Category : Federal Reserve

Remember when Bitcoin was $100? You know, like 2 months ago? Well now it has leaped up $100 in just 4 hours, rising from $500 to $600 USD before retreating slightly.

Bitcoin on Nov 18, 2013

It seems the Little Currency That Could is making a run at $1000. We’ll soon see if it can make it before the bubble bursts again.

But why  are people investing in this crazy “virtual currency” anyway?
When I first stumbled across Bitcoin back in 2011, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It seemed a pretty quixotic goal, making a new currency just for the internet. I knew the network effect was critical for gaining any traction, and at the time it was just the province of a few cypherpunks, led by a mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto who hasn’t been heard from since 2010. This person or group started the whole thing with a white paper laying out how it would work. Soon the system was up and running. There were a few bumps along the way but this resilient idea has since caught on and now there are a flurry of competing crypto-currencies — that is, digital money that’s secured by lots of complex math.

There’s more to Bitcoin than just another internet scam or tulip craze. The underlying technology that makes Bitcoin work is not smoke and mirrors. You can see it working every day as money is transferred all over the world, nearly insantly. All you need is an internet connection, which of course is needed for any sort of online banking you do with traditional money. Bitcoin’s genius is making large-scale, distributed cryptography work for the masses.

That’s the important point: Bitcoin works for the masses, unlike traditional fiat currencies like the US Dollar. Despite our democratic ideals, American money policy is decided behind closed doors by a secretive agency that fiddles with interest rates and makes huge bond purchases with money it creates from nothing. Transparency is not the Federal Reserve’s style.

Money for the masses
With Bitcoin, the code is open source and there is no central authority or bank — the job of verifying transactions is distributed across the globe. Don’t trust Bitcoin? Review the source code yourself and suggest changes if the security is not up to snuff. Let there be no mistake — Bitcoin is not yet out of “beta” and is not financed by a huge corporation with a strict delivery timeline. Nope, this is a bunch of self-appointed Guardian Nerds who mostly have day jobs not related to Bitcoin (except lead developer Gavin Andresen, who is paid by the nascent Bitcoin Foundation).

With that in mind, it’s best to think of Bitcoin as something that will be really cool and world-changing…

But it isn’t yet. Not until an easier payment system is deployed (it’s being developed now) and a stronger ecosystem of merchants accepting the currency emerges. What we’re witnessing now is a speculative landgrab because smart folks know that Bitcoin’s current market cap of 5 or 6 billion is chump change compared to what a fully mature, global digital currency would have if it were successful. To put it in comparison, Bill Gates could buy the whole Bitcoin economy nearly 10 times over, even in this midst of this bubble.

But is this a bubble or merely staggered massive growth?

Bitcoin versus traditional forms of money
Many valuations have been tossed about for Bitcoin. Most are probably overly optimistic, but the naysayers ignore the fact that Bitcoin was cleverly designed to be a store of value first and a currency second. It’s been derided as a “deflationary currency” even though it’s presently inflating at over 10% as new bitcoins are mined and put into circulation. Though misunderstood, Bitcoin is just on a somewhat-flexible schedule of inflation that will limit it to at most 21 million coins. It will take nearly 100 years for it to inflate from the present total of 12 million to its final total of 21 million. That’s not a bad thing — you can plan your life around that, whereas the Fed could change course tomorrow and you’d have no recourse except to try and compensate for what you think might be their new strategy.

Make no mistake: Bitcoin threatens inflationary currencies because it offers a release valve available to regular folks if the government and/or central bank decides to inflate your currency (as they inevitably do). That’s a good thing because competition among currencies can only help consumers and merchants. Central banks won’t be able to inflate secretly without the price of Bitcoin being affected.

Bitcoin is still pretty clumsy as a currency, but it works well as a store of value as long as you follow proper security procedures and principles. Does your password contain your name or birthday or even the word “password” in it? Does it have the string “12345″ in it? Perhaps you should not buy any bitcoin until “Bitcoin Banks” emerge to offer security to the security-impaired. The bad thing about a global, distributed currency is that it can be stolen remotely too. Don’t skimp on the passwords and don’t keep everything all in one place, like your email account which could itself be hacked. Enable 2 factor authentication where available.

Soon, major merchants will start accepting Bitcoin because they want to save money on credit card transaction fees and/or Paypal charges. Bitcoin is close to free (currently around 3 cents, regardless of the size of the transaction) versus the 2 or 3% fee associated with credit cards.

China: the sleeping giant awakens
Much of the current boom has been driven by enthusiasm in China. During the last huge bubble in April China was barely a participant. This time they are driving the whole market and are responsible for more than half of all exchange trades which consistently outweighs the USD. The Chinese seem to like Bitcoin. A lot.

That means we’re in uncharted waters. Who knows the depths of their desire for bitcoin? Their proclivities could change the world because the Chinese and westerners have different philosophies of money. The Chinese are savers whereas the West has encouraged spending and investment through inflationary currencies that need to be earning you money or solving a problem, or else they are losing value. Much of western civilization is predicated on this quirk of our monetary system. Before, the only way to opt out was to buy gold and silver, but Bitcoin offers a new way to preserve value over time, but has the advantage that it can be sent anywhere in the world cheaply and in about an hour.

That’s why people have taken to calling Bitcoin things like Digital Gold and Gold 2.0. It could become a whole new asset class.

Bitcoin is a blessing and a curse for the Obama Administration
That’s been a problem for the US Government  – it doesn’t know how to classify Bitcoin for tax and regulation purposes. Is it a currency? A store of value? An asset? A security? A collectible? A stock in some hippy/libertarian enterprise? All of the above?

While many observers thought that the US regime would quickly make Bitcoin illegal because of its threat to the US Dollar, it now appears Washington is going to take a more wait & see approach, partly because the Chinese boom seems certain to incubate a new wave of start-ups and millionaires just like the early PC revolution did in the 80s and the internet boom did during the late 90s. Lawmakers face a stark choice: Do you want this new round of innovation to happen in Silicon Valley… or Shanghai?

Besides, Obama/Congress making Bitcoin illegal would only apply to the US and would only serve to drive it underground.  The Feds could try to eradicate it on the internet (at the cost of our liberties), but they would ultimately succeed only restricting commerce. Bitcoin is easy enough to hold offline as a paper wallet. I’m not sure if the US government even still bothers to feign interest in the plight of oppressed peoples living under dictatorships unless there happens to be some oil nearby, but if they did care, Bitcoin is a great way to effect commerce outside the grip of a despot. The obvious early candidates for Bitcoin merchants is any business involving the internet so buying a web domain with bitcoin is already possible. Soon other anti-censorship tools could become available with a digital currency that is difficult for authorities to track if you use appropriate anonymizing tools.

Is Bitcoin anonymous? Sort of.
It should be noted that Bitcoin is not fully anonymous. In fact, every transaction ever made is stored in a huge public ledger (the “Blockchain”) that is hosted and shared by anybody running a Bitcoin node. This helps verify that coins aren’t spent twice and ensures that only the person with the private key can access them. However, you can take steps to make sure no one knows you have that address. Bitcoin addresses are called “wallets” and they are basically both the wallet and bank account of Bitcoin. You can create a new one with a click of a button. No identifying information is required, but the NSA will still be spying on all your activities on the internet (as I’ve been saying for years, but we’re all supposed to be shocked) so tread with caution.

Golden Future: What does the future hold for Bitcoin?
So what does the future hold for Bitcoin? No one knows for sure, but I think we are watching history unfold. People scoffed at the idea of a personal computer. They scoffed at the internet and at mobile phones too. Yet the tide of history flows onward like the River Nile, demolishing our preconceptions and old ideas that no longer serve us in its inexorable ebb and flow.

In the wake of the financial disaster of 2008 and the lingering malaise (even as the Dow breaks 16,000), we have to wonder if our current concept of money is still working. In the old days, money was gold. Or silver. But we banished that idea to the distant past when paper money (which were originally certificates redeemable for gold or silver) caught on. But in the age of derivatives and CDOs and quantitative easing, perhaps it’s time to reassess if paper money — which somehow transformed into digital money in the last few decades — is really helping us.

So the idea of digital money isn’t even new. And neither is Bitcoin’s slow, steady inflation level because it mimics how gold is mined. But the idea of a currency created through cryptographic equations and run on normal PCs is radically new and revolutionary. Could it be that Bitcoin is the best of both worlds, the best of the old and the new?

Time will tell. But Bitcoin is just the first of what promises to be many cryptocurrencies. If Bitcoin doesn’t get it right, it’s likely that some other crypto-coin will.

Learn more about Bitcoin at WeUseCoins.com. Bitcoin has a significant learning curve and it’s worthwhile to invest some time into understanding it before you dive in. And if you’re going to buy in, wait until this current bubble pops. And pop it will, but I bet it will still be higher than it was 2 months ago.

You might be telling your grandkids about way back in your day when a bitcoin was only worth 600 dollars. And your grandkids will ask, “What’s a dollar?”

Are all of these corruption scandals and bailouts for the rich just a ‘confluence of interest’ wherein the richest people in the world just happen to all be on the same page? Did all of these attacks on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange just materialize out of the shared frustration of ultra-rich patriots?

Or is there something darker at work?

While I agree confluence of interest makes it possible for the elite to work towards the same ends without ever talking to each other, doesn’t it also make it more likely they would see the benefit in conspiring since their interests are already aligned? Why not coordinate your attacks?

It’s not like we can stop them either way.

The editor of the New York Times has recently admitted they let the US government review all of the WikiLeaks docs the NYT published, before they were published. While not technically a conspiracy (because it’s not illegal), this is just one more example of how the supposedly independent news outlets of the US are really just state-run media with a few corporate strings attached. I highly recommend reading this Glenn Greenwald article.:

It’s extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the U.S. Government, but that says a lot about the politics here…

The independent mainstream press is a fantasy.

There are all of these datapoints (secrecy, lies, corruption, bailouts for the rich, etc.) that obviously point to a conspiracy by the powers that be and yet many are still bound and determined to not look deeper into the maw of malfeasance that has engulfed our political and economic systems.

I guess I’ll mention the “I” word since we’re heading that direction already: Do you know who the Illuminati are? They’re glorified bankers. They are behind-the-scenes power-brokers who have enough money to make or break nations by either granting or denying loans. Look at the Rothschild family for a quick overview and just remember what happened when the bankers collapsed our economy 2 years ago. The government and the Federal Reserve (which the Illuminati basically owns outright) were quick to give them trillions upon trillions of dollars. That’s why you buy government officials off; it’s well worth it.

The natural course of human economic affairs is towards consolidation. Think of the Illuminati as a criminal gang who managed to forge a monopoly/oligarchy. They are the ultimate cartel. Do you believe in the Mafia? Well, believing in the Illuminati is no different; just a more refined — almost classy — version of Sicilian justice. Instead of controlling prostitution, gambling and drugs, the Illuminati control whole countries (wherein they let the Mafia run the aforementioned underworld black-markets).

I think we need to look at the endemic corruption that surrounds us as an invitation to dig deeper. Don’t flinch and stop looking because the horror is too great. We have no hope of getting our country back as long as we believe the party line that corruption in government is just the result of a few bad apples.

Here’s a question: How come (according the Media) corruption in banking, government and other white collar jobs is always the result of “a few bad apples” but whenever some dumbass Muslim kid buys an explosive it’s always a huge, global, interlocking terrorist conspiracy sworn to destroy us for our freedoms?

Seems awfully convenient.

Meanwhile the Democrats are caving on extending Bush’s tax cuts for the richest 2% — at a cost of $700 billion — in order to get a measly $60 billion in unemployment benefits from the Republicans. What a fucking joke. As per the usual plan the Democrats pretended to fight the good fight, then took a fall in the last round to give the Republicans another preordained victory. You’d think the party that controls the Senate and the presidency could scrounge a bit more out of the party that will soon control only the House, but that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world of conspiracies. If it gets much more obvious, those of you who still deny it will be the ones accused of being nutjobs. In fact, I think we’re at that point. How do you explain this and the other issues I’ve raised, if not through the machinations of the ruling class? And if the ruling class does act as one being through a confluence of interest, how is that any functionally different from a nefarious conspiracy?

Either way we’ve gotten to the point where the system does not even pretend to work for the common man anymore. We need more organizations like WikiLeaks to shed light on the inner working of our government, the banking apparatus and high-powered corporations.I highly recommend this article, which is itself a summation of a post by Julian Assange on how WikiLeaks hopes to disrupt the ability of conspirators to plan and execute their conspiracies by throwing their communication into the light. A taste:

Conspiracies are cognitive devices. They are able to out-think the same group of individuals acting alone. Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the conspiratorial environment), pass through the conspirators and then act on the result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information about the environment), a computational network (the conspirators and their links to each other) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain the environment). Since a conspiracy is a type of cognitive device that acts on information acquired from its environment, distorting or restricting these inputs means acts based on them are likely to be misplaced. Programmers call this effect garbage in, garbage out. Usually the effect runs the other way; it is conspiracy that is the agent of deception and information restriction. In the US, the programmer’s aphorism is sometimes called “the Fox News effect”.

So basically, Assange plans to starve the beast of its communication system and limit its ability to act unobserved. This will send a shockwave of panic and inaction through the mind of the conspiracy, rendering it unable to formulate new plots and execute them with any efficacy. It’s a bold aim, to be sure. But something has to be done. Conventional attempts to solve the very real problems have not worked. They haven’t worked because the game is rigged; you can’t vote “Them” out of power; they own both parties. Only when people start to see the very real conspiracies that perpetuate our very real problems will we get close to solving said problems. The current system is set up so we have no real choice or voice.

Before you let America’s (or your own) apathy subsume your hope for the future just take a closer look at what Assange is doing. He’s trying to cripple the conspiratorial consciousness. It’s not fantasy — after Iceland decided not to bail out the bankers it caused a temporary breakdown in the control-grid. That created an opening and Iceland is using it to write a new constitution.

It’s not going to be easy, but this is our moment. We’re finally seeing the control-grid crack and openings start to appear. Maybe if/when the banksters demand another bailout we can mount a better organized campaign to make sure Congress doesn’t accede, then use the momentum to bring our own Constitution back online.

One of the neat things about using WordPress is the iPod app that allows me to post remotely. Let’s see if this puppy works!!

Hopefully I will update the blog more often now. I know that I have barely updated this thing during most if 2010 even though lots of interesting things have been happening on the world stage. You better believe I have an opinion about most of it. These are exciting times. I hope things keep getting better.

Going through my old posts I was overwhelmed with my angry and frustrated tone, which of course can be blamed on the Bush administration. The Republicans made a big comeback during the election earlier this week and have claimed the House, proving Americans have a very short memory. Ah well, there are always silver linings. Now the Republicans are at least represented in Congress so they might feel less inclined to obstructionism… Yeah right. Well, at least Ron Paul might be the next chairman of the monetary policy subcommittee. He will be eager to hold the Federal Reserve’s feet to the fire. This should be fun!

I see a lot of common ground between liberals (i.e. leftist Democrats and independents) and libertarians (big L and small L). It’s unfortunate that a few fundamental issues divide them because there’s so much room for collaboration, especially when it comes to the calamitous policies of the Federal Reserve.

A Solution: First Steps
First, people need to chill out on both sides of this debate. Second, realize that what I’m proposing is not new, just misunderstood. I’ve jokingly called myself a libertarian socialist before, but today I found that there really is such a thing.

Now, what I’m about to do will piss off both liberals and libertarians, but I need to criticize both approaches before we can find a happy medium. This might be painful for you if you fall on one side or the other, but please bear with me; each side will get its fair share of abuse. And praise.

Neither Side is Perfect
The libertarians, especially social conservatives, need to realize that they do try to protect rich too much even though it’s the rich who created the Fed and many of our current economic problems. It’s the rich, after all, who can afford to thrive during times of moderate to high inflation because they can hire a team of accountants, investment bankers and so on to ride the rough waters of fiat capitalism.

Some well-meaning libertarians, being perpetually out of power, are gradually seduced into supporting right-wing bombthrowers like Glenn Beck, which only makes them look stupid, racist, backwards and irrational to a liberal. The tea parties have not succeeded because they are partisan and co-opted by mainstream Republican politicians like Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann, tapping into anger and doing nothing to really change things. If they were non-partisan End the Fed rallies that might be a step in the right direction. But many libertarians hate liberals because the Democrats who get elected tend to be corrupt establishment figures — just like Republican politicians.

Conversely, the leftist populists need to realize that Obama is not the savior they want him to be. He’s a politican like any other and he’s just playing the game. Note how little has changed since he took office. He’s made lots of noise about change, but our Empire is still killing peasants in Afghanistan, our privacy is still nonextistent as warrantless wiretapping continues, and our economy is still in the thrall of the rich as Bernanke gets re-upped for another term and the idiots who supported deregulation (like Summers) get cushy jobs in the administration. Meanwhile, Obama’s tackling (and losing) the health care fight when he should be focused on the economy first and foremost. I support universal healthcare, but the conservatives are right to question how we’re gonna pay for it. Shouldn’t we get our economic house in order before we make massive commitments to future spending?

The Health Care Riddle
The health care conundrum is a medium-sized part of our economic problems. The bigger problem is exactly what the Libertarians are talking about (and what progressive left-wing publications like the HuffPo are finally starting to realize): The secretive Fed’s embrace of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking will make peasants of us all.

This government, and everything in it (including Obama) is controlled by the banking apparatus. Look at how quickly the bailout and stimulus packages were passed in comparison to health care reform. And yet we could’ve easily paid for health care for every single American with the money we threw at the bankers so they could erase the red ink from their bottom lines and then refuse to give loans to regular people. Bonuses to executives are already back to pre-crash levels.

My point is that unless we fix the underlying issue we’ll be back at square one again. Unless a new amendment is added to the Bill of Rights guaranteeing free health care for all (not bloody likely) the bankers will find a way to put us back in the poor house again. Congress will bankrupt whatever public option we create unless it is rock-fucking-solid. Because of the inflationary and demographic bubbles we face, Social Security and Medicare will likely go bankrupt within a few decades. How will adding more financial obligations to the pile help us solve this mess?

Sometimes Society is to Blame
The typical libertarian response is to say “Get government off my back!” I think libertarians are susceptible to Republican messaging because the Republican politicians pretend to be in favor of limited government. And both libertarians and Republicans see poor people as failed and lazy.

Here’s something libertarians can learn from liberals: Sometimes the main forces that cause poverty really are society’s fault. More specifically to blame: government and corporate interests from banking to health care who are in favor of fiscally incapacitated citizens who thus become dependent on the state and the state’s favored corporations. Fiat currency and fractional reserve lending have created the underlying conditions that make this economic incapacitation possible.

Spending Our Way to Prosperity
Liberals have traditionally tried to solve this problem with even more government intervention. They see government as a tool they can use to elevate the playing field and give those people a shot at crawling out of poverty and back to fiscal independence. Libertarians have largely cried foul but haven’t proposed a practical solution and have in fact fallen for Republican Party propaganda (especially on taxes) when they should have stood with the poor. It is the poor who suffer most from the Fed’s policies.

Yet liberals who think we can continue to spend our way out of this mess are sadly mistaken. In fact, we’ve already spent far too much. It is perhaps the best response to the problem within the context of an inflationary world, but the Keynesian approach will ultimately collapse because the inflation is too destabilizing and it’s also incredibly iniquitous. Who here gets a check for inflation each month? Not me, but because of fractional reserve lending practices, banks benefit disproportionately from inflation. Liberals, just like right-leaning libertarians, are inadvertantly supporting the rich elites who create the problems they decry.

The Tree of Liberty
This crisis threatens to rend our nation apart but also presents an opportunity; a chance to end the Fed and the economic inequity it has wrought. And the only way that can happen is by unifying liberals and libertarians once again. Their names come from the same root word, after all — Liberty. Both sides need to make bold changes to come together, but the only way to achieve true economic liberty is by a combination of tight regulation of banks and specie-backed currency.

As FDR said:

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

Political liberty cannot come without economic liberty.

FDR Did Better Against the Nazis Than The Bankers
A lot of Libertarians hate Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but what they don’t seem to realize is that he was fighting an all-out war against the corrupt banking and corporate interests who were colluding against the common man, and the levers of government were the only powers the president had available to him. The banker-controlled Fed, after all, caused the first Great Depression and FDR was forced to act quickly to stem the bleeding. Read this link for more insight into FDR and why he abandoned the gold standard — Europeans had already ditched gold and were buying up ours with their fiat currency, but FDR wanted to work out an international gold standard once the crisis subsided. And indeed, Bretton Woods was an attempt to do just that.

Roosevelt has been slandered as anti-business by many on the right. He was not; he was anti-Big Business. He stood up for all of America, not just the plutocrats. FDR’s Keynesian solution was imperfect but it bought time and saved the Union. If he had not acted quickly the Business Plot of 1934 may have succeeded and America may have spiraled into despotic fascism, never to return.

Corporate Power
Some libertarians have not been sufficiently suspicious of the motives of Big Business. They think that corporate rights are the same as personal liberty. They are not.

Corporations are amoral machines that must be controlled. Men should be free to do what they will, but who among us will argue that a man is free to run over people in his car because, by golly, he paid for that car and he controls it and he uses it to make money for his family, so anybody who tries to stop him is abridging his rights? Well, we shouldn’t let corporations driven by men to run amok any more than we should allow that of motor vehicle operators. It is imperative that libertarians understand that economic freedom is more fundamental and more important than corporate power.

A New Respect
Liberals, meanwhile, have long regarded libertarians a bunch of kooks; militia-joining types who are all paranoid gold-bugs who believe in anarchic and anachronistic principles. But libertarians have learned the hard way that governments can resort to tyranny whether they’re controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans. Democratic attempts to solve our basic economic problems have either been limp-wristed or misguided. Liberals need to take a look at the constitutional principles libertarians stand by and realize how closely they align with progressivism. Most importantly, liberals need to get past the false “left vs. right” dichotomy that the elites use to divide and conquer us. The marginalized, but proud Libertarian voters have defiantly supported their minor party despite no chance of winning.

Perhaps liberals will have more respect for libertarians and their journey through the political wilderness after the last 8 years of suffering their own indignity. Soured on big, invasive government (wiretapping, No Child Left Behind, literal invasions) during the Bush years, this is the ideal time for liberals to wake up and realize that they can only secure the freedom and prosperity by looking beyond the political and focusing on the very most fundamental monetary elements of our economy upon which the government and society are built. Libertarians are not greedy to focus on money; they are prudent. Unless we have a secure gold-backed money supply we will continue to have these crises, and at some point we can’t continue to solve them through social programs and endless spending. Inflation creates the poverty that we all fear. It’s time to end it.

This is my plea for liberals and libertarians to work together and remove the Federal Reserve’s charter. It’s time to take back our economic liberty. We don’t have much time to waste.

The Fed is starting to feel the heat! Keep the pressure on, Congresscritters. Looks like the House is united in demanding a real, independent audit. Now we’ve got to get the Senate on board.

More here.

Was the banking industry screwed over by its own bankruptcy law? It sure appears to have hurt the economy

“Before the reform, overindebted households might file bankruptcy and get rid of their credit card debt, and that would free up income to pay the mortgage,” Morgan said. “The new law blocks that escape route and forces better-off households to continue paying credit card debt, which makes it harder than before to continue paying the mortgage.”

The conclusions of Morgan and his colleagues echo earlier findings that the new law’s tougher requirements appear to have increased the number of people defaulting on their mortgages or walking away from their homes rather than seeking bankruptcy protection.

“One of the great lessons and ironies” of the new law, Treasury Department economist David P. Bernstein wrote in a recent paper, was that, by increasing the dollar value of assets susceptible to default, it has weakened many of the financial institutions that sought the new law in the first place.

Man, those guy are fucking idiots, right?
Hmm… I suspect that we need to reference incompetence theory here. These assholes didn’t get to the top of the finance industry by being clueless morons eager to throw their body into the arms of Defeat. No, these hard-asses know a lot more about the economy than most people do and they’re using that insider knowledge to time the crash of the economy and profit from it.The bankruptcy law was an important part of the crash: it was the trigger. It was the pin that popped the bubble.

The robberbarons in charge of this economy aren’t stupid. They know that their inflationary, fiat monetary system creates boom and bust cycles so they simply manipulate those cycles to their favor and crater the system at a time of their choosing.

Cheney’s invested in Europe. The Bushes are in South America and the Middle East. I’m sure Hank and Ben are well taken care of, too. The rest of us will be the ones to deal with the fallout from this avoidable disaster. Don’t assume the bankruptcy law was unimportant; it emanated from the very heart of the banking industry and its passage was assumed/assured in Congress. That law is now adding to the misery of those suffering in this corpse of a system.

It’s time to change. We need to switch to a gold-backed system wherein people can feel safe and plan for the future without the economic rollercoasters juiced by Big Media’s propaganda system, creating fear at the opportune moments. We ride on, strapped into a rickety system that is doomed to fail, and soon. The government hasn’t been keeping up the rollercoaster. In fact, the top of the hierarchy have sold all the screws and bolts to China for a tidy profit. We are held aloft by hope, inertia and the wings of big-tittied angels.

Well, don’t look down. Like Wile E. Coyote, we’d fall if we did. But we have to fall, don’t we?
 

It’s time to fall up
refuse to die
and start to fly
away from the lie

A new era? Meet the new boss…

So Obama’s president-elect. Whoopee.

A lot of people are saying that either Obama will be way, way better than Bush or that Obama will be significantly worse.

I think it will be neither.

I simply can’t imagine anybody being worse than Bush II. I mean, the guy didn’t do a single thing in 8 years that I 100% agreed with. And committing treason, launching an illegal war on false premises and doing everything he could to destroy the environment and the middle class will be tough to top.

On the other hand, will Obama be that much better? Well, he will be hard-pressed to even get us back to where we were in 2000, before W took over. Simply put: there is no way Obama will be as good as we hope. For one, he’s a moderate when we are in need of a radical. He’s good at compromise and bringing people together, but I don’t want to be brought together with the neocons who destroyed our country; I want to see them rot in jail for their crimes.

Secondly, he’s surrounded by advisors and colleagues who got us into this trouble in the first place. There were economic advisors on both sides of the election (Phil Gramm for McCain and Robert Rubin for Obama) who helped create the current crisis and who continually denied that there even was a crisis. This is extremely bad news for those of us hoping for a quick turnaround (and for “change” in general) and it puts Obama’s judgment and independence into question.

Let’s say, as a wonderful thought experiment, that Obama does intend to bring big change to Washington, and is largely successful based on his penchant for bipartisanship and his crew of old-hands who know how the game works. Then what? Then he gets shot! Simple as that; the system will not allow massive, systemic change without a fight.

For instance, the only way to solve the current financial crisis is to rid ourselves of the pestilence known as the Federal Reserve. This private bank has impoverished America and robbed her of her economic liberty. But the last president who attempted to get rid of it was shot in broad daylight in Dallas by multiple gunmen and there was never so much as a trial.

Until we get back on the gold standard our economic problems will persist. If you have the time, watch a movie called Zeitgeist: Addendum, which lays out all the problems with our current (fiat and fractional reserve) monetary system in great detail, and how it’s basically a pyramid-scheme and a scam to enslave us via money.

Will Obama make the painful changes necessary to rescue our nation from the inhuman greed of the international bankers and their cabal of cronies? Only time will tell, but it certainly doesn’t look good. Add to this the fact that he’s reinforcing Bush’s laughable al-Qaeda myth and encouraging attacks on both Afghanistan and Pakistan and you’ve got a continuance of the U.S.’s crypto-imperialist policies and the War on Terror scam, which is actually a war on civil liberties. These are the tools the Bush admin used to manipulate people, spread fear and crush dissent. If Obama uses them as the neocons did, we will know that he is a threat to liberty too.

I’m willing to give him some time and a short honeymoon, but we must continue to be critical and relentless in our pursuit of justice, liberty and freedom. I don’t care which party he’s in, what he professes to believe, what color his skin is, or what he says he’s going to do — it’s what he actually does that counts. And that’s what I will judge him by.

Things look grim. I’m sure we’re not out of the woods yet — there’s a long way to go before we hit rock bottom.

You can probably guess my reaction to the bailout: SCAM!!

So, our plan is to give the people who fucked the economy billions of dollars with no real plan to get it back? Brilliant! How could that not work?

The assholes basically just got us to pay them for ripping us off. Quite the smooth move on their part. 

But you know, it’s basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic at this point. I don’t think $700 billion (actually, with all the pork it’s closer to $850 billion) will make a lick of difference. The problem is much deeper than that; it has to do with the way we create and regulate money, at the fundamental level. Basically, we need to return to the gold standard, eliminate fractional reserve lending and dissolve the Federal Reserve.

This will make for some bumpy transitions, as a nation used to 5% growth every year realizes that maybe 0.2% is more appropriate. Of course, the 5% growth stat is illusionary. You have to grow by 5% every year just to stay ahead of inflation. If you want to actually make money you need an even higher rate — which leads to risky investments. Wall Street wants ever-better numbers and the strain of achieving them has led many an executive to make risky, negligent or downright stupid investments. We need fiscal sanity! It may be boring, and less people will be able to make a living moving electronic numbers around, but it will bring stable beneficence to the majority of the world.

Problem: How to get there from here. 

Step one: Reach rock bottom.

We’re well on our way there. I’m afraid nothing will change without suffering because there’s no motivation otherwise. It’s a sad truth. The problem is that we’re speeding too fast towards rock bottom. We may hit it with the impact of a dinosaur falling off a thousand-foot cliff. That would basically end our civilization as we know it.


We need a soft landing. But how to get it? The fat-ass rich people stole the golden parachutes, but in a world where money is worthless paper what help will those parachutes be?

There’s no way out of this one, folks. We’re all gonna die unless somebody has been planning ahead with an altruistic and audacious plan to save us from our high-velocity trajectory straight into the ground.

We can’t look to the people in charge to save us — they’re the ones who got us into this mess. So I guess we don’t have many options. Who has a plan? Who has the resources to make it work? Who among us is bold enough to listen?

We are fast approaching the Rubicon.

Holy cow — lookout! There’s banks falling like boulders all around us!

Luckily for them, when big, important institutions such as investment banks fail, they fall right into the loving arms of the Bush administration.

AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch this week alone. Am I forgetting one? Probably. Now regulators are calling other banks looking for buyers in case Washington Mutual fails too.

Wall Street couldn’t be in worse shape if it was literally on fire.

But, the GOP is there to bail these irresponsible banks out of trouble with — you guessed it — taxpayer money.

Soviet Palin

That’s what the Establishment truly believes in: Socializing losses and privatizing profits.

God bless America, Comrade.

"A Banker's Coup"

There’s an article you need to read. Here’s a bite-sized piece:

Congress is being muscled out of financial market supervision by a troop of venal banksters and corporate picaroons who are threatening to finish-off the already-defanged SEC. That will put the Fed in the driver’s seat for good. Paulson wants to police the world’s most complex markets on the “honor system”. It’s crazy. His blueprint is an obvious attempt to consolidate market-related functions under a central authority that is accountable to private industry alone. That way, the Fed can bailout whomever it chooses without congressional approval. Paulson’s press conference was just a polite way of informing the American people that the seat of power has shifted from Washington to Wall Street. It’s a banker’s coup.

Want another hit? Read the whole thing.

My own take: He’s right. And it’s absolutely insane to give these people more power since they’ve already fucked up so royally.

…But maybe that was the plan from the start. We have to remember who we’re dealing with. These fascist oligarchs would love nothing more than to be finally rid of the meddlesome middle class. This deliberately-stoked financial crisis will wipe out the American middle class while the global elite will escape with just a few financial bruises… even though they caused the damn collapse to happen.

There’s justice for you.

The mainstream media is covering the global elite: The Superclass.

What is the world coming to? Are we actually going to have an honest discussion on the nature of the Super-rich and their incredibly disproportionate influence upon the world?

I doubt it, but it’s still nice to see Newsweek talking about it… of course, the author positively lusts after the power in front of him:

Recalling an earlier crisis in global securities markets that he helped to manage, Geithner said the Fed brought together the leaders of the world’s 14 major financial firms, from five countries, representing 95 percent of all the activity in global markets. The Swiss were there, the Germans were there, the British were there. Interestingly, no Asians were there, not even the Japanese. Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein “jokingly called them ‘the 14 families,’ like in ‘The Godfather’,” says Geithner. “And we said to them, “You guys have got to fix this problem. Tell us how you are going to fix it and we will work out some basic regime to make sure there are no free riders to give you comfort; you know that if you move individually everybody else will move with you.”

There was nothing in writing, no rules, no formal process, and while no one asked the Fed to act, the Fed let everyone in the markets know it was acting. The beauty of the process was its absolute efficiency, seeing what a tight circle of large firms with “some global reach” could get done, fast—with an executive committee of only four running the weekly conference call until the crisis was past.

There was nothing in writing because it’s not a democratic process. It’s an oligarchical one. These super-rich folks have a common interest — maintaining their power — and they’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

The people on the recent calls like those described by Geithner, plus a few thousand more like them, not only in business and finance, but also politics, the arts, the nonprofit world and other realms, are part of a new global elite that has emerged over the past several decades. I call it the “superclass.” They have vastly more power than any other group on the planet. Each of the members is set apart by his ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. Each actively exercises this power, and often amplifies it through the development of relationships with other superclass members.

It’s just like high school. The super-rich have formed their own clique and none of the rest of us are invited “in”. Nope, we’re outsiders…. which seems odd because there’s approximately 6,000 of them and 6,000,000,000 of us.

So how does one become a member? As ever, being rich certainly helps. Many superclass members are wealthy, wealthier in relative terms than any elite ever has been. The top 10 percent of all people, for example, now control 85 percent of all wealth on the planet.

It’s very stable. It’s orderly, and it works.

But it’s not democracy.

In fact, when I said “it works” I meant that the system works. I didn’t mention anything about whether or not it works for everybody. Clearly, with most of the world’s population in either mild or abject poverty, the system does not work fairly or equitably.

So here’s a question: Why do we need these guys?

What benefit do they bring me? Or you? Right now they only bring the status quo, but with the economy faltering (and these guys being in a position to see it coming) it seems to me that they’re bringing us a world of pain. The superclass will have time to jump ship. They’ve probably already moved much of their wealth to Euros or gold. The rest of us? We’re just trying to get by.

If they fuck us over, I say it’s on. You ruin my standard of living, I might just ruin yours.

The iconic symbol of superclass unity is the Gulfstream private jet. In fact, one way to measure the clout of an event is to count the private jets at the nearest airport. According to Gulfstream, Davos traditionally attracts more of its planes than any other gathering, drawing up to 10 percent of the 1,500 planes in service to Zurich airport. But this year’s Olympics in Beijing will give it a run for its money, as typically do events as diverse as the Monaco Grand Prix, China’s Boao Forum, the Geneva Auto Show or Allen & Co.’s annual getaway for media magnates in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Globalization looks different when you can tell the pilot when to leave and where to go, and when there are no security lines to wait in when you are heading off for distant destinations. Those who are free to move about the planet this way come to have more in common with themselves than with their own countrymen. “What happened to us, that we walk through the Davos party and know more people than when we were walking across the village green in the town we live in?” wonders Mark Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations and now a senior official in the British Foreign Ministry.

The Gulfstream jet is a perfect metaphor for these people. They are in the fast lane while the rest of us take the bus. There’s only one word for it: Class.

I thought America was supposed to be a classless (or at least upwardly mobile) society, but it seems like we’ve copied the British class system almost to the letter. Throw some more racism and capitalism in the mix and you’ve got Britain 2.0. Is that what our founding fathers wanted?

People tell me that I shouldn’t wage class warfare, to which I say: “What the fuck are you talking about? The war is over. The rich won a long time ago.”

So apparently I have a blog or something. Wouldn’t it be nice if I updated it every now and then?

Sorry for the nearly-a-month gap between updates. I’ve been busy, depressed, sick, busy and exhausted. And busy.

A lot has changed, but much more hasn’t. I get sick of the same old shit. It’s just depressing to have to contend with the fact that we’ve got a crew of fascists in the White House and no one seems to care, especially not Congress.

Similar to Hitler and Nazis we may have to wait for them to cause their own undoing. That seems like the way things are going: The Fed and Bush admin have completely fucked our economy to the point where I’m wondering whether I should move somewhere the hell else.

They said an emergency cut by the US Federal Reserve to its discount rate and a weekend deal for JPMorgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns at a fire-sale price had added to a sense of crisis sweeping through global financial markets.

The volatility spilled over into commodities Monday as oil prices soared to fresh highs and gold prices jumped as investors looked to safe-havens.

The fact that the government is bailing out mega-rich corporations at the expense of regular-joe taxpayers almost doesn’t even register in my mind. We’ve got bigger fish to fry: The stability of the economy as a whole is threatened.

It’s important to realize that the US dollar is a fiat currency, backed by nothing but promises. There’s no gold backing, no silver; nothing. It’s paper. It’s backed only by the promise of the government that its citizens will continue being productive and paying their taxes. But if the economy goes even lower into the pit of doom it’s falling in, then the American taxpayer will have trouble paying for much of anything. Houses are foreclosing and jobs are dwindling. There’s no end in sight so we don’t know whether this will be just a minor correction (read: recession) or a major depression.

It’s looking more and more like a depression.

There’s a lot of baggage here. The dollar has been inflated in value for years and now the cows are coming home to roost ontop of the chickens who wanted to be elsewhere but couldn’t afford transport because of high gas prices.

But’s the subprime mortgage mess that’s really triggering this downfall. Those same loans kept the economy afloat a few years ago, but now they’re acting more like a millstone. So, in order to save us from economic ruin, the Bush admin is robbing us of our own money. This money will be sent to the enormous banks who fucked us in the first place:

This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

The Spitzer scandal proves once again that the most horrible thing any politician can ever do is have sex.

You can start illegal wars, violate every American’s 4th amendment rights simultaneously, give away billions to rich cronies, display utter incompetence and total hypocrisy, but God help you if you have sex with somebody who’s not your wife! (the solution is obvious)

Oh well. Spitzer was a hypocrite, too. He should’ve moved for legalized prostitution when he had the chance. But what really burns me is how we hold (or don’t hold) politicians accountable. Spitzer’s indiscretions are mostly a matter of concern for his wife; it’s none of our fucking business (ha!). Bush’s crimes are at a war-crime level or higher. Yet he is protected by the Democratic Congress as if he were one of their own.

Well, I guess he is.

The truth is that the ruling class looks after their own. Spitzer was standing in the way of economic progress so he had to go. Of course “economic progress” is just a euphemism for wealth redistribution; from the poor to the rich.

In the end, we’re on our own. The rich will look after themselves/each other, but they will only think about us insofar as we are necessary to their survival. It’s foolish naivety to believe otherwise, I’m afraid. They’ll save their servents before us, simply because they want someone to serve them hot toddies in the underground bunkers.

So my advice is: watch the markets. If there’s a run on the banks you’ll want to be first in line to get your cash. Remember, only the first 10% will get their money out. Everybody else is completely fucked if the FDIC doesn’t have a couple trillion laying around.

Of course what do I know? I’m just a simple peasant giving advice to other peasants on how to deal with an economic system invented by the nobles for the benefit of the nobles. There’s really not much we can do.

But you might be wise to avoid listening to the mouthpieces of the nobles. Their advice is usually self-serving at best. Perhaps even scarier is the idea that the high priests of the economy have no fucking idea what’s happening or how to stop it.

Sounds like a good time for a deus ex machina. Somebody must’ve seen this debacle coming, right? We need a white knight but all I see are charlatans, jokers and sycophants. Hoping for a miracle doesn’t seem like a very good strategy, but what other choice do we have?