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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anonymous - Safe & Secure?

Members of the loose-knit hacking movement known as "Anonymous" posted a link on Twitter to about U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor and what they said was Stratfor's tightly-guarded, confidential client list. Among the list: The U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force and the Miami Police Department.

If the Army and Air Force can get their security hacked, do you think your information is safe?

Anonymous on Sunday claimed to have stolen a raft of e-mails and credit card data from U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor, promising it was just the start of a weeklong Christmas-inspired assault on a long list of targets.
"Not so private and secret anymore?" the group taunted in a message on the microblogging site.
Wishing everyone a "Merry LulzXMas" – a nod to its spinoff hacking group Lulz Security – Anonymous also posted a link on Twitter to a site containing the email, phone number and credit number of a U.S. Homeland Security employee.

One member of the hacking group, who uses the handle AnonymousAbu on Twitter, claimed that more than 90,000 credit cards from law enforcement, the intelligence community and journalists – "corporate/exec accounts of people like Fox" news – had been hacked and used to "steal a million dollars" and make donations.

Just more proof that you should not believe anyone (hello Facebook, Google, etc.) when they say your information is private.

And if some hackers can get this information, then you have to believe that the Government is getting that information as well.  Maybe they even have a file & profile on you (Facebook does if you use Facebook).

Big Brother is watching.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Newt Gingrich - DAS FUHRER

Fifty years ago this year, one of the most important films of all time came out, Stanley Kramer's "Judgement At Nurembuerg­". The movie focused on the trial of four judges who had capitualat­ed to the Executive Branch of Germany in the 1930s and 40s and went in depth to the meaning of their actions in adhering to the political leadership rather than the law of the nation. It

On Sunday, he followed that up by saying he would be willing to arrest a judge who he thought was out of line.

If you had to," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation" when asked if he would send a Capitol Hill police officer to round up a judge, "or you would instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. Marshal."

"Mr. Speaker," Scheiffer

"I think it depends on the severity of the case," Gingrich replied. "I'm not suggesting that the Congress and the president review every decision. I'm suggesting that when there are decisions ... in which they are literally risking putting civil liberty rules in battlefields.


OWS Is Not All Criminals & Thugs - Bishop Leads OWS Occupation!

Thank God (figuratively) that someone from the clergy has finally stepped up and said enough is enough!

It is not Christian (nor Muslim Nor most other organized religions) to piss on the poor and anoint the rich our kings and saviours.

Aren't the "meek" suppose to inherit the Earth?

Here's retired Bishop/Occupy Wall Streeter George Packard ascending a ladder that takes him not to a higher spiritual level but to a vacant patch of land owned by Trinity Church. Occupiers want to convert Trinity's property into their next Zuccotti-like encampment—a plan that the church opposes because cleanliness is next to godliness, with emptiness not far behind.

According to the New York Post, Packard ended up getting arrested along with a few dozen other OWS protesters. He wasn't the only clergyman to jump the fence, but he was definitely the most fashionably dressed.


I'll leave you to it, but I would like to point out that the tactic of occupying public spaces has overthrown three dictators, completely altered the social and political reality of the Middle East, and, state-side, completely changed the national narrative re: jobs and wealth. If that is failure, what exactly constitutes success?

Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. - Sallust, Roman historian, c. 40 B.C.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

MUST READ - 50 Economic Numbers About The US That Are "Almost Too Crazy To Believe"

The Economic Collapse Blog does a terrific job of periodically putting together a compilation of the scariest data points about the US economy. Today is one such day, and the list of 50 economic numbers presented is indeed, as the author puts it, "almost too crazy to believe"...

IT IS SO SHOCKING IT IS HARD TO FATHOM.  Two points which really hit hard (1) A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty; and (2) One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.


From the Ecopnomic Collapse Blog:

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe....

#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be "low income" or impoverished.

#3 If the number of Americans that "wanted jobs" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#11 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.

#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.

#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.

#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.

#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.

#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.

#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America's biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#33 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.

#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

#39 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

How can a system work when "the six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined?"

I believe in capitalism, but we are not witnessing capitalism but kleptocracy.
The rich require an abundant supply of the poor. - Voltaire

Las Vegas Police Officer fired 7 Shots with AR-15 in Fatal Standoff with Unarmed Gulf War Vet

Shoot first, ask questions later.  Another sad step backwards in the United Police States of America.

By Associated Press, Published: December 16 | Updated: Saturday, December 17, 3:12 AM

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas police had a plan to end an hour-long standoff with an unarmed Gulf War veteran: One officer would fire a non-lethal beanbag shell at the window of the man’s Cadillac, and another officer would follow-up with pepper spray to force the man from the car.

But that plan went awry when another officer fired a military-style assault rifle into the car, killing 43-year-old Stanley Lavon Gibson, police said Friday.

“Almost immediately after the beanbag round penetrated the rear passenger window, a second officer discharged seven rounds from an AR-15 rifle, striking and killing Gibson,” police said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Las Vegas and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada noted that Gibson was the 12th person slain by police this year. Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C., said they were reviewing calls for an investigation of police department policies and practices.

Gibson’s friends and family say he was a troubled veteran suffering from cancer that he blamed on his Gulf War service, post-traumatic stress and anxiety. Witnesses said police stopped him while he was driving his Cadillac slowly through an unfamiliar apartment complex with his emergency flashers activated like he was lost.

The war has started and the military/police machine controlled by the political elite are winning.

Second Day Of Violence Rocks Cairo, 9 Killed - Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon

Maybe I am just the boy who cried wolf! I write about how military/police states work, and most people respond that would never happen here,in the Great US. But wasn't it jut months ago how we all applauded the great "revolution" in Egypt and their call for democracy. And this is here we are today:

(Reuters) - Soldiers beat demonstrators with batons in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday in a second day of clashes that have killed nine people and wounded more than 300, marring the first free election most Egyptians can remember.
Protesters fled into side streets to escape the troops in riot gear, who grabbed people and battered them repeatedly even after they had been beaten to the ground, a Reuters journalist said. Shots were fired in the air.
Soldiers pulled down protester tents and set them on fire, local television footage showed.
Hum? Pulling down tents, haven't I seen that somewhere before?

Between the new Defense Bill (a/k/a any AMERICAN may be labeled a "terrorist" and thrown in the Gulag - so long to free speech) and the new Internet bill (a/k/a I know what is good for you bill and can shut down anything that I deem inappropriate, like Fahrenheit 451), you decide.



Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitari­an government­s are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own.

It is time for YOU, and everyone you know to stand up for the America we love - tolerant, peaceful, loving, even, dare I say religious (but meaning without imposing one's own ideas on others).  That is the America I love and know that you do too!  DO NOT GIVE UP!
They tell us, Sir, that we are weak---unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power ... I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! - Patrick Henry , March 1775

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Battlefield America - Your Backyard; Friends; Family & Neighbors

I have been warning about the dangers of the new detention bill which will soon be before the President and have said that it APPLIES TO YOU!

I am not alone in that analysis.

As Wired noted on December 1st:
It’s confusing, because two different sections of the bill seem to contradict each other, but in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”
A retired admiral, Judge Advocate General and Dean Emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law also says that it applies to American citizens on American soil.

The ACLU notes:
Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.
But you don’t have to believe me. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

Another sponsor of the bill - Senator Levin - has also repeatedly said that the bill applies to American citizens on American soil, citing the Supreme Court case of Hamdi which ruled that American citizens can be treated as enemy combatants:
“The Supreme Court has recently ruled there is no bar to the United States holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant,” said Levin. “This is the Supreme Court speaking.“
Is this that America that you know and love?

Under questioning from Rand Paul, another co-sponsor - John McCain - said that Americans suspected of terrorism could not only be indefinitely detained, but could be sent to Guantanamo!

Yes, you could just disappear. 

Two retired 4-star generals (Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar) write in the New York Times:
One provision [in the bill] would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past.

Congressman Ron Paul says that it will establish martial law in America.

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence assessment was published to the Internet this week, warning that opposition to federal government policies could foment a resurgence of "rightwing extremism." The DHS report is the latest indication that many law enforcement agencies regard advocacy groups as intelligence targets and lawful political dissent as a potential sign of terrorism.

Yes, exercise your right to free speech and free assembly, then you can be deemed a "terrorist" and you loose every right given to you by the Constitution of the United States.

Some conservatives and libertarians take the report as an indictment of their values. However, this is not a left-versus-right issue, and those blogs framing it that way are missing the point. Rather, the real problem is figuring out how lawful dissent squares with efforts to fight terrorism and the persistent inability of domestic intelligence agencies to adequately draw the distinction.

Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitari­an government­s are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own. 

That day is TODAY!

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. - Voltaire”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Military Prisons for Political Dissenters (You or Your Family) - Don't Believe What You Read.

With much fanfare, House and Senate negotiators late Monday agreed to a sweeping $662 billion defense bill that requires military custody for terrorism suspects linked to al-Qaida, including those captured within the U.S., and indefinite detention without trial for some suspects.

The issue of how to handle captured terrorist suspects has divided Obama's senior national security officials and Congress as well as Democrats and Republicans.

The bill would require that the military take custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates and who is involved in plotting or committing attacks on the United States, with an "exemption for U.S. citizens" which may be waived.

The legislation would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation's borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. The lawmakers made no changes to that language.

"The so-called `changes' to the detainee provisions that came out to conference are cosmetic at best," said Raha Wala of Human Rights First. "They do little to fix the underlying problems with the bill. The president has no choice now but to veto, both for the sake of our national security and the rule of law."
The catch-all phrase "the war on terrorism", in all honesty, has no more meaning than if one wants to wage a war against "criminal gangsterism". Terrorism is a tactic. You can't have a war against a tactic. It's deliberately vague and non-definable in order to justify and permit perpetual war anywhere and under any circumstance. -
Congressman Ron Paul, Republican, 14th district Texas, from a speech given on the house floor, 2007 

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity. 

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Letter (23 January 1861), published in Lord Acton and his Circle (1906) by Abbot Gasquet, Letter 24


Friday, December 9, 2011

How Do You Know When Your Republican Boyfriend’s Gay?

OK, so I was in a crazy mood this morning.  I think you will agree that the following, while not scientific, is damn funny.  Laughter is good for you in the morning.

From Gawker:

Ladies, today we learned that finding a man ain't always easy. Especially if he is a man who won't ever admit that he is gay! If only there was some fool proof way, some kind of test to put to your perspective man-in-waiting to decipher his sexuality. Fortunately for us, one commenter is a scientist.

From robbiebobo:
Hey Single Ladies! Wondering if that boy who just can't seem to catch your hints is looking to be another sort of catcher?
Here's a helpful quiz to help you sort it out.
1. Does he love musicals? Do you sometimes catch him singing them or crying to himself saying "Elpheba?"
2. Does he watch football, drink beer, and have difficulty opening up emotionally?
3. Does he want to have sex with other men?
If you answered yes to number 3, time to move on, gurrl!
(The other two don't actually matter.)
Well there you have it! If the sight of your 'gina is loathsome to your man, well, I'd say that's a deal breakah!

But Gawker only went so far.

First clue.  He is a "conservative christian" zealot who clearly says do as I say not as I do.  (Unfortunately that encompasses so many reptiles (I meant Republicans) that it is not a great help.)

Second clue, they adamantly believe that having any sort of feelings for men (other than outrageous LOVE of football, basketball, soccer, baseball, etc. players) is immoral and disgusting.  Darn it, that doesn't help either.

What about:
Bachmann - And I just wanted to help those sinners, those nasty, dirty, young, firm, flexible, ripped... what were we talking about again?

Oh, right. I want to round up all the young gay men and bus them to my place where I will labor over them day and night. You can keep the lesbians and the bears.
And I just wanted to help young men with meth addictions through their hard times. I also wanted to get down on my knees, every day, and feel the good Lord's salvation all over my face. So sue me.
And sometimes I just can't find anything better than the Holy Scriptures to justify sexual behaviors of a certain type...
Me? I'm just looking for someone to carry my excess baggage.
Get on your knees, my child.

Larry Craig -- I know, sometimes I just like to go to public men's rooms and do stuff, like talk about the weather.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ponzi Scheme That Makes Maydoof Look Like A Saint - Re-hypothecation.

Yesterday an article in Reuter made me very nervous.  It is rare that an organization that touts itself as "the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals" makes a statement that something is "frightening" and that a Eurozone default could be "apocalyptic." 

I am not a not a professional investor, instead I rely on others to help me with investing decisions and I try and read and keep abreast of what is going on in the business world.  But nothing prepared me for this story.  It strikes at the very core of our financial world and makes me think that we only thought we might be safe.  In fact, it appears that the "scheme" created called "re-hypothecation" is a bigger ponzi scheme than even that of , Bernard "Bernie" Maydoof.

Reuters' Christopher Elias has written an article that simply must be read, MF Global Global and the great Wall St re-hypothecation scandal.  He reports:
To date, reports have been focused on how Eurozone default concerns were provoking fear in the markets and causing liquidity to dry up....Most have been focused on how a Eurozone default would result in huge losses in Eurozone bonds being felt across the world’s banks. However, re-hypothecation suggests an even greater fear. Considering that re-hypothecation may have increased the financial footprint of Eurozone bonds by at least four fold then a Eurozone sovereign default could be apocalyptic.
Is "apocalyptic" (a term which originally referred to a revelation of God's will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one's own lifetime) too strong a word?  Does it strike fear in your heart?  If this article just from anyone, perhaps.  Regardless, it is enough to have made me realize (yet again) that everything is not as it seems.
How could this possibly affect you or me?  What if I told you that it has already affected us.  From Reuter:
This is exactly what Lehman Brothers did through Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (LBIE), an English subsidiary to which most U.S. hedge fund assets were transferred. Once transferred to the UK based company, assets were re-hypothecated many times over, meaning that when the debt carousel stopped, and Lehman Brothers collapsed, many U.S. funds found that their assets had simply vanished.
A prime broker need not even require that an investor (eg hedge fund) sign all agreements with a European subsidiary to take advantage of the loophole. In fact, in Lehman’s case many funds signed a prime brokerage agreement with Lehman Brothers Inc (a U.S. company) but margin-lending agreements and securities-lending agreements with LBIE in the UK (normally conducted under a Global Master Securities Lending Agreement).
These agreements permitted Lehman to transfer client assets between various affiliates without the fund’s express consent, despite the fact that the main agreement had been under U.S. law. As a result of these peripheral agreements, all or most of its clients’ assets found their way down to LBIE.
So they can just take your assets and then whatever you think you owned just disappears.   
Just how broad is the practice?  Does $4,000,000,000,000.00 (4 Trillion Dollars) sound like a small sum?  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has calculated that U.S. banks at the time of Lehman were receiving $4 trillion worth of funding by re-hypothecation. With assets being re-hypothecated many times over (known as “churn”), the original collateral being used may have been as little as $1 trillion – a quarter of the financial footprint created through re-hypothecation.
“Churn” sounds so much nicer than “Ponzi” doesn’t it?
According to Reuter:
With collateral being re-hypothecated to a factor of four (according to IMF estimates), the actual capital backing banks re-hypothecation transactions may be as little as 25%. This churning of collateral means that re-hypothecation transactions have been creating enormous amounts of liquidity, much of which has no real asset backing. 
Bernie would be so proud.

What does this hydra we have created for ourselves mean?
[h]ypothecation is when a borrower pledges collateral to secure a debt. The borrower retains ownership of the collateral but is “hypothetically” controlled by the creditor, who has a right to seize possession if the borrower defaults.  In investment banking, assets deposited with a broker will be hypothecated such that a broker may sell securities if an investor fails to keep up credit payments or if the securities drop in value and the investor fails to respond to a margin call (a request for more capital).  
Re-hypothecation occurs when a bank or broker re-uses collateral posted by clients ... to back the broker’s own trades and borrowings. The practice of re-hypothecation runs into the trillions of dollars and is perfectly legal. It is justified by brokers on the basis that it is a capital efficient way of financing their operations."
Now here is the part Bernie would truly love.  Re-hypothecation transactions are off-balance sheet and are therefore unrestricted by balance sheet controls. Whereas on balance sheet transactions necessitate only appearing as an asset/liability on one bank’s balance sheet and not another bank's balance sheet, off-balance sheet transactions can, and frequently do, appear on multiple banks’ financial statements. What this creates is chains of counterparty risk, where multiple re-hypothecation borrowers use the same collateral over and over again. Essentially, it is a chain of debt obligations that is only as strong as its weakest link.  
But this ponzi scheme gets even worse.
Under the U.S. Federal Reserve Board's Regulation T and SEC Rule 15c3-3, a prime broker may re-hypothecate assets to the value of 140% of the client's liability to the prime broker.  
But in the UK, there is absolutely no statutory limit on the amount that can be re-hypothecated. In fact, brokers are free to re-hypothecate all and even more than the assets deposited by clients. Instead it is up to clients to negotiate a limit or prohibition on re-hypothecation.
Under subtle brokerage contractual provisions, U.S. investors can find that their assets vanish from the U.S. and appear instead in the UK, despite contact with an ostensibly American organization.

Isn’t the idea of a Global Financial System Grand!
Watch for these magic words:
“Consent To Loan Or Pledge You hereby grant us the right, in accordance with Applicable Law, to borrow, pledge, repledge, transfer, hypothecate, rehypothecate, loan, or invest any of the Collateral, including, without limitation, utilizing the Collateral to purchase or sell securities pursuant to repurchase agreements [repos] or reverse repurchase agreements with any party, in each case without notice to you, and we shall have no obligation to retain a like amount of similar Collateral in our possession and control.”
So as you watch the Greeks struggle and riot, just realize it maybe your life savings they are fighting about.
Also ask yourself, who the HELL is suppose to be watching out for us and not the banks?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Huff Post Addresses Militarization Of Police Force - It May Happen To You!

Huffington Post dares to go where others will not and tackles the issue of Militarization of our Police Force and the potential consequences for you.

But America's police departments have been moving toward more aggressive, force-first, militaristic tactics and their accompanying mindset for 30 years. It's just that, with the exception of protests at the occasional free trade or World Bank summit, the tactics haven't generally been used on mostly white, mostly college-educated kids armed with cellphone cameras and a media platform.
What are the consequences - It may happen to you.  From Huff Post:
Dress cops up as soldiers, give them military equipment, train them in military tactics, tell them they're fighting a "war," and the consequences are predictable. These policies have taken a toll. Among the victims of increasingly aggressive and militaristic police tactics: Cheye Calvo, the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Md., whose dogs were killed when Prince George's County police mistakenly raided his home; 92-year-old Katherine Johnston, who was gunned down by narcotics cops in Atlanta in 2006; 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda, who was killed by Modesto, Calif., police during a drug raid in September 2000; 80-year-old Isaac Singletary, who was shot by undercover narcotics police in 2007 who were attempting to sell drugs from his yard; Jonathan Ayers, a Georgia pastor shot as he tried to flee a gang of narcotics cops who jumped him at a gas station in 2009; Clayton Helriggle, a 23-year-old college student killed during a marijuana raid in Ohio in 2002; and Alberta Spruill, who died of a heart attack after police deployed a flash grenade during a mistaken raid on her Harlem apartment in 2003. Most recently, voting rights activist Barbara Arnwine was raided by a SWAT team in Prince George's County, Md., on Nov. 21. The police appear to have raided the wrong house.
Is it worth innocent people dying?
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," says English jurist William Blackstone.
Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitari­an government­s are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own.
“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. - Voltaire”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

United Police States of America – Torture to Intimidate Potential Dissenters!

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire

Just don’t do it here, in the grand, United States Of America.

If you have been following my posts, you know that I have a grave concerns about how OWS is being treated in the media and how willing so many people are to label OWS protesters as thugs, drug addicts and criminals, and to thereby approve the Government’s efforts to stop free speech.  (See You Can't Evict An Idea, Welcome to the United Police States of America, and Resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire).
This is a follow up to those article and is intended to show, again, how Things are not Always as They Seem.  What is the crime for which OWS is being arrested?  Overnight camping – a misdemeanor, so why the need for para-military operations to arrest non-violent protesters?

Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitari­an government­s are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own.
And don’t be caught video-tapping the police, you may go to jail for life.
75 Years in Prison For Videotaping Police.

There has been a great deal of media about how “wonderful” the LA Police were in dealing with OWS-LA.  But how do we know for sure?  The media were assigned designated areas in which they could report (limiting actual reporting of events).  And what about what happened after?

This is state terrorism, plain and simple. It is using violence — torture, in fact — to intimidate potential dissenters.  If you have any doubt as to that, you must read Yasha Levine’s article from The eXiled.
You can reach him at levine [at] Cross posted from The eXiled.
I finally got home Thursday afternoon after spending two nights in jail, and have had a hard time getting my bearings. On top of severe dehydration and sleep deprivation, I’ve got one hell of pounding migraine. So I’ll have to keep this brief for now. But I wanted to write down a few things that I witnessed and heard while locked up by LA’s finest…
First off, don’t believe the PR bullshit. There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin, before we at The exiled all got tossed out in 2008. Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…
While people are now beginning to learn that the police attack on Occupy LA was much more violent than previously reported, few actually realize that much—if not most—of the abuse happened while the protesters were in police custody, completely outside the range of the press and news media. And the disgraceful truth is that a lot of the abuse was police sadism, pure and simple:
* I heard from two different sources that at least one busload of protesters (around 40 people) was forced to spend seven excruciating hours locked in tiny cages on a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. prison bus, denied food, water and access to bathroom facilities. Both men and women were forced to urinate in their seats. Meanwhile, the cops in charge of the bus took an extended Starbucks coffee break.
* Everyone on my bus felt her pain–literally felt it. That’s because the zip-tie handcuffs they use—like the ones you see on Iraq prisoners in Abu Ghraib—cut off your circulation and wedge deep through your skin, where they can do some serious nerve damage, if that’s the point. And it did seem to be the point. A couple of guys around me were writhing in agony in their hard plastic seats, hands handcuffed behind their back.
* The 100 protesters in my detainee group were kept handcuffed with their hands behind their backs for 7 hours, denied food and water and forced to sit/sleep on a concrete floor. Some were so tired they passed out face down on the cold and dirty concrete, hands tied behind their back. As a result of the tight cuffs, I wound up losing sensation in my left palm/thumb and still haven’t recovered it now, a day and a half after they finally took them off.
* One seriously injured protester, who had been shot with a shotgun beanbag round and had an oozing bloody welt the size of a grapefruit just above his elbow, was denied medical attention for five hours. Another young guy, who complained that he thought his arm had been broken, was not given medical attention for at least as long. Instead, he spent the entire pre-booking procedure handcuffed to a wall, completely spaced out and staring blankly into space like he was in shock.
* An Occupy LA demonstrator in his 50s who was in my cell block in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center told us all about when a police officer forced him to take a shit with his hands handcuffed behind his back, which made pulling down his pants and sitting down on the toilet extremely difficult and awkward. And he had to do this in sight of female police officers, all of which made him feel extremely ashamed, to say the least.
* There were 292 people arrested at Occupy LA. About 75 of them have been released or have gotten out on bail, according the National Lawyers Guild. Most are still inside, slapped with $5,000 to $10,000 bail. According to a bail bondsman I know, this is unprecedented. Misdemeanors are almost always released on their own recognizance, which means that they don’t pay any bail at all. Or at most it’s a $100.
* That means the harsh, long detentions are meant to be are a purely punitive measure against Occupy LA protesters–an order that had to come from the very top.
All of this for non-violent protesters trying to exercise their right to free speech?

Lubyanka prison, where the KGB beat and tortured opponents of the Soviet regime, was noted for being blank to the outside world. This wasn’t because the secret police wanted to hide the fact they were brutalizing opponents of the regime. It was to keep the threat vague and thereby more fearsome.
The Gestapo, of course, worked almost exclusively at night and its prisons, also, were places where opponents were hidden from view.
Concealment is part of any criminal enterprise. While few people will instantly go to outrage (some will buy into the smokescreen), for most it will be one more step toward rejecting a gang posing as a government.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. - Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.
We should be encoring Free Speech, not allowing our Government to use violence to suppress speech.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.