Archive for the ‘debt’ tag
With Spanish 10Y yields hovering at a ‘relatively’ healthy 5%, having been driven inexorably lower on the promise of ECB assistance at some time in the future, the market has become increasingly unsure of just who it is that keeps bidding for this stuff. Well, wonder no longer. As the WSJ notes, Spain has been quietly tapping the country’s richest piggy bank, the Social Security Reserve Fund, as a buyer of last resort for Spanish government bonds – with at least 90% of the €65 billion ($85.7 billion) fund has been invested in increasingly risky Spanish debt. Of course, this is nothing new, the US (and the Irish) have been using quasi-government entities to fund themselves in a mutually-destructive circle-jerk for years – the only difference being there are other buyers in the Treasury market, whereas in Spain the marginal buyer is critical to support the sinking ship. The Spanish defend the use of pension funds to buy bonds as sustainable as long as it can issue bonds – and yet the only way it can actually get the bonds off in the public markets is through using the pension fund assets. The pensioners sum it up perfectly “We are very worried about this, we just don’t know who’s going to pay for the pensions of those who are younger now,” or those who are older we would add.
Spain has been quietly tapping the country’s richest piggy bank, the Social Security Reserve Fund, as a buyer of last resort for Spanish government bonds, raising questions about the fund’s role as guarantor of future pension payouts.
Now the scarcely noticed borrowing spree, carried out amid a prolonged economic crisis, is about to end, because there is little left to take. At least 90% of the €65 billion ($85.7 billion) fund has been invested in increasingly risky Spanish debt, according to official figures, and the government has begun withdrawing cash for emergency payments.
Although the trend has drawn little public attention or controversy, it has become a matter of concern for the relatively few independent financial analysts who study the fund, which is used to guarantee future payments of pensions.
In addition, there are worries that Social Security reserves for paying future pensioners are running out much quicker than expected.
In November, the government withdrew €4 billion from the reserve fund to pay pensions, the second time in history it had withdrawn cash. The first time was in September, when it took €3 billion to cover unspecified treasury needs.
Together, the emergency withdrawals surpassed the legal annual limit, so the government temporarily raised the cap.
“We are very worried about this,” says Dolores San Martín, president of the largest association of pensioners in Asturias, a small region that has one of the highest percentages of retirees in Spain. “We just don’t know who’s going to pay for the pensions of those who are younger now.”
After the crisis began, some of those countries began using the pension reserves for other contingencies, such covering a drop in foreign demand for their government bonds. Since the collapse of Ireland’s property boom, for example, most of its pension fund has been used to buy shares of nationalized banks and real estate for which no foreign buyers could be found.
“Most of the [Spanish] fund is an accounting trick,” said Javier Díaz-Giménez, an economics professor in Spain’s IESE business school. “The government is lending money to another branch of government.”
Spanish officials defend the heavy investment of the Social Security Reserve Fund in their government’s high-risk bonds. They say the practice is sustainable as long as Spain can continue borrowing in financial markets, and they predict the economy will start to recover late in 2013, easing the debt crisis.
“With foreign investors staying away from the Spanish debt market, you’re going to need all the support you can get from domestic players,” said Rubén Segura-Cayuela, an economist with Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Spain’s commercial banks already have increased their Spanish government-bond portfolio by a factor of six since the start of the crisis in 2008, and now own one-third of government bonds in circulation.
The percentage of Spanish government debt held by the Social Security Reserve Fund stood at 55% in 2008, according to official figures; by the end of 2011 it had risen to 90%. Analysts say the percentage has continued to rise, even as international agencies have lowered Spain’s credit ratings.
Spain’s continued use of those reserves to buy its own bonds appears to violate a rule set by government decree that mandates their investment only in securities “of high credit quality and a significant degree of liquidity.”
But with unemployment now above 25% of the workforce and fewer wage earners paying in, the Social Security System is about €3 billion in deficit, according to government estimates.
And in other news, and completing the picture, if not the circle jerk, is news from Libremercado that according to the Spanish Confederantion of Employer Organizations, some 60% of the Spanish companies are now losing money. Via Google translate:
from Zero Hedge:
An antebellum political speaker makes his case in George Caleb Bingham’s painting, Stump Speaking.
The Kentucky Relief War of the 1820s
The battle of creditor and debtor has been present since the first days of the colonies, and the episode that occurred in Kentucky from 1819 to 1825 is particularly illustrative. In that interval Kentucky’s political factions established parallel banking systems and courts, grinding the state’s business to a standstill over the issue of inflation and debt relief. This battle has been called the “Kentucky Relief War” or the “Old Court – New Court Controversy”.
On a human interest level, future luminaries of American politics such as Henry Clay, Francis Preston Blair, and Amos Kendall all played roles as young participants. Blair and Kendall would later be closely aligned with Andrew Jackson while Clay became a staunch opponent.
Land speculating and its fruits in Kentucky
The process repeated itself thousands of times in Kentucky, starting in the 1770s and continuing into the 1800s.
A scrabbler entered a county from the east and used bank loans to gain title to a large amount of land (usually with the help of some political connections). There he sat for a few years (often as an absentee owner), or sometimes less, until the inevitable waves of settlement followed him up.
Via a shrewd distribution and sale of the land, the speculator pocketed his profits and moved west to the next open plot. As the population increased these men took to creating entirely new towns and developing them. With a different backdrop, it’s hardly different from the practice of house and condo flipping that survives into the present day.
A real estate map of Franklinville, Kentucky — a town which existed only in the dreams of a land speculator (click for source).
This practice lived and died on the availability of credit, which in those days meant the assets of a bank backed by gold or silver. Some banks loaned out a large amount of currency relative to their assets, while others managed their portfolio in a more conservative manner. In Kentucky during the 1810s the economy boomed and the population grew rapidly. State banks (and the Second Bank of the United States after 1817) prospered under loose lending guidelines and the availability of credit was rarely an issue for speculators.
In this environment many were drawn to real estate investing. The profits were high and the work was not as taxing as it was in other professions. A few men could be forgiven for believing they had entered a no-lose situation.
The Panic of 1819 and the real estate collapse
The Panic of 1819 decimated these speculators. As the first bankruptcies and foreclosures came in, the banks in Kentucky belatedly realized they had overextended themselves. As their gold was called back to the east they were unable to write loans commensurate to the needs of the real estate speculators who then withered on the vine, their rage growing hotter by the day. Common farmers found themselves shut off as well and joined the chorus of anger.
The elite of Kentucky society supported the banks. Most of them were creditors and were philosophically amenable to the virtues of a gold standard. Land speculators were usurpers in the eyes of this crowd, and the panic was now giving them their just comeuppance. Many of these elite were planters who owned slaves and had established plantations. They had invested in the banks in many cases and stood to lose greatly from any sort of debt forgiveness or inflation.
The speculators and indebted farmers of the state formed the Relief Party to press their claims. Above all they wanted inflation. They elected majorities to the state legislature in the 1820 elections who promised to fulfill these goals.
Conservatives in Kentucky and elsewhere looked upon these developments aghast. Kentucky had been among the first states to remove property qualifications as a criteria for voting, and now it seemed to those outside the fray like a rabble had seized control of an entire state government.
The Relief Party in control, and the fracturing of Kentucky’s banks and courts
The Relief Party wasted little time in enacting their agenda. By the end of 1820 an experiment in loose banking was established, virtually guaranteeing a wave of inflation. The legislature also suspended collections on any loans for the period of one year. Outrage ensued from the creditor class.
The legislature created inflation via a new Bank of the Commonwealth, designed to be extremely debtor friendly. This new bank had no specie behind its notes, but creditors were required to accept them by state law. In practice this established a fiat money system in the state, which was extremely radical for those times.
With the legislature lost to them, creditors challenged these laws in the state courts. Here they won victories and by 1823 were able to strike down the suspension of collections. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, and payments from debtor to creditor continued apace.
Not giving up, the Relief Party simply established a new state court. Competing decisions were handed down, the old courts refused to dissolve, and an extraordinary situation came into being whereby two separate courts claimed to have the highest authority in Kentucky. These became referred to, simply enough, as the Old Court and the New Court. Observers feared a civil war would erupt within the state if passions continued to remain inflamed.
Henry Clay, Francis P. Blair, and Amos Kendall
Amos Kendall and Francis Preston Blair were two figures in the center of this controversy on the side of the Relief Party. Blair was one of the judges on the new court, and Kendall was a publisher who became famous in his defense of the system. Both of these men became key allies of Andrew Jackson and later formed part of his so-called “Kitchen Cabinet” when he was President.
A portrait of Amos Kendall, late in his life.
Henry Clay, on the other hand, was the most prominent opponent of the scheme. He supported a strong, national financial system backed by the Second Bank of the United States, and he was appalled at Kentucky’s willingness to strike out from this situation.
The Relief Party succeeded in their goal of initiating a round of inflation. This may have been good in the short-term for those who were indebted, but it caused great instability in prices and land values and did not help to grow the larger economy. Eventually a backlash developed against the scheme and by the mid-1820s the Relief Party fell out of favor.
Henry Clay’s reputation was enhanced. By combining his defense of nationalism and of conservative financial practices, he burnished his credentials with the Democratic-Republicans (later the Whigs) and ran for President several times. As a candidate in 1824 he carried the state of Kentucky and then assisted in the election of John Quincy Adams.
Eventually the economy of Kentucky picked up again, gaining momentum from the national recovery, and the issue of the New Court vs. the Old Court receded from prominence. In 1826 the New Court was rescinded and the judicial branch of Kentucky was reunited. Thus was demonstrated the other eternal truth — that the only lasting remedy for a financial crisis is a renewal in growth generating new, performing loans for the banks.
Hard Times, Debt Relief, and Inflation
The demand for inflation and debt relief has always been present during rough economic times (be it the 1780s, 1819, the 1890s, or the 1930s), and it no doubt will reemerge at some time in the future. Perhaps the issue will be student loans, state and local pensions, or even the federal debt itself. Perhaps it will be something else that’s not yet apparent.
Whatever the cause, anyone who is tempted to believe that the real estate crisis of 2008 was an anomaly, or that better regulation will prevent it in the future would do well to look upon the history of finance in the United States. It is littered with the tales of panic and collapse, such as that in Kentucky and elsewhere that occurred in 1819, and the aftermath of such events is always devastating for the unprepared.
The best an individual can do is to remain vigilant on behalf of their own interests, for surprise is the most dangerous adversary of all.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. — The Age of Jackson
Wilma A. Dunaway — “Speculators and Settler Capitalists: Unthinking the Mythology about Appalachian Landholding, 1790-1860″ (in Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century)
David S. Reynolds — Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson
“Bank of Kentucky and Bank of the Commonwealth”
“Class Rivalries in Frontier Kentucky and the Applicability of Jeffersonian Agrarianism”
“Murder and Inflation in Kentucky”
Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Red Square, Moscow
by Dmitri Orlov
Regular readers of this blog must have noticed by now that for the past few weeks we have been off on a bit of a tangent from the usual fare of collapse-related social and economic commentary. There are several reasons for this.
One is that I have recently finished the manuscript for the Five Stages of Collapse, having worked on it more or less continuously for half a year, and editing hasn’t started yet. At the moment the topic of collapse has worn some grooves in my brain, making me want to think about something else for a while. And so I devoted a few weeks to an exercise in applied anarchy, which was to define an alternative way of writing English, one that follows the phonological form of the language and replaces spelling (an entirely artificial and useless skill) with elocution (which is quite useful). Several people have pledged their support to this project, which is quite far along already, and is now going to be taking shape at unspell.blogspot.com, so please direct any additional comments you have on it there, not here. A lot of people are in favor of providing a way to read English that is more like listening and less like deciphering oddly garbled strings of symbols that bear minimal relationship to the actual sounds of the language. And a lot of non-native speakers of English would appreciate it if some of the native speakers learned some elocution and became easier to understand. That project will get interesting once the software to do mass conversion of English text is in place and the entire Project Gutenberg is unspelled.
Another reason for my desire to temporarily stay off the topic of collapse is that I am spending the lengthy Russian holiday season with my family in Russia (where Christmas through mid-January is one continuous country-wide federal holiday). Russia is definitely not collapsing; it is getting stronger and richer. If you listen to the paranoid ramblings of Secretary of State Clinton, it is also getting bigger, by absorbing several resource-rich former-Soviet tin pot dictatorships to the south which the Americans erroneously thought might be their cold war prize.
St. Petersburg, where I am spending the winter, is still dark and snowy—it is currently -15ºC (5ºF) and promising to head lower—but it is now also full of luxury cars, swank boutiques, gourmet shops and restaurants (the place has gone sushi-mad). There are now cafés with free WiFi that are open 24/7. Everywhere, even in the government offices, the service is now prompt and courteous. There is simply a ridiculous amount of culture going on—opera, concerts, theater, art exhibits, and so on. It is one thing to keep up a stream of collapse-related commentary from a place that’s collapsing; it is quite another to try to do the same from a place that’s experiencing a rather remarkable rebirth.
In one sense the rebirth is quite literal: Russian birth rates now exceed death rates and the population is once again growing. The low birth rates were partly the legacy of the Soviet era, where cramped living conditions often limited the size of families, and partly a cultural change that made having just one child socially acceptable. That the trend toward falling birthrates has been reversed is a major feat, accomplished through many different means, among them vastly improved, free prenatal and postnatal care, financial aid to families with young children and a large cash award given to women who have more than one child. All of this has resulted in a baby boom: there are children and baby carriages everywhere and all the better nurseries have waiting lists.
Another transformation taking place is the conversion of Russia from a lawless bandit-state run by oligarchs and the mafia to a law-abiding society. This process began just a dozen years ago and is by no means complete. An overhang of that lawless time, and of the Soviet legacy before that, is Russia’s very high prison population. While not as high, per capita, as that of the United States, which is the shame of the world, it is still quite shameful. With Putin’s pronouncement, around 2000, of “dictatorship of the law” the emphasis was given to shutting down protection rackets and mopping up all the petty crime that erupted as a result of professional thugs suddenly becoming unemployed. Now the emphasis seems to be shifting to shutting down corruption at higher levels. The recent corruption-related dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was highly publicized even in the West. A more obscure corruption scandal, but one involving similar amounts of money (around 100 million USD), recently erupted right here in St. Petersburg: Vladislav Petrov, the person in charge of the city’s steam mains (St. Petersburg is heated using cooling water discharged from power plants, which is distributed throughout the city via buried pipelines). Petrov oversaw a scheme in which some 600km of large-diameter steam pipe was replaced using substandard, salvaged gas pipe which was purchased from Gazprom. The inspection certificates were forged, and the difference in price was pocketed. This came to light when, with the start of the heating season, geysers of steam erupted in various parts of the city, requiring emergency repairs and shutting down traffic. These are by no means isolated cases: it is impossible to keep corruption entirely under control in a suddenly wealthy, rapidly transforming country that had only recently lived through a bout of almost complete lawlessness.
But what is most stunning is the pace of economic development: Russia seems to be developing into the United States of the 1990s, while the US seems to be developing into a vast wasteland of boarded-up strip malls and suburban slums surrounding abandoned downtowns. That this is not a good development model should be obvious to all and does not bear repeating here. A lot of the new development here is car-centric; Russia has recently surpassed Germany in car sales, with Lexus and Infiniti leading among the newly popular brands. Big box stores are erupting everywhere, and the arrival of the global consumer culture is quickly making Russia just like any other prosperous place on earth, with the same global brands on sale as anywhere else. I can only hope that this trend does not run to completion, as it has in the US, with its deadweight of underwater suburbs, ridiculously overbuilt retail space, and very little else. But from what I have observed, Russia is quite capable of making rapid changes in direction. Also, although private cars and big box stores are all the rage now, they have not shut down public transportation or local shops, so that, when this development model is discovered to be a dead end, there will be a path back.
Of the two largest (and related) problems affecting the planet as a whole—national resource depletion, oil and gas in particular, and global warming—Russia seems to be spared. (I tend to discount all of the recent nonsense about fracking; it seems to be a scheme to defraud investors, with gas and oil only figuring as dirty, overpriced byproducts of this process. I also tend to discount the efforts to control climate change; the recent fiasco of a conference at Doha is a case in point.) Russia has 70 years of natural gas left at current production rates from already developed sources, and probably somewhat less oil. There may be much more of each to be found in the rapidly thawing Russian arctic. With regard to global warming, the UN climate change effect maps I have looked at show the US and Europe as major losers with regard to their ability to feed themselves, while Russia appears to be the greatest benefactor, with longer growing seasons and more plentiful rainfall. And while many coastlines in the world are under threat from rising oceans (the Eastern Seaboard in the US a prime example, with the recent damage from Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey just a small taste of things to come) Russia’s population centers are mostly inland. St. Petersburg, the second-largest Russian city, is on the water, but is on the far side of the Baltic, does not have tides, has built a dam to shield it from storm surges, and is not forecast to experience significantly higher water levels any time this century.
If there is one thing that Russia should be doing but isn’t it’s this: Russia should stop helping sanitize US government debt. In this, it should not do it alone, but join other countries and stop buying US debt. Currently, when Russia exports products, it then uses a share of the revenues to buy up US debt, in the form of US Treasury paper. That paper then sits at the central bank, accruing approximately 0% interest (always far below inflation, which Americans systematically underestimate) and eventually dwindles to nothing as the USD loses virtually all of its value over time. Why subsidize American defense and other government spending when this money can be invested productively? For instance, it can be distributed as loans to Russian-owned businesses that have a good business plan for replacing imports with domestic production?
In a couple of months I’ll be heading back to the US, and back to collapse. The book will be out in May, and I will be traveling and talking about it both before and after that. No doubt people will ask me: “What about Russia?” You see, I have compared the USA to the USSR, showing that the USA is not as well-prepared for its inevitable collapse as the USSR was. I did not compare the USA to Russia. Although some Americans continue to use USSR and Russia as synonyms, they really should make an effort and try to sound a bit more intelligent. The USSR is dead, and modern Russia came after it died. What will come once the USA is also dead is anyone’s guess.
Preserving A Corrupt System Based On Limitless Debt and Growing Government Power
Melbourne, Australia – we’ll do something we can barely stand to do: we’re going to write one more time about Greece. If you can stand to read it, you may come to the same conclusion we reached.
That conclusion is simple: what’s going on Europe has nothing to do with solving a debt crisis and everything to do with preserving a corrupt system based on limitless debt and growing government power. The sooner you understand that fact, the sooner you’ll be able to prepare for what happens next. There are two options for what happens next, and we’ll get to those shortly.
First, though, doesn’t it strike you as strange that all of Europe can be brought to its knees by tiny little Greece? Greek GDP is just 2.4% of Europe’s GDP. In economic terms, Greece doesn’t matter. Its lack of growth or economic competitiveness shouldn’t be factors that can destroy Europe’s 13-year single currency experiment. Yet, Greece obviously does matter; otherwise the European financial markets wouldn’t be celebrating the latest €130 billion bailout that’s on its way to Athens.
So here’s our question: Why do Greek finances matter to anyone outside of Greece? If you rule out the obvious things that don’t matter, that leaves everything else. Or as Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
First, let’s see why the possible explanations for Greece’s importance to the world are actually impossible. Take the issue of debt reduction. As we wrote last week, the deal before Europe would reduce Greek debt to 120% of GDP by 2020. The IMF says that level is sustainable.
Back in a universe where common sense prevails, you can see that the plan is a joke, at least in terms of debt reduction. A plan to reduce Greek’s debt to 120% of GDP…EIGHT YEARS FROM NOW…is not a serious plan about debt. Therefore, the plan cannot be about debt reduction.
Will the plan make Greece more competitive in the long run? Well, probably not. In order to get more money by March 20th, the Greek Parliament had to agree to certain structural reforms. Some of those reforms might even be a good idea. But cutting the minimum wage isn’t going to be popular. And with Greek GDP shrinking by 7% in the fourth quarter, years of austerity won’t make Greece more competitive. The lifestyle of the Greeks will be destroyed and the debt will remain. Therefore, the plan cannot be about making Greece more competitive.
Does saving Greece save the euro? Not at all. The euro would be better off without Greece and Greece would be better off without the euro. The Germans are even planning for a euro that doesn’t include Greece. With its own currency, Greece could default, devalue, inflate and start over. Argentina did it in the last 10 years. It’s not rocket science. Therefore, saving Greece is not about saving the euro.
with John Stadtmiller
Bob Chapman of TheInternationalForecaster.com, discusses the European economies, the details of the debt, and the talk of bailouts. A coming strike on Iran is also connected to Europe through Greek oil purchases. Ron Paul is under attack from huge media conglomerates, including ESPN. Foreclosure auction bidding is full of questionable activity, if not outright skullduggery. Robby Noel joins Bob and John, in the second hour, as they answer callers’ questions on Ron Paul, gold miners investments, silver prices, market moves, consumer confidence, voter fraud, and currency manipulation.
by Jim Willie CB
February 22, 2012
Listen to the empty words of the last bailout for Greece. Credibility with the Jackass was lost back on the third bailout, well over a year ago, out of the six bailouts in total. Perhaps it is seven comprehensive final bailouts. The pattern is clear. The politicians, without popular support, forge agreements on debt coverage with the Greek officials. The deals fall through, hit the ground, and expose the lack of support even from the European bankers, led by the Germans. The pattern has been vividly clear for over a year, enough for my dismissal of new accords right away on the basis that the German bankers will not conform and agree to the deals struck. The political leaders in France (Sarkozy) and Germany (Merkel) are due to lose their offices, yet they continue to march around at useless summits attempting to cut last ditch agreements that mean nothing. The people are not willing in Germany to hand over any more than the $3 trillion to date, from the start of the common Euro currency experiment. The bankers, like at the Bundesbank, should attend the summits, but that would be too obvious on where the majority of power is held.
What is unfolding is a comprehensive Greek Govt debt default from the inability to contain the situation, the impracticality of the austerity budgets put in place, the wreckage that has come to the Greek Economy, and the intractable solution.
My view is the entire charade for two years has been a grand delay to enable the big banks to sell out of their bonds and dump them on the Euro Central Bank. Almost every bailout has been of bank assets in some sort of redemption, not budget assistance. The biggest question posed and not answered is: HOW ANGRY ARE THE OWNERS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND EURO CENTRAL BANK TO ACCUMULATE AND OWN SUCH A MOUNTAIN OF TOXIC PAPER??
My German banker source says the Germans will make what seem like agreements or permit the politicians to make them, but the bankers will consistently obstruct them. He steadily stresses how Germany has wasted $300 billion in savings each year, is exhausted, and no longer is willing or able to provide national welfare for Southern Europe. They will write no more checks except what will successfully grab collateral prize properties. It has become obvious the Greeks will not hand over much of any property without lighting the city on fire. It is the end of the bailout road.
A few months ago my firm position, stated in the newsletter, that the bailouts would end when the riots amplify.
They have amplified. Conclusion: GAME OVER.
Next comes a planned or unplanned default. Let’s see how inequitable they will make it. Obviously it will be inequitable, since all accords have greatly favored the bankers. The TARP Fund was the most egregious, but it only disguised the bigger multi-$trillion grants with zero cost to the many banks, both central bank and private bank. The upshot of the Financial Regulatory Bill is that the USFed must open its books, but only after such loans take place, not to be reversed. Back to Greece. For a few months, some clarity and realism has entered the discussions and analysis concerning the burning nation of antiquity.
The new theme has been that Greece will default, must default, and cannot avoid a default. Exactly. So the challenge is to avoid the horrendous collateral damage that will come.
The central bankers, regional commissars, and technocrats have been working overtime, but Davos was a missed opportunity for forging potential solutions or at least elements.
A great comment came out of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The comment came from one of the few Economics Nobel Winners who makes any sense at all. The recent parade of prize winners seems either clownish in support of the status quo in disaster mode, or abstruce to the point of irrelevance. Joseph Stiglitz uttered perhaps the only wisdom or story worth reporting from the forum, a country club gathering of bankers and their investment fund cohorts whose mission is to defend the failing system. Stiglitz said,
“European leaders repeat the same kind of platitudes, [like] we need to get growth going, [like] austerity will not be enough, but no country has policies that will achieve growth. I have not heard a single thing here in Davos that has convinced me that the European leaders have any sense of what they need to do and will do. Nobody knows who owes what to whom, where the risks of a Greek default are.”
It reminds me of a premise that the first step in a reconstruction, remedy, and solution is to liquidate the big insolvent banks. But that is precisely where the power lies in controlling the USGovt. If not the banks, the agencies that have evolved into a private sprawling enterprise control much hidden power.
BLUEPRINT FOR DAMAGE CONTROL
One must be serious and grounded in reality. No solution exists for Greece without liquidation of their debt, its restructure with huge writedowns if not total wipeout loss, a return to the Drachma currency, recapitalization of their banks, and a hands off to carpetbaggers. Almost none of these measures will be done, except blockage of the foreigners intending to exploit.
Talk is clear about a 70% bond haircut, which does not seem enough even though it is brutal.
The biggest practical impediments to the Greek Economy are the austerity plan and the absent ability to devalue the currency. Every single austerity plan to date has been a failure, in every nation attempted. They result in worse economic slowdowns, greater job loss, broad cancelation of projects, reduced pension security, and much wider deficits. Yet they continue in a grand procession of ruin. One must wonder if ruin is the goal, so that another technocrat can be put in power, unelected and with allegiance only to the syndicate. Who selected Papademous and Monti?
The absent path to a currency devaluation hits as the central flaw of the common Euro region. The weakest cannot compete against the strongest. In time the strong nations refuse to provide the higher standard of living at their own domestic expense. The German standard of living has fallen badly, angering many of its citizens. The normal evolutionary path calls for a troubled nation to do debt restructure, to enact broad reforms, to devalue the currency, and to stimulate the economy. The path taken for two years has been to dance around the debt table.
No action at all on devaluation, since removal from the Euro currency umbilical would mean enormous debt writeoffs for the major European banks. This is the same obstructive dynamic at work in the United States. Greece needs to go back to the Drachma, devalue it by 30% or more, and enjoy some stimulus. Their list of export items is not in great volume. The austerity budgets are the exact opposite of stimulus. Lunacy has taken root, like with an entire class of public contract workers must work for no pay. The power center of the big banks prevents solutions. So the next phase will be full of risk and intrigue, if not treachery.
LAYERS OF RISK
Big Bank losses
: The big banks in Europe face staggering losses. The attempts to make a mere 35% bond loss haircut in past deals was so unworkable as to be laughable. They fooled nobody. Reality has entered the room, as a 70% writedown figure has been proposed on current bailout deals. The big banks are already reeling from credit portfolios damaged by property like home mortgage and commercial mortgage. They are hurt by sovereign debt generally, not just from Greece. The Italian and Spanish Govt debt losses will be higher in volume, lower in percentage loss. The big bank exposure extends also to private debt within the Greek Economy, like with mortgages and commercial loans. They are all at heavy risk. The Basel II rules have forced de-leveraging as a warmup process that weakened many banks. The big European banks should enter failure from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Contagion to Banks outside Europe
: The interwoven nature of Western banking does not add to its strength, like in integrated plywood sinews, but rather exposes its weakness. The London banks own a huge amount of Southern Europe sovereign debt. The New York banks own a sizeable portion also. A recent conversation with a sturdy German banker revealed that Citigroup owns an enormous amount of debt in Greece, Italy, and Eastern Europe in the mortgage sector. Most will be written off with big losses. The amount of PIGS sovereign debt owned by banks in France is enormous, well detailed, but under-reported. The cross pollenation will come to the fore as the ripples are felt. The German banks own too much sovereign debt. The big banks outside Europe are at great risk, just like those throughout the Continent. Many non-European banks should enter failure from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Euro Central Bank
: Like the US Federal Reserve, these two central banks have served as the buyer of last resort for toxic bonds that both nobody wants and have nearly worthless value. Their owner lords (think castles in London and Switzerland) must be pushing back hard. The new EuroCB head Mario Draghi at first stated a firm position of not wishing to buy Southern European sovereign bonds, since badly impaired. When the Italian and Spanish Govt Bond yields rose toward or past the 7% magic mark, he relented. The stability returned in the bond market, but at the high cost of further wrecking the EuroCB balance sheet. It is hard to know which is more ruined, loaded with toxic paper, the EuroCB or the USFed. Both in my view are wrecked entities and control towers. Neither can serve adequately as a central bank when acting like a proxy for the entire banking system. They must remove the bank reserves held as hostage from private banks. The major central banks should face severe insolvency from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Credit Default Swaps
: The bond insurance market is even more corrupt than the mortgage market. At least the mortgage arena contained some hint of regulatory oversight. The derivative market has none at all. Some fine analysts like Chris Whalen stated two and three years ago that without the derivative trade, the US banks would have keeled over dead long ago. They took in huge fees on contracts whose legitimacy and effectiveness are unclear. The ISDA has issued rulings on bond debt default that seem corrupt to the core. The next round of Greece Govt Bond writedowns apparently will feature CDSwap insurance responses in the form of awards in exchange for bond ownership, the inherent asset swap. Like the SEC and CFTC, the ISDA is loaded with bankers from the everpresent Wall Street revolving door. They will serve the banks at the expense of the system and economy. The interwoven nature of Western banking does not add to its strength, but rather exposes its weakness. The claimed offset on derivative ownership is nonsense, as Bank A holds derivatives that cover Bank B, and vice versa. They do not cancel out for net neutral. Both banks are killed, neither able to aid the other. The payouts for Credit Default Swap contracts being enforced should cause tremendous additional damage to the entire financial system, from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Exposure of Profound Fraud again
: The strain from any imposed default skein will expose the derivative market. The cast of counter-parties is too diverse. The obligations are too unclear. The nature of the contracts is too untested. The enforcement by the ISDA rulings are too subservient. Like with the mortgage sector, liquidations reveal the seriously putrid underbelly. With mortgages, no widespread liquidation of mortgage bonds could be done, since the process would reveal bond fraud to the extreme. Its mortgage contract fraud is in the open for full view. So patchwork was done, even nationalization of Fannie Mae and AIG under the USGovt wing. The fraud is contained supposedly, but without the basis of a solution. Hyper monetary inflation goes down a Black Hole. So also is the nature of the derivative market. Liquidations will reveal the seriously corrupted core of the business. After the recent MFGlobal, JPMorgan, and COMEX episode, one more log on the raging fraud bonfire. The system’s foundation of integrity is burning. The CDSwap contract award process should expose profound fraud in the system from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Recapitalize domestic banking systems
: The banking system has operated in the Western nations amidst deep insolvency for three years or more. When the Greek default is begun, that insolvency will be much worse. Some banks will fail. The dominos will fall. The impact will be understood quickly. The need to rebuild the banking system will be an obvious and very painful realization, but the volume will result in shock. The big banks serve as the core for the domestic credit engines, the machinery to pump credit into the many businesses. That engine is sputtering badly. Some measures will be done to enable new Euro Bonds to take senior position, but expect it to backfire since bond dealers and bond funds will resist the favored treatment and retreat. Several $trillion will be needed to recapitalize the banking systems, not just a few banks. With the dependence upon newly printed unbacked money, the banking systems should lose further integrity from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Debt Rating Agencies
: Since the autumn months of 2008, the agencies have acted more responsibly. The Standard & Poors downgrade of the USGovt debt was a wakeup call of unprecedented manner. However, the Moodys and Fitch agencies did not follow suit. Worse, the S&P chief executive was forced out of office, probably by a Wall Street phone call, replaced by a Citigroup veteran. In the last several months to perhaps 18 months, the debt rating agencies have been doing their job reponsibly, but their focus is entirely on Europe. They have ignored the United States, even ignored the embattled insolvent US States. They are piling on with European sovereign downgrades, European bank downgrades, even European stability fund downgrades. Instead of putting the debt rating agencies at greater risk from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure, the pressure will be on them as a group to focus more attention on the USGovt and the US States. Their collective financial condition is equally bad as Greece.
Economies suffer from Austerity
: The impact of every austerity plan is to put in place what appears to be a more rigid spending process. But the dependence of the domestic economies is so great upon the public sector for jobs and projects and grants and subsidies, that the damage is instant and deep. No austerity budget plan has resulted in improved finances in the first two years of emplacement. None! The economists seem blind to the effect. The politicians seem ignorant. The corporate leaders are frustrated. No solution exists for remedy short of a five year period. Many economies in the West should suffer even worse and more painful recessions from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Amplified Inflation Risk
: All solutions proposed involve the disposition of new money, either from outright printing without backing or from grander fiscal deficits. The austerity plans result in worse deficits, thus worse pressure on inflation. Any banking system recapitalization would be the crown jewel of monetary inflation. Imagine the effect of $1 trillion or $2 trillion in recapped banks, only to find they require another $1 trillion several months later. The inflation impact could be enough to push the water level over the bunker banker walls. Those walls have prevented the staggering hyper monetary inflation from spilling over into Main Streets across the nation. The bank sector has enjoyed 98% of the bailout benefits. The public has been told to tighten belts and to eat cake. Look for the bank recapitalization project, if it occurs, to finally push the inflation process in such a way that price inflation hits the USEconomy in force. Refer to rising wages and rising prices, not just costs. Tremendous pressure should come on systemic price inflation from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Interest Rate Swap Risk
: If price inflation rises in unexpected fashion, the pressure put on the USTreasury Bond market will be greater than any time in the last ten years. So far, the abuse of the Interest Rate Swap contract has provided outsized leverage in keeping down the USTBond yields generally, by creating artificial bond demand. The financial press is totally oblivious to this phenomenon. Investors do not flock to USTBond as safe haven. The Wall Street leverage machinery has created bond demand from the basement working overtime for over two years. The smoking gun was the 1Q2011 report on derivative growth by the Office of the Comptroller & Currency. It revealed $8 trillion in notional derivatives put on by Morgan Stanley alone. So much for investor bond demand and contradiction of the S&P downgrade of USGovt debt. What a clever tactic. However, the Greek Govt debt unraveling could place tremendous strain on the IRSwap device, even to expose it during a time of increased foreign creditor isolation. The US sovereign bond market inner circle hidden devices should be brought into the open from an imposed Greek Govt debt default and restructure. The Greek losses will strain the system to the hilt.
Unintended Consequence Risk
: The last risk to cite is the risk of the unknown, the unexpected, that which cannot be properly planned. The potential unintended outcomes and pressures emanating from a comprehensive planned Greek Govt debt default defy description. In my view, it is like herding 100 cats freed from bondage on a truck in an open field. The Jackass loves cats, but never have they been captured in a yard when attempted. They jump fences, crawl under fences, disappear in holes under houses, even hide in car engines. They are fast and elusive, changing directions with extreme quickness and agility. So will be the consequences to a planned Greek demolition of their indebted edifices. The Powerz must realize the challenge that lies ahead, and look upon each with some trepidation.
GOLD & SILVER
The battle has been waged in the 1750 to 1800 price corridor for almost a full month. It is critically important. A smaller battle to overcome the 1650 mark was a success, thus making the Gold price recovery firm and recognized.
As a solution is worked out in Greece, or the absence of one with another in a series of grand missteps, watch the Gold price cast a vote.
The system’s integrity lies in the balance. The pressure points are across the entire financial and economic systems. The solutions are elusive since the basic initial step of big bank liquidation is refused, too much damage to be doled to the banks that control the power. The zinger is the recapitalization of the banking system, an urgent need and requirement, the understood impact from the imposed Greek comprehensive solution. Expect more favored treatment to the banks. However, as they are put back on solvent feet, a process only possible with vast hyper monetary inflation directed specifically at the banking pillars, the retribution from within the system will possibly be the first serious price inflation leakover. For over three years, the monetary inflation leakover has been contained, to the detriment of the economy.
The anticipation of that systemic price inflation event could be seen in the Gold price. The direct response to the imposed Greek debt solution could be some sort of capitulation, a recognition that the Western financial and monetary system cannot be fixed.
Any perception that bank system reconstruction would assure another powerful bout of price inflation as the heavy cost could be a major unintended consequence.
The Gold price could explode past $2000 per ounce if that were to occur. If the planned demolition of the Greek Govt bond building does not go according to plan, look to the Gold price for a powerful upward response. The list of unintended consequences and collateral damage is very long indeed. The risk is staggering acute and not easily measured. Gold should serve as the effective pressure valve. Most every attempt to push down the Gold price in the last few weeks with yet more naked shorting has been thwarted and opposed by the Eastern Coalition, their new project.
by James Howard Kunstler
When Gaia gets pissed off enough at the antics of humanity, she sends in her hit-man, Reality, to settle accounts. Reality is blessed with a cloak of invisibility. The human race is so busy concocting stories about what it is doing, that Reality steals onto the scene unnoticed – until bodies start to fall over, and the sort of bad political weather known as a shit-storm fills the skies, the streets, and the assembly halls.
One of the cockamamie stories circulating this week is that the Euro bailout of broke member nations is fait accompli, baked in the cake, a done deal, no problemo, because the December 2011 Long Term Refinancing Operation makes it so. The European Central Bank can supposedly eat bad bond paper until the cows come home without choking to death at the same time that it can run a back-door money-printing racket without the results showing up in currency degradation. And the Greeks will bend over and receive what they’ve got coming good and hard because, well, they are Greeks, and it is their way!
Excuse me, but something’s got to give. History is a lot of things, but it is not silly putty. Its cousin, Reality, slips through it performing its deeds one way or another. The Greeks have lately remembered some of their own history. The Germans have beset them before, they now recall, and some of the money currently labeled “debt” may have been filed incorrectly, the Greeks say. It actually belongs in the folder labeled “war reparations.” (Granted, it is hard to read folders when you are bending over so far that things look upside-down.) Germany, it happens, remembers too the last time that this folder was flopped out on the table. Things didn’t work out so well for the Weimar finance ministry in those dark days ninety years ago.
Meanwhile, Athens and several other Greek cities ignite in an overture to what might come to be called the European Spring.
Reality steals onto the scene bearing a message from Mother Gaia: “None of your shenanigans make the numbers add up. The European financial arrangement will blow up because it must.” Therefore, expect it to blow up. Germany will not keep pounding sand down the rat-hole of PIIGS insolvency for another year. Anyway, the proverbial can that everyone was kicking down the road – it fell down the rat-hole, too, so there is nothing left to kick except Greek civil servants, both current and retired and, alas, they represent that part of the Greek economy not occupied by olive cultivation, which is to say most of it. It turns out, when you kick Greeks down the road (probably Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, and Irish, too) sparks fly off them and things catch fire.
The bottom line seems to be that Europe can either go broke or burn down, or do both. But it can’t go back to what it was doing before: pretending to be rich and care-free.
Over on this side of the Atlantic, America’s experiment in pervasive control fraud took a new turn with the pretended “settlement” of massive, widespread, robo-signing allegations that will allow a bunch of “the usual suspect” TBTF banks off the hook from future liability and criminal prosecution resulting from hundreds of billions of dollars worth of swindles. The TBTF banks will have to pay, when all the “principal reduction credits” and other dodgy subtractions are made, a couple of billion altogether, which is obviously little more than a cost of doing business for such supernaturally fabulous returns. And then that is supposed to be the end of the whole disgusting episode.
Last to cave in on this legally squooshy agreement between fifty states was New York’s own Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, newly enlisted in the elite national corps of cads, bounders, and sell-outs. This was the week that the same Schneiderman agreed to lead President Obama’s so called Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which, any child of eight can see, is a smokescreen to conceal the fact that the US Department of Justice has failed to initiate any action whatsoever in the vast and gruesome pageant of fraud that has transformed the rule of law into a rule of larceny.
Do you think the late Whitney Houston was a lost soul? Then look for the soul of your country – if you can find it in the wilderness of self-denial, self-double-dealing, and suicidal self-perfidy that it has blundered into with eyes wide shut. No lie is now too big for the United States to swallow. If Europeans ignite and blow up when kicked down the road, here is what will happen to America: it will blunder down its own road until it reaches the next John Brown moment. John Brown put his proverbially famous body in the middle of that road some ways back. He mounted an insurrection at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in an attempt to fast-track the abolition of slavery. Brown was hanged in 1859, but less than two years later the Civil War commenced, the greatest convulsion in our history. So far.
Slavery was yesteryear’s abomination in America as pervasive control fraud is today’s. Somewhere out in America right now is the new American John Brown, a righteous fanatic whose act is waiting to alter the course of history. The next John Brown will also precipitate what was a long time coming. Reality is busy in the background, even while we blog and dither, setting things up.
Ronald MacDonald, Robert Rowen
Excerpts from Amazon reviews.
P. Lowe Jones – See all my reviews
This review is from: They Own It All (Including You)!: By Means of Toxic Currency (Paperback)
Many books have been written regarding the motives, the means, and the methods behind the establishment of private central banks throughout history, including the founding of the privately owned Federal Reserve System. What sets this book apart from all the others concerning this topic is that this particular work explains the legal ramafications of such endeavors for every person under the jurisdiction of such an institution – especially citizens of the United States of America as defined in the 14th ammendment to the Constitution.
We are thus confronted with quite a harrowing realization; that nothing for which we have transacted using these paper IOUs/foreign commodities is truly ours – we are merely granted posession by privilege. A privilege which can be taken away at any time by the legal (though unlawful) owner of the debt. Furthermore, we are the collateral on the government’s loan from this private for-profit corporation known as the central bank. We are quite literally (and legally) owned by this lender of first and last resort. Our liberty under this legal/financial syatem is an illusion, partly maintained by our unwillingness to question it.
The great and powerful Oz does not desire to be discovered behind his magic curtain. Nowadays that curtain is largely electronic. It consists, in part, of digital television signals, video game graphics, portable gizmos, and instantaneous online "news" updates.
The time has come to awaken from our coma and arise from our sick-bed, to unplug from our chemical anasthetic and escape from our institutional imprisonment. The truth that awaits us may not be at all pleasant, and the freedom on our horizon may indeed intimidate us with its incomprehensible vastness. But I, for one, cannot consent to my own enslavement nor enable those who intend to deceive me. I’d rather embody the words of Patrick Henry and Jesus Christ: Give me liberty or give me death! For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "
"Going back to "They Own It All", I deducted one star because of the religious claptrap, which was offensive both to me and to others to whom I loaned this book (although of course those who are religious may well like it, religion was not relevant to the subject of this book). Otherwise this is another excellent book on the illusion that is money. Although it’s about the US Federal Reserve Board (equivalent to the Bank of England) and US dollars, English money was actually the prototype and therefore our system is almost identical. Written by a US Veteran of their Vietnam War who spent the last 25 years studying law, this book shows how:
1. You are legally a debtor and chattel (property) owned by a hidden creditor.
2. A hidden lien contaminates everything transacted for by or with today’s currency. The result is that your entire alleged wealth is/has been mortgaged, you don’t own anything! You merely have possession by privilege. This privilege may be yanked at any time if you don’t obey the real owner.
3. Paper and digi money is a foreign product owned by a foreign corporation, and not by you or the government.
4. The courts are really bankruptcy courts representing the interests and property of the foreign creditor.
5. Without knowing it, you have been compelled into international commercial law, where you have none of your unalienable rights. In this way you have been insulated from your birthright, the common law from which your rights are immutable.
6. You are charged an income (excise) tax for transacting in the foreign commodity known as paper money.
7. All benefits from your work have been stolen, much of it without your knowledge and all of it without your consent.
8. The real cause of draconian governmental regulation and your loss of rights is the toxic currency.
9. The real cause of the current economic calamity is the toxic money.
10. The hidden creditor (international banksters) owns everything, including you. "
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely the best, 5 stars are not enough, November 26, 2009
"I never understood the difference between legal tender and lawful money. This book blows it wide open. I never knew that bank note currency was not my property. I never knew that using it placed me into a foreign commercial jurisdiction where I had no rights but only priviliges granted by the owner of that property. "
If you read one book in 10 years, this needs to be it., November 17, 2009
George L. Gaboury (San Francsico, California) – See all my reviews
This review is from: They Own It All (Including You)!: By Means of Toxic Currency (Paperback)
"We’re lucky if once in a generation a shocking little book (like this one) comes along that clearly shows the major camouflaged mechanism contributing so much today to the devastating suffering of the world. That revealed mechanism manifests suffering we are all required to endure through the carefully orchestrated escalating destruction of our liberties for its own corrupt directors parasitically manipulative benefit.
This book clearly show how the primary mechanism in question is fraudulent liened fiat I.O.U. notes created out of nothing masquerading everywhere as "money", lent out by the trillions at interest from monopolistic international-banker owned private corporate creditor central banks to compromised bankrupted perpetual debtor governments and oblivious citizens world wide. As strange or complex as this may sound, the book clearly explains and demonstrates the truth of it.
This book shows relevant examples of the most significant bankster manipulated laws which have drastically reclassified a citizen’s standing in countries such as the United States. You can wake up from reading this book to realize that you are no longer a sovereign citizen with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. You wake up to discover that you own nothing. Everything you think you own has a hidden lien on it, and the banksters own the lien. You discover that they also have a hidden lien on you yourself. You are a debtor to the banksters with no rights and no means to repay the debt to restore your rights. You and your loved ones have become a legal piece of property owned by the banksters themselves. Any rights you think you have are merely privileges’ – all revocable at any time by the banksters and their coerced government henchmen as they see fit for their benefit – not yours. Any infraction by you of your "privileges" can result in their seizure of anything or everything you own or any children you have custody of according to their ever changing rules. Perhaps this is what is really meant by noted official’s goals to create a new world order based on feudalism.
So what else has this new world fraud cost you? A generation without liberty is a generation incapable of excellence in anything it tries to do. Critical competitive reforms that benefit people are vigorously suppressed through corrupt bankster-government enforcement mechanisms when specific reforms threaten selfish psychopathic monopolistic bankster goals. These suppressed reform opportunities devastate our lives denying us: easy access to significant low cost natural & advanced health care technologies, advanced low cost high efficiency clean fuel and energy systems, suppressed systems for clean fair elections, technologies for affordable products & housing that can be paid off rapidly, freedom from excessive frivolous government taxation fines & prosecutions, personal savings whose buying power doesn’t decay drastically over time and a higher quality of life.
Historical analysis has shown how maturing civilizations suffer a horrible death through implosion and or invasion when they are blocked from critical reform by selfish interests such as the bankster’s mechanisms described in this book. Let this not be us.
I am breaking with my usual tradition and giving this book a 5 star rating even though the book lacks an index. The information inside is just too precious, so this is a book to wear down your highlighter to mark up its most significant passages for your later review.
It has been said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Please be vigilant where it counts and read this book. It’s that important."
"He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers." – Charles Peguy
I see No Exit Strategy For The Bilderbergers in which they win and we lose at least in terms they would accept. I understood this day of impending economic collapse would come when I was 9 years-old and read a small book explaining debt based money.
When banks create a loan, they increase the Money Supply. If the government takes out a loan by selling a bond, it can print Federal Reserve Notes. If you take out a loan, the banker adds credit to your bank account. At the end of the year, you owe the banker an interest payment. But, since he only created the principal and not the interest, someone somewhere must take out another loan so we can all make our principal and interest payments. Over time rolling over those interest payments creates a Mountain of Unpayable Debts. This crushes economic activity. It also does do what it was designed to do which is to transfer all real wealth from those who created it to those who gave themselves the right to print our money.
As the Bilderbergers do understand the situation of the world economy, there are just two solutions. One is Austerity and the other is Hyperinflation. And we are doing both right now. Austerity transfers wealth from us to the Uber Rich by selling off public assets we paid for and canceling programs we paid for so we can make payments on a fictional debt. When Argentina was forced by the bankers to sell of its state owned oil company, the bankers paid 4 cents on the dollar a national resource. Austerity merely accelerates the transfer of all assets to the Bilderbergers.
– with John Stadtmiller
The International Forecaster Bob Chapman joins John, for the first hour, as they discuss the bankers, debt and derivatives, currency creation, Ron Paul and voting scandals, militarizing police (training exercise in L.A.), underwater mortgages, and more. As Jeffrey Bennett ( www.FederalObserver.com ) joins John, they continue to discuss the upcoming State of the Union address (underwater mortgages announcement to come from Obama), and a report from Arthur in Georgia about a potential tour of inner workings for the upcoming primary in his county. A caller brings up taking the fight to the cops, so John explains why that is a bogus option. Later, there is more conversation about Ron Paul, elections, and government control.