There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Civil Rights History_Republicans

Democrats have written: “On every civil rights issue, Democrats have led the fight”.
Truth or Fiction: FALSE
The Republicans have always led the fight in Civil Rights History.

Look at the history books. Oh, that's right, they have mostly been rewritten. However, any decent library should still have the historical records which show the following facts.

- 1865, 13th Amendment passed ending slavery; 100% Republicans FOR v. 23% Democrats
- 1866, Democrats form the KKK with express purpose of preventing the election of Republicans in the South. Democrats admit—under oath in Congressional hearings in 1872—that the Klan is a Democrat creation intended to restore Democrat control of the South. The Klan implemented it through a series of massacres at Republican Party meetings. Historians wrote that the lynchings included 3500 black and 1300 whites.
- 1868, 14th Amendment: Republicans established citizenship and equal protection for all in Federal law. 100% of Republicans FOR v Democrats, ZERO
- 1868 Republicans begin impeachment trial of Democrat President Andrew Johnson, who declared: “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government of white men”
- 1868 Republicans denounce Democratic Party’s national campaign theme: “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule”
- 1870, 15th Amendment established the right to vote for all people, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 98% Republicans FOR, 97% Democrats NO
- 1872, first 7 black Americans elected_ all Republicans
- 1866–1875, the Republican Congress passed 19 civil rights laws. DEMOCRATS OPPOSED THEM ALL.
- 1875 Civil Rights Act passed guaranteeing access to public accommodations without regard to race, signed by Republican President U.S. Grant. 92% Republican FOR, 100% Democrat NO
- 1876, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. No more meaningful civil rights legislation passed until 1964.
- 1892, Democrats took control of the White House, Senate and House. Immediately they began establishing Jim Crow laws and repealed all civil rights legislation passed by the Republicans. Any laws or amendments they could not repeal, were skirted with poll taxes and literacy tests
- 1901, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House_ Democrats and the media were outraged.
- 1920s, Republicans proposed anti-lynching legislation. The legislation passed the house but killed by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
- 1954, Republican Chief Justice Earl Warren (appointed by Republican Dwight Eisenhower) authored the desegregation decision of Brown v. Board of Education.
- 1956, Democrats expressed opposition to Brown v. Board of Education in the "Southern Manifesto." 101 members of Congress—97 Democrats, 4 Republicans sign the manifesto.
- 1965, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law, the Voting Rights Act of 1964, the law originally authored by Eisenhower in 1959. A filibuster was prevented, and passage of the bill again was supported by a greater number of Republicans than Democrats.

People only insist that a debate stop when they are afraid of what might be learned if it continues. ~ George Will

In addition to history books, just a few sources available on line:



 



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chris Powell On Gold, Silver Manipulation, and the Fed

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation demonetizing silver and pledged to rig the silver market, explains Chris Powell, co-founder and Treasurer of GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee)

... and the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which created the U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), explicitly authorizes the U.S. treasury secretary to trade secretly in all markets on behalf of the U.S. government.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Most Honest Three and a Half Minutes of Television, EVER...

Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America's Not the Greatest Country Any Longer... But It Can Be.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Milton Friedman_ Greed

Although 33 years ago, Milton Friedman's interview with Phil Donahue remains "timeless".

Friday, July 13, 2012

War On Health, Gary Null's documentary

GMO, pesticides, growth hormones... the FDA and the food we eat, the drugs prescribed, our dietary supplements, herbal remedies, raising your own food, local farmers, raids...


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bernanke – My Goal is to Wreck Social Security

This is for all those who we hear retort, Social Security is just fine!!!

Bruce Krasting writes:

In June of each year the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF) reinvests a significant portion of its investment portfolio in newly issued Special Issue Treasury Securities. The interest rates on these bonds is set by a formula that was established in 1960. The formula was designed to insulate the SSTF from transitory changes in interest rates by averaging market based bond yields over a three-year period.

Bernanke’s Fed has set interest rates at zero the past four years. In 2012 the 1960's formula has finally caught up with the SSTF. It got murdered on this year's rollover.

The following is from the SSA (link). It shows what has matured this year and what new investments have been made. I will be breaking down sections of this report, so don’t get eye strain looking at this:


Consider the bonds that matured in 2012:

$135 billion of old bonds matured this year. This money was rolled over into new bonds with a yield of only 1.375%. The average yield on the maturing securities was 5.64%. The drop in yield on the new securities lowers SSA's income by $5.7B annually. Over the fifteen year term of the investments, that comes to a lumpy $86 billion. It gets worse.

Bernanke has pledged that he will keep interest at zero for a minimum of another two years. The formula used to set interest rates for SSA looks back over the prior three years. Therefore, SSA will be stuck with a terrible return on its investments until at least 2017.

I anticipate that the formula will result in still lower investment returns for the next five years, but I’ll conservatively use the rates set this year to evaluate the consequences to SSA. The following looks at what is maturing at SSA:


A total of $543 billion of securities with an average yield of 5.6% is coming due in the existing ZIRP window. The reduction in income from the 4.2% drop in yield translates to a nifty $23 billion a year, for fifteen years ($350b). It gets worse.

As a result of the Fed’s extended ZIRP policy, and the SSA's interest rate setting formula, it is now a certainty that interest income at SSA is going to substantially drop over the coming decade. The problem is that SSA has provided projections for its interest income over this time period that don’t jive with this reality. From the 2012 SSA report to Congress:


The SSTF believes it will earn an average of 4% over this period. That is not possible any longer. I calculate that the most SSA could earn is an average of 2.3% (it could be significantly lower). The drop in yield translates to a reduction in income of $535B over the forecast period. That’s a lot of dollars.

Consider again the base case provided by SSA in April. The following compares the size of the trust fund based on SSA’s estimates and my adjustments for what interest income will be (everything else is constant).



Based on a realistic assessment of interest income at SSA, the trust fund tops out in 2015, its peak value will be ~$2.823B. The SSTF has reported that the TF will top out at $3,061B, and that milestone will not be reached until 2021. Essentially, the train wreck will happen six years earlier then assumed, and the TF will be $250B short. It gets worse.

The other key ingredients in the SS "pie" are tax receipts from workers and the amount of monthly benefit payments (the assumptions used is that GDP growth will average 4%, and unemployment falls to 5.5% -  no recessions over the ten-year horizon). These are not realistic assumptions. This means that once the SSTF hits its peak in 2015, the run off in assets will happen very quickly.

The SSTF has stated that the date in which the TF falls to zero will be 2033. The actual termination date of the TF is much closer than that. It could come as early as 2023.

Anyone who is 55 or older should be worried about this. Based on current law, all SS benefit payments must be cut by (approximately) 25% when the TF is exhausted. This will affect 72 million people. The economic consequences will be severe. The drop in SS transfers translates into a permanent drag on GDP of 2%. In other words, when this happens, the country will be unable to have any significant positive growth for a long time to come.

I know I will get comments from readers who have worked 40 years and paid into SS and now want it back. I tell those folks in advance that I'm sorry, but they will have to accept a cut in benefits. It will happen it about ten-years. Make your plans accordingly. If you don’t like these conclusions, write a letter to Bernanke. It’s well past time that the true consequences of his monetary policies are understood. He’s not just breaking the backs of small savers; he’s killing Social Security.

Euro Crisis Breakthrough Breakdown

Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Monday, June 25, 2012

US Debt Visualized in $100 Bills

From a $100 U.S. Dollar Bill, go here to see the full graphic progression from Demonocracy.info.









One Hundred Dollars $100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.



One Trillion Dollars $1,000,000,000,000
The 2011 US federal deficit was $1.412 Trillion - 41% more than you see here.

If you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now... but ~$700 billion- same amount the banks got during bailout.



$16.394 Trillion - 2012 US Debt Ceiling

The US debt ceiling limit D-Day is estimated for September 14, 2012. US Debt has now surpassed the size of US economy in 2011-- rated @ $15,064 Trillion. Statue of Liberty seems rather worried as United States national debt is soon to pass 20% of the entire world's combined economy (GDP / Gross Domestic Product).

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, June 9, 2012

C-Span: BLS and "Green" Jobs Report

Witnesses testified on the monthly jobs reports released by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first panel focused on the methodology of the report's release, in which news organizations and others are allowed to see the monthly jobs report half-an-hour ahead of time in what is known as a "lock-up" session at the Labor Department building. 

A second panel (featured here) also focused on "green" jobs, with Chairman Darrell Issa accusing the Labor Department of inflating the numbers it had reported for that sector of the economy..



The entire C-Span video can be found here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/JobsRepo

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alexander the Great's Afghan Campaign (330-327 BC) and Today


"This five-part series is about war in Afghanistan, ancient and modern. Each video is five minutes long. I'm not doing this for money. I have no political axe to grind. I'm a Marine and I don't want young Marines and soldiers going into harm's way without the full mental arsenal of history and cultural context. 

What's my thesis? That understanding tribes and tribalism is critical for the U.S. in Afghanistan. The tribal mind-set (warrior pride, hostility to all outsiders, perpetual warfare, the obligation of revenge, suppression of women, a code of honor rather than a system of laws, extreme conservatism, unity with the land, patience and capacity for hatred) permeates everything in Afghanistan and its neighboring Islamic republics. For war-making or peace-making, it cannot be ignored. 

Think of these videos as a crash course in tribalism...".

Begin with Episode 1: It's the Tribes, Stupid
Episode 2: The Citizen Vs. The Tribesman
Episode 3: Tribes Are Different From You and Me
Episode 4: Fighting a Tribal Enemy
Episode 5: How to Win in Afghanistan

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Facebook IPO: Shareholders Weren't Invited to the Real Party

From The Rolling Stones by Matt Taibbi

A suit has been filed by Facebook shareholders against Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Morgan Stanley and others. It's based on a very simple concept: when internal analysts learned that Facebook’s numbers were going to be worse than expected, the company and its bankers didn’t tell everyone, but just "selectively disclosed" information to a small group of "preferred investors."

Henry Blodget, who unfortunately should know about these things, gave a good summary of it all on CBS This Morning:

I was on the phone last night with a former hedge fund CEO who was talking about this. "Facebook," he said, "is a colossal example of a complete clusterfuck where everybody wins except the ordinary investor."

His point was that virtually every week now we see stories like this that hint at a kind of two-tiered market system – in which most of the real action takes place inside an unregulated black-box network of connected insiders who don’t disclose their relationships or their interests, while everyone else, i.e. the regular suckers, live in the more tightly-policed world of prospectuses and quarterly reporting and so on.

All of these stories suggest that Wall Street is increasingly turning into a giant favor-and-front-running factory, where the big banks and broker-dealers that channel vast streams of crucial non-public information (about the markets generally and their clients specifically) are also trading for their own accounts, and sharing information with a select group of "preferred investors," who in turn help the TBTF banks move markets in this or that desired direction by jumping on or off various pigpiles at the right times.

Sooner or later, people are going to clue into the fact that one or two big banks, acting in concert with a choice assortment of unscrupulous "preferred investors," can at least temporarily prop up or topple just about anything they want, from Greece to Bear Stearns to Lehman Brothers. And if you can move markets and bet on them at the same time, it's impossible to not make tons of money, which incidentally is made at everyone else's expense. So we should always be on the lookout for any evidence that that sort of coordinated, non-disclosed activity is taking place.

This Facebook thing is a perfect example. It’s like that scene in Brain Candy where the evil pharma CEO Don Roritor takes his star scientist, Chris, on a walk in the middle of a party at his house: after they walk around Don’s rocking indoor pool, they open a set of doors and there’s a completely different party going on there.

"What’s this?" Chris asks. "Oh, this is the real party," says Roritor.

Monday, April 16, 2012

European Economy Guide

From The Economist



THE euro crisis flared up in early April after three months of relative calm as banks got a trillion-euro helping hand from the European Central Bank. Spanish bond yields jumped on fears that Spain – the fourth biggest economy in the euro area - might be forced to follow much smaller Greece, Ireland and Portugal in being bailed-out by the rest of the euro area and the IMF. Our interactive graphic (updated April 13th) lays bare the economic and fiscal faultlines that make the crisis so intractable.

Although the whole of the euro area is now in recession, the reverse is much more severe in southern than in northern Europe. Forecasts for 2012 show Greece faring the worst, with GDP falling by over 4%, a crippling blow after already suffering four years of recession. Portugal will also take a knock as national output declines by more than 3%. One reason why investors have been fretting about Spain is that they fear that austerity will prove counter-productive in an economy already on its back. By contrast, Germany and France will manage to grow (though only a little) and the one northern country to take much of a hit will be the Netherlands.

Unemployment shows a similar north-south divide, with the overall jobless rate above 20% in Spain and Greece but only about 6% in Germany. For young people, the disjuncture is even more acute, with rates below 10% in Germany and Austria but above 50% in Spain and Greece and 35% in Portugal. Unemployment this high not only exacts a terrible social cost but also threatens to undermine public support for fiscal retrenchment.

Yet austerity is the harsh medicine being administered to the periphery in an attempt to deal with parlous public finances. Government debt at the end of 2011 was above 100% of GDP in Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal and budget deficits have also been most swollen on the southern and western rim of the euro area. By contrast, German government debt was around 80% of GDP and its budget balance was only mildly in the red last year.

European countries outside the single-currency zone like Britain may be counting their blessings for not joining the euro but tight trading and financial links mean that they are still being hurt by the crisis. British growth will again be tepid in 2012 and progress in shrinking a supersized budget deficit will be disappointing. Growth prospects this year are brightest in eastern Europe, with Poland leader of the pac

Friday, April 13, 2012

Santelli Rant On Buffett Rule

Santelli:  "People don't want to hear solutions, they want to change the dialogue. Bait & switch so we get more worried about what people pay, what's fair. You know how my kids opportunities are affected by how many millionaires there are? You know what I see is going to affect their opportunity? $15.6 TRILLION!"

 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fed in the Drivers Seat

Lee Adler of Wall Street Examiner writes about the effect of the Federal reserve and it's cash to Primary Dealers:

"... As I have shown throughout the 10years I have been directly tracking this, the Fed has near absolute control over both the US  stock market and the economy based on how much cash it pumps into Primary Dealer trading accounts.  This indicator is a proprietary measure of the amount of money the Fed pumps through Primary Dealer accounts...".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Corzine Theft is Going to be the Best Show Since Watergate

Russ Winter writes in the Wall Street Examiner

Finally after five months of investigations comes the Jon Corzine MF Global bombshell Friday [Bloomberg: Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Morgan].  The Bloomberg article references an e-mail written by Edith O’Brien,  the assistant Treasurer at MF Global and a memo written by congressional staffers. A few aspects are of note:  first that Corzine “gave direct instructions” to transfer $200 million in segregated consumer funds to JP Morgan for payment on an overdraft and used a lower level functionary O’Brien to carry it out.   Then in a clear violation of fiduciary responsibility JP  Morgan’s risk officer asked MF Global for a letter stating these funds were not customer segregated accounts, but then took the money anyway. The chief counsel for MF Global nixed the letter JPM sent over as “too strong”.

O”Brien is to testify before Congress on Wednesday, but will plead the Fifth. This suggests she has not been offered a deal, or immunity.

The captured regulatory agencies have not weighed in on this now nearly five months after this historic crime.  On the overall issue of fraud and regulatory capture, view this  Max Keiser and Mark Melin clip.

The Corzine ties into the labyrinth of the Obama Administration are dark and deep. It is a virtual six degrees of Kevin Bacon sistema (the word used for this form of government in Brazil) and in every sense of the word a criminal enterprise.   Here are various clips of Obama and Biden heaping praise on Jon Corzine.

This is what Obama says about Jon Corzine. I can see why Obama likes him so much.  They both have the same moral compass.
“Like many of us in public life today, Jon is a leader who’s been called to govern in some extraordinary times. He’s been tested by the worst recession in half a century — a recession that was caused by years of recklessness and irresponsibility and a do-nothing attitude. It was caused by the same small thinking that has plagued our politics for decades — the kind of thinking that says we can afford to just tinker around with our problems, we can put off the tough decisions, defer the big challenges. We can just tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. Well that’s not the kind of leader that Jon Corzine is.”– Barack Obama, July 2009
-and “John Corzine is the smartest man in the room”….Joe Biden

It is hard for me to imagine that Obama can shuck and jive this one.  Is he really going to revert to his shameful 60 minutes interview where he makes excuses for criminal conduct on Wall Street and twists the logic around to make himself look righteous. I have to think he may just turn the dogs loose on Corzine, but where does that lead?  Corzine was more than a fund bundler, crony, and influence peddler.  He was instrumental in stacking the Obama administration with his associates. What happens with CFTC apparatchik and former Corzine employee at Goldman Sachs, Gary Gensler for example?  CFTC was charged with regulating MF Global.  What about Eric “Empty Suit” Holder, Obama’s attorney general, who never met a Wall Street crime he didn’t like? And what about JP Morgan’s role in this?  This should and might be the biggest story since Watergate. My favorite from the wag comment gallery: “Can we possibly take down Corzine, JP Morgan, and Obama all in one fell swoop? No way my life gets that good!!! No way.”
This will also be the supreme test of the two-tiered Justice system in this country. I am certain that Corzine will claim:

1. There was only an alleged call, no email from Corzine?
2. No form returned to JPMorgan?
3. Did JPM allow the transfer illegally?
4. And “Segregated accounts can include customer money and excess company funds.” So if he did want the money transfered did someone mess up and not transfer just company funds?
Still:
1) Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense.
2) The violation of fiduciary duty alone constitutes grand theft and criminal negligence.

 

For additional analysis on this topic and related trades, subscribers go to Russ Winter’s Actionable. The subscription fee is $69 per quarter and helps support Russ’s work on your behalf. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gallup Struggles With BLS Data

March 8, 2012

U.S. Unemployment Up in February

Underemployment is 19.1%, up from 18.7% in January

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist
PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1% in February from 8.6% in January and 8.5% in December.
Gallup's U.S. Unemployment Rate, Monthly Averages

The 0.5-percentage-point increase in February compared with January is the largest such month-to-month change Gallup has recorded in its not-seasonally adjusted measure since December 2010, when the rate rose 0.8 points to 9.6% from 8.8% in November. A year ago, Gallup recorded a February increase of 0.4 percentage points, to 10.3% from 9.9% in January 2011.
In addition to the 9.1% of U.S. workers who are unemployed, 10.0% are working part time but want full-time work. This percentage is similar to the 10.1% in January, but is higher than the 9.6% of February 2011.
Percentage of U.S. Workers Working Part Time but Wanting Full-Time Work, Monthly Averages

As a result, Gallup's U.S. underemployment measure, which combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed and the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, increased to 19.1% in February from 18.7% in January. This is an improvement from the 19.9% of February 2011.

Gallup's U.S. Underemployment Rate, Monthly Averages

To see the entire report, continue here

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MLK "USA, be still and know that I'm God"

Key words from Rev. Kings speech entitled: 
"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"
Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967
 

"And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant! And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I'll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God."

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Winds of Change

Matt Ridley writes in Spectator.co.uk:

"The government has finally seen through the wind-farm scam – but why did it take them so long?

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. The biggest investors in offshore wind — Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens — are starting to worry that the government’s heart is not in wind energy any more. Vestas, which has plans for a factory in Kent, wants reassurance from the Prime Minister that there is the political will to put up turbines before it builds its factory... continue here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

If This Is Such a Strong Economy, Why Does This Chart Look Recessionary?

From Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds
(March 2, 2012)

Is the U.S. really a post-oil economy?

One way to gauge the real economy is to look at charts of the GDP, wages, household debt and the price of oil; another way is to correlate all of these on one chart. The following chart (courtesy of frequent contributor B.C.) plots these four metrics thusly: GDP/(wages/household debt)/price of oil.
What pops out of the chart is what happens when oil spikes higher or declines. In 1973, the first oil shock sent the economy off a cliff. Conversely, when oil fell to $12/barrel in the late 1990s while wages were rising strongly, the plotline peaked, reflecting a strong economy.
In 2008, oil spiked to $140/barrel in 2008, household debt reached record heights and wages began stagnating, and the economy fell into a sharp recession. When oil plummeted back to $40/barrel in early 2009, the plotline spiked up.
When oil prices and household debt are high while wages stagnate or decline, the economy sinks to recessionary levels.

Here are B.C.'s observations:

This chart utterly discredits the economics profession and those who claim that the post-industrial economy ("deindustrialization" and "financialization") is not oil-constrained and the service economy is what the rest of the world should adopt as the normative standard at $100+/barrel oil.
The current plotline is hovering just above the recessionary levels of late 2008. Does this reflect a strong economy, or one that is weak? If oil keeps climbing, what will that do to a visibly weak economy?
The Bulls are convinced that the U.S. has decoupled from the rest of the world and from the price of oil. This chart makes the opposite case: the price of oil matters, especially when wages are declining and household debt is elevated.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tavakoli: Who's To Blame? Not 'Flawed,' Fraud

This from Jesse's Café Américain

This is a fairly nice description of the tip of the credibility trap.

It is a description of moral hazard, of a partnership between the corporations and individuals in government. And it is a corrosive acid on the body politic. MF Global is not the end of it, but only a new beginning.

With every unpunished crime, with every successful deception, the monied interests grow more self-assured, and bolder.

The more rational in the financial system, academia, and the media wish this to stop, and know it will end badly, but a powerful few will have no restraints.

And so the dance must continue while the music keeps playing. The stewards of society, the Congress, the President, the media, the Fed, none have the moral sense and courage to merely stand up and say, "Stop. Enough. Stop beating your victims. Stop abusing the public."

Well, some may say it. Tavakoli, Yves, William Black, Elizabeth Warren, Barry Ritholz, Simon Johnson, and others have all said it, well, and many times.

And among the powerful Obama may say it. Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich may say it. But they do not mean it, and will do nothing substantial about it. And that is a national tragedy.

Have we no conscience left, no decency?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

US Taxpayers Bailing Out Big Banks Again?

(MoneyWatch) U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook to bail out big banks -- again. The Financial Times is reporting that taxpayers will subsidize a large portion of the $25 billion mortgage settlement, which was broken down into two distinct pieces:

1. $5 billion in cash payments, of which $1.5 billion would go directly to approximately 750,000 borrowers who were wrongly or illegally foreclosed on between September 2008 and December 2011. This is the part where you have heard that borrowers who were wrongly foreclosed on could receive up to $2,000.

2. $20 billion in "credits" the banks will receive for principal write-downs and other aid to nearly 1 million homeowners at risk of default, up to $20,000 per loan.

 It's part two that's coming under scrutiny. A clause in the provisional agreement allows the banks to use the government's Home Affordable Modification Plan, or HAMP, to cover the principal reductions. Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector-general of the TARP, described the clause as "scandalous." Says Barofsky: "It turns the notion that this is about justice and accountability on its head."Ms Cohen said... continue here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

America's Lawless Empire

Nader and Fein at Harvard Law School: "America's Lawless Empire"
(it is worth a listen)


 

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." ~ Edmund Burke

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fed's Goal: Crush Dollar and American Savers

This according to Washington's Blog:

The Fed’s EXPLICIT Goal Is to Devalue the Dollar by 33% … and NEGATIVE Yield Bonds Are Coming

As Forbes’ Charles Kadlec notes:
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official: After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.
***
The Fed has announced a course of action that will steal — there is no better word for it — nearly 10 percent of the value of American’s hard earned savings over the next 4 years.
While that is stunning, it is actually par for the course for the Fed:
Here’s a chart of the trade weighted US Dollar from 1973-2009.
And here’s a bonus chart showing the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power from 1913 to 2005:
Dollar from 1913.gif Federal Reserve and Big Banks Are Going to Crush the Dollar ... and American Savers

The giant banks – through their treasury borrowing committee headed by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs – are also demanding the issuance of negative yield bonds.

In other words, the too big to fail banks want Americans to pay to have the luxury of holding their money in bonds.

American savers – and especially those living on fixed incomes and pensions – are going to get creamed.  (my emphasis)





Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Panic On Wall Street As Anti-Insider Trading Bill Spreads Wider Net Over Information Peddling

From Jesse's Café Américain

The purpose of this clause is to bring transparency to the information peddling that represents a lucrative trade for hedge funds and banks that trade on insider information from the Congressmen themselves.

There is also large analyst trade in selling political information obtained privately to hedge funds. And rumour has it that quite a bit of that information spreads its way through the halls of the august Wall Street banks as well.

Wall Street apparently went into full court lobbying mode when they found out that Grassley had resubmitted this clause after they had successfully had it removed.

The clause only requires analysts to register their contacts and to disclose how they might be using the information provided by the Congress.

Information is power, and private access to public power is one of the great strengths of the Wall Street monied interests.

This bill might curtail the ability of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to obtain private information from the Finance Committees.

I am sure Mr. Obama, the great reformer who promised transparency, is solidly behind this move by the Republican Senator Grassley, right? Hard to tell right now.

Panic on Wall Street.
Bloomberg
Wall Street Sees Analysts Snagged by Political Intelligence Bill
By Phil Mattingly and Robert Schmidt
Feb 7, 2012 12:01 AM ET

A U.S. Senate measure that would place restrictions on people who gather and sell government information to hedge funds may entangle bank research analysts and others on Wall Street, according to lawyers and lobbyists. (The others are the conduits to the trading desks of the TBTF banks - Jesse)

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which represents firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., held a rare weekend call for members on Feb. 4 to discuss the measure, according to two people with direct knowledge of the call.

The provision, part of a broader bill that passed the Senate last week and is scheduled to face a House vote this week, may require analysts and others to register with Congress and disclose contacts with government officials, according to a legal analysis prepared for the group’s members.

“There are going to be a lot of entities and organizations who will not want their people anymore to contact government officials to get information which might be used for a number perfectly appropriate purposes,” Robert L. Walker, an attorney for Wiley Rein LLP who is listed as one of the authors of the legal memo, said of the impact of the provision. ('Jump you fuckers' as the Tea Party said before they turned corporate. lol - Jesse)

The broader bill would ban lawmakers, their staffs, and much of the executive branch from trading stocks, commodities or futures based on confidential information they learn on the job. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, succeeded last week in adding the provision that targets trading in so-called “political intelligence.” (There is nothing 'so-called' about it. That is what it is, and it is a form of corruption, albeit lucrative. - Jesse)

Such information may include conversations with lawmakers, congressional staff or other government officials about the future of legislation or regulations that have not been made public. That information has been targeted by lawmakers, who are pushing to identify firms and individuals in the business and force them to disclose their clients....

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Great Awakening

The Great Awakening: Humanity’s “emperor has no clothes” breakthrough

 
Human beings with intellectual integrity and moral courage see, speak, and act for humanity’s Great Awakening: critical mass of the 99% recognizing “emperor has no clothes” facts that the “1%” are War Criminals who murder by the millions, corporate cartels that collude by the billions and banksters who loot by the trillions, and purchased corporate media that constantly lie to hide these crimes.

The 1%’s Wars of Aggression has been a principal factor of US history since President Polk blatantly violated a treaty with Mexico to steal 40% of their land in 1846 (despite “Honest Abe” Lincoln’s brilliant speech to the House of Representatives to explain and document the crime).

The artistic power of this 8-minute video communicates humanity’s current position, and what is possible with out awakening.

An obvious response to being awakened is to speak and act to arrest the 1% to remove them from any power to cause more harm.

This breakthrough of awakening by the 99% leads to peace, immediately ending the most pressing problems of poverty, and creating an inspirational future of breakthroughs (The Venus Project and wanttoknow.info for examples of what’s possible).

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Mad As Hell"

Anyone remember this scene by Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the 1976 American film Network?

 

Beale: I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be!

We all know things are bad -- worse than bad -- they're crazy.

It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you've got to get mad.

You've gotta say, "I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

"I'm as mad as hell,
and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Judge Napolitano On GOP Candidates

Judge Andrew Napolitano believes that Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate who, if elected, won’t go to war or tell Americans how to live.