martedì 1 novembre 2011

Goldman Sachs To Be Tried By People's Court

Goldman Sachs To Be Tried By People's Court in Zuccotti Park

Goldman Sachs will be tried this Thursday, November 3, for crimes against the American public. Cornel West, noted civil rights activist, and Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winner, will be among those presiding, and testimony for the prosecution will include individuals who have been directly affected and harmed by the actions of Goldman Sachs. The trial is open to the public, and if you can't make it? Tune in to WBAI (99.5 FM in New York) or online at this Thursday, from 10 AM to 12 noon, where it will be broadcast live.  If the government won't do it? We'll take it into our own hands.

Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at November 1, 2011, 10:05 am




Tuesday November 1,2011

By Daily Express reporter

Story Image

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has called for a referendum on the EU bailout

GREECE plunged Europe further into crisis last night by announcing a referendum on the debt reduction deal...just days after it was hammered out.
The surprise pledge by premier George Papandreou stunned fellow leaders.

While key details on the  referendum have yet to be agreed, jittery markets are calling for certainty that the  eurozone will
get its house in order.

Polls suggest that 60 per cent of Greeks do not back the rescue plan – suggesting a defeat for beleaguered prime minister George Papandreou.

If the deal is rejected there will be greater pressure for the country to default on its debts and quit the single currency – another disaster for the euro. 
60 per cent of Greeks do not back the rescue plan put forward by the EU summit

Back home, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “The British people will be looking at Greece thinking if they can have a referendum why can’t we?” 

The announcement was just another wave in a tsunami of bad news yesterday. Stock exchanges fell and traders were spooked by reports China may not now invest as much in the bail-out fund as hoped. 

The OECD warned of a slowdown in the zone next year, saying G20 leaders due to meet this week had to take bold decisions to stave off recession.

GOLDMAN SUX? Giant Squid Strikes Again

Giant Squid Strikes Again
at Occupy Wall Street's Credit Union
Goldman Sachs Intensifies Threat on Credit Union

Monday, October 31, 2011
By Greg Palast
Palast is the author of Vultures' Picnic: in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, out on November 14.

Art by Molly Crabapple 

What have I done?  There's one angry squid out there.

Last week, Democracy Now! and The Guardian ran our story about Goldman Sachs yanking financial support from a community credit union for honoring one of its largest customers.  The customer:  Occupy Wall Street.
Our report so enraged Goldman that, within days, it doubled down on its attack on the little community bank.
Goldman had already demanded the return of its $5,000 payment to the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union.  Now, sources say, the trillion-dollar Wall Street mega-bank sent the following message to the not-for-profit community bank:  "You will never get a dime from any bank ever again."
About those "dimes" Goldman is taking away: They come from you and me, the taxpayers who put up billions into the Troubled Asset Recovery Plan (TARP), usually known as the Bank Bail-Out Fund.
For Goldman to suck its $10 billion from the TARP trough, Goldman had to change from investment bank to commercial bank. This change makes Goldman subject to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and requires it by law to pay back a notable portion in funds for low-income communities, abandoned by the big banks.
Memo from Tim Geithner to Larry Summers
(click to enlarge)
In other words, Goldman is beating up Lower East Side Peoples (which operates in Harlem and the Latino New York neighborhood known as Loisaida).
I would note that Goldman's nasty threat to cut off funding for Peoples, the credit union that is officially chartered as the bank for low income New Yorkers, came with a complaint about this reporter.
Goldman claims that Greg Palast called only one time to get Goldman's side of the story.  (I called many times, as did my associate, and we left the same repeated message: I want your side of the story. Please call me and tell me if you're punishing the poor peoples' bank because they are supporting the demands of Occupy Wall Street?)
There are tens of billions of dollars at stake in the Community Reinvestment funds due from the big banks.  As other banks are making noises of heeding Goldman's call to whip the uppity little credit union, an answer from Goldman becomes urgent.
So, Goldman, I'm still waiting for an answer.  You've got my numbers, so just pick up a tentacle and call.
Chapter 12 of Vultures' Picnic, "The Generalissimo of Globalization," includes the Palast team investigation of confidential documents of meetings over years between Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and the CEOs of Goldman, Bank of America and JP Morgan.
The investigation takes the Palast crew from a dictator's shopping spree in Geneva to the Andes to Africa and back to Palast's years within the circle of a troll-like character named Milton Friedman.
Pre-order Vultures’ Picnic now or donate for a signed copy.
Greg Palast is the author of Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores, which will be released on November 14 by Penguin USA.
Pre-order it now!
For more information about Palast's brand new book and his book-signing events in your city, go to

NY fed suspends MF Global
A woman leaves the office complex where MF Global Holdings Ltd have an office on 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan October 29, 2011.

The New York Fed suspended MF Global from conducting new business with the central bank on Monday and its shares were suspended, as the troubled brokerage nears a deal on its future.
As per a tentative plan, MF Global's holding company would file for bankruptcy protection and derivatives trader Interactive Brokers would buy the assets, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported.
“The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has informed MF Global Inc. that it has been suspended from conducting new business with the New York Fed,” the Fed said.
“This suspension will continue until MF Global establishes, to the satisfaction of the New York Fed, that MF Global is fully capable of discharging the responsibilities set out in the New York Fed's policy.”
MF Global, run by former Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Jon Corzine, has been struggling over the past week in which it posted a quarterly loss, its shares fell by two-thirds and its credit ratings were cut to junk.
Its shares were suspended before trading opened in New York, pending a statement.
Interactive Brokers would likely make an initial bid of about $1 billion during a court supervised auction for the U.S. futures brokerage, the WSJ said.
MF Global clients in London said the company wasn't taking on new business and they were closing out positions.
“It was quite difficult to get our money out on Friday, because they had a lot of redemption calls,” a trader, whose firm used MF Global as a brokerage said.
“The company is not initiating any new position. They are trying to close down positions that they already have with clients that are open,” the trader said.
The company is suffering because of low interest rates and bets it made on European sovereign debt, making it possibly the most prominent U.S. casualty yet from the eurozone debt crisis.
MF Global was in talks on Sunday with possible buyers, aiming “squarely” to do a deal, though all options remained on the table as the firm hired restructuring and bankruptcy advisers, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The New York Times reported in its electronic edition that by Sunday evening, the talks had narrowed to one bidder, Interactive Brokers.
Sullivan & Cromwell's restructuring and mergers teams have joined the long roster of those advising MF Global, one source familiar with the situation said.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges was also hired to prepare potential restructuring options, a second source familiar with the situation said. The sources could not be identified by name because the talks were not public.
Weil would focus on MF Global's UK subsidiary if it needed to pursue a formal restructuring overseas, the Journal reported in its electronic edition.
The securities company also has hired firms Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the newspaper said.
MF Global and Interactive Brokers declined to comment. The law firms could not be reached immediately for comment.
A number of interested parties were considering several possible deals, including buying all or parts of MF Global, said the source, who requested anonymity.
“The goal is squarely for some sort of M&A transaction,” the source said, adding the situation was “fluid.”
Corzine, who became CEO in March last year after a term as New Jersey's governor, has been trying to transform MF Global from a brokerage that mainly places customers' trades on exchanges into an investment bank that bets with its own capital.
The plunge last week in MF Global's corporate bonds to distressed levels, and in its shares to below $1 at one point on Friday, makes it all the more urgent for the company to come up with some sort of solution before markets open on Monday.
MF Global has given potential buyers limited information about its financials and has not set up a data room for bidders to conduct due diligence, a buy side source earlier said.
The source, who is looking into deals both for the whole company and for its parts, said he was skeptical about the possibility of MF Global striking a deal over this weekend.
The company's positions are big and hard to value, especially the firm's sovereign risk exposure, the source said.
“How do you put a price on that? How do you get a deal done when the right side of the balance sheet keeps moving so dramatically?” the source said.
The company hired boutique investment bank Evercore Partners Inc to help find a buyer, separate sources said this past week. - Reuters

domenica 30 ottobre 2011

EU: After Spain, PSS virus could spread to Africa

EU: After Spain, PSS virus could infect Africa

'Private Seigniorage Scam' awareness as mapped by the Italian CENTRO STUDI MONETARI:

October 30, 2011

October 27, 2011

Reality: banks as the undisputed creators and allocators of the money supply

Banks’ primary function is far more important and more far-reaching for the economy. It remains a little-known and rarely highlighted fact that in most countries, including the EU, about 98% of the money supply is created by the banking system. Normally only about 2% of the money supply is created and allocated by the private EU central bank (ECB).

As Werner (2005) shows, the banks’ power to individually create money through the process of credit creation is based on the regulatory and accounting regime banks have opted for.

Currently, banks world-wide are allowed to individually create new purchasing power by simultaneously booking an asset and a liability when a new credit (‘loan’) is granted. Upon signing a contract, banks are allowed to add the amount of loan outstanding to the asset side of their balance sheet, while the borrower’s current account is credited with the same amount.

In this way, banks can create new deposits ‘out of nothing’, whenever they grant what is called a ‘loan’. In reality, they are creating credit (the loan) and money (the deposit account entry) simultaneously. It is this process that produces about 98% of the money supply in the EU economy.

sabato 29 ottobre 2011

Fleecing the lambs once more: the Greek debt “haircut”

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That Greek “haircut” will HURT!
October 29th, 2011 LAIGLESFORUM

Hey, that ain’t hair you’re cutting. It’s our kids’ future!
by Don Hank
My mom used to give me haircuts, but she was always a little nervous and often nicked me in the ear with the scissors. That really hurt.
This haircut on the Greek bonds will hurt a LOT MORE.
Quote (see link below):
In essence, the haircut on Greek debt [haircut: partial default, in this case, decreed by law. DH] is a signal to investors that they should require a much higher rate of return on the debt of all of the PIIGS.  This is going to make the financial collapse of all of the PIIGS much more likely.
Absolutely. Not only that, the Greek government officials and Greeks benefitting from government largesse have lived high on the hog for years, and for them, that is anunalienable entitlement. Many of them get nasty when someone touches their entitlements. They burn tires, wreck vehicles, throw stones through windows, etc, breaking things they can’t afford to replace.
Now that Europe has given a 50% haircut on their sovereign debt, many will figure they can continue to live like kings and the next time around, good old Germany and the ECB and EFSF will just bail them out again, with more “haircuts” for their bonds and more leverage. Dream on. The German people are already PO’d! And with good reason.
As this author points out, the party can’t go on forever. They are tightening the noose around Europe’s neck.
“Leverage” in this context means that the banks will be able to lend 4-5 times more than before simply by issuing more credit — NOT MONEY, because they have no money at the bottom line of the balance sheets, only debt. Now even before this re-leveraging, they were leveraged to the max and already issuing loans against nothing but hot air. That’s the same as printing money, as they did in the failed Weimar Republic. Weimar failed BECAUSE they did this, but the money printing was sold as a “solution” to their problem. Now they’re trying a little — no a LOT — of hair of the dog that bit them in the butt before, except not just Germany but most of Europe. How short their memories are.
This money the banks are lending is money they don’t have. It is debt, the opposite of money. They are dealing in red numbers, paying off red numbers with more red numbers. That is like climbing higher up the mountain to reach the bottom. GUARANTEED it won’t work and when the crash comes it will be dramatic, people will get hurt and Greeks will be back burning tires again.
Maybe someone will hire them to do that. They’re getting pretty proficient at it.

Europe Tries To Kick The Can Down The Road But It Will Only Lead To Financial Disaster

Fleecing the lambs once more: the Greek debt “haircut” 
October 29th, 2011 LAIGLESFORUM 
by Don Hank

The site linked to below (The Economic Collapse) had predicted just a day or two ago that the “haircut” on Greek debt would increase the chances of recovery of the PIIGS. It didn’t take long for that prophecy to be realized, as they report today.
Here are my 2 cents, incl a prediction of my own. I hope it turns out to be wrong:
According to the Greek language online newspaper “Express,” the European “leaders” met with the bankers before this “haircut” edict was handed down. They had originally spoken of a 21% hiarcut, but they were faking. They knew it would be 50% but they had to soften up the bankers.
It is my humble opinion that they made these bankers a deal they couldn’t refuse. First they TOLD them the haircut would be 50%, at variance with what they had said (they had lied, to put it nicely).
According to this Greek article, the rip-off to the European banks amounted to 67.5 billion euros, or 20$ less that the Greek government would have to pay.
My prediction (I truly hope I am wrong):
The European powers (remember, this is the group that exported “democracy” the the Arabs, but they won’t give their own people democracy. THEY make all the decisions) will eventually get around to utilizing one of their many financial tentacles — e.g., the ECB, the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) or other, perhaps one to be created — either to BUY PIIGS bonds outright or to financially assist private buyers to buy them (using both European and US public funds — see last link below!), in order to circumvent the market. This is because no private person or entity will eventually touch a Greek bond, for ex, with a 3 meter pole, unless enticed with promises of public money.

I say this because I know:

1–the past behavior of the European elites

2–their Marxist philosophy underlying that behavior.

The real raîson d’être of the European Empire (European union) and its tentacle agencies has always been to redistribute wealth. Unlike the Soviet Union, they no longer can do that — for political reasons — openly, from one group to another. But by pretending to “stabilize” Europe, they can distribute the wealth from northern countries with a sound work ethic to southern countries with no palpable work ethic at all. [Footnote: this is analogous to the way the US government orchestrated our current financial crisis by first forcing the banks to lend to the insolvent under the infamous CRA, another wealth redistribution scheme].
By allowing the fiscally irresponsible Greece to join the Euro Zone, they knew they would ultimately be able to transfer billions of euros of wealth to that country under the pretext of “stabilization.” They won’t quit even now that they have literally destabilized the whole continent by their so-called “stabilization measures.”
They have all the power and they will continue to rob the citizens of each member country until they — and we — are dirt poor or until the people rise up and throw off their yoke.
It will be a true European Spring and the elites will not be in charge this time.
Don Hank

Be Honest – The European Debt Deal Was Really A Greek Debt Default
How the US will pay for the scam:

How usury destroyed America

The Birth of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank - How usury destroyed America


MOBILE 392 654 68 68

ROMA, 27/10/2011
Al Comando stazione dei Carabinieri - SEDE
Alla Procura Della Repubblica Competente
E, p.c. Ad Altri


Tutti i I Sindaci a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i Componenti dei Consigli Comunali,
Tutti gli assessori con delega alla salute ed igiene pubblica;
Tutti i responsabili Comunali a qualunque titolo della raccolta differenziata e del riciclo dei rifiuti solidi urbani a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i titolari e dirigenti del ministero dell’ Economia a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i titolari e dirigenti del ministero delle Finanze a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i titolari e dirigenti del ministero del Tesoro a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i titolari e dirigenti del ministero del Bilancio a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i ragionieri generali dello Stato a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i consiglieri e i direttori generali della Corte dei Conti a partire dall’anno 1997;
Tutti i dirigenti, amministratori e funzionari della Equitalia S.p.A.;
Tutti i dirigenti, amministratori e funzionari delle agenzie di recupero crediti qui non citate;
Tutti i privati o società partecipate pubbliche, o miste, o private di gestione delle discariche indifferenziate;
ed eventuali altri, secondo il ruolo ed il grado di responsabilità risultante dalle indagini.

Per le ipotesi dei reati p. e p. dagli articoli:

Concorso formale in reato continuato (art.81 c.p.);
Pene per coloro che concorrono nel reato (art.110 c.p.);
Circostanze aggravanti (art.112 c.p.);
Devastazione, saccheggio e strage (art.285 c.p.);
Peculato (art.314 c.p.);
Malversazione a danno dello Stato (art.316 bis);
Corruzione per un atto contrario ai doveri d’ufficio (art.319 c.p.);
Corruzione di persona incaricata di pubblico servizio (art.320 c.p.);
Abuso d’uffico (art.323 c.p.);
Omissione di atti d’ufficio (art.328 c.p.);
Interruzione d’un servizio pubblico o di pubblica utilità (art.331 c.p.);
Inadempimento di contratto di pubbliche forniture (art.355 c.p.);
Frode nelle pubbliche forniture (art.356 c.p.);
Associazione a delinquere (art.416 bis);
Devastazione e saccheggio )art.419 c.p.);
Circostanze aggravanti (art.456 c.p.);
Falsità materiale commessa dal pubblico ufficiale in atti pubblici (art.476 c.p.);
Falsità materiale commessa dal pubblico ufficiale in certificati (art.477 c.p.);
Falsità ideologica commessa dal pubblico ufficiale in atti pubblici (art.479 c.p.);
Falsità materiale commessa dal pubblico ufficiale in certificati (art.480 c.p.);
Falsità materiale commessa dal pubblico ufficiale in atti pubblici (art.481 c.p.);
Falsità materiale commessa dal privato (art.482 c.p.);
Falsità ideologica commessa dal privato in atti pubblici (art.483 c.p.);
Falsità in registri e notificazioni (art.484 c.p.);
Uso di atto falso (art.489 c.p.);
Documenti equiparati agli atti pubblici agli effetti della pena (art.491 c.p.);
Falsità commesse da pubblici impiegati incaricati di un pubblico servizio (art. 493 c.p.);
Distruzione di materie prime o di prodotti agricoli o industriali ovvero di mezzi di produzione (art.499 c.p.);
Rialzo e ribasso fraudolento di prezzi sul pubblico mercato o nelle borse di commercio (art.501 c.p.);
Manovre speculative su merci (art.501 bis c.p.);
Turbata libertà dell’industria o del commercio (art.513 c.p.);
Frode nell’esercizio del commercio (art.515 c.p.);
Furto (art.624 c.p.);
Rapina (art.628 c.p.);
Estorsione (art.629 c.p.);
Turbativa violenta del possesso di cose immobili (art.634 c.p.);
Truffa (art.640 c.p.);
Truffa aggravata per il conseguimento di erogazioni pubbliche (art.640 bis c.p.);
Usura (art.644 c.p.);
Appropriazione indebita (art.646 c.p.);

Ed eventuali altre fattispecie di reato che venissero rilevate nel corso delle indagini.-

LUOGO DI COMMISSIONE : Tutto territorio nazionale

TEMPO DI COMMISSIONE : Reati in corso di esecuzione;

Arresto obbligatorio in flagranza.

Vedi il documento completo:

Nigel Farage Tell it like it is about the Greek Bailouts

Austerity forever

Austerity forever


The European Union’s new model of economic governance, including the Euro Pact, is a model of prolonged austerity, according to a new publication from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).  
The report, Austerity Forever, argues that the EU’s response to the economic crisis is setting member states on course towards a model of permanent austerity, including widespread attacks on social rights. 
To prevent any resistance, the model being put forward by the EU aims at minimising or even totally getting rid of democratic interference. This is clear from an overview of the legislative initiatives which have been adopted since the eurocrisis began, or which are expected to be adopted imminently.

Dummy banker hanged

Is this taking the protests too far? Occupy Wall Street-inspired artist hangs dummy of banker from telephone wire 

Last updated at 12:14 AM on 27th October 2011
Drivers in Miami today were likely doing double takes on Wednesday as they passed what looked like a banker hanging by a noose from a telephone wire alongside a Florida highway. 
To accompany his Occupy Wall Street-themed mural, the international graffiti artist known by his street name Above, took his message a step further by adding the rather life-like hanging dummy to his display.
The mannequin is dressed in a black suit with a white collared shirt and red tie.
Scary sideshow: A graffiti artist attached a mannequin to a noose hanging alongside a major Florida highway as a part of the Occupy movement
Scary sideshow: A graffiti artist attached a mannequin to a noose hanging alongside a major Florida highway as a part of the Occupy movement
Clear message: The mural reads 'Give a Wall St banker enough rope and he will hang himself' and was painted by artist Above over the course of a week
Clear message: The mural reads 'Give a Wall St banker enough rope and he will hang himself' and was painted by artist Above over the course of a week
'I tried to clothe him and dress him up as if he was what I imiagined a Wall Street banker might wear,' Above said to MailOnline. 
He is also holding a briefcase that has a string of what looks like dollar bills.
'It was the cherry on the top of the word play installation,' Above continued.
'It's extremely shocking which is part of the point as well. I think it is really gone too far, but then again I think it's my retaliation to how far Wall St, has gotten in general. 
'It is shocking to me when I look at these numbers when I see that one per cent of the people have all of the money,' he continued.
The mannequin was hung next to a mural that he painted along the northbound side of the I-95 highway which stretches from Miami up the east coast. 
Making it's connection to the Occupy Wall Street protests, the mural reads 'Give a Wall St banker enough rope and he will hang himself'.
Dark undertones: The dummy was hung on the anniversary of an infamous Florida lynching that took place 77 years earlier
Dark undertones: The dummy was hung on the anniversary of an infamous Florida lynching that took place 77 years earlier
Above explained that he was inspired by the proverb 'If you give a fool enough rope, he will hang himself' and simply adapted it to fit the theme.
Though the mannequin swinging from the noose was clearly intended to be a statement in line with the Occupy protests in Miami, it does just days after another hanging effigy raised tensions in New York. 
A black scarecrow was found hanging from a tree in Brooklyn, and though it was a Halloween decoration, it prompted city government officials to protest. 
Another reason why the Miami mannequin isn't ideal is that it comes on the 77th anniversary of an infamous lynching that took place in Marianna, Florida. 
Though the 1934 lynching took place at the opposite end of the state, it was a major incident and nearly 3,000 spectators attending the mob killing of black man claude Neal, who at the time was accused of killing a white woman. The incident has been back in the news of late because of the anniversary and because Mr Neal's family is suing for $77million in reparations. 
'It's super aggressive and over the top but this whole situation is gross and if it brings more light then thats good,' Above said in the interview with MailOnline. 
He said that while the hanging dummy is intended to make a bold statement, it does not have any racist undertones. 
He was unaware of either the New York scarecrow or the anniversary of the 1934 lynching. 
Above timed the creation of his 255-foot long display in conjunction with the economic protests and the Art Basel festival, which will be held in Miami in the beginning of December. 
Little is known about Above, who tried to keep is anonymity in order to continue his grafiti work. He confirmed to MailOnline that he is 30 years old and is based out of San Francisco where he is represented by the White Walls gallery. 
Travelling is a major part of his job, however, as he writes on his website 'I am homeless due t consistent and frequent world travels'.
Economically minded: The artist, whose street name is 'Above' was clearly trying to get a message across in support of Occupy Wall Street
Economically minded: The artist, whose street name is 'Above' was clearly trying to get a message across in support of Occupy Wall Street

Read more:

Let The Hunt Begin

Who are the owners of the central bank of Greece ?

To: Mr. Dionisios Nikolaou,
Money and Banking Statistics Section,
Monetary and Financial Statistics Division,
Statistics Department,
Bank of Greece,
21, E. Venizelos Avenue,
Athens, Greece 10250
Phone : 30 210 3203817
Fax : 30 210 3231752
Email :

Dear Mr. Dionisios Nikolaou,

Can you please tell to us, the European People, WHO are the owners of
the Bank of Greece ?

Waiting for a detailed answer, best regards.

Thank you,

Marco Saba
Head of Research
Italian Center for Monetary Studies


Your message

To: Nikolaou Dionysios
Subject: Who are the owners of the central bank of Greece ?
Sent: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 12:56:55 +0200

was deleted without being read on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 08:55:00 +0200


The Statute of the Bank of Greece is the Annex IV, to the Protocol re: “Approval of a loan of 9.000.000 pound sterling”, the terms of which were approved by the Council of the League of Nations and was signed by the Greek Government in Geneva on 15 September 1927. The Protocol was ratified by Legislative Decree of 10 November 1927, which was further ratified by Law 3423/7.12.1927. In implementation of the Protocol, the Greek State and the National Bank of Greece entered into an agreement on 27 October 1927, re: «Waiving by the National Bank of Greece of its privilege of issuing banknotes and establishment of a new anonymous Bank under the name “Bank of Greece”»!!!!

venerdì 28 ottobre 2011

Keiser Report: Clowns Run World

Currency Wars

“Currency Wars”

October 27, 2011 – It was my good fortune to receive an advance copy of Jim Rickards' new book, “Currency Wars”.  It is a great book, and I highly recommend it.
The book is split into three parts, with the first part being almost surreal because it reads more like a novel than non-fiction.  It details Rickards’ participation in an exercise at the Warfare Analysis Laboratory near Washington D.C.  This group is one of the Defense Department’s leading venues for war games and strategic planning, but in a first-ever event, the game in which Rickards joined was not a war-fighting simulation.  Rather, several dozen people from the military, academic and intelligence communities fought a global financial war using currencies and capital markets to support national interests.  Rickards and two colleagues were invited to give the simulation some real-world, Wall Street expertise about markets, which they certainly did.
I guarantee that when you start reading this part, you won’t put the book down until you learn the outcome of the war.  It reads better than a suspense novel, even though the ending is somewhat anti-climactic and predictable.  While I won’t spoil it for you by divulging the ending, I will note that gold has a big role to play.  In fact, gold reappears throughout the whole book.
In the second section, Rickards analyzes the first two currency wars (CWI and CWII).  He provides an interesting historical account of the global monetary twists and turns, ups and downs that marked much of the twentieth century, with keen insight into the motivations why these currency wars were fought.  CWI lasted from 1921 to 1936.  Even though CWII came much later – from 1967 to 1987 – both wars were fought by competing national interests, which brought into the battle competitive devaluations and other interventionist actions of government.  It is noteworthy that currency wars are a product of the post-Classical Gold Standard period that began in the aftermath of World War I, when the monetary role of government began to morph, as gold was driven out of day-to-day circulation, and then expand in new ways never before seen.
The final section of the book explains why the world is now fighting Currency War III, which Rickards believes began in 2010.  He speculates that there are three possible outcomes from CWIII – paper, gold or chaos.  Each of these alternatives is analyzed in detail, providing readers with much food for thought.
It has been said that book reviews are supposed to include something critical.  Nevertheless, I have nothing negative to say about “Currency Wars”.  It is a great book, and you will not be disappointed with it.  But I do have one important thought to keep in mind as you read it.
US real income and living standards peaked in early-1973, less than two years after President Nixon closed the gold window.  As their closeness in time suggests, these two events are interconnected.  The world’s financial system experienced a profound change from the edicts of Mr. Nixon’s pen, with the consequence that private enterprise was negatively impacted.
The harmful effects from abandoning gold still impair economic activity today because the necessary discipline has been removed from the monetary system, creating the global imbalances, debt loads, insolvent banks, risky derivatives and other problems that plague our world.  So as economic activity sinks ever deeper into an abyss, think about the cause.  Namely, governments have created this mess, so we cannot rationally expect governments to get us out of it, which is something I have intuitively understood for some time but was also the main conclusion I reached from Rickards’ book.  Whether Rickards intended readers to reach that viewpoint, I am not sure.  Nevertheless, it is clear to me, the answers and the direction we need so urgently now to avoid falling further into the abyss will not come from government, but rather from private enterprise and hard work, the source of all solutions, and indeed all wealth.
My point is that money should not be a weapon used to fight perceived national interests.  We have learned from the last century that currency wars can lead to shooting wars.  The Warfare Analysis Laboratory hopefully recognizes that reality.  So the role of providing currency should instead be returned to where it rightfully belongs – with private enterprise.  The logic for doing so is simple and straightforward.
Aside from the fact that war is a product of government and not private enterprise, governments do not have bottom-line accountability.  In contrast, if companies do not deliver a product or service that people want, they go out of business.  Governments, however, do not close up shop and disappear, even when the outcome they create is horrific.  So in my view, the sooner this incontestable tenet is recognized, the sooner we will reach the end of CWIII, and thereby avoid another global shooting war.

Fullerton Listening to Occupy Wall Street

Featured Article:  Listening to Occupy Wall Street

john fullerton
John Fullerton
Founder and President
Capital Institute

I'm a former banker, a one percenter, and I'm mad as hell too.

Let's be clear. The Occupy movement is not a product of frustration, as President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and now Eric Cantor have suggested. Frustration is passive; anger is active. Martin Luther King was not frustrated. But beyond my anger is a real concern for democracy, for America, for the people of the world, for the planet upon which we all depend, and for my children's future. It's why I do what I do. It's the inspiration for Capital Institute.

This concern led me to Liberty Park Plaza last week to listen, show my support and empathy for the peaceful demonstrators, and learn about the occupation first-hand. I wanted to see if I could build a relationship with some of the organizers -- which I did -- and find out if the prominent media narrative of disorganization and unclear goals was accurate.

I learned that OWS is first and foremost about restoring democracy in America, and that I was right to be concerned about the media's portrayal.

Since the beginning of the protests, leading politicians and members of the media have been asking the question "What does OWS want?" This is the wrong question. Policy priorities are for interest groups, working their battle plans within the system. Proposals are what the media and politicians of the left and right want so they can put the complex issues that led to the occupation into pre-existing boxes before they are fully understood.

OWS as I understand it today, is building a movement of everyday people who are fed up with Wall Street's corrupting influence on our democracy. Wall Street does not mean capitalism, although capitalism's critics are on hand at OWS. It means the socialized losses and the unchecked power, greed, speculative excess, violence, and theft from fellow citizens that has gone unchecked by our bought and paid for government -- Democrats and Republicans alike. But it also means the dominant influence of Wall Street culture on short-term corporate behavior and misbehavior, from Enron's derivatives-enabled fraud to the Koch Brothers' and Exxon's funding of climate change denial, to the health insurance industry's power over lives and affordable health care, to McDonald's and Coke's impact on childhood obesity, all to further short-term corporate and financial interests no matter the cost to "we the people."

This is different from "We are the 99 Percent," a divisive, although clever phrase that has not been formally adopted by the OWS General Assembly. Wall Street's culture is the target because money has corrupted the Republic. Through this power lens, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the rest are mere tools in the system, not worthy of protesting against. Instead, the right question we should be asking is, "what is emerging at OWS?"

It is useful and eye opening to go back to see how OWS began, and to view the original Adbusters blog post dated July 13, 2011. Like the world we live in, the OWS movement is complex and filled with uncertainty.
But the answer is simple: the Occupy movement is a mass experiment in participatory and deliberative democracy. It says "fix government," not "eliminate government."

I engaged with one of the many experienced organizers at OWS during my trip. He was unusually calm, articulate, experienced (a Seattle WTO alum) and well informed -- he had read much of the leading alternative economics literature. He explained that the General Assembly that meets every evening to deliberate the course of the movement had determined explicitly not to develop a set of demands at this time. Instead, he shared, OWS is focused on setting up a governance system for the movement, expecting to be around for the long haul. As of today, any list of demands that you may hear, therefore, are unsanctioned by the governing General Assembly of OWS.

The emergence of the practice of participatory democracy as the movement's only initial priority says everything. OWS is about taking back democracy. Don't be fooled by their clothing, drums, or hand signals. There is something serious afoot here that is organic, influenced by experienced social movement organizers, and yet uncontrolled. Whether it can last is unknowable and not yet determined. It will depend upon how we all react -- politicians, business leaders, police, and most importantly, we the citizenry. Their strategy is to build the power of the movement before seeking to use that power. A million demonstrators speak louder than ten thousand, just like a trillion dollar balance sheet speaks louder than a hundred billion dollar one. Right out of Goldman Sachs' playbook I'd say.

So far, OWS has established working groups, in areas like media, de-escalation (there is an explicit commitment to non-violence -- let us hope there is a discipline to match), the kitchen, first aid, security (they have adopted strict no alcohol and drug use rules), sanitation, and more. The day I was there, they were organizing to create a phone book for the community. There is a library and groups working to promote new economic thinking. OWS's next and overdue priority is how to be better neighbors to their immediate downtown community.

William Blake cautioned that abstraction without the particular becomes demonic. As a society, we became intoxicated with the pursuit of money, and then in our stupor, allowed forces emanating from Wall Street to layer abstraction upon abstraction in the name of innovation. This morphed into nothing but leveraged speculation at best, and into manipulation, conflicts of interest, cynicism, cheating, and fraud. I know because I was there at the creation in the 1980s. Back then, these tools were innovative, purposeful and productive. But they have since metastasized into a cancer. Free market fundamentalism blinded us to a timely diagnosis, and continues to do so today.

It is time for finance to resume its proper and humble place as servant to, not master of, the real economy -- an economy that promotes a more equitably shared prosperity while respecting the physical limits of our finite planet. Such transformation is the Great Work of our age; work that drives the Capital Institute and many other organizations fostering the emergence of a new economy. The restoration of our democracy OWS seeks is an essential step, which may be at hand. It's still a long shot, but we shall see. One thing is for certain: OWS has started a national conversation long overdue.

John Fullerton is the Founder and President of theCapital Institute, whose mission is to explore and effect economic transition to a more just, resilient, and sustainable way of living on this earth through the transformation of finance.


More about the Public Banking Institute

The Public Banking Institute (PBI) was formed in January 2011 as an educational non-profit organization.  Its mission is to further the understanding, explore the possibilities, and facilitate the implementation of public banking at all levels -- local, regional, state, and national.

PBI’s vision is to establish a distributed network of state and local publicly-owned banks that create affordable credit, while providing a sustainable alternative to the current high-risk centralized private banking system. This network will act in the public interest, using its counter-cyclical credit-generating capacity to stabilize potential credit crises, maintain the floor against threats of asset devaluations, build infrastructure, and fund expansion of critical industrial productive capacity.  Most important, public banking will create jobs, by partnering with local banks to fund local business, advancing credit for public infrastructure, and augmenting government revenues.

PBI’s mission includes analyzing U.S. and global financial events to facilitate public banking, sharing best practices and lessons learned from research and initiatives in the U.S. and globally, using PBI’s online resources, website, webinars, blog, and in-person conferences.  PBI’s activities include:

•Publication of research involving the U.S. private banking system, past and current;
•Evaluation of existing and historical public banking models, in the U.S. and abroad;
•Publication of research regarding the legal requirements, structure, and daily operations of existing and proposed public banking and financing systems;
•Publication of a semi-annual legislative guide and presentations to aide local public banking initiatives; and
•Organization of public forums that enable state and local public banking efforts.

For more information on how BND operates, and how it partners with community banks instead of competing with them:

  “Public Banking in America” Legislative Guide, Spring 2011, pp. 17-23. Ed Sather and bankers from several states explore the North Dakota model. 

NOTE: Public Banking in America, Legislative Guide, Fall 2011 will be available November 10, 2011
• Bank of North Dakota,
• Public Banking Institute,