REAL NEWS March 29
Posted by Xaniel777 on March 28, 2012
TODAY’S NEWS : March 29, 2012
OCCUPY IS BACK! Upcoming Events
From War Is A Crime .org
By David Swanson
Here are some upcoming events, with a focus on D.C. starting March 30th, building to Chicago on May 20th, and everywhere all the time, including a general strike on May 1st.
March 30, 2012, Justice for Aafia
April 9-15, 2012, The 99% Spring
April 17, 2012, Global Day of Action on Military Spending
April 25, 2012, Global Teach In
May 1, 2012, General Strike
September 17, 2012, Occupy Monsanto
March 30 – April 3, 2012, Washington, D.C., Doo-Occupy! Bail Out America Trainings & Actions
March 30, 2012, Washington, D.C., Occupy the EPA
March 30, 2012, Washington, D.C., National Occupation of Washington DC (NOW DC) and on FaceBook
Begin on March 30th and never stop!
April 2, 2012, Washington, D.C., Control the Corporation
April 3-5, 10-13, 2012, Washington, D.C., Social Forum - schedule
April 14-23, 2012, Washington, D.C., Occupy Earth Week & the IMF / World Bank
April 24, 2012, Washington, D.C., Occupy DOJ
April 24-26, 2012, Fort Meade, Md., Support Bradley Manning
April 28, 2012, Washington, D.C., Drone Summit
May 17-18, 2012, Washington, D.C., Summit on Military Sexual Violence
May 19, 2012, David Swanson speaking in Rockville, Md., with Peace Action Montgomery.
Support the Occupy Peace House and Occupy Mt. Rainier.
And Protest the G-8 at Camp David where they ran off to for fear of being near non-billionaires in Chicago.
May 12-13, 2012, Chicago, People’s Summit
May 17-19, 2012, Chicago, IL, Voices for Creative Nonviolence events and reunion.
May 18-19, 2012, Chicago, IL, NATO-Free Future.
May 18 – 20, 2012, Chicago, IL, Challenge the NATO War Makers - Here’s Why.
Friday, May 18: National Nurses United Rally, Daley Center Plaza.
May 19, 2012, David Swanson speaking in Chicago, IL, with Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
Sunday, May 20 (morning): Iraq Veterans Against the War Rally and March.
Sunday, May 20 (afternoon): Coalition Against NATO-G8 Poverty Agenda (CANG8) Rally and March, Downtown Chicago.
This is the biggest, most important anti-war showing this year. We’ll protest the G-8 along with NATO even though the G-8 ran off to Camp David to hide. Be in Chicago on May 20th!
March 30, 2012, Global March to Jerusalem
March 30 – April 1, 2012, Brussels, Belgium, No to NATO
April 3, 2012, New York, N.Y., David Swanson, John Horgan, Jackson Lears, and Mark Crispin Miller at McNally Jackson Books.
April 11-13, 2012, Virginia, SOA Direct Action Training Camp
April 13-15, Kansas City, MO, Midwest Trifecta
April 15-21, 2012, Palestine, Welcome to Palestine
April 20-23, 2012, Houston, TX, Occupy the Machine
June 16, 2012, New York, N.Y., Protest NYPD Abuse and Targeting of Muslims
July 4, 2012, Philadelphia, 99% Convention
July 14, 2012, Wisconsin, Peacestock.
August 8-12, 2012, Miami, Fla., Veterans for Peace Convention.
Occupy Wall Street!
Occupy K Street!
Occupy Everything and Never Give It Back!
Here are 7 more things the Obama administration may soon require everyone to purchase
If Obamacare is ruled constitutional
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week about Obama’s health care law, which has been challenged by twenty-six states. The crux of the legal arguments center around whether the federal government can mandate private citizens to purchase a product or service they may not even want or need. (I don’t buy health insurance, for example, because I prefer to invest in healthy eating and superfoods.)
If the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare, it would mean a limitless expansion of federal government authority to dictate to Americans what they must buy — and then to financially penalize Americans who don’t buy those products or services. This is precisely the model for Obamacare, which financially punishes those who fail to buy private health insurance by fining them through the IRS.
I began to wonder: What else might the government force Americans to buy if they are granted this absurd new power by the Supreme Court? I’m sure there all sorts of things the government would want to push for its selected business buddies who profit from Obama’s new consumption mandates. So here are ten more things the Obama administration may soon require people to purchase (or else!).
#1) A Chevy Volt
Since nobody is voluntarily buying Chevy Volts, for the good of the auto industry we must all be forced to buy them! That will keep Detroit in business and create jobs for the economy. Keep America strong!
Chevy dealers will be staffed with military personnel toting M4 rifles, and those rifles will be pointed at customers to make sure they “comply” with Obama’s new economic program. Those who refuse to buy a Chevy Volt will be punished by being forced to buy a Chevy pickup.
#2) Annual flu shots
With so many people figuring out that flu shots are total medical quackery and are intentionally laced with mercury preservatives, it’s no wonder most people don’t want to buy them anymore.
Without public demand for vaccines, the vaccine industry might collapse! And that would be terrible for the fat cat CEOs who run those companies and also sit on the boards of all the other global elite corporations. The answer? Mandate annual flu shots for every person, every year! Get your flu shot, or we’ll throw you in prison and jab you there!
#3) Terrorism insurance
What? You don’t own terrorism insurance? Then how will you keep your family safe with all the countless terrorism attacks happening every day?
Coming soon: Obama’s buddies will set up a whole new insurance scam called “terrorism insurance,” and they’ll use false flag terror attacks to remind people why they need to keep buying insurance policies. All Americans will be forced into buying these terrorism insurance policies, and those who don’t will be called anti-American traitors.
What? You don’t have terrorism insurance? You must be one of those anti-government nuts who also owns gold. Yeah, that’s a sure sign of being a terrorist yourself.
#4) Pink slime
Given that nobody in the country wants to buy pink slime anymore — that’s the new term for “mechanically separated meat” that has suddenly become widely known across the ‘net (http://www.naturalnews.com/035255_pink_slime_USDA_school_lunches.html) — the government may simply force everybody to buy it!
Yep, every month you’ll have your “pink slime quota” that you must meat — er, I mean meet — by purchasing pink slime at the grocery store, filling out twelve pages of documentation describing your purchase, then mailing it off to Washington with proof your purchase to a whole new federal department called “Food Usability for All” or just “F U All” for short.
#5) Air tickets
Given that the TSA has utterly destroyed the U.S. travel economy with its illegal, perverted “hands down your pants” search and seizure protocol, Obama must mandate that everybody buy one air ticket a month, whether you need it or not.
Supporting the travel industry is patriotic, didn’t you know? And if you refuse to buy an air ticket each month, you’ll be visited by TSA agents in your own home who will conduct a crotch-and-anus search of your entire family in lieu of you actually showing up at the airport for the search.
This will be called a “pre-search” for the travel you’re supposed to be taking. You can never be too safe in the war on terror, right? Now bend over…
#6) A gun – but you have to carry it into Mexico and sell it to a drug gang member
This might be called the “Eric Holder” program: Every American will be required to buy a firearm at a gun shop in a state bordering Mexico, then walk that gun across the border and deposit it into the hands of the Mexican drug gangs.
Oh, wait… that program already exists. It’s called “Fast & Furious” or “Operation Gunwalker,” and it was dreamed up by Attorney General Eric Holder to cause gun violence by having ATF operatives buy guns in America and sell them to Mexican drug gangs. (http://www.naturalnews.com/032934_ATF_illegal_firearms.html)
#7) Obama Water – with electrolytes!
Coming soon: Obama Water! It’s got electrolytes! And if you drink it, you’ll get free rent for the rest of your life.
Or should I just call it the Obama Kool-Aid?
Either way, the government will make you buy it, and you can bet it will be “enhanced” with government-approved fluoride chemicals. But they can’t actually make you drink it, so flushing always remains an option for getting rid of the stuff.
Tyrants versus entrepreneurs
The difference between tyrants and entrepreneurs is that tyrants always FORCE you to buy things, while entrepreneurs leave it up to you and your free choice.
At the same time tyrants force you to buy their products and services even if you don’t want them, they also criminalize you buying things they don’t want you to have — such as raw milk, Chinese Medicine herbs or medical marijuana.
So instead of respecting freedom and the free market, the oppressive system of economic dictatorship being practiced by governments everywhere is designed to deny people their free choice and force them to purchase monopoly-priced products that the people don’t even want.
This is how national economies are destroyed. Once government starts telling you what you can and can’t buy, the whole economy becomes distorted at first, and then paralyzed soon thereafter. That’s when governments historically bring in yet more insane economic policies such as price control which almost immediately result in a wipe out of available supplies (store shelves stripped bare).
The bottom line truth in all this is that centrally-planned economies always — ALWAYS — fail! No government, no matter how compassionate or well-meaning, can replace the individual economic decisions and behavior of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why protecting liberty is the only proper role of government.
By protecting liberty (and free choice), the government allows the People to make their own decisions about products and services. Government intervention only interferes with good decision making, causing both economic loss and resentment among the population.
No one wants to be forced to buy something, especially if that something is supporting the drugs-and-surgery medical industry (which is heavily populated with quacks, criminals, corrupt scientists and fabricated data).
I repeat here that I will REFUSE to buy health insurance mandated by Obama or any other president. No politician has any right to tell me what I can and cannot buy as a free citizen in a (supposedly) free country.
And any decision the U.S. Supreme Court renders that stands in gross violation of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights is automatically null and void from the outset.
You cannot legislate against natural, God-given rights, and no government has any right whatsoever to force you to buy something you do not wish to buy.
The Crazy Things That One Whistleblower Says Are Happening At JP Morgan Will Blow Your Mind
Are You Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse And The Next Great Depression?
Rampant silver manipulation? Rampant gold manipulation? Rampant LIBOR manipulation? Hiding MF Global client assets?
These are all happening at JP Morgan according to an open letter reportedly written by an anonymous employee of the firm.
The whistleblower also warns of a “cascading credit event being triggered” by derivatives related to Greek government debt. Unlike Greg Smith at Goldman Sachs, this whistleblower has chosen to remain anonymous for now.
According to the letter, the whistleblower is still an employee of JP Morgan and has not resigned. But that does make it much more difficult to confirm what he is saying. With Greg Smith, we know exactly who he is and what he was doing at Goldman.
As far as this anonymous whistleblower is concerned, all we have is this letter. So we must take it with a grain of salt.
However, the information in this letter does agree with what whistleblowers such as Andrew Maguire have said in the past about silver manipulation by JP Morgan.
And this letter does mention Greg Smith’s resignation from Goldman, so we know that it must have been written in the past few days.
Hopefully this letter will cause authorities to take a much closer look at the crazy things that are going on over at JP Morgan and the other big Wall Street banks.
This anonymous letter was addressed to the CFTC, but unfortunately it looks like the CFTC has already chosen to ignore it.
The original letter from this anonymous whistleblower has already been taken down from the CFTC website. When you go there now, all you get is this message….
“The Comment Cannot Be Found. Please Return to the Previous Page and Try Again.”
Fortunately, there are many in the alternative media that copied this entire letter from the CFTC website.
The following is a copy of the original letter that the anonymous whistleblower from JP Morgan submitted to the CFTC….
Dear CFTC Staff,
Hello, I am a current JPMorgan Chase employee. This is an open letter to all commissioners and regulators.
I am emailing you today b/c I know of insider information that will be damning at best for JPMorgan Chase. I have decided to play the role of whistleblower b/c I no longer have faith and belief that what we are doing for society is bringing value to people.
I am now under the opinion that we are actually putting hard working Americans unaware of what lays ahead at extreme market risk. This risk is unnecessary and will lead to wide-scale market collapse if not handled properly.
With the release of Mr. Smith’s open letter to Goldman, I too would like to set the record straight for JPM as well.
I have seen the disruptive behavior of superiors and no longer can say that I look up to employees at the ED/MD level here at JPM.
Their smug exuberance and arrogance permeates the air just as pungently as rotting vegetables. They all know too well of the backdoor crony connections they share intimately with elected officials and with other institutions.
It is apparent in everything they do, from the meager attempts to manipulate LIBOR, therefore controlling how almost all derivatives are priced to the inherit and fraudulent commodities manipulation.
They too may have one day stood for something in the past in the client-employee relationship. Does anyone in today’s market really care about the protection of their client?
From the ruthless and scandalous treatment of MF Global client asset funds to the excessive bonuses paid by companies with burgeoning liabilities.
Yes, we at JPMorgan that are in the know are fearful of a cascading credit event being triggered in Greece as they have hidden derivatives in excess of $1 Trillion USD.
We at JPMorgan own enough of these through counterparty risk and outright prop trading that our entire IB EDG space could be annihilated within a few short days.
The last ten years has been market by inflexion point after inflexion point with the most notable coming in 2008 after the acquisition of Bear.
I wish to remain anonymous as of now as fear of termination mounts from what I am about to reveal. Robert Gottlieb is not my real name; however he is a trader that is involved in a lawsuit for manipulative trading while working with JPMorgan Chase.
He was acquired during our Bear Stearns acquisition and is known to be the notorious person shorting in the silver future market from his trading space, along with Blythe Masters, his IB Global boss.
However, with that said, we are manipulating the silver futures market and playing a smaller (but still massively manipulative) role in manipulating the gold futures market.
We have a little over a 25% (give or take a percentage) position in the short market for silver futures and by your definition this denotes a larger position than for speculative purposes or for hedging and is beyond the line of manipulation.
On a side note, I do not work directly with accounts that would have been directly impacted by the MF Global fiasco but I have heard through other colleagues that we have involvement in the hiding of client assets from MF Global.
This is another fraudulent effort on our part and constitutes theft. I urge you to forward that part of the investigation on to the respective authorities.
There is something else that you may find strange. During month-end December, we were all told by our managers that this was going to be a dismal year in terms of earnings and that we should not expect any bonuses or pay raises.
Then come mid-late January it is made known that everyone received a pay raise and/or bonus, which is interesting b/c just a few weeks ago we were told that this was not likely and expected to be paid nothing in addition to base salary.
January is right around the time we started increasing our short positions quite significantly again and this most recent crash in gold and silver during Bernanke’s speech on February 29th is of notable importance, as we along with 4 other major institutions, orchestrated the violent $100 drop in Gold and subsequent drops in silver.
As regulators of the free people of this country, I ask you to uphold the most important job in the world right now.
That job is judge and overseer of all that is justice in the most sensitive of commodity markets.
There are many middle-income people that invest in the physical assets of silver, gold, as well as mining stocks that are being financially impacted in a negative way b/c of our unscrupulous shorts in the precious metals commodity sector.
If you read the COT with intent you will find that commercials (even though we have no business being in the commercial sector, which should be reserved for companies that truly produce the metal) are net short by a long shot in not only silver, but gold.
It is rather surprising that what should be well known liabilities on our balance sheet have not erupted into wider scale scrutinization.
I call all honest and courageous JPMorgan employees to step up and fight the cronyism and wide-scale manipulation by reporting the truth.
We are only helping reality come to light therefore allowing a real valuation of our banking industry which will give investors a chance to properly adjust without being totally wiped out.
I will be contacting a lawyer shortly about this matter, as I believe no other whistleblower at JPMorgan has come forward yet.
Our deepest secrets lie within the hands of honest employees and can be revealed through honest regulators that are willing to take a look inside one of America’s best kept secrets.
Please do not allow this to turn into another Enron.
-The 1st Whistleblower of Many
If what this letter says is true, then the problems facing our financial system are more serious than most of us thought.
And the allegations of corruption at JP Morgan are absolutely shocking.
But this is not the first whistleblower to come forward to the CFTC with charges of rampant market manipulation by JP Morgan.
Back in 2010 I wrote about the stunning allegations that a former silver trader named Andrew Maguire presented to the CFTC. The following is an extended excerpt from that article….
Back in November 2009, Andrew Maguire, a former Goldman Sachs silver trader in Goldman’s London office, contacted the CFTC’s Enforcement Division and reported the illegal manipulation of the silver market by traders at JPMorgan Chase.
Maguire told the CFTC how silver traders at JPMorgan Chase openly bragged about their exploits - including how they sent a signal to the market in advance so that other traders could make a profit during price suppression episodes.
Traders would recognize these signals and would make money shorting precious metals alongside JPMorgan Chase.
Maguire explained to the CFTC how there would routinely be market manipulations at the time of option expiries, during non-farm payroll data releases, during commodities exchange contract rollovers, as well as at other times if it was deemed necessary.
On February 3rd, Maguire gave the CFTC a two day warning of a market manipulation event by email to Eliud Ramirez, who is a senior investigator for the CFTC’s Enforcement Division.
Maguire warned Ramirez that the price of precious metals would be suppressed upon the release of non-farm payroll data on February 5th.
As the manipulation of the precious metals markets was unfolding on February 5th, Maguire sent additional emails to Ramirez explaining exactly what was going on.
And it wasn’t just that Maguire predicted that the price would be forced down.
It was the level of precision that he was able to communicate to the CFTC that was the most stunning.
He warned the CFTC that the price of silver was to be taken down regardless of what happened to the employment numbers and that the price of silver would end up below $15 per ounce.
Over the next couple of days, the price of silver was indeed taken down from $16.17 per ounce down to a low of $14.62 per ounce.
Because of Maguire’s warning, the CFTC was able to watch a crime unfold, right in front of their eyes, in real time.
So what did the CFTC do about it?
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING !!
You can read the rest of that article right here.
So will the CFTC do anything about all of this?
Based on past history, probably not.
Basically, the CFTC is a government agency that appears to do next to nothing.
Another scandal involving JP Morgan has come out in recent days as well.
This one involves their credit card division. If you have a moments, you should really read the recent American Banker expose of credit card debt collection practices at JPMorgan Chase.
It exposes some things that will absolutely blow your mind.
Linda Almonte, a former executive at JPMorgan Chase’s Credit Card Litigation Support Group, has revealed some incredible stuff regarding the debt collection practices at the company.
Almonte says that she was shocked at what she saw when she began examining the details of a $200 million package of debt collection judgments to an outside debt collection agency….
Nearly half of the files her team sampled were missing proofs of judgment or other essential information, she wrote to colleagues. Even more worrisome, she alleged in her wrongful-termination suit, nearly a quarter of the files misstated how much the borrower owed.
In the “vast majority” of those instances, the actual debt was “lower that what Chase was representing,” her suit stated.
Almonte says that she warned that this sale of debt collection judgments must be stopped, but that a company executive told her that “she had better go along with the plan to sell the misrepresented asset“.
Almonte refused to go along, and she was fired on November 30th, 2009.
You are probably thinking that this sounds very much like the “robo-signing” foreclosure scandal and you would be right.
The more we dig into these giant financial companies the more corruption we find.
It really is shocking.
And remember, JPMorgan Chase is also the company that makes more money whenever the number of Americans on food stamps goes up.
JPMorgan Chase issues food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and they actually want more Americans to go on food stamps so that they can make bigger profits from the division that issues them.
So now are you starting to understand why so many Americans are upset about the corruption on Wall Street?
This isn’t a “conservative issue” or a “liberal issue” – it is an American issue and the outrageous behavior of these firms has brought our financial system once again to the edge of disaster.
Over the past six months, more than 350 prominent executives have resigned from major banks and financial institutions all over the globe.
Is this a sign that the rats are fleeing a sinking ship?
Do they know something that we don’t?
What we do know is that the financial crisis in Greece is far from over and the European financial system is getting closer to a complete meltdown with each passing day.
Very few of the things that caused the financial crisis of 2008 were ever corrected and our financial system is even more vulnerable today than it was back then.
In the end, this entire pyramid of debt, leverage and corruption is going to come crashing down really hard, and the consequences are going to be absolutely catastrophic.
World Bank Nominee Tied to Monsanto Shareholder Bill Gates, Soros
From Activist Post
March 28, 2012
By Tim McCoy Activist Post
Obama has nominated Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim, M.D. to head the United Nations World Bank. Most people think that UN agencies benefit poor people, but this is far from the truth.
The UN World Bank claims to fight poverty in developing nations by financing infrastructure projects. But the UN World Bank is really a tool used to acquire Third World natural resources through conditions on loans that are extremely difficult to repay. The raw resources are then privatized by insider multi-national corporations. The World Bank actually creates more poverty.
The nomination of Jim Yong Kim indicates that the World Bank may shift away from focusing on infrastructure and will instead turn toward providing healthcare in Third World countries. Jim Yong Kim’s areas of interest include vaccines for tuberculosis as well as drugs for HIV and AIDS.
Kim brokered a deal with Big Pharma and the UN World Health Organization for expanding the pharmaceutical drug market to a larger populace in exchange for lower drug prices for second-line tuberculosis drugs. Second-line drugs are used when basic treatment fails because of drug resistance. Drug resistance similar to the new ‘resistant White Plague‘ brought about by big pharma’s drugs.
Many in the medical community believed it would be dangerous to distribute second-line drugs widely. Kim is also responsible for pushing HIV/AIDS retroviral drugs in developing nations.
HIV/AIDS drugs used in the Third World have profound side effects that include eye, kidney, liver and heart problems.
Jim Yong Kim says that the highest point in his career was when George Soros donated to Kim’s tuberculosis vaccine program, which was followed by a a huge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for $44.7 million.
Monsanto shareholder Bill Gates, who has repeatedly stated that Monsanto’s GMOs are the answer to starvation, despite scientific proof of the contrary, gave a controversial speech at a Ted conference outlining the controversial population reduction plan through ‘healthcare’:
The world today has 6.8 billion people… that’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.
Additionally, Kim is the co-founder of Partners in Health along with Paul Farmer who is famous for saying that healthcare is a right.
Healthcare as a “right” disables health freedom to escape the medical health paradigm and choose your own methods of healing.
In addition, it also enables the government to determine whether or not an individual may receive care — the ‘right’ to live or die. Therefore, this shocking and disturbing program falls into the category of a eugenics-based plan.
The objective of Jim Yong Kim heading the UN World Bank appears to be to promote ludicrous policies by expanding healthcare through dangerous drugs. Kim’s support for redistribution of wealth and socialized medicine may come with a tremendous price tag for developed countries (especially the US).
If the UN World Bank was truly a benevolent organization, the focus for the Third World would be on support for independent farming, clean water and food.
This article first appeared at Natural Society, an excellent resource for health news and vaccine information.
10 Reasons Why The Reign Of The Dollar As The World Reserve Currency Is About To Come To An End
From Poor Richard’s Blog
March 27, 2012
The U.S. dollar has probably been the closest thing to a true global currency that the world has ever seen. For decades, the use of the U.S. dollar has been absolutely dominant in international trade.
This has had tremendous benefits for the U.S. financial system and for U.S. consumers, and it has given the U.S. government tremendous power and influence around the globe.
Today, more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world are in U.S. dollars.
But there are big changes on the horizon. The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely silent about this, but some of the biggest economies on earth have been making agreements with each other to move away from using the U.S. dollar in international trade.
There are also some oil producing nations which have begun selling oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, which is a major threat to the petrodollar system which has been in place for nearly four decades.
And big international institutions such as the UN and the IMF have even been issuing official reports about the need to move away form the U.S. dollar and toward a new global reserve currency.
So the reign of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency is definitely being threatened, and the coming shift in international trade is going to have massive implications for the U.S. economy.
A lot of this is being fueled by China. China has the second largest economy on the face of the earth, and the size of the Chinese economy is projected to pass the size of the U.S. economy by 2016. In fact, one economist is even projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.
So China is sitting there and wondering why the U.S. dollar should continue to be so preeminent if the Chinese economy is about to become the number one economy on the planet.
Over the past few years, China and other emerging powers such as Russia have been been quietly making agreements to move away from the U.S. dollar in international trade. The supremacy of the U.S. dollar is not nearly as solid as most Americans believe that it is.
As the U.S. economy continues to fade, it is going to be really hard to argue that the U.S. dollar should continue to function as the primary reserve currency of the world. Things are rapidly changing, and most Americans have no idea where these trends are taking us.
The following are 10 reasons why the reign of the dollar as the world reserve currency is about to come to an end….
#1 China And Japan Are Dumping the U.S. Dollar In Bilateral Trade
A few months ago, the second largest economy on earth (China) and the third largest economy on earth (Japan) struck a deal which will promote the use of their own currencies (rather than the U.S. dollar) when trading with each other. This was an incredibly important agreement that was virtually totally ignored by the U.S. media. The following is from a BBC report about that agreement….
China and Japan have unveiled plans to promote direct exchange of their currencies in a bid to cut costs for companies and boost bilateral trade.
The deal will allow firms to convert the Chinese and Japanese currencies directly into each other.
Currently businesses in both countries need to buy US dollars before converting them into the desired currency, adding extra costs.
#2 The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Plan To Start Using Their Own Currencies When Trading With Each Other
The BRICS continue to flex their muscles. A new agreement will promote the use of their own national currencies when trading with each other rather than the U.S. dollar. The following is from a news source in India….
The five major emerging economies of BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are set to inject greater economic momentum into their grouping by signing two pacts for promoting intra-BRICS trade at the fourth summit of their leaders here Thursday.
The two agreements that will enable credit facility in local currency for businesses of BRICS countries will be signed in the presence of the leaders of the five countries, Sudhir Vyas, secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters here.
The pacts are expected to scale up intra-BRICS trade which has been growing at the rate of 28 percent over the last few years, but at $230 billion, remains much below the potential of the five economic powerhouses.
#3 The Russia/China Currency Agreement
Russia and China have been using their own national currencies when trading with each other for more than a year now. Leaders from both Russia and China have been strongly advocating for a new global reserve currency for several years, and both nations seem determined to break the power that the U.S. dollar has over international trade.
#4 The Growing Use Of Chinese Currency In Africa
Who do you think is Africa’s biggest trading partner?
It isn’t the United States.
In 2009, China became Africa’s biggest trading partner, and China is now aggressively seeking to expand the use of Chinese currency on that continent.
A report from Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank, recently stated the following….
“We expect at least $100 billion (about R768 billion) in Sino-African trade – more than the total bilateral trade between China and Africa in 2010 – to be settled in the renminbi by 2015.”
China seems absolutely determined to change the way that international trade is done. At this point, approximately 70,000 Chinese companies are using Chinese currency in cross-border transactions.
#5 The China/United Arab Emirates Deal
China and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to ditch the U.S. dollar and use their own currencies in oil transactions with each other.
The UAE is a fairly small player, but this is definitely a threat to the petrodollar system. What will happen to the petrodollar if other oil producing countries in the Middle East follow suit?
Iran has been one of the most aggressive nations when it comes to moving away from the U.S. dollar in international trade. For example, it has been reported that India will begin to use gold to buy oil from Iran.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are not likely to go away any time soon, and Iran is likely to continue to do what it can to inflict pain on the United States in the financial world.
#7 The China/Saudi Arabia Relationship
Who imports the most oil from Saudi Arabia?
It is not the United States.
Rather, it is China.
As I wrote about the other day, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia in February, which was a 39 percent increase from one year earlier.
Saudi Arabia and China have teamed up to construct a massive new oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, and leaders from both nations have been working to aggressively expand trade between the two nations.
So how long is Saudi Arabia going to stick with the petrodollar if China is their most important customer?
That is a very important question.
#8 The United Nations Has Been Pushing For A New World Reserve Currency
The United Nations has been issuing reports that openly call for an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world.
In particular, one UN report envisions “a new global reserve system” in which the U.S. no longer has dominance….
“A new global reserve system could be created, one that no longer relies on the United States dollar as the single major reserve currency.”
#9 The IMF Has Been Pushing For A New World Reserve Currency
The International Monetary Fund has also published a series of reports calling for the U.S. dollar to be replaced as the reserve currency of the world.
In particular, one IMF paper entitled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability” that was published a while back actually proposed that a future global currency be named the “Bancor” and that a future global central bank could be put in charge of issuing it….
“A global currency, bancor, issued by a global central bank (see Supplement 1, section V) would be designed as a stable store of value that is not tied exclusively to the conditions of any particular economy. As trade and finance continue to grow rapidly and global integration increases, the importance of this broader perspective is expected to continue growing.”
#10 Most Of The Rest Of The World Hates The United States
Global sentiment toward the United States has dramatically shifted, and this should not be underestimated.
Decades ago, we were one of the most loved nations on earth.
Now we are one of the most hated.
If you doubt this, just do some international traveling.
Even in Europe (where we are supposed to have friends), Americans are treated like dirt. Many American travelers have resorted to wearing Canadian pins so that they will not be treated like garbage while traveling over there.
If the rest of the world still loved us, they would probably be glad to continue using the U.S. dollar. But because we are now so unpopular, that gives other nations even more incentive to dump the dollar in international trade.
So what will happen if the reign of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency comes to an end?
Well, some of the potential effects were described in a recent article by Michael Payne….
“The demise of the dollar will also bring radical changes to the American lifestyle. When this economic tsunami hits America, it will make the 2008 recession and its aftermath look like no more than a slight bump in the road. It will bring very undesirable changes to the American lifestyle through massive inflation, high interest rates on mortgages and cars, and substantial increases in the cost of food, clothing and gasoline; it will have a detrimental effect on every aspect of our lives.”
Most Americans don’t realize how low the price of gasoline in the United States is compared to much of the rest of the world.
There are areas in Europe where they pay about twice what we do for gasoline. Yes, taxes have a lot to do with that, but the fact that the U.S. dollar is used for almost all oil transactions also plays a significant role.
Today, America consumes nearly a quarter of the world’s oil. Our entire economy is based upon our ability to cheaply transport goods and services over vast distances,
So what happens if the price of gasoline doubles or triples from where it is at now?
In addition, if the reign of the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency ends, the U.S. government is going to have a much harder time financing its debt.
Right now, there is a huge demand for U.S. dollars and for U.S. government debt since countries around the world have to keep huge reserves of U.S. currency lying around for the sake of international trade.
But what if that all changed?
What if the appetite for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt dried up dramatically?
That is something to think about.
At the moment, the global financial system is centered on the United States.
But that will not always be the case.
The things talked about in this article will not happen overnight, but it is important to note that these changes are picking up steam.
Under the right conditions, a shift in momentum can become a landslide or an avalanche.
Clearly, the conditions are right for a significant move away from the U.S. dollar in international trade.
So when will this major shift occur?
Only time will tell.
Get Ready for the Crackdowns
by Kelley B. Vlahos, March 27, 2012
The show of paramilitary force at the national party conventions held since the 9/11 attacks has been nothing less than shocking, though the vast majority of America doesn’t know it because they weren’t there, or they simply don’t care.
Still, since the Occupy movement has brought on new and creative crackdowns on Constitutionally-protected protest activity in towns and cities all over the country, you can bet that when it comes to security at this summer’s Republican and Democratic Party confabs, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Antiwar protesters nevertheless plan to join demonstrators of myriad stripes, many under the Occupy rubric, as they converge on three major events this spring and summer, beginning with the NATO summit in Chicago in May, the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, and the twin Democratic confab in early September.
Authorities are taking preemptive measures against planned demonstrations at these events on two fronts: one, mobilizing a massive militarized police and National Guard presence with the latest technology and weaponry, including street surveillance cameras, at least one fully armored SWAT vehicle with a turret, Tasers, tear gas and the like; and two, creating new municipal codes and laws to cordon-off public spaces from use, and establishing “security zones” that will limit the impact of Constitutionally-protected protests.
One actually had to be at the previous conventions to absorb the humiliation of American citizens lining up like cattle behind barbwire fences, the helicopters ever-circling overhead, the police — dressed in full-armor battle gear as if launching into urban operations in Ramadi — cordoning off and fully surrounding small city blocks in anticipation of a VIP’s arrival at a nearby hotel or restaurant (could it be Rep. John Boehner? Or Sen. Smiley Face? It didn’t matter). Urban soldiers stood at the ready as mothers with strollers and hapless tourists and conventioneers tried not to make eye contact just in case. No one wanted to be confused with a terrorist, or worse, a rabble-rouser.
And that was just the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. This was nothing compared to the party’s New York bash in 2004. Still raw from the memory of 9/11, but narcissistic and cynical enough to hold what amounted to an enormously expensive private party, the Republicans made sure for one week the Big Apple was transformed into an armed camp, 120,000 protesters on one side of the checkpoints and the immense sweep of the local, state and federal security apparatus on the other. Some 1,800 were arrested over the course of the event, through most of the charges were eventually dropped.
Both the GOP convention and the Democratic event in Boston that year imposed so-called “free speech zones” on demonstrators. The Boston police actually put them in a pen, like capricious monkeys at the zoo, or prisoners in a camp. Activists took to calling it “Camp X-Ray,” an old moniker for the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
Of course, then-President Bush loved to ensure his “fans” were safely ensconced in such spaces wherever he went during his reign tenure, his Secret Service and White House handlers poised to purge his audiences of any unwelcome dissidence. Everything in the name of “security” — from shutting down entire towns to tossing people out of presidential events because of their antiwar bumper stickers and T-shirts, no effort seemed too petty or too ludicrous.
It would be naive to think that Obama and his party are any different when it comes to public displays of dissent. In the latest and maybe the most underestimated move by Washington to insulate the establishment against upcoming protests, the Congress just passed and Obama signed an update to a federal law that makes it a crime to be in a United States Secret Service-imposed security zone. Critics calling it the “trespass law” say the new language penalizes individuals whether or not they are even aware they are acting illegally.
The old law (18 USC § 1752) (emphasis mine):
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons—
(1) willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting;
(2) willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance;
(3) willfully, knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, to engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any building or grounds described in paragraph (1) or (2) when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
(4) willfully and knowingly to obstruct or impede ingress or egress to or from any building, grounds, or area described in paragraph (1) or (2); or
(5) willfully and knowingly to engage in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any building, grounds, or area described in paragraph (1) or (2). …
The new law (H.R 347) (.pdf)(emphasis mine):
‘‘(a) Whoever— ‘‘(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building
or grounds without lawful authority to do so; ‘‘(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the
orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
‘‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or
‘‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
We see here the word “willfully” is struck from the new law. Legal experts tell us that makes all the difference.
From Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), one of the only three members of the House and Senate who did not vote for the measure this month (Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Paul Broun — all Republicans! —were the others):
Current law makes it illegal to enter or remain in an area where certain government officials (more particularly, those with Secret Service protection) will be visiting temporarily if and only if the person knows it’s illegal to enter the restricted area but does so anyway. The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it’s illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it’s illegal. (It expands the law by changing “willfully and knowingly” to just “knowingly” with respect to the mental state required to be charged with a crime.)
Punishment for violating the law can carry upwards of one year in jail or 10 years if the individual is caught with a gun or “dangerous weapon,” or if his or her actions result in “significant bodily injury.”
Experts who insist the tweaking of the language is significant have cited U.S. v. Bursey, the case of Brett Bursey, an Iraq War protester who was arrested by Secret Service in 2002 when he refused to leave a restricted area during a demonstration. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the prosecution did not prove that Bursey had “willfully” committed a crime under the statute:
…because, generally, “[m]ore is required” with respect to conduct performed willfully than conduct performed knowingly… (willfully) requires “more culpable” mens rea than knowing violation. As a general proposition, the statutory term “knowingly” requires the Government to prove only that the defendant had knowledge of the facts underlying the offense.
In other words, before H.R 347 was passed, in order to find an individual guilty of protesting in a restricted area, the government had to prove that the individual knew his or her activity in that space was illegal.
Now, the government merely has to find that a person “knowingly” entered a restricted space, which does not address intent, just the individual’s mental state. All that matters is whether he or she “knew” they were there at the time and place in question, and were not impaired or unconscious of their actions in some way — a much lower standard for prosecution.
This could have serious consequences for demonstrators at the NATO Summit and the two conventions, as the usual labyrinth of security perimeters are thrown up not only around major venues (Chicago’s McCormick Place for the summit, Tampa Bay Times Forum and the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte), but around temporary spaces where protected individuals for these events are — like the numerous parties and fundraisers and other special events which typically accompany these things elsewhere in the host city.
These protected individuals include, according to the law, “visiting heads of foreign states or foreign governments … other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States,” and “major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.”
When this new federal law is applied, the line between whether a sidewalk in front of a hotel where Prime Minister So-and-So is being feted by the So-and-So-American Leaders of America Club is a public or restricted space is suddenly a thin one, leaving a swell of demonstrators and journalists vulnerable to the dragnet of a “knowing” violation.
Of course, as writer Naomi Wolf — and many, many others — have found out the hard way, police often arrest demonstrators on sidewalks whether they have the law on their side or not. But this updated statute gives government a new opportunity to make federal trespassing charges stick, and raises the stakes for individuals seeking to flex their First Amendment rights. It’s hard to believe the dropping of “willfully” wasn’t a preemptive strike at protesters ahead of these potentially volatile events.
Meanwhile, the host cities are doing their best to marginalize the protest element too. Charlotte plans to put into place rules designating parade routes and “protest zones.” That was after passing an ordinance banning camping on public property and producing a list of items either banned or subject to searches in the established “security zone.” Tampa is a few steps behind but is nonetheless considering similar ordinances, according to recent reports.
In Chicago, activists are crying foul at a decision by the city to reject their permit for a parade during the NATO Summit. Subsequently, the groups reportedly rejected a counterproposal by the city which would have given them an alternate parade route away from the convention center with “virtually no public visibility.”
“Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment because it guarantees the right to useful speech; and unheard political speech is politically useless,” wrote Judge Andrew Napolitano, in a recent column about the new Secret Service law.
“The same may be said of the rights to associate and to petition. If peaceful public assembly and public expression of political demands on the government can be restricted to places where government officials cannot be confronted, then those rights, too, have been neutered.”
Of course the mainstream media is ever complicit in drawing a picture that makes these anti-free speech rules, not to mention the over-the-top security plans, appear justified. To hear the Cassandras wailing about the safety of their cities from dirty hippie thugs, one would think there had been a pattern of riotous behavior at the last four national conventions — but there was not. In fact, violent instigation from the so-called “black bloc” types and other outbursts of physical destruction among demonstrators have always been a tiny percentage of the activity outside these events and largely denounced by activists overall.
Nonetheless, police have let loose flash bang grenades, tear gas, wielded batons and hauled off thousands to jail (only to let most go uncharged) in response to activity around the conventions that might have been annoying, loud and inconvenient, but largely non-violent, and in many cases, not prosecutable.
In St. Paul, they arrested 300 antiwar protesters in one day, though a tiny fraction was ever convicted. Earlier that week, Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman and her colleagues were “violently manhandled” and arrested for not dispersing from a demonstration they were covering for their Pacifica News program. The journos later sued the police department and won.
Before the September 2008 convention even began, SWAT teams arrested protesters staying in three homes on the outskirts of the St. Paul and Minneapolis, slapping them with terror-related charges linked to their alleged plans to protest the convention. Agents busted down doors and threw people down on the floor, terrifying housemates and neighbors. The terror charges were eventually dropped and the “RNC Eight”eventually pleaded guilty to a single “gross misdemeanor” and accepted probation, a far cry from the felonies they had been initially charged with.
Now, with $50 million in taxpayer money each, the cities of Tampa and Charlotte are ramping up big-time, tapping into their states’ National Guard and federal resources at the FBI, CIA, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to design and execute their elaborate security plans.
The Occupy movement has given them more excuse to hunker down, but according to Kevin Zeese, an organizer with the OccupyDC movement, which has been dealing with the city’s own efforts to diminish the protests there, this will only embolden people to turn out and test the system.
“The only way to respond to the destruction of our rights is to exercise them; to show those in power that the people will not be intimidated by a lawless government that ignores the clear mandates of the Constitution,” he tells Antiwar.com.
“We have shown in the last six months that when the people are educated, organized and mobilized we can change the direction of the government. We have the power, we need the courage and confidence to use it.”
Twitter Vlahos @KelleyBVlahos
Read more by Kelley B. Vlahos
A Turn Right at the Left Forum – March 19th, 2012
Remembering Jeff Huber – March 12th, 2012
Tell the Truth Already! – March 5th, 2012
Do Afghan Riots Spell E-X-I-T? – February 27th, 2012
Veterans for Ron Paul – February 20th, 2012
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