mercoledì 30 settembre 2009

The Real Reasons Behind Fed Res Secrecy

The Real Reasons Behind Fed Secrecy

by Ron Paul

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Last week I was very pleased that the Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207. The bill has 295 cosponsors and there is also strong support for the companion bill in the Senate. This hearing was a major step forward in getting the bill passed.

I was pleased that the hearing was well-attended, especially considering that it was held on a Friday at nine o’clock in the morning! I have been talking about the immense, unchecked power of the Federal Reserve for many years, while the attention of Congress was always on other things. It was gratifying to see my colleagues asking probing questions and demonstrating genuine concern about this important issue as well.

The witness testifying in favor of HR 1207 made some very strong points, which was no surprise considering the bill is simply common sense. It was also no surprise that the witness testifying against the bill had no good arguments as to why a full audit should not be conducted promptly. He attempted to make the case that the Fed is already sufficiently accountable to Congress and that the current auditing policy is adequate. The fact is that the Fed comes to Congress and talks about only what it wants to talk about, and the GAO audits only what the current laws allow to be audited. The really important things however, are off limits. There are no convincing arguments that it is in the best interests of the American people for anything the Fed does to be off limits.

It has been argued that full disclosure of details of funding facilities like TALF and PDCF that enabled massive bailouts of Wall Street would damage the financial position of those firms and destabilize the economy. In other words, if the American people knew how rotten the books were at those banks and how terribly they messed up, they would never willingly invest in them, and they would fail. Failure is not an option for friends of the Fed. Therefore, the funds must be stolen from the people in the dark of night. This is not how a free country works. This is not how free markets work. That is crony corporatism and instead of being a force for economic stabilization, it totally undermines it.

If the Fed gave its actual arguments against a full audit, they would not have mentioned anything about political independence or economic stability. Instead they would admit they don’t want to be audited because they enjoy their current situation too much. Under the guise of currency control, they are able to help out powerful allies on Wall Street, in exchange for lucrative jobs or who-knows-what favors later on. An audit would expose the Fed as a massive fraud perpetrated on this country, enriching a privileged few bankers at the top of our economic food chain, and leaving the rest of us with massively devalued dollars which we are forced to use by law. An audit would make people realize that, while Bernie Madoff defrauded a lot of investors for a lot of money, the Fed has defrauded every one of us by destroying the value of our money. An honest and full accounting of how the money system really works in this country would mean there is not much of a chance the American people would stand for it anymore.

See the Ron Paul File

September 30, 2009

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

If you are in Europe, please sign our petition to audit the European Central Bank:

Ron Paul Fed Offensive on Daily Show

Ron Paul Takes His Fed Offensive to the Daily Show

Texas Rep. Ron Paul was on the Daily Show last night, where he went through his standard spiel about personal liberty and why the Federal Reserve should be abolished. In noting that Mr. Paul’s radical ideas about the Fed have gained wider acceptance in the wake of the financial crisis Daily Show host Jon Stewart compared Paul to a “cool indie band” that is a cult favorite but suddenly goes mainstream. “It scares the daylights out of me,” was Paul’s response to this observation.

Paul has become something of a regular on late night shows like the Daily Show and its Comedy Central cousin, The Colbert Report. And while hosts don’t exactly agree with him, it’s hard for a comedian to resist a man whose views rattle both Democrats and Republicans.

Say what you want about Paul: The man is consistent, he does not pander, and those two qualities alone make him a lot more watchable than the stay-on-messagefests that are common on shows like Meet the Press. Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert once called Paul “an enigma wrapped in a riddle nestled in a sesame seed bun of mystery.”

For instance, last night on the Daily Show Paul blamed the Fed for everything from welfare moms to foreign wars in a single breath. Later, he blamed big government for the undue power of lobbyists and contractors like Halliburton.

Stewart, who asks perhaps the most probing questions of any late night talk show host, challenged Paul on the idea of the government always destroying personal liberty, noting that in the case of civil rights it was government that preserved it. (Paul didn’t exactly concede, and instead brought up Enron, adding: “It’s hard to enforce fraud laws when the government participates in fraud,” said Paul.)

Eventually Stewart was forced to slide down the inevitable slope that is a debate with a libertarian: How small can the government get? Do you abolish the military? Along this line, Stewart asked Paul for an example of a country that at least approximated his views of how things should be run. Paul responded that the early days of America were about as close as it got.

“How you’ve survived in government for 11 terms, I don’t know,” Stewart said at the end of the interview.

Target of Fed's biggest manipulation is the public

Target of Fed's biggest manipulation is the public


10:08p ET Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Jim Sinclair remarks sardonically tonight that before the Federal Reserve is through threatening the public against the audit legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the Fed will be warning that an audit will cause not just higher interest rates but also infertility and the bends. Meanwhile, as suggested by the Associated Press story appended here, the Fed is talking out of both sides of its mouth, keeping interest rates at zero on one day and the next day warning about a quick and sharp rise in rates. This kind of thing is part of the biggest Fed manipulation of all -- the manipulation of the public.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Officials: Fed Will Have to Boost Rates Quickly

By Jeannine Aversa
Associated Press
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON -- To prevent inflation from taking off, the Federal Reserve will need to start boosting interest rates quickly and aggressively once the economy is back on firmer footing, Fed officials warned Tuesday.

"I expect that when it comes time to tighten monetary policy, my colleagues and I will move with an alacrity that, if needed, will be equal in speed and intensity" to when the Fed was slashing rates to battle the recession and the financial crisis, said Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Although Fisher has a reputation for being one of the Fed's toughest inflation fighters, it marked the second such warning by a central bank official in recent days. Fed member Kevin Warsh on Friday said the central bank will need to move swiftly when the time comes to raise rates.

Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and also a hawk against inflation, waded into the debate in a speech Tuesday in Easton, Pa., saying the Fed may need to act "well before" unemployment -- now at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent -- returns to normal. The Fed, he said, will need to be on guard "to prevent the Second Great Inflation."

It's all part of a high-wire act that the Fed has to perform as the economy transitions from recession to recovery.

If the Fed raises rates and reels in the unprecedented support too soon, it could short-circuit the rebound. If the central bank waits too long to rein in its stimulus, inflation could be unleashed.

"The wind-down process needs to begin as soon as there are convincing signs that economic growth is gaining traction and that the lending capacity of the banking system is capable of expansion," according to excerpts of a speech Fisher delivered in Dallas. That also was similar to Warsh's comments last week.

Some investors found Warsh's comments confusing, especially coming just two days after the Fed decided to hold its key bank lending rate at a record low near zero and pledged to keep it there for an "extended period." Most economists read that to mean the Fed would keep rates at super-low levels through this year and into part of 2010.

Warsh's comments led some investors to believe that rate increases could come sooner. The last time the Fed raised rates was in June 2006, around the time that the housing bubble reached its peak.

The notion that central banks should act forcefully -- versus gradually -- in raising rates after a financial crisis was a subject of discussion at a Fed conference in Wyoming in August.

When the decision is made to boost rates, they will need to be "increased aggressively," argued Carl Walsh, a professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an expert on monetary policy. "Committing to a gradual increase in the policy rate is not justified."

Consumers, businesses and investors must feel more confident that prices won't spiral higher in the future, so their inflation expectations don't become "unanchored," Walsh said last month.

On other matters, Fisher said Tuesday that despite some signs of improvement, the housing market is "still on life support."

The Fed last week announced it was slowing down a program intended to lower mortgage rates and aid the housing sector. "The market for housing will not become truly robust until market forces replace the prostheses of government support," Fisher said.

Still, home prices rose for the third straight month in July. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major cities rose 1.2 percent from June. Though 13.3 percent below July a year ago, the annual price declines have slowed in all 20 cities for the sixth straight month, according to data released Tuesday.

Brown: 'City is ideologically bankrupt'

Gordon Brown: 'City is ideologically bankrupt'

The Prime Minister has declared the City "ideologically bankrupt" and promised Labour that bankers "will pay back the British people" in a speech positioning the Government firmly against the Square Mile ahead of a general election.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivers his speech at the Labour Party Conference, in Brighton
Gordon Brown said that Labour 'will raise tax at the very top'Photo: Reuters

Gordon Brown linked the financial crisis with the Tories, claiming that "what let the world down" was "the Conservative idea that markets always self-correct but never self-destruct".

He blamed "right-wing fundamentalism that says you just leave everything to the market and says that free markets should not just be free but values-free".

The Prime Minister reinforced Alistair Darling and Lord Mandelson's pledge of tough regulation to curb excess. He said: "We will pass a new law to intervene on bankers' bonuses whenever they put the economy at risk and any director of any of our banks who is negligent will be disqualified from holding any such post."

He also dropped all previous attempts to reassure high earners that the 50pc tax hike would be the last change, saying that, in order to address Britain's public deficit, Labour "will raise tax at the very top".

Lord Davies, junior business minister and ex-banker, told The Daily Telegraph: "The Prime Minister's speech was tough. The banks have to understand that they are still out of touch with society and people are angry – and rightly so because it's society that has picked up the tab. There must be change."

Mr Brown announced that the Post Office would be revamped to meet plans for greater competition in the banking system and rebuild public trust in financial services. The network will offer current and savings accounts, mortgages and loans to small businesses.

The Prime Minister also pledged the creation of a £1bn "national investment corporation" to provide finance for businesses and a rise in the minimum wage.

The measure caused alarm in the business community by adding further uncertainty about statutory pay.

John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, said: "Ministers would not make promises about interest rates when they are set by an independent committee at the Bank of England, so it is troubling when they appear to treat the minimum wage in a different way."

Mr Brown revealed a partnership with the Federation of Small Business to provide 10,000 skilled internships. He also pledged to give local authorities power to ban 24-hour drinking, promising to "make pubs and clubs pay for cleaning up their neighbourhood and making it safe."

France Telecom CEO to resign after 24th suicide

France Telecom chief executive Didier Lombard faces calls to resign after 24th suicide

The chief executive of France Telecom was last night facing calls to resign after the number of suicides at the company reached 24.

By Rupert Neate
Telegraph, 29 Sep 2009

People chat by the entrance to the headquarter offices of France Telecom Paris
France Telecom has suspended its 'Time to Move' programme, which forces managers to change posts every three years Photo: AP

The latest death came on Monday when a 51-year-old jumped from a motorway bridge in the French Alps. The employee, who was married with two children, left a note blaming the "atmosphere" at work for his decision to end his life.

France's opposition Socialist Party yesterday called for Didier Lombard to resign as chief executive of the former state-owned telecoms company, which owns the Orange mobile phone network in the UK. "Resignation is the only solution,'' a party spokesman said. "That is the only possible outcome to this case right now."

A spokeswoman for the party added that it was a "matter of common decency'' for Mr Lombard to step down.

However, a spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy said Mr Lombard's resignation "is not the issue".

France Telecom staff booed Mr Lombard when he visited the dead man's work place in Alby-Sur-Cheran, near Geneva, recently.

Earlier this month Mr Lombard was summoned to meet Xavier Darcos, the French labour minister, in order to discuss the tragic turn of events.

France Telecom has suspended the company's "Time to Move" programme which forces managers to change posts every three years.

More than 10,000 of the company's 100,000 staff have been ordered to change roles over the last three years.

The company has also drafted in an extra 100 human resources staff to tackle workplace stress.

Two weeks ago a 32-year-old employee leapt from the fifth-floor of a Paris after she was told her position was under threat.

A 48-year-old technician stabbed himself non-fatally during a meeting in which he was told his post would be scrapped.

How Bank of America Bully the Government

How Bank of America Used Merrill Losses to Bully the Government

Corporate Counsel magazine has pored over hundreds of court documents, transcripts, e-mails and other documents pertaining to the various investigations of the merger between Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. on Jan. 1. The full story will appear both in the November issue of the magazine, and here on In advance of that release, we're publishing one of our key findings:

Some members of Congress and others have accused federal regulators of pressuring Bank of America into going through with its merger with Merrill Lynch. But records suggest it was the bank, not regulators, doing the bullying.

In October and November, Merrill's losses were skyrocketing beyond anyone's expectations. A clause in the merger agreement allowed for one party to cancel if there had been a "material adverse change" -- a so-called MAC clause that is common in merger deals.

Exactly when and how the bank considered the MAC are revealed in transcripts of depositions taken by the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Chief Financial Officer Joseph Price testified that because of Merrill's spiraling losses, he and a bank vice chairman sought legal advice from general counsel Tim Mayopoulos about invoking the MAC on Dec. 1 -- four days before the shareholder vote to approve the merger. This conflicts with the bank's previous statements that it didn't know about the losses before the vote.

Mayopoulos testified about the Dec. 1 meeting:

Question: Did you give advice about whether there was a MAC clause or not?

Mayopoulos: Did I give advice about whether I thought there was a material adverse effect or not?

Question: Yes.

Mayopoulos: Yes.

Mayopoulos was precluded from answering exactly what he advised because of attorney-client privilege. Jeffrey Litle, a partner at Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, has been lead lawyer in dozens of national and international mergers and advises corporations on MAC clauses. Litle explains that a material adverse effect occurs when a change would cause a disproportionately adverse impact on the financial condition or operations of a business as compared to other companies in the same industry.

Because Bank of America is a Jones Day client, Litle can't comment on the specifics of the merger deal. But in general he adds, "If a transaction is large enough to be reported, then the fact that a buyer has shown real doubts about closing the deal, in most cases, that becomes a material fact that shareholders and investors will want to know about."

In fact, MAC clauses seldom get invoked or end up in court, Litle says. More often they are used as "leverage" to force the seller into renegotiating a lower price. But that renegotiation has to occur before a shareholder vote, he adds.

The record shows that Bank of America decided not to disclose to shareholders its consideration of a MAC before the Dec. 5 vote. It also apparently decided not to use the MAC as leverage against Merrill to lower its price before the vote, even though the bank had agreed to pay a premium -- $29 per share for Merrill stock that was selling at $17. It might have, but didn't, use the MAC to force Merrill to drop its multibillion-dollar bonus pool.

Instead, the bank waited until after the shareholders approved the merger -- but before the deal closed on Jan. 1 -- and used the MAC to muscle the federal government and U.S. taxpayers into ponying up more bailout funds. At the time, the bank did not disclose the role of federal regulators in not invoking the MAC, and in promising the bank another $20 billion of taxpayer money in 2009 to complete the deal. (The bank had already received $25 billion in bailout funds in 2008.)

Some observers and politicians have accused federal banking officials of forcing Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis into completing the merger. But the documents suggest it was Lewis doing the bullying, relying on a highly vulnerable marketplace to win his way.

According to testimony from both Lewis and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Lewis called Paulson on the morning of Dec. 17 to say he had just learned about "surprising" Merrill losses for the fourth quarter. Lewis testified: "I told him that we were strongly considering the MAC and thought we actually had one."

Paulson was stunned. He would later say that "the magnitude of the losses was breathtaking ... so far above expectations." He testified, "I recognized the danger" that the MAC posed for both companies, as well as for the stability of the entire U.S. economy. He told Lewis it could lead to global "financial chaos."

Lewis flew to Washington that evening to meet with Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, and he promised to hold off on invoking the MAC until they could talk again. Pressed by Lewis, Paulson promised to pursue the possibility of more bailout funds for the bank to cover Merrill's losses.

E-mails and other documents from lawyers and advisers at the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury show that the feds thought Lewis certainly knew about the losses much earlier than he claimed. And they were skeptical of his threat to invoke the MAC.

The escape clause was written in vague terms, and the government's lawyers didn't think it could be successfully exercised. Still, if Lewis raised the claim publicly, "it would likely cause the demise of Merrill Lynch" and significantly damage Bank of America and the country's fragile financial system, they concluded.

On Dec. 21, Bernanke e-mailed colleagues at the Fed, saying he thought Lewis' "threat to use the MAC is a bargaining chip, and we do not see it as a very likely scenario at all." On the same day, Lewis called Paulson during his ski vacation in Colorado. Paulson bluntly told him that the dangers to the economy were too high, and the government would remove the board and management of the bank if Lewis tried to use the MAC.

To make sure Lewis stayed the course, the next day Bernanke -- despite his misgivings about being manipulated by the CEO -- cut a secret deal with him. According to an e-mail from Bernanke to Fed lawyers, Lewis agreed to drop the MAC threat, and Bernanke agreed to work with Lewis on "a support package" in time for the bank's January earnings statement.

On Jan. 16, the bank released its fourth quarter earnings statement. Its press release finally disclosed Merrill's 2008 fourth quarter loss reached $15.3 billion. On the news, bank shares plunged. The bank also revealed the Bernanke "support package" -- the government would invest another $20 billion in bailout funds and would provide further protection against losses on some $118 billion in toxic assets.

Financier Stanford Injured in Jail Fight

Texas Financier Stanford Reportedly Injured in Jail Fight

Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who faces federal criminal charges related to an alleged conspiracy to defraud investors, "has been returned to a lockup after being hospitalized for treatment of a concussion following a jail fight," according to, an NBC Dallas affiliate's Web site.

Stanford's court-appointed attorney Kent Schaffer, a partner in Houston's Bires & Schaffer, told The Associated Press on Monday that his client was injured in a fight on Thursday with another inmate at the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, Texas, near Houston. Schaffer did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Schaffer says his client has two black eyes and a broken nose. Schaffer says Stanford was returned to the lockup Sunday afternoon. He says he met with Stanford Monday and his client seems OK. "These kinds of problems happen in jail all the time," Schaffer says. Angela Dodd, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas, refers calls to the Marshals Service spokesman.

Alfredo Perez, a deputy U.S. marshal and spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, confirms that on Sept. 24 around 10 a.m. Stanford was involved in "an altercation" that may have been a more physical fight. The circumstances are still being investigated, Perez says.

Stanford was sent to a hospital but he did not sustain any "life-threatening injuries," Perez says, noting that the hospital kept Stanford longer than required to make sure, given his history of medical problems, that he went back to prison with "a clean bill of health."

On Friday, a day after the fight, U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas ordered that Stanford be transferred by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston no later than Thursday. Before the fight, on Sept. 21, Stanford had filed a sealed, ex parte motion seeking to be moved from the Corley Detention Facility to the downtown Houston facility pending his trial.

In his order granting the move, Hittner wrote,

The Court recognizes the extraordinary nature and complexity of this case, the extent and gravity of the charges levied against Stanford, the hundreds of thousands of records involved and the enormous amount of time no doubt necessary to review those documents and adequately prepare a defense. Consequently, the Court determines that because of the unique circumstances present in this case it is appropriate to order Stanford housed at the Federal Detention Center in Houston pending trial to ensure an adequate opportunity for Stanford to review the copious documents, consult his attorneys and prepare his defense.

Schaffer says the judge talked to the prosecutors and they did not object to Stanford's motion.

Stanford, 59, has been in the Corley facility since he was indicted in June on 21 counts, including wire and mail fraud. He has been jailed without bond; Hittner considers him a flight risk.

Stanford and other executives of the now defunct Houston-based Stanford Financial Group are accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme by advising clients to invest more than $7 billion in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Investors were promised their investments were safe and were scrutinized by Antigua's bank regulator and an independent auditor.

But authorities say Stanford and the indicted executives fabricated the bank's balance sheets, bribed Antiguan regulators and misused investors' money to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

Stanford and three former company executives have pleaded not guilty.

Another former executive, James M. Davis, has pleaded guilty in the case and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Stanford's next court hearing is Oct. 14.

On Sept. 17, Hittner signed an order adding Schaffer to Stanford's defense team. In the order, Hittner found because this is an "extremely difficult case," it was necessary to appoint another attorney in the interest of justice. Two days earlier, after determining Stanford does not have immediate access to money to pay for lawyers, Hittner granted a motion to allow Dick DeGuerin, a partner in DeGuerin & Dickson of Houston, to withdraw as Stanford's attorney and appointed the federal public defender's office to defend Stanford.

This article first appeared on Tex Parte Blog, a blog of Texas Lawyer.

Financial boycott of the Federal Reserve

The Feds are not going to go quietly into the night but they are going to go

by Benjamin Fulford, September 30, 2009

The world’s financial boycott of the Federal Reserve Board is starting to kick into high gear but a lot of messy stuff lies ahead because the Feds are not going to go quietly into the night. A maritime blockade of the US is beginning as a part of this campaign. Members of the global elite, including Bilderbergers, are attempting to turn the global pyramid of power upside down, putting the poorest and weakest creatures of the planet on the top instead of the strongest and cruelest. Needless to say the ruthless Nazis are fighting tooth and nail to prevent this from happening.

The new financial system has been designed, with the help of the good people inside the elite, to make sure this planet never again experiences poverty or environmental destruction. The new pyramid of global power will be completely transparent and fair so that anybody can climb to the top, if they are good enough. There will be no one world government and no one world currency. All humans are to be freed from centralized control under the new system. The propaganda about a New World Order and a one world currency is coming from the Feds who have already been running a secret New World Order regime complete with a one world currency falsely labeled as the “US dollar.” So please do not believe the propaganda they are putting out. We are fighting to free humanity from thousands of years of horrific debt slavery.

Sources in MI6 continue to say the deadline is September 30th and that there will be signs of the end of the Fed on October 7th and 27th followed by a chaotic November. The Feds could even manage to cling on for a few months after that event as the remnants of evil on this planet try to keep in power. We must be vigilant, stock up on food, prepare for the worst but expect the best to win the final battle. Good will prevail over evil but we must not let our guard down even for a second.

Money and Modernity: State and Local Currencies in Melanesia

Vol 13 (2009) pp. 95 - 98

BOOK REVIEW,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpg

David Akin and Joel Robbins (1999) (ed.), Money and Modernity: State and Local Currencies in Melanesia. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh Pa. (Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania.) 283 pp; ISBN: 0-8229-4087-6, US$24.95

The term Melanesia refers to the vast geographic area covering parts of southeast Asia and the Pacific including eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Melanesian people are those who share a common ancestry, no matter what country they are now living in or what divisions between them they adhere to and maintain to this day.
Across the region, the Melanesians developed a wide variety of currencies to facilitate exchange between very distinct groups and across great distances. These networks of kinship and trade were documented in the early anthropological works of Malinowski (1922) and Mead (1930) which were important contributions to the early development of anthropological economic study. At that time, many anthropologists were predicting the decline and collapse of these cultures and the economic and monetary systems that were at their core.
Thus it is quite remarkable that traditional Melanesian economic and monetary systems have proven to be very resilient to western capitalist monetary expansion. In fact, many monetary systems have flourished as a result of the arrival of western money, rather than diminished. The flourishing of local currencies is the result of a successful dialogue with state currencies which clearly delineates their spheres of influence and areas of circulation.
In this ten-chapter book, David Akin and Joel Robbins, having written the Introduction and a chapter each, give space to a broad study of the foundations of the legitimacy of traditional currencies throughout the region but with a focus on the Melanesian heartlands in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. However, unfortunately they do not give sufficient space to the most successful Melanesian currencies from which stronger conclusions about the reasons behind the survival of these currencies could be drawn. Although the book provides many photographs to assist the reader in understanding the text, no map is provided to locate the community in the region.
In the Introduction, the authors lay the foundations for the book by opening a critique on both western concepts of money and on the shift in the study of economic anthropology to destabilize 'essentialist' constructions of objects such as commodities, gifts, value & money, instead focusing on the social relations between groups. The former mistakenly believes that money dissolves everything from social relationships to categories of exchange through to annihilating culture itself, while the latter misses out on the role that the objects of money play in the reproduction of value in Melanesian cultural life.
Melanesian societies had general purpose currencies and a well-developed concept of a broad range of financial actions using money long before the arrival of western money. Meanwhile, Melanesians have seen a procession of state currencies come and go through times of colonization, war and western economic instability. Money created and used by ancient societies is more than simply a marker of social relationships or memories of past exchange, but are themselves the objects of ritual in the society and one of the mechanisms used to maintain traditional society.
In Chapter One, “Magical Money”, author Mark S. Mosko presents a case study of the linkage between markets and customs, and the value transformations among money and commodities in North Mekeo. The possibilities of personal agency and the limitations imposed by traditional spheres of activity and economic exchange are presented.
In Chapter Two, “Meaning, Contingency and Colonialism”, author Doug Dalton presents a fascinating study of the historical contingency of meanings associated with shell money, and how a complex of beliefs about cycles of growth and decay, fertility and reproduction are interlinked through corporeal and cosmological symbolism. Here we see how one Melanesian group, those who speak the Rawa language, see shell money as a representative of sorrow and how this affects the meaning of exchange between them. This meaning is then framed in the context of the incursion of national currency and the capitalist economy, which exacerbates the contradictions between the sharing that takes place between community members, and the trade that takes place with outsiders, with the result of innovation in the production of new shell gifts and aesthetic displays of these gifts to highlight the boundaries between the two currencies.
In Chapter Three, “This is Our Money”, author Joel Robbins explores the relations between local and state money in a community in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and the myths and beliefs the people have about their money, and the money from outside, that serves to maintain a truce between the two forms of money.
In Chapter Four, “Cash and Shell Money in Kwaio, Solomon Islands” author David Akin presents a case study of a successful enclaving of a traditional currency, Kofu, also known as “Home Money” in the remote Kwaio Mountains, where all social-reproduction ceremonies, and many aspects of local market exchange, only use the local currency. This was achieved by clearly defining spheres of exchange for both the shell money and national currency. This concept has thus been extended to politics (local vs. State) and religion (pagan vs. Christian) etc.
Chapter Five, John Lieps article “Pecuniary Schismogenesis in the Massim” explores the concept of 'spheres of exchange' which control and limit the types of exchange that community members can perform, both for reasons of traditional local governance and control, as well as to limit the penetration and use of foreign money in local transactions.
The concept of exchange spheres is useful but limited when compared with other concepts such as enclaving, commoditization, monetization and singularization. Also, to better understand the traditional economic system it is necessary to reduce the contrast with the western capitalist system, as this system, via its local agents in the marketplace, readily adjust to traditional economic situations throughout Melanesia.
Chapter Six, Karen Brison's “Money and the Morality of Exchange Among the Kwanga, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea” examines the impact of state money on local exchange systems, and how this money has caused changes to the indigenous morality of exchange.
Rather than seeing money as something that dissolves and destroys culture, it can be seen as something that resonates with issues, problems and aspirations of the people in the traditional society.
In Chapter Seven, authors Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart explores the “Objects, Relationships and Meanings in Mt. Hagen” which takes an opposing view to that of Chapter Six, by mapping out the historical decline and eventual collapse of the exchange sphere system in Mt. Hagen as a result of the local circulation of state money. The power of the traditional currency as a symbol was displaced by state money, which then fell to the next levels of power upholding the traditional order, these being social relations between the community members and the quality of traditional leadership.
In Chapter Eight, “The Meaning of Money in the Age of Modernity”, author Edward LiPuma presents the 'skewed' image that Melanesians have of western money, and how this has led to the reification, a belief that something human-created has become real, of western money.
Thus examples abound of the rapid end of the stone-age cultures in some areas, and the transition from stone axes and “stone” money to steel axes and steel money. What these Melanesians could not see was the construction of an ideology (reification) that masks its essential social form. To compare Melanesian traditional with Western capitalist societies fails ethnographically because the comparison is being made from different foundations and fails to account for economic and cultural differences between both Melanesian and western societies.
In Chapter Nine, “In God We Trust?”, author Robert J. Foster discusses the legitimacy of Melanesian currencies from the perspective of western 'monetary reform' theories. He refers to Keith Hart's (1986) description of the difference between token theories of money and commodity theories of money in discussing the different forms of value that people from the west and people from Melanesia empower their currencies with. This chapter also serves as a summary of the book, and establishing the position that the authors tend to align themselves more with the ideas of Hart, rather than of Bloch and Parry, signalling an advancement of the theory of economic anthropology towards a truly economic and social understanding, rather than a ethnographic description of the traditional economy.
In Chapter Ten, “Comparisons and Equivalencies in Africa and Melanesia” author Jane I. Guyer takes a bit of a different direction than the main theme of the book, and explores the key similarities and differences between traditional currencies in Africa and Melanesia, “in which the state is not the primary issuer, arbiter and guarantor of currency transactions.” The difficulties that economic anthropologists were having in reading similar conclusions and understandings led to the necessity to increase their economic knowledge, and not just their cultural understanding.
To develop a broad understanding of modern western complementary currency systems requires an understanding of the ancient and traditional economic systems that make up a very important part of human society. The importance of the book for researchers and practitioners working with complementary currency systems is in developing the understanding of the ancient history of traditional currencies and how fortunate we are to have so many still thriving in remote parts of the world today.
There are few books like 'Money and Modernity' that fill this important void in the economic literature. The book's main weaknesses relate to what Jane I. Guyer presented in Chapter Ten when she raises the point that most economic anthropologists are really just anthropologists who happen to touch on economic matters in the course of their cultural research, and therefore are not adequately skilled to connect the two aspects together. In support of this claim, many parts of the book are purely cultural narratives that do not present a sufficiently clear understanding of the role that traditional currencies play in maintaining the strength of the culture, and how this is directly connected to the role that sub-national and complementary currencies play in achieving similar social goals in the west.
The main strength of the book is in identifying this lack of economic understanding, which runs through many of the articles. However, the book is redeemed by mention of the work of Keith Hart on token theories as opposed to commodity theories of money as the key to understanding the political economy of the society via its transactional relationships at times of uncertainty, and which in this reviewer's opinion presents the outline and goals to be achieved when conducting anthropological economic studies.

Hart, K. 1986. Heads or tails? Two sides of the coin. Man 21: 637-56.
Parry, Jonathan and Bloch, Maurice, eds. 1989. Money and the Morality of Exchange. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tremonti: Le banche preparano una nuova crisi

"La Banca del Sud va fatta"

Banche nel mirino di Tremonti: "Preparano una nuova crisi. Non vogliono dare soldi alle imprese"

ultimo aggiornamento: 30 settembre, ore 14:35
Milano - (Adnkronos/Ign) - Il ministro dell'Economia parla dopo il no di Unicredit e IntesaSanpaolo ai bond: "Non è uno sgarbo a me ma alle imprese. Il Tesoro, non era ansioso di indebitarsi. In questo momento far soldi con la finanza torna a essere molto conveniente". Scudo Fiscale, Fini avverte: ''Nell'iter del decreto ci sono anomalie procedurali'' Berlusconi: ''Pronti a nuovi incentivi auto. Milano, imprenditore siciliano in sciopero della fame sotto Unicredit

Milano, 30 set. - (Adnkronos/Ign) - Dopo la mancata richiesta da parte di Unicredit e Intesa Sanpaolo dei cosiddetti 'Tremonti bond', il ministro dell'Economia lancia un nuovo affondo contro le banche. "In questo momento far soldi con la finanza torna a essere molto conveniente, ma se le banche fanno solo questo stanno preparando un'altra crisi".
Quanto alla mancata richiesta dei bond, Tremonti afferma che gli istituti di credito "non li vogliono perche' non vogliono dare i soldi alle imprese".

"I bond sono stati chiesti e invocati, con una pressione enorme, dalle banche. Non e' che il Tesoro era ansioso di indebitasi per sottoscrivere quei titoli", spiega il Ministro. Uno "strumento -sottolinea- a favore delle imprese. E' questo il punto. Se fossero stati soldi per le banche le banche li tenevano. Il fatto e' che le banche non li vogliono, alcune, perche' non vogliono dare i soldi alle imprese".

Il tasso cosi' criticato, spiega Tremonti, "e' un tasso europeo", ma il problema e', secondo il Ministro, che "chi emette quello strumento lo fa al servizio delle imprese e deve avere un codice etico, un meccanismo di compensi controllati dal Parlamento e soprattutto un meccanismo di impieghi alle imprese controllato dal Parlamento". Per il Governo "non emettere titoli del debito pubblico, in questo momento, egoisticamente e' meglio, ma il problema non e' cosa interessa il Governo ma cosa serve alle imprese e ai lavoratori". Trementi precisa che i bond sono uno strumento "non inventato dal Governo, ma chiesto dalle banche" e ancora "non contro l''Europa e il mercato perche' e' stato timbrato dalla Direzione europea del mercato".

Sull''ostilita'' ai bond, pero', non c'e' univocita'. "Perche' il Credito Valtellinese li ha chiesti? Li ha chiesti -spiega Tremonti- perche' fanno il loro mestiere, cioe' danno i soldi al territorio,vogliono dare i soldi alle piccole e medie imprese. Non hanno problemi di codice etico, non hanno problemi di patrimonio, non hanno problemi di trasparenza sono nella logica di meccanismo europeo. Gli altri evidentemente no. C'e' qualcosa che di colpo ha fatto cambiare idea". Secondo il Ministro c'e' un "problema di responsabilita' nella gestione del credito, ma c'e' anche un problema generale di responsabilita' nel Paese e per il Paese". Per Tremonti, il 'rifiuto' ai bond "non e' uno sgarbo a me o al Governo, francamente per il Governo non emettere debito e non entrare nelle banche e' l'ideale".

Il titolare dell'Economia, intervenendo in conferenza stampa a Milano, ribadisce la necessita' di dar vita a una banca del Sud in tempi brevi. "La Banca del Sud va fatta perche' e' l'unica grande regione dell'Europa che non ha una banca autoctona''. Tremonti aggiunge di aver pensato gia' al logo: ''In questa banca non si parla inglese e i soldi che depositate restano in questa banca''.



OR 112137Z MAR 93


E.O. 12356: N/A

REF: ROME 11272








Ma chi è il magistrato Introini? Su Repubblica del 30 agosto 1994 troviamo:


MILANO - Paolo Ielo, uno dei magistrati del pool Mani pulite, è rimasto ferito in un incidente stradale avvenuto in Sicilia, dove si trovava in vacanza. Ielo è caduto dalla motocicletta, slittata su un tratto in ghiaia, ed ha riportato fratture al torace, a un braccio e a una gamba. Dopo un breve ricovero all' ospedale di Messina, il magistrato è stato dimesso. L' incidente potrebbe comunque far slittare l' inizio del processo per gli episodi di corruzione relativi alla Metropolitana milanese fissato per il 20 settembre. Anna Introini eredita parte del lavoro


MILANO - Sarà Anna Introini a coprire l'incarico di giudice delle indagini preliminari nell'inchiesta Mani pulite in sostituzione di Italo Ghitti, nominato membro del Consiglio superiore della magistratura. Non ci sarà però più un gip ' istituzionale' , come lo è stato per oltre due anni Italo Ghitti. Molte delle udienze preliminari già fissate sono state assegnate ad altri Gip. Il giudice Introini alcuni mesi fa non firmò le richieste di ordini di custodia cautelare presentate dalla procura nell' indagine sui fondi neri della Fininvest.

Capito mi hai?

Lying to Ourselves About Catastrophic Economic Meltdown

Why Are We Lying to Ourselves About Our Catastrophic Economic Meltdown?

Posted by Arun Gupta, AlterNet at 2:00 PM on September 29, 2009

Sorry, it's not over yet. This downturn will be severe and long-lasting, and profoundly re-shape our lives, culture, society and the world.

Over the last year, the world has received a crash course in real-world capitalism as the follies of Wall Street nearly torpedoed the global economy, which had to be rescued by a trillion-dollar government handout.

Economics, the study of systems of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, touches virtually facet of our lives from work, recreation and home life to entertainment, culture and social relations.

While there is a wealth of information and some excellent reporters in the business press, the mainstream media has botched virtually every major economic story over the last decade. It helped inflate the Internet bubble. It worshiped at the shrine of the free market and Alan Greenspan. It ignored the evidence of the housing bubble. It was missing in action on the commodities bubble. It celebrated billionaires and speculators even as they manufactured financial weapons of mass destruction. It only sporadically reports on the myriad ways Wall Street games the financial system.

Even now, the corporate media downplay the scope of the disastrous U.S. economy. The current economic downturn, the longest since the Great Depression more than 70 years ago, has been dubbed by many the “Great Recession.”

It's a useful way for journalists to acknowledge the pain of tens of millions of Americans who have lost homes, livelihoods, health care and more, while distinguishing the current misfortune from the Great Depression. But the term also makes the situation seem rosier than it is.

Despite the financial industry’s self-induced catastrophe in 2008, most corporate media reporting still assumes “What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has already said this recession is “very likely over.” The S&P 500 index, from its low point in March 2009, has rocketed upward by nearly 60 percent in barely six months. And Wall Street banks are reporting record profits, less than a year after taxpayers threw them a trillion-dollar lifeline.

But for the average household, the reality is grim. The number of unemployed and underemployed is nearly 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, or around 25 million people. Residential mortgage foreclosure filings have exceeded 300,000 a month for six months in a row, starting in March 2009. Tent cities are sprouting across the country. Personal incomes continues to shrink, and it’s projected that medical bankruptcies, people who file for personal bankruptcy because of medical bills, will reach 900,000 cases this year.

There is also little hope for a sustained recovery. Even if the recession technically ends in 2009, it’s only because of the (flawed) stimulus plan passed by Washington earlier this year.

One way to measure the gross domestic product is to divide it up in four segments: consumer spending, which is negative year over year; business investment, which is still in a recession; trade, or the value of exports minus import, which has been running a massive gap for years; and government spending, which has increased dramatically at the federal level while dropping precipitously at the local and state level. These factors are represented by the formula GDP = C+I+G+(X-M).

In simple language, there is no sector that appears capable of pulling the economy out of its deep funk: manufacturing has virtually disappeared in this country; most service sector jobs pay dismally; the tech sector and “creative industries” can’t employ tens of millions; those hopes of green jobs appear to vanished with Van Jones; and there are no more bubbles that can be pulled out of the Federal Reserves’ bag of tricks, at least ones that trickle down to Main Street.

It’s a distinct possibility that we may even see a double-dip recession, while the unemployment rate stays in the double digits for years.

The United States may be headed for a lost decade, like Japan experienced during the 1990s. It seems more fitting, then, to call this current downturn Depression 2.0.

This decline is not a re-run of the 1930s. After all, it’s the extreme right that is organizing around this downturn, not the left or labor as in the Roosevelt years. But it does appear like it will be severe and long-lasting, and profoundly re-shape our lives, culture, society and the world.

It’s going to be a rough ride, but information is the key to organizing for a better world.

Arun Gupta is an editor of the Indypendent. He's writing a book about the decline of American Empire to be published by Haymarket Books.

Why 'They' Call It Fall

Why They Call It Fall

Wednesday, Sept 30th, 2009

So now it turns out that the whole Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was a flop or more likely a scam. Remember Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson telling us last September that credit markets had locked up, and then, after half of the $750 billion that he extorted out of Congress was handed out to Wall Street firms, new President Barack Obama justifying the spending of the second half of the money because we needed to “get the banks lending again”?

Well, now Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for TARP, is telling us that all that money, and another more than $2 trillion in loans, accomplished nothing. In an interview with Lagan Sebert, published in Huffington Post, Barofsky says, “We were told by Treasury that the purpose of the TARP fund was to increase lending. But we haven’t increased lending.”

Well yeah, that’s true. Just ask any ordinary working stiff. My little bank, the Harleysville National Bank here in eastern Pennsylvania, far from expanding lending, has been shutting down customer credit lines. As a bank manager told me, they were “reviewing all our equity lines” in light of declining property values (actually, property values in our area north of Philadelphia have remained pretty stable). In general, banks across the country have been canceling credit lines, closing credit card accounts on customers deemed risky—including small businesses—and making it very hard to get a new mortgage. (They’ve also been raising all kinds of fees, ripping customers off in other ways, but that’s another story.)

And that goes for the biggest banks that got billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds.

Barofsky has been trying doggedly to find out whatever happened to all that money of ours that was shoveled out to the banks, and as he reports, he’s been working not just without any help from the Treasury Department, but actually against the active resistance of Treasury, which he accuses of having tried to dissuade him from even looking into it.

Why They Call It Fall  230909banner1

“My biggest surprise,” he says, “is when we announced an audit (of TARP), Treasury went out of their way to say…it would be a big waste of time.” He says Treasury officials including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, claimed that it would be impossible to find out where the money went, on the argument that money is “fungible”—that is to say all money is the same. Of course this is a cynical and ridiculous assertion. If it were true, there would be no job for auditors, since all auditors do is look to find out where money went. (Imagine telling an IRS auditor that it is a waste of time auditing your books, because money is fungible!)

In any event, Barofsky has gone about his work, with or without the backing of the Obama Treasury Department, and what he found is that instead of lending out the money that they were provided with by taxpayers, the banks have been “acquiring other institutions, sitting on it, paying down credit lines,” and, of course, paying out obscene bonuses to executives.

The one thing the banks are not doing is lending.

But then, as I wrote last February, it was silly to think that by shoveling money into banks during a record recession, the banks would then lend it out. First of all, there was the awkward reality that good companies were and still are not looking to borrow money. Rather, they are trying to pay down debt and get their balance sheets on more solid ground to survive a period of low or declining sales and earnings. The only companies that would be trying to borrow right now would be the ones that were on the rocks, and wanted money just to stay afloat. And what banker would lend to them? And second, if the banks could make more money by investing their new cash instead of making risky loans with it, why would they lend? So most of them just used the money to invest in Treasury Bonds.

The long and the short of it is that we’ve been taken for a very big and costly ride by banks that created a huge crisis and that then got the government to bail them out of it with our money, and by two administrations, one Republican and now one Democratic, that have been submissive and willing servants of the big banks.

The big surprise to me has been Paul Volcker, who I mistakenly took to be an over-the-hill relic and Wall Street patsy. The former Carter and Reagan-era Federal Reserve Board chairman, currently chair of President Obama’s economic advisory panel, is publicly warning that the president’s bank policies are preserving a system of giant banks that are “too big to fail,” and are risking further, even larger bailouts.

Barofsky agrees, saying that since the bailout, under Obama’s bank policies, big banks already deemed “too big to fail” have become even bigger, and he concludes, “We may be in a far more dangerous place today than we were in a year ago,” for having told certain financial companies that we will not let them fail.

Little wonder that the smart money—that would be the insiders in corporate boardrooms and executive suites—is reportedly selling shares as fast as they can be sold, with the experts reporting that insider sales of company stock are running 31:1 on the sell side. The explanation: with layoffs still running at over 500,000 a month, and nobody hiring, these executives don’t see anything in the year ahead or even longer that is likely to put the economy on a renewed growth path.

Putting these bits of news together doesn’t paint a pretty picture: We’ve got an economy that appears headed for at best a long period of stagnation and, more likely, for a second downturn, once the effect of last March’s stimulus package wears off. We’ve got a financial system that has been propped up artificially, its balance sheets soggy with underwater mortgages and worthless derivatives, and its executives holding assurances that they can count on the government bailing them out no matter what stupid or self-serving decisions they make. We’ve got an economy that is 70% based upon consumer spending, in which one in five people is unemployed or involuntarily underemployed. We’ve got a nation that hardly makes anything, at the same time that its currency is sinking like a stone, making imports increasingly expensive, And we have a stock market that has been inflated into a giant bubble, just waiting to pop.

October should be an interesting month this year.

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised At G20

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20

Authorities again attempt to provoke chaos at global summits to justify brutal police crackdown

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20 280909top3

Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, September 28, 2009

Shocking video has emerged of cops posing as anarchist protesters at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, in yet another example of authorities attempting to provoke chaos at global summits in order to justify a brutal police crackdown.

Footage from Saturday night shows three burly older men who look completely out of place with black bandanas over their face walking alongside young protesters during a march against police brutality in a You Tube clip entitled “G20 Epic Undercover Police Fail”.

The clip would be hilarious if it was not so disturbing. Protesters walking behind what are obviously badly disguised cops claim they broke cameras and acted aggressively towards genuine protesters, as well as carrying gas canisters. During a peaceful demonstration on Saturday night, riot cops savagely attacked protesters with batons and rubber bullets while also assaulting and arresting students who weren’t even part of the demonstration.

Watch the clip below.

At one point one of the undercover cops states, “Let’s not make this too much fun, I’m tired, I’m getting old.”

“Do you think it’s funny to mock our First Amendment rights, asks a demonstrator as onlookers begin to become aware that the men are obviously police officers dressed up as anarchists.

At every single major summit over the past few years, authorities have inserted agent provocateurs into protest groups in order to spy on them and if necessary, provoke violence to justify oppressive police brutality in the eyes of the watching world.

We have documented numerous different occasions where the leadership of the black bloc anarchists were actually working with the authorities to provide a pretext for a police state crackdown.

During the previous G20 protest in London, black bloc anarchists were allowed by police to smash up bank buildings while being accompanied by more press photographers than other protesters in what was obviously a stage-managed spectacle for mass consumption, while legitimate protest groups were refused “permits” to protest by the government.

Following the SPP protests in Canada two years ago, Quebec provincial authorities were forced to admit that three rock-wielding black mask-wearing “anarchists” were in fact police infiltrators used to gather information on protesters.

Video shows two of the provocateurs pick up rocks and try to incite violence before they are outed as cops by legitimate demonstrators. The two thugs then tried to slip behind police lines before their fellow officers were forced to stage their arrest. Again, the fact that they were cops in disguise was later admitted by authorities. Watch the video.

Alex Jones’ film Police State 2: The Takeover exposed how the black bloc anarchists were completely infiltrated and provocateured by the authorities during the violent 1999 WTO protests in Seattle.

The authorities declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews and resorted to nothing short of police state tactics in response to a small minority of hostile black bloc hooligans. Police allowed the black bloc to run riot in downtown Seattle while they concentrated on preventing the movement of peaceful protestors. The film presents clear evidence that the black bloc anarchist group was actually controlled by the state and used to demonize peaceful protesters. Watch the video below.

At the WTO protests in Genoa 2001 a protestor was killed after being shot in the head and run over twice by a police vehicle. The Italian Carabinere also later beat on peaceful protestors as they slept, and even tortured some, at the Diaz School. It later emerged that the police fabricated evidence against the protesters, claiming they were anarchist rioters, to justify their actions. Some Carabiniere officials have since come forward to say they knew of infiltration of the so called black bloc anarchists, and that fellow officers acted as agent provocateurs.

At the Free Trade Area of Americas protests in Miami in late November 2003, more provocateuring was evident. The United Steelworkers of America calling for a congressional investigation, stated that the police intentionally caused violence and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protestors. The USWA suggested that billions of dollars supposedly slated for Iraq reconstruction funds are actually being used to subsidize “homeland repression” in America.

Despite being caught over and over again dressed up as anarchists and posing as protesters, authorities are still content to use agent provocateurs in a desperate and underhanded attempt to make heightening levels of police brutality somehow appear as a legitimate response. Since this maneuver has now been totally discredited and everyone is fully aware of it, it’s unlikely that they will be able to get away with it at all for future protests.

Australia 'uranium' dust concerns

Australia 'uranium' dust concerns
By Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney, 28 September 2009
People across NSW and Queensland awoke last week to a Mars like scene. Humans have raised concerns that another giant dust storm blowing its way across eastern Australia may contain radioactive particles [MORE]