Thursday, March 14, 2013

Obama To Grant CIA FULL Access To Your Bank Accounts

Story just hit the wires.  All in the name of terrorism.
Exclusive story from Reuters details Obama's next move in fighting terror and destroying your civil liberties.

Obama Draws Up Plans To Grant Spy Agencies Complete Access To Financial Data On Every American
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.
Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.
The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.
The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin.
Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000, as well as suspected incidents of money laundering, loan fraud, computer hacking or counterfeiting.
"For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community," said the Treasury planning document.
A Treasury spokesperson said U.S. law permits FinCEN to share information with intelligence agencies to help detect and thwart threats to national security, provided they adhere to safeguards outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act. "Law enforcement and intelligence community members with access to this information are bound by these safeguards," the spokesperson said in a statement.
Some privacy watchdogs expressed concern about the plan when Reuters outlined it to them.
A move like the FinCEN proposal "raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog group.
Despite these concerns, legal experts emphasize that this sharing of data is permissible under U.S. law. Specifically, banks' suspicious activity reporting requirements are dictated by a combination of the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act, which offer some privacy safeguards.
National security experts also maintain that a robust system for sharing criminal, financial and intelligence data among agencies will improve their ability to identify those who plan attacks on the United States.
"It's a war on money, war on corruption, on politically exposed persons, anti-money laundering, organized crime," said Amit Kumar, who advised the United Nations on Taliban sanctions and is a fellow at the Democratic think tank Center for National Policy.
The Treasury document outlines a proposal to link the FinCEN database with a computer network used by U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies to share classified information called the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.
The plan calls for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - set up after 9/11 to foster greater collaboration among intelligence agencies - to work with Treasury. The Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
More than 25,000 financial firms - including banks, securities dealers, casinos, and money and wire transfer agencies - routinely file "suspicious activity reports" to FinCEN. The requirements for filing are so strict that banks often over-report, so they cannot be accused of failing to disclose activity that later proves questionable. This over-reporting raises the possibility that the financial details of ordinary citizens could wind up in the hands of spy agencies.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at American University's Washington College of Law, said privacy advocates have already been pushing back against the increased data-sharing activities between government agencies that followed the September 11 attacks.
"One of the real pushes from the civil liberties community has been to move away from collection restrictions on the front end and put more limits on what the government can do once it has the information," he said.

"The People Who Didn't See It Coming Now The Same People Fixing It" -Gerald Celente - GoldMoney - March 13, 2013


World's Biggest Gold Storage Company Bans All Accounts From U.S. Citizens

A U.S. marine drinks the blood of a cobra during a jungle survival exercise with the Thai Navy as part of the "Cobra Gold 2013" joint military exercise.  Photo Credit/Damir Sagolj
Scroll Down For Photos And Video

World's Biggest Gold Storage Company Bans Accounts From U.S. Citizens
ViaMat, a Swiss logistics company that has been safeguarding precious metals since 1945, is literally the gold standard in secure storage.  They have vaults from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Dubai, and they count among their clients some of the largest mining companies in the world.  They know what they’re doing.
And now they’re dumping U.S. citizens.  This is huge.  I can’t possibly overstate the potential ramifications.
For one, the big gold depositories like Gold Money and Bullion Vault ALL use ViaMat as a primary secure storage provider.  So it’s only a matter of time before ViaMat’s decision cascades across these other firms.
This matter-of-fact letter from ViaMat management explains their decision:
“We are currently experiencing rapid and substantial changes in the general regulations within this business. The changes mainly relate to the tax structures and taxation systems of various countries. As a consequence of these changes VIA MAT INTERNATIONAL has taken the decision to stop offering this service at its vault [sic] outside of the US to private customers with potential US-tax liability.”
ANALYST: 'Silver Grossly Oversold, Most Undervalued It's Been In 5 Years'
Al-Qaeda's 22 Tips For Dodging Drone Attacks: The List In Full
Iran Claims It Has Captured Another Foreign Drone (Via mid-air software hack)
UPDATE - Now Bernie Madoff Is Emailing Fox News To Accuse JPMorgan
FBI Investigation Into China Stealing NASA Secrets Stonewalled
Bank of England Closes In On Historic Currency Deal With China
Asset Bubble, Potential Fed Losses Played Down By Bernanke
SHOCK - Europe Likely To Limit Banker Bonuses - The Economist
Justice Dept Files Civil Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong
Meet The New Voice Of Angry Homeowners
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King Of Spain's Daughter Under Investigation In Massive Corruption Case
China Bans Reincarnation Without Government Permission In Tibet
N.C. Lawmakers Kill Medical Marijuana Bill Because It Had Too Much Support (Must Read)
The case of the phantom ballots: an electoral whodunit (Bizarre)
EU Says Euro Economy To Shrink Again In 2013
Chris Street - College Graduates Are The New Debt Slaves
It Takes A College Degree To Find A Job As A File Clerk - New York Times
Bruce Krasting - Big Losses Coming For The Fed
Montana Votes 20-0 In Favor Of Anti-NDAA Bill
34,000 Black Churches Condemn Obama Drone Policy As Murder And Evil
UPDATE - Pentagon Grounds Entire Fleet Of New F-35 Stealth Fighters
Rapping Terrorist Accused of Not Writing His Own Jihadi Rhymes | Danger Room
Senators near a deal on background checks for private gun sales
Are You Smarter Than An 8th Grader? Circa – 1895
Tiki Barber's Hilarious New Company Provides Athletes For A Price - ESPN Grantland
U.S. CEO Tells France: 'You Let Commie Union Wackos Destroy Your Highest Paying Jobs'

A U.S. track star is born:

16 year-old Mary Cain has made the scene.
Watch the first 30 seconds to see her size compared to the other runners.  Then skip to the 5-minute mark to see the final minute of the race.  It's worth it.
Read more at ESPN...
Bonus clip:

Video: The Secret Rites of Central Bankers
Marines drink fresh cobra blood during survival training in Thailand.

About 15,000 soldiers from the U.S., Thailand Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are participating in the 11-day military exercise.  Photo Credit/Damir Sagolj

James Turk & Paul Brodsky: We Are In A Fiat Currency Bubble, The Markets Have Begun To Wonder Whether The Fed (And Other Central Banks) Will Ever Be Able To Exit From Its Quantitative Easing Policy

James Turk to Gold to $11,000 – We Are in a Fiat Currency Bubble


James Turk of predicts gold will reach “$11,000″ per ounce in the next five years. Turk goes on to say, “It might come sooner. It depends on when confidence finally breaks, & we’re getting very, very close to that stage. There’s nothing holding t…

Gold, Destructive Hyperinflation & The Final End Game

On the heels of gold and silver surging, today King World News wanted to check in with the firm that is calling for $10,000 gold. Paul Brodsky, who co-founded QB Asset Management Company, had this piece regarding the Fed’s so-called exit, destructive hyperinflation and the gold market: “The markets have begun to wonder whether the Fed (and other central banks) will ever be able to exit from its Quantitative Easing policy. We believe there is only one reasonable exit the Fed can take. Rather than sell its portfolio of bonds or allow them to mature naturally, we believe the Fed’s only practical exit will be to increase the size of all other balance sheets in relation to its own.”
Paul Brodsky continues:

“This ‘exit’ will be part of a larger three-part strategy for resetting the over-leveraged global economy, already underway. The first stage is policy-administered monetary inflation – QE in which the Fed is de- leveraging bank balance sheets by adding bank reserves. The second phase will be policy-induced price inflation – hyper-inflating the general price level enough to diminish the burden of debt repayment and gain public support for monetary system change. (Imagine today the Fed proclaims all one dollar bills are ten dollar bills. Goods and service prices would increase 10x, more or less, as would wages, asset prices, revenues, costs, etc. The only item on the balance sheet that would not increase 10x would be the notional amount of systemic debt owed.) We believe the third phase of the strategy will be a monetary reset that recaptures popular confidence following the hyper-inflation.

Reuters: If Fed tapers bond buying, is end in sight? Maybe not

The Fed is trapped. There is no exit, at least one without considerable consequences. That’s why Bernanke hasn’t announced plans to exit the Fed’s bond buying program. He doesn’t have one.

Gold $8,000, Silver $200 in New Trade Finance System-Jim Willie

Dr. Willie says, “Europe is on the verge of collapse.” When it does, Dr. Willie says a new “Gold Trade Finance System” is already in place to take over for the dollar. Dr. Willie’s sources say, “The trade finance system has already agreed on a gold price of $7,000 to $8,000. Silver would be $150 to $200 per ounce.”

'We're Looking At $700 Billion Just To Pay Interest On The Debt!'

On Bernanke's balance sheet bubble.
'How will Bernanke deleverage into this market when the Fed itself owns the bulk of tradeable Treasuries.  Who wants to sell assets into a fragile recovery with the debt continuing to rise. Bernanke will delay, delay, delay!'
Yesterday on CNBC, Rick discusses the burgeoning cost of servicing our ginormous national debt -- $17 trillion is within sight, hell for that matter, $20 trillion isn't very far away.
Meanwhile the Fed's Debt Machine rolls on, lending $3 million per minute.

The 5 stages of economic collapse: Financial, Commercial, Political, Social & Cultural

Having given a lot of thought to both the differences and the similarities between Russia and the U.S. - the one that has collapsed already, and the one that is collapsing as I write this – I feel ready…to define five stages of collapse to serve as mental milestones as we gauge our own collapse-preparedness and see what can be done to improve it.

So writes Dmitry Orlov ( in edited excerpts from his original article* entitled Five Stages of Collapse.

Hang the Bankers

Orlov goes on to say, in part:
…The proposed taxonomy ties each of the five collapse stages to the breaching of a specific level of trust, or faith, in the status quo. Although each stage causes physical, observable changes in the environment, these can be gradual…
Financial Crisis

The 5 Stages of Collapse

Stage 1: Financial collapse
Faith in “business as usual” is lost. The future is no longer assumed [to] resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse
Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.
Stage 3: Political collapse
Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.
Stage 4: Social collapse
Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost, as local social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse
Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for “kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity” (Turnbull, The Mountain People). Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes “May you die today so that I die tomorrow” (Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago). There may even be some cannibalism.

The Five Stages of Collapse

Although many people imagine collapse to be a sort of elevator that goes to the sub-basement (our Stage 5) no matter which button you push, no such automatic mechanism can be discerned. Rather, driving us all to Stage 5 will require that a concerted effort be made at each of the intervening stages. That all the players seem poised to make just such an effort may give this collapse the form a classical tragedy – a conscious but inexorable march to perdition…Let us sketch out this process.
Stage 1 (Financial) Collapse Scenarios
Stage 1 collapse, as we are currently observing it, consists of two parts:
  1. a part of the general population is forced to move, no longer able to afford the house they bought based on inflated assessments, forged income numbers, and foolish expectations of endless asset inflation. Since, technically, they should never have been allowed to buy these houses, and were only able to do so because of financial and political malfeasance, this is actually a healthy development.
  2. men in expensive suits tossing bundles of suddenly worthless paper up in the air, ripping out their remaining hair, and (some of us might uncharitably hope) setting themselves on fire on the steps of the Federal Reserve. They, to express it in their own vernacular, “fucked up,” and so this is also just as it should be.
The government response to this could be to offer some helpful homilies about “the wages of sin” and to open a few soup kitchens and flop houses in a variety of locations including Wall Street. The message would be: “You former debt addicts and gamblers, as you say, ‘fucked up,’ and so this will really hurt for a long time. We will never let you anywhere near big money again. Get yourselves over to the soup kitchen, and bring your own bowl, because we don’t do dishes.” This would result in a stable Stage 1 collapse – the Second Great Depression.
However, this is unlikely, because in the U.S. the government happens to be debt addict and gambler number one. As individuals, we may have been as virtuous as we wished, but the government will have still run up exorbitant debts on our behalf. Every level of government, from local municipalities and authorities, which need the financial markets to finance their public works and public services, to the federal government, which relies on foreign investment to finance its endless wars, is addicted to public debt. They know they cannot stop borrowing, and so they will do anything they can to keep the game going for as long as possible.
About the only thing the government currently seems…fit to do is:
  • extend further credit to those in trouble,
  • set interest rates at far below inflation,
  • accept worthless bits of paper as collateral and
  • pump money into insolvent financial institutions.
This has the effect of diluting the dollar, further undermining its value, and will, in due course, lead to hyperinflation, which is bad enough in any economy, but is especially serious for one dominated by imports. As imports dry up and the associated parts of the economy shut down, we pass Stage 2: Commercial Collapse.
Stage 2 (Commercial) Collapse Scenarios
As businesses shut down, storefronts are boarded up and the population is left largely penniless and dependent on FEMA and charity for survival, the government may consider what to do next. It could, for example:
  • repatriate all foreign troops and set them to work on public works projects designed to directly help the population.
  • promote local economic self-sufficiency, by establishing community-supported agriculture programs, erecting renewable energy systems, and organizing and training local self-defence forces to maintain law and order.
  • order the Army Corps of Engineers to bulldoze buildings erected on former farmland around city centers, return the land to cultivation, and to construct high-density solar-heated housing in urban centers to resettle those who are displaced.
  • reduce homelessness by imposing a steep tax on vacant residential properties and funneling the proceeds into rent subsidies for the indigent.
With plenty of luck, such measures may be able to reverse the trend, eventually providing for a restoration of pre-Stage 2 conditions.
This may or may not be a good plan, but in any case it is rather unrealistic, because the United States, being so deeply in debt, will be forced to accede to the wishes of its foreign creditors, who own a lot of national assets (land, buildings, and businesses) and who would rather see a dependent American population slaving away working off their debt than a self-sufficient one, conveniently forgetting that they have mortgaged their children’s futures to pay for military fiascos, big houses, big cars, and flat-screen television sets.
A much more likely scenario, however, is that the federal government (knowing who butters their bread) will remain subservient to foreign financial interests and:
  • impose austerity conditions,
  • maintain law and order through draconian means, and
  • aide in the construction of foreign-owned factory towns and plantations.
As people start to think that having a government may not be such a good idea, conditions become ripe for Stage 3.
Stage 3 (Political) Collapse Scenarios
After a significant amount of bloodletting, much of the country becomes a no-go zone for the remaining authorities. Foreign creditors decide that their debts might not be repaid after all, cut their losses and depart in haste. The rest of the world decides to act as if there is no such place as The United States – because “nobody goes there any more”…
Stage 3 collapse can sometimes be avoided by the timely introduction of international peacekeepers and through the efforts of international humanitarian NGOs. In the aftermath of a Stage 2 collapse, domestic authorities are highly unlikely to have either the resources or the legitimacy, or even the will, to arrest the collapse dynamic and reconstitute themselves in a way that the population would accept.
As stage 3 collapse runs its course, the power vacuum left by the now defunct federal, state and local government is filled by a variety of new power structures. Remnants of former law enforcement and military, urban gangs, ethnic mafias, religious cults and wealthy property owners all attempt to build their little empires on the ruins of the big one, fighting each other over territory and access to resources. This is the age of Big Men: charismatic leaders, rabble-rousers, ruthless Macchiavelian princes and war lords. In the luckier places, they find it to their common advantage to pool their resources and amalgamate into some sort of legitimate local government, while in the rest their jostling for power leads to a spiral of conflict and open war.
Stage 4 (Social) Collapse Scenarios
Stage 4 collapse occurs when society becomes so disordered and impoverished that it can no longer support the Big Men, who become smaller and smaller, and eventually fade from view. Society fragments into extended families and small tribes of a dozen or so families, who find it advantageous to band together for mutual support and defense. This is the form of society that has existed over some 98.5% of humanity’s existence as a biological species, and can be said to be the bedrock of human existence. Humans can exist at this level of organization for thousands, perhaps millions of years. Most mammalian species go extinct after just a few million years, but, for all we know, Homo Sapiens still have a million or two left.
Stage 5 (Cultural) Collapse Scenarios
If pre-collapse society is too atomized, alienated and individualistic to form cohesive extended families and tribes, or if its physical environment becomes so disordered and impoverished that hunger and starvation become widespread, then Stage 5 collapse becomes likely. At this stage, a simpler biological imperative takes over, to preserve the life of the breeding couples. Families disband, the old are abandoned to their own devices, and children are only cared for up to age 3. All social unity is destroyed, and even the couples may disband for a time, preferring to forage on their own and refusing to share food. This is the state of society described by the anthropologist Colin Turnbull in his book The Mountain People. If society prior to Stage 5 collapse can be said to be the historical norm for humans, Stage 5 collapse brings humanity to the verge of physical extinction.
As we can easily imagine, the default is cascaded failure: each stage of collapse can easily lead to the next, perhaps even overlapping it. In Russia, the process was arrested just past Stage 3: there was considerable trouble with ethnic mafias and even some warlordism, but government authority won out in the end. In my other writings, I go into a lot of detail in describing the exact conditions that inadvertently made Russian society relatively collapse-proof. Here, I will simply say that these ingredients are not currently present in the United States.
In light of the unfolding global sovereign debt fiasco…[however, I have now come to the conclusion that, after] years of both government and finance betting on a future that cannot exist, doubling down every time they lose again, the Five Stages of Collapse is nothing but a nice theory.
[Instead,] I think that the stage 1 (financial) and stage 2 (political) collapses will compress into a single chaotic episode. Commercial collapse will not be far behind, because global commerce is dependent on global finance, and once international credit locks up the tankers and the container ships won’t sail. Shortly thereafter it will be lights out.

New Jersey Woman Arrested for Reciting Constitution at Tax Meeting

Kurt Nimmo
March 13, 2013

Police in Clayton, New Jersey, confiscated two guns from a woman after she complained about county government moving to raise her property taxes and inspect her property without a search warrant.
Eileen Hart of Franklin Township was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and harassing officials from the Gloucester County Office of Assessment and Appraisal Systems, Inc.
New Jersey Woman Arrested for Reciting Constitution at Tax Meeting eileenhart
Eileen Hart and her daughter. Photo: the Hart family.
A county tax assessor told police Hart attended a meeting held with Franklin Township residents to discuss a property revaluation program the county instituted to “bring all home values up to the current market value,” according to the South Jersey Times.
Assessment and Appraisal Systems told the Gloucester County Times last August the pilot revaluation program is not about raising taxes. “A revaluation is not necessary to raise taxes,” Ernest DelGuercio, CEO of the assessment company, told the newspaper. “It ensures everyone is paying their fair share – no more and no less.”
Residents have complained the assessment program violates the Fourth Amendment. In order to make revaluation assessments and determine the tax value of a property, company inspectors must enter homes and inspect them. If not allowed to do so, the company often assesses higher values on homes, leading to increased taxes.
Eileen Hart said she did not allow the Assessment and Appraisal Systems to inspect her home because her husband was not present at the time. She also cited religious reasons. Because it was denied access, the company revalued her property at a higher rate. Hart attended the meeting last weekend to complain about the revaluation and the arbitrary move by the county to assess the value of her property.
After she began reciting the Constitution to support her argument, an Appraisal Systems employee escorted her from the public building.
“I didn’t scream, I didn’t yell,” she told the Examiner. “I have the right to air my grievances against the government in a public setting. I’ve never threatened anyone a day in my life.”
“She also wouldn’t let me speak and told me to sit down and shut up and listen as well,” she explained. “That’s when the young man came toward me. I knew he was going to put his hands on me. I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I said to him ‘Don’t you dare touch me.’ Then they threw us out of the auditorium. The young man from Appraisal Systems, Inc. was the one going postal, and I believe if he had a gun, he would have shot me (and my family) on the spot. I was calm the entire time.”
A spokeswoman for Gloucester County said the assessor “has never experienced this type of extreme behavior from a taxpayer” and the police were notified, apparently because reading the Constitution is considered extremist and a threat.
Although Hart exercised her Fourth Amendment right by not allowing an inspection by government without a court-issued warrant, it did manage to violate her Second Amendment right by confiscating her firearms.
After police arrested her, they demanded she hand over her two guns, a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and a .40-caliber Glock for “safekeeping.” If she had refused, a judge would have set bail too high for her family to pay.
“I have permits for each of them. I applied legally, I got them legally,” she said. “Now I can’t defend myself. I never said the word ‘gun’ at the meeting. None of those people would have even known I was a gun owner.”

Foodstamp Recipients Hit Record, Alongside Record Dow Jones And Record Debt: 20% Of Eligible Americans On EBT

Source: Zero Hedge

Record Dow Jones, record US debt ($16,701,846,937,879.74), and now, once more, record number of Americans on foodstamps. According to the USDA, an all time high of 47,791,966 Americans closed 2012 in possession of the highly desired Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, managed by who else but JPMorgan. And with a civilian non-institutional population of 244.4 million in December, this means that a record 19.56% of eligible Americans are on Foodstamps.
In December an additional 109,924 Americans became reliant on foodstamps for their poverty-level needs, bringing the total to 47.8 million.
Foodstamp Recipients Hit Record, Alongside Record Dow Jones And Record Debt: 20% Of Eligible Americans On EBT Americans%20on%20Foodstamps%20Dec 0
Number of US households on foodstamps: also a record of 23.1 million, with the average monthly benefit of $277.09.
Foodstamp Recipients Hit Record, Alongside Record Dow Jones And Record Debt: 20% Of Eligible Americans On EBT Households%20on%20Foodstamps%20Dec 0
And as a percentage of the total civilian non-institutional population.
Foodstamp Recipients Hit Record, Alongside Record Dow Jones And Record Debt: 20% Of Eligible Americans On EBT Percentage%20of%20Americans%20on%20Foodstamps 0
Record wealth effect for the 1%, foodstamps for the poorest 20%, and a middle class on the verge of extinction. How is this possible and what happens next? Read Dylan Grice’s piece posted earlier for all the answers.

Four Bankers Sentenced to Death for Fraud... In Iran

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Last month, Iran did something that Obama and his neutered puppy Attorney General Eric Holder should be doing. 

They sentenced four bankers to death based on fraud charges. Other bankers involved in the fraud were sentenced to life imprisonment, flogging, cash fines or were banned from holding public office.

Iran's PressTV reports,
" Iran Judiciary has handed down death sentence to four people convicted of involvement in the biggest embezzlement case in the country's banking history.

by press TV

"Four people were sentenced to death on charges of corruption on earth and disrupting the country's economic system," Iran's Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told reporters on Monday. 

"The four are Mahafarid Amir-Khosravi"[the prime suspect], Behdad Behzadi, his legal advisor, Iraj Shoja, his financial solicitor and Saeed Kiani Rezazadeh, head of the Ahvaz branch of Saderat Bank," he said.

"The president of Bank Melli branch in Kish was slapped with life imprisonment and former deputy minister Khodamorad Ahmadi was sentenced to 10 years in prison," Mohseni-Ejei, who is also Iran's attorney general, added." 

Imagine the effect of actual executions, life sentences, floggings and serious cash penalties upon the hordes of criminals in the banking and finance industry in the USA. 

Instead of wasting time pursuing patriotic whistleblowers, Eric "worthless" Holder should be pursuing real criminals in banks. Too bad Obama instructs him otherwise. 

Perhaps some politicians will have the balls to propose legislation that specifies the death penalty for bankers who engage in frauds affecting more than ten people, or two, or 100, but some limit on the number of people's lives hurt or ruined. There's no way such a bill will pass-- there are far too many corporatists-- a huge majority-- in congress. But perhaps such a bill would shame some of them and show the public how worthless they are. 

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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the
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Recent press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Top Banking Analyst: Subsidies to Giant Banks Exceed $780 Billion Dollars Per YEAR

Source: Washington' Blogs

Trillions In Subsidies to the Giant Banks Are Continuing to This Day
Chris Whalen is one of America’s top banking analysts.
Well-known economist Nouriel Roubini notes:
Chris Whalen is one of the leading independent analysts of the US banking and financial system.
Whalen notes today that the big American banks get a subsidy in excess of $780 billion dollars per year.
Specifically, Whalen estimates the following types of subsidies to the giant banks:
  • $360 billion in Federal Reserve subsidies, by creating an artificial “spread” in interest rates
  • $120 billion in federal deposit insurance (through the FDIC, backed by the Treasury)
  • At least $100 billion in government-guaranteed loans, especially mortgages
  • At least $100 billion in monopolistic advantages in the secondary market for home mortgages. Specifically, the government subsidies the big banks to steal away fees earned from smaller banks, gain on sale into the TBA market and servicing. Whalen quotes a veteran banker explaining:
The smaller players lived on the bleeding edge of the mortgage market, but they were also far more efficient lenders than the large banks. Now, care of the Fed, we have a highly inefficient oligopoly in the US mortgage market that is built around the largest banks.
  • More than $100 billion in fees in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivative market. Whalen explains
The lack of capital required in these transactions and other special dispensations from the Fed provide the zombie banks with unlimited leverage and almost no public scrutiny. The fact that OTC contracts are exempt from the automatic stay in bankruptcy is a huge subsidy. The bilateral market structure is another.
That totals $780 billion per year.
But Whalen notes that there are many other subsidies as well:
The above points are only a partial list of the subsidies and other flows that allow the members of the banking industry to pretend to be profitable, risk-taking organizations in a free market economy.
The bailouts of the big banks amount to trillions of dollars, are never-ending … and continue to this day. (Indeed, the government is arguably paying trillions of dollars more in unnecessary interest payments just to have the banks “create” money, instead of creating it itself … as the Founding Fathers may have envisioned.)
Whalen notes that the big banks are not really profitable:
[These are] structural subsidies blessed by Congress and the Fed that make large banks look more profitable than they truly are. In fact, the TBTF banks are not really profitable at all.
The reality, sad to say, is that banks in 21st Century America are government sponsored enterprises ….
Indeed, they are government sponsored enterprises where all of the profits are privatized, and all of the losses socialized.
And the big banks are not helping – but are rather destroying – the economy. Indeed, failing to break up the big banks– and the malignant, symbiotic relationship between D.C. politicians and the banking giants – is destroying our country.

Wave of euroscepticism reaches Germany

Еврозона Евросоюз флаг

© Rosa/cc-by-sa 3.0

German opponents to the common European currency have set up a new political party named Alternative for Germany. They urge disbanding the Eurozone, going back to national currencies and stopping financing other countries’ economies. Sociologists say that 26% of the electorate are prepared to give their votes to the new party. Germany was one of the first counties to support the idea of introducing the euro but today it is swept with euroscepticism.

The financial crisis in the EU is the reason for the growing ranks of eurosceptics. More and more German citizens have come to the conclusion that their country has to render assistance to its Eurozone partners to the detriment of its own people and spends enormous sums of money supporting an obviously unsustainable project. Many Germans share the opinion of the European MP, the leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage who has rather convincingly predicted the collapse of the Eurozone.
In this situation leading German economists, lawyers and businessmen have announced the establishment of the party Alternative for Germany. The main point of its programme is Germany’s withdrawal from the Eurozone. The constituent congress of the new party is to be held in Frankfurt in the near future. Interestingly, eurosceptics will meet within two hours’ drive from the city of Witzenhausen which has already started to use its local currency, the kirschblute, as an alternative to the euro. The local currency is used for buying locally manufactured products.
Analysts believe that the Alternative for Germany party is unlikely to win seats in Parliament because there is not enough time left till the next elections due in September 2013. At the same time, the new political force could pull aside quite a large protest electorate and impede the approval of package assistance to Germany’s partners in the Eurozone. The head of the Centre for German Studies of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladislav Belov is speaking:
“Germany is likely to follow Italy’s example where a humorist won protest votes by criticising the Eurozone among other things. Moreover, a book was published in Germany a year ago that offered an imaginary context for the establishment of a party in honour of the German mark. In the book the party wins enough votes, gets into parliament, deposes the Chancellor, etc. I believe that in reality the Alternative for Germany party would not win this high percentage of votes. However, as a protest image, including the protest against the euro, this party is likely to win a considerable number of votes.”
A number of social surveys have shown that about two-thirds of German citizens believe that they would be much better off with the German mark. Meanwhile, until now there has been no party in Germany that would aim at rejecting the euro, unlike in other Eurozone lender countries.
On the whole, the growing influence of nationalist and populist parties in Europe testifies to a management crisis in the entire EU, rather than in separate countries. In particular, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on the UK’s participation in the EU in 2014. Experts believe that this means that in the near future the national interests of certain members of the EU would not necessarily coincide with the aims of the EU’s social and economic policy.

Biderman’s Daily Edge: US Economy Not Growing While Stocks Soar

Dow at Record Highs, but U.S. Economy Continues to Worsen
By George Leong
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is firing on all cylinders, trading at a record high. The S&P 500 is also close to its all-time record. Technology and small-cap stocks are blazing along. The amount of new stock market wealth created in the first week of March and in 2013 has been great. Add in the better-than-expected jobs numbers and a decline in the unemployment rate to 7.7%, and you would think that the U.S. economy is back, loaded and ready to go. But we may be closer to a financial crisis than most think.
Here’s the problem: the creation of stock market wealth is heavily weighted with the institutional money and the top one to five percent of the wealthiest Americans. (I use the wider range of the top earners, since you have to be doing fairly well to be in this group.)
There’s an old saying—“Money makes money.” But let me put it another way: making money on $1.0 million is a lot easier than making money on $1,000. Earn two percent on $1.0 million, and you’d have an extra $20,000. Make two percent on $1,000, and you only have $20.00, just enough for a dinner for two at McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE/MCD). All I’m saying is don’t be fooled by the new headlines talking about how well America is doing, as a financial crisis is still possible.

Obama Won’t ‘Chase a Balanced Budget Just for the Sake of Balance’

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he would not “chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance” over the next 10 years but would rather work to expand the nation’s economy.

“My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance,” Obama told ABC News in an interview. “My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work — and if we do that, we are going to be bringing in more revenue.”

The president attacked Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal proposal introduced earlier on Tuesday. The plan would balance the budget in a decade — but Obama said it would “slash deeply” into entitlement programs.

“We’re not gonna balance the budget in 10 years, because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucher-ize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid, you’ve essentially got to — either tax — middle-class families a lot higher than you currently are, or you can’t lower rates the way he’s promised,” Obama told ABC.

“So it’s really, you know, it’s a reprise of the same legislation that he’s put before,” the president added.

“If we controlled spending and we have a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance — but it is not balance to, on the backs of the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families that have disabled kids,” Obama said. “That is not the right way to balance.”

In response to Obama’s remarks, Ryan said if the president and Senate Democrats do not balance the budget, the United States will face similar financial woes as in Europe.

“He’s never balancing the budget. That’s the point they’re making,” Ryan told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “Never, meaning, we have a debt crisis — and what happens is if we never balance the budget, if we keep on adding deficit upon deficit, we have a debt crisis like Europe has.

“That means, seniors lose their healthcare benefits,” Ryan added. “That means people in the safety net, get the safety net cut and they go on the streets. That means you have a recession.

“These things we prevent from happening by balancing the budget. Balancing the budget is but a means to an end: It’s growing the economy,” Ryan told Hannity. “It’s creating opportunity. It’s getting government to live within its means. It’s doing what all families and businesses do, which is making sure you don’t live beyond your means. Make sure you give your kids a debt-free nation.

“That’s what we’re proposing — and so when you see the president and the Senate say they never, ever want to balance the budget, I just don’t think that’s leadership.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Could Germany spark another war? I fear it's all too possible

The world is at  a crossroads in history. Vast, untameable economic forces are remaking the landscape of international affairs.

In Britain, a dithering Prime Minister is buffeted by crisis after crisis. Abroad, from the heart of Europe to the fringes of Asia, economic powers are rising. And there is talk of a new German empire, bigger and more powerful than ever.
ver more citizens in the Mediterranean countries of the eurozone in particular argue that for the third time in less than 100 years Germany is trying to take control of Europe.
Ever more citizens in the Mediterranean countries of the eurozone in particular argue that for the third time in less than 100 years Germany is trying to take control of Europe
It sounds like something ripped from today’s newspapers. But this was the state of the planet in 1913, 100 years ago.

At first glance, the Britain of 1913 appears impossibly different from the Britain of today. Our imperial dominion stretched across the globe, while our bankers and manufacturers were widely regarded as the best in the world.

And in a society rigidly divided by class, the Tories were in the wilderness, Labour was merely a minority third party and the Liberals — led by Herbert Asquith — were entering their eighth successive year of government.


New Statesman described Merkel as 'the most dangerous German leader since Hitler'
New Statesman described Merkel as 'the most dangerous German leader since Hitler'
Beneath the surface, however, the problems that confronted our forebears back then were uncannily similar to those facing us today, particularly in the changing balance of power in Europe.

This week, the faultlines that run ever deeper across the Continent were the subject of an extraordinary speech by a long-time president of the European Council, who insisted there are indeed chilling parallels between 2013 and the eve of World War I a century ago.

Jean Claude Juncker said that resentment against Germany is running high because its imposition of austerity — in a bid to shore up the euro — has exposed long-running tensions between nations.

‘The demons haven’t been banished; they are merely sleeping,’ he warned, adding that ‘anyone who believes the eternal issue of war and peace in Europe has been permanently laid to rest could be making a monumental error’.

Perhaps a decade ago he would have been dismissed as a scaremonger. But today, the political mood is shifting across Europe more dramatically than for many years. As the legendary American investor George Soros said last year, if the German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued in her economic demands on the rest of Europe, ‘the result will be a Europe in which Germany is seen as an imperial power that will not be loved or admired by the rest, but hated and resisted, because it will be perceived as an oppressive power.’

The Left-leaning magazine the New Statesman simply labelled Merkel ‘the most dangerous German leader since Hitler’. The language may seem inflammatory, but ever more citizens in the Mediterranean countries of the eurozone in particular argue that for the third time in less than 100 years Germany is trying to take control of Europe.
The close relationship Merkel enjoyed with the Right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been banished by the socialist Francois Hollande
The close relationship Merkel enjoyed with the Right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been banished by the election of socialist Francois Hollande
Of course, the Germans would say they’re simply trying to maintain economic stability in nations which for years spent far beyond their means.
But if they continue to impose brutal economic strictures on Europe’s peoples, the consequences in terms of social alienation, international disputes and the rise of political extremism could be dramatic.
Already we have seen bloody protests against the German economic yoke in Athens, Rome and Madrid.
It is a situation tailor-made for ultra-nationalist, Right-wing parties such as Golden Dawn in Greece, which is acting with increasing violence and impunity against foreigners with every passing week.
At the heart of the crisis is the great euro project, an economic regime created in hubris — but now threatened with ruinous collapse.


In the past year, the close relationship Merkel enjoyed with the Right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been banished by the socialist Francois Hollande, who came to office on the promise of massive new state spending to reinvigorate the economy. Thus, a deep ideological divide now exists between the two nations.
The agonies of Greece, where effigies of Angela Merkel dressed as a Nazi were burned, have been well documented, but Portugal has been cruelly hit, too. After a 78 billion-euro bailout in 2011, its people have seen welfare spending cut and taxes raised. Even several public holidays have been abolished.
In Spain, meanwhile, cities have seen rioting as unemployment has soared to 25 per cent and anti-German sentiment has grown.
In the recent general election in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti - who sought to impose Brussels' austerity measures - polled just 9 per cent of the vote
In the recent general election in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti - who sought to impose Brussels' austerity measures - polled just 9 per cent of the vote
Demonstrators dressed as Nazis and waving a swastika flag as they ride in an open-top car in Syntagma Square in Athens as they protest against Merkel's visit in 2012
Demonstrators dressed as Nazis and waving a swastika flag as they ride in an open-top car in Syntagma Square in Athens as they protest against Merkel's visit in 2012
Last year, hundreds gathered to protest in central Madrid after the German Chancellor had left the capital, waving banners and saying ‘Merkel go home’ and ‘No to a German Europe’. One Spanish economist who took part in the protest said: ‘The German financial mafia is taking Spaniards hostage . . . Merkel belongs to a political class that serves German oligarchies.’
The same sense of outrage is driving a massive protest movement in Italy, where the Right-wing newspaper Il Giornale published a front page picture of Merkel under the headline ‘Fourth Reich’.
In the recent general election, the technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti — who sought to impose Brussels’ austerity measures — polled just  9 per cent of the vote.

Instead, the headlines were seized by the anti-establishment party led by stand-up comedian Beppe Grillo, who could yet prove to be kingmaker in a coalition government.
Thanks to this seemingly endless political crisis, Germany is increasingly being seen not as Europe’s economic saviour but its oppressor.

Of course, back in 1913, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s German Empire had more nakedly militaristic ambitions. Frustrated that his newly unified country had missed out on colonising Africa and Asia, he had embarked on a vastly expensive arms race with Britain, symbolised by the production of vast naval dreadnoughts.

Even at the time, many people warned that war was coming. As early as 1906, the Daily Mail — then just ten years old — had serialised a bestselling book by William Le Queux, who predicted that the inevitable war with Germany might lead to a Teutonic invasion of southern England.

Far-sighted observers of the global situation could see that behind all the domestic arguments about female suffrage, the popularity of gramophones and bicycles and all the celebrity gossip about high-society hostesses, the world was entering a new and extremely dangerous phase.

On the edge of Europe, the Ottoman Empire was breaking up, destabilising the alliances that had hitherto kept the Continent at peace.

In the First Balkan War of 1912, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro had defeated the Ottomans and were busily carving up the Balkans for themselves.

In June 1913, the victors fell out over the spoils, with the Bulgarians fighting the rest for the disputed territory of Macedonia. And even now, a century on, that conflict is a reminder of the potential of ethnic passions and national resentments to unleash devastating violence on the peoples of Europe.

Superficially, of course, our own situation looks very different. Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has even declared that the very existence of the euro is a guarantee the Continent will never again descend into bloodshed.  Only by such means, she said, could we be sure to enjoy ‘another half century of peace in Europe’.

Yet the truth is that lashing together the economies of nations as disparate as Portugal, Greece, France, Italy and Germany has served only to inflame old enmities.


And if keeping the euro project alive means condemning the more impoverished nations to years of penury, with the Mediterranean economies in ruins, neo-Nazis marching on the streets of Athens and resentment building against Berlin and Brussels, it would take a brave man to predict that violence will never return to the cities of Europe.

So could war again haunt the cities of the Continent?

Alas, it is never easy to draw simple lessons from history. In 1913, few people in Britain realised that the bloodiest war in human history was just around the corner. Like most of us, they had known nothing but peace and prosperity, and assumed the golden age would continue for ever.
Germany's imposition of austerity - in a bid to shore up the euro - has exposed long-running tensions between nations, so could we actually face war in Europe?
Germany's imposition of austerity - in a bid to shore up the euro - has exposed long-running tensions between nations, so could we actually face war in Europe?
Abroad, too, few could imagine the storm that was coming. Without realising it, Europe had been dancing on the edge of a precipice.

We, too, have been living the high life, enjoying comforts our predecessors could never have imagined. And if the story of 1913 does offer a lesson, it is that, even in these financially straitened times, we should count our blessings.

We often imagine that things can only get better. But as the events of a century ago so tragically and devastatingly proved, they can, in fact, get an awful lot worse.

Financial Doom? InTrade Shuts Down Suddenly Do To ‘Circumstances Recently Discovered’

Before It’s News – by Live Free or Die
Intrade, the worlds largest prediction market, has shut down suddenly, leaving customers with a worrisome and cryptic message upon their website. What ‘circumstances’ has Intrade recently discovered that has IMMEDIATELY caused them to cease all trading activity? They’ve announced that they have ‘closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of March 10th, 2013′ to ‘mitigate any further risks to members accounts’. What in the world does the Board of Directors of InTrade know that you and I don’t? Did they have inside info on the next pope? Were mass bets placed on a date for WW3 kick-off or an attack by North Korea? First from NPR and then from the Intrade website with a video discussion from Bloomberg below. 
The online betting market Intrade has shut down. Intrade allowed customers to wager on the outcome of events such as presidential elections. The company says all betting is on hold until it can investigate possible financial irregularities.
The selection of the next pope had been a hot topic on the site Intrade. That’s where anyone can place real money bets on future events like the outcome of a presidential race or who will win an Oscar. But that all changed yesterday when Intrade abruptly halted trading, pending an unspecified investigation. NPR’s Dan Bobkoff has that story.
The message below can now be found upon the InTrade website.
To Our Customers:
With sincere regret we must inform you that due to circumstances recently discovered we must immediately cease trading activity on
These circumstances require immediate further investigation, and may include financial irregularities which in accordance with Irish law oblige the directors to take the following actions:
  • Cease exchange trading on the website immediately.
  • Settle all open positions and calculate the settled account value of all Member accounts immediately.
  • Cease all banking transactions for all existing Company accounts immediately.
During the upcoming weeks, we will investigate these circumstances further and determine the necessary course of action.
To mitigate any further risk to members’ accounts, we have closed and settled all open contracts at fair market value as of the close of business on March 10, 2013, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of our customers’ use of the website. You may view your account details and settled account balances by logging into the website.
At this time and until further notice, it is not possible to make any payments to members in accordance with their settled account balance until the investigations have concluded.
The Company will continue the maintenance and technology operations of the exchange system so that all information is preserved properly.
We are not able to provide telephone support or live help services at this time, please contact the company by email at:
We appreciate your custom and support over the years. We are committed to reporting faithfully the status of things as they are clarified and hope you will bear with us as we do all we can to resume operations as promptly as possible.
The Board of Directors of Intrade the Prediction Market Limited
Bloomberg discusses the InTrade shut down in the video below.

WARREN: ‘How Many Billions Have To Be Laundered For Drug Lords Before We Consider Shutting Down A Bank?’

Elizabeth Warren is still waiting for an answer.
In Senate testimony Thursday, Liz Warren asks how much drug-laundered money it takes before banking regulators consider shutting down a bank.  Hilarity ensues.  And no one ever answers the question.
Witnesses were:
  1. David Cohen, Sec. for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Treasury
  2. Thomas Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  3. Jerome H. Powell, Governor, Federal Reserve System

WARREN: As Senator Reed just pointed out, the United States government takes money laundering very seriously for a very good reason.
Now in December, HSBC admitted to money laundering. To laundering $881 million that we know of for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. And also admitted to violating our sanctions for Iran, Libya, Cuba, Burma, the Sudan. And they didn’t do it just one time. It wasn’t like a mistake. They did it over and over and over again across a period of years. And they were caught doing it. Warned not to do it. And kept right on doing it. And evidently making profits doing it.
Now HSBC paid a fine, but no one individual went to trial. No individual was banned from banking. And there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities here in the United States. So what I’d like is, you’re the experts on money laundering. I’d like your opinion. What does it take? How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this? Mr. Cohen, can we start with you?
COHEN: Certainly Senator. No question the activity that was the subject of the enforcement action against HSBC was egregious.
WARREN: But let me just move you along here on the point Mr. Cohen. My question is, given that this is what you did, what does it take to get you to move towards even a hearing? Even considering shutting down banking operations for money laundering?
COHEN: Senator, we at the Treasury Department under OFAC and (ph) authority, we don’t have the authority to shut down a financial institution.
WARREN: I understand that. I’m asking, in your opinion, you are the ones who are supposed to be the experts on money laundering. You work with everyone else, including the Department of Justice. In your opinion, how many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords, before somebody says, we’re shutting you down?
WARREN: And I’m asking, what does it take, even to say, here’s where the line is. We’re going to draw a line here, and if you cross that line, you’re at risk for having your bank closed?
COHEN: But I’m not going to get into some hypothetical line drawing exercise.
WARREN: Well it’s somewhere beyond $881 million of drug money.
COHEN: Well Senator the actions, and I’m sure the regulators can address this issue. The actions that we took in the HSBC case, we thought were appropriate in that instance.
WARREN: So what you’re saying to me is you are responsible for these banks, and again, I read your testimony and you talk about the importance of vigorous enforcement here. But you’re telling me you have no view when it’s appropriate to consider even a hearing to raise the question of whether or not these banks should have to close their operations when they engage in money laundering for drug cartels?
WARREN: I understand that I’m over my time.  And I’ll just say here, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail.  If it happens repeatedly you may go to jail for the rest of your life.  But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night.  Every single individual associated with this.  I just, I think that’s fundamentally wrong.
“How would you explain this to your neighbor?” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) asked, noting that the fine slapped on HSBC amounted to about one percent of its profits over 10 years. “Does that really send a message?”

WATCH: Protesters In Iceland Hurl Eggs At Politicians

Dairy missiles fired at politicians.
Eggs Make All The Difference
It's interesting that we've now seen 2 sets of protests erupt over the bailouts across the globe.  In the U.S., the Occupy protests failed, the criminals remain free, and the economy is stagnant, kept alive by a set of industrial strength Hewlett Packard printers in a 10' by 12' shed behind Bernanke's house in Great Falls, Va.
In Iceland, the protests succeeded, the bankers were prosecuted and jailed, the economy is thriving and unemployment is below 5%.
In analyzing this dichotomy, the inescapable conclusion is that what makes the difference between failed protests and successful economic policy are hurled eggs.
Maybe next time...

CNBC: Pension Timebomb On The Horizon

Corporate pension timebomb.
Gary Kaminsky on the $400 billion pension deficit sitting on the books of public companies.

UK workers suffer sharpest wage fall of any developed country as business leaders warn the pain is far from over

British workers have seen their wages plummet faster than any other workforce in a developed economy, a new study reveals today.
Real wages dropped by 4.5 per cent between 2007 and 2011, leaving workers with smaller incomes at a time of rising costs for basic necessities such as food, fuel, gas and electricity - not to mention housing costs.
This marks a considerably sharper squeeze than the 2.7 per cent fall in Italy or 0.7 per cent drop in Japan, according to the report from the TUC.
Squeezed incomes: British workers have seen their wages plummet further than any other developed country, according to the TUC
Squeezed incomes: British workers have seen their wages plummet further than any other developed country, according to the TUC
Meanwhile wages in Australia and Canada grew by 6.9 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively.
The bulk of the decline was seen in 2011, the Coalition’s first full year in office, when wages shrank by 3.5 per cent – nearly twice as fast as in Spain, the second worst-performing economy that year.
The figures come as British business groups warned today that conditions in the UK economy are likely to remain tough for some time.
The British Chambers of Commerce has cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 0.6 per cent from a previous prediction of one per cent.
The BCC said the forecasts underline the challenges facing the UK economy, calling for the Chancellor to use his Budget later this month to deliver ‘radical measures’ to encourage businesses to create jobs, invest and export.
How we compare: Real wage growth between 2007 and 2011 in the world's top ten developed countries
How we compare: Real wage growth between 2007 and 2011 in the world's top ten developed countries
UK manufacturers also said conditions remained difficult, with weak market conditions both home and abroad.

The wage figures highlight the extent to which the recession and subsequent economic stagnation has squeezed the incomes of ordinary workers, the TUC said.

It added that the government’s austerity programme has made the squeeze on living standards even tighter by cutting vital tax credits and welfare support for low and middle-income families.

How Britain's wage growth compares to other G7 nations (Source: TUC)
'While most countries have suffered periods of negative wage growth, no-one has witnessed such a marked decline as the UK,’ said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady

'This government’s blind obedience to self-defeating austerity has ensured that we are leading the way when it comes to the squeeze on living standards. 

'Businesses desperately need people to spend money but employees are cutting back as their wages are squeezed. And the public sector, far from making up the gap, is being slashed too.

'Unless we get stronger economic growth with rising real wages consumer spending will remain weak and the economy will continue to flat-line.'

However David Cameron was set today to reiterate his commitment to the austerity drive designed to reduce the deficit, saying that the alternative is being plunged ‘back into the abyss’.

‘I know some people think it is being stubborn to stick to a plan, that somehow this is just about making the numbers add up with no care whatsoever for what it means for people affected by the changes we make,’ he said.
‘But nothing could be further from the truth. My motives for sticking to the plan are exactly about doing the right thing to help families and businesses.’
In a significant boost for Mr Cameron’s strategy, Tony Blair backed spending cuts yesterday – a rare intervention into domestic politics.
He said he believes reducing the deficit is more important than ‘left versus right’.

Shadow Treasury Minister Cathy Jamieson, said of the wage figures: 'These shocking figures show that a flatlining economy under David Cameron and George Osborne has led to a sharp fall in living standards since 2010. We are losing in the global race with the biggest decline in real wages of any of the world's top ten economies.
Challenges ahead: The Prime Minister, speaking during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, will admit that the challenges facing the economy are 'huge'
Challenges ahead: The Prime Minister, speaking during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, will admit that the challenges facing the economy are 'huge'
‘Urgent action is needed in this month's Budget to kick-start our stagnant economy and help people on middle and low incomes struggling with the rising cost of living.
'The top rate tax cut for millionaires should be cancelled and a new lower 10p starting rate of tax introduced to help millions on middle and modest incomes, and to boost growth we need to bring forward infrastructure investment, build thousands of affordable homes and give tax breaks to small firms taking on extra workers.’
Graph showing GDP estimates and revisions from the last quarter of 2008 to the end of 2012 (Source: ONS)
Graph showing GDP estimates and revisions from the last quarter of 2008 to the end of 2012 (Source: ONS)
While average wages have fallen, non-executive chairmen of top companies received average pay rises of 6 per cent last year, taking their earnings to almost £400,000, another study has revealed.
Pay analysts Incomes Data Services (IDS) said non-executive pay among FTSE 100 firms on average ranged from £270,000 in technology businesses to over £500,000 in oil and gas companies.
Average fees for non-executive directors (NEDs) increased by 4 per cent last year to £64,000 - double the amount of 12 years ago.