Archive for the ‘banks’ tag
With Host John Stadtmiller
Ron Paul had great chance of winning the GOP nomination for IOWA, but let’s hope they did not rig the game when they have decided to move the poll counting location to a secret place. Ron Paul is our last chance and if Ron Paul does not win, says Bob Chapman, you do not even want to imagine what could happen to you, it is going to be really bad . . .
Robert Chapman is the publisher of The International Forecaster. This is the newsletter that examines world economic conditions and major events. He provides a forecast of economic trends for intelligent financial planning and investing. Mr. Chapman presents future headlines today. Mr. Chapman presents the world-view you’re not going to get on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC or any of the managed news services. Mr. Chapman offers the information that will enable you to make informed financial decisions.
by James Howard Kunstler
There’s a lot to be nervous about, even if you don’t subscribe to the undercooked Mayan apocalypse lore moving through the gut of the Internet like a Staphylococcus-infected tamale. The casual observer might say that nothing seemed to give on the world scene in 2011 despite the Fukushima meltdown, the Arab Spring uproars, the train wreck of European finance, the disappearing act at MF Global, and the assorted injuries done to the Kardashian brand by the giant walking dildo Kris Humphries.
I demur. On close examination, the industrial world underwent complete zombification in 2011. Its member states and their institutions are now lurching across the stage of history like so many walking dead. Whole European nations are dead, their citizens squirming around the ruined bones of failed speculative condo projects, housing estates, and luxury hotels like botfly larvae. The USA lies in complete moral ruin despite the exertions of ten thousand evangelical preachers in dusty back-road tilt-up chapels from Texas to Carolina, several new museums of Creation Science, and the shining example of former Senator Rick Santorum. Just look at how we behave, from the cloakrooms of Congress to the piercing parlors of West Hollywood to the 7-Elevens of suburban Maryland: a nation of thieves, racketeers, reality TV sluts, wannabe road warriors, light-fingered gangsta-boyz, and crybabies living in an anomie-drenched decrepitating demolition derby landscape of failure. When everybody is a zombie, whose brains are left to eat? Echo answers…. On to the predictions for 2012 then.
The biggest political shock awaiting us is the massive disruption of the major party nominating conventions next summer, when thousands of angry citizens descend on Tampa and Charlotte demanding a reality test. The parties will attempt to go about their ritual business, ignoring the mischief outside the convention centers, and both parties will make the mistake of siccing the cops on the protestors. The result will be a much bigger mess than the one I personally witnessed on the streets of Chicago, 1968, when the party hacks anointed the grinning sell-out Hubert Humphrey to run against Ole Debbil Nixie. Just before getting tear-gassed on Michigan Avenue that night, I saw some kid hoisting a sign that depicted the nominee with a Hitler mustache over the epithet: Mein Humph! It made my night, despite the subsequent retching in the gutter.
The two major parties are completely bankrupt zombie organizations and this election may be their last stand – if they even survive the conventions. Neither of them can come to grips with the reality-based issues of the day: epochal financial and economic contraction, peak energy (and many other resources), climate change, the absence of the rule of law in banking, and generational grievance – or, perhaps more to the point, the manifestations of these giant trends as presented in unemployment, debt slavery, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness, hunger, and X-million family tragedies. Both parties can only promise the return to a bygone status quo that is largely mythical.
President Obama, the putative “progressive” – spokesman of the Ivy League, Silicon Valley, Lower Manhattan, and all the other precincts where “folks” imagine themselves to be advanced thinkers – can’t even wrap his mind around the simple fact that we will never be “energy independent” if we think that means running 260 million cars and trucks, no matter how many algae farms we pretend to invest in. Here is man who ought to know better and either doesn’t, or is lying about it. He has other failures to answer for, too. Why, following the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, did Mr. Obama not prompt his party to sponsor federal legislation (or a constitutional amendment) that would redefine a corporation as not identical in “personhood” to a human being? Why does he still employ an Attorney General who has not started one prosecution for financial misconduct amid a panorama of arrant swindling and fraud? (Ditto: heads of the SEC, CFTC, etc.) And why did he not object loudly to the provision in the latest defense appropriations bill that allows for the capricious arrests and indefinite detention of anyone in the USA on suspicion of “terrorism?” Does this graduate of Harvard Law remember what habeas corpus means?
A lot of voters projected on Mr. Obama some notion of supernatural brilliance – our Hollywood fantasies are rife with wishes to be saved, and therefore redeemed, by our former victims – but he turned out to have a pedestrian mind. Could he possibly believe we have “a hundred years of natural gas” in the ground? Or that we’re in a position to ramp up another cycle of industrial economic “growth?” Or that we can continue the web of cruel rackets that passes for medical care in this country? When the Democratic Party re-nominates Obama, it will be sealing its death warrant, and it will be on its way to the same cosmic vacuum where the memory of the Whigs lingers on.
Meanwhile, the Republicans labor to convert themselves into the party of corn-pone Nazism with all their unconcealed lust to push everybody around under the plastic eagle rubrics of “Freedom” and “Liberty.” Look at the dismal lineup of morons, hypocrites, and religious fanatics arrayed for the Iowa caucus: a doctor who is also a creationist!? A leveraged buyout artist! A grifter fresh from K Street! A lady Christian theocrat wholly owned by the “dominionist” New Apostolic Reformation cult! A George W. Bush imitator showing symptoms of early onset senility! The whole posse is preoccupied with things supernatural. And being so dedicated to things unreal, they’re the prime representatives of the suburban clusterfuck, who will do anything to keep that obsolete machine running, even if it means national suicide, because they lack the brains to understand where history is taking us and what the mandates of reality are shouting at us about the urgent need to reorganize American life. They are also the vassals of corporate despotism – where the Democrats are mere footservants. They masquerade as “job creators,” but they promote the off-shoring of every activity that corporate America can shed in its quest for ever-greater executive compensation. The lip-service they pay to “freedom” is belied by their intent to control everybody’s personal life, commoditize the public interest, and sell out their grandchildren’s future for a few extra rounds of golf.
I think this gang, too, will be sent packing by the mobs of 2012. I have a nagging intimation that some third party candidate will emerge. The two personalities I keep seeing in that role are Howard Dean and Michael Bloomberg. Both of them are imperfect, but both of them are clear-headed and action-oriented, and I have a feeling that both of them are stewing in the background over the spectacle of idiocy, inertia, and dithering they see at every political compass point. Maybe somebody else will crawl out of the woodwork. I’ve said before in the weekly blog that conditions could deteriorate so badly that a Pentagon general might have to step into national leadership just to keep the grocery stores supplied with basic rations – but that is an outcome in my personal asteroid belt of probabilities.
Whatever party ends up running things, and whomever fronts it, is going to be in for a helluva wild ride. The USA is diving into an economic depression that will make the 1930s look like a Busby Berkeley production number. Compressive contraction will have its way with us, whatever Ben Bernanke thinks. There will simply be less activity of the kinds we’re used to – Big Box shopping sprees, hamburger sales, theme park visits, house closings, you name it – than our hypertrophic system requires to keep its own destructive momentum going. Instead, the whole thing will just topple over, inert, like a 99-cent gyroscope giving into the forces of entropy. There will be a lot of bewildered, angry, dispossessed people from sea to shining sea. Not a few of them will “act out,” that is, start breaking things, stealing things, targeting easy prey, hurting bystanders, and even tangling with police. Personally, I don’t believe in the internment camp meme so popular among the doomer paranoiacs, but surely a lot of people will be cooling their heels in some slammer – while many other miscreants will just get away with crimes against persons and property.
The global banking system was on death-watch all through 2011. Somehow the various doctors in the central banks and finance ministries were able to muster enough accounting legerdemain to give the appearance of a system still showing a pulse. But in a compressive debt deflation, there are only so many accounting tricks you can pull off as money (and wealth) literally disappears down a cosmic worm-hole. In Europe, the process has moved from the margins toward the center. The people of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium will have less income, fewer government services, lost wages and pensions, less comfort than they have had for a couple of generations. Meanwhile, France is drowning in bad paper and the German banks are choking on it. There is really only one plausible outcome and that is default. The reckoning of the bondholders is at hand. Everybody will get poorer simultaneously – and if not, there will be not just regime change but civil war and revolution. The fantasy of a fiscal union in Europe is impossible because it means two things: that Germany will have to issue orders to everybody else; and that Germany would have to pick up the tab for everybody else while telling them what to do. Both are intolerable and implausible. Let’s just think of the Euro experiment as an interesting side effect of the peak energy era… now drawing to a close.
These professional economists with their jabber about QEs and “financial repression” and bond-term “twists” and debt-to-GDP ratios are missing the point. The advanced industrial nations will not be re-jiggered onto any “growth” runway. Rather, we’re entering the rutted wagon-road of de-industrializing and un-advancing. What awaits us in a “time-out” from hyperbolic technological progress. Forget about Ray Kurzweil’s nanobot nirvana. That is not in the cards. Instead, wrap your mind around life in an economy organized around farming, with a much sparser distribution of big urban centers, and far fewer people overall. Don’t imagine for a moment that your grandchildren will be zinging across the landscape in electric cars sampling one theme park after another while “networking” with “friends” on cyborg social networks implanted in their brain jellies. Think of them grooming their mules in the summer twilight. Anyway, you get the picture: everything that the finance ministries and treasuries and central banks are affecting to do is mere shadow theater performed in support of wishful thinking.
The question, then, is what kind of hardship and disorder will attend our journey out of the industrial era into post-technological age we are entering. Will we just turn the world into a Michael Bay movie and blow everything up? Or will we make some graceful descent and retain what is really best about the human spirit?
2012 will be the year of internal strife in these “advanced” nations, of people fighting over the table scraps of modernity among their own, in their own backyards, a desperate sorting out of the remnants. I don’t think we’ll see fighting between the European nations until the internal conflicts are resolved and that will take a few years.
The hot-spots for 2012 are very likely to be in the Middle East. You already know that. What could be more obvious than the tinderbox character of that region? Islamic extremism is poised to take over governments (and armies) in Egypt, Syria, Libya, possibly Algeria, and probably Pakistan. Iran lost its mind decades ago and seems determined to dominate the region by means of a strategy that can only get it into trouble (and perhaps the whole world if it goes really badly). Saber-rattling is one thing; making an actual move something else. Block the Straits of Hormuz? Not if you don’t want Teheran to turn into an ashtray. That may happen anyway if Iran rattles a nuclear saber. Germany, France, Britain, and Italy, all struggling with terrible problems at home, would breathe a sigh of relief if the mullahs were chastened. The chatter around the Web about an Israeli preemptive attack never ceases. But it is a possibility.
Oh, and don’t forget Turkey. Formerly the “sick man” of Europe, Turkey has become strangely resurgent, prompting some recollections that the Ottoman Empire actually administered over much of the Middle East until 1914, and not with complete incompetence, either. They just sort of imploded from empire fatigue, which is not the worst way to go down, if history is taking you there anyway. But empires come back, too, and what passes for Turkey today is a polity that in one incarnation or another has been around since the ancient Greek days, and was, for quite a long while, Rome Release 2.0.
Don’t be surprised if some hostilities break out between Turkey and Iran, since a battleground named Iraq lies between them. Iraq is a basket-case despite an immense reserve of oil under its sands, and having had the US military babysit it for eight years. The last American combat units left Iraq this fall, but there are still plenty of US soldiers there, maintaining our garrisons and keeping an eye on things. The question is: can they control what the Kurds do in the north, and whatever meddling Iran engages in around the Basra oil region in the South? These American support troops remaining in Iraq could find themselves looking like a ham-and-cheese sandwich between a lot of crusty mischief north-and-south. The Turks have already had a dustup or two with Syria lately – Syria occupies a big wedge between Turkey, Iraq and the Mediterranean Sea – and Turkey will take a dim view of that nation falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if Assad gets booted.
All bets are off in Egypt. Anything can happen there.
The dangerous position of Israel vis-à-vis all these quarreling players is probably as bad as it has been in two generations. An attack by a neighbor or getting caught in a crossfire between neighbors would stimulate a lusty response, and perhaps World War Three. As if the world needed this added aggravation. It makes my kishkas ache just to think about it. Sometimes I wonder why the whole Israeli nation doesn’t just pack up and move to Nebraska.
2012 is the year that China proves to be a mortal nation and rolls over with a very bad case of the vapors. Their banking system is a sham. Their property bubble is a fiasco. Their government has no formal legitimacy and will install a new leadership group this year, while exports crash and mass factory layoffs happen. There will be a lot of pissed off people in China, and they may express themselves politically in ways that have seemed unthinkable for decades. The aura of social control looms large in China, but an aura is a light garment not recommended for stormy political weather. 2012 could be the year that China begins its journey into a “Balkanized” collection of smaller autonomous parts, which is the big fat trendline for all the nations of the world, including the USA.
It is hard to think about the bizarre case of India, a nation with one foot in the modern age and the other in a colorful hallucinatory dreamtime. Their climate-change related problems are doing heavy damage to the food supply. Their groundwater is almost gone. The troubles of the wobbling global economy will take a lot pep out of their burgeoning tech and manufacturing sectors. It wouldn’t be surprising if these travails prompted distracting hostilities with its failed-state neighbor, Pakistan. Pakistan, with its inexhaustible supply of Islamic maniacs could easily start a rumble with some crazy caper like the Mumbai hotel assault of two years ago, but this time India would answer with a heavy cudgel, perhaps even a nuclear sortie designed to neutralize Pakistan’s dangerous toys at a stroke. And that would be that. Like cleaning out an annoying neighborhood crack house. It’s not a very appetizing scenario, but what else can you do about failed states with nuclear bombs?
Turning to Japan….That sore beset kingdom is suffering all the blowback of modern times at once: the Godzilla syndrome up in Fukushima; a demographic collapse; an imminent bond crisis; the collapse of export market partners; and a long, agonizing death spiral of its banks. I stick by a prediction I tendered back in March, after the deadly tsunami: Japan will decisively opt for a return to pre-industrial civilization. Why not? The rest of the world will be dragged kicking and screaming to the same place. Let Japan get there first and enjoy the advantage of the early adapter – back to an economy of local, hand-made stuff, rigid social hierarchy, folkloric hijinks in whispering bamboo groves, silk robes, and frequent time outs for the tea ceremony.
Russia? The big bear might have just sat out another decade and enjoyed its remaining fossil fuel supply, but the temptation to project power is a demanding habit, so they make all sorts of noises about watching Iran’s back – though mutual hatred abounds – and generally rushing into the power vacuum occupied by a US with dwindling mojo. There were stirrings of political discontent just few weeks ago, after the rigged early rounds of national elections, and who knows where that will lead. Vlad Putin has held things together there impressively after the meltdown of the 1990s, but apparently the tranquil veneer is thin. Except for two big cities, the sprawling nation is broke and decrepitating, with little to offer the world but oil and gas – not an inconsiderable offering, but one with certain limits especially as they drain their oil fields for export cash. The rule of law is also pretty sketchy there. The government, as ever, is a kind of gangster affair, only this time one that allows some people to get really rich, not just connected. Their 70-year experiment with Marxian dogma has probably put them off ideology for a few centuries to come, which means less money spent on prisons for people with independent thoughts and more for call girls and home furnishings. I imagine that Putin will maintain his grip through the year. The Russians will appreciate relative order more when they see a few other countries devolve into internal conflict.
I don’t see much action around South America this year. Some Americans are already fleeing to Argentina. Perhaps they’ll enjoy it, but there is always the menace of property confiscation, and worse. Brazil will continue to appear vibrant while it grows more population, shoving it toward eventual ruin. They will see setbacks in the development of their deep-sea oil due to an international shortage of investment capital.
Mexico’s fortunes depend on its oil industry, Pemex, which faces remorseless depletion. Revenue from oil production and (dwindling) exports can’t hope to keep up with continuing population growth (and ever more poverty). These trends suggest a continued loss of control for the central government and more territorial fighting among the drug gangs and other criminal mafias. As long as all those loose heads roll on the south side of the Rio Grande the US will just tut-tut off to the side. But if the gangs get bold and start venturing cross border to make mischief we will make like Woodrow Wilson did and send the regular army down to spank them. It would be a satisfying diversion for that portion of the US demographic that enjoys Ultimate Fighting on TV, though it won’t get them their job back at the Pontiac plant.
The global oil picture is not so reassuring. The fragility of our supply is simply unnoticed by commuters enjoying Lady Gaga on their iPods. Meanwhile, our politicians retail fantasies of endless domestic reserves, which is total horse shit. Global exports are in remorseless decline, apart from geopolitical fissures and strains that could just paralyze allocation cold. If a hot war breaks out in the Middle East, you’ll see the American supermarket shelves empty in three days. Won’t that be fun. Note, too: the manias over shale oil and shale gas will reveal themselves as just more bubbles in a long cavalcade of bubbles, and both will begin to founder on a shortage of investment capital. The shale plays will prove to have been a national self-esteem-building program, not any part of an energy policy.
The abiding question as we turn the corner into the New Year is: how come Jon Corzine is still at large? (Not to mention Angelo Mozilo, plus the entire executive floor of Goldman Sachs, and about 5000 other assorted Wall Street grifters still on the loose.) There is plenty of dire talk that the collapse of MF Global, and the shenanigans around its demise involving the evaporation of segregated accounts, has gravely and permanently damaged the entire investment industry, but especially the commodities funds, who can no longer depend on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to honestly clear trades and regulate behavior. The whole affair, and the thundering silence from the oval office, makes Barack Obama seem not just inept but somehow complicit in the looting of America. As if he needs another mark of discredit in his record of consistent fumbling. There are signs that a lot of people who still have something resembling money invested in various funds will go to cash in the weeks ahead, including under-the-mattress style. The distrust and paranoia is palpable now, with the frenzies of Yuletide bygone for another year. After all, why trust banks, especially the TBTF monsters. Such a mass move could take the starch even out of highly manipulated equity markets.
Nemesis may have her day, though. Jamie Dimon might have just gone a swindle too far for the fates to ignore him another year. JP Morgan looks to be in a peck of trouble for its role in the confiscation of MF Global accounts, not to mention its hijinks in the precious metals markets. The impudence of these rascals! In a nation when all sorts of people are murdered every day for little more reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is it not a wonder that some poor swindled Grampa with nothing left to live for has not tossed a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Wall Street watering hole known to be frequented by banking poobahs? Perhaps this sort of action awaits us in 2012.
Longtime readers of this blog know how much I love predicting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to crash down to 4000 every year. I never disappoint – though I am often disappointed. In 2011, the SP index managed the delightful trick of finishing a fraction below its previous January kickoff. The stock markets have churned in range-bound purgatory for a decade while the price of a jar of pickles has multiplied four-fold. Applying the calculus, and given the pickle-DOW differential, I’d say my call was actually pretty good. In any case, this year I change the tune slightly: I predict the DJIA will go to 4000, with the catch that the number is only a way-station to 1000, which it will hit in 2014. We may be short of snow here in the Northeastern US – thanks to La Nina – yet not short of confidence that the mills of the Gods grind slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
Finally, look for the publication of my next book round July 2012, a non-fiction work titled Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation… from The Atlantic Monthly Press. In a week, I begin work on World Made By Hand 3.
Good luck to you in 2012, and report any suspicious characters adorned with ear-plugs, quetzel feathers, and carrying obsidian knives to your nearest office of Homeland Security.
British Foreign Office personnel have proposed emergency evacuation plans for their citizens living throughout Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal. As tensions over the survivability of the Euro mount, the government warns that a collapse of the banking sector and the European monetary unit may make it impossible for those with assets in affected countries, including bank deposit accounts and homes, to access their funds and evacuate to Britain.
The drastic proposals emerged as a former Security Minister warned expats could be left stranded and destitute by the break-up of the single currency.
Brits who invested their savings in their adopted countries may not be able to withdraw cash and could even lose their homes if banks call in loans, worried ministers are warning.
The Foreign Office is preparing to bring them back from Spain and Portugal if the two countries are forced out of the euro, triggering a banking collapse.
. . . . . .
Commenting on the evacuation plans, she added: “I think they are right to be doing that. I think this is a real contingency that they need to plan against – very, very worrying.”
Officials are braced for a nightmare scenario where thousands end up penniless and sleeping at airports with no means of getting home. Planes, ships and coaches could be sent, with some expats being brought out through Gibraltar.
The Foreign Office could offer small loans while piling pressure on the banks to give Brits access to their funds.
Spanish and Portuguese banks guarantee the first 100,000 euros deposited by savers but many put limits on withdrawals in a crisis.
Still think a European collapse is implausible?
The British would not be making these plans if they didn’t expect the entire system to devolve into chaos. We’re not just talking about inaccessible bank accounts here, but political and social upheaval. The kind that topples governments.
This is serious. Entire nations are collapsing.
Hat tip Silver Bean
Bob Chapman on The National Intel Report with John Stadtmiller – December 6, 2011
Get your money out of the Banks, there are bank runs going on in Greece and Italy Bob Chapman explains people finally started listening to his recommendations he was advising people for years.
Gerald Celente: Despite Vigilance, An Ironic Victim of The Psychopaths
by: D Sherman Okst
“If you haven’t seen the movie “Horrible Bosses” I’d recommend that you do. Please see it. Go enjoy yourself. As bad as things are getting it is incredible to realize that we can still laugh. And trust me, you’ll laugh hard at this movie. When I left the theater with my wife, I realized why it was that movie theaters did well in the last Great Depression. For an hour and forty minutes we escaped all the negativity that has crept into this world. It had a long lasting effect. For at least a week I was in a good mood.
The movie “Horrible Bosses” is comprised of a few character types: The ‘Psycho’, the ‘Maneater’ and the ‘Tool.’ Three friends come to the realization that their lives are miserable because of them. They like their jobs, they hate their bosses. One friend, Dale used a playground, near the bar he frequented, as a late night urinal. He was arrested for indecent exposure. This got him the tile of “registered sex offender”—for what he claims was entrapment, (putting a playground adjacent to a bar). The irony is that his boss, Dr. Julia is a ‘manteater,’ the one the cops should have arrested. Bottom line—he’s not marketable. Then we have Dave who works for a financial psycho who threatens to expose him to future employers for having a drinking problem—a problem that he really doesn’t have. Another non-marketable, stuck in his job for life worker.
Friend number three is Kurt. The owner of Kurt’s place of employment dies suddenly. This leaves the owners kid, ‘Bobby-the-Tool-Coke-Head’ as Kurt’s new boss. With the economy being what it isn’t, Kurt is also stuck at his job. So the three come to the realization that their lives can only get better if they each kill their friend’s boss. They hire MF Jones as their murder consultant . He got the name MF because when he was a kid he stole from his mother’s purse and it really “set her back.”
The Psychopaths Have Crossed the Line: As I knock out my book “Where Psychopaths & Economics Meet,” I’ve resolved myself to not write “too many” articles. But, Gerald Celente is one of us. He’s one of the economic bloggers. One of the good guys. The ones out there reading good and spreading good in a world ruled by evil. Our world has been taken over by three bad bosses: Political Capture, Economic Capture and Mainstream Media Capture. A sequel to “Horrible Bosses” is about to be written. Sadly I don’t think it’ll be a comedy.
A depression created by psychopaths. I was just a college drop-in. My wife just got her degree. Twelve years of slogging through classes. I read most of her books along the way. When I wasn’t tutoring her in computer programming she was teaching me. I don’t recall the philosopher, but one said something to the effect: “Names aren’t coincidental.” When the Madoff scandal broke we laughed about his name, “made-off,” as in I made-off with your money. As my favorite author, the late Kurt Vonnegut would say, “someone should look into this.”
Celente got taken by MF Global. When I told my wife the story over coffee this morning she laughingly said, “MF as in Mother-F(again, I’ll let you fill in the blanks here)r Global. Hey, just like the movie “Horrible Bosses” and MotherF(ehem)r Jones.” Even the name Jon is a tipoff. I don’t trust people who spell their names like they are better than the rest of us, and Corzine I first misread as Conman somehow. Can you spot the two criminals in this lineup? So here we have 7,000 clients who got MF’d out of some $800,000,000 and Jon is walking around a free man. Let’s not mince words here, Jon is Obama’s top Wall Street Fundraiser.
Pitchforks and Torches: In 2004 we downsized. By 2007 our new house was complete. We literally built it ourselves. I didn’t use the cheapest materials. The house is very sound, 2 x 6 walls, heavier sheathing on the roof, the silent floor system, low-e windows, stone and HardiPlank all on top of a poured concrete foundation. The circa mid-2000 appliances we got are made like junk—and we didn’t buy the cheapest ones. I’ve decided not to let this “slip.” My Jihad these days has been accountability.
The well guy put a computer in that sounds like one of the turbine engines on the planes I used to fly. He claims he did this to save me $300 dollars in electrical wire. I’m still trying to get his Bernanke math. I paid $2,000 bucks for this computer to save $300 bucks in wire. I must be a moron because losing $1,700 dollars doesn’t sound like a savings to me? Of course this computer turns the 3.5 horsepower, electric power guzzling, well pump on every time we so much as flush a toilet, and pushing age 50 we seem to do that a lot more often. As a result our downsizing to a smaller home hasn’t downsized our electric bill. But I “saved” 300 bucks in wire. I’ve got that going for me.
The stove has a broken knob. Turning on various burners is like playing musical knobs. Puts my wife in a great mood. The oven door has to be screwed back together, it only separates when the oven is hot. Using a screwdriver with oven mitts on drives me bat(ehm) crazy. The dishwasher racks had their track “stoppers” fall out, so now the racks fall out the tracks and we get to pick up glass. The ice-maker in the fridge has to be manually turned on and off or ice goes all over the packed freezer. When we use the door dispenser we get more ice on the floor than in our glasses.
The gate opener outside has been replaced 12 times, and is ready again for a new computer board. The intercom by the gate stopped working — I’m not replacing it, I’m not social. It’s one reason I have an 8,400 volt electric fence, the other is I like keeping my garbage outside and I don’t like bears messing with it or eating it. Some poor son of a gun out west shot a bear because he was worried about his kids outside and the police charged him. More governmental insanity that we pay for.
There is something in Celente’s voice. I’m not the only one who hears it. It reminds me of flying in weather, the times we got so close while deviating between cells that I could hear the thunder over the planes engines. Kunstler hears it too. Jim—another good guy—wrote today about Celente’s getting taken by MF Global, “I heard him [Gerald] fulminating over it on a podcast and he is not somebody I’d want to be on the bad side of.” Last week the wood stove manufacturer’s CEO and president heard my thunder. This week they buy their stove back and we put a more expensive one in.
I’m done dealing with morons and through with being robbed blind. It’s bad enough inflation rips us off, but to be forced into buying lifetime warrenties which cost as much as the product that you’re buying, or having to replace what you just bought a year ago is criminal. Things should not come down to pitchforks and torches—but they are quickly coming to that. It isn’t a pleasant fix but when the authorities think that it is permissible for someone to steal $800 million from 7,000 customers and nothing is immediatly done about it then it is proof that they have—once again—failed us. If you can backstop Wall Street you better backstop those ripped off by them—and this time, go liquidate their assets to pay it back. K-Street of course won’t tolerate that, and that’s who really pays our horrible bosses we call politicians. (Ron Paul and a few other good eggs excluded).
What happened to Celente and 7,000 other Celentes is no different from the cops who beat the ex-war vet protester until his spleen ruptured; or pepper sprayed those two little girls; or shot a kid in the head with teargas canisters and then, while lying helplessly on the ground in a puddle of his own blood, proceed to lob a flash grenade at him and those helping him. Sick! Like I told the stove compnay—Nice job champs!
Americans have been very tolerant. We’ve handed money over for Wall Street bonuses rewarding the psychopaths who blew up our economy and created 23.9% unemployment (the real undistorted employment rate). We’ve watched silently as Bernanke lied to us about the banks being fixed—as if we’re too stupid to know that FASB is now just legalized Enron accounting. We’ve rolled our eyes and bitten our tongues when some of the psychopaths later professed to be, “Doing God’s work.” We’ve watched our kids get molested by perverts hired off adds on pizza boxes, had our wives breasts exposed during these idiotic searches and ourselves been exposed to radiation while in naked body scanners that could be used in the oncology departments of hospitals.
I seriously suspect that people have had enough and that it won’t be long before they break out the pitchforks and torches. Throughout history we’ve read about times when citizens were forced to resort to violence in order to restore law and order. Ironic—if you really think about it. I seriously suspect we are about to witness this first hand—pitchforks and torches. Right now I’m just entirely ecstatic that my name isn’t Jon Corzine. Like Kuntsler says, ‘Celente isn’t someone that I’d want to be on the bad side of. If tomorrow I open up my RSS reader and see one of those 7,000 screwed by Mother F#r Global holding a pitchfork with Corzine’s head on it I won’t be surprised.'”
“Top Us Foreclosure Law Firm Threw Halloween Party Where Staff Dressed As Homeless, Foreclosed-Upon Americans”
“Top Us Foreclosure Law Firm Threw Halloween Party Where Staff Dressed As Homeless, Foreclosed-Upon Americans”
From a NYT opinion piece by Joe Nocera, “What the Costumes Reveal“—
On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo . . . MORE
Here’s some general information for the law firm of Steven J. Baum:
P.O. Box 1291
Buffalo, NY 14240-1291
220 Northpointe Pkwy, Suite G
Amherst, NY 14228
Long Island Address
900 Merchants Concourse
Westbury, NY 11590
* This is not a mailing address *
The firm’s principal’s names, home addresses, phone numbers etc. are also easy enough to find.
From the Buffalo News (a Berkshire Hathaway company):
Read the apology, these guys are scum.
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt Market
Want To Defeat The Banks? Stop Participating In The System!
In Franz Kafka’s most popular work “The Trial”, his characters relate a short parable which has fascinated and confused curious readers for generations. That parable is entitled “Before The Law”, and its message has been interpreted, reinterpreted, and agonized over by the labyrinthine contrariness of academia, producing numerous conflicting views:
Existentialists, of course, automatically jump to the conclusion that “Before The Law” is a message of the absurd nature of man’s search for reason and structure in a universe of random coincidence. That “the law”, as it were, is a superficial concept that humanity uses to make life more bearable. That we seek to create artificial social constructs in order to keep ourselves afloat in a sea of chaos. This is partly true. The law is, indeed, an abstraction conjured by men. However, the source of the most fundamental laws, being inherent conscience, is far from abstract. In fact, it is one of the few aspects of our existence that is undeniably tangible and universal. It is proof that all is NOT random, and that there is a meaning and a purpose to what we do here and now.
I see “The Trial” and “Before The Law” not as treatise on the futility of man’s search for justice, but as a warning on the foolishness of man’s dependency on systems not rooted in conscience. That is to say, we have a tendency to linger about idly while others make our decisions for us. We expect the system we live in to provide answers, to provide nurturance, to provide fairness, and to provide change where necessary. This expectation is a dangerous one.
Most social and political systems today are designed around collectivist methodologies. Their primary tool is centralization of power, and the removal of choice from the public consciousness. We are made to believe that the establishment is necessary for our survival, and that to abandon it would mean certain destruction. We are taught that the individual is subservient and inconsequential in the face of the state. This is simply not so. Like the traveler in “Before The Law”, we have been defeated by our own expectations of how the law (or justice) works. We sit and wait for permission, when we should be charging through the gates and taking what is rightfully ours.
Even amidst recent and increasingly prevalent protest actions on the part of Occupy Wall Street groups, there are still some within these movements who believe the answer to fighting back against the corruption of banking cartels and puppet politicians is to hand even MORE power over to the state, and to collectivize our culture still further. The ignorance of this mentality is no less than astonishing.
The only practical strategy for combating the tyranny of centralized systems has been and always will be decentralization. Individuals must stop relying on the rules of a rigged game to see them through to the truth. This means that while mass protests are certainly a powerful tactic for voicing concerns on an international stage, they accomplish little to nothing in the way of meaningful change in the long run unless they are backed by individual actions to break away from dependency upon a poisoned political and economic framework.
The common assumption amongst Americans is that nothing can be done without mass action resulting in “compromise” from leadership. That the healing of our cultural dynamic is a “top down” process. That one person alone has little at his disposal for bettering the world. In fact, it is always self aware and self sustaining individuals who build better societies, not angry mobs without understanding or direction. Individuals blaze the path that the rest of the world eventually follows, and they do this through one very simple and effective act; walking away.
By walking away from the corrupt system, and building our own, we make the establishment obsolete. This philosophy could be summed up as follows:
Provide for yourself and others those necessities which the corrupt system cannot or will not, and the masses (even if they are unaware) will naturally gravitate towards this new and better way. Offer freedom where there was once restriction, and you put the controlling establishment on guard. Eventually, they will either have to conform to you, attack you, or fade away completely. In each case, you win. Even in the event of attack, the system is forced to expose its tyranny and its true colors openly, making your cause stronger.
The obvious question now is; how can each one of us use this strategy in our daily lives? Here are just a few easy applications:
1) Focus On The Federal Reserve
If you as an activist or the movement you support are not fully aware of the private Federal Reserve Bank and its primary role in the destruction of our economy, our currency, and our political dynamic, then your protests are a waste of time, and your movement will end in failure. Uneducated mass actions are easily manipulated, and can even end up serving the purposes of those oligarchs they seek to dethrone. G. Edward Griffin’s full analysis on the history of the Federal Reserve “The Creature From Jekyll Island” and similar materials should be handed to every OWS protester before it is too late.
2) Take Back Your Savings
Do you have a bank account with one of the so called “too big to fails”? Is the culmination of your savings currently in the hands of financial monstrosities like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, etc? Well, take your money back! This has been done by a few protestors and the response from banks has been outlandishly oppressive, including new guidelines attempting to obstruct customer access to savings, and even calling the police! This tells me that they are afraid. Afraid of Americans catching wind of the idea that the money they place in the accounts of bad banks is still theirs to do with as they will. If you don’t like how these institutions operate, don’t let them have your money. It’s as simple as that. Not only is this an act of defiance that truly hurts the banking system, it also protects your hard earned wealth (at least initially) from the inevitable collapse of these fiscally insolvent blood leaching leviathans (watch Bank of America closely, folks!).
3) Use Alternative Currencies
After you take your savings away from the banks, you still aren’t quite free of their influence. You are now holding fiat dollars, which the Federal Reserve, the foundation of all banking fraud, is currently devaluing. The idea of walking away from the dollar sounds ridiculous or even frightening to those trapped in the centralization mindset, but it is a highly effective method for combating the system itself. The dollar is a sham, and has been since its future was handed over to the Fed in 1913. Alternatives exist, and they must be utilized. Communities across the country use various scripts as a means to diminish reliance on the dollar, but ultimately, the best currencies are those that cannot be created out of thin air unhindered. This means gold and silver.
Central banking proponents have been railing against even the concept of a return to gold and silver currencies for years, and the Department Of Justice has labeled the use of such alternatives in place of dollars as a form of “domestic terrorism”. This should tell you, quite clearly, that they are deathly afraid of activists organizing to drop the dollar to pursue metals. If the system is willing to use the law as a weapon to keep us from having sound money, then we should be rubbing their nose in it daily by trading without dollars. They should be forced to react, and in the process, forced to expose their true intentions for our economic futures.
4) Build Barter Networks
If a bunch of people can band together to huddle in parks with signs for weeks in cities across the nation, then they can band together to trade goods and services outside the establishment system as well. Barter networks grow spontaneously out of economic collapse regardless of what any group decides to do, but generally, they appear AFTER the worst has happened. Wouldn’t it be wiser to organize such markets now, before a full collapse takes place? By preempting disaster with a backup or failsafe free market barter economy in each town and city, we insulate ourselves from the effects of the crisis, and, we cut loose from our dependency on the controlled mainstream economy. Localized trade makes it possible to walk away from corporate chains and maintain the circulation of wealth within a community, while countering the increasingly higher taxes caused by austerity and inflation that we are likely to see in this country very soon. It really is a no-brainer.
5) Grow A Garden
I don’t know how to say this nicely; don’t be a jackass, learn to grow your own food. Don’t expect that our economy will continue to sustain you. Actually, you should have every expectation that it won’t! If every Wall Street or Fed protester had their own garden patch and some stored goods, we would all be much safer. Food dependence is the worst kind. It has been used by governments and despots for centuries to cull the masses and dissuade dissent.
Sharecropping should be common in every community. Neighborhood gardens should be standard. Every household should have a year’s worth of food. Period.
Imagine that you lose your job and every cent you have tomorrow. Imagine that mom and dad are broke and have no money to lend you. Imagine that food stamps are a thing of the past because the national debt has become so exponential that entitlement programs have been erased. Now, how do you live from day to day? Where do you get the nutrition required for you to continue holding up that sign or shouting that slogan? Think about it…
6) Start A Micro-Industry
If the U.S. economy is ever going to get on its feet again, it will be because average Americans bring it back through local industry. This means ending our community addictions to corporately produced goods and returning to specialized trade skills. It means coalitions of local farmers, craftsmen, and micro-industries providing goods and services with a city or county based market focus. Large manufacturers and business chains relying on the model of globalization will have absolutely no ability to rebuild mainstreet commerce, even if they wanted to, because their methods depend upon constant outsourcing and downsizing for survival. Private tradesmen will be the only people capable of filling the dark void these corporations leave behind.
7) Start An Activist Group
The establishment HATES when you do this. The spontaneous organizing of groups outside government or corporate purview has generated notoriously absurd responses from authorities, including accusations of “extremism”, infiltration, and wrongful arrest. If this sounds frightening, then I suggest you get over it quickly, because this is going to be the norm for many years to come. The evils of the world are not undone by apathetic naysayers anymore than they are undone by mindless mobs. Without the coordinated actions of aware individuals with a common focus, nothing is going to change.
This group could be something a simple as a local barter network or a political discussion forum, or, a complex national organization geared towards tangible political action. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s based on the promotion of Constitutional freedoms, and its leadership is decentralized. Just make it happen…
At bottom, if we want to fight back against a system we cannot take back through traditional means, then we must learn to walk away. If the system feeds us, clothes us, and shelters us at will, then ordinary protest is pointless. Our tender parts are in a rusty vice on the autocratic workbench and until we pull them out, no amount of screaming and pounding will improve our situation. Independence is won through the constant striving for self responsibility. Freedom is won through a position of personal strength, not weakness and self-enslavement.
Numbers alone do not make a movement, and the elites we currently work to supplant are not going to flinch at a few random protests. In all likelihood they will welcome these actions as a useful distraction. Tyrants don’t fear the torches and pitchforks anymore. What they do fear is balanced insight, self reliance, and exceptional force of will. A handful of men with these attributes are far more dangerous to a corrupt system than thousands of citizens driven only by insatiable anger. To overcome oppression, we must first overcome ourselves. The ability to step outside the paradigm, the ability to act without permission, and charge the gates without apprehension, is the key to toppling totalitarian systems and exposing the great lie of our age; that we cannot exist without the cage we were born into.
Bob Chapman on The Financial Survival for October 24, 2011
The Financial Survival 24 Oct 2011 : strong gold market today they could not get it down says Bob Chapman, Britain could leave the EU, there is no reason for them to be in the EU in the first place, the US is probably getting ready to go after Syria the troops in Afghanistan they are probably being held to go in Syria . . . QE3 is probably coming and it could be in the form of the government buying toxic assets another trillion or so to get liquidity to these banks …
The rising tide against Obama, with his current violation of the War Powers Act now setting him up for impeachment, in combination with the growing chorus supporting Glass-Steagall, should tell us that something very big is lurking, just over the horizon of current history. It is our job to bring that desired future into being.
Also see . . .
- Sing: "Sleepers Awake!"
- LaRouche: Obama Is Now Facing His Watergate
- Constitutional Consensus Emerges In Congress
- Daniel Ellsberg: Crimes Nixon Committed Against Me Would Now All Be Legal under Obama
Sorry. Too Big to Jail!
by Barry Ritholtz
A bizarre meme seems to have popped up recently regarding prosecuting banks for fraud and other crimes. What makes it weird is that its not exclusively coming from the usual collection of asshats and idealogues. Very little that tumbles out of the piehole of Megan McArdle suprises me — her record precedes her. But a few others have surprisingly been picking up on this theme. Even Roger Lowenstein had a Bloomberg column with the unfortunate headline No Jail for Economic Crisis May Mean No Crime.
By that logic, O.J. didn’t kill Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Thus, we are forced to interrupt are usual cheery blather for a little schooling about what the rule of law is, why it needs to be protected.
Let’s start by noting that there is a major conflict between Treasury/Justice Department and the banks, all of whom received major bailout dollars. You tend not to want to prosecute companies you just showered with 100s of billions in cash and now own a substantial stake in. This is yet another reason why Uncle Sam not be in the bailout business: It prevents the DOJ from doing its job.
Next, lets note the difference between a high profile CEO perp walk and busting a minor bank criminal. While lots of people are calling for Angelo Mozilo’s head, I believe the more productive path to law enforcement is starting with the known law breakers and proceeding from there.
This is not a glamorous approach to law enforcement, It is a slow laborious grind. As I presented to the National Association of Attorneys General, there are 10 major areas of bank and mortgage fraud:
2. Mortgage Pools (Warranties & Reps)
3. Bad Securitization (Quality)
4. “Misplaced” Mortgage Notes
5. Force-Placed Insurance
6. Illegal “Pyramid” Servicing Fees
7. Document Fraud for Sale
8. False Affidavits, Perjury (Robo-Signing)
9. Foreclosure Mills, Process servers exasperate problem
10. Active Servicemen losing homes while on tour of duty
Of this list, five issues are prosecution-ready, where individual states have jurisdiction. These include: 1) Force-Placed Insurance; 2) Illegal “Pyramid” Servicing Fees; 3) Fraud Documents for Sale; 4) False Affidavits, Perjury (Robo-Signing) and 5) Foreclosure Mills, Process servers.
There is an immense paper trial for the first two. The issue of Force-Placed Insurance represents such an egregious, embarrassing conflict of interest, that its hard to imagine any publicly traded bank is going to want to defend that in open court. Bring a few actions against the majors,get an agreement to permanently stop the practice, and a big fat fine, then move on to the next item on the list. Do the same for the illegal “Pyramid” Servicing Fees wrongfully charged by a few loan servicers.
As an aside, Lender Processing Services (LPS) is a monopoly, handling — or should I say mishandling? — more than 50% of all mortgages for the major banks. The Justice department should be doing an Anti-Trust prosecution, perhaps forcing a break up. Maybe some competition in this space will yield some competence as well.
Back to the our list: Fraud Documents for Sale and the Foreclosure Mills / illegal process servers can be pursued on a case by case basis. work with the foreclosure defense bar to track down many examples of egregious criminality here.
In my opinion, the area that is most ripe for criminal prosecution are the False Affidavits/Perjury aka Robo-Signing. Treat this more like a drug kingpin than a bank fraud crime. Bust the low level eejits who did this, granting immunity for cooperation. Find who ordered them to perform the fraud, and then their boss and so on. Somewhere in between the $8 per hour, former burger-flippers hired as robo-signers and the CEO is a mid-level bank executive who decided to systemically break the law. This is the person who turned what used to be a simple process of filing legal paperwork into a criminal enterprise. THAT motherfucker needs to go to jail.
Just because Angelo Mozilo is not in jail does not mean no crime was committed. Prosecutors need to focus on the low-level criminality within banks, and work their way up.
Do that, and we restore confidence in nor only our financial institutions, but our society and constitutional principles as well. Fail at that and Japan’s decade long recession looks more and more like out future.
Foreclosure Fraud Reveals Structural & Legal Crisis (October 5th, 2010)
Why Foreclosure Fraud Is So Dangerous to Property Rights (October 12th, 2010)
Time for Criminal Charges To Be Filed . . . (October 14th, 2010)
Why Is Due Process a Big Problem for Banks? (October 23rd, 2010)
Follow the Money: How Systemic Bank Fraud Contributed to the Financial Crisis (NAAG presentation, April 2011)
Dodo Bird Bankers (May 9th, 2011)
No Jail for Economic Crisis May Mean No Crime
Bloomberg, May 12, 2011
Is Another Major Mortgage Investigation Really Necessary?
Forbes, May. 17 2011
Video: Taibbi vs. McArdle on Goldman
Rolling Stone, May 16, 2011