Friday, July 27, 2012



WikiLawyer: Assange hires 'Pinochet prosecutor' for legal battle

Apple, ECB, Stock prices, Bailouts, bubbles, QE, Money Printing, Ponzi

Apple, ECB, Stock prices, Bailouts, bubbles, QE, Money Printing, Ponzi
Back in April, I wrote a piece about Apple Inc. I suggested that the company’s stock price was a little frothy. I suggested caution was in order. At time of writing that piece, the company’s stock price was at about $635, just a shade off its high.
I got crucified for that piece. Virtually everyone commenting said that my comparisons were inappropriate, that I couldn’t possibly own the company’s products, that I didn’t understand the company’s value-drivers. The consensus of opinion was that investors should continue to add, with caution, to their portfolios. Since that discussion, the company’s stock price dropped around $100 in a matter of weeks, before recovering some of the lost ground since.
And my view hasn’t changed. For the sake of absolute clarity, let me repeat what I said last time. I love this company. I love its products. I own the lot: iPhone, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPod. This company is so good that they could come up with pretty much any three letter word, stick an i in front of it, and I’d be in the line to buy it, whatever it was. If Apple produced a cheese grater, it would be the best cheese grater in the world.
But you need to put those things to one side when considering your stock portfolio. You need to operate with reason, not adoration.

End the Fed! Whether Congress Wants Us To or Not! by Michael Boldin

End the Fed! Whether Congress Wants Us To or Not! by Michael Boldin
Today was a big day for supporters of Sound Money – as Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill passed the House 326-99. But, it still needs to get through a very hostile Senate, where it will likely never see the light of day. So in closing tonight, a new approach – Ending the Fed. Whether Congress Wants us to or Not!
Since its inception, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies have led to a decline of over 95% in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. As a result, there have been several attempts to reduce or even eliminate the Federal Reserve’s powers.
Louis T. McFadden led efforts in the 1930s. Wright Patman pressed again in the 1970s. Henry Gonzalez got things moving in the 1990s. And, Ron Paul has led the charge for more than twenty years now. In nearly eighty years, though, none of these efforts have succeeded.
And, even with House passage of Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill earlier today, it’s highly unlikely that the imperial Senate would ever allow light to be shed on the actions of its financial backer. Resistance to these efforts is seriously entrenched.
But yet, a large number of people across the political spectrum want to know what goes on behind the Fed’s curtain. And with calls to audit the federal reserve reaching a fevered pitch, it’s a good time to ask the basic question – is this even a worthy effort?
Not to say that you should want a secret national bank, but rather – is this kind of activism the best place for you to put your energy...and hope? Will lobbying the Senate get Harry Reid to allow a vote? Will calling Mitch McConnell change anything? Will Barack Obama or Mitt Romney allow such a bill to pass without their veto?
I believe the answer to all these questions is a big, fat NO.
On the other hand, in contrast to attempts to put a stop to the Fed at the national level, a paper that William Greene presented at the Mises Institute’s “Austrian Scholars Conference” proposes an alternative approach to ending the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money. The “Constitutional Tender Act” is a bill template that can be introduced in every State legislature in the nation. Passage would return each of them to the Constitution’s “legal tender” provisions of Article I, Section 10:

Western bankers intensify global recession by financial terrorism

Pentagon: Too Big To Win

DefCon-Job: US govt descends to hacker cave

Friday, July 20, 2012

Matt Taibbi: LIBOR Rate-Fixing Scandal "Biggest Insider Trading You Coul...

Charles Ferguson on the Financial Landscape after 2008's "Inside Job"

CONFIRMED AT LAST: The attempted cover-up of how JP Morgan torpedoed Lehman Brothers | A diary of deception and distortion

CONFIRMED AT LAST: The attempted cover-up of how JP Morgan torpedoed Lehman Brothers | A diary of deception and distortion

As an early propagator of the allegation that JP Morgan Chase deliberately hastened the Lehman collapse, the Slog finds itself vindicated three years on by a successful regulator action against JPM, and contemporary documentation.

“And then when you have the suckers by the balls, you squeeze just like this”
Around the time of the Lehman disaster, a senior insider at the firm relayed to me what seemed an astonishing allegation: that in the weeks prior to the eventual collapse, JP Morgan deliberately withheld huge monies owed to Lehman in order to make the bankruptcy a certainty from which they could benefit. I relayed this story to another contact the following year, and he not only corroborated the charge, he also said he was sure Barclays had done the same. The now disgraced Barclays CEO Bob Diamond took over Lehman in a fire sale only weeks later (using taxpayers’ money as a bridging loan to do it) and rapidly built up a commanding position for the division he then headed up, Barcap  – the investment arm of the bank.
Now, more than three years later, regulators have penalised JPMorgan for actions tied to Lehman’s demise. The bank settled the Lehman matter and agreed to pay a fine of approximately $20 million. The action took place because of Morgan’s ‘questionable treatment of [Lehman] customer money’: regulators accused JPMorgan of withholding Lehman customer funds for nearly two weeks. So it had been true after all.
Jamie Dimon’s Morgan Chase dodged and dived on this one for three years in an attempt to smooth over the tracks.  As late as April this year, the Pirate insisted that the ‘monies involved were small’: but that doesn’t tally with this Wall Street Journal snippet from the time as follows:
‘Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the securities firm that filed the biggest bankruptcy in history yesterday, was advanced $138 billion this week by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to settle Lehman trades and keep financial markets stable, according to a court filing.’
Advancing cash to keep the markets stable is simply double-talk bollocks: many observers are sure this was the Lehman trades money withheld by JPM. The Lehman administrators continued to air their grievances about it, and in late May 2010 the bankruptcy estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. filed suit against JPMorgan Chase, alleging that JPMorgan’s actions in the weeks preceding bankruptcy were wrongful. The claims arose from amendments and supplements to the Clearance Agreement between Lehman and JPMorgan in the weeks immediately preceding the bankruptcy. (In a nutshell, JPM changed the terms without notice to include onerous requirements for massive collateral against giving Lehman its own money back – a form of crooked logic that only a banker could construct. The weight of this collateral requirement on already serious debts took Lehman Brothers from intensive care to the Pearly Gates).

Roots of Correa's Ecuador

Keiser Report: Alien Bankers, Leave Earth Alone! (E316)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Y U No get broker's license & steal millions?

U.S. Builds Criminal Cases in Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal -

U.S. Builds Criminal Cases in Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal - s regulators ramp up their global investigation into the manipulation of interest rates, the Justice Department has identified potential criminal wrongdoing by big banks and individuals at the center of the scandal.

The department’s criminal division is building cases against several financial institutions and their employees, including traders at Barclays, the British bank, according to government officials close to the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. The authorities expect to file charges against at least one bank later this year, one of the officials said.

The prospect of criminal cases is expected to rattle the banking world and provide a new impetus for financial institutions to settle with the authorities. The Justice Department investigation comes on top of private investor lawsuits and a sweeping regulatory inquiry led by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Collectively, the civil and criminal actions could cost the banking industry tens of billions of dollars.

Max Keiser: TPP Secret Trade Deal with Dr. Paul C. Roberts

July 4th Question, Part III: Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day - Forbes

July 4th Question, Part III: Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day - Forbes

Alexis De Tocqueville once said that the limits placed on the central power in the new world are different from the limits placed on national power in the old world. In the New World, the national government has jurisdiction in certain specific areas. It is prohibited by law and custom from transgressing the boundaries of its jurisdiction. In that sense its power is severely limited. But within those boundaries it is sovereign and almost completely beyond challenge. If something such as war or taxing power  is deemed a ‘federal matter,’ challenges to that power, for example the Whiskey Rebellion, were historically rare and suppressed mercilessly when they did occur.
On the other hand, Tocqueville says, the Old World functioned quite differently. The monarchs tended to be in constant conflict with other political powers regarding proper jurisdiction. The crown and the aristocracy and the colonies and provinces were engaged in an eternal game of tug of war, with each citing their own interpretation of law and custom to attempt to limit the jurisdiction of the others. Tocqueville observed that the limits to the powers of the central government in that case were largely imposed by the practical limits of enforcement. If a province was too well armed, then they went unmolested. If the aristocracy had the armies to resist, then they resisted. If colonies were too far away, or protected by seasonal factors then they had greater liberty. The monarch could only rule what he had the power to take and to keep, whereas America at the time that Democracy In America was being written tended to respect federal authority even where federales were few and far between.

Barclays Big Rat goes to Washington

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Broker missing $220 million in client funds; founder attempts suicide | Reuters

Broker missing $220 million in client funds; founder attempts suicide | Reuters

Reuters) - More than $200 million in customer funds appears to be missing from the accounts of futures broker PFGBest, regulators said on Monday just hours after the firm's founder attempted suicide outside the company's Iowa headquarters.
The suicide attempt and missing money renewed anxiety over the stability of the brokerage industry less than a year after the collapse of much larger MF Global. PFGBest told customers their funds had been frozen and clients would be allowed to liquidate open trading positions, but would not be able to withdraw funds or make new trades until further notice.
The National Futures Association (NFA), an industry group that also plays a regulatory role, said it had issued an emergency order to effectively freeze PFGBest's operations after finding that a U.S. bank account the broker said contained $225 million in customer funds actually held only $5 million.
"It appears that PFG does not have sufficient assets to meet its obligations to its customers," the NFA said.
The disclosure came hours after owner Russell Wasendorf Sr., a 40-year veteran of futures markets, was found in his car near the company's new headquarters, having apparently attempted suicide. He is in critical condition at the University of Iowa Hospitals, according to local news reports.
PFGBest, which has brokered trades in U.S. commodity and forex futures and options for 20 years, told clients it was in liquidation-only status as "some accounting irregularities are being investigated regarding company accounts."
"What this means is no customers are able to trade except to liquidate positions. Until further notice, PFGBEST is not authorized to release any funds," the note said.
PFGBest officials were not immediately available to comment. Local law enforcement officials said the investigation would soon likely pass to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
With about $400 million in segregated customer accounts, less than a tenth the amount MF Global had when it filed for bankruptcy, the fallout will be less severe. But the news still sent shockwaves through the futures industry and added new agony for some traders still missing money from MF Global.
"For the futures market, it's horrible," said James Koutoulas, a commodities trader and president of hedge fund Typhon Capital, who has led a campaign among former MF Global customers to recoup their funds. "It's a crisis of confidence."
Koutoulas said he had nine accounts at PFGBest. His initial instructions to traders were not to liquidate the accounts. Instead, he will keep them open as long as he wants to be in the trades. He will liquidate if he does not like the positions before they are bulk transferred somewhere.
One broker at PFGBest said that Wasendorf's son, Russ Wasendorf Jr., briefed employees about the events earlier in the day, saying that a suicide note had been found alluding to some kind of financial troubles with the company. The younger Wasendorf "sounded like he was in another world."
"Everybody here is obviously in shock," said the broker, adding that some employees had begun packing up shortly after the announcements. "Pretty much everybody around here said we're doomed."
One former employee of the firm said he had grown concerned that Wasendorf did not do more to distance the company from a massive $194 million forex-trading Ponzi scheme run by Trevor Cook in Minnesota, who admitted defrauding more than 700 investors. Cook is serving 25 years in prison.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

291. Government Is Morally Wrong

291. Government Is Morally Wrong: 291. Government Is Morally Wrong
On July 11, 2012, In Podcast, By egarris

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Lew Rockwell tells Mike Adams of Natural News about the true nature of our predatory rulers.

Max Keiser - Financial War Reports - 12345

Max Keiser - Financial War Reports - 12345


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thank You! -- Mitt Romney vs. Ron Paul

Thank You! -- Mitt Romney vs. Ron Paul

Poll - 10042 - Mitt Romney vs. Ron Paul  

   Who would you vote for, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul
         1. Mitt Romney      (4.10%)
         2. Ron Paul      ( 93.4%)
         3. Neither      ( 0.78%)
         Not Answered ( 1.66%)

   Whom do you believe has better solutions for the nation's economic problems?
         1. Conservatives      ( 45.2%)
         2. Liberal      ( 7.76%)
         3. Neither      ( 44.1%)
         Not Answered ( 2.82%)

Ron Paul Revolution: bigger than just Ron Paul?

Ralph Raico Is Mr. Classical Liberal by Walter Block

Ralph Raico Is Mr. Classical Liberal by Walter Block

Words are important in political economic philosophy. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that verbiage is all important in these fields, as they consist of nothing but utterances bandied about. He who controls them controls the dialogue, controls the debate.
Even the previous sentence, in most ways not controversial, is in one way an instance of this very contention, and very debatable. For it began with the word "he." In some quarters this is highly objectionable. The claim of the feminists is that I should have said, instead, "he or she," or "he/she," or better yet, "she or he," "she/he" and best of all, plain old "she." Perhaps, so as to have given no offense, I should have put this in the third person, "they."
To the extent they can make this stick, our friends on the left have gone a long way toward winning all the debates they have with their intellectual enemies. If the socialists can insist that we all use their language, they have won half the battle – if not more.
The trouble is, those of us who favor free enterprise, very limited government, private property rights, capitalism, etc., have been ceding all too many words to those on the other side of the aisle. It is all the more difficult to make our case if we must do so by using words demanded of us by our intellectual opponents. Capitalism no longer refers to laissez faire; it now invokes cronyism and imperialism. Leftists such as Noam Chomsky are even now trying to seize ownership of "libertarian" and John Dewey long ago made a run at "individualist."
But there is no word that has been stolen from us to a greater degree, or with more effect than "liberal." And then it has been trashed to such a degree that even the thieves have given up on it and now characterize themselves as "progressives." Surprising to many, this used to be one of our own possessions, and still is to some small degree as in "classical liberal."
We might as well call the author of the book now under review Ralph ("Mr. Liberal") Raico because he has done more than anyone else to rescue this verbiage back from its kidnappers, dust it off from the garbage they have piled up on it, and convince us that "liberal" has a long and very glorious pedigree, and, once again, thanks to him a very bright future.

For Investors and Customers, PFG is MF Global all Over Again...

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Death of Price Signals and the Birth of a Faith-Based Financial System

The Pauls Introduce Their New Internet Liberty Manifesto

The Pauls Introduce Their New Internet Liberty Manifesto

With Ron Paul’s bill H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, headed for a floor vote in the House in the next two weeks (and likely success at passage with 263 sponsors), he and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are now focusing on the Internet.
His Campaign for Liberty (C4L), started in 2008 with some four million dollars of campaign funds from his unsuccessful run for the White House that year, has issued its manifesto to continue the fight: “The Technology Revolution: A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto.”
Starting with his first term as a member of the House of Representatives from Texas in 1976, Paul has led the fight to expose the secret machinations of the Federal Reserve, making that his primary theme in the freedom fight. That theme can be traced to the publication of his The Revolution: A Manifesto in 2008 to his End the Fed in 2009, and finally to his latest book, Liberty Defined, published in January this year.
But with his campaign for the presidency likely to fail at the Republican Party’s convention next month and his decision not seek reelection to his House seat, Paul is passing the torch to his son. As explained on the C4L website:
As we stand on the verge of making history with our top priority initiative of fully auditing (and then ending) the Federal Reserve, C4L is excited about also advancing Internet freedom with the same energy and determination that has turned an historic spotlight on the Fed's outrageous actions.
The manifesto is not only a clarion call to arms to protect what it calls “the single greatest catalyst in history for individual liberty and free markets,” it also directly confronts and challenges the powers that seek to neutralize that catalyst and turn it to the advantage of governments:
Individual genius, enabled by the truly free market [that] the internet represents, routes around obsolete and ineffective government attempts at control.
The arrogant attempts of governments to centralize, intervene, subsidize, micromanage and regulate innovation are scoffed at, and ignored.
It then makes very clear who the enemies of Internet freedom are: those “collectivist special interests and governments worldwide [who] are now tirelessly pushing for more centralized control of the internet and [its] technology." Calling those efforts at control “pernicious,” the manifesto sees the threats attacking Internet freedom by
• Penalizing and intimidating successful companies on the Internet
• Imposing government regulations on the Internet’s high-speed infrastructure
• Treating that infrastructure as “common property” and therefore subject to all manner of government interference
• Micromanaging wireless communications
• Severely limiting private property rights on the Internet, and
• Scrutinizing private data collection practices while letting government’s warrantless surveillance and collection of private data run free
Just so those opposed to Internet freedom know who the Pauls and C4L are targeting, their manifesto goes on the attack:
The road to tyranny is being paved by a collectivist-industrial complex — a dangerous brew of wealthy international NGOs (non-government organizations), progressive do-gooders, corporate cronies, and sympathetic political elites…
We know where this path leads. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

Max Keiser: Too Big to Fail Banks Are Stopping You From Getting 5 Percent on Your Savings

Max Keiser: Too Big to Fail Banks Are Stopping You From Getting 5 Percent on Your Savings

The LIBOR interest rate manipulation by Barclays, and various other banks including the Bank of England has a bias toward manipulating rates lower. Low rates feed the speculation that drives the biggest profit centers of the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks. Central banks are not independent, but centralized rate setting and money printing institutions created by large banks to serve large banks and they engage in the bias toward lower rates. Ostensibly, central banks fill the role of 'lender of last resort.' In fact, central banks are now the primary lender to large banks -- at zero percent interest -- with the role of 'lender of last resort' now being played by savers and pensioners whose accounts are being drained as interest rates are manipulated lower.
The banking lobby misrepresents the situation in two ways. First, they foster the belief that the economy needs lower rates to 'get going.' Second, the banking lobby likes to pretend that there is no alternative. In the first case, lower rates -- by and large -- have the effect of lowering the value of a country's currency and destroys its purchasing power and this drags the economy down. In the second case, we do have an alternative. A perfect example is the Burnley Savings and Loans in the U.K. run by Dave Fishwick, an entrepreneur who got tired of the lies and deceit at the big banks and decided to open his own.

Cell Companies Report Increase in Request for User Info; Drone Use for Surveillance Increases

Cell Companies Report Increase in Request for User Info; Drone Use for Surveillance Increases

ell Companies Report Increase in Request for User Info; Drone Use for Surveillance Increases

Written by 

Every day that passes, the citizens of our Republic come under increasing surveillance by our government. As one reads of the crescendo of new and more intrusive means used by Washington to monitor citizens of this nation, one awakens to the sense that these activities will never end, and that soon there will be no phone call, no text message, no blog post, no social media update that will not be received and recorded by agents of our own intelligence community.
Take for example the story published Monday in the New York Times. In a report issued by cellphone carriers, described in the Times article, the mobile phone providers indicated that last year they received 1.3 million demands from “law enforcement agencies” for access to the text messages and locations of subscribers to the cellphone companies’ service.
The Times article provided the following breakdown of the requests for information received by the various cell companies:
AT&T alone now responds to an average of more than 700 requests a day, with about 230 of them regarded as emergencies that do not require the normal court orders and subpoena. That is roughly triple the number it fielded in 2007, the company said. Law enforcement requests of all kinds have been rising among the other carriers as well, with annual increases of between 12 percent and 16 percent in the last five years. Sprint, which did not break down its figures in as much detail as other carriers, led all companies last year in reporting what amounted to at least 1,500 data requests on average per day.
As for the police, they insist that using a cell signal or a record of text messages or data received or sent using a phone makes tracking a person so much simpler.

Barack Obama’s falsified Social Security number

Barack Obama’s falsified Social Security number

Barack Obama’s falsified Social Security number

First the “birthers” announced that Barack Obama could not be eligible for the office of president of the United States because of his questionable birth certificate. Writer Jerome Corsi wrote a defining book about Obama’s lack of a valid birth certificate in Where’s the birth certificate?
Since reaching the White House, all of Obama’s personal information have remained under seal by order of the court via Obama's lawyers. He cannot be scrutinized by any exploratory media personnel. However, his unequivocally falsified Social Security number may prove his undoing as a presidential candidate within the next five months.
With “042” as the prefix numbers for his SS#, Obama should have been a resident of Connecticut. He never lived in that state, which is the only way he could have gained that number on his Social Security card, but his grandmother worked at a Social Security office and the growing evidence shows that she “borrowed” a dad man’s SS# because her grandson Barack also known as Barry Soetoro could not produce a valid birth certificate from the United States.
Recently Dr. Jack Cashill, an Emmy-award winning writer and producer wrote a book: Deconstructing Obama. He finds many trouble aspects to the identity of Barack Obama.
Cashill said, “If Barack Obama has an immediate eligibility problem, it is more likely to derive from the Social Security Number he has been using for the last 25 years than from his birth certificate. Ohio private investigator Susan Daniels has seen to that. On Monday, July 2, she filed suit in Geauga County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court demanding that Jon Husted, Ohio secretary of state, remove Obama’s name from the ballot until Obama can prove the validity of his Social Security Number. Daniels has done her homework. In her filing, she thoroughly documents her contention “that Barack Obama has repeatedly, consistently, and with intent, misrepresented himself by using a fraudulently obtained Social Security Number.”
At no time in American history has one man so blatantly distorted himself with a false social security number. It’s not his, it’s not legal, it’s not original and it’s not valid. Yet the main stream media chooses to ignore it. Most of the American public remains oblivious as to their own president’s lack of eligibility for the office of president of the United States.

The Party of Great Moral Frauds by Thomas DiLorenzo

The Party of Great Moral Frauds by Thomas DiLorenzo

For the past century and a half the Republican Party has gratuitously labeled itself as "The Party of Great Moral Ideas." The Party of Great Moral Frauds is more like it. The party began as the party of mercantilism, corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, constitutional subterfuge, central banking, and imperialism. Its 1860 presidential platform promised not to disturb Southern slavery; its first president supported the Fugitive Slave Act and the proposed "Corwin Amendment" to the Constitution that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery; the party committed treason by "levying war upon the states" (the precise definition of treason in the Constitution) and murdering hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens in order to destroy the voluntary union of the states that was established by the founding fathers. It refused to do what Britain, Spain, France, the Dutch, Denmark, Sweden, and the Northern states in the U.S. had done about slavery and end it peacefully. Instead, it used the slaves as pawns in a war that was about consolidating all political power in Washington, D.C. in general, and in the hands of the Republican Party in particular.
Three months after the War to Prevent Southern Independence ended the Republican Party commenced a twenty-five year war of genocide against the Plains Indians, killing as many as 60,000 of them, including thousands of women and children, and putting the rest in concentration camps. It did this, according to General Sherman who orchestrated this horribly immoral crusade, to "make way for the railroads" that were being heavily subsidized by the Republican Party. It also plundered the conquered South with exorbitant taxes and the legalized theft of vast tracts of property by party hacks for a decade after the war (so-called "reconstruction"), while doing virtually nothing for the freed slaves. It did nothing while as many as 1 million former slaves died of disease shortly after the war in the worst public health disaster in American history.
The Grant administrations were most known for the colossal corruption associated with the building of the government-subsidized transcontinental railroads that was finally made public during the Credit Mobilier scandal.
The Republican Party has always been about disguising a lust for economic plunder with phony ideas about "freedom," "Christianity," "equality," "civilization,"and other nice-sounding words. The War to Prevent Southern Independence allowed it to finally usher in the Hamiltonian "American System" of high protectionist tariffs for the benefit of Northern manufacturers at the expense of everyone else; a nationalized money supply with its Legal Tender and National Currency Acts; and vast amounts of corporate welfare, starting with the government-subsidized railroad corporations. It created the internal revenue system, invented dozens of new taxes, created the military/industrial complex, ran up historically high levels of debt, and destroyed the founders’ system of federalism or states’ rights as a check on centralized governmental power.

Another Nobel Economist Says We Have to Prosecute Fraud Or Else the Economy Won’t Recover - Washington's Blog

Another Nobel Economist Says We Have to Prosecute Fraud Or Else the Economy Won’t Recover - 
Washington's Blog

Another Nobel Economist Says We Have to Prosecute Fraud Or Else the Economy Won’t Recover

As economists such as William Black and James Galbraith have repeatedly said, we cannot solve the economic crisis unless we throw the criminals who committed fraud in jail.
And Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. See this, this and this.
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just agreed. As Stiglitz told Yahoo’s Daily Finance on October 20th:

This is a really important point to understand from the point of view of our society. The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.
A lot of the predatory practices in automobile loans are going to be able to be continued. Why is it OK to engage in bad lending in automobiles and not in the mortgage market? Is there any principle? We all know the answer to that. No, there’s no principle. It’s money. It’s campaign contributions, lobbying, revolving door, all of those kinds of things

The system is designed to actually encourage that kind of thing, even with the fines [referring to former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozillo, who recently paid tens of millions of dollars in fines, a small fraction of what he actually earned, because he earned hundreds of millions.]. ***
I know so many people who say it’s an outrage that we had more accountability in the ’80′s with the S&L crisis than we are having today. Yeah, we fine them, and what is the big lesson? Behave badly, and the government might take 5% or 10% of what you got in your ill-gotten gains, but you’re still sitting home pretty with your several hundred million dollars that you have left over after paying fines that look very large by ordinary standards but look small compared to the amount that you’ve been able to cash in.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Your Bucket List by Gary North

Your Bucket List by Gary North

On October 3, 2009, I attended my 50th high school reunion. The 50th high school reunion is the last hurrah institutionally in the United States. No other final meeting will attract as many people from a person’s generation. There is nothing like your 50th high school reunion to remind you that the clock is ticking.
The committee posted the photos of the known deceased. Some had been gone for 25 years. Others had been gone less than a year. But the reality was clear: the list would grow.
The men were all unrecognizable. So were most of the women. There were a few exceptions, however. Time had not run over all of us to the same degree. A couple of men looked more distinguished than at 18. I hated to see them.
The reunion committee supplied name tags with the senior year photos. These were reminders of time gone by. We could see the before-after contrast. The contrast was considerable, with only one exception – not mine. Grim.
It reminded me of my 25th reunion. I had on my tag. I was in an elevator. A young woman asked me what the meeting was. I told her. She asked what a 25th reunion was like. It came to me in a flash. "It’s an exercise in comparative rot." She is now pushing 50.
At the hotel where I stayed the first night, another 50th reunion was scheduled. A friend of mine from the American Legion’s Boys State program had been student body president at that school. I would have liked to walk over to see him, but he had died of heart disease several years earlier. He had been a great football player. That was a reminder, too. The clock is ticking.
At the Sunday brunch, I sat with three people. One I had known well; the other I had known fairly well; the third hardly at all.
One of them remarked that she had drawn up her bucket list. That term comes from a movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Two men meet in a hospital. Both are terminally ill. They draw up a list of things to do before they die. They agree to do the things on the list together. It is better to share the events on the list.
My list has always been books written and educational materials produced. It is a long list. It will take good health and a functioning mind for me to do all of it. It will take at least a decade, I forecasted.
My role model is F. A. Hayek, the Nobel-Prize economist. I interviewed him in 1985 in Austria. He was 86. He had just finished the manuscript for his magnum opus: the capstone book of his career. It is a fine book: The Fatal Conceit.
Another example for me is Jacques Barzun’s book, From Dawn to Decadence. It appeared in 2000. It footnoted articles that he had written in the late 1930s.
The grand old man of economics today is Ronald Coase. I once wrote an entire book against his famous theorem. He is still alive at 101. He is still writing.
One of the other people at the table at brunch was my old competitor in public speaking. She was a real challenge then. She got better over the years. She spent a career in education. Her husband of 40 years had developed a successful business. Then he died in 2003. Six months later, the business went under through no fault of hers. It was shut down by the authorities. Unbeknownst to her husband, there had been a crook inside the firm who had cheated the city and, indirectly, the U.S. government. She lost her retirement nest egg and spent three years paying lawyers. She now works in a small book store.
That, too, reminded me: procrastination kills. The unexpected can strike at any time.
At every 50th reunion, there are stories like these. The people at every table should pay attention to these stories.
The list of your deceased classmates is growing, year by year. You will be on it eventually. Get the high-priority items scratched off the list while you still can.
We are all told from an early age that the life of a miser is a wasted life. The miser spends every waking hour accumulating money. Yet he never seems to accomplish anything with his money. He simply accumulates it.
This is an inaccurate analysis, in so far as it applies to a free-market economy. In a free-market economy, a person can accumulate wealth only by serving customers. Nobody is going to give him all of that money just because he asks for it. Therefore, for as long as he is committed to the expansion of his net worth, he must serve customers faithfully. He must provide customers with products or services that they want to buy at the price that he is willing to accept.
To do this, he must maintain a competitive advantage against other sellers of similar goods and services. This forces him to innovate constantly. The customers are free to choose. They are also free to choose new tastes and desires. Therefore, the customer is exceedingly fickle. He keeps asking the seller: "What have you done for me lately?"
The miser, even though he is driven only by the desire to accumulate money, is a productive citizen in a free-market economy. He becomes a servant to customers, and customers find that they have a better lifestyle because of the commitment of the miser to accumulate ever greater wealth. The miser is obsessed with the accumulation of wealth, but in order to assuage his obsession, he must become obsessed with serving the demands of customers.
Think of what he has to do. He has to estimate what customers will be willing to pay for in the future. He must estimate competition from other sellers who will be actively seeking the money possessed by future customers. He must estimate the effects of government legislation on the markets in general, and his market in particular.

290. Why Audit the Fed?

290. Why Audit the Fed?: 290. Why Audit the Fed?

» Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

» Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for 
your mind!

Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty” deemed domestic threat
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A new study funded by the Department of Homeland Security characterizes Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
Entitled Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008 (PDF), the study was produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. The organization was launched with the aid of DHS funding to the tune of $12 million dollars.
While largely omitting Islamic terrorism - the report fails completely to mention the 1993 World Trade Center bombing – the study focuses on Americans who hold beliefs shared by the vast majority of conservatives and libertarians and puts them in the context of radical extremism.
The report takes its definitions from a 2011 study entitled Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism, produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, in which the following characteristics are used to identify terrorists.
- Americans who believe their “way of life” is under attack;

WSJ Chief Economist: 75% of Obamacare Costs Will Fall on Backs of Those ...

‘Living Wills’ of How to Unwind Big Banks Are Released -

‘Living Wills’ of How to Unwind Big Banks Are Released -

‘Living Wills’ for Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Are Released

    Federal regulators released so-called living wills on Tuesday for nine of the nation’s largest banks — blueprints for how they could be dismantled in the event of a collapse — but some analysts and other banking experts warned that they were still too big to fail without sending shock waves through the financial system.
    “The living wills are simply an exercise to make some people feel better,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst with Crédit Agricole Securities.
    The living wills, released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve, outline plans prepared by the banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, for their liquidation.
    These contingency plans represent one more bit of fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers caused the entire banking system to freeze up, prompting government guarantees for lending and outright aid for many of the largest banks. The financial sector has bounced back for the most part since then, but public ire over the bailout remains strong.
    As of July 1, financial institutions with more than $250 billion in assets were required to submit living wills as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Under the law, more than 100 financial institutions will be required to submit such plans.

    U.N. Arms Trade Treaty = They want YOUR guns!

    DNS Changer Malware may knock 64,000 Americans off Internet Monday -

    DNS Changer Malware may knock 64,000 Americans off Internet Monday -

    As many as 64,000 Americans could be knocked offline Monday as a result of malware unless they change their DNS server addresses, according to a report.
    The problem is exclusive to Windows users, but you can check if your computer is infected by clicking on this link. If you are, call your Internet provider, let its representatives know you were affected by the DNS Changer Malware and have them give you a new DNS address, which should solve the problem.
    However, that link was down at least for some time Thursday morning, likely due to high amounts of traffic, so if that's the case, there are also various links on this help page to assist you in checking for the infection manually.
    Google and Facebook have also been Good Samaritans and have been issuing alerts if their sites suspect infected users are logging on.
    If you don't catch the infection in time, you can still fix the problem the same way. Simply contact your Internet service provider.
    The problem is a result of a large online advertising scam that took over more than 4 million computers around the world.
    When the FBI went in to shut down the scheme, the agency realized that turning off the malicious servers would cause infected computers to lose access to the Internet. So the FBI set up two other servers, which have been connecting infected users to the Internet, but they will be shut down on July 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT.
    As a result, 277,000 computer users worldwide as well as about 50 Fortune 500 companies could be affected by the shutdown, according to a report by the Associated Press.

    The banking scandal Wall Street fears - PostPartisan - The Washington Post

    The banking scandal Wall Street fears - PostPartisan - The Washington Post

    The banking scandal Wall Street fears

    When did you stop believing Wall Street’s promises that the latest banking scandal was a one-off and would never happen again? For many who were still credulous, the tipping point may have come this week, with the London interbank offered rate (Libor) rigging scandal.
    Libor (and its European counterpart, Euribor) are benchmark interest rates, calculated each day after traders at leading banks estimate the rates at which their banks could borrow money. Libor is then used to “to set interest rates on $350 trillion of dollars and euros of loans and other obligations globally.” Yes, $350 trillion. If you have a credit card, a car loan, a student loan or a thousand other common loans, including an increasingly high percentage of mortgages, there’s a good chance your interest rate is indexed to Libor. (My Post colleague Dylan Matthews has a more extensive summary.)
    The affair first hit the public spotlight last week, when Barclays Bank agreed to pay a $450 million fine to U.S. and U.K. regulators. But Barclays is only the first domino: Between 15 and 20 banks have been named in various Libor-rigging investigations or lawsuits throughout Europe and North America. “This is the banking industry’s tobacco moment,” the chief executive of a multinational bank told the Economist. “It’s that big.”
    The Libor rigging came in two flavors, but rarely have two parts so well crystallized the problems in regulatory and banking culture. The less sinister of the two bouts of rigging is the later one, from 2008, when Barclays and a number of other banks allegedly kept their rates low to hide the poor state of their balance sheets. On its own, this is bad enough: Though keeping the interest rates low helped consumers in the short run, they disguised the extent to which the banks were in danger.
    Worse, though, is emerging evidence suggesting that some regulators may have encouraged banks to keep those rates artificially low. As Noam Scheiber noted, the rigging shows once again that,
    in order to get corruption in your banking system, you don’t need literal corruption of the Government Official X owns shares in Bank Y variety (or even Official X wants to work at Bank Y after he leaves government). You just need banks big enough so that the bureaucrats keeping an eye on them have nightmares about what happens if the banks fail. At that point the bureaucrats will dedicate themselves to keeping the megabanks afloat at all costs, even it requires methods that aren’t on the up and up.

    Keiser Report: Fraud & 60 Orgasms (E311)

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    US officials pursue Julian Assange

    Camping is more than just equipment – Here is a list of skills you need to have | The Survival Mom™

    Camping is more than just equipment – Here is a list of skills you need to have | The Survival Mom™

    • Cook over an open fire
    • Know multiple ways to start a fire
    • Know how to safely put out a fire
    • Store food safely outdoors
    • Cook on a camp stove
    • Learn how to tie a reef knot, bowline, sheet bend, clove-hitch knot and when to use them
    • Correctly sharpen a knife
    • Safely use both a knife and a hatchet
    • Identify edible wild plants and use them in recipes
    • Take a wilderness survival course
    • Learn to hunt both small and large game
    • Choose the best spot for a campsite
    • Pitch a tent correctly
    • Learn how to navigate using a compass
    • Know how to stay cool and warm when there’s no power available
    • Recognize tracks of various animals in your area
    • Know how to find water in the wilderness
    • Know how to filter and purify water
    • Know how to navigate using the sun and stars
    • Know how to survive outdoors in the winter
    • How to not get lost and what to do if it happens anyway

    Rand and Ron Paul propose Internet revolution

    UPDATE 3-Denmark sets a negative rate for first time | Reuters

    UPDATE 3-Denmark sets a negative rate for first time | Reuters: UPDATE 3-Denmark sets a negative rate for first time

    Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:57pm BST

    * Central bank cuts main policy rate by 25 bps to 0.20 pct

    * Cuts CD rate by 25 bps to negative 0.20 pct

    * Keeps current account rate unchanged at 0.0 pct

    Keiser Report: Bankers Going Ultra-Violent (E310)

    Talk Tech To Me: Google vs. Siri