Top 10 Reasons to Reinstate Glass Steagall

TAKE ACTION NOW – CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, CALL YOUR SENATOR, SUPPORT the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013.  Learn more here.

The term Glass-Steagall usually refers to the set of rules that kept a savings-and-loan type bank from engaging in speculative, risky training with customers’ deposits. If a bank took deposits, it could not trade in anything other than government bonds; if it underwrote securities or engaged in market-making, it could not take deposits.

The motivation for this separation rested on alleged conflicts of interest. Glass and Steagall, as well as others, accused banks of partnering with affiliates which later sold securities to repay banks’ debts, or accepted loans from banks to buy securities. They also worried that banks engaged in risk-taking speculation, rather than investing in corporations to promote growth.

 Five provisions of the Banking Act pertained to this separation:

  • Section 19: Federally chartered banks could not buy or sell securities, unless they were investment securities, government bonds or trades made on behalf of a customer. 
  • Section 5(c): Glass-Steagall would also apply to state-chartered banks. 
  • Section 20: Banks could not be affiliated with firms whose primary purpose was trading securities. 
  • Section 21: If a bank did trade securities, it could not take deposits. 
  • Section 32: Officers and directors of commercial banks (banks part of the Federal Reserve System)

Beyond a doubt there are more than 10 reasons to reinstitute Glass-Steagall, the infamous legislation from the 1930’s put into place to regulate banks after the horrific abuses of the 1920’s and beyond.  But simplicity sake, here are the 10 best reasons I can think.  Send your own to twistedpolitix at gmail when you have a moment.

  1. Prevent systemic failures similar to those that occurred during the 2008 crisis by splitting the power and concentration of wealth into many hands
  2. Split up the too big to fail and too big to jail banks
  3. Prevent the bankruptcy of the FDIC since the next financial crisis will most certainly mean the loss of depositors money
  4. Decentralize the wealth, assets liabilities and risk of the Big 5 banks that control 80% of all the assets in the United States
  5. Breath life into local economies around the country by opening up new opportunities for local investment and local banking
  6. Bring to light the deceptive practices of the Federal Reserve system and their charter members
  7. End the deceptive practices of the big investment banks that have created over $700 trillion in derivatives and sold them to unsuspecting investors
  8. Decentralize the creation and destruction of the money supply since it is fractional reserve banking that allows banks to lend money into existence.
  9. Bring the hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives out of the dark and onto exchanges and back to reality. 
  10. Eliminate the inherent conflict of interest from the massive banks that circumvent all stte and national laws while corrupting politicians, judges, and government bureaucrats with an infinite supply of money.   
TAKE ACTION NOW – CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, CALL YOUR SENATOR, SUPPORT the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013.  Learn more here.

Joseph Stiglitz of the Roosevelt Institute, a Nobel Prize winner, contended:

Commercial banks are not supposed to be high-risk ventures; they are supposed to manage other people’s money very conservatively…Investment banks, on the other hand, have traditionally managed rich people’s money — people who can take bigger risks in order to get bigger returns. When repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, the investment-bank culture came out on top. There was a demand for the kind of high returns that could be obtained only through high leverage and big risk-taking. 

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ) advocated the return of Glass-Steagall as well:

So much U.S. taxpayer-backed money is going into speculation in dark markets that it has diverted lending capital from our community banks and small businesses.em) were barred from holding advisory positions in companies whose primary purpose was trading securities.

Remember too big to fail and too big to jail means that the Big 5 banks in this country are ABOVE the LAW!  TAKE ACTION NOW – CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, CALL YOUR SENATOR, SUPPORT the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013.  Learn more here.

This is not a left or a right issue.  This is COMMON SENSE!

Spend a little time to understand the issue and the it should be clear.

TAKE ACTION NOW – CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, CALL YOUR SENATOR, SUPPORT the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013.  Learn more here.

More Hope than Tragedy Awaits Us All if Glass-Steagall is Passed

Background

Despite all the tragedy filling the airwaves these days, there is a glimmer of hope.  After many years of obvious deception, fraud, and blatant theft both by investment and commercial bankers, lawyers, and accountants, there could be a restoration of the banking sector to its original purpose and scale.

Paving the Way for Economic Crises

The Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999 under pressure from Wall Streetbankers trafficking in bundled subprime mortgages, derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and the like. Inventing evermore exotic investment vehicles, the money movers pumped up a global financial bubble that eventually burst.

Officially it was blandly named the Banking Act of 1933 but around the world it is better known as Glass-Steagall, the ground-breaking piece of legislation that prevented commercial banks which took deposits from embarking on risky trading activities.

Carter Glass and Henry Steagall were the revolutionaries of the time. The years after the Great Depression sparked a debate in the US about how to prevent such devastation hitting the economy again, after nearly 5,000 banks collapsed.

Glass-Steagall forced commercial and investment banks to separate. Commercial banks were not allowed to underwrite the sales of stocks and bonds, while investment banks could not take in deposits from customers.

It remained in place for half a century before it was repealed in 1999 through the Financial Services Modernisation Act, again better known by the names of the politicians who promoted the legislation – Gramm, Leach and Bliley.

Since 1999, banks have been allowed to use commercial deposits and assets as fuel for securities trading on the derivatives market. Because commercial and speculative assets are so heavily comingled, the government is forced to protect the assets of banks making risky bets through near perpetual bailouts and purchasing of toxic debt.  It was the derivatives bubble that blew up the system and bankrupted the US banks in the 2007-2008 crash. 

Restoring Proper Financial Regulation 

Glass-Steagall forces separation of commercial from investment banks, it ends Too Big To Fail, bars government bailouts, and will stop the onset of hyperinflation.

On Friday Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.) introduced Senate Bill 985 (#SB985) to reinstate Glass Steagall. While the full text of the Harkin bill has not yet been posted by the Library of Congress, the fact that there is now a Senate bill to reinstate full separation of commercial banking from all other brokerage and speculative activities is a dramatic development. The fight for Glass Steagall has now moved to a new level.
This comes at a very precise and fortunate time.  Earlier this year, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, introduced HR 129 to restore Glass-Steagall, saying, “The response of Congress to the 2008 financial crisis has been completely inadequate.”  Currently #HR129 – The Return to Prudent Banking Act– has 60 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House.  Four states have passed resolutions calling for reimplementation of Glass-Steagall, and a dozen other legislatures, including Virginia’s, are considering similar measures.

Specifically, the draft legislation has four components:

1. Commercial Banking institutions have one year to divest themselves of all non-commercial banking units, with no cross management or ownership between commercial and non-commercial units.

2. Commercial Banks are barred from using more than 2% of its capital for the creation, sale, or distribution of securities (certain bank-qualified securities are exempted)

3. Prevents Commercial Banks from loaning their commercial deposits into such vehicals as would support the creation and circulation of securities.

4. No securities of low or potentially low value can be placed by a bank into its insured commercial bank units. * Adds provision stating Glass-Steagall is the preeminant regulator of the banks, limiting banks from putting its depositors and shareholders at risk.

What is important about this legislation over all others is that there would be absolutely no room for loopholes.  There can be no accidental oversight or negligence.  Investment banking would be completely separated from commercial banking.   

This is NOT to be confused with the red herring that Obama supported earlier in his first term, known as the “Volcker rule” named after former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker .  That was a more complicated piece of legislation meant to stall real effective rules.  There is a reason for that.  Obama has received millions of dollars from investment banks, just like Romney, Bush, and all other presidential candidates.  The banks always hedge their bets and play both sides against the other.  DO NOT BE DECEIVED THIS TIME!

Additional Commentary

If you need more details on the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and why it is important to restore, watch this video.  Max Keiser is an excellent financial news reporter that does not hold back any punches for any banker fraud and conspiracy.

And in case you need still more reason to support restoring Glass-Steagall, hear what Elizabeth Warren has to say about it.  Remember she was warning us all of the impending doom from 2005-2008 as the housing bubble and financial crisis was bubbling.

If you want to know more about who was responsible for repealing Glass-Steagall, watch this video and look to Alan Greenspan.

The World is a Rigged Game for BigBanks as Racketeering, Collusion, and Fraud Are Daily Activities

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Matt Taibbi exposes yet another massive scandal and the Keiser Report elaborates.

Rolling Stone

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

APRIL 25, 2013
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”
That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.
Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.
It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.
The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.
“It’s a double conspiracy,” says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. “It’s the height of criminality.”
The bad news didn’t stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. “Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry,” CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said.
But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants’ incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.
“A farce,” was one antitrust lawyer’s response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.
“Incredible,” says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.
All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.
If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.
Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.
Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.
Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps.
Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book
Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off.
Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland:

SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?…
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth
SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?…
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u
SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome

Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it’s hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector.
Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” chirped one yen trader. “Pure manipulation going on,” wrote another.
Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution.
Two of America’s top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it’s dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to “collateral consequences” in the economy.
The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages.
One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks’ legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer.
The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.”
In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. “It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process,” he said. “The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor.”

If you squint incredibly hard and look at the issue through a mirror, maybe while standing on your head, you can sort of see what Wise is saying. In a very theoretical, technical sense, the actual process by which banks submit Libor data – 18 geeks sending numbers to the British Bankers’ Association offices in London once every morning – is not competitive per se.
But these numbers are supposed to reflect interbank-loan prices derived in a real, competitive market. Saying the Libor submission process is not competitive is sort of like pointing out that bank robbers obeyed the speed limit on the way to the heist. It’s the silliest kind of legal sophistry.
But Wise eventually outdid even that argument, essentially saying that while the banks may have lied to or cheated their customers, they weren’t guilty of the particular crime of antitrust collusion. This is like the old joke about the lawyer who gets up in court and claims his client had to be innocent, because his client was committing a crime in a different state at the time of the offense.
“The plaintiffs, I believe, are confusing a claim of being perhaps deceived,” he said, “with a claim for harm to competition.”
Judge Buchwald swallowed this lunatic argument whole and dismissed most of the case. Libor, she said, was a “cooperative endeavor” that was “never intended to be competitive.” Her decision “does not reflect the reality of this business, where all of these banks were acting as competitors throughout the process,” said the antitrust lawyer Sokol. Buchwald made this ruling despite the fact that both the U.S. and British governments had already settled with three banks for billions of dollars for improper manipulation, manipulation that these companies admitted to in their settlements.
Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs in this Libor suit, declined to comment specifically on the dismissal. But he did talk about the significance of the Libor case and other manipulation cases now in the pipeline.
“It’s now evident that there is a ubiquitous culture among the banks to collude and cheat their customers as many times as they can in as many forms as they can conceive,” he said. “And that’s not just surmising. This is just based upon what they’ve been caught at.”
Greenberger says the lack of serious consequences for the Libor scandal has only made other kinds of manipulation more inevitable. “There’s no therapy like sending those who are used to wearing Gucci shoes to jail,” he says. “But when the attorney general says, ‘I don’t want to indict people,’ it’s the Wild West. There’s no law.”
The problem is, a number of markets feature the same infrastructural weakness that failed in the Libor mess. In the case of interest-rate swaps and the ISDAfix benchmark, the system is very similar to Libor, although the investigation into these markets reportedly focuses on some different types of improprieties.
Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn’t that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you’ve got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap.
In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to “swap” that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers.
Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix’s U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps.
And here’s what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company’s office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers’ Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again.
“It’s obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue,” Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. “People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation.”
And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they’re paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it’s also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities.
So although it’s not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed.
“How is some municipality in Cleveland or wherever going to know if it’s getting ripped off?” asks Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, a fund manager who has long been an advocate of greater transparency in the derivatives world. “The answer is, they won’t know.”
Worse still, the CFTC investigation apparently isn’t limited to possible manipulation of swap prices by monkeying around with ISDAfix. According to reports, the commission is also looking at whether or not employees at ICAP may have intentionally delayed publication of swap prices, which in theory could give someone (bankers, cough, cough) a chance to trade ahead of the information.
Swap prices are published when ICAP employees manually enter the data on a computer screen called “19901.” Some 6,000 customers subscribe to a service that allows them to access the data appearing on the 19901 screen.
The key here is that unlike a more transparent, regulated market like the New York Stock Exchange, where the results of stock trades are computed more or less instantly and everyone in theory can immediately see the impact of trading on the prices of stocks, in the swap market the whole world is dependent upon a handful of brokers quickly and honestly entering data about trades by hand into a computer terminal.
Any delay in entering price data would provide the banks involved in the transactions with a rare opportunity to trade ahead of the information. One way to imagine it would be to picture a racetrack where a giant curtain is pulled over the track as the horses come down the stretch – and the gallery is only told two minutes later which horse actually won. Anyone on the right side of the curtain could make a lot of smart bets before the audience saw the results of the race.

At ICAP, the interest-rate swap desk, and the 19901 screen, were reportedly controlled by a small group of 20 or so brokers, some of whom were making millions of dollars. These brokers made so much money for themselves the unit was nicknamed “Treasure Island.”
Already, there are some reports that brokers of Treasure Island did create such intentional delays. Bloomberg interviewed a former broker who claims that he watched ICAP brokers delay the reporting of swap prices. “That allows dealers to tell the brokers to delay putting trades into the system instead of in real time,” Bloomberg wrote, noting the former broker had “witnessed such activity firsthand.” An ICAP spokesman has no comment on the story, though the company has released a statement saying that it is “cooperating” with the CFTC’s inquiry and that it “maintains policies that prohibit” the improper behavior alleged in news reports.
The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. “It’s almost hilarious in the irony,” says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, “that they called it ISDAfix.”
After scandals involving libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.
“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.
That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.
All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they’ll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.”
Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked.
“You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.”
The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.
This story is from the May 9th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425

The World is a Rigged Game for BigBanks as Racketeering, Collusion, and Fraud Are Daily Activities

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Matt Taibbi exposes yet another massive scandal and the Keiser Report elaborates.

Rolling Stone

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

APRIL 25, 2013
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”
That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.
Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.
It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.
The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.
“It’s a double conspiracy,” says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. “It’s the height of criminality.”
The bad news didn’t stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. “Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry,” CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said.
But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants’ incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.
“A farce,” was one antitrust lawyer’s response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.
“Incredible,” says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.
All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.
If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.
Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.
Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.
Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps.
Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book
Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off.
Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland:

SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?…
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth
SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?…
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u
SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome

Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it’s hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector.
Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” chirped one yen trader. “Pure manipulation going on,” wrote another.
Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution.
Two of America’s top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it’s dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to “collateral consequences” in the economy.
The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages.
One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks’ legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer.
The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.”
In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. “It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process,” he said. “The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor.”

If you squint incredibly hard and look at the issue through a mirror, maybe while standing on your head, you can sort of see what Wise is saying. In a very theoretical, technical sense, the actual process by which banks submit Libor data – 18 geeks sending numbers to the British Bankers’ Association offices in London once every morning – is not competitive per se.
But these numbers are supposed to reflect interbank-loan prices derived in a real, competitive market. Saying the Libor submission process is not competitive is sort of like pointing out that bank robbers obeyed the speed limit on the way to the heist. It’s the silliest kind of legal sophistry.
But Wise eventually outdid even that argument, essentially saying that while the banks may have lied to or cheated their customers, they weren’t guilty of the particular crime of antitrust collusion. This is like the old joke about the lawyer who gets up in court and claims his client had to be innocent, because his client was committing a crime in a different state at the time of the offense.
“The plaintiffs, I believe, are confusing a claim of being perhaps deceived,” he said, “with a claim for harm to competition.”
Judge Buchwald swallowed this lunatic argument whole and dismissed most of the case. Libor, she said, was a “cooperative endeavor” that was “never intended to be competitive.” Her decision “does not reflect the reality of this business, where all of these banks were acting as competitors throughout the process,” said the antitrust lawyer Sokol. Buchwald made this ruling despite the fact that both the U.S. and British governments had already settled with three banks for billions of dollars for improper manipulation, manipulation that these companies admitted to in their settlements.
Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs in this Libor suit, declined to comment specifically on the dismissal. But he did talk about the significance of the Libor case and other manipulation cases now in the pipeline.
“It’s now evident that there is a ubiquitous culture among the banks to collude and cheat their customers as many times as they can in as many forms as they can conceive,” he said. “And that’s not just surmising. This is just based upon what they’ve been caught at.”
Greenberger says the lack of serious consequences for the Libor scandal has only made other kinds of manipulation more inevitable. “There’s no therapy like sending those who are used to wearing Gucci shoes to jail,” he says. “But when the attorney general says, ‘I don’t want to indict people,’ it’s the Wild West. There’s no law.”
The problem is, a number of markets feature the same infrastructural weakness that failed in the Libor mess. In the case of interest-rate swaps and the ISDAfix benchmark, the system is very similar to Libor, although the investigation into these markets reportedly focuses on some different types of improprieties.
Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn’t that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you’ve got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap.
In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to “swap” that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers.
Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix’s U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps.
And here’s what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company’s office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers’ Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again.
“It’s obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue,” Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. “People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation.”
And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they’re paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it’s also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities.
So although it’s not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed.
“How is some municipality in Cleveland or wherever going to know if it’s getting ripped off?” asks Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, a fund manager who has long been an advocate of greater transparency in the derivatives world. “The answer is, they won’t know.”
Worse still, the CFTC investigation apparently isn’t limited to possible manipulation of swap prices by monkeying around with ISDAfix. According to reports, the commission is also looking at whether or not employees at ICAP may have intentionally delayed publication of swap prices, which in theory could give someone (bankers, cough, cough) a chance to trade ahead of the information.
Swap prices are published when ICAP employees manually enter the data on a computer screen called “19901.” Some 6,000 customers subscribe to a service that allows them to access the data appearing on the 19901 screen.
The key here is that unlike a more transparent, regulated market like the New York Stock Exchange, where the results of stock trades are computed more or less instantly and everyone in theory can immediately see the impact of trading on the prices of stocks, in the swap market the whole world is dependent upon a handful of brokers quickly and honestly entering data about trades by hand into a computer terminal.
Any delay in entering price data would provide the banks involved in the transactions with a rare opportunity to trade ahead of the information. One way to imagine it would be to picture a racetrack where a giant curtain is pulled over the track as the horses come down the stretch – and the gallery is only told two minutes later which horse actually won. Anyone on the right side of the curtain could make a lot of smart bets before the audience saw the results of the race.

At ICAP, the interest-rate swap desk, and the 19901 screen, were reportedly controlled by a small group of 20 or so brokers, some of whom were making millions of dollars. These brokers made so much money for themselves the unit was nicknamed “Treasure Island.”
Already, there are some reports that brokers of Treasure Island did create such intentional delays. Bloomberg interviewed a former broker who claims that he watched ICAP brokers delay the reporting of swap prices. “That allows dealers to tell the brokers to delay putting trades into the system instead of in real time,” Bloomberg wrote, noting the former broker had “witnessed such activity firsthand.” An ICAP spokesman has no comment on the story, though the company has released a statement saying that it is “cooperating” with the CFTC’s inquiry and that it “maintains policies that prohibit” the improper behavior alleged in news reports.
The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. “It’s almost hilarious in the irony,” says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, “that they called it ISDAfix.”
After scandals involving libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.
“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.
That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.
All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they’ll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.”
Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked.
“You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.”
The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.
This story is from the May 9th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425

White Al Qaeda Army? Martial Law? America for Sale? The Establishment?

You should read this book if you have any money or property in the American market.

Bostonians will be able to identify with the horror of martial law following the Boston Marathon massacre on Patriots Day, 2013.  Once they watch this video they will be horrified to learn that a shadow government known as the Establishment manages and manipulates American foreign and domestic policy, including money and energy policies, and control of our financial markets, intelligence services, and military.

White Al Qaeda Army? Martial Law? America for Sale? The Establishment?

You should read this book if you have any money or property in the American market.

Bostonians will be able to identify with the horror of martial law following the Boston Marathon massacre on Patriots Day, 2013.  Once they watch this video they will be horrified to learn that a shadow government known as the Establishment manages and manipulates American foreign and domestic policy, including money and energy policies, and control of our financial markets, intelligence services, and military.

Federal Reserve Promoting Subprime Banking

Isn’t this all the proof you need that the Federal Reserve is not out there to help YOU, the average citizen, but they are to help the banks, specifically their primary dealers, co-owners, you know, the BigBanks that nearly crashed the global economy in 2008 and will likely do it again in 2013.  Just read their own REPORTS! They are telling banks how to SUCK more money out of MORE people.  This time is different.  They are not “subprime” borrowers, they are the unbanked.

When will we learn their tricks?  If the stock market is at all time highs because they are printing money every month, and wars and global mayhem are at all time highs, then what do you think is next? Peace and harmony?

Isn’t it about time you got educated on how the world REALLY works?

Federal Reserve Promoting Subprime Banking

Isn’t this all the proof you need that the Federal Reserve is not out there to help YOU, the average citizen, but they are to help the banks, specifically their primary dealers, co-owners, you know, the BigBanks that nearly crashed the global economy in 2008 and will likely do it again in 2013.  Just read their own REPORTS! They are telling banks how to SUCK more money out of MORE people.  This time is different.  They are not “subprime” borrowers, they are the unbanked.

When will we learn their tricks?  If the stock market is at all time highs because they are printing money every month, and wars and global mayhem are at all time highs, then what do you think is next? Peace and harmony?

Isn’t it about time you got educated on how the world REALLY works?

Would a Coalition of Occupy and TeaParty Make Sense? #GlassSteagall #PublicBanking #EndtheFed

Have you ever heard of the strategy of war called divide and conquer? The Romans used it to conquer in Europe and the British used it to conquer China during the Opium wars.  Now it is being used on us in the United States, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Europe, Russia, Africa, the whole damn world is on fire because we are being played like pawns in a global game of chess.

Here in the USA, we are all aware of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements.  But do we know what they stand for and whether or not there have been people revolting like them in the past?

Let’s look at right now for example.  Both movements are fired up about crime, corruption, coercion, taxes, economic conditions, and the quality of life in our communities.  We just disagree about who’s responsible (who to blame) and how we should fix the problem (social engineering).

Ever heard of United We Stand, Divided We Fall?  Do you think the tactics still work today?  You’d better because we are split up like fools, allowing the manipulation to continue.  We don’t even know it but the misery we feel today inflicted on us from outside forces and what we call the boom bust cycle or just life these days, is not happenstance.  You could not purposefully screw up government and finance any more if you tried.

Both Occupy and TeaParty want a better quality of life and to be left alone to live it.  Some blame government, some blame large corporations, some blame not so secret societies working like organized criminals.  Either way you look at it, things are fairly screwed up and we are not getting any younger.

It’s about damn time we work together.  Put our heads together and think of ways to make a difference, pronto.


Writing for the Huffington Post, Bob Edgar suggests this is a good idea.

Left, right and center, Republican, independent, and Democrat, pretty much everyone agrees that our system has been corrupted. Big money, from banks and insurance companies, the medical lobby, defense contractors, the trial lawyers, the big unions and a boatload of other special interests, is in control.
The power of big money is why our tax laws allow some of our largest corporations and richest citizens to pay less than their fair share of our national expenses. It’s why our military invests in high-tech weapons that are of little use to our troops in the Afghan mountains and Iraqi deserts. It’s why the financial “wizards” who’ve nearly run our economy aground can get away with collecting fat bonuses drawn from government bailout funds. It’s why we grow ever more dependent on energy purchased overseas from people who don’t like us. It’s why we can’t get our act together to tackle the challenge of climate change. It’s why Congress never seems able to do much of anything.

Writing for Fox Business, Dunstall Prial wrote something similar, and quoted several others who thought the same.

Virtually without exception, protesters who are willing to share their specific grievances inevitably connect their anger to the bailouts of the big Wall Street banks.

The image below was taken from Paul Hastings posting.  it shows how we started out the same and ended up different.  We should recognize that both movements have suffered from the Divide and Conquer efforts of billionaires that benefit from the status quo.

Comedy Central comedian and serious thinker Jon Stewart demonstrated the stark differences between how the media portrayed the two movements in a segment on his show.

We definitely have our differences, and that is how the powers that be split us up and that is how they continue to pilfer at our expense.

Until we put aside our differences and stand up for a common cause, we will be sidelined.

I say again, Would a Coalition of Occupy and TeaParty Make Sense?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Add comments below.

Why Democrats, Independents, Republicans Can All Get Behind Mitt Romney in 2012

(This is still a draft and several revisions will be made over the next few days so come back!)

This is the interview that convinced me to vote for Mitt Romney, even though I am a HUGE Ron Paul fan, and voted for Obama in 2008.

This is my list of reasons for begrudgingly supporting Mitt Romney in 2012.

Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney and he and his father the Most Honorable Dr. Ron Paul is behind some VERY IMPORTANT issues.

  • Legalizing industrial hemp.  Ron Paul submitted legislation in May 2011 called the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR1831) that would legalize non-narcotic industrial hemp.  Hemp is a HUGE part of the solution to the energy crisis, national security crisis, climate change (drought), the trade deficit, the ailing auto industry, the national debt, and more.
  • Audit and End the Federal Reserve.  Ron Paul has spoken endlessly on this topic and recently Rand Paul submitted legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.  For EXCELLENT research on the twisted history of the Federal Reserve, watch Money Masters by Bill Stills.  This is actually MORE important than hemp but not as personal to me since I want to build cars our of American hemp – (see Wikispeed).
  • Sound Monetary Policy – Ron Paul and Rand Paul are gaining support across the country for sound monetary policy that reduces the Federal Reserves ability to monopolize our currency and perpetuate poverty with their pump and dump falsely created economic cycles.  Economic variances will always exist.  Panics will happen, but we should not allow CENTRAL PLANNERS to manage our entire economy.  This is a form of Communism.  Yes, the Federal Reserve and all its puppet central banks around the world are GREATLY responsible for war, debt, and the destruction of the social progress that has been made by our founding fathers.  Gold and silver should be part of the global monetary supply officially to curtail central bank printing fiat money.
  • Ending the IRS and the Federal Income Tax.  Who wouldn’t be behind this.  How else can you starve the beast that has build a military empire around the world? Between the CIA, the US Military, and the Federal Reserve, backed by our tax dollars illegally stolen by the IRS, the USA has been in so many wars, I doubt any American could name all the countries and all the invasions, all the tackled leaders, all the death and destruction.  Rape, pillage, and plunder in the name of “liberty” and “democracy”.  BS.

Obama and Romney Are the SAME! so I can vote my for Mitt Romney with social conscience still intact.  Let’s face it, Romney doesn’t look like a bad guy.  It’s his party I am not so fond of because the GOP includes in its umbrella Neo Cons who are responsible for stripping social benefits in order to make room for militarism.  That is FASCISM.  

Why NOT Obama?

Yes, I voted for Obama in 2008.  I read both of his books, did extensive research and finally decided that the GOP was the greater of 2 evils.  Little did I know then that The Republican and the Democrat presidential candidates are guided by the same puppetmasters.  They are the ones who REALLY deserve our WRATH!

  • Erosion of Civil Liberties – Obama has made continuous efforts to STRIP THE UNITED STATES OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY, grounding his ability to remove democratically elected leaders with NATO forces and suggesting that the UN and NATO give him the right to declare war, without Congress.  He should have been impeached for Libya.  Sound radical and conspiratorial? Do the research.  SOPA, NDAA, indefinite detention, Nation Defense Resource Preparedness (NDRP), and most recently the Transnationl Pacific Partnership Pact (or whatever name it has now) that would allow corporations in 8 other nations to completely circumvent our national laws.  This guy was a constitutional law professor and head of the Harvard Law Review?
  • Bank Bailouts – He did nothing to counter the rising power of the Big Banks that manipulate our policy, steal wealth from the middle class, cause financial havoc, all the while taking bailouts.  Privatized gains and socialized losses.  What is that but SOCIALISM.  It is NOT capitalism.  Free markets would have allowed the Big 4 banks to collapse years ago.  Instead they are protected by government, at our expense.

What has Obama done well?

I will give him credit where credit is due.  Obama came into office on the hopes and dreams of those who were completely disillusioned by the damage that George Bush did with his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and massive deficits, scandals, and treason.  It wasn’t hard for ANYONE to look better than Bush.  That was probably part of an elaborate plan to deceive us, but I will save that for later.

  • Healthcare Reform – I am a social liberal progressive, I think.  I am not sure what the proper label is for my positions.  I think there should be competitive private healthcare for all, insured by the US Federal government or State governments.  This could be in the form of a public option or universal healthcare.  I am not caught up on the label.  Healthcare should be a natural right of every American citizen, regardless of race, state of residence, financial wherewithal, or current health condition.  Obama did manage to get more Americans covered, but did nothing to address the rise of healthcare costs.  This was a big failure, but let’s give him points for trying.
  • Energy policy – Obama has done quite a bit to support renewable energy.  This is the WISE business choice.  We need to be talking about efficiency, conservation, alternative sources, balanced usage, and ending the wars.  Something closer to the Carter Doctrine but without the part about “protecting our national interests abroad at all costs”.  That part was written by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the creator of the Mujahidin, National Security Advisor to Carter, and father of the 2 sons who were advisors to BOTH McCain and Obama in the 2008 elections.  Again, we have had puppetmasters controlling our government for generations and very few of us recognize that.  Ron Paul gets it.
  • The BP oil spill – By forcing BP to put aside $20B, Obama avoided the catastrophic financial damage that could have been inflicted on the region like Exxon did with the Valdez in Alaska nearly 30 years ago.  Very few people have been paid for the damage in that case.  The oil companies get away with murder all the time.  A more balanced energy policy and hard nosed investigative journalism may put the Four Horsemen back in their proper place – to serve the greater good of society.
  • Bank Subsidies in the Form of Educational Loan Origination and Servicing – I am pretty sure that Obama led the effort to remove the middleman banks from educational loans that cost borrowers about $6B in fees each year.

Last But Not Least

This is where a little bit of twisted logic comes into play.  It is