lunedì 30 novembre 2009

UAE central bank creates emergency cash fund

UAE central bank creates emergency cash fund for banks


By Martin Dokoupil and Raissa Kasolowsky
Sunday, November 29, 2009

DUBAI -- The United Arab Emirates' central bank set up an emergency facility on Sunday to support bank liquidity in the first policy response to Dubai's debt woes that threatened to paralyze lending and derail economic recovery.

Dubai rocked the financial world on November 25 when it said it would ask creditors of Dubai World, the conglomerate behind its rapid expansion, and Nakheel, builder of its palm-shaped islands, to agree to a standstill on billions of dollars of debt as a first step to restructuring.

As a result, banks face heavy losses and the risk that fearful depositors could rush to remove cash from the system, and threatening interbank lending with the second largest Arab economy still facing a downturn this year.

"It might support the market a little bit but I don't think it is enough," said Shawkut Raslan, head of brokerage at Prime Emirates brokerage. "I think some foreigners will take their money of the country and others will be afraid to put their money into these markets."

The central bank policy move came late on Sunday as Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee gathered to prepare a statement before market open on Monday in an attempt to reassure investors.

The central bank said it opened a "special additional liquidity facility linked to their current accounts" at 50 basis points over 3-month Emirates interbank offered rate (EIBOR), but offered no further details.

The central bank also said the banking system was more sound and liquid than a year ago, when the global crisis ended the oil and real estate fueled boom in Arab Gulf, the world's top oil producing region.

The monetary authority said on Saturday it was closely watching events stemming from the Dubai debt crisis to ensure there is no negative impact on the UAE economy.

Before the Dubai debt crisis, the UAE economy was seen falling by 1.1 percent this year before returning to a 2.9 percent growth in 2010, a Reuters poll of analysts showed earlier this month.

Analysts said the central bank's move was a preventive measure to avoid a possible capital flight and a run on deposits when markets reopen on Monday after a four-day holiday break.

"It is important because the main concern is that there might be some panic behavior by depositors in Dubai and by bankers who want to take deposits out of the banking system," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group in Riyadh.

Senior bankers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai's oil-rich cousin in the UAE federation, told Reuters on Friday Abu Dhabi banks have built up an exposure to Dubai-based companies worth at least 30 percent of their loan books.

In reaction to Dubai's debt problems, Fitch Ratings has said it downgraded Dubai Bank, Tamweel, and Bahrain's TAIB Bank.

The facility "would cover the immediate concerns related to deposits in the UAE banks," said Ghanem Nuseibeh, senior analyst at Political Capital consultancy. "It doesn't mean that lending would necessarily ease. It is no guarantee for depositors. We still don't know the extent of the UAE banks' exposure to Dubai's problems," he said.

State-run Dubai World had $59 billion of liabilities as of August. A large proportion of Dubai's total debt of $80 billion and repayment of Nakheel's $3.5 billion worth of Islamic bonds, which were originally due to mature on December 14, was widely expected by the market to be met.

Last year the UAE finance ministry poured $6.8 billion into bank deposits, the first tranche of a $19.1 billion rescue facility it set up to help lenders weather the onslaught of the global credit crisis.

It deposited another $6.8 billion into banks in November 2008, but has not made any statements since regarding the remainder of those funds. This came after the central bank set up a $13.6 billion emergency bank facility to combat the crisis.

Chavez's Historic Call for a Fifth Socialist International

Chavez's Historic Call for a Fifth Socialist International

Caracas -- Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez stated "the time has come for us to convoke the Fifth International." Faced with the capitalist crisis and the threat of war that is putting at risk the future of humanity, "the people are clamoring for" greater unity of left and revolutionary parties willing to fight for socialism, he said.

Like his call in 2005 to build "21st Century Socialism" and his call in 2006 for the creation in Venezuela of a new, mass revolutionary party - the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) - Chavez's call to unite the left in a new International is historic.

It builds on the experience of the four previous socialist "internationals", the first created by Karl Marx in 1864, which collapsed. The Second International was formed in 1889, but fell apart when representative parties sided with their own governments in the bloodshed of World War I.

The Third International was founded in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. However, as Chavez said, it "degenerated" under Stalinism and "betrayed" struggles for socialism around the world.

Leon Trotsky founded the Fourth International in 1938. However, Trotsky died in 1940 and his followers never succeeded in building mass support.

This call for a new international is also historic because of the political authority of Chavez himself: the leader of a revolutionary movement made up of millions struggling for a socialist society.

Following the approval by a majority of the delegates, of a special resolution in favor of founding of the "Fifth Socialist International as a space for socialist-oriented parties, movements and currents in which we can harmonize a common strategy for the struggle against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism," Chavez reaffirmed his call, this time in his opening remarks as president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela to the party's 1st Extraordinary Congress, which began on November 21.

In front of 772 delegates elected from the grassroots in an unprecedented process involving close to a million party militants, he requested that the proposal be included in the agenda of the Congress.

"I call on this First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela to include in its agenda for debate, the proposal to convene political parties and currents to create the Fifth Socialist International as a new organization that fits the time and the challenge in which we live, and that can become an instrument of unification and coordination of the struggle of peoples to save this planet."

The Congress, which will last until April 2010, the month that the founding congress of the Fifth International has been set for, will now discuss the proposal. This discussion "must go out to the people, to the social organizations and other forms of popular power in the country," according the plan proposed by Chavez.

Likewise, this decision will be discussed by left parties around the world, who will have to take a position in the face of this transcendental proposal, which undoubtedly will be taken up will full vigor by a mass revolutionary party in construction.

Unity in the face of imperialist counter-offensive

The central discussion on the first day of the Encounter of Left Parties was the issue of the new imperialist offensive in the region, exemplified by the expansion of US military bases and the coup in Honduras.

Present were delegates from 55 parties from more than 30 countries, representing elements of the old and new emerging left, including a number of Communist and social democratic parties from Asia and Europe, national liberation forces from Africa and the Middle East, new left parties such as Die Linke (Germany), Left Bloc (Portugal), Left Party (France), and radical and left forces from Latin America, some older, such as the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and some newer, such as the Movement Towards Socialism (Bolivia) and, of course, the PSUV.

Almost all attempts to create a new model of society in the 20th century were destroyed by imperialism, explained Nicolas Maduro, PSUV leader and Venezuela's foreign minister. "There was only one experience that had the sufficient political, military and popular force, together with a revolutionary leadership, which was able to overcome all of imperialism's plans: the Cuban Revolution."

With the turn of the Century, new revolutionary movements and political leaderships emerged, changing the face of the region. The election of Barack Obama created many expectations and hope among vast sections of the population that new relations with the US, based on dialogue, would be possible. But this illusion was quickly shattered by the actions of thenew administration Maduro said.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) - "a solid project of integration and union of our countries and peoples" - advanced this year, incorporating Ecuador and various Caribbean countries; however the first blow by imperialism was dealt in Honduras with the June 28 military coup. The coup was aimed at ALBA and carried out with US support, he said.

Shortly afterwards came the announcement of the US-Colombia military agreement to hand over 7 new military bases to the US, "a powerful threat against the revolutionary movements in our continent," Maduro added.

In this scenario, the unity of progressive and left forces is necessary in order to create a movement for peace and justice in the region with the power to convert the continent into a "territory free of US bases," he argued.

Jorge Marti, head of the International relations department of the Communist Party of Cuba, noted that currently, "the left is not up to the challenge it faces"- the reason why it is necessary to clearly delineate a strategy for united struggle.

While it is quite possible that right wing forces could win elections soon to be held in Chile and Brazil, Nidia Diaz from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador pointed out that, "if we only think about electoral victories and not in the accumulation of social forces for change, it is easy to paint a negative picture." It is essential that the left promotes Chavez's proposal of establishing peace bases as focal points for agitation, action and mobilization of our peoples, she added.

"We are merely spokespeople for our people who today are resisting" explained Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. Our responsibility is to construct a common space for parties to come together and consolidate the union of our peoples "and make possible the creation of a never before seen, diverse force" because they want to destroy "the very same democracy which we laid down our arms for," she said.

Rounding off the day's contributions, PSUV leader and Education Minister Hector Navarro affirmed "the problem is not the bases, the problem is the structural crisis of capital...what we are confronting is the question of the survival of humanity." Therefore this scenario, which brought together some of the most important left forces in the world, must be seen as a theater of operations from which to unleash a struggle in defense of humanity, he argued.

A Socialist International of the 21st Century

The second day kicked off with a discussion about what type of coordination was necessary.

Valtar Pomar, international relations secretary of the Workers' Party (PT) of Brazil outlined his party's position, putting forward a strategy focused on unity around regional integration, or in more classical terms ‘anti-imperialism'. If we made socialism our lowest common denominator for unity, this would inevitably lead to division; Pomar contended saying for this reason the PT would continue to prioritise the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP).

Aristóbulo Isturiz, one of the regional vice-presidents of the PSUV, responded that the left needs spaces that are more dynamic and active that the FSP.

The FSP was formed in the early nineties as an initiative of the PT to regroup the Latin American left in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, the Forum, much like the PT, has drifted far from its more radical roots to becoming a talkfest dominated by reformist forces.

While differences began to emerge in discussion, it was Chavez's interventions that night which marked a dividing line. "Yankee imperialism is preparing a war in Latin has almost always been the case that the US has pulled itself out of a situation of crisis via war" he warned.

At the same time, the conditions to build socialism are ripe, he argued. "That is why I ask...that you allow me continue to go forward, together with those who want to accompany me, in the creation of the Fifth Socialist International."

A new international without manuals and impositions, explained Chavez, and where differences are welcomed.

He sharply criticized the example the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which imposed its dogmas such as "socialism in one country" on its satellite parties internationally. This led many Communist Parties in Latin America to turn their backs on Che Guevara due to his rejection of Soviet dogmatism, Chavez said.

In rejection of the failed projects of "real socialism" and social democracy, a new International should embody the spirit and accumulated heritage left to humanity by the founders of the first four Internationals: Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Jose Carlos Mariategui and Leon Trotsky he stated.

It should also incorporate the ideas of Latin American radicals and liberators such as Simon Bolivar, Francisco Morazan, Maurice Bishop and Sandino, Chavez contended.

A new project of left coordination has to be an international to confront imperialism, defeat capitalism and struggle for 21st Century Socialism. It is necessary to work together in the elaboration of a manifesto around which to unify criteria in regards to 21st Century Socialism, he continued.

Chavez's response to the interjection of one delegate who stated that there already existed other organizations for coordination among political parties was swift and sharp: there exist many spaces for discussion, but none for concrete action, which is why today many of them are finished.

"We have wasted a lot of time, we continue to waste time, looking for excuses to justify our inactivity. I consider such behavior to be a betrayal of the hope of our peoples". What we need is a unity of left parties, "but parties that are truly left."

"It is up to us to assume the role of the vanguard"

While various parties expressed their reservations the following day, arguing that within such a meeting it was only possible to reach unity over specific points and that a deep programmatic debate was necessary before any deeper unity was possible, the response in favor of the proposal was very strong.

"We cannot continue simply debating.... we need to clearly define what it is that we want, and the alternative project for Latin America is socialism" affirmed Salvador Sanchez Ceren, FMLN leader and vice-president of El Salvador, speaking in favor of the proposal.

Sanchez's comments provoked a reaction from El Salvadorean president Mauricio Funes, an independent elected on the FMLN slate, who distanced himself and his government from any support for 21st Century Socialism.

The Bolivian delegation from the Movement Towards Socialism relayed to the meeting the news that they had phoned the national leadership of the party, as well as president Evo Morales, who all agreed to come onboard the project and participate actively in all the preparatory commissions for the founding congress.

Country Alliance leader and Ecuadorian Minister of Government, Ricardo Patiño also announced his party's decision to participate.

Pledging the active support of the Honduran "resistance", Rodas added her voice to the chorus of support for the proposal.

That is, the actually existing political leaderships of the most important movements for change - to which must be added the Cuban Communist Party who did not express a formal position in the meeting - expressed their will and desire to work towards an organization of international coordination.

Together with a special resolution to create a "working group comprised of those socialist parties, currents and social movements who endorse the initiative, to prepare an agenda which defines the objectives, contents and mechanisms of this global revolutionary body", a document entitled the Caracas Commitment was also approved.

The document affirmed that faced with "structural crisis of capital, which combines the economic crisis, with an ecological crisis, a food crisis, and an energy crisis, and which together represents a mortal threat to humanity and mother earth", the only alternative possible is "Socialism of the 21st century".

Once again highlighting the lessons of the first four internationals, this time in the PSUV Congress, Chavez pointed out that all of them had been convoked from Europe, "where the thesis of scientific socialism emerged with force in the heat of the great popular, workers struggles, and the domination of the bourgeoisie".

Today, however, "the epicenter of revolutionary struggle is in our America. And Venezuela is the epicenter of this battle. It is up to us to assume the role of the vanguard and we have to assume it, so that we realize and become aware of the huge responsibility we have on our shoulders."

(Federico Fuentes participated in the International Encounter of Left Parties as representatives of the Socialist Alliance).

Venezuela Takes Over Four Banks and Arrests Owner

Venezuelan Government Takes Over Four Banks and Arrests Owner

Banco Canarias (archive)

Merida, November 22nd, 2009 ( – The Venezuelan government has intervened in four small, but linked banks that were not complying with administrative norms, and has also arrested their main shareholder, Ricardo Fernandez, who is known as a supporter of the government.

The Venezuelan government announced its intervention into the private banks on Friday morning. The banks are Canarias Banco Universal, Bolivar Banco, Provivienda Banco (Banpro), and Banco Confederado. The banks together form one financial group, Grupo Financiero Bolivar, and control less than 10% of market.

The minister for economy and finances, Ali Rodriguez, said the intervention was because the banks repeatedly hadn’t complied with administrative norms. Specifically, they had increased capital without specifying the origin of the funds, Banpro had bought shares in Canarias Banco over the stock exchange, and Canarias Banco had bought shares from Confederado, and they also had not allocated sufficient credits to certain sectors.

Rodriguez explained that the government did not want its intervention to interfere with “the health of the banking financial system” and as such was carrying it out while the banks remained open and conducted business as usual.

“[Venezuela’s] financial system has enjoyed a significant strengthening and notable stability, owing to the control, monitoring, and continuity that the Superintendent of Banks (Sudeban), the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), and others have carried out,” Rodriguez said.

Edgar Hernandez, Superintendent of Banks, said the interventionist measures taken by the government were aimed at protecting the banks’ clients.

Also on Friday, Venezuelan authorities arrested businessman Ricardo Fernandez, the main stockholder in all of the four banks that were taken over. He was arrested under the law against organised crime and the general banking and financial institutions law.

Fernandez is also known as the “Tsar of the Mercal”, the government run subsidised food market, as, according to Noticiero Digital and other news sources, he put his network of over 3,000 cargo trucks at the service of the government to distribute food during the petrol strikes in 2002, and also owns two companies, Proarepa and Pronutrico, which provide wheat and other products to the Mercals, as well as owning around 40 other companies.

Some sources report him as being “the only businessman [President Hugo] Chavez will answer his phone for” and call him part of the “Boliburguesia”, meaning a businessperson who supports and benefits from the Bolivarian revolution.

According to YVKE Mundial, Fernandez turned up voluntarily, with his lawyers, at the headquarters of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), after police looked for him at his house and didn’t find him there.

Speaking at the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PSUV) Congress yesterday, Chavez said that any private bank that breaks the law would be taken over.

“[Involved] are a bunch of really rich people who start off by buying a bank, then another and another, and they invest here and there, and they are called up and they aren’t able to show where the resources came from, and furthermore they are breaking the national laws,” he added.


La bomba sul treno ha ucciso l'omologo di Bernanke a Mosca, Boris Yevstratikov. Tesi cospirazionista: e' il weekend in cui i poteri occulti tramano per i nuovi assetti finanziari mondiali, da Dubai a Wall Street a Mosca.
Il treno target
Il treno target

Boris Yevstratikov, capo della Rosreserve, la Federal Reserve russa, e' morto nell'incidente ferroviario che ha coinvolto il treno Mosca-San Pietroburgo e che gli inquirenti sostengono sia stato causato da un attentato. Yevstratikov era stato nominato a marzo.

Se Yevstratikov sia rimasto vittima involontariamente o se fosse il target esatto dei terroristi, non e' ancora dato sapere. La notizia, dal nostro punto di vista, riducendo di 1 milione di volte le implicazioni e fatti i debiti paragoni, ha questa portata: e' come se sul treno Washington-New York dell'Amtrack fosse morto in un attentato terroristico il presidente della Federal Reserve Usa Ben Bernanke.

La morte di Yevstratikov non avra' implicazioni per i mercati finanziari, anche se il rublo e la borsa di Mosca saranno probabilmente shortati dai broker delle grandi banche internazionali. Resta il fatto che i cospirazionisti sono gia' in allerta per segnalare che, con questo episodio, tutto si tiene e il cerchio si chiude:

1) Notizia sul possibile default di Dubai mercoledi' 25 notte. 2) il Dubai possiede una quota di Euronext, borsa di Londra. 3) Giovedi' 26 Wall Street chiusa per Thansgiving. 4) giovedi' la Borsa di Londra e' stata chiusa straordinariamente per 3 ore e mezza per "problemi tecnici". 5) Venerdi' 27 mattina il NYSE emana un ordine che da' alla borsa di New York la facolta' di sospendere gli scambi in caso di volatilita' e turbolenza. 6) Venerdi' 27 sera viene ucciso con una bomba su un treno il presidente della Federal Reserve di Mosca.

Tutti questi episodi sono ovviamente scollegati, solo qualche visionario potrebbe "unire i puntini" sostenendo che c'e' un disegno preciso. Ma grazie a internet qualche blogger (ovunque nel mondo) non perdera' l'occasione per sostenere un simile teorema. Anche per questo nelle sale trading degli hedge fund di Manhattan insegnano pure ai ragazzi appena assunti di non essere mai long in un weekend di 4 giorni come questo. Vedremo come sara' posizionato il denaro istituzionale lunedi' alla riapertura delle borse, dando per scontata una volatilita' abnorme (eventualmente nei due sensi).

Per l'attentato in Russia il danno collaterale e l'effetto implicito sono che i terroristi (forse ceceni - vedi sotto) hanno assassinato il governatore della Federal Reserve di un paese del G8 con forti interessi nella finanza, negli equilibri militari ed energetici mondiali. Nel frattempo la Casa Bianca ha emesso un report in seguito all'attentato al treno russo, tramite il portavoce di Barack Obama, Robert Gibbs, senza pero' andare al di la' del generico cordoglio per la perdita di vite umane. Per ora.

Non correre il rischio di operare sui mercati globali senza consultare il feed in real time di INSIDER. Se non sei abbonato, fallo subito: costa solo 0.77 euro al giorno, provalo ora!

Il capo della Federal Security Service (FSB, ex KGB) cioe' i servizi segreti di Mosca, Alexander Bortnikov, ha gia' consegnato un rapporto al presidente russo Dmitry Medvedev confermando che a far deragliare il treno alle 9.37pm ora locale di venerdi' sera e' stata un'esplosione causata dall'equivalente di 7 chili di tritolo (TNT). Medvedev ha ordinato a Bortnikov e al Procuratore Generale Yuri Chaika di investigare sulle cause del disastro.

Secondo quanto risulta a Wall Street Italia, fonti del contro-terrorismo confermano che lo stesso treno, il Nevsky Express, e' stato gia' target di attentati terroristici. E' un convoglio utilizzato da alti funzionari di stato, neo-miliardari e tycoon russi di vario tipo che fanno i pendolari in carrozze di lusso tra Mosca e San Pietroburgo, le due piu' importanti citta' della Russia. Lo stesso treno fu colpito nel 2007 da gruppi terroristi della Caucasia del Nord legati ad al Qaeda, in crescita - secondo le nostre fonti - sia in Russia che altrove e non solo in Chechnya ma anche in Dagestan, Ingushetia e Kabardino-Balkaria.

Segnaliamo inoltre che proprio ieri il comandante della task-force anti-terrorismo del ministero dell'interno del Dagestan (in sigla SOBR) e' stato assassinato e una bomba di alto potenziale e' esplosa vicino al binario sud del treno che va Makhachkala. Una seconda bomba e' stata scoperta in prossimita' di uno dei maggiori condotti petroliferi della zona. Infine sempre ieri in Kabardino-Balkaria, la polizia che arrestava un sospetto e' stata presa di mira da raffiche di mitra.

Oggi è apparsa su un blog ultranazionalista la dichiarazione di un sedicente gruppo «Combat 18» che rivendica la responsabilità dell'incidente ferroviario e annuncia nuovi attentati. Per ora gli investigatori non hanno commentato. «Noi militanti del gruppo autonomo Combat 18 - si legge nel testo - rivendichiamo la responsabilità per l'esplosione del treno Nievski Express. Ci saranno altre azioni in futuro. È giunta l'ora. Noi dichiariamo che la guerra toccherà ogni uomo della strada, in questa guerra non ci possono essere né persone estranee né vittime innocenti, ci sono solo i nostri sostenitori e i nostri nemici». Il gruppo «Combat 18» aveva rivendicato via internet anche l'esplosivo ritrovato il 14 novembre scorso in un vagone della metro di San Pietroburgo: era avvolto in un sacchetto di plastica con una svastica. Secondo gli investigatori, si trattava di falso esplosivo.

Nel primo pomeriggio di sabato un allarme bomba è scattato alla stazione ferroviaria Kievskaia di Mosca, una delle più grandi e frequentate della capitale russa. Come ha riferito la radio Eco di Mosca, sono in corso controlli da parte degli artificieri, e i responsabili dello scalo hanno invitato la gente con gli altoparlanti ad abbandonare la stazione.

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbours in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighbourhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Michael Moore

P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.

venerdì 27 novembre 2009

FED prepares for Global Domino Default

The Fed Doesn't Want Banks to Increase Lending

Submitted by George Washington on 11/25/2009

Tim Duy - Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Department of Economics at the University of Oregon and the Director of the Oregon Economic Forum - noticed an amazing sentence in the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Fed Open Market Committee:

As has already been widely noted, the minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting reiterated the Fed’s eagerness to reverse, not extend, policy:

Overall, many participants viewed the risks to their inflation outlooks over the next few quarters as being roughly balanced. Some saw the risks as tilted to the downside in the near term, reflecting the quite elevated level of economic slack and the possibility that inflation expectations could begin to decline in response to the low level of actual inflation. But others felt that risks were tilted to the upside over a longer horizon, because of the possibility that inflation expectations could rise as a result of the public’s concerns about extraordinary monetary policy stimulus and large federal budget deficits. Moreover, these participants noted that banks might seek to reduce appreciably their excess reserves as the economy improves by purchasing securities or by easing credit standards and expanding their lending substantially. Such a development, if not offset by Federal Reserve actions, could give additional impetus to spending and, potentially, to actual and expected inflation. To keep inflation expectations anchored, all participants agreed that it was important for policy to be responsive to changes in the economic outlook and for the Federal Reserve to continue to clearly communicate its ability and intent to begin withdrawing monetary policy accommodation at the appropriate time and pace.

Read that carefully and realize this: An apparently not insignificant portion of the FOMC believes that there is a terrible risk that banks loosen their credit standards and increase lending at a time when, even if the economy posts expected gain, unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels. Silly me, I thought increased lending was the whole point of the exercise to lower interest and expand the balance sheet. That whole credit channel thing. If not to expand lending during a credit crunch, then what else are they expecting?

I am in shock that this sentence made it into the minutes. One can only conclude that a significant portion of policymakers are simply clueless. Or, more disconcerting, they have lost all faith in the ability of financial institutions to channel capital into activities with any hope of financial returns. Has the Fed now embraced the view that they manage the economy through little else then fueling and extinguishing bubbles?

Yves Smith has the definitive last word on the issue:
These statement is an indication of intellectual bankruptcy at the Fed, that they have learned nothing from the crisis. But that isn’t surprising. CEOs usually need to be fired after they have presided over a disaster. They are incapable of seeing and remedying their errors. Why should senior bureaucrats be any different?

Juncker: Il s’y voyait déjà…

Editorial : Il s’y voyait déjà…
2009-11-26 22:00:00

Oui, c’est facile de titrer sur le malheur de Juncker en se servant de ce refrain de « Il se voyait déjà, en haut de l’affiche ». Mais je ne voulais quand même pas titrer sur un « Plus dure était la chute ». Si notre Jean-Claude national n’a pas été à même de rendre ce grand service au pays en devenant le premier président permanent de l’Union Européenne, il ne le doit qu’à lui même. Depuis trop longtemps, il visait ce poste, sacrifia tout sur son chemin (même le poste de président de la Commission dont il fit cadeau au Portugais Barroso), e.a. certains intérêts luxembourgeois, pour ne surtout heurter personne sur la longue route vers le sommet de sa carrière. Mais il avait compté d’une part sans l’autre égocentrique de la scène européenne, Nicolas Sarkozy, qui envoya finalement promener sa candidature et surtout, sans son naturel qui, quand il revient au galop (et la chose traîna tellement longtemps que ce fut incontournable) fait des ravages en dehors des frontières luxembourgeoises où politiques et presse n’ont pas la même soumission vis-à-vis du Premier luxembourgeois. Et c’est ainsi qu’à force d’annoncer la mort d’Arafat bien trop tôt, de l’ouvrir souvent très péremptoirement, de faire preuve également d’une hygiène de vie parfois peu digne d’un président européen qu’il se sabota lui-même et fit place à l’ineffable, l’inodore et l’incolore belge Van Rompuy. Et lui, Juncker, qui aimait pardessus tout ce poste de premier président de l’UE et qui déteste pardessus tout les banquiers, fut éliminé la même semaine de la course à ce poste tant convoité qu’il fut élu banquier de l’année. C’est con, la vie, parfois…

Jean Nicolas

Segreto bancario: Benetazzo segnalato

TICINO | 25.11.2009 | 15:42

Segreto bancario: Benetazzo segnalato al Ministero

Paolo Sanvido chiede alla magistratura l’apertura di un’inchiesta nei confronti di Eugenio Benetazzo

Foto CdT Fotogonnella
“Ci sono degli ex private banker o funzionari licenziati che si sono semplicemente assicurati il proprio futuro. Si sono tenuti la lista dei nomi dei clienti italiani che non hanno scudato e il 16 dicembre si presenteranno all'Agenzie delle Entrate chiedendo se quelli del fisco sono interessati ad avere i nomi”.

Per questa dichiarazione, rilasciata a Ticinonline, l'economista italiano Eugenio Benetazzo è stato segnalato al Ministero pubblico dal consigliere comunale luganese Paolo Sanvido per - citiamo - una "possibile violazione del segreto bancario".

Sanvido invita il Ministero Pubblico, in occasione della permanenza del signor Benetazzo a Lugano per uno spettacolo che terrà al Teatro Cittadella sabato 28 novembre, di aprire un’inchiesta d’ufficio e convocare l’economista indipendente a fare due chiacchiere al Pretorio affinché "i nomi dei private bunker o funzionari licenziati da lui citati siano forniti all’autorità inquirente".

"Il segreto bancario - fa notare Sanvido - risulta anzitutto dal diritto civile, in particolare dall'obbligo contrattuale del banchiere di mantenere la discrezione in merito alla situazione personale del proprio cliente. La sfera privata del cliente è protetta anche dalle disposizioni generali del Codice civile svizzero riguardanti la protezione della personalità e dalla legislazione in materia di protezione dei dati. D'altra parte, la legislazione sulle banche considera l'obbligo di discrezione del banchiere, fondato sul diritto civile, come obbligo professionale la cui violazione può essere perseguita".

Tagli e dettagli

Tagli e dettagli
di Eugenio Benetazzo, 26/11/2009

Quando nel 1994 Amy Whitfield scalava le classifiche musicali internazionali con il suo "Saturday Night" ed imperava la cultura del disco entertainment degli anni 90, allo stesso tempo il nostro paese raggiungeva il suo picco di massimo splendore per quanto concerneva il benessere economico alimentato da uno sviluppo e successo industriale che proprio in quell'epoca ostentava il suo massimo slancio evolutivo. Ricordo molte bene quel periodo, frequentavo da qualche anno l'università ed al tempo stesso mi dilettavo come dee jay negli house club: rammento ancora come tutti noi giovani "discotecari" sognavamo un giorno di poter possedere o gestire un locale da ballo (e sballo) tutto nostro, vedendo gli incassi e le migliaia di persone che vi gravitavano ad ogni serata. Sono passati appena quindici anni e quel periodo ormai è un ricordo di un passato che non rivedremo mai più.

Dalla metà degli anni 90 per l'Italia è iniziato infatti un lento processo di declino industriale: sono stati fatti entrare a frotte milioni di extracomunitari con il solo scopo di consentire ai grandi gruppi industriali di poter abbassare i costi di manifattura (grazie a persone disperate disposte a lavorare con retribuzioni minori rispetto agli italiani), di lì a poco è stato introdotto il lavoro interinale come soluzione per "snellire" l'attività di impresa che in poco tempo ha fatto nascere una nuova fascia sociale, quella dei precari, infine si è dato inizio ad una lenta opera di deindustrializzazione aiutando gli industriali a smantellare le loro aziende per spostarle al di fuori dei confini italiani e decretando così la fine di centinaia di migliaia di posti di lavoro. Quando sta accadendo in questi ultimi 18 mesi non può essere definito genericamente come semplice crisi, come ci vogliono far credere i media tradizionali con il loro gracchiante vociferare, quanto piuttosto come una vera e propria emergenza che sino ad oggi ha manifestato solo il primo dei sue tre aspetti, ovvero quello finanziario.

Adesso dovranno arrivare le altre due sfacettature, quella industriale e quella sociale, entrambe legate da questo scellerato ed osannato modello economico imposto dal WTO in cui tutti i paesi occidentali hanno dovuto lentamente e progressivamente regalare le loro produzioni ed i loro ordinativi industriali alle nuove aree emergenti di questo millennio, così facendo si sono create le condizioni sociali ed industriali per una impensabile sperequazione. L'Inghilterra regna sovrana su questo, il modello thatcheriano (privatizzazioni e dismissioni forzate dei gangli strategici della nazione) sta dimostrando come l'eccesso di liberismo economico produca l'esatto opposto di quello che aveva promesso. Gli USA che sono stati il primo paese a delocalizzare (con Messico ed India) hanno pagato il conto con la loro stessa solidità finanziaria. Per chi non lo avesse ancora compreso i mutui subprime sono detonati perchè lentamente sono stati bruciati milioni di posti di lavoro e persone che avevano contratto precedentemente debiti per vivere non sono più stati in grado di ripargarli (la FED poi ci ha marciato accellerando il processo di polverizzazione finanziaria).

Ormai dovremmo parlare di una mutazione genetica per il nostro tessuto socioeconomico: il turbocapitalismo ci sta presentando i conti. E siamo appena agli inizi. Chi continua a profetizzare la fine di questa cosidetta "crisi" temo che non abbia veramente ancora compreso che cosa stia accadendo. L'Italia è un paese manifatturiero (per quello che rimane) ed esportatore, questo significa che per esserci veramente ripresa questa deve realizzarsi al di fuori dei nostri confini, consentendo alla nostra economia di seguire a traino. Tra meno di quindici anni saremo catapultati al quindicesimo posto su scala planetaria, non saremo più un paese industrialmenete rilevante, ma uno stato depresso in lento e silenzioso declino. Direi proprio silenzioso perchè di giovani a gridare ce ne saranno sempre meno: sempre tra quindici anni oltre il 40 per cento della popolazione avrà un'eta superiore ai sessant'anni. Da Bel Paese un tempo, presto saremmo denominati come il cimitero degli elefanti. La contrazione della capacità produttiva industriale che si è verificata in questi ultimi mesi ci ha proiettati ai livelli di produttività di oltre quindici anni fa (non penso che si riuscirà mai più a recuperare questi livelli).

Il futuro è piuttosto delineato, chi è vecchio vivrà con quei quattro soldi messi da parte e chi è giovane si troverà a doversi inventare la vita di tutti i giorni, lavorando a missione e a singhiozzo: già tra cinque anni almeno 1/5 se non 1/4 delle aziende italiane si estinguerà o si ritirerà dal mercato, lasciando un profondo vuoto a livello occupazionale. Non dimentichiamo inoltre come le pesanti situazioni di default finanziario che stanno vivendo le imprese italiane presto si riverserà proprio sui bilanci delle stesse banche che adesso (grazie alle strepitose opere di privatizzazione riguradanti appunto lo stesso sistema bancario italiano) continuano a dettare legge su chi vive e chi dovrà estinguersi. Chi pensa di replicare il modello inglese per assorbire gli esuberi occupazionali, puntando quindi tutto sul terziario (settore dei servizi) probabilmente si è laureato
per corrispondenza in Economia Davanti e Commercio Dietro presso l'Università per Barbieri. A livello nazionale non vi è una forza politica che si faccia portavoce di esigenze di protezionismo nei confronti dei nostri gloriosi ed invidiati distretti industriali, l'unica risorsa che avevamo ovvero la distintività ed originalità della manifattura italiana è stata brutalmente sacrificata per permettere a paesi come la Cina di assorbire, copiare e far morire le nostre tipiche produzoni, diventando nel frattempo la grande fabbrica del pianeta. A mio modo di vedere l'unica salvezza potrebbe essere un incredibile e improvviso cambio di governance politica che faccia emergere un "tribuno del popolo" stile Lula in Brasile, che contrasti e metta fine a questo dictat economico che sta portando il paese al suicidio industriale, sociale ed economico.

giovedì 26 novembre 2009

Crisi: Fitoussi, all'origine...

Crisi: Fitoussi, all'origine disuguaglianze e squilibri sociali

Red. , 26 novembre 2009, 17:35

Crisi: Fitoussi, all'origine disuguaglianze e squilibri sociali Lectio magistralis L'economista francese agli Stati generali della sostenibilità in corso a Firenze. "Molti economisti considerano la crisi come se fosse una parentesi, chiusa la quale si dovrebbe continuare come prima. Invece dobbiamo riconoscere che abbiamo sbagliato, che eravamo di fronte alla grande bugia di un sistema finanziario che prometteva a tutti rendimenti più alti di quelli medi e dobbiamo far crescere l'economia reale e non quella finanziaria"

«All'origine della più grave crisi dagli anni Trenta ad oggi, ci sono le disuguaglianze e gli squilibri sociali di un mondo in cui il 99% della popolazione è in grave difficoltà e l'1% sta accumulando fortune incredibili. Il Prodotto interno lordo dell'unione europea nel 2009 diminuirà del 3% rispetto al 2008 e nel 2010 se ne prevede un'ulteriore diminuzione dello 0,3%. Siamo in mezzo alla crisi e nessuno sa cosa accadrà domani. Per questo c'è grande necessità di interventi pubblici e realtà come la Toscana da sole non possono fare nulla, ma se vi metterete alla testa del gruppo di Regioni europee si potranno dare risposte in grado di incidere sulla crisi, ma se non si raggiunge un'intesa a livello europeo non sarà possibile fare nulla».
Sono questi alcuni dei passaggi chiave della lectio magistralis dal titolo "La sostenibilità è il nuovo motore dell'economia" che l'economista francese Jean Paul Fitoussi ha tenuto oggi nel corso della prima sessione degli Stati Generali della sostenibilità organizzati dalla Regione Toscana e in corso di svolgimento alla Fortezza da Basso di Firenze.

"I governi hanno fatto bene a salvare le banche, ma hanno dimenticato di fissare le condizioni. Il contribuente ha pagato per salvare le banche, ma non capisce perché. Dopo essere state salvate ora le banche fanno profitti enormi", ha proseguito il presidente dell'Osservatorio francese delle congiunture economiche.
Fitoussi ha sottolineato che le banche "distribuiscono bonus e i governi non si preoccupano più della disoccupazione. Oggi si parla di debito pubblico". Da questo punto di vista, ha poi spiegato l'economista, "pesa il deficit di governo politico dell'Ue". "L'Europa - ha aggiunto - è il Paese più grande del mondo, perché ha il Pil più grande: in confronto la Cina è piccola. L'Europa però non si vede come un grande Paese. L'Europa - ha concluso - è la sola regione del mondo che non ha un governo e stiamo pagando il costo economico dell'assenza di un governo politico".

«Molti economisti - ha aggiunto Fitoussi - considerano la crisi come se fosse una parentesi, chiusa la quale si dovrebbe continuare come prima. Invece dobbiamo riconoscere che abbiamo sbagliato, che eravamo di fronte alla grande bugia di un sistema finanziario che prometteva a tutti rendimenti più alti di quelli medi e dobbiamo far crescere l'economia reale e non quella finanziaria».

Dopo aver osservato che la crisi economica e quella ambientale hanno le stesse origini, ha sottolineato come le disuguaglianze mondiali nell'ultimo quarto di secolo si siano accentuate perché eravamo in pieno "fondamentalismo di mercato".

Fitoussi ha concluso la sua lezione ammonendo che «se cresce il malessere sociale non ci sarà sostenibilità, ma che sarà possibile raggiungerla soltanto se saremo in grado di puntare al progresso sociale».

News stories related to the World Bank and IMF

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

World Bank wants Zambia to increase power tariffs
Nasdaq, 23 November 2009

World Bank projects collapse in Lagos
This Day, 23 November 2009

Bank unit to review palm oil and other carbon-intensive loans
BIC, 20 November 2009

World Bank reforms: tough decisions needed on four critical issues
World Press, 19 November 2009

World Bank affirms support to Indigenous Peoples in designing climate change responses
Guatemala Times, 18 November 2009

US Senator Kerry: World Bank should emphasize renewable investments, 18 November 2009

IMF head eyes global currency change, presses on yuan
Reuters, 17 November 2009

Banche: Tremonti, Grandi Stanno Tornando Su Territorio

Banche: Tremonti, Grandi Stanno Tornando Su Territorio

- giovedì, 26 novembre 2009 - 12:02 CET

Roma, 26 nov. - (Adnkronos) - "Vi segnalo che e' in atto un processo fortissimo di ritorno sul territorio" da parte degli istituti di credito. "Anche le grandi banche si stanno ristrutturando in una logica di banca del territorio". Lo afferma il ministro dell'Economia Giulio Tremonti intervenendo in commissione Bilancio dove sono in corso i lavori sulla manovra finanziaria. "Sono stati preveggenti", sottolinea il ministro.

Tremonti osserva quindi che se una banca e' organizzata "in un sistema in cui non e' il computer a servizio dell'uomo ma l'uomo a servizio del computer e' anche difficile per le banche fare credito. Sono scelte delle banche ma e' anche effetto di scelte politiche".

mercoledì 25 novembre 2009

The Economic Crisis and What Must be Done

The Economic Crisis and What Must be Done

Global Research, November 24, 2009 - 2009-11-23

The United States does not control its own destiny. Rather it is controlled by an international financial elite, of which the American branch works out of big New York banks like J.P. Morgan Chase, Wall Street investment firms such as Goldman Sachs, and the Federal Reserve System. They in turn control the White House, Congress, the military, the mass media, the intelligence agencies, both political parties, the universities, etc. No one can rise to the top in any of these institutions without the elite’s stamp of approval.

This elite has been around since the nation began, becoming increasingly dominant as the 19thcentury progressed. A key date was passage of the National Banking Act of 1863, when the system was put into place whereby federal government debt was used to collateralize bank lending. Since then we’ve paid the freight through our taxes for bank control of the economy. The final nails in the coffin came with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

In 1929 the bankers plunged the nation into the Great Depression by constricting the money supply. With Franklin D. Roosevelt as president, the nation struggled through the decade of the 1930s but did not pull out of the Depression until the industrial explosion during World War II.

After the war came the Golden Age of the U.S. economy, when the working man, protected by strong labor unions, became a true partner in the prosperity of the industrial age. That era lasted a full generation. The bankers were largely spectators as Americans led the world in exports, standard of living, science and space exploration, and every measure of health, longevity, and culture.

Roosevelt had kept the bankers subservient to the interests of the economy at large. The Federal Reserve was part of the New Deal team, and interest rates were held at historic lows despite a large federal deficit. One main impact was the huge increase in home ownership. After World War II, the G.I. Bill allowed home ownership to grow further and millions of veterans to attend college. The influx of educated graduates led to productivity growth and the emergence of new high-tech industries.

But the bankers were laying their plans. In the early 1950s they got the government to agree to allow the Federal Reserve to escape its subservience to the U.S. Treasury Department and set interest rates on its own. Rates rose throughout the 1950s and 1960s. By the time of the interest rate hikes of 1968, the economy was slowing down. Both federal budget and trade deficits were beginning to replace the post-war surpluses. High interest rates were the likely cause.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon removed the dollar’s gold peg, allowing the huge inflation resulting from oil price increases that the international bankers engineered through control of U.S. foreign policy when Henry Kissinger was national security adviser and secretary of state. Nixon’s opening to China resulted in early agreements, also overseen by banking interests, to begin to transfer U.S. industry to overseas producers like China which had cheap labor costs.

By the mid-1970s, the U.S. had been taken over by a behind the scenes coup-d’etat that included events in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a conspiracy that could only have been instigated by the highest levels of world financial control. In the election of 1976, David Rockefeller succeeded in placing fellow Trilateral Commission member Jimmy Carter in the White House, but Carter upset the banking community, thoroughly Zionist in orientation, by working toward peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

I was working in the Carter White House in 1979-80. Unbeknownst to the president, Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, another Rockefeller protégé, suddenly raised interest rates to fight the inflation the bankers had caused by the OPEC oil price deals, and plunged the nation into recession. Carter was made to look weak and uninformed and was defeated in the election of 1980 by Republican candidate Ronald Reagan. It was through the “Reagan Revolution” that the regulatory controls over the banking industry were lifted, mainly in allowing the banks to use their fractional reserve privileges in making mortgage loans.

Volcker’s recession shattered American manufacturing and hastened the flight of jobs abroad. Under the “Reagan Doctrine,” the U.S. military embarked on an unprecedented mission of world conquest by attacking one small nation at a time, starting with Nicaragua. Global capitalism was also on the march, with the U.S. armed forces its own private police force. With the invasion of Iraq under George H.W. Bush in 1991, mainland Asia was revealed as the principle target.

The economy was floated by productivity gains through computer automation and a huge sell-off of assets through the merger-acquisition bubble of the late 1980s which ended in a recession. This resulted in the defeat of Bush by Bill Clinton in the election of 1992. Clinton was able to create another bubble through a strong dollar policy that attracted foreign capital.

The dot-com bubble that resulted lasted all the way through to the crash of December 2000. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force led the way in the destruction of the sovereign state of Yugoslavia, whereby the international bankers took over the resource wealth of the entire Balkan region, and the U.S. military gained forward bases for further incursions into Asia.

Do we need to say that none of this was ever voted on by the American electorate? But they bought into it nevertheless, both with their silence and through participation in a generally favorable job market in the emerging service occupations, particularly finance.

By the time George W. Bush was inaugurated president in January 2001, the U.S. was facing a disaster. $4 trillion in wealth had vanished when the bubble collapsed. NAFTA caused even more American manufacturing jobs to disappear abroad. The Neocons who were moving into key jobs in the Pentagon knew they would soon have new wars to fight in the Middle East, with invasion plans for Afghanistan and Iraq ready to be pulled off the shelf.

But the U.S. had no economic engine available to generate the tax revenues Bush would need for the planned wars. At this moment Chairman Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve stepped in. Over a two year period from 2001-2003 the Fed lowered interest rates by over 500 basis points. Meanwhile, the federal government removed all regulatory controls on mortgage lending, and the housing bubble was on. $4 trillion in new home loans were pumped into the economy, much of it through subprime loans borrowers could not afford.

The Fed began to put on the brakes in 2003, but the mighty work of re-floating a moribund economy had been accomplished. By late 2006 another recession loomed, but it would take two more years before the crisis of October 2008 brought the entire system down.

The impact on the job market was immediate and profound. By the time Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008, the U.S. was mired in seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the worst recession since the Great Depression was picking up speed. In order to prevent total disaster, the Bush administration ended its eight years of catastrophic misrule with a flourish, by allocating over $700 billion in financial system bailouts to cover the bad loans the banks had been making since Greenspan gave the housing bubble the green light.

It is now November 2009. Since Barack Obama was inaugurated in January, unemployment has soared from 7.9 percent to 10.2 percent. A few hundred billion dollars were allocated for “stimulus” purposes, but most of that went to pay unemployment benefits and to keep state and local governments from laying off more employees.

A fraction has been distributed for highway improvements, but largely through the bank bailouts the federal deficit has been running at an annual rate of $1.5 trillion, by far the largest in history, with the national debt now topping $12 trillion. Ironically, those Americans who still have productive jobs continue to grow in efficiency, with productivity up over five percent in the last year.

So much federal money has been spent that the Obama administration has been struggling to make its health care proposals budget-neutral through a raft of new taxes, fees, and penalties, and by announcing in recent days that the government’ first priority must now shift to deficit reduction. The word “austerity” has been mentioned for the first time since the Carter administration. Yet Congress voted $655 billion in military expenditures to continue fighting in the Middle East. A U.S. military attack on Iran, possibly in conjunction with Israel, would surprise no one.

So where do we now stand?

At present, the Federal Reserve is trying to prevent a total economic collapse. Interest rates are near-zero, to the chagrin of foreign investors in U.S. Treasury securities, and close to half of new Treasury debt instruments have been bought by the Federal Reserve itself as a way of providing free money for federal government expenditures.

But the U.S. economy shows no signs of coming back, with no economic driver emerging that could bring it back. For all the talk about alternative energy, there has been no significant growth of any home-grown industry that could possibly make up so much lost ground in either the short or the long-term.

The industries in the U.S. that are holding up are the military, including arms exports, universities that are attracting large numbers of students from abroad, especially China, and health care, especially for the aging baby boomer population. But the war industry produces nothing with a long-term economic benefit, and health care exists mainly to treat sick people, not produce anything new.

None of this provides a foundation that can bring about a restoration of prosperity to 300 million people when the jobs of making articles of consumption are increasingly scarce. On top of everything else, since government inevitably looks to its own requirements first, the total tax burden continues to increase to the point where the average employee now pays close to 50 percent of his or her income on taxes of all types, including federal and state income taxes, real estate taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, government fees, etc. Plus the cost of utilities continues to rise steadily and threatens to skyrocket if cap-and-trade legislation is passed.

The Obama administration has no plans to deal with any of this. They have projected a budget for 15 years hence that shows the budget deficit decreasing and tax revenues going way up, but it is all lies. They have no roadmap for getting us there and no plans for following the roadmap if it portrayed a realistic goal. And yet the U.S. military is still trying to conquer Asia. It is madness.

And it is madness because the big decisions are not made by the U.S., by Congress, or by the Obama administration. The U.S. has, for half-a-century, been marching to the tune played by the international financial elite, and this fact did not change with the election of 2008. The financiers have put the people of this nation $57 trillion in debt, according to the latest reports, counting debt at the federal, state, business, and household levels. Interest alone on this debt is over $3 trillion of a GDP of $14 trillion. Failure of our political leadership to deal with this tragedy over the past three decades is nothing less than treason.

But then again, at some point the decision was made that the U.S. and its population would be discarded by history, the economic status of the nation reduced to a shadow of what it once was, but that its military machine would be used for the financial elite’s takeover of the world until it is replaced by that of some other nation. All indications are that the next country up to bat as military enforcer for the financiers is China.

There you have it. That, in my opinion, is the past, present, and future of this nation in a nutshell. Great evils have been done in the world in the last century, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Except…. and that’s what each person caught up in these travesties must decide. What are you going to do about it?

In mulling over this question, it would be wise to recognize that the dominance of the financial elite has largely been exercised through their control of the international monetary system based on bank lending and government debt. Therefore it’s through the monetary system that change can and must be made.

The progressives are wrong to think the government should go deeper in debt to create more jobs. This will just create an even deeper hole of debt future generations will have to crawl out of.

Rather the key is monetary reform, whether at the local or national levels. People have lost control of their ability to earn a living. But change could be accomplished through sovereign control by people and nations of the monetary means of exchange.

This control has been stolen. It is time to take it back. One way would be for the federal government to make a relief payment to each adult of $1,000 a month until the crisis lifted. This money could be earmarked for goods and services produced within the U.S. and used to capitalize a new series of community development banks. I have called this the “Cook Plan.”

The plan could be funded through direct payment from a Treasury relief account without new taxes or government borrowing. The payments would be balanced on the credit side by GDP growth or be used by individuals to pay off debt. It would be direct government spending as was done with Greenbacks before and after the Civil War without significant inflation.

Another method increasingly being used within the U.S. today is local and regional credit clearing exchanges and the use of local currencies or “scrip.” Use of such currencies could be enhanced by legislation at the state and federal levels allowing these currencies to be used for payment of taxes and government fees as well as payment of mortgages and other forms of bank debt. The credit clearing exchanges could be organized as private non-profit regional currency co-operatives similar to credit unions.

These would be immediate emergency measures. In the longer run, sovereign control of money and credit must be returned to the public commons and treated as public utilities. This does not mean exclusive government control to replace bank control. As stated previously, it would be done in partnership between government and private trade exchanges. Nor does it mean government takeover of business, industry, or the banking system, though all should be regulated for the common good and fairly taxed.

This program would lead to a new monetary paradigm where money and credit would be available by, as, when, and where needed, to facilitate trade between and among legitimate producers of goods and services. In this way trade and commerce will come to serve human freedom, not diminish it as is done with today’s dysfunctional partnership between big government trillions of dollars in debt and big finance with the entire world in hock.

Such a change would be a true populist revolution.

Richard C. Cook is a former federal analyst who writes on public policy issues. He is an advisor to the American Monetary Institute on its model monetary reform legislation soon to be introduced in Congress. His latest book is We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform. His website

US 'Continental Congress' abolishes income tax


'Continental Congress' abolishes income tax

Citizens mobilize in spirit of '76 to help return U.S. to its roots

Posted: November 23, 2009
11:01 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

'New Continental Congress' session in St. Charles, Ill.
Modeled after the assembly of colonial leaders that formed the original governing body of the U.S., a grass-roots organization has concluded a "new Continental Congress" it hopes will be a catalyst for citizen action that will help return the nation to its roots.

Meeting Nov. 11-21 in St. Charles, Ill., delegates from across the nation gathered to publicly debate the government's "abuses of the Constitution and to consider practical strategies which can bring about compliance with our Freedom documents, not only in our government at all levels, but in our individual lives."

The delegates produced Articles of Freedom which assert "the time has come to reassert our God-given natural rights and cast off tyranny."

"Let the facts reveal – the Federal Government of the United States of America, which was instituted to protect the rights of individual citizens, instead – threatens our life, liberty and property through usurpations of the Constitution; and emboldened by our own lack of responsibility and due diligence in these matters, has exceeded its mandate, and abandoned those founding principles which have made our nation exceptional," the document declares.

The organizers emphasized their "grass-roots proceedings" are not a Constitutional Convention, which the delegates strongly oppose, because it would "only serve to limit our unalienable rights."

The Congress passed a number of resolutions, including measures against the income tax – recognizing it as unconstitutional – and against federal gun-control legislation.

The president of the session was Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 2004. Dan Gonzales, the Constitution Party's Florida chairman, was the session's vice president.

Robert Schulz Sr., chairman of the We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education, was a chief organizer.

The organizers, who state they seek to "legally end certain violations of the federal Constitution," said their next step is a 14-year process by citizens to hold their state and federal elected officials accountable to the federal Constitution.

They say they have "exhausted their administrative and judicial remedies" and now wish to "exhaust their constitutional remedies, as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Accountability Clause of the First Amendment."

"When the People are up against unjust and uncivil government and laws and they are entitled to reform they will achieve it if they are pro-active, non-violent and have a mass-movement," they declare.

'New Continental Congress' delegates meeting in St. Charles, Ill.

Charging the government has violated the Constitution's tax, money, war, general welfare, privacy and other clauses, the organizers have posted petitions for redress regarding the war powers clauses, gun control laws, federal income tax, federal reserve, USA Patriot Act and illegal immigration and a North American Union.

The organizers emphasize the Constitution affords citizens much more than the right to merely send "complaints" to the government, which are usually ignored.

"The Right of Petition embodies the profound Right to enforce the Right to Petition by withdrawing support from the Government until Redress is secured," they state.

The Continental Congress 2009 sought to "take the process of holding Government accountable and restoring the Constitution to the next level by first creating a formal record of the vast violations of the Constitution and Individual Rights now suffered by the People."

The members debated and decided on a series of practical "Civic Actions" citizens can undertake to restore their liberty.

The assembly adopted, for example, formal "Remedial Instructions" to be served on federal and state officials, ordering them to cease and desist their official abuses and giving them formal notice as to the "Civic Actions" of peaceful resistance the people can carry out if their petitions are ignored.

The Income Tax Instruction to the United States Congress adopted by the assembly cites "irrefutable documentation" establishing that the 16th Amendment is void because it was not properly ratified and arguing any direct, unapportioned tax on the labor of any American is unconstitutional.

The resolution cites the U.S. Supreme Court holding that labor and its fruits are "the most sacred and inviolable" property of the citizens of the nation.

The tax resolution also calls for Congress to immediately stop imposition of the withholding of earnings from citizens' paychecks.

The "Complete Idiot's Guide To Barter & Trade Exchanges"

The “Complete Idiot’s Guide To Barter & Trade Exchanges” Hits Bookstores!

Jerry Howell, Founder & President of the Midwest Business Exchange, has written a book which will be released December 1 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other independent book sellers nationwide.

It’s titled the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barter & Trade Exchanges and is published by Penguin Books. The book is aimed at businesses that are either members of trade exchanges, or considering joining one.

Topics include a history of barter, alternative currencies, and how trade exchanges work. The book challenges the reader to learn strategies, both basic and advanced, as they make their memberships work for them. In doing so, it also offers valuable insight to brokers of trade exchanges.

Howell is an excellent writer with a well-known sense of humor. Given these attributes, along with having a major publisher and national distribution, should provide significant exposure and opportunities for the commercial barter industry.


How many haircuts is that tune-up worth?

With money tight, bartering is growing in popularity. Over 70,000 businesses make cashless transactions throughout America. Here is the only complete, step- by-step guide to how this potentially lucrative process works, including: the advantages of direct versus national barter networks; how to save and increase profitability; how to increase sales and revenue; and how to start a trade exchange.

•From a national expert and barter entrepreneur

•Detailed resource section exchanges and business associations