Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Billionaires at that secret 'Stop Trump' Sea Island meeting

In 1910, a group of banksters and politicos secretly met on Jekyll Island and birthed the Federal Reserve — a strange public-private hybrid of privately-owned banks that act as America’s central bank with limited government supervision. (See “Federal Reserve’s Secret Taxpayer-Funded $12 Trillion Bail-Out of Global Banks“)
In early March 2016, another group of extremely wealthy élites also met secretly on an island a mere skip, hop, and jump away from the infamous Jekyll Island, this time to devise a plot against Donald Trump. (See Trail Dust’s “About the Saint Simon’s Island Meeting“)
Sea Island, Georgia
In yet another sign that Establishment Republicans are extremely worried about a Trump presidential candidacy, a group of billionaires and Republican political élites attended the secretive annual World Forum of the neo-con American Enterprise Institute (AEI), held in a luxury resort on Sea Island, Georgia, March 3-6, 2016. 
AEI meeting on Sea Island1AEI meeting on Sea Island2
As reported by Huffington Post, the main topic at the closed-to-the-press meeting was “How to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump.”
Borrowing the opening lines of nothing less than Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto — and entirely oblivious to the irony of a conservative mouthing a communist — Bill Kristol, founder of the supposedly-conservative magazine Weekly Standard, wrote in an emailed report from the AEI meeting:

“A specter was haunting the World Forum — the specter of Donald Trump. There was much unhappiness about his emergence, a good deal of talk, some of it insightful and thoughtful, about why he’s done so well, and many expressions of hope that he would be defeated.”

GOP political guru Karl Rove gave a presentation outlining Trump’s weaknesses. Rove insisted voters would have a hard time seeing Trump as “presidential,” which must be why they are turning out in droves to vote for him. [Sarc]
Here’s a list of the AEI World Forum attendees:
(1) High-tech billionaires:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook
  • Google co-founder Larry Page
  • Napster creator and Facebook investor Sean Parker
  • Tesla Motors and SpaceX honcho Elon Musk

(2) GOP political élites:

  • Political guru Karl Rove
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan
  • Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ben Sasse (Neb.).
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (Mich.)
  • Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas)
  • Kevin McCarthy (Calif.)
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.),
  • Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.)
  • Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas)
  • Diane Black (Tenn.)

In addition to the Sea Island meeting, according to Bloomberg, there are yet other “stop Trump” conspiracies: “A trio of conservative groups not affiliated with any candidate has spent about $28 million against [Trump], mostly on negative ads that aired in the past few weeks. So far, the effort has failed to dent his popularity.”

According to FEC filings, contributors to the “stop Trump” conservative groups include:

  • The Warren brothers, Stephens and Jackson, who gave a total of $3.5 million last month to two of the groups, on top of $500,000 last year. Stephens Warren has given a total of $300,000 to super-PACs supporting Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie, all of whom have since dropped out.
  • The Ricketts family of Omaha, Nebraska have given $5 million since January.
  • New York hedge-fund manager Paul Singer gave $1 million.
  • San Francisco investor William Oberndorf gave $500,000.
  • Club for Growth: A super-PAC run by Club for Growth (CFG), a powerful conservative group that pushes for limited government and lower taxes, is one of the first organizations to take on Trump. According to The New York Times, the super PAC raised $4 million in February, three times as much as it had raised any other month this election cycle. Donors include:
    • The Warren brothers gave $2.5 million in February.
    • Richard Uihlein, an Illinois shipping-supplies manufacturer who backed Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign last year, gave the Club for Growth $500,000.
    • Richard Gaby, who gave $50,000 to a super PAC backing former Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
    • Robert Arnott, a California-based investor who has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into groups backing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
    • Robert Mercer, who backs Ted Cruz, gave $100,000.
  • A political network led by billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, which is the biggest and deepest-pocketed independent political force in the conservative world.

ZeroHedge observes:

To beat Trump, you need to figure out how to tap into the same anger and yes, in some cases the same perceived narrow-mindedness, of his support base and you need to give them an alternative that addresses their concerns without resorting to the same type of bombastic rhetoric that so alarms the frontrunner’s detractors.
Like it or not, Trump’s support base are voters. They’re also Americans. It’s more important to understand what they want and why than it is to disparage the man they think should lead the country. Until someone in the GOP figures that out, the party won’t stand a chance of stopping Trump.

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Rothschild-owned The Economist's 2015 cover full of unsettling symbols

The Economist is a well-known and quite prestigious London-based weekly news magazine, founded in 1843 by James Wilson, a Scottish businessman, economist and politician. It claims an average weekly circulation of 1.5 million in 2006, about half of which were sold in the United States.
The publication belongs to The Economist Group, half of which is owned by Pearson PLC via the Financial Times. The other half is owned by a group of independent shareholders, including the Rothschild banking family of England.
That the Rothchilds own part of The Economist accounts for why Vigilant Citizen (VC), the blogger who specializes in analyzing pop culture symbols and their hidden meanings, gives import to the magazine’s disquieting “The World in 2015” cover with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear bomb explosion, among other disturbing images. In VC’s words:

It [The Economist] is partly owned by the Rothschild banking family of England and its editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, attended several times to the Bilderberg Conference – the secretive meeting where the world’s most powerful figures from the world of politics, finance business and media discuss global policies. The outcome of those meetings is totally secret. It is therefore safe to say that the people at The Economist know things that most people don’t.

Here is The Economist‘s 2015 cover (click to enlarge), followed by an analysis.
To begin, The Economist‘s 2015 cover is reminiscent of the eerie image on the album cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (see below), which was a color photo taken in a studio of the four Beatles wearing band uniforms, surrounded by life-size cardboard cutouts of themselves in suits, as well as those of famous personalities, both living and dead.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles, of course, are in color, as are some of the cardboard figures, while other figures are in black and white (b&w). There doesn’t seem to be a discernible reason for why some are in b&w because they include people both dead (e.g., Karl Marx) and alive (e.g., Bob Dylan).

Black & White Faces

The Economist‘s “The World in 2015” cover also has various figures in color and b&w, with one difference — only the heads and faces of some are in b&w, while their bodies are in color, which gives their faces a grey, drained-of-blood, walking-dead quality. The b&w heads are a majority, and they include both the living (Barack Obama) and the dead (Winston Churchill). Vigilant Citizen thinks that “those in black and white appear to be part of the elite (including the ISIS guy who probably works for them) and those in color are ‘outsiders’. Is this how the elite perceives the world?”
Economist 2015

The Pied Piper

Economist 2015a
VC writes:
“The presence of the Pied Piper on this 2015-themed cover is downright unsettling. The Pied Piper of Hamelin is a German legend about a man who used his magical flute to lure away the children of the city of Hamelin, never to be seen again.
This folkloric figure dating from the Middle-Ages is said to represent either massive death by plague or catastrophe, or a movement of massive immigration. It also perfectly represents today’s youth being ‘lured’ and mystified by the ‘music’ of mass media. Conveniently enough, there’s a small boy right under the Piper’s flute.”
To reinforce the message of pop music’s seductive allure, there’s a drum set beneath the clueless little boy. One drum has stars and stripes (signifying American pop music); another is inscribed with “50th,” meaning what?

Game of Panic

VC writes: “Right under the Pied Piper we see a young boy with dumbfounded look on his face. He is watching a game called ‘Panic’. The words ‘Federal Reserve’ and ‘Chi’ (which probably stands for China) are on top while the words ‘Green light!’ and ‘sis!’ (which probably stands for ‘Isis!’ or ‘Crisis!’) are at the bottom. The little boy watches as this twisted game of Plinko unfolds the same way the clueless masses watch powerlessly while various events unfold on mass media. As the name of the game states, the ultimate goal is to cause Panic around the world as crises are almost randomly generated by those who control the game. And that’s on a magazine cover owned by the Rothschilds.”
Economist 2015b

Crop Duster

Economist 2015c
In front of a sinister-looking Russian president Vladimir Putin is a small helicopter on which is written Crop-O-Dust — a reference to crop dusting, “the process of spraying crops with powdered insecticides or fungicides from an aircraft.
Right under the helicopter is an Asian kid, eating processed noodles, made from wheat that the crop duster had sprayed?
And below the kid is “PANIC”!



Next to the noodle-eating Chinese kid is a panda on steroids, wearing a China-flag Speedo while flexing its muscles — a clear reference to China gaining power. The panda dwarfs a sumo wrestler, signifying the eclipse of Japan by China.
The sumo wrestler holds an out-sized battery on which the polarities (+ and -) are clearly indicated. VC wonders if that’s a symbol for a switch in polarity in world power from the West to the East?
Economist 2015d


Economist 2015e
VC writes: “Emerging from behind Obama’s leg is a ghost reading a magazine entitled ‘Holiday’. Why is this ghost, which represents a dead person, planning a vacation? Does it represent the fact that the masses will be so impoverished that the only time they’ll be on a holiday is when they’re dead? Does it relate to the countless people who died while traveling in the past months? Creepy.”


Economist 2015 turtle
VC writes: “Standing in front of everything else, gazing right into our souls is a turtle with emphasis lines around its shell. What does it represent? Will turtles make a huge comeback in 2015? Probably not.
Fabian Society turtleAn angry tortoise is the symbol of the Fabian Society, an extremely powerful organization that has been working for over a century towards the formation of a single world government. The philosophy behind Fabian socialism is basically the blueprint of what we call today the New World Order…..
Fabian Society original logoThe Fabian Society used to openly advocate a scientifically planned society and supported eugenics by way of sterilization. Its original logo was a wolf in sheep’s clothing … But I guess that was not the best way to conceal the wolf from the masses. [A turtle is so much better!]
Bringing forth a global system through small incremental changes is exactly what the world elite is currently doing.”

11.3 and 11.5

VC writes: “The lower right side of the cover features some more cryptic symbols. There’s a pile of dirt on the ground and two arrows on which are inscribed 11.5 and 11.3. Are those dates to remember? Why are they next to a pile of dirt? If you look up these figures as coordinates, they point to somewhere in Nigeria. Displaying numbers that can only be truly understood by ‘those in the know’ is one of the occult elite’s favorite hobbies.”
Economist 2015f

Alice in Wonderland & the Cheshire Cat

Standing to the right of the 11.5 (November 5?) and 11.3 (November 3?) arrows is Alice in Wonderland, who’s looking up at the Cheshire Cat on a tree branch. VC writes: “This iconic cat is known for disappearing entirely, leaving only visible its creepy grin. We therefore see another allusion to a world of fantasy, illusion and deceit as perceived by Alice – a representative of the masses. Along with the somewhat unnecessary inclusion of David Blaine – a magician – the cover mixes real world events with illusions.”
Note that the tree branch is coming from Obama’s leg — the man of fantasy, illusion, and lies.
Economist 2015g

The Lady with No Ermine

To the right of Alice is a portrait that’s a reverse image of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Lady with an Ermine (1489-1490), but without the ermine.

The Lady With an ErmineLeonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (l); Economist 2015 cover’s lady without an ermine (r)

The subject of da Vinci’s portrait is Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, who was the painter’s patron. Ermines, aka stoats, are known for their purity. That, of course, means that The Economist‘s lady without an ermine is without purity.


Then there’s Spiderman, the only reference to a movie or pop culture figure on The Economist‘s “World in 2015” cover.
Why Spiderman? Why not the even more popular The Hobbit? The worldwide box office total for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was released on May 2, 2014, is $708,996,336. In contrast, the third Hobbit movie The Battle of the Five Armies, which was released on Dec. 10, 2014, already has a worldwide box office of $804,256,417, and the movie hasn’t yet opened in China.
But wait!
Might The Economist‘s Spiderman be a veiled reference to Serco, the British-owned and UK-based global “outsourcing company” government contractor that has a spider as its logo? (H/t FOTM’s marblenecltr)
Serco operates public and private transport and traffic control, aviation, military weapons, detention centers, prisons and schools on behalf of its customers, among whom is the Obama administration. In July 2013, Serco was awarded a $1.25 billion contract to manage the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Obamacare. Serco is also one of the 55 contractors hired by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to work on the dysfunctional HealthCare.gov web site.
Spiderman & SERCO


There are other cryptic images in The Economist‘s 2015 cover like the two-faced globe; the blonde woman with a strange head-dress; the strange thing (a piggy bank?) coming out of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s suit jacket; and the Illuminati one-eye sign German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making with her hands.
Economist 2015j
Angela Merkel
Whatever the image, know that it’s there for a reason. The Economist had commissioned an artist to put together its “World in 2015” cover, which means much time and thought went into it. The images were selected for a reason, and each has an esoteric meaning known to The Economist but concealed from the rest of us.
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Update (May 20, 2015):

My FOTM colleague, Trail Dust, found an explanation for the cover by The Economist’s editor. See “Editor of The Economist explains meaning of 2015 cover illustration“.

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Why Do Adults Believe In Fairy Tales?

What do the following all have in common:
Global warming.
The Boston Marathon terrorist bombing.
The Sandy Hook shooting.
An epidemic of rape and sexual assault on college campuses.
The legitimacy of aka Obama’s birth certificate and presidency.
The solvency of the US economy and the authority of the Federal Reserve.
The theory of evolution.
Answer: they are all fairy tales. Fairy tales concocted by elements of our own government and perpetuated with the full cooperation of mainstream media.
There is no global warming. If anything, we have a mild case of global cooling.
There was no terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon.
There was no school shooting at Sandy Hook.
There is no epidemic of rape on college campuses.
Aka Obama’s birth certificate is a proven fraud and he has no legitimacy to the office he holds.
The US economy is tanking by the minute and the Federal Reserve, which is neither federal, nor holds any reserves, does not have the authority to print currency.
The theory of evolution is just that – a theory. There is no evidence to support it, and if it really were true, we would have a fossil record showing distinct evolutionary changes from one species to the next. Such a fossil record does not exist.
And yet, if you stopped 100 random Americans on the street and asked them about the above topics, I’m willing to bet that over 95% of them would say that they believe the official stories regarding these same topics. Why is that?
Why do adults believe in lies, false evidence, and fairy tales?
I have several theories. The first is the power of criticism. It’s said that the number one fear most people have is the fear of public speaking. What that fear really indicates is a fear of public criticism. A fear of being laughed at, particularly on a public stage. Today we are told that anything outside of the “official” story on any topic is delusional thinking. Those who dare to question the official story, as presented by the government and mainstream media, are labeled “conspiracy theorists.”
The term “conspiracy theory” seems to have sprung into being just after the JFK assassination in order to label anyone who questioned the official narrative of that event. Today, there are very few thinking Americans who believe in the “lone gunman” explanation of JFK’s murder. The only ones who do believe in the “lone gunman” theory are those who have never taken the time to study any of the evidence.
Thus, fear of ridicule, of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist,” seems to be at the root of why most Americans believe in fairy tales and lies. They either know the truth, but deny it, or they simply refuse to look at available evidence, because their fear of being criticized is stronger than their desire to embrace reality.
I believe another reason why people choose to believe in fairy tales and lies, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is because it provides them with an excuse for cowardice. Think about it. If you choose to deny reality, your life is simple. You can go through life eating bad food, watching bed television, and believing everything the mainstream media tells you. Plus you save a ton of time by not educating yourself.
On the other hand, if you choose to learn the truth about the world, and suddenly come face-to-face with the enormous level of deceit, treachery and evil that such a study reveals, now you have a responsibility to do something about it. You can’t just bury your head in the sand. You can’t pretend any longer that the truth doesn’t exist. You now have a duty, both to God and to country, to act on what you know. And that is just too damn frightening for most Americans.
I think most men fall into the second reason for believing in fairy tales, and most women fall into the first. Being called a coward is one of the most insulting things a man can face. Most men will do anything to avoid it. That’s why they deny reality, to relieve themselves of whatever responsibility the truth would require of them. They no longer have to act on what they know, because they choose not to know it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Women seem to fear criticism more than men. (If you doubt this, ask yourself why most women are overly concerned with fashion and style.) For that reason, they tend to deny reality primarily for fear of seeming out of place and different. You can include in this group the gatekeepers of the right, those conservative talk show hosts and leaders who tow the party line on every topic, and refuse to even allow any discussion of the topics above.
In either case, the result is the same. Adults believing in fairy tales.

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Why there will be many more Detroits – in one chart

Short answer to the question is:
Because America’s cities and states are in debt up to our eyebrows from unfunded pensions to public employees — pensions that, without exception, are based on the expectation that whatever money that’s paid into those funds gets 7% to 8% interest.
But the reality is the Federal Reserve is artificially suppressing interest rates because of the Godzilla-sized national debt of $16.9 trillion. That’s the official figure, according to our feral gummint. The real figure, according to a U.C. San Diego economics professor, is $70 trillion.
If the Federal Reserve lets interest rates go up, then our gargantuan national debt will balloon even quicker.
That is why the interest rates on bank savings, certificates of deposit (CD), and U.S. Treasury bonds and notes are so anemic. The highest interest rate being offered for a one-year CD currently is 1.05%. As for treasury notes, rates are going up. The latest 10-year Treasury note has a yield as high as 2.866%, a level not seen since July 29, 2011. But 2.866% is still a far cry (5.134% to be precise) from the 8% interest rate on which are based our public pensions.

Below is a chart showing how underfunded public pensions are, compared with private retirement funding. As Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge puts it:
The chart below explains, in the simplest possible terms, why there are many more “Detroits” on deck. It shows the underfunded status of public vs private retiree healthcare plans. It needs no commentary, although it may deserve one question: what happens when all those public servants who have been promised over a trillion in healthcare benefits upon retirement, realize it was all a lie? And then come… the pensions.


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State attorney generals sue powerful fed agency blocking bank lending

I just heard a snippet of a very interesting interview on Mike Huckabee’s radio talk show this morning.

Guv. Huckabee was speaking to South Carolina Attorney General (AG) Alan Wilson about a lawsuit Wilson and other state AGs just filed against the federal government over the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law by Obama in July 2010.

Wilson maintains that one big reason why the U.S. economy is stalled and unemployment remains high is because banks won’t lend money to businesses, although they’re sitting on a lot of cash. Wilson attributes this to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — a creation of the Dodd-Frank Act and a powerful federal govt agency that has no Congressional oversight and restricted judicial review, but answers only to the even more powerful Federal Reserve System, itself a bastard hybrid of part-govt part-private banks which is also not subject to Congressional oversight.

The very powerful director of the CFPB is Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee. The even more powerful director of the Federal Reserve is Ben Bernanke.

The authors of the Dodd-Frank Act are both unaccountable: Sen. Chris Dodd had already retired from the Senate in 2011, and Congressman Barney Frank is not seeking reelection. Both also had a direct hand in the housing collapse that began America’s Great Recession in that, in their respective roles as chair of the Senate Banking Committee and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, the two men had ignored the imprudent reckless lending policies of the government-sponsored mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


A rogues gallery (l to r): Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, POS, Richard Cordray, Ben Bernanke

Here is an article, “Republican State AGs Resisting Cooperation with CFPB,”  by Carter Dougherty for BusinessWeek on the lawsuit:

A group of Republican state attorneys general has declined to sign cooperation agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part of an escalating Republican revolt against the agency that began in the U.S. Congress.

Richard Cordray, the agency’s director, asked all 50 states in March to sign a memorandum of understanding designed to protect confidential information shared among states and the bureau. To date, only 12 states — all but one with Democratic attorneys general — have signed, according to the bureau and documents obtained in a public records request.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in an interview that he is declining to sign the agreement because of legal objections to the law that created the consumer bureau, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. “There are misgivings I have about the authority and scope and power of the CFPB and the power granted to the director,” Pruitt said in an interview. “Frankly, until some of those issues are fleshed out, it is very premature for a state to enter into an MOU.”

Four attorneys general, led by Pruitt, plan to join an existing lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Dodd-Frank and the CFPB, according to a person briefed on the decision. Pruitt and attorneys general from South Carolina, Michigan and Kansas may become plaintiffs in the suit as soon as tomorrow, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision wasn’t public.

Separation of Powers

The lawsuit in federal court in Washington was filed June 21 by State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas. The bank argues that the structure of the consumer bureau violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers because Congress does not appropriate its budget, the president has limited ability to remove its director and courts face restrictions in reviewing its actions.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, told a campaign rally last week in Greenville, South Carolina, of plans for legal action.

“We’re going to challenge that law,” Wilson said on Sept. 14, in remarks reported by Fox News. “We’re going take the battle back to Washington, D.C., because community banks on Main Street shouldn’t be choked to death so that big banks on Wall Street can take our money.”

The CFPB was created by Dodd-Frank to consolidate federal financial consumer protection authority in a single agency. Since starting work in July 2011, it has set up a complaint system for consumer services, proposed regulations on housing finance and is studying areas including mandatory arbitration, payday lending and overdraft protection.

State Cooperation

Cooperation with state attorneys general has been a signature effort of the consumer bureau since Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren began setting it up in late 2010. Warren, who is now running for the Senate as a Democrat from Massachusetts, touted state law enforcers as “natural partners” for the agency because of their focus on consumer protection.

Republicans opposed creation of the bureau, and Senate Republicans refused to confirm anyone to the position of CFPB director. That standoff led President Barack Obama to install Cordray as director on Jan. 4 using a process known as a recess appointment.

Republican opposition to CFPB and Cordray hasn’t been absolute.

Republican state attorneys general including Rob McKenna of Washington, John Suthers of Colorado and Mark Shurtleff of Utah signed an Oct. 18, 2011 letter supporting Cordray as CFPB director. Cordray, in response to a personal request from Suthers, publicly promised to help AGs combat payday lenders who dodge state laws by affiliating with Native American tribes.

Constitutionality Challenged

Pruitt of Oklahoma has spearheaded the work among attorneys general on challenging the constitutionality of Dodd-Frank, according to the person briefed on the lawsuit. Diane Clay, a spokeswoman for Pruitt, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“General Pruitt has been leading the discussion on legal challenges to the unconstitutional provisions in Dodd-Frank for more than a year, and will work with South Carolina to lead the state litigation once plans are announced,” she said.

Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette and his counterpart in Kansas, Derek Schmidt, will also join the lawsuit, the person said. Schuette’s spokeswoman Joy Yearout declined to comment. Schmidt spokesman Jeff Wagaman did not return an e-mail or phone call seeking comment.

‘Disdain’ for States

Pruitt, Wilson and Schuette all signed a March 5 memo from the Republican State Leadership Committee, an association of Republican state officials, that criticizes the Obama administration’s “disdain for states, federal laws it finds inconvenient, the Constitution and the courts.” The memo includes Cordray’s recess appointment on a list of Obama’s objectionable actions.

Pruitt has opposed other initiatives backed by the Obama administration. In February, he declined to join a 49-state settlement with five large mortgage servicers over foreclosure practices, preferring to cut his own deal instead.

The CFPB and the National Association of Attorneys General signed a “joint statement of principles” in April 2011. In a March 6 speech, Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, asked states to also sign individual MOUs, and asked for a “quick turnaround.”

“We want to expand on what you already do so well — and we want you to take advantage of new resources we bring to the arena,” Cordray said in an address to NAAG in Washington.

Agreements Tallied

More than five months later, only 10 states had signed the memorandum: New Hampshire, New Mexico, Montana, New York, Vermont, North Carolina, Hawaii, Iowa, Mississippi and Nevada, according to copies obtained on Aug. 22 under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Since then, the District of Columbia, Wyoming and North Dakota have signed such memorandums with the consumer bureau, agency spokeswoman Moira Vahey said in an e-mail.

“We are pleased that we have a dozen agreements and additional agreements in the works. However, this is a state-by- state process and will take time,” Vahey said.

The purpose of the memorandum is to “preserve the confidentiality of information the parties share,” according to the documents. It states that any non-public “written or oral information exchanged between the parties will be deemed confidential.”

North Dakota attorney general Wayne Stenehjem is the only Republican among state officials who have signed the memorandum. Those who have declined gave differing reasons.

Greg Zoeller, the Republican attorney general of Indiana, said the pact was “unnecessary” because his office can sign confidentiality agreements that cover specific enforcement cases they work on with CFPB.

“I never quite understood why they wanted a common memorandum of understanding,” Zoeller said in an interview. “It has not really caught on well.”

At the same time, Zoeller downplayed the need for broader challenges to the CFPB. He called potential lawsuits evidence that the country is in a “silly season” before the election, and said that a Republican-only lawsuit “hurts our credibility in challenging federal laws.”

For instance, no Democratic attorneys general joined lawsuits against the Obama health care law, Zoeller said. The Supreme Court eventually ruled against them.

Other Republicans involved with state issues took a harder line on the Obama administration and Cordray’s work.

“This effort for bipartisan cooperation with the states has clearly failed at this point,” Chris Jankowski, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, said in an interview.

The bank’s case is State National Bank of Big Spring v. Geithner, 1:12-cv-01032, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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QE3: The Next Rip Off of the American Middle Class

Did you feel it?

Feel what, you ask.

I’ll be blunt: Did you feel screwed? Because that’s what happened two days ago, on Thursday. As Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, writes: “September 13, 2012 may one day be regarded as the day America finally threw in the economic towel” as a result of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke setting loose QE3.

I know your eyes tend to glaze over at words such as “Federal Reserve,” “monetary policy” and “QE3”. But you need to pay attention because that’s precisely what our government is counting on, which then enables them to fiddle with monetary policies like QE3.

QE is Quantitative Easing; 3 refers to this being the Feds’ third QE because two previous Quantitative Easings had failed at jump-starting America’s stalled economy, which then of course calls for yet another QE. [Snark] Nothing succeeds like failure!

According to Wikipeida, Quantitative Easing is a monetary policy used by some central banks to increase the supply of money by increasing the excess reserves of the banking system, generally through buying of the central government’s own bonds to stabilize or raise their prices and thereby lower long-term interest rates. This policy is usually invoked when the normal methods to control the money supply have failed, e.g. the bank interest rate, discount rate and/or interbank interest rate are either at, or close to, zero.

Did you understand that? Me neither!

What I do know is that, from teaching (for many years) a college course on the political economy of Japan, Quantitative Easing was used unsuccessfully by the Bank of Japan (which is really the Japanese government) to fight deflation after the bursting of Japan’s “bubble economy” at the end of the giddy 1990s. Today, Japan’s economy, sadly, remains in the doldrums. So much for Quantitative Easing.

Below is an op-ed by a guest writer for FOTM, Dave McMullen, who’s one of our regular commenters. Following Dave’s op-ed is a great video that explains what the euphemistic term “Quantitative Easing” means. It’s a hoot. Highly recommend!


QE3: The Next Rip Off of the American Middle Class

By Dave McMullen

This week Ben Bernanke announced that the Federal Reserve bank will begin to spend 40 billion dollars a month (with no cap on spending) to buy mortgage-backed securities. [Note: A mortgage-backed security is an asset-backed security that represents a claim on the cash flows from mortgage loans through a process known as securitization.]

Once again, our government is asking taxpayers to buy the same toxic mortgage-backed derivatives that caused the crash of our economy back in 2008. Once again we are being forced by our government to bail out the same criminal financial institutions, whose criminal conspiracy had caused the collapse of the housing market and the ensuing recession in the first place.

The government now wants to own these properties, but remember the money from the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout of 2008 could have easily purchased all of them, and at the least, taxpayers would have owned the assets. But the government chose to give the money to the banksters, with little or no regulation on how the funds were to be used. TARP may have helped the banks but it was a disaster for our housing markets: 80% of U.S. homebuilders were bankrupted; the average home lost 30-40% of its value.

This devaluation of our real estate was caused by the worthless money printed by the Federal Reserve bank.  In other words, the Obama administration virtually stole the equity from every U.S. homeowner to bail the banksters out.

So now the government is doing this all over again. The Federal Reserve will print more worthless Fiat currency to buy these same toxic mortgages and the results will be the same. QE3 will further devalue our real estate and our money, thereby causing more inflation that will lead to more unemployment.

How much more can our fragile economy withstand?

TARP Failed. QE1 and QE2 were models of political corruption. QE3 may well be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

It may be time to pick up the pitch forks and march on Washington. But at the least, call your Congressmen and tell them “NO MORE!”.


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Retirees and savers are the Feds’ sacrificial lambs

Are you a retiree living on the savings you’d responsibly accumulated from a lifetime of hard work and frugality?

Are you currently among the 64.3% of adult Americans — a 30-year low — actually working who’s trying to save for your retirement, knowing how tenuous the Social Security system is (and knowing full well Social Security was never meant to provide for all of our retirement years anyway)?

Then you should know that we are being screwed by our government, via the Federal Reserve’s near-zero interest rate policy.

Tyler Durden writes for Zero Hedge, Sept. 5, 2012:

Exceptionally low interest rates are bad for banks, insurers, and, more generically, anyone wishing to save money. Of the three, it’s the situation of the savers that is most untenable. In particular, Citi notes in a recent report, those wishing to retire at 65 or thereabouts are in for a nasty surprise when they start to run the numbers.

 Citi: US Credit Outlook

Given that real yields are negative for Treasury bonds inside of 20-years, the steady stream of inflows into investment grade bond fund that hold a mixture of government, agency, and high grade corporate securities, will simply fail to return an adequate rate of return commensurate with the current savings rates of most retirement savers. What savers need to do is find higher asset returns or increase their personal savings rate.

And therein lies the crux of the problem facing the central banks.

Ideally, the Fed and ECB [European Central Bank] want to encourage investors to buy riskier assets and corporates to borrow more with the hope being that wealth effects, corporate risk taking, and Keynes’ animal spirits will revive the economy.

But so far the US has failed to respond to Fed’s treatment plan and the inflows into bond funds continue unabated while corporate net issuance is nonplused. One presumes investors are wary of returning to an asset class, like equities [stock market], that performed so miserably over the last decade amid global growth concerns.

But an unintended consequence to resisting the Fed is that the average retirement saver will need to double their rate of savings in order to be able to retire even five years later than originally planned. If and when that sort of analysis enters into the collective consciousness of the typical American, the economic impact is likely to be grim.

As we’ve seen in the UK, higher savings rates lead to lower consumption, a decline in corporate profits, and recession.

Put simply, the Federal Reserve’s near-zero interest rate policy is a backdoor tax on savers and retirees. The Obama administration is counting on both groups, being responsible people, to not cause trouble like rioting. The federal government’s policy is to do whatever is necessary to keep its deficit spending affordable because if the entitlement spigot were to turn off, half the population will riot.

Meanwhile, retirees will have to make do by eating into their principal, while those who are planning to retire will need to double-triple-quadruple their savings, as well as postpone your retirement years further into the future.

But the Catch-22 is that if the American worker tries to be responsible by saving more, that means we buy less, which means businesses have lower sales, which in turn means another recession.

The only way out of this vicious circle is a double-pronged approach:

Grow the economy and cut deficit spending!

And that’s precisely what Obama — who’d never worked in business his entire life and who had zero executive experience before entering the Oval Office — had NOT done these past 3+ years. So what makes you think he’ll do that if he gets another 4 years?

On November 6, vote for a successful businessman with a Harvard MBA and executive experience (70th Governor of Massachusetts).

On November 6, vote for a man with a degree in economics and is the chair of the House BUDGET Committee.

Vote for Romney-Ryan!


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Americans lost 40% of our net worth in just 3 years

The net worth of Americans fell 40% in three years, wiping out two decades of our wealth.
Ylan Q. Mui reports for the Washington Post, June 11, 2012, that the Federal Reserve said today that the median net worth of families plunged by 39% in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.
The data, based on a federal government survey conducted every three years, represents one of the most detailed looks so far how Americans’ finances have weathered the economic downturn. “It’s hard to overstate how serious the collapse in the economy was,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “We were in freefall.”
The biggest drops occurred among middle-income Americans, whose wealth was inextricably linked to the housing market boom and bust. Meanwhile, the wealthiest families actually saw their median income rise slightly.
The implosion of the housing market inflicted much of the pain. The value of Americans’ stake in their homes fell by 42% in those three years to just $55,000. The poorest families suffered the biggest loss of wealth from the drop in real estate prices. But middle-class Americans rely on housing for a larger part of their net worth. For some, it accounts for just over half of their assets. That means every step downward is felt more acutely.
Rakesh Kochhar, an economist at the Pew Research Center, calls this phenomenon the ”reverse wealth effect.” As consumers watched the value of their homes rise during the boom, they felt more confident in spending more money even if they did not actually cash in on the gains. Now, the moribund housing market has made many Americans wary of spending, even if their losses are just on paper.
According to the Fed survey, that paper wealth — or what is officially called unrealized capital gains — shrunk 11% to about a quarter of American’s assets.
The findings track research Kochhar released last year that showed a dramatic drop in household wealth during the recession, particularly among minorities. That study found record high disparities in wealth between whites and blacks and Hispanics.

What this means for most Americans — you and me — is that our net worth is back to where they were in 1992. Twenty years of wealth just went Pffft.
The news gets worse.
Not only are we poorer by 40%, most of us are in poor financial shape to withstand or survive another setback.
Though Americans made progress in paying off their credit cards, the median value of family debt did not change between 2007 and 2010. The percentage of families saddled with debt greater than 40% of their income also stayed the same. Worse still, more families are reporting they’re behind on their bills.
In fact, a good case can be made that the U.S. economy is not in a “great recession.” We are in a Depression.

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The Chicoms are Coming

I just got this in a email a few minutes ago, and I still cannot believe it.
I was not even aware the Fed was considering allowing the commie banks to set up shop and thus gain a foothold here in Amerika, but that is exactly what is in the works.
I guess I should not have been surprised.
Via  ca.news.yahoo.com:

Fed clears China’s first US bank takeover

By Veronica Smith
The United States on Wednesday opened its banking market to ICBC, China’s biggest bank, for the first time clearing a takeover of a US bank by a Chinese state-controlled company.
Just days after high-level US-China economic talks in Beijing, the Federal Reserve approved an application from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to buy a majority stake in the US subsidiary of Bank of East Asia.
The transaction will make ICBC the first Chinese state-controlled bank to acquire retail bank branches in the United States.
ICBC has been the most aggressive of China’s “big four” banks in expanding overseas.
According to the Fed the bank has total assets of roughly $2.5 trillion.
It will buy up to 80 percent of the US unit of the Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia, which operates 13 branches in New York and California.
As part of the deal ICBC and two state-backed financial firms — China’s sovereign wealth fund the China Investment Corporation (CIC), and Central Huijin Investment — will be recognized as bank holding companies, regulated as commercial US banks.
The broad expansion of China’s footprint in the US market comes amid a series of financial reforms in China that could begin to open the lucrative market to US firms.
After the May 3-4 meeting, the US Treasury noted China had made “encouraging progress” on a number of issues sought by the Obama administration, including taking steps toward a more open and market-oriented financial system.
The Fed said Wednesday that the ICBC proposed acquisition, which is “relatively small,” would not have much of an impact on the banking market.
“The combined deposits of the relevant institutions in the Metropolitan New York banking market represent less than one percent of market deposits,” the central bank noted.
The competition includes Bank of China branches in the New York metropolitan area, and CIC, which has a noncontrolling stake in Morgan Stanley.
ICBC will pay $140 million to buy an 80 percent interest in Bank of East Asia USA, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported in January 2011, at the time the deal was signed.
“This unprecedented acquisition of a controlling stake in a US commercial bank by a mainland bank is strategically significant,” Xinhua quoted ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing as saying.
The Fed said its Board also consulted with the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the country’s main banking regulator, and pointed to steady improvement in regulation since its founding in 2003.
“For a number of years, authorities in China have continued to enhance the standards of consolidated supervision to which banks in China are subject, including through additional or refined statutory authority, regulations, and guidance,” it said.
In other Fed board decisions, Bank of China, the third-largest bank, won approval for a branch in Chicago. Bank of China operates two insured federal branches in New York City and an uninsured branch in Los Angeles.
Agricultural Bank of China, the fourth-largest bank, was set to establish a branch in New York City, where it already operates a representative office.


If the republicans will not go verbally ballistic over this atrocity, then they can all go straight to Hell, but not before being thrown out of office, arrested, prosecuted, been thrown under the jail, and the concrete floor poured on top of them.
Nothing good will come of this, and congress needs to step in and stop it, and they need to do it TOMORROW FRIGGIN’ MORNING!
(h/t: My friend Earl)

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What If America Goes Into Another Recession?

Unemployment could jump to 13%, recalling the breadlines of the 1930s. The Dow Jones industrials might plunge 50% to 5,668, a level last reached before the dot.com boom in the mid-1990s. Output might shrink at an 8% annualized rate, wiping out two whole years worth of growth. And anyone lucky enough to have a job or cash left after the carnage could snap up a home at November 2000 prices.
Stella Dawson reports for Reuters, Nov. 23, 2011, that the dire picture is what the Federal Reserve wants U.S. banks to imagine when they test their balance sheets for resiliency against a major economic shock.

Photo by Shannon Stapleton, Reuters

(A recent Zogby Poll found that the percentage of U.S. adults who believe it is possible for themselves and their families to achieve the American Dream has dropped to 50%, down significantly from the 68% who said the same in November 2008.)
The Fed last year began running banks through annual “stress tests” to measure how their balance sheets and capital buffers would cope with conditions in the consensus economic outlook, plus a major shock. On this past Tuesday, it announced details of how it will conduct its round for 2012 release.
The dire picture painted by the Fed sounds shocking, but it’s based upon actual experience of severe recessions, such as 1973-75, 1981-82 and the firestorm that swept through the United States after the shock bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman in September 2008, which ushered in the worst recession since the 1930s.
Next time around, however, damage could be even worse because the U.S. economy would enter in a weakened state. It is still healing from the last recession and a second blow could be crippling.
The Fed also notes risks from overseas. “An outcome like the supervisory stress scenario, while unlikely, may prevail if the U.S. economy were to experience a recession while at the same time economic activity in other major economies were also to contract significantly,” it said.
If the United States were to enter a deep recession in the fourth quarter of this year, the Fed’s worst-case scenario envisages the euro zone hit hard, suffering almost two year’s of contraction until mid-2013, while output shrinks by a more than 6% annualized rate at its depths.
Few economists predict a U.S. recession, though uncertainty is rampant. A Reuters poll earlier this month put the risk at 25%, down from 30% the prior month, and recent U.S. economic data has slightly improved.
The Fed’s latest stress test is tougher than the last — little wonder, noted Nomorua Equity Research, given Europe sliding back into recession, China slowing, financial markets in turmoil over the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis and an uncertain U.S. fiscal picture.
But Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities, says it is irresponsible to put 31 U.S. banks through a worst-case scenario. A stress test this tough risks forcing banks to prepare for the worst, possibly creating what regulators fear.
Bove told Reuters Insider Television: “This is a really stupid stress test. They [banks] are going to dump loans, they are going to stop lending and they are going to put us into the recession that the government wants to know how they will function within.”
Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, director of research at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, disagrees. He welcomed the Fed’s move, saying it will hasten a shrinkage of bank balance sheets that is much needed to match a slower-growing economy.
See also “Why the Collapse of MF Global Should Frighten You.”

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