Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Police fear far-right terror attack

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command fears that right-wing extremists will stage a deadly terrorist attack in Britain to try to stoke racial tensions, the Guardian has learned.

Senior officers say it will be a "spectacular" that is designed to kill. The counter-terrorism unit has redeployed officers to increase its monitoring of the extreme right's potential to stage attacks.

Commander Shaun Sawyer told a meeting of British Muslims concerned about the danger to their communities that police were responding to the growing threat.

Sawyer said of the far right: "I fear that they will have a spectacular... they will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They're not choosy about which community."

He said the aim would be to cause a "breakdown in community cohesion".

Sawyer revealed that the Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, had asked the counter-terrorism command, SO15, to examine what the economic downturn would mean for far-right violence. The assessment concluded that the recession would increase the possibility of it.

Sawyer told the meeting last Wednesday that more of his officers needed to be deployed to try to thwart neo-Nazi-inspired violence. He said the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida remained the unit's priority, but said of its far-right section: "It is a small desk ... we need to grow that unit." Sources have told the Guardian that while they believe the neo-Nazi terrorist threat has grown, they have no specific intelligence of an attack.

"There is an increased possibility of violence from the far right. There is a trend," said one senior source, adding that the ideology of the violent right was driven by "people who don't like immigration, people who don't like Islam. We're seeing a resurgence of anti-semitism as well."

The meeting at which Sawyer spoke was staged by the Muslim Safety Forum, whose chair, Abdurahman Jafar, said: "Muslims are the first line of victims in the extreme right's campaign of hate and division and they make no secret about that. Statistics show a strong correlation between the rise of racist and Islamophobic hate crime and the ascendancy of the BNP."

It is a decade since an extreme rightwing terrorist has used bombs to claim lives in Britain. In 1999, David Copeland struck three targets in London. His attack on a gay pub in Soho, London, killed three people and left scores injured. It followed attacks against the Muslim community in Brick Lane, east London, and the bombing of a market in Brixton, south London.

The senior source said: "When Copeland attacked we did not have the religious tensions with the Muslim community. What kind of schism would a Copeland-type event cause now?"

The far-right threat to Britain's Jewish communities is monitored by the Community Security Trust, which says attempted terrorist violence by neo-Nazis has increased in the past few years. It says nine white men have been "convicted of offences involving explosives, terrorist plots, violent campaigns or threats to carry them out".

David Rich, of the CST, said: "There's no one directing people, it's a mindset" – a reference to the easy availability of extremist right-wing material and information about making bombs.

Gerald Celente - Predicts Panic ‘08

Check this link .......... http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1486

Proof of the New World Order in under 11 minutes

Check this link ......... http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=1494

Like His Father, Ron Paul's Kentucky Son Raises Cash Online

A possible bid for the 2010 Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky certainly won't enable eye surgeon Rand Paul to rake in the mega-millions in campaign donations procured by his much better-known father -- Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul -- when he campaigned for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination on his strongly libertarian-tinged platform.

But the younger Paul, a first-time candidate for public office, has taken a page from his father's playbook by going online to build up the treasury for the "exploratory" Senate campaign committee he established in May. And he pronounces himself pleased with the fact that his receipts topped $100,000 in a little more than a month.

Paul's organization said it hasn't held any fundraising events, instead collecting mostly small contributions "from over 1,200 regular people who nickle and dimed their way to an impressive showing" in advance of the candidate's fundraising report for the year's second quarter, which is due to be filed by July 15.

Paul is laying the groundwork for a Senate campaign in the event that two-term Republican incumbent Jim Bunning does not seek re-election. Trey Grayson, Kentucky's secretary of state, also has formed an exploratory committee but says he would step aside and not challenge Bunning in a GOP primary.

Bunning's re-electability is one of the biggest concerns for Republican strategists heading into the 2010 campaign. A narrow winner in both 1998 and 2004, Bunning has unusually low job approval ratings -- in part because of his reputation for having an abrasive personality that puts off even some fellow Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader (and fellow Kentuckian) Mitch McConnell.

But the 77-year-old incumbent, who had a Hall of Fame career as a major league baseball pitcher, thus far has rejected suggestions by some leading Republicans that it may be time for him to retire.

Bunning's political problems have prompted national Democratic strategists to target the 2010 Kentucky race, and two of the state's most prominent Democrats -- state Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo -- have launched campaigns for their party's Senate nomination. Mongiardo, as a little-known state senator, came within just more than 1 percentage point of upsetting Bunning as the 2004 Democratic nominee.

CQ Politics currently rates the 2010 Kentucky Senate general election as Tossup.

To see how the 2010 Senate races are shaping up, check out the CQ Politics' election map.

Military guinea pigs

Was One "Rogue Banker" Really to Blame for Oil's Recent Spike?


If you ask the Financial Times, one "rogue banker" is to blame for the recent spike in oil prices. Ask others and all fingers point to Goldman Sachs (as reported here April 10, 2009, the story of Semgroup is an interesting one, perhaps FT would do itself well to acquaint itself with that particular tale?)

Via FT:

The startling spike in oil prices to their highest level this year on Tuesday was caused by a rogue broker who placed a massive bet in the Brent oil market, triggering almost $10m (€7m) of losses for his company.

PVM Oil Associates, the world’s largest over-the-counter oil brokerage, said on Thursday it had been the “victim of unauthorised trading”. The privately owned company said that as a result of the unauthorised trades it had been forced to close substantial volumes of futures contracts at a loss.

This is the second episode of rogue trading in the oil market this year. In May, an oil trader at Morgan Stanley was banned by the City watchdog after he hid from his bosses potential losses on trades made under the influence of alcohol.

bwhahahahahahahahahahaha. You know, if I were elbowed up against the Goldman boys trying to squeeze a few pennies a barrel, I'd probably be a raging drunk too. Anyway, we are revisiting Forbes on the master manipulation (*cough* sorry, I mean alleged misdeeds *cough*) here for your reading pleasure (refreshing your memory and all):

When oil prices spiked last summer to $147 a barrel, the biggest corporate casualty was oil pipeline giant Semgroup Holdings, a $14 billion (sales) private firm in Tulsa, Okla. It had racked up $2.4 billion in trading losses betting that oil prices would go down, including $290 million in accounts personally managed by then chief executive Thomas Kivisto. Its short positions amounted to the equivalent of 20% of the nation's crude oil inventories. With the credit crunch eliminating any hope of meeting a $500 million margin call, Semgroup filed for bankruptcy on July 22.

The $500 billion is how much the world would have overpaid for crude had a successful scam pushed up oil prices by $50 a barrel for 100 days.

What's the evidence of this? Much is circumstantial. Proving oil-trading manipulation is difficult. But numerous people familiar with the events insist that Citibank, Merrill Lynch and especially Goldman Sachs had knowledge about Semgroup's trading positions from their vetting of an ill-fated $1.5 billion private placement deal last spring. "Nothing's been proven, but if somebody has your book and knows every trade, it would not be difficult to bet against that book and put the company into a tremendous liquidity squeeze," says John Tucker, who is representing Kivisto.

I believe I have pointed this out before but Goldman's days are numbered at the top of the investment banking food chain, if not already seriously compromised.

Read the full article - click here

Internet filter danger

REMEMBER the images of German soldiers marching through the Arc de Triomphe after conquering Paris during World War II?

Or those grainy black-and-white photographs from May 1933 when the Nazis embarked on their campaign of burning all books considered to be subversive?

Do you recall the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984? Perhaps the burning books in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Welcome to Australia in the 21st century, where totalitarian history meets science-fiction and dark political satire.

Welcome to the Rudd Government's internet filter.

Like most authoritarian pogroms, the internet filter is being sold as a measure to protect the greater communal well-being.

A quick recap: Australia's "Minister for Truth", Stephen Conroy, has claimed the filter will help stamp out child pornography, protecting the young and vulnerable from accessing inappropriate online material.

This will result in the internet being filtered at two levels. Firstly, all internet service providers will be required to block sites deemed unsuitable for children (hopefully this includes reruns of The Simpsons but that's a column for another day).

Anyway, we can opt out of this kiddie filter if we contact our ISP. What we can't opt out of, however, is the second-level filter that blocks all sites deemed illegal or unsuitable for adults to view.

This was sold as an attempt to free Australia from the scourges of child pornography, terrorism and so forth.

The great logical fallacy of that argument is that those who trade in child porn or bombmaking recipes don't do so in the public domain but swap their information on obscure message boards or by way of peer-to-peer file-sharing sites.

And what is terrorism? Is it a bunch of activists organising a demonstration against an OECD meeting, for example?

None of this can be blocked without effectively shutting down the entire internet to all but the likes of the ABC Kids webpage or official government websites.

So what will be caught?

Given that the Government has taken a leaf out of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbel's book and decreed the list of blocked sites will remain secret, we only have a broad indication of what we are to be protected from. Initially, it was to be material that would be refused classification by Australian censors: largely banned films and imagery of an explicit sexual and/or violent nature.

It also is likely to include a lot of milder X-rated material: what we married and consenting adults do in the privacy of our own homes, or in fact what various state governments sanction and tax through the licensing of legal brothels.

There are brothels in Brisbane, for example, that legally offer fairly mild dungeon and dominatrix fantasies that, if filmed, would be banned from ever being released on disk, even under our existing X-category. Go figure.

Sex aside, though, the nanny net also will include computer games.

Australia bans the sale of all computer games that attract anything higher than an MA 15+ rating.

Any game that might attract an R rating is banned from sale or must be heavily censored.

But computer gamers don't just buy a disc to slip into their PlayStation. They often participate in multi-player online games such as World of Warcraft.

These aren't rated and may well fall foul if there is a complaint of our new net nanny regime. If in doubt, ban it. Where will it end?

As internet freedom advocacy group Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman Colin Jacobs was recently reported as saying: "This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping.

"Far from being the ultimate weapon against child abuse, it now will officially censor content deemed too controversial for a 15-year-old."

The office of Stephen Conroy also confirmed that online retail sites, which offer games refused classification in Australia because they fall into the restricted category, also could be blocked.

Hello? Is there anybody out there?

Wouldn't that include the likes of Amazon and eBay?

Right now, I could log on to Amazon and order copies of banned computer games such as Fallout 3 or Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, which was banned because it allegedly promoted graffiti art.

And what of banned or unclassified films?

Lets go to Amazon again and see if we can buy the likes of Pasolini's (banned) classic tale of fascism and mass human debasement Salo, the banned uncut version of Caligula, or perhaps even more confronting material such as Jorg Buttgereit's Nekromantik or Fred Vogel's August Underground.

Check, check, check and check again. Better block Amazon and every other online retailer on the planet that sells game and film titles refused classification.

Oh, and also block the likes of YouTube, which carries clips from these banned films and games.

And don't forget to block access to the thousands of movie and gaming forums that also discuss, and host sequences of, films and games that are forbidden here.

It's idiocy. Offer, and that means offer not impose, filtering for children's net use by all means but let adults decide for themselves what they want to watch, play and talk about, or buy online.

If this draconian madness of the internet filter comes to pass, I promise to publish whatever I can when it comes to ways of circumventing it.

And if that is deemed illegal, then just email me and we'll conduct the resistance by other means.















































































發佈會後,當局安排了多輛小客車在警方的開路下載記 者前往暴動地區實地察看情況。“海外華文媒體新疆考察團”當然也不放過機會,登上了我們的旅巴跟隨大隊前往。唯旅巴體積大,起動力小,不像小客車般能隨警 車飛速行駛,加上司機沒有實戰的經驗,我們最終落單了。我們都知道沒有隨著警車和政府車輛,我們是沒辦法進入封鎖地區的,這可急壞了我們,甚至有團員在車 上吆喝著司機違規駕駛以便趕上大隊,上演了一場可謂“驚心動魄”的市區飛車,最終還是功虧一簣。


後來我們的領隊,即中國新聞社的主管決定換小車,一行十多人兵分兩路,希望能夠“闖入”封鎖 區,但是沒有警方開路,我們根本無法進入,幾經交涉,警方也不放行。中新社主管幾經曲折終於和政府當局負責人聯繫上,我們在暴動中被燒毀的車輛集中處跟上 了大隊,而我們也得以登上當局的小客車,參與採訪。在此處我們看見了許多在暴動中被燒成廢鐵的巴士和私家車,第一次感受到了暴動的嚴重性。




在醫院,由於床位不足,傷者都被安置在走廊。其中有一個接受採訪的漢族傷者,頭被打破了。他告 訴記者,他是騎腳車前往朋友家途中,無端的被暴徒打傷了。而院方告訴記者,有一位漢族老太太抱著孫子經過此處,結果婆孫倆被石頭擊中。院方也說,一些傷者 甚至是重傷者在當晚不敢前來醫院,待局勢平靜後,才敢出來就醫。在醫院,記者也採訪到了一些維族傷者的家屬,他們顯然也對事件感到憤怒,心情一直無法平 伏。



我們在烏魯木齊下榻的酒店其實就在發生暴動的老城區,團員都慶幸暴動當晚沒有在烏魯木齊活動, 不然可危險了。不過在暴動後,局勢看似平靜但是風聲鶴唳,所以我們的活動都被取消了,包括前往國際大巴扎(Bazaar)的購物行程和聯歡會。在這種時刻 進行聯歡不合時宜,團員們也沒有心情。

團員們都有一個共同的感受,就是之前的行程都以會見自治區的領導為主,他們都向我們介紹了新疆 的漢族和各少數民族如何團結和諧相處的情況,我們也會見了不少少數民族的幹部,包括一些重要的領導,例如烏魯木齊市長都是由少數民族擔任。但這一場嚴重的 暴動卻暴露出了新疆的民族融合道路仍存佈滿了荊棘。













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30年來,新疆的國民經濟以年均10.3%的速度增長。2008年,新疆工業增加值達 1790.7億元,比1952年增長274倍,比1978年增長16.6倍;糧食產量突破1000萬噸,比1949年增長11倍,比1978年增長1.8 倍,人均糧食佔有量超過全國平均水準……這些既是新疆的發展成果,也是新疆人民的福祉所在。



















































其中一個節目,是在AXN頻道播出的“破解魔術師的密碼”(Breaking the Magicians Code)。另一個是在okto頻道播出的兒童節目“Tricky TV”。




























A look at Palin's postings on Twitter

A look at some of Sarah Palin's postings on Twitter since she announced she was stepping down as Alaska governor:

"We'll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election... this is in Alaska's best interest, my family's happy... it is good, stay tuned."

"Happy for hard working Alaskans who get a sunny break tomorrow to celebrate the Fourth of July - be safe, enjoy friends, thank the troops!"

"Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again...."

"Attached is my "thank you" sent yesterday to express gratitude, & smack down lies at same time ..."

"Grateful Todd left fishing grnds to join me this wkend; but now he's back slaying salmon & working the kids (at) the site; anxious to join 'em!"

Final report released in Snowbird crash

A faulty seatbelt and the failure of an Air Force pilot to properly check he was strapped in led to the fatal crash of a Snowbird jet two years ago in Montana.

In its final report into the May 2007 crash, the Air Force notes that Capt. Shawn McCaughey experienced problems with the seat belt latch in his jet at least three times before.

The report says McCaughey may not have died had he done the right check on the day of the crash to ensure his harness was done up.

The pilot was flying upside down during a pre-show practice session over Great Falls, Mont., when he fell out of his seat and lost control of the plane.

The report says McCaughey was under significant stress at the time and may not have been mentally prepared for the flight.

Republican turmoil hits early presidential states

WEST DES MOINES — Social conservatives in Iowa and New Hampshire already were reeling from scandals surrounding two Republicans thought to be considering White House runs when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shocked the party by announcing her resignation.

Now they aren't sure what to think in the early presidential voting states.

"You have to wonder who will be the standard-bearer for social conservatives in 2012," said veteran Republican strategist Bob Haus. "If they are going to talk the talk, they better walk the walk. Anyone who comes in and claims that mantle had better be pretty clean."

Admissions of extramarital affairs by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign would seem to have ended any presidential ambitions. Palin is popular among the social conservatives who dominate Iowa's Republican caucuses and could get a huge boost from the state should she seek the nomination, but her resignation complicates things.

"She has some work to do to convince people they can trust her," Haus said. "Unfortunately it's all self-inflicted."

Maintaining good standing in Iowa is especially important if Palin seeks the presidency because her stances line up well with the state party's social conservatism. In contrast, Republicans in New Hampshire — home to the nation's first primary — tend to be more fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

Polls on possible 2012 candidates have shown Palin behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, likely due in part to the state's preference for more moderate candidates, said Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Smith said Palin could have a chance there in 2012, but didn't help herself by quitting her job.

"I don't think any way you can square it can be seen as good for her right now — it may turn out to be good down the road — but right now she's in a difficult spot," he said.

Presidential primaries and caucuses may be years off, but Iowa Christian Alliance head Steve Scheffler said Palin's resignation has left many people so confused she needs to act quickly if planning to be in the 2012 mix.

Winning in Iowa requires courting state politicians and activists, even when a candidate is not facing the kind of uncertainty that's enveloped Palin.

"I think she has to come to Iowa and convince people she can be a leader," Scheffler said. "She's going to have to prove that to caucus-going Iowans, and she has to come to Iowa over and over again."

New Hampshire is a bit less of a pressure cooker.

"In some sense, the stakes are a bit lower for her here," said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire. "A strong second place would be fine in a state where the electorate is going to be more moderate than it would be in an Iowa Republican primary."

Palin, Ensign and Sanford all had strong potential followings in Iowa, where the party has become increasingly controlled by social conservatives even as overall voting has become more Democratic. Barack Obama easily won the state last year, and Democrats hold the governorship, both legislative chambers and three of five congressional districts.

Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, said conservative Republicans can recover — but in a state where presidential politics is a never-ending sport, recent events haven't helped their cause.

"For conservatives to win again, they need to be trusted," Vander Plaats said. "I don't know if it damages the brand, but it means there's a little bit of sorting out that needs to be done."

There's no indication the recent upheaval will cause conservatives to lose their grip on Iowa's state party, especially in caucus politics dominated by activists rather than more casual voters who only show up at general election time.

Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, of Chariton, said he's confident voters will evaluate Republicans on issues rather than bombshells.

"I think the party will be judged on solution to problems that Republicans come up with," McKinley said. "I think some individuals have had a bad few weeks."

Still, Republican Sen. Ron Weick, of Sioux City, said it's foolish to dismiss the party turmoil.

"Obviously it causes damage," Weick said. "I guess the only thing that I see is we can't expect it to be a perfect world."

Whether voters turn away from the GOP remains to be seen, but many party members aren't ready to count anyone out, or in, just yet.

"I certainly don't think this would take Sarah Palin out of the running in New Hampshire," said Phyllis Woods, a Republican National Committeewoman from Dover, N.H. "We're just like the rest of the country, we're waiting to see who else may be running."


Associated Press Writer Holly Ramer reported from Concord, N.H.

Ocean temperatures: The new bluff in alarmism

There has been a change in direction by the alarmists, as shown by their new “Synthesis Report.” The independent scientists noticed it during the Wong-Fielding meeting.

The alarmists have abandoned air temperatures as a measure of global temperature, because the air temperature graphs are just too hard to argue with (like the second figure below, from the Skeptics Handbook). Instead they’ve switched to ocean temperatures, which they often disguise as ocean heat content (a huge number like 15×10²² Joules sounds much more scary than the warming it implies of 0.003° C/year).

All three pages of the Synthesis Report that deal with ‘evidence’ are about factors or trends that tell us nothing about whether or not the warming is due to carbon emissions. If God put the galaxy in a toaster, sea levels would rise, ocean heat content would increase, and ice would melt.

Notice how the graph above from the Synthesis Report that came out this month doesn’t include the last six years of data? Carrier pigeons from the remote worldwide network of Argo buoys make it back to base eventually, but the world’s leading team of climate researchers seem to have trouble googling “argo”. Not coincidentally, measurements of ocean heat capacity from 2003-2009 aren’t the numbers Team AGW were looking for. Indeed Craig Loehle has calculated the ocean has lost about 10% of the gain listed above since since 2003. (More info here).

It’s clear on the graph that the planet’s air barely counts (don’t mention the troposphere, or ‘hot spot’? What hot spot?). So now it “doesn’t matter” if air temperatures stay flat like this:

They’re right on one point: ocean heating trumps atmospheric heating for heat content. But how awkward for them that, with the new Argo data, no one can find any warming in the ocean either?

The new litany is that ocean temperatures are rising and rising fast. The evidence of the last five years contradicts them, so don’t look too closely; and don’t look from too far away either, or you won’t see the rise since 1960. But with the US climate bill and Copenhagen coming up, they only need to confound and confuse the issue for six months.

All the public education we did with air temperatures now starts all over again with ocean temperatures.

David Evans summed it up in an email today:

1. Ocean temperatures can only be adequately measured by the Argo buoy network (Wikipedia). Argo buoys duck dive down to 700m, recording temperatures, then come up and radio back the results. There are 3,000 of them floating around all the world’s oceans.

2. The Argos buoys have only been operational since the end of 2003. Since then they show a slight cooling:
Source Link

Source Link

3. Josh Willis, who runs the Argos buoy program, said in March 2008:“There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant”
4. The Argo buoys initially showed definite cooling, but were recalibrated in 2007. After recalibration they showed slight warming, but now show slight cooling (PDF).
5. The Argo data shows that the AGW hypothesis is wrong, because temperatures are definitely not rising as fast as predicted by AGW: see William Di Puccio.
6. Before the Argo network we used bathythermographs (XBTs) to measure
ocean temperatures. Those records are inadequate both for depth and geographical coverage.

This graph gives an alternative view that fits the data better (thanks to Akasofu).

Many alarmists like to ignore everything but the last warming, because the last warming is accompanied by large human emissions of CO2. But history matters because the climate model predictions are very much based on history. Briefly, here’s how.

The little ice age in the 1600s and 1700s was obviously not caused by humans. Since 1750 the global temperature has been recovering, with alternating warming and cooling periods of about 30 years each around a steady underlying warming trend. Human emissions of CO2 were negligible before 1850, and before 1945 they were insignificant compared to today’s emissions.

The climate models were trained by assuming that nearly all the warming since 1750 was due to rising CO2 levels. This assumption underpins all of AGW. Therefore if there were other causes of warming coming out of the little ice age, then (1) the models overestimate the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 and (2) their predictions of future warming are exaggerated.

We have just had 26 years of warming (1975 - 2001). If the pattern holds, we are now due for at least two decades of slight cooling.

And where did the extra CO2 come from before 1950? High school chemistry: a warmer ocean releases more of its dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere.

The Fielding-Wong meeting spawned a brief email debate between climate heavyweights. The alarmist started it by patronizing Fielding’s independent scientists, but it seems that when you call the bluff of a government funded alarmist scientist and put a direct question you don’t get a direct reply — only evasion and arrogance.

BTW, climate alarmism is a paper tiger — there is no evidence (PDF).

[The full set of official and unofficial documents arising from the Wong-Fielding meeting are all listed and linked to here.]

China South America: Argentina and Spanish oil giant Repsol still thinking...

Repsol is playing down speculation about unloading some of its 85% stake in Argentinian oil business YPF. But shareholders must hope a deal materializes, and soon. Apart from its exposure to Argentina's political and economic risks, YPF ties up capital that Repsol could use to develop large recent Brazilian oil discoveries.

Myanmar rebuilding uneven a year after the cyclone

As the U.N. helicopter skimmed above the Irrawaddy Delta, the world's top diplomat was haunted by the memory of a baby girl he encountered here a year ago.

"She was only one day old," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mused aloud on a trip on Saturday to the area devastated by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.

He had seen the mother living in a tent with the girl, hours after her birth. He'd seen another girl, too, just 19 days old, sick and clinging to life, but lacking medical support. He'd told the mothers not to lose hope, the United Nations was there to help.

On a brief visit carefully scripted by Myanmar's government, the U.N. chief wasn't able to determine the whereabouts of those fledgling lives. Instead, he and his entourage — top aides and two journalists — got a snapshot that showed some improvements while masking remaining problems.

The angry waters that swallowed 138,000 lives have receded. Seen from above, where there had been a monolith of shimmering water was now a patchwork of rice field and border, river and shoreline, muddy pond and gray cloud.

Gone were the endless stretches of flooded rice fields and islands of destroyed homes with a few people standing on the rooftops. It affected more than two million, leaving a quarter-million homeless.

Many Western nations haven't fully opened their wallets to the U.N.'s three-year, $691 million recovery plan, lacking trust in Myanmar or not wanting to provide too much help to an authoritarian regime, a senior U.N. humanitarian official said on condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with Myanmar authorities.

The World Food Program, which has operated in Myanmar for 15 years, still cannot muster 44 percent of the $79 million it says is needed over three years. The World Health Organization still lacks 57 percent of $42 million in projected needs for 325 townships.

The biggest health threats remain HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to the International Organization for Migration, which began partnering with Myanmar's government in 2005.

Local medical officials at first began to explain to a reporter last Saturday how the clinics were all busy, with the village and the broader Irrawaddy Delta region suffering from a high number of respiratory infections, replacing diarrhea as the leading cause of illnesses.

But after government minders began listening in, the medical officials suddenly seemed to lose their ability to speak English. End of conversation.

In the past year IOM-led medical teams treated 110,613 people in 858 cyclone-hit villages.

Nearly a quarter-million people in remote villages rely on boat deliveries of clean drinking water, rice fields remain bare or contaminated with salt from the floodwaters, and food handouts are increasingly scarce.

Schools are rebuilt but short of teachers, and a half-million people still live in the most basic of shelters.

Ban, who carried the same message as last year that the U.N. was there to help and keep hope alive, said he was satisfied "the government has taken necessary measures."

A year ago, the single-family plastic tents through which Ban strode had covered neat stacks of supplies that seemed flown in for the occasion.

This year, the tents were replaced by small wooden homes on stilts and families with painted faces and kids sporting freshly starched and ironed white linen garb.

Some improvements were obvious, but this was the camp that the xenophobic junta that rules Myanmar, also known as Burma, wanted the world to see.

Ban's first trip helped overcome the reluctance for which the junta was widely condemned in granting foreign aid agencies access in the first weeks after the disaster, which almost certainly added to the death toll.

"His job is to carry the message of the international community," a senior U.N. official said of Ban as his entourage, for a second year in a row, picked their way along the muddy walkways and throngs of villagers.

"Clearly, they are living in their own world," the official said of Myanmar's ruling junta, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid angering authorities.

Israel seizes Cynthia McKinney

Government and media does nothing

Iran Frees Arrested Reporter, Embassy Employees

Iran has reportedly released the eighth of nine employees of the British embassy arrested and accused of a role in the post-election protests. The government also released a journalist with dual British and Greek citizenship, in a sign that they are seeking to calm growing tensions with the British government.

The arrests had enraged the British government and spawned threats of retaliation from the European Union. A top Iranian cleric had claimed only two days ago that the embassy employees had confessed to charges of playing key roles in the violent demonstrations, and said the government was planning to try them.

The releases certainly come as a welcome surprise as tensions between the two nations grow, but the release of the reporter suggests Iran is still seeking to save face after accusing the British government of backing the unrest. They labeled the release of Washington Times journalist Jason Fowden as a gesture of goodwill towards Greece, not Britain. Fowden had been accused of “carrying out activities contrary to journalism.”

The latest of the detained embassy employees is still in custody, but the British government has been told to expect a “positive result” on his detention. Ayatollah Jannati had accused the British government of plotting the unrest in the nation since March. Others in the Iranian government had blamed the violence on the US, Israel, and other Western nations as well.

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The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citi-group - which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There's John Thain, the asshole chief of Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was imploding; a former GoIdman banker, Thain enjoyed a multibillion-dollar handout from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue Thain's sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing. There's Joshua Bolten, Bush's chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13 billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board. The heads ofthe Canadian and Italian national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of the New York Stock Exchange. the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank ofNew York - which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman - not to mention ...

But then, any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain - an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.

The bank's unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of America into a giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere - high gas prices, rising consumer-credit rates, halfeaten pension funds, mass layoffs, future taxes to payoff hailouts. All that money that you're losing, it's going somewhere, and in both a literal and a figurative sense. Goldman Sachs is where it's going: The bank is a huge, highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth - pure profit for rich individuals.

They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch ofreally smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s - and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

If you want to understand how we got into this financial crisis, you have to first understand where all the money went - and in order to understand that, you need to understand what Goldman has already gotten away with. It is a history exactly five bubbles long - including last year's strange and seemingly inexplicable spike in the price of oil. There were a lot of losers in each of those bubbles, and in the bailout that followed. But Goldman wasn't one of them.


Goldman wasn't always a too-big-to-fail Wall Street behemoth, the ruthless face of kill-or-be-killed capitalism on steroids - just almost always. The bank was actually founded in 1869 by a German immigrant named Marcus Goldman, who built it up with his son-in-law Samuel Sachs. They were pioneers in lhe use of commercial paper, which is just a fancy way of saying they made money lending out short-term IOUs to small-time vendors in downtown Manhattan.

You can probably guess the basic plotline of Goldman's first 100 years in business: plucky, immigrant-led investment bank beats the odds, pulls itself up by its bootstraps, makes shitloads of money. In that ancient history there's really only one episode that bears scrutiny now, in light of more recent events: Goldman's disastrous foray into the speculative mania of pre-crash Wall Street in the late 1920s.

This great Hindenburg of financial history has a few features that might sound familiar. Eack then, the main financial tool used to bilk investors was called an "investment trust." Similar to modern mutual funds, the trusts took the cash of investors large and small and (theoretically, at least) invested it in a smorgasbord of Wall Street securities, though the securities and amounts were often kept hidden from the public. So a regular guy could invest $10 or $100 in a trust and feel like he was a big player. Much as in the 1990s, when new vehicles like day trading and e-trading attracted reams of new suckers from the sticks who wanted to feel like big shots, investment trusts roped a new generation of regular-guy investors into the speculation game.

Beginning a pattern that would repeat itself over and over again, Goldman got into the investment-trust game late, then jumped in with both feet and went hog-wild. The first effort was the Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation; the bank issued a million shares at $100 apiece, bought all those shares with its own money and then sold 90 percent of them to the hungry public at $104. The trading corporation then relentlessly bought shares in itself, bidding the price up further and further. Eventually it dumped part of its holdings and sponsored a new trust, the Shenandoah Corporation, issuing millions more in shares in that fund - which in turn sponsored yet another trust called the Blue Ridge Corporation. In this way, each investment trust served as a front for an endless investment pyramid: Goldman hiding behind Goldman hiding behind Goldman. Of the 7,250,000 initial shares of Elue Ridge, 6,250,000 were actually owned by Shenandoah - which, of course, was in large part owned by Goldman Trading.

The end result (ask yourself if this sounds familiar) was a daisy chain of borrowed money, one exquisitely vulnerable to a decline in performance anywhere along the line. The basic idea isn't hard to follow. You take a dollar and borrow nine against it; then you take that $10 fund and borrow $90; then you take your $100 fund and, so long as the public is still lending, borrow and invest $900. If the last fund in the line starts to lose value, you no longer have the money to pay back your investors, and everyone gets massacred.

In a chapter from The Great Crash, 1929 titled "In Goldman Sachs We Trust," the famed economist Jobn Kenneth Galbraith held up the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah trusts as classic examples of the insanity of leverage-based investment. The trusts, he wrote, were a major cause of the market's historic crash; in today's dollars, the losses the bank suffered totaled $475 billion. "It is difficult not to marvel at the imagination which was implicit in this gargantuan insanity," Galbraith observed, sounding like Keith Olbermann in an ascot. "If there must be madness, something may be said for having it on a heroic scale."


Fast-forward about 65 years. Goldman not only survived the crash that wiped out so many of the investors it duped, it went on to become the chief underwriter to the country's wealthiest and most powerful corporations. Thanks to Sidney Weinberg, who rose from the rank of janitor's assistant to head the firm, Goldman became the pioneer of the initial public offering, one of the principal and most lucrative means by which companies raise money. During the 1970s and 1980s, Goldman may not have been the planet-eating Death Star of political influence it is today, but it was a top-drawer firm that had a reputation for attracting the very smartest talent on the Street.

It also, oddly enough, had a reputation for relatively solid ethics and a patient approach to investment that shunned the fast buck; its executives were trained to adopt the firm's mantra, "long-term greedy." One former Goldman banker who left the firm in the early Nineties recalls seeing his superiors give up a very profitable deal on the grounds that it was a long-term loser. "We gave back money to 'grownup' corporate clients who had made bad deals with us," he says. "Everything we did was legal and fair - but 'long-term greedy' said we didn't want to make such a profit at the clients' collective expense that we spoiled the marketplace."

But then, something happened. It's hard to say what it was exactly; it might have been the fact that Goldman's co-chairman in the early Nineties, Robert Rubin, followed Bill Clinton to the White House, where he directed the National Economic Council and eventually became Treasury secretary. While the American media fell in love with the story line of a pair of baby-boomer, Sixties-child, Fleetwood Mac yuppies nesting in the White House, it also nursed an undisguised crush on Rubin, who was hyped as without a doubt the smartest person ever to walk the face of the Earth, with Newton, Einstein, Mozart and Kant running far behind.

Rubin was the prototypical Goldman banker. He was probably born in a $4,000 suit, he had a face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than you, and he exuded a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the only human feeling you could imagine him experiencing was a nightmare about being forced to fly coach. It became almost a national cliché that whatever Rubin thought was best for the economy - a phenomenon that reached its apex in 1999, when Rubin appeared on the cover of Time with his Treasury deputy, Larry Summers, and Fed chief Alan Greenspan under the headline THE COMMITTEE TO SAVE THE WORLD. And "what Rubin thought," mostly, was that the American economy, and in particular the financial markets, were over-regulated and needed to be set free. During his tenure at Treasury, the Clinton White House made a series of moves that would have drastic consequences for the global economy - beginning with Rubin's complete and total failure to regulate his old firm during its first mad dash for obscene short-term profits.

The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren't much more than pot-fueled ideas scrawled on napkins by up-too-late bong-smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for megamillions. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.

It sounds obvious now, but what the average investor didn't know at the time was that the banks had changed the rules of the game, making the deals look better than they actually were. They did this by setting up what was, in reality, a two-tiered investment system - one for the insiders who knew the real numbers, and another for the lay investor who was invited to chase soaring prices the banks themselves knew were irrational. While Goldman's later pattern would be to capitalize on changes in the regulatory environment, its key innovation in the Internet years was to abandon its own industry's standards of quality control.

"Since the Depression, there were strict underwriting guidelines that Wall Street adhered to when taking a company public," says one prominent hedge-fund manager. "The company had to be in business for a minimum of five years, and it had to show profitability for three consecutive years. But Wall Street took these guidelines and threw them in the trash." Goldman completed the snow job by pumping up the sham stocks: "Their analysts were out there saying Bullshit.com is worth $100 a share."

The problem was, nobody told investors that the rules had changed. Everyone on the inside knew," the manager says. "Bob Rubin sure as hell knew what the underwriting standards were. They'd been intact since the 1930s."

Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida who specializes in IPOs, says banks like Goldman knew full well that many of the public offerings they were touting would never make a dime. "In the early Eighties, the major underwriters insisted on three years of profitability. Then it was one year, then it was a quarter. By the time of the Internet bubble, they were not even requiring profitability in the foreseeable future."

Goldman has denied that it changed its underwriting standards during the Internet years, but its own statistics belie the claim. Just as it did with the investment trust in the 1920s, Goldman started slow and finished crazy in the Internet years. After it took a little-known company with weak financials called Yahoo! public in 1996, once the tech boom had already begun, Goldman quickly became the IPO king of the Internet era. Of the 240 companies it took public in 1997, a third were losing money at the time of the IPO. In 1999, at the height of the boom, it took 47 companies public, including stillborns like Webvan and eToys, investment offerings that were in many ways the modern equivalents of Blue Ridge and Shenandoah. The following year, it underwrote 18 companies in the first four months, 14 of which were money losers at the time. As a leading underwriter of Internet stocks during the boom, Goldman provided profits far more volatile than those of its competitors: In 1999, the average Goldman IPO leapt 281 percent above its offering price, compared to the Wall Street average of 181 percent.

How did Goldman achieve such extraordinary results? One answer is that they used a practice called "laddering," which is just a fancy way of saying they manipulated the share price of new offerings. Here's how it works: Say you're Goldman Sachs, and Bullshit.com comes to you and asks you to take their company public. You agree on the usual terms: You'll price the stock, determine how many shares should be released and take the Bullshit.com CEO on a "road show" to schmooze investors, all in exchange for a substantial fee (typically six to seven percent of the amount raised). You then promise your best clients the right to buy big chunks of the IPO at the low offering price - let's say Bullshit.com's starting share price is $15 - in exchange for a promise that they will buy more shares later on the open market. That seemingly simple demand gives you inside knowledge of the IPO's future, knowledge that wasn't disclosed to the day-trader schmucks who only had the prospectus to go by: You know that certain of your clients who bought X amount of shares at $15 are also going to buy Y more shares at $20 or $25, virtually guaranteeing that the price is going to go to $25 and beyond. In this way, Goldman could artificially jack up the new company's price, which of course was to the bank's benefit - a six percent fee of a $500 million IPO is serious money.

Goldman was repeatedly sued by shareholders for engaging in laddering in a variety of Internet IPOs, including Webvan and NetZero. The deceptive practices also caught the attention of Nicholas Maier, the syndicate manager of Cramer & Co., the hedge fund run at the time by the now-famous chattering television asshole Jim Cramer, himself a Goldman alum. Maier told the SEC that while working for Cramer between 1996 and 1998, he was repeatedly forced to engage in laddering practices during IPO deals with Goldman. "Goldman, from what I witnessed, they were the worst perpetrator," Maier said. "They totally fueled the bubble. And it's specifically that kind of behavior that has caused the market crash. They built these stocks upon an illegal foundation - manipulated up - and ultimately, it really was the small person who ended up buying in." In 2005, Goldman agreed to pay $40 million for its laddering violations - a puny penalty relative to the enormous profits it made. (Goldman, which has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases it has settled, refused to respond to questions for this story.)

Another practice Goldman engaged in during the Internet boom was "spinning," better known as bribery. Here the investment bank would offer the executives of the newly public company shares at extra-low prices, in exchange for future underwriting business. Banks that engaged in spinning would then undervalue the initial offering price - ensuring that those "hot" opening-price shares it had handed out to insiders would be more likely to rise quickly, supplying bigger first-day rewards for the chosen few. So instead of Bullshit.com opening at $20, the bank would approach the Bullshit.com CEO and offer him a million shares of his own company at $18 in exchange for future business effectively robbing all of Bullshit's new shareholders by diverting cash that should have gone to the company's bottom line into the private bank account of the company's CEO.

In one case, Goldman allegedly gave a multimillion-dollar special offering to eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who later joined Goldman's board, in exchange for future i-banking business. According to a report by the House Financial Services Committee in 2002, Goldman gave special stock offerings to executives in 21 companies that it took public, including Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang and two of the great slithering villains of the financial-scandal age - Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski and Enron's Ken Lay. Goldman angrily denounced the report as "an egregious distortion of the facts" - shortly before paying $110 million to settle an investigation into spinning and other manipulations launched by New York state regulators. "The spinning of hot IPO shares was not a harmless corporate perk," then-attorney general Eliot Spitzer said at the time. "Instead, it was an integral part of a fraudulent scheme to win new investment-banking business."

Such practices conspired to tum the Internet bubble into one of the greatest financial disasters in world history: Some $5 trillion of wealth was wiped out on the NASDAQ alone. But the real problem wasn't the money that was lost by shareholders, it was the money gained by investment bankers, who received hefty bonuses for tampering with the market. Instead of teaching Wall Street a lesson that bubbles always deflate, the Internet years demonstrated to bankers that in the age of freely flowing capital and publicly owned financial companies, bubbles are incredibly easy to inflate. and individual bonuses are actually bigger when the mania and the irrationality are greater.

Nowhere was this truer than at Goldman. Between 1999 and 2002, the firm paid out $28.5 billion in compensation and benefits - an average of roughly $350,000 a year per employee. Those numbers are important because the key legacy of the Internet boom is that the economy is now driven in large part by the pursuit of the enormous salaries and bonuses that such bubbles make possible. Goldman's mantra of "long-term greedy" vanished into thin air as the game became about getting your check before the melon hit the pavement.

The market was no longer a rationally managed place to grow real, profitable businesses: It was a huge ocean of Someone Else's Money where bankers hauled in vast sums through whatever means necessary and tried to convert that money into bonuses and payouts as quickly as possible. If you laddered and spun 50 Internet IPOs that went bust within a year. so what? By the time the Securities and Exchange Commission got around to fining your firm $110 million, the yacht you bought with your IPO bonuses was already six years old. Besides, you were probably out of Goldman by then, running the U.S. Treasury or maybe the state of New Jersey. (One of the truly comic moments in the history of America's recent financial collapse came when Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, who ran Goldman from 1994 to 1999 and left with $320 million in IPO-fattened stock, insisted in 2002 that "I've never even heard the term 'laddering' before.")

For a bank that paid out $7 billion a year in salaries, $110 million fines issued half a decade late were something far less than a deterrent - they were a joke. Once the Internet bubble burst, Goldman had no incentive to reassess its new, profit-driven strategy; it just searched around for another bubble to inflate. As it turns out, it had one ready, thanks in large part to Rubin.


Goldman's role in the sweeping global disaster that was the housing bubble is not hard to trace. Here again, the basic trick was a decline in underwriting standards, although in this case the standards weren't in IPOs but in mortgages. By now almost everyone knows that for decades mortgage dealers insisted that home buyers be able to produce a down payment of 10 percent or more, show a steady income and good credit rating, and possess a real first and last name. Then, at the dawn of the new millennium, they suddenly threw all that shit out the window and started writing mortgages on the backs of napkins to cocktail waitresses and ex-cons carrying five bucks and a Snickers bar.

None of that would have been possible without investment bankers like Goldman, who created vehicles to package those shitty mortgages and sell them en masse to unsuspecting insurance companies and pension funds. This created a mass market for toxic debt that would never have existed before; in the old days, no bank would have wanted to keep some addict ex-eon's mortgage on its books, knowing how likely it was to fail. You can't write these mortgages, in other words, unless you can sell them to someone who doesn't know what they are.

Goldman used two methods to hide the mess they were selling. First, they bundled hundreds of different mortgages into instruments called Collateralized Debt Obligations. Then they sold investors on the idea that, because a bunch of those mortgages would turn out to be OK, there was no reason to worry so much about the shitty ones: The CDO, as a whole, was sound. Thus, junk-rated mortgages were turned into AAA-rated investments. Second, to hedge its own bets, Goldman got companies like AIG to provide insurance - known as credit-default swaps - on the CDOs. The swaps were essentially a racetrack bet between AIG and Goldman: Goldman is betting the ex-cons will default. AIG is betting they won't. There was only one problem with the deals: All of the wheeling and dealing represented exactly the kind of dangerous speculation that federal regulators are supposed to rein in. Derivatives like CDOs and credit swaps had already caused a series of serious financial calamities: Procter & Gamble and Gibson Greetings both lost fortunes, and Orange County, California, was forced to default in 1994. A report that year by the Government Accountability Office recommended that such financial instruments be tightly regulated - and in 1998, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a woman named Brooksley Born, agreed. That May, she circulated a letter to business leaders and the Clinton administration suggesting that banks be required to provide greater disclosure in derivatives trades, and maintain reserves to cushion against losses.

More regulation wasn't exactly what Goldman had in mind. "The banks go crazy - they want it stopped," says Michael Greenberger, who worked for Born as director of trading and markets at the CFTC and is now a law professor at the University of Maryland. "Greenspan, Summers, Rubin and [SEC chief Arthur] Levitt want it stopped."

Clinton's reigning economic foursome - "especially Rubin," according to Greenberger - called Born in for a meeting and pleaded their case. She refused to back down, however, and continued to push for more regulation of the derivatives. Then, in June 1998, Rubin went public to denounce her move, eventually recommending that Congress strip the CFTC of its regulatory authority. In 2000, on its last day in session, Congress passed the now-notorious Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which had been inserted into an 11,000 page spending bill at the last minute, with almost no debate on the floor of the Senate. Banks were now free to trade default swaps with impunity.

But the story didn't end there. AIG, a major purveyor of default swaps, approached the New York State Insurance Department in 2000 and asked whether default swaps would be regulated as insurance. At the time, the office was run by one Neil Levin, a former Goldman vice president, who decided against regulating the swaps. Now freed to underwrite as many housing-based securities and buy as much credit-default protection as it wanted, Goldman went berserk with lending lust. By the peak of the housing boom in 2006, Goldman was underwriting $76.5 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities - a third of which were subprime - much of it to institutional investors like pensions and insurance companies. And in these massive issues of real estate were vast swamps of crap.

Take one $494 million issue that year, GSAMP Trust 2006-S3. Many of the mortgages belonged to second-mortgage borrowers, and the average equity they had in their homes was 0.71 percent. Moreover, 58 percent of the loans included little or no documentation - no names of the borrowers, no addresses of the homes, just zip codes. Yet both of the major ratings agencies. Moody's and Standard & Poor's, rated 93 percent of the issue as investment grade. Moody's projected that less than 10 percent of the loans would default. In reality, 18 percent of the mortgages were in default within 18 months.

Not that Goldman was personally at any risk. The bank might be taking all these hideous, completely irresponsible mortgages from beneath-gangster-status firms like Countrywide and selling them off to municipillities and pensioners - old people, for God's sake - pretending the whole time that it wasn't grade-D horseshit. But even as it was doing So, it was taking short positions in the same market, in essence betting against same crap it was selling. Even worse, Goldman bragged about it in public. The mortgage sector continues to he challenged," David Viniar, the bank's chief financial officer, boasted in 2007. "As a result, we took significant markdowns on our long inventory positions, ... However, our risk bias in that market was to be short, and that net short position was profitable." In other words, the mortgages it was selling were for chumps. The real money was in betting against those same mortgages.

"That's how audacious these assholes are," says one hedge-fund manager. "At least with other banks, you could say that they were just dumb - they believed what they were selling, and it blew them up. Goldman knew what it was doing."

I ask the manager how it could be that selling something to customers that you're actually betting against - particularly when you know more about the weaknesses of those products than the customer - doesn't amount to securities fraud.

"It's exactly securities fraud." he says. "It's the heart of securities fraud."

Eventually, lots of aggrieved investors agreed. In a virtual repeat of the Internet IPO craze, Goldman was hit with a wave of lawsuits after the collapse of the housing bubble, many of which accused the bank of withholding pertinent information about the quality of the mortgages it issued. New York state regulators are suing Goldman and 25 other underwriters for selling bundles of crappy Countrywide mortgages to city and state pension funds, which lost as much as $100 million in the investments. Massachusetts also investigated Goldman for similar misdeeds, acting on behalf of 714 mortgage holders who got stuck holding predatory loans. But once again, Goldman got off virtually scot-free, staving off prosecution by agreeing to pay a paltry $60 million - about what the bank's CDO division made in a day and a half during the real estate boom.

The effects of the housing bubble are well known - it led more or less directly to the collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG, whose toxic portfolio of credit swaps was in significant part composed of the insurance that banks like Goldman bought against their own housing portfolios. In fact, at least $1.3 billion of the taxpayer money given to AIG in the bailout ultimately went to Goldman, meaning that the bank made out on the housing bubble twice: It fucked the investors who bought their horseshit CDOs by betting against its own crappy product, then it turned around and fucked the taxpayer by making him pay off those same bets.

And once again, while the world was crashing down all around the bank, Goldman made sure it was doing just fine in the compensation department. In 2006. the firm's payroll jumped to $16.5 billion - an average of $622,000 per employee. As a Goldman spokesman explained, "We work very hard here."

But the best was yet to come. While the collapse of the housing bubble sent most of the financial world fleeing for the exits, or to jail, Goldman boldly doubled down - and almost single-handedly created yet another bubble, one the world still barely knows the firm had anything to do with.


By the beginning of 2008, the financial world was in turmoil. Wall Street had spent the past two and a half decades producing one scandal after another, which didn't leave much to sell that wasn't tainted. The terms junk bond, IPO, subprime mortgage and other once-hot financial fare were now firmly associated in the public's mind with scams; the terms credit swaps and CDOs were about to join them. The credit markets were in crisis, and the mantra that had sustained the fantasy economy throughout the Bush years - the notion that housing prices never go down - was now a fully exploded myth, leaving the Street clamoring for a new bullshit paradigm to sling.

Where to go? With the public reluctant to put money in anything that felt like a paper investment, the Street quietly moved the casino to the physical-commodities market - stuff you could touch: corn, coffee, cocoa, wheat and, above all, energy commodities, especially oil. In conjunction with a decline in the dollar, the credit crunch and the housing crash caused a "flight to commodities." Oil futures in particular skyrocketed, as the price of a single barrel went from around $60 in the middle of 2007 to a high of $147 in the summer of 2008.

That summer, as the presidential campaign heated up, the accepted explanation for why gasoline had hit $4.11 a gallon was that there was a problem with the world oil supply. In a classic example of how Republicans and Democrats respond to rises by engaging in fierce exchanges of moronic irrelevancies, John McCain insisted that ending the moratorium on offshore drilling would be "very helpful in the short term," while Barack Obama in typical liberal-arts yuppie style argued that federal investment in hybrid cars was the way out.

But it was all a lie. While the global supply of oil will eventually dry up. the short-term flow has actually been increasing. In the six months before prices spiked, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the world oil supply rose from 85.24 million barrels a day to 85.72 million. Over the same period, world oil demand dropped from 86.82 million barrels a day to 86.07 million. Not only was the short-term supply of oil rising, the demand tor it was falling - which, in classic economic terms, should have brought prices at the pump down.

So what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman had help - there were other players in the physical-commodities market - but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures - agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 pcrcent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed.

As is so often the case, there had been a Depression-era law in place designed specifically to prevent this sort of thing. The commodities market was designed in large part to help farmers: A grower concerned about future price drops could enter into a contract to sell his corn at a certain price for delivery later on, which made him worry less about building up stores of his crop. When no one was buying corn, the farmer could sell to a middleman known as a "traditional speculator," who would store the grain and sell it later, when demand returned. That way, someone was always there to buy from the farmer, even when the market temporarily had no need for his crops.

In 1936, however, Congress recognized that there should never be more speculators in the market than real producers and consumers. If that happened, prices would be affected by something other than supply and demand, and price manipulations would ensue. A new law empowered the Commodity Futures Trading commission - the very same body that would later try and fail to regulate credit swaps - to place limits on speculative trades in commodities. As a result of the CITC's oversight, peace and harmony reigned in the commodities markets for more than 50 years.

All that changed in 1991 when, unbeknownst to almost everyone in the world, a Goldman-owned commodities-trading subsidiary called J. Aron wrote to the CFTC and made an unusual argument. Farmers with big stores of corn, Goldman argued, weren't the only ones who needed to hedge their risk against future price drops - Wall Street dealers who made big bets on oil prices also needed to hedge their risk, because, well, they stood to lose a lot too.

This was complete and utter crap - the 1936 law, remember, was specifically designed to maintain distinctions between people who were buying and selling real tangible stuff and people who were trading in paper alone. But the CFTC, amazingly, bought Goldman's argument. It issued the bank a free pass, called the "Bona Fide Hedging" exemption, allowing Goldman's subsidiary to call itself a physical hedger and escape virtually all limits placed on speculators. In the years that followed, the commission would quietly issue 14 similar exemptions to other companies.

Now Goldman and other banks were free to drive more investors into the commodities markets, enabling speculators to place increasingly big bets. That 1991 letter from Goldman more or less directly led to the oil bubble in 2008, when the number of speculators in the market - driven there by fear of the falling dollar and the housing crash - finally overwhelmed the real physical suppliers and consumers. By 2008, at least three quarters of the activity on the commodity exchanges was speculative, according to a congressional staffer who studied the numbers - and that's likely a conservative estimate. By the middle of last summer, despite rising supply and a drop in demand, we were paying $4 a gallon every time we pulled up to the pump.

What is even more amazing is that the letter to Goldman, along with most of the other trading exemptions, was handed out more or less in secret. "I was the head of the division of trading and markets, and Brooksley Born was the chair of the CFTC," says Greenberger, "and neither of us knew this letter was out there." In fact, the letters only came to light by accident. Last year, a staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee just happened to be at a briefing when officials from the CFTC made an offhand reference to the exemptions.

"I had been invited to a briefing the commission was holding on energy," the staffer recounts. "And suddenly in the middle of it, they start saying, "Yeah, we've been issuing these letters for years now." I raised my hand and said, 'Really? You issued a letter? Can I see it?' And they were like, 'Duh, duh.' So we went back and forth, and finally they said, 'We have to clear it with Goldman Sachs.' I'm like, 'What do you mean, you have to clear it with Goldman Sachs?'"

The CFTC cited a rule that prohibited it from releasing any information about a company's current position in the market. But the staffer's request was about a letter that had been issued 17 years earlier. It no longer had anything to do with Goldman's current position. What's more, Section 7 of the 1936 commodities law gives Congress the right to any information it wants from the commission. Still, in a classic example of how complete Goldman's capture of government is, the CFTC waited until it got clearance from the bank before it turned the letter over.

Armed with the semisecret government exemption, Goldman had become the chief designer of a giant commodities betting parlor. Its Goldman Sachs Commodities Index - which tracks the prices of 24 major commodities but is overwhelmingly weighted toward oil - became the place where pension funds and insurance companies and other institutional investors could make massive long-term bets on commodity prices. Which was all well and good, except for a couple of things. One was that index speculators are mostly "long only" bettors, who seldom if ever take short positions - meaning they only bet on prices to rise. While this kind of behavior is good for a stock market, it's terrible for commodities, because it continually forces prices upward. "If index speculators took short positions as well as long ones, you'd see them pushing prices both up and down," says Michael Masters, a hedge-fund manager who has helped expose the role of investment banks in the manipulation of oil prices. "But they only push prices in one direction: up."

Complicating matters even further was the fact that Goldman itself was cheerleading with all its might for an increase in oil prices. In the beginning of 2008, Arjun Murti, a Goldman analyst, hailed as an "oracle of oil" by The New York Times, predicted a "super spike" in oil prices, forecasting a rise to $200 a barrel. At the time Goldman was heavily invested in oil through its commodities-trading subsidiary, J. Aron; it also owned a stake in a major oil refinery in Kansas, where it warehoused the crude it bought and sold. Even though the supply of oil was keeping pace with demand, Murti continually warned of disruptions to the world oil supply, going so far as to broadcast the fact that be owned two hybrid cars. High prices, the bank insisted, were somehow the fault of the piggish American consumer; in 2005, Goldman analysts insisted that we wouldn't know when oil prices would fall until we knew "when American consumers will stop buying gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and instead seek fuel-efficient alternatives."

But it wasn't the consumption of real oil that was driving up prices - it was the trade in paper oil. By the summer of 2008, in fact, commodities speculators had bought and stockpiled enough oil futures to fill 1.1 billion barrels of crude, wich meant that speculators owned more future oil on paper than there was real, physical oil stored in all of the country's commercial storage tanks and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve combined. It was a repeat of both the Internet craze and the housing bubble, when Wall Street jacked up present-day profits by selling suckers shares of a fictional fantasy future of endlessly rising prices.

In what was by now a painfully familiar pattern, the oil-commodities melon hit the pavement hard in the summer of 2008, causing a massive loss of wealth; crude prices plunged from $147 to $33. Once again the big losers were ordinary people. The pensioners whose funds invested in this crap got massacred: CalPERS, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, had $1.1 billion in commodities when the crash came. And the damage didn't just come from oil. Soaring food prices driven by the commodities bubble led to catastrophes across the planet, forcing an estimated 100 million people into hunger and sparking food riots throughout the Third World.

Now oil prices are rising again: They shot up 20 percent in the month of May and have nearly doubled so far this year. Once again, the problem is not supply or demand. "The highest supply of oil in the last 20 years is now," says Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan who serves on the House energy committee. "Demand is at a 10-year low. And yet prices are up."

Asked why politicians continue to harp on things like drilling or hybrid cars, when supply and demand have nothing to do with the high prices, Stupak shakes his head. "I think they just don't understand the problem very well," he says. "You can't explain it in 30 seconds, so politicians ignore it."


After the oil bubble collapsed last fall, there was no new bubble to keep things humming - this time, the money seems to be really gone, like worldwide-depression gone. So the financial safari has moved elsewhere, and the big game in the hunt has become the only remaining pool of dumb, unguarded capital left to feed upon: taxpayer money. Here, in the biggest bailout in history, is where Goldman Sachs really started to flex its muscle.

It began in September of last year, when then-Treasury secretary Paulson made a momentous series of decisions. Although he had already engineered a rescue of Bear Stearns a few months before and helped bail out quasi-private lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paulson elected to let Lehman Brothers - one of Goldman's last real competitors - collapse without intervention. ("Goldman's superhero status was left intact," says market analyst Eric Salzman, "and an investment-banking competitor, Lehman, goes away.") The very next day, Paulson greenlighted a massive, $85 billion bailout of AIG, which promptly turned around and repaid $13 billion it owed to Goldman. Thanks to the rescue effort, the bank ended up getting paid in full for its bad bets: By contrast, retired auto workers awaiting the Chrysler bailout will be lucky to receive 50 cents for every dollar they are owed.

Immediately after the AIG bailout, Paulson announced his federal bailout for the financial industry, a $700 billion plan called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and put a heretofore unknown 35-year old Goldman banker named Neel Kashkari in charge of administering the funds. In order to qualify for bailout monies, Goldman announced that it would convert from an investment bank to a bankholding company, a move that allows it access not only to $10 billion in TARP funds, but to a whole galaxy of less conspicuous, publicly backed funding - most notably, lending from the discount window of the Federal Reserve. By the end of March, the Fed will have lent or guaranteed at least $8.7 trillion under a series of new bailout programs - and thanks to an obscure law allowing the Fed to block most congressional audits, both the amounts and the recipients of the monies remain almost entirely secret.

Converting to a bank-holding company has other benefits as well: Goldman's primary supervisor is now the New York Fed, whose chairman at the time of its announcement was Stephen Friedman, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs. Friedman was technically in violation of Federal Reserve policy by remaining on the board of Goldman even as he was supposedly regulating the bank; in order to rectify the problem, he applied for, and got, a conflict-of-interest waiver from the government. Friedman was also supposed to divest himself of his Goldman stock after Goldman became a bank-holding company, but thanks to the waiver, he was allowed to go out and buy 52,000 additional shares in his old bank, leaving him $3 million richer. Friedman stepped down in May, but the man now in charge of supervising Goldman - New York Fed president William Dudley - is yet another former Goldmanite.

The collective message of all this - the AlG bailout, the swift approval for its bank-holding conversion, the TARP funds - is that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, there isn't a free market at all. The government might let other players on the market die, but it simply will not allow Goldman to fail under any circumstances. Its edge in the market has suddenly become an open declaration of supreme privilege. "In the past it was an implicit advantage," says Simon Johnson, an economics professor at MIT and former official at the International Monetary Fund, who compares the bailout to the crony capitalism he has seen in Third World countries. "Now it's more of an explicit advantage."

Once the bailouts were in place, Goldman went right back to business as usual, dreaming up impossibly convoluted schemes to pick the American carcass clean of its loose capital. One of its first moves in the post-bailout era was to quietly push forward the calendar it uses to report its earnings, essentially wiping December 2008 - with its $1.3 billion in pretax losses - off the books. At the same time, the bank announced a highly suspicious $1.8 billion profit for the first quarter of 2009 - which apparently included a large chunk of money funneled to it by taxpayers via the AIG bailout. "They cooked those first-quarter results six ways from Sunday," says one hedge-fund manager. "They hid the losses in the orphan month and called the bailout money profit."

Two more numbers stand out from that stunning first-quarter turnaround. The bank paid out an astonishing $4.7 billion in bonuses and compensation in the first three months of this year, an 18 percent increase over the first quarter of 2008. It also raised $5 billion by issuing new shares almost immediately after releasing its first-quarter results. Taken together, the numbers show that Goldman essentially borrowed a $5 billion salary payout for its executives in the middle of the global economic crisis it helped cause, using halfbaked accounting to reel in investors, just months after receiving billions in a taxpayer bailout.

Even more amazing, Goldman did it all right before the government announced the results of its new "stress test" for banks seeking to repay TARP money - suggesting that Goldman knew exactly what was coming. The government was trying to carefully orchestrate the repayments in an effort to prevent further trouble at banks that couldn't pay back the money right away. But Goldman blew off those concerns, brazenly flaunting its insider status. "They seemed to know everything that they needed to do before the stress test came out, unlike everyone else, who had to wait until after," says Michael Hecht, a managing director of JMP Securities. "The government came out and said, 'To pay back TARP, you have to issue debt of at least five years that is not insured by FDIC - which Goldman Sachs had already done, a week or two before."

And here's the real punch line. After playing an intimate role in four historic bubble catastrophes, after helping $5 trillion in wealth disappear from the NASDAQ, after pawning off thousands of toxic mortgages on pensioners and cities, after helping to drive the price of gas up to $4 a gallon and to push 100 million people around the world into hunger, after securing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars through a series of bailouts overseen by its former CEO, what did Goldman Sachs give back to the people of the United States in 2008?

Fourteen million dollars.

That is what the firm paid in taxes in 2008, an effective tax rate of exactly one, read it, one percent. The bank paid out $10 billion in compensation and benefits that same year and made a profit of more than $2 billion - yet it paid the Treasury less than a third of what it forked over to CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who made $42.9 million last year.

Howis this possible? According to Goldman's annual report, the low taxes are due in large part to changes in the bank's "geographic earnings mix." In other words, the bank moved its money around so that most of its earnings took place in foreign countries with low tax rates. Thanks to our completely fucked corporate tax system, companies like Goldman can ship their revenues offshore and defer taxes on those revenues indefinitely, even while they claim deductions upfront on that same untaxed income. This is why any corporation with an at least occasionally sober accountant can usually find a way to zero out its taxes. A GAO report, in fact, found that between 1998 and 2005, roughly two-thirds of all corporations operating in the U.S. paid no taxes at all.

This should be a pitchfork-level outrage - but somehow, when Goldman released its post-bailout tax profile, hardly anyone said a word. One of the few to remark on the obscenity was Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. "With the right hand out begging for bailout money," he said, "the left is hiding it offshore."


Fast-forward to today. it's early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs - its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign - sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

Gone are HankPaulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm's co-head of finance.) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits - a booming trillion dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an "environmental plan," called cap-and-trade.

The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Here's how it works: If the bill passes, there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy "allocations" or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions: President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billion worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the "cap" on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand-new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison's sake, the annual combined revenues of all' electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.

Goldman wants this bill. The plan is (1) to get in on the ground floor of paradigm-shifting legislation, (2) make sure that they're the profit-making slice of that paradigm and (3) make sure the slice is a big slice. Goldman started pushing hard for cap-and-trade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues. (One of their lobbyists at the time was none other than Patterson, now Treasury chief ofstaff.) Back in 2005, when Hank Paulson was chief of Goldman, he personally helped author the bank's environmental policy, a document that contains some surprising elements for a firm that in all other areas has been consistently opposed to any sort of government regulation. Paulson's report argued that "voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate-change problem." A few years later, the bank's carbon chief, Ken Newcombe, insisted that cap-and-trade alone won't be enough to fix the climate problem and called for further public investments in research and development. Which is convenient, considering that Goldman made early investments in wind power (it bought a subsidiary called Horizon Wind Energy), renewable diesel (it is an investor in a firm called Changing World Technologies) and solar power (it partnered with BP Solar), exactly the kind of deals that will prosper if the government forces energy producers to use cleaner energy. As Paulson said at the time, "We're not making those investments to lose money."

The bank owns a 10 percent stake in the Chicago Climate Exchange, where the carbon credits will be traded. Moreover, Goldman owns a minority stake in Blue Source LLC, a Utah-based firm that sells carbon credits of the type that will be in great demand if the bill passes. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who is intimately involved with the planning of cap-and-trade, started up a company called Generation Investment Management with three former bigwigs from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, David Blood, Mark Ferguson and Peter Hanis. Their business? Investing in carbon offsets, There's also a $500 million Green Growth Fund set up by a Goldmanite to invest in green-tech ... the list goes on and on. Goldman is ahead of the headlines again, just waiting for someone to make it rain in the right spot. Will this market be bigger than the energy-futures market?

"Oh, it'll dwarf it," says a former staffer on the House energy committee.

Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won't we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming?Maybe - but cap-and-trade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and-trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private tax-collection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it's even collected.

"If it's going to be a tax, I would prefer that Washington set the tax and collect it," says Michael Masters, the hedgefund director who' spoke out against oil-futures speculation. "But we're saying that Wall Street can set the tax, and Wall Street can collect the tax. That's the last thing in the world I want, It's just asinine."

Cap-and-trade is going to happen. Or, if it doesn't, something like it will. The moral is the same as for all the other bubbles that Goldman helped create, from 1929 to 2009. In almost every case, the very same bank that behaved recklessly for years, weighing down the system with toxic loans and predatory debt, and accomplishing nothing but massive bonuses for a few bosses, has been rewarded with mountains of virtually free money and government guarantees - while the actual victims in this mess, ordinary taxpayers, are the ones paying for it.

It's not always easy to accept the reality of what we now routinely allow these people to get away with; there's a kind of collective denial that kicks in when a country goes through what America has gone through lately, when a people lose as much prestige and status as we have in the past few years. You can't really register the fact that you're no longer a citizen of a thriving first-world democracy, that you're no longer above getting robbed in broad daylight, because like an amputee, you can still sort of feel things tbat are no longer there.

But this is it. This is the world we live in now. And in this world, some of us have to play by the rules, while others get a note from the principal excusing them from homework till the end of time, plus 10 billion free dollars in a paper bag to buy lunch. It's a gangster state, running on gangster economics, and even prices can't be trusted anymore; there are hidden taxes in every buck you pay. And maybe we can't stop it, but we should at least know where it's all going.