Thursday, April 21, 2016

$15 Minimum Wage is Not the Answer

While I got this image from a Bernie Sanders post on Facebook, I 100% disagree with his stance on the minimum wage issue.

Raising the minimum wage will cause inflation and will cause small businesses to fold because they can't afford to double their prices to pay their employees. No the answer is a maximum wage cap. Too much money is being funneled to the top of the pyramid. We don't re-balance by putting more money on the bottom of the pyramid... We simply don't need our economy to have unfettered exponential growth forever. We need people to stop being so greedy. Megalomaniacs have been in control for far too long. We don't take them down by demanding larger crumbs...

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Elections Don't Mean Much Unless You Hire Lobbyists

I don't know anything about or their plan, but clearly we agree that legalized corruption is the single biggest problem in the world. 

FACT: Congress votes how lobbyists tell them to

Saturday, December 27, 2014

You Certainly Can't Eat a Credit Default Swap

Correlation does not equal causation. However... It is a fact that the vast majority of our world's gold reserves are owned by governments, central banks, and the ultra-rich. The price of gold over the past 40 years coincides with some very interesting events. You've heard the term "you can't eat gold", implying that its practical value to the everyday man is low? Well... For about 40 years after the Great Depression, the price of gold was pinned to the price of the dollar. Gold cost $35 per ounce. About 40 years ago, the Bretton Woods Agreement was dismantled, and the price of gold was "unpinned" from the dollar. Shortly after Reagan took office, the price of gold rose to $600 per ounce. That's a 1700% increase in a commodity that sat stable for the previous 40 years. 

If you haven't heard the term "profit-taking", that's when people sell commodities because their margins are ridiculously good and they're about to become seriously rich. Gold sat stable at $400 per ounce with some small fluctuations until the latter years of the Clinton administration. Since 2001, its trend has mimicked the same general behavior as it did about 40 years prior. And now it appears to be more or less stabilizing at $1,200 per ounce. Only a 300% increase in the average price this time, and it took longer to unfold. But this is based off of a previous 1700% increase just 40 years prior... So in about a 40 year span, we're talking about close to 4000% increase in the price of an actual physical measurable substance that is owned mostly by governments and banks. 

This below goes from 1800 through 2013. For some perspective. The Y scale is represented logarithmically so that you can actually see the few changes between 1800 and 1970, and you don't have to spend too much time scrolling from the top to the bottom like you might if it were linear like the graph above. The correlation here is between the inequality of wealth and the price of gold. Specific events have occurred which, through profit-taking, allowed a very few people and a very few nations to acquire previously unimaginably vast sums of wealth. This new wealth has been used to fuel a derivatives market that has ballooned to about $600 trillion in total "worth". Control of and benefit from that money is concentrated in the hands of a very few investment firms, banks, and governments. The actual inequality of wealth between the "powers that be" and "you and me" has grown exponentially and really unfathomably... 

The manipulation that has allowed this was first of the gold market, and now of the derivatives market. Here's the best part... the value of the derivatives market is called its "notional value". That it has any value at all is only a notion (it's literally imaginary). Since 2007 there has been $300 TRILLION imagined into existence by people buying insurance policies against other people's loans or some such bullshit. The "credit exposure" is the amount of this imaginary $600T that has been extended to a borrower by a lender. So there's about $30 trillion worth of money that people have imagined into existence and then loaned to someone else. As you can see, most of the notional value is tied up in interest rates... 

It's still true that correlation doesn't equal causation and one possibility is that all of this has come to be due to coincidence and mismanagement. But I think we can all agree that there is a lot of truth to the saying "money makes the world go round". So... the important question is... what makes the money go around? And it would be damned interesting to know who made out in profit-taking on Gold in 1980 and 2011...

Consume Misinformation in the Wake of Violence

[was written in April of 2013 but not published]

I'm sure that at least some of us watching the news on the seemingly senseless and as of yet completely unsolved Boston Marathon bombing atrocity and the supposedly unrelated simultaneous JFK Library fire knew that something was fishy... Hours after a public bombing... and no organization has claimed responsibility and no one has been caught. And the bombing--no wait--fire--no... bombing--no it was just a fire, we're sure--... yeah that is unrelated.

UNRELATED? Seriously?? I mean I know fires sometime do just happen... But this was a few minutes apart. And the fire was officially caused by a bomb or incendiary device, so it was no accident. My first job out of audio engineering school happened to be at the Presidential Archives in the JFK Library. I showed them how to use Cool Edit Pro to apply noise reduction and other audio forensics on classified presidential audio recordings. The fire was located in the aforementioned archives, which are quite large and contain many classified documents and other media from various federal agencies.  But this is unrelated? I'm sorry but I call bullshit.

The FBI is there running the show, MA State Police, Boston, Revere, Malden, and other local cops are there, even the Secret Service is already on the scene. Trust me this is not just the local cops (who, in Boston, are no joke) that got fooled here. Security for this event had been planned for months by people who know what they are doing...

Are you telling me that the surveillance cameras already in Boston got nothing from the area? And the security at the JFK Library got nothing? And that the aforementioned law enforcement agencies don't each have teams of analysts and interns pouring through footage? And they haven't found a thing...

Given the variables involved here... the devices may have been crude but my gut tells me this was not just some emotionally fucked up lone-perpetrator operation. This having been said, please view the following piece of misinformation:

Dan Bidondi is probably correct that this was a false flag operation. But he didn't do anyone any justice by asking the question like that. He comes off as combative and ridiculous. The presentation is simply awful. Deval Patrick waited for him to finish his incoherent question and then said "No. Next question." Perfect answer, by the way. And Bidondi presents himself (and by extension anyone who thinks there could be such a thing as a false flag attack on American citizens) as unreasonable, nonsensical, and daft. In fact, there is long documented history showing that False Flag attacks and tactics have been practices by American law-enforcement agencies for hundreds of years, and more recently it has become increasingly commonplace.

What I wished had been asked, with a calm and even tone no matter how awesome the local Boston dialectic accent: "What exactly happened at the JFK Library? What caused the fire? What is in the library archives that the fire was near? Was anything damaged? Do we know who did it, and what they may have been targeting?"

Whether or not you believe in any sort or conspiracy about anything--the facts are that many classified documents related to the JFK assassination are located in the those archives. These documents (if they have not been destroyed or meddled with) are due to be declassified on Dec 31 of this year, it being 50 years after these documents were classified, pursuant to Executive Order 13526.

Connecting the dots is something people are too afraid to do for fear of the most simple and rational explanation being correct. They'd rather wait for an "official" story and believe it no matter how implausible it may seem. So Bostonians are simply waiting. Our local new is fixated on describing the violence in as much brutal detail as possible, and have little to no actual information on what happened. We found ourselves in the same situation 12 years ago when building 7 caught fire. Who cares about building 7 when dozens of people are dying at this instant, and my sister is probably stuck on the subway without power? And seriously, who cares about the library when an 8 year old boy has died, much less when he's one of three and dozens of people (some of who were friends of close friends of mine) lost limbs and almost 200 people injured? No one.

FOIA request against private Kennedy docs held at JFK Library in Feb 2013 goes to court.

JFK Library reports a few "artifact storage rooms" had water damage.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

There Actually is an Independent US Senator

There is a US Senator who isn't a member of either of the two major parties... Bernie Sanders from Vermont. He's the 1%--of the Senate who is not a Democrat or Republican. Here's what he has to say to the other 99%:

“The Wall Street leaders whose recklessness and illegal behavior caused this terrible recession are now lecturing the American people on the need for courage to deal with the nation’s finances and deficit crisis. Before telling us why we should cut Social Security, Medicare and other vitally important programs, these CEOs might want to take a hard look at their responsibility for causing the deficit and this terrible recession.”

“Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes. They might work to end the outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions that their lobbyists have littered throughout the tax code - contributing greatly to our deficit.”

If the outcome of the state ballot questions for Montana (very red state, voted in an anti-corporate initiative with 75% support) and Colorado (blue state, voted in an anti-corporate initiative with 74% support) are any indication, Sanders' opinion would ring true with over 70% support amongst the voting population.
  1. Colorado Corporate Contributions Amendment Results
There were also MANY local non-binding ballot questions regarding overturning Citizens United. About 75 to 80% in favor of overturning. The time is right to support candidates free from corporate ties and to support pro-people initiatives on local, state, and federal ballots.

Have any of the other 99 US Senators will dared speak this way about their masters? Probably... Will any of them do something about it? If they want to keep getting elected, they'd better.

Will it really do any good? Well, it can't hurt. But it will probably not help as much as it should. Because enough people in positions of power are corrupt...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More inequality facts

If you don't vote, you don't get an opinion.

To those who would make the argument that if someone doesn't vote, they don't get to complain about politics. Ok, if that's true... When a person does vote, you can't cut them off in the middle of their argument and go on to the next talking point. You actually have to listen. Is the other person repeating the talking points that are opposed to the ones you have heard and internalized, from either side of the pro-establishment corporate media? Or is this person talking to you saying something different altogether? Perhaps responding with your memorized talking points aimed at disarming their memorized talking points is not the best come-back... And more importantly, you will refuse to let the media that is owned and operated by the same banks and corporations that own and operate our government and our political system steer you towards the candidates that they themselves have preselected by blocking other perfectly legitimate candidates from the debates. We cannot continue to allow our country to be run like this any longer...

You keep voting for the people who are doing this...

We keep electing Democrats and Republicans, despite the fact that this is what they are doing... 

Still looking for data that goes up through 2012. The growth rate of this inequality is exponential. The income of the top .01% is now growing faster than the rest of us at the rate of hundreds of percentage points.

Found this from 2010:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Average CEO Salary 380 Times That of Worker.

The bigger a company gets, for the most part, the more their CEO will make in comparison to the average worker. While it is good for companies to look for this sort of profit per unit of work ratio on their own ledger sheets, when C-suite salaries are all in 7-figures that's probably a good place to stop... There comes a point where a corporations' continued growth and prosperity ought not to be funneled at even higher and higher concentrations to those on the top.

I mean sure, your company makes 25 billion dollars per year, the CEO should be entitled to at least 25 million, right? sure, why not, capitalism rah rah and all that. but if you are going to take that 25 million and have the average salary at your company come in at a whopping 75K per year, not to mention off-shore labor at $2.25 a day... well you sir or madam, are being rather selfish...

Even the corporate media are talking about it... Though they're careful never to bite the hand that feeds them..

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Root Cause Analysis

Issue: Excess and Inequality.

Many people who claim to care are focused on what is being done by Democrats and Republicans and in agonizing over the distinctions between the two... But we've come to the point where no one can deny that the ultra-rich have both parties in their pockets. This is not opinion or some conspiracy theory. The Supreme Court has allowed it to be so. Both parties--and indeed the very laws that they create--are now unquestionably steered by the hands of extreme wealth and power. Which one of them wins elections for local, state or federal government elected offices does not alter the overall direction of things. It really hasn't for quite some time.

Root Cause: The root of the problem is the desire to be ultra-rich. This is a common thread amongst people who are power-hungry and greedy, and it's really more of a sociopathic mental illness than a problem with government in essence.

Resolution: The issue remains unresolved. In fact, income inequality is getting really out of control in a serious way, and fast. The issue continues to worsen despite the already observed economic and environmental consequences because the vast majority of the population willfully allows sociopaths who horde wealth and power to make decisions for all of our futures in their own best interests.

Corrective Action: Properly fixing the issue will take years of willful determination by the vast majority of the public. A good start would be to first wake up at least half of the population who should be livid but are instead caught up in social programming which tells them not to rock the boat. A reasonable next step after that is complete would be revert effective tax rates and campaign funding limitations to what were in effect prior to the Reagan era.

At some point we will probably want to insert some filters into our social system that will weed out individuals who show signs of being greedy and power-hungry and attempt to treat this horrible social disorder.

Excess and inequality cannot be allowed to further degrade the state of our world.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Are you filthy rich, or honestly rich?

I have nothing against someone who has an overabundance of money. I have everything against someone who obtains an overabundance of money at the expense of others via corruption, dishonesty, and selfish intentions.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Let's get something clear here: Democrats and Republicans are both the parties of the upper class. Their voting records prove that beyond any shadow of a doubt. They both are owned by the upper class and constitute one half of the powers that be (owners of central banks, mass media conglomerates, energy conglomerates, the military industrial complex, etc., etc., etc.). The goal of each party in the long run is to make sure that at least 25% of the nation hates them and will vote for the other so they don't win. In this way the upper class has maintained control of the government for hundreds of years with only a 50% voting rate. and some don't vote because we realize that you cannot win unless you vote democrat or republican. if you want to "acknowledge" class warfare, then sure, vote for the upper class... but to go so far as to actually end class warfare, you simply cannot vote for democrats or republicans. they are waging class warfare against those who are not super-rich like their owners are.

Controlled Opposition Can't Fight Honesty and Forthrightness

If history is any indicator, i think it's reasonable to believe that the occupy movements have been infiltrated by counter-insurgents, agent provacateurs, however you want to say it. Having been a close observer on the inside of the Green Party in 2000, I can confirm that counter-insurgents use the concept of "democracy" to dilute the substance of arguments with the process of consensus. So much so that at this point the "unofficial official demands of Occupy Wall Street" may not even be known amongst all the people who have been sleeping in tents in the cold to prove a point. I'm not there, so i guess i really don't know... but to me, it's the point that is the important part.

The point is that honesty, forthrightness, forethought, and respect for the long-term sustainability of our culture (and i'm not talking natural resources, but actual society and culture here) are qualities we lack in our current system of government. In fact these things are not even just "lacking a little bit", they are nowhere to be found... If you scroll back through this blog's history you will see that I've been trying to make this point for years, sometimes indirectly and sometimes directly. The signs have been clear for a while.

Forget trying to pass laws... a system of laws that has already been usurped by the greedy and power-hungry cannot be fixed by passing laws.

To simply introduce the concept of forthrightness is a revolutionary act.
But it's the simple things like honesty and forthrightness that we need most in government right now. And there are far too few people in government--regardless of how much money they make or which corporate boards they sit on--that represent these basic qualities that we should demand of every public servant. And until this really is a movement of the 99%, a campaign slogan of "honesty and forthrightness first" won't get you too far...

I would estimate that currently most Americans either don't give a damn about about any of this beyond what they hear on the news and they would perceive that i am taking a contrary viewpoint to that of the dominant social order and call me a nut job and dismiss anything I say without any real consideration. and this is by design. Our system of education is a myth, our televisions are keeping us quite occupied, thank you, and our money system is a pyramid scheme which we all worship.

Not even a full 99% of us would need to realize this and act on it to right the ship... I think honestly, a vocal minority of 30 or 40% could do some real good! And we're not quite there yet. But at least there may be fewer of you these days that think I'm crazy for saying so...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Suggestion for an Internet Search

Try this one on for size: "occupy movement controlled opposition". You're going to find a lot of complete and utter BS, but buried in the hundreds and hundreds of articles, videos, and blog posts, you're going to find pretty compelling evidence that like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street (and elsewhere) started as a legitimate grass-roots movement but has been usurped and infiltrated by the establishment. Don't be surprised, they've been doing it for decades...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey Occupiers: Demand Repeal of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act!

I'm going to guess that 99% of the so-called 99% doesn't know what the Gramm-Leach-Blily Act is. Most people who haven't read the entire newspaper every day for the past 15 years probably don't either. I certainly hadn't heard of this act until recently... Like most legislation, we were all purposefully distracted towards other things when it was proposed and passed. Unless you watch C-SPAN on the regular or you are a banking/economics junkie, you just didn't hear about it. And if you did hear about it when it was passed in 1999, you might not have realized that it would be solely responsible for creating the worst financial crisis since the 30s. It overturns a law that was passed in 1933 (in the wake of the depression) and explicitly allows the same corporations to operate commercial banks, investment banks, and insurance companies. If we were to overturn this law and break up the companies that are "too big to fail", it would not fix the ridiculous inequality of wealth in the world today. But it would surely help to stabilize our economy.

Without clear demands, what good are protests, really?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy Yourself

Happy Sunday, folks. Hope this finds you well, which I know is still possible but less and less likely in earnest these days... The economic conditions are shrinking the middle-class and punishing the poor. What should be our right as sovereign beings (to purchase property, raise a family, take care of them and educate them) now requires at least two full-time incomes and a mountain of debt. our job in society, really, is to keep the money flowing. of course--money makes the world go round... well, money being nothing more than the issuing government's debt to the central bank ( | |, debt makes the money go round. i think most of us would be ok with the compromise of a great quality of life in exchange for participation in this system. however, the quality of life we should be receiving in exchange for our participation in the "money-is-debt" system has quickly eroded, while--as is now popular to note--1% of the world owns the overwhelming majority of the world's money. those who are less effective at creating large amounts debt (ironically, the poor) are being pushed out of the possibility of their right to experience a life of dignity and productivity.

Which brings us to the "product" in productivity. Money. In the 21st century--currency is a product. just like the businesses that compete to gain market share of any other product, the makers of currency (central banks) will have healthy competition in their market, and as we have seen, the larger banks will buy out the smaller ones and we will eventually end up with enough diversity in our banks to count on one hand. Governments will have little say in the matter, as they are beholden to the central bank to honor that the bonds that they print will be turned into money. America's history of bank-favored monetary policy is living proof of this truth. And this isn't an America-centric issue, of course. Take the Euro for example.

at some point, there was a deal or set of decisions amongst the owners of Europe's banks that all European countries will consolidate their debt and funnel it all to one central bank that would issue one currency... Public consent was manufactured by the mass-media, and this bank deal manifested itself as the European Union. central banks are are holding trillions of dollars of debt over all of the world governments' heads. so yes, democratic countries will have votes and the talking heads in the mainstream media will advise you to think one of two ways about it and there will be spirited debate amongst those in the world governments--those who are bought and sold by the same central banks. the medium for such debate and discussion will of course be the mainstream media, which is owned by the same corporations and banks that own our governments. The best part is, those who sit on the boards that oversee each of these central banks have been appointed only at the explicit approval of the bank itself (this is true, read the Federal Reserve Act or any other Central Bank's charter with the government(s) it does business with)... and in the end--the corporate merger on the currency market in Europe takes place, and the Euro is born.

we will probably see the same sort of thing happen all around the world, slowly. central banks, being companies like any other only dealing in currency and selling to governments, will compete with each other. the stronger companies will buy out the weaker ones (this is happening in droves in America right now) and in the end, you end up with one world currency. This is not some grand new world order conspiracy theory. it's the truth. it's already well under way. the evidence is all around us, hidden in plain sight.

the good news is that lately more people have recognized what's going on. we here are we are willing to fight, but can we be patient enough to win? i for one am hopeful... to stop the central banks from consolidating our governments and our currency thus dissolving our sovereignty as a free people, we have a few vital tasks to accomplish, none of which are tenable without a major commitment from a majority of the population. 1) end corporate personhood. 2) re-wrte the federal reserve act, give our government the power to issue currency without a central bank if the people so choose. 3) end corruption in government and big business.

yes, without all three, we more of less have no power to alter this course. even if we can muster the will and selflessness necessary to accomplish the first two, the third one is going to be tricky... people who seek the vast amounts of power afforded to the rulers of the world's great corporations, banks, and governments tend to be power-hungry, extremely intelligent, and highly successful. that's the profile of a diabolical genius if i ever heard of one... and while not everyone in power is a sociopath, there are certainly a fair amount of people that fit this profile. so you can see the terrible amount and the almost infinite degree of difficulty of the work ahead of us if we are going to stop this train from going down its current track.

and to make matters more complicated, in order to survive we MUST use means that do not involve derailing the train. the sad truth is we are all on this train of our own accord by participating in the money system. non-violence--even in the face of what the police have already done and what the army is likely to do when we continue the fight--is the only method that will work. and there are plenty of options for you to contribute positively that don't involve sit-ins or protests at all. making personal choices like buying local, participating in CSAs, investment in small-scale renewable energy and local energy cooperatives, getting involved in your local governments, and keeping your money and your debt in the hands of credit unions rather than banks--all of these things will help our society to push the train onto the right track.

stay hopeful. stay positive. be proactive. if we ever really do get 99% of Americans to get "down with the program," we will prevail.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Banking Legislation Passed 12/11/2009

HR 4173

This is just the summary... Passed without nary a word...


Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 - Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009

Directs the Comptroller General to audit and report to Congress on all actions taken by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) and the Federal Reserve Banks during the current economic crisis pursuant to specified authority granted under the Federal Reserve Act. Establishes a Financial Services Oversight Council, consisting of the heads of specified federal financial regulatory bodies and chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, to:

(1) resolve a dispute among two or more federal financial regulatory agencies in specified circumstances;

(2) subject a financial company to stricter prudential standards; and

(3) require a financial holding company to undertake one or more mitigatory actions to address any grave threat its activities pose to the financial stability or economy of the United States.

Directs the Federal Reserve Board to impose stricter prudential standards on a financial holding company in certain circumstances. Authorizes the Council to subject a financial activity or practice to stricter prudential standards for financial stability purposes. Amends the Home Owners' Loan Act to establish a Division of Thrift Supervision within the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Abolishes the Office of Thrift Supervision and transfers its functions and personnel to the Division. Amends the Revised Statutes of the United States to direct the Secretary to appoint up to five Deputy Comptrollers of the Currency, including a Senior Deputy Comptroller for National Banks and a Senior Deputy Comptroller for Thrift Supervision. Amends the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA) to place the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in lieu of the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision. Amends the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 to prescribe requirements for the treatment of industrial loan companies, savings associations, special purpose holding companies, and certain other companies. Prohibits certain conversions of troubled banks and thrifts. Amends the FDIA to revise requirements for calculating a depository institution's assessment.

Credit Risk Retention Act of 2009 - Amends the Securities Act of 1933 to direct the appropriate federal financial regulatory agencies to prescribe regulations to require any creditor to retain an economic interest in a material portion of the credit risk of any loan the creditor transfers, sells, or conveys to a third party, including for the purpose of including such loan in a pool of loans backing an issuance of asset-backed securities.

Dissolution Authority for Large, Interconnected Financial Companies Act of 2009 - Prescribes a procedure under which the Secretary shall appoint the FDIC as receiver for one year to resolve, liquidate, or take other specified emergency stabilization actions with respect to a financial company whose imminent or actual default would have serious adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States. Requires the FDIC Inspector General, if the Secretary appoints the FDIC as receiver for a financial company, to establish an Office of Resolution to audit and investigate the activities of the FDIC in its capacity as receiver for that company. Amends the Federal Reserve Act to prescribe requirements for financial crisis management actions by the Federal Reserve Board in the event of a liquidity event that could destabilize the U.S. financial system. Establishes a Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight. Amends the International Banking Act of 1978 to authorize the Federal Reserve Board to terminate the activities of the U.S. branch, agency, or subsidiary of a foreign bank that presents a systemic risk to the United States.

Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009 - Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require a separate, non-binding shareholder vote to approve the compensation, including golden parachute compensation, of corporate and financial institution executives. Requires each member of the compensation committee of the board of directors of an issuer of securities to be independent.

Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets Act of 2009 - Amends the Commodity Exchange Act to require joint regulation of swap markets by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Requires swap repositories, swap dealers, major swap participants, and swap execution facilities to register with the CFTC. Repeals the exemption from CFTC regulation of derivatives transaction execution facilities and boards of trade. Revises requirements for foreign boards of trade. Authorizes the CFTC and the SEC to ban:

(1) abusive swaps; and

(2) access to the U.S. financial system of any entity domiciled in a foreign country whose regulation of swaps or security-based swaps markets in that country undermines the stability of the U.S. financial system.

Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to repeal the prohibition on regulation of security-based swaps and applies specified requirements to such swaps.

Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 - Establishes the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as an independent agency to regulate the provision of consumer financial products or services. Prescribes related requirements for examination and enforcement for small insured depository institutions (with total assets of $10 billion or less) by the FDIC and credit unions (with total assets of $1.5 billion or less) by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Directs the CFPA to develop risk-based programs to supervise nondepository covered persons. Authorizes the CFPA to take actions to prohibit unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices in connection with any transaction with a consumer for, or any offering of, a consumer financial product or service. Specifies prohibited acts. Requires the CFPA Director to lead a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee to promulgate appraisal independence requirements for residential loan purposes. Specifies the preservation of the civil enforcement powers of state attorneys general. Prescribes standards for federal preemption of state law regarding national banks and subsidiaries and federal savings associations. Specifies CFPA enforcement powers. Transfers to the CFPA the consumer financial protection functions of the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the FDIC, the Federal Trade Commission, the NCUA, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Prescribes requirements for the collection and use by the CFPA of deposit account and small business data. Requires the CFPA Director to conduct an annual financial autopsy regarding bankruptcies and foreclosures, including any specific financial products or services that have caused substantial numbers of them.

Private Fund Investment Advisers Registration Act of 2009 - Amends the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to require private fund investment advisers to register with the SEC and maintain records and make reports on systemic risk data. Exempts venture capital fund advisers from the registration requirements. Directs the SEC to exempt from registration requirements any investment adviser of a private fund with assets under management in the United States of less than $150 million.

Accountability and Transparency in Rating Agencies Act of 2009 - Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to revise requirements for regulation of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs). Requires the SEC to examine NRSRO credit ratings to review whether an NRSRO has established a system of internal controls and adhered to it. Directs the SEC to:

(1) establish an office to administer SEC rules with respect to NRSRO practices; and

(2) eliminate the exemption of NRSROs from the Fair Disclosure Rule. Directs the SEC to establish a Credit Ratings Agency Advisory Board.

Investor Protection Act of 2009 - Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to establish an Investor Advisory Committee to the SEC. Authorizes the SEC to engage in consumer testing. Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to direct the SEC to promulgate rules to prescribe a fiduciary standard of conduct for a broker or dealer when providing personalized investment advice about securities to a retail customer. Authorizes the SEC to prohibit or limit agreements that require customers or clients of any broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer to engage in pre-dispute arbitration. Establishes within the SEC a Capital Markets Safety Board. Directs the SEC to report to specified congressional committees on the implementation of SEC reforms in the wake of the discovery of fraud by Bernie Madoff.Authorizes the SEC and the CFTC to form and operate a joint advisory committee. Prescribes or revises prohibitions and requirements relating to:

(1) securities lending;

(2) lost and stolen securities; and

(3) fingerprinting of personnel of registered securities information processors, national securities exchanges, and national securities associations.

Declares that any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person to waive compliance with any rule of a self-regulatory organization shall be void. Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the SEC revolving door. Establishes a Financial Reporting Forum to discuss immediate and long-term issues critical to financial reporting. Directs the SEC Chairman to appoint an SEC Ombudsman. Amends the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 with respect to, among other specified items, an increased:

(1) assessment paid by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) members;

(2) borrowing limit on Treasury loans; and

(3) cash limit of protection. Amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 with respect to:

(1) the Public Company Accounting Oversight (PCAO) Board oversight of auditors of brokers and dealers; and

(2) foreign regulatory information sharing, and related matters.

Directs the PCAO Board to appoint an ombudsman. Directs the SEC to establish a program of grants to states for enhanced protection of seniors from misleading and fraudulent marketing of financial products. Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require municipal financial advisers to register with the SEC.

Federal Insurance Office Act of 2009 –

Establishes in the Treasury the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to:

(1) monitor the insurance industry;

(2) recommend to the Financial Services Oversight Council that it designate an insurer as one subject to stricter standards;

(3) assist in administering the Terrorism Insurance Program; and

(4) perform other related duties. Preempts a state insurance measure only to the extent it:

(1) directly results in less favorable treatment of a non-U.S. insurer domiciled in a foreign jurisdiction that is subject to a covered agreement than a U.S. insurer domiciled, licensed, admitted, or otherwise authorized in that state; and

(2) is inconsistent with such a covered agreement. Requires the FIO Director to study and report to specified congressional committees on:

(1) the global reinsurance market; and

(2) how to modernize and improve the system of insurance regulation in the United States.

This is who is auditing the Fed

your money is in his hands.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Reflect Refract, War in Iraq

I now disagree with some of what I've written in the past--or at least feel like I have a better understanding of some of the big picture and have stopped focusing so much on specific conspiracies. Though I still do think it's important always to recognize that the conspiratorial view of history is factually accurate.

People in power do indeed conspire to keep that power, they always have and they always will. Their first tactic is to become invisible via their ownership of mass media. Banks and monied incorporations own the world's governments, religions, and also ALL of the public's supposedly independent mass media news sources. Governments are subsidiaries of international corporate conglomerates. Follow the money, you'll see that this is 100% true. Their product is complicity in the consumer culture and their consumer is the world population. Wars are nothing but hostile business transactions. Different companies (vis a vis their ownership rights to governments) sacrifice "consumers" (people) to each other for larger market share. Typically in wars, those sacrificed in greater numbers are those who are less active consumers.

Example: In the early 90s, an estimated 100,000 Iraqis were killed in Desert Storm. About 200 American troops were sacrificed in that same conflict.In 2001, 3,000 Americans die in a brutal and tragic attack on the twin towers (regardless of you think who or what was responsible, we will not argue that it was indeed brutal and tragic). Between 2003 and 2009, an additional 5,000+ US soldiers are sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between 2003 and 2009, as few as 100,000 and as many as 600,000 Iraqi civilians are sacrificed in war.

After some simple math, we now know that since 1990, in the two major Middle East wars, we've got at least 200,000 dead Iraqis (probably closer to 500,000, so let's go with 300K dead Iraqis and Afghans for the sake of argument), and less than 10,000 American casualties, and probably another 5,000 Western European casualties (data sources available in previously linked articles). In my view, the loss of one life is no less tragic if the human who owned that life was born in Baghdad or Brooklyn... The sheer loss of life in these wars is simply mind-boggling. It feels kind of morbid to break it down with objective analysis... but... The percent loss breaks down like this:

Casualties since 2003, sources above

Now let's consider the global GDP distribution by country, considering the % share for the involved parties.


The analysis, while morbid, does paint a pretty clear picture. The companies that own the US military (and use the financial system to funnel money to themselves via the their co-ownership of governments with the other international mega-conglomerate companies) are winning in their offensive against the people of the world in their endeavor to control more of our money by sacrificing vastly larger amounts of life of those people who are accustomed to consuming less.

Seems fairly clear to me... Loss of life is HUGELY skewed towards nations with lower GDP. Weapons manufacturers and military contracting companies being mostly international entities, which nation loses life is not their concern. Their concern is which nations' government and bank can they extract money from easily and in high volume. Makes sense that those nations which can keep funneling hundreds of billions of dollars per year to these companies always win the wars, and that those in power of multinational mega-conglomerate corporations profit in either case.

War is a cut-and-dry example of corporations asserting their power over nations and using human life as a bargaining chip. People/entities in power use that power to remain in power. Corporations continue to live by eating and breathing money. Many trillions of dollars in the world today exists solely due to banks and governments having created that money out of debt. Money, power, war.

Welcome to the Thomas Jefferson's nightmare: "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Financial Sector Has Five Lobbyists for Every Congressperson

Think about it...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Swine Flu Death Rate 0.08% of total Flu Death Rate in US over past 2 weeks

Death rate extrapolations for USA for Flu: 63,729 per year, 5,310 per month, 1,225 per week, 174 per day, 7 per hour, 0 per minute, 0 per second. Note: this extrapolation calculation uses the deaths statistic: 63,730 annual deaths for influenza and pneumonia (NVSR Sep 2001); estimated 20,000 deaths from flu (NIAID)

Swine Flu, US, 2009: 2 deaths
Source: Mainstream TV News Caster, May 5, 2009

2 swine flu deaths / 2450 total flu deaths = 0.08%
(1225 total flu deaths per week * 2 weeks)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Direction We're Not Moving In

I heard something on the mainstream news last nite that actually made sense. This recent crisis is more about fear than any sort of underlying economic problem... When prices are kept artificially high for years, people panic when they start to come down. that panic leads to "SELLSELLSELL!!" which leads to prices coming down even more, which leads to more "SELLSELLSELL!" If there were no bailout, eventually the panic would subside and things would stabilize at a sustainable level. The % of our GDP that is tied up in the financial sector would shrink, and the % of our GDP related to manufacturing, technology, etc would increase. The hundreds of billions in evaporated wealth due to the stock market crash would not magically reappear--it would be gone (not that it ever really had any right to exist in the first place), wages might come down a bit, values of savings would decrease, and that obviously would suck for a lot of people... But homes would be affordable. Energy would be affordable. Food would be affordable. And we could move forward in a slightly more sustainable fashion. Too bad, we're not moving in that direction... Not yet at least.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Demand that Congress immediately redress and pass this bill. It's our only hope.

HR 2755 IH

1st Session
H. R. 2755

To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.

June 15, 2007
Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services

To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act'.


(a) In General- Effective at the end of the 1-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and each Federal reserve bank are hereby abolished.
(b) Repeal of Federal Reserve Act- Effective at the end of the 1-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Reserve Act is hereby repealed.
(c) Disposition of Affairs-
(1) MANAGEMENT DURING DISSOLUTION PERIOD- During the 1-year period referred to in subsection (a), the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System--
(A) shall, for the sole purpose of winding up the affairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks--
(i) manage the employees of the Board and each such bank and provide for the payment of compensation and benefits of any such employee which accrue before the position of such employee is abolished; and
(ii) manage the assets and liabilities of the Board and each such bank until such assets and liabilities are liquidated or assumed by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with this subsection; and
(B) may take such other action as may be necessary, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, to wind up the affairs of the Board and the Federal reserve banks.
(A) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall liquidate all assets of the Board and the Federal reserve banks in an orderly manner so as to achieve as expeditious a liquidation as may be practical while maximizing the return to the Treasury.
(B) TRANSFER TO TREASURY- After satisfying all claims against the Board and any Federal reserve bank which are accepted by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and redeeming the stock of such banks, the net proceeds of the liquidation under subparagraph (A) shall be transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury and deposited in the General Fund of the Treasury.
(3) ASSUMPTION OF LIABILITIES- All outstanding liabilities of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks at the time such entities are abolished, including any liability for retirement and other benefits for former officers and employees of the Board or any such bank in accordance with employee retirement and benefit programs of the Board and any such bank, shall become the liability of the Secretary of the Treasury and shall be paid from amounts deposited in the general fund pursuant to paragraph (2) which are hereby appropriated for such purpose until all such liabilities are satisfied.
(d) Report- At the end of the 18-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall submit a joint report to the Congress containing a detailed description of the actions taken to implement this Act and any actions or issues relating to such implementation that remain uncompleted or unresolved as of the date of the report.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Money as Debt

I've said this before... but in light of our nation's most recent exhibit of obvious control of government by central banks, I'm going to say it again, and say it loud:

Everyone knows that money makes the world go round... So what makes the money go round?!?!

Very very few individuals know how money is created, much less how it came to be this way. There isn't one class taught in any of our public schools that explains it. Even in our institutions of higher learning in degree tracts such as economics, business and finance, etc., the simple and fundamental truths about how today's monetary system operates or how it originated is not explained. There's almost no way to get access to this information via the regular channels. One must seek the answer to this question themselves.

The video below is about as accurate, simple and concise as you can get. I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Bailout Bill DOES NOT Restrict Executive Pay!!

You've all heard one of the selling points of the bailout bill... that it would restrict the compensation of executives in companies who accepted the bailout. This is a half-truth. It does not restrict their compensation. It restricts the amount that is tax deductible to the company... Read the bill below...

(a) DENIAL OF DEDUCTION.—Subsection (m) of section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an applicable employer, no deduction shall be allowed under this chapter—
(i) in the case of executive remuneration for any applicable taxable year which is attributable to services performed by a covered executive during such applicable taxable year, to the extent that the amount of such remuneration exceeds $500,000, or ‘‘(ii) in the case of deferred deduction executive remuneration for any taxable year for services performed during any applicable taxable year by a covered executive, to the extent that the amount of such remuneration exceeds $500,000 reduced (but not below zero) by the sum of—
‘‘(I) the executive remuneration for such applicable taxable year, plus ‘‘(II) the portion of the deferred deduction executive remuneration for such services which was taken into account under this clause in a preceding taxable year.

In The Meantime...

While we wait for this new version of the hyperinflation--I mean Bailout Bill to pass the House on Friday... Will you just look at that nice, sustained positive trend in the US dollar index! It's almost as if... the dollar gets stronger when we don't FLOOD THE WORLD WITH $700 BILLION OF THEM!! Imagine that...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Does Someone Who's Bleeding to Death Need a Transfusion or a Tourniquet?

I see a bailout as a blood transfusion for a patient that is bleeding to death. sure, it'll let the patient live longer, but why not stop the bleeding rather than just adding more blood?

The global economy is fucked not because we wouldn't pout 700 billion into the raging inferno to keep in burning, but because our politicians didn't have the balls in 1913, 1944, 1971, and don't have the balls now to stop the financial sector from adopting irresponsible and reckless practices as their common, everyday way of life. I don't see any bailout as a solution. I see it as more inflation... because the money is coming, essentially, from nowhere. No equal exchange of labor, just 700 billion from the central bank to continue to fuel the fire. as long as the fire continues burning, it's business as usual...

We have been operating on a completely unsustainable system since the dismantling of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971. Fiat currencies tend to do things like this (implode) when they are largely unregulated. But to actually fix it, what's needed is not more fiat money, but a serious amount of restraint, regulation, and hopefully an end to the commonplace irresponsible and reckless behavior of the financial sector.

Hopefully there will be a smaller bailout, because in that way the mainstream media is right--at this point we need it to survive in the short-term. But unless it's coupled with serious ass-kicking economic reform, it's just going to prolong the situation and make it even worse when the inevitable crash does come. A bailout without meaningful changes/reforms will set the stage for another bailout in a few years--this time by the IMF/World Bank.

But I don't think things are quite as bad as the Dow Jones reports would make them to be. People are still buying things (on credit even). Many companies are still profitable and still hiring. The financial sectors will feel a lot of hurt and they will pass it down through the rest of the economy and some innocent companies will likely go under... But companies that actually provide a useful service or produce a useful product will probably be OK. And the American people are quite resilient... We'll be OK too...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Failed! Or at least postponed...

The Bailout Bill was overturned by Congress. Given my economic/political biases... I think this is pretty good news. A bailout is a short-term fix to the long-term problem of gross fiscal irresponsibility practiced by our financial sector. The derivatives market has turned Wall Street into Las Vegas. And guess what--we, the American people, are the house. And the house always wins... Things may get worse before they get better. But if we want real and lasting economic stability, we can never let the government and the federal reserve print money out of thin air (or use our tax dollars) to bail out big business and finance.

Thomas Jefferson on Banking

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

--Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A tidbit from the Bailout Bill

Financial institutions are “designated as financial agents of the Government.”

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

The fact that America is not a free market economy has been obvious to me for a while. I think now, it's not even debatable anymore... In a free market, when bubbles burst--PRICES FALL! It's natural, it's healthy, and it leads to a SUSTAINABLE economy.
When, in order to keep prices of stocks, housing, and energy artificially high, the government pays TRILLIONS (and it well get well into the trillions) to bail out FAILED BANKS that wrote STUPID LOANS--that is called STATE CAPITALISM, and it leads to HYPERINFLATION. When I went to Russia in 1993, they were in the middle of a hyperinflationary period brought about by their State Capitalist economic practices (yes, they officially became a "democracy" in 1991, but c'mon...). When I got there, the exchange rate was 700 rubles to the dollar. When I left, 8 days later, the exchage rate was 800 rubles to the dollar. We are pointing ourselves down the same road.

Is this the USA? Or the U.S.S.A.?

This is proof that neither the democrats nor the republicans (save maybe one or two individuals) have any inkling of what the Constitution actually means. They are pawns of the corporate banking state and CLEARLY enemies of the people of the United States. Within the next several years, the IMF/World Bank as opposed to the US Government will be bailing out the American economy, our dollars will be worth next to nothing, and then we will be part of the 3rd world economy. Time to start thinking about what you're going to do with your first million dollar bill.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A matter of perception

Perception is the basis of how human beings form their concept of reality. As our perceptions are sometimes incorrect, sometimes based on faulty information, sometimes formed without any real and direct experience at all, reality is not always reflective of truth... The difference between truth and reality is a matter of perception. I will, of course, use mass media and psychological warfare as an example...

Reality--Islamic fundamentalist terrorists hate your freedom and want to kill you and your family. Our government is policing and regulating large corporations for our protection. Democrats and Republicans represent the only two sides of every political argument, and when one of them wins, the other one loses. Reality TV? 'Nuff said.

Truth--Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are manufactured as a tool for political gains. Our government and large corporations are the same thing. They present a set of complicated and seemingly serious issues that pit the interests of one against the interests of others--but in truth they are symbiotic and one would die without the other. Democrats and Republicans are also the same thing. They are two arms of the politicorporate establishment that share one overarching agenda--the continuance and growth of the state-capitalist debt-slavery system. Reality TV is stupid.

It is much easier to perceive reality than truth. Reality is paraded in front of you all the time. Reality is force-fed. All your friends are doing it... Truth requires independent thought, research, and often results in ostracism... And so we live in reality--a place where truth is often lost--because it's easier.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sad but okay in the long run...

It is sad that it requires major currency and natural resource manipulation to force the price of petroleum up enough to the point where large automobile companies can finally start to develop and deploy technology that could have and should have been developed in the 70s to bring electric cars to market. The chart above shows that as of 2005, transportation accounts for almost 67% of US petroleum usage. And the until very recently, the trend has been bigger cars, lower fuel economy. It is truly and deeply sad that the oil shock of the 70s didn't wake American up to the fact that we needed to start to move away from petroleum as a fuel source for our vehicles, and to convince the auto industry by sheer force of numbers that we wanted much better fuel economy, and alternatives to gasoline powered cars. Why such a thing required 30 more years of status-quo is beyond me, and truly sad.

But it does seem that the solution that should have been developed in the 70s and brought online in the 80s is being developed in the 00s and will be brought online in the 10s. And so yeah, it's sad that it took this long, but it's going to be OK in the long run. No, we're not going to change the global power structure. No, we're not going to topple the military industrial complex or the central banking cartel. But yes, we are going to have affordable zero-emissions vehicles that do not use petroleum. Here is the early news on offerings by several major auto manufacturers and some not so major ones: Chevy, Nissan, Th!nk, Tesla Motors, Volvo, Green Vehicles... It just makes so much sense... and it's coming. The cost of charging them will be WAY less than filling a gas tank. If you really give a shit, you can set up a solar or wind-powered recharging system for your electric car.

Within the next 5-10 years, you won't need to rely on oil, coal, etc to drive a car. Long long long overdue. But it's one big step in the right direction that this idea is being brought to market...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Just in case you weren't feeling thoroughly screwed

A graph of crude oil prices since 1946. Data gathered from the US DoE. If you think that changes in the price of oil are NOT created by political and economic tinkering and that they have ANYTHING to do with supply or demand... Think again. Yes, we use more than we discover. But no, the relationship between what we use vs what we produce does not change in proportion to the changes in price. Iran has recently started selling crude oil for Euros or Yen--truly bucking the Petrodollar for the first time--but the price of oil on NYMEX or IPE (where the vast majority of it is still sold) is closely proportional to the value of the dollar. And the dollar is TANKING. This is no accident. Ask your local friendly neighborhood globalist central banker all about it...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Perfect Way to Spend Your Stimulus Check

Looking for the right way to spend your "stimulus" check? Gold has gone down by about 10% lately. Buy low, remember? What better way to use the money that the Federal Government is "returning" to you than to buy precious metals that they cannot tax and that are immune to inflation? Or you could pretend you're an important politician and write "pay to the order of high priced prostitute" on the back of your check. Personally, I'm going to go for the gold... and silver.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Illusion of truth in elections

It used to be that we had our choice of corporate-owned white men to vote for president. Now, we have our choice of corporate-owned white men, and they've even thrown in a corporate-owned white woman and a corporate-owned black man! What a great and truly free society we have, where we vote for the corporate-owned ethnicity and gender of our choice. What? They all spew nothing but rhetoric and talking points? FEH!!! You have a CHOICE!!! You want a GOOD choice? Why do you hate America so much?!?!

Well seriously... fuck that. I voted for Ron Paul in today's primaries because while he may be a rich white man, he's not corporate-owned and he doesn't spew rhetoric or talking points. He takes issues head-on, he values freedom and personal responsibility for that freedom, and he would uphold the Constitution, which protects those freedoms and enforces those reposibilities on us all.

Like voting makes a difference anyway... oh well, it was something to do on a Tuesday nite...

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 13, 2007

GM actually does something cool...

GM is going to resurrect the electric car that it killed several years ago when it recalled all of the Saturn EV1's that it had ever made. The EV-1, a first generation electric vehicle, got 60-70 miles per charge, which is 50% more than the 40 miles per charge GM is advertising for their new Volt... And considering the technology to build an affordable highway-speed electric car that can get 300 miles per charge absolutely positively exists, Chevy's boasting about 40 miles per charge? Well it's really not very impressive at all...

But the volt will also accept gasoline, E-85 Ethanol, or biodiesel as well. That's pretty cool for a couple of reasons. First, it gives you more choices. Second, it's truly practical (fuel it up anywhere, plug it in from a regular wall outlet). And third, it doesn't threaten the oil industry... If you wanted to you could pour 15 gallons of gasoline into it go about 600 miles.

Unreliable sources are saying Chevy wants to sell it for $20,000 (dollars are imaginary anyway, see below...), but actually getting it to be profitable at that price is a totally different story and they have not officially released price estimates. But if it's anywhere near that $20,000 price tag, I might just have to get one. My daily commute is 9 miles round-trip... so... it certainly makes sense for me...

Monetary Policy

We all know that money makes the world go round, but what makes the money go round? That's the more important question, I think... And it's a question that you could take many different approaches to answer... For my approach here, I'll keep it very high-level and generalized, hence the Wikipedia links... If you'd like a more detailed analysis, I suggest you search for the same topics I've linked to here in the United States Legal Code.

How is money created?

All money is created from debt. It's very important to understand that seemingly contradictory statement... But it's really very simple, and absolutely true. The money that we use today is known as Fiat Currency. And our banks operate on the Fractional Reserve Banking system. In short, this means that our dollars, euros, pesos, yen, yuan, rubels, etc. are not backed in any way by precious metals. There is no guarantee that you can bring your paper currency to the bank that issued it and get gold or silver in return. And furthermore, a bank is not required to physically posess any more than 10% (our current reserve ratio) of the money that it issues.

So with those guidelines in mind, here is how money is created from debt in the USA... The Federal Reserve Bank and the United States Government work in perfect harmony to handle the finer points of the process. The Fed is what's known as a Central Bank. Despite the .gov web address on the Federal Reserve web link, it is not solely owned and controlled by the US Governent. The Federal Reserve Bank is a private corporation with a US Government Oversight board that was founded in 1913 with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. If you read the text of this act carefully, you will see that the State does not own the Bank, but rather they are separate entities. The Federal Reserve Act is their contract to a mutually exclusive relationship in the business of creating currency. Well--not exactly mutualy exclusive, thanks of course to the World Bank. But I digress...

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank is selected by the President and the Senate. However, if you read deeper into the United States Legal Code (Title 12, Chapter 3), you learn that the bank itself has a good deal of influence over the selection process. As a result, the pool of nominees that the President and Senate have to choose from are more-or-less selected together by the bank and the government to serve their mutual interests, which mainly involve the transumation of debt into money.

The actual debt-to-money conversion is very simple. The US Government issues bonds to the Federal Reserve Bank, and in turn, the value printed on those bond are deposited into the US Government's Treasury. This is more or less a loan from the Federal Reserve bank--which mind you is not required to retain any precious metals to back the currency which it offers--to the Government at low interest. The Government of course is free to do more or less what it pleases with this money. A large portion of this money is granted to a small number of private corporations otherwise known as the Military Industrial Complex, and the rest of it is dispersed to other corporations or used for the purposes of public welfare.

Where do our taxes come in to play?

The Government then levies a tax on the income of US Persons (meant in the contractual sense, not the individual sense, that's why it's Persons and not people) in order to repay the interest on its debt to the Federal Reserve Bank.

What about the rest of the banks? How do they get money?

The Federal Reserve bank enjoys special status as the Central Bank in the US Fractional Reserve System. Like other banks, it only has to retain 10% of it's assests in any sort of physical form. Unlike other banks, the only assets it is required to hold are US Government Bonds. It esentially creates paper or digital money with nothing but the authority of our Legal Tender Laws to back it.

As a Fractional Reserve bank the Fed is free to loan 9 times the value of the bonds it holds out to other banks at low interest at its Discount Window. Private banks "buy" this money from the Central Bank and loan it out at slightly higer interest than the Fed charges them. The majority of the loans issued by private banks at this stage in the chain are issued to large corporations and to other private banks. The corporations use these loans to do things like meet their payroll, develop their businesses, etc. And the other private banks issue higher-interest loans, like mortgages, credit cards, etc.

What if the loans can't be repaid?

Not to worry, most of the loans written in this first stage of the game described above are insured by the Federal Government. This might seem odd since the Government itself cannot get any money to actually pay the loans back without taking more loans from the Fed itself... But regardless, they do indeed insure many large-scale loans. And there are many instances of large scale corporate bailouts by the government. You'd think that in a free-market economy, poorly managed corporations that could not repay their loans and poorly managed banks that wrote too many risky loans would be allowed to fail and corporations that were run better would absorb their business and succeed. Well, in a free-market economy, that's what happens. But, as is evidenced by the information above, we do not operate a free-market economy.

But I work for my money! It doesn't come from thin air!!

Of course! I work hard for my money too... On our level of the chain, we do have much more of a free market, and much more freedom to make our own breaks. The part of the economy that most of us participate in involves an equal exchange of labor for the money that we are paid by our employers--or if you're in business for yourself, from your customers or clients.

But, regardless of how hard you work or what your salary is, our money itself does not require the same equal exchange of labor to produce. It does not require x number of hours or labor to produce x number of dollars. It requires nothing but the issuance of US Government Bonds to the Central Bank. Invariably, the money that gets deposited into your bank account was created as a result of US Government debt. US Dollars cannot be created in any other fashion. Our money supply is not constrained by the laws of supply and demand. This is unfortunate, because a monetary policy that operates within the constraints of the laws of supply and demand does a pretty good job of keeping the majority of the money in the hands of the many and in keeping the value of the currency stable, while a monetary policy that does not operate within the constraints of the laws of supply and demand has led to the majority of the money being concentrated in the hands of the few. Not to mention the dollar is highly unstable...

What about preciuos metals?

Why are precious metals precious? Simple--because demand for them is high. Gold and silver have very high value in many different sectors of the economy, ranging from electronics manufacturing to jewlery making to demand by investors and beyond... By rule, precious metals require x number of hours to produce x amount. By "produce," I mean extract from the gound, divide into equal and accurately measured portions, and place some sort of seal on them to guarantee the accuracy of the measurements...

Precious metals are not exactly money in the modern world... Not anymore at least. There is no guarantee that you can go into a store and plunk down a silver coin and get whatever value that coin holds in the form of goods or services. Instead we have the aforementioned Legal Tender Laws to impose the US Dollar as issued by the Federal Reserve Bank as acceptable for all debts, public and private.

A hundred years ago or so, many shopkeepers wouldn't take paper money but would gladly accept a Government issued silver coin... While people could use precious metals to transact commerce in the days before Legal Tender Laws (1965 in the US) were passed, most people stopped using them when paper money was introduced en masse by the Federal Resreve system. Up until 1933 when private ownership of gold was made illegal, this paper money was backed by precious metals--meaning you could go to the bank and demand gold in exchange for your paper money.

In the years that followed the 1933 gold confiscation, the price of gold has become completely disconnected from the value of gold. And thus, banks and governments can issue as much currency as they want without the constraint of having to actually posess anything of real physical value. Over the years, things like the Bretton Woods Agreement, and then the Nixon Administration's dissolution of the Bretton Woods Agreement have removed any sort of influence of supply and demand from our money system.

By disconnecting our money supply from precious metals and therfore supply and demand, we have enabled vast amounts of industrial and technological growth, which in many cases is a really wonderful thing. Unfortunately, decoupling the money supply from the laws of supply and demand has also made it highly unstable and has led to concentration of that money in the hands of the few.

So whose money is it?

The currency we use today belongs to the Federal Reserve bank. It is not our money, it's theirs. We use it because our government is kind enough to tax us in order to repay the interest on the debt it incurrs to produce said currency and also to pass a Legal Tender Law to force us to use it even though it has no real physical value beyond the paper it was printed on. We use the money because we have little choice. And the power to create and regulate the creation of said money is concentrated in the hands of those who benefit the most from it--the Federal Reserve Bank and the US Government. So if you trust the government and banks and you don't think there's any corruption, well then great... But I don't share that trust, and I would think that anyone who's done any objective research into it wouldn't either.