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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Toast: Here's to making the Greenback Serious Money in 2011

The English once upon a time took their money seriously. Ron Paul takes our money seriously. If he followed English tradition, Paul would have the chief moneyer's (Ben Bernanke's) private parts lopped off for his debasement of the U.S. dollar.

Underbelly:
That Bernanke Fella is One Brave Dude -- Underbelly's Minnesota bureau reports that some people take their money seriously:

In this year, before Christmas, King Henry sent from Normandy to England, and commanded that all the moneyers that were in England should be deprived of their members; that was the right hand of each, and their testicles beneath. That was because the man that had a pound could not buy for a penny at a market. And the bishop Roger of Salisbury sent over all England, and commanded them all that they should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither they were taken one by one, and each deprived of the right hand and the testicles beneath. All this was done within the twelve nights; and that was all with great justice, because they had fordone all the land with their great quantity of false money which they all bought.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 221 (year 1125).
(Edited, with a Translation, by Benjamin Thorpe, Vol. II
(London: Longman, Green, Longman,and Roberts, 1861)
via:
Brad DeLong:
I Hear Ron Paul Is Hiring Buce of Underbelly and Roger of Salisbury to do Federal Reserve Oversight

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ron Paul v. The Fed

Ron Paul goes after the "obscene" Federal Reserve in this timely Fortune interview. Considered a fringe guy for years, Paul now gaining support from the mainstream. The fringe lunatics here at Johnsville support his "End the Fed" mission.

Fortune.com:
Will the Fed be able to survive Ron Paul? -- No doubt Paul's views fall outside the mainstream. At times, his thoughts are arguably off-putting and easy to brush off as extremist political rhetoric. Even Libertarians don't always see eye-to-eye with the Texas politico.

Lately though Paul's views are garnering the attention that he and supporters have long been waiting for. Earlier this month, Paul was picked to head the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy. That means he will help oversee the body he's opposed to -- the Federal Reserve -- as well as currency and the dollar's value...

Do you want to end the Fed?
Well, I don't expect to. The Fed's going to end itself when they destroy the system. So yes I would end the Fed but I would do it gradually and have a transition. I would let people voluntarily opt out and not be forced to use depreciating money. Just think about how terrible it is that people make 1% or less on a certificate of deposit and banks get money for free and then they buy Treasury bills for 3% or 4% making billions of dollars. It's just not fair and people are waking up to this.
[...]
But some would consider ending the Fed is a bit extreme, don't you think?
No, I think printing money is extreme and crazy. I think the obscenity is allowing the Federal Reserve to print $3.3 trillion and we don't even know where it went. That to me is what's so extreme. And that's what the American people are waking up to. Government is extremely out of control. That is what I think everybody agrees on in the Tea Party movement.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Sticky-Wiki Bottomline: Can we handle the truth?

Why is the U.S. Government keeping its "secrets" in a shoe box on Hillary Clinton's front porch? And why are so many people upset when someone picks up the shoe box and looks inside? And is diplomatic gossip really worth being called secret? Rep. Ron Paul gets to the real heart of the Wikileaks story - can we and should we handle the truth?



Ron Paul's Nine Questions regarding Wikileaks:
Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised 'Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed'
via Mike Shedlock
----
related:
Ron Paul / House.gov:
Focus on the policy, not Wikileaks -- At its core, the Wikileaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be.  But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question.  When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned.  Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quivering Lip Bernanke and The Big Bank Theory

The Federal Reserve's Quantative Easing is making it quantitatively easy for the banks to prosper and the middle class to get screwed.

Ben Bernanke is increasing the cost of living for every American and he's doing it to bail out his bankster overlords. His lip quivering interview on CBS's 60 Minutes shows the man for what he is: a frightened clueless technocrat. But he is still "100 percent certain" that he's on the right course. Sure.

John Stewart rips into Bernanke's lying.

related:
60 Minutes / CBS News:
Fed Chairman Bernanke On The Econom

Michael Pento / Real Clear Markets:
Bernanke Delivered 2 Big Lies in Just "60 Minutes"

Todd Harrison / Minyanville:
The Year-End Bender: Trap Door or Melt-Up? -- Of course, Big Ben was also on 60 Minutes...

Perhaps I was sitting too close to my plasma but I could swear I saw a subtle quiver in Mr. Bernanke's lower lip. We won't quibble over the content or his message -- we’ve done that in spades, and we'll do it some more. The fact that the FOMC PR is in overdrive is perhaps all we need to know...
----
Zero Hedge:
The Federal Reserve: America’s Fourth Branch of Government -- The Federal Reserve is America's Fourth Branch of government and Ben Bernanke is, in effect, the economic czar of the country. The Fourth Branch? The Fed and the Fed alone has the power to determine how much money should be in the economy. Such vast power over our lives makes the Fed a de facto fourth branch of government. Yet, its powers are not defined by the Constitution, and neither the chairman nor senior officials are elected by the people...

----
Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Bernanke and Geithner Fight Back -- How the Federal Reserve chairman and Treasury Secretary are battling to defend the Fed's latest moves—and preserve its independence...

Who Loves Bernanke?

The political attacks on the Fed—once the most sacrosanct of government institutions—started slowly, with Tea Party-backed candidates such as Republican Rand Paul, running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, campaigning against the central bank. When Bernanke announced round two of quantitative easing (or QE2, as it became known) on the day after the election, the response was swift. Indiana Representative Mike Pence, a conservative bellwether and possible 2012 Presidential candidate, released a statement accusing the Fed of "masking our fundamental problems by artificially creating inflation." A few days later, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the unofficial leader of the GOP's Tea Party wing, posted on her Twitter account that the Fed was planning to "print $ out of thin air."

The Fed's $600 Billion Spending Spree
----
Bernanke: What a Difference 21 Months Make - Caroline Baum, Bloomberg
Arrogance: Ben Bernanke's Big Problem - Zachary Karabell, The Daily Beast
In Bernanke We Trust? Take a Look at His History - Doug Kass, TheStreet

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Russia a virtual “Mafia State” ... Russia putting crimelords to work on behalf of its interests

The above title is clipped from one of the WikiLeak.org, US Government (USG) cables now online. This document was classified Secret, was dated February 8, 2010, and originated from the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain. The main source of the information is a Spanish prosecutor. The name of a company where the Russian Mafia has a "sizeable investment" has been redacted. Also, paragraph #6 seems to have disappeared? The main idea of the report is that Belarus, Chechnya and Russia are virtual “mafia states,”  and that the Russian security services and the Russian Mafia have become intertwined. It is very interesting reading. Some snips follow, note: OC = Organized Crime.

The Guardian in the United Kingdom also highlighted this document, title: Russia is virtual 'mafia state', says Spanish investigator

WikiLeaks.org:
Reference ID: 10MADRID154
Created: 2010-02-08 11:11
Released: 2010-12-01 21:09
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
[NOFORN — Distribution to non-US citizens is prohibited, regardless of their clearance or access permissions.]
Origin: Embassy Madrid

Spanish National Court Prosecutor Jose “Pepe” Grinda Gonzalez = Grinda

¶4. (C//NF) Grinda stated that he considers Belarus, Chechnya and Russia to be virtual “mafia states” and said that Ukraine is going to be one. For each of those countries, he alleged, one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and OC groups.
//Identifying The Scope of The Threat the Russian Mafia Poses//

¶5. (C) Grinda suggested that there are two reasons to worry about the Russian mafia. First, it exercises “tremendous control” over certain strategic sectors of the global economy, such as aluminum. He made a passing remark that the USG has a strategic problem in that the Russian mafia is suspected of having a sizable investment in XXXXXXXXXXXX 6. (S//NF) The second reason is the unanswered question regarding the extent to which Russian PM Putin is implicated in the Russian mafia and whether he controls the mafia’s actions. Grinda cited a “thesis” by Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian intelligence official who worked on OC issues before he died in late 2006 in London from poisoning under mysterious circumstances, that the Russian intelligence and security services - Grinda cited the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and military intelligence (GRU) - control OC in Russia. Grinda stated that he believes this thesis is accurate. (COMMENT: See Ref B on a reported meeting between Litvinenko and the Spanish security services shortly before his death.) Grinda said that he believes the FSB is “absorbing” the Russian mafia but they can also “eliminate” them in two ways: by killing OC leaders who do not do what the security services want them to do or by putting them behind bars to eliminate them as a competitor for influence. The crimelords can also be put in jail for their own protection.

¶7. (S//NF) Grinda said that according to information he has received from intelligence services, witnesses and phone taps, certain political parties in Russia operate “hand in hand” with OC. For example, he argued that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was created by the KGB and its successor, the SVR, and is home to many serious criminals. Grinda further alleged that there are proven ties between the Russian political parties, organized crime and arms trafficking. Without elaborating, he cited the strange case of the “Arctic Sea” ship in mid-2009 as “a clear example” of arms trafficking.

¶8. (S//NF) Grinda said what he has read from 10-12 years’ worth of investigations on OC has led him to believe that whereas terrorists aim to substitute the essence of the state itself, OC seeks to be a complement to state structures. He summarized his views by asserting that the GOR’s strategy is
MADRID 00000154 003.2 OF 005
to use OC groups to do whatever the GOR cannot acceptably do as a government. As an example, he cited Kalashov, whom he said worked for Russian military intelligence to sell weapons to the Kurds to destabilize Turkey. Grinda claimed that the GOR takes the relationship with OC leaders even further by granting them the privileges of politics, in order to grant them immunity from racketeering charges.

[...]

¶11. (C) Grinda also addressed the challenges of combating OC when it enjoys political, economic, social and - especially - legal protection. Grinda applauded a document provided by the U.S. delegation which addressed the important role the media can play in warning the public of OC’s activities and the threat that OC poses. The media can create an environment in which politicians would be reluctant to be friends with and do favors for mafia leaders, whom Grinda argued need to be seen as shady figures to be feared. Regarding legal protection, Grinda stated that a key factor in a government’s ability to combat OC depends on the extent to which the country’s best attorneys and law firms represent the mafia. In this regard, he asked rhetorically, “Why is Cuatrecases constantly defending Russian mafia members?” (COMMENT: Cuatrecases is one of Spain’s leading law firms. Its website, available in English, is www.cuatrecasas.com.)

[...]

¶15. (S//NF) Grinda described OC as “very powerful” in Georgia and claimed that the intertwined ties there between the government and OC began under former President Shevardnadze, when he alleges a paramilitary group served as a de facto shadow presidency. Although Grinda acknowledged improvements under current President Saakashvili, he said that there are still “limitations” in Georgia’s efforts to combat OC. Citing his personal experience in trying to secure Georgian assistance in the prosecution of Kalashov’s OC network in
MADRID 00000154 005.2 OF 005
Spain (See upcoming septel on the Kalashov trial), Grinda said that he feels “completely abandoned” and “betrayed” by Georgia and the explanations that he has received from Georgia regarding its lack of cooperation are “more pathetic than the betrayal itself.”

¶16. (S//NF) To illustrate his thoughts on the level of cooperation Spain receives from Russia, Grinda reviewed Spain’s efforts to arrest Tariel Oniani as part of Operation Avispa. (See Refs B, C and D.) In June 2005, Georgian-born Oniani fled to Russia hours before he was to be arrested in Spain and Russia gave him citizenship in April 2006, despite the fact that he had fled Spanish justice. Grinda alleged that the granting of citizenship was neither “innocent” nor “something done for free,” and was an example of Russia putting crimelords to work on behalf of its interests. Grinda alleged that the Russian Ministry of Interior and the FSB are closely protecting Oniani in Russia (even in prison). Following Oniani’s arrest in Moscow in June 2009, Spain requested his extradition for charges stemming from Operation Avispa, to which Russia replied that Oniani’s Russian citizenship prevented him from being extradited. Grinda said that Russia “always tells Spain that it will take away Oniani’s citizenship, but it never does.” Grinda said that, from his experience, “A virture of the Russian government is that it will always say and do the same thing: nothing.”

----
related:
Guardian:
WikiLeaks cables link Russian mafia boss to EU gas supplies -- Gas supplies to Ukraine and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev.

His cable, released by WikiLeaks, followed statements by the then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, to the BBC that she had "documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company"...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts about the Federal Reserve/Central Bankers

Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979-1987):

"I don't get it,"... By setting 2% as an inflation objective, the Fed is "telling people in a generation they're going to be losing half their purchasing power."Calculated Risk, 2009
Thomas Jefferson:
"if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
"I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs."
Abraham Lincoln:
"The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy."
James Madison:
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance."

Rep. Charles August Lindberg (father of Charles Lindberg):
"The financial system [...] has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That board administers the finance system by authority of [...] a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money."

"This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President Woodrow Wilson signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill."
Sen.Barry Goldwater:
"Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international moneylenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve Board have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States."
Rep. Ron Paul:
"Nothing good can come from the Federal Reserve... It is the biggest taxer of them all. Diluting the value of the dollar by increasing its supply is a vicious, sinister tax on the poor and middle class."

The Madness of a Lost Society



h/t: World Economy News

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia