mercoledì 19 maggio 2010

ROTHCHILD'S BREAKING EURO/JAPAN FRUIT & VEG MARKETS/FARMERS

Part of the grand plan is to herd everyone into cities where it is easier to control them. This will move Europe closer to that objective.
Don Stacey

Begin forwarded message:
From: Ruth Date: May 17, 2010 6:25:53 PM PDT (CA)To don.stacey@comcast. netSubject: ROTHCHILD'S BREAKING EURO/JAPAN FRUIT & VEG MARKETS/FARMERS.

The Rothschild family is pushing Indian produce onto the global market Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Monday, 17-May-2010 15:14:18 (snip)

In a recent interview* with Lyn Forester de Rothschild we learn that she and her husband Evelyn de Rothschild are investing hundreds of millions to become the queen and the king of India`s fruits and vegetables. India is already the first world producer of fruits, and the second of vegetables and until today its production was essentially consumed by the over one billion Indian population. Full article:
http://www.rense. com/general78/ rothw.htm Lyn and Evelyn de Rothschild have recently decided to make big money in exporting the Indian fruits and vegetables to the European and Japanese markets. The diverse agro-climatic zones of India make it possible to grow almost all varieties of fruits and vegetables while the labor cost is a tiny fraction of the European or Japanese: Lady de Rothschild is looking forward to pay the Indian workers $2 a day. Even with the transportation and duty costs, the Indian fruit and vegetables are likely to bankrupt the European and Japanese farmers. In Europe, most of these farmers are heavily indebted as the EU paranoid sanitary norms as well as the packaging requirements of the supermarkets have forced them to invest in expensive machinery and infrastructures. When the Indian fruits and vegetables arrive in Europe, most of these indebted farmer families will have to say goodby to their farms which will be confiscated by the banks. Many of the still remaining independent European farmers are producing fruit and vegetables since the independent livestock and wheat farmers have already been decimated by the "market economy" making profitable only the giant exploitations in these sectors. The foreseable bankruptcy of the European fruit and vegetables` farmers will fatally result in that entire agricultural communities will have to leave the rural areas in order to survive. In his recently published book, "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook", David de Rothschild (son of Evelyn de Rothschild) is promoting urban living in order to economise energy and thus stop the "man-made climate warming". rumormillnews. com

To Greece: Nut Up Or Shut Up

Wednesday, May 19. 2010

To Greece: Nut Up Or Shut Up

Time to call the bluff:

The euro fell from the session high against the dollar and Swiss franc on Wednesday after Greece categorically denied market rumors which said it was considering leaving the European Union or the euro zone.

Of course that didn't take long to be "officially denied":

"We categorically deny any thought of leaving the European Union, or the euro zone," said government spokesman George Petalotis.

Then you have no chance.

Let's be clear: The only way to do this is by surprise. Unilaterally, without any discussion with anyone else. Just like Germany did.

And Greece should do it right here, right now, today.

Nail those European Banks that played "too cute by half" and bought Greek debt expecting an intervention and "sticksave", then effectively extorted the Eurozone nations into providing it, exactly as happened here in the US with Fannie and Freddie paper.

Note that Spain was unable to make its debt auction yesterday; they are thus going to be unable to fund the alleged bailout. As such the promises Greece was made are in fact empty, and intended to screw the Greek people and their government.

It is time for someone to stand up and say in return "screw you!" to such tactics. Germany has laid the groundwork, now Greece needs to deliver the "coup de grace" to Sarcozy and his butt-buddies in Brussels.

Depart the Euro and at the same time declare by fiat all Euro-denominated Greek debt held by anyone who is not a Greek national (or a Greek-chartered bank holding said debt entirely within Greece) worthless.

Such a unilateral action would instantaneously detonate a lot of banks in Europe and would put the ECB into an untenable position, as they have been accepting "repos" against Greek debt (along with direct purchases) without regard to actual credit quality.

It would also free Greece from a debt it cannot pay, totaling some €300 billion.

With that wiped off the table Greece would of course have to live within its taxing resources immediately and permanently.

So what?

That has to happen anyway, and is the entire premise of the purported austerity measures. Do it now and get it over with, while at the same time refusing to pay one penny of interest nor one dime of principal on the debt outstanding at this point.

If the Greek people are going to bear the costs they should get all the benefits, not the international banking cartel.

There's not a thing that the world could do about a move like this, but it would put a spike into the bankster concept of looting both citizen and sovereign alike without regard to the consequences.

IT IS TIME FOR A NATION TO STAND UP AND DO IT, AND GREECE IS IDEALLY POSITIONED TO DO SO.

ALL The Banks Ripped Off Taxpayers?

The Market Ticker, May 18. 2010

ALL The Banks Ripped Off Taxpayers?

CFTC whistleblower believes crash was attempted murder

CFTC whistleblower believes crash was attempted murder

Section:

11:30a ET Monday, May 17, 2010

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold (and Silver):

World Net Daily reports that silver market manipulation whistleblower Andrew Maguire has "reluctantly come to believe" that the hit-and-run traffic crash in which he was involved shortly after his communications with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission were disclosed was an attempt on his life.

"The police told us the assailant was known to them and even that they arrested him," World Net Daily reporter Jerome R. Corsi quotes Maguire as saying. "But recently the police won't say anything, and I haven't been able to learn anything about the assailant."

The World Net Daily report is headlined "'Serious Manipulation' of Gold, Silver Markets" and you can find it a World Net Daily here:

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=153953

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

The Final Time of Testing is Here

The Final Time of Testing is Here
by Richard C. Cook, May 18, 2010

While skeptics point out that the “end of the world” has been prophesized over and over again for centuries with nothing happening—the latest being Y2K, they say, and another likely bust coming up when the calendar hits 2012—it is obvious that mankind faces an increasingly unsustainable future.

The world’s economic, technological, agricultural, and political systems are increasingly unstable and untenable. After the last 100 years of history with two world wars and a state of low-grade warfare going on almost continuously since then, it seems impossible for human beings to live together in a state of harmony among themselves or even on this planet.

In fact we seem to be at the end of an age. The overriding social characteristic is the increasing division in the world between the haves and the have-nots, the masters and the slaves, the controllers and the controlled. The power of the rich has never been so great. The weapons of mass destruction they monopolize have the power to destroy the earth many times over.

Teachings of peace, tolerance, charity, while always receiving lip service, lack efficacy and increasingly count for nothing. Organized religion is collapsing as a force capable of mitigating violence and exploitation.

The ones who rule are those who control banking, investment, and credit. The world is run by an international financial Mafia, one that has plunged billions of people and whole nations into unsustainable debt. They live off the fat of the land, skimming the cream of science and industry through usury on money they create out of thin air, using powers granted them by the politicians whose strings they pull. Among these are the political classes of all Western nations, most particularly the United States.

The controllers realize how tenuous stability has become. So they have embarked on a worldwide consolidation of power, using every tool available from the fields of electronic surveillance and social engineering to enhance their control. They know the current world population of almost seven billion cannot be allowed to continue. A large portion of the human herd must be culled, an action now underway. But this will not necessarily fend off a larger disaster.

It all makes so much sense, except that it completely leaves out human freedom, aspiration, and spirituality. In fact it leaves out God. What is happening is that the most materialistic segments of humanity are trying to create a fortress against Spirit in order to save themselves. Many of the controllers are the Zionists who run the banking system, own the armaments industry, control the world media, and aim to rule from their world capital of Jerusalem. They are the descendents of the ones who rejected God by rejecting Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. It was Jesus Christ who prophesized the end of the age and sought to prepare mankind for it.

But why so many people? Where have they come from? Why are so many crowded on this small planet at this particular point in time? Is it simply because of improved sanitation, farming methods, and survival of infants? Or is it because all the human souls from history have been allowed to incarnate to give them one final chance to develop themselves spiritually in order to move on to higher planes of being?

After all, every person alive has been exposed to teachings of spiritual development, not just from Christianity but from all other organized religions as well as spiritual teachings such as yoga that cross religious lines.

Why else have we seen in the past century so many enlightened teachings existing side by side with such organized political, financial, and military horror? Doesn’t it seem that each soul today is being tested? In fact each one of us perhaps is being given one last opportunity to attain enlightenment before the curtain comes down and the theater is closed for the season.

So what are we waiting for? Instead of fighting against the inevitable collapse shouldn’t we be coming together to work for enhancement of being? Shouldn’t the more conscious and spiritually minded of us be creating centers of light to prepare ourselves and each other for the coming darkness? Indeed some are. But are we doing enough?

Time is running out. Who knows, maybe there is only a year or two left before society collapses, the dark controllers set up their world dictatorship, world government, and world currency and do all they can to stamp out the last vestiges of spirituality on earth.

Because that is what is likely to happen. They have already killed many spiritual teachers and will continue to try to do the same, because the only way they can rule is to eliminate higher consciousness as a human hope. It is the controllers of society who are the real terrorists.

Yes, the microchips are coming. Whoever accepts one will wear the mark of the beast—by choice, because the conscience within will have cried out against it. Nuremburg established that no one is innocent because they were simply following orders. Far better to die than to submit. This applies to victims as well as perpetrators.

Yet God is not mocked. It is now that the “earth changes” which have been prophesied will manifest on an increasingly vast scale. The planet will cleanse itself. It has been prophesied, for instance, that as part of this cleansing New York and Connecticut will be under water.

Without a doubt, the United States will no longer exist, because no nation as heedless, violent, prurient, and materialistic as this has become can possibly make the cut. When the dust settles there may still be communities of human survivors in existence, but not many. These survivors will be spiritually-minded and will live close to the earth. But there will likely be no more human civilization as such for many centuries.

Time is up, humanity. We each have had our chance. Now we will find out what measure of truth we have imbibed and incorporated into our being during many lifetimes. The testing has come.

“La moneta di Satana”, il romanzo rivelatore di Cosimo Massaro

18/05/2010 - Manduria - Cultura: MANDURIA - “La moneta di Satana”, il romanzo rivelatore di Cosimo Massaro

Sarà presentato il 29 maggio presso la libreria Agorà di Manduria

Fortissimo entusiasmo e grandi attese per l'uscita del primo romanzo di Cosimo Massaro "La moneta di Satana" edito dalla casa editrice Tabula Fati di Chieti. Cosimo Massaro poliedrico artista di origini savesi, coniugato a Manduria, arredatore di professione, abile conoscitore di arti marziali e orientali, sensibilmente vicino alla cultura in tutte le sue sfumature (fa parte di Associazioni attive nel campo sociale) realizza finalmente il suo sogno, quello di scrivere un romanzo di contenuto socio-economico. La trama avvincente cattura ogni genere di lettore dal più curioso al più competente estimatore del romanzo thriller, tenendo tutti incollati alle pagine del libro fino alla fine del racconto. La storia è ambientata in luoghi oscuri, sinistri e ricchi di suspense, conferendo uno sfondo originale a tutta la narrazione.
Un noto giornalista della RAI, Enrico Costa, viene ritrovato ucciso nel suo appartamento. Le indagine del caso rivelano subito che la vittima risultava scomoda a grossi poteri massonici-mafiosi; egli infatti stava lavorando su una scottante inchiesta, affiancato nelle ricerche dal suo collaboratore e archeologo Alessandro Matus, uomo poliedrico, dinamico e grintoso. Sarà proprio quest'ultimo a far luce sulla colossale truffa conosciuta con il nome di Signoraggio. Egli spiegherà come un sistema diabolico sia stato ideato oltre trecento anni fa da una élite massonico-bancaria per soggiogare tutti i popoli del mondo, e che ancora oggi persiste.
Ambiguità contemporanee e arcani del recente passato fanno da sfondo a fughe rocambolesche, spettacolari inseguimenti e scottanti rivelazioni che rendono la trama avvincente e il finale entusiasmante. span>i>div>
Il romanzo è stato già presentato giovedì 13 maggio a Sant'Eusanio del Sangro (Chieti), per l'evento "Settimana contro l'usura" a cui l'autore ha partecipato come ospite.
Sabato 29 Maggio, invece, si terrà la presentazione ufficiale presso la libreria Agorà di Manduria alle ore 18.
L'evento, fortemente voluto dall'Associazione culturale SEFIRA di Manduria, vuole suscitare le coscienze popolari alla consapevolezza dell'artificioso sistema monetario attuale. La serata si avvarrà della presenza dello stesso autore e dell'avvocato Antonio Pimpini, relatore del recente convegno "Sete di giustizia", tenutosi il 7 marzo scorso presso la sede della provincia di Pescara, e il dibattito verterà sulle tematiche più salienti del romanzo, quali la perdita della sovranità monetaria da parte degli Stati, la supremazia delle banche centrali nei confronti dei popoli e il signoraggio bancario. Si analizzeranno la vita e l'opera dell'emerito prof. Giacinto Auriti, e le finalità della sua scuola monetaria sottolineando l'impegno profuso negli anni e le iniziative contro l'attuale sistema monetario (usurocratico).
L'Associazione SEFIRA invita la cittadinanza tutta.

Wall Street Reform Moves Forward

Wall Street Reform Moves Forward — Here’s What’s Going On

This post originally appeared on Open Left.

Concurrent with today’s primary action, Wall Street reform continues to move forward in the Senate. Here is the state of play:

Cloture filed, vote tomorrow
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed for cloture on the Wall Street reform bill. The vote will take place tomorrow.

If cloture does succeed, amendments and debate will continue for 30 hours
Even if cloture succeeds tomorrow, the final vote will take place on Thursday evening or Friday morning. Also, the debate and amendment process will continue. There will still be 30 hours of debate and amendments, possibly during an all-night session. The only difference is that the amendments must be ruled to be germane, which might cause problems for amendments such as the ones related to the oil spill, secret holds, and health insurance industry anti-trust exemption.

If cloture does not succeed, there will be a vote a day on it until it does succeed
If Republicans block the bill and cloture is not invoked, then Senate Democrats will employ the same tactics they successfully used to get the bill on the Senate floor: hold a vote on the bill every day, generating negative media coverage for Republicans, until they let it pass.

Corker expects “four or five” Republicans to support
FWIW, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker expects cloture to succeed, with four or five Republican votes:

At least four or five Republicans will break ranks with the GOP to support Democrats’ Wall Street reform bill, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday.
Corker, a key negotiator on the bill to overhaul U.S. financial regulations, said he would not be among those Republicans to support the overall legislation, which has been the subject of debate and amendments in the Senate this month.

“I think that we know that there are probably at least five Republicans who are going to vote for this bill,” Corker said during an appearance on CNBC. “I think we’ve seen that in the voting patterns.”

No matter what happens on cloture, amendments continuing today
Some amendment highlights today:

  1. The Senate will take up the Carper weakening amendment starting at 2:15 pm, eastern. This amendment strips the authority of state Attorneys General to enforce state laws against large financial instutions, and has some Demcoratic support. Zach Carter explains:

    Over the past decade, state regulators tried to crack down on subprime outrages, but federal regulators stepped in to protect the megabanks. If we want to establish a fair financial system, we have to empower states to take action against abusive banks.
    That’s what makes a new amendment from Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., so dangerous. Carper’s plan is to ban states from enforcing their own laws against big national banks like Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Bank of America. This is an overt attempt to take cops off the beat and allow banks to get away with outright abuses. While doing lipservice to “strong consumer protection,” Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John Ensign, R-Nev., D-Mark Warner, D-Va., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Evan Bayh, D-Ind., have all gone to bat for America’s largest banks.

    This is the kind of amendment that can actually sink the bill if adopted. For years, federal bank regulators at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) asserted broad powers to preempt state laws, and courts generally backed them. But in 2009, the Supreme Court reversed those decisions, giving states the ability to go after big banks through the court system. Carper’s amendment wouldn’t just institutionalize a destructive status quo-it would actively deregulate, further empowering banks to take advantage of the public.

    This is a very dangerous amendment. Read Zach’s whole piece for more.

  2. Cantwell joins Dorgan in threatening filibuster if her amendment does not receive a vote: Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who is looking to reinstate Glass-Steagall, has joined Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in threatening a filibuster if her amendment does not receive a vote:

    “Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has said he will filibuster the bill unless the Senate votes on his amendment banning a speculative financial instrument known as a “naked” credit default swap. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has done the same, saying she needs a vote on her amendment separating commercial and investment banking operations. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said any Democratic defections are a cause for concern.”

    Progressives are winning a lot of these strengthening amendments, so it would suck it Cantwell and Dorgan are not given their votes.

  3. Volcker rule whip count. Another key strengthening amendment is the Merkley Levin amendment to reinstate the Volcker rule. As a sign of of important this amendment is, opponents may make it face a 60-vote threshold, instead of the 50-vote threshold all but two amendments have faced thus far. Here is a whip count I have seen on the bill:
    • Democratic No (2): Hagan, WarnerWith two Democratic defections, three Republicans to reach the 60 vote threshold. One Republican defection has already been secured:
    • Republican Yes (1): LugarWhich means two of the following six potential votes are needed:
    • Republican Lean Yes (1): BrownRepublican Undecided (5): Collins, Snowe, Voinovich, Grassley, McCainAnd, even if we make up enough votes from the Republicans listed above, we have to hold these Democrats, especially the first two:
    • Democratic Leaning No (2): Klobuchar, Ben NelsonDemocratic Undecided (5): Lieberman, Gillibrand, Schumer, Carper, Byrd Democratic Leaning yes (1): Byah

    The keys are the six potential Republican votes undecided and the two Democrats leaning no. Four of eight Senators will be needed for passage. Even then, the vote would need to be held on a day when all Democrats are available for votes, and all Democratic undecideds would need to be secured. So, hopefully the vote will come on either Wednesday or Thursday, rather than today. Otherwise, it will be difficult to reach 60 votes on this one.

Debate and voting restarts at 2:15 pm. Watch it live on CSPAN2.

Where Did Wall St. Get the Attitude That It Deserved

Where Did Wall St. Get the Attitude That It Deserved to Rip Us Off?

Author Michael Lewis in his best-selling book takes us inside capitalism’s “doomsday machine,” and it’s your worst nightmare come true.

This article first appeared on TruthDig.

"For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different. There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well. Middle-income households made less in 2008 than they did in 1999. And the net worth of American households … has also declined compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s." --"Aughts Were a Lost Decade for U.S. Economy, Workers," Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2010


"Rep. Henry Waxman: You have been a staunch advocate for letting markets regulate themselves. Were you wrong?

"Alan Greenspan: Yes, I found a flaw in the model that I perceived that was the critical functioning structure of how the world works.

"Waxman: In other words you found that your view of the world, your ideology was not right.

"Greenspan: Precisely." --Testimony, House Oversight and Government Committee, Oct. 23, 2008


My cardiologist recently said I must either pay $50 to ask him a question about my potentially serious heart condition outside our annual exam or schedule an appointment so he could bill Medicare $50 for it. "Schedule an appointment just to ask you a 30-second question?" I asked incredulously (I live abroad part of the year). "Look," he exploded, "you love Medicare because you see your doctor for free! But when they talk about `cutting Medicare,' they're cutting us, the doctors! And if they cut payments to us, we are going to reduce services to you! I've got bills, kids to put through college! I'm not in this for my health, you know!"

While I appreciated his honesty (I'd hate to live under the illusion that he was in it for my health), what most struck me was the indignation in his voice. Medicare costs may be skyrocketing and must be controlled to preserve the system. But try to save it by partly reducing doctors' incomes? "How dare they!" was his clear attitude.

This attitude of entitlement comes across loud and clear in Michael Lewis' "The Big Short," whose greatest value is to bring us the insights of those who made hundreds of millions of dollars by betting against, i.e. going "short" on, the unsound subprime mortgage packages peddled by Wall Street titans and blessed by policymakers like then-Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

Lewis’ protagonists, among them Steve Eisman of FrontPoint Partners and Mike Burry of Scion Capital, a one-eyed doctor with Asperger’s syndrome, speak in wonder and disgust of the arrogance of those top Wall Streeters—from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns—who knowingly repackaged home loans made to thousands of people who could not afford to repay them, kept rating agencies like Moody’s in the dark about their shoddy content, and then resold them to institutional investors around the world after claiming that the rating agencies had certified them.

Eisman and Burry clearly understood the financial system better than the Alan Greenspans and Henry Paulsons who were supposed to regulate it. When they talk, the rest of us need to listen.

Lewis reports that Burry had been “the first investor to diagnose the disorder in the American financial system. Complicated financial stuff was being dreamed up for the sole purpose of lending money to people who could never repay it. ... To Michael Burry, the subprime mortgage market looked increasingly like a fraud.”

And this is what Eisman imagined saying to those who caused what Ben Bernanke has called “a cataclysm that could have rivaled or surpassed the Great Depression”:

“The upper classes in this country raped this country. You fucked people. You built a castle to rip people off. Not once in all these years have I come across a person inside a big Wall Street firm who was having a crisis of conscience. Nobody ever said ‘This is wrong’.”

To see long excerpts from “The Big Short,” click here.

It is difficult to disagree with this assessment, given that top Wall Street bankers enriched themselves while throwing millions out of work and homes, bankrupting municipalities and entire nations, and fleecing taxpayers for hundreds of billions in bailout funds. That they have then taken absurdly high bonuses, part of which they use for lobbyists and political contributions so as to gut any attempts to rein in their behavior, is properly seen as a declaration of class war against a majority of Americans.

But it is wrong to see the financial crash of 2008 as an isolated phenomenon of Wall Street rapacity. On the contrary. The mentality behind the financial crisis—that making money is the top priority, and that those who can may do whatever they wish to make more of it—permeates every corner of the top reaches of American society. And even if it can be argued that this attitude was tolerable while the U.S. economy was growing, it will clearly tear this society apart if we have now entered an era of prolonged economic stagnation or even decline. For if so, more for those at the top means less for everyone else—including cardiac care which can determine whether one lives or dies.

The basic fact that none of our leaders dare say aloud—from CEOs to economists to politicians—is that the U.S. private sector and capitalism itself have failed, as well as the government charged with controlling its worst excesses. Greenspan’s admission that free markets have failed was a stunning admission from its greatest proponent. But none—including conservatives calling for a return to the free market, President Barack Obama calling the CEO of Goldman Sachs—whose firm is being sued by the SEC—a “savvy businessman” whose $9 million bonus he does not “begrudge,” and a Congress dependent on Wall Street for campaign contributions— have been willing to even acknowledge the implications of Greenspan’s admission, let alone act on them.

How can anyone in his or her right mind trust today’s pronouncements by economists, CEOs or government leaders when they not only failed to foresee but often actively abetted the worst financial crash since the Depression? The frightening truth is that the U.S. economy today resembles a ghost ship sailing in the fog, the captain’s deck unoccupied, sustained only by its forward momentum and ability to keep bailing water by borrowing trillions and printing money in a desperate attempt to keep afloat.

But the real truths revealed by the 2008 financial crisis go far deeper than this Shakespearean epic of amoral and criminal Wall Street rapacity. The simple but frightening truth is that not only Wall Streeters but CEOs and government regulators are incompetent as well as greedy. They have become obstacles to economic growth as America enters a “late capitalist” phase in which the powerful prey upon the weak—including manipulating angry mobs of the uninformed—rather than producing new and healthy growth, e.g. a Clean Energy Economic Revolution, which is America’s major hope for a strong economic future.

Greed had been around a long time, certainly in America, from the era of the “robber barons” to tobacco companies and Ivan Boesky in postwar America. But what is new—and most alarming—about our present state of affairs is the confluence of greed and incompetence; lack of conscience and the hollowing out of U.S. industry; enormous political clout enjoyed by economic moguls who contribute little to the overall wealth of society; and a shockingly politicized and nonjudicial Supreme Court which has just strengthened the corporate stranglehold on our economy by allowing corporations to directly campaign for candidates.

The greed of 19th century robber barons was no less than that exhibited by today’s Wall Street leaders. But the former also built the railroads and created the oil and automobile industries that made America the world’s leading economic power (aided by America’s rich resource base, isolation from devastating European wars and massive government assistance). And, although it took strong government regulation of and aid to the private sector, enormous sacrifices by union workers, and massive public investment in infrastructure, a rising tide of economic wealth did indeed lift enough boats to create an enormous U.S. postwar middle class. Many of today’s CEOs, Wall Street barons and government leaders, by contrast, do not build. They destroy.

What is lacking in the books about the financial crisis of the last decade, including Lewis’, is a parallel examination of the gutting of the “real” economy—manufacturing, infrastructure and high tech—as America’s political, economic, financial and business leaders ignored or actively fostered America’s internal economic decay.

book cover

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

W. W. Norton & Company, 266 pages

Buy the  book

During the 1980s, as research director for California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Gary Hart’s think tank, and director of Rebuild America, I worked on economic policy with many of America’s top CEOs, manufacturing experts and economists. Rebuild’s advisory board included Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, current economic czar Larry Summers, Nobel laureates Robert Solow and Paul Krugman, Laura Tyson (later to chair the Council of Economic Advisers), Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s future labor secretary), Boston Fed Chair George Hatsopoulos, and Ed Miller, president of an R&D consortium of America’s top manufacturers.

What most struck me were the contrasting opinions of the macroeconomists and many of America’s most successful high-tech CEOs, such as Intel’s Noyce and Andy Grove, National Semiconductor’s Charlie Sporck, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Hewlett-Packard’s David Packard, the latter two serving on the California Commission on Industrial Innovation, whose final report I authored.

Many high-tech leaders who actually made and built the industries that drove postwar U.S. economic growth were alarmed about the future of the U.S. economy as a whole. They called for national competitiveness strategies to maintain strong domestic industries rather than export U.S. plants and jobs abroad, emphasizing the need for low-cost capital and cooperative private-public efforts to buttress high-tech sectors targeted by the Japanese. These were not failing auto manufacturers but some of America’s most successful business leaders, and their advice needed to be taken seriously. It was not.

Numerous studies during this period debunked the canard that labor costs forced U.S. companies to locate abroad. Labor was only a modest portion of overall costs and often was offset by the advantages of having skilled workers and proximity to one’s market—as Japanese automakers demonstrated by building plants in the U.S. while U.S. automakers shifted production overseas. High-wage nations like Germany and those in Scandinavia demonstrated conclusively that it was possible to remain competitive while paying domestic workers relatively high salaries.

However, macroeconomists who knew little about the real economy, like Larry Summers, sneeringly dismissed such “micro” concerns, insisting that all that was needed was to reduce the budget deficit and get monetary policy right. Politicians, including those in Republican and Democratic White Houses, ignored or even actively opposed competitiveness strategies. Older industries, most conspicuously the auto industry, were consistently outmaneuvered by smarter and more efficient foreign competitors.

These 1980s seeds of economic decline began to grow into serious problems in the 1990s although an Internet bubble covered over America’s ongoing internal economic decay. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was absurdly deified, e.g. through the creation of a new school of “Rubinomics.” He made Summers his successor after his deputy led the fight to gut the Glass-Steagall Act, which divided commercial and investment banking, and to actively block regulation of shoddy Wall Street lending. Rubin then used Glass-Steagall’s collapse to enrich himself by forming the giant conglomerate Citigroup, the world’s largest until it collapsed and needed a $306 billion taxpayer bailout. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration further gutted America’s domestic industrial base by supporting NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and standing by while China started to become an even greater industrial threat than Japan.

As director of Rebuild America I wrote in November 1988—in collaboration with Summers, Solow, Krugman, Reich, Tyson, Hatsopoulos, Lester Thurow, Pat Choate and Lawrence Chimerine—a white paper entitled “An `Investment Economics’ for the Year 2000.” We called for setting specific targets for investment in education, training, R&D, infrastructure and plant and equipment, e.g. that gross nonresidential fixed capital formation be 23 percent of GNP by the year 2000. Such thinking, however, was entirely ignored during the Clinton years.

The death of even more of our domestic industrials was ensured in the 2000s under George W. Bush as U.S. officials promoted exporting U.S. jobs abroad; Fed Chair Alan Greenspan—even more ridiculously deified than Rubin—supported the shoddy lending which led to the financial crisis; and the financial sector amassed 40 percent of overall corporate profits (up from a tiny percent when postwar American industry was actually growing and creating jobs).

The November 2008 financial crisis is thus properly understood not as an aberration but the logical culmination of 30 years of incompetence throughout every sector of the U.S. economy. Those involved in the financial crash, as Eisman explains, included:

—THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY: “The subprime mortgage loan was a cheat. You’re basically drawing them in by telling them, `You’re going to pay off all your other loans—your credit card debt, your auto loans—by taking this one loan. And look at the low rate!’ But that low rate isn’t the real rate. It’s a teaser rate.” Eisman also learned from the CEO of Golden West Financial Corp. that free checking “was just a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. ... That’s when I decided the system was really, `fuck the poor.’ ”

—THE FED: “Greenspan he viewed as almost beneath his contempt, which was saying something. `I think Alan Greenspan will go down as the worst chairman of the Federal Reserve in history. I’m convinced he knew what was happening in sub-prime and he ignored it, because the consumer getting screwed was not his problem. I sort of feel sorry for him because he’s a guy who is really smart and was basically wrong about everything.’ ”

—THE RATING FIRMS: “ `They’re underpaid. The smartest ones leave for Wall Street firms so they can help manipulate the companies they used to work for. There should be no greater thing you can do as an analyst than to be the Moody’s analyst. ... Instead, it’s the bottom! ...’ To judge from their behavior, all the rating agencies worried about was maximizing the number of deals they rated for Wall Street investment banks, and the fees they collected from them.”

—THE MEDIA: His assistant Danny Moses explained that “we turned off CNBC. It was very frustrating that they weren’t in touch with reality anymore. If something negative happened, they’d spin it positive. If something positive happened, they’d blow it out of proportion.”

Lewis sums up this saga of incompetence thusly:

“The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it. All shared a distinction: they had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome. … The world’s most powerful and most highly paid financiers had been entirely discredited; without government intervention every single one of them would have lost his job; and yet these same financiers were using the government to enrich themselves.”

book cover

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

W. W. Norton & Company, 266 pages

Buy the  book

And as for the financiers, so too for much of the rest of the top tiers of the American economy. The key question now is how long it will take the general public to realize that most of the entire private sector has failed, and that entirely new arrangements are needed—featuring strict regulation, bank nationalization where appropriate, greater worker control, public members on corporate boards and a national economic strategy prioritizing the interests of workers and citizens.

The immediate prospects are not promising. The Supreme Court decision will help elect Republicans, whose policies of less regulation, less taxes on the wealthy, and less help for those in need will profoundly deepen the economic and social crisis. Voters and tea partyers mistakenly supporting demagogic Republicans who most threaten their incomes and jobs will grow even angrier, as will workers throughout the economy as their suffering becomes increasingly intolerable, leading to ugly class division, and possible violence and police measures to counter them.

The key question, however, is what will happen over the longer run. As even the most obtuse are finally forced to realize we can no longer rely on a failed private sector, there will be mass support for new approaches. America’s last private sector failure ushered in an era of government intervention, featuring job-creation and safety net programs financed by taxing the rich, and strict private sector regulation. Today’s economic stagnation could create mass support for an even more radical “New Deal,” especially since it will be exacerbated by the aging of the giant baby boom generation. As 77 million boomers—and their low-earning children who be unable to support them—find U.S. economic decline affecting not only their quality of life but how long they get to live, there will be unprecedented demands for an expanding safety net.

As discussed in Theodore Roszak’s “The Making of an Elder Culture,” [To see Fred Branfman’s Truthdig review of the Roszak book, click here] a baby-boom generation fighting not only for its own survival but a wider safety net for all those threatened by economic decline could create the only rational and humane alternative to today’s mess: European-style welfare-state policies ensuring that the pain of America’s inevitable decline is shared equally, so as to maintain social cohesion and avoid disintegration into warring camps.

Whatever happens, however, one thing is sure. Cardiologists—and overpaid Wall Street bankers and CEOs, and the politicians who do their bidding—can maintain their present way of life only at the expense of everyone else. How soon the public wakes up not only to what Eisman calls the “rape” of the American economy by Wall Street, but the gang rape perpetrated by so many more of our economic and political leaders, will determine not only Americans’ economic well-being but the future of democracy.

Lewis’ protagonists, among them Steve Eisman of FrontPoint Partners and Mike Burry of Scion Capital, a one-eyed doctor with Asperger’s syndrome, speak in wonder and disgust of the arrogance of those top Wall Streeters—from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns—who knowingly repackaged home loans made to thousands of people who could not afford to repay them, kept rating agencies like Moody’s in the dark about their shoddy content, and then resold them to institutional investors around the world after claiming that the rating agencies had certified them.

Eisman and Burry clearly understood the financial system better than the Alan Greenspans and Henry Paulsons who were supposed to regulate it. When they talk, the rest of us need to listen.

Lewis reports that Burry had been “the first investor to diagnose the disorder in the American financial system. Complicated financial stuff was being dreamed up for the sole purpose of lending money to people who could never repay it. ... To Michael Burry, the subprime mortgage market looked increasingly like a fraud.”

And this is what Eisman imagined saying to those who caused what Ben Bernanke has called “a cataclysm that could have rivaled or surpassed the Great Depression”:

“The upper classes in this country raped this country. You fucked people. You built a castle to rip people off. Not once in all these years have I come across a person inside a big Wall Street firm who was having a crisis of conscience. Nobody ever said ‘This is wrong’.”

It is difficult to disagree with this assessment, given that top Wall Street bankers enriched themselves while throwing millions out of work and homes, bankrupting municipalities and entire nations, and fleecing taxpayers for hundreds of billions in bailout funds. That they have then taken absurdly high bonuses, part of which they use for lobbyists and political contributions so as to gut any attempts to rein in their behavior, is properly seen as a declaration of class war against a majority of Americans.

But it is wrong to see the financial crash of 2008 as an isolated phenomenon of Wall Street rapacity. On the contrary. The mentality behind the financial crisis—that making money is the top priority, and that those who can may do whatever they wish to make more of it—permeates every corner of the top reaches of American society. And even if it can be argued that this attitude was tolerable while the U.S. economy was growing, it will clearly tear this society apart if we have now entered an era of prolonged economic stagnation or even decline. For if so, more for those at the top means less for everyone else—including cardiac care which can determine whether one lives or dies.

The basic fact that none of our leaders dare say aloud—from CEOs to economists to politicians—is that the U.S. private sector and capitalism itself have failed, as well as the government charged with controlling its worst excesses. Greenspan’s admission that free markets have failed was a stunning admission from its greatest proponent. But none—including conservatives calling for a return to the free market, President Barack Obama calling the CEO of Goldman Sachs—whose firm is being sued by the SEC—a “savvy businessman” whose $9 million bonus he does not “begrudge,” and a Congress dependent on Wall Street for campaign contributions— have been willing to even acknowledge the implications of Greenspan’s admission, let alone act on them.

How can anyone in his or her right mind trust today’s pronouncements by economists, CEOs or government leaders when they not only failed to foresee but often actively abetted the worst financial crash since the Depression? The frightening truth is that the U.S. economy today resembles a ghost ship sailing in the fog, the captain’s deck unoccupied, sustained only by its forward momentum and ability to keep bailing water by borrowing trillions and printing money in a desperate attempt to keep afloat.

But the real truths revealed by the 2008 financial crisis go far deeper than this Shakespearean epic of amoral and criminal Wall Street rapacity. The simple but frightening truth is that not only Wall Streeters but CEOs and government regulators are incompetent as well as greedy. They have become obstacles to economic growth as America enters a “late capitalist” phase in which the powerful prey upon the weak—including manipulating angry mobs of the uninformed—rather than producing new and healthy growth, e.g. a Clean Energy Economic Revolution, which is America’s major hope for a strong economic future.

Greed had been around a long time, certainly in America, from the era of the “robber barons” to tobacco companies and Ivan Boesky in postwar America. But what is new—and most alarming—about our present state of affairs is the confluence of greed and incompetence; lack of conscience and the hollowing out of U.S. industry; enormous political clout enjoyed by economic moguls who contribute little to the overall wealth of society; and a shockingly politicized and nonjudicial Supreme Court which has just strengthened the corporate stranglehold on our economy by allowing corporations to directly campaign for candidates.

The greed of 19th century robber barons was no less than that exhibited by today’s Wall Street leaders. But the former also built the railroads and created the oil and automobile industries that made America the world’s leading economic power (aided by America’s rich resource base, isolation from devastating European wars and massive government assistance). And, although it took strong government regulation of and aid to the private sector, enormous sacrifices by union workers, and massive public investment in infrastructure, a rising tide of economic wealth did indeed lift enough boats to create an enormous U.S. postwar middle class. Many of today’s CEOs, Wall Street barons and government leaders, by contrast, do not build. They destroy.

What is lacking in the books about the financial crisis of the last decade, including Lewis’, is a parallel examination of the gutting of the “real” economy—manufacturing, infrastructure and high tech—as America’s political, economic, financial and business leaders ignored or actively fostered America’s internal economic decay.

During the 1980s, as research director for California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Gary Hart’s think tank, and director of Rebuild America, I worked on economic policy with many of America’s top CEOs, manufacturing experts and economists. Rebuild’s advisory board included Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, current economic czar Larry Summers, Nobel laureates Robert Solow and Paul Krugman, Laura Tyson (later to chair the Council of Economic Advisers), Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s future labor secretary), Boston Fed Chair George Hatsopoulos, and Ed Miller, president of an R&D consortium of America’s top manufacturers.

What most struck me were the contrasting opinions of the macroeconomists and many of America’s most successful high-tech CEOs, such as Intel’s Noyce and Andy Grove, National Semiconductor’s Charlie Sporck, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Hewlett-Packard’s David Packard, the latter two serving on the California Commission on Industrial Innovation, whose final report I authored.

Many high-tech leaders who actually made and built the industries that drove postwar U.S. economic growth were alarmed about the future of the U.S. economy as a whole. They called for national competitiveness strategies to maintain strong domestic industries rather than export U.S. plants and jobs abroad, emphasizing the need for low-cost capital and cooperative private-public efforts to buttress high-tech sectors targeted by the Japanese. These were not failing auto manufacturers but some of America’s most successful business leaders, and their advice needed to be taken seriously. It was not.

Numerous studies during this period debunked the canard that labor costs forced U.S. companies to locate abroad. Labor was only a modest portion of overall costs and often was offset by the advantages of having skilled workers and proximity to one’s market—as Japanese automakers demonstrated by building plants in the U.S. while U.S. automakers shifted production overseas. High-wage nations like Germany and those in Scandinavia demonstrated conclusively that it was possible to remain competitive while paying domestic workers relatively high salaries.

However, macroeconomists who knew little about the real economy, like Larry Summers, sneeringly dismissed such “micro” concerns, insisting that all that was needed was to reduce the budget deficit and get monetary policy right. Politicians, including those in Republican and Democratic White Houses, ignored or even actively opposed competitiveness strategies. Older industries, most conspicuously the auto industry, were consistently outmaneuvered by smarter and more efficient foreign competitors.

These 1980s seeds of economic decline began to grow into serious problems in the 1990s although an Internet bubble covered over America’s ongoing internal economic decay. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was absurdly deified, e.g. through the creation of a new school of “Rubinomics.” He made Summers his successor after his deputy led the fight to gut the Glass-Steagall Act, which divided commercial and investment banking, and to actively block regulation of shoddy Wall Street lending. Rubin then used Glass-Steagall’s collapse to enrich himself by forming the giant conglomerate Citigroup, the world’s largest until it collapsed and needed a $306 billion taxpayer bailout. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration further gutted America’s domestic industrial base by supporting NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and standing by while China started to become an even greater industrial threat than Japan.

As director of Rebuild America I wrote in November 1988—in collaboration with Summers, Solow, Krugman, Reich, Tyson, Hatsopoulos, Lester Thurow, Pat Choate and Lawrence Chimerine—a white paper entitled “An `Investment Economics’ for the Year 2000.” We called for setting specific targets for investment in education, training, R&D, infrastructure and plant and equipment, e.g. that gross nonresidential fixed capital formation be 23 percent of GNP by the year 2000. Such thinking, however, was entirely ignored during the Clinton years.

The death of even more of our domestic industrials was ensured in the 2000s under George W. Bush as U.S. officials promoted exporting U.S. jobs abroad; Fed Chair Alan Greenspan—even more ridiculously deified than Rubin—supported the shoddy lending which led to the financial crisis; and the financial sector amassed 40 percent of overall corporate profits (up from a tiny percent when postwar American industry was actually growing and creating jobs).

The November 2008 financial crisis is thus properly understood not as an aberration but the logical culmination of 30 years of incompetence throughout every sector of the U.S. economy. Those involved in the financial crash, as Eisman explains, included:

—THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY: “The subprime mortgage loan was a cheat. You’re basically drawing them in by telling them, `You’re going to pay off all your other loans—your credit card debt, your auto loans—by taking this one loan. And look at the low rate!’ But that low rate isn’t the real rate. It’s a teaser rate.” Eisman also learned from the CEO of Golden West Financial Corp. that free checking “was just a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. ... That’s when I decided the system was really, `fuck the poor.’ ”

—THE FED: “Greenspan he viewed as almost beneath his contempt, which was saying something. `I think Alan Greenspan will go down as the worst chairman of the Federal Reserve in history. I’m convinced he knew what was happening in sub-prime and he ignored it, because the consumer getting screwed was not his problem. I sort of feel sorry for him because he’s a guy who is really smart and was basically wrong about everything.’ ”

—THE RATING FIRMS: “ `They’re underpaid. The smartest ones leave for Wall Street firms so they can help manipulate the companies they used to work for. There should be no greater thing you can do as an analyst than to be the Moody’s analyst. ... Instead, it’s the bottom! ...’ To judge from their behavior, all the rating agencies worried about was maximizing the number of deals they rated for Wall Street investment banks, and the fees they collected from them.”

—THE MEDIA: His assistant Danny Moses explained that “we turned off CNBC. It was very frustrating that they weren’t in touch with reality anymore. If something negative happened, they’d spin it positive. If something positive happened, they’d blow it out of proportion.”

Lewis sums up this saga of incompetence thusly:

“The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it. All shared a distinction: they had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome. … The world’s most powerful and most highly paid financiers had been entirely discredited; without government intervention every single one of them would have lost his job; and yet these same financiers were using the government to enrich themselves.”

And as for the financiers, so too for much of the rest of the top tiers of the American economy. The key question now is how long it will take the general public to realize that most of the entire private sector has failed, and that entirely new arrangements are needed—featuring strict regulation, bank nationalization where appropriate, greater worker control, public members on corporate boards and a national economic strategy prioritizing the interests of workers and citizens.

The immediate prospects are not promising. The Supreme Court decision will help elect Republicans, whose policies of less regulation, less taxes on the wealthy, and less help for those in need will profoundly deepen the economic and social crisis. Voters and tea partyers mistakenly supporting demagogic Republicans who most threaten their incomes and jobs will grow even angrier, as will workers throughout the economy as their suffering becomes increasingly intolerable, leading to ugly class division, and possible violence and police measures to counter them.

The key question, however, is what will happen over the longer run. As even the most obtuse are finally forced to realize we can no longer rely on a failed private sector, there will be mass support for new approaches. America’s last private sector failure ushered in an era of government intervention, featuring job-creation and safety net programs financed by taxing the rich, and strict private sector regulation. Today’s economic stagnation could create mass support for an even more radical “New Deal,” especially since it will be exacerbated by the aging of the giant baby boom generation. As 77 million boomers—and their low-earning children who be unable to support them—find U.S. economic decline affecting not only their quality of life but how long they get to live, there will be unprecedented demands for an expanding safety net.

As discussed in Theodore Roszak’s “The Making of an Elder Culture,” [To see Fred Branfman’s Truthdig review of the Roszak book, click here] a baby-boom generation fighting not only for its own survival but a wider safety net for all those threatened by economic decline could create the only rational and humane alternative to today’s mess: European-style welfare-state policies ensuring that the pain of America’s inevitable decline is shared equally, so as to maintain social cohesion and avoid disintegration into warring camps.

Whatever happens, however, one thing is sure. Cardiologists—and overpaid Wall Street bankers and CEOs, and the politicians who do their bidding—can maintain their present way of life only at the expense of everyone else. How soon the public wakes up not only to what Eisman calls the “rape” of the American economy by Wall Street, but the gang rape perpetrated by so many more of our economic and political leaders, will determine not only Americans’ economic well-being but the future of democracy.

Fred Branfman, the editor of “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war in Laos while living there from 1967 to 1971 and went on to develop solar, educational and Information Age initiatives for California Gov. Jerry Brown and national policymakers.

Ex-RBS executive agrees to employment ban

May 18, 2010, 6:21 a.m. EDT

Ex-RBS executive agrees to employment ban

Johnny Cameron settles investigation, won't be fined

By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The Financial Services Authority, adding another scalp to its collection, announced Tuesday that the former head of Royal Bank of Scotland's investment-banking arm has agreed to a ban on working in financial services.

Johnny Cameron has said he won't perform any "significant influence" function and won't take full-time employment in the financial industry. In turn, the FSA said it won't take disciplinary action against Cameron, who therefore will not be fined.

Market Edge: Dividend Hike a Healthy Sign

Companies that regularly increase their dividend payments are often steady stock picks, according to Don Taylor, manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, who talks with MarketWatch's Jonathan Burton about the stocks that meet his investment criteria.

In a brief statement, the regulator said it had been investigating systems and controls that in place at the global banking and markets unit of RBS (UK:RBS 45.20, -2.12, -4.48%) (RBS 13.21, +0.01, +0.08%) at the time that Cameron was in charge.

The division was largely responsible for massive losses that led to a bailout worth around 45.5 billion pounds ($67.2 billion) and ultimately left the government owning 84% of RBS.

The FSA's announcement came roughly a month after the regulator fined two former executives at nationalized lender Northern Rock a total of £644,000 for misleading investors and analysts over the state of the bank's mortgage arrears. See full story on the Northern Rock executives.

That case was followed swiftly by the resignation of David Jones, who had served as chief financial officer of Northern Rock's "bad bank." over an ongoing investigation by the regulator. See full story on Jones' departure.

The FSA said Tuesday that it would have sought a ban against Cameron if he hadn't agreed to settle the investigation, but it made no mention of whether he would have faced a fine.

Terms of the settlement mean that Cameron can take part-time consultancy work in financial services industry provided it's not in a so-called "significant influence" role that would usually have required approval from the regulator.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

E ora scopriamo che la Fed è delle banche

E ora scopriamo che la Fed è delle banche che salva

di Marcello Foa, IL GIORNALE

Ma chi possiede davvero la Federal reserve ovvero la Banca centrale americana? La risposta sembra ovvia: dovrebbe essere un’istituzione pubblica, indipendente dal governo. E invece no: è privata e i suoi azionisti sono le principali banche americane. Sì, proprio quelle banche che la stessa Federal Reserve ha salvato un anno e mezzo fa, d’intesa con il Tesoro Usa, stampando vagonate di dollari e di Buoni del Tesoro, trascinando governi e Istituti centrali del mondo occidentale nella stessa direzione, con le conseguenze che oggi ben conosciamo ovvero l’esplosione dei debiti pubblici nei Paesi più progrediti. E’ come se a controllare la Federazione degli arbitri fossero le squadre di calcio. Sorpresi? Eppure non è l’unica anomalia. Per capire che cosa sta avvenendo in questi giorni sui mercati ci si può limitare alle solite spiegazioni oppure chiedersi se all’origine di sommovimenti brutali e non sempre giustificati ci siano delle asimmetrie, delle falle di sistema, interessi lobbistici. Sia chiaro: non si tratta di scovare Grandi Fratelli, ma di capire come va il mondo e, dunque, in campo finanziario, come va l’America. Il responso non è affatto confortante. Il Paese che siamo stati abituati a considerare come un modello, mostra lacune sconcertanti per chi, seguendo i principi liberali, ritiene indispensabile la trasparenza delle regole e l’indipendenza assoluta di chi governa o stabilisce le regole. Purtroppo la crisi del 2008 sembra essere passata invano. Le tare emerse allora non sono state corrette. Anzi… La Federal Reserve non è un attore imparziale e nemmeno trasparente. Non è sottoposta ad alcun organismo di controllo e non risponde al Congresso del suo operato. E’ un’immensa scatola nera che rifiuta di aprirsi, anche a distanza di anni. Ancora oggi, ad esempio, i cittadini americani non sanno come sono stati usati centinaia di miliardi stanziati dal governo per salvare le banche. Sono state presentate petizioni, il Congresso ha votato, i giudici hanno emesso sentenze: tutto inutile. La Federal Reserve non spiega come ha aiutato… i propri azionisti. E non è l’unica anomalia. Quegli azionisti, ovvero le banche, continuano ad essere molto potenti, troppo potenti; al punto di influenzare il mondo politico. Se si scorre la lista degli ultimi ministri del Tesoro ci si accorge che Clinton nominò Robert Rubin, dapprima banchiere di Goldman Sachs e poi di Citigroup; Bush scelse Heny Paulson, presidente di Goldman Sachs; il riformista Obama ha chiesto consiglio allo stesso Rubin che gli ha piazzato come superconsulente Lawrence Summers e, al timone, il suo pupillo, il raccomandatissimo Timothy Geithner, che come presidente della Federal Reserve di New York si segnalò per la sua strettissima amicizia con i grandi banchieri di Wall Street. Risultato: negli ultimi 15 anni non è stata approvata una sola legge contraria agli interessi del mondo finanziario, che anzi ha ottenuto quello che voleva, a cominciare dall’abolizione del Glass Steagal Act, che ha fatto saltare le separazioni tra banche commerciali e banche d’affari. Gli Hedge funds continuano ad operare senza regole, spesso da paradisi fiscali. Nessun limite è stato posto agli Otc, ovvero i mercati fuori dai circuiti borsistici tradizionali. E le banche che nel 2008 stavano per fallire non sono state costrette a ricapitalizzare adeguatamente. Insomma, tutto è rimasto come prima. Una gran festa per gli speculatori, che dopo aver scaricato sulla comunità delizie come i subprime ora si avventano sull’euro.

More States May Create Public Banks

More States May Create Public Banks

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Thumb Up IconBy 2011, only one state will have escaped the credit crunch that is pushing other states toward insolvency: North Dakota. North Dakota is also the only state that owns its own bank. The state has its own credit machine, making it independent of the Wall Street banking crisis that has infected the rest of the country.

Bank of North Dakota Headquarters

The new headquarters of the Bank of North Dakota in Bismark.

Image courtesy www.banknd.nd.gov.

Now, several states are either studying the prospects of a state-owned bank or are considering legislation to make one possible.

Five states have bills pending—Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia. In April, documentary filmmaker and Virginia resident Bill Still showed his new award-winning documentary on the topic, The Secret of Oz, to the Missouri House of Representatives. Rep. Allen Icet, a candidate for state auditor, proposed using the Virginia proposal as part of a study on a state bank in Missouri and said he would hold committee hearings this summer.

Also in mid-April, the Hawai‘i House approved a resolution asking the state to study the possibility of establishing a state-run bank there. State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, a Democrat who chairs the finance committee, called a state-run bank a “reasonable public option” to spur development and hold state funds.

Other state legislatures entertaining proposals for forming state-owned banks include New Mexico and Vermont. Candidates in eight states are running on a state-owned bank platform: three Democrats, two Greens, two Republicans, and one Independent.

—Ellen Brown is an attorney and the author of 11 books, including Web of Debt, webofdebt.com

Liberate Sansone, per evitare che crolli il tempio

Liberate Sansone, per evitare che crolli il tempio

A proposito della recente sentenza della Cassazione in cui è stato sancito che la commissione di massimo scoperto rientra nel calcolo del tasso effettivo, ai fini del confronto con il tasso soglia della legge antiusura, al contrario di quanto sostenuto da sempre dalle banche (che si richiamavano ad una “circolare” di Bankitalia) 1, mi viene spontaneo un commento.
Finora alla questione dell’usura bancaria è stata sempre messa la sordina, probabilmente perché si riteneva che accertare il fondo di illegalità del comportamento delle banche avrebbe fatto crollare tutto il sistema del credito il quale, com’è noto, si basa sulla fiducia.
Distruggere il sistema del credito avrebbe avuto come conseguenza uno sconvolgimento dell’economia e pertanto il fatto che il sistema provocasse “danni collaterali” a migliaia di piccole/medie imprese e di famiglie non era ritenuto importante.
Le persone coinvolte venivano come ridotte in schiavitù, prive di diritti perché prive di soldi, sostanzialmente inermi, deboli e pertanto non in grado di nuocere al sistema.
Ma la sentenza della Cassazione può moltiplicare la forza dei prigionieri del sistema perverso del credito bancario a tassi usurari (alias i debitori) e allora, ricordando la storia biblica di Sansone che, dopo essere stato catturato perché Dalila gli aveva tagliato capelli, ha pur trovato la forza di liberarsi dalla schiavitù, facendo crollare le colonne che reggevano il tempio dei Filistei, seppellendo così lui, ma anche i suoi padroni.
Se i moderni Filistei/banchieri vogliono evitare questa triste fine, consiglio loro di liberare i loro moderni schiavi e così eviteranno che costoro facciano crollare il tempio.
Fuor di metafora, mi sembra che per evitare la catastrofe, le banche debbano mettere mano al loro portafoglio (e/o a quello dei loro soci/dipendenti) che finora si è ingrossato col lavoro degli schiavi e innanzi tutto restituire il maltolto, cioè rendere di nuovo liberi i prigionieri.
Sono logicamente a disposizione per consulenze in merito
Se poi il tempio dei falsi idoli deve crollare, ebbene gli schiavi/Sansone faranno la volontà di Dio.

Gianni Frescura

News stories related to the World Bank and IMF

A selection of news stories related to the World Bank and IMF, brought to you by the Bretton Woods Project:


Romanian workers, pensioners protest against IMF-required cuts
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-19/romanian-workers-pensioners-protest-against-imf-required-cuts.html
Bloomberg Businessweek, 19 May 2010

Africa has less say after changes in World Bank voting
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51457
IPS, 18 May 2010

Will climate finance mean a new path for the World Bank?
http://www.wri.org/stories/2010/05/will-climate-finance-mean-new-path-world-bank
WRI, 17 May 2010

Could US Congress block anti-worker IMF bailouts in Europe?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/could-congress-block-anti_b_576187.html
Huffington Post, 14 May 2010

Werner meets Harrison - Monetary Reform

May 12, 2010

Werner meets Harrison - Monetary Reform & LVT. No:4 Interaction

In answer to a question from Richard Werner (International Banking Professor) as to what about land did Keynes not understand? Fred Harrison suggested that even in a stable monetary system such as Dr.Werner advocates, unless there is a fiscal system to tax away the gains on land from private gain towards public purposes, it is generally banks which gain those rents that accrue. He said there is an inevitability about it - a 'law'. Due to the fixed amount of land, a shift in favour of rents occurs so that income arising thus goes to those so placed to receive it. This will continue to happen unless rents from land are specifically directed for the common good. Public services should be funded from these rents, as alternative taxes, such as we now have, mean that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Harrison also said of the monetary approach - that it would not eliminate land originated economic failures.

Werner asked why it is that in Germany land prices are stable? Harrison said after German experiences following WW1 and the 1930s, there had developed a different ethic of economics. However, he said that despite Werner's suggestion that rules for banking about property speculation would be sufficient, monetary policy was not enough - more needs to be considered. He suggested that James Robertson** is important in the finding of a synthesis and integration between the two. David Triggs said that Henry George believed both in the full recovery of rents for the public good and also that the public control of credit through the government was vital for economic justice.

Werner said that property prices are a function of the increase in credit, with most of the value being in the land. For a while all goes well as the rising amount of credit feeds into a rising property market. His researches show that credit cycles explain property price cycles - when the credit supply slows, prices drop. In Japan prices fell 80% and broke banks. He sees the repayment of debt, with its background of charging of interest, as unsustainable for an economy as a whole. (See Blog May 2nd - Babylon). Whilst one individual bank could assess a borrower's ability to pay, no one bank could assess what was happening to the whole economy - as other banks lent out, unknown to each other. Thus is the case for the government or the central bank to control credit allocation. To a questioner, he said that interest rates do not control growth or the money supply. Low interest rates stimulate growth and interest rates follow growth.

**Five years ago James Roberston drew the work of Werner and Harrison together.
Click on this and go his summary & items 3 & 7:
“At Item 3 the books by Fred Harrison and Richard Werner complement each other wonderfully .
Harrison’s is about how the pathology of a perverse tax system encourages fluctuating land values and house prices which cause booms and busts. Werner’s is about the pathology of the present perverse way of creating new money which, by encouraging lending for the purchase of assets like land and housing instead of investment in productive activities, also contributes to booms and busts. Together they show that serious study is needed of the links and interactions between tax reform and monetary reform. Item 7 is about that”.
With the extraordinary events of the last few days resulting in a coalition government with Clegg, Huhne and Cable (leading lights in ALTER) at the very top tables who knows what could lie ahead?