You are here

Your government at work

That revolving door spins one more time.

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 01/14/2012 - 07:26


From Rolling Stone Magazine and Matt Taibbi where/whom the photo and excerpt below were taken and The Wall Street Journal, here's a prime example of the rotted stench that is our government and the people we employ at the top.

The photo below is that of Walter Lukken, who having done such a masterful job regulating the commodities futures trading industry as acting Chairman of the CFTC (The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commision) has been made head of the Futures Trading Association, that industry's government Lobby.

Click the gears above for the two stories.

As you would expect, being a magazine piece, Taibbi's is the better read as it offers more background including the now legendary Billy Tauzin example of this practice, although one need always be mindful of Rolling Stones Magazine's propensity for confusing reporting with editorializing.

Recommended anyway.


Revolving Door: From Top Futures Regulator to Top Futures Lobbyist



While America focused on New Hampshire, a classic example of revolving-door politics took place in Washington, going almost completely unnoticed.


In this case, the hire involves Walter Lukken, who toward the end of the Bush years was the acting head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As the chief regulator of the commodities markets, it was Lukken’s job to spot and combat speculative abuses and manipulations that might have led to artificial price hikes and other disruptions.

In 2008, the last full year of his tenure, Lukken presided over some of the worst chaos in the commodities markets in recent history, with major disruptions in the markets for food products like wheat, cotton, soybeans, and rice, and energy commodities like oil.


The best line in The Wall Street Journal piece reads as follows.

When Mr. Lukken headed the CFTC, he backed a more flexible, "principles-based" approach to regulation, different from what was seen as the prescriptive and "rule-based" methods employed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which polices stock markets.


Think your IRA is safe? Better think again.

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 01/04/2012 - 06:47


From THE GOLDEN TRUTH and Dave in Denver, here's a bit of holiday cheer.

Click anywhere below for the entire piece ... recomended as it makes perfect sense.

At least to us.


Think Your IRA Is Safe?  Better Think Again


The MF Global bankruptcy is a blueprint for how the Government and wealthy bankers will begin to take everything that is kept within the confines of the financial system.


Ten years ago I tried to tell many friends and acquaintances that housing prices would collapse and this country was headed for disaster and that the only only way to protect themselves financially was to load up on gold and silver.   Almost everyone looked at me like I needed my own floor in the mental health wing at Belleview Hospital in NYC.  Of course, that was back when gold was around $300/oz. and housing prices were on average about 50% higher than they are now.


As I run into these folks these days, they compliment me for my ability to see into the future and immediately want to know what I think will happen next.   My only logical response is to say that they don't want to know what I think because, just like 10 years ago, they'll think I'm crazy.   I add that I hope I'm wrong this time about what I think is coming but that I doubt that I am.


I bring this up because one of the things that I believe will eventually happen is that the Government will find a way to confiscate all retirement assets (IRA's/401k's).   But rather than outright taking them, they'll substitute them with some kind of retirement "annuity" that is funded with good old Treasury bonds.   Of course, by that point in time, the Treasury bond printing press will be working overtime to print currency the Government can use to stay afloat.



The Magna Carta and Habeus Corpus

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 08:01


“The doctrine of habeas corpus goes back to before the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. 

It [Magna Carta] was an ancient Anglo-Saxon limitation on the power of government. If the feds held a prisoner, a writ of habeas corpus required them to ‘produce the body.’ The government had to either release the person or charge him with a crime. For more than 800 years, this gave people some protection against government.

But now, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, the Congress of the United States of America, with the complicity of POTUS, himself, has seen fit to deny the right of habeas corpus to American citizens.

Henceforth, the feds can capture you, put you in prison and waterboard you every day for the rest of your life. 

They don’t have to charge you with murder or jay-walking or any crime at all. They don’t have to let you talk to a lawyer. Or to your spouse. Or to your Congressman.

They don’t have to read you your rights or provide any evidence against you. Like the Argentines in the ’80s, they just ‘disappear’ you. And you’re gone forever…

We’re talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. 

It puts every single citizen American at risk.

Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us?

The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism.

So now the feds, whose salaries we pay, can spy on us with drones we paid for too.

They can send a swat team to disappear us ... and keep us in prison.

The genius of modern democracy is that it makes the citizen a party to his own enslavement.

Rather than give up 10% of his output to his feudal lord and master, he gives up 30% to 50% to his democratically-elected bosses.

They tell him what to do. And he believes he is giving the orders!”

Bill Bonner 12/20/2011


Click anywhere above for the entire Bill Bonner piece title "Power Corrupts"

Click on the above photo for a very quick and simple site on the Magna Carta.


The death of Allen Klephart

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 12/05/2011 - 08:58


Another one that is tough to watch.

Six months later, investigations continue as official stories change.

Nobody is under indictment.

One would think that a police department populated by people of even average intelligence would, if only for the sake of their own safety, be eager to rid themselves of abusive/murderous police officers and ingratiate themselves into the community.

This doesn't seem to be the case here.

Our strongly held opinion is that what you have here is a perfect example of the sense of entitlement and contempt for the citizenry of this country by them that are being paid far better than good money to serve and protect the citzenry of this country.

This contempt extends from the highest offices in the land to the local departments of formerly safe and peaceful California mountain communities.

Which communities would be safe and peaceful still were it not for government thuggery.



Your government at work for the banks

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 11/30/2011 - 07:15


From Bloomberg News who had to go to court with the Fed and a consortium of banks in order to obtain the following story under the Freedom of Information Act.

Click on the photo below of Goldman Sachs' personal bag boys for the entire story.

Way super double highly recommended ... READ IT ... you need to understand this stuff.


Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.


What really irritates me about all of this is the fact that I could have gone and got that MBA, maybe a JD, moved to New York and become a thief, but noooooo.


Just another example of why they all gotta go.

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 07:56


American Readers

“US Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a ‘battlefield’ and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial. The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.

The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.

The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing…Now is the time to stop this bad idea.

Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.”


These provisions are being reviled across the political spectrum.

There are a number of petitions available at sites ranging from the ACLU to Ron Paul.

We selected the ACLU to link up to only because our Senator Levin is a well known card carrying member with an 84% lifetime score.

Take a minute and decide if you think it's a good idea for the United States Military to be arresting American citizens and holding them indefinately without charge or trial, for any reason.

It is our opinion that the potential for abuse is staggering and that it is a certainty that if enacted these provisions will be abused.

As always when Congress comes after the freedoms of the citizenry it is in the interest of protecting us from terrorists.

It is becoming increasingly clear to us that the interests of "Terror" and Congress are dovetailing quite nicely.



Nothing to do with anything, but positive at least.

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 11/18/2011 - 23:56


Huron County Michigan Deputy Sheriff Ryan Swartz was dispatched to the scene of an accident between an automobile and a deer.

The deer evidently having failed to look both ways.

When he arrived he found the deer standing in the middle of the road, frozen from fear.

The following video is about what happened next.



Thanks to the little wiffer for sending this in.


Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 11/14/2011 - 05:41


In 2004 Alan J. Ziobrowski et al published a study titled “Abnormal Returns from the Common Stock Investments of the United States Senate which confirmed substantial market outperformance of investments made by members of United States Senate." Last week, Ziobrowski et al published a subsequent study titled Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives which finds as follows:


We find that stocks purchased by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives earn statistically significant positive abnormal returns. The returns outperform the market by 55 basis points per month (over 6% annually). As additional evidence of information advantage, the trade-weighted portfolio of purchased stocks significantly outperforms the equal-weighted portfolio indicating that Representatives invested much larger amounts in those stocks that performed best. The regression coefficients also suggest that House Members favor the common stocks of smaller growth companies with slightly above-average risk.


In sum, the findings from this study of the U.S. House of Representatives’ common stock transactions are generally supportive of the previous study of the U.S. Senate. We find strong evidence that Members of the House have some type of nonpublic information which they use for personal gain. That having been said, abnormal returns earned by Members of the House are substantially smaller than those earned by Senators during approximately the same time period. These smaller returns are due presumably to less influence and power held by the individual Members. The nature and source or sources of information is unknown, but clearly further research is warranted. We recommend that congressional committees should be studied for abnormal returns and indications that members of those committees may favor stocks in industries their committees oversee. Abnormal returns associated with the common stocks of specific industries or companies should be investigated for patterns of potential misconduct. We suggest the examination of the relationships between campaign contributions, common stock acquisitions, and abnormal returns.


Click anywhere above to link up to the paper.


Rule (1.29)

Submitted by Roanman on Thu, 11/10/2011 - 15:57


When somebody starts telling you the game is rigged in favor of the "Big Banks", this is exactly what they're talking about.

Click anywhere below for the entire Robert Lezner, Forbes article where you will learn that Former Goldman Sachs star trader, United States Senator, Governor of New Jersey, well know Obama bundler and MF Global CEO John Corzine met no fewer that 10 times with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in order to see to it that this vile rule of the supposed government regulator, did not change as a result of Dodd-Frank.


MF Global May Have Used Customer Funds In The Losing $6.3 Billion Trade Without Informing Clients


After an intense day of investigation, I have just discovered  that a CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) rule(1.29) allowed  Jon Corzine’s MF Global to use the margin and cash in customers heretofore segregated accounts to amass a risky $6.3 billion investment in European sovereign debt that backfired. Nor did Corzine have the obligation to  inform any of these customers he was  gambling with their money. Or that he was intending to keep all the profits for himself and  his troubled firm. Nothing for the customers.

The language of Rule1.29 allows  “The investment of customer funds in instruments described in 1.29 shall not prevent the futures commission merchant (MF Global) or clearing organization so investing such funds and retaining as its own any increment or interest resulting therefrom.” Increment refers to any trading profits or gains.

The criminal division of the Justice Department in New York — as well as the SEC and the CFTC and members of Congress– are  investigating whether any laws were violated and if so, whether any criminal charges can be brought. As of 3pm today, there has been no sign of the missing $633 million. My sources believe it was probably grabbed by the institutions that made the margin calls on MF Global as the European bonds sank in value.

This shocking loophole, which is available to all  commodity traders, whether giant ones like Goldman Sachs or members of commodity exchanges,  means that huge risks are being taken with money that does not belong to the trading firms– without the customers having any idea of the danger they are in.  As Andy Abraham, a futures trader in Israel put it to me today;  “this means they can take segregated funds and leverage them to kingdom come. It means nothing is safe.”

This rule, which has been in effect since 1974, is shocking and highly irregular since it allows any futures dealer to use customers money for its own selfish purposes– and never inform its customers it is doing so. What’s even more unfair is that the dealer(MF Global) gets to keep all  the income and the trading profits, if any from a transaction that uses other people’s money– not its own house capital.  That is unless some prior arrangement about sharing profits was made privately beforehand with the client. None of the MF Global clients I’ve spoken to today had the foggiest notion about this arrangement– which at minimum is   outrageously unfair to the rule that the customer  comes first. All losses must be made  up by the dealer, which in this case may be totally impossible.


Just a small example of the rot that is our government.



Subscribe to RSS - Your government at work