Monday, July 30, 2012

The Olympics Are an Expensive and Failed Statist Bread and Circus Show that is EMPTY

Empty stadium seats, a nasty militarized Nazified police state, friends and family members who are denied access to watch their loved ones compete and a hugely expensive taxpayer tab are all components of the London Olympics. The whole hideous Olympics affair is justifiably getting a whole lot of bad press. This photo went viral on Facebook:

Olympic headlines:

Soldiers and students to fill empty seats

How London 2012 was caught in Olympics' empty seats trap

Ticket snafu keeps parents from watching their Olympians compete

2012 London Olympics: Police State Opening Ceremony


There are very ugly sides to the Olympics. The Olympics expedited the severe financial distress of Greece and contributed absolutely nothing to the Greek economy despite costing the Greeks about $15 billion.

The Olympics are really nothing more than a taxpayer subsidized party for the elites, the rich, the politicos, corporate CEO's and celebrities of all stripes.

But there is also a mournful, deplorable and immoral human cost that is the real face of the Olympics. Poor folks are being forced out of their homes and entire neighborhoods are being bulldozed.

Brazil is hosting the 2016 Olympics as well as the 2012 World Cup. To construct 5 star accommodations to entertain and house the wealthy, Brazil is literally emptying out entire neighborhoods.

Time to End the Bread and Circus Olympics - They Are Inhumane and Huge Taxpayer Ripoffs

Aldous Huxley Unplugged: Must Watch 1958 Interview (and some great quotes)

Aldous Huxley was an extraordinarily prescient and brilliant man who fully understood the state and how it would use pharmaceuticals, propaganda and its draconian powers to reduce human beings to compliant and obedient zombies.

 Aldous Huxley Unplugged: Must Watch 1958 Interview
This half hour interview from 1958 of Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, is incredibly powerful and prophetic. He warns us all, so many decades ago, that the biggest threat to the West is a “soft dictatorship,” where as a result of increasingly sophisticated propaganda and drugs, people would actually learn to love their servitude. If you are pressed for time, skip to the seven minute mark where it really gets going. I would also suggest reading Brave New World Revisited, which was written 26 years after the original book was published and is available free online here. Knowledge is power, which is why they want you slurping down fluoride and sucking your thumbs.
A few Aldous Huxley quotes from Brainy Quote:
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.
All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.
An intellectual is a person who's found one thing that's more interesting than sex.
Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.
One of the great attractions of patriotism - it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.
So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable.
The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.
The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
More Aldous Huxley quotes are here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Progressive/Liberals/Dems are the Original Neocons

I've literally spent years and years pondering "How in the heck did the Republican Party morph into the warmongering, big spending and anti-liberty nightmare that it is today?"

Who got us into WW I, WW II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Balkan Wars? All progressive liberal Democrats - Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson and Clinton.

How much blood is on the hands of the Democrat warmongers?  A lot and they left a bloody trail of carnage that consumed over 100 million lives.

Let’s Do War by the Numbers Because We Love to Kill
WW I resulted in the deaths of 35,000,000...

Of course, WW I only set the stage for WW II that killed at least another 50,000,000 folks (many historians put the WW II death toll at 60-70 million)....

Wikipedia estimates the deaths from the Korean War at 2,500,000 – 3,500,000 and the deaths from the Vietnam War at 2,500,000-6,000,000...

Since the end of WW II, another 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 folks have died as a direct result of U.S. foreign interventionism.
It was Woodrow Wilson and the Democrats who gave us the Federal Reserve and the 16th Amendment (income tax) in 1913. It was no accident that WW I broke out in 1914 and the details of that sordid 'bailout the rich' scheme are well documented.  Without the Federal Reserve, there would have been no WW I.  Moreover,  the Federal Reserve Act was indeed the enabling legislation that actually birthed the military industrial complex and not by accident.  It was all about war profits for America's wealthiest families and the 1% (the only beneficiaries of any war).

World War I, the Banksters, the Lusitania and Bailing Out America’s Wealthiest Families

Interestingly, I witnessed my own Democratic Irish Catholic family abandon the Democratic Party and become Reagan Republicans, largely because blue collar working class families such as mine were sick and tired of having their kids who were drafted into the US military come home from Vietnam in body bags or badly mangled from combat and war injuries.  They not only feared Democrat foreign policy, they were also extremely fearful of the growth in government power and spending.

When the Republican Party was pro-peace and anti-foreign intervention, it experienced the support of the people. How much support? Reagan's 489 electoral votes to Carter's 49 in 1980 and a 51% to 41% victory speaks volumes!

Source: US Election Atlas

Reagan was viewed as the great hope to restore America to fiscal and foreign policy sanity. Unfortunately, he was a big fail. Few Americans are even aware of the extent to which taxes and the Federal Reserve fund the wars and foreign policy.

Taxes are US. The Biggest Tax Increases in US History
The largest tax increases were imposed by Truman (Revenue Act of 1950, Revenue Act 1951 and Excess Profits Tax of 1950) to fund the Korean War. Johnson's two taxes, the Temporary Surcharge of 1968 and the Tax Increase of 1966, were imposed on the American people to fund the Vietnam War.

Reagan, revered by Republicans for his extensive taxation and spending, piled on 5 new and substantial tax increases and is probably the biggest taxing president in US history.

Reagan taxes:

Tax Increase of 1983
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984
Tax Reform Act of 1986
Budget Reconciliation of 1987
The largest Social Security Tax Hike in US history - the Reagan Social Security Tax of 1983.
While taxes are a direct hit to the American people that comes right out of their paychecks, by far the biggest tax is the hideous, invisible and unnoticed inflation tax that gave us this:

If America is ever going to be restored to peace, liberty and prosperity for the people, we need drastic changes, starting with severely cutting spending, ending the damn wars that are bankrupt us and reducing government power at all levels. Meanwhile, I'll be pondering why the warmongering foreign policy hawk Mitt Romney, who has vowed to spend trillions more on foreign policy, isn't sending his own sons off to die in neocon wars or come home limbless and minus their junk.

Man Sentenced to Prison for Collecting Rain Water on His Own Property as Government Claims Ownership of Every Drop of Water

With a government vigorously devoted to criminalizing just about every possible human behavior, it should come as no surprise that a man was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the crime of collecting rainwater on his own property.

Oregon Man Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail — for Collecting Rainwater on His Property
A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., says he plans to appeal his conviction in Jackson County (Ore.) Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property – and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.

“The government is bullying,” Harrington told in an interview Thursday.

“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.

The court has given Harrington two weeks to report to the Jackson County Jail to begin serving his sentence.
Scenarios like this are part of a growing trend wherein the strong arm of the militarized police state directly and forcibly diminishes property rights as the government claims dominion over privately owned real estate, its resources and even the rain that falls from the sky.  Obviously, the implications of this dangerous trend are quite dire and folks will eventually be denied the right to even use their land without a government permit.

What happened in Oregon is very much part of a growing trend that will ultimately be federalized. Presently, the federal government only has control of what is defined as 'navigable waters' but the federal government and the EPA have been attempting for year to expand jurisdiction to include ALL water from any source, including rainwater and even the water in your potholes.

A Massive Land and Water Grab
The latest in the long war between a rapacious federal government, filled with departments and agencies seeking to control every square inch of the nation’s land mass has been an audacious power grab by the Environmental Protection Agency in league with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There are specific steps any agency must take before it can assert federal control of any kind.

Using the original Clean Water Act which permits the EPA to only regulate “navigable waters”, i.e., rivers and lakes, this rogue agency and the Corps is seeking to ignore the restriction and assert control over every body of water in the U.S. including a puddle of rain water or a pond in your backyard. If it weren’t so absurd and so outrageous, it would sound like science fiction, but the science the EPA uses is usually invented out of thin air.

Specifically, the EPA has issued “a guidance document” saying they want to eliminate or just ignore the word “navigable” so they could control “all waters of the United States and all activities affecting all waters of the United States.”...

The permitting process alone, a major instrument of destruction that the EPA and other agencies of the federal government uses, would explode to the point where some bureaucrat in Washington would decide if you could install a pool, dig a drainage ditch, install a watering pond for livestock, and thousands of other common uses of water.

Parenthetically, the federal government owns nearly 650 million acres of land; almost thirty percent of the land area of the nation.
Folks can live without a lot of things but they cannot live without water.  For the government to deny folks the right to water on property they own  is the equivalent of denying them the right to sustain their own lives and the lives of their families.

Of course, if you need water to drink or for your business or for your farm or for your backyard garden, you can always apply for a hard to obtain and expensive government permit and hope that you don't die while waiting.  

A Whale of a Nightmare: Government Terrorism Destroys Life and Career of Marine Biologist Nancy Black

How did whale lover and marine biologist Nancy Black end up indicted, broke and facing 20 years in prison? According to George Will, Washington Post, Black was captain of a whale watching ship and a member of her crew allegedly whistled at the whales which is considered an environmental crime and that was just the beginning of Black's nightmare.
The huge humpback whale whose friendliness precipitated a surreal seven-year — so far — federal hunt for criminality surely did not feel put upon. Nevertheless, our unhinged government, with an obsession like that of Melville’s Ahab, has crippled Nancy Black’s scientific career, cost her more than $100,000 in legal fees — so far — and might sentence her to 20 years in prison. This Kafkaesque burlesque of law enforcement began when someone whistled.

Black, 50, a marine biologist who also captains a whale-watching ship, was with some watchers in Monterey Bay in 2005 when a member of her crew whistled at the humpback that had approached her boat, hoping to entice the whale to linger. Back on land, another of her employees called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ask if the whistling constituted “harassment” of a marine mammal, which is an “environmental crime.” NOAA requested a video of the episode, which Black sent after editing it slightly to highlight the whistling. NOAA found no harassment — but got her indicted for editing the tape, calling this a “material false statement” to federal investigators, which is a felony under the 1863 False Claims Act, intended to punish suppliers defrauding the government during the Civil War....

Six years ago, NOAA agents, who evidently consider the First Amendment a dispensable nuisance, told Black’s scientific colleagues not to talk to her and to inform them if they were contacted by her or her lawyers. Since then she has not spoken with one of her best friends.

To finance her defense she has cashed out her life’s savings, which otherwise might have purchased a bigger boat. The government probably has spent millions. It delivered an administrative subpoena to her accountant, although no charge against her has anything to do with finances.
Read the rest here 
Washington Post 

According to the Huffington Post, "The popular whale researcher said more than a dozen armed agents and police raided her house with a search warrant during the investigation, which has put her under enormous stress", here.

Government terrorism against citizens is quite common in Nazified America.  Liberty is vanishing with the speed of light and whale loving marine biologist Nancy Black is just one more victim to add the huge and growing mountain of victims of government oppression and tyranny.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Polls are NOT Looking Good for Mittens and it's Not Too Late to Nominate Ron Paul

While it's early in the presidential campaign season and the RNC and DNC national conventions are still a month away, it's not too late for Republicans to change their minds and nominate the only Republican who can defeat Obama - Ron Paul!

In 2008, Obama won 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173. That's a total blowout. The gamblers at Intrade, the online gambling company, predicted Obama would win with 364 electoral votes. Intrade was way more accurate than the pundits and pollsters, as noted by the New York Times.

Bettors Beat Pundits

Four years later, it's unlikely that Obama will win by such a whopper of a margin in his bid for reelection, if he wins at all. However, the prospects are excellent that Obama could starve off a Romney victory.

Right now the Intrade bettors are giving Obama a 57.4% probability of winning and Romney a 40.5.

The Real Clear Politics average has Obama up by 1.3 but the polls are all over the place.  In any event, the national polls are practically meaningless and what is important is what happens in the critical swing states.  The 2012 president election outcome will be entirely dependent on 6-8 critical swing states.  The top pundits dissect the polls and focus on the electoral count in the individual states.  Three of the top pundits are Nate Silver (New York Times), Larry Sabato (Sabato's Crystal Ball) and Stuart Rothenberg (Rothenberg Political Report).

Nate Silver has Obama winning with 294 electoral votes to Romney's 244 and gives Obama a 67.4% probability of winning to Romney's 32.6.  Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog, is here.

Larry Sabato has Obama with 247 electoral votes to Romney's 206, with 85 toss-ups.  Sabato's analysis and maps are here.

Stuart Rothenberg has Obama with 237 electoral votes to Romney's 206, with 95 toss-up.  Rothenberg's analysis is here.

Many states are so reliably blue or red that the outcome is a given.  Once the election kicks into high gear, however, the analysis will intensely concentrate on the following swing states with 100 electoral votes.

Florida             29 RCP average have Obama up by 6
Ohio                18 RCP averages have Obama up by 5
North Carolina 15 RCP averages have Romney up by .4
Virginia            13 RCP averages have Obama up by 1.2
Wisconsin       10  RCP averages have Obama up by 6
Colorado           9 RCP averages have Obama up by 3
Nevada             6 RCP averages have Obama up by 5.3
New Hampshire 4 RCP averages have Obama up by 3


Romney is only ahead in one swing state and by less than half a point!

At this juncture, things aren't looking good at all for the Republican Party based on the polls, the pundits and Intrade.

To make matters worse, Romney had a disastrous trip to London and got badly panned by the Brits and their media.

DO NOT CALL HARRY REID on Audit the Fed, not unless you want it to fail 23-77

Do not call Harry Reid on Audit the Fed, not unless you want it to fail by a vote of 23-77. Putting Audit the Fed to senate floor for a vote is a guaranteed FAIL.

Audit the Fed desperate needs co-sponsors because it only has 23.

The senate's 60 vote cloture rule is a very difficult hurdle given the composition of the senate - 47 Republicans, 51 Democrats and 2 Independents (who typically vote with the Dems). All 23 of the current co-sponsors are Republicans so there are 24 Republicans who are not on board, including 4 states with 2 Republicans senators who have not co-sponsored Audit the Fed - Alabama, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee.

Game Plan

How to lobby a congress critter:

Bombard them! First, plan to call, fax, e-mail and write a letter. Also hit their local offices. In big states, senators have multiple local offices (address, fax and telephone numbers are on their Senate websites).


Try to get through to a legislative aide who is handling the issue.

Get everybody you know to do the same thing over and over.

Congess critters only care about one thing - the next election and nothing else. If they fear they could be voted out of office, they will co-sponsors Audit the Fed.

Senators Who Need to be Contacted

We need to first focus on Republican Senators and then Democrat Senators. There are 47 Republican Senators listed below - their names and term expiration. Senators highlighted in yellow are already Audit the Fed co-sponsors.  States with 2 Republican senators who are not co-sponsors of Audit the Fed are highlighted in red.

AL Sessions      2014
     Shelby          2016
AK Murkowski   2016
AZ Kyl                2012 (retiring)
     McCain         2016
AR Boozman     2016
GA Chambliss   2014
     Isakson         2016
FL Rubio           2016
ID Risch            2014
     Crapo           2016
IL Kirk                2016
IN Lugar            2012 (lost primary)
    Coats            2016
IA Grassley       2016
KS Roberts       2014
     Moran          2016
KY Paul            2016 wrote the bill
     McConnell    2014
LA Vitter            2016
ME Snowe        2012 retiring
      Collins        2014
MA Brown        2012
MS Cochran     2014
      Wicker        2012
MO Blunt          2016
NE Johanns      2014
NV Heller          2012
NH Ayotte         2016
NC Burr            2016
ND Hoeven       2016
OH Portman     2016
OK Coburn        2016
      Inhofe          2014
PA Toomey       2016
SC DeMint        2016
     Graham        2014
SD Thune          2016
TN Corker         2012
      Alexander    2014
TX Cornyn        2014
      Hutchison    2012 retiring
UT Hatch           2012
     Lee               2016
WI Johnson       2016
WY Barrasso     2012
      Enzi             2014

We've got a lot of work to do so let's do it!

Benefits of the 1099 Economy, the Underground Economy and the Future of Freedom

According to Forbes, the 1099 economy is booming.

The Rise of The 1099 Economy: More Americans Are Becoming Their Own Bosses

One of the biggest obstacles facing government is its ability to collect taxes.  So long as folks are employed as employees, the government easily got its share of plunder right off the top via the federal withholding tax and the Social Security tax, along with other taxes including state taxes.  Enforcement of tax collections was never really much a problem for government so long as most folks were employees.  The government didn't need an army of tax collectors; employers functioned as the primary tax collectors for the government.

But with the economy tanking and necessity being the mother of invention, folks are now forced to discover new paradigms of survival.  Many companies are resorting to contract labor to avoid the legacy costs of health insurance and retirement plans.  They hire independent contractors and issue a 1099 instead of a W-2.  Folks who earn 1099 income are required to file tax returns, they are required to pay quarterly taxes and they are considered self-employed.  They are effectively small business owners who also avail themselves of legal tax deductions.

1099 income is a whole lot harder for governments to trace and enforcement becomes a huge problem for the government.  Precisely because 1099 tax revenues don't consistently and reliably flow to the government in a timely manner, the government is at a disadvantage because it no longer has employers functioning as efficient and immediate tax collectors.

The economic calamity has also spawned a massive distrust of the government.  Folks are simply fed with with paying taxes.  When government is perceived a corrupt to the core and no longer offers value to taxpayers, taxpayers will seek ways to just opt out of the system.  And thus, the underground economy is born.

The underground economy is even more difficult than the 1099 economy for the government to track.  In fact, underground economies are largely based on untraceable cash transactions and outright bartering among private individuals - anything to avoid the tax collectors reach.

In Greece, the government is perceived as so worthless and hopelessly corrupt that it's estimated that as much as 50% of Greek economic output is underground and beyond the tax collectors thieving hands.  The Greeks substantially opted out of paying taxes long ago and they have a very long history of just not paying taxes to support an insanely thieving government.  The Italians are also notorious for tax avoidance.

As the global economy continues to implode, governments will continue to panic as tax revenues plummet and folks simply disappear and are no longer under the government's surveillance and monetary radar.  Realistically, many more folks will strive to be minimally attached to the system.  Folks are figuring out that W-2 income and debit/credit card transactions are all traceable electronic transactions.  Even those who collect W-2 paychecks that are automatically deposited into bank accounts as required by their employers are resorting to immediately cleaning out the bank accounts and withdrawing their cash.  Such folks then proceed to pay their bills and living expenses with cash and/or money orders.

While electronic banking and the age of plastic has been very convenient, it's also how the government tracks you and your every purchase and financial transaction.  To deprive the government of its ability to snoop will really drive the government nuts and render it even more powerless.

Of course, powerless government is most assuredly the End Game of all liberty lovers.  You kill government by depriving it of tax revenues.  A thriving and growing underground economy is definitely something that every government goon fears most.  Making it happen is asserting our liberty and natural rights.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A fraud is a fraud is a fraud. Republican Rep. Mike Kelly is a FRAUD

The Internet is going wild with a video of Republican Mike Kelly's rant on the House floor. Republicans are holding up Kelly as the newest Republican messiah to attack big government. NetRightDaily is euphoric.

Anti-Big Government rant on House floor gets standing ovation

Let's ignore for a moment the documented fact that Republicans in the House are spending more than the Democrats they replaced.

The Tea Party Republicans Spent More Than the Dems They Replaced.

It's an election year and the Republicans can always be counted on to ratchet up their lying rhetoric to appease its exceedingly dumbed down voting base.

Let's examine the voting record of Congressman Mike Kelly on a few issues.

7/19/12 HR 5856 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, Kelly voted YEA on a giant defense spending bill.

6/7/12 HR 5855 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2013, Kelly voted YEA to fund Fedzilla's draconian police state.

5/10/12 HR 5652 Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, Kelley voted YEA. That's the bill to undo the defense cuts that were negotiated in the "let's increase the debt by $2.4 trillion" bill that Kelly also voted YEA.

5/12/12 H Amdt 1140 Prohibits Reductions to Strategic Nuclear Arms Required by New START, Kelly voted YEA to an amendment to prohibit decreasing the US nuclear arsenal pursuant to the START Treaty.

5/17/12 H Amdt 1103 Limits Funding for War in Afghanistan to the Withdrawal of U.S. Forces Amendment, Kelly voted NO to limit war funding in Afghanistan to the withdrawal of troop.

5/18/12 H Amdt 1127 Repeals Indefinite Military Detention Provisions, Kelly voted NO to repeal indefinite detention.

5/19/12 HR 2072 Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012, Kelly voted YEA on this huge piece of corporate welfare.

4/26/12 HR 3523 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISPA, Kelly voted YEA on this assault on Internet liberty

Kelly also voted YEA on the Patriot Act and YEA on NDAA.

Checkout and compare Rep. Kelly's voting record, here, with Ron Paul's voting record, here.  Ron Paul missed a lot of votes because he was on the campaign trail but we absolutely know how Ron Paul would have voted.

Bottom Line:  Kelly is a warmongering, civil liberties hating statist who loves lining the pockets of corporatists with taxpayer cash.

Wall Street, Crony Capitalism and the Department of the Treasury

Constitutionally speaking, the Secretary of the Treasury is supposed to be nothing more than the nations chief bean counter and it's a job that certainly shouldn't be controlled, influenced or held by Wall Street and the Banksters. The tragic reality is that Wall Street has pretty much always controlled the Department of the Treasury.

At the George Mason University Mercatus Center, David R. Henderson published a fascinating study on crony capitalism titled The Economics and History of Cronyism which is definitely worth reading. Henderson devotes considerable time to defining cronyism and explaining how it works, notably through the mechanism of lobbying which destroys wealth.
If a company spends $10 million on lobbying for tariffs or subsidies, it is investing in reducing wealth. Although the gain in wealth to the firm is likely to exceed $10 million, the $10 million expenditure represents a loss to society. In 2009 the total amount of lobbying expenditures reported by registered federal lobbyists was $3.47 billion.
While Henderson provides numerous documented examples of crony capitalism, his disclosure of Geithner and his deep ties to Wall Street sheds considerable light on how thoroughly corrupt our political system really is:
On November 21, 2008, word leaked that president-elect Barack Obama had chosen Timothy Geithner as his treasury secretary. the 10 days following the November 21 leak, financial firms that had a preexisting connection with Geithner had “a cumulative abnormal return” of about 15 percent. Translation: the value of the stock of these Geithner connected firms rose 15 percent after people learned that Geithner was named Treasury Secretary.
Geithner, of course, is also the former president of the New York Federal Reserve and he personally engineered the massive transfer of wealth to the 1%, Wall Street, AIG and just about every power player in NY and the District of Crime (DC).

It's clear from reading Henderson's article that America is nothing more than a plutocracy, an oligarcy and a nation where the 1% lord over the 99% with raw and absolute power.

One final note. Henderson also documents how Lyndon Johnson got rich.
It is not difficult to find many examples of cronyism in the 20th-century United States. One famous example not reported until decades after it occurred is the case of young Texas congressman whose wife became the nominal owner of a business that he used his political power to help her obtain.

Here’s what happened. Between December 1939 and January 1943, despite countless attempts, the owners of Austin, Texas, radio station KTBC were unable to get permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to sell the station. But on January 3, 1943, the wife of a Texas congressman filed her application to buy the station and 24 days later, after waiting more than three years, the owners were allowed to sell. The congressman’s wife paid $17,500 for the radio station. In June 1943, she applied for permission to operate 24 hours a day, up from daylight hours only, and at a much better part of the AM frequency. The FCC granted permission one month later. While all this was happening, the FCC was under attack by another powerful congressman, Eugene Cox of Georgia. The aforementioned Texas congressman strategized secretly with FCC official Red James and used his influence with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn to deflect the attack. In fact, James later admitted that he had recommended to the congressman’s wife that she apply for the license. In 1943, the congressman and his wife had a net worth of approximately zero. But by 1964, when this congressman was elected president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife’s net worth was at least $14 million. The radio station’s value accounted for about half of this $14 million.
Americans get high talking about American exceptionalism. Indeed!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Bankster Meltdown Really Happened in 2004 and Was Covered Up by Bush and Gang

The generally accepted theory of the 2008 financial meltdown is that it just happened suddenly, although financial troubles were indeed expected to be significant from the fallout of the the mortgage debacle and the real estate crash. Moreover, it is also generally accepted that the Bush Administration reacted as if the sudden financial calamity was indeed something that just happened out of the blue. 

There is overwhelming evidence that the Banksters were crashing in 2004, an election year, and that the Bush Administration merely covered it up. In the way of background information that built the foundation for the financial collapse, it all goes back to a 1999 piece of legislation signed by Bill Clinton and supported by Republicans and Democrats called the Financial Services Modernization Act (FSMA). The gory details of the FSMA were astutely laid out in a Global Research 11/12/08 piece by Michel Chossudovsky titled “Who are the Architects of the Economic Collapse” who names the big names and summarizes the bill:
Under the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, effective control over the entire US financial services industry (including insurance companies, pension funds, securities companies, etc.) had been transferred to a handful of financial conglomerates and their associated hedge funds….

Summers, Geithner, Corzine, Volker, Fischer, Phil Gramm, Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Rubin, not to mention Alan Greenspan, al al. are buddies; they play golf together; they have links to the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg; they act concurrently in accordance with the interests of Wall Street; they meet behind closed doors; they are on the same wave length; they are Democrats and Republicans.

While they may disagree on some issues, they are firmly committed to the Washington-Wall Street Consensus. They are utterly ruthless in their management of economic and financial processes.
There is no question that the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act definitely set the stage for 'Banksters Gone Wild'.  By 2004 there was ample evidence that something was radically wrong although nobody noticed at the time.  Post 2008 financial collapse, every financial journalist was scrambling to figure precisely what happened, why it happened and how it happened.  After all, America is a nation that is supposedly swimming in mountains of legislation fictitiously dubbed 'consumer protection bills' and/or just updating laws to comport with modern financial trends and technology.

In a stunning October, 2008 disclosure, New York Times reporter Stephen Labaton laid out a startling account of a secretive meeting in 2004 that explains all we need to know in a piece titled:

Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt

The piece starts with:
“We have a good deal of comfort about the capital cushions at these firms at the moment.” — Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, March 11, 2008.

Drained of most of its cash three days later, Bear Stearns was forced into a hastily arranged marriage with JPMorgan Chase — backed by a $29 billion taxpayer dowry.

Within six months, other lions of Wall Street would also either disappear or transform themselves to survive the financial maelstrom — Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley converted to commercial banks.

How could Mr. Cox have been so wrong?
Although Latham burns a lot of ink attempting to spin the disaster into some type of a regulatory failure while focusing on the SEC's refusal to adequately police the Banksters, his story unwinds with remarkable facts and clarity, as if Latham himself didn't even want to believe his own story or the horror that were unfolding before his eyes.
...decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004, explain why the problems could spin out of control. The agency’s failure to follow through on those decisions also explains why Washington regulators did not see what was coming.

On that bright spring afternoon, the five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission met in a basement hearing room to consider an urgent plea by the big investment banks.

They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

The five investment banks led the charge, including Goldman Sachs, which was headed by Henry M. Paulson Jr. Two years later, he left to become Treasury secretary.
At this juncture, it's important to understand precisely what the Banksters were demanding at the secret meeting in the basement of the SEC.  Furthermore, it's impossible that Bush and his Administration were not aware of the meeting, who attended the meeting and what the meeting was all about.  Bush and Gang undoubtedly didn't want anybody to know about the meeting.  Congress was not informed.

The Banksters were demanding that they be given a green light to borrow more money and increase leverage so they could gamble on more wild ass investment schemes.

In the post 2008 disaster analysis, Alan Blinder,a former Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman, blamed the SEC for allowing the Banksters to increase their leverage and further stated “Before then, leverage of 12 to 1 was typical; afterward, it shot up to more like 33 to 1. What were the SEC and the heads of the firms thinking?”, here.

That's precisely what happened at the secret 2004 meeting - capital requirements were lowered and Wall Street Banksters were allowed to increase leverage from 12:1 to 33:1 (and even higher).

This is the equivalent of a gambler being up to his eyeballs in casino debt and asking the casino to increase his credit so he can continue gambling in the hope that he might win and wipe out his bankrupting losses.

After the dirty deal was struck to appease the gambling Banksters, SEC Commissioner Roel C. Campos, a former federal prosecutor, said “And I keep my fingers crossed for the future.”

Everybody at that meeting precisely understood the situation. They kept their fingers crossed and the Banksters imploded anyway, along with the global economy.

Latham continues:
With that, the five big independent investment firms were unleashed....

Over the following months and years, each of the firms would take advantage of the looser rules. At Bear Stearns, the leverage ratio — a measurement of how much the firm was borrowing compared to its total assets — rose sharply, to 33 to 1. In other words, for every dollar in equity, it had $33 of debt....
The commission’s decision effectively to outsource its oversight to the firms themselves fit squarely in the broader Washington culture of the last eight years under President Bush.
That's what happens in the District of Crime (DC).  Agencies and Congress Critters routinely outsource power to the very folks an agency is responsible for regulating, which, of course, is why the concept of regulation is a joke.  It's more like a license to steal, concentrate power and legalize monopolies.  Had Wall Street turmoil, fraud, deceit and gambling addiction been allowed to blow up in 2004 when it rightfully should have, we'd still be in a mess but a mess not nearly as big and economically devastating as the mess we are currently enduring.

One thing is clear.  Bush and Gang are clearly responsible for allowing this to happen.  Unquestionably, Bush put the entire nation at grave risk on a gamble he lost.  I'm sure that Bush did the exact same thing the SEC commissioners did - crossed his fingers.

On a more disturbing note, why should any federal agency have the kind of raw and absolute power that allows the SEC to allow the Banksters to bring down an entire nation and the global financial system?

In the District of Crime, Congress Critters and the President are nothing but wholly owned subsidiaries of the Banksters.  Now the suffering taxpayers who are themselves struggling in a Bankster created economic horror are still bailing out the thieving Banksters and their gambling losses.

It's the American way - a nation where crime really does pay.

Audit the Fed - What Next? Here's What You Need to Know.

With Audit the Fed (HR 459) passing in the House on July 25, 2012 with 326 Yeas to 98 Neas, it's on to the Senate where the challenges will be formidable. For starters, the Senate cloture rules requires 60 votes. Presently, the Senate version of Rand Paul's Audit the Fed (S. 202) has 23 co-sponsors (all Republicans) and 3 of those co-sponsors only signed on after it was clear that HR 459 would indeed pass in the House and by a very wide margin. 

Activists are screaming that we should bombard Harry Reid with phone calls. That's a HUGE error in strategy and tactics at this juncture because it will fail. Forget Dingy Harry. We need to first focus on Republican Senators and then Democrat Senators. There are 47 Republican Senators listed below - their names and term expiration. Senators highlighted in yellow are co-sponsors.

AL Sessions      2014
     Shelby          2016
AK Murkowski   2016
AZ Kyl                2012 (retiring)
     McCain         2016
AR Boozman     2016
GA Chambliss   2014
     Isakson         2016
FL Rubio           2016
ID Risch            2014
     Crapo           2016
IL Kirk                2016
IN Lugar            2012 (lost primary)
    Coats            2016
IA Grassley       2016
KS Roberts       2014
     Moran          2016
KY Paul            2016 wrote the bill
     McConnell    2014
LA Vitter            2016
ME Snowe        2012 retiring
      Collins        2014
MA Brown        2012
MS Cochran     2014
      Wicker        2012
MO Blunt          2016
NE Johanns      2014
NV Heller          2012
NH Ayotte         2016
NC Burr            2016
ND Hoeven       2016
OH Portman     2016
OK Coburn        2016
      Inhofe          2014
PA Toomey       2016
SC DeMint        2016
     Graham        2014
SD Thune          2016
TN Corker         2012
      Alexander    2014
TX Cornyn        2014
      Hutchison    2012 retiring
UT Hatch           2012
     Lee               2016
WI Johnson       2016
WY Barrasso     2012
      Enzi             2014

AL, IN, KS and TN all have two Republicans Senators that are not on board.  They need to be pounded into submission, as do all the other Republican Senators who have not yet co-sponsored Audit the Fed.

Only 5 states have both Republican Senators on board:  ID, MS, OK, SC and UT.

 We've got a ton of work to do to get this in the Senate:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

America's War on Poverty - a $15 Trillion Big Fail

In most poor nations, poverty truly is grueling as many attempt to survive at bare subsistence levels; most don't even have access to clean water, running water, electricity or plumbing . In America, those defined as poor get taxpayer funded cellphones and many other perks.

Obama Phone: Gov to Spend $2.4 Billion On Millions of Free Phones In 2012

The government's definition of poverty is quite shocking and is specifically designed to encourage government dependency among folks who are not poor.
The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Fortysix percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a threebedroom house with oneandahalf baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Seventysix percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than twothirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly threequarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars. Ninetyseven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventyeight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Seventythree percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middleclass children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higherincome children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

Source: Understanding Poverty in America
In America we don't help those who are truly poor.  We simply transfer wealth from those who produce to those who refuse to produce because living off somebody else is the American way.

Moreover, much has been reported about how food stamp recipients use their benefits to purchase tattoos, booze, cigarettes, vacations and many restaurants even accept food stamps because the government says that food stamp recipients have the right to dine out. The food stamp program (renamed SNAP) is a giant fraud and the government actually advertises to sign up more folks. Astoundingly, over 45 million Americans are collecting food stamps, hereIn America you can even win a million dollar lottery and collect food stamps.  It's happened, here.

A Michigan woman who won $1 million in the lottery is defending her decision to keep receiving food stamps.

"I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working," Amanda Clayton said.

Clayton won the money last fall and has since paid cash for a new home, and bought a new car.
It's as if Americans no longer even have a conscious, a sense of right and wrong or even a modicum of human decency and morality.  Unfortunately, the government itself is responsible for creating these thieves by encouraging dependency.  Why work if somebody else is going to be robbed at the point of a gun to give a person everything that they could possibly want - cellphones, tattoos, booze, vacations and dining out at the expense of someone who works, pays taxes and probably can't afford to dine out.

The Cato Institute just came out with a study documenting the hugely expensive horrors of the welfare state, here.

The federal government runs 126 separate anti-poverty programs. That may surprise most Americans, who think of welfare as the cash benefits provided under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — formerly Aid to Families with Dependent Children. But the U.S. welfare system is far larger than that.

There are 33 housing programs, for example, run by four different Cabinet departments, including, bizarrely, the Department of Energy. There are 21 programs providing food or food-purchasing assistance. They're administered by three different federal departments and one independent agency. There are eight different health care programs administered by five separate agencies in HHS. Six Cabinet departments and five independent agencies oversee 27 cash or general assistance programs. Altogether, seven different Cabinet departments and six independent agencies each administer at least one anti-poverty program.

All those programs cost taxpayers more than $668 billion last year. That's an increase of more than $193 billion since Barack Obama became president. It's roughly 2½ times greater than any previous increase over a similar time frame in U.S. history and will increase means-tested welfare spending by about 2.4 percent of gross domestic product.

Moreover, if one includes state and local welfare spending, government at all levels will spend more than $952 billion this year to fight poverty.....

Combined with state and local spending, government spends $20,610 for every poor person in America — or $61,830 per poor family of three.

Given that the poverty line for that family is just $18,530, we should have theoretically wiped out poverty in America many times over.
A family of 3 receives $62,000 a year in entitlement freebies! In the last quarter of 2011, median family income in America was $51,413 according to USA Today, here.

Although Republicans their idiotic mouthpieces are now screaming that Obama is the Food Stamp President, the real truth is that food stamp programs were greatly expanded under Bush and the Republicans.

Bush is the REAL Food Stamp President
President Bush dramatically expanded eligibility, restoring benefits to nearly a million individuals at the beginning of 2003, and paving the way for the program to expand as it did during the rest of presidency. As a result, Bush managed to oversee unprecedented growth in the program even as the economy grew. Obama then followed up on this with an eligibility expansion of his own in the 2009 stimulus package.

It’s not unreasonable to criticize Obama for the expansion of the food stamps program under his watch. But Obama's Republican critics shouldn’t forget that it was a GOP president who helped make that expansion possible.
Yes, America is one hideously corrupt cesspool at all levels. However, it requires an immoral and corrupt people to beget an immoral and corrupt government.  In many ways, the government just mirrors the souls of the people.

Gallup: Americans' Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low

It's always music to my ears to hear that mainstream media continues its descent into irrelevancy. The media continues to have profound credibility and trust issues. According to Gallup "Americans' confidence in television news is at a new low..., with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993....."

Americans' Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low

Weirdly, Democrats have the highest level of confidence in TV news at 34% with Independents and Republicans tied at 17%. Print mainstream media performs better with 37% of Democrats approving, 22% of Republicans approving and 20% of Independents approving.

Interestingly, the highest level of confidence in the media is with the least educated folks. The more educated folks are, the less they trust the media. Astoundingly, Gallup appears to be totally puzzled by the lack of confidence in TV news.
It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last.
Fox, MSNBC and CNN all have declining audiences but CNN seems to be taking the biggest hit, here.
CNN bore the brunt of the downward trend the news networks experienced this month and for much of the first quarter, when compared to the busy first few months of 2011. For the month of March, CNN was down -50% in total viewers and down -60% in A25-54 viewers (Total Day). The net was down -21% in Total Viewers and down -26% in A25-54 viewers (Primetime) compared to March 2011. Last March saw the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as the beginning of the allied campaign in Libya.

The ratings for March, 2012:

Primetime (Mon-Sun): 599K Total Viewers / 189K A25-54
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 382K Total Viewers / 117K A25-54 

Compared to Q1 2011, CNN was down -21% in total viewers and down -26% in A25-54 viewers for Total Day viewing and down -5% in both Total Viewers and A25-54 viewers in Primetime. CNN did see slight growth in Primetime (Mon-Fri) due to three GOP debates it carried, topping MSNBC in the demo (Mon-Fri and Mon-Sun).
In a nation of 310 million folks it's quite pathetic that a news giant like CNN only has 599,000 nightly viewers, a situation that hardly constitutes the raw and absolute power to influence anybody.

While Fox has also suffered a decline, Fox is basically GOP TV anyway.  Establishment Republicans will continue to exclusively view Fox (they always do) but Fox also has the oldest viewers and as old Republicans die off, they aren't being replaced with a crop of young folks.  Fox and the GOP have the same problem, namely it can't attract the young which is considered a very critical audience.

Jack Schafer, Reuters, wrote an interesting piece that practically declared cable news a dying media news venue.

The cable news audience has peaked
CNN’s rotten ratings have grown only rottener....

Among those who noticed that cable news was flatlining was the Atlantic Wire’s Uri Friedman, who surveyed analysts for the underlying reasons in a March 2011 post. The consensus view put the onus on the Web: Now when big news breaks, the polled pundits agreed, the curious go to the Web (often via their mobile device) instead of cable news. Outside the Beltway‘s Doug Mataconis speculated that the potential audience for overtly liberal (MSNBC) and overtly conservative (Fox) TV news had maxed out.... Upwards of 90 percent of U.S. households already subscribe to cable or satellite TV, and most carry the news channels, so there are very few eyeballs out there that would like to tune in to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC but can’t.

Fox attempted to expand the market for cable news in 2008, when it started the Fox Business Network to compete with CNBC, but it has not succeeded.
News has definitely moved to the Internet and its extraordinary array of websites and blogs.  Social media is also a huge factor because it's how folks share their Internet finds.  In many ways, it's as if the First Amendment has been reborn by the people and the media is no longer controlled by government and corporate media giants.

Considering the shameless lack of depth, knowledge, integrity and journalistic standards, the death of mainstream media will be a welcome relief.  It's simply outlived its usefulness, not that it was ever useful to begin with.

Let's all applaud the alternative media, the tireless bloggers and those who run websites that are truly packed with relevant and useful information.

The people finally have the power of knowledge.

Government Policy on Forest Fires: Burn Baby, Burn

In the hot, dry and windy western states, forest fires are a hugely destructive and deadly problem. The federal government outright owns 650 million acres of the US landmass or about 30%, including most of the western states.

These lands are controlled and managed by various federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the US Department of Defense, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Bureau of Reclamation or the Tennessee Valley Authority.

If a forest fire breakout in western states, the federal government steps in to manage the situation. Apparently, the government is doing an awful when it comes to putting out forest fires.

In Colorado wildfires, ‘worst in state history’, why won’t the Forest Service use the biggest firefighting tool available?
AP labels the 2012 Colorado wildfires worst in state history....

This year the U.S. Forest Aervice will spend north of a billion dollars fighting forest fires across America. Billions of dollars worth of trees owned by the American people will go up in flames. And a $50 million dollar airplane that could put those fires out faster sits on the ground in Arizona because the U.S. Forest Service refuses to hire Evergreen Aviation. Now you may be saying, “There must be a good reason”. That’s what I thought, but then I remembered that government is capable of multibillion dollar stupidity on a daily basis. The Forest Service offers no explanation whatsoever.

And Evergreen Aviation points out that their 747 supertanker fire fighting plane has been hired by Mexico and Israel to fight fires and earned high marks. It drops ten times as much water as the biggest forest service tanker in use…and does it at half the cost per gallon. It’s big enough and fast enough to cover fires anywhere in America…and the forest service refuses to use it…and it’s your forests that are going up in flames.
While it's hard to believe that readily available firefighting equipment is rejected by the federal government and its crazy bureaucrats, it's shockingly true.

Paul Driessen, who lives in Colorado, is an environmental researcher who writes extensively on various environmental issues. An ardent environmentalist himself, Driessen wrote a book exposing how most environmentalists and government policy decisions harm humanity and the environment, Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. He also recently chirped in on the Colorado wildfires.

Western wildfires – horrific, devastating … and unnecessary
Millions of Americans watched their evening news in horrified fascination.

The Colorado Springs wildfire had doubled in size overnight, to 24 square miles – half the size of San Francisco – as 50-mph gusts carried fiery branches from exploding treetops across fire breaks, down Waldo Canyon and into fresh stands of drought-dried timber. Flames crested the ridge above the beautiful Air Force Academy campus, 346 houses burned, hundreds more faced immolation, and 32,000 people were evacuated, through smoke and ash that turned daytime into a choking night sky.

130 miles north, another monster fire west of Fort Collins consumed 136 square miles of forest and torched 259 homes. By July 4, this year’s Colorado forest fires had devoured 170,000 acres – 265 square miles, nearly five times the size of Washington, DC. Across eleven western states, nearly 2,000,000 acres have already burned this year; imagine all of Delaware and Rhode Island ablaze.

People died. Many homes are now nothing but ashes, chimneys and memories. In the forests, the infernos exterminated wildlife habitats, roasted eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, boiled away trout and trout streams, left surviving birds and mammals to starve for lack of food, and incinerated every living organism in the thin soils, presaging massive erosion that will clog streambeds during downpours and snowmelts. Many areas will not recover their foliage or biodiversity for decades.

Put aside the insanity of letting horse-blindered environmentalists, bureaucrats and judges obstruct even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber or remove trees killed by beetles, after decades of Smoky the Bear management. Forget for a moment that these policies turn forests into closely bunched matchsticks, waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires or arsonists to start conflagrations.

Ignore the guideline that say fires in these areas can be extinguished if they are of human origin (if making that distinction is even possible in the midst of an inferno) – but must be allowed to burn if they are “natural” (caused by lightning, for example), even amid droughts, in the hope that they won’t become raging infernos that threaten homes. Disregard the crazy jurisdictional disputes that prevent aircraft from dropping water on a fire, because the crew cannot tell whether the blaze is on Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service land.

Pay no mind to the fact that these fires emit prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide – along with large quantities of mercury, particulates and other pollutants. (Many rock formations contain mercury; trees absorb it through their roots, and release it into the atmosphere when they burn.)
Driessen's scathing critique of the governments' insane attitudes about forest fires absolutely raises the issue of whether the government should even be the custodian of America's forests given its determination to make bad decisions with dire and deadly consequences.

The government is incapable of competently managing anything which is precisely why public lands need to be privatized to the maximum extent possible, and starting with the federal government deeding its massive real holdings to the states where the people in those states can make the decisions.

What Americans Need to Know About the LIBORgate Scandal

With the breaking of the LIBOR scandal, it is indeed instructive on many levels that a prestigious publication like The Economist would title its magazine cover BANKSTERS, Britain's price-fixing scandal and its global impact. LIBOR is the London Interbank Offered Rate and it's a benchmark for setting interest rates.

Most folks in America are snoozing through LIBORgate. This is a huge mistake because the LIBOR scandal has cost American taxpayers and consumers/borrowers a ton of money. According to The Economist article, the LIBOR rate was used to set interest rates on $800 trillion worth of financial instruments.
LIBOR is used to set an estimated $800 trillion-worth of financial instruments, affecting the price of everything from simple mortgages to interest-rate derivatives. If attempts to manipulate LIBOR were successful—and the regulators think that Barclays did manage it, on occasion—then this would be the biggest securities fraud in history, affecting investors and borrowers around the world. That opens the door to litigation not just by the direct customers of implicated banks, but by anyone with a financial interest in LIBOR. The lawsuits have already begun.
To be sure, $800 trillion is a big pile of debt and financial instruments that will undoubtedly affect just about everyone everywhere that ever borrowed money or otherwise was involved in a financial contract.

More importantly, a ton of US municipal bond debt is also pegged to LIBOR. At this juncture, no one has been able to quantify the monetary value of any of the LIBOR interest rate overcharges but the municipal bond business in the US was quite scandalous and corrupt even before LIBORgate broke.

Municipal Bonds: A license to steal and taxpayers don't even know they are being financially raped

Bloomberg reported in 12/2011 that total outstanding US municipal bond debt was $3.7 trillion, here.
The U.S. municipal-bond market is 28 percent larger than reported in June, according to a quarterly Federal Reserve release, which used new data showing individuals own more state and local-government debt.

The face value of outstanding municipal bonds was $3.7 trillion at the end of September...
I suspect that states, counties and cities are attempting to calculate to what extent they got ripped off in LIBORgate.  If they aren't, they should be.

Interest Rate-Fixing Scandal Swindles Baltimore, Other Municipalities out of Millions of Dollars
In 2011, rate hikes cost DC public transport riders over $109 million, and much of that money is going straight to major Wall Street banks. But only recently have observers begun to find out why.

According to a recent report from the Refund Transit Coalition, more than 100 government units nationwide - transit agencies, pension funds, and municipalities - are currently tied into more than 1,100 different debt-swap-deals with major banks.

And a large portion of those deals pegged the interest rates paid out to public-sector investors to the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. Ongoing investigations into Barclays and other major financial institutions have found that banks conspired to manipulate Libor as far back as 2005, resulting in massive profits for some insider-traders and massive losses for thousands of investors around the world.

The city of Baltimore is taking all 19 of the banks responsible for setting Libor to court, alleging that the suppression of Libor lost the city millions on its debt-swapping agreements.
What we actually know about the extent of the LIBORgate fraud is barely the tip of the iceberg or probably more like the head of a straight pin.

LIBORgate is HUGE and it's not likely that any government body can cover it up because civil lawsuits alleging outright fraud will be flying fast and furious.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time to End the Bread and Circus Olympics - They Are Inhumane and Huge Taxpayer Ripoffs

Publicly subsidized sports are always huge taxpayer ripoffs. The Olympics are no exception and it's a very expensive show.

Why does anyone persist with the Greek mythology that the Olympics are an engine of economic development, sportsmanship, or peace on earth? London is spending $15 billion on the hope that it can sell enough tickets to synchronized swimming, and earn enough from television ads, to cover the costs of the 30,000 rent-a-cops and military personnel being deployed in the spirit of Olympic harmony.

Even though the Games break few economic records, except those for non-performing sovereign debts, governments around the world scramble madly every four years for the right to act as host, as if influence peddling were an Olympic sport.

The original cost estimate, sold to the British public to convince them to get behind the bid for the 2012 Games, was about $4 billion. Those budget forecasts imagined that, after the event, Olympic sites would be recycled for use as schools, homes for the aged, and handicapped parking, even though earlier Olympic cities have found little use for their table tennis stadiums and aquatic centers.
Gary North provided more information on the amount of the taxpayer subsidies for the Olympics.

London Olympics’ Cost: 2012 vs. 1948
The cost of the 2012 Olympics will be at least £9.3 billion, or $14.5 billion. (1 pound = $1.56)

Originally, money from the private sector was to pay for the games, but as the 2008 financial crisis took hold the Olympic project was bailed out costing the British tax payer £5.9bn.

The latest government report has the cost of the games on target at £9.298bn of public sector funding package. However a recent public accounts committee report warned the full cost of the games could amount to about £11bn.
The security costs are quite astronomical and it's unclear if the massive security for the events are even calculated in the cost. Furthermore, the athletes are treated like pampered Hollywood royalty and celebrities.

It's even been speculated that the Athens Olympics help to expedite the Greek financial crisis, not that the Greeks aren't perfectly capable of bankrupting themselves without the Olympics. Despite spending gobs of money on the 2004 Olympics that Greece didn't have, there was no economic miracle resulting from the Olympics as predicted by the politicos.

Did the Olympics Break the Greek Government?
Greece's federal government had historically been a profligate spender, but in order to join the euro currency zone, the government was forced to adopt austerity measures that reduced deficits from just over 9% of GDP in 1994 to just 3.1% of GDP in 1999, the year before Greece joined the euro.

But the Olympics broke the bank. Government deficits rose every year after 1999, peaking at 7.5% of GDP in 2004, the year of the Olympics, thanks in large part to the 9 billion euro price tag for the Games. For a relatively small country like Greece, the cost of hosting the Games equaled roughly 5% of the annual GDP of the country.

Of course, the Olympics didn't usher in an economic boom. Indeed, in 2005 Greece suffered an Olympic-sized hangover with GDP growth falling to its lowest level in a decade.
The Olympics are nothing but a taxpayer subsidized party for the elites, the rich, the politicos, corporate CEO's and celebrities of all stripes.

But there is a mournful, deplorable and immoral human cost that is the real face of the Olympics. Poor folks are being forced out of their homes and entire neighborhoods are being bulldozed.

Brazil is hosting the 2016 Olympics as well as the 2012 World Cup. To construct 5 star accommodations to entertain and house the wealthy, Brazil is literally emptying out entire neighborhoods.

Brazilians face evictions over preparations for Olympics, World Cup
Rio de Janeiro is giving the stadium's neighborhood a $63.2 million facelift as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Maracana will be the jewel crowning both events, with the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and the final World Cup matches held within its storied blue and gray walls.

The shantytown where Santos has lived with his family for 19 years, known as Favela do Metro, does not fit in that picture. It's being bulldozed; hundreds of families have been bought out as part of a "revitalization" process for the big events and the hordes of foreigners they will draw.

"They're destroying our neighborhood for a game," Santos said, standing in the convenience store and bar he runs in the front of his family's house.

All across Rio, people are being pushed out of their homes in dozens of communities like Metro to make way for new roads, Olympic venues and other projects.
In China, USA Today reported that a staggering 1.5 million folks were displaced for the Beijing Olympics, here.

Not only are poor folks kicked out of their homes so the rich can have a gargantuan 2 week playpen every 4 years, taxpayer are forced to subsidize these hideous events.

Massive human relocation at the point of a gun and extraordinary public expenditures cannot possibly justify such an egregious abuse of humanity and taxpayer cash.

Unbelievable! Taxpayers Paid for the Batman Shooting! The Government Gave the Shooter a $26,000 Cash Grant on Top of Paid Tuition

Your tax dollars at work funding a genocidal maniac! The Batman shooter got a $26,000 cash grant from the government, in addition to having his tuition paid by the government.
James Holmes, the alleged gunman in the recent theater shooting that left 12 dead in Aurora, Colo., was previously awarded a $26,000 federal grant.
WNEW News reports that Holmes was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It gave the graduate student a $26,000 stipend and paid his tuition for the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado in Denver.
Read the rest here
More information on the Aurora shooter.

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