Friday, January 29, 2010

Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows: David Reilly

Commentary by David Reilly

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The idea of secret banking cabals that control the country and global economy are a given among conspiracy theorists who stockpile ammo, bottled water and peanut butter. After this week’s congressional hearing into the bailout of American International Group Inc., you have to wonder if those folks are crazy after all.

Wednesday’s hearing described a secretive group deploying billions of dollars to favored banks, operating with little oversight by the public or elected officials.

We’re talking about the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose role as the most influential part of the federal-reserve system -- apart from the matter of AIG’s bailout -- deserves further congressional scrutiny.

The New York Fed is in the hot seat for its decision in November 2008 to buy out, for about $30 billion, insurance contracts AIG sold on toxic debt securities to banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank AG, among others. That decision, critics say, amounted to a back-door bailout for the banks, which received 100 cents on the dollar for contracts that would have been worth far less had AIG been allowed to fail.

That move came a few weeks after the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department propped up AIG in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s own mid-September bankruptcy filing.

Saving the System

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was head of the New York Fed at the time of the AIG moves. He maintained during Wednesday’s hearing that the New York bank had to buy the insurance contracts, known as credit default swaps, to keep AIG from failing, which would have threatened the financial system.

The hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also focused on what many in Congress believe was the New York Fed’s subsequent attempt to cover up buyout details and who benefited.

By pursuing this line of inquiry, the hearing revealed some of the inner workings of the New York Fed and the outsized role it plays in banking. This insight is especially valuable given that the New York Fed is a quasi-governmental institution that isn’t subject to citizen intrusions such as freedom of information requests, unlike the Federal Reserve.

This impenetrability comes in handy since the bank is the preferred vehicle for many of the Fed’s bailout programs. It’s as though the New York Fed was a black-ops outfit for the nation’s central bank.

Geithner’s Bosses

The New York Fed is one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks that operate under the supervision of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, chaired by Ben Bernanke. Member-bank presidents are appointed by nine-member boards, who themselves are appointed largely by other bankers.

As Representative Marcy Kaptur told Geithner at the hearing: “A lot of people think that the president of the New York Fed works for the U.S. government. But in fact you work for the private banks that elected you.”

And yet the New York Fed played an integral role in the government’s bailout of banks, often receiving surprisingly free rein to act as it saw fit.

Consider AIG. Let’s take Geithner at his word that a failure to resolve the insurer’s default swaps would have led to financial Armageddon. Given the stakes, you might think Geithner would have coordinated actions with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Yet Paulson testified that he wasn’t in the loop.

“I had no involvement at all, in the payment to the counterparties, no involvement whatsoever,” Paulson said.

Bernanke’s Denials

Fed Chairman Bernanke also wasn’t involved. In a written response to questions from Representative Darrell Issa, Bernanke said he “was not directly involved in the negotiations” with AIG’s counterparty banks.

You have to wonder then who really was in charge of our nation’s financial future if AIG posed as grave a threat as Geithner claimed.

Questions about the New York Fed’s accountability grew after Geithner on Nov. 24, 2008, was named by then-President- elect Barack Obama to be Treasury Secretary. Geither said he recused himself from the bank’s day-to-day activities, even though he never actually signed a formal letter of recusal.

That left issues related to disclosures about the deal in the hands of the bank’s lawyers and staff, rather than a top executive. Those staffers didn’t want details of the swaps purchase to become public.

New York Fed staff and outside lawyers from Davis Polk & Wardell edited AIG communications to investors and intervened with the Securities and Exchange Commission to shield details about the buyout transactions, according to a report by Issa.

That the New York Fed, a quasi-governmental body, was able to push around the SEC, an executive-branch agency, deserves a congressional hearing all by itself.

Later, when it became clear information would be disclosed, New York Fed legal group staffer James Bergin e-mailed colleagues saying: “I have to think this train is probably going to leave the station soon and we need to focus our efforts on explaining the story as best we can. There were too many people involved in the deals -- too many counterparties, too many lawyers and advisors, too many people from AIG -- to keep a determined Congress from the information.”

Think of the enormity of that statement. A staffer at a body with little public accountability and that exists to serve bankers is lamenting the inability to keep Congress in the dark.

This belies the culture of secrecy obviously pervasive within the New York Fed. Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns noted during the hearing that the bank initially refused to disclose even the names of other banks that benefited from its actions, arguing this information would somehow harm AIG.

‘Penchant for Secrecy’

“In fact, when the information was finally released, under pressure from Congress, nothing happened,” Towns said. “It had absolutely no effect on AIG’s business or financial condition. But it did have an effect on the credibility of the Federal Reserve, and it called into question the Fed’s penchant for secrecy.”

Now, I’m not saying Congress should be meddling in interest-rate decisions, or micro-managing bank regulation. Nor do I think we should all don tin-foil hats and start ranting about the Trilateral Commission.

Yet when unelected and unaccountable agencies pick banking winners while trying to end-run Congress, even as taxpayers are forced to lend, spend and guarantee about $8 trillion to prop up the financial system, our collective blood should boil.

(David Reilly is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The State of the Nation: I am afraid

Posted on 27 January 2010

By John W. White head
President, The Rutherford Institute

“As I look at America today, I am not afraid to say that I am afraid.” – Bertram Gross,Friendly Fas cism: The New Face of Power in America

Ominous developments in America have been a long time coming, in part precipitated by “we the people” – a citi­zenry that has been asleep at the wheel for too long. And while there have been wake-up calls, we have failed to heed the warnings.

Just con sider the state of our nation:

We’re encased in what some are calling an electronic con centration camp. The government con tinues to amass data files on more and more Americans. Every where we go, we are watched: at the banks, at the gro cery store, at the mall, crossing the street. This loss of privacy is symptomatic of the growing sur veil lance being car ried out on average Amer i cans. Such sur veil lance gradually poisons the soul of a nation, transforming us from one in which we’re presumed inno cent until proven guilty to one in which everyone is a suspect and presumed guilty. Thus, the question that must be asked is: can freedom in the United States flourish in an age when the physical move ments, individual purchases, conversations and meetings of every citizen are under constant surveil lance by private com­panies and government agencies?

We are metamorphosing into a police state. Governmental te tacles now invade virtually every facet of our lives, with agents of the government listening in on our telephone calls and reading our emails. Technology, which has developed at a rapid pace, offers those in power more inva sive, awe some tools than ever before. Fusion cen ters – data col lecting agen cies spread throughout the country, aided by the National Secu rity Agency – con stantly mon itor our com mu ni ca tions, every thing from our internet activity and web searches to text mes sages, phone calls and emails. This data is then fed to government agen cies, which are now interconnected – the CIA to the FBI, the FBI to local police – a relationship which will make a transition to martial law that much easier. We may very well be one terrorist attack away from seeing armed forces on our streets – and the American people may not put up much resistance. According to a recent study, a greater per centage of Americans are now willing to sacrifice their civil lib­erties in order to feel safer in the wake of the failed crotch bomber’s attack on Christmas Day.

We are plagued by a faltering economy and a monstrous financial deficit that threatens to bankrupt us. Our national debt is more than $12 trillion (which trans lates to more than $110,000 per tax payer), and is expected to nearly double to $20 trillion by 2015. The unemployment rate is over 10% and growing, with more than 15 million Amer i­cans out of work and many more forced to subsist on low-paying or part-time jobs. The number of U.S. house holds on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15% in the first half of last year alone. The number of children living in poverty is on the rise (18% in 2007). As history illutrates, authoritarian regimes assume more and more power in troubled financial times.

Our representatives in the White House and Congress bear little resemblance to those they have been elected to represent. Many of our politicians live like kings. Chauffeured around in limousines, flying in private jets and eating gourmet meals, all paid for by the American tax payer, they are far removed from those they represent. What’s more, they continue to spend money we don’t have on pork-laden stimulus packages while running up a huge deficit and leaving the American tax payers to foot the bill. And while our representatives may engage in a show of partisan bickering, the Washington elite – that is, the President and Congress – moves forward with what ever it wants, paying little heed to the will of the people.

We are embroiled in global wars against enemies that seem to attack from nowhere. Our armed forces are pushed to their limit, spread around the globe and under constant fire. The amount of money spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is nearing $1 trillion and is estimated to total some where in the vicinity of $3 trillion before it’s all over. That does not take into account the ravaged countries that we occupy, the thousands of innocent civilians killed (including women and children), or the thousands of American soldiers who have been killed or irreparably injured or who are committing suicide at an alarming rate. Nor does it take into account the families of the 1.8 mil­lion Americans who have served or are currently serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

America’s place in the world is also under going a drastic shift, with China slated to emerge as the top economy over the next decade. Given the extent to which we are financially beholden to China, their influence over how our government carries out its affairs, as well as how it deals with its citizens, cannot be discounted. As of July 2009, China owned $800.5 billion of our debt – that’s 45% of our total (foreign) debt – making them the largest foreign holder of U.S. foreign debt. Little wonder, then, that the Obama administration has kow towed to China, hesitant to overtly challenge them on critical issues such as human rights. The most recent example of this can be seen in the Obama administration’s initial reluctance to confront the Chinese government over its reported cyber attacks on Google and other American technology companies.

As national borders dissolve in the face of spreading globalization, the likelihood increases that our Constitution, which is the supreme law of America, will be subverted in favor of international laws. What that means is that our Con sti tu tion will come increasingly under attack.

The corporate media, increasingly acting as a mouth piece for governmental propaganda, no longer serves a pri­mary func tion as watch dogs, guarding against encroachments of our rights. Instead, much of the main stream media has given itself over to mind less, celebrity-driven news, which bodes ill for our country. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about tabloid news, entertainment news or legitimate news shows, there’s very little differ­ence between them any more. Unfortunately, most Americans have bought into the notion that what ever the media hap pens to report is impor tant and relevant. In the process, Americans have largely lost the ability to ask questions and think analytically. Indeed, most citizens have little, if any, knowledge about their rights or how their government even works. For example, a national poll found that less than one per cent of adults could name the five freedoms protected in the First Amendment.

Finally, I have never seen a country more spiritually beaten down than the United States. We have lost our moral compass. A growing number of our young people now see no meaning or purpose in life. And we no longer have a sense of right and wrong or a way to hold the government accountable. We have for gotten that the essential premise of the American governmental scheme, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, is that if the gov­ernment will not be accoun able to the people, then it must certainly be account able to the “Creator.”

But what if the gov ern ment is not account able to the people or the Creator?

As Thomas Jefferson writes in the Declaration, it is then the right of “the People to alter or abolish it” and form a new government.

— —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  — —

Constitutional attorney and author John W. White head is founder
and pres i dent of
The Ruther ford Insti tute. He can be con tacted at Infor ma tion about the Insti tute is avail able

Monday, January 25, 2010

Commentary: Supreme Court's decision on corporate giving is no easy win


Jan. 26, 2010, 12:01 a.m. EST

Business as usual

By Brett Arends,

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- Everyone seems to agree that last week's landmark Supreme Court decision on money and politics is, in the cliché of our times, a "game-changer." But what does it actually mean? Here are five contrarian points.

How much has actually changed?

Our national politics are already bought and paid for like a flat-screen TV. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based think-tank that tracks money in politics, politicians spent a remarkable $5.4 billion, in total, running for federal office in 2007-2008. That includes everything from the $730 million spent by Barack Obama down to the $55,000 spent by Carol Miller, an independent, in a congressional race in New Mexico.

U.S. Supreme Court buildingReuters
U.S. Supreme Court building

That $5.4 billion total jumped 30% from 2004 and a stunning 76% from 2000. You can bet it will rocket still further for the 2012 presidential election, especially in the wake of this election decision.

Maybe this won't change the nature of politics so much as the price.

'A major victory'

President Barack Obama called the decision "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests." Who's he kidding? Out of these groups he went three-for-four last election.

Among Wall Street banks and other securities and investment firms, the president raised $14.8 million in campaign contributions, while John McCain only got $8.7 million. (The data come from the Center for Responsive Politics, based on an analysis of campaign filings. Money donated comes from individuals working for companies and from Political Action Committees).

From HMOs and health-services companies, the president outraised McCain $1.4 million to $428,000. Among major industries, big oil and gas were among the few that broke for McCain, by $2.4 million to $900,000. As for "powerful interests": How you define them usually depends on where you stand. But the Center for Responsive Politics tracks the top all-time donors from 1989 to 2008 on a "Heavuy Hitters" list. Ten of the top twelve have favored the Democrats -- most of them are unions, led by the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees -- and the other two are balanced between the two. The top Heavy Hitter to favor the Republicans notably over the past twenty years, the American Medical Association, comes in at 15.

Honoring the Constitution

Meanwhile right-wingers are hailing the decision on "constitutional grounds." Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, cheered it for "restoring the First Amendment rights of [corporations and unions] by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day."

Obama Proposes Middle-Class Plan

Watch footage of President Barack Obama addressing a meeting of the Middle-Class Task Force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden. Video courtesy of Fox Business Network.

What nonsense. The Republicans care about the Constitution about as much as I care about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Right-wingers are gambling that this decision will help them catch up on fundraising. They may be right, because corporate boards tend to favor Republicans with their money, even, in many cases, where the actual staff give to the Democrats. But in fund-raising, no ideology succeeds like success.

If the CRP data show anything, it's that donors favor the party in power. The Democrats led through 1994, when they lost Congress. The Republicans led for about a decade. Since 2006, when the Democrats have outnumbered the GOP in both houses, they've had a big lead. Money follows incumbents.

Corporate political identity

If you are a chief executive of a major corporation and you think this is suddenly open season on political campaigning, stop and take a deep breath.

Do you want your customers to think of your company as Republican, or Democrat? Have you thought this through?

Right now some companies have clear leanings, either through their official political action committees, the donations of staff, or both (if you are a customer worried about where your dollars may end up that may be a difference without a distinction).

So for example contributions from retailers Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD) and Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) have heavily favored Republicans in recent years, while those from Rite-Aid Corp. (NYSE:RAD), Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST) have leaned towards the Democrats.

But we live in an increasingly bitter, caustic and partisan age. As the money flows become more explicit, companies that get too publicly engaged risk alienating more people than they win over.

Who wants to be the Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL) of home goods or hamburgers?

Back in 2004, some Republicans stopped buying H.J. Heinz Co.'s (NYSE:HNZ) ketchup because of the link with presidential hopeful John Kerry's wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry. Some young Republicans even launched "W." ketchup as a rival. Maybe we ain't seen nothin' yet.

And the winner is... surely Big Media.

The only outcome from this ruling that you can predict with any certainty is that the flow of money into politics is surely going to increase. It's increasing anyway. If it just adds 10% to the money spent in 2008 that's another $540 million flowing through the system. A lot of that is going to go on advertising, for the simple reason that it has to go somewhere. I find it astonishing that anyone buys something as a result of commercials, because most commercials are completely useless, but apparently people do.

So this ruling should be huge for media outlets. A lot of the extra dollars will presumably end up online, a windfall for the likes of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) , Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and others. But they won't be alone. Maybe we should all be purchasing billboards in big swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Brett Arends is the author of "Storm Proof Your Money," on managing your finances in this era of turmoil.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Re-Education of Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski

By William Dean A. Garner

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2010

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski

Center for Strategic and International Studies

1800 K Street

Washington, DC

Dear Dr. Brzezinski,

My name is William Dean A. Garner and I’m a NY Times bestselling ghostwriter and editor of many books. For example, I edited Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, among dozens of others. I’m also a former scientist (biophysics), US Army Airborne Ranger (C 1/75 Ranger Regiment), and corporate mercenary for international private military firms I designed and helped build. I did 211 overseas missions in extremely hostile territories over nine years, escorting important people so they could have a voice of peace, freedom and democracy, and a voice against fascism and dictatorial rule. 

Please know that I am building a great case against you and your cartel, something the world will hear, even if you murder me and my family. 

As a Jeffersonian Patriot, I am prepared to do whatever it takes to defend Thomas Jefferson’s great cause, which is the firm establishment and maintenance of Peace, Freedom and Democracy all over this planet.

In my studies over the past 30 years, I have learned much about you and your actions. I also know you and your colleagues are getting desperate.

I am building a great case against you and your cartel, something the world will hear, even if you murder me and my family.

Witness the events over the past nine years: false-flag 9/11 attacks; illegal passing of The Patriot Act; establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, a modern-day Gestapo; establishment of the Transportation Security Administration; false-flag attack by the Detroit bomber, which led to the great push of installing of full-body scanners in airports and which will be introduced in all transportation hubs and ports, plus major centers of public foot traffic.

I’ve studied evolutionary processes on this planet and, therefore, understand and have decoded your moves and actions to establish a socialist/fascist police state in the United States.

I also know that fascist American Wall Street bankers have tried this before: in 1933 and 1934, Wall Street bankers attempted a fascist putsch and tried to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and also recruit a two-time winner of the Medal of Honor, MG Smedley Darlington Butler, to lead an army of 500,000 soldiers to march on the White House.

It was all a ruse, staged by The First Sphere of Influence, which needed Roosevelt as its presidential pawn. FDR went on to create what is thought of as the most prolific fascist presidency. [Until George W. Bush came into office.]

These Wall Street fascists knew unequivocally that they could never count on General Butler, a Jeffersonian Patriot of the highest order, who subsequently fell into their trap and alerted Congress and ratted out these fascist Wall Street bankers. The “putsch” was a failure, of course, something left off the American history books. It survived several good books, though, and lives in print today, along with the facts surrounding the ruse.

In 1933 and 1934, Wall Street bankers attempted a fascist putsch and tried to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt . . . It was all a ruse, staged by The First Sphere of Influence.

The First Sphere of Influence, which consists of your cartel and the Rothschild banking empire, in the past has operated under a cloak of darkness, and that darkness is now being washed away with the advent of globalization. Ironically, too, the globalization you so crave for will be the detonator of your undoing: word is now spreading among the masses about your cartel. With a little time, enough people will know about you, and the right people–other Jeffersonian Patriots–will rise up against you. Our tools are becoming more prevalent and accessible: the Internet, the Worldwide Web, and the introduction of greater means of communications like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email, blogs, websites, etc. Your regime is no longer a black-bag operation that no one knows about, and people like me are now on you like stink on shit and will remain until the members of The First Sphere of Influence wither away.

The Hollywood producer, Irv Thalberg, said on more than one occasion, to the effect: “Writers are the most important part of the filmmaking process, and we must never let them know this.” It was Thalberg’s way of controlling the wages and power of screenwriters during his short reign. When word escaped, screenwriters soon earned hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, for scripts, often surpassing the earnings of actors and some producers.

Likewise, you know that Americans are the most significant and valued part of the entire social and political process, with unlimited power, and you must never let us know it, lest we rise up and drag you and your cartel members back behind the wood pile and execute you. With fascism, one point is abundantly clear, dear sir: it has always fallen and its leaders have always died. Violently, I might add.

Knowledge about you, your cartel and your handlers, the Rothschilds, is spreading and will continue to spread as people finally take note about your nefarious practices. I am personally holding private dinner parties to educate people about you and your cartel, to encourage them to join me in the fight against you and your fascist ways.

LIFE FINDS A WAY, Dr. Brzezinski.

Knowledge about you, your cartel and your handlers, the Rothschilds, is spreading and will continue to spread as people finally take note about your nefarious practices.

Life wants to be free, and you and your cartel cannot contain it. The best you can do is follow my advice: learn about human behavior, neurochemistry, the sociobiology of living creatures. Learn these important subjects so you and your handlers can find ways to use your trillions of dollars and euros and pounds to establish Peace, Freedom and Democracy throughout the world. Your attempts to establish a small colony of slaves on this planet WILL fail.

We’ve already seen that people cannot be contained for too long and that Communism and Socialism do NOT work. LIFE FINDS A WAY TO BE FREE. Your plan WILL fail.

Dr. Brzezinski, all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people like me to do nothing. I feel that with proactive people like me around, evil like you and your cartel will be reduced to your basic atomic components and recycled by the very processes you seek to control or destroy. 

In your next life, I see you as a . . . dung beetle. . . .


William Dean A. Garner

P.S. To start your re-education, please contact me here:

Olbermann: Supreme Court ruling makes every politician ‘a prostitute’

Tuesday, January 19, 2010