What a sorry state of affairs...! Just look at this grab-bag of shit...!
Looting Frenzies: Thinking about the Federal Reserve while Nursing a Cheap Beer
The Federal Reserve used to tell us how many dollars were in circulation, but in March of 2006, it stopped. A sane man would deduce that it wanted to hide how much inflation it was generating, but, no, this sudden opacity was merely a cost cutting measure, so explained the Fed, the profligate, money pumping Fed.
To grasp immediately how much your dollar has depreciated, look no further than the price of gold. In 1982, an ounce was less than $500. Now it has breached $1,800. Surging gold price also indicates that people are losing faith in their economic, political and social system, and that they fear the immediate future. When gold shoots up, this house is coming down. Wander into any Vietnamese or Cambodian neighborhood, you’ll see an inordinate number of jewelry stores selling gold. People who have been traumatized by war and dictatorship don’t trust in banks or even money, but only gold to help them survive any societal upheaval.
So if the dollar is sinking, why accumulate it? First off, foreign governments must have dollars to buy oil, since no country can sell petroleum for anything but the dollar. The only renegades to this rule are Iran and Venezuela. Accepting Chinese yuans for oil, they have constantly been threatened by Washington. If euros, yens, yuans or rubles were generally accepted for oil, the United States would quickly become irrelevant and no one would have to send us real products for our increasingly worthless paper.
This petro dollar arrangement is enforced by the U.S. military. As Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi have found out, America will rain bombs on your people’s heads if you try to escape from this racket. Gaddafi wanted to nationalize Libya’s oil fields. He also proposed a common currency for Africa. In their trade with each other, African countries could then be free from the tyranny of the dollar, but such insolence could not go unpunished. America will hold a gun to your head to make sure you go on biting its bucks.
but wait, there's more...
how interesting that THIS story never made any real headlines until AFTER the credit rating cut...
U.S. Inquiry Eyes S.& P. Ratings of Mortgages
The Justice Department is investigating whether the nation’s largest credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to two people interviewed by the government and another briefed on such interviews.
The investigation began before Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ AAA credit rating this month, but it is likely to add fuel to the political firestorm that has surrounded that action. Lawmakers and some administration officials have since questioned the agency’s secretive process, its credibility and the competence of its analysts, claiming to have found an error in its debt calculations.
matt taibbi talks about the whitewashing of the records of criminals...
Is The SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
Imagine a world in which a man who is repeatedly investigated for a string of serious crimes, but never prosecuted, has his slate wiped clean every time the cops fail to make a case. No more Lifetime channel specials where the murderer is unveiled after police stumble upon past intrigues in some old file – "Hey, chief, didja know this guy had two wives die falling down the stairs?" No more burglary sprees cracked when some sharp cop sees the same name pop up in one too many witness statements. This is a different world, one far friendlier to lawbreakers, where even the suspicion of wrongdoing gets wiped from the record.
That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – "18,000 ... including Madoff," as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – has apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history.
meanwhile, in the uk...
The stench of a police state
The events of the last 12 days are a warning to the working class in Britain and internationally. The state repression and right-wing hysteria unleashed in response to youth rioting in London and other cities reveal the preparations of the ruling class for police-state forms of rule.
The riots were triggered by the police execution of Mark Duggan, a black 29-year-old father of four, in Tottenham, north London on August 4, followed by an unprovoked police assault on a peaceful protest over his killing two days later. Almost a fortnight later, no officer has been identified, let alone charged, for these crimes.
Instead, the political elites who sanctioned the looting of public funds to bail out the banks and the super-rich, and who covered up the illegal phone hacking of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, have sought to whip up a lynch mob atmosphere against the “criminality” and “immorality” of working class youth.
Cheered on by the Labour Party, Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative-Liberal Democrat government have organized vicious state repression, authorizing the use of water cannons and plastic bullets and the possible use of the army against further social unrest.
Basic democratic rights have been thrown to the winds. The presumption of innocence has been jettisoned as police carry out mass arrests, with those detained subject to show trials presided over by courts acting directly at the behest of the authorities.
Some 3,000 people, the majority aged between 16 and 24, have been rounded up in sweeps across the capital and elsewhere, with police battering down the doors of people’s homes for what are, in the main, petty misdemeanours. The names and photographs of people not even charged with any offence—let alone found guilty—are broadcast daily by the media. Juvenile defendants, some as young as 11, have been stripped of their right to anonymity.
naomi klein with more on the uk offers a very perceptive comparison to argentina...
Looting With The Lights On
Argentina, circa 2001. The economy was in freefall and thousands of people living in rough neighbourhoods (which had been thriving manufacturing zones before the neoliberal era) stormed foreign-owned superstores. They came out pushing shopping carts overflowing with the goods they could no longer afford – clothes, electronics, meat. The government called a "state of siege" to restore order; the people didn't like that and overthrew the government.
Argentina's mass looting was called el saqueo – the sacking. That was politically significant because it was the very same word used to describe what that country's elites had done by selling off the country's national assets in flagrantly corrupt privatisation deals, hiding their money offshore, then passing on the bill to the people with a brutal austerity package. Argentines understood that the saqueo of the shopping centres would not have happened without the bigger saqueo of the country, and that the real gangsters were the ones in charge. But England is not Latin America, and its riots are not political, or so we keep hearing. They are just about lawless kids taking advantage of a situation to take what isn't theirs. And British society, Cameron tells us, abhors that kind of behaviour.
This is said in all seriousness. As if the massive bank bailouts never happened, followed by the defiant record bonuses. Followed by the emergency G8 and G20 meetings, when the leaders decided, collectively, not to do anything to punish the bankers for any of this, nor to do anything serious to prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Instead they would all go home to their respective countries and force sacrifices on the most vulnerable. They would do this by firing public sector workers, scapegoating teachers, closing libraries, upping tuition fees, rolling back union contracts, creating rush privatisations of public assets and decreasing pensions – mix the cocktail for where you live. And who is on television lecturing about the need to give up these "entitlements"? The bankers and hedge-fund managers, of course.
This is the global saqueo, a time of great taking. Fuelled by a pathological sense of entitlement, this looting has all been done with the lights on, as if there was nothing at all to hide. There are some nagging fears, however. In early July, the Wall Street Journal, citing a new poll, reported that 94% of millionaires were afraid of "violence in the streets". This, it turns out, was a reasonable fear.
Of course London's riots weren't a political protest. But the people committing night-time robbery sure as hell know that their elites have been committing daytime robbery. Saqueos are contagious. The Tories are right when they say the rioting is not about the cuts. But it has a great deal to do with what those cuts represent: being cut off. Locked away in a ballooning underclass with the few escape routes previously offered – a union job, a good affordable education – being rapidly sealed off. The cuts are a message. They are saying to whole sectors of society: you are stuck where you are, much like the migrants and refugees we turn away at our increasingly fortressed borders.
Cameron's response to the riots is to make this locking-out literal: evictions from public housing, threats to cut off communication tools and outrageous jail terms (five months to a woman for receiving a stolen pair of shorts). The message is once again being sent: disappear, and do it quietly.
before i sign off on this post, let's turn back to the u.s. and yet another (god save us all) shit-kickin' texan, governor goodhair (with deep thanks to the late molly ivins)...
Perry Reveals Plan for Total US Anarchy
Today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) issued the first policy position of his presidential campaign by asking the White House to issue a “moratorium on regulations across this country”:We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America..
i simply can't describe the sinking feeling i get reading this kind of news... and, believe me, it's not made one whit easier reading it from here in kabul...
today's a day off (afghan holiday) and i'm kicking back and looking forward to going out to dinner this evening with a good afghan friend and his lovely wife... it'll be a nice break...
Labels: 2012 election, Argentina 2001 economic collapse, bank fraud, credit rating agencies, Department of Justice, Disaster Capitalism, Molly Ivins, Mortgage Lenders, nutcases, Rick Perry, SEC, UK riotsSubmit To Propeller