Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Muslim Problem ...and the American solution!

Intro... a few videos...No big deal right's only happening in places far away.
Like London...

(Next video may take a moment to load)
And Paris

Then somebody has to take the ↓she↓ did in Frankfurt, Germany!

But that's not America's why worry.
They have bigger problems in Russia...
Moscow, Russia

And just a bit more in China...

But how did they get this way...
In the beginning there's the peaceful indoctrination (brainwashing)... 
Then it gets worse and nobody takes the warning seriously...
Not even in Australia...

...or even when the problem gets close to home!
Unlike the brave German girl in the video above (the one from Frankfurt, Germany)
Americans are too busy taking pictures...

When they should be heeding the warnings...

But how do we stop this madness?
And therefor lies the problem...If you had to ask the question, that's a problem...a huge problem.
Americans are going to have to wake up and stop the people who help create the problem.
Who are they?  Again, if you had to ask the question the problem is much worst than, "huge"...
For all you un-informed here's a few...
Everyone depicted here has contributed to the Muslim if's, ands, or buts...
Especially that guy in the far right in the second row!
Some are duplicated in this collage ↓
PS: Do you know who else wants a One-World Government?  Wake up! It's Islam!!!
Stop 'em all or else...
Get this guy as your leader... 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Freedom vs Control...isn't that the real issue? (Is the Supreme Court changing the meaning of 'free speech'?)

What's in a sign?
I admit that I did not know any of this was being debated in the courts and I assume the vast majority of Americans are equally un-informed. For the courts to waste so much time on a trivial matters such as signage is apparently a bigger deal than previously thought but the bigger issue of 'control' vs 'freedom' is well understood. (See Garrett Epp's article below.  What do you think?) ~  Norman E. Hooben
ps: While most editorials from the The Atlantic lean to the left (I obviously lean to the right), I believe the Epp's commentary to be informative and neutral.

Billboards and the Bill of Rights
The Supreme Court is slowly changing the meaning of words in free-speech law—and not for the better.
By Garrett Epps @ The Atlantic

Is this what the justices want American roads to look like? (Frank Kovalchek/Flickr)
Law is not magic, though many people confuse the two. It’s easy to see why: Both involve obscure and powerful verbal formulas that can change the world. But magic spells (which, alas, do not exist) let us fly about the housetops, change the weather, or summon spirits from the vasty deep. Law, when it works, does so only by changing the way people think. Those changes are not always for the better. While law can make our thoughts clearer, it can also spread or deepen confusion.
Even judges are not immune to this kind of confusion. One common pattern in Supreme Court opinions goes like this: (1) One court writes a decision with a perfectly ordinary phrase in it; (2) a judge in a different case seizes on the ordinary phrase and attributes to it a different meaning, until (3) the phrase comes to stand for something it never meant at the beginning.
The Supreme Court has a chance to sort out one such confusion this Monday when it hears the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert. Though this case involves jargon, it’s a First Amendment case, and thus concerns those who don’t speak lawyer. So let’s understand the special term at issue. It is “content-based,” as in this formula: “Content-based restrictions on speech are presumptively unconstitutional."
It sounds great, but what does it mean? Taken literally—using words as normal people do—it means there can be no restrictions on any kind of speech. That’s because lawmakers and courts cannot assess free-speech questions without reading—that is, interpreting—the “content,” which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the things contained or treated of in a writing or document” of the message at issue. If they don’t, they can’t know that it is a restriction on “speech.” We know speech because it has content, that is, meaning in words. But in the caselaw, the words “content-based” are drifting ominously toward the wrong definition. The Court should clarify its meaning.
Reed concerns a nasty municipal squabble in the bustling small city of Gilbert, Arizona. (Gilbert was once literally a hayseed town, known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World," but today its population exceeds 200,000, making it the most populous “town” in the U.S.) The greater Gilbert area is home to Good News Community Church, a small congregation that worships in various rented locations. Obviously it’s important for the church to get the word out about where meeting is each week. Beyond that, its members say, they must obey Jesus’s Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20 (“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”). So the church has to put up signs near streets and roads announcing its services and welcoming newcomers.
The town says that GNCC’s signs are “qualifying event signs,” announcing a meeting of a “religious, charitable, community service, education, or other similar non-profit organization.” It’s perfectly happy for GNCC to put them up—as long as they are no larger than six square feet and are up only 12 hours before and one hour after the service. By contrast, it allows “Homeowners’ Association Event” signs to remain up for 30 days before and 48 hours after the event, “political signs” supporting candidates to remain up for four and a half months before an election and 15 days after, and “ideological signs” to remain up indefinitely. Each of these kinds of signs can also be larger than “qualifying event signs.”
The church should, and almost certainly will, win. The distinctions between different temporary signs are arbitrary, and the times and sizes for “qualifying events” are almost punitive. What’s important, though, is how it wins. The church argues that the sign code is “content-based.” That, they say, is “because enforcement officials must examine what a temporary sign says before they can determine which provision of the code to apply.” The Ninth Circuit called the sign code “content-neutral,” even though officials have to read the signs. That’s correct—properly read, the term “content-based” means based either on the viewpoint or the subject matter of the speech at issue.
Courts that use the term “content-based” invariably cite to a 1972 case called Police Department v. Mosley, which struck down a Chicago ordinance that banned picketing of schools but made an exception for “peaceful picketing of any school involved in a labor dispute.” Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote for six justices that “above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” That kind of restriction, the Court has held, triggers a rule of “strict scrutiny” of any viewpoint (“no anti-government speech”) or subject-matter (“no religious speech”) regulations. It’s almost impossible for any law to survive “strict scrutiny,” and laws based—like Gilbert’s—on the need for aesthetic control of roadside signs are unlikely ever to do so.
Since Mosley, the phrase “content-based restriction” has become a shorthand phrase used by lawyers and courts. Until recently, it has meant a restriction or regulation of speech based on the “viewpoint” or the “subject matter” of the speech. The Gilbert code could be viewed as "subject matter" based—but it really isn't. "Meetings" is no more a subject matter than "marketing." The proper way to decide this is that the ordinance is too restrictive, and discriminatory among speakers.
The slow degradation of “viewpoint-subject matter” rule is disconcerting. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in particular, has led the way in this area. In the unfortunate 2011 case of Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., he wrote (for six justices) that Vermont could not allow doctors to keep secret details about what drugs they prescribe from pharmaceutical companies seeking to sell them drugs. “The statute ... disfavors marketing, that is, speech with a particular content,” he wrote. The word “content” here has come unmoored. “Marketing” is not a “subject.” It’s an economic activity, to be regulated as needed by the specific market it involves. Kennedy’s foggy version of “content” will—very soon—take us to a place where government can’t regulate advertising at all. Already lower courts have applied the precedent to hold that cigarette companies have a First Amendment right to veto health-warning labels, and drug-company sales reps can encourage doctors to prescribe powerful drugs for unapproved uses.
The federal government is clearly worried that applying the Kennedy formulation to a sign case might gut the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. The act, as amended over the years, discriminates in size and area between kinds of signs, treating “service club signs,” for example, differently from signs advertising that the property they stand on is for sale. The government sides with GNCC in this case, but argues that, “so long as the government’s rationales for the regulation are related to its substantial interests in safety and aesthetics,” the standard should not be looser than strict scrutiny. It argues that the fatal label “content-based” should be reserved for laws that have the purpose or effect of regulating viewpoints or subject matter.
Burma-Shave signs were amusing when I was six, but on balance the highways look a lot better now than in the 1950s. Cluttered highways, however, will be the least of our problems if the Court muffs the “content-basis” question. Powerful forces are targeting all regulation of advertising. A world in which regulation of “marketing” is presumptively unconstitutional might look different, and worse, than the one we live in now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sustainable Freedom ~ Do you have any idea what that means?

Once you get past the introduction and Dr. Os Guinness takes to the podium you should begin to get a profound feeling about what it is to be free.  I think that I may have bought into that category which he describes as "a frequent recurrence to fundamental first principles" a concept many of today's Americans have yet to arrive.  Of all the people I know in this world, I know very few that I could pin this label on...OK. some of you know me and think right away that you are among the few...think again, you may be the very reason I'm recommending this video (I know of at least 3 out of the 77 this was sent to that meet this criteria).  ~ Norman E. Hooben

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bō ~ Free Lesson In How To Use The Bō

Bō ...What is it? 
Now that you know what it is get your free lesson in how to use it here

That Kung Fu Panda looks a lot like a Malaysian Sun Bear

Al Sharpton is... ~ I thought everybody knew that!

Al Sharpton Is A Huge Fraud
by Michael Tracey @

Al Sharpton
The citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, deserve better than Al Sharpton. A world-class scumbag with criminally under-acknowledged ties to the Mafia, the FBI, Rudy Giuliani, Nixon administration shysters, corrupt business tycoons, and endless other seedy characters, Sharpton had the gall this week to castigate Ferguson residents for allegedly expressing too much anger at the police over the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown. That Sharpton is being held up as some kind of moral exemplar, authorized to lecture people on proper behavior, is truly a sick joke. In a sense, though, you have to admire the guy’s brazenness: Few street preachers end up advising the president.

Sharpton may have conceded agreement with Senator Rand Paul last week that the militarization of local law enforcement represents an undesirable trend, but the good reverend lagged well behind the libertarian right in coming to the realization that equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan could be used for problematic purposes when transferred by the federal government to departments across the country, free of charge.

Sharpton’s tardiness in denouncing police militarization is perhaps partly explainable by the fact that, per his own reckoning, he literally operates as a proxy for the Feds—namely the Obama administration. CBS's 60 Minutes reported on this posture as such: “He's decided not to criticize the president about anything, even black unemployment that's twice the national rate.” Since acquiring his own MSNBC show, Sharpton—a former FBI informant, it was revealed in April—has regularly glommed onto highly charged controversies (such as the killing of Trayvon Martin) by presenting himself as a sort of de facto emissary between the White House and the “community” he purports to represent.

Sharpton postures as a fearless critic of state violence, but one can’t simultaneously be an honest broker about what’s going on in Ferguson—the federal government at Obama’s direction is complicit in extreme terror, escalation, and civil liberties infringements—while simultaneously affirming that the chief executive of the federal government ought to be off limits for scrutiny.

“Sharpton has a long and well-documented history of leveraging his civil rights profile for his own benefit,” journalist Wayne Barrett, who chronicled his travails for 37 years at the Village Voice, wrote on the sordid occasion of Sharpton’s 2011 ascension to the 6 PM MSNBC time slot, replacing Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks. Uygur had garnered excellent ratings in the preceding months, so the removal seemed somewhat puzzling—until Uygur revealed that network executives summoned him to a cartoonishly melodramatic closed-door meeting in which they issued a threat: Think twice before saying anything that might upset certain unnamed “people in Washington.” Uygur didn’t do that, and not long thereafter, he was replaced by Sharpton, a reliable peddler of pro-administration talking points.

Sharpton now enjoys a larger audience than ever before in his long, stupid career. In 2013, he made use of this privilege by moderating a probing segment titled "Should President Obama Be on Mount Rushmore?"

At times, Sharpton has certainly helped provide needed services to traumatized, grieving, and financially despondent victims of NYPD violence. But he has all too frequently used such endeavors to promote lies and slander, always to the convenient effect of heightening his own stature. The 1988 Tawana Brawley disaster is among Sharpton’s most high-profile scams, and is cited on a regular basis by the conservatives he purposely enrages. During that shameful saga, Sharpton served as lead spokesman for a batty team of NYC lawyers that claimed the Ku Klux Klan, Irish Republican Army, and other dark forces were involved in covering up the rape of a 15-year-old black girl. The entire story was ultimately exposed as a hoax, and the district attorney Sharpton falsely accused of being one of the attackers successfully sued for defamation.

Sharpton also thrust himself to the fore of Eric Garner’s police-caused death this summer. NYPD officers threatened, surrounded, and then seized Garner in an illegal choke hold, in broad daylight, for doing nothing more than standing on a Staten Island sidewalk. The coroner’s office declared it a homicide; locals were distressed. Given Sharpton’s longtime residency and activism in the city, that he would intervene after such an incident may seem reasonable enough.

Well. At the Garner funeral service on July 23, which I attended, Sharpton delivered a bombastic address. In it, he paid special attention to the individual who recorded Garner’s fatal police altercation, which showed incontrovertible proof of officers’ unprovoked aggression. Sharpton invited the young man up to the altar of Bethel Baptist Church in Downtown Brooklyn and heralded his courage—the only problem was that he kept misstating the man’s name as “Ramsey Ortiz” instead of “Ramsey Orta," indicating just how little attention Sharpton apparently pays to the pesky details of the causes he inserts himself into.

At an August 22 rally on Staten Island for Garner and Mike Brown, Sharpton cautioned the assembled crowd against formulating any systemic analysis of police misconduct in their neighborhoods, recommending instead to focus merely on the few “bad apples” who tarnish an otherwise valiant department. This logic is completely fallacious, and Sharpton thus distracts from the crucial task of assessing NYPD violence on an institutional, policy level.

Sharpton went on to warn any rally-goers who might be tempted to stir up trouble, “Don’t piss on my party,” then announced he’d be leaving his own event early to depart for Washington, DC. Janaye Ingram, executive director of National Action Network (NAN)—otherwise known as Sharpton’s personal corporate slush fund—later declined to provide details when I asked where exactly he had gone.

According to the veteran journalist Barrett, despite the self-anointed “reverend” title, Sharpton has never actually administered a church. Still, he was invited recently to stand alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan at a summit convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio, where the duo discussed “healing” strategies for NYC minority communities in the aftermath of Garner’s homicide. Dolan—another pandering, blusterous, hyper-partisan, power-worshipping clerical charlatan—has proved an awfully auspicious partner for Sharpton. Both men live opulent lifestyles. Sharpton infamously lavished his then girlfriend, who was also executive director of NAN, with luxury hotel stays valued at $4,000 per night—not to mention “a Mercedes, a Caddy, a $7,000 Rolex, mink coats, David Yurman jewels, and a Trump apartment.” (Dolan has a mansion on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.)

That someone with such an extensive record of deceit, lying, and fraud as Sharpton now occupies a position of such prominence says a lot about the fundamental ethical rot at the heart of elite US political culture. In all likelihood, the people who enable Sharpton privately find him a complete moron, but nevertheless understand his vacuous bombast is good for business. Such people therefore offer restrained praise for Sharpton in public, appear at his fake charitable functions, and pretend that he represents some kind of oh-so-very important “voice.” Shortly after the Uygur-Sharpton switcharoo, Phil Griffin, Sharpton’s boss at MSNBC, was bestowed with the NAN “Keepers of the Dream” award. (Two years later, NAN honored former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, granting him the opportunity to invoke Martin Luther King Jr. in defense of the department’s relentless stop-and-frisk policy.)

This duplicity goes back decades. Sharpton’s impetuous “campaign” for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, today largely forgotten, was regarded at the time as such a joke that almost no black people supported him. He finished a distant third in the heavily black South Carolina primary, which Obama himself won four years later by 29 points. (Sharpton also lost two thirds of the black vote in his home state.) Demonstrating his lack of backing among the demographic on whose behalf he claims to speak, the charade mostly served to get Sharpton on TV, which ended up paying big dividends.

After the phony presidential effort folded—he won laughably few delegates—Sharpton went on to enjoy a successful run as a regular Fox News talking head. The relationship made perfect sense. His overbearing, obnoxious persona allowed for topics with racial dimensions to be simplified into straightforward, easily digestible narratives. Issues of police violence already disrupt the typical partisan paradigm, because it’s not something like Obamacare, where the two parties have a vested self-interest in endlessly trumpeting their unchanging position one way or another. Countless Democrats heap worshipful praise on the police at every opportunity, and often provide them with more taxpayer-funded goodies than Republicans, but would be embarrassed to tout those accomplishments before black audiences. As senator, for instance, Vice President Joe Biden spearheaded the 1994 “crime bill” that played a major role in facilitating the transferal of military equipment from the Pentagon to podunk little police forces that never in a million years would have legitimate use for armored vehicles or rocket launchers. (“The Western Foothills of the State of Maine… currently face a previously unimaginable threat from terrorist activities,” one sheriff’s corporal recently proclaimed in defense of his application for federal funds.)

Despite the outsize importance that black voters assign to criminal justice issues, national Democrats have virtually ignored the policy preferences of their surest constituency in this arena. Sharpton’s primary function appears to be misdirecting black folks’ absolutely justifiable fury into votes for politicians who might systematically neglect their concerns but nonetheless pay requisite homage to “the Rev.”

Therein lies the danger of Sharpton injecting himself into situations like Ferguson: His unwieldy rants have the effect of inflaming tensions, and not the productive kind of tension that might eventually manifest in substantive change. Instead, he fosters an aura of cheap partisanship, which only reduces the likelihood that marginalized communities suffering under violent police regimes will secure any meaningful amelioration of their hellish predicaments.
As Ferguson shows, so many matters involving race today are in dire need of robust and honest public discussion. Sharpton inhibits this process. He is a self-aggrandizing fraud, and though it’s true that conservative media’s fixation on him is usually ridiculous and condescending, it’s equally true that his current prominence is thanks to all manner of major US political figures, including Mike Bloomberg, Newt Gingrich, Cory Booker, Condoleeza Rice, and especially Barack Obama, who adulated the bogus reverend twice in four days a few months ago.

From the Donald Sterling affair, to the 2004 Haiti coup d’état, to the 2000 Florida recount—Sharpton apparently feels that he has a constructive role to play in virtually every major world controversy. But if anything is impressive about Sharpton, it’s the sheer breadth of his hypocrisy. That so many powerful actors are eager to countenance his bullshit really sucks, most of all for the besieged people of Ferguson. Meanwhile, the sleazy “reverend” keeps laughing all the way to the bank.
Now that it’s clear the main aim of National Guard forces deployed to Ferguson by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was not “ensuring the safety and welfare of the citizens,” as Nixon originally claimed, but instead to help reinforce and fortify the already militarized local police, will Sharpton call on the commander-in-chief to order swift redress? Seems unlikely.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions... I thought we fought a revolution about this...

Note: To all low-information voters... This is beyond your capability to comprehend so you might as well move on from here. If you have to ask yourself, "Am I a low-information voter?", you are!  As I never got much beyond ECO 102 and Managerial Accounting with Business Calculus (which seems like a thousand years ago) I had some degree of difficulty in keeping with the topic...but I stuck with it and read through to the end.  Yeah!  Now I understand the whole thing...just don't ask me to explain.  I will tell you this much... When I read that Elizabeth warren is in favor of reinsting the Glass-Steagall Act I was stunned.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have said anything good about Elizabeth Warren…but this is good!
By the way all you voters I mentioned above, your friend Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which caused the financial crisis of 2008...but then again, you wouldn't have known that because of your status. ~ Norman E. Hooben
PS: I have nothing good to say about John Kerry also mentioned in this commentary.

Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
by Ellen Brown @ The Web of Debt
The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and depositors and taxpayers could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act signed into law on December 16th.
On December 11th, Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup with “holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision.” At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries.
Warren and Representative Maxine Waters came close to killing the spending bill because of this provision. But the tide turned, according to Waters, when not only Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, but President Obama himself lobbied lawmakers to vote for the bill.
It was not only a notable about-face for the president but represented an apparent shift in position for the banks. Before Jamie Dimon intervened, it had been reported that the bailout provision was not a big deal for the banks and that they were not lobbying heavily for it, because it covered only a small portion of their derivatives. As explained in Time:
The best argument for not freaking out about the repeal of the Lincoln Amendment is that it wasn’t nearly as strong as its drafters intended it to be. . . . [W]hile the Lincoln Amendment was intended to lasso all risky instruments, by the time all was said and done, it really only applied to about 5% of the derivatives activity of banks like Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, according to a 2012 Fitch report.
Quibbling over a mere 5% of the derivatives business sounds like much ado about nothing, but Jamie Dimon and the president evidently didn’t think so. Why?
A Closer Look at the Lincoln Amendment
The preamble to the Dodd-Frank Act claims “to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts.” But it does this through “bail-in”: authorizing “systemically important” too-big-to-fail banks to expropriate the assets of their creditors, including depositors. Under the Lincoln Amendment, however, FDIC-insured banks were not allowed to put depositor funds at risk for their bets on derivatives, with certain broad exceptions.
In an article posted on December 10th titled “Banks Get To Use Taxpayer Money For Derivative Speculation,” Chriss W. Street explained the amendment like this:
Starting in 2013, federally insured banks would be prohibited from directly engaging in derivative transactions not specifically hedging (1) lending risks, (2) interest rate volatility, and (3) cushion against credit defaults. The “push-out rule” sought to force banks to move their speculative trading into non-federally insured subsidiaries.
The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2013 allowed a two-year delay on the condition that banks take steps to move swaps to subsidiaries that don’t benefit from federal deposit insurance or borrowing directly from the Fed.
The rule would have impacted the $280 trillion in derivatives primarily held by the “too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks that include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo. Although 95% of TBTF derivative holdings are exempt as legitimate lending hedges, leveraging cheap money from the U.S. Federal Reserve into $10 trillion of derivative speculation is one of the TBTF banks’ most profitable business activities.
What was and was not included in the exemption was explained by Steve Shaefer in a June 2012 article in Forbes. According to Fitch Ratings, interest rate, currency, gold/silver, credit derivatives referencing investment-grade securities, and hedges were permissible activities within an insured depositary institution. Those not permitted included “equity, some credit and most commodity derivatives.” Schaefer wrote:
For Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the rule is almost a non-event, as they already conduct derivatives activity outside of their bank subsidiaries. (Which makes sense, since neither actually had commercial banking operations of any significant substance until converting into bank holding companies during the 2008 crisis).
The impact on Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and to a lesser extent, Wells Fargo, would be greater, but still rather middling, as the size and scope of the restricted activities is but a fraction of these firms’ overall derivative operations.
A fraction, but a critical fraction, as it included the banks’ bets on commodities. Five percent of $280 trillion is $14 trillion in derivatives exposure – close to the size of the existing federal debt. And as financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, $3.9 trillion of this speculation is on the price of commodities, including oil.
As Snyder observes, the recent drop in the price of oil by over $50 a barrel – a drop of nearly 50% since June – was completely unanticipated and outside the predictions covered by the banks’ computer models. And with repeal of the Lincoln Amendment, the hefty bill could be imposed on taxpayers in a bailout or on depositors in a bail-in.
Financial expert Yves Smith suggests other derivative-related reasons the banks are likely to be concerned over the oil crisis, which are too complicated to explain in this article, but the link is here.
When Markets Cannot Be Manipulated
Interest rate swaps compose 82% of the derivatives market. Interest rates are predictable and can be controlled, since the Federal Reserve sets the prime rate. The Fed’s mandate includes maintaining the stability of the banking system, which means protecting the interests of the largest banks. The Fed obliged after the 2008 credit crisis by dropping the prime rate nearly to zero, a major windfall for the derivatives banks – and a major loss for their counterparties, including state and local governments.
Manipulating markets anywhere is illegal – unless you are a central bank or a federal government, in which case you can apparently do it with impunity.
In this case, the shocking $50 drop in the price of oil was not due merely to the forces of supply and demand, which are predictable and can be hedged against. According to an article by Larry Elliott in the UK Guardian titled “Stakes Are High as US Plays the Oil Card Against Iran and Russia,” the unanticipated drop was an act of geopolitical warfare administered by the Saudis. History, he says, is repeating itself:
The fourfold increase in oil prices triggered by the embargo on exports organised by Saudi Arabia in response to the Yom Kippur war in 1973 showed how crude could be used as a diplomatic and economic weapon.
Now, says Elliott, the oil card is being played to force prices lower:
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.
. . . [A]ccording to Middle East specialists, the Saudis want to put pressure on Iran and to force Moscow to weaken its support for the Assad regime in Syria.
War on the Ruble
If the plan was to break the ruble, it worked. The ruble has dropped by more than 60% against the dollar since January.
On December 16th, the Russian central bank counterattacked by raising interest rates to 17% in order to stem “capital flight” – the dumping of rubles on the currency markets. Deposits are less likely to be withdrawn and exchanged for dollars if they are earning a high rate of return.
The move was also a short squeeze on the short sellers attempting to crash the ruble. Short sellers sell currency they don’t have, forcing down the price; then cover by buying at the lower price, pocketing the difference. But the short squeeze worked only briefly, as trading in the ruble was quickly suspended, allowing short sellers to cover their bets. Who has the power to shut down a currency exchange? One suspects that more than mere speculation was at work.
Protecting Our Money from Wall Street Gambling
The short sellers were saved, but the derivatives banks will still get killed if oil prices don’t go back up soon. At least they would have been killed before the bailout ban was lifted. Now, it seems, that burden could fall on depositors and taxpayers. Did the Obama administration make a deal with the big derivatives banks to save them from Kerry’s clandestine economic warfare at taxpayer expense?
Whatever happened behind closed doors, we the people could again be stuck with the tab. We will continue to be at the mercy of the biggest banks until depository banking is separated from speculative investment banking. Reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act is supported not only by Elizabeth Warren and others on the left but by prominent voices such as David Stockman’s on the right.
Another alternative for protecting our funds from Wall Street gambling can be done at the local level. Our state and local governments can establish publicly-owned banks; and our monies, public and private, can be moved into them.
Updated December 23, 2014.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at

Sailors Against Obama

Can you read this?
Here, let me help you...
Sailor Norm

Obama's Approval Rating by members of the military... What is it going to take to knock some sense into this minority?

15% of America's men and women in uniform are mis-informed, un-informed, or are have no form at all (See poll results below ↓). To think that there are this percentage of people who should know better approve of an obvious traitor is nothing less than remarkable. We could account for some of this with the fact that Obama has planted some of the most anti-american scumbags in leadershp positions with the intent to undermine America's military might along with downsizing and the firing top military officers and NCO's as an excuse for a few percentage points...but 15%, somethng is definitely rotten at the core. The very idea that one would become a member of any branch of our Armed Forces should make Obama's approval rating 0%. Who in their right mind could possibly approve of this guy and still don the the crap out of me! ~ Norman E. Hooben
Here’s What Active Duty Military Think of the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ and It’s Not Pretty
by Jennifer Burke @ TPNN
The Military Times recently conducted a poll of active-duty members of the military to gauge their approval, or lack thereof, of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The results are, to put it mildly, horrendous. Among active-duty members of the U.S. military, Obama’s approval ratings are at an all-time low of 15% down from 35% in 2009. In addition, his disapproval ratings have increased from 40% to 55% with this current survey.