Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Muslims are Coming!

Not only are Muslims coming -- but they want to take over America! At least that's what four Republican Members of Congress alleged today.

Representatives John Shadegg (Ariz.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Sue Myrick (N.C.) are alarmed because they found Muslims trying to lobby Congress. Can you believe that? Muslims-Americans actually want to have input into the American political system! Thank God (a/k/a Allah) that we have these four Congressional watch dogs on the job being paid with our tax dollars to warn of the Muslims dastardly plan to influence legislation.

These elected "officials" timed their allegation to coincide with the release of the book: Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, written by Dave Gaubatz -- a man who claimed last year that a vote for "Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law."

Now I want to digress for a moment to say that a "Muslim Mafia" does sound cool on some level. Americans love mafia shows so this "Muslim Mafia" could inspire the first show on US TV to star Muslims. Or maybe I like the term "Muslim Mafia" so much because my father is Muslim and my Mom is Sicilian. With this pedigree, I'm a shoe-in for a top position in the "Muslim Mafia."

Back to the real issue: Are Muslims really trying to take over America? Most estimates indicate that there are 3-4 million Muslims in the United States. In order for Muslims to take over, simple math says they have to be at least 50 percent of the 300 million Americans. As of now, Muslims are still about 147 million people short.

In an effort to speed up the Muslim take over of America -- which on some level would probably help my comedy career because I'll get even more bookings by Muslim groups -- my fellow Arab-American comedians Aron Kader and Maysoon Zayid went out to the streets of NYC with me to see if we could recruit Americans to Islam. (We did this a little while back when we first heard this allegation.) We offered prizes to people to convert to Islam, such as a toaster, a blender and even Sudoku. Here is a clip of our efforts to convert Americans!

Thousands of desperate job seekers queue at City work fair as unemployment hits 2.47million

  • Around 10,000 job seekers flood work fair
  • Jobless total rises 88,000 in three months to August
  • Rate 1,000 lower than July figures at 2,469million
  • Youth unemployment falls fractionally to 946,000

It looks like the queue to get tickets for Wimbledon or a major pop star's comeback tour. In fact it is a sobering reminder of the City of London's fall from grace.

This is a crowd of more than 10,000 former Square Mile workers descending on a jobs fair in Canary Wharf.

Some queued for three hours, while others had to be turned away.

Most of the firms recruiting were hoping to attract highfliers who lost their jobs as the financial sector collapsed.

work fair at Canary Wharf in London

Join the queue: Desperate job seekers line up for the work fair at Canary Wharf in London

New figures today reveal the jobless total has fallen for the first time in 18 months, down 1,000 from 2.47million in the three months to July to 2.469million in the three months to August.

It dropped from 2.47million for the three months to July down to 2.469million in the three months to August, according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, across the period unemployment was 88,000 higher than in the three months to May, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Experts were quick to warn that the crisis is far from over and will deepen as public sector cuts start and young people flood the jobs market next year.

Capital Economics' Vicky Redwood said: 'We think the fiscal squeeze could require around 750,000 job losses in the public sector - meaning that unemployment should easily surpass three million

IHS Global Insight's Howard Archer warned: 'Unless the economy turns out to be stronger than expected ... many of the school leavers who cannot get a job will still be unemployed next year when the next batch of school leavers emerge.'

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the figures gave 'some cause for hope' but added: 'The jobs crisis has not gone away and the economy remains very fragile.'

Enlarge Canary Wharf jobs fair

Scramble: An estimated 10,000 people flocked to the event in the heart of London

Canary Wharf jobs fair

Disappointment: So many job seekers turned up that they had to be turned away by organisers

There were other signs of some recovery in the labour market.

The number of people on jobseeker's allowance rose 20,800 to 1.63million in September, its highest since April 1997 but the smallest increase since May last year.

And fears of youth unemployment hitting 1 million were scotched as it actually dropped fractionally, down from 947,000 to 946,000 in the quarter to August.

Meanwhile the number of vacancies held firm at 434,000, ending a constant plunge since April last year.

The jobless rate was also stable at 7.9 per cent - the first time it has stayed the same since the start of 2008 - and redundancies in the three months to August were also down 68,000 to 233,000.

However, average earnings including bonuses rose 1.6 per cent over the quarter - down 0.2 per cent on the previous month.

Excluding bonuses, they grew 1.9 per cent - the lowest rise for eight years.

Scroll down to view video

INDUSTRY Unemployment2.jpg

Paul Kenny from the GMB union said: 'Bad as these figures are, there are some tentative signs of a very fragile recovery in the economy.'

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: 'Although unemployment isn't as high today as many feared it would be at the time of the Budget, it remains a serious problem, which is why we must keep increasing support and advice to get people back into jobs. We will not leave them on their own.'

The Government revealed it is creating 5,000 more jobs for young people through its Future Jobs Fund, taking the total to almost 60,000.

Paul Slams Neo-Con Graham For “Angry White Guys” Jibe

Big government Senator resorts to race pimping in an attempt to discredit the Texan Congressman

Paul Slams Neo Con Graham For Angry White Guys Jibe 151009top

Neo-con Lindsey Graham resorted to race-pimping the other night when he attacked Congressman Ron Paul for representing “angry white men,” to which Paul responded on CNN by pointing out that Graham represents the exact opposite of true conservatism.

During a town hall meeting on Tuesday night, Graham was heckled by the audience and called a “traitor” for his decision to back Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and for his support for climate change legislation.

“The troubles all started Sunday, when Graham co-wrote an Op-Ed article with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the New York Times called “Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation),” which talked about their campaign to corral bipartisan support for climate change legislation,” reports the L.A. Times.

During the meeting, protesters responded to Graham’s claim that he would grow the Republican party by shouting, “Ron Paul would grow it,” to which Graham retorted, “We’re not going to be the Ron Paul party.”

“We’re not going to be the party of angry white guys,” said Graham.

During a subsequent CNN segment, Ron Paul responded to Graham by asking him why he has abandoned traditional conservative principles by supporting big government, renewing the Patriot Act, TARP funds, as well as Obama’s expansion of the war in Afghanistan.

“What does he have against the Constitution?” asked Paul.

“For him to say that everybody who is upset with the government and upset with his type of voting record are ‘angry white men’ – that is preposterous, that is a real insult,” said Paul, adding that the people who attended his rallies were from diverse backgrounds.

Paul slammed Graham for supporting Obama’s expansion of the war by “urging him on to do more and more,” when in fact “we have no right to be there and we need to bring our troops home,” according to the Congressman.

Watch the video below.

Saudis want US to pay for reducing oil usage

If you thought the executives at Goldman Sachs were the kings of backroom finance, think again.

Goldman Sachs, meet Saudi King Abdullah.

A new gambit by the oil-dealing kingdom would have Western oil guzzlers paying for using less oil. Sounds like the opposite of reality, you say? The Saudis say it's the only way they'll be able to afford helping the fight against global warming.

The New York Times frames the Saudi idea as, "if wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers."

Saudi climate negotiator, Mohammad al-Sabban, described the position as a “make or break” measure for the oil-heavy kingdom in the lead-up to global climate negotiations in Copenhagen. In an email exchange with the times, al-Sabban said wealthy Western countries like the United States should help the Saudis with "economic diversification" by paying for oil they don't even use.

“Assisting us as oil-exporting countries in achieving economic diversification is very crucial for us through foreign direct investments, technology transfer, insurance and funding,” Sabban said in an e-mail.

“It is a very serious trend that we need to follow and influence if we want to minimize its adverse impacts on our economies and our people,” Sabban said in another e-mail to OPEC officials. “That does not mean we would like to obstruct any progress or that we do not want to join any international agreement. We will do that if the deal is fair and equitable and does not transfer the burden to us.”

The Saudi position isn't new, but the shock over its position in the wake of record high oil prices and a global recession is.

Environmentalists say the idea is ludicrous.

“It is like the tobacco industry asking for compensation for lost revenues as a part of a settlement to address the health risks of smoking,” Jake Schmidt, the international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Times. “The worst of this racket is that they have held up progress on supporting adaptation funding for the most vulnerable for years because of this demand.”

By Raw Story

The Banks are STILL insolvent

We have a real judge!

“The foreclosure sales (in question are) invalid because they failed to meet the requirements of (Massachusetts law),” Land Court Judge Keith Long wrote yesterday in reaffirming a decision he originally reached in March.

At issue is "lost" paperwork when mortgages are sold from party to party, as typically happens many times during a securitization process.

I have often argued that a lot of "lost" paperwork is in fact intentionally destroyed, as this is one of the few ways to cover up blatant fraud in the origination of mortgages - brokers putting the same application through with a half-dozen ever-higher "claimed" incomes, for example, until they get an approval. The original paperwork that is executed by the borrower, if it bears hand-written numbers that don't match the signature, could be a strong indicator of fraud committed by those brokers (and willingly ignored by securitizers.)

Judge Long wrote:

“The issues in this case are not merely . . . a matter of dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Instead, they lie at the heart of the protections given to homeowners and borrowers,”


Banks have long run roughshod over the law. Indeed, their so-called "profits" virtually demand it in this world of lies, deceit and outright fraud. In several states, including Florida, judges have been nothing more than handmaidens of these "enterprises", despite black-letter law in this state (and most others) that demand an unbroken chain of original, wet signatures in the assignment of interest.

If you can't produce the documents, by statute, you have no standing to foreclose.


The willful destruction or non-retention of these original documents makes the securitizations fraudulent, as they were sold off to investors as being "asset backed" when in fact they were not, as being "asset backed" requires compliance with state law in the perfection of security interest. More importantly all of the actors involved, including the securitizing banks, MERS and similar institutions, were aware at the outset that they did not comport with the laws of these states. These "missing documents" are not an exception or an "occasional" circumstance they are in fact the rule rather than the exception.

This elevates these omissions from "ministerial errors" to something far more serious, in that if you sell something to someone knowing you are not complying with the black letter of the law of the state in which you operate in every line of business - save one - you'd find yourself on the wrong end of a criminal complaint from the State Attorney General.

We need 50 Andrew Cuomos to bring criminal and civil charges, and we need them now. This is a legitimate State Law issue in that The States have an affirmative duty to enforce the laws that protect their citizens, and in this regard the law is black-letter.

Can we find a (state) cop somewhere?

Oh, and for extra credit, does anyone care to take a wager on how much of the so-called "Secured" MBS that The Fed has been monetizing also has no valid assignment and thus has NO collateral, and in the event of a default, is WORTHLESS?

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance's Five Fatal Flaws digg Share this on Facebook Huffpost - stumble reddit ShareThis RSS Read mo

What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector's current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary -- essentially a "middleman". Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector's parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases and grants of stock to officers have exceeded new capital raised by the U.S. capital markets this decade. That means that the capital markets decapitalize the real economy. Too often, they do so in order to enrich corrupt corporate insiders through accounting fraud or backdated stock options.

• The U.S. real economy suffers from critical shortages of employees with strong mathematical, engineering, and scientific backgrounds. Graduates in these three fields all too frequently choose careers in finance rather than the real economy because the financial sector provides far greater executive compensation. Individuals with these quantitative backgrounds work overwhelmingly in devising the kinds of financial models that were important contributors to the financial crisis. We take people that could be conducting the research & development work essential to the success of our real economy (including its success in becoming sustainable) and put them instead in financial sector activities where, because of that sector's perverse incentives, they further damage both the financial sector and the real economy. Michael Moore makes this point in his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story.

• The financial sector's fixation on accounting earnings leads it to pressure U.S manufacturing and service firms to export jobs abroad, to deny capital to firms that are unionized, and to encourage firms to use foreign tax havens to evade paying U.S. taxes.

• It misallocates capital by creating recurrent financial bubbles. Instead of flowing to the places where it will be most useful to the real economy, capital gets directed to the investments that create the greatest fraudulent accounting gains. The financial sector is particularly prone to providing exceptional amounts of funds to what I call accounting "control frauds". Control frauds are seemingly-legitimate entities used by the people that control them as a fraud "weapons." In the financial sector, accounting frauds are the weapons of choice. Accounting control frauds are so attractive to lenders and investors because they produce record, guaranteed short-term accounting "profits." They optimize by growing rapidly like other Ponzi schemes, making loans to borrowers unlikely to be able to repay them (once the bubble bursts), and engaging in extreme leverage. Unless there is effective regulation and prosecution, this misallocation creates an epidemic of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflates financial bubbles. The FBI began warning of an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud in its congressional testimony in September 2004. It also reports that 80% of mortgage fraud losses come when lender personnel are involved in the fraud. (The other 20% of the fraud would have been impossible had these fraudulent lenders not suborned their underwriting systems and their internal and external controls in order to maximize their growth of bad loans.)

• Because the financial sector cares almost exclusively about high accounting yields and "profits", it misallocates capital away from firms and entrepreneurs that could best improve the real economy (e.g., by reducing short-term profits through funding the expensive research & development that can produce innovative goods and superior sustainability) and could best reduce poverty and inequality (e.g., through microcredit finance that would put the "Payday lenders" and predatory mortgage lenders out of business).

• It misallocates capital by securing enormous governmental subsidies for financial firms, particularly those that have the greatest political power and would otherwise fail due to incompetence and fraud.

2. The financial sector produces recurrent, intensifying economic crises here and abroad.

The current crisis is only the latest in a long list of economic crises caused by the financial sector. When it is not regulated and policed effectively, the financial sector produces and hyper-inflates bubbles that cause severe economic crises. The current crisis, absent massive, global governmental bailouts, would have caused the catastrophic failure of the global economy. The financial sector has become far more unstable since this crisis began and its members used their lobbying power to convince Congress to gimmick the accounting rules to hide their massive losses. Secretary Geithner has exacerbated the problem by declaring that the largest financial institutions are exempt from receivership regardless of their insolvency. These factors greatly increase the likelihood that these systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) will cause a global financial crisis.

3. The financial sector's predation is so extraordinary that it now drives the upper one percent of our nation's income distribution and has driven much of the increase in our grotesque income inequality.

4. The financial sector's predation and its leading role in committing and aiding and abetting accounting control fraud combine to:

• Corrupt financial elites and professionals, and

• Spur a rise in Social Darwinism in an attempt to justify the elites' power and wealth. Accounting control frauds suborn accountants, attorneys, and appraisers and create what is known as a "Gresham's dynamic" -- a system in which bad money drives out good. When this dynamic occurs, honest professionals are pushed out and cheaters are allowed to prosper. Executive compensation has become so massive, so divorced from performance, and so perverse that it, too, creates a Gresham's dynamic that encourages widespread accounting fraud by both financial firms and firms in the real economy.

As financial sector elites became obscenely wealthy through predation and fraud, their psychological incentives to embrace unhealthy, anti-democratic Social Darwinism surged. While they were, by any objective measure, the worst elements of the public, their sycophants in the media and the recipients of their political and charitable contributions worshiped them as heroic. Finance CEOs adopted and spread the myth that they were smarter, harder working, and more innovative than the rest of us. They repeated the story of how they rose to the top entirely through their own brilliance and willingness to embrace risk. All of their employees weren't simply above average, they told us, but exceptional. They hated collectivism and adored Ayn Rand.

5. The CEOs of the largest financial firms are so powerful that they pose a critical risk to the financial sector, the real economy, and our democracy.

The CEOs can directly, through the firm, and by "bundling" contributions of its officers and employees, easily make enormous political contributions and use their PR firms and lobbyists to manipulate the media and public officials. The ability of the financial sector to block meaningful reform after bringing the world to the brink of a second great depression proves how exceptional its powers are to corrupt nearly every critical sector of American public and economic life. The five largest U.S. banks control roughly half of all bank assets. They use their political and financial power to provide themselves with competitive advantages that allow them to dominate smaller banks.

This excessive power was a major contributor to the ongoing crisis. Effective financial and securities regulation was anathema to the CEOs' ideology (and the greatest danger to their frauds, wealth, and power) and they successfully set out to destroy it. That produced what criminologists refer to as a "criminogenic environment" (an atmosphere that breeds criminal activity) that prompted the epidemic of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflated the housing bubble.

The financial industry's power and progressive corruption combined to produce the perfect white-collar crimes. They successfully lobbied politicians, for example, to legalize the obscenity of "dead peasants' insurance" (in which an employer secretly takes out insurance on an employee and receives a windfall in the event of that person's untimely death) that Michael Moore exposes in chilling detail. State legislatures changed the law to allow a pure tax scam to subsidize large corporations at the expense of their taxpayers.

Caution: Never Forget the Need to Fix the Real Economy

Economic reform efforts are focused almost entirely on fixing finance because the finance sector is so badly broken that it produces recurrent, intensifying crises. The latest crisis brought us to the point of global catastrophe, so the focus on finance is obviously rational. But the focus on finance carries a grave risk. Remember, the sole purpose of finance is to aid the real economy. Our ultimate focus needs to be on the real economy, which creates goods and services, our jobs, and our incomes. The real economy came off the rails at least three decades ago for the great majority of Americans.

We need to commit to fixing the real economy by guaranteeing that everyone willing to work can work and making the real economy sustainable rather than recurrently causing global environmental crises. We must not spend virtually all of our reform efforts on the finance sector and assume that if we solve its defects we will have solved the other fundamental reasons why the real economy has remained so dysfunctional for decades. We need to be work simultaneously to fix finance and the real economy.

Roosevelt Institute Braintruster William K. Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a white-collar criminologist and was a senior financial regulator. He is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

*Originally published on the Roosevelt Institute's blog, New Deal 2.0.



















































































Gold Heading to $3000 Unless America Hits the "Reset" Button, Tice Says

Among the cavalcade of gold bulls to recently grace Tech Ticker's stage, David Tice is something of a centrist.

Gold will hit at least $3000 per ounce before the current rally ends says Tice, Federated's chief portfolio strategist for bear markets. The forecast falls roughly in between Peter Schiff's $5000 per ounce call and Jimmy Rogers' forecast of $2000.

With gold hitting yet another new high of $1064 Tuesday and bullish sentiment for the metal soaring, Tice is wary about the potential for a short-term reversal in the dollar down-gold up trend.

"We certainly could have a pullback," he says. "However, we believe this rally in gold is going to on for a long time."

As with Schiff, Rogers and pretty much everyone else these days, Tice is concerned about the "debasing" of the U.S. dollar and our reliance on foreigners to fund the deficit.

Unlike others of the Austrian School of economics, however, he does believe the government was right to spend money last year because "we were going through a meltdown."

But Tice is frustrated that policymakers appear to be trying to prop up a "dysfunctional system" rather than using the crisis as an opportunity to "reset" the U.S. economy.

"We need to get away from a consumption-based economy," Tice says. "Yes, it's going to be tough [and] accompanied by very bad economic statistics and a lot of unemployment. Yes it's going to be painful [but] we cannot simply continue to have foreigners or the Fed buy our Treasuries, agencies and mortgage-backed securities, etc. We have no real choice."

But with policymakers and politicians seemingly unwilling to make the hard choices, Tice is sticking with dollar alternatives like gold, gold miners (he declined to specify) and foreign currencies, including the euro, Swiss franc, Norwegian krona and Canadian dollar.

Ron Paul Warns of Violence from Pending Dollar Crisis; Says Israel Strike on Iran the Trigger

Ron Paul Warns of Violence from Pending Dollar Crisis; Says Israel Strike on Iran the Trigger

Dollar hits 14-month low against euro

Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro

Jim Rogers News Blog: Gold Will Hit $2000 Dollar Will Lose Reserve Status Jim Rogers


Israel and U.S. prepare for largest-ever joint air force drill
Pentagon Expedites Bunker-Buster Bomb Plan: Pentagon Boosts Development of Iran-Focused Bombs

One Response to “Ron Paul Warns of Violence from Pending Dollar Crisis; Says Israel Strike on Iran the Trigger”

Clinton challenges Russia on human rights

‘People must be free to take unpopular positions,’ she says

Image: Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts as Moscow State University's Viktor Sadovnichy presents her with flowers after she addressed students in Moscow, on Wednesday.

MOSCOW - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up a European tour Wednesday by calling on Russia to uphold human rights and prevent attacks on activists who challenge the Kremlin.

Clinton devoted the second day of her Russia visit to events with ordinary citizens, following a round of diplomacy with Moscow officials which produced warm words from both sides about cooperation but no specific results.

"People must be free to take unpopular positions, disagree with conventional wisdom, know they are safe to peacefully challenge accepted practice and authority," she said in a speech at Moscow State University.

"That's why attacks on journalists and human rights defenders here in Russia is such a great concern because it is a threat to progress," Clinton said.

As Clinton spoke, Russian opposition lawmakers walked out of parliament in protest against regional elections Sunday in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party won victories across the country.

Some opposition leaders said they would boycott parliament until President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to meet them to discuss claims of vote-rigging. U.S. officials traveling with Clinton said they did not want to comment on "internal" Russian issues.

Clinton later flew east to meet one of United Russia's leaders, Tatarstan Governor Mintimer Shaimiyev, in the ancient city of Kazan. Dressed in a yellow headscarf, she toured a mosque and a Russian Orthodox cathedral in the mainly Muslim region.

"I appreciate the outreach you are doing to the Islamic world and to Europe and other places to serve as a model and a bridge between the worlds of Islam and Christianity," Clinton told Shaimiyev.

'Reset' of relations
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a "reset" in ties with Russia and its people after the rows which dominated the relationship under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

But some rights activists fear Washington could tone down public criticism of the Kremlin in return for Moscow's cooperation on Afghanistan or Iran.

Clinton's criticisms of Russia on rights and democracy were made at two meetings with citizens which were not carried by state-run television while at her joint news conference with Lavrov she avoided harsh words.

At talks with Medvedev Tuesday, Clinton failed to secure support for tougher sanctions on Iran despite Obama's decision to scrap Bush-era plans for a missile shield in central Europe -- a concession to Russian concerns which Washington had hoped might spur Moscow to back its position on Iran.

"I believe if sanctions become necessary we will have support from Russia," Clinton told ABC television in an interview. "I'm very pleased about how supportive the Russians have been in what has become a united international effort."

On the issue of missile defense — which had been the most contentious issue between Moscow and Washington in the Bush era — there were few specifics during Clinton's visit.

Lavrov said he was still waiting hear more details about Obama's revised proposals, which envisage a mobile system using ships, and a Russian deputy minister said Moscow and Washington needed to agree first on where the missile threats were before they could think about cooperating.

Clinton said she had wished to meet Russia's key decision maker, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, but he was on an official visit to China during her time in Moscow.

Clinton, taking questions from the Moscow students, said some officials in both countries were still mired in the Cold War and viewed each other as enemies.

"We have people in our government and you have people in your government who are still living in the past," Clinton said.

"They do not believe that the United States and Russia can cooperate to this extent. They do not trust each other. And we have to prove them wrong."

Copyright 2009 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Marc Faber Dollar decline and inflation – Bloomberg Oct 14, 2009

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An open letter to Justice Edward Lehner on denying 9/11 justice

Justice Lehner of the New York State Supreme Court: When did the call come to decide against this ballot initiative, or was it simply your own thought to rubberstamp Referee Louis Crespo’s recommendation that the decision to establish a local commission to investigate the events of September 11, 2001, not be put before the voters? This is despite the fact that 80,000 New Yorkers have already signed and submitted a petition to do so via NYC CAN. Obviously, now it can’t, at least not for a while.

After showing what, in retrospect, seems to have been perhaps a feigned interest in weighing both sides’ arguments in the hearing, your somewhat short decision gives no indication that you seriously considered the petitioners’ memorandum of law or the “will of the people” it represented. You did not acknowledge the need for a new investigation, knowing full well New York City has never had, in any way, shape or form, its own independent investigation of the events of that awful day, that catastrophic day, on which the greatest crime on American soil was committed, right here in New York City, in fact not far from your courtroom.

Moreover, your rejection of the ballot initiative in effect agrees with and supports the City of New York’s callous dismissal of this investigation request as “irrelevant.” Irrelevant to what: the interests of the victims’ families and their quest for answers and justice; the citizenry as a whole’s interest in who and how a massive US intelligence organization, the military’s NORAD system, the multiple warnings from nations around the world to the Oval Office of a precipitous event like 9/11 were about to occur? All were ignored, dismissed, and somehow everyone was found asleep at the wheel in New York City and Washington, D.C., when and where the principal damage occurred.

Is this truly “irrelevant” to you or is it “undesirable” to certain voices that may have asked you to dismiss, not to embrace this chance to set a new level of justice, to reach a new level of thoroughness of information and/or of impartiality above and beyond the original 9/11 Commission, often referred to as the Commission of Omission? This, seeing how all of its members were tied to the Bush administration in one way or the other, and were neither impartial, fully informed of the events, and by their own admission, “doomed to failure.”

Were you, too, “doomed to failure” by any visible or invisible “arm twisting,” the phone call, the voice in the night whispering “no,” the threat of a curtailed career? Could that possibly be? Or do you from the bottom of your heart agree that the 3,000 souls that perished at the World Trade Center did not merit another investigation, that their lives were expendable, the fatalities of an unpleasant inciting incident for a War on Terror very much like Pearl Harbor, which all of America had to suck up in 1941, in order to facilitate a late entry into a World War against the Axis?

Of course, there was nothing but a military investigation then which made scapegoats of the Pearl Harbor’s Naval Commanders’ Kimmel and Short, who, according to military law were not present at their trial, the same which helped to dismiss them for dereliction of duty, an albatross which hung about their necks until they died. The fact that critical information about the attack was never passed to them from FDR was not mentioned. Is this the kind of justice we are talking about for 9/11/2001’s perpetrators, handpicking 19 photos from an FBI file in a matter of days, without further investigation, and presenting those images to the world, fait accomplis, as the culprits? Is that the kind of kangaroo court and justice we hand to the Republic of America, not to mention the people of New York City?

Can you live with that, Justice Lehner, knowing that literally volumes of new information have been discovered by scientists, engineers, pilots, architects, journalists around the world concerning the veracity of the 9/11 cataclysm? Are you willing to go to sleep at night thinking that you missed the greatest opportunity of a lifetime to pursue an inquiry that could affect a war-torn world, the primary outcome of an improperly examined crime, including the destruction of its scene by an overly ambitious Mayor Giuliani, who had the “cleanup” performed in eight months when in fact he had a year and a half to do the job?

The second effect of the careless destruction of the crime scene left a second round of slaughter for first responders, 10,000 of them, who were pushed to work night and day at Ground Zero, and mostly without even paper face masks. These are the same men and women now suffering life-threatening respiratory diseases, cancers of all kinds, severe psychological disorders, personal bankruptcies due to overwhelming medical bills, even the breakup of families that could not weather the emotional strain. And now these very people, those left standing, are petitioning for redress. Imagine what a new investigation would mean to them as well, and how it would impact on compensation for their ailing, waning lives.

This is a crisis of conscience that you are facing, Your Honor, whether you realize it or not. History is determined by men like you in important positions, who are called upon at some time to make extraordinary decisions -- in this case, whether or not to dismiss the notion of “irrelevancy” of this ballot initiative, and admit the possibility of a new investigation as totally relevant. This is no more “irrelevant” than justice itself. And yes, you can help take the blinders off of Justice and put some real weight on those scales she carries, those scales by which our lives, our times, and history are weighed by the future as they will be today. Do not pass on this opportunity history has handed you. It is in fact a gift.

Consider your own soul and inner being, your own well-being, and your family’s. How they, too, need for justice not to be delayed or denied, but to be granted by the one man who now stands as their head, and has the courage, the wisdom, the heart to expedite this new investigation, in spite of all the cynical voices surrounding him that wish to compromise the very meaning of justice.

Your ruling that modifying the petition to make it “legally permissible” would result in it being “inconsistent with the law sought by the signatories of the petition. This was despite the fact that all 80,000 signatories agreed by signing the petition that “If any provision of this law is held to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions shall be in manner affected thereby but shall remain in full force and effect.”

Therefore, I urge you, Your Honor, to reconsider, to make this not another dark day for democracy as the shining, blue-skied day of 9/11 was. Make this a brighter day for justice and yourself as a justice. And thus make it a brighter day for New York, America, and the peace of the world.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at His new book, State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 on” is available at, Amazon or

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Don't trust Dow 10,000

The stock market is supposed to be a leading indicator, predicting what happens next. But the rally doesn't mean the nation's economic woes are over.

NEW YORK ( -- As the Dow closed above 10,000 for the first time in more than a year Wednesday, economists cautioned that the blue-chip average shouldn't be seen as giving a green light to the economy.

The stock market is what is known as a leading economic indicator, as investors place bets on how strong they believe company results and the broader economy will be in the near future.

Lately, there has been a growing consensus among both investors and economists that the battered U.S. economy hit bottom and turned around earlier this year, and is now in a recovery.

The Federal Reserve said economic activity has "picked up" in its statement after its Sept. 23 meeting, and about 80% of leading economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics agreed in a survey earlier this month that the recovery has begun.

But even economists who agree the economy is in recovery say that growth will be slow and difficult, with continued job losses, tight credit and further declines in home prices. And even some who believe that the current Dow 10,000 level is justified say there's still a significant risk that the economy will take a step backward.

"One of the great challenges is whether consumers and small businesses come along with this recovery," said John Silvia, chief economist with Wells Fargo. "If they don't, you either sit at 10,000 or slip back to 9,500. To sustain another double-digit (percentage) gain to Dow 11,000 is asking too much from this economy and the risks we still see out there."

0:00 /3:36Earnings don't point to recovery

There are also economists who question whether the economy is truly in recovery, given that it continues to lose about a quarter-million jobs a month. They say the more than 50% rally in the Dow since it closed at a low of 6,594.44 on March 5 is only a reflection that the fear of the economy toppling into a full-fledged depression has abated.

"We're not at Armageddon anymore, so of course you should have some kind of rally," said Rich Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research. "But I think there's a bubble-like atmosphere going on here in the rush back to 10,000. Caution should rule the day. We're not out of the woods yet."

Several experts point out than many of the relatively strong earnings reports helping to lift the markets in recent days are being driven by cost cuts, rather than strong revenue growth that would be a better indicator of consumers and businesses being willing to spend again. If businesses keep cutting costs to make the numbers that Wall Street wants to see, that can only put more downward pressure on jobs and wages, and result in weaker economic growth or another downturn.

"The companies are cutting fat, and in many cases cutting bone and muscle. There's no organic economic growth there," said Yamarone.

Barry Ritholtz, CEO and director of equity research at Fusion IQ, said that despite their reputation as a leading indicator, the stock markets do a terrible job forecasting the economy.

"Beware of economists pointing to the stock market," he said. "The rallies tend to be false starts because it's a reaction to what came before. The sell-offs tend to be overdone because, as they gain momentum, they lead to panics."

Ritholtz said comparisons of current earnings to those of a year ago or stock levels to the lows of earlier this year greatly exaggerate the strength even the market sees in the economic outlook.

"It's like saying the Detroit Lions have better year-over-year comparisons because they're no longer winless," he said about the football team that went 0-16 in 2008, but has won one of five games so far this year. "But they're still in last place and they're not winning the Super Bowl."

Another reason that comparisons to Dow levels of a year ago are risky is that two of the more troubled components -- General Motors and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) -- were dropped and replaced by stronger companies such as Cisco Systems (CSCO, Fortune 500) and Travelers Cos. (TRV, Fortune 500) in June.

Without those changes the Dow would be almost 100 points lower now than it is with the stronger companies, although precise comparisons are difficult since GM shares are no longer traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

"You take out the worst, put in the best, and by definition you'll get better numbers," said Yamarone

Reviving the Local Economy with Publicly Owned Banks

State and local leaders are considering creating publicly owned banks that can funnel credit to where it is needed most: directly into the local economy.

The credit crunch is getting worse on Main Street, despite a Wall Street bailout now in the trillions of dollars. The Federal Reserve’s charts show that “base money” is rapidly expanding—meaning coins, paper money, and commercial banks’ reserves with the central bank. But the money isn’t getting where it needs to go to stimulate economic growth: into the bank accounts of American businesses and consumers. The Fed has been pumping out money to the banks, and their reserves have been growing at unprecedented rates, but the money supply in the real economy has been declining.

According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing last month in the UK Telegraph, U.S. bank credit and M3 (the broadest measure of the money supply) contracted over the summer at rates comparable to the onset of the Great Depression. In the summer quarter, U.S. bank loans fell at an annual pace of almost 14 percent. “There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s,” said Professor Tim Congdon of International Monetary Research. “The rapid destruction of money balances is madness.”

Chartered banks are allowed to create credit on their books equal to many times their deposit base, but lately they haven’t been doing it. In more normal times, one dollar in base money has been fanned by the banks into $8.50 in loans. Today, one dollar in base money produces only one dollar in loans. Although the Fed has been frantically pushing cash into the banks, it can’t make them lend to consumers.

This is not because the banks are trying to be difficult. If they had prudent loans on which to turn a profit and the capital base to do it, they no doubt would. But their books have been choked with toxic assets, destroying their capital positions; and the “shadow lenders” who once took subprime loans off their books have gotten wise to the scam and gone away. Bankers who know the endangered state of their own books don’t trust each other, so money is tight all around. And the Fed has already dropped interest rates as low as they can go, so it has no more leverage with which to entice borrowers.


Residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan answer the question, "How has the recession affected you?" The installation is part of ArtPrize 2009.

Photo by Rachael Voorhees.

Local Government to the Rescue?

The Fed may have played all its cards, but state and local governments still hold a few aces. Some local politicians are looking into the feasibility of opening their own publicly-owned banks, providing them with their own credit machines. A new publicly owned bank would have a clean set of books, untainted by the Wall Street addiction to gambling in complex derivatives; and its profits would go back to the local government and community, rather than being siphoned off in exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and dividends. A publicly-owned bank could funnel credit where it is needed most, directly into the local economy.

One legislator who is considering a publicly-owned bank is Bruno Barreiro, County Commissioner for Miami-Dade County in Florida. In a September 23 article titled “Capital Sources: Recession Steers Banks Away from Business as Usual”, The Daily Business Review reported that Miami-Dade is planning to conduct a feasibility study proposing alternatives for becoming its own depository. Said the journal:

“Barreiro notes that throughout the year, a portion of the county’s $7.5 billion operating budget is deposited with outside financial institutions in return for an interest rate. However, he feels that given the instability of many banks, the county might be better off going into such a business on its own.”

Brian Bandell, writing in The South Florida Business Journal on September 11, reported that Barreiro is concerned that bank accounts are insured by the FDIC for only up to $250,000. The county often has over $50 million in a single account. If the county were to open its own depository institution, it could safeguard against these losses.

However, said Bandell, Barreiro is not proposing to allow the institution to make loans. Rather, the state’s money would be invested conservatively in Treasury bonds. The problem with that approach, said Miami banking analyst Kenneth Thomas, is that it would be a challenge to get good interest rates for the county’s deposits without making loans. “There’s a reason most other municipalities aren’t doing it,” he said.

In stopping short of making loans, the county could be missing a major business opportunity. The average interest rate on U.S. government bonds is currently 3.35 percent. If the funds in Miami-Dade’s operating budget were deposited in the county’s own bank, the money could serve as a reserve fund to support at least nine times that sum in loans. Assuming an average interest rate of 5 percent on these loans, the county could increase its revenues by over 1,000 percent (earning 45 percent interest instead of 3.35 percent). [A fuller explanation and references are available here.]

Maximizing the Potential of a Publicly-owned Bank

Economist Farid Khavari, a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2010, is proposing a Bank of the State of Florida (BSF) that would take full advantage of the potential of a bank charter. It would not only act as a depository for the state’s funds but would actually make loans to Floridians at much lower interest rates than they are getting now. Among other benefits, the BSF could open up frozen credit markets, save homeowners many thousands of dollars in payments, produce major revenues for the state, and allow the state’s own debts to be refinanced at much lower rates. All those benefits are possible, says Khavari, because of the “fractional reserve” banking system used by all banks when they make loans. As he explained in a July 29 article in Reuters:

“Using the fractional reserve regulations that govern all banks, we can earn billions per year for Florida’s treasury, while saving thousands of dollars per year for Florida homeowners…For $100 in deposits, a bank can create $900 in new money by making loans. So, the BSF can pay 6% for CDs, and make mortgage loans at 2 percent. For $6 per year in interest paid out, the BSF can earn $18 by lending $900 at 2 percent for mortgages.
“The BSF can be started at no cost to taxpayers, and will be a permanent engine driving Florida’s economy. We can refinance state and local projects at 3 percent, saving taxpayers billions and balancing state and local budgets without higher taxes.”

The state would earn $15,000 per $100,000 of mortgage, at a cost of about $1,700; the homeowner would save $88,000 in interest and pay for the home 15 years sooner. “Our bank will save people about seven years of their pay over the course of 30 years, just on interest costs,” Khavari said. “We should work to support ourselves and our families, not the banks…What we have now…makes everyone work for a few greedy fat cats.”

Earlier Models

This sort of healthy public competition for the private banking monopoly has earlier precedents, going back to the colony of Pennsylvania in Benjamin Franklin’s day. Before Pennsylvania founded its own bank, the province was having difficulty attracting settlers, because there was a shortage of money with which to conduct trade. The settlers could get credit only by borrowing from British bankers at a hefty 8% interest, and even those loans were hard to come by. The provincial government then got the bright idea of printing its own paper money and lending it to the farmers at 5% interest. When credit became cheaper and more freely available, the local economy flourished.

The only state that owns its own bank today is North Dakota. North Dakota is also one of only two states (along with Montana) on track to meet their budgets by 2010. It currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and the largest budget surplus it has ever had, tallying in at $1.3 billion. Why this cold and isolated farming state should be doing so well when other states are teetering on bankruptcy has been the subject of several TV commentaries, including a spoof by Conan O’Brien on NBC’s Tonight Show, which attributed it to theft from tourists by local farmers. But North Dakota’s real secret seems to be that it has escaped the Wall Street credit debacle. The state has generated its own credit through its own publicly-owned bank for nearly a century.

The Bank of North Dakota (BND) was founded in 1919, when a political party called the Non Partisan League succeeded in uniting farmers suffering from an earlier credit crisis. The BND’s website states that the bank was originally formed to create additional competition in the credit industry, while providing a local source of capital for state investment and development. The BND avoids opposition from other banks by partnering with them in loan projects. According to the bank’s website:

“The primary deposit base of the BND is the State of North Dakota. All state funds and funds of state institutions are deposited with the bank as required by law…Use of the banks’ earnings are at the discretion of the state legislature. As an agent of the state it can make subsidized loans to spur development…[It] underwrites municipal bonds for all of the political units in the state, and has been one of the leading banks in the nation in the number of student loans issued. The bank also serves as the state’s ‘Mini Fed’…As a result of the banks’ services, it enjoys widespread support among the public and the independent banking community.”

Bringing the Model Current

The private banking system is in systemic failure, and the public is waking up to the fact. We have been fleeced by Wall Street; banks are not providing loans; and our savings are no longer secure. The publicly owned Bank of North Dakota has provided an alternative model that has worked remarkably well for nearly a century.

The BND has been around for so long, however, that skeptics can write off the state’s remarkable success to other factors. A modern-day public bank that quickly turned its flagging local economy around could set a precedent that was irrefutable. If Florida were to establish a successful public banking model, it could blaze a trail out of the economic wilderness for local governments everywhere.

by Ellen Brown wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Ellen developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health: Non-toxic Dentistry (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are and

Interested? In The New Economy, YES! Magazine introduces you to the activists, visionaries, and upstarts who are creating an economy that puts people first and works within the carrying capacity of Mother Earth.

Tommy Chong_on the Alex Jones Show:9/11 was an inside job p1

Check this link .......

Money and Mandarin lessons fuel China's African invasion

From Liberia to Ethiopia, Beijing is constructing a 21st century empire thousands of miles from home

This afternoon more than a dozen Liberians are expected at the Samuel Doe sports stadium in the capital, Monrovia. In a makeshift classroom with some plastic chairs and a whiteboard their teacher, Li Peng, is waiting to finish the group's second week of instruction in Mandarin Chinese. Early attendances at the free daily lessons provided by the Chinese embassy have been poor, but officials are blaming heavy rain rather than light interest. The class is still struggling with the basics and few Chinese listeners apart from their teacher would recognise the strange "hellos" and "goodbyes" being called out.

"Learning Chinese may prove difficult," Mr Li admitted. "But if they work hard they will make it."

The West African country set up to settle freed American slaves in 1843 is English-speaking and the going is hard.

John Cooper, a 57-year-old who has been attending the two-hour classes and works at a nearby youth centre, is determined to master Mandarin.

"Traditionally, we Liberians are closer to the Americans than we are to the Chinese," he says. "But the irony is that the Chinese are more open to us than the Americans are."

Liberia's government has no Mandarin speakers, and China's ambassador, Zhou Yuxiao, admits that he's uncomfortable that multibillion-dollar accords between the two countries are signed with one side unable to read the documents.

"We feel a little bit guilty at not being able to help Liberians to speak our language," he told the Associated Press.

On the same day last week that the Mandarin lessons were getting under way at the stadium in Monrovia, a much larger crowd was gathering about 300 miles to the northwest at another sports stadium, this time in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. The people had gathered to protest against the military junta and a young army officer, Moussa Dadis Camara, who with wearying predictability has been considering going back on earlier promises to hold free elections.

While Liberian students were grappling with Mandarin vowels more than 150 Guineans were being murdered. Scores of women were then raped. The massacre prompted international outrage, and the African Union meets next week to discuss possible sanctions. But it was revealed this week that China was preparing to throw the regime a lifeline in the form of nearly £4.3bn in oil and minerals deals.

It has left many wondering which is the real face of China in Africa: is it the quest for understanding being led by Mr Li in Monrovia? Or the naked pursuit of raw materials whose sale props up abusive governments like the one in Conakry?

China's engagement in Africa was supposed to have changed, experts say. Beijing's doctrine of "non-interference" in the domestic affairs of other countries was put to one side last year as it helped to nudge Sudan, one of its major oil suppliers, into allowing a beefed-up UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur. Then on a visit earlier this year China's president, Hu Jintao, signalled Beijing's intent to double aid to Africa.

According to Ian Taylor, a senior lecturer in international affairs at the University of St Andrews, the apparent contradiction is the product of a "clueless" approach to Beijing – "a tendency to treat China as if it's 'China Inc'."

Speaking from Beijing, he said: "There is no one Chinese policy towards Africa – it is a mixture of often-competing actors and influences that may or may not gel with official policy."

Chinese trade with Africa has grown from less than £6.3bn at the beginning of the decade to pass £60bn at the end of last year – only the European Union and the US do more business.

There are now some 800 Chinese companies operating in Africa and the investors in talks in Conakry are not from Beijing but from the Hong Kong-based China Investment Fund. Yet only two months ago officials in Beijing said that China would not be investing in Guinea.

"It's not clear if the CIF has the support of Beijing," said Dr Chris Alden, author of China in Africa. "Just like ordinary Western actors in Africa, China has independent actors who take decisions without reference to central government."

And some analysts suggest China's no-strings-attached approach in pariah states like Sudan and Zimbabwe is not the whole story.

Some 25 years after Band-Aid seared Ethiopia into the Western consciousness and conscience, China's engagement with Addis Ababa may say more about the Sino-African relationship. Whatever the achievements or shortcomings of famine-inspired aid in the Horn of Africa nation, they are being dwarfed by the Chinese-backed transformation of the country.

Ethiopia boasts none of the reservoirs of raw materials China is normally associated with, but Beijing has been doling out the credit to build roads and hydroelectric dams and is now financing a £940m expansion of the state-owned mobile telephone network.

In a recent paper for The South African Institute of International Affairs, Dr Monika Thakur found China's role in Ethiopia contradicted the spectre of the hungry dragon invoked by some in the West.

"China's activities in Ethiopia, and in Africa in general, are part of its continuing emergence as a global power, and as such are no different from what major powers traditionally have done," she wrote.

"Overarching judgements as to whether China's engagement is a blessing or a curse for Ethiopia are still unclear. What is certain is that the country can derive much from China's economic engagement."

The government in Addis Ababa has enjoyed the increased influence over Western donors that Chinese help has afforded.

"I think it would be wrong for people in the West to assume that they can buy good governance in Africa; good governance can only come from inside," Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, told the Financial Times recently. "What the Chinese have done is explode that illusion."

Mr Zenawi's government does not attract headlines in the way that Sudan's Omar al-Bashir does, but his administration has overseen the violent suppression of opposition in the wake of disputed elections. And he has since jailed popular opponents, such as opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa.

Dr Thakur warns that Addis Ababa could use Chinese assistance to avoid change – which could lead to "authoritarian stagnation".

However, China's own emergence as a great power, and the legitimacy of the one-party rule in Beijing, has been based on economic growth. Those looking for a champion of human or political rights are likely to be disappointed.

"The jury is still out on the significance of China's actions on Darfur," argues Dr Alden. "It's up to Africans to decide if China is having a positive or negative impact on rights in Africa. On the whole China is having a fairly neutral impact – it's really more about economic development."

By Daniel Howden

DOW 10,000!!!! Oh Wait, Make That 7,537

Another great representation of the amazing loss of purchasing power by the US public are today's oblivious statements about the Dow at 10,000. While in absolute terms the Dow may cross whatever the Fed thinks is a necessary and sufficient mark before QE begins to taper off (Dow crosses 10k just as Treasury purchases expire), the truth is that over the past 10 years (the first time the DJIA was at 10,000) the dollar has lost 25% of its value. Therefore, we present the Dow over the last decade indexed for the DXY, which has dropped from 100 to about 75. On a real basis (not nominal) the Dow at 10,000 ten years ago is equivalent to 7,537 today! In other words, not only have we had a lost decade for all those who focus on the absolute flatness of the DJIA, but it is also a decade where the US Consumer has lost 25% of purchasing power from the perspective of stocks! You won't hear this fact on the MSM.

And if you want to be really scared, here is the comparable representation for the DJIA in ounces of gold. It cost about 30 ounces to buy the 10,000 Dow last time. Now it costs less than 10.

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