venerdì 20 novembre 2009

Un modo appropriato per contabilizzare la moneta nel bilancio della banca centrale

Un modo appropriato per contabilizzare la moneta nel bilancio della banca centrale

Thomas Colignatus, 31 dicembre 2005

http://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpgt/0512014.html

note a cura di Marco Saba, traduzione di Nicoletta Forcheri
http://www.scribd.com/doc/22833622

Sommario

Una corretta gestione della contabilità comporta che:

1. le banche centrali si conformino alla prassi della Federal Reserve di distinguere tra Stato patrimoniale o Bilancio e Dichiarazione sulla Situazione;

2. la moneta decretizia (“fiat money”) non figuri al passivo nel bilancio;

3. la banca centrale non iscriva a bilancio titoli del debito pubblico più di quelli che sono oggetto delle operazioni di mercato aperto. I titoli eccedenti dovrebbero essere considerati nulli (sono prestiti del governo che dovrebbero essere azzerati).

In caso di mancato rispetto delle regole contabili corrette, avremo dei criteri contabili inesatti, per misurare il debito pubblico, e le condizioni operative della politica ne risulteranno distorte.


Introduzione

La proprietà più saliente della moneta decretizia è quella di essere a corso legale/forzoso. Se A è debitore nei confronti di B, A rimborserà il debito con la moneta "legale" senza che B possa rifiutarla in pagamento; e se A volesse rimborsare il debito con la sua macchina usata, o con un quadro di inestimabile valore, B potrebbe legalmente rifiutare tale rimborso. Il fatto essenziale è quindi l'esistenza di una cornice giuridica che offre fiducia e stabilità alla comunità.

Una volta che tale contesto legale viene costituito, risulta vantaggioso per la comunità utilizzare la moneta decretizia al posto della banconota garantita da oro. Con la moneta decretizia non c'è bisogno di preoccuparsi del suo valore poiché questo deriva da un contesto legale. Inoltre, il vantaggio della carta è di essere più facile da trasportare e più maneggevole dell'oro. Ma non è tutto, perché altrimenti useremmo ancora le banconote garantite da oro. Infatti, la moneta decretizia presenta, anche e soprattutto, i seguenti benefici per la società:

1. che il livello dei prezzi può essere influenzato dalla Banca centrale piuttosto che dalla scoperta di nuove miniere d'oro;

2. che il signoraggio tocca alla Banca centrale.

Sono due lati del medesimo aspetto benefico rappresentato da un maggiore controllo monetario da parte della comunità. [1]

Il signoraggio può essere definito al meglio semplicemente come un cambiamento della massa monetaria. Se M è la massa monetaria, il signoraggio equivale a ∆ M. Alcuni autori come Inklaar et al. (2005) e Drazen (1985) vi includono i proventi degli investimenti produttivi effettuati con queste risorse aggiuntive. Tuttavia, il budget dello Stato è un insieme, e sarebbe arbitrario isolarne alcune voci: pertanto non è possibile assegnare tali investimenti a una risorsa determinata.

Con l'equazione di Fisher, P Y = M V, dove P è il livello dei prezzi, Y sono le entrate reali, V la velocità di circolazione monetaria, avremo che la moneta, a velocità di circolazione costante, può registrare lo stesso tasso di crescita delle entrate nominali. Quindi, con un tasso d'inflazione del 2% e una crescita reale del 3%, il signoraggio potrebbe ammontare al 5% della massa monetaria: una notevole fonte di entrate...

Se la Banca centrale non avesse il monopolio della moneta decretizia, il signoraggio verrebbe spalmato nel sistema economico. Chiunque abbia la possibilità di accedere a una stampante, potrebbe tentare di emettere ITD (titoli del tipo “Io Ti Devo”, in inglese IOU). Si noti che, ad esempio, alcuni supermercati distribuiscono carte di sconto, alcuni negozi stampano buoni regalo e altri strumenti che possono fungere da moneta. Le banche potrebbero emettere la loro moneta cartacea (come proposto da tempo da Hayek) e aggiungerne il reddito agli utili [2]. La regola che vuole che “la moneta cattiva scaccia quella buona” funzionerebbe così: la gente accumulerebbe le banconote delle banche “buone” e farebbe circolare la moneta delle banche “cattive”, quelle che stampano (troppe) banconote. La constatazione fondamentale però è che così la società perderebbe il controllo dell'inflazione, da cui ne conseguirebbe che è meglio creare un monopolio di una banca centrale.

La banca centrale controlla l'inflazione sia con il sistema d'ispezione e controllo qualità delle banche commerciali, sia con misure di politica monetaria, come le condizioni vincolanti di riserva e le operazioni di mercato aperto. Se c'è troppa liquidità nel sistema economico, a fronte di carenza di beni, la banca centrale vende i titoli statali facendo innalzare il tasso d'interesse [3]. Nei casi di insufficienza di liquidità e quantità sovrabbondante di prodotti sugli scaffali, la banca centrale riacquista i titoli riducendo il tasso di interesse. [4] Con un tasso d'interesse costante, la massa di titoli del debito può variare anche in funzione della volontà di lasciare un po' di “liquidità” per i titoli stessi.

Negli anni è invalsa la prassi che la banca centrale realizza il signoraggio acquistando titoli statali. La banca centrale stampa la sua moneta o accredita direttamente i conti correnti del governo e riceve in cambio i titoli di Stato [5]. In modo cumulativo, negli anni, la banca centrale compensa a bilancio la massa di moneta decretizia con i titoli statali. Chiunque apra il Rapporto annuo di una banca centrale, al foglio del Bilancio, troverà la massa di moneta decretizia emessa nella colonna del passivo e la massa dei titoli del debito detenuti a contropartita, nella colonna dell'attivo. In pratica, il signoraggio che la banca centrale cede al governo si chiama “finanziamento monetario” ("monetary financing"). Mentre il governo deve pagare interessi sui titoli detenuti dalla Banca centrale, essa li contabilizza come entrate [6]. Questi interessi vengono iscritti come un “trasferimento di utili” aggiuntivo al governo (che non è propriamente signoraggio, ma rappresenta gli interessi sul signoraggio stesso). [7]


Contabilità per l'attivo e il passivo

Per una banca commerciale sarebbe corretto contabilizzare la massa monetaria cartacea negli attivi. In particolare, le banconote che una banca commerciale detiene possono essere scambiate con beni primari e rappresentano, quindi, una titolarità su risorse reali.

Per la banca centrale ha un qualche senso iscrivere l'importo delle sue emissioni di moneta decretizia al passivo. Ogni banconota che essa emette e inietta nel sistema economico rappresenta un titolo di credito su risorse reali, di cui la banca centrale si appropria e di cui dovrebbe sentirsi responsabile. [8]

Per l'intero sistema economico è logico che tutto il patrimonio in moneta decretizia delle banche commerciali, delle aziende e delle famiglie, sia compensato da un'equivalente passività presso la banca centrale.

Tuttavia, il punto che il presente articolo vuole evidenziare è che la moneta decretizia non costituisce per nessun operatore economico un valido titolo di credito presso la banca centrale [9].

Legalmente, quando una persona si reca allo sportello della banca centrale, supponiamo con una banconota da un dollaro a corso legale/forzoso, e desidera scambiarla con un valore reale, la banca centrale la scambierà con un'altra banconota da un dollaro a corso legale/forzoso. Non esiste, di fatto, in capo alla banca centrale qualcosa di paragonabile a un obbligo di rimborsare con qualcosa di reale le banconote di moneta decretizia emesse.[10]

L'aspetto fondamentale di questo punto dell'analisi è che non esiste alcuna ragione per la banca centrale di accumulare più titoli del debito di quanto non siano necessari per le operazioni di mercato aperto, titoli che occupano solo spazio, memoria e tempo per la contabilità, contribuendo così alla confusione sulla situazione reale.[11]

Un aspetto importante di questa confusione è il fatto che il debito del governo nei confronti della banca centrale viene contabilizzato assieme al debito nazionale. Soprattutto nei paesi in via di sviluppo, che fanno più uso del signoraggio (tassa dell'inflazione) - poiché la riscossione delle imposte è difficoltosa - la dimensione dell'indebitamento del governo risulta distorta e una scorretta contabilizzazione della moneta decretizia rischia di provocare decisioni sbagliate come, ad esempio, programmi di austerità troppo pretenziosi.


Il sistema monetario della Federal Reserve a confronto di quello della UE

Il Rapporto annuale della Federal Reserve americana del 2004 può essere considerato l'eccezione alla regola descritta sopra, in quanto distingue correttamente il bilancio di sé stessa, considerata come impresa, dal suo patrimonio in strumenti monetari. Così, alla pagina 266, si legge: “Dichiarazione della Banca sulle Condizioni bancarie della Federal Reserve, 31 dicembre 2004 e 2003” (“Statement of Condition of the Federal Reserve Banks, by Bank, December 31, 2004 and 2003”), non nel foglio del Bilancio ma sotto il titolo “Dichiarazione sulla condizione” (“Statement of Condition”). Tra le sue passività figurano “le banconote circolanti della Federal Reserve” con una sottile distinzione tra quelle garantite da collaterali in titoli governativi e quelle non coperte da tali garanzie. Tale distinzione non ha senso non essendo affatto chiaro quanto sia necessario per effettuare le operazioni di mercato aperto.

Il Rapporto annuale del 2004 del sistema monetario europeo obbedisce alla regola già spiegata sopra. Le riserve monetarie sono repertoriate nel “Bilancio” mentre non vi è alcuna ragione di controbilanciare tale moneta decretizia.

Constatiamo quindi che la Fed sta già gradualmente accettando la moneta decretizia per quello che è, anche se non completamente, mentre il sistema monetario europeo tende a contabilizzarla come se fosse in un "gold standard". Ciò si riflette anche nella quota-parte d'oro indicata nei patrimoni delle banche centrali, vedi anche Henderson et al. (1997).

2004

All in millions_____US Fed. Res. ($)_ ECB (EUR)_ EUsys (EUR)

Total assets_______814,946_______90,212_____884,324

Gold _____________11,041 _______7,928 _____125,730

% Gold in assets_____ 1,4% ________8,8% ______14,2%

PM The Eurosystem consists of the ECB and 12 national Central Banks


Note conclusive


In una prossima versione del presente documento sarà opportuno offrire un esempio di un Bilancio “ribilanciato”. Eliminando la moneta decretizia dalle passività e scartando la maggior parte dei titoli del tesoro, che potranno essere restituiti al governo e quindi stracciati, ci si può immaginare il risultato: una "Dichiarazione sulla Situazione" propriamente redatta con meno attività sotto forma di titoli e con più patrimonio intangibile (“goodwill”).

Allo stesso tempo, sarebbe utile che sia gli economisti monetari che e le autorità monetarie stesse prendessero in considerazione queste argomentazioni, ma anche che gli economisti che trattano con i paesi in via di sviluppo, come quelli del FMI e della Banca Mondiale, riconsiderassero la questione del debito nazionale.


Note:

1] A vantaggio della comunità se la banca è sotto il diretto controllo pubblico, ovviamente.

2] Oggi le banche emettono nuova moneta virtuale attraverso scritture contabili secondo una regola autogestita basata sull'espediente della riserva frazionaria, per un ammontare di circa 50 volte rispetto alle riserve effettive (coefficiente di riserva al 2% nell'area euro, pre-crisi 2008). Il "circa" è dovuto al fatto che alcuni "depositi" sono esenti dai requisiti di riserva o seguono disposizioni più lasche. La parola "depositi" è ambigua in virtù del fatto che le banche, a fronte di deposito di contante, creano immediatamente nuova moneta contabile accreditando il conto del cliente.

3] A fronte di un aumento d'offerta di titoli sul mercato, lo Stato è costretto ad alzare i tassi per trovare compratori.

4] A fronte di nuova domanda, lo stato può abbassare i rendimenti dei titoli.

5] Nel caso dell'Italia, dal 1907, le funzioni di Tesoreria dello Stato sono state appannaggio della banca centrale e senza gare pubbliche. Ne deriva che, a seguito della privatizzazione della banca centrale, tutte le più alte cariche dello Stato e tutti i dipendenti pubblici, magistratura compresa, sono "pagati" attraverso una struttura privata assolutamente indipendente e avulsa dal controllo democratico.

6] In certi casi, gli interessi sono riconosciuti attraverso una vendita all'asta di titoli con sconto sul valore nominale alla scadenza.

7] In pratica, la banca centrale restituisce allo stato solo gli interessi ricevuti sui titoli, più altri eventuali utili derivanti da operazioni di mercato aperto, detratte le proprie spese gestionali (circa 2 miliardi di euro all'anno). La parte importante - il controvalore del capitale creato - non viene mai restituito. Lo si è visto col passaggio dalla lira all'euro: biglietti di carta sostituiti con altri biglietti di carta, ad infinitum... senza nemmeno restituire le tonnellate d'oro demonetizzato. Questa carta decretizia che pesca valore, diciamolo, nell'ingenuità del pubblico, della comunità che è costretta ad usarla come strumento econometrico, rappresenta un'espropriazione continuata di ricchezza che viene continuamente ricollocata e riallocata, sotto forma di credito, a soggetti ritenuti... idonei. Una lista di soggetti italiani "bonificati" - come direbbe Flavio Carboni - dalla BCE, attraverso le cosiddette operazioni di "mercato aperto", è stata pubblicata qui:
http://leconomistamascherato.blogspot.com/2009/11/elenco-di-societa-bonificate-dalla-bce.html

8] La banca centrale si "sente" il debitore ultimo, ma conta temerariamente sull'ingenuità del pubblico che si crede saldato dalla mera disponibilità di cartamoneta.

9] Non è "liquido ed esigibile". La banca centrale è tecnicamente insolvente.

10] Allo stesso modo, e fatto ancor più grave, il discorso vale per la moneta contabile emessa continuamente dalle banche commerciali sotto forma di prestiti e depositi a vista.

11] Ma anche queste operazioni rappresentano un'appropriazione ingiustificata di ricchezza altrui senza reale contropartita da parte della banca. La contropartita la offre la comunità, accettandola, quando prende per buona questa moneta creata ad hoc. Se la banca centrale fosse gestita correttamente, avrebbe senso che si appropriasse di valore monetario solo nella misura di quelli che sono i sui costi d'esercizio, ovvero i servizi offerti: nel caso di Bankitalia, due miliardi di euro l'anno. Tutto il resto della moneta prodotta andrebbe assegnato allo Stato. E' da notare che così facendo si ottempererebbe alla continua richiesta sempre più pressante, da parte delle istituzioni monetarie internazionali (Fondo Internazionale, OCSE, etc.), di abbassare il livello del debito pubblico. Possiamo tranquillamente affermare che, a contabilità corretta, questo debito verrebbe inibito alla radice.


Bibliografia

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2005), “91st Annual Report 2004”, Washington,
http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/rptcongress/annual04/ar04.pdf

European Central Bank (2005), “Annual Report 2004”, Frankfurt am Main

Drazen, A. (1985), “A general measure for inflation tax revenues”, Economics Letters, 17, 327-333 (cited by Inklaar cs.)

Henderson, Dale W., John S. Irons, Stephen W. Salant, and Sebastian Thomas (1997), “Can Government Gold Be Put to Better Use? Qualitative and Quantitative Effects of Alternative Policies”,
http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/1997/582/default.htm

Inklaar, R, R. Jong-A-Pin, J. de Haan (2005), “Geldscheppingswinst als bron van overheidsinkomsten”, Financiële en monetaire studies, issue 23, no 2

House Rebels Force Fed Audit

THE NATION

House Rebels Force Fed Audit, Real Economy Onto Agenda

by John Nichols on 11/20/2009 @ 10:21am


The secretive Federal Reserve, former lair of "masters of the universe" like Alan Greenspan and Tim Geithner and current engine of a Wall-Street-first, Main-Street-last "recovery," is being set up by the Obama administration and Congressional leaders to get more powers.

That's a bad idea.

But it will be made a little less bad if Congress establishes some oversight over the largely-unaccountable institution.

On Thursday, oversight won. An amendment to audit the Fed, which was modeled on a proposal long advocated by Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Florida, was approved on a 43-26 vote by the House Financial Services Committee.

The amendment, which was proposed on the committee by Paul and Grayson, would:

* Remove blanket restrictions on General Accounting Office audits of the Fed

* Allow auditing of every item on the Fed¡¯s balance sheet, including all credit facilities and all securities purchase programs.

A very moderate proposal, the amendment retains a limited audit exemption on the Fed's unreleased transcripts and minutes and sets a 180-day time lag before details of the institution's market actions may be released -- both of which provide Fed governors with all the space and flexibility they might need to act in moments of economic emergency.

The amendment also notes that the approval of auditing should not be construed as interference in or dictation of monetary policy by Congress or the GAO.

In other words, this is about simple transparency, which everyone should favor.

Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to hold the Fed to account.

Democratic leaders in the House, including Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, tried to scuttle the "Audit the Fed" proposal.

It would be fair to ask: What parallel universe have we entered where Democrats are the prime defenders of bad bankers and bad practices?

But, luckily, not all Democrats have gone astray.

When the committee vote came, it broke down like this:

Chairman Frank and 25 committee Democrats voted against auditing the Fed.

Grayson and 14 committee Democrats joined 28 Republicans in voting "yes" for transparency and a measure of accountability.

The Paul-Grayson amendment now becomes part of HR 3996, Frank's "Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009."

That bill, which was expected to gain a vote this week, will not be considered until after the Thanksgiving break.

That's because Frank's rush to win approval for this legislation is being slowed not merely by those who would audit the Fed but also by those who say that Congress must get more serious about addressing real-economy concerns -- particularly unemployment in the African-American community.

The delay in consideration of the Financial Stability Improvement Act is entirely appropriate, even if Frank and his staff are grumbling about it. Over the next week or so, Frank will work with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to address concerns about the failure of the Obama administration and congressional leaders to respond aggressively, or effectively, to high unemployment and other economic challenges in African-American neighborhoods.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who is the senior CBC member on the committee, is a prime mover in the effort to get Congress to pay more attention to real-economy concerns. Waters and other CBC members have been meeting with keys figures in the Obama administration and the congressional leadership to argue that more must be done to ease constraints on credit, address foreclosure threats and focus intensely on job creation -- especially in areas that have long been neglected.

The Financial Services Committee is not the only place where these issues can or should be addressed. Indeed, as a Frank spokesperson said of gteh CBC members, "They said that they weren't going to support the bill (Thursday) because of issues absolutely unrelated to the bill -- larger economic issues facing the African American community -- so we put off the vote to give the time for the administration, leadership and the CBC to work those issues out."

But Waters was blunt, and correct, about the importance of focusing attention on the need for the administration and the Congress to pause in the rush to address the challenges of the banks and the financial services industry to ponder the condition of those Americans who have suffered most from not just an economic downturn but the neglect of government: "The recession has created a unique systemic risk that threatens all parts of the African-American community, including the poor and the middle class. I have always been committed to addressing that risk and will continue to do so. This is a critical issue for my constituents."

In fact, the real-economy issues being raised by Waters and her colleagues are critical for out-of-work and foreclosure-threatened Americans across the country. To the extent that the rebellion she has fomented focuses attention on the urgency of a response to rising unemployment and other challenges facing urban communities, the Congress and the country will be well served by this delay.

And if the final legislation that comes out of the Financial Services Committee holds the Fed to account and better serves the interests of poor and working-class Americans, then the battles on this particular committee might just be the start of a long-overdue redirection of an economic debate that has well served bankers and speculators while ill serving the rest of us.

Audit The Fed Bill Approved In House !!!

Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Audit The Fed Bill Approved In House Finance Committee


Chalk up a rare victory for the little guy (and the nation itself). The Bill To Audit Federal Reserve Passes Key Hurdle

In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.

The measure, cosponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), authorizes the Government Accountability Office to conduct a wide-ranging audit of the Fed's opaque deals with foreign central banks and major U.S. financial institutions. The Fed has never had a real audit in its history and little is known of what it does with the trillions of dollars at its disposal.

Backers of the Watt amendment pressed their case on Wednesday by sending a letter from a "political cross section of prominent economists" backing a measure like Watt's. HuffPost reported, however, that those economists might well have be prominent, but they certainly aren't a "political cross section." Seven of the eight economists in question have extensive connections to the Fed -- and half of them are currently on the Fed payroll. Those affiliations were not noted in the letter.

The playbook in Washington often goes like this: When a measure that threatens the establishment builds enough momentum that it must be dealt with, it is labeled as "unserious." The Washington Post editorial board, true to the script, called Paul's measure "an unserious answer to a serious question."

And it particularly rankles the center that a pair of "wingnuts" are behind a successful effort to challenge the prevailing order. [See Grayson Called "Wingnut" By New York Times].

For anyone remaining confused, the debate was further clarified by the central bank itself: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Don Cohn and General Counsel Scott Alvarez spent much of the day calling committee members, urging them to oppose the Paul-Grayson amendment in favor of Watt's, a member of Congress who asked for confidentiality told HuffPost.

Paul's opponents also placed a letter from former Fed chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker on the seats of every committee member. Such a move is in violation of House rules and Grayson was able to have the letters removed.

As the day wore on and support held for the Paul-Grayson side, the Fed still could hope that both would pass. Watt's amendment, which included additional restriction, would then trump Paul's.

To counter that possibility, the Paul-Grayson side moved to fully replace Watt's amendment with theirs, leaving only one amendment to vote on. The motion carried and the amendment passed in a landslide.

Frank said he was opposing the Paul amendment because it could be perceived as influencing monetary policy, which can have inflationary pressure. "Perception is very important in monetary policy," said Frank.

He urged a no vote, yet 15 Democrats bucked him, voting with Paul.

"Today was Waterloo for Fed secrecy," a victorious Grayson said afterwards.
Listen To Grayson



Clearly Grayson has this story cold. Equally as clearly, Barney Frank is a liar who never supported a true audit the Fed proposal in the first place.

Thanks to the Huffington Post for running these stories. Also thanks go to everyone who called, phoned, or faxed in support for the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson amendment.

Bear in mind there will be other attempts to water down this bill and/or to change it dramatically in the Senate. Be prepared to phone, fax, and call in again as necessary.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

giovedì 19 novembre 2009

Bini Smaghi, c'e' troppo ottimismo

Bini Smaghi, c'e' troppo ottimismo
giovedì, 19 novembre 2009 - 21:18 CET

(ANSA) - ROMA, 19 NOV - I mercati finanziari rischiano di essere 'in qualche modo troppo ottimisti' sulla forza della ripresa economica, afferma Bini Smaghi (Bce). Il membro del comitato esecutivo della Banca centrale europea Bini Smaghi conferma che 'ci sono segnali crescenti che le economie avanzate abbiano iniziato una graduale ripresa', ma avverte: 'Le prospettive economiche sono ancora incerte'.

Defective Paperwork Strips Mortgage Holder of Foreclosure Rights

Defective Paperwork Strips Mortgage Holder of Foreclosure Rights

The National Law Journal

November 19, 2009


A Massachusetts federal judge has upheld a bankruptcy court ruling allowing a trustee to treat a mortgage as an unsecured claim, which strips the mortgage holder of foreclosure rights, because of defective mortgage paperwork.

In a Nov. 17 order, District Court Judge Patti Saris affirmed a bankruptcy court order denying the plaintiffs' request to send a question of law to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The case is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) v. Warren E. Agin, trustee.

The plaintiffs wanted the state high court's take on whether the omission of a borrower's name on an acknowledgement form, which a notary public uses to confirm the identity of the borrower, is a "material defect" that voids the mortgage.

In Massachusetts, deeds or mortgages recorded at a county registry of deeds must have a properly executed acknowledgment form.

One of the plaintiffs in the June 3 bankruptcy court appeal is MERS, which runs a national mortgage electronic registration system that simplifies the selling or trading residential or commercial mortgage loans. The other plaintiff is the actual lender, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., which Bank of America Corp. acquired in 2008.

The ruling concerned a mortgage held by debtor Mathew Giroux, who filed a voluntary Chapter 7 case in bankruptcy court in Massachusetts on June 27, 2008. The bankruptcy court granted the trustee's motion for summary judgment on May 21, which allowed him to treat the mortgage as a unsecured debt.

Saris agreed with the bankruptcy court that Massachusetts case law holds that the state "requires strict formalities in the execution of acknowledgements."

Saris also agreed with the bankruptcy court that Massachusetts courts are likely to follow a 2004 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, In re Biggs, which held that omitting the lender's name in an acknowledgement was not a "purposeless formality."

"Although the question of the acknowledgment's validity is a determinative issue, the Court finds the outcome in the state court to be reasonably clear," Saris wrote.

Cases about the issue have also cropped up in federal courts in other jurisdictions, said the trustee's lawyer, Jeffrey J. Cymrot of Boston-based Sassoon & Cymrott. Cymrot said he's also working on a similar pending case.

"It's largely due to pushing mortgages through the system," Cymrot said. "I don't think it's rare."

The case shows that sloppy execution of mortgage documents has consequences in bankruptcy cases, Cymrot said.

He also said the central question is analogous to that in cases challenging foreclosures because of defective documents that have cropped up in recent months. "It's related, but it's another type of sloppiness," Cymrot said.

Bank of America did not respond to requests to comment by deadline. MERS spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde said the company declined to comment.

Sheri Qualters can be contacted at squalters@alm.com

Signoraggio: Conferenza alla Camera di Commercio

IL GIORNALE DI RAGUSA

Conferenza-dibattito alla Camera di Commercio sul sistema monetario italiano
di Redazione
Giovedì 19 Novembre 2009 - 11:30

Ragusa - “Fiera delle verità: la grande truffa del signoraggio”: sarà questo il tema della conferenza che terrà il dr. Alessandro Bono venerdì 20 novembre, alle ore 19 presso l'auditorium della Camera di Commercio.

L'iniziativa viene promossa dall'Assessorato alla Cultura, con la collaborazione della Camera di Commercio e dell'Associazione Programma per la Riforma Monetaria Italiana.
“La conferenza-dibattito – dichiara l'Assessore alla cultura, Mimì Arezzo - ha lo scopo di promuovere l'informazione sull'evoluzione del sistema monetario,dal baratto ai giorni nostri, evidenziandone cause ed effetti sull'economia globale”.

Societe Generale: how to prepare for 'global collapse'

Société Générale tells clients how to prepare for potential 'global collapse'

Société Générale has advised clients to be ready for a possible "global economic collapse" over the next two years, mapping a strategy of defensive investments to avoid wealth destruction.

A bullet train speeding past Mount Fuji in Fuji city, west of  Tokyo, Japan
Explosion of debt: Japan's public debt could reach as much as 270pc of GDP in the next two years. A bullet train is pictured speeding past Mount Fuji in Fuji city, west of Tokyo - Photo: Reuters

In a report entitled "Worst-case debt scenario", the bank's asset team said state rescue packages over the last year have merely transferred private liabilities onto sagging sovereign shoulders, creating a fresh set of problems.

Overall debt is still far too high in almost all rich economies as a share of GDP (350pc in the US), whether public or private. It must be reduced by the hard slog of "deleveraging", for years.

"As yet, nobody can say with any certainty whether we have in fact escaped the prospect of a global economic collapse," said the 68-page report, headed by asset chief Daniel Fermon. It is an exploration of the dangers, not a forecast.

Under the French bank's "Bear Case" scenario (the gloomiest of three possible outcomes), the dollar would slide further and global equities would retest the March lows. Property prices would tumble again. Oil would fall back to $50 in 2010.

Governments have already shot their fiscal bolts. Even without fresh spending, public debt would explode within two years to 105pc of GDP in the UK, 125pc in the US and the eurozone, and 270pc in Japan. Worldwide state debt would reach $45 trillion, up two-and-a-half times in a decade.

(UK figures look low because debt started from a low base. Mr Ferman said the UK would converge with Europe at 130pc of GDP by 2015 under the bear case).

The underlying debt burden is greater than it was after the Second World War, when nominal levels looked similar. Ageing populations will make it harder to erode debt through growth. "High public debt looks entirely unsustainable in the long run. We have almost reached a point of no return for government debt," it said.

Inflating debt away might be seen by some governments as a lesser of evils.

If so, gold would go "up, and up, and up" as the only safe haven from fiat paper money. Private debt is also crippling. Even if the US savings rate stabilises at 7pc, and all of it is used to pay down debt, it will still take nine years for households to reduce debt/income ratios to the safe levels of the 1980s.

The bank said the current crisis displays "compelling similarities" with Japan during its Lost Decade (or two), with a big difference: Japan was able to stay afloat by exporting into a robust global economy and by letting the yen fall. It is not possible for half the world to pursue this strategy at the same time.

SocGen advises bears to sell the dollar and to "short" cyclical equities such as technology, auto, and travel to avoid being caught in the "inherent deflationary spiral". Emerging markets would not be spared. Paradoxically, they are more leveraged to the US growth than Wall Street itself. Farm commodities would hold up well, led by sugar.

Mr Fermon said junk bonds would lose 31pc of their value in 2010 alone. However, sovereign bonds would "generate turbo-charged returns" mimicking the secular slide in yields seen in Japan as the slump ground on. At one point Japan's 10-year yield dropped to 0.40pc. The Fed would hold down yields by purchasing more bonds. The European Central Bank would do less, for political reasons.

SocGen's case for buying sovereign bonds is controversial. A number of funds doubt whether the Japan scenario will be repeated, not least because Tokyo itself may be on the cusp of a debt compound crisis.

Mr Fermon said his report had electrified clients on both sides of the Atlantic. "Everybody wants to know what the impact will be. A lot of hedge funds and bankers are worried," he said.

What Has Government Done to the Dollar?

Greetings,

Latest article from DollarDaze.org is look at the changing nature of the US dollar during the 20th century.

What Has Government Done to the Dollar?
http://dollardaze.org/blog/?post_id=00748

If interested, please feel free to repost or link article to your website. Thank-you.

Regards,
Mike Hewitt, Editor of www.DollarDaze.org
____________________
Subject: Re: Article - "What Has Government Done to the Dollar?"

Completely agree.

I probably should have titled the piece, "What Have They Done to the Dollar?"

Regards,
Mike

> Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 12:40:30 +0100
> To: mikehewitt
> From: m.saba
> Subject: Re: Article - "What Has Government Done to the Dollar?"
>
> Mike,
>
> if the government was the owner of the dollar printing presses, then why at
> all
> issue taxes to pay for the facial value of money?
>
> No, it is not the government the owner, as you may know. It is the small
> club of bankers who stay behind the printing presses...
>
> As soon as you realize this, you will revive the militia of the states and
> free your Nation.
> Or else?

Terzo Convegno sul denaro=debito a Bergamo

martedì 24 NOVEMBRE 2009 alle ore 20,45 - terzo Convegno sul denaro=debito con EUGENIO BENETAZZO dal titolo "UNA FOLLIA MONETARIA: I SOLDI ALLE BANCHE, I DEBITI A STATI E CITTADINI", promosso dal Comitato di Liberazione Monetaria di Bergamo e ispirato agli Studi del Prof. Giacinto Auriti, che si terrà presso: AUDITORIUM DI SAN SISTO (ex Chiesa) Via della Vittoria, 1 - 24126 Bergamo

La partecipazione è GRATUITA Per maggiori informazioni potete scrivere a colimo.bg@gmail.com

mercoledì 18 novembre 2009

News stories related to the World Bank and IMF

Please find below a selection of news stories related to the World Bank and IMF of the past week, brought to you by the Bretton Woods Project.

The best news stories related to the World Bank and IMF of the past week:


IMF economists review reserve currency alternatives
http://www.reuters.com/article/usDollarRpt/idUSLC42025420091112
Reuters, 12 November 2009

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown sends team to IMF to lobby for City tax
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/nov/12/financial-crisis-regulators
The Guardian, 12 November 2009

The new Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

Deja Vu: DOJ Announces New Financial Fraud Enforcement Effort

The American Lawyer

November 18, 2009

A clutch of Obama administration bigwigs -- Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Housing Department Secretary Shawn Donovan and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief Robert Khuzami -- gathered round on Tuesday to announce the formation of a new interagency effort to fight financial fraud. According to the DOJ watchers at Main Justice, the new group, which is to be called the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, "will comprise senior-level officials from more than 20 departments, agencies, and offices" and will "target financial crimes that played a role in the financial crisis and try to deter future fraud."

But wait. Didn't the Bush administration do the exact same thing (albeit with a different cast of characters) after the Enron and WorldCom scandals? The old interagency group, founded by executive order in 2002, was called the Corporate Fraud Task Force. It was supposed to restore investor confidence by prosecuting those who'd already committed business crimes and by scaring off future corporate criminals.

As the American Lawyer chronicled in a special 2007 issue devoted to corporate fraud litigation, the Corporate Fraud Task Force did have some important wins. On the fifth anniversary of the group's formation, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that the task force had won 1,236 corporate fraud convictions, including the convictions of 214 chief executive officers and presidents, 53 chief financial officers, 23 corporate lawyers and 129 vice presidents.

The Am Law special report noted, however, that most of the task force's prosecutions were launched in its early days. Prosecutions dropped off sharply after 2004, which was the last year that DOJ issued a detailed report on the task force's work. "That decline raises a critical question," wrote reporter Daphne Eviatar, with prescient skepticism. "Has the problem of corporate fraud really been solved, as Gonzales suggested at his celebration in July? Or has the Justice Department simply stopped trying as hard to prosecute it?"

As we now know, the Corporate Fraud Task Force didn't exactly accomplish its mission of deterring financial fraud. The Obama administration promises in its press release announcing the new group -- which replaces the still-alive-but-no-one-knew-it CFTF -- that the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force will be even more ambitious than the old group, drawing on the expertise of more than twice as many state and federal agencies.

The FFETF, said Attorney General Holder, "will wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. We will marshal the criminal and civil enforcement resources of the executive branch to investigate and prosecute financial fraud cases; recover stolen funds for victims; address discrimination in lending and financial markets; and enhance coordination and cooperation among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities responsible for investigating and prosecuting significant financial crimes and violations."

We're sure the new group will have some splashy press conferences in coming months; as white-collar defense lawyer David Zornow of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom told the Lit Daily's Andrew Longstreth, when you gather a bunch of prosecutors together, you're bound to generate criminal and civil cases. But we hope that this task force, unlike the old one, also effects some lasting changes.

This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.

SEC Falls Short in Financial Audit

SEC Falls Short in Financial Audit

The National Law Journal

November 18, 2009


If there was one federal agency you'd expect to get its financial statements right, it's the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Or not.

Monday the SEC came up short in a financial audit released by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO found that the SEC "did not have effective internal control over its financial reporting as of Sept. 30, 2009."

As part of its mission, the SEC is charged with enforcing strict financial disclosure rules for public companies. Apparently, it is less adept at policing itself.

For example, the GAO reported that SEC's general ledger system allows unauthorized personnel to view, manipulate or destroy data, and that "serious unauthorized activity" may remain undetected.

Until the SEC fixes these problems, the GAO found, the SEC can't be sure "1) its financial statements, taken as a whole, are fairly stated; 2) the information the SEC relies on to make decisions on a daily basis is accurate, complete, and timely; and 3) sensitive data and financial information are appropriately safeguarded."

Nor could the SEC "provide evidence that it monitored controls over its payroll exception reports to ensure payroll transactions were recorded accurately and timely."

While the GAO did credit the SEC with producing statements that were "fairly stated in all material respects," it flagged "six significant deficiencies" for FY 2008 and 2009.

The six areas are:

• information security;
• financial reporting process;
• fund balance with Treasury;
• registrant deposits;
• budgetary resources;
• risk assessment and monitoring progress.

"Successfully addressing these issues is critical to maintaining SEC's credibility given its important role in the financial reporting process of registrants," the GAO found.

In a letter Monday to James Dalkin, the GAO's director of financial management and assurance, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro wrote that "We are committed to making the resolution of these deficiencies a priority of the very highest order ... Over the coming months, we will tackle the systems and operational issues identified to enhance the SEC's controls in all areas."

Schapiro continued, "As you and your staff noted, the issues that underlie these deficiencies have been building and accumulating for years. While some of them can -- and will -- be addressed quickly, others will take more time to solve."

This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.

Bartercard New Zealand Accomplishments

Kudos To Bartercard New Zealand For Their Accomplishments

Paul Bolte was hired as the CEO of Bartercard New Zealand three years ago with the goal of getting the firm back on a fast-growth track. The progress Bartercard has attained under his direction is remarkable; Bolte has positioned the company as a good corporate citizen, too.

Bartercard New Zealand is posting impressive numbers (sales) in a country that has a 4 million population. Last year the company’s 6,800 members transacted over $210,000,000 in trade dollar activity. It is an entrepreneurial organization achieving growth even within the current challenging economic conditions.

Bolte visited with New Zealand’s prime minister the Honorable John Key earlier this month as part of Team Bartercard, which is a group of 16-to-19-year-old students. They are mentored by Bolte and formed for the International Young Enterprise Competition 2009, which took place in June.

The 80 students in the competition worked in teams to create ideas, prototypes, business plans and presentations, focusing on global trade and innovative solutions to an issue or need. The teams had two challenges to complete that culminated in presentations to two different panels of judges. The judges looked for a winning combination of teamwork skills, an innovative approach, and an outstanding standard of product or service, prototype, business plans and presentations.

The winning team was Team Bartercard, which represented New Zealand later that evening in the Global Enterprise Challenge. The Honorable John Key extended a personal invitation to the group of entrepreneurial students to join him for morning tea in his office followed by a tour of Parliament.

“It is important as leaders of successful companies that we take the time to mentor students in programs such as this, since they are our future business leaders,” says Bolte. “The opportunity extended Team Bartercard by the Prime Minister was a huge honor and I was privileged to be a part of the group.”

From: BarterNews

martedì 17 novembre 2009

Audit Faults New York Fed in A.I.G. Bailout

Audit Faults New York Fed in A.I.G. Bailout

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
Published: November 16, 2009

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York gave up much of its power in high-pressure negotiations with the American International Group’s trading partners last year, according to a government report made public on Monday.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Neil Barofsky, bailout inspector.

Treasury Inspector General Neil Barofsky testified during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in October.

Just two days before the New York Fed paid A.I.G.’s partners 100 cents on the dollar to tear up their contracts with the insurance giant, one bank volunteered to take a modest haircut — but it never got the chance.

UBS, of Switzerland, alone offered to give a break to the New York Fed in the negotiations last November over how to keep A.I.G. from toppling and taking other banks down with it. It would have accepted 98 cents on the dollar.

But UBS’s good-faith gesture was quickly drowned out by Goldman Sachs and the top French bank regulator. They argued, with others, that it would be improper and perhaps even criminal to force A.I.G.’s trading partners to bear losses outside of bankruptcy court.

The banks and the regulator were confident that the New York Fed was not willing to push A.I.G. into bankruptcy, because earlier in the fall the New York Fed had stepped in with $85 billion to prop up the insurer.

The New York Fed, led then by Timothy F. Geithner, who is now the Treasury secretary, therefore had little leverage in the negotiations, according to a post-mortem of what has emerged as the most inflammatory episode in the rescue of A.I.G.

The Fed “refused to use its considerable leverage,” Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote in a report to be officially released on Tuesday, examining the much-criticized decision to make A.I.G.’s trading partners whole when people and businesses were taking painful losses in the financial markets.

There have been suggestions that the Fed chose to negotiate weakly, Mr. Barofsky said, to give a “backdoor bailout” to A.I.G.’s banks. He said Mr. Geithner and the Fed’s lawyers had denied this, but added that “irrespective of their stated intent,” there was no doubt about the result: “Tens of billions of dollars of government money was funneled inexorably and directly to A.I.G.’s counterparties.”

Among its notable findings, the report challenged Goldman’s position that it should not have been forced to bear losses on its dealings with A.I.G. because it had successfully hedged away any exposure. Mr. Barofsky said that Goldman’s hedges were unlikely to have held up amid the market turbulence of late last year.

A spokesman for Goldman took issue with that finding, saying that the bank believed it had, in fact, successfully hedged its exposure to A.I.G. up until the point in November when the Fed was seeking a way to terminate all the trading partners’ contracts with A.I.G.

He said any additional exposure to A.I.G.’s losses was a moot point, because the Fed’s intervention had eliminated the risk.

The report concluded that the Fed’s efforts to negotiate concessions from A.I.G.’s trading partners had no chance of success because of several crucial positions taken by the Fed.

First, the Fed considered itself a creditor of A.I.G., rather than a regulator that could impose its will on banks. It approached A.I.G.’s trading partners with a request for “voluntary” concessions. Mr. Barofsky said this differed from the government’s role in the auto industry, where it lent the car makers money but also negotiated aggressively and won substantial concessions from other creditors.

The Fed also decided it could not treat foreign banks differently from American banks, for fear of setting off foreign retaliation.

While seeking concessions from the various banks, the Fed contacted the Commission Bancaire, a French regulator, to request support in its negotiations with two French institutions, Société Générale and Calyon.

The Commission Bancaire responded “forcibly” that unless A.I.G. were in bankruptcy, the French banks were “precluded by law from making concessions and could face potential criminal liability” if they helped.

By that time, seven of the eight banks had also refused to grant concessions. Officials at the Fed then met with Mr. Geithner. The officials recommended that the Fed stop seeking concessions.

The report said Mr. Geithner did not recall being told one bank was willing to take a haircut, but did not challenge the account of those on his staff.

The report also shed new light on the effect the rating agencies had on the way the Fed handled the A.I.G. emergency. The company’s run-on-the-bank disaster began with a major credit downgrade in September; the Fed quickly responded with an $85 billion loan.

But because the Fed moved so quickly, it recycled a set of lending terms that had previously been devised for A.I.G. by lenders in the private sector. The interest rate was too high, given A.I.G.’s distress, and so the loan that was supposed to rescue the insurer ended up putting it at risk of a second credit downgrade. That, in turn, could have set off a second run-on-the-bank episode.

The Fed got caught in a no-win situation, the report said. While it might have been able to win concessions by threatening to withdraw support from A.I.G., it also ran the risk that the credit agencies would take the threat too seriously and impose another catastrophic downgrade.

Mr. Barofsky said the facts also undermined the Fed’s arguments that banking secrecy was an essential part of bank stability.

“The default position, whenever government funds are deployed in a crisis to support markets or institutions, should be that the public is entitled to know what is being done with government funds,” he said.

lunedì 16 novembre 2009

THE WARNING documentary, & Upcoming free seminars

THE WARNING documentary, & Upcoming free seminars


Dear Friends of the American Monetary Institute:
Please circulate this message.
Two things:

First - FRONTLINE has produced a remarkable documentary titled "The Warning" which has aired on PBS Television across the nation and which will now force major changes in the Obama administration.
It documents how Sumners, Greenspan and Ruben attacked and blocked Mrs. Brooksley Born, who was in charge of the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) when she warned of the derivatives danger in the mid 90s and heroically fought to regulate them. This is really HOT stuff and if the President is at all conscious, Sumners and Geithner will be driven from his administration! This brilliant presentation takes the problem that created the crisis back through the mentally challenged Greenspan, to its origin in his philosophical mentor, Ayn Rand. A must see show. You can watch this highly recommended documentary at
http://video.pbs.org/video/1302794657
OR google: frontline the warning for a more direct link.

Second - We have 4 free monetary seminars in November and December. Participate if you can, and Please forward this announcement to your friends in those cities.

Washington, DC:
November 17-19; various private meetings. Some limited time slots still open.
Congressional Aides and organization leaders please call 224-805-2200 to arrange an appointment.

Chatham, in Columbia County, upstate New York, a public meeting:
Tuesday, November 24th, 6: 30 PM
at the Morris Memorial Building, at 21 Park Row, Chatham, NY, 12037

New York City a public Ami Chapter meeting discussing the monetary problem and its solution:
At the Henry George School, 121 E. 30th St., NY, 10016. November 30, at 6:00 PM.

Cleveland, Ohio, a free public meeting on the monetary and banking crisis.
Saturday December 12th at 10 am - 1 pm, at the
Peace House, 10916 Magnolia Ave., University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Hope to see you and your friends at these meetings.
Warm regards,
Stephen Zarlenga
Director,
American Monetary Institute
Confirm at 224-805-2200


Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the Roots of Terrorism

Poverty, Global Trade Justice, and the Roots of Terrorism


Global Research, November 16, 2009
Yes! - 2009-11-13

The following is adapted from Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded—and What We Need to Do to Remake Them. Random House, 2009.

Navy Seal snipers rescued an American cargo ship captain unharmed and killed three Somali pirates in a daring operation in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between United States naval forces and a small band of brigands in a covered orange lifeboat off the Horn of Africa.

The New York Times published that article in April 2009. The very words "pirates," "daring operation," "standoff," and "brigands" were typical of the U.S. media; they made it sound as though white-hated cowboys had ridden to the rescue of a town besieged by Billy the Kid and his gang. Having lived in that part of the world as an economic hit man, I knew there was another side to what had happened. I wondered why no one was asking about the causes of piracy.

I recalled my visits with the Bugi people when I was sent to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in the early 1970s. The Bugi had been infamous pirates since the time of the East India companies in the 1600s and 1700s. Their ferocity inspired returning European sailors to discipline their disobedient children with threats that "the bugiman will get you." In the 1970s, we feared that they would attack our oil tankers as they passed through the vital Strait of Malacca.

I sat with one of their elders on the Sulawesi shore one afternoon. We watched his people build a sailing galleon, known as aprahu, much as they had for centuries. Like a gigantic beached whale, it was high and dry, propped upright by rows of gnarled stakes that resembled roots sprouting from its hull. Dozens of men hustled about it, working with adzes, hatchets, and hand drills. I expressed the concerns of my government to him, intimating that we would retaliate if the oil lanes were threatened.

The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children are starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families with food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate.

The old man glared at me. "We were not pirates in the old days," he said, his bushy white hair bobbing indignantly. "We only fought to defend our lands against Europeans who came to steal our spices. If we attack your ships today, it is because they take the trade away from us; your ‘stink ships' foul our waters with oil, destroying our fish and starving our children." Then he shrugged. "Now, we're at a loss." His smile was disarming. "How can a handful of people in wooden sailing ships fight off America's submarines, airplanes, bombs, and missiles?"

A few days after the rescue, the Times ran an editorial entitled "Fighting Piracy in Somalia" that concluded:

Yet left to its own devices, Somalia can only become more noxious, spreading violence to its East African neighbors, breeding more extremism and making shipping through the Gulf of Aden ever more dangerous and costly. Various approaches are being discussed, such as working through Somalia's powerful clans to reconstitute first local and then regional and national institutions. These must be urgently explored.

Nowhere did the Times-or any of the other media outlets that I read, heard, or saw-attempt to analyze the roots of the problem in Somalia. Debates abounded about whether to arm ships' crews and send more Navy vessels to the region. There was that vague reference to reconstituting regional and national institutions, but what exactly did the author mean by that? Institutions that would truly help, like free hospitals, schools, and soup kitchens? Or local militias, prisons, and Gestapo-style police forces?

The pirates were fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed. They were fathers whose children were hungry. Ending piracy would require helping them live sustainable, dignified lives. Could journalists not understand this? Had none of them visited the slums of Mogadishu?

Finally, NPR's Morning Edition on May 6 aired a report from Gwen Thompkins; she interviewed a pirate who went by the name Abshir Abdullahi Abdi. "We understand what we're doing is wrong," Abdi explained. "But hunger is more important than any other thing."

Thompkins commented, "Fishing villages in the area have been devastated by illegal trawlers and waste dumping from industrialized nations. Coral reefs are reportedly dead. Lobster and tuna have vanished. Malnutrition is high."

You might think we would have learned from Vietnam, Iraq, the "Black Hawk down" incident in Somalia back in 1993, and other such forays, that military responses seldom discourage insurgencies. In fact, they often do the opposite; foreign intervention is likely to infuriate local populations, motivate them to support the rebels, and result in an escalation of resistance activities. That was the way it happened during the American Revolution, Latin America's wars for independence from Spain, and in colonial Africa, Indochina, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and so many other places.

Blaming pirates and other desperate people for our problems is a distraction we cannot afford if we truly want to find a solution to the crises confronting us. These incidents are symptoms of our failed economic model. They are to our society the equivalent of a heart attack to an individual. We send in Navy Seals to rescue the hostages, as we would hire doctors to perform a coronary artery bypass. But it is essential to admit that both are reactions to an underlying problem. The patient needs to address the reasons his or her heart failed in the first place, such as smoking, diet, and lack of exercise. The same is true for piracy and all forms of terrorism.

Our children's futures are interlocked with the futures of children born in the fishing villages of Somalia, the mountains of Burma (Myanmar), and the jungles of Colombia. When we forget that fact, when we see those children as remote, as somehow disconnected from our lives, as merely the offspring of pirates, guerrillas, or drug runners, we point the gun at our own progeny as well as at the desperate fathers and mothers in lands that seem so far away but in reality are our next door neighbors.

Every time I read about the actions we take to protect ourselves from so-called terrorists, I have to wonder at the narrow-mindedness of our strategy. Although I have met such people in Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, and Nicaragua, I have never met one who wanted to take up a gun. I know there are crazed men and women who kill because they cannot stop themselves, serial killers, and mass-murderers. I am certain that members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other such groups are driven by fanaticism, but such extremists are able to recruit sizable numbers of followers only from populations that feel oppressed or destitute. The "terrorists" I have found in Andean caves and desert villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements, whose children are starving, and who want nothing more than to return to their families with food, seeds, and deeds to lands they can cultivate.

In Mexico, many of the guerrillas and narcotraffickers once owned farms where they grew corn. They lost their livelihoods when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) gave subsidized U.S. producers an unfair price advantage. Here is how the Organic Consumers Organization, a nonprofit that represents more than 850,000 members, subscribers, and volunteers, describes it:

Since NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, U.S. corn exports to Mexico have almost doubled to some 6 million metric tons in 2002. NAFTA eliminated quotas limiting corn imports . . . but allowed U.S. subsidy programs to remain in place-promoting dumping of corn into Mexico by U.S. agribusiness at below the cost of production. . . . The price paid to farmers in Mexico for corn fell by over 70 percent. . .

The passage above exposes the dark side of "free trade" policies. U.S. presidents and our Congress have implemented regulations that prohibited other countries from imposing tariffs on U.S. goods or subsidizing locally grown produce that might compete with our agribusinesses while permitting us to maintain our own import barriers and subsidies, thus giving U.S. corporations an unfair advantage. "Free trade" is a euphemism; it prohibits others from enjoying the benefits offered to the multinationals. It does not, however, regulate against the pollution that is melting glaciers, the land grabs, and the sweatshops.

Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, a Nicaraguan priest who ministered to Sandinista guerrillas and is now president of the U.N. General Assembly, has a firsthand appreciation for such euphemisms and the power of words used to sway public perceptions. "Terrorism is not really an ‘ism,' " he told me. "There's no connection between the Sandinistas who fought the Contras and Al Qaeda, or between Colombia's FARC and fishermen turned pirates in Africa and Asia. Yet they are all called ‘terrorists.' That's just a convenient way for your government to convince the world that there is another enemy ‘ism' out there, like communism used to be. It diverts attention from the very real problems."

Our narrow-minded attitudes and the policies that result from them foment violence, rebellions, and wars. In the long run, almost no one benefits from attacking the people we label as "terrorists." With one glaring exception: the corporatocracy.

Those who own and run the companies that build ships, missiles, and armored vehicles; make guns, uniforms, and bulletproof vests; distribute food, soft drinks, and ammunition; provide insurance, medicines, and toilet paper; construct ports, airstrips, and housing; and reconstruct devastated villages, factories, schools, and hospitals-they, and only they, are the big winners.

The rest of us are hoodwinked by that one, loaded word: terrorist.

The current economic collapse has awakened us to the importance of regulating and reigning in the people who control the businesses that benefit from the misuse of words like terrorism and who perpetrate other scams. We recognize today that white-collared executives are not a special, incorruptible breed. Like the rest of us, they require rules. Yet it is not enough for us to reestablish regulations that separate investment banks from commercial banks and insurance companies, reinstate anti-usury laws, and impose guidelines to ensure that consumers are not burdened by credit they cannot afford. We cannot simply return to solutions that worked before. Only by adopting new strategies that promote global environmental and social responsibility will we safeguard the future.

John Perkins adapted this excerpt of Hoodwinked: An Economic Hitman Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded—and What We Need to Do to Remake Them for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. John is also the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The World is as You Dream It: Shamanic Teachings from the Amazon and Andes, and Spirit of the Shuar.


Global Research Articles by John Perkins

ISRAEL HIT BY SEIGNIORAGE ENSLAVEMENT

THE MIRACLE OF ISRAEL'S ECONOMIC DISINTEGRATION
by Barry Chamish

In the past three days, I was fortunate enough to get the inside economic dope on Israel from two close women friends, Ada, who just returned from a trip there and Gemma, my longtime friend who visited me from Israel. What was uncanny is that both women told about the same stories.

ADA: I stayed at a downtown hotel and friends refused to come and see me. This train they've been building for years has ripped up the streets making travel too difficult and even worse, making Jerusalem really ugly.

GEMMA: Why does Jerusalem need a train? The city is too small and buses used to provide reliable transportation. The construction company is French and I smell corruption.

ADA: No one has money today. I mean nothing to spare. I never saw this before, but there are soup kitchens popping up everywhere.

GEMMA: The biggest new industry is soup kitchens. People don't have enough to eat.

ADA: There are new apartments being built for wealthy Americans who live in them a couple of months a year. They push the value of ordinary homes beyond what people can pay. My friends are getting out of Jerusalem in droves, some are leaving Israel for good. Those who were sold aliyah now realize they were not told anything near the truth.

GEMMA: My friend Marcie came on aliyah by Nefesh vNefesh. She was promised a retraining course leading to a stable income. When she got there, the course rejected her and she was left to her own devices.

And on the conversations went. They came from reality. Now here is the unreality being sold by the likes of author George Gilder and even the Council On Foreign Relations:

Go to: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1311023934
or: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1311023934&play=1

to hear a side of Israel most people never see from a Senior Fellow for ME studies at the CFR.

Dan Senor, co-author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle,
discuss with CNBC how Israel has managed to become a leader in business innovation.

In the unreal scenario, Israel invents 20% of America's new technology and is basking in economic glory days. There are no soup kitchens in paradise. There are only exclusive Soup Bistros.
An Israeli high tech web site just announced a contest for the best essay about Israel's economic miracle. I entered:

http://israel21c.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7290

contest@israel21c.org

As Israel's economic miracle continues, .0009% of the population benefits, while soup kitchens are popping up throughout the nation and the malnutrition rate has passed 31% of schoolchildren. The answer is yerida. Last year 2,900 Americans made aliyah to Israel while 31,000 Israelis moved permanently, mostly to the USA. Barry Chamish

**

Let's conclude with pulling the wool over nobody's eyes but Dan Izenberg of the Jerusalem Post.

PMO gets high marks on Gaza evacuees
Dan Izenberg , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 22, 2009
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256150020971&pagename=JPAr
ticle%2FShowFull

Speakers at a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on Wednesday
gave high marks to the Prime Minister's Office for its actions over the past
few weeks to help solve the problems of the Gush Katif evacuees.
Benzion Lieberman, who took over on Sunday as head of the Sela
Administration for Assistance to Settlers from Gush Katif and Northern
Samaria, told the committee that he was convinced "the Prime Minister's
Office intends to treat the resettlement as a national project."

Hurray for the government! It finally rewarded a true blue traitor to his people in the style he deserves.

mailto:editor@israeljustice.comwww.israeljustice.com

"Lieberman, who reported frequent meetings with ministers and senior officials, said he informed and coordinated with police before and during every protest....Lieberman was not questioned regarding the source of funding for the sham civil disobedience campaign. In 2005, left-wing critics said the protests were financed through millions of dollars in government funding....Under cross-examination, Lieberman recalled the last major protest meant to block the expulsion. On July 20, 2005, the Council organized a three-day march publicized as an attempt to enter the Gaza Strip and join Jewish residents threatened with eviction....Lieberman said 100,000 people arrived at Kfar Maimon, far outnumbering the 15,000 police and soldiers. But he said the Council -- in coordination with the government -- delayed the march to ensure its ineffectiveness. Lieberman's assertion was in contrast to the insistence of police and officials that the settlement Council refused to cooperate with authorities.

And if you really want to learn the extent of Lieberman's treachery, don't miss...

In English

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H27TUyXm8HQ

In Hebrew
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3lEnWaBBE8

They tell the story so much better than I could.

end
www.barrychamish.com

Basic Income at a Time of Economic Upheaval

Call for papers
Basic Income at a Time of Economic Upheaval:
A Path to Justice and Stability?


A joint conference of the USBIG Network and BIEN Canada

Hosted by Centre de recherche en ethique de l'Universite de Montreal (CREUM)
University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Thursday & Friday, April 15-16, 2010


Times of economic turmoil raise difficult questions but also offer
radical new opportunities to rethink the economic fabric of our society.
The current global economic recession is no exception. The political
challenge is how to respond to economic decline in a way that opens a
new future, while not leaving behind those citizens directly affected by
the global downturn.

This two-day conference examines whether instituting an unconditional
Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) as an economic floor, aimed at preventing
those affected by the current economic upheavals from falling below what
any modern democracy would consider a decent standard of living,
constitutes a desirable and feasible option in Canada or the United States.

The conference will feature a keynote talk by Prof. Guy Standing
(University of Bath), a leading expert on basic income, economic
development and the labour market, and a special roundtable with
political experts and policy activists.

The conference will be hosted by the Centre de recherche en ethique de
l'Universite de Montreal (CREUM-The Center for Research in Ethics at the
University of Montreal). This event will be the first joint conference
of the two North American affiliates of the Basic Income Earth Network
(BIEN) - the US Basic Income Guarantee network (USBIG) and BIEN Canada.
The conference aims to compare the prospects and challenges faced by the
BIG proposal in the context of both Canada and the US, two countries
that share many similarities and yet are profoundly different in terms
of their economic, social and political background.

The organizers invite panel presentations from academic scholars,
practitioners and policy activists on a wide variety of topics dealing
with the challenges of designing, promoting or instituting a BIG in the
current economic climate in Canada or the US. Priority will be given to
papers that explicitly discuss BIG in the context of either Canada or
the US, or that compare the distinct prospects in both countries.

The main language of the conference is English, but the organizers will
try to accommodate French speakers as much as possible.

To submit a proposal, email a title and short abstract to
bigmontreal2010@gmail.com by Friday 15 January.

The official call for papers and further information are posted on the
BIGMontreal website at http://bigmontreal.wordpress.com/, which can also
be reached by link for the USBIG website (www.usbig.net).

Admission is free. Everyone is welcome to attend, but pre-registration
is required. Details about registration and other aspects of the
conference will be announced on the conference website. If you have any
additional questions, please contact the conference organizer: Jurgen De
Wispelaere at bigmontreal2010@gmail.com.

===========================================================
KARL WIDERQUIST
Associate Professor in Residence, Philosophy
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
Mailing address:
3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W.
Suite 2100, Harris Building
Washington, D.C. 20007-2401

PERSONAL WEBSITE: http://www.widerquist.com/