domenica 6 febbraio 2011

THE US IS BEHIND THE FALL OF MUBARAK

www.barrychamish.com

THE U.S. IS BEHIND THE FALL OF MUBARAK

by Barry Chamish

Elad Pressman, editor of a major Israeli political website, was my guest on my radio show and did he have news! The Daily Telegraph had dug into Wikileaks documents and pieced together a report that convincingly proves the US was behind the violent Egyptian protests.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289686/Egypt-protests-Americas-secret-backing-for-rebel-leaders-behind-uprising.htmlThe American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police. On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011. He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph. The disclosures, contained in previously secret US diplomatic dispatches released by the WikiLeaks website, show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to release other dissidents who had been detained by the police. At least five people were killed in Cairo alone yesterday and 870 injured, several with bullet wounds. Mohamed ElBaradei, the pro-reform leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was placed under house arrest after returning to Egypt to join the dissidents. Riots also took place in Suez, Alexandria and other major cities across the country. The US government has previously been a supporter of Mr Mubarak’s regime. But the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mr Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East. In a secret diplomatic dispatch, sent on December 30 2008, Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, recorded that opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for “regime change” to take place before elections, scheduled for September this year. The memo, which Ambassador Scobey sent to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC, was marked “confidential” and headed: “April 6 activist on his US visit and regime change in Egypt.” It said the activist claimed “several opposition forces” had “agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections”. The embassy’s source said the plan was “so sensitive it cannot be written down”. Ambassador Scobey questioned whether such an “unrealistic” plot could work, or ever even existed. However, the documents showed that the activist had been approached by US diplomats and received extensive support for his pro-democracy campaign from officials in Washington. The embassy helped the campaigner attend a “summit” for youth activists in New York, which was organized by the US State Department. Cairo embassy officials warned Washington that the activist’s identity must be kept secret because he could face “retribution” when he returned to Egypt. He had already allegedly been tortured for three days by Egyptian state security after he was arrested for taking part in a protest some years earlier. The protests in Egypt are being driven by the April 6 youth movement, a group on Facebook that has attracted mainly young and educated members opposed to Mr Mubarak. The group has about 70,000 members and uses social networking sites to orchestrate protests and report on their activities. The documents released by WikiLeaks reveal US Embassy officials were in regular contact with the activist throughout 2008 and 2009, considering him one of their most reliable sources for information about human rights abuses. Elad strongly suggested that I investigate who was behind Mohammed ElBaradei. Look what I discovered! Just a few months ago, Mohammed ElBaradei was paraded on the front cover of the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR) rag, Foreign Affairs, with a headline asking if he could be Egypt's savior. What uncanny foresight, for on the second day of Egyptian protests he showed up in Cairo and was named as the negotiator of The Muslim Brotherhood. So where did he come from? It turns out from the board of an NGO run by CFR muckrakers George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Against the regime, the opposition groups - of which there are at least ten - are just as hamstrung by their failure to produce a leader able to stand up and challenge the president. For lack of any representative figure, they picked the retired nuclear watchdog director Dr. Mohamed ElBaradi to speak for them in negotiations over the transfer of power. Hardly anyone in Egypt knows him: He is better known outside the country having spent many years abroad. Yet, at the same time, ElBaradei sits on the board of a Soros/Brzezinski foundation.
Go to the George Soros/Zbigniew Brzezinski Crisis Groups Website and you will see that the Egyptian clashes have hit surprisingly close to home for them. That's because none other than their own Mohamed ElBaradei, sitting on their board of trustees, is the self-proclaimed leader of the unrest unfolding across the streets of Cairo. The International Crisis Group's recent condemnation of ElBaradei's detention and admission of his membership amongst "the Group" is accompanied by calls for the government to stop using violence against the protesters.
http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/about/board.aspx
A few board members:
G eorge Soros
Chairman, Open Society Institute
Mohamed ElBaradei
Director-General Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Nobel Peace Prize (2005)
Javier Solana
Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, NATO Secretary-General and Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain And then, we have The Muslim Brotherhood meeting with Obama. From the Egyptian press: 'Obama met Muslim Brotherhood members in U.S.'
U.S. President Barack Obama met with members of Egypt's Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, earlier this year, according to a report in Thursday editions of the Egyptian daily newspaper Almasry Alyoum. The newspaper reported that Obama met the group's members, who reside in the U.S. and Europe, in Washington two months ago. As for Israel, which should be terrified of a potential Muslim Brotherhood government, who else is pushing for one but President Shimon "Mad Dog" Peres? Mubarak appointed Peres' buddy Omar Suleiman (search for pics of the two all over the internet) as his Vice-President, meaning upcoming interim President when Hosni climbs down from the post. And look who Peres got to say what Peres can't, his rabbi and Vatican representative, David "Mad Man" Rosen:http://euobserver.com/9/31729/?rk=1Rabbi David Rosen, a prominent commentator on religious affairs, has saidthat EU diplomats should start talking to Islamic faith leaders in Egypt inorder to keep the revolution on a peaceful path.Yes, Israel's President thinks it would be terrific to begin negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood.Israel's issues are the same as Egypt's but are hidden behind a charade of democracy. This year's figures reveal that 25% of all Israelis, including over 850,000 children, live beneath the poverty line. The middle class has all but disappeared at 15%, leaving a vast number of poor and unemployed to be ruled by a tiny group of immensely wealthy oligarchs. If you thoughtCairo had a big turnout for its protests, Israel with 1/5 of Cairo's population, drew over 200,000 to protest the Oslo "peace" and the evacuation of Gaza's Jews...to no avail. The government had flipped the organizers with names like Wallerstein and Leiberman and the protests were harmless steam blowing.It's time Israel joined the Middle East. Get those 200,000 back, led by homeless Gazan Jews and joined by all who live in daily fear of the Shabak (Secret Service), the police, the courts and get them to the President's House to physically oust Shimon Peres from his office.After that, on to the Knesset.endFor Rabbi Samuel Cywiak's new Holocaust memoir, Flight From Fear, just write me or send $28 to my addresses.Without contributions, this work of mine would come to a crashing halt. Off the top of my head, the following have made significant contributions: Baruch, Tova, Steven, Marc, Aliza, Ron, Karen, Bernard, Herman, Ari, Cindy, Jim, Marilyn, Peter, Christie, David, Lynn, Fred, Howard, Michael, Brenda and more. Thanks to them I manage to squeeze by...barely. Some months it's close right to the last day of the month. I appreciate and remember each contributor. Without you, there wouldn't be me.Barry ChamishPOB 840157Saint Augustine, FL 32080 USAPaypal: chamishba@gmail.comI have a radio show with a good listening audience. If you have something newsworthy to tell the world, contact me and I'll bend over backwards to put you on the air.Listen to my radio show:http://wwfar.com/mp3s/BarryChamish/BE SURE TO LISTEN TO BARRY CHAMISHLive TUESDAYS at 3PM PT / 6PM ET ON:www.FirstAmendmentRadio.com My new book, THE conPROMISED LAND can be ordered direct from the publisher http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback_book/the_conpromised_land/6398777To sort out conspiracy baloney from a worse truth, join my paid newsgroup. A dozen articles a week by everyone but me. Write chamish@netvision.net.il to join in the fun. If you thought today's article was informative, my newsgroup was the first to receive it with full evidence within. If you want to be first with the accurate but hidden news, you must join for just $24/6mos.Elad Pressman's site: http://conspil.com/2011/01/29/egyptcrack-up-boom

BERLUSCONI AL CONVEGNO DEL FORUM ANTIUSURA BANCARIA

POLITICA. SCILIPOTI (MRN) – IL PRESIDENTE BERLUSCONI AL CONVEGNO DEL FORUM ANTIUSURA BANCARIA SULLE DIFFICOLTA’ DELLE IMPRESE E DELLE FAMIGLIE

Roma 04/02/2011: “Il Forum Nazionale Antiusura Bancaria e il Movimento Responsabilità Nazionale organizzano un convegno per la discussione e l’approntamento di soluzioni relative alle problematiche delle vittime di usura e la risoluzione delle criticità bancarie”. Così l’On. Scilipoti, Segretario politico dell’MRN, nonché presidente del Forum Nazionale Antiusura Bancaria, in riferimento al I Convegno Nazionale a titolo Obiettivi comuni nella distinzione dei ruoli, che si terrà domani, 5 febbraio, a Roma, nell’auditorium di Villa Aurelia, in via Leone XIII, 459. “Durante i lavori, ai quali è previsto l’intervento del Presidente del Consiglio On. Silvio Berlusconi e del Sottosegretario On. Rocco Crimi, si discuterà della modifica dell’art. 50 del T.U.B. e della proposta di progetto, elaborato dal Forum Nazionale Antiusura Bancaria, di un dipartimento interministeriale per la risoluzione delle criticità bancarie e delle piccole e medie aziende e delle famiglie, e per la conciliazione del contenzioso bancario.”



Dott. Giuseppe Cuschera

Ufficio Stampa On. Scilipoti

06 67604225-8028



scilipoti_d@camera.it

www.domenicoscilipoti.it

sabato 5 febbraio 2011

World War II Allied Seigniorage Fraud

World War II Allied Military Currency

BANCHE USURAIE: IL CERCHIO SI STRINGE

Comitato “Antiusura“ *
Sintesi delle notizie pubblicate nel 2010 sull’usura FINANZARIA

A gennaio:

il giorno 4 viene pubblicata la storia di un piccolo imprenditore siciliano (www.agoravox.it: “Martino Morsello. Quando il pesce grande mangia il pesce piccolo”) che denuncia alla Procura di Marsala (TP) un avvocato suo confinante il quale, con la complicità di una banca (Antonveneta) che chiede il pagamento di interessi usurai, vuole espropriare a suo favore l’area dove lavora (una piscicoltura);

il giorno 5 veniamo a sapere che la Procura di Cassino (FR) continua le indagini sulla denuncia per usura, presentata nell’ottobre del 2009 alla Gdf, contro le banche che hanno causato il fallimento di un commerciante (Il Tempo ed. Frosinone “Usura banche nel mirino”);

il 14, la stampa ci fa sapere che la Procura di Chieti indaga sulle attività usurarie di una banca (Il Tempo “Estorsione, banca denunciata”);

il 15 siamo informati che la Corte di Appello (civile) di Venezia ha sospeso il fallimento di un imprenditore che ha denunciato le banche (Corriere del veneto “Usura in banca, sospeso il fallimento del Serenissimo «Ora tutti possono ricorrere»”);

il 17 la Procura di Padova informa la stampa che nel 2009 si è registrato un considerevole aumento delle denunce per usura dei piccoli imprenditori contro gli istituti di credito (Il Mattino di Padova: Usura, istituti di credito nel mirino; Il Gazzettino, ed. Padova “Tutti contro le banche: «Tassi d'interesse come quelli degli strozzini»”);

il 18 il Procuratore della repubblica presso il Tribunale di Vallo della Lucania (SA) chiede il rinvio a giudizio per i funzionari della filiale di Agropoli (SA) del Monte Paschi Siena, come si deduce dall’atto pubblicato in www.orsininiemidio.it;

il 23 veniamo a conoscenza che l’on Berretta ha presentato un’interpellanza parlamentare (la n. 2 -00583) per avere chiarimenti in merito ad un esposto del 2009, alla Procura di Caltaniesetta da un imprenditore contro il Banco di Sicilia accusato di usura (Milano Finanza/Sicilia “Amorelli, il caso a Roma”), ma il governo, per tutto il 2010, non mai risposto; infine, sempre il 23, la stampa pubblica la notizia del coinvolgimento di una Banca di credito cooperativo in un’inchiesta della Procura di Padova per usura rilevata in un processo civile tenuto nel Tribunale (civile) di Padova/sez. Este (Il Gazzettino “Banca dei Colli inchiesta per usura”; Il Mattino di Padova “Prestito con tassi da usura, azienda denuncia”; la sentenza del 4 dicembre 2009 n. 403 è pubblicata in www.antiusura.org).

Nel mese di febbraio:

il giorno 11 apprendiamo che la Procura di Cagliari indaga per usura due banche del capoluogo (Banco di Sardegna e Banca Intesa), su denuncia di un noto commerciante (L’Unione sarda “Tassi alle stelle, denuncia le banche”);

il 13 sappiamo che nel Tribunale di Bassano del Grappa (VI), nel corso di un incidente probatorio, il pm chiede l’archiviazione della denuncia per usura contro la Banca Popolare di Marostica, di cui era stata data la notizia nel mese di marzo 2009 (il Giornale di Vicenza “Popolare di Marostica corretta. Nessuna usura, vertici assolti”);

il giorno 24 si ha notizia dell’avvio di un altro processo per usura, nato dalla riunione di due procedimenti (uno iniziato nel giugno del 2009), a carico di Fiorani e della BPL nel Tribunale (penale) di Campobasso (www.caffemolise.it “Iniziano a Campobasso i processi penali a carico di Fiorani”), la BPL era già implicata, dal febbraio 2009, a Sciacca (AG) in un processo per lo stesso reato;

il 25, ancora nel Veneto, la Procura di Padova viene interessata da un’altra denuncia per usura di un piccolo imprenditore contro due banche, Antonveneta e BCC di Sant’Elena (Il Gazzettino “Padova. Imprenditore denuncia: «Banche mi chiedevano il 40% di interesse»”; Il Corriere del Veneto: “Imprenditore denuncia banche per usura «Mi chiedevano il 40% di interessi»”; Il Mattino di Padova “Imprenditore di Conselve: «Rovinato dalle banche, compro una pallottola»).

Nel mese di marzo:

il giorno 1 viene depositata la sentenza della Corte Appello (civile) di Roma del 17 dicembre 2009 (pubblicata in www.orsiniemidio.it) nella quale si decide che la mancata applicazione alla procedura concorsuale dell’art. 20 legge 44/99, in caso di denuncia per usura (bancaria), comporta la revoca del fallimento dichiarato nel periodo di sospensione;

il giorno 5, dal sito www.liberoreporter.it, si apprende che un’altra denuncia per usura contro la Banca Antonveneta è stata presentata alla Procura di Reggio Calabria ancora nel 2009 (“Ieri a Reggio Calabria la vera riforma della giustizia: I magistrati ascoltano i cittadini”);

il 12 sappiamo di una condanna per usura, con rito abbreviato, ai due soci di una finanziaria di Montecatini (PT) inflitta nel 2008 dal Tribunale di Pistoia (confermata in Cassazione nel 2010: Il Tirreno del 16 aprile 2010 “Sei anni al consulente Sorini, cinque e mezzo a Barbieri”) che vede coinvolto anche il direttore di una filiale del Banco di S. Gemignano e S. Prospero (La Nazione “Processo per usura «Un prestito al 10% al mese»"), accusato di associazione a delinquere finalizzata all’usura;

il 14 la stampa informa che anche il Tribunale (civile) di Lagonegro (PZ), in un c/c della Banca Popolare del Materano, ha rilevato l’usura e che la notizia è stata segnalata alla Procura (La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno “Lagonegro condannata «banca usuraia»”);

il 26, dal Veneto giunge la notizia che il Tribunale di Vicenza ha deciso per l’assoluzione dei responsabili di una Banca di credito cooperativo per mancanza del dolo, nonostante l’elemento oggettivo, ovvero il tasso sproporzionato, sia stato provato (Il Giornale di Vicenza “Non ci fu alcuna usura, prosciolti i vertici BAV”).

Nel mese di aprile:

Il 2 aprile, ancora dal Veneto, giunge notizia che la Procura di Padova sta indagando il presidente ed il responsabile dell’agenzia di Castelfranco Veneto della Fineco Leasing (società del gruppo Unicredit), per il reato di usura (Il Gazzettino “Bancario indagato per usura”);

il giorno 9, l’Ansa da notizia che il presidente del Credito Valtellinese è indagato dalla Procura di Sondrio per usura, precisando subito dopo che, secondo la banca, si tratta di accuse infondate

poiché il pm ha deciso per l’archiviazione, ma il soggetto leso, che ha denunciato la banca ancora nel 2008, propone il ricorso al gip per il rinvio a giudizio (i documenti sono pubblicati nel sito del Forum antiusura);

il 13 c’è la notizia di un rinvio a giudizio, nel Tribunale di Genova, del titolare di una finanziaria di Milano (AGI “Usura: titolare finanziaria rinviato a giudizio a Genova”);

il 19 viene anche pubblicata la notizia che la Corte di Cassazione (penale) ha deciso che la cms deve essere inclusa nel taeg: si tratta della sentenza n. 12028 del 10 febbraio 2010 che, pur confermando l’assoluzione per mancanza del dolo pronunciata dal gup di Ascoli a luglio 2009, nel procedimento contro Unicredit promosso dal sig. Orsini, ha però affermato che l’osservanza delle “Istruzioni” di Bankitalia non esenta da responsabilità penale i responsabili (www.ilsole24ore.com “Nel reato di usura si conteggia anche il «massimo scoperto»”);

il 20 la Banca d’Italia emana la Circolare n. 0313116 in cui, considerate le “numerose anomalie” emerse nei “controlli esercitati in base ai poteri attribuiti dalla legge in materia di [trasparenza] e di usura” (si riferisce soprattutto alle carte revolving delle quali ha appena sospeso l’emissione), richiama la necessità che gli operatori, tramite le competenti funzioni aziendali, si assicurino “... che le procedure operative e i sistemi di controllo garantiscano il pieno rispetto della normativa civilistica e di quella in materia di usura”;
sempre il 20 apprendiamo che nel Tribunale (penale) di Cassino il gip deve esaminare l’opposizione alla richiesta di archiviazione presentata dal pm in caso di usura bancaria (in www.orsiniemidio.it è pubblicato il documento);

il 24 la Procura di Fermo inizia ad indagare su varie banche per il reato di usura (Resto del Carlino, ed. Fermo “La denuncia di un imprenditore: «Banche come gli usurai»");

il 27 nel Tribunale di Larino (CB) c’è invece il rinvio a giudizio dei responsabili di una banca di Bojano (Il Tempo “Usura bancaria, due rinvii a giudizio”);

il 28 la stampa informa che la Procura di Palmi (RC) ha spedito gli avvisi di garanzia ai responsabili della Banca Antonveneta, in base alla denuncia del dr. De Masi, che conduce da anni una battaglia contro l’usura bancaria (www.liberoreporter.it “Usura bancaria. Fioccano avvisi di garanzia per dirigenti e funzionari di Antonveneta”; Gazzetta del Sud “Usura conclusa l’inchiesta su sedici funzionari di banca da parte della Procura della Repubblica”);

In maggio:

il giorno 4 nel Tribunale di Catania è iniziato un processo per usura nei confronti di una società, la Comifin, che finanzia i farmacisti (www.cataniaoggi.com “Usura in farmacia, aperto il processo”);

il 5 la Procura di Palmi conclude un’altra inchiesta provocata dalla denuncia del dr. De Masi (http://ilquotidianodellacalabria.ilsole24ore.com “Usura. Procura Palmi chiude le indagini sulle banche”; www.liberoreporter.it “Procura di Palmi: chiuse le indagini sulle banche, 11 dirigenti accusati di usura”; www.ildomanidellacalabria.it “Usura e banche, indagini concluse. Emesso avviso per 11 funzionari”);

il giorno 7 si ha notizia che nel Tribunale di Salerno c’è stato il rinvio a giudizio di oltre quaranta dirigenti e funzionari di tre banche (BCC Scafati, Pop. Bari e Pop. Pen. Sorrentina) con l’accusa di aver praticato l’usura nei confronti di due imprese di costruzioni (www.cronachesalerno.it - 17 febbraio 2010 “Banche e usura: 43 indagati”; ll nuovo salernitano - 11 novembre 2010 “Usura bancaria in 45 davanti al gup”);

il 9 apprendiamo da “Il sole 24 ore” (L’Antitrust alla Banca d’Italia: tassi da usura in Calabria) che l’Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato (AGCM), in un suo documento denuncia che “talune banche possono aver applicato tassi di interesse usurai. A questo riguardo, dall'analisi dei dati in possesso della Direzione [dell’AGCM], pur riferiti ad un campione di rapporti bancari, sono emersi livelli di tassi di interesse, in particolare sommando al TEG i tassi di interesse moratori, significativamente elevati e che, in talune circostanze, superano anche il 20%”.

In giugno:

il giorno 5 si apprende che nel Tribunale di Ravenna è in corso un incidente probatorio per il calcolo del taeg nei conti correnti di alcune banche promosso da un agricoltore e un’impresa edile ha anch’essa denunciato le banche per usura (www.romagnanoi.it “Imprenditore cita banche per usura”);

il 16 la stampa informa che nel Tribunale di Forlì c’è il rinvio a giudizio del presidente e di altri due dirigenti di Banca Antonveneta (Corriere Romagna, ed Cesena “Banca accusata d’usura: tre a processo”);

l’Antonveneta però il 18 può vantare l’assoluzione, nel Tribunale di Padova dall’accusa di usura in un mutuo (Il Mattino di Padova “Antonveneta. Marchiorello e Pernice prosciolti dall’imputazione di usura”); nello stesso giorno si registra anche l’assoluzione di tutti i trenta imputati nel processo, iniziato nel febbraio 2009, presso il Tribunale di Sciacca (AG), per usura contro la ex Banca popolare di Lodi, nonostante la conferma dell’usura nei confronti della vittima, ma il giudice, considerando i soli tassi nominali, esclude il dolo (www.ilgiorno.ilsole24ore.com “Usura, assolti gli ex vertici BpL; www.sciaccaonline.it “Assolti dal tribunale di Sciacca i vertici della banca popolare di Lodi. Erano accusati di aver applicato tassi usurari contro un imprenditore di Cianciana”);

il 29 il dr. De Masi denuncia, in varie Procure, la Banca d’Italia per concorso in usura (www.ansa.it “Usura: imprenditore De Masi denuncia Banca d'Italia”; www.Liberoreporter.it “Banca d'Italia denunciata per concorso in usura e riciclaggio”; ItaliaOggi “Dopo la denuncia delle banche De Masi chiama in causa Bankitalia”).

Nel mese di luglio:

il giorno 1 è ancora la Procura di Padova ad occuparsi della denuncia per usura bancaria presentata da un imprenditrice (Il Mattino di Padova “Denuncia per usura la sua banca «Mi ha rovinata»”); lo stesso giorno si apprende che anche la Procura di Nuoro indaga per usura il Banco Napoli (Intesa) e la Banca Popolare di Sassari (La Nuova Sardegna “Nuoro, coppia di commercianti denuncia due banche per usura”);

il 2 la Corte di Appello di Reggio Calabria, conclude il processo, iniziato a gennaio 2009, sul caso De Masi, confermando l’assoluzione per i direttori filiale per "non aver commesso il fatto", ma modifica la formula dell’assoluzione per i presidenti da "il fatto non costituisce reato", a “non aver commesso il fatto” (sono responsabili della fissazione dei tassi effettivi, ma nel caso specifico, sulla scorta di quanto scritto dal c.t.u., alla Corte sembra che il taeg sia superiore per poche volte e di poco al tasso soglia e perciò il reato c’è, ma manca il dolo); a questa notizia viene dato ampio risalto, soprattutto per la conferma dell’assoluzione (radiocor.ilsole24ore.com “Usura: De Masi, assolti Geronzi e Abete ma risultato importante”; Corriere della Sera “Usura, assolti anche in appello Geronzi e Abete”; Il Gazzettino “Nessuna usura ai danni dell’imprenditore. Assolti Geronzi, Abete e Marchiorello”), ma sia la Procura che le parti civili hanno presentato ricorso per Cassazione;

Il giorno 18 si apprende del rinvio a giudizio nel Tribunale di Vibo Valentia dei responsabili della locale filiale di Banca Antonveneta (Gazzetta del sud “Direttore di banca rinviato a giudizio per usura”);

Il 29 luglio il neocostituito Forum Nazionale Antiusura Bancaria (presieduto dall’on. Scilipoti) invia una lettera (visibile in http://nuke.forumantiusura.org) a tutti i Presidenti dei Tribunali, ai Prefetti, ai Procuratori della Repubblica in cui denuncia i comportamenti vessatori delle banche connessi all’usura.

In settembre:

il giorno 6 si ha notizia che il Tribunale di Ascoli ha prosciolto gli esponenti dell’area commerciale di una banca dall’accusa di usura in uno dei vari procedimenti penali provocati dalle denuncie del sig. Orsini (www.picusonline.it “Usura, il Gup proscioglie Banca di Roma”);

il giorno 10 c’è stato un altro rinvio a giudizio nel Tribunale di Cassino per usura, a carico del presidente e del direttore di filiale della Banca della Ciociaria (il sito www.kipling90 pubblica l’ordinanza di rigetto della richiesta di archiviazione e del conseguente rinvio a giudizio coatto);

il giorno 10 il sito www.sosutenti.it pubblica la sentenza n. 77 dell’11 marzo 2010 del Tribunale (civile) di Chieti/sez. Ortona in cui il ctu rileva l’usura nel c/c di una banca;

il 16 il sen. Lannutti presenta un’interrogazione (la n. 4-03672) per avere informazioni in merito alla denuncia per usura presentata alla Procura di Trento contro la Banca di credito cooperativo di Mezzocorona;

il giorno 22 il sottosegretario Viale, nel risponde all’interrogazione (con risposta orale) n. 3-01483 del senatore Lannutti (presentata il 2 agosto), informa il Parlamento che un’indagine della Banca d’Italia ha evidenziato “gravi manchevolezze nel rispetto della disciplina antiusura” da parte di un istituto di credito già coinvolto in un’inchiesta della magistratura sulle carte revolving (Radiocor “American Express: chiuse indagini Procura Trani, verso richiesta processo per vertici società in Italia e i loro predecessori”);

il successivo 23 suscita perciò molta attenzione l’annuncio che la Procura di Trani ha emesso cinque avvisi di garanzia ai responsabili dell’American Express (La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno “American Express: chiusura indagini a Trani per usura”) ed in contemporanea, veniamo a sapere che la Procura di Bari si interessa delle carte revolving emesse da altre banche (Repubblica, ed. Bari “Carte di credito da usura in arrivo un nuovo ciclone” e http://molfettalive.it “Truffa e usura, le accuse ai vertici di American Express. Altri 10 istituti nel mirino della procura”).

Nel mese di ottobre:

l’8 la stampa ci informa che nel processo, iniziato nel settembre del 2009 ed in corso presso il Tribunale (penale) di Udine, per il caso relativo ai prestiti usurari di alcune banche della zona di Montecatini (PT) ad un’immobiliare, viene annullato il decreto di rinvio a giudizio per indeterminatezza del capo di imputazione dopo che il pm è stato sostituito (Il Tirreno “Usura, accusa da rifare”);

il 19 un articolo ci dice che la Procura di Cassino (FR) ha aperto almeno due fascicoli per il reato di usura bancaria connessi a procedimenti civili per anatocismo con indagini affidate alla Gdf (Il Tempo “Quando l’usura è legalizzata Banche nel mirino”);

il 20 anche nel Tribunale (penale) di Campobasso il processo contro Fiorani e la BPL, iniziato a febbraio, viene aperto, ma subito rinviato (www.blitzquotidiano.it “Usura, processo rinviato a gennaio per il banchiere Fiorani”; www.ilgiornaledelmolise.it “Caso Fiorani, aperto il processo”; Il Tempo, ed. Molise “Usura bancaria: parte il processo a carico di Giuseppe Fiorani”);

il 22 si apprende che nel Tribunale Acqui Terme (AL) un direttore di filiale ed un funzionario di Unicredit (ex Crt) sono stati rinviati a giudizio per truffa aggravata, a causa dei “derivati” venduti a clienti ignari e per usura nell’addebito sui conti correnti, con tassi spropositati, delle connesse perdite (Plus 24 del- 4 dicembre 2010 “L'usura debutta in tribunale”).

Nel mese di novembre:

il giorno 7, nel blog di un avvocato impegnato nella lotta all’usura bancaria, viene pubblicata la notizia che il giudice delle indagini preliminari del Tribunale (penale) di Sciacca non ha accolto la richiesta di archiviazione avanzata dal pm (basata sul fatto che mancava il dolo nel supero del tasso soglia) ed ha ordinato alla Guardia di Finanza di compiere ulteriori indagini sull’aspetto “soggettivo” dell’accusa di usura da parte di un imprenditore locale (http://robertodinapoli.splinder.com “Non c'è usura bancaria? Il G.I.P. nega la richiesta di archiviazione e ordina più approfondite indagini”);

il 15 veniamo a sapere che la Procura di Venezia sta vagliando la denuncia di usura presentata da un commercialista contro tre banche (La Nuova Venezia “Usura, la Finanza visita le banche”);

il 18 veniamo informati che nel Tribunale (penale) di Padova, a dicembre, il magistrato si pronuncerà sul caso Fineco Leasing scoppiato in aprile (Il Mattino di Padova “Il prestito fu erogato a tassi usurari? Sarà il gup a decidere sul rinvio a giudizio”);

il 21 il Forum Antiusura bancaria, nel suo primo convegno, annuncia che presso tutte le Procure verrà presentata una denuncia per associazione a delinquere contro le banche, per il loro comportamento nella questione, risalente ai prima anni novanta, dell’illegittima applicazione degli interessi “uso piazza” (comunicato stampa in http://nuke.forumantiusura.org);

il 22 apprendiamo che la locale Cassa di Risparmio è sotto inchiesta della Procura di Rimini anche
per i tassi usurari (Il Resto del Carlino “Carim, tassi sospetti e crediti azzardati”);

il 23 siamo informati che la competente Procura di Salerno sta indagando su di un pm della Procura di Catanzaro, denunciato per non avere svolto in modo diligente (secondo la parte offesa) le indagini sull’archiviazione, decisa illegalmente dalla Procura di Potenza (secondo la denuncia presentata alla competente procura di Catanzaro), della denuncia di un cittadino della provincia di Lecce, che sostiene di aver subito usura da parte di una banca locale e che aveva denunciato alla competente procura di Potenza i giudici del Tribunale (penale e civile) di Lecce i quali, a suo dire, sono collusi con il sistema bancario, avendo ignorato le sue documentate denuncie
(www.agenparl.it “De Magistris: Stifanelli spiega le sue accuse”);

il 25 i giornali danno spazio all’inchiesta della Gdf e della Procura di Napoli sull’usura relativa alla cessioni dei crediti di fornitori dell’ASL 1 di Napoli ad alcune società di factoring con tassi usurai (Repubblica “Inchiesta per usura a Napoli - Perquisizioni in uffici legali”);

il 27 si apprende che nel Tribunale di Verona inizierà, a febbraio 2011, un processo contro i responsabili di tre banche (Popolare di Verona, Popolare di Vicenza e Unicredit) rinviate a giudizio perché accusate di usura dal Pm che ha raccolto la denuncia di un’impresa (Arena di Verona “Usura, il pm chiede di processare quattro dirigenti di banca”);

il 29 nel Tribunale (civile) di Lanciano (CH) viene depositata una sentenza in cui si evidenzia l’usura bancaria e pertanto il giudice ne ordina la trasmissione alla Procura di Lanciano
(www.orsiniemidio.it: sentenza n. 1180/2010).

In dicembre:

il giorno 2 l’on. Scilipoti (Presidente del Forum antiusura) alla Camera pronuncia un’appassionata denuncia contro l’usura bancaria, nel replicare all’anodina risposta del governo alla sua interpellanza urgente n. 2-00898, presentata il 29 novembre 2010, concernente iniziative volte a rafforzare la disciplina sanzionatoria del testo unico bancario in materia di nullità degli interessi «uso piazza» (la relativa documentazione è pubblicata in http://banchedati.camera.it ed è presente in rete anche il video dell’intervento dell’on. Scilipoti);

il giorno 7 apprendiamo che, per una questione collegata all’erogazione, dolosamente ritardata di un finanziamento agevolato accordato ad un’impresa di Domusnova, i dirigenti nazionali ed il responsabile della filiale di Iglesias di una banca sono accusati dalla Procura di Cagliari di aver applicato tassi da usura nell’anticipo del suddetto finanziamento (L’unione sarda “Tassi da usuraio Unipol sotto accusa”);

il 10 invece la stampa ci informa di un’altra archiviazione decisa dal pm della Procura di Rimini sulla base di una perizia che esclude l’usura bancaria, la quale invece, secondo il perito di parte, sussisteva. (Il Corriere di Romagna “Assolta la banca dall’accusa di usura”);

il 23 i giornali locali danno la notizia che il Tribunale di Padova (con rito abbreviato) ha assolto l’amministratore di Fineco Leasing “perché il fatto non costituisce reato” ed il responsabile della filiale di Castelfranco dall’accusa di usura "per non aver commesso il fatto” per cui, anche in questo caso l’usura c’è, ma la responsabilità no (La Tribuna di Treviso “Prestito a tassi usurai: assolto”; Il Mattino di Padova “Promotori della finanziaria assolti dall'accusa di usura”).


Responsabile dr. Gianni Frescura - Centro servizi peritali
Valdagno (VI) Via Dalmazia 39/A, Tel/fax 0445.412545, Cell. 348.7266542 Email "csvaldagno@assimai.it"

Secret committee paving way for euro reform

Banking Mafia at Work:

Secret committee paving way for euro reform

Euractiv, 25 January 2011

A little known EU committee is busy rewriting the EU's rules on bailouts and national debt without the glare of the media. On the menu of talks are tax co-ordination, national debt brakes and the ins and outs of euro bailouts.

Background

At the height of the Greek debt crisis, the EU set up in May 2010 a European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

The facility allows countries to borrow cash on the market against up to 440 billion of joint eurozone government guarantees to help any eurozone member state that cannot finance itself on the markets.

At a summit in October, France and Germany proposed setting up a permanent system to handle crises in the euro zone, admitting it would mean changing the EU treaties.

After the summit, the European Commission outlined details for a eurozone permanent strategy to help countries at risk of defaulting on their debts. EU leaders agreed in December to create a permanent financial safety net in 2013.

More on this topic

The group of technocrats and lawyers, who originate from national finance ministries, are working out all aspects of economic reform currently on the table, most of which is being driven by a German domestic agenda, said EU sources familiar with the matter.

Unofficial officials

Some EU diplomats declined to confirm the group's existence, while others admitted they knew about the group and its discrete status.

"Officially this working group does not exist," an EU diplomat intimated. "There is this ridiculous folklore that this working group does not exist," said another official.

To those in the know, the group is dubbed the Taskforce of the Euro Group Working Group, a subset of the Euro Group Working Group, which comprises the heads of national treasuries, such as France's Ramon Fernandez, and heads of central banks.

The identities of those on the taskforce are anonymous though a source estimates it comprises about ten experts who have an office at the European Commission.

Sources close to the group insist they should be left to their own devices before the market reacts badly to half-baked policies.

"The decision-making process in the EU has suffered enormously because of premature leaks of half-formed policy solutions," said a source who wished to remain anonymous.

Diplomats admitted they had grown frustrated by the increasing secrecy of the group but added that the lawyers had good reason to stay under wraps.

An EU diplomat cast doubts over the taskforce's financial know-how: "I am not sure this group of legal experts properly understands financial markets."

Not so secret policies

Understandably, policymakers are nervous as bond spreads widen across a growing number of countries. However, most of the policies being discussed have already found their way to the press.

The taskforce is reportedly currently busy working out the right size and scope of the EU bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which has already helped Greece and Ireland. Finance ministers will then discuss the taskforce's findings at an upcoming meeting.

At the ministers last meeting they discussed ways to give more flexibility to the EFSF, including new powers to buy back bonds of debt-ridden economies.

A German agenda

In addition, sources say the taskforce is working off a German agenda driven by a recent dip in the popularity of a governing coalition partner, the German Free Democrats (FDP), and their subsequent populism.

"The single biggest influence in EU policy right now is a domestic and inward-looking situation in Germany," argues a source close to the group.

A package of economic reforms, including a permanent EU rescue fund tied to tighter tax and debt rules, is being finalised in Berlin, according to Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, speaking in an interview in Tagesspiegel newspaper at the weekend.

Interestingly, the Brussels lawyers are reportedly working on a draft policy to replicate the 2009 German debt brake across the EU, something sources say is also being touted by the Swedish government.

If member states want to increase the size or scope of the fund, then the German government will expect them to imitate the German brake, the 'Schuldenbegrenzungsregelung', which writes deficit limits into the country's constitution, according to an EU diplomat.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy came out in favour of an EU-wide adoption of constitutionally-bound debt brakes in June last year.

The group is allegedly also discussing disbursing euro loans in return for tighter fiscal rules. Germany, France and the European Commission are intent on tying business taxation into any new rules, in particular corporation taxes, said the EU diplomat.

This will not be music to the ears of Irish politicians who made clear in the run-up to the Irish bailout that their low corporation tax, which has attracted a steady influx of multinationals, is a non-negotiable mainstay of Irish industrial policy.


Elise Ford, Head of Oxfam International's EU office
Hari Naidu, Retired EU official

How Banks Are Starving the Third World

Rising Food Prices and the Egyptian Tinderbox: How Banks and Investors Are Starving the Third World

Movement for Public Banking

Washington State Joins the Movement for Public Banking

The legislature will consider whether to move its funds from Bank of America to a publicly owned bank that would keep the state's money working locally.
by

Yakima WA Strawberries, Photo by Jay Cox

Strawberries at a farmer's market in Yakima, WA. The state's proposed creation of a Washington Investment Trust would help support the local economy.

Photo by Jay Cox.

Bills were introduced on January 18 in both the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature that add Washington to the growing number of states now actively moving to create public banking facilities.

The bills, House Bill 1320 and Senate Bill 5238, propose creation of a Washington Investment Trust (WIT) to “promote agriculture, education, community development, economic development, housing, and industry” by using “the resources of the people of Washington State within the state.”

Currently, all the state’s funds are deposited with Bank of America. HB 1320 proposes that, in the future, “all state funds be deposited in the Washington Investment Trust and be guaranteed by the state and used to promote the common good and public benefit of all the people and their businesses within [the] state.”

The legislation is similar to that now being studied or proposed in states including Illinois, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, California and others.

The effort in Washington state draws heavily on the success of the 92-year-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the only state-wide publicly owned U.S. bank. The BND has helped North Dakota escape the looming budgetary disaster facing other states. In 2009, North Dakota sported the largest budget surplus it had ever had.

The Wall Street Credit Crisis Is Crippling State and Municipal Governments

That state budget deficits are reaching crisis proportions was underscored in a January 19 New York Times article:

[A]lmost everywhere the fiscal crisis of states has grown more acute. Rainy day funds are drained, cities and towns have laid off more than 200,000 people, and Arizona even has leased out its state office building…

“It’s the time of the once unthinkable,” noted Lori Grange, deputy director of the Pew Center on the States. “Whether there are tax increases or dramatic cuts to education and vital services, the crisis is bad.”

The “once unthinkable” includes not only draconian cuts in services, increases in taxes, and sale of public assets, but now filing for bankruptcy. States are not currently allowed to go bankrupt, but a move is afoot in Congress to change all that. Bankruptcy proceedings would allow states to escape pension and other contractual obligations, following the dubious lead of such megacorporations as General Motors and Continental Airlines.

Meanwhile, fears of state bankruptcy have caused state and municipal bond values to plummet and borrowing costs to soar. As with Greece and Ireland, rumors of bankruptcy become a self-fulfilling prophecy, bringing out the hedge funds and short sellers that turn prophecy into reality.

Addressing the Problem at Its Source: The North Dakota Model

While drastic spending cuts are being proposed and implemented, the states’ woes are not the result of over-spending. Rather, they were caused by loss of revenues and increased borrowing costs resulting from the Wall Street banking crisis. Jammed with toxic assets, derivatives, and the subprime mortgage debacle, the Wall Street credit machine ground to a halt in the fall of 2008 and has still not recovered.

And it is here, in generating credit for the state, that the Bank of North Dakota has been spectacularly successful. By providing affordable, low interest credit for business expansion, new businesses and students, the BND has helped North Dakota largely sidestep the credit crisis.

Unlike private banks, the profits of a public bank are all returned to the only shareholder: the people.

The BND partners with private banks, providing a secondary market for mortgages; offers “wholesale” banking services such as check clearing and liquidity support to private banks; and invests in North Dakota municipal bonds to support economic development. In the last ten years, the BND has returned more than a third of a billion dollars to the state’s general fund. North Dakota is one of the few states to consistently post a budget surplus.

Unlike private banks, public banks don’t speculate or gamble on high risk “financial products.” They don’t pay outrageous salaries and bonuses to their management, who are salaried civil servants. The profits of the bank are all returned to the only shareholder: the people.

Bremer Bank, video stillNorth Dakota: Banking on the Locals
Video: David Brancaccio visits a bank that is invested in its community.

Washington State Representative Bob Hasegawa, a prime sponsor of the Washington legislation, called the proposal for a publicly-owned bank “a simple concept that will reap huge benefits for Washington.” In a letter to constituents, he explained, “The concept (is) to keep taxpayers’ money working here in Washington to build our economy. Currently, all tax revenues go into a ‘Concentration Account’ held by the Bank of America. BoA makes money off our money and we never see those profits again. Instead, we can create our own institution and keep taxpayers’ dollars here in Washington, working for Washington.”

Hasegawa said a key feature of the Washington banking institution is that it will work in partnership with financial institutions, community-based organizations, economic development groups, guaranty agencies, and others. He said the Washington Investment Trust will offer “transparency, accountability, and accuracy of financial reporting,” a welcome change from the accounting tricks common among the large Wall Street money center banks today.

A public hearing on HB 1320 is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25th. The bill is assigned to the Business and Financial Services Committee in the House and the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee in the Senate.


Ellen BrownEllen Brown wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Ellen is an attorney and the author of eleven books, including Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Her websites are webofdebt.com and ellenbrown.com.

Interested?

No Bailout for Main Street

The Fed Has Spoken: No Bailout for Main Street

by: Ellen Brown, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

The Fed Has Spoken: No Bailout for Main Street
(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Vince / Flickr)

The Federal Reserve was set up by bankers, for bankers, and it has served them well. Out of the blue, the Fed came up with $12.3 trillion in nearly interest-free credit to bail the banks out of a credit crunch they created. That same credit crisis has plunged state and local governments into insolvency, but the Fed has now delivered its ultimatum: there will be no "quantitative easing" for municipal governments.

On January 7, according to The Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed had ruled out a central bank bailout of state and local governments. "We have no expectation or intention to get involved in state and local finance," he said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. The states "should not expect loans from the Fed."

So much for the proposal of President Barack Obama, reported in Reuters a year ago, to have the Fed buy municipal bonds to cut the heavy borrowing costs of cash-strapped cities and states.

The credit woes of state and municipal governments are a direct result of Wall Street's malfeasance. Their borrowing costs first shot up in 2008, when the "monoline" bond insurers lost their own credit ratings after gambling in derivatives. The Fed's low-interest facilities could have been used to restore local government credit, just as they were used to restore the credit of the banks. But Bernanke has now vetoed that plan.

Why? It can hardly be argued that the Fed doesn't have the money. The collective budget deficit of the states for 2011 is projected at $140 billion, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the sums the Fed managed to come up with to bail out the banks. According to data recently released, the central bank provided roughly $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term loans and other financial arrangements to banks, multinational corporations and foreign financial institutions following the credit crisis of 2008.

The argument may be that continuing the Fed's controversial "quantitative easing" program (easing credit conditions by creating money with accounting entries) will drive the economy into hyperinflation. But creating $12.3 trillion for the banks - nearly 100 times the sum needed by state governments - did not have that dire effect. Rather, the money supply is shrinking - by some estimates, at the fastest rate since the Great Depression. Creating another $140 billion would hardly affect the money supply at all.

Why didn't the $12.3 trillion drive the economy into hyperinflation? Because, contrary to popular belief, when the Fed engages in "quantitative easing," it is not simply printing money and giving it away. It is merely extending CREDIT, creating an overdraft on the account of the borrower to be paid back in due course. The Fed is simply replacing expensive credit from private banks (which also create the loan money on their books) with cheap credit from the central bank.

So why isn't the Fed open to advancing this cheap credit to the states? According to Bernanke, its hands are tied. He says the Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2 percent of the overall municipal market. Congress imposed that restriction, and only Congress can change it, said Bernanke.

That statement may sound like he is passing the buck, but he is probably right. Bailing out state and local governments IS outside the Fed's mandate. The Federal Reserve Act was drafted by bankers to create a bankers' bank that would serve their interests. No others need apply. The Federal Reserve is the bankers' own private club, and its legal structure keeps all non-members out.

Earlier Central Bank Ventures Into Commercial Lending

That is how the Fed is structured today, but it hasn't always been that way. In 1934, Section 13(b) was added to the Federal Reserve Act, authorizing the Fed to "make credit available for the purpose of supplying working capital to established industrial and commercial businesses." This long-forgotten section was implemented and remained in effect for 24 years. In a 2002 article called "Lender of More Than Last Resort," posted on the Minneapolis Fed's website, David Fettig summarized its provisions as follows:

  • [Federal] Reserve banks could make loans to any established businesses, including businesses begun that year (a change from earlier legislation that limited funds to more established enterprises).
  • Reserve banks were permitted to participate [share in loans] with lending institutions, but only if the latter assumed 20 percent of the risk.
  • No limitation was placed on the amount of a single loan.
  • A Reserve bank could make a direct loan only to a business in its district.

Today, that venture into commercial banking sounds like a radical departure from the Fed's given role, but at the time it evidently seemed like a reasonable alternative. Fettig notes that "the Fed was still less than 20 years old and many likely remembered the arguments put forth during the System's founding, when some advocated that the discount window should be open to all comers, not just member banks." In Australia and other countries, the central bank was then assuming commercial as well as central bank functions.

Section 13(b) was repealed in 1958, but one state has kept its memory alive. In North Dakota, the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) acts as a "mini-Fed" for the state. Like the Federal Reserve of the 1930s and 1940s, the BND makes loans to local businesses and participates in loans made by local banks.

The BND has helped North Dakota escape the credit crisis. In 2009, when other states were teetering on bankruptcy, North Dakota sported the largest surplus it had ever had. Other states, whose own budget crises prompted them to explore alternatives, are now looking to North Dakota for inspiration.

The "Unusual and Exigent Circumstances" Exception

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Although Section 13(b) was repealed, the Federal Reserve Act retained enough vestiges of it in 2008 to allow the Fed to intervene to save a variety of non-bank entities from bankruptcy. The problem was that the tool was applied selectively. The recipients were major corporate players, not local businesses or local governments. Fettig writes:

Section 13(b) may be a memory ... but Section 13 paragraph 3 ... is alive and well in the Federal Reserve Act.... [T]his amendment allows, "in unusual and exigent circumstances," a Reserve bank to advance credit to individuals, partnerships and corporations that are not depository institutions.

In 2008, the Fed bailed out investment company Bear Stearns and insurer American International Group (AIG), neither of which was a bank. John Nichols reports in The Nation that Bear Stearns got almost $1 trillion in short-term loans, with interest rates as low as 0.5 percent. The Fed also made loans to other corporations, including General Electric (GE), McDonald's and Verizon.

In 2010, Section 13(3) was modified by the Dodd-Frank bill, which replaced the phrase "individuals, partnerships and corporations" with the vaguer phrase "any program or facility with broad-based eligibility." As explained in the notes to the bill:

Only Broad-Based Facilities Permitted. Section 13(3) is modified to remove the authority to extend credit to specific individuals, partnerships and corporations. Instead, the Board may authorize credit under section 13(3) only under a program or facility with "broad-based eligibility."

What programs have "broad-based eligibility" isn't clear from a reading of the Section, but long-term municipal bonds are evidently excluded. Bernanke said that if municipal defaults became a problem, it would be in Congress's hands, not his.

Congress could change the law, just as it did in 1934, 1958 and 2010. It could change the law to allow the Fed to help Main Street just as it helped Wall Street. But, as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) blurted out on a radio program in April 2009, Congress is owned by the banks. Changes in the law today are more likely to go the other way. Mike Whitney, writing for Global Research in December 2010, noted:

So far, not one CEO or CFO of a major investment bank or financial institution has been charged, arrested, prosecuted, or convicted in what amounts to the largest incident of securities fraud in history. In the much-smaller Savings and Loan investigation, more than 1,000 people were charged and convicted.... [T]he system is broken and the old rules no longer apply.

The old rules no longer apply because they have been changed to suit the moneyed interests that hold Congress and the Fed captive. The law has been changed not only to keep the guilty out of jail, but to preserve their exorbitant profits and bonuses at the expense of their victims.

To do this, the Federal Reserve had to take "extraordinary measures." They were extraordinary, but not illegal, because the Fed's congressional mandate made them legal. Nobody's permission even had to be sought. Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act allows the Fed to do what it needs to do in "unusual and exigent circumstances" to save its constituents.

If you're a bank, it seems, anything goes. If you're not a bank, you're on your own.

So Who Will Save the States?

Highlighting the immediacy of the local government budget crisis, The Wall Street Journal quoted Meredith Whitney, a banking analyst who recently turned to analyzing state and local finances. She said on a recent broadcast of CBS's "60 Minutes" that, in 2011, the US could see "50 to 100 sizable defaults" amounting to "hundreds of billions of dollars" among its local governments.

If the Fed could so easily come up with $12.3 trillion to save the banks, why can't it find a few hundred billion under the mattress to save the states? Obviously, it could, if Congress were inclined to put non-bank lending back into the Fed's job description. Then why isn't that being done? The cynical view is that the states are purposely being kept on the edge of bankruptcy because the banks that hold Congress hostage want the interest income and the control.

Whatever the reason, Congress is standing down while the nation is sinking. Congress must summon the courage to take needed action, and that action is not to impose "austerity" by cutting services at a time when an already squeezed populace most needs them. Rather, Congress must create the jobs that will generate real productivity. To do this, it would not even have to go through the Federal Reserve. It could issue its own debt-free money and spend it on repairing and modernizing our decaying infrastructure, among other needed works. Congress's task will become easier if the people stand with them in demanding action, but Congress is now so gridlocked that change may still be long in coming.

In the meantime, the states could take matters into their own hands and set up their own state-owned banks based on the BND's model. They could then have their own very low-interest credit lines, just as the Wall Street banks do. Rather than spending or selling off valuable public assets or hoarding them in massive rainy day funds made necessary by the lack of ready credit, states could leverage their assets into a very strong and abundant local credit system, following the accepted business practices of the Wall Street banks themselves.

On January 13, the Public Banking Institute is being launched to explore that alternative.