Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Central Bankruptcy - Why QE3 is Inevitable

By Michael Pento, Senior Economist at Euro Pacific Capital
As the U.S. economy seemingly limps out of the Great Recession most analysts now assume that the Federal Reserve will soon join the tide of other central banks and bring an end to the current era of unprecedented monetary expansion. Markets expect that Fed will begin withdrawing liquidity this summer, not too long after this latest round of the quantitative easing comes to an end. But this is simply a delusion.

There are many political and economic reasons why the Fed will find it extremely difficult to absorb the liquidity that it has relentlessly pumped into the economy since the beginning of the financial crisis. But its biggest problem may be that the ammunition it carries on its balance sheet is insufficient to the task.

In order to withdraw liquidity the Fed must sell most, if not all, of the assets on its balance sheet. The questions are: what types of assets will it sell, how fast will they sell them, who will buy, and what price will the market bear?

In December 2007, before the Great Recession began the Fed had an equity ratio of around 6% on a balance sheet that totaled approximately $900 billion. The assets it held at that time were almost exclusively comprised of short term Treasury debt. This had been the norm for the vast majority of Fed history. Given the size of the Treasury market and the bankability of its short term debt, the value of such a portfolio was considered virtually bulletproof.

But beginning in late 2008, as financial institutions careened towards insolvency, the alphabet soup of Fed lending facilities (TAF, TSLF, PDCF and the CPFF just to name a few) bought all kinds of assets that the Fed never before held. Through quantitative easing efforts alone, Ben Bernanke has added $1.8 trillion of longer term GSE debt and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). (In fact, the Fed now holds more of these mortgage instruments than their entire balance sheet before the crash.) This has drastically changed the complexion of the assets it must now sell.

But as the size of the Fed's balance sheet ballooned, the dollar amount of capital held at the Fed has remained fairly constant. Today, the Fed has $52.5 billion of capital backing a $2.7 trillion balance sheet. While the size of the portfolio expanded three fold (and the quality of its assets diminished), the Fed's equity ratio plunged from 6% to just 2%. Prior to the bursting of the credit bubble, the public was shocked to learn that our biggest investment banks were levered 30 to 1. When asset values fell, those banks were quickly wiped out. But now the Fed is holding many of the same types of assets and is levered 51 to 1! If the value of their portfolio were to fall by just 2% the Fed itself would be wiped out.

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For a great primer on economics, be sure to pick up a copy of Peter Schiff's hit economic parable, How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.

John Embry: Three Reasons Why Gold is Going to Have a Big Summer

GRONINGEN - Traditionally, gold tends to take a bit of a breather during the Northern Hemisphere summer. But, there are some, like Sprott Asset Management chief investment strategist, John Embry, who believe this year might be a little different.
Speaking to’s Gold Weekly podcast, Embry said, because of what is going on at a big picture level geopolitically, gold is likely to have a big summer.
“I don’t like putting numbers and dates in the same sentence because you always make yourself look bad – but I would be very surprised if it doesn’t take out $1,650 this summer and maybe headed towards $1,800 over the next three months,” he said.
To back up the statements, Embry points to a number of macroeconomic factors that are likely to have a bearing on gold prices over the next few months.
Firstly, much of the seasonality that is traditionally associated with the metal comes from Asia where gold purchasing is strongly related to the wedding season and, in India because much of the demand traditioanlly comes from rural areas, the sowing cycle.

“People forget,” Embry said, “that the gold market is changing fairly significantly from traditional sources of demand into investment demand as an alternative to currencies… investment demand doesn’t know seasons – it buys gold because it is fearful of other assets.”
Fear is a dominant theme in another of this summer’s big economic events – the end of quantitative easing in the U.S and worries about the country reaching its constitutionally mandated debt ceiling.
Embry says, these two  events are likely to have a significant impact on the gold price, especially given the recent data that suggests, the U.S. economy could begin to recede once more.
“If you want to withdraw enormous amounts of stimulus by cutting the deficit dramatically at this point, or if QE2 actually marks the end of quantitative easing there’s no question that the United States’ interests rates are going to go up dramatically because from the numbers I look at, the Federal Reserve has been buying the vast majority of the all the treasuries that have been coming into the market.”
“In my opinion we have reached the point of no return.  We are either going to take a collapse in the dollar or a collapse in the economy depending on which direction they take.  The idea that they can return to normalcy in my opinion is out of the question at this point.  They are way too far off line.”
The third reason for gold’s likely strong performance comes from Europe. “There are an enormous number of problems in Europe, just as there are in United States and to me the conclusion one should arrive at is neither of these currencies are attractive and that to me is one of the underlying factors why I am so bullish on the gold price,” he says.
” I look at the Greece situation and I see absolutely no way out that’s palatable to the euro and the European banks or what have you that hold a lot of this paper.  In some way the Greeks cannot afford to carry the debt load they’ve have got and somehow that’s going to have to be addressed.”
Beyond the summer, Embry continues to remain positive on the outlook for precious metals, but he does caution that it can never be only way traffic.
“You are always going to have corrections and there are people who are in this market who are using leverage that had better be careful because the corrections can be quick and violent.  But having said that, for you to say that the bull market in gold is over is essentially by saying that we are going to re-establish paper currency as viable and I don’t think that’s going to happen – I am of the mind that before this whole mess is ended we are going to have a new monetary system and as we make our way towards that, gold and silver will be refuges.”

India inflation rate rises more than expected

Indian inflation rose faster than expected in May, raising expectations of a further interest rate rise.
The wholesale price index rose by an annual rate of 9.06%, up from the April figure of 8.66%.
The rise was driven partly by an increase in the price of manufactured goods, with the rate of food and fuel inflation both falling.
The Indian central bank will announce its next decision on interest rates on Thursday.
Analysts had expected a smaller rise in inflation as some global fuel and commodity costs fell in May.
Annual fuel inflation in May remained high, but fell to 12.32% from 13.32% in April.
This occurred despite increases in petrol prices by Indian refiners in the middle of May.
But the growth in costs of manufactured goods - a key component of India's wholesale price index - accelerated to 7.27% from 6.18% in April.
"The big surprise is mainly because of the sharp increase in manufacturing prices," said Nomura economist Sonal Varma.
It means "core" inflation, which strips out the impact of changing global commodity costs on domestic prices, may be increasing.
Food inflation eased to 8.37% in May, from 8.71% in April.
Rate rise Analysts say the figures make it more likely that the Reserve Bank of India will increase rates.
"This cements the case for a 25 basis points rate hike on Thursday," added Mr Varma.
It would be the 10th rate increase since 2010.
In May, the Reserve Bank of India raised the rate at which it lends to commercial banks to 7.25% from 6.75%.
Further rate rises may be limited by concerns over economic growth.
The country's economy grew by 7.8% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, according to government figures.
It was the slowest pace of growth in five quarters.
For the financial year to March, the economy grew by 8.5%, which was lower than the government's forecast of 8.6%.
Inflation is a particular concern in the fast-growing economies of Asia.
In China, the consumer price index rose by 5.5% in May reaching a 34-month high, as food and commodity prices continued to rise.

Is the ECB Solvent?

The solvency of the European Central Bank is being called into question by some brilliant in-depth research from This independent think tank believes “the EU must now embrace radical reform based on economic liberalisation, a looser and more flexible structure, and greater transparency and accountability” in order for the “EU’s over-loaded institutions, held in low regard by Europe’s citizens” to meet “the pressing challenges of weak economic growth, rising global competition, insecurity and a looming demographic crisis”.
The press release announcing the report, which is entitled “A HOUSE BUILT ON SAND? - The ECB and the hidden cost of saving the euro”, succinctly summarizes several key points which I quote below.  My comments in italics are bracketed:
  • “In parallel with the IMF’s and EU’s multi-billion euro interventions, the ECB has engaged in its own bail-out operation, providing cheap credit to insolvent banks and propping up struggling eurozone governments, despite this being against its own rules. The ECB is ultimately underwritten by taxpayers, which means that there is a hidden – and potentially huge – cost of the eurozone crisis to taxpayers buried in the ECB’s books.” [emphasis added]

  • “As a result, the ECB’s balance sheet is now looking increasingly vulnerable. We estimate that the ECB has exposure to struggling eurozone economies (the so-called PIIGS) of around €444bn – an amount roughly equivalent to the GDP of Finland and Austria combined. Although not all these assets and loans are ‘bad’, many of them could result in serious losses for the ECB should the eurozone crisis continue to deteriorate. Critically, struggling banks in insolvent countries have been allowed to shift risky assets away from their own balance sheets and onto the ECB’s (all the while receiving ECB loans in return). Many of these assets are extremely difficult to value.” [but in all likelihood are worth far less than the carrying value at which they are booked on the ECB’s balance sheet]

  • “Overall, the ECB is now leveraged around 23 to 24 times, with only €82bn in capital and reserves…This means that should the ECB see its assets fall by just 4.25% in value, from booking losses on its loans or purchases of government debt, its entire capital base would be wiped out.” [The ECB is over-leveraged just like the sovereign debtors whose interests it is serving by bailing them out.]

  • “Hefty losses for the ECB are no longer a remote risk, with Greece likely to default within the next few years [Open Europe is being exceptionally optimistic; “months” or even “weeks” for a formal default to occur are real possibilities, but for all practical purposes, Greece has already defaulted because it does not have the capacity – nor probably the will – to repay its debts.] – even if it gets a fresh bail-out package from the EU and IMF – which would also bring down the country’s banks. We estimate that the ECB has taken on around €190bn in Greek assets [more than twice the ECB’s capital base] by propping up the Greek state and banks. Should Greece restructure half of its debt – which is needed to bring down the country’s debt to sustainable levels – the ECB is set to face losses of between €44.5bn and €65.8bn on the government bonds it has purchased and the collateral it is holding from Greek banks. This is equal to between 2.35% and 3.47% of assets, meaning it comes close to wiping out the ECB’s capital base.” [Again, Open Europe is being overly generous by assuming only one-half of Greece’s debt is restructured.  After all, both halves are equally bad.]

  • “A loss of this magnitude would effectively leave the ECB insolvent and in need of recapitalisation. It would then have to either start printing money [The ECB is nothing but a money-printing organization, so in reality, it would need to print more money than it is already printing] to cover the losses or ask eurozone governments to send it more cash (via a capital call to national central banks). [This capital call could be made in terms of euros, which the national central banks would need to borrow or print, but it could also be made in terms of gold.  Whether the national central banks would be willing to transfer to the ECB some or all of their remaining gold reserves – for those banks that have any – remains to be seen.]  The first option would lead to inflation, which is unacceptable in Germany [as well of course to people throughout the EU], while the second option amounts to another fully fledged bail-out, with taxpayers facing upfront costs (rather than loan guarantees as in the government eurozone bail-outs).”

  • “The ECB’s actions during the financial crisis have not only weighed heavily on its balance sheet, but also its credibility.” [Its credibility has already been largely lost. That happened last May when the ECB bent to the will of politicians ‘solving’ the then brewing Greek crisis and forced the ECB to break its own rules and buy Greek sovereign debt. The ECB has continued down this path to ruin by buying the debt of other over-leveraged sovereigns burdened by their debts.]
For all practical purposes, the ECB is insolvent. Its doors remain open simply because it is using the well-worn accounting trickery of all insolvent banks.  Most people cannot recognize when a bank becomes insolvent if it doesn’t write-down its assets to their real value and reports those write-downs in its financial accounts. The bank and its directors thus operate recklessly because the impaired assets are greater than the insolvent bank’s capital. The insolvency only becomes obvious when the bank goes out of business, which is a truism made observable by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  In other words, growing in early 2008 from a few short sellers and those customers who withdrew their money from Lehman, the market increasingly recognized that Lehman was insolvent even though its balance sheet didn’t show it, sending Lehman’s share price into a death spiral as the awareness of its insolvency grew. This report from Open Europe is now causing people to look at the ECB’s balance sheet and available facts, and therefore forcing them to draw conclusions about whether the ECB is solvent.
Lest you come away from reading the above by concluding that the problem is Europe’s, ponder the following.
An article in this week’s issue of Barron’s about the Open Europe report says: “The U.S. Federal Reserve sports leverage double the ECB's, at more than 50 times, but its holdings of U.S. Treasuries are higher-quality than PIIGS debt.” This comment blithely ignores the fact that US Treasury debt instruments comprise only 55% of the Federal Reserve’s assets, and further, that US Treasury debt is no more likely to be repaid than that of other over-leveraged sovereigns.
Thus, there is only one logical conclusion.  Much of the debt overhanging the globe will never be repaid. Because a large portion of this debt is the principal asset backing national currencies today, these currencies have been debased. It is debasement just like that by corrupt and autocratic kings and emperors of yore that we read about in monetary history, who cheated the citizenry by mixing lead or other base metals into coins to replace their gold and silver content. But today the debasement of fiat currency arises from the unrepayable loans of over-leveraged sovereigns run by corrupt and autocratic bureaucrats and politicians and of course their hand-maiden, central bankers, which succinctly highlights a theme I have made repeatedly. Central banks are a barbarous relic.
by James Turk,
June 14th, 2011

Is Gold in Fort Knox Real? Ron Paul Wants to Know

Are the gold bars in Fort Knox really made of the precious metal? Or has the U.S. government secretly sold off the nation's stockpile and replaced it with metal bars that are only painted gold?
Ron Paul (R)

Ron Paul wants to find out.
Giving legitimacy to an Internet conspiracy theory that the gold in Fort Knox is fake, the iconoclast Republican congressman from Texas has asked adminstration officials to audit the purity of the nation's 700,000 gold bars held in Fort Knox, according to an internal Treasury document obtained by CNBC. Paul, a presidential candidate who chairs the House's subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, had previously called for the U.S. gold reserve to be counted and for a return to the gold standard. He now appears to be going a step further in his request that representatives from the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Mint testify at a subcommittee hearing on June 23 about the authenticity of the nation's gold.
The Treasury document says it would cost about $15 million to conduct an audit. The process would take about 30 minutes to verify the gold content of each bar, or 350,000 man hours; to do that would would take 400 people working for six months, according to the document. The Mint is audited annually by the Treasury's Office of the Inspector General. An audit of the "Schedule of Custodial Deep Storage Gold and Silver Reserves" was published in September 2010.
A Google [GOOG  508.37    3.64  (+0.72%)   ] search of the phrase "Is the gold in Fort Knox fake" returns 623,000 results. Many of them reference a single, unverified report in 2009 that the Chinese received a fake shipment gold that, in fact, was tungsten.
One conspiracy theory says that no one has actually seen the gold since the 1930s. But in a letter to Paul in September, the Treasury Inspector General said he had "personally observed the gold reserves located in each of the deep storage compartments."
As a postscript to the story, CNBC asked for a tour of Fort Knox to film the gold, since our only footage of Fort Knox is from 1974. An official at the Mint told us that not he was not aware that any member of Congress had toured the facility since that year. Fort Knox is "a closed facility," the official said.
And so the conspiracy theory continues...

Ohio Couple Held By TSA; Miss Flight & Honeymoon Cruise

When you tie the knot, one of the most exciting things is planning your honeymoon.

Mike and Kim Miranda planned to embark on a cruise for their honeymoon. They planned to fly from Columbus to Florida after their wedding, where they would catch their cruise ship.

The newlyweds said they looked at the Transportation Security Administration web site the night before their flight and packed according to the rules and regulations.

They arrived at Port Columbus International Airport approximately an hour and 15 minutes before their scheduled flight. The couple waited in line at the security checkpoint, but was pulled aside by the TSA for a bottle of contact solution they had packed in their carry-on bag.

The couple told NBC4 that they were detained for 30 to 45 minutes while TSA brought in staff and equipment to test the solution.

The contact solution was later deemed safe and the couple was told they could go on their travels.


PIMCO's Bill Gross: "The U.S. National Debt Is $100 Trillion, We Are In Worse Financial Shape Than Greece" (Video)

CNBC Video - Bill Gross on the U.S. Fiscal Nightmare - June 13, 2011
When adding in all of the money owed to cover future liabilities in entitlement programs the US is actually in worse financial shape than Greece and other debt-laden European countries, Pimco's Bill Gross told CNBC Monday.
Much of the public focus is on the nation's public debt, which is $14.3 trillion. But that doesn't include money guaranteed for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which comes to close to $50 trillion, according to government figures.
The government also is on the hook for other debts such as the programs related to the bailout of the financial system following the crisis of 2008 and 2009, government figures show.
Taken together, Gross puts the total at "nearly $100 trillion," that while perhaps a bit on the high side, places the country in a highly unenviable fiscal position that he said won't find a solution overnight.
  • "We've always wondered who will buy Treasurys" after the Federal Reserve purchases the last of its $600 billion to end the second leg of its quantitative easing program later this month, Gross said. "It's certainly not Pimco and it's probably not the bond funds of the world."
  • "To think that we can reduce that within the space of a year or two is not a realistic assumption.  That's much more than Greece, that's much more than almost any other developed country.  We've got a problem and we have to get after it quickly."
Read more at CNBC...

Debt crisis could trigger economic meltdown: Obama

© AFP/File Saul Loeb

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Delay in raising the US debt ceiling could reverse the fledgling recovery and trigger a new economic meltdown, US President Barack Obama said in a interview broadcast on Tuesday.

"We could actually have a reprise of a financial crisis, if we play this too close to the line," Obama told NBC television's "Today Show" program.

"We're going be working hard over the next month. My expectation is we're going get it done in a sensible way. That's what the American people expect."

Obama and congressional Republicans have been engaged in heated wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, with the GOP demanding deep cuts in exchange for any deal to raise the spending limit.

The United States government is edging perilously close to an August 2nd date by which the federal government must increase its debt limit to borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

If no agreement between the two sides is reached, the government risks defaulting on its obligations, an outcome that economists have said could have dire consequences.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that he has found stopgap ways to continue government operation for another couple of months before the government defaults on its obligations.

"I take the Republican leadership at their word when they say it would be disastrous for us to not increase the debt limit," Obama said.

"I do not want to see the United States default on our obligations."

The president added: "The full faith and credit of the United States is the underpinning not only of our way of life, it's also the underpinning of a global financial system," Obama told NBC.

The current debt ceiling, reached last month, stands at some $14.3 trillion.

© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license

NY Appellate Division | Bank of NY v Silverberg - MERS Does NOT Have The Right to Foreclose on a Mortgage in Default or Assign That Right to Anyone Else

Appeals Court Clarifies MERS Role in Foreclosures

The ubiquitous Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, nominal holder of millions of mortgages, does not have the right to foreclose on a mortgage in default or assign that right to anyone else if it does not hold the underlying promissory note, the Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled Friday. "This Court is mindful of the impact that this decision may have on the mortgage industry in New York, and perhaps the nation," Justice John M. Leventhal wrote for a unanimous panel in Bank of New York v. Silverberg, 17464/08. "Nonetheless, the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property." The opinion noted that MERS is involved in about 60 percent of the mortgages originated in the United States.
From the ruling...
(Emphasis added by 4F)
Decided on June 7, 2011
(Index No. 17464-08)
[*1]Bank of New York, etc., respondent,
Stephen Silverberg, et al., appellants, et al., defendants.
LEVENTHAL, J.This matter involves the enforcement of the rules that govern real property and whether such rules should be bent to accommodate a system that has taken on a life of its own. The issue presented on this appeal is whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party's assignor—in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS) —was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes. We answer this question in the negative.
On appeal, the defendants argue that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue because it did not own the notes and mortgages at the time it commenced the foreclosure action. Specifically, the defendants contend that neither MERS nor Countrywide ever transferred or endorsed the notes described in the consolidation agreement to the plaintiff, as required by the Uniform Commercial Code. Moreover, the defendants assert that the mortgages were never properly assigned to the plaintiff because MERS, as nominee for Countrywide, did not have the authority to effectuate an assignment of the mortgages. The defendants further assert that the mortgages and notes were bifurcated, rendering the mortgages unenforceable and foreclosure impossible, and that because of such bifurcation, MERS never had an assignable interest in the notes. The defendants also contend [*3]that the Supreme Court erred in considering the corrected assignment of mortgage because it was not authenticated by someone with personal knowledge of how and when it was created, and was improperly submitted in opposition to the motion.
Here, the consolidation agreement purported to merge the two prior notes and mortgages into one loan obligation. Countrywide, as noted above, was not a party to the consolidation agreement. " Either a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action is sufficient to transfer the obligation, and the mortgage passes with the debt as an inseparable incident'"
Therefore, assuming that the consolidation agreement transformed MERS into a mortgagee for the purpose of recording—even though it never loaned any money, never had a right to receive payment of the loan, and never had a right to foreclose on the property upon a default in payment—the consolidation agreement did not give MERS title to the note, nor does the record show that the note was physically delivered to MERS. Indeed, the consolidation agreement defines "Note Holder," rather than the mortgagee, as the "Lender or anyone who succeeds to Lender's right under the Agreement and who is entitled to receive the payments under the Agreement." Hence, the plaintiff, which merely stepped into the shoes of MERS, its assignor, and gained only that to which its assignor was entitled (see Matter of International Ribbon Mills [Arjan Ribbons], 36 NY2d 121, 126; see also UCC 3-201 ["(t)ransfer of an instrument vests in the transferee such rights as the transferor has therein"]), did not acquire the power to foreclose by way of the corrected assignment.
In sum, because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the corrected assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose. MERS purportedly holds approximately 60 million mortgage loans (see Michael Powell & Gretchen Morgenson, MERS? It May Have Swallowed Your Loan, New York Times, March 5, 2011), and is involved in the origination of approximately 60% of all mortgage loans in the United States (see Peterson at 1362; Kate Berry, Foreclosures Turn Up Heat on MERS, Am. [*6]Banker, July 10, 2007, at 1). This Court is mindful of the impact that this decision may have on the mortgage industry in New York, and perhaps the nation. Nonetheless, the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property. Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted the defendants' motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a) (3) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them for lack of standing. Thus, the order is reversed, on the law, and the motion of the defendants Stephen Silverberg and Fredrica Silverberg pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(3) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them for lack of standing is granted.
FLORIO, J.P., DICKERSON, and BELEN, JJ., concur.
ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law, with costs, and the motion of the defendants Stephen Silverberg and Fredrica Silverberg pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(3) to dismiss the complaint insofar as asserted against them for lack of standing is granted.
Full opinion below...
It is well worth the read...


The American Revolution Begins With The Kick Off Of Operation Empire State Rebellion – Activists Take Over Liberty Park

The American Revolution Begins With The Kick Off Of Operation Empire State Rebellion – Activists Will Occupy Liberty Park In New York’s Financial District Until Demands Are Met.

Activists to Occupy Financial District’s Liberty Park Until Demands Are Met – Operation Empire State Rebellion Begins

Operation Empire State Rebellion Beings As Activists Take Over Liberty Park In The New York Financial District
Operation Empire State Rebellion Beings As Activists Take Over Liberty Park In The New York Financial District
On June 14th at 1pm EST, a group of activists will begin occupation of Liberty Park (recently renamed Zuccotti Park) in lower Manhattan’s Financial District, a few blocks from Wall Street (14971 Broadway, 10007). A Google Map featuring the event states the following:

“This Flag Day, Tuesday June 14th, we will launch a non-violent movement with this list of demands:
* End the campaign finance and lobbying racket
* Break up the Fed & Too Big to Fail banks
* Enforce RICO laws against organized criminal class
* Order Ben Bernanke to step down”
Gary Roland, an organizer of the action, says they will occupy the park “indefinitely, to express non-violent dissent to the further consolidation of wealth into the hands of international corporations by the corrupted two-party oligarchy. This is a non-violent action that seeks to express dissent and raise awareness of the failures of our current political discourse, until our demands are satisfied.”
This action is in solidarity with a decentralized movement that is rallying around the above list of demands. There are public protests taking place in at least 22 other cities on June 14th to help launch this movement. A call to action states the following:
Acts of Resistance: What Are You Going To Do On June 14th to Rebel Against Economic Tyranny?
The big banks have sold us out.
Democrats and Republicans have sold us out.
No one is defending our interests.
Our future is going up in flames.
It’s time for us to stand up and defend ourselves.
Trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity by the big banks on Wall Street caused our current economic crisis. Paid off politicians from both parties, along with secret deals made by the Federal Reserve, gave trillions of taxpayer dollars and subsidies to the very people who caused our crisis. After taking our tax dollars, they had the audacity to give themselves all-time recording-breaking bonuses and consolidate wealth in unprecedented fashion within the economic top 0.01% of the population.
While a record number of Americans are currently living in poverty and on food stamps; while millions of American families have been foreclosed upon; while health care, food and gas costs are skyrocketing; while over 200 million Americans are living paycheck to paycheck struggling to make ends meet, the super-wealthy have never had it better. We now have the most severe inequality of wealth in American history. The depravity of the Robber Barons has been outdone.
As their current policies prove, economic central planners have become so arrogant and tyrannical in their shortsighted greed. They think we are an ignorant and apathetic population that they can continue to exploit without fear of rebellion.
We are finally declaring that we have had enough. We will not remain passive while global banking interests destroy our future. We know the systemic causes of our current crisis and we are going to strike at the root.
On this Flag Day, June 14th, Operation Empire State Rebellion (#OpESR) will launch. #OpESR is a decentralized non-violent resistance movement to end the system of political bribery (campaign finance and lobbying) and break up the big banks centered at the Federal Reserve.
To coincide with the launch of this movement, people have begun organizing acts of resistance throughout the US. We are calling upon you to take an action of your own. Whether it’s taking part in a local public protest, withdrawing your money from one of the big six banks, starting a community group or passing out fliers. Anything you can do to rebel against the system of economic tyranny in a non-violent manner is welcome.
As a first step, please join the actions against the banks in one of the cities shown here, or use the ‘schedule an action’ tool to create your own.”
Operation Empire State Rebellion Engaged: Ctrl+Alt+Bernanke
As one of the forces behind this movement, Anonymous has just released a new video announcing the launch of Operation Empire State Rebellion, which calls for the resignation of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. They have also called for public protests beginning on June 14th, continuing “until Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down.” To make their case, they have presented a list of recent scandalous Federal Reserve actions. Here is the video (full video transcript can be found on Zero Hedge.)

This movement has inspired and united supporters from across a broad range of political opinion. Here are a few links:
AmpedStatus: June 14th Economic Rebellion Update – This Is What Decentralized Resistance Looks Like
Lee Camp: Fight the Banks On June 14th
Washington’s Blog: Rebelling Against Economic Tyranny on June 14th: If We’re Going to Save America Through Non-Violent Protests, Now Is the Time
The Sons of Liberty: Leaderless Resistance – Don’t Tread On Me
Charles Hugh Smith: The Necessity of Resisting Financial Tyranny On June 14th and Beyond
AnonymoUS: On Liberty: An American’s Perspective of Freedom, Tyranny, and Responsibility – The 2nd American Revolution Can Begin June 14th
Max Keiser featured in musical call to action: Global Insurrection Against Banker Occupation
Tyler Durden: Ctrl+Alt+Bernanke: Operation Empire State Rebellion Resumes Attack On Fed Chairman
Additional Information
Partial list of June 14th public protest locations:
Chicago, Illinois
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Detroit, Michigan
Eugene, OR
Flint, Michigan
Fort Worth, TX
Houston, TX
Jupiter, FL
Lake Forest, Orange County, CA
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
New York, NY
Oklahoma City, OK
Pasadena, MD
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
Toronto, Ontario
Vancouver, British Columbia
Washington DC
Note: For further information concerning actions in these cities visit:
Social Media:
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Treasury whines about cost of Ron Paul's proposed Fort Knox audit

Fort Knox Wiki Image
W.C. Varones

The Treasury document says it would cost about $15 million to conduct an audit. The process would take about 30 minutes to verify the gold content of each bar, or 350,000 man hours; to do that would would take 400 people working for six months, according to the document.
$15 million??? Are you kidding me??? The Fed is printing $104 million a day. That's less than nine minutes of Fed printing. The Federal government spends $3.5 trillion a year. $15 million is less than a minute and a half of government spending. Obama's Porkulus was $800 billion. $15 million is less than 0.002% of Porkulus.

And 400 people working for six months sounds like shovel-ready jobs to me. Wasn't the Obama Administration for stimulus before they were against it?

In Gaza, Young Palestinians Lead a Global Movement

On a warm, sunny afternoon, I met Eman Sourani and Rana Baker in an airy outdoor café several blocks from the port of Gaza. Both are members of the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI). Sourani, a 22-year-old English literature student at Al-Aqsa University, cofounded the group after Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, while Baker, a 19-year-old blogger and a business administration student at the Islamic University of Gaza, joined it during Israeli Apartheid Week, a global event in March 2011.
PSCABI is the student arm of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), itself part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee. Since its July 2005 founding by Palestinian organizations from Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, and the diaspora, BDS has grown into a formidable global movement with an impressive record of victories.
In the last month alone, the University and College Union (UCU) and the University of London Union (ULU), respectively the largest academic labor union in the United Kingdom and the largest student union in Europe, voted to support it and sever their ties with Israeli institutions; UK Prime Minister David Cameron quietly resigned his post as Honorary Chairman of the Jewish National Fund, implicated in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian lands; students at the United States’ DePaul University voted by a nearly 80% margin (although without reaching the necessary quorum) to remove Sabra hummus, linked to the Israeli military, from their campus; the French-Belgian bank Dexia announced the impending sale of its Israeli subsidiary, “even at a loss;” and musicians Andy McKee and Marc Almond cancelled appearances in Israel.
Although not all acknowledged the role of the campaign in their decisions, each was a target of it. Meanwhile, battles rage against the US pension fund TIAA-CREF; Israeli national institutions like the Histadrut and State of Israel Bonds; the Israeli produce exporter Carmel Agrexco; the French construction firms Alstom and Derail Veolia; the beauty suppliers Ahava, Estee Lauder, L’Oréal, and Seacret Dead Sea; and dozens of other institutions complicit in Israeli crimes, as well as performers like Paul Simon and Jello Biafra, who plan to violate the cultural boycott by playing Tel Aviv.
“Even some South Africans like Desmond Tutu have said that what they did in thirty years, the Palestinians did in three,” Sourani told me over tea. “The boycott is a lesson of the success of the South Africans. And why not? Nothing is imposible. When people hear that Palestinians are doing something like this, that we are taking action, they believe in the idea and the issue much more.”
Baker agreed with her about the importance of South Africa. “We like to address apartheid,” she said. “We like to use this word, because it really emphasizes what is happening. Of course we have the apartheid wall. We have the checkpoints like they had in South Africa. What does an apartheid wall represent but apartheid? What else do checkpoints represent?”
“We think that BDS is a very effective way to resist Israel,” Baker continued. “Why? Because the pillars of BDS represents all Palestinians. The core issues of the Palestinian cause are the right to return, the ending of the occupation, and equality between Palestinians and Jews within the Israeli state or borders. So we think that being a real Palestinian-led movement that represents all Palestinians is very important. And this makes it able to grow, makes it able to expand within each and every cause. It represents every Palestinian in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Israel, and in the diáspora. BDS is established on those pillars. And the most important pillar, in my opinion, is the right to return. This movement, the march of return, is also a powerful campaign to make people understand that we have not forgotten our right to return. When Ben-Gurion said that old would die and the young forget, he was totally mistaken! Of course the old will die, but they have children, they have grandchildren, and we will never forget. We are Palestinian.”
”We have Palestinian identity, and Palestinian identity is a great responsibility,” Sourani added. “So we have to act. We have to fight Zionism. We have to be aware of what is going on, because being aware means that we are alive. It gives meaning to our lives. I myself give the definition that life is politics here in Gaza. It is all of what we live.”
How does PSCABI fight Zionism, I asked? “We as youth and students address youth and students about the academic boycott, and connect it with the cultural boycott,” Sourani answered. “We make videos to send to universities and have video conferences with them. We just tell people that we are here. You should know about Gaza, and you should know about Israel and the reality of its apartheid. Some of our biggest successes are the University of Johannesburg boycotting Ben Gurion University, or the biggest student union in London refusing to deal with Israel.”
“We also write letters to celebrities who are going to perform in Israel, asking them not to entertain apartheid, and we are actually succeeding in this,” said Baker. “Many, many of them have been stopped from performing in Israel, and some actually became BDS advocates.”
How do they work with BDS activists elsewhere? “I think is important that we talk with them, that we have a discussion about BDS here and BDS there,” said Baker.” We want to see what they do there and learn from them, and they might also see what we do and learn from us. So we can share our experiences in BDS, our stories, and they can use our stories and spread them out to gain more support for BDS.”
“The young Palestinians nowadays are very creative, in writing, blogging, video making; many, many things,” said Sourani. “I am very proud of my generation. They are so creative, really. I meet and talk to anyone who does anything: maybe blogging, a site, a Facebook account, a Twitter. Youth everywhere are doing fantastic things. They just need to be linked with Palestinians ourselves.”
“We want more links with people outside,” said Baker. “We want more actions and more communication. The more you communicate with people, the more the idea becomes big and it grows. And BDS is growing. Citizens, and students, and young, and old, are engaging themselves in BDS, outside and inside and everywhere. It is actually, in its core, a popular struggle, and it is civil resistance.”
What do they ask of outsiders? “The important thing is that they take action,” Sourani replied. “This is what we are looking for. We don’t look for passion, we don’t look for tears, we don’t look for romantic speech. We just look for actions. Whatever small action you can take is something beautiful. This is the basis of BDS, that we don’t wait for talk.”
“Let’s mention here the the recent action taken by people in the United States diring the AIPAC speech,” said Baker. “I think this was really effective, when young students stood up and spoke out for Palestine, students who had no relation to Palestinian identity, except that they understood the issue, they understood what is right and what is wrong, and they took action. Even if they knew that they might be harmed, or might get fired from somewhere. We think that this is really important, and this is a success for BDS.”
“An important thing we do at the end of every video conference is to give them a request: Come to Gaza,” said Sourani. “People will not act before understanding. You can come, live with us, and see how students can’t get get books, how students can’t get scholarships abroad, how students would die to go, but have nightmares about Rafah Border before going to London, for example. We can’t go to places in our own country! We can’t study, for example, in Bethlehem, in Ramallah, in Najah University. I actually was planning for that, but of course it is imposible.
“This is about human rights and international law, how the world Works,” she added. “As you live there peacefully, Palestinians have the right to live. The rights your students have to move, to learn, to travel everywhere, to get scholarships, we also need. So we need people to understand, to study the issue, and to act. This is what we are doing.”
And other Palestinians? “I want all Palestinians, not only us in BDS, to engage in boycotting Israel,” Baker replied. “I want all of them to become politically aware. And this is also something we work on in BDS. We don’t just discuss BDS in the meetings of our core group. We talk about it in our universities. We invite people to our events. In the future, we really hope that each and every Palestinian becomes aware of BDS, and implements BDS so that it becomes a part of his or her life.
“We also like to participate in events that are held worldwide, like Israeli Apartheid Week,” she said. “We had one here this year, and it was really successful. We try talk to many academics and important activists, like Ilan Pappé and Ramzy Baroud. It’s really good how many people here want to know about BDS. They really want to listen.”
“The amazing thing about PSCABI is that all the political blocs here support it and agree on the academic boycott,” added Sourani.
What else, I asked in closing? “We want people to know that we’re not dying of hunger,” said Baker. “We’re not begging. We’re not shedding tears. We’re taking action on our own behalf. We’re trying to raise awareness, to link people, to make them understand and make them more involved in independent political groups that are peacefully resisting Israel and the occupation.”
“BDS is a Palestinian voice,” said Sourani. “This is what people need to hear, to listen to everywhere. We refuse occupation. I’m proud of doing this work. I’m a Palestinian; I’m not silent. That is the idea.
“I don’t want peace before justice. I’m looking for justice. And justice means the end of apartheid, the end of racism, and the end of occupation. So I need justice first, and then, when we are all equal people, we will look for peace.”

Good Will Hunting Got It Right

Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.... that's a tough one. But I'll take a shot.
Say I'm working at N.S.A. and somebody puts a code on my desk, something no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East, and once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hidin'- fifteen hundred people that I never met, never had no problem with get killed.
Now the politicians are sayin', oh, "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot, just like it wasn't them when their number got called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie over there, takin' shrapnel in the ass; he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks.
Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price, and of course the oil companies use the little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices- a cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, o' course, maybe they even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis an' fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs; it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic.
So now my buddy's outta work, he can't afford to drive, so he's walkin' to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids, and meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State.
So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure fuck it, while I'm at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected President.

Obama Admits Massive Stimulus Was A Failure: "Shovel-Ready Was Not as Shovel-Ready as We Expected" (VIDEO)


It was explained to Obama that the permitting process can delay projects for "months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges." At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, "Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected." The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.
"He's a couple of years behind the rest of America," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "But it's refreshing that the president himself is now acknowledging the failure of his stimulus program."
Featured comments - First from Josie
"Jobs Council?" WTF!!??
How much money are we (the taxpayers) spending for this vacation/boondoggle for these puppets.  And Immelt laughs as the economy tanks with TRILLIONS in direct and indirect government stimulus, joblessness gets worse even after the Fed liquifies the corporations and banks (where is the f^^king money, boys?).
GE pays no taxes; GE Capital is an over-leveraged black box of shite, and Jeff takes home $50-$75 million per year...???
From Cheyenne
Another boner for Boehner. He voted for the $168 billion Bush stimulus.

Maybe Boehner can explain why a $168 billion stimulus is good but a $787 billion stimulus is bad. The Wall Street imbeciles in D.C. understand one thing clearly: fool the mouth-breathers who gather their "news" from TV alone and you're home-free. What a horror show this country has become.
The Deficit President should have spent the money on the issues raised by the following story:

"How Long Can The Absurdity Of Us Funding This Madness Continue?!" Withdrawal Of US Troops