Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The KING of Pain...

...is finally gone.

But, not before he put one more nail in our economy's coffin - for good measure.

And, just when I thought I couldn't possibly hate him more...
[A]fter 18 years years of chauffeur-driven limousines, Greenspan also has a hot set of wheels for his new life: A 50,000-dollar Porsche Boxster he won last fall at a Washington charity ball.
SOB. Good Riddance.

Greener pastures span the future?

It appears that on Greenspan's last day as Fed chairman, he raised rates YET AGAIN.

Here's some of what the NYT had to say about it all...

With almost choreographed precision, Mr. Greenspan presided over his last policy meeting at the Fed shortly before the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Ben S. Bernanke as his successor.
As expected, the Fed increased short-term interest rates today, with the benchmark federal funds rate on overnight bank loans rising another quarter point today, to 4.5 percent. This is its 14th straight increase since June 2004.

Oh, right...precision. Rates have been rising for over a year and a half straight, jobs are flying out the window, and infrastructure falls apart. I guess if Greenspan's goal was to cause a a recession that lives in the dark, he's "precisely" accomplished it. GOOD GOING!

The article goes on.

But Mr. Bernanke's freedom to imprint his own ideas on policy also comes at a moment of precarious uncertainty. For the past three years, Mr. Greenspan and other Fed policymakers had unusual clarity about the priorities: first to shore up the economy with low interest rates after 2001 and then to re-establish a more normal or "neutral" policy once the economic recovery appeared to be self-sustaining.
The priorities now are more cloudy. Interest rates are back in line with historical norms, but the economy could be on the verge of a slowdown because of high energy prices and a weak housing market.

Right. A weak housing market. WHY is it weak? Um...is it that higher interest rates make homes less affordable? Simple economics. Lower interest rates mean people can borrow more money, which means housing prices can then be higher. It's really a win-win situation for the buyer and seller of a home. Of course, it's a lose-lose for Fed and the banks. Who do you think has more economic and political leverage?

Bernanke stated he won't go along the "measured" path of Greenspan. Instead he will do whatever it takes to reach "inflation" targets. Ladies and gents, let me boil it all down for you. Milton Friedman economics view inflation as the root of all evil, and that which must be killed. They view fighting unemployment as less important than fighting inflation. They consider themselves "inflation hawks." But their own theories have been proven wrong - just look at stagflation from the 70's. They explain this away by saying that was an "anomoly." Furthermore, they're all for unemployment - other people's unemployment. God forbid they should lose their oh-so-important jobs. In the long run, we're all dead! Is it too much to ask for a working man to have a decent job at a living wage? I am hopeful, now that we have a new Fed Chairman...but not optimistic.


Well, I was feelin' sad and feelin' blue,
I didn't know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them [Jews] they wus comin' around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn't gimme no peace. . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin' down the road.
Yee-hoo, I'm a real John Bircher now!
Look out you [Jews]!

Now we all agree with Hitlers' views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don't matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can't say he was a [Jew]!
That's to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria.

Well, I wus lookin' everywhere for them gol-darned [Jews].
I got up in the mornin' 'n' looked under my bed,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn't find 'em . . .

I wus lookin' high an' low for them [Jews] everywhere,
I wus lookin' in the sink an' underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .

Well, I wus sittin' home alone an' started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin' right up in the brain.
Them [Jews] caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones.

Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol' Betty Ross . . .

Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of 'em gotta be burned away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me.

Now Eisenhower, he's a Russian [Jew],
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy.
To my knowledge there's just one man
That's really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates [Jews] cus he picketed the movie Exodus.

Well, I fin'ly started thinkin' straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn't imagine doin' anything else,
So now I'm sittin' home investigatin' myself!
Hope I don't find out anything . . . hmm, great God!

Words and Music by Bob Dylan © 1970, 1973 Special Rider Music

[Don't know about everyone else, but I'm tiring of the Jew baiting being posted around here and I thought of this. An old song by Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman to those who doubt, and yes, I love him). It kind of says it all as far as I'm concerned. My last word on the matter. The excised word is Red(s) or Commie(s) or Communist(s). I of course ask forgiveness for tampering with the poet's lyrics.]

IRAN: we don't mix OIL with POLITICS

"We are not mixing oil with politics," [Iran's Oil Minister] told reporters at the start of an OPEC meeting in Vienna.
Remember that one (among others), when they blame Iran for the spike in oil prices after Thursday's IAEA meeting.
In a joint statement after their talks in London, the foreign ministers [of the Security Council's big five, plus Germany and the European Union] said they had agreed that an emergency meeting of the IAEA board on Thursday "should report to the Security Council its decision on the steps required of Iran".

However, with Russia and China opposed to hasty action, the agreement delayed any decision on formal referral of Iran to the council, where it could face sanctions, until after a scheduled International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting on March 6.
Where have I heard that date before?
"We consider any referral or report of Iran to the Security Council as the end of diplomacy," Larijani . . . secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council

* * *

"In case of any referral or report to the council, we are obliged to lift all the suspensions and stop implementation of the Additional Protocol based on a law passed by parliament," [said] chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani...

The Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [is] signed but not ratified by Iran...

Iran . . . said this month it was resuming nuclear research which had been suspended for 2-1/2 years.

"If these countries use all their means ... to put pressure on Iran, Iran will use its capacity in the region," [said Larjani]

Analysts and diplomats say Iran . . . means to create trouble for the West in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere.
Sounds like a fairly good indication that we're looking at WWIII.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said an extensive period of "confidence-building" was required from Iran.
2 and 1/2 years is not long enough. A century or more would be reasonable.
A senior British official, who asked not to be named, said . . . "If the Iranians blink there will be no need for any action in New York."

* * *

But [to that] Javad Vaeedi . . . said Iran had no intention of backing down.

"Research and development is the Iranian nation's legitimate right and is irreversible."
In other words, up yours.

With M3 data strategically concealed from prying eyes, the stage is pretty much set for all out war as soon as Iran starts mixing OIL with EUROS.

Al-Zawahri, astute neo-con spokesman

Ayman al-Zawahri . . . threatened a new attack against the United States - "God willing, on your own land." [if the US does not heed bin laden's warnings]
What self-respecting opthalmologist with half a brain would issue a retarded threat like that to the American people, who are well known for their tendency to unite in patriotic fervor when faced with threats to their lives coupled with a challenge to their independence? What a farce.

This tape is like a neo-con's wet dream. Its "producers" must think Americans are as dumb as doorknobs to fall for this shit. They could have at least come up with something plausible, but this?
"I am among the Muslim masses, enjoying God's blessing of their support, care, generosity and protection."
He might as well have called for open season on civilians in Pakistan or Afghanistan, where ever they suspect he is right now. The US military could then bomb the hell out of them for "aiding and abetting" the enemy. Can it possibly get any more absurd?
Al-Zawahri also invited Bush to convert to Islam. "If you accept, you will become a brother in our faith and God will forgive you your sins," Al-Jazeera quoted him as saying. The invitation was not in the excerpts aired by the Arab satellite station.
Apparently, yes. We have a Islamic fundamentalist appealing to a Christian fundamentalist to convert and join forces. Amazing. Only in Hollywood, can you find these fantastic plots.

But alas, rest assured.
A U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in compliance with office policy, said there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the al-Zawahri video, which U.S. intelligence officials were analyzing.

"The al-Qaida leadership is clearly on the run and under a lot of pressure," - Scott McClellan.

The Homeland Security Department had no immediate plans to raise the nation's terror threat levels because of the new tape, said spokesman Russ Knocke.
Of course not, it's a fucking joke!
In the video, al-Zawahri . . . called Bush "the butcher of Washington."
Nice touch.
Al-Zawahri has issued several video and audiotapes in the past year, including one claiming al-Qaida's responsibility for the July 7 London bombings.
The guy's booked; his agent can't keep up. Is there any atrocity left that we can't blame him for? OKC, anyone?
His last video came on Jan. 6, when he called the U.S. decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq a victory for the Islamic world.

Mark Ensalaco, an international terrorism expert at the University of Dayton, Ohio, said the tape's release may have been timed for Bush's State of Union address. "Al-Qaida is very conscious of such things," he said.
"Al-Qaida" is sounding more and more like a well-oiled (no pun intended) global PR machine.

Pardon the vernacular, but if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a fucking DUCK.

  Monday, January 30, 2006

Grow Your Own and Grow

This is a follow up to one of the comments on "I Ain't Buying It" from yesterday.
Anon at 3:09 PM said:

Just another thought on joblessness to build on what JC says....

I woke up this morning thinking about the thousands of people losing their jobs in the auto market particularly & wondered to myself; what can s/he do now for work... s/he now has to jump through their hoops or making us think inside the box that "they've" created, in our minds. what would I do in their position... I think I'd become a FARMER. There's nothing telling me that I can't turn my backyard, in my house, that I'm debted to pay off, & turn it into a kind of local community vegetable farm....

I know it sounds kind of funny, but it just might work... Use their "laws" against them... maybe even their tax-breaks. A community farmer of sorts.

That's one of my back-up plans!!
Over at Deconsumption Steven Lagavulin linked to my post along with this:
More Food for Thought from Village Blog

Village Blog has its promised interview with permaculture farmer Joe Polaischer. I had linked to a more summary article there a little over a week ago....through anecdotal stories Polaischer hinted that people in shanty-towns can grow a veritable feast of food, but that the well-off who suddenly find themselves destitute generally must live off "the kindness of strangers"....

It's short and worth the read because it sheds a little bit of light on what happens when society breaks down.
So Joe Polaischer visits this family and here's some of what he saw:
The family said; ‘Sit down and eat with us, this is our food’, The table was full of delicious stuff and I said; ‘Where did you get this? You shouldn’t have spent your precious money on me’, and I felt really bad and they said; ‘What? This is our food – OUR food, we grow it’, and I said; ‘No way!’ and then they took me into the courtyard and showed me how they intensively grow food there.

You know they had these guinea pigs up in cages (and rabbits and pigeons), on the wall – their droppings were immediately going into containers like car tires [which were] full of vegetables – they had all sorts of climbers and beans and so on, squash, all over the place in the courtyard. And the whole courtyard was full of food - they even had fish – Filopia* – which is bit of pig in the water, this fish, but it tastes delicious and the chickens were on top of the 200-litre barrels of water and the chicken droppings went in there and the Filopia was eating it underneath. So a total cyclic system and these people were actually not hungry and I got a real good… ahh, learning there seeing how you can actually grow food in the city

Aaron How big was the courtyard?

Joe Not big if I recall rightly, perhaps maybe 30 square metres or so but every space was used for food growing.
30 square metres in a barrio in Lima, Peru. That ain't much is it? No supermarket, no credit, no waiting in line, no hassle on the way there. You can sell the surplus. Have a parttime job and survive. Be able to spend more time with your family, your kids. And if it all does come crashing down? Hey! You can teach others. We could get back to being real communities again. With real people. Like, "I ain't buying it. I'm growing it." Talk about grassroots.

Don't know where to start? Check out this site. Or google permaculture.


On March 20, 2003, I [Rosemarie Jackowski] participated in a peaceful protest against the war. I was arrested, incarcerated, handcuffed, booked, fingerprinted, had mug shots taken, put on trial, convicted and sentenced. My conviction is currently under Appeal in the Vermont State Supreme Court. Courtroom procedure allows the condemned the Right of Allocution. This was the first time that I was allowed to speak freely and openly to the court. Below are my words, as I spoke them, to Judge David Suntag, in Vermont District Court, in Bennington, Vt., on October 7, 2004.

* * *

I have always been opposed to any form of violence. Seeing the photographs of the bombed Iraqi children has changed my life and strengthened my commitment to working for justice for those children. I do not understand how anyone can stand by silently, while knowing that civilians are being bombed. If what I, and the many thousands of others who protested the war, did, was wrong...what then would be the right thing to do? If you saw a child being beaten up and murdered on Main Street by a gang of thugs, should you write a letter to the editor or call your congressman or write a book on how adults should interact with children? Of course not. When children are being killed, immediate, direct, and powerful intervention is called for. What the other protesters and I did should be criticized in only one area. We all did too little. To all of the people of Iraq, I would like to say, “I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future.”

I pray for the day when factory workers join with farmers, and police officers join with poets, and judges join with veterans in protesting the illegal acts of our government. Now is a time in history when silence is the greatest of all crimes.

What happens to me here today is not important. Since the day of my arrest, more than 13,000 Iraqi civilians, many of them children, have been killed. That IS important.
Support a real American hero today. Thank Rosemarie for her sacrifice in the name of justice.

Two Words

High oil and gas prices sparked a 27% increase in fourth-quarter profit and nearly $100 billion in revenue for Exxon Mobil Corp., the company said Monday.
"We recognize that consumers worldwide want and need reliable supplies of affordable energy -- to fuel their vehicles, light and heat their homes and run their businesses," [CEO Rex Tillerson] said. "Our strong financial results will continue to allow us to make significant, long-term investments required to do our part in meeting the world's energy needs."

How do you spell INDEPENDENCE?

GROW-your-own-FOOD and PRINT-your-own-MONEY
US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said [the EU, US, UN and Russia] were "on the same page" in agreeing that funding must not go to a group committed to destroying Israel.

The Austrian foreign minister, Ursula Plassnik, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said Hamas had to meet the EU's demands if the Palestinian Authority was to continue receiving aid. "It is about reaffirming the principles of the EU, such as absence of violence, and a two-state solution," she told reporters.
Am I missing something? All I've heard from Hamas is that they will not recognize Israel, unless Israel recognizes Palestine, comprised of the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capitol.

While Israel may not like this demand, it implies that Hamas does NOT categorically deny Israel's right to exist. They merely condition 'recognition' of that right not only on 'reciprocal recognition' of their own right to exist, but on a tangible end to a REAL and CRIPPLING occupation of their land and their lives. Unreasonable?

They (the EU, US, UN and Russia) think so. And now they threaten to withhold their 'financial aid' to Palestinians, unless Hamas "agrees" to terms that they are clearly willing to accept - a two state solution. Israel already has one. But, that doesn't seem to matter.

But, let's look at the 'financial aid' that they're withholding. Are they withholding 'promises to pay' that they printed on their presses? Or, maybe they're withholding entries on a ledger, created from thin air by the flick of a pen on the big checkbook of LIFE that either grants or denies it.

And, why do Palestinians need someone else's money, anyway? Why can't they print their own? Could they buy anything with it if they did? Who would accept their promises to pay?

If Palestinian agriculture and industry hadn't been destroyed by decades of oppression and isolation, they could issue their own currency, exchange it with each other for their own goods, sustain themselves, and preserve their dignity and independence.

But as it is, they depend on imports for their survival and with it they must depend on the currency that those who sell those imports demand. Sound familiar?

Setting aside the political issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there's a lesson to be learned from this exercise in power, control and resistence.

The key to independence is growing your own produce and raising the animals that you and your communities need to survive. Only then can you tell those wielding the checkbook of LIFE to take their 'promises to pay' and shove it.

  Sunday, January 29, 2006

BLOGS, not Ballots

Are you a 'silent champion' of freedom? Do you 'voice your opinion' through the ballot box?

If the answer is yes, I have news for you. Our electoral system is broken and it can't fix itself.

Freedom to support one of two thoroughly corrupt agendas is no freedom at all.

BLOGS, not ballots, are the new instruments for REFORM and revolution.

Throughout history, a free and independent press has always been the single most important catalyst for change; the single most powerful champion of liberty and justice.

But, our most influential channels for speech are no longer free, nor are they independent.

What the government does not do to silence us, our corrupt corporate media does, through censorship and lies.

* * *

Freedom of speech is not an academic theory, or a marketing slogan.

To have any meaning, the 'right' to free speech must be exercised.

You cannot know that you're free to speak unless you try.

* * *

Through BLOGS, we connect to eachother and express and affirm our humanity.

Through BLOGS, we uncover the TRUTH and expose the LIES.

Through BLOGS, we do what for them is unthinkable - we SHARE our experiences and our knowledge.

Through BLOGS, we can stop the madness that threatens to extinguish forever our hopes, our dignity, and our freedom.

* * *

For decades they have parceled our world and rationed our lives; and fed us a regiment of lies and dependence.

They manipulate our needs, our fears, and our dreams to render us SERVANTS, ENTERTAINERS, and CONSUMERS.

And ultimately FODDER for the wars that they launch to maintain their control.

In the struggle for liberty and justice, the internet is the final battleground where an army of BLOGGERS are warriors of TRUTH wielding weapons of mass persuasion.

Bloggers UNITE! Raise your arms and descend like tempests on keyboards across the globe.

BLOG fearlessly; expose the lies and demand truth, freedom, and justice.

Together, we will tear down the WALLS of deception and oppression.

Our strength is in TRUTH and in numbers.

"I Ain't Buying It"

Look closely at that picture. Now, I don't know about evolution, but I can tell you these chimps don't know what situation they're in. You on the other hand do, that is you have the choice. They don't.

Jesus said, You can't serve two masters. Well, one of them set up that tableau you see there. Cute little family in the right clothes, right postures, doing the right tricks, buying the right products, living in the right house in the right neighbourhood, driving the right car(s), etc. That's the situation. We bought into it: mortgages, loans at interest and to keep ourselves safe from the knowledge of our own slavery we drug ourselves with TV, alcohol, coke, MDMA and loud music, you name it.

Think about alcohol and the Indians. It defeated them. Thing is, the people who used it to defeat them were already defeated. Already imperial slaves. Not only have we bought their claptrap about freedom, money and the open market, by servicing them through consumption we're helping them perpetuate the system that binds us. Talk about house-slaves. Who's the domestic here do you think?

Americans, 5% of the world's population, consume 25% of the world's resources. If you're at all worried about your fellow men, perpetual warfare and the environment these figures ought to give you pause. They ought to if you're human.

We talk long and hard about freedom and independence, but take a good look at what I've just written and tell me where you SEE freedom? Where do you SEE independence? Yet you still have a choice. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Am I buying it? Sometimes people comment on the posts here and say, But what can we do?

Well, pretty simple things to begin with. Just say no to dope. Drop the TV. Not just the cable connection, but TV itself. I haven't watched or owned one for twenty years and I can tell you for a fact I ain't missed a thing. Get out of debt. Get out of the bar. Buy local produce and thereby boycott Monsanto. Learn frugality, learn thrift. Stop feeding your ego with what they tell you you need, only to fill their coffers and "make you happy and fulfilled," and stick to what is necessary. Nurture your spirit.

Let me tell you why that works. Marching on the capitol shouting slogans is done in a few hours and it might make the news, might ruffle a few feathers. Might make you feel better over the post-demo beer. But the powers that be NEED consumers (as in people suffering from consumption). They need you to feel that guilt around noon Saturday when you realize you just blew your paycheck and the bills are still there and you're back in the grind. Working for consumption, 'cause that's what you've been reduced to. You're no longer human. Not in their eyes. The suggestions are many, here at this blog or following the links. You probably have loads of ideas yourself.

But first and foremost, look at that picture, get rid of the blinkers. Stop drugging yourself. Get out of the mist. Step into the light. Say, simply,

I ain't buying it.

And watch Babylon shudder.

  Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why is it so HARD to find a JOB?

In light of the news that 24,500 people applied for 325 jobs at the Wal-Mart that opened Friday just outside Chicago, I think it's appropriate to ask 'Why the fuck is it so hard to find a job?'

Are Americans too picky? Are immigrants taking all the jobs? Is it globalization? Is there something wrong with us? Are we not trying hard enough? Red-herrings, every last one of them; signs and symptoms of the same global pathology.

Where there's no money, there's no work. It's as simple as that. Ask Lewis Black; he knows.

Does it mean that the unemployed are inherently unproductive? Or, that all of the economy's needs are already met? Of course not.

Take, for example NYC; unemployment is high, but many infrastructure projects and public services are needed. They can't be launched or provided because the city needs capital and without fail, government budgets fall short, no matter how much they collect in taxes, tolls, fares, fees, and fines. But, WHY?

There is no shortage of labor and no shortage of needs. It's always a shortage of money.

Pardon the vernacular, but you gotta ask yourself, why the fuck isn't there enough money when the US Treasury prints it 24/7?

The answer lies in the nature of money, debt and interest.
"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." -- President James A. Garfield
Money has no intrinsic value. Bushels of it are printed every minute by our government, at nominal cost, only by the authority vested in them by us, through the Constitution.

You can't eat money, you can't ride it to work, it won't keep you warm, and it won't do the dishes. You can't do a damn thing with it; it's worthless unless someone accepts it in exchange for something of REAL VALUE - labor or goods.

Money simply facilitates exchange (remember, in God we trust all others pay cash).

If we didn't use a standard currency, like the dollar, we would have to barter, which for obvious reasons is terribly inefficient. Hence the term currency, from the root word current, or flow.

And the only reason money is accepted in exchange for labor and goods is because the government says so. Those who accept it are receiving a promise that the next person will accept it, too. In other words, money is "valuable" by government decree. Hence, the term fiat currency.

So, if money has no intrinsic value, why the fuck is it taxed with interest from the minute it hops off the press?

Logically, the government should issue this 'promise to pay,' born at the press, interest-free in order to fuel the economy by launching needed non-profit public projects. In this context, money does not "buy" productivity. It simply facilitates it.

The money that circulates in the economy, as a result, now represents each person's contribution to productivity - the credit they earned. They can save it, spend it, lend it, or invest it. It never has to be returned to the government. It can continue to circulate until it is worn.

When new public needs arise the government could re-use money that it earns (as a non-profit corporation) in fares and fees for productive public services. If necessary, it could borrow money that's deposited in its trust as personal savings. Anything borrowed is returned interest-free. When warranted, the government issues new currency to accomodate productive growth. In such a system, taxes would be unnecessary.

Through a national network of non-profit banks, the government could also invest private money in entrepreneurial for-profit businesses that promise to employ others. In these ventures, the government assumes profit and risk on a pro-rata basis.

Or, these banks could loan money interest-free to individuals or businesses that demonstrate need. Anything that is loaned, would be eventually returned, interest-free, to be loaned to someone else in need.

There would be no inflation, because whether money is issued for public or private use it would only be issued and allocated according to productivity.

Because money is interest-free, billions of dollars that would be otherwise siphoned from both public and private economies, through fraud or exploitation, remain available to fuel public and private productivity.

But as it stands, central banks have a monopoly on issuing money; they issue it when they will and to whom they will, and they only allow it to circulate at interest. This is the crux of the problem.

Central bankers take money directly off the press and create credit from thin air. They lend cash and credit at their discretion; and they expect it re-paid (as if they earned it) in the same currency, only in a greater quantity than they or the government ever issue it--which is impossible.

This fraudulent system of lending at interest creates a zero-sum economy where some must lose for others to win. For example, let's say that $1000 is issued by the only bank in a fledgling nation of five. Each person borrows $200 at interest, and must compete with the others to pay off their loan, plus interest.

Once 4 of them raise enough money to get out of debt, there is not enough money left circulating for the fifth to pay his debt, no matter how hard he tries. This zero-sum result is inevitable in a system based on interest because interest is NEVER issued, it's only charged.

Interest is not productive. It's an instrument employed by LAZY, unimaginative investors who want to unload life's risks on to borrowers, workers, and consumers by exploiting their need for money.

Interest only works in a controlled economy where the money supply is constantly "tightened." It's glaringly obvious that no one would pay interest for money they could borrow from the government interest-free - if it was available.

But, it's not. So, interest acts as a giant vacuum siphoning all the money which the government supposedly issued for productive uses and channels it to inefficient, exploitative ones that bleed borrowers, workers, and consumers, alike and pits everyone against eachother.

For instance, under an interest-based system, the person from our example who remains in debt will garner little sympathy if he is healthy, and suffered no natural disaster. But indeed, he is unable to pay his debt, not through his own fault, but because of a flawed monetary system.

If interest were not charged, he might still fall behind others. But, if it's because of a natural disaster (Katrina) or illness, the community would gladly extend credit at no interest until the crisis passes.

Or, if the loss was due to his negligence or inefficiency, he would no longer be trusted with loans. And unless he were incapacitated, he would have to work to pay it back, interest-free. That is both fair and it encourages cooperation and social resposibility.

He would not be targeted, as he is now, by moneylenders who don't care if he never pays anything but interest. That is unfair and facilitates and rewards exploitation.

But, private borrowing at interest is not our only problem. It gets MUCH worse.

A nation that borrows money at interest (by issuing bonds), instead of issuing bills interest-free, suffers the burden of perpetual debts that increase exponentially with time because of interest.

Interest on government bonds has been decimating America's physical economy and the quality and availability of its public services for decades. In 2005, the US government spent over $380 billion to pay interest on treasury bonds, almost six times the money it spent to fund education! We are kept ignorant so that central bankers and moneylenders can continue to defraud us unchallenged.

On top of all this, because moneylenders "own" all the credit they extend in the economy, they are free to call in those loans at any time, plunging the entire nation into economic depression and foreclosing on all its assets.

The bottomline is that with the same legal authority that our government issues bonds at interest, it can issue interest-free bills. Both are promises to pay. The latter is honest and productive, the former is fraudulent and destructive. The choice should be clear.

So, when someone asks you why it's so hard to find a job, tell them that it's not their fault and that the people of this nation and the world are being manipulated and defrauded by those who control the money supply.

Don't lay back and let them screw us. Let your voice be heard.

We ASS-U-ME Iran seeks WMD

U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said . . . "It is prudent to assume that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability so that they have the choice of whether to activate it."
I guess Jack missed that episode of Benny Hill. "Never ASSUME because it makes an ASS out of U and ME."

If you can't beat 'em at the POLLS, break 'em at the BANK

I knew it wouldn't take long for Israel to unleash its wrath on Hamas. But, instead of raining bullets it's draining cash from the economy. Unless Palestinians have a backup source of funds, it won't be long before all hell breaks loose.
[T]here [is] not enough money to pay the salaries of 135,000 Palestinian civil servants, including some 58,000 members of the security forces...

Because Hamas has not yet formed a government, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has asked American help . . . to ensure that Israel delivers the $40 million to $50 million owed to the Palestinian Authority from tax and customs receipts, which Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

The departing Palestinian economy minister, Mazen Sinokrot, said the 135,000 civil servants were the main breadwinners for 30 percent of Palestinian families. "If these salaries do not come in, this is a message for violence," he said.

Israeli officials suggested that Ehud Olmert, Israel's acting prime minister, would agree to release this month's money anyway, since a Hamas government has not been formed, but questioned whether Israel would agree to give any money to Hamas in the future. "We don't want to punish the Palestinian people," an official said. "But we don't have any illusions about Hamas."

* * *

[Former President Jimmy Carter] urged Israel and the world: "Don't drive the Palestinians away from rationality. Don't force them into assuming arms as the only way to achieve their legitimate goals. Give them some encouragement and the benefit of the doubt."
But, Hamas appears to be less concerned about a drop in funds.
Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official, said in an interview in Gaza that he was not worried about the lack of money from the West.

"All the money from Europe and American went into the pockets of corrupt men," Mr. Zahar said, citing Palestinian security chiefs as a leading example. "The leaders of these services became multimillionaires. We are going to reform these services. This is our mission."
According to Ray Hanania at Counterpunch.org, Hamas has a track record for getting the majority of its donations to the social services it was meant to finance.
With funding Yassin raised and with Israeli funds directed through the Village Leagues, the Islamic Association built new mosques, new schools, hospitals and medical clinics. The group established social service and humanitarian agencies and even job creation venues. Despite its later turn to armed struggle and suicide bombings, Hamas meticulously directed nearly 95 percent of the funds it raised to these worthy humanitarian projects.
That explains their resounding success at the polls. Could Hamas surprise the US and Israel, yet again, and get by without "their" money?

  Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas leaves room for CO-EXISTENCE

Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader said Friday that they had no immediate plans to change its policy and recognize Israel . . .

"If the Israelis have something to fulfill the basic demand of the Palestinian people concerning the occupied territories, detainees, question of Jerusalem, our national interests, we are going to re-evaluate this argument."
Hardline position, yes. But, a far cry from the threat, oft repeated by the MSM, that they aim to drive Israel into the sea.

Clearly, Hamas leaves room for co-existence. Let's see what happens.

They say POWER corrupts

Evo Morales proves that it does not. Shortly after winning the Bolivian presidency in a landslide election, Morales reduced his own salary by 57%, to US $1800 per month.

Apparently, the age old saying that power corrupts is either not true, or does not apply to Morales.

Although, clearly it does not apply to Morales. I would also argue that the saying is not true. It's a cynical and demoralizing statement that discourages people from expecting more from their leaders. I remain convinced that power may attract corruption, but it does not cause it.

Once corrupt, always corrupt. But, if a man is honest, modest, and sincerely cares for people other than himself, no amount of power will corrupt his integrity and his values. That's not to say that he may not err, or that at times his courage may not falter. But, if it does it will not be because he lacks integrity.

Wall Street's hopes that Morales might "embrac[e] orthodox fiscal policy" just went up in a ball of flames.

Ah, if only we had a president as modest, as down to earth, and as dedicated to his people as Morales.

Wal-Mart attempts silent coup

Bankers are like gangsters, they work together when it's them against the rest of the world. But, they turn on each other in a heartbeat if one tries to operate on the other's turf. And so it goes that with one foot out the door...
Greenspan is urging Congress to close a regulatory loophole that lets companies own a certain breed of banks, including a bank Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to operate in Utah.

[Greenspan]'s remarks take direct aim at an exemption in federal law that allows any type of company commercial firm, foreign bank or other to own so-called industrial loan companies in a handful of states, principally Utah, California and Nevada.

When the exemption was adopted in 1987, industrial loan companies, or ILCs, were mostly small, locally owned institutions that had only limited deposit-taking and lending powers.

[By 2004, ILCs had] grown by more than 3,500 percent . . . from $3.8 billion to $140 billion.[!!!]
HOLY COW! What other business on earth can increase its assets at such an astronomical rate? And all this by collecting interest. Sounds more like they're robbing banks, not running them!
General Motors, General Electric, Pitney Bowes and BMW are among the companies that now own industrial loan companies under the exemption, Greenspan said. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, has filed an application to operate an industrial loan company in Utah, he said.

Greenspan's comments didn't make a specific attack on Wal-Mart's efforts but rather were a broader shot at the exemption itself.

The exemption allows the corporate owners of these industrial loan companies to avoid the regulatory requirements that apply to corporate owners of other types of insured banks overseen by the Federal Reserve, said Greenspan. He found this troubling.
Of course, he finds it troubling. As long as it's his buddies who are raking in the dough, no problemo. Now that a gigantic outsider is about to move into the neighborhood threatening to swallow it whole, it's time to impose regulations.

Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see the whole neighborhood dismantled; I just find Greenspan's hypocrisy amazing (though I should be used to it by now).

Greenspan's warning was addressed to Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, who responded:
"We as a Congress cannot afford to do anything except promote prudential financial oversight" . . . The issue is not Wal-Mart's application but whether Congress has opened the way to a complicated web of financial and commercial cross-ownerships.
Yeah, right. Peddle the prudential banking nonsense elsewhere. Banking is and always has been the least regulated sector on earth and the only reference to prudence in banking that I've come across in my travels conveys an appreciably different meaning:
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.
Not exactly the same usage. Moreover, Congress launched "a complicated web of financial and commercial cross-ownerships" a heck of a long time ago, congressman. Why not just admit that when Greenspan tells you to jump, you proceed to do so frantically before even bothering to ask how high?

Imperial Breakdown

What would you think of a man who not only kept an arsenal in his home, but was collecting at enormous financial sacrifice a second arsenal to protect the first one? What would you say if this man so frightened his neighbors that they in turn were collecting weapons to protect themselves from him?

What if this man spent ten times as much money on his expensive weapons as he did on the education of his children?

What if one of his children criticized his hobby and he called that child a traitor and a bum and disowned him? And he took another child who obeyed him faithfully and armed that child and sent it out into the world to attack neighbors?

What would you say about a man who introduces poisons into the water he drinks and the air he breathes?

What if this man not only is feuding with the people on his block but involves himself in the quarrels of others in distant parts of the city and even in the suburbs?

Such a man would clearly be a paranoid schizophrenic... with homicidal tendencies.

- Robert Anton Wilson, The Illuminatus! Trilogy

  Thursday, January 26, 2006

US ambassador to India EATS his words

The Bush administration is on a roll this week. Iran threatened to begin uranium enrichment if referred to the Security Council, 'militant' Hamas won a democratic election by a wide margin, Rumsfeld and his generals can't get their stories straight, and today India made the US ambassador eat his own words.
Mr Mulford was summoned by India's Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, on Thursday afternoon and told that his comments were "inappropriate and not conducive to building a strong partnership between the two democracies," a foreign ministry statement said. [OUCH!]

[Mulford said] his remarks were taken out of context. [Right!]

The US State Department said Mr Mulford was voicing his "personal opinion." [Sure!]
The whole thing started when...
...a week ahead of the IAEA meeting on the Iran issue, Mulford said that if India did not vote against Tehran’s nuclear programme, the fallout on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Congress would be "devastating." (Washington agreed last year to share advanced civilian nuclear technology with Delhi.)
Naturally, they didn't like that very much.
In a strongly-worded statement, the [Communist Party India-Marxist] CPI(M) called the ambassador’s comments a "threat" and said they confirmed that the US had pressured India into voting against Iran at the IAEA meeting in September last year.

[They] accused the US ambassador of interference with India’s sovereign affairs and said . . . [that a] strong rebuff should be given so that the message rings out clearly that India has its dignity and an independent foreign policy."

"It is an attempt to dictate what India should do. Mulford forgets that he is not the American pro-consul in a banana republic."
OUCH! That stings! The administration should quit while they're ahead.

BTW, Mulford is some character. Bad apples don't fall far from the tree.

Should we stay or Should we go, now?

It's always tease tease tease
You're happy when [we're] on [our] knees

One day is fine, the next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let [us] know
Should [we] stay or should [we] go?

If [we] stay there will be trouble.
(Gen. Casey, today)

And if [we] go it will be double.
(Rumsfeld, yesterday)


So, which is it, fellas?

American families want their children back - ALIVE.

And Iraqis want (what's left of) their country back - NOW.

Caterpillar Makes a Killing

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. [reported] stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, citing "unprecedented customer demand" for its products.
And who is one of their most dedicated customers?
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and partnering law firms today [March 15, 2005] filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois-based Caterpillar, Inc. on behalf of the parents of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American peace activist and student who was run over and killed by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003.

The suit . . . alleges that Caterpillar, Inc. violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger civilians.
Remember that when you consider adding the mammoth industrial machine maker's stock to your portfolio.

  Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If it walks like a DUCK and quacks like a DUCK...

"If a country resorts to the tactics of gangsters I say, 'No'," Dick Marty, a Swiss senator, said at the Council of Europe's winter session in Strasbourg."There are different elements that allow me to say that governments were aware of what was happening."

Senator Marty, who is investigating allegations of "extraordinary rendition", estimated that more than 100 people had been flown to prisons in third countries where they may have been tortured.

"There is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of 'relocation' or 'outsourcing of torture'," Senator Marty told the 46-nation council on Tuesday.
Notwithstanding its flowery rhetoric in support of freedom, democracy, and due process of the law, the United States government really believes in the language of FORCE.

What's the difference between a terrorist and a gangster? It all boils down to how far you're willing to go to get what you want. You can dance around it from here to eternity. But, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Marty is putting himself and his family at great risk by calling a duck a duck. He should be applauded and protected.

STICKS and STONES may break my bones...

Iran on Tuesday reaffirmed and defended its plan to organize a conference to examine the Holocaust.
"For over half a century, those who seek to prove the Holocaust have used every podium to defend their position. Now they should listen to others." [Iran]

[T]he planned conference [is] "proof of what a global threat Iran really is" . . . "I fear that the only reason Iran is showing so much interest in the Holocaust is because they may be preparing another Holocaust and it is up to the world and the United Nations to prevent that from happening," [Israel]

"[B]lind prejudice together with political interests and aims have closed the eyes of the Holocaust defenders to the realities of the world, and they reject without any logic a scientific conference." [Iran]

"Iran is proving yet again what an extreme, fundamentalist, lunatic regime it is." [Israel]
A conference is extreme while a pre-emptive nuclear attack is moderate and Israel, with its countless nuclear warheads, needs the UN's protection.

Enough. I admit, words can hurt you. This nonsense is torture.

  Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lewis Black on the Economy

When comedians start taking on the economy, you just know something's seriously wrong. And then they offer sound solutions…? I'm not going there. "Lewis Black says, 'we have a two party system, the Democratic Party, a party of no ideas, and the Republican Party, a party of bad ideas,' and offers his own plan for the economy."

Watch video clip here.

Hattip onegoodmove.org

Plutocrats are Greased, Americans are Fleeced

"Intellectual property" is nothing but an indefensible tax on information and technology, designed by aristocrats, enforced by plutocrats, and suffered by the masses.

There goes another perfectly good product, off the market. Not that Blackberry gets any sympathy from me. These people are probably prosecuting infringement cases against dozens of other companies as we speak. But, we the people are paying the price whenever an infringement case is brought and won by a patentholder.

We pay in fewer products and fewer options in the marketplace. I don't know the details of this particular case. But, now NTP is free to gouge RIM in royalty fees (which of course is really gouging us). Or, RIM will simply refuse to pay the licensing fee and NTP can gouge us directly when we're left with no alternative.

And to add insult to injury:
NTP has asked the trial judge in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to move ahead with the injunction. It has said an injunction would not affect BlackBerry products used by U.S. federal, state, or local governments.

RIM argued that [the court] should back away from any injunction for a number of reasons including an "exceptional public interest" in maintaining uninterrupted BlackBerry service for national security officials, among others.
So, the plutocrats get to keep their blackberries, the better to keep tabs on us. Meanwhile, we get to use what they allow us to use. From Cipro to Blackberry, the US government and its financiers are taking full advantage of their power to fleece us.

Mother RICE

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday cautioned Palestinian voters, who will choose a parliament this week, to bear in mind that terrorism is not a pathway to peace.

Rice said it does not work to have "one foot in terrorism and the other foot in politics."
Does this woman realize how irrelevant she is with her mindless blather on terrorism? Never has one woman done so much to detract from the progress of stateswomen around the world.

Wait, I take that back. Maggie did a pretty good job.

  Monday, January 23, 2006

American Universities thrown to the SHARKS

[A] new economics [is] driving public colleges nationwide into uncharted, potentially troublesome, waters.
Shark infested waters - along with their students and the rest of the nation's economy.

After all, why should the government bother funding public education? Our population is intelligent enough to consume. Isn't that what 'drives' the economy?

Besides, how else can the government stay current on interest payments if it doesn't trim the budget?
Over the last two decades, public financing for higher education has waned at the same time that education costs . . . have continued to rise. This has forced public colleges nationwide into a competitive marketplace that is threatening public education.
To make up for the shortfalls in public funds, state universities offer increasingly extravagant compensation packages to "administrators" who know how to attract "operating funds" from private donors.
Former Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl of UC Berkeley, for instance, got a 13 1/2 -month paid leave, at $315,600 a year.
Holy cow! What on earth does he do "at the office" to warrant that kind of "paid leave?"
"If private donors and corporations are providing much of a university's budget," said a former president of the University of Wisconsin, "then they will set the agenda."
I see. He's busy selling the school to the highest bidder. That would make a university administrator the equivalent of a pimp. And I don't mean to derogate from the position. I'm sure administrators accomplish some important objectives for their patrons - corporations and private foundations.

But, what about the nation's students - specifically, the working class ones whose parents bleed to make the aforementioned interest payments on Treasury bonds?
[Because] national rankings, published by U.S. News & World Report among others, have a huge bearing on a school's reputation and its ability to attract federal and private money. . . both public and private colleges now use financial aid as a competitive tool to attract the highest-performing students, at the expense of those with the greatest financial needs.

According to a recent study, the amount of student financial aid that states awarded not on the basis of need grew from 10% to more than 25% from 1998 to 2002.

[Moreover, in] the hopes of luring the best and brightest students (who often also are the most affluent ones), colleges are also splurging on luxury dormitories, lavish new gymnasiums and other country-club-like amenities. (Duke University gave iPods to all its first-year students.)
All of which makes it increasingly necessary for children of modest means to bury themselves in debt to afford such ridiculous and wasteful amenities.

And, what do students get in return for a lifetime of indentured servitude to pay interest on student loans?
The undergraduates are taught largely, if not exclusively, by part-time adjuncts and graduate students [who are paid much less than] star professors — who can bring in research revenue and prestige [and who] are offered six-figure salaries and promises that they will rarely, if ever, have to see an undergraduate.

[Meanwhile, a] Chronicle of Higher Education survey found that 23 public university presidents now earn more than $500,000.
Amazing. After burying themselves in debt to become teachers, part-time adjuncts and graduate students do all the work and don't get paid enough to cover their utilities bill, nor do they get any respect.

Meanwhile, administrators (who take 13 1/2 month handsomely paid vacations) get six figures to pimp a few dozen prize students and handful of nutty professors.

That's the state of higher education in America - brought to you by our corrupt, interest-based, fractional reserve monetary system.

TRUTH does not negotiate with LIES

Navy: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid collision.

Civilian: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision.

Navy: This is the Captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again, divert your course.

Civilian: No. I say again, divert YOUR course.


Civilian: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
No military might, however awesome, can withstand the power of TRUTH and every illusion, however grand, eventually runs up against reality.

If you're waging war against TRUTH, this is a wakeup call. TRUTH does not negotiate with lies and REALITY takes no prisoners. Your call.

  Sunday, January 22, 2006

Saudi KING: Price of Oil Too High

Ever get the feeling you're being lied to?
"Experts" warn that the price of oil could spike over $100 a barrel if sanctions are imposed on Iran.
In a rare interview to India’s NDTV news channel [today] King Abdullah . . . admitted that current oil prices were too high and thus hurting developing countries. He said Saudi Arabia had the ability to meet any requirement that India may have for its energy security.

“We want to strengthen the link between India and Saudi Arabia with regards to energy and the ability to provide energy to India over the long term. From our perspective I personally feel that the current price of oil is too high.

“The price is damaging to developing countries who subsequently have to suffer. The price needs to be at a more moderate level. With regards to the export of crude oil to India, we would like to provide India’s requirement of energy in the future,” he said.
You might argue that the $100 warning is only if sanctions are imposed. But, here we are on the eve of potential sanctions and the good King does not seem to be worried. And he's not alone...
"Oil shouldn't be trading above $65 a barrel," [said Michael Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut]. "It constrains the whole market and only some energy utility shares benefit"
So, if they both think the price of oil's too high, and we know that supplies are ample and demand is moderate, then who's charging us a premium, and WHY?
[Lebow] added that the market is "completely decoupled" from the fundamentals of supply and demand.
So, maybe my theories are not so far off, after all.

Read more on the increasing number of reciprocal oil agreements between Saudi Arabia and both India and China. Looks like the world will get along just fine without us.

One more thing. Remember how traders initially bid up the price of oil based on rumors that Iran was shifting its reserve assets? Well...
For the second time in two days, Iran on Sunday denied that it was withdrawing foreign currency reserves from European banks.

"Iran's foreign currency reserves will be kept in all banks we trust in the world, including European and non-European banks," the Central Bank said.
Someone's been telling some TALL tales.

Morales: The South American Wild Card

The mainstream media and financial investors want desperately to believe that Bolivia's newly elected "leftist" president will "govern less like Chavez and more like Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was elected on a leftist platform but has become liked on Wall Street for embracing orthodox fiscal policy."But, I suspect they will be sorely disappointed.
Bolivia (btw) has the second largest natural gas reserves in South America, second only to Venezuela. [and] Petroleum companies have invested $3.5 billion in Bolivia since the mid-1990s.
The usual suspects focused their attention on "conciliatory notes" Morales struck in his inaugural speech:
Morales said he's open to the idea of a large U.S.-sponsored trade zone he harshly criticized last year during his campaign.

Morales repeated his pledge to respect property rights that he made after winning the presidency last month in a landslide. He also promised his administration would treat all sectors of society fairly, without "rancor or vengeance."

Morales softened his position toward the U.S.-backed bloc, which would slash tariffs and other trade barriers from Canada to Chile.

He also said his administration would study the benefits Bolivia might get by joining a separate zone that would link the economies of the United States with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, or by become a member the Mercosur trade zone.
I, on the other hand, recommend that they focus instead on who he is;
[Aymara Indian Evo] Morales, a former leader of Bolivia's coca growers union, rose to power leading protests, as Bolivia's poor became disillusioned with free market reforms and the privatization of everything from oil to water.
who he admires;
. . . Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, an avowed socialist.
what he intends to do;
. . . nationalize the country's vast natural gas reserves.
and how he qualified his consideration of multi-national trade agreements.
If any one of the trade zones "guarantees markets for the poor, well, welcome," Morales said.
Yes, I share some of their optimism about Morales, but for entirely different reasons...:)

  Saturday, January 21, 2006

What comes first, the Profits or the Wage?

Apparently, you can't have both. Or, so it seems. Profits and wages, just like all other business outflows, come from the same revenue stream. Each necessarily impinges on the other, which creates a dilemma.
Digging out of the red will be a tall order for U.S. stocks next week after Friday's big losses unless the corporate profit picture improves and the international tensions driving oil prices through the roof ease.
Now, since we know oil prices aren't going to ease anytime soon, that means "improved profits" will have to be wrung from elsewhere. Wages and benefits are the first items on the corporate agenda.

But wait, you say, wages and benefits are already low, and if every corporation cuts jobs to increase profits, who will do all the work?

Well, they could close down some plants and move operations to cheap labor markets. This would get rid of excess capacity, solving the wage problem, and eliminate excess supply of goods, easing the deflationary pressures on prices as an added bonus! Two birds with one stone.

But wait, you say, corporations have already done these things on a fairly large scale. Could they possibly intend to do more of the same? That would be national economic suicide! (Or, more accurately, genocide.)

What about the alternative? What happens to stocks if corporate profits don't improve?
"Investors are having to deal with the reality of lower corporate profits," said Michael Strauss, chief economist at Commonfund in Wilton, Connecticut. "And the stock market is starting to feel that impact."
In other words, when profits aren't cutting it, those who wield the big bucks (institutional investors) deal with it, alright - they take their money elsewhere!

But wait, you say, you mean that investors don't give a damn what happens to domestic corporations after they pull the equity rug from underneath it? Clearly, no.

They owe allegiance to no one. They sell on a heartbeat. The price of stock tumbles and loyal investors are not only left with stock that's worth less, but they face an uphill battle to raise capital. The stocks are no longer attractive, and bond buyers demand higher interest rates on any new corporate bonds issued.

But, wait a minute. What's going on here? Is it the investors that don't give a damn, or is it the traders? Or, a combination of both?

Small-time individual investors tend to hold on to their stocks as long as the company's product or service is marketable and in demand (e.g., Independence Air). They don't look at the company's financial statement, their debt to equity ratio or consider the impact the terms of their loan agreements will have on interest payments when the Fed increases interest rates.

Also, many individual investors don't do their own trading. Professional brokerage houses do their trading. And brokers, of course, make money whether or not the stock's value plummets. Sure, they claim to please their clients. But after all, losses are the nature of the game. Most individual investors will not complain, even if they lose 50%, or more, of their investment because the amount at stake, in absolute terms, is not very big.

In contrast, institutional investors do keep a close eye on corporate financial statements and debt to equity ratios. They carry much of the corporate bonds, after all. And, they know what's going to happen to the supply of capital in the marketplace and its impact on the cost of doing business. They, along with the banks, ARE the supply of capital!

You see, profits and wages are not born in a vacuum. Other costs come into play: energy, raw materials, and of course, everyone's favorite -INTEREST - the elephant in the room that keeps raiding the pantry unnoticed. But, these other factors are all controlled by the same greedy bastards that control the securities markets.

So, when the media starts toeing the line that profits need to improve in order to save the stock market, they really mean that workers need to cough up more blood to satisfy the insatiable greed of those who control the financial markets (securities and money). And it's painfully obvious that that greed cannot be satisfied.

American industry is already gutted. And now these bastards want our city, state, and our federal government, which, by the way, are all corporations, to implement the same austerity measures as their for-profit counterparts. They not only want to export American jobs overseas, they want to shut down the entire nation! Standard operating procedure for vulture capitalists.

The securities market is nothing but a colossal game of Monopoly - and it's rigged in favor of those who control the money supply and those who control the trading. When they tell you we, as a nation, must increase profits to save the stock market, tell them that profits must stand in line. Wages and our lives come first.


Just as I predicted last month, when news of the transit deal first surfaced, the struggle between the MTA and its transit workers is far from over.
[The MTA] intends to seek binding arbitration to resolve the dispute; Ed Watt, the secretary-treasurer of the union, said the union would oppose it.
I live in NYC and my bus driver told me that 99% of the time, the arbitrator rules in favor of the MTA. That explains the MTA's insistence on arbitration and the union's resistance to it.

Wakeup New Yorkers! If you don't open yours eyes and understand what's really going on in this picture, you will find yourselves next in line.

Equity markets prepare to DIVE in earnest

How do I know? The facts speak volumes.
US stocks suffered their biggest drop since 2003 yesterday, driven down by earnings concerns and rising energy prices sparked by international tensions . . .

"There was reason to sell, and . . . people did it with both hands."
I have enough knowledge to understand how our laws reward those who owe allegiance to no one and enough instincts to predict how the usual suspects and their cohorts will take advantage of a situation that they know is about to spiral out of control.

Keep in mind that the whole market does not have to work in concert, at least not deliberately. It only takes a few influential investors with inside information to make a strategically calculated move and the rest of the market, informed or not, dutifully takes the plunge. It's like herding sheep off a cliff.

Taken in the context of the events of the past week (maneuvers by the US and Europe against Iran, huge injection of cash by Fed, ongoing chaos in Iraq) and what we know will happen in the next couple of months (opening of Iran bourse, US hitting its debt ceiling, Fed ending M3 publication, collapse at Delphi; Ford; GM; among others, Abramoff spilling his beans), the scheduled events of the past few days (Franklin sentencing, OBL tape, Iran's asset shift, traders bidding up the price for oil, the precipitous drop in the stock market) tend too much in one direction to be a coincidence.

If I'm right, the stock market will NOT recover this time around, not significantly anyway. When the shit hits the fan, the plunge protection team will do everything it can to prevent a catastrophic nose dive of the markets and the dollar. But, it will be too little, too late.

I already sold the little stock I had last week and I recommend that you do the same. Of course, I do NOT recommend you flee to the blood-stained 'safety' of the bond market. If you have extra cash after stocking up on food, water, and fuel, invest in modest amounts of gold and silver coins to tie you over until we recover from the imminent collapse of our debauched and debased economy.

  Friday, January 20, 2006

WAR games

Today's increase in oil prices by speculators is more than an exercise in price gouging and trader profiteering. It's a strategic run up to a war of aggression against Iran.

This market rally serves the dual purpose of pillaging consumers and taking the sting out of any future production cuts Iran might implement if faced with imminent sanctions.

Notwithstanding the possibility that REAL shortages could affect prices, we all know that supply and demand has little if anything to do with energy prices.
Andrew Lebow of Man Financial in New York admits that "the market is 'completely decoupled' from supply and demand."
So, crude oil prices are approaching $69 a barrel even though, this morning, Iran merely proposed that OPEC cut production.

Not only does bidding up the price rake in the profits for traders and take the sting out of Iran's threats to cut production, but as an added bonus, it primes consumers for a war of aggression against Iran by hitting them where it hurts the most, in their wallets.

By the time oil approaches $90 a barrel, Americans will be so hostile towards Iran any pretext will be enough to send the troops in guns-a-blazing.

If I'm right, we're looking at sustained price increases for the foreseeable future, in the run up to a war against Iran.

Iran shifts its assets, speculators SHAFT our assets

Like yin to yang, night to day. Consumers pay for the arbitrary acts of those who control that which is needed to survive.
Iran said on Friday it was moving funds out of Europe to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output.

* * *

Financial markets reacted nervously to the uncertainty about Iran's foreign holdings, estimated at more than $30 billion, helping send oil to a four-month high above $67.
Why would talk of shifting assets send oil prices into an upward spiral?
Talk of shifting foreign assets indicates how seriously the Islamic Republic is taking the threat of U.N. sanctions . . . and an Iranian proposal to slash a million barrels a day from OPEC production from April was not calculated to calm markets.
But, wait a minute. What does shifting assets under threat of UN sanctions have to do with cutting oil supplies?
OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told the Mehr news agency the cut was needed because markets are oversupplied by some two million barrels per day, which he said could cause an oil price collapse in the second quarter of the year.
AHHH! the real issue is NOT the threat of UN sanctions, but the threat of deflationary market forces!

But, wait. Traders don't seem to be worried about excess supply of oil:
Most traders are more concerned about a shortage of spare capacity and an array of geopolitical risks than any glut.
Sure! If they worried about a glut, that would push prices lower! Must stay focused, UP, UP, UP with the shaft!

Besides, why would they worry about excess supply? Those who control oil supplies would NEVER let that happen.

You see, we the people can't win as long as a privileged few control that which we need to survive and thrive, whether it's money, energy, food, water, or communications.

Hacking into our lives

The New York Times, in the following article revealed that the government subpoenaed Google, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo for search queries as part of their effort to uphold an online pornography law. Google is fighting this in court, and the other service providers already have complied with the demands.

An excerpt of the article is as follows:

Google has been refusing the request since a subpoena was first issued last August, even as three of its competitors agreed to provide information, according to court documents made public this week. Google asserts that the request is unnecessary, overly broad, would be onerous to comply with, would jeopardize its trade secrets and could expose identifying information about its users.

Yeah, I would say the search is unnecessary and overly broad. ALL searches over the course of a week? Yeah, I would say it's unncessary. And how exactly does this help the government in its case, anyway, other in their never ending quest to obtain as much information as possible about its citizens?

Historically, information about porn sites and secret proclivities have been prime blackmail fodder for the government. Martin Luther King Day was this past Monday - he had an FBI file that was famously thousands of pages thick! But then again, so did John Lennon, oh that evil atheist! (imagining there was no heaven, how blasphemous!) And Amelia Earheart, how dare a woman try to fly! Andy Warhol, why he painted Campbell's soup cans and stated everyone will get 15 minutes of fame...clearly he means to overthrow the government and wreck havoc around the world.

Sadly, we have returned to the infamous days of yesteryear. I have scary/funny/somewhat sexy news to report. The Pentagon is looking to create a "gay bomb" that will somehow turn enemy combatants gay, and make them...what? Make love not war? Well, given the fundies believe that mere exposure to gay people will cause people to turn gay (I guess gayness is an airborn disease?) it would seem that such a plan would then cause our men and women in uniform to turn to homosexuality. Or maybe...is this implying that "flower power" actually works? Between this and the fact that the Pentagon has moved to watch "kiss ins," I really feel my tax dollars are hard at work, protecting me.

It's good to know that the government is protecting us from Al Queda and ensuring that the American way of life will continue. But what exactly is the American way of life? What exactly does it mean to be American? I always thought that the American way of life implicitly embraced the first amendment. I always thought that that was what seperated us from every other country in the world, the fact that we have a first amendment with such strong protections.

Given that antiwar groups are now being spyed upon ROUTINELY, and given that the PATRIOT Act has been expanded to include getting library records of ordinary Americans...I really wonder what the first amendment means now. Bush famously has been monitoring the calls of thousands of Americans through the NSA spying mechansim. The funny thing is, I don't see that as even the worst violation of the American way of life. The worst violation is the casual way in which Americans give up their liberty for temporary safety. The worst violation is the cavalier attitude that Americans have towards the civil liberties that our founding fathers fought and died for.

I posted before on what it means to be American. Since then, we have only found out about more and more ways in which the government has been spying on us and watching our every move. How exactly are we to be free in this environment? How exactly does this fight Al Queda? Osama Bin Laden released another video tape yesterday, detailing how new attacks will be unleashed upon America. Yet, in an age of "red alerts" that really mean "John Kerry is up in the polls," Americans have become desensitized towards it all. We have become so sure that our civil liberties are being violated, that we have become content to do nothing about it.

I am not content. I don't even care if the government, who I assume is reading this, knows who I am. I have nothing to hide.

One day, and hopefully soon, Americans will be FORCED to stand up against the dictatorial government that we are living with, and enforce the way of life that the framers (save for Hamilton and Adams) intended.

I do not consider myself a radical. I consider myself a Jeffersonian. I value the Yeomen farmer ideal of self sufficiency, independence, and a close check on the government. The government has gotten out of control and we have to take it back.

"He who sacrifices liberty for temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin

That is as true today as ever before. We are not safe. We are LESS safe than we ever have been, by the criminally negligent actions of the Bush Administration in putting resources towards a dictatorial monitoring of ordinary citizens, at the expense of building up the infrastructure of this country. Our bridges and tunnels are rotten out. Our roads are pot hole-ridden. Our power plants are decaying. Should there be another attack, we are less prepared now than we were in 2001.

It is with an eye towards national security that I have contempt towards a government with such screwed up priorities.