Friday, April 1, 2011

$5 Fees May Be Coming to an ATM Near You

J.P. Morgan Chase [JPM 46.10 -0.35 (-0.75%) ] and other banks are trying to recoup approximately $30 billion a year in lost overdraft fee income by testing $5 ATM fees, Consumer Action spokesman Joe Ridout told CNBC.

Jack Hollingsworth | Getty Images

These banks have "historically been reliant on overdraft fees," he said, so they're "coming up with new ways to make up the difference." He said higher ATM fees and other rising costs penalize small depositors.

Nessa Feddis, spokeswoman with the American College of Consumer Financial Services, agreed there are "enormous pressures on banks because of lost revenue."

But she insisted that "most people don't pay ATM fees. Only non-customers who otherwise pay nothing to contribute to the cost of providing the ATMs pay the fee. That is fair because otherwise they are not contributing to the cost of providing the service."

She blamed "price controls that the government is imposing" for drastically limiting debit card interchange fees.

"Those debit card interchange fees — and you’re talking about a penny on the dollar — basically not only provide value to the merchant but they also support the cost of providing debit cards and checking accounts. Until now, we’ve been lucky with (banks offering) a lot of free accounts. I think we will see that go away."

Ridout said the banks are exchanging in political brinksmanship by using the threat of higher ATM fees to "encourage" pressure on the Federal Reserve to "tamp down what this interchange cap is going to be." The Fed issued draft interchange fee rules in December.

Ridout said no one is forcing the banks to charge higher ATM fees, and consumers have other choices if they don't want to pay them.

Crredit unions don't charge fees, he said, because they "don’t aim to turn a profit, they have not relied on overdraft fees that gouge consumers and they don’t pay their executives eight-figure salaries or multi-million-dollar bonuses and they don’t have to come up with rinky-dink fees to support these irresponsible levels of compensation."

How and Why The Elite Destroyed 3 Tons of Silver Last Week

I wrote a month ago in an article called Silver Bullet and the Silver Shield, that silver is a vital commodity to our way of life. I stated that silver is a precious metal that is being trashed as an industrial metal. As a result, it is within years of becoming the first metal to become extinct according to the USGS. At some point the shortage is going to become so obvious, that people are going to rush to turn in their depreciating dollars for real silver money. That is just the monetary demand of silver, the industrial and strategic demand is another huge factor we should consider.

Corporations are going to secure stockpiles of this precious commodity so as not to cause any supply disruptions in their billion dollar a year operation. Take for example the $300+ billion Apple Computer. Apple Computer’s market cap rests upon the increased sales and production of computers. If every one of their $1,500 computers has a 1/10th of an ounce of silver in it, they will spare no expense to secure silver when it becomes hard to get.

The strategic demand is even more daunting. It has been about a week since the Empire attacked the Galactic Rebels in the desert world of Libya. Reports have already surfaced about the obscene costs of this “Kinetic Military Action.” In less than a week, this war has already cost Americans $600 million dollars. That is about $100 million a day for this “Action.” It is far cry from the estimated daily price tag of the $300 million a day Afghan war or the $700 million a day Iraq war.

Almost half of the cost ($269 million) has come from the 191 Tomahawk missiles that have been launched into Libya. I think it is extremely interesting to know that each Tomahawk has more than a monster box (500 oz.) of silver inside of each missile. Pure silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals. When there is a $1.5 million dollar missile is being produced to secure more oil for the Empire, the Elite will use only the best materials to ensure the best performing results.

So far the US has thrown 3 tons of silver at Libya just with the Tomahawk missiles. That silver is gone forever as it is blown to a million pieces. (Never mind the poor bastards at the at the other end of missile’s target.) If we added the 191 Tomahawks from this “Kinetic Military Action” to the 288 from Gulf War 1, the 325 used in Sebia and Iraq in 98, and the 725 launched in Gulf War 2 that is just over 800,000 ounces of silver or 25 tons of silver gone forever.

That is just from the Tomahawk missile program. What about all of the other weapons programs in the Empire’s trillion dollar a year arsenal? Every smart bomb, tank, helicopter, fighter jet, bomber, naval vessel, and sophisticated electronic computer has a certain amount of silver in it. As the world starts to become a more dangerous place for the Empire, more and more silver will be destroyed forever.

One aspect of this waste that most people don’t get, is that all of this waste is done purposefully by the Elite. War is the greatest way to destroy the productive energy of humanity. The Elite want to keep us in a perpetual state of war for many reasons.

  1. They want to keep their societies in fear so that people passively accept more and more government intrusion into their lives through either taxes or regulations. Look at what Americans did after 9/11 with the Patriot Act and huge war deficits.
  2. By having an “enemy” for the population to vent their anger and frustration on, keeps people from looking at the real cause of their problems, the Elite that control their world. I have predicted that China will be blamed for our collapsing dollar and the Elite will try to make war against the Chinese. This will be done even though it is obvious that the Elitist banksters are the ones that have gutted America for their own personal profit and power.
  3. The Elite want to destroy human labor and capital. The Elite know that if people become wealthy and debt free, they would seek to challenge the Elite’s power. Through “war”, taxes are raised and debts created on the backs of the citizens. All of the capital created by the citizens, is literally blown up overseas as it destroys the “enemy’s” infrastructure and capital. This purposeful waste of labor and capital is a heavy burden on our society and is one that is not creating a better world for us.
  4. The Elite also get to line their pockets with your labor and capital. They get insider deals and contracts to build these weapons of war, support the Empire’s actions, or rebuild what we destroyed. As a result more and more power and profits are shifted to the Elite from the struggling middle class.

These combined wars cost $1 billion dollars a day and that does not include the rest of the Military Industrial Complex or the rest of the government. How much better would the world be if we did not destroy human labor and capital? This game will continue until the dollar collapses. The best way to counter this trend and protect yourself is to save your labor and capital by buying silver instead of blowing it up in the deserts of Libya.

Wake Some People Up!


Govt may spray resin on N-plant / Sticky material should keep down radiation

The government will likely go ahead with a plan to spray resin inside the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which it hopes will contain the spread of radioactive substances, sources said Wednesday.

The government has begun full-fledged discussions on different plans to stop the spread of radioactive substances that have been leaking continuously from damaged reactors at the plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

In addition to efforts to cool the reactors and spent nuclear fuel pools by TEPCO and the Self-Defense Forces, the government has asked for aid from private companies and other nations, including the United States, to deal with the accident.

It is believed spraying resin would minimize the spread of radioactive substances, which would allow repair work at the plant to proceed more smoothly, the sources said. Efforts to restore the reactors' cooling functions have seesawed repeatedly, with the detection Wednesday of radioactive iodine-131 at levels 3,355 times the legal limit in seawater near the plant being the latest wrench in the works.

Spraying resin on debris inside the plant could begin as early as Thursday, the government sources said. The operation would last for about two weeks, they said.

The plan involves using a remote-controlled robot to spray resin over about 80,000 square meters inside the 120,000-square-meter facility. The areas to be sprayed were contaminated by radiation from debris scattered by several hydrogen gas explosions in the days after the March 11 earthquake.

Synthetic resin would likely be used, possibly Kurita Water Industries Ltd.'s Kuricoat C-720 Green. The product is usually used to prevent dust and sand from being blown off reclaimed and developed land. Coating the debris with resin is expected to prevent the radioactive materials from spreading into the air.

The government had considered spraying resin from a helicopter, but about 3,000 flights would be necessary because only a limited amount could be sprayed each time. Since this method could also put helicopter crews in danger, the government rejected this option.

To address the about 25,000 square meters of buildings thought to be contaminated, such as those housing the reactors, some general contractors have proposed covering the structures with tents, covering the walls with sheets and other plans. But these plans could take months to complete, the sources said.

The government is also studying the possibility of using helicopters to spray other chemicals that could prevent the dispersal of radioactive substances.

Meanwhile, highly radioactive water in the basements of turbine buildings remains a big problem.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said it had considered dispatching port-use tankers to collect the contaminated water and then shuttle it via Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to tankers anchored offshore. But the Defense Ministry deemed the plan too risky.

"We don't have the ability to completely isolate the radiation-contaminated water, so that would've put SDF personnel at too much risk," a ministry official said.

The government is now considering building temporary facilities for storing the contaminated water inside the plant and other options.

These plans are being devised by a radiation control team comprised of senior officials from the Japanese and U.S. governments, nuclear experts, and personnel from the SDF and the U.S. military. The team is led by Sumio Mabuchi, a special adviser for the prime minister. The sources said the team decided to go ahead with the resin spraying at its meeting Tuesday.

The measures, however, are only stopgap, and the government said it would come up with more permanent solutions to contain the radioactive materials after temperatures in the nuclear fuel rod pools fall and the reactors stabilize.

"We have to end the crisis at the nuclear plant, minimize radioactive contamination of surrounding areas and prevent any health damage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a press conference Wednesday. "To accomplish that, we have experts in various fields working on a variety of plans, including possibly covering [the buildings at the plant]."

CoreLogic Says Housing 'Shadow Inventory' Is 1.8 Million Units; Morgan Stanley Says 8 Million

If you extrapolate, Morgan Stanley's calculations means we have a shadow inventory of 38 months, on top of the current 8.7 months supply. This would imply almost 4 years of backlog. Gary Shilling says that home prices will fall another 20% before hitting bottom.



About 1.8 million homes that are delinquent or in foreclosure loom as additional supply for the struggling U.S. housing market, according to CoreLogic.

The so-called shadow inventory amounted to a nine-month supply of properties, about the same as a year earlier, the Santa Ana, California-based real estate data service said in a report today. The company measured homes ranging from 90 days delinquent on mortgages to properties seized by lenders in foreclosure proceedings.

Rising inventory threatens to further depress home values as sales slump. The shadow inventory is in addition to the 8.6-month supply of homes for sale on the open market in February, the National Association of Realtors reported March 21. A healthy market has about a six- month supply, according to the Realtors group.

The shadow inventory “illustrates the distressed pipeline that has to filter through the market before the market is normalized,” Sam Khater, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a telephone interview from Vienna, Virginia. “It’s going to be a negative drag for some time.”

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities fell an average 3.1 percent from a year earlier in January, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller index. The decline was the biggest on a year-over-year basis since December 2009, the group said yesterday in New York.

Oliver Chang, a San Francisco-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, and Laurie Goodman, an analyst at Amherst Securities Group LP in New York, have estimated that the U.S. shadow inventory includes as many as 8 million properties. The higher projections count homes with shorter delinquency periods and assume more residences will be lost to foreclosure, Khater said.

There were about 4.36 million U.S. home loans that were 90 days late or in foreclosure in February, down 16 percent from a year earlier, Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS), a Jacksonville, Florida-based mortgage-data company reported March 28.


The 7-Million Housing Shadow Inventory Could Trigger A Price Avalanche

Much has been written about the so-called "shadow inventory" since the term was first coined a few years ago. Some analysts and commentators have argued about whether it even exists. Let's take an in-depth look at this shadow inventory and see whether it really is a threat to housing markets around the country.


Here's Why House Prices Will Now Drop Another 20%

By Gary Shilling

Last spring, many believed that not only was the housing collapse over but that a robust rebound was underway. Investors were crowding into foreclosed house sales and bidding up prices in California, often the bellwether state for new trends. The tax credit of up to $8,000 for new homebuyers that expired in April spurred buyers and promised to kick-start housing activity nationwide.

HAMP was trumpeted by the Administration to help 3 million to 4 million homeowners with underwater mortgages by paying lenders to reduce monthly payments to manageable size and then paying homeowners to continue to make those payments.

But then a funny—or not so funny—thing happened on the way to housing recovery...

There are at least 20 housing charts at the above link.

Fukushima - Nuclear Titanic? Seawater radiation hits new high in Japan

Issa: TARP's Failures Protect Too Big To Fail Banks

From yesterday's TARP Congressional hearing with Neil Barofsky.

Video - Mar. 30, 2011 - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

The hearing explored whether financial markets and market participants perceive our largest financial institutions as "too big to fail" despite passage of the Dodd-Frank Act and subsequent financial regulations and, if so, the implications of such a perception.


Criticism of TARP ‘Moral Hazard’ Unfair, Massad Says

“We recognize that moral hazard is a real and significant concern” in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Timothy Massad, acting assistant secretary for financial stability, said in a hearing before a House Oversight Committee panel today. “But to suggest that it is TARP’s main legacy is to ignore the facts, and to confuse the response to a crisis with the need to address the causes of the crisis.”

Massad was responding to criticism from Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP. Barofsky told the House panel’s TARP subcommittee today that the program’s “most significant legacy may be the exacerbation of the problems posed by ‘too big to fail,’ particularly given the manner in which Treasury executed the bailout.”

TARP largely spared “executives, shareholders, creditors and counter parties, reinforcing that not only would the government bail out the largest institutions, but would do so in a manner that would do little harm to the responsible stakeholders,” Barofsky said.



Where the Bailout Went Wrong: Parting Shot From TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky (NYT Op-Ed)

Dimon: U.S. debt default would be ‘catastrophic’

Top GOP lawmaker, consumer advocate Warren spar on new bureau

The previous version of this story misstated the deadline on debit-card rules that the Federal Reserve said it will miss.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — If the U.S. were to default on its debt, it would be catastrophic occurrence that would snowball, a top U.S. banker said Wednesday.

“If anybody wants to push that button, which would be catastrophic and unpredictable, I think they are crazy,” J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce gathering.

Dimon’s comments come as the Treasury Department is warning that the government could hit its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit as early as April 15. The White House and both parties on Capitol Hill are under pressure to rein in the deficit and the U.S. debt. But lawmakers are far apart on where to trim spending or increase revenue. See related story about budget talks.

In addition to fielding questions about the U.S. borrowing limit, Dimon targeted aspects of the Dodd-Frank bank-reform statute that he felt were hurting the U.S.’s economic competitiveness.

He focused his complaints on some regulations of derivatives, new debit-interchange-fee rules expected for banks and a concentration restriction that limits J.P. Morgan Chase /quotes/comstock/13*!jpm/quotes/nls/jpm (JPM 46.12, +0.02, +0.04%) from growing through acquisitions beyond a certain size.

U.S. regulators are writing rules prohibiting an American bank from growing through deals beyond 10% of the total liabilities of all U.S. banks. Banks could exceed that cap, but only through organic growth, not through M&A.

Dimon took issue with the concentration limitation, pointing out that it would stop J.P. Morgan from buying certain U.S. banks but wouldn’t stop a bigger foreign bank from buying the same institution.

“Concentration rules are negative for America,” Dimon said. He told reporters later that J.P. Morgan would like to make acquisitions.

He also took issue with a debit-card interchange rule that could go into effect later this year, arguing it is “price fixing at its worst.”

“It penalizes us for having debit cards,” said Dimon. See related story on a rally in shares of credit-card issuers Visa and MasterCard.

At issue is a proposal by the Federal Reserve, which the Dodd-Frank banking-reform law mandated the central bank draw up, that would cut the fees that debit-card network operators charge retailers by up to 84%. Banks receive some $12 billion a year off those fees.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a letter March 29 to legislators saying that the central bank will miss a April 21 deadline to have debit-card interchange rules in place.


J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon smiles as he leaves a January meeting in New York.

Dimon also took issue with some of the derivatives rules that are being adopted based on the Dodd-Frank Act, focusing his comments on concerns that commercial companies may be forced to hold collateral, or margin, when conducting hedging derivatives transactions with big banks.

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Marc Faber Expects QE3 From Fed 'But Not Right Away'

Video - Marc Faber on Bloomberg - March 30, 2011

Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, talks about the outlook for a third round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve, his investment strategy and the outlook for global stock and commodity markets.

00:00 Printing money is "big error" by governments.
02:00 Fed's quantitative easing; economic recovery
04:27 Correlation between equities and commodities
06:17 Emerging markets growth, Mexico's economy
10:14 Need for U.S. to "sacrifice"
12:04 "A market is designed to go up and down."
12:47 Investment strategy; Fed policy; gold prices

Nasdaq Hack Worse Than Reported; U.S. Spy Agency Asked To Decode Stock Market Cyber Attack

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Richard Falkenrath, a principal at the Chertoff Group and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor, discusses the October cyber attack on Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. The National Security Agency has joined the investigation of the attack amid evidence the intrusion by hackers was more severe than first disclosed.



The National Security Agency, the top U.S. electronic intelligence service, has joined a probe of the October cyber attack on Nasdaq amid evidence the intrusion by hackers was more severe than first disclosed, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The involvement of the NSA, which uses some of the world’s most powerful computers for electronic surveillance and decryption, may help the initial investigators -- Nasdaq and the FBI -- determine more easily who attacked and what was taken. It may also show the attack endangered the security of the nation’s financial infrastructure.

“By bringing in the NSA, that means they think they’re either dealing with a state-sponsored attack or it’s an extraordinarily capable criminal organization,” said Joel Brenner, former head of U.S. counterintelligence in the Bush and Obama administrations, now at the Washington offices of the law firm Cooley LLP.

The NSA’s most important contribution to the probe may be its ability to unscramble encrypted messages that hackers use to extract data, said Ira Winkler, a former NSA analyst and chief security strategist at Technodyne LLC, a Wayne, New Jersey-based information technology consulting firm.

The probe of the attack on the second biggest U.S. stock exchange operator, disclosed last month, is also being assisted by foreign intelligence agencies, said one of the people, who declined like the others to be identified because the investigation is confidential and in some cases classified. One of the people said the attack was more extensive than Nasdaq previously disclosed.



Globalization has advanced so much over the past century it has become a force impacting nearly all populations living on planet earth. It has used the “corporate” business model to achieve its goals. Currently international corporations have as much, if not more, power than governments. Trade agreements seek to set the rules governing all resources (including what they refer to as ‘human resources’) and how these resources are allocated (harvested).

Spokespersons for these international corporations have actually made the argument that the planet’s resources can only be “protected” if controlled by private interests aka corporations. This includes water.

The living beings employed by these corporations, who are frequently referred to as ‘team members’, have yet to recognize that they are employed by a parasitic BEAST. The corporate ‘business’ model (the BEAST), that has managed to acquire for itself the legal rights of humans, qualifies as a psychopath when analyzed in human behavioral terms by the World Health Organization:
  • Callous unconcern for the feelings of others
  • Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships
  • Reckless disregard for the safety of others
  • Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit
  • Incapacity to experience guilt
  • Failure to conform to social norms with respect for lawful behaviors
Those living entities that created the BEAST did so to ensure their pursuit of profits did not expose them to too much personal liability. However, the BEAST has grown exponentially since its inception and has been replicated on a big scale; i.e. international corporations, government corporations, and university corporations and on many small scales; i.e. government agencies, public schools, public libraries, and smaller businesses – all the way down to my new veterinarian who is just out of vet school.

[The corporatization of our governments (US INC was officially with the passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution just after the Civil War) changed the role in government our elected officials play. Once they take office, they no longer represent the folks who voted for them, but become trustees (or employees) of the federal, state, or local corporations.]

Brakes (or limits to growth) were never installed in the BEAST model, so it has become a man-made non-living parasite. A parasite is defined as: “an organism [system] that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host [earth], from the body of which it obtains nutriment [profit].[i] In the case of the BEAST, the ‘organism’ is “any complex thing or system having properties and functions determined not only by the properties and relations of its individual parts [assets and liabilities], but by the character of the whole that they compose and by the relations of the parts to the whole [the production of profit].[ii]

As long as quarterly profits remain the primary ‘fiduciary’ obligation of this non-living BEAST, it will remain a growth monster with PROFIT being its fuel and the management of ASSETS and LIABILITES as the mechanism of providing its ever-increasing demand for that fuel. Every single component of the BEAST (including all employees) is either an ASSET or a LIABILITY, as the non-living BEAST does not have a conscience – and never will. As a non-living entity the BEAST is simply not capable of recognizing that which has natural or intrinsic value.

However, many don’t yet recognize that the BEAST has grown to become an incredibly ravenous destructive global (possibly universal) PARASITE. Even the CEOs who work for the BEAST are nothing more to it than high-level human resources. Often the BEAST insures their lives (putting a special price tag on them as an asset) payable to the BEAST upon his/her death. This practice should make CEOs most uncomfortable if or when the BEAST suffers a significant loss of profits during their tenure – depending on the value of the policy. As the BEAST is not human, it can not recognize murder as immoral (it’s just business), however getting caught could create a ‘liability’, which it is adverse to.

How many are aware that one of these BEASTS (Raytheon) , has produced for our government (for profit) a weapon so powerful it can change the ionosphere and manipulate the weather?

“An analysis of statements emanating from the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications and electric power systems as a weapon of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire regions. Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or ‘friendly nations’ without their knowledge, used to destabilise economies, ecosystems and agriculture. It can also trigger havoc in financial and commodity markets.

The disruption in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported grain staples from the US and other Western countries.”

Did the CEO or Board of Trustees of the Raytheon BEAST discuss the moral issues regarding the manufacturing of such devastating weapons? Of course not, that is not their job. Their fiduciary duty to the BEAST is to secure profits!

No living entity has control of this gargantuan non-living monster!

How can any living ‘entity’ or ‘system’ anywhere be safe, as long as a psychopathic non-living BEAST is in control of everything from the world’s most deadly weapons to the health of my little dog Dudley? It doesn’t matter which ‘living entities’ are in charge of the world’s monetary ‘system’ (theMoneyMasters aka the gangster/banksters) as long as a non-living BEAST is the captain of the ship. All humans, including the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, and the Queen of England, are merely assets or liabilities to the BEAST because it does not (CANNOT) relate to living entities beyond their asset/liability status.

Neither the Pope nor the President (living entities) are in control of this BEAST and they can become its victims (for profit or to mitigate loss) at any time. What is to stop the BEAST from taking out a life insurance policy on the Pope – without his knowledge – should he be deemed a liability by the Catholic Church, Inc.? (Churches have incorporated too.) In fact many Popes have died under ‘questionable’ circumstances already.

Arrogance and shortsightedness probably prevented the ‘creators’ of the BEAST from understanding that a non-living BEAST, with ‘no soul to save (or condemn) and no body to incarcerate (or destroy)’, that was mandated by law to secure an ever growing amount of fuel (profits) could not be stopped until it ran out of material it could harvest in the process. And, as a non-living parasite, the BEAST would eventually destroy its creators - if it was profitable – and would do so without remorse, which it is incapable of experiencing. I suspect that if some corporation in the future discovered that it was profitable for the CEO (or any other living entity) to be replaced by a computer [see Post-humans - let's not go there], the BEAST would have a ‘fiduciary’ obligation to see that ‘mission’ carried out on Earth on Mars or anywhere else in the universe. This non-living entity categorizes virtually everything (all living and non living matter) as a potential resource (an asset) or a liability. Because it is a non-living entity without cognition it cannot perceive things any other way. For so much power to be given to a non-living psychopathic parasite seems to me like the formula for the eventual destruction of life – everywhere. When all resources (assets) on earth are devoured, the BEAST will either disappear or be transferred to another planet.


The BEAST does not (cannot) recognize living entities, mountains, rivers or meadows as having any intrinsic value because it is a non-living (dead) paper construct. The BEAST is not even a computer or a machine, like HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey, that can be unplugged.

Can God destroy a non-living entity (that has permeated our planet), that is neither organic nor inorganic, has no location, no soul, no body, no vibrations, and no shadow, but was created by misguided greedy living entities and is INCAPABLE of ever recognizing any aspect of creation beyond its status as asset or liability? Or does the divine creator expect us living entities to decommission this BEAST using whatever legal devices we have at hand?

As living beings with cognitive abilities we can comprehend the destructive nature of the parasitic BEAST and take on the responsibility of slaying it using the two weapons we already have:
  • Expose the BEAST to all, especially those now employed by it (including its ‘managment perception team’ aka public relations people). They are no more than assets on a ledger as the BEAST cannot relate to them any other way
  • Decommission the BEAST by revoking corporate charters - as the amazing folks who filed a lawsuit in Washington are currently attempting to do. (See: Dale v the UNITED STATES)
The only way to stop the BEAST’s path of global destruction is to deconstruct it: company by company, university by university, government by government and agency by agency.
After all, when put under a magnifying glass, the BEAST is just a paper construct – otherwise known as a business model.

Highly recommended film: The Corporation

CNBC Interview With David Sokol: Buffett's Lieutenant Denies Impropriety In Lubrizol Deal: "I Did Nothing Wrong"

Video - Berkshire's David Sokol on Squawk Box - Mar. 31, 2011

Sokol dropped by Squawk Box this morning and spoke with Becky Quick.


Press Release:

OMAHA, NE—This press release will be unusual. First, I will write it almost as if it were a letter. Second, it will contain two sets of facts, both about Dave Sokol, Chairman of several Berkshire subsidiaries.

Late in the day on March 28, I received a letter of resignation from Dave, delivered by his assistant. His reasons were as follows:

“As I have mentioned to you in the past, it is my goal to utilize the time remaining in my career to invest my family’s resources in such a way as to create enduring equity value and hopefully an enterprise which will provide opportunity for my descendents and funding for my philanthropic interests. I have no more detailed plan than this because my obligations from Berkshire Hathaway have been my first and only business priority.”

I had not asked for his resignation, and it came as a surprise to me. Twice before, most recently two or so years ago, Dave had talked to me of resigning. In each case he had given me the same reasons that he laid out in his Monday letter.

Both times, I and other Board members persuaded him to stay. Berkshire is far more valuable today because we were successful in those efforts. Dave’s contributions have been extraordinary. At MidAmerican, he and Greg Abel have delivered the best performance of any managers in the public utility field. At NetJets, Dave resurrected an operation that was destined for bankruptcy, absent Berkshire’s deep pockets. He has been of enormous help in the operation of Johns Manville, where he installed new management some years ago and oversaw major change.

Finally, Dave brought the idea for purchasing Lubrizol to me on either January 14 or 15. Initially, I was unimpressed, but after his report of a January 25 talk with its CEO, James Hambrick, I quickly warmed to the idea. Though the offer to purchase was entirely my decision, supported by Berkshire’s Board on March 13, it would not have occurred without Dave’s early efforts.

That brings us to our second set of facts. In our first talk about Lubrizol, Dave mentioned that he owned stock in the company. It was a passing remark and I did not ask him about the date of his purchase or the extent of his holdings.

Shortly before I left for Asia on March 19, I learned that Dave first purchased 2,300 shares of Lubrizol on December 14, which he then sold on December 21. Subsequently, on January 5, 6 and 7, he bought 96,060 shares pursuant to a 100,000-share order he had placed with a $104 per share limit price. Dave’s purchases were made before he had discussed Lubrizol with me and with no knowledge of how I might react to his idea. In addition, of course, he did not know what Lubrizol’s reaction would be if I developed an interest.

Furthermore, he knew he would have no voice in Berkshire’s decision once he suggested the idea; it would be up to me and Charlie Munger, subject to ratification by the Berkshire Board of which Dave is not a member.

As late as January 24, I sent Dave a short note indicating my skepticism about making an offer for Lubrizol and my preference for another substantial acquisition for which MidAmerican had made a bid. Only after Dave reported on the January 25 dinner conversation with James Hambrick did I get interested in the acquisition of Lubrizol.

Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful.

He has told me that they were not a factor in his decision to resign.

Dave’s letter was a total surprise to me, despite the two earlier resignation talks. I had spoken with him the previous day about various operating matters and received no hint of his intention to resign. This time, however, I did not attempt to talk him out of his decision and accepted his resignation.


SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Robbins Umeda LLP, a shareholder rights litigation firm, is investigating possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law by members of the board of directors of The Lubrizol Corporation in connection with their efforts to sell Lubrizol to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.


WSJ - Who is David Sokol?


Rumors Of Insider Trading Swirl Around Berkshire Hathaway's Deal For Lubrizol

A single block of 2,168 April $110 calls traded for $2.35 each that day, their value surging 11-fold to $24.70 yesterday. The company's common stock jumped 28% to $134.68.

"That is more than suspicious," said Ophir Gottlieb, head of client services at Livevol Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of options market analytics. "It looks like a naked purchase of calls, and that's highly suspicious if not straight insiders trading."

Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon expects inflation

Dees Illustration
Jayne O'Donnell
USA Today

U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.

The world's largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors.

Still, inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."

Why End the Fed?

A few months ago I set out with the intention of either debunking or validating the arguments against the Federal Reserve System (aka "the Fed").

I've come to the conclusion that the Fed absolutely must be abolished.


Before I explain, understand: this is an issue that transcends all partisan differences. Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, or none of the above, the very nature of the way the Fed operates will undermine your agenda. (unless your agenda is to allow your hard-earned dollars to lose value by the second ... read on)

I'd even go so far as to say that abolishing the Fed should be the primary mission of every U.S. Congressman. Without abolishing the Fed there is absolutely no point in debating philosophical differences in budgetary policy. The operations of the Fed have corrosive effects on our economy that are far more dire than the effects any spending ever could.

How is this so? Great question ...

So, Why End the Fed?

The following statements are probably going to be quite hard for you to believe, but as you'll see in a moment they are verifiably true.

1. The value of your dollar is systematically designed to fall. Inflation is, in fact, a necessary side effect of our current financial system.

If you fully grasp that statement and its natural consequences, that's really all you need to know to justify the abolition of the Fed.

Most Americans I talk to think that inflation is a natural phenomenon. As shown quite well in the video above, it's not. The price of goods and services increases when the value of your currency falls. The value of your currency only falls when you "inflate" the supply of available currency.

To help you understand why this video is so important, try the following thought exercises:

- Imagine a currency without in-built inflation. If you were to put money away for your retirement, you would not have to worry about your nest egg losing value. But because the value of your money is constantly declining, you must then gamble your money in a mostly corrupt financial market to "hedge against inflation." This is equivalent to saying "in order to keep the streets free of crime we must invest more money in criminal enterprise."

- Inflation can be interpreted - quite literally - as a "hidden tax." If more money is printed to pay for the government's out-of-control spending, you end up paying for it. How? Because your dollars are now worth less. That is, you can now buy less with the same dollar. They may as well have taxed you - or simply taken the money from you without your permission. (in effect, they did - the end result is precisely the same - only less honest)

- When the "price" of your home goes up, you may think you're gaining value, but in most cases your not. The inflationary nature of the dollar renders most increases in value illusory.

Again, if inflation were some natural phenomenon, this would simply be one of those difficult facts of life we must accept. Given that it's a man-made phenomenon, and one that benefits a very select few "insiders," we don't have to accept it.

2. Under the Federal Reserve System, money is created out of debt.

The above video may merit another viewing.

It's quite simple, but so different from the way most of us think things work that it may take another viewing for it to really sink in.

3. The only people who profit from this are the owners of the banks in the Federal Reserve System - and they do so without putting at risk any assets and without providing any real value.

When any loan in the United States is paid to a borrower, that money is created out of thin air by one of the member banks of the Federal Reserve System. That money is not backed by anything of tangible value. To help you understand this, imagine you have a friend who wants to borrow money from you. You simply print up a counterfeit bank note and "loan" that money to them. You then begin earning interest on that loan and your friend is legally in debt to you. That would be a pretty good business to be in. That is the business of banking in America.

Yes, bank loans are backed by a 10% "fractional reserve" but that reserve can be leveraged so many times that it renders the reserve requirement almost entirely meaningless.

To drive this point home, consider this: even the loans the banks make can be counted as "reserves" and thus leveraged again - ad infinitum.

And these are the banks we are led to believe require a "bail out."

4. The Federal Reserve System acts without oversight

Congress appoints the Chairman and the Board of Governors, but that is a smoke-and-mirrors power when we have no effective oversight over their actions.

Congress has not once conducted an audit of the Fed. They seem to accept on faith that the Fed is "doing it's job" but on the surface we know this simply isn't true. How? Well, one of their stated missions is to "control inflation." But how is this possible when the very way the Fed operates guarantees inflation?

(Read the last two sentences again and think about what that implies.)

The one power Congress does have over the Fed is the power to abolish it. Texas Rep. Dr. Ron Paul has introduced the Federal Reserve Abolition Act as a bill to congress on five separate occasions. On each occasion it failed to gain the support of the representatives you voted for. If you think this is the fault of "the other party," think again. Both Democrats and Republicans have failed us in this most vital of all missions.

There are a number of other reasons to abolish the Fed (see "Recommended Resources" below), but for the sake of clarity and focus, let's stop here.

What's next? Well, that's up to you ...


Ideas for Plans of Action

I'm not going to be the central point of focus for organizing a campaign to end The Fed myself (I'm far too engaged with my project at Construct Zero), but what follows could provide the groundwork for potential organizers. Maybe some of the good folks reading this will organize campaigns to make this happen ... Maybe one of those good folks is you.

1. If you want to take immediate action now, I strongly recommend supporting Dr. Ron Paul's efforts. He's the only congressman in the United States with the guts to address it. On these merits alone I believe he deserves our support for his presidential candidacy as well. Whatever else you think about which policies are required to bring peace and prosperity to our nation, almost all of it is rendered moot by the operation of the Fed.

2. The first essential step here is education. The U.S. public is in a state of extremely poor education on even the most basic principles taught in High School Civics. As the level of education in the U.S. increases, we're going to need to remain vigilant - and level-headed. Neither the ad-hominem hysterics of the TV pundits nor the emotional partisan bickering of the card-carrying party members help anything. In fact, our tendency to react to these issues with emotion makes us even more prone to manipulation. Those who want to keep the Fed in place will use that, along with your political leanings, against you in this fight.

3. One idea is to demand that any congressman you vote for support the Federal Reserve Abolition Act. (It has since been replaced by the less aggressive but equally well-intentioned "Federal Reserve Transparency Act." We may have to settle with that for now, but the Abolition Act needs a comeback. It will if enough people are informed. Do we have a choice?)

If they do not bring it to vote within 30 days of taking office (in the form of actually showing up for the vote and voting for the measure), immediately begin a campaign of impeachment for the Congressman in question.

Every time a session of congress is held without passing the Federal Reserve Abolition Act, immediately begin an impeachment campaign for the Congressmen in your district who failed to vote in the affirmative, abstained, voted "present," didn't vote, and/or blocked the vote through obstruction.

Recommended Resources:

Articles and Websites

Abolish the Fed by Dr. Ron Paul

National Debt Clock
(and FAQ about the Clock - must see)

How Money Systems Work


Documentary on How the Fed Works by the Ludwig von Mises Institute

How Inflation Works

Crash Course: Chapter 10 - Inflation
(watch the full Crash Course - highly recommended)

Rothschild Zionist Soros Poised to “Reorganize the Entire Global Economic System”

Over the last year, we have done our due diligence to show you over and over the Soros Plan for the collapse of the current system and the creation of the New World Order.

It is real, it has been very well planned out, and on April 8, 2011, George Soros will start with his plan.

Two years ago, George Soros said he wanted to reorganize the entire global economic system. In two short weeks, he is going to start – and no one seems to have noticed.

“On April 8, a group he’s funded with $50 million is holding a major economic conference and Soros’s goal for such an event is to “establish new international rules” and “reform the currency system.” It’s all according to a plan laid out in a Nov. 4, 2009, Soros op-ed calling for “a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.” The event is bringing together “more than 200 academic, business and government policy thought leaders’ to repeat the famed 1944 Bretton Woods gathering that helped create the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Soros wants a new ‘multilateral system,” or an economic system where America isn’t so dominant.

More than two-thirds of the slated speakers have direct ties to Soros. The billionaire who thinks “the main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat” is taking no chances. Thus far, this global gathering has generated less publicity than a spelling bee. And that’s with at least four journalists on the speakers list, including a managing editor for the Financial Times and editors for both Reuters and The Times. Given Soros’s warnings of what might happen without an agreement, this should be a big deal. But it’s not.

What is a big deal is that Soros is doing exactly what he wanted to do. His 2009 commentary pushed for “a new Bretton Woods conference, like the one that established the post-WWII international financial architecture.” And he had already set the wheels in motion. Just a week before that op-ed was published, Soros had founded the New York City-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the group hosting the conference set at the Mount Washington Resort, the very same hotel that hosted the first gathering. The most recent INET conference was held at Central European University, in Budapest. CEU received $206 million from Soros in 2005 and has $880 million in its endowment now, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This, too, is a gathering of Soros supporters. INET is bringing together prominent people like former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and Soros, to produce “a lot of high-quality, breakthrough thinking.” While INET claims more than 200 will attend, only 79 speakers are listed on its site – and it already looks like a Soros convention. Twenty-two are on Soros-funded INET’s board and three more are INET grantees. Nineteen are listed as contributors for another Soros operation – Project Syndicate, which calls itself “the world’s pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries” reaching “456 leading newspapers in 150 countries.” It’s financed by Soros’s Open Society Institute. That’s just the beginning.” source – MRC

Consider yourselves warned.

Grayson on Gov. Scott: "We'll all have to bend over... and cough."

Higher Tax Rates Loom for 401(k) Savers

Delaying the tax hit on retirement-plan contributions, a much vaunted benefit of 401(k)s, isn't as valuable if you face higher income-tax rates when you retire.

Yet higher tax rates are all too likely in the years ahead.

For years, the standard thinking has been that people drop to a lower tax bracket in retirement. Thus, with a 401(k), you get years of investment returns building on money that otherwise would have gone to taxes, and when your tax bill on 401(k) withdrawals comes due, you pay at a lower rate.

"For the longest time, it seemed like almost a no-brainer that people, when they were in their income-earning stage, would be in a higher tax bracket," said Marcia Wagner, principal of Boston-based Wagner Law Group, a law firm specializing in employee benefits. "That may or may not be true in the future."

While it's difficult, if not impossible, to predict how lawmakers will handle future tax rates, some say a future increase in federal income-tax rates appears inevitable.

"If you look at the federal deficit, I don't see any way the tax rate is going anywhere but up," said Jack VanDerhei, research director with the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

Smaller accounts less likely to be affected

What does that mean for 401(k) savers? If your nest egg is small, and Social Security will provide the bulk of your retirement income, you're likely to be in a lower tax rate when you retire. It may well be low enough that any changes to federal income-tax rates won't make a big difference to you.

But those with a heftier retirement account — large enough to pay an income not far below what they earned while working — may find themselves in the same tax bracket in retirement. And they may take a hit if lawmakers raise income-tax rates in the interim.

Also a factor: the amount of time you have until retirement. The longer you have, and the smaller the tax increase when you get there, the likelier it is that contributing to a 401(k) will work out to your benefit, VanDerhei said.

That's because your investments have time to grow. "The longer you're in the plan, the smaller the differential between the two [income-tax] rates, and the higher the rate of return, the more likely it is to stay in the favor of the employee to make the contributions," VanDerhei said.

But "if you're too close to retirement and the gap between the tax rates pre- and post-retirement is too large, it [may not] work out to the benefit of the employee," he said.

Another wrinkle: In retirement, distributions from tax-deferred accounts such as a 401(k) become part of your adjusted gross income, said Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University and founder of, an online retirement-planning tool.

"If you take enough money out in a given year," he said, "it can lead to higher taxes on Social Security benefits."

Don't drop your 401(k)

This isn't to suggest that you forgo your 401(k).

"The 401(k) savings vehicle is ridiculously robust and important to our retirement security, regardless of the tax ramifications," Wagner said. "It makes saving easy."

Others agree. "Even though you might have to pay a higher tax rate when you take out the money, you have earned all of the buildup in the accounts tax-free," said Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economics and director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Still, she said, higher taxes are one risk among many for 401(k) investors. Bigger risks include stock-market volatility and hidden fees.

And the current economic situation may be among the worst for people set to retire in the next few years, Ghilarducci said. Their account balances haven't yet recovered from the market downturn. Plus, they made pretax contributions when tax rates were generally low. When they're ready to pull out their money, tax rates may rise.

Given the tax-rate outlook, savers should assess ways to diversify their tax situation in retirement. That means at least considering putting a portion of the amount they save for retirement into a Roth individual retirement account — or a Roth 401(k) if one is offered by their employers.

The maximum Roth IRA contribution is $5,000 in 2011 ($6,000 if you're 50 or older), but that amount is reduced for single individuals with modified adjusted gross income of $107,000 ($169,000 for joint filers). And contributions aren't allowed at all for singles with income above $122,000 ($179,000 for couples). (There's no income limit for converting to a Roth from a traditional IRA, however.) For a 401(k) with a Roth option, your contributions are limited to the maximum for the plan over all: $16,500, or $22,000 if you're 50 or older, for 2011.

"If you think taxes are going up, it makes sense to pay your taxes when rates are low, put the aftertax amount into the Roth and take out your money tax-free when tax rates are high," said Alicia Munnell, director of Boston College's Center for Retirement Research and a professor at the school's Carroll School of Management.

Mind the tax hit

Either way, be aware that a tax bill is coming on your 401(k) savings.

"People have forgotten that they're going to owe taxes on this money," Munnell said. "It's really going to be a shock when you pull it out and you find you can only keep two-thirds."

One of Wagner's clients, when his savings reached the $1 million mark, told her that he considered himself rich, and ready for retirement.

Said Wagner: "I said, 'Listen, after taxes, this is essentially half a million bucks.'"

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Syrian President Blames Enemies With Israeli Agenda For Unrest

Radiation Found In Milk In Washington State

Brown's California Dream Snarled by Dysfunction That Felled Schwarzenegger

Will Obama bailout California later this year...


Excerpt from Bloomberg

California Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign pledge to fix perennial budget jams with his ripened political acumen failed to overcome the government dysfunctions that ensnared his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brown, a 72-year-old Democrat who was governor from 1975 to 1983, conceded yesterday he lacks Republican support for a June referendum to keep higher sales, income and vehicle taxes from expiring. Extending them five more years, he had said, was crucial to closing a $15 billion gap in his $84.6 billion budget without slashing funds for schools and public safety.

Brown, who promised after his November election to make state government “more responsive” and “coherent,” was thwarted by partisan lawmakers entrenched in gerrymandered districts, the need for a two-thirds majority vote to raise revenue, a tax structure vulnerable to economic cycles and constitutional amendments that plucked budgeting power from elected officials.

“As long as you have the structures that have been wedded into the constitution, you’re going to have a hard time governing California,” said Jaime A. Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs, a part of California State University at Los Angeles named for Jerry Brown’s father, governor from 1959 to 1967.

Without an enacted budget, the state will be unable to issue $10 billion in planned revenue anticipation notes and may have to resort to IOUs for the first time in two years to meet cash-flow needs, Standard & Poor’s said today.


Jerry Brown abandons key part of his California budget plan - Now what?

Brown announced he was willing to contemplate pension and regulatory reform and spending caps but "while we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget. In fact, they sought to worsen the state's problem by creating a $4 billion hole in the budget."

But Republicans have responded that "Governor Brown and the Dems can't have it both ways. They asked for ideas – and then complained there were too many,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party, in a statement. “They wanted specific budget solutions – and then complained there were too many details. They shout 'Let the people vote' – and then refuse to let the people vote on measures that will create jobs and bring permanent reforms to California government.”

Analysts say it was the constituencies behind both sides that were the problem.

“The unions limited the ground that Brown could give, the anti-tax GOP grassroots limited the ground that the Republicans could give, and so they could not find common ground,” says Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.


By far the best story from the Schwarzenegger era...


This clip does a humorous job of explaining California's problems...

Video: California Treasurer Bill Lockyer eats his own kind...


Video: Counterfeit Engelhard 100 Ounce Silver Bars

In Late September, 2010 we received our first of several reports of suspicious Engelhard 100oz silver bars. They were underweight, and it at first appeared that they were real Engelhard bars that were shaved (where someone would cut off a small amount from the sides of the bar). However, upon receiving a sample, it turned out not to be made of silver, and is most likely lead.


Recent stories...


Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug parent closing 240 stores

Charming Shoppes Inc., parent to Lane Bryant, says it plans to close more than 10 percent of its stores nationwide this year.

Bensalem, Pa.-based Charming Shoppes Inc. (Nasdaq:CHRS), whose holdings also include the Cacique, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes brands, said the closings will hit 240 of its 2,064 stores. About half of the stores to be shuttered will be its Fashion Bug nameplate, which has nine Phoenix-area locations, according to the company’s website.

Charming didn’t give specifics on which stores it will close, only saying they’re unprofitable. There are 17 Lane Bryant stores in the Phoenix area and seven Catherines.

The store closings were only one piece of major news the company unveiled in recent days. Charming promoted acting CEO Anthony Romano to a permanent role as president, CEO and board member, replacing James Fogarty, who resigned in October.

Romano spent eight years at Charming Shoppes early in his career, then 12 years at apparel retailer Ann Taylor Inc. He rejoined Charming in 2009 as executive vice president of global sourcing and business transformation. In October, he was promoted to chief operating officer.