December 20th, 2014 by olddog
By Dave Hodges
In the past several days, Western bankers have committed two overt acts of war against Russia, namely, the plunging of oil prices and the recent cutting off of all liquidity to Russian banks. This reminds me of the days before World War II in which the United States followed a doctrine called the eight point plan which was designed to provoke Japan into attacking America so Roosevelt could use this as the excuse to get involved in World War II. As Mark Twain once said, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme”.
Ditching the Ruble
Has the American public received any reasonable explanation on how oil prices have plummeted at a time of year when they historically spike in order to price gouge holiday travelers? Of course there isn’t going to be any new revelations on this point. Here is the real story behind dropping oil prices.
Zero Hedge first reported that brokers are now advising their clients that any existing Russian Ruble positions will be terminated without any further notice because of concerns related to the lack of Russian “capital controls”. At least that is the excuse that Western banks are using to run from the Ruble. The truth of the matter is that the West has declared war on Russia and its BRICS partners for undermining the Petrodollar.
No Turning Back
Ditching the Ruble marks a shift in Western banking strategy directed at the Russians. This change was necessitated because the West’s scheme to plunge the price of oil is not having an immediate effect on Russian economic actions. Although American consumers are reveling in their recent good fate with regard to the collapse of oil prices which have resulted in cheaper prices at the pump, there are some very dire consequences attached to American consumer’s good fortune.
The price of a barrel of oil is reaching the point where it will not be cost efficient to even ship the oil because to ship the oil is becoming more costly than the middle men transporting agents can make. This will result in an artificial shortage of available gasoline. In the United States, shortages will soon appear and prices will spike to unimaginable levels. This will undoubtedly collapse our fragile economy.
The strategy of dropping oil prices in order to bring the Russians to their knees, will not work says Walker Todd. In a reported conversation with my colleague, Paul Martin, Todd told Martin that the low oil prices will not make Putin immediately blink because of (1) inflation and (2) Putin has a year’s reserve of oil and cash. In other words, the fuse has been lit for World War III. Does anyone think that Putin will allow his reserves to be depleted?
The Time Parameters for World War III
The Russian financial situation is about to go critical, despite their ability to temporarily whether the storm related to falling oil prices. The WSJ is reporting, the next driver of the Russian crisis is unquestionably going to begin in the Russian banking system because as the WSJ stated “…global banks are curtailing the flow of cash to Russian entities, a response to the ruble’s sharpest selloff since the 1998 financial crisis.” In other words, Western banks are cutting off all financial liquidity to Russia. This will soon paralyze the Russian economy.
Russia’s banks are now isolated from the Western world. This is an act of war! The only question remaining is when will Putin launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike upon the West in order to preserve its economy? Will Putin wait until 25% of his oil reserves are gone? Will he wait until 50% of his oil reserves are spent? Before you answer, keep in mind that Putin will need his oil reserves to fight World War III.
After receiving this news, yesterday, I reached out to my contacts with the information hoping to have these developments debunked. Unfortunately, my sources provided information which seems to collaborate the fact that we headed for war.
I have learned that leaves for critical military personnel have been canceled effective on January 1, 2015. The leaves are not uniformly canceled across the breadth of the military. However, I have learned that military leaves for personnel serving in the nuclear command structure and specific elements of the nuclear submarine fleet are now canceled. The implication should be obvious as to what someone as to what the Pentagon believes is coming.
Schlumberger International is the largest oilfield corporation in the world employing 126,000 people in 85 countries. Recently, the son of Texas talk show host, Vinnie Pope, stated that Schlumberger has canceled all travel anywhere in the world. This travel ban began immediately after Thanksgiving. Clearly, Schlumberger is anticipating that something big is ready to happen. One could assume that whatever is coming is related to oil since this is the business of Schlumberger. It is interesting to note as an aside that four years ago on my talk show, researcher Dianne Hunter reported the interconnections between Schlumberger to the Nature Conservancy and ultimately to the Queen of England. These connections are worthy of further investigation which will be forthcoming
Clearly, something big is anticipated by people/corporations who are in position to know. I am hopeful that this article will shake the bushes a little bit in order to get a better grasp of the particular nature of what’s coming. One thing is for sure, Putin’s tolerance level for these sanctions will soon be exceeded.
December 19th, 2014 by olddog
WASHINGTON, D.C —The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a lower court ruling that declared it unsafe for California public school students to wear American flag t-shirts to school. In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case of Dariano v. Morgan Hill, in which several students were ordered by school officials to cover up their American flag t-shirts on May 5, 2010, allegedly because officials feared that other students celebrating the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo would be offended, Rutherford Institute attorneys note that the school should have focused on controlling unruly students and not on stifling patriotic speech protected by the First Amendment.
The Rutherford Institute’s petition for certiorari in Dariano v. Morgan Hill is available at www.rutherford.org.
“There are all kinds of labels being put on so-called ‘unacceptable’ speech today, from calling it politically incorrect and hate speech to offensive and dangerous speech, but the real message being conveyed is that Americans don’t have a right to express themselves if what they are saying is unpopular or in any way controversial,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “Whether it’s through the use of so-called ‘free speech zones,’ the requirement of speech permits, or the policing of online forums, what we’re seeing is the caging of free speech and the asphyxiation of the First Amendment.”
On May 5, 2010, three Live Oak High School students wore patriotic t-shirts, shorts and shoes to school bearing various images of the U.S. flag. During a mid-morning “brunch break,” the students were approached by Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez, who told the students they could not wear their pro-U.S.A. shirts and gave them the option of either removing their shirts or turning them inside out. The students refused, believing the options to be disrespectful to the flag. Rodriguez allegedly lectured the group about Cinco de Mayo, indicating that he had received complaints from some Hispanic students about the stars and stripes apparel, and again ordered that the clothing be covered up to prevent offending the Hispanic students on “their” day. Principal Nick Boden also met with the parents and students and affirmed Rodriguez’s order, allegedly because he did not want to offend students who were celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
Arguing that the decision by school officials constituted viewpoint discrimination against pro-U.S.A. expression, Rutherford Institute attorneys filed suit on behalf of the students and their parents seeking a declaration that the action violated the First Amendment and injunctive relief against a vague school district policy allowing prior restraints on speech to be imposed upon students. The lawsuit asserted that school officials violated the students’ rights to Free Speech under the First Amendment, and their Due Process and Equal Protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. In November 2011, the district court ruled in favor of school officials, citing a concern for school safety. That ruling was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2014. Although the appeals court acknowledged that other students were permitted to wear Mexican flag colors and symbols, it ruled that school officials could forbid the American flag apparel out of concerns that it would cause disruption, even though no disruption had occurred. Three of the nine judges on the Ninth Circuit agreed with The Rutherford Institute that school officials violated long-standing Supreme Court precedent forbidding suppression of protected expression on the basis of a “heckler’s veto,” which occurs when the government restricts an individual’s right to free speech in order to maintain order.
Affiliate attorney William J. Becker is assisting The Rutherford Institute in its defense of the students.
SO, it’s alright for the wet backs to offend American students, but it’s not alright for the American Students to offend the wet backs. And they call this LAW? The Judges should be required to eat the T-Shirts!
Supreme Court, you can K.M.A!
December 18th, 2014 by olddog
by Martin Armstrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlY9C6pzxKc
If you are like me and cannot stand RAP
turn the volume down and watch!
There is a new music video that is going viral entitled This is What Happens When You Call The Cops. It is a shocking video putting together numerous clips of Police Brutality that is very disturbing to say the least. It has captured the stark transformation of the police into a militaristic force far removed from the old days.
The days of Norman Rockwell are gone and this is what I fear is unfolding as the Domestic War Cycle turns up. We are more likely than not going to see widespread violence targeted against the police after 2015.75. Once the economy turns down, the frustration against government will rise up like the 1960s. This time, it will not just be a black issue. The militarization of the police has no boundary of race, creed, or gender.
This video captures the resentment that is bubbling beneath the surface, Anyone who thinks this is just a race issue better open their eyes. The abuse has no limits. The civil asset forfeiture laws are unleashing criminal activity sanctioned by the courts against the people no different from Rome when its armies sacked their own cities to get paid. Indeed, perhaps the greatest lesson of history is that we never learn anything from it. Amazing.
Yes, I’m old enough to remember when I thought all cops were heroes. Today I answer the door with a 45ACP cocked and UN locked in my hand. How-ever I have noticed many older officers are taking early retirement because of the younger cop’s attitudes. When the people you depend on for your safety turn out to be wannabe killers, it’s time to stand up and fight back in any way you can. Don’t believe this? Try and start a conversation with a young cop in a restaurant next time you see one taking a lunch break. But never! Assume they are all bad, as human nature is such that they will go to extremes before turning on their own. In every group there are always differences in opinion and loyalty. As for me, it has been hard to accept their infiltration by neo conservative extremist political philosophy, and it shows how far back this tragedy was planned. Never forget that some of the most intelligent minds on earth have been designing this scenario for years, and the cops are the first victims. Below is an article especially damaging to the police image in these trying times, and no restitution seems possible when you are broke and cannot defend yourself from the complicit Courts.
Bathing Man Grabbed By Testicles and Beaten SWAT Lied to Get Raid
Chad Chadwick, a Texas man with a clean record, is still trying to live down the multiple nightmares unleashed upon him by a SWAT team three years ago. Because none of those nightmares ended with the lurid and violent raid.
What would precipitate a raid for someone who had never broken the law? A tip, of course. Apparently, a friend reported him to the Missouri City police concerning his emotional well-being. When someone’s down and out – who you gonna call? None other than SWAT – who eagerly went down to business.
They decided they needed some semblance of justification to SWAT this guy. So they unequivocally fabricated a complete lie to a judge in order to get approval.
They said he had taken some hostages…
They knew this was untrue – they came up with it. My Fox Houston also claims that SWAT was aware of his owning a single shotgun, with which he had never threatened anyone.
So on the night of September 27th, 2011 they arrived while Chadwick was napping in the bathtub.
(How do they always know when you’re in the shower?)
This is the series of events:
- SWAT kicks in door, launches stun grenade into bathroom
- Storms into bathroom
- Naked Chad’s hands are up so they shoot him with a 40 millimeter non-lethal round
- Launch second stun grenade
- Lights are out, four or five guys behind a shield pin Chad against the wall and “beat the crap out of” him
- Officers shoot him in the back of the head with a Taser, point blank range
- Grabbed him by one hand and grabbed him by testicles and slammed his face to the floor
- Beat him some more
They claimed he had “drew down with a shampoo bottle and a body wash bottle.”
Series of events that followed:
- Taken to Ft. Bend County Jail with fractured nose, bruised ribs and permanent hearing loss
- Held in isolation for two entire days
- Apparently not taken to hospital
Oh, this is still not over….
- District Attorney John Healy began a series of concocted criminal charges – that stem from the raid!
- Two felony counts of assaulting a police officer (!)
Misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest (this is the everyman’s charge) – they called over a dozen officers to testify that he resisted arrest.
A grand jury didn’t go for first counts and the misdemeanor charges were finally dropped.
And finally – just one month ago a jury found him not guilty of interfering with police…they proceeded to hug the poor guy!
Chadwick attributes the loss of his kids, his hearing as well as being financially bankrupted as a result of the raid and ensuing litigation where he was repeatedly forced to defend himself from charges of a raid that was based on a lie.
When asked if taxpayers had been bankrupted for these events, Healy said he “wasn’t keeping tally.” Healy stands by all of his prosecutions.
Any repercussions to the force assembled from multiple cities? Any consequences for lying to a judge? Any retribution for almost killing an unarmed, naked man in his bathtub and then locking him up in isolation? For destroying his whole life?
No, because they aggressively litigate in return and the victim must then put all energy into defense. All focus goes to what happened to the victim after the fact, not on why these people are all still on the force and receiving paychecks.
These cops are out of control. They are ruining good people’s lives. I am a good man. I have done everything I can to show that, as a father, as a citizen, as a worker.
Readers: we wish this was a satire but it’s entirely too real and too common. Please share this with friends, especially the kind who hero-ize SWAT thinking they only go after criminals. In all honesty it could be them sharing a story like this someday.
Watch the short video at this link:
December 17th, 2014 by olddog
By Ellen Brown
Buried on page 83 of the 89-page Report on Financial Regulatory Reform issued by the U.S. Administration on June 17 is a recommendation that the new Financial Stability Board strengthen and institutionalize its mandate to promote global financial stability. Financial stability is a worthy goal, but the devil is in the details. The new global Big Brother is based in the Bank for International Settlements, a controversial institution that raises red flags among the wary . . . .
“Big Brother” is the term used by George Orwell in his classic novel 1984 for the totalitarian state that would lock into place in the year of his title. Why he chose that particular year is unclear, but one theory is that he was echoing Jack London’s The Iron Heel, which chronicled the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States. In London’s book, the oligarchy’s fictional wonder-city, fueled by oppressed workers, was to be completed by 1984. Orwell also echoed London’s imagery when he described the future under Big Brother as “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” In Secret Records Revealed: The Men, the Money, and the Methods Behind the New World Order (1999), Dr. Dennis Cuddy asked:
“Could the ‘boot’ be the new eighteen-story Bank for International Settlements (BIS) which was completed in Basel, Switzerland, in 1977 in the shape of a boot, and became known as the‘Tower of Basel’?”
The boot-like shape of the building is strange enough to be thought-provoking (see photo), but more disturbing is the description by Dr. Carroll Quigley of the pivotal role assigned to the BIS in consolidating financial power into a few private hands. Professor Quigley, who was Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown University, claimed to be an insider and evidently knew his subject. He wrote in Tragedy and Hope (1966):
“[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”
That helps explain the alarm bells that went off among BIS-watchers when the Bank was linked to the new Financial Stability Board (FSB) President Obama signed onto in April. When the G20 leaders met in London on April 2, 2009, they agreed to expand the powers of the old Financial Stability Forum (FSF) into this new Board. The FSF was set up in 1999 to serve in a merely advisory capacity by the G7 (a group of finance ministers formed from the seven major industrialized nations). The chair of the FSF was the General Manager of the BIS. The new FSB has been expanded to include all G20 members (19 nations plus the EU). The G20, formally called the “Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors,” was, like the G7, originally set up as a forum merely for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. But its new Financial Stability Board has real teeth, imposing “obligations” and “commitments” on its members.
The Shadowy Financial Stability Board
The Report on Financial Regulatory Reform issued by the Obama Administration on June 17 includes a recommendation that the FSB “strengthen” and “institutionalize” its mandate. What is the FSB’s mandate, what are its expanded powers, and who is in charge? An article in The London Guardian addresses those issues in question and answer format:
“Who runs the regulator? The Financial Stability Forum is chaired by Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy. The secretariat is based at the Bank for International Settlements’ headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.”
Draghi was director general of the Italian treasury from 1991 to 2001, where he was responsible for widespread privatization (sell-off of government holdings to private investors). From January 2002 to January 2006, however, he was a partner at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, another controversial player. As already noted, “basing” the FSB at the BIS is not a comforting sign, considering the dark and controversial history of the BIS. Dr. Cuddy, writing in 1999, quoted media sources describing the BIS and its behind-the-scenes leaders as “this economic cabal . . . this secretive group . . . the financial barons who control the world’s supply of money” (Washington Post, June 28, 1998); “some of the world’s most powerful and least visible men . . . officials able to shift billions of dollars and alter the course of economies at the stroke of a pen” (New York Times, August 5, 1995); men who can “move huge amounts of money into and out of markets in a nanosecond” and “topple politicians with the click of a mouse” (ABC’s “Nightline,” July 1, 1998).
“What will the new regulator do? The regulator will monitor potential risks to the economy . . . It will cooperate with the IMF, the Washington-based body that monitors countries’ financial health, lending funds if needed. . . .”
The IMF is an international banking organization that is also controversial. Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist for the World Bank, charges it with ensnaring Third World countries in a debt trap from which they cannot escape. Debtors unable to pay are bound by “conditionality’s” that include a forced sell-off of national assets to private investors in order to service their loans.
“What will the regulator oversee? All ‘systemically important’ financial institutions, instruments and markets.”
The term “systemically important” is not defined. Will it include such systemically important institutions as national treasuries, and such systemically important markets as gold, oil and food?
“How will it work? The body will establish a supervisory college to monitor each of the largest international financial services firms. . . . It will act as a clearing house for information-sharing and contingency planning for the benefit of its members.”
In some contexts, information-sharing is called illegal collusion. Would the information-sharing here include such things as secret agreements among central banks to buy or sell particular currencies, with the concomitant power to support or collapse targeted local economies? Consider the short-selling of the Mexican peso by collusive action in 1995, the short-selling of Southeast Asian currencies in 1998, and the collusion among central banks to support the U.S. dollar in July of last year – good for the dollar and the big players with inside information perhaps, but not so good for the small investors who reasonably bet on “market forces,” bought gold or foreign currencies, and lost their shirts.
“What will the new regulator do about debt and loans? To prevent another debt bubble, the new body will recommend financial companies maintain provisions against credit losses and may impose constraints on borrowing.”
What sort of constraints? The Basel Accords imposed by the BIS have not generally worked out well. The first Basel Accord, issued in 1998, was blamed for inducing a depression in Japan from which that country has yet to recover; and the Second Basel Accord and its associated mark-to-market rule have been blamed for bringing on the current credit crisis, from which the U.S. and the world have yet to recover. These charges have been explored at length elsewhere. The suspicious might see these failures as intentional. The warnings come to mind of Congressman Louis MacFadden, head of the House Banking and Currency Committee during the Great Depression: “It was a carefully contrived occurrence. International bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair, so that they might emerge the rulers of us all.” David Rockefeller, a key player in international finance, echoed this thinking in 1994, when he said at a UN dinner, “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
The Amorphous 12 International Standards and Codes
Most troubling, perhaps, is this vague parenthetical reference in a press release issued by the BIS, titled “Financial Stability Forum Re-established as the Financial Stability Board”:
“As obligations of membership, member countries and territories commit to . . . implement international financial standards (including the 12 key International Standards and Codes) . . . .”
This is not just friendly advice from an advisory board. It is a commitment to comply, so you would expect some detailed discussion concerning what those standards entail. However, a search of the major media reveals virtually nothing. The 12 key International Standards and Codes are left undefined and un-discussed. The FSB website lists them, but it is vague. The Standards and Codes cover broad areas that are apparently subject to modification as the overseeing committees see fit. They include:
- Money and financial policy transparency
- Fiscal policy transparency
- Data dissemination
- Corporate governance
- Payment and settlement
- Market integrity
- Banking supervision
- Securities regulation
- Insurance supervision
Take “fiscal policy transparency” as an example. The “Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency” was adopted by the IMF Interim Committee in 1998. The “synoptic description” says:
“The code contains transparency requirements to provide assurances to the public and to capital markets that a sufficiently complete picture of the structure and finances of government is available so as to allow the soundness of fiscal policy to be reliably assessed.”
We learn that members are required to provide a “picture of the structure and finances of government” that is complete enough for an assessment of its “soundness” — but an assessment by whom, and what if a government fails the test? Is an unelected private committee based in the BIS allowed to evaluate the “structure and function” of particular national governments and, if they are determined to have fiscal policies that are not “sound,” to impose “conditionality’s” and “austerity measures” of the sort that the IMF is notorious for imposing on Third World countries? The wary might wonder if that is how the mighty United States is to be brought under the heel of Big Brother at last.
For three centuries, private international banking interests have brought governments in line by blocking them from issuing their own currencies and requiring them to borrow banker-issued “banknotes” instead. “Allow me to issue and control a nation’s currency,” Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild famously said in 1791, “and I care not who makes its laws.” The real rebellion of the American colonists in 1776, according to Benjamin Franklin, was against a foreign master who forbade the colonists from issuing their own money and required that taxes be paid in gold. The colonists, not having gold, had to borrow gold-backed banknotes from the British bankers. The catch was that the notes were created on the “fractional reserve” system, allowing the bankers to issue up to ten times as many notes as they actually had gold, essentially creating them out of thin air just as the colonists were doing. The result was not only to lock the colonists into debt to foreign bankers but to propel the nation into a crippling depression. The colonists finally rebelled and reverted to issuing their own currency. Funding a revolution against a major world power with money they printed themselves, they succeeded in defeating their oppressors and winning their independence.
Political colonialism is now a thing of the past, but under the new FSB guidelines, nations can still be held in feudalistic subservience to foreign masters. Consider this scenario: XYZ country, which has been getting along very well financially, discloses that its national currency is being printed by the government directly. The FSB determines that this practice represents an impermissible “merging of the public and private sectors” and is an unsound banking practice forbidden under the “12 Key International Standards and Codes.” Banker-created national currency is declared to be the standard “good practice” all governments must follow. XYZ is compelled to abandon the “anachronistic” notion that creating its own national currency is a proper “function of government.” It must now borrow from the international bankers, trapping it in the bankers’ compound-interest debt web.
Consider another scenario: Like in the American colonies, the new FSB rules precipitate a global depression the likes of which have never before been seen. XYZ country wakes up to the fact that all of this is unnecessary – that it could be creating its own money, freeing itself from the debt trap, rather than borrowing from bankers who create money on computer screens and charge interest for the privilege of borrowing it. But this realization comes too late: the boot descends and XYZ is crushed into line. National sovereignty has been abdicated to a private committee, with no say by the voters.
Was Orwell Just 25 Years Too Early?
Suspicious observers might say that this is how you pull off a private global dictatorship: (1) create a global crisis; (2) appoint an “advisory body” to retain and maintain “stability”; and then (3) “formalize” the advisory body as global regulator. By the time the people wake up to what has happened, it’s too late. Marilyn Barnewall, who was dubbed by Forbes Magazine the “dean of American private banking,” writes in an April 2009 article titled “What Happened to American Sovereignty at G-20?”:
“It seems the world’s bankers have executed a bloodless coup and now represent all of the people in the world. . . . President Obama agreed at the G20 meeting in London to create an international board with authority to intervene in U.S. corporations by dictating executive compensation and approving or disapproving business management decisions. Under the new Financial Stability Board, the United States has only one vote. In other words, the group will be largely controlled by European central bankers. My guess is, they will represent themselves, not you and not me and certainly not America.”
A bloodless coup . . . Again one is reminded of the admissions of David Rockefeller, who wrote in his Memoirs(Random House 2002):
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
The Commitments Mandated by the Financial Stability Board
Constitute a Commercial Treaty Requiring a 2/3 Vote of the Senate.
Adoption of the FSB was never voted on by the public, either individually or through their legislators. The G20 Summit has been called “a New Bretton Woods,” referring to agreements entered into in 1944 establishing new rules for international trade. But Bretton Woods was put in place by Congressional Executive Agreement, requiring a majority vote of the legislature; and it more properly should have been done by treaty, requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate, since it was an international agreement binding on the nation. The same should be mandated before imposing the will of the BIS-based Financial Stability Board on the U.S., its banks and its businesses. Here is a quick review of the law:
Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants power to the President to make treaties only with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of the Senate. The Constitution does not expressly provide for any alternative to the Article II treaty procedure. However, historically the President has also made international “agreements” through congressional-executive agreements that are ratified with only a majority from both houses of Congress, or sole-executive agreements made by the President alone. A congressional-executive agreement can cover only those matters which the Constitution explicitly places within the powers of Congress and the President; while a sole-executive agreement can cover only those matters within the President’s authority or matters in which Congress has delegated authority to the President. A sole-executive agreement can be negotiated and entered into only through the President’s authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, (3) from a prior act of Congress, or (4) from a prior treaty. Agreements beyond these competencies must have the approval of Congress (for congressional-executive agreements) or the Senate (for treaties). If an international commercial accord contains binding “treaty” commitments, then a two-thirds vote of the Senate may be required.
Even with a two-thirds Senate vote, before Congress gives its approval it should draft legislation ensuring that the checks and balances imposed by our Constitution are built into the agreement. This could be done by implementing a legislative counterpart to the FSB with full oversight and corrective powers. The legislatures of the member nations could be required to elect a representative body to provide oversight and take corrective measures as needed, with that body’s representatives answerable to their national electorates.
Orwell’s 1984 made the news again in April 2009, when Queen Elizabeth chose the book as her ceremonial gift for visiting President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. Calderon, who crushed riots with boot-like severity after he was accused of vote-rigging to steal the election from his populist opponent, was said to be an admirer of Orwell’s work. The event provoked suspicions that 1984 had been covertly chosen by a modern-day financial oligarchy as the inspirational model for implementing Big Brother globally. The book ends with the protagonist Winston tortured and brainwashed into accepting the party line. We need to act quickly and decisively to ensure that its historical counterpart has a happier ending.
Posted on GlobalResearch.Ca June 23, 2009.
December 16th, 2014 by olddog
READ JUST HALF OF THESE ARTICLES AND THEN TELL ME THE COPS ARE DOING A FINE JOB
Cops Arrest Man who Exposed them Beating Man on Video While Promoting Cop
Acting on a Bogus Tip, Cops Raid Innocent Family, Execute Grandfather as He Lay Face Down
WATCH: Ohio cop threatens sobbing girlfriend with jail after police gun down man in Walmart
SWAT Team Admits On Website That It Was Formed To Fight Civil Rights Protesters
Buffalo Cop Suspended Without Pay for Beating Caught on Camera
Photo Evidence, Police Lies Point to Police Cover-up in Death of Miami Artist Killed by Cop Car
Rumain Brisbon Is Just the Latest to Be Shot Dead by a Cop Over a Phantom Gun
California Deputy Tases and Beats Man with Flashlight While Holding his Head Down with Foot
Undercover Cops Attempt to Incite Looting, Pull Gun On #ICan’tBreathe Protesters
Charges against detective show justice’ slow track for law-enforcement defendants
Cop Gets Schooled After Harassing Man for Playing Song, “Fuck tha Police”
NYC Cops Are Blithely Firing A Potentially Deafening Sound Cannon At Peaceful Protesters
Michigan Cop Kills Dog in Wrong Address Warrantless Home Entry
Media Ignores Tens of Thousands of People Marching Against Police Brutality
VIDEO: Man Speeds To Hospital For Asthma Attack, Police Stop Him And Won’t Let Him Go — He Dies
Texas to Set Precedent for Another Shakedown by Cops?
The rape culture that everyone ignores
Victimless Crime Constitutes 86% of The Federal Prison Population
The United States is trying to prevent citizens from leaving the country
End of America A movie you must see to believe
Ignorance Is No Excuse for Wrongdoing,
Unless You’re a Cop
By John W. Whitehead
“[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can ‘seize’ and ‘search’ him in their discretion, we enter a new regime.”—U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting in Terry v. Ohio (1968)
With Orwellian irony, the U.S. Supreme Court chose December 15, National Bill of Rights Day to deliver its crushing blow to the Fourth Amendment. Although the courts have historically held that ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law, in its 8-1 ruling in Heien v. State of North Carolina, the Supreme Court gave police in America one more ready excuse to routinely violate the laws of the land, this time under the guise of ignorance.
The Heien case, which started with an improper traffic stop based on a police officer’s ignorance of the law and ended with an unlawful search, seizure and arrest, was supposed to ensure that ignorance of the law did not become a ready excuse for government officials to routinely violate the law.
It failed to do so.
In failing to enforce the Constitution, the Court gave police the go-ahead to justify a laundry list of misconduct, from police shootings of unarmed citizens to SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, and the tasering of vulnerable individuals with paltry excuses such as “they looked suspicious” and “she wouldn’t obey our orders.”
When police handcuffed, strip-searched and arrested a disabled man for no reason other than he sounded incoherent, it was chalked up as a mistake. Gordon Goines, a 37-year-old disabled man suffering from a Lou Gehrigs-type disease, was “diagnosed” by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having “mental health issues,” apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait, and subsequently handcuffed, strip searched, and locked up for five days in a mental health facility against his will and with no access to family and friends. This was done despite the fact that police had no probable cause to believe that Goines had committed any crime, was a danger to himself or others, nor did they have any other legitimate lawful reason to seize, arrest or detain him. When Goines was finally released, police made no attempt to rectify their “mistake.”
“I didn’t know it was against the law” was the excuse police used to justify their repeated tasering of Malaika Brooks. Eight-months pregnant and on her way to drop her son off at school, Brooks was repeatedly tasered by Seattle police during a routine traffic stop simply because she refused to sign a speeding ticket. The cops who tasered the pregnant woman insisted they weren’t aware that repeated electro-shocks qualified as constitutionally excessive and unreasonable force. The Supreme Court gave the cops a “get out of jail” card.
“I thought he was reaching for a gun.” That was the excuse given when a police officer repeatedly shot 70-year-old Bobby Canipe during a traffic stop. The cop saw the man reaching for his cane and, believing the cane to be a rifle and fearing for his life, opened fire. Police excused the shooting as “unfortunate” but “appropriate.”
“He was resisting arrest.” That was the rationale behind Eric Garner’s death. Garner, placed in a chokehold by police for allegedly resisting their attempts to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes, screamed “I can’t breathe” repeatedly, until he breathed his last breath. A grand jury ruled there was no “reasonable cause” to charge the arresting officer with Garner’s death.
And then you have the Heien case, which, while far less traumatic than Eric Garner’s chokehold death, was no less egregious in its defiance of the rule of law.
In April 2009, a police officer stopped Nicholas Heien’s car, allegedly over a faulty brake light, and during the course of the stop and subsequent search, found a sandwich bag’s worth of cocaine. In North Carolina, where the traffic stop took place, it’s not actually illegal to have only one working brake light. However, Heien—the owner of the vehicle—didn’t know that and allowed the search, which turned up drugs, and resulted in Heien’s arrest. When the legitimacy of the traffic stop was challenged in court, the arresting officer claimed ignorance and the courts deemed it a “reasonable mistake.”
I’m not sure which is worse: law enforcement officials who know nothing about the laws they have sworn to uphold, support and defend, or a constitutionally illiterate citizenry so clueless about their rights that they don’t even know when those rights are being violated.
This much I do know, however: going forward, it will be that much easier for police officers to write off misconduct as a “reasonable” mistake.
Understanding this, Justice Sotomayor, the Court’s lone dissenter, warned that the court’s ruling “means further eroding the Fourth Amendment’s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down.” Sotomayor continues:
Giving officers license to effect seizures so long as they can attach to their reasonable view of the facts some reasonable legal interpretation (or misinterpretation) that suggests a law has been violated significantly expands this authority. One wonders how a citizen seeking to be law-abiding and to structure his or her behavior to avoid these invasive, frightening, and humiliating encounters could do so.
There’s no need to wonder, because there is no way to avoid these invasive, frightening, and humiliating encounters, not as long as the courts continue to excuse ignorance and sanction abuses on the part of the police.
Whether it’s police officers breaking through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their homes or strip searching innocent motorists on the side of the road, these instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution.
Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the police and other government agents have, with the general blessing of the courts, already been given the authority to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance.
Just consider the Court’s pro-police state rulings in recent years:
In Plumhoff v. Rickard, the Court declared that police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits. In Navarette v. California, the Court declared that police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips. This ruling came on the heels of a ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Westhoven that driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and having acne are sufficient reasons for a police officer to suspect you of doing something illegal, detain you, search your car, and arrest you—even if you’ve done nothing illegal to warrant the stop in the first place.
In Maryland v. King, a divided Court determined police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. United States allows police to stop, search, question and profile citizens and non-citizens alike. And in an effort to make life easier for “overworked” jail officials, the Court ruled in Florence v. Burlington that police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense.”
In an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King, the Supreme Court placed their trust in the discretion of police officers, rather than in the dictates of the Constitution, when they gave police greater leeway to break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, a majority of the high court agreed that it’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name.
And now we’ve got Heien v. North Carolina, which gives the police a green light to keep doing more of the same without fear of recrimination. Clearly, the present justices of the Supreme Court have forgotten that the Constitution, as Justice Douglas long ago recognized, “is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.”
Given the turbulence of our age—with its police overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, profit-driven prisons, asset forfeiture schemes, wrongful convictions, and corporate corruption—it’s not difficult to predict that this latest Supreme Court ruling will open the door to even greater police abuses.
We’ve got two choices: we can give up now and resign ourselves to a world in which police shootings, chokeholds, taserings, raids, thefts, and strip searches are written off as justifiable, reasonable or appropriate OR we can push back—nonviolently—against the police state and against all of the agencies, entities and individuals who march in lockstep with the police state.
As for those still deluded enough to believe they’re living the American dream—where the government represents the people, where the people are equal in the eyes of the law, where the courts are arbiters of justice, where the police are keepers of the peace, and where the law is applied equally as a means of protecting the rights of the people—it’s time to wake up.
We no longer have a representative government, a rule of law, or justice. Liberty has fallen to legalism. Freedom has fallen to fascism. Justice has become jaded, jaundiced and just plain unjust.
The dream has turned into a nightmare.
WAKE THE HELL UP AMERICA!
December 15th, 2014 by olddog
PART 1 of 2
By Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
Mr. J.B. Williams recently wrote a commentary for NewsWithViews entitled “House Republicans Place Obama on Official Notice”, in which he focused on the continuing constitutional crisis caused by the residency of Mr. Barack Obama in the White House. (Observe: I did not say “the Presidency” of Mr. Obama, which is a different matter altogether.) Normally, I do not respond to columns by fellow writers for NewsWithViews. But in this instance Mr. Williams has rashly taken it upon himself to include me (and my long-time friend, Devvy Kidd) among those who he asserts—with his usual self-assured verbal vehemence—must be “held accountable for this constitutional crisis”:
Then there are internet experts like Dr. Edwin Vieira and Devvy Kidd who claim that “Obama cannot be impeached because he isn’t really the President;” which I’m sure comes as news to the U.S. Supreme Court and every member of Congress, not to mention millions of Americans. This effort to mislead citizens away from the constitutional remedy prescribe[d] in Article II—Section 4, Impeachment, and towards criminal charges, arrest and hanging for treason, is an overt attempt to confuse and paralyze “the people” allowing Obama to continue his assault on the Constitution.
Although I cannot speak for Devvy Kidd, I personally deplore such an outburst as counterproductive, in that Mr. Williams ought not to alienate those among his natural allies who may not always see precisely eye-to-eye with him.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Williams’ diatribe takes no notice of how, for nearly a decade now in my commentaries for NewsWithViews and in other writings and personal appearances, I have recommended again and again that Americans should finally pay heed to what the Constitution itself—not I, nor Mr. Williams, nor some other “internet expert”—declares to be “necessary to the security of a free State”. So if I am to be “held accountable” for anything, perhaps I should be upbraided for having overestimated the intelligence or patriotism of the people on whom my admonitions have had no measurable effect.
Mr. Williams’ denunciation of me also rather cavalierly asserts facts not in evidence. For example, precisely what “comes as news to the U.S. Supreme Court and every member of Congress, not to mention millions of Americans”—that Mr. Obama “isn’t really the President”; or that, if he is not “really the President”, he “cannot be impeached” but must be dealt with in some other manner? And how in either case does Mr. Williams intuit what the Supreme Court, Congress, and “millions of Americans” supposedly know (or perhaps do not know) with regard to these questions? Then, on what grounds does Mr. William claim that “Impeachment” actually is the exclusive (or even any) remedy for the very specific crime of impersonating the President of the United States, as to which misbehavior (in general terms) a statute of the United States—18 U.S.C. § 912—exists, along with several other laws relevant to that sort of misconduct—such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001, 1003, 1017, and 1028? (Recall, too, that I have never advocated, in Mr. Williams’ words, “arrest and hanging for treason” as a remedy in this case, because by itself impersonation of the President does not amount constitutionally to “Treason”.) In all of his voluminous writings on this issue, Mr. Williams has never explained how an individual who does not actually hold a public office, because he is ineligible for it in the first instance and at every instant thereafter, can be removed from that office through the process of “Impeachment”—any more than Mr. Williams ever could have explained how water which was never poured into a pitcher could possibly be poured out of it. Finally, is it (as Mr. Williams charges) “an overt attempt to confuse and paralyze ‘the people’ allowing Obama to continue his assault on the Constitution” for me to insist that the constitutionally logical course of action be followed to remedy this situation, rather than some half-baked, self-contradictory approach which will inevitably mislead this country into a veritable rat’s nest of further, perhaps intractable if not insoluble, legal and political problems? Is not this country in a constitutional crisis today precisely because too many people—including not a few who style themselves “constitutionalists” and “patriots”—have been playing too fast and loose with the Constitution for too long already?
Mr. Williams further notes that: “Of course, neither Dr. Vieira nor Kidd have followed their own expert advice and filed a criminal complaint against Obama in order to prove their legal theory.” Well, neither has Mr. Williams “filed a criminal complaint against Obama in order to prove [any] legal theory”. So it seems that we are met here with the pot calling the kettles black. Of more consequence, I myself have not “filed a criminal complaint” for three rather obvious reasons: (i) I am neither a prosecutor nor any other type of “law-enforcement officer”. But, even as he attacks me, Mr. Williams refrains from calumniating a certain Sheriff who for a long time has been conducting, with great public fanfare, an investigation ostensibly aimed at the possibility of bringing criminal charges in this affair—yet who has to date, as far as I know, neither filed any such charges himself nor referred his findings (whatever they may be) to any prosecutor or grand jury. (ii) In the absence of both full disclosure of the actual relevant documents (which Mr. Obama has to date secreted from public view), and the credible and corroborated testimony of some “whistleblowers”, I cannot say with moral, let alone legal, certainty that Mr. Obama is or is not an imposter. I may entertain my own grave suspicions on that score; but unverified speculations alone are insufficient for the purpose of “fil[ing] a criminal complaint” in good faith. True it is that certain experts have voiced their opinions that various documents relevant to Mr. Obama’s supposed eligibility for the office of President are forged, fraudulent, or in some other way falsified. But, not being fully versed in the area of forensic document analysis myself, I should be loathe to accept such claims without some independent verification—especially when not one of these experts or their associates, to my knowledge, has directly or indirectly “filed a[ny] criminal complaint[s]”. And (iii) what point would there be for anyone to “file a criminal complaint” concerning Mr. Obama with some official (real or faux) in the present Department of Justice? If that were a realistic option, one or more real officials in that Department would or should already have taken such action.
What Mr. Williams stubbornly refuses to recognize is that, even if there were some plausible ground to assert that “Impeachment” is a possible remedy in this case, “Impeachment” never was, and would not now be, the preferred remedy. Consider—
(1) As I have explained in other commentaries, when Congress convened to count the electoral votes in the Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, simply one Representative and one Senator could have asserted a statutory right (and duty, for that matter) to challenge each and every electoral vote supposedly cast for Mr. Obama, and to require Congress to inquire into Mr. Obama’s eligibility—for if Mr. Obama had not been eligible for election to the office of President, no electoral vote cast for him could have been valid. Such an inquiry would have solved the problem then and there and once and for all, without any concern for “Impeachment”. Unfortunately, not a single Member of Congress raised such an objection on either occasion.
(2) That, of course, was then; and this is now—and Americans’ dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama has deepened to the point at which, one would hope, even the most politically cowardly Members of Congress can no longer afford to sweep the scandal under the rug. For that reason, after the new Congress convenes in 2015, either the House or the Senate (or both) might conduct investigations into (say) “illegality and corruption in the Executive Branch” which would aim at amassing such evidence as might be available to expose Mr. Obama’s alleged ineligibility for the office of President as well as other misbehavior on the part of himself, his appointees, and the gaggle of partisans and hangers-on in both public office and private station who have assisted them. With all of that evidence on record, Mr. Obama and his adherents would find themselves in an impossible position. On the one hand, the Republicans and sensible Democrats in Congress might combine in sufficient numbers to enact veto-proof legislation providing for some species of “special prosecutor” or “independent counsel” to take that evidence to grand juries and then to trials. On the other hand, if enough Democrats and turncoat Republicans refused to coöperate, so that such legislation could not be enacted before the Presidential elections of 2016, their intransigeance would simply guarantee that a proper Republican would then be elected President, along with a properly and solidly Republican Congress. Thereafter, in 2017 a new Republican Attorney General could prosecute the cases à outrance. If between 2015 and 2017 Mr. Obama and his cronies tried to brazen it out by continuing in their presumably faux offices, they would simply be adding new counts to their indictments. If they chose instead to “resign” the offices they never rightly held, they would not thereby evade punishment, because the statutes of limitations on many of the crimes with which they would be charged would not run out between 2015 and 2017 (or even for many years thereafter). And during the remainder of his faux term, having been unmasked as a merely faux President Mr. Obama could not grant anyone a reprieve or pardon for such offences which would stand up to later scrutiny. In any event, no recourse to “Impeachment” would be necessary. So, contrary to Mr. Williams’ claim, Mr. Obama is not “forcing Congressional Republicans to either Impeach him or stand down as he finishes off the destruction of the U.S. Republic”. Republicans—and patriotic Democrats, too—do have options far less problematic, and far more punishing to Mr. Obama and his minions in their outcomes, than “Impeachment”. Whether they will exercise these options remains the question.
The decisive practical reason for avoiding “Impeachment” is that invocation of “Impeachment” concedes that, in some way or other, Mr. Obama is actually ensconced in the office of President to the degree sufficient to be subject to “Impeachment”. Perhaps not as a truly de jure President, but at least as ade facto one. This concession would support the inference that, because Mr. Obama has postured as some sort of “acting” (albeit faux) President, the ostensibly “official actions” he has taken under color of that masquerade will retain legal validity even after his usurpation is set aside through “Impeachment”. So, although he himself might be ignominiously booted out of the White House, the supposed statutes he has signed, the putative executive orders he has promulgated, the judicial and other appointments he has foisted on the Senate, and so on would nonetheless continue in effect. He personally would be degraded and disgraced; but his “political legacy”—the harm his misbegotten actions have inflicted and will continue to inflict on this country—would fester on. To correct this mess, all of these usurpations would then have to be undone—not, however, on the uncompromising constitutional basis that every one of them was void ab initio, but instead on an item-by-item political determination as to which should be thrown out and which retained. That would enable Mr. Obama’s partisans in Congress, the courts, the big media, and the influential lobbies to fight endless rear-guard battles to salvage as much of the destructive handiwork of his faux Administration as they could. And, worst of all, the perverse principle would be established that the Constitution must yield to any successful usurpation of that ilk which might arise hereafter.
GO TO PART 2 HERE
December 13th, 2014 by olddog
By Anthony L. Fisher
David Hooks, the Georgia man killed in a SWAT raid on his East Dublin home in September, was shot in the head and back while face down on the ground, according to his family’s attorney, Mitchell Shook, who cited EMS and hospital records as evidence.
As reported by WMEZ-TV:
“One was to the side of the head, the other, was in his back, the back of his left shoulder, based on the evidence we see, we believe that David Hooks was face down on the ground when he received those last two shots,” says Shook.
Shook says they have not received the autopsy yet from the GBI.
As noted by Reason‘s Ed Krayewski, the raid was based on a tip from Rodney Garrett, a local meth addict who had just stolen a car from Hooks’ property. According to the warrant, Garrett told police he removed a bag from the stolen vehicle believing it held cash, but instead discovered it was filled with meth. Apparently fearful he just robbed a local drug kingpin, he turned himself in because he “became scared for his safety.”
The theft of one of their vehicles naturally made the Hooks household edgy that night, and David kept a shotgun in the house. Though the warrant did not contain a “no knock” provision, Hooks’ wife, Teresa, says that the Laurens Country sheriff’s deputies and their SWAT compatriots simply busted down their back door and charged in, guns blazing.
In an interview with WMEZ-TV, Hooks recalls the night her husband was killed:
“Between 10:30 and 11, I turned the light off upstairs. I heard a car coming up the driveway really fast, and I looked out the upstairs window. I saw a black vehicle with no lights. I saw 6 to 8 men, coming around the side of my house, and I panicked. I came running downstairs, yelling for David to wake up. He was in the bedroom asleep, and had been for about an hour and a half. When I got downstairs to the bottom of the stairs, he opened the door and he had a gun in his hand, and he said, ‘Who is it?,’ and I said I didn’t know. He stepped back into the bedroom like he was going to grab his pants, but before he could do that, the door was busted down. He came around me, in the hall, into the den, and I was going to come behind him, but before I could step into the den the shots were fired, and it was over.”
According to Shook, the Hooks’ home was searched for more than 44 hours with no drugs or contraband found.
But as the Drug War Chronicle reported:
Investigators also claimed they were familiar with the address from a 2009 investigation in which a suspect claimed he had supplied some meth to Hooks, who resold it. Nothing apparently ever came of that investigation, but the five-year-old un-collaborated tip made it into the search warrant application.
The toxic combination of a “five year-old un-collaborated tip,” a vague accusation from a confessed car thief and meth addict, and a recently robbed man reacting to a violent intrusion on his home created the conditions that led to the 17 shots fired by law enforcement that night.
In a statement that is becoming all too familiar, Shook said he hopes the Laurens County District Attorney will take the case to a grand jury and not solely rely on law enforcement’s take of the deadly raid.
As this report is written, it implies that there were fifteen complete misses. And this is the kind of professional officers of the law we support!
December 12th, 2014 by olddog
By John W. Whitehead
November 10, 2014
Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.—Simone Weil, French philosopher and political activist
It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.
Both cases fall under the umbrella of over-criminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.
John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch minimum legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms.
Arnold Abbott, 90 years old and the founder of a nonprofit that feeds the homeless, is facing a fine of $1000 and up to four months in jail for violating a city ordinance that makes it a crime to feed the homeless in public. Under the city’s ordinance, clearly aimed at discouraging the feeding of the homeless in public, organizations seeking to do so must provide portable toilets, be 500 feet away from each other, 500 feet from residential properties, and are limited to having only one group carry out such a function per city block. Abbott has been feeding the homeless on a public beach in Ft. Lauderdale every Wednesday evening for the past 23 years. On November 2, 2014, moments after handing out his third meal of the day, police reportedly approached the nonagenarian and ordered him to “‘drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalls Abbott. Abbott was arrested and fined. Three days later, Abbott was at it again, and arrested again.
That both of these incidents occurred in Florida is no coincidence. Remember, this is the state that arrested Nicole Gainey for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park alone, even though it was just a few blocks from their house. If convicted, Gainey could have been made to serve up to five years in jail.
This is also the state that a few years back authorized police raids on barber shops in minority communities, resulting in barbers being handcuffed in front of customers, and their shops searched without warrants. All of this was purportedly done in an effort to make sure that the barbers’ licensing paperwork was up to snuff.
As if criminalizing fishing, charity, parenting decisions, and haircuts wasn’t bad enough, you could also find yourself passing time in a Florida slammer for such inane activities as singing in a public place while wearing a swimsuit, breaking more than three dishes per day, farting in a public place after 6 pm on a Thursday, and skateboarding without a license.
Despite its pristine beaches and balmy temperatures, Florida is no less immune to the problems plaguing the rest of the nation in terms of over-criminalization, incarceration rates, bureaucracy, corruption, and police misconduct. In fact, the Sunshine State has become a poster child for how a seemingly idyllic place can be transformed into a police state with very little effort. As such, it is representative of what is happening in every state across the nation, where a steady diet of bread and circuses has given rise to an oblivious, inactive citizenry content to be ruled over by an inflexible and highly bureaucratic regime.
This transformation of the United States from being a beacon of freedom to a locked down nation illustrates perfectly what songwriter Joni Mitchell was referring to when she wrote:
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Only in our case, sold on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom, we’ve allowed the government to pave over the Constitution in order to erect a concentration camp. The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions.
We’ve bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all—the right to tell the government to “leave me the hell alone.” In exchange for the promise of safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power, we’ve opened the door to militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, over-criminalization and government corruption.
In the end, such bargains always turn sour.
We asked our lawmakers to be tough on crime, and we’ve been saddled with an abundance of laws that criminalize almost every aspect of our lives. So far, we’re up to 4500 criminal laws and 300,000 criminal regulations that result in average Americans unknowingly engaging in criminal acts at least three times a day. For instance, the family of an 11-year-old girl was issued a $535 fine for violating the Federal Migratory Bird Act after the young girl rescued a baby woodpecker from predatory cats.
We wanted criminals taken off the streets, and we didn’t want to have to pay for their incarceration. What we’ve gotten is a nation that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people locked up, many of them doing time for relatively minor, nonviolent crimes, and a private prison industry fueling the drive for more inmates, who are forced to provide corporations with cheap labor. A special report by CNBC breaks down the national numbers:
One out of 100 American adults is behind bars — while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.
We wanted law enforcement agencies to have the necessary resources to fight the nation’s wars on terror, crime and drugs. What we got instead were militarized police decked out with M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers, battle tanks and hollow point bullets—gear designed for the battlefield, more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year (many for routine police tasks, resulting in losses of life and property), and profit-driven schemes that add to the government’s largesse such as asset forfeiture, where police seize property from “suspected criminals.”
Justice Department figures indicate that as much as $4.3 billion was seized in asset forfeiture cases in 2012, with the profits split between federal agencies and local police. According to the Washington Post, these funds have been used to buy guns, armored cars, electronic surveillance gear, “luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.” Police seminars advise officers to use their “department wish list when deciding which assets to seize” and, in particular, go after flat screen TVs, cash and nice cars. In Florida, where police are no strangers to asset forfeiture, Florida police have been carrying out “reverse” sting operations, where they pose as drug dealers to lure buyers with promises of cheap cocaine, then bust them, and seize their cash and cars. Over the course of a year, police in one small Florida town seized close to $6 million using these entrapment schemes.
We fell for the government’s promise of safer roads, only to find ourselves caught in a tangle of profit-driven red light cameras, which ticket unsuspecting drivers in the so-called name of road safety while ostensibly fattening the coffers of local and state governments. Despite widespread public opposition, corruption and systemic malfunctions, these cameras—used in 24 states and Washington, DC—are particularly popular with municipalities, which look to them as an easy means of extra cash. One small Florida town, population 8,000, generates a million dollars a year in fines from these cameras. Building on the profit-incentive schemes, the cameras’ manufacturers are also pushing speed cameras and school bus cameras, both of which result in heft fines for violators who speed or try to go around school buses.
This is just a small sampling of the many ways in which the American people continue to get duped, deceived, double-crossed, cheated, lied to, swindled and conned into believing that the government and its army of bureaucrats—the people we appointed to safeguard our freedoms—actually have our best interests at heart.
Yet when all is said and done, who is really to blame when the wool gets pulled over your eyes: you, for believing the con man, or the con man for being true to his nature?
It’s time for a bracing dose of reality, America. Wake up and take a good, hard look around you, and ask yourself if the gussied-up version of America being sold to you—crime free, worry free and devoid of responsibility—is really worth the ticket price: nothing less than your freedoms.
December 11th, 2014 by olddog
By Sheriff Jim R. Schwiesow, Ret.
December 9, 2014
“Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.” –Benjamin Franklin
This past week we witnessed a most egregiously and corruptly choreographed political treachery – even for Barack Obama – a president who is noted for self-serving, two-faced, treacherous, politically pointed and tactlessly constructed cooked resolves of deception and political maneuvers. Obama excels at such, and once again demonstrated his skills in this regard by his absolutely perfidious treatment and banishment of, Chuck Hegel as Secretary of Defense. It was indeed the ascension of an act of Dishonor over Integrity, altogether a pitiful display of treacherous betrayal.
Chuck Hegel came to political prominence via honorable service to his country, being twice wounded in the Viet Nam conflict. While conversely Barack Obama allied himself with a criminally corrupt Chicago culture to lie, cheat, and bully his way to the presidency, which he holds only by the grace and divine will of the God of the Universe. When God lets such as Obama come into control of a society such as ours, it is nearly always an augury of judgment.
On the scale of wholesome integrity Mr. Hegel scales in the upper levels of uprightness and character while the president’s character emulates that of the bottom feeding creatures of the sea of a predacious nature.
As a matter of fact one would have to go back to the times of Adolph Hitler to discover similar events of treachery and perfidy. As far as I am concerned Mr. Hegel is the absolute victor over Barack Obama in regard to respect and integrity, as Obama epitomizes the lower levels of that scale. In the minds of those who value integrity and wholeness, honor outranks treachery in every regard. Corrupt birds of a feather that flock together seem always to find one another, and Obama and John Kerry, the most recent duo of duplicity, is a perfect example of this. It is fraudulence that is a shared personality trait – something like being mental twins.
OBAMA FUNCTIONS BEST WITH THOSE OF A SIMILAR CHARACTER
John Kerry comes to mind as the perfect cohort for Obama in this regard. To both of these individuals the lie is king and deceit rules the roost. Indeed given their similar propensity for perfidy and guile in the political sense it was inevitable that these two come together. And it is together that they will pave the way to a third world war of epic proportions. We are dear reader, well down the road to the ultimate destruction of this nation.
KING OBAMA AND HIS ENDEAVORS AT EMPEROR-SHIP
In his post election address, in regard to his unilaterally derived amnesty for a hundred million alien law breakers, President Obama exhibited an arrogance that was absolutely breath taking, The man’s pride and selfishness was astounding and defies not only the typical conventional wisdom of the average citizen, but more importantly defies the comprehension of discerning constitutional-thinking scholars. It is going to be a long two years…pray that he fails in his personal, quite evident, goal to be a dictator whom is separated from the whims and dictates of an electorate for which he evidences an absolute disdain.
Now, unless you are a person of absolute faith, a biblical scholar, or have made a study of Biblical prophecy you will not understand what I next write. Obama and company have transposed the White House into a den of sinister intrigue. Legislative persons who make the trek into this present house of repulsion find that they are engulfed by a culture of which they have no understanding they find old huff and puff surrounded by a bevy of similarly minded demonolatry cohorts such as Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, et al. It is altogether clear that Obama is now lockstep with the evil one, they are seemingly of one mind and that Obama channels the thoughts and persuasions of a dark and unworldly dimension. Serial lies fall easily from his lips and his thought process has continually progressed to opinions and sentiments that are oppressive and tyrannical in nature. Gradually the dark spirit that controls his thought process has moved him to a one-world (one ruler) concept. It is not difficult to discern who it is that whispers in his ear.
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).*
*And your human followers will occupy that pit with you.
Clearly Satan has begun his program to carry out a last day’s domination of the entire world, and has found operational headquarters for his master plan in the White House where he controls both thought and deed among an obsequious set of acolytes.
And those are my thoughts for the day, dear readers, prepare for the worst, and beware of the White House Lair and its residents.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
© 2014 – Jim R. Schwiesow – All Rights Reserved
Jim Schwiesow is a retired sheriff with 46 years of law enforcement service. He served with the Unites States Army with the occupation forces in post war Berlin, Germany, and has a total of nine years of military service, which includes six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
His law enforcement service includes: three years in the military police, fifteen years as an Iowa municipal police officer, and twenty-eight years as the duly elected sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa.
Jim has written a number of articles, which have been published in various professional law enforcement journals.
December 10th, 2014 by olddog
By Ron Ewart
December 10, 2014
“Obama is a tyrant the same way FDR was a tyrant. He has a view of presidential power that states: the government is in control of the country, and the president is in charge of the government. He’s taken an imperial view of the presidency.” David Mamet, American playwright, screenwriter and film director
Every president puts his own mark on the presidency, as a reflection of his beliefs, political ideology and philosophy that are shaped by early childhood, parental and peer influences and education, along with personal, business and academic associations. But the mark each man puts on the presidency is further shaped by their perception of what America stands for in the grand scheme of history, what America means to Americans and what America means to the rest of the world.
America has had its share of weak presidents and strong presidents. History has recorded how each president has performed in reacting to changing events in a largely dynamic world, dogged by relentless, unforeseeable events. Many presidents stand out because of specific events to which they must react, or not react as the case may be. Some presidents stand out for positive reasons where positive relates to the perpetuation of American ideals and principles. Others stand out for negative reasons for being in opposition to those ideals, or a radical distortion of those ideals.
We covered some of the influences on presidents, as well as the average citizen, in our article entitled “The Little Black Box Theory and Obama“, written and published on October 28, 2012. The article can be viewed at this link.
Quoting from the article we wrote:
“Obama’s early life was shaped by his somewhat promiscuous white biological mother; a black biological father that abandoned Obama within two years of his birth; a Muslim stepfather from Indonesia where Obama lived for several years and attended Islam schools; his white grandparents that Obama lived with for quite some time because apparently, his mother didn’t want him any more, or perhaps because she couldn’t handle that he was black; a family friend of his grandparents, one Frank Marshall Davis, a known and active communist; several Muslim and mostly black friends while in college and those Muslims he met when he visited Pakistan in 1981; a radical, Chicago pastor, the very reverend and Black Liberation Theologist, Jeremiah Wright; a slum landlord, one Tony Rezko now in jail; and a domestic terrorist by the name of Bill Ayers who used bombs to punctuate a radical political agenda. Who knows how many other radical influences shaped Obama’s early years and young adult life, due to its fractured and convoluted nature?”
How any person could be construed to be normal, black or white, after enduring such a tragic and wretched past, is beyond comprehension. Obama is obsessed with his own self-righteous indignation, as a direct result of that past.
Obama is a special case when it comes to his performance as president, shaped by his early, tortured, mix-raced childhood, parental and peer influences, education and personal and academic associations. His business associations or leadership positions were and are sorely lacking to assume the difficult office of President of the United States. Anyone with any intellect, including the media, knew about his background and inexperience but went ahead and promoted this anomaly that came from out of nowhere to a position of prominence on the national political scene. It remains to be seen whether he was a product of his own making and just plain lucky, or the fascination because he was black, or whether he was groomed by shadowy, powerful, radical forces that kept appearing and re-appearing out of his ghostly past?
The issue of being black in a largely white world obviously had a direct influence on his belief system and political ideology. (Evidence of that pathology is being played out ad nauseam nationally, over the police shooting or strangling off two very large black people, one in Ferguson, MO and one in Staten Island, NY, acting outside of the law.) Obama’s broken family, a socialist mother and radical religious and communist influences, further shaped his beliefs. All of those influences and lack of experience were directly transferred to his governing style, or lack thereof. He was suddenly thrust into a dynamic world for which he was ill prepared. America has witnessed the results of that inexperience and racial bias play out over the last six years.
History will record that Obama truly was the proverbial fish out of water, to the detriment of America, America’s standing on the world stage and America’s hallowed ideals of individual freedom and liberty. Obama is a prime example of a man that rose to the level of his incompetence.
It certainly wasn’t Obama’s fault. He was who he was, warts and all, for all to see and those who chose not to see. It was those who promoted him for political reasons and those that voted for him because he was black, or for whatever other reason, that can take credit for what they and Obama have wrought.
Since he was elected president in 2008, we have written article after article about Obama, probably at the expense of boring some of our readers. However, with each of those articles we created an image to go along with the article to give a pictorial representation of what the article was about, sometimes effectively and sometimes not. We’ll let the reader decide on that score. Nevertheless, it is hard to find an author who creates an image for each of his or her articles. It takes a considerable amount of time to create those images.
As an experiment, we took over 40 of those images that were put together for our articles and created a video with the title shown below, that represents a kaleidoscope of the Obama presidency. We wanted to demonstrate that he was and is both a liar and a traitor. We then added some unique background music from silent movies and overlaid the background music with Obama sound bites, mostly of him lying. The video should be both informative and entertaining. Share it at your discretion.
“Obama, An Anatomy of a Liar and Traitor!”
After Obama has served out his second term and steps aside, never-ending examinations of his presidency will go on, well into the future. Sadly, with Obama being the first black president in which he divided the country even more than it was, set back race relations for decades and made decisions that irreparably damaged America and its reputation abroad, it could be generations before America ever sees its second black president.
Americans will rue the day, well into future generations, that they allowed a racially disturbed man, bearing an irrational political ideology, to ever become the most powerful man in the world. As all presidents leave their individual mark on the presidency, America will wear the “mark” of Obama for a very long time and America and Americans may never fully recover from that mark. Hopefully, Obama will retain the reputation as being America’s worst president, forever more. It is unlikely that America could survive a president worse than Obama.
If you have the courage, don’t forget to sign our petition “Declaring Open Resistance” against Obama and government tyranny.
Who are the “Exclosers”?
[NOTE: The following article represents the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by the owners, employees, representatives, or agents of the publisher.]
© 2014 Ron Ewart — All Rights Reserved
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America”, is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, (NARLO) (http://www.narlo.org) a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. He can be reached for comment email@example.com.
December 9th, 2014 by olddog
by Tyler Durden
Much has been said about Goldman’s control over the most important Federal Reserve of all, that of New York, where the all important Markets Group is located, which does as the name implies, “influences” markets (those who may have missed it are encouraged to read “Goldman “Whistleblower” Sues NY Fed For Wrongful Termination“, “How Goldman Controls The New York Fed: 47.5 Hours Of “The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes” Explain“, “A Quick Look At Goldman’s Takeover Of The US Judicial System: NY Fed Edition“, and of course “I Am Putting Everything In Goldman Sachs Because These Guys Can Do Whatever The Hell They Want.”
And while it is very clear by now that nothing will change under the current corrupt and compromised executive, legislative and judicial system, because at the end of the day, Goldman has indirect control over all three branches of government , here is the one anecdote which, in a non banana republic, would be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.
From the FT:
As the financial crisis raged in September 2008, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley sought sanctuary from the Federal Reserve.
The last two big independent broker-dealers were allowed to become bank holding companies, giving them access to government liquidity that could keep them afloat.
Goldman drafted its own statement, quoting Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive, as saying: “We believe that Goldman Sachs, under Federal Reserve supervision, will be regarded as an even more secure institution.”
According to people familiar with the matter, Goldman then drafted another release and sent it to the New York Fed. This one was to be used as the central bank’s own statement.
And while the FT is kind enough to digest that piece of shocking information for the rest of the “stupid voters“, the bottom line is simple: the Federal Reserve of Goldman Sachs (in New York and everywhere else), is the bank that not only calls all the shots and makes the rules, but it also writes the words on the Fed’s teleprompter (as for Obama’s, not even Goldman would bother with that).
Trading Pattern in Gold and Silver Has Changed Drastically. What Happens Next?
By Bill Holter
Gold and silver have now had three “outside reversal” days to the upside within the last three weeks. Those who follow the precious metals were absolutely shocked (after being shell shocked) to see this type of action the first time in many a moon…not to mention a “three’fer”!
For those of you who don’t know what an “outside reversal day” is, let me briefly explain. It is the “outside” part which is important and without it, the “reversal” part is much less meaningful. For this to occur, trading for the day must be both lower and higher than any trades performed the previous day. In other words, the “bar” on the chart must totally engulf the action of the previous day and then close in the opposite direction of the previous momentum. Outside reversal days are very rare in any market. One of these may only occur once in a year’s time or even longer. The important thing to understand is when you do see a reversal day and accompanied by big volume, the “trend” is probably changing!
That said, “charts” in today’s marketplace are not what they once were. There was a time when charts were very reliable, this changed many years ago. I say “changed” because if you go back to 1988, President Reagan by executive order created the “working group on financial markets” as a result of the ’87 crash…otherwise known as the “plunge protection team” to prevent stock market crashes. Initially, this may have been a good idea with “good intentions”. The problem is this, the “PPT” has morphed into something out of the old USSR which tries to “manage” everything, everywhere, ALWAYS! This obviously changes the value of charts, if they can be “painted” (they are), then they don’t show a true picture, rather, they show a picture those doing the painting want you to see.
Yes, I am sure some will call me a conspiratorial nut job for saying that all markets are manipulated all the time, they are! I don’t even have anything to prove, the banks and brokers have already done this for you by paying fines for “rigging” in nearly every market. Why would they pay these fines if they were innocent? Please don’t tell me because of the “nuisance factor”, $30 billion+ in fines is a little more than a “nuisance”! In my opinion, these fines have been paid for two reasons, one more important than the other. First, these firms do not want to admit guilt. If they actually did admit guilt they could be shut out of various markets as admission of guilt in many cases by law requires them to cease and desist on various exchanges.
This a very important factor …but not THE important factor. THE important factor is the process called “discovery” where the firm (or firms) in question must open their books or pull their pants down so to speak and allow outside attorneys to see nearly everything. “Discovery” allows outside lawyers to see the books, ALL the books, of the firm that a judge allows. In other words, much, if not ALL of the dirt becomes visible! You do see the problems this may raise? The process of “discovery” means you can see what firm A was doing …AND “who” they were doing it with! Confidence in our “free and fair” markets would evaporate and the game we call everyday life would end. Can you imagine what would have happened were Enron’s records not destroyed one day in 2001? In any case, if you do not believe markets are manipulated every day by now, then please stop reading because there is nothing I can say to enlighten you.
Now, back to the precious metals. We have now had three outside reversal days within three weeks and on VERY HIGH VOLUME! Normally just one outside day would suffice but we have had three. Normally the outside day would be a very good signal that the trend has changed, I do not doubt this is the case now. What I do doubt is the reasoning behind what has happened. I believe the outside days have occurred because of “front running”. Gold and silver “prices” have been forced to levels where it is not profitable to mine in many cases. These low prices have also created far more demand than normally would be for the other side of the equation. Gold and silver have been in a supply demand deficit for years which has been exacerbated by the price suppression. In other words, “price” was not allowed to rise to ration demand and entice new supply. There is a giant problem though, it’s called “mathematics”. If there has been a supply/demand deficit then where has the deficit been funded from? Yes, you got it, Western central bank vaults.
I believe we have seen these outside day reversals because someone, somewhere, “knows something” or at least think they do. Someone (the Chinese and others) have done the math and can “smell” the bottom of the barrel. Maybe this bottom of the barrel is being exposed by the hugely negative GOFO rates or backwardation? Maybe someone has tried to make a big purchase and can’t do it …or cannot do it without a big premium?
As I wrote a couple of days ago, “price” will affect both supply and demand. I believe what this current change in trading activity points to is “price” has now affected supply and demand TOO MUCH! I believe we will look back at these three reversal days as a very big inflection point. The future action I now anticipate is an outright explosion upward in price as the physical market takes the pricing ability away from the paper markets. Gold and silver are very different “animals” compared to stocks, bonds, other commodities and even other currencies. Gold and silver are “money” and carry with them more “emotion” than any other asset class. Hard money advocates are more passionate regarding the metals than anything else. The naysayers are more dispassionate (hateful of) gold and silver than anything else. Governments and central banks are obviously more disdainful of gold and silver than anything else because the metals are a direct (and real) competitor (understand THREAT) to their “product”.
I mention this “emotion” factor because this is at the heart of the argument. Gold and silver cannot be allowed out of control …otherwise “confidence” in the status quo will be shaken to destruction. One other “emotion” factor is that “man” always wants something he cannot have. In fact, I would say that man will sometimes want something he cannot have even more than something he needs but this is arguable. The game over these past years has been to depress gold and silver prices in order to display them as poor choices and plentiful in supply. This has allowed interest rates to trade far lower than they otherwise would be. Artificially low interest rates have aided the central banks in their numerous “reflation” exercises. The problem now is supply in the physical market has become very tight and pressing prices lower are no longer scaring any more apples to fall from the tree. In other words, those who would be scared out of their positions have mostly sold. Now, lower prices are only acting to bring more and more value investors into the market and increasing demand. The “fulcrum” (price) must be moved to create a balance as it has been incorrectly placed for many years. I believe the old saying “there is no fever like gold fever” is about to surface. So I now wait patiently for the upside explosion as something has changed very drastically in the trading patterns. Though Mother Nature can be mocked via leverage for a spell, her laws can be ignored for only so long because there is such a thing as the real world with a real supply and demand equation!
December 8th, 2014 by olddog
If the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble implodes, who should be stuck with the bill? Well, if the “too big to fail” banks have their way it will be you and I.
Right now, lobbyists for the big Wall Street banks are pushing really hard to include an extremely insidious provision in a bill that would keep the federal government funded past the upcoming December 11th deadline. This provision would allow these big banks to trade derivatives through subsidiaries that are federally insured by the FDIC.
What this would mean is that the big banks would be able to continue their incredibly reckless derivatives trading without having to worry about the downside. If they win on their bets, the big banks would keep all of the profits. If they lose on their bets, the federal government would come in and bail them out using taxpayer money. In other words, it would essentially be a “heads I win, tails you lose” proposition.
Just imagine the following scenario. I go to Las Vegas and I place a million dollar bet on who will win the Super Bowl this year. If I am correct, I keep all of the winnings. If I lose, federal law requires you to bail me out and give me the million dollars that I just lost.
Does that sound fair?
Of course not! In fact, it is utter insanity. But through their influence in Congress, this is exactly what the big Wall Street banks are attempting to pull off. And according to the Huffington Post, there is a very good chance that this provision will be in the final bill that will soon be voted on…
According to multiple Democratic sources, banks are pushing hard to include the controversial provision in funding legislation that would keep the government operating after Dec. 11. Top negotiators in the House are taking the derivatives provision seriously, and may include it in the final bill, the sources said.
Sadly, most Americans don’t understand how derivatives work and so there is very little public outrage.
But the truth is that people should be marching in the streets over this. If this provision becomes law, the American people could potentially be on the hook for absolutely massive losses…
The bank perks are not a traditional budget item. They would allow financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. —potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by the risky contracts.
This is not the first time these banks have tried to pull off such a coup. As Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has detailed, bank lobbyists tried to do a similar thing last year…
Five years after the Wall Street coup of 2008, it appears the U.S. House of Representatives is as bought and paid for as ever. We heard about the Citigroup crafted legislation currently being pushed through Congress back in May when Mother Jones reported on it. Fortunately, they included the following image in their article:
Unsurprisingly, the main backer of the bill is notorious Wall Street lackey Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Goldman Sachs employee who has discovered lobbyist payoffs can be just as lucrative as a career in financial services. The last time Mr. Himes made an appearance on these pages was in March 2013 in my piece: Congress Moves to DEREGULATE Wall Street.
Fortunately, it was stopped in the Senate at that time.
But that is the thing with bank lobbyists. They are like Terminators – they never, ever, ever give up.
And they now have more of a sense of urgency then ever, because we are moving into a period of time when the big banks may begin losing tremendous amounts of money on derivatives contracts.
For example, the rapidly plunging price of oil could potentially mean gigantic losses for the big banks. Many large shale oil producers locked in their profits for 2015 and 2016 through derivatives contracts when the price of oil was above $100 a barrel. As I write this, the price of oil is down to $65 a barrel, and many analysts expect it to go much lower.
So guess who is on the other end of many of those trades?
The big banks.
Their computer models never anticipated that the price of oil would fall by more than 40 dollars in less than six months. A loss of 40, 50 or even 60 dollars per barrel would be catastrophic.
No wonder they want legislation that will protect them.
And commodity derivatives are just part of the story. Over the past couple of decades, Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world. At this point, the amounts of money that these “too big to fail” banks are potentially on the hook for are absolutely mind blowing.
As you read this, there are five Wall Street banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. The following numbers come from the OCC’s most recent quarterly report (see Table 2)…
Total Assets: $2,520,336,000,000 (about 2.5 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $68,326,075,000,000 (more than 68 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $1,909,715,000,000 (slightly more than 1.9 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $61,753,462,000,000 (more than 61 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $860,008,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $57,695,156,000,000 (more than 57 trillion dollars)
Bank Of America
Total Assets: $2,172,001,000,000 (a bit more than 2.1 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $55,472,434,000,000 (more than 55 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $826,568,000,000 (less than a trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,134,518,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)
Those that follow my website regularly will note that the derivatives exposure for the top four banks has gone up significantly since I last wrote about this just a few months ago.
Do you want to be on the hook for all of that?
Keep in mind that the U.S. national debt is only about 18 trillion dollars at this point.
So why in the world would we want to guarantee losses that could potentially be far greater than our entire national debt?
Only a complete and utter fool would financially guarantee these incredibly reckless bets.
Please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that you do not want to be on the hook for the derivatives losses of the big Wall Street banks.
When this derivatives bubble finally implodes and these big banks go down (and they inevitably will), we do not want them to take down the rest of us with them.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Bottom line of this CLUSTER F*#K is going to be, the Banks will own the entire United States, us, and all commodities of every nature. And, the Government is extinct. The people will revolt and be nuked out of existence. The time to revolt is before they pass this.
December 7th, 2014 by olddog
NOW! DON’T YOU FEEL BETTER?
December 6th, 2014 by olddog
By Valerie Richardson
In three weeks, Utah intends to seize control of 31.2 million acres of its own land now under the control of the federal government. At least, that’s the plan.
In an unprecedented challenge to federal dominance of Western state lands, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012 signed the “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” which demands that Washington relinquish its hold on the land, which represents more than half of the state’s 54.3 million acres, by Dec. 31.
So far, however, the federal government hasn’t given any indication that it plans to cooperate. Still, state Rep. Ken Ivory, who sponsored the legislation, isn’t deterred.
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“That’s what you do any time you’re negotiating with a partner. You set a date,” said Mr. Ivory. “Unfortunately, our federal partner has decided they don’t want to negotiate in good faith. So we’ll move forward with the four-step plan that the governor laid out.”
In other words, there won’t be any escorting of federal officials by state troopers to the eastern border. Instead, he said, state officials will proceed with a program of education, negotiation, legislation and litigation.
“We’re going to move forward and use all the resources at our disposal,” said Mr. Ivory, who also heads the American Lands Council, which advocates the relinquishing of federal lands to the control of the states.
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With the 2012 law, Utah placed itself on the cutting edge of the heated debate over public lands in the West. The federal government controls more than 50 percent of the land west of Kansas — in Utah’s case, it’s 64.5 percent, a situation that has increasingly resulted in tensions across the Rocky Mountain West.
Those in favor of the state taking control of federal lands were buoyed by a report Monday that concluded the idea was financially feasible. Entitled “An Analysis of a Transfer of Federal Lands to the State of Utah,” the 784-page analysis found that Utah was capable of managing that property, now under the control of the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service.
“I expect that public discussion will be well served by this report. It shows the complexities and connections between Utah’s robust economy and the great quality of life Utahans enjoy,” Mr. Herbert said in a statement.
The report, conducted over 18 months by analysts at three state universities, found that Utah would incur an additional $280 million in costs to manage the lands, but would bring in some $331.7 million in royalties from mineral resources development, mainly oil and gas. Currently Utah receives only half the royalties from drilling that is allowed on federal lands inside its borders.
The study also found that while small amounts of federal ownership could stimulate economic growth in counties, such management becomes a “drag” on most counties after they reach 40 percent to 45 percent ownership, adding that, “twenty of Utah’s 29 counties exceed this threshold.”
“The findings of this report confirm that the state is more than capable of taking on the management of these lands,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, in a statement. “This data will be a helpful resource as we continue to work toward resolving some of the biggest challenges facing public lands policy in the state.”
On the other side of the debate is the environmental movement, led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which argues that transferring federal lands to state control “makes it harder to protect Utah’s wild lands for all Americans.” Washington, environmentalists argue, is a better steward of Utah’s natural riches than Salt Lake City.
Staff attorney David Garbett argues that the report shows Utah would be unable to afford managing the federal lands without selling them or subjecting them to heavy development.
“When will the legislature realize that the public does not want to see the Wasatch Mountains barricaded with ‘No Trespassing’ signs, the Book Cliffs lost to tar sand strip mines or Arches National Park ringed with oil and gas development?” he said in a statement.
The group launched a radio and television campaign this week aimed at drumming up opposition to the plan, describing it as a “land grab.” The ads allege that managing the lands would be so costly that Utah would be forced to sell or lease them to private developers.
“But that means Utahans would lose access to the lands that formed our heritage,” says the television ad, which shows people fishing and horseback riding. “Seizing public lands: A bad idea we can’t afford.”
Mr. Ivory dismissed the attacks as “fear tactics,” pointing out that the law includes only lands designated for multiple use — in other words, economic development — and not national parks or national monuments.
“They’re trying to get people to think that the sky is falling, and it’s just not,” Mr. Ivory said. “In fact, Utah passed the only state wilderness act so that, as the lands are transferred, we designate the unique heritage sites as state wilderness to be protected under the guidelines the state establishes.”
He pointed to the report, which he says shows “clearly Utah can afford to do this without selling off any land. None of that is contemplated.”
“These are tactics by those who just want to keep making money by suing the federal government,” Mr. Ivory said, referring to environmental groups.
He pointed out that transferring federal lands to state control has the support of the American Farm Bureau, the National Association of Counties and the Republican National Committee. A half-dozen Western states are expected to consider similar proposals in next year’s legislative session, while bills have been introduced in Congress to support the idea.
Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar slammed the Utah legislation in 2012, saying it “defied common sense,” and accused lawmakers of playing politics.
As far as Mr. Ivory is concerned, however, shifting management to the states would be far preferable than keeping the lands under the increasingly tight control of the federal government.
“Under increasing federal control, access is being restricted. The health of the land is diminishing horribly. And the productivity is depressed,” Mr. Ivory said. “This is the only way to get better access, better health and better productivity.”
December 5th, 2014 by olddog
By Michael Snyder
Could rapidly falling oil prices trigger a nightmare scenario for the commodity derivatives market? The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either. If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses. In some cases, the losses will be absorbed by oil producers, but many of the big players in the industry have already locked in high prices for their oil next year through derivatives contracts.
The companies enter into these derivatives contracts for a couple of reasons. Number one, many lenders do not want to give them any money unless they can show that they have locked in a price for their oil that is higher than the cost of production. Secondly, derivatives contracts protect the profits of oil producers from dramatic swings in the marketplace. These dramatic swings rarely happen, but when they do they can be absolutely crippling. So the oil companies that have locked in high prices for their oil in 2015 and 2016 are feeling pretty good right about now. But who is on the other end of those contracts? In many cases, it is the big Wall Street banks, and if the price of oil does not rebound substantially they could be facing absolutely colossal losses.
It has been estimated that the six largest “too big to fail” banks control $3.9 trillion in commodity derivatives contracts. And a very large chunk of that amount is made up of oil derivatives.
By the middle of next year, we could be facing a situation where many of these oil producers have locked in a price of 90 or 100 dollars a barrel on their oil but the price has fallen to about 50 dollars a barrel.
In such a case, the losses for those on the wrong end of the derivatives contracts would be astronomical.
At this point, some of the biggest players in the shale oil industry have already locked in high prices for most of their oil for the coming year. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard…
US producers have locked in higher prices through derivatives contracts. Noble Energy and Devon Energy have both hedged over three-quarters of their output for 2015.
Pioneer Natural Resources said it has options through 2016 covering two- thirds of its likely production.
So they are protected to a very large degree. It is those that are on the losing end of those contracts that are going to get burned.
Of course not all shale oil producers protected themselves. Those that didn’t are in danger of going under.
For example, Continental Resources cashed out approximately 4 billion dollars in hedges about a month ago in a gamble that oil prices would go back up. Instead, they just kept falling, so now this company is likely headed for some rough financial times…
Continental Resources (CLR.N), the pioneering U.S. driller that bet big on North Dakota’s Bakken shale patch when its rivals were looking abroad, is once again flying in the face of convention: cashing out some $4 billion worth of hedges in a huge gamble that oil prices will rebound.
Late on Tuesday, the company run by Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma wildcatter who once sued OPEC, said it had opted to take profits on more than 31 million barrels worth of U.S. and Brent crude oil hedges for 2015 and 2016, plus as much as 8 million barrels’ worth of outstanding positions over the rest of 2014, netting a $433 million extra profit for the fourth quarter. Based on its third quarter production of about 128,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, its hedges for next year would have covered nearly two-thirds of its oil production.
When things are nice and stable, the derivatives marketplace works quite well most of the time.
But when there is a “black swan event” such as a dramatic swing in the price of oil, it can create really big winners and really big losers.
And no matter how complicated these derivatives become, and no matter how many times you transfer risk, you can never make these bets truly safe. The following is from a recent article by Charles Hugh Smith…
Financialization is always based on the presumption that risk can be cancelled out by hedging bets made with counterparties. This sounds appealing, but as I have noted many times, risk cannot be disappeared, it can only be masked or transferred to others.
Relying on counterparties to pay out cannot make risk vanish; it only masks the risk of default by transferring the risk to counterparties, who then transfer it to still other counterparties, and so on.
This illusory vanishing act hasn’t made risk disappear: rather, it has set up a line of dominoes waiting for one domino to topple. This one domino will proceed to take down the entire line of financial dominoes.
The 35% drop in the price of oil is the first domino. All the supposedly safe, low-risk loans and bets placed on oil, made with the supreme confidence that oil would continue to trade in a band around $100/barrel, are now revealed as high-risk.
In recent years, Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world.
Most of the time the big banks are very careful to make sure that they come out on top, but this time their house of cards may come toppling down on top of them.
If you think that this is good news, you should keep in mind that if they collapse it virtually guarantees a full-blown economic meltdown. The following is an extended excerpt from one of my previous articles…
For those looking forward to the day when these mammoth banks will collapse, you need to keep in mind that when they do go down the entire system is going to utterly fall apart.
At this point our economic system is so completely dependent on these banks that there is no way that it can function without them.
It is like a patient with an extremely advanced case of cancer.
Doctors can try to kill the cancer, but it is almost inevitable that the patient will die in the process.
The same thing could be said about our relationship with the “too big to fail” banks. If they fail, so do the rest of us.
We were told that something would be done about the “too big to fail” problem after the last crisis, but it never happened.
In fact, as I have written about previously, the “too big to fail” banks have collectively gotten 37 percent larger since the last recession.
At this point, the five largest banks in the country account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States, and the six largest banks control 67 percent of all banking assets.
If those banks were to disappear tomorrow, we would not have much of an economy left.
Our entire economy is based on the flow of credit. And all of that debt comes from the banks. That is why it has been so dangerous for us to become so deeply dependent on them. Without their loans, the entire country could soon resemble White Flint Mall near Washington D.C….
It was once a hubbub of activity, where shoppers would snap up seasonal steals and teens would hang out to ‘look cool’.
But now White Flint Mall in Bethesda, Maryland – which opened its doors in March 1977 – looks like a modern-day mausoleum with just two tenants remaining.
Photographs taken inside the 874,000-square-foot complex show spotless faux marble floors, empty escalators and stationary elevators.
Only a couple of cars can be seen in the parking lot, where well-tended shrubbery appears to be the only thing alive.
I keep on saying it, and I will keep on saying it until it happens. We are heading for a derivatives crisis unlike anything that we have ever seen. It is going to make the financial meltdown of 2008 look like a walk in the park.
Our politicians promised that they would do something about the “too big to fail” banks and the out of control gambling on Wall Street, but they didn’t.
Now a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching, and it is going to horrify the entire planet.
The real problem this collapse will cause is making killers out of normal people when there is no food or any other necessity of life available, and if you prefer to ignore the experiences of other countries, and have not prepared yourself for this pandemic of rage you will be among the first victims. If you are prepared to fight for your life, you will have to subject your conscience to a discipline capable of absolute self control. Being prepared begins with a survival instinct that justifies what ever it takes to live. Even killing starving children is a possible scenario to stay alive and protect your own children from them. This is what’s called a living hell on earth. You will face a total loss of cognitive function and turn into an instinctive reaction machine or die. You can thank the Banking Cartel for this destruction of all that humanity has strived for these many centuries.
December 4th, 2014 by olddog
This article will make you angry. The US Government is actively seeking those who criticize government, specifically Barack Obama, and arresting them without charging them. They are remanded to mental health institutions where they are given “training” on how to view the world.
Remind you of a little book that George Orwell wrote?
It gets worse.
Most of the victims of the government’s kidnapping scheme are veterans.
From The Rutherford Institute:
In the four years since the start of Operation Vigilant Eagle, the government has steadily ramped up its campaign to “silence” dissidents, especially those with military backgrounds. Coupled with the DHS’ dual reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics have boded ill for anyone seen as opposing the government.
One particularly troubling mental health label being applied to veterans and others who challenge the status quo is “oppositional defiance disorder” (ODD). As journalist Anthony Martin explains, an ODD diagnosis
“denotes that the person exhibits ‘symptoms’ such as the questioning of authority, the refusal to follow directions, stubbornness, the unwillingness to go along with the crowd, and the practice of disobeying or ignoring orders. Persons may also receive such a label if they are considered free thinkers, nonconformists, or individuals who are suspicious of large, centralized government… At one time the accepted protocol among mental health professionals was to reserve the diagnosis of oppositional defiance disorder for children or adolescents who exhibited uncontrollable defiance toward their parents and teachers.”
The case of 26-year-old decorated Marine Brandon Raub—who was targeted because of his Facebook posts, interrogated by government agents about his views on government corruption, arrested with no warning, labeled mentally ill for subscribing to so-called “conspiratorial” views about the government, detained against his will in a psych ward for standing by his views, and isolated from his family, friends and attorneys—is a prime example of the government’s war on veterans.
Raub’s case exposes the seedy underbelly of a governmental system that is targeting Americans—especially military veterans—for expressing their discontent over America’s rapid transition to a police state.
Here is a news story by RT (Russian Times) about Brandon Raub. Apparently the corporate media in the United States won’t tell his story:
To underscore how big this story truly is, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute is the lead attorney defending the innocent victims targeted by the Obama Thought Police. Whitehead is quite famous for his defense of the Bill of Rights for the past several decades.
This is big.
Obama wants everybody to think like a brain-dead zombie while he transforms America into Orwell’s 1984.
Outcry after military veteran detained for anti-government Facebook posts
A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.
Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia’s Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In one message earlier this month according to authorities, Raub wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”
Police — acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional — took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.
A Virginia-based civil liberties group, The Rutherford Institute, dispatched one of its attorneys to the hospital to represent Raub at a hearing Monday. A judge ordered Raub detained for another month, Rutherford executive director John Whitehead said.
“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon,” Whitehead said.
Raub’s mother, Cathleen Thomas, said by telephone that the government had overstepped its bounds.
“The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated,” she said.
Thomas said her son, who served tours as a combat engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “concerned about all the wars we’ve experienced” and believes the U.S. government was complicit in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One of his Facebook posts, she said, pictured the gaping hole in the Pentagon and asked “where’s the plane?”
Whitehead said he found nothing alarming in Raub’s social media commentaries. “The posts I read that supposedly were of concern were libertarian-type posts I see all the time,” he said.
The big concern, Whitehead said, is whether government officials are monitoring citizens’ private Facebook pages and detaining people with whom they disagree.
Dee Rybiski, an FBI spokeswoman in Richmond, said there was no Facebook snooping by her agency.
“We received quite a few complaints about what were perceived as threatening posts,” she said. “Given the circumstances with the things that have gone on in the country with some of these mass shootings, it would be horrible for law enforcement not to pay attention to complaints.”
Whitehead said some of the posts in question were made on a closed Facebook page that Raub had recently created so he questioned whether anyone from the public would have complained about them.
“Support Brandon Raub” Facebook pages have drawn significant interest, and other Internet sites had numerous comments from people outraged by the veteran’s detention.
Raub’s supporters characterized the detention as an arrest, complaining he was handcuffed and whisked away in a police cruiser without being served a warrant or read his rights. But authorities say it wasn’t an arrest because Raub doesn’t face criminal charges.
Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.
He said Raub was handcuffed because he resisted officers’ attempts to take him into custody.
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December 3rd, 2014 by olddog
Many of our nation’s sheriffs have been brainwashed that America is a “war zone” so all of our police departments (even for towns of less than 4,000 people) apparently need mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles — which basically look like tanks — straight off the battlefields of Afghanistan.
Though the vehicles cost nearly $750,000, many police departments across the nation have acquired their very own MRAP tanks for pennies on the dollar (and sometimes free) from the Pentagon’s controversial surplus program that seeks to dump military equipment into America’s neighborhoods.
Now the indoctrination inside our classrooms can compete with the indoctrination on the school’s front lawn that America is such a police state war zone, it’s totally normal for a school district to also require a tank.
School districts. Are getting. Tanks.
On sale special at a 99-percent-plus discount, the San Diego Unified School District recently got a good bargain, too; it only cost the district $5,000 to transport the $733,000 vehicle to campus.
But don’t worry. San Diego Unified School District Police Chief Ruben Littlejohn held a news conference back in September to assure his fellow citizens that A) MRAPs aren’t tanks, B) there will be medical supplies and teddy bears kept in the non-tank MRAP, and C) don’t worry, this really isn’t a sign of the militarization of our schools.
“There will be medical supplies in the vehicle. There will be teddy bears in the vehicle. There will be trauma kits in the vehicle in the event any student is injured, and our officers are trained to give first aid and CPR,” he said. (source)
Guess they are concerned they might have a lot of Iraq-style bombings involving high-grade explosives to respond to there on the good ‘ol campus?
The police chief assured everyone the MRAP is going to be used as a “rescue tool.” There are even plans to paint it up like an ambulance:
See? They are going to dress up their non-tank to look like an ambulance and fill it up with teddy bears, so it’s all okay.
One commenter on KPBS wrote:
They can call it a ‘love buggy,’ a ‘student patrol limo,’ or a ‘campus police fun bus’ and then paint it pretty colors,” a reader wrote, “but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a piece of military equipment that is unnecessary and sends the message that local officials are at war with students.
Hm. By that logic, maybe we should start painting all the militarized riot gear our modern American police officers wear up to look like giant teddy bears complete with giant bear head helmets, too. That way they can look all cutesy poo when they’re stomping your face down with their boot and firing tear gas at you for daring to exercise your First Amendment rights on U.S. streets or shooting your dog during a no-knock SWAT raid at the wrong house.
By the way, if this MRAP is such a “rescue tool,” what are the police doing with it? Isn’t search and rescue more of an EMS and fire department thing?
Oh, but apparently San Diego Unified needs an MRAP because Sandy Hook:
The district said the rescue vehicle is one of the ways it is responding to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, and preparing itself for potential disasters in the future. (source)
So having an MRAP is going to magically stop school shootings now? Why not just post a few more “gun-free zone” signs around campus?
The sheer amount of common sense and sound logic flowing out of this sheriff and the school district in justifying their MRAP purchase really should make us all feel so much better that A) these people are in positions like “sheriff” and “superintendent” of a whole school district within our education system in the first place and B) that these people are also now in charge of a freaking teddy bear filled tank.
The MRAP should go really well with the whole police state apparatus being erected on that campus, according to another KPBS commenter:
San Diego Unified Police have been carrying military-grade semi-automatic weapons in their car trunks for a year and a half. Last year the entire Education Center at 4100 Normal Street was converted into a locked-down i.d.-card-swiping system, paid for with federal Homeland Security money that is subverting civilian institutions and American values. (source)
With crime down to 20+ year lows, why exactly is America becoming a war zone again?
Because it actually is one? Or is it because people like this justifying the fact that we’re arming it like one…
(That last bit was rhetorical.)
The Beginning Of The End (by Michael Snyder)
Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival
The Anatomy of a Breakdown
Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared, and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!
December 2nd, 2014 by olddog
from the I-wouldn’t-join-any-club-that-would-take-me-as-a-member dept
It’s not just our nation’s legislators that enjoy a “revolving door” — one that moves them from Congress to the private sector and back again, to the mutual benefit of legislators and certain industries… not so much the rest of America.
There’s another revolving door out there — one that keeps bad cops employed in the law enforcement sector. It’s incredibly difficult for police departments to shed their “bad apples,” what with police unions pushing back hard on the few occasions that the blue line fails to hold. But even if they do manage to cut one loose, there’s a good chance this former officer will just end up carrying a badge and gun for someone else.
As we covered earlier this year, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department made sure a plethora of bad cops weren’t hurting for money, either by bringing them on board directly or placing them in open positions at the jails under its control.
For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department’s own polygraph exams.
Twenty-nine of those given jobs had previously had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies over concerns about misconduct or workplace performance problems. Nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues.
Out in Lincoln, Nebraska, other law enforcement agencies are acting as halfway houses for police officers with a history of misconduct.
John McGahan, the Lincoln Police Department’s 2013 Officer of the Year who resigned this year after Internal Affairs accused him of using excessive force, is now working at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
A second police officer accused of using excessive force, Jeremy Wilhelm, is a trooper candidate with the Nebraska State Patrol.
Here’s some more uniform-switching, this time in Ohio.
Former New Albany Police officer Steve Mowery faced several accusations of misconduct while he worked for that force… Mowery allegedly used excessive force against a teenager and was sued. That case was settled, according to those who were involved.
Mowery resigned before the police department could make a final recommendation for discipline, according to sources at the New Albany Police Department.
Today, Mowery works as a deputy for the Lucas County Sheriff’s office in the Toledo area.
Thanks to WBNS-10TV, the Sheriff’s office is finally looking into Mowery’s law enforcement record. But Mowery isn’t an anomaly.
[F]ormer Nelsonville police officer Randy Secoy was hired despite a reprimand from the Athens County Sheriff’s office for his “inability to control his anger.” Secoy made the news last year after surveillance video showed him lunging toward a seated teenager and forcefully gripping the teen’s throat.
Franklin Township Police Chief Allan Wheeler has hired multiple officers who have had troubles elsewhere. One officer resigned his position as a police chief at Marietta College in eastern Ohio… Printed reports that are still available online say that the former Marietta College Police chief was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a woman and stalking her.
From Florida, here’s the story of a well-traveled officer who might just be “the most crooked cop in America.”
[Major Joseph] Floyd joined the Crestview Police Department in the Florida Panhandle in 2007 after a brief stint with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Unbeknownst to his new colleagues at the time of his hiring, Floyd had a rap sheet that stretched back more than a decade. Over the course of eight years, Floyd was terminated, forced to resign, or quit three police departments while under investigation for insubordination, lying, and falsifying records. Before becoming a cop, Floyd had been arrested for battery, disorderly conduct, and assaulting a law enforcement officer.
The article at Reason details some of Floyd’s past misconduct, which includes having subordinates tase unresisting suspects, planting evidence, striking suspects with rifles and referring to female officers as “department whores.” Charming. And yet, apparently still employable. (Here’s the 11-page indictment.)
[Roy] Logan was fired in 2001 from his last job as a licensed peace officer before becoming a Precinct 5 deputy. His explanation on a Dallas County job application: “terminated by newly elected sheriff.”
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said Logan was fired after a Texas Department of Public Safety officer reported seeing him playing an eight-liner gambling machine while on duty – about eight months after Byrnes took office.
Deputy Constable Juston Coffman resigned from the Celina (TX) Police Department after having been disciplined “several times.” He found a new home as a school district police officer.
More from Texas. Nearly half of Jonestown’s seven-member police force had a history of misconduct. (Two were immediately fired by an interim police chief earlier this year.)
Yvonne Gunnlaugsson had been suspended several times from the Austin Police Department before retiring under a cloud in 2005, public records show. She’d come to work for Jonestown a short time later…
Gunnlaugsson had compiled a long list of infractions as an Austin police officer. She’d been suspended six times, including for wrecking a patrol car after falling asleep and for failing to interview a suspect who had been identified by a robbery victim. Her involvement in another case led to a federal lawsuit against the city that raised questions about her judgment while responding to a call.
Andre Anderson, was sacked from the Jonestown department May 7. An internal investigation accused him of omitting an important piece of history from his job application: He’d lost his job at the Travis County sheriff’s office in 2001, after acknowledging he’d had sex with two inmates while they were in custody.
The third officer, still employed at this point, was suspended and fired by the Georgetown Police Dept. for failing to investigate suspected crimes.
Another police officer from elsewhere in the state managed to parlay being fired for drunken driving (and being named in a wrongful death suit that resulted in a $750,000 settlement) into a new position as a sheriff’s deputy in another county.
The problem is so pervasive it has its own term: gypsy cops. Moving from agency to agency tends to obscure incriminating paper trails, especially if the switch involves moving from a city agency (police department) to a county agency (sheriff’s department) or state agency (state troopers, highway patrol). Changes in background check requirements and decertification stipulations can be abused to keep bad law enforcement officers employed by law enforcement agencies.
The background checks themselves are their own problem. Agencies have been known to hire officers who’ve failed checks or while background checks were still pending. For smaller agencies or those pressured to add officers, these background checks may not be as thorough — if they’re even performed at all.
Police union pressure has led to legislation that further insulates police officers from being held accountable for their actions. Called a “law enforcement bill of rights,” it’s actually a long list of extra rights that makes it nearly impossible to fire bad cops, much less have their misconduct harm their future employment prospects. Mike Riggs’ writeup of these special, police-only due process “rights” is eye-opening. And infuriating.
At this point, it pretty much takes a felony conviction to ensure a fired cop won’t just end up wearing a different badge somewhere else. Most police departments aren’t willing to battle police unions to ensure fired cops stay out of circulation. Neutral references are given instead of recommendations against hiring. Dishonorable discharges are upgraded to honorable or “general.”
Those doing the hiring are also falling down on the job. When pressed about hires of cops with negative histories, those responsible for their continued employment plead ignorance. Despite the fact that these incidents are usually part of public records, law enforcement agency heads act as though it’s everyone else’s job to perform their due diligence. To some extent, it is. Those integral to the hiring process should be more thorough. But ultimately, the buck stops at the top. There’s enough information out there that bad cops should only slip through the cracks of the vetting system on rare occasions, rather than finding open doors nearly everywhere they look. The problem with bad cops will never go away if they can simply become some other agency’s “bad apple” just by filling out a job application.
December 1st, 2014 by olddog
There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months. Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher.
When the price of oil falls dramatically, that is a sign that economic activity is slowing down. It can also have a tremendously destabilizing effect on financial markets. As you will read about below, energy companies now account for approximately 20 percent of the junk bond market. And a junk bond implosion is usually a signal that a major stock market crash is on the way. So if you are looking for a “canary in the coal mine”, keep your eye on the performance of energy junk bonds. If they begin to collapse, that is a sign that all hell is about to break loose on Wall Street.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the shale oil boom to the U.S. economy. Thanks to this boom, the United States has become the largest oil producer on the entire planet.
Yes, the U.S. now actually produces more oil than either Saudi Arabia or Russia. This “revolution” has resulted in the creation of millions of jobs since the last recession, and it has been one of the key factors that has kept the percentage of Americans that are employed fairly stable.
Unfortunately, the shale oil boom is coming to an abrupt end. As a recent Vox article discussed, OPEC has essentially declared a price war on U.S. shale oil producers…
For all intents and purposes, OPEC is now engaged in a “price war” with the United States. What that means is that it’s very cheap to pump oil out of places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But it’s more expensive to extract oil from shale formations in places like Texas and North Dakota. So as the price of oil keeps falling, some US producers may become unprofitable and go out of business. The result? Oil prices will stabilize and OPEC maintains its market share.
If the price of oil stays at this level or continues falling, we will see a significant number of U.S. shale oil companies go out of business and large numbers of jobs will be lost. The Saudis know how to play hardball, and they are absolutely ruthless. In fact, we have seen this kind of scenario happen before…
Robert McNally, a White House adviser to former President George W. Bush and president of the Rapidan Group energy consultancy, told Reuters that Saudi Arabia “will accept a price decline necessary to sweat whatever supply cuts are needed to balance the market out of the US shale oil sector.” Even legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens believes Saudi Arabia is in a stand-off with US drillers and frackers to “see how the shale boys are going to stand up to a cheaper price.” This has happened once before. By the mid-1980’s, as oil output from Alaska’s North Slope and the North Sea came on line (combined production of around 5-6 million barrels a day), OPEC set off a price war to compete for market share. As a result, the price of oil sank from around $40 to just under $10 a barrel by 1986.
But the energy sector has been one of the only bright spots for the U.S. economy in recent years. If this sector starts collapsing, it is going to have a dramatic negative impact on our economic outlook. For example, just consider the following numbers from a recent Business Insider article…
Specifically, if prices get too low, then energy companies won’t be able to cover the cost of production in the US. This spending by energy companies, also known as capital expenditures, is responsible for a lot of jobs.
“The Energy sector accounts for roughly one-third of S&P 500 capex and nearly 25% of combined capex and R&D spending,” Goldman Sachs’ Amanda Sneider writes.
Even more troubling is what this could mean for the financial markets.
As I mentioned above, energy companies now account for close to 20 percent of the entire junk bond market. As those companies start to fail and those bonds start to go bad, that is going to hit our major banks really hard…
Everyone could suffer if the collapse triggers a wave of defaults through the high-yield debt market, and in turn, hits stocks. The first to fall: the banks that were last hit by the housing crisis.
Why could that happen?
Well, energy companies make up anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of all U.S. junk debt, according to various sources.
It would be hard to overstate the seriousness of what the markets could potentially be facing.
One analyst summed it up to CNBC this way…
“This is the one thing I’ve seen over and over again,” said Larry McDonald, head of U.S strategy at Newedge USA’s macro group. “When high yield underperforms equity, a major credit event occurs. It’s the canary in the coal mine.“
The last time junk bonds collapsed, a major stock market crash followed fairly rapidly.
And those that were hardest hit were the big Wall Street banks…
During the last high-yield collapse, which centered around debt tied to the housing sector, Citigroup lost 63 percent of its value in the following 60 days, Kensho shows. Bank of America was cut in half.
I understand that some of this information is too technical for a lot of people, but the bottom line is this…
Watch junk bonds. When they start crashing it is a sign that a major stock market collapse is right at the door.
At this point, even the mainstream media is warning about this. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent CNN article…
That swing away from junk bonds often happens shortly before stock market downturns.
“High yield does provide useful sell signals to equity investors,” Barclays analysts concluded in a recent report.
Barclays combed through the past dozen years of data. The warning signal they found is a 30% or greater increase in the spread between Treasuries and junk bonds before a dip.
If you have been waiting for the next major financial collapse, what you have just read in this article indicates that it is now closer than it has ever been.
Over the coming weeks, keep your eye on the price of oil, keep your eye on the junk bond market and keep your eye on the big banks.
Trouble is brewing, and nobody is quite sure exactly what comes next.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
November 29th, 2014 by olddog
Justice Scalia explains why the Ferguson grand jury was completely wrong
While this article may leave the impression that Sheriff Joe is a tyrant, further down the author makes it clear that the sheriff’s policy is really the support of the people and their right to defend them selves and their property. ATTA BOY JOE!
By Jack Perry
So, when Ferguson got the grand jury ruling they didn’t like, they showed how interested they were in justice by burning down the businesses of people that had nothing at all to do with it. Meanwhile, in the State of Arizona, people showed their solidarity with Ferguson by going to bed. While other major cities held protests, some of which ended up with minor looting, Arizona just did what Arizona does: Conducted business as usual. There was one small protest of about 60 people down in Tempe, close to Phoenix. They argued among themselves, broke into two groups, but then gave up and went home. The next day, businesses were fearlessly open as usual, people were buying early Christmas presents, people were getting ready for Thanksgiving and getting their turkeys. Hmmm…weren’t Phoenix and Tucson two of the major cities that all the Ferguson “direct action” groups listed as scenes of protest? Yet, both these cities pretty much ignored the call to action, as did the entire state. What happened? That question can be answered below.
First of all, the major metropolitan area and state capital, Phoenix, is controlled by a warlord known as Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He is known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and he rules with an iron fist. He has a rather growing collection of tanks and armored personnel carriers but unlike many other departments, these are not just for show. Sheriff Joe will actually use his armor assets if he goes to the trouble of hauling them out. Everyone knows Sheriff Joe is the Warlord of Phoenix and basically runs Maricopa County, including Phoenix. No one in the county and city government has more power than he, and he has proven this to them many times. There have been numerous attempts to topple Sheriff Joe and none have succeeded. Even the federal government and AG Eric Holder have failed to unseat the Warlord of Phoenix. Far from intimidated by the feds, Warlord Joe retaliated by launching his own investigation into a federal judge in the area, as well as investigations into President Obama himself. Warlord Joe runs a jail that is a collection of fenced in tents called his “Tent City Jail”. To be sure, this is Warlord Joe’s concentration camp and no one wants to be carted off to it. People know what will happen if a riot starts in Phoenix. There will be three destinations for the rioters: Tent City Jail, the hospital, and the morgue. The Warlord of Phoenix had people watching Phoenix for any sign of unrest when the Ferguson grand jury finding was released. However, this is not what discourages riots in Arizona.
Our state is run by a governor who is actually our shogun. Arizona state law says that the governor can raise his or her own private army of armed citizens to secure the state during an “emergency”. What is or is not an “emergency” is up to the shogun to decide. This goes well beyond the Arizona National Guard, because this militia would be composed of armed citizens called to volunteer by the Arizona Shogunate. It would not be a federal military masquerading as a “National Guard”. Therefore, such a force would be wholly outside the control of the federal government. Now, the governor also has access to a quasi-police force of armed, unpaid volunteers known as the Arizona Rangers. But the law says the shogun can raise the additional force of a citizen militia as mentioned above. What’s more, the militia would answer to the shogun (our governor) alone. Even if the federal government said “You can’t use your National Guard to quell that riot”, the governor as shogun could snap his or her fingers and raise an army of several thousand armed citizens. What’s the federal government going to do about that? However, this is not what discourages riots in Arizona.
While our police forces here are heavily-militarized, there is a flip side to this coin. The state and state politicians have made it possible for the citizenry themselves to be generously armed, carry those arms, and use them in self-defense. The Warlord of Phoenix and the shogun cannot be everywhere at once, but armed citizens can be and will be. What’s more, the weaponry available to citizens here would boggle the minds of the citizens of “progressive” states. Go into an Arizona gun shop that is a Class 3 weapons dealer. You will see M-60 machine guns. You will see M2 Browning .50 caliber heavy machine guns. Submachine guns of every flavor. Many of these gun shops will even help you fill out and submit the federal paperwork. Semi-automatic rifles are quite common. You can carry them loaded in your vehicle and many people do. No permit is required to carry a loaded firearm here for self-defense, either concealed or open. Self-defense laws here are very generous. Basically, they’re “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws on steroids. This means if a riot started and rioters were trying to drag motorists from cars and assault them, they’d probably wind up getting themselves shot. If they tried to break into businesses to loot or torch the businesses, they’d be met with gunfire.
This is the real reason we don’t have huge riots here with blocks of businesses reduced to smoking heaps of rubble. It isn’t Sheriff Joe, his tanks, or the governor. It’s the individual armed citizen. People here work hard to build businesses. They put their lives into them and they’re not going to step aside and let someone torch their dreams in an agitator-sponsored temper tantrum and looting-fest masquerading as “outrage”. People here defend themselves, have the weapons to do so, and laws that make it possible. Rioters might make it past the Warlord of Phoenix, if they’re lucky. They might defy the Shogun of Arizona. But they will not make it past the armed citizens defending their homes and businesses. Everyone here knows this. They know a huge riot would become a mass suicide mission for the rioters. Protests happen and everyone is fine with that. But everyone knows there is a line that cannot be crossed—or else. Because it will not be tolerated and people won’t cower and wait for the government to save them. They will save themselves.
Arizona is a different world. We’ve only been a state since 1912 and the Old West is still very much alive out here. Armed citizens are very common. No one pays any attention to it. People here don’t rely solely on the government to protect them because they know the government can’t. There are people here who live hours away from the nearest law enforcement authorities. A woman being stalked in this state isn’t just told “Well, maybe you should get a restraining order…” People also tell her, “Time to buy a gun and learn how to use it.”
It also isn’t that Arizona doesn’t care about Ferguson. It’s that, for the most part, we know the answer to those problems lies in one place: The free market. That’s why our businesses were open as usual. Protesting and rioting isn’t going to ever solve anything. All you’re doing is chasing out the businesses in your neighborhood and creating a “concrete desert” devoid of goods and services that you are now going to have to live in. Many of those businesses that burned will not be coming back. Even if they wanted to, they might not be able to obtain insurance to do so. Businesses that want to open there will not be able to obtain loans. The police might not be able to stop you from looting and burning businesses and you might think you got away with that. But the market can and will create consequences for your actions also. The answer isn’t burning down the businesses in your community, folks. The answer is opening your own. Destruction never solves anything but only causes yet more problems. Creating is what solves problems. That’s what the free market teaches and will be teaching.
So, police departments can buy all the tanks and military gear they want to. They aren’t what truly keeps the peace, as we see in Ferguson. What truly keeps the peace is the armed citizen.
The Best of Jack Perry
Jack Perry [send him mail] is an arrowmaker and writer who lives in the Four Corners area of the Southwestern United States. He has been a truck driver, a purchasing agent at a now-defunct renewable energy company (don’t even ask him about the “Green energy” scam), and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He spends his time practicing traditional archery, making arrows in the wilds of the Arizona high desert, and finding himself only mildly amused by the antics of the Great Father in Washington.
FBI Report Accidentally Exposes the
Severity of the Police State
A recently published FBI report accidentally proves that while the police claim cops face growing threats from rowdy populations–like in Ferguson–the opposite is true. The report presents law enforcement deaths in 2013.
The report found that across the entire country, only 76 LEOs were killed in “line-of-duty” incidents. 27 died as a result of “felonious” acts and 49 officers died in accidents–namely, automobile (ironically, of the 23 killed in car accidents, 14 were not wearing seat belts–a violation for which cops routinely ticket drivers). More officers die from accidents than actual murders on the job. The report also outright admits that intentional murders of cops were down from 2004 and 2009.
Further, 49,851 officers were assaulted–a statistic that seemingly proves police are at risk. 29.2%, or 14,556, were actually injured (an admittedly high number). Still, a suspect fact is that 79.8% of the time, “assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).” This means that in a vast majority of cases, there was no physical evidence that assault occurred (outside of potential bruises and cuts,but this information is not public). Punches and kicks can be damaging, but nowhere near firearms and knives, which constituted a very small percentage of “assaults.” The report also does not specify what constitutes an “injury,” making designations of injury potentially arbitrary and subjective.
This means that the common police tactic of misrepresenting scuffles and charging people with assault could be at work (such as when a cop squeezed the breast of an Occupy protester so hard he left a bruise and in the chaos, she accidentally elbowed a cop. She went to jail for “assaulting” an officer). Of course, it’s a possibility that all 49,851 officers were simply “doing their jobs,” but at the very least it is important to be skeptical.
But besides direct contradictions to the logic behind institutional myths of heroic cops and dangerous bad guys, what are the implications of this FBI report?
First, that police are schizophrenic in their belief that they are in danger (this fear is proven in therecent Ferguson protests and presence of the National Guard). The overzealous militarization of local cops is enough to prove that they might as well be hiding under blankies from the American populace in spite of the fact thatviolent crime has been dropping for decades.
However, considering how well cops are armed and how efficiently the justice system protects them from prosecution for their crimes, they prove to be paranoid. 27 police officers in a country with over 300 million people died last year. Law enforcement deaths-by-murder are included in the 49,851 “assaults” against officers, which means that .05 (half a percent) died as a result of alleged attacks. Crime against cops has dropped to a 50 year low. It’s more dangerous to drive a car than be a cop (this is bolstered by the fact that the number of cops who died in car accidents almost equals the total number of cops murdered–23 to 27).
Second, militarization is working for the police. It is not working for the rest of us. Though there is little reliable, official data about the number of people police kill every year, tenuous reports claim it is around 400. This is already almost 15 times more than police who are intentionally killed. However, the 400 figure is a result of 17,000 local police agencies being allowed to self-report. The numbers could be far higher.
As Tech Dirt said of a 2008 FBI report that found cops had killed 391 people in 2007:
“That count only includes homicides that occurred during the commission of a felony. This total doesn’t include justifiable homicides committed by police officers against people not committing felonies and also doesn’t include homicides found to be not justifiable. But still, this severe undercount far outpaces the number of cops killed by civilians.”
The number of “justifiable” homocides was on the rise in 2008 (to be fair, it was rising among private citizens as well) in spite of the inconvenient fact that overall crime has been declining.
Unfortunately, the most important implication of the FBI report is the simple fact that the report exists. When the FBI takes the time to construct a meticulous report (you can read more detailshere) of all the ways that a tiny percentage of cops were killed–but cannot be bothered to officially count civilian deaths at the hands of cops, the reality is obvious:
The governemnt places a higher priority on their own than on the lives of those they claim to “serve,” “protect,” and “work for.” It cares more about exonerating the police of their crimes than providing justice to those they abuse. There is no justice when the criminal is the cop.
Carey Wedler writes for TheAntiMedia.org where this article first appeared. You can also find more of her work at her blog InRogue.co