Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bridgeport store owner sues church pantry for giving away free food

BRIDGEPORT -- A local store owner is suing a church-run food pantry, claiming it's hurting his business.

When Emmanuel Dieujuste opened his small store, Convenience Brand Grocery Store, at the corner of Stratford Avenue and Hewitt Street last October, he said his landlord promised he would not have any competition in the same building. But two months later, the Apostolic Ark Pentecostal Church opened its free food pantry in the storefront next door.

"Other than tobacco products, they are giving away for free everything I am selling," Dieujuste complained. "Since they opened, my business is way down."

The battle has divided the East End neighborhood. Supporters of the food pantry will hold a rally in front of it Saturday morning.

"I really don't understand the challenge this store is making," said Ted Meekins, one of the organizers of the rally. "The pantry is providing food to needy families and the store is selling food to people who can afford to pay for it. There are a number of other bodegas in the area who have no issues with the food pantry being here."

The pastor of the church, Rosie Morris, could not be reached for comment.

Kenny Jacob, who lives next door to the two establishments, said he sympathizes with both sides.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "On one side, you have a church that wants to help poor people at a time when people really need it, and on the other side is a small store owner who pays his taxes and just wants to earn a living. I support the store owner."

Another neighbor, Marjorie Lane, said the store owner is being selfish. "Not everyone has the money to buy food for their families, and I think the store owner is just thinking about himself," she said.

Dieujuste said that, in an ideal world, people who can afford to buy food do just that. But these days, he said, some people given a chance to buy a loaf of bread or get it free will choose the latter.

"I don't have any issues with giving food to the poor, I think it's a good idea," he said. "I just don't want them taking away my customers, and the pantry is doing that."

Dieujuste said that before filing the lawsuit, he tried to convince Morris to move the pantry somewhere else. "I tried talking to her, but she really didn't want to understand where I was coming from," he said. "I just want to offer a clean store in the neighborhood that sells good wholesome products."

NYT: Tim Geithner Convinced NY AG Andrew Cuomo To Back Off Wall Street Prosecutions

Editor's Note: Though Hank Paulson is not involved in this story, he remains guilty of crimes against humanity and taxpayers. Call it Daily Bail subliminal messaging, only less subliminal and more of a 'headline lead.' Paulson's crimes are outlined here.

It's long past time for jail sentences and orange jumpsuits.


Source - New York Times

It is a question asked repeatedly across America: why, in the aftermath of a financial mess that generated hundreds of billions in losses, have no high-profile participants in the disaster been prosecuted?

Answering such a question — the equivalent of determining why a dog did not bark — is anything but simple. But a private meeting in mid-October 2008 between Timothy F. Geithner, then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s attorney general at the time, illustrates the complexities of pursuing legal cases in a time of panic.

At the Fed, which oversees the nation’s largest banks, Mr. Geithner worked with the Treasury Department on a large bailout fund for the banks and led efforts to shore up the American International Group, the giant insurer. His focus: stabilizing world financial markets.

Mr. Cuomo, as a Wall Street enforcer, had been questioning banks and rating agencies aggressively for more than a year about their roles in the growing debacle, and also looking into bonuses at A.I.G.

Friendly since their days in the Clinton administration, the two met in Mr. Cuomo’s office in Lower Manhattan, steps from Wall Street and the New York Fed. According to three people briefed at the time about the meeting, Mr. Geithner expressed concern about the fragility of the financial system.

His worry, according to these people, sprang from a desire to calm markets, a goal that could be complicated by a hard-charging attorney general.

Asked whether the unusual meeting had altered his approach, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, now New York’s governor, said Wednesday evening that “Mr. Geithner never suggested that there be any lack of diligence or any slowdown.” Mr. Geithner, now the Treasury secretary, said through a spokesman that he had been focused on A.I.G. “to protect taxpayers.”

Whether prosecutors and regulators have been aggressive enough in pursuing wrongdoing is likely to long be a subject of debate. All say they have done the best they could under difficult circumstances.

But several years after the financial crisis, which was caused in large part by reckless lending and excessive risk taking by major financial institutions, no senior executives have been charged or imprisoned, and a collective government effort has not emerged. This stands in stark contrast to the failure of many savings and loan institutions in the late 1980s. In the wake of that debacle, special government task forces referred 1,100 cases to prosecutors, resulting in more than 800 bank officials going to jail. Among the best-known: Charles H. Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan in Arizona, and David Paul, of Centrust Bank in Florida.

Former prosecutors, lawyers, bankers and mortgage employees say that investigators and regulators ignored past lessons about how to crack financial fraud.

As the crisis was starting to deepen in the spring of 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation scaled back a plan to assign more field agents to investigate mortgage fraud. That summer, the Justice Department also rejected calls to create a task force devoted to mortgage-related investigations, leaving these complex cases understaffed and poorly funded, and only much later established a more general financial crimes task force.

Leading up to the financial crisis, many officials said in interviews, regulators failed in their crucial duty to compile the information that traditionally has helped build criminal cases. In effect, the same dynamic that helped enable the crisis — weak regulation — also made it harder to pursue fraud in its aftermath.

A more aggressive mind-set could have spurred far more prosecutions this time, officials involved in the S.&L. cleanup said.

“This is not some evil conspiracy of two guys sitting in a room saying we should let people create crony capitalism and steal with impunity,” said William K. Black, a professor of law at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the federal government’s director of litigation during the savings and loan crisis. “But their policies have created an exceptional criminogenic environment. There were no criminal referrals from the regulators. No fraud working groups. No national task force. There has been no effective punishment of the elites here.”

Even civil actions by the government have been limited. The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a broad guideline in 2009 — distributed within the agency but never made public — to be cautious about pushing for hefty penalties from banks that had received bailout money. The agency was concerned about taxpayer money in effect being used to pay for settlements, according to four people briefed on the policy but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

To be sure, Wall Street’s role in the crisis is complex, and cases related to mortgage securities are immensely technical. Criminal intent in particular is difficult to prove, and banks defend their actions with documents they say show they operated properly.

But legal experts point to numerous questionable activities where criminal probes might have borne fruit and possibly still could.

Investigators, they argue, could look more deeply at the failure of executives to fully disclose the scope of the risks on their books during the mortgage mania, or the amounts of questionable loans they bundled into securities sold to investors that soured.

Prosecutors also could pursue evidence that executives knowingly awarded bonuses to themselves and colleagues based on overly optimistic valuations of mortgage assets — in effect, creating illusory profits that were wiped out by subsequent losses on the same assets. And they might also investigate whether executives cashed in shares based on inside information, or misled regulators and their own boards about looming problems.

Merrill Lynch, for example, understated its risky mortgage holdings by hundreds of billions of dollars. And public comments made by Angelo R. Mozilo, the chief executive of Countrywide Financial, praising his mortgage company’s practices were at odds with derisive statements he made privately in e-mails as he sold shares; the stock subsequently fell sharply as the company’s losses became known.

Executives at Lehman Brothers assured investors in the summer of 2008 that the company’s financial position was sound, even though they appeared to have counted as assets certain holdings pledged by Lehman to other companies, according to a person briefed on that case. At Bear Stearns, the first major Wall Street player to collapse, a private litigant says evidence shows that the firm’s executives may have pocketed revenues that should have gone to investors to offset losses when complex mortgage securities soured.

But the Justice Department has decided not to pursue some of these matters — including possible criminal cases against Mr. Mozilo of Countrywide and Joseph J. Cassano, head of Financial Products at A.I.G., the business at the epicenter of that company’s collapse. Mr. Cassano’s lawyers said that documents they had given to prosecutors refuted accusations that he had misled investors or the company’s board. Mr. Mozilo’s lawyers have said he denies any wrongdoing.

Among the few exceptions so far in civil action against senior bankers is a lawsuit filed last month against top executives of Washington Mutual, the failed bank now owned byJPMorgan Chase. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued Kerry K. Killinger, the company’s former chief executive, and two other officials, accusing them of piling on risky loans to grow faster and increase their compensation. The S.E.C. also extracted a $550 million settlement from Goldman Sachs for a mortgage security the bank built, though the S.E.C. did not name executives in that case.

Representatives at the Justice Department and the S.E.C. say they are still pursuing financial crisis cases, but legal experts warn that they become more difficult as time passes.

“If you look at the last couple of years and say, ‘This is the big-ticket prosecution that came out of the crisis,’ you realize we haven’t gotten very much,” said David A. Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s consistent with what many people were worried about during the crisis, that different rules would be applied to different players. It goes to the whole perception that Wall Street was taken care of, and Main Street was not.”

Continue reading at the New York Times...

There are charts, infographics, multimedia that accompany this story.


Here's one of Geithner's crimes...

Video - Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert

At issue is Tim Geithner's criminal behavior in orchestrating the AIG bailout to favor Goldman Sachs through counterparty payouts at par, and then the massive cover-up.

Adrian Salbuchi: 12 Triggers from Globalization to World Government

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Could Face Criminal Prosecution For Role In Financial Crisis: Sen. Carl Levin

"They clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress," Levin added, announcing that he will recommend that his panel refer all of the Goldman executives who testified before the committee for criminal prosecution by the Justice Department and for sanctions by the SEC for violations of securities laws.

This is a fairly detailed and lengthy piece by Shahien Nasiripour. It is worth reading in full at its source. The only thing missing from Levin's report is a perjury recommendation for Henry Paulson who lied before Congress repeatedly during various testimony given in 2007 and 2008 - see the right column of this website to watch his lies for yourself.

Huff Po

WASHINGTON -- Goldman Sachs executives deceived clients in order to profit off the brewing financial crisis and then misled Congress when asked to explain their actions, concluded a top lawmaker who led a two-year investigation into Wall Street's role in the meltdown.

Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, will recommend that Goldman executives who testified before his panel, including chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, be referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, the Michigan Democrat announced Wednesday. Members of the subcommittee will now deliberate Levin's proposal.

A Goldman spokesman said its executives were truthful in their testimony, adding that the firm disagreed with many of the panel's conclusions.

Two and a half years after a historic crisis that has yielded not a single criminal conviction of anyone who played a leading role in causing it, the prosecution of such a high-profile Wall Street executive may satisfy the public's desire to see culprits brought to justice. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled a lawsuit it had brought against Goldman.

But the firm was just one target of a sweeping, 639-page report by the Senate panel into the causes of the crisis. Hardly a fluke occurrence, the meltdown was the product of a deeply corrupt financial system, one fueled by profit-hungry banks that deceived their clients, and overseen by lax regulators who were complicit in the firms' chronic abuse of the most fundamental rules of the game, the report concludes.

The investigation found a "financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing," Levin said.

More than any other government report produced in the wake of the crisis, this account names names, blaming specific people and institutions: Goldman Sachs, Washington Mutual, Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's, the Office of Thrift Supervision and others. It targets four types of institutions, all of which it says played key roles in causing the crisis: mortgage lenders that offered prospective homeowners booby-trapped loans; regulators that were paid by the institutions they were regulating and cooperated in widespread deception; rating agencies that gave seals of approval to products they knew to be especially risky, all in the pursuit of market share; and Wall Street banks that duped investors into buying securities that only the insiders knew were destined to go bad.

"They clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress," he added, announcing that he will recommend that his panel refer all of the Goldman executives who testified before the committee for possible criminal prosecution by the Justice Department and for sanctions by the SEC for violations of securities laws.

Continue reading...


Bloomberg on the Levin report...

Shock Employment Data: Only 46% Of Americans Have Jobs

William Black On NPR: It's A Wall Street Government

Bill Black - NPR Planet Money - April 14, 2011

Give this a listen. Runs 2 minutes.

America Is a "Failed State" with a "Dual Justice System ... One for Ordinary People and then One for People with Money and Enormous Wealth and Power"

It is now mainstream news that none of the big financial criminals have been prosecuted.

The New York Times is running an article today entitled "In financial crisis, no prosecutions of top figures", which has been picked up as the leading front-page story by MSNBC. The story even quotes Bill Black:

But their policies have created an exceptional criminogenic environment. There were no criminal referrals from the regulators. No fraud working groups. No national task force. There has been no effective punishment of the elites here.
And the chair of the Financial Crisis Commission, Phil Angelides, said today:
I think there's a great concern in this country on two fronts. One is there's a question here, do we have a dual justice system? One for ordinary people and then one for people with money and enormous wealth and power. Secondly, we need deterrents. To the extent laws were broken, we need deterrents. If someone robs a 7-11, they took $500 and they were able to settle the next day for $50 and no admission of wrongdoing, they'd knock over that 7-11 again. And we've seen time after time where people and firms have made tens, one hundreds, billions of dollars. They've settled charges for pennies on the dollar. At Citigroup for example they represented that they had $13 billion of subprime mortgage exposure when they really had $55 billion. The penalty to the chief financial officer who made $19 million that year, 2007, was $100,000. Goldman was fined $500 million but the date they settled their stock moved up $2 billion. There's been no real consequence.

Well I think there's two things here. Number one is it's up to the prosecutors to do thorough investigations. That's what we should expect. We don't want hangmen justice. We don't want vengeance, but we want thorough investigations. And if people crossed a line they ought to be prosecuted. But there were a lot of people who bellied up to the line and conducted themselves in a way without the highest standards of ethics or moral conduct that hurt the economy badly.

And I think one of the things that's most troubling to people is there seems to be very little relationship between who drove this crisis, the big financial institutions, the CEOs, regulators who didn't do their job, and the people who are paying the price, which are millions of people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their life savings.

As I've previously noted, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan and a host of other well-known financial names have called for prosecution, because the economy cannot recover until fraud is prosecuted.

But Wall Street is so thoroughly in control of both parties, Congress, the White House, and even the judiciary, that prosecutions won't happen.

No wonder Marc Faber calls the U.S. a failed state, Kenneth Rogoff says our tax systems are "Byzantine labyrinths funneling money to powerful interests", and experts on third world banana republics from the IMF and the Federal Reserve say the U.S. has become a third world banana republic.

Barry Ritholtz argues that - if the prosecutors won't do their job - we should prosecute them for nonfeasance.

Max Keiser is a tad more radical, saying that - if the criminals aren't prosecuted - we should hang the bankers. I'm not sure if it is a sign of public sentiment, but he got a big round of applause for saying that.

A Third Dr. Paul In Congress?: Dr. Robert Paul Considers Senate Run To Join Brother, Father (Video)

Video - Oklahoma City 2008 - The One-Family Freedom Machine

Ron Paul's son Robert considering a congressional run

Now a third Paul -- Robert, a doctor who runs a family medical practice in Benbrook and lives in Fort Worth -- is mulling a congressional bid of his own.

After campaigning for his father, most notably giving speeches during the elder Paul's 2008 presidential bid, Robert Paul is considering whether to jump into the race to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison when her term expires in January 2013.

"I have thought about running," Robert Paul, one of five children, told the Star-Telegram. "I am very happy as a physician, but [I] have a lot of concern about the debt."

One of the Dumbest Things I Have Ever Read About Gold

Yesterday I read an email that was forwarded to me and after reading it, I was compelled to write this blog because it contained one of the dumbest things I have ever read. Now I read many stupid things that come across this desk and usually I just trash the email, memo, article etc and move on with my day, but today the content of this email bothered me so much that I was actually compelled to write about this particularly stupid email instead of just trashing it as I normally do. Why? Because a breakdown of the content of this email will expose exactly why the criminal banking class has been able to deceive, control, and even steal money from the people without any tangible resistance for centuries now. In Egypt, after years of corruption in the government, the people finally mobilized to overthrow their dictator President Mubarak, a person that plundered the wealth of Egypt’s citizenry to build an estimated personal net worth of $40 to $70 billion. When I hear stories like this, I often wonder why the people remain so passive against huge injustices committed against them and why they don’t revolt against the equally morally-vacant leaders of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Bank of America, leaders that not only plunder and ravage the people’s wealth with equal relish but then have the gall to claim they are doing “God’s work” as they steal, lie and cheat their way to the top. I found the answer to this question in the email I opened today.

In this email, this person stated that he had often heard about claims that the gold futures market was grossly manipulated for the past 10 years but because the investment industry had always marginalized these claims through the well-known disinformation tactic of labeling the people that made these claims as “on the fringe” or as “conspiracy theorists”, he too had disregarded these claims for the past 10 years. Since this person disregarded these people’s claims for 10 years and gave no credence to the fact that the gold futures market has been grossly manipulated for decades longer, I assume that this person either read the facts that came across his desk and disregarded them entirely because the investment industry had successfully labeled the people making the factual claims as “conspiracy theorists” or he never bothered to read the facts that backed these claims. If he had, he would undoubtedly have come across some of GATA’s works, the leading “on the fringe” institution that has uncovered the most evidence of gold manipulation since 1999. Among this evidence are smoking guns of US Federal Reserve documents and other Central Bank documents that admit past schemes to manipulate gold prices. The only way one can deny the evidence of gold manipulation contained in smoking gun documents such as these is if one has been brainwashed to disbelieve any claim not backed by the “investment industry”.

In any event, this person went on to say in this email that the claims of gold manipulation that were so shady and without credibility all of a sudden have credibility in his opinion now, because Eric Sprott, “one of the world’s most respected and successful investor has made headlines as a believer in gold manipulation.” In this email, this person further commented that he used to disregard talk of gold manipulation but now that Mr. Sprott has said gold manipulation takes place, that he believes in gold manipulation. This is the most idiotic thing I have ever read and perhaps also further indictment of an institutional education system that puts zero emphasis on refining individuals’ critical thinking abilities. Now Eric Sprott IS a brilliant guy, he IS one of the most respected gold analysts in the world, and he IS right about big banks and the US government colluding to manipulate gold prices. The person that wrote the email IS also right for now believing in gold price manipulation by TPTB. However, and this is a big however, it is unequivocally idiotic for a person to change his or her fundamental belief about a market just because one person, even if the person is a vaunted expert, says it is so. What if Warren Buffet had said he believed in gold manipulation 10 years ago? Would this person have believed that gold manipulation had happened 10 years earlier just because of the opinion of one person?

In fact, the worst reason in the world to change one’s fundamental belief is because an “expert”, proven or not, tells you to believe something. And this is fundamentally the reason why people around the world have not risen up and revolted as a group against the bankers that steal and plunder their wealth. We are too used to waiting for an “expert” to tell us what to think rather than thinking for ourselves. The reason one should change one’s belief about anything is because one has been astute enough to distill the facts from lies, observant enough to separate truth from propaganda, and wise enough to determine one’s own conclusions without needing input from an authority figure to corroborate one’s opinion. What kind of world would we live in if hundreds of years ago, sailors disregarded the fact that they would see ships disappear below the horizon and thus knew that the world was round, even though the “experts” kept telling them to believe that the world was flat? And what kind of world do we live in when people can disregard the facts that have been presented for more than a decade now of gold price manipulation because the investment industry “experts” told them that the people making these claims were nutjobs?

Now I haven’t read Mr. Sprott’s reasons for why he believes that the price of gold is manipulated, and I don’t need to because I concluded a decade ago, after my own research and the research of industry pioneers such as GATA that contradicted the commercial investment industry stance, that the price of gold was undeniably manipulated. Mr. Sprott is a smart man and I’m sure Mr. Sprott would not make such a statement without have plenty of facts to support his contention. However, had the gentlemen that switched his opinion about gold manipulation merely based on Mr. Sprott’s contention ever looked at the facts compiled by the “on the fringe” element, including even my tiny contribution to the gold price suppression case, compiled over the past few decades, he would have found irrefutable evidence for many years that would have led him to the same conclusion he has arrived at today, and probably a decade earlier. Besides uncovering price movements in the gold futures markets that are virtually impossible in a free market environment, had this person merely looked at the facts presented by the “on the fringe” element, he would have discovered documented admissions from Central Bankers themselves of manipulating the gold price. However, doing so would have meant discrediting the investment industry’s attacks against the people trying to disseminate truth about gold price movements and this apparently, was an act of which this person was incapable of executing.

Anytime I read an article in which a person states that he or she has changed his opinion, not because of facts that support a change of heart, but because an expert has voiced the same thing, I am going to call this person out. No country will ever move forward and solve the Ponzi banking scheme that has been imposed upon us by the corrupt banking class under such a mentality. Everyone needs to start critically thinking for themselves if we are going to change this world for the better any time soon. Those that are in control of society through government and economics desire to instill a weak mentality among the masses where they can control us. One way they successfully accomplish this is by making us reliant on the opinions of “experts” to form our own belief systems. Why? Because they have placed many of the shills that masquerade as experts in the media in their positions of power, whether in academics, politics, religion, or in business. And by granting these “experts” the biggest bully pulpit and soapbox, they control our thoughts and make us docile to their wishes. The ratio of false experts to real experts that receive coverage in the mass media is likely to be somewhere around 100:1. Very few real experts like Mr. Sprott receive media attention and I guarantee you if Mr. Sprott made his belief about gold manipulation known 10 years ago, even though he would have been as correct as he is today, he would have been ridiculed for his belief by the investment industry back then. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we think if the opinion of one person can change our belief systems overnight.

As a further extension of this counter-intelligent and counter-productive “prophet worship” we engage in, I’m sure one of the reasons many Americans still do not own a single physical ounce of gold and silver is because investment “expert” Warren Buffet constantly denigrates gold and calls gold “useless”. Rather than thinking for themselves and researching whether owning gold has merit, the fact that Warren Buffet constantly denigrates gold is a good enough reason for many not to own gold. If Warren Buffet doesn’t own gold, why should I? And as far as silver? The fact that Warren Buffet sold his silver in 2006 is also a good enough reason for many, I’m sure, not to own any silver. In fact, Ted Butler has stated that even though Buffet bought silver around the $6 an ounce range, that Buffet probably only broke even on the approximately 130 million ounces of silver that he sold in 2006 due to an offsetting large short position on silver that Buffet also maintained at the time.

Ultimately, any investor that has decided to purchase the GLD ETF and SLV ETF as a way of exposure to silver and gold has also been likely bamboozled by the investment industry experts. The reason that the US and much of Europe is in so much trouble now is because we have put all of our faith in the so-called “experts” that aren’t really experts at all but paid-off, bribed servants of the banking-government elite. It’s time we stopped trusting the anointed “experts” of the political-banking alliance and start trusting ourselves instead.

Gold hits record, silver surges on inflation fear

(Reuters) - Gold rose 1 percent to a record and silver soared on Friday, as inflation worries amid a crude oil rally and a downgrade of Ireland's sovereign debt powered bullion to its fifth consecutive weekly gain.

Silver rose to its highest in 31 years on speculative buying and tight supplies, and as data showing rising U.S. consumer prices prompted investors to buy precious metals. Silver's outperformance over bullion sent the gold/silver ratio below 34 for the first time in nearly 30 years.

"People are buying gold and silver as a protection against inflation. If the Fed doesn't start raising rates, inflation is really going to hit hard and cripple the economy," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of sales at Heraeus Precious Metals Management.

Spot gold rose 0.9 percent to $1,485.70 an ounce by 3:28 p.m. EDT (1928 GMT), having hit a record $1,487.90. U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up $13.60 at $1,486.

Gold remained far below its all-time inflation-adjusted high, estimated at almost $2,500 an ounce set in 1980, an era of Cold War tension, oil shocks and hyperinflation.

Silver gained 1.4 percent to $42.68, notching a third straight weekly gain. The gold-to-silver ratio -- showing the relative strength between the two metals -- fell to its lowest since the early 1980s.

In the week ended April 12, speculators in U.S. gold futures and options cut their net long positions from the highest level since October, and they reduced their silver bullish bets to the lowest since February, a report by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.

The small rise in U.S. core inflation, and data showing moderation in long-term inflation expectations may be seen as vindication for Federal Reserve officials who have viewed the recent energy price spike as having a temporary effect.

"This should help to ease inflation concerns at the Fed. With food and energy cutting into consumer spending power, it's difficult for sellers of other goods and services to pass price increases through to the consumer," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

Gold prices have almost doubled since the Fed cut interest rates to the bone in 2008 in an attempt to shock the economy back to life after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

A third straight daily gain in U.S. crude oil stoked inflation worries, as improving consumer confidence and industrial production boosted the outlook for oil demand.


Gold also drew support from safe-haven bids on worries over the euro zone financial crisis, after more talk that Greece may be set to restructure its debt and a Moody's downgrade of Ireland.

"The market has been reacting to (the credit issues in peripheral Europe) by looking for ways to protect themselves from these types of risks, and gold is seen as a way to do that," Deutsche Bank analyst Daniel Brebner said.

Brebner said gold would benefit if there were another bailout in Europe and if European Union monetary policy remained accommodative because of fiscal troubles in the bloc.

Among other precious metals, platinum eased 50 cents at $1,785.99 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.4 percent to $765.22.

(Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani in Washington, Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Matt Taibbi "Justice Department Has No Appetite To Take ANY Cases Against Wall Street Executives" (Spitzer, Cooper)

Video - Anderson Cooper, Eliot Spitzer, Matt Taibbi - April 14, 2011

Discussion of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street crime. Taibbi begins at 3:00. On Attorney General Eric Holder bringing charges against Goldman Sachs:

Cooper: "Do you think the Justice Department will prosecute?"

Spitzer: "If they don't, the Attorney General should resign."

Say what you will about Spitzer, I'm glad this is finally being said on national television. The blogosphere knows Holder is useless, but it's about time the rest of America starts finding out. Bravo.


The Bernankes and Geithners should go to prison...

Awaiting the “Zero Hour” of Available Credit


04/14/11 Tampa, Florida – I watch expectantly as the national debt again nears the debt limit, and Zero Hour is just a few weeks away, a term I cleverly used to indicate that available credit will be zero. Maxed out.

I let it go at that, as I am not inebriated enough to get up on my high horse to loudly and rudely note that nobody in the corrupt government (including the Federal Reserve) apparently needs any stinking permission from anybody to do anything anymore, including any number or frauds and corruptions, to keep the government wallowing in the oceans of cash it so desperately, desperately needs to keep, you know, wallowing.

Of course, my own Zero Hour is fast approaching, too, as the pitifully few dollars that I was able to extricate from my wife’s purse without her catching me are almost gone, which turned out to be too few to get me drunk enough to do any serious pontificating about the horrors of the Federal Reserve creating so much money, so that the government can spend so much money, that creates so much inflation in prices everywhere and so much corruption everywhere, too.

I have perhaps struck a chord in Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital, who notes that “Very few people have either the time or patience to sift through the data released by the Treasury Department in the wake of its bond auctions. But the numbers do provide direct evidence of the country’s current financial condition that in many ways mirror a financial shell game that typifies our entire economy.”

And the reason is, I figure, because of the bloated, malignant nature of the economy itself, as notes, with ill-concealed horror, that “51% of the economy now depends on government spending,” while another chart, labeled, “Relative Share of Economy Prior to 1930,” shows the government’s share of the economy back then was only 12%. In 1947, a mere two years after the gigantic wartime command-economy of WWII, it was 22%.

Noticing that many of you are drifting off out of boredom, I decide to add a little drama to my presentation by using the eye-catching cinematic technique of dropping the pages of a calendar, one by one, letting them fall into a disgusting, dirty toilet, now stuffed to overflowing with old calendar pages, both as a way of indicating the passage of time and as a rude commentary on the stinking life that you have to lead, day after day, year after year, because you always need more and more money to always pay the higher and higher prices for the things you buy, thanks to the evil Federal Reserve creating so much money that price inflation is ever-present and ever-irksome, to say the least.

Fortunately, there is a point to this “falling of the calendar pages” thing other than, for some reason, a stinking, dirty toilet that is very childish of me. Then you realize that the last page of the calendar to fall was the page for yesterday, meaning that today is today, where the government’s share of the economy is a massive 51%!

And I don’t know if the Grandfather Report shows it somewhere on its massive site, but another Mogambo Economic Horror (MEH) is that 5 out of 10 – half! – of the employees in America work either for a local, state or federal government, or for the education system, or for a tax-supported private agency, or work for a non-profit organization. Half!

“So,” you may be asking yourself as I continually ask myself, “who in the hell is left to pay taxes to the government out of profits, when half of all employees in the Whole Freaking Country (WFC) make no profit at all, and who must get it from those who do earn a profit, and/or solicit charitable donations, which is, in essence, asking people to tax themselves?”

Unfortunately, I have no answer that does not involve screaming obscenities at the Federal Reserve and summarizing the horror as, “We’re Freaking Doomed (WFD)!”

Fortunately, there is an easy answer to the question, “What in the hell can we do to save our butts from the horrible inflation that is guaranteed by the massive over-creation of money by the evil Federal Reserve to feed a fat, bloated, corrupt Congress and their myriad social engineering programs that are half the economy?”

And the answer is, obviously, “Buy gold and silver under those circumstances,” as the entire history of mankind shows that they do Very, Very Well (VVW) when the morons in control of the government and/or the banks are creating excessive amounts of fiat money to attempt to bail themselves out of bankruptcy.

Since nothing can be easier than simply buying gold and silver when the money is being abused, perhaps that is why I say, “Whee! This investing stuff is easy!”

The Mogambo Guru
for The Daily Reckoning