Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Members of US Congress Get Richer Despite Sour Economy

Members of US Congress Get Richer Despite Sour Economy
Did you know members of Congress are able to own shares in companies they may have an influence over on committees they serve on. Republican JackBerkman says the reason congress can do this is because this is a free country and strategist want successful people in congress so they can lead and teach others how to make money.

Despite a long and deep recession, the collective personal wealth of congressional members increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The study also indicates that a significant number of members owned shares of major players in the health-care and financial-services sectors, which were the subject of major reform legislation during the period.

The findings-based on federal financial disclosure data released earlier this year-paint a wealthy bunch in Congress, with more than half of all members-261-were millionaires.

About one in five of those had average calculated wealth in 2009 of at least $10 million. Eight of the 261 were in the $100 million-plus range.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranked No. 1 in personal wealth-$303.5 million.

In contrast, U.S. median household income dropped 3 percent to $50,221 between 2008 and 2009, the second straight decline, according to the Census Dept. In terms of millionaires, only about 1 percent of the overall population qualifies.

The CRP study comes amid a growing public outcry about the size of government and rising employee salaries when the economy-and most taxpayers-are struggling like never before, with unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent and wages and benefits flat in many sectors.

“Congressional representatives on balance rank among the wealthiest of wealthy Americans and boast financial portfolios that are all but unattainable for most of their constituents,” said Sheila Krumholz, the Center’s executive director.

The period covered is December 2008 to December 2009.

The median wealth of a representative was $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008, while that of a senator was almost $2.38 million, versus $2.27 million the previous year.

That is sizable considering that by law members of each chamber receive an annual salary of $175,000. They do, however, qualify for a number of perks, including paid travel expenses.

Politicos’ Portfolios
Stock holdings are among the assets covered in the report, and the investing tastes of Congress appear to be somewhat conventional, with large-cap, Dow 30 companies dominating the widely-held list of members.

General Electric (NYSE: ge), parent company of CNBC, is No. 1, with 82 current members of Congress listing it. Rounding out the top five are: Bank of America (NYSE: bac) (63), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: csco) (61), Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: pg) (61) and Microsoft (54).

In another context, however, Beltway watchers might find it unsettling that some of the most widely-held stocks are those of companies at the center of the financial crisis in 2008-2009.

“The most popular investment among congressional members reads as a who’s who list of the most powerful corporate political forces in Washington, D.C. — companies that each spend millions, if not tens of millions of dollars each year lobbying federal officials,” states the CRP report.

In addition to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: gs) , Wells Fargo(NYSE: wfc) , JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM – News) and Citigroup(NYSE: c) were popular holdings. All of them received funding under the TARP. Morgan Stanley, General Motors and AIG are not on the list.

Another big sector is health care-drugs, which, like financial services, was the subject of major reform legislation in 2009.

Drug industry giants like Pfizer (NYSE: pfe) , for instance, ranked seventh on the list, with 49 members disclosing ownership. Rivals Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: jnj) and Merck (NYSE: mrk) also made the list of 50 companies.

The study indicates that party affiliation is not a key factor in the increase of lawmakers’ personal assets. Twelve Democrats and seven Republicans were among the 20 congressmen with the greatest annual increases.That ratio mirrors the overall party breakdown of the current Congress.

The CRP study is by no means precise science. The group notes: “Members of Congress are only required to report their wealth and liabilities in broad ranges. It’s therefore impossible to precisely determine how much value their assets are worth….”

CNBC business news discuses the report from the Center for Responsive Politics with Republican Jack Burkman and Democrat Julian Epstein. (Click here to see a video of that discussion)

« 41 Facts On The History Of U.S. Central Banking »

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Guest post submitted by Michael Snyder who blogs at:

Today, most American students don't even understand what a central bank is, much less that the battle over central banks is one of the most important themes in U.S. history. The truth is that our nation was birthed in the midst of a conflict over taxation and the control of our money. Central banking has played a key role in nearly all of the wars that America has fought. Presidents that resisted the central bankers were shot, while others shamefully caved in to their demands. Our current central bank is called the Federal Reserve and it is about as "federal" as Federal Express is. The truth is that it is a privately-owned financial institution that is designed to ensnare the U.S. government in an endlessly expanding spiral of debt from which there is no escape. The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression and the Federal Reserve is at the core of our current economic crisis. None of these things is taught to students in America's schools today.

In 2010, young Americans are taught a sanitized version of American history that doesn't even make any sense. As with so many things, if you want to know what really happened just follow the money.

The following are 41 facts about the history of central banks in the United States that every American should know....

#1 As a result of the Seven Years War with France, King George III of England was deeply in debt to the central bankers of England.

#2 In an attempt to raise revenue, King George tried to heavily tax the colonies in America.

#3 ---Correction--- The following quote, supposedly from Benjamin Franklin in 1763, was quoted in Money and Men by Robert McCann Rice in 1941 but it has not been found in any previous source to this point. So is it really from Franklin? In any event, it does accurately describe the conditions of the day....

"That is simple. In the colonies we issue our own money. It is called Colonial Script. We issue it in proper proportion to the demands of trade and industry to make the products pass easily from the producers to the consumers.

In this manner, creating for ourselves our own paper money, we control its purchasing power, and we have no interest to pay to no one."

#4 The Currency Act of 1764 ordered the American Colonists to stop issuing legal tender. Colonial script (the money the colonists were using at the time) was to be exchanged at a two-to-one ratio for "notes" from the Bank of England.

#5 ---Correction--- There is debate over whether or not Benjamin Franklin was the original source of the following quote....

"In one year, the conditions were so reversed that the era of prosperity ended, and a depression set in, to such an extent that the streets of the Colonies were filled with unemployed."

#6 ---Correction--- When asked why the American colonies had lost respect for Parliament, Benjamin Franklin responded with the following quote....

"To a concurrence of causes: the restraints lately laid on their trade, by which the bringing of foreign gold and silver into the Colonies was prevented; the prohibition of making paper money among themselves, and then demanding a new and heavy tax by stamps; taking away, at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions."

#7 Gouverneur Morris, one of the authors of the U.S. Constitution, solemnly warned us in 1787 that we must not allow the bankers to enslave us....

"The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did. They always will... They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by (the power of) government, keep them in their proper spheres."

#8 Unfortunately, those warning us about the dangers of a central bank did not prevail. After an aborted attempt to establish a central bank in the 1780s, the First Bank of the United States was established in 1791. Alexander Hamilton (who had close ties to the Rothschild banking family) cut a deal under which he would support the move of the nation's capital to Washington D.C. in exchange for southern support for the establishment of a central bank.

#9 George Washington signed the bill creating the First Bank of the United States on April 25, 1791. It was given a 20 year charter.

#10 In the first five years of the First Bank of the United States, the U.S. government borrowed 8.2 million dollars and prices rose by 72 percent.

#11 The opponents of central banking were not pleased. In 1798, Thomas Jefferson said the following....

"I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution - taking from the federal government their power of borrowing."

#12 In 1811, the charter of the First Bank of the United States was not renewed.

#13 One year later, the War of 1812 erupted. The British and the Americans were at war once again.

#14 In 1814, the British captured and burned Washington D.C., but the Americans subsequently experienced key victories at New York and at New Orleans.

#15 The Treaty of Ghent, officially ending the war, was ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 16th, 1815 and was ratified by the British on February 18th, 1815.

#16 In 1816, another central bank was created. The Second Bank of the United States was established and was given a 20 year charter.

#17 Andrew Jackson, who became president in 1828, was determined to end the power of the central bankers over the United States.

#18 In fact, in 1832, Andrew Jackson's re-election slogan was "JACKSON and NO BANK!"

#19 On July 10th, 1832 President Jackson said the following about the danger of a central bank....

"It is not our own citizens only who are to receive the bounty of our government. More than eight millions of the stock of this bank are held by foreigners... is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country? ... Controlling our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence... would be more formidable and dangerous than a military power of the enemy."

#20 In 1835, President Jackson completely paid off the U.S. national debt. He is the only U.S. president that has ever been able to accomplish this.

#21 President Jackson vetoed the attempt to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States in 1836.

#22 Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot Andrew Jackson, but he survived. It is alleged that Lawrence said that "wealthy people in Europe" had put him up to it.

#23 The Civil War was another opportunity for the central bankers of Europe to get their hooks into America. In fact, it is claimed that Abraham Lincoln actually contacted Rothschild banking interests in Europe in an attempt to finance the war effort. Reportedly, the Rothschilds were demanding very high interest rates and Lincoln balked at paying them.

#24 Instead, Lincoln pushed through the Legal Tender Act of 1862. Under that act, the U.S. government issued $449,338,902 of debt-free money.

#25 This debt-free money was known as "Greenbacks" because of the green ink that was used.

#26 ---Correction--- The following quote is claimed to have appeared in the London Times in 1865, but many historians dispute whether it is actually real or not....

"If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become endurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in the history of the world. The brains, and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe."

#27 Abraham Lincoln was shot dead by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th, 1865.

#28 After the Civil War, all money in the United States was created by bankers buying U.S. government bonds in exchange for bank notes.

#29 ---Correction--- How President James A. Garfield really felt about the international bankers is a matter of legitimate historical debate. The quote from the original article has not been fully documented.

#30 President Garfield was shot about two weeks later by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2nd, 1881. He died from medical complications on September 19th, 1881.

#31 In 1906, the U.S. stock market was setting all kinds of records. However, in March 1907 the U.S. stock market absolutely crashed. It is alleged that elite New York bankers were responsible.

#32 In addition, in 1907 J.P. Morgan circulated rumors that a major New York bank had gone bankrupt. This caused a massive run on the banks. In turn, the banks started recalling all of their loans. The panic of 1907 resulted in a congressional investigation that ended up concluding that a central bank was "necessary" so that these kinds of panics would never happen again.

#33 It took a few years, but the international bankers finally got their central bank in 1913.

#34 ---Correction--- The U.S. House of Representatives voted on the Federal Reserve Act on December 22nd, 1913 and the U.S. Senate voted on the Federal Reserve Act the following day on December 23rd, 1913.

#35 A significant portion of Congress was either sleeping at the time or was already at home with their families celebrating the holidays.

#36 ---Correction--- The correct version of the quote about our system of credit from President Woodrow Wilson is posted below....

A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. This is the greatest question of all, and to this statesmen must address themselves with an earnest determination to serve the long future and the true liberties of men.

There is debate about whether or not Woodrow Wilson ever truly regretted allowing the Federal Reserve to be created, but hopefully most of us can agree that he should have regretted it.

#37 Between 1921 and 1929 the Federal Reserve increased the U.S. money supply by 62 percent. This was the time known as "The Roaring 20s".

#38 In addition, highly leveraged "margin loans" became very common during this time period.

#39 In October 1929, the New York bankers started calling in these margin loans on a massive scale. This created the initial crash that launched the Great Depression.

#40 Rather than expand the money supply in response to this crisis, the Federal Reserve really tightened it up.

#41 In fact, it was reported the the U.S. money supply contracted by eight billion dollars between 1929 and 1933. That was an extraordinary amount of money in those days. Over one-third of all U.S. banks went bankrupt. The New York bankers were able to buy up other banks and all kinds of other assets for pennies on the dollar.




Want to be Felt Up by Government Personnel?

By Dr. Mark Sircus

This is what happens if you refuse to walk through a radiation-emitting scanning machine at your local airport. The United States government is obsessed with people having hidden bombs on their bodies going so far as to even screen little children. Only under considerable pressure the Federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced this past week that it will no longer screen children under 12. They are still worried though that our teenagers could be terrorists in disguise.

“In episode after episode the TSA has demonstrated a knack for ignoring the basics of customer relations,” writes the Associated Press. It should be no surprise, considering their mission, that they cannot do their work “without treating everyone from frequent business travelers to the family heading home to visit Grandma as a potential terrorist.”

Rep. Ron Paul has introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act, which would strip away some of the TSA’s power over travelers by denying them immunity for any crimes committed in airport security stemming from their new invasive search procedures. The New York Times writes, “There is no excuse for the bumbling, arrogant way the Transportation Security Administration has handled questions and complaints about its new body-scanning machines and more aggressive pat-downs. The Times reported on Friday that civil liberties groups have collected more than 400 complaints since the new pat-downs began three weeks ago.”

Some airports are considering another way to show dissatisfaction with
what the government is doing and that is to
ditch TSA agents altogether.
Federal law allows airports to opt for screeners from the private sector instead.

Not sure exactly why they are afraid for public safety when they themselves are the greatest threat to Americans and what used to be the cherished American way of life. Certainly Americans are not enjoying what their government is doing to them. “Some offer graphic accounts of genital contact, others tell of agents gawking or making inappropriate comments, and many express a general sense of powerlessness and humiliation. In general, passengers are saying they are surprised by the intimacy of a physical search usually reserved for police encounters. ‘I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants,’ said Kaya McLaren, an elementary schoolteacher from Cle Elum, Wash., who was patted down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport last Saturday because the body scanner detected a tissue and a hair band in her pocket.” writes the New York Times.

“This technology can go right up a woman’s skirt,” says Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and law professor at Brooklyn Law School. The Christian Science Monitor writes, “As the debate about the Transportation Security Administration’s screening procedures pings across the Internet, a growing chorus of critics is asserting that electronic imaging scans and ‘enhanced pat-downs’ both represent an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.” As the high-travel Thanksgiving holiday approaches, travelers and lawmakers are up in arms over airport security measures. On special web sites, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the U.S. Travel Association have been getting thousands of complaints. Facebook and Twitter are smoking with posted outrage.”

Time Magazine writes, “The new ‘strip search’ scanning machines at airport security checkpoints are increasingly causing furor over issues of privacy, decency, and health. Whether or not you feel the new backscatter body scans (let alone the security gropes) are an overly humiliating invasion of privacy, there’s no arguing that the scans expose you to extra radiation. Many passengers and some scientists say the excess radiation exposure could pose a health hazard to frequent fliers and to young children. The scans may be exposing passengers to more radiation than Napolitano is letting on.”

The Associated Press writes, “As the government rolls out hundreds more full-body scanners at airports just in time for crowds of holiday travelers, scientists worry that machines might malfunction, raising the risk of cancer. ‘The thing that worries me the most is what happens if the thing fails in some way and emits too much radiation,’ said Arizona State University physics professor Peter Rez. ‘The risk for failure is higher than in a medical setting because the machines are operated much more often, and by TSA workers without medical training,’ Rez said. ‘Though the scanner images do not reveal what’s beneath the skin’s surface, the radiation they emit could potentially affect breast tissue, sex organs and eyes,’ said David Agard, an imaging expert at the University of California at San Francisco.”

The Science of Radiation Danger

The government insists that full-body scanners at airports are safe. The federal government insists many things are safe when we damn well know they are not. In July of 2005 the National Academy of Sciences came to the conclusion that the preponderance of scientific evidence shows that even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer or other health problems and there is no threshold below which exposure can be viewed as harmless. [1]

Many scientists generally assumed that low levels of radiation are harmless since they produced no immediately observable effects. However during the past few decades tremendously improved radiation measurement techniques coupled with detailed laboratory studies revealed many previously unsuspected hazards from low levels of ionized radiation. Some researchers have even added the view that chronic low-level exposure to radiation poses a greater risk than short-term, high-level exposure.[2]

Just being alive today is to walk through the valley and shadow of death in terms of radiation exposure. Background radiation on earth has increased in the nuclear age, coming from all the above-ground testing of the last century, nuclear plants, nuclear waste, uranium mining, and from depleted uranium weapons that are used in the American, British and Israeli armies, navies, and air forces. In addition there is constant and increasing exposure to other forms of radiation from microwave towers, cell phones, wireless phones, and computer Wi-Fi systems.

The medical establishment throws caution to the wind and subjects people to ever-higher levels of radiation with the addition of massive use of these new body scanners at airports. According to the Times, “Americans today receive far more medical radiation than ever before. The average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation has increased sevenfold since 1980, and more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy.” CT scans can deliver the radiation equivalent of 400 chest X-rays. An estimated 70 million CT (for computed tomography) scans are performed in the United States every year, up from three million in the early 1980s according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Radiation exposure became a major concern in October 2009 after the FDA said it was investigating 206 cases of patients being exposed to toxic doses of radiation during CT scans of the brain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. High doses of radiation can cause skin burns, cataracts, and other injuries—and, in extreme cases, cancer and death. The FDA said it received 1,182 medical device reports about problems between December 31, 1999 and February 18, 2010.

But don’t worry, if the government says it’s safe then it must be. Obama administration officials are insisting that the measures now in place are justified by the risks. We have lost the war on terrorism for the terrorists have increasingly been able to scare the west into becoming increasingly controlling of their own populations. Now when Big Brother says jump, we just say: How high? The destruction of human freedom and dignity is worth it right? I wonder what’s next.

Special Note: I suggest everyone in the States read Dr. Rabbi Gabriel Cousens letter Defend Your Dinner – Fight Bill 510 in the Senate

I am writing to tell you about an opportunity to turn the tide in the battle to secure authentic freedom for organic farming and non-GMO foods. For some time now, we have been aware of an impending threat to the foundations of our health. Having stopped a mandated swine flu vaccine, and having addressed, to the best of our ability, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, it is time for us to nip Bill S 510, or the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, in the proverbial bud. Bill S 510 is currently stalled in Congress. If we act now, we can ameliorate its potentially deadly implications, or even end it altogether.

Bill S 510 amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and expands the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regulate food. It also authorizes the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility. Given the fact that Bill S 510 “considers” harmonization with Codex Alimentarius, this appears to be a strategic maneuver, in a long line of attacks, on our health and rights. Read More…..

[1] The linear no threshold modelor LNTM is a model of damage done by radiation. This model assumes that the response to radiation exposure is linear and that this linear relationship continues to very small doses, that is to say that there is no threshold of exposure below which the response ceases to be linear. When it comes to radiation if a particular dose of radiation is found to produce one extra case of a type of cancer in every thousand people exposed, the LNTM predicts that one thousandth of this dose will produce one extra case in every million people so exposed, and that one millionth of this dose will produce one extra case in every billion people.

[2] The Petkau effect: discovered by Abram Petkau at the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment, Manitoba, Canada in 1972 Dr. Petkau discovered that at 26 rads per minute (fast-dose rate) it required a total dose of 3,500 rads to destroy a cell membrane. However, at 0.001 rad per minute (slow dose rate), it required only 0.7 rad to destroy the cell membrane. The mechanism at the slow-dose rate is the production of free radicals of oxygen (O2 with a negative electrical charge) by the ionizing effect of the radiation. The sparsely distributed free radicals generated at the slow-dose rate have a better probability of reaching and reacting with the cell wall than do the densely crowded free radicals produced by fast-dose rates.

Top banks face $100 billion Basel shortfall: report

LONDON (Reuters) - The new Basel III banking rules will leave the biggest U.S. banks short of between $100 billion and $150 billion in equity capital, with 90 per cent of the shortfall concentrated in the top six banks, the Financial Times said, citing research from Barclays Capital.

The newspaper said the study by the investment banking arm of Barclays Plc (LSE:BARC.L - News) assumes the banks will need to hold top quality capital equal to 8 percent of their total assets -- a one point cushion against falling below the effective global minimum of 7 percent set in September by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

The regulations mean banks may need to increase their capital through retained earnings or issuing equity or they can cut their risk-weighted assets by selling off assets and cutting back riskier business.

"These shortfalls are entirely manageable ... The more difficult question is what affect the new rules will have on the cost and availability of credit and bank profitability," the FT quoted Tom McGuire, head of the Capital Advisory Group at BarCap, as saying.

McGuire estimates that U.S. banks can cut their equity needs by $10 billion with each $125 billion reduction in risk-weighted assets, the FT said.

Barclays Capital could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Louise Heavens; Editing by Lincoln Feast)


We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance.

Organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them.

At the coming Omaha convention to be held July 4, 1892, our men must attend and direct its movement or else there will be set on foot such antagonism to our designs as may require force to overcome.

This at the present time would be premature. We are not yet ready for such a crisis. Capital must protect itself in every possible manner through combination (conspiracy) and legislation.

The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.

When, through the process of law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers.

People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. History repeats itself in regular cycles.
This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.

The question of tariff reform must be urged through the organization known as the Democratic Party, and the question of protection with the reciprocity must be forced to view through the Republican Party.

By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us, except as teachers to the common herd. Thus, by discrete actions, we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfully accomplished.

« Deficit Lies From Europe - Portugal Edition »

No word if Goldman Sachs was involved...


Portugal's Deficit Underestimated Says Opposition Party

(Reuters) - Portugal's budget deficit and public debt are higher than those reported by the government, which is trying to regain investor confidence amid a debt crisis, the leader the main opposition party said on Saturday.

Pedro Passos Coelho told a meeting of his Social Democratic Party items like state-run companies' debts were not included in the overall public debt, which the government puts at 82 percent of gross domestic product this year.

He said that the "true" total public debt stood as high as 112 percent of GDP, while the budget deficit should be at 9.5 percent of GDP, far above the minority Socialist government's target of 7.3 percent for the end of the year.

"The state has for many years been removing from the budget a series of activities, which has made a large part of our numbers fictitious," he said in televised remarks.

Continue reading...


Background stories:


Demise of the Politically Correct?

I too was disappointed to hear Dave Barry making light humor out of a subject that I myself find so offensive. The TSA gropers are no laughing matter in my humble opinion.

The Daily Bell

Monday, November 22, 2010 – by Staff Report

Humorist Dave Barry And His TSA Pat-Down ... Host Melissa Block talks to writer Dave Barry about his unpleasant airport experience under the new security system that examines passengers electronically. He was singled out for a pat-down after authorities told him he had a "blurry groin" — meaning the detector was unable to get a clear picture of his body. MELISSA BLOCK, host: Last week, he went through a TSA full-body scanner. What the screeners saw, they did not like. And Dave Barry, you have discovered that you are suffering from a rare disorder. What exactly is that disorder? Mr. DAVE BARRY (Humorist): They told me I have a blurred groin. – National Public Radio

Dominant Social Theme: Authoritarianism is a funny thing. We can see the humor, generally.

Free-Market Analysis: We have charted in the past the implosion of art as it relates to real life. One can say that art-as-abstraction is the result of photography, but how, then, does one explain the lack of realistic photography in public places? Instead one finds abstract sculpture, usually the bigger the better. The same observations can be made when it comes to humor and its relationship to life in the 21st century. This NPR interview with Dave Barry, excerpted above, deals with a pre-airflight patdown he underwent because the "detector" could not properly discern his full figure. The dominant social theme is obvious; the idea is apparently to defuse worry about America's growing fascism by making gentle fun of it, and thus remove the larger threat posed to what is left of American freedoms.

In this article, then, we will attempt to analyze, briefly, the way money power, like a gigantic vacuum cleaner, has sucked the political context out of art and made most forms of commentary decorative rather than confrontational (in a good sense).

The Dave Barry article, above, is just one of literally millions of examples. However, we believe the 21st century may see a reversal of this trend.

As we have mentioned before, in aggregate, the trend toward a certain kind of sociopolitical passivity has come to be known by the nomenclature "politically correct." The canon of what is politically correct constitutes (in our view) that which does not challenge the command-and-control formulations of the Anglo-American power elite. It is the elite with its insane goal of world government that has infiltrated society with a variety of memes that tear down the family and build-up the state. Therefore anything that creates cultural confusion and social dissent is welcome and anyone who seeks to challenge these progressive themes can be characterized as racist.

It is also politically correct to be pro-government and to approve the use of force to further the authoritarianism of the state (and therefore the goal of global government). Survey humorous commentary in the US, Britain and generally in the West, and one has to be struck by its general inoffensiveness – or at least unwillingness to directly criticize the powers-that-be on society's fundamental makeup. Even during the mid-20th century's radical heyday, most writers and comedians subscribed to a vaguely socialist or even Marxist outlook when it came to the fundamentals of sociopolitical organization. The impulse was "epater la bourgeoisie," via various observations that shocked social mores. Thus those who wanted to make an impact – Lenny Bruce and George Carlin come to mind – did so by making frank (and often funny) references to cultural taboos involving sex, drinking, drugs, etc.

During the 20th century, self-censorship operated in two ways, via comission and omission. Hollywood's regular attacks on multi-national corporations and business generally was a form of comission, in which the market itself was cast as the "bad guy." Omission was a more subtle form of the process; we can see it operating in other areas of the arts, especially in the non-verbal art forms such as dance, ballet, painting and sculpture. In the past 100 years, each of these art forms in our view has grown increasingly removed from any specific commentary on society's fundamental organization and operations. It is a gradual evolution but certainly a notable one.

Of course if one subscribes (as we do) to the idea of an Anglo-American power elite that uses its tremendous, familial banking wealth to move society toward one-world government, then the evolution we are observing makes a good deal of sense. Money power makes all the difference; it provides a formidable incentive for self-censorship. Money determines fashion; wealthy donors fund museums and theatres that make "gate-keeper" decisions. Purchase art and then designate its repurchase and in this way "taste" can be molded, remolded and established for the duration. The subtlety of money power – as brutal as it can be – is wondrous to behold. Endow a "modern dance" troop, ensure its engagements in powerful cultural centers and provide mainstream reviews and reviewers that offer approbation and gradually cultural perceptions evolve. What was resisted in one generation is welcomed in the next.

The beauty of money power is that once a theme, trend or cultural direction is set into place, it tends to propagate on its own. Only a relative few gatekeepers are needed. Establish a trend and the mimetic elements of human behavior take over.

People are inevitably tribal. It is a survival instinct and a success-instinct. One sees what is successful and wishes to emulate it. Within this context almost anything can be nurtured. It is how one travels from Da Vinci and Mona Lisa to Damien Hirst and his embalmed animal parts. Tap the right trend-setters, generate enough media control to saturate the public with the proposition and sooner or later the message, no matter how perverse or unexpected, will gain popularity.

In the 20th century, art and commentary were increasingly delinked from substantive criticism of society's fundamental organizational memes. One could make endless humorous comments about copulation but central banking received little or no attention. One could create endless modern dances on a variety of themes, but politics was not among them. Even literature was not immune. It is interesting to watch the decline of polity in the novel during the past 150 years: Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and Upton Sinclair stand at the far end – John Updike, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow stand nearer to us. Dickens wrote about the poorhouse; Roth wrote about sex.

Now we are not prudes here at the Daily Bell. We make no qualitative judgments when it comes Dickens versus Roth – who wrote about sex metaphorically and with larger meaning. Nor have we intended this modest article to be a criticism of even so inoffensive a humorist as Dave Barry. What we have wanted to make clear is that the 20th century artistic conversation was gradually drained of political context (certainly free-market commentary) and we tend to believe it was no accident.

The most obvious examples of course reside in the media, which throughout the 20th century was content, increasingly, to cover crimes, lawmaking and political and economic trends rather than fundamental decision-makers operating behind the scenes. There were perhaps billions of mainstream media stories about "celebrities" and movie-stars in the 20th century, but progressively less and less was written about central bankers and the world's wealthiest businessmen and dynastic families. In the 21st century, with the advent of the Mises Institute and numerous other conservative and libertarian blogs and bloggers, the context of the conversation has radically shifted and the mainstream media has had a great deal of difficulty keeping up.

Conclusion: In conclusion, we wish to return to our Gutenberg / Internet paradigm. Radical new communication technologies, in our view, do make a difference by shattering the chrysalis of whatever politically correct thinking is dominant during a particular age. We would urge people to look on the Internet and especially on Youtube.com for examples of what is beginning to occur now. There are plenty of signs of an emergent commentary (especially in humor and music) within a free-market context. From our point of view, it validates not only the arguments we have made above, but the larger argument about the Internet versus the power elite. The conversation is changing; the narrative is shifting; engagement is commencing. The 'Net has spawned an alternative, free-market oriented news media. It may well generate new kinds of Art.

« Rothschild Bank AND Goldman Sachs Are Both On The LIST Of Bondholders Getting U.S. Taxpayer Billions In Irish Bailout »

Complete list of bondholders inside, and BBC footage of Sir Eveylyn de Rothschild. The deceased Guy de Rothschild, pictured, no longer exploits the masses for banking profit, but his progeny carry on his legacy effectively.


Scroll down for VIDEO of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild...


U.S. taxpayers finance approximately 20% of the IMF's budget.

Guess what, Ireland. Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen just sold you down the IMF river. Why? To bail out bank bondholders and giant European banks. Of course! That's what governments are for these days, apparently. And they'll tell you that the bailout policy is all for you own good. And for little old ladies and pensioners and orphans. Just don't tell that to the cancer patients.

Yep, another nation made IMF debt slaves on behalf of the international banking cartels. And Goldman Sachs and Rothschild & Compagnie are on the list.

Check it out below -- Guido Fawkes' blog has acquired the list of Anglo-Irish Bank's bondholders.


From Guido Fawke...

Anglo-Irish Bank did not represent a systemic risk to the Irish economy, it wasn’t a high street bank like AIB or the Bank of Ireland. If it had been allowed to go the way of Lehmans the only losers would have been shareholders and bondholders. The Irish state stepped in and nationalised a bank that was basically run by crooks lending to property speculators.

  • The Irish people are taking losses that should rightly have been shouldered by bondholders.

Every child in Ireland is being bequeathed a huge debt at birth to protect the interests of foreign, mainly German, bondholders – why? Guido was once a bond trader, it was always understood that sometimes the bond issuer defaults.

  • That is the risk investors take.

So why is Dublin’s political establishment so keen to protect foreign investors at the expense of future generations? Guido has obtained the list of foreign Anglo-Irish bondholders as at the close of business tonight. These are the people whom Dublin’s politicians really seem to care about:


Great analysis of the list from the Golem XIV...

Of the 80 listed companies only 7 listed pensions and being a cooperative savings institution. Of those only 4 listed churches and unions as their clients, the others could well have been big pension funds. The churches and unions in question were in Germany not Ireland. Those seven companies are amongst the smallest of Anglo Irish's bond holders. I only have figures for four of the seven. The largest, Union Investments of Germany, has a mere €165 billion in assets under management.

The total assets under management which I was able to compile from publicly available figures is €20,871,150,000,000. That is an underestimate because the bond holders who turn out to be Private and Swiss banks don't publish any figures. So Anglo Irish's 'bond holders' hold and invest MORE than 20.8 trillion euros. Guido lists those bond holders as holding between them 4 Billion euros in Anglo Irish bonds.

Now, in my opinion both figures are likely to be wrong. Certainly my figure is a large underestimate. But taking them at face value Anglo Irish would account for one 5000th of the total assets being managed by all the bond holders. So would even a total default by Anglo Irish cause that much, let alone systemic, pain and risk? Why are the 'Bond holders' and the Irish government so concerned that the Irish people be forced to take the loss and pay the debts for them?

Now lets look at the other side of the equation, at Ireland itself. Well Ireland's GDP before the crash, in 2008, was ... drum roll please... €207 billion. Or 0.207 trillion.

SO.... on one side we have Ireland whose bond holders, its people, have between them a total GDP wealth of 0.207 trillion euros. Who are being FORCED, against their will, to pay Anglo Irish bank's debts to its bond holders, who between them hold 20.8 Trillion euros. The people of Ireland are paying to, and protecting the wealth and power of, people who have 100 times more wealth!

So where do these wealthy bond holders live and work?

Germany has the most with 15 of the bond holders. Who between them hold 5.3 trillion euros.
France is next with 10 bond holders. Who have about 4 trillion to keep them warm.
Britain is third with 9 who have around 3 trillion.
The Swiss have 6 but who have about 8.5 trillion.
America has only three and hold only a trillion.

Other nations include, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Holland Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, South Africa and Italy.

All these figures are very rough. The figure for Switzerland is certainly under because Private Swiss banks just don't publish figures. What we can say for sure, figures or no figures, is these are not banks investing widow's pensions or orphan's pennies.

So who are they? Well many of the bond holders are privately held banks, which list their activities as asset management for off-shore, non-resident and high value individuals. To give you an example, one of the private banks is EFG Bank of Luxembourg. EFG stands for European Financial Group which is the third largest private bank group in Switzerland. It manages over €7.5 trillion in assets. It is 'mostly', 40%, owned by Mr Spiro Latsis, son of a Greek shipping magnate. He also owns 30% of Hellenic Petroleum. His personal fortune is estimated to be about $9 Billion.

Continue reading...


DB here. Blasphemous rape of a nation in order to reward billionaire bondholders who were reckless investors and malignant in oversight.

Video - Text from Youtube page - Sir EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD talks about the global financial crisis to the BBC in October 2008...

In 2003, following the retirement of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild as head of N M Rothschild & Sons of London, the English and French firms merged to become one umbrella entity called "Group Rothschild." Ownership was shared equally between the French and English branches of the family under the leadership of David de Rothschild. In 2007, the English branch sold their share to the French branch. The French branch now fully own N M Rothschild & Sons.

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In the mood for a riot? Check out these photos...


Spoiler ALERT -- Do not miss #7:


The Secret of Oz - English - FREE.mov

Click this link .....

Sirota: What deters Wall Street crooks?

Often, the most provocative ideas arise after swigs of whiskey. This is especially true when a Rolling Stone reporter is around — and, as I recently learned, it's all but guaranteed when that Rolling Stoner is Matt Taibbi, aka the heir to the magazine's gonzo throne.

I had the chance to hang with Taibbi last week after he spoke to a Denver audience about his new book, "Griftopia," which argues that Wall Street's bubble-bailout cycle has been one of the greatest — and least prosecuted — crimes in history. His presentation was serendipitously timed, coming the same week as a local Bonfire of the Vanities-esque scandal was underscoring the speculator class' privilege. In Colorado's own Bonfire of the Rockies, a local prosecutor had just reduced hit-and-run charges against a fund manager because the prosecutor said a felony would have "serious job implications" for the Sherman McCoy in question.

Over drinks in my living room, Taibbi and I pondered the financial Masters of the Universe and their maddening infallibility. I asked him why they never fear facing legal consequences. Do they believe they're untouchable? Or do they know law enforcement won't pursue them? "They're not afraid because other than Bernie Madoff, when was the last time someone on Wall Street faced any real punishment?" he responded. "Sure, a few go to jail once in a while, but they're usually out in a few months and then on the speaking circuit. That's not exactly a deterrent against bad behavior that's making you millions."

Deterrence — it's the vaunted idea behind "tough on crime" sentences for violent offenses. Lock the door, throw away the key, and the theory says that heinous acts will be prevented.

However, things haven't worked out that way because the toughest "tough on crime" policies are most focused on crimes of passion, derangement and destitution — crimes that are often not calculated and therefore not deterrable. This is probably one of the reasons why the murder rate has been higher in death penalty states than in non-death penalty states, leading most criminologists to conclude that capital punishment does not hinder conventional homicide.

But what about crimes of economic homicide? These are the opposite of crimes of passion. When, say, a speculator securitizes bad mortgages and peddles them to pension funds as safe investments, that fraud involves exactly the kind of calculation that might be deterred via the prospect of harsh punishment.

"What if a bank CEO was given life without parole?" I asked Taibbi. "What if instead of country club jail, one of these guys was shown experiencing prison like a regular convict? That would have to stop some of the worst stuff, right?"

"Right, and go a step further," Taibbi countered. "How about putting a few of them in the electric chair? Are you telling me Goldman Sachs execs aren't then going to change?"

We both busted out laughing — and hard. Not at the truth behind the theorizing, but at the idea that any of it would actually happen today. In 2005, Washington couldn't even pass a post-Enron proposal to hold CEOs legally liable for their companies' corporate tax fraud. So the notion that the same money-dominated capital will now subject CEOs to anything remotely "tough on crime" is, well, far-fetched.

And yet, the hypothetical is compelling, isn't it? That's because it highlights how our society misapplies deterrence — and how it might apply the concept more successfully.

The necessity of such a criminal justice shift should be obvious. With financial fraud now so sophisticated and pervasive, we clearly need zero-tolerance solutions to change Wall Street's culture. Indeed, without true shock-and-awe deterrence, most regulatory reform will likely be an ineffectual thumb in the economic dike — just as the thieves desire.

International Soccer Star: Reclaim Your Power By Pulling Your Money Out of Your Bank on December 7th

Most Americans haven't heard of him, but Eric Cantona is a huge international soccer star known throughout Europe and much of the world.

Cantona is calling for Europeans to pull their money out of banks on December 7th:
I don't think we can be entirely happy seeing such misery around us. Unless you live in a pod. But then there is a chance... there is something to do. Nowadays what does it mean to be on the streets? To demonstrate? You swindle yourself. Anyway, that's not the way any more.

We don't pick up weapons to kill people to start the revolution. The revolution is really easy to do these days. What's the system? The system is built on the power of the banks. So it must be destroyed through the banks.

This means that the three million people with their placards on the streets, they go to the bank and they withdraw their money and the banks collapse. Three million, 10 million people, and the banks collapse and there is no real threat. A real revolution.

We must go to the bank. In this case there would be a real revolution. It's not complicated; instead of going on the streets and driving kilometres by car you simply go to the bank in your country and withdraw your money, and if there are a lot of people withdrawing their money the system collapses. No weapons, no blood, or anything like that.

It's not complicated and in this case they will listen to us in a different way.

This would be like a well-known retired American athlete - like Michael Jordan, Joe Montana or Willie Mays - calling for concerted political action.

Indeed, Cantona's call for action is starting to go viral. See this, this and this.

One American commentator suggests killing two birds with one stone, by withdrawing our money and then buying silver to stop market manipulation and show the too big to fail banks who is boss:

S. Korea Could Seek Deployment of US Tactical Nuclear Weapons

This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea, 13 Aug 2002
Photo: AP

This satellite image provided by Space Imaging Asia shows the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, located north of Pyongyang, North Korea, 13 Aug 2002

South Korea's defense minister says his country may consider having U.S. tactical nuclear weapons deployed on its soil for the first time in 19 years.

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young raised the possibility Monday during talks with a parliamentary committee about North Korea's latest nuclear escalation. He said the issue could be raised when a joint U.S.-South Korean military committee meets next month to discuss North Korea's nuclear programs.

The United States removed its last tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in December of 1991. A Defense Ministry spokesman told VOA that until now, the country had not considered having them reintroduced.

The Associated Press quoted a ministry spokesman saying the effect of the weapons would be mainly psychological since South Korea is already protected by the American nuclear umbrella.

The Seoul government was prompted to consider the step by reports that North Korea has a sophisticated uranium enrichment program and claims to have 2,000 working centrifuges. A U.S. scientist who visited the facility said it appears to be designed to produce fuel for electricity-making reactors but could be adapted to make fuel for nuclear weapons.