* JEFFERY TUCKER MAKES THE CASE AGAINST THE FEDERAL RESERVE
In the video below, Austrian economist, Jeffrey Tucker, founder of Laissez Faire books, talks with RT’s Lauren Lyster. Several free-market related topics are discussed, including: central banks, minimum wages, and interest rates. Worth watching:
* FEDERAL RESERVE CONTINUES SHADOW BAILOUT OF BANKING INDUSTRY – $947 BILLION OF OVERPAID AND LOW DEMAND MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES SIT ON THE MASSIVE $2.8 TRILLION FED BALANCE SHEET. THE PRICE OF THIS HIDDEN BAILOUT WILL HIT ALL AMERICANS
The Federal Reserve continues a secretive bailout of the banking system by purchasing more and more questionable mortgage backed securities. You would think that $1 trillion would catch the attention of the media but they seemed focus on other trivial items. The Fed balance sheet is still at record levels above $2.8 trillion to be exact, but the more troubling aspect of all of this is the amount of mortgage backed securities they have purchased. They continue to hoard toxic commercial real estate loans and a massive amount of residential mortgage backed securities. How much? The Fed now holds over $947 billion in mortgage backed securities. Keep in mind that prior to this financial crisis the Fed rarely held anything else except quality paper on its balance sheet. Yet this is the cost of the shadow financial bailout. […]
* OLD MORTGAGES RISE FROM THE DEAD, HAUNT HOMEOWNERS
By Michelle Conlin, Rueters
[…] Diane Thompson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, says she has defended hundreds of foreclosure cases, and in nearly all of them, the homeowner was not in default. “The record-keeping on the part of the mortgage servicers is not to be trusted.”
The problems grew from a lot of sloppy recordkeeping that began during the housing boom, when Wall Street built a quick-and-dirty back-office operation to process mortgages quickly so lenders could sell as many loans as possible. As the loans were later sold to investors, and then resold around the world, the back office system sidestepped crucial legal procedures.
Now it’s becoming clear just how dysfunctional and, according to several state attorneys general, how fraudulent the whole system was.
Depositions from “affidavit slaves” depict a surreal, assembly-line world in which the banks and their partner firms hired hair stylists, fast-food kids and Wal-Mart floor workers, paying them $10 an hour, to pose as bank vice presidents, assistant secretaries and corporate attorneys.
These “robosigners” became a national sensation in the fall of 2010 when it was revealed that they faked titles, forged documents and backdated affidavits so they could make up for the bypassed procedures and foreclose on properties.
They passed around notary stamps as if they were salt. They did all of this, they testified, without verifying a single word in any of the documents – as is required by law.
And it was all done, they say, to foreclose on as many homeowners as fast as possible. […]
* WHO KILLED THE MONEY PRINTER?
Friday’s NFP number brought us some altogether unprecedented BS from the BLS. Much has already been said about the filthy stench emanating from these “data points”, so I will just review the most important points here. First thing to note is that squeezing a record 1.2 million people out of the “labor force”(people who don’t waste time looking for jobs that don’t exist) is apparently a sure fire way to get the headline unemployment rate down to only 8.3% […]
READ and CHARTS @ http://theautomaticearth.org/Finance/who-killed-the-money-printer.html
* THERE ARE NO JOBS IN CHICAGO – VIDEO
People standing outside for hours in 10 degree weather in hopes of getting a job …
* COMMUTERS CAN’T MISS THE MILLIONAIRES TAX OF 2012!
Freeway blogging! This morning at 8 freeway overpass locations all over California volunteers held giant signs touting the Millionaires Tax of 2012. This included Richmond (seen below) through which hundreds of thousands of commuters pass on their way into San Francisco.
Media from all over the state, including ABC News, have covered the banners and the powerful message behind them: Our tax code needs to reflect the interests of middle-class Californians, not the special interests of corporate CEOs and their lobbyists. Now is the time to revamp our tax code here in California so it’s fair to the 99% of us who play by the rules, not just the 1% who lobby hard and re-write the rules. […]
* THE GREAT DIVERGENCE
By Timothy Noah, Slate
Part One: Introducing the Great Divergence
In 1915, a statistician at the University of Wisconsin named Willford I. King published The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. The United States was displacing Great Britain as the world’s wealthiest nation, but detailed information about its economy was not yet readily available; the federal government wouldn’t start collecting such data in any systematic way until the 1930s. One of King’s purposes was to reassure the public that all Americans were sharing in the country’s newfound wealth.
King was somewhat troubled to find that the richest 1 percent possessed about 15 percent of the nation’s income. (A more authoritative subsequent calculation puts the figure slightly higher, at about 18 percent.1)
This was the era in which the accumulated wealth of America’s richest families—the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, the Carnegies—helped prompt creation of the modern income tax, lest disparities in wealth turn the United States into a European-style aristocracy. The socialist movement was at its historic peak, a wave of anarchist bombings was terrorizing the nation’s industrialists, and President Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, Alexander Palmer, would soon stage brutal raids on radicals of every stripe. In American history, there has never been a time when class warfare seemed more imminent.
That was when the richest 1 percent accounted for 18 percent of the nation’s income. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income. What caused this to happen? […]
* INDEPENDENT REPORT CONTRADICTS WESTERN PORTRAIT OF SYRIA
Source: Washington’s Blog
ARAB LEAGUE REPORT SHOWS THAT SYRIA HAS BEEN MISCHARACTERIZED
[…] Perhaps most importantly, the report notes that the Syrian people do not want foreign intervention:
However, the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire.
The report condemns violence by both sides, but stresses that much of the violence has been perpetrated by the rebels against government forces:
In Homs and Dera‘a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.
In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.
Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free
Syrian Army [the main opposition group] and some by other armed opposition groups. […]
* EXPOSED: THE ARAB AGENDA IN SYRIA
By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times
[…] The Arab League’s Ministerial Committee had approved the report, with four votes in favor (Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and GCC member Oman) and only one against; guess who, Qatar – which is now presiding the Arab League because the emirate bought their (rotating) turn from the Palestinian Authority.
|So the report was either ignored (by Western corporate media) or mercilessly destroyed – by Arab media, virtually all of it financed by either the House of Saud or Qatar. It was not even discussed – because it was prevented by the GCC from being translated from Arabic into English and published in the Arab League’s website.Until it was leaked. Here it is, in full.The report is adamant. There was no organized, lethal repression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report points to shady armed gangs as responsible for hundreds of deaths among Syrian civilians, and over one thousand among the Syrian army, using lethal tactics such as bombing of civilian buses, bombing of trains carrying diesel oil, bombing of police buses and bombing of bridges and pipelines.Once again, the official NATOGCC version of Syria is of a popular uprising smashed by bullets and tanks. Instead, BRICS members Russia and China, and large swathes of the developing world see it as the Syrian government fighting heavily armed foreign mercenaries. The report largely confirms these suspicions.
The Syrian National Council is essentially a Muslim Brotherhood outfit affiliated with both the House of Saud and Qatar – with an uneasy Israel quietly supporting it in the background. Legitimacy is not exactly its cup of green tea. As for the Free Syrian Army, it does have its defectors, and well-meaning opponents of the Assad regime, but most of all is infested with these foreign mercenaries weaponized by the GCC, especially Salafist gangs.
Still NATOGCC, blocked from applying in Syria its one-size-fits-all model of promoting “democracy” by bombing a country and getting rid of the proverbial evil dictator, won’t be deterred. GCC leaders House of Saud and Qatar bluntly dismissed their own report and went straight to the meat of the matter; impose a NATOGCC regime change via the UN Security Council. […]
* LEBANON: ISRAELI ARMS TO SYRIAN REBELS, U.S. DRONE BASE TO FOLLOW?
[…] We hear from retired Lebanese general Amin Khteit.
“The opening of the airport is officially motivated by economic reasons as well as by the needs of the tourist industry and local residents. But it seems that other reasons are behind it. For example, Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the opposition Syrian National Council, ordered a special plane with medicaments to Beirut, as it was reported, for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“But there is no need for Syrians in Lebanon to order medicaments aboard. In fact there are proven reports that that plane delivered Israeli weapons which later were sent to the insurgents in Syria. That is why there are grounds to assume that the airport in the north of Lebanon will become a transshipment base to supply weapons to Syrian insurgents. I suppose there is also an agreement with Lebanese officials on the establishment of a US military base in this district.”
If the US settles down in the Kleyate district there will be many variants in using the airport. One of the most probable variants is that it will become a base for US drones, the chief editor of the military review journal Independent Viktor Litovkin says:
“Such an airdrome is quite suitable to become a base for drones. Of course, there are different types of drones and some of them don’t even require any special conditions. In this particular case everything will depend on the tasks set for the flying vehicles.” […]
* IRAN: A MANUFACTURED THREAT
By Stephen Lendman
Iran attacked no other country in over 200 years. It threatens none now. It’s neighbors know it. So do Washington and Israel.
Nonetheless, saber rattling warnings continue. At issue is making an independent state a client one. It’s why Washington orchestrated Syria’s insurgency and continues anti-Iranian propaganda.
Tehran won’t tolerate losing its sovereignty, nor should it. It suffered a generation of repression under Washington’s installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi after the CIA’s first ever coup ousted democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh.
It also knows how America and Israel reign terror throughout the region. As a result, it’s prepared to defend itself if attacked.
America’s business is war, permanent war for unchallenged global dominance. Post-9/11, multiple ones raged and continue. Ordinary people want them stopped.
On February 4, dozens of anti-war organizations held a “Day of Mass Action to Stop a US War on Iran.” Among others, The World Can’t Wait announced it headlining, “NO war! NO sanctions! No intervention! No Assassinations.” […]
* U.S. IRAN POLICY IN ‘LOCKSTEP’ WITH ISRAEL? PRESIDENT OBAMA RISKS BECOMING A MAJOR-LEAGUE WAR CRIMINAL
By Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening
It’s a relief to know that President Obama’s “preferred” solution to dealing with disagreements with Iran is diplomacy, as he said yesterday in an interview on NBC TV, but at the same time, it’s profoundly disturbing that he is simultaneously saying that, as an AP report on the interview put it: he would “not take options off the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
Equally disturbing are the president’s mutually contradictory statements that, on the one hand, he feels that “Any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us,” and that on the other, he will “make sure that we work in lockstep” with Israel in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program.
Lockstep? With Israel? […]
* TOP OFFICIAL: DRONE CRITICS ARE AL QAEDA ENABLERS
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon
The New York Times‘ Scott Shane reported this morning on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism study I wrote about yesterday, detailing that the U.S. drone program, as the NYT put it, “repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of a strike, as well as mourners at subsequent funerals.” Shane’s article contains this paragraph:
A senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, questioned the report’s findings, saying “targeting decisions are the product of intensive intelligence collection and observation.” The official added: “One must wonder why an effort that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to kill civilians has been subjected to so much misinformation. Let’s be under no illusions — there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed.”