Disclaimer: This site is *not* affiliated with AIPAC, Ahmed Chalabi, K Street, ClearChannel, or Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ. In case you were curious. Full disclosure: I have a "long Apple position" and therefore I have an Apple bias.
Al Giordano is a seasoned journalist with a background in political activism, having worked for years with Abbie Hoffman, against nuclear power and US intervention in Nicaragua, as Rolling Stone noted, among various undertakings. The wildly corrupt Mexican bank Banamex, now part of Citigroup, tried to silence his work in court but failed. In 2000 he launched one of my favorite websites, NarcoNews, reporting the grim realities of a corrupt and sprawling war on drugs with continental scope. (which has been on the permanent sidebar here for who knows how long). He also has organized the School of Authentic Journalism to train young journalists.
More recently, outside of the NarcoNews project, Al has been unyielding in pointing out the shortcomings of Sen. Bernie Sanders' primary campaign and the activities of his supporters. When I first noticed this I was a bit surprised since I think of Hillary Clinton as the quintessential establishment, pro-war-on-drug politician, but I appreciated that Giordano was sticking to the facts. He is very, very good at predicting primary election results, although he was wrong about the 2016 Michigan Democratic primary.
DF: I am curious what strategy could have worked better for Sanders if we could rewind the campaign time period Al Giordano, or do Sanders' inescapable liabilities stretch back to the 1990s or before? He kinda seemed like a more hacky version of Paul Wellstone before the campaign started.. i definitely agree w you there was never a good training camp that could have put the volunteers on a better footing as you have pointed out lately.
Giordano: Yes, one of the things that distinguished Paul Wellstone was his Camp Wellstone trainings, which are still happening. One is coming up in May in Virginia: http://www.wellstone.org/events/camp-wellstone-virginia-civic-engagement... Sanders blew it with most black voters when he kept running against Obama's record and putting Obama haters like Cornel West out there to be a surrogate. He blew it with Latino voters when he had no remorse or good explanation for his 2007 vote vs Ted Kennedy's immigration reform vote. Clinton voted wrong on Iraq but had the sense to reflect, say it was a mistake and apologize for it. Sanders just really shows no reflection at all about himself - a key warning sign to many people when white men do it.
DF: thanks for the concise explanation, that seems pretty logical.
Giordano: Instead Sanders made himself a magnet for the Obama haters, readers of the Intercept, same bunch of people who said he was "Bush in blackface" and other racial slurs, West who called him a "niggerized president." And those people sucked up so much oxygen that the organizer left simply said "gross" and didn't want to be associated with it. Then Clinton smartly pivoted to hugging Obama (after initially trying to distance herself). When Bernie said in January that Clinton was hugging Obama "to pander to black people" that ruined him with most of that demographic, that which loves the president. When he said "you can be a progressive or you can be a moderate but you can't be both" that purity trolling ruined him with many on the left who rejected that kind of fundamentalism over the years. When his people attacked John Lewis and Dolores Huerta - some even attacked Liz Warren for remaining neutral! - the wheels came totally off the bus. The rest has just been mopping up since then.
DF: I've been a fan of narconews forever, I'm glad you're talking people down from the bubble reality of campaign season
Giordano: Not all of them are glad, but it's a "teaching moment."
For progressive ideas to succeed in the electoral arena in this country, it will be critical in future cycles to avoid the kind of problems that Giordano outlines here. I could rave on about how terrible the elections administration is in the United States, the huge wave of voter suppression on the way due to new "Voter ID" hurdles and the Voting Rights Act Section 4 Supreme Court strikedown in June 2013 which will block countless votes, or the email server scandal could pop up again as Pat Lang suggests, but those are issues for another post. Truly Sanders and his leadership staff have to be held accountable for their own shortcomings in the campaign, and we all have to take the teaching moments as they come. Like millions of Americans I am tired of the bubble reality of election season politics, but we still have a long ways to go, don't we?
Hope everyone's doing well out there. I'm aiming to update HongPong.com to Drupal 8 within a month or so. Lately I've been doing more work with WordPress than Drupal. Neither one is perfect. I must wish a happy 15th birthday to the Drupal community since the software was named and released under the GPL a decade and a half ago. Hard to believe I've been generally in that orbit for 2/3rds of the time! [I registered on Drupal.org 9 years 8 months ago, and Wordpress.org in June 2005]
Having been in and out of Wordpress and Drupal development for a decade, there is no perfect approach or methodology for a good ecosystem that minimizes hassle.
In the last year Drupal.org got a polished continuous integration system set up so that git patches are pushed through testing on several different sql & PHP versions. I think a major push to modernize wordpress.org plugin support thread management and introducing CI ( meshing this with github or a free software equivalent if necessary) would help plugin maintainers deal with API changes much more effectively. It's not possible to attach patches through the threads and that should change, first of all. [after all, has it really changed in a decade? Does anyone benefit from threads that get locked quickly, when the same problems recur year after year etc?]
Also in Drupal world the community is the ultimate steward of the fate of modules while in Wordpress the authors have more exhaustive control. When authors abandon their plugins, if others could claim plugins that are idle this would result in fewer, better plugins. Drupal modules are not allowed to promote their author's wares either, which might be worth considering, although perhaps this pesky internal advertising system helps keeps more devs afloat. It's quite a contrast to Drupal.
Also as complexity increased Drupal forked off into Backdrop CMS, which is a lightweight, slightly modified for performance and easier maintainability with static files. Wordpress Lite with a smaller API and mostly similar theme layer could work well as the core expands into trickier areas like REST implementation.
Lastly I think that the Dependency Injection / Service Container system pioneered by Symfony and implemented in Drupal 8 would be good for Wordpress to look at. It would let people knock out the code areas that they need for very custom apps (i.e. Buddypress) while still maintaining a lean core API. It would be great in the long run if Wordpress 5 or whatever were totally rewritten to have a more modern structure than it has now... but only with good CI would the ecosystem keep up.
My colleagues with the new activist oriented news service UnicornRiot.ninja interviewed me about encryption and privacy/security and it went pretty well overall. Check out the video and please support their efforts!! (original post) Deprogram airs every Wednesday night around 8PM central.
After the 12 topic rundown and music video, we had two interviews. In the first interview, we were graced with the presence of Kanahus Manuel to discuss Indigenous environmental issues in so-called Canada.
For our second interview, we were joined by Dan Feidt, who discussed privacy protection options for computer and phone users in the growing surveillance state.
“Deprogram”, a live show hosted by Zo and Niko that attempts to examine the roots of the struggles that preside throughout different communities. “Deprogram” airs live every Wednesday night at 9pmEST.
The Ford Foundation is a heavy hitter in nonprofit world. Originally it was set up so that shares of Ford Motor Co. wouldn't get so dispersed through inheritances dissolving the fortune. There was a lot of political intrigue later on that is worth checking into, but I won't get into all of it here. Suffice it to say they are a core primary player in this kind of world.
The leader just sent out a pretty big missive and it really discussed how the Ford Foundation is all about protecting capitalism, which struck me as a little off the normal tone of reforms and whatnot that they usually are hooked into. If you want to understand the role of big foundations in American politics this is a handy document.
hat tip to B.S. for catching this. Also I don't really think M.L.King Jr. was a huge fan of Capitalism but hey...
As I begin my third year at the Ford Foundation’s helm, I am reminded of how privileged I am—and we all are—to serve this institution.
For my colleagues and me, these past 15 months have entailed both deep introspection about this privilege and broad exploration of how we can harness and direct it to advance our mission. For us, what has unfolded is a process of discovery and renewal that has led us to reorganize our programming around the global crisis of inequality. We call this ongoing renewal FordForward.
Next month, I’ll be sharing more details about our thematic areas and the specific grantmaking lines of work through which we will carry out our programming. I look forward to beginning a new phase for the foundation that builds on Ford’s rich and varied history.
Since sharing the news of our focus on inequality, I’ve been encouraged—and, candidly, surprised—by the overwhelming response. As the chasm of inequality widens and deepens in communities around the world, we seem to have struck a nerve.
Yet while inequality certainly merits attention and effort, some have fairly pointed out a tension—if not a contradiction—between philanthropic efforts to address inequality and the structural economic realities that make it possible for foundations to exist at all.
The origins of modern philanthropy
This tension stretches back more than a century. In 1889, the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie composed his “Gospel of Wealth,” a short essay with far-reaching impact. It is, in many ways, the intellectual charter of modern philanthropy, and its basic precepts remain the underpinning of US giving and, in turn, have greatly influenced an era of burgeoning philanthropic enterprise around the world.
Carnegie articulated his philosophy at a time when inequality had reached unprecedented levels in the United States. In an age of excess, titans of industry enjoyed lives of startling opulence; ordinary people endured low wages, dangerous working conditions, and overcrowded, unhealthy living quarters. He argued—as some still do—that inequality on this scale is an unavoidable condition of the free market system and that philanthropy is one effective means of ameliorating the conditions the market produces.
Today, in this new period of rising inequality, it is timely that we reflect on the principles of philanthropy as originally set forth in Carnegie’s influential “Gospel of Wealth”—to consider to what degree they point to the realities and responsibilities of philanthropy in our time, and to openly acknowledge and confront the tension inherent in a system that perpetuates vast differences in privilege and then tasks the privileged with improving the system.
To be sure, philanthropy today is broader and more diverse than ever before. Its tens of thousands of individual practitioners around the world follow a variety of approaches, as intentional and unique as they are. As ever, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Moreover, philanthropy continues to advance through bold experiments with new models. From the global Giving Pledge initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City, to major philanthropic communities emerging in China, India, Latin America, Africa, the Gulf States, and elsewhere, a 21st-century style of “giving back” is lifting the lives and lots of millions of people around the world. It is building schools, preserving cultural and natural diversity, and generating new vaccines, agricultural innovation, and the social entrepreneurship of a millennial generation of change agents. In the sheer persistence and proliferation of the philanthropic idea, Carnegie’s “Gospel” reverberates loud and clear—and I deeply admire the leadership and example of philanthropists and foundations around the world that we are honored to work with and learn from.
And yet, despite this vast ledger of undeniable public good, the tension persists. Why, in too many parts of the world have we failed to provide employment, education and health care, decent nutrition and sanitation? What underlying forces drive the very inequality whose manifestations we seek to ameliorate?
Rethinking the gospel of giving
My thinking on this issue has been shaped by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who made a profound statement not long before his death: “Philanthropy is commendable,” he wrote, “but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
I hasten to add that it is not solely economic injustice that philanthropy exists to address, and I believe Dr. King had a broader idea at heart: He challenges us still to look at underlying structures and systems, the roots of injustice, the causes of human suffering, and the sources of our own privilege.
In other words, perhaps the time has come to take the radicalism of Carnegie’s 19th-century revolution, mesh it with the courage of Dr. King’s, and make it our own. Perhaps it is time for a reimagined gospel of giving.
To borrow a phrase from Carnegie’s “Gospel” itself, we might recognize “the changed conditions of this age,” and adopt “modes of expressing this spirit suitable to the changed conditions under which we live.” We might disentangle the web of conditions that make philanthropy both possible and necessary.
If we’re being honest, we might acknowledge that we are crashing into the limits of what we can do with a 19th-century interpretation of philanthropy’s founding doctrine.
A 21st-century view of inequality
First of all, no one in philanthropy has the independent resources to solve our collective problems. In his lifetime, Andrew Carnegie gave away some $350 million. Even in today’s currency, this is a pittance in comparison with the world’s trillions of dollars of needs for food and housing, education, infrastructure, and health care.
What’s more, even though Carnegie understood and set out to address the notion of inequality (though he understood the problem more narrowly as “poverty”), he did so with a very different set of insights and a very different set of conditions within which to work. Compared with 125 years ago, we live in more enlightened, egalitarian, and participatory societies. In part because of what modern philanthropy helped set in motion, our polities have expanded in significant ways, making room to hear and heed more diverse voices and perspectives.
We also have technology, data, and a century of randomized controlled trials, which, together, enable us to broaden our scope and understand increasingly intricate patterns of injustice and how they persist and reproduce over time. In doing so, we are able to cast light on deep-seated, systemic problems—problems that in the absence of these insights would be attributed solely to individual failures or subject to misleading generalization.
Where Carnegie might have identified illiteracy as a source of inequality, for example, we now understand that the reverse is true—or, at the very least, that a complex symbiosis is at work. We understand, in a way he did not, that social, cultural, political, and economic inequalities set in place reinforcing conditions from the very start of life—in homes, in neighborhoods, and in schools—that create cycles of poverty, illiteracy, and lack of opportunity.
We also know that inequality is built on antecedents—preexisting conditions ranging from ingrained prejudice and historical racial, gender, and ethnic biases to regressive tax policies that cumulatively define the systems and structures that enable inequality to fester.
Because today we know more and are exposed to a diversity of views and insights, we can engage in a more thorough examination of the underlying barriers that prevent people from advancing in society. We can grapple not just with what is happening but also with how and why. And I believe that change must come in three basic forms.
Three steps toward reducing inequality
First, we need to open ourselves up to more critical, honest discussions about deeply rooted cultural norms and structures, including racial, gender, ethnic, and class biases.
We have made impressive progress on these issues, but some social and economic progress cannot blind us to the reality that far too many are left behind because of inequality’s asphyxiating grip on the aspirations of people in every corner of every country.
Second, we foundations need to reject inherited, assumed, paternalist instincts—an impulse to put grantmaking rather than change making at the center of our worldview.
For philanthropists working globally, our efforts shouldn’t be a matter of Western institutions directing NGOs in the Global South, or treating our grantees as contract project managers rather than as valued partners. Instead, we should be strands in the web—South to South, South to North—making connections and modeling the kind of equality we hope to achieve by listening, and learning, and lifting others up.
Furthermore, we’d be well served to recognize that the more excluded people are, the harder it is truly to hear them. We all believe that those most affected by policy ought to have a voice in creating it. So our work should lend agency—and legitimacy—to slum dwellers and rural farmers, incarcerated people and refugees, migrants pursuing a better life and families on public assistance.
Third, we need to interrogate the fundamental root causes of inequality, even, and especially, when it means that we ourselves will be implicated.
It is incumbent upon each of us to dig deeper and relish the dirt beneath our fingernails; what for Carnegie was bedrock, to us has become topsoil. There are obscured root causes buried deep in our history, our institutions, and our cultural practices—causes we have to unearth and evaluate in the harsh light of day.
For one example, when we talk about economic inequality, we might acknowledge an underlying, unspoken hierarchy, in which we relate everything back to capital. In most areas of life, we have raised market-based, monetized thinking over all other disciplines and conceptions of value.
We might ask related questions, too.
Within legacy institutions like ours, we should ask, How does our privilege insulate us from engaging with the most difficult root causes of inequality and the poverty in which it ensnares people?
How does our work—our approach to awarding grants, our hiring and contracting policies, even our behavior toward our partners and grantees—reinforce structural inequality in our society?
Why are we still necessary, and what can we do to build a world where we no longer are as necessary?
For individual philanthropists, it may well be appropriate to ask a similar set of questions: Is the playing field on which I accumulated my wealth level and fair? Does the system privilege people like me in ways that compound my advantages?
Our obligation to capitalism
These questions are at the heart of our collective work, but also at the core of our aspiration for an economic system that works for more people.
As Henry Ford II, framer of the modern Ford Foundation, wrote in a 1976 letter to his fellow trustees, the foundation is “in essence, a creature of capitalism.” Therefore, he suggested, we ought to “examine the question of our obligations to our economic systems and to consider how the foundation, as one of the system’s most prominent offspring, might act most wisely to strengthen and improve its progenitor.”
To put it more bluntly, we were established by a market system and endowed by the money of the past century’s 1 percent. We are stewards of enormous resources—participants in and beneficiaries of a market system. As a result, our work is quite literally enabled by returns on capital. In turn, I believe we are obligated “to strengthen and improve” the system of which we are part. My conviction is no anathema to capitalism. Adam Smith himself argued that the “invisible hand” could not be blind to the condition of society, and that “no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” This from a visionary who was not only the forefather of American capitalism but also the author of Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he regarded as more important than his Wealth of Nations.
Philanthropy’s role is to contribute to the “flourishing” of the “far greater part”—to help foster a stronger safety net and a level playing field. With each generation, we should be guided by our legacy of support for social progress and human achievement in the spirit of the Green Revolution, advances in public health and human rights, social movement building, creative expression and cultural innovation, and so much more.
Ultimately, this reckoning with—this reimagining of—philanthropy’s first principles and its relationship to our market system will not be easy, but this moment requires that we not go easy on ourselves.
Some might see this as a problem or as pressure. To me, however, it is inseparable from our privilege—because with privilege comes responsibility.
In this spirit, let us commit ourselves to proffering, and preaching, and practicing a new gospel—a gospel commensurate with our time.
Let us bridge the philosophies of Smith, and Carnegie, and King, and break the scourge of inequality. For when we do, to paraphrase another of Dr. King’s most powerful insights, we at last will bend the demand curve toward justice.
I welcome your thoughts—so please reply to this e-mail or share your ideas on social media.
It can't be emphasized enough that the global debt complex we are all trapped in is reproduced daily by sophisticated (and in many cases quite old & deteriorated) computers. There is no magic man behind the curtain, just a bunch of nasty computer systems whose authority is enforced by central banking authorities like the Troika, IMF, World Bank, Bank for International Settlements and the Federal Reserve System.
This is one of the biggest stories at this level I have seen in ages, perhaps ever. Fascinating story very worth reading: A secret lolcat team in Greece's finance ministry hacked into their own EU-controlled systems and had a parallel financial network ready to go, but it all got wound down. Apparently FM Varoufakis resigned as a result of the plan being halted - and overall it was a pretty cool plan under dire national circumstances of emergency survival vs austerity.
A secret cell at the Greek finance ministry hacked into the government computers and drew up elaborate plans for a system of parallel payments that could be switched from euros to the drachma at the "flick of a button" .
The revelations have caused a political storm in Greece and confirm just how close the country came to drastic measures before premier Alexis Tsipras gave in to demands from Europe's creditor powers, acknowledging that his own cabinet would not support such a dangerous confrontation.
Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister, told a group of investors in London that a five-man team under his control had been working for months on a contingency plan to create euro liquidity if the European Central Bank cut off emergency funding to the Greek financial system, as it in fact did after talks broke down and Syriza called a referendum.
On the IT front, the challenge is vastly larger due to the state of financial firm IT systems. We intend to return to this topic, because we see bank IT systems as an unrecognized source of systemic risk. They are required to run to mission critical standards: enormous transaction volumes, extremely high demands for accuracy of end output, high uptimes. Yet the code base is an agglomeration, with many important operations relying in meaningful ways on legacy systems. Thus, as our expert with relevant experience stressed, changes that seem simple are anything but.
This is precisely why it is so important to understand these systems and come up with intermediate replacements, as your local version of the ECB is always waiting to make its next move for artificial austerity & assorted lethal games all taking place inside these computers…
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs) and could eventually work as a parallel banking system, Kathimerini has learned.
In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas "overnight" if necessary, Kathimerini understands.
Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed, he said.
The call took place on July 16, more than a week after Varoufakis left his post as finance minister.
The plan would involve hijacking the AFMs of taxpayers and corporations by hacking into General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, Varoufakis told his interlocutors.This would allow the creation of a parallel system that could operate if banks were forced to close and which would allow payments to be made between third parties and the state and could eventually lead to the creation of a parallel banking system, he said.
As the general secretariat is a system that is monitored by Greece’s creditors and is therefore difficult to access, Varoufakis said he assigned a childhood friend of his, an information technology expert who became a professor at Columbia University, to hack into the system. A week after Varouakis took over the ministry, he said the friend telephoned him and said he had “control” of the hardware but not the software "which belongs to the troika."
"The prime minister before he became PM, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons. And we had been working since the end of December or beginning of January on creating one.
"What we planned to do was the following. There is the website of the tax office like there is in Britain and everywhere else, where citizens, taxpayers go into the website they use their tax file number and they transfer through web banking monies from the bank account to their tax file number so as to make payments on VAT, income tax and so on and so forth.
“We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps. And, at the touch of a button, to allow us to give PIN numbers to tax file number holders, to taxpayers.
"That would have created a parallel banking system while the banks were shut as a result of the ECBs aggressive action to deny us some breathing space.
"This was very well developed and I think it would have made a very big difference because very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones and it could become a functioning parallel system and of course this would be euro denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma.
"But let me tell you - and this is quite a fascinating story - what difficulties I faced. The General Secretary of Public Revenues within my ministry is controlled fully and directly by the troika. It was not under control of my ministry, of me as minister, it was controlled by Brussels.
Ok, so problem number one: The general secretary of information systems on the other hand was controlled by me, as minister. I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine who had become professor of IT at Columbia University in the States and so on. I put him in because I trusted him to develop this……
a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: 'You know what? I control the machines, I control the hardware but I do not control the software. The software belongs to the troika controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. What do I do?'
"So we decided to hack into my ministry’s own software program in order to be able break it up to just copy just to copy the code of the tax systems website onto a large computer in his office so that he can work out how to design and implement this parallel payment system.
"And we were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed in order to move into the General Secretariat of Public Revenues, which is not controlled by us but is controlled by Brussels, and to plug this laptop in and to energize the system.
Obviously it was a disappointment to many sane people that Syriza seems to have mostly folded to the Troika but perhaps the Secret Team tactic could be used when the next big one hits the fan and an entrapped debtor nation decides to quickly assert technical sovereignty.
But how to pull this again without tipping the hand? And could it be used again by Greece, now that the word is out? What will happen to Varoufakis' rather exposed techie friend, assuming it's accurate? A fascinating and very pertinent story, I can only hope gets dramatized in some fashion.
Get these computers because one way or another, they are definitely gonna getcha, getcha, getcha…
Update: worth pointing out the Federal Reserve drama over banks wanting their electronically created money kicked back from the Fed. Interesting because it unravels a 100-year-old pact between Congress and banks, as well as highlighting the bizarre secretive and lucrative bank membership in Fed regional entities. Great source of electronic "money" to put into the roads, Ace work whoever managed to slide this policy under the nose of the bank lobbyist fleet.
Industry lobbyists say they were blindsided by the inclusion of the provision, which would help policymakers cover the bill’s cost by cutting the regular dividend the Federal Reserve pays to its member banks.
One lobbyist went so far as to reread the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 after getting wind of the proposal to determine what was at stake.
“I think it took everyone by surprise,” said Paul Merski with the Independent Community Bankers of America. “There was no study of the issue, no hearings, no consultation with the Federal Reserve itself.”
“It came on very quickly,” said James Ballentine of the American Bankers Association, who said he first caught wind of the idea a little over a week ago. “It’s certainly a scramble.”
In a Congress where lawmakers are always hunting for politically palatable ways to raise revenue or cut costs to cover the expenses of additional legislation, the Fed provision was a novel, and rich, one. The proposal is estimated to raise $17 billion over the next decade, and is by far the richest “pay for” included in the bill.
Lobbyists said they were not aware of any previous time when lawmakers had attached the language to a piece of legislation, which would scrap a perk banks have come to expect for over a century.
When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.
The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.
Banks are working to mobilize against the provision, even as lawmakers are pushing to pass a highway bill before program funding expires at the end of the month.
Merski said ICBA had launched a “nationwide grassroots effort,” enlisting its numerous member banks and bankers and told them to call Senate offices to oppose the provision.
And Ballentine said his group was engaged in a concerted education effort for members, outlining why the industry believes the policy change would be disruptive and has no place in highway legislation.
Five major industry groups also sent a letter to lawmakers blasting the provision, saying it “undermines a key agreement that has underpinned the United States banking system for 100 years.”
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) opposes the provision, and invited Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to opine on it when she appeared before his panel earlier this month.
She told lawmakers that if the dividend payment is reduced, some banks may not want to buy into the Fed.
“This is a change that likely would be a significant concern to the many small banks that receive the dividend,” she said.
Donald Kohn, the former vice chair of the Fed, told House lawmakers Wednesday that the proposal would be one directly felt by banks.
“Let’s recognize that by lowering it to, say, 1.5 percent on the proposal, in effect you are placing a tax on banks,” he told the House Financial Services Committee.
A review of previous policy proposals suggests that the idea may have first been thought up by House liberals. The 2014 budget proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus put forward the idea to raise revenue, and a CPC aide said he believed it was the first time someone in Congress proposed the idea. But the Senate highway bill apparently marks the first time members have actually placed it in actual legislation.
Seems like an intense week for economic crises is brewing: Greek banks will be closed till July 6 and also China's stock market is tumbling, Japan down today as well. Who knows how much bad sovereign debt lies in random Japanese or Chinese banks? Credit default swaps or other derivatives? The Chinese "equities bubble" happens to really be cracking the same week as Greece's deal runs out and the biggest IMF payment default ever is about to hit the books.
The massive debt complex only escalated by the post 2007 bailout. It's like the financial equivalent of 'entangling alliances' in WWI. The global aggregate demand slowdown continues. Puerto Rico is also struggling with systemic debt. None of this stuff got solved, central bank intervention, bond purchases and printing only can paper over some holes in the situation. More so than usual, *brace yourselves*
.. http://bloomberg.comhttp://zerohedge.com - probably reasonable places to start monitoring developments - the zerohedge sidebar of recommended sites has some very informative ones as well. I ain't got the time to get into all this stuff…
Over at WTFRLY.com there is a big roundup article getting put together as we speak.
If anyone is interested in an alternative economic tool, drupal.org/project/ices Integral Community Exchange System provides both timebanking and mutual aid / need want listings. (GPL free software license, tweak as you like)
If secret federal aviation is the Big Lebowski, Bristow is the rug that really ties the room together.
It's been thrilling to watch one of my favorite topics, aviation in covert operations, hit the bigtime over the last few news cycles.A few tweets about suspicious plane hovering over Baltimore 'disturbances' registered to a ghostly "NG Research" at a Bristow, Virginia PO Box cued the story. The FBI conceding to Washington Post that it was their flight set the stage for this. These stories have quietly been leaching out for years. As far back as 2003 (or 2006 in WIRED) references to small aircraft doing domestic surveillance have been popping up. After the Boston Marathon bombing, a small aircraft was traced to the same Bristow VA cluster. Today the story hit turbo with a big AP story, FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities, but there are lots more to find because the AP didn't really go outside of Bristow. You'll find plenty of N Numbers to snoop on below - and cool new tracking techniques too!! Quote of the year?
The FBI asked the AP not to disclose the names of the fake companies it uncovered, saying that would saddle taxpayers with the expense of creating new cover companies to shield the government's involvement, and could endanger the planes and integrity of the surveillance missions. The AP declined the FBI's request because the companies' names — as well as common addresses linked to the Justice Department — are listed on public documents and in government databases.
In my own scoping in the last week or so it appears that these shell company registration were mostly set up around 2010 or 2011, making this an Obama operation through and through. I apologize for not tipping yall more quickly to this impending development but I have been too busy!
This story shows that secret airlines are becoming an obsolete method for the [deep] state, because with the Internet and planespotters it becomes possible to observe and end-run around the secrecy of the networks, as the last big wave of awareness around secret detainee flights in the Bush years really revealed (though mostly in Eurasia, not North America). (2007 Cryptome Story and Category:Alleged CIA pilots - SourceWatch)
.......As the C.I.A. tries to veil such air operations, aviation regulations pose a major obstacle. Planes must have visible tail numbers, and their ownership can be easily checked by entering the number into the Federal Aviation Administration's online registry. So, rather than purchase aircraft outright, the C.I.A. uses shell companies whose names appear unremarkable in casual checks of F.A.A. registrations.
Years ago I asked a staff research person at the Minnesota Department of Transportation if there was something weird about how FAA registration works, if it is designed to hide ownership, and he assured me it had been that way since the FAA had been set up - and went on to tell me that when he was much younger, in the late 1980s he had traced a disappeared pilot to Texas, then found that someone had pulled the flight plans from the FAA file. This shadowy story was literally the first thing I heard from a government employee when I went asking, confirming my long-running theory that everyone has some kind of story that touches on the corrupt secret government or deep state.
Naturally the FBI/DOJ also has its own similar shells. Due to incredible laziness the feds registered tons of them with the same name pattern at the same locale in Bristow VA. Here, have some original art I made on May 25, well before the Star Tribune and Associated Press picked up this story!
Several independent parties put these pieces together and triggered the massive news snowball today. Probably the first to catch a large section of it was john wiseman (@lemonodor), who figured out good methods for tracing the transmitters and radio traffic. My friend Sam Richards (@MinneapoliSam) was the first as far as I know to put together the larger data set about the Bristow VA node, after getting a tip about a sketchy spy flight over Minneapolis, although Wiseman verifiably came up with a whole bunch of the shells in early May. Wiseman explains his narrative in new post: Tracking FBI aerial surveillance (with images, tweets) · jjwiseman · Storify
Below is a listing of 100 aircraft registered to shell companies that do not exist. The US Department of Justice can claim plausible deniability for owning and operating these aircraft however that is a flimsy defense. At the time of posting, a number of these aircraft may be airborne over American cities, equipped with surveillance, stingray, or other hardware. FOIAs are being drafted and will be submitted so it is only a matter of time before a brighter light is shined upon these secretive operations.
For examples of the flight patterns conducted by many of these aircraft within the last few days, check:
Here's an article by the ACLU highlighting why these operations are of concern https://www.aclu.org/blog/ohio-aerial-surveillance-system-moving-forward... "ARGUS, the high-flying drone technology capable of capturing super-high-definition video of a 15-square mile area and automatically tracking all moving vehicles and people within that area. I pointed out that this makes possible our nightmare scenario for drones: wide-area mass surveillance and location tracking of entire cities and towns."
Now the FBI is an onerous position where they have to turn over, de-register or re-register all of these planes, somehow reconciling rebuilding the secrecy of the fleet exposed above with the FAA's registration system, and the hordes of planespotters out there now reinforced by tons of interested activists cued into the national scope of this operation. Good luck Feds!
SOURCE: View image: image5. This plane has been flagged as using the JENA code which seems to be the usual code until probably around now. Images scaled down, resize to see more. N959JT is of course registered in Bristow VA. Bonus points awarded for pink toenails in spotting this secret aircraft machinery which seems to resemble the gear spotted on the recent Minneapolis plane.
I live in Phoenix and my coworker was telling me she's been noticing this plane circling around their neighborhood the past 12 days. They started tracking the planes on Flightradar24 and she sent me these screenshots of some of their flight paths: http://postimg.org/image/tpdhpd789/http://postimg.org/image/o2h4rw4pl/http://postimg.org/image/uuc58hj2x/ She even had a pilot friend go down to the airport that they've been flying out of and do some snooping. He found took this photo of the camera equipment mounted to the bottom of the plane: http://postimg.org/image/hm861sw61/ She said that it's always the same 3 tail fin numbers which take turns doing the same flight path. They start at daybreak and only stop late in the night.
Update: Here's another pic my coworker got of one of the planes parked at the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. You can see the camera equipment on the side: http://postimg.org/image/oj5bwlcjn/
She also said over the past couple days all the tail fin numbers changed on Flightradar24 and they are now all showing up as some variation of "JENA". Screenshot: http://postimg.org/image/n3ahqjgql/
Finally it is worth noting it has been difficult but not impossible to get credit to independent journalists for blowing up this story. I appreciate Bob Collins at Minnesota Public Radio's Newscut for engaging on Twitter when we pressed him on the issue of crediting the story, and including references to Sam's original medium.com story, while the Star Tribune and AP did not credit Sam at all. (Although the Strib has been communicative recently and I have some hope they will circle back within a few days).
Additionally I suspect "CHAPPARRAL AIR GROUP" may be another front, they got a craft from the DEA: N540DB. seeHelicopter Flying Above Claycord on Thursday Afternoon —claycord CLAYCORD.com: "A google search of the tail ID can help you confirm this also, where you will find no shortage of photographs of this specific aircraft operating out of Concord and San Jose. Note that the federal government recently (2011) transferred registration of 15 Federal law enforcement helicopters out of the names of the Department of Justice, DEA, to an entity in Texas called the Chaparral Air Group."
Before the story broke we had a bunch of diggings, now it's time to share! MORE RELATED RAW DATA:
NOTE there are some false positives and general "NOISE" in here, please proceed with discernment!!!
In broader context, the Obama administration has continuted to expand the use of intelligence tracking, including fusion centers and electronic intelligence, to keep rebellious groups under control, as addressed here
On April 29, a Cessna 206H registered to National Aircraft Leasing Corporation circled overhead for hours at about 3,500 feet, flying repetitively over western Baltimore. On the nights of April 30, May 1 and May 2, another aircraft, a Cessna Model 182T registered to a company named NG Research in Bristow, Virginia, flew over the same areas at a similar low altitude.
Also on May 1 and May 2, an unidentified Cessna Citation V jet made similar nighttime flights, orbiting Baltimore at the relatively low altitudes (for a jet aircraft) of 6,400 and 9,400 feet, based on records from Flightradar24.
Kind of vague hit comes up for the google search on National Aircraft Leasing Corporation
Edit 3: After looking through the list of aircraft registered in Bristow, VA for a town of 15,000 there are 64 aircraft registered including one owned by the Department of Justice. All within the past decade most within the past 3 years. Most of them are owned by companies with 3 letters then what they do RKT Productions, PSL Surveying, KQM Aviation, LCB Leasing, NBY productions etc. They also all are operation 182t Cessna’s. All of the companies only have a PO Box in Bristow. Looks like an FBI airport.
The one tail number that the initial Washington Post article linked to is N39MY, which is a Cessna 182T registered to NG Research, PO Box 722 in Bristow, VA. That company's web presence is close to zero, basically below the noise floor.
If you google [po box bristow va] you find FAA records for a bunch of other oddly named companies that all have similarly close-to-zero web presence and addresses that are PO Boxes in Bristow: FVX Research, NBR Aviation, NBY Productions, OBR Leasing, OTV Leasing, PSL Surveys, PXW Services. They all seem to like Cessna 182Ts.
If you Google the tail numbers of aircraft registered to those companies, you start to find forum and mailing list posts (often at sites that tilt toward paranoid/conspiracy/right wing, but not always) with people discussing these specific tail numbers and linking them to the FBI. Some of the supposed evidence includes details of radio communications that people have heard, e.g. talking about "being on station" or using callsigns that start with JENNA, JENA or ROSS, which are supposedly used by the FBI. Other posts claim that DOJ/FBI surveillance aircraft often squawk 4414 or 4415 on their transponders.
I monitor aircraft in Los Angeles using an RTL-SDR dongle. I keep a database of almost every transponder ping I receive. You can see some more info, analysis and examples of stuff I've seen (U-2, AF1, AF2, EXEC-1F, E-6 "Doomsday" planes) at
I decided to check my database for planes that have squawked 4414/4415 or used one of the suspicious callsigns: I found 8 aircraft in the past 2 months, several of which exhibit suspicious behavior: Flying for hours at a time without going anywhere in particular (I don't have position information for them, but I know they're in the air and not leaving the LA area), flying almost every day for months at a time, squawking 4414 or 4415, and one that used a JENNA callsign. 2 of them are registered to companies with PO Boxes in Bristow, VA. Another is registered to AEROGRAPHICS INC. 10678 AVIATION LN, MANASSAS VIRGINIA, which googling shows has also been linked to the FBI/DOJ. Several others are registered to WORLDWIDE AIRCRAFT LEASING CORP and NATIONAL AIRCRAFT LEASING CORP in Delaware, similar to other suspected FBI front companies (e.g. Northwest Aircraft Leasing Corp. in Newark, Delaware).
(I call what I'm doing "persistent sousveillance": using historical sensor data to retroactively identify and track new subjects, it's just that my subjects are the government. One of the surprising things I've found is that all you need to do is look: the weird stuff jumps out right away, e.g. Cessnas registered to fake-sounding companies that loiter overhead for hours every day.)
It's a lot of circumstantial evidence, but at this point it doesn't seem far-fetched that I'm monitoring aircraft involved in persistent FBI aerial surveillance.
Edit: One other thing worth mentioning is that I was surprised at how many local news stories I turned up while googling these planes & companies that fit the template of "Citizens complain about mystery Cessna flying low, circling over their neighborhood".)
The FAA manages this program and NBAA no longer has any policy or administrative control over the FAA ASDI Block program. However, if you have general questions or concerns about the FAA process, contact NBAA's Operations Service Group email@example.com (202) 783-9250.
The FAA’s primary electronic mailbox for all aircraft blocking and unblocking requests and for related inquiries directed to the ASDI blocking program isASDIBlock@faa.gov.
102BR 18282264 OTV LEASING PO BOX 636BRISTOW, VA 20136-06361176R 18281688 CARTER JOHN B 190 CAMPUS BLVD # 320WINCHESTER, VA 22601-287214205 18281889 ANESTHESIA AVIATION LLC 206 ROSEMEADE PLACELEESBURG, VA 20175142LJ 18282272 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-07251725L 18282019 MEYER FRANK 3025 NATHANIELS GRNWILLIAMSBURG, VA 23185-7505182EM 18282233 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802223EM 18282252 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-07212451Z 18280949 MASCIOLA MICHAEL J 8138 QUINN TERVIENNA, VA 22180-7467267RH 18282208 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802274BB 18282270 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-0726290RM 18282215 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 655BRISTOW, VA 20136-0655302MP 18282273 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-0721311SB 18282246 NBR AVIATION PO BOX 752BRISTOW, VA 20136-0752318SJ 18282251 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-0725319KS 18282243 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 554BRISTOW, VA 20136-0554323LP 18282244 RKT PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 926BRISTOW, VA 20136-092633HA 18282279 HORIZON AIRCRAFT SALES & LEASING INC 2801 AIRPORT DRCHESAPEAKE, VA 23323-6411361DB 18282245 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-0726404KR 18282203 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-0725411CP 18282232 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-072141DL 18281142 LDAIR INC 7198 HOLLYBERRY RDROANOKE, VA 24018-5510428MT 18282234 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 656BRISTOW, VA 20136-0656444VB 18281034 YOUNG REGINALD S 1218 HITE DRBUFFALO JUNCTION, VA 24529-3110461AJ 18282225 RKT PR
ODUCTIONS PO BOX 615BRISTOW, VA 20136-0615467TS 18282239 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-07565101U 18282156 SYCOLIN ENTERPRISES LLC 18930 LOUDOUN ORCHARD RDLEESBURG, VA 20175-68575141Y 18281077 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 2600 WASHINGTON AVE FL 3NEWPORT NEWS, VA 23607-4317514NY 18282271 NBR AVIATION PO BOX 752BRISTOW, VA 20136-0752520EP 18282274 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-08025273F 18282193 PSC LEASING LLC 9500 INNOVATION DRMANASSAS, VA 20110-2210527KM 18282260 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 655BRISTOW, VA 20136-06555340X 18281207 AGVEST LLC 1210 HILLMAN HWY NEABINGDON, VA 24210-4137539MY 18282238 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 722BRISTOW, VA 20136-0722562CB 18282207 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-0721576DS 18282229 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-072660430 18281839 COUNTY OF HENRICO VIRGINIA PO BOX 90775HENRICO, VA 23273-0775657TP 18282253 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802731CL 18282256 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 656BRISTOW, VA 20136-0656747GK 18282029 EASTERN STEARMAN INC TRUSTEE 42061 BALD HILL RDLEESBURG, VA 20176-6020806TH 18282266 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 632BRISTOW, VA 20136-0632811AH 18282240 OTV LEASING PO BOX 831BRISTOW, VA 20136-0831824HA 18281824 VAJ COMPANY LLC 3850 FIELDCREST DRRINER, VA 24149-2590879WM 18282216 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-07569036B 18282258 HELSLEY WILLIAM W 10350 BELLA LNMC GAHEYSVILLE, VA 22840-2435906TM 18282269 RKT PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 615BRISTOW, VA 20136-0615910LF 18282284 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 502BRISTOW,VA 20136-0502912EX 18282231
OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-0725916WR 18282262 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-0756981MR 18282212 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 502BRISTOW, VA 20136-0502984JS 18282218 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 632BRISTOW, VA 20136-0632
N-Number Serial Number Name Address102BR 18282264 OTV LEASING PO BOX 636BRISTOW, VA 20136-06361176R 18281688 CARTER JOHN B 190 CAMPUS BLVD # 320WINCHESTER, VA 22601-287214205 18281889 ANESTHESIA AVIATION LLC 206 ROSEMEADE PLACELEESBURG, VA 20175142LJ 18282272 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-07251725L 18282019 MEYER FRANK 3025 NATHANIELS GRNWILLIAMSBURG, VA 23185-7505182EM 18282233 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802223EM 18282252 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-07212451Z 18280949 MASCIOLA MICHAEL J 8138 QUINN TERVIENNA, VA 22180-7467267RH 18282208 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802274BB 18282270 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-0726290RM 18282215 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 655BRISTOW, VA 20136-0655302MP 18282273 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-0721311SB 18282246 NBR AVIATION PO BOX 752BRISTOW, VA 20136-0752318SJ 18282251 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA20136-0725319KS 18282243 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 554BRISTOW, VA 20136-0554323LP 18282244 RKT PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 926BRISTOW, VA 20136-092633HA 18282279 HORIZON AIRCRAFT SALES & LEASING INC 2801 AIRPORT DRCHESAPEAKE, VA 23323-6411361DB 18282245 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-0726404KR 18282203 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-0725411CP 18282232 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-072141DL 18281142 LDAIR INC 7198 HOLLYBERRY RDROANOKE, VA 24018-5510428MT 18282234 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 656BRISTOW, VA 20136-0656444VB 18281034 YOUNG REGINALD S 1218 HITE DRBUFFALO JU
NCTION, VA 24529-3110461AJ 18282225 RKT PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 615BRISTOW, VA 20136-0615467TS 18282239 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-07565101U 18282156 SYCOLIN ENTERPRISES LLC 18930 LOUDOUN ORCHARD RDLEESBURG, VA 20175-68575141Y 18281077 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 2600 WASHINGTON AVE FL 3NEWPORT NEWS, VA 23607-4317514NY 18282271 NBR AVIATION PO BOX 752BRISTOW, VA 20136-0752520EP 18282274 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-08025273F 18282193 PSC LEASING LLC 9500 INNOVATION DRMANASSAS, VA 20110-2210527KM 18282260 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 655BRISTOW, VA 20136-06555340X 18281207 AGVEST LLC 1210 HILLMAN HWY NEABINGDON, VA 24210-4137539MY 18282238 NG RESEARCH PO BOX 722BRISTOW, VA 20136-0722562CB 18282207 KQM AVIATION PO BOX 721BRISTOW, VA 20136-0721576DS 18282229 LCB LEASING PO BOX 726BRISTOW, VA 20136-072660430 18281839 COUNTY OF HENRICO VIRGINIA PO BOX 90775HENRICO, VA 23273-0775657TP 18282253 PXW SERVICES PO BOX 802BRISTOW, VA 20136-0802731CL 18282256 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 656BRISTOW, VA 20136-0656747GK 18282029 EASTERN STEARMAN INC TRUSTEE 42061 BALD HILL RDLEESBURG, VA 20176-6020806TH 18282266 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 632BRISTOW, VA 20136-0632811AH 18282240 OTV LEASING PO BOX 831BRISTOW, VA20136-0831824HA 18281824 VAJ COMPANY LLC 3850 FIELDCREST DRRINER, VA 24149-2590879WM 18282216 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-07569036B 18282258 HELSLEY WILLIAM W 10350 BELLA LNMC GAHEYSVILLE, VA 22840-2435906TM 18282269 RKT PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 615BRISTOW, VA 20136-0615910LF 18282284 NBY PRODUCTIONS
similarly there are some hits here. for entire listing in LOUDOUN county
PO BOX 502BRISTOW, VA 20136-0502912EX 18282231 OBR LEASING PO BOX 725BRISTOW, VA 20136-0725916WR 18282262 PSL SURVEYS PO BOX 756BRISTOW, VA 20136-0756981MR 18282212 NBY PRODUCTIONS PO BOX 502BRISTOW, VA 20136-0502984JS 18282218 FVX RESEARCH PO BOX 632BRISTOW, VA 20136-063
Possible tech or similar
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