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An excerpt from - Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down
The amount of money necessary to keep the US military machine growing has reached astonishing levels. Considering the increasing amount of troops and contractors, the White House estimates that it spends one million dollars per soldier, per year in Afghanistan, "not including the added expense of training and maintaining a security force."
According to these calculations, 30,000 troops for this latest surge will add an additional $30 billion to the annual budget, just in troop related costs. Also consider the price of moving fuel around, AFP reports: "Moving soldiers and supplies across the rugged Afghan landscape costs more than in Iraq, with the military consuming 83 liters or 22 gallons of fuel per soldier per day." The Hill adds: "Pentagon officials have told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee a gallon of fuel costs the military about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate."
Other than in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have an unprecedented number of military bases spread throughout the world. Officially there are "900 military facilities in 46 countries and territories (the unofficial figure is far greater). The US military owns or rents 795,000 acres of land, with 26,000 buildings and structures, valued at $146bn. The bases bristle with an inventory of weapons whose worth is measured in the trillions and whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over. The official figures exclude the huge build-up of troops and structures in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, as well as secret or unacknowledged facilities in Israel, Kuwait, the Philippines and many other places. In just three years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, £2bn was spent on military construction."
There was public outcry when Bush drastically raised an already bloated military budget to record highs. But in comes the admired anti-war candidate Obama, in the middle of a severe economic crisis, and what happens? Obama drastically increased Bush's record budget to $651 billion in 2009. Yes, during a severe economic crisis, Obama actually increased Bush's budget. US military spending is higher than the rest of the world combined. The 2010 budget, which doesn't account for war-related spending yet, is already set to grow to $680 billion.
However, these budget numbers are deceiving because the Obama Administration has been getting better at hiding extra spending in other budget items. The actual total 2009 budget was over $1 trillion.
And much like the staggering giveaway to the economic elite in the Wall Street banker bailout, no one is really sure where a significant percentage of this money is actually going. On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld announced that $2.3 trillion in military spending was unaccounted for. As CBS News reported: "$2.3 trillion – that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America."
At that time, Pentagon auditors admitted that they couldn't account for a staggering 25% of all military spending. And the budget has exploded since then, with fewer people accounting for where this money is going.
Once again, just like the $23.7 trillion that went into propping up the Wall Street elite – which totals $80,000 for every American – you have trillions more in taxpayer money vanishing and very few regulating and accounting for it.
Other than this staggering loss of taxpayer money, any serious economist will tell you "that military spending increases unemployment and decreases economic growth."
Economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, in their book "The Three Trillion Dollar War," report that military spending on the war in Iraq has created over a trillion dollars in loses to the US economy.
On top of all the looting of taxpayer money that is occurring, "several powerful House committee chairmen have proposed a surtax on Americans to pay the future military costs."
With the country already operating at a record $12 trillion deficit, members of congress don't know how we can afford increasing an already huge war expenditure.
Complete article here.
Portal To Alternatives
Weekly Column Published: 12.04.2009
What does the theory of anthropogenic global warming signify? On the Web Site of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise we find a page on coping with economic sabotage. "Sabotage is a wartime concept," it says. "In simplest terms, sabotage means deliberate or underhand damage or destruction, especially carried out for military or political reasons." This includes "interferences with production ... as by enemy agents...." There is also another definition that should be referred too, as well. Political subversion may be defined as the "lending of aid, comfort, and moral support to individuals, groups, or organizations that advocate the overthrow of incumbent governments...."
On Monday, November 16, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made the following statement with regard to global warming: "If we don't take joint action now ... the Arctic and Antarctic ice could melt and change ocean levels." He further warned that this would "have catastrophic consequences." The Russian president's statement is odd, since Russia is a country that would benefit from global warming. But, as Russia's clandestine services are aligned with the international left, and the international left is fervently committed to the global warming ideology, politics must trump Russia's desire for a better climate.
It is no accident, in light of this, that the planet's chief spokesman for global warming, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Jr., owed a great deal to Moscow's "capitalist prince," Armand Hammer. While Hammer siphoned money to many politicians, he especially enriched Gore's father, Senator Al Gore, Sr. About this relationship one of Hammer's close associates, British journalist Neil Lyndon, wrote, "Throughout the whole of his life, Al Gore Sr. and his family depended on pay-outs, kickbacks and subventions from Hammer. Like his father before him, Al Gore Jr.'s political career was lavishly sponsored by Hammer from the moment it began until Hammer died...."
In times past, the FBI described Hammer's corporate holdings as "an organization of Soviet intelligence." The U.S. State Department referred to him as a "Soviet mail carrier." German intelligence found that Hammer was involved with the Soviet trade mission in Berlin, and assumed he was a Communist agent. According to researcher Edward Jay Epstein's book, Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer, a British raid on a Soviet trading company in London on 12 May 1927 revealed Hammer's true role. "Among the incriminating documents were records directly linking the Hammer enterprise to Moness Chemicals," noted Epstein, "which was servicing Comintern espionage agents in Germany and Britain. When this was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Moness's office in New York were searched, and agents found a paper trail that included ... $5,000 'loans' from Harry [Armand] Hammer. The bureau was also able to trace the various people and causes to whom these 'loans' were to be channeled. Hammer was funneling money from his Berlin office to Moness's herbal-remedy company, which was then disbursing it to Soviet secret agents."
To understand global warming, we need to understand the work of Soviet and Russian secret agents. Through an alarmist message, certain groups have become influential. They have mobilized a powerful and active constituency. They are lobbying for government programs. They seek government intervention in the economy. They also seek the "socialization" of industry and commerce, while offering an irresistible critique of greedy corporate interests threatening the whole planet. In short, these groups have initiated an attack against the capitalist system.
Copyright © 2009 Jeffrey R. Nyquist
Portal To Altervatives
Once again the U.S. mint has had to suspend sales of all its one-ounce gold coins, and some fractional ones too, as its supplies of physical gold cannot meet the demand.
Author: Lawrence Williams
Posted: Monday , 07 Dec 2009
"The United States Mint has depleted its inventory of 2009 American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Bullion Coins. ... No additional inventory will be made available. As additional information becomes available regarding 2010-dated American Buffalo One Once Gold Bullion Coins, you will be notified." So said a memorandum issued Friday to authorized purchasers of U.S. Mint gold coins and reported by Jim Sinclair..
Mineweb reported only two weeks ago, on November 25th, the suspension of sales of American Gold Eagle coins by the Mint - U.S. Mint suspends American Eagle 1-ounce gold coin sales - again, which, at the time, reckoned such sales would be resumed early this month - but in the event, not only is the suspension of the Gold Eagle coin sales continuing, but also now the American Buffalo one ounce gold coin sales have also been suspended, with no new sales now planned until some time in 2010 - although the current sharp fall in the gold price may provide the Mint with a bit of respite from its supply/demand woes.
Portal To Alternatives
Architect of Credit Default Swaps behind the Development of "Carbon Derivatives"
December 8, 2009
by Washington's Blog
As I have previously shown, speculative derivatives (especially credit default swaps) are a primary cause of the economic crisis.
And I have pointed out that (1) the giant banks will make a killing on carbon trading, (2) while the leading scientist
crusading against global warming says it won't work, and (3) there is a
very high probability of massive fraud and insider trading in the
carbon trading markets.
Now, Bloomberg notes that the carbon trading scheme will be centered around derivatives:
The banks are preparing to do with carbon what
they've done before: design and market derivatives contracts that will
help client companies hedge their price risk over the long term.
They're also ready to sell carbon-related financial products to outside
[Blythe] Masters says banks must be allowed to lead
the way if a mandatory carbon-trading system is going to help save the
planet at the lowest possible cost. And derivatives related to carbon
must be part of the mix, she says. Derivatives are securities whose
value is derived from the value of an underlying commodity -- in this
case, CO2 and other greenhouse gases...
Who is Blythe Masters?
She is the JP Morgan employee who invented credit
default swaps, and is now heading JPM's carbon trading efforts. As
Bloomberg notes (this and all remaining quotes are from the
above-linked Bloomberg article):
Masters, 40, oversees the New York bank's environmental businesses as the firm's global head of commodities...
As a young London banker in the early 1990s, Masters
was part of JPMorgan's team developing ideas for transferring risk to
third parties. She went on to manage credit risk for JPMorgan's
Among the credit derivatives that grew from the bank's early efforts was the credit-default swap.
Some in congress are fighting against carbon derivatives:
"People are going to be cutting up carbon futures,
and we'll be in trouble," says Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator
from Washington state. "You can't stay ahead of the next tool they're
going to create."
Cantwell, 51, proposed in November that U.S. state
governments be given the right to ban unregulated financial products.
"The derivatives market has done so much damage to our economy and is
nothing more than a very-high-stakes casino -- except that casinos have
to abide by regulations," she wrote in a press release...
However, Congress may cave in to industry pressure to let carbon derivatives trade over-the-counter:
The House cap-and-trade bill bans OTC derivatives,
requiring that all carbon trading be done on exchanges...The bankers
say such a ban would be a mistake...The banks and companies may get
their way on carbon derivatives in separate legislation now being
worked out in Congress...
Financial experts are also opposed to cap and trade:
Even George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund
operator, says money managers would find ways to manipulate
cap-and-trade markets. "The system can be gamed," Soros, 79, remarked
at a London School of Economics seminar in July. "That's why financial
types like me like it -- because there are financial opportunities"...
Hedge fund manager Michael Masters, founder of
Masters Capital Management LLC, based in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
[and unrelated to Blythe Masters] says speculators will end up
controlling U.S. carbon prices, and their participation could trigger
the same type of boom-and-bust cycles that have buffeted other
The hedge fund manager says that banks will attempt
to inflate the carbon market by recruiting investors from hedge funds
and pension funds.
"Wall Street is going to sell it as an investment
product to people that have nothing to do with carbon," he says. "Then
suddenly investment managers are dominating the asset class, and
nothing is related to actual supply and demand. We have seen this movie
Indeed, as I have previously pointed out, many environmentalists are opposed to cap and trade as well. For example:
Michelle Chan, a senior policy analyst in San Francisco for Friends of the Earth, isn't convinced.
"Should we really create a new $2 trillion market
when we haven't yet finished the job of revamping and testing new
financial regulation?" she asks. Chan says that, given their recent
history, the banks' ability to turn climate change into a new
commodities market should be curbed...
"What we have just been woken up to in the credit
crisis -- to a jarring and shocking degree -- is what happens in the
real world," she says...
Friends of the Earth's Chan is working hard to
prevent the banks from adding carbon to their repertoire. She titled a
March FOE report "Subprime Carbon?" In testimony on Capitol Hill, she
warned, "Wall Street won't just be brokering in plain carbon
derivatives -- they'll get creative."
Yes, they'll get "creative", and we have seen this
movie before ...an inadequately-regulated carbon derivatives boom will
destabilize the economy and lead to another crash.Link Here.
*************************Portal To Alternatives
|Global warming is caused by radiation from the sun, according to a leading scientist speaking out at an alternative "sceptics' conference" in Copenhagen. |
By Louise Gray
Published: 5:10PM GMT 08 Dec 2009
As the world gathered in the Danish capital for the UN Climate Change Conference, more than 50 scientists, businessmen and lobby groups met to discuss the arguments against man made global warming.
Although the meeting was considerably smaller than the official gathering of 15,000 people meeting down the road, the organisers claimed it could change the course of negotiations.
Professor Henrik Svensmark, a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen, said the recent warming period was caused by solar activity.
He said the last time the world experienced such high temperatures, during the medieval warming period, the Sun and the Earth were in a similar cycle.
Professor Nils-Axel Morner, a geologist from Stockholm University, said sea level rise has also been exaggerated by the "climate alarmists" using computer models.
He said observational data from lake sediments, coast lines and trees show sea levels have remained stable.
Professor Cliff Ollier, another geologist from the University of Western Australia, also said the environmental lobby have got it wrong on ice caps. He said the melting of ice sheets is caused by geothermal activity rather than global surface temperatures.
Professor Ian Plimer, from the University of Adelaide, claimed carbon dioxide from volcanoes rather than humans is driving warming as part of a natural process.
The meeting was organised by Danish group Climate Sense and the lobby group Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).
Craig Rucker, Executive Director of CFACT, admitted the organisation have taken funding from Exxon Mobil in the past but pointed out that many environmental groups are also receiving funding from major corporations.
Graham Capper of Climate Sense said manmade global warming was a myth and scientists who said otherwise were lying. :
"There are people who know they are lying and do it simply for money and others who think they are doing good," he said. "But they not good scientists."
Lord Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said he was speaking to delegations from the US and Canada about question marks over the science.
He said a recent poll by the Telegraph, that shows only one in two people accept man made climate change, show people are questioning the consensus being pushed by the UN summit.
"As anybody knows who follows the opinion polls in Britain and Australia and the US, in the last few weeks and months there has been a rapid collapse in the global warming chimera so while we still have our freedom, let us speak out."
Portal To Alternatives
|Copenhagen is preparing for the climate change summit
that will produce as much carbon dioxide as a town the size of
Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number
of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier.
The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We
haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she
says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."
The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during
the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will
have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park,
returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.
As well 15,000 delegates and officials, 5,000 journalists and 98 world leaders,
the Danish capital will be blessed by the presence of Leonardo
DiCaprio, Daryl Hannah, Helena Christensen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and
Prince Charles. A Republican US senator, Jim Inhofe, is jetting in at
the head of an anti-climate-change "Truth Squad." The top hotels – all
fully booked at £650 a night – are readying their Climate Convention menus of (no doubt sustainable) scallops, foie gras and sculpted caviar wedges.
And this being Scandinavia, even the prostitutes are doing their bit
for the planet. Outraged by a council postcard urging delegates to "be sustainable, don't buy sex,"
the local sex workers' union – they have unions here – has announced
that all its 1,400 members will give free intercourse to anyone with a
climate conference delegate's pass. The term "carbon dating" just took
on an entirely new meaning.
At least the sex will be C02-neutral. According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants' travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of "carbon dioxide equivalent", equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough.
The hot air this week will be massive, the
whole proceedings eminently mockable, but it would be far too early to
write off this conference as a failure.
Portal To Alternatives
FORT LEE, N.J. (Commodity Online): The National
Inflation Association says silver is the best investment proposition
and the wealthiest people in the world today are those who bought
silver, not gold.
Here is a statement on the need for silver investment from the National Inflation Association:
are less than three weeks away from entering the next decade. The most
important thing you need to know entering 2010 is that silver is the
single best investment for the next decade. In our opinion, investing
into silver is the only sure way to tremendously increase your
purchasing power over the next ten years.
history, only ten times more silver has been mined than gold. If you go
back about 1,000 years ago between the years 1000 and 1250, gold was
worth ten times more than silver worldwide. From year 1250 to 1792, the
gold to silver ratio slowly increased from 10 to 15 and the Coinage Act
of 1792 officially defined a gold to silver ratio of 15. The ratio
remained at 15 until forty-two years later when the ratio was increased
in 1834 to 16, where it remained until silver was demonetized in 1873.
gold to silver ratio remained between 10 and 16 for 873 years! It is
only over the past 100 years that the gold to silver ratio has averaged
50. History will look back at the artificially high gold to silver
ratio of the past century as an anomaly, caused by the dollar bubble
and the world being deceived into believing that fiat currencies are
real money, when in fact they're all an illusion. Next decade, the fiat
currency experiment will end badly in a currency crisis. The wealthiest
people will be those who bought silver today and were smart enough to
research and pick the best silver mining stocks.
vast majority of the gold ever produced remains sitting in vaults, 95%
of the silver produced has been consumed by industry for thousands of
applications in such tiny amounts that most of it will never be
recycled and seen on the market again. Nobody knows the exact above
ground supply of silver today, but most likely it is somewhere in the
neighborhood of 1 billion ounces. That's a total worldwide market value
of only $17.4 billion, when the world has over $7 trillion in foreign
currency reserves, mostly in fiat currencies that they will need to
diversify out of due to rampant inflation.
Besides the fact
that the world has been ignoring the monetary value of silver, silver
prices are artificially low due to a large concentrated naked short
position. It's not a coincidence that the day silver reached its
multi-decade high of over $21 per ounce in March of 2008, was the same
day Bear Stearns failed. Bear Stearns was a holder of a massive short
position in silver. In our opinion, this was likely a naked short
position because there is nobody in the world who owns such a large
amount of silver for Bear Stearns to have borrowed.
why we believe the Federal Reserve was so eager to orchestrate a
bailout of Bear Stearns, is because Bear Stearns was on the verge of
being forced to cover their silver short position. Because the silver
market is so small and tightly held, if Bear Stearns was forced to
cover their short position, silver prices could've potentially rose to
$50 per ounce or higher overnight. The world would've seen how
economically unstable our country is and confidence in the U.S. dollar
would've rapidly deteriorated.
JP Morgan still holds the
silver short position they inherited from Bear Stearns. The
concentrated naked short position in silver today is the largest short
position in the history of all commodities, as a percentage of its
market size. Eventually, JP Morgan will have to cover this short
position or it could jeopardize their existence.
evidence that the short position in silver is naked and not backed by
real silver, is the differential between what silver trades for on the
Comex and what real people are willing to pay for physical silver on
eBay. Every hour on eBay, there are dozens of one ounce silver coins
selling for approximately $25. That's about a 43% premium over the
current spot price of silver. With so much demand for physical silver,
we doubt the silver shorts in the paper market will be able to
manipulate prices downward for much longer. A major short squeeze could
be right around the corner and silver could take off in a way that
shocks even those who are most bullish."
Portal To Alternatives
|Today more people than ever are talking about how we can save the environment. Well, if you want to save the environment here is one good first step - get Al Gore the heck away from it. The truth is that carbon dioxide is one of the basic building blocks of life on planet earth, and Al Gore's crusade to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide levels around the globe is not only foolish, it threatens to absolutely destroy the very environment that he claims that he is trying to save.
In his new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, Al Gore stresses the "spiritual side" of preventing climate change and make this stunning admission: "Simply laying out the facts won't work."
Now why in the world would Al Gore say something like that?
Could it be that he is starting to realize that the facts are not on his side?
In fact, it is being reported that Al Gore is now saying that carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of "global warming".
But that isn't stopping the "eco-prophet" from continuing his reckless crusade against carbon dioxide. Gore continues to tirelessly advocate a "cap and trade" carbon credit trading scheme which could allow him to reap billions of dollars in profits if it is ultimately implemented.
Apparently what is good for the environment is very good for Al Gore's wallet too.
But that is not what this article is about.
What this article is about is showing how Al Gore's environmental policies would be an absolute disaster for the environment.
Firstly, let us examine the absolutely ridiculous claims that man-made carbon emissions are causing global warming. The reality is that any global warming that was going on was caused by the sun.
You see, a few years ago when the sun was experiencing record sunspot activity, our entire solar system experienced a period of "global warming". It was not just the earth. Every single planet circling the sun experienced a warming period.
Now that our sun has entered into a period of very low sunspot activity, our planet and the rest of our solar system is experiencing a period of "global cooling".
And yet carbon dioxide levels on earth continue to increase. If the rising carbon dioxide levels were causing global warming then the earth should still be warming.
But it isn't.
The truth, as you will clearly see in the outstanding video below, is that rising carbon dioxide levels follow a rise in earth temperatures. Carbon dioxide does not cause global warming. It never has and it never will. Instead, scientists have now been able to show that when there is higher sunspot activity temperatures on earth rise, and when there is low sunspot activity temperatures on earth fall. The following video absolutely tears apart Al Gore's theories from "An Inconvenient Truth" and it shows what the primary cause of climate change actually is.....
View Video "The Global Warming CO2 Scam" here.
But does it matter if Al Gore's theories are nonsense?
Perhaps his ideas will not save the environment - does that mean that Al Gore is harming the environment?
Unfortunately the answer to that question is yes.
Al Gore, in his reckless crusade to help the environment, is determined to reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by as much as possible.
But there is a problem.
Plants need carbon dioxide to live. It is one of the key building blocks of life on earth.
In fact, natural sources produce far, far, far more carbon dioxide than humans do. Wikipedia puts it this way.....
Carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere by a variety of natural sources, and over 95% of total CO2 emissions would occur even if humans were not present on Earth.
Have you got that?
Over 95 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions would still occur even if you took the entire human race off the earth.
So even if carbon dioxide was causing global warming (which it certainly does not), the truth is that if all human carbon dioxide emissions went to zero, over 95 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions would still be occurring.
So to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent or more, Al Gore and his fellow global warming cultists will NOT be able to do that by reducing carbon dioxide emissions caused by man.
Instead they will have to attack all life on earth.
In other words, Al Gore and his followers would have to brutally attack the earth's environment in order to get the kind of carbon emissions that they are after.
In fact, any reductions in carbon dioxide will seriously affect life. Less carbon dioxide emissions would mean less carbon dioxide for plant life. That means that crops would suffer. Less crops and less plant life would mean that there would be less food for men and animals. In a world that is already teetering on the verge of a major food crisis, any drop in the world food supply would be an absolute disaster.
The truth is that Al Gore absolutely does NOT know what he is talking about when it comes to the environment. He is simply a con man and a greedy investor who is looking forward to making a lot of money.
But if Al Gore's vision of a world with dramatically reduced levels of carbon dioxide comes to pass, the reality is that life on earth will greatly suffer. Starvation would be rampant. In fact, if carbon dioxide levels were reduced far enough, it just might be your own family that starves.
For those who do truly care about saving the environment, there is one thing that you need to know what it comes to Al Gore.....
Al Gore must be stopped. For the sake of life on earth, Al Gore must be stopped.
Portal To Alternatives
|Peoplenomics - Gold's Secret and Splash of Port|
I haven't don't my monthly Port Summary issue for this month, so shall we mosey down to the docks and get a reality check on the so-called 'recovery'?
Long Beach: Year to date cargo is down 18.7% compared with last year. Let's hear it for the stimulus package!
Port of Los Angeles: Loaded inbound was down 11.84% for November and overall for the calendar year is down 15.13%.
Port of Oakland: Down 9.9% YTD but November say a 3.4% gain.
Port of Seattle: Up 15.1% in November, but still down 9.7% overall year-to-date (YTD). International inbound was up 34.4% in November, but is still down 10.7% YTD - way I figure it is replacement parts for things that are breaking.
Port of Tacoma: Down 19.8% YTD.
I would reveal the Port of Portland's latest, but they haven't posted November operating results yet, although October YTD was down 37.8%.
I have this really, really simple economic viewpoint: When we see outfits like "Shell shipping Houston jobs overseas" and at the same time port jobs are on the endangered list because of a continuing fall in cargoes both inbound and outbound, what does that tell you about "The myth of Globalism"? Maybe something like "It's imploding!"?
Corporate globalism at one point seemed like a good idea; it allowed the US to export some of its least desirable industrial operations to third world and emerging countries. But a little bit of risk avoidance led to a lot of abuse such that now IT departments are being exported (still) and the US finds itself in relations like those with Indonesia tied to exploitive marketing like tobacco outfits. As a result, you and I can be 'outsourced'; such that we're competing with least-cost workers worldwide and to the extent that corporations have no moral strictures to deal with, regular humans in the US fall victim. The confidence bubble burst, housing collapses, and government wrings its hands yet fails to recognize the larger design pattern issues.
To be sure, there are those who argue that folks like me are 'alarmists' and 'doom-sayers' yet the Ports data speaks for itself.
The next data point that should come into view by mid-January will be that Christmas this year was smaller than last. "Retail sales figures disappointing for November" headlines a report out of the UK this morning. Yet optimism is being served up even this morning about the domestic picture with stories like "Super Saturday Expectation High for U.S. Retailers". Stories about how "Chain stores avoid deeper holiday discounts" sound hopeful, but as always I'm asking "Where's the beef"?
If gold's got a secret it may be something as simple as this: We needed a larger stimulus with less pork &arrows to pull us out of our economic quagmire and congress has failed for the sake of political expediency. Gold knows that inflation will necessarily come along at some point, but the recent price action reveals the powerful forces of deflation are still lurking as revealed in the Ports data.
Of course all this is subject to change because linguistically we're due to see global context beginning to change in the next few weeks...so be watching watch closely as we go from reindeer dropping presents to bulls dropping something a little different and expect us to swallow it.
Portal To Alternatives
Posted by Brad
Thursday 17 December 2009 - 05:53:18
And the revelations just keep on coming. Yesterday Russia's Kommersant newspaper (via RIA Novosti, hat tip to the Air Vent) reported an interesting claim from the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA):
say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country's
territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only
25% of such stations in its reports.
Over 40% of Russian
territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some
other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and
The data of stations located in areas not listed
in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey
often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century
and the early 21st century.
The HadCRUT database includes
specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the
global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted
In other words, the CRU analysis used only
the Russian data that showed warming. Russian data that showed no
temperature change was ignored.
Now, that claim needs to be verified. The IEA
is surely partisan; their web site has links to Cato, the Fraser
Institute, the Mises Institute, and the Foundation for Economic
Education. But a free-market inclination does not in itself disqualify
their analysis. What this goes to show is that we need the list of stations used by the CRU
(and other climate researchers). It's not sufficient for them to say
that "all the data is available from the primary sources" when we don't
know which subset of that data they have selected.
Portal To Alternatives
|December 15, 2009|
By G$ Simmons and Brett Buchanan
Are financial markets a direct reflection of the overall health of a nation? I wish they were not, but I fear they are.
I wonder at times if our nation has entered a state of purgatory all of us mulling around in the waiting room to Hell, anxiously counting the minutes until the grim reaper saunters through the door sickle in hand his mission to send us off to eternal damnation.
Unfortunately, there is little time to close this door so that we may stave off this potential fate that looms so near. What we need to alter this course is a procession of men who possess moral fortitude and common sense, men of rationality and reason. Men of action who will set in motion the dismantling of institutions that bleed this nation dry.
Hope is not a strategy. This present state of manufactured optimism emanating from the White House and our news outlets is contemptible. We are in dire need of new reformist leadership and of new voices that will speak the truth. A national purification is long overdue. Time is not on our side. Look at the track record this nation has racked up over the last few decades and this economic and moral purgatory in which we find ourselves might very well mark the beginning of our walk of death down the long road to Hell.
I make this analogy of a national state of purgatory not in jest,but rather in practical terms. This nation has gone the way of an absolute meltdown of morality and ethics. We've reverted to a sort of Wild West where anything goes. From the halls of congress to our corporate boardrooms our collective morality bar has sunk so low we cannot go any lower without disconnecting from the great past this nation is starved to regain. We stand dangerously close to the point where immorality begets our undoing.
Personally, I am father to a daughter of fourteen years. Brett, my co-author, is father to a twenty-month old daughter and an eighteen-year old son. We desperately want to create for our children a better world. But we are fallible men, and certainly not saints. The paragraphs you are about to read are not written from some moral high ground, or a Holier-than-thou pulpit, but rather from saddened hearts when we see that by walking our own moral tightrope, if we were to allow ourselves to slip below the bar, however slightly, we would be just as guilty as the worst perpetrators of our nation's moral destruction. Also, when witness to greater moral transgressions, by our own inaction, we become part of the problem. And we are just two men. Amplify this by fifty million, one hundred million, or three hundred million fold and it is no wonder immorality permeates our society.
This article is our personal effort to call people's attention to the truth. The brevity of our circumstance is immeasurable by past reference. Economically, we have never been so challenged. Over the past few decades a gullible US population cheered the halls of congress and the Oval Office alike as the incestuous bedfellows of money and politics ushered in a financial Coup coup'de'tat' co-opting our public trusts with the greed and excess of Wall Street. Profits are now had at any cost, damn the long-term consequences. Instead of being exposed as the obvious fraud he was, Bernie Maddoff was coddled by the SEC, an institution whose role as regulator is a complete failure. As Wall Street and Washington raped an entire nation, employees of the SEC were too busy surfing porn on the Internet and running private businesses instead of doing the jobs taxpayers pay them to do. All the while,young girls were selling their virginity to the highest bidder in public cyber-forums where grown men (not hormonally charged teenage boys) seek out their sexual fantasies in the netherworld of Internet pornography. What of the wives, children, and even parents of these men? Do they approve of such questionable actions?
Think of our children turning on the television to see people eating bile,cow blood, and live bugs for money on game shows like Fear Factor, or Flavor Flav and his hit reality show where he maintains a stable of women all of whom physically fight each other to have sex with him because heâ€™s a celebrity â€" and a damn ugly one at that. And finally, thereâ€™s always Survivor, the ultimate demonstration of all things wrong with modern human interaction. A reality show that pits person against person in a deceitful game of moral destruction where lack of ethics are rewarded, instead of punished. Survivor, this is what our nation's leadership has become. Win at any cost. Damn the future of anyone but myself.
Morality is in great part the measure of a nation. Have we unlearned morality? Is this why we find ourselves staring down the abyss?
We are allowing ourselves to become more corrupt by the minute. We stare into the face of our future being raped, but we do nothing. We are as corrupt as the corrupters. We accept the unacceptable. We fail to understand that absolute power, corrupts absolutely. In what will god own as the greatest financial heist in history our leaders have chosen to reward corrupt individuals and their hollow corporations for what are arguably criminal levels of risk behavior by the moneyed elite of this country. What message does that send to our children, or to any one for that matter? Be as corrupt as possible in the US and you will be rewarded? Be the biggest failure jeopardizing the fate of others then stand in the corporate welfare line with all the other wealthiest institutions of the world, your greedy hand extended for a government bailout check while you simultaneously foreclose on an entire nation? Talk about the rich corralling the masses. It's no wonder someone coined the term "The Sheeple."
The path we traveled to this purgatorial limbo is both easily understood and misunderstood. The answers to understanding are sometimes right in front of us. What are seemingly benign things or actions, those everyday judgments or decisions we make to do one thing or another, are not always benign. Tell a little white lie to make that one sale that will put us into our bonus. Rig the game in our favor so that we might enjoy a little more opulence for the few decades we have remaining on this planet. Look the other way while the Federal Reserve and Wall Street blow economic bubble after economic bubble and in the process create a six-hundred trillion dollar shadow banking system that plays by no one's rules but its own. In the case of Goldman Sachs, and Wall Street in general, lie, cheat, and steal their way to profitability at the expense of three hundred million taxpayers. The fact is that we have become an uncooperative nation willing to take advantage of anyone for the sake of profit. The idea of building a cooperative future where everyone wins has been sacrificed at the altar of short-mindedness.
It might be this purgatorial limbo I speak of is simpler than it appears.It could be that we are collectively suffering the consequences of the"Peter Principl", or getting to the job of failure. This principle supposes that an individual rises in a corporate hierarchy to their first level of incompetence. An assembly worker gets promoted to supervisor then to assistant manager, then manager, until he next gets promoted to an upper management job for which he is ill equipped and subsequently gets promoted no further as he can no longer demonstrate the competence required for the task at hand. He rather relies on subordinates who are then stuck with an upper manager who cannot carryout his own duties. Could this be the state of our nation? Have we been promoted as far as our competence allows? Are we in fact incompetent to handle our future? Have we now elected a man just incompetent enough for the Presidency who is being manipulated by Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, and a circle of (previous) Wall Street insiders now on the government payroll as cabinet members and high-ranking advisors ? The saddest thing is that we sit idly by whilst our virtue is being stolen. We do nothing.
A view of the world through rose-colored glasses does no one, any good. We are not as resilient as we think we are. Instead, we exist in a world of synthetic productivity where multi-tasking renders us incapable of doing anything effectively or with any level of competence. Multi-tasking, that art of simultaneous ineffectiveness is a counter productive weapon that to a large degree has contributed to the potential failure of this nation. If you were to listen to Alan Greenspan however, you would believe that multi-tasking through technological gains by way of the "new paradigm" was the gold at the end of the Information Superhighway and that exotic mortgages and the burgeoning spending class paved the road to riches. We now know the sepremises to be empirically wrong.
It can now be argued that what would seemingly be advancements in productivity are proving to be setbacks. The Information Superhighway has led us to an era of technological arrogance. In reality all we have accomplished is to dilute our ability to carry out simple tasks as we click from a quarterly sales report due in an hour, to Facebook, to on-line solitaire, to writing an email explaining to our boss why the quarterly report will be delayed this day. We are a nation of excuse makers. We look for someone else to keep us one step ahead of our accumulating debt that smothers the potential of what could have been an equitable future. Ironically, it is our technological arrogance that impedes our ability to produce and manufacture our way to prosperity.
Craftsmenwho used to flock to this country to fulfill the needs of a manufacturing base flock here no more. "Made in the USA" used to mean something. It meant quality. It was the definition of industrial capitalism. But now through the wonders of globalization we have exported our craftsmanship through an outflow of jobs to China and India as we turned everyone in the USA into real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and web designers' a perfect playground for bankers to ply their craft, lending money in every creative manner both thinkable, and unthinkable. "Made in the USA" has been reduced to the status of punch-line, synonymous only with "Mortgage Backed Securities" and other "Toxic Derivatives".
Is it any wonder we have evolved into the "entitled society"? If we weren't on the government payroll, or subsidized by the US taxpayer through social welfare then we were borrowing our way to prosperity. Enter the God-fearing middle class. Just dumb enough to buy into the scam a couple hundred million people began signing over their paychecks, selling their future for the enjoyment of having things now. We were transformed into non-productive Sheeple, selling our souls for an easier life in lieu of a better future for our children. At our current rate of productive attrition we will soon be a nation of declawed house cats, possessing no skill-set whatsoever to survive in a world where the ability to produce real goods still reins supreme. Yet we remain the "entitled society", when we are entitled to nothing.
We forget (through economic amnesia) that throughout history all societies fail. Nicolaus Copernicus maintained that civilizations failed when bad money, controlled and understood by an elite few, drove out good money.The same can be said for morality. Bad, drives out good. This is a reality of which we should all be acutely aware but rather are immune to its possibility. We dangerously believe we cannot fail. That, in fact, is the greatest gamble of all. A roll of the dice against history, a bet against all natural laws of the universe, all things are in a state of entropy. All things eventually wither away to nothing. To possess longevity is to be ahead of the universe. Sadly, we have constructed a fragile world that produces material things that do not last. The fiat money we use as the currency of our production is by design, destructive itself. The Federal Reserve prints greed, nothing more. But still we covet it. We pursue it as if it had value. And in this pursuit we destroy earth's resources as if the laws of nature have no relevance. We believe there is only now.
We,the entitled society, morally and fiscally bankrupt have borrowed, spent, and bailed our way into a historical corner. Nero should be so proud. Our public trusts are nothing more than government sanctioned check-kiting operations shifting liabilities from one credit card to another faster than our creditors can say "Federal Reserve". The Ponzi-scheme that is our fiat currency system is about to go the way of what was for a time the symbol of American superiority, General Motors. It used to be said that what was good for General Motors was good for our nation. As I claimed in 2005 that GM would go bankrupt I will now guarantee that the US government is soon to follow. How our ultimate entropy will take form I cannot say, but form it will. We will default.We will restructure. It will be at this point our arrogance will end.
Portal To Alternatives
December 15, 2009 (LPAC)—A private group, representing the speculative global bankers who have destroyed the world economy, called for murderous cuts in medical care and social security, and deep reduction in the income of the population through consumption taxes, as the way to overcome the national debt blowout.
The Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform released a report ("Red Ink Rising") at a Washington event, calling for the cuts to be imposed under guidelines not subject to interference by elected government representatives — a fascist coup d'etat.
A leading spokesman for the Commission, former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin, told Executive Intelligence Review that swindles such as derivatives by which incomprehensibly vast sums become owed to speculators, must be honored (i.e. paid off, bailed out), cannot be touched — "they are contracts"; while any and all national commitments to the survival of the American population ("entitlements") are "on the table" for elimination.
The Commission was created by billionaire financier Peter G. Peterson, who rose in the London-Wall Street power axis after he wrote the justification for the Nixon Administration to end Roosevelt's Bretton Woods system, to swamp the world with speculation and destroy our manufacturing. Members of the Commission include many former heads of the Congressional and White House Budget Offices, who presided as "experts" over the transformation of the economy into a globalist casino.
Legislation proposed by the Peterson Commission is now under Congressional consideration, and President Obama has parroted Peterson's lie that Social Security and Medicare overspending are the cause of the dollar/debt crisis. The Washington Post marked the occasion of the "Red Ink" report's issuance with a lead editorial demanding enactment of the Commission's program.
At the press conference, when Alice Rivlin was asked if ending the present Asian wars might save money, the old crone replied that military spending is trivial compared to the government spending on the elderly, which she said takes money away from the younger generation. Other panelists said the states are spending too much on education, that governors who do not drastically cut services would soon be "out of office."
The spokesmen repeatedly predicted that some catastophic "triggering event" would come along to scare the population into submitting to the dictated destruction of living standards. They said that Obama and the Congress must now "get serious" on this throat-cutting, or face the financiers' threat of withdrawal of capital and ending of support for the government.
Portal To Alternatives
By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
December 17, 2009
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy hosted a dinner for 49 Nobel laureates. The occasion provided the opportunity for JFK to display his keen wit in the memorable quote, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
I wonder how many of today's high school and college students appreciate Jefferson's genius. Our third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, was a masterful scholar of history, a political philosopher for the ages, a noted horticulturist, an archaeologist, architect, and inventor. He also knew a thing or two about money and banking. Let's take a moment here to review the wise insights on money and banking left to us by this consummate Renaissance man.
Regarding money, Jefferson commented, "Paper is poverty … it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself." We should remember this when we contemplate the loss of 95 percent of the purchasing power of the paper currency called "Federal Reserve notes" in less than a century. As Ben Bernanke and the Fed create trillions of new paper "dollars," we, the richest country in history, face the possibility of a hyperinflationary collapse and accompanying impoverishment.
Jefferson, like other Founding Fathers, understood vividly the vulnerability of paper currencies, because of the devastating hyperinflation of the paper Continental dollar during the War for Independence. That is why the Coinage Act of 1792 stipulates gold and silver, NOT paper, as money. Jefferson and the Founders knew that for money to be sound, it needed to be something objective, tangible, unvarying, as well as something that people valued independent of its use as money—something like a fixed weight of gold or silver—rather than something as transitory and insubstantial as "the full faith and credit" of a government of unreliable human beings.
Jefferson intuitively grasped one of the basic principles of free-market economics: In a free, open competitive market, people choose good stuff (food, machines, tools, etc.) over bad stuff, and so goods of superior quality and value push inferior products into oblivion. The only reason Americans today have such an inferior currency is political. Government legislation denies us the freedom to choose what to accept as money. Jefferson wrote, "I now deny [the federal government's] power of making paper money or anything else a legal tender." What a terrible price we have paid and will pay for legal-tender laws forcing us to accept mere paper as money.
Anticipating the Federal Reserve System, Jefferson believed that, "The incorporation of a bank and the powers assumed [by legislation doing so] have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution. They are not among the powers specially enumerated." In Jefferson's eyes, a central bank is unconstitutional.
Jefferson warned, "If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied … I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies."
Today, Uncle Sam is woefully dependent on the Fed and a few "too-big-to-fail" banks. That is because Uncle Sam is the world's largest debtor, and without these giant banks to maintain a market for its oceans of debt, the federal government would have to shut down.
I once spoke with a congressman after hearing him complain about Federal Reserve policy. When I reminded him that the Fed had been created by an act of Congress, and that the creator controls the creation, he turned ashen, speechless. Is Congress a bunch of cowards or do the banks have a choke-hold on our government?
Are the Fed and the giant money-center banks as "dangerous" as Jefferson believed? Certainly, their power is undeniable.
The wealth of the American people is jeopardized by paper money and big banks. We should have heeded Jefferson's warnings.
Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.
Portal To Alternatives
|Tue, 12/22/2009 - 14:08 — dlindorff |
If you google "recession easing," you will find articles all the way back to April quoting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as saying that the recession is easing, and that the economy is "improving modestly." Newspapers and TV news programs too, on their own, have run rose-tinged stories about how things are bad but getting better.
Spins get put on every hint of good news, as when last month "only" 11,000 jobs were lost (a story that was quickly followed by an "unexpected" jump in new unemployment claims by 474,000 in early December).
What didn't get widely reported was a report by the Association of Financial Professionals, a trade association that includes CFOs, treasurers, comptrollers, and risk managers of mid-sized and large corporations, which asked over 1000 of these executives the question: "When do you expect your company to begin hiring again?"
The answer tells you all you need to know about the depth of the current economic crisis, and blows all the media and government happy talk out of the water.
This Outlook Survey by the APF, which was funded by Wells Fargo Bank, shows that 26 percent of executives expect to see their company payrolls continue to shrink in 2010, while 46% more expect employoment to stay at current low levels. Put another way,only 25% of companies surveyed expect to return to pre-recession hiring levels in 2011, while 32% don't expect a hiring rebound until 2012. And fully 30% "do not expect their organizations ever to return their payrolls to pre-recessionary levels."
And here's another troubling bit of news. The same survey respondents say that their companies' access to credit--the willingness of banks to lend--has barely budged. In fact only one in six reported that the had found credit a little easier to obtain in the last six months, while one in five actually reported that it had become harder to obtain credit. So much for the Obama administration's and the Federal Reserve's vaunted efforts to throw so much money--literally trillions of dollars--at the banks that they would start lending.
More than half of the executives responding to the survey said that if credit doesn't become more accessible by mid-2010, their firms will have to take steps to conserve cash--steps which could include cutting capital spending (68%), freezing or cutting hiring (62%), cutting inventory (25%), delaying payments to suppliers (23%), tightening credit offered to customers (23%) and drawing down existing credit lines (22%). Note that all of these steps are things that would put a further drag on the economy and could push it into a second downward spiral.
Remember this survey the next time you read that President Obama or Fed Chief Bernanke or Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the economy is coming back, or that the unemployment situation, while bad, is about to start turning around.
The executives who are making business plans for their companies, and who are looking at the cash flowing out and the empty order books, aren't so sanguine about the future. And if those hiring plans are correct, this is a recession from which the economy simply is not going to recover, at least for many working people whose jobs are never coming back.
The bad news from finance executives lends added weight to a warning by Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz who says there is a "significant chance" that the US economy will slip back into a decline in the coming year, going from a U-shaped recession to a "W-shaped" one--a dreaded double-dip recession, with slumping economic activity leading to worsening layoffs, more bankruptcies, and more pressure on the government to finally take dramatic action on jobs.
Currently a professor at Columbia University, Stiglitz, a former chief economist at the World Bank, says the government should act now to help state and local governments, which are running out of money, and to create new jobs. He warned the Obama administration, "If you don't prepare now, and the economy turns out to be as weak as I think it's likely to be, then you'll be in a very difficult position."
Portal To Alternatives
The New Media Journal
President Obama has issued an amendment to Executive Order 12425, designating the international law enforcement agency Interpol as a "public international organization," thus extending diplomatic immunity to the law enforcement group
The amendment to the Executive Order -- which does not need to be put to the senatorial test of "advise and consent" -- reads:
"By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words "except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act" and the semicolon that immediately precedes them."
The text of Section 2(c), which now applies to Interpol states:
"(c) Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable."
Because of this move by the Obama Administration any and all Interpol offices in the United States cannot be searched due to its status as a diplomatically protected organization. It's offices are considered sovereign and its files are not subject to legal request, be it by subpoena or discovery.
The website ObamaFile.com notes, "If any branch of government wants to keep documents out of the hands of the US court system, just hand them over to Interpol until the smoke clears." It added that Interpol can maintain files on US citizens.
Diplomatic immunity, usually reserved for those who work at diplomatic missions throughout the United States, exempts persons and offices directly connected to foreign governments from being subject to search and seizure by law enforcement. It exempts said entities from US taxes and extends this protection to immunity from FOIA requests.
The amendment to Executive Order 12425, signed by Obama on December 17, 2009, declared Interpol records immune from search and seizure, "The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable."
By virtue of this declaration, any information that Interpol may have on political operatives or elected officials in the US -- including SEIU president Andy Stern, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and President Obama himself -- would be immune from any attempts to bring the information to light.
Portal To Alternatives
By DAVIS LUHNOW
In the 40 years since U.S. President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs," the supply and use of drugs has not changed in any fundamental way. The only difference: a taxpayer bill of more than $1 trillion.
A senior Mexican official who has spent more than two decades helping fight the government's war on drugs summed up recently what he's learned from his long career: "This war is not winnable."
Just last week, Mexican Navy Special Forces swarmed a luxury apartment tower in a central city and gunned down Arturo Beltrán Leyva, a drug trafficker whose organization helped smuggle several billion dollars worth of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. during the past decade, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Within days of Mr. Beltrán Leyva's death, Mexican officials were already trying to guess which of his lieutenants would take his place. Almost no one expected the death of Mr. Beltrán Leyva to slow down the business of drug trafficking or the horrific drug-related violence in Mexico that has claimed around 15,000 lives in the past three years. On Monday, hit men gunned down several family members of a Mexican naval officer who had been killed in the Beltrán Leyva raid. Four people have been arrested in connection with the killing, though Mexican authorities say the hit men are still at large.
Growing numbers of Mexican and U.S. officials say—at least privately—that the biggest step in hurting the business operations of Mexican cartels would be simply to legalize their main product: marijuana. Long the world's most popular illegal drug, marijuana accounts for more than half the revenues of Mexican cartels.
"Economically, there is no argument or solution other than legalization, at least of marijuana," said the top Mexican official matter-of-factly. The official said such a move would likely shift marijuana production entirely to places like California, where the drug can be grown more efficiently and closer to consumers. "Mexico's objective should be to make the U.S. self-sufficient in marijuana," he added with a grin.
He is not alone in his views. Earlier this year, three former Latin American presidents known for their free-market and conservative credentials—Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil—said governments should seriously consider legalizing marijuana as an effective tool against murderous drug gangs.
If the war on drugs has failed, analysts say it is partly because it has been waged almost entirely as a la w-and-order issue, without understanding of how cartels work as a business.
For instance, U.S. anti-drug policy inadvertently helped Mexican gangs gain power. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. government cracked down on the transport of cocaine from Colombia to U.S. shores through the Caribbean, the lowest-cost supply route. But that simply diverted the flow to the next lowest-cost route: through Mexico. In 1991, 50% of the U.S.-bound cocaine came through Mexico. By 2004, 90% did. Mexico became the FedEx of the cocaine business.
That change in the supply chain came as Colombia waged a successful war to break up the country's Cali and Medellin cartels into dozens of smaller suppliers. Both moves helped the Mexican gangs, who gained pricing power in the market. Before, the Colombian cartels told Mexicans what price they would pay for wholesale cocaine. Now, Mexican gangs play smaller Colombian suppliers off of each other to get the best price. Mexican gangs are "price setters" instead of "price takers."
Some Mexican officials say privately that the U.S. should seriously consider allowing cocaine to pass more easily through the Caribbean again in order to squeeze Mexican gangs. "Would you rather destabilize small countries in the Caribbean or Mexico, which shares a 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is your third-biggest trading partner and has 100 million people?" one official said.
Today, the world's most successful drug trafficking organizations are found in Mexico. Unlike Colombian drug gangs in the 1980s, who relied almost entirely on cocaine, Mexican drug gangs are a one-stop shop for four big-time illicit drugs: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin. Mexico is the world's second biggest producer of marijuana (the U.S. is No. 1), the major supplier of methamphetamines to the U.S., the key transit point for U.S.-bound cocaine from South America and the hemisphere's biggest producer of heroin.
This diversification helps them absorb shocks from the business. Sales of cocaine in the U.S., for instance, slipped slightly from 2006 to 2008. But that decline was more than made up for by growing sales of methamphetamines.
In many ways, illegal drugs are the most successful Mexican multinational enterprise, employing some 450,000 Mexicans and generating about $20 billion in sales, second only behind the country's oil industry and automotive industry exports. This year, Forbes magazine put Mexican drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman as No. 401 on the world's list of billionaires.
Unlike their rough-hewn parents and uncles, today's young traffickers wear Armani suits, carry BlackBerrys and hit the gym for exercise. One drug lord's accountant who was arrested in 2006 had a mid-level job at Mexico's central bank for 15 years.
Recently, Mexico's deputy agriculture minister, Jeffrey Jones, told some of the country's leading farmers that they could learn a thing or two from Mexican drug traffickers. "It's a sector that has learned to identify markets and create the logistics to reach them," he said. Days later, Mr. Jones was forced to resign. "He may be right," one top Mexican official confided, "but you can't say things like that publicly."
Mr. Jones says he stands by his comments.
Because governments make drugs illegal, the risk associated with transporting them translates to high rewards for those willing to take that risk. The wholesale price of a single kilo of cocaine, for instance, costs $1,200 in Colombia, $2,300 in Panama, $8,300 in Mexico, and between $15,000 and $25,000 in the U.S., depending on how close you are to the Mexican border. At a retail level on the streets of New York, it can run close to $80,000. With markups like that, the business is bound to keep attracting new entrants, no matter what governments do to stop it.
Governments also have a hard time stopping the drugs trade because, like any good business, trafficking organizations innovate and adapt. Mexican customs has stumbled upon a long list of ingenious methods to transport cocaine, including one shipment of liquefied cocaine smuggled in red wine bottles. Another recent bust yielded 800 kilos of cocaine—worth an estimated $40 million—stuffed inside a batch of frozen sharks.
By DAVIS LUHNOW
Portal To Alternatives
December 31, 2009
Existing home sales surprised the markets by rising 7.4% to an annual rate of 6.54 million units in November, the highest since February 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That's only 10% below the all-time peak in 2005.
What's more is that house prices, as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index, rose for the fourth consecutive month in September before stabilizing in October when prices were flat.
The NAR is inevitably convinced that the worst is over and that housing is due for a rapid recovery, and that home prices will take out 2006's peaks some time in 2011 or 2012.
Not so fast, guys!
The recovery in housing has been boosted by just about every artificial means you can imagine:
- Interest rates have been kept at a historically low level of 0%-0.25% for a very long time.
- Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE), the bankrupt behemoths of housing finance, have been bailed out with what amounts to a blank check from taxpayers.
- The Federal Housing Agency (FHA) went on making mortgages with 3% down payments when nobody else was, thus very likely landing taxpayers with another bill for some large fraction of $1 trillion.
- And the government has been handing out cash subsidies for refinancing houses that were about to be repossessed and $8,000 subsidies for first time buyers - now $6,500 for all homebuyers.
Of course it looks
like the housing market has recovered! The question is what happens when some of these subsidies are taken away?
Even if we wanted to provide gigantic subsidies to housing finance in every form for evermore, we couldn't afford to. The U.S. government is running trillion dollar deficits
, and something has to change. So at some point the feather cushions that have surrounded every aspect of the housing market will be taken away.
To see how far housing might fall, look at the Case-Shiller index's bottom after the last housing bust in 1989-90 (as the 20-city index did not exist back then, we used the 10-city index). The index bottomed in September 1993 - more than two years after the U.S. economy had begun to recover - at a value of 75.81. Nominal gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 109% between the third quarter of 1993 and the third quarter of 2009.
However, the population rose by about 20%, so nominal GDP per capita rose by 74%. (Real GDP per capita rose by 27%, a pretty mangy performance over 16 years.) House prices can be expected to inflate about as fast as nominal GDP per capita, in a large country like the United States where space is not yet at a premium.
Thus the Case-Shiller Index this time around might be expected to bottom at 132 (75.81 x 174%). Its current value is 157, so we can expect a further 16% drop, even if you assume the bottom is no lower than after the milder housing downturn of 1989-90. That bottom will probably be reached around the end of 2011 if the 1990-93 post-recession pattern plays out.
To give you an idea of what that might mean, the Case-Shiller 10-city index passed 132 in June 2002. That means, on average, everybody who has bought a house since June 2002 can be expected to be underwater on the deal when the bottom is reached.
Every mortgage with a 10% down payment made since about April 2003 (when the Case-Shiller index was 147 - 90% of which is 132) would be underwater. Every prime mortgage with a 20% down payment - not that many of these were being made in those years - made after February 2004 would be underwater.
Of course, that's an average. In Dallas, there would probably be few foreclosures beyond those we already have seen, because prices didn't go up so much. On the other hand, in Las Vegas, pretty well every mortgage made since Bugsy Siegel
started developing the Flamingo
in 1946 would be kaput.
The housing market is unlikely to turn around while there's so much cheap money about, or while the feds are subsidizing home purchases to such an extent. However, at some point next year, reality will hit the U.S. economy and the federal budget - maybe simultaneously.
The house purchase subsidies are likely to be extended for one more six-month period, through December 2010, over the midterm elections, but not beyond that. At some point, the losses on the FHA mortgage portfolio will become large enough that some of them will have to be taken "on budget." And at some point, either resurgent inflation or soaring commodity prices will force Ben Bernanke to raise interest rates - or crash the Treasury bond market because he won't do so.
At that point, reality will return to the housing market too.
Meanwhile my advice is: Don't get sucked in!
[Editor's Note : There's a reason Martin Hutchinson is building a reputation as one of the sharpest prognosticators in the investment world today: He can see things that "the system" is trying to hide from individual investors. Today's analysis of the new U.S. healthcare bill is a case in point: Hutchinson sees the costly pitfalls.
But that same vision allows him to spot the top profit opportunities available to individual investors. And Hutchinson scours the globe in search of the "hyper-profitable" investment plays that he recommends for his Permanent Wealth Investor
by Chuck DiFalco | December 29, 2009
As people prepare to pop champagne corks at midnight on New Year's Eve, I see media hype about the years 2000-2009 being the "lost decade" in America. Those years overall were bad ones for Wall Street, but not for Main Street. So what if 401k portfolios became "201k" in and around the 2001 recession? House prices still went up. Jobs disappeared primarily in computer technology sector. The American middle class directly or indirectly measures its economic well being first by jobs and second by home ownership. All the other factors combined don't equal to either of these factors. Just because the stock market performed poorly over the zeroes doesn't mean it was a lost decade in suburbia. Middle America did just fine all the way through 2007 when the unemployment rate last stayed below 5%. Too bad Main Street's lost decade didn't start on an even number nicely packaged for media spin and public consumption.
On the topic of the 401k, there is a faction attacking this popular employee benefit. For example, Stephen Gandel of Time Magazine wrote: "The average 401(k) has a balance of $45,519. That's not retirement." His conclusion: "The ugly truth, though, is that the 401(k) is a lousy idea, a financial flop, a rotten repository for our retirement reserves." There the media goes again. Another factoid spun into a fallacy.
I consider my situation typical. I have multiple accounts in addition to my 401k. They are called rollover IRAs; I have worked for multiple employers like almost every employee who started working since 1980. Portability is why 401k's gained traction in the first place. My accounts are spread over multiple mutual fund companies. On average, they are less than the quoted figure. Together, they represent years of prudent saving and investing. Apparently Mr. Gandel forgot to add. A few employees suffer life events that set back their finances, more handle their finances irresponsibly, and many more than that do just fine. The left wing press has lost touch with how the middle America leads its financial life.
Unfortunately, some magazine writers aren't the only disconnected ones. "[The 401k] may be a good tax-free-savings system for wealthy individuals," said George Miller, Congressional Democrat of California's 7th District. Well I have news for you, Mr. Miller, I'm not wealthy, and the 401k works well for me and millions of registered middle class voters just like me. So what would politicians like Mr. Miller do? Invited to speak before a Congressional Committee, academic Teresa Ghilarducci proposed to replace the 401k with another government run program. I feel saved.
The ugly truth really is that people like Gandel, Ghilarducci, and Miller remain ignorant of and/or politically biased against what's good for the American middle class. These ivory tower denizens don't want to give the ordinary American the opportunity to win or lose. They want the US government to immunize working people from risk taking and decision making. They want to mandate equal outcomes. Everybody wins! Nobody is below average! If they haven't figured it out by now, government is part of the problem.
The 401k is the rare exception where the government got it right by combining personal responsibility with payroll friendly accounts. The feds standardized rules and then kept their hands off operations. Each plan might have limited choices. However, rollover IRAs into which 401k balances get funneled after switching jobs involve many options. With disappearing pension plans and the now exposed IOUs in Social Security, the 401k plan is this best opportunity for the middle class to retire at all.
Personal responsibility is an idea that is anathema to left wing ideologues. These same ideologues would better serve not only the American middle class, but all Americans by fixing the real retirement problem. The real retirement problem in the US is the intergenerational Ponzi scam absurdly known as the "Social Security Trust Fund." In the coming decade, coming up with real money to pay social security benefits will threaten the solvency of the American government.
I don't mean to single out liberals. In fairness, other segments of the status quo deserve criticism. For their part, Republicans were all too eager to bail out the fat cat bankers and their Wall Street handlers. (By the way, I haven't seen a change in 2009.) Money that could have funded Social Security obligations has already been spent. Also, Republicans never met a tax cut they didn't like because "deficits don't matter." Well, deficits don't matter, until they do. That moment next decade when federal financial mismanagement matters, those leaders will be long gone and blame everyone else if confronted.
For their part, the bankers and financiers have joined forces to serve their own interests. Wall Street doesn't seem to have changed much since the market meltdown of 2008. The rules enabling them to dump toxic securities on the global markets still exist. CEO Chuck Price: when "the [speculation] music is playing, you've got to get up and dance." They take the money and run. Also, now bankers won't lend to creditworthy small businesses. The biggest job generation machine stalls as a result. Where is the modern counterpart of Amadeo Giannini?
If 2007 was the start of the lost decade, then the end won't get behind us until late in the teens. Credit crisis recessions don't resolve themselves after a year or two like excess inventory recessions. While US consumers and the banks deleverage, the US government leverages up. Uncle Sam is taking on more debt that it can't pay back. A debt default is too much an obvious television event, the kind that gets politicians unelected. Politicians are dumb, but they aren't stupid. The US Congress, the Administration, and the Federal Reserve will instead opt for under-the-table money printing during 2010-2017. The writing on the wall says "inflation." Alas, if only Milton Friedman were still alive.
America's current power brokers just don't get it. I know, there are always exceptions, like my Congressman Ron Paul and media figure Lou Dobbs. Upon us now blows the perfect storm combination of serious economic problems and poor leadership. The media's detachment from the ordinary American's plight, the federal government's stubborn reliance on party line politics and empty promises, and Wall Street's greed ensures a smaller American middle class towards the end of the next decade. I don't plan to be a statistic. Self education, spending less than your income, control over your accounts, and big picture awareness of the global economy can make you succeed as well.
Copyright © 2009 Chuck DiFalco
Portal To Alternatives
|By Henry Makow Ph.D. |
Like sheep, humanityhad better adjust to constant harassment as long as it toleratesIlluminaticontrol of all important government and social institutions.
At theheight of the holiday season, millions of travelers to the USwere delayed and inconvenienced because of one suspicious incidentFriday.
In 1969, Rockefeller Insider Dr. Richard Day predicted the future in these terms:
"Travel... would become very restricted. People would need permission to traveland they would need a good reason to travel. If you didn't have a goodreason for your travel you would not be allowed to travel,and everyonewould need ID... later on some sort of device would be developed to beimplanted under the skin that would be coded specifically to identifythe individual." (Tape two)
The reaction to the failed"terrorist attack" eventually may lead to this state of affairs.Ironically, the Nigerian bomber was allowed on the plane without a passport! Although shabbyin appearance, he was accompanied by an East Indian man, presumably anIntelligence agent, who was well dressed. This man bought the $2200ticket. Why is there no inquiry as to his identity?
Anyone whohas traveled recently knows security measures already are stringent.There is no way a man can get on a plane with an explosive device tapedto his body. Like most terror, this event was concocted by theIlluminati and executed by their intelligence agencies.
In a Globe and Mail Poll Monday,over2/3 said the current security measures were an over reaction. Now peopleare getting felt up at security, a perfect job for Illuminati perverts.Is this really an experiment to see how much degradation people willsuffer?
Can anyone bring down a plane with exploding underwear?
As longas the masses refuse to acknowledge the Illuminati conspiracy,they willcontinue to be complicit in their own destruction.
Last weekend,six Chunnel trains broke down and thousands of people were confined foras many as 16 hours in the dark without food or water. This is atraumatic experience.
For the last six months, we have beenbombarded with propaganda about the Swine Flu. Millions have beenvaccinated. Billions of profits have been made. These vaccines mighthave been harmless. Who knows about the next? What we do know is that,generally speaking, Swine Flu proved to be less dangerous than seasonalflu.
Then, recently for over a week, we were bombarded withhysteria about weather change (aka "climate change.") The Club of Romeconcocted this bogeyman back in the 1980's.
We must regardofficial society as a brain washing chamber where we are being subjectedto trauma-based mind control. Other traumatic events from the lastdecade include 9-11, the Tsunami, Hurricane Katerina, the greatNortheastern power black-outs, the financial meltdown, and the wars inIraq and Afghanistan.
It's been a good decade forthe Illuminati. Society is far more fearful and pessimistic, farmore willing to accept totalitarian control.
THE KEY TO OUR EXASPERATION
In the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,theauthor writes that their goal is: "To wear everyone out by dissensions,animosities, feuds, famine, inoculation of diseases, want,until theGentiles sees no other way of escape except by appeal to our money andour power." (Protocol 10)
"We will so wear out andexhaust the Gentiles by all this that they will be compelled to offer usan international authority, which by its position will enable us toabsorb without disturbance all the governmental forces of the world andthus form a super-government." (Protocol 5)
Harold Rosenthalwho was a member of this cabal boasted that they even implanted a "guiltcomplex" over the holocaust and anti-Semitism that prevents society fromaddressing the threat.
Through control of banking, theyacquired a total monopoly of "the movie industry, the radio networks andthe newly developing television media...we took over the publication ofall school materials... Even your music! We censor the songs releasedfor publication long before they reach the publishers...we will havecomplete control of your thinking."
"We have put issue upon issueto the American people. Then we promote both sides of the issue asconfusion reigns. With their eyes fixed on the issues, they fail to seewho is behind every scene. We, Jews, toy with the American public as acat toys with a mouse."
It would be great if the problem could beconfined to "Jews" but literally every one who advances the New WorldOrder agenda wittingly or unwittingly is implicated, and that is,millions of people, i.e. the "Establishment."
SOCIETY OF SHILLS
The Illuminaticentral banking cartel controls government credit, media,banking,corporations, education, professional associations, justice,military..you name it. They use Freemasonry as their instrument. Recently, Iposted an article about how they control the US Black community using the Masonic "Boule." The same principle applies everywhere.
Society operateson two rails. The formal--the image of a democracy ruled by law thatdupes the masses and ensures their cooperation. The informal--theIlluminati club, which actually makes the decisions regardless of what'shappening on the formal level. The informal infiltrates the formal untilthe latter is merely a mask for the former.
Want to succeed? Join the club of secret Satan worshipers. That's what Barack Obama did.
In apost May 29, 2009, Emily Gyde, an Illuminati defector who claims to bethe real author of the Harry Potter series, says Obama told her this:
"I rememberPRESIDENT OBAMAtalking to me about how he had joined the ILL CULT - he didn'twant to -but he describedhimself as just an ordinary guy who wanted to take awage packet home...that ishow it was...he didn'twant to end up on thestreets...at the end of the day, it was all aboutmoney...you had to have it tolive...if he hadn't joined the ILL CULT...he would have been disbarred...hewouldn't have got a job...wouldn't havebeen able to live...that's how a lot of people get conned into joining the ILL.You are young,you want toprove yourself in life - you are told that you will 'neverget a job' if youdon't...the ILL provehow powerful they are."
I don't know if this is true but it is plausible.
When Iwas a sixties radical, we used to think people who worked forthe Establishment had sold their soul to the devil. I didn't imagine itwas literally true, as the Illuminati are Satan worshippers, soyou're unwittingly working for his disciples.
The worldhas been colonized by this Satanic cult. What we are experiencing, whiletrying to maintain some civilized traditions over Christmas, is theirrelentless attempt to induct us into their cult as mind controlledservants.
************************Portal To Alternatives
It has been said that "the only thing constant is change." While this is true, the rate of that change is anything but constant. If you pause to reflect on how rapidly things are changing all around us, you will realize that momentum is building and the change is picking up pace.
December 28, 2009
While some may view this phenomenon with fear, I welcome it and believe that although difficult times are ahead, the accelerating change provides an opportunity to transition into a better societal structure. Not only will the economic and political breakdown clean the slate and allow for a better system to be built, but the rapidity of this change means that we may actually be able to see the changes manifest within our lifetimes. While this is exciting to think about, it makes predictions such as these a bit more difficult to pen.
I've managed to get about 8 of 10 right in the past few years, but admittedly did not anticipate how quickly or strongly the stock market would rebound in 2009. I was also early to predict that deflation would subside and inflation would materialize, although there are some signs of the coming storm.
Here are my 10 predictions or best guesses for what will transpire in 2010:
1. Deflationary Pressure Continues
I know this may come as a surprise to gold investors, but I believe the U.S. and world economy will likely experience a continued deflationary dip during 2010. Banks are still not lending and the expansion of the monetary base is not keeping pace with the massive contraction in the credit markets. With the commercial real estate shoe yet to drop and a glut of production capacity, deflation is the more likely and immediate threat to the economy. I believe the Fed and government pull out all of the stops to fight the deflationary threat. With new consumer stimulus programs, tax rebates, government lending, pressure on the banks to lend and the printing presses running overtime, all of the newly-created money will eventually work its way into the system and as the velocity increases, deflation will subside and inflationary pressures will materialize. This could easily spiral out of control and lead to hyperinflation during 2011-2012, as no matter how confidently Ben Bernanke speaks of his abilities, once the money is created and flows into the economy it multiplies via fractional reserve banking and becomes very difficult to soak back up. So while I view widespread inflation as inevitable, I don't think it will happen in 2010.
2. Stock Market Rangebound
I believe the plunge protection team will continue to support the stock market during 2010, although the growth will slow considerably. As stocks are mainly a cash market, the deflationary impact felt in the credit markets will have little impact on stocks. The market is due for a correction and there may be short volatile swings as investors lose confidence, but I think the market will end the year little changed (+/- 5%). The market is on life support, with a fat IV injection of liquidity via the government and Fed. Absent this meddling, the market would currently be much lower and I would be predicting new lows for 2010.
3. Fed Funds Rate to Remain Near Zero
While many are anticipating a rise in rates during 2010, I believe the Fed will be forced to keep rates low due to deflationary pressures. Any rate increase would wreak havoc on the markets and this is the Fed's biggest fear. At most, a small increase could occur towards the end of 2010. Higher rates are certainly on the horizon, but I think we need to see much higher inflation before the Fed changes course.
4. Real Estate Prices Flat to Lower
Real estate prices are likely to flat-line or decline during 2010. As real estate is heavily reliant on the rapidly-contracting credit market, deflation will trump any inflationary pressures created from the expansion in base money. There is an over-supply of housing and the high rate of foreclosures is likely to continue or increase during 2010. I believe real estate will be an excellent buy at some point in the next 5-10 years, but it is nowhere near a bottom yet.
5. Unemployment Remains High
Officially-reported unemployment (U-3) will hang around 10% for most of 2010, but could rise to as high as 12% nationwide. Of course, true unemployment that counts marginally employed and discouraged workers is closer to 20% currently. Government will be the major source of any new jobs, as private enterprise and small businesses continue to struggle. Of course, any wealth or jobs the government claims to create is really just a wealth transfer and not true or sustainable growth.
6. U.S. Dollar Rallies, but Drops to New Lows by Year End
With rates likely to remain near zero, I anticipate more dollar weakness during 2010. The Fed doubled the supply of base money during the past year, deficits are at record levels and Asian countries have already begun diversifying out of dollars. There have also been reports suggesting Arab countries, China, Russia, Japan and France want to end oil dealings in dollars. If the dollar begins to lose its status as world reserve currency, look out below! The current bounce could continue a bit longer before the plunge, but by the end of the year the dollar index will be at or below 70.
7. Gold and Silver to Make New Nominal Highs
While some are claiming gold has peaked, I believe gold is nowhere near a top and will reach a new nominal high between $1,300-$1,500 during 2010. Silver will outperform gold reaching $24 or higher as the gold/silver ratio dips towards 55. Remember, gold can perform well during periods of inflation or deflation. While I believe deflation is the greater threat during 2010, this will occur primarily in credit-based markets such as real estate. Cash-based markets such as precious metals are likely to experience inflation as record amounts of new money have been printed during the past year. Look for more central bank purchases during 2010, as well as significant purchases from China and other countries that are eager to diversify away from dollars. The gold/silver suppression story will continue to gain steam and with more and more investors demanding delivery, pressure will increase on shorts and COMEX regulators. There will be some type of rule change or restructuring at minimum and the potential for default is possible. Lastly, the Dow/Gold ratio will decline after bouncing in 2009.
8. Energy Prices to Push Higher
With the strengthening economy, increasing demand from China and India, plus declining supplies, I expect energy prices to move much higher during 2010. Oil will trade most of the year in the $75-$100 range, but will break above $100 for some time. I think natural gas will generate even greater returns than crude oil as it bounces off oversold lows. In addition, I expect clean energy companies to rebound during the 1st half of 2010 and think lithium and rare earth miners will benefit from this trend.
9. Agriculture Prices to Rise Sharply
One thing that is certainly not in over-supply is agriculture. With a very poor harvest season, lack of water in key agricultural areas and exploding demand from a growing middle class in China and India, I believe prices for many food items will shoot dramatically higher in 2010 and subsequent years. Investing in quality fertilizer companies should prove very profitable over the next few years.
10. More Bank Failures, Political Tension, Voter Discontent
I anticipate more banks will fail during 2010, allowing the largest banks to scoop up smaller competitors at bargain prices. Tensions will increase in the Middle East and between the U.S. and China/Russia. A major attack will be attempted on U.S. soil, the electorate will turn against corporatist politicians of both parties and a third political party will begin to emerge. Faith in the political system will continue to wane causing a growing movement towards restructuring society under a better system. People will become less apathetic as government meddling and banker exploitation will finally begin to hit everyone in the pocketbook. Look for more frugality, local buying, community organization and a move towards becoming self-sustaining.
While many are fearful of the political and economic climate at the moment, I remain optimistic that the current crisis is a necessary cleansing of the system and will allow for the rebuilding of a better society. The transition will undoubtedly be difficult as jobs become scarce, prices rise and crime and civil unrest flourish. However, there are common sense steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family. Besides diversifying out of dollars, moving your money out of banks and owning precious metals directly, you should also consider becoming more self-sufficient, learning to garden, stockpiling food and supplies which might become scarce, continually educating yourself and encouraging others to stop supporting a failed ponzi-based system. As it collapses under the weight of its own hubris and corruption, there will be enormous opportunities to profit individually and collectively as a society. The better prepared we all are to weather the storm and facilitate the transition, the better our future promises to be.
Founder - GoldStockBull
Portal To Alternatives
|By Pablo Fernandez Blanco|
Translated By Annie Moulton
21 December 2009
Edited by Stefanie Carignan
Venezuela - El Universal - Original Article (Spanish)
Obama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech sought to legitimize his bellicose strategies
Concerned by increases in bombing and assassinations of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; the shipment of more soldiers, bombs, military planes and the equipment of war to seven Colombian military bases; the refusal to release of photographs showing torture and the names of those responsible for it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo; the absence of punishments for U.S. citizens guilty of torture, acts of terrorism, civilian assassinations and grave war crimes, a group of Latin American organizations used the occasion of the recent International Human Rights Day, December 10th, to send a public letter to Mr. Barack Obama, U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient of 2009, exhorting him to take the following actions to demonstrate his genuine will to achieve peace in the world:
"Cease to invade nations, promote war and send soldiers and arms to Iraq and Afghanistan, as called for by the United Nations Security and Human Rights Councils, which called for the implementation of a plan for withdrawal from these nations."
"Do not send troops or construct military bases to intervene in Colombia and South America."
"Do not support or recognize the actions or organized elections by the coup forces in Honduras."
"Close the military bases in Guantanamo, Colombia, Aruba, Curacao, and Honduras, as well as the "School of Assassins" (School of the Americas or Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Fort Benning, Georgia."
"Order the immediate trial and extradition to Venezuela of the torturer, assassin, and terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who is currently protected by his government after multiple violent crimes against humanity and his involvement in bombing of Cubana Flight 455 in 1976."
"Prohibit the practice of torture and publicly order the trial of militants and U.S. citizens responsible of torture and other crimes against humanity. In addition, prohibit the secret deporting of persons to nations where torture is practiced and capital punishment is permissible."
"Begin the progressive, rapid dismantling and elimination of all atomic bombs and other weapons of mass destruction."
Unfortunately, Obama's speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize strayed far from the exhortations reproduced above and instead sought to legitimize his warmongering strategies. As the Mexican newspaper La Jornada skillfully demonstrates, the decision of Norwegian academics to grant Obama the good luck of a preventative Nobel Prize—in an effort to reinforce peaceful tendencies in U.S. public power—has proven to be a profoundly mistaken one. On the contrary, the Prize has signified a lucky permission to kill—that is to say, a splendid alibi with which the superpower's Head of State will be able to justify (as he has already done) whatever act of war or barbarism he commits in the name of national security, the promotion of democracy or, simply, peace.
Portal To Alternatives
|Jan 06, 2010 - 10:42 AM |
321gold founder Bob Moriarty returns to The Gold Report for a lively exclusive interview about what he sees as the best investments for 2010. "Last year it was gold," says Bob, "and this year I believe it will be gold shares." Noting that Bernanke 'destroyed the financial system of the world,' Bob sees two possible outcomes—a deflationary collapse wherein the U.S. refuses to pay back its $10 trillion debt, or hyperinflation. "Those are the only two alternatives," he says, "and either is pretty bad."
The Gold Report: Bob, when they announced Ben Bernanke as the Time magazine's Person of the Year, I was thrilled, because I knew I was going to be speaking with you. I just have to ask, how do you see Ben's place in the 2009 economy?
Bob Moriarty: Actually, it really scared the hell out of me. What it means is that I can no longer go to college football games.
TGR: Why is that?
BM: You know the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
BM: We have three-and-a-half wars going and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and then Time magazine came out and made Ben Bernanke the Man of the Year. Now that's the equivalent of being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. Stalin was Man of the Year.
It means that Bernanke had the most influence on the world last year, which is quite interesting because it means I cannot go to a college football game anymore.
TGR: Okay. I'm still missing the link.
BM: If I go to a college football game, at half time they give out awards and they do special things. If I go to a college football game, I'm bound to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.
TGR: I hate when they give those out.
BM: Ben Bernanke has done more to destroy the economy of the world. If there was one organization that is responsible for the financial chaos that exists today, it would have to be the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke has destroyed the financial system of the world and they're thinking he saved it by creating all this money. Well, wait a minute. That money has to go somewhere.
If you actually look at the numbers, the most accurate number that I've been given is a $23.7 trillion increase in U.S. liabilities. It's not necessarily the government that spent that. We're just on the hook for that kind of money in one year and that has to have an effect. Dubai has defaulted; Greece is not very far away from defaulting; Ireland is very close to defaulting; the U.K. is very close to defaulting; Japan is very close to defaulting; the United States is very close to defaulting; Spain is very close to defaulting. And the one thing that we know is they're going to. So we can either have a deflationary collapse where everybody says, okay, well, remember those $10 trillion that we owed the rest of the world? We're just not going to pay them. Or we can go into hyperinflation. Those are the only two alternatives and either is pretty bad.
Bernanke has guaranteed a collapse of the financial system. We're in the center of the storm, the eye of the storm right now. The hundred or so people in the world who actually understand what's going on are all going, "oh, shit." And Ben Bernanke's sitting there with a grin on the cover of Time magazine. Well, I can guarantee next year he isn't going to be sitting on the cover of Time magazine with a grin. He'll be sitting on the cover of Time magazine with a noose around his neck.
TGR: Do you think these relatively smart people—granted, you stick them in Washington and weird things happen—realize they're in the eye of the storm, and they're just trying to keep the panic down now and try to maneuver things behind the scenes or do you think they're totally oblivious to what they've created?
BM: There's a lot of total oblivion. These guys have all studied Keynesian economics. Keynesian economics simply doesn't work. Anybody who actually understands economics knows that, but that's what they were taught and because everybody around them was talking Keynesian economics, they think you can somehow buy your way out of failure.
Obama came up with this really wonderful quote early in December saying we're going to spend our way out of the recession. My question is—if we spent our way into this recession, how the hell are you going to spend your way out of this recession? Spending is what got us into trouble in the first place. There was another article released last week saying that the number of Federal employees with salaries in the six figures is higher than it's ever been. This is insane. We have 22% unemployment and we have hundreds of thousands of Federal employees earning over $100,000 a year. The 22% unemployment, those people who have no jobs are starting to get really, really pissed. And when they do, we got problems.
The gap between government employees and employees in general is higher than it's ever been. The unemployment in the United States is higher than it's ever been. So not only is the government employment increasing, unemployment's increasing for everyone else. Who do they expect to pay the taxes? And the answer to that is the 47% of people who pay no taxes at all are listening to Pelosi say, "Hey, I've got a great idea. We'll make the rich people pay for the health care." And then a week later she had another really great idea. "Hey, we'll make the rich people pay for Afghanistan." Unfortunately, nobody listened to her definition of rich people. Did you catch that? Did you hear what she said? "Rich people are those who still have a job."
It's the end of empire. Democracy works until the voters learn to give themselves benefits. We have gone into never-never land. For Barack Obama to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after being in office for two weeks goes beyond absurd. The fascination with the sex life of Tiger Woods is all over the news and my question is who cares? Are they kidding? We've gone crazy.
TGR: So how are we going to be protecting ourselves investment wise? I'm going to ask a little bit about gold because you're a big gold bug. Gold ran up to above $1,200 and now had quite a decent pullback. You point out correctly that who wouldn't have expected a pullback when it's up for 13 days straight.
BM: We have not seen the top in gold, but corrections are perfectly normal and they're a good thing. Now why should you own gold? You should own gold for two reasons. One is it's an insurance policy. The things that Bernanke and the Federal Reserve and Tim Geithner have done are going to destroy the world's financial system in the end. I know that sounds really catastrophic, but it's going to be catastrophic. The United States is $100 trillion in debt. No sane person can come to me and say, "Bob, there's a way out of that." They can't, there is no way out of that. We're going to default. I don't care if we default next week or next month or next year or 10 years from now. We're going to default and it's going to be catastrophic.
Gold is an insurance policy. It's like an insurance policy on your car or your home or yourself. It's not something that you want to collect on, but for 5,000 years it has worked to protect people's assets. Secondly, as an investment, the general stock market would absolutely terrify me right now. It's so over bought and the P/E ratio has hit historic highs. It's just screaming to take everybody's money away when people wake up to what's really going on. So gold shares, silver shares, energy shares, food shares are a good, safe place to be. It used to be widows and orphans would buy GM and they would buy General Electric and they would buy Ford and Chrysler. Widows and orphans should actually be buying Canadian juniors right now because they might preserve their wealth. They own FAO and Ford and GM and General Electric; they own companies that are walking zombies just waiting to die and be buried.
TGR: If the stock market does take another correction and even a massive one, could it take down even the Canadian juniors, too?
BM: I don't believe that's true. The Canadian juniors have already crashed. It happened last year and everybody had it absolutely wrong except Bob Hoye. Including me. I believed the Canadian juniors were going to be a safe place. But if you look at the ratio of the XAU over gold, the ratio is lower than it's ever been in history and it's been lower for a year. So Canadian juniors are not going to crash; Canadian juniors already have crashed.
The market is going to do whatever it has to do to surprise the biggest number of people and people are expecting a crash in the juniors if the market crashes. I don't think so. You have to have some place of safety. Last year it was gold and this year I believe it will be gold shares. I think that this year—this is a good time to bring it—I think that 2010 will be an extraordinary year for gold shares.
TGR: Does that mean it would be an extraordinary year for all gold shares and once the mania starts happening, will all gold companies rise in value?
BM: Well, that's what's really funny. The biggest piece of crap companies out there are going to go up fifty fold. I would be very hesitant to recommend that people buy into piece of crap gold companies. But when the wind is high enough, even the turkeys fly.
TGR: Do you think in a market place where most people don't understand mining to begin with, they're going to be able to differentiate the crap gold companies, as you call them, from the valuable ones? Why not just buy a market basket of gold companies?
BM: That's a really good move. There are some great funds out there—USAA Gold is a good fund. Frank Holmes does a good job with the U.S. Global Investors Funds; Eric Sprott does a good job with the Sprott Funds. There are some great gold funds out there and that removes the risk of having to make decisions. The reason I spend eight months a year traveling all over the world is I'm trying to give my readers the house advantage and we think we do. I've been doing this for eight years and we pick some pretty good stocks. That doesn't mean they don't go down. Some go up and some go down, but that just proves I'm honest.
TGR: If we look at 2010 and it's going to be this extraordinary year as you're predicting, will the markets be smart enough to recognize and reward better run companies?
BM: Strangely enough, the ones that'll go up the most are the crap companies run by absolute crooks that are selling for a penny and a half right now. You've got to remember going from a penny and a half to three cents is 100% climb. Let me give you an example. I wrote about the International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. (NYSE/AMEX: THM; TSX-V:ITH) a year ago and International Tower Hill, I think, was US$1.04 and it's like $7.32 now. There are hundreds of companies that have gone up more than that and Tower Hill has one of the best deposits in the United States and its run by one of the best guys in the industry. A stock going from $1.04 to $7.32 is no different than a stock going from two cents to 12 cents.
TGR: You're traveling around finding the good deals for eight years, which bodes well in that market place where better projects will reward. But in the market place, everyone's going to get rewarded because you happen to be in the right sector. What's your strategy?
BM: I invest in the best people that I can find. I try to find the best companies and the best people because, while you're waiting for the piece of crap company go from a penny and a half to 15 cents, it may go to a quarter of a cent. You don't know. I buy companies that I like their story, I like their management, I like their location, etc.
TGR: What do you see for silver?
BM: Silver is a commodity right now. When the financial system collapses—and it's going to collapse—and we go back to the gold standard, the metal that you need the most of is silver because of its value as money. In a gold system the money you need most will be silver. At that point it would go back to a historic ratio, somewhere between 15:1 and 25:1. Silver is an investment. It's very dangerous because there are always cheerleaders. The cheerleaders are the guys waving the flags and the pom-poms and showing their butt to everybody saying silver is going to go to $100 an ounce if we get into a war because this is the most critical war metal. Well, we're in three wars and silver has not gone to $100. The cheerleaders say we're going to run out of silver. We're not going to run out of silver. It's a commodity. At some price, it extracts itself from the ground. At $16 to $18 an ounce, there's plenty of silver and silver's supply and demand is in equilibrium. But to move it up relative to everything else, you have to have increased demand and the increased demand is only going to come from using it for coins.
TGR: So the increases we're seeing in gold now through 2010 probably will not reflect on silver?
BM: Actually, the ratio of silver to gold will go up as the economic situation gets worse because people recognize gold as being a safe haven and they don't recognize silver being a safe haven to the same degree. We could go back to a ratio of 90:1 or 100:1, but the idea that silver is somehow a better investment than gold, these guys have been wrong for 10 years. I can't understand why they keep arguing the same thing when all the facts show they're wrong.
TGR: So someone who's looking to the insurance policy or hedging or putting money on the sure bet that the economy and the financials are going to falter should really focus in on gold, not silver.
BM: Focus on gold, but you want to hedge your bets, too. One of the possibilities that always exists is that maybe I'm wrong.
TGR: How would you hedge your bets?
BM: I own physical gold and physical silver and I own silver mining companies and I own gold mining companies.
TGR: You mentioned that you like to invest in the best people and so I'll assume you have certain companies that you feel have management that represents the best of the best. Can you share those with us?
BM: Sure. If you look at the website, we write about them all the time. Animas Resources (TSX.V:ANI) came out with drill results as we're speaking and the drill results didn't appear to be good. The stock got hammered. Somebody sent me the drill results and I looked at it and said, hey, somebody's making a mistake because those are pretty good drill results. They're in the district and they've got really substantial management. In general, I tend to like Mexico. I like Timmins Gold Corp. (TSX.V:TMM), I like Animas, I like Pediment Gold Corp. (TSX:PEZ) (OTCBB:PEZGF) (FSE:P5E). There are so many great stories there.
Endeavour Silver Corp. (TSX:EDR) (NYSE.A:EXK) has got some good deposits down there. Great Panther Resources (TSX:GPR) has got some good deposits. Candente Resource Corp. (DNT:TSX and BVL) has formed a new company called Candente Gold Corp. (CDG.TO). With Mexico you could pretty much throw a dart; I don't think you could lose there. There are some great companies and there's some great management down there.
TGR: Outside of Mexico are there any plays that you're looking at that are interesting?
BM: I wrote about one called EurOmax Resources Limited (TSX-V:EOX) in Eastern Europe, Serbia and Bulgaria and Macedonia. They've got a surplus of good projects and the stock's real cheap now. There are hundreds of companies. I'm not an expert. I go to a gold show and I see half the companies there are companies I've never even heard of before, but there are some real good guys in the industry who cover these and some good subscription services. Greg McCoach has got a good service and Brent Cook has a good service. Lawrence Roulston has a good service. There are some guys who can give good tips.
TGR: Are there any small caps outside of Mexico that you have a few thoughts on?
BM: Oh, dozens and dozens and dozens of them. For example, I happened to be on a trip with some of the people who were investors in Richfield Ventures Corp. (TSX-V: RVC) before they announced their recent results. Richfield is up in B.C. and there's another company right next to them called Silver Quest Resources Ltd. (TSX-V:SQI) and, they had absolutely extraordinary results. You've got to give them credit for that.
I'm always hesitant to list companies that I like because there are hundreds of companies out there who have done extraordinarily well. We got cheaper in relative terms last September, October and November of 2008 than gold stocks had ever been in history. You could have thrown money at companies and made money.
My very favorite company right now is an energy stock. It's not one that anyone can buy. It's still private but it's going to be a very big deal. It will be the Google of investing. It's a company called Titan Oil Recovery Inc. It's run by one of the smartest and best managers I know, Ken Gerbino. Basically the company treats past their prime oil fields with a patented bacterial process that essentially lowers the surface tension of the oil, making it easier for it to flow. Their tests on dozens of oil fields show increased oil production by over 100%. That's giant. In the oil business, most oil gets left in the ground. You can never recover all of the oil in a field. This process is going to be worth many billions of dollars. It's not a total solution to peak oil but it's sure better than anything else I've ever seen or heard of.
TGR: Well, you could have picked almost any of the resource stocks back then.
BM: Yeah, yeah—exactly. You could pick the worst company in the business a year ago and made money. There were companies that were two cents then that are 60 cents now. But in relative terms, here's one thing I would like to point out. We started our website in the summer of 2001 and, like Frank Giustra of Endeavour Financial Corporation (TSX:EDV), we chose to get back into the industry right at the bottom and we said it was the bottom. We were very supportive of companies and we said this is a tremendous opportunity to invest. Of course, nobody believed us because gold was $252 an ounce. Well, people, we're not in Kansas anymore and gold is not $252 an ounce. It's $1,120 and change right now. It was $1,200 and change a month ago. The risk is out of it. Okay. There are some extraordinary stories out there and they're extraordinarily cheap. You should invest, one, because it's a safe place to invest—it's the only safe place to invest that I know of—and, two, because it's so cheap that you should have extraordinary returns.
TGR: Thank you very much for your time, Bob.
Wanting to give others a foundation for investing in resource stocks, Bob and Barb Moriarty brought 321gold.com to the Internet almost nine years ago, and later added a second resource site, 321energy.com, which covers oil, natural gas, gasoline, coal, solar, wind and nuclear energy. Both sites feature articles, editorial opinions, pricing figures and updates on the current events affecting both sectors. Before his Internet career, Bob was a Marine F-4B pilot with more than 820 missions in Vietnam. A Captain at age 22, he was one of the most highly decorated pilots in the war.
Want to read more exclusive Gold Report interviews like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you'll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Expert Insights page.
1) Karen Roche, of The Gold Report, conducted this interview. She personally and/or her family own none of the companies mentioned in this interview.
2) The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of The Gold Report: Avalon Rare Metals; Revett Minerals, Goldcorp.
3) Michael Berry—I personally and/or my family own the following companies mentioned in this interview: Senesco Technologies, Goldcorp, Quaterra Resources, and Galway Resources.
I personally and/or my family am paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: Revett Minerals.
The GOLD Report is Copyright © 2010 by Streetwise Inc. All rights are reserved. Streetwise Inc. hereby grants an unrestricted license to use or disseminate this copyrighted material only in whole (and always including this disclaimer), but never in part. The GOLD Report does not render investment advice and does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned in this report. From time to time, Streetwise Inc. directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned and may make purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise.
Portal To Alternatives
Obama stimulus funds tagged for fake zip codes
Posted: January 07, 2010
12:30 am Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
Several watchdog groups are blowing the whistle on President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan – showing billions of taxpayer dollars designated for zip codes and congressional districts that don't exist in the United States.
New Mexico Watchdog scoured recovery.gov, a website the Obama administration launched to track billions of dollars of stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The group compared zip codes reported at recovery.gov against the U.S. Postal Service's zip code locator.
"The website, recovery.gov, reported $26.5 million going to 10 New Mexico congressional districts that do not exist," the group reports. "Those millions were credited with creating 61.5 jobs."
Additionally, $131,139 in funds reported for New Mexico were designated zip codes matching DuPont, Wash.; Richland, Wash.; and Gales Creek, Ore.
While the recovery website shows $373,874 was spent in zip code 97052, the group found that zero jobs were created. Likewise, $100,000 to zip code 86705 resulted in no additional jobs, and $36,218 to zip code 87258 purportedly created five jobs.
"None of these zip codes exist in New Mexico, or anywhere else, for that matter," Jim Scarantino of New Mexico Watchdog writes. "All told, we have found over $27 million dollars that has been reported as going to either nonexistent Congressional districts or nonexistent zip codes."
The report is just one of a flurry of similar investigations by watchdog groups across the nation.
West Virginia Watchdog reported $28 million in stimulus funds for that state listed as going to four phantom zip codes: 26661, 26551, 24913 and 2119.
Steven Allen of West Virginia Watchdog revealed three other zip codes actually belonged to Virginia, not West Virginia. The group also reported that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act added eight fictional congressional districts to the state: the 54th, 9th, 4th, 6th, 12th, 13th and 00.
Ed Pound, director of communications for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, reportedly told West Virginia Watchdog, "People make errors, and we've found people are making errors in these reports. Our job is data integrity, not data quality."
Likewise, Nebraska Watchdog reported, "If you live in Nebraska zips codes 68129, 69631, 69660 and 32202, you've seen over $2.2 million dollars in stimulus funds poured into your backyard. Unfortunately Nebraska Watchdog has also learned that three of those zips codes don't exist, and the fourth, 32202, is several states away."
Scott St. Clair, a watchdog at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Washington state, reported that nearly $3.5 million in federal stimulus funds for that state have been designated for zip codes that either don't exist or belong to other states such as Alaska, Virginia and Massachusetts. He conducted a manual review of 488 Washington zip codes and found 11 incorrect or nonexistent listings.
Old Dominion Watchdog's Paige Winfield found 14 phantom zip codes that the Obama administration website listed for Virginia reportedly received $9.5 million in federal stimulus money. Of the zip codes listed for that state, seven do not exist and an additional seven are located in different states such as New Mexico, West Virginia and Virginia.
(Story continues below)
The Capital Research Center's Freedom Foundation of Minnesota found more than $700,000 in stimulus spending marked for Minnesota is listed for three zip codes that do not exist. The group also found nearly $1.2 million of stimulus funds in Minnesota listed under zip codes in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota.
The Independence Institute discovered millions in Colorado-marked stimulus funds going to nonexistent zip codes or zip codes. According to the report, a zip code corresponding to Shiprock, N.M., has received $5,267,621 in funds designated for Colorado while $1.5 million has been spent in zip code 50901 – a place that does not exist in the Postal Service database.
Recovery.gov explains that its funding maps are based on state codes provided by funding recipients.
"If a recipient in Maryland mistakenly entered MA as the location for the Recovery project, funds to that project are allocated to the state of Massachusetts, not Maryland," it states.
In a November 2009 report, the Government Accountability Office also noted, "GAO's fieldwork and initial review and analysis of recipient data from www.recovery.gov, indicate that there are a range of significant reporting and quality issues that need to be addressed."
According to the GAO, 3,978 reports showed no dollar amount received or expended, but included more than 50,000 jobs created or retained. Also, 9,247 reports showed no jobs but included expended amounts approaching $1 billion.
Phantom districts, zip codes across U.S.
In November, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity released an extensive state-by-state report showing that every state in the United States listed phantom districts.
In all, watchdogs found $6.4 billion designated for 440 non-existent districts in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and four American territories. According to watchdog reports, days after a report on the phantom congressional districts was published, Recovery.gov began listing the funding under "unassigned congressional district."
An additional $375 million in grants, loans and government contracts was credited with job creation and sent to zip codes that don't exist, according to Kansas Watchdog. The site also reports the funds created more than 400 jobs at a cost of about $800,000 each.
"Today's news reiterates the value and importance of transparency and accountability in the federal government. In addition, it demonstrates the effectiveness of nonprofit journalism and the need for more journalists investigating our government," said Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. "These imaginary ZIP codes are not necessarily a sign of taxpayer abuse but it does make the U.S. taxpayer wary of trusting our elected officials. We urge all of our watchdogs and citizen journalists around the nation to delve into their own state stimulus funding information and report any errors to Watchdog.org."
Link Here .
Portal To Alternatives
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
A lawsuit filed against investment bank Goldman Sachs by a shareholder alleges that the company spent more money on corporate bonuses than it earned in 2008.
Shareholder Ken Brown's lawsuit is one of two suits filed against the company this week over its controversial decision to hand out billions of dollars in bonuses even after it was accused of playing a central role in the financial collapse of 2008 and receiving $10 billion in direct aid from the US government.
In his lawsuit (PDF), Brown states that Goldman Sachs gave out $4.82 billion in bonuses in 2008, despite earnings of only $2.32 billion that year. The lawsuit alleges that the company spent 259 percent of its income in the first quarter of 2009 on compensation.
Goldman Sachs handed out $16.7 billion in compensation in the first nine months of 2009, according to Bloomberg news service, and that figure may reach $22 billion for the entire year. Brown's suit says the company typically sets aside 44 percent of its net revenue for employees.
"Payment of this exorbitant amount of compensation, which has little to do with Goldman Sachs's performance, and was financed in large part with government bailout and taxpayer money, is a waste of the company's assets and a breach of duty and loyalty," Brown asserts in the suit.
Brown's suit asks the court to order the company to return the bonus money to company coffers.
In another lawsuit, filed Thursday, an Illinois pension fund that is a Goldman shareholder demanded that Goldman return some of the compensation it has handed out since the financial collapse. The Central Laborers' Pension Fund wants compensation for damages to shareholders from the company's compensation spending.
The lawsuit contends that Goldman's revenue for the year was artificially inflated by government bailouts of the banking industry and the insurer American International Group Inc, as well as a change in Goldman's fiscal year.
Such sums, and Goldman's practice of continuing to pay out nearly 50 percent of net revenue as compensation, show "scant regard" for the interests of shareholders, it said.
Both lawsuits "are completely without merit," Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally told Bloomberg news.
Goldman Sachs has paid back the $10 billion it received in direct aid from taxpayers, meaning the company is not bound by government compensation limits. But the $10 billion figure doesn't include the billions more the company received thanks to pressure by the Fed on insurance giant AIG to pay all of its debts to Goldman -- and other AIG creditors -- in full.
On Thursday, it was revealed that during the financial crisis, the New York Fed -- then run by current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner -- tried to cover up its demand that AIG use taxpayers' money to compensate Goldman Sachs.
Portal To Alternatives
|The vast majority of the talking heads on television are still speaking of the current economic collapse as if it is a temporary "recession" that will soon be over. So far, the vast majority of the American people seem to believe this as well, although for many Americans there is a very deep gnawing in the pit of their stomachs that is telling them that there is something very, very wrong this time around. The truth is that the foundations of the U.S. economy have been destroyed by an orgy of government, corporate and individual debt that has gone on for decades. It was the greatest party in the history of the world, but now the party is over. The following are 11 signs from just this past month that show that the U.S. economy is headed into the toilet and will not be recovering....
#1) When even Wal-Mart is closing stores you know things are bad. Wal-Mart announced on Monday that it will close 10 money-losing Sam's Club stores and will cut 1,500 jobs in order to reduce costs. So if even Wal-Mart has to shut down stores, what chance do other retailers have?
#2) Americans are going broke at a staggering pace. 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008.
#3) American workers are working harder than ever and yet making less. After adjusting for inflation, pay for production and non-supervisory workers (80 percent of the private workforce) is 9% lower than it was in 1973. But those Americans who do still have jobs are the fortunate ones.
#4) Unemployment is absolutely exploding all over the United States. Minority groups have been hit particularly hard. For example, unemployment on many U.S. Indian reservations is over 80 percent.
#5) Unfortunately the employment situation is showing no signs of turning around. December was actually the worst month for U.S. unemployment since the so-called "Great Recession" began.
#6) So just how bad are things when compared to past recessions? During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs will stop any time soon.
#7) Can you imagine trying to get your first job in this economic climate? Our young men and women either can't get work or have given up on work altogether. The percentage of Americans 16 to 24 who have jobs is 13 percent lower than ten years ago.
#8) So where did all the jobs go? Over the past few decades we have allowed the corporate giants to ship mountains of American jobs overseas, and there are signs that this trend is only going to get worse. In fact, Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades. So get ready for even more of our jobs to be shipped off to Mexico, China and India.
#9) All of these job losses are leading to defaults on mortgages. Over the past couple of years we have seen the American Dream in reverse. According to a report that was just released, delinquent home loans at government-controlled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged 20 percent from July through September.
#10) But that is nothing compared to what is coming. A massive "second wave" of mortgage defaults is getting ready to hit the U.S. economy starting in 2010. In fact, this "second wave" is so frightening that even 60 Minutes is reporting on it.
#11) Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has announced that it made a record profit of $46.1 billion in 2009. Apparently during this economic crisis it is a very good time to be a bankster.
Portal To Alternatives
January 21, 2010
As the United States moves into a new decade of military overreach abroad and national bankruptcy at home, Washington is in a desperate search for more revenue and a solution to the future financing of the trillions in national debt obligations currently held by foreign central banks and investors. Economists, politicians and smart investors know the dollar's days as the world reserve currency are numbered as is our ability to finance the national debt.
Although the historical government solution to unsustainable government debt loads has always been the destruction of the debts by currency depreciation and eventual hyperinflation, there is always an intermediate step used to buy more time for the politicians in power. This action, usually sidestepped and downplayed by the establishment historians paid to hide the real facts of history is wealth confiscation. Napoleon had it right when he stated, "History is a state of lies agreed upon."
The largest source of liquid private wealth remaining in the United States are the $15 trillion in private retirement funds and the ultimate ownership, control and future of these funds have already been compromised and exchanged for the favorable tax treatment of private retirement plans. Congress writes the laws, so they can tax, penalize, hold your funds hostage and although they'd never use the word, "confiscate" your assets at their discretion.
The retirement trap I'm writing about is only a proposal at the present time and since it may well begin in the latter years of the Obama Administration assuming the Democrats can somehow maintain their majorities in Congress, I'm calling it the "Obama Retirement Trap". But make no mistake, the government need for current revenue and their frenzied search for a short-term fix to fund a backstop of liquidity to buy future government debt obligations when no credible investors will buy them is an unspoken quest of both political parties. The establishments of both political parties will do anything to stay in power and this will include raiding and pillaging your retirement funds.
Washington Proposals for a Mandatory Guaranteed Retirement Annuity
The government is getting ready to use that power and in a remarkably cunning way.
The prototype for their plan was devised in 1991 by Alicia H. Munnell, then Director of Research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She presented the idea in a paper entitled "Current Taxation of Qualified Pension Plans: Has the Time Come?" Later she was promoted to Assistant Treasury Secretary, and along with Robert Reich, Henry Cisneros and Hillary Clinton, she began to plot a raid on retirement funds. One element of the scheme was to create a Mandatory Pension System and fund it with a one-time 15% tax on retirement assets and a recurring 15% tax on retirement plan income.
I warned about this in my 1994 book, "Escape the Pension Trap". Fortunately, the GOP election victory that same year derailed the Mandatory Pension System.
Guess what? It's back… and nicely repackaged. It's back because, due to slumping tax collection, Washington is on a desperate search for a new revenue stream. And this time they don't want to just tax your retirement assets, they're out to take them.
Teresa Ghilarducci: The New Architect of the Retirement Plan Wealth Attack
The latest leftist plan first appeared in 2007 at the Economic Policy Institute: Agenda for Shared Prosperity. In 2008, she became the new Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. In her book, "When I'm 64: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them", she hypes her retirement solution for millions who do not have adequate retirement savings and her solution is to confiscate most of the retirement assets of successful Americans.
Here's her plan…
Each year, the government will put $600 into a Guaranteed Retirement Account for you and every other working person in America. If $600 amounts to more than 5% of your annual compensation (if you earn more than $12,000) you will be required to contribute 5% of your total annual compensation to the GRA. The Feds will promise to pay a 3% "inflation adjusted return" on each GRA, based on the government's Consumer Price Index. When you retire, you receive a portion of the account each month. Then — get this — when you die, your heirs receive only 50% of what's in your GRA. The rest goes to Uncle Sam. Remember, this is the good news!
Following the introduction of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts, the next step will be to cap the tax deduction for annual contributions to existing private retirement plans at 5,000. (Many Americans will support this, given the hostility to the well-publicized Wall Street mega-bonuses and retirement plans.) Next will be a tax on every retirement plan's income, to provide an immediate flow of revenue to the Feds. Finally, there would be a prohibition on buying any non-U.S. investment for any retirement plan.
What Would Spark This Nationalization?
A plan this radical can't just be slipped through Congress. It can only ride into law on a first-class national crisis. Have you noticed that somehow the politicians are always able to find one when they need one.
- Loss of Triple-A Status for U.S. Treasury Bonds
The loss of triple-A status for Treasury bonds is the most likely trigger. And according to Steven Hess, Moody's lead analyst for the U.S., it's not that far-fetched. He states, "The AAA rating of the U.S. is not guaranteed. So if they don't get the deficit down in the next 3 to 4 years to a sustainable level, then the rating will be in jeopardy."
- Terrorist Attack or Military Disaster
A terrorist attack or a military disaster like the collapse of Pakistan or an Israel/Iran conflict and disruption of oil shipments could close American markets just as we saw in 2001. That would create a financial crisis over night.
- Another Economic Meltdown
After years of deficits, the greatest hazard to our economy is a run on the dollar and on Treasury securities by foreign investors. Although America's foreign creditors don't want to start a run on Treasury debt — they prefer a slow, orderly retreat — no one intends to be the last to head for the exit. Political or economic pressure in Asia could force Japan or China to take immediate action and dump our debt and knock the prices down to fire-sale levels.
What happens if China decides to cut its losses on U.S. Treasuries and issues a $100 billion sell order? That's only 10% of their holdings, but it could set off panic selling of dollar-denominated bonds and crush the U.S. stock market like an egg shell. Mortgage rates would spike, which would suck the housing market into another air pocket. The President would probably sign an Executive Order closing the markets until order could be restored.
Any of those events would take place in an atmosphere of deep public worry and fear. That's when Washington would come to your rescue and guarantee to restore your retirement funds back to a "pre-crash" level. How nice, right? However, in exchange you would need to "voluntarily" move your retirement assets into your new Guaranteed Retirement Account.
For those who don't sign up for a GRA because they're not fooled by the carrot, there would be sticks to consider.
- Additional withdrawal penalties and taxes on their retirement plan.
- Limitations on permissible investments — nothing that isn't "in the public interest."
- Mandatory minimum holdings for targeted investments, such as Treasury obligations.
Remember, these retirement proposals are just in the discussion stage but progressives are promoting this confiscation agenda to the Obama Administration as a new source of revenue for a bankrupt federal government desperate for additional sources of revenue.
When the next economic or stock market crisis hits, your retirement assets will be at risk from this type confiscation effort regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans are in control.
The Confiscation Event
At some time during the next decade, a global run on treasury debt and the dollar will also likely take the American stock market down past lows not seen since the financial meltdown crisis in 2008 and 2009. The 50% to 75% stock market pullback during the actual bankruptcy of the Washington debt and paper dollar will send shock waves through retirees and current plan participants as their private retirement plan balances plummet.
At this time, Washington will come to the rescue and guarantee all private retirement plan market values back to pre-crisis levels. The gullible American public will overwhelmingly support this effort by switching their dwindling funds into the Guaranteed Retirement Annuity managed by the government. For the first few years, Washington will probably label those few of us who warn that that Americans have lost their retirement benefits as extremists, Ron Paul paranoids and Tea Party advocates.
Then it will become crystal clear to all Americans that their retirement benefits have been given away for a promise by an evil group of plunderers who have never in their history kept a promise, a guarantee or their word on anything. The greatest theft of wealth in the history of the world will have taken place and only those few who heeded an early warning will still have their retirement benefits and security.
Portal To Alternatives
...The U.S. Economy Is Dying And Is Simply Not Going To Recover.
Even though the U.S. financial system nearly experienced a total meltdown in late 2008, the truth is that most Americans simply have no idea what is happening to the U.S. economy. Most people seem to think that the nasty little recession that we have just been through is almost over and that we will be experiencing another time of economic growth and prosperity very shortly. But this time around that is not the case. The reality is that we are being sucked into an economic black hole from which the U.S. economy will never fully recover.
The problem is debt. Collectively, the U.S. government, the state governments, corporate America and American consumers have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. Our massive debt binge has financed our tremendous growth and prosperity over the last couple of decades, but now the day of reckoning is here.
And it is going to be painful.
The following are 20 reasons why the U.S. economy is dying and is simply not going to recover....
#1) Do you remember that massive wave of subprime mortgages that defaulted in 2007 and 2008 and caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression? Well, the "second wave" of mortgage defaults in on the way and there is simply no way that we are going to be able to avoid it. A huge mountain of mortgages is going to reset starting in 2010, and once those mortgage payments go up there are once again going to be millons of people who simply cannot pay their mortgages. The chart below reveals just how bad the second wave of adjustable rate mortgages is likely to be over the next several years....
#2) The Federal Housing Administration has announced plans to increase the amount of up-front cash paid by new borrowers and to require higher down payments from those with the poorest credit. The Federal Housing Administration currently backs about 30 percent of all new home loans and about 20 percent of all new home refinancing loans. Tighter standards are going to mean that less people will qualify for loans. Less qualifiers means that there will be less buyers for homes. Less buyers means that home prices are going to drop even more.
#3) It is getting really hard to find a job in the United States. A total of 6,130,000 U.S. workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more in December 2009. That was the most ever since the U.S. government started keeping track of this statistic in 1948. In fact, it is more than double the 2,612,000 U.S. workers who were unemployed for a similar length of time in December 2008. The reality is that once Americans lose their jobs they are increasingly finding it difficult to find new ones. Just check out the chart below....
#4) In December, there were also 929,000 "discouraged" workers who are not counted as part of the labor force because they have "given up" looking for work. That is the most since the U.S. government first started keeping track of discouraged workers in 1949. Many Americans have simply given up and are now chronically unemployed.
#5) Some areas of the U.S. are already virtually in a state of depression. The mayor of Detroit estimates that the real unemployment rate in his city is now somewhere around 50 percent.
#6) For decades, our leaders in Washington pushed us towards "a global economy" and told us it would be so good for us. But there is a flip side. Now workers in the U.S. must compete with workers all over the world, and our greedy corporations are free to pursue the cheapest labor available anywhere on the globe. Millions of jobs have already been shipped out of the United States, and Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades. The days when blue collar workers could live the American Dream are gone and they are not going to come back.
#7) During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time around the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs is going to stop any time soon.
#8) All of this unemployment is putting severe stress on state unemployment funds. At this point, 25 state unemployment insurance funds have gone broke and the Department of Labor estimates that 15 more state unemployment funds will likely go broke within two years and will need massive loans from the federal government just to keep going.
#9) 37 million Americans now receive food stamps, and the program is expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day. The United States of America is very quickly becoming a socialist welfare state.
#10) The number of Americans who are going broke is staggering. 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 - a 32 percent increase over 2008.
#11) For decades, the fact that the U.S. dollar was the reserve currency of the world gave the U.S. financial system an unusual degree of stability. But all of that is changing. Foreign countries are increasingly turning away from the dollar to other currencies. For example, Russia's central bank announced on Wednesday that it had started buying Canadian dollars in a bid to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.
#12) The recent economic downturn has left some localities totally bankrupt. For instance, Jefferson County, Alabama is on the brink of what would be the largest government bankruptcy in the history of the United States - surpassing the 1994 filing by Southern California's Orange County.
#13) The U.S. is facing a pension crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Virtually all pension funds in the United States, both private and public, are massively underfunded. With millions of Baby Boomers getting ready to retire, there is simply no way on earth that all of these obligations can be met. Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the collective unfunded pension liability for all 50 U.S. states for Forbes magazine. So what was the total? 3.2 trillion dollars.
#14) Social Security and Medicare expenses are wildly out of control. Once again, with millions of Baby Boomers now at retirement age there is simply going to be no way to pay all of these retirees what they are owed.
#15) So will the U.S. government come to the rescue? The U.S. has allowed the total federal debt to balloon by 50% since 2006 to $12.3 trillion. The chart below is a bit outdated, but it does show the reckless expansion of U.S. government debt over the past several decades. To get an idea of where we are now, just add at least 3 trillion dollars on to the top of the chart....
#16) So has the U.S. government learned anything from these mistakes? No. In fact, Senate Democrats on Wednesday proposed allowing the federal government to borrow an additional $2 trillion to pay its bills, a record increase that would allow the U.S. national debt to reach approximately $14.3 trillion.
#17) It is going to become even harder for the U.S. government to pay the bills now that tax receipts are falling through the floor. U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% in the year that ended on September 30th, 2009.
#18) So where will the U.S. government get the money? From the Federal Reserve of course. The Federal Reserve bought approximately 80 percent of all U.S. Treasury securities issued in 2009. In other words, the U.S. government is now being financed by a massive Ponzi scheme.
#19) The reckless expansion of the money supply by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve is going to end up destroying the U.S. dollar and the value of the remaining collective net worth of all Americans. The more dollars there are, the less each individual dollar is worth. In essence, inflation is like a hidden tax on each dollar that you own. When they flood the economy with money, the value of the money you have in your bank accounts goes down. The chart below shows the growth of the U.S. money supply. Pay particular attention to the very end of the chart which shows what has been happening lately. What do you think this is going to do to the value of the U.S. dollar?....
#20) When a nation practices evil, there is no way that it is going to be blessed in the long run. The truth is that we have become a nation that is dripping with corruption and wickedness from the top to the bottom. Unless this fundamentally changes, not even the most perfect economic policies in the world are going to do us any good. In the end, you always reap what you sow. The day of reckoning for the U.S. economy is here and it is not going to be pleasant.
Portal To Alternatives
Jan 26, 2010
By: Lorimer Wilson
In spite of philosophical differences in many areas of politics and economics, Ron Paul and Simon Johnson agree that the cosiness that exists between the U. S. Congress and the financial elite has not worked, and is not working, in the best interest of the average American. They both suggest that major changes must be made in that relationship to strengthen the American economy. Is it too late, however, to avoid the repercussions of an even weaker greenback, rising inflation and the opening of the floodgates in the price of all investments related to gold and silver?
"When Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he urged AIG officials not to disclose to the
Securities Exchange Commission relevant details of agreements with banks to bail out Goldman Sachs. Apparently he felt at the time that regulators and the public would be angry that taxpayer money was used to fully compensate bankers who made some horrifically bad investment decisions. These banks should have suffered the consequences of the huge risks they were taking. After all, they kept plenty of rewards when times were good. Instead, the Fed found a way to socialize these major losses so these banks could survive and continue making more bad decisions, at the expense of the American people and the value of the dollar." So says Dr. Ron Paul in a recent article entitled 'Why the Fed Likes Independence'.
Paul's comments are a perfect follow-up to earlier comments by Simon Johnson in his article entitled "The Quiet Coup" in which he said that the finance industry had effectively captured our government going on to say:
Financial Oligarchy Remains Unchallenged
"America is in financial crisis but instead of the financial oligarchy being broken up to permit essential reform they are continuing to use their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed. Unfortunately, our legislators seem unwilling to act against these powerful financiers opting instead to succumb to their power and influence and continue to give them what they deem to be in their best interest instead of that of the taxpayers'.
All this is happening because of the false belief by all concerned that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets are crucial to America's position in the world and that whatever the banks say is true, and what they want is necessary. The government's velvet-glove approach with the banks is deeply troubling, for one simple reason: it is inadequate to change the behavior of a financial sector accustomed to doing business on its own terms, at a time when that behavior must change. There is no better time to take such action than now but it is evident that reform is but a pipe dream. America's financial oligarchy is still in control and, as such, the long-term consequences will be dire!"
Powerful Elite Protecting Their Own
Paul reports that "Geithner claims he had to take such politically unpopular actions to save the economy from collapse. Half of that is right - it was politically unpopular, but it is extremely premature at best, to claim the economy has been saved...It is hard to argue that this sort of government waste has done anything but harm to our economy. Raiding Main Street to bail out Wall Street is a foolish idea."
Johnson goes further saying that "typically countries in crisis are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. That certainly is the case with the powerful elites - the financial oligarchy - in America...they (the American financial industry) gained political power over the years by amassing a kind of cultural capital, a belief system in which Washington insiders believe that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets are crucial to America's position in the world … and always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true."
Lack of Transparency Troubling
Paul makes the point that Geithner's revelation shows the need for Fed transparency and that "their claim that they should have "independence" is a canard. They very much enjoy their comfortable pattern of bailing out friends and devaluing the currency with no oversight and no accountability. Geithner specifically asked officials at AIG not to disclose to the SEC or to the public particulars about this special deal for his friends. We only know these details now because AIG was eventually forthcoming when Congress demanded some answers."
Paul's views only confirm Johnson's who put forth that "When the crisis first began the government was slow to react and then did so with a lack of transparency, and an unwillingness to upset the financial sector. The response so far is perhaps best described as "policy by deal" in that when a major financial institution got into trouble, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve engineered a one-of bailout and then announced that everything is fine without stating what combination of interests were being served, and how. This was late-night, backroom dealing, pure and simple."
Congress Should be More Responsible
Paul concludes that "We should be getting information on all such dealings straight from the Fed. The Fed should be accountable to Congress because it is a creature of Congress. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to oversee the integrity of the monetary unit.
We have unwisely and unconstitutionally delegated this authority to the Federal Reserve, which has in turn devalued our dollar by 95 percent and counting. When the Federal Reserve engages in harmful policies, Congress is still ultimately responsible. If the Fed is not made accountable through a GAO audit at least, it will continue to be accountable to no one, and that is unacceptable."
Unfortunately, as Johnson sees it "Regulators, legislators, and academics almost all assumed that the managers of these banks knew what they were doing. In retrospect, they didn't. As more and more of the rich made their money in finance, the cult of finance seeped into the culture at large. In a society that celebrates the idea of making money, it was easy to infer that the interests of the financial sector were the same as the interests of the country and that the winners in the financial sector knew better what was good for America than did the career civil servants in Washington. Faith in free financial markets grew into conventional wisdom—trumpeted on the editorial pages of The
Wall Street Journal and on the floor of Congress.
Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. This velvet-glove approach is inadequate to change the behavior of a financial sector accustomed to doing business on its own terms, at a time when that behavior must change."
What Will Financial Elite's Behaviour Mean for Your Investments?
The major bailouts to the banks and the following major stimulus spending will further destroy the strength of the U. S. dollar and cause significant inflation. That in turn will be favorable for the future price of gold and silver, more favorable for those companies that mine such precious metals, even more so for the few gold and silver royalty companies that exist and, in particular, those that have long term warrants.
We may not like what has happened, and still is happening, with the behavior of our politicians and the country's financial elite but we can, and should, prepare now for the financial rewards their actions (and inaction) will bring our way. Just prepare for the inevitable, be patient as it unfolds and then enjoy your new found prosperity.
Lorimer Wilson is Editor of www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com (F.A.S.T.) and www.MunKnee.com (Money, Monnee, Munknee!) and an economic analyst and financial writer. He is also a frequent contributor to this site and can be reached at editor@...."
© 2010 Copyright Lorimer Wilson- All Rights Reserved
Portal To Alternatives
Failure to admit WHO wrongdoings only further vindicates public's waning confidence
The Corbett Report
Lamenting the likely outcome of recent revelations that the WHO knowingly and unnecessarily hyped the recent H1N1 influenza panic, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan admitted: "The days when health officials could issue advice, based on the very best medical and scientific data, and expect populations to comply, may be fading."
The remarks came in Chan's report to the WHO Executive Board at the biannual meeting of the board in Geneva last week. They come at the end of a decidedly upbeat report on the WHO's recent successes that avoids talking about recent allegations that the WHO's own officials and advisors knowingly and unnecessarily hyped the recent swine flu panic to benefit their big pharma patrons. In the report, Chan does not mention the recent Dutch parliament investigation into Dr. Albert Osterhaus or the ongoing investigation by the Council of Europe, choosing instead to allude to these ongoing investigations elliptically: "It is natural that every decision or action that shaped the response [to the H1N1 outbreak] will likewise be closely and carefully scrutinized." She adds somewhat hopefully that "WHO can withstand this scrutiny."
The WHO's critics, however, are not so sure. The Council of Europe, for one, voted in favor of a resolution authorizing an investigation by that body into the H1N1 scare. The resolution outright accuses the WHO of conspiring with pharmaceuticals manufacturers "in order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against the flu," and states that the incident has damaged "the credibility and accountability of important international health-agencies."
Given the intensity and forthrightness of criticism of the organization, it is doubtful that the organization will escape sanction for its transgressions. If the Council finds that the pharmaceutical companies have influenced the WHO's decisionmaking processes in any way, the fallout is likely to be devestating for the organization and its top brass.
Perhaps in an effort to shape the narrative before the investigations make their determination, Chan appears to deflect criticism of the WHO back on to the public: "It may no longer be sufficient to say that a vaccine is safe, or testing complied with all regulatory standards, or a risk is real."
The comments are made in reference to the fact that large numbers of people chose to ignore the WHO's advice and not take the experimental H1N1 vaccines, leaving country after country after country scrambling to dispose of their excess vaccine stockpiles. Chan's comments are disingenuous at best, as the best medical and scientific data did not indicate the vaccines were safe. As Wolfgang Wodarg explained to L'Humanité, some of the vaccines greenlighted for use included adjuvants that had not previously been approved for use in vaccinations and others, like Novartis' 'ObtaFlu,' used experimental manufacturing techniques like growing the virus on live cancer cells. "It can therefore happen that during the manufacturing process of the vaccine, residue of cancerous cells remain in the preparation," explained Wodarg.
That there could be valid, scientifically justified reasons for not taking the H1N1 vaccine is not allowed for in Chan's trite formulation, even despite the fact that the majority of medical professionals in country after country after country indicated their unwillingness to take the vaccine. Nor does Chan's statement allow for the fact that many of the vaccines were approved before testing even began, sometimes with approval coming before testing had even been done on the very target population for the vaccine.
In Chan's formulation, all such misgivings are dismissed as incredulous. They are chalked up to a "revolution in communications and information technologies," evidently meaning the ability for people to follow the scientific debate for themselves on the internet rather than wait for official word from the authorities about what is or is not safe. She then concludes that this recent failure to achieve 100% vaccination rates presented a "communications challenge" that could be solved by "managing public perceptions."
Certainly, the public's perception of such arrogance does play a role in influencing their thinking about organizations like the WHO. Chan's own actions are an example of the type of double-standard that often afflicts those who order the public to do what they're told; like one-child policy advocate Ted Turner (who has five children himself) or carbon reduction advocate Al Gore (whose household consumes twenty times more energy than the average American), it was revealed that Margaret Chan had not bothered to take the H1N1 vaccine herself, citing a busy schedule as an excuse for not having undertaken the twenty second procedure. Since both Ted Turner and Al Gore have self-serving reasons for taking their hypocritical stances, it would be illogical to conclude that the same cannot be true in Chan's case.
Of course, Chan's comments should be taken for what they are: an attempt (however clumsy) to derail serious investigation of the WHO's actions by claiming that the health authorities are always correct. Assuming the Council of Europe receives the necessary cooperation with its investigation, this idea is likely to be exposed as a patent falsehood in due course.
More worrying than Chan's transparent attempt to save her own job, however, is the fact that the WHO is not even giving the increased scrutiny of its actions pause for thought. Instead, as we reported last week, the organization is contemplating a vast increase in its budget, scope and authority.
Alluding to the WHO's audacious plan to implement global taxes in order to expand its operations overseas, Chan tells the Executive Board: "Last week, I convened an informal consultation of experts to look at the future of financing for WHO." She fails to mention that one of the members of the Expert Working Group in question has now publicly claimed that the group was not fully consulted on all of its supposed recommendations and that the process had been manipulated by big pharma.
By far the most chilling revelation of the entire document comes next. According to Chan, "Global governance of public health was part of the discussions during that meeting."
Given the recent attempt to set up global governmental systems on the back of the discredited pseudoscience propounded by the climategate criminals, the calls for global currency from the same criminals who engineered the financial collapse and calls for cross-border military operations by the same politicians who were missing on purpose during the largest military emergency of modern history, even the most gung-ho globalist would have to admit a pattern of fraudsters, felons and criminals backing global government as a way to increase their power, control and personal wealth. Now that the WHO is attempting to implement global taxes even after they have been exposed as Big Pharma stooges and swindlers only further reinforces the point.
That the WHO is attempting to push through their globalist agenda at this point is either a sign that they have to go all-in on their plan before it is completely exposed or that they think the public is too dumbed-down and self-absorbed to notice what is happening in plain view. Either way, the question of whether or not the WHO will be able to pull off this global scam is up to the public, who will vote by continuing to support those institutions, media, and governments that perpetuate the status quo or those alternative media figures, politicians and activists who are exposing the truth on these globalist issues.
The Corbett Report
Portal To Alternatives
Henry Blodget | Jan. 30, 2010,
These two charts tell you pretty much all you need to know about the state of the US economy. They also, unfortunately, provide some clues as to how this movie will end.
First, from John Mauldin, the state of the U.S. government's finances. The red line is spending. The blue line is tax revenue.
Can you imagine if that was your household?
Second, from Ned Davis, the state of our country's debts, as measured by debt as a percentage of GDP. The little peak to the left was the debt mountain we accumulated during the Great Depression, which took a decade to work off. The, um, bigger peak to the right, is the one we've accumulated now.
So how will this movie end?
Well, in the near-term, we can try to borrow more to fill the hole between the red line and the blue line in the chart on the top. That will postpone the ending and give us a chance to kickstart the economy again.
Of course, every dollar we borrow will also drop down to the chart at the bottom, making the mountain even taller (unless private-market debt shrinks by an offsetting amount--this chart includes both government and private debt).
If we're lucky, in the intermediate term, the economy will start growing more rapidly (blue line turns up) and the government will be able to ease off on spending (red line turns down), making it so we can borrow less every year. If that happy trend continues, we'll eventually only have to deal with the nasty looking chart at the bottom: The debt mountain.
As to that... The accumulation of the debt mountain is what has fueled the impressive GDP growth we've enjoyed for the past 30 years. It's fun borrowing more money, because when you borrow more money, you can spend more money, which is fun!
Of course, in the end, when you've borrowed as much as you can, you have to start paying some of the money back(or, at the very least, borrow less each year than you used to). And to pay the money back, you have to start spending less.
So, again, how do you think this movie will end?
If we're lucky, it will end gradually, in a long, boring couple of decades in which we gradually get our discipline and competitiveness back and bring our finances under control.
And if we're not lucky?
Well, then, the movie will have a more exciting ending.
Portal To Alternatives
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