Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Unfree Markets": The Last Gasp of a (Literally) Bankrupt Ideology

Richard (RJ) , Huffington Post
What we've been witnessing in Washington isn't just political positioning by one party looking to deny the other a victory, although it's certainly that. We're also seeing the death struggle of a dying ideology. This ideology provided intellectual cover to business and political elites for decades, but events have proved conclusively that it doesn't work. What's more, people are beginning to see that it's inconsistent with the country's traditional values of competition and free enterprise.
The ideology was cooked up in think tanks and boardrooms, then packaged and sold under a variety of conservative and libertarian guises. While the theories and rationalizations varied wildly, the conclusions were always the same: Deregulation was always the right approach, even (especially) for the most concentrated and rapacious businesses. Consumer regulations should be avoided because they hurt everybody, especially (somehow) consumers. And cutting taxes for the rich magically made things better for everybody else.
The arguments changed but the results were consistent: greater upward distribution of wealth, and more concentration of power, delivered by those the special interests funded and placed into positions of influence.
Read more here

Seize and Liquidate Goldman Sachs

Webster Tarpley

Today’s Senate hearings, carried on CNBC, Bloomberg, and C-SPAN, represent the first major exposure of the American people to the scandalous frauds of the derivatives casino, including synthetic collateralized debt obligations (synthetic CDOs or CDO²). These are things most people have heard very little about. They begin to open up the shocking reality behind such shopworn euphemisms like “toxic assets,” “exotic instruments,” and “troubled assets.”

Reactionaries in general and Republicans in particular have done everything possible to hide the role of derivatives, which must be considered the main cause of the financial panic of September 2008 which brought down Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, after felling Bear Stearns in March of the same year. The reactionary legend, repeated yesterday on the Senate floor by financier minion GOP Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire, is that the crisis was caused by poor people taking out subprime mortgages and then defaulting, bringing down the entire Anglo-American banking system and triggering the bailouts. Either that, or too much government spending was too blame.

A mass of kited derivatives blew up in September 2008

This Big Lie has come from such propaganda sources as the Limbaugh Institute of Retarded Reactionary Ranting. But the $1.5 trillion in subprime mortgages were dwarfed by the $15 trillion US residential real estate market, to say nothing of the $1.5 thousand trillion world derivatives bubble. But, starting with Bush-Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the talk has been of a “housing correction,” not a derivatives panic. It must be pointed out that derivatives are nothing but wagers, bets placed from a distance on securities which themselves are often not mortgages, but rather other derivatives.

The bettor buying a synthetic CDO or CDO² does not own the underlying mortgages or mortgage-backed securities, any more than someone who bets on a racehorse owns part of the horse. Blankfein and others tried to portray derivatives as a service to hedgers and end-users, but it’s clear that the vast majority of derivatives involve neither hedgers nor users, but only bettors on both side of the transaction. It is in any case this mass of kited derivatives which blew up in 2008, bringing on the present world economic depression.

Read more here

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bernanke Admits Printing $1.3 Trillion Out Of Thin Air

Greg Hunter,
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted the central bank created $1.3 trillion out of thin air to buy mortgage backed securities. This shocking admission came from the Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capital Hill last week. I was dumbfounded when I saw Bernanke shake his head in the affirmative as Representative Ron Paul said, “Well, where did you get the money? You created this money. So you did monetize debt, and that went into the banking system.” I was amazed he admitted this. I looked up the original hearing on C-Span to make sure the clip was not edited. It was not.
What is even more shocking is I could not find a single mainstream news agency that covered this revelation. Congress just finished voting on the bitterly contested Obama health care bill that is supposed to cost nearly a trillion dollars over ten years. (Some contend it will be more than twice that amount.) The mainstream media doesn’t even bat an eye over the Fed creating $1.3 trillion in a little more than a year to buy worthless debt no one else will touch. I do not get it. I guess we could have asked the Fed to print up a trillion dollars to pay for health care and avoided that drawn out battle in Congress.
Then, Rep. Paul brings up printing another $105 billion to bailout Greece. Bernanke answers by saying, “. . . I think one of the agreements that the G20 leaders came up with was sort of a mutual commitment to put more money into the IMF as a way of addressing the financial crisis around the world. . .” Notice how Bernanke used the term “mutual commitment.” I think what that really means is an agreement between all the G-20 nations of a “mutual debasement of their currencies.” I think this is why gold has been rising in price around the globe. I have been saying for months that we are going to have some very big inflation. (Real inflation is already at 9.5% according to I wrote about this last November in a post called “The Fix Is In.”
Read more here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Fight the Derivatives Cancer

Webster Tarpley
The Obama administration has been posturing this week about the life and death issue of Wall Street reform. Obama’s predicament is that of a Wall Street puppet who has been put into the White House thanks among other things to almost $1 million of contributions from the infamous Goldman Sachs – but who now needs to make a show of fighting his own Wall Street patrons for political reasons. Of course, Obama’s health-care reform was largely a bailout of insurance companies, which are themselves a key part of Wall Street. But Obama is now pretending to quarrel with Wall Street to shore up his waning credibility, partly because many House Democrats are desperately seeking anti-banker, economic populist street creds in order to avoid defeat in November. So far, the results have been largely feckless and inadequate.

The urgent problem raised by all this is the $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble. The financial crisis which struck the United States and the world in September and October 2008 was in fact a world a derivatives panic. This panic marked the first phase of a world economic depression caused by derivatives speculation. The second phase of this depression, which is now beginning, can also be attributed in large part to derivatives, since derivatives are the main tool being used in the speculative attacks on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and other nations, building up towards a chaotic collapse of the euro.
Read more here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Due to Unforseen Travel Disruptions There Will Be no Posts Till Sunday April 25th

We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Going After Goldman: A Crackdown on Financial Crime or a Kabuki Play Maneuvre to Avoid Bringing Criminal Charges

Danny Schechter
Fox Business News was engrossed in interviewing a blonder than thou reality TV bimbo when the news that the Securities And Exchange Commission was filing fraud charges against Goldman Sachs broke on Friday afternoon.
The breaking news bulletins were already flying through cyberspace before the Fox Means Business network got around to moving from a snickering interview with a starlet confessing to commodifying and monetizing her appeal to the biggest story in months on the Street beat. Corporate fraud allegations seem to make free market boosters nervous.
At last, the mightiest of investment bank, described as a “giant squid on the face of humanity” by Matt Taibbi in a much-read diatribe, appeared to be in deep trouble. Taibbi himself was not convinced that the Government has the goods on Goldman.
He commented, “…What’s interesting is that I heard whiffs of this story going back as far as a year and you know I’m one of the harshest critics of Goldman Sachs and I actually backed off the story because I didn’t really believe it. I thought it was too outlandish. So that tells you exactly how crazy this story is coming out now."
The Timing
The timing of the story was suspicious, he said. “This story has been out there for awhile. The [NEW YORK] Times first broke it really in December. So why are they doing this now? Cleary it could have been because this bill is about to hit, crucial period in Washington, this financial regulatory reform bill, maybe this, you can look at this as a shot across Wall St’s bow during that period.”
Read more here

Friday, April 16, 2010

Obama Threatens Iran with Nuclear War

Kourosh Ziabari
In his latest statements, President Obama has expressively warned Iran against an imminent nuclear strike. The surprising remarks by the politician who snatched the Nobel Peace Prize for his conciliatory stance in recent years, violated the UN Charter and astounded public opinion.
"The continued presence of all options on the table"; this is the disappointing message which a Nobel Peace Prize laureate dispatches internationally. In his latest interview with CBS news, American President Barack Obama refused to rule out the possibility of a military strike against Iran by harking back to the famous catchphrase of former U.S. President George W. Bush who once devised, regarding Iran's nuclear program, the popular sentence of "all options are on the table".
Putting the quality and quantity of these options aside, the very "table" on which the options should be placed is as well a matter of controversy. Who is in the position to decide the destiny of Iran's nuclear program? Which table is the U.S. President referring to? What's wrong with Iran's nuclear program in lieu of which a 70-million nation should go on with crippling sanctions, continued threats of military strike, isolation and economic embargo? What's the definite answer to the simple question that "why should the U.S., France and Israel possess nuclear weapons"? Which one is more offensive and violent? Iran's nuclear program which has been demonstrated again and again that does not have anything to do with military purposes, or the adventurous, aggressive trajectory Washington and its European allies have begun to go across?

Robert Parry, an award-winning American investigative journalist austerely answers the questions we have in mind. In an April 2 article in Consortium News, he notes: "if two countries with powerful nuclear arsenals were openly musing about attacking a third country over mere suspicions that it might want to join the nuclear club, we'd tend to sympathize with the non-nuclear underdog as the victim of bullying and possible aggression."
Read more here

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No Room to Relax: Why China's Efforts to Curb Property Speculation Will Fail to Burst the Bubble

Andy Xie, ex-Morgan Stanley Chief Economist for Asia Pacific

The central government has unleashed another round of property tightening measures. This time it is focusing on mortgage lending terms: the mortgage interest discount for first-time homebuyers has been reduced; the discount for second-time homebuyers has been abolished and the down payment requirement raised to 40%; and the rate for third-time buyers is being left to the banks' discretion with down payments raised to 60%.
Predictably, sales volumes in both primary and secondary markets have collapsed. But no one is panicking, not even those who live off the property bubble. Why? Aren't they supposed to be terrified of the government's crackdown?

It seems we have seen this movie before. China has launched property-tightening measures several times but it relaxed them just when they began to bite. The bottom line is that local governments, and the central government through them, depend very much on property for revenue. The market doesn't believe the government will cut off the hand that feeds it.
Local governments and developers are sitting on massive liquidity that they raised last year through land and property sales and borrowings, taking advantage of the "anything goes" window during the stimulus period. They seem to believe that the central government will change its mind before they run out of liquidity. So they are comfortable waiting and not cutting prices.
Read more here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Enron Redux: Lehman Used "Alter Ego" Firm to Shift Shady Investments Off Its Books

Louise Story and Eric Dash, The New York Times
The deal was proposed by Kyle Miller, who worked at Lehman. In the memorandum, Mr. Miller wrote that Lehman’s investment in Hudson Castle would give the bank and its clients access to financing while preventing “headline risk” if any of its deals went south. It would also reduce Lehman’s “moral obligation” to support its off-balance sheet vehicles, he wrote. The arrangement would maximize Lehman’s control over Hudson Castle “without jeopardizing the off-balance sheet accounting treatment.”
It was like a hidden passage on Wall Street, a secret channel that enabled billions of dollars to flow through Lehman Brothers.
In the years before its collapse, Lehman used a small company — its “alter ego,” in the words of a former Lehman trader — to shift investments off its books.

The firm, called Hudson Castle, played a crucial, behind-the-scenes role at Lehman, according to an internal Lehman document and interviews with former employees. The relationship raises new questions about the extent to which Lehman obscured its financial condition before it plunged into bankruptcy.

While Hudson Castle appeared to be an independent business, it was deeply entwined with Lehman. For years, its board was controlled by Lehman, which owned a quarter of the firm. It was also stocked with former Lehman employees.

None of this was disclosed by Lehman, however.

Entities like Hudson Castle are part of a vast financial system that operates in the shadows of Wall Street, largely beyond the reach of banking regulators. These entities enable banks to exchange investments for cash to finance their operations and, at times, make their finances look stronger than they are.

Critics say that such deals helped Lehman and other banks temporarily transfer their exposure to the risky investments tied to subprime mortgages and commercial real estate. Even now, a year and a half after Lehman’s collapse, major banks still undertake such transactions with businesses whose names, like Hudson Castle’s, are rarely mentioned outside of footnotes in financial statements, if at all.
Read more here

Recent Action in Gold Explained

Trader Dan Norcini, Jim Sinclair's MineSet

The big mover of the day was news of the Greece bailout (okay – call it a “rescue package” – it is still a bailout) put together by the EU to the tune of €30 billion ($41 billion) at 5%. Further icing on the cake is to come from the IMF which is providing €15 billion. The Forex markets went into a tizzy last evening with the Euro jumping more than 2 points at one time before things began settling down and a bit of relative calm descended on the currency markets as traders attempted to sort out the implications. Once they did, the Euro surrendered over a full point worth of gains and the Dollar moved back ½ cent off its worst overnight lows.

Gold shot all the way to $1,170 when the news broke but as it came into New York and as the Dollar began recovering, the sell side crowd went back to work and knocked it down off its best levels of the session. The same thing occurred with both silver and copper as well, the latter which had made a new yearly high before sellers came in and took it down.

It was particularly odd seeing the bonds moving higher as the whole idea behind the party in the Forex markets was that a meltdown had been avoided and it was time to play the risk trades once again. Something tells me that the feds are playing in the bonds as they are particularly worried about rising interest rates and would have us believe that they can conjure unlimited amounts of money into existence with little to no effect on yields. The reason cited for the higher prices today was a lack of upcoming auctions over the next couple of weeks.
Read more here

Monday, April 12, 2010

Freedom Rider: Obama’s Lies About Iran

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
The Peace Prize winner in the White House continues to beat the drums of war with Iran, in perfect synch with the corporate media orchestra. “The New York Times was made privy to what has been called a ‘parlor game,’ of ‘Imagining an Israeli Strike on Iran’” – apparently in the spirit of the old motivational slogan, “If you can conceive it, you can achieve it".
“It is Obama who will instigate a conflict that the much-hated Bush would not.”
Threats both subtle and not so subtle were constantly made against Iran during the presidency of George W. Bush. Beginning with the infamous “Axis of Evil” speech, a campaign of threats began and a bevy of lies were told claiming that Iran threatened Americans’ very lives.
Iran’s nuclear power capability is used to keep us frightened beyond all reason. That nation’s domestic turmoil wrought by last year’s disputed presidential election has also been used as proof that Iran is a terrorist state, or a “state sponsor of terror” or whatever new terms can be invented to make Americans believe that war is a necessity.
Read more here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gerald Celente: When the Bailout Bubble Bursts the Consequences will be the Greatest Depression ever and War

Another excellent interview with Gerald Celente, founder of The Trends Research Institute. According to Celente, the stock market pushing 11,000 is creating a false sense of recovery. Stimulus money world wide is being pumped into the system. What we are experiencing is not a recovery, but a stimulus cover up. When the stimulus money runs out, the pain will be felt. The Bailout Bubble will burst, and the consequences will be the Greatest Depression ever and War.

Listen to the full interview with George Noory of Coast to Coast.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ignoring the Good News?

Greg Hunter,
I heard Jim Cramer of CNBC say last night people are “ignoring the good news.” I say when it comes to the mainstream media, just the opposite is happening. The folks at the financial news networks are especially good at ignoring the bad news even though they should know better.
For example, we have been told non-stop that we are in a “recovery.” We are clearly not. Want proof that we are not in a “recovery?” Just two days ago, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke said, “We are far from being out of the woods.” According to a Bloomberg story, in a recent speech in Dallas, Texas, the Fed Chief was hardly trumpeting a huge turnaround for the economy. Bernanke said, “. . . the U.S. faces hurdles including the lack of a sustained rebound in housing, a “troubled” commercial real estate market and “very weak” hiring.” (Click here for the complete Bloomberg story.) Why is the Fed Chief, all of a sudden, not beating the “recovery” drum? I think someone figured out that if they keep talking up the “recovery” and that does not happen, then the Fed will lose major credibility.
Sure, the economy looks like it stopped falling, but you have to keep in mind we spent trillions of dollars just to get to where we are now. Taxpayers bailed out everything from car companies to insurance companies. ALL the big banks got taxpayer charity, and the best we can do is bottom bounce?
Read more here

Friday, April 9, 2010

Geithner In Beijing: The Dangers of Exporting The Depression

Webter Tarpley,
Treasury Secretary Geithner is on his way to Beijing, where he will meet with Chinese Vice Prime Minister Wang. The trip is in relation to US demands for a massive up valuation of the Chinese currency, the renminbi or yuan. This announcement has unleashed much gloating at the Associated Press and other pro-Wall Street news outlets, so it is important to issue a caveat at the very beginning: trips do not equal agreements. Obama made a personal visit to Afghanistan last month, and bilateral US relations with that country have been deteriorating in an alarming way ever since.
The question of the Chinese currency is this: for about 20 months, since about the beginning of the world economic depression in the late summer of 2008, China has been maintaining a peg or approximately fixed parity in relation to the dollar at a rate of about 6.8 renminbi per US greenback. Before that, the renminbi had been allowed to rise by about 21% between 2005 and 2008, largely in response to US pressure. The relatively fixed parity between the dollar and the renminbi has been an element of stability in a generally chaotic panorama of floating rates which characterizes the wreckage of the Bretton Woods system, which was demolished by Nixon and Kissinger almost four decades ago.
Fixed parities among currencies promote world trade, because they allow exporters and importers to accurately anticipate the value of trade deals that take 6, 12 or 24 months to come to fruition. A rational US policy would be to maintain a negotiated fixed parity with China, and then invite the Japanese yen, the Russian ruble, the euro, and the Latin American regional currency to join such a system of fixed parities. This would amount to restoring one of the positive features of the 1944-1971 Bretton Woods system, which produced the highest rates of economic growth in human history before or since. Instead, the Wall Street puppets of the Obama administration are determined to destroy one of the few areas of stability which still persist.
Read more here

Ron Paul: America Hijacked by a Coalition of Neocons, Oil Industry Tycoons and Religious Extremists

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Obama Beats Bush in Shredding Justice: Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen

Glenn Greenwald,
In late January, I wrote about the Obama administration's "presidential assassination program," whereby American citizens are targeted for killings far away from any battlefield, based exclusively on unchecked accusations by the Executive Branch that they're involved in Terrorism. At the time, The Washington Post's Dana Priest had noted deep in a long article that Obama had continued Bush's policy (which Bush never actually implemented) of having the Joint Chiefs of Staff compile "hit lists" of Americans, and Priest suggested that the American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was on that list. The following week, Obama's Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, acknowledged in Congressional testimony that the administration reserves the "right" to carry out such assassinations.
Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield. I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they're sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind. I won't repeat those arguments -- they're here and here -- but I do want to highlight how unbelievably Orwellian and tyrannical this is in light of these new articles today.
Read more here

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jim Sinclair Outlines 36 Future Trends: The Coming Chaos; One World Government and One Currency

Jim Sinclair an extremely seasoned investor, whom we respect greatly, recently spoke at a conference in Canada. The following is a succinct list of Jim's ideas, captured by a diligent attendee. In his presentation, Jim outlined the current financial situation, what the future holds and how to protect yourself from the coming chaos.
(The notes are in the order things were presented, including an hour and a half question and answer where Jim fielded all questions from the folks that were there).
  1. Get a copy, if possible, of the BBC movie, "The Last Days of Lehman Brothers" it is exactly what occurred. They were flushed and allowed to go down. Those that did so made billions.
  2. The same people that sold Greece the products to hide the true condition of their finances ratted them out and are hugely short of Greek debt at this time.
  3. The more these people win at what they do, the more powerful they become.
  4. The failure of Lehman set off the bankruptcy(s) that allowed government money (your money) to flow to large institutions, who were the winners on the bet.
  5. The next phase of problems will come about because of a loss of confidence in currencies themselves.
  6. Regulators are totally ineffectual in dealing with what is occurring.
  7. If we have a failure of Greek debt it will be catastrophic and you and I will pay. If Greece does not fail, we will have money printing (quantitative easing is the buzz word) to infinity.
  8. China is actively seeking control of the resources of the world, all JSMineset speculation on this has far exceeded what was postulated.
  9. With the incredible bonuses being paid to Wall Street executives, you have to know it is there last lick of the cone. They know profits are not real.
  10. To balance the US balance sheet, gold would have to go to insane numbers. The mechanism is in place to drive gold to incredible numbers.
  11. Credit default swaps are being used as the hammer to destroy nations. They are doing this by shorting sovereign debt, then using the media to bring about the profit of their position (ie calling nations PIIGS – this isn’t flattering and does not inspire confidence, causing people to stay away). The players doing this have no conscience, are oblivious to the side effects, are power crazed, and believe they are gods. Sovereign debt is the next bomb to implode.
  12. The only currency that will sustain what is coming is gold.
  13. We are headed for a one world currency with a central bank of central banks. The world is going to change dramatically in possibly as little as two months.
  14. The individual states in the US, which are bankrupt in many cases, will be attacked next. Big money is already hugely short of state debt. Ultimately this will take down the US dollar as well.
  15. A one world government is coming [Jim does not support the idea, but he is stating what he is observing].
  16. Hyperinflation is a loss of confidence in paper currency.
  17. Gold is money without liability on the other side. It stands alone. Make your balance sheet as good as it can be.
  18. If Greece goes (is flushed and not bailed out), then the whole world changes, perhaps overnight. Look for 200 dollar swings in the gold price. Because the "dark side" (those who are in control of this) are smarter than you are, add to your positions in gold on reactions. Gold is an insurance policy.
  19. China will rule the world. Friends of China will benefit from that. China’s interest in Africa and its treasure chest of mineral wealth isn’t an accident.
  20. Yuan denominated paper, if one can get it, might be a place to be with some of your investment portfolio.
  21. Equity markets may in fact go up due to a Weimar effect. All that money created from nothing finds its way into the stock markets of the world.
  22. He stressed simplicity in your personal life. Be focused, balanced, and go back to basics. This is not a time to get fancy.
  23. There will be no end to naked shorting by the players. The real game is destroying nations, countries (think Dubai, Iceland…).
  24. He feels the flushing is in fact deliberate. If Greece does in fact go down, it will definitely be deliberate.
  25. Gold’s window is still open here because those that know what is coming are still accumulating. Expect it to be closed by year end. That means if you don’t have any, don’t expect to be able to get any.
  26. Hold any stocks you happen to own in certificate form in your hand, and don’t lose the certificate. If you are a stock player, check out true custodial accounts. Make certain that your holdings are in fact yours and NOT on the books of the bank.
  27. A question was asked: If I had a million Canadian dollars to invest right now, where might I put that? The answer was 1/3 into gold bullion, held close, 1/3 in both Canadian Tbills and Swiss Franc’s, and the remaining 1/3 into what you do best.
  28. Major financial houses today are acting like countries. Greece does not control its destiny, it is in the hands of those houses which become stronger with each situation they take down.
  29. Expect mining company consolidations to greatly accelerate.
  30. The Canadian dollar is very much a wild card. It may rise nicely, because it and Canada generally have remained conservative as opposed to other far more leveraged approaches. Canada is currently sitting in the cat bird seat, and it’s not really helping Canada because of our export based economy.
  31. The number to watch on the Euro is 1.29 against the US dollar. Should it go lower, the Euro is in serious trouble.
  32. The US has no strength for geopolitical disruptions at this time. It’s a house of cards that could come down at any time.
  33. Keep it simple! Back to basics.!
  34. The Asian and the Polish crisis were precursors to taking down the Euro. If the Euro is torched, the pound and dollar are next. As a side note, Jim Rogers feels the British pound is months or possibly weeks away from being heavily attacked once again. This is my comment, not Jim Sinclair’s. Look for the pattern here.
  35. Money (the wealth of the world) has been concentrated into a very few hands. They are currently only interested in tearing down. There is no interest in creating, only destroying. China is building up. Algorithms (computer modeling and trading) are being used to destroy.
  36. Gold stocks should leverage 2 to 5 times a bullion position.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Video Shows U.S. Troops Firing on Reuters Reporters and Iraqi Children

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website
Full WikiLeaks Video:

Commentary by Alex Jones of

Dylan Ratigan interviews WikiLeaks Co-founder Julian Assange, who states that the intention behind releasing the video is to show how "modern aerial warfare is done and to reveal the extent of the debasement and moral corruption of soldiers as a result of war."

How the Corporations Broke Ralph Nader and America, Too

Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Ralph Nader’s descent from being one of the most respected and powerful men in the country to being a pariah illustrates the totality of the corporate coup. Nader’s marginalization was not accidental. It was orchestrated to thwart the legislation that Nader and his allies—who once consisted of many in the Democratic Party—enacted to prevent corporate abuse, fraud and control. He was targeted to be destroyed. And by the time he was shut out of the political process with the election of Ronald Reagan, the government was in the hands of corporations. Nader’s fate mirrors our own.
“The press discovered citizen investigators around the mid-1960s,” Nader told me when we spoke a few days ago. “I was one of them. I would go down with the press releases, the findings, the story suggestions and the internal documents and give it to a variety of reporters. I would go to Congress and generate hearings. Oftentimes I would be the lead witness. What was interesting was the novelty; the press gravitates to novelty. They achieved great things. There was collaboration. We provided the newsworthy material. They covered it. The legislation passed. Regulations were issued. Lives were saved. Other civic movements began to flower.”
Nader was singled out for destruction, as Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan point out in their engaging documentary movie on Nader, “An Unreasonable Man.” General Motors had him followed in an attempt to blackmail him. It sent an attractive woman to his neighborhood Safeway supermarket in a bid to meet him while he was shopping and then seduce him; the attempt failed, and GM, when exposed, had to issue a public apology.
Read more here

Monday, April 5, 2010

Special Ops Forces Dug Bullets Out of the Bodies of Afghan Women to Hide US Role in Killings

Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times
After initially denying involvement or any cover-up in the deaths of three Afghan women during a badly bungled American Special Operations assault in February, the American-led military command in Kabul admitted late on Sunday that its forces had, in fact, killed the women during the nighttime raid.
The admission immediately raised questions about what really happened during the Feb. 12 operation — and what falsehoods followed — including a new report that Special Operations forces dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the nature of their deaths.
A NATO official also said Sunday that an Afghan-led team of investigators had found signs of evidence tampering at the scene, including the removal of bullets from walls near where the women were killed. On Monday, however, a senior NATO official denied that any tampering had occurred. The disclosure could not come at a worse moment for the American military: NATO officials are struggling to contain fallout from a series of tirades against the foreign military presence by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has also railed against the killing of civilians by Western forces.
Read more here

VIDEO: Brief History of America by Michael Moore

When Empire Hits Home II: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class

Andrew Gavin Marshall, Center for Research on Globalization
(This is Part 2 of the series, "When Empire Hits Home." Part 1: War, Racism and the Empire of Poverty)
The western nations of the world have built their great wealth and societies on the exploitation and plundering of the people and resources of the rest of the world. The wealth, freedom, and structures of our societies have been built on the starvation, robbery, deprivation and murder of millions upon millions of the world’s people, both historically and presently.
It seemed for a time that “Western Civilization” had worked, even if only for the west. We saw the emergence and growth of a vibrant middle class, which has its origins in the Industrial Revolution, out of which we also saw the formation of the “nuclear family.” The middle classes of the west grew in wealth, education, and access. While the great problems of the world, and for the majority of the world’s people, persisted and expanded exponentially, the great purpose of the middle class was siphoned and expanded into facilitating the development of a massive consumerist society. The function of the middle class became that of consuming, not necessarily contributing to determining the direction of society.
Nevertheless, life was good; or so it seemed. Thus, the people were by and large able to turn a blind eye to the plight of the world’s majority. As the decades progressed, however, the great western empires, increasingly united under the umbrella of a US-led NATO empire, grossly expanded their plundering and exploitation of the rest of the world. New avenues for capitalist expansion needed to be found, more money to be made, more assets to be owned, more power to be had. As a part of this process, class structure was being reorganized, which meant that the middle class was to undergo an evolution.
In the past few decades, the middle class has been forced to survive on debt. In order to maintain the image of middle class, and to maintain the functions of the middle class (i.e., to consume), the middle class needed access to credit and had to descend into a class of debt. Now, as the world is undergoing a rapid social, political, and economic transformation, the middle class has been marked for death. As a debt crisis takes the nations of the world into debt servitude, the middle classes of the western world will lose their access to credit, and will be forced into repaying their debts. As nations fall under a debt crisis, the middle class will collapse with it. A class built and sustained on debt is not sustainable. We are entering into a period of rapid class transformation on a global scale.
Read more here

When Empire Hits Home I: War, Racism and the Empire of Poverty

Andrew Gavin Marshall, Center for Research on Globalization
At a time of such great international turmoil economically and politically, it is increasingly important to identify and understand the social dynamics of crisis. A global social crisis has long preceded the economic crisis, and has only been exacerbated by it. The great shame of human civilization is the fact that over half of it lives in abysmal poverty.
Poverty is not simply a matter of ‘bad luck’; it is a result of socio-political-economic factors that allow for very few people in the world to control so much wealth and so many resources, while so many are left with so little. The capitalist world system was built upon war, race, and empire. Malcolm X once declared, “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”
The global political economy is a system that enriches the very few at the expense of the vast majority. This exploitation is organized through imperialism, war, and the social construction of race. It is vitally important to address the relationship between war, poverty and race in the context of the current global economic crisis. Western nations have plundered the rest of the world for centuries, and now the great empire is hitting home. What is done abroad comes home to roost.
The Social Construction of ‘Race’
500 years ago, the world was going through massive transformations, as the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British colonized the ‘New World’ and in time, a new system of ‘Capitalism’ and ‘nation states’ began to emerge. The world was in a great period of transition and systemic change in which it was the Europeans that emerged as the dominant world powers. The colonies in the Americas required a massive labour force, “Between 1607 and 1783, more than 350,000 ‘white’ bond-labourers arrived in the British colonies.”[1]
The Americas had both un-free blacks and whites, with blacks being a minority, yet they “exercised basic rights in law.”[2] Problems arrived in the form of elites trying to control the labour class. Slaves were made up of Indian, black and white labourers; yet, problems arose with this “mixed” population of un-free labour. The problem with Indian labourers was that they knew the land and could escape to “undiscovered” territory, and enslavement would often instigate rebellions and war:
The social costs of trying to discipline un-free native labour had proved too high. Natives would eventually be genocidally eliminated, once population settlement and military power made victory more or less certain; for the time being, however, different sources of bond labour had to be found.[3]
Between 1607 and 1682, more than 90,000 European immigrants, “three-quarters of them chattel bond-labourers, were brought to Virginia and Maryland.” Following the “establishment of the Royal African Company in 1672, a steady supply of African slaves was secured.” Problems became paramount, however, as the lower classes tended to be very rebellious, which consisted of “an amalgam of indentured servants and slaves, of poor whites and blacks, of landless freemen and debtors.” The lower classes were united in opposition to the elites oppressing them, regardless of background.[4]
Read more here

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What is Wrong With Angela Merkel? The “Paradigm Shift” in German Foreign Policy

World Socialist Web Site
A number of recent commentaries in the German press have expressed alarm over the course adopted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the Greek debt crisis. At last week’s meeting of European Union heads of state in Brussels, Merkel dictated terms and made clear that any financial support from Europe for Greece would be linked to punitive conditions and would be forthcoming only as a last resort.
While Merkel's stance has been hailed in a number of right-wing political commentaries and praised by Germany's tabloid press, other commentators have noted that it represents a fundamental shift in German foreign policy with far-reaching and potentially dangerous consequences.
The latest edition of Der Spiegel magazine poses the issue with the headline: “How European is Angela Merkel? Chancellor Abandons Post-War EU policy." Applauding the role of "Germany's great pro-European chancellors"—the two conservatives Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl and the Social Democrat Helmut Schmidt—the magazine describes Merkel's approach to the Greek debt crisis as a "paradigm shift" in German foreign policy, representing a fundamental break with the policies of her predecessors.
Previously, the magazine writes, the German chancellor's approach was to "quietly and steadfastly pursue her interests in Brussels with the help of key partners or the European Commission." Now, Der Spiegel remarks, Merkel has become “the first chancellor to have abandoned this principle on an important issue. She has made it clear that there are German interests and European interests, and that they are not necessarily the same.”
Read more here

Video: Graduating Students Face a Grim Jobs Market

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chinese Yuan the Latest Scapegoat

William Buckler, The Privateer.
The Privateer is an excellent bi-monthly economic publication out of Australia which we highly recommend. Please note we do not receive any compensation from Mr. Buckler for our recommendation. Enclosed is an small extract on the Chinese Yuan from William Buckler's most recent report.

[A headline] which appeared in a leading US financial [journal] said it all: “China in Midst of ‘Greatest Bubble in History’” According to the article, the Chinese problem was all to do with its “overvalued” currency, the Yuan.
The article maintained that the Chinese central bank had been buying US Dollars and selling its Yuan to prevent the Yuan from strengthening against the US Dollar. That had driven its foreign reserve holdings to the unprecedented heights they have reached today.
The Chinese central bank tightened the “peg” between the Yuan and the US Dollar in July 2008 - less than two years ago. In the three years before July 2008, the Yuan rose by 22 percent against the US Dollar. The Chinese complained, but not vociferously, about this. Had the US Dollar risen to that extent against the Yuan, the political outrage from Washington DC would have been heard on the planet Mars.
At the end of July 2008, the US Dollar turned around and began the huge deleveraging rally which saw the USDX climb from 72.00 in July 2008 to 89.20 by early March 2009. Had the Chinese not kept the Yuan/US Dollar exchange rate flat - thereby locking in the 22 percent gain its currency had made against the $US over the previous three years - the screams out of Washington would have been just as loud. To give an example of what happened to other currencies during this period, the Aussie Dollar plummeted from $US 0.98 to $US 0.63 between July 2008 and early March 2009. It has since got most of that back.
The problem for the global financial system is that China has taken over the role that Europe had in the 1960s and ‘70s and that Japan had in the 1980s-mid ‘00s when they were recycling their trade surpluses back into US Dollars by buying Treasury debt paper. Since then, the Chinese have come to the fore in this practice and so have become the scapegoats for the unwillingness of the US Treasury and central bank to prop up their own currency. Somebody “else” has to do it, the US refuses to raise rates or stop borrowing. And even if they wanted to, the US cannot intervene on the currency markets. They have very little in the way of foreign reserves.
The US has been exporting their “inflation” (the creation of ever more US Dollars) for over half a century. But never have they been so dependent on one nation for their consumer goods as they have been on China for most of the past decade. The result has been a huge pile of $US “reserves” in the Chinese central bank with the consequence of a huge artificial “boom” in the Chinese economy. History has merely repeated itself, albeit on a much larger scale. As was the case for the Deutschmark and after it the Japanese Yen, the Chinese Yuan is the latest scapegoat.
[And] just in case the ratings agencies’ induced “crisis” in Europe is not a sufficient distraction, the US powers that be are preparing another one. On March 15, one hundred and thirty Congressmen signed a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Geithner in which they made known “our serious concerns about China’s continued manipulation of its currency”. Really, the lengths that “lawmakers” are going to in the US is becoming something beyond surreal. Consider this quote from the letter: “China’s exchange rate misalignment threatens the stability of the global financial system by contributing to rampant Chinese inflation and accumulation of foreign reserves” (emphasis by The Privateer). If the Chinese don’t continue with their “accumulation of foreign reserves”, who will? The Fed, perhaps??

The Coming Short Squeeze in Silver

National Inflation Association
On December 11th, 2009 NIA declared silver the best investment for the next decade. In our December 11th article, we said that it wasn't a coincidence that the very day Bear Stearns failed was the same day silver reached its multi-decade high of over $21 per ounce. We went on to say, "The reason why we believe the Federal Reserve was so eager to orchestrate a bailout of Bear Stearns, is because Bear Stearns was on the verge of being forced to cover their silver short position."
JP Morgan took over the concentrated short position in silver from Bear Stearns and gained complete control over the paper price of silver. Within weeks, JP Morgan was able to manipulate the price of silver down to below $9 per ounce. NIA believes they were able to drive the price of silver down through "naked short selling", selling paper silver that is unbacked by physical silver.
On February 5th, we witnessed another sharp decline in silver prices, which NIA described on February 7th as being "just a temporary wash out, before a huge surge in silver prices later in 2010". Since then, silver prices have rebounded by 18%. The temporary wash out that occurred on February 5th was predicted by independent metals trader Andrew Maguire, who came out this week exposing the fraud that is taking place in the paper silver market.
On February 3rd, Andrew Maguire wrote Eliud Ramirez, a senior investigator for the CFTC's Enforcement Division, giving him the "heads up" for a "manipulative event" signaled for February 5th. He warned the CFTC that JP Morgan was about to manipulate down the price of silver after the release of non-farm payroll data on February 5th. Andrew said that the takedown would happen regardless of if employment was better or worse than expected and the price of silver would be flushed to below $15 per ounce. During the next couple of days, silver was crushed from $16.17 per ounce down to a low of $14.62 per ounce.
Read more here

Friday, April 2, 2010

U.S. Senators Sound the War Drumbeat Once Again - What War With Iran Means

Patrick J Buchanan
“Diplomacy has failed,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told AIPAC, “Iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot afford that.”
“We have to contemplate the final option,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., “the use of force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
War is a “terrible thing,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., but “sometimes it is better to go to war than to allow the Holocaust to develop a second time.”
Graham then describes the war we Americans should fight:
“If military force is ever employed, it should be done in a decisive fashion. The Iran government’s ability to wage conventional war against its neighbors and our troops in the region should not exist. They should not have one plane that can fly or one ship that can float.”
Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Neocon Central, writes, “The only questions remaining, one Washington politico tells me, are who starts it, and how it ends.”
As to who starts it, we know the answer. Teheran has not started a war in memory and is not going to launch a suicide attack on a superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons. As with Iraq in 2003, the war will be launched by the United States against a nation that did not attack us — to strip it of weapons it does not have.
But to Graham’s point, if we are going to start this war, prudence dictates that we destroy Iran’s ability to fight back. At a minimum, we would have to use airstrikes and cruise missiles to hit a range of targets.
Read more here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Naomi Wolf Dispels Tea Party Misconceptions: Battle Raging Between its Libertarian Component and Right-Wing Beck Supporters

"The Tea Party is not monolithic. There is a battle between people who care about liberty and the Constitution and the Republican Establishment who is trying to take ownership of it and redirect it for its own purposes". - Naomi Wolf
Justin Sharrock of AlterNet Interviews Naomi Wolf author of the book Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries
In her bestselling End of America, Naomi Wolf outlines the 10 warning signs that America is headed toward a fascist takeover. Using historical precedents, she explains how our government is mimicking those of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin through practices like surveillance of ordinary citizens, restricting the press, developing paramilitary forces and arbitrarily detaining people. 
The book was lauded by liberals under Bush: the Independent Publishers gave it the Freedom Fighter Award; the Nation named it the best political book of 2007. Now, under President Obama, Wolf's book is providing ammunition for the Tea Partiers, Patriots, Ron Paul supporters and Oath Keepers, who also warn of impending tyrannical government. Even when the book first came out pre-Obama, Alex Jones, Michael Savage and Fox News invited her on their shows, and agreed with her.
It's not just her message. She speaks their language, referring to the Founding Fathers and American Revolution as models, admitting to a profound sense of fear, warning of tyranny, fascism, Nazism and martial law. When Glenn Beck warns of these things we laugh. When Wolf draws those same connections, we listen. How can both sides be speaking the same language, yet see things so differently? Or are we just not listening to each other? I telephoned Wolf to ask her what it means when your book ends up bolstering policies you oppose.
Justine Sharrock: First off, is your book still relevant under Obama?
Naomi Wolf: Unfortunately it is more relevant. Bush legalized torture, but Obama is legalizing impunity. He promised to roll stuff back, but he is institutionalizing these things forever. It is terrifying and the left doesn't seem to recognize it.
JS: Did you realize that your book is being lauded within the Tea Party and patriot movements?
Read more of the interview here