European Union

The EU is an unfair, exclusive political system and Brexit is worth considering: Outsider thoughts

I ran out of RAM researching this topic about the moment that I found the EU has *four* presidents. President of the European Council (since 1 December 2014, Donald Tusk), President of the European Commission (since 1 November 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker), President of the European Parliament (since 1 July 2014, Martin Schulz), Presidency of the Council of the European Union (since 1 January 2016, The Netherlands). I don't have time to plug in the links but I want to share this incomplete piece anyway.


The vibes around the Brexit situation are pretty toxic. But they are not in isolation. How many months ago was Scotland was basically polling to leave and fell a ways short, then the Scottish National Party swept out Labor, against Tory austerity, across the whole area. They've avoided total disaster but young people are fed up, and in London spend most of their money on rent. The National Health Service and other public services get gobbled up by SERCO, G4S and other all-encompassing contractor giants.

Beyond Pax Britannia, Italy has a major proposal that would reorganize its strange national system, and the Five Star comedian / right populist movement just got Rome. Its banking system is also said to be weak - who knew? Catalonia has been locked in a long conflict with its central government. France has been in a labor-driven social insurrection for what, a month now? France is like ~60% negative on the EU compared to Britain's ~50% according to one poll I saw.

10+% employment across the EU (which surely includes all precariat and bit work as a Job as the US does) with much higher youth unemployment is perpetual and structural and is a direct consequence of the EU's rigidity and sluggish, isolated decision cycle structure.

How many "remain" proponents have chosen to focus on how the EU makes legislation and budgets, the central functions of government? This next bit is kind of amazing - brace yourselves:

There are four legislative procedures through which Community acts can be adopted. Each begins with a proposal from the Commission, which the Commission may withdraw at any point before the legislation is finally adopted. Although the Commission has a monopoly in initiating legislation, the Council, European Parliament and Member States can suggest to the Commission that it table a proposal. This procedure is referred to in French as "l'initiative de l'initiative", which can be described as initiating the initiation of legislation. The Commission is not obliged to act on this request and remains the sole institution capable of proposing Community acts.
The four procedures ensure that the European Parliament is involved in the Community decision-making process to a greater or lesser extent.

Yes this is how it actually works, via http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV%3Al10119

And of course it is only available in a few languages. Great customer service here.

If this was how the US worked -- admittedly it's close, but it's like if ALEC and party apparatchiks had all the power of the US House, staffed entirely by the friends of Beltway regulars -- you can see how whole regions might switch over to seething, reactionary parochialism, with a far bigger violent fringe than we have in America today.

The European Commission, not the European Parliament, is the body that originates legislation. This is hugely important. It is designed to work like a ratchet. This has caused British conspiracy wags to claim that the EU was designed as the Soviet Politburo's German-powered counterpart, with an untouchable core deep state set to control everything for its nefarious purposes. The conspirators then of course trolled everyone by parking the rump parliament in a building obviously modeled on the Tower of Babel.

In the US, only the House of Representatives can originate budget legislation. The finance committees are controlled by legislators directly elected every 2 years. That is a pretty short line and a close circle. It isn't totally lost behind vague, appointed extra parties.

In the US, any time at a state legislature will illustrate that legislators' churning proposals are part of something like the opposite of this ratcheting, technocratic system. A lot of conservatives, and progressives, go after different kinds of entrenched things. Federal and state governments keep thickening but there are a lot of cross currents the EU doesn't have. There is no oxygen in the EU system for the spirit of criticism and willingness to knock down really bad rent seeking behavior.

In the US the usual suspects may usually win, but at least they can be confronted and big things can hit the next election, with more legislative turnover. This affects the tone from one session to the next, and through this muddled process, a somewhat larger group of people in the whole polity actually get some kind of representation.

The EU poses as if it provides huge representation to all these member peoples, but if their direct representatives are stripped of major traditional powers–originating legislation and budgeting–how can there be outcomes that reflect a wide range of different peoples' interests?

Making matters worse, a lot of European affairs are still controlled by bloodline aristocrats. Does the EU help social mobility or entrench top classes? Juncker is kind of a standard sort, and has ticked off a lot of people lately, he is one of the four presidents of the EU.

For Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, the threat of immediate market turbulence means the usual norms of transparency don’t apply.

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” Juncker, who as the chairman of the regular meetings of eurozone finance ministers is one of the currency union’s key spokesmen, said in recent remarks. (source)

See also The time of Juncker’s troubles (Politico)
I am voting for Lexit because the EU isn't the socialist project you think it is:

In January 2015, the radical left party Syriza was elected, with its leader Alexis Tsipras declaring “Greece is leaving behind destructive austerity.” Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, baldly responded that “To suggest that everything is going to change because there's a new government in Athens is to mistake dreams for reality… There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”
The economic warfare unleashed on Greece by the Troika has seen living standards slashed, services privatised and workers' rights dismantled as part of what the Jubilee Debt Campaign has called “The Never-Ending Austerity Story”.


Wait who is in charge?

Gonna go wiki on this one.

The Commission was set up from the start to act as an independent supranational authority separate from governments; it has been described as "the only body paid to think European".[40] The members are proposed by their member state governments, one from each. However, they are bound to act independently – neutral from other influences such as those governments which appointed them. This is in contrast to the Council, which represents governments, the Parliament, which represents citizens, the Economic and Social Committee, which represents organised civil society, and the Committee of the Regions, which represents local and regional authorities.[2]
Through Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union the Commission has several responsibilities: to develop medium-term strategies; to draft legislation and arbitrate in the legislative process; to represent the EU in trade negotiations; to make rules and regulations, for example in competition policy; to draw up the budget of the European Union; and to scrutinise the implementation of the treaties and legislation.[41] The rules of procedure of the European Commission set out the Commission's operation and organisation.[7]
.......The Commission differs from the other institutions in that it alone has legislative initiative in the EU. Only the Commission can make formal proposals for legislation: they cannot originate in the legislative branches. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, no legislative act is allowed in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. In the other fields the Council and Parliament are able to request legislation; in most cases the Commission initiates the basis of these proposals. This monopoly is designed to ensure coordinated and coherent drafting of EU law.[47][48] This monopoly has been challenged by some who claim the Parliament should also have the right, with most national parliaments holding the right in some respects.[49] However, the Council and Parliament may request the Commission to draft legislation, though the Commission does have the power to refuse to do so[50] as it did in 2008 over transnational collective conventions.[51] Under the Lisbon Treaty, EU citizens are also able to request the Commission to legislate in an area via a petition carrying one million signatures, but this is not binding.[52]

The European Parliament, the thing with members people actually regularly vote on, can't write its own legislation.

What? Its finance committees, policy committees etc are a kind of perfunctory window dressing. They get issued stuff to go up/down from the European Commission. It is like Fast Track as an entire system of government, and not surprisingly the overall thing resembles these terrible secretive TTP and TTIP deals.

They are as far outside the flow of power as the US Senate is when the president is making his appointee picks. Senators can assent to the appointees but they don't directly control who the President sends them. MEPs can assent to the policies and the budgets sent by the Commission but they can't set their own.

What a terrible this setup really is, because it dramatically limits wide range of class & networks to have any real access to actual EU policymaking. On the one hand it allows a kind of perpetual deep state of technocrats to keep cranking their plans - and indeed their wealthy friends' plans as well. This is similar enough to the US, but happens through a system that is like a nuclear reactor for resentment.

Go to a museum sometime and look at all the different currencies of history. Have you ever seen the ancient rough gold blobs of the Lydians, probably the first minters of coin? Why did all these currencies emerge? Why do countries typically have currencies? How do currencies work, anyway? What computers does the money supply come from? Would there be harmful effects from pooling the same primary currency across deeply different regions of the world?

Is it really possible to manage the bulk of the EU's economic affairs inside one currency? In some ways monetary policy in the US is divided into Federal Reserve Districts. Although the dollar buys much less than it did in 1920, the district system was able to cope with a lot of regional disparities. The US, which is in many ways more politically and economically homogenous than Europe, had a district based system.

The European Central Bank system generating the eurozone has not proved capable of setting the stage for good monetary policies for the member nations of the EU. I honestly felt this way getting into France and seeing a Euro for the first time many years ago. Greece can never weaken its currency, which would attract tourism and make its exports more competitive.


Sturm Clouds over the EU

The Brexit Movie here is perfect for UKIP people, it is all from that certain class perch and doesn't have virtually any viewpoints representing any of the diversity in the UK. There is one thing they focused on, an extended sequence about the far-right parties increasing all over Europe, with Britons arguing they want out because of these movements. For the most part the EU is not effectively advancing the standard of living of its residents and they have no direct representation into the technocratic government's workings. Hence, European nations (with the important exception of Ireland) are steadily moving towards far-right parties that are xenophobic, nationalist and intolerant of immigrants.

This is a pretty major threat. If say 20% of the MEPs are far-right parties, now imposing their views on your country through various committees, isn't that eventually going to summon more nationalist-driven resentment from your side? And/or embolden your own extreme right??

While many people can accept that the US and EU are broadly class-based societies, where upper classes have more power over the economy and decisionmaking, there is also an international network of far right parties that are rallying more to their cause and coordinating, even if they disagree on issues. As Nafeez Ahmed and other concerned observers have noticed, both Russia and US Republicans links of friendship and support into this network. Russians have loaned money to National Front, to cite a key example. Obviously Russia, a major geopolitical power in Europe, has a strategic interest in fostering far right-wing "euroskepticism". And as Ahmed notes helps makes sense of the Putin-Trump mutual admiration society. Far-right ideologue Alexander Dugin is a key bridge figure in this network.

In Germany the AfD (Alternatives for Germany)... well 10 hours ago it was reported they declined to expel Wolfgang Gedeon in southern Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg over antisemitic writing. Reuters says they have 15% public support now. Their vice chair Alexander Gauland recently said that Germans would not want soccer star Jerome Boateng with African heritage to be their neighbor.

So in Germany the main party that is against the EU and euro is of course the one that is obviously a home for those angry about the Jews. The British have noticed this, and have asked their table if it's time to pay the check and head for the door. Where is there any euroskeptic left, that rejects a dodgy superstate for an open, tolerant and egalitarian German society? This is the vacuum quickly being filled by these forces.

Ireland has managed to find a way to prevent any huge far-right Catholic-driven cluster from forming, apparently through a ton of social organizing. If Americans want to avoid having a Trump-esque National Front type political force take hold over, say, 20% of the population by 2020, it's key to study what Ireland has done right, and quickly.


I have to leave it there for now... it is really quite ominous on several levels and I can understand why anyone would want to get out. I hope that tolerant people can prevail against xenophobes and the world doesn't get embroiled in something terrible again.

Fascinating Greek parallel euro payment network nearly activated in crisis, after hacking into EU-controlled systems to clone tax IDs

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.

Varoufakis reveals cloak and dagger 'Plan B' for Greece, awaits treason charges - Telegraph;

VFakDrak_0.png

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.

People really need to pay more attention to the crappy computers running the whole financial system, see also very important here: Bank IT, Grexit, and Systemic Risk | naked capitalism - lots of gory details:

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.

VaroufakisStare_0.pngThis 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…

More: Reports Of Secret Drachma Plots Leave Tsipras Facing Fresh Crisis | Zero Hedge, Syriza "Rebels" Planned To Ransack Greek Mint, Seize Cash Reserves, Arrest Central Bank Governor | Zero Hedge.

Varoufakis claims had approval to plan parallel banking system | News | ekathimerini.com

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.

The Hill, 7/25/2015 - Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout by Peter Schroeder

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.

This all reminds me that the Federal Reserve Bank [Atlanta] branch in Miami would have some fascinating figures benefiting its busy member banks from the 1980s in the Iran Contra cocaine salad days, but that's another story... [Jeb Bush's angle in the Miami Dade Republican Party/Cartel days is treated in this hilarious Daily Beast limited hangout, spurring hope of awesome JebCokeCIA campaign stories (or videos?) yet to come.]

2013: Boston, paper gold, Obama signs Stock Act reversal, Homeland Security and food stamps

UPDATE 4.19.2013: MOAR about domestic military operations policy shifts w doc & video: http://www.hongpong.com/archives/2013/04/19/pentagon-domestic-operations-switches-pull-push-24-48hr-timelines-defense-suppor

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Hang tight folks, it looks like we are on the cusp of another 'burst of change' on a few fronts. You should probably double the watts going to your news radar for at least 10-14 days, if you possibly can. And all those cheesy "financial systems" are getting Extra Discontinuous as they usually do when Collapse starts happening in various segments. I decided to cork out a very rough post on these topics, Your Mileage May Vary thx::

While the Boston situation loaded with symbolism like international flags & the JFK library fire attracts most attention, the reality is that bombings at events are pretty rare and unlikely to happen; once it does the media loops the same traumatizing video clips for web hits. The editorial style: giving viewers agog consciousness that spells ratings. I saw Good Morning America a few mornings ago, it was a massive blitz of domestic violence and a patina of Victoria's Secret models.

With that spectacle set aside for a moment, other trends hitting key points this week include a shady new Stock Act law being signed by Obama and dramatic corrections in several markets including particularly gold. Gotta give some space to the Hill, this is ridiculous:

President Obama quietly signed legislation Monday that rolled back a provision of the STOCK Act that required high-ranking federal employees to disclose their financial information online.

The White House announced Monday that the president had signed S. 716, which repealed a requirement of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requiring the disclosure, which had previously been delayed several times by Congress.

That provision, added to the bipartisan bill aimed at halting insider trading by members of Congress, would have required roughly 28,000 senior government officials to post their financial information online, and had come under harsh criticism from federal government employee unions.
Both chambers of Congress quickly — and near silently — approved the repeal legislation at the end of last week by unanimous consent, just before heading home to their districts.

The STOCK Act was signed by the president a little over one year ago in a highly visible signing ceremony, where he said the legislation would tackle the "deficit of trust" that exists between Washington and the rest of the nation.

The new law scraps a provision that had been hotly contested by federal employees, as well as found to be problematic and even dangerous for high-ranking government workers. Congress twice had passed legislation to delay its implementation. Under that provision, high-ranking government workers would have been required to post their financial information on a publicly available online database.

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PAPER GOLD BIG MOVES: The gold market is a peculiar misunderstood beast - it's like a bunch of stuff in vaults with IOU's attached to numbered bars. The IOUs underwrite the financial products like Exchange Traded Fund GLD "gold" - it is operated in reference to the underlying gold's supposed value, but it's not actually a contract providing recourse to the gold.

I flagged for some people a few days ago that the COMEX or commodities exchange gold market, as well as JP Morgan, has had large declines in physical gold reserves in the warehouses recently.

See just recently: 30% of CNT Silver Inventories Withdrawn from COMEX Vaults in 2 Days! | SilverDoctors.com // Why Is JPMorgan's Gold Vault, The Largest In The World, Located Next To The New York Fed's? | Zero Hedge // Especially: Comex Gold Inventories Collapse By Largest Amount Ever On Record

Now today a whopping 122 tons of 'paper gold' got flipped around & tons of margin hikes are getting called on gold traders in different markets around the world, forcing people to keep dumping gold in bursts.

Gold Crush Started With 400 Ton Friday Forced Sale On COMEX | Zero Hedge - tactical deals of the Mega short sale to break through the 'important' price of $1540. Aha... Via Ross Norman of Sharps Pixley,

"Futures trading is performed on a margined basis.. One fund in particular, based in Stamford Connecticut, was identified as the previous shorter of gold and has a history of being caught on the wrong side of the law on a few occasions. As baddies go - they fit the bill nicely.

......The value of the 400 tonnes of gold sold is approximately $20 billion but because it is margined, this short bet would require them to stump up just $1b. The modest short selling in Jan 2013 had prompted little response from the longs - raising questions about their real commitment. By forcing the market lower the Fund sought to prompt a cascade or avalanche of additional selling, proving the lie ; predictably some newswires were premature in announcing the death of the gold bull run doing, in effect, the dirty work of the shorters in driving the market lower still."

These charts are nuts. In recent years, gold drops coincided with bubbles in the S&P type prices, that then crashed. What Happened The Last Time We Saw Gold Drop Like This? | Zero Hedge see 2008 and 2011. Gold Drops Most In 30 Years | Zero Hedge

In recent weeks due to Japan's new hyper-loose monetary policy, crazy things have been happening around the Yen's value. (Australia is spiking moar than anything else it seems) Europe also has a new wave of trust destabilizing the banking system with various deals being attempted in Cyprus & Greece.

(see Which Country's Gold Will Be Sold Next? | Zero Hedge). Also the creditor fascist complex has angled to get at the Greek government's remaining stash of gold so that they can be sacrificed on the altar of the billionaires once and for all.

See also, All Eyes On The Gold Rout, Most Oversold In 14 Years | Zero Hedge . Gold Plummets By Most In 30 Years, Stocks Have Biggest Drop Of 2013 | Zero Hedge - this cuts across a lot of sectors. The CFTC needs to be looked at as well, as some of this material indicates.

The DJIA has been flying high above all of this, though even the corporate news points out that this whole phase of asset value inflation is at least partially due to the Fed's loose monetary policy. Housing prices are "up" they say, what could possibly go wrong?

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It's pretty sick meanwhile that an incredibly high level of food stamps are the formal basis for America's food security, at around 23,000,000 households and rising. When Obama entered office this was less than 15,000,000 households -- and the benefits per household are slowly being cut along with much of the social safety net programs both in Minnesota and nationwide. US Households On Foodstamps Hit Record High | Zero Hedge. USDA data.

FoodstampHousholds.jpg

This is a consequence of bailing out banks with trillions of dollars, collateralizing the American people and introducing tons of sovereign credit risk into the US Dollar, the Euro & beyond. It has altered the "biopolitics" of the US to the point that this many people cannot handle generating economic activity in this system to keep themselves alive - and clearly the amount parceled out is declining fast.

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CSA's [relatively cheap & nutritious food share subscriptions] and local barter-based currencies are among the more resilient network ideas that ought to get looked at right now. I think there is a pretty severe risk to the stability of the whole country (let alone world) when food stamp debit card systems keep that many millions of families from starving. If nothing else there needs to be fallback systems from the US Dollar & conventional banking system may abruptly halt or radically shift in value or stability. This is something people need to start getting their heads around - so that if the debit cards stop working, different ones operating on some other basis (ie local currencies) can be handed out & millions aren't put in such imminent danger. (see DepressionScrip.com for 1930s substitute local credit instruments - key!)

The food stamp debit cards are usually administered by big banks - giving them yet another lever of functions to 'terrorize' elected officials and bureaucrats into further handing over all the nation's "commons" through fraud & socially constructed economic schemes. The banks have probably the biggest, quickest "kill switch" on social stability. A trivial switch for them to hit compared to most!!

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Bitcoin had a big run-up for several days and now has retreated somewhere into the $50-100 range - for a good time keep an eye on Bitcoin Charts. Still, it seems like there's more than enough demand to keep it above $40. However the Bitcoin economy suffers from overly concentrated exchanges.

The biggest exchange, MtGox, has such a large market share - and can't keep up once really huge, shady order floods come in, that the whole Bitcoin economy tends to get "goxxed" and bog down, panic selling and various cats stepping in to buy all the way down.

I am doing a lot of research on Bitcoin right now including the various exchanges (LIST) - in the long run, Bitcoin and other alternative cryptocurrencies share certain features like peer-to-peer encryption/hashing based universal linear transaction registers called "blockchains", and ways of verifying those blockchains with CPU or GPU intensive cryptographic calculations to award more 'coins' and slowly expand the money supply while shoring up trust in the global account ledger.

A new website as well as local Facebook & Twitter accts are getting rolling :) Brand new: follow http://twitter.com/bitcoinmn and http://facebook.com/bitcoinmn for Minnesota Bitcoin goodies!

Bitcoin OTC order book is a chat network approach to decentralized exchange design with trust ranking (like eBay rankings in a way).

Good news for people interesting in making exchanges or intercambios in the form of Ripple, in the early stages an open source project with VC backing to build multi-currency exchanges and trust networks among peers. (chart) Some open source software is available on GitHub for Ripple and its "XRP" intermediary currency, which could then be a proxy to regular fiats or Bitcoin etc.

See also: wow Six reasons why Chinese people will drive the next bull market in bitcoin – Quartz

Mining Bitcoins takes power, but is it an “environmental disaster?” | Ars Technica - wattage will improve - and compared to the phenomenal amount of energy blown on fractional reserve banking derived parasitic functions, Bitcoin is nothing! Also: “Taming the bubble”: investors bet on Bitcoin via derivatives markets | Ars Technica

Paul Krugman Goes on the Attack: Calls Bitcoin “Antisocial” // The Antisocial Network of Bitcoins - NYTimes.com by Krugman! "We have huge economic problems, but green pieces of paper are doing fine — and we should let them alone." LOL that food stamp chart is definitely not keeping the great Keynesian up at night.

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A moment for weird Boston links: What did Peter Griffin know about Boston and when did he know it? Watch! Family Guy boston bombing - YouTube Yeah this petition is picking up steam - Petition | Demand that Seth MacFarlane make a public accounting for his foreknowledge of the Boston Bombing | Change.org

This is a popular item now: Boston to Deploy Mass-Casualty Tablet Device During Marathon

Excellent videography: Boston.com viral video page - Boston.com. Also: Israel honors war dead with somber Memorial Day - News - Boston.com

Oh also in that viral video above you can see the military incongruously popping up within about 1 minute 44 secs in Boston as Cryptogon and other news have noted. You'll want to check out TC Indymedia Exclusive: Secret 'Trigger' & blueprint for emergency domestic military crackdown plan revealed | HongPong.com about USNORTHCOM CONPLAN 3502 if you haven't already.

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SEE previously Meet the new Boss in Town: ICE spawns... HSI Homeland Security Investigations, for great justice & cocaine cowboys | HongPong.com

Homeland Security's New $3.9 Billion Headquarters - Businessweek. Money quote:

In February, one of the DHS’s more persistent naysayers, U.S. Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, boasted about how he and his fellow party members had curtailed the project. He said he would also like to dismantle much of the DHS.

He’d better act swiftly. If the White House ever gets all the DHS’s divisions on one campus, nobody will want to move them again.

Homeland Security bloat and the great Unemployed: Word went around that ICE was serving a federal warrant pertaining to Boston. ICE is a unit of Department Homeland Security which spawned the little known HSI, or Homeland Security Investigations, division, a new kind of (literal) black helicopter FBI-style agency

The dip in metals and the odd security situation brought Cryptogon.com to recall a post from late 2012 from HomelandSecurityUs.com, the Northeast Intelligence Network site edited by Doug Hagmann & his son. They are pretty conservative and have a fair bit of alarming material about Homeland Security. See Flashback: Warning: "Watch The Metals, When They Dip. It Will Be A Good Indication That Things Are About To Happen."

I'm not even going to get into the stuff coming up about the bomb sniffing dogs and weird "training exercise" angles right now because this other stuff seems more pertinent right now. People that have been at this a long time frequently bump into "exercises" that happen to overlap with 'live events', the argument being many times that exercises created the opportunity for staged events at many previous key points -- though of course governments do run a *lot* of exercises with all their security bloatware anyway.

This is the late 2012 Hagmann interview with a purported Homeland Security "insider" which stated that a dip in precious metals, after the fiscal cliff sets the stage, would presage further economic chaos and an escalation of repression against the American people, along with a major collapse in standard of living. DHS Insider Report: Coming This Spring: "Life for the Average American is Going to Change Significantly". It is kind of "classic stuff" for those of us that keep an eye on these things. The earlier predictions of source "Rosebud" didn't really pan out much in 2012, as these things often don't. But timelines are hard to nail down even for "deep weird" sources with good faith. Take a little while to glance over this, even if it's not your usual fare.

"Rosebud": Stop thinking about a normal situation. The country is divided, which is exactly where Obama wants us to be. We are as ideologically divided as we were during the Civil War and that rift is growing every day. Add in a crisis – and economic crisis – where ATM and EBT cards will stop working. Where bank accounts will contain nothing but air. They are anticipating a revolution and a civil war rolled into one (emphasis added by this author).

We all saw what happened with the Feds & Occupy camps. The American Occupy-style organizing eased off as the US economy was in a kind of stasis during 2012, but if things tense up in 2013 we are looking at a different political situation. In Europe things have been moving at a much different tempo, along with a great deal of confusion, snaky liberal operations, and a rising neofascist & quasi-fascist network is taking root in many nations.

See also The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic

On a decidedly anti-alarmist tack, Bruce Schneier: The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On - Bruce Schneier - The Atlantic

See TC Indymedia Exclusive: Secret 'Trigger' & blueprint for emergency domestic military crackdown plan revealed | HongPong.com

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MOAR LINX: A bunch of stuff sitting around you may find interesting.

Just weird - part of a scifi based GE marketing campaign: 'The Matrix' is back (in your hospital) | Technically Incorrect - CNET News

Is Facebook's Secretbook Secure? CRYPTOME Colin Powell & Malcolm McDowell at Bohemian Grove 2013-0347.pdf // Hacktivists as Gadflies - Socrates to Jeremy Hammond // DoD Communications Systems Breach in 9/11 Trials

A little grumpycat may be worth reading - Guest Post: Are Individuals The Property Of The Collective? | Zero Hedge amirite Minneapolis?!

In Control at Layer 2: a Tectonic Shift in Network Security| Whitepapers | TechRepublic - hacking optic networks.

Wells Fargo 401(k) Loans Jump 28% as Older Workers Borrow - Bloomberg

CNBC! USD/Bitcoin - MTGOXUSD - Stock Quotes

The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports | The Internet Offends Me

DARKWEBSEARCH: Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet - Apr. 8, 2013

Australian FiberFail with a last mile of copper, you idiots: FTTN a huge “mistake”, says ex-BT CTO | Delimiter

Peak Recovery? | Zero Hedge

11 Economic Crashes That Are Happening RIGHT NOW

Wordpress Mess going on: This plugin should help: WordPress › Limit Login Attempts « WordPress Plugins

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Anyway this is just a few trends happening now... I feel like the overall tone of this post is pretty conservative, as a lot of the research is coming out of places with that editorial slant. Nonetheless these are sources of information and lines of analysis that anyone is welcome to look at and come to their own conclusions.

I think that we urgently need to get real and start considering lots of alternate solutions, hopefully to avoid more authoritarian and crisis driven, panicky policies, like those fostered in the climate of the Fear of Terrorism which they are going to tediously lay on with a trowel for weeks, alongside major economic instability.

Batten All the Hatches.

LOL wow for the House of Cards: Cyprus bank confiscations likely beta test for mass filching of deposits across western world. "Cannot possibly comment"

Admittedly this is a little bit speculative but it looks pretty big.

lol wow I can't believe they are triggering a huge EU bank run in Cyprus by confiscating big slabs of bank accounts to satiate the European Central Bankers - it's blamed on rich Russians who 'deserve' to have their savings jacked en masse.

SEE: Cyprus: The World’s Biggest "Poker Game" | Zero Hedge. It is mind boggling, they could just isolate bad bank debt or "paper" Iceland style, but instead of course it's way more fun to traumatize everyone by stealing their money point-blank as a "stability levy". This is because when you get down to it, fractional reserve banking is a crisis-driven paper scam system, and the scamsters gotta get paid up front regardless of what insane precedent is set...

I just finished watching the old 1990s UK House of Cards series & Cyprus is the finale setting - and lol the gas reserves are the big deal, just like the secret oilfield in the TV show. Similar scam to nuke savers floated in Australia as well. See CASH GRAB: Inactive bank accounts to be seized | News.com.au && After Cyprus, Who Is Next? | Zero Hedge

A still from the pivotal endgame of House of Cards:

7510_4_large.jpg

Says a Cypriot bank employee: "Are we the guinea pigs? There's a feeling they are trying this out on us before they do it elsewhere." Cyprus bailout: 'people are panicking, they're afraid of losing their money' | World news | The Guardian

Are you ready for your Skinner box, ladies & gentlemen? The Big Theft is in Beta Testing! We must pay off all bank bondholders 100%, just eat the deposits!

As the Great British Leader Francis Urquhart put it: You might very well think that, but I cannot possibly comment

7510_1_large.jpg

Cyprus bailout: big implications in a small-scale rescue | World news | guardian.co.uk

Could The "Cyprus Fiasco" Occur In The United States? | Zero Hedge (you think?)

#Cyprus Depositors Vent Fury Through Social Media | Zero Hedge

Europe Scrambling With Last Minute Revision To Cyprus Deposit Confiscation Plan | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile out of control domestic loansharking nukes Detroit - cause BOND HOLDERS GOTTA GET PAID AS SOCIETY CRUMBLES: Wall Street: $474 Million, Detroit: 0 | Zero Hedge

The Rape Of Cyprus By The European Union & The IMF | Zero Hedge

Trololol for Rooskies with Bruce Krasting: Two Sides of Cyprus | Zero Hedge

ART: NEOFEUDALISMUS: Nein Nein Nein! | Zero Hedge

For Everyone Shocked By What Just Happened... And Why This Is Just The Beginning | Zero Hedge

Saxo Bank CEO: "This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can't Believe It Happened" | Zero Hedge

Germany And IMF's Initial Deposit Haircut Demand: 40% Of Total | Zero Hedge - stay classy, International Monetary Fund.

JPMorgan Asks "Has Europe Bazookaed Itself In The Foot", Answers "Yes" | Zero Hedge

ALSO: Let's look at the ol Fascist electoral outlook / unemployment chart: via Guest Post: Why Europe Is Still In Peril, In Two Charts | Zero Hedge

NOW:
euro-unemployment.png

THEN:

chart-german-unemployment-and-nazi-links.jpg

Well champs, what next? I think ruthless Tories running false flags, but who knows?

tumblr_mijrx3qMLF1rtyh7lo1_400.jpg

Bilderberg conference, evil Prince Bernhard, the Junkers & long arc of German agenda

In the aftermath of the infamous Bilderberg Conference, I would like to throw this essay out there about the long arc of everything from the Hanseatic League to the European Common Market and European Union.

It's jumping off from an old book, The Thousand Year Conspiracy, published during WWII which pointed out that Hitler's days were numbered but the geopolitical agenda of eastern German aristocracy would keep on rolling - and it certainly did in many respects. The book:

http://spitfirelist.com/books/winkler1a.pdf

http://spitfirelist.com/books/winkler1b.pdf

If you thought German policy over the decades was just kind of a void, lurching from the Kaiser and Krupp to the Nazis, this was an interesting take on a certain coherency I wasn't really aware of. (and the so-called "Windsor" family controlling Britain isn't really addressed but ties right in).

The essay: http://explosivereports.com/2012/05/28/ancient-roots-of-bilderberg-reveal-prusso-teutonic-agenda-for-world-domination/

It also gets to the filthy schemes of Dutch Prince Bernhard who has been the main mover on Bilderberg since the get-go, a classic Junker German aristocrat, setting up the corrupt corporatist greenwashing front World Wildlife Fund for Nature [sic].

I think we get a lot about bureaucrats, banks and nationalism but the long arc of aristocracy is usually written off from state-side analysis of Europe. While this writeup might be a little bit too 'pat', are there other sources along similar lines looking at long-run aristocrat geopolitical schemes?

Don't miss this writeup on the WWF 1001 Club which is full of crazed Iran Contra arms dealer types - http://www.undovedmind.org/ISGP/articles/organisations/1001_Club.htm . ISGP was a wonderful site & I'm glad it's archived now.

Der Spiegel just blew WWF out of the water for its racist corporatist policies destroying native cultures & promoting extractive soybean monocultures, etc - don't miss this story either.

UPDATE June 5th: I found a few more roundup posts on Bilderberg for the interested. MEDIAROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines Abby Martin roundup // The Final Day At Bilderberg 2012 With Luke Rudkowski // Bilderberg: the covert globalist government? RT // Washington Post Finally Breaks ‘Bilderberg’ Silence | American Free Press and they mention Minnesota's own consigliere, Vin Weber // Activist Post: The Global Elite’s Digital Agenda Played Out as Censorship and Cyber Warfare // real economics: Bilderberg 2012—a gathering of the mega-Predators // Protest groups converge to denounce secretive Bilderberg conference | The Raw Story // Bilderberg 2012 - Caledonia, WI Patch // The Media is Dead….Long Live the Media (Bilderberg 2012 Review) // Occupy Bilderberg: An Experiment in Activist Journalism // Good stuff!

Belgium diss!! Farage rips Von Rumpuy in European Parliament -- charisma of a damp rag, appearance of a bank clerk!!

The only redeeming feature of the European Union system is British anti-globalist man of wit Nigel Farage, who rips Von Rompuy, the European Union president, a classic Belgian Reptilian, and noted fan of the New World Order.



MOAR: http://www.economicvoice.com/nigel-farage-calls-herman-van-rompuy-a-damp...

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