Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Smelly Substance and the Fan

Those of you who have been reading me for a while remember that for some time now, I've written that I believed things were about to change. For example, way back in October, I posted an item titled Congratulations...It's a Planet. In that post, I said that I believed a logjam had been broken and regular people were beginning to awaken to the phony nonsense we are fed, and so we were on the way to a world that's more peaceful, honest, and transparent and less warlike, corrupt, and secretive.

I'm sometimes the first to congratulate myself when I'm right, in fact quite often the only one to do so, so here we go. Over the past week, it seems, some of the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost. You probably wouldn't know it to see the mainstream news, as the coverage is just about nil, but here's one of those little chickies.

On February 16, a gentleman named Lord James of Blackheath, a member of the British House of Lords, gave a floor speech requesting an investigation into criminal dealings involving the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the IMF, the mega-bank HSBC, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Lord James says he has original documents proving the allegations he's made on the floor of Parliament. He claims that signers of these documents include then- Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, and, representing the IMF, none other than then-FedNY President and our current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner.

Lord James says these documents show one of three things:

First, there may have been a massive piece of money-laundering committed by a major Government who should know better. Effectively, it undermined the integrity of a British bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, in doing so. The second possibility is that a major American department has an agency which has gone rogue on it because it has been wound up and has created a structure out of which it is seeking to get at least €50 billion as a pay-off. The third possibility is that this is an extraordinarily elaborate fraud, which has not been carried out, but which has been prepared to provide a threat to one Government or more if they do not make a pay-off.

None of these three things are legal, or particularly nice. Here's the scenario he's uncovered, as I understand it.

In 2006, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York entered into agreements with a man named Johannes Riyadi, a member of a royal family of Brunei and a man who many say is the richest man in the world. The gist of the agreements was that the FedNY was to pay Mr. Riyadi $500 million to buy back US Treasury Bonds Mr. Riyadi had bought over the years for the purpose of "supporting the dollar." According to Lord James, these bonds had the face amount of $15 TRILLION! Apparently, the government contended that the bonds were invalid, as Lord James referred to them as "worthless." Mr. Riyadi clearly disagreed.

And as Lord James put it, "Mr Riyadi, by passing these bonds over, has also put at the disposal of the US Treasury the entire asset backing which he was alleged to have for the $15 trillion." The asset backing was supposed to be 750,000 tons of gold--worth just about $15 Trillion at 2006 prices.

Tracing the money, Lord James claims to have found that, a couple of years later, in April and May, 2009, the FedNY took this money (the Riyadi account), which it wasn't authorized to have in the first place, and transferred it to JPMorgan/Chase in New York. JPMorgan/Chase further transferred it to HSBC in London. And HSBC then further transferred it to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Lord James says he has obtained the banks' receipts for each of these transfers. So $15 trillion actually passed from the FedNY to JPMorgan Chase to HSBC to Royal Bank of Scotland, and was acknowledged as received by each bank

Lord James seems to feel that the smoking gun then comes in the form of the partial audit of the Fed that was released last summer. You may recall that the audit showed that the Fed had made $16.115 TRILLION in no-interest, off the books loans to a whole raft of their cronies in the banks--you know, the ones who were too big to fail. Despite the disclosure that the Fed loaned out more than the entire national debt, without authorization of Congress, not a single person has been charged with wrongdoing. And there's never been any explanation of exactly where that money came from--until now.

Yeah, yeah, you say. More shady deals. So what? Well, according to the people who know this stuff, only 1,507 tons of gold is supposed to have ever been mined, in the history of the world! And Lord James claims to have a letter from Mr. Riyadi in which he states that the whole deal was a fake, and he was put up to it by the Americans. He claims the whole "transaction" was a cover. For what you ask? Well, read on.

If Lord James has the documents he claims to have, that he holds up in the video of his floor speech, there's only two ways this can go, and both of them mean that a financial tsunami--a good one-- is on the way.

One. Greenspan and Geithner signed onto an unauthorized and under the table deal relating to $15 trillion in gold they knew not to exist and then somehow, miraculously came up with $15 trillion to lend, interest free, to their buddies in the big banks. And that money didn't come from the gold, which didn't exist. So it had to come from somewhere else...

Now where do I know that name, HSBC, from? Oh yeah! They're the ones who just paid enormous fines for getting caught laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists! Yeah, that's them--the ones who just hired Stuart Levey, former Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (read, Geithner underling), as their new "expert in money laundering." See my post, An Inadvertent Truth. You remember-- they hired the law enforcement official who was supposed to have kept them from laundering money in the first place, and didn't, to come in house and repeat the performance. See my post, Beyond the Peter Principle. Where, oh where, could that $15 trillion have come from?


Two. Greenspan and Geithner signed onto an unauthorized, under the table deal knowing that its backing was almost 500 times more gold than is alleged to exist in the world. A pretty good deal, unless there actually was 500 times more gold than was thought to exist, because then gold would not be nearly so rare as it was thought and wouldn't be worth nearly as much as it appeared, and every gold trade done since that deal would be a massive financial fraud based on the untrue information that gold is a very rare and valuable commodity.

This is a fairly big chicken, wouldn't you agree? So, I wonder why it's not all over the news?

Perhaps Messrs. Geithner and Greenspan would like adjoining cells.

Video of Lord James' speech is here.

And the official parliamentary transcript is here. Scroll down to Column 1016.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Agenda Item One

This morning, I happened upon an essay by iconic journalist Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, President of the Writers' Guild of America. It set my mind ablaze again with the thought that, politically speaking, absolutely nothing else matters--not abortion, not gay rights, not tax rates, not environmental regulation, not 'saving social security'--nothing else matters until we wrest control of our political and social systems away from the moneyed interests who have hijacked them for personal and financial gain.

The last paragraph of the essay fairly sums it up (but read the whole thing anyway):

These gargantuan super PAC contributions are not an end in themselves. They are the means to gain control of government – and the nation state -- for a reason. The French writer and economist Frederic Bastiat said it plainly: "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." That’s what the super PACs are bidding on. For the rest of us, the ship may already have sailed. (emphasis mine)

Almost poetically, Moyers and Winship have set the agenda for anyone who cares about our world not becoming even more harsh, unfair, skewed, corrupt, and evil than it already is: we must break the cycle of governments' sale to the highest bidder and restore control of the world's resources and of society to the people. Everything else is secondary. Everything.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If This Don't Beat All

In our latest example of a government gone wild: it seems we now have sack lunch police.

From an article in the Carolina Journal:

RAEFORD - A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl's turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs - including in-home day care centers - to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

The girl's mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation - said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a "healthy lunch" would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.

If it isn't bad enough that the government presumes to tell us that we must serve meat and dairy to our children, even if we don't believe that's appropriate, here we have the case of their not even following their own rules. Notice the "rules:" One meat, one dairy, one grain, two fruit or vegetable. Turkey (meat) and cheese (dairy) sandwich, presumably using bread (grain), a banana and apple juice (two fruits), and then potato chips (not really a vegetable, but the USDA uses french fries as a vegetable for school lunch counting, so why not?)

And notice what they served the kid to make her nutrition 'better.' Chicken nuggets. You ever see how chicken nuggets are made? (Ditto processed chicken patties and McRibs and the like). They are literally made of all the garbage they're left over with when they've taken out all the parts people will knowingly eat. Veins. Tendons and ligaments. Et cetera. Really. Don't believe it? Check out the article and video here, or lots of other places on the web.

Aren't you happy we have the USDA on the job to make sure four year olds don't miss out on their required servings of chicken veins? God Bless America.

The Beat Goes On

In my post of a couple of days ago, On Today's Episode... I opined that we would be in for an escalation of rhetoric drumming up animosity toward Iran with the "Iran is trying to destroy our friends in Israel" meme, in order to justify the government's desired attack on that country.

Well, here's the next measure in that song. The dust had barely cleared from the explosion before Thai officials blamed Iran for a failed bombing in Bangkok yesterday. Apparently, the would-be bombers blew the roof off the house they were staying in, and then one of them, covered in blood, tried to hail a cab, who wouldn't take him. Just to make sure to attract more attention, the thrwarted bomber threw a grenade at the cab, injuring the driver, and ran.

When police tried to apprehend him, the hapless bomber tried to escape by throwing a grenade at police. It bounced off a tree and rebounded on him, blowing his own legs off. These bombers really need some explosives training.

Thai officials claim the bomber, and another man later apprehended at the airport trying to flee to Malasya had Iranian passports.

Per the ABC News Article,

Israeli officials told ABC News "we don't know" what Moradi's intended target was "because he was caught." A spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry has said there is no sign yet that Moradi's alleged targets were Jewish or Israel.

Wait a minute! Israeli officials? One wonders, why is it that both these major news sources are talking to Israeli officials? If you don't know the target, wouldn't it seem likely it's the country where the bombing occurred?

Apparently, not if you're drumming. You see, in the articles linked, there is no reaction of outrage from high level officials in Thailand--barely any reaction at all--but we did get to hear paragraphs worth from everyone's favorite Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu of Israel and his minions.

Stay tuned to hear soon which low level Israeli diplomat these keystone bombers were after this time. Don't worry, I'm SURE it will be ISRAELI diplomats.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Here's How It Works

Back on September 27, I posted about a ludicrous court case in which a judge actually ruled that Americans have no fundamental right to decide what they eat and drink.

At the time, I knew it was part of a power play. I just didn't know whose power play it was. Now we know, because it's given us our latest example of corruption and incompetence paying off:

The judge in that abomination of a case, Patrick Fiedler, has gotten himself a partnership at Axley Brynelson, LLP, a law firm who defended mega-giant food adulterator, Monsanto in a big patent action recently.

One thing that a couple of decades in the law taught me--working for a big law firm pays a whole lot better than being a state court judge. It has to. It has to pay for your soul.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Which Dog Will You Feed?

Years ago, my then-pastor, a very smart man-especially for a pastor-told a story in his sermon. It went something like this:

A young native boy is brought before the tribal elders, who are concerned about his aggressive tendencies. One of the elders takes the young man aside and tells him that his anger is understandable, since all humans have within them two dogs. One dog is sweet and peaceable. The other is angry and aggressive. The two dogs are in constant battle with one another, since neither is powerful enough to destroy the other. The young man asks the elder "But if they are of equal power, which one will win?" And the elder replies, "The one you feed the most."

I loved that little story, and have thought about it often over the decade or so since I heard it. Lately though, I've realized that in most people I've met, that bad dog is fatter than Al Roker before the lap band. And the reason is fear.

I've talked before about how fear of the "other" makes us hostile. We fight wars because we're afraid of whatever "they" has been set against our "we." The commies are coming, the Muslims are coming, the Iranians are trying to make a bomb sometime, in a few years, maybe, right after they figure out how to enrich the uranium sufficiently to run a power plant, which they can't yet do, but whatever. Fear doesn't have to make sense. But there's more to it than that.

Fear of our own inadequacies make us mean to other people. If we don't feel 'good enough,' it's great to find someone more derelict than ourselves and either make fun of them or blame them for stuff. Do you suppose that people watch Jerry Springer to make themselves get better? Or is it to make themselves feel better, because at least they're not as screwed up as those people. And remember how the Reagan "welfare queens" driving their Cadillacs were the reason the government was in debt? I wonder why it's still in debt after then-speaker Newt Gingrich passed welfare reform through the Congress and fixed all that welfare queen stuff? Suppose maybe because they were just a scapegoat, manufactured in some politician's imagination, for us to fear?

Fear of our own badness causes us to judge and condemn others. Ever think about why it's anyone's business who gay and lesbian people want to love? Logically it makes no sense. Sure, people say a prohibition of homosexuality is in the Bible, but there's prohibitions of lying in the Bible too, and there's no one out carrying signs and making Consititutional amendments about that. Even if the Bible says it's wrong, it should only concern other people if it infringes on their rights. Lying, for example, is only addressed in the law if you lie to induce someone to do something to their detriment; then it's called fraud. Otherwise, in the law, it's every liar for himself. And the best ones get promoted. But fear of our own "badness" leads us to seek out people who are "worse" and then we have to jump on them with both feet, to make ourselves feel better about where we are morally.

Fear causes us to be selfish and self absorbed. As Americans, we've got more money and stuff than most people around the world, and to justify the obvious unfairness of this situation where babies starve to death while we throw out food by the megaton, we convince ourselves we have this stuff because we deserve it more than other people, so why should we try to conserve? Anything we save will only go to someone less deserving, right? To not think this way is to admit something we're all deathly afraid of--maybe we really don't deserve anything more than anyone else. Maybe we didn't get it because we're smarter or worked harder--maybe it's all just luck, and maybe our luck will someday run out.

So, basically fear causes all the negative responses we have in the world. Fear makes us hostile physically. It makes us mean and condescending to others. It makes us judgmental, condemning and unable to mind our own damn business. And it makes us selfish and self absorbed, unable to see the other perspectives in their fullness. Any time we seek to serve ourselves at the expense of someone or something else, we feed the fear dog. And boy, is that dog overfed.

On the other hand, we feed the good dog with love. Love is the recognition that all things have value and worth, for the very reason that in any tradition I know of, everything is us.

Think about it. If you believe in a creation by one conscious Creator (no matter what you call that Creator) you believe that Creator made us and the earth and the heavens and the animals. If that Creator is infinite and eternal, as all religions I know of believe, then necessarily we and everything else are part of the Creator. It can be no other way. Infinity is, well...infinite. It must encompass everything or it isn't infinite, now is it?

Likewise, if you believe in a spontaneous 'explosion' of creation, like the Big Bang theory, you believe that we and everything else in our universe came, in the first instance, from some great "singularity" containing all that is, was, or will be. Once again, the inevitable truth is that we are all part of the same infinite ALL. And whatever diminishes one diminishes all.

It's hard to not be selfish in our world. There's a million messages of fear that tell us we not only can, but should, inflate our own value and let the air out of everyone else's. We're told that fear and competition is more "rational" than love and cooperation. People who are all about love are billed as either heroes or fools--sometimes both. We've been feeding that bad dog a smorgasbord for centuries, while the good one sits in a corner, starving and whining for a scrap. But feeding that bad dog has gotten us to where we are today--struggling in a world where good people lose everything while bad people get richer and richer, where war is eternal and peace is barely more than a foolish pipe-dream, where we sit continually on the verge of spiritual, environmental and physical destruction. To put it in the vernacular of a particularly annoying, yet very famous person--how's that meany-nasty-hatey- takey thing workin' out for ya?

So yes, we've been conditioned to think that 'every man for himself' is the way things are. And maybe that's true, but it's also short-sighted and wrong. And maybe it's time for it to stop being the way things are.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Today's Episode ...

In the last several months, you'd have to be living under a rock to not hear the loud and consistent drumbeat urging us on to an attack of Iran. They're building THE BOMB, we're told. They're EVIL, they say. They're bent on the destruction of ISRAEL, the story goes. Every day, in every medium. And I'm here to ask you to think-- a little more deeply than the average American--about what it means.

December 20, 2011, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told 60 Minutes that Iran will have a nuclear weapon within a year, or maybe quicker. Just nineteen days later, on January 8, Panetta admitted that Iran is not even trying to build a nuclear weapon. He said, "Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know they are trying to develop a nuclear capability."

But of course truth being no deterrent, we returned shortly thereafter to the drums of war. For example, last week, the New York Times referred to the November, 2011, IAEA report as "showing 'research, development and testing activities' on a range of technologies that would only be useful in designing a nuclear weapon."

It's rather hard to take it too seriously, if you've been paying attention. It seems those pesky Iranians have been right on the verge of developing The Bomb (!) for quite a while now. In an article from the Sydney Morning Herald, we were earnestly assured that all the way back in November of 2008,

Events are moving quickly. The Israeli Atomic Energy Commission has estimated that Iran will have produced enough highly enriched uranium by the end of next year to produce a nuclear bomb. Next year is widely regarded in Israel as year zero for the strategic decision about Iran's nuclear program.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Why is Iran always on the brink of getting the Bomb, but it never does? Why do we keep murdering their scientists and sending ships over and applying economic sanctions, and we keep just staying here, on the brink?

I wonder...

I wonder if maybe it's all a just a put up job to try to get enough people scared that they'll not throw a complete hissy if we attack Iran--you know, to achieve a plausible justification for attacking and occupying another Middle Eastern country, like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, and like we're trying in Syria and Pakistan and Egypt . I know, I know, it sounds crazy. Except that it's been talked about, seriously, in real foreign policy circles--for years.

For example, a 2009 Analysis Paper of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution (sounds positively respectable, doesn't it?) stated,

For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

Which Path to Persia? pp. 84-85.

Did you notice that? The people in the know about US Foreign Policy--people at the freaking Brookings Institution--say it would be "far more preferable" if an "outrageous," "deadly" attack by Iran occurred to justify airstrikes that the government wants carry out. You might also take note that they propose "goading" Iraq into attacking and then lying about it, portraying it as an "unprovoked act of Iranian aggression."

And just in case you think that can't be--they couldn't be that cynical--you might be interested in the pros and cons they discuss. Among the "advantages" of this strategy, with my snarky comments in italics:

- American casualties would be "minimal," only "dozens" of American young people would be killed. Well, their families shouldn't mind.

- While there would be "collateral damage in the form of Iranian civilian is unlikely that huge numbers would be killed. And who cares about them, anyway? They're only human beings.

- It might even work. There is "some chance (albeit not high)" that this approach could delay Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons for 5 to 7 years.

The "disadvantages" include:

- It would likely only delay the development of weapons by a year or two.

- It might increase Iran's determination to get the weapon.

- It might radicalize Iran and other anti-US folks even further.

- It might cause Iran to retaliate, shutting off the oil spigot by closing the Straits of Hormuz.
Which Path to Persia? pp. 88-89.

They don't even list among the disadvantages that it requires lying to the American people and the world, or that those lies would get people killed on both sides. I'm not kidding here--go read it for yourself.

Now that you understand the folks we're talking about, think about this little gem, from a January 9, 2012, article in the Jerusalem Post.

Watching the Sunday talk shows on American TV, the experts were all of the opinion that neither the US nor Israel will embark on attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities in 2012. I tend to agree. Neither the US nor Israel will initiate an attack on Iran. Still, I believe that these experts were off by a million miles.

Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and “help” the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian attack on an American military vessel will serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime. The target would not be Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US would retaliate by attacking Iran’s navy, their military installations, missile silos, airfields. The US would target Iran’s ability to retaliate, to close down the Strait of Hormuz. The US would then follow by targeting the regime itself.

Elimination of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Yes. This part would turn out to be the final act, the grand finale. It might have been the major target, had the US initiated the attack. However, under this “Pearl Harbor” scenario, in which Iran had launched a “surprise” attack on the US navy, the US would have the perfect rationalization to finish them off, to put an end to this ugly game.

Unlike the latest attempt at an Iranian revolution, this time the US would not shy away, rather, it would go public, openly calling for the Iranian people to join in with the US in working to overthrow the corrupt Islamic fundamentalist regime. The Iranian people would respond in numbers.

Spring would reemerge, and the Iranian people would join the rest of the Middle East - this time with the direct support of the US.

Notice how the author, Avi Perry, who is an Israeli intelligence expert and former professor at Northwestern University, puts "surprise" in quotes in his use of the term "surprise attack." That's because it wouldn't be a surprise at all--he's at least talking about a situation where the US knows it's coming and doesn't prevent it (just like Pearl Harbor, which he references). Or maybe he's even talking about something more nefarious still. He might even be referring to a false-flag attack that's blamed on the Iranians. Who knows--maybe one where we get a little 'help' from our friends in Israel?

It wouldn't be the first time that such a plan was considered by our beloved government. Clear back in 2008, it was reported that the feds wanted to drum up support for a war against Iran with a false flag attack. Seymour Hersh reported on a meeting in which then VP Dick Cheney and others discussed sending out American ships disguised to look like Iranian PT boats to fire on other American ships and "start a shootup." Gulf of Tonkin, anyone?

Just something to keep in mind, as you watch the drama (I mean that very literally--it's all a performance for us mindless sheep) unfold.

I've never asked before, but I'm going to this time. People need to think. Will you please link this post to your Facebook page, email links to your friends, and otherwise tell folks about it? Our government, for some reason, seems determined to start this war, on false pretenses if necessary. China and Russia have stated they'll get in to protect Iran if we attack them, because they know it's phony as a three dollar bill. And people who don't actually want World War III to begin should probably know about it and stop them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beyond the Peter Prinicple

I believe my post of a few days ago (An Inadvertent Truth) about the vast money laundering operation of British bank, HSBC, made clear that I don't really buy the idea that money laundering by the big banks is an 'accidental' occurrence. In research for a different post, coming soon, I happened upon a 2010 video of none other than Stuart Levey, the new sheriff in HSBC-town. You know--the guy HSBC hired last month as its "expert in money laundering."

In this video from the Charlie Rose Show in October 2010, Mr. Levey, who has recently found himself and undoubtedly lucrative position as Chief Legal Office of HSBC, talked in his role as Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. He's held that job since 2004, when he was appointed by President GW Bush. In the interview, he talks at length, describing his job as financially impeding "threats" to the US like drug organizations, terrorist organizations, and "rogue regimes" by keeping private businesses from doing business with them.

In other words, Mr. Levey was the guy who was, from 2004 until a month ago, in charge of seeing to it that banks like HSBC didn't do exactly what it has now been found to have done. Interestingly, having totally failed in his job with the Treasury to stop HSBC from laundering money, he's now been hired by HSBC to bring that expertise in-house.

May I be the first to congratulate Mr. Levey on parlaying utter incompetence into a nice, fat new job! And kudos to HSBC for showing the world just how serious they are about stopping that pesky, illegal, yet outrageously profitable practice of money laundering.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

These Are the People We Trust

So, recently we've been told that we have to trust the Executive Branch of the Federal Government with the vast, unconstitutional power in the recently-enacted NDAA to call someone a terrorist and toss them in jail forever without charge or trial.

Here's the people we're supposed to trust:

In a city near Boston recently, the FBI concluded a two-year drug 'investigation' with a bust. They chainsawed through the door of the apartment, and held a woman at gunpoint facedown on the floor for over half an hour while her toddler screamed for her mommy from the next room.

The problem? Well, they'd chainsawed through the door of Apartment 2R. The target of their supposed "investigation" lived in 2F.

When all was said and done, after brutalizing an innocent woman, terrorizing a baby, destroying property, and all---how did they handle it? With a perfunctory, "routine" apology for the inconvenience, and a phone number the landlord could call to get reimbursed for the door.

Yeah, let's be sure and let these guys decide who to torture and indefinitely 'detain.'

Friday, February 3, 2012

Inadvertent Truth

Here is a link to a Reuters story from last week about the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations conducting a probe of alleged money laundering by Banking mega-giant HSBC.

According to the article, the investigation into HSBC, "is the latest in a series of investigations by U.S. officials into how global banks have processed -- and in some cases, intentionally hidden -- financial transactions on behalf of countries which allegedly support terrorism, corrupt foreign officials, drug gangs and criminals." Well, good. Right?

Sort of. Good that someone's looking into it, but here's the rub. Also from the article, "Since 2008, European and U.S. banks have signed deferred prosecution agreements and paid more than $1.2 billion in penalties for alleged violations of anti-money laundering regulations." HMMM. Deferred prosecution agreements? Those are where the prosecutors say, "Bad, bad, bank. Shame! Now, if you don't get in trouble for the same thing in the next year (or other time period), then we won't prosecute anyone." Seems more in keeping with 'dog barking' complaints than with global financial fraud. Think I'm being too hyperbolic? Look at the fines---$1.2 BILLION! BILLION with a B. How much do you suppose these banks have made off laundering mony to fund terrorism, government corruption, drug gangs and criminals? Well, apparently not enough for a single person to go to jail, in spite of over a billion dollars in fines.

So, here's where the truth sort of slips out--because HSBC is SO SORRY, it has hired a new sheriff to run off them 'pesky redskins.' And here's how Reuters characterizes it. "Earlier this month, HSBC named former top U.S. Treasury Department official Stuart Levey as chief legal officer in a sign of how the bank is hiring outside experts in money laundering. " (Italics mine)

They probably meant to say something like, "experts in combatting money laundering." But what they actually said is probably more accurate. Something about foxes and henhouses leaps to mind.

We Can Change Things

In the category: stuff that regular people have managed to change. It seems that the effort to bioengineer and reap ridiculous profit from every bite of food that humanity puts in its mouths has met some setbacks.

Last year, a group of organic farmers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, which has for years tried to sew up a monopoly on the world's food through its genetic modification programs and over 800 claims and lawsuits against farmers who had the audacity to allow their non-GMO crops to be contaminated by Monsanto's patented genomes--you know, by winds and bees pollinating their crops (don't believe it? Watch a movie called The Future of Food, available in a free online stream through Hulu). Monsanto has bankrupted small farmers in a calculated and corrupt effort to make sure no one plants anything that doesn't generate a profit for Monsanto.

Well, apparently, they are going to get a dose of their own medicine, as the farmers have apparently sued Monsanto for its GMO DNA 'trespassing' on organic and other non-GMO crops. Anyway, earlier this month, arguments began in New York on Monsanto's motion to dismiss that case, and so far, the lawsuit stands.

Also recently, China basically threw Monsanto and its 'Frankenfood' GMOs out of the country, determining that GMO rice would not be permitted in the commercial food chain in China. What a bummer for Monsanto--over a billion people will not be experimented upon and forced to rely upon the Monsanto conglomerate for their very lives.

And finally, just this week, the UK tossed Monsanto's food monopoly plans on the dung heap too. Monsanto has been forced to close its genetically modified wheat operation in Cambrige, England, "due to 'intense opposition' to genetically modified foods from activists."

We ought to be doing the same all over the US.