's honest intentions in trying to protect his family ended up trapping him in an ever-worsening spiral where countless millions of dollars only made his situation worse, Ben Bernanke is in a similar prison of his own making.

...

The Fed realizes the truth of that — hence the abandonment of both the Taper and their own credibility — but their chances of averting catastrophe are receding daily.

Full Grant Williams Letter below...

Ttmygh 14 October 2013

Your rating: None Average: 5 (6 votes)

Obama Nominates Former Pentagon Official as DHS Secretary

Speaking at a public ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, President Obama nominated Jeh Johnson (shown), a former General Counsel for the Defense Department, to become the next secretary of the Homeland Security Department.

Obama called Johnson a “critical member” of his national security team, saying that Johnson had “demonstrated again and again … a deep understanding of the threats facing the United States,” reported the Washington Examiner.

“He’s respected across our government as a team player,” Obama continued, adding that Johnson had “earned a reputation as a cool and calm leader.”

“I urge the Senate to confirm Jeh as soon as possible,” said the president. The nominee’s first name is pronounced “Jay.”

The Examiner report noted that during his position of General Counsel at Defense, Johnson played an important role in departmental policy decisions, including “the expansion of the administration’s overseas drone strikes, rules governing the use of military commissions at Guantanamo Bay and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ ” 

“For those service members who are gay and lesbian, we lifted a real and personal burden from their shoulders,” Johnson said last year at the ceremony recognizing the repeal of the policy. “They no longer have to live a lie in the military.”

A CBS News report on the announcement said that Obama commended Johnson for his legal work that helped to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Obama said that Johnson, “believes in a deep and personal way that keeping America safe requires us upholding the values and civil liberties that make America great.”

The president did not explain why he believes that allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military would help keep America safe.

CBS also noted that in an interview with talk show host Charlie Rose in May, Johnson said that the Obama administration’s policies have resembled the Bush administration's second-term policies, but mentioned some differences, saying, “We started from fundamentally different places.”

For example, when Johnson asked Defense Department lawyers trained during the Bush administration about the legality of certain policies, they would tell him, “there's nothing that prohibits it.”

Noting a different approach under Obama, Johnson said: “The question that would be asked in the Obama years is ... what authorizes this.... What authorizes this specific activity in international law and domestic law?”

While claiming that the Obama administration is more apt than its predecessor to ask whether actions are authorized under international or domestic law, Fox News reported that during his position at Defense, Johnson “oversaw the escalation of the use of unmanned drone strikes [and] the revamping of military commissions to try terrorism suspects rather than using civilian courts.” 

A Reuters report in the Chicago Tribune quoted a statement from former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: “As a senior member of my management team at the Pentagon, Jeh worked on every major issue affecting America’s security, including border security, counterterrorism, and cyber security. I urge the Senate to act quickly to confirm him.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, will fill the vacancy left by Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July to take a position as president of the University of California system. Both Napolitano and Johnson are members of the internationalist-minded policy organization the Council on Foreign Relations.

Friday’s New York Times quoted from a speech Johnson made at Oxford University shortly before leaving his Pentagon position in December 2012. In the speech, Johnson foresaw a day when al-Qaeda would be so depleted that the United States could relax its hard-line policies and end the military’s legal authority to kill and detain terrorism suspects.

“I do believe that on the present course, there will come a tipping point — a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States,” said Johnson in that speech.

Earlier in 2012, reported the Times, Johnson delivered a speech at Yale Law School defending the legality of targeting and killing American citizens who join al-Qaeda.

But in another speech at Fordham this year, Johnson also charged that government secrecy about the drone strikes fuels suspicion by Americans.

“The problem is that the American public is suspicious of executive power shrouded in secrecy,” said Johnson during that speech. “In the absence of an official picture of what our government is doing, and by what authority, many in the public fill the void by imagining the worst.”

A report in USA Today on October 17 quoted Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who criticized the president for nominating a “loyalist and fundraiser” to head what he called a “mismanaged” department.

“This is deeply concerning,” Sessions said. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

While Sessions enjoys a reputation as a “conservative,” a strict constitutionalist would favor the abolition of Homeland Security, rather than its restoration.

For example, during the 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate on Sep 17, 2007, Ron Paul was asked: “You say that you would eliminate the IRS, the CIA, the Federal Reserve, the Department of Homeland Security, Medicare. You used to want to end the FBI. But if you get rid of the CIA, let alone the FBI, how would President Paul have any idea, any intelligence of what our enemies, foreign and domestic, are up to?”

Paul replied: “Well, you might ask a better question. Before 9/11, we were spending $40 billion a year, and the FBI was producing numerous information about people being trained on airplanes, to fly them but not land them. And they totally ignored them. So it’s the inefficiency of the bureaucracy that is the problem. So, increasing this with the Department of Homeland Security and spending more money doesn’t absolve us of the problem. Yes, we have every right in the world to know something about intelligence gathering. But we have to have intelligent people interpreting this information.”

Paul was asked similar questions at the 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina on May 15, 2007: “You would eliminate the Department of Homeland Security?” He replied: “DHS is a monstrous type of bureaucracy. It was supposed to be streamlining our security and it’s unmanageable. I mean, just think of the efficiency of FEMA in its efforts to take care of the floods and the hurricanes.”

A follow-up question asked: “You would eliminate DHS in the midst of a war?” To which Paul replied: “We should not go to more bureaucracy. It didn’t work. We were spending $40 billion on security prior to 9/11, and they had all the information they needed there to deal with the threat, and it was inefficiency. So what do we do? We add a gigantic bureaucracy, which they’re still working on trying to put it together.”

John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, who served as an officer in the Marine Corps, had this to say about his concept of homeland security: “The proper way to secure the homeland from external threat is the U.S. military. The federal government has no authority under the Constitution to implement internal homeland security, which should be handled by local law enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security that has been put in place is totally unconstitutional.”

Photo of Jeh Johnson with President Obama: AP Images

Charting The Fed’s Across The Board Fail

The common meme goes something like... "if it wasn't for the Fed, we'd be..." [insert any and all apocalyptic counterfactual scenario]" However, on closer inspection of the "facts" - those things bloggers are so prone to hide behind - it would appear that the Fed has been a failure across the board...

Growth... #FAIL!

Uncertainty (Stabiliteeee)... #FAIL!

Inflation... #FAIL!!!

In sum, the Federal Reserve has failed on both parts of its dual mandate: growth necessary to maximize employment has not been achieved, and prices have clearly been anything but stable.

But to be fair, the Fed was originally created, not with the dual mandate of today, but rather to prevent
banking panics such as the brutal ‘Panic of 1907’.

#FAIL!! again - Just a little deeper, faster, more volatile, and a tad more panic-ier.

Source: @Not_Jim_Cramer

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Dollar Slips as Fed Worries Continue

Michele Maatouk
Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2013

Expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to keep its easy-money policies in place for longer following the partial U.S. government shutdown pushed the dollar close to its lowest point of the year against the euro and U.S. Treasury debt prices to their highest point since July.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note, which move inversely to prices, touched 2.538%, the lowest level since July 24, according to CQG. The dollar continued its slide against major rivals, including the euro, the yen and the pound. The euro recently bought $1.3686 from $1.3676 late Thursday, while the pound fetched $1.6186 from $1.6165. The greenback traded at ¥97.71 from ¥97.93.

The drop in the dollar and the rise in Treasury debt prices were set in train earlier this week after lawmakers reached a temporary solution to raise the so-called debt ceiling, showing that investors doubt the Fed can start to reel in its stimulus measures—a process dubbed tapering—for as long as economic performance and data is compromised by the now-ended shutdown, and as long as the risk of repeat shutdowns lingers.

Read more

This article was posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Tags: ,





<!-- this is where we need to show the related articles -->

Acting With Impunity: The Case of General Electric

Can the world's biggest corporations act with impunity? When it comes to General Electric (GE) -- the eighth-largest U.S. corporation, with $146.9 billion in sales and $13.6 billion in profits in 2012 -- the answer appears to be "yes."

Let us begin with a small-scale case in upstate New York, where in late September 2013 GE announced that it would close its electrical capacitor plant in the town of Fort Edward. Some two hundred workers will lose their jobs and, thereafter, will have little opportunity to obtain comparable wages, pensions, or even employment in this economically distressed region. Ironically, the plant has been highly profitable. Earlier in the year, the local management threw a party to celebrate a record-breaking quarter. But the high-level financial dealings of a vast multinational operation like GE are mysterious, and the company merely announced that the Fort Edward plant was "non-competitive." The United Electrical Workers (UE), the union that has represented the workers there for the past seventy years, has already begun a vigorous campaign of resistance to the plant closing, but it is sure to be an uphill battle.

If we dig deeper into the record, a broader pattern of corporate misbehavior emerges. Indeed, the Fort Edward factory is one of two GE plants that polluted the communities at Fort Edward and nearby Hudson Falls, as well as a 197-mile stretch of the Hudson River, with 1.3 million pounds of cancer-causing PCBs for several decades. Worried about the dangers of PCBs, workers asked managers about them, and were told that these toxins were perfectly safe -- in fact, that the workers should rub the PCBs on their heads to combat baldness! When the extent of this environmental disaster began to be revealed in the 1970s, GE began a lengthy campaign to deny it and, later, a multimillion dollar public relations campaign to prevent remedial action by the Environmental Protection Administration. GE lost this battle, for the EPA insisted upon the dredging of the Hudson River and ordered GE to pay for it. Thus, the Hudson Valley became the largest Superfund cleanup site in the United States, with a project that will take decades to complete.

GE has produced other environmental disasters, as well. Three GE nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power site in Japan melted down on March 31, 2011. This was the world's worst nuclear accident in three decades, and quickly spread radioactive contamination nearly one hundred fifty miles. Indeed, the stricken reactors are still sending three hundred tons a day of radioactive water flooding into the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has studied nuclear power for decades, has estimated that up to 3.5 million people could eventually die from cancer thanks to the Fukushima radiation release. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when these boiling water nuclear reactors were installed, GE's engineers and management knew that their design was flawed. But the company kept selling them to unsuspecting utilities around the world, including many in the United States. As a result, there are still thirty-five GE boiling water reactors operating in this country, most of them located near population centers east of the Mississippi River. Currently, in fact, more than 58 million Americans live within fifty miles of a GE nuclear reactor.

Another important product produced by GE is the export of jobs. According to an extensive New York Times report on GE in March 2011: "Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment." By the end of 2010, another study found, 54 percent of GE's 287,000 employees worked abroad. Not surprisingly, the company's overseas operations in that year provided most of its total revenue. Responding to GE's claim that it had created thousands of new jobs in the United States during the Obama administration, Chris Townsend, the political action director of the UE, produced a list of 40 U.S. plants the company closed in the country during the same period.

Townsend also noted that, even when GE kept its operations going in the United States, it slashed wages, sometimes by as much as 45 percent at a time. For example, the work of the Fort Edward plant will be moved to Clearwater, Florida, a non-union site where GE pays many workers $12 an hour and hires others through a temp agency at $8 an hour -- little more than the minimum wage.

Although technically a U.S. corporation, GE -- with operations in 130 nations -- apparently feels little loyalty to the United States. Jack Welch, a former GE CEO, once remarked: "Ideally, you'd have every plant you own on a barge to move with currencies and changes in the economy." According to a Bloomberg analysis, to avoid paying U.S. taxes, GE keeps more of its profits overseas than any other U.S. company -- $108 billion by the end of 2012. Most of these profits, GE declared, would be invested in its foreign business enterprises. Thanks to this tax dodge and others, GE reportedly paid an average annual U.S. corporate income tax rate of only 1.8 percent between 2002 and 2011. In 2010, when GE reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, it paid no U.S. corporate income tax at all. Instead, it claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. This is a sweet deal for that giant corporation, for the official corporate tax rate is 35 percent.

Despite this appalling record, the U.S. government has been very generous to GE. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the federal government's Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program loaned approximately $85 billion to GE Capital, the company's huge finance arm that accounts for roughly half of GE's profits. GE needed the bailout because, among other reasons, GE Capital was marketing subprime mortgages, making GE the tenth-largest subprime lender in the United States. The Federal Reserve also bought $16.1 billion worth of short-term corporate i.o.u.'s from GE in late 2008, when the public market for this kind of debt had nearly frozen, and GE became one of the largest beneficiaries of this federal program. In yet a further indication of GE's influence, President Obama appointed Jeffrey Immelt, GE's CEO, as chair of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which strategizes about how to revive America's manufacturing base. One of Immelt's favorite panaceas is to end taxes on the overseas profits of corporations.

Thus, it might seem that those two hundred embattled workers at Fort Edward have no possibility at all of effectively challenging a corporation this wealthy and influential. But stranger things have happened in the United States -- especially when Americans have had their fill of corporate arrogance.

Can the world’s biggest corporations act with impunity? When it comes to General Electric (GE) -- the eighth-largest U.S. corporation, with $146.9 billion in sales and $13.6 billion in profits in 2012 -- the answer appears to be “yes.”

Let us begin with a small-scale case in upstate New York, where in late September 2013 GE announced that it would close its electrical capacitor plant in the town of Fort Edward. Some two hundred workers will lose their jobs and, thereafter, will have little opportunity to obtain comparable wages, pensions, or even employment in this economically distressed region. Ironically, the plant has been highly profitable. Earlier in the year, the local management threw a party to celebrate a record-breaking quarter. But the high-level financial dealings of a vast multinational operation like GE are mysterious, and the company merely announced that the Fort Edward plant was “non-competitive.” The United Electrical Workers (UE), the union that has represented the workers there for the past seventy years, has already begun a vigorous campaign of resistance to the plant closing, but it is sure to be an uphill battle.

If we dig deeper into the record, a broader pattern of corporate misbehavior emerges. Indeed, the Fort Edward factory is one of two GE plants that polluted the communities at Fort Edward and nearby Hudson Falls, as well as a 197-mile stretch of the Hudson River, with 1.3 million pounds of cancer-causing PCBs for several decades. Worried about the dangers of PCBs, workers asked managers about them, and were told that these toxins were perfectly safe -- in fact, that the workers should rub the PCBs on their heads to combat baldness! When the extent of this environmental disaster began to be revealed in the 1970s, GE began a lengthy campaign to deny it and, later, a multimillion dollar public relations campaign to prevent remedial action by the Environmental Protection Administration. GE lost this battle, for the EPA insisted upon the dredging of the Hudson River and ordered GE to pay for it. Thus, the Hudson Valley became the largest Superfund cleanup site in the United States, with a project that will take decades to complete.

GE has produced other environmental disasters, as well. Three GE nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power site in Japan melted down on March 31, 2011. This was the world’s worst nuclear accident in three decades, and quickly spread radioactive contamination nearly one hundred fifty miles. Indeed, the stricken reactors are still sending three hundred tons a day of radioactive water flooding into the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has studied nuclear power for decades, has estimated that up to 3.5 million people could eventually die from cancer thanks to the Fukushima radiation release. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when these boiling water nuclear reactors were installed, GE’s engineers and management knew that their design was flawed. But the company kept selling them to unsuspecting utilities around the world, including many in the United States. As a result, there are still thirty-five GE boiling water reactors operating in this country, most of them located near population centers east of the Mississippi River. Currently, in fact, more than 58 million Americans live within fifty miles of a GE nuclear reactor.

Another important product produced by GE is the export of jobs. According to an extensive New York Times report on GE in March 2011: “Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment.” By the end of 2010, another study found, 54 percent of GE’s 287,000 employees worked abroad. Not surprisingly, the company’s overseas operations in that year provided most of its total revenue. Responding to GE’s claim that it had created thousands of new jobs in the United States during the Obama administration, Chris Townsend, the political action director of the UE, produced a list of 40 U.S. plants the company closed in the country during the same period.

Townsend also noted that, even when GE kept its operations going in the United States, it slashed wages, sometimes by as much as 45 percent at a time. For example, the work of the Fort Edward plant will be moved to Clearwater, Florida, a non-union site where GE pays many workers $12 an hour and hires others through a temp agency at $8 an hour -- little more than the minimum wage.

Although technically a U.S. corporation, GE -- with operations in 130 nations -- apparently feels little loyalty to the United States. Jack Welch, a former GE CEO, once remarked: “Ideally, you’d have every plant you own on a barge to move with currencies and changes in the economy.” According to a Bloomberg analysis, to avoid paying U.S. taxes, GE keeps more of its profits overseas than any other U.S. company -- $108 billion by the end of 2012. Most of these profits, GE declared, would be invested in its foreign business enterprises. Thanks to this tax dodge and others, GE reportedly paid an average annual U.S. corporate income tax rate of only 1.8 percent between 2002 and 2011. In 2010, when GE reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, it paid no U.S. corporate income tax at all. Instead, it claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. This is a sweet deal for that giant corporation, for the official corporate tax rate is 35 percent.

Despite this appalling record, the U.S. government has been very generous to GE. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the federal government’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program loaned approximately $85 billion to GE Capital, the company’s huge finance arm that accounts for roughly half of GE’s profits. GE needed the bailout because, among other reasons, GE Capital was marketing subprime mortgages, making GE the tenth-largest subprime lender in the United States. The Federal Reserve also bought $16.1 billion worth of short-term corporate i.o.u.’s from GE in late 2008, when the public market for this kind of debt had nearly frozen, and GE became one of the largest beneficiaries of this federal program. In yet a further indication of GE’s influence, President Obama appointed Jeffrey Immelt, GE’s CEO, as chair of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which strategizes about how to revive America’s manufacturing base. One of Immelt’s favorite panaceas is to end taxes on the overseas profits of corporations.

Thus, it might seem that those two hundred embattled workers at Fort Edward have no possibility at all of effectively challenging a corporation this wealthy and influential. But stranger things have happened in the United States -- especially when Americans have had their fill of corporate arrogance.

- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/153575#sthash.H9nWhpuJ.wmS8tvQY.dpuf

Can the world’s biggest corporations act with impunity? When it comes to General Electric (GE) -- the eighth-largest U.S. corporation, with $146.9 billion in sales and $13.6 billion in profits in 2012 -- the answer appears to be “yes.”

Let us begin with a small-scale case in upstate New York, where in late September 2013 GE announced that it would close its electrical capacitor plant in the town of Fort Edward. Some two hundred workers will lose their jobs and, thereafter, will have little opportunity to obtain comparable wages, pensions, or even employment in this economically distressed region. Ironically, the plant has been highly profitable. Earlier in the year, the local management threw a party to celebrate a record-breaking quarter. But the high-level financial dealings of a vast multinational operation like GE are mysterious, and the company merely announced that the Fort Edward plant was “non-competitive.” The United Electrical Workers (UE), the union that has represented the workers there for the past seventy years, has already begun a vigorous campaign of resistance to the plant closing, but it is sure to be an uphill battle.

If we dig deeper into the record, a broader pattern of corporate misbehavior emerges. Indeed, the Fort Edward factory is one of two GE plants that polluted the communities at Fort Edward and nearby Hudson Falls, as well as a 197-mile stretch of the Hudson River, with 1.3 million pounds of cancer-causing PCBs for several decades. Worried about the dangers of PCBs, workers asked managers about them, and were told that these toxins were perfectly safe -- in fact, that the workers should rub the PCBs on their heads to combat baldness! When the extent of this environmental disaster began to be revealed in the 1970s, GE began a lengthy campaign to deny it and, later, a multimillion dollar public relations campaign to prevent remedial action by the Environmental Protection Administration. GE lost this battle, for the EPA insisted upon the dredging of the Hudson River and ordered GE to pay for it. Thus, the Hudson Valley became the largest Superfund cleanup site in the United States, with a project that will take decades to complete.

GE has produced other environmental disasters, as well. Three GE nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power site in Japan melted down on March 31, 2011. This was the world’s worst nuclear accident in three decades, and quickly spread radioactive contamination nearly one hundred fifty miles. Indeed, the stricken reactors are still sending three hundred tons a day of radioactive water flooding into the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has studied nuclear power for decades, has estimated that up to 3.5 million people could eventually die from cancer thanks to the Fukushima radiation release. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when these boiling water nuclear reactors were installed, GE’s engineers and management knew that their design was flawed. But the company kept selling them to unsuspecting utilities around the world, including many in the United States. As a result, there are still thirty-five GE boiling water reactors operating in this country, most of them located near population centers east of the Mississippi River. Currently, in fact, more than 58 million Americans live within fifty miles of a GE nuclear reactor.

Another important product produced by GE is the export of jobs. According to an extensive New York Times report on GE in March 2011: “Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment.” By the end of 2010, another study found, 54 percent of GE’s 287,000 employees worked abroad. Not surprisingly, the company’s overseas operations in that year provided most of its total revenue. Responding to GE’s claim that it had created thousands of new jobs in the United States during the Obama administration, Chris Townsend, the political action director of the UE, produced a list of 40 U.S. plants the company closed in the country during the same period.

Townsend also noted that, even when GE kept its operations going in the United States, it slashed wages, sometimes by as much as 45 percent at a time. For example, the work of the Fort Edward plant will be moved to Clearwater, Florida, a non-union site where GE pays many workers $12 an hour and hires others through a temp agency at $8 an hour -- little more than the minimum wage.

Although technically a U.S. corporation, GE -- with operations in 130 nations -- apparently feels little loyalty to the United States. Jack Welch, a former GE CEO, once remarked: “Ideally, you’d have every plant you own on a barge to move with currencies and changes in the economy.” According to a Bloomberg analysis, to avoid paying U.S. taxes, GE keeps more of its profits overseas than any other U.S. company -- $108 billion by the end of 2012. Most of these profits, GE declared, would be invested in its foreign business enterprises. Thanks to this tax dodge and others, GE reportedly paid an average annual U.S. corporate income tax rate of only 1.8 percent between 2002 and 2011. In 2010, when GE reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, it paid no U.S. corporate income tax at all. Instead, it claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. This is a sweet deal for that giant corporation, for the official corporate tax rate is 35 percent.

Despite this appalling record, the U.S. government has been very generous to GE. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the federal government’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program loaned approximately $85 billion to GE Capital, the company’s huge finance arm that accounts for roughly half of GE’s profits. GE needed the bailout because, among other reasons, GE Capital was marketing subprime mortgages, making GE the tenth-largest subprime lender in the United States. The Federal Reserve also bought $16.1 billion worth of short-term corporate i.o.u.’s from GE in late 2008, when the public market for this kind of debt had nearly frozen, and GE became one of the largest beneficiaries of this federal program. In yet a further indication of GE’s influence, President Obama appointed Jeffrey Immelt, GE’s CEO, as chair of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which strategizes about how to revive America’s manufacturing base. One of Immelt’s favorite panaceas is to end taxes on the overseas profits of corporations.

Thus, it might seem that those two hundred embattled workers at Fort Edward have no possibility at all of effectively challenging a corporation this wealthy and influential. But stranger things have happened in the United States -- especially when Americans have had their fill of corporate arrogance.

- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/153575#sthash.H9nWhpuJ.wmS8tvQY.dpuf

Did the Saudi Intelligence Chief and Other High-Ranking Officials Trade on Inside Information Regarding...

Washington’s Blog
October 18, 2013

Mass surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies is not really making us safer, but is being used for other reasons.

Image: Prince Bandar.

For example:

Saudi Prince Bandar – head of Saudi intelligence – helped to arm the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and isnow arming Al Qaeda in Syria. (Background).

Respected financial writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that Prince Bandar admitted that Saudi Arabia carries out false flag terror.  Indeed,  U.S. government officials say that the Saudi government had a hand in 9/11.

Moreover, several financial and economic experts – such as Jim Rickards, Max Keiser, German central bank president Ernst Welteke, Swiss economists Remo Crameri, Marc Chesney, Loriano Mancini and Bill Bergman (senior financial markets policy analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for 13 years) – say that there were insider trades right before 9/11 by people who knew the attacks were coming … people  with “no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda” according to the 9/11 Commission.

You don’t have to believe that 9/11 was an inside job to believe that this theory is at least possible. After all, 9/11 was foreseeable to people in intelligence services worldwide … as was Al Qaeda flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

For example, the NSA, CIA and other intelligence agencies were listening in on the hijackers’ calls, and an FBI informant rented a room to two of the hijackers in San Diego.

Now, Max Keiser alleges that this story is about to be blown wide open:

Within a few months, there’s a book coming out by a friend of mine who’s already had a very popular book which went to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s a new book, he’s shown me the gallies. Chapter 1 talks about his eyewitness accounts being in the room in the CIA discussing trading inside information days ahead of 9/11. He’s talking about [Saudi intelligence chief Prince] Bandar, he’s talking about Tony Blair, he’s talking about [then executive director of the CIA] Buzzy Krongard.

Is Keiser right? Will the book really be published, and will it really make this allegation? Is the former CIA officer and bestselling author credible?

We’ll have to wait to find out.

This article was posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 5:32 am

Tags:





<!-- this is where we need to show the related articles -->

33 Stats That Prove That SOMETHING Desperately Needs To Be Done About The National...

Michael Snyder
American Dream
October 18, 2013

The U.S. national debt is 36 times larger than it was just 40 years ago.  That is not a misprint.  That is actually the truth.  We are literally destroying the future of America, but most Americans don’t really seem to care.  In fact, the most hated politicians in America are the Tea Party politicians that recently tried to take a stand against the out of control borrowing that the federal government has been doing.  Pew Research has just released a new survey that shows that the popularity of the Tea Party is at an all-time low

Image: US Dollars.

So while many Americans may say that they theoretically want something to be done about the national debt, when push comes to shove they don’t actually mean that.  You see, the reality of the matter is that about 128 million Americans get money from the federal government every month.  That accounts for the majority of all government spending.  Anyone who tries to take those goodies away is going to be hated.  So we are going to continue down this crazy path until the system completely crashes someday.

The “deal” that was just made in Congress does nothing to reduce our spending or control the growth of our debt.  It just kicks the decisions about government spending and the debt ceiling down the road for a few months.

In fact, the agreement on the debt ceiling did not actually place any limits on how much the federal government can borrow over the next few months.  It just temporarily suspended enforcement of the debt ceiling.  So the federal government could technically go out and borrow trillions of dollars during the next few months and nobody could do anything about it.

Let’s hope that does not happen.

And of course the “debt deal” contained all kinds of pork that will benefit certain politicians that were instrumental in putting together the deal.

When are the American people finally going to get sick and tired of this kind of thing?

Meanwhile, our debt problem continues to get even worse.  The following are 33 stats that prove that SOMETHING desperately needs to be done about the national debt…

#1 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during Obama’s eight years in the White House.  In other words, under Barack Obama the United States will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

#2 During fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Treasury paid off $7,546,726,000,000 in maturing U.S. government debt and issued $8,323,949,000,000 in new debt.  In fiscal year 2014 those numbers will be even larger.

#3 In September, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 1.981 percent.  In January 2000, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 6.620 percent.  If we got back to that level today, it would collapse our entire financial system.

#4 Between 2008 and 2012, the ratio of government debt to government income increased from 4.0 to 6.6.

#5 Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. government debt grew by 60.7 percent, but U.S. GDP only grew by a total of about 8.5 percent during that entire time period.

#6 Since 2007, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio has increased from 66.6 percent to 101.6 percent.

#7 A revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.

#8 At this point, the federal government hands out money to approximately 128 million Americans every single month.  In case you were wondering, that is about 41.3 percent of the population of the entire country.

#9 Back in 1980, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars.  Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars.

#10 Since the year 2000, the size of the U.S. national debt has grown by more than 11 trillion dollars.

#11 During Barack Obama’s first four years in the White House, the amount of new debt accumulated by the federal government breaks down to approximately$50,521 for every single household in the United States.

#12 The United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

#13 At this point, the United States government is responsible for about a third of all the government debt in the entire world.

#14 According to the U.S. Treasury, foreigners hold approximately 5.6 trillion dollars of our debt.

#15 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.

#16 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for 2011 would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.

#17 As I noted recently, if the U.S. national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills it would circle the earth at the equator 45 times.

#18 How much money is one trillion dollars?  If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

#19 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

#20 If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 189,000 years to pay it off.

#21 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first established in 1913.

#22 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

#23 The federal government is stealing close to 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

#24 Historically, the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has averaged 6.68 percent.  If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rose to that level today, the U.S. government would find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.

#25 Federal spending on entitlement programs has been increasing six times faster than population growth has.

#26 Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs“, and almost all of them are experiencing explosive growth.

#27 According to a Government Accountability Office report that was released earlier this year, Obamacare is going to cause the federal debt to rise by $6.2 trillion.

#28 If you can believe it, today more than 70 million Americans are on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#29 As I have written about previously, the number of Americans on Medicare is projected to grow from a little bit more than 50 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.

#30 Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

#31 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Social Security will rise from about 62 million today to more than 100 million in 25 years.

#32 Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

#33 Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that the U.S. government is facing a gigantic tsunami of unfunded liabilities in the coming years that we are counting on our children and our grandchildren to pay.  Kotlikoff speaks of a “fiscal gap” which he defines as “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”.  His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.

Our financial situation is clearly not even close to sustainable.  We are heading for an inevitable collapse, but in the aftermath of the “deal” in Congress, Barack Obama declared that all Americans “need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio”.  Apparently he does not want you reading articles like this or listening to radio programs that are warning about the dangers of our national debt.

At the same time, the U.S. government continues to waste money in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable.  It is almost as if they don’t even care that they are destroying the future of our children and our grandchildren with their incredibly reckless spending.

And of course the mainstream media is very much on the side of the big spenders.  In recent weeks, those that identify themselves with the Tea Party have been endlessly called names on the big mainstream news networks even though they are just about the only ones that are trying to pull us back from the path to self-destruction that we are on.

The big mainstream news networks have portrayed those that identify with the Tea Party as idiots and morons, but the truth is that studies have found that Tea Partiers are better educated, more scientifically literate and have higher incomes than the general population.

The real idiots and morons are the ones that want us to continue down this road to financial oblivion.  We have accumulated the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and unless something dramatic is done, America is not going to have any kind of a future.

This article was posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 5:35 am

Tags: , , , ,





<!-- this is where we need to show the related articles -->

Frontrunning: October 18

  • Republican Civil War Erupts: Business Groups v. Tea Party (BBG)
  • Budget fight leaves Boehner 'damaged' but still standing (Reuters)
  • Madoff Was Like a God, Wizard of Oz, Lawyers Tell Jury (BBG) - just like Bernanke
  • Republicans press U.S. officials over Obamacare snags (Reuters)
  • Brilliant: Fed Unlikely to Trim Bond Buying in October (Hilsenrath)
  • More brilliant: Fed could taper as early as December (FT)
  • Russia Roofing Billionaires Seen Among Country’s Youngest (BBG)
  • Ford's Mulally won't dismiss Boeing, Microsoft speculation (Reuters)
  • China reverses first-half slowdown (FT)
  • NY Fed’s Fired Goldman Examiner Makes Weird Case (BBG)
  • Italian protests against Letta government disrupt transport (Reuters)
  • Transit workers strike again, will hamper Bay Area commute (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* SAC Capital and federal prosecutors have agreed in principle on a penalty exceeding $1 billion in a potential criminal settlement that would be the largest ever for an insider-trading case.

* Insurers say the federal healthcare marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far.

* Chinese PC maker Lenovo is actively considering a bid for all of BlackBerry and has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the smartphone maker. ()

* A late surge of cases against low-level offenders will push the SEC's case total close to last year's levels, masking a steep drop in enforcement actions related to the financial crisis. While the total hasn't been announced, it likely will be down at least 5 percent from a near-record high of 734 enforcement cases in fiscal 2012.

* Google posted a 12 percent increase in third-quarter revenue, as it tries to keep pace with its users' shift to mobile devices.

* Video-streaming service Hulu on Thursday named Mike Hopkins as its new chief executive, effective immediately. Hopkins has been president of Fox Networks Group, a division of 21st Century Fox Inc, since 2008 and a member of Hulu's board since 2011.

* A U.S. district judge ordered subprime lender Household International Inc - now part of HSBC Holdings PLC - to pay investors $2.46 billion in a class-action lawsuit, a move that comes several years after a jury found the company liable for securities fraud.

* IBM is shaking up leadership of its growth-markets unit, following disappointing third-quarter results that prompted a critical internal email from CEO Virginia Rometty. She wrote that IBM's strategy is correct, but criticized the company for failing to execute in sales of computer hardware as well as in the growth markets unit, whose sales territory includes markets in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

FT

Paul Tucker, the Bank of England's outgoing deputy governor, said regulators need to keep a stronger eye on hedge funds and shadow banks and added it would be disastrous if the economic fragility of banks was recreated outside the mainstream banking sector.

The U.S. Federal Reserve could begin reducing its asset purchases as early as December after the government shutdown sabotaged a crucial month of data and dealt a blow to the world's largest economy.

The next U.S. monthly employment report became a casualty of the U.S. government shutdown with the Department of Labor saying the data would be released after a delay of more than two weeks on Tuesday.

Scottish National Party leader and Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond was involved in the talks between the management and workers Grangemouth refinery and petrochemicals complex. The management has closed off the refinery demanding that workers accept changes to pay, pensions and union representation in what has turned out to be Scotland's biggest industrial dispute in years.

Google shares rose 8 percent to a record high after the company managed a smooth transition of its advertising business to smartphones and tablets from PCs.

Goldman Sachs managed to protect its profits by slashing the amount of money set aside for year-end bonuses after its fixed-income trading was worse than any other large Wall Street bank's.

Barclays has approached the Court of Appeal to overturn an earlier ruling that allowed Guardian Care Homes, which is suing Barclays over interest-rate swaps, to amend its claim to include Libor-related allegations.

UK Ministers will look at the gre