“Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy – especially when the economy is struggling.” - Ben Bernanke
“The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.” – Alan Greenspan
There you have it – the wisdom of two Ivy League educated economists who are primarily liable for the death of the American middle class. They now receive $250,000 per speaking engagement from the crooked financial parties their monetary policies benefited; write books to try and whitewash their legacies of failure, fraud, and hubris; and bask in the glow of the corporate mainstream media propaganda storyline of them saving the world from financial Armageddon. Never have two men done so much damage to so many people, so quickly, and are not in a prison cell or swinging from a lamppost. Their crimes make Madoff look like a two bit marijuana dealer.
The self-proclaimed Great Depression “expert” Ben Bernanke peddles pabulum about inflation being too low and posing dire risk to the economy, but is blasé that swelling the Federal Reserve balance sheet debt from $900 billion in 2008 to $4.4 trillion today with his digital printing press poses any systematic risk to the country and its citizens. Either his years in academia have blinded him to the reality of his actions upon the lives of real people living in the real world, or his real constituents have not been the American people, but the Wall Street bankers that pulled his puppet strings over the last eight years.
A wave of speculative activity is sweeping major markets.
The uncertainty regarding the shutdown and “debt default” constitutes a golden opportunity for “institutional speculators”. Those who have reliable “inside information” regarding the complex outcome of the legislative process are slated to make billions of dollars in windfall gains.
While Wall Street exerts a decisive influence on policy and legislation pertaining to the government shutdown, these same major financial institutions also control the movement of currency markets, commodity and stock markets through large scale operations in derivative trade.
Most of the key actors in the US Congress and the Senate involved in the shutdown debate are controlled by powerful corporate lobby groups acting directly or indirectly on behalf of Wall Street. Major interests on Wall Street are not only in a position to influence the results of the Congressional process, they also have “inside information” or prior knowledge of the chronology and outcome of the government shutdown impasse.
They are slated to make billions of dollars in windfall profits in speculative activities which are “secure” assuming that they are in a position to exert their influence on relevant policy outcomes.
It should be noted, however, that there are important divisions both within the US Congress as well as within the financial establishment. The latter are marked by the confrontation and rivalry of major banking conglomerates.
These divisions will have an impact on speculative movements and counter movements in the stock, money and commodity markets. What we are dealing with is “financial warfare”. The latter is by no means limited to Wall Street, Chinese, Russian and Japanese financial institutions (among others) will also be involved in the speculative endgame.
Speculative movements based on inside information, therefore, could potentially go in different directions. What market outcomes are being sought by rival banking institutions? Having inside information on the actions of major banking competitors is an important element in the waging of major speculative operations.
The Two-Party System Doesn’t Exist. There’s Only One Political Party – Ron Paul
The two political parties are both owned by the same ruling class. This is why they do not differ for those concerns which matter most to the public. – Image courtesy of netrightdaily.com.
Take the analogy of only two phone companies or two oil companies serving America. In almost no time they would secretly form a trust (this is illegal) and their prices and fees would sky rocket as if only a single company existed. Their quality control would probably regress all the while having a callous disregard for simple customer support for most services. This is not unlike the two-party system of the American government which is a conduit for corporatism.
When people say that both parties are exactly the same they mean within the context of those public policies which matter most.
Please consider the following 15 points where I attempt to prove, and I do think I succeed, that there is no difference between the two candidates running for president who are represented by the two parties for those concerns which are of a most pressing nature:
One candidate signed the NDAA 2012 which “legalizes” martial law and indefinite detention of innocent American citizens simply for peacefully protesting. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate signed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act which can imprison American citizens indefinitely with no trial. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate supports the assassination of American citizens suspected of participating in subversive activities. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate has broken his promise and kept Gitmo concentration camp open which also practices torture. The other candidate supports this.
The TSA has grown to include train stations under one candidate. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate maintains his support of Israel’s foreign policies for the United States. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate maintains his support of the war of aggression in Afghanistan. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate ignores the Federal Reserve. The other candidate also ignores this.
One candidate has done nothing to prevent another Wall Street meltdown. The other candidate ignores this.
One candidate supports open borders and legalizing illegal aliens. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate supports limiting our liberties and increasing surveillance of innocent American citizens. The other candidate supports this.
One candidate agrees that any citizens who rise up to the abuses by government are enemies of the state or terrorists. The other candidate agrees with this.
The building of FEMA concentration camps are in full force under one candidate. The other candidate likely supports this.
One candidate has secretly met with the Bilderberg Group. It is also highly likely that the other candidate has or will secretly meet with the Bilderbergs.
Both parties are owned by the same ruling class (especially Wall Street) through campaign financing, political favors, and lobbying.
Yes those fascist provisions of the NDAA 2012 were nullified by the Supreme Court but what does it say about our legislators who were elected to represent our best interests? When we look at the bigger picture we find that all our petty concerns such as gay rights, stem-cell research funding, health care, the deficit, even taxation, etc. are just a smoke screen to hide those things that are guaranteed to weigh heavily on us as free citizens.
There is no real difference between the two candidates. Both represent the interests of the ruling class who must keep us under strict obedience to the state so that they may maintain their control.
The Republican and Democrat parties have a duopoly on American power as Ron Paul (R-Tx) reveals in this short film, Ron Paul on Glenn Beck Show: Both Parties Owned by Same Elite. It might as well be a monopoly because these two parties now do a lot of horse trading to support each others bills. The election of a new president changes nothing if we vote in a candidate from one of the two political parties because both are financed and in collusion with the bank cartel of American, European finance corporations, the military industrial complex, and the ruling class. This was most noticeable after the assassination of our last true great president – John F. Kennedy. Instead of returning the troops home from Vietnam like President Kennedy had intended on doing, President Johnson greatly expanded American involvement.
This benefits the corporations whose business is war. This also benefits the banks who own huge shares in these companies and fund this war through government deficit spending and borrowing. Those who stand to make money on war have a controlling interest in the American government through lobbying, campaign financing, future lucrative job offers to politicians, gerrymandering, and a central bank (Federal Reserve).
This happens because we believe the patriotic and mass media propaganda and misinformation we are overwhelmed with every single day of our lives. We do not question information from authority figures and we prefer to lazily watch entertaining television programs or play video games. The result of this is that we continually support the two parties who betray our trust and allow lobbyists to hijack our representation. They may appear to be opposed however they work closely together to secure whatever wealth and liberty we have remaining even if this means drafting our adult children into a false war to fight for our freedom or a foreign state’s liberty.
A federal or state government populated with several more political parties and independent representatives would have far more difficulty serving its own agenda because of all the opposition between them. Most would be on their best behavior so that they could also obtain a controlling representation in government. Once any party obtained this power they might also fall from grace.
Most politicians probably begin their political career with good intentions however somewhere along the way they are seduced by money and power. This is unavoidable regardless of party and initial good intentions. All governments in history have evolved or will evolve into fascism because of this is very predictable trait. It is important to note that a dictatorship and a monarchy are a form of fascism because the government is controlled by a single family acting as one and it is in their best interest to control the population through that government much like corporations control a government to serve their own interests.
For democracy to exist we must have a continuous cycle of replenishing new representatives. This is why some elected offices have term limits. Perhaps there should also be term limits for political parties. Instead we allow a stalemate of the Republican and Democratic parties to represent us at all levels of government. One may also notice that among some politicians there is a revolving door between the two parties or between serving the state and serving corporations. They throw their hat in whatever party they believe will give them the best chance at winning an election. One striking example between serving the state and running a corporations is Dick Cheney. He served in congress, the White House, and the Pentagon before moving on as Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton and returning as Vice President. Cheney’s Law is PBS Frontline episode is on how during the Bush administration Dick Cheney succeeded as a very secretive hands on player to enhance presidential powers to detain, render, interrogate, and wiretap.
Why perpetuate the same old habits if any policy changes are always negative? There will always be groups of unethical and dangerous individuals who are highly motivated to secure this power. No one said democracy was free, easy, and static. As soon as we shed our ideological labels and indoctrinated propaganda we find that in full frontal view of the naked truth we are all united in the same mission of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
If what we really want is a free nation, we must do everything in our power to urge all Americans to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. He is the only viable option who intends on representing the best interests of the American public. Or at the very least do not support any of the two-party candidates — vote third party or independent.
“Just pay a settlement, admit no guilt, and It’s back to business as usual.”
These are words of comfort, often unspoken, but a well known bastion global “Wall Streeters” rely upon. They know, no matter what happens, they get a slap on the wrist, likely an easily absorbed fine, and its right back to the wheeling and dealing. Even if they robbed hedge funds, investment houses, committed extortion, or used segregated customer accounts, it’sjust a sign offby one or more of the twenty plus high powered government agencies.
Financial Fraud – Obama to the Rescue
In late 2009, Barack Obama signed yet another Executive Order, #13519 that created the ‘Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’, to be led by the Department of Justice, and appointed Eric Holder as its Chairman. ‘Operation Broken Trust’ was soon unleashed.
The Columbia School of Journalism is our nation’s finest. They grant the Pulitzer Prize, and their journal, The Columbia Journalism Review, is the profession’s gold standard. CJR reporters are high priests of a decaying temple, tending a flame in a land going dark.
In 2006 a CJR editor (a seasoned journalist formerly with Time magazine in Asia, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and The Far Eastern Economic Review) called me to discuss suspicions he was forming about the US financial media. I gave him leads but warned, “Chasing this will take you down a rabbit hole with no bottom.” For months he pursued his story against pressure and threats he once described as, “something out of a Hollywood B movie, but unlike the movies, the evil corporations fighting the journalist are not thugs burying toxic waste, they are Wall Street and the financial media itself.”
His exposé reveals a circle of corruption enclosing venerable Wall Street banks, shady offshore financiers, and suspiciously compliant reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNBC, and The New York Times. If you ever wonder how reporters react when a journalist investigates them (answer: like white-collar crooks they dodge interviews, lie, and hide behind lawyers), or if financial corruption interests you, then this is for you. It makes Grisham read like a book of bedtime stories, and exposes a scandal that may make Enron look like an afternoon tea.
By Patrick M. Byrne, Deep Capture Reporter
The Story of Deep Capture
By Mark Mitchell, with reporting by the Deep Capture Team Introduction – by Mark Mitchell
I began working on a version of this story in January 2006, while serving as an editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, a publication tasked with upholding the standards of the American media. In November 2006, a hedge fund that was at the center of the scandal I was investigating offered the Columbia Journalism Review a great deal of money. Shortly before CJR accepted the money, I left my job, so I do not know if my editors, whom I believe to be honest people, would have allowed me to persevere. But I have no doubt that the hedge fund’s “beneficence” was aimed at preventing the publication of stories like this one.
And it might well have succeeded if Patrick Byrne had not approached me with an idea. Why not combine forces and spearhead a whole new approach to investigative journalism? Most media content is produced by rumpled journalists (i.e., people like me), working alone under tight constraints. Deep Capture could be something different – a power team circumventing the traditional media and pushing limits to uncover the truth.
My argument has been widely misreported since I began making it in 2005. Therefore I am stating it here as nine straightforward claims that will be difficult to misunderstand or misconstrue. I have grouped them into those describing the setting, the crime, and the cover-up.
Over the last twenty years Wall Street has come to be dominated by a group of players who first pushed the laws to their limits, then openly flouted them until they became blurred beyond the possibility of enforcement.
Over the last fifteen years the standards of professional journalism have been eroded by a group of reporters who have tried to appear as players, but have become pawns. A significant fraction of the financial journalists on the hedge fund beat have become shills of a handful of hedge funds.
The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times. In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulatedby the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default” requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.
Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more importantin terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade. In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit. According tothe Bank for International Settlements:
[I]nterest rate swaps are the largest component of the global OTC derivative market. The notional amount outstanding as of June 2009 in OTC interest rate swaps was $342 trillion, up from $310 trillion in Dec 2007. The gross market value was $13.9 trillion in June 2009, up from $6.2 trillion in Dec 2007.
For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced local governments, hospitals, universities and other non-profits that interest rate swaps would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools. The swaps were entered into to insure against a rise in interest rates; but instead, interest rates fell to historically low levels. This was not a flood, earthquake, or other insurable risk due to environmental unknowns or “acts of God.” It was a deliberate, manipulated move by the Fed, acting to save the banks from their own folly in precipitating the credit crisis of 2008. The banks got in trouble, and the Federal Reserve and federal government rushed in to bail them out, rewarding them for their misdeeds at the expense of the taxpayers.
~WikiLeaks released a U.S. diplomatic cable last year quoting a Saudi Arabia’s rep. to OPEC’s board of governors, telling a Florida congressman, that speculation “represented approximately $40 of the overall oil price when it was at its height.” ~jude
Since around October last year, the price of crude oil on world futures markets has exploded. Different people have different explanations. The most common one is the belief in financial markets that a war between either Israel and Iran or the USA and Iran or all three is imminent. Another camp argues that the price is rising unavoidably because the world has passed what they call “Peak Oil”—the point on an imaginary Gaussian Bell Curve (see graph above) at which half of all world known oil reserves have been depleted and the remaining oil will decline in quantity at an accelerating pace with rising price.
Both the war danger and peak oil explanations are off base. As in the astronomic price run-up in the Summer of 2008 when oil in futures markets briefly hit $147 a barrel, oil today is rising because of the speculative pressure on oil futures markets from hedge funds and major banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and most notably, Goldman Sachs, the bank always present when there are big bucks to be won for little effort betting on a sure thing. They’re getting a generous assist from the US Government agency entrusted with regulating financial derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC).
Since the beginning of October 2011, some six months ago, the price of Brent Crude Oil Futures on the ICE Futures exchange has risen from just below $100 a barrel to over $126 per barrel, a rise of more than 25%. Back in 2009 oil was $30.
united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web (Photo credit: kevindean)
December 30, 2011 By Al Holtje
The outrage and contempt I have for the American political system is beyond comprehension. As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently phrased at Gettysburg it’s sad to say; “government for the people and by the people” has been betrayed. Today, the engine that energizes government is fired by corruption and power in the never ending battle for control of the nation’s checkbook. What is most disturbing to me is that the great majority of American’s sit back and buy into the right vs. left arguments ignoring the essential issue which is the plight of the ship of state. In truth, it’s rarely about “us” any more; it’s about them and their reach for power. Now as 2012 approaches, it won’t be long before the worn and torn American dollar becomes the catalyst that sinks the shaky boat that carries the world’s money supply. The system is overloaded and hopelessly corrupted under the weight of debt and computerized derivative contracts, a situation that is now out of control.
At the center of the next economic earthquake will be the unregulated and very profitable derivative contracts denominated in dollars. The first tremor occurred in 1998 when there were $50 trillion in contracts outstanding. Russia defaulted on its debt and that incident caused a magnitude 4economic earthquake. The Federal Reserve had to reduce interest rates four times to contain the damage. That was followed by the housing bubble in 2007 (magnitude 7). No one went to jail and now, as we move forward to 2012, derivative contracts are valued at $1.4 quadrillion equal to $206,000 for every man, woman and child on the planet. A sum so huge that it is equal to 100 times all the money on deposit in the nation’s banks. Not one penny of that amount went to creating jobs, assisted in the economic recovery or otherwise helped the millions of American’s in need. It’s just simple basic math and greed that is being ignored by the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and both parties in Congress.
The article argues that Barack Obama killed everything that was joyful about the banking industry through his suffocating Dodd-Frank reform bill, which forced banks to strip themselves of “the pistons that powered their profits: leverage and proprietary trading.”
Having to say goodbye to excess borrowing and casino gambling, the argument goes, has cut into banking profits, leading to extreme decisions like Morgan Stanley’s recent dictum capping cash bonuses at $125,000. In response to that, Sherman quotes an unnamed banker:
“After tax, that’s like, what, $75,000?” an investment banker at a rival firm said as he contemplated Morgan Stanley’s decision. He ran the numbers, modeling the implications. “I’m not married and I take the subway and I watch what I spend very carefully. But my girlfriend likes to eat good food. It all adds up really quick. A taxi here, another taxi there. I just bought an apartment, so now I have a big old mortgage bill.”
Quelle horreur! And who’s to blame? According to Sherman’s interview subjects, it has nothing to do with the economy having been blown up several times over by these very bonus-deprived bankers, or with the fact that all conceivable public bailout money has essentially already been sucked up and converted into bonuses by that same crowd.