Economics

Goldbugs Unite! Time to crash COMEX paper gold!

Gold finally posted its biggest gain in three months last week. On December 2nd, goldbugs said gold futures went into backwardation, which suggests supplies are drying up. What does this mean? I can't possibly claim to get this stuff; however, there are crazy bastards trying to spark a COMEX futures gold 'bank run' of sorts.

The artificially tilted gold market could likely get a huge thrashing at the end of the month. The idea: everyone trades on gold and silver futures - bets of delivery at a certain price and time. Normally all these bets get rolled over to cash and extended into the next cycle -- so the gold that's being bet on never has to leave the reserves.

To crash this parlor game, the goldbugs are going to try to buy out all the COMEX gold warehouses. They are now 43% emptied of real gold. COMEX is putting the word out warning of a potential disruption.

Without all of that 'paper gold' to bend the situation, the gold bugs think that gold might finally take off, in this stolen trillion-dollar fiat currency environment - but what will happen?

Meltdown 2011 seems to have the plan. Here's the log of progress in crashing COMEX precious metals buffer. Comex Gold Deliveries/Warehouse Supplies Consider:

COMEX trades hundreds of times more gold & silver than they actually possess. If enough investors demand delivery of PHYSICAL gold & silver COMEX stockpiles will be depleted. If COMEX runs out, the ensuing rush to grab physical metal to settle contract obligations *could* be the spark that ignites the long-awaited precious metals wildfire.

Explanation:
COMEX warehouses contain both “registered” and “eligible” metals. The “registered” metals are available for physical delivery. The “eligible” metals are not ready for delivery until they become “registered.” Although this pool of “eligible” metals is stored at COMEX warehouses there is no obligation to “register” these metals for subsequent physical deliveries.

The graph shows:
1) the cumulative ounces of metal delivered this month,
2) the ounces of “registered” metal available for delivery,
The percentage shown is based on the cumulative physical metal deliveries for the month against the “registered” amount of metal in COMEX.
“Eligible” metal inventories are not shown as they do not have a direct bearing on the inventory depletion ratio.

Sources:
[1] COMEX precious metals warehouse stocks:http://www.nymex.com/warehouse.aspx
[2] COMEX precious metals daily deliveries: http://www.nymex.com/media/delivery.pdf

Meanwhile at the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (which sounds like an awesome place to work) WE find out that COMEX sez its time for the big squeeze?!

Comex said warning brokers about December gold squeeze

Section:

From "Midas" Commentary
by Bill Murphy
LeMetropoleCafe.com
Friday, December 12, 2008

I received a call this morning from a commodities broker who told me that the Comex is alerting various futures firms about the potential of a squeeze on the December contract and is advising the $840 December shorts to exit their positions. That is the remaining open position.

There have been 12,636 notices of delivery. The shorts have until December 31 to make delivery. Normally they deliver early to take in cash and earn the interest. They must be delaying. As I understand the situation, that represents about 40 percent of the gold available at the Comex, and of course someone could enter the scene late, buy February gold, and then spread into December, which would stun the shorts.

My broker friend said his back office said this sort of alert is highly unusual and that the concern is real, not only for gold, but for other commodities too, like copper and palladium, as there is a good deal of talk of taking deliveries there too. But gold is the one for which the advice to cover went out.

This is an extremely productive development and could spur the price of gold up quickly as word spreads. As we all know, buying Comex gold and silver (the cheapest way to buy precious metals) makes all the sense in the world in this financial environment.

How much farther can things go? From that first link, the widely circulated essay by Antal E. Fekete: Gold Red Alert- Gold Price Backwardation first time in History!

Once entrenched, backwardation in gold means that the cancer of the dollar has reached its terminal stages. The progressively evaporating trust in the value of the irredeemable dollar can no longer be stopped.

Negative basis (backwardation) means that people controlling the supply of monetary gold cannot be persuaded to part with it, regardless of the bait. These people are no speculators. They are neither Scrooges nor Shylocks. They are highly capable businessmen with a conservative frame of mind. They are determined to preserve their capital come hell or high water, for saner times, so they can re-deploy it under a saner government and a saner monetary system. Their instrument is the ownership of monetary gold. They blithely ignore the siren song promising risk-free profits. Indeed, they could sell their physical gold in the spot market and buy it back at a discount in the futures market for delivery in 30 days. In any other commodity, traders controlling supply would jump at the opportunity. The lure of risk-free profits would be irresistible. Not so in the case of gold. Owners refuse to be coaxed out of their gold holdings, however large the bait may be. Why? [.....]

I have often been told that the U.S. Mint is already open to gold, witness the Eagle and Buffalo gold coins. But these issues were neither unlimited, nor were they coined free of seigniorage. They were sold at a premium over bullion content. They were a red herring, dropped to make people believe that gold coins can always be obtained from the U.S. Mint, and from other government mints of the world. However, as the experience of the past two or three months shows, one mint after another stopped taking orders for gold coins and suspended their gold operations. The reason is that the flow of gold to the mints has become erratic. It may dry up altogether. This shows that the foreboding has been evoked by the looming gold backwardation, way ahead of the event. Now the truth is out: you can no longer coax gold out of hiding with paper profits.

If the governments of the great trading nations had really wanted to save the world from a catastrophic collapse of world trade, then they should have opened their mints to gold. Now gold backwardation has caught up with us and shut down the free flow of gold in the system. This will have catastrophic consequences. Few people realize that the shutting down of the gold trade, which is what is happening, means the shutting down of world trade. This is a financial earthquake measuring ten on the Greenspan scale, with epicenter at the Comex in New York, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. It is no exaggeration to say that this event will trigger a tsunami wiping out the prosperity of the world.

So what's the plan?! See also Cryptogon: Comex Said Warning Brokers About December Gold Squeeze, Gold In Backwardation? Not So Fast .. - Seeking Alpha, for the 'reconstructed' real economic numbers, Shadow Government Statistics, Credit crunch? What credit crunch? report says - Forbes.com, Will We See a Big Upward Move in Gold? - Seeking Alpha. Meanwhile, the shock absorbers get thousands more strings attached... JPMorgan Chase: Poisoned by Bear's 5,000 Counterparties....

Hanging around at the end of Wall Street capitalism! Monsanto's Genetically Modified corn will ruin yr reproductive health too

Citigroup is borked. No more drug money for that liquidity crisis eh??

Well, kiddies, as it turns out, all the money has to get printed & stolen before the Democrats get into office. Srry.

You should check out these very readable accounts of How It Went Down all around - the Collateralized Debt Obligations, Credit Default Swaps and other tricks of fiscal necromancy.

First the British version: LRB · John Lanchester: Cityphilia:

My friend Tony, however, is sanguine. ‘Sorting out who’s in the shit is going to be a nightmare, but when it all shakes out, all it’ll mean is that credit is a little bit more expensive. That’s a good thing. It had got crazy. It was cheaper for companies to borrow money from other companies than it was for governments. That’s nuts. These things are cyclical, it had all just gone too far and we needed a correction.’

‘So we’ll have to stop running around spending money like drunken sailors,’ I said.

‘Well, drunk sailors tend to be spending their own money,’ Tony said. ‘By contemporary standards they’re quite prudent.’

Love it. This one is a little more fun because it's American... The End of Wall Street's Boom - National Business News - Print - Portfolio.com

The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong....

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.

Highly recommended. I like how some cool cats actually called bullshit on the ratings agencies and other preening bastards who all pretended everything was making sense. I like the part about how Moody's mathematical model of real estate prices literally did not even include the possibility home prices could go down! (h/t Agonist as always)

Meanwhile reality turns out to be fuzzy too. It's confirmed: Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations - physics-math - 20 November 2008 - New Scientist. Electron movies are gettin made.

Meanwhile Cryptogon has a couple goodies as usual. Hedge Fund Manager: All Major U.S. Financial Companies Will Be Nationalized Within a Year @ CNBC. Also IMF Chief Economist: “The Worst is Yet to Come” @ AFP. NZ Kevin also has dubbed "FDIC Friday" when they move in to take over crashing banks. Three more, Downey Savings and Loan Association, PFF Bank & Trust of Pomona, as well as Community Bank of Georgia. US Bank took over Downey & PFF.

Obama is hiring hawks, dammit. It looks like they are deep-sixing all the doves who talked shit about Hillary. Damn. Secret genetically modified food efforts in the UK are amusing. Here we just get infested thru pollen and everything else. The Austrians determined that Monsanto's horrible GM corn with that modified Roundup gene is fuckin poison.

It's a grim scene, people. Hope & Change, I'll believe it when I see it.

They have spent $290,000,000,000 without oversight

But fortunately no one is getting any bonuses for Christmas!!

Bailout Oversight Panel Empty by Ariel Storm — bailout, oversight, congress | Gather

Bailout Oversight Panel Empty

November 14, 2008 08:44 AM EST

Its been six weeks since the unprecedented bailout package was passed. In that time, the Treasury Department has spent or committed $290 billion of the $700 billion package. Money has gone into large banks, small banks, businesses like Amex which were granted bank holding company status, and places that Treasury refuses to reveal.

A key provision of the bailout was independent oversight of the entire bailout process. It was to be open and transparent.

What has not happened during those six weeks is completion of the first monitoring report even though the deadline has past. Nor has there been any formal action to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste.

The newly created position of Inspector General has yet to be filled. The Inspector General was to be nominated by the President, and a congressional oversight panel. In the interim Eric Thorson, Inspector General of the Treasury Department, has been overseeing the bailout program. Congress has yet to nominate the five member oversight panel, and the President has yet to submit a name for confirmation.

Read the rest & weep...

****

BTW it's exactly like this new device ... H/t cryptogon again

We Won't Have Nixon To Kick Around Anymore; but, the financial mess is still coming right up!

BACK IN 2004....

A wise ol friend of mine back at Macalester told me he was voting to re-elect George W. Bush, despite his own Marxist outlook.

"Why!?" I earnestly wanted to know -- it could hardly help advance anyone's interests!

Why vote for Bush? I got my answer: Because.... Bush would accelerate the contradictions in capitalism - further advancing its collapse!

*****

Talk about a hat tip. This guy was right on: Bush managed to finally shatter the great classic American 'late capitalist' financial system in just four years!

Say what you will, all the damn hippie college professors and bad kids never pulled that one off. Everyone has to give some deference to our Marxist-in-chief, who has systematically collapsed every institution we thought they were dedicated to protecting.

Strange times... it's hard for me to write about the whole thing, due to the incredible variety of fucked-up scenarios unfolding right now.

It's cool that the country wants to get serious and shift to the left, get some shit done. But the problem is that the problems with the financial system have been leveraged by the perpetrators to infest and steal everything they touch. Now the Democrats are left to clean up the mess & try to patch things over.

*****

So it will be fun to see some New Politics in the New Year - I remember when I thought that 2005 would be that year, before all our hopes got squished. But the material and structural problems will really fuck over a lot of people who had no part in this, and it's frightening to imagine where this road is really leading.

Obama's started hiring on the people that I think of as 'the usual suspects': Paul Volcker, Larry Summers, other people you've only heard about from trolling unhappy sectors of history. Rahm Emanuel perhaps has the right style for our times, but he's shady and will probably fuck things up, too.

It's pretty weird now, and I just smell that trillions are getting stolen & otherwise hitting the bottom, so I don't really feel a great deal of optimism.

Then again, I'm so used to hanging the roots on my own discontent on the nasty old leaders, it's kind of a deprivation when We Won't Have Nixon To Kick Around Anymore.

*****

In any case, the Malign Masters of the World are actually launching "Bretton Woods 2" to restructure the financial system at firesale prices. As a bonus, a true Sword Of Damocles has been installed over Obama's Oval Office; all he's got to do is stave off total collapse, carried out by the usual suspects and corrupt Baby Boomers... CBS columnist spells it out, you damn well better listen! (h/t Cryptogon)

Reagonomics hides in sleeper cells, harboring financial WMDs - MarketWatch

Warning: King Henry's bailout like Rummy's Iraq

Reaganomics hidden in 'sleeper cell' armed with lethal 'financial WMDs'

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

Last update: 6:47 p.m. EST Nov. 10, 2008

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- So you thought Barack Obama's victory signaled the death of Reaganomics? Wrong, wrong: Reaganomics is very much alive.

In a subtle, bloodless coup, the Reaganomics ideology magically pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat in the meltdown. The magic happened fast and quietly, in the shadows, while you were in a trance, distracted by the election drama.

Recently Naomi Klein, author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," framed the issue perfectly: "Has the Treasury partially nationalized the private banks, as we have been told? Or is it the other way around?" The question was rhetorical, the answer painfully clear. In a few weeks Wall Street did the old bait and switch, emerging from an economic and market disaster with new powers, in total control of America.

And thanks to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's brilliant bailout coup, Reaganomics is now the new "sleeper cell" quietly hidden inside the Obama White House and America's Treasury, where it will be for a long time to come, armed with what Warren Buffett calls financial weapons of mass destruction, guaranteed to sabotage the new president, taxpayers and the future of America.

Listen closely folks: You and your government are and will continue being conned out of trillions. Better that we should have taken care of ourselves first and cleaned house, not bailed out Wall Street financiers -- let them pay for their sins and feel the pain.

Unfortunately, while you were distracted by the election, Wall Street gained control of our Treasury using a Trojan Horse, Hank Paulson, who filled Treasury with Goldman Sachs alums and pulled off one of the greatest inside heists in the history of the world.

While you were distracted, Wall Street privatized the U.S. Treasury, got the keys to Fort Knox and will be stealing trillions for years to come, through a secret "sleeper cell," a "virus" installed in the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. They're laughing: All you got was a heavily discounted paper IOU for you, your kids and generations to pay off. The winners: Paulson, Goldman, Wall Street banks and Reaganomics. The losers: America.

Wall Street and its buddies in Washington (all those politicians bankrolled by 41,000 lobbyists) know two things the voters never, never learn: that no matter how incompetent they are -- how greedy, how stupid and how destructive -- America's naive voters will always bail them out of a crisis

At the trough

Klein further exposed this insanity in a recent Rolling Stone article, "The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq, a 'free-fraud zone' where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create." Paulson's privatization, outsourcing and management of the $700 billion bailout has the exact same Reaganomics ideological, strategic and deceptive footprints that President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to privatize, outsource and mismanage the costly Iraq War blunder. Yes, Paulson is America's new Rumsfeld!

The American taxpayer is being royally screwed by the Wall Street bailout giveaway. According to Klein, they're adding insult to injury, rubbing salt in our wounds:

  • "Many of the banks appear to have no intention of wasting the money on loans."

  • Merrill CEO John Thain said "it's just going to be a cushion."

  • Citigroup CFO Gary Crittenden "hinted that his company would use its share of the cash, $25 billion, to buy up competitors and swell even bigger," giving them the "possibility of taking advantage of opportunities that might otherwise be closed to us."

  • And my old colleagues at Morgan Stanley are "planning to pay themselves $10.7 billion this year, much of it in bonuses." So screw the taxpayers and Main Street homeowners.

Want to know how badly America's taxpayers are getting screwed? Listen as Klein compares the American bailout to the British bailout which was negotiated just five days before Paulson "negotiated" our historic $125 billion deal with nine Wall Street banks:

  • United Kingdom. Prime Minister Gordon Brown negotiated "meaningful guarantees for taxpayers -- voting rights at the banks, seats on their boards, 12% in annual dividend payments to the government, a suspension of dividend payments to shareholders, restrictions on executive bonuses, and a legal requirement that the banks lend money to homeowners and small businesses." Brown took advantage of his negotiation position of strength.

  • United States. What did the American taxpayers? A bad deal negotiated by a former Wall Street CEO loaded with conflicts of interest: We got "no controlling interest, no voting rights, no seats on the bank boards and just 5% in dividend payouts to the government, while [bank] shareholders continue to collect billions in dividends every quarter. What's more, golden parachutes and bonuses already promised by the banks will still be paid out to executives -- all before taxpayers are paid back. No wonder it took just one hour for Paulson to convince all nine CEOs to accept his offer, less than seven minutes per bank for one of the sweetest taxpayer giveaways in history.

Our pain, Wall Street's gain

It gets even worse: The day after Paulson's nine-bank deal, he announced his selection of Bank of New York Mellon as the "master custodian" coordinating all phases of the Wall Street bank bailout. BNYM's role as "the contractor of contractors" is to the $700 billion bailout what Vice President Dick Cheney's old firm Halliburton was to all the mercenary and private contractor operations in Iraq. Plus the new president's locked into a three-year contract.

BNYM's boss can outsource to friendly Wall Street "subcontractors," handing out billions of taxpayer money with little oversight much as Halliburton did in Iraq. They will "purchase toxic debts from Wall Street, service them and auction them off in the future." BNYM's boss called this plum "the ultimate outsourcing." An opportunity for his bank, because there's "a lot of new business that's going on even in this chaotic marketplace."

Main Street's suffering because of Wall Street's "sins," and Wall Street sees our pain as just an "opportunity" for them. That's textbook "disaster capitalism."

So now you know the truth: The Treasury did not nationalize America's banks. The fact is, Wall Street privatized the U.S. Treasury with a $700 billion rescue plan being controlled by the very banks that created the mess. You were distracted by the election, hoping for a savior, while Wall Street was turning defeat into victory using a classic "disaster capitalism" strategy.

That's right, Wall Street's Trojan Horse, Hank Paulson, operated quietly inside Treasury, protecting his old Wall Street buddies before they'd go bankrupt. He pulled the classic "disaster capitalism" stunt relieving the banks of the pain of their "sins." Ironically, that only leads to more "sinning," faster, bigger, sooner.

That's classic "moral hazard" and with Wall Street's new "business as usual" attitudes about mergers, bonuses, CEO pay and cash cushions, you just know those Reaganomics "financial WMDs" that Paulson's leaving behind in the bailout funds "sleeper cell" will ultimately trigger an even bigger financial meltdown soon, by 2011.

Bilderberg announces 2008 conference! Charlie Rose!? Obama? Sebelius? Bernanke, Perle, Wolfowitz, Kissinger = PARTY TIME, EXCELLENT

060608bernanke.jpg

Ben Bernanke: I want COFFEE and FRESHLY MINTED $20s. NOW dammit.....

What's New at Bilderberg 2008?

Obama, Clinton staying mum on Bilderberg globalist confab

Turkish paper Today's Zaman: Rice hopes Turkey will solve issues through democracy

Off to Bilderberg conference

Responding to a question regarding his weekend schedule in the US later in the day, [Turkish Foreign Minister] Babacan revealed that he would be attending an international conference of people of influence in the fields of business, media and politics, known as the Bilderberg conference.

The unofficial invitation-only conference will take place from June 5 to June 8 at the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, this year. Last year, it was hosted at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in İstanbul. "We hosted this conference in İstanbul last year," Babacan said, without mentioning its name. He also said this is the fifth time he has been invited to the elite gathering.

The bad kids have shown up and made a mess of things! Dirty Tricks Campaign Against Alex Jones

Bilderberg 2008 - Day 3 Footage, U.S. Corporate Media Blackout On Bilderberg Meeting

070608alex.jpg

Due to unexpected publicity from the usual New World Order protester types, everyone's favorite secret annual conference (which can never be reported upon inside the United States) was forced to spell out the nature of their gig. Lulz...

Unexpected press release!! And now according to the Internets, Charlie Rose is in on it! Democratic governors Mark Sanford and Kathleen Sebelius (Tom Daschle too) - which means that you can bet your hat Sanford or Sebelius will be Obama's vice presidential choice.

Bilderberg Announces 2008 Conference: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Press Release

Source: American Friends of Bilderberg

Bilderberg Announces 2008 Conference
Thursday June 5, 8:10 pm ET

CHANTILLY, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 56th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Chantilly, Virginia, USA 5 8 June 2008. The Conference will deal mainly with a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, US-EU relations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islam and Iran. Approximately 140 participants will attend, of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education and communications. The meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.

Bilderberg takes its name from the hotel in Holland, where the first meeting took place in May 1954. That pioneering meeting grew out of the concern expressed by leading citizens on both sides of the Atlantic that Western Europe and North America were not working together as closely as they should on common problems of critical importance. It was felt that regular, off-the-record discussions would help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period. The Cold War has now ended. But in practically all respects, there are more, not fewer, common problems - from trade to jobs, from monetary policy to investment, from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security. It is hard to think of any major issue in either Europe or North America whose unilateral solution would not have repercussions for the other. Thus the concept of a European-American forum has not been overtaken by time. The dialogue between these two regions is still - even increasingly - critical.

What is unique about Bilderberg as a forum, is the broad cross-section of leading citizens that are assembled for nearly three days of informal and off-the-record discussion about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy; the strong feeling among participants that in view of the differing attitudes and experiences of the Western nations, there remains a clear need to further develop an understanding in which these concerns can be accommodated; the privacy of the meetings, which has no purpose other than to allow participants to speak their minds openly and freely. In short, Bilderberg is a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced.

Bilderberg's only activity is its annual Conference. At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued. Since 1954, fifty-five conferences have been held. The names of the participants are made available to the press. Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, and their standing; all participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.

There will be no press conference. A list of participants is available by phone request at 703-818-3647 between 9am-5pm EDT June 6-7, 2008.



Contact:

American Friends of Bilderberg
Steven Lee, 703-818-3647

Source: American Friends of Bilderberg

******

PRESENTING THE ESTABLISHMENT (in alphabetical order!)

LiveLeak.com - Bilderberg Attendee List 2008

Bilderberg Attendee List 2008
Bilderberg Attendee List 2008
Chantilly, Virginia, USA
5-8 June 2008

CURRENT LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Honorary Chairman
BEL Davignon, Etienne Vice Chairman, Suez-Tractebel

DEU Ackermann, Josef Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG
CAN Adams, John Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence and Chief of the Communications Security Establishment Canada
USA Ajami, Fouad Director, Middle East Studies Program, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University
USA Alexander, Keith B. Director, National Security Agency
INT Almunia, Joaquín Commissioner, European Commission
GRC Alogoskoufis, George Minister of Economy and Finance
USA Altman, Roger C. Chairman, Evercore Partners Inc.
TUR Babacan, Ali Minister of Foreign Affairs
NLD Balkenende, Jan Peter Prime Minister
PRT Balsemão, Francisco Pinto Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA, S.G.P.S.; Former Prime Minister
FRA Baverez, Nicolas Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
ITA Bernabè, Franco CEO, Telecom Italia Spa
USA Bernanke, Ben S. Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System
SWE Bildt, Carl Minister of Foreign Affairs
FIN Blåfield, Antti Senior Editorial Writer, Helsingin Sanomat
DNK Bosse, Stine CEO, TrygVesta
CAN Brodie, Ian Chief of Staff, Prime Minister's Office
AUT Bronner, Oscar Publisher and Editor, Der Standard
FRA Castries, Henri de Chairman of the Management Board and CEO, AXA
ESP Cebrián, Juan Luis CEO, PRISA
CAN Clark, Edmund President and CEO, TD Bank Financial Group
GBR Clarke, Kenneth Member of Parliament
NOR Clemet, Kristin Managing Director, Civita
USA Collins, Timothy C. Senior Managing Director and CEO, Ripplewood Holdings, LLC
FRA Collomb, Bertrand Honorary Chairman, Lafarge
PRT Costa, António Mayor of Lisbon
USA Crocker, Chester A. James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies
USA Daschle, Thomas A. Former US Senator and Senate Majority Leader
CAN Desmarais, Jr., Paul Chairman and co-CEO, Power Corporation of Canada
GRC Diamantopoulou, Anna Member of Parliament
USA Donilon, Thomas E. Partner, O'Melveny & Myers
ITA Draghi, Mario Governor, Banca d'Italia
AUT Ederer, Brigitte CEO, Siemens AG Österreich
CAN Edwards, N. Murray Vice Chairman, Candian Natural Resources Limited

DNK Eldrup, Anders President, DONG A/S
ITA Elkann, John Vice Chairman, Fiat S.p.A.
USA Farah, Martha J. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience;
Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
USA Feldstein, Martin S. President and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research
DEU Fischer, Joschka Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
USA Ford, Jr., Harold E. Vice Chairman, Merill Lynch & Co., Inc.
CHE Forstmoser, Peter Professor for Civil, Corporation and Capital Markets Law, University of Zürich
IRL Gallagher, Paul Attorney General
USA Geithner, Timothy F. President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
USA Gigot, Paul Editorial Page Editor, The Wall Street Journal

IRL Gleeson, Dermot Chairman, AIB Group
NLD Goddijn, Harold CEO, TomTom
TUR Gö?ü?, Zeynep Journalist; Founder, EurActiv.com.tr
USA Graham, Donald E. Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company
NLD Halberstadt, Victor Professor of Economics, Leiden University; Former Honorary Secretary General of Bilderberg Meetings
USA Holbrooke, Richard C. Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC
FIN Honkapohja, Seppo Member of the Board, Bank of Finland
INT Hoop Scheffer, Jaap G. de Secretary General, NATO
USA Hubbard, Allan B. Chairman, E & A Industries, Inc.
BEL Huyghebaert, Jan Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group
DEU Ischinger, Wolfgang Former Ambassador to the UK and US
USA Jacobs, Kenneth Deputy Chairman, Head of Lazard U.S., Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
USA Johnson, James A. Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC
SWE Johnstone, Tom President and CEO, AB SKF
USA Jordan, Jr., Vernon E. Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
FRA Jouyet, Jean-Pierre Minister of European Affairs
GBR Kerr, John Member, House of Lords; Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc.
USA Kissinger, Henry A. Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
DEU Klaeden, Eckart von Foreign Policy Spokesman, CDU/CSU
USA Kleinfeld, Klaus President and COO, Alcoa
TUR Koç, Mustafa Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
FRA Kodmani, Bassma Director, Arab Reform Initiative
USA Kravis, Henry R. Founding Partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
USA Kravis, Marie-Josée Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc.
INT Kroes, Neelie Commissioner, European Commission
POL Kwasniewski, Aleksander Former President
AUT Leitner, Wolfgang CEO, Andritz AG
ESP León Gross, Bernardino Secretary General, Office of the Prime Minister
INT Mandelson, Peter Commissioner, European Commission
FRA Margerie, Christophe de CEO, Total
CAN Martin, Roger Dean, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
HUN Martonyi, János Professor of International Trade Law; Partner, Baker & McKenzie; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
USA Mathews, Jessica T. President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

INT McCreevy, Charlie Commissioner, European Commission
USA McDonough, William J. Vice Chairman and Special Advisor to the Chairman, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
CAN McKenna, Frank Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group
GBR McKillop, Tom Chairman, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
FRA Montbrial, Thierry de President, French Institute for International Relations
ITA Monti, Mario President, Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
USA Mundie, Craig J. Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation
NOR Myklebust, Egil Former Chairman of the Board of Directors SAS, Norsk Hydro ASA
DEU Nass, Matthias Deputy Editor, Die Zeit
NLD Netherlands, H.M. the Queen of the
FRA Ockrent, Christine CEO, French television and radio world service
FIN Ollila, Jorma Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc
SWE Olofsson, Maud Minister of Enterprise and Energy; Deputy Prime Minister
NLD Orange, H.R.H. the Prince of
GBR Osborne, George Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
TUR Öztrak, Faik Member of Parliament
ITA Padoa-Schioppa, Tommaso Former Minister of Finance; President of Notre Europe
GRC Papahelas, Alexis Journalist, Kathimerini
GRC Papalexopoulos, Dimitris CEO, Titan Cement Co. S.A.
USA Paulson, Jr., Henry M. Secretary of the Treasury
USA Pearl, Frank H. Chairman and CEO, Perseus, LLC
USA Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
FRA Pérol, François Deputy General Secretary in charge of Economic Affairs
DEU Perthes, Volker Director, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
BEL Philippe, H.R.H. Prince
CAN Prichard, J. Robert S. President and CEO, Torstar Corporation
CAN Reisman, Heather M. Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
USA Rice, Condoleezza Secretary of State
PRT Rio, Rui Mayor of Porto
USA Rockefeller, David Former Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank
ESP Rodriguez Inciarte, Matias Executive Vice Chairman, Grupo Santander
USA Rose, Charlie Producer, Rose Communications
DNK Rose, Flemming Editor, Jyllands Posten
USA Ross, Dennis B. Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
USA Rubin, Barnett R. Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center for International Cooperation, New York University
TUR ?ahenk, Ferit Chairman, Do?u? Holding A.?.
USA Sanford, Mark Governor of South Carolina
USA Schmidt, Eric Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, Google
AUT Scholten, Rudolf Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
DNK Schur, Fritz H. Fritz Schur Gruppen
CZE Schwarzenberg, Karel Minister of Foreign Affairs
USA Sebelius, Kathleen Governor of Kansas
USA Shultz, George P. Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

ESP Spain, H.M. the Queen of
CHE Spillmann, Markus Editor-in-Chief and Head Managing Board, Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG
USA Summers, Lawrence H. Charles W. Eliot Professor, Harvard University
GBR Taylor, J. Martin Chairman, Syngenta International AG
USA Thiel, Peter A. President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC
NLD Timmermans, Frans Minister of European Affairs
RUS Trenin, Dmitri V. Deputy Director and Senior Associate, Carnegie Moscow Center
INT Trichet, Jean-Claude President, European Central Bank
USA Vakil, Sanam Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
FRA Valls, Manuel Member of Parliament
GRC Varvitsiotis, Thomas Co-Founder and President, V + O Communication
CHE Vasella, Daniel L. Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG
FIN Väyrynen, Raimo Director, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
FRA Védrine, Hubert Hubert Védrine Conseil
NOR Vollebaek, Knut High Commissioner on National Minorities, OSCE
SWE Wallenberg, Jacob Chairman, Investor AB
USA Weber, J. Vin CEO, Clark & Weinstock
USA Wolfensohn, James D. Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC
USA Wolfowitz, Paul Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
INT Zoellick, Robert B. President, The World Bank Group

Rapporteurs
GBR Bredow, Vendeline von Business Correspondent, The Economist
GBR Wooldridge, Adrian D. Foreign Correspondent, The Economist

AUT Austria HUN Hungary
BEL Belgium INT International
CHE Switzerland IRL Ireland
CAN Canada ITA Italy
CZE Czech Republic NOR Norway
DEU Germany NLD Netherlands
DNK Denmark PRT Portugal
ESP Spain POL Poland
FRA France RUS Russia
FIN Finland SWE Sweden
GBR Great Britain TUR Turkey
GRC Greece
USA United States of America

Meanwhile here is the list of attendees going around the Internets!

Barack Obama ditches his press corps to go hang out!! Behind the Scenes: Obama press 'hijacked' during Clinton meeting - CNN.com

The press soon noticed there were far too few people aboard for a standard campaign flight. Something was different. It's fair to say that the term "everyone" was used a bit loosely -- especially when the presumptive nominee appeared to be missing.

As the plane taxied, communications director Robert Gibbs admitted that Obama was remaining behind because he "wasn't going to be back in D.C. for a while" and had "scheduled some meetings" before he left.

Obama staffers, including Gibbs and Linda Douglass, a newly appointed senior adviser and campaign spokeswoman, didn't ask the reporters on board if they'd prefer to wait on the runway in Washington until the meetings concluded. They were going to Chicago. Without Barack Obama.....

Once airborne, a timid and slightly giggly Gibbs granted the confused and agitated press corps a meeting, one that any eyewitness would have easily labeled contentious and heated. Video Watch the riled press corps grill Gibbs »

Gibbs took on a barrage of questions, and, to his credit, listened to what he called the "anticipated grievances" from the press for almost 20 minutes.

"He's having a secret meeting tonight, and we're not going to see him until Monday" because of three scheduled "down days," one reporter began. "I'd like to say that's unacceptable. He's the -- "

"Presumptive Democratic nominee?" Gibbs finished, adding a giggle. "Yeah."

Questions centered largely on why the press was essentially held hostage with no candidate and no choice but to fly to Chicago on a chartered plane -- a flight many news organizations pay thousands of dollars to keep their journalists stationed on, ideally with the candidate.

"We're not paying however much this plane is to be here -- no offense -- with you," one reporter said to Gibbs as the largely newsless news conference wrapped up.

When pressed, Gibbs admitted he was responsible for how the situation was handled.

"It wasn't an attempt to deceive in any way," he said. "It was just private meetings."

LiveLeak.com - Hillary & Obama In Secret Bilderberg Rendezvous, LiveLeak.com - Bilderberg boys will decide who’s Obama’s “chosen” Veep Sure, why not?!

Photos! Bilderberg Meeting 2008 Photos, Flickr: shepherdjohnson's Photostream

And don't forget, you government schlubs! Meeting with foreign heads of state and other agents of influence without filing your activities with the State Department is illegal under the Logan Act!

Can't wait to cut off their government salaries!

Here's some quality satire: Bilderberg Group orders end to Obama-Clinton contest « Sir Satire’s New World Order News Service

hotel_de_bilderberg.jpg

The two presidential hopefuls were summoned to the Bilderberg Group annual meeting, where they were both informed that Obama would play the part of the Democratic candidate this election year. Clinton is reported to have begged Lord Rothschild and David Rockefeller — both senior level Bilderbergers — for forgiveness following her poor campaign performance this past year.

“Mrs. Clinton was very upset,” said a male prostitute who services some of the male Bilderberg members. “She said David Rockefeller was behind the push to oust her from the race. She had apparently been promised a comeback effort by Lord Rothschild like the kind that was granted to her husband Bill Clinton in the early 1990s, when it looked like he was going to be out of the presidential race.”

Res Ipsa Loquitor: A couple classics from HST

I promise there will finally be a return to some blogging around here this week. Wheeeee

Check out the video by The Heavy - its pretty sweet.

PIMCO Bonds - Investment Outlook- January 2008 "Pyramids Crumbling".

Modern Mafia Operates at Every Level of Italian Society

Pay day loans exacerbate housing crisis | U.S. | Reuters

Welcome to Jim Sinclair's MineSet - The Financial Destruction Of The Average Man

Five insane politicians people still voted for.

All right it's time for some HST. As true today as ever! (via here with the usual pictures embedded)

Panicked Sheep

“In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile—and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep.”

—The Great Shark Hunt, 1979

Living Proof

“Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men’s reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ‘the rat race’ is not yet final.”

—The Great Shark Hunt, 1979

Eat Shit and Die

“There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.”

—Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s, 1988

Pure Gibberish

“Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.”

—Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s, 1988

Random links: The latest Systemic Margin Call; Russians blame 85% of Afghanistan opium on American aviation!

Or also, from the last several days...

Clinton_Plan.jpg

Political Punch: Liberal bloggers sayin Clinton ads darken Obama. Some others say it is a YouTube artifact effect.

Atmosphere released a free MP3 from the next album.

Hillary, Obama and the Establishment Machine | The Agonist

Hm. Definitely interesting: The Man Between War and Peace, Admiral Fallon.

Cuban Cyber Rebels and their flash drives and blogs! Viva Cuba flashdriva!

Smashing Magazine has nice design and free fonts.

io9 has random sci fi stuff. cool design too.

When in doubt, check out the Gary Webb video @ Archive.org, late in his life reflecting on the whole Los Angeles CIA crack cocaine thingy.

Global Guerillas is pretty buzzwordy, but it's pretty good. For your daily dose of super-modern open source insurgent warfare, extortion through DDoS - both Russian and Botnet variants, the imminent insect techno-eschaton, and how one super-empowered individual guerilla Henry Okah has brought Nigeria into total chaos and propelled oil over $100 a barrel. This Robb guy is definitely paying attention. National security bureaucracies are doomed?! Not if they can hoard up their own very biggest bestest haystack!

Meanwhile the economic crash continues apace. Much hand-wringing at one of my favorite spots, the Agonist . Wheat is over $12/bushel.

Buffett: it's a recession, stupid.

Banks face systemic margin call, $325 billion hit: JP Morgan!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street banks are facing a "systemic margin call" that may deplete banks of $325 billion of capital due to deteriorating subprime U.S. mortgages, JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N:Quote, Profile, Research), said in a report late on Friday.

JPMorgan, which sent a default notice to Thornburg Mortgage Inc. (TMA.N: Quote,Profile, Research) after the lender missed a $28 million margin call, said more default notices and margin calls were likely. The Carlyle Group's mortgage fund also failed to meet $37 million in margin calls this week.

"A systemic credit crunch is underway, driven primarily by bank writedowns for subprime mortgages," according to the report co-authored by analyst Christopher Flanagan. "We would characterize this situation as a systemic margin call."

The credit crisis that began about a year ago will likely intensify after Friday's weak February U.S. employment report "that most definitely signals recession," JPMorgan said.

Bush Family Piggy Bank Receives Default Notice! | The Agonist

The best news I have heard is the insane bastards in Florida who have taken advantage of the crashed system. They are sitting in their homes, paying nothing at all, waiting for the totally conked court system to struggle with the lost paperwork at every level of the mortgage. An awesome thing to behold!! The Big Picture | Foreclosure-proof Homeowners:

What is shocking, that in each and every case, I have been told by brokers and banks that the owners, have ceased paying their mortgages in some cases for nearly 2 years and have continued to occupy these homes. Now, these are homes in excess of $2,000,000 in the very best neighborhoods in South Florida. Brokers have added that these buyers further complicated things by putting huge home equity lines on top of their mortgages and now have no possibility of selling their homes for amounts needed to cover their accumulated debt.

America is amazing. Ok.

Bloomberg.com Citigroup needs Arab cash, fast!!!! Rlly fast!!!

Russians pissed off about American/Pakistani opium smuggling support in Afghanistan: (via cryptogon)

Narco Aggression: Russia accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan by Vladimir Radyuhin

Global Research, February 24, 2008: Global Research Editor's Note

The global proceeds of the Afghan drug trade is in excess of 150 billion dollars a year. There is mounting evidence that this illicit trade is protected by the US military.

Historically, starting in the early 1980s, the Afghan drug trade was used to finance CIA covert support of the Islamic brigades. The 2003 war on Afghanistan was launched following the Taliban government's 2000-2001 drug eradication program which led to a collapse in opium production in excess of 90 percent.

The following report, which accuses the United States of using military transport planes to ship narcotics out of Afghanistan confirms what is already known and documented regarding the Golden Crescent Drug Trade and its insiduous relationship to US intelligence.

February 23, 2008

Russia, facing a catastrophic rise in drug addiction, accuses the U.S. military of involvement in drug trafficking from Afghanistan.....

....“Unfortunately, they [NATO] are doing nothing to reduce the narcotic threat from Afghanistan even a tiny bit,” Putin angrily remarked three years ago. He accused the coalition forces of “sitting back and watching caravans haul drugs across Afghanistan to the former Soviet Union and Europe.” As time went by, Russian suspicions regarding the U.S. role in the rise of a narco state in Afghanistan grew deeper, especially after reports from Iraq said that the cultivation of opium poppies was spreading rapidly there too.

“The Americans are working hard to keep narco business flourishing in both countries,” says Mikhail Khazin, president of the consultancy firm Niakon. “They consistently destroy the local infrastructure, pushing the local population to look for illegal means of subsistence. And the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] provides protection to drug trafficking.”

U.S. freelance writer Dave Gibson recalled in an article published in American Chronicle in December what a U.S. foreign intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NewsMax.com in March 2002 of the CIA’s record of involvement with the international drug trade. The official said: “The CIA did almost the identical thing during the Vietnam War, which had catastrophic consequences – the increase in the heroin trade in the USA beginning in the 1970s is directly attributable to the CIA. The CIA has been complicit in the global drug trade for years, so I guess they just want to carry on their favourite business.”

AFP

(A USAF cargo plane takes off from the U.S. airbase in Incirlik in Turkey in March 2003. A Russian news channel reported that drugs from Afghanistan were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.)

Now Russia has joined the fray accusing the U.S. military of involvement in the heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe. The Vesti channel’s report from Afghanistan said that drugs from Afghanistan were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases Ganci in Kyrgyzstan and Incirlik in Turkey.

The Ganci Air Force base at the Manas international airport in Kyrgyzstan was set up in late 2001 as a staging post for military operations inside Afghanistan. The Kyrgyz government threatened to close the base after neighbouring Uzbekistan shut down a similar U.S. airbase on its territory in 2005, but relented after Washington agreed to make a one-off payment of $150 million in the form of an assistance package and to pay $15 million a year for the use of the base.

One of the best-informed Russian journalists on Central Asia, Arkady Dubnov, recently quoted anonymous Afghan sources as saying that “85 per cent of all drugs produced in southern and southeastern provinces are shipped abroad by U.S. aviation.”

A well-informed source in Afghanistan’s security services told the Russian journalist that the American military acquired drugs through local Afghan officials who dealt with field commanders in charge of drug production.

Writing in the Vremya Novostei daily, Dubnov claimed that the pro-Western administration of President Hamid Karzai, including his two brothers, Kajum Karzai and Akhmed Vali Karzai, are head-to-heels involved in the narcotics trade.

The article quoted a leading U.S. expert on Afghanistan, Barnett Rubin, as telling an anti-narcotics conference in Kabul last October that “drug dealers had infiltrated Afghani state structures to the extent where they could easily paralyse the work of the government if decision to arrest one of them was ever made.”

Sure, they can say the Russians are grumbling like usual. But from Moscow's perspective, the U.S. is just trying to keep on top of all the Players in the Game. And they run the Wire all over the whole territory, so they know exactly who is doing what where, and can watch the opium caravans go cruising by. The fact that this doesn't track in American conventional wisdom is a monument to the intentional ignorance of Baby Boomers, regardless of how accurate the Russians are here.

The planes, the drugs, the detainees, it all seems to be part of a nexus of secret military/DHS contractor airlines. These guys are soooo 1980s. The ponzi scheme depends on information asymmetry, which can always be disrupted......

NSA/FBI fun; Spook 411 prank: Cryptome lists all damn fake White House/CIA/NSA phone numbers; Obama/Hillary Denver fight fantasy

Three examples of American political culture in 2008.

First, the latest efforts of the NSA to read my email and discover its exciting secrets. (Hayden's Haystacks: Chilling Effects and Fluffy Data Goodness...)

**********

Well well, we got a couple funny things which are probably Too Hot To link to - or something. I don't get it...

************

This is pretty funny, but first I need to take note of their latest plans to spy on everybody... Wait... first, let's go back a couple years... These guys have such a great sense of humor.

I think this latest prank tops that Total Information Awareness logo in complete Maximum Conspiracy Irony. Back in the day...

2002: 'Mythical Evil Conspiracy Irony from the Establishment': We never thought anything would top the 'all seeing pyramid staring at Mideast.' But this is the Federal Government! They are Creative!

IAO-logo.png

Fortunately the big pyramid is still up-n-beamin' around with it's Data Mining Sunshine and, yes, they are chucking all your emails and credit card transactions into the big Vortex. What were you expecting, punk?

The Wall Street Journal puts on their tinfoil hat to give us some nice radio waves: Via Cryptogon: NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data:

Wall Street Journal: NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data; Terror Fight Blurs Line Over Domain;Tracking Email By SIOBHAN GORMAN; March 10, 2008; Page A1

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five years ago, Congress killed an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns. Opponents called it too broad an intrusion on Americans’ privacy, even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But the data-sifting effort didn’t disappear. The National Security Agency, once confined to foreign surveillance, has been building essentially the same system. The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed. But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Largely missing from the public discussion is the role of the highly secretive NSA in analyzing that data, collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. Supporters say the NSA is serving as a key bulwark against foreign terrorists and that it would be reckless to constrain the agency’s mission. The NSA says it is scrupulously following all applicable laws and that it keeps Congress fully informed of its activities.

According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called “transactional” data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Then they spit out leads to be explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government, such as the NSA’s own Terrorist Surveillance Program, formed to intercept phone calls and emails between the U.S. and overseas without a judge’s approval when a link to al Qaeda is suspected.

The NSA’s enterprise involves a cluster of powerful intelligence-gathering programs, all of which sparked civil-liberties complaints when they came to light. They include a Federal Bureau of Investigation program to track telecommunications data once known as Carnivore, now called the Digital Collection System, and a U.S. arrangement with the world’s main international banking clearinghouse to track money movements.

The effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called “black programs” whose existence is undisclosed, the current and former officials say. Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach. Among them, current and former intelligence officials say, is a longstanding Treasury Department program to collect individual financial data including wire transfers and credit-card transactions.

It isn’t clear how many of the different kinds of data are combined and analyzed together in one database by the NSA. An intelligence official said the agency’s work links to about a dozen antiterror programs in all....

But wait! Folks, it gets better. All they gotta do is Wire in your phone number to all the others!

Social-Network Analysis

The NSA uses its own high-powered version of social-network analysis to search for possible new patterns and links to terrorism. The Pentagon’s experimental Total Information Awareness program, later renamed Terrorism Information Awareness, was an early research effort on the same concept, designed to bring together and analyze as much and as many varied kinds of data as possible. Congress eliminated funding for the program in 2003 before it began operating. But it permitted some of the research to continue and TIA technology to be used for foreign surveillance.

Some of it was shifted to the NSA — which also is funded by the Pentagon — and put in the so-called black budget, where it would receive less scrutiny and bolster other data-sifting efforts, current and former intelligence officials said. “When it got taken apart, it didn’t get thrown away,” says a former top government official familiar with the TIA program.

Two current officials also said the NSA’s current combination of programs now largely mirrors the former TIA project. But the NSA offers less privacy protection. TIA developers researched ways to limit the use of the system for broad searches of individuals’ data, such as requiring intelligence officers to get leads from other sources first. The NSA effort lacks those controls, as well as controls that it developed in the 1990s for an earlier data-sweeping attempt.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who led the charge to kill TIA, says “the administration is trying to bring as much of the philosophy of operation Total Information Awareness as it can into the programs they’re using today.” The issue has been overshadowed by the fight over telecoms’ immunity, he said. “There’s not been as much discussion in the Congress as there ought to be.”...

Oh yeh let's put in another tasty WSJ nibble about how the Posse Comitatus Act never covered how the Military would build the SuperOrwell HAL FBI Fishing Expedition Big Brother 2008 model...

FBI-NSA Projects

The NSA quietly redefined its role. Joint FBI-NSA projects “expanded exponentially,” said Jack Cloonan, a longtime FBI veteran who investigated al Qaeda. He pointed to national-security letter requests: They rose from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005, according to a Justice Department inspector general’s report last year. It also said the letters permitted the potentially illegal collection of thousands of records of people in the U.S. from 2003-05. Last Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the bureau had found additional instances in 2006.....

Alright, so these guys are tracking all transactions, yet they can't find where the drug money goes. It just gets away every fucking time!

And just to drive the point home, the guys that specialized in the drug trafficking networks back in the 1980s get honored in a whole new way, somewhere deep in the Data System....

Now, for something completely different. But also not. Our second awesome story...

*********

According to the spy-exposure-weird-shit site Cryptome.org, a ton of 'telephone pseudonyms and true names' were listed at 411.com for a secret CIA phone number. That is, a ton of joke and real entries all assigned to (703) 482-1100, a CIA number in McLean Virginia.

Somehow 10,000+ records got assigned many-to-one to one phone number. Just for the CIA.

And better yet, a huge swath of the names are fucking pranks. Pranks about favorite names in the Conspiracy.

2008: 'Yes, the CIA put in all the best conspiracy names onto their own damn 411 reverse phone number lookup, just to piss me off!!!'
02001.jpg

THIS IS TOO MUCH!!! OMG!!!! There are another 9980 fake names drawn from the great fabric of American spy conspiracy lore. Barry Seal has his place (or several). As we posted 11 months ago:

200803110131.jpg

"William Buckley" has three listed CIA phone numbers @ (703) 482-1100. Don't these guys have something better to do? God damn, 'Ahmad Chelebi' is also listed @ (703) 482-1100. And 'Libby Plame.' and 'Laiffaire Plame'. And 'Judith Plame.' And Richard Secord. and Jose Rodriguez. And felix rodriguez. And Barry Seal. And Adler Seal. Covert Ops, the Skull & Bones days, all kinds of stuff. Maybe 'real names' of current people too? Put out onto the Web's 411 system? Really?

Cryptome

White House Telephone Nyms and Names

10,751 CIA Telephone Nyms and Names

4,151 NSA Telephone Nyms and Names. More aboot that last one: NSA Telephone Pseudonyms and Names: About 4,151 NSA telephone pseudonyms and true names are available via http://switchboard.intelius.com through a reverse telephone number look-up for (301) 688-0400. Some names are humorous ("Lawrence Waterhousespy," "Bin Laden") or ironic ("Hayden Lied," "Odom Warns"); others are spoofs: "Justin Rood" is the name of a national security journalist for CQ.com......

A2 provides a full index of the 10,751 CIA nyms and names, linked to Google Search for each name:

http://cryptome.org/cia-nyms-idx.htm

All right kids, now that we are really on a roll...

**********

Rumors of Denver Democratic National Convention deadlock to Hillary => Really pissed off Hordes vs. the Hacks? What would happen if the Hillary people went all the way to the convention and somehow ganked the nomination? Rick Perlstein passed along some emails from people comparing it to Chicago '68.

However, this kind of fucked up violent incident isn't going to happen at the Democratic National Convention, but its pretty likely to expect a lot more of Raving Loonies in Emails getting treated as proof that the end is near. Chaos looms etc. Doom memes are self reproducing!

I think it's a good example of... political science fiction, showing how people's fantasies play out in an imagined reality. Stuff like this generates an atmosphere of tension and can be used to basically troll. It's just like everything else on the Internet. combine Obama + Battle in Seattle fantasies... Huffington Post: Some Apocalyptic Observations on the Democratic Nomination Fight from Here on Out:

A young friend who lives in a small town in a rural state sent me the following observation today:

If the Clintons push for the win in Denver, they're going to split the goddamn party down the middle. I read your chapter on 1968 Chicago, obviously. I'm of the generation who supports Obama. I know what we're like. Shit, I know what I'm like.



Rick, if the Machine tries to give the Clintons the victory at the convention, I swear to God, Chicago's going to look like a Sadie Hawkins dance. People my age are going to be throwing stones. We all have transportation -- cell phones -- disposable income -- the Internet -- free time -- and Seattle as our example. Part of me is scared of a riot. Part of me isn't. The nomination belongs to Obama. Do you think we're going to let the Democratic Leadership Council take it? "God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time."

and then the ominous Iraq vet reference... A different guy who works inside the Democratic Party somewhere told Rick Perlstein:

Not to mention that there's going to be a significant Iraq veteran contingent at the convention, ready to rock 'n' roll. We've already had planning meetings about it -- we're going about it the same way that we would plan any decent military operation.... I can't emphasize enough how potentially scary things could get -- we've got folks working on the inside of the convention, and it's all done on a cell basis, so that folks only know what they need to know.

I feel like you'd get too many hits from the Man over this kind of material. On a day like today, why not?********Well, I would say that these three elements - building the Big Brother Machine, the CIA's own prank phone index, and the fantasies of militant anti-Hillaryites, it reminds me of why American political culture has that certain outrageous, cowboy, bravado thing. Read all the emails! Why not?! Are ya... yellow?!
The British are way too half-assed to have a country where such utter bullshit holds forth. That's America!

Minnesota Legislature defeats Pawlenty, here's the fine print: A bill for an act relating to transportation finance; appropriati

In an epic battle, Minnesota Democrats and a small tribe of brave, rebellious, Republicans defeated Governor Pawlenty's perpetually stupid transportation policies, and put forth a really good plan to save this whole metro area from a perpetually crappy future. Toll roads and privatization are banned (with some loopholes), the license tab caps enacted under Ventura have been removed, and a ton of money will get put into transit. MnDOT is also directed to make nice with the feds and develop a complete metro-wide transportation plan.

The metro area gets a huge block of new money, much of which will go right into transit, the first time in ages that anything has come that way.

Meanwhile local areas can vote to enact small sales taxes to cover various projects, which will be handed out by new joint boards. Or something along those lines. While it seems like a big slam of money, there is also a small gasoline tax refund for lower brackets.

Also they have to report the state of all the bridges every year. In all, it is a model bill for a troubled metro area such as ours, and should really catch notice within months. It also couldn't come soon enough: the municipal bond market is all screwed up now, so it is going to be hard to borrow money.

TPaw sheds some crocodile tears for the defeat of his hardline friends. Once again, he gets off the hook!

1.1A bill for an act


1.2 relating to transportation finance; appropriating money for transportation

1.3activities; providing funding for highway maintenance, debt service, and local

1.4roads; appropriating funds for emergency relief related to the I-35W bridge

1.5collapse; establishing a trunk highway bridge improvement program; requiring

1.6a study of value capture to reduce the public costs of large transportation

1.7infrastructure investment; authorizing sale and issuance of bonds; modifying

1.8motor vehicle registration and motor fuel taxes; establishing annual surcharge on

1.9motor fuel taxes; creating a motor fuels tax credit; allocating motor vehicle lease

1.10tax revenues; providing for local transportation sales taxes; modifying county

1.11state-aid highway fund revenue allocation; prohibiting tolling or privatization

1.12of existing transportation facilities; establishing bridge improvement program;

1.13modifying driver's license reinstatement fee provisions; regulating certain transit

1.14funding activities; modifying provisions related to various transportation-related

1.15funds and accounts; establishing a task force; requiring reports;amending

1.16Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 160.84, subdivision 1; 161.081, subdivision 3;

1.17162.06; 162.07, subdivision 1, by adding subdivisions; 168.013, subdivision 1a;

1.18171.29, subdivision 2; 290.06, by adding a subdivision; 296A.07, subdivision

1.193; 296A.08, subdivision 2; 297A.64, subdivision 2; 297A.815, by adding a

1.20subdivision; 297A.99, subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota

1.21Statutes, chapters 160; 165; 296A; 297A; 398A.

1.22BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

.... huzzah (and there was much rejoicing) ..... TPaw blamed someone else, and all was well in the land.... BE IT ENACTED!

Econodoom: "Credit Swap Tsunami Approaches" indeed; plus a random video

Credit Default Swap Tsunami Approaches and also Turmoil in Munis. This is a huge deal.

A few more random political links: municipal bond auctions fail. Bloomberg on it.

AIG Falls on Concern Losses May Have Been Understated (Update5)

Think tank moron Michael O'Hanlon is all about blowing stuff up right away.

Old school conspiracy video! Hilarious old school John Bircher Larry McDonald tells Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden about the 'New World Order' etc. McDonald was dead within 4 months. Hm. I just thought this particular video is such an artifact of the 1980s, and also how odd Braden is - as he was buddies with Al Haig and CIA's Casey, etc. Funny.

And that, oddly enough, is all.

Syndicate content