Saturday, December 31, 2005

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Special thanks to vper1. I don't know what I'd do without you!

To my other fabulous co-contributors, thanks a lot for your contributions; you give meaning to every blog.

To readers who have been around for a while, thanks for a great last quarter of 2005 (it's only been just over two months); you make blogging everyday worthwhile.

To new readers and passersby, thanks for dropping in; you make every blog a new adventure!

I hope to see you all again in 2006!

My 2006 new year's resolution:

Or, as close to it as humanly possible.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

Econo 101


Biggest Whopper of 2005:
"In Greenspan's reign, the U.S. achieved what prior generations of economists thought impossible: low inflation and steady growth."
Biggest Understatement:
"Greenspan won the admiration of presidents, Wall Street and central banks around the world."

Federal Reserve Video

"Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson understood "The Monster". But to most Americans today, Federal Reserve is just a name on the dollar bill. They have no idea of what the central bank does to the economy, or to their own economic lives; of how and why it was founded and operates; or of the sound money and banking that could end the statism, inflation, and business cycles that the Fed generates.

...

Alan Greenspan is not, we're told, happy about this 42-minute blockbuster. Watch it, and you'll understand why. This is economics and history as they are meant to be: fascinating, informative, and motivating. This movie could change America."
Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve

  Friday, December 30, 2005

Bank and Bust

On 22 July 1999 Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute gave testimony on the US Trade Deficit before The Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade. The published document was subtitled Are We Trading Away Our Future?

In his concluding section on policy recommendations he notes that although “U.S. workers have been hurt by globalization, U.S. multinational businesses have prospered. The soaring prices of U.S. stocks reflect the renewed worldwide dominance of U.S. companies.” He attributes US corporate dominance to aggressive overseas investment and outsourcing backed by US trade policy: i.e. the government, which he apparently regards as a success.

At the same time he is worried about how the “U.S. has suffered a declining share of world production and trade over the past four decades. In 1970, the U.S. produced 18% of world exports, but by 1998 the use share had declined to less than 14%,” which only seems confused unless you see that the US corporate dominance he extols above is the actual cause. That dominance was bought with outsourcing: “soaring prices of U.S. stocks reflect the renewed worldwide dominance of U.S. companies.” Homegrown manufacture falls, stocks rise, dominance ensured.

Then he goes on to find fault with the decline in US export. Imagine. He states: “Mexico now exports more cars to the U.S. than the U.S. exports to the rest of the world. And Mexico's largest exporter is,” guess who? “Daimler-Chrysler.” Remember this the next time you hear talk of US trade deficits: A US company is probably behind it. In Daimler-Chrysler’s case especially if talk is about Germany, as Scott’s charts show.

To round up, read the September 6, 2004 article A Long Term US Deficit by Robert J. Chassell of rattlesnake.com. He begins: “On a recent trip, someone asked me the long term consequences of current United States deficits. I probably spoke too long; but my key point was that current deficits make no rational sense unless you expect to abandon the United States in a generation. However they make excellent sense for individuals who plan to cash out within 10 or 20 years and desert the country.” And guess what? They, the multinationals, they’ve already left. They’re gone.

So ask yourself, Who’s “trading away our future?”

our dollar on STEROIDS

Earlier this year, there was a congressional hearing on the use of steriods in baseball. But, no one in Congress seems to give a damn that our national currency is on steriods:
The dollar had a shot in the arm this year from a steady stream of U.S. interest rate rises. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates for a 14th straight meeting in January, taking its key rate to 4.5%, and more rises are seen possible.
The implication confirms my earlier assessment that our national deficit is on steriods and the money market is like OTB.
In midafternoon trading, the euro was off against the dollar at $1.1823, down 0.1% from late Thursday.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar is poised for its strongest year since 1997.

If it made a convincing break above 91.50, the dollar index would close 2005 with its highest annual percentage gain since 1984.
But when the horse doesn't perform, instead of injecting the horse with steriods as you would in horse racing, the dollar gets "a shot in the arm." The horse (us) is simply whipped harder to chase after fewer carrots (dollars).

[A]fter a three-year, 30% decline driven by worries [that] the United States [could not] finance its growing trade deficit.

The greenback [rebounded when the Fed] raised official interest rates 13 times since June 2004.
But of course, this strategy cannot last because the horse will eventually drop dead.
Currency strategists at UBS expect . . . dollar weakness to resume later in 2006, as the Fed cycle comes to a conclusive end and carry differentials begin to erode.
I say, what's good for the goose is good for the gander; it's high time for a congressional hearing into the use of steroids in the money market.

Now it all makes sense!

Fed = Fooling Everybody Daily
IMF = International Monetary Fraud
WTO = We Take Over
Credit = Can't repay, everybody defaults, incredible trauma

Doc
www.bigsecrets.cc

  Thursday, December 29, 2005

media massages greenspan's legacy

Greenspan is on his way out and his comrades are paying him cautious tribute.
"Deficits 'could' harm Greenspan's legacy"
IMHO, Greenspan's legacy cannot possibly get worse.
"He has guided the responses to the stock market crash of 1987, the emerging market crisis of the 1990s, the dotcom bubble of 2000 and the 9/11 attacks."
Drop "the responses to" from that statement and it would be accurate.
His wife says, "[Greenspan's] going to write. He has many ideas about how economies work and free markets."
Could've fooled me.
"Mr Greenspan himself has not given a broadcast interview since 1987, the year he took over at the Federal Reserve."
That's because he can't lie with a straight face.
Just two months into the job, he faced the stock market crash of 1987.
Coincidence? I don't think so.
[The Federal Reserve works] in calming the nerves of banks and securities dealers...Greenspan [is] a master craftsman, the central banker's central banker."
Funny, I thought he was appointed to serve the interests of the American economy, as a whole.
Mr Greenspan [pioneered] an insight into new forces changing the US economy: the rise in productivity. American workers, backed by the resources of the information technology revolution, were producing goods and services much more efficiently than before.
Of course Greenspan, always one step ahead of labor, increased interest rates, so that only central bankers would benefit from increased productivity.
[Finally,] Greenspan's support for the tax cuts of President George W Bush in 2001 . . . is faulted by Greenspan critics [as exacerbating the deficit]. . . even though the fiscal deficit and balance of payments are not his direct responsibility.
Not his responsbility?!! Not his responsbility?!!

Who in the hell wrote this review?!!
The former "deputy governor of the Bank of England," who also happens to serve on the board of Morgan Stanley.
Birds of a feather.

Calling All Bloggers

From Blair Watch:
Craig Murray was the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, untill his complaints and protest at the use of intelligence gained by torture got too much for Jack Straw and the Foreign Office, who set about attempting to unsuccessfully smear him, and to successfully remove him from office.

The Foreign Office has had the draft of Craig's book for clearance for over 3 months now, and they are doing everything they can to try and prevent him from publishing his side of the story. Their latest attempt to cover their own backs was to inform him, the night before Christmas Eve, that these two documents cannot be published, and that he was to return or destroy all copies immediately.

The UK government has been quick to deny that we practice, or tolerate the practice of Torture. So it is perhaps not suprising that they are determined that you should not see the following documents:

The first document is a series of Telegrams that Craig sent to the Foreign Office, outlining his growing concern and disgust at our use of intelligence passed to the UK by the Uzbek security services.

The second document is a copy of legal advice the Foreign Office sought, to see if they were operating within the Law in accepting torture intelligence, and according to Michael Wood the FCO legal adviser; it is fine, as long as it is not used as evidence.
...PDF will be mirrored shortly. In the meantime here are some related links:
Polizeros
Craig Murray (link is dead at the moment)

TWINS!



"School districts say they need the money, but critics say these advertising messages are the last things youngsters need. The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith spoke to representatives on both sides."

Related article: Commercial Alert

  Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Spoils of War


Following up on qrswave’s December 26th post Birds of a Feather, which I’ve only just read, I remembered who had been awarded the "Nobel" Prize in Economics this year: Robert Aumann and Thomas Schelling.

In a Slate article on Schelling, Fred Kaplan, quoting from Schelling’s book Arms and Influence, wrote:
“War is always a bargaining process,” and one must wage it in a way to maximize “the bargaining power that comes from the capacity to hurt,” to cause “sheer pain and damage,” because they are “the primary instruments of coercive warfare.”
This year’s award prompted “A group of Israeli intellectuals and activists” to demand “that the Nobel Prize committee withdraw the award for economics to be made today to an Israeli mathematician and his American colleague on the grounds that they are ‘warmongers.’

They signed this petition, stating:
Schelling’s theory encourages the coercive use of military force, used to induce desired behavior in an adversary, rather than simply to destroy the enemy’s military capacity. His ideas were the direct inspiration for US strategy in Vietnam, of indiscriminately bombing the North in order to persuade Ho Chi Minh to stop supporting the Vietcong in the South… This strategy resulted in 2 million civilian deaths and was a complete failure in realizing its objectives.

Aumann uses his analysis to justify the Israeli Occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians. Neither of these individuals has contributed anything that improves the human condition; rather, they have contributed to the misery of millions.
In an October 2005 post on this same subject titled The Nobel Game: what is the score? Sol Salbe wrote:
Of course receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is no proof of being commendable or, for that matter, making a great contribution for peace. Think of Henry Kissinger, described by Christopher Hitchens as a war criminal. My favorite anecdote relates to another such “worthy” recipient, Menachem Begin who was Prime Minister when Ariel Sharon orchestrated the 1982 Lebanon War in which ten of thousands of innocent Lebanese and Palestinians (and quite a few Israeli soldiers) died. The anecdote concerns the head of Physics in Israel’s Technion who nominated Begin for the Nobel Prize in physics on the ground that his contribution to physics… was about the same as his contribution to peace!
It seems the head of Technion was not far off in his assessment of the Nobel criteria. These two have contributed about as much to economics as they have to peace: Nada.

UPDATE: Reading through and checking this post a passage from one of my favorite booklong poems came to mind. Thought I’d share it.
What we commit to memory
Should be worth the attention of our descendants
– such as the fact that after Nong Khai was bombed
by the United States Air Force a pregnant woman
who had been gravely injured was offered $20
by the American government. Do you understand?
Points for a Compass Rose by Evan S. Conell.

Creditors get wooed; NYC workers, commuters get SHAFT

I can't help but marvel at the stark difference between how our governments, state and federal alike, treat bondholders and creditors and how they treat laborers.
For example, late Tuesday night, "the TWU executive board voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new three-year contract [that] if approved by the rank and file, will end a labor struggle that led to the city’s first transit strike in 25 years."
Some of these guys have been going with the program for 25 years! without taking a stand. And you know it's not because they got everything they wanted over the years--proof that working class Americans are content with the simple things in life.

In contrast, during the last 18 months alone, Greenspan handed creditors untold fortunes by lifting interest rates 13 times to a four-year high. And, creditors didn't even have to ask! (Though, it's possible that they did and that Greenspan obliged.)

What did transit workers have to suffer to get "a three-year deal that would give [them] 10.5 percent in raises over the life of the contract?" They were maligned by city and state officials, scorned by the media and commuters alike, threatened with incarceration, and fined six days pay! WOW, what a deal!

Creditors are not only spared this indignation, but they lounge in the lap of luxury, greeted at every turn with irresistable lending opportunities.

Meanwhile, though under "the proposed [union] contract . . . new workers [are not required] to put money toward their pensions . . . employees [must] contribute 1.5 percent annually to their health plans." Some deal! If that 1.5% happens to be higher than the 3 or so percent annual raise after discounting annual inflation, transit workers get the SHAFT.

And for what? All because the MTA demanded various cuts in pension benefits for newly-hired workers, wanted to raise the retirement age for current workers to 62 from 55, and was apparently reluctant to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a company holiday. Mercy!

The MTA knew that they could concede these issues; they were just playing political HARDball.

After all, the concessions are a great prelude to increased fares in the spring and "[e]ventually [commuters] will end up paying for it,” said one straphanger.

“I think so, because that's just the way it is. In New York, it's like that." Creditors get wooed, while workers and commuters get the SHAFT.

The TRUTH about Christmas

Here is a link to an article titled The History of Christmas
Christmas began about 4000 years ago, despite the fact it's only been about 2000 years since the birth of Jesus.

For those who complain that America is trying to take the "Christ" out of Christmas, remember that the Christians borrowed the holiday from the pagans, and they seemed plenty willing to share.

The first known Christmas can be blamed on the early Mesopotamians who celebrated a 12 day new year around the winter solstice (the 12 Days of Christmas). Their chief god, Marduk, was set for his annual battle against the forces of chaos (the forces that were making the sunlight dwindle), and the Mesopotamian King was supposed to be killed to go fight at Marduk's side.

Seeing how hard it is to get a good king, however, they tried to pull a fast one on their god; they found a prisoner already condemned to death, and let him spend a day as the king. He got all the king's treats, clothes, and respect. Then at the end of the day he was stripped and slain so he could go fight at the shoulder of god.

This worked out well for the king, who got to live, and the prisoner, who at least had a nice day out of the dungeons before he was killed...

In GOD we TRUST - all others pay cash

I don't know anyone who hasn't heard the phrase before. Indeed, everyone seems to live by it. But, have you ever considered what it means?

More often than not, people invest with money; the stock market does not accept bread or building material or rice (remember, In God we trust, all others pay cash);

People who do not have access to money (e.g., farmers, bakers, carpenters) must work in order to acquire money to invest elsewhere.

Now, they will not work unless they get paid money. They too do not accept bread or building materials or rice (again, In God we trust, all others pay cash).

Apparently, it's not GOD we TRUST - but the CASH!

But, WHY do we trust the CASH?

Do we know:
  1. what exactly 'money' is?
  2. who controls it?
  3. and, how it is issued?
Answer Key: (1) an IOU; (2) Private Banks; (3) by Fractional Reserve at Interest.

So, tell me again, why do we trust the CASH?
Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce. --President James A. Garfield
As I (and many others) have already demonstrated, an interest-based, fractional reserve monetary system is mathematically impossible to sustain—making it completely without redemption.

As long as our money is treated by private bankers as a commodity leveraged to enrich themselves, rather than a tool to benefit the public as it is supposed to be, all the prudent investing and economic efficiency in the world will not avail us.

To rid ourselves of our misery we must abandon our blind trust in a corrupt, private, interest-based monetary system and restore our trust to where it belongs--in GOD and eachother, as EQUALS.

POVERTY amidst PLENTY



If asked to account for the paradox of 'Poverty amidst Plenty' with one word, it would have to be TRUST.

The word TRUST has two principal definitions and ironically both are at the heart of America's problems, today.
Definition 1
A legal arrangement in which an individual (the trustor) gives fiduciary control of property to a person or institution (the trustee) for the benefit of beneficiaries.

Definition 2
A monopolistic corporation, prior to the enactment of antitrust laws.
The monopoly of our monetary system provides an example for both the first and the second definition of TRUST.

Under the first, the Federal Reserve System is the 'trustee,' the American people are the 'trustors' and our money supply is the 'property' or 'trust.' Notwithstanding the declaration "In God We Trust" on the back of the Federal Reserve Note, in fact, when we exchange that note for our labor, it is in the Federal Reserve System that we put our trust.

Under the second definition, the Federal Reserve System is also a monopolistic corporation. But unlike other monopolies, the antitrust laws which were first enacted in 1890 to eliminate monopolies (a.k.a. trusts), do not apply to the Federal Reserve.

But, the Federal Reserve is not alone in the immunity it enjoys from antitrust laws. Under the patent and copyright clause of the United States Constitution, patent and copyright holders also enjoy, with few exceptions, categorical immunity from antitrust laws.

The TRUTH is that these government granted monopolies are to blame for the constant struggle working Americans have faced over the centuries.
[w]e have increased the risk of inflation in a world beset by deflationary forces. Quite an achievement. Quite a paradox, too.
From money to information to technology, government granted monopolies have succeeded in maintaining constant inflation despite the deflationary forces that accompany advances in knowledge, technology, and industrialization.

In other words, through government granted monopolies a privileged few have been the principal benefactors of human progress and economy.

Our only hope is to recognize the problem, eliminate the monopolies, and place our TRUST where it belongs--in GOD and eachother, as EQUALS.

  Tuesday, December 27, 2005

International Racketeering

Imagine a bank lending you money created out of nothing, charging interest for the loan, and then to top it all off sells you "payment protection insurance," feeding on your fear of not being able to repay the loan? Is this in your interest?

It's the great protection racket. Banks have been selling over-priced payment protection insurance often to people who will never even be able to claim on it, according to an alarming new report from Citizens Advice this week. The charity wants the Office of Fair Trading, the government's chief consumer watchdog, to investigate why the insurance can add £2,100 to the cost of repaying a £7,500 loan and yet as few as five in every 100 buyers ever makes a claim.

Citizens Advice said its study showed finance companies were continuing to mis-sell the insurance to cover repayments on personal loans, mortgages and credit cards. It said payment protection insurance was, in many cases, "more about providing an additional source of profit for the financial industry than about protecting consumers."

Simon Burgess, of insurance broker Burgesses, says he knows why the banks have got away with it for so long. "They continue to profiteer from selling this product and people are paying a heavy price…


Story linked here.

And in case you were thinking: Oh, but that's in England, not the US. Think again, again, again.

Seasons Greetings From Delphi Corporation

by Russ Janneck
Stevie Miller’s Coming to Town
(sung to Santa Claus is Coming to Town)
He’s making a list,

Closing those plants,

He’s firing all the uncles and aunts,

Stevie Miller’s coming to town.

He knows when you are sleeping,

He knows when you’re on break,

He knows if you are goofing off,

So you had best make rate.

Oh, you’d better not walk

Out on a strike,

Pretty soon you’ll be peddling a bike,

Stevie Miller’s coming to town.
Miller The Slash And Burn Man
(sung to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer)
Miller the slash and burn man,

Had a very shiny car,

And if he parked in our lot,

You know it wouldn’t get too far.

All of the hourly employees,

Swore at him and called him names,

They knew that Stevie Miller,

Was playing a nasty game.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,

Stevie came to say,

Although I know that it’s not right,

I’m cutting pay two-thirds tonight.

Then all the employees loathed him,

Sneered at him and cast the blame.

All of then knew poor Delphi,

Couldn’t ever be the same.
Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy
(sung to Oh, Christmas Tree)
Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

The only choice, why can’t you see.

You’ll have to take a cut in pay,

Your benefits have seen their day.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

It is the only way you see.

My corporate pals, they stand to win,

Over ninety mil, it’s not a sin.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

It is the only way to be.

You will most likely sell your house,

Not to mention divorce your spouse.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

It’s the solution don’t you see.

I need to buy a vacation home,

Perhaps some hair for my chrome dome.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

It is sure the best for me.

You hourly scum can’t appreciate,

The wealth I will appropriate.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

Just ask the steel industry.

GM and Ford will go away,

I want a Lexus anyway.

Oh Bankruptcy, Oh Bankruptcy,

It is the answer I can see.
What The Hell
(sung to Jingle Bells)
Stevie’s slashing through the dough,

He’s cutting all our pay,

Benefits will go,

And execs are laughing all the way – ha ha ha.

Their wallets filling up,

Accounts are on the rise,

Portfolios will grow, to an astounding size.

Oh, what the hell,

Might as well,

Slice employee pay,

All the great publicity,

Is making Stevie’s day.

Employee poverty is what we see ahead,

We’ll work our fingers to the bone,

And then we’ll end up…dead.
Brilliant! (BTW, Steve Miller is Delphi's CEO)

For more lyrics by Russ, visit Future of the Union.

Three Ways to Success

There are only three paths to financial success in life:

  1. Do what nobody else can do.
  2. Do what nobody else will do.
  3. Do what nobody else can or will do.
A good example of doing what nobody else can do is Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby is a very talented actor and comedian. Sure, there are other actors and comedians that are very gifted, but nobody does Bill Cosby like Bill Cosby. If you tried to replace him with another talented black actor and comedian like Eddie Murphy, the results would not be the same, and that is why Bill Cosby is so successful.

A lot of people do what nobody else will do. Garbage collectors are one, and plumbers are another. Both perform a function that is valuable, but which most people find unappealing. At the other end of the scale is surgeons. Most people cannot imagine cutting people for a living, so skilled surgeons are very well paid. If you can find a job which nobody else will do, you will always have work, and you will be well paid.

Assassins combine the two ideas, and do what nobody else can or will do. It may sound easy on the surface, but any detective will tell you that murder is the easiest crime to commit, and the hardest to get away with. If you are able to get away with it, then you can command a high price. Also, because of moral beliefs, or fear of consequences, few people are willing to be an assassin. I am certainly not recommending that you take up this calling, but it is a good example of the concept.

So there you have it. There are only three basic paths to financial success. If you doubt this truth, consider the opposite of these three examples as proof. If you do what anybody else can do, you can be replaced, and you will be paid less. If you do what anybody else will do, the same thing applies. If you do what anybody else can and will do, then you are very replaceable, and your success will be very limited as well.

Read more at www.bigsecrets.cc/money.htm

    The New Year Coming Apace

    JON RAPPOPORT

    It has been a year of many whirlwinds. And out we come, into 2006.

    With what convictions, what decisions, what insight?

    All along, there is a star.

    It is imagination. Never decaying, never dying, never at a loss. It waits by the door for us. It doesn't traffic in ordinary emotions. It seeks the great adventure.

    Earth culture, such as it is, looks elsewhere for answers. It makes a very precise tour of battlements, confusions, and foggy comforts. It tiptoes past the attractions of imagination with averted eyes.

    The soul avoiding itself...

    In the New Year, may you discover the present that wasn't under the tree. May you hitch up your wagon and take to the air. May you outdistance every effort by the "sympathetic elite" to tie you down to stultifying consensus.

    May you invent, create, improvise with great power.

    My New Year's wish.

    Sophie's Choice

    Choosing between socialism and fascism is like choosing between death by lethal injection, or by guillotine.
    Andrei Illarionov, [an] outspoken economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin [has] become increasingly critical of a return to inefficient state control of the economy has offered his resignation
    He leans towards guillotine. But not for him, of course; government officials, especially economists, are always spared.
    Illarionov, 44, a free-market economist who worked in the Russian government in the early 1990s . . . lambasted the effective nationalization of the Yukos oil empire of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2004 as the "swindle of the year."
    Who is Khodorkovsky?
    "Russia's wealthiest man, [Khodorkovsky] made his first fortunes in banking."
    Surprise, surprise.

    What's the US position on Khodorkovsky? Let's just say they aren't thrilled.
    Illarionov insists that "state corporations, [although] they are public in name and status, are managed above all for their own personal interests."

    Last week, Russia's biggest carmaker, Avtovaz, elected a new board with top managers representing the state, cementing control of a key company after parallel moves to increase the state's hold on [energy].

    Russia . . . now controls around 30 percent of the national oil industry.

    In December 2004, the biggest oil fields [Yukos]. . . were transferred to the state to reclaim billions in disputed tax bills, and this year, the giant gas monopoly Gazprom bought the privately held OAO Sibneft oil company. [yikes! sounds like a mix of socialism AND fascism.]

    Illarionov said last week that after state-owned [takeover of] Yukos' main subsidiary . . . the unit's revenues dropped and costs soared.
    So, which do you prefer, lethal injection or guillotine?

    The Origins of Fractional Reserve Banking

    In XVIth century England people who had gold would deposit it with goldsmiths for safekeeping. In exchange they got a signed receipt guaranteeing that they could retrieve it. The value assigned to that note backed by the gold in the goldsmith’s vault made it possible for one to use it in payment.

    That means if A deposited £10 worth of gold and had in his possession a receipt he could settle his debt with it. That receipt, actually a promissory note, became money. The person who took it in payment could either use it as is, or at some later point retrieve the gold in the goldsmith’s keeping.

    At the same time B borrows £10 worth of gold from the goldsmith but receives a promissory note. He settles his debt to C with that note. Now there are two notes in circulation for one amount of gold. The goldsmith being smart realizes that these notes can actually be in circulation for quite some time, several years even. He issues further notes knowing that all claims would not have to be honored at the same time.

    According to contemporary economical calculations he can safely lend at least ten times the amounts deposited. If there is a run of two or more people who suddenly wish to retrieve their gold he can also rely on the fact that he has debtors who owe him gold, although they originally received nothing but a piece of paper. They have to pay him in gold. And should they default he could seize whatever possessions they had, sell these, buy gold and settle the claims. I might add that the goldsmith of course lent out promissory notes for non-existent gold at interest.

    Today’s banks do the same:
    “Because of the ‘fractional’ reserve system, banks, as a whole, can expand our money supply several times, by making loans and investments”
    (Federal Reserve Bank, New York: The Story of Banks, p.5).

    Simply put every loan given is a deposit. You go to the bank, ask for a loan of say $1000 and they open and account for you to that amount. If you ask for it in cash to settle a debt someone else will eventually deposit that amount. You of course still owe your bank that money, which was created out of nothing the moment you opened your mouth. The money created is debt to which they add interest.

    It’s a scam. But, does it bother you?

      Monday, December 26, 2005

    BIRDS of a feather

    They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps.

    The Fifth Economic Summit at the University of Warwick will be held in February of 2006. For those who remember the movie "A Beatiful Mind," Economics Nobel prizewinner John F. Nash Jr. addressed last year's Summit.

    Summit organizers, economics students at Warwick, invited the following speakers for the 2006 Summit:
    • Prof. Norbert Walter, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank Research and Chief Economist, DB Group
    • Joaquin Almunia, EU Commissioner for Monetary and Economic Affairs, Brussels
    • Prof. Charles Bean, Executive Director and Chief Economist, Bank of England
    • Prof. Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization)
    • Prof. Paul De Grauwe, renowned global economist, regular FT columnist, Economic Policy Adviser to EU President
    • Vincent Cable MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liberal Democrats
    • David Willetts MP, Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, Conservative Party
    • C.C. Edordu, President, African Export and Import Bank.
    • David Dodge, Govenor, Bank of Canada
    Hmmm, I wonder what these people have in common.

    What are the issues?
    • The emergence of China and India as economic powerhouses.
    • The effect of soaring oil prices
    • The progress (or lack thereof) on the global effort to end poverty
    Abolishing INTEREST and fractional reserve banking is conspicuously not on their agenda.

    Who sponsors the Summit? Surprise, surprise.
    UBS and Bloomberg.
    And remind me, what kind of "Nobel" prize did John Nash Jr. win? The one that's sponsored by the Bank of Sweden.
    The award was instituted by [the world's oldest central bank] at its 300th anniversary in 1968.

    [It is] NOT one of the awards established in the will of Alfred Nobel.
    Nash was awarded the prize for his work on game theory.

    They are the players, we are the goods.

    [image yendor.com]

    a Christmas tragedy...

    Nathan Cheatham died [Christmas day] after turning the gun on himself at a house in Great Falls [Virginia].

    Also found dead at the scene were Janina Price, her son Adam and family friend Chris Burrow.

    Cheatham's mother, Sheila, was found dead in the driveway of her home, where her son also lived, in McLean.

    Cheatham had a relationship with the Price family . . . [that lasted] several years.

    Cheatham fired off over 50 rounds [and shot the Price family dog three times before it ended.]

    We do not know what motivated him to go up there and do what he did, [said the police of Cheatham.]

    I have no idea either, but I'm going to speculate.

    These are all facts. It's Christmas day, a time for love and happiness shared with family and friends, also a time of gift-giving for those who can afford it. Nathan is not wealthy since he lives in an apartment at his mother's house. The Prices are well to do. They live in an affluent neighborhood.

    These are all questions. Was Nathan on drugs? Did he have a romantic relationship with Janina Price that turned sour? Was Chris Burrow her new lover? Did Nathan blame his mother for his woes? Did he blame himself? We can only speculate.

    But, Nathan killed everyone and he killed himself, too. Clearly, Nathan did not value life. But, did he value money? I will venture to say that he did.

    Nathan probably valued money more than he valued life. And many people share that value system today, though maybe not as dramatically as Nathan and others who commit heinous acts of violence against others and against themselves.

    Do I know exactly why Nathan did what he did? No. But, instinct and experience tell me it had something to do with how he felt about himself in relation to money.

    There is something seriously wrong with a society when its people kill themselves and the closest persons to them on days when they are supposed to rejoice in the blessings of life, love, family, and friends.

    Feudalism aka American Capitalism

    Excerpt:
    You are reading this online, so I won't waste your time.

    The aim of the book is to provide enough shocking facts about the manipulative practices of America's power elite, that readers will be motivated (i.e., made angry enough) to take part in efforts to bring the richest 1% under control, ...before they impoverish the planet and destroy the biosphere.
    Feudalism aka American Capitalism

    taking OPM to new heights

    Money markets give new meaning to the phrase 'making money off other people's money.'
    The dollar gained on speculation an economic report tomorrow will show the confidence of U.S. consumers rose for a second month, giving the Federal Reserve greater cause to keep lifting interest rates next year.
    Forgive me that I can't understand why consumer "confidence" should be followed by rising interest rates.

    Is it to tame the shrew; or exploit the masses?
    The U.S. currency has gained about 14 percent versus the euro and yen in 2005 as the Fed raised its key borrowing cost eight times, widening the rate gap with Japan and Europe. The dollar on Dec. 23 completed its biggest weekly rally in seven against the euro after a report showed housing starts surged.
    This aggregate gain in the dollar against the yen and euro is notwithstanding the nose dive the dollar took the week before Christmas.

    But, let me get this straight, "housing starts surged?" Last I heard, new home sales were down 11%. But assuming they did surge, why does the dollar rally?

    Let's examine the facts.

    When housing starts surge, it usually indicates an increase in prices and people borrow more to pay for those new houses. When people borrow more, if interest rates are higher, mortgage bankers make more, and so on and so forth.

    So, what's wrong with that, you ask? It's a win-win situation.

    Trouble is, not only are increases in real estate prices illusions, but when interest rates increase, the debt-saddled homeowner is stuck with much higher expenses in an economy whose money supply is contracting.

    That is NOT win-win. Not only is the borrower destroyed, while the lender is enriched, but there is a direct causal relationship between the lender's enrichment and the borrower's destruction.

    Parasitoids differ from parasites in their relationship with the host. In a truly parasitic relationship, the parasite and host live side by side with little or no damage to the host organism while the parasite takes enough nutrients to live on and reproduce without draining the host's reserves.

    In a parasitoid relationship, the host is usually killed after the full development of the other organism. This type of relationship seems to occur only in organisms that have fast reproduction rates.

    The borrower is the host, and pseudo-money at INTEREST is the parasitoid.

    (Pseudo-money is credit based on fractional reserves. In practice, pseudo-money performs just like bills, only it costs those who issue it virtually nothing to create--or destroy, and they do so at whim.)

    So, how fast does pseudo-money at interest multiply?

    Based on interest and compound interest, our money doubles at regular intervals, [and] follows an exponential growth pattern: at 3% compound interest it takes 24 years; at 6% it takes 12 years; at 12% 6 years.

    One penny invested at 5% interest in the year 0 [zero] would be worth 134 billion balls of gold of the weight of the earth in 1990, at the price of gold in [2005]- a practical impossibility.

    A quote from a presentation (PDF) by Margrit Kennedy at the "Doors of Perception Conference" in New Dehli, India in March 2005. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how and why world economies are disintegrating before our eyes.

    It's one thing to make use of other people's money by investing it creatively and productively.

    It's another thing entirely to manufacture need for money and then proceed to exploit that need fully.

    If we don't put an end to funny money at INTEREST, IT will put an end to us.

    It is painfully obvious that we CANNOT co-exist indefinitely.

      Sunday, December 25, 2005

    Made in CHINA; Or, is it?

    Everything Americans buy today is "made in China." But, who drives the Chinese economy?
    Citigroup Inc, the world's biggest bank, will increase its stake in [China's] Pudong Development Bank Co. to 19.9 percent, from 4.6 percent, after the Chinese lender agreed to scrap an exclusivity agreement.

    Citigroup will then hold the maximum stake permitted under Chinese regulations, the Shanghai-based lender said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange. Citigroup will also be free to invest in other Chinese banks.
    Like they say, never put all your eggs in one basket! Pretty soon, Citibank won't care if America's economy goes to hell in a handbasket.
    Citigroup is leading a bid of about 22 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) for 85 percent [!!!] of Guangdong Development Bank, which is aiming to be the first Chinese bank to sell at least 51 percent of its shares to private investors.

    The New York-based bank trails rivals such as HSBC Holdings Plc in tapping China's $1.7 trillion household savings market [holy cow!] after missing a chance to invest in No. 3 lender China Construction Bank Corp.
    Citibank is the slowpoke of international banks!
    Citigroup's bid for Guangdong Bank, the second-largest lender in the southern Chinese province, had required approval from Pudong Bank because Citigroup agreed in 2003 that it wouldn't invest in a second bank.

    Pudong Bank has agreed to the waiver as long as Guangdong Bank avoids directly competing with Pudong Bank . . .Citigroup is barred from setting up credit-card operations with Guangdong Bank and also is required to keep its Pudong Bank stake
    Sounds like a shameless oligopoly to me.
    Citigroup and Pudong Bank have together issued about 300,000 so-called dual-currency credit cards and they plan to issue up to 1 million cards by the end of next year.
    If international bankers have their way, within 50 years the Chinese will be up to their eyeballs in consumer debt, just like Americans.
    Pudong Bank, with 335 branches nationwide, is targeting 18 percent annual earnings growth [holy cow!] for the next five years. The company's bad-loan ratio was 2.2 percent on Sept. 30, compared with 3.9 percent at China Construction Bank Corp., the nation's third-biggest lender, as of June 30.
    LOW risk, HIGH yield; standard operating procedure for moneylenders.

    Now, you know what 'made in China' REALLY means.

    Tookie, FREE at last

    Bianca Jagger spoke at Stanley Tookie Williams' memorial service, recounting the talk she had with him at death row, 22 days before his execution.
    [Tookie's] defender had to admit that [Tookie] was not willing to apologize or express remorse for the murders for which he was convicted and condemned to death. I asked him why.

    [Tookie] answered in a calm and measured voice, "I am innocent. I did not commit the crimes for which I was sentenced to death. I cannot ask for forgiveness and express remorse for a murder I didn't commit, even if by refusing to do so, I risk losing my life. I cannot lie in order to live."
    In remembering Tookie, Bianca asks us to consider the defiant last words of Gary Graham.
    "I'm an innocent black man that is being murdered. What is happening here is an outrage for any civilized country. They are going to keep on lynching us for the next 100 years if you do not carry on [the] tradition of resistance. We may lose this battle, but we will win the war. You must continue to demand a moratorium on all executions."

    Bianca calls it a "tragic irony that Williams had to be executed before he could be free to visit this church."
    Stanley Tookie Williams, FREE at last.

    Let us say a prayer this Holiday for all the innocent people murdered by belligerence, greed, selfishness, arrogance, and LIES.

    May we all someday be FREE of the chains that BIND us.

    Grinch steals Christmas; DOLLAR takes a nose DIVE

    The U.S. currency had its steepest single-day fall [10 days before Christmas] against the yen since March 2002, after the Federal Reserve on Tuesday dropped the word "accommodation" from its policy statement, interpreted by some as a signal that its 18-month credit-tightening campaign was nearing an end.

    [T]he dollar sank 2.7 percent to 116.73 yen , its lowest level in a month.

    I'm not sure where the dollar stands today in relation to the yen (if you figure it out, give me a hollar).

    But, while NYC commuters were bitching about the shopping time wasted by transit workers who called a strike just before the holidays, the real GRINCH, the little green one with a pyramid in the back, was stealing large swathes of Christmas value from right underneath everyone's nose.

    Way to go, commuters, for keeping your eye on the ball!

    Keep in mind that "Foreign exchange rates are always quoted in decimal points which are smaller than the actual smallest currency denomination. The reason being that rounding errors in exchange rates can be sizeable when dealing with transactions in millions of units."
    Guaranteed, the 2.7 percent value drop took a significant chunk out of Americans' aggregate purchasing power this Christmas. In other words, all the 'made in China' Christmas trinkets Americans bought during the week before Christmas cost Americans more than they would have cost the week before that!

    So, how does this insanity work?
    Most currencies traded on the Interbank market are floating-rate currencies, meaning that they are subject to the forces of supply and demand, and their exchange rates are determined primarily by the liquidity of the marketplace.
    This explains why the mere whisper of a hint that the FED will tighten or release the SCREWS on the US money supply sends money changers into a frenzy.

    Another thing to keep in mind:
    [E]xchange rates . . . almost always include the broker’s commission for the transaction. After all, even the simplest form of foreign exchange can be a very profitable business, especially when the exchanger has a captive audience.
    There you have it folks, they PROFIT, we BLEED!

    So, what's the prognosis?
    If Americans continue to buy more foreign goods and services than U.S. businesses can sell overseas, the flow of dollars leaving the country will increase and if foreigners do not invest heavily in U.S. assets, the greenback‘s value will fall.

    I say good riddance to foreign investors! Don't let the door hit you in the back!

    Americans should ditch this filthy corrupted currency and leave foreign investors holding the useless bag of bucks!

    seasons greetings, everyone!

    The Christmas cards are a bit pricey (and ship from Australia), but it's for a good cause and the graphic speaks volumes.

    May you all spend a warm and loving holiday with your families and friends!

      Saturday, December 24, 2005

    revenge of the DODO

    Scientists said they likely have found a complete skeleton of the long-extinct Dodo bird.

    The last recorded sighting of a [Dodo] was in 1663.
    I guess they haven't been to Capitol Hill, lately.
    The Dodo's name comes from a Portuguese word for "fool," so named because the bird showed no fear of humans [voters] and couldn't fly, making it easy prey for the colonists [corporatists]. The Dutch called it the Walgvogel, or "nasty bird" because it tasted so bad.
    Sounds consistent with the DODOs on Capitol Hill.
    The Dodo was made famous by a political satire in the book Alice in Wonderland, in which a Dodo leads a "caucus race" in which the rules are hazy, contestants run in circles, and everybody wins a prize.
    Yep, that's them alright! Republicans and Democrats, alike.
    The Dodo has become a byword for an extinct animal, giving rise to the expression "dead as a dodo."
    Too bad, the DODO is alive and well on Capitol Hill.

    Rumsfeld serves up troops for Christmas dinner

    "U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrapped up his visit to Iraq at a Christmas eve dinner" by feeding American troops into the US war machine.

    "Escorted by Apache helicopters to the U.S. regional headquarters in Mosul, Rumsfeld lent a hand serving troops" assorted lies.

    "Addressing [surviving] troops later, he reflected on a year in which" hundreds of Americans were killed and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives destroyed.

    "When you read things and hear things that express doubt about the future here in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, know that there have always been doubts expressed, there have always been those who have suggested that the cause could not be successful, that the cause would be lost," he said.

    And know that they were right.

    What it means to be American

    I was thinking about the constitution today, and sudden realizations about the world started to take hold. These realizations centered around the "arguments" that my dad said to me the other day, stating "I would gladly give up the 4th amendment in order to be safe." I decided I had to send my father an email, expressing how I see what he thinks, and so below is that email, reproduced.

    ---------

    WE THE PEOPLE give the constitution its weight, and its meaning. The constitution, by starting off with those words, is revolutionary. And yet...who are those people? I believe that people like you are in fact in the majority in this country. I mean, look at who was elected, if you want any more proof of that?

    These people are tearing down the constitution, bit by bit. Given they don't care when the bill of rights is violated - as long as they are "safe," (and of course, whether they are safer is rather questionable, to put it mildly!) then why not live in China? I am serious. At least in China, you KNOW your emails may be read, and the internet is blocked. Given that is what you and much of America are claiming is desirable, why NOT move to that country? I mean, you all are always saying "If you don't like it...LEAVE!" Well...aren't you all the ones twisting the original intent and meaning of the constitution? If you all hate America so much, why don't YOU all leave?

    In fact, I *love* America. I love the flag, and I love what it stands for. I hate these so-called "people" in the White House, and I am disgusted that you actually believes that it's worth it to give up a pound of liberty for an ounce of safety, when that ounce of safety is only an illusion, anyway!

    Let's extend this "argument" to where it really belongs. If you are so terrified for your safety, then shouldn't you also be terrified of murderers, drug dealers, rapists, thieves, swindlers, arsonists, larsonists, extornionists, etc? I mean, logically, those people also infringe upon your safety. It's not just terrorists who are out there committing crimes! There's a whole host of criminals in this country! So...logically, if you're so willing to give up freedom in exchange for temporary (and fake) safety, then why not give up freedom to protect against those crimes as well? I mean...there's simply no logic behind giving up freedom ONLY to go after terrorists, if you are that fearful for your safety. So what does that mean? Buh-bye 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments. Buh-bye 1st amendment. (freedom of expression, and freedom of religion for nonChristians) So long, it was nice knowing ya!

    So what is a world like without the Bill of Rights, or anything even similar to that? Oh, that's right...CHINA! But besides that, you claim to be extra patriotic. As an example, you had an American flag on the front porch of the house. The mentality of this faux-patriotism is for to people feel a yellow ribbon on an SUV actually supports the troops. But let's look at what it really means to be American. The founders of this country...they specifically rebelled against King GEORGE, at least in part, because of the following reasons...
    • The issuance of general warrants - That's what you and Bush n' friends want to institute again! (except without even the pesky business of getting warrants)
    • Restrictions on freedom of speech and religion - Yup - Bush n' friends want to restrict that!
    • No due process at trials - See above
    • Taxation without representation - I am taxed up the wazoo and my views are completely ignored!


    WOWSERS! So all of the things that Bush n' friends want...they go against the very foundation of this country! In fact, they very clearly oppose the constitution itself!

    So what does that mean? It means that Bush n' friends, while waving their flag around, are in fact UNAMERICAN. We need to change the national dialogue. That is what I call anyone who stands for what Bush n' friends stand for. UNAMERICAN.

    I will end this by quoting from what a friend of mine had to say about this all...I was discussing with a friend about how you said you would give up the 4th amendment in order to be "safe." This was his reply.

    ----
    ...my dad said "I would gladly give up the 4th amendment in order to be safe."
    I love that. Does he not think the Founders mulled over that very choice? Does he somehow think the Founders lived in a world without threat or peril? Does he not know that the earliest years of this Republic were spent on a veritable knife edge, surounded by foreign empires? Hell, they had protection as part of the British Empire. Trouble was, that was all they had.
    Franklin, of course, summed it up best: "Those that would give up essential liberty in pursuit of a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." And your father was exactly the sort of person he was speaking to.
    The more important question is, would your father be willing to give up the Fourth Amendment and still not be safe? And what does he mean by "safe"? How safe are you if you have to be careful what you say or write or think? How safe are you if you have to wonder whether the person you are speaking to is who he or she says she is? How safe are you if you have to wonder who is making note what you say to a friend or a relative? Or, for that matter, inventing what you say to a friend of relative?
    Also, your father does not seem to realize that he is not giving anything up -- it is being taken from him.
    I'm neither a scholar nor a historian, but I have taken the trouble to educate myself about the founding of this Republic. One of the conclusions I come to, and one of the things that makes the founding of this nation truly unparalleled in all of human history, is that the Founders consciously and explicitly rejected the notion that the end justifies the means. The Constitution, if you think about it, is concerned almost exclusively with means. More importantly, it is concerned with what means are not acceptable.
    For that reason, I consider the idea that the end justifies the means to be the single most un-American idea there is.
    But what do I know?

    ----

    Things to mull over. Now you know why I am so upset by how you think. I view my way of thinking as rather conservative - in line with the way the framers purposely crafted the constitution. You, on the other hand, are the radical who wants to overturn the very foundation this country rests upon.

      Friday, December 23, 2005

    US spreads freedom, democracy, DEBT

    The International Monetary Fund approved a new $685 million loan for Iraq, giving the country a critical 'endorsement of' its economic performance.
    Without IMF approval, Iraq's economy will remain under US military control.
    The loan . . . represents the IMF's 'seal of approval' [kiss of death] that the Iraq government is taking the proper approach [the $$$ denominated approach] to reviving its wartorn economy.

    The loan should open the door to more funding from countries that want to participate in [exploit] Iraq's reconstruction.

    "The Iraqi authorities were successful in promoting macroeconomic stability in 2005, despite the extremely difficult security environment," IMF Deputy Managing Director.
    This guy must be smoking some powerful shit.
    The $685 million loan will cover a 15-month period [drop in the bucket] and was awarded under regular IMF procedures [extort, bomb, bleed] to provide assistance to nation's facing economic difficulties.

    It followed a $436.3 million emergency post-conflict loan that the IMF awarded Iraq in September 2004.
    Welcome to the perpetual DEBT club!
    The Bush administration, which is counting on the IMF and World Bank to supply a significant portion of the funds needed for Iraq reconstruction, applauded the IMF loan deal. [as sure as night follows day]

    "This arrangment will underpin economic stability and help lay the foundation for an open and prosperous economy in Iraq," said Treasury Secretary John Snow.
    He must be hanging out the IMF Deputy Director!
    The loan . . . clears the way for wealthy creditor countries [corporations] to begin implementing a debt relief [nation plundering] program for Iraq that would reduce by 80 percent Iraq's $38.9 billion in foreign debt [pass hammer to someone else] held by members of the Paris Club.

    In September 2004, the Paris Club, the umbrella group of wealthy countries [corporations] including the United States that bargains with [bombs] debtor nations, had announced the debt relief agreement, but it could not go into effect until Iraq and the IMF reached agreement on a loan program.
    Heaven forbid that they consider aiding Iraq with technology and know-how instead of plundering it with funny money.
    The Bush administration last year announced it would forgive 100 percent of the $4.1 billion in debt Iraq owed the United States.
    Given what we we know about INTEREST and fractional reserve banking, the US plans to forgive nothing!!!

    Siddhartha - the way beyond the world "deluded by money, number and time."

    This is an online book called Siddhartha. It was written by Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) German poet and novelist, who has explored in his work the duality of spirit and nature and individual's spiritual search outside restrictions of the society.

    Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. Several of Hesse's novels depict the protagonist's journey into the inner self. A spiritual guide assists the hero in his quest for self-knowledge and shows the way beyond the world "deluded by money, number and time."

    Note: The link is good but did not work for me the first time I tried it. I thought maybe it was being blocked or perhaps the site exceeded bandwidth but worked fine the next day and ever since.

    grab your ASSET-preservers; MONEY-line receeding!

    An economic tsunami is on the HORIZON:
    The US Treasury yield curve compressed to its flattest in five years yesterday with the difference between two and 10-year yields at less than 4 basis points and within a whisker of INVERSION.
    For those of you who don't already know:
    "in the last three decades there have been five Fed-induced rate INVERSIONS . . . and the economy slipped into RECESSION a year later all five times."
    What are real ASSETS?

    Your TIME and your ENERGY.

    Protect them by investing them wisely.

    What's in your wallet?

    Remember my earlier post on the increasing number of American workers employed by foreign subsidiaries in the US? Well, post this to the left of that one in your memory bank. I suspect it will be useful in the near future.

    Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC (PIMCO), is one of the biggest investors in the U.S. Treasury bond market.

    With more than $500 billion in assets under management, [PIMCO] is one of the world's largest bond fund managers. It also oversees mutual funds invested in emerging markets debt, municipal bonds, credit default swaps, mortgage-backed securities, stocks and real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

    It seems PIMCO carries a lot of our DEBT in its wallet.
    [A] recent tax ruling that would limit [PIMCO's] investments in commodity-linked swaps and related derivatives should not inhibit its operation of an $11 billion commodity fund.

    The ruling would cause certain income from commodity-linked swaps in which the PIMCO fund invests to no longer qualify for a favorable tax status after June 30.
    The implication being that PIMCO currently has favorable tax status on its income, which seems to be primarily INTEREST.

    It's no surprise then that Moody's analyst described PIMCO as "the goose that lays the golden eggs" for Pacific Life Insurance Company in a 2004 analysis (PDF, p. 5) of Pacific Life, while it still had "a beneficial economic interest in PIMCO." It's not clear that they still do.
    In May 2000, Allianz AG of Germany bought a majority stake in PIMCO's parent, PIMCO Advisors LP. As of June 30, 2005, the German insurer owned about 97 percent of that entity, now known as Allianz Global Investors of America LP.
    So, maybe the question ought to be 'whose wallet holds our DEBT?'

      Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Ford workers BITE bullet, while creditors collect INTEREST

    Unionized workers at Ford Motor Co. narrowly ratified a tentative cost-cutting deal aimed at saving the troubled automaker almost $1 billion by reducing health-care benefits.
    This follows a similar settlement between GM and its workers that was reached in October and was recently approved by a district court.

    Ford's deal still awaits court approval. But, unlike GM's deal, ratified by 61% of GM workers, Ford's deal was ratified by only 51% of Ford's union workers. This suggests that approval might not be forthcoming. For the workers' sake, I hope it's not.

    It's funny (or not so funny, depending on which side of the bargaining table you're on) how history repeats itself.

    If we could learn from history, what would it teach us?

    Patience and Prudence

    Bankers function by reference to prudence. It's imprudent for them to do anything until they have to.

    --Brian Freeman, Executive Director, Chrysler Loan Guarantee Board.

    This quote from Going for Broke: The Chrysler Story begins the chapter detailing Chrysler's 1979-81 reorganization under the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act.

    Like Ford and GM now, Chrysler was having financial difficulties that required "sacrifices" from all concerned. Let's examine the concessions.
    Within weeks of [Carter] signing [the Act], the United Auto Workers pared $425 million from its contract. [sound familiar?]
    Who else buckled? State and local governments, dealers, suppliers, and the Mayor of Detroit, one after another.
    Meanwhile, "for close to six months, [bankers] seemed nearly...impassible, immovable and insurmountable."
    They didn't budge until they were forced to choose between voluntary concessions or bankruptcy orders.
    And when it came to implementing the Act, "bankers and lawyers" found its terms "comfortingly vague."

    Bankers could not tell "whether concessions referred to deferrals of interest payments or outright gifts."

    "Congress doesn't understand finance," remarked then Chrysler's assistant treasurer.

    At the time, Chrysler was "choking on debt and struggling to cope with interest rates around 20%."
    Given what we know about INTEREST and fractional reserve banking, we're forced to ask what concessions? It's all icing.

    Thankfully, 49% of Ford union workers know better.
    Tom Laney, for example, knows that if his fellow workers agree to these concessions now, "[Ford] will want more in 2007 and more and more later. It will be like feeding blood to a shark. [no exaggeration]

    He adds that "[i]f William Ford Jr. came around the plant with his hand out asking for money, most people would probably be reluctant to reach into their wallet." [would you?]
    Let's hope the court agrees with Tom.

    employees take Wal-Mart out to LUNCH, collect $172m

    A California jury awarded $172 million "to 116,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees whose lunch break rights were violated."
    $115 million is punitive damages, and $57 million is general damages. Other than that, the details of the case are not clear from the article. But, there are some clues.
    "Wal-Mart's position [is] that the meal-period premiums in question are penalties, rather than wages . . . [t]his means that punitive damages cannot be recovered in this case."
    And...
    "Andrew Grossman, executive director of ... Wal-Mart Watch, said ... '[t]oday's verdict affirms that 'time theft' labor abuses are a chronic and systemic problem for Wal-Mart and its dangerous business model.'"

    Apparently, Wal-Mart's engaging in some questionable practices that rob Wal-Mart employees of their time.

    Hmmm, sounds familiar.

    Now, there's absolutely no excuse for Wal-Mart's conduct.

    HOWEVER, I feel compelled to point out the folly of these types of class actions.

    Let's look at who benefits from this lawsuit and who benefits from the accompanying publicity.

    Let's start with the lawsuit. Who gets the money?

    A class action suit is brought by one or more plaintiffs on behalf of a larger group that has a common interest, a common harm. After attorneys’ fees, any settlement or court award is divided among those participating in the suit.

    The operative word here is 'after.'

    Now, often these contingency fees are rather large. Supreme Court JusticeSandra Day O’Connor, who spoke out against “out-of-control class action lawsuits," describes class action contingency fees as "outrageous" and thinks that they "[turn] some lawyers into ‘overnight millionaires.’

    I think she's right.

    If I calculate right, if the entire $172 million verdict were divided among the 116,000 plaintiffs, without attorneys fees, each plaintiff would get just over $1400. After attorneys fees, if there's anything left, it won't be worth the time it takes to cash the check.

    Let's look at the publicity. How sympathetic do you think the general public will be to employees that file suits against their employers because they've missed a few lunch breaks?

    Again, I do not condone Wal-Mart's unconscionable exploitation of its workers. But, I am not the general public and the media and its monied suitors will have a heyday with this one. They'll bitch and moan about the high cost of doing business in America and blame petty employees for corporate flight to foreign markets.

    So, there it is. Cui bono?

    Current employees become former employees, while lawyers get their exorbitant fees and corporations have a good excuse to close down domestic operations and manufacture in countries where employees are sensible.

    Workers MUST change their strategy. Class action law suits are NOT the way to go.

    This beast has a thousand heads and for every one cut off, two emerge in its place. If we ever hope to defeat this monster, we MUST strike at the heart.

    players move to monopolize GOLD

    Barrick Gold Corp. sweetened its bid for rival Placer Dome Inc. to $10.4 billion on Thursday, producing a friendly deal that will create the world's largest gold producer.

    Placer [rejected] the initial $9.2 billion hostile bid . . . as inadequate and opportunistic.
    It may be 'friendly' to them, but if our government returns to a gold standard, for the rest of us this merger remains very hostile.

    Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank and the government struggle to maintain a strangle-hold on what is reputed to be "the largest underdeveloped near surface platinum reserves in the world."
    According to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development "small and medium mining firms . . . have smuggled minerals worth more than US$100 million since the beginning of this year . . . which have prejudiced the country of billions of dollars in potential revenue."

    Zimbabwe's mining sector has largely emerged unscathed from the various economic challenges that have plagued other sectors of the economy. [imagine my surprise]

    According to mining experts, mining had the potential to contribute much more to economic growth were it is not for smuggling and other illicit deals by some operators.
    Really? Or, is this merely a power struggle among thugs?
    A number of new and expansion projects are earmarked for the sector next year, with foreign investors -- particularly from China and India -- showing interest in the lucrative sector.
    If it's not true already, all the GOLD in the world will be controlled by a handful of individuals.

    And you still think GOLD is the answer to our monetary woes? Think again.

    NYC Strike over; Battle just begun

    Looks like the strike might be coming to a close. But, the battle is far from over.

    Temperatures rose on the third day of the strike in NYC with Bloomberg suggesting that jailtime might make Toussaint a MARTYR:
    "The fines are what is going to hurt," said Bloomberg "Fines don't make you a martyr and fines you don't get back."
    A Supreme Court justice had earlier expressed a "distinct possibility" of jail time for strikers.

    A fine of $1 million-per-day looms over the union, but won't take effect until appeals are complete and city lawyers wanted to ask the judge for fines "beyond the docked-pay penalties" the striking workers already face. Fines would have ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and come directly out of workers' pockets.

    Meanwhile, Toussaint and transit workers were kicking them where it hurts! And, as the city's losses in tax revenue mounted, the rhetoric intensified.

    As usual in ECONOMIC warfare, financial instruments and the media are the weapons of choice, and the courts and "law" enforcement a last resort.
    Bloomberg called the strike "illegal" "selfish" and "unconscionable." [Apparently, $1.27 billion annually in INTEREST is okay by the mayor.]

    He said strikers "thuggishly turned their backs on New York City, and disgraced the noble concept of public service." [What would he know about public service?]

    "I don't know how you'd explain to your kids that if you break the law, you get a better deal than if you're honest." [He should be adept at that, by now!]

    Meanwhile, Pataki described the strike as "a horrible breach of trust with the people of New York." [:P]
    But, Toussaint fought back:
    "The thugs are not on this side of the podium," he said. "We are not thugs. We are not selfish. We are not greedy." [Damned straight! We know who the real thugs are!]
    The outlook?
    Earlier, Toussaint had said if "pension issue comes off the table, that would be a basis for us to go back to work."

    But the MTA chairman, Peter Kalikow, had called that demand "outrageous," and said the point is "rapidly approaching" where bargaining with the union would be "futile."
    What was the MTA's offer?
    "[N]ew employees pay 6% of their wages toward their pensions" [so it can be gambled away in derivatives]

    This is "after dropping [the] demand that new workers retire at age 62 instead of the current age of 55."
    They actually had the nerve to ask transit workers to slave another 7 years of their lives, so they can drop dead before they collect their pensions! This sounds awfully familiar.

    Stay tuned because the strike may be off (for now), but the battle's far from over.

    New Look

    In case you haven't noticed, we've got a new look.

    We (vper1 and I) worked all day yesterday to make it easier on the eyes to read the truth.

    We got rid of most of the type-styling that was necessary just to recognize the words against a black background. There are isolated pages we haven't reached yet. If you see one, let us know!

    Otherwise, we welcome comments, suggestions, and criticism.

    Many thanks, vper1!

    And, thanks to readers who make it worth the work!

      Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    $1 million for a SLICE of PIZZA?!!

    I'll take two, please.

    (15 minute video clip; forward to 11:20 minutes)

    * * *

    Zimbabwe faces widespread starvation as an economist interviewed estimates that inflation will rise to "well above 1000% during the course of next year . . . approaching HYPERINFLATION."

    This madness must stop.

    The Money Masters and their puppet dictators are comitting ECONOMIC genocide in Zimbabwe!

    Thanks, for pointing the way, Doc.

    Santa's DEAD!

    OMG!

    Those BASTARDS killed Santa!

    Can you see me NOW?

    Thanks, Morpheus!

    Federal Reserve Bank potential TERRORIST (target)

    But, don't tell anyone!

    Helena's Police Chief, Troy Mcgee, just got permission to release specifics about the $50,000 grant awarded to the Helena PD to help protect the Montana Fed.

    But, that doesn't mean the coast is clear, you hear? Don't tell a soul!

    Troy's gonna use that money to buy them there goggles, a high-tech video camera, and maybe an ipod, for Christmas.

    Troy came up with the crazy idea to apply for a grant after some local representatives from the Department of Homeland Security put it in his head.

    They overheard some locals at the bar complaining about the FED increasing interest rates and they knew, right then and there, that the Fed up the street was at risk.

    But, keep it to yourself, you hear!

    The language of the grant says that the grant recipient can't identify the location that requires additional protection, or else he has to return the money.

    Now, you KNOW Troy doesn't want to do that!

    The Feds agreed to allow Troy to release the information. But, you know them Feds; can't be trusted!

      Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    the TRUTH about NYC's transit strike

    Forget the sensational crap the mainstream media's spewing about the transit strike. They have a hidden AGENDA.
    "The New York transit strike begun today is a blatantly illegal act of economic sabotage by a union so selfish that it is willing to destroy one of the most important business weeks in the city in a last-ditch attempt to preserve privileges that most private sector employees can only dream of — like the ability to retire at age 55 with a full pension, or the ability to not to contribute at all to health insurance costs."
    It may be true that most private sector employees can't dream about these privileges. But, that can't be blamed on MTA workers and this is NOT a race to the bottom.

    The media should give people REAL facts to digest, rather than dishing out propaganda on behalf of financial interests.

    The Sun's piece is nothing but an attempted coup by financial interests who would like nothing more than to destroy labor unions and privatize our public transportation system. Private corporations are itching to get their hands on all our public services.

    Sure the union is a special interest. But their interests are in line with ALL WORKING people's interests.

    WORKING AMERICANS need to SURVIVE, pay ever-growing bills, and FEED and EDUCATE their children.

    MTA workers are being laid off every day and as a result, the ones that remain must work longer hours for less pay. Their health and pension benefits are being trimmed every year, while their mortgage payments increase, thanks to our 'friends' at the FED.

    This is before considering general inflation, also courtesy of the FED.

    Inflation is NOT between 1-3%, as they claim. Statistics lie and so do mainstream media outlets and government officials.

    Believe your WALLET and the price of MILK at the grocery store. I pay almost twice as much for milk today than I did this time last year.

    Even the Russians admit that inflation is at 11% in their country, which means it's probably much higher than that. It's no different, here.

    ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

    MTA workers should be supported and applauded for their fortitude, sacrifice, and determination when faced with a media apparatus that demonizes them for demanding the RESPECT that they and ALL working Americans deserve.

    The private monopoly of our federal money supply is to blame alongside the MTA's insane financing plans.

    The TRUTH about the MTA's budget is that there is no "surplus."

    Their so-called "budget" surplus is not a REAL surplus. It's loose change left over after annual interest payments are made. The MTA never, ever plans to eliminate the REAL deficit--it's simply NOT in the budget!

    Take a look at the May 2005 summary of MTA's outstanding DEBT. Add up the "average annual debt service" and you get a whopping $1.27 billion in INTEREST payments annually!

    And, NYS just borrowed $2.9 billion more, by referendum, last November!!! Obviously, it will mean even higher annual INTEREST, and so on.

    Do you see a pattern here?

    All of our cities and states are in this position, and so is our federal government. WE are bleeding INTEREST on government bonds.

    Even worse, most if not all of this interest is TAX FREE!!!

    Think about it.

    If NYC didn't pay all that expletive INTEREST on bonds, taxes could be lowered; fares reduced; and workers could keep their paltry benefits.

    Instead, $1.27 billion of NYC's MTA revenue gets routed directly to creditors' pockets, not ONE CENT being paid towards principal.

    MTA workers are NOT the problem.

    INTEREST is the problem and so is our monetary system.

    Please, look past the LIES and DECEPTION; the TRUTH is it's either US or INTEREST.