Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gold and Silver Recap: Silver Price to $50?

Another Precious Week

Usually we start this column with some guff about gold. And then after talking mostly about gold we may hit the other metals. Let’s face it, gold is usually the most exciting metal there is. If the world collapses about us, we will be using gold as the currency that helps us rebuild civilization. And after all, what could be more exciting than that.

But the real action has been in the silver market. Not all up, it must be said as silver took a real pounding on some days, but there’s some real excitement that J.P. Morgan may be about to bite it on silver.

Precious Metals Prices

Fri PM Fix Weekly Change
Gold $1,375.25 -28.25 (-2.01%)
Silver $28.79 +0.05 (+0.17%)
Platinum $1,673.00 -45.00 (-2.62%)
Palladium $737.00 -21.00 (-2.77%)

Gold-Silver Ratio: 47.77 (was 48.83)

First let’s look at some history. Bunker Hunt and a few friends tried to corner the silver market by buying silver and buying silver futures. They drove the silver price skywards, to a level that’s not been reached since. Then the authorities did some dirty tricks with the silver futures contracts, the price of silver fell, and everyone brushed themselves off and got on with life.

Now J.P. Morgan has been accused of doing the same thing, but in reverse. Instead of buying silver they are selling it short, that is they are selling it now to buy in six months time. They have, it has been alleged, sold far more silver than they can possibly have. This has meant that the rise in the silver price is going to kill them if we all buy physical silver. You see, someone may want to see all this silver they’ve been sold, and then J.P. Morgan will have to buy it and up shoots the price.

The core idea here is that the gold silver ratio is ridiculously high. Historically (going back to Biblical times) it has been 16:1, now it is around 48:1, although this week it fell quite fast. A return to historical norms would mean that silver would get to $87 per ounce.

So there’s some correction that’s due. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that silver has to go up. There could be a new paradigm, or if not, the correction could be postponed for a very long time. If the correction does happen, then it could be that gold would go down to around $500 – where it was only a few years ago.

Gold could keep going down, but there’s enough uncertainty and inflation to suggest that it won’t get all the way to $500 per ounce. The correction could be delayed by decades or muted, but the collection will come. You could still lose money betting on it.

Feast in Time of Plague: Wall Street Art of Sucking Money

United States Economy Collapsing

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« Bailout The SEC: Complete Interview of Harry Markopolos On CBS 60 Minutes. Broadcast March 1st »

Harry Markopolos told the truth about Bernie Madoff. No one listened. Harry Markopolos put together a 29 page document proving that Madoff was a fraud and a ponzi. The SEC didn't understand the vocabulary. The SEC needs a bailout.

I read the Columbia Journalism Review every few days. Here are their comments on the Markopolos interview last night on 60 minutes. They say that it's the most important story of the week. The interview is excellent.

Key snip: It took me five minutes to know that it was a fraud. It took me another almost four hours of mathematical modeling to prove that it was a fraud. Harry Markopolos on Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

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« The Madoff Liquidator (CBS 60 Minutes Video) »

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Video: The Liquidator -- June 20, 2010

From last night's 60 Minutes:

  • The man in charge of recovering assets from Ponzi scheme king Bernie Madoff says there is about $18 billion still out there that he hopes to recover for victims of the scam. But it won't be easy.

Morley Safer reports.


Canadian civil servant jailed over bank arson

A retired civil servant who firebombed a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa has been sentenced to three and half years in prison for arson.

Roger Clement pleaded guilty to arson causing damage and mischief in November over the 18 May incident.

The 58-year-old said he and two accomplices acted because the RBC "trampled native rights" by sponsoring the Winter Olympics in February.

Clement said he also acted because RBC financed the Alberta oil sands.

At the trial, the court was told Clement poured petrol on cash machines, while his accomplices ignited the fire with Molotov cocktails.

The group had also said in online posts that more chaos could erupt at the G8 and G20 summits in Toronto in June.

Madoff; The Mob; Mossad; 'Murder'

On 11 December 2010, in NewYork, Mark Madoff, 46, was discovered hanged. (Bernard Madoff's son Mark found dead)
In 2008, Mark and his brother Andrew turned their father in to the US authorities after he told them he was running a $50 billion Ponzi fraud scheme.

Mark and his brother had top positions in the business but said they had no knowledge of the fraud.

According to Irving Picard, the lawyer recovering money for the fraud victims, Austrian banker Sonja Kohn was a "criminal soul mate" of Bernard Madoff for 23 years. (Austrian banker Kohn key to Madoff crimes)
Allegedly, Kohn ran an international network of banks and funds in order to help carry out the fraud.

Reportedly, Madoff secretly paid Kohn at least $62 million in secret kickbacks.

Kohn, a 60-year-old Austrian ultra-Orthodox Jew, had 'billionaire mobster clients'. (Financier's Life Becomes Crazy Spy Movie)

"With Russian oligarchs as clients," said an Austrian banker, "she might have reason to be afraid." (Movie)

Fraud examiner Harry Markopolos said of the Madoff scheme, "When you're that big and that secretive, you're going to attract a lot of organized crime money, and which we now know came from the Russian mob and the Latin American drug cartel. And when you're zeroing out mobsters, you have a lot to fear."

HSBC and its staff have been accused of receiving "kickbacks for looking the otherway while legitimising BLMIS (Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities) through their name and brand, making it attractive to investors". (HSBC 'took kickbacks to keep Madoff in business'.)

Allegedly, Madoff was 'the chief money-launderer for the Mossad's espionage unit in America'. (Cached)
Journalist Taki Theodoracopulos wrote the following (GstaadLife: Taki: Madoff's people):
In May of 1999, a very nice Greek-American by the name of Harry Makropoulos, the world’s greatest expert on derivatives, sent a report to the SEC’s Boston office calling the Madoff operation the ‘world’s largest hedge fund fraud’.
My fellow Greek stipulated that ‘my name not be released to anyone other than the Branch Chief and Team Leader in the New York Region without my express permission. I am worried about the personal safety of myself and my family. The report has been written solely for the SEC’s internal use.’
Whom was he afraid of?
Those in the know say Mossad and Israel;
I say rogue Mossad agents acting alone with Madoff.
Makropoulos nailed Madoff, listing the back-door marketing and financing schemes as if he were an insider. But the SEC did not respond.
Powerful political voices ordered the SEC not to proceed. I am not naming names because libel laws mostly favour the criminal in Europe, and their names will never get past the libel lawyers.
The largest investors were not Jewish charities as was reported by Jewish-owned newspapers in New York, but French, Spanish and Swiss private banks. It was Sonia Kohn, of the Medici bank of Vienna, a woman who makes Midge Dexter look like Ava Gardner, who involved Charles Fix...

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Top 10 States People Are Fleeing

New York, Illinois and Louisiana are expected to lose more residents than they gain this year.

Jenna Goudreau

"We're seeing one of the lowest mobility rates in a century," says Nathaniel Karp, chief economist for banking firm BBVA Compass. Karp says the recession has forced many people to stay put because they are unable to sell their homes, cannot find jobs or are unwilling to relocate for work if it means sacrificing a partner's stable position.

The slowdown makes the question of who's moving and why even more significant than in years past. Using 2010 projections by Moody's, Forbes ranked the states in which people are leaving faster than they are arriving. Economists report several overlapping trends that may be forcing people out of certain states as much as they are pulling them toward others.

In Pictures: Top 10 States People Are Fleeing

At No.1 on our list, New York is expected to wave goodbye to 49,000 more people than it gains this year. The state has seen a steady loss of residents over the past five years, losing an average of 100,000 people per year. Karp explains that, because New York is a large state, it may report greater movement than others, but notes that population size is not the only reason residents are fleeing.
"In order to move, you need to be able to sell your home," says Karp. "The housing market [in New York] has not gone through the meltdown that other states have gone through."

While New York homeowners may have a slightly easier time selling their homes and moving to greener pastures, a competing trend is the number of unemployed renters who can no longer afford the high cost of living in and around New York City. Karp says the expensive lifestyle and high taxes may force the long-term unemployed to move on to more affordable regions.

The Prairie State came in at No. 2. Illinois is expected to lose 27,000 people this year, consistent with its average annual loss over the last five years. The losses are likely linked to the state's economy and tax structure. Job losses in manufacturing and industrial machinery are likely pushing people out of the state, Karp says, adding that state taxes have also been "an issue" for many residents.

Midwestern states, in fact, are well-represented in the top-10 list. Nebraska (No. 4), Kansas (No. 5) and North Dakota (No. 9) are among the many central states projected to lose residents in 2010.

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Home Values Fall By $1.7 Tril For The Year

Home values across the U.S. will drop by more than $1.7 trillion this year, 63% more than their 2009 decline, according to an analysis by real estate marketplace It estimates that from a June 2006 market peak to the end of 2010, values will have fallen by $9 trillion.

Zillow compiles its own "Zestimates" and includes all homes, not just those sold. The 2010 loss works out to an average of $18,108 per home. Zillow's data cover single-family houses, condos and co-ops.

Most losses in 2010 were in the second half of the year. In January through June, the housing market slipped by $680 billion.

"The reason for the fact that the losses were so much larger in the back half of the year than the front half is essentially the tax credit," Zillow chief economist Stan Hum- phries told IBD. "You can only put your finger in the dike so long. The market correction is going to go where it needs to go for supply and demand to reach equilibrium."

With foreclosures and negative equity still high, it doesn't look like early 2011 will bring much relief, Humphries says. He doesn't expect a bottom till at least midyear.

In the third quarter, 23.2% of homeowners were underwater, owing more on the mortgage than their homes are worth.

Fewer than one in four of the 129 markets that Zillow tracks will see gains in total home values during 2010. Those forecast to go up in value include the Boston metro area, up $10.8 billion, and San Diego, up $10.2 billion.

Lawsuit of the Day: Capital One Sues Cardholder for $286 Million and Fails to Appear

Credit card debt collection actions are a dime a dozen. But it's not often that Jane Q. Consumer is accused of failing to pay a bank for running up charges to the tune of close to $300 million.

Courthouse News Service has linked to a complaint filed Wednesday in a Pennsylvania state court, accusing Capital One of harassing Patrice Perry in an attempt to collect on unpaid credit card bills. Allegedly, Capital One didn't like that Patrice responded to their initial collection letters by hiring an attorney. At that point, the bank was seeking something in the neighborhood of $4,000.

Not only did Capital One ignore the demand, under Pennsylvania's version of the FDCPA, that all future communications be with Perry's lawyer, continuing to make phone calls to her home, her office, and even some of her friends and relatives, but it kept arbitrarily changing the alleged amount due. Finally, Perry received a letter demanding payment of $286,651,237.00.

Capital One then allegedly filed suit against Perry but failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing. So Perry sued 'em right back. She contends that this couldn't be a mere computer error, since "no computer program at Capital One could have possibly contained an algorithm allowing for a 9 digit debt to be printed on a letter seeking payment without human intervention."

The icing on the cake is contained in Perry's prayer for relief, which demands, among other things, "Damages equal to amounts sought by Defendant from Plaintiff." If Capital One has to pony up $286 million, there may be some angry Vikings roaming the streets of your neighborhood. And, no, I'm not talking about this kind of angry Viking.

JFK telling us the 911 truth

Madoff Son Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

NEW YORK (AP) — He was never charged in the case that sent his father to prison after thousands were swindled of their life savings, but for two years, the eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff still bore the toxic burden of a name that meant fraud to the world.

On Saturday, the second anniversary of the day his father was arrested in the worst investment fraud in American history, Mark Madoff, 46, was found dead in the living room of his SoHo loft apartment in Manhattan. He was hanging from a black dog leash while his 2-year-old son slept nearby.

People close to him said he was despondent over press coverage of his father's case, an ongoing criminal investigation of Madoff family members in the multibillion-dollar scheme and his struggle to rebuild his life.

The intense scrutiny approaching the anniversary "became too much for him," said a person who had recent contact with him, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Mark Madoff's wife, Stephanie, sent her stepfather to the couple's $6 million apartment after he e-mailed her at Disney World in Florida, where she was vacationing with their 4-year-old daughter. In the messages, he told her he loved her and that someone should check on their 2-year-old child, Nicholas, police said. He left no suicide note.

The person who had recent contact with Madoff said he was struggling to find steady employment and was upset by coverage of his father's case, including a slew of stories in the past week about investor lawsuits.

"Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy," his attorney, Martin Flumenbaum, said in a written statement. "Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo."

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew, who notified authorities their father had confessed to them the day before he was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, have said they were unaware of his crimes. But they have remained under investigation and been named in the multiple civil lawsuits accusing them of profiting from the scheme.

Another law enforcement official said Saturday that Madoff's arrest was not imminent, and that investigators pursuing possible charges against him, his brother and uncle hadn't contacted him for more than a year. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A lawyer for Mark's mother, Ruth Madoff, said, "She's heartbroken." The lawyer, Peter Chavkin, had no further comment.

Bernard Madoff, 72, swindled a long list of investors out of billions of dollars. He admitted that he ran his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors. Losses are estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history. He is serving a 150-year prison term in North Carolina.

The scandal has resulted in a half dozen arrests of Madoff associates and put a harsh light on members of the family, which has splintered since Madoff's arrest. Both brothers hadn't spoken to their parents since they turned their father in.

The financier's brother, Peter, played a prominent role in the family's company. Mark and Andrew Madoff both worked on a trading desk at the firm, on a side of the business that wasn't directly involved in the Ponzi scheme.

In February, Mark Madoff's wife asked a court to change her last name and the last names of their two children to Morgan, saying her family had gotten threats and was humiliated by the scandal.

A year ago, the court-appointed trustee trying to unravel Bernard Madoff's financial affairs sued several relatives, including sons Mark and Andrew and Madoff's brother, Peter, accusing them of failing to detect the fraud while living lavish lifestyles financed with the family's ill-gotten fortune.

The lawsuit accused Mark Madoff of using $66 million he received improperly to buy luxury homes in New York City, Nantucket and Connecticut.

The trustee, Irving Picard, continues to try and recover money for investors. On Friday he filed a pair of lawsuits, a $900 million one against two accountants, and a civil racketeering case accusing offshore bankers of assisting Madoff in his fraud. Taken together, the actions seem to broaden the number of accomplices Picard thinks are responsible in Madoff's decades worth of fraud, even though the financier insisted to authorities that he acted alone.

Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said Saturday she didn't have specific information on whether Bernard Madoff had been informed of his son's death or would be allowed to attend a service. In general, she said, inmates are informed of a relative's death as soon as the institution is made aware of it. The bureau does allow furloughs for prisoners to attend memorial services.

A police officer stood guard in the lobby of Mark Madoff's 12-story luxury loft apartment building in SoHo on Saturday morning. Bystanders gawked as officials from the medical examiner's office removed the body early Saturday afternoon. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Madoff graduated from the University of Michigan and was a licensed broker with his father's firm since 1987. He grew up in Roslyn, N.Y., and has two other children from a previous marriage, ages 18 and 16.

He and his first wife, Susan, divorced about 10 years ago. She had no comment.

Messages left with Andrew Madoff, Peter Madoff and the father-in-law Martin London were not returned Saturday. No one answered the door at Andrew Madoff's home in Greenwich, Conn., and access was blocked to the driveway of his brother's home in another part of town.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.

Ronnie Sue Ambrosino, who leads a group of Madoff victims who have been fighting for restitution in the case, said the death is just more evidence of the pain the case has wrought.

"It's sad. It's very, very sad that any life is taken," she said. "It's so wasteful."

She said she doubted any of the victims were taking pleasure in the Madoff family's sorrow. "That's not going to help the Madoff victims find the justice and the restitution they deserve."


Associated Press writers David B. Caruso, Verena Dobnik, and Larry Neumeister in New York, John Christoffersen in Greenwich, Conn., and Page Ivey in Columbia, S.C. contributed to this report.

Regulators close banks in Michigan, Pennsylvania

Regulators shut down small banks in Michigan, Pennsylvania; makes 151 US bank failures in 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Michigan and Pennsylvania, boosting the number of U.S. banks that have failed this year to 151 as bad loans have mounted and the economy has been slow to heal.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Paramount Bank, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., with $252.7 million in assets and $213.6 million in deposits; and Earthstar Bank, based in Southampton, Pa., with $112.6 million in assets and $104.5 million in deposits.

Level One Bank, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., will assume the assets and deposits of Paramount Bank; Polonia Bank, based in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., is assuming all the deposits and $77.1 million of Earthstar Bank's loans and other assets.

In addition, the FDIC and Level One Bank agreed to share losses on $233.1 million of Paramount Bank's assets. The agency and Polonia Bank are sharing losses on $45.8 million of Earthstar Bank's assets.

The failure of Paramount Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $90.2 million; that of Earthstar Bank is expected to cost $22.9 million.

The 151 closures nationwide so far this year tops the 140 shuttered in all of 2009 and is the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago. By this time last year, regulators had closed 133 banks.

The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund about $36 billion; the failures so far this year have cost around $21 billion, less because the banks failing in 2010 have on average been smaller. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three succumbed in 2007.

The growing bank failures have sapped billions of dollars out of the deposit insurance fund. It fell into the red last year, and its deficit stood at $8 billion as of Sept. 30.

The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 860 in the third quarter from 829 three months earlier, even as the industry as a whole made $14.5 billion in net income. The 860 troubled banks is the highest number since 1993, during the savings-and-loan crisis.

The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to total around $52 billion from 2010 through 2014.

Depositors' money -- insured up to $250,000 per account -- is not at risk, with the FDIC backed by the government. That insurance cap was made permanent in the financial overhaul law enacted in July.

Jim Rogers: Britain is Bankrupt!

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Ron Paul: I'll Try to Stop the Fed's Secret Bailouts

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Report: Swiss Bank Refuses to Release Gold

A client of a major Swiss bank was recently refused access to his physical gold and had to hire attorneys and threaten to expose the bank publicly before finally getting it back in his own hands, according to Jim Rickards of Omnis.

“My inference is that that gold was not there,” Rickards told King World News. “The bank had to scramble, go out and find it somewhere before they could make good delivery.”

Rickards expects the world will eventually go to a gold standard-backed currency.

“To me, the big issue is, is it going to be intelligent or is it going to be ugly?” Rickards says. “Is it going to be something we think about, we have a public debate, hearing in Congress … we give some thought to, and then, over time … we do it in stages” so that markets can adjust.

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Business Shamanism: Great Awakening Ushering in New Principles

Using the tools of corporations to reprogram global society and distribute a new cultural operating system

Daniel Pinchbeck
Reality Sandwich

Now that the Evolver network and brand have established themselves to a certain extent, I want to look ahead to developments I hope to see in the near future, with this organization and other initiatives. For the next phase of development, I propose the term "business shamanism." "Corporate alchemy" would be a viable alternative.

First, some context: As I write this, the ruling regime in our rotten republic of Obama-stan is seeking to ignore the pain of the sheeple and extend lavish tax breaks for the wealthy.The financial elite engineered a massive transfer of assets over the last decades, and they are now completing the procedure of creating a two-tier society resembling a serfdom. Champagne glasses are no doubt clinking in fancy hotel rooms and private clubs to celebrate the selling out of the people, as the unemployed and dispossessed roam the streets. We witness, as spectacle,the slow-motion dismantling of the American republic -- though nobody can say how the story will play out this time.

We tend to forget that Roosevelt's New Deal was not a good-hearted gift to the working classes but a compromise to stave off mass uprising. The current oligarchy has determined that it will make no such deal this time around. I suspect they assume that the pulverizing of the populace with mind-numbing media, psychotropic drugs, police state tactics, and poison food had the desired effect. And they may be right.

From the viewpoint of those seeking a deeper level of transformation, however, the political gridlock, social polarization, and extremism of the right wing are all positive signs. The increasing rigidity of the system suggests it is soon going to crack. Perhaps the spirit of insurrection and liberty will reawaken in the people as it does so. But perhaps not.

We don't know when or if we will reach the critical threshold where a current of rebellion becomes a wave and then a mass movement. As Albert Camus discusses in The Rebel, when a person can compromise no further, they resist, and when they resist, their rebellion brings about inner transformation, leading them beyond themselves. "When he rebels, a man identifies himself with other men and so surpasses himself, and from this point of view human solidarity is metaphysical," Camus writes. At the unknown point where people can no longer bear to be controlled or enslaved and begin to resist, they discover something supra-personal within themselves, a source beyond the personal ego. They discover their willingness to sacrifice -- even if it costs them their lives -- for a principle, for justice, for freedom.

Resistance leads to rebellion -- to a complete identification with values that go beyond the individual, that define human nature in its essence. "What was at first the man's obstinate resistance now becomes the whole man, who is identified and summed up in this resistance,"Camus writes. The ruling elite employ teams of experts in social psychology and neuro-linguistic programming, trained in places like the Tavistock Institute, in order to keep the multitudes from recognizing their own interests in a movement of unified defiance. Despite these intensive efforts, it could happen anyway.

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How Can a Religious Person Justify Being a Slumlord?

The pious Orthodox Jew who is also a notorious slumlord—now there's a touchy subject, especially inside the large and diverse community of Jews in New York. After the Voice published its series this spring on the city's 10 worst landlords, which included some religious Jews, Rabbi Jill Jacobs tackled the topic, writing a column titled "When the Slumlords Are Us" for the Forward. This was already a familiar subject for the Conservative rabbi and activist.

"When I was working at a housing-rights organization while doing my rabbinical training," she tells the Voice, "the No. 1 question I got from tenants was, 'Why is my bad landlord a religious Jew?' Or people would say to me, 'You're the first Jew I've met who is not a slumlord.' And I'm glad to have met them, but it's heartbreaking. The only Jew they knew was the one not turning on the hot water!"

We heard the same questions and comments from tenants and readers. How exactly can a religious (read: Orthodox) person justify being a bad landlord?

The best way to try to answer that is to talk with Jews themselves. And we chose several from inside and outside the Orthodox community for some questions and answers.

(All conversations have been edited for clarity.)

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
Founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, an Orthodox social-justice organization.

After we published our list of the city's worst landlords, one of the questions we got was, "Why are there so many religious Jews on it?" What's your take on that? We saw your list. When it came out, we publicized it and tried to create awareness around it. When it came out, we held a beit midrash—a study session—in Washington Heights to raise awareness about the issue.

We learned that the biblical prophets made injustice against tenants one of the paradigms of oppression and that Halakha [Jewish law] treated this extraordinarily seriously.

Did you know that before? We had a sense, but we really didn't know.

Did what you learned apply to non-Jewish tenants or only Jews? There's a halakhic saying that we ultimately treat non-Jews with the same dignity as Jews because of darkei shalom [the ways of peace]. Maimonides says that the imperative of "the ways of peace" isn't due to Jewish interests or to protect ourselves but is an emulation of one of the highest attributes of God.

Have you ever reproached another Jewish leader who was involved in a scandal? Have you ever personally confronted a Jewish landlord? We launched a national boycott against Agriprocessors [the scandal-plagued kosher-meat giant owned by the Rubashkin family, who are Lubavitchers]. And after about a week and a half, we had 2,000 rabbis and Jewish leaders sign on to that campaign. We called off the boycott once the family met with us and agreed to provide transparency that their practices were changing.

Are you thinking of doing something like that in relation to slumlords? It's always been a personal priority of mine to get into this issue. I figured someone would step up, but I haven't seen that happen at all. There's clearly a big problem with certain sects of the Jewish community in how they are treating their tenants. It's a national problem. It's a New York City problem, and it's a Jewish problem. I am currently deliberating the best approach to take this on.

Why are you doing what you're doing? I'm sure not everyone loves you for doing it. It's my belief that our first obligation is to clean up our community. At the core of the Jewish tradition is the call of responsibility for the Jews to be at the forefront of creating a just society and to defend the most vulnerable in our society. The priorities are to create a community of socially responsible and just Jews. So we have to hold responsible those in our community who are not meeting the Jewish tradition's standard of justice.

So you're reacting to the slumlord issue from your place as Jewish leader. How do you think that the wider world reacts when they see so many Jews on lists of slumlords? It is a concern for me. There's injustice coming from every community, but when one publicly portrays their piety, the community naturally holds them to a higher standard. It's always a concern of mine that ultra-Orthodox Jews are going to get scapegoated. So I think it's up to us to clean it up, and not for outsiders to point fingers at Jews. . . . I think the Jewish community feels great embarrassment whenever a Jew anywhere in the world is responsible for a wrong. Since the Holocaust, there is a fear that Gentiles will see one wrong and stereotype all Jews, calling it a Jewish injustice rather than an injustice that happened to be done by a Jew. But in general, the Jewish communal leadership is grappling very deeply with how to address scandals on a systemic level and from an educational perspective.

« Deficit Giveaways Turn Obama GOP Tax Cut Bill Into 'Christmas Tree' - CBO Estimates $858 Billion Cost For JUST Two Years »

Profanity warning. An experiment in honesty.

It's an $858 billion, 2-year pop to the deficit, mostly from the tax cuts not expiring. You want tax cuts? Then cut spending you fucking wankers. Make the Pentagon war machine your first target. The deficit is completely out of control, the national debt just hit $14 fucktillion, and borrowing costs are headed higher. The Helicopter was grounded after the deal was announced, as the blades were straight busted. Bond vigilantes went nuts. Treasuries were annihilated. Russia, China and Japan were likely heavy sellers. B-52 noticed and freaked out silently for hours in his secret room at the Fed, where he keeps the chronic for the really bad moments. Think about it. Everything Bernanke had gained from QE2 in terms of lower rates was wiped away in 4 short days.

Who is the Ben Ber-Nank to think he can predict the sovereign debt tipping point. It'll just appear one day, and he'll be rightly fucked. Ask Greece, Portugal, and Spain if they saw it coming. Yeah, we print our own money. So the fuck what. The world is already on Zimbabwe watch and Ben shot his load last month. My mom is on Zimbabwe watch, for chrissakes. She's 71 and paying attention because of all the money printing she's been hearing about during commercials for Dancing With Palin. Wise up fools, $100 billion per month of Treasury suckage won't do jack shit against pissed-off bond vigilantes. When they're done pounding the Eurozone, we're the next target. Bernanke and his legacy will be swept away by an avalanche of selling, leaving him 30 feet under, with his helicopter out of commish, buried next to his 'I am not a money-printer' ass.


WASHINGTON – In the spirit of the holiday season, President Barack Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans is becoming a Christmas tree tinseled with gifts for lobbyists and lawmakers. But that hardly stopped the squabbling on Friday, with Bill Clinton even back at the White House pleading the president's case.

While Republicans sat back quietly, mostly pleased, Democrats and other liberals were going at each other ever so publicly. As Clinton lectured on, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders castigated the agreement for the TV cameras in the mostly empty Senate chamber.

The tax deal, reached behind the scenes and still informal, now includes ethanol subsidies for rural folks, commuter tax breaks for their cousins in the cities and suburbs and wind and solar grants for the environmentalists — all aimed at winning votes, particularly from reluctant Democrats.

Republicans generally liked that agreement, worked out by Obama and GOP leaders. Democrats generally didn't, hence the add-ons.

It's all expected to come to a decisive vote next week, total cost by the latest congressional estimate: $857.8 billion.

On Friday, there were contrasting events for public consumption.

On Capitol Hill, Sanders spoke vigorously for 8 1/2 hours in a virtually empty chamber, urging defeat of a measure he said would give "tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it." He finally ended his speech, conceding "It has been a long day."

At the White House, Obama turned over the briefing room microphone to Clinton who declared, "I don't believe there is a better deal out there." All sides, he said, "are going to have to eat some things they don't like."

The add-ons were being attached behind the scenes.

Almost $5 billion in subsidies for corn-based ethanol and a continuing tariff to protect against ethanol imports were wrapped up and placed on the tree Thursday night for farm-state lawmakers and agribusiness lobbyists. Environmentalists won more grants for developers of renewable energy, like wind and solar.

For urban lawmakers, there's a continuation of about-to-expire tax breaks that could save commuters who use public transportation about $1,000 a year. Other popular tax provisions aimed at increasing production of hybrid automobiles, biodiesel fuel, coal and energy-efficient household appliances would be extended through the end of 2011 under the new add-ons.

The package also includes an extension of two Gulf Coast tax incentive programs enacted after Hurricane Katrina to spur economic development in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

The ethanol money was added despite a growing congressional opposition to subsidizing the fuel after decades of government support. Last month, 17 Republican and Democratic senators wrote to leaders calling the tax breaks "fiscally indefensible," since there's already a law in place that requires ethanol be blended into gasoline.

Continue reading at the AP...


Obama calls in Clinton to help with tax fight


From yesterday...


SILVER as Currency in Michigan - Alternate Currencies on the Rise

U.S. Default Flashback: Rep. James Traficant Discusses The Federal Reserve, Prison, And Running For Congress Again

Representative Traficant Reports On The Bankruptcy Of The United States, United States Congressional Record, March 17, 1993 VOL. 33, page H-1303

The Speaker - Rep. James Traficant, Jr. (Ohio) addressing the House.


Mr. Speaker, we are here now in chapter 11. Members of Congress are official trustees presiding over the greatest reorganization of any bankrupt entity in world history, the U.S. Government. We are setting forth, hopefully, a blueprint for our future. There are some who say it is a coroner’s report that will lead to our demise.

It is an established fact that the United States Federal Government has been dissolved by the Emergency Banking Act, March 9, 1933, 48 Stat. 1, Public Law 89-719; Declared by President Roosevelt, being bankrupt and insolvent. H. J. R. 192, 73rd. Congress in session June 5, 1933 - Joint Resolution To Suspend The Gold Standard and Abrogate The Gold Clause dissolved the Sovereign Authority of the United States and the official capacities of all United States Government Offices, Officers and Departments and is further evidence that the United States Federal Government exists today in name only.

The receivers of the United States Bankruptcy are the International Bankers, via the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. All United States Offices, Officials, and Departments are now operating within a de facto status in name only under Emergency War Powers. With the Constitutional Republican form of Government now dissolved, the receivers of the Bankruptcy have adopted a new form of government for the United States. This new form of government is known as a Democracy, being an established Socialist/Communist order under a new governor for America. This act was instituted and established by transferring and/or placing the Office of the Secretary of Treasury to that of the Governor of the International Monetary Fund. Public Law 94-564, page 8, Section H. R. 13955 reads in part: “The U.S. Secretary of Treasury receives no compensation for representing the United States?”

Gold and silver were such a powerful Money during the founding of the United States of America, that the founding fathers declared that only gold and silver coins can be money in America. Since gold and silver coinage were heavy and inconvenient for a lot of transactions, they were stored in banks and a claim check was issued as a money substitute. People traded their coupons as money, or “currency”. Currency is not money, but a money substitute. Redeemable currency must promise to pay a dollar equivalent in gold or silver money. Federal Reserve Notes (FRN's) made no such promises, and are not money. A Federal Reserve Note is a debt obligation of the federal United States government, not money. The federal United States government and the U.S. Congress were not and have never been authorized by the Constitution for the United States of America to issue currency of any kind, but only lawful money, - gold and silver coin.

It is essential that we comprehend the distinction between real money, and paper money substitute. One cannot get rich by accumulating money substitutes, one can only get deeper in debt. We the People no longer have any money. Most Americans have not been paid any money for a very long time, perhaps not in their entire life. Now do you comprehend why you feel broke? Now, do you understand why you are “bankrupt,” along with the rest of the country?

Federal Reserve Notes (FRN's) are unsigned checks written on a closed account. FRN’s are an inflatable paper system designed to create debt through inflation (devaluation of currency). Whenever there is an increase of the supply of a money substitute in the economy without a corresponding increase in the gold and silver backing, inflation occurs.

Inflation is an invisible form of taxation that irresponsible governments inflict on their citizens. The Federal Reserve Bank who controls the supply and movement of FRN’s has everybody fooled. They have access to an unlimited supply of FRN's, paying only for the printing costs of what they need. FRN’s are nothing more than promissory notes for U.S. Treasury securities (T-Bills) - a promise to pay the debt to the Federal Reserve Bank.

There is a fundamental difference between paying and discharging a debt. To pay a debt, you must pay with value or substance (i.e. gold, silver, barter or a commodity). With FRN’s, you can only discharge a debt. You cannot pay a debt with a debt currency system. You cannot service a debt with a currency that has no backing in value or substance. No contract in Common Law is valid unless it involves an exchange of good and valuable consideration. Unpayable debt transfers power and control to the sovereign power structure that has no interest in money, law, equity or justice because they have so much wealth already.

Their lust is for power and control. Since the inception of central banking, they have controlled the fates of nations.

The Federal Reserve System, is based on the Canon law and the principles of sovereignty protected in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, the international bankers used a “Canon Law Trust” as their model, adding stock and naming it a “Joint Stock Trust”. The U.S. Congress had passed a law making it illegal for any legal “person” to duplicate a “Joint Stock Trust” in 1873. The Federal Reserve Act was legislated post-facto (1870), although post-facto laws are strictly forbidden by the Constitution. (1:9:3)

The Federal Reserve System is a sovereign power structure separate and distinct from the federal United States government. The Federal Reserve is a maritime lender, and/or maritime insurance underwriter to the federal United States operating exclusively under Admiralty/Maritime law. The lender underwriter bears the risks, and the Maritime law compelling specific performance in paying the interest, or premiums are the same.

Assets of the debtor can also be hypothecated (to pledge something as a security without taking possession of it) as security by the lender or underwriter. The Federal Reserve Act stipulated that the interest on the debt was to be paid in gold. There was no stipulation in the Federal Reserve Act for ever paying the principal.

Prior to 1913, most Americans owned clear, allodial title to property, free and clear of any liens or mortgages until the Federal Reserve Act (1913) “hypothecated” all property within the federal United States to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, - in which the Trustees (stockholders) held legal title, the U.S. citizen (tenant, franchisee) was registered as a “beneficiary” of the trust via his/her birth certificate. In 1933, the federal United States hypothecated all of the present and future properties, assets and labor of their “subjects”, the 14th. Amendment U.S. citizens, to the Federal Reserve System.

In return, the Federal Reserve System agreed to extend the federal United States corporation all the credit “money substitute” it needed. Like any other debtor, the federal United States government had to assign collateral and security to their creditors as condition of the loan. Since the federal United States didn’t have any assets, they assigned the private property of their “economic slaves”, the U.S. citizens, as collateral against the unpayable federal debt. They also pledge the unincorporated federal territories, national parks forest, birth certificates, and nonprofit organizations, as collateral against the federal debt. All has already been transferred as payment to the international bankers.

Unwittingly, America has returned to its pre-American Revolution, feudal roots whereby all land is held by a sovereign and the common people had no rights to hold allodial title to property. Once again, We the People are the tenants and sharecroppers renting our own property from a Sovereign in the guise of the Federal Reserve Bank. We the People have exchanged one master for another.

This has been going on for over eighty years without the “informed” knowledge: Of the American people, without a voice protesting loud enough. Now it’s easy to grasp why America is fundamentally bankrupt.

Why don’t more people own their properties outright? Why are 90% of Americans mortgaged to the hilt and have little or no assets after all debts and liabilities have been paid? Why does it feel like you are working harder and harder and getting less and less?

We are reaping what has been sown, and the result of our harvest is a painful bankruptcy, and a foreclosure on American property, precious liberties, and a way of life. Few of our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. have dared to tell the truth. The federal United States is bankrupt. Our children will inherit this unpayable debt, and the tyranny to enforce paying it.

America has become completely bankrupt in world leadership, financial credit and its reputation for courage, vision and human rights. This is an undeclared economic war. Bankruptcy, and economic slavery of the most corrupt order! Wake up America! Take back your country.