November 30, 2009
Although it's true that a few officers have re-familiarized themselves with the US Constitution and the democratic rights held by every individual, including the former police chief of Seattle, Norm Stamper, the vast majority have not learned any lessons from the events of that infamous day, other than how to better contain disobedient crowds in American cities. Stamper admitted responsibility for his authoritarian tactics, but I doubt his comments have had any significant impact in his old quarters. The fact remains that the culture of abuse of democratic rights is still prevalent in the Seattle police force, and in every other company across the country.
The decade that's about to pass has been so different from that day, when the intense nature of the protests marked a new stage in the American people's struggle against their governmental elite. Maybe mainstream Americans just weren't ready to take up what the protesters had started ten years ago, or maybe they were unable to express their rage in a public way. But things are picking up pace as we head into the second decade of this so far dark century. On the heels of a major troop escalation in Afghanistan, a looming war with Iran, and a collapsing economy, Americans are no longer so resistant to sweeping change. In fact, a number of them have prepared for the worst, and are expecting a dictatorial crackdown should they decide to go against government orders.
In these past ten years a generation defiant of Washington politics has come of age. At the same time there is rising inflation, millions are losing their jobs, personal and social debt have risen to historical levels, home foreclosures are putting families on the streets, and the truth about 9/11 is becoming more widespread, all of which lead to one conclusion: a second American revolution, triggering a wider, global revolution against the financial-corporate establishment at the core of world politics. And Seattle 1999 will be remembered as this generation's Lexington 1775.
November 29, 2009
Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Pittman, the award-winning investigative reporter whose fight to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52.
Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses. The precise cause of his death wasn’t known, said his friend William Karesh, vice president of the Global Health Program at the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
A former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, Pittman wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for “Wall Street’s Faustian Bargain,” a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry.
“He was one of the great financial journalists of our time,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. “His death is shocking.”
A direct action plan for bringing down the US financial system
The FDIC, the agency that insures the nation’s $4.8 trillion on deposit with banks, recently reported that it is out of money. The FDIC has no funds to back its promise to insure up to $250,000 of the money in banks in checking, NOW, and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit. Our “insurance” is an unfunded promise.
But that’s only half of the story. The FDIC didn’t have the money they said they had to begin with! As reported by Sprott Asset Management in its October report, “Dead Government Walking,” “the real shocker . . . is that the FDIC ‘funds’ were never even held in a segregated bank account -- the fees collected from the banks are accounted for as a part of the government’s general revenues that go towards military spending bailouts, interest costs and other government programs. The FDIC ‘fund’ merely consisted of IOU’s from the general revenues accounts.” Imagine that! Just like Social “Security”! The Social Security Administration doesn’t hold the social security funds it collects in a segregated, dedicated account, either. The government spends every penny and provides the SSA with IOU’s from a “Treasury” that is empty and hell-bent on borrowing even more! Like the FDIC’s “insurance,” our retirement benefits are unfunded.
In the world of private commerce, collecting funds with a promise to provide insurance or retirement benefits and not holding, investing and using the funds for that purpose, but spending every cent on every passing fancy like, say, adventures in reforming governments abroad, would constitute fraud and a breach of fiduciary obligation. Clearly, the US is no trustee or fiduciary of the people. When companies like General Motors or Northwest Airlines go bankrupt and leave their workers with billions of unfunded retirement benefits, people think it is unconscionable that the companies did not fund their employees’ retirement benefits and wonder how the laws of this country can permit such a thing. When the government does it, it’s -- what exactly? -- just fine? It’s not as though we can fix it by voting for someone new. The money’s gone and the only source for replenishing the funds is -- us. There’s no one to sue to recoup losses for mismanagement or waste, and in any event it’s not a breach of contract or a crime. In other words, there’s absolutely no accountability, and we’ve been impoverished. Lolz, aren’t we the suckers! What a scam! We’ve been completely rolled! And the government’s only “solution” is — let’s go double or nothing!
That people believe programs like the FDIC or Social Security provide a genuine “safety net” is a testament to the phenomenal power of magical thinking, and our own ability to delude ourselves. The reality is that the government is under no constraint to dedicate the funds collected to the purpose for which they were supposedly taken, but can spend every cent on anything it likes. Its supposed “commitment” to insure our deposits or to pay retirement benefits, therefore, is nothing more than a promise that, after it takes all the funds we have already provided for insurance or our retirement and spent them on something else, it will take even more from us to supply the funds it still needs to pay those promises which, of course, will also not be dedicated to the purpose for which they are taken but can be used for any purpose whatsoever. Its “promise”, in other words, is nothing more than a commitment to progressive impoverization.
The vaunted “safety net” is not a true, actuarial-based insurance fund administered by a trustee or fiduciary who is responsible to hold, invest and use the funds for a dedicated purpose, but is nothing but an IOU backed with zero assets, whose payouts are based solely upon the power to keep taking ever more from us until there is nothing left to take. Because the “safety net” is, by design, unfunded, its real function and purpose is to serve as a moral justification for unlimited expropriation for any purpose. “Oh, sorry, the money’s gone! Yes, in retrospect maybe we were unwise or irresponsible and wasted it, but we still have this noble purpose, we can’t abandon people now, so empty your pockets and send more so we can ‘protect’ you.” Wooo-ee! Here we go again! Double or nothing!
As an aside, you can see that the idea that we must have programs like Social Security and can’t “allow” people to keep their money and provide for their own retirement because they will just spend it all is completely meritless, a straw man. The people could not be more irresponsible than the government itself is with these funds — it blows every penny! Its “savings” plan, its “self-discipline,” is to spend it all and then take more as needed.
Along with national defense, providing “social insurance” is one of the principal grounds of legitimacy of modern government yet, like “national defense”, which principally involves waging wars of aggression abroad, these programs are complete frauds. You find out just how illusory it all really is, and how you were completely played for a sucker, after the money’s gone. If previously you have been a supporter of the idea of “government as social insurance provider,” let me suggest here that you admit to yourself — and then finally act upon — what would be obvious if you were dealing with anyone besides this mythic, magical thing called “government”: People who perpetrate fraud against you do not really have your best interests at heart. Not even when they say over and over that they do, or that they went into politics to Help People and because They Care. Not even when they promise that if you vote for them and give them a little more time to fix things and give their party a bigger majority they’ll make everything right and transform the world into the Beautiful Vision in Your Mind. With the exception of a very small handful of men of principle whose actions have long corresponded with their words, like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, they should be treated as the lying, thieving reprobates, snake oil salesmen, sponsors and procurers of the police state at home and destruction, expropriation and murder abroad that they are, and certainly shouldn’t be dignified with titles such as “Representative,” “Senator,” or “President.”
By far the biggest confidence game, and the one on which they all depend, is the Federal Reserve’s fiat dollar, a paper IOU backed by zero assets and subsisting on nothing more than pure trust and our own continued willingness to play “let’s pretend.” Confidence (fraudulently obtained and fraudulently maintained, to be sure, but confidence nonetheless) is the fuel that keeps the entire corrupt system going. We need to withdraw that confidence, completely.
As a store of value, the Federal Reserve’s dollar is useless. It has declined over 95% in value since the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913, and the Federal Reserve is currently actively engaged in driving it even lower. Money “saved” loses value, even when placed in banks to earn interest. Ever wonder why the banks do not pay any real amounts in interest on your deposits, why it never even covers cost of living increases? It’s because banks don’t really need the money in order to make loans. By making unlimited quantities of credit available to banks with the push of a button at zero interest or 25 basis points, the Federal Reserve has made our deposits unnecessary to banks and essentially worthless as a means of making money, so that we cannot even earn interest on our money sufficient to offset the decline in its value. The ability of banks to obtain cheap, unlimited credit from the Federal Reserve actually prevents your money from participating in the making of money. The Federal Reserve shunts you out of growth of your money through savings and investment because it can always provide vast sums of credit more cheaply than either depositors or investors.
With (i) an inability to earn sufficient interest on savings with banks, (ii) securities regulations that create large entry barriers to raising capital and which favor large companies and wealthy investors and preclude the creation of local or regional exchanges where small investors can provide funds to start-up businesses in their communities or regions and trade their securities, and (iii) tax incentives to put our funds into withdrawal-penalized IRAs and 401(k)s, our savings are herded into mutual funds as the one means open to us to earn money on our money. There, too much money chases too few stocks, because the Federal Reserve’s unlimited supply of cheap credit also makes stock irrelevant. Companies almost never issue publicly-traded stock to raise capital for their businesses. First, companies can get credit from banks via the Federal Reserve cheaper, easier and with lower transaction costs than they can get it publicly from investors. The Federal Reserve undercuts public investment in favor of financial institutions. Second, the payment of interest on debt is a deductible expense for income tax purposes, but dividends (payments on capital) are not, so that the after-tax cost of debt is even less than the nominal interest rate.
As a result of these huge structural biases toward debt financing, there is a very limited supply of publicly traded stocks in which to invest. Too many investment dollars chasing too few stocks results in overvalued stocks, whose price no longer reflects the fundamental underlying value of a percentage ownership interest in the company, but instead is a “bubble” reflecting (i) the momentary relative demand for the shares among the pool of largely captive investors (“captive” because people who have put their funds into IRAs and 401(k)s face very high extraction costs), and (ii) the amount of credit available to banks and other speculators and traders seeking to profit from short-term price swings in the stock. Providing zero interest credit to banks to trade in securities, as the Federal Reserve is currently doing, further inflates bubble prices to reflect the surfeit of credit available to the speculators playing with these chips, rather than any underlying real value of the securities.
The result of all of these factors is that the stock’s price (having ceased to have much to do with its real underlying value) is susceptible to huge, rapid increases and declines that, again, do not necessarily correspond to any change in the company’s actual business or prospects, but instead reflect credit expansion or contraction and the activities of short-term traders and speculators seeking profits. As a result of the bust last year when, practically overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 34% and the S&P 500 Index fell about 38%, we all know now that the advice we were given long ago that we should just put our money in stocks and forget about it until retirement (“Over the long run, you will make money!”) was effectively sheer BS designed to get us to put money into what are really high-risk assets. Thanks to the massive price inflection risk caused by massive underlying fiat credit, speculative trading and churning for trading and management fees, this is a high-stakes game rigged for speculators, traders and mutual fund managers, and is certainly not a game anyone should be playing with funds they will need to live in their old age. And yet, this is the corral into which our savings are driven by our government’s policies.
We are never going to have a government that is constrained by economic reality until it is forced to use and reckon in sound money, and not in a fiat currency that can be created out of thin air completely unconnected to, and unlimited by, the real economic value of assets or productive capacity. We are never going to be able to save funds that have any lasting value, or grow our savings through a return in the form of interest or through real public investment opportunities under the current system. It is time for us, the people, to do our own trust busting, to bring down these huge financial institutions, including the Federal Reserve, and the oligarchy that transform our savings into chips in a global financial casino and transform us into tax and debt slaves. We can do it, and we don’t need the politicians.
It hasn’t received anywhere near the attention it deserved, or prompted the sustained action it warrants but, shades of Howard Beale!, on October 21, something pretty significant happened. Someone in the “main stream media” went beyond the formulaic, toothless recommendations to “contact your representatives in Washington and demand that they do something” and called for direct action. MSNBC financial commentator Dylan Ratigan recommended that we stop helping the nation’s largest banks gamble with our money and make record profits off of taxpayer funds by (i) taking all of our funds out of the largest banks and moving them into community banks, (ii) using cash as much as possible, and (iii) stop using our credit cards. He actually urged self-help to stop the pillage of our wealth and our future.
Unfortunately, he is not as radical, yet, as he could be, because he seems to still believe it is possible to get Washington to work for the people. In the same October broadcast in which he called for direct action, he also urged that we write and complain to our representatives. Again, on November 16th, he hosted a discussion of the need for people to burn up the phone lines with their anger and come to Washington to protest so that their representatives start “getting it” and pass legislation to protect the people.
Now, just let the bitter implications of that suggestion sink in for a moment. Our “representatives” don’t know what serves our interests, that is, they can’t perceive it by putting themselves in our position, or do and won’t act on it, but need to hear from us in large numbers, with impassioned voices, and we actually have to go to Washington and provide a visual demonstration to them of how important this is to us, before they will stop doing the bidding of the lobbyists who provide funds for their campaigns and actually represent us. Hmmm, maybe we have a far bigger systemic problem here than can be addressed by phone calls, emails and bus trips to Washington.
Mr. Ratigan, give up this last vestige of hope in our utterly corrupt political system, so you can more fully throw yourself into the work that actually needs to be done!
“Burning the phone lines,” and protests in Washington aren’t going to accomplish anything. Calls to Washington opposing TARP were running close to 400 to one against, and Congress passed it anyway. When people in France take to the streets it has some effect because they are really teed off and “communicate” this by burning cars, smashing things, bringing public transit or truck deliveries to a halt or shutting down parts of the city. When people in France take to the streets, it still recalls to the minds of their elected representatives a time 220 years ago when members of the ruling class were guillotined in those very streets, and tens of thousands of aristocrats and clergy had to flee their country and leave their estates behind to avoid a similar fate. When Americans “take to the streets” in Washington we have, what, exactly? Picnics on the Mall, family outings with the kids, people listening to fiery speeches from activists and celebrities, protest songs from popular singers and maybe memories of free love from the 60s? Oh, how they tremble in the halls of Congress!
Meanwhile, over at Huffington Post, to take it as but an example of the supplicant form of “activism” that is prevalent and accepted among polite society, we are treated to earnest blog entries explaining the steps that our government should be taking to help us, as if our “representatives” were people of good faith who really want to help us but just need it carefully explained to them so they know what to do. Or we are treated, in “Bearing Witness 2.0,” to tales of people who are suffering from the financial crisis or our health care system, as if appeals to compassion and conscience will trump the built-in dictates of the system.
Expecting to bring about reform by pushing for “change” in the next election, reporting the horrendous consequences of failed government polices, “speaking truth to power,” petitioning Congress, protesting — tell me again, what is the definition of “insanity”? The American progressive agitating for “change” is the very incarnation of the hapless, inept George Constanza, who badly needs to have an epiphany and start doing the opposite.
The Barons at Runnymede were not petitioning their government. Magna Carta, the great font of Anglo-American law that secured liberty from 1215 until the latter part of the 20th Century, was not obtained by begging for it. It is time to take direct action to bring the entire corrupt, central banking, fractional reserve, fiat currency system down. It is time, not for us to go to Washington, but to create so much financial havoc that our “representatives” come to us, begging us, with the entire edifice crashing down around them, for the chance to represent and serve us. It is time to engineer the downfall of the oligarchy that controls our government, so that all the financiers who created this crisis lose their jobs and flee to their offshore fortresses of solitude to enjoy some permanent time off with their ill-gotten gains. There, they can begin plotting anew how, after a few generations, when the world has forgotten the lessons of the current crisis, their grandchildren or great grandchildren can regain control of the world’s financial system and governments. That is the plan we need.
Dylan Ratigan has the right idea, but I don’t believe he takes it far enough. People with far more knowledge and insight into the workings of the current financial system than I currently have are needed to help plan this downfall, and many are needed to spread the word, but we should build and start acting now on Dylan Ratigan’s proposal.
Please note that in what follows, I am not rendering investment advice. I am not talking about a plan to protect or preserve your wealth or to profit in this crisis, or the actions you can take as a solitary individual to assist you and your family to weather this storm. I have no idea whether the actions recommended below will preserve or increase your wealth. In what follows I am talking about a grassroots uprising, a communal undertaking, to bring an end to the corrupt money system that rules and ruins our lives. At its utmost reaches, it is a scorched earth plan, and it would cost us, dearly. However, I believe that if we do not act now, we will simply face an even greater consolidation of power over us, and will be reduced even further into tax and debt peonage.
Herewith the Plan. None of it is illegal. Yet.
1. According to Bernie Sanders, the four largest banks in America — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup — now issue two-thirds of all credit cards and hold 40% of all bank deposits in the country. As Dylan Ratigan suggested, and we should keep suggesting and urging people to act upon, everyone who is a depositor in any these banks or any other large or regional bank should take all of their money out of those banks, terminate the accounts and open new accounts in small community banks and credit unions, and people should stop using their credit cards.
2. We should take, and keep, as much money out of the banks, all banks, as possible. Use cash to pay all local merchants and stop using your debit card. When CDs come to term, do not renew them, but withdraw the funds. In that community bank account you establish, leave in, or deposit when needed, only enough money to cover checks or bills you pay electronically and monthly fees, with a cushion against errors. Because banks have only a small fraction of the amount people have in deposits, and so many payments are made by digital account entries, taking our money out of banks en masse may force the Federal Reserve to actually have to print money, so that we can hold it in our hot little hands, and may actually force paper money into system. It will also decrease bank reserves and create bank instability, if not actual bank closings.
3. All amounts of long-term savings withdrawn from banks (i.e., not the cushion you keep for unexpected events or planned-for future expenses, like those new tires you are going to need for your car in a few months) should be used to purchase physical gold or silver. By doing this, you affirm that you want a currency that more than mere scrip that allows you to purchase current goods and services, but serves as a long term, stable store of value, is tied to some underlying commodity and independent measure of value that trades freely and therefore reflects real market or economic value, and is not subject to manufacture out of thin air or ready manipulation. For every ounce of gold or silver that you buy, you cast a vote of no confidence in the US dollar and the US government far more powerful than any vote you can cast for or against any politician and directly challenge the corrupt, manipulative central banking fiat money system that is destroying the middle class, destroying your wealth, reducing the value of your labor and condemning you and your children to perpetual debt and tax servitude.
As mentioned above, there are about $4.8 trillion in deposits in banks. The goal is to get as much of this into our hands as physical dollars for current or short-term needs and as much of our long-term savings into physical gold and silver as possible. If we can move sufficient amount of our funds permanently out of the largest banks, even the too-big-to-fails may tumble, and the system the oligarchs have set up for themselves might implode. In pursuing this goal we will not be alone. If we can move enough of our deposits into gold and silver, the world will see that even the American people are rejecting their worthless currency and have no trust or confidence in the fiat dollar or their government, and would join us in an exodus from dollars that may well overwhelm the capacity of central banks to control.
From a purely personal perspective, thus far, there is little cost to these actions, other than the necessity of continually managing your cash needs to avoid credit and debit card transactions and to keep your bank balance as low as possible, and the transaction costs of purchasing bullion, which seem to run generally from 5 to 7 percent. That will be an expense that has to be recouped before you begin “profiting” from owning bullion. Of course, there would be personal costs associated with actually succeeding in bringing about a collapse of the banking system, somewhat unquantifiable! You will also need to make appropriate preparations for those.
Now let’s deal with funds in IRAs and 401(k)s. It is difficult to obtain current information but, based on information compiled by the New York Times from data supplied by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and presented in an article on October 31st, it appears that, shortly after the market crash in 2008, there was approximately $3.7 trillion in IRAs and approximately $2.7 trillion in 401(k)s, or $6.4 trillion in retirement savings. Let’s address what we can do with these.
4. Funds from previous employment in rollover IRAs or in 401(k)s that are in former employer plans because you didn’t roll them over into your own IRA can be taken out of stock and bond funds and placed in a new qualified rollover account which holds physical gold and silver.
Generally, creating a gold and silver rollover account can be done with relatively minimal cost, but check carefully before you act because in some cases you will be charged fees for taking money out of your existing stock or bond funds. You are definitely going to lose anywhere from 5 - 7% of your funds in transaction fees to acquire bullion, unless you can make a very large purchase. However, because of the large amount of funds in rollover accounts that can be rolled over into bullion accounts, this action would be a massive vote of no confidence not only in the central banking, fiat currency system, but also in the rigged, captive investment, mutual fund stock market system, as people made it clear they will no longer put their savings into a relatively closed and limited pool of securities whose underlying prices bear little to no real relationship to the underlying economic value of the companies that issue those securities.
I caution again that I am not giving investment advice here, but describing a tactic to take down the existing corrupt financial system. I have no idea whether this will make you “better off” financially. The more people who do this, the more the price of gold and silver will rise, and the value of the dollar decline. But do not make the mistake of thinking that gold and silver have some inherent value immune from the relativity that affects all other assets. They do not. Should the entire fiat dollar system implode, there may well be massive deflation in the prices of assets, as the portion of asset prices attributable to the massive underlying credit disappears into thin air. In such a scenario, gold and silver prices may readjust downward as well, to a level below the amount you paid to acquire them, to reflect their real purchasing power. This is not a plan to make money, but to eliminate a corrupt system that consigns us to the status of mere consumers and renders us incapable of accumulating any of our own wealth or making any genuine returns on our own money, and reduces us to debt peonage. War is hell, and it is not going to be cost-free.
There are at least three other steps we can take, but each of them will involve even greater personal costs.
5. Cease contributing funds to IRAs and 401(k)s and use the available after-tax funds to purchase gold and silver. You will pay more in taxes, but you will stop feeding the asset bubbles in securities, undermine the Wall Street traders and money managers that make their profits from trading these inflated assets and managing mutual funds and further undermine the dollar with your purchases of bullion.
6. Withdraw funds from IRAs and 401(k)s and use the after-tax proceeds to buy gold and silver.
This one will really hurt. Amounts withdrawn from these accounts prior to age 59-1/2 are subject to a 10% tax penalty (except in limited cases) and are also subject to income tax, so taking any funds out of these accounts prior to that age and while you are still earning income from employment and subject to high tax rates will cost you. The 10% penalty is imposed to prevent you from taking your money out before retirement and blowing it all, like, you know, the government does. Depending on your federal and state tax brackets you could easily lose up to 50% of the total amount you take out. This tax burden effectively dissuades most people from withdrawing their funds, even in the face of huge swings in the market and huge uncertainty about the future value of their stock and bond investments. It would be quite costly, personally, but a large-scale termination of these accounts would massively deflate the value of stocks and other securities and the use of the after-tax funds to purchase gold and silver would further strike a huge blow against the fiat dollar.
7. Finally, the “nuclear option” — a large-scale permanent default on payment of personal debt.
This would be a complete refusal to pay any amount owed to lenders until part of the debt is written off and the financial system is completely reformed. People in some debtor nations that are in extremis, like Iceland and Latvia, are talking about this. The underlying justifications for a write-down are:
(a) morally, no person may own another, and it is as wrong to accomplish this by reducing people to debt peonage as it is to seize them and subsequently buy and sell them outright;
(b) economically, the central bank, fractional reserve banking system, in possession of a legally-created monopoly on credit by virtue of legal tender laws that require people to use the central bank’s currency, permits credit to be created out of thin air with the push of a button in amounts both untethered and unrelated to the real economic value of assets or productive capacity (the necessary implication of any fractional reserve system that is untied to any physical commodity the price of which is difficult to manipulate (such as gold) and has no real upper bounds), resulting in asset prices that reflect, not underlying economic reality, but the surfeit of underlying available credit, and it is necessary to deflate this artificial bubble inflated by the rent-seeking behavior of financiers so that people can again engage in real economic transactions on the basis of economic reality, and the real economy can again begin to thrive, and
(c) legally (although an argument that is unlikely to be accepted in any court of law), unlimited credit made available at artificial interest rates (interest rates produced by a central bank under legal tender laws inherently cannot reflect any “real” cost of money because central banks can literally create infinite supplies of credit by simply commanding it into existence) and lowered credit standards result in inflated asset prices that are far more a function of artificially created mass demand fueled by limitless cheap credit than the underlying economic value of assets, amounting to both price manipulation and “fraud in the inducement” by financial institutions, entitling debtors to damages or to vitiate their contracts.
Reform in America would mean, at a minimum, that all the people who helped create the crisis are out of all positions of power in government and replaced with people who saw it coming and understand why it happened, ending the Federal Reserve’s power to create credit, print money and act as lender of last resort, auditing it and putting it into receivership for liquidation, repeal of legal tender laws (so that people can freely use whatever currency they believe is the soundest and best store of value), repeal of the utterly disastrous Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to re-separate commercial banking from investment banking, prohibition of sales of loans originated by commercial banks to a secondary market (banks will be far more careful lenders if they know they are the ones stuck holding the mortgage), and either elimination of all tax advantages that favor debt over equity, or grant of corresponding tax advantages to equity investment.
Large-scale, intentional default on all debt payment to lenders would be a fatal blow to the financial system. The goals are worthy, and should be the goals we have. Unfortunately, I suspect that the strategy of mass default as a means of achieving those goals is one of those shimmering visions like the syndicalist idea of the General Strike: absolutely awe-inspiring in its potential power and perfectly correct in theory, but near-impossible to actualize because of the degree of social cooperation needed to pull it off. I mention it principally to suggest we not be sidetracked by it but instead proceed immediately to do as much as possible with the readily available actions.
If Americans ever hope to have a government that is fiscally responsible and reflects the government we can actually afford, we have to take away its ability to play with monopoly money and force it to base its decisions on the much more limited supply of a sound currency that is rooted in economic reality and not in the rent-seeking activities of financiers. The political process is completely broken, captured by financial interests and utterly corrupt. The time has come for Americans to abandon “hope” in “change” coming from that quarter and do some trust-busting on their own. Écrasez l’infâme! Let’s get to work!
November 25, 2009
But in my perplexity I know that a future will only be possible again when we find an answer and do what, as guests on this orbiting chunk of nature, we owe to one another; namely, stop frightening one another, relieve one another of fear by disarming to the point of nakedness.
It may be that Gore is sincere in his beliefs, and that his sincerity and honesty are reflected in his investments. But we will never have anything close to sufficient information to make that determination. If you are prepared to simply take his word on this question, or the word of numerous other people who reap massive windfalls from particular decisions and policies of government -- if you are prepared to set aside every issue and question set forth above (all of which could and have been expanded to many books, with endless examples of the same general phenomenon) -- then you are missing every issue of importance.
The complex, intricate operations of our corporatist system, of the dizzyingly numerous interconnections between "private" business and government, are the bedrock on which policy decisions are made in every area. If you look to government to solve the problem of global warming and climate change, however you may conceive that problem, it is this system that you are trusting to make the "best" judgments and the "best" investments -- with, it should always be remembered, your money.
So the question for you is: Do you trust this system? Do you? I would offer one further point: the degree to which you think global warming is a genuine crisis requiring urgent action, is the precise degree to which you should trust this system even less. If you think the entire globe faces a frightening crisis of truly unprecedented proportions, do you trust a system where decisions are made on the basis of friendships, alliances, connections, "influence" and doing "favors" for those one prefers, for whatever reason? No matter how sincere some individuals may be, do you trust a system which invites and encourages the participation of people who aren't sincere in any measurable degree, but are primarily and sometimes solely concerned with increasing their own wealth and power?
November 24, 2009
(The Nation) - At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.
Scahill on Democracy Now
And it is reportedly doing so over the objections of some prominent Democrats.
When a panicky Congress passed the act 45 days after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, three contentious parts of the law were scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and opponents of these sections have been pushing Congress to substitute new provisions with substantially strengthened civil liberties protections.
Continued. . .
November 23, 2009
At times it truly feels as if you are sitting in the middle of a tornado made up of inconsolable destruction, induced by mad-men and suffered by the innocent. This brutal tempest was no accident and it did not begin over night, no, it was a gradual incursion endorsed by politicians with botoxed smiles and empty slogans.
Only when your caskets file in do we witness a built-up display of subtle humanity as you scream and exude tears – mourning for men and women who enlisted themselves for occupation and slaughter under the guise of ‘patriotism’.
If only I could tell you that I feel sorry in the least for your causalities; 21st century crusaders who have replaced archaic swords and stallions with AK-47’s and Merkava’s – my brutal honesty will not allow such livid perjury.
November 22, 2009
November 21, 2009
I do not write for shock value. The world today is shocking enough. I simply follow the wise words of W. Macneile Dixon: "Let us assume as little as possible, and begin with things as we find them." I want to begin with the greatest fact of our lives, and that is the collapse of a civilization five hundred years in the making. I wish it was a hyperbole, but the evidence for it can be found in open sight, and in all quarters. An impending social collapse of large parts of the United States, and the world, is no longer considered paranoid lingo. Everybody has gotten a taste of the future, and it has a lasting effect in your mouth because facts are not something you can spit out. I first got a taste of it when I started listening to Coast to Coast AM five years ago, and I have had trouble eating much of anything since then. I've lost my appetite for life on more than one occasion. But you will read no complaints here. There is no time for that. America is on the verge of becoming an apocalyptic wasteland, a place of ruin, in which the morals of civilization will finally be replaced with the laws of the jungle, and the Wild West. In other words, nature is starting to show some skin, and she's added some weight.
We forget at our own peril that America is a warrior nation. Who actually believes that record-breaking gun sales in these past two decades reflect nothing more than a cultural lifestyle? What other country shoots for a hobby? People everywhere else reach for the gun only at the last resort. For example, at the feet of a foreign invasion, or during wartime. But Americans have never laid down their weapons. An instinctive will to freedom lives in them, carried over from earlier rebellions against an intrusive government. And God bless them. Frankly, I love Americans for their inborn brutality. I have never laid a hand on a gun in my life, and I am not planning to, but I respect men and nations who have the stomachs to face up to the facts of flesh and then buckle up. Some Americans go straight to the second part and that is where the problem lies. I admire and encourage the will to fight, I may even lay aside my own reservations, and jump into the swamp, but there must be reasons laid out on the table beside all the bullets. Schopenhauer remarked that men turn irrational if "they allow themselves to be determined by the moment." I hope a moment like that does not come, but I'm afraid it will. So we must be ready.
After a long drought from battle, some men, especially those in uniform, will be so quick to pull their triggers that they will lose all sight of their 'moral' responsibilities. At that point, Americans, and their neighbors above and beyond, will have to fight back against the despotism in their respective countries, and terminate the powerful instinct to rule and suppress that is currently operating in Washington D.C, London, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Tehran, Kabul, Beijing, Moscow, and all the other capitals in the world. Let's not forget that what an infamous street in New York managed to accomplish in a decade has been done to an even greater effect by all central cities throughout all millennia. The instinct to pillage and plunder must be destroyed once and for all, or human beings will continue to wrongfully suffer and be held under the weight of centralized authority.
And if all these world capitals are politically tarnished and weakened only to make way for an authoritarian world government then we must object at the first sight of it. If it comes to our streets by tank, then we must meet it on foot, and give it a blow! Anarchy will be thrown in our faces, for sure, and it will smell like poison, but the smell of poison is more dignified than the smell of tyranny, which will no doubt be offered graciously and for our own benefit. Most of the people will accept the new authoritarian world order. Some will obey gradually, while others will submit right away, and after all the blood and tears, along with endless security threats ,who will blame them?Anarchy is a horrible thing, especially when apes with guns are running around looking for a fight. I detest chaos even more than tyranny, but I will not accept a false choice.
Once the republicans and democrats are done, why must we tolerate another political facade? Why does it have be between anarchy and tyranny? There are alternatives, and we must fight for them. Even if a little blood is lost in achieving our possibilities, will our children and grandchildren not profit by it? Did Americans not profit from their bloody separation with the British in 1776?
This is not the sixties, escaping to a weed farm will be a sad way to go. Besides, fighting for freedom is much more enjoyable and exhilarating. If you're going to blast music, why not do it in front of Nazi cops instead of an outdoor concert? The dictatorial protocols and security measures that have been announced by our governments will not take the spirit out of us. The militarized streets, emergency curfews, annoying sound canons, and intimidating police forces, are all being done to dishearten our cities, and disquiet our souls. But it will not work. As I've said, this is not the sixties.
Let this be clear: the planners and practitioners of the new world order are disguising their brutal nature behind their plan for the world, which they say is set to address terrorism and global warming, two false fronts in an all out war against the natural and indestructible liberties of humankind. Their environmental program for the world is simple: depopulation, while their idea of security is training jack-booted thugs to pounce upon anything that moves out of its place. According to the new world order philosophy, a solider must stand by every womb and every tomb, and a navy ship is sent to patrol every birth canal that exceeds the limit of incoming ships. If we follow this philosophy, then the carriers of life will be reduced to being burial wives. I think humanity deserves better than these authoritarian solutions from these godless creatures.
There are creative and positive solutions to our environmental problems, and security can be achieved more successfully through dialogue, understanding, and platonic reason. Also, the goals of the new world order for Man are antithetical to his primal instincts and creative nature. Thus, it will fail. "The aim of the State is to produce a fools' paradise," Schopenhauer said, and who wants to live there? Mankind has dreamt of greater things for itself in its sleep. And if, by chance, we fail in our struggles, and happen to go extinct, is that such a bad thing? Is it not better to die fighting for freedom than live continually in a miserable existence? To go back to Schopenhauer again; "Not to be an unmeaning fools' paradise, but a tragedy, in which the will to live understands itself and yields-that is the object for which the world exists."
I say, bring on tragedy! And if it is carried in the arms of a single man, like an Alex Jones, then why should we shrink from it? I think it is no accident that Alex is one of the principal carriers of the will to live in our culture. His continual presence on the historical scene signifies one thing: mankind will not perish without a fight. He brings not conspiracy and paranoia on his wings but animalistic wisdom and conscious intelligence. In the fight for the freedom and dignity of humankind, those two types of thinking must be fused together, or else the dawn of our species that W. Macneile Dixon alluded to in his Gifford lectures will be out of our reach. In his lecture "The One and the Many," found in The Human Situation, the luminous Dixon writes:
To imprison the human spirit is the unpardonable sin, the attempt to make men automata, to force them into the same mould. No means will ever be found to induce human beings finally to surrender themselves, either body or soul, to a dictated felicity, to satisfactions chosen for them, whatever vulgar Caesars rule the world. And upon this rock all forms of regimentation, of standardised existence will eventually shipwreck. Every type of compulsion is hateful, always has been, and always will be hateful, as long as men are men. Was this freedom about which the poets have raved since the world began, for which mean have died in millions, worth the bones of a single soldier? Have you ever asked yourself why men have fought for liberty? Not for amusement. Freedom they must have, whether they know or not what to do with it, freedom to choose cause or party, order or disorder, the good or the bad, to steer each his own vessel to the port of his desire. Take away his choice, and you make of him, for all your benevolent intentions, a chattel or a slave. There is a rebel in every man; men will revolt and demand again their freedom.Dixon's words penetrates our times unlike any other words for any other times. What he said we cannot escape from. Humans are awakening to their inner truths and will not accept a false reality anymore. The tyrannical architects of the new world matrix are giving us no choice but to rebel, and reclaim our liberties. They can stand in as the saviors of the world, but their double nature will reveal itself, and all of humanity will witness in the flesh what the private rulers of America, and those behind the new world matrix, are truly made of, and consequently, they will resist the global power grab. "The urge to save humanity," wrote H.L Mencken, another giant of the 1930's, "is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it."
The greatest threat to American liberty, and by extension human liberty, are not dictatorial laws passed in Washington, Lisbon, or Copenhagen , an overbearing executive, mega-corporations, or an unaccountable global elite, but the derailment of the instinct for life, of the will to resist, of the belief in the power of oneself. We must get off our asses not like dying and apathetic men on the couch, but like kings on the throne.
We are approaching a historical height as a species on this planet, and it is at this moment that we must leap for human freedom like we've never before, because it might just be our last fighting chance.
For how much longer will we retreat to the underground and be content with passing looks above? Granted, we are fighting in a trench with our backs against each other, and our enemies ahead of us are ready to shoot one by one, but if we all turn at the same time and raise our heads at once, will we not be successful? I think so. And is it not our duty to advance the guard for the next generation? True, we risk fumbling history if we charge ahead aimlessly, so it is crucial that we arrive at the right strategies before we embark on our adventure.
But say that we do fumble history for a brief period, and that there is a turnover before we reach the end zone, - what of it? Isn't losing and gaining momentum part of the game? Why sit out a possession? Do champions retire at third down in the Super Bowl? Before them, as us, is a lifetime opportunity - a historical moment - a chance to win, and those who go for it with all their might and soul, are more likely to be victorious. Nothing less than Freedom is on the line. A renaissance of individualism that Frank Chodorov predicted and fought for is within reach, thanks to the Remnant, who have preserved the spirit and tradition of human liberty. "Statism is a state of mind," Chodorov said, "not a historical necessity." While Freedom is a historical necessity.
November 20, 2009
Yesterday an amendment, authored by Dr. Paul, that calls for a precise and comprehensive audit of the Fed, was passed by the House Finance Committee in a 43-26 vote, defeating the attempts by Rep. Watt, Committee Chairman Frank, and Fed Chairman Bernanke, to water down the bill.
Glenn Greenwald accurately describes the importance of the amendment's success, and puts it in the context of Washington politics and the enraged climate that is sweeping the country:
Something quite amazing happened yesterday in Congress: the House Finance Committee -- in a truly bipartisan and even trans-ideological vote -- defied the banking industry, the Federal Reserve, the Democratic leadership, and mainstream Beltway opinion in order to pass an amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, mandating a genuine and probing audit of the Fed. The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim has the best account of what took place, noting:
In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.
Grim details how key Committee Democrats such as Frank -- who spent the year claiming to support an audit of the Fed in the face of rising anger over its secret and bank-subservient policies -- suddenly introduced their own amendment (sponsored by Democratic Rep. Melvin Watt) that would have essentially gutted the Paul/Grayson provisions. Banking industry and Fed officials, as well as the Democratic leadership, then got behind that alternative provision as a means of pretending to support transparency while protecting the Fed from any genuine examination. Notwithstanding the pressure exerted on Committee Democrats to support that watered-down "audit" bill, Grayson convinced 15 of his colleagues to join with Republicans to provide overwhelming support for the Paul/Grayson amendment. As Grim notes:
[Frank] urged a no vote, yet 15 Democrats bucked him, voting with Paul. Key to winning Democratic support was a letter posted early Thursday from labor leaders and progressive economists. The letter, organized by the liberal blog FireDogLake.com, called for a rejection of the Watt substitute and support for Paul.
Grayson was able to show Democratic colleagues that the liberal base was behind them.
"Today was Waterloo for Fed secrecy," a victorious Grayson said afterwards.
The bill still faces substantial hurdles in becoming law, of course, but yesterday's vote has made that outcome quite possible, and it's worth noting several important points highlighted by what happened here:
(1) Our leading media outlets are capable of understanding political debates only by stuffing them into melodramatic, trite and often distracting "right v. left" storylines. While some debates fit comfortably into that framework, many do not. Anger over the Wall Street bailouts, the control by the banking industry of Congress, and the impenetrable secrecy with which the Fed conducts itself resonates across the political spectrum, as the truly bipartisan and trans-ideological vote yesterday reflects. Populist anger over elite-favoring economic policies has long been brewing on both the Right and Left (and in between), but neither political party can capitalize on it because they're both dependent upon and subservient to the same elite interests which benefit from those policies.
For that reason, many of the most consequential political conflicts are shaped far more by an "insider v. outsider" dichotomy than by a "GOP v. Democrat" or "Left v. Right" split. The pillaging of America's economic security by financial elites, with the eager assistance of the government officials who they own and who serve them, is the prime example of such a conflict. The political system as a whole -- both parties' leadership -- is owned and controlled by a handful of key industry interests, and anger over the fact is found across the political spectrum. Yesterday's vote is a very rare example where the true nature of political power was expressed and the petty distractions and artificial fault lines overcome.
(2) As Grim expertly describes, the effort to defeat the Paul/Grayson amendment came from all of the typical Washington power centers using all of the establishment's typical manipulative tools:
The playbook in Washington often goes like this: When a measure that threatens the establishment builds enough momentum that it must be dealt with, it is labeled as "unserious." The Washington Post editorial board, true to the script, called Paul's measure "an unserious answer to a serious question."
And it particularly rankles the center that a pair of "wingnuts " [Paul and Grayson] are behind a successful effort to challenge the prevailing order.
Step Two is for a "serious" compromise to be offered. In this case, it was Watt's amendment. But by the time the vote was called Thursday afternoon, committee members had seen through his measure, recognizing that it was not a compromise effort to bring real transparency to the Fed but an attempt to further shut the doors.
One can count on one hand the number of times that establishment attacks like this fail, but this time -- at least for now -- it did. And it reveals a winning formula: where there is a strong and principled leader in Congress willing to defy the Party's leadership and the Washington establishment (Grayson), combined with leading experts lending their name to the effort (economists Dean Baker and James Galbraith), organizations standing behind it (labor groups), and a shrewd and driven organizer putting it all together (FDL's Jane Hamsher), even the most powerful forces and opinion-enforcers can be defeated, as they were here. Those progressive advocates' refusal to be distracted by trite partisan considerations, and their reliance on substantial GOP support to pass the bill (as hypocritical as the GOP's position might have been), was particularly crucial -- and smart.
(3) Beyond the specifics, a genuine audit of the Fed would be a major blow to the way Washington typically works. The Fed is one of those permanent power centers in this country that exert great power with very little accountability and almost no transparency (like much of the intelligence and defense community). The power they exert has exploded within the last year as a result of the financial crisis, yet they continue to operate in a completely opaque manner and with virtually no limits. Its officials have been trained to view their unfettered power as an innate entitlement, and they express contempt for any efforts to limit or even monitor what they do.
In other words, the Fed is a typical Washington institution that operates un-democratically and in virtually total secrecy, and a Congressionally-mandated audit that they (and much of the DC establishment) desperately oppose would be a serious step towards changing the dynamic of how things function. At the very least, it would provide an important template for defeating the interests which, in Washington, almost never lose. At least yesterday, those interests did lose -- resoundingly -- and the importance of that should not be overlooked.
The Nucleus - Dr. Paul
The Muscle - Mr. Grayson
November 19, 2009
It is a steady anger, heaven-sent and ever ready to be dared. When it finally and magically manifests itself, poets will have no words for it. Not even Homer will provide the goods. Like a spell cast in the air, all we'll be stunned, and whole clouds will be spun. The submissive will sit in shame, scared to make their appearance, because they rejected this feeling in themselves once and thus, forever killed it. They saw anger as an ugly thing, but they forgot that so too is indifference. Men who are uninterested in the lives of their neighbors, and are unwilling to suffer alongside them, do not deserve to succeed.
Anger has its advantages, and it is something that must be nourished, but rarely acted upon, so that when the right time does come it's power to penetrate the world's heart will less likely be defeated. Rage, on the other hand, is a feeling for fleeting natures, and easily crushed.
The stubbornness of anger is it's chief quality, and whoever possesses it becomes unconquerable. While those without it lie more afraid and intimidated every day.
Before you think anger is crazy, ask yourself what is not crazy? Is not sitting on your couch day after day just as crazy, and even pathetic? Giving up our power, accepting this reign of terror as a fact of 21st century life, and placing ourselves in lockstep with psychopaths, is by far more crazy than expressing hatred for the lying tyrants who are seeking to rule our destinies.
Only dictators and their propagandists vilify anger. Angels embrace it. And so will I.
November 16, 2009
And tyranny will be kicked one ass at a time.
Donate to the Oath Keepers Constitutional Care Package Drive so the knowledge can reach the troops.
Have you taken your OAF?
The only chance we have of defeating the new world power structure is a worldwide resistance movement that combines class, ethnicity, and all the world religions. The world elite will undoubtedly fail in establishing a private world government in order to cement their ill-gotten gains because the force of our counter-revolution is unstoppable.
Congress is bought and paid for, and the fox is guarding the chicken coop in the Executive Branch, with Summers and Geithner calling the shots.
The American people are furious at the giant banksters who have picked their pockets so they can make huge bonuses. But - so far - the American people have for the most part kept their volcanic anger to themselves.
November 13, 2009
The Trial of the Millennium is not far away. The prosecution of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and senior officials of the Bush Administration for murder will no doubt be a part of it. So will the prosecution of the militant men and women who are involved in the greater conspiracy against the general welfare of the American people, and the rest of the world. As you may guess, its implications for American democracy are incalculable. "What it does," states Vincent Bugliosi, "is tell future Presidents in no uncertain terms that if they commit a horrendous crime, they can be held accountable, just like any other private citizen." It will do that, and much more.
The fact that there is no history of prosecuting presidents does not make it a good reason for not going forward with what we know to be true, mainly, that the Bush Administration deceived the American people into supporting a war based on false evidence and corrupt intelligence.
Americans, if they want to continue to proclaim that they are a free and moral people, must set the standard for justice in the 21st century, and deliver their former and current leaders to the hands of the Iraqi people, to be tried in an Iraqi court. To put it bluntly, Bush and co. have committed crimes against the US constitution, and are guilty for international crimes of war. Let the questions of their crimes be discussed out in the open, and considered independent of the media or Washington.
If Bush believes that he has bequeathed democracy to the Iraqi people, then he must prove it by standing before them in a court of law. If he is found guilty, then I submit he be hanged at the same dungeon that saw Saddam's fate plummet into history.
Bugliosi, whose reasoning and eloquence has no match in an American court, should be one of the legal advisers to the lawyers of the Iraqi prosecution team in the murder case against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest. Bugliosi's efforts and guidance on this urgent moral matter, as well his extensive background in trying murder cases, will serve the people of Iraq Iraqi well. As America's ambassador to the Iraqi nation, he will bring a new and ethical face to America in that region. His productive influence will outweigh the disastrous decisions made by Paul Bremer and other American officials who have descended on the sovereignty of Iraq, and stripped them of their ancient pride.
This trial must begin soon. And by soon I mean before 2012, because the world cannot end without justice being born. We must not let her historical hiatus to go on forever. There are no moral or legal rationalizations for murder. Americans are bound by the law, and second by their conscience, to help in the effort to prosecute their former and current leadership for crimes against humanity. If they fail to achieve this, then their exit from history as a nation, and as a people, will be justified by future historians, and surely by me.
I would be amiss if I did not mention Obama's unfaithfulness to the American people, the U.S constitution, and to his own image as a moral statesman of war. His rhetoric is too insufficient to help disguise the outrageous crimes committed by the US government. A too heavy reliance on words of hope are not a cause for celebration, and men who are guilty of such a thing deserve not enthusiasm, but ridicule.
Obama's appointment to the highest office of the land has been a great treachery against the conscience of the American people. He says one thing today, and does an entirely different thing tomorrow. Of course, it is no fault of his own, but nonetheless, he threw himself into this compromising position so he is not worthy of any sympathy. His historical offense is much more grim than anything Bush ever did. In an effort to 'normalize' American crimes he has only made them bigger and more belligerent, and at the same time, acceptable. He wants us to forget, but how can you forget murder? Did Martin Luther King Jr. forget slavery? Only sick and dying men forget. Only a sick and dying people allow a history predicated on power to go by without any effort to resist it's advancement. So we must not hear and forget, but see and remember. Obama's words can not hide what is in front of us.
"Centuries ago," wrote Günter Grass, "euphemistic language helped, as it does today, to make political crimes look "normal" after a certain lapse of time. A calculation that has worked time and time again. For those who planned and executed attacks on basic democratic rights were sure, when maturing their designs, that time was on their side. After the first wave of indignation, after the first loud protests, the world would "get used to it." And we have gotten used to the crimes of the American and Israeli government, no question. At the beginning of the Iraq War, the world was transfixed at the outpouring of disapproval by the people of the world to the war. In street after street, nation after nation, the message was loud and clear: No Blood For Soil! The rulers of America, however, arrogantly thumbed their noses, and repeated the actions of previous tyrants in history. But these rulers, who dare call themselves unAmericans, will soon hear even louder calls, and this time they may not be so fortunate as to hear "No Blood."
Grass spoke those words above in Athens in 1972, but things have dramatically changed since then. An entire world of new knowledge has flooded the minds of men. As a result, there is a new equation that has been severely unregarded by the rulers of America and mankind in their political or historical calculations, and that is the mass awakening of the people. To put it in mythic terms, humanity has awoken from a long and crippling sleep. A new age of politics is beginning to emerge, but as we've seen, not without an opposition that is hell bent on instituting their dictatorial designs for mankind. And as it must be. After all, when has there ever been progress without a contest? Sooner or later, a Man has to stop running away from the challenging truth and stare back at the lying panthers with a defiant look. If the Apocalypse is just around the corner, should we not have a meet and greet in the neighborhood? If we don't welcome it's stay, it might just ravage our whole community here on Earth.
Americans, who are in stuck in the teeth of the ruling giant, have begun to repossess their recent history, and are in the process of defending the liberties that their ancestors died for. What the conspirators against mankind expect to be a minority of resisters, who are not impotent but can easily be suppressed and taken away by new instruments of control, will turn out to be something completely other; a mighty force ungovernable by either historical or political calculations. Tyranny is no match for human nature. As Dr. Johnson said: "Mankind will not bear it."
As any common thief knows, if you're going to commit a robbery, then that item is number one on the agenda.
And if he doesn't think he's common, then I've got news for him. And so does the world.
November 12, 2009
Edmund Andrews, the author of the piece, appears to have sympathies with Bernanke's reasoning, and fails to explain to the reader what exactly it is that the Fed does, and whether or not it is entitled to do those things under the Constitution. It can't be described as in-depth reporting, that's for sure.
As a journalist, the first duty is to study politics, especially when the profession is under fire by politicians. And in an age of historical ignorance, the journalist must seek to it that he enlightens his reader at every opportunity, on whatever subject that is of interest to the national political dialogue.
Andrews' short summary of the Fed's political fight is, however, entertaining, if nothing else:
With the Federal Reserve under more intense attack than at any time in decades, Ben S. Bernanke, the professorial chairman of the central bank, was schooled last month in how to handle the increased political demands of his job.
For months, he had warned — without anyone on Capitol Hill appearing to listen — that a seemingly innocuous bill to let Congress “audit” the Fed would gravely threaten the central bank’s independence.
It was alarming enough that the bill’s author was Representative Ron Paul, the quixotic Texas Republican whose new book, “End the Fed,” had just landed on the best-seller lists. Despite vigorous protests by Mr. Bernanke, nearly 300 House lawmakers and 30 senators had endorsed Mr. Paul’s bill.
But when he sat down shortly after 8 a.m. on Oct. 1 at the Rayburn House Office Building for coffee and muffins with Representative Barney Frank, the rumpled and wisecracking chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he took in some blunt advice.
Voters had become suspicious and unnerved by the Fed because of its trillion-dollar efforts to bail out the financial system, Mr. Frank warned. If the Fed really wanted to survive the disgruntlement in both parties, he continued, Mr. Bernanke would have to step back and let him devise a compromise.
Reluctantly, the Fed chairman agreed to reduce his own visibility on the issue and let Mr. Frank take the lead.
It was just one example of how the Fed has been forced to scramble as its power comes under more fire than at any time in decades.
On Tuesday, a new threat opened up: Senator Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, declared that the Fed had been an “abysmal failure” at regulation. He introduced a bill that would strip virtually all of its power to regulate banks, including financial institution considered too big to fail.
There will be a fight. Mr. Bernanke and the Fed has powerful political supporters, from lawmakers like Mr. Frank and President Obama. But the Fed chairman is being forced to nurture those ties as never before and to carefully map out which battles are worth fighting.
“Ben Bernanke turns out to have better political instincts than anybody thought,” Mr. Frank said in an interview last week. “They accept the fact that I know what I’m doing up here.”
On one front, the Fed faces populist anger from both left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans about its power and secrecy. At the same time, officials are locked in brutal but arcane battles about who should oversee Wall Street and big banks as Congress tries to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulation.
Last summer, the central bank hired an experienced Democratic hand and former lobbyist, Linda Robertson, to help deal with members of Congress. Mr. Bernanke alone has met privately with about 40 senators and many House members in the last few months, sometimes to dissect arcane policy issues and sometimes just to explain what he does in plain English.
At one recent meeting, Senator Sherrod Brown challenged Mr. Bernanke’s bona fides as a regular guy by giving him a pop quiz on baseball statistics. Mr. Bernanke, a passionate fan, passed.
Mindful that Democrats now control the White House and Congress, Mr. Bernanke put up virtually no opposition to President Obama’s proposal for a new consumer agency that would take over the Fed’s authority over consumer lending issues. Similarly, he avoided a bruising turf battle by agreeing that the Fed would share responsibility with other regulators to monitor systemic financial risk.
But Fed officials have been steely in protecting their two top priorities: the Fed’s political independence on monetary policy and the Fed’s role as undisputed overseer of financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.”
According to Andrews' account, Mr. Bernanke is flipping through 'The Prince' as we speak, and is picking up points from co-conspirator Representative Barney Frank, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, in order to defend his much debased institution from what he views as unqualified barbarians at the gate.
As Andrews writes, Mr. Bernanke is a newbie in the financial crime syndicate known as the Federal Reserve, which is a private central bank that was created by Wall St. tycoons in 1913, most famously J.P Morgan, and the Rockefeller and Rothschild dynasties. The Federal Reserve Act was passed in the dead of night two days before Christmas, by the progressive president Woodrow Wilson, and his overseer Colonel House, without public, or even congressional awareness of the transgression. It is unknown if Mr. Bernanke is knowledgeable of this fact. But regardless of the man's personal esteem, the institution he represents is as guilty as the Catholic Church.
Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, was eminent against the establishment of a central bank in the United States, fearing that its intrusion into the nation's economic life would burden future generations of needless and immoral debts. "I place economy," he wrote, "among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." His concerns, far from conspiratorial, were right on. A nation's money supply is its most supreme resource, and whoever is in possession of it calls the shots.
Mr. Bernanke took over the Fed nearly four years ago with less political experience than his predecessor, Alan Greenspan. And because he was forced to bail out companies and credit markets in such visible ways, Mr. Bernanke has enjoyed little of the mystique and distance that Mr. Greenspan used to his advantage.Unlike former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, who was lucky enough to ride in the Fed-enhanced economic balloon as it was going up, Bernanke is in the attic, with his arms around his knees - quietly looking up, and waiting for the balloon to finally drop. Soon, the money-printing hoax will be revealed to the public, but don't expect the Father to admit it on television that such was the case all along. No, if anybody is going to air out the intellectual and moral holes in the Federal Reserve Bank, it is going to fall on the shoulders of the kid, Ben Bernanke. One of these days he might throw up at the sight of crushing cameras, and Dr. Paul's wrath. Or, he may just stick to his guns, and that could mean literally, if events continue on their current trajectory.
No fight illustrates Mr. Bernanke’s political challenge better than the one over Mr. Paul’s bill to audit the Fed.
The maneuvering is still under way, involving intricate negotiations outside of public view. But, aided by the pledge of help from Mr. Frank and backing from the administration, Fed officials cautiously predict they will get what they want.
Mr. Paul’s bill would require the Government Accountability Office, an arm of the Congress, to complete a wide-ranging assessment of the Fed’s financial operations by the end of 2010. The audit would delve into bailouts of individual firms, short-term loans to banks, currency swaps with foreign central banks and the Fed’s effort to prop up mortgage lending by purchasing $1.25 trillion in mortgage-related securities.
Mr. Bernanke initially reacted to the bill in almost apocalyptic terms. The G.A.O. audits, he told a House hearing in late June, could lead to a Congressional “takeover” of monetary policy that would be “highly destructive to the stability of the financial system, the dollar and our national economic situation.”
That did not go over well with many lawmakers, who were competing to describe the Fed in dark and conspiratorial tones.
Near the end of the article, Andrews brings to light the underpinning allegiance of Mr. Frank, which is not to the Constitution and the American people, but to the status quo:
Senator Jim DeMint, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, denounced the Fed on the Senate floor in July as an “unelected central bank” that enjoyed a “monopoly over the flow of our money” and operated in “almost complete secrecy.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, a left-leaning independent from Vermont who sponsored a Senate version of Mr. Paul’s bill, attacked the Fed for being beholden mainly to Wall Street.
“People are frightened,” Mr. Sanders said. “How do you explain to them that the Fed has spent $2 trillion to help many of the same banks that got us into this crisis in the first place?”
As the summer wore on, even centrist lawmakers were getting impatient with Mr. Bernanke.
“What he failed to do was convince me that this would somehow damage the Fed,” said Representative Dan Maffei, a centrist Democrat from Syracuse who co-sponsored Mr. Paul’s bill. Representative Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, a senior Democrat on the financial services committee who is sympathetic to the Fed, said the popular anger became too deep to ignore.
“People are frightened,” Mr. Sanders said. “How do you explain to them that the Fed has spent $2 trillion to help many of the same banks that got us into this crisis in the first place?”
As the summer wore on, even centrist lawmakers were getting impatient with Mr. Bernanke.
“What he failed to do was convince me that this would somehow damage the Fed,” said Representative Dan Maffei, a centrist Democrat from Syracuse who co-sponsored Mr. Paul’s bill. Representative Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, a senior Democrat on the financial services committee who is sympathetic to the Fed, said the popular anger became too deep to ignore.
By mid-July, Mr. Frank had begun to agree. Meeting privately with the Fed chairman that month, Mr. Frank warned that he might have to embrace a version of Mr. Paul’s bill. By September, he had begun exploring possible compromises.
Fed officials say they were alarmed, but focused on making their case in private rather than in public. Mr. Bernanke met privately with dozens of House and Senate members, even taking calls at home on weekends, and won praise for his willingness to listen and answer their questions.
“The best weapon the Fed has is Bernanke himself,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
What Mr. Bernanke insisted on, and what Mr. Frank vowed to prevent, was Congressional interference in Fed deliberations over monetary policy.
But whenever discussion got more specific, Fed officials insisted that monetary policy extended to many if not most of the Fed’s emergency credit programs.
Mr. Frank said he would “wall off” deliberations on basic monetary policy, and delay the release of information about the Fed’s financial operations to prevent traders from capitalizing on its moves.
Exactly what that means in practice remains unclear. Mr. Paul says he is delighted that his bill has gotten so far. But details matter, and Fed officials say they are quietly confident details will break their way.
The obvious impression being implied is that the devil is in the details. And so are, reluctantly, the hopes of Mr. Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Bank. And as for Mr. Frank? Well, he is certainly not god's pal, but who are we to blame the devil for wanting a lap dog?