Category : scam

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.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably think that organizations like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are there to protect the common man from white collar criminals on Wall Street.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that the SEC is an agency dedicated to protecting the criminals from the gimpy arm of justice. The Madoff scandal is a perfect example. His Ponzi scheme was operating right out in the open and anybody with enough financial sophistication to work on Wall Street would’ve been able to figure out the fraud if they had bothered to add up the numbers.

Former fraud investigator Harry Markopolos did add up the numbers:

“The SEC was never capable of catching Mr. Madoff. He could have gone to $100 billion” without being discovered, Markopolos testified. “It took me about five minutes to figure out he was a fraud.”

Markopolos had been warning about Madoff’s scam since 2000. Nobody listened. He sent his detailed warnings with his reasonings attached and written in such a way I, a financial neophyte, could understand the brazenness of the fraud. It should have been obvious to any SEC fraud investigator within a matter of minutes.

Here’s why they didn’t pursue the matter:

Madoff, who was at one point chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market and sat on SEC advisory committees, was “one of the most powerful men on Wall Street and in a position to easily end our careers or worse,” Markopolos said.

The SEC would have been investigating one of their own, and that’s just not gonna happen; then or now. That would be like Cheney investigating Bush or vice versa. Ain’t gonna happen.

Washington D.C. is kind of like OppositeLand: Everything is the opposite of the way it should be. Our biggest criminals are not just coddled, they are given the keys to the kingdom. When our banks screw up they are given billions for free, but when you are deep in debt you can bet on the credit card industry bribing Congress into passing tougher bankruptcy laws.

If you’re able to wrap your head around the absurdity of the situation you might not be that surprised to find that the CIA is funding terrorism, the FBI is protecting criminals and the DEA is protecting drug smugglers. That’s the way things work in OppositeLand. Bill Clinton gets impeached for a blowjob and Bush didn’t even get censured for pissing all over the Constitution and starting two illegal wars in which over a million people died.

Welcome to OppositeLand, where if you fuck up, you move up. If you have ethics and morals, you can expect to be a social leper or maybe even have your ass killed for your troubles.

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Uh, what? Is it New Years yet? … Wha? whatsdat? It’s the 8th already? Of 2009? Seriously?

Shit.

Well, happy new year, folks. Time flies.

I guess I’ve been so busy working, being sick, celebrating the holidays, working up for sick days, working on a website, practicing with the band, and working some more, that I haven’t had time to express my growing rage at the economic situation, which is clearly the work of vile capitalists who know how to make money off the market whether it’s going up or falling down.

Bernie Madoff’s got nothing on the dollar itself. The whole American monetary system is gigantic Ponzi scheme, waiting to collapse at the slightest provocation. This economic house of cards might just get us all killed — you remember World War II started from the ashes of the Great Depression, of course. Well, between nukes, bioweapons and chemical weapons this shit could be even worse if we don’t get out of this mess.

Does anybody know how?

From what I can tell the very same people who got us into this mess are being asked to get us out. The people who saw this coming, the Peter Schiffs and the Ron Pauls of the world, they are not being asked for their counsel, strategy or even the time of day. Nope. The Willfully Blind rush feverishly forward, wailing the whole way about how they could never have known.

Bullshit. They knew. Alan Greenspan can wade eye-deep into technical obscurity on any number of topics concerning money and markets. But you’re telling me he couldn’t see he was creating bubbles left and right? Bullshit. He knew exactly what he was doing and this downturn was planned long ago.

They plan to soak us dry, for every last penny we’ve got. The Ponzi scheme’s house of cards crushes the people at the bottom when it falls. That’s the whole point. The guys high up the hierarchy escape with the aid of their golden parachutes and insider knowledge; the rest of us get to hold the damn thing on our shoulders until it finally breaks our spines and we die, another generations of slaves beaten, broken and used by their illuminoid masters. We wore ties instead of chains but the end result — endless work for pitiful rewards — remained constant. We are a planet of serfs, dutifully laboring away for the guy in the castl-.. er, “mansion” up on the hill because if we don’t we don’t receive the resources necessary to live.

Maybe we should just learn to enjoy it. But sometimes these elite assholes like to deny us even the courtesy of a job to slave away at. And so we enter another such time, when you can smell the desperation in the air and wages stay stagnant while business cut back and hope to survive the storm. Desperate men are easy to manipulate; desperate businesses have to cut costs — the cycle is not a happy one for the wageslaves.

Oh God, I’m gonna go to sleep before I rant all night, typing my fingers off in the uncaring darkness. I gotta let it go; just roll with it. Sometimes I actually hope for the apocalypse (preferably a zombie apocalypse) so we can dispense with the bullshit.

Happy 2009, slaves. Let’s hope Master doesn’t whip us too hard this year.

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.

The pyramid scheme that is our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. The subprime loan disaster is looking more and more like the detanator that will nuke the dollar, the banking industry and our economy as a whole.

When US homeowners default on their mortgages en-mass, they destroy money faster than the Fed can replace it through normal channels. The result is a liquidity crisis which deflates asset prices and reduces monetized wealth, says economist Henry Liu.

The debt-securitization process is in a state of collapse. The market for structured investments, MBSs, CDOs, and Commercial Paper—has evaporated leaving the banks with astronomical losses. They are incapable of rolling over their their short-term debt or finding new revenue streams to buoy them through the hard times ahead. As the foreclosure-avalanche intensifies; bank collateral continues to be down-graded which is likely to trigger a wave of bank failures.

Henry Liu sums it up like this: Proposed government plans to bail out distressed home owners can slow down the destruction of money, but it would shift the destruction of money as expressed by falling home prices to the destruction of wealth through inflation masking falling home value. (The Road to Hyperinflation, Henry Liu, Asia Times) It’s a vicious cycle. The Fed is caught between the dual millstones of hyperinflation and mass defaults. There’s no way out.

We are so fucked.

Unless somebody has a new economic system waiting in the wings I’ll have to start learning how to survive on rats, rabbits, squirrels … and probably human flesh at this rate. And that is not my idea of a good time.

The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. I can only watch these “financial experts” make one stupid decision after another. They’re only really experts at making themselves massive short-term profits. They don’t care about the damage they’ve done to the economy, which affects all of us.

The whole affair is depressing and maddening, but if you want to learn more, visit the Market Oracle.

As for me, I’ll be learning to hunt small suburban mammals.

I like to learn a thing or two every day, and today I learned a very interesting thing indeed.

Many people know that alcohol can be used as fuel for cars and farm equipment. It’s popular today in the guise of ethanol, but ethanol is largely a red herring. Ethanol is a ghost of what could have been had the Prohibition movement not killed alcohol fuel in its infancy.

Most people are not aware that Henry Ford’s Model T came in a variation that allowed the driver to switch the carburetor to run the engine on farm-made ethyl acohol [sic]. This allowed the operator to stop at local farms (equipped with stills) to refuel his/her car during long trips through the backcountry. After all- the gas station wasn’t exactly as ubiquitous in those days, as it is now. The Standard Oil Company and its industrialist-founder John D. Rockefeller wasn’t too happy with this arrangement. After all, Rockefeller’s company had a virtual monoploly on gasoline at this time in our nation’s development.

It kind of makes me wonder why we’re fighting an illegal war over oil in the desert, thousands of miles away, when we could probably retrofit our cars to run on domestically produced alcohol fuels (which does not have to be corn-based like ethanol).

Like William Randolph Hearst’s campaign against cannabis (marijuana), Rockefeller’s campaign against alcohol was ultimately successful… for him. Hearst and Rockefeller’s respective campaigns were horrible crimes perpetrated against America, the environment and truth, but both men were personally enriched through their scheming.

Since the late 1800′s there had been a growing Alcohol Temperance Movement developing among reformers. Rockefeller saw an opportunity in this. It is well-documented that local efforts to curb alcohol consumption were expanded to the national level when high-profile figures like Rockefeller joined in the anti-alcohol efforts. Was he so concerned with the social problems that abuse of alcohol was said to cause?

No… John D. Rockefeller was not concerned with family dynamics in the working classes. But he was influential in changing the goals of the movement from temperance to prohibition. As we know, his contribution to the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol was successful. Of course, Rockefeller and the oil companies reaped tremendous profits as a result. Remember that the period covered by the 18th Amendment (1919-1933) coincided with the huge rise in the sale and operation of automobiles. America was on the move, and all of these cars were now operated solely on gasoline. By the time that the 21st Amendment was passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol, the standard was already set and worked completely in the favor of the Rockefeller family.

While this is an excellent example of a conspiracy against the American people that is both provable and successful, there is one problem with calling it a conspiracy: Conspiracies require illegal acts, and lying to the American people is not necessarily illegal. Unethical, yes, but unless you were personally slandered there’s no chance of legal recourse against such conspiratorial campaigns.

In the end, this is an example of how rich men can ride roughshod over the Constitution and the democratic process and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto is dead. She was shot by her assassin, who then blew himself up.

Bhutto’s archenemy, Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf, who has the most to gain from her death, tried to make it look as though he hadn’t wished for such a thing:

Musharraf blamed Islamic extremists for Bhutto’s death and said he would redouble his efforts to fight them.

“This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war,” he said in a nationally televised speech. “I have been saying that the nation faces the greatest threats from these terrorists. … We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out.”

Right, right, right. “Terrorists.” Gotcha. Anything bad happens, it’s dem damn dirty terr’rists.

Isn’t it weird how the terrorists’ are so kean to assassinate a politician with no actual power who may or may not have had a shot at the presidency? Especially when the presidency is currently occupied by a secular militant Bush-crony who hated Bhutto?

Hmmm….

Meanwhile, our esteemed president was quick to blame teh terr’rists too:

In the U.S., a tense looking President Bush strongly condemned the attack “by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy.”

Undermine Pakistanti democracy? You mean, like by supporting a dictator instead of demonstrators agitating for liberty? I guess that makes Bush a “murderous extremist.” Even more interesting is how he already knows that it was some lone gunman (“extremist” is a great catch-all) when there hasn’t been an investigation yet.

In fact, all of the neocon/fascist front have already condemned the attack, from Sarkozy to Karzai to Gordon Brown to the Pope. They were so quick with statements you have to wonder if they knew it was coming. And every single one of them has accepted Musharraf’s version of events without question.

Interesting….

Of course, Americans are in the thrall of a malicious and corrupt media establishment. There will be no questioning the official version of events.

The Pakistanis at least are not so stupid:

Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing him of complicity in her killing.

“We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment … but they paid no heed to our requests,” Malik said.

As news of her death spread, angry supporters took to the streets.

In Pakistan it’s obvious. The president’s most esteemed foe is dead with a bullet in her neck. Do the fucking math.

Musharraf is a military man. The military is the most powerful institution in Pakistan and their intelligence service, the ISI, is a known collaborator with the CIA (some say it’s just a CIA puppet). The motive, means and opportunity are all right there. But we Americans — you know home of the brave, land of the free — will swallow the Musharraf propaganda like manna because our Dear Leader and his corrupt, oligarchical establishment have their fingers in this wicked little pie.

Pakistan is necessary for the perpetuation of other frauds, including the al Qaeda myth. That’s why control of Pakistan cannot be allowed to return to the hands of a democrat. The secret could be revealed, and that is most certainly worth killing for.

This is not the first attempt on Bhutto’s life:

Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. On the same day, she narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 140 people.

That was Musharraf’s first “welcome back” message. Now, he has said “goodbye.”

Now here comes the lie:

Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto’s return to the country with suicide bombings.

That’s a straight-up lie. First of all the Taliban has no claim on Pakistan; they are (ostensibly) Afghanis who are more concerned with fighting the Bush-puppet Hamad Karzai. Second, if al Qaeda truly hated Bush and the Americans they would target Musharraf, since he is Bush’s closest and most powerful ally in Pakistan. Bhutto’s death does nothing but strengthen his hand. The truth is that the CIA and the ISI worked together to train and create al Qaeda for bin Laden as a convenient scapegoat for anything and everything.

Now al Qaeda is getting the blame again. How convenient for a dictator like Musharraf (or Bush) to have a shadowy, ultra-evil organization to blame for everything. How convenient that al Qaeda apparently hates the same people that Bush and Musharraf do. How convenient that al Qaeda never seems to manage to kill right-wing hardliners but has amazing success with leftist pro-liberty politicians. How extremely fucking convenient.

The CIA/ISI/al-Qaeda axis is just a modern day Gestapo. They are an all-purpose assassination squad under control of the evil proto-fascist oligarchs who rule this planet.

It’s time for people to wake up and see through the lies. How many more people have to die before we finally learn we’re being played for fools?

UPDATE 12/28: The police charged with providing security for Bhutto left their posts shortly before the assassination.

Perhaps more shockingly, an attendee at the rally where Bhutto was killed says police charged with protecting her “abandoned their posts,” leaving just a handful of Bhutto’s own bodyguards protecting her.

As commenter pk_analyst points out below Bhutto was shot with an AK-47 rifle. Now the spinning, changing storylines and Big Lies come into play. In order to do a proper cover-up the authorities will have to eliminate the gun (many are saying she hit her head on some sort of lever instead of taking a bullet) and throw all the blame on mysertious al Qaeda members who may or may not even exist.

While some intelligence officials, especially within the US, were quick to finger al Qaeda militants as responsible for Bhutto’s death, it remains unclear precisely who was responsible and some speculation has centered on Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, its military or even forces loyal to the current president Pervez Musharraf. Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, is the garrison city that houses the Pakistani military’s headquarters.

Just to be clear, “intelligence officials” almost certainly means “CIA officials.” The CIA is busily spinning the press. This is misinformation, folks. You are being lied to indirectly by your government and somewhat unwittingly by the media. Just so you know.

Our current Constitutional Crisis summed up in one pithy comic:

It wouldn’t be so depressing if it weren’t so true. The myth of partisanship is just that; a myth. In reality, both parties are controlled by a higher party: The Money Party (or the Business Party if you prefer).

If the two parties were boxers, the Democrats would be the one throwing the fight. The Republicans would be the one biting the other guy’s ear off.

Somebody stole my gas!

I know gas prices are high, but this is just ridiculous.

Lemme break it down for you, in the hope that I will understand it myself. Here’s what happened: I filled up my car’s tank on Thursday. Like always, I tripped the mileage counter so it was back to zero. I like to keep track of my miles per gallon just to see if the car’s doing okay and all that.

So skip forward to Saturday. I drive to the disc golf course to hook up with some friends and throw 18 holes. Afterwards we drive to the bar and run into some friends. After drinking and playing some pool we move decide to play another 18 holes. At this point I look at my gas gauge. It reads 1/4 full.

I assumed that something was wrong with the gauge. It’s electronic and only reads accurately when you turn the key. So I figure maybe there was a glitch and it will read correctly when I turn it off and turn it back on again. So we throw a round and I check the gas level again. It still reads a quarter tank.

Now I know I didn’t drive that far. I check the trip mileage and it reads less than a hundred miles (normally I can expect well over 300 miles per tank). I forget about it for awhile, thinking that maybe the gauge is stuck for some reason and I’ll be able to drive on it for 300 miles. I checked for a pool of gas on my driveway that might indicate a leaky gas tank and found nothing.

But on the way home from work yesterday the gas light came on, signalling the tank was almost empty. Not wanting to risk it I swing back into a gas station and put the pump in. The gallons start adding up. 2…. 3….. 4…. WTF?!

I fully expected it to stop before 3 gallons. My tank was empty. The mileage counter read almost exactly 100 miles since my last fill up.

The thought hit me like a flung portion of pudding — Somebody stole my gas!!

I can’t think of any other explanation. I checked this morning and the gas is still there. My tank is not leaking. I know I hit the mileage counter at the last fillup; I remember doing it and it was only a few days ago.

There’s only one possibility: Somebody siphoned my gas out of the tank while I was playing disc golf! Now, I’ve heard of some fucked up shit in my time, but who the hell goes around siphoning gas out of peoples’ tanks? I don’t want to unfairly smear the good names of my fellow disc golfers, but I don’t think there was time at the bar. And it was very busy around there.

I know there were a lot of kids hanging around the disc golf course. I don’t know why anyone would decide to fill up their tank at the expense of mine, but selfishness is certainly not unheard of on this planet. Still, it’s disappointing from a group that’s usually above such pettiness. I thought the only people who stole gas were in the Bush Administration!

Has this happened to anyone else? I know gas prices are getting out of hand, but I hadn’t foreseen this. Bastards got me for like 25 bucks worth of gas!

I need to put a padlock on my gas tank cover.

Warren Buffett is no stranger to money. He’s one of the richest men in the world; I think he’s in third place at the moment.When he says the tax code is more lenient to the ultra-rich I’m inclined to believe him. After all, it was a bunch of rich guys who bought the politicians who wrote it.

The very rich in America pay taxes at a lower rate than most working people, and, due to a wrinkle in the tax code, private-equity partners enjoy some of the lowest tax rates of all. At a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser in New York last month, Warren Buffett, no stranger to wealth, told an audience filled with bankers and real-estate developers the system was, in effect, rigged. “This is what Congress in its wisdom did: the 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter.” Buffett (who is a director of NEWSWEEK’s parent, The Washington Post Company) offered a million dollars to any fellow magnate who could prove he had higher tax rates than his secretary.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this, but should be pissed off enough to fix it. It’s time to put some people in Congress who aren’t beholden to the rich. Right now there are two types of congress-critters: Those who were brought into office by rich men and those who are rich men. That’s not democracy; that’s oligarchy.

The creepy thing is that these people really do all know each other:

He [Steve Schwarzman] told The New York Times three years ago that he saw Averell Harriman, a financier who became an envoy to Russia and adviser to Democratic presidents, as a kind of role model. When Schwarzman was a brash young Yale student in 1969, he wrote Harriman, asking for an audience (the two had been in the same secret society, Skull and Bones; Schwarzman was a class behind George W. Bush).

Powerful folks all know each other. They keep tabs on each other. They help each other. They go to the same schools; they have access to the halls of power. They are the moneyed-elite. They are The Establishment, The Oligarchy: Your True Masters. Bow before them, peasant.